April 29, 2016
Your FDA at Work
I look forward to the day I can stop posting these stories and stop complaining. But this tale of the FDA blocking treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy hits too close to home. I saw a video of a mother with two sons. Both had Duchenne. One was in the trial and had to watch his brother deteriorate because he could not get this treatment. You'd think the FDA would at least let Mom decide which kid she wants to let the government kill.
No, measured speech will not be employed in this post. I have been on trials for nine years and have seen how resource-intensive they are. Big Pharma has spent a ton of dough on me: some to develop and test product, but as much or more to satisfy a government which keeps the compound that helps me away from the others in the infusion room. At least they're not my brothers.
A small company like Sarepta can't summon the resources to produce unlimited drug doses at government whim, but set that aside. There aren't enough patients for such a double-blind trial. An estimated 12,000 boys in the U.S. suffer from Duchenne, but only 13% have the mutation amenable to eteplirsen (more iterations are on the way, unless FDA prevails). Many patients have deteriorated too far to be eligible or live too far from a city with a trial.
Well, those 12,000 boys can just wither and die I guess. I'm sure a new study will help the next generation of patients. Oh. Wait.
FDA has suggested no alternative path to approval.
JS Mill weeps. If you cannot read the story, let me know and I will smuggle through the paywall.
UPDATE: Here is the story I mentioned of the mother with two sons.
April 28, 2016
Troll Level: Grand Master!
Ten Points. Hat-tip: Ed Driscoll @ Insty
Life Imitates ThreeSources II
Now [Deirdre] McCloskey doesn't much like the word capitalism, the "C-word" as she terms it. "Our riches," she writes, "did not come from piling brick upon brick... or bank balance on bank balance... but from piling idea on idea." Capital, in all its forms, was necessary but not sufficient. -- James Pethokoukis
April 27, 2016
Reduced electrovalence leads to lower than expected energy output from fossil fuels in West last year.No, wait...
Life Imitates ThreeSources
Brother JohnGalt has said the same: Millennials love private enterprise—as long as you don't call it "capitalism."
When pollsters probe young people further about socialism and capitalism, they tend to find that respondents don't have clear concepts of these economic philosophies. To many millennials, "socialism" doesn't mean a government-managed economy but something like what we have now, only with more subsidized health care, student-loan forgiveness, and mandatory paid parental leave. Millennials were small children, if they were even born yet, when the Soviet Union dissolved. "Socialism" isn't Romania and Yugoslavia but Scandinavia, not Karl Marx and union halls but Bernie Sanders and Twitter.
more thought on bathroom wars
Had a hard time with a category for this, but reckon it outta include Culture Wars, and perhaps Donkey Rescue.
1st: we cannot allow such a travesty as bathroom-choice via Gender Identification to go unchallenged. It's simply ridiculous, "absurd" as my preferred candidate says, and a greased-up precipice hiding as a slippery slope. It's another route for leftism to destroy sensical standards.
2nd: I side with JK's inference that it will abide predation, and if not conclusively proven, I think the case must be made is this really worth it?. I don't think all the stats summed up in this emotional editorial are fully true and vetted, but agree strongly with her conclusion:
it is nothing short of negligent to instate policies that elevate the emotional comfort of a relative few over the physical safety of a large group of vulnerable people.and
the priority ought to be finding a way to keep everyone safe. I'd much rather risk hurting a smaller number of people's feelings by asking transgender people to use a single-occupancy restroom that still offers safety than risk jeopardizing the safety of thousands of women and kids with a policy that gives would-be predators a free pass.
The simple solution is single restrooms; there are plenty already. The complicated solution is to make the case in today's hypersensitive media space. And, yes, perhaps rant also fits, as I have two daughters and am already thinking about the local rec center's locker room!
April 26, 2016
personal experience on healthcare
I tried to post this on FB, but it doesn't like .pdf files, so I'll post here, perhaps refine it a bit and either re-post or point my FB page here, with a private post.
It starts with the letter I got back in the winter from the board of the CO Health Co-Op (CH-OP) when their little socialist venture got the ax: and now I'll try posting up a .pdf version here.
Quote of the Day
I am not disrespecting the talent of the engineers who achieved this feat. Flying a solar plane around the world is a remarkable achievement. But this achievement does not demonstrate the technology is viable. What it demonstrates is that solar is a ridiculously poor source of power. A solar collector the size of a 747 just managed to collect enough electricity, to keep an incredibly lightweight plane aloft. -- Eric Worrall
Three Cheers for the Sucky GOP!
I had an unfruitful argument with a moderately-anarchist-public-choice friend on Facebook. This person is a brilliant champion for liberty, but way too cool for a stodgy political party.
It's late and it's desperate, but I shared this Harsanyi piece (all hail!). If nothing else, it's a superb headline:
The GOP Sucks, But It’s Not As Bad As Everyone Thinks
the rest is pretty good too. He lists the defenses of the Grand Ol' Party we're both tired of making to Tea Partiers and Libertarians.
As far expectations go, Republicans deserve blame for making promises they couldn't possibly fulfill--including the notion that they could repeal Obamacare. Then again, overpromising is not exactly a new political trend. And it's not as if voters flock to candidates who tell them unvarnished facts about this cruel world of ours.
Spoiler alert: no. Read the whole thing. I mean, if you want to and have time. And if you're not in Venezuela with no power.
April 25, 2016
Back Home Again, In Indiaaa-naaa
In my Gliding into Cleveland with Donald post, detailing the progress Trump needs to be the GOP nominee before Republican delegates have anything to say on the matter, I documented that Trump needs to: "Win Indiana and most congressional districts, 45 of 57 delegates."
I glossed over that state at the time, choosing instead to focus on how unlikely an eventuality had Trump sweeping Montana and South Dakota. But Nate Cohn writes that Indiana may be fertile soil for Mr. Cruz. Even more so today, with the announcement that Kasich has agreed not to campaign in Indiana (in return for a similar pledge from Cruz in Oregon and New Mexico.) While things look good and, as I said, getting better for Cruz, Cohn says it's hard to be confident about predictions in Indiana, given its unique qualities. But...
What's clear is that if Mr. Trump wins Indiana, the drama continues on to California; if he doesn't, even California almost certainly won't be enough for him to secure the nomination by primary season's end.
UPDATE (jk) I do not like to crash others' posts. Unless it is important. And:
UPDATE: (jg) It's impossible to top the Glen Campbell vid but in the interest of telling the whole story, here is Club for Growth's 30 second spot that is featured in its $1.5 million Indiana ad buy.
While it's not one of the best political commercials ever made, it is blunt. It can't hurt in the effort to prove Why Today's Romp by Trump Doesn't Matter.
The month of May is going to be a death march for Donald Trump.
So Trump, according to theresurgent dot com, and ...
The 39% that support Trump, and by that I mean the about 15% of Republican voters who rarely vote and the Independents and Democrats who crossed over in open primary states, might just find themselves on the morning of June 8th thinking, "Wait, I thought we'd won this?!"
Then the whining and flailing that "they stole it from me" will really heat up. But as any racing fan knows, it doesn't matter who leads the race until they cross the finish line. Just ask Silky Sullivan!
