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.

FDA's demands also violate ethical standards of medicine. Eteplirsen requires a weekly muscle infusion, with biopsies that are exhausting and risky for someone with a degenerative neuromuscular disorder. The agency would ask kids to be lab rats and lose the ability to walk or catch a ball while receiving intensive injections of what might be sugar water.

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.

Pharmaceuticals Posted by John Kranz at 10:30 AM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Your words are far less outraged than you would be entitled to use.

Unlike Rick Perry, I would have no problem at all naming three Federal agencies that I would take a chainsaw too, and I wouldn't need to trade any draft choices to make the FDA a first-round pick (hey, by the way, Paxton Lynch? Great choice, especially under the tutelage of the right QB coach.). If we were a free society, this mother - and for that matter, you - would be able to walk into a pharmacy, point, and say "our doctor says we're going to try that one." A willing buyer and a willing seller shouldn't need to deal with a nosy government coming between them.

With respect to your personal stake in this, I will yield the floor to you. Don't apologize for making a full-throated protest at this government's unfitness to deal with the circumstances.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 29, 2016 12:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Double-blind trials suck. I read an article on cancer immunotherapy studies last week, however, where they give all of the study participants the trial drug. There are no sacrificial placebo patients. I wonder why the double standard?

"I Survived Stage IV Melanoma: How Immunotherapy Saved My Life"
'Health' magazine, May 2016 issue

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2016 1:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Re: Paxton Lynch - In my circles we're pretty happy with the pick. Brock who? Don't know anyone by that name. ;)

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2016 1:54 PM
But jk thinks:

For better or worse, double-blind is the government standard. There are a few oddities. I received routine and expensive MRIs -- but my neurologist was not able to see them. Mmmkay.

When "shopping" for trials, I was very careful to select studies where full placebo was not an option. I was deteriorating quickly and didn't want three years of sugar pills.

My first trial was a combination on two drugs; some got both, some one, some the other. They go through these elaborate double-blinding but both compounds have huge and notable side effects; you knew what you were on in a few weeks, and if you chatted with your Doctor, so did he or she. I gave myself a shot every day for three years that I was 91.753% sure was nothing. Your blog brother is truly dedicated to science.

My second (and successful) one was a Phase II where they were trying different dosages. A bag would show up with my initials on it and they'd insert (IV, not suppository...) it without knowledge of the dose. That probably was a decent variable. [SPOILER ALERT:] That stopped progression of symptoms for all intents and purposes and I am on a continuation trial where I take a known dose and they just make sure I am still alive and have not "grown an extra teat" as my wife tells the story.

Since that time, I have listened to several of Russ Roberts's EconTalk podcasts. If you go by the numbers, the placebo control group in many trials does quite well. That is counter-intuitive and depressing to someone who celebrates innovation as I do. But in many trials it is not a death sentence to draw the sugar card.

I'll call this study different. There is a minimal chance of "just getting better" and I take their point on the stress and potential harm of treatment.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2016 2:15 PM

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
Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:48 PM | What do you think? [0]

April 27, 2016


Reduced electrovalence leads to lower than expected energy output from fossil fuels in West last year.
No, wait...
But johngalt thinks:

"What do you mean by "candle famine" grampa?"

"Well it wasn't directly a shortage of candles, you see. But in the great cool-down of ought-thirty, when global wind patterns calmed by fifty percent, most of our larger cities were dependent on wind turbines for baseline electrical generation. And when the wind stops blowing, there's no support for the grid that used to run on the safe and abundant hydrocarbon fuels that our ancestors used for so long. Voilla, everyone was in the dark from sundown to sun-up. At least those who hadn't had the good sense to stock up on candles and kerosene."

"Now be a good boy and run down to the cellar for another bucket of coal. It's getting cold in here again."

Posted by: johngalt at April 27, 2016 2:17 PM
But jk thinks:

I would chortle openly, but I am still reeling from this video.

Charles C. W. Cooke provides a serious, lukewarmer perspective against Bill Maher and a handful of TV stars. The audience cheers at the President's bankrupting of Coal and boos nuclear.

Take your Lithium before watching. (All we need to do is watch a TED talk and do what Elon Musk says.)

Posted by: jk at April 27, 2016 3:06 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

That video was enervating, to be sure. What TED talk is worthwhile, JK? I've given up on them except for anything by Dr. Ridley.

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 28, 2016 11:12 AM
But jk thinks:

That one was bugging me this morning, almost 24 hours after watching it. Donald Trump is (rightly if the quote is accurate) criticized for an out-of-mainstream view on "climate disruption." Then the whole -- not Charles CW Cooke-- panel makes just as outrageous unsubstantiated claims -- and they're the smart ones. Ay-yi-frickken-yi.

I have seen the exact TED talk to which our I-play-an-astrophysicist-on-TV actor refers. Elon Musk draws a red 10 x 10 mile square in New Mexico and claims that much solar panels (no doubt purchased from him at generous subsidy but am I wandering off topic?) would power this whole great nation. Umm, if there were wires. Or batteries (doesn't he sell batteries with generous Federal subsidies?)

All bad, no -- Ridley is great, Hans Rowling's washing machine is the greatest voice for liberty of all time -- an I, Pencil for the YouTube generation. Just like NPR it skews waaaaaay left, but something is not bad, ipso facto, because it is a TED talk. And when you do get a good one, it has credibility to lefties and millennials because of the bright red logo.

Posted by: jk at April 28, 2016 11:52 AM
But jk thinks:

Outside the political realm, Susan Cain a good TED talk on introversion.

Posted by: jk at April 28, 2016 11:56 AM

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.

"Capitalism," meanwhile, doesn't simply mean private, for-profit enterprise. It isn't a category that has anything to do with the family-owned bodega on their corner or their friend's new artisanal cupcake business or the proliferation of legal weed shops, with Tom's shoes or their local grocery or that Uber they took last night. Capitalism is Big Banks, Wall Street, "income inequality," greed. It's wealthy sociopaths screwing over the little guy, Bernie Madoff, and horrifying sweatshops in China. It's Walmart putting mom-and-pop stores out of business, McDonald's making people fat, BP oil spills, banks pushing sub-prime mortgages, and Pfizer driving up drug prices while cancer patients die. However incomplete or caricatured, these are the narratives of capitalism that millennials have grown up with.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:23 AM | What do you think? [1]
But nanobrewer thinks:

An old friend once uttered a phrase that's stuck with me*, and I employ often: "I'm a fierce advocate for free enterprise."

