February 26, 2018

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

C'est si Bon

Henri Betti - André Hornez ©1947 English lyrics Jerry Seelen ©1950

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February 23, 2018

Quote of the Day

But then, CNN is to journalism what those Broward deputies are to law enforcement: A contemptible example of failure. -- Glenn Reynolds
Posted by John Kranz at 10:30 PM | What do you think? [0]

February 22, 2018

Dark Days

I can accept the GOP (especially the Colorado GOP) doing some things I don't like. I can roll my eyes and move on.

But. This is a HORRIBLE and antithetical to free people. And the CO GOP Facebook staff spikes the football as a great policy victory.

CO_GOP_OpiodLaw.jpg

I may take up heroin, if this is the soi disant freedom party. Pass the needle!

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 4:08 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Getting hooked on smack seems an extreme reaction. Perhaps just move to a different "laboratory of democracy?" If this is a bad idea it will be revealed as such, once we compare drug abuse in states with such regulations to those without. Eh?

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2018 11:46 AM
But Terri Goon thinks:

Wait, weren't you against marijuana?

Posted by: Terri Goon at February 23, 2018 12:38 PM

February 21, 2018

Quote of the (well, you decide...)

Just catching up with the phenomenon that is Jordan Peterson. If you're looking for a good entry point, might I recommend this week's EconTalk.

And moving beyond your domain of immediate competence would be grandiose and destructive. And I believe that it often is. You know, these--we take 18-year-old kids, we put them in Ivy League universities, and we tell them to criticize the system and to act as political activists. And I look at that and I think, "God, you kids, you don't anything. You don't know anything. You've never had a job. You've never taken care of anyone, including yourself. You can't organize your own household. You've never read anything. You don't know how to write. You don't know how to think. But, it's okay: Your professors can tell you that, now you are in a position to criticize the foundations of Western civilization. It's like--it's horrifying."

Education Posted by John Kranz at 6:12 PM | What do you think? [2]
But nanobrewer thinks:

Let's remember the frontal lobe isn't fully developed until ~ 25 yrs. of age. I'm now convinced FB actively degrades it, or everyone becomes Benjamin Button, or both....

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 23, 2018 1:08 AM
But jk thinks:

I'll not argue with either.

One of my favorite books of all times is Michael Barone's "Hard America, Soft America." He points out that (Soft) America produces the most worthless 20-year-olds in the world, yet (Hard) America produces the most productive 30-year-olds. (He's speaking in averages and generalities, of course there are millions of exceptions).

I just think Peterson nails it that we ask the softies to remake the civilization.

Posted by: jk at February 23, 2018 10:59 AM

February 20, 2018

Disband the FBI?

Worth serious discussion if you consider this:

It's a common story. The FBI is one more victim of the March Through the Institutions, the cultural-Marxist initiative in which hordes of leftists infiltrate a trusted institution and corrupt it as a weapon to use against political enemies. We see it in academia, news media, Hollywood. We saw it at the IRS. And the FISA warrant case shows it was very much in effect at the FBI. And like a Hollywood which struggles to create movies worth watching, a news media which canít seem to get the story straight and an education industry which turns out kids who are experts in how they feel about math but not-so proficient in doing it, we've now got an FBI which routinely drops the ball on major cases.
But jk thinks:

I don't know if any ThreeSourcers ever got into the TV show "Sleepy Hollow," but it had its charms. Among them, the reincarnated revolutionary officer frequently became visibly upset at entities that contravened the spirit of the revolution. When he first hears "there is a Federal Constabulary," he is quite wounded.

"The American Spectator" is quaintly moderate in the era of President Trump, but I suggest the article ill-served by claiming that the problem with the bureau is its being overtaken with incompetent lefties.

Might be true. I'd suggest there's being a lot of incompetence to go around, and that any organization will become sclerotic without the salubrious if stern incentives of the free market.

Posted by: jk at February 20, 2018 5:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A few points:

ANY politicization of the legal system is an unacceptable turn down the highway to tyranny.

Incompetence is almost to be expected in a government agency, but these folks still call themselves, "one of the world's premier security and crime-fighting forces." We should all expect more of them. Squeaky clean, beyond reproach.

Is there a right-wing "march through the institutions" that I'm not aware of? A lefty might say, "Duh. Capitalism." But really, there is no moral equivalency between left and right, or between statism and individualism more specifically.

The evident politicization of the FBI is a national emergency, tragedy, and disgrace.