A Little Sharanskyism
You don't have to invade other nations and instill Madisonian democracy. But is it too much to ask that the President advocates for freedom? Here is what disturbs me about the President in unkind but not overwrought language.
Almost alone amongst US presidents, Obama has turned his back on this fundamental duty, and instead showed peoples who are struggling for sovereignty the superior sneer of the cold, haughty academic that he really is. When the Iranian people protested against the theft of their June 2009 election by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and took to the streets at the cost of around 100 dead and 4,000 arrested--the exact figures will never be known due to government censorship--President Obama merely stated that the difference between Ahmadinejad and the opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi "may not be as great as has been advertised" and ordered American diplomats to do nothing to support Iranian pro-democracy campaigners.
From historian Andrew Roberts’s “Barack Obama has turned his back on democracy” for the website CapX, April 22: Quoted in WSJ's "Notable & Quotable."
All Hail Taranto!
What's that? No All Hail Taranto all week? Well, it is only Monday.
Good Randian Case against Anarcho-Capitalism
I am heartened and fortified that Randy Barnett -- the author of the most compelling case for anarchy which I have ever encountered [Review Corner] -- has used his most recent book to advocate for The Republican Constitution. I had been using the non-euphonious "Constitutional Minarchist." My meaning is that the original Constitution was well structured and ratified by many serious-minded liberty lovers. So, if I quibble with a phrase or an Article I, Section 8 power ("coin money: **cough** "regulate the value thereof" **cough, cough**), I'll take it in toto.
Today, I spill across this fine Harry Binswanger column which argues against in Objectivist grounds.
"Free competition works so well for everything else," these anarchists say, "why not for governmental services, too?"
Pretty good if you like such things.
April 24, 2016
The Suicide of Venezuela
As they act out Atlas Shrugged Part III 3308 miles to our Southeast, turning off the lights to save fuel in the West's most energy rich nation.
No, national suicide is a much longer process -- not product of any one moment. But instead one bad idea, upon another, upon another and another and another and another and the wheels that move the country began to grind slower and slower; rust covering their once shiny facades. Revolution -- cold and angry. Hate, as a political strategy. Law, used to divide and conquer. Regulation used to punish. Elections used to cement dictatorship. Corruption bleeding out the lifeblood in drips, filling the buckets of a successive line of bureaucrats before they are destroyed, only to be replaced time and again. This is what is remarkable for me about Venezuela. In my defense -- weak though it may be -- I tried to fight the suicide the whole time; in one way or another. I suppose I still do, my writing as a last line of resistance. But like Dagny Taggert I found there was nothing to push against -- it was all a gooey mess of resentment and excuses. "You shouldn't do that." I have said. And again, "That law will not work," and "this election will bring no freedom," while also, "what you plan will not bring prosperity -- and the only equality you will find will be in the bread line." And I was not alone; an army of people smarter than me pointed out publically in journals and discussion forums and on the televisions screens and community meetings and in political campaigns that the result would only be collective national suicide. Nobody was listening.
April 23, 2016
Pre Review Corner
I mentioned this in a comment way down the page, but. do not wait for Review Corner. Run out today and buy: Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People by Randy Barnett.
PM Margaret Thatcher is rumored to have thrown down a copy of Hayek's "Constitution for Liberty" and declared "This is what we believe!" Well ThreeSourcers, I hate to be presumptuous, but this is what we believe.
I am highlighting every other paragraph and will be unable to get 3% in a Review Corner. But here is a taste:
At its core, this debate is about the meaning of the first three words of the Constitution: "We the People." Those who favor the Democratic Constitution view We the People as a group, as a body, as a collective entity. Those who favor the Republican Constitution view We the People as individuals. This choice of visions has enormous real-world consequences.
If that doesn't get you interested, then forget my recommendation. Move along.
April 22, 2016
A little free advertising for candidate Cruz
Louisiana's conservative Hayride blog calls it "one of the best political commercials ever made."
Climate Change: What do Scientists Say?
Did somebody say Earth Day? Here is the latest scientific interpretation of the "Climate Disruption" caused by humans being healthy and prosperous. Hint: It's not all a matter of science.
Lindzen was a lead author of one of the chapters of the original IPCC report.
Happy Freakin' Earth Day!!!
Have you experienced a school "science week" lately? You should.
Gold Tops, Globalism, and Marginal Benefits
Kranz's Law: Economics can always be explained by guitars. There is a guitar example for every important economic concept. I'd write a book but the opportunity cost is too high.
Feast thine eyes upon my new Epiphone Gold Top Les Paul. That would have been called a copy back in the day, but Gibson owns Epiphone and has decided sales of the inexpensive Epis outweigh branding concerns.
My first good guitar was a Goldtop 1974 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe. I paid $400 for it used. My Father tried to dissuade me, then folded and loaned me half the money. He came to my room to see it saying "I just want to see what a $400 guitar looks like." We were out of Bretton Woods, but Arthur Burns's Fed Policies had not yet wrought their havok: $400 was a lot of money.
My Facebook friends may have seen that I picked up the Epiphone last Monday for $299 with Free Shipping. Using a general PCI deflator, the 1975 equivalent of $299 2016 dollars is . . . round down, carry the one . . .nothing. No, I'll be nice. This site says $66.98.
But here's the thing: You could not get a very good guitar in 1975 for $66.98. The less expensive instruments were constructed poorly, were difficult to play, and didn't sound very good. You might score a cool used item from a pawn shop. My buddy got a Fender Mustang that either of us would kill to have today. But the bargain hunting beginner faced a hard slog. Thanks to globalization and exciting musical advances like supply chain management, the stores and websites are flooded with really nice $200-500 guitars. I've seem some for $89 or $99 that a kid could learn on.
Nobody loves nice expensive guitars more than me. Most superlatives require qualifiers, but this statement does not. I loves me some nice guitars. Here is the real Gibson equivelent for $2799. They have more expensive and less expensive models, but the Epiphone - Gibson spread is roughly $300 against $3000. (The ES-359 next to it in the picture cost about $3500).
And worth every penny (well, the ES-359 is -- I an't payin' no three grand for a gorram Les Paul!) That's what marginal utility is. You could hand both guitars to a great player or to a blind Venusian and they'd pick out the more expensive instrument in a couple minutes. And yet, the cheap one is cool. I glowed after playing it last night. I'll hot rod the electronics a bit and it badly needs a professional set up. But it is great.
And that brings us to income inequality. Russ Roberts likes to say "Bill Gates has 70,000 times as much money as me -- but does he eat 70,000 times more food? His car is nicer. Is it 70,000 times nicer?" In 1975, the difference between Les Pauls and knock-offs was big, Generic food, when introduced, was inferior in quality to name brands. Now the grocers sell premium store brands of many items. I suppose Gordon Ramsey can tell them apart, but I'm not sure I can. And I'd rather spend the difference on guitars.
In as much as "the poor" are starving, lets fix it. But if they're playing Epiphone Les Pauls and using iPhone 4's instead of Gibsons and iPhone 6's -- sign me up for "heartless."
April 21, 2016
New York Primary Recap
Investors' Michael Ramirez gave us a two-fer yesterday. This one is a summary of Tuesday's Democrat and Republican presidential nomination contests in New York. Hint: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were the victors for the respective parties.