This needs to become part and parcel of the GOP playbook, as does this statement from the estimable (sorry, it's PowerLine who's upgraded and turbocharged their Flash-ups)
Dr. Steven Hayward:

We should be honest: we—our cause, our movement—became complacent. We became too narrowly focused on policy studies to the exclusion of the sustained public argument about the principles and practices of a free society that were the predicate of policy reforms. We forgot the “public” part of “public policy” studies.... [and put] increasing emphasis on the nuts and bolts of how to privatize rather than why to privatize.

* As we say in the hardware world: bad engineers borrow or copy; good engineers steal.

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 28, 2016 11:57 AM

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.
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!

Feminism Posted by nanobrewer at 12:26 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

What's all this talk about solutions? We have and always will have a solution: boys/girls. Men/women. Guys/dolls. Hombres/senoras. Use whichever you want, as long as you look like you belong there. Otherwise market forces will take over and a cop will be called. Even then, do your business fast enough and the worst you'll receive is an admonishment.

This issue isn't about solutions or even fairness or discrimination. It is about transformation. Personally I think it is an overreach by the left - nearly every other transformation in the name of multiculturalist relativism has passed by with relatively little backlash. But make a big deal out of letting guys go in the ladies room and you've pissed off (pardon the pun) the wrong demographic.

Most of all I'm curious which self-serving position Hillary has/will (if she dares) take on this.

One last pun: This too, shall pass.

Posted by: johngalt at April 27, 2016 2:30 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Left unanswered this becomes another club, labeled "Hate", with which to beat the right and its supporters into submission... it needs to be ground down.

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 28, 2016 11:00 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I challenged that notion in the "All toilet, no humor" post. Don't we just play into the left's hands by fighting back? Trying to "grind down" the leftist opposition's looney ideas? We look petty and reactionary and uncaring - all the things that they unfairly paint us as.

I suggested we accede to their plans whenever possible, the loonier the better, as long as they were explicitly labeled "Brought to you by: Democrats." When normal people realize the looney ideas are abnormal and want "change" they'll know just who to blame.

Posted by: johngalt at April 28, 2016 12:18 PM

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.

CO-OP Healh Failure.pdf

Nanny State Posted by nanobrewer at 7:13 PM | What do you think? [2]
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hmm, that's not how I wanted it to look. Can others download the file?

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 26, 2016 7:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Looks good to me! You could download by right-clicking or just click the link to open in a browser that can handle pdf.

Posted by: jk at April 27, 2016 10:05 AM

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
But johngalt thinks:

Just imagine the luggage surcharges on Super Duper Solar Airways flights!

But hey, at least travelers will feel good about "doing no harm" to the atmosphere. Heck, flying solar is even better than walking, with all of that CO2 "pollution" that their increased respiration would bring.

Posted by: johngalt at April 27, 2016 2:07 PM

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.

But did Republicans do nothing but surrender the last eight years?

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.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 10:52 AM | What do you think? [1]
But nanobrewer thinks:

This is an awesome column; needs posted, quoted, referenced and re-tweeted! I'd have put the title "GOP may suck..." but I quibble.

Here's a quick laundry list:

put an end to a bipartisan gun-control legislation. They stopped the so-called Paycheck Fairness Act — twice — and the Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012, which would have raised taxes. They stopped the American Jobs Act bailout and the authoritarian Card Check stuff. They stopped the DISCLOSE Act and the sequestration replacement and the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013 and the across-the-board federal minimum wage efforts. Republicans sued and won when Obama abused his power by naming recess appointment NLRB

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 26, 2016 11:42 PM



Like Someone in Love

Johnny Burke & Jimmy Van Heusen ©1944

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


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.

He's not going to win Indiana. Trust me on this one. Internals matter, public polling (as we have witnessed over and over again since January) does not.

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!

But johngalt thinks:

Jazz... Guitars... Right-wing politics!

Posted by: johngalt at April 25, 2016 4:51 PM
But jk thinks:

It'll never sell.

Posted by: jk at April 25, 2016 4:56 PM

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.

Similarly, during the Arab Spring, the Libyan Uprising, the annexation of the Crimea, the Syrian civil war, and the Ukrainian insurgency, Obama has in each case carefully identified the pro-democracy forces and then either denied them American support or actively undermined them..

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?"

But that argument comes from an anti-capitalist premise. Like the Marxists, who prate about "exploitation" and "wage slavery," the anarchists are ignoring the crucial, fundamental, life-and-death difference between trade and force.

Pretty good if you like such things.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:15 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

Venezuela Posted by John Kranz at 1:26 PM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

And all of this is... for who? For what?

Some charismatic leader who says he knows the best way for everyone? That he is smarter and more caring than his rivals?

Some promise of "equality?" A "hand up" to the less fortunate, living in the shadow of the success of others - without any regard for the different *actions* taken by the haves and the have nots?

Look in the mirror, America.

Posted by: johngalt at April 24, 2016 2:52 PM
But jk thinks:

That could never happen here.

I don't know why they have zero fear of our government. But. They have zero fear of our government. Like everybody in Italy, Germany, Russia, Japan, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela are somehow awful people.

Posted by: jk at April 24, 2016 3:19 PM
But Terri thinks:

Are you and Riza going to the Lincoln Day Dinner by any chance?

Posted by: Terri at April 25, 2016 10:18 AM
But jk thinks:

@Terri -- no plans to. Who what where When? Boulder County?

We are going to Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons tonight.

Posted by: jk at April 25, 2016 12:25 PM
But Terri thinks:

Lincoln Day Dinner next Saturday April 30th at 6:30pm in Longmont at the Plaza Event Center.

Bill Whittle (yay) is speaking.
$100 for VIP tickets which get you in at 4:30 (not sure what else)

Silent auction at 6pm

I haven't bought a ticket yet, but I love Mr. Whittle. RSVP at BOCOGOP.org or call 303-498-9716 by Friday April 22nd LOL

So I/we would squeeze in, if so. Just checking if I'd know anyone.

Posted by: Terri at April 25, 2016 1:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I was planning to go, since I too would love to hear Bill Whittle in person, but decided to save the money. I'd also like to hear Dinesh D'Souza at the Larimer LDD on June 11, but it's pricy too - $90. http://www.larimergop.org/LDD2016

But if there were a 3Sources contingent I could justify an expenditure from savings, for one or both. ;)

I do know my brother is going to the BoCo dinner.

