June 6, 2018

A View of Brexit - From Britain

Now that a majority of Britons have voted to leave the EU, Britain's government is down to the business of carrying out the directive. The simplest avenue is referred to over there (I know this because I just returned from a weeklong tour of London and the countryside to its west) as a "no-deal Brexit." Anti-Brexit forces are lobbying for side deals which effectively maintain EU membership in certain regards. See: Camel. Tent.

During my travels I witnessed Pro-EU activists lobbying in the street market areas of both Oxford and Bath. I didn't have time to engage with them but could imagine the scenarios they painted for those who did.

Conservative MP Daniel Hannan penned an op-ed on their efforts yesterday, which I was able to read in the print edition while waiting at the Heathrow boarding gate last morning.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to a leaked document by Whitehall officials, supermarket shelves in remote parts of Britain will empty within days.

The RAF will have to carry medical supplies to stricken areas. Petrol will run short. (They have forgotten the invasion by giant man-eating squirrels.)

We went through all this during the ­referendum. Precisely the same mandarins told us that, if we voted Leave, unemployment would rise by 500,000 within two years. In fact, it has FALLEN by that amount.

They told us that the Stock Exchange would collapse, wrecking our pensions. In fact, it has RISEN to record levels. They told us that France would end our bilateral deal, and that the Calais migrant camp would move to Kent. In fact, France has renewed the deal and the Calais camp has been DISMANTLED.

Yet here they go again with their childish threats. Who do they think they’re kidding?

It's almost as if these Britons don't believe their nation can succeed on its own, without the collective might of the EU. Hannan disagrees:

We are a G7 country, a nuclear power, and a permanent member of the UN ­Security Council. We have the best universities in Europe, the most innovative tech companies, the best audiovisual sector. Our capital is the greatest city on the planet. Our language is the world’s common tongue. If we can’t succeed on our own, who can?

Indeed. Sir Winston is face-palming in his grave.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:35 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Brexit has been fun to watch. I hope to be forgiven for reducing the post-Westphalian sovereignty of the cradle of liberty to so much reality-tv, but it is like watching their President Trump. The elites are outraged and refuse to accept electoral results.

On the merits, I have been a soft "leave"-er. It is decentralization -- an alloyed good, and as you quote, the idea that they require Brussels is pretty laughable.

Yet, it interferes with trade and immigration, like a certain other election. And like a certain other, it fuses honorable intentions of personal liberty with less-honorable populist and nationalist sentiments.

You talk of camels' noses -- I wonder if they will ever successfully evict the rest of the animal. Can't they (aren't they?) delay, litigate, miss deadlines and keep the status quo until a new election makes it official?

Posted by: jk at June 6, 2018 5:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes - delay until there's a new election to return to the previous order of things - I think that is the strategy being employed.

Posted by: johngalt at June 7, 2018 6:32 PM

April 10, 2018

That Evil Anne Rand Villian

I'm cycling through the PBS / Masterpiece Mysteries of late. It was never my genre, but I became hooked on "Father Brown," based on the G.K. Chesterton character. Then, it was a short hop to "Grantchester:" kind of Father Brown with a young Anglican. I stuck around for s very sweet and endearing ensemble cast. I could not recommend a show more highly.

Now, I am six seasons into "Inspector Lewis." Each episode is more like a film than a TV show. Regular-guy-but-brilliant-detective travels in the rarified air of the financial and academic elite in Oxford. His partner, Detective Sergeant Hathaway, was an elite student who dropped out of divinity scholarship to pursue police work.

It's entertaining and stimulating with intricate plots and high-minded allusions to Oxford scholars of old.

But last night, I saw The Indelible Stain, which featured a character named "Professor Anne Rand" played by Nancy Carrol. I won't provide spoilers as to whether she was or was not the killer, but she was an aggressive self-promoter, devoid of feelings, sympathy and compassion. Comically unsympathetic in a show of general nuance.

The target demographic for the show must certainly have "gotten it;" I don't suppose many at the BBC have different sentiments for the woman who spells her name with a 'y.'

Posted by John Kranz at 3:11 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:46 PM | Comments (2)
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

December 30, 2017

Our Grouchy Adversaries

A PhD buddy posts this on Facebbok:

"Just the other day, I was in my neighborhood Starbucks, waiting for the post office to open. I was enjoying a chocolatey café mocha when it occurred to me that to drink a mocha is to gulp down the entire history of the New World. From the Spanish exportation of Aztec cacao, and the Dutch invention of the chemical process for making cocoa, on down to the capitalist empire of Hershey, PA, and the lifestyle marketing of Seattle's Starbucks, the modern mocha is a bittersweet concoction of imperialism, genocide, invention, and consumerism served with whipped cream on top. No wonder it costs so much." -- Vowell

How do these people get out of bed in the morning? I had been thinking frequently of my biological brother and his friend, wondering if they are as miserable as their public personae.

I know the friend only through Facebook; he seems rather humorless, but I might be missing something. My brother has a humor quite similar to mine. He has turned me onto offbeat cartoonists and we share appreciation for the unusual and abstruse. We both enjoy Monty Python, but he has an encyclopedic knowledge of "Beyond the Fringe" whom I know only from the "Secret Policeman's Ball" concerts.

I hope they're both happy, as my friend, Doctor-Sad-At-Imperialism seems. It seems a crushing weight. I hate to see my generation discard the benefits of liberty, but the SJW burden seems far more severe.

Ah well -- another Mocha Latté?

UPDATE: I did not recognize the name. Apperantly it is author. historian, and NPR celeb Sarah Vowell.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:36 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

And now that Apple Inc. has admitted that they intentionally throttled performance on user's phones, coldly succumbing to the Evil Corporate Profit Motive, nothing produced by that once acceptable business must ever be tolerated.

Hell, being a true SJW is even harder than being a vegan.

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2018 3:21 PM
But jk thinks:

I was once a vegan, but I've never been a true SJW -- I think that proves it.

Posted by: jk at January 2, 2018 6:26 PM

December 27, 2017

Capitalism is Winning

Yesterday's "Tough Times for Liberals..." post segues to a NYT piece about "the GOPs contempt for democracy." Reading through with an "it's about time" mindset, I found it quite open and honest about the tension between property rights and democracy, if not fully complete. Author Will Wilkinson never addresses two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner, but he does give fair treatment to the moral philosophies of Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard. And acknowledges Buckley's temporary strategy that "banished radical libertarians to the fringes of the conservative movement to mingle with the other unclubbables." But as Reagan predicted, libertarianism has finally triumphed and realized its first big win in the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" of 2017.

Consequently, Wilkinson performs some philosophical gymnastics to make protection of property rights an achievement of democracy, not of libertarianism.

It's easy to say that everyone ought to have certain rights. Democracy is how we come to get and protect them. Far from endangering property rights by facilitating redistribution, inclusive democratic institutions limit the "organized banditry" of the elite-dominated state by bringing everyone inside the charmed circle of legally enforced rights.

Democracy is fundamentally about protecting the middle and lower classes from redistribution by establishing the equality of basic rights that makes it possible for everyone to be a capitalist. Democracy doesn't strangle the golden goose of free enterprise through redistributive taxation; it fattens the goose by releasing the talent, ingenuity and effort of otherwise abused and exploited people.

Except for the fact that wealthy non-elites don't seem to be included in Wilkinson's "everyone" whose rights are protected, this sounds pretty good.

I hope readers can add to my interpretation. Most encouraging to me however, is the approbation he gives to the ideas of property rights and capitalism. We're making progress if a defender of liberal democracy wants any share of the credit for them.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:53 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The holiday spirit has truly infused my blog brother with the milk of human kindness. By all means, let us continue the interpretation.

Wilkinson describes the idea of some people keeping a bit of their money thusly:

At a time when America’s faith in democracy is flagging, the Republicans elected to treat the United States Senate, and the citizens it represents, with all the respect college guys accord public restrooms.

I read it as a defense, not of property rights, but of placing democratic, majoritarian guard rails on them.

Posted by: jk at December 27, 2017 5:16 PM

December 26, 2017

Tough Times for Liberals Mean It's Time to Toughen Up

Who says? A Liberal.*

The system is slowly working, and evolving to higher standards -- at least in one part of the American cultureplex.

The timing, however, is brutal. With Trumpism on the march -- even if it's occasionally a Chaplinesque march -- liberal redoubts of news and culture have been tarnished by their own guardians.

No liberal (or anyone else, apparently) laments Weinstein's departure from the red carpet, and Rose's interviews won't be hard to surpass. But the collective house-cleaning is bracing, and disorienting, nonetheless.

But said liberal editorialist remains undaunted. [Gender-neutral pronoun] believes the unequal distribution of #MeToo casualties leaning heavily left is a good thing.

To preserve the institutions they revere, and on which civil society depends, liberals have to shed some ungainly weight, muscle up and step into the ring. If the fight goes well, they can pick up their pledge-drive potholder after the republic is secure.


P.S. We "less democratic, more fearful and more aggressive" conservatives capitalize the word "Republic" when we talk about securing the one given us by the Founders. It's a proper name, referring to a single republic - the only one in the world that isn't "democratic" or "people's" or "socialist."

And isn't it curious to see a "liberal" so eager to "secure" or preserve and protect something?

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:27 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Hmm, looks like "we need to stop raping so that we can fight the eeevil Republicans" less than seeking honest dialog or intellectual consistency.

Oh well, it's a start.

Posted by: jk at December 27, 2017 4:48 PM

October 18, 2017

Hypocritcially Whistling Past the Schadenfreude

The cognitive dissonance is somehow not disabling to those on the left who, with no choice but to denounce the sexploitation of Harvey Weinstein, completely ignore the same by their political heroes. George Neumayr sums it up in the American Spectator:

[The New York Times' Michelle] Goldberg, desperate to absolve the Democrats of the taint of Weinstein, works hard to inflate the misdeeds of figures such as Roger Ailes and equate criticism of feminist policies with misogyny. Fox News was "like his personal sadomasochistic brothel," she writes. (Ailes was accused of asking subordinates out and making leering comments, but he wasn't accused of sexual assault. There is a long way from his asking Megyn Kelly to twirl to the "sadomasochistic brothel" of Goldberg's imagination.)

All is better now on the liberal side, she declares, now that Weinstein's "impunity has come to an end" and he has been stripped of all his power:

He has lost his job and been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. France has taken steps to strip him of his Legion of Honor Award, the country's highest civilian distinction. He is being repudiated for violating progressive ideals about sexual consent, workers' rights and the fundamental equality of men and women.

Imagine her writing that last sentence about a long line of sexual goats in the Democratic Party. Or calling for the Edward Kennedy Institute to be renamed. Or demanding that Bill Clinton's honorary doctorates be taken away from him. It would never happen. And it never will happen. The obituarists of Harvey Weinstein will keep the progressive memory of Bill and Teddy alive forever.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:37 PM | Comments (0)

September 7, 2017

Let's March!

"I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." -- Abraham Maslow
I have long groused that the left's protests are complete waste of time. There may be a few exceptions, but they are rare. People with a voting franchise have better methods at persuasion.

But in the case of #DACA, I think it counterproductive. All the Trump supporters are going to see young people marching and holding signs -- and demanding things given out of compassion. It will only harden hearts against their cause.


A frustration of opposing the President is that so many of his opponents are -- what is the term I am looking for -- batshit crazy. There's never a hope of a reasonable alliance.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:24 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

But... #Racism! (R)[TM]

Posted by: johngalt at September 7, 2017 12:44 PM

August 24, 2017

"I may be Hitler, but I'm still not Trump"

The segue machine is set to kill.

I may have set a personal record in tagged categories for this post. It's part five of a YouTube original creation by Chris Ray Gun called "Social Justice: The Musical"

I post this one first because it's the first episode I found [while searching for "modern protest songs" after listening to Buffalo Springfield's 'For What It's Worth' following 'The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down' as referenced in the previous post] and also because it is timely and entertaining. The guy seems very talented and well worth a look at his other work.

Enough. On with the show!

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:32 PM | Comments (0)

February 2, 2017

New Facebook Game

Bethany Mandell might be right. President Trump might kill Facebook.

If all you're using Facebook for is to yell into the digital void about politics, you will find your audience for such rants is getting smaller by the minute. Sorry, random friends from all walks of life: I just don’t care what you think about Donald Trump today.

I have a few good friends who say they are leaving. I know, about as many people quit FB as heroin, but these are serious efforts from people I like and will miss if they stay away.

And I am enjoying it quite a bit less.

But I offer one ameliorative pursuit: play "Which Side Posted?" Look at the post and guess whether one of your wacko lefty friends put it up - or one of your wacko righties.

Seeing the unflattering picture of Sen Warren ($$$ - Harvard), I thought "righty!" But, no, this was posted in approbation by a Warren enthusiast. See, even I need practice:


Posted by John Kranz at 1:25 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

Lefty dog whistle clues:

"Trump's impeachment"
"backed by fact dot com"

Posted by: johngalt at February 2, 2017 2:03 PM
But jk thinks:

I am with you on "backed by fact" but can see plenty of my friends' ridiculing Sen Warren. And the good folks at backedbytotallbulshit dot com did not get the memo: you use the unflattering picture on those you (em>oppose.

Posted by: jk at February 2, 2017 2:34 PM
But Alex Charyna thinks:

David Burge had the best summary of all.

"Twitter tells you random strangers are obnoxious assholes. Facebook tells you your friends and family are."

Posted by: Alex Charyna at February 2, 2017 4:18 PM
But jk thinks:

"It's Iowahawk's Internet. He just lets us play on it."

Posted by: jk at February 2, 2017 5:09 PM

January 19, 2017

Just Wow.

Soviet Iconography Much?


High-rez -- to print your own!

Posted by John Kranz at 3:39 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Back and forth on whether to post this on Facebook. I do have a lot of friends participating, and they are not responsible for every goofy-ass SJW artist.

But . . .

Posted by: jk at January 19, 2017 3:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No se hicimos.

Posted by: johngalt at January 19, 2017 4:54 PM

January 10, 2017

My Real Problem with Meryl Streep's Speech

Bill McGurn at the WSJ Ed Page nails it:

Say this about her contribution that night: Would anyone even be talking about the Golden Globes today if she hadn’t used the occasion to go after Mr. Trump?

I usually find I can completely ignore award shows. I can scroll past stories and friends' posts on Facebook and go about my business. No, l'Affaire Streep is all-consuming.

I broke down and watched her speech. It's generic, low-level Hollywood pabulum. Because she is the grand Doyenne, it sounds wiser. And most of the people in the room really wanted to hear it. So I will grudgingly accept the left's reaction.

I think "the Right" and most definitely P-E Trump would have done much better to engage in a good eye-roll and then move on. But at least McGurn's "translation" is amusing.

The problem for Mr. Obama is that Ms. Streep managed to step on many of the themes the president might be expected to hit in his last big presidential speech Tuesday, right down to a snarky reference to foreign birth certificates. Here are some of the lines Ms. Streep delivered, followed by a short interpretation of what she really means:

Posted by John Kranz at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

January 8, 2017


Were I Cuban, I suppose I'd be targeted as a counterrevolutionary for having asked Che Guevara -- the only time I met him at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations -- whether he could possibly envision eventual free elections in Cuba. Although he professed not to understand English, Che -- still lionized on T-shirts in this country -- didn't wait for the translator and burst into laughter. It was then I learned that laughter can be chilling. -- Nat Hentoff

Hat-tip (well, stolen from) Ed Driscoll

Posted by John Kranz at 5:23 PM | Comments (0)

December 5, 2016

I Can't Tell You How Disturbing an Idea that is

Do you get tired of my constant appeals to listen to Russ Roberts's EconTalk?


Seriously, you must find time to listen to this. His guest is Thomas Leonard, discussing his book "Illiberal Reformers." One is reminded of Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism [Partial Review Corner] in that he exposes the startling racism and misanthropy of the Progressive movement. The Headline is a quote by Russ Roberts (~51:00), after reading a Woodrow Wilson quote.

So funny that we microscopically parse modern words and judge 18th Century founders to expose racism. But these truly disturbing comments by a US President "50 years after Appomattox" as Roberts notes, are stunning.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:20 PM | Comments (0)

July 4, 2016

Oh my!

(From my neighborhood Facebook group:) The Internet: allowing the insufferable to connect since 1997:


Posted by John Kranz at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

February 8, 2016

Dipping Toes in the Fever Swamps of the Left

I don't know the value of "Are you freaking kidding me?" posts. You can tell me to stop.

This was posted by my biological brother. He's probably a good deal smarter than I am. I'll say in his defense that he read Atlas Shrugged and pushed back on his friends that it is actually "subtler than [they] think" and of value.

He's a true believer. He put a "Jesse Jackson for President 1984" on his guitar and boasted that he is "a tax and spend" liberal. He feels the bern quite intently.

But. On what planet? "Senate Republicans To Flint Poisoning Victims: It's Too Expensive To Help You, You're On Your Own." All the tropes are present in this Occupy Democrats piece by Colin Taylor. Half a Trillion for the military, surely they can send half a billion to Flint. And best of all, this multi-decadal cesspool of disrepair and corruption is of course, the fault of Republican austerity.

"Given the fact that we have about $19 trillion in debt, I think it's fair to ask: Do we want to have the federal government replacing all the infrastructure put in place by cities and states all across the country?" demanded Corbyn (sic) [That's Sen. John Cornyn, they cannot even get the #2 Senate majority voice correct]. Well, its (sic) clear that somebody is going to have to do it, and most likely, it will have to be President Obama who cleans up yet another Republican mess because years of Republican neglect to local infrastructure has set the stage for more crises like the one in Flint.

Oh that bastion of GOP power that is Flint. Oh, that deep understanding of enumerated powers, Article I Section 8. And grammar.

But: Republicans: mean. We got it.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:36 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:
In summary, Flint's environmental regulators were asleep at the wheel, but nobody wanted to call them out, because bad things happen to people who criticize the government. The horribly mismanaged water system was the result of government planning born of economic ignorance. So far, relief has come in the form of private corporations donating millions of bottles of water.

Has there ever been a more compelling case for privatization of publicly-run government services?


Posted by: johngalt at February 8, 2016 3:25 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

No TS'er will stop you from venting... far from it.

> Republicans: mean. We got it.

Oh, no, you haven't yet, as a storm is coming in terms of sexist pigs who'd never vote for a woman... and besides we (speaking broadly) have poopy-pants pulled up over our doodey/heads. To share my point of order, I save my powder for when your brother actually writes something... ignore any memes than can't be clearly disproven with a sentence or two, or better yet; a simple graph.

MY vent would be against CO's Health Co-Op who was my 'health' insurance provider until they were decertified by the DOI. I expected this as some 21-23 others have gone the same way, but I didn't expect the butt-kissing screed I got from the Board President, Chuck Holum, titled "Putting People before Profits."

It featured the predictable dig at unnamed Big Companies, as well as Cory Garder (without saying how he didn't help) and kudos to Dems Bennet, Perlmutter, DeGette (w/o saying how they helped), and OF COURSE, zero explanation of why they couldn't make a profit, nor why they even should. Sheesh, what a butt-kissing exercise at the experience of the taxpayers!

I've already got my powder dry for Bernie's "Healthcare is a Right" with

I teach my kids that every right comes with a responsibility. If healthcare becomes a right, what responsibilities will be placed on us by the IPAB (aka, the death panel)?

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 8, 2016 3:28 PM
But jk thinks:

UPDATE: Global warming causing boredom and depression in UK dogs.

I take it all back.

Posted by: jk at February 8, 2016 3:35 PM

December 16, 2015

Tweet of the Day

Posted by John Kranz at 1:17 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 9, 2015

The birth of other-loathing

Perhaps it's a re-birth, I'm not sure. Has there been another period in history when an anti-humanity movement was so large and so popular? The Dark Ages perhaps.

Yesterday I was asked by a colleague, "Why don't we use more nuclear power?"

"Honestly" said I, "I think it is because there is such a powerful movement to limit the available resources in order to limit the growth and prosperity of the human race."

That movement is called "global environmentalism" and, according to its Amazon summary, the book that launched the movement is called 'Limits to Growth' - Donella H. Meadows, October 1, 1972.

The headline-making report on the imminent global disaster facing humanity - and what we can do about it before time runs out. The book that launched the environmental movement globally.

First on the list of prescriptions, as explained in an editorial review of "The 30-Year Update" version, is fewer people, doing less.

The authors demonstrate that the most critical areas needing immediate attention are: population; wasteful, inefficient growth; and pollution. They show how attention to all three simultaneously can result in returning the human footprint on the environment to manageable, sustainable size, while sharply reducing the disparity between human well-being and fostering a generous quality-of-life worldwide. Absent this, the prospects are grim indeed.

How grim? RCP's William Tucker explains in 'Dealing With Abundance.'

In fact we're doing quite well as far as resources are concerned. Nobody talks about "running out of anything" anymore. The one place where doomsayers would argue that we have overshot is in the creation of carbon dioxide byproducts in the atmosphere that are going to lead to global warming.


While this is a matter of concern, once again it is not out of the reach of our technology. Glenn Seaborg, one of the pioneers of nuclear energy, used to say that "nuclear power has come along at exactly the right time because we were beginning to reach the limits of fossil fuels." He was talking both about the problem of supplies and the pollution effects of these technologies but he could have been talking about global warming as well.

So the choice is apparent: Is the path to "a generous quality of life worldwide" in the direction of science, technology, and safe, non-polluting and nearly limitless nuclear power, or through "disfiguring the entire face of the earth with low-density energy collectors such as windmills and solar panels?"

The answer depends on your bias. Do you want to limit the population, or make it prosperous? Do you love and respect yourself, and therefore others, or do you loathe successful people because, deep inside, your self-image is that of a dirty little beast?

Are you a man, or a mediocrity?

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:21 PM | Comments (4)
But Jk thinks:

I was just a pup in '72, but I really remember Fitzpatrick Sale's Human Scale. Everybody I knew bought into that. Most still do.

Posted by: Jk at October 9, 2015 4:18 PM
But Jk thinks:

Solutions are extant. (Ht insty)

Posted by: Jk at October 9, 2015 4:22 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I wasn't alive back before the roaring 20's, but I'll nominate the eugenics movement that peaked (in America) with the bankrolling (by Carnegie, Rockefeller and Harriman) of Sanger's American Birth Control League in 1921 which was supported by AG Bell, POTUS/28 (Wilson), and by a supreme court justice I can't find (Holmes?).

Three acts are cited by Wiki:
1. Sterilization in Indiana (1907)
2. "AN ACT to authorize and provide for the sterilization of feeble-minded (including idiots, imbeciles and morons), epileptics, rapists, certain criminals and other defectives" (NJ, 1911; signed by Gov. W. Wilson and overturned in 1913)
3. Racial Integrity Act of 1924 (VA)

Fitter Family and Better Baby contests were held by the Red Cross. By the mid-30's Nazi Germany were sterilizing 5000/month. California led the US in forced sterilization....

A 1937 Fortune magazine poll found that 2/3 of respondents supported eugenic sterilization of "mental defectives", 63% supported sterilization of criminals, and only 15% opposed both.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 10, 2015 2:28 AM
But jk thinks:

Justice Holmes famously said "Three generations of imbeciles are enough" in Buck v Bell.

Yet, Buck v Bell never seems to find its way into teh infamous list as frequently as Dred Scott, Plessy, or Korematsu.

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2015 7:25 PM

October 7, 2015

Imagine a Day Without Government

Seeds would not grow, food would not have nutrition, wood would be somehow radioactive or deadly, carpet would rip up our feet!

Hat-tip: Legal Insurrection, The Sierra Club vs. Ted Cruz (worth watching as well)

Posted by John Kranz at 4:25 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

No, no, not "rip up our feet." It would have to be "ripped up as soon as it's put down." I'm glad that government is there to guarantee high quality carpeting!! Good carpet is a basic human right.

Posted by: johngalt at October 8, 2015 4:50 PM

September 30, 2015


Is Berkeley Breathed going full Doonesbury?

Posted by John Kranz at 6:48 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

.... and you were expecting what, exactly? I stopped reading Breathed a looong time ago, long before he quite.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 30, 2015 11:28 PM

September 23, 2015

"Substance does not matter to the right wing base. Only how tough they sound when they spew garbage"

Like my blog brother I am "still in" on Carly...

The reason she remains such a bright spot to me remains her ability to express principles. When his layoffs were shoved in his face, Gov. Romney wilted and sniveled. Fiorina explains reality. I'm still in.

... but does Dick Morris (and Thom Hartmann) have a point?

In an email commentary, Morris said essentially that "Carly would be a great president, but would be a disaster as the Republican nominee" because of her weakness on this issue.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:01 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

A Yacht? A Yacht???

There is a concern. Disney movies have, perhaps, poisoned the electorate so much that a businessperson would never get elected. She failed in California against an incumbent Senator, so I am not quick to write her off because of "failure" to unseat Boxer -- that's a difficult assignment.

Saw but cannot locate a story about how she actually did something. For better, for worse, with Compaq or without, she made decisions and reaped the consequences. The Senators have no such baggage.

If Hartmann is correct (he may be but I don't care for his tone) we are resigned to mediocre politician candidates forever. I hope he is not.

Posted by: jk at September 23, 2015 3:23 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Sigh, Dick Morris is still trying be relevant. Anybody here remember anything with which to agree with this charlatan?

I see Carly's yacht and raise with John Kerry's $7M 'house boat'

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 23, 2015 3:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Looking at the comments, from which the post's title was a direct quotation, this sort of thing has great traction with at least a segment of the population. Hopefully a very, very, small, Progressive communist segment.

But this seems to be the focus of jk's approbation - as a candidate for POTUS, Carly should have ample opportunity to "explain reality." If she does so effectively and still loses - well, pass the ammunition.

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2015 5:51 PM

July 21, 2015

Planned Parenthood Channels Adam Smith

One of my best arguments in support of "fossil fuel" as a commercial energy source relates to the fact that it comes from substances that occur in nature, and needs merely be harvested instead of manufactured. I compare it to my hay farm, where the grass grows due to natural forces of rain and sun and biology, and I just have to collect and process and store it. A valuable trade commodity is the result - naturally.

Typically I am engaged in this debate with one or more folks who lean left. They tend to favor nature over man-made, equality over individual wealth, and non-profit over profit. Their worldview predisposes them to resist any commercial effort. So it was quite an irony to learn that the leading provider of human abortion services in the United States, Planned Parenthood, regularly engaged in the "collection, processing, storage, and inventory and records management for specimens" of what is clinically referred to as "human gestational tissue" or sometimes more specifically referred to as hearts, lungs, livers, or "calvarium" i.e. heads.

Defenders of the practice have been quick to point out that any funds that change hands are strictly to cover the "very high" costs of preserving the parts (which are clearly more valuable to everyone involved than was the sum of those parts.) But now we learn that one Planned Parenthood doctor joked that "I want a Lamborghini" when discussing the funds that change hands in return for the "tissue." As morbid and cavalier as all this is, there is at least some vindication here for the concept of free trade, even on the part of those who can be relied upon to dismiss the marketplace as *ahem* vile and inhuman, at least to the extent that anyone benefits beyond the point of break-even... to the point of profit.

Perhaps she only meant for the Lamborghini to be used as a company car, shared equally by everyone? No, no. She did say, "I want..."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:49 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

"Oh Sweet Jesus the Jew!" As Penn might say. We are going there.

As one who vocally calls for legalization of selling one's own Kidney, I do find myself disappointed that the actual scandal is commerce in body parts rather than body parts.

I champion the trafficking in adult kidneys under Randy Barnett's fundamental "Inalienable right to property in one's own person." My kidney, my decision.

But, I am still squishy on whose property is being trafficked here. If the fetus is developed enough to have brain activity on its own, then I would suggest it has the deed to its liver and kidneys. Not having reached majority age, he or she cannot contract for the transaction, but nor can the parent.

As happens in this great nation, we are arguing about the wrong thing, but one cannot reproach pro-lifers for making good use of indelicate speech of opponents. This makes Mitt Romney's 47% speech look like the pledge of allegiance.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2015 3:25 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm not yet comfortable with the notion that an unborn child is property, to be bought and sold, and at the cost of his or her life -- or "potential" life, depending on which side of the abortion debate one chooses to take.

The next logical step would be that the father has a fifty-percent ownership stake in said livestock (and can you just imagine THAT lawsuit?) -- oh, wait, except for one point that's not being addressed. When Planned Parenthood sells those body parts to "research labs," the mother (and father) never got paid for the raw materials. This isn't an issue about the parent selling the organs; PP has harvested the organs which they didn't have to buy from the previous "owner."

Consider THAT.

The funny thing is, it wasn't that long ago that those on the pro-abort side were hectoring us that it's not a live human, but merely a "clump of cells." Do you remember the "clump of cells" line? This past week, we've suddenly learned that this "clump of cells" includes a developed liver, lungs, a heart, and a whole payload of other valuable organs. I swatted a mosquito last week with a shoe. THAT'S a clump of cells now - an undifferentiated melange of former parts.

I'm troubled at the sanguine demeanor of a person who can casually haggle the price of baby guts while nibbling at a Caesar salad. It seems to me that the act would require a Mengele-level sociopath. Godwin's Law be damned, I don't play that card often, but I think in this case it's merited.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 21, 2015 5:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

jg's dad, the right-communitarian is no pro-choice advocate but is willing to tolerate legal abortion because of the infanticide that occurs in countries that ban it. Now THAT is sociopathic: Abandoning, or worse strangling, a newborn to death with your own hands in front of your own eyes removes any "clump of cells" or "human gestational tissue" abstraction. It is murder in cold blood.

I didn't set out to prove or disprove the morality of abortion, however. I still don't believe it is the purview of government and its laws and its guns. I set out to show that even if one accepts the inevitability of abortion at some rate, and even if one accepts the medical use of fetal tissue for certain scientific purposes, very few will accept "BabyPartsRUS" as a legal commercial activity. And Planned Parenthood knows it, or else they would embrace these video exposes rather than hide from them.

And as an added bonus I took the opportunity to show that commercial "profit" is as natural to the human race as quinoa. Okay, more natural than quinoa.

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2015 6:08 PM
But jk thinks:

One potential point to push back on brother jg is Caesar Salad Chompin' lady's admission that she changes her procedure to preserve the most valuable parts. That is a disturbing part of the calculus. Were a more painful or degrading procedure used to preserve profit, then involving cash is ipso facto immoral. I heard that what she described was actually illegal.

Barring this, I would suggest that the exchange of money is not the worst part of this grisly tale. If we determine the procedure to be legal, it is not made worse if involves financial trade.

In reference to clump of cells, Keith, I have struggled with discerning the interstice which defines a human life. If the question is embryonic research, I find clump of cells compelling. An early-term abortion is its own tragedy as potential human life is intrinsically valuable, but the presence of distinct organs does not denote human life.

I have stolen (I believe from Brother nb) the presence of brain waves, which I understand to be ~22-weeks. We accept their absence as defining death. On either side of that line, I'm uncomfortable, but accept that as a rational interstice to use to confer birthright liberty.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2015 6:16 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Well, well; of all places for this to pop up! Yes, I think I've stipulated based on my own research and feelings that the 1/2 way point in any pregnancy is a logical compromise to this awful debate. 20 weeks is a nice, round number.

Personally, I support the voluntary dispensation of body parts.... and rather prefer that there is no market to support a profit motive.

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 22, 2015 12:14 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Naturally I support profit wherever it is possible without harming others. "Harvesting" a "waste product" seems to fall into this category but as NB rightly observes, the profit aspect creates a perverse incentive to perform more abortions. This is what makes it immoral - when one or more doctors counsels indecisive mothers to abort so they can buy their Lamborghini.

The financial trade itself is not the perversion, the predisposition toward abortion and away from full-term birth is the perversion, on the part of the abortion "doctor."* Planned Parenthood has long been accused of seeking to increase the amount of abortion procedures conducted in this country. Perhaps now we are learning the true cause of that behavior. Does this not discomfit?

* See Hippocratic Oath

Posted by: johngalt at July 22, 2015 11:48 AM

May 12, 2015

"Keep me from the real world"

Who says all the good artists are on the liberal-progressive side of the philosophical divide? Well, maybe these are too, but at least they aren't afraid to enter a place "where other people have a say."

Barack Obama's foreign policy strategy is suddenly coming into focus.

Back story here.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:48 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2015


I've harped on illiberalism for some time now, and the irony that liberals still call themselves that at the same time as they endorse mandatory lifestyle choices from energy to toilets to running one's own business establishment. A respected liberal has now come out of the closet on the issue and criticized her own with How Liberals Ruined College:

Speech codes create a chilling environment where all it takes is one accusation, true or not, to ruin someone's academic career. The intent or reputation or integrity of the accused is of little import. If someone "perceives" you have said or acted in a racist way, then the bar for guilt has been met. If a person claims you caused them "harm" by saying something that offended them, case closed.

It is the Salem Witch Trials, 320-odd years later.

But who decides what's "offensive"? The illiberal left, of course.


Not just "degraded" or "tarnished" but "ruined."

This Orwellian climate of intimidation and fear chills free speech and thought. On college campuses it is particularly insidious. Higher education should provide an environment to test new ideas, debate theories, encounter challenging information, and figure out what one believes. Campuses should be places where students are able to make mistakes without fear of retribution. If there is no margin for error, it is impossible to receive a meaningful education.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:21 PM | Comments (0)

April 30, 2015

Not Blue Government After All...

Nope, it's bankers' fault!


Posted by John Kranz at 1:06 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Wells Fargo Bank is the bad guy? Careful. They're one of the "six riskiest banks [who] are big donors to Hillary Clinton."

Oh, and "pushed?" Mr. Hillary Clinton was the prime culprit on that count.

Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2015 2:17 PM

April 29, 2015

Black Men United


Backup link: https://youtu.be/0HaaRZ8nxd4

This is the right way to get #JusticeForFreddieGray

"Stop hurtin' us so we can just live our life and keep goin."

(Booker T. Washington would be proud as hell of that one.)

"Just because we're black and we have flags on people assume we're gonna hurt somebody."

"We can come together as a unit. And be unified. And be peaceful."

"They won't tell you the good side of what we're doing in these communities."

And I missed the one about how the way they're portrayed in the media is "bad for our image."

Well, there is this small matter of past behavior predicting future behavior. But can this be a lasting change? We can only Hope.

H/T: 9 Signs of Human Decency in War-Torn Baltimore


UPDATED 18:20 EDT, 5/01: From NYT's Ron Nixon, April 27, 2015:

One of the Crips members, who called himself Charles, wearing a red Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose T-shirt, said the gang members had taken to the street because "there is only so far that you can push people into a corner."

"We're frustrated," he continued, "and that's why we're out there in the streets."

Then he described how he and some Bloods had stood in front of black-owned stores to protect them from looting or vandalism. He said they had made sure no black children, or reporters, were hit by rioters. They pointed them toward Chinese- and Arab-owned stores. Charles said Mr. Gray had brought gangs together.

"I rolled over here on a truck, and I was the only Crip and everybody else was Bloods. And they didn't do anything to me. We're together in this." [emphasis mine]

Together - and peaceful - but only with other black men. Color me unsurprised that my first impression was excessively rosy.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:29 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

We need to recruit a better crop of anarchists around here. (A less-than-flowery Review Corner of Hans Hermann Hoppe's newest is slated for Sunday).

A good anarchist could make the case for the Bloods' agency, their filling a market need, and their providing a social structure in Baltimore. I can almost see it but my heart is not in it.