Formerly, the Artist known as Prince.
I ain't gonna get maudlin. But:
It would be more meaningful if there were a close competitor, but that's quite a performance.
Quote of the Day
It's no surprise Donald Trump in his New York victory speech about the "corrupt" Republican Party called Sen. Sanders a fellow "outsider." The two great disrupters are remarkably similar, a kind of Tweedledon and Tweedleburn on trade and a "system" that's "broken" and "failing" their supporters. -- Dan Henniger WSJ Ed Page
Who's not in the Pigou Club? Pigou!
I have railed often -- but not recently -- against N. Greg Mankiw's beloved "Pigou Club." Pigouvian taxes create an efficiency that attracts economists and a social agenda which attracts progressives.
I get a little, no a lot of, help against this unholy coalition in a great piece by Bruce Yandle in PERC.
And there we have the Pigouvian solution. To correct problems of systemic risk generated by large banks, overly nutritious drinks that lead to obesity, too much carbon emissions that may contribute to climate change, or too many grocery bags that ultimately foul the environment, a wise government can design just the right tax or subsidy and gently adjust the economic mechanism so that it runs more perfectly.
Yet it seems the great man himself was skeptical of public policy based on it.
PIGOU'S WARNING As strange as it may seem, Pigou did not believe that government could improve human well being by fine-tuning behavior with taxes, subsidies, and regulation. His concern was grounded in what we today call Public Choice. He did not accept the notion that politicians, given constitutional constraints, would be capable of implementing an efficient and effective set of taxes and subsidies. Put simply, he did not believe the politicians could get the calculations right. Instead of making things better, the chances were just as good that things would be made worse. Instead of keeping faith with implementing a well designed tax, the politicians' interest would be deflected to writing loopholes for favored interest groups and finding ways to generate evermore revenue
Leading Yandle to conclude that "It would seem that Pigou was not much of a Pigouvian."
Yes We Can All Get Along!
Everybody loves Harriet Tubman!
No doubt some Americans will call this a case of political correctness. Jackson, a Southern white male who owned slaves and whose legacy includes military campaigns to drive Native Americans from their lands, is replaced by a woman of color.
The Heritage Foundation pushed back a little, highlighting number seven's opposition to crony capitalism, but I was pretty surprised how it united my disparate facebook feed. Even Brother Keith got into the act:
UPDATE: Well, everybody but Donald Trump.
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Thursday came out against removing former President Andrew Jackson from the front of the $20 bill, saying "pure political correctness" is behind the move.
April 20, 2016
I used to like Andy Borowitz quite a bit. He has become pretty stridently leftist at The New Yorker -- plus one of my lefty buddies only shares his most snide and hateful. It has turned me off. But this is pretty propsworthy:
Life in 2016: All Toilet, No Humor.
Grampa, what side were you on in the great pee wars of 2016?
I've started this post a few times and thrown it away, but I think I am the last undecided person in the country on the North Carolina/LGBT/bathroom issue. I need to do some research, I suppose, on the actual Tar Heel State ordinance. But the greater issue is fraught with peril.
I think it is fair to say I have been friendly to gay rights in a hippie, libertarian, laissez-faire manner. I stand by that 100% and celebrate the achievements over the last couple of decades.But gay marriage is not zero-sum. My heterosexual-thank-you-very-much marriage is not diminished by a union with different anatomical collections. What I'd like to see from both sides is an admission that bathroom laws are indeed zero-sum.
Absolute enforcement will cause discomfort from transgendered people. I don't wish to be the cause of that. Good people who mean no harm should be able to use the facilities in which they are comfortable. I certainly don't mind if a female saunters into the "little boys room." I'll live.
But. I have a bunch of other middle aged guys on my Facebook feed who have shared the meme that says "Share This if you don't mind sharing the bathroom." And for the first time, I understand "White Privilege." These people in the least vulnerable group are sanctimoniously advertising their tolerance. It's like hearing Bill Gates saying he'd pay 35¢ more for a hamburger if the cow gets a free massage.
So, lefty buddies, you too have to admit people will be discomfited and harmed. You're giving away the next stall, not only to yourself, but for a bashful ten year old girl or a rape survivor. Are you truly indifferent to their comfort? And, at the margins, it will certainly facilitate predators.
These may well be trades we want to make in a path to a more inclusive society. I'm not prepared to say they are not. But I do not hear this admission from my prog friends.
I don't know what the resolution is. I'm a fan of the status quo ante: a general tolerance and mutual respect to resolve on a case by case basis. Codifying and legislating will likely lead to pain. Long term, I suspect the communal "john" will disappear faster than round doorknobs.and two-prong AC outlets. New buildings will likely switch to having a bank of individual rooms. That wouldn't be bad -- a kind of Steven Pinkeresque progress as we grow wealthier.
Okay, let me have it. But please accept the potential of real harm if your side wins.
Stable Exchange Rates - a Panacea?
The international currency stability of a gold-standard, without the impediment to economic growth of a gold-standard. That is how I read the proposal of two authors of this WSJ editorial.
Neither tax, nor regulatory, nor budget reforms, however desirable, will eliminate currency wars. To restore America's competitive position in production, manufacturing and world trade, stable exchange rates are the only solution tested in the laboratory of U.S. history - from President Washington in 1789 until 1971. Stable exchange rates have proven throughout history to establish the most reliable level playing field for free and fair world trade.
Not Donald Trump's protectionist tariffs, nor Ted Cruz' "tax on imports but not exports" (read: tariff) but an agreement with other nations to exchange their national currencies at fixed rates. Could it work?
April 19, 2016
Donald Trump - Direct Democrat
Tell me if you've heard this one before: "In America, anyone can become anything he wants to be, even President of the United States, if he is smart and hard-working." This timeless bit of parental advice comes to mind as I read the ending of a Yahoo News interview of veteran [Democratic] party official Elaine Kamarck. When asked, "Why were the Founding Fathers concerned about parties," she answered,
"The founders were concerned about the mischief of factions. (...) No other democracy in the world nominates its candidates in primaries. All the parliamentary democracies have party conferences and they have lists. You can't just go run for Parliament in Devonshire [U.K.]. You have to be placed on a list by the central party committee.
Prior to that, Kamarck agreed with the interviewer, "Exactly. He [Trump] is arguing [for] direct democracy."
And prior to that she explained that parties choose their nominee, not primary voters. Allahpundit cited her explanation and then offered an analogy -
I laughed this morning at the news that "Boaty McBoatface" was the British public's choice for the name of a new polar research ship, just because it's so weirdly in sync with the delegates' dilemma in Cleveland. The Natural Environment Research Council asked for suggestions on what to name its new vessel; the public responded with something that's funny yet, shall we say, sub-optimal for a serious research expedition. So now the NERC, which has final say, has to decide: Should it do the democratic thing and send Boaty McBoatface out onto the high seas or should it do something more befitting the gravitas of its mission and choose a more traditional name? What they'll do, I assume, is compromise by giving it a traditional name while formally recognizing somehow what the people's choice was in the form of a plaque or something onboard. Maybe the GOP's delegates can do that too. Nominate Cruz at the convention, but call Trump up onstage and give him a nice bowling trophy recognizing that he won the most popular votes. He'd like that, no?
