June 30, 2015

Review Corner

ThreeSources's favorite miniskirted libertarian philosopher has a new CD out.


It is awesome. Philosophically friendly, melodic, just great. Five stars.

Music Posted by John Kranz at 11:15 AM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

I evangelized the Musgraves message on Denver talk radio last evening. I suggested "Biscuits" [first link above] as a bumper song on The Michael Brown Show (KHOW 630 AM). He played it out of the very next commercial and let it run through two verses, talking over it in places, and concluding, "That's a very good message. Live your own life."

For your amusement, here is our text message thread:

Me: Mike - Ask Angie to bump "Biscuits" by Kacey Musgraves. You'll both love it! Listeners too.

Mike: Ask and you shall receive...

Me: Mike you guys made my day! My kids thought it was cool too. :)

Mike: Glad to make your day!

Yes, I'm easily amused.

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2015 5:01 PM
But jk thinks:

Liberty lovers must take their victories as they arrive -- well done!

The lovely bride is just as smitten as I and this rolls in le condo d'Amour three or four times a day. Where not JS Mill classical liberalism, the lyrics are just homespun wisdom or great fun.

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2015 5:39 PM
But jk thinks:

If y'all ain't careful, I will start a KM Lyric of the Day:

Mama cried, when she realized I ain't pageant material . . . it's not that I don't care about world peace but I don't see how I can fix it in a swimsuit on a stage.

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2015 6:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2015 10:52 AM

It's good to be the Co-op Executive!

Mel Brooks, call your office! It may be good to "be the King," but heading a State Exchange (and we learned this week that they are all state exchanges) ain't so bad...

The six-figure co-op salaries are two to four times higher than the $135,000 median executive healthcare pay reported in an October 2014 nonprofit CEO compensation study published by Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator is a nonpartisan group that tracks philanthropic and charitable organizations.

I had to expand the browser to see Colorado's, because the bar went so far to the right:


Well, at least they're doing a swell job! Hat-tip: Mark Tapscott guesting @ Insty

But johngalt thinks:

C'mon man, you're guilt trippin' these hard-working government employees like they're one-percenters or something! It's not like they're paid more than 10 times the lowest workers make. At $466k, Colorado's Obamacare Exchange CEO receives only about five and a half times what an Apple Intern gets ($85k including housing allowance.)

Besides, they're only paid with taxpayer money. No harm to you unless you're filthy rich, right?

Posted by: johngalt at June 30, 2015 2:55 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If you're going to invoke Mel Brooks on this topic and in this thread, you need to make the obligatory reference to:

"We've gotta protect our phoney-baloney jobs, gentlemen!"

And given the current state of things, this is a perfect moment to invoke Blazing Saddles. But really, is there ever a bad one?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 30, 2015 3:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Diversity Day at the University of Colorado, Boulder?

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2015 3:06 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Didn't Bernie Sanders vote for this?

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 1, 2015 12:03 AM

June 26, 2015

All Hail - Harsanyi

On King v. Burwell:

Let's concede to Roberts that the intentions of every politician is to improve on things. Republicans believe that further nationalizing health-care insurance is a bad idea and makes markets less competitive and more expensive. By overturning the law they want to improve health-care insurance markets, as well. That's why we have legislatures, to debate these points of view and then pass laws. Those laws codify what a majority can agree on. And we have courts to judge the constitutionality of laws, not bore into the souls of politicians to decipher their true intent or find justifications to rubber stamp "democracy" -- as Roberts puts it.

King v. Burwell

Instead of me paraphrasing Damon Root and Clark Neilly -- badly -- both have good articles on King v Burwell better explaining what I meant. Here's the crux of the biscuit from Root:

Writing at The Week, conservative pundit Matt K. Lewis says "John Roberts abandoned conservatives" in King v. Burwell and abandoned "the conservative legal philosophy [he] is supposed to hold true to."

In a word, no. John Roberts may have infuriated many conservatives, but that's not the same thing as abandoning his conservative legal philosophy. In fact, when you take a closer look, you'll find that Roberts' behavior in the two Obamacare cases is quite consistent with one particular school of conservative legal thought. That school is committed to the idea of judicial deference.

Whole thing pretty good.

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 9:51 AM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

I read "judicial deference" as meaning, Congress deserves wide latitude in crafting law to suit its purposes so the court should not change said laws for light and transient causes. Very well.

So is holding the Executive to the letter of the law a pedantic technicality because "everyone knows" what they intended, or is the Court allowing for blithering incompetence in the Legislature for failing to write the four extra words that would have conveyed its clear meaning?

Do we now have the soft bigotry of low expections of CONGRESS?

Statesmen? Hell, I'd settle for skillful scribes.

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2015 11:38 AM
But jk thinks:

Not endorsing it, just trying to better understand it. It has been the clarion call of the Conservative movement since Judge Bork was Verbed. I highlight it because I did it myself. "Judges shouldn't legislate from the bench!" and "Gimme another PBR -- and some wings!"

Hell yes judges should legislate! If they struck down every unconstitutional law, Congress would learn.

Posted by: jk at June 26, 2015 11:51 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Putting a finer point on it - to "legislate from the bench" means, to me, modifying the law not striking it out of existence. The latter is, let's see... adjudication? If this was supposed to be "judicial deference" and that means "not legislating from the bench" then they're doing it wrong. This is the second time they've REVISED the PPACA of 2010. Scalia is right... this is no longer the President's signature health care law, it is SCOTUS'.

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2015 12:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Scalia's book Reading Law [Review Corner] warns of overuse, but includes the Canons which are used to provide some benefit of the doubt to legislation

"Context is a primary determinant of meaning. A legal instrument typically contains many interrelated parts that make up the whole. The entirety of the document thus provides the context for each of its parts. When construing the United States Constitution in McCulloch v. Maryland,4 Chief Justice John Marshall rightly called for 'a fair construction of the whole instrument.'5 More than a century later, Justice Benjamin Cardozo echoed the point in the context of legislation: '[T]he meaning of a statute is to be looked for, not in any single section, but in all the parts together and in their relation to the end in view.'6

"The Supreme Court of the United States has said that statutory construction is a 'holistic endeavor,'7 and the same is true of construing any document. Many of the other principles of interpretation are derived from the whole-text canon—for example, the rules that an interpretation that furthers the document's purpose should be favored (§ 4 [presumption against ineffectiveness]), that if possible no word should be rendered superfluous (§ 26 [surplusage canon]), that a word or phrase is presumed to bear the same meaning throughout the document (§ 25 [presumption of consistent usage]), that provisions should be interpreted in a way that renders them compatible rather than contradictory (§ 27 [harmonious-reading canon]), that irreconcilably contradictory provisions should be given no effect (§ 29 [irreconcilability canon]), and that associated words bear on one another's meaning (noscitur a sociis) (§ 31 [associated-words canon])."

Scalia, Antonin; Garner, Bryan A. (2012-07-05). Scalia and Garner's Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts. Thomson West. Kindle Edition.

I'll accept from his dissent that he found this instance less than compelling. But nor can I proclaim no underpinning reason for the Chief Justice to offer yet another saving construction.

Posted by: jk at June 26, 2015 2:10 PM

June 25, 2015

Obama is a failure

A little fun on a day when things don't go our way? All hail Taranto:


Pretty disappointing that after all those programs and all the money we have spent, that one in five Americans still find themselves in the lowest quintile.

But dagny thinks:

It is the same Americans that think that Half Full > Half Empty (per the McDonald's cup I had the other day) that are concerned that 1 in 5 is in the bottom quintile.

Posted by: dagny at June 25, 2015 2:44 PM

Quote of the Day

The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says "Exchange established by the State" it means "Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government." That is of course quite absurd, and the Court's 21 pages of explanation make it no less so. -- Justice Scalia dissenting [pdf] in King v Burwell
The Traitors! mob is grabbing pitchforks on Facebook. I am disappointed but neither surprised nor devastated at this ruling. I heard a pretty good explanation of the Government's argument and it is not unreasonable.

Scalia's own book [Review Corner] suggests constructing ambiguities to preserve legislation. Lost this one, 6-3. Let's move on.

But johngalt thinks:

The court majority found that the law means what it says it means, even if it doesn't say it. Or even if it says something different than what it says.

Works for me!

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2015 3:03 PM
But jk thinks:

I find Scalia's dissent far more compelling, I'll admit. I would have proudly joined the HOSS wing Thomas/Scalia/Alito and interpreted the statute literally.

Maybe I'm still licking wounds from the TPA, but my objection is to "the Republic is over" and "Obama clearly has some naked picked of Roberts with barnyard animals and he uses these to get rulings he likes." &c.

It was statutory and ambiguous. I am not going to put this in the bag with Kelo, Raich, Buck v Bell and Dred Scott. I think grownups should learn to be disappointed in government -- there are ample opportunities to practice.

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2015 4:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Can we at least agree that this is closer to removing Themis' blindfold than to mere "disappointment in government?"

The court ruled in favor of Leviathan. The majority rewrote the law to make it legal, rather than throw it back to the other two branches to clean up their own gorram mess. You know, the way it used to be done before Twitter, the internet, and the 24-hour news cycle made so many of us come to expect everything, right now, for free. (Yes, that includes "must pass" furcacta trade deals.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2015 6:01 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm not going to sit still while you bad mouth Adam Smith...

I am not trying to spread a little sunshine wherever I go, it is bad and I find Scalia's dissent far more compelling than Roberts's opinion.

But if you read Damon Root's Overruled [Review Corner] or any of his superb synopses videos and articles, I think you can accept this as "judicial deference." I am not saying I dig it -- and I wish they saw their job as protecting our liberties from the other branches -- but it is par for the course as it were.

To get beyond this means embracing an outlying, minority-but-growing libertarian jurisprudence. Not name calling.

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2015 6:19 PM

June 24, 2015

All Hail Santayana

I first learned of George Santayana, American philosopher (1863-1952) through a quote of his that was printed in the campus newspaper 'Colorado Daily' during my college days.

"Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness."

This predated any of my Ayn Rand readings, and was the first glimpse I remember of the idea that I controlled my own happiness and thus, my own destiny.

He wrote another well known saying, the full context of which is actually a criticism of modern Progressivism, i.e. change = good, with no qualifiers.

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.


Philosophy Posted by JohnGalt at 2:20 PM | What do you think? [0]

An Appeal to Authority

Lest you think that jk and the whackos at Reason and Cato are the only ones supporting TPA, let me excerpt to the point of copyright infringement from the WSJ Ed Page. I do this because I think it significant how the players are choosing sides.

Pro-growth policies have been all too rare in the Obama era, so Tuesday's Senate vote to block a filibuster against trade promotion authority is worth celebrating. The narrow margin of likely victory in both the House and Senate also offers lessons for the future of trade politics.

The victory means the U.S. can again begin to reassert trade leadership after a decade on the sidelines. The 12-nation Pacific trade talks can now get down to the hard choices, as other countries will know that Congress can't rewrite the deal. It will have to vote yes or no. Fast-track authority lasts six years, so the next President will also have more flexibility to pursue other trade accords.

My blog brother finds it significant that Senator Cruz has switched sides at the last minute, but my buddies at the WSJ Ed Page are not so impressed.
Top prize for such opportunism goes to Ted Cruz, who turned against the trade bill at the last minute. In April he wrote an op-ed with Rep. Paul Ryan in these pages endorsing the bill and freer trade because they would "create more opportunity for this country." We praised him for it. But on Tuesday he took to an anti-trade website to announce his switch because of "corrupt, backroom dealings" in Congress.

What are those? Well, he says Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised a vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. We opposed Ex-Im before Mr. Cruz was in short pants, but a vote on the bank was going to happen no matter the trade bill's fate.

The Texas Senator also embraced the fiction promoted by WikiLeaks that a separate trade in services negotiation would let Mr. Obama evade U.S. immigration law. The Cato Institute's Scott Lincicome has demolished this argument, but in any case there's little chance the service talks will be done while Mr. Obama is still President. But then the best rebuttal to Mr. Cruz was provided by . . . Mr. Cruz, who asked Mr. Ryan to write an explicit provision barring a trade deal from changing U.S. immigration law. The provision is part of a related customs bill.

The good news for trade politics, and the U.S. economy and national interest, is that cooler heads are prevailing over the false demagoguery of the left and right.

Strong words (although nobody's patriotism was impugned), but my first thought was that the switch reflected more poorly on Sen. Cruz (Really, really wanna be president - TX) than the TPA. Cruz's base is the right, trending populist, Tea Partier -- and he can read as well as I can (prob'ly better, going to Harvard and all). That base calls this "Obamatrade!"

The anti-side has a great diversity over the intellectual spectrum. Another commenter on Sen. Gardner's post says "Boy, cory looks like you have made alot of friends doing this. This is the move of a TRAITOR to our country! I voted for you, I'm sorry I did now! You are a lackey for obama,boner and mcconnell."

