November 30, 2015

A Discouraging Word

Fairness dictates that I -- the autonomous car fanboy -- share this week's EconTalk podcast. MIT's David Mindell, author of Our Robots, Ourselves, questions the progress of autonomous machines.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 4:43 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:
"Mindell argues that much of the optimism for autonomous robots ignores decades of experience with semi-autonomous robots in deep-sea operation, space, air, and the military."

Experience that was obtained long before many of the wunderkinds working on autonomous cars today were even born. Wunderkinds who see "old school" as restrictive, ossified, and self-defeatist. Or, maybe another word is a better fit - wise.

Posted by: johngalt at December 1, 2015 11:17 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Let's just always be sure that we - like the sailors on the super cool new navy ships or those with ever-listening "smart" TVs - always know where manual override and the plug are.

I'm also reminded of Hayek's quote:

The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 1, 2015 12:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Manual override (and manual controls to assume) is all I ever asked for. Yet the linked article suggests that isn't really enough, if the autopilot dumps out to manual control with no explanation whatsoever.

It reminds me of a contemporary C&W song - 'Jesus Take the Wheel.'

Posted by: johngalt at December 3, 2015 2:35 PM

Quote of the Day

This is insane on both sides. Anti-abortion people who have accused Black Lives Matter of inciting violence against cops (tragically a lot of overlap with these two groups because most people decide their politics based on partisanship, not principles) should consider how they feel being blamed for a murder because of the rhetoric they deploy about an issue they deeply care about and whether that kind of blame makes any more sense when they're on the accusatory and not receiving end of it.

Similarly, people sympathetic to Black Lives Matter who have spent this weekend blaming all pro-lifers, or all Christians, or whatever broader cohort, for inciting violence against Planned Parenthood (also, tragically, a lot of overlap) should consider how substantively similar their arguments and attempts to blame an entire political movement for the actions of one murderer are to the arguments anti-Black Lives Matter people use to blame that entire movement for the actions of one murderer. -- Ed Krayewski @ Reason

Honorable mention:
On the other hand, Colorado Springs isn’t the first time the left has blamed a terroristic act on a video. -- James Taranto

Carly for 'Servant Leader'

Very good article here from David Begley, who harks from Omaha and describes himself two ways;

Back when I was a Democrat I was elected to a minor political office in Nebraska. More importantly, I worked at the same law firm as Ben Nelson when he ran for Governor. [2] I have had the unique opportunity and pleasure to see in person nearly all of the candidates for president so I write with some authority on this topic.
His estimation of the situation
I submit that foreign affairs are at the most dangerous point ever in the history of the world. Russia is resurgent. The Chinese are restless. Religious zealots in Iran and Syria have the money and means to get nuclear weapons. Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan never had such weapons. Surprisingly the appeasing architect of these failed policies thinks she can fix it.
In my view we need a servant leader and doer with solid conservative principles who is also an outsider. Carly frequently uses the phrase “servant leader.” The cynic might say it is poll tested and the cynic might be right. I, on the other hand, take her use of the phrase to be authentic, genuine and direct from her heart.

It's a good read, and he's currently a GOP cheerleader:
Bobby Jindal was a Rhodes Scholar. Ted Cruz was one of the smartest students at Harvard Law and argued cases before the Supreme Court. The GOP field is exceptionally talented, but I would rank Carly as the smartest and I don’t make that claim lightly.

I"m still in for Carly (somewhere between Cruz and Rubio as my 2nd pick - Cruz more intelligent, but not as "likable"), and her ads are now running on iHeart & local radio.

But johngalt thinks:

Carly should be everyone's first pick. If she's not, then you're a woman-hating misogynist chauvinistic pig!

Posted by: johngalt at December 1, 2015 3:12 AM

November 25, 2015

All Hail Me Some Taranto!


Happy Thanksgiving, Y'all

But johngalt thinks:

I am conflicted. I would love to see Woodrow Wilson discredited, but to do it on the altar of race victimhood revisionism is a dangerous threshold to cross.

"After they came for the white progressives, there was nobody left to speak for me."

I guess we're all Wilsonians now.

Posted by: johngalt at November 25, 2015 3:37 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm not conflicted at all. I'm happy to laugh at the NYTimes's hypocritical preening.

But no, I would not deny President Wilson any honorarium or remove his anem or visage from any memorial. Why, my speech should I be given a slot is going to include some kind words about John C. Calhoun.

Posted by: jk at November 25, 2015 4:58 PM

A BC, not a SIC


Pew center has a new 23 question Political Typology quiz. I'm ranked a Business Conservative, which is fifth on scale where six is "Steadfast Conservative" and zero is "Solidly Liberal."

Interesting things:
- the only place "Faith" is listed by Pew is on the Left (1 out of 6 on this scale they've created).
- Young "Outsiders" slightly outnumber the NG Left.
- the silent middle are referred to as "Hard Pressed"
- if you look here, you'll see that Pew's respondents (66% white) are mostly isolationist!

Politics Posted by nanobrewer at 12:37 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

BC as well (Prosperitarian, anybody?) I left quite a few blank. I can usually get into the spirit and pick one even if I am not totally on board. This one seemed to have several that were both bad.

Posted by: jk at November 25, 2015 1:24 PM

November 24, 2015

ThreeSources Holiday Bash!

My check from the Koch Brothers is late, so our caviar and champagne soiree is off.

But we could all crash Liberty on the Rocks--Flatirons's party

Whoever said politics and booze don't go together has obviously never been to Liberty on the Rocks, because we've been combining the two with great success for over half a decade!

Traditionally, LotR has had one main speaker at each bi-monthly Happy Hour, but our friends at Liberty Toastmasters came up with a great idea--why not let everyone participate? And why not give away prizes to the best speakers?

You see, even in our circle of like-minded friends, there is still a good variety of thought. We might all have the same goals--liberty--but the way we promote that idea is unique.

So, we at LotR would like to open up the floor to everyone. Come tell us what you believe in, and why. Tell us what you're doing to promote your values. This is an opportunity for learning and for growth, and also for a PARTY!

So, mark your calendars for December 7th and plan on joining us for something completely different--a Speech Contest and Holiday Party at Miller's Grille in Lafayette!

The speaking opportunities will be limited to about 3 minutes to accommodate as many as possible, but there will also be a few slots open for speeches of about 8 minutes. If you know you want to address a large crowd of your peers, then please contact Mike L Shelton or send a message to this page.

We'll kick things off at 6pm, like always, with special appetizers and drinks; then we'll begin the main program at 7pm. There will be no better place to be than with us, so we hope to see you there!:

I'll be speaking on "The triumvirate, Calhoun's toast, and the modern message of forbearance."

But nanobrewer thinks:

OK, I'm now following; now, I just need to go to FB regularly (and have a Monday sitter....).

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 30, 2015 11:36 AM

Must Read

Trust me just once: this is a funny and true essay. Referenced in Russ Roberts's 500th Econtalk podcast. (The podcast is good, too).

I wish I had the gumption to share it with my cousin.

But johngalt thinks:
The fact that markets create dependencies without subjugation means that I am served well for the benefit of the server; other market participants are prevented from treating me badly not by their good character but by their desire for profits.

Proposition: Rather than struggling mightily to reduce the SIZE of government, perhaps we should find a way to require government to always earn a PROFIT?

Posted by: johngalt at November 24, 2015 4:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Finished reading to the end. Adorable!

Posted by: johngalt at November 24, 2015 4:29 PM
But dagny thinks:

JG is now working on how to similarly embarrass his daughters.

Posted by: dagny at November 24, 2015 5:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh -- I settle for boring my lovely bride. I may have mentioned the tortilla thing once or twice...

Posted by: jk at November 24, 2015 6:00 PM


This is, it seems to me, the hallmark of what it is to be American - ambition. Those who lack it typically use a different term - greed. Take Canada's Linda McQuaig, for example:

It's no accident that the United States claims the most billionaires -- but suffers among the highest rates of infant mortality and crime, the shortest life expectancy, as well as the lowest rates of social mobility and electoral political participation in the developed world.

Yeah, it's the billionaires' fault! Seriously? No, I don't think many take such suggestions seriously. But it is plainly evident that billionaires, at least some of them, are really, really, ambitious. I give you here, Exhibit A:

Jeff Bezos finally one-upped Elon Musk in space. On Tuesday Bezos' company, Blue Origin, announced its New Shepard space vehicle had ascended to 100.5km and returned successfully to the ground near its West Texas launch site.


Go ahead, billionaires, one-up each other. "Waste" your "ill-gotten" and "unequal" concentrated wealth on "extravagances" like reusable rocket ships. I, for one, approve. But next time give it a better name - like "The C.S.* Linda McQuaig."

* "capitalist ship"

But jk thinks:

And the Senate passes a bill facilitating asteroid mining. Homo sapiens had a pretty good November.

I went to post that sentiment on Facebook but cowered against an imagined onslaught of reminders about ISIS and refugees and shootings and a (NATO ally) Turkish fighter downing a Russian plane. I canceled, but I still believe it.

Posted by: jk at November 24, 2015 3:44 PM

ACA Horror Story of the Day

President Obama was hammered last week for his failure on ISIS. But there's at least one bright spot for him in that criticism: At least it deflected the spotlight from the unfolding catastrophe that is ObamaCare. -- Shikha Dalmia
And then it gets better.

November 23, 2015


I love this. (On the minus side, one of my favorite cousins may never speak to me again). This photo is from LIFE magazine in 1939:


Now this is going around Pinterest with the following explanation;

1939. Kansas Wheat. When they realized women were using their sacks to make clothes for their children, the mills started using flowered fabric for their sacks so the kids would have pretty clothes. Pure kindness. The label would wash out.

Pure kindness. Said cuz shares on Facebook and asks "How do we get back to more of this?"

She is a wonderful person, stunningly bright, and was employed many years in advertising. Why she accepted this as kindness and not "brilliant marketing ploy," only Jonathan Haidt can explain.

My favorite speech that I give to myself (who knows, I may do it in public at the Holiday Liberty on the Rocks if my infield fly rule history cannot be trimmed to the allocated time slot) is the celebration of the Ziploc™ closure on tortilla bags and cheese.. Tortilla bags being a synecdoche for innovative packaging. I can beam myself into the meeting, having attended a meeting or two myself. where the idea is first proposed.

Pedro (ACME Tortilla Floor Operations Manager): See, we can build the device right into our bag. Customers can close it up and keep the product fresher. It'll be terrific

Donald Trump, Star of Celebrity Apprentice: Terrific, huh? Won't this cost more?

Pedro: Well, yes, a couple of cents...

Donald: Times 20,000 bags is a lot of money. Can we charge three cents extra?

Pedro: Probably not.

Donald: Will our existing machinery handle it? Don't we have existing stock? What about returns and obsoleting old inventory?

Pedro: Well...

Donald: You're Fired.

It's a tough sell. They probably sell more because they go bad in the old packaging. But somebody hired Pedro and now every manufacturer uses them and the packaging is spreading to other items.

So, I say it is pure kindness to print flowers on wheat sacks and put Ziplocs on tortilla bags. That kind of pure kindness that free market capitalism brings out in people. Pure kindness toward our customers.

And that's the spirit of Christmas.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:59 PM | What do you think? [4]
But nanobrewer thinks:

It's an unintentional kindness; of the sort that naturally grows out of the respect people grant each other when conducting mutually-beneficial transactions of the type that either [a] confound the regulators and beltway admistrata, [b] cut K-street out of the loop.