Posted by: johngalt at February 21, 2018 3:09 PM
But jk thinks:

My objection to the Spectator is more on tone than substance. But it's almost too cold to drink beer, let me carry on:

The implication that the FBI was squeaky clean and not a threat to liberty until " the cultural-Marxist initiative in which hordes of leftists infiltrate a trusted institution [and bla, bla, bla]" does not match my memories of J. Edgar Hoover, Bobby Kennedy, the treatment of Martin Luther King, weaponization against Nixon's "White House Enemies List," &c.

It reminds me of those who pine for the fair and unbiased journalism of Walter Cronkite.

Posted by: jk at February 21, 2018 6:41 PM

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

Fishin' Blues

Henry Thomas? Traditional?

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February 12, 2018

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

Comes Love (Dobro Version)

Sam H. Stept, lyrics by Lew Brown and Charles Tobias ©1939.

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

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But johngalt thinks:

I really love that Dobro sound!

Posted by: johngalt at February 20, 2018 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks man, having fun.

Posted by: jk at February 20, 2018 6:00 PM

February 11, 2018

Another Look at Senate Filibuster

The US Senate's well known excuse for inaction, the cloture rule ostensibly borne out of the "originalist" filibuster, hasn't served the purpose small government advocates have expected. Nor, it seems, is it as sacrosanct as Constitutionalists have been told.

Analyses as diverse as Brookings and Newsmax agree that the filibuster was enacted as an unintended consequence of Aaron Burr's dubious advice that the Senate abolish the "previous question" rule, which allowed a simple majority to end debate. This was the Senate's originalist intent.

But what of its virtue as a mediating influence, moderating the excesses of partisanship by requiring legislation to be "centrist" enough to earn support from both parties? Well, it didn't prevent passage of the hyper-partisan Affordable Care Act. Yet it does manage, somehow, to help prevent that act's revision or repeal. Despite those contradictory effects, I resisted any change to the 2014 opinion I shared with my blog brother and, tellingly, with Majority Leader McConnell. But last week's passage of a new two-year budget plan has me completely rethinking this. What if the rule supposed to limit the tyranny of the majority only replaces that with the tyranny of a minority? Professor of philosophy Rob Koons in Newsmax:

As a result, 41 Senators can block any bill literally without lifting a finger.

Cui bono? The Majority Leader, that's who. Senator McConnell.

They are able to defend themselves against rebellion from the ranks, because it is mathematically impossible to reach the 60-vote margin without the discipline provided by the Leader and his Whip.

And if that's not bad enough for you, it gets worse. The 60-vote cloture actually encourages bad leglislation rather than prevent it, because a pragmatic alternative to "centrist" legislation is what you might call "co-dependently extremist" legislation.

The 60-vote rule protects all incumbents from accountability to the voters, since they can also claim, plausibly but falsely, that they were unable to deliver the reforms the people want because of the obstruction of the other party. the cloture rule insulates both parties from accountability to the electorate by alleviating both parties of the responsibility for governing.

Senator Rand Paul memorably Tweeted about the consequences of this last week:

When the Democrats are in power, Republicans appear to be the conservative party. But when Republicans are in power it seems there is no conservative party.

A similar refrain we've all heard, many times, is "Republicans and Democrats, what's the difference? They're all the same."

President Trump has described a solution to the problem: "Must elect more Republicans in 2018 Election!" The problem is, TEA Party voters feel betrayed by compromises like this, and because "there's no difference between Democrats and Republicans anymore" we continue to have a narrowly divided Senate ad infinitum.

Personally, I'm prepared to endorse a more realistic solution - one that has also been endorsed by President Trump - the one proposed by Professor Koons: "Trump and Pence must lead a rebellion by back-benchers to overturn the cloture rule." The Democrats should be supportive, as they've long advocated for this change to a "more democratic" Senate. As for keeping Democrats from abusing power should they take the majority? That is the job of the voters, quite frankly. And the fact they haven't had to do it since at least 1975 has played a large part in the massive leftward tilt of the modern Democratic party. Let them be held accountable for their bad ideas at every election, as they were in 2016. The biggest obstacle will come from Leader McConnell himself. Yet another politician who should be more accountable to his voters.

But jk thinks:

I have softened, but not changed my mind. The best argument against remains "Leader Chuck Schumer (TidePodFancier - MY) will pitch it in a New York Minute."

That is compelling. But I remain wary.

My Main Man, John Calvin, nailed it: "It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones."

So did Michael Barone with: "All procedural arguments are insincere, including this one."

It could be called a bit rich that ThreeSourcers are decrying "the tyranny of the minority." I consider us the vanguard against majoritarianism. The idea is to make it hard to govern: that's being a feature and not a bug.