John Hinderaker at Powerline (Hat-tip nb) avoids dick jokes and all caps, but I still find it uncompelling. His appeal to authority is Sen. Jeff Sessions (Tancredoite - AL). I love every Republican who votes for leadership in the Senate, but Sessions is the least friendly to trade and immigration in the caucus. It's no surprise which side he is on just a disappointment that Cruz has joined him.

At the top of the spectrum are my blog brothers. But I think it safe to say, for all their wisdom and smarts, they are not as committed to the benefits of trade as am I. I respectfully suggest you listen to some other voices on this. Trade is hard to sell and there is nothing easier to demagogue -- but it is essential to liberty, prosperity, human flourishing, and innovation: all the things we do agree on.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:33 PM | What do you think? [15]
But johngalt thinks:
"I don't know if it's corrupt backroom dealing or not, or how that differs from anything that goes on in Washington."

That is all that Art said about TPA specifically. Everything else was about free trade as a general principle and the historical effects of protectionism, all of which you well know I agree with. He is taking it on faith that this is what the politicians say it is. I'm not.

You read what three times? Do you mean this?

Obama's radio interview offers four main take aways, which I summarize using his own words where possible:

First: "We still suffer from not having a Constitution that guarantees its citizens economic rights." By positive economic rights, Obama means government protection against individual economic failures, such as low incomes, unemployment, poverty, lack of health care, and the like. Obama characterizes the Constitution as "a charter of negative liberties," which "says what the states can't do to you (and) what the Federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf." (Ask not what you can do for your country but what your country can do for you, to paraphrase John F. Kennedy).

Second, Obama regrets that the Constitution places "essential constraints" on the government's ability to provide positive economic rights and that "we have not broken free" of these Constitutional impediments. Obama views the absence of positive economic liberties that the government must supply as a flaw in the Constitution that must be corrected as part of a liberal political agenda.

Giving an international commission any power to supercede U.S. law would, if TPA or TPP or any of the secret "T***" treaties does this, be a significant step on the path to "[break] free of these Constitutional impediments."

NED help America if you are wrong.

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2015 6:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, and you bio-bro and I won't be shopping for the same clothes, but we'll each carry one end of the banner reading, "END CORPORATE CRONYISM NOW!"

The word corporate may be more important to him, and the word cronyism more important to me, but we'll still be singing Kumbaya, NED, Kumbaya.

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2015 6:23 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. He's a very good singer, good guy, and you might enlist him for your campaign.

I read the Sen. Sessions piece three times. I agree with the other and do not disagree that the President's intentions are suspect.

Still searching for agreement -- why not support the TPA and keep your powder dry for TPP? I bet we'll disagree there but at least I will understand. Opposing TPA is opposing trade, because you're undercutting how they're typically done and you're removing it for six years because one and a half will be under the other party's president.

If you really "like trade but oppose this deal" -- as I hear often on Facebook -- then support TPA to show you mean the first clause and we'll have, potentially, an honest disagreement on the second.

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2015 6:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If it really were a good trade bill there would be no problem getting 2/3 support.

The super majority is required to prevent tyranny of the majority (c.f. PPACA of 2010). The nation was founded as a Constitutional Republic with numerous barriers to direct democracy. And yet, here we are.

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2015 12:16 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

This could be another defining moment. I'd heretofore defended Sen.Cruz, but an article at Reason tears the mask off what now appears to be a populist (of the don't tread on me flavor) screed against PPA.

Several of the things he objected to were put in the bill explicitly at his request...

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 29, 2015 3:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Now that sounds like a good time -- have you a link?

Posted by: jk at June 29, 2015 7:06 PM

NED Bless ThreeSources

Thanks for the respectful conversation -- it is in pretty short supply:


I hope my humor the other day was accepted with the respect intended. I knew we had a potential donnybrook, but I did not expect the escalation I have seen outside.

Your traitorous friend,

But johngalt thinks:

On "name calling." First, sometimes the shoe fits.

Second, "traitor" and "racist" are both bandied about with impunity these days but there is a difference. While the R-word is used to intimidate Republicans into doing what Democrats want, the T-word is used to intimidate Republicans into doing what Republicans want.

Shouldn't Republicans expect Republicans to do what Republicans want? Especially if Republicans use the same tactic against Republicans that Democrats have used, to great effect?

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2015 1:48 PM

Goin' Public with our Disagreement

I was amused to see my comment and my blog brother's side by side on Senator Cory Gardner's (Now that is real leadership! - CO) Facebook post.

This morning, the Senate voted to advance Trade Promotion Authority, also known as TPA. I'm a strong supporter of free trade, and I voted in favor of TPA.

Trade supports hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs in Colorado. TPA provides Congress with the authority to approve high-quality trade deals that create jobs, break down barriers for American exporters, and put more goods stamped 'Made in the USA' on shelves overseas. Free trade deals enhance America's standing in the world, building stronger alliances with our friends and putting economic pressure on our rivals.

TPA is the best path forward to finalizing transparent trade agreements that keep America competitive, strengthen our economy, and create better-paying jobs for Coloradans. Now, it's the administration's responsibility to negotiate a good deal and bring it before Congress and the American people for a full public vetting and a vote.


Fairness dictates that I point out that I appear to be the ONLY supportive comment in the long list. But one man with courage makes a majority, right?

114th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 11:13 AM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Hahahahahaha! My blog brother is my only "like."

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2015 11:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not afraid to be called a "traitor lover."

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2015 1:50 PM

Quote of the Day

At least 120,000 members were forced to quickly find coverage elsewhere. The Iowa Insurance Division had this helpful advice: "Your coverage with CoOportunity Health will stop, and claims will not be paid after cancellation. If you do not purchase replacement insurance, you may be penalized by the federal government." -- WSJ Ed Page
It appears some of the claims made by ACA proponents are not materializing as promised.

June 23, 2015

All Hail Taranto!

I don't want to get a reputation as a Pope basher but -- oh, hell, I suppose it is too late now:


UPDATE All Hail Harsanyi! Piling on with "Five Times Weapons of War Saved Christians"

Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 3:35 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

In some ways the conflict is not new. After all, it was a cleric, the Rev. Thomas Malthus, who gave his name to a zero-sum view of life that saw men and women breeding to their own destruction. In sharp contrast, the first economist, Adam Smith, wrote that to complain about population growth was to lament "over the necessary effect and cause of the greatest public prosperity."
-- William McGurn at the WSJ Journal, finding a contradiction in Laudato Si': if the economy is static and zero-sum as is consistent with the encyclical, contraception and abortion would be moral choices for the existing population.


Possible sub-head: 'The modern reprise of Don Quixote.'

Since the wee hours of the TEA Party movement I've been pleading for elected representatives to call shenanigans on the Washington "establishment" that fleeces the citizenry while telling us "we're looking out for you." My representative, Congressman Ken Buck (A Republic - CO) is proving to be such a man.

While he angered my fellow liberty and conservative activists by not walking the plank in a futile effort to oust Speaker Boehner (Washington D.C. - OH) he proved his constitutional bona fides by being one of only 34 courageous Republicans to vote NO on the TPA bill, aka "Obamatrade." And now he is fundraising on it.


Bully, Congressman! I'm in. Don't tell dagny but I put my money where my blogging is.

Join me by visiting Ken's donate page. He suggested $25, which sounded fair to a tightwad like me.

From the "courageous Republicans" link above:

"Americans should be proud that 34 Republicans put their country before their political party today," Americans for Limited Government president Rick Manning tells Breitbart News. "Their vote to stop Obamatrade dead in its tracks is one that sets the stage for tomorrow's defeat of enabling him to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other treaties. The nation owes these 34 heroes a debt of gratitude."
But dagny thinks:

dagny (never been wrong) Poppins would like to know: What does this bill actually do? Anyone? Beuller??

Posted by: dagny at June 23, 2015 3:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Cato's Nine Myths is a good place to start. When the President negotiates a free trade agreement, it says Congress will give him an up-down vote with no amendments. Like the base closure, this helps agreements avoid derailment by hyper-interested parties.

As noted by the CRS, "TPA reflects decades of debate, cooperation, and compromise between Congress and the executive branch in finding a pragmatic accommodation to the exercise of each branch's respective authorities over trade policy.” It represents a "gentleman's agreement" between the legislative branch and the executive branch—with the former promising the latter "fast track" rules for the requisite congressional approval of an FTA, if, and only if, the latter (i) agrees to follow a detailed set of congressional "negotiating objectives" for the agreement's content; and (ii) engages in a series of consultations with Congress on that content. As discussed more fully below, each branch of government retains its constitutional authority to abandon this gentleman's agreement, but doing so will essentially kill any hope of signing and implementing new FTAs. So, with limited exceptions, Congress and the executive toe the line.
Posted by: jk at June 23, 2015 3:58 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

This thread made me go back and read Republicans Should Vote No On Trade Promotion Authority by Hinderocker @ PowerLine.

Some basic quotes for the analysis (much more basic and example driven than CATO's):

the main focus [these days] now is on non-tariff barriers. If we are talking about quotas, fine; free traders will say, get rid of them. But it isn’t that simple. Environmental regulation, or the lack thereof, can also be considered a non-tariff barrier. There is a real risk that a liberal administration may use trade negotiations to commit the United States to domestic policies that Congress would never pass.

TPP also includes provisions on immigration that promote the “mobility of labor.” Will TPP commit the U.S. to allowing even more immigration of low-skill workers, on top of the historically unprecedented levels we are already accommodating? No one seems to know, or be willing to say.

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 24, 2015 1:23 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for the Hinderacker link, nb. I'll excerpt further...

There are many reasons to oppose TPA, and the TPP it will almost assuredly beget. The one that is of utmost concern to me is the provision that threatens to subjugate the US Constitutional Republic to an international governing body:

Further, TPP would establish a commission that can enter into new agreements so that TPP is a "living document." We know how well that works.

Senator Jeff Sessions, the Republican in Washington who most looks out for American workers, is adamantly opposed to granting President Obama fast track authority:

A vote for fast-track is a vote to erase valuable procedural and substantive powers of Congress concerning a matter of utmost importance involving the very sovereignty of this nation. Without any doubt, the creation of this living commission with all its powers will erode the power of the American people to directly elect—or dismiss from office—the people who impact their lives.

The Democrats want us to be like the European Union, where millions of people are ruled by unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels, and national interests are subordinated to the welfare of the trans-national class of the rich, fashionable and politically connected.

What is so critical about this trade pact that we must risk anything remotely like this? Yes I support trade. But I am also an American exceptionalist. TPP and TPA threaten to relegate the American experiment to the dustbin of history. At least until a new generation of winter soldiers wins back our liberty from an even more sinister crown.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2015 11:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Re: The call for a Sanders filibuster, it is neither mean nor unfair. Dems traditionally oppose trade agreements because of union influences. Most of them also oppose TPA because of the boost it promises to multinational corporate cronyism - one of the same objections named by the Republican Congressman Buck.

We have a kumbaya moment here, and my blog brother doesn't see it. Let me remind you where we have common cause with 90% of Americans.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2015 12:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I must renege on something I said yesterday - yes, I do believe that TPA is UNconstitutional in addition to supraconstitutional.

dagny did not believe my assertion that the Constitution requires a two-thirds approval vote by the Senate on international treaties. Article II. Section 2. paragraph 2:

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

[emphasis mine]

TPA undoes this. And with the prohibition of the procedural filibuster, even undoes the 60 vote margin that TPA barely squeaked by with. 51 votes now, to approve any trade related* treaty POTUS desires. James Madison, call your office.

*There is no requirement that the treaty deal exclusively with trade.

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


Take 'em where you can get 'em!

But nanobrewer thinks:

That was delicious to watch Howard Dean's deer-in-the-headlights look as he squirmed his way to a slimy non-denial of the WH's non-truthfullness!

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 24, 2015 1:30 AM

June 22, 2015

More on Beercots!

As mentioned in the "feelgood story of the day."

Posted by John Kranz at 2:54 PM | What do you think? [0]

Rant + Review Corner

No, the Pope will not be mentioned.

I watched two very good documentaries. Both The Wrecking Crew and Muscle Shoals celebrate the uncelebrated studio musicians who created an unconscionable number of the hit songs with which I grew up.

Both are well worth your time and money. I watched them on successive nights and would recommend both in proximity. Because they're the same -- only they're not.

Wrecking Crew was made by Tommy Tedesco's son, Danny Tedesco. It's a little lower budget and a lot less "artsy." Tedesco is telling the story of his famous father that nobody has ever heard of, but whose music everyone has heard. It's a good story told well. Tedesco peré had a regular column in Guitar Player magazine with the same humor he exhibits on screen. So, I knew him.

Muscle Shoals has a little more budget, some big names, and much more artistic cinematography. Both movies have the gift of insanely good soundtracks, lovingly wrapped in the stories they tell. Muscle Shoals perhaps feels more like a movie and less like an informative seminar at your local library.