But this is exactly what Trump is advocating, and promising to "reform" about the Republican Party "over the coming years." Who knows, he might even succeed. But if he does, parents will no longer be able to tell their children that "You don't have to have special connections, or a family name - in America, anyone can become the President of the United States."
In related news, Ben and Jerry have been arrested.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were among approximately 300 people who were arrested Monday as part of protests by a group called Democracy Awakening.
What was that word again... that means "all the power is returned to the people?" Oh yeah - anarchy.
Quote of the Day
Humans have been using euphemisms ever since Adam first "knew" Eve. -- David Harsanyi
April 18, 2016
I am a capitalist. I believe in the natural right of every human being to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I believe happiness is tightly coupled with prosperity. I believe prosperity comes from jobs and jobs come from businessmen, not government.
The two leaders for the Republican presidential nomination are cast as "the businessman" and "the lawyer." On its face that is an easy choice - businessman, all the way. But this particular "businessman" is better known for his failures than successes, and his techniques are properly described as a full-employment program for lawyers, principally to sue other businessmen. The "lawyer" on the other hand is reviled by nearly all of his fellow lawyers in the US Senate, and during a floor speech there quoted heavily from Ayn Rand's epic novel 'Atlas Shrugged.' A story in which the hero was, the businessman. He went so far as to say, "If you have not read 'Atlas Shrugged' then go out and buy a copy. And read it."
What I'm saying is, if you too value prosperity and the earned rewards of hard work, be careful to vote for the man who actually values what the other man claims to be, but is not - instead of the man who became famous for firing people on prime time TV.
* Testing it out here in the laboratory before taking it on the road to social media.
The two sides of "New York Values"
If you want to know what is really important about democracy, listen to someone who's lived completely without it - a former Soviet citizen. Proud New York immigrant Garry Kasparov, writing about fellow New Yorker Donald Trump, doesn't disappoint.
I refer to these "American values" with no sarcasm or irony. Every day I have reason to thank Ronald Reagan and the generations of Americans who sacrificed and fought for the freedom of those of us trapped behind the Iron Curtain.
After Obama's soothing and sophisticated spin, Trump's incoherent fury and outlandish promises can feel like a welcome change.
The problems of capitalism are usually best met by more capitalism: less regulation, more risk, more investment, more innovation.
UPDATE: I'm afraid I buried the lede. Here's the quote regarding "good" vs. "evil" New York values:
It's tempting to rally behind him-but we should resist. Because the New York values Trump represents are the very worst kind. He exemplifies the seamy side of New York City - the Ponzi schemers and the Brooklyn Bridge sellers, the gangster traders like Bernie Madoff and the celebrity gangsters like John Gotti -- not the hard work and sacrifice that built New York and America.
Going to be mean
I'm a huge fan of Sen. Jeff Flake (HOSS - AZ). He has attracted a lot of "RINO" calls for has nontroglodytism on immigration, but I appreciate him as a Fiscal Hawk™ and GOP Happy Warrior™
His reward today will be a vicious rant.Haw fair is that?
But I proport that the watchdog spending lists that he took over from Senator Coburn (HOSS - OK) are poorly placed. Here's his latest and it is accompanied by an admittedly clever video:
My first question is how much Federal largesse was directed at producing that video? But, fuhggedahboutit, it was a rounding error. Yet, aren't most items in the Wastebook as well?
$17,500 to have people wear a fat suit for "weight sensitivity training"
Ha ha. As I mentioned in Sunday's Review Corner, R & D would not be federally funded in Libertarian Utopia™, but is this what's ruining the Republic? Is this jailing innocent people and creating market distortions? Is this shutting down businesses? (Yes, at the margin it's raising taxes, but get out your scientific notation calculator to see it as a percentage.)
The same people (no, not around ThreeSources -- y'all are crazy!) will likely cheer for billions for Cancer Research. Here is where I get prickly. Are we complaining -- and Flake is -- that government is choosing projects badly? We should be complaining that government is doing too much. That it is costing jobs. That it is jailing innocent citizens, That it is shutting down businesses.
The Wastebook and video are a page out of the old, pre-Tea Party GOP which says big government is fine if it does good, right, wholesome, holy and true things. If you believe that, then by all means, argue about Shrimp Fight Club (are you supposed to talk about Shrimp Fight Club?). But if you believe government is off the rails and ruining our liberties and our economy, then this is unserious and unproductive.
Bernie & the Pontiff!
Sounds like the title of a great buddy movie: "can a Brooklyn Jew and the leader of the Catholic Church iron out their differences while solving a murder in the mean streets of LA?"
Alas and Alak. That is not it:
Mr. Sanders's audience was granted after he participated in a Vatican conference celebrating the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's encyclical Centesimus Annus. In his remarks on the encyclical, Mr. Sanders used his Vatican pulpit to declare that "the issue of wealth and income inequality" is "the great moral issue of our time."
Bad News for the Vaterland
Scheiss! Mustangs outselling German saloons?
Achtung, baby! There's a new sporting-coupe king in Germany, and it's named after the mighty P-51 fighter that cleared the skies over Bavaria some 73 years ago. In March, the Ford Mustang outsold the Porsche 911, the Porsche Cayman, the Porsche Boxster, and the Audi TT. It's not a matter of Germans having a nose for a bargain, either; a plain-Jane five-liter GT costs about 50 grand overseas compared to the $32,395 base price in the States. It appears that Mustang ownership justifies premium pricing in the land of the Nurburging [sic?] and the autobahn. What's going on?
I won't bore you with my favorite Richard Hammond story again -- email me if you've forgotten. But the Pony is a bargain in the states against the imports.Yaay free trade!
But not all news is bad in my ancestral homeland . They may soon be able --I am not making this up -- be able to purchase cheap and reliable coal power from China.
[I]n a hilarious twist of climate politics, China looks like it is positioning itself, to flood Europe with desperately needed cheap coal generated electricity: all completely within the letter of the various Paris climate agreements.
April 17, 2016
Brother Keith's Senator at Work!
The evil philosopher is Alex Epstein [Review Corner]
The perspectives on the Right sometimes stem from religious motives that elevate purity and the notion that we shouldn't try to play God-- the idea that we should eat food the way "God made it." The Left takes cues from the likes of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and elevates nature as a pure state unadulterated by bigotry or profiteering. The result is a philosophy of romantic traditionalism that is implicitly opposed to technological progress in food and agriculture.I've a keen interest in food. Firstly, as Penn Jillette says when told there are toxins in food, water, and air" "Toxins in food? Shit? We eat food. A lot of food."
Me too. But it is also an interesting nexus for topics which intrigue: government regulation and research, trade policy and immigration . . . I'm even belatedly learning to appreciate the culinary art behind it. Mostly, I remain enchanted by the real science and innovation of modern agriculture and its ability to feed more people better with fewer resources. Conversely, I reject the junk science which impedes it with ignorance.