Posted by: johngalt at April 26, 2016 2:07 PM

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.


Posted by John Kranz at 1:53 PM | What do you think? [0]

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."

But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm already writing the sequel, which will be set during the last week of October, or the first days of November. It will also take place in the War Room, and Team Hillary is talking to her people about how she will triumph over Cruz. My problem is the punch line:

"Steiner's force will attack from the North and unite with the Ninth army..."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 22, 2016 8:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

...because America isn't ready for a president who doesn't lie.

Posted by: johngalt at April 23, 2016 10:46 AM
But jk thinks:

I don't care for it. To be fair, a commercial I would care for would be completely ineffective, but I have a few objections:

-- Senator Cruz's problem is that he's heavy handed and overwrought; this reinforces.

-- Umm, he's so disliked and such a bad candidate, howcome he is, ummm, kicking your ass?

-- There might be seven or eight Republicans left who believe in Reagan's 11th Commandment and still seek party unity. This is a heavy attack for a primary (I know, Trump's no innocent schoolboy.)

-- The Huma Abedin surrogate is way too attractive. Missus Wiener has her charms, but no sir, this is too much.

Posted by: jk at April 23, 2016 1:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I know I can come across as argumentative - probably because I am argumentative - but I'm specifically trying not to be at this moment. I just want to offer a contrasting viewpoint to your objections.

- Senator Cruz's problem is that he's not as good looking as Rubio. Or Trump, Fiorina, Bush, Kasich, Sanders... well, maybe any other successful politician. He's "creepy." This ad kept his photo very small.

- Trump has more election wins, and therefore more delegates than any other primary candidate because for most of the race it was one potty-mouthed bomb thrower versus a plethora of candidates with couth. Trump didn't have to split the uncouth vote with anyone.

- Heavy attack? It sounds like stuff a lot of my Republican friends and family already believe, i.e. "Trump is a Trojan Horse for Hillary."

- The Hillary actress is prettier too, but imagine the backlash if they had been cast less-attractive than the real thing.

From my point of view, Cruz sees Trump as a serious threat to a respectable Republican party, down ticket victories, and a return to a republican form of government. He feels a national duty to prevent a Trump nomination. I'm inclined to agree with that.

I think "one of the best ever made" is way overblown, but I do like the style. I would have paced it a little faster.

Posted by: johngalt at April 24, 2016 1:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, I started the argument. I can't go around casting aspersions...

Better pacing would be a huge help. My argument about the Abedin actress was meant to be frivolous. Yet the Clinton character is at least made up to look bad. I'm only asking for some truth in advertising.

The tone of the primary fight is a pretty difficult dilemma made more difficult by Trump's unorthodox style. The shots at his taxes, "fast & loose with the facts," and his willingness to arm Japan & South Korea could all be used in a Clinton commercial.

That's my bar. Don't use something in a primary that will show up in October in a "Even Republican Ted Cruz thinks..."

Oh, and neener-neener.

Posted by: jk at April 24, 2016 3:07 PM

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.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Ahh, excellent pitch for PragerU: been meaning to go there for so long (just did). Lindzen is one of my favorite go-to guys, and one of the names I've memorized for my cocktail-party spiel of "name three prominent, published scientists..."

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 25, 2016 11:32 AM

Happy Freakin' Earth Day!!!

All Hail Harsanyi!

Have you experienced a school "science week" lately? You should.

The chances that you'll find a student whose goal is to one day extract fossil fuels more effectively or use genetically modified crops--or any real innovation, for that matter--to help the fortunes of billions of impoverished humans around the world is around zero. Most students will mimic what they hear, and claim to want to turn pond scum or discarded plastic bottles into eco-fuel. They get an A for caring.

'Many kids confuse science with environmental activism. Who can blame them? Science isn’t only the systematic study of structure and behavior in physical and natural world through observation and experimentation, but a moral elixir.

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."

But johngalt thinks:

"That's all well and good, for those of us who are rich enough that we can afford ONE guitar, not to mention THREE. [I know you have many, many more, but I'm role playing here.] Some of us can't afford to miss a day of work when we're sick, or have a sick kid, or pay for unexpected car repairs, or pay rent without working because we have to take care of our mom, without our Earned Income Tax Credit. And it really is heartless to crow that luxury items have come down in cost, since everybody knows that the necessities have gone nowhere but up!"

Posted by: johngalt at April 22, 2016 6:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Well yeah, there's that. But "Let them play Epiphones!"

Posted by: jk at April 23, 2016 1:48 PM

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:

The greatest Super Bowl Halftime show ever.

It would be more meaningful if there were a close competitor, but that's quite a performance.

Music Posted by John Kranz at 2:47 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Purdy good. [And that was Peyton Manning's first Super Bowl win.]

I have to say that I've not been a big fan. Mostly I think because it isn't my genre of choice. But I can imagine liking his work more now that he's gone - not because he's gone, mind you. To this day I regret that I was not a country music fan before the untimely death of the inimitable Chris LeDoux.

I'll salute Prince with a LeDoux lyric:

"Sit tall in the saddle, keep your head up high, Fix your eyes, where the trail meets the sky, And live like you're not afraid to die, Just relax, and enjoy the ride."

By all appearances, Prince did exactly that.

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2016 6:14 PM
But jk thinks:

I was not a fan at all until the Super Bowl show. I remember revising my opinion all in one sitting. I thought "oh, some pop guy.." That show (and I've watched it six times today) is pretty damn special.

I lifted this quote from 3:25 on my Facebook share:

It's profound and it's loud and it's funky -- and it's just one performer shaking the entire world.

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2016 6:53 PM

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
2016 Posted by John Kranz at 12:35 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

This proposal ultimately generated a massive academic debate. Chief among the debaters was Ronald H. Coase, who would later receive a Nobel prize in part for his contribution. Coase pointed out that markets failed to operate effectively only when property rights and rules of liability are not well defined, or when transaction costs restrict exchange.He noted that lighthouse operators long ago solved the problemof collecting fees from ships that benefited from their light. This response exemplified the institutional vacuum in which Pigou had conducted his analysis.Coase's classic 1960 article "The Problem of Social Cost," explaining all this, became the most cited academic paper in both lawand economics.However,while Coase easily won the academic debate, at least as measured by citations, conferences, and books built around his ideas, Pigou seems to have won the policy debate.

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."