I cannot see into these young men's hearts but suspect their civic pride might be a fraction opportunistic; telling a reporter what she wants to hear is never really bad PR.

We've had a spate of gang violence in the Denver community of Park Hill where I was born and raised. I find it difficult to accept them as contributing to the protection of rights in their community.

I'd sure like to be wrong and lose this argument.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2015 6:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The interesting part is how this episode is so disruptive to the usual order of things that it can provoke this sort of shift in attitude. It's comparable to the effect on political divides after 9/11.

And the gang bangers aren't denouncing the police, or white people, or even the media. They are denouncing the idea that they are associated with the violent element that seeks to tear down the city.

They may engage in crime as a matter of course, but they are by and large social crimes, i.e. drug trade, maybe prostitution. Decriminalize these things and you're looking at entrepreneurial capitalists. Reform government aid to unwed mothers and they'll also become heads of households or, better yet, fathers.

But no, we wouldn't want any of that would we. But THEY would. They're practically demanding it. They just don't know the words to use. They're mad as hell, and they're not gonna take it anymore.

"Stop hurtin' us so we can just live our life and keep goin."


Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2015 11:47 AM

April 8, 2015

Left vs. Left - Public Health Mandates and Naturalists

I may not agree with naturalist nut-job RFK Junior that childhood vaccinations constitute a "holocaust" in our country but I defend his right to opt-out of vaccinating his children if he should so choose. Meanwhile, California's legislature is considering SB 277 to eliminate exemptions from vaccination mandates.

If it would save over 100 people in a state of 38+ million people from infection by a largely treatable disease, wouldn't it be worth it to make individual choice illegal?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:03 PM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2015

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

I un-followed George Takei on Facebook today. I have enjoyed his nerdy humor and science posts. I bristled a bit at -- but accepted -- his single-issue advocacy. But the jokes kept me connected.

It has been a couple of tough days. We differ on Indiana -- but I differ with most of my friends, including some with whom I usually agree. Takei is on MSNBC, taking whacks at Gov. Pence and posting them. Whatever, we're still good.

And then:


It strikes me that the jokes have slowly been slipping away, while the sermons have been increasing in frequency. Not just gay rights, but Net Neutrality and now the eeeevils of sugary soda. If you click through twice you get this video where a bottle of Coke is reduced in a pan to a sludgy, syrupy goo.

I'm a proud Atkins guy and unlikely defender of sugars, but really? That's all you got? There is sugar in Coke (corn sweetener in the USA, thanks to gub'mint). And, if you boil something down it might look unappetizing -- though you could pour the reduced Coke syrup on some ice cream and add some maraschino cherries and Cool-Whip®...

So, if you follow George, and he posts a funny share it. We're splitsville.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:02 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

What happens when you boil down "organic mango juice?" Spoiler alert: Basically the same thing, except it's orange instead of black. And it tastes like candy instead of "burning" and "garbage." (I wonder if it's possible to burn the mango juice too.)


Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2015 2:16 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

And he can't even use spell check anymore... his meds must be slipping. I don't miss talking to the arch-liberal in my complex, either....

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 31, 2015 10:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, so many of his jokes are about grammar that linking to the "are pretty terribly" post struck a nerve. But I did not want to pile on.

Posted by: jk at April 1, 2015 9:30 AM

March 27, 2015

Boulder DA - Life Begins at Inhalation

District Attorney Stan Garnett (D-People's Republic of Boulder) will not pursue murder charges against a woman who forcibly removed a 7 month fetus from her mother, killing the child.

"Colorado law defines homicide as the killing of a person by another," Garnett said.

Fine so far, except that this terse definition doesn't make any allowance for self-defense.

"A person does not include a fetus, even if the child is born following the injury that ultimately leads to its death. It's on this point of law that Colorado is absolutely unambiguous." [emphasis mine]

Garnett continued:

"A prosecutor cannot file murder charges when a baby that is killed has not lived outside the womb," he said. "District attorneys do not decide the law. They enforce it as it is written."

As much as I disagree with the law as written, I can't disagree here. But a decision was made in this case:

"At this time, neither the autopsy or the investigation have provided any evidence that the baby exhibited any signs of life outside of the womb, therefore the circumstance is not being considered a live birth," [County Coroner Emma] Hall [D-People's Republic of Boulder] wrote. [emphasis mine]

I'm left wondering what Ms. Hall might consider "evidence that the baby exhibited any signs of life outside the womb." Her first report card, perhaps?

Garnett said it had been widely reported that witness David Ridley told Longmont police immediately after the incident that he had seen the baby, named Aurora, take a gasping breath.

"Upon a more thorough examination of this witness by the Longmont Police Department, the witness clarified that Aurora was still and her mouth was open, but she was not breathing," Garnett said.

The ol' "didn't inhale" defense. Well, with every measure of respect Mr. District Attorney, bullshit. This juror believes the witness' initial statement, not the one obtained by police officers in your county "upon a more thorough examination" and after he realized or was informed that a breathing baby is a murder victim. And the witness did not even see the baby until the suspect had transported her across town. If she was still taking a "gasping breath" at that time, she was clearly breathing in some manner or other before then.

So the child/baby/fetus that was ripped from her mother will receive only as much justice as a charge of "first-degree attempted murder" and some assault charges. And the suspect will walk on that charge because she didn't injure any of the mother's vital organs, so couldn't have been attempting her murder and, as the DA so has so speciously explained, "a person does not include a fetus."

If a child takes a breath in a bathtub and there is no medical examiner there to hear it, does it really make a sound?

How can these people sleep at night?

UPDATE: [8:38 am MDT 3/28] I gave more thought to the legal fig leaf Garnett is standing behind in this case. Namely, "District attorneys do not decide the law. They enforce it as it is written."

I thought he may have weighed in on last year's gay marriage controversy, where several counties including Boulder began issuing same-sex marriage licenses in contravention of federal law within days of a 10th Circuit Court ruling the federal law unconstitutional, despite the ruling having been stayed. Apparently he did not. However, he did have something to say on the matter in 2010 during his campaign against incumbent Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, when a Massachusetts judge made a similar ruling:

"This decision is an appropriate endorsement of states' rights and local control, respecting the right of individual states to resolve important and controversial issues for themselves. As Attorney General, I will work to uphold the will of Colorado voters." [emphasis mine]

Despite this pledge to essentially "decide the law" for Coloradoans, Garnett lost the campaign for Attorney General - but should Colorado voters not expect him to live up to his own pledge as the Boulder District Attorney?

This isn't directly comparable, as the "will of Colorado voters" in the present case is expressed by the large number of individuals who made their opinion known to the DA rather than by ballot initiative. But the principle remains - in some cases the law "as written" is unjust.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:24 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I have some very unpopular and contrarian views on this. I thought if anyone I knew might be in my camp, it might be my blog brother jg. As the great philosopher Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac said: "Oh, well."

This is a horrific crime and excruciating tragedy. I rarely quote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (who -- as far as I know never played for Fleetwood Mac), but his famous dictum applies here:

Great cases like hard cases make bad law. For great cases are called great, not by reason of their importance... but because of some accident of immediate overwhelming interest which appeals to the feelings and distorts the judgment.

DA Garnett is applying the law as written -- a value for which I stand fulsomely. Our Republican legislators will again make a quest to pass "personhood." This has failed badly at the polls, twice, and in the State Legislature. It shall be revived now as "So-and-so's Law" to provide justice.

The alleged perpetrator is deeply disturbed and subject to many serious charges. That one of them is not named "murder" may not seem right, but appreciation for rule of law is right.

Posted by: jk at March 29, 2015 10:17 AM
But johngalt thinks:

We discussed this briefly at family potluck last night and I concluded it is a conflict between two important principles: "Innocent until proven guilty" and "alive until proven dead." Which may prevail in a court of law is anyone's guess. But it should not matter. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act, codified in 2004 at the federal level and adopted in some form by 38 states not including Colorado, impresses me as good law. My less than thorough understanding is that Colorado's "Personhood" initiatives overreached and thus sealed their fate. An initiative seeking to "adopt in Colorado law the federal law criminalizing the murder of unborn children with a clear and specific exception for abortion" would, it seems to me, pass with a large majority. The laboratories of democracy seem to agree with your and my conclusion that failing to try this assailant for murder (and instead try her for attempted murder of, whom, the mother?) does "not seem right."

More than jailing this monster for as long as is deserved, I seek to change Colorado law so that it reflects "the will of the people" in protecting individual liberty. And I seek to shame Boulder's Coroner and DA who, it is my firm belief, could have found the needed evidence if they had looked for it. And further shaming the DA for his convenient conversion to "law as written" absolving him from any duty of professional judgment.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2015 11:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I will yield on the charge of "murder" as the suspect did not appear to intend the child's death. To the contrary, she claimed her as her own newborn child. So the proper charges seem to be kidnapping and manslaughter.

But the point of the discussion is whether or not the newborn is a human life in the eyes of the law. That this even requires debate is a ludicrous byproduct of a misguided debate over abortion rights.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2015 12:43 PM

March 23, 2015

Jesus Wept.


And, seeing my biological brother "liked" this, I did too....

Posted by John Kranz at 5:36 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

"Of all the oceans on all the planets in countless galaxies, you had to cry into mine."

That Jesus - what a heartless warmonger. Isn't that what everyone says?

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2015 6:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Complaints about my relatives may be tedious, but this guy is off-the charts smart and -- if you pin him down -- can be quite rational and empathetic. To find this puerile nonsense amusing just breaks my heart.

With apologies to Churchill, it's a strawman, inside a non-sequitor, wrapped in a false accusation.

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2015 7:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Likes" are just so cheap these days, as to be thrown about so carelessly.

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2015 8:13 PM

March 4, 2015

Nice graphix can't help KOS-niacs understand economics of Nuke & Coal

An interesting series titled GETTING TO ZERO (CO2 emissions, that is), from which the nicely-done graphic comes.

(UPDATED... it worked!)


Higher graph = better. Good article and explanation of the buffered bit as well:

n this study, "unbuffered" is the raw generation without storage, while "buffered" includes the cost of pumped hydro storage where it is needed to buffer the difference in peaks between production and consumption

Now that I've read the comments: I see that even a well-written article which was not blasted in the Comments section, nevertheless did not make much headway (I only spend few min. in the comments section). Best summary:
OK Nukes might help, but I've got problems with waste...
One even cited her HS Chemistry teacher (still having her brain in a jar I suppose).

Others pattered about not being able to get CSP on their rooftops (DOPES: this is about massive amounts of energy...like quads and stuff).

Hat tip to PowerLine (once again)

Posted by nanobrewer at 3:46 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

My appreciation for Cato is well known 'round here. Their energy guys assure that "you can take a lefty's solar/biomass/wind proposal, do a global replace for "nuclear," and hand it to someone of the right.

The exact same levels of subsidies are required -- but the nuke plants need it for insurance, permitting, &c. I hear that as gub'mint protection from gub'mint, but some people I admire greatly say the current technology is not economically viable. They all wet?

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 4:36 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


say the current technology is not economically viable. They all wet?

Yes, the currently employed technology for nuclear power plants in today's (horribly overblown) regulatory environment is not viable.

Why? Because current technology employed are 40-50 year old designs! It's been a coon's age since I've looked into it - once professionally, once as a lurking/blogger - but the state of the art designs are very viable, or so says the PM with whom I interviewed (who would have no reason to lie to me)! There's a small cadre of companies, a few local, sitting on very nice designs and just waiting.... which is why I didn't get the job! Greenwood Village.... just as well, I suppose.

The regulatory environment is - well, let's just say it would be quite comfortably familiar to the architects of the ACA.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 4, 2015 6:08 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

CATO energy guy: is that Chip Knappenberger?

Btw, that same article I cited has a great explanation of how the energy storage in Norway & Sweden's copious dams is what makes Danish wind power close to viable: when the wind blows, the Danes send power north & the northern folks hold their water, when it doesn't the water & electrons flow south.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 5, 2015 4:20 PM

January 25, 2015


Oh, deary me. A better man would not laugh but unlike Captain Mal, I'm not even all right. A work associate -- kind young lady with an infant son -- posts this on Facebook today with the single word comment: "Shit."

19 Brands Owned by Giant Corporations

3. Kashi

The fact that Kellogg's owns Kashi isn't the only reason to stop buying it. Read more here about why you should avoid Kashi at all costs. [Update: Kashi is in the process of becoming Non-GMO Project Verified. Don't jump the gun though! Until a product bears the official Non-GMO logo, it's most likely still chock-full of genetically modified ingredients. And keep in mind that they're still owned by Kellogg's who supports the GMO industry big-time.]

She can't help it: young Mom in Boulder and all... Nor can I help laughing and weeping. I did learn one thing: Burt's Bees is owned by Clorox® -- definitely better branding than "Clorox Lip Balm."

Posted by John Kranz at 10:27 AM | Comments (9)
But jk thinks:

[NAME DROP ALERT!] I once had a fun thread with Dan Henninger at the WSJ Ed Page on this. He assured me that all New York City assemblies to get the people together to bring down the S.E.C.s -- always meet at Starbucks. Attendees complain, but without the hook of a nice Frappuccino before, they've learned that their numbers are always way down.

My blog brother asks me to incise a rational argument into a place not its natural habitat. Surely young Boulder moms watch South Park -- it just doesn't stick. Corporations are evil unto themselves, although she and I work for a -- oh nevermind! GMOs! GMOs!

RE: Blue Sun. I might make enemies here, but I've always considered the silver lining of Firefly's too-short tenure that Whedon was unable to develop the Blue Sun story arc. I expect it would have ended badly. Burn the heretic if you must.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2015 3:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I might ask, "What is the dividing line between "giant corporations" (S.E.C.) and, what, "friendly" corporations? Or "soulful" or "caring" corporations? You know, how many filthy dollars in profit must they make to become soulless and evil?

"My motive is pure - I simply want to stop supporting SEC's." ;)

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2015 3:22 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I do enjoy the sweet irony of anti-corporation people being dependent on, yes addicted to, Evil Corporations, and Starbucks figures prominently.

And I have long agreed on the Blue Sun question; another season might have shown us that Blue Sun was Halliburton. Joss' politics might have shown through; I'm told that he never understood how his space series became a clarion to small-government libertarians. You prolly both already know this, then, too: in the pilot episode, Sgt. Reynolds uses an Alliance anti-aircraft weapons against an Alliance attack ship. In the targeting display screen, the Weyland-Yutani Corporation logo figures prominently. Big Corp was slated to be the eminence gris behind Big Gov, from the very beginning.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 26, 2015 3:29 PM
But jk thinks:

"They" are very good at that. My sister-in-law was visiting and refused to go to the Wal-Mart near my home. Needing something, we drove ten miles to shop at K-Mart. Both locations are closed now and I've moved but I have never stopped saying "Whaaaa?" Oh, it's efficient supply chain management and logistics that offends you -- got it.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2015 3:31 PM
But jk thinks:

And following jgs' link (ain't I a stinker?) I see I made the point with the corroborating evidence of the S.E.C. Rossum Corporation in Dollhouse.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2015 3:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Maybe she just has a thing for blue lights?

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2015 4:45 PM

December 26, 2014

From the Other Side...

Okay Occupy Democrats, this is wrong on 100 levels -- but pretty funny:


Posted by John Kranz at 10:47 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

But it's just so hard to laugh at something that disrespects persons with green skin or orange skin.

Posted by: johngalt at December 26, 2014 4:29 PM

December 11, 2014

Getting closer to what "acting white" really means

Daily Caller: MSNBC Guest: Capitalism Is An 'Oppressive Force' Against Blacks

[Can't figure out how to stop the stoopid autoplay.]

DYSON: The problem extends beyond police departments. What is the next institution that needs to be isolated and challenged?

"HIP HOP ACTIVIST" ROSA CLEMENTE: The economy. Capitalism! I think that's the institution all over this country, it is really what is the oppressive force. And the police are actually in my opinion-- and we have a lot of theory that proves this-- are that force that are keeping us as particularly working class people from achieving this idea of, you know, economic justice. Economic justice is not devoid from racial justice, just like it's not devoid of gender justice.

Dear Ms. Clemente, "Justice" does not equal "make people give you things."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:31 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Hardware guys . . . You just set the WidgetId to 2 instead of one in the embed code.

Posted by: jk at December 11, 2014 3:54 PM
But jk thinks:

She teaches at the California State University, Los Angeles. You don't suppose those taking her courses in the Pan-African Studies Department are given an incomplete appreciation for the benefits of free markets?

Nah. it's probably just me.

Posted by: jk at December 11, 2014 3:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I was looking for autoplay=true, so I could change it to false. Unlike you, I can't understand "condenser language." [paraphrased Star Wars reference]

I am quite certain she is a collectivist of one or more stripe. But this is an important connection between "racial justice" and "economic justice." And Dyson cued her perfectly, almost as though he knew what her answer would be.

Posted by: johngalt at December 11, 2014 4:16 PM
But jk thinks:

In a real discussion of police power, I suggest over-legislation is the #1 problem. If cops are not hassling folks for untaxed cigarettes, driving without a seat belt, possessing a joint, or -- my new cause celebre: "puffing*" I think people of all stripes would start to see the thin blue line's protecting their rights rather than taking them.

On race, the #1 (maybe not but a huge) problem is in your headline: "acting white." Jason Riley just breaks my heart in Please Stop Helping Us [Review Corner]. His friends and family can be quick to denigrate his incredible success as "acting white."

* Note to Californians: "puffing" is the CRIME of leaving your running car unattended to warm it up or defrost the windows. You can get a ticket for that in Colorado, as the State is spending gobs of dough to advertise.

Posted by: jk at December 11, 2014 4:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Perhaps there's some more low-hanging fruit here for depopulating our prisons and reducing the size of our police forces?

Posted by: johngalt at December 11, 2014 7:26 PM
But Jk thinks:

Yes, but you're fighting baptists & bootleggers -- we need $10/pack cigarette taxes to protect the children!!!

Maybe folks will listen; there is a window.

Posted by: Jk at December 11, 2014 9:27 PM

December 3, 2014

Sen. Sanders's 11 Point Plan

Actually posted by my biological brother, dampening some hope on our re-engineered corporate welfare plans:


1. Government.
2 Government.
3 Government.
4 Government.
5 Government.
6 Government.
7 Government.
8 Government.
9 Government.
10 Government.
11 Government.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:00 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

The problem with American socialists has always been that they never go far enough. Then, when their crappy ideas fail, they just claim they were too timid. So let's reconsider this list in its "all the way" version:

1) Reinstitute the federal Work Projects Administration
2) Outlaw coal, oil and gas as energy sources (plus nuclear and hydro while we're at it, since we aren't allowed call those carbon neutral or "renewable.")
3) Mandatory unionization.
4) $50 per hour for every job everywhere by everybody.
5) See above
6) Outlaw imported foreign goods
7) Free college for everyone who wants to go
8) Not sure on this one. Either nationalize all the banks or restrict all banks to less than $1B in deposits?
9) Free healthcare for everyone. (Duh)
10) Outlaw old age
11) Flat tax on revenue, not income. Loss or profit, businesses still gotta pay.

You're headed here anyway, let's just get on with it, you bunch of candyasses.

Posted by: johngalt at December 4, 2014 2:40 PM

October 31, 2014

Community Organizers

Like many, I did not know such an occupation existed until one its ranks was promoted to the Oval Office. But I am not going to laugh anymore.

I'd be afraid to:

Two "Stop the Violence" organizers allegedly beat one of their colleagues so severely that he vomited blood and was left unconscious in critical condition.

Nikole Ardeno and Emanuel Velez, both 30, accused their former roommate of stealing their property, and allegedly punched and kicked him in the street until he had seizures. Arrested moments later, Ardeno was still wearing the same "Stop the Violence" T-shirt she had on the night before when she coordinated a march protesting two recent shootings, Washington Police Chief Chris Luppino said.

The victim, Joshua Magraff, also is a community organizer with the anti-violence group, and shared an apartment with the suspects until recently.

Hat-tip Insty, who adds, "That 'all property is theft' stuff? That's for other people's property."

Posted by John Kranz at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)

October 9, 2014

Quote of the Day

"When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can't eat money." -- Obomsawin
Posted on Facebook by a good friend: a very bright, PhD that used to work for me. I don't think I'll respond or engage, but I thought you all should enjoy this too.

UPDATE: Me? Shut up? Nah....

Pretty words. And yet, in the poor nations for the world, pollution is terrible. After achieving a certain per capita GDP, like climbing a Maslow pyramid, nations apply discretionary wealth to environmental issues. I fear Ms. Obomsawin did not appreciate the Kuznets Curve.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:23 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"...you can't eat money" and you can't find a cure for Ebola in a tree or a fish or a river, no matter how pure.

Posted by: johngalt at October 9, 2014 2:01 PM

September 9, 2014

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

I like Sally Kohn. We're polar opposites, but at least she is principled. And in today's column she compliments... the TEA Party.

This is, of course, what the Tea Party has been impressively adept at doing - choosing uncompromising candidates to run in primaries, deeply threatening the mainstream Republican establishment by not being afraid of losing, and thereby pulling the Republican Party's stance and leadership on issues decisively to the right. This is an even more impressive accomplishment given that, on most every issue, the Tea Party is out of step with mainstream American voters. Meanwhile, the opposite is true for progressives - from protecting reproductive freedom to passing sensible gun safety laws to raising taxes on the rich to strengthening public education, the progressive left represents a majority, and sometimes a strong majority, of the American people. And yet we can’t seem to convert those beliefs into concrete and uncompromising political power.

"These aren't the mainstream American voters you are looking for."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:53 PM | Comments (0)

September 5, 2014

Is Monetary Policy Stagnating Hourly Wages?

The "Inequality Sucks" crowd harps on the low wages paid to unskilled workers almost as much as they envy the wealth of the 1%ers (the only group to see it's overall wealth rise under President Obama). I've been defending the property rights of the evil rich bastards by claiming that less government overhead holding back private industry will, all things being equal, create new jobs (i.e. labor demand) and move labor wages up the demand-supply curve. It's basic economics - everything except the "all things being equal" part.

The trader's tool site Econoday is explaining the relationship between unemployment rate and annual earnings growth thusly:

When the economy is operating at full throttle, a falling unemployment rate worries policymakers as they anticipate that rapidly rising wages will turn into runaway inflation. In fact, wage growth did accelerate in 2005 and over most of 2006 as the jobless rate headed lower. But the reverse has been true during the past recession and early recovery. A rising jobless rate often alleviates wage pressures but is typically associated with economic recession. Federal Reserve policymakers aim for balanced growth with very low inflation.


(Note that under Bush, wage growth was generally above 2.5% yearly, while under Obama it has generally been less than 2.5%.)

I had believed that economic growth was accidentally retarded by confiscatory taxation and abusive industrial regulation but it appears there is more to it than that - economic growth is "balanced" because the fiat bankers at the FED want it that way, as a check on inflation. Somebody smart is gonna have to explain to me why this is good. I'm not about to defend it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

The relation of unemployment to inflation is called The Phillips Curve and it has a rejuvenation capacity that Freddy Krueger would envy. It should have been discredited by the Volker Fed's slaying the stagflation beast with a strong dollar.

But but but but -- is my blog brother campaigning for looser money or accusing the Fed of driving up unemployment by tightening too quickly? Is gravity still 9.8 m/sec2?

Posted by: jk at September 5, 2014 9:53 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not advocating anything yet, since I don't really understand what's going on. But in principle, if the FED has to rig the money supply such that the economy can't grow as much as it would otherwise do, that is objectionable. If their fiat currency "inflates" because too many goods are being produced too fast then find some other way to regulate the stupid currency. You're smart guys, right? You think your smart enough to manage the whole freakin' economy.

What I'm after is so much job growth that workers can pick and choose from more good options, with higher wages. Sort of a "We're all North Dakota now" strategy, without the funny accent and nine months of winter. So many jobs that nobody will object to more immigration. What's wrong with this idea? Who wants to keep it the way things are? Unions? Simpleton central bankers? Politicians who want to keep the country polarized?

Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2014 12:29 PM
But Alan Reynolds thinks:

Changes in hourly wages have to be adjusted for inflation. Real wages fell 1% in 2011 because inflation was still 3%, but the same hourly change in nominal wages became a 0.7% rise in real wages in 2013 and 2014.

Posted by: Alan Reynolds at March 16, 2015 8:00 AM

August 29, 2014

The Moral Case for Fixing Economic Inequality

A friend of dagny's has shared the TED article The Four Biggest Reasons Why Inequality is Bad for Society and she disagreed with what the article says. I am told her friend, whom I also know but not as well, would like to discuss it with others at length so dagny asked me to post it here where, hopefully among others, "jk will do Austrian vs. Keynsian economics with him all day long." Personally I think most of the objections are philosophical rather than economic, but not all of them. I'll break with my typical modus operandi and restrict my opinions to the comments section.

The author is T. M. Scanlon, Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy, and Civil Polity at Harvard University. He also references Piketty's 'Capital in the 21st Century' which was discussed here a few times. Most seriously, perhaps, here.

And now, if you please, engage!

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:01 PM | Comments (8)
But dagny thinks:

Also of interest is the fact that the commenters range in age from 18 to 77.

Posted by: dagny at August 29, 2014 5:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, looking at it from a neo-Monetarist perspective... (You people are so mean to me.)

Here is my comment exactly as it appears on FB:
I think Scanlon, like many of this genre is unpersuasive on the evils of inequality qua inequality.

Certainly the poor should have more. I believe that respect for rights, enlightenment values, and free exchange to capture comparative advantage will make the poor less poor. I highly recommend William Easterly's "The Tyranny of Experts--" especially as an antidote to the linked Peter Singer TED talk.

But I have very pad news. The solution -- the world tested and repeatedly proven solution -- to helping the poor actually helps the non poor. Inequality myopics must answer the question: "If I doubled your salary and your company's CEO's salary, would you be sad?" That would likely increase the inequality between you and that fat, monocle man in the pinstripes in the corner office. Yet, I would cheer.

Scanlon offers many good reasons to dislike poverty, but his reasons to distain wealth are less compelling. Mal-distribution of political power? Ask President Forbes and President Perot about that. Better opportunities in school? I don't see Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates trading on their old school ties.

A stratified society is to be distained only as much as the pathways from one caste to another are closed off. And that lack of dynamism generally is the product of top-down organizations' dictating "fair" outcomes.

So I say double everyone's wealth! That will all but double inequality, but I won't complain. I'll be too busy playing my new guitars.

Posted by: jk at August 29, 2014 6:43 PM
But dagny thinks:

OK well, JK just did this way better than me, but I’m going to post anyway since I wrote it all down:
There are 2 very important and clear distinctions that come to mind immediately between the government class and the rich. Many in government are rich too but the distinctions are between government and private sector rich.
1) Everything government does is basically done involuntarily. Tax collection is backed up by the power of the law and men with guns. While private sector rich got that way by voluntary exchange. No one held a gun to my head the last time I went to Starbucks or McDonalds or bought an iPHONE.
2) Government is parasitic on the wealth of a society. It creates nothing. I am not an anarchist and I believe government IS necessary but it does not add to the wealth of society. The wealth of a society is represented by its stuff, its art, its leisure time and it is still increasing in this world at a tremendous rate. Money is only a medium of exchange, it is NOT the wealth itself. The wealth itself is this magical device in my hand that allows me to argue with friends and tell my husband to pick up milk on the way home. The private sector rich mostly create wealth. Government invariably diminishes it.
So the question here is whether involuntary redistribution (through taxation) is a good idea. Part of the question is whether it is moral but lets put that aside for a minute and look at what actually happens. The wealth is moved from productive uses to unproductive ones. And I’m NOT saying those at the bottom of the income scale are unproductive, I’m talking about the tremendous loss in government overhead ($600 hammer anyone?)
Also this method of running a society hurts those at the bottom of the scale more. For example the guy at McDonald’s that Paul mentions above cannot decide that since what McDonald’s is paying him is insufficient to meet his needs, he is going to open his own hamburger joint. The government imposed barriers to entry are too high. To open a hamburger joint he needs FDA, EPA, OSHA and whatever else alphabet soup approval that costs so much, he can’t even get started.
So we have this income inequality problem (which BTW, I don’t think the inequality itself is really the problem) but only that those at the bottom are struggling is the problem. If I am happy and not struggling to feed my family, why would I care how much stuff my neighbor has???
Government interventions to try to reduce inequality have downward pressure on real wealth, resulting in things being worse for all which matters less to those at the top than it does to those at the bottom.

Posted by: dagny at August 29, 2014 7:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A primary objection over on the other thread is that CEOs are paid "too much." After explaining that CEO's essentially earn profit from the labors of every worker, while each worker is paid only for his own labor, I did have some sense of a fundamental unfairness where, for example, a new CEO is hired to guide the helm of a major multinational corporation that he did nothing to create in the first place. That guy commands a huge salary because he's qualified to sit in that seat, for whatever reason, but why does the seat exist? Why is it beneficial for corporations to be mega-sized? Economies of scale and access to mega-sized development capital seem the best answers.

I will not advocate government limits on the size of a corporation, but is there a market solution for promoting the fragmentation of corporations? Is that even desirable?

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2014 12:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Statist! (Sorry, I had to...)

I do not think it is desirable to promote fragmentation. A board should decide how big a big a corporation is. They can spin off or sell units if it seems desirable to them.

I'm appreciating your desire to be reasonable, but I'll not join you. Peyton Manning gets paid a bucket to QB the Broncos because he is thought the best choice and because other teams would like to have his services. He did nothing to build the Broncos (in fact, he took us out in the first game of the playoffs how many years? Bastard!)

I'll do that analogy all day. There is a pretty select list of folks you'd hire to be a first string NFL quarterback, and there is a select list of people you'd put at the helm of AT&T, Walmart, Exxon-Mobil or LiveAtTheCoffeehouse.com. The cost of the wrong hire is far worse than the cost of the right one.

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2014 4:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, but I'm talking about mega-corporations. Kinda like Peyton Manning takes over as QB of the Broncos and then acquires the rest of the AFC teams in a leveraged hostile takeover. Now he's QB for 16 teams, but taking the same number of snaps and making the same passes and handoffs, but with 16 times the consequences and, sixteen times the compensation.

As principled a capitalist as I'll ever be, I don't think I'll ever admire the M&A specialist who takes perfectly well operating companies and melds them all together in an unworkable mess just to save the duplicative costs of the administrative staff (and compile some BS balance sheet org chart market share nirvana, with which to tempt a buyout by well-heeled rubes looking for a new hobby.) The productive capacity and happy, comfortable careers of countless engineers have thus been cast asunder more times than any of us knows.

In other words, businessmen make the economy go, but some businessmen couldn't give a crap about the actual business.

Posted by: johngalt at September 3, 2014 12:06 AM

July 1, 2014

Ad Hominem 'Till Thick...

You can go too far laughing at the less-intelligent and not-completely-connected of your intellectual adversaries. But if you abjure it altogether, you risk missing funny stuff like this: hateful tweets directed as SCOTUSBlog, thinking it to be the body's official site.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:26 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2014

"War on Women" 2014 Colorado Edition

While in full-blown gloat mode over the Affordable Care Act electoral distress facing Democrats in this midterm election, blog brother jk reminded [sixth comment] "There is a personhood amendment in his past" about GOP senate hopeful Cory Gardner. Gardner, on Friday, sought to disarm that line of attack. Lynn Bartels reports in the Denver Post.

He said that after learning more about the measures, which would have had the impact of outlawing abortion, he realized the proposals also could ban certain forms of contraception, a prohibition he does not support.

"This was a bad idea driven by good intentions," he told The Denver Post. "I was not right. I can't support personhood now. I can't support personhood going forward. To do it again would be a mistake."

The Udall campaign isn't buying it, of course, saying,

"Coloradans will see through this cheap election-year stunt," Harris said. "Gardner is showing a profound lack of respect for Colorado voters. Coloradans want a senator who always promotes and protects women's health, not one who simply pretends to during election years."

But Gardner cites the hypocrisy of that charge:

But he pointed to Udall, who in a 2012 opinion piece in Politico explained how his views had changed to the point where he supported marriage for same-sex couples.

"It was perhaps best said by Mark Udall, who said a good-faith re-examination of a position you've held in the past should be seen as a virtue, not a vice," Gardner said.

All told a fairly well balanced piece by Denver Post's Lynn Bartels, except that she closed with a detailed retelling of the "Personhood" history, including videotape.

Personally I support so-called Personhood laws for unborn babies, but only to criminalize harm done to them by individuals other than their mother, or her doctor. But the prohibition crowd will definitely try to expand them to include those cases.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:22 PM | Comments (0)

February 5, 2014

Because they so kick ass at package delivery

Language. I got a little upset at some community organizers this morning and called them a bad and extremely coarse name. Now, I said "ass" in a headline. But I think the second transgression may be forgivable.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (Paleface Wampum Woman - MA) suggests that Post Offices could provide payday loans and credit cards to underserved minority communities. ThinkProgress is right on it, and my own biological brother "Like"s it on Facebook.

"USPS could partner with banks to make a critical difference for millions of Americans who don’t have basic banking services because there are almost no banks or bank branches in their neighborhoods," Warren wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed on Saturday. The op-ed picked up on a report from the USPS's Inspector General that proposed using the agency's extensive physical infrastructure to extend basics like debit cards and small-dollar loans to the same communities that the banking industry has generally ignored.

Yes, by all means let us examine areas of private enterprise that could be updated with the peerless efficiency of the Post Office. What could possibly go wrong?

Goin' back to bed. It's below zero. And then this happens.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:39 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Why don't they just come out and say it: "We can't give federal money away to our voting base fast enough." It's not like the NYT will call them on it. It will only be another "Fox News Faux Scandal."

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2014 2:02 PM

November 20, 2013

Equal Time to The Other Side

I told you brother jg had great hair! Here he is sharing his true feelings about capitalism!


Hat-tip: Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don't like christianity on Facebook.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:01 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

That clearly isn't me - I'm always smiling. And if you don't come to work Thanksgiving day, you're fired!

Posted by: johngalt at November 21, 2013 1:30 AM
But jk thinks:

My mistake.

Posted by: jk at November 21, 2013 12:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Besides, the signs you hand-lettered for me are MUCH better.

Posted by: johngalt at November 21, 2013 12:54 PM

September 18, 2013

Miss 'Mer'cuh

If I get some good swimsuit pictures, I'll post them as an update. Not to be prurient, but I think it important that we all have a clear idea of Ms.Nina Davuluri's flesh tone. What better way to become acclimated than to see a lot of it?

In a country of 300 million+ people, I refuse to judge our culture by a few -- even a few hundred -- ignorant folks on Twitter. I love Twitter but some of its allure is its capacity for spontaneous stupidity -- sort of an intellectual NASCAR where it is always rainy and slick.

H8ers got H8. People who are outraged for a living gotta be outraged. But does it not say more that she won? How many of the vicious tweets were legitimate? Is our standard that we are a racist society until there is not one racist thought unexpunged?

Daily Beast has a video montage of ugly tweets and a trenchant piece by noted Muslim Terrorist Tunku Varadarajan, who points out that Davuluri is too dark to win a beauty contest in India or Brazil. But she does here.

Take a victory lap America!

UPDATE: Look closely, it's for science:


Posted by John Kranz at 1:00 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Nice tan.

Posted by: johngalt at September 18, 2013 1:48 PM
But jk thinks:

For a Muslim terrorist!