Simply part and parcel of the massive PR campaign driven by the liberal desire to ensure that 'you can do whatever you want, so long as it's mandatory.'

Personally, I like this quote from Churchill, tho' it would not help one wit with the low-information, FB crowd:

Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow
they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon.
If people are allowed to own the wagon, they'll make it pretty, useful, helpful even and nice.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 24, 2015 9:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Describe a Democrat/progressive/redistributionist voter in two words: "Big heart."

Now describe a Republican/libertarian/keep what you earn voter: "Big brain."

Why wouldn't she speak to you? Did you accuse her of having a tiny brain? Or did you answer her question with the same long winded, but otherwise excellent, response posted here?

Why not just answer "How do we get back to more of this" with the answer "by telling government to let businesses run themselves again?" Then you will have so much comity and good will together that you can ask her why she doesn't make her own clothes from flour sacks!

Posted by: johngalt at November 24, 2015 1:02 PM
But jk thinks:

We're speaking and will continue so to do. Everything is fine but I my spidey sense interprets a brief silence as "OMG do you have to make everything political?"

For the record, my exact response (again, she was in the industry) was:

John Kranz: Umm, it's called brilliant marketing and innovative packaging, is it not? Meeting customer needs and establishing a consistent brand?"

Posted by: jk at November 24, 2015 3:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"No, I don't make everything 'political' I make it about LOVE!"

Posted by: johngalt at November 24, 2015 5:05 PM

Still Early

Hope: "Scared of Trump's pending triumph? The Atlantic offers food for thought" The article looks at others who were leading at this stage, and {SPOILER ALERT] a lot of them did not become president.

I'm more disturbed that it has further reduced the intelligence level of the debate.

That said, I'm ready to give Mr. Trump one cheer on the "Muslim Database" contretemps. Calling that ambush journalism is a real affront to ambush journalism. The idea is suggested by the -- ahem -- journalist in an rhetorical, dontchyathinkthat, tone. His answer may not be the best, but it is acceptable. Now it is front page news. See -- he even made the media stupider. I did not see that one coming.

But johngalt thinks:

You and I may not like it brother, but common sense is so miscalibrated today that it may take a carnival barker like Don Trump to push the ossified national "reset" button. We'll then have to wait a cycle or three before a thoughtful conservative can gain traction, hopefully, once again.

Just a random thought on the passing scene.

Posted by: johngalt at November 24, 2015 1:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Perhaps. But the inevitable rise of President Giuliani in 2008 gives me hope. (No, that makes me sad, too -- that would've been great by comparison.)

Posted by: jk at November 24, 2015 5:09 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

two words: Howard Dean.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 25, 2015 12:17 AM

Different Definition of "Hilarious" Than Mine.

Let's recap hilariously wrong Republican predictions about Obamacare
Haha, Kos, no it's too funny, Stop! Don't read the last one sipping coffee (you were warned!):
Scott Walker, 2/20/2015:
In a 2013 interview with CNBC's Larry Kudlow, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker argued that Obamacare was hampering the economic recovery. "They made a promise that nobody could actually deliver on, not just in terms of the website, but on the overall policy of Obamacare, which is an abysmal failure," Walker told Kudlow, adding, "It's not only a failure for Obamacare, it is continuing to be a wet blanket on the recovery of the nation's economy."

"Firm after firm telling the White House, the administration this isn't going to work," Walker went on. "It's either one of those things where there not listening to the facts, or they're not being informed, in either case, it's troubling."

"Troubling," Kudlow chimed in, "No CEO experience whatsoever."

Now we don't trifle with Kos too much around here. But my friend posted this on Facebook a few hours after I had watched the WSJ Editorial Board's video proclaiming essentially that the death spiral was finally beginning. The nation's largest insurer -- and the ACA's biggest cheerleader -- was pulling out of the exchanges.

So I had what I expect will be my last argument with this guy. He accepts this "Baghdad Bob" line on ObamaCare: Kos says it is fine, he sent me a 20-month old blog post from Rick Unger. It seems I am wrong -- ObamaCare is fine!

Oh, wait

On a UnitedHealth call Thursday with Wall Street analysts, Josh Raskin of Barclays asked, "Simply, how long are you willing to lose money in exchanges?" and then followed up, "Are you willing to lose money again in 2017, Steve?" UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley replied: "No, we cannot sustain these losses. We can't really subsidize a marketplace that doesn't appear at the moment to be sustaining itself," adding that "we saw no indication of anything actually improving."

UnitedHealth reported one problem after another: An expensive risk pool that lacks the younger and healthier consumers who are supposed to buy overpriced plans to cross-subsidize everyone else. Enrollment growth continues to lag. People join the exchanges before they incur large medical expenses--insurers are required under ObamaCare to cover anyone who applies--and then drop out after they receive care. The collapse of the ObamaCare co-ops is recoiling through the market.


But nanobrewer thinks:

Unger's column is a strong screed, but balanced on a thin reed, namely; one study from the Urban Institute. This confirms that ACA didn't all by itself caused the boom in part time work, but also notes Part-Time Employed Remains Higher Than the Pre-Recession Levels and is willing to entertain the idea that the ACA isn't helping this 'jobless' recovery become an actual recovery as well as noting

the anticipation of the penalty [$2000, for not providing "compliant" coverage], even though delayed a year, no doubt influenced the decisions of private employers

Wow, but the Kool-Aid scented comments on the Kos article drip with condescension and cluelessness. If I'd the time and the Tums, it would be interesting to delve down into that netherworld; what does it mean, that word; "working" ? The inevitable followup would be: what do you do for a living; teach teachers?

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 24, 2015 1:09 AM
But jk thinks:

The Unger column is from March 2014 and one of the bright things the ACA miscreants did was to provide benefits up front: free contraception, no pre-existing conditions, 26-year-old snowflakes on mommy & daddy's policy -- all of these happened at the stroke of a pen. All the bad stuff was deferred: phased in mandates, delayed enforcement and rising penalties.

So Unger's "the place ain't burned down yet" seems to be weak tea. But Kos's is an outright lie -- you can smell smoke in the background.

Posted by: jk at November 24, 2015 11:09 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

The Kos universe is the perfect example of how Liberals are willfully ignorant of the past (and far too much science).

FB is their bible; I saw a post a little while ago titled "Republicans Wrong on Everything ... for 30 years!" I found this amusing, and said so, that they should have changed the by line to 25 years, or waited a few more years to allow the fall of The Wall in September, 1989 to recede further into the past.

is more proof of the slow unravelling; a textbook case of adverse selection! I like this quote:

It could well become President Obama's Iraq: A costly and conceited intervention that destroyed an imperfect but functioning system just because it didn't fit his utopian designs

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 25, 2015 11:16 AM

November 20, 2015

Poorly timed

...but perhaps not. Holding our ideals and values in a time of crisis and fear is important.

Here's Bryan Caplan behind enemy lines at "the staunchly anti-immigration US Inc."

"Out of all the people who are usually accused of favoring open borders, actually almost none of them do, I know this because I do favor open borders, so I know that they don't."

Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 5:02 PM | What do you think? [1]
But nanobrewer thinks:

I'm only ready to discuss this as a pie'n sky scenario. I actually trust potential Syrian immigrants quite far; refugees a bit less far. The current POTUS, not one bit.

I trust BHO to attempt completion of the "fundamental transformation" of the country, thereby to trump any good efforts by any government entity towards safely and successfully integrating immigrants, refugees and petulant, spoiled children currently enrolled in Ivy League schools all over. I expect that he, being seemingly happy with the current situation in the middle east, to his best ability to recreate this angry chaos from Baltimore to Ferguson.

For this, and compassion for homeless Vets, I oppose admission of Syrian refugees.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 25, 2015 12:27 AM

November 19, 2015

Quote of the Day

"Global surface temperature has risen about 0.8°C in the last 125 years. The surface temperature you experience will rise, on average, that much if you drive 150 miles south. Raleigh, North Carolina, does not typically send terrorists to Washington." -- Patrick J. Michaels and Christopher A. Preble @ Cato

November 18, 2015


I suspect I might be El Lobo Solo on this topic. Please allow me to make my point and I'll certainly accept competing views.

I think that we should accept Syrian refugees. The figure I've heard bandied about is 10,000 and that is a number with which I am comfortable. I would rehash many of my pro-immigration arguments, but add a moral feelsy element (OMG! He's turning into Rod Dreher!)

I recall the Cambodian "Boat People" from my youth. Our country accepted many, and our church adopted a family whom I got to know pretty well. A sizable hunk of the diaspora found homes and Americanism. I will appreciate the differences between Cambodians and Syrians in today's political tenor, but I would ask others to consider the similarities. Bad guys that we were fighting took over their homeland and made life untenable.

Reason did a nice piece, but my favorite was done by the folks at FEE. This is not Mother Jones, and I am not calling you racists for disagreement.

What I'll add is that we need to assess risk and act accordingly. That may be what separates us from the animals. I do NOT claim that the UN and our illustrious government will be super sharp at screening refugees. Certainly they will not. Out of 10,000 refugees, we will certainly introduce some people who mean us harm.

That's bad. But how many new terrorists will be born next year to US citizens? How many will be recruited in prisons? How many will come in and overstay Visas? A gob more. Are these guys super-evil-geniuses? Do they have nukes hidden in their socks? Nope. I don't whole-heartedly endorse the FEE piece, but think them right that other entry methods are far easier to exploit.

A Facebook meme (love 'em!) shows a dish of M&Ms and says "Two of these are poison! Would you give them to your family?" No. I'm a grownup who ways marginal costs, risk, and marginal benefit. The cost to throw away a dish of candies is nothing compared to the harm. The cost of discarding 10,000 human lives is more substantive.

UPDATE: Cato puts what I was trying to say more clearly:

Of the 859,629 refugees admitted from 2001 onwards, only three have been convicted of planning terrorist attacks on targets outside of the United States and none was successfully carried out. That is one terrorism-planning conviction for a refugee for every 286,543 of them who have been admitted. To put that in perspective, about 1 in every 22,541 Americans committed murder in 2014.

Syria Posted by John Kranz at 2:56 PM | What do you think? [11]
But T. Greer thinks:

I am entirely OK with the USA taking more refugees than the 10,000 Obama has pledged.

I am not ok with the Europeans taking half that number.

Muslims immigrants in the United States historically turn out quite well. They don't radicalize and they don't "stand a high chance" of radicalizing. On almost every measure of radicalization, the U.S. Muslim community is better off than every European counterpart. (Compare the number of ISIS fighters from the U.S. and the U.K., for example.)

Why is this?

1. The American economy is doing well. The EU economy isn't. 40% unemployment for 19-30 year olds is still a thing in Spain. America has opportunity for its immigrants.

2. America is a big place. Even a few million people would quickly be diluted and assimilated (to say nothing of 10,000!). This is not true for the Europeans, whose countries are much smaller.

3. Quite frankly, we treat our immigrants a whole lot better. Being American is not something in your blood, and we don't intentionally cordon off immigrants into separate ghettoes. Within three generations they are as American as the rest of us. This isn't true in Europe, and it is especially not true in France.

The one compromise solution I think might work is to restrict immigrants to families--mothers, fathers, and children. Many refugees are single young men. If terrorism is really the concern then giving priority to families goes a long way to solving it.

Posted by: T. Greer at November 19, 2015 5:52 AM
But jk thinks:

Well, no, I do not think the risk is huge: less than 1/10 the risk of allowing your next door neighbor to give birth to a murderer.