Yet, the artistic side leads it into some philosophical weeds. Behind the truly spectacular footage of the Tennessee river, we are told the story of the Yuchi Indian tribe who called the Tennessee River the Singing River because they believed a woman who lived in the river sang to them. Now that is a great story. And, were I contracted to tell the story of why a little backwater berg in Alabama and a crew of White Crackers who inhabited it would come to be a huge part of R&B music, I too would not have been able to resist "The Singing Lady."

Bono adds a little flavor, suggesting that rivers are always important to music: The Mersy in Liverpool, The Mississippi for blues, the Tennessee by Muscle Shoals... "Maybe music just needs the mud," says Bono, poetically behind his trademark sunglasses.

But they are all wrong! It is so much more prosaic -- but the economic explanation is somehow more beautiful. Music goes to rivers because people go to rivers. And people -- as these documentaries make clear -- make music.

The other beautiful part of the real, praxeological story, in the wake of have crimes in Charleston, is that much of the magic in Muscle Shoals was integration. Black artists came from the North, not really expecting to see so many white players. (The funniest part of the film is Wilson Pickett's describing the trip from airport to the studio. As he drove past cotton fields, he asked accusingly: "is that what I think it is?")

But the bands were integrated in both movies. Players don't care [full disclosure: the most talented group with which I was ever involved was an eight-piece disco band in 1980 and I was the only Person of Pallor]. And the lads in Muscle Shoals credited the diversity with creating a rich American gumbo of blues and country and bluegrass and R&B. I thought of Matt Ridley's "Ideas having sex:" beautiful music's having mixed race parents not unlike the lovely mixed-race exotic supermodels. I've long been a reverse-eugenicist.

More prosaic still was the Randian superhero that is Rick Hall. Born into poverty, rejected by his mother, he admits that his drive was fueled by bitterness. But he creates it. He builds the studio (Yes, Senator Warren...), he hires the players, he finds Percy Sledge singing his songs from the cotton fields to hospital patients, brings him in the studio, cuts "When a Man Loves a Woman" and calls Jerry Wexler of Atlantic and sells it to him over the phone.

Hall had much but lost much. Every record, he explains, was make-or-break. He had to make a #1 hit or the phone would stop ringing. So he drove the players, the artists, and himself -- and that produced a lot of quality -- even Keith Richards agreed.

I highly recommend both flicks. And you may choose the poetic or prosaic explanation: whichever you prefer. But there is a quiet beauty in celebrating human creation.

Music Posted by John Kranz at 11:32 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 21, 2015


Mary, the Mother who cared for Jesus, now cares with maternal affection and pain for this wounded world. Just as her pierced heart mourned the death of Jesus, so now she grieves for the sufferings of the crucified poor and for the creatures of this world laid waste by human power.
Those without a background in Catholicism may not catch the gravity of that. Mary is highly revered in Catholic Doctrine and many -- especially "Old World" Catholics choose her for a personal relationship in prayer, sharing their sorrows with the Mother who understands loss. Rhetorically, Pope Francis is "launching nukes" with that statement: we with the air-conditioning are equivalent to those who crucified Jesus.

I read Laudato Si' [Kindle version] [HTML] cover to cover. It is short but grating on a person who has any belief in liberty or human achievement or individualism. I will endeavor to keep this respectful as I truly feel for church members who appreciate liberty. I mentioned the WSJ Editorial Board and know we've at least a couple who read these pages.

When Pope Francis made casual remarks about Marxism and when an early version of Laudato Si' was leaked, I was cautioned to not accept the "Mainstream Media" version. There was much nuance and they had an agenda. Having watched their treatment of Gov. Palin, I deferred judgment. But I found no mitigating text -- and several outrageous, completely over the top, contrary examples. This is 187 pages of 1970's Paul Ehrlich environmentalism seasoned with Marxist economics.

We need to take up an ancient lesson, found in different religious traditions and also in the Bible. It is the conviction that "less is more". A constant flood of new consumer goods can baffle the heart and prevent us from cherishing each thing and each moment. To be serenely present to each reality, however small it may be, opens us to much greater horizons of understanding and personal fulfilment.

That can be thought to be religious asceticism (of which Catholics are enthusiastic), but in the context of this document it is "observe limits," and "don't take too much."
In any event, if in some cases sustainable development were to involve new forms of growth, then in other cases, given the insatiable and irresponsible growth produced over many decades, we need also to think of containing growth by setting some reasonable limits and even retracing our steps before it is too late. We know how unsustainable is the behaviour of those who constantly consume and destroy, while others are not yet able to live in a way worthy of their human dignity. That is why the time has come to accept decreased growth in some parts of the world, in order to provide resources for other places to experience healthy growth. Benedict XVI has said that "technologically advanced societies must be prepared to encourage more sober lifestyles, while reducing their energy consumption and improving its efficiency".[135]

Preaching to the ThreeSources choir, I needn't rebut; our mad consumerism has lifted billions out of poverty -- the bulk of those remaining are precluded from engaging on trade by tyrannical government. But the Pope has the authority of . . . another Pope!

There is much commentary on the encyclical: most better than mine, very little not critical. But I wish to plant my flag here. There are 172 footnotes, giving the paper an academic feel. Francis is from the Jesuit order and their order produces the intellectual spine of the church. I learn from Facebook memes that Pope Francis has a Masters degree in Chemistry.

But it is all self referential. The footnotes refer to other Papal pronouncements or "PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE" or "BOLIVIAN BISHOPS' CONFERENCE," or "PARAGUAYAN BISHOPS' CONFERENCE" (African, Mexican, &c.) I read a couple of academic theology books last year and was struck by the same disappointment. They quoted religious sources, but included leftist academics to give it secular balance.

I don't expect the Pope or a Theology professor to quote Ayn Rand. But I'd love to feel that they have perhaps encountered Hayek or Mises or Milton Friedman. Hell, a John Locke or Mary Wollstonecraft reference would give me comfort. But, no, these people read others who think just like them. Several of the footnotes in Laudato Si' are to other works of Pope Francis. That would not be a flaw if the other references displayed wider thought.

I looked for a few quotes I could support -- not because I am so wonderfully fair, but that is my style of disagreement. All I can muster is that I see where is coming from on occasion, even if he is completely wrong. Let's stipulate the swellness of St. Francis and a true appreciation for the wonder of the world we inhabit. There is literally nothing in here that would help preserve it.

We read in the Gospel that Jesus says of the birds of the air that "not one of them is forgotten before God" (Lk 12:6). How then can we possibly mistreat them or cause them harm?

You may, if you chose, read that as a suggestion to use more fossil fuel and less wind power, because the former is kinder to the Avian co-members of creation -- but I'd suggest you're being wildly optimistic.

The words I've heard from others: pessimistic, misanthropic sound harsh until you plow through a few pages. This has the joy and celebration of human advancement of President Carter's "malaise speech." In fact:

A person who could afford to spend and consume more but regularly uses less heating and wears warmer clothes, shows the kind of convictions and attitudes which help to protect the environment.

One star. And the title? Look it up!
"If you paid for this epub you were wronged and should demand the return of your money. This is a document by the Holy Father Pope Francis belonging to the Catholic Church and intended for free, unlimited public consumption."


Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 9:24 AM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

I don't find laudito si (or the correctly spelled laudato si) anywhere on the page of Latin profanity. I did find this which cites the meaning "praise be to you."

I for one am pleased that you undertook this thoughtful, respectful, and sympathetic analysis of the complete text of what I call, the Communist Manifesto Encyclical. And what I find most notable about it is the remarkable similarity between your conclusion and mine. [First comment. Both comments, actually, come to think of it.]

Heh. The comment password du jour for today? Faith.

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2015 2:28 PM
But jk thinks:

*Ahem* You were supposed to look up "Perfututum" if needed.

I tried to be respectful and eclipsed Lawrence Reed's link to Max Borders's The New Paganism? "Who was the second-grader who wrote the Pope's encyclical on the environment? It's worse than worthless."

I know some knuckledraggers 'round these parts will watch FOX News Sunday on occasion. I am glad I read the entire piece so that I can call out Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Wuerl grossly mischaracterized the document, calling it a call to a conversation. The tone does not match that assessment in any way.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2015 2:43 PM
But jk thinks:

You say Ladato, I say Laudito...

Corrected the spelling, thanks, though the curious postpended apostrophe is a mystery. I saw it on some very Catholic looking sites so I am keeping it. How many Romans????

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2015 2:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, that. I didn't need to look it up. I already knew that it means "sweet-smelling authoritarian prose." ;)

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2015 3:01 PM
But jk thinks:

...and a quick reminder to the newbies: "f@ith" refers to the character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, played by the lovely Eliza Dushku.

You may interpret literature as you like, but ThreeSources.com passwords are strictly assigned to Buffy characters, guitar gear, and jazz musicians.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2015 5:48 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

church members who appreciate liberty.

Present! Though for the record I identify [heh; to cite a current meme] more as a "follower" who attends church.

I've never paid much attention to any church issuing that does anything but call those to heed the word; sounds like I'll feel nothing but boiling blood if I read this thing.... I've been forming an opinion of the Pontiff that he's either:

- completely addled; or
- in thrall to young firebrands

this activist form of Liberation Theology has long and apparently strong ties to the church, the titled movement started in latin america, IIRC.

As a believer (not in Catholic doctrines, tho' ours are mostly congruent) I'd say right back in his face: ".... render unto Ceaser..." (hmm, in Latin or Spanish?) and ask him to stick with stimulating our hearts, and to stay away from snatching at our purses! Perhaps a better rejoinder would be latin for "be careful what you wish for..."

It really seems to be a "Me, too!" moment, but I seem to recall thinking that about every pope except for JPII.

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 23, 2015 11:21 AM

June 20, 2015

Lord of the Lukewarmers!

Matt Ridley (he really is a Lord -- bleedin' Monarchists! Oh well, in the case of Ridley and Sir Van Morrison I am prepared to look the other way) has seen favorable mention on these pages both in a couple review corners and many favourable [sic] mentions and videos.

He's been instrumental in moving me from the Popperian Denier camp to the Lukewarmers.

These scientists and their guardians of the flame repeatedly insist that there are only two ways of thinking about climate change--that it's real, man-made and dangerous (the right way), or that it's not happening (the wrong way). But this is a false dichotomy. There is a third possibility: that it's real, partly man-made and not dangerous. This is the "lukewarmer" school, and I am happy to put myself in this category. Lukewarmers do not think dangerous climate change is impossible; but they think it is unlikely.

I find that very few people even know of this. Most ordinary people who do not follow climate debates assume that either it's not happening or it's dangerous. This suits those with vested interests in renewable energy, since it implies that the only way you would be against their boondoggles is if you "didn't believe" in climate change.

VP Al Gore could not be reached for comment. In an article for Quadrant Online (.au), Ridley takes on the more severe topic of "The Climate Wars' Damage to Science." Looking way back to the 1990s, he says:
It's hard to recall now just how much you were allowed to question the claims in those days.

Beyond epistemology and politics, it becomes something of a lukewarmers' manifesto -- but I think all stripes of knuckledraggers will dig it.
Sceptics such as Plimer often complain that "consensus" has no place in science. Strictly they are right, but I think it is a red herring. I happily agree that you can have some degree of scientific consensus about the past and the present. The earth is a sphere; evolution is true; carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. The IPCC claims in its most recent report that it is "95 per cent" sure that "more than half" of the (gentle) warming "since 1950" is man-made. I'll drink to that, though it's a pretty vague claim. But you really cannot have much of a consensus about the future. Scientists are terrible at making forecasts--indeed as Dan Gardner documents in his book Future Babble they are often worse than laymen. And the climate is a chaotic system with multiple influences of which human emissions are just one, which makes prediction even harder.

Yogi Berra could not be reached for comment. Were one to find a rational, reasonable proponent of catastrophic change, this comprehensive article debunks the bumper-sticker lines (On the science underlying "97% consensus:" "This should be a huge scandal, not fodder for a tweet by the leader of the free world.") and enumerates the many scandals.
None of this would matter if it was just scientific inquiry, though that rarely comes cheap in itself. The big difference is that these scientists who insist that we take their word for it, and who get cross if we don't, are also asking us to make huge, expensive and risky changes to the world economy and to people's livelihoods. They want us to spend a fortune getting emissions down as soon as possible. And they want us to do that even if it hurts poor people today, because, they say, their grandchildren (who, as Nigel Lawson points out, in The Facts, and their models assume, are going to be very wealthy) matter more.

Pope Francis could not be reached for comment.

UPDATE: Ronal Bailey of Reason could be reached, Here is his post on Ridley's article.

But johngalt thinks:

I am 95 per cent sure that more than half of the gentle warming since 1950 is due to expansion of urban areas (the urban heat island effect) and that the perception of the warming being something more than gentle is due to the generational migrations from rural to urban areas since 1950.