Eggo -- I mean ergo -- Jayson Lusk's Unnaturally Delicious: How Science and Technology are Serving Up Super Foods to Save the World was a treat. Lusk is "Regents Professor and Willard Sparks Endowed Chair in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University," a frequent contributor to the WSJ, NYTimes, Forbes, and foxnews.com. I'd love a culinary polemic, but this is not one. Lusk covers many of the ways which technology has affected how we eat from Roman agriculture:
So important was manure to crop yields that the ancient Romans elevated excrement to deity status by paying homage to Stercutius, the god of manure. But there was never enough to go around.
To 3-D printing:
Lipson said that 3-D printing can, for perhaps the first time, combine cooking and information technology. After all, this is an age when our watches are continuously tracking our heart beat, blood pressure, and sleeping rhythms, and when we can order individualized DNA tests off the Internet. These data could be used to customize breakfast granola or even make pharmaceutically enhanced candy bars that contain the right dose of allergy or cholesterol medication.
[Side note -- if we ever need to rename the blog, stercutiusspeaks.com may be available...]
That said, the granolaed Boulderites will find much to dislike. Lusk is pro technology and unafraid to shoot down some deeply held beliefs. He accepts and shares concerns about humane conditions for livestock and food-producing animals. But the current, feel-good solutions are both unsustainable and not always "as advertised;"
The barns or aviaries are often chaotic, dusty, and smelly. Mortality rates for cage-free hens can be twice as high as those for hens in cages. So even though the hens have more amenities and freedom than in the battery-cage system, they die at a much higher rate. Some of that is a result of more fighting (the phrase "pecking order" is not some abstraction but a reality in hen houses). Higher death rates are also partially attributable to the different breeds of chickens typically used in cage-free systems, Rhode Island Reds, which lay brown eggs, whereas White Leghorns, which lay white eggs, are typically used in cage systems. But the higher mortality in the cage-free systems can also be partially attributed to conditions that are less sanitary. Air quality is particularly bad, as are particulate matter emissions. This is bad news for the birds, and many employees also don't like it. I've talked to large-scale egg farmers who have both cage and cage-free systems, and most prefer the cage. In addition, cage-free systems have higher carbon footprints and produce eggs that are 30 to 40 percent more expensive than eggs from cage systems.
If feel-good romantic agriculture ideas have a rough go, the sum total of the book is incredibly optimistic in a Matt Ridleyesque way. Modern farming techniques not only produce more food on less land, but GPS tractors, satellite observation, and big data information optimize the use of fertilizer, irrigation, and pest control.
Or, we could just farm in our backyards with a stick.
Our ancestors, at least as a species, could have carried on quite sustainably for a long time, but their sustainable life is not one I'd choose to be born into. The all-natural future is not the kind of future in which I want to live, and I think that is why I've been bothered by the word sustainability. The missing ingredient in sustainable thinking is the role of scientific and technological advancement. Sustainable doesn't have to mean stagnant. Rather, any future worth fighting for is one that is dynamic, innovative, and exciting, one in which there will be many other humans with bountiful opportunities to eat and work as their hearts desire.
Before ThreeSourcers construct a giant statue of Lusk and start a cargo cult, I must point out that he closes with a chapter on the efficacy of government spending on ag research (self serving much?) The Ag professor says that minimal projections suggest that $1 invest in, well Ag professors yields $32 in benefits.
I might question that, but I did not allow it to change my enjoyment of this book. In libertarian utopia, investment might be private (or at least all State), but on my list of destruction of liberty, R&D in general is low on the list. And one can easily make a shared benefit claim.
So, no stars deducted -- this is a five star book, heartily recommended. I have several more excellent quotes I could share on demand, But it's lunchtime.
April 16, 2016
Dudley Brown and his Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, not highly regarded by Three Sourcers, made news again last week, albeit under the radar of the "Great Rocky Mountain Delegate Heist for #NeverTrump." What went unmentioned in reports of Darryl Glenn's upset thumping of Tim Neville was that Neville was strongly promoted by Brown's RMGO group. Another Colorado lightning rod, former congressman Tom Tancredo, says the defeat marks the "end of an era" in Colorado politics.
But Brown has chosen to fight against the Convention of States. And in doing so, he has tipped his hand as to where he really stands on our rights. In fighting against the Convention of States Project, a campaign he wages in hysterical emails full of misinformation and straw men arguments, he has raked in millions in donations, especially to NAGR: $12.5 million in 2014 (the most recent information available), and $16.5 million in 2013.
Gliding into Cleveland with Donald
Donald Trump has stopped whining. For now. Now his position is that he is on a "glide path" to win the GOP presidential nomination outright, with 1,265 delegates, before those delegates convene in Cleveland and start talking about all the reasons not to nominate this man as the standard bearer for the party.
According to AP's Stephen Ohlemacher, Trump enters the New York primary with 744 pledged delegates. From here he must:
Win New York with 50-plus percent. Win 22 of New York's 27 congressional districts, again, with 50-plus percent.
Except that, according to the Green Papers political blog, Trump has 757 "hard" delegates, not 744 - a difference of 13 delegates. (Presumably the statewide delegates from Missouri, still undergoing a recount.)
1,226 plus 13 equals 1,239. Trump is the nominee with two delegates to spare. If you believe he can win South Dakota and Montana (and all the other rosy scenarios in a perfect combover storm.)
April 15, 2016
We don't need no stinking convention...
...CBS' Will Rahn has spoken!
The argument we're seeing out of the Cruz camp and the Republican National Committee essentially boils down to this: convention delegates choose the nominee, and that this is how it's always been done. This argument has the benefit of being technically true because a majority of delegates do, of course, select the nominee at the convention.
Well, at least he understands that it's "technically true" that Republican national delegates choose the Republican presidential nominee. He might make a good journalist some day after all.
Cruz knows he's got a likability problem. He may not be the guy you want to have a beer with but he'll drive you home, he's said in various forms, which is not a terrible line. -- Matthew Cooper, Newsweek
In Case you Missed the Pro-Trump Rally
And it appears quite a few of you did . . . here's a look. (Click to enlarge and pick out both your friends!)
Photo credit Chris Holbert who notes: "Dozens."
I'm not the only one who's noticed Verizon's
Mr. McAdam is right that Mr. Sanders is wrong. American businesses aren’t immoral. They create jobs, prosperity, investment and tax revenue. They are the essence and the requirement of a democracy. Far from an immoral system, U.S. capitalism is the wonder and envy of the world. The greater wonder is that it remains so, despite the pusillanimous behavior of its most prominent representatives.
"Not I" (What's that, the Red Chicken or something?) is a favorite riff ';round these parts. Capitalists won;t stand up to defend capitalism -- then they wonder from where Sen. Sanders's support originates.
Read. The. Whole. Thing. Holler if I can assist a breach of Rupert's pay wall.
Hat-tip: Steven Crowder
Green Mafia in action
Perhaps I was wrong to fear most of all the unelected government?
Here, real law professor tells off the three would-be thugs who've finally taken the Exxon investigative "Lawfare" campaign in a big, bold and public move to criminalize free expression. I could have figured slimeball-activist types like Harris and Schneiderman would be at the front of this mob.... anybody else heard the joke that AG stands for "Aspiring Governor"?
Hah, co-named CEI is willing and able to fight back! Now, if we could just get a real constitutional expert elected, perhaps the illegality will be placed correctly?