The reward I suggest is predominantly compassion and charity; we're talking about saving 10,000 lives. That said, you know me -- I am very comfortable that it will be an economic plus. I see people as brains and brawn to contribute and not as mouths to feed. I use that against population control and for immigration.

I think I explicitly said my position was not based on faith in efficacious gub'mint screening. We continue to allow women to give birth when 1/22541 are murderers, we can take 1/10 the risk on some refugees. (I'll concede those stats to be optimistic, but the opposition I read is certain -- without as good a factual basis -- that it is 10:1 the other way.

Thanks for making me feel better about Gov. Jindal's leaving the race. A lot of those boat people didn't assimilate all that well. Most of their kids did, though, and we seem to have survived the Cambodian invasion with some good restaurants and gardening services.

These folks arrive with nothing. If they import hate and a desire to return to the 7th Century that's disappointing but they do not bring special tools, and any knowledge could be transmitted more effectively over the Internet than seeking the 0.0022% chance to enter the US as a refugee.

I would be cool with TG's compromise of a bias if not an outright restriction to families. (Though the ones we wish to keep out are not above intimidating a woman to "marriage." That could have unintended consequences.)

There is no shortage of programs I'd like to cut -- this is a rounding error on a month's toner use in the EPA.

Your daughters could learn to preen. They live in a wonderful country. They can weep a bit when they read Emma Lazarus. Maybe work for the offspring if one of them is the next Steve Jobs's father. Do they like falafel? Ride in cabs?

Posted by: jk at November 19, 2015 6:04 PM
But jk thinks:

FEE: 43% of refugees are under 14 years old.

Posted by: jk at November 19, 2015 6:24 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

If we don't have the resources to take care of our own veterans, how we can we have the resources to take care of Syrians?

On the numbers, dunno how FEE's 41% is validated. In that vein I must wonder if CATO's "Of the 859,629 refugees admitted from 2001 onwards, only three have been convicted of planning terrorist attacks" includes any of the Boston bombers. I argue they should count, even if most were technically not "refugees." Who's watching the watchers? Not CNN....

UNHCR data from 2014, shows 34% are military aged (12~59) males from ALL countries, 53% from Syria, and it also says that 67% of the Syrians were under 12 years old! Hah, that's a dataset NASA could do wonders with.... yep, the column summation don't match up with the row summation....

So, doing the analysis m'self with a little help from XL; ignoring the "Total" columns provided by UNHCR.

[2014] under 12 M-age male (12~59)
All countries 14.4% 11.4%
Syria 24.2% 19.1%
[2010-2014, to check vs. FEE]
Syria 16.7%* 22.4%
* even if I add the 12-17 year olds, I only get this up to 27%

Hmmm, neither the "Military-aged invasion" (even after inflating it by dropping the age to hitlerjugen levels) nor the "children R plurality" argument holds up. Pewhas a very interesting study here, which says roughly +60M immigrants in +50 years. Sounds scary, but that's just a tad over 1M per annum.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 20, 2015 4:00 PM
But jk thinks:

I think our brave veterans deserve far better than a failing socialist, Obamacare on steroids, health care system. I believe they deserve our thanks and support. But I'm not at all certain I think they require or deserve a lot more government handouts. Sad that there are 50,000 homeless vets (source: countless Facebook memes) but the relationship to Syrian refugees is tenuous at best. Is there some program to give every serving member a new home and a refrigerator full of BubbleUp®, yet the funding was taken by the Syrian refugee project?

If your actual objection is only the financial impact, fine, I accept that. You're consistently frugal. But the concerns I see on Facebook are about safety -- letting in two more Tsarnev brothers -- and I do not think those hold water. Count the dashingly handsome Rolling Stone cover model and his brother twice if you want and say there were seven terrorists out of 859,633 (add four to both numerator and denominator) and you still get . . . a very small number.

The set of "guys who once lived on the 1600 block of Paris Street in Aurora" includes me and the Aurora Theater shooter. As a group, we have a higher body count than the Boston Bomber.

That's the mistake I think people (including my buddy, nb) make. Three hundred million people are dangerous in some proportion.

And -- speaking of regular immigration -- now that the US - Mexico immigration vector points South, we'll need some hardy young folks. Syrians need a home...

Posted by: jk at November 20, 2015 5:00 PM
But jk thinks:

FEE takes on the M&M Meme:

Put differently, about 116 American babies out of every 50,000 will grow up to murder someone. (Perhaps the NYMag should rerun its poll?). In contrast, only 100 of the 50,000 jelly beans were poisonous.

Posted by: jk at November 20, 2015 5:51 PM

Who You Calling Stupid?

{Umm, shouldn't that be "Whom yo u calling stupid?]

Jim Geraghty is calling you stupid and he may be right. I know my occasional use of "the stupid party" has grated and I am sworn to cut back to only necessary applications. I was a bit taken aback by the Title of geraghty's Morning Jolt newsletter: "A Stupid GOP Electorate Takes a Pass on the Best Governor in the 2016 Field "

Look at Bobby Jindal. Just look at him. He's 90 pounds soaking wet, he speaks a million words a minute, and he's got the brains for Oxford and can't hide it at all. When he's not nerdy, he's square; he chose to be called "Bobby" because he liked the character on The Brady Bunch. A state that still reveres Huey Long the way the Turks revere Ataturk was never going to give a guy like him the keys to state government unless they were desperate and looking for a miracle.

So they put Bobby Jindal behind the wheel and damn, did he perform.

It's a long piece and he never lets up or goes into jocular mode. Gov. Jindal takes over this hotbed of corruption after it has been flattened by a hurricane, and uses conservative ideals to rebuild. He is stunningly successful in budget and education. He has a unique minority immigrant biography.

Geraghty's no fan of Donald Trump. But I will say that he has sucked the oxygen out of the room that lesser-known candidates required. Geraghty beats up on Rod Dreher (a Randian villain for a modern age) for attacking the Gov. from the compassionate-conservative side. He closed a state-run hospital taht was losing $2 Million a month. Dreher's headline? "How Bobby Jindal Wrecked Louisiana."

Geraghty asks: "What the hell, Republican-primary voters? I mean, what the hell? A record like that, and you don't give the guy a second look?"

He wasn't the top of my list but I always liked him. As the man said (Speaker Thomas Brackett Reed?) "We could do worse; we probably will."

UPDATE: Geraghty's piece is available online.

But johngalt thinks:

Agreed. I put Jindal in the same group with Rand Paul. Both are superb on issues and principles, but for one or more reason fail to garner broad appeal. I'll try to pick the leading reason for each man: For Rand, "he wants to gut the military" and for Bobby, folks will never admit this but I think they find him to be too "foreign" to make him their leader. Too bad.

Posted by: johngalt at November 18, 2015 4:06 PM
But jk thinks:

I think that both would have received thoughtful scrutiny in a year where Donald Trump was not running.

To segue the whole page, I am disappointed to see Sen. Paul come out forcefully against admitting refugees. Again, maybe conviction, but this will be seen as his turning his back on the Cato/Reason/FEE wing -- for some folks he's not going to get anyway.

Posted by: jk at November 18, 2015 5:46 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Have to agree with JG about Jindal not having broad appeal. I'm reminded of what Adlai Stevenson II was quoted as saying to a gushing supporter:

"Governor, you have the support of every thinking American!"

His reply:
"Thank you, ma'am, but I need a majority."

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 19, 2015 4:37 PM

Reputable Refugees?

Most of the writers at PowerLine (whose site has cured itself from the killer pop-up syndrome) are from Minnesota; home to the US's largest Somali population and leading supplier from this hemisphere of jihadi recruits. They're also very conservative in a way that mostly plays to the strengths that we TS'ers appreciate.

As such, I think opinions there on muslim immigration bear extra attention. This one contains a positive solution and a couple very good points that (once again) appear to be getting short-shrift.

1. look at the parades in Europe; they are at first glance 70-80% men of military-service age; these are "refugees" only in a politician's eyes.

The most benign possibility is that after settling here they will send for their relatives, increasing the cost of resettlement exponentially.

2. These are people that don't speak the language and are as far from H1B-eligible as one can get; I'll bet illiteracy is fairly high.

3. They are culturally disinclined towards integration:
- theirs is not a romance language.
- a substantial proportion disdain Judaeo-Christian ethical fundamentals (Google "sharia in the US" or "Muslim-only washing facilities" and nobody needs to Google Honor Killings).
- Islam is a supremacist theology that basically dictates non-integration, rejects church-state separation and in fact actively integrates a political movement.

4. ISIS openly brags that fighters are embedded and our completely opaque and incompetent administration (via the FBI chief, IIRC)

admits that we have no way of vetting Syrians to weed out the ones who are ISIS agents or are otherwise dangerous

In an interesting aside: PL also found a story that makes one ponder if aggressive interrogation might have stopped the Paris attacks.

Hinderocker cites hard numbers that apparently alarm him:

Since 2001, as part of America’s unprecedented wave of immigration, we have already issued 1.5 million green cards to immigrants from Muslim countries. Within the next 5 years, under current policy, the U.S. can expect to resettle well more than half a million migrants from Muslim countries
Just by raw numbers, as long as total immigration stays below 3M annually (1% of our population), I'll not be joining the "stop the invasion" parade.

Still, it bears repeating that we have something like 50,000 homeless veterans. Why are we importing more indigents?

There is a proposed solution that bears trumpeting:

The U.S. can work with its European allies to establish safe areas in Syria, enforced by no-fly zones. In this manner we could protect far more than 100,000 Syrians without requiring any of them to leave their country, and without the enormous economic and social costs imposed by more mass immigration to the U.S.

Any idea if it will help to call Rep. Polis to hold funding back to stop this wave? I can nearly guess where Ken Buck is....

Any interest in the litigious debate over how much say the States have over the settlement of refugees?

Immigration Jihad Posted by nanobrewer at 11:05 AM | What do you think? [6]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"... 70-80% men of military-service age; these are "refugees" only in a politician's eyes..."

I'm copyrighting the word "refujihadis."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 18, 2015 1:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

First, "refujihadi" is brilliant! I have added it to my spell check dictionary.

Second, what does "IIRC" mean? I've seen it in multiple posts and am still clueless. In general, please use fewer acronyms and abbreviations. The spelled out words actually enhance readability, even though the character count is higher.

And finally, stepping from one soapbox to a different soapbox...

While I agree that a "safe zone" in the refugees home country is better than shipping them all to Pocatello, the idea that one can be maintained or even established with a "no-fly zone" is balderdash. The Islamic State has no air force. Stopping them requires walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. To quote a famous movie line, "Who's gonna guard that wall?" We need to handle the truth, which is "boots on the ground" in the middle east. Not just American, but now that Europe has been sufficiently bloodied perhaps NATO will soon have the stomach for the job.

Here's another thought. There's already a "safe-zone" in the Mideast. It's called Israel. Maybe it's (long past) time to stop them from expanding their sphere of (safety) influence? Put the Kurds in the same scenario. Just sayin'. It ain't rocket science.

Posted by: johngalt at November 18, 2015 2:45 PM
But jk thinks:

I am actually a fan of accepting refugees. Some of you may have seen me jousting of Facebook. I will post a response so that I can more easily include a couple links.

Posted by: jk at November 18, 2015 2:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So am I, in principle. But this uber political President and his Democrat governor accolytes make the practicality of the principle unpalatable.

Posted by: johngalt at November 18, 2015 3:58 PM
But jk thinks:

You mean "Vice President Elect" Hickenlooper? I suspect this will serve him well.

To be fair, he might be acting on principle and to be double fair, Governors have ZERO choice who can enter their state. Posturers on both sides are -- in Douglas Adams's immortal words "mostly harmless."