The larger issue is that spending is on a solid growth path and legislation is required to cut it -- that is where the mistakes were made. To remove what has been an important brake on popular legislation is fraught with peril.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2018 5:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

And, mostly. Legislation is required to cut mandatory spending, but discretionary spending must be renewed regularly with - legislation. Legislation like what we witnessed last week in the 2-year budget. Legislation that must have an "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" component unless there are a solid 60 votes to go one way or the other.

My case is that making that 51 (or 50+1) would make it easier for Republicans to shrink government (if they ever did honestly wish to do so) and make it easier for voters to see the true colors of their own senator. It has the effect of giving more power to the voters. You know, Hoi Polloi.

My personal affinity for the 60-vote rule came from a misimpression that it limited Senators' power. In fact, it gives them more of it as explained in the post.

Posted by: johngalt at February 13, 2018 10:22 AM
But jk thinks:

I hear all my anarchist buddies screaming in my ear that "you can't stop people with parchment." So many of the swell features of the Constitution have been neutered.

I hear much Sturm and Drang about the new budget deal. They certainly all have a point, but it is not about who has 51 or 60 votes -- we have, like, three! And they're divided between the House and Senate (okay, there might be low double digits in the House).

But is it "Republicans abandoning their ideals?" Their voters (in plurality) are not clamoring for cuts, The new GOP ideal is "Trumpism." And he has never ever once said he was going to cut spending.

So I am going easy on the poor Republican legislators this week. Fiscal austerity is not the brand anymore. Like free trade, it does not have a home in either party and would be worse if Democrats took over.

But the people who are shocked haven't been paying much attention #amirite?

Posted by: jk at February 13, 2018 2:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No I don't think so. Our media overlords dutifully trumpet Trump's calls to increase spending - on a wall, on defense, on infrastructure (what am I leaving out?) - but just as dutifully omit any mention of growth, cuts and reforms to lower deficits and the debt.

Trump has called for spending cuts. And not just this year. And while your prejudice of the Trump Revolution may be laser focused on immigration (again, think about why that is at the top of your mind) there are other, some would say greater, issues that give enduring life to the "Deplorable" revolution. Instead of thinking of a border wall, when you think of Donald J. Trump, think "Tea Party President of the United States."

Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2018 10:29 AM

February 7, 2018

"Trump is ruining me"

This must be a spoof. Right?

Middle-aged Ruth Mayer, of Charlotte, North Carolina, and her 16-year old daughter attended the latest "Women's March" in D.C. Both of them are "angry" every day that Trump is President.

My fury has been bottomless. I drink my morning coffee from a cup that says, "I hate to wake up when Donald Trump is President." The constancy of my outrage has been exhausting, yet I have not yet found a way to quell it - nearly each day has brought a new reason to stoke the fire.

But on the way home she had car trouble in her ________ (bonus points if you guess what she drives) and they found themselves parked on the side of the road, helpless.

He did all of this so quickly that I didn't have time to grab the prominent RESIST sticker on the side of my car, which suddenly felt needlessly alienating. As this man lay on the ground under my car with his miracle zip ties, I asked if he thought they would hold for four more hours of driving.

"Just ask any redneck like me what you can do with zip ties - well, zip ties and duct tape. You can solve almost any car problem. You'll get home safe," he said, turning to his teenage son standing nearby. "You can say that again," his son agreed.

The whole interaction lasted 10 minutes, tops. Katherine and I made it home safely.

Our encounter changed the day for me. While I tried to dive back into my liberal podcast, my mind kept being pulled back to the gas station. I couldn't stop thinking about the man who called himself a "redneck" who came to our rescue. I sized him up as a Trump voter, just as he likely drew inferences from my Prius and RESIST sticker. But for a moment, we were just two people and the exchange was kindness (his) and gratitude (mine).

As I drove home, I felt the full extent to which Trump has actually diminished my own desire to be kind. He is keeping me so outraged that I hold ill will toward others on a daily basis. Trump is not just ruining our nation, he is ruining me. By the end of the drive, I felt heartbroken.

One is left to wonder if Mr. Redneck and his son would have done the same for Ms. Hatemonger and her daughter a scant year or two prior, while His Awesomeness was still our President. Which leads one to wonder, if there is really an ideology prone to hatred, isn't it those who "Resist" everything that their opponent seeks to achieve, even when a case can be made that she would personally benefit? Instead, she writes:

I have been angry at my country for electing this man, angry at my neighbors who support him, angry at the wealthy who sacrificed our country and its goodness for tax breaks, angry at the coal miners who believed his promises.