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2013 3:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

LOL! Well, if that's a Muslim terrorist I don't wanna be an infidel any longer.

Posted by: johngalt at September 18, 2013 5:32 PM

September 12, 2013

Bizarro World

A blog friend shares a Jon Stewart quote on Facebook.

I get that Fox opposes a Syria peace plan because its modus operandi is to foment dissent in the form of a relentless and irrational contrarianism to Barack Obama and all things Democratic to advance its ultimate objective of creating a deliberately misinformed body politic whose fear, anger, mistrust and discontent is the manna upon which it sustains its parasitic succubus-like existence. -- Jon Stewart on The Daily Show Tuesday night

"Nicely distilled ..." says our friend.

I'll give anybody points for using "succubus," but after that I wonder if we are living on the same planet. That and widespread flooding across our normally-arid high dessert plains give me pause.

Now wouldn't you know it, I missed Stewart last Tuesday. I will take <redacted> at his word that the transcription is accurate. It certainly seems in character. To make things worse, this was approbationally linked by another friend who added "So very true! Keep your critical thinking caps on folks! Don't let any media outlet tell you what to think! Investigate and think it all through!" Great advice.

Maybe it is the continual rain but I. Just. Can't. Take. It.

-- The "Syria peace plan?" Again, I missed mister clown-nose on, clown-nose-off on Tuesday, but is that the "peace plan" where we rain down a billion dollars worth of high-tech ordinance on an impoverished nation? Is that the peace plan those damnëd FOX people dare oppose?

-- We have a difficult time finding a friend in the contretemps (I'll see your succubus and raise you a contretemps!) Assad is a tyrant who gasses his own people, the rebels are interleaved with al Qaeda and desecrate the corpses of their opponents.It is pretty difficult to tell who the good guys are. That is one of my first problems with action in the theatre. But: we sure know who the enemy is, do we not? FOX and its viewers!

I am frustrated by the lack of reason and I am frustrated at yet another ad hominem attack. People who oppose the "peace plan where we blow a lot of shit up and then just bask in the peace after" clearly have no legitimate grievance with the C-in-C or plans as outlined. No, there is no room for honest disagreement. They are evil and anti-peace.

I typed but removed incriminating evidence that could identify these two; it is not about them. The whole blessed Church of Stewart-Colbert surely nodded along, not noting that the President's "peace plan" has been attacked by Democrats and supported by Republicans. No, that is not interesting to those who find us un-nuanced.

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down...

Posted by John Kranz at 12:24 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Syrian PEACE plan"? As you say, Obama was looking for approval for offensive military action - launching two and a half metric trainloads of cruise missiles is not a peace plan, unless the Boy King Narcissus has adopted "peace through superior firepower" as a core philosophy.

I believe it was the famous philosopher John Lennon who once said "Fighting for peace is like f-" Well, you can Google the rest of that for yourselves...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 12, 2013 1:19 PM
But AndyN thinks:

To quote a right winger so extreme he's persona non grata among the rest of the right wing extremists, "rubble don't make trouble." I'll accept lack of trouble as a close enough substitute for peace. Of course, I'm a bit surprised that Jon Stewart would try to out wingnut the wingnuts.

Posted by: AndyN at September 12, 2013 4:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

To a hammer, everything is a nail.

If you answer every policy criticism of a black president with the charge "Racist!" then you can never criticize. Ever. (The logical justification of this is left as a simple exercise for the reader.)

We've noted previously how America's political actors seem to have all traded uniforms and assumed each other's positions. The left believes the right is willing to contradict its "obvious" war-monger-ness in order to damage the black president. I believe the right is once bitten, twice shy and is rightly seeing no national interest in drive-by bombing or other warmaking activities in anarchistic foreign lands. (In many ways the right has acknowledged the "blow-back" theory once championed by the left. At least, that is, when the president was a Republican.)

As for the left, they think themselves principled - standing up for the black president against the modern Klan or some such nonsense. I think they are the ones who choose to contradict every other principle in the name of one overarching absolute necessity - the solidarity of the collective. There is a notable exception to this in the form of Ed Asner and Mike Farrell.

Contemporary Colorado politics shows us how, in practice, Democrats will happily sacrifice various principles in order to maximize political power. Republicans have thusfar proven incapable of this democratic virtue, which makes me damned proud to be a Republican. (One of the few reasons, I should add.)

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2013 12:17 PM

September 10, 2013

No, no, no... anything but that!

Hollywood Reporter (magazine): "Another reason some Hollywood progressives have been reticent to speak out against war in Syria, according to Asner, is fear of being called racist."

Last week I asked, "So, you're on board for going to war with no more justification than 'the black president decided we should?'" Days later Ed Asner answered, "A lot of people don't want to feel anti-black by being opposed to Obama." In other words, "yes."

It's not a partisan thing, according to Ed.

"Whether it's a Republican or Democrat president, or Republican or Democrat Congress -- and it doesn't make a God-damned difference -- it behooves us to get off our ass and ask these questions," Asner said.

Just don't ever disagree with a black president.

More good anti-war schadenfreude at the first link.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:46 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

This is friggin' hilarious: from "Americans for whatever Barack Obama wants"


P.S.: who's Jay-z?

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 12, 2013 1:55 AM

August 29, 2013

Not a Big "Atlas Shrugged" Fan I'm Guessing

Blog friend sc emails a link to this jewel. I hope he won't mind my quoting: 'This is, next to Gloria Steinem's "First Grope's Free" editorial in the NYT, the greatest essay on earth. Liberal horse shit at its most unapologetic finest and no charge. Is this a great country or what?"

Definitely a great country, man. A great country.

If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person. A manifesto.

You are a bad person if you send your children to private school. Not bad like murderer bad—but bad like ruining-one-of-our-nation’s-most-essential-institutions-in-order-to-get-what’s-best-for-your-kid bad. So, pretty bad.

I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good. (Yes, rich people might cluster. But rich people will always find a way to game the system: That shouldn't be an argument against an all-in approach to public education any more than it is a case against single-payer health care.)

Ruin your child's life -- it's for the common good!

UPDATE: James Pethokoukis responds and tweets:


Allison Benedikt is a bad person. Not bad like murderer bad — but bad like asking-actual-families-to-ignore-their-love-of-their-children-in-pursuit-of-her-ideology bad. So, pretty bad. I’m just judgmental.
It has been proposed that this is all actually a brilliant Swiftian satire. I doubt it, though, since Benedikt is the managing editor of Slate's DoubleX, which is to humorless leftism what rural Australia is to bauxite. -- Walter Olsen (The thing read whole.)

Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | Comments (3)
But T. Greer thinks:
"There are a lot of reasons why bad people send their kids to private school. Yes, some do it for prestige or out of loyalty to a long-standing family tradition or because they want their children to eventually work at Slate. But many others go private for religious reasons, or because their kids have behavioral or learning issues, or simply because the public school in their district is not so hot. None of these are compelling reasons. Or, rather, the compelling ones (behavioral or learning issues, wanting a not-subpar school for your child) are exactly why we should all opt in, not out."

I had to read this twice to make sure I read it correctly. The only compelling reasons someone should want to send their kid to a different school is because of behavioral issues? Religious traditions count for nothing? Maybe your kid getting bullied counts for nothing? That other schools - or home schools - might not just help your child's education, but developing their moral character counts for nothing?

I cannot understand this. I am trying. Really hard. But it is beyond me.

And she even admits that this will only help the common good, like when your grand children start going to school.

What? Anybody want to try and predict the structure of our education in system in 60 years? Anybody imagine someone in the 1860s giving advice to their friends about how they should school their children for the sake of the schooling system in 1920?


Posted by: T. Greer at August 29, 2013 5:47 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Sounds like she's taking a single issue approach to the let it burn philosophy. Personally, I'm about a hair's breadth away from voting straight ticket democrat because if the country's going to go to hell in a handbasket anyway we might as well get it over with so we can get on with the rebuilding. It's interesting that of all the things going wrong in this country, education seems to be the only thing this dullard thinks we should all fail at together so it will eventually get better.

Or maybe it isn't. Maybe this is just the first in a series, and next week she'll be explaining how we all need to move into subsidized housing so that eventually the government will be pressured into making subsidized housing livable. And the week after she'll be explaining how we all need to drive Volts so that Government Motors will be encouraged to build a car that most of us don't think sucks.

Posted by: AndyN at August 29, 2013 10:25 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Taranto nailed it, I think, when he notes that she conflates a common good with the common good but after noting we grant her rather huge presumption that the public schools can be made better by the roughly 5% of students who currently go elsewhere.

More generally, it's another excuse for the lousiness that socialism offers and how we should be thankful.

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 30, 2013 12:09 AM

August 27, 2013

Juan Williams says some things that need to be said

"[March leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.] is not one who would simply cry, as you were saying, over the awful lyrics and the bad schools," he said. "He would act. He would stand up. That's the tradition of Dr. King -- stand up and act against bad schools that are condemning these kids to useless lives because they never have an opportunity to climb that ladder of upward mobility. And the civil rights challenge of this generation is education, and Dr. King would never allow anybody to buy his silence, to buy him off, to sell out the kids and that's what's happening right now."

"I look today at some of the reports on union spending -- it's unbelievable," Williams continued. "[The American Federation of Teachers] -- you know, AFT and their affiliates in New York, tens of thousands of dollars going to Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and NAACP. Same thing with the National Education Association -- NEA. Why? Because they know that they don't want those civil rights leaders to ever stand up and say yes to charter schools, yes to vouchers, yes to school reform. Yes to Rahm Emanuel in Chicago saying that we need the black community. Poor people need better schools, and you can't make excuses at the cost of our children and our children's future." -- Juan Williams

Video at the link -- it's pretty powerful. (4:48 !!!)

UPDATE: Williams is on the WSJ Ed Page as well, comparing the music that fueled the civil rights marches with today's misogynist rap lyrics.

And so they sang in Washington: "Yes, how many years can some people exist before they're allowed to be free? Yes, how many times can a man turn his head, pretending that he just doesn't see? The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind, the answer is blowin' in the wind."

Sam Cooke, the black gospel and rhythm-and-blues singer began performing the Dylan song immediately after the march. He had been working on a song about the hurt he felt as a black man living with racism yet also with hope for better times. In December 1963, Cooke recorded "A Change Is Gonna Come." The song became a hit on black radio, another anthem of yearning for a nation without racial rancor.

"I go to the movie and I go downtown, somebody keep telling me don't hang around," Cooke wrote. "It's been a long time coming but I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will."

Posted by John Kranz at 3:27 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I hear more and more of this sentiment. It is one of the consequences of so many big government black politicians in the administration that is healthy and evolutionary, and yet those politicians can take no credit for the progress as it happens in spite of them, not because of them.

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2013 2:19 PM

August 16, 2013

Facebook Post of the Day


& -- hey, who left the Internet Segue Machine® on? Heritage:

"Heavens, I have staff who don't make much money. This would be a really big bite for them."

That could be any employer talking about the costs of Obamacare. But it's a Member of Congress--who's happy the President will soften the blow for him and his employees.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:31 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

After this example, anyone who still denies that government is our economy's adversary, not its ally, is a liar or a fool. (Paging Austin Goolsbee. Line 1.)

Posted by: johngalt at August 19, 2013 3:29 PM

July 25, 2013

Organic, Gluten-free Schadenfreude!

I was the only person on the Whole Earth, as near as I can tell, to criticize Whole Foods's CEO John Mackey's book from the Right. Every other review I read lauded Mackey for his fulsome defense of Capitalism, which I applauded. No doubt some on the left objected to kind portrayals of profit.

But Mackey distinctly separates himself from Milton Friedman: Whole Foods cannot devote itself to profit! No, Conscious Capitalism requires it serve its employees and the community and its suppliers and -- I think you get the idea.

I suggest that there are great business reasons to treat stakeholders well: you want to recruit and retain the best employees, partners and customers. All of the items from all of the companies in his book were defensible on long-term profit grounds. The touchy-feely stuff is outside of metrics and it is foolhardy to run a huge business on immeasurable parameters.

At the end of the day, it won't even buy you what you think it will buy you. A not-really-lefty Facebook friend posts this approbationally -- she and her husband have unsuccessfully opposed a new Arvada Walmart. Why can't they be more like Seattle? Even Saint Frickken Whole Foods is not good enough!

[Seattle Mayor Mike] McGinn contended in a letter that the nonunion Whole Foods pays "significantly lower" wages and benefits than other grocery stores, including some already in West Seattle. So the idea of allowing Whole Foods to go in there violates the city's social and economic justice goals.

Memo to retailers: you're all Walmart; stop pretending otherwise.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:57 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Love it, love it, love it. Almost as good as Detroit's Rust Belt Schadenfreude.

"Just say no to Whole Foods!"

Posted by: johngalt at July 25, 2013 2:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"First they came for the smokers, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a smoker.
"Then they came for the WalMarts, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a frugal shopper.
"Then they came for the Whole Foodses, and I didn't speak out because I support labor unions."
When they come for the pot shops, there will be no one left to speak for me."

Posted by: johngalt at July 25, 2013 2:42 PM

June 19, 2013

Don't trust anyone under 24

In fact, particularly if you're 15 or younger, you can commit capital murder and be on the streets at 43. That was the fate of Indiana's Paula Cooper:

Cooper was 15 years old when she used a butcher's knife to cut Ruth Pelke 33 times during a robbery in Gary that ended in Pelke's death. Her three companions -- one only 14 --received lighter sentences, but Cooper confessed to the killing and was sentenced to death by a judge who opposed capital punishment, said former prosecutor Jack Crawford, who sought the death penalty for Cooper. Crawford is now a defense lawyer in Indianapolis and no longer supports capital punishment.

"She sat on her, slicing her," Crawford said. "This was a torture crime."

Enter European "human rights" activists, the Pope and the Supreme Court, and this confessed murderer's fate takes a U-turn.

Two years after Cooper was sentenced to die, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in an unrelated case that the execution of young people who were under 16 at the time they committed an offense was cruel and unusual punishment and was thus unconstitutional. Indiana legislators then passed a state law raising the minimum age limit for execution from 10 years to 16, and in 1988, the state's high court set Cooper's death sentence aside and ordered her to serve 60 years in prison.

"Was justice done? Twenty-four years is a long time, but I'm not sure," Crawford said.

The Supreme Court seems to be sure, as does Indiana's former attorney general:

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to execute anyone who is younger than 18 years when they commit an offense.

Linley E. Pearson, who was Indiana's attorney general when Cooper appealed to the state Supreme Court, said research now shows that the human brain doesn't fully mature until age 24.

"So kids can do a lot of things they wouldn't do if they were an adult," Pearson said.

And, it now seems, essentially get away with it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:22 PM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2013

Thanks, ThreeSourcers

I've had a tough day on Facebook. Several work projects are on hold, giving me the opportunity to engage with the infamous Facebook friends.

True to form, it went quite well for a while (these are bright people as I have acknowledged). But serious thought has a half-life of about eleven minutes on that platform and I was soon dismissed with a joke and an "I'm not going to listen any more." Very discouraging.

You good folks are the awesomest ever.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:35 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. "I'm not going to listen any more" means "Damn, you're right. (And that really pisses me off.)"

Be careful with the gratutious compliments around here though. It might go to all of our heads.

Posted by: johngalt at April 11, 2013 7:45 PM

April 9, 2013

Tweet of Yesterday

"Okay, what did the #ironlady do to advance Great Britain and the world?" wrote Ms. [Donna] Brazile. "Did she leave lasting footprints for women in politics?"
Jason Riley answers.
Posted by John Kranz at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2012

Compassion yes, Altruism no

I have discovered a research institute at Stanford University that was established "to support and conduct rigorous scientific studies of compassion and altruistic behavior." Naturally my interest was piqued (and my antennae were raised.)

The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education or CCARE states its vision thusly:

Create a multi-disciplinary environment whereby compassion and altruism studies are supported and legitimized within the broader scientific community. To use research advances to create tools that allow humans to become more compassionate and to engage more readily in altruistic behaviors toward themselves and others.

First I note that I have yet to see the term "altruism" appear without the companion term "compassion." I assert that it cannot stand on its own. Altruism requires the aid of compassion to gain "support" and "legitimacy."

Secondly, the institute appears to not fully comprehend the full meaning of the concept of altruism:

1. the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others ( opposed to egoism).

By the stated intent to promote within humans "altruistic behaviors toward themselves" they have revealed a fundamental misunderstanding of the notion of altruism. Their vision can be interpreted as promoting selfishness or egoism as self-altruism, though I wholly doubt that is their intent. I would be tempted to adopt that more "socially acceptable" description into a defense of rational self-interest, but it is a meaningless term: Unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of, yourself. (Harcourt Fenton Mudd, call your office.)

So here, at a scientific institute devoted to the study and advancement of altruism, at one of the nation's most prestigious research universities, the principals are unable to assert that their motive is to "allow humans to become more compassionate and to engage more readily in altruistic behaviors toward others." Even with the support of the term compassion, selflessness is a non-starter.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:24 PM | Comments (6)
But Jk thinks:

Q: Is the accepted general use of altruism fundamentally different from your precise use? I thought this the case, but a brief perusal of Comte on Wikipedia seems fair.

Q2: if yes, should we play a political game and assign a neologism that can be refuted without being "the army against nice!?"

Posted by: Jk at November 20, 2012 4:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I believe the accepted general use is altruism = compassion. I contend the two must be cleaved.

How to do that is, as you suggest, the rub. I think a good start is to always say compassion is good before trying to discredit altruism: Compassion yes, altruism no. Shall we call it the "CYAN hypothesis?"

Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2012 4:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

CYAN Project? Nifty colored bracelets!

Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2012 5:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Oooh bracelets -- please tell me you saw the South Park "Scauses."

Kind of like "liberal," though, I think the word is ruined. I think you come out against "self-slavery" or "communitarian shackles" or something which you can define. Instead of "I'm a liberal against altruism. Only I am not a 'liberal' as you define it nor do I oppose 'altruism' as you understand it." Not really fitting on a bracelet I could wear...

Posted by: jk at November 20, 2012 6:33 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

In an honest, non-Orwellian world, they'd just call themselves the Anti Rand Institute.


That part is self-denying; I really don't want anyone else "tapping" that at all.

"Disseminate research findings on an international scale using a number of media forums."

I see red flags all over this....

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 24, 2012 12:19 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yeah, NB. Me too. But they can't be stopped, only countered. That has been the Liberty movement's problem all along - that there wasn't any movement!

Posted by: johngalt at November 25, 2012 12:15 PM

October 30, 2012

Burn Baby Burn

Dagny and I took time out of our morning to vote early this year. I won't divulge our choice except to say we voted in furtherance of the effort to "burn this motherf*cker down."

It seems we are in good company:

Isn't early voting supposed to be Democrats' secret weapon, with which they run up the score, then dare the GOP to catch up on Election Day?
Posted by JohnGalt at 1:07 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

You're in great company. The lovely bride and I just returned from mailing the ballot + Starbucks® to read your post.

"Burn this motherf*cker down!" Kinda catchy!

Posted by: jk at October 30, 2012 1:30 PM
But Sugarchuck thinks:

Burn this motherf*cker down! Words to live by.

Posted by: Sugarchuck at October 30, 2012 5:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

YES! Especially if you are The Dukes of Moral Hazard.

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2012 7:10 PM

September 5, 2012

Cognitive Dissonance

Why should jk get to post all of the Reason videos?

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:48 PM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

If I may: Irrational people are made up of contradictions.

"The Law of Identity (A is A) is a rational man’s paramount consideration in the process of determining his interests. He knows that the contradictory is the impossible, that a contradiction cannot be achieved in reality and that the attempt to achieve it can lead only to disaster and destruction. Therefore, he does not permit himself to hold contradictory values, to pursue contradictory goals, or to imagine that the pursuit of a contradiction can ever be to his interest."

Quoted from, guess who.

Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2012 7:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ich besitze selbst.

Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2012 7:50 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

jg - I wasn't sure if the irony would come through...should have put "These" before the quote. In fact wasn't this clip straight outta Rand? In Atlas Shrugged, right after this convention a factory would close and a bridge would collapse. Contradictions have consequences.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 5, 2012 8:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I thought it was an obscure reference I didn't get. No matter... I was determined to post the contradiction quote. It's one of my favorites. It's a wonder I don't use it at least twice a month.

Ditto on the "law of the lord" en Francais. Right over my head so I just went for "my law" not the lord's. Auf Deutsch!

Jus' havin' fun.

Posted by: johngalt at September 6, 2012 1:54 AM
But jk thinks:

Explaining a joke is proof of its failure, but I need to risk it. Brother jg asks "Why should jk get to post all of the Reason videos?"

I started to type something about paying the hosting fees and thought Droit du seigneur (I had to look up the spelling). It may translate to "law of the lord" but the idiomatic use generally refers to the quaint and distinctly non-Lockean feudal custom of allowing the lord to deflower the virgins in his realm. (It is a French term after all.)

But we are blog brothers and I am glad you posted this Reason video.

Posted by: jk at September 6, 2012 10:08 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Aaaah, brilliant! Thanks for explaining the joke. Perhaps if you'd called it prima nocte I'd have recognized it.

Posted by: johngalt at September 6, 2012 4:00 PM

July 12, 2012

Headline of the Day

Soros son to launch anti-super PAC super PAC, 'Friends of Democracy'
Posted by John Kranz at 6:35 PM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2012


The progressive left incorrectly claims that the TEA Party Movement is dead. Now, to be fair, they're claiming the Occupy Movement is dead.

[Van] Jones, in his speech to the conferees, pleaded with the activists to be as "courageous and determined" as the Occupy movement was, but he needled the left for being soft, comparing today's activists unfavorably with those of the civil rights era.

"They were beaten fighting for change. Some went to jail fighting for change. Some were murdered," he said. "We'll quit over a really mean tweet."

Jones urged them to use their heads, even if their hearts aren't in it.

"If we just support the president, just vote for Democrats, we don't get what we want," he said. "But if we don't, our opponents get power and decimate us. Can we put our thinking caps on now?"

Surely Jones knows that it's hard to put on a thinking cap when you're in the fetal position.

Posted by JohnGalt at 8:05 PM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2012

JG agrees with Boulder DA

Like myself, Boulder's [Democrat] District Attorney Stan Garnett doesn't understand why the Obama Justice Department is so tough on the medical marijuana business. After all, aren't Democrats and weed activists fellow travelers? And, perhaps because I had dinner with the man 12 days ago (well, actually, different tables in the same Boulder burger joint) I agree verbatim with General Garnett on this sentence from his letter to United States Attorney John Walsh:

"The people of Boulder County do not need Washington, D.C., or the federal government dictating ..." WAIT! Stop right there.

But he continued, "how far dispensaries should be from schools or other fine points of local land use law," Garnett wrote.

I don't think Garnett helped his effort by suggesting what the US Attorney's priorities should be, but that probably won't be what makes or breaks the G-Men's "prosecutorial discretion."

In the "things that make you say, hmmm" department: The article also says that Boulder has an estimated 12 dispensaries within 1000 feet of a school.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:11 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I think it is part of the First Lady's initiative to make schoolchildren walk more.

Flippancy aside, yaay DA Garnett for asserting our rights -- maybe he'll join The Filburn Society. (Do follow that link if you have not seen it!)

Posted by: jk at March 14, 2012 4:23 PM
But Bryan thinks:

It’s wonderful to see the Boulder DA standing up to the Feds on what really is a 10th Amendment issue.

It’s too bad that he and other Democrats (and some Republicans), don't apply this principal consistently on all of the issues that the Federal Government should not be meddling in.

Posted by: Bryan at March 15, 2012 12:52 PM

February 22, 2012


That's the name given by Chicago's Heartland Institute to the attempted smear through forgery by global warming activist Peter Gleick. Heartland's official response, in part:

"An additional document Gleick represented as coming from The Heartland Institute, a forged memo purporting to set out our strategies on global warming, has been extensively cited by newspapers and in news releases and articles posted on Web sites and blogs around the world. It has caused major and permanent damage to the reputations of The Heartland Institute and many of the scientists, policy experts, and organizations we work with.

"A mere apology is not enough to undo the damage.

"In his statement, Gleick claims he committed this crime because he believed The Heartland Institute was preventing a "rational debate" from taking place over global warming. This is unbelievable. Heartland has repeatedly asked for real debate on this important topic. Gleick himself was specifically invited to attend a Heartland event to debate global warming just days before he stole the documents. He turned down the invitation.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:45 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Thanks for breaking ground on this. This is either a huge story or a huge story as to why it is not.

Megan McArdle was the first I saw to expose the faked docs, and she is still on fire. Here, Insty links to her and several other good posts/articles.

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2012 3:05 PM

February 19, 2012


In case some of you lack lefty Facebook friends, I will share some of mine. My pal Dave shares two today from "We Survived Bush, You'll Survive Obama." I flipped a coin and this one won:

Posted by John Kranz at 11:48 AM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

You can't. That is the point.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2012 2:05 PM
But hb thinks:

Classic failure of the left to understand the difference between impositions based on choice and those based on coercion. Employees could always choose to work for a different employer.

Posted by: hb at February 19, 2012 7:38 PM
But jk thinks:

Or, horror of horrors, they could -- pay for it.

Posted by: jk at February 19, 2012 8:20 PM
But hb thinks:


I was actually referring to the pre-mandate world. Besides, don't you know that it costs as much as $600 per year?

Posted by: hb at February 20, 2012 9:17 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I think a more interesting discussion actually revolves around "We Survived Bush, You'll Survive Obama." Where to start?

Obama has largely continued Bush policies, differing primarily in that the current president's deficit spending has no air of restraint. The open question is, will any of us survive the two of them?

Posted by: johngalt at February 20, 2012 12:06 PM

February 11, 2012

Country Mouse, City Mouse

On July 21, 2011 Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies joined county animal control personnel in a warrantless raid on a private farm in Arvada, Colorado. Goverment agents were acting on an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers.

The owner, Debe Bell, 59, was charged with 55 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty after Jefferson County investigators found "deplorable conditions" at the Arvada farm. Nearly 200 animals were seized from her property at 12820 W. 75th Ave. in Arvada. The "deplorable conditions" included: Cages the animals were kept in were urine-soaked, caked in feces and had little or no food; with few exceptions they had no water; animal's fur was matted and caked in feces; 20 dead animals were found in a freezer.

After seizure the 200 animals were moved to a private animal shelter where they were cleaned, fed and watered then, adopted out to other owners. The original owner filed a legal motion to halt the adoption, which included sterilization of the confiscated breeding stock. "The court denied the motion," Mollie Thompson with the Foothill Animal Shelter said.

On January 27, 2012 a jury found Debe Bell guilty of 35 counts of animal cruelty. Sentencing is scheduled for March 20. Each misdemeanor count carries a potential sentence of up to 18 months in jail, according to the Denver Post.

According to Bell's attorney a potential fine of $1000 per count may also be assessed. The private shelter may also seek reparation for costs it incurred.

You've noticed by now I intentionally omitted the animals' breed. I did so to prevent your prejudice in this case from being affected by cute cuddly bunny rabbits. The County Court judge in Ms. Bell's case, however, had less concern over prejudice - she granted a motion by the state to prohibit defendant's council from referring to the rabbits as "livestock."

Ms. Bell and her attorney, having lost the legal battle under terms imposed by the court, appealed their case to the court of public opinion in an interview with Jon Caldera on the Mike Rosen Show Friday morning.

Among her comments:

"Rabbits are food." "Yes, I put the rabbits in my freezer. I also put in some chickens and some pork chops." "I sold rabbits to the Denver Zoo. Now they buy them from China." "Rabbit is the number one meat sold in California." "I thought I lived in America."

Also discussed (11:30) is the Crime Stoppers program and its well publicized $2000 reward for animal abuse tips.

No word yet from Colorado 4H.

I'm also including a link to the first account that I read of this story. It is on Huffington Post. The comments are, I believe, indicative of the mindset that enables our legal system to apply anthropomorphic attitudes to livestock and their producers.

UPDATE: More attentive blogs were on the case six months ago.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:43 AM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I've so little free time nowadays, but I should post a reply here, and turn it into the blog post I've in fact wanted to make for a long time.

It is an absolute necessity that animals be seen as mere property, whether it's this case, Michael Vick with dog fights, or a case in Utah some years back I'll never forget. A father went nuts and stomped a poor dog to death in front of his kids.

I often like animals more than people. Animals can't be blamed for acting out of instinct, when I detest most of humanity for not having the sense God gave them. However, either animals are property, fit to dispose of as the owner wishes (without harming others), or they aren't. There is no middle ground. Once you say, "They're the person's property, but there are conditions," then you are saying they are not truly property. Once "society" can attach conditions, then society is the true owner, and the "owner" is merely using the animals with permission.

This is precisely what happened to Bell. She wasn't harming anyone, but the state declared that she didn't meet the conditions to keep the rabbits. They could have been Greyhounds, lions or salamanders, and the principle would stay the same.

Once you say that there are limits to how a person can peacefully dispose of property, then anything goes. While specifics always differ, you are advocating the basic idea that a person's neighbors, via "elected" representatives and their armed enforcers, can order someone about. This is how the state claims the power to control phosphates in our detergent, to make us apply for permits to add onto our homes, and to forbid us to farm because some worm might be on the land.

I don't want my neighbors to rule my life, just as I have no wish to rule theirs. If I noticed someone mistreating a horse, I'd confront the person with reason, not a threat to get government involved. I'd ask why, and ask if there's something I could help with. There was a news article a while back about an old horse taken far out somewhere, tied up and left to die. I think it's a shame it wasn't put down peacefully. Horses aren't really used for glue anymore, but if the idea was to leave it for the buzzards, at least it wouldn't have suffered. It's not my right to demand the owner do that, however. If he told me to go mind my own business, so be it.

Most people, however, would never talk to the person first. They'd simply call the police first when they think an animal is being mistreated. Government has conditioned them to be both cowardly and lazy.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 12, 2012 5:25 PM

September 18, 2011

TEA Party "Zombies"

How will we know when the TEA Party becomes an influential force in American politics? When some loser creates a video game, which Allows Players to Slaughter “Tea Party Zombies” Like Sarah Palin and ... Bill O’Reilly??? Yes boys and girls, from the perspective of a Progressive or a World Socialist, the opinionated populist weathervane Bill O'Reilly is a TEA Partier.

Heh. "Big Tent."

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:27 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

The one with Sen Jim DeMint and Rep. Jeff Flake didn't sell so well...

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2011 11:13 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If said game is anything close to realistic, it should be noted that TEA Partiers tend to be Second Amendment supporters. These zombies will shoot back, and spend enough time on the range to be accurate.

Ms. Palin's kill ratio alone, even from a helicopter, is high enough to take down most players, and I figure the Perry zombie would do to the player what its real-life counterpart does to coyotes.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 19, 2011 12:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. And while players believe they are training their sights on the fair ex-gov, her father sneaks up behind them with a hunting knife.

Posted by: johngalt at September 19, 2011 7:39 PM

September 14, 2011

Henry Waxman (D-CA) Speaks Truth

A lot of that going around lately, isn't there?

In his attempt to explain why predominantly Jewish and predominantly Democratic voters in New York Nine might elect a Septogenarian Catholic white Anglo-Saxon male Republican over a fellow Jewish Democrat, California congressman Henry Waxman, also a Jewish Democrat, inadvertently admitted what the president and congressional Democrats have been doing to America since each of them arrived in office.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), a prominent Jewish congressman, said the Jewish vote is a concern for his party.

“I think Jewish voters will be Democratic and be for Obama in 2012, especially if you get a Republican candidate like [Texas] Gov. [Rick] Perry,” he said. “But there’s no question the Jewish community is much more bipartisan than it has been in previous years. There are Jews who are trending toward the Republican Party, some of it because of their misunderstanding of Obama’s policies in the Middle East, and some of it, quite frankly, for economic reasons. They feel they want to protect their wealth, which is why a lot of well-off voters vote for Republicans.”

If this is true then "well-off" Democrats can be expected to defect to Republican candidates across the slate. But more importantly, can anyone cite another example of such a brazen and careless admission that the president and his Democratic allies are literally a threat to individual wealth? A threat from which voters now feel they must protect that wealth? President Obama famously told Joe the Plumber, "When you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody." But, for some reason, "well-off" voters in 2008 didn't feel that their wealth was threatened. Perhaps because candidate Obama's next words were,

"But listen," Obama said, shaking Wurzelbacher’s hand, "I respect what you do and I respect your question, and even if I don’t get your vote, I’m still gonna be working hard on your behalf, because small businesses are what creates jobs in this country and I want to encourage it.”

Mister Obama seemed to recognize that he'd just uttered a gaffe, and in the realm of a free-press he had. Some of us took the remark for what it was - a warning of what we could expect from a President Obama. Others, like those in New York Nine, didn't believe it until they saw it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:47 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2011

Government by Whim

I wanted to write here today that "I hereby call out Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to apply for an Obamacare waiver for the entire state of Colorado." After all, another path to repeal, thought I, is for the entire country to be waived from the law's requirements. Needing a foundational article upon which to rest my "great idea" I found Mona Charen:

A few wags [ouch!] have suggested that the HHS grant the rest of the country a waiver and be done with it. But the implications of what Professor Richard Epstein has called "government by waiver" aren't funny. As Congress has ceded more and more power to regulatory agencies, the opportunities for abuse of power multiply. Writing in National Affairs, Epstein notes that among the companies and entities that successfully sought waivers from Obamacare's provisions were PepsiCo, Foot Locker, the Pew Charitable Trusts, many local chapters of the Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers union, and numerous public-employee unions.

But, asks Epstein, "(W)hat about employers who do not have the resources to navigate the waiver process? What about those lacking the political connections to make their concerns heard in Washington? And what happens when the one-year waivers run out? Will they be renewed? Under what conditions? And what rights will insurers have to waive then in order to avoid going out of business?"

The world of Obamacare is no place for the little guy.

The danger of waiver power is that it will be used differentially, giving one private entity a competitive advantage over another. The company denied a waiver can bring suit -- but litigation is expensive and slow.

Additionally, companies may fear government retaliation: "It is no accident that it is often public-interest groups or patient groups that take on the FDA, for instance. It is simply too risky for a pharmaceutical company with multiple applications before the agency to challenge one action if it is vulnerable to a government-induced slowdown on another," writes Epstein.

So it isn't just the threat of tax hikes that makes the Obama Administration such a threat to American free-market liberty; or massive deficit spending, or hostility to energy production or the subjective law of appointed judges or the proliferation of unelected "Czars" or any of the other "gangster government" ploys the administration has so quickly and expertly embraced. It is the 2000-pages of statutory "we can do what we want" called the Patient Protection and Affordability Act that makes these government bureaucrats so dangerous.

Full and complete repeal is the only answer.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:56 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2011

Growth Skepticism

While JK reads how to Make Peace With the Planet I am reminded of the strange dichotomy whereby "Progressives" oppose prosperity. For most of my life I took as a fact of nature that human prosperity is a necessary component of a happier and more rewarding life. For a long time it never seemed necessary to defend that idea, as it must certainly be universal held.

In Let it Grow, Daniel Ben Ami explains that the anti-growth agenda of Progressives is not merely a yearning for ecological preservation or social equality, but a reflexive response to what they viewed as the death of social progress.

Finally, and probably most important, is the demise of believing in social progress. For a long time, economic growth was closely linked to the more general idea of progress, including scientific and cultural advances. A more prosperous society was also seen as having the potential to be more humane. But as social pessimism has gripped America, the vision of the progressive potential of economic growth has also diminished.