But who ever listens to a knuckledragger like me?

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2015 12:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Half is hard to acquiesce to. Lord Ridley is being nice and I'd be tempted to join him though I suspect we both suspect it may be less. My comfort is that the Anthropogenic part is non-zero and non-negligible: that's what gets you into the club.

Your migration point is important and coincides with my belief that the boomers -- who know the entire universe revolves around them -- grew up in the mid-century cold. I'm the last of the boomers (first after, I prefer) and grew up ice skating outside almost all winter in Denver. Unthinkable today.

Rather than ask what happened 100, 1000, 10000, or 100000 years ago, it's easy for boomers to "know" that there's warming. Context is not their string suit.

I always wonder if there are Al Gore moths. They only live a day -- what do they think when it gets dark? Boomers are like that.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2015 2:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On the question of whether human activity causes a little warming or a lot of warming, I'm reminded of the man who asks a woman to have sex with him for fifty dollars. "Certainly not, sir, I am not that kind of a lady!" Would you do so then for fifty million dollars? "Hmmm. Very well then" she says. Then how about a hundred? "I've already told you I'm not that kind of lady!" To the contrary madam, we've already established that you are and now we're merely haggling over price.

The parallel in the context of this post is whether or not the respiratory gas of plants is a "greenhouse gas" at all. Or more fundamentally, whether the concept of a greenhouse effect makes any sense, physically and scientifically. Joseph Postma at Principia Scientific says not even close.

So, they make that calculation where they dilute the flux density of solar power into a time and space where it doesn't exist, find that "sunshine is too cold by itself to heat the Earth" and then so as a result they invent a scheme where the atmosphere must double the heat from the Sun with "greenhouse gases that man emits in his development".

To what end?

So do you see the connection there? To their underlying Satanic anti-development intent? And their inability to do actual physics for their hatred of mankind? Or rather, their wish to destroy proper ontological science for their hatred of mankind...

Anyone who thinks that climate alarm is about a social progressive political policy must be severely uninformed on the subject of human development. Preventing the development of mankind is not a beneficial social policy, and making energy less accessible to poor countries and to poor people is not socialism! Artificially making energy more expensive (based on reasons of pseudoscience) is not a way to redistribute the wealth away from "Big Oil" or "Corporations". What kind of an idiotic idea and reasoning is that!?

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2015 2:52 PM
But jk thinks:

I suggest that you, Ridley, and I can disagree on the certainty of mankind's influence and the exact temperature sensitivity (my favorite topic), yet agree on the best course of action. I suggest somewhere between nothing and fund some actual, objective research.

Those in the catastrophic camp -- which I consider now more "outside the scientific mainstream" than I -- need to enact central planning. The difference between no problem and little problem from a policy standpoint is minimal.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2015 5:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You, Lord Ridley, and I can agree on the best course of action but none of us has a vote in congress, nor constituents' collective biases to assuage. Accepting the "greenhouse effect" dogma is like not calling out a white lie - one is then committed to a series of ever more serious lies.

Or we could just say that Emperors Obama and Francis are naked.

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2015 7:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The Ronal Bailey article is very "FB postable."

Posted by: johngalt at June 23, 2015 11:42 AM

June 19, 2015

Gotchyer Feel Good Story of the Day

Doubt this has received much play outside of Colorado, but liberty and pro-energy development sites have been having some fun.

Several bars and liquor stores in Craig, Colorado pulled New Belgium and Breckenridge beer off their shelves [Full disclosure: New Belgium's 1554 is nectar of the freaking Gods themselves, and Breckenridge's Nitro Vanilla Porter is what you order when they're out of 1554]. Both breweries tout their progressive bona fides at every opportunity, but their appearance on a website of business supporters for a group trying to shut down the Colowyo coal mine was too much for locals whose customers' livelihoods are tied to the mine.

Stockmen's Liquor pulled several brands of beer -- including New Belgium Brewery -- because they are listed as WildEarth Guardians supporters.

"We pulled those beers because their support of WildEarth Guardians... who said their ultimate goal is to shut down coal mines," said Lori Gillam, owner of Stockmen's. "Craig is a coal mine town."

Now, WildEarth Guardians has updated its website:
The Craig Daily Press published its first story about local liquor stores and restaurants pulling New Belgium and Breckenridge Brewery beer on June 8, and shortly thereafter, WildEarth Guardians staff deleted its webpage called "Businesses for Guardians."

The newspaper then published the cached webpage of supporters, and less than 24 hours later, the environmentalists republished the webpage.

On that page, a total of 605 businesses across Colorado and New Mexico were listed as supporters. As of June 18, that number shrunk to 151 businesses listed as supporters.

Atkins-boy does not consume enough to impact either brewery, but I'll buy something else the next few months.

All Hail Taranto!

James Taranto finds the NYTimes's new repect for papl authority and infallibility somewhat remarkable:


But johngalt thinks:

"...devoted solely to environmental issues?" No, not exactly.

"Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion," the encyclical says.

Heh. Rush Limbaugh, from whom I learned of this, calls it "pope-a-dope."

Let's just see how long the NYT et. al. keep trumpeting this pope's "broad moral awakening" to "do the things that mere facts have not inspired us to do."

Posted by: johngalt at June 19, 2015 3:28 PM
But jk thinks:

The market has declared Mr. Limbaugh a better arguer than me, and perhaps he will strike some coup d'grace and convert the environmental left to a staunch pro-life position.

But I have used a small version of this on Facebook 100 times to no avail. "Oh JK!" FB friends chortle, "the POPE SEZ you have to give the poor free healthcare!" I generally reply that I was unaware of their conversion and baptism and inquire whether they have also adopted the Church's position on homosexuality, abortion, and women's being unfit for the priesthood.

Maybe it will work for Rush; he does it for a living. I've never got anything past "But but but evil right wing evangelical FOX News bla bla bla..."

Myself, I can now claim to disagree with the Church on damn near everything. Glad Mom & Dad are not around to read ThreeSources.

Posted by: jk at June 19, 2015 4:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I came not to suggest Rush had some killer argument to convert Democrats to pro-life, only to suggest that the NYT's newfound affection for piety will be short lived, or at the very least, highly selective.

Think of it as doubling down on the exact point made by Taranto, but with abortion instead of contraception.

Posted by: johngalt at June 19, 2015 6:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Agreed. Just suggesting that none underestimate their ability to be "selective." I suppose in a great rush of fairness (hope it goes away soon) it's not exclusive to the left.

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2015 9:40 AM

June 18, 2015

In opposition to "Post-Normal Science"

It seems that a long time has passed since we added a page to the Blog Roll. I humbly submit that it's time to change that. Principia Scientific dot org.

PSI serves no political purpose, supports no political party (or parties) and does not engage in political activities. Our advocacy is for the advancement of the traditional scientific method (as per the ideas of Karl Popper) and resolute opposition to 'post-normalism' in science.

I am saddened, and slightly embarrassed, that it's taken my five years to discover it.

But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at June 18, 2015 4:28 PM

Not Burying the Lede

Nearly five years after passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, mounting evidence suggests that the law may not be achieving either end. -- July Kelly and Jeff Stier WSJ Ed Page
Shocked face!

UPDATE: No, I am not done. William Easterly, call your office!

Even though lunches are "free," they are so unappetizing thanks to new nutrition standards that much food is thrown away. "It is horrible," one inner-city principal, responsible for 1,200 students and 10,000 meals a week, told us. "It is just heartbreaking how much food is thrown away."

So the students go hungry most of the day, until after school when enterprising vendors sell items like pork rinds, hot chips, or fresh corn mixed with cheese and mayonnaise from food carts outside of the school. Students don't eat the free, healthy meals at school, remain hungry during the day, then flock to purchase the unhealthy foods the school lunches aim to replace.

But johngalt thinks:

Kids these days!

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2015 1:18 PM


Well, I checked "rant" just in case I lapse into capitol letters.

"Laudato Si" is out and from Bill McGurn, I am guessing it is as bad as any ThreeSourcer feared. The WSJ Ed Page has a higher percentage of Catholics than most Catholic churches, and they strain to match church teachings with their free-market leanings. McGurn cannot find the sunny side of this.

Blog friend sc shared an interesting piece this morning. Crux Magazine provides a good overview of what encyclicals are, their target audiences, and a brief history. It would be a good overview for the non-Catholics among us or those who went to Catholic schools but didn't always pay attention.

The end of the article contains -- benignly to the authors -- my worst fear: that this will be important and persuasive.

Other religious leaders also have been emboldened by Laudato Si.

Two days before the encyclical was to appear, Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Anglican Church, issued a "green declaration" signed by British faith leaders who assert that climate change has hurt the poor of the world.

On June 15, the Buddhist leader Dalai Lama told his more than 11 million Twitter followers that "since climate change and the global economy now affect us all, we have to develop a sense of the oneness of humanity."

A day later, the Lausanne Movement, representing Evangelical Christians in almost 200 countries said Evangelicals were anticipating Laudato Si and grateful for it.

A Catholic, an Orthodox, an atheist scientist, and an economist will present Francis' [sic] letter this Thursday in Rome. Francis explained this move on Sunday, saying that "we need unity to protect creation."

Trolling level: expert.

UPDATE: The more I read, the worse it gets.

Pope Francis opens the encyclical, which includes extensive sections on the theology of creation, with a lament for man's sins against "Mother Earth": "We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life."

But johngalt thinks:

Tantum nos ...

Perhaps dagny's friend was right, so many years ago, that religion is a greater threat to liberty than world socialism. But the one thing none of us ever dared contemplate was that they would join forces to subjugate "every person living on Earth."

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2015 1:23 PM
But jk thinks:

Omnibus. (Is that "totally?")

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2015 4:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In the 'Pope Bjorn' post you mentioned that the early leaks may have presented an inaccurate summation of the encyclical's overall message.

A Catholic editorialist, having now read it, reports that Pope Francis is unduly pessimistic about the world. Furthermore, he doesn't understand what helps the poor and what hurts them. Francis' principal failure? Recognition of the power of property rights.

Given that poorly defined and enforced property rights lie at the heart of so many environmental problems, especially in poor countries, this whole area is a big omission from this encyclical. This is not a trivial issue or sniping from the sidelines. It is far more fundamental than many of the political-economic issues discussed by Pope Francis which really were a diversion from the excellent moral-theological analysis.
Posted by: johngalt at June 19, 2015 12:57 PM

June 17, 2015

Quote of the Day

Or, All Hail Taranto!

The obvious explanation is that Mrs. Clinton's equivocation on trade is a matter of pure pandering, designed to counter the threat of Bernie Sanders. That one can write those five words--"the threat of Bernie Sanders"--without cracking up is an indication that Mrs. Clinton is a very weak candidate. -- James Taranto

UPDATE: Senator Sanders (Generic Deodorant - VT) is closing the gap! (HT: Elizabeth Price Foley @ Insty)

All Hail Lord Ridley!

Malthsian nonsense: wrong for centuries!

(Can Ridley be Pope?)

UPDATE: Watch the whole thing. Watch the whole thing. Watch the whole thing, but:

Again and again Simon was right and his critics were wrong.

Would it not be nice if just one of those people who called him names piped up and admitted it? We optimists have won every intellectual argument and yet we have made no difference at all. My daughter's textbooks trot out the same old Malthusian dirge as mine did.

And by the way, have you noticed something about fossil fuels -- we are the only creatures that use them. What this means is that when you use oil, coal or gas, you are not competing with other species. When you use timber, or crops or tide, or hydro or even wind, you are.

There is absolutely no doubt that the world's policy of encouraging the use of bio-energy, whether in the form of timber or ethanol, is bad for wildlife -- it competes with wildlife for land, or wood or food.

Imagine a world in which we relied on crops and wood for all our energy and then along comes somebody and says here's this stuff underground that we can use instead, so we don't have to steal the biosphere's lunch.

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 1:58 PM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:



This is pure brilliance. The entire post should be ALL CAPS.

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2015 3:10 PM
But jk thinks:

All caps would contravene the ThreeSources Style Guide 8th Edition, Section iv (unless it were categorized as "Rant.")

But, I b'lieve I will watch it one more time...

Posted by: jk at June 17, 2015 4:36 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Especially time stamps 6:00~7:30 should really, really go on FB. All these (doomsday, Malthusian, Y2k) predictions were WRONG, and all endlessly and tirelessly trumpeted by the MSM.

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 19, 2015 12:07 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Dr. Ridley is amazing. Mid High School 'reading' for my kids will be his "When Ideas have Sex" presentation.

This comment from FEE also deserves to be posted far and wide:

Yesterday's doomsayers were wrong because they didn't understand markets or human creativity

We're talking to YOU, Dr's Mann, Hanson, Ehrlich, etc...


we're the only species that uses [fossil fuels]

is another of his brilliant heterodoxies! I love his elucidation on the "static" nature of the alarmists' theories; it bears a striking resemblance to the SOP followed by those who keep trying to tax the "Makers" who are, by nature, moving targets.