Because there's obviously no such thing as a "good" country that doesn't tax its people beyond their breaking point.

But jk thinks:

Did she just assume his gender?

Posted by: jk at February 8, 2018 3:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good point! But, in fairness, I assumed hers.

Posted by: johngalt at February 9, 2018 4:01 PM

Otequay of the Ayday

With rising crude exports and already booming overseas sales of refined petroleum products such as gasoline, the U.S. net oil imports have plunged to below 3 million barrels a day, the lowest since data available starting 45 years ago, compared with more than 12 million barrels a day in 2006. The U.S. could become a net petroleum exporter by 2029, the EIA said this week.

Bloomberg


February 6, 2018

"Starman" Drives Tesla Roadster to Mars

Say what you will about Elon Musk, this is cool.

(Skip to 29:00 for the launch)

LAUNCH embed:

ORBIT embed:

Technology Posted by JohnGalt at 4:40 PM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

Yessir. He's a Crony, but he's a crony with panaché!

Posted by: jk at February 7, 2018 10:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

What's with my embed code? Can you fix?

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2018 1:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Working for me (on Microsoft Edge).

Posted by: jk at February 7, 2018 1:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

AAAAAAAhhhh!

Never mind. ;)

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2018 3:42 PM

High Fives for Dirigisme

Big deal, the DJIA dropped 1175 yesterday. I'm good; it's a return to standard risk and volatility patterns.

But this. This is worrisome:

GirlScoutLegislators.jpg

High fives! Well, SJWs of the Future, you've just given racist cops a good excuse to pull over and harass a driver of color. You've just ensared a poor person in the leagl system. If she can't pay a ticket, she gets a summons, if she can't get off work to answer, Mom can end up in prison.

But thank God you saved the kids form second-hand smoke.

Nanny State Posted by John Kranz at 9:56 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

"Road to Hell - Next Exit"

As if capriciously enforced speed limit laws weren't already enough of a scourge upon our dear land.

Time to burn my Girl Scout Cookies on YouTube.

Posted by: johngalt at February 6, 2018 3:39 PM
But jk thinks:

AND: No seat belts as a primary infraction, and no doubt the drumbeats for text/cell phone use.

Fourth Amendment, what?

Posted by: jk at February 6, 2018 4:10 PM

February 4, 2018

Review Corner

POINT OF ORDER: Review Corner is eight to ten books behind. The backlog, good procrastinators know, is yet another hurdle. I don't recall its ever happening before, but it is not likely coincidental that "War & Piece" is next. Surely the world waits with bated breath for my take on Mister Tolstoy (He's shockingly Hayekian -- I wonder if that is sufficiently covered...)

But I wanted to flip one to the top of the list. The author is blog-sister dagny's brother. I don't know that we've met in the corporeal world, by my blog-brother-in-law has crafted a rollicking tale and it is new enough that the cleaned-up-for-Amazon review might help.

*************************************************************************************

Breathtaking, Kojiro thought as he watched the Kono horses thundering toward him. Beautiful animals, colorful riders, and naked steel; if they weren't coming to kill me, I would cheer.

A distant but personal connection gets Review Corner to put down the dull economics books and enjoy a little fiction. And I did enjoy The Rose and the Crane by Clint Dohmen. Quite a bit.

The Rose and the Crane clashes the 15th Century cultures on British Seamen, Venetian traders, and Samurai warriors. Those who crave action will enjoy Iliad-level gore in descriptive battle sequences.

Neno did not like to lose crewmen unless it was by his own hand. He was halfway around the world and had lost enough already. Sure, for the most part they were good-for-nothing, whoring drunkards, but then, so was Neno, and only he had the right to remove them from the ranks of the living.

To be clear, this is not some mixed-race "Dinner with Andre" with lengthy conversations about cultural differences. But in the life and death of battle and battle preparations, the differences are explored -- tersely and wittily - as alliances become friendship.
Based on the magnificent horse that the man sat astride and his stag - antler wakidate, Kojiro guessed that man was Lord Kono himself. "At least we do not fight cowards," Kojiro observed aloud to no one in particular.

Simon, standing nearby, heard the comment. "I would prefer to fight cowards."

"Invincibility lies in one's self," Kojiro responded calmly.

"Easy for you to say."

"I did not say it .Sun Tzu said it."


We follow the band from Japan through spice islands, back to Continental Europe for preparation, and ultimately to return to England to participate in the Wars of the Roses. Over time, the reader becomes of the characters, with all their foibles, and becomes quite invested in the outcome. The pacing is very good and the plot never lags.