Thank god for all of Reynolds' hard work that has landed him a spot regularly publishing editorials for USAToday, and let's hope PowerLine's Scott Johnson's prediction
It's a sign of the times, as is the silence that enshrouds the story.becomes untrue.
GOP Nomination "Inside Baseball"
A one-question quiz, to see who's paying attention...
Q: Which state, in reaction to what happened to their delegates at the 2012 Republican National Convention, changed its delegate election rules earlier this year in a way that may be to the detriment of the Donald Trump campaign?
Tick tick tick tick...
A: Colorado! Right? Umm, no.
As the Denver Post, among others, has explained, Colorado made no changes to its rules for electing delegates. Rather, it discarded the traditional non-binding straw poll, because the national party had made that non-binding poll binding in 2012, and the standing Convention rules would have made it binding in 2016. So The COGOP State Central Committee members voted to skip the non-binding poll. Delegates were then elected the same way they've been elected since 2004.
The state that wants to "steal the nomination" from Donald Trump is, his own home state of New York.
The New York Republican State Committee approved the rules change last year, marking the first time in decades that GOP presidential candidates won't be allowed to select their own delegates from the Empire State. Instead, the state party will decide.
There is one thing in common between the New York and Colorado situation - the attitude of those who've had enough of Trump's
Trump, ultimately, will have a chance to use his deal-making skills to keep his New York delegates aligned behind his nomination, Walsh said.
April 14, 2016
Otequay of the Ayday
Mr. Trump's newfound class was on display this week, in reaction to Saturday's state GOP convention in Colorado. Lacking almost any organization, Team Trump was smoked. Sen. Ted Cruz took all 34 delegates. In response, Mr. Trump tweeted, "The people of Colorado had their vote taken away from them" and warned, "This will not be allowed!"
Actually, it will be. The state Republican executive committee voted unanimously last August to select delegates through a convention, not a primary or caucus. Mr. Trump, running initially as a lark, failed to organize in states like Colorado. Now he demands that the rules be changed because he didn't prepare and lost.
-Karl Rove in Vanity Will Be The Donald's Undoing
More Lowell McAdam
Still not #feelintheBern Mister Verizon CEO Sir?
"Competition and technology change have eaten into our traditional phone business, with more and more Americans giving up their landline phones altogether," McAdam wrote. "To remain competitive, we've transformed our wireline operations into a broadband company by building fiber-optic networks, offering Internet and video services, and investing in employees' skills and work tools to help them make the turn to a 21st-century digital economy."
All Hail Taranto!
ThreeSources fave Robert Tracinski and South Park make the cut:
Trump - GOP should be "ashamed" it's not democratic
I am not making this up.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ratcheted up his criticism of the Republican Party and its process for selecting delegates for the GOP nomination, calling it "not democracy at its finest."
Really? Is that your basis for criticizing the Republican Party Mr. Trump, that it isn't democratic?
"I think we're doing very well but despite that, it's a rigged system it's a very unfair system and it's not democracy," he added.
With respect sir, there's another party that practices what you preach, and does it quite well. It's called the Democratic Party. They even have super delegates, which allow them to practice super democracy!
Republicans don't blindly award the party nomination to whatever Tom, Dick or Harry has the most chalk marks next to his name. First, you must earn a majority* of delegates to the national convention, not a mere plurality. Second, party rules are carefully designed to promote a system of reflection and contemplation that leads to a nomination of the best candidate, the one who best understands and promotes a republican form of government, not merely the most popular from among a field of many.
Most of the delegates you earned came from early states where your support was stronger than any other individual candidate, but far less than a majority of state Republican voters. Now that the field has narrowed, delegates are coalescing behind the candidate they believe is best for the party and best for the country - and it isn't Donald Trump.
The system isn't "stealing" the nomination from you sir, it is working just the way it is supposed to, because in the ongoing campaign the Trump appeal has hit a ceiling.
However, if the national convention isn't settled on the first ballot, it looks likely that many of the 50 delegates from the Palmetto State would desert Trump, who came in first in the primary, but with only 33 percent of the vote. The national convention will go to multiple ballots if Trump does not win at least 1,237 delegates out of the 2,472 available from 50 states, six U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. Currently, Trump has 743 delegates to Cruz’s 545 and 143 for Kasich.
And yet, for the most part, this reality didn't become national news until the Colorado GOP Assembly. Well done, Colorado Republican brothers and sisters.
"The hard number is 1,237, and we think we're going to blow way past that," said Brookover, a long-time GOP political operative in Washington.
1,237. Number. Hard.
April 13, 2016
Facts verus TheBern
Senator Sanders (I[nsane] - VT) selects Verizon for the part of "whipping boy." In a too-rare and too-beautiful move, CEO
"Sen. Sanders also claims that Verizon doesn't use its profits to benefit America. Again, a look at the facts says otherwise," the CEO continued. "In the last two years, Verizon has invested some $35 billion in infrastructure -- virtually all of it in the U.S. -- and paid out more than $16 billion in dividends to the millions of average Americans who invest in our stock. In Sanders's home state of Vermont alone, Verizon has invested more than $16 million in plant and equipment and pays close to $42 million a year to vendors and suppliers, many of them small and medium-sized businesses."
That's the right headline for this, isn't it jk? I'm kinda new at blogging him. But there were a couple of gems I read in his piece on Ted Cruz isn't Donald Trump, so he's good enough.
On the GOP bigwigs rigging a "white knight" entry at a contested nominating convention, replacing the two leading candidates still in the race:
At an open convention, the delegates, not Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus, are in charge of everything. Imagine if attendees of the great nerd conclave known as Comic-Con set the rules for Comic-Con. Now imagine someone proposed replacing a screening of the new "X-Men" movie with a mandatory daylong conference on crop rotation in the 14th century. Would it happen?
And Cruz' not-so-secret weapon for unifying the splintered factions of the GOP behind him:
Like Perseus pulling Medusa's head out of a sack to petrify his enemies, Cruz has been able to dangle the prospect of a President Trump to strike fear in the hearts of even his biggest detractors.
April 12, 2016
Colorado Caucus - How we got here
The Denver Post's Joey Bunch explains Colorado's Democratic and Republican caucii, prior to Super Tuesday (March 1.)
"So will we have a winner Super Tuesday? Well, yes and no. The Democrats will have a preference poll but it really doesn't mean that much. It basically just tells you which way the wind is blowing on Tuesday, because those delegates can still change their mind all the way to the nominating convention in Philadelphia.
This reporter is obviously a right-wing establishment stooge because he completely ignored the part about the process being rigged to stop Trump.
And a short excerpt from that article:
Still, [Sanders Campaign Manager] Weaver expressed displeasure about how how the party reported the results. "It is certainly disturbing that the information gets sent to one campaign and not to another," he said.
Gotta have a little fun!
Put a Cork in the Whine Bottle
Then: "There's going to be so much winning you're gonna get tired of winning."
Try to imagine Putin whining like this.
Cruz's ability to outmaneuver Trump in Colorado doesn't have anything to do with fairness. But it does suggest something about Trump's temperament and his skills as a leader.
-Investors Ed Page
April 11, 2016
All Hail Taranto!