What caused this social pessimism on the left?

This social pessimism has emerged over several decades. Its roots can be seen in the counterculture of the 1960s when the political Left, traditionally the most ardent supporters of social change, began to embrace green ideas. Rather than consider humans capable of reshaping nature for their own benefit, the outlook switched to one obsessed with natural limits.

The downbeat attitude was further reinforced with the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s. It was widely understood that this represented the death of socialism's traditional conceptions. Less commonly appreciated was the general acceptance that no form of improved society is possible. The "end of history" proclaimed at the time was really the end, at least for the time being, of the idea of progress.

Just as one America was going to the moon and inventing bioengineered crops and ever cheaper sources of energy, the other America viewed the death of the Soviet Union as the end of hope for a just society. For them, the vision of technological achievement no longer had any application. And if man can't even perfect his own social order, what business has he trying to perfect any other aspect of life on Earth?

In response I say, check your premises. What if socialism really isn't the perfect social order?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:16 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Both Mises and Postrel discuss a yearning for a utopia that never existed. Before capitalism, everything was swell.

Umm, yeah, if you don't mind freezing in the dark, dying at 42, devoting most of your time to sustenance...

Posted by: jk at March 15, 2011 5:58 PM

December 17, 2010

And now for something completely different...

Greg Sargent, blogging at WaPo's The Plum Line has a very different take on the not so tragic demise of the omnibus bill.

At first glance, given the tiny percentage of the bill that's devoted to earmarks, all the drama might seem silly.

But this fight is extremely important, and could have long term implications for the GOP. It's the first clear sign that the GOP base's seemingly absurd obsession with earmarks is going to have a direct impact on how the Republican Party will approach future political fights over government spending, which are expected to be central to the next two years.

It's easy to dismiss the GOP base's earmark obsession, as I did the other day. But yesterday's defeat of the spending bill signals clearly that the GOP base may have some success in holding the Republican Party to its pledge to bring down spending -- which could ultimately hamper the recovery.

Huh? What was that last bit?

Yes, Sargent thinks that eliminating -- let's be fair here -- completely wasted kickbacks to fatcat campaign donors is going to hurt the economy and diminish the President's re-election chances. I read it twice (you should too) that is really what he says.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:58 PM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2010

MoveOn.org Quote of the Day

I know you guys are probably all on the MoveOn.org mailing list and pour through the site every day, but I wanted to be sure nobody missed this. Thankfully, a Facebook friend posted the "Top Five Problems with the Tax Deal." They're all rilly rilly good, but I especially liked:

Problem #4: Unemployment help is insufficient and inadequate.

While the deal extends unemployment benefits for another 13 months for people currently receiving it, millions of unemployed workers who've struggled the most and been out of work more than 99 weeks -- since the giant Wall Street banks wrecked the economy -- will get no help at all under the deal.4 It's a gamble that there will be jobs in the next 13 months when the insurance runs out, but the tax cuts will go well beyond that. Better to just pass a stand-alone unemployment extension to help all struggling Americans.

Ninety-nine weeks plus 13 months -- then those heartless Rethuglicans want you to go back to work. O! M! G!


Posted by John Kranz at 7:46 PM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2010

Statism on the March in Colorado

JK recently wondered aloud why the job creation success in Texas doesn't constitute "Game, Set, Match for pro-growth policies" over the tax and spend statism models of Michigan, New York and California. The answer, of course, is that leftists don't want growth.

Today a radio ad tipped me to the existence of a website that explains the historical accomplishments of a Liberal Cabal in Colorado and warned of what they have in mind for the future. Not only do they oppose the tax limiting Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101, they plan to hike future taxes by $1.5 to over $5 billion in our state... anually. They call their three models, "Go Medium, Go Long, or Go California."

The impetus for the Colorado Reform Roundtable’s formation is the state’s mounting structural spending shortfall: in round numbers, Colorado government has about $1 billion more in permanent programs than it does in permanent revenues.

[Keep in mind that this is a recent phenomenon. See the graphs here, particularly state debt since 2000.]

From this sending off point, many of the left-leaning organizations that make up the Colorado Reform Roundtable contend that there is no way to balance the budget without significant tax increases. While many argue that the state should reduce spending to align its budgets, liberal advocacy groups scoff at the notion that spending cuts are the answer.

The fundamental belief that state government is starved forms the foundation for the formal tax hike plan that will likely emerge from the Colorado Reform Roundtable sometime in the months after the November 2010 election.

Now where have we heard this before?

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:44 PM | Comments (0)

October 2, 2010

Here's another fine mess you've gotten us into, Tom!

Heard the first anti-Tancredo ad on radio this morning, paid for by "Our Community Votes" - an issue advocacy group that looks like an ACORN fragment, judging by the rhetoric on its website.

"There's a new political party in this year's election. The American Constitution Party. Its candidates, Tom Tancredo and Doug Aden, are too extreme to represent us. Both want to make English the official language of the United States, which threatens our diverse culture, and eliminate congressional pensions, which would make it harder for people who want to serve in congress as a career."

I paraphrased from memory but this was the gist of the message. Yes, I know I'm a weirdo but those particular criticisms just make me like these two guys more. If they wanted to expose these guys' bad ideas they should have talked about Tancredo getting in the race out of last minute spite or Aden's advocacy of new international trade tariffs to "keep jobs in the US." [I heard him say this at Friday's Longmont Chamber forum.] But it appears they don't actually want to discourage voting for them. Fort Collins Coloradoan:

But the content of the ad seems designed to promote Aden's candidacy with conservative voters who might cast ballots for him rather than Republican Party nominee Cory Gardner.


Kyle Saunders, a political scientist at Colorado State University, said the ad by a Democratic-affiliated group aimed at boosting Aden was "not at all surprising."
"Every vote Aden gets from a disenchanted or confused Republican voter is very likely a vote that is taken away from Gardner," he said.

Fair enough, but why mention Tancredo? Because Tancredo has wide name recognition and Doug Aden is an insect, politically speaking. Link them together and Aden's vote count goes up by a factor of ten. And their mention of the American Constitution Party? Nobody had heard of them either until Tom and his antics made them front page news. All of this is calculated to siphon support from the GOP. Tom Tancredo must be very, very proud of himself.

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:20 AM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Better the worst Stalinist terror," he declares, "than the most liberal capitalist democracy." If Stalinism was indeed a negative development, it was because it was too capitalistic: "Stalinist ‘totalitarianism" was the capitalist logic of self-propelling productivity liberated from its capitalist form, which is why it failed: Stalinism was the symptom of capitalism." -- Slavoj Zizek considered "an academic rock star" by the New York Times.
Posted by John Kranz at 3:10 PM | Comments (0)

July 8, 2010

I should leave more often.

Unless I am badly misreading this Daily Beast post, the Aspen glitterati were treated to a denunciation of administration policies including a call "'for radical fiscal reform to restore the incentives for work and remove the incentives for idleness.' [Dashing Brit Niall Ferguson] praised 'really radical reform of the sort that, for example, Paul Ryan has outlined in his wonderful ‘Roadmap’ for radical, root-and-branch reform not only of the tax system but of the entitlement system' and 'unleash entrepreneurial innovation.'"

“Depressing, but fantastic,” Streisand told me afterward, rendering her verdict on the session. "So exciting. Wonderful!"

Brolin's assessment: "Mind-blowing."

Three Rabbis. Paul Ryan and Barbra Streisand walk into a bar...

Hat-tip: Instapundit

UPDATE: he professor's first name is Niall, not Niel (since corrected). ThreeSources regrets any inconvenience.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:00 PM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

Only an intellect as muddled as Barbara Streisand's could use the adjectives "depressing" and "exciting" to describe the same thing, and in the same breath.

What we see in the linked article is two things: Liberal elitists coming to grips with just exactly what it means for the masses to live off the spoils of the rich, for they are the rich; and establishment (white) leftists lamenting that their "golden goose fleecing system" is being wrecked by the impatient "social justice" folks who really do believe that Ayn Rand's "Starnesville" can work if it is just big enough to encompass the whole country. Problem is, none of them ever read Atlas Shrugged in the first place.

But ... a glimmer of hope was found. Michael Splinter gave a clue as to how America's corporate tax rates may one day have to come down. It's called, competition. "Our corporate tax rate, on a worldwide competitive basis, is just not competitive. Taiwan is lowering their rate to 20 to 15 percent in order to stay competitive with Singapore. These countries have made it their job to attract industry." One of these days, some really smart politician will float this idea in a campaign as a jobs strategy. 'Tis better to be lucky than intelligent, especially if you're a politician. But the rest of us will still be the beneficiaries. (Until the cycle repeats.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 8, 2010 2:44 PM
But Terri thinks:

Mind-blowing? Mind-blowing??

This must be a good example of like minded people only discussing ideas with like minded people and never realizing there are uh other ideas out there. Ideas that have some common sense in them.

Posted by: Terri at July 8, 2010 3:30 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

All together: "People... people who need people..."

The Refugee has long maintained that if you want to see employment explode, eliminate the corporate income tax entirely. Art Laffer has an interesting piece in today's WSJ that basically says the same thing, though he goes even further than The Refugee in advocating a complete tax holiday. Read the non-subscription version here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704862404575351301788376276.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 8, 2010 4:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Limbaugh covered this story on his show today. He echoed my analysis that these rich people suddenly see their accumulated wealth on the Administration's menu. He also made a connection I never considered, but that makes perfect sense in retrospect. All of these people offering sudden criticism of Obama are who we once recognized as Bill Clinton's base. The thought is that the Clinton's are gradually, piece by piece, orchestrating a Democrat party mutiny against their own incumbent president. Hard to argue against it.

Posted by: johngalt at July 9, 2010 1:29 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I just love a good conspiracy theory!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 9, 2010 9:06 AM
But jk thinks:

I'm an Occam's Razor guy myself, but I will point out that überClintonista James Carville releases a poll today that does not reflect well on the President.

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2010 1:10 PM

June 25, 2010

Headline of the Day

Not gonna beat this for a few days:

Media Rushes To The Defense Of Nobel Prize-Winning Sex Poodle

Jezebel, hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2010

Dept. of Redundancy Department

KGW.com: The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office confirmed on Wednesday that the DA's office was briefed by Portland Police in late 2006 and January 2007 on allegations brought by an attorney representing a woman who alleged unwanted sexual contact by Al Gore.
Is the word "unwanted" really necessary? Eeeeuuuh!
Posted by John Kranz at 6:47 PM | Comments (0)

June 9, 2010

Facebook Escapades

And no, I am not involved. Two friends-of-friends who both work at my company got each other's FB credentials yesterday and started making gag posts in each other's names.

"I Love X," says X posing as Y, "not as a colleague but more in a Brokeback Mountain way!" Well, the bidding is on and things got worse from there until...

Until Y gets on X's account and "likes" the Sarah Palin PAC Page. This is a bridge too far. Nukes were used. Their friends are ROFLTAO but the belligerents realize it's got to stop.

Friends, that is the Second Congressional district of Colorado in a nutshell.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:06 PM | Comments (5)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Better metaphor: welcome to the world of California's newly-minted Proposition 14, resulting in open primaries. Democrats can vote in the Republican primary to pick who their guy gets to run against, and vice-versa. It's like two guys creating mischief with each other's Facebook status messages, but with a more potent flavor of mischief.

"Operation Chaos" on steroids, I say.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 9, 2010 4:32 PM
But jk thinks:

I have wondered about that. My nephew moved from Michigan and was pretty upset when he was unable to vote in the (Democratic) primary in 2008.

To be honest, Keith, I am not sure that voters in general are that strategic. Or that wise -- do I consider a Democrat able to pick the less electable Republican six months before the election?

On the other hand I'm disturbed that the State of California can dictate a political party's rules. I think parties are distinctly evil unless you consider them private corporations.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2010 5:35 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I've got two words for you: John McCain. Blessed by the MSM and lobbied for by them in the primary as "the most reasonable Republican," and assisted in a number of states by party-crossers to knock out more conservative candidates.

I've also heard at least one pundit wondering how that would apply at the national level, and 2008 turned out to be a runoff between Hillary! and Obama after multiple Republican candidates split the vote on their side.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 9, 2010 5:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

JK once blogged Michael Barone's 'Hard America, Soft America.' Facebook is the embodiment of Soft America.

Posted by: johngalt at June 10, 2010 4:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Mister Zuckerberg has much to answer for, but I don't know that you can blame him.

Perhaps I make too much of an unscientific cross section, but FB and 3Src are frequently opened in adjacent browser tabs (wsj.com generally chaperones...) and it us like coming out of the Finnish Sauna into the icy sea.

Just a reminder -- if CO-2 vote totals do not suffice -- that we are the exotic critters in the cages.

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2010 4:59 PM

June 5, 2010

That's Right, Ringo's the Libertarian...

Aw jeez, Paul -- I know that'll play well back home, but a) President Bush was married to a librarian and b) those who bother to look beyond the Guardian saw that he was a voracious and serious reader.

I'm thinking we get a big bonfire and we invite conservatives to come and through their Beatles records in. It'll be great -- we'll film it in Black and White!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:54 PM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Ironic a slam about intelligence coming from McCartney, he being the genius who married Heather Mills.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 5, 2010 7:27 PM

May 3, 2010

Facebook of the Day

No, I won't torture everyday. But I'd like to dedicate this to any Randians out there. This is, you'll not be surprised, the same person who confuses President Obama with Buddha.

From the "What can it hurt?" department: There is apparently a valve that is stuck open on the Deep Horizon oil well and is causing the spill... Here's the plan to use the collective power of our minds to stop this spill: Everyone please visualize the valve getting unstuck and stopping the spill.


Posted by John Kranz at 6:39 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

"Randian base here. Come in... come in..."

Yes, we know that a segment of the population is made up of complete idiots.

"Those who deny the existence of reason cannot be swayed by it. They cannot help you. Leave them alone." -Rand

As an Objectivist I tend to avoid these people until they find their way into the world of the thinking people. As an avowed optomist I believe that most of them can do so, if they want to. As a realist I advocate fiercely for Constitional protections of the individual and against further movement in the direction of democracy.

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2010 3:03 PM
But jk thinks:

There are things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, not dreamt of in man's philosophies.

I bring up the Bard because I like the line, but -- without opening up a forum -- I have just come off a very thoughtful email exchange with a good friend. Said friend compares Ms. Visualize's actions to prayer, which said friend fervently supports.

I found myself a little surprised to be taking up the Randian side (Juliet Kilo, read you, over!). A rather fundamental difference of looking at the world between two who agree on much.

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2010 3:29 PM

May 1, 2010

These People Have Jobs and Mortgages

Just a reminder what we're up against. Here's a Facebook thread:

[Some guy I don't know]: Buddha once said that hatred is never ended by hatred but by love, and understanding is never ended by an argument but by tact, and diplomacy, conciliation and a sympathetic desire to see the other person’s point of view.

[A woman I used to work with]: Sounds kinda like Obama's way of doing things...

[Buddha Guy]: YOUR Killing me!! LOL

[Obama lady]: I'm totally serious. He's tactful, diplomatic and conciliatory even in debate. I can only guess at his desire to see other points of view, but given his demeanor, I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.

[Buddha Guy]: So he tactfully, or was in conciliatory, rammed his health care down our throats, knowing that the vast majority of Americans wanted a reasonable approach. I wonder how Buda felt about being taken from behind by those in power??

[Obama lady]: You mean when Congress passed the bill (full of regurgitated Republican ideas) by due legislative process? Yes.

No, I am not diving in now way, no how! I just wanted to share it with you.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:03 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

Jeez, it might be easier just to resort to name-calling. I see your point though. I wouldn't bother either.

Posted by: johngalt at May 1, 2010 3:31 PM
But Sugarchuck thinks:

I'm waiting for the "Yo Mama Lady" to confab with Buddy Guy.

Posted by: Sugarchuck at May 1, 2010 9:55 PM
But jk thinks:

I think that would be better suited to Twitter, sc...

It's just funny. I mean you can like the President's policies if you are wired that way, and you can admire aspects of his biography or demeanor. I don't get it but I can see it.

Yet to suggest that he is the post partisan figure he suggested in the campaign means you really are not paying attention. I think his serious supporters have all moved on to non-messianic aspects of his Presidency.

The other Facebook wave is a host of people joining LET'S STOP BLAMING OBAMA FOR EVERYTHING BUSH DID.

Some tough sledding ahead my friends, a good year or not, tough sledding.

Posted by: jk at May 2, 2010 10:52 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Do you now understand why I say "liberals deserve no mercy"? They want "tolerance" and "respect" when it comes to voting or otherwise deciding how to redistribute or otherwise control my property, which necessitates them being intolerant and disrespectful of my rights to my property and my mind.

I'm hardly a Republican, but even I'm getting sick of this "regurgitated Republican ideas" BS. To call that a strawman is an understatement.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 2, 2010 4:31 PM

April 27, 2010

Hating the Haters

I love this stuff.

Liberals calling Freedom Works to express their displeasure with the GEICO guy getting fired.

Warning: Language is rather salty.

Posted by AlexC at 12:13 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Yeah, the language is a little rough -- but you have to admit they make some good, substantive, intellectual comments...

Posted by: jk at April 27, 2010 11:46 AM

April 17, 2010

The Making of Electoral Landslides

A new book published this month explains how four wealthy progressives transformed Colorado politics from red to blue in a single election cycle. The Blueprint by Rob Witwer and Adam Schrager describes the targeted use of massive amounts of cash in close races to essentially buy Colorado politics for the Democrats. If they're smart, Republicans will adopt much of this winning strategy.

I haven't read the book but one or both authors appeared on two different Denver radio shows today. In the morning Rob Witwer was on the Rosen show and both authors were interviewed by KHOW's Craig Silverman in the afternoon. A critical concession mentioned in both venues was agreement by the monied donors from the very beginning that they would not bicker with each other over policy differences. Instead, they all agreed that their solitary goal was election of Democrat candidates.

I'm not sure it's that simple for Republicans. After all, we have McCain and his merry band of big-government do-gooders to be wary of. But I do think the advice is useful when it comes to the fiscal/social conservative divide.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:45 AM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2010

International Club for Meddling with Local Government

One of moderator Amy Oliver's questions at last night's CO-4 GOP debate was about an international organization called the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives, or ICLEI. They've changed their name to ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.

Apparently they encourage local governments to impose environmental regulations all over the world. They describe "members" as "the strongest allies of ICLEI by contributing a yearly membership fee, but also by hosting ICLEI offices, financing events or contributing staff time to projects and activities." That would be staff time of the local governments they work for, paid by local tax dollars.

The online membership directory is unavailable: "Please accept our apologies. We are presently working to update our membership information pages. This page will be available again shortly."

They do, however, list the 1124 local governments these members come from. They include:

Arvada, Aspen, Boulder, Breckenridge, Carbondale, Denver, Durango, Ft. Collins, Frisco, Golden, Gunnison County, La Plata County, LAFAYETTE, Loveland, Manitou Springs, San Miguel County, and Westminster in Colorado.

Haverford Township, Lower Makefield, Meadville, Montgomery Township, Mt. Lebanon, Narberth, Nether Providence Township, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Radnor, Upper Dublin Township, and West Chester in Pennysylvania.


Posted by JohnGalt at 3:13 PM | Comments (0)

February 28, 2010

Humanity's Hope



They're models for good living.

I trained as a biologist and to my eye, they look organic. Squatter cities are also unexpectedly green. They have maximum density—1m people per square mile in some areas of Mumbai—and have minimum energy and material use. People get around by foot, bicycle, rickshaw, or the universal shared taxi.

Three cheers for abject poverty.

Something we should aspire to, and something our better would be glad to give us.

Posted by AlexC at 11:41 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Green, dysentery, no, not goin' there...

I'm going to steal your post as a segue. I wanted to post something on Milton Friedman, Chile, and Haiti.

I got to thinking about these stickers. Some folks (ac's slum worshippers no doubt) plaster D.C. with stickers that say "Milton Friedman Proud Father of Global Misery."

Well, Port-au-Prince Haiti was largely spared Friedman's brand of misery. And a 7-ish magnitude earthquake killed 200,000 people.

Chile had enough "Chicago Boys" prosperity that an 8-ish quake killed 200 [sad update 700+] instead of 200,000. On one level this is not fair -- the epicenter of the quake was not in a heavily populated area.

But we're talking about a four magnitude difference in the death toll, when the quake was more than twice as strong (I heard five times the energy).

Posted by: jk at February 28, 2010 1:15 PM

January 5, 2010

Whole Foods: Bad for the Planet!

You think I won't link to Mother Jones? Y'think? You dare me?

Kate Sheppard asks Is Whole Foods Bad for the Planet?

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey has probably brought more people to organic foods than anyone else in the United States. And many of the folks shopping at his markets undoubtedly consider themselves to be environmentally aware. They might even believe that by purchasing their groceries at Whole Foods outlets they are doing their part to help the planet. But certainly many of them would probably be startled to learn of of [sic] Mackey's position on climate change: he's a global warming denier.

If only a reliable media outlet had predicted this disaster...

To be fair, I think Whole Foods is bad for the planet because they promote organic farming which threatens animal habitat and fair trade coffee which impoverishes the poorest farmers to subsidize middle-class (well, less poor) farmers. But those don't seem to be the faults that Mother Jones has in mind.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:10 PM | Comments (1)
But T. Greer thinks:

But are the subsidized organic farms any different than America's large corporate farms? I was under the impression that the obscenity passed every other year (euphemistically titled a "farm bill") was not so discriminatory.

Posted by: T. Greer at January 5, 2010 10:09 PM

December 11, 2009

Eat a Cold Potato in the Dark Day!

I try not to get angry, but...

Boulder Daily Camera:

DENVER — Dozens of Colorado businesses are turning off their lights from noon to 1 p.m. Friday as part of an initiative to conserve energy.

It's called Lights Out Lunch. Residents who pledge to turn off their lights too can get discounts from participating restaurants and a chance to win prizes.

The initiative is by Xcel Energy, the Governor's Energy Office and the city and county of Denver.

Colorado Restaurant Association President and CEO Pete Meersman says research shows restaurants use more than five times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings.

We froze in the dark for tens of thousands of years. Y'all want to climb back in the cave, be my guest! The stupidity of local government is no surprise, but how is the utility, Xcel Energy, caught up in this? Will the restaurants do a hunger strike day?

Posted by John Kranz at 7:51 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Turn off one's lights for "a chance to win prizes." It's Privations for Prizes!

Gee, maybe one of the prizes is one of those bitchin' little solar-powered book lights.

Posted by: johngalt at December 11, 2009 11:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

As for why the power company is "caught up in this" remember that they are regulated by the Public Utilities Commission. It's for the same reason that insurance companies initially "supported" health-care reform. If they don't play the game, or at least pretend to, there will be hell to pay at the hands of our "protectors" in the government.

Posted by: johngalt at December 11, 2009 11:09 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Wouldn't it be better to have a "brown bag" day when all restaurants shut down? Surely the energy needed to keep all those ovens, grills and dish washing equipment working far exceeds the energy used for a few office lights. Think how much energy a cold ham sandwich would save!

Do you supposed the restaurant association is really interested in being "green" or is this perhaps cynical opportunism to increase business? Not that I blame them.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 13, 2009 6:33 PM

October 22, 2009

Mom Always Liked Penn Best!

This story really disturbed me.

I follow PennSays on Twitter and meant to post a recommendation to it last week. Penn does short videos (kind of a cheap imitation of the virtual coffeehouse, really...) that are the closest thing to a vblog that I've ever seen. Jillette is an interesting and likeable guy, and the videos are fun to watch.

Except this one from last week. I found it very sad. While I am still ambivalent on Beck fandom, Penn is 100% right and Tommy Smothers is 100% wrong. "If Hitler has a show, would you go on?" Asinine.

Instapundit linked this morning and I watched it again. Reynolds suggests it's a good excuse not to have idols -- not a bad takeaway.

But the segue machine really kicked in when Don Surber (another awesome Twitter followee) piled on:

Tommy Smothers yelled at Penn Jillette for appearing on a TV show?

That’s like Chong yelling at you for having a bong.

God, I am old.

I remember when the Smothers Brothers were for free speech.

I guess the only speech Tommy Smothers supports now is yelling at people he disagrees with.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:58 PM | Comments (2)
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Isn't yelling at people you don't agree with the basic principal of free speech? Or have I been misled by what we call commentary on cable TV?

Posted by: Silence Dogood at October 24, 2009 11:49 PM
But jk thinks:

I can't take the temperature of that comment closely enough to respond. But for the benefit of the young'uns, let me recap:

Tommy Smothers was denied his First and Fifth Amendment rights when his show was taken off the air by government censors, who likely objected to his politics as much as language or "adult situations." Many rallied to their cause and their careers and reputations -- if not their show -- were restored.

Now, Mister Smothers seems too quick to want to take away the voice of someone with whom he disagrees. And ready to deny Mister Jillette his voice. As Mister Surber scored it, that's evil.

Posted by: jk at October 25, 2009 7:01 PM

October 1, 2009

That Speech Thingy Is Soooo Rude!

Facebook freind says "[Friend's Name Here] wonders why some people have to be so rude..."

Third commenter says:

I agree. Don't know what your complaint is but I saw an impeach obama sticker today and totally wanted to take a baseball bat to the guys truck! Not to fuel your fire. :)

Friend replies:
Infuriating, isn't it? To be stuck with Bush and all of his truly heinous crimes for 8 years and now hear this?!? Boggles the mind...

Then admits it was not about politics at all but a friend of friend's disapprobation.

Laugh, cry, or grab the baseball bat?

Posted by John Kranz at 2:00 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Barack Obama deserves EVERYONE'S respect because he is the President of the United States and was chosen by the voters, but Chimpmeister Bush could be dissed because he was the reincarnation of Hitler. Riiiiight.

And let's not even talk about the rudeness of government coercion and theft.

What would happen if conservatives DID start using the tactic of the left: violence?

Posted by: johngalt at October 2, 2009 4:17 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Nancy Pelosi would cry.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 5, 2009 3:49 PM

September 16, 2009

About the latest ACORN Video

So yeah.... James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles took their underage illegal immigrant hooker show on the road and struck gold in San Bernadino.

They found a name dropping psycho who killed her husband AND had hooking experience.

No really.

Anyway... the woman is crazy, and she's a name dropping bullshitter. I dont buy her assertion she talks to Senator Boxer.... But the shooting of the husband and laying the groundwork, that's pretty scary... and will be determined soon enough.

Awesomely, you know this isn't the last of ACORN on the West Coast. There will be more.

Posted by AlexC at 12:51 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

She'll kill you, ac -- don't think she hasn't done it before!

Posted by: jk at September 16, 2009 10:40 AM
But AlexC thinks:

As it turns out, she didn't kill her husband(s)... but she was willing to defraud the IRS.

... and they hate that.

Posted by: AlexC at September 16, 2009 12:52 PM

August 26, 2009

Female, Veg Friendly, Woman of Color Wanted

@mkhammer says this may be the best no-parody ad evah. You, too, can move into a $930 progressive group house:

There are four males and one female currently living in the house. Two of the people in the house are people of color. There is one couple. We are two vegetarians, three omnivores. We rotate Sunday night cook nights where we make a vegetarian dinner for everyone in the house. We like hanging out with each other occasionally but also do our own thing. We come from all different backgrounds, both culturally and geographically, and are interesting in maintaining and expanding that diversity with the new roommate.

Preferred roommate is a woman of color who is vegetarian friendly (but meat eaters are OK; veg friendly just means respectful of vegetarians). However, people of all walks of life will be considered if they seem like a good fit. We are especially seeking someone who has experienced and understands the pitfalls of group house life, and has ideas for making it a great place for themselves and others. More than anything else we want clear healthy communicators - keeping each other in touch with what's going on in our lives and our heads, and general upkeep of the house. We'd like to keep it a clean house but sometimes succeed at that more than other times.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:04 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I'd like to see the reality show where Ted Nugent goes in for an interview.

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2009 12:06 AM
But jk thinks:

Yup, sign up Michelle Branch and the buffalo head and I'm in!

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2009 11:58 AM
But Keith thinks:

By my count, there are nine places in that ad where you could insert the line "not that there's anything wrong with that!" and not damage the flow on the message.

Show of hands: how many of you were mentally fisking that as you read it? For instance - "keeping each other in touch with what's going on in our lives and our heads," and some occasional light vacuuming, and run the bong through the dishwasher once a week or so...

Posted by: Keith at August 27, 2009 12:41 PM

July 1, 2009

Birds of a Feather

Even if you've already seen this one you'll appreciate it again:


Indeed. If you aren't already familiar, here is the real story on the "military coup" in Honduras.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:59 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

The WSJ Ed Page did a nice piece as well.

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2009 12:51 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Excellent. It's refreshing to see major sources pointing out that this was not a real coup, but the removal of a proto-dictator. What does it tell you when Chavez and the UN insist that someone be returned to power?

Billy Hollis at QandO has been publishing stuff from his friend in Honduras. Must-read.

So now you know, when U.S. and AFP news talk about "protestors" battling with police, whose side the protestors are actually on. And think about what will happen if Zelaya returns. He'll virtually flood the streets with the blood of his opponents, making Robespierre look like Mother Theresa.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 1, 2009 1:40 PM
But jk thinks:

'nother good cartoon

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2009 2:07 PM

April 8, 2009

End of the World, Chapter LXXIV

A Facebook friend links to this article and sez "As another person who spent a few years abroad (and having lived in less than stable housing during the early years) I think this is an observation well worth sharing. Thanks for putting it out there Mer :)"

Just a grim reminder that somebody wrote this, somebody published it (well, on a website) and somebody thought enough of it to share with her Facebook friends. Merciful Frikken' Frozen Zeus on a Stick! "Letting the Joneses Win:"

First, find an empty glass bottle and a stick. Next, place the bottle on an empty stretch of dirt—if you can find one wedged in between all the concrete. Invite the group to roll the bottle around with the stick, pass it with their feet or run around with it for a few minutes. Then observe their responses.

Will they invent new games with their bottle and stick? Smile with delight? Giggle with glee?

I predict not.

But in parts of the Third World with few resources and even less income, I have watched boys play with Coca-Cola bottles for an entire hour. And they didn't feel at all deprived. Resourceful to the core, they could have fun and be creative with lots of things we wouldn't even consider in the West.

Why? Possibly because American advertising had never told them that a bottle is boring.

Words fail.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:52 PM | Comments (5)
But T. Greer thinks:

Hmm. I will admit that I am having trouble understanding your disgust with this article. I trust that you are not confusing criticism of a specific culture's advertising norms (or perhaps more accurately, what a specific culture defines as living the good life) with criticism of advertising, living a good life, or capitalism as a whole. So what is the problem? Why would you see that American children don't play with bottles? How come you never see children playing "kick the can" anymore? Why is there such a need to have so much junk we really don't use?

This author has given their hypothesis; let us hear yours.

Posted by: T. Greer at April 8, 2009 9:47 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The real fun begins when they discover that it's more fun to spin it than kick it.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 8, 2009 11:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Told'ja the world was ending -- they've got tg!

My trouble is that the article is opposed to modernity and individual choice. Children today choose the Wii over a stick and a Coke bottle because they can. No advertiser that I know of ever spent a lot of money telling kids that a bottle is boring. They may have suggested that an X-Box 360 is exciting.

Ms. Whitmore is upset that her sensibilities are not honored but seems unwilling to offer reciprocal understanding. We have an affluent society based on our freedom. Whitmore, and my work friend who linked, and a large portion of the population of Boulder, are apologetic for our success and I am not.

When a society becomes affluent, many will choose to spend money on their personal appearance. I wouldn't spend ten cents or ten minutes on a tanning bed or elective cosmetic surgery. And, when nobody is looking, I question the values of those that do. But I do not seek to take away their choice or belittle their decision as slavery to advertising. That is important to other people; no doubt they'd be uncomfortable at the price tag on some of my guitars.

Any "disgust" flows from my inference that she wants to take us back to the caves. I should give her props that she actually plans to live in the cave herself -- most of her ideological companions want to live in a VP-Gore-sized mansion and have the rest of us strike up a relationship with flint.

But in the end, she wants the American child to embrace the stick and Coke bottle; I want to get the African child iPods and laptops.

Posted by: jk at April 9, 2009 11:43 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I've been really busy and haven't had time to get involved in comments, but I'll take the time here.

"But I do not seek to take away their choice or belittle their decision as slavery to advertising."

Exactly right. People are (mostly) free to spend money on what they want, so it's hardly a gilded cage with advertisers as our masters. Isn't it wonderful that we're wealthy enough to waste things like we do? This is what Meredith will never understand. No doubt she agrees with Drew Barrymore that it's "awesome" to defecate in the woods like a wild animal. Americans have worked too hard, innovated for too long, to let ignoramuses like her bring us back 250 years. And I've personally come too far to let my future children have to "make do" with bottles and sticks.

To give you an idea, my mother's family grew up so poor that she had to live with relatives, for whom she drew and heated bathwater every morning. And only one generation later, I have vastly more wealth than all my mother's cousins ever had, combined. None had the ability to fly across the Philippines in an hour or so, let alone listen to any of thousands of songs upon command. How much more will my children have?

On the flip side, what if we started redistributing our wealth by giving iPods to Third World children? Like the efforts to give out laptops, the devices would often be more useful as doorstops or as something to sell for cold cash. So these things must come not as sudden gifts, but because these poor countries grow wealthier and can later choose to buy what they want. Again, a liberal like Meredith won't understand this. Wealth by itself is not and should never be the end goal. In the end, it's freedom that is the only target, because only through freedom can people achieve true wealth. But liberals reverse cause and effect, pursuing (redistributing) wealth in a perverted idea that it makes people "free."

"You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and powerful people, but how your liberties can be secured; for liberty ought to be the direct end of your Government." - Patrick Henry

One of the most humbling events of my life was watching a man on the streets of Cebu City for a few moments as our taxi waited at a traffic light. As he collected scrap cardboard from a compost heap, tying them up with a plastic cord he probably similarly salvaged, his little girl entertained herself by jumping around on the sidewalk. What if some American stranger had bought her a doll, or given her candy? That would help, but what about the more pressing need of making sure she has enough to eat? Think of the "MASH" episode where Charles initially got angry with the orphanage director, who'd sold Charles' Christmas gift of chocolate on the black market. Instead of one night of pleasure, it meant one month of food.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 9, 2009 2:12 PM
But jk thinks:

We're on the same page, Perry. Let me clarify: I don't want to donate iPods and laptops to Africa, I want to bring honest government, freedom, and trade to Africa so that they can buy these items for themselves.

My grandmother was born into a Willa Cather-esque existence in 19th Century South Dakota. Her daughter married my Dad who was a penniless jazz musician but ended up with an Ad Agency and 40 people working for him. I have always chuckled that I, as a middle class schlub, live a lifestyle that he would have envied. I couldn't afford the house I grew up in, but my parents rarely ate out or traveled for pleasure. They never went to Europe, while their grandchildren all went before graduating high school.

Posted by: jk at April 9, 2009 3:33 PM

February 22, 2009

"Where's their answer to this?"

A number of ideas over the past weeks have come together for me this morning-

In response to the letter I sent to my Senators opposing H.R. 1 a beloved cousin emailed me, "I’m not saying I disagree or agree with you when I ask this question…. But what would you suggest? I don’t really know what the right answer is at this point…"

The first line of my reply to her was, "Well, on numerous occasions in the past we've cut tax rates in an attempt to spur economic growth and every time that's been done the economy improved and net tax receipts increased, despite the lower rate of taxation."