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 19, 2015 1:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Ridley is The Rational Optimist. That (and a few lifestyle options) separates him from the Pope. Both William McGurn's video and the superb piece brother jg linked make note of this pessimism.

Posted by: jk at June 19, 2015 1:35 PM

Yer Denyin' is worser than my denyin'!

John Stossel says something with which I agree fulsomely: "The Left's Bad Ideas About Science Are More Harmful Than the Right's"

I am reminded of Francisco d'Aconia in Hank Rearden's house in the storm.

Leftists often claim to be defenders of progress, but they sound more like religious conservatives when they oppose "tampering with nature."

The new movie Jurassic World, in which scientists tamper with DNA to create a super-dinosaur that gets out of control, doesn't just recycle ideas from the original Jurassic Park. It recycles the same fears that inspired the novel Frankenstein 200 years ago--the idea that if humans alter nature's perfect design, we'll pay a terrible price.

But it's nature that is terrible. We should alter it. "Living with nature" means fighting for food, freezing in the cold, and dying young.

For all my Facebook whining, one thing I have been enjoying is what Penn Jillette might call "an assload" of anti Junk Science sites. "Sluts for Monsanto," "SciBabe (formerly the Science Babe in opposition to 'The Food Babe,')" and "We Love GMOs and Vaccines." attack woo with a vengeance.

None of these sites are too fond of climate change skepticism. This is fine with me because I am a "lukewarmer," but I am still a bit insulted on occasion. If you're not Bill Nye, you're Jenny McCarthy. I'm fine with a bit of heterodoxy; I wear it well. But I am with Stossel all the way -- the failings of right-wing kookery seem localized and surmountable, left wing cookery more global and permanent.

Junk Science Posted by John Kranz at 1:21 PM | What do you think? [0]

June 16, 2015

Pope Bjorn!

Got to admit, it has a nice ring to it! And Pope Bjorn has better ideas for helping the poor.

Pope Francis's concern for the poor is clear, so it is understandable that climate change is the topic of his forthcoming Encyclical -- a Papal letter that is sent out to the world. Climate change will hit the most destitute people first and worst.

But the Pope after his letter is officially published, he should tread carefully. The climate policies of today will do little for the poor.

A cruel truth is that almost every significant challenge on Earth hits the poor more than the wealthy: hunger, a lack of clean drinking water, malaria, indoor air pollution. The question then is how we make the most difference for the most vulnerable.

I've been cautioned to not read too much into the current rumors and to wait until the encyclical lands with a hard thud on the doorstep. These early leaks might represent wish-casting from lefty journalists and provocation opportunities from lefties in the church. The actual text may not be a Koch Brothers press release, but I have been cautioned by some smart folks that it mightn't be Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ay-yi-yi! VT) either.

But jk thinks:

Either way, we're in for a proper Pope-a-palooza this week!

Posted by: jk at June 16, 2015 7:08 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

It takes some major juevos for an Argentinian to lecture anyone about economics! Interesting report here from the clean coal folks, giving the data behind Dr. Lomborg's sage comments.

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 19, 2015 12:02 AM

Pope Denounces "blind faith"

I'm going to take this as a positive: I've longed for the day when Republican candidates and office holders put less emphasis on religious dogma and priorities and now that the current Pope's leaked encyclical to "every person who inhabits this planet" has outed him as a neo-Marxist, perhaps the GOP can take a few steps back from the church.

The pope will also single out those obstructing solutions. In an apparent reference to climate-change deniers, the draft states: "The attitudes that stand in the way of a solution, even among believers, range from negation of the problem, to indifference, to convenient resignation or blind faith in technical solutions."

We certainly wouldn't want to form any beliefs based on faith in something that can't be proved now would we? And yet,

The draft is not a detailed scientific analysis of the global warming crisis. Instead, it is the pope's reflection of humanity's God-given responsibility as custodians of the Earth.

There we are, back to the familiar paternalism that the church does best! Still, there's something not quite right when it makes common cause with Gaia worshippers...

At the start of the draft essay, the pope wrote, the Earth "is protesting for the wrong that we are doing to her, because of the irresponsible use and abuse of the goods that God has placed on her. We have grown up thinking that we were her owners and dominators, authorised to loot her.

I'll never claim biblical scholarship but I'm not familiar with the teaching that Earth has godlike qualities. Isn't this bordering on polytheism? Holy father!

June 15, 2015

What's Latin for "we're so fucked?"

We were warned. But early reports indicate that "Laudato Si" (be praised!) will be as bad as any ThreeSourcer expected. The Pontific Astrophysics department of the Vatican has decided that it is all your fault, "Illegitimi Capitalisto" (Capitalist Bastards!)

Crucially, the pontiff's words are expected to bolster the case of scientists and politicians who are seeking a global pact aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and potentially avoiding significant additional warming of the earth's atmosphere and oceans.

In December, nearly 200 countries are expected to meet in Paris and sign the new climate change agreement. Earlier this year, Pope Francis--who expressed disappointment at the failure of past international efforts to reach agreement on the issue--said that he aimed to publish the encyclical in time to affect the Paris meeting.

The pope's encyclical also comes as Europe's oil companies are turning increasingly vocal on climate change amid rising scrutiny from investors and governments. Many are looking to influence the debate by proposing remedies, including the imposition of a carbon tax, that might have a lesser impact on their business than the more wide-ranging changes being called for by some.

He will not only keep the poor poor from his failure to understand economics, he will now keep them freezing in the dark because of his failings in epistemology. Sen. James Inhofe (Denier - OK) suggests "The pope ought to stay with his job, and we'll stay with ours."

Amen, Monsignor Inhofe: let the Senate keep people poor, and his holiness can punish the impure.

UPDATE (And I used the Lord's name in vain several times in typing and posting this piece). The Guardian is thrilled to say that the encyclical will attack Capitalism and anger Republicans. (Well, there's a climate change prediction that has proven goddamnedly accurate!)

The encyclical will go much further than strictly environmental concerns, say Vatican insiders. "Pope Francis has repeatedly stated that the environment is not only an economic or political issue, but is an anthropological and ethical matter," said another of the pope's advisers, Archbishop Pedro Barreto Jimeno of Peru.

"It will address the issue of inequality in the distribution of resources and topics such as the wasting of food and the irresponsible exploitation of nature and the consequences for people's life and health," Barreto Jimeno told the Catholic News Service.

He was echoed by Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, who coordinates the Vatican's inner council of cardinals and is thought to reflect the pope's political thinking . "The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn't want to stop ruining the environment because they don't want to give up their profits," Rodriguez Maradiaga said.

Hat Tip: Elizabeth Price Foley @ Instapundt on the Guardian link.

But johngalt thinks:

"The science is settled - 97% of scientists have long agreed. And now, so does God."

Posted by: johngalt at June 16, 2015 11:22 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh yes... "Tantum nos fucked."

Posted by: johngalt at June 16, 2015 1:55 PM

They get paid in "History."

She makes $250,000 for a 40-minute speech. She demands a $15 minimum wage. She flies on a Gulfstream. You get experience. Even The Guardian noticed:

Clinton's camp has made headlines about its frugality and a hard sell on its fellowship program, which allows aspiring politicos between the ages of 18 and 24 to spend this summer as full-time campaign volunteers. The result, however, is the human-resources reality of a campaign -- one scheduled to hold at least 26 fundraisers this month alone -- that isn't just taking on college students with political science degrees but expecting political veterans to gamble their careers on her without pay.

Clinton, according to her would-be employees, has left full-time organizers with little choice but to criss-cross the country and work as "free help".

Woman of the people. Hat-tip: Insty

Dem2016 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 11:43 AM | What do you think? [0]

Archaic Word of the Day, Kindle Feature of the Day

I encountered this gem in Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations:

The amercement, besides, of the person complained of, might frequently suggest a very strong reason for finding him in the wrong, even when he had not really been so.

I looked up "amercement" and think the term ripe for linguistic revival:
An amercement is a financial penalty in English law, common during the Middle Ages, imposed either by the court or by peers. The noun "amercement" lately derives from the verb to amerce, thus: the King amerces his subject, who offended some law. The term is of Anglo-Norman origin, , and literally means "being at the mercy of"

The context of our 18th Century Scottish philosopher would describe Ferguson, Missouri today or any legal jurisdiction which finances itself predominantly from fines.

Wanting to remember this cool word and share it with ThreeSourcers, I highlighted it on Kindle. But I have highlighted 100 things in Smith's tome. I tried the feature to tweet it -- and that is pretty cool. It tweets a truncated version to be sub-140 and a link to the user's Knidle page on Amazon which contains the entire quote, links to the book, other highlights and comments. Very very cool.

Amazon Posted by John Kranz at 10:28 AM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Obama, in an interview with Fast Company today: "You will have a more user-friendly government, a more responsive government. A government that can work with individuals on individual problems in a more tailored way, because the technology facilitates that the same way it increasingly does for private-sector companies."

Well, the Russians and Chinese certainly think it's user-friendly! -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]

June 14, 2015

Review Demicorner

In the summer of 1957, a Baptist preacher in the segregated South issued a series of fiery sermons denouncing the laziness, promiscuity, criminality, drunkenness, slovenliness, and ignorance of Negroes. He shouted from pulpits about the difference between doing a "real job" and doing "a Negro job." Instead of practicing the intelligent saving habits of white men, "Negroes too often buy what they want and beg for what they need." He suggested that blacks were "thinking about sex" every time they walked down the street. They were too violent. They didnt bathe properly. And their music, which was invading homes all over America, "plunges men's minds into degrading and immoral depths."
The preacher's name, for those who have not guessed, was Martin Luther King, Jr. And here beginneth the conclusion of Review Corner for Russell, Thaddeus (2010-09-28). A Renegade History of the United States [Part One].

The second half (I don't want to frighten anyone away, the book is not that long) also pushes one to rethink both a factual, objective timeline of American history and commonly held foundational beliefs. Part 4 of the book, "Whose Side are you On?" opens with that quote and Russell continues his counterintuitive views of slavery and reconstruction to civil rights. Russell continues the WEB Dubois position that liberation not be assimilation into the Calvinist and puritan mainstream of American society.

The factual challenges are to the efficacy of non-violence. Russell says there was lots of violence, all well documented in the police blotters of Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma -- if they do not make into most of the documentaries. The Gospel of nonviolence "shaming" the culture into acceptance is all that makes the books. Russell suggests there was an extremely violent parallel movement. Rather than shame, America was offered a choice between King's nonviolent, bathed, hard-working vision and the -- I cannot use the term but the first word is "Bad" and the second starts with "N" -- both are capitalized and Russell suggests that the BNs deserve more credit for civil rights than they receive.

Indeed, after several days of rioting, white business and government leaders sat down with the civil rights leader and signed an agreement that allowed blacks full access to commercial and public spaces in the city and desegregated jobs in downtown stores. This was not integration, in that it did not compel African Americans to live with or like whites, but it did allow them to come and go where they liked and as they pleased. And it was won not by appealing to the conscience of whites, nor by seeking admission to the American family, but by making the price of segregation too high to pay.

I would pay money to see Russell debate Jason Riley. Riley is black (you can tell from the name, right?) and his "Please Stop Helping Us" [Review Corner] is the foundation of my Booker T. Washington - WEB Dubois bifurcation. Riley is unabashedly Washingtonian. As am I. Russell -- again I need stress he was no wild-eyed Calhoun disciple, he was a frequent guest on The Independents: affable, bright and liberty minded. Russell takes a Penn Jillette-ish position of championing the libertine. In the book's Introduction, he professes that it would be dystopian to have his "Renegades" run the world -- but he does not want to hand it over to the puritans.
Jack Kerouac made this desire to be black and free explicit in On the Road. When the novel's hero arrives in Denver, he heads to the black neighborhood. "I walked ... in the Denver colored section, wishing I were a Negro, feeling that the best the white world had offered was not enough ecstasy for me, not enough life, joy, kicks, darkness, music, not enough night." Like many white "race traitors," the Beats often reduced black culture to its most sensual aspects, but in doing so, they found a vehicle through which to escape the confines of whiteness and citizenship.

Race is so charged that I suggest the next chapter, "Gay Liberation, American Liberation," presents a better opportunity to objectively evaluate Russell's thesis. It's often been said in jest that "gay marriage" represents an odd objective for a community known for its rejection of confining, traditionalist institutions. Like the freed slaves, Russell asks if joining the mainstream is the best idea.
Today's movement for gay marriage-- a renewal of the homophile movement-- ended gay liberation, is helping to end straight liberation, and seeks to return all of us to the 1950s. Like the homophile movement, the gay marriage movement demands that, in order to gain acceptance as full citizens, its constituents adopt the cultural norms of the American citizen: productivity, selflessness, responsibility, sexual restraint, and the restraint of homosexual expression in particular. Proponents of same-sex marriage have justified their demand by presenting homosexual partners as devoted, self-sacrificing, and industrious adults.

