December 31, 2015

2015 - When Lying Jumped the Shark

2015 will soon be Auld Lang Syne and Thomas Sowell says, Good riddance.

Lying, by itself, is obviously not new. What is new is the growing acceptance of lying as "no big deal" by smug sophisticates, so long as these are lies that advance their political causes. Many in the media greeted the exposure of Hillary Clinton's lies by admiring how well she handled herself.

Lies are a wall between us and reality -- and being walled off from reality is the biggest deal of all. Reality does not disappear because we don't see it. It just hits us like a ton of bricks when we least expect it.

But a wise man said, "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop." So raise your glass, friend:

And thereís a hand my trusty friend!

And give me a hand oí thine!

And weíll take a right good-will draught,

for auld lang syne.

December 30, 2015

One Cheer for Donald Trump!

And he likely earned two. Why do people like him? This is why people like him.

Donald Trump last week used some typically coarse language to describe Hillary Clinton, who responded by accusing Mr. Trump of sexism while announcing that she is unleashing Bill Clinton to campaign for her. This was too ripe an opening for Mr. Trump, who is now attacking Hillary for acquiescing in Bill's predations against women.

Mr. Trump is rude and crude, but in this case he is raising an issue that rightly bears on the 2016 election campaign and the prospect of a third Clinton term. Mrs. Clinton wants to use her gender both as a political sword and shield to win the White House. The purpose is to make male politicians less willing to take her on, while reinforcing her main and not-so-subtle campaign theme that it's time to elect the first woman President.

Nobody else would really "go there" (Carly?) yet it is a destination requiring a connecting flight. A responsible press corps would point it out but -- hey, stop laughing in the back!

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds plays a column in the same key.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Yes, this is the power of The Donald. He is continually pointing out how the emperor has no clothes even if he's still got the Jester's jig down to a "tee".

His real strength is that for once [d'ya hear me Mr. Perot?) in modern GOP times is handing our side the weapons to use in the upcoming battle against The Hildebeast.

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 4, 2016 12:03 AM

Economists' Wagers

I do enjoy a public bet. Bryan Caplan puts up $200 against a CATO intern. Caplan says no recession in the next two years.

Why do I think I'll win? Base rates. U.S. quarterly GDP growth is about 3%, and there's a high short-run positive correlation for quarterly growth. So we're extremely unlikely to have negative GDP growth for the next two or three quarters. The chance we actually get two consecutive quarter of negative growth before the clock runs out therefore seems well below 50% to me, making this a good bet.

Fun stuff. But even better, at the bottom, he links to his own "The Bettor's Oath"
When I lose a bet, I will admit defeat, pay promptly, and hold my tongue -- never protesting that I was "really right." If I have caveats or reservations, I will declare them when I make the bet -- not after I lose it.

When I win a bet, I will not shame my opponent, for a betting loser has far more honor than the mass of men who live by loose and idle talk. I pledge my mind and words to the bettor's oath, for this day and all the days to come...

Unless something in this oath turns out to be wrong, an eventuality to which I assign a 3% probability.

December 29, 2015

Coffee Maker

Huh, this is pretty close to what I have been talking about.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 5:39 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Nice! Some genius there, like the 3-bean "flights."

And the plastic is even BPA-free.

Posted by: johngalt at December 30, 2015 6:27 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm considering a Kickstarter to make "BPA Spray." For $9.95 you get a bottle of water with microscopic traces of Bisphenol A you can spray on BPA-free surfaces.

If you order in the next ten minutes -- I'll double your order at no extra charge, just pay the extra Shipping & Handling. Not available in any stores. Cannot be shipped into Boulder County.

Posted by: jk at December 31, 2015 5:19 PM

Nerdian Authenticity

Thezman (all the name I can find without work) is truly on to something in [gender appropriate singular possessive pronoun] essay "Star Wars and Fake Nerds."

But we now live in the age of the fake nerd and I think that's where Star Wars fits best. The people that "fucking love science!" and watch Big Bang Theory can't shut up about Star Wars. It's another method to signal their membership in the cult of pseudo-scientism. They may never have made it past geometry in school, but they swear they grew up on comic books and were always a nerd.

Fake nerds are everywhere in the media these days. Jonah Goldberg is the one that always comes to mind when I think about this stuff. He has invested a lot of time casting himself as a bookish nerd-boy who grew up reading Batman comics and watching re-runs of Gilligan's Island. Maybe it is true or maybe it is just clever marketing. You never can know for sure with people in the media.

I would never question Jonah's Gilligan's Island scholarship, or my own, but that is just me. For the record, I do love Star Wars but am sympathetic to the suggestion that it is not great science fiction. Thezman goes on about real nerds who do not fit the stereotype.
Of course, turning science into a religion is why we have kooks like Bill Nye demanding to have skeptics thrown in prison. He's a good reminder that you can be batshit crazy and still be able to design a decent toaster. The amusement park manager, Neil deGrasse Tyson, made it through a doctoral program, but found better money in peddling pseudo-scientific nonsense to rich people.

The funny thing about the fake nerd stuff is that real nerds are usually active people who enjoy the outdoors, playing sports and doing the sorts of things normal people do. I used to play hoops with a bunch of programmers. I know a few body builders who are engineers, one is a rocket scientist at NASA. In my experience, the highly numerate tend to be a little nuts and anything but nerdish.

I don't have to stretch to imagine myself in the tribe. I have passionate, vocal interests in less popular pursuits, and I never expended much energy in conformity or traditional popularity. But my lacunae are too large and numerous: no comic book background or knowledge, I played D&D exactly once, I was good at math but probably was more of a stoner than nerd in high school. (I went to a small school, we had to have joint membership in multiple cliques to keep them staffed.)

But I do have a bucket of "I f-ing love science" Facebook friends. And I have to say I question their authenticity. They worship at the altar of Neil deGrasse Tyson, but when I recommend a cosmology book, I feel like the bacon salesman at an ISIS rally. I enjoy the group, and a handful of pro-GMO groups, but those guys get a bit on my nerves: it's all about crafting the perfect meme that "just destroys" or "pwns" the stupid folks on the Internet who are not so enlightened as we.

I have prattled on far longer than the article I linked -- it's well worth a read in full.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:47 PM | What do you think? [7]
But johngalt thinks:

As for Star Wars, I was a (high school) "kid" when the original came out in '77. Can I like it now and still be a "real" nerd?

Besides, Star Wars is and has always been more "fantasy" than "sci-fi." Get it right, z man!

Posted by: johngalt at December 29, 2015 5:30 PM
But jk thinks:

Or an "Action Flick." Even digging it, we all admitted it was a western with spaceships.

Posted by: jk at December 29, 2015 5:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Tyson and Nye aren't so much "fake" scientists, are they? But there is a superficiality, an "Oh, I read the New Yorker!" among their fandom. The discover of the Higgs Boson was their seminal event -- anything that makes a good "NOVA" episode.

Better than American Idol," I suppose, and I am certainly not above trying to punch over my intellectual weight, but they do make me nervous. I don't imagine much depth around their passion.

Posted by: jk at December 29, 2015 5:51 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. Facebook taketh away, but Facebook giveth: a cartoon. For the link shy or in case it's not public, the punchline is:

You don't love Science, you're looking at its butt when it walks by.

Posted by: jk at December 30, 2015 10:04 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Whatever their genuine scientific credentials, the moment they cross the boundary into "consensus" or rationalization of manipulated data, their entire conclusion is suspect. The short term for this is "junk science" but keeping with the term "fake nerd" I posit that junk science and "fake science" are synonymous.

Thomas McArdle touches on the difference between science fiction and science fantasy in IBD.

But it wasn't actually science fiction movies they wanted to make; it was science fantasy, like 1980's "Battle Beyond the Stars" and "Flash Gordon," both of which made back their big budgets. "Star Wars" had turned the previously meager sci-fi motion picture genre into space opera.

And yes, he makes the connection with "evidence regarding global warming."

And as I regard Star Wars as science fantasy, I also consider Star Trek to e science fiction, wherein the premises are at least internally consistent and diligently avoid any measure of "magic." The relative popularity of the fantasy Star Wars, juxtaposed with the relative unpopularity of any of the sci-fi Star Trek movies tells us something about popular attitudes toward life, the universe, and civil society. It helps explain the popular notion that government can pay for things using "magic."

Posted by: johngalt at December 30, 2015 2:59 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Just finished watching SW2 (clones, who never did attack anything that I saw). It's lousy, awful story telling with good guns, costumes, poor plotting and cheezy, plodding dialog.

Thereby, it is actually fairly decent Sci-FI.

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 2, 2016 2:24 PM

American Autocracy

National Review's Kevin Williamson writes, in describing "the Democratic party's newfound commitment to totalitarianism" that is expressed through President Obama's lawless executive orders:

But, remember, Democrats: These are your rules.

If Steven Hayes of the Weekly Standard can be deprived of his constitutional rights because his name appears on a secret presidential list, then so can Paul Krugman or Rachel Maddow. If the Second Amendment can be treated as optional at the president's discretion, then so can the First. If Pfizer can be sanctioned by the federal government for making entirely legal and ethical business decisions that the president doesn't like, so can Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. If President Obama can circumvent Congress in both domestic and international affairs simply because he's unhappy with the way the people's elected representatives are conducting their business, then so can President Cruz, President Rubio, President Fiorina . . .

Or, angels and ministers of grace defend us, President Trump.

Except that they can't. Were a Republican to do what Barack I has done, the fourth estate would plaintively wail. The political pressure on a Republican president who singled out political foes would, and should, be unbearable. (The problem being their utter disregard when a Democrat does so.) But the "news" media would be equally critical of executive orders to, for example, authorize a uniform national concealed carry license; or rescind all of the putative air "pollution" regulations on energy companies. And that's why we are not at liberty: Because hoi polloi only pays attention when their media master calls for it. Because those media masters want a totalitarian president - as long as he is their flavor of totalitarian.

December 28, 2015

George Washington's Regret

"Our presidents are beginning to act like kings" because "there is always a crown beyond the horizon."

More from Charles C.W. Cooke was (re)printed today, and I find it has a familiar ring.

Once upon a time, Obama insisted that he was "not a king" or an "emperor" or a "dictator," and confirmed that his "job as the head of the executive branch ultimately is to carry out the law." Now he justifies his behavior with talk of necessity and vows that if "Congress won't act," he will.

John Adams characterized the office that Obama holds as enjoying "the whole executive power, after divesting it of those badges of domination called prerogatives." In this assessment he was reflecting what might be regarded as the Founders' central conceit: that when the laws that govern men's fortunes are subject to the whims of the powerful rather than to the consent of the governed, there can be no liberty. Are we at liberty?