Then the shamulus bill passed and a number of Republican governors, upon seeing the fine print, began suggesting they'd refuse the federal handouts. "Republican governors, as the last bastion of capitalist political power in this country, should implement a capitalist plan for job creation - eliminate the corporate income tax" I thought. By doing this in one or more states there would be a side-by-side comparison of capitalism versus government bailouts that would be difficult to ignore on the key statistics of job growth and state GDP growth.

But I wondered which states have a Republican governor AND a corporate income tax that could be axed?

This morning Tim Pawlenty and Mark Sanford appeared on Fox News Sunday with Ed Rendell and Jennifer Granholm to discuss the "stimulus" bill. Among other things, Sanford called The Big O's foreclosure plan "a horrible idea." Last week Sanford suggested that his state might "turn down stimulus money" from the feds. In that L.A. Times story real estate agent Joyce Rivas claimed to have voted for Sanford twice but was angered by his "threat." Rivas asked, "For starters, where's their answer to this?"

In a quick search I found that Governor Sanford proposed, last December, elimination of the 5% South Carolina corporate income tax.

Lawmakers and observers said eliminating corporate income tax is an interesting idea, but want to hear more details.


South Carolina could join four other states, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming, with no corporate income tax, Sanford said. South Carolina collects about $300 million in corporate income taxes annually, far less than sales and individual income tax collections.

“We’ve got to get away from this piecemeal approach to jobs incentives,” Sanford said in a written statement. “We believe a better approach would be to simply lower the overall tax rate for corporations, so that we’re not only giving companies a good deal when they decide to locate here but we’re giving them a reason to stay and expand.”

There you are, Ms. Rivas. That is our answer.

For reference: Tax Foundation's 'State Business Tax Climate Index Rankings' Maryland... ouch!

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:22 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I watched that show as well. Let me just say "Sanford for God!!!"

I have heard for years about how impressive (and telegenic) Governor Granholm is. "Don't amend the Constitution for President Aahnold," they said, "it will backfire and you'll get Democratic President Granholm." Watching her today, I don't think either of them should start measuring drapes. (For the record, I would support an amendment allowing a naturalized citizen to be President and for the record my naturalized-citizen wife would not. There you go.)

You can see where these former industrial giants of states get the "former" though I confess to liking Gov. Rendell's style. Gov. Granholm will gladly take her money and South Carolina's and yours and yours and yours and yours.

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2009 6:57 PM
But jk thinks:

...and another thing!

This humble little blog has mentioned several things that would be wildly more effective and far more conducive to liberty. Holidays on cap-gains taxes, elimination of the corporate cap gains tax, increased immigration and the payroll tax holiday would all be wildly stimulative. None would grow government's size and influence.

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2009 7:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

...but whadda WE know. We're just "the people."

Posted by: johngalt at February 22, 2009 11:31 PM

October 26, 2008

Weather Underground: Kill the "die hard capitalists"

From LGF: Bill Ayers' Terrorist Group Discussed Genocide of Americans (includes video)

Quoting Larry Grathwohl, an FBI informant and member of the Weather Underground, in a 1982 documentary on the group:

"I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.

And they were dead serious."

I wonder if McPalin's last week of TV ads will include anything from this list. Though I suspect it may require pictures of Obama and Ayers building pipe bombs together to get through to some people.

Hat tip: Blog brother Cyrano

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:39 AM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Population planning, from abortion to forced sterilization, has always been part of the liberal/collectivist agenda.

"In order to stabilize world populations, we must eliminate three hundred and fifty thousand people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it's just as bad not to say it." No one batted an eye when Jacques Cousteau said this completely contemptuous thing.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 26, 2008 2:23 PM

July 16, 2008

New Communist Manifesto

There's a problem with Reagan's bloodless victory in the Cold War - all of the communists were free to go elsewhere and carry on their life's work. Their latest manifesto (that I'm aware of) is called: Agenda 21.

To wit: The 27 Principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.

A few examples:

Principle 1 -

"Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature."

And all other rights not hereby enumerated are at risk.

Principle 2 -

"States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the sovereign right to exploit their own resources pursuant to their own environmental and developmental policies, and the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other States or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction."

Global Warming anyone?

Principle 3 -

"The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations."

Natural resources (fossil fuels) must be left in the ground for use by future generations. And future generations must leave it for those that follow them. And so on.

(I'm not sure I can take much more of this.)

Principle 4 -

"In order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shall constitute an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation from it."

Thou shalt not create buildings which trample a single plant or insect.

(Let's skip ahead a bit.)

Principle 15 -

"In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation."

"Don't know where were goin' but there's no use bein' late!"

Principle 20 -

Women have a vital role in environmental management and development. Their full participation is therefore essential to achieve sustainable development.

Perhaps women deserve government salaries for living sustainably (i.e. without engaging in commerce.)

Principle 24 -

"Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall therefore respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary."

"Hey Joe, where you goin' with that grenade in your hand?" Did you get an EIS first?

Principle 25 -

"Peace, development and environmental protection are interdependent and indivisible."

Aw shucks, ain't that nice?

Principle 26 -

"States shall resolve all their environmental disputes peacefully and by appropriate means in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations."


Principle 27 -

"States and people shall cooperate in good faith and in a spirit of partnership in the fulfilment of the principles embodied in this Declaration and in the further development of international law in the field of sustainable development."

Thus shall it be. Amen.

Think none of this will ever effect you? My brother learned differently when he applied for a building permit in Boulder County.

Sustainability in Land Use in Boulder County

What is sustainability? (Notice that Boulder County now has a second web presence, in the .org domain.) Oy.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:18 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

And how is your brother's sweatshop assault weapons facility coming along? I think it's a great idea.

Love this from the Boulder site:

But a truly "sustainable" community goes far beyond basic energy efficiency and pollution reduction. A sustainable community provides for all the needs of its inhabitants (including people, animals and habitats). This includes protecting open spaces, natural habitats and landscapes; ensuring access to basic human needs such as food, housing and health care; encouraging an active community involvement in social, political and community activities; and providing the every-day services that make daily tasks possible - services such as maintaining transportation routes and ensuring fair, accurate, democratic elections.

Who needs life, liberty, and the pursuit of happines when you got all that?

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2008 5:14 PM
But jk thinks:

As to your main point, the problem is not the bloodless destruction of Communism, Jay Nordlinger at National Review has frequently said that the problem is that there was no Nuremberg. There should have been war crime trials and a few folks hung.

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2008 5:18 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Don't you wish for the days when we ostracized communists at home, and shot (at) them abroad?

Good thing you didn't go through the whole thing. Onion is blocked at work, and I would have vomited had I read them all.

"shall therefore respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict"

IOW words, scorched earth for me, but not for thee!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 17, 2008 8:48 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Now you know why I'm a Boulder refugee.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 17, 2008 2:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This helps everyone else understand BR, but I already knew. I'm a Boulder refugee myself, now living in Weld County after 17 years (plus 4 more years of college) living in not just the county, but the city of Boulder.

With a Longmont mailing address my brother held out longer than we did, but he'll be next.

Posted by: johngalt at July 17, 2008 3:26 PM

May 17, 2008

Quote of the Day

Instapundit links to a San Diego Christian leader who wants to organize a boycott of Starbucks over its new (old) logo. "According to Mr. Dice, the new image 'has a naked woman on it with her legs spread like a prostitute. Need I say more? It's extremely poor taste, and the company might as well call themselves Slutbucks.'"

Commenters on the Amazon Al Dente blog point out that it is the original logo, that the slut is actually a mermaid, et cetera. But this comment really hit home:

Vile Starbucks Siren, wafting forth her burnt caffeine aroma, luring poor hipsters to their overpriced doom.

UPDATE: This Internet Thingy might really take off. Here's an informative history of the Starbucks logo.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:46 PM

October 3, 2007

Former President Raises Voice

President James Earl Carter has a reputation as a pacifist, but the Wall Street Journal reports that he shouted during an "Elders" publicity stunt and feel good patrol diplomatic visit to Darfur.

KABKABIYA, Sudan -- Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter got in a shouting match Wednesday with Sudanese security services who blocked him from a town in Darfur where he was trying to meet representatives of ethnic African refugees from the ongoing conflict.
U.N. officials told Mr. Carter's entourage that the Sudanese state police could bar his way. "Let's go, or somebody is going to get shot," said one U.N. official, as an increasingly tense crowd gathered. Billionaire businessman Richard Branson and Graca Machel, the wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, tried to ease Mr. Carter's frustration as his U.S. secret service security urged him to climb into a car and leave. "I'll tell President Bashir about this," Mr. Carter said, referring to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

A friend of ThreeSources sends a free link to a Yahoo/AP story on this, and suggests "The obvious lesson is that Carter and symbolism, along with .50, might get you a cup of coffee. Marines will get you results."

Posted by John Kranz at 10:17 AM | Comments (2)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

This is an evil thought, but ExPres Carter could have done A LOT for the oppressed people of Darfur by getting shot.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at October 3, 2007 11:53 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Similarly, I was thinking "Too bad it didn't happen to him."

Benefits: we won't have Jimmy Carter to listen to anymore, and it'll give us an excuse to go in and kick Sudanese Muslim ass.

Cons: can anyone think of any? We won't have Jimmy Carter to kick around anymore, but he's getting awfully tiring.

Evil thoughts? Damn right.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 3, 2007 1:42 PM

September 11, 2007

Off-Grid Living

Sort of.

For lunch in her modest apartment, Madeline Nelson tossed a salad made with shaved carrots and lettuce she dug out of a Whole Foods dumpster. She flavored the dressing with miso powder she found in a trash bag on a curb in Chinatown. She baked bread made with yeast plucked from the garbage of a Middle Eastern grocery store.

Nelson is a former corporate executive who can afford to dine at four-star restaurants. But she prefers turning garbage into gourmet meals without spending a cent.

In the country I grew up in, if Ms Nelson had kids, they would take away them away. Now she's celebrated.
Freeganism was born out of environmental justice and anti-globalization movements dating to the 1980s. The concept was inspired in part by groups like "Food Not Bombs," an international organization that feeds the homeless with surplus food that's often donated by businesses.

Freegans are often college-educated people from middle-class families.

Adam Weissman, whose New York group Freegan.info has been around for about four years, lives with his father, a pediatrician, and mother, a teacher. The 29-year-old is unemployed by choice, taking care of his elderly grandparents daily and working odd jobs when he needs to. The rest of his time is spent furthering the freegan cause, he said, which is "about opting out of capitalism in any way that we can."

I work with a guy, still very liberal, who lived on a commune in the Seattle area in the seventies.

They tried this. It's not new.

I'm not quite sure why Marty left but "not really working out" seems to be a plausable reason.

Read the whole, sad sad thing.

Posted by AlexC at 2:15 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

More transparency: this is what life is like if you "opt out of capitalism."

Posted by: jk at September 11, 2007 3:34 PM
But AlexC thinks:

... by living off of it's refuse.

One of the quotes from captions... "She concedes that she was somewhat surprised once when she did not not get sick after eating salmon retrieved from a trash container."

Perhaps it's a miracle... a sign from Our Lady of Perpetual Squalor.

Posted by: AlexC at September 11, 2007 3:41 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I had written a while back on starving Kenyans refusing food out of pride, and Freegans' misguided economics.


Putting aside the safety issues (never mind garbage cans, if something's left on the street corner, you can bet it's for a goddamn good reason!), for most of us, it's just not economically practical to search for hours to find scraps of food. It's better to spend those hours actually working, then go to the grocery store that helps minimize our search costs.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 12, 2007 10:22 AM
But jk thinks:

I'll try and play JohnGalt here (he's probably on a cattle drive or something). It's a philosophy problem.

This is what happens when you give up your individual interests to pursue a nebulous public good. This woman has a college education and had a decent career. She allowed herself to believe that this is somehow better for the planet.

Where jg would likely not join me, is that I would point out that the world is really much better off having her work and create wealth and innovation. Let the professional trash removal crew do the job; they have a distinct comparative advantage.

Posted by: jk at September 12, 2007 10:38 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I would join you in that assessment, JK: The "world" is much better off when every individual refuses to give up his individual interests.

I wasn't on a cattle drive yesterday. I was on sick leave. Damn salmon.

Posted by: johngalt at September 12, 2007 2:57 PM
But jk thinks:

The Salmon Moussssssse! Gets 'em everytime.

Posted by: jk at September 12, 2007 3:52 PM

September 10, 2007

More Transparency

Don Luskin links to The World Without Us website. Be sure to watch the animation that shows how, in 370 years or so, nature can completely reclaim your house. What an improvement.

I appreciate these people sharing their true goals. A good friend who is both a moonbat and an honest interlocutor, sends a link to George Carlin's take on global warming: in a nutshell, "Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are fucked."

The planet'll be here and we'll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet'll shake us off like a bad case of fleas. A surface nuisance.

For my part, you can put me down as pro-people. I'm willing to go on a limb.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:01 PM

August 20, 2007

Bill Maher, Profile in Courage

Jonathan Last at Galley Slaves is extremely impressed. It seems that Bill Maher is releasing a movie called "Religious," next Easter. And Maher is going to risk Hollywood ostracism by actually criticizing religion. I hope he does not crack under the pressure. Last says “This is why we have artists--to speak truth to the powerful."

Anyway, Maher had this to say about the movie, "We talked to everybody. We went everywhere. We went to every place where there is religion. We went to Vatican City. We went to Jerusalem. We went to Salt Lake City. And I think I’ve insulted everybody!"

Christians, check. Jews, check. Mormons, check. Yup, that's everybody! There's no other important religious group worth mentioning that maybe deserves some fun-poking and that might react badly to being ridiculed. And thank goodness the film will be released around Easter and not some other holy period.

Nobody has seen the movie yet. And maybe Maher really is an equal-opportunity offender. But if he is, I'll be pretty surprised. After all, why go after a religion where offended believers really might kill you when you can get the same thrill beating up on people who never push back.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:53 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

For some time, I've wanted to organize a "Koran Pooper Scooper Day": when you walk your dog, bring a copy of the Koran and rip out a few pages as necessary. Personally, I'd love having a fatwa issued against me, but there would probably be a big backlash against me at my job. Not that any of my superiors are saying I can't express myself privately on my own time, but publicity may follow me to the office and interfere with my work.

Remember, some guy named Jesus offended a whole bunch of Sanhedrin, Pharisees and scribes. Considering the political power they wielded, they were more like mullahs.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 21, 2007 1:50 PM

July 7, 2007

A Toast to Liberals

No, not Mises-Hayek-Friedman liberals. Real, progressive, Paul Wellstone, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale liberals -- are they all from Minnesota?

First, an atta-boy to Garrison Keillor. Lileks tells us:

In other old news: <keillorvoice> It’s the birthday of the Prairie Home Companion. </keillorvoice> The first live broadcast of this Minnesota institution happened today in 1974, and buzz.mn extends its congrats to Garrison Keillor and all the folks at PHC for thirty-three years of keeping the traditions of old radio alive.

I listened to Keillor every Saturday until the 104th Congress was seated and I could no longer stand his cruel and unfunny political chatter. But he remains a singular talent. I watched the Prairie Home Companion Movie during a visit with Sugarchuck. It was good, but I watched a July 4th show on PBS that I found even more entertaining than the fictional portrayal (oddly enough, Meryl Streep starred in both). There's never been anything like it before of since.

Boulder is full of bumper stickers that their owners think to be the height of comedy. They're all sanctimonious and are almost entirely unamusing. A good friend has a Volvo (natch!) with "God is NOT a Republican!" But last week,. I saw a funny bumper sticker. On the back of a Subaru Forrester (double natch!):

"I'll be post-feminist in the post-patriarchy!"

Can't say I'd agree with this young woman's view of life and society, but I at least got a good laugh.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:54 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"Post-patriarchy." That's when Hillary Clinton of the mommy party becomes president and tries to make the government EVERYBODY'S mommy. Right?

If that happens I predict that all of the government's patriarchal "life partners" (i.e. taxpayers) will seek a divorce. Failing that they'll quit their jobs and become "deadbeat patriarchs."

Posted by: johngalt at July 8, 2007 11:08 AM

July 2, 2007

Quote of the Day

We're plagued with an every-man-for-himself attitude. That attitude may have been good in helping us build this country and helping us become the innovators that we are. But we won't make it through the 21st century intact as a great country if we don't adopt a different ethos that says we're all in the same boat. We sink or swim together. We have to help each other. -- Michael Moore, interviewed in US News and World Report
Hat-tip: Don Luskin

I'm not going to say a word. I just post this for your enjoyment.

UPDATE: Austan Goolsbee reviews Sicko in Slate. This very bright economist is advising Senator Obama. Hat-tip: Greg Mankiw, who is advising Gov. Romney. When somebody hires Art Laffer, let me know.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:00 PM | Comments (3)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Were I in the same boat as Michael Moore, I'd be afraid that he'd eat me. Or make us capsize. The latter is the more appropriate analogy, because it's disgusting slobs like him, and their I-don't-give-a-**** attitude that the rest of us should pay for their poor lifestyles. Such slugs expect the rest of us to share the costs of health care equally, when it's their morbid gluttony that makes them a burden on us.

By the way, after losing 35 pounds, I'm stronger and in better shape than in my teens, when I was 30 pounds lighter than now. My heart rate went from 70-80 per minute to the low 60s. Some might consider 70s to be normal, but it's too high for a decent level of fitness. Also, think about it: a heart that pumps less but more efficiently won't give out after only 60 years. All this because I chose to give a damn about my own health. My friend Jackie Passey was right all along: fat is a choice.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 2, 2007 4:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Plagued?" Psh-awwww.

Perry, Michael Moore would ask the government to make your heart help pump his blood if he thought there was a way to do so.

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2007 3:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We are "plagued" Michael, with an every-other-man-is-for-me attitude. Now you tell me, who is the selfish one?

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2007 3:17 PM

April 16, 2007


On this dark day (well tomorrow) where does your tax dollar go?


Posted by AlexC at 5:27 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Talk about an abused law. It's bad enough that all these execrable groups are tax free, it also puts the government in charge of deciding who's good and good not.

Steve Forbes was on Kudlow the other night calling for a flat tax of 17% with a family of four's first 45,000 being exempt. I was weeping as I thought of the economic explosion that would ignite in this country.

As Silence would say, only 535 reasons we won't do it...

Posted by: jk at April 17, 2007 11:54 AM
But AlexC thinks:

Actually, Senator Arlen Specter (i'm not really a fan).... is introducing a 20% flat tax.

Posted by: AlexC at April 17, 2007 5:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay, 534. Sadly, I cannot imagine the Senior Senator from Pennsylvania would vote for a Senatorial-power-reducing flat tax if it were poised to succeed.

Posted by: jk at April 17, 2007 6:17 PM
But dagny thinks:

As JG notes below, a flat, "percentage," tax is not a flat tax. Nor is it a fair tax. It is, I must admit, a big improvement on the current situation.

Why don't we have more proposals out there for consumption based taxation. Think how much the government could save by eliminating the IRS.

Posted by: dagny at April 18, 2007 10:24 AM
But jk thinks:

Consumption based taxation is far and away my first choice, but I think that you need to repeal the 16th Amendment. lest you end up with a British-style hybrid.

Removing Congressional power and social engineering from the tax code is so daunting a challenge, I will take it in any form. Consumption tax is the best idea but the hardest to get. The appeal of Forbes’s suggestion was that it is explainable, defensible (the exemption blunts regressivity concerns) and could be put in place by a single Congress that rode to power on the idea.

Posted by: jk at April 18, 2007 12:11 PM

November 27, 2006

Kerry Without The Humor

I watched Rep. Rangel yesterday on Fox News Sunday and my jaw dropped to the floor. He said the exact same thing Senator Kerry did in his "botched joke." Nobody made too big a deal of it and my mind went on to other things.

Taranto hit it today; Hot-air has the video up; and Instapundit linked to the Hot-Air post. I don't know, does anybody care that an incoming committee chair said this:

If a young fella has an option of having a decent career or joining the army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq.

No young, bright individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits.

I hope that's true, Congressman. The ones I have had the privilege of meeting do it for far more important reasons, and it frightens me that you do not understand.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:31 PM | Comments (1)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

The last humorous thing Kerry did was order a cheesesteak w/ Swiss Cheese at Pat's Steaks in '04!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at November 28, 2006 11:06 PM

November 26, 2006

They Wuz Robbed!

Rove's operatives at Diebold were unable to steal a Congressional majority, but a Democratic Club in Pennsylvania (where else?) felt the stinging bite of crime last week. Dr. Rick at The American Check-Up reports:

According to Bethlehem police, thieves ransacked the Edgeboro Democratic Club, 1427 Marvine St., after kicking a hole in a side door between 4 p.m. Thursday and 6 p.m. Monday. Once inside, police said, they stole a round beer clock, 12 to 14 whiskey bottles, two cases of assorted beer, two speakers, a stereo, a touch-screen video game, 11/2 kegs of beer, a case of malt liquor and 500 packs of cigarettes.

Malt Liquor and cigarettes, No wonder we lost. Doctor Rick wonders "what else would you expect the local Dems to have? Hookers?" I wonder what might have been taken that they perhaps did not mention to the police.

In related news, I am considering changing parties.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:38 PM | Comments (2)
But AlexC thinks:

Why in the world would the Dems need 10,000 cigarettes on hand? It's not like any one or 10 people could smoke those quickly.

Were they buying votes? Crazier things have happened.

Posted by: AlexC at November 26, 2006 11:17 PM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

If I know the dems, I'd think they were trying to influence the Native American vote. Not that I'm saying that Native Americans drink and smoke alot. Maybe it was the Italian vote ....

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at November 27, 2006 1:06 PM

November 17, 2006

Senator Edwards and the PS3

I was gonna link to this, but I didn't have the right hook.

Wal-Mart issued a press release this afternoon saying that an aide to John Edwards, the former Democratic vice presidential candidate and North Carolina senator, contacted a Wal-Mart store in Raleigh, N.C., in search of a Sony PlayStation3 “on behalf of the senator’s family.” The coveted game console, available in limited quantities, goes on sale at midnight tonight.

The giant retailer noted the irony, given Edwards’s participation Wednesday in a conference call organized by Wal-Mart critic WakeUpWalMart.com. During the call, Edwards criticized Wal-Mart’s employment practices and recounted how his son had taken to task another student for buying shoes at Wal-Mart. WakeUpWalMart.com and other union-backed groups have pilloried the retailer’s employment practices at several events recently.

ThreeSources friend Sugarchuck rides to my rescue. "Two Americas," says sc in an email, "the one where people wait their turn in line and play by the rules and the second where fat cat trial lawyers try to use influence and power to jump to the front of the line and get theirs while the regular guy waits."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:13 PM

November 9, 2006

Yeah, Death Camps!

Ted Rall

    In January 2006 HomeSec awarded a $385 million contract to Kellogg, Brown and Root, the subsidiary of Halliburton Co., to build "temporary detention and processing capabilities"--internment camps--"in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs."

    The question, asks Progressive magazine editor Ruth Conniff, "is what is the government planning to do with mass roundups of people?" After all, Bush and other Republican leaders have spent five years calling Democrats and others who disagree with them traitors and terrorists. Following so much hateful rhetoric, you can't blame liberals for wondering whether they too are about to be declared "enemy combatants." They're not paranoid; they're just paying attention.

    And Now, Martial Law

    About a week ago some left-wing bloggers began circulating rumors that Bush had secretly signed something called the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" that "allows the president to declare a 'public emergency' and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to 'suppress public disorder.'" I couldn't find the text of the law at the time, formerly H.R. 5122, or a reliable media account, so I decided not to report on it.

    I can now confirm the bloggers' account. Bush signed the JWDAA hours after the MCA, in a furtive closed-door White House ceremony. There is, buried deep down in Title V, Subtitle B, Part II, Section 525(a) of the JWDAA, a coup. The Bush Administration has quietly stolen the National Guard away from the states.

Just a reminder that winning an election doesn't make the undo the insanity.

Posted by AlexC at 4:48 PM

November 4, 2006


Here's how not to write a get out the vote letter.

First, advice to blog readers.

    I attach a letter I have distributed to the voters in my division. Feel free to duplicate it.

With that in mind, let's get to the letter.
    Election Day is Tuesday, November 7, 2008. Voting in our division will be at the Fleisher Art Memorial located at 719 Catharine Street. Polls are open from 7:00am- 8:00 pm.

    This is an extremely important election and it is crucial that we all come out and vote. Ed Rendell, Bob Brady and Babbette Joseph are all running for reelection and deserve our support.

Voting date. Check. Sort of.

Voting Place. Check.

Candidates. Check. Well... except her name is Babette Josephs.

Office they're running for? I have no idea.

Oh, we forgot Bob Casey, he's running for something.

Well, Bob Casey is mentioned twice. That's a lot right?


Because Rick Santorum is mentioned 11 times.

After saying vote for Bob Casey, they enumerate the reasons for voting AGAINST Rick Santorum. Apparently, they are legion.

The post is titled "Vote Against Hate", but I fail to see anything but for Santorum.

Anyway... this is not the best part.

That's this part.

    Santorum is a right wing zealot who will be defeated but only if we all turn out and vote on November 8, 2006.


Emphasis added.

This blogger distributed the letter to voters in his precinct. Let's hope he got them all. ;)

If the Democrats lose in Philadelphia, it's 'cause they did it to themselves.

Posted by AlexC at 10:42 PM | Comments (3)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

I got the EXACT same letter for my voting poll location.

Except I'm up in the 34th Ward and they want me to vote for Bob Brady, (PA-01).

Why bother? He ran unopposed in the primary and he's unopposed now. That means he already has the job.


Posted by: TrekMedic251 at November 5, 2006 1:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Wow. I can't believe that you have come out as pro-hate.

Posted by: jk at November 5, 2006 1:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The real question here is, who's dumber: Democrat voters or Democrat candidates and their operatives? It looks like a dead heat from Palm Beach county.

Posted by: johngalt at November 6, 2006 2:57 PM

November 3, 2006

Academia and Halloween


From the Ivory Towers.

    University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann threw her annual Halloween costume party at her home Tuesday night. Among the guests was Saad Saadi, who came dressed as a suicide bomber, complete with plastic dynamite strapped to his chest and a toy automatic rifle. Worse, Gutmann posed with Saadi!

    An obvious question: would Gutmann have posed with a guest--or even allowed him into her house--if he'd dressed as Adolf Hitler or a Nazi SS officer? A KKK member?

Follow the link for pictures.

Posted by AlexC at 12:23 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I dunno, maybe it’s my turn to defend the tower inhabitants. The guy has MidEastern features. He's in college. He came dressed as a terrorist. All the things wrong with academia, I have to say this doesn't bother me very much.

I'll concede the point of a double standard but the terrorist is topical and relevant. A Nazi or a Klansman or a Senior Senator from West Virginia would be importune but irrelevant.

Posted by: jk at November 3, 2006 12:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

JK has a point that the costumes (there was more than one) were topical, but they were certainly in bad taste. The interesting observation being made is that they're not in bad taste to ALL Americans, only to those who think the enemy is a danger to us. Not coincidentally, a vast majority of people on college campii are not in that camp.

Last week's episode of the CBS (of all places) soldier drama "The Unit" included some scenes of an army wife interacting with war protesters. I'll blog it shortly, but the relevant passage was when she was asked by a dirty hippie, "What side are you on?" She replied, "I'm on the American side."

Posted by: johngalt at November 4, 2006 12:15 PM

October 31, 2006

Supporting the Troops

Don't forget, these guys support the troops.

Update: Signs of a meltdown?

Posted by AlexC at 2:09 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

John Kerry, supporting the troops since 1970!

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2006 2:19 PM
But jk thinks:

A Kerry press release: "Washington – Senator John Kerry issued the following statement in response to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, assorted right wing nut-jobs, and right wing talk show hosts desperately distorting Kerry’s comments about President Bush to divert attention from their disastrous record"

Fair to point out that AlexC is neither Tony Snow nor a talk show host.

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2006 4:10 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I prefer "digital brownshirt", just ask Al.


Posted by: AlexC at October 31, 2006 8:09 PM

October 18, 2006

Chevy Truck Ad

It's not just me. In a previous life I was a VP (that stands for Boss's kid) of an advertising agency. I won't say that makes me an intelligent critic of advertising but it did teach me to look past entertainment value and try to judge its efficacy.

The Chevy Silverado ad with John Mellencamp makes me stop to watch it every time -- just to see if it's really that bad.

Seth Stevenson thinks it is. Writing for Slate Magazine, he gives it a "D" (I'd've gone for D+).

This ad makes me—and, judging by my e-mail, some of you—very angry. It's not OK to use images of Rosa Parks, MLK, the Vietnam War, the Katrina disaster, and 9/11 to sell pickup trucks. It's wrong. These images demand a little reverence and quiet contemplation. They are not meant to be backed with a crappy music track and then mushed together in a glib swirl of emotion tied to a product launch. Please, Chevy, have a modicum of shame next time.

I should probably leave it at that (the poor ad is just trying to sell trucks, after all, in its own muddle-headed way). But this isn't your basic flag-waving car commercial. It mixes patriotic images with some heart-rending, shameful episodes from our past. And the ambiguity is furthered by the presence of John Mellencamp—a guy who, in a different incarnation, used to make semipolitical statements about the dark side of the American dream. A guy who wrote an open letter in 2003 arguing that the Iraq war was "solidifying our image as the globe's leading bully" and wondering why President Bush hadn't been "recalled" yet. Mellencamp once sang the line, "Ain't that America" with a decidedly bitter tinge. Now he sings the remarkably similar line, "This is our country," and it's hard not to wonder what he means by it.

So it's me, and Stevenson, and Jonathan Last at Galley Slaves.

Stevenson goes on to compare it to President Carter's Malaise speech and ends with this:

Automotive blog Jalopnik reports that an early version of the ad included footage of a nuclear mushroom cloud. Well, that would have brightened things up. I wonder if they could squeeze in the Rodney King beating and the Abu Ghraib photos, too.

Edgy. I give them the D+ for edgy. This could be a series, next the Dixie Chicks then Neil Young.

Posted by John Kranz at 8:09 PM | Comments (2)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Anybody have Cat Steven's cell phone number? I lost his old one when he changed his name and got barred from US flights.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at October 19, 2006 9:44 AM
But AlexC thinks:

Why would you want to call him? Aren't his phones tapped?

Posted by: AlexC at October 19, 2006 4:40 PM

October 10, 2006


Barbara Streisand speaks truth to power, I guess.

    There was Streisand, enduring a smattering of very loud jeers as she and "George Bush" _ a celebrity impersonator _ muddled through a skit that portrayed the president as a bumbling idiot.

    Though most of the crowd offered polite applause during the slightly humorous routine, it got a bit too long, especially for a few in the audience who just wanted to hear Streisand sing like she had been doing for the past hour.

    "Come on, be polite!" the well-known liberal implored during the sketch as she and "Bush" exchanged zingers. But one heckler wouldn't let up. And finally, Streisand let him have it.

    "Shut the (expletive) up!" Streisand bellowed, drawing wild applause. "Shut up if you can't take a joke!"

    With that one F-word, the jeers ended. And the message was delivered _ no one gets away with trying to upstage Barbra Streisand, especially not in her hometown.

    Once the outburst (which Streisand later apologized for) was over, Streisand noted that "the artist's role is to disturb," and delivered a message of tolerance before launching into a serenely beautiful rendition of "Somewhere." That put the focus back on what the audience came for _ her voice, one of the greatest female instruments of her generation.

If her role is to disturb, I for one eagerly anticipate the skit featuring witty repartee with Mohammed.

Posted by AlexC at 11:36 AM | Comments (3)
But Rick Tennesen thinks:

No one listens to Babs..... Or the Baldwins.

Posted by: Rick Tennesen at October 10, 2006 1:27 PM
But jk thinks:

If her role is to disturb, I hope she graced the audience with "Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long"

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2006 1:27 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Give her the Ditzy Chicks treatment!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at October 12, 2006 10:50 PM

October 8, 2006


I saw this tonight...

    Michael Steele, the Republican candidate for Senate in Maryland is not exactly a conservative's ideal candidate. But he is as an African-American running in a very blue Northeast state, his battle is uphill, so we can't expect our ideal in this race.

What would you call me?

An idiot at the least, perhaps ill-syntaxed.

No matter what, it really begs the question of what the ideal would be. A white guy?

At which point I'm a bigot, or really really really clumsy with English.

Anyway, here's what it really said.

    Harold Ford, Jr., the Democratic candidate for Senate in Tennessee is not exactly a progressive's ideal candidate. But he is as an African-American running in a very Red Southern state, his battle is uphill, so we can't expect our ideal in this race.

On the front page of DailyKos, it's ok. They're liberals.

Nothing to see here.

Posted by AlexC at 10:24 PM | Comments (1)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

OK,..then what does that make Lynn Swann up here in PA?

He's a black conservative in a VERY red state with two big blue blotches on the edges.

Seems black voters ARE color-blind, because Fast Eddie Rendell, the D incumbent, is killing Swann by 20+ points in the polls.

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at October 9, 2006 9:35 PM

August 23, 2006

Risky Business

A Hollywood celebrity is actually, financially punished for moonbatism. Mirabile dictu!

The Wall Street Journal (Kind of like E!, but with a conservative editorial page) reports Sumner Redstone Gives Tom Cruise His Walking Papers

In an unusually public rebuke, Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone said that his company's movie studio, Paramount Pictures, plans to end its 14-year relationship with the 44-year-old Mr. Cruise and his film-production company. In an interview, Mr. Redstone, who is 83, was clear about the reason: Mr. Cruise's public antics and incessant stumping for personal causes, notably Scientology, have become intolerable and have been a drag on ticket sales for films like "Mission: Impossible III."

"It's nothing to do with his acting ability, he's a terrific actor," said Mr. Redstone. "But we don't think that someone who effectuates creative suicide and costs the company revenue should be on the lot."

As a consequence, Paramount will not renew the expensive deal that has made the studio home to Cruise/Wagner Productions, the company Mr. Cruise owns with partner Paula Wagner. That deal in recent years paid Mr. Cruise and Ms. Wagner up to $10 million a year to develop films and operate an office on the Paramount lot. Mr. Cruise's representatives had indicated in recent weeks that the star might be willing to discuss a less-lucrative deal to stay at the studio. But now they are parting ways.

It seems "His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."

You can take on the US Military, Christians, and the concept of freedom. But don't -- DON'T -- mess with South Park.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:06 PM | Comments (2)
But AlexC thinks:

I believe the proper term is "moon-battery."


Posted by: AlexC at August 23, 2006 1:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Surprised MS Word didn't suggest that, thanks.

Posted by: jk at August 23, 2006 3:27 PM

August 18, 2006

The Carter Years

My post yesterday was meant to remind people that the effects of elected bodies last longer than their terms.

President Carter served one term between 1977 and 1981. I trace a lot of terrorism back to his decision to not seriously pursue the Iranians who took American hostages.

Is it me, or are the Carter Years back? Grab your 8-tracks and start up the Pacer. Our 39th President himself made news yesterday with Arabist prattle and partisan attacks on the current Administration.

Jimmy Carter says he's concerned that Arab hatred of the United States will only continue to grow given the Bush administration's support for what he calls Israel's "unjustified attack" on Lebanese civilians.