Posted by: jk at November 18, 2015 5:26 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

IIRC = If I Recall Correctly.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 19, 2015 12:07 AM

November 17, 2015

Bush Lied!

We tired. We faltered. I fear we might fail.

President Bush Posted by John Kranz at 10:12 AM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

We forgot.

Remember all those posters that said "We Will Never Forget"? Yeah, well, about that...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 17, 2015 1:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

What do you mean "we" Kimosabe?

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2015 2:31 PM
But jk thinks:

I, too, loved that quote. I had a button (like a campaign button) with those words over an American flag.

I think "we Americans" tired: electing a candidate who promised ending war (no, he never said anything about victory even as a candidate, but a plurality did not care).

Even our superb military faltered, staying the course after the golden dome bombing and committing unforced errors like Abu Ghraib. You're not going to have a project on this scale without mistakes, but those burn.

Will we fail? I don't know. I have an anecdote here, but I think it requires its own post -- give y'all something to look forward to.

Posted by: jk at November 17, 2015 3:33 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I don't think we tired.... a plurality were misled by the MSM (Bush's lack of pushback helped pave that road), a la Tet and duped by the Manchurian Candidate.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 18, 2015 12:57 AM

Quote of the Day

Hat tip PowerLine, but it should be everywhere by now:

What I'm not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people and to protect the people in the region who are getting killed and to protect our allies and people like France. I'm too busy for that.
They? Too busy???
Hugh Hewitt tried to cover this presser, and yet I heard this eloquent trial lawyer, steeped in the world of rhetoric and politics absolutely give up trying to parse the massive, arrogant incoherence of the unbelievably shrinking imPOTUS. 13 months to go!

But jk thinks:

Yeah, but...

I think the President makes perfect sense when you consider him as a product of the faculty lounge. They do not believe in "winning" wars; they're above all that or whatever.

I am not saying that's correct or in any way a good way to choose a C-in-C. But I don't find him inscrutable. He's like every damn academic I've ever met, and many of their students. Everything he does makes perfect sense when you say "Oh yeah, faculty lounge."

Posted by: jk at November 17, 2015 10:22 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Pretty much 100% agreed, save that you're giving him a bit too much credit: he's a USELESS lounge lizard, and an irascible, arrogant one with middling intellect.

So, now that we've established what they're NOT into, what is he INTO?

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 17, 2015 12:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Progressive politics. Centralizing control. Transformative stuff.

Perhaps we should consider ourselves lucky he is historically incurious. He could pull a Wilson and wrap his policies in a bellicose war message.

Posted by: jk at November 17, 2015 1:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Excellent, excellent point, jk. That would be worse. MUCH worse.

There is, too, some benefit in the other western nations learning to stand on their own hind legs.

And this notion of Russia allied with France against totalitarian zealots in the Mideast desert is not displeasing. It's almost like that well known Sci-fi plot where Earth is attacked by aliens and all the warring nations of the planet join forces to fight for their right to exist.

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2015 2:37 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:
wrap his policies in a bellicose war message
You haven't been paying attention, and he's been somewhat sub rosa about how he couches these things. He has apparently out'n out threatened major business figures with phrases like "I'm the one standing between you and the pitchforks," and the actions of the DOJ and IRS are about as warlike as a do-nothing/know-nothing coward like him will ever get. Pugnacious more than bellicose, perhaps, with the true mobster's approach: never let them see the blackjack, nor a drop of blood....

Aulinsky - the original community organizer, IIRC - is alive and his war is on, my friends, it's on, and HRC is also a devotee. Well, was, before she became a corrupt, drunken and bitter cuckold.

I wonder that JG hasn't seen this yet peeping at his kids yet with various inculcations (1%, DAWG, white privilege) in the schools. I'm on the lookout, myself.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 18, 2015 10:53 AM

November 16, 2015

Bill Nye, Science Scold

ThreeSourcers will find a gooberload of things with which to disagree in this article: "Bill Nye the Science Guy Knows How to Fix Climate Change."

Yet I encourage you to read it. It's superb and serious. He lacks economic judgement. And he would not know liberty if it bit him in the ass. But he is a serious guy: obviously a true believer. And he presents some arguments taht you'll hear from much less reasonable sources.

But johngalt thinks:

I know how to "fix" Climate Change too. Just read Michael Chrichton novels!

Maybe if I were bored but you'll need to do better than "he presents some arguments that you'll hear from much less reasonable sources." Isn't that like, "he repeats claims by others even more idiotic than himself?"

Posted by: johngalt at November 16, 2015 7:51 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

In my little world, he's known as Nye the Lyin' guy... this little episode bears repeating and re-posting.

As to his latest Lovins-rambling, deep thoughts:

The example I give everybody is of a guy who claims he is able to walk on fire because of his spiritual preparedness. It is really science, though. But the first time I show him this he’s not going to be convinced. He’s going to be in denial about it. But after a few months or a couple years of reminding him that this is just science, I predict he will change his mind. In the same way, by continually chipping away at the science of climate change, the deniers will change their minds.

Science... like psychology or astrology? This is a fave:

We could do this again. By “we,” I mean the people of the world

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 16, 2015 11:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Not feelin' the love. Just not feelin' it.

That's fair. Neil de Grasse Tyson drives me mad. I find it hard to enjoy even his pro-GMO rants because he is such an arrogant putz. I suppose Nye is not better, yet I encounter him less frequently.

Posted by: jk at November 17, 2015 10:12 AM

JeffCO: I2I still has work to do?

(into a new sub-category)

According to EyeOnJeffCo Recall Organizer Attempts to Set Rules for Superintendent.

Hmm, the article is very short on details. The best is numbering the beast: Shawna Fritzler, founder of Support Jeffco Kids and vocal advocate for the recall then begins to make claims a mile long.... starting with an attention grabbing:

demanded that Superintendent Dan McMinimee cease meeting with certain individuals and organizations. ... she seeks to forbid him from going to speak with political groups, requested he not speak to anyone at one of Denver’s largest think tanks, nor do any conservative talk radio shows.

Here's the only one with substantiation:

she seeking to bar the superintendent “from doing any radio talk shows,” or demanding that, “for the remainder of the year… you not to attend any political meeting”?

OK, no actual restriction on conservative talk shows (then again, where would the liberal ones be?), no mention if there was or wasn't video of the meeting as there apparently had been under the old board. Am I being too critical of this clarion call? It's surely unreasonable to force a school superintendent to stop political activity....

More interestingly is if this website continues to carry content, or is just going to be a sniping site agin the new board.... or it's prominent supporters. I don't like how the articles are unsigned; I hope I don't regret giving a Tip to this site....

Jeff_Co Posted by nanobrewer at 12:21 PM | What do you think? [0]

November 15, 2015

And You Guys Can Suck Eggs

I'd start a category for "things I cannot say on Facebook," but I fear it would be overused. This is under "Jihad" and "Rant," so proceed with caution.

I'm told -- and not just by loony lefties -- that I am a racist. I have indeed changed my profile pic to use the French Tricolore. I don't expect points for originality or courage for the grueling work of clicking the button under my friend's. It does not rank up there with Paul Revere's ride.

But I am told that I am racist for not caring about the Kenyan attacks last April, even though they had a similar body count, or the attacks in Beirut the night before. I did not adopt the Lebanese nor Kenyan flags in my profile pic. I clearly only care about Europeans.

Well, Balder-fucking-dash! (I did say "Rant.")

I decry terrorism in all its forms. I feel for all victims of violence. But I retain the right to choose that which upsets me. And Jihad in the land of Voltaire upsets me. That does not equal my saying "147 Deaths in Kenya are fine."

It does say that we have set aside some territory that accepts Enlightenment Values and that their retreat is a particular loss. A music concert in the French capital is the triumph of Enlightenment Values as were the offices of the cheesy and puerile -- but free -- "Charlie Hebdo."

Lebanon sadly enjoyed Enlightenment Values for many years. I am sorry for its fall back ito 7th-Century-ism, but it did not happen last Friday night. Kenya has struggled for its post-Colonial history with governments of oscillating quality and rights protection. I hope for her and am optimistic reading Angus Deaton and William Easterly that good days lie ahead.

But I am particularly upset about Paris. And those who don't like it can suck eggs.

Jihad Rant Posted by John Kranz at 1:00 PM | What do you think? [7]
But Jk thinks:

Thanks. That'll work for half of them.

Another makes the more legitimate point that it is too little and smacks of sanctimony. I can dig that, but I dug up our patron quote:

"During my long journey through the world of evil, I had discovered three sources of power: the power of an individual's inner freedom, the power of a free society, and the power of the solidarity of the free world."-- Natan Sharansky, "The Case for Democracy"

Posted by: Jk at November 15, 2015 5:47 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I didn't see the comments, but the only comments including the "racism" theme I've ever seen that were NOT dripping with sanctimony were overinvested in misdirection and/or false-equivalencies in order to push a poorly produced argument.

It's somewhere between a dodge and an intellectual crutch, but that earns no points in FB-land. Here's one I've always yearned to put down in response to phony put-downs:

"Citation of the term racism tracts too closely to the bigoted ignorance of the 19th century whereby some homo sapiens were deemed to not be fully human. I do not glorify this; do you? If not, please post a credible argument. If so, please join us in the 21st century."

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 15, 2015 11:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Am I really a racist, or are you really an ad hominist?"

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2015 2:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I feel you. As I'm sure you noticed, the mass murders committed by hopeless, impressionable, sex-starved loser boys in Paris in the service of equally hopeless sex-slave holding loser boys in Raqqa moved me to profanity too, on Friday.

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2015 3:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Official" ISIS-

"In a blessed attack for which Allah facilitated the causes for success, a faithful group of the soldiers of the Caliphate, may Allah dignify it and make it victorious, launched out, targeting the capital of prostitution and obscenity, the carrier of the banner of the Cross in Europe, Paris..."

I will fight to defend prostitution.
I will fight to defend obscenity.
I will fight to defend those who choose to carry the banner of the Cross.
I will fight to defend individual liberty.

F*** Islamic State.

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

[A Thumbs-up emoji on the racist/ad hominist comment]

In an unrelated skirmish, I got called a "fraud" by a woman I don't know. She seemed quite nice. But I was discussing refugees with another guy and had to clarify if me or my interlocutor was the "fraud." It was me. Again a very nice forum of good people -- it kind of made my day.

Posted by: jk at November 17, 2015 3:39 PM

Well played, Amazon.


Jihad Posted by John Kranz at 12:58 PM | What do you think? [1]
But nanobrewer thinks:

I'd prefer to quote Danton: "Toujours L'audace." a case in point was suggested by some PJ-clad blogger...

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 16, 2015 12:57 PM

Review Corner

But as a species, we have also developed an amazing capacity to make information last. We have learned to accumulate information in objects, starting from the time we built our first stone axes to the invention of the latest computer. The creation of these solid objects requires flows of energy, but also our distributed capacity to compute.
César Hidalgo is not an economist. I don't speak academise, and his published bio eludes me. He is listed as "Director, Macro Connections, the MIT Media Lab. Associate Professor, MIT." I guess when the projectors don't work, they call Dr. Hidalgo. (That's a joke, I think.)

His Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies was a challenging read on many levels. Firstly, one must keep pace with some serious intellectual chops and the author's wide ranging knowledge. Hidalgo looks at human development with an understanding of traditional economic explanations -- but he does not accept them at face value. In doing so, he opens my mind to a lot of questions that had gone unasked. His non-traditional economics overlaps mine in many ways, expands it in some, but challenges it in others.