A little fun while the Virgin Islands' AG still permits:
Quote of the Day
My first reaction to this news was "Um, wut?" CEI has long denied humans' role in global warming, and I have fairly substantial disagreements with CEI on the issue. However, when last I checked, it was not a criminal matter to disagree with me. It's a pity, I grant you, but there it is; the law's the law. -- Megan McArdleMy first reaction was "The Virgin Islands has an Attorney General?"
A Kiplingesque Salute!
My 30-second speech at liberty tonight will be an improvisation on this basic riff:
Kipling had the great line "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs." And I've always enjoyed the quip: "...then you probably don't understand the gravity of the situation."
April 10, 2016
"Not your grandpa's GOP"
The story of the day from yesterday's GOP State Assembly is clearly the landslide victory of El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn in the US Senate nomination contest. The favorite of the nine candidates on the assembly slate, Tim Neville, received just 696 of the nearly 4000 votes available. Meanwhile, on the strength of an inspiring speech, Glenn convinced 2664 delegates, a whopping 70 percent, to choose him. My sense was that the race was fairly even among four of the candidates going in but Glenn clearly caused massive vote switching, including mine.
The Colorado Springs Gazette wrote in an editorial,
It happened again. An underdog tapped the emotions of fed-up Republicans, tired of business as usual, and defied the widely assumed outcome of a major political event. Upsets seldom get bigger than this.
The retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel displayed a commanding and confident presence which, combined with unambiguous lines about Republican ideas, principles and leadership, brought the house to its feet.
"I'm tired of hearing about Republicans reaching across the aisle. We need to step up and lead, ladies and gentlemen," Glenn said. It appeared to close the deal among a crowd that believes House and Senate Republicans have squandered majority status and buckled under a popular Democratic president.
Make no mistake, however, Glenn did not win simply because he's black - he won because he answered the grassroots yearning for voices that cut through the platitudes and doublespeak that says one thing to get elected and falls into line when they get to Washington.
And Glenn isn't the only fresh face we promoted this week. Calandra Vargas came seemingly out of nowhere to win top-line position in a primary election with incumbent 5th Congressional District Representative Doug Lamborn.
Republicans are breaking their outdated mold, as seen Friday and Saturday in Colorado Springs. Democrats should take heed. They aren't facing grandpa's old GOP this year.
I predict an interesting and exciting primary contest over the next two months.
UPDATE: More on Ms. Vargas from her LinkedIn page [emphasis mine]:
Political and Campaign Professional
UPDATE: Some words from Ms. Vargas' floor nomination speech, where she came within 18 votes (for Lamborn) of knocking him from the June primary ballot in a race with no declared Democrat opponent:
Vargas said "the Republican Party has failed us, nationally and locally."
Colorado GOP Presidential Nomination Set
What began on a cold March 1 night with, for Colorado Republicans, ended with a boom yesterday - GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz added thirteen more pledged delegates to the twenty-one he had earned in our state's congressional district assemblies in the preceding days. Thirty-four pledged, in writing or verbally, to vote for him at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, plus the state GOP chair, national committeewoman and national committeeman, all of whom are likely to vote in kind with their fellow Colorado delegates.
In his address to Colorado Republicans, Cruz said the election is about three things... jobs, security, and freedom.
Side note: The reporting on this is both curious and biased. Most of the stories with images show something related to Bernie Sanders' meaningless Wyoming victory over a story primarily about the GOP contest. And many of those stories are disjointed and mis-edited. Truly bizarre. Especially this one.
Personal photos to follow ...
UPDATE: Senator Cruz from our vantage point, stage left. H/T sister-in-law Leah.
April 8, 2016
Headline of the Day
Quote of the Day
All Hail Jonah! You'll have to find it or subscribe to read about VP Biden farting at the arms-control summit...
4. One fun consequence of all this is that Bill very well could turn out to be a liability for Hillary, which would be kind of hilarious given that Hillary would be just another left-wing activist lawyer were it not for her husband. She rode her Arkansas mule all of the way to the White House gates only to see the sign reading, "No Mules Allowed." -- Jonah Goldberg
I might summon the courage to post his on Facebook:
Hat-tip: We Love GMO and Vaccines
George WIll on Baseball
Hope this embed works, I ve had mixed results with Facebook's:
If, not it is worth a click
April 7, 2016
Illegal immigrants Draining the Welfare System?
There may be doubt that large numbers of undocumented immigrants could draw upon America's generous social safety net of government programs before President Obama's executive action regarding parents of childhood illegal aliens, but there's no doubt about it afterward. Investors' Ed page:
The Senators' brief [to SCOTUS] as quoted by CNSNews blogger Terence P. Jeffrey, goes on: "With millions of illegal aliens not permitted to remain in this country, work in this country, or receive government benefits pursuant to federal law, the Executive decided to provide such privileges to them anyway through administrative fiat,"
After recently learning [first comment] that former long-time Democrat Boulder County Commissioner Paul Danish has changed his registration to the eevil Republican Party and is running for his old seat, I also discovered that he's been writing columns for the Boulder Weekly newspaper. Here is an excerpt from a great one of those, and it involves the principal reason he decided to challenge an incumbent commissioner at the polls.
Government should pay a decent respect to people's fears and concerns. But it should also pay a decent respect to scientific fact, the imperatives of successful agriculture, and the truth.
I'm old enough to remember a time when people who thought this way were not principally called "Republicans," they were called "human beings."
April 6, 2016
Bad news for Ted Cruz from the world of science: Many women find him "creepy."
In a new paper published in New Ideas in Psychology, two researchers from Knox College try to outline a more explicit definition with the results of the first-ever empirical study of creepiness. They concluded that a person's "creepiness detector" pings when she encounters something unpredictable or outside the norm, like a person with idiosyncratic behavioral patterns, unusual physical characteristics, or a tendency to over- or under-emote. When someone looks or behaves in a way that appears unstable or violates social norms, we feel uneasy - we think there's a chance they may pose a danger to us, but we can't know for sure.
Fortunately for Ted, he's not the only Republican candidate who's a creep.
These creepiest mannerisms happen to align perfectly with a random sampling of Republicans who've run for president this year. Imagine the creepiness of a chronically dry-mouthed Marco Rubio, the unnerving flat-lipped tic of booger-eater Ted Cruz, and the compulsive sexual remarks of one Donald Trump.
So maybe it's just a matter of Slate columnists thinking all Republicans are creeps. Or maybe, even limited to female Slate columnists.
April 5, 2016
President Ted Cruz - A Philosophical Endorsement
Three days ago, Craig Biddle, editor of The Objective Standard, endorsed Ted Cruz for president. Craig gives an issue by issue summary of the many ways Ted Cruz stands alone in this political contest, and all of them boil down to his recognition of individual rights and holding ideas as absolutes. Read it in full here, if you like. He cites many of the quotes I've heard Cruz state over the months of this primary campaign. He also cites several of the times that Cruz has quoted the seminal work of Ayn Rand - 'Atlas Shrugged.' One of these was when I first became a stalwart fan of the first-term Senator from Texas. Namely, in a 2013 Senate floor speech urging the defunding of Obamacare:
Cruz also read the passage in which Dagny Taggart poses the question, "What is morality?" - and receives the answer, "Judgment to distinguish right and wrong, vision to see the truth, courage to act upon it, dedication to that which is good, integrity to stand by the good at any price." After pausing to let that sink in, Cruz said:
Imagine a politician who recognizes the difference between right and wrong, or even acknowledges that the distinction exists. Imagine a politician willing to defend the good at any cost. Imagine the benefit that could abound to all honest and self-respecting people.