But johngalt thinks:

I was just thinking about this "Pigou poo" business the other day. I was trying to formulate a strategy on the part of we who value free, individual trade in a public market - you know, capitalism - regarding the putative application of "market" approaches to government mandates.

The people who suggest that market forces, nudged by carefully crafted taxes and subsidies, are a fair, effective and efficient method of "making things better" are generally the same ones who insist that services like health care "must not be left to the vagaries of the market." I suggest that we make them choose - either support a healthy commerce market, always and in everything, or abandon it completely.

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2016 2:55 PM
But jk thinks:

We face so many threats to our liberty, but the Cass Sunstein / Malcolm Gladwell Nudge school frightens me very much. Start with soda taxes for the fat little children, carbon taxes to save the planet, $100 handgun licenses, and $117 Billion System Risk fees for banks.

Doesn't sound like a free people to me, and there is no way to stop its growth.

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2016 3:44 PM

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.

John Lott makes a pithy case for the contrary. An expert on the Second Amendment and sometime contributor to these pages, Mr. Lott notes that Tubman’s life is a rebuke to PC assumptions. As Mr. Lott tweeted after Mr. Lew made the announcement, "On $20 bill, Ds replace Andrew Jackson, a founding father of D Party, w Harriet Tubman, a black, gun-toting, evangelical Christian, R woman."

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.

"Andrew Jackson had a great history, and I think it's very rough when you take somebody off the bill," Trump said during a town hall interview on NBC's "Today" show.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:10 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Even" Brother Keith? "Even"?

I will admit, I did say in a someone contrarian vein, something along the lines of "If only our government were as concerned about the value of the currency as much as its appearance," but it seems to me that would be a statement that any ThreeSourcer would welcome with a sage nod.

As for Trump, who should be surprised that as a long-time Democrat and autocrat, The Donald might take umbrage at the unceremonious dispatching of one of his Presidential role-models?

Besides, who here wouldn't enjoy using currency that demands "come with me if you want to live"?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 21, 2016 12:18 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Okay, I will admit to having some issues with the Susan B. Anthony quarter.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 21, 2016 12:19 PM
But jk thinks:

"Even" my fascinating and most difficult to pigeonhole blog brother...

Yours is an important and interesting viewpoint in any preference poll. I have many friends across the spectrum whom I can predict. You are not one of them.

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2016 12:55 PM

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.

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 4:06 PM | What do you think? [9]
But johngalt thinks:

Just once I would like to see Republican legislators tell outrage-baiting Democrats, "Okay, we'll vote for your bill to let everyone choose what bathroom to use, under one condition - the new signage must read "Unisex - Changed by Democrats."

If they really want it, and if it's really a good change, why would they object?

Stop fighting to the death over trivialities. Please?

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2016 7:23 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

All I know is, if I see some random dude follow my wife into a public restroom, I will guarantee he won't leave it with an attached penis.

I hope you all feel the same about your wives and daughters.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 21, 2016 12:26 PM
But jk thinks:

I rather envisioned our being on the other sides... But now Sen. Cruz and Mister Trump have taken sides. You're hope for substantive debate is off the menu. Again.

On my predator remark, the sometimes excitable Sister Touldja catalogues 11 Target restroom peeping incidents since March 2015 when she suggests the switch was made.

They have a lot of stores, and that may be noise. But it seems that its suddenly being non-reportable is a benefit to the peepers.

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2016 7:05 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I think brother JK forgot his primal role:


This is how you win the culture wars, oh my brothers: ask questions:
1. Is this increasing safety for my children? (who are female, btw)
2. If not, is it decreasing? If so, then Kill it!

If not, move on...

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 22, 2016 12:41 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Nano's got the right idea; I don't need the government to deal with a pervert harassing my loved ones.

As free men, we need only insist that the government stay out of the way when we deal with it ourselves.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 22, 2016 12:22 PM
But jk thinks:

You guys are going to hate me, but . . .

Did government not have a role in desegregating rest rooms and water fountains -- at least those which were publicly owned?

I started Randy Barnett's new "The Republican Constitution" today. In a spoiler alert to a future Review Corner, it will be called the most important book ever written. "To protect these rights, governments are instituted among men."

That's the whole enchilada (my words, Professor Barnett has not mentioned Mexican cuisine in the first three chapters) and I daresay that fits right in: we have -- I suggest -- a zero sum distribution, and somebody's claimed right will be denied.

It might be frivolous (although anyone who has read a lot of Ann Landers or worked in a large mixed gender office will hesitate to misunderestimate), but I'd suggest it's a rather legitimate purpose of government.

Posted by: jk at April 23, 2016 1:36 PM

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.

There are no perfect solutions in human affairs. But the history of the past three centuries suggests that stable exchange rates, resulting from adoption of currencies mutually convertible to gold at statutory fixed parities, are the least imperfect solution to avoid currency and trade wars.

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?

But jk thinks:

Stability is good and indeed facilitates peace. As Speaker Reed said "we could do worse and probably will." But I have two negative responses.

One, I consider an exporting country's devaluation of its currency by the popular name "having a sale." Presumptive Nominee Trump may think it's a problem that China sells us stuff for too cheap; I truly do not.

Two, Bretton Woods was swell and all (Benn Steil's Battle of Bretton Woods [Review Corner] is awesome). But it failed for a reason. Stability is always good but things change for a reason -- sometimes devaluation makes sense (cf, Greece).

Three (I thought you said "two?"), I'm not a Gold bug. Sorry, Austrians, deflationary shocks are both real and real bad. I much prefer a Taylor-rule, Friedmanite monetary policy. An international agreement that tied our hands is not one I'd vote for.

Four, Just kidding, there's no four.

Posted by: jk at April 20, 2016 5:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It seemed that currencies could still follow the Friedmanite monetary policy, they would all just have to do so in unison. I see the threat of a de-facto "One-World Currency" there too though.

Okay, never mind. Case made in four, err, three points.

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2016 3:38 PM

April 19, 2016

All Hail Taranto!


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.

The Vermont-based ice cream company's website says the purpose of the protests is to make sure everyone's voice is heard "and that power in this country is returned to the people."

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
But Terri thinks:

Are you sure this isn't it? LOL Thanks for the link, Harsanyi is great.

"For most, progressive taxation is imbued with a moral imperative. So when you fail to pay an imaginary tax that doesn't exist but Democrats believe should, you are by default engaged in fraud and immorality. "

Posted by: Terri at April 19, 2016 1:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Honorable mention, Terri, honorable mention.