But it is not an economic book, per se. It is a book on information and information's assembling into more complex orders. Hidlago sees the information embedded into corporeal objects. I confess as a pro software developer and an amateur economist, I consider information more abstract, digitizable, and shareable. Yet it isn't all in the books or in the Internet. Skilled craftsmen have knowledge and skill, and also small jigs and template objects that embody dimensions and angles.

For instance, a book can tell us how to position our bodies for karate moves. But I would not recommend that you jump into the ring of an ultimate fighting event if your only fighting experience comes from reading some karate books. Knowhow, in particular, resides primarily in humans' nervous systems. It is the instinctive way in which the musician plays guitar, the fluidity with which the artist draws, and the dexterity with which the truck driver backs up an eighteen-wheeler. It is not in books.

Opening the review with differences in our economic beliefs, I do not mean that Hidalgo's are orthogonal to mine. He has more beautiful examples of comparative advantage and specialization than the most eloquent economists. In the previous quote,I think that he out-Hayeked Hayek on "The Knowledge Problem." It is not only distributed among multiple people's minds; it is also distributed in objects, tools, and skills.

Specialization, too, takes an extra dimension when this additional knowledge is considered

This is the combinatorial creativity that emerges from our species' ability to crystallize imagination. If Jimmy Page had to mine metals and build his own guitars, we would probably have not been able to enjoy "Stairway to Heaven." If Ernest Hemingway had to construct his own pens, manufacture paper, and invent the printing press, he probably would not have been able to write The Old Man and the Sea. By the same token, if I had to build my own laptop, you would not be reading this book. So the knowledge amplification powers of the economy are essential to liberate the creative capacities that allow our species to create new products-- which continue to augment us-- and endow us with new forms of artistic expression.
The physical embodiment of information is the blood of our society. Objects and messages connect us, allowing us to push the growth of information even further. For tens of thousands of years we have embodied information in solid objects, from arrows and spears to espresso machines and jetliners. More recently, we have learned to embody information in photons transmitted by our cellphones and wireless routers. Yet, what is most amazing about the information that we embody is not the physicality of the encasing but the mental genesis of the information that we encase. Humans do not simply deposit information in our environment, we crystallize imagination.

Crystallized imagination embedded into objects like toothpaste and guitars:
Guitars allow us to "sing" with our hands by combining knowledge of the Pythagorean scale with expertise about the right wood for building a guitar and how to shape it. If the guitar is electric, it will also embody knowledge of how the music's sound waves can be captured using a transducer, and how these sounds can be amplified for many of us to enjoy. All of these are capacities that are needed to make music, at least the kind of music that requires a loud electric guitar. Yet these do not need to be capacities of the musician. The musician accesses the practical uses of this knowledge through the guitar, and in doing so, he is augmented by being endowed with the capacity to sing with his hands.

Hidlago challenges not only my economic ideas, but a bit of my livelihood and the book I am working on for my employer. It has been asked before, but if you end up on the proverbial desert island, or a suddenly depopulated planet Earth, what are your chances to rebuild civilization and modernity -- even with a laptop and the entire internet on a very large thumb drive. "Let's, see, fabricating microprocessors..." You would need so many things, and tools, and skill sets. The well worn sci-fi story in which the time traveler is accepted as a genius for his amazing inventions just doesn't work. If I beam back to 1800 with blueprints for an iPhone, I'll be burned as a witch -- not hailed as Steve Jobs. (Just wondering... did Job's weigh the same as a duck?)

The economic downside to accepting Hidalgo is that he explains why you can't turn Lagos or Lubbock into the new Silicon Valley, though people never stop trying. Capital chases comparative advantage, not low wages -- Hidalgo points out there any many countries with far lower wage rates than China.

The book ends with large economies as examples of the most massive aggregation of "crystallized imagination." And the difficulty of solving economic disparity and inequalities. Hidlago does not champion redistribution, but he is less optimistic than most of my peeps that the introduction of property rights and good old Enlightenment Values will turn Togo into Denmark.

I am quite familiar with the general exploitation narrative, having spent the first twenty-four years of my life in the long strip of coast and mountains known as Chile. Chile has a long mining tradition or as I like to say, Chile is heavily involved in "atomic ranching." But this was not always the case. During the nineteenth century Chile's wealth came mostly from the export of saltpeter, a mineral used as a fertilizer and as an ingredient in gunpowder. Saltpeter made the Chilean economy boom. At the turn of the twentieth century Chile had an income per capita that was larger than that of Spain, Sweden, or Finland.

Until you crazy kids synthesized saltpeter and left his homeland wasting away. Until Milton Friedman, oh, and Copper.
The only connection between Chile and the history of electricity comes from the fact that the Atacama Desert is full of copper atoms, which, just like most Chileans, were utterly unaware of the electric dreams that powered the passion of Faraday and Tesla. As the inventions that made these atoms valuable were created, Chile retained the right to hold many of these atoms hostage. Now Chile can make a living out of them. This brings us back to the narrative of exploitation we described earlier. The idea of crystallized imagination should make it clear that Chile is the one exploiting the imagination of Faraday, Tesla, and others, since it was the inventors' imagination that endowed copper atoms with economic value.

Chile is exploiting the imagination of Tesla and Faraday that endowed Copper atoms with economic value. If that does not make you line up to buy this interesting and amazing book, I am not sure my five stars will -- but I'll award them anyway. It is a great book.

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

November 13, 2015

Let's talk about what "a feeling of safety and community" really means

Recent events on American college campuses notwithstanding, the actions of some people truly do manifest feelings of fear for one's safety - for one's very life.

40 dead. Then 60 dead. Hostages taken, being murdered one by one.

Really, pampered collegians. Grow the f*** up. Wake the f*** up. Pull your entitled, coddled, play-Marxist heads out of your uptight asses.

UPDATE: If Charlie Hebdo was "France's 9/11" then this may have to be considered her Pearl Harbor. But really, the attack last January was the wake-up call:

Now, for the first time for many Parisians, France is on the brink of following in America's footsteps.

"It is a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity," Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Saturday in a speech south of Paris.

On Wednesday, al Qaeda and the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, underscored Valls' words by releasing videos mobilizing supporters within France's borders to further terrorize the country.

France has been an active member of the U.S-led coalition against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, which has been largely aimed at preventing the militant group from coming to the West. Now, the country must launch its own "war on terror," both internally and externally.

But nanobrewer thinks:

And here was Obama on Sunday saying ISIS had been 'contained' (to bombing planes over the sinai?).

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 14, 2015 1:42 AM

A Little Fun on Friday


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 3:52 PM | What do you think? [0]

November 12, 2015

Why let anyone teach you to doubt yourself?

You have a human mind no less capable than those who claim, usually without cause, to be your "better." In fact, if you organize your mind properly it will probably be more capable than most others.

From yesterday's comment link to "Philosophy: Who Needs It?"

"Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation -- or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by your subconscious into a kind of mongrel philosophy and fused into a single, solid weight: self-doubt."
A great book. Highly recommended. And quite brief, particularly when standing beside Atlas Shrugged.
But nanobrewer thinks:

A perfect set up of one my favorite quotes:

When a culture's dominant trend is geared to irrationality, the thugs win over the appeasers. When intellectual leaders fail to foster the best in the mixed, unformed, vacillating character of people at large, the thugs are sure to bring out the worst. When the ablest men turn into cowards, the average men turn into brutes."

- "Altruism as Appeasement," January 1966.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 12, 2015 4:11 PM

All Hail Taranto!


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 2:13 PM | What do you think? [0]

Sen. Rubio's Library

Okay, I said I don't like memes, but:


Hat-tip: Brother Bryan on Facebook.

But johngalt thinks:

"Ru-bio, Ru-bio, is a trade school hero,
Who can weld you under the table."

Posted by: johngalt at November 12, 2015 2:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahahahahahaha! You MUST put that on Bryan's FB.

Posted by: jk at November 12, 2015 3:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Made it so.

Posted by: johngalt at November 12, 2015 3:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Noted. Liked.

Posted by: jk at November 12, 2015 3:52 PM



I Will


Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


November 11, 2015

Carly's Jet vs,. Hillary's Jet

Why, just last week Brothar jg hinted at a possible double standard. HP bought a jet! How Irresponsible!


EXCLUSIVE: Hillary hops on carbon-spewing private Learjet after winning endorsement from environmental group that says fighting global warming is its 'top priority'

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 6:29 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Last week? This afternoon!

She has downsized though, it would seem. The Lear 60 is a puddle jumper compared to the Gulfstream she once DEMANDED. Baby steps.

Posted by: johngalt at November 11, 2015 7:04 PM

All Hail Taranto!

The worst comment in this regard came from Marco Rubio: "For the life of me, I don't know why we have stigmatized vocational education. Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers."

That should be "fewer philosophers," but we quibble. -- James Taranto

But johngalt thinks:

Not "less" or even "fewer" but better.

Posted by: johngalt at November 11, 2015 3:52 PM


I really hate to play in this space. But Education has been in the news. including embedded video of the entitled Yalie who must be protected from Halloween costumes.

Umm, how about a look at the Mizzou Hunger Striker?

Jonathan Butler, a central figure in the protests at the University of Missouri, is an Omaha native and the son of a railroad vice president, the Omaha World-Herald reports.

Butler refused food last week in a move to force the university system's president, Timothy M. Wolfe, from office. Wolfe resigned Monday and Butler ended his hunger strike.

Jonathan Butler played high-school football at Omaha Central High, where he won a state championship, and earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Mizzou, the newspaper reports. He is working toward a master's degree in educational leadership and policy.

He is a member of a prominent Omaha family. The newspaper says that Butler's father is Eric L. Butler, executive vice president for sales and marketing for the Union Pacific Railroad. His 2014 compensation was $8.4 million, according to regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Pobrecita. Life is soooo hard for an athletic star with a forthcoming postgraduate degree whose dad makes $8 million a year. With all the, y'know, white privilege and all.

Hat-tip: Gateway Pundit

Education Posted by John Kranz at 2:10 PM | What do you think? [1]
But nanobrewer thinks:

Interesting column in the
Wa. Free Beacon comparing the demise of Tim Wolfe with an increase in the regard (in the author's view) of Tom Wolfe, saying the Mizzou fracas could have come right out of _Charlotte Simmons_.

Continetti aslo Quotes Wolfe as saying (not sure when);

The Republican Party as now constituted is obviously too stupid to survive

I think he's right, except for 6-8 rather exceptional men/women running for the presidential nomination....

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 13, 2015 1:23 PM

November 10, 2015

Brother JG's Alma Mater . . .

I can see him bursting with pride!

Hat-tip: Federalist

Education Posted by John Kranz at 6:47 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

There IS no reason for college tuition to be $30,000 per year. Except #BecauseGovernment.

Everybody does want free college tuition, it's just that nobody wants to teach anything for free. Greedy bastard teachers.

EVERYBODY loves socialism, because it is cute and furry and purrs.

And "accumulation" of wealth beyond some undefined limit is downright slimy! To those who've never cashed a paycheck.

Hey, Mister no more "free-market doing whatever the hell it wants to do." The government is now going to "take action" to make the economy "fair" and "equal." We're starting with you: Your major will be assigned. Your courses will be assigned. Your free-time activities will be assigned. Your job, your career, your medical care, your family, your retirement, your place of residence - all assigned. No more doing "whatever the hell you want to do." Kapish?