No, we aren't. At least not as much as the founders hoped.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Agreed - we aren't at liberty, at least not in a way that the Founders would approve.

More to the point (or perhaps, in support of the point you're making): it would be interesting to compare the "long train of abuses and usurpations" that led the Founders to "throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security" to the long train of abuses and usurpations we are enduring now at the hands of our elected and appointed betters. Are we approaching the point at which Sam Adams and his fellows rebelled, or have we reached it and already passed it?

My sense is the latter. What does that portend?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 28, 2015 8:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, we're certainly cheesed off 'round these parts. I break with a lot of intellectual kin though by saying were anomalous.

I hope everyone had enjoyable holidays and family and friends. And if $15 is deposited in my secret Bitcoin account by Thursday, I will not post the video I saw of brother jg dancing with a friend's six-year-old.

But, was there revolution in the air where you were? Separation of powers is an abstract and little-understood concept in the groups I joined and the last thing on anybody's mind. If there was any political persiflage, it was "Isn't that Trump fellow a crazy man?"

You can decry it as bread and circuses or blame "American Idol" (as I do for most things). But I contend that the bread is fresh, the acrobatics are pretty good, and the clowns are just creepy enough to keep the bulk of Americans content if not satisfied. Usurpations will be borne. Perhaps most frightening is this President's showing just how far the polity can be stretched.

Posted by: jk at December 29, 2015 9:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And Germans were fat dumb and happy too, leading up to Kristallnacht.

We may be past the point of abuses and usurpations that inspired the revolution, but it is - to some extent, at least - by our own hand. So the threshold will be higher.

The interesting question is what nature of usurpations would capture the attention of "American Idolatrators?" To date it has been preventing certain marriages or well intentioned efforts to reduce prenatal murder. Outside of that, I wonder if the government can do whatever it wants with impunity?

Posted by: johngalt at December 29, 2015 12:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

One must admit that even this president's Top Ten Constitutional Violations of 2015 can make all but the wonkiest eyes glaze over.

Posted by: johngalt at December 29, 2015 2:59 PM

Drunks and Drug Dealers

Bank robbers and killers
Drunks and drug dealers
Only crazy people
Fall in love with me -- The Wreckers
I'm always wary of a headline purporting to "bust myths." They frequently claim authority to advance an idea less grounded in facts that the myth. But I gave Paul Mirengoff at PowerLine a click for "The Myth of Over Incarceration."
We are led to believe that blacks are victims of the criminal justice system in large part because, thanks to the war on drugs, our prisons are overflowing with low-level drug offenders, a disproportionate number of whom are African-American. The left, including our President, the mainstream media, and others who love to cast our country in a bad light mindlessly parrot this theme.
Lets accede to some overlap. Anti-American sentiment is pretty heavy in the community which complains. Check. Demanding racial quotas to match the prison population does not match my idea of rule of law. Check. I concede that law in order in a vibrant society like ours requires enforcement. But enough Kumbayas.

Mirengoff's complaint is that drug offenders are a minority of inmates -- especially in state prisons and that most of these are dealers and not users. See? Everything's fine. Less than half of people in Federal Prison are in there for buying something or selling something that somebody else wanted. Presumably, we could imprison all the country's Japanese Americans and it would not be a violation of rights until they hit the magic 50% mark.

At the risk of disposing Christmas goodwill too early with two Internecine posts on Dec 28, I think we have, in Randy Barnett's words, "An inalienable right to property in our own person." This tradition traces itself back to JS Mill and says you cannot put me in jail for what I do to myself. Ergo: all the non-dealers are wrongly imprisoned. Whether or not they are a majority, every single one is a tragedy and a wrong.

But, dealers, jk! Drug dealers!

Well, I live in Colorado. And we have legal drug dealers who pay taxes and try to figure out how to do business in cash because their federal government disallows their being offered bank services. Maybe the Fed guys are in for heroin, but JS Mill was not so specific on Schedule I compounds versus Schedule II.

I don't suspect these guys are schoolboys. If they kill somebody to acquire turf, let's prosecute them for murder. And if we could just release 20% of non-violent inmates that would be a game changer. Sorry, I find that "myth" still holds.

UPDATE: Mea Culpa, I had misspelled Mirengoff. ThreeSources regrets the error.

But johngalt thinks:

I am ideologically sympathetic to your side, so I asked my jack-booted brother in law (the cop) about this "myth." He said most of the low-level possession offenses that result in jail time are cases that were pled down from a heavyweight (i.e. dealing) possession. "There's no incentive for the cop on the street to bust casual users."

So in effect, those on your side [whom I don't concatenate with you philosophically] are saying that dealers should plead down to a minor possession beef, and then be released because it was "only a minor possession."

And they aren't busting the neighborhood pot buddies; rather, the crack and heroin "businessmen."

The invisible hand that holds the needle and spoon may as well hold a dagger. Or do you suggest FDA regulation and labeling of recreational heroin? Ideologically I'm good with that. Morally, notsomuch. I s'pose this is my one (or one of very few) communitarian weakness.

Posted by: johngalt at December 28, 2015 6:12 PM
But jk thinks:

And my communitarian weakness is to permit some restrictions on advertising heroin to toddlers during Saturday morning cartoons. (Flag this for oppo research should I ever choose to seek public office...)

Mirengoff also makes the case that the offenses all tend to be "plead-to;" I was perhaps ungenerous in omitting that. I think we differ in how far up the nasty drug-dealer chart we draw our red line. Yes there are brutal, murderous narco-terrorists up the chain which I must admit are "bad guys." But to Mirengoff, any seller is a dealer and ipso facto bad guy. I cannot love commerce as I do and accept that. A guy who brings in a half pound of weed (I'm probably showing my age, half and full pounds were common in my youth) and parcels it out to his adult friends for their convenience is by definition a dealer but not the hardened thug Mirengoff imagines.

John Stossel did a segment on an accident victim. Dude is in a wheelchair: employed, married, a few kids. He fills a prescription for his pain meds. That night he gets the SWAT raid, Three pills left over from his old prescription plus the prescription is over the limit! He's "a dealer" and served 10-15 years.

I hope that is rare, but when I hear "these guys are dealers!" I have to factor that in.

Posted by: jk at December 28, 2015 6:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

SWAT raids of homes to find evidence to bust drug dealers. ATF raids of cult compounds to find evidence to bust, what - statutory rape? Class 3 firearms? Both seem unwarranted to me, and an abuse of state power for dubious ends.

And yet federal agents cannot even merely "infiltrate" mosques. In this light, it's impossible to argue that no-knock federal raids are conducted "for public safety."

Posted by: johngalt at December 30, 2015 6:16 PM

Time for Cartman's Wall

I'm less worried about living in a computer simulation and more worried about living in a South Park episode. Cartman's border wall to keep the immigrants in the US may be needed after all.

The U.S. construction and home-building boom in the 1990s and early 2000s is a notable phase. Without formal market mechanisms allowing bidders and suppliers to engage in legal transactions, underground networks matched employers to employees.

Pew's Ana Gonzalez-Barrera recently estimated that the number of illegal Mexicans in the U.S. shot up to 6.9 million in 2007 from 4.5 million in 2000. Then the Great Recession hit, the job market tanked, the labor flow ebbed and some one million Mexican migrants returned home between 2009 and 2014--more than the number of Mexicans coming here.

The result, says Ms. Gonzalez-Barrera, is that "the net flow from Mexico to the U.S. is now negative, as return migration of Mexican nationals and their children is now higher than migration of Mexicans heading to the U.S." She estimates that there were 140,000 fewer Mexicans living in the U.S. in 2014 compared with 2009.

Perhaps Mister Trump will get them to pay for it after all.

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

Nice shot on the Donald, but think about the implicit logic - We shouldn't object to unchecked immigration from Mexico because all of that labor is good for our economy, but Mexico might pay for a wall to keep them from returning there and thus ... improving the Mexican economy?

I won't pick a fight over the direction of migration between the USA and the southernmost nation in North America, but where does O'Grady find proof that it is an outward flow because "the Great Recession hit?" I think they just don't want to live under a corrupt government so they returned to Mexico for knowable and avoidable laws.

Posted by: johngalt at December 28, 2015 6:20 PM

December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas, Humanity!

Beatles music joins streaming services

The deal involves rights to stream 224 songs from the original 13 studio albums released in the UK as well as "essential" collections including Past Masters.

The tracks will be made available from 24 December.


"It's a big PR catch as it helps communicate that the platforms are 'all the music in the world' - which is the value proposition of streaming services."

Well, all the music except for Adele. And Taylor Swift. And The JK Boxed Set.

UPDATE: Available now on iHeart Radio, among other places.

Art Music Posted by JohnGalt at 4:29 PM | What do you think? [0]

"Shocked Face" Auditions.

Okay. First, let's see your standard expression. Good.


What was billed as a grassroots movement by a group of moms to oust three conservative members of the Jefferson County Board of Education has direct ties to the nation's largest teachers union.

Complete Colorado has learned that Jeffco United received nearly two-thirds of its roughly $250,000 war chest from the National Education Association (NEA).

In a United States Department of Labor annual LM-2 report filed Nov. 25th, the NEA reports a $150,000 donation to Jeffco United on Aug. 27 for the purpose of a "ballot measure campaign."

Shocked Face!!! "What, you mean the whole grassroots campaign was underwritten by union stooges? Really?"

But what about the GOOD effects?

Today's Chipotlefreude post remind of some research I did last week into a family member claim that "microwaving food ruins its nutritional value" or some such. I think the belief was inspired by someone along the lines of Mike Adams, whose piece in a 2007 posting on Organic Consumers Dot Org soft pedaled the issue thusly:

But microwaving that broccoli destroys the anti-cancer nutrients, rendering the food "dead" and nutritionally depleted. There's even some evidence to suggest that microwaving destroys the natural harmony in water molecules, creating an energetic pattern of chaos in the water found in all foods. In fact, the common term of "nuking" your food is coincidentally appropriate: Using a microwave is a bit like dropping a nuclear bomb on your food, then eating the fallout. (You don't actually get radiation from eating microwaved foods, however. But you don't get much nutrition, either.)

You get the picture. But the "other side" coming from the authoritative Harvard Medical School is that microwave cooking is among the best possible methods to preserve nutritional content.

The cooking method that best retains nutrients is one that cooks quickly, heats food for the shortest amount of time, and uses as little liquid as possible. Microwaving meets those criteria. Using the microwave with a small amount of water essentially steams food from the inside out. That keeps more vitamins and minerals than almost any other cooking method.

The loss of nutrients is really a result, says Harvard, of cooking the food at all.

Some nutrients break down when they're exposed to heat, whether it is from a microwave or a regular oven. Vitamin C is perhaps the clearest example. But because microwave cooking times are shorter, cooking with a microwave does a better job of preserving vitamin C and other nutrients that break down when heated.