Carter tells Germany's Der Spiegel: "I don't think Israel has any legal or moral justification for their massive bombing of the entire nation of Lebanon."

Then Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, whom he appointed, made what appears to be a patently political rebuke of the NSA surveillance program (Carter's people have a freakin' gift for timing, don't they?)

Now Andrew Young, Carter's UN Ambassador and civil rights icon is stepping down from a position because he made racial remarks. The Wall Street Journal News Page reports that "Civil-rights leader Andrew Young, who was hired to help Wal-Mart Stores Inc. improve its public image, said early Friday he was stepping down from his position as head of an outside support group amid criticism for remarks seen as racially offensive."

When asked about whether Wal*Mart should be faulted for pushing local retailers out, Young had a reply which does not come from the Wal*Mart PR playbook:

"Well, I think they should; they ran the 'mom and pop' stores out of my neighborhood," the paper quoted Mr. Young as saying. "But you see, those are the people who have been overcharging us, selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables. And they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs; very few black people own these stores."

I don't think he's out of a gig for long. The DNC will hire him to come up to Sausalito, Westchester county and the Hamptons to blast Wal*Mart. He'll probably get a raise.

All this from a single term. Just say no to a Democratic 110th.

UPDATE: I changed the link on the Judge Taylor Item to a free WSJ Editorial that better captures my accusation of partisanship. The editorial makes the point I've been crying to hear somebody else say about the NSA surveillance:

Judge Taylor sees an analogy here, but she manages to forget or overlook that no one is being denied his liberty and no evidence is being brought in criminal proceedings based on what the NSA might learn through listening to al Qaeda communications. The wiretapping program is an intelligence operation, not a law-enforcement proceeding.

That's the biggest argument in favor of the program (well, until 8/10).

Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I have a dream in which every American, without regard to the color of his skin, can overcharge his brothers and sisters and sell stale bread, bad meat, and wilted vegetables!

Posted by: jk at August 18, 2006 8:31 PM

August 11, 2006

Smoke 'em if you got 'em

I quit smoking about 15 years ago. Unlike poor President Johnson, I lost the cravings over the course of several years. I could even have an occasional one (in Ireland, everybody smokes) but I am a cured man. That is, until I read Clay Risen's column in TNR online.

Now I think it may be my duty to take it up. Risen is upset at people who call themselves liberal and advance a liberal agenda (We're talking Humphrey liberals here, not von Mises), yet, gasp-cough-cough, smoke! Not only do they contribute to pollution and give their money to evil tobacco companies, but they express solidarity with bete noir Ayn Rand!

Among Ayn Rand's stranger quirks was her insistence that smoking was not just a right, but a moral obligation. To her, the burning cigarette was nothing less than the physical embodiment of the individual spirit: "When a man thinks, there is a spot of fire alive in his mind--and it is proper that he should have the burning point of a cigarette as his one expression," she wrote in her propaganda tract-cum-novel Atlas Shrugged.

Such quasi-mysticism may sound strange coming from the self-appointed doyenne of reason (or not, given Rand's hard-core nicotine addiction). But, especially in light of the health and environmental evidence against smoking, Rand's position makes a certain amount of sense: What better way to give the world the finger than to light one up? What better way to assert your complete independence from society--and your utter disdain for people who assert otherwise--than to sacrifice your own long-term health and that of your neighbors for a moment of self-gratification?

This is why it is striking to find so many liberals who smoke. Is there anything more hypocritical than someone who avers a commitment to the public good, who values personal sacrifice in service of society, who declaims the noxious influence of big business in America, who preaches environmental protection--all while puffing away?

These people are such scolds. They decry Puritanism, but they want to bring back the stocks for smokers, and SUV drivers, and Wal*Mart shoppers, and people who don't listen to NPR.
For Rand, while the personal consequences of smoking proved ultimately compelling (she gave up once she developed lung cancer), it's highly unlikely that the environmental or public health arguments would have mattered much; after all, under her philosophy of radical selfishness, her desires were absolute trumps over any construction of the "greater good."

One would expect a liberal to see things much differently. A liberal would hold that the public good is a compelling, though rarely absolute, interest against his own needs and wants--less against his needs, more so against his wants. The less urgent the need or want, the more compelling the public good. For example, a liberal would recognize that he needs to get from home to work, and may likely have no other choice but to drive. Given that driving a car puts strain on the environment, this is a necessary compromise of a public good in favor of a personal need. But he would also recognize that he has several options in meeting that need--should he drive the hybrid he knows emits less pollution or the SUV he really wants? Should he carpool, even though he'd rather spend time in the car alone? In each case the former is better for the public good, while the latter meets his wants at the expense of the public good. The more willing he is to make these sorts of concessions to the public good, the more in line he is with liberal principles.

This says a lot more about Mr. Risen than it says about Ms. Rand.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:43 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

This Risen is an angry young man, isn't he? The contemporary resurgence of Rand's ideas must really be getting under his skin.

Though the Atlas Shrugged quote is accurate, Rand considered smoking emblematic of man's dominion over nature, not a "moral obligation." This was in 1957 mind you, long before objective scientific evidence of smoking's health consequences was known. "Lung cancer?" What's he smoking? Rand died of heart failure. (I know, I know, not enough tofu.) http://www.nndb.com/people/097/000030007/

Here's the real outrage, though: Attributing her mere "desires" as absolute trumps over the "greater good" evidencing her philosophy of "radical selfishness." What RATIONAL selfishness holds is that every man is an end in himself and is morally free to choose his own course in life so long as he refrains from the initiation of force against other men. (What could be more liberal, Clay?)

This essay is black and white proof that Ann Coulter is right: These people are religious followers of the deity called "public good." Rand and I? Atheists.

Posted by: johngalt at August 12, 2006 6:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

P.S. Thanks for the hanging curveball, JK.

Posted by: johngalt at August 12, 2006 6:02 PM
But jk thinks:

Wasn't sure you'd swing. I remember your being very anti-smoking.

The Ayn Rand Biographical FAQ says "A few authors, apparently careless with their research, have stated that Rand died of lung cancer. Rand was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1974, but she underwent surgery, which she reported to be "a complete success." She also stopped smoking at this time. There is no evidence that she experienced any recurrence of the cancer or that it was directly involved in her death, which did not come until 1982."

I was a smoker when I read Atlas Shrugged and I remember that quote vividly. I completely agree with your interpretation. It's about having such complete control of fire that you carry it in your hand when uncontrolled fire had bedeviled man for millennia.

Posted by: jk at August 13, 2006 1:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Kudos for the research, friend. I could find nothing about it in my brief attempt.

As for my opposition to smoking, your memory is correct. I still revulse at the smell of cigarette smoke (cigars are a different matter) but I've learned that the right of private property trumps my personal preferences. As long as I'm free to avoid an establishment, 'tis the owner's right to choose smoking or non.

So there you have it: Two deeply held and principled beliefs coexisting. Ain't it a beautiful thing this consistent, integrated philosophy!

Posted by: johngalt at August 13, 2006 1:41 PM

July 25, 2006

Life Imitates "Night Court"

(Apologies to James Taranto for the headline...)

There was a great line in the old TV show "Night Court." Ambitious lawyer Dan Fielding (John Larroquette), hears discussion of the Nobel Peace Prize. He says "I'd kill for one of those."

Fast forward a couple decades, and life has caught up:

Peace prize winner 'could kill' Bush

Right now, I would love to kill George Bush." Her young audience at the Brisbane City Hall clapped and cheered.

"I don't know how I ever got a Nobel Peace Prize, because when I see children die the anger in me is just beyond belief. It's our duty as human beings, whatever age we are, to become the protectors of human life."

Hat-tip Everyday Economist

Posted by John Kranz at 11:18 AM

July 12, 2006

Beyond Lileks

I think James Lileks is one of the greatest writers of our time. I have a bunch of his books and I've given many away for gifts. His "screedy" stuff rings with joy. He displays an easy patriotism to which I relate.

But even the great man comes up short today. His Bleat becomes a takedown of Joel Stein's Eek! A flag on my lawn! in the Los Angeles Times. Lileks is in good form:

That’s the key line, right there. Not because he admits to looking down on people who put up a flag on the Fourth; that’s hardly unusual in the thin moist demographic stratum he occupies. It’s not that they don’t like the flag, necessarily, and it’s not that they don’t enjoy the Fourth, but put the two together and people might get the wrong idea. No, what amused me was the sight of a writer who’d burrowed so far up the aperture of his warm narcissistic cocoon he has no idea how he comes across. I have liberal friends who fly flags without apology or worry, because they’re Americans, because it’s the Fourth, because they love their country, and because they don’t believe that trinity is the property of the other side. Which it isn’t. When it comes to struggling to get the flag on the pole just right, we’re all in this together. But to Mr. Stein, these are people to be looked down upon. Places deserving of a sniff and a snort. Cringe, O Banner-deck’d exurb jingo-huts, at the withering Looking Down Upon, exacted with bone-dry scorn by a professional thinkerator.

But when you read the original column, you get the feeling James went too easy on him.

Stein is "in a tizzy" because a Realtor has -- sit down for this -- put a small American Flag on his lawn. The subhead asks "When a realtor sticks the Stars and Stripes in your front yard, do you trash it or stash it?"

So the reason I didn't want to put a flag outside wasn't because I disapprove of our international policies. It was because I didn't want to associate myself with the other people who put them up, and with their unquestioning, tribal, us-versus-them, arrogant mentality. Though I love being American, I don't want to proclaim it as the sole basis of my identity.
Flying it proudly is not an option for Joel Stein. Eek. He's in a tizzy. poor chap.

Posted by John Kranz at 8:23 PM

June 18, 2006

I thought Sen. Frist bothered me

I cannot get this out of my mind.

James Waterton at Samizdata posts on the Weirdest father-daughter relationship ever. Being an Aussie, he has possibly never been to Arkansas, but the post refers to a serial Kos commenter by the handle of CheChe (I do not make this stuff up!).

CheChe takes the Kos Cause of Disapprobation for the day and puts it, MadLibs style, into the following tender parental anecdote:

I don't think I've ever seen such a look of misery and dejection on the face of my daughter as I just did a moment ago.

I sat down with her on the sofa and (as calmly as I could) tried to explain to her why the Senate Republicans want to drain the treasury in order to give every American a $100 check. I tried to keep my voice steady, but it became increasingly difficult - the rage and feelings of helplessness were just too much. I think my daughter could tell something was wrong. I found myself at such a loss for words - nothing made any sense; nothing makes sense anymore. I finally had to admit, "Honey, I just don't know - I don't know what's going on in this country anymore..."

When I finished her lower lip started to tremble and her eyes began to fill with tears, "Daddy" she said, "why are the Republicans doing this to the country?" Well, that was it for me: I finally fell apart. She just fell into my arms and we both began sobbing for several minutes.

Always the daughter, always a new apogee in misery and dejection:
I don't think I've ever seen such a look of misery and dejection on the face of my daughter as I just did a moment ago. She just couldn't understand why the President would be spying on everyone. "Even my Grandma?" she asked pitifully. [...] When I finished her lower lip started to tremble and her eyes began to fill with tears, "Daddy" she said, "why are the Republicans doing this to the country?" Well, that was it for me: I finally fell apart. She just fell into my arms and we both began sobbing for several minutes.

Poor kid!
I don't think I've ever seen such a look of misery and dejection on the face of my daughter as I just did a moment ago. She just couldn't understand why the President would be going to Iraq when so many things are wrong in this country. "Doesn’t Mr. Bush care about us anymore?" she asked pitifully.

Reading this post, I don't think my wife has ever seen such a look of misery and dejection as...

Posted by John Kranz at 6:41 PM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:


It's a little too good.


Posted by: AlexC at June 18, 2006 10:42 PM

May 31, 2006

Philosophy of the Nuge

ln an interview, Ted Nugent made some funny comments. (Warning! Coarse language!!)

I confess to a grudging respect for the system by which he governs his land, though I’m not sure I’d like to see his reign extended to the state of Michigan.

“What do these deer think when they see you coming?” I ask him. “Here comes the nice guy who puts out our dinner? Or, there’s the man that shot my brother?”

“I don’t think they’re capable of either of those thoughts, you Limey assh*le. They’re only interested in three things: the best place to eat, having sex and how quickly they can run away. Much like the French.”

“You wrote a song called ‘Dog Eat Dog’. You see the world like that. But we’re not dogs - that’s the trouble.”

“Remember the movie Old Yeller? Everybody loved him. He brought us our slippers. We gave him cookies. But when Old Yeller gets rabies, you shoot him in the f*cking head. It’s that simple.”


Posted by Cyrano at 1:46 AM

April 10, 2006

The State of the Left

Jonah Goldberg at NRO thinks that the riots in France are telling for what they're rioting about: "These rabid rebels smashing their way through people and property alike, shouting revolutionary slogans and playing Robespierre in a FCUK hoodie are demanding . . . continued job security with paid vacations. Gone are the days of tearing down the system. Now is the time to burn a car for better dental benefits."

In typical Jonah fashion, he is funny with an underlying message. The Republicans may have atrophied as a governing power in the previous ten years (cf. ThreeSources blog), but the left always seems to be fighting to not tamper with Social Security (1935) or not change the Great Society (1965). Goldberg points out that it's now the left who have stolen his old boss's mantra and are "standing athwart history yelling stop!"

The smartest and most passionate thinkers of American liberalism are more actuary than revolutionary. Scan the pages of The New Republic or The American Prospect and you will learn that the sunny uplands of history can be reached not by sticking it to the man but by expanding the earned income tax credit and jiggling around some obscure provision of Medicare Part B. They're the rebels with a clause.

I suppose they have big ideas over at "The Nation." But the mainstream left and Democratic party and the left-of0center think tanks seem a little thin on the ideas side.

The rest of this article is worthy of discussion as well. He discusses a new book from Charles Murray called "In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State." He's going to replace welfare with a direct payment to every American. I'm gonna have to think about that one, but the point is that an idea is out there.

UPDATE: The statist left wins in France: WSJ:

PARIS – French President Jacques Chirac scrapped a controversial labor-contract law aimed at boosting youth employment, in a major about-face following weeks of strikes and mass protests by students and workers.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:49 AM

March 31, 2006

Faster Please.

How about this idea from Ronald Aronson at the Nation?
The Left Needs More Socialism

    It's time to break a taboo and place the word "socialism" across the top of the page in a major American progressive magazine. Time for the left to stop repressing the side of ourselves that the right finds most objectionable. Until we thumb our noses at the Democratic pols who have been calling the shots and reassert the very ideas they say are unthinkable, we will keep stumbling around in the dark corners of American politics, wondering how we lost our souls--and how to find them again.

    I can hear tongues clucking the conventional wisdom that the "S" word is the kiss of death for any American political initiative. Since the collapse of Communism, hasn't "socialism"--even the democratic kind--reeked of everything obsolete and discredited? Isn't it sheer absurdity to ask today's mainstream to pay attention to this nineteenth-century idea? Didn't Tony Blair reshape "New Labour" into a force capable of winning an unprecedented string of victories in Britain only by first defeating socialism and socialists in his party? And for a generation haven't we on the American left declared socialist ideology irrelevant time and again in the process of shaping our feminist, antiwar, progay, antiracist, multicultural, ecological and community-oriented identities?

Posted by AlexC at 3:19 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Doggies! I don't want to step on anybody's "feminist, antiwar, progay, antiracist, multicultural, ecological and community-oriented identit[y]," but let me offer a positive reflection.

One of my favorite articles in many moons is Michael Strong's call for divorce of leftism from liberalism (See my D-I-V-O-R-C-E post at http://www.threesources.com/archives/002456.html)

How about a realignment? Let the Socialists all get together and make their best pitch for collectivism -- I'll take that argument any day of the week. Then let a few responsible "liberals" abandon leftism and socialism to join me in the fight for classical liberalism.

Posted by: jk at March 31, 2006 6:12 PM

March 30, 2006


Hello Comrades! Ooops! Hello fellow bloggers. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Trip Segars. I was invited to participate by JK with whom I've worked and played hockey with in the past. JohnGalt is another ex-Mambo King (our hockey team). I'm exposing my true identity as insurance - if I am ever so foolish as to run for office, I'm hoping that I will be confronted with my posts here and forced to withdraw from the Political Correctness Czar contest. I'm forty-one, have a six year old son, and am divorced but getting married in June. I work as a software developer.

My moniker is LatteSipper because latte-sipping, Volvo-driving, sushi-eating liberal takes too long to type. I'm a liberal (if you haven't figured it out yet) and wonder why the richest nation in the world chooses a military budget that dwarfs that of the rest of the world yet trails much of the developed world in areas such as poverty and infant mortality. I do believe that government can be used as a tool to improve the general quality of life and standard of living, but agree with Silence Dogood that many of our social programs are inefficient or don't produce results at all. The same could be said of our military expenditures, agriculture subsidies, tax loopholes; the list goes on and on. I do not, however, believe that simply shrinking the government is the answer. I think a new approach is called for, one that involves evaluation of what our collective, national priorities are and evaluating which investments, if any, move us towards our goals. It would require wiping the slate clean and starting anew, with no guarantees for any special interest groups, neither welfare mothers, retirees, farmers, CEOs, defense contractors or our elected representatives. Perhaps I am flailing at windmills, but I am not yet so pessimistic or cynical to believe that things can't change for the better.

I've come here on JK's recommendation looking for good discussion and hoping to challenge my beliefs and broaden my understanding ... and to find out if Dick Cheney really is a baby-eating cyborg. Cheers!

Posted by LatteSipper at 4:10 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Nope. Can't wait. The "richest nation in the world" is the richest precisely because we have allowed individuals to prosper unimpeded for most of our history.

There is a clear, Constitutional purview to defend ourselves collectively. Military spending, by free people with votes to choose the level of support for a civilian-headed military is a very good thing. Protecting our way of life is a very good thing.

These nations we trail in your stats all seem to be full of people trying everything to get here -- nothing is more popular than American poverty. The infant mortality stat is the most specious and bogus argument since boasts of Castro’s free health care. Our rate is higher because we attempt to save sub-two pound infants who are months premature as a standard practice. Those who exceed us all inflate their numbers by allowing more babies to die. If you don't try to save it, it doesn't go against your average. I have never once struck out in a major league baseball game. Ever.

The trouble with your government spending for good is that government has no money. They spend our money and, with microscopic exceptions, we can always spend it better.

Posted by: jk at March 30, 2006 5:49 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

I suddenly feel less outnumbered, a great big welcome from me LatteSipper!

Posted by: Silence Dogood at March 30, 2006 6:31 PM
But LatteSipper thinks:

I knew the hospitality wouldn't last for long! ;) I agree with you and your smaller government brethren, defending our nation and way of life is a legitimate use of our money. My issue is with a defense budget that's more tuned to exerting our will, i.e. getting our way any where on the globe than it is in defending our country. My bad on poverty and infant mortality - I forgot that other countries lie about those things and we don't.

Posted by: LatteSipper at March 30, 2006 6:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

How about LSVDSEL instead? Seriously though, I look forward to many opportunities to tell you just how and why you're wrong that I always had to pass up because I couldn't afford to spend an entire day in debate.

I'll lay off the criticism of your misty eyed idealism for now, but one bit of advice seems apropos in response to your sarcastic "I forgot that other countries lie about those things and we don't" comment. If you never acknowledge when the other guy has made a point he'll just judge you a bore and quit trying to engage you. Here's where that clean slate thing comes in! (Others may find this advice amusing coming from me but hey, I've done it! At least once or twice!)

Congratulations on the pending nuptials. The second time was the charm for me, as I hope it is for you.

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2006 12:39 AM
But jk thinks:

I was gonna suggest "Volvo." We're all coffee fanatics around here I don't about others but I'm a big sushi fan. But yes, I think you're the only one who'd be caught dead in a Volvo!

Posted by: jk at March 31, 2006 9:30 AM
But AlexC thinks:

As long as you don't like Uni....

Posted by: AlexC at March 31, 2006 12:28 PM

February 27, 2006

Bereft of Ideas

I'm gonna beat up on a good friend who is a committed liberal. He keeps me on his e-mail list, which has some intelligent commentary and interesting articles from time to time.

Today, it was a poem called "Make the pie higher" assembled entirely from supposed W malapropisms (click "Continue..." if you really want to read it).

It struck me that "his side" has had several important victories this week, He could have sent me a link to the Fukuyama piece in the NYTimes, he could have sent me a link to Bill Buckley's article which claims the war is lost, he could have pointed to the Dubai port contretemps to highlight GOP rifts and signal what FOXNews commentators called "creeping lame-duckism," et cetera, et cetera...

Instead they have made the discovery -- five years into his presidency -- that the President is not a skilled orator, and ask the question whether this might indicate a lack of intelligence.

Just one guy who is not a moonbat but runs with them from time to time. But I think it shows the lack of seriousness from their camp. Even when the president is in real political difficulties, they come out blasting with 3rd-grade humor.


I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It's a world of madmen and uncertainty
And potential mental losses.

Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?

Will the highways of the Internet
Become more few?

How many hands have I shaked?
They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.

I know that the human being
And the fish can coexist.
Families is where our nation finds hope,
Where our wings take dream.

Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Vulcanize society!
Make the pie higher!
Make the pie higher!

Pass this on.
Help cure mad cowboy disease in the next election!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:52 AM

February 26, 2006


Everytime I read DailyKos, I have to ask myself why I do it.


    This is an interesting take on the world situation.

      NEW YORK - The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Saturday that the world body is hobbled "by bad management, by sex and corruption" and a lack of confidence in its ability to carry out missions....

      "We find an organization that is deeply troubled by bad management, by sex and corruption and by a growing lack of confidence in its ability to carry out missions that are given to them," Bolton told an audience at a Columbia Law School symposium held by the Federalist Society, a conservative law organization.

    What is the bizarre preoccupation these guys have with sex? Really? Sex is one of the UN's primary problems? I'd think it might have something to do with the fact that the world's greatest power refuses to participate in a meaningful way in any international effort or to recognize international law or the Geneva Conventions or to sign onto critical international treaties. But maybe that's just me.

Well, I cant hold being completely uninformed against someone. Hint: It's the molestations of boys and girls in Africa by blue helmeted men. ABCNews

But then it gets worse.

    In the comments, TPaine suggests that Bolton was referring to sex crimes by U.N. personnel in the Congo. If this is what Bolton was talking about, the story is even worse. Equating these heinous crimes with bureaucratic mismanagement is dismissive and offensive. What's more, rape isn't sex. It's violent crime.

Ok. so it's corrected, yet that makes it worse?

Worse because why exactly?

Bolton is not equating them, he's listing them.


Posted by AlexC at 12:32 PM

February 10, 2006

Getting to the bottom of that Plame thing..

Yawn. I really cannot take any more of the Fitzgerald case. But it has heated up again as Fitzgerald tries to get a frightened Libby to rat on superiors. Yahoo/AP thinks it might be working.

I cannot dive back into the muck today, but I did want to share some indignation from the Senior Senator of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:

"These charges, if true, represent a new low in the already sordid case of partisan interests being placed above national security," Kennedy said. "The vice president's vindictiveness in defending the misguided war in Iraq is obvious. If he used classified information to defend it, he should be prepared to take full responsibility."

I hope you all read that aloud in your best Ted Kennedy voice.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:43 AM | Comments (3)
But AlexC thinks:

Make sure you slur your voice, and soften the "r"

"These chaaaages, if true.... (HIC)....."

Posted by: AlexC at February 10, 2006 12:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Save those unused R's, you'll need them to say idear!

Posted by: jk at February 10, 2006 12:12 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Texas stole them.
"Yall's shirt is dirty! Put it in the warsh!"

Posted by: AlexC at February 10, 2006 2:16 PM

February 6, 2006


Kojinshugi has a link to the new craze all the cool kids will pursue this year: Freeganism, or getting your free vegan food out of the dumpster so you don't support any of those evil corporations. Sam is rather hard on the movement, daring to point out that this only works because they are living in a rich society with surplus food, else they would have to "grow their own garbage." He confronts his new countrymen who claim that there is hunger in Canada and does a nice riff on what these people say they want:

We've already tried a system where everyone gets a 'fair' share of the pie. It's called communism, and it doesn't work for the blindingly obvious reason that if given the choice between $1000 a month for mountain-climbing or yodeling which takes 0 years of education, and $1000 a month for 12 years of medical training preceding the grueling and high-responsibility profession of trauma surgeon, most everyone will pick the former, and we end up with a society full of yodeling paraplegics.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:25 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Peter Boyles (whose name is not supposed to be uttered on these pages) interviewed a Freegan on his radio show this morning. The guy lives "at home" with "his family," which we found meant his grandparents and his dad. For breakfast he had "not much in the way of breakfast, just a cup of tea." The tea came from a supermarket dumpster - Christmas seasonal tea, you see. They had to pitch it when the calendar flipped over. And the hot water came, "straight from the tap." Riiight. Piping hot, no "discarded electricity" or "out of date natural gas" was required to bring the "hey, look at this shit that just comes out of this pipe for free!" water to the required temperature for brewing.

Hell, why doesn't he just plug grandpa's Prius into the perpetual motion machine some dumbass threw in the trash and drive around the country trying to find out just where in the hell his mother and sisters went, anyway?

Freddie frackin' freeloader Freegan needs some quality time in "hard America."

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2006 11:21 PM
But jk thinks:

1) Heh! I nominate this for best ThreeSources comment ever.

2) No, Voldemort Boyles can be named, I was just name-dropping.

3) I was in a band with a guy who loved "tap water coffee:" instant out of the "H." Yum.

Posted by: jk at February 8, 2006 11:19 AM

January 24, 2006

Mrs. Sheehan Heads South

BOTW runs the Political Diary today as Mr. Taranto is off. For what it's worth, I really enjoyed Political Diary and pleaded with the good folks at Dow Jones to make it web based. Alas, you can only get it by email and their systems are extremely unreliable. I cancelled some time ago.

Today, Latin America reporter Mary Anastasia O'Grady highlights the inconsistencies in Cindy Sheehan's "Peace Activism" and her decision to attend a possibly violent, anti-globalization moonbat fest in Caracas:

Indeed, the Sheehan tour to Caracas belongs in the "you-can't-make-it-up" category: A bitterly outspoken American citizen who has made a career of lambasting her president, she travels abroad to celebrate with a dictator who has thrown his own critics out of work and even put them in prison, stripped the press of its freedom, destroyed property rights and militarized the government. His political supporters are known to be armed and dangerous and many Venezuelans in poor neighborhoods have reported that they are afraid to dissent from the Chavez agenda. Venezuela's arms build-up is frightening his neighbors and threatening regional stability.

We're glad Ms. Sheehan has the freedom to travel abroad. Many of Chavez's critics are denied that right, as are the critics of Castro. But she shouldn't wonder why, when she opens her mouth in the U.S., nobody takes her seriously.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:40 PM

January 4, 2006

Call Jesse Jackson!

I cannot imagine how people can equate requiring a photo ID for voting with poll-tax-style disenfranchisement. A vote stolen by fraud is as much of a theft as stopping another from voting. You need an ID to board a plane or buy beer.

Well, much as I have celebrated TNR as a responsible voice from the other side, today's web article by John B. Judis is insane. Ballot Blocks: The Republican Bid to Suppress Minority Turnout.

Republicans have been working hard to nullify Democratic support from blacks and Hispanics. But instead of promoting programs that might appeal to these voters, they are trying to pass legislation that, while ostensibly aimed at reducing voting fraud, is in fact intended to depress turnout among minorities.

Over the last 14 months, Republicans have backed bills and initiatives in Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Indiana, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Ohio that would require voters to present special kinds of identification at polling places or in order to register. These sorts of requirements inordinately affect black and Hispanic (and in South Dakota, Native American) voters who are less likely than whites to have government-issue photo IDs. And the Bush administration isn't just looking the other way as these efforts unfold. It's actively aiding and abetting them.

Imagine! The executive branch actively trying to reduce voter fraud!

All the diatribes are in there: no DMV offices in Atlanta, a $20 fee, percent of drivers' licenses by ethnicity.

Voter fraud is a huge problem in this country and the race card is played against any effort to fix it. Maybe we should just go to purple fingers...

Posted by John Kranz at 12:02 PM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

In Pa, a card for the purposes of voting would be free, yet they complain. http://youngphillypolitics.com/node/489

The bill passed both the house and senate and awaits the Dem governor's veto.

Posted by: AlexC at January 4, 2006 7:30 PM

December 21, 2005

Not in MY name!

A couple years ago, I signed a "Not In My Name" petition under the name "Hadda V Shininoz" (as in Rudolph...)

Taranto put me up to it. It was juvenile. I'm not proud. But it did get me on the email list. I don't browse MoveOn.org or read Kos or read The Nation, but my semi-monthly emails from "Not In Our Name Statement of Conscience" keep my ties to the moonbat community alive. I know you can see all of this stuff you want on the net, but I thought I would share my mail today.

You're welcome!

They are raising $50,000 for a war crimes trial, because "These Commission hearings will make a profound difference on today’s political terrain, where all too often Bush’s actions are viewed as blunders, not crimes, and the full scope of his administration’s criminality is obscured. Please contribute immediately and contact your friends to contribute. Mail checks made out to “Not In Our Name” to..."

Dear friends and signers of the Not In Our Name statements of conscience,

Each passing day brings new charges of high crimes committed by the Bush administration and highlights the timeliness and importance of the Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity by the Bush Administration (www.bushcommission.org). They underscore the urgency for our concluding session on January 20-22 at The Riverside Church and Columbia University Law School in New York which can profoundly recast the terms of debate about Bush and his administration throughout society.

Are their actions “mistakes” born of “faulty intelligence” and legitimate responses to real threats -- or are they crimes against humanity consciously committed?

There is a moral imperative to make this determination and this cannot happen without $50,000 to assemble and present the witnesses (including Iraqis) and documentary evidence that will make the case.

In the face of daily exposures of grave crimes -- from torture, rendition and illegal detentions; to escalating bombings, the use of white phosphorous, the destruction of whole cities, and ongoing torture in Iraq; to the destruction and abandonment of New Orleans; and now to illegal spying in the U.S. -- the Bush response has been more lies, more threats, and more arrogant declarations that it will continue to wage war, torture, and spy as it sees fit. Meanwhile, no effective opposition has been mounted to these intolerable outrages through official or government channels.

This extreme situation demands that we work -- and donate! -- so the Commission can fully realize it’s aim to compel a national debate on whether the administration of George W. Bush actually is guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The basic budget for this final session is $50,000, not counting the video and printing of the reports. So we need your immediate help. We are not bashful about asking for money, because we know, as you also know, that money is what it takes to make a serious impact in society.

To see the visual impact of the first session of the Commission’s hearings, go to www.deepdishtv.org/bushcommission for a 12 min video. This video is also available in DVD format as a fundraiser for the Commission for $25.

These Commission hearings will make a profound difference on today’s political terrain, where all too often Bush’s actions are viewed as blunders, not crimes, and the full scope of his administration’s criminality is obscured. Please contribute immediately and contact your friends to contribute. Mail checks made out to “Not In Our Name” to Not In Out Name, 305 West Broadway, #199, New York, NY 10013. Or contribute on line right now at www.nion.us/NSOC/sign.htm.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:41 PM

November 7, 2005

Good Clean Fun

Some folks have differing concepts of "fun." A friend suggests this Naomi Wolf column in The Guardian saying that "[he] 'd forgotten how much fun it is to read left wing wacko stuff."

On planet Naomi, Al Gore looks really good in earth tomes and the Washington Press Corps has been on its knees to W, and, and, well just dig it:

We Americans are like recovering addicts after a four-year bender

In the US comic strip, Peanuts, there is a little boy who is always followed by a cloud of dust. Wherever he goes, his cloud follows him. George Bush can't shake his personal cloud. The until recently eerily untouchable president has now lost his mojo. The man to whom the entire US press corps has been on its knees for four years is finally in the doghouse.

It is almost a cartoon of karma. First, hurricane Katrina hit - and the sight of black and brown bodies floating in what had been the streets of a US city, of babies crying for water, of old people shrouded in their wheelchairs seemed to rip right through the collective fantasy of US goodness and infallibility constructed by Dick Cheney and his cabal and hyped by a crotch-strapped Bush in a flightsuit.

Not reading The Guardian enough, I had not noticed how bad things had gotten around here, but Ms. Wolf wouldn't lie, would she?
They could not have had more fortunate timing. During an era when US prestige abroad had already been declining, when US schools were turning out subliterates, when the US economy was being crippled by competition from harder-working south-east Asians and Chinese, Americans - and especially American men - were feeling the sinking self-regard characteristic of those losing prestige in once-great empires in decline.

Bush, Cheney and Rove changed all that with their myth making post-9/11. Suddenly those feminists were no longer so threatening: we still needed tough men in firefighter suits to protect the less powerful. Suddenly American men could feel potent at the sight of a statue of a tyrant toppling in a public square, could vicariously inhale the discourse about "liberating the Middle East" and "spreading democracy", could put a yellow "Support the Troops" sticker on their SUVs and forget the spiking mortgage, the downsizing of good-paying white-collar jobs, the increasing obstreperousness of their women.

'course, I feel pretty potent in my crotch-strapped flight suit with my FDNY T-shirt on, even as I watch the bodies wash up the street -- but fear not, Wolf thinks that a rekindled democracy will save us just like Alabama in the 60s:
I don't see Cheney being shamed into dropping his Halliburton cronies now carving up Iraq. But I do see a renewed citizen interest in wind power, in driving petrol-electric hybrid cars, in reading about the short lives of the war dead - who, only six months ago, were spirited home away from the cameras in their body bags, when protest was considered unseemly. Today on the AOL homepage there is a headline about Bush being jeered by a foreign leader: that story would never have made it out of the land of blogs six months ago.
Bush will never recover his swagger in our eyes: he was our dealer. What remains to be seen is whether we will turn again to the next good drug to come along, with the next charismatic pusher - or whether Katrina's real legacy will lead us to do the hard work of reclaiming a civil society rooted in reality. My bet is on the latter.

And they say there's no optimism on the left...

Posted by John Kranz at 4:26 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

"Obstreperousness?" My "woman" isn't obstreperous. Is yours?

Oh, she must mean this from http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/parody.guest.html

"We're Fierce! We're Feminists! And We're in Your Face!"

(Sorry, I can't link to the audio bite since it's "members only" and I aren't one.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 8, 2005 2:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Obstreperous: if this were a Buffy episode, I would stare at Ms. Wolf and say "project much?"

Posted by: jk at November 8, 2005 3:23 PM

October 28, 2005

Scooter Goin' Down?

Tucker Carlson has opened about every show this week by breathlessly intoning a new development in l’Affaire Plame courtesy of the NYTimes. Being on live at 11 gives him a head start that is interesting, he can be first to discuss "tomorrow's" Times.

Oddly enough, none of these leaks (on a leak investigation) have seemed to be real stories with any legs.

Last night's was that Scooter Libby was to be indicted for perjury but not for outing Valerie Plame. The headline I see today is the superior "Rove Not Expected to be Indicted Today."

So, two years and $22 million (starting to sound like a 90's Democrat) and Fitzgerald may drop the hammer on a Vice President's Chief-of-staff -- not for outing a CIA operative -- but for lying about it.

I'm not the only one who thinks this is sad, Jason at G e n e r a t i o n W h y ? agrees.