Great interview technique. FeelTheSquirm

Posted by: johngalt at November 11, 2015 3:49 PM

Gardner voted no

Submitted for your perusal: Senator Gardner's reply to my request that he vote down the Budget "deal." A little better than shouting at clouds? He is thorough, and nearly always writes back with this level of attention.

Dear Mr. Gregory,

Thank you for contacting me regarding government funding and the debt limit. I appreciate you taking the time to write. It is an honor to serve you in the United States Senate and I hope you will continue to write with your thoughts and ideas on moving our country forward.

On March 4, 2015, Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-PA) introduced H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, a budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. On October 28, 2015, the House of Representatives passed this measure by a vote of 266-167, and subsequently passed in the Senate on October 30, 2015, by a vote of 64-35. While I recognize the importance of preserving the full faith and credit of the United States, I could not in good conscience support the Bipartisan Budget Act as it does not include enough reforms to control long-term spending.

Our country's debt currently exceeds $18 trillion. Under this legislation, the debt limit will be suspended until March 2017. It is more important now than ever that Congress act responsibly and make the tough but necessary choices to rein in this Administration's spending spree. Our spending-driven debt crisis threatens the very future of this country, and it is far past time that Congress acts to address it and return us to a path of fiscal prosperity.

During my time in Congress, I have worked to enact responsible reforms through spending cuts and deficit reduction. I, along with Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), offered an amendment to this bill, which would require that any increase in the debt limit approved by Congress and the President be accompanied by a dollar-for-dollar decrease in regulatory burden for every new dollar of debt. Unfortunately, this amendment was not considered during the budget debate.

The government must be held accountable to the American taxpayers who consistently express frustration with Washington's reckless regard for the mounting debt that we are passing on to our children and grandchildren. Families in Colorado and across the country work hard to ensure they live within their means, and Congress must do the same. Please rest assured, I will continue to work to address our nation's spending and level of debt.

Again, thank you for contacting me, and do not hesitate to do so again when an issue is important to you.


Cory Gardner
United States Senator

Congress Posted by nanobrewer at 6:36 PM | What do you think? [0]

But nanobrewer thinks:

This man truly has a dizzying intellect:

Yet a warning should occur when these stars align and we find ourselves feeling self-righteous about a belief that apparently means more to us than the preservation of good standards of evidence.

Stars? Is this climatology, astronomy or astrology?

Within the dark recesses of confirmation bias, an entire field of academic inquiry (behavioral economics) now proposes to explain whole swaths of human behavior based on such mental foibles.

He should know; this is full of them!! But this is my favorite:

So how to tell a fact from an opinion? By the time we sit down to evaluate the evidence for a scientific theory, it is probably too late.

That's right; don't wait, don't evaluate, don't think - just believe!! Interestingly, the comments section has a pretty even split of "skeptics" vs. "believers" (a term coined by one commentator).

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 11, 2015 12:49 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Ah yes, John Oliver, the world-renowned stand-up comedian of epistemology!

Does human activity change the climate?
Do owls exist?
Does God look like Charleton Heston or Rae Dawn Chong?

I could only muster a strong enough intellectual curiosity to read the first paragraph. I added in the last paragraph, just in pursuit of fairness.

Read this and ask yourself, who is really "denying" something, and what is it?

True skepticism must be more than an ideological reflex; skepticism must be earned by a prudent and consistent disposition to be convinced only by evidence. When we cynically pretend to withhold belief long past the point at which ample evidence should have convinced us that something is true, we have stumbled past skepticism and landed in the realm of willful ignorance. This is not the realm of science, but of ideological crackpots.

Denialist, heal thyself.

Posted by: johngalt at November 11, 2015 4:02 PM

Satire is Dead

How can it compete? Mizzou Communications Prof Melissa Glick is lighting up social media with her reaction of "Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle over here." Odd response from an adjunct professor at the J School.

James Taranto has researched her Curriculum Vitae:

According to her online bio, her "current research projects involve 50 Shades of Grey readers, the impact of social media in fans' relationship with Lady Gaga, masculinity and male fans, messages about class and food in reality television programming, and messages about work in children's television programs." She earned her doctorate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with a dissertation titled "It's 'a Good Thing': The Commodification of Femininity, Affluence, and Whiteness in the Martha Stewart Phenomenon."

Sounds like a real page turner.

Why, why, why, are we sending children to these places?

Education Posted by John Kranz at 3:50 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Why, why, why are our public universities hiring these vacuous, insecure, busybodies to "teach" the impressionable youth?

Posted by: johngalt at November 11, 2015 12:07 PM

Your Secretary Clinton "Cackle of the Day"

In other news, Dr. Ben Carson is in considerable trouble for his not correcting a questioner who called President Obama "A Black Muslim."

Yet, he has a point. That the CEO failed to find, admire, retain, and promote this star employee speaks poorly of her leadership skills.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 3:37 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

It is rich to see Mrs. Clinton shake her head in disgust at, "she bought two jets to fly executives around instead of using commercial aircraft." Clearly that is capricious extravagance on the part of Fiorina and her fat-cat corporate friends, and Hillary Antoinette Clinton is above such pettiness.

Posted by: johngalt at November 11, 2015 12:16 PM

November 9, 2015

A Nation of Laws? Anybody?

Kurt Mix has his Harvey Silverglate moment

At 6:30 a.m. on April 24, 2012, federal agents, wearing Kevlar vests and with guns drawn, raided my home in Katy, Texas, with a warrant for my arrest. This was as shocking to me as it would be for any normal, law-abiding citizen.

I'm not a drug dealer, violent criminal or money launderer. I'm an engineer. In 2010 I helped stop the BP oil spill after an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig left a damaged well spilling crude directly into the Gulf of Mexico.

They wanted to throw somebody in jail. Mister Mix had a pulse and had -- I hope you are sitting down -- deleted a couple text message threads.
Looking back now at the Justice Department's conduct, I realize that I made one egregious error: I naïvely believed that the task force simply wanted the truth. I was certain that once it had the full record of my actions, everything would be fine, and the trauma my family and I had gone through would end.

I was in for a rude awakening. Facts were not what the investigators wanted. They wanted a conviction. They wanted to prove to the public that their lengthy, expensive investigation was successful. And success meant conviction. I had banked on the truth saving me, but the truth was not enough.


I did my job with honor and professionalism. I served the public's best interests. For this, I was hounded for four years and threatened with up to four decades in a federal penitentiary.

Unlike a Harvey Silverglate story [Review Corner], Mix did not get 40 years in the calaboose. After just four years of ruinious litigation, he was offered a misdemeanor plea -- to something he didn't do of course, but he can go back to work.

I hate to mix outrages, but it is upsetting both from the Siverglate, three-felonies-a-day perspective and the unfavorable comparison to Sec. Clinton's treatment. If anybody wanted a "collar" (I watch TV, too!) it's there for the taking. Mix admitted readily to the deletions and cooperated extensively to recover them.

A nation of law. Riiiiiight.

But johngalt thinks:
It is a grave error to suppose that a dictatorship rules a nation by means of strict, rigid laws which are obeyed and enforced with rigorous, military precision. Such a rule would be evil, but almost bearable; men could endure the harshest edicts, provided these edicts were known, specific and stable; it is not the known that breaks men’s spirits, but the unpredictable. A dictatorship has to be capricious; it has to rule by means of the unexpected, the incomprehensible, the wantonly irrational; it has to deal not in death, but in sudden death; a state of chronic uncertainty is what men are psychologically unable to bear.

"Antitrust: The Rule of Unreason," The Objectivist Newsletter, Feb. 1962, 5

From Law, Objective and Non-Objective at the Ayn Rand Lexicon

There is a memorable scene in Atlas Shrugged Part 2, in Hank Rearden's steel mill, when the government regulator blithely boasts to Mr. Rearden that, "A law is of no value whatsoever, until the right person violates it."

Posted by: johngalt at November 10, 2015 2:59 PM

New Category - Hail Hail Fire and Snow...

This could as easily have gone under "politics" since it has become a prominent feature in Democrat strategy, but I put it under "philosophy" because it has an epistemological basis - in the name of the "pure principle" of the prophet of equality, anything goes. Including "The enemy have discovered our operation. They must be annihilated."

"Hail hail fire and snow. Call the angel, we will go... far away... for to see... friendly angel come to me."

The problem with democracy...

Well maybe not the problem with democracy, but one of them at least... and a big one at that, is that people like this are entitled to vote.

[warning: Language]

In a just society, what is the proper response to this child-like anti-social behavior?

But jk thinks:

Baa, baa, baa...

Posted by: jk at November 9, 2015 3:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"An invasion of civilization..."

Posted by: johngalt at November 9, 2015 3:38 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

What were they protesting?

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 10, 2015 12:33 AM
But jk thinks:

Well, it's not as if it was frivolous. The dean said they were not going to prosecute inappropriate Halloween costumes and that people should chill a bit.

Posted by: jk at November 10, 2015 11:19 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"BE QUIET!" That's what got me.

Silence, knave, while I lecture you about your duty to silence others. Who am I - the student, the malleable mind who sought out the confines of this academy (for what purposes one can only imagine) - to so demand your immediate obedience to my will? I am the Master of the Universe: the member of an officially recognized, sanctioned and protected class of putatively oppressed persons - empowered by the very denizens of this academy, and others like it.

Posted by: johngalt at November 10, 2015 3:09 PM
But jk thinks:

That struck me as well. The profane screaming seemed banal although one would hope for better from a Yale senior. The Marie Antoinetteish truncation of his defense spoke to an entitlement that is discomfiting.

As Taranto would say" "Shut Up, she explained."

Posted by: jk at November 10, 2015 3:34 PM

November 8, 2015

Review Corner

I could never bear to see Koch stagnating. From very early on at the company, I've wanted to prevent that by creating the same conditions inside Koch that lead to long-term prosperity in society. Guided by the similarities between societies and organizations, I introduced basic economic concepts such as opportunity cost, subjective value, and comparative advantage.

These concepts were often taught in economics departments and business schools, but they were rarely applied in the schools themselves, or in most businesses.

I was up late last night thinking of clever "Koch Brothers Shill" jokes to introduce my review of Good Profit: How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World's Most Successful Companies. But I have lost my particular humor about that. One can disagree with Charles Koch as much as one wants, but the vilification is unwarranted and uniquely un-American. The Minority Leader insults him routinely on the floor of the US Senate. Not calling out Hitler, or Osama bin Laden, but a US businessman who has donated to the opposition. The media, Jon Stewart fanboys, and Citizens United haters all pile on. It is truly sad.

But this is a review. Koch acknowledges his opposition gracefully. "I receive a lot of mail (including death threats-- 153 of them in 2014 alone)."

The book is about applying the principles of a free market economy to corporate management.As John Allison [Review Corner] reified Ayn Rand's ideas to run BB&T, Koch is a devotee of Hayek, Schumpeter, Bastiat, Tocqueville, Adam Smith, Thomas Sowell, and has incorporated their ideas into Market-Based Management (MBM). The book is not a philosophical treatise so much as a how-to manual for applying MBM. A manager at a Koch company would need a well worn highlighted copy on her desk (troglodyte Midwesterner Koch uses feminine pronouns throughout the book, by the way). But any businessperson could learn a lot. And a lover of these economic philosophies can certainly enjoy seeing some application beyond politics and abstract thought.

We can't squander resources by having our valuable talent applying continuous improvement to something that will create $100,000 in value when they can make a more radical improvement that could create $10 million in value.

That's why we replaced Deming's continuous improvement with Schumpeter's creative destruction. Creative destruction was more fundamental and more substantive. Continuous improvement, while beneficial, could mean just making modest incremental improvements to something that is becoming obsolete.