And cooking has a secondary benefit, or perhaps primary if you're trying to run a successful Chipotle franchise, of killing food-borne pathogens.

Now back to Mister Adams. What is his advice for the best way to prepare food?

When you need to heat something, heat it in a toaster oven or a stovetop pan (avoid Teflon and non-stick surfaces, of course). Better yet, strive to eat more of a raw, unprocessed diet. That where you'll get the best nutrition anyway.

Ummm. Yeah. Maybe a little irradiation first please?

Click continue reading for an interesting aside on Adam's preoccupation with, and complete misunderstanding of "irradiation."

Adams again:

Microwaving is, technically, a form of food irradiation. I find it interesting that people who say that would never eat "irradiated" food have no hesitation about microwaving their food. It's the same thing (just a different wavelength of radiation). In fact, microwaves were originally called "radar ranges." Sounds strange today, doesn't it? But when microwaves were first introduced in the 1970's, they were proudly advertised as radar ranges. You blast your food with high-intensity radar and it gets hot. This was seen as some sort of space-age miracle in the 1970's. Perhaps someday an inventor will create a food heating device that does not radically alter the nutritional value of the foods in the process, but I'm not holding my breath on this one. Probably the best way to heat foods right now is to simply use a countertop toaster oven, and keep the heat as low as possible.

The "irradiation" of food is a process where it is subjected to "ionizing" radiation from sources such as x-rays or gamma rays. Electromagnetic radiation or "radar" waves from, say, a microwave oven, are "non-ionizing" radiation. It is completely different, unless you are a junk science fear monger. And if you still want to disagree, stop recommending the use of a "countertop toaster oven" which heats things by showering them with infrared radiation! "It's the same thing [as microwaving] (just a different wavelength of radiation)."

Perhaps someday our schools will produce an adult citizenry whose average member has a better understanding of science, or at least some understanding of what he doesn't know - but I'm not holding my breath on this one.

But jk thinks:

Bringing to mind the greatest Junk Science meme of all time: plants which withered and died because they were watered with microwaved water (cf. Lack of Water Harmony).

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2015 3:38 PM
But jk thinks:

Major Win for Free Speech

But yesterday, a majority of the Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit ruled in the Slants case that not only was the USPTO wrong in rejecting the band's trademark, but that the portion of the law preventing the registration of offensive marks is unconstitutional.

"Many of the marks rejected as disparaging convey hurtful speech that harms members of oft-stigmatized communities," writes the nine-judge majority. "But the First Amendment protects even hurtful speech."

The court held that the government's refusal to register disparaging trademarks is a curtailing of free commercial expression.

"The government regulation at issue amounts to viewpoint discrimination," reads the ruling.

Take that, Political Correctness!

Tweet of the Day

Pretty good series.

Chipotlefreude, Vol. XIX


Founder Steve Ells vowed on a global groveling tour that Chipotle will ramp up safety measures at the company's nearly 2,000 locations. The company will likely rely less on local suppliers, many of whom can't comply with sophisticated testing. The company will also chop, prepare and hermetically seal ingredients such as cilantro and lettuce in a central kitchen before shipping it to local restaurants.

In other words, Mr. Ells promises to bring his restaurants into the 20th century. -- WSJ Ed Page

Modernity. What a concept. As I said, I wish the Denver-based chain luck in pulling itself out of its market cap swoon. But it remains an important lesson and I am all about lessons.

The junk-science-back-to-the-cave loonies I work with in Boulder assume that all the benefits of modern processing and packaging just fall from the sky. They freak about BPA to the point where when we give away company-logo themed water bottles, they must be certified BPA free.

The science is unclear whether BPA poses a 0.0000000000001% cancer risk or a 0000000000.0% cancer risk. We're awaiting further studies. But botulism deaths have plummeted to one, and millions of tons of food that would have been discarded in pre-BPA cans has been saved. (I was taught to throw away a dented can, now one collects a discount.)

I'm glad that we're so affluent and that our young people are so separated from many forms of grisly death. And every casualty of Chipotle's institutionalized smugness is a tragedy. But do not let the reminder pass: modernity rules!

Junk Science Posted by John Kranz at 12:49 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Cruz opposes legalization of marijuana. I have two teenage daughters. I worry about them. And marijuana is a drug that makes teenage boys drive slow. -- PJ O'Rourke

December 21, 2015

Quote of the Day

What are the motives for violence? ... There are ideologies, such as those of militant religions, nationalism, Nazism, and Communism, that justify vast outlays of violence by a Utopian cost-benefit analysis: If your belief system holds out the hope of a world that will be infinitely good forever, how much violence are you entitled to perpetrate in pursuit of this infinitely perfect world?

Well, as much as much as you want, and you're always ahead of the game. The benefits always outweigh the costs.

Moreover, imagine that there are people who hear about your scheme for a perfect world and just don't get with the program. They might oppose you in bringing heaven to Earth. How evil are they? They're the only thing standing in the way of an infinitely good world. Well, you do the math.-- Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature [Review Corner]

But johngalt thinks:

A powerful quote on a topic of immense import. It reminds me of these...

"If you want to make an omelet, you've gotta break a few eggs." -Josef Stalin via Walter Duranty

"Boko Haram sincerely believes that girls are better off enslaved than educated." -Ayaan Hirsi Ali

"Recycling and conservation and switching to renewable energy sources must be done at any cost, because it is good for the earth." -Hood Robin

Posted by: johngalt at December 23, 2015 4:07 PM

The Onion, Facebook, and POLITICO.

I shared a funny Onion photo on Facebook:

GOFFSTOWN, NH--Saying he would not accept anything offered by the nation's corporate elite, presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders reportedly refused to use the podium provided by ABC for Saturdayís Democratic primary debate in favor of his own modest, homemade lectern. "No, no--I donít need some flashy, expensive podium when I can make one myself," said the Vermont senator, waving off ABC producers as he dragged on stage his own crudely built lectern, cobbled together from several old two-by-fours and some reclaimed plywood from behind his garage.

I thought it amusing. My brother (a die hard #BernFeeler) commented "But he was a carpenter," prompting a little research. It seems, and I hope some scatalogical references will be forgiven:
He worked some as a carpenter, although "he was a shitty carpenter," Bloch told me. "His carpentry," Morrisseau said, "was not going to support him, and didnít."

"The electricity was turned off a lot," Barnett said. "I remember him running an extension cord down to the basement. He couldnít pay his bills."

My first though was OSHA, that extension cord business sounds dangerous. But my second was that this article is pretty telling. I wonder how many are drawn to Socialism by an inability to flourish in Capitalism.

Dem2016 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I thought that was why Socialism was invented.

Posted by: johngalt at December 21, 2015 12:38 PM



Christmas Is

Percy Faith ©1966

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


December 19, 2015

Another "Gun Culture Atrocity"

The widespread public ownership of guns has apparently claimed two more victims, late-night workers in a convenience store who were shot to death in a crime described by the local police chief as "over-the-top violence, absolutely unnecessary, gratuitous -- evil."

Except that this crime wasn't commited in America. It was in gun-phobic Canada. Edmonton, to be precise.

Knecht said investigators have made a possible link between the suspects and other recent robberies. It's unclear why the crimes escalated. Surveillance video shows the two victims were passive and co-operative.

"I would suggest they did not expect to be executed," he said.

Fear not, for the authorities are eager to "better protect vulnerable, night-shift retail workers, who are often young people and immigrants." Through legislation.

He wants to see Alberta follow regulations in place in British Columbia, where employers must have more than one night person on duty or keep lone staffers in locked areas and behind barriers. Manitoba also has similar legislation.

"Behind bars. Err, barriers." Um, weren't there two people on duty in this case?

Gun Rights Posted by JohnGalt at 11:28 AM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

Clearly some miscreants down South from Nanuvut.

On a serious note, it is curious how closely the stats correlate with geographic proximity and not national affiliation: Manitoba and Montana, Nova Scotia with New Hampshire, Saskatchewan and North Dakota, Alberta with Wyoming and Colorado.

Washington State and British Columbia seem to be outliers, but BC and Idaho are close. The first non-fiction book that truly captivated me wa Joel Garreau's "Nine Nations of North America." Placed in Garreau's buckets, the stats line up pretty well.

Posted by: jk at December 19, 2015 1:31 PM
But AndyN thinks:

I had to buy "The Nine Nations of North America" for an American government class in college and although I don't even remember reading it, for whatever reason it's been one of the few books I didn't sell back to the bookstore. It's somehow stayed with me through at least half a dozen moves since then. Since you say it was truly captivating, I just went and pulled it off my bookshelf and will read it when I'm done with the book I'm currently in the middle of.

Posted by: AndyN at December 20, 2015 9:18 AM
But Jk thinks:

Thirty three years old, and it holds up pretty well. I'd give it a try. It has stuck with me.

Posted by: Jk at December 20, 2015 3:53 PM

Are you ready for some DE-baaaate!

A Sat'day night PAR-taaaay!

With the energy of the race on the Republican side, however, Democrats have low expectations about the enthusiasm level for a Donald Trump-less debate showdown on the Saturday night before Christmas -- even with the drama of a major data breach unfolding as the candidates and their staffers traveled to Manchester.

"There's a Democratic debate on Saturday?" political strategist and longtime Clinton ally James Carville half-joked. "You've got people at Trump rallies saying, 'light someone on fire.' It's hard to get attention. Thereís so much over there thatís so compelling.'"

Perhaps that's why Team Clinton and the DNC (redundancy alert) chose to torpedo the Sanders campaign this week. A lack of interest and enthusiasm for Clinton and ... polling lead in early primary states:

Until the data breach ramped up tension, Cunninghamís comment was a rare direct shot at Sanders by a Clinton ally. Indeed, her campaign sees no upside in overtly targeting a liberal popular with the partyís base.

But the ghosts of 2008 also have them on high alert about being taken by surprise by Sandersí near-native son status in New Hampshire, where he is currently leading by double digits in the polls, and his war chest of $26.2 million. In Iowa, Sanders remains within striking distance -- Clinton leads by just 9 points.

This despite Clinton showing a 25-point lead, albeit tightening with Sanders' share being as high as ever.

Sitting on a sofa On a Sunday afternoon, Going to the candidates' debate, Laugh about it, Shout about it, When you've got to choose, Every way you look at it you lose.

-Simon and Garfunkel, 'Mrs' Robinson'

But Jk thinks:

I watched it. Unlike those 1% billionayah republicans, the Democrats debate on broadcast TV so the people can watch.

Posted by: Jk at December 20, 2015 4:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Riiight, they wanted maximum hoi polloi eyeballs so they scheduled it during Saturday Night NFL Football. Which incidentally, was on cable, but still apparently outdrew the Talking Dead.