I did mean to say that the whole piece was very good. I fear my beloved Harsanyi sometimes writes down to the clickbait Federalist. But this one is completely up to spec.

Posted by: jk at April 19, 2016 1:40 PM

April 18, 2016

Trial* Rant

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.

But jk thinks:

Pretty good, man, no stylistic suggestions.

I'm curious whether: a) you have many Trump supporters on your feed and b) they will likely be swayed by your argument.

I don't wish to be cruel or condescending. I have, I think, exactly two Trump supporters, and their appreciation is more atavistic and less likely to be dissuaded by abstractions.

Okay, maybe a little condescending...

Posted by: jk at April 18, 2016 4:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I've not taken a public position (as a party officer, bylaws prohibit my taking sides in a primary) so I don't really know how many there are.

I do have one friend in particular who is a Trump man. He's an immigrant from communist Poland. I've already sent him the Kasparov piece. Haven't noticed yet whether he responded.

Posted by: johngalt at April 18, 2016 4:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My aim was to challenge the labels businessman and lawyer, as applied to the two leading Republicans. While the principle is abstract, their application has been very personal and emotional in most of the TrumpLove and Cruz bashing I've read.

Posted by: johngalt at April 19, 2016 11:50 AM
But jk thinks:

I got you. If you're shorter on space and wish to invoke Atlas Shrugged, I might suggest you remind them that both Dagny and James Taggart were "businesspeople;" it is not, per se, a badge of rectitude.

Posted by: jk at April 19, 2016 12:26 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

A solid effort, and completely agree The Donald must be stopped. I would bash a bit more on the "business" end of Trump - aka, what really made the money, as I suspect more than the usual NYC corruption - and pump Cruz a bit better than reading AS... while that's a solid for us here, I'm not sure how broad an appeal that has.

1. A REAL constitutional expert
2. Brilliance: cite Dershowitz's assertion of Cruz being “Cruz was off-the-charts brilliant.” good article herehere:
3. What were his USSC cases? Pick one or two [a] dear to your heart or [b] helps make your case. The Texas Trib apparently did a man's job here Redistricting, patents, US Sovereignty... good stuff.
4. What important conservative values does his record support as important to him? I'd hope limited gov't is up there.... pick 2 or 3.

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 19, 2016 12:28 PM

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.

Today, 25 years after the fall of the USSR, the American values that won the Cold War are considered nostalgic and corny at best, cruel or imperialistic at worst. The ideals of individual freedom, risk-taking, competition and sacrifice have been supplanted by the fake values of safety, complacency and moral relativism.


After Obama's soothing and sophisticated spin, Trump's incoherent fury and outlandish promises can feel like a welcome change.

Unfocused anger makes people vulnerable to political snake-oil salesmen touting simple solutions and utopian outcomes. It opens the door to the aggressively uninformed authoritarianism of Trump as well as to Bernie Sanders and his siren song of socialism. (I'm sorry, Bernie fans, but I lived it, and the failures of capitalism are still better than the successes of socialism.)


The problems of capitalism are usually best met by more capitalism: less regulation, more risk, more investment, more innovation.

Instead, the U.S. and its flagship and bellwether, New York City, have gone largely in the other direction. Capital booms while labor slumps, overregulation strangles entrepreneurs and feeds bureaucracy, and in the span of a generation, the symbol of American innovation went from the moon landing to a slightly larger iPhone.

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"
$853,000 to teach minors the art of making wine
$707,000 for researchers to create a fight club for shrimp
$780,000 to study college students and pizza addiction
$276,000 to discover how unattractive people snag a more attractive date

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.

But dagny thinks:

Hey I actually disagree with jk here. I don't think it is unserious and unproductive. The concept of trillions of dollars that our government deals in, is hard to understand for people. Even accountants (me) struggle to understand the numbers involved. There are just too many zeros. But a concrete list as provided above that totals 2.6 Million is a number that means a lot to me. The government is casually wasting 2.6 MILLION dollars. Why that's MORE than I will make in my lifetime!!! It encourages people to pay attention and to realize that the government is too big. 4 Trillion means nothing to people. 2.6 million, rounding error or not, is how you get them to care.

Posted by: dagny at April 20, 2016 7:34 PM

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."

The irony is that Senator Sanders seems to be completely unaware that Centesimus Annus was one of the most pro-market documents ever to come out of the Vatican. While it certainly carries warnings about a capitalism unbounded by law and a healthy culture, it also spoke eloquently of the "human rights to private initiative, to ownership of property and to freedom in the economic sector." It also recognized that the ultimate source of wealth is not material but the human mind.

As for socialism, the encyclical was unsparing. Pope John Paul II agreed with earlier popes that socialism fails as a political system because it is rooted in the denial of freedom. So perhaps it's useful for Mr. Sanders to spend time with Centesimus Annus, assuming he reads enough to see its denunciations of socialism and appreciation for what human creativity can accomplish in a free-market economy.

Dem2016 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 12:58 PM | What do you think? [0]

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]

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 11:48 AM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

Unbelievable how philosophers can be so uppity. Doesn't he know that only scientists are credible on climate change, particularly those with a PhD?

Or maybe, in certain instances, his holiness the Pope.

Posted by: johngalt at April 17, 2016 5:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm sure that KA is very proud!

Posted by: johngalt at April 17, 2016 8:00 PM
But Jk thinks:

It's a low blow to bring him into it. A good man wouldn't do it. I'm all right.

Posted by: Jk at April 17, 2016 9:23 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Not MY Senator. Not my circus. Not my monkey.

Funny thing is, I once that that Senate hearings were for obtaining facts and worthwhile information so as to be able to cast informed votes on important bills -- not for grandstanding, browbeating, or cheap shots. People like Boxer need to be reminded that they are the nation's servants, not our bosses or our overlords.

It's a dangerous job. I volunteer as tribute!

And by the way, bonus points are awarded for the Mal Reynolds reference, in case you had any trace of a thought that I'd overlook it.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 18, 2016 2:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

That's SENATOR monkey to you, knave. She's quite sure she's earned it.

Posted by: johngalt at April 18, 2016 3:32 PM

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.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:40 AM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

One more quote I had tucked in the #3src widget:

Technological advancement and industrialization have been great food equalizers--freeing peasants and serfs from the demands of the land and letting them eat like the royalty they once served.

Posted by: jk at April 17, 2016 11:55 AM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at April 17, 2016 5:50 PM

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.