Koch buys some pulp plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin (I'm not going to mention the Broncos 29-10 victory here, that would be uncalled for). The new owners are detailing MBM and Charles hears the workers saying "oh, another one." Since the firm's 1910 founding, they had seen a host of "vison/pholosophies/management patterns" The manufacturing firm I work for has, too. One COO was into "Kaizen," micro-continuous improvement practiced by Toyota. I suggested one project was a better choice for "Banzai!" than Kaizen, thinking it too broken to fix. I wish I had had Schumpeter for that meeting; I lost that argument.
Short-term profits, while necessary, are not sufficient for long-term business success. Each business must take to heart what Schumpeter called capitalism's essential role: driving "the perennial gale of creative destruction."2 To succeed in the long term, a business must innovate and improve at least as fast as its most effective competitor.

The elephant appears in the room again. Koch's companies make money, quite a bit, by utilizing extracted resources well: wood, petroleum, capital, and people are most profitable when used efficiently. Koch's John Zink Hamworthy Combustion subsidiary came up with effective means to capture flaring gases and convert it into fuel or feedstock. That saves CO2 emissions and prevents wasted hydrocarbons better than a stack of EPA regulations. Long-term value versus short term profit . . . you'd think you were listening to NYAG Eliot Spitzer.
Some see conservation and profit as being at odds with one another. But when understood through the lens of our Guiding Principles, it becomes clear that they are, in fact, in harmony. Creative destruction necessitates that we discover better ways not only to create value for customers, but to eliminate waste and minimize the use of resources in order to create superior long-term results.

Property rights appear in MBM as decision rights. The best place for authority on a particular item might be the boardroom (self-insuring to minimize moral hazard and cut costs across all Koch companies) or on the shop floor (bringing a machine down for unscheduled maintenance).
Understanding and applying this concept-- that the person with the comparative advantage to make that decision well (not necessarily the highest-ranking person) should be the decision maker-- leads to greater value creation. This is often a hard lesson to accept for people with highly specialized expertise who are used to being in charge.

Beyond Profit -- a word from which he does not hide, "Good Profit" is creating value, bad is rent-seeking -- MBM has been applied to safety and compliance with stunning results. Koch has bought plants that have 100 injuries a year with the workers just accepting that the occupation is dangerous. Proper application of decision rights have brought these down to single digits.

Review Corner readers will know that I like abstract theory. I'm deducting one star from an obvious five star book because if you are not applying these directly to a business, some of those sections can seem a little long. But, how can one give any less than four to a book where one chapter opens with both a quote from Hayek and from Monty Python.

But, although the future is unknowable, it is not unimaginable. As Ludwig von Mises put it: "The entrepreneurial idea that carries on and brings profit is precisely that idea which did not occur to the majority. It is not correct foresight as such that yields profits, but foresight better than that of the rest. The prize goes only to the dissenters, who do not let themselves be misled by the errors accepted by the multitude."

But, Mister Koch, if you're reading this, I might be induced to provide that fifth star . . . perhaps there is some accommodation . . .

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:04 AM | What do you think? [1]
But nanobrewer thinks:
better choice ... "Banzai!" than Kaizen, thinking [the project] too broken to fix
Fascinating! A good leader to the fact that I've been turned down for a Quality job at Spectra Logic, that was surely heading down a 21st century road (data-driven quality process, QMS, etc...) on a frontage road down the Kaizen freeway.

Sooo, what sort of Hardware Engineer is JG?

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 12, 2015 4:34 PM

November 7, 2015

Outsourcing my opinions

Read a little, but not everything. I'm going with democracy. In true advantage-voting style vote for as many as you'd like:

[_] Yes, the press is slime. But Dr. Ben Carson was imprecise in his remarks about West Point, and a true Presidential contender from a major party should be more cautious.

[_] Yes, the press is slime. A teenager misinterpreted a complex issue and this is a non-event.

[x] Yes, the press is slime. Like anybody ever looked President Obama's academic records -- yeah, right!

[_] Yes, the press is slime. The D.H. caters to specialization and division of labor; clearly Adam Smith and David Ricardo would be A.L. guys.

Plurality opinions of my blog brothers will represent my deepest held convictions until I die (except for the DH.)

But nanobrewer thinks:

I object to this blatant push-polling, being affronted at not having the choice to pick
"the press is warmed-over goat droppings, floating on a crusty, orange bog that even the maggots can't touch"

As far as Mr. Carson's writings, I choose
"A teenager misinterpreted a complex issue and this is a non-event" especially mis-representing WP as having scholarships....

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 8, 2015 5:48 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I stand corrected: heard a clip of Dr. Carson schooling the uber-cool and utterly clueless Stephanopolous about how West Point does indeed refer to scholarship opportunities.

Gorgeous George was unswayed from his narrative which was stated in a flagrantly inflationary language "all the things you've said or written that are at odds with the public records or what people have said at the time." To which he immediately returned to - like the robot he is - after Carson corrected him on WP scholarships.

Make that 'regurgitated goat droppings....

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 9, 2015 3:17 PM

November 6, 2015

Climate Politics

Not to be confused with climate science.

On October 13, the Republican chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee subpoenaed NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan.:

"It was inconvenient for this administration that climate data has clearly showed no warming for the past two decades," Smith said in a statement. "The American people have every right to be suspicious when NOAA alters data to get the politically correct results they want and then refuses to reveal how those decisions were made. NOAA needs to come clean about why they altered the data to get the results they needed to advance this administration's extreme climate change agenda." [emphasis mine]

At issue are "documents stemming from deliberative scientific discussions that took place before the study's end product was final," that were deliberately withheld according to NOAA spokesman Ciaran Clayton.

"We have provided data (all of which is publicly available online), supporting scientific research, and multiple in person briefings. We stand behind our scientists who conduct their work in an objective manner. …We have provided all of the information the committee needs to understand this issue."

Do legal defendants get to decide when the prosecutor has enough information to "understand this issue?"

Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil is under a broad subpoena of records over the past ten years by the New York Attorney General for investigation of lying to the public about the risks of climate change.

No, this is not a joke. I have not made any of this up for comedic effect.


Related - Hillary "Clinton said last week that the Department of Justice should investigate ExxonMobil for allegedly withholding data related to climate change, saying that there is "a lot of evidence they misled people."

Completely UN-related (OBviously) - "USA TODAY has confirmed that sponsors from 2014 that have backed out for this year include electronics company Samsung, oil giant ExxonMobil, ..."

But nanobrewer thinks:

I saw this on PowerLine, with the comment that really frosted me: where the NOAA director declined the subpoena citing: "integrity of the scientific process"

Since when does science hide data and processes? Because Barack Obama, that's when!

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 6, 2015 4:53 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Nyuuupe; it was National Review with the excellent title: The Calcification of Climate Science.

The issue is the director of NOAA's NCEI center, Thomas R. Karl wrote a short paper to Science refuting "The Pause" in warming, apparently, once again, by adjusting past data in another effort to hide the pause.

The full quote is from an article in The Hill:

confidentiality concerns and the integrity of the scientific process

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 6, 2015 5:53 PM

November 5, 2015

Jon Caldera on "The Shellacking"

Not quite sunshine, but he's trying

I won't sugarcoat it. It was a shellacking.

But think what the enemies of reform had to do. In order to win they had to embrace our policies. This is amazing.

In order to win the JeffCo recall, all the replacement candidates campaigned that they wouldn't reverse the policies of the reform board. They campaigned that they wouldn't return to funding charter schools less than other schools. They campaigned that they'd keep pay-for-preformance. They won't close a new charter school that's freeing 500 children to get better educations. They have a new, first-in-the-nation union contract which ends seniority, payroll dues deductions, and ends a coin-flip to decide teacher employment (yes, literally).

For those familiar with the term, the Overton Window in education reform has moved dramatically in Colorado, and in order for the unions to win they had to embrace that change. They could only run the recall on personal attacks, the board is "disrespectful," and fibs, "the board violated open meetings laws." They couldn't and didn't run on the policy changes made. Wow.

Yeah, but. Cannot one file this away with Sen, Harry Reid's getting the NRA endorsement? It's okay if they win and enact their policies as long as they lie?

UPDATE: In a similar vein . . . Complete Colorado

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 2:20 PM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

Not quite. The point is, they can't enact all of their policies. At least not right away. They have to lull their opposition back into the complacency that was the hallmark of the pre-TEA Party era.

The other point is that our ideas are RIGHT and POPULAR, and the other side KNOWS it. In other words, we're winning. Keep playing. And do it with smiles on our faces!

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2015 3:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

P.S. Thanks for posting. I got this from Independence Institute yesterday via email and wanted to link it in response to the comment thread one post down. You're a better interwebs sleuth than I.

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2015 3:03 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Yes, Caldera is on Mike Rosen right now reporting on this. I was hoping on this.... and the Independence Institute (and Complete Colorado) now have a leg up on 9News (wait for the "MSM=Super PAC" theme to continue!). Shoot, I might just sign up to be an I2I intern there... they's what sends a shiver up MY leg!

He's saying the reforms were fantastically popular - union contract is down to 40 pages (from 120), they must strike (if they must) in the Summer (!); automatic dues deductions also gone... that's terrific.

Still, not a good day, but surely the hijinks, out of state money and bad reporting can provide lots of fodder for future writing... the unions have their folks, but we have the I2I, and now Complete Colorado (which looks a lot like Drudge...).

Also this from Ross Izard

This election has proven that while powerful interests can win elections, they cannot kill ideas.

I also want to quote Pyhrrus after Asulum:
"If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined"

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 5, 2015 3:53 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

ahh, typing; the quote was from the battle of Asculum, which with Beneventum are counted as the original examples of Pyhrric victories.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 5, 2015 4:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Didja hear the female caller who was disappointed that Rosen and Caldera were dismissing the wishes of the 2/3 majority who wanted a change?

Rosen asked her if she liked performance based pay? "No." And a couple other examples of "our policies" that the replacement candidates didn't dare say they opposed. "No."

Caldera asked her why she voted to recall and seat new board members who promised to continue the exact same policies? She refused to answer.

I'll answer: Because she knows full well that despite the public statements in support of the reform agenda, the replacement candidates will do everything they can to return Jeffco public schools to "business as usual" i.e. "It's called the TEACHERS union, not the STUDENTS AND PARENTS union."

But like the candidates themselves, the caller didn't dare let the truth slip past her lips.

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2015 7:11 PM

November 4, 2015



Here, There and Everywhere


Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


Permission to be despondent?

Last week, we had some good-natured persiflage about the geographical spread of leftism eastward from Boulder. Last night's election results are in, and it's over. My home state is lost, and my home state would be required for a realistic chance to spread liberty through the democratic process.

I'll give a brief explanation of these issues for our non Centennial State readers. They truly have national implications in both philosophy and tactics.

The big one was the recall of the "reform board" in Jefferson County. This screengrab captures it completely:

Caption: Union stooges rejoice at another generation of lost children.

Three board members chose to buck the Teachers' Unions and the State's Educational-Financial complex. They increased teachers' pay but instituted merit pay. They challenged the AP History curriculum and even the governing board admitted they were right and instituted changes. They built a new school without debt.

Now these folks are not polished politicians. They made a bucket of enemies in the media, academia, and investment banking community (a new school without bonds? Hey, my kids have to eat Chateaubriand too!). Facing hostile questioning, they made some unforced errors. But these three are exhibit A: proving that citizens can get involved and make a difference. Hahahahahaha! I just slay myself -- no, the Unions got them recalled, almost 2-1.