Just one problem... the corruption conspiracy never existed. And the indictment that's expected today will show that... or rather the lack of any indictment for revealing an undercover agent's identity will show it. Sure, the Left is likely to cheer gleefully when an indictment comes down today against Scooter Libby, but the absence of an indictment for actually outing an undercover agent will reveal that this was never a story to begin with.

We still, of course, are punditing on punditry of speculation of anonymous leaks. Carlson thinks there has to be some hidden bomb in there somewhere, that this cannot be all there is.

Can it?

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 12:41 PM | Comments (4)
But Silence Dogood thinks:

The more interesting question to me is if there are no indictments did we waste $22 million? I am especially looking forward to the pundits views on this. Tempting as it is to say yes, you are in effect saying that something should be found. The sticky wicket here is that I am sure Fitzgerald (and others before him) felt pressure to come up with something, something for the $22 million. This begs the question of whether just appointing a special prosecutor pre-judges the case really both against the subjects and the prosecutor themselves. If a failure to bring an indictment is a failure of the investigation and of the special prosecutor themselves then you have biased the outcome from the start.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at October 28, 2005 1:03 PM
But jk thinks:

The special prosecutor is a bad idea but certainly tempting to political opponents.

Judge Starr has been maligned (rightly i some instances) but his tenure brought down a sitting Governor and resulted in many indictments. Fitzgerald seems to be coming up short.

Posted by: jk at October 28, 2005 1:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Silence makes a very good point: Does the mere appointment of a special prosecutor NECESSITATE an indictment of some sort?

Senator Schmucky Chumer of NY said on O'Reilly last night that "the only explanation" for why Libby would lie about something that wasn't a crime is that there really was a crime (a conspiracy to damage Plame and Wilson) and he's thrown himself on his sword to protect higher ups.

I'll posit another possible explanation for what, by all accounts, seems a stupid mistake on Scooter's part. Being beltway insiders, the administration realized the axiom that Silence just enlightened us about from the very beginning, and Scooter volunteered to be the fall guy.

It's at least as plausable as Chumer's "there really was a crime" hypothesis.

Posted by: johngalt at October 29, 2005 10:44 AM
But jk thinks:

Just this once, jg, have a little pity on the Senior Senator from New York. Not only is he overshadowed every day by the dadgummed JUNIOR Senator form New York, but he is also feeling the disappointment not unlike “a dagger in his heart.”

The anti-W camp pinned their hopes on the Fitzgerald star and all they get is Scooter. Poor Senator Schumer…

Posted by: jk at October 29, 2005 4:09 PM

October 10, 2005

Electric Guitars

I signed up for a Dave Barry email from the Miami Herald, like I don't get enough email.

But I do like Dave Barry, and I think that all the ThreeSources cats would dig today's "classic" rerun of a 1998 column: Guys and electric guitars go together

At some point or another, almost every guy wants an electric guitar. It would not surprise me to learn that, late at night, in the Vatican, the pope picks one up and plays ''Hang On, Sloopy.'' Electric guitars exert a strong appeal for guys, because they combine two critical elements:

1. A guitar.
2. Electricity.

Taken separately, these elements have little intrinsic value. But combined, they have an almost magical effect: They enable a mediocre guitar player, or even a bad guitar player, to play WAY louder.

Geopolitics, Brother Dave tells us, is just like a band:
As a member of that band, my artistic dream was essentially the same dream that inspired legendary musicians such as Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and The Dave Clark Five: The dream of getting a bigger amplifier. This was important because of the musical dynamics of a rock band, which are very similar to the political dynamics of the Asian subcontinent. Let's say that India is the drummer, and Pakistan is the lead guitar player. There is always tension between these two instruments, because they both want to be the loudest.

Let's say that, in this band, they start out roughly equal, but then, one day, India goes out and gets larger drumsticks. Pakistan is naturally threatened and responds by buying a more-powerful amplifier. Then India, seeking to regain superiority, buys even LARGER drumsticks, and maybe a cowbell. At this point, the bass player (China) feels it has no choice but to escalate, and pretty soon the band is so loud that merely by tuning up it can kill whales swimming thousands of miles away. (In a selfless effort to avoid this kind of tragedy, [our band] almost never tuned up.)

Good stuff.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:13 PM

August 31, 2005

Kill This Meme Early

I see this getting out of hand. Like President GHW Bush's amazement seeing the supermarket scanner, it will soon be accepted as fact that hurricane Katrina is the result of "global warming." It is already being promoted as such by the Independant, Boston Globe and some others.

Jim Glassman makes a trenchant case for nipping this in the bud, but it ain't gonna be easy.

My daughter, her husband and their little baby managed to get out of the city ahead of the flood on Sunday, driving 14 hours into Texas with the few belongings they could stuff into their car. They have no idea what has become of their house and their possessions, not to mention their friends, their pets, their jobs, their way of life.

Tragedies happen, and my daughter and her family are happy just to be alive. Their losses and those of hundreds of thousands of other innocents deserve mourning, prayer and respect.

That is why the response of environmental extremists fills me with what only can be called disgust. They have decided to exploit the death and devastation to win support for the failed Kyoto Protocol, which requires massive cutbacks in energy use to reduce, by a few tenths of a degree, surface warming projected 100 years from now.

Katrina has nothing to do with global warming. Nothing. It has everything to do with the immense forces of nature that have been unleashed many, many times before and the inability of humans, even the most brilliant engineers, to tame these forces.

Giant hurricanes are rare, but they are not new. And they are not increasing. To the contrary. Just go to the website of the National Hurricane Center and check out a table that lists hurricanes by category and decade. The peak for major hurricanes (categories 3,4,5) came in the decades of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, when such storms averaged 9 per year. In the 1960s, there were 6 such storms; in the 1970s, 4; in the 1980s, 5; in the 1990s, 5; and for 2001-04, there were 3. Category 4 and 5 storms were also more prevalent in the past than they are now. As for Category 5 storms, there have been only three since the 1850s: in the decades of the 1930s, 1960s and 1990s.

Kudos to the New York Times (I love typing that phrase!) for this bit of honest reporting:
"Because hurricanes form over warm ocean water, it is easy to assume that the recent rise in their number and ferocity is because of global warming. But that is not the case, scientists say. Instead, the severity of hurricane seasons changes with cycles of temperatures of several decades in the Atlantic Ocean. The recent onslaught 'is very much natural,' said William M. Gray, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University who issues forecasts for the hurricane season.'"

'Course, the NYTimes is just another corporate organ, hopelessly in the pocket of the Bush Administration -- of course they'd say that.

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg writes, in The Corner:

I've decided that every nice, cool, breezy day which happens to come along until the day I die, I'm going to credit global warming. Absent other data, it makes exactly as much sense to blame weather we don't like on global warming as it does to credit global warming for the weather we do like.

"What a lovely day, thank goodness for fossil fuels!"

Posted by John Kranz at 4:32 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Good post, but I'll take issue with the line, "the inability of humans, even the most brilliant engineers, to tame these forces."

If this refers to engineers not being "brilliant" enough to create massive levees that are fully financed by bake sales, then I'd agree. The reason the Big Easy flooded is that the single line of levees that protect the city from hurricanes was designed to withstand a category 3 hurricane, but no more. Why on earth would this be, given that we could have built it stronger? For the same reason building codes require 110 mph wind resistance, but not 120. The line has to be drawn somewhere.

Now in the case of hurricanes and a major American city, one might make the case that the potential loss is so great that the levee should be designed for the strongest hurricane ever known. And that back-up levees be built as was done in Holland. And that federal subsidization of these projects is warranted, given that the savings to federally subsidized flood insurance and FEMA obligations would offset it.

But when the decision was made to build them, in 1927 so far as I can tell, America was far less wealthy. Judging from recent history of federal involvement with natural disasters, I suspect that New Orleans is about to get that new, triple-layer category 5 levee system.

Posted by: johngalt at August 31, 2005 9:38 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

As well it should. If they are going to rebuild they should do it right. I also have to wonder about the local building codes when viewing the photos of piles of sticks where houses used to be. If they were 1930's era houses that would be one thing, but these are new communities, golf course communities, upper middle class communities, etc. Hopefully local building codes will change as they did in Florida a few years ago.

Ok, now stick the Liberal label on me while I berate big business for a moment. I have to wonder about the large nationwide home builders who build the same house all across the country. I realize the cost benefit from this, but somewhere there has to be allowance for local conditions. If they led the way on this they might have fewer headaches with building codes in the future. Just as you don't build masonry in earthquake areas or wood roof homes in fire areas, construction in hurricane prone areas should have their own set of requirements. I think I am with johngalt on this engineering wise, at some point it does become cost prohibitive to design structures for every conceivable disaster, but I do believe we have the knowledge and capability to do better. Currently the only differences between a $100,000 house and a $1,000,000 house are the countertops and the plating on the faucets. Now before JK gets on my case about free markets and the demands of consumers consider what the options really are, take a mass produced house or build a custom one. Custom builders don't exist much in the sub million range and even then they don't really offer anything different than the mass producers other than custom floor plans. A few years back I was looking into buying a lot and building a house. I wanted to use some modern components like structural insulated panels. Reviews and estimates consistently put the construction cost at about 15% higher than tradition stick building. As I found out though, that was if you could find a builder who had worked with these panels or was willing to start.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at September 1, 2005 3:09 PM
But jk thinks:

We have strayed a little fron Global Warming, gents, but I'm in.

I guess I will take the big-biz side of mationwide home builders up to a point (as Evelyn Waugh would say).

On the one hand, the one-sixe-fits-all structures have allowed millions of Americans to own their own home, which I see as an unalloyed good.

The other side just needs a little Virginia-Postrelizing. Consumers are demanding different styles in these homes, and it would be a short step to incorporating modern materials and regional weather protections in the final house.

On the levees, it seems obvious that state of teh art structures will be built and that no more hurricanes will ever go by there...

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2005 3:29 PM

August 28, 2005

Crawford Media Circus

Al Sharpton has arrived in Crawford, and is praying with Cindy Sheehan

Posted by AlexC at 11:00 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The Crawford circus may be over. The hurricane will absorb media focus until labor day. Then it's back to Washington and a more substantive news cycle.

Intersting to see how the Sheehan and antiwar folks will do back in Washington. It will be tough to compete for air time and will be tougher to hide the far-left A.N.S.W.E.R. types.

Posted by: jk at August 29, 2005 10:53 AM

Operation Yellow Elephant

Operation Yellow Elephant a blog who main goal seems to be to harrass College and Young Republicans into enlisting has targeted the Montgomery County YRs, an organization to which I belong.

They note on their website, "It's their war. Why aren't they fighting it?" They encourage readers to send emails to the young (lowercase Y) Republicans.

Some choice quotes...

    First up, Sarah Holcome [sic], a real looker who works with Senator Rick Santorum (R-Canine) in the Philadelphia office. She's the Chairman, and as such probably has more balls than the rest of the lot.

    And then there's Avedis Boornazian, who looks far too much like an ARAB (gasp!) to be in this group. OK, maybe an Armenian. Likely he is a good Christian, don't you think? How else could he rise to the leadership position of Treasurer?

Must be some of that famous liberal compassion on display there.

Of note, the former Secretary of the MontcoYRs is "former" because he's currently a JAG, serving in Iraq. The previous Chairman was in 1991's Desert Storm.

As to the tired "chicken hawk" argument. I think it's the last refuge of those that have no other argument.

Potential answers to this group:
"You've never been in Saddam's torture chambers! What give you the right to deny their liberation?"

"You're not the President, what gives you the right to question what he does?"

"You want to send someone else out to fight crime? How about you go be a cop!"

"Don't like oil prices? Go drill for your own!"

"Don't like the current foreign policy? Go run for office! Or get you guy elected!"

Basically anything in the form "You want someone to do X for you, go do X yourself!" will work.

Yawn. Is their campaign harrassment? Nah. It's free speech, and their time, I suppose. It's more indicative of their desperation than anything else.

Since they are targetting those who may have political aspirations, or those who are politically involved do they really want more politicians with military service? Maybe they want ONLY politicians with military service? The list of politicians who have led Americans to war is long, and contains both Democrats and Republicans, some of them civilians. Surely they're not criticizing them as well.

I wonder if they're also going to target Young Democrat groups in states whose Senators and Reps voted for the Iraq war. New York comes to mind.

I'll quote NRO's Rich Lowry.

    The chicken-hawk argument is nakedly partisan. During the Kosovo war waged by Bill Clinton and supported by Democrats in 1999, a cry didn’t go up from the Left that no one could support the war unless they were willing to strap themselves into B-2 bombers for the 33-hour ride from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to Belgrade and back to degrade Serbian infrastructure.

And to answer you... No. I haven't served. And you're not a high school teacher, so you can't comment on the quality of algebra education. Go be a teacher!

That's how mature it is, thanks for playing.

Posted by AlexC at 6:00 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Where can we sign up to get a liberal blog writing hateful things about us? That'd be fun: "J.K. is extremely attractive but believes in a Neanderthal economics that is considered too right wing to be taught at Bob Jones U..."

Posted by: jk at August 30, 2005 9:07 PM

August 25, 2005

Okay, then, in MY name

I am on the Not In Our Name mailing list. A couple of years ago, James Taranto pointed out that people were signing their petitions with silly names, so I signed as Hadda V. Shinynoz (it was close to Christmas as I recall).

I have enjoyed the emails. They are infrequent, and remind me with whom we are dealing out there. They're waaaay left, but not much further out than some of my family and friends.

Today's features calls to support Mrs. Sheehan, buying an ad in the Waco Tribune-Herald, Upcoming events, call to volunteer in the Statement of Conscience National Office...and this item:

2. Responses to the International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes
Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration.

Work is progressing on the Commission. Our goal is to continue to build
on the impact of the Not In Our Name statements and the World Tribunal
on Iraq by holding a court of inquiry that will both frame and fuel a
discussion that is urgently needed in this country: Is the
administration of George W. Bush guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity?

Check for updates on our web site - there's a special section for the
Commission http://www.nion.us/commission.htm

Some responses we have received:
I wholeheartedly support the public holding a public inquiry and public
trial. If the government stops representing us then we must represent
ourselves. Bush claims to act in our name. We have a right to say NO! I
hope the trial will be televised on C-Span!
PAH, Houghton, MI
Thank you so much for making it possible to voice my outrage at the
stupidity, ignorance, lies, intolerance and barbarism of the Bush regime.
Regime-change is necessary: in Washington! You're right, that he did
get the popular vote does not legitimate his acts. It does question the
validity of democracy in the US. Enclosed please find my contribution.
Sincerely, PH, Paris, France ( & LA, CA)
Frankly, I think President Bush should be impeached for his constant
lying to the American people and for a war based on lies.
BW, Westport, CT
Thank you for the excellent Statement of Conscience and for planning
the Commission of Inquiry. These provide a solid foundation for taking
action in these repressive times and re-energize us. Enclosed is a check
for $100.00. In solidarity, AG, Oakland, CA

Click "Continue Reading..." if you'd like to see the complete email

Subject: From the Not In Our Name Statement of Conscience
To: @yahoo.com
From: "Not In Our Name Statement of Conscience" Add to Address Book
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 14:34:10 -0500

E-Message from NION SOC: August 23, 2005

1. Support Cindy Sheehan! Dubya does not speak in our name! Donate to
the publication of the Not In Our Name Statement of Conscience in
Crawford, Texas.

2. Responses to the International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes
Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration.

3. Upcoming events:
-- National Organizers Conference Sept 3-5 NYC World Can't Wait -
Drive out the Bush Regime! Mobilize for November 2nd.
-- Join the Not In Our Name Project on September 24 in Washington, DC
to End the War on Iraq. Check out the new Not In Our Name Project
merchandise annex

4. From the Not In Our Name Statement of Conscience National Office:
-- Volunteer to work in the Not In Our Name Statement of Conscience
National Office
-- New on the Not In Our Name Statement of Conscience web site


1. Support Cindy Sheehan! Dubya does not speak in our name! Donate to
the publication of the Not In Our Name Statement of Conscience in

Cindy's Sheehan's face off with G. W. Bush at Crawford, Texas, has
become a lightning rod as millions around the country have organized
support for the mother whose son, a US soldier, was killed in Iraq in April
2004. Millions around the country have demonstrated their support.
Others have arrived at Crawford to join the encampment.

To join in the support of Cindy's stand, the Not In Our Name Statement
of Conscience will be published in the Waco Tribune-Herald (circulation
40,000) midweek. A half page ad costs just under $5000.00. Your
contribution can be made at: www.nion.us/NSOC/sign.htm or mail to: Not In Our
Name Statement of Conscience, 305 West Broadway, #199, NY, NY 10013.

Support Cindy:
-- Read a first hand report from Crawford Texas on the Drive out the
Bush Regime web site World Can't Wait and on our web site
-- Visit www.meetwithcindy.org
-- Send emails of support to contact@gsfp.org
-- Write letters to the editor of your local paper

Cindy was also a participant in the Not in Our Name sponsored Military
Voices Against Endless War (http://www.notinourname.net/mv/) event
held Memorial Day weekend. The audio of her presentation, as well as a
back stage video interview, is available online at the link above.

2. Responses to the International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes
Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration.

Work is progressing on the Commission. Our goal is to continue to build
on the impact of the Not In Our Name statements and the World Tribunal
on Iraq by holding a court of inquiry that will both frame and fuel a
discussion that is urgently needed in this country: Is the
administration of George W. Bush guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity?

Check for updates on our web site - there's a special section for the
Commission http://www.nion.us/commission.htm

Some responses we have received:
I wholeheartedly support the public holding a public inquiry and public
trial. If the government stops representing us then we must represent
ourselves. Bush claims to act in our name. We have a right to say NO! I
hope the trial will be televised on C-Span!
PAH, Houghton, MI
Thank you so much for making it possible to voice my outrage at the
stupidity, ignorance, lies, intolerance and barbarism of the Bush regime.
Regime-change is necessary: in Washington! You're right, that he did
get the popular vote does not legitimate his acts. It does question the
validity of democracy in the US. Enclosed please find my contribution.
Sincerely, PH, Paris, France ( & LA, CA)
Frankly, I think President Bush should be impeached for his constant
lying to the American people and for a war based on lies.
BW, Westport, CT
Thank you for the excellent Statement of Conscience and for planning
the Commission of Inquiry. These provide a solid foundation for taking
action in these repressive times and re-energize us. Enclosed is a check
for $100.00. In solidarity, AG, Oakland, CA

3. Up coming events:
Below are some upcoming events. The Not In Our Name Statement of
Conscience informs its list of events and campaigns in the spirit of the
content of our statements.

-- National Organizers Conference Sept 3-5 NYC World Can't Wait -
Drive out the Bush Regime! Mobilize for November 2nd.
Where: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, 208
W. 13th St. New York City, NY
Register: 347.693.3319 conference@worldcantwait.org,
More info: www.worldcantwait.org, $25-100 fee

Come be part of developing and organizing the mass outpouring needed to
Drive out the Bush Regime. Be part of putting together the
organization, plans, and structure needed to do this. Download the flyer at:

Public Forum: Why & How to drive out the Bush Regime. Initiators of
the World Can't Wait call. Saturday September 3, 6pm 208 W. 13th Street,
NYC. For info: 347.963.3319

-- Join the Not In Our Name Project on September 24 in Washington, DC
to End the War on Iraq
Where: Washington, DC

On the East Coast: If you are in the NYC area, join the Not In Our Name
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Posted by John Kranz at 1:02 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Another reminder that we're witnessing a real-life struggle amongst the people of the world, between 'Atlas Shrugged' and 'Animal Farm.'

It's almost as if there's a Marxist shadow government of the U.S. in exile - on America's college campuses.

Posted by: johngalt at August 25, 2005 3:04 PM
But jk thinks:

I fear the book is "Ecotopia" by Ernest Callenbach (I actually read this piece of drivel when I was young...)

Posted by: jk at August 25, 2005 9:22 PM

August 22, 2005

Unemployed claims drop by one

Joan Baez now has something to do, she is going to Crawford.

I love the AP headline: "Folk Singer Supports Anti-War Protesters." As we all know, without folk songs, there would be no peace. Getting somebody of the stature of Ms. Baez is certainly a coup for the other side. Now they've got Joan Baez and Senator Chuck Hagel.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:15 PM | Comments (2)
But AlexC thinks:

"No Folk, No Peace" or is it "Know Folk, Know Peace"?

Posted by: AlexC at August 22, 2005 5:41 PM
But jk thinks:

The answer would be blowing in the wind...

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2005 6:22 PM

August 18, 2005

Last Word om Mrs. Sheehan

-- matches my first, so I will attempt to make these posts bookends, and let this August contretemps die like a parched and dehydrated flower -- or photojournalist -- in the Crawford sun.

Much as I enjoy pointing out the far left and anti-Semitic nature of her outbursts, the best argument consists of saying "fine, let's listen to all the families."

The WSJ Ed Page brings a good one and posts it on the free site: "She Does Not Speak For Me."

Although we all walk the same sad road of sorrow and agony, we walk it as individuals with all the refreshing uniqueness of our own thoughts shaped in large measure by the life and death of our own fallen hero. Over the past few days I have reached out to other parents and loved ones of fallen heroes in an attempt to find out their reactions to all the attention Mrs. Sheehan has attracted. What emerges from those conversations is an empathy for Mrs. Sheehan's suffering but a fundamental disagreement with her politics.

The author is Ronald R. Griffin, who also lost a son in Iraq. He goes on to enumerate other families, whom they lost, an their opinions on the mission. As Maureen Dowd would say, they have "ultimate moral authority."

Posted by John Kranz at 11:22 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

And this goes to the explanation JK sought for why a man who hates anti-war activists would drive over the crosses they erected "memorializing fallen soldiers." Of these reported 800 crosses that, reportedly, have the names of other fallen Iraq war soldiers on them, how many of those families have consented to the use of their fallen hero's name in this political theatre? Isn't this the quintessential case of "not in my name?"

Make no mistake, those crosses are not there to "memorialize" the fallen heroes whose names adorn them. They are there as an attempt to confiscate the moral support of those honored dead for this despicable and dishonorable traitorous travesty we know of as "Cindy's fight" or some other such euphemism.

Posted by: johngalt at August 18, 2005 3:22 PM

August 17, 2005

The First Cindy Sheehan?

Christopher Hitchens pens a nice piece on l'affaire Sheehan. As with all of his stuff it's worth a read.

But I was drawn by a link buried within to President Lincoln's letter to Mrs. Bixby. I'm a Lincoln aficionado, and during the first Gulf War, a Boulder Bank, mirabile dictu, published it as an ad in Lincoln's own hand. I cut it out and pasted it to my office door for months. I love the language:

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts, that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
Abraham Lincoln

I followed Hitchens's link to read it again and was devastated by the commentary on the site which carries it. It seems that:

  • Mrs. Bixby lost two sons, not five -- and one of the others lived by deserting!

  • Mrs. Bixby was a CSA sympathizer -- and destroyed Lincoln's letter

  • President Lincoln may not have even written it: "many scholars believe it was actually written John Hay, one of President Lincoln's secretaries"

Whew. Next time, Mr. Valence, go with the legend!

Hitchens misses the parallel, but I wonder if Mrs. Bixby isn't the moral and intellectual great-godmother to Mrs. Sheehan? Is not history repeating itself as farce this August in Crawford?

Posted by John Kranz at 11:22 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Denver radio jock Peter Boyles argues that Bush should just meet with the woman and take whatever heat she can manage to dish out. If he were to do so in private, as he does with every other personal meeting, I'm thinking it's not a bad idea.

The biggest argument against is the precedent it sets, but of the 1800 soldiers killed in Iraq how many have leftist mothers? Maybe two dozen? And of those, how many are willing to subject themselves to the thought-control of Michael Moore et. al.? Not enough to worry about.

Posted by: johngalt at August 17, 2005 3:36 PM
But jk thinks:

JG comes out for appeasement? I'm stunned!

I guess my problem is that an audience with the Chief Executive is a privilege that Mrs. Sheehan does not really deserve as she has made it abundantly clear what she would say.

Probably, if you roll back the clock and have W agree the first day, just to show compassion, that would have been good.

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2005 4:04 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I'm with JK. The President met her once, and in fact kissed her.

I worked to get him elected, and I didn't even a card!

(My 2 year old daughter got a "hand written" letter somehow though)

Posted by: AlexC at August 17, 2005 9:01 PM

August 16, 2005

Talkin' Trash!

I'm a recycling skeptic, which is heterodoxy -- nay heresy -- in Boulder County, Colorado.

My problem is economic. Recycling has had more than 30 years of advantageous publicity, regulation and taxation. In that time, it has not established itself as a viable enterprise.

Recycling costs more than traditional waste disposal. I paid extra for several years to have two trash trucks come to my home and for the privilege of digging through my own trash to sort it. And, my personal favorite, washing the items headed for recycling so they did not smell or attract bugs. What war did we lose that we have to wash our trash?

Goods manufactured from recycled materials are more expensive and inferior. There was always a loud undercurrent of people in our Boulder-based company to use recycled paper and soy inks for company brochures and datasheets. They cost more and they don't look as good, but...

But what? If these procedures and processes cannot establish themselves in 30 years with huge moral and economic subsidies, then they are bad ideas. If it were better to make paper out of old paper (I cancelled my extra money for recycling when I changed my WSJ subscription to online and cancelled the local daily) then it would pay for itself.

They say it's cheaper to recycle an aluminum can, and there actually is a market for the scrap, but do they consider the energy burned by the extra trucks? The hot water to wash them? The productivity loss of sorting?

Glenn links to a New York Times piece that captures the other side of the equation. While recycling has been failing, good ol' landfilling has been getting more productive, more efficient and concomitantly cheaper.

The thesis of the NYTimes piece is that there's a glut of landfill capacity.

At $35 a ton, the 330 million tons buried nationally cost $11.6 billion. (Actual prices are typically lower than gate rates.) Had rates merely kept pace with inflation, disposal in dumps would average $39 a ton, or a collective $12.9 billion a year. And the annual cost would be $16.5 billion had prices, as widely predicted years ago based on an expected shortage, hit $50 a ton.

Dennis Pantano, chief operating officer at Regus Industries, a regional waste company based in West Seneca, N.Y., and a former executive at a national waste company, said he had expected "at least $45 to $50" by now. Instead, he said, "In Ohio we're still beating our heads against each other to get $18, $20 a ton - $25 in western New York. It really hasn't gone up in 10 years. That's obviously because of capacity."

Follow the money. The weekly trash truck may not feel as planet-saving as loading your old pizza cartons into the Saab, but costs do not lie.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:52 PM

August 15, 2005

Motor City Blues

So, how is life in the #1 liberal city in the nation?

Umm, a little less than perfect...

There are more than 12,000 abandoned homes in the Detroit area, a byproduct of decades of layoffs at the city's auto plants and white flight to the suburbs. And despite scores of attempts by government and civic leaders to set the city straight, the automobile capitol of the world seems trapped in a vicious cycle of urban decay.

Detroit has lost more than half its population since its heyday in the 1950's. The people who remain are mostly black -- 83 percent -- and mostly working class, with 30 percent of the population living below the poverty line according to the US Census Bureau.

Hat-tip: PoliPundit via Power Line Blog News (on which I am officially addicted)

Posted by John Kranz at 4:52 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Governor Granholm: why don't you set up downtown Detroit as a (State) tax free zone. You have tried every loopy idea on the left -- see what business would prosper.

This has been proposed for Washington D.C. (#4) before and could be executed by an act of Congress.

Posted by: jk at August 15, 2005 4:59 PM

August 12, 2005

Mrs. Sheehan

A friend emails that the right's attacks on Mrs. Sheehan could easily backfire and that t’affaire Sheehan is somewhat predictable: an angry mother, the approbation of her friends on the left, the thrill of publicity and righteous indignation...

I agree with the premise but support -- and once again proffer -- RESPECTFUL contradiction of her pronouncements.

Taranto hits it just right today. Linking to a transcription of one of her speeches. She says some abhorrent stuff:

I'm gonna tell them, "You get that evil maniac [the president] out here, cuz a Gold Star Mother, somebody who's blood is on his hands, has some questions for him."

And I'm gonna say, "OK, listen here, George. #1, you quit, and I demand, every time you get out there and say you're going to continue the killing in Iraq to honor the fallen heroes by continuing the mission; you say, except Casey Sheehan.' "

"And you say except for all the members of Goldstar Families for Peace' cuz we think not one drop of blood should be spilled in our families' names. You quit doing that. You don't have my permission."

And I'm gonna say, "And you tell me, what the noble cause is that my son died for." And if he even starts to say freedom and democracy' I'm gonna say, bullshit.

You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me my son died to spread the cancer of Pax Americana, imperialism in the Middle East. You tell me that, you don't tell me my son died for freedom and democracy.

Cuz, we're not freer. You're taking away our freedoms. The Iraqi people aren't freer, they're much worse off than before you meddled in their country.

You get America out of Iraq, you get Israel out of Palestine.

(massive round of applause)

And if you think I won't say bullshit to the President, I say move on, cuz I'll say what's on my mind.

My friend suggests this is a good time for the right to pull the shades and move on.

He might be right (this person tends to be), but then you just let her define the agenda and say whatever she wants without fear of contradiction.

I don't want to see Ann Coulter and Michael Savage beat up a Gold Star Mom, that point is taken. But so far, I have been pleased with what I have seen.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:59 PM | Comments (3)
But sugarchuck thinks:

I do not believe this woman is setting an agenda, although she may wish to. Her arguments/positions, the Bush bashing and the anti-Americanism were part of the national discourse long before her son lost his life and we will be agruing them long after her fifteen minutes have expired. Any condemnation of this woman reflects poorly on those of us who support the war effort and dishonors her son's memory, and it fuels the moveon.org money machine. The pitting of letters from pro-war mothers who have lost children, against this woman is particulary tawdry and somewhat voyeuristic.
Mrs. Sheehan has sacrificed much and if she chooses to be exploited by the moveon.org types (or if she chooses to exploit them, whichever it may be) it is her business. The principles she raises are best debated in another forum, leaving us for now with a woman who needs our consoling, our prayers and the freedom to express her grief as she sees fit. There is a high road here, a road universally scorned by the left; we, on the right, should take it.

Posted by: sugarchuck at August 12, 2005 6:07 PM
But jk thinks:

Thoughtful words. I will try.

When the truth is completely misrepresented, and it is implied that the President never saw her (her initial reaction was positive), I cannot let it sit still. There are too many lies here that might be absorbed into the consciousness like "Bush pere was amazed at the sight of a supermarket scanner." I can't leave it be.

Posted by: jk at August 13, 2005 1:35 PM
But jk thinks:

John Podhoretz is on SC's side:

Cindy Sheehan's makeshift protest camp near the president's ranch in Crawford is a brilliant piece of political theater, and it's beginning to make people say things they almost surely know they shouldn't say about a grieving mother, but just can't quite help themselves. One blogger over at redstate.org used a term relating to prostitution to describe her, and Fred Barnes -- one of the nicest men on earth -- called her a "kook" on Fox. By allowing her to get their goat in this fashion, Mrs. Sheehan and her friends are getting exactly what they want, which is a cultural confrontation between a mother who lost a son in Iraq and some pundits (like me) who don't seem to have her moral authority.


Posted by: jk at August 13, 2005 1:53 PM

August 6, 2005

Go Eliot!

No, not Thomas Sterns, but rather NYAG Eliot Spitzer.

It seems that he is taking a break from harassing honest businesspeople to investigate the possibility a real crime was committed in the unusual-appearing funding for Air America.

August 6, 2005 -- State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer yesterday opened an investigation into the Bronx social-services agency that made $875,000 in bizarre loans to Air America radio, The Post has learned.

"We are looking into it in consultation with the city's Department of Investigation," Spitzer spokesman Darren Dopp revealed.

The highly unusual loans to the left-wing radio network were made by the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club — which was visited by one of Spitzer's investigators yesterday, officials said.

Dopp said Spitzer's probe is examining "the conduct of the board of [the] charitable not-for-profit organization. The question is: Was their action appropriate?"

Spitzer has jurisdiction because his office oversees charities in the state.

This will be an interesting case, as the AG will have to risk offending his future funding base versus a comprehensive investigation -- which the Post and bloggers will no doubt pursue.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:03 PM

July 13, 2005

TNR does Che Guevara

TNR, bless their pea-pickin' liberal hearts, does a great service to the world with The Killing Machine. The article gives a realistic look at the faults and failures of Che Guevara, first enjoying the ironic capitalist enterprise that Che-wear has become.

It is not surprising that Guevara's contemporary followers, his new post-communist admirers, also delude themselves by clinging to a myth--except the young Argentines who have come up with an expression that rhymes perfectly in Spanish: "Tengo una remera del Che y no sé por qué," or "I have a Che T-shirt and I don't know why."

Carlos Santana, one of my favorite guitar players in my youth, was shown at the Oscars wearing a Che image and a crucifix. Paquito d'Rivera (a favorite of mine now) had the decency to call him on it:

Which brings us back to Carlos Santana and his chic Che gear. In an open letter published in El Nuevo Herald on March 31 of this year, the great jazz musician Paquito D'Rivera castigated Santana for his costume at the Oscars, and added: "One of those Cubans [at La Cabańa] was my cousin Bebo, who was imprisoned there precisely for being a Christian. He recounts to me with infinite bitterness how he could hear from his cell in the early hours of dawn the executions, without trial or process of law, of the many who died shouting, 'Long live Christ the King!'"

I think this article might reach some of the right readership in TNR. The people that need to learn this aren't reading National Review.

Guevara’s brutality and violent nature is detailed, with emphasis on misogynist and racist elements that should rightful disturb the Left's Che-heads.

His stint as head of the National Bank, during which he printed bills signed "Che," has been summarized by his deputy, Ernesto Betancourt: "[He] was ignorant of the most elementary economic principles." Guevara's powers of perception regarding the world economy were famously expressed in 1961, at a hemispheric conference in Uruguay, where he predicted a 10 percent rate of growth for Cuba "without the slightest fear," and, by 1980, a per capita income greater than that of "the U.S. today." In fact, by 1997, the thirtieth anniversary of his death, Cubans were dieting on a ration of five pounds of rice and one pound of beans per month; four ounces of meat twice a year; four ounces of soybean paste per week; and four eggs per month.

(But they have universal health care.) Even Guevara's efficacy in guerrilla warfare is questioned.

LLosa ends with an unfavorable comparison to a real revolutionary.

n the last few decades of the nineteenth century, Argentina had the second-highest growth rate in the world. By the 1890s, the real income of Argentine workers was greater than that of Swiss, German, and French workers. By 1928, that country had the twelfth-highest per capita GDP in the world. That achievement, which later generations would ruin, was in large measure due to Juan Bautista Alberdi.

Like Guevara, Alberdi liked to travel: he walked through the pampas and deserts from north to south at the age of fourteen, all the way to Buenos Aires. Like Guevara, Alberdi opposed a tyrant, Juan Manuel Rosas. Like Guevara, Alberdi got a chance to influence a revolutionary leader in power--Justo José de Urquiza, who toppled Rosas in 1852. And like Guevara, Alberdi represented the new government on world tours, and died abroad. But unlike the old and new darling of the left, Alberdi never killed a fly. His book, Bases y puntos de partida para la organización de la República Argentina, was the foundation of the Constitution of 1853 that limited government, opened trade, encouraged immigration, and secured property rights, thereby inaugurating a seventy-year period of astonishing prosperity. He did not meddle in the affairs of other nations, opposing his country's war against Paraguay. His likeness does not adorn Mike Tyson's abdomen.