Posted by: johngalt at December 23, 2015 3:58 PM

December 18, 2015


I even put this up on Facebook. I'm sure I'll regret it, but this is too good.

Skulduggery at the DNC? Mai non!

Updated, 9:27 a.m. | The Democratic National Committee has told the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont that it was suspending its access to its voter database after a software error enabled at least one of his staff members to review Hillary Clintonís private campaign data.

The decision by the party committee is a blow to Mr. Sanders' campaign as he prepares for a debate against Mrs. Clinton Saturday night. The database includes information from voters across the nation and is used by campaigns to set strategy, especially in the early voting states.

Of course, my Facebook angle was "NOW SHE CARES ABOUT DATA SECURITY!"

Dem2016 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 10:48 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:
"It is worth noting that this is what passes for an intra-party blow-up in the Democratic party, as opposed to the Republican party's complete dysfunction, death spiral and total inability to deal with Donald Trump's pro-Fascist campaign." --Democratic strategist Craig Varoga.

Yesss, vee know how to deal vith unvanted intehlopehs!

Posted by: johngalt at December 19, 2015 10:46 AM

December 17, 2015

How Did I miss This?

Oh for a real live snopes -- I'd love to know the truth


Really, it sounds a little high, there are no real citations, and it's just a blog. I wonder... A cursory search shows it authoritatively debunked several times. But all from sites that look no more convincingly authoritative.

A Washington Times story seems more credible:

Hawaii provides the favorite example: The 37 turbines at the Kamaoa Wind Farm stood derelict for more than six years after it was discovered that repairs were more expensive than replacements. This is just one of six abandoned wind farms in one of the most wind-ideal places on the planet.

The Altamont Pass Wind Farm in Northern California used to be the largest wind farm on Earth. Now it is best known as the largest killer of eagles and other raptors. The turbines are shut down for four months a year to protect the birds during their migration. So much for that pro-forma.

As many as 4,500 wind turbines have been built -- and abandoned -- in California alone.

A real number would be very good to know, but I don't think it's computable to the pajamed Internet sleuther. Anybody know any good sites on this?

But johngalt thinks:

UK Daily Mail

So how many windmills have been abandoned across the U.S.? It is an intensely sensitive subject for wind enthusiasts, who will quibble that it depends on how you define ‚Äėabandoned‚Äô.

They wouldn’t, for instance, count ones that are working again today, even if they were switched off for years. They also argue that many of those that were left to rust were technologically outdated and set for the scrapheap anyway.

Wind power sceptics estimate 14,000 turbines across the U.S. have become derelict since the Eighties, while there are around 38,000 in operation across the country.

Paul Gipe claims the number abandoned in his state of California is around 4,500, of which 500 are still standing.

Posted by: johngalt at December 17, 2015 3:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And then there's the "canard?" about "it takes more energy to produce the materials and parts of a wind turbine than it will every produce in its lifetime."

Went looking for a basis for that claim and found a Scientific American article that I thought was going to be authoritative. But it doesn't list any conclusions! Only references.

There was this interesting tabulation in a comment, however.

PV solar 2.3:1

Biomass Boiler: 3.5:1

Onshore Wind: 3.9:1

CSP Solar : 9.6:1

Natural Gas: 28:1

Coal: 30:1

Run-of-River Hydro: 35:1

PWR Nuclear: 75:1

No authority or explanation, save a hyperlink, but seems reasonable, suggesting that the "energy return on investment" [EROI] of coal is more than 7X that of wind, and 13X that of solar PV.

Posted by: johngalt at December 17, 2015 3:48 PM

GOP Debates as Star Wars

It was done far more trenchantly and amusingly as a cartoon making the Facebook rounds, but Dan Henninger (pimpin' the WSJ pages today!) gets a column in. Notable is a tactical comment that Cruz's classical debating skills might be a liability and not an asset in the less-rhetorical and more bare-knuckled political debate arena.

Who's good? Henninger claims Sen. Rubio (H2O - FL) got the better of the Libya exchange:

These two are formidable politicians, but Mr. Rubio's ability to identify vulnerability and stick a shiv through the Cruz armor was unexpected.

Second best at this rapier is Carly Fiorina, who cut Donald Trump after he said Middle East military funds should have been spent on U.S. roads and airports. That, she said, is precisely Barack Obama's position: "I'm amazed to hear that from a Republican presidential candidate."

Dearest Carly. When all is darkness, there is light -- did'ja see this?

Madame Vice President.

But johngalt thinks:

I wonder if she wrote those lines. Some great stuff: "Just look at that face. I mean, 'persona.'"

Posted by: johngalt at December 17, 2015 3:56 PM
But jk thinks:

A lot of good ones. "The President ate your cousins" got all the attention, but there are a few.

Posted by: jk at December 17, 2015 4:56 PM

Quote of the Day

By now, illegal immigration is to the GOP what global warming is to the Democrats: the all-purpose bugaboo that is supposed to explain nearly every problem and whose redress must be part of every solution. But immigration policy is not foreign policy, much less a counterterrorism strategy. And there are probably larger pools of would-be jihadists in Montreal and Vancouver than in Monterrey or Veracruz. Shouldn't Mr. Cruz call for a wall from Quebec to British Columbia? -- Bret Stephens WSJ

December 16, 2015

Watch Your Ass in Nunavut

If it does not freeze off, you may get shot!

Ignore my flippant headline and read the insanely cool gun stats that has assembled, comparing US States to Canadian provinces and territories.

Indeed, the northern United States in general tends to have quite low homicide rates in a global context. (There are problems with comparing across national boundaries. For more on that see below.)

Within North America, the jurisdictions with the lowest homicide rates include all of New England, the northern plains states of the US, and the Pacific Northwest. Most of Canada reports low rates as well, with the exception of the rural north, where Nunavut territory has the worst homicide rate in both the US and Canada.

Hell, even I buy into the "crazed gun culture" / "this doesn't happen anywhere else" arguments. But the chart effectively destroys any dreams of correlation between gun laws and homicides.

Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 5:34 PM | What do you think? [0]

Two-Point-Five Cheers for Cruz!

Yes, the junior senator from Texas was Praiseworthy in opposing the Ethanol Mandate on the stump in corn-rich Iowa.

And yes, he has taken a more America-centric position on foreign interventionism.

He has even been, according to his rival Mr. Rubio, supportive of inflows of immigrant labor into America.

Rubio has tried to shift the attention away from this potential vulnerability by arguing that Cruz has supported legalization for undocumented immigrants and moved to expand the H-1B visa program. Cruz has withdrawn his support for these measures and accused Rubio of trying to "muddy the waters."

Yes, in the wake of Paris, San Bernardino, and Mr. Trump's massive popularity, Ted Cruz has backtracked on the free market position regarding immigration. RCP's Caitlin Huey-Burns writes:

He also characterized his opponent's support for the "Rubio-Schumer" immigration bill as a national security issue, pointing to a provision that gave the president unilateral authority to admit refugees.

Cruz then took an even more conservative position than he has in the past on immigration, saying, "I have never supported legalization, and I do not intend to support legalization."

And in an interview with CNN following the debate, Cruz suggested deportation as a way to address the estimated 11 million people living in the country illegally.

Throughout the night, [Rand] Paul helped his fellow senator in attacking Rubio over the 2013 immigration bill.

I know this will not sit will with a blog brother or two. I hope he doesn't see it as a deal-breaker. As I see it, this obvious pivot is obviously strategic. Immigration reform is, as Rubio noted, "down the road" but winning the presidency begins with winning the nomination and that is now or never.

Besides, even Rand Paul sided with Cruz over Rubio. Which may lead one to speculate that the tag-team effort may have been planned. Which then naturally inspires thoughts of a Cruz-Paul ticket. Rand didn't work this hard to go home empty handed, and if he has to settle for co-pilot instead of left seat I predict he'll say, "Let's roll."

But jk thinks:

One of your blog brothers is beaten into submission. The broad GOP electorate is too far away from me on immigration to reconcile. Sad, but I am going to lose that one -- and so will Senator Rubio.

Dealbreaker? No. A Paul, Carly, Cruz, or Ringo have enough good points to ensure my support. Mister Trump is still too close to call, but I am starting to get the personality at least.

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2015 3:54 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Take heart, JK; while the presidential-hopeful rhetoric might all be on the side of something akin to "let's get control over this beast" the actual bills being passed are full-throated, funding-supporting odes to Obama:

- the omnibus approves ‚Äď without conditions ‚Äď the President‚Äôs request for increased refugee admissions...
- a four-fold increase to one of the most controversial foreign worker programs.
- The bill also funds sanctuary cities and illegal alien resettlement, allows the President to continue issuing visas to countries that refuse to repatriate violent criminal aliens, and funds the President‚Äôs ongoing lawless immigration actions ‚Äď including his unimpeded 2012 executive amnesty for alien youth.

or so says Senator Sessions:

I sent appropriators a list of several dozen provisions for inclusion in our funding bills to improve immigration enforcement and block presidential lawlessness; those provisions were rejected

Some part of the GOP is with you!

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 17, 2015 12:22 AM
But jk thinks:

Getting trolled on a blog I pay hosting fees for... #BlessMercuh!

I hate to concede, nb, that the Democrats have more liberty-friendly and smaller government solutions than the GOP. I say, "well yeah, Gay rights, you can't win them all but that is more of a social movement." And then I say "oh yeah, reproductive rights, but they lose points because they make others foot the bill so that's a wash."

I used to defend the Sessions-Tancredoites that at least it was an enumerated Constitutional power -- they're wrong as pants on a trout, but it is at least a proper role of government. As Mister Trump veers into religious persecution of American citizens and a large portion of the primary electorate cheers him on, I lose heart.

I told the lovely bride over breakfast "if you're looking for a rousing defense of the Republican Party, you've come to the wrong guy on the wrong day."

Posted by: jk at December 17, 2015 12:35 PM

Tweet of the Day

But johngalt thinks:

Read the papers, Bernie. Climate Change (TM) is solved.

Incomes SHOULD BE unequal, and racism has been illegal since 1965.

Posted by: johngalt at December 16, 2015 2:43 PM
But jk thinks:

I know many who would nod along. What stuns me is consideration of the proper role of government.

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2015 3:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I really think the feckless Paris accord is a fabulous rebuttal to DAWG nonsense.

"Thanks to President Obama's leadership, the whole world has agreed to a durable framework to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Now that we have a plan we have to give it a chance to work, don't we?"

Thanks to this historic action on climate change, that issue can be moved to the last priority of the world, instead of, oh wait, it was already last.

Posted by: johngalt at December 16, 2015 3:32 PM

OODA, Tactics

Ain't gonna study war no more.