And here, at last, after two lengthy review corners, will I make my stand against Russell. I have two classmates from high school in breathless anticipation of their upcoming marriage. He's marrying another guy and she another woman. I've been pro gay-marriage, but from an abstract, liberty-theory and rights perspective. Now I am watching the joy of four people doing something the State would not have allowed a few years ago.

Our mainstream American culture is not puritan -- ask Osama bin Laden. It has many flaws and its puritan elements. But Jason Riley is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributor to the Wall Street Journal. Did he trade the slavery of the plantation for having to get up and put a tie on every day? My gay friends are choosing something that has been the greatest blessing of my life -- are they rejecting the liberty of the drag queens punching cops at the Stonewall riots?

No. Thaddeus Russell and my hero, Penn Jillette, to whom I compared him are a little too tough on the straight white life. No. we don't dance too good and our friends sometimes do clap on the 1 & the 3, but we pursue the uniquely human achievement of rising above our sensual natures when the time is right.

Ergo, I remain unsold on the full Russell. But there is much truth in his history. It also includes some far less controversial elements with which I do agree 100%: juvenile delinquents' taking down the iron curtain, the benefits of consumerist culture over hippie communal living. &c.

Where we do not agree, I was challenged as reader and thinker. That's a lot of fun in puritan, white, rhythm-less America. Four-point-seven-five stars.

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

June 12, 2015

About that settled science.

Blog Brother Bryan just linked to Matt Ridley's Rational Optimist Blog. I had seen it but should start visiting regularly; it has been way too long.

I found a gem on the 60 year torrent of bad medical advice. The science underlying cholesterol's and saturated fats' contribution to heart disease was "not just flawed, but tinged with scandal."

In the 1950s, an upsurge in heart disease in American men (probably caused mostly by smoking) led the physiologist Ancel Keys to guess that dietary cholesterol was to blame. When that seemed not to fit, he switched to saturated fat as a cause of high blood cholesterol. To make his case he did things like leave out contradictory data, shift points on graphs and skate over inconvenient facts. He then got big charities and state agencies on side and bullied his critics into silence.

In completely unrelated news:
Dozens of climate scientists and environmental groups are calling for museums of science and natural history to "cut all ties" with fossil fuel companies and philanthropists like the Koch brothers.

A letter released on Tuesday asserts that such money is tainted by these donors' efforts to deny the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.

I don't know why I even posted that second article -- it has noting to do with cholesterol. Or diet.

But johngalt thinks:

Or science.

Posted by: johngalt at June 12, 2015 7:22 PM

All Hail Jonah!

Dog lover Jonah Goldberg waited an appropriate time after the death of Cosmo (I think it is written in some Jewish text) to welcome another canine into the family. Where Cosmo was the basic, friendly, "good dog," Zoë has been more challenging and his G-File newsletter [subscribe] has included regular updates. I enjoyed today's:

My wife and daughter took Zoë and both cats (the good cat and my wife's cat) to the vet. Zoë in good shape. She now weighs 60 pounds (quite a difference from when she almost wasted away from parvo) and has tested negative for all the bad things. Except, she did test positive for the anti-bodies for Lyme disease (which doesn't necessarily mean she has Lyme disease). The vet wants to do a follow-up test to make sure she's okay. But they want us to collect a urine sample. This seems as easy as getting sample of Vladimir Putin's back hair.

Pope Francis is the Antichrist!

Please don't be offended -- I don't believe in the Antichrist per se. But you have to admit -- It would be a much better launching pad than the leader of Russia or some such. To catch the antichrist, you have to think like the antichrist.

Peggy Noonan is my tether to the Church in which I was raised. I found it rather easy to ignore Bill Buckley; Eliot and Chesterton were historical figures; but our Margret spoke to things deep inside. Her description of the miracle at Guadalupe brings tears as I think of it years later. Her intellectual tie of church teachings to the anti-Communism of John Paul II provided a context for liberty in faith. Even when she was bamboozeled by a first-term Senator from Illinois, I listened.

I share because it is clear from her column today that she shares some of my skepticism about the current occupant.

What you find among the churchmen of Rome is what a mystery Francis still is after two years of his papacy. To put it less dramatically, they're still getting to know him and pondering different aspects of his nature, some of which seem contradictory. They love his charisma and respect and appreciate his popularity. He has a gift for intimacy but few intimate friends. He is "a complicated figure," according to a priest who knows him.

Though ideological categories dont fully apply, Francis's political vision is usually described as more or less of the left, assuming a faith in the power of the state to help and protect the people. On piety and the great moral issues the modern church faces each day, he is a traditionalist, though a largely unheard one because the media do not find that part of the picture interesting.

I said "some." You can call someone complicated without suggesting that he or she is the antichrist. But I am not overreaching to suggest that Pope Francis has not found the place in her heart that JPII did. Too soon to call it, but the smart money is on there not being a Francis book.
When he speaks on theological things-- the meaning of the gospel, the mission of the church--he is universally known to be drawing from a deep theological well of study, contemplation and experience. When he talks about politics its more like he is probing a tooth that hurts. When he pops off, and he likes to pop off, he causes the church he loves discomfort.

I can be meaner. His bad economics will harm tens of millions. His telegraphed embracement of Climate Change orthodoxy will keep millions poor longer than is necessary. Yes, it is nice to have a guy who doesn't want to burn gays on the pyre and rip out the tongues of the divorced with pliers. But I have come to find it disturbing. "I am, the cool Pope," he says. And this makes his other ideas more dangerous. As far as climate, I'll let Ms. Noonan finish.
The Vatican feels the science of climate change is settled. It wants to be in the conversation, it wants to speak on an issue that has great meaning for the young, and as a cardinal said, "The church got it wrong with Galileo and it doesnt want to get it wrong again." Also the European elite is all in on climate change and the Vatican is in Europe. The Church fears being tagged as antiscience and antifact.

But is the science of climate change settled? And can a church that made a mistake with Galileo 400 years ago make another mistake by trying desperately not to repeat the earlier one?

Umm, Galileo rejected the consensus.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:47 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Your Holiness, the science is NOT settled."

- Galileo, 1633

(A rather loose translation of "Eppur si muove.")

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 12, 2015 6:17 PM
But Mrs. Kaa thinks:

Your holiness may be closer to the False Prophet than he is the Antichrist.

Posted by: Mrs. Kaa at June 15, 2015 3:47 PM
But jk thinks:

Nope. With all due respect, I'm going with "antichrist."

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2015 5:03 PM

2015: One Scary Ass Place!

I sure I hope I don't have to go to 2015. Though it looked cooler for Marty McFly...

I had a moderately reasonable discussion with my lefty biological brother and one of his misanthropic moonbat friends (come for the jokes, stay for the name-calling) over a Robert Tracinski piece on the NYTimes and Robert Erlich. It seems even the Times has now noticed that the catastrophes predicted by Ehrlich for the 1980s failed to transpire. Though there were those skinny ties.

Stewart Brand, a former disciple of Ehrlich's, asks: "How many years do you have to not have the world end to decide that it didn't end because that reason was wrong?"

Most remarkable, however, is Ehrlich's answer. Yes, he's still around, the Times interviewed him, and they asked him that question. I got the impression it may have been the first time someone prominent has asked Ehrlich to answer this directly, and his guard seems to have been down, probably because he remembers all the puffball coverage he's gotten from the New York Times over the years. So he answered it, and it has to be heard to be believed. He said: "One of the things that people dont understand is that timing, to an ecologist, is very, very different from timing to an average person." I wonder, is BS still the same for an ecologist as it is for an average person?

The NYTimes video at the link (sorry, I could not embed) is worth a watch. Ehrlich thinks the world will end on Thursday instead of Tuesday. And my brother implies that Ehrlich and ilk saved the world by sounding the alarm.

But at the end of the day, Ehrlich was wrong, Malthus was wrong, and the guy hawking his book on Good Morning America was wrong. Who was right? President Coolidge. He said, "if you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." Like most things in this great and seemingly robust world, we'd have done better to listen to Silent Cal.

But johngalt thinks:

Ehrlich is right - timing is very, very different to an ecologist, who says the earth is likely to end in 10 or 100 years (because humanity=evil), than to an average person who might understand that earth could end in 100,000 to 100,000,000 years.

Posted by: johngalt at June 12, 2015 7:30 PM

June 10, 2015

I Do Love the Internet

Every few months, somebody on your Facebook feed swears it is today.


But, the worlds most descriptive domain name says otherwise:


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 2:16 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

News you can use.

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

June 9, 2015

I Did Not Have Consulting Relations

... with that man, Dr. Gruber...

Surprise! That guy who was thrown under the bus for overenthusiastic veracity unbecoming an Obama Administration member was -- in fact -- a key architect:

In one telling exchange after Gruber's Obamacare work was first reported in 2010, one HHS analyst told another that having Democrats in charge "across the board" would "stop some scrutiny" into the arrangement. Gruber's work attracted scrutiny because the Obama administration failed to disclose the academic's support for the health-care law without disclosing that he was paid $392,000 to help craft it.

The biggest takeaway from the emails is that they undermine one claim made by the Obama administration that Gruber was merely a bit player in the development of Obamacare.

Hat-tip: Insty

But johngalt thinks:

I wonder how many academics have been paid to help craft Global Climate Change? Oh yeah, all of them!

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2015 6:45 PM
But jk thinks:

But that's good money -- not like that stinky, oil company or Koch brothers stuff.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2015 7:07 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Of course he was a bit player, $392k isn't even a rounding error in the HHS budget. If he was important they would have been paying him real money.

Posted by: AndyN at June 9, 2015 7:17 PM

ThreeSources Entertainment News

I'll second the WSJ's very appreciative review of Django and Jimmie

It's either an astonishing wonder or no wonder at all. Willie Nelson is 82 now, Merle Haggard is 78, and in their new collaboration, "Django and Jimmie," released last week on Sony's Legacy Recordings, they have one of the strongest, most engaging country albums of 2015. With its fresh, revealing songs, striking harmonies and varying rhythms, it will no doubt be added to the long list of enduring recordings they have each been making since the early 1960s.
With Jimmie Rodgers-like audacity and sentiment, and Django Reinhardt style invention and swing, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard have been pursuing similar courses for over five decades now. It's still thrilling to hear them working in cahoots.

Interestingly (to me), I was not sure the first time through. I liked it, but felt that a lot of the tunes sounded "phoned in."

On subsequent plays, I changed my opinion sharply. What sounded at first like lack of investment was actually spontaneity -- which is now a felony in Nashville. But these tunes were recorded in Austin over a couple of days when Merle was in town. The tunes are not under-loved, they are simply not over-produced.

Five stars. Why when these two lads season a bit...

UPDATE: Dang, I am quite the hitmaker! Thanks for running out and buying it.


Music Posted by John Kranz at 12:44 PM | What do you think? [0]



Ain't Misbehavin'

Fats Waller, Harry Brooks, and Andy Razaf ©1929

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


June 8, 2015

All Hail Taranto!

Garrison Keillor, call your office!


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 12:57 PM | What do you think? [0]

Say Something Nice...

The final and best word about l-affaire Caitlyn Jenner comes from -- wait a minute, I thought for a second you said Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) [sic] says Caitlyn Jenner is welcome in the Republican Party.

In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union" that aired Sunday, the presidential candidate commented on Jenner, formerly Bruce, who recently made her debut after completing a gender transition.

"If Caitlyn Jenner wants to be safe and have a prosperous economy, vote for me. I'm into addition. I haven't walked into her shoes. I don't have all the answers to the mysteries of life. I can only imagine the torment that Bruce Jenner went through. I hope she has found peace," Graham said.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 10:29 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 7, 2015

Review Demicorner

In 1583 the Puritan writer Philip Stubbes had this to say about dancing:
If you would have your son soft, womanish, unclean, smooth-mouth, affected to bawdry, scurrility, filthy rimes, and unseemly talking; briefly if you would have him, as it were, transnatured into a woman or worse, and inclined to all kinds of whoredom and abomination, set him to dancing school and to learn music, and then you shall not fail of your purpose. And if you would have your daughter riggish, bawdry and unclean, and a filthy speaker, and suchlike, bring her up in music and dancing and my life for yours, you have won the goal.
There is one lie that Review Corner will never tell. You'll not read a review of a book not completed without full disclosure. And, you were going to get a week off of Review Corner because I had not completed nuthin'.

But I am halfway through Thaddeus Russell's A Renegade History of the United States and I realize that -- oh baby -- this one is going to take two.

Russell was a frequent guest on Fox Business Channel's Libertarian Hour of Decentralized Power "The Independents." An affable and bright fellow, I always meant to pick up his book but never got around to the task. He has a great review in Reason that reminded me. To be fair, his review of another's book might explain his book better than my review of it. But there is much for ThreeSourcers to digest in Renegade History.