Worse, Brown has threatened to primary any legislator who supports a resolution applying for a Convention for Proposing Amendments. But it is precisely this kind of arrogance, this deal-making, this pressuring in order to advance his own agenda for his organization – in other words, this cronyism – that the voters are overwhelmingly rejecting this cycle. He asked for this with his actions, and he got it.

Those legislators and candidates in Brown's camp would do well to note the toxicity that extended to Neville and how the voters made their distaste for Brown and RMGO plain by rejecting his candidate. If they wish to remain in office, they should consider distancing themselves from him and his insider politics.

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.

Personally, I think this is the same tactic he used after losing Colorado's caucus - pure spin to energize his base.

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.

Win Connecticut and take 22 of 28 delegates.
Win Delaware's 16 delegates.
Win 32 of 38 Maryland delegates.
Somehow, win 23 of Pennsylvania's 54 delegates.

Win Indiana and most congressional districts, 45 of 57 delegates.
20 of 31 delegates from West Virginia, where delegates are elected by name.
Nebraska? Yeah, right. 36 delegates out of reach.
Add 5 more delegates from proportional states Oregon and Washington.

Now Trump arrives at June 7 with 984 delegates. To reach the nominating majority, Trump must:

Sweep the winner-take-all states New Jersey, Montana and South Dakota. 107 delegates total; win 5 of New Mexico's 24 proportional delegates; and win a big majority of California - 39 of 53 congressional districts AND the statewide contest, totaling 130 delegates.

984 plus 112 plus 130 equals ... 1,226.

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.)

Or, he could have tried harder in Colorado.

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.

But the major reason conventions have been such bloodless affairs over the last few decades is that we've always known how the delegates were going to vote -- that they have, in practice, been virtually powerless, and are just reflecting the will of the primary voters.


Should the Republican nomination be awarded to Cruz or John Kasich, it would be wildly out of step with the tradition of letting primary voters decide in practice who their candidate should be. Moreover, explaining this outcome would be enormously difficult to explain to the already dwindling number of voters willing to register Republican.

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."

But johngalt thinks:

As committed to decrying their "disenfranchisement" as they were in becoming delegates, I see.

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2016 7:16 PM

Spinal Implant

I'm not the only one who's noticed Verizon's HOSS CEO Lowell McAdams. Kim Strassel pens one of the great columns of her storied and stellar career.

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.

It has been many a year since corporate America could claim to have an intact spinal system, though its retreat into nervelessness has accelerated over the past decade. We've reached a moment at which Mr. Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren can daily tar companies as the villains of the world, and receive applause from voters both left and right. Blame it on the great recession; blame it on a litigious environment; blame it on President Obama. But mostly blame it on the companies themselves. When asked time and again who among them would stand up for the American way, they mumbled "Not I."

"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.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:33 PM | What do you think? [0]

Pretty good...

Hat-tip: Steven Crowder

But Terri thinks:

I love it when Cruz is out of his campaign speech mode!

Posted by: Terri at April 15, 2016 4:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

True, Terri, true. Still, Ted could have laughed more. ;)

Posted by: johngalt at April 16, 2016 11:19 AM

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.

The new process rewards longtime party loyalists in the state - taking power away from the presidential candidates and their most fervent supporters in the April 19 primary.

The change could have a significant impact on Trump, who is heavily favored to win his home state's primary.

There is one thing in common between the New York and Colorado situation - the attitude of those who've had enough of Trump's winning whining.

Trump, ultimately, will have a chance to use his deal-making skills to keep his New York delegates aligned behind his nomination, Walsh said.

"Trump bills himself as the greatest dealmaker, so here's his chance," Walsh said. "Let's see if he can get a deal. If he doesn't, he's done."

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."

McAdam argues that Verizon's demands in union negotiations reflect their attempt to safeguard "good jobs, good wages and great benefits for thousands of workers" in the face of technological changes.

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."

In an interview on Tuesday, ABC News' Jonathan Karl asked Trump whether he and his campaign were ready for the delegate-by-delegate fight that is dominating the primary.

"No, I was ready for a democratic race, meaning, you know, democracy," Trump said. "And this is not democracy, this is 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.

However, South Carolina is not the only place Trump has failed to organize at the state level. He is facing delegate setbacks in Virginia, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Wyoming, Washington State, Missouri, and California.

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.

* A fact that Trump aide Ed Brookover admitted today, in fact:

"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.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Someone should tell the Donald that we live in a constitutional republic, not a democracy. Which is exactly what the founders wanted, and only NY liberals want to change!

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 15, 2016 10:25 AM

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 Hank Rearden Llowell McAdam hits back. Sanders says the firm paid not a nickle in taxes -- which is true, who would confuse a nickle for "more than $15.6 billion in taxes over the last two years?"

"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."

But johngalt thinks:

In other words, "Check-it, bitch!"

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2016 5:14 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Just as The Donald has issues with property rights, and HRC has issues with anything that represents objective truth clearly Bernie has issues with reality.

Like Sen. Graham said - in a rare, quotable moment - "Sanders went on honeymoon to Moscow, and never came back."

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 14, 2016 11:05 AM
But jk thinks:

I'm going to be a bit mean, but I further suggest that his audience has self-selected into a group that does not demand complete probity.

Posted by: jk at April 14, 2016 11:17 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Wait - I thought this story was about Sanders, not Trump.

Posted by: johngalt at April 14, 2016 2:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders - Two wings of the same bird of messiahship.

Posted by: johngalt at April 14, 2016 2:58 PM

Hail Jonah!

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.


But jk thinks:

A very strong first effort!

Posted by: jk at April 13, 2016 4:33 PM

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.

Republicans aren't even bothering with the straw poll. The reason being because the national party says that the winner of the caucus, those delegates are pledged to that person all the way through and in 2008 that didn't work out so well for Colorado. Rick Santorum won the caucus but then he was out of the race in a month, so Colorado was irrelevant at the convention."

This reporter is obviously a right-wing establishment stooge because he completely ignored the part about the process being rigged to stop Trump.

From Colorado Democrats admit mistake that cost Bernie Sanders key delegate

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.

[Colorado Democratic Party Chairman] Palacio said he didn't tell the Sanders camp about the divergent numbers "because it didn't necessarily affect (them). It was our mistake that ended up affecting the estimation of Hillary's campaign."blockquote>

Not seeming to recognize that if the delegate doesn't actually go to Hillary, it goes to Bernie instead.