Blog friend tg posts an interesting article to Facebook. I highly recommend it.As he warns, set a little time aside, this is not a meme -- it is a serious tactical look at Donald Trump's strategy.

We can better understand what Trump has done successfully, as well as his ultimate limitations as a candidate and why he would be such a terrible president, using the ideas of military strategic theorist John Boyd. Trump has been, thus far, the true Boyd candidate in this race, yet he is already exhibiting symptoms of precisely the flaws that Boyd saw as fatal in combatants.

As a side benefit, the reader gets a good primer on Boyd's OODA loop. I had a general understanding, but it is well developed here -- now I feel I could hop in a jet fighter and get on your tail in 40 seconds. It is that good an article.
ThreeSources Style Guide dictates that I provide a short quippy excerpt to dumb it down, and I did find this gem:
In years past, right-leaning talk radio had treated favorably many of the people running, and many of the leading conservative talkers were people with movement conservative backgrounds who understood well the principles Trump treats as fungible. Yet, right-wing talk radio has--with a few honorable exceptions--rallied around Trump, basking in the audience-driving controversy he brings with him. When the circus comes to town, everyone wants to be a clown.

Interesting, but it strikes me how little interest I have in strategy and tactics. The election is all about ideas and message to me and I am pretty happy leaving the tactical skirmishing to others. I hate to call a respected friend names, but it seems tg and I are opposite sides of the coin. He has directed me to eloquent blog posts discarding rights' importance in government philosophy. He's conversant with Locke but studies Sun Tzu.

The power, enforcement, and protection of a rights-enforcing regime is important (cf. The Man in the High Castle), but I delegate that, like I delegate polling. I'd like to try winning someday, and I attempt to lean the message toward the pragmatic. But i the end, like the great miniskirted libertarian political philosopher Kacey Musgraves, "I'd rather lose for what I am than win for what I ain't."

December 15, 2015

Propsworthy II: People are Smarterer than Media Allows

Or...Brother jg was right...

As in any group of people -- like, say, a random collection of well educated journalists stationed safely north of the Mason-Dixon line, one of whose members suspects a missing jetliner has been swallowed up by a black hole -- some members of the Woodland community expressed fears that, to the better informed, were not well grounded.

Notwithstanding Hawkins' sermonizing about the "global consensus that solar power is one of the cleanest and most renewable alternatives to oil and coal," the Woodland town council meeting appears to have featured a group of ordinary Americans, civically engaged, who reasonably decided not to re-zone to permit a solar farm. But of course, reporting it that way would deprive the media of the opportunity to portray an entire community as a collection of yahoos. -- Andrew McCarthy NRO

But johngalt thinks:

Me, right? It happens.

Chapter 732,85,998 of 'Why People Hate the Media' was written this morning.

Since we woke to a blizzard I had tuned to the local affiliate of NBC for some road and weather info. At the top of the hour the NBC national narrative came on and discussed, as the first story, the high poll numbers of one Donald Trump. There was footage from a speech he made in Las Vegas, ahead of the GOP debate there tonight. "There were a few hecklers in the crowd, who were quickly escorted out of the building, but not before one of them could make a Nazi gesture. [video: Sieg Heil!]"

Let me translate that for you, dear reader: "Here is your proof - all Republicans are Nazis."

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2015 5:43 PM

Propsworthy: Western Oil Producers

When America's fracking-enabled shale oil revolution took off, OPEC leader Saudi Arabia was adversely affected by the drop in worldwide oil prices. Fashioning itself the 900 pound gorilla, the Saudis embarked on a sort of "WalMart strategy" whereby they hoped to put the upstart American companies out of business by driving the price of oil low enough to undermine fracking economics. But they made a big mistake in underestimating the competitive spirit of American businessmen. Guardian's Nils Pratley writes:

Investment in shale and conventional oil has plunged, it is true - the evidence is the slump in the number of rigs operating in the US. But investment and production are different things. Producers adapt. They squeeze their suppliers, they drill only their best prospects, and they cut costs. BHP Billiton, for example, has slashed spending on its US shale fields, but last month predicted that "improved recoveries and lower drilling costs will deliver stable production" this year at its Black Hawk and Permian onshore oilfields in Texas.

And where does that leave Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela, and the bulk of the OPEC cartel?

In the end, of course, low oil prices will probably deliver production cuts, as the Saudis intended; it's just that the timescale is constantly being extended as oil inventories soar. Having persuaded its Opec co-travellers to sign up for a short campaign, the Saudis risk being dragged into a long battle by default. The low oil price is great news (at least for the time being) for oil-consuming countries. But when, like the Saudis, you require $100-a-barrel oil to balance your budget, you have a serious problem. Even foreign-exchange reserves of $640bn don't last for ever.
But jk thinks:

Nice. Although you may need to weave in the fracker's cute new puppy, or his child that was being bullied at school because Texas Sweet Crude futures for March were trading below $37 but then sang a song at the school show and nobody expected what would happen next...

A solid first effort, though!

Posted by: jk at December 15, 2015 3:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You're right, I slipped back into 3srcs mode there at the end. Replace the second excerpt with this:

"And as a result, everyone can afford to drive himself (sorry) herself, to the places she wants to go for the same price as bus fare! And she won't have to choose between buying ramen and birth control pills or keeping her apartment warm for Fluffy and Biscuit while she's gone.

'We are the world!

We are the children!'"

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2015 3:50 PM

A Lukewarmer's Elevator Talk

Of course, all the environmentally responsible interlocutors have taken the stairs...

But grade me on this: short & sweet.

I'm not saying that man is not contributing to climate change; I am saying that the problem is likely not catastrophic, and certainly not in the near term. In fact, I think we could study the problem for ten years, spend ten years assembling a plan, and then spend ten years implementing the plan.

The year 2045 is a flicker of time away in geological terms -- even aggressive models target the later half of this century -- yet it is a galaxy far far away on both an economic and technology scale. In 2045, we will attack the problem with a wealth at least double ours and with computing power and physical knowledge that we cannot even begin to imagine or extrapolate.

If it proves worse, we can elect to accelerate that plan on well-grounded information. But to address it at our tech level and GDP is like asking Admiral Nelson's Navy to plan a moon shot.

But johngalt thinks:

"Like." 3.5 stars. Would have given it the last half a star if you'd said something about private sector vs. government solutions.

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2015 1:35 PM

Three Cheers for Cruz!

Who are you and what have you done with jk?

No, I provide props when appropriate. And opposing ethanol in Iowa is props-worthy.

Joel Gehrke at National Review noted that Cruz had "managed to turn a disagreement with a crowd of Iowa businesses and farmers into an applause line," and noted that the audience's applause after his comments about the RFS gave Cruz "the warmest welcome so far" that day.

Stalwart Conservative Donald Trump? Jim Geraghty offers a revealing quote:

"Well look he's from Texas -- to the best of my knowledge, there's a lot of oil in Texas, right? So, he gets a lot of money from the oil companies, and he's against ethanol and everything you're else talking about. And I'm not, I'm totally in favor. And you know it's a big industry here, it's a big industry. You know if that industry is upset Iowa's got problems," Trump said to the crowd of about 1,500, composed of Iowans from special-interest groups.

But jk thinks:

Side note: "PropsWorthy" would be a good name for a Right-leaning, freedom-promoting alternative to the oligeneous lefty "Upworthy." We could pump out heartwarming clickbait stories that support freedom.

I'm not sure whether I'm kidding or not. Upworthy is a pernicious opponent of liberty without being obvious -- I suspect few of the people who share think of them as being at all political -- kind of a social media NPR.

A well crafted alternative would be a good play.

Posted by: jk at December 15, 2015 1:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This is why I like Cruz despite his evangelical bona-fides. If cronyism is bad, you have to be willing - and perhaps more importantly, able - to say so in a convincing manner to people whom you want to vote for you. Not just to the people who never would.

I like the "Propsworthy" idea. Maybe start with a 3src category so we can all practice.

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2015 1:39 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Just wanted to say that oligeneous is not a valid Scrabble word.

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 15, 2015 6:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Curiously, neither is "hoi-oligoi" even though it is an actual word. But did you mean, instead, oleaginous? (I might have known what you were saying had you used obsequious.)

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2015 6:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Tough room. "Oleaginous," of course.

Posted by: jk at December 15, 2015 7:36 PM

The Cost of Junk Science

Schadenfreude Alert! A great Denver based corporation is "imploding" and I suppose I should be upset. But I contend that the market is doing its job. Henry Miller of Forbes documents "Chipotle: The Long Defeat Of Doing Nothing Well"

The company found it could pass off a fast-food menu stacked with high-calorie, sodium-rich options as higher quality and more nutritious because the meals were made with locally grown, genetic engineering-free ingredients. And to set the tone for the kind of New Age-y image the company wanted, Chipotle adopted slogans like, "We source from farms rather than factories" and, "With every burrito we roll or bowl we fill, we're working to cultivate a better world."

To some a better world means more people getting enough to eat and eat safely. Miller points out "Outbreaks of food poisoning have become something of a Chipotle trademark." But as you're retching, you can rest assured that your infestation is natural, organic, non-GMO e coli.

Junk Science Posted by John Kranz at 10:02 AM | What do you think? [0]

December 14, 2015

Buying a clue

Dear fellow occidentalists, Please, whatever you do, do not "reproduce[ed] and reinforce[ed] stereotypes of indigenous people as culturally and racially subordinate..." lest you be singled out for sanction "by the government's anti-discrimination commission." I'm not sure what government - hopefully not ours, but I'm seldom shocked anymore.

Here's the "offensive" advert. What does it show? "The ad shows fair-skinned, attractive, young people turning up at an indigenous town bearing gifts of sugary fizzy drinks and a Christmas tree for the overawed locals." The utter gall.

While it's unclear whether the ad was pulled because of the "controversy" or because its run was through, I would like to rebut with a multi-cultural message of my own:

"I'd like to buy the Left a clue,

And teach it how to think."

From "segregation and isolation is racist" to "engagement and dialog is offensive."


Can we apply the same logic to homeless populations in the west? Any effort to reach out or acknowledge them is offensive and degrading, and suggests that they are "culturally subordinate."

But jk thinks:

How can you put this racist filth on ThreeSources??? I've a mind to unset the database password again...

And yet, and yet, and yet... You are not way off base in your follow up. And there is no need to restrict it to the West. I'm thinking of Angus Deaton's disagreement with Tom's Shoes (Buy a pair and they give a pair away-- doesn't do a lot to prop up the foreign shoe industry...) And it would be a very good thing if affluent Westerners were a little more suspect on the poor's need for us to swoop in and run their life for them. If a few treacle-y TV commercials are casualties, I'm in.