It's way outside my typical fare, but I enjoyed it immensely.

Aldo sighed and looked out over the canal. "In all seriousness, though, I need more stories, and I have a feeling that a voyage with you will produce some. Besides, when I travel, I trade, and when I trade, I make money, so what is there to lose?"

Indeed. Five stars, without a doubt.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 1:14 PM | What do you think? [6]
But dagny thinks:

Thanks for the kind review JK. Clint owes you a beer or 3 if you put a review on Amazon too. If you have never met him in person, I will try to arrange it next time he comes to visit. I think you would get along. I also very much enjoyed reading his book.

Also you might like to know that Clint is quite a history scholar and the, "historical," part of his historical fiction is likely all very accurate.

Posted by: dagny at February 5, 2018 12:50 PM
But jk thinks:

I'd look forward to it -- the book is really very good.

I did post a review on Amazon. I don't the biz really well, but I think he needs bad (or meh) reviews. I was the 26th five-star (and people say Review Corner has grade inflation). It looks funny. He needs a couple postmodernist-deconstructionist excoriations for its lack of female warriors and a three because it doesn't have Jar-Jar Binks in it.

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2018 3:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

How about: "It doesn't live up to its billing at all. Not one mention of botany or ornithology! It should have been called 'The Bloody Merry!'"

Posted by: johngalt at February 6, 2018 3:36 PM
But jk thinks:

That'd work! The 5.0 rating looks contrived.

Posted by: jk at February 6, 2018 4:11 PM
But dagny thinks:

Interesting that you note the lack of female warriors JK. I read the book rapidly, in my unable to put it down mode and enjoyed it immensely. Otherwise I wouldn't be pushing it on my friends. (I'm not so attached to my brother that I would recommend a bad book to my friends) And it was about a week later that I noticed the almost complete lack of female characters period. Even the unimaginatively named Kuro has more personality than the female characters. I do think that is somewhat of a shortcoming. I can't put a review that says so on Amazon though. Amazon has some weird software that detects family reviews and deletes them. Maybe Riza could do it? Clint tells me that one of the male characters was loosely modeled after yours truly, so that's kinda cool.

Posted by: dagny at February 20, 2018 1:38 PM
But jk thinks:

The lovely bride and I scoff at married couples who share a computer or email address. Our bow to the practice is a shared Amazon account.

Bezos thinks us a single eclectic or schizophrenic person, but our reviews are merged.

Posted by: jk at February 20, 2018 5:49 PM

February 2, 2018

Drill, Baby, Drill!

Spiking the football has its place and purpose. President Obama's smug interchange with Governor Romney (the Younger) over Russia's place as strategic threat should run three times a day and more on weekends.

As should -- the WSJ reminds -- "Drill, Baby, Drill!"

Readers of pre-millennial vintage may recall the 2008 presidential campaign when Republicans and especially Sarah Palin picked up the chant "drill, baby, drill" as a response to soaring oil prices. The theme was much derided, not least by Barack Obama, who as late as 2012 called it "a slogan, a gimmick, and a bumper sticker" but "not a strategy." Ten years later, who was right?

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday that U.S. crude oil production exceeded 10 million barrels a day for the first time since 1970. That's double the five million barrels produced in 2008, thanks to the boom in, well, drilling, baby.


I recall an enjoyable beer night out with many friends of this blog and former-friend Lattesipper looked at me incredulaously when I suggested that oil prices could return to sub $100/bbl.

Me and Governor "Lipstick" was right.

But johngalt thinks:

Huzzah!

There are other benefits too.

Posted by: johngalt at February 2, 2018 11:01 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Can't wait to take another fist-pump over this, and hopefully not make the associated verbal swipe too snarky when I ask the gentle question:

Is it that time in the decade for Nat'l Geographic to publish another End of Cheap Oil? edition?

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 4, 2018 12:34 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

@JG: Yes, the article notes U.S. a New Edge in Energy and Diplomacy... everything Obama did NOT want. Heh.

I still don't like Trump, but GD he gets results.... reminds me of Lincoln's statement about U.S. Grant's drinking "find out what it is he drinks and send a case to every general!"

Diet Coke for the entire GOP Congressional delegation!

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 4, 2018 12:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

America really doesn't realize just how unimportant it is to have a POTUS you would like to have a beer with.

I love the Lincoln quote about Ulysses S. Grant! Very apropos.

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2018 3:37 PM

Don't click this. Comments (2)