But johngalt thinks:

I was surprised by the claim that Democrat delegates "can still change their mind all the way to the nominating convention in Philadelphia." I thought only super delegates could do that.

Even so, he also said the Democrats do a new straw poll at every stage of their caucus. I think they just like to vote. After all, they're Democrats.

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2016 11:32 AM

Gotta have a little fun!

Mondo heh;

But johngalt thinks:

Here's how one putative Trump delegate was "screwed" out of participation at State Assembly - He was elected as a (Douglas) County Assembly delegate and incorrectly believed he had been elected a State Assembly delegate. Then when he didn't attend county assembly, run for election as state delegate, and receive enough votes to become a state delegate, made videos claiming that he had been barred by the GOP because he was a Trump guy.

They say that the caucus process is complicated. No, but it is a bit tedious. And a written "Official Call to _____ Assembly" is provided to delegates at each step of the process to tell them what to do next. Perhaps Mr. Lindsey burned his official call like he did his supposed Republican Party Registration.*

*I don't have any certificate of registration with the party. I think he must have printed a page from the Secretary of State's website that showed he is a Republican.

Posted by: johngalt at April 12, 2016 7:11 PM

Put a Cork in the Whine Bottle

Then: "There's going to be so much winning you're gonna get tired of winning."
Now: "Great anger - totally unfair!"

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.

If he can't understand the challenges that he faces as a candidate or be flexible enough to respond to a shifting landscape, and if he can't assemble the best and brightest people needed to win - no matter the rules - what does that say about his claims that he can do a great job running the country?

-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 McArdle
My 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."

But I lost my head and despaired when I saw Donald Trump's early successes overtaking the party I had hoped to drive more toward liberty. I missed caucus for the first time in 20 years.

But many brave Colorado Republicans did not fold (including blog brothers and sisters) and I am proud today of a state party I have often derided. Senator Cruz was not my first choice, but he is a great practical choice. And could be considered one of the top three most constitutionally constrained major party candidate in my lifetime.

Not only was Trump shut down, but Dudley Moore's Senate Candidate came up short. I heard good things from several Facebook friends about Darryl Glenn -- and now from brother jg.

Well done, Colorado Republicans -- and thanks!

But johngalt thinks:

I couldn't resist, and made some tweets on the topic. See the #3src hashtag widget.

Posted by: johngalt at April 11, 2016 1:09 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Indeed; a hearty Huzzah! to the CO GOP for skunking Trump (and so much more, Col. Glenn says). I now will feel much better about my role as PCP. I liked George Will's take on the 'stolen' whinge from The Donald:

well, he's always had a poor grasp on property rights, so this statement shows he's consistent!
I note that the invite for BoCo GOP this Thursday shows one Gregory Rinard: is he known to any of us?

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 12, 2016 2:40 PM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at April 12, 2016 3:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

AAAAnd, yes.


Posted by: johngalt at April 12, 2016 3:31 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Indeed; I introduced myself and traded cards!

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 15, 2016 12:40 AM
But dagny thinks:

Did he admit to knowing us?

Posted by: dagny at April 15, 2016 12:49 PM

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 Republican Party is getting a political blood transfusion. For Democrats, this may not be good news.

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.

The convention was a showcase of diversity among candidates and a long parade of white, black, Indian, straight, gay, male and female speakers in positions of power. Nothing resembled the party's old established white male image.

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

Liberty Activist

January 2011 – April 2016 (5 years 4 months)

Legislative Aide for Colorado Senate Republicans
Executive Assistant for Committee to Elect Paul Lundeen
Deputy Campaign Manager, Bentley Rayburn for US Congress
Campaign Manager, Mark Waller for Colorado Attorney General
Colorado Director of Social Conservative Coalitions for Mitt Romney
Legislative Aide Colorado House of Representatives
Congressional District 5 Colorado Internship, Office of Doug Lamborn
Foreign Policy Research Assistant at Heritage Foundation, Young Leaders Program

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."

"It's time to get serious. I don't know about you, but I'm done. That's why I'm running today," Vargas said. "What are you willing to do to make sure our party has a future? What are you willing to do? Do you want a congressman who shows up at election season and gives a nice speech and a list of things you want to hear? Or do you want a congresswoman who is an outspoken leader, who won't settle, is a team player and who will confront liberals and who also believes it is her job to make the Republican Party a party we can all be proud of?"

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.

His speech detailed his plans on all three issues.

First, he appealed to blue collar workers, promising full-time higher-paying jobs.

Then he promised to protect individual freedoms, which he believes are at risk if liberal Supreme Court justices are appointed.

"I will not compromise away your religious liberty, and I will not compromise away your second amendment right to keep and bear arms," he said.

He also promised to take a hard stance against ISIS and other groups.

"We will have a commander in chief who stands up and says to the world we will defeat radical Islamic terrorism," he said.

Delegates afterward told KRDO Newschannel 13 they were impressed.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

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.

But jk thinks:

Well done. John Fund confers.

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2016 12:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Saw that. Good article. Quoteworthy:

Caddell’s revolutionary moment could be seen up close and personal this weekend at the state convention of the Colorado Republican party in Colorado Springs. What happened was stunning. Ted Cruz, considered a fringe candidate by the media until four months ago, swept 34 of the 37 delegate slots for the Cleveland convention. Donald Trump placed second, and there was scant support for any establishment figure.

*satire* What? Ted Cruz isn't establishment? SENATOR Ted Cruz! What you smokin' you commie RINO douchebag! */satire*

Posted by: johngalt at April 11, 2016 1:27 PM

April 8, 2016

Headline of the Day

Trump Claims Another Soul
Sadly, it is Rudy Giuliani's.
But johngalt thinks:

Trump is one of those people who transcend social boundaries. During his life and career in New York City he has managed to make himself familiar in both high society and underworld circles. The latter seems to contribute much to his style and personality, and puts members of the former in an awkward position when they are asked to endorse or disavow him.

At Assembly yesterday I had an interesting conversation with Andy Peth of The Party of Choice. I asked him about Ted Cruz' perceived creepiness.

"Ted Cruz is creepy. It's because of his preachy delivery. It makes people feel like he wants to judge them and change them. That is the secret of Donald Trump's success - he doesn't make people feel like he wants to change them."

I found this both ironic and disquieting because frequently, freedom and liberty are what Cruz is "preaching" about! "So he's saying the right things but with the wrong delivery," I asked? "Basically, yes."