Posted by: jk at December 14, 2015 5:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

To me, it calls into question the very existence of the UNHCR, UNRWA, UNICEF, WFP, FAO, WHO...

Let's extend that discussion about implied racial and cultural subordination.

Posted by: johngalt at December 14, 2015 6:44 PM



Where the Columbines Grow

Colorado's State Song! A.J. Fynn ©1911

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

Not many Coffeehouse videos come with homework, but I recommend Rob Natelson's paper, and his appearance on Jon Caldera's show.


Holding His Nose Already

Forty nine days until the Iowa caucuses -- and PJ O'Rourke is already psyching himself up to support a disappointing candidate.Peej has picked Florida Senator Marco Rubio -- and he lists the reasons:

Marco Rubio earned his success the old-fashioned American way!

By sucking up to rich people, specifically Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Bush advised Rubio on how to present himself to conservative voters, nurtured Rubio's rise from Miami City Commissioner to Speaker of the House in the Florida state legislature, cultivated wealthy donors on Rubio's behalf and backed Rubio's 2010 Senate run.

Then Rubio turned around and kicked Jeb in the nuts. What's more American than that?

Sorry for introducing negativity, but O'Rourke is -- as usual -- very funny.

Myself, I'm thinking that if Sen. Cruz delivers me from Trump, he will earn my fealty.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

To quote that famous American philosopher, John McClane: "Welcome to the party, pal!"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 14, 2015 12:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. I am more fulsome in my support than Mr. O'Rourke.

Posted by: jk at December 14, 2015 12:38 PM

December 13, 2015

Hard to Pick a Side

I hate Junk Science. It saddens me to see technology abjured for claims that lack credulity.

But, if it has gotta happen...

US town rejects solar panels amid fears they 'suck up all the energy from the sun'

But nanobrewer thinks:

You gotta love the "retired science teacher" helping to uphold the ban.

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 14, 2015 12:51 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Or perhaps there were other good reasons not to participate in this eco-boondoggle that didn't paint the desired portrait of backwards, inbred, hayseed American hicks "rejecting science." UK Independent wouldn't want to include those reasons, nosiree Robert.

Posted by: johngalt at December 14, 2015 11:40 AM
But jk thinks:

But the Pope, cancer, and renewables!

I share your sentiment, but this does not push the dialectic in the proper direction -- just more flat earth deniers.

Posted by: jk at December 14, 2015 12:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Of course it doesn't push in the right direction - it is propaganda designed to push in the wrong direction. By singling out two fringe voices, and omitting any others, they paint a distorted scenario of what really happened and why.

Posted by: johngalt at December 14, 2015 2:57 PM

Sorry for the Outage

I do not know exactly what precipitated the failure of ThreeSources which prevented new posts and comments.

Clearly, statists and general enemies of liberty will stop at nothing to shut down our voice -- but we are not easily silenced. I reset the database password and we are back.

But johngalt thinks:

I did consider which of the recent targets of my ire were most likely to seek revenge and KO the site. Glad you got her back in the air, Mal.

Posted by: johngalt at December 14, 2015 11:36 AM

December 10, 2015

America's Middle Class "Plummets!"

Seriously! That's how Newser's Jenn Gidman presented it. From about 80 million households in 1971 to... about 120 million households today. Must be the "new math."

Pew Research center, where the report originated, wasn't much more objective. By focusing on the share of households that are neither "upper" or "lower" income, they carefully hide the fact that upper income households in America have roughly TRIPLED.

Where I come from, that's called progress.

But jk thinks:

Everybody gets rich, they'll pine for "the middle class."

Posted by: jk at December 13, 2015 2:55 PM

ACA Horror Story of the Day

With ObamaCare's cratering, this category has been too silent.

One can say that it has all been said. But, no, today I learned one more original truly bad thing about the PPACAo2010:

In 2014, premiums spiked, and then in 2015 they exploded again along with deductibles so high that many decided not to be insured at all. Over half of Obamacare's co-ops collapsed this year, most of them this fall, and now the providers who took their clients may end up stuck with the bills.

"Health care providers could get stuck with unpaid bills in a half dozen states where co-op plans have collapsed," reports Politico Pro's Paul Demko. "That's because there's no financial backstop in those states if the failed nonprofit startups backed by Obamacare loans run out of money before paying off all of their medical claims." The failure of the co-op Health Republic Insurance of New York left $165 million in unpaid bills, and a survey showed 64 percent of New York providers waiting for payment. Had a private-sector insurer defaulted in a similar manner, these providers would have been compensated from a guaranty fund set up by the industry.

One hates to direct coarse language at medical professionals, but the line from Animal House seems applicable: "You f***ed up! You trusted us!"

But johngalt thinks:

"Free lunches are being served. Don't worry, we won't run out."

Posted by: johngalt at December 10, 2015 5:29 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Heh, one of the few fights I'm willing to take to the pages of FB is my disdain for the ACA and schadenfreude at its failures. At some point, I'll have to post the pathetic letters I've gotten from the CO Health Co-op about their demise.

For now, PL picked up on a story from the NYT, noting how a guy we've heard of, also known as the junior senator from Florida, is outflanking the beltway - for once - on the right, noting:

we need representatives of conservatism who are not only good on the stump and adept at firing up the base, but who understand the intricacies of legislation and are willing to do the hard and usually thankless work needed to beat our opponents in the trenches.

The Times calls it "quiet legislative sabotage." Hear, hear!

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 11, 2015 12:12 AM

December 9, 2015

Charles C W Cooke on 2nd Amendment

In a WaPo forum, Cooke nails it:

Reacting to this argument, we often hear advocates of gun control propose that the Founders' observations are irrelevant because they could "not have imagined the modern world." I agree with the latter assertion: They couldn't have. As well-read in world history as they were, there is no way that they could have foreseen just how prescient they were in insisting on harsh limitations of government power. In their time, "tyranny" was comparatively soft -- their complaints focused on under-representation and the capricious restriction of ancient rights. In the past century, by contrast, tyranny involved the systematic execution of entire groups and the enslavement of whole countries. The notion that if James Madison had foreseen the 20th century he would have concluded that the Bill of Rights was too generous is laughable.

Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 6:33 PM | What do you think? [0]

Mark Steyn vs. Congress

Hat-tip: WUWT

But jk thinks:

I just love to hear him say "Rear Admiral Titley." Even if you don't agree with him, it's grand.

Posted by: jk at December 9, 2015 2:46 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Oh, I'll call professor Little Mann nearly any name I can find in any book (and I won't be choosy), but I need to understand it before use. What/who/where is that supposed to refer to, or it is just an artistic rendering of "big poopy head?"

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 10, 2015 12:20 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

OK, to contribute to the sharing of facts, I can now state that the "Rear Admiral" to whom Mark refers is actually, Dr. David Titley, who was a naval officer for 32 years, studied Meteorology all the way back to his undergrad at Penn St. and thereby would otherwise seemingly command respect.

1. Mark Steyn calling him a joke means more to me than this MS & PhD titles (and the lessons of Bill Nye and N.G. Tyson still being oh so fresh):

2. Having a title like this:

Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI on Foreign Politics, International Relations, and National Interest
sets off all sorts of red flags in my head (you were a fellow at, or for, a Seminar?!?)

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 10, 2015 1:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And if you DO agree with him, it is well beyond grand.

What does it mean to call for "the politicking to stop?" Does that mean we will only examine the issue scientifically from now on?" Gee, that'd be nice.

Instead, what they actually want is for the politics to BEGIN. In the form of policies, and restrictions, and controls, and redistributions. All in the realm of politics, of course.

The only thing they want to see come to a stop is any political OPPOSITION.

Posted by: johngalt at December 10, 2015 4:19 PM

Quote of the Day

To reach this developing world level of CO2 emissions, Mr. Sanders would: impose an unspecified carbon tax; ban all offshore drilling and fossil-fuel leases on federal lands; stop "dirty pipeline" projects; ban natural gas and oil exports; force states to ban fracking; ban mountaintop coal mining; impose a new fuel-efficiency standard of 65 miles per gallon by 2025; spend "massive" federal dollars on subsidies for wind, solar, geothermal, biofuels, home-efficiency programs and energy storage; federally underwrite electric-car charging stations, high-speed passenger and cargo rail, a smart grid, and clean-energy job training; shut down the nuclear industry; and provide "clean energy funding" to the rest of the world.

Mr. Sanders doesn't include the cost of all this, for obvious political reasons, yet give him points for honesty. -- WSJ Ed Page

But johngalt thinks:

Yes we can!


President Obama was a piker, with too little imagination.

Posted by: johngalt at December 9, 2015 11:58 AM

December 7, 2015

Un Coup? Non, merci!

The non-news from Paris' conference of the uber-rich last week should be taken as a positive. The 11/13 terrorist attacks certainly stole some thunder, but I think even the private jet-set are starting to notice the lack of any common touch to their message:
- those trying to hype DAWG are losing the narrative to real world events, as noted in the image, which I got from the UN 'MY World' Survey, where DAWG is last by a long shot amongst other concerns. Even the 470k respondents from "High HDI" countries can only bring DAWG up to 10th place.


I found the survey via the wonderfully prolific Matt Ridley's post on the Green Blob (which I much prefer to the Green Mob). If I were much smarter, I would have started my realist campaign by first noting good things happening in today's world, like ideas having sex. With that background I could say things like putting the interests of rich peopleís grandchildren ahead of those of poor people today not only with a smile, but able to put a smile on others' faces! Lastly, I could offer such powerful truths as:

look at the policies enacted in the name of mitigating climate change. Weíve diverted 40 per cent of Americaís maize crop to feeding cars instead of people, thus driving up the price of food worldwide, a move which according to one study killed about 192,000 poor people in 2010 alone, and continues to affect nutrition worldwide. Weíve restricted aid funding for fossil-fuelled power stations in developing countries, leaving many people who would otherwise have had access to electricity mired in darkness and cooking over wood-fires ó the biggest environmental cause of ill health, responsible for more than three million deaths every year.

Nice rejoinder to the WHO report supposing a quarter million climate deaths per annum. According to Daily Beast, that alarmism wasn't alarming enough to the alarmists, so they upped the ante to nearly 1/2 million in what the DB's author calls, probably without irony, "path breaking."

Another sign, again old news, is how they feel the need, as quoted in the Washington Times:

Chris Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who was also listed in the complaint [to ban skeptics], said in an email that the climate-change movementís recent efforts ďprove they know they canít persuade the public if there are voices to challenge the media cheerleading.Ē

But johngalt thinks:

Q - Why do politicians almost universally promise better education, healthcare, and job opportunities?

A - To distract voters from their untenable priority - an honest and responsive government.

Look at the things that the citizens of the world hold less important than "an honest and responsive government:"

Affordable food
Clean water
Gender equality
Environmental protection
Last and certainly least, Climate Action.