Imagine the possibility of a U.S. president speaking from the Oval Office, "I'd like to share a few excerpts from one of my favorite books, Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand . . ." and encouraging Americans, "go tomorrow, buy Atlas Shrugged, and read it."
Quote of the Day
Governments have to enforce their tax laws. But it's hard to see how the big question in this story is whether everyone with a company in Panama paid the correct amount of tax. The far more important question is how so many public officials in so many governments managed to accumulate so much money. -- WSJ Ed Page
April 4, 2016
The Lancet tells us, in shocked and disapproving tones, that there are now more fatty lardbuckets on the planet than there are undernourished people. We simply cannot bring ourselves to think of this as being a bad thing. Rather, we consider it to be a massive victory for the economic policies of the last few decades. A victory for capitalism, free markets and globalisation.
Yes, I could lose a bit myself, but holy supersize with large fries, it is telling that the food nannies never compare the misery of buying larger pants with starvation.
Different phrases hit us for whatever reason. But I remember reading about the Irish potato famine. Whole families would give up on hopes for emigration or relief and would quietly just enter their homes where they planned to just starve and die. There are a lot of grisly things in this world, but the desolation of that has never left me.
Not having enough food for your kids. Yes, diabetes is bad. Heart disease -- I hear you. But these people do not allow that we have traded a severe problem for a slight one.
Headline of the Day
"Chalk and awe" -- all hail Taranto!
April 3, 2016
Wagers have a long history of inspiring new areas of science and generating insights into luck and decision making. The methods have also permeated wider society, from technology to finance. If we can uncover the inner workings of modern betting strategies, we can find out how scientific approaches are continuing to challenge our notions of chance.I am missing several key genes. One of them provides the allure of gambling. I just don't have it. I look at lotteries and casinos and am unimpressed by the probabilities; A friendly $10 wager on the Broncos is at least fair, but I do not enjoy the extra ten bucks won half as much as I dislike forking over the loss. Nor is it risk-aversion. I have a healthy risk appetite for investing, and I left the best paying job I ever had to pursue a start up. I lost my shirt yet still shrugged my bare shoulders.
And yet. And yet. The mathematician in me is spellbound. I remain intensely interested in this pastime I don't enjoy. Messed-up, huh?
Adam Kucharski's The Perfect Bet: How Science and Math Are Taking the Luck Out of Gambling is the perfect compromise. He looks at the use of technology to beat the system, from Hong Kong horse racing syndicates, to smartphone apps which measure the initial velocity of a roulette ball, to one that has intrigued me for some time: sports betting arbitrage, looking for riskless hedges of differing odds and spreads across different sites.
Game theory and the great mathematicians who have contributed are covered in depth
The story goes that [Game theory pioneer John] von Neumann had a particularly ambitious excuse for one of his collisions. "I was proceeding down the road,” he said. “The trees on the right were passing me in orderly fashion at sixty miles per hour. Suddenly one of them stepped in my path."
Many of the researchers stop as soon as they publish a paper instead of chasing millions at the casino (perhaps I am eccentric and not weird), while some pursue it as a career. Either way, the use of reason and technology to outwit randomness is about as good a game as there is.
But [John] Nash wasn't the first person to take a mathematical hammer to the problem of competitive games. History has given that accolade to John von Neumann. Although later known for his time at Los Alamos and Princeton, in 1926 von Neumann was a young lecturer at the University of Berlin. In fact, he was the youngest in its history. Despite his prodigious academic record, however, there were still some things he wasn’t very good at. One of them was poker.
Ten million Captain Kirk fans wait with bated breath -- can IBM develop a poker player in league with Watson's Jeopardy skills or Deep Blue's chess? Spoiler Alert: it depends. But the treatment and serious investigation of bluffing and poker faces is riveting.
Until Chris Ferguson's triumphant performance in Las Vegas, no poker player had won more than $ 1 million in tournament prizes. But unlike many competitors, Ferguson’s extraordinary success did not rely solely on intuition or instinct. When he played in the World Series, he was using game theory. The year before he beat Cloutier, Ferguson had completed a doctorate in computer science at UCLA.
Stock exchanges and trading bots are equivalent -- in the book's thesis -- to beating a roulette wheel. And many of the best methods are somewhat surprising. Good bots are simple and fast, not complicated and smart -- automated trading is happening at nanoscale.
Some are going to even more extreme lengths. In 2011, US firm Hibernia Atlantic started work on a new $ 300 million transatlantic cable, which will allow data to cross the ocean faster than ever before. Unlike previous wires, it will be directly below the flight path from New York to London, the shortest possible route between the cities. It currently takes 65 milliseconds for messages to travel the Atlantic; the new cable aims to cut that down to 59.
Six milliseconds to exploit arbitrage opportunities and a few floating point instruction advantage is valuable enough to lay a new cable under the ocean.
A fascinating and tidy little book that delves into computation, probability, game theory and the stability of the ecosystems of betting and trading environments. Five stars, and I am confident you'll love this. In fact, I'll lay you a sawbuck at eight to five...
April 1, 2016
Centennial Senate Candidates Forum
No teevee cameras at our sleepy little forum in Fort Lupton, but here is a 2-minute news report on the same (mostly) candidates speaking in Centennial.
Fracking Causes Earthquakes, Not God
That is the implication made by this Denver Post story covering the Republican Women of Weld senate candidates forum in Fort Lupton Wednesday night (attended by dagny and me.) "Peg Littleton says God causes earthquakes, not fracking" blares the sub head.
"I say, 'Drill, baby, drill,' " said Littleton, an El Paso County Commissioner and member of Colorado's homeland security and hazards advisory committee.
The implication is clear, and is reflected in comments on the story - that Republicans in general, or at least these seven candidates at the forum, or at least this Sarah Palin wannabe, are anti-science religious nut jobs.
Well what do the "scientific reports" say? That small earthquakes can indeed be induced by high-volume wastewater disposal into wells drilled specifically for that purpose. It is not caused by fracking. So Littleton's claim that the earthquakes are not caused by fracking is accurate.
And who is surprised by that finding? Fracking is done all over the country, and earthquake activity is localized in this area of Oklahoma within 30 kilometers of water disposal wells.
If we were so unfortunate that we had to rely on the Denver Post for all of our information about the world I could only exclaim, God help us.
april's no fool
Friday funny; I don't have time, can someone FB this?!?
They demand CHANGE!
Everybody vote for your favorite: I'm torn between 7
We DEMAND that Stanford ends its use of European languages, since they are inherently colonialist. We recommend Xhosa, Zulu, and interpretive dance as alternatives for person-to-person communication.and 11 (for my youngest daughter)
WE DEMAND that the Math Department immediately cease reducing fractions, each having their own unique identities and experiences, to their lowest common denominators.