May 17, 2016

Quote of the Day

Two comments on the notorious Breitbart article calling Bill Kristol a "renegade Jew" for his opposition to Trump list me among the anti-Trump Jews in the media. I'm not in fact Jewish, at least for the past few generations that I can trace, but I have no objection to being so identified. But did they have to call me a conservative? -- David Boaz
Posted by John Kranz at 3:31 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2016

Russ Roberts

Nobody more worthy of props.

When I run that line by Russ Roberts, he replies with a joke: "How do you know macroeconomists have a sense of humor? They use decimal points."

Roberts is the beloved host of EconTalk and the author of three excellent books which use fiction to communicate economic prociples [Review Corner: The Invisible Heart] and on Adam Smith [Review Corner: How Adam Smith can Change you Life].

Posted by John Kranz at 2:11 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2016


I used to like Andy Borowitz quite a bit. He has become pretty stridently leftist at The New Yorker -- plus one of my lefty buddies only shares his most snide and hateful. It has turned me off. But this is pretty propsworthy:


Posted by John Kranz at 6:40 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2016

Gaga for the Anthem

It was a pretty good Super Bowl for this Bronco Fan. I walked the dog and missed most of the halftime show. I enjoyed several of the commercials, and there was that 24-10 thing.

I really dug Lady Gaga's national Anthem rendition. I collect them and enjoy both contemporary individualized and traditional versions. The lyrics are sublime and exhibit a nuance and subtlety for which Americans are not especially renowned. I didn't understand them until I was 40.

I flirted with having Francis Scott Key narrate my ill-fated book on Dred Scott v Sandford (he was Chief Justice Roger Taney's Brother-in-law and childhood friend). Alas Key died long before any of the interesting events. Key's ghost was a bit too much even for historical fiction.

But I retain a tie with Key and the lyrics are marvelous. Thanks to Penn Jillette, I can recite the second verse from memory. It is seriously magical:

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
'Tis the star-spangled banner -- O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

But the tune is garden-level martial pablum with a difficult range. Sorry patriots. Ergo, a little (or even a lot) of individualization fails to offend me. I wish we'd follow the Constitution as written, but a lead sheet for the Star-Spangled Banner is a living document full of emanations and penumbras.

I thought Lady Gaga played both sides and I remain captivated be her performance. I have listened a dozen times. ThreeSourcers might dig her comments after:

..."I just thought about the lyrics and what they really mean," said Gaga. They've been around a long time, so I thought about what they mean now, I just sang from my heart."

"No matter what you go through, the same as our country, that metaphor of 'but the flag was still there' is so powerful for me every time," said Gaga.

"I'm really singing it from the heart and I'm also singing it very true to the way it was written because that's when I think it sounds its most majestic.

There's no greater honor than standing next to the Color Guard, the Flag, the Army and the Military and singing the National Anthem."


Posted by John Kranz at 5:16 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

And she didn't wear the meat suit, which was a plus.

Seriously, I agree completely. I was impressed with the respect and emotion she showed. It struck me as 100 percent genuine and heartfelt. And the vocals were fantastic.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 6:28 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeh, the meat suit made a poor first impression on me. The lovely bride had been rehabilitating her with me, based predominantly on her Duets with Tony Bennett. The anthem performance put her over the top.

Still not sure about those red heels, but no man was deprived his dinner over them.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2016 6:45 PM

December 15, 2015

Propsworthy II: People are Smarterer than Media Allows

Or...Brother jg was right...

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

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

Posted by John Kranz at 4:40 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Me, right? It happens.

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

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

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

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

Propsworthy: Western Oil Producers

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

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

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

In the end, of course, low oil prices will probably deliver production cuts, as the Saudis intended; it's just that the timescale is constantly being extended as oil inventories soar. Having persuaded its Opec co-travellers to sign up for a short campaign, the Saudis risk being dragged into a long battle by default. The low oil price is great news (at least for the time being) for oil-consuming countries. But when, like the Saudis, you require $100-a-barrel oil to balance your budget, you have a serious problem. Even foreign-exchange reserves of $640bn don't last for ever.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

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

A solid first effort, though!

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

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

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

'We are the world!

We are the children!'"

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