This can't be a result of those things being less important to people than a structural condition like "honest government." Rather, it is evidence that most of the citizens of the world already have enough of those other things. "Fix my problems - those aren't problems" they seem to be saying.

Posted by: johngalt at December 7, 2015 4:26 PM

"a philosophy of national security reflecting the preference of most Americans?"

That's where Ted Cruz is apparently trying to position himself, between the extreme isolationism of candidate Rand Paul, and the extreme interventionism of candidate Marco Rubio.

A Cruz Doctrine would ask of military action:

"How does it keep America safe? If it's keeping America safe, we should do it. If it's making America more vulnerable, we shouldn't do it."

At a recent Iowa town hall, Cruz rejected the choice being between "retreat from the world and be isolationist and leave everyone alone, or we've got to be these crazy neocon-invade-every-country-on-Earth and send our kids to die in the Middle East."

He added: "Most people I know don't agree with either one of those. They think both of those are nuts."

This is comparable to a debate I had with jk in June of 2014. Our differences were nuanced, but generally along the same lines as Cruz v. Rubio.

At the time I said Obama was right not to invade Syria in pursuit of Islamic State. While jk did not disagree, he did stand in support of "some of the excesses of neo-conservatism." Cruz seems to sense that most Americans are no longer willing to endure those excesses.

Instead of nation building, how about a principled realpolitik under which America defeats terrorist regimes with massive force, then swiftly brings the boys home -- making it clear We Shall Return if terrorists are replaced with other terrorists. (...)

Cruz may be the only Republican to explore this apparently verboten notion of having the kind of foreign policy every other civilized country in the world has -- placing our own interests first.


Gonna be one of those days, is it?


"A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." -- George Bernard Shaw

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

December 6, 2015

Review Corner

Far more than we like to admit, the world is to a remarkable extent a self-organising, self-changing place. Patterns emerge, trends evolve. Skeins of geese form Vs in the sky without meaning to, termites build cathedrals without architects, bees make hexagonal honeycombs without instruction, brains take shape without brain-makers, learning can happen without teaching, political events are shaped by history rather than vice versa.
Matt Ridley has written a couple of my favorite books [Review Corner] [Review Corner]. Hearing that he had a new one, it was easy to drop everything. It's potential to affect the book I am working on and be included as "research" didn't hurt. I quickly purchased and read The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge. Yet, I have stalled for three weeks in posting Review Corner. Well, the Broncos played the Patriots last week...

It's a sweeping and important book. In many ways it is a capstone For "Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters" and "The Rational Optimist:" our science, our innovation, and our prosperity are as much emergent phenomena as our eyes and opposable thumbs.

This truth continues to elude most intellectuals on the left as well as the right, who remain in effect "creationists". The obsession with which those on the right resist Charles Darwin's insight -- that the complexity of nature does not imply a designer -- matches the obsession with which those on the left resist Adam Smith's insight -- that the complexity of society does not imply a planner. In the pages that follow, I shall take on this creationism in all its forms.

Lord Ridley has a job to do, and "The Evolution of Everything" has a whiff of polemic that is missing from his other books. A lesser author might lose fractional stars for that, but Ridley is consistent and dispassionate, with everything included in a larger and important thesis. Ridley takes on the Darwin deniers and Smith deniers sequentially and with equal fervor.
The beauty of Darwin's explanation is that natural selection has far more power than any designer could ever call upon. It cannot know the future, but it has unrivalled access to information about the past. In the words of the evolutionary psychologists Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, natural selection surveys "the results of alternative designs operating in the real world, over millions of individuals, over thousands of generations, and weights alternatives by the statistical distribution of their consequences". That makes it omniscient about what has worked in the recent past. It can overlook spurious and local results and avoid guesswork, inference or models: it is based on the statistical results of the actual lives of creatures in the actual range of environments they encounter.

As he did in "Genome," Ridley adds to the corpus of evolution and understanding. Richard Dawkins has added much to the science of evolution and genetics. But he is like Michael Oakeshott, St. Thomas Aquinas, and to some extent my hero, Karl Popper, that you are frequently better off reading about him than reading him directly. David Deutsch and Matt Ridley explain Dawkins much better than Dawkins. Ridley brings his insights home with his (Ridley's) other work on genetics and economics.
Indeed, to borrow a phrase from a theorist of innovation, Richard Webb, Darwinism is the "special theory of evolution"; there's a general theory of evolution too, and it applies to much more than biology. It applies to society, money, technology, language, law, culture, music, violence, history, education, politics, God, morality. The general theory says that things do not stay the same; they change gradually but inexorably; they show "path dependence"; they show descent with modification; they show trial and error; they show selective persistence. And human beings none the less take credit for this process of endogenous change as if it was directed from above.

Chapter by chapter, Ridley looks at language, religion, culture, government, marriage and shows how all these items that seem pre-ordained are emergent. I'll challenge anyone nodding his or her head right now in agreement -- you will find at least one thing in this book with an evolutionary history that will surprise you. I am a T-Shirt wearing Hayekian and I found several.
Plato said that society worked by imitating a designed cosmic order, a belief in which should be coercively enforced. Aristotle said that you should look for inherent principles of intentionality and development -- souls -- within matter. Homer said gods decided the outcome of battles. St Paul said that you should behave morally because Jesus told you so. Mohamed said you should obey God's word as transmitted through the Koran. Luther said that your fate was in God's hands. Hobbes said that social order came from a monarch, or what he called "Leviathan" -- the state. Kant said morality transcended human experience. Nietzsche said that strong leaders made for good societies. Marx said that the state was the means of delivering economic and social progress. Again and again, we have told ourselves that there is a top-down description of the world, and a top-down prescription by which we should live.

I've a dozen more quotes that remain on the cutting room floor, damp with tears at their omission. It's a superb book. Five stars without question.

If you put a gun to my head (you Americans are so violent!) and made me pick one, I would have to choose "The Rational Optimist" as a slight favorite over this. But if I could cleverly grasp your weapon and turn it around against you, I would make you buy and read both -- and "Genome." They're spectacular.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:42 AM | What do you think? [0]

December 4, 2015


I'm Shocked.

FBI: California shooting investigated as act of terrorism

Jihad Posted by John Kranz at 5:49 PM | What do you think? [1]
But nanobrewer thinks:

Under the possible title "Did SHE really say that?" Our leading attorney didn't get the memo (or the FBI doesn't get priority over Ms. Jarrett), as she was on Meet the Press yesterday:

Ms. Lynch could not confirm that Farook and Malik were radicalized, or that there was any evidence they were part of a larger terrorist group or cell.

I distinctly remember the quote "We're not saying what ideology they could been part of"

Tom Cotton cuts in with Occam's Razor a wartime president who doesn't seem to realize it.
Sheesh! 409 days to go!

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 7, 2015 2:30 PM

"How can we stop these shootings, togeeeether?"

Gypped from a very good RedState piece, 'This is Why Fox News Continues to Destroy CNN and MSNBC' here is CNN's Carol Costello emoting and John R. Lott Jr. reasoning:

We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who comes on at five ...

Back to RedState:

It's the day after what might be the first major Al-Qaeda attack on American soil since 9/11, and FoxNews is giving people news. MSNBC and CNN are giving people sermons on gun control. And that's why FoxNews is winning.
But jk thinks:

But, John. John. John. Surely you are ready to throw away your lifetime of research and science and accept the conventional wisdom...

Posted by: jk at December 4, 2015 3:06 PM
But AndyN thinks:

But CNN and MSNBC both totally beat Faux News to the rummaging through an active, sealed crime scene scoop!

Posted by: AndyN at December 4, 2015 6:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. In the live version of "Dirty Laundry" Don Henley dedicates to "Rupert Murdoch."

Sweet irony.

Posted by: johngalt at December 4, 2015 7:23 PM

All Hail Harsanyi!

(Side note, David Harsanyi has picked up a partisan edge writing for The Federalist. I wonder if that causes friction at Reason?)

But today he is there and all the way live:

What do you call it when elites fly their private jets to an international climate change conference to forge a deal with despots that caps American prosperity without our consent? You call it progressivism.

It's estimated that 50,000 carbon-spewing humans participated in the Paris climate conference. But while President Barack Obama was taking his working dinner at the three-Michelin-star L'Ambroisie, public protesters were banned from protesting in the aftermath of the Islamic terror attacks. Liberté? Not so much.

December 3, 2015


Columnist Ruben Navarette says that America is "an unserious country in unserious times." Well, perhaps collectively.

Worst of all, Americans tend not to connect the dots. What our enemies envision as a coordinated global assault, many of us see as unrelated attacks. We witness a terrorist assault in France, and some Americans think it is limited to France.

Our worldview is all wrong. We look at the map and see separate countries. Islamic State militants look at the same map, and the only division they see is between believers and infidels. One group gets to live, the other must die.

Americans know the world is complicated. We don't expect our leaders to have all the answers. But we do want to know that they understand the threat, that they can destroy the enemy, and that they're up to the task of keeping us and our families safe.

But we have to do our part as well. And it starts with being serious about confronting this threat.

And it used to be that seriousness could always be found in the White House.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Short, bitter and powerful; who is this guy? I'd take his theory

Obama seems to be one of those peace-loving souls who are reluctant to give war a chance. I think he has never felt at ease with the United States using military power
to a wholly different level to say: Obama doesn't like America, full stop. He'd love to use the military, but only on the press and the GOP! Like too many faculty-lounge brats, he wouldn't know common sense if a 48-page booklet landed in his golf cart, nor a decent country if it elected him president.

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 4, 2015 11:47 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

the comments section is running roughly 7:1 against BHO and his Prog's - if you've lost San Jose... it appears Navarette is a NPR/WaPo/CNN reliable liberal. This is a satisfying crunch!

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 4, 2015 12:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not sure but I wondered if he is the same guy who blogs as "Sooper Mexican."

His point is not that our predicament is Obama's fault. Guys like him are a dime a dozen. But it's the electorate's fault, because that cohort collectively decided that he would be a good sort of fellow to be the leader of the free world.

Posted by: johngalt at December 4, 2015 12:01 PM

From Somaliland-am-Mississippi

Not to completely re-litigate the issue of importing Syrian refugees, and before the ties of the San Bernadino couple are exposed, I'd like address one point made by my smart blog-brothers, that immigrants will integrate within three generations.

Which I view as a nice theory, if unsubstantiated (?), and not particularly relevant to my point partly made here which is Islamic Arabs seem to have a much greater propensity to go radical, in order to eradicate our free radicals (and any others lying around). I think I actually focused on reasons they might not integrate, but now ammend that to being more worried about those who radicalize.