There's clearly more to political persuasion than meets the eye. It's almost like a secret formula, it seems to me. The best politicians have it down. And many of them, probably, without even realizing it. I believe Trump is one of those.

Posted by: johngalt at April 10, 2016 6:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A slight revision of my prior comment, after exchanging messages with Andy about it. He said that Cruz is perceived as creepy by those outside of the base.

"I mean, no one thinks Trump wants to tell them how to live their lives, but many outside the base believe Ted would. It's that perception he'll have to defeat in the general election."
Posted by: johngalt at April 10, 2016 10:02 PM

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

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

Do it! I'll be your first like.

Posted by: johngalt at April 10, 2016 12:09 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I might even re-spleet it ;-)

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 11, 2016 6:35 PM
But jk thinks:

ANybody may click on the photo, which will open it in Facebook, then share it, like it or click the angry button.

I will endeavor to create a post better explaining my position. It is not "courage;" this would pretty directly insult a few close relatives. Besides extra tension over Thanksgiving turkey, it will make them less receptive to more serious points I might make on this or other topics.

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2016 6:59 PM

George WIll on Baseball

Hope this embed works, I ve had mixed results with Facebook's:

If, not it is worth a click

Sports Posted by John Kranz at 10:32 AM | What do you think? [0]

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,"

They hit the bull's-eye.

Their brief was filed as Texas (along with a number of other states) challenges President Obama's executive order granting "lawful status" to the parents of illegal aliens, many of whom have been granted their own reprieves from deportation via the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals or who serve as "anchor babies" to discourage federal officials from deporting their parents. It wasn't enough to grant lawful status to illegals -- the president wanted to grant it to everyone.

What that wholesale reprieve amounts to is the president, not Congress, giving illegals "lawful presence," entitling them to welfare, food stamps, earned income tax credits, Social Security and housing. By coincidence, that's exactly the kind of dependency that stimulates Democrats and draws illegals into becoming faithful constituencies.

But jk thinks:

Two Cheers.

It's a clear-eyed view of the power grab the president has been engaging in. What's heartening here is that these Senators are no longer rolling over as the President runs roughshod over their legitimate powers. If the republic is to be served as the Founding Fathers intended, it's just this sort of defense that enables the entire edifice of American democracy to stand tall.

Yeah! Atta boy!

Sadly, the same crew let the President expand the executive on cronyist green power, EPA assaults on property rights, capriciously rewriting the ACA -- need I go on?

So it is good that they fight but I think the picked the wrong hill to defend. And more importantly picked it for the wrong reason: placating the Tancredoism that has overtaken the GOP is now way more important than property rights or prosperity.

Nah, on second thought -- make that 1.5 cheers.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2016 10:42 AM
But johngalt thinks:

What I find most admirable is that they are fighting the systemic effort to attract and support the wrong kind of illegal immigrant - the dependent class folks who enlarge the Democrat base.

Posted by: johngalt at April 10, 2016 12:24 PM

Fresh Danish

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.

And the truth is that after 20 years of growing and consuming GM crops the question remains: Where are the victims?

Usually this is the point in the conversation where GMO opponents start talking about the precautionary principle: "Above all, do no harm." The problem with the precautionary principle is that it doesn't take into account harms that can come from inaction. Maybe that's why it's a principle and not a law of nature.

And when the world is faced with an existential threat - the sort of threat that a combination of rising temperatures, rising population, and rising expectations presents - the precautionary principle may have to take a back seat to the survival principle: "Whatever it takes, baby."

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

"Creepy" Cruz

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.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Hmm, yes, this bears some semblance to science, ... like astrology... "booger eater" really? Someone should take her crayons for a bad-metaphor check.

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 6, 2016 11:21 PM

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:

That's counsel that the United States Senate should listen to. That's counsel that I would encourage every Democratic senator who feels the urge of party loyalty to [listen to] . . . I would encourage my friends on the Democratic side of the aisle: As difficult as it is to cross one's Party leaders, I say, with perhaps a little familiarity of the consequences of so doing, that it's survivable - and that ultimately it is liberating.

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.

Biddle writes,

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."

In other words, imagine President Ted Cruz.

But jk thinks:

Ari Armstrong is moderately in.

Posted by: jk at April 5, 2016 5:20 PM

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
But johngalt thinks:

The FED hell... AUDIT THE UN!

UN and socialist state kleptocracy has long been suspected, and now the disinfecting light of public disclosure has been applied. We will see if the world legal establishment follows up - it would be delicious to watch Vladimir Putin get the full Marie Antoinette treatment from his fellow Russians. Among the rest of them.

What do they intend to do with all this hidden cash, anyway? That's what I can't figure out. When have they stolen enough that they'll just jet off to the island for misfit tyrants?

Posted by: johngalt at April 5, 2016 1:50 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If you mean Elba, my only question is whether there would be enough room for all of them.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 5, 2016 1:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

More like Saint Helena.

Posted by: johngalt at April 5, 2016 4:20 PM

April 4, 2016

Victory Lap!

Tim Worstoll @ Adam Smith Institute:

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.
There are now more adults in the world classified as obese than underweight, a major study has suggested

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.

But johngalt thinks:

"Dead men leave no carbon footprint."

Posted by: johngalt at April 5, 2016 1:56 PM

Headline of the Day

"Chalk and awe" -- all hail Taranto!
Education Posted by John Kranz at 1:38 PM | What do you think? [0]




Charlie Chaplin ©1936. Lyrics John Turner & Geoffrey Parsons ©1954

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


April 3, 2016

Review Corner

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...

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 1:33 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

Later, she took a step further as she attacked scientific reports showing links between hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and earthquakes, suggesting God is the reason they occur.

"There have been earthquakes long before we ever did fracking," she said. "Let's be honest. You know God is kind of in control of those. And not by us drilling down in the ground and doing the fracking."

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.

But n thinks:

Keyser sounded most reasonable of all ... he's shaped up to be my pick, reminding me of Tom Cotton; if anyone's asking?

Posted by: n at April 4, 2016 11:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for the comment, n!

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2016 6:16 PM

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.

Humor Posted by nanobrewer at 2:59 PM | What do you think? [2]
But dagny thinks:


Gotta go with Half-Lives matter. Some pretty funny additions in the comments too.

Posted by: dagny at April 1, 2016 5:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This April Fools joke makes me feel unsafe. Shame!

Posted by: johngalt at April 1, 2016 5:21 PM

Don't click this. Comments (2)