JeffCo is the "swing" county of our swing state. It has long been said that as JeffCo's suburban moms go, so goes the nation. Well, the nation is going down the tubes. No chance that Colorado will send a GOP senator or any GOP electors in 2016. No chance that the GOP will move toward more liberty positions to attract Mountain Libertarians to capture our ten votes.

Lowell George sang about "weed, whites and wine." The second and more expected loss was about "weed, TABOR, and schools." You have to almost tip your hats at the opposition for this setup.

Colorado's TAxpayer Bill Of Rights (TABOR) is the most magnificent piece of legislation since the Tenth Amendment: government revenues cannot grow faster than population and inflation. If they collect a windfall or seek to outspend, they must ask the voters for approval.

Well, they got a windfall with marijuana tax revenue: a bong-water-firehose of money right into the capitol. TABOR dictates that they have to ask the voters whether they may keep it. So they position it, not as a general rebate, but a rebate to the sellers and tax holiday for users, versus . . . . wait for it . . . more money for schools! Truly South Park worthy, we were asked whether money should go to schools or dope dealers. My side lost.

It's over. Life in a dying empire can be pretty good for a while.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 9:39 AM | What do you think? [10]
But jk thinks:

Ah! So next year, when the unions play fairly, and there is no skulduggery, everything will be fine. I was worried for a moment.

I did not really speak to tactics in my post, but much of my despondency is at seeing their success and expecting more of the same.

I enjoyed this apology from 9News (thanks to Colorado Peak Politics), but this election was all mail-in ballots. The lies were postmarked before the truth could look for its trousers.

Posted by: jk at November 4, 2015 12:47 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

No, next election when the unions/PP are pulled in 25 different directions, the vox populi will be better represented with higher turnout.

Permission granted, but not encouraged. It is disappointing that we lost another WALKER moment (and agreed, JK, that the board probably overreached and made too many enemies), but let us note:
- successful recalls in 2013 of Edie Hudak, John Morse and Angela Giron;
- Tea Party'ists (McConnel's vanquished foe) moving into the KY Governor's Mansion (here's hoping Bevan/Hampton become rising stars); GOP now controls 64% of governorship's.
- Even the WaPo is saying Just like the midterms one year ago, it was another awful night for Democrats {hmm, rejecting legalized pot in Ohio noted as a victory for conservatives... I'm holding back on endorsing that one...}
- one can hope the Union's heavy hand in JeffCo and DougCo at least force new boards to acknowledge some of the reforms as useful, and a new, big baleful eye will now be on them for _results_.
- trust in media is at all-time low (Gallup, late Sept. before the CNBC catastrophe)
- pre-election polls once again as wrong as wrong can be (and of course biased towards Dems), thereby throwing Dems into panic.

On that last point, check my assumption: I believe your FB foils will be even more shrill (as if that's possible) in the vein: "the GOP needs change, or will cease to exist as a party." Mine have (and I shun politics on FB) gone from seeing this sort of thing twice per annum, to twice a month!

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 4, 2015 12:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Some good perspective there, nb. Yes, I was suggesting a larger turnout would have made it closer. But that's not enough. We have to do a better job of retail democracy.

If you followed my CPP link above you could have read this:

If this was a call to action for conservatives, it's a call to organize. To run disciplined and ruthless campaigns. To undercut the union at every turn and to expose unions as the liars they are. To bring boots on the ground and run a 24/7, 365-day-per-year campaign.

Easier said than done, but I see positive developments in party operations toward this end.

Posted by: johngalt at November 4, 2015 1:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Even more surprising was the failed Douglas County reelection bid of some conservative school board members. As shown here, Republican turnout was higher than Democrat and unaffiliated COMBINED. What gives?

Posted by: johngalt at November 4, 2015 4:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Oh, yeah, bad news from Douglass too. Thanks for reminding me :)

Posted by: jk at November 4, 2015 6:43 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Ah yes, DougCo too. Well, a wave is a wave... I think there was a teacher-based hate wave that swept along many parents (several called into KHOW this AM: "I voted for the Conservative reformers AND for their recall!"). Too much change (including financial), too soon... not enough time to let the reforms prove themselves, maybe?

We can blame our grass roots folks for the aforementioned 2013 recalls as well. We 'mericans generally don't issue recalls for no-confidence, instead reserve them for malfeasance. D'oh!

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 4, 2015 11:43 PM

November 3, 2015

Eleventh Commandment Anybody?

I was a big supporter of then-Rep. John Kasich (Ex-HOSS - OH) in 2000. He dropped out and threw his support to Gov. Bush and I went along. But I do need to give the guy props. He was a Spirit of '94 guy and desrves approbation for his contributions chairing the House Budget Committee.

So, thanks. But no thanks. The good folks at Occupy Democrats are enjoying this:

Quote of the Day

Because error is evergreen, the economics of Santa Claus still wins votes.
As we go to press, one candidate in the Democratic presidential race calls himself a socialist while another smiles and calls herself progressive.

Happy 60th birthday, National Review
So every other week in print, and daily online, National Review will try to sort it all out — and to have a good laugh, and to honor beauty and poetry when we find them. Why not be in good spirits, when we enjoy the support of our readers, the freedom in America to do what we do, and the grace of God for both?

November 2, 2015

Quote of the Day

Lifting WSJ's "Notable & Quotable." Forgive me, Rupert!

I make a distinction between intellectuals and people of intellectual achievement. . .

An intellectual feeds on indignation and really can't get by without it. The perfect example is Noam Chomsky. When Chomsky was merely the most exciting and most looked-to and, in many ways, the most profound linguist in this country if not the world, he was never spoken of as an American intellectual. Here was a man of intellectual achievement. He was not considered an intellectual until he denounced the war in Vietnam, which he knew nothing about. Then he became one of America's leading intellectuals. He remains one until this day, which finally has led to my definition of an intellectual: An intellectual is a person who is knowledgeable in one field but speaks out only in others. -- Tom Wolfe.

William "Socialism is needed to combat Climate Change" Gates could not be reached for comment...

But johngalt thinks:

Is Michael Mann not then an "intellectual?"

I believe my definition of an intellectual is more accurate: "An intellectual is a person who is an expert at finding excuses for telling other people what to do."

Posted by: johngalt at November 3, 2015 12:35 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I've always liked Wolfe's commentaries.... I'll have to read _Bonfire someday (unless someone with many titles on his reader can suggest a better title).

I do like his take: I've looked at this same problem from Boorstin's point of view, typically, but that's back when those of intellectual achievement stuck to their guns and still employed a bit of humility. I guess in the age of celebrity and 24/7 media barrage, even the intellectual has felt the need to "up" his game/image/status!

"The hero was distinguished by his achievement; the celebrity by his image or trademark. The hero created himself; the celebrity is created by the media. The hero was a big man; the celebrity is a big name." -- Daniel J. Boorstin

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 3, 2015 1:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Wolfe's statement supports the argument from authority fallacy, suggesting that one should not speak out in fields other than those where his expertise is relevant.

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

Bonfire is great as is "I Am Charlotte Simmons." Before I abandoned Conservatism, t'was included on my list of the (exactly) five conservative novels of all time.

I'm going to defend the quote by highlighting the term "only." The intellectuals chided use their authority by expecting t to transfer into every field.

Posted by: jk at November 3, 2015 3:12 PM

November 1, 2015

Review Corner

We do not know for sure why the gap opened up, but there are many good guesses. This was the British Enlightenment, summarized by the historian Roy Porter as a time when people stopped asking "How can I be saved?" -- a question that over the past century had brought little but mayhem, including a civil war -- and asked instead "How can I be happy?"
Angus Deaton won the Nobel Prize for economics this year. I figured the least I could do was to buy his book: The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality. I had heard his EconTalk podcast with Russ Roberts but was still not certain what to expect.

The topic is my favorite: mankind's making the great escape from poverty and privation, in this case compared to the 1963 film in which Steve McQueen and company escape from Stalag Luft III. The first thing that separates Deaton from the Deirdre McCloskey David Deutsch school is his pointing out that all the prisoners [SPOILER ALERT] are eventually recaptured. Deaton is no pessimist, but the choice is telling. Our gains are not "locked in." Threats exist, yet:

I find the optimistic argument the more compelling: ever since people rebelled against authority in the Enlightenment, and set about using the force of reason to make their lives better, they have found a way to do so, and there is little doubt that they will continue to win victories against the forces of death. That said, it is too optimistic to think that life expectancy in the future will grow at the same rate as it did in the past; falling rates of infant and child mortality make life expectancy grow rapidly, and that source of growth is largely gone, at least in the rich countries.

Less optimist/pessimist, this is an amazingly non-ideological work. Deaton wants to measure things accurately , and follow the data where it goes.The book is a measurement masterpiece, looking at proxies for wealth and wellbeing across time and culture. Unlike last week's selection, Deaton is clear about the limitations and benefits of proxies: life-span, size, NGP are valid measurements, but never the entire story.
Unless we understand how the numbers are put together, and what they mean, we run the risk of seeing problems where there are none, of missing urgent and addressable needs, of being outraged by fantasies while overlooking real horrors, and of recommending policies that are fundamentally misconceived.

He accepts inequality qua inequality as bad, yet makes many ThreeSoruces-friendly arguments about general well being, Pareto efficiency and inequality's natural existence as wealth is created. He is brutally honest about the failures of international aid, channeling and quoting William Easterly, yet tallies the successes in fights against AIDS, promotion of sanitation, and advances in prenatal care. Again, he does not -- ever -- state an ideology, but one thinks him pretty utilitarian, modestly looking for efficacy and benefits.
For every four years of calendar time, the world's highest life expectancy increased by a year. Oeppen and Vaupel see no reason why this long-established rate of progress should not continue. Their diagram also marks the many previous estimates of the maximum possible life expectancy, each of which was swept away by actual events; many previous sages have forecast that the gains to life span will slow or stop, and they have all been wrong.

Deaton is less worried about those forced to drive a Camry instead of a Lexus, but rather the great disparity between poor and developed countries. Accepting that so much progress has been made raising people from sub $1.25/day wages, how can we bring up the last billion?
This division of the credit for increases in well-being between income and knowledge will occupy us throughout the book. I shall argue that it is knowledge that is the key, and that income-- although important both in and of itself and as a component of wellbeing, and often as a facilitator of other aspects of wellbeing-- is not the ultimate cause of wellbeing.

If I'm doing a poor job pigeonholing this book, it's because it is tough. You could hand this to any of your Facebook friends and it would come back with some sections highlighted. Your basic economics geek will like it best, he's ready to look at the small but incontrovertible effects of smoking, the statistical difference is saving children over adults.
Saving the lives of children has a bigger effect on life expectancy than saving the lives of the elderly. A newborn who might have died but does not has the chance to live many more years, which is not the case when a 70-year-old is pulled through a life-threatening crisis. This is also one of the reasons why the rate of increase in life expectancy has slowed down in recent years; mortality among children is now so low that progress can only really take place among older adults, among whom reductions in mortality rates have smaller effects on life expectancy.
A very interesting book, and a bit of a check on everyone's ideology. Huzzah for the Nobel committee (Economics still enjoys the best picks). I'll pile five stars on the accolades.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 5:46 PM | What do you think? [2]
But nanobrewer thinks:

Pareto efficiency! I love having the proper technical term up my sleeve - "zero-sum" game/scenario isn't so evocative that it can't be replaced.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 2, 2015 10:59 AM
But jk thinks:

That's what we're here for!

Posted by: jk at November 2, 2015 12:25 PM

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