UPDATE: Hahahaha, here's a link to Che-Mart!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:05 PM | Comments (2)
But AlexC thinks:


Posted by: AlexC at July 13, 2005 4:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Nah, they'll just blame all the bad things attributed to Che on Karl Rove: "What other plausible explanation could there be? Come on, you'd have to be an idiot to miss the connection!"

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2005 4:31 PM

June 23, 2005

ROVE Should Resign

Stop! It hurts! Stop!

Democrats now say that Karl Rove's remarks are beyond the pale -- and that he must Apologize or Resign

WASHINGTON - Democrats said Thursday that White House adviser Karl Rove should either apologize or resign for accusing liberals of wanting "therapy and understanding" for the Sept. 11 attackers, escalating partisan rancor that threatens to consume Washington.

I think AlexC should resign for putting that hateful picture up!

Posted by John Kranz at 4:27 PM | Comments (2)
But AlexC thinks:

Rove is a genius.

"Elected by the people" Durbin dick-steps... Democrats don't call for anything, Republican reaction is *grumble grumble* maybe resign your seniority.... censure.....

Unelected White House staff does something similar (note he said liberals, not Democrats), and it's 110 decibles.

Looks pretty funny to me.

Posted by: AlexC at June 24, 2005 2:16 AM
But AlexC thinks:

Oh... would a compassionate head tilt along with my apology suffice?

Posted by: AlexC at June 24, 2005 2:20 AM

March 25, 2005

Right On!

Tenured CU Professor Ward Churchill should not be fired for saying stupid things, that's his job.

But somebody should look at what an incredible academic lightweight he is. And it looks like they are.

UC Chancellor Phil DiStefano has released the University of Colorado's report on its review of the Ward Churchill situation several days early. The report was originally scheduled for release on Monday, March 28. DiStefano stated that "Because of extensive public interest, I felt it was important to release it as soon after completion as possible." Bottom line: Ward Churchill will not be fired for his 9/11 comments, but will be investigated for issues concerning his research. He will not be investigated on issues concerning his teaching. He will be investigated for issues concerning his Indian ethnicity, because he portrayed that ethnicity as being integral to his scholarly research.

This week's National Review has a cover story of VDH devastating academia. I cannot help but feel we have not heard the last, that Wolfe's book and l-affaire Ward Churchill have got a lot of people rethinking education.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:51 AM | Comments (4)
But Silence Dogood thinks:

I say welcome to celebrity Dr. Churchill! With the good, publicity and speaking engagement fees comes the bad, folks poking around in your life and digging up skeletons. Live by the sword, die by the sword, this is the most fitting punishment.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at March 29, 2005 11:06 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I respectfully disagree that this development is "Right on." As I said on February 6 (http://www.threesources.com/archives/001403.html) Ward Churchill's statements and writings are criminal and morally wrong. Absolutely so.

I'm coming to the conclusion that the CU "inquiry" by its Standing Committee on Research Misconduct is intended from the very start to be a smokescreen.

First, the interim chancellor completely dismissed the treasonous or otherwise illegal statements and writings of Churchill from any evaluation. He did this on the grounds that the only exception to First Amendment protection is, "advocacy of concrete or imminent violent action, as opposed to political hyperbole or advocacy and teaching of illegal violent action as an abstract principle." But how many angels are dancing on the head of that pin?

Article III. Section. 3. of the US Constitution states: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort." I don't see the words "concrete" or "imminent" anywhere. Do you? "Giving them Aid and Comfort" through "advocacy and teaching of illegal violent action as an abstract principle" is most certainly treasonous. Both in the intent of the Founders and as an objective fact.

Second, he referred this matter of "henhouse security" to the "foxes" on the Standing Committee. "Please, please don't throw me in that there briar patch brer fox!"

The strategy of the University administration is compartmentalize, delay, obfuscate, delay some more, and capitulate. Mark my words.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2005 3:19 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

I would have to disagree with John Galt on the meaning and intent of Article III Section 3. I believe that the founders did expressly intend to limit treason to physical acts of outright war or material support of such. They did not want the sweeping definition of Mother England that included speech and writings. These folks had just been through a major act of treason and I believe they so valued and intended to protect speech and writings that they limited the definition of treason in our Constitution. The time of 1760-1780 could be thought of as the first coming of American blogging when the pamphleteers of the time took to writing and publishing on their own outside the major gazettes or MSM of the day. Hence my resurrection of Silence Dogood in honor of Ben Franklin, one of the first "bloggers".

Posted by: Silence Dogood at March 30, 2005 10:55 AM
But johngalt thinks:

First, for future reference, it's "Johngalt" not "John Galt." The latter refers to a fictional character. (And a copyrighted one at that.)

I do agree with you Silence regarding basic interpretation of Treason in the Constitution. But let us remember the context in this case: We are not talking about a man on the street, or even an executive of a private or publicly held company. We are discussing the "advocacy and teaching" of a government official at a government sanctioned university, which thus confers the sanction of the state upon those teachings. While the Constitution's punishment for Treason (something about a noose?) must certainly be reserved for those who commit said offense materially (which, it can be argued, Churchill has done and has actually bragged about doing) the lesser sanction of removal from office is certainly a valid consequence of Treason "as an abstract principle."

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2005 3:58 PM

March 23, 2005

ANWR Boycott

The left, the left, the mad, whacko left. There's little they love more than a boycott. It doesn't matter that they tend to be wildly ineffective, impossible to trace and chock full o' unintended consequences.

I got an email from my buddy (I offered to help her set up her own blog) with "something simple we all can do." That is, follow every drop of oil from ANWR through refining and refuse it at the pump.

Well, no, that would be a lot of work -- so, what you can do is sign an online petition that you will boycott the gas stations affiliated with the companies who are drilling:

If you want to inform BP, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell that you will boycott their gas stations unless they pledge not to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (see the text of your message below), just click reply and send. [Boilerplate language on if you are not a member]

Imagine if millions and millions of us, young and old, progressives and conservatives, make it clear to these companies that they stand to lose big-time if they drill for oil in the wildlife refuge. Polls show that most Americans are on our side. Let's walk our talk.

Yeah, you walk the talk, brothers and sisters.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:02 PM | Comments (6)
But AlexC thinks:

Arrrrgh! Do any of these effing knuckleheads know that gasoline is fungible?
A drop of gasoline that enters the national pipeline system can exit it anywhere at anytime to any one who contributed into the system!
A gallon of ARCO gas is the same as Phillips 66 is the same BP Amoco's etc.
It's all the same!
The local distributors just add their own special additives to make it distinct.


Posted by: AlexC at March 23, 2005 3:30 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Arrrggh! Alex still angry.

Are they going to boycott all of those gas stations with those signs? There are a lot of independant franchisers who don't make but a few cents per gallon (make more on soda and snacks inside).
Perhaps they will focus on the just the corporately owned stations, who (at the today's prices) could weather a boycott storm for a long long time.

Posted by: AlexC at March 23, 2005 3:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Glad you're angry. It is so stupid it gets me mad as well.

I presume that the oil companies all know that these idiots will sign a petition but very few will change their buying patterns and those who do won't affect sales much if at all. These guys are used to being the demons, I trust.

Look at the bright side. It is better to keep such people busy with this agenda -- imagine the trouble they'd cause by doing something useful

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2005 4:31 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Let's start an online petition to stop online petitions. This is something simple we can all do, pledge to not support online petitions.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at March 24, 2005 7:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Got a good chuckle from your comment, Silence. But I have readily signed petitions supporting the troops, celebrating Reagan's birthday, and most recently supporting up-down votes on W's judicial nominations.

A funny aside, I joined a WSJ-Best-of-the-web drive to sign Not in Our Name petitons with silly names. Now I get NION email sent to: Hadda V. Shinynose....

Posted by: jk at March 25, 2005 1:22 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Which reminds me.. senior year in HS I was newspaper editor. One issue he had a byline by "Heywood Jablomey." Never did figure out who put that in there, ;) but it was our last issue.

Posted by: AlexC at March 25, 2005 4:11 PM

March 2, 2005

"There's always hope that this might not work!"

Most Three Sources readers probably also tune in to WSJ's Best of the Web every weekday, but for those who don't (and also because this is just so damn fun) I have to call attention to Taranto's journaling (thanks to TiVo) of last night's episode of Jon Stewart's 'The Daily Show' on Comedy Central.

Stewart was interviewing former Clinton aide Nancy Soderberg who was there to promote her book 'The Superpower Myth: The Use and Misuse of American Might.' You'll want to read the whole thing, but here are some astonishing excerpts:

Soderberg: Well, I think, you know, as a Democrat, you don't want anything nice to happen to the Republicans, and you don't want them to have progress. But as an American, you hope good things would happen. I think the way to look at it is, they can't credit for every good thing that happens, but they need to be able to manage it. I think what's happening in Lebanon is great, but it's not necessarily directly related to the fact that we went into Iraq militarily.

Stewart: He's [George W. Bush] gonna be a great--pretty soon, Republicans are gonna be like, "Reagan was nothing compared to this guy." Like, my kid's gonna go to a high school named after him, I just know it.

Soderberg: Well, there's still Iran and North Korea, don't forget. There's hope for the rest of us.

Stewart: [crossing fingers] Iran and North Korea, that's true, that is true [audience laughter].


Soderberg: There's always hope that this might not work.

So there you have it. A published Democrat apparatchik admits that freedom is indeed on the march, that it is likely unstoppable, and that there's a good chance our military invasion of Iraq was the catalyst. She used the half-empty terms to describe the situation, but this is the essence of what she said. Having said all that though, she concludes "There's always hope that this might not work." Ah, "progressives."

Taranto's analysis of the episode is excellent. Be sure to check it out at the bottom of the piece.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Yes, keep that flame of hope alive -- things could still be really, really bad!

Posted by: jk at March 2, 2005 6:31 PM

February 28, 2005

Ward Churchill: Principle vs. Principal

Belmont Club links to a Denver Post story about The University of Colorado's latest attempt to extricate itself from the Churchill contretemps. (Whoa doggies -- that's a bad sentence!)

But the good perfesser has his principles. He is making a brave stand for free speech and the values of anti-capitalism. And he will not be bought, er, cheaply:

University of Colorado officials are considering offering Ward Churchill an early retirement package that could end an increasingly uncomfortable standoff with the controversial professor. ... David Lane, Churchill's attorney, said he has not been contacted about a buyout offer. But, he said, while his primary focus is on protecting Churchill's constitutional right to speak out, he would be willing to listen to a university proposal. "If they offer $10 million, I would think about it. If they offer him $10, I wouldn't," Lane said.

I wish I could really believe that Churchill is an outlier. My guess is that a large portion, if not a majority, of liberal arts instructors at major universities hold similar thoughts. I hope most of them hold more academic credentials but don't guess that they hold wiser opinions.

Being a drop-out feels pretty good this week, perhaps I am just enjoying the sour grapes.

UPDATE: Maybe CU can save a million or two if they can fire him for plagiarism.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:22 AM | Comments (2)
But Silence Dogood thinks:

"liberal" arts - it's right there in the name.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at February 28, 2005 11:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I wasn't aware that one of CU's liberal "arts" programs was "Original Works by Photocopier." Ward obviously received an "A" and not just because the instructor approved of his politics.

Posted by: johngalt at February 28, 2005 4:00 PM

February 24, 2005

Reason-based Progressives

When I read Jonathan Chait's TNR piece I knew I had to blog it. My first thought was "this is the craziest thing I have ever seen, I have to show everybody how wacko these folks are!"

And I still think they is.

Then reading AlexC's excellent post on Social Security and basic Democratic intransigence, I was tempted to add this as a comment.

But it needs its own post and what I hope will develop into its own comment thread. TNR is not "The Nation;" they are partisan but they are thoughtful. So hear it is. Folks really believe this to be true.

The Cliff Note version is that God comes down (see, we already lost JohnGalt) and tells one political party that the other one is right. Chait is well balanced in his summaries and descriptions, but the thesis is that the thoughtful lefties all say "it's a fair cop!" and turn Conservative ---- but those ideological right wing moonbats, boy...

Now imagine the opposite were to happen. God appears in order to affirm liberal precepts: Current tax levels barely affect economic incentives, social programs provide tremendous economic security at modest cost to growth, and most regulations achieve their intended effects without producing undue distortions. Would economic conservatives likewise abandon their views? Some certainly would, but a great many would not. Economic conservatism, unlike liberalism, would survive having all its empirical underpinnings knocked out from beneath it.

And not because conservatives are necessarily more stubborn. (Indeed, on an individual level, liberals may well be just as stubborn as conservatives.) Rather, conservatism, unlike liberalism, overlays a deeper set of philosophical principles. Conservatives believe that big government impinges upon freedom. They may also believe that big government imposes large costs on the economy. But, for a true conservative, whatever ends they think smaller government may bring about--greater prosperity, economic mobility for the non-rich--are almost beside the point. As Milton Friedman wrote, "[F]reedom in economic arrangements is itself a component of freedom broadly understood, so economic freedom is an end in itself."

I'm no less a partisan hack than Chait (and, yes, he's a much better writer) but I would have little difficulty asserting the exact opposite. The left is driven by ideology and the right wants to optimize growth and have the trains run on time.

My example would be globalization. It has brought untold wealth and diversity to rich and poor, but the left fights it because it doesn't measure up to their standards of fairness.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:09 AM

February 17, 2005

Sit Down Before Reading This

In policy terms, Kerry probably had a more serious democratization agenda than Bush. But, rhetorically, he never matched Bush's grandeur.
I sent this quote to James Taranto at Best of The Web (did I mention the two times that I was in BOTW? 1 2 Oh. I did?) and said "I don't know which part is funnier."

Kerry's audacious plan to democratize the Middle East? I somehow missed that one, Peter. And I never, never, never, thought even Beinart would say about a Democrat "rhetorically, he never matched Bush's grandeur." (Nuke-uh-ler...)

As usual, Beinart makes other good points in his piece but I wonder if this isn't a fundamental shift in the left. They don't plan to misunderestimate the President. I wonder if we won't see a grudging respect.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:56 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Kerry and the rest of the Dems appear to be relieved that the election season is over and they no longer have to pretend that the President's strategy wasn't working. They're now free to argue, "It's about time he did what I proposed all along!"

Posted by: johngalt at February 18, 2005 3:34 PM

February 16, 2005

The Social Security Fight

Pete du Pont (I supported his brief Presidential bid way back when...) nails it in his OpinionJournal piece today. The solidarity seen in opposition to President Bush's Social Security reform is philosophical:

Ultimately the argument isn't about investment accounts, or stocks or bonds or "gambling" or "insecurity." It is about socialism versus individualism, about Attlee's social justice and Hillary's common good and Chomsky's economic solidarity. AARP CEO William Novelli is in favor of allowing the government to invest Social Security surplus funds in the stock market, but against allowing individuals to do so--exactly the socialist argument, that government should control the distribution of the nation's wealth.

When you increase an individual's wealth, he becomes less dependent on government, and his attitude towards government changes. Socialists can't allow that, for it erodes their fundamental principle that social justice can only be achieved when important segments of the economy are under government control.

And that is why today's very liberal Democratic Party is so vehemently arguing against personal ownership of Social Security market accounts. The government's Social Security system is socialism's last redoubt, and must be preserved at all costs.

Along the way, he points out that the AFL-CIO, AARP and government employees all use the type of plan W is proposing, even as they fight it.

I'll go further and point out that they have a lot to lose. Much of the government control agenda has been repudiated of late; Social Security remains one of the few popular forms of coercion. Any individualization would severely damage the progressives' agenda.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:21 PM | Comments (12)
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Yep, Federal employees and federal non-profit employees have been under Social Security since 1984. See http://www.ssa.gov/history/1983amend.html for the whole text of the law. It includes:

Covers under Social Security the following groups: (1) Federal employees hired on or after January 1, 1984; (2) current employees of the legislative branch not participating in the Civil Service Retirement System on December 31, 1983; and (3) all Members of Congress, the President and the Vice-President, Federal judges, and other executive-level political appointees of the Federal Government, effective January 1, 1984.

Once again this administration is doing a masterful job of linking together unrelated things like Iraq and the 9/11 terrorists. Now it is private accounts and fixing Social Security. Like some kind of cross between hypnosis and a Pavlov's dog experiment Bush is out stumping for his proposal talking about the looming Social Security shortfall in one breath and his private accounts in the other. It will probably work if he continues to say both in every speech. Do a poll about 6 months from now and I bet 50% of the respondents will indicate that having private accounts will fix the monetary shortfall in SS. The subtle sleight of hand and quiet whispers about changes to the benefit calculator and increases to the FICA tax cap thread lazily through your mind, never quite reaching your consciousness - you are feeling sleepy, very sleepy.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at February 17, 2005 10:10 AM
But jk thinks:

Some clarifications for my pal Silence:

My analogy is not a loan to invest, it is a loan to pay off an unrecorded obligation, such as parents loaning a child money for a car or a down payment on a home. Said child might restructure the mortgage and repay. Like financing the transition costs, this seems to increase d e b t on paper, but doesn't change in reality.

I think that lower income workers will benefit the most from providing Social Security as a heritable asset. A surviving spouse or child could use the money to finance a new business or buy a home. Perhaps the very act of accumulating wealth would inspire more thrift and a predilection to savings (bringing us full circle to the claim that that's exactly what some opponents would not appreciate...)

Yup, the market goes up and down. But the private accounts take advantage of dollar averaging. If you always buy $100 of stock a month, you buy more stock when it's cheaper.

In the last decade before retirement, you should move to bonds and fixed securities, so even if you retire in a trough, you are okay.

Lastly, I love your point about this being for those not born yet. You're not expecting your grandma to navigate this complexity when she can't program her VCR, you're offering choice to your grandchildren, who will learn to read on a flexible LCD laptop.

Posted by: jk at February 17, 2005 11:23 AM
But johngalt thinks:

So much to respond to here...

Good catch on the change to add federal employees to Social Security. (Although pre-1983 employees are grandfathered out.)

Silence has implied that a little bit of socialism is a good thing, while too much or none at all is bad. He's also said he agrees with "the concept of moving toward a privatized plan" but he is "very concerned about the specifics of the changeover from the current plan. Basically will it be managed in an equitable fashion for all involved?"

By "equitable" I'll take your meaning as fair, rather than equal, which would in fact make you a "hard core socialist." So how do you determine a "fair" management of a plan that extracts an indeterminate amount of tax from every honest and productive citizen and in turn promises to repay him some arbitrary and ever increasing amount starting at some arbitrary date and continuing for the rest of his indeterminate life regardless of the amount of tax revenues available to make good on that promise? Fair to whom? The promissor? The promissee? How about whoever is trying to be a producer at the time? When is fairness for him taken into account?

Most frightening of all Silence's comments is this: "I generally find that trying to identify the underlying philosophical reasons for disagreement not all that helpful in coming to a compromise. I am more interested in how the system gets changed than why."

Politicians seek compromise. Rational men seek correct outcomes. If you have no philosophical base then you have no way to judge what is correct. Doing something without regard for the "why" is like a million monkeys banging away on typewriters - a result is achieved but it has no value.

Posted by: johngalt at February 18, 2005 3:29 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Yes, equitable as in fair, not equal. You make some very good points however about the difficulty in doing that. They bring to my mind another set of items that is incorrectly becoming linked together, private savings accounts as proposed by President Bush, 401K plans and Social Security. As they would say on Sesame Street, one of these things is not like the others. In many respects SS has more in common with life insurance than private investments. The system is not designed to provide an equal payout to all participants, in fact it, like life insurance, counts on the fact that some participants will live longer, and some shorter lives. By not providing inheritable value it counts on using excess from some participants to pay for others. While not "fair" one only has to look at the difference in premiums on a whole life policy versus a term life policy to get an idea of how much more we would have to pay for that kind of coverage. As to JK's point that even poor people would benefit from and be more empowered by personal savings that assumes that the person has the capability to save at all, something than many at the poverty level do not. For those the current system is better as it removes the risk of running out of money if they should live longer, a risk that increases as the size of the savings diminishes.

As for frightening John Galt, I suspect that our utopias are not that different. I am however a hard core pragmatist. By this I mean that although my ideal would be for each of us to pay our own way and all to do that effectively I understand that the reality is that there are those who will not due to things within and those beyond their control. I also understand reality to be that we as a society have made a choice to provide for those folks in some way. I just look at the issue starting from where we currently are, not where I feel we should be. From there I look to what I think is a realistic improvement toward my ideal. I don't think this in any way diminishes my convictions.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at February 22, 2005 3:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Gotta get the last word before this falls off the page...

Silence, I said "I think that lower income workers will benefit the most from providing Social Security as a heritable asset. A surviving spouse or child could use the money to finance a new business or buy a home."

Exactly the case that these people are having a tough time saving (25% payroll taxes don't help, but that's another story). The government is, with a private account, forcing them to save. This strikes me as a better alternative than just taking money away from them and it giving it to rich old people.

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2005 4:29 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Provided they are "lucky" enough to die before their money runs out.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at February 22, 2005 5:44 PM

February 10, 2005


Bret Stephens of the WSJ Ed Page says he was there in Davos and was an eyewitness to Easongate.

His short piece is worth a read as a balanced view from someone who was actually there. He doesn't call for Jordan's head but he closes with a good point:

And that was it--the discussion moved on. I'll leave it others to draw their own verdicts, but here's mine: Whether with malice aforethought or not, Mr. Jordan made a defamatory innuendo. Defamatory innuendo--rather than outright allegation--is the vehicle of mainstream media bias. Had Mr. Jordan's innuendo gone unchallenged, it would have served as further proof to the Davos elite of the depths of American perfidy. Mr. Jordan deserves some credit for retracting the substance of his remark, and some forgiveness for trying to weasel his way out of a bad situation of his own making. Whether CNN wants its news division led by a man who can't be trusted to sit on a panel and field softball questions is another matter.

The more I read on the Ward Churchill story, the more I get the same feeling. How did this academic lightweight become a tenured professor and department chair at CU?

Neither of them should be fired for their stupid and false comments, but clearly, neither has earned his rank.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:21 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

The evidence is mounting that the university faculty and administration made this academic lightweight a tenured professor precisely BECAUSE of his stupid and false comments.

Eason said what he wanted to believe until he realized he had zero evidence. If Eason did not operate in a system where accountability still matters then he would have done what Churchill did. Hold a rally to thump his chest and scream that he gets to be right if he wants to, and nobody can do anything about it because he's not answerable to anyone.

I hear the radio talking heads say that it doesn't matter that Churchill preaches violence and victimhood because "five years from now these kids will be driving BMWs and going to church like the rest of adult America." This is in large measure true (except the church goin'). But what ideals will each one hold in his heart, buttressed by his mind which was taught not to think, but to believe in the doctrines of his "dear old professor?"

One such ideal is that "Americans deserve to be killed for their exceptionalism." What do you suppose that does to one's desire to become exceptional?

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2005 3:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Twixt Ward Churchill and Tom Wolfe, I would really attempt to talk most people out of a traditional undergrad program at a large, State University.

You can call it sour grapes from a dropout, but I would advise a young person to try a small specialty school. If not a Hillsdale or Pepperdine, or one of the religious schools in National Review (sorry, johngalt!), to at least pick a small school on the basis of their willingness to allow independent thought.

Posted by: jk at February 11, 2005 7:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

JK, I'm afraid you should have ended your first sentence at "program." You endorse "one of the religious schools in National Review" but consider this from a National Review editorial:


"Father Kevin William Wildes, the school's president, goes into the usual knee-jerk free-expression and diversity muck in his letter — "Loyola University, like any university, is committed to the free expression of ideas and the rigors of debate."
"Father, your religious order teaches about right and wrong, right? I know it used to, anyway."
"Phew — Loyola might not endorse statutory rape. Maybe Catholic Loyola does stand for something besides an open door to whatever pop culture or special-interest groups say it has to let in. That's some maybe, though. One that the 27 other U.S. Catholic colleges and universities (according to the Cardinal Newman Society) who also had VM on campus this year ought to ponder."

Posted by: johngalt at February 15, 2005 2:32 PM

February 7, 2005

Mr. Leader

George Will has done yeoman work on Social Security reform. He uses his trademark historical erudition to deflate the arguments of those who oppose assetization.

In his Newsweek column, he voices a belief of mine: Progressives, by not trusting, understanding, or believing in capital markets demonstrate themselves unfit to lead. Will whacks the four most visible Democrats: Gov. Howard Dean, Senator Ted Kennedy, Senator Barabara Boxer, and...

The fourth, and most important, is Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who seems determined to earn the description Teddy Roosevelt applied to President John Tyler—"a politician of monumental littleness."
Reid's hyperbole suggests that Deanspeak is contagious. In Reid's televised "response" to the president's State of the Union address—written before the address—he disparaged the idea of voluntary personal retirement accounts funded by portions of individuals' Social Security taxes as "Social Security roulette." This is the crux of the Democrats' argument against Bush's plan: Equities markets are terribly risky—indeed, are as irrational and risky as roulette. Think about that.

Roulette is a game without any element of skill. By comparing the investment of some Social Security funds in stocks and bonds to gambling on roulette, Reid is saying that the risks and rewards of America's capital markets, which are the foundation of the nation's economic rationality and prosperity, are as random as the caroms of the ball in a roulette wheel. This, from a national leader, is amazing.

Amazing, indeed. Our capital markets are superseded only by liberty itself as the growth engine of our prosperity.

These people want to lead us through the forest at night, but they do not believe in light.

Hat-tip: WSJ Political Diary

Posted by John Kranz at 1:06 PM | Comments (10)
But jk thinks:

I think that the Government will provide only very conservative funds and that fees will be negotiated to be very low and possibly the same across all investments. I am actually concerned that the government will not provide enough in the way of an aggressive growth fund that might be good for younger workers. I do not believe that any of Mort's discovered ignorances would affect any of the workers in a private Social Security Plan (though they would in the SSSP, jk is arguing Silence for more gub'mint control...)

I'll take you at your word that Republicans did indeed ignore Democratic calls for reform, though I suspect that Democrats just wanted to raise taxes, thereby increasing the SS Surplus that they were able to spend on domestic programs. Sorry if I am selling them short, I'd love to be corrected.

As to specific merits of the SSSP, I appreciate the move toward self-sufficiency, it just seems to me pretty close to the ideas of the Bush plan, lacking only the Federal oversight that people are not putting all their retirement on "red 13."

Posted by: jk at February 9, 2005 2:33 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

The phrase "government will...provide" twice plus two calls for government control. Ok you imposter, what have you done with the real JK! If you are the real JK, what was the plot of Buffy episode 3, season 2? Ok, I kid, but who would have imagined you calling for government control to keep investors from being foolish? (Nanny state anyone?) I see your point of course, trying to head off a bailout down the road. Where I differ from President Bush's plan (as I understand it, and I admit my understanding is entirely questionable) is in the funding of the current system. Bush's plan would pull money out of the current funding to allow the private accounts. We currently pay out over 90% (and rising) of what we take in and the "surplus" actually consists of treasury notes, or money that has already been borrowed to pay for other programs, so how is this not borrowing money to invest? I.e. the money I get to invest and thus don't pay into Social Security will have to be borrowed by the government to pay for current benefits. Without changes to benefits like retirement age or adjustments to the cost of living increases Bush's plan doesn't alleviate the fiscal problem either. I think his plan actually does include the aforementioned benefit cuts. (or "benefit adjustments" as Republicans might like to call it) These will have the real effect on solvency, the privatization seems thrown in on top as a nice smoke screen. Perhaps I am too harsh and his plan like mine is a method to slowly move dependency away from government paid retirement, but with the immediate cut to money taken in to allow for private accounts, how does this not accelerate the depletion of the surplus?

Posted by: Silence Dogood at February 11, 2005 11:48 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Silence said, "My basic concept with the SSSP is to slowly move people's dependence away from the government for their retirement." I think you've also admitted that this is the essential goal of the Bush plan as well. But then you lament the gradual shift of current FICA taxes toward independence because... it threatens the government's ability to provide for people's retirement. If you want to go for a swim then you've got to get in the water. Whether you start by dipping your toe or by jumping, either way you gotta get wet.

In order for you and the rest of the Bush plan critics to feel comfortable with it, you first have to come to grips with your very first statement on the matter: "Privatized gain, socialized loss." Until you concede that a man is entitled to everything he earns and nothing that his neighbor has then you'll chase your tail incessantly trying to have it both ways. Unless you enjoy that sort of thing, eventually you have to choose sides. One is right and the other is wrong, but at least you'll know which side of campus to hang out on!

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2005 3:07 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

True enough John Galt, and I at less then half way through my paying in stage am ready to take the plunge. But what of those who have finished or nearly finished paying in? Cut their benefits right now? Some how the adjustment has to be made on both ends so that the money coming in equals the money going out. Perhaps this could be some sort of incrementally adjusting system where for those already retired the benefit stays the same and for those not yet retired the benefit and the withholding are lowered by an amount based on years until you start collecting. (Here is where I need to concede the details to folks with more economics knowledge than myself.)

You are also correct about chasing our tails with the privatized gain, socialized loss, but my reading of political reality is that the bailout will be inevitable, either directly or through things like emergency medical care. This is what prompted my description of Social Security taxes as being akin to dues to belong to our society.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at February 11, 2005 4:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Season Two, Episode Three was "School Hard," most notable for Spike's attendance at Parent Teacher night and his meeting of Joyce (Buffy's mom). Good episode...

silence, I'd remove government control of Social Security in a heartbeat. But I am the pragmatist around here. That's not gonna happen, so I will try for the most viable reforms that provide personal responsibility. I think the most viable is a Thrift Savings Plan style system that would provide a limited selection of low fee conservative funds.

You recognize (as few Democratic Senators seem to) that we are trading unfunded liabilities for secured liabilities, that part of it should not be the big deal that it is. I am completely in favor of reducing benefits pari passu with investment into private accounts. I think it is fair and freedom-enhancing. I would do as much of this as was politically feasible. And, as a pragmatist, I will take a lot less than I wanted in hopes that a small step now could be expanded later when younger workers are demanding more..

Lastly, I would certainly honor the promise made to those who have paid in. I think you and I still have time to do a little better with a partially privatized plan, but I would give every worker 50 and over a choice of the original deal into which they have been (if only metaphorically) paying.

Posted by: jk at February 11, 2005 6:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A condition of giving "every worker 50 and over a choice of the original deal into which they have been paying" is that said "deal" must not enslave every worker 49 and under to their elders. THIS is what is really "broken" in Social Security: its moral basis.

Silence desires that "for those already retired the benefit stays the same" but the current program inexplicably links the inflation adjustment of current benefits to wage growth, which is HIGHER than inflation. For those benefits to "stay the same" then the indexing basis must be corrected as Bush has proposed.

Posted by: johngalt at February 13, 2005 1:40 PM

February 5, 2005

The Janitor was Otherwise Engaged

James Taranto at OpinionJournal - Best of the Web spots an interesting tale from the world of academia. A seminar is given at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, by Amy Nell of Concordia College. The description includes:

In November 2004, Osama Bin Laden released a tape giving his recipe for a healthy nation. This seminar would dissect his message and use audience participation in doing so. Discussion points would include counterterrorism methods, the possibility of peace, empathy etc. The aim of this seminar would be to help understand the position of Osama Bin Laden as presented in the video and explore in what ways the origins of terrorism are to be found, not in some foreign citizen, but in the actions we take out of fear, hate and retribution.

Save you a seat? The funny part is that a little Internet search allows Taranto to find that Ms. Nell's position at Concordia is that of photographer for the school newspaper.

It has been suggested that the newest Tom Wolfe book "I Am Charlotte Simmons" might start to turn some away from the classic idea of higher education. The book is of course fictional but it's not, which is Wolfe's gift as a novelist. I don't have kids but I would have to ask if this were what I am saving money to provide? Is this what my child is working for?

The big contretemps in Boulder this week is the cancellation of Ward Churchill's speech in New York and efforts to fire him from the University.

Professor Glenn sez that firing Churchill is too far and risks academic freedom to fire a tenured professor.

It may be too much, even for a dorky idiot as Churchill (there's a phrase I never thought I'd write) but I think that the tenure system and general protections afforded professors is exactly what has tarnished the franchise of academe. Another CU prof told a friend that the female students he was coarsely harassing could complain all they wanted -- he, as a tenured professor was untouchable. As Taranto says, "Great Moments in Higher Education..."

If these professors are damaging the franchise, they should not be permitted to hide under the protection of tenure.

There is very little alternative market for parents or undergraduates, but at what point does one balk from a Charlotte Simmons experience and opt for a small private, religious or specialty school?

Posted by John Kranz at 2:17 PM

January 19, 2005

The Dumbest Idea


I am always happy to meet a progressive who pays attention, has a grasp of issues and can define his or her intellectual philosophy. I went to lunch with an old friend who fits that bill. Unfortunately, in catching up we had little time for politics.

Now that I have established some credibility for managing opposition, I want to rant a moment on a "protest" that is so insanely stupid that it makes me angry.

Once again, the Naderites of this great nation are declaring "Don't Spend a Dime Day." This time, it is to protest the war and is set to coincide with Inauguration Day.

"On 'Not One Damn Dime Day' those who oppose what is happening in our name in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott of all forms of consumer spending."

Funny, it seems that we just had an opportunity to speak. It was called an election. And those who opposed the war and consumerism could vote for Mr. Ralph Nader. And, about nobody did -- give or take some.

The same folks are now dreaming of empty Wal*Marts, and a whole nation saying "What Happened?"

On what level is this not insane? All these people are going to heat their home, eat food, burn gas, and consume normally. They are just choosing not to replenish on that day. Even if effective, they wouldn't influence any suppliers, all of whom certainly look at weekly, monthly and quarterly sales.

So, they have nothing to win. They can't really make a point. Their only choice is to lose: be even more ineffectual than in the election.

And there's where we can help. I am going to gas up both my cars, eat every meal out, and my lovely wife is planning to join me downtown for a shopping trip, right in the belly of the beast, Boulder Colorado.

Some have suggested wearing a dollar ribbon. Instructions for "rolling your own" can be found at http://www.gfps.k12.mt.us/lewisandclark/dollarribbon.html

If you want a more cogent critique of "Not One Dime Day," let me recommend Tech Central Station.

You mention the five freedoms our country was founded on, and I agree with them if you are counting those freedoms as found in the First Amendment-although I count six. If you mean the freedoms as enumerated by FDR, there were four, and, of course, he looked "forward to a world founded upon" them. I pause to note none of these freedoms existed in Iraq before the U.S. liberated Iraq from Saddam Hussein. Now they are beginning to.

You also cite the preamble to our Constitution: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…."

Why do we think all of these foregoing treasures belong only to Americans? When we see an oppressed and immiserated people, should we not do our best to liberate them? Is this not why, for example, so many looked to the U.S. after the Asian Tsunami and why, for further example, we have 13,000 U.S. troops there now? A mere 2,000 less troops than we have in Afghanistan?

Thursday -- TiVo the Inauguration and shop 'till you drop! Our very democracy may depend on it!

Posted by John Kranz at 2:52 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Between mollie's birthday in Minnesota (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!) and my wife's new Nintendo DS(r) I think the ThreeSources blog team is doing its part!

Posted by: jk at January 20, 2005 8:05 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Tivo it so I don't miss the suprise ending?

Posted by: Silence Dogood at January 21, 2005 11:27 AM