Not in answer to either issue, but an interesting case to consider is the Minnesota Six.

Unscientifically, I'd put Syrians, Yemenis, Lebanese, Somalis, Palestinians and perhaps Egyptians (in no particular order) in a "high risk category" for a variety of reasons, primarily the rise is ISIS and non-demise of A/Q as well as some other reasons I noted in that earlier post. What heightens that risk here is the Obama Administration's disdain, when not direct assault, on traditional American values, culture and mores.

Put it another way: I'd look at Syrian refugees in a very, very different light if GWB was still in the White House.
One case is point is how WE HERE believe in hard work: the Somalis gathering in the Twin Cities were apparently drawn there in part by natural movements, not the bureaucracy (which did it's part, IIRC, actively campainging for them), for Welfare State freebies, as I suggested in that original post.

in Minnesota these refugees ďcan take advantage of some of Americaís most generous welfare and charity programs.Ē

I'll try in the next few days to look up the Hmong population in the twin cities area: they were brought in in the same rough numbers and now are double in size to the Somalis, Wiki covers it quickly here: noting

As of 2013 the Hmong businesses in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area had revenues of over $100 million total.

Next up is the problem we're apparently having keeping up with this metastasizing jihadi threat.

the FBIís Loven queried how long law enforcement will be able to count on such informants [that helped break the ring]. Loven highlighted the increasing difficulty of tracking the radicalization of individuals online given the evolution of social media and the growing use of encrypted communications.

Vote here about which choice one thinks BHO and his minions will try to make for any potential refugees:
1. roll up their sleeves, learn english and start working,
2. consider themselves a protected class, requiring more government largess.

We all agree that they're least likely to radicalize and mostly likely to integrate if they choose #1, I'm mostly concerned that the bureaucracy does its best to make sure any and all choose #2.

But johngalt thinks:

Let's talk about "assimilation." Does it mean a) mimicking Ozzie and Harriet, or Richie Cunningham, or even that person who used to be called Miley Cyrus? Or does it mean b) living in peace with one's neighbors even when they hold fundamentally contradictory views or opinions on even the most closely held beliefs?

Any immigrant who can't do b) is better off living somewhere else 'cause sooner or later they're going to an American prison. (Or morgue.)

But most importantly, IMO, this doesn't apply only to immigrants, but also, as jk alludes, to native born yutes. Don't feel "safe" on the same campus as a Confederate flag decal? Then stay off campus! Ready to force your evangelical neighbor to bake a cake for your gay wedding just because you know it pisses him off? Order your special cake topper on-line and switch them yourself. Think that society owes you free health care and college tuition, and a $40K per year job no matter how crappy you do it? Move to Sweden.

Assimilation to traditional western values is a fairly simple thing - live and let live, and don't steal. Trouble is, the largest group of non-assimilators is not immigrants, be they Muslim or Hispanic or Martian - it is Progressives.

Posted by: johngalt at December 3, 2015 6:52 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

assimilate in three generations
Not you, JK, it was TGreer.

JG: point taken that we might get assimilation and movement towards a better america more from Syrian refugees than the spoiled, upper-crust whitebreads that currently spend too much time in college!

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 4, 2015 12:22 AM
But jk thinks:

Aha! All men are my brothers as John Donne would say "because I am part of Mankinde." But I generally use "brothers" to indicate authors with a login. tg would generally be "a leading light of the commentariat," or "blog friend." But now that I know the source, I would bet there is a heavily footnoted study underpinning it.

One of my favorites -- and I know I've bored you all with it -- is Michael Barone's "The New Americans." Every. Single. Wave: German, Irish, Chinese, Italian, Jewish elicited cries of "different from the previous," "this is something new," "these people will never become Americans," et cetera... Barone wrote it to suggest that Mexican immigration, peaking at the time, would probably work out okay.

So, while it is not part of my defense, I'd pinch hit for a leading light of the ThreeSources Commentariat and suggest that it has worked in the past.

Maybe Muslims are the Black Swan -- or maybe freedom and prosperity are so freaking awesome that they tend to encourage the newly arrived to participate.

Posted by: jk at December 4, 2015 3:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But sometimes freedom doesn't lead to prosperity. It requires effort. Or as Thomas A. Edison once said, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

I won't go as far as "most" people, at least not in our century as compared to Edison's. But there will always be some people who fail to launch. Some set up house under a bridge. Some go on the public dole. Some seek a "higher purpose" in whatever self-aggrandizing movement happens to be ascendant at the moment. For the decades since Osama bin Laden, "scion of a fabulously wealthy Saudi family; and Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian physician" founded al-Qaeda, a leading movement of false grandeur has been "Jihad against the west." Loosely translated, this means, "kill the bastards who are happier than you can ever imagine becoming."

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

And what does opportunity "look like" in our century? Let's ask President Barack Obama:

What I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all - the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead. Read more at:

Yes. If you work hard and take responsibility you can get ahead... proportionally to said work.

Because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams. Read more at:

No. Opportunity is proportional to ability and responsibility.

And it's still dressed in overalls. If it weren't it would have to be called charity.

Posted by: johngalt at December 4, 2015 7:15 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

JG's link about Bin Laden and Al-z was actually a really good piece shredding Bill Nye... which really warms my heart (tho' he didn't call him a liar, which I do now, regularly).

Here is a piece from PLine noting the 'vetting' that is proposed for Syrian refugees - call me unimpressed.

once it was concluded that we can do it safely and responsibly‚Ķ‚ÄĚ

Decided by whom? She won't say.... b/c of course, it was politically decided.

Also notes the Bonnie side of the San Bernadino shooting was just recently brought in on a K-1.

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 5, 2015 10:28 AM

Quote of the Day

If you are Mark Zuckerberg and have $45 billion, it is easy to live a lavish lifestyle with only 1% of it.

What would be hard--and admirable--would be for Zuckerberg to stand up in a meaningful way for freedom, in any area or every area, particularly for the billions who lack it most.

Imagine if Mark Zuckerberg, in the face of the recent massacre of Parisians by jihadists bent on enslaving the world to Islamic law, condemned jihadism as a threat to freedom and civilization.

Imagine if Mark Zuckerberg, in the face of an ongoing summit in Paris to outlaw the use of the vast majority of affordable, reliable energy, condemned the environmentalist leaders who oppose energy from fossil fuel, nuclear and hydroelectric sources as a threat to freedom and prosperity.

Imagine if Mark Zuckerberg, in the face of his fellow billionaires condescendingly giving the impoverished world handouts instead of support for freedom movements, created an initiative to promote political-economic freedom around the world. -- Alex Epstein

December 2, 2015

Quote of the Day

We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the end of the inevitable tokenization of all marginalized bodies at Hamilton College. Hamilton College cannot continue to overwhelmingly perpetuate narratives that center whiteness, able-bodied individuals, colonization, heteronormativity, and cisnormativity. The faculty, administration, staff, and student body at Hamilton College almost ubiquitously encompass a single population that continues the exclusion of historically underrepresented communities. -- We the Students of Hamilton College (via PowerLine)
Hat-tip: Elizabeth Price Foley @ Insty

We'll Always Have Paris!

President Obama, ignoring the chimes indicating that he is speaking over his time limit.

I feel like that when I hear him speaking.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Let's take it a step further: President Merde-For-Brains, speechifying and saying that mass shootings never happen outside of America. He said that yesterday.

In Paris.

Days after mass shootings there, while French citizens were still in shock and mourning their losses.

There are also bereaved parents in Norway who would politely disagree. And Australians. And Kenyans (other than himself). And Nigerians. And Egypt. And Honduras. I could go on...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 2, 2015 12:15 PM
But jk thinks:

& if you went on, I would never sound the chime...

My other favorite media from the event is the photo of all the turds -- I mean world leaders -- seated around the table. If you suggested the table as a prop in a Marie Antoinette movie, the director would say it was over the top there is so much finery and equipage. All meeting to degrade our quality of life.

I could go on...

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2015 1:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well said, on both parts. Yet as acting blog ombudsman I must post a correction:

President Obama is not a Kenyan. President Obama is a Keynesian.

Although despite a clear consensus on this scientific fact, there are still deniers.

Posted by: johngalt at December 3, 2015 2:31 PM

December 1, 2015

Go along to be "credible"

Did anyone else see this? I heard him say it live, this morning. Or at least, his lips were moving and these were the sounds I heard.

It's not merely that "99.5% of scientists" say that global climate science is "real" and "serious" [up from a steady 97 percent for the last two decades or so] but more importantly, the President says, "also 99% of world leaders."

"It spans political parties," he continued. "You travel around Europe and you talk to leaders of governments and the opposition, and they are arguing about a whole bunch of things. One thing they're not arguing about is whether the science of climate change is real and whether or not we have to do something about it."


"I think the president of the United States is going to need to think this is really important," Obama said. "Your credibility and America's ability to influence events depends on taking seriously what other countries care about."

So in order to be "credible" and in order to influence events, one must accept a tenuous theory assembled upon a mountain of dubious or downright fraudulent data, and be willing to act against the interests of American citizens to prove that he "takes seriously what other countries care about?"

Is he as stupid as he thinks we are? He really does take this "lead from behind" a.k.a. "follow" strategy seriously. No credibility gap there.

As for that 99% consensus of world leaders, meet MP Tim Yeo.

In 2009 Yeo said: "The dying gasps of the deniers [sic] will be put to bed. In five years' 
time no-one will argue about a man-made contribution to climate change." Now, four years later, he is saying: "Although I think the evidence that the climate is changing is now overwhelming, the causes are 
not absolutely clear. There could be natural causes, natural phases that are taking place." Within the Anthropogenic Global Warming hierarchy, that retraction is broadly akin to Richard Dawkins joining the Cistercian Order.

And MP David Davies:

ďIt was warmer during the Roman Period, a fact that is acknowledged by the IPCCÖ. It got cooler during the Dark Ages. It then got warmer during the Medieval Period. And then it became much colder until about 1800,Ē says Davies,

I could go on.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Yes, of course he did. I have lost the ability to be shocked at POTUS: If you cross a red line, you won't loose your doctor to the most transparent, shovel-ready, non-surveilling administration EVAH!

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 2, 2015 12:15 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Even uber-liberal columnist Richard Cohen has given up:

He is out of words because he is out of ideas. Consequently, he ought to listen to others. They’re not the ones who are popping off. He is.

It is said 'it took a Carter to get us a Reagan.' Let's hope that this example holds and the blessings God has laid at the USofA's feet keep coming. I'm reminded of something George Will (or Dr. K) said: oh, to be part a country who got J.Adams at our 1st constitutional crisis (France got Robespierre), and in our 2nd constitutional crisis were granted a Lincoln (whereas France got Napoleon III).

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 2, 2015 12:10 PM

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