The overarching concept is very well described in his review. As much as we credit the Founding Fathers with liberty, theirs was theoretical, structural, and needfully puritan. Much of the actual liberty we enjoy comes more from the libertine side and not the libertarian. He credits pirates for gay rights, prostitution for women's rights to property and self defense, gangsters for toppling prohibition, and wave after wave of immigrant for stretching the culture beyond the Victorian sensibilities we'd have inherited had leaders had their way.

A Renegade History goes deeper. It goes beneath what the new "social history" portrayed as the bottom. It tells the story of "bad" Americans-- drunkards, prostitutes, "shiftless" slaves and white slackers, criminals, juvenile delinquents, brazen homosexuals, and others who operated beneath American society-- and shows how they shaped our world, created new pleasures, and expanded our freedoms. This is history from the gutter up.

Reason did a 40th Anniversary issue and examined the state of liberty and its trends. While government was obviously going to hell, they looked at attitudes and acceptance and the liberating forces of communication and affluence to give a mixed report card. I suspect Russell's buddies fall into that camp.
Historians hostile to popular culture-- who are far more numerous-- dismiss it as part of the "culture of consumption" that was forced on the masses by advertisers, who were labeled by one historian as "the captains of consciousness." Though billions of Americans have gained real pleasure, radically improved their lives, and determined the production of goods by what economists call "voting with one's feet," nearly all histories of consumerism are negative.

I do not want to put words into Russell's text and caution you about psychoanalyzing him from my synopsis. He says in the introduction that a world run by his renegades would be hell. But he is not very keen on the Puritan or Calvinist strains of traditional American values.
The pivotal events of the nineteenth century have been similarly whitewashed, especially (and ironically) in the telling of black history. Unfortunately, because the historians who came of age during the 1960s and 1970s were so eager to make the masses into heroes, they did not see that it was precisely the nonheroic and unseemly characteristics of ordinary folks that changed American culture for the better. Historians of slavery rarely acknowledge that slaves and their descendants were the vanguard in the struggle against Victorian repression.

Russell also explicitly states "I am not here to defend slavery." And then goes on for 100 pages defending slavery from a utilitarian and consequentialist perspective.

I think it speaks more to the limitations of consequentialism and utilitarianism than to the benefits of chattel slavery, but prepare to be challenged by Russell's original viewpoint. I will undercut it badly by synopsis, but cannot leave the Review Corner reader hanging. In brief -- and in my words -- we compare the slave's life to ours. I have a cup of coffee and a 20Mb Internet connection. The golfers are swearing on the 7th tee, but life is pretty good. Sure glad I am not being whipped and forced to pick cotton.

But but but, where Russell dare goeth is to compare that to free blacks, poor whites, urban factory workers -- the teeming mass of 19th Century America. Unconscionable to be lashed, but children were. Hard manual labor? White sharecroppers worked just as hard -- in fact the slave could feign illness and be relieved or escape to the woods to trade a couple days peace for a punishment on return. The guy feeding his family had not this option. Slave families were torn apart when one was sold. Devilish, but poor families split up all the time to seek opportunities on the frontier, park children who could not be fed with distant relatives and the like. But slaves were property -- so were wives.

I invite and hope you all will read this book before sending me or the author hate mail. I have a riff about "childhood freedom" and "grown-up freedom" that I use on my lefty friends. The ACA is "childhood freedom:" somebody is going to take care of me, while I prefer the "grown-up freedom" of making my life and mistakes. Russell describes a paternal caretaking that appealed to many and who did not want, or later regretted, leaving the plantation. Minstrelsy captured the longing on both sides.

Blackface minstrelsy is now often considered to be antiblack parody, and some of it certainly was, but scholars have recently begun to see the songs of Dan Emmett and many other performers in the genre as expressions of desire for the freedoms they saw in the culture of the slaves. "Just as the minstrel stage held out the possibility that whites could be 'black' for a while but nonetheless white," David Roediger, the leading historian of "whiteness," has written, "it offered the possibilities that, via blackface, preindustrial joys could survive amidst industrial discipline."

We have championed George Washington Carver over WEB DuBois on these pages. Russell is not so sure. Carter called for people to discard their sensual pleasures and climb on the Calvinist work team of industrial discipline.
Today, many on the conservative side of the political spectrum like to make the founders into champions of a free-market economy, while many on the left claim that they were simply the tools of the rising merchant class. Neither of these sides understands that the market economy has always been a friend of renegades and an enemy of moral guardians. When Americans lived on farms in isolated towns where they grew, made, and bartered for everything they used, they could not purchase beer at a saloon, sex from a prostitute, contraceptives and pornography from a corner shop, or flashy clothes from British importers.

Now you know why I am not done. There is entirely too much to think about in just the first section. The second section is a joy for a man who loves blues and jazz, but troubling for the fan of immigrant assimilation and neo-Calvinist work ethics. Our rhythm was stolen as the next quote attests. First the African slaves, then the Irish, the Jew, the Italian were each "whitened" to lay aside their sensual attachments.
In its formal definitions, America has always been a rhythmless nation. And "good" Americans have never been able to dance. Indeed, one of the first accomplishments of the original settlers from Europe was to stop themselves from dancing.

The Puritan pilgrims left England in large part because it was full of people who used their bodies for pleasure

There is a superb section in the Italian chapter about my hero, Louie Prima. Russell and I share one belief: I have always been surprised that one could listen to Prima's early recordings and credit anybody later with discovering rock and roll.
In the early 1950s, Prima joined with Sam Butera, another black Italian from New Orleans, and Butera's band the Witnesses, and began playing a harder, wilder version of his music. Music critic Art Fein wrote thirty years later, "The music they were playing, and that Prima sensed was vital and even visionary, then had no name. It's taken historians thirty years to pinpoint it for what it always was-- rock-and-roll."

The swarthy, barrel-chested Sicilian from New Orleans struggled to find work in New York because they thought he was black. As Italians assimilated, Prima faded and the "sophisticated" stable of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Vic Damone and Tony Bennett took over. Now I love those guys to death, but you can appreciate the rhythm that was lost as Italians became white.

Stars will be awarded next week (like American Pharoah, I suspect he might do pretty well...). I have some quibbles: he quotes John Adams to make all the Founders out to be puritans, he never addresses liberty qua liberty in his slavery discussions. But I have not been so entertained and challenged for a while. You can pick it up on Kindle today and be finished in time for next weeks Review Demicorner.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 12:46 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Puritan writer Philip Stubbes, meet Kevin Bacon in "Footloose."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 8, 2015 4:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Blog friend sc has a great picture he has posted on Facebook. It is the current cover photo of Blues411 and shows the marquee of "Our Lady of Memphis Bluesified Church." The text inside reads "IF YOU CLAP ON THE 1 & 3 YOU WILL BURN IN HELL."

I saw that picture I my mind while reading the second section.

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2015 5:17 PM

I wanna be like Ek

Because I think he's right:

"The old-world paradigms we used to have are no longer true. When I think about music in the future, I dont make a distinction between what's radio, what used to be the music library, and so on," Ek told the Observer in a rare interview. "It's only going to be listening - and, as that goes forward, this old notion of these different industries or different competitors will collapse and merge together."

I like the idea of "Computer, play Kacey Musgraves." Or Dire Straits, or The Who, or Elvis. (Or one of these days, hopefully before I die, "Play The Beatles.")

I've fallen in love with a particular music service called "Rdio." It's got a subscription option but so far I'm listening to the free version, with occasional short commercials and songs from some artists (Jason Aldean and *ahem* Taylor Swift) limited to 30 seconds. I don't know if that changes with subscription or not. But it suggests songs based on whatever search you do, artist, song or genre, and lets different users set up their own "station" with personalized preferences.

No voice control yet but how long do you think that will be? Sooner than streaming the Beatles.

But jk thinks:

I truly enjoy The Amazon Echo. It is in Beta still and has some definite quirks, but voice control is liberating. They work to connect it to many of the popular services and yours might be available or soon.

I have a genuine sympathy for content providers of all stripes to face amorphous property rights in one's livelihood. The Luddite's response, however, has never been the best choice.

Posted by: jk at June 7, 2015 3:08 PM

June 6, 2015

"Rebel against the guilt"

"To everyone within the range of my voice, you now have a choice to make: If you decide to support the notion of sacrifice enforced by the state, your game is up. Your world is in a downward spiral and you will ride it down to destruction. But if you share the values of our strike; if you believe that your life is a sacred possession for you to make the most of; if you want to live by the judgment of your own mind, not edicts from the state, then follow our lead. Do not support your own oppressors. Stop letting the system exploit you. Form your own communities on the frontiers of your crumbling world.

Your rulers hold you by your endurance to carry the burdens they impose, by your generosity when you hear cries of despair, and above all, by your innocence which cannot grasp the depths of their evil.

When I saw this speech in the theatrical showing of Atlas Shrugged Part III, effectively compressing the message of 59 pages of text in to 4:40 of narration, I thought it was a faithful synopsis that could serve as a sort of "uber elevator talk." Now the recording has been publicly released by its creators and I get to share it.

June 5, 2015

Quote of the Day

EPA's conclusion really is remarkable. The agency has yearned for an excuse to take over fracking regulation from the states, which do the job well. So if there was so much as a sliver of evidence that fracking was dangerous, the EPA would have found it. Think of this as the Obama Administration's equivalent of the Bush Administration failing to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. -- WSJ Ed Page
But johngalt thinks:

Obama lied. EPA tried. Fracking survived.

Posted by: johngalt at June 5, 2015 11:32 AM
But AndyN thinks:

If this was the Obama Administration's equivalent of the Bush Administration failing to find WMD in Iraq, the British army would have specialists in Pennsylvania helping local governments clean up fracking fluid in drinking water supplies.

Posted by: AndyN at June 5, 2015 12:07 PM

June 4, 2015

Quote of the Day

It's a diverse array of old, white, Marxists. -- Insty

EPA Chief: Trust Us!

Its all so complicated and sciency -- just let us handle it, we're really smart!

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told Big Think in an interview that while there are limits to how much the federal government can do for issues like global warming, the public needs to trust how the EPA translates the "complicated" science into real-life actions.

"Well I think we all have to recognize the strengths and limitations of government action," McCarthy said.

[Whoa -- I'm I the only one who thinks the next word will be "But?"]
"But here's what I think we can do at the federal level more effectively. We can speak to the science because it's complicated and we do a lot of research and we do a lot of translation of the science into what it means for people so that the decisions can be made on the basis of real science and on the basis of a real technical understanding."

"That's how it has worked in EPA's career for 44 years at EPA is we've listened to the science and the law and we have let solutions take off in the marketplace which is where the cheapest, most effective always win," McCarthy said. "That's why EPA can move environmental standards forward so effectively and grow jobs at the same time."

I know I feel better!

But AndyN thinks:

Marketplace... You keep using that word... I don't think it means what you think it means.

Posted by: AndyN at June 5, 2015 7:48 AM




Erroll Garner ©1952

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


Our Long National Nightmare is Over!

I know you've seen this, but we cannot let it pass un-ridiculed.

Former Governor Lincoln Chafee (D-RI) announced his intention to seek the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. He then spoke about his priorities as president should he be elected, focusing primarily on his foreign policy goals.

First, the D should be replaced by a '?,' '*' for MS-DOS users, or '%' for SQL. Second, we must pause to appreciate his bold suggestion: "let's join the world and go metric!"

Read about it in his new book "The Audacity of Grams!"

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 10:33 AM | What do you think? [13]
But johngalt thinks:

You mean the 383, I suspect. That one always stumped me but like everything else Mopar, I'm sure the engineers had a reason. Even if it was as simple as, "Let's make the marketing clowns who insist on a low displacement big block wish they never made us do this."

And for your reading pleasure, The Gospel According to John. (Although I'm a .40S&W guy.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 5, 2015 11:29 AM
But jk thinks:

A friend had the 351 Cleveland in his Maverick (as good a car as Sen. John McCain was a presidential candidate). He was pretty proud -- and it did go.

The joy of the 383 was you could buy an old block and punch it out to higher displacment.

Posted by: jk at June 5, 2015 12:05 PM
But jk thinks:

And: hahahahahahahaha! Great link.

Posted by: jk at June 5, 2015 12:08 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Nope and nope. I was actually talking about the 427 Side-Oiler. I'm pretty sure most people hear 427 and immediately think Chevy. I guess what I was looking at was that setting aside brand loyalty, if I was writing a list of manly engines identified by CID, I'd still have included one of the Bosses, but skipped the Ford 427 for something like the 454, 440 Magnum, or 426 Hemi.

And yeah, you can surprise a lot of people and get into a lot of trouble driving a Maverick with a 351.

Posted by: AndyN at June 5, 2015 12:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It was nice when we recognized cars, or at least brands, by their engine displacement. That meant we knew a little something about the engine. Now the only thing most people know about engines is if the little engine-shaped light on the dashboard comes on, take it to the shop. Pathetic.

Posted by: johngalt at June 5, 2015 2:07 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

True confessions: yeah, I'm a Ford guy, and I thought including a token Mopar 383 would demonstrate my commitment to disversity and inclusiveness. The 383 sticks in my mind because I've had the misfortune of having to work on one. Oddly enough, when I was enrolled in Driver's Training, it was in a Plymouth Fury 3 with a 383, and whatever else you could say about it, the thing could get onto the freeway in a hurry.

"Most people hear 427 and immediately think Chevy." Speaking as an American male who's had the privilege of sitting, for ten glorious minutes, in a 1966 Shelby Cobra, I can honestly say that Chevy doesn't come to mind.

JG, I nod my head in somber agreement with your final comment. There are few things sadder than two men staring into the open hood of a car by the side of the road, and one of them holding a set of wrenches and muttering "I used to be able to fix these things..." The world ended when the four-barrel Holley got replaced by the Blue Screen of Death.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 5, 2015 4:30 PM

But, the Science was Settled.

Science Daily:

In a stunning discovery that overturns decades of textbook teaching, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist. That such vessels could have escaped detection when the lymphatic system has been so thoroughly mapped throughout the body is surprising on its own, but the true significance of the discovery lies in the effects it could have on the study and treatment of neurological diseases ranging from autism to Alzheimer's disease to multiple sclerosis.

Deniers! Cut their funding!

Science Posted by John Kranz at 9:50 AM | What do you think? [0]

Weld County Lincoln Day - C'mon y'all!

It's been a while since we've held a ThreeSources blogger bash. Three years, in fact. Well, let's do it again! I'm the Secretary of the Weld County Republicans now so I can probably make sure we actually get our assigned table this time. Plus Rick Santorum will not be making an 11th hour appearance this time so attendance will not be standing-room-only.

RSVP deadline is Friday at noon. Reply in the comments and I'll buy your ticket(s). You can reimburse me at the event.

Here's the sales pitch I made to my family members, shamelessly plagiarized for shamelessly self-promoting to my fellow bloggers:

I talked to Opa tonight about inviting the entire SNP gang to the Weld County Lincoln Day Dinner and he thought it would be fun. The keynote speaker will be the new Chairman of the Colorado GOP, Steve House. Steve has a reform oriented agenda intended to appeal to a more diverse and liberty minded audience of Colorado voters. But speeches are only part of the evening. There wont be dancing but it will still be a rare chance to get dressed up, find a babysitter, and let someone else do the cooking and cleaning for a change while you just relax and have fun. The dinner is a week from Saturday at the UNC Ballroom in Greeley at 6:30 pm. As Secretary of the Weld GOP I can make sure that we all get to sit together, at adjacent tables of 8. Tickets are $40 each and I have a deadline of Friday at noon. Please consider joining Jodi, Opa and me. I think you might be pleasantly surprised at the new direction of Colorado Republicans under its new leadership. Please RSVP by tomorrow night.


But jk thinks:

Great choice for speaker. I regret we will not be able to attend.

Posted by: jk at June 4, 2015 6:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well, nothing says that you have to go just because you bought a ticket. ;)

Posted by: johngalt at June 5, 2015 11:16 AM
But jk thinks:

Fair point. Plus, I am beginning to see what got you elected...

Put me down for two.

Posted by: jk at June 5, 2015 11:57 AM
But johngalt thinks:


I sorta committed to selling a full table. Thanks brother!

Posted by: johngalt at June 5, 2015 4:12 PM

June 3, 2015

What Review Corner Should be

The WSJ actually had a pretty positive review of this book today: Buckley and Mailer: The Difficult Friendship That Shaped the Sixties. But P.J. O'Rourke is not so keen in the WaPo.

Schultzs subtitle says it all -- wrong. "The Difficult Friendship That Shaped the Sixties." The adjective, the verb and the nouns are incorrect.

Schultz is a historian of the '60s. I was there. William F. Buckley did not shape the '60s and would have been appalled to be accused of it. Buckley, who led conservatisms long march from cocktail-hour mixed nuts to political main course, shaped the '80s and, to an extent, the ever-since.

Norman Mailer did not shape the '60s. Prosperity, pot, the pill and the draft did. Mailer was an artist; he shaped all of creation. But he had little direct influence on we who fancied ourselves members of the Armies of the Night. And Mailer considered us to be lost in the dark, anyway. Buckley and Mailer together can hardly be said to have done what Buckley and Mailer separately did not do.

Other than that, Peej?

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 5:06 PM | What do you think? [0]

Old Penn Point

Brother jg has been keepin' the flame alive in the Tea Party category, but I have been slacking.

I stumbled upon this great PennPoint from 2010. The commercial at the end for Netflix sounds more like 1910 than 2010. But, as Penn is wont to do, he captures truth, in spite of a painful mischaracterization of the Tea Party.

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 3:01 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I wanted to watch this when it was posted but 11 minutes is just too long, man! Dagny told me about it so I went back and whole thing watched the, so I can tell readers the good stuff starts at 7:30. Wealthy Progressive D-bag Seth McFarland claims that he can support wealth redistribution to benefit the less fortunate, even though it's supposedly counter to his self-interest, but low income folks with moral beliefs who vote for Republicans are "puppets" because they're voting counter to their self-interest. WTF!

An apolitical friend from South Carolina recently told me that southern TEA Party people are basically the old Moral Majority, Bible thumpin' moralizers. I tried to suggest that social morality and private property are two different issues that can, but don't have to, coexist in the same value system. She heard me. Don't think she bought it though. But it opened my eyes to another reason the TEA Party has a bad rep.

Posted by: johngalt at June 12, 2015 7:12 PM

All Hail Taranto!

All Hail Taranto and a Huck-a-Whack in one. That's exceptional value:


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 1:19 PM | What do you think? [0]

How many will die eating bad yogurt?

Stop me if my "government killed millions with the food pyramid" stories have become tiresome. But I find it an important example of how bad science unravels, and I think it instructive to see the true harm inflicted by shoddy science, especially in concert with government.

The Wall St. Journal (not the kooks on the Ed Page, the real news pages!) carries a story on the reemergence of full fat dairy products, specifically yogurt.

Consumers' increasing appetite for fat pushed Stonyfield to develop Oh My Yog!, which launched in January. The product's whole milk, which isn't homogenized, forms a thick layer of cream on top of the yogurt. A layer of "honey-infused" yogurt follows, and fruit sits on the bottom.

Stonyfield once made a similar yogurt but stopped four years ago as lower-calorie options sold better. "The diet yogurt trend was happening then and was so much the rage that our whole-milk cream-top yogurt wasn't selling for us," says Liza Dube, a Stonyfield spokeswoman. "Now, it is again."

I'm an unabashed admirer of Gary Taubes, who wrote what [Review Corner] called not a diet book but an epistemology book. The medical study supporting low fat and high carbohydrate diets is incredibly shoddy. Notable in the article is a quote from a Mayo Clinic dietician:

"Sure, you might consume more calories eating full-fat dairy products, but if it's saving you from eating a 300-calorie candy bar a few hours later, you're still ahead," says Katherine Zeratsky, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "It's about how it fits into the overall picture of ones diet."

I understand that Taubes himself presented to the Mayo Clinic. They were holdouts but he said, "look you guys (so, I'm paraphrasing, I got the story secondhand) are scientists and the science behind the conventional approach is weak." Now the heterodoxy appears in the Wall Street Journal with a quote from one of their dieticians.

Someday, maybe. "climate change won't be so bad," with a quote from a guy at Penn State. Someday...

Junk Science Posted by John Kranz at 10:37 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 2, 2015

I am not making this up

We don't have a "Peoples Republic of Boulder" category? After all these years?

I am just going to set this out for the locals:

To make room for bikes, Boulder to test fewer vehicle lanes

"Right-sizing" pilot programs to be installed this summer after City Council weighs in

For the out of towners, I have to share that I have completely stopped going to Boulder for anything. I can sneak into company HQ when needed using country roads to the outskirts. But Boulder proper is impermeable to automotive traffic, and it is generally accepted that the pooh-bahs on City Council like it like that: suckier traffic will force alternatives at the margins.

The lovely bride and I moved our medical stuff up to Fort Collins -- thirty miles away instead of fifteen, but obviating Boulder traffic.

The fix is so obvious, though, I did not see it. Convert some of the traffic lanes to bike paths. Now, why didn't I think of that?

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 5:27 PM | What do you think? [4]
But nanobrewer thinks:

Yeah, man... like those bike jams are so well attended.. uh, wait...

Palo Alto, CA; meet Boulder, CO. Sister cities indeed!

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 3, 2015 12:12 AM
But jk thinks:

Other articles claim that it is counterintuitive but that it does alleviate congestion (I file those with the studies that say you have to eat chocolate to lose weight).

But my objection is what William Easterly calls the tyranny of experts. "They" have this vision in Boulder which has little room for cars or bourgeoisie accoutrements and will cram it down residents' throats until they fall in line (or move to Erie).

Posted by: jk at June 3, 2015 9:54 AM
But AndyN thinks:

In my experience, cyclists will use sidewalks when they find the road inconvenient, regardless of the danger it may pose to pedestrians. I'd propose motorists follow their lead - if the automobile lanes seem inconvenient while you're driving, just hop over into the bike lanes.

Posted by: AndyN at June 3, 2015 11:22 AM
But johngalt thinks:

... or the sidewalks.

Posted by: johngalt at June 4, 2015 4:09 PM

FB Post of the Day

I have recommended (sadly, retired) Rep. Shawn Mitchell before. Man's got something of a point:


Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 1:42 PM | What do you think? [0]



Do you Know what it Means?

Eddie DeLange and Louis Alter ©1947

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


June 1, 2015

All Hail Taranto!


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 1:55 PM | What do you think? [0]

Tweet of the Day

UPDATE: Backstory plus many more...

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 1:37 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Man, do I miss Larry Kudlow's show. Used to see Don Luskin about once a week.

Now the question is whether U.S. frackers can adapt to the lower prices they created. Fracking blossomed following the trough of the Great Recession, when oil prices were, on average and adjusted for inflation, the highest in history--even higher than in the 1970s. It was an ideal price environment for entrepreneurs to perform some very expensive experiments, ultimately learning how to drill holes two miles under a frozen prairie, turn the wellbore 90 degrees, drill out another mile or two, then hydraulically force a designer cocktail of water, sand and secret sauce down the hole to liberate petroleum molecules trapped since dinosaurs strode the earth. -- Don Luskin and Michael Warren

UPDATE: I stopped excerpting too soon:
The nimblest and smartest competitors have worked relentlessly to increase their productivity. Leading-edge operators report that they can produce more profitably today at a price of $65 a barrel than they could at $95 a barrel three years ago. Where can they be profitable three years hence--$40 a barrel? $30? The oil patch today is afire with the same technological imperative and competitive mission that has powered the U.S. electronics revolution--think Moore's Law--to dash headlong down the learning curve, crushing costs and prices and making up for it in volume.

What Evil Looks Like

This! Gay marriage! Drug legalization! No wonder Progressives are united against these evil bastards. Now, The Clinton Foundation -- they do great work.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:51 AM | What do you think? [0]

Big Anniversary for Liberty

I'll suggest you read Danial Hannan's superb column on the upcoming 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta from this weekend's WSJ. I have been pounding on the importance of the Magna Carta lately in discussing Adam Smith's inspired thoughts on the American Colonies and his system of "natural liberty."

Clearly we owe a lot.

Eight hundred years ago next month, on a reedy stretch of riverbank in southern England, the most important bargain in the history of the human race was struck. I realize that's a big claim, but in this case, only superlatives will do. As Lord Denning, the most celebrated modern British jurist put it, Magna Carta was "the greatest constitutional document of all time, the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot."

And yet, I am hoping you'll indulge me in reading one more piece. David Boaz of Cato corrects (I might say augments, but that's not Boaz's tone) Hannan, suggesting he missed the American improvement in extending liberty beyond British citizenry to a system of universal rights.
It's true that the colonists came here with the spirit of English liberty running in their veins. They brought with them the books of Locke and Sydney, the examples of Lilburne and Hampden, the writings of Edward Coke. In the 18th century they read Cato's Letters and William Blackstone. They petitioned Parliament and the king for their rights as Englishmen.

But the Declaration of Independence marks a break in that thinking. When Thomas Jefferson sat down to write "an expression of the American mind," he did not appeal to the rights of Englishmen. Instead, the Americans declared:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

They appealed not to the British Parliament nor to King George III, but rather to "the opinions of mankind...a candid world...the Supreme Judge of the world."

I am reminded of Helen Raleigh's [Review Corner] saying "Confucius said many wonderful things, but he did not say 'all men are created equal.'"

UPDATE: No WSJ access? Somebody sent me a PDF of the Hannan piece.

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

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