May 3, 2018

Walk Down Memory Lane

Jeh Johnson.
Arne Duncan.
Tim Geithner.
Loretta Lynch.
Regina McCarthy.
Samantha Power.
Susan Rice.
Eric Holder.

I really miss seeing all of these names in the news, and knowing that they make decisions every day that effect the lives of American citizens in one way or another.


I'm actually quite pleased to be rid of them, and that a quite charitable accounting of the legacy of President Barack Obama is not really that charitable at all.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:11 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Fair. All of whom would have just beep promoted to a higher level of incompetence and mendacity in a Clinton Administration. I get it.

And, yet, the victories reinforce the party's move to populism (tribalism from enlightenment values after reading Jonah Goldberg's fantastic "Suicide of the West.")

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2018 1:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Tribalism is, in essence, socialism. Populism is something different, is it not? The idea that we can have individual rights and share certain values (c.f. individual rights, i.e. liberty) does not lead to de facto tribalism.

What specifically about a muscular resistance to and rollback of anti-American European style socialism (or worse) constitutes the literal "suicide" of the West?

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2018 3:04 PM
But jk thinks:

The book's point is that the two are similar and similarly destructive to enlightenment values.

Socialism, nationalism, communism, fascism, and authoritarianisms of every stripe are forms of tribalism. The tribal mind despises division. It despises the division of labor and the inequality it inevitably fosters. It despises the division between the religious and the secular, between the individual and the group, between civil society and the state. Whether it takes the form of religious orthodoxy, communist dogma, the divine right of kings, or some variant of "social justice" theory, the same underlying impulse rules: We must all be in it together.

I don't think he's objecting to reducing regulation. (Heh, I have his podcast on as I type, and he just celebrated three administration achievements.) But the #MAGA, wall, protectionist rhetoric is as tribal as anything Marx said. The President actually used the phrase "America First" approvingly. VP Pence celebrated Joe Arpaio's commitment to "rule of law" the other day. There are not conducive to enlightenment values.
And while my use of the term "pluralism" includes all of this, it also includes something even larger. Modernity both requires and creates a plurality of meaning and identity, not simply among the population, but within each and every person. This is in stark contrast to primitive society, where identity and meaning were bound up and inseparable from the tribe.

Goldberg, Jonah. Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy (Kindle Locations 1149-1151). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2018 4:00 PM

January 6, 2018

Mister Hoover's Dream

Back when Duesenberg was releasing the Model J, Herbert Hoover's Presidential campaign promised "a chicken in every pot." My father -- who would have been in high school at the time -- later tried to impress on his children the luxury of that claim. Chicken was a delicacy for special occasions and the idea of everyone in America having meat to eat was utopian.

No thanks to President Hoover's top-down, centralized economic solutions, we are well past the dream. The chicken in question has already been rotisseried and is waiting for you at the grocer's in a variety of succulent flavors.

Americans bought 625 million rotisserie chickens at supermarkets in 2017, according to market-research firm Nielsen and Costco Wholesale Corp. [COST -0.71%], a few millions more than the year before. Costco sold 87 million in its 2017 fiscal year, compared with 51 million in fiscal 2010.

Six hundred twenty five million is actually two chickens in every pot.It is available to about everyone in this country at about any time. Thanks, Capitalism!

Posted by John Kranz at 3:28 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Lincoln was the first Republican President and Hoover was the worst. I'm ashamed to acknowledge that he was trained as an engineer. There must have been some other formative influences upon him than these two specific ones. Che Guevara's love child?

Posted by: johngalt at January 7, 2018 2:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Nixon gives him a run.

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2018 4:35 PM

September 28, 2017

De-boogeymanning Trump

Trump is worse than Hitler we've been told. Can we please take a breath?

I did my thoughtful best to reply to a friend who is scared about a president who fires or threatens to fire people for not being patriotic. I think it is germane to repost it here too.

I agree that they have the freedom to kneel. I don't agree that it is a First Amendment issue, however. Those who frame it that way are relying on the assumption that the President (still not a supreme ruler despite some of the excesses we've witnessed from that office in recent decades) might use government force to have people fired, or worse. From a libertarian viewpoint, what I heard in his comment, "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners ...say... he's fired" is a reminder that owners have rights, and so do fans, not just players. Freedom does not indemnify one against consequences. Or are you suggesting that, because a baker has to make and serve cakes at ceremonies he is personally opposed to, a team owner can't fire players for his own personal reasons? Where's the freedom in that?

Presidents have, in the past, actually fired government employees for protesting. President Reagan fired government air traffic controllers when they went on strike. The Republic survived. The current president isn't even doing that. Indeed, it has become much harder for presidents to fire people since then.

You mentioned earlier how our minds can be made to play tricks on us. President Trump has been called "worse than Hitler" but why? What is the argument for that? And did this horrific characterization precede the conclusions that his detractors are coming to in the wake of perfectly rational executive decisions or statements? Is it a factor in their assumption of the worst of intentions on his part?

I fully agree with you on your basic point: "I do not want my country to be one that starts to forcefully compel individuals to stand for the anthem nor to recite the pledge of allegiance." But the threats you fear are hollow in our free society, and disgrace exists only in one's heart.

I take it even further: "I do not want my country to be one that starts to forcefully compel individuals to do anything against his will." Unfortunately, we have crossed that line many times on many issues, and are much further down the slippery slope that frightens you on the issue at hand. I can't tell you how frightened I was during the previous eight years. Or, in retrospect, how much more frightened I should have been during the eight years prior to that.

What I see today is an electorate that has had enough of leaders who put "the world's" interests first. America is a nation that was founded on each individual's ability to put his own interests first. This is the complete opposite of "National Socialism" or any other form of socialism. It is individualism. President Trump was elected to return to that ideal. To "make America great again." Whether he succeeds or not, or takes the right decisions at this turn or that, is still to be seen. But I see it as an existential necessity for the Republic of the United States of America, and therefore for human freedom in the entire world - not just in our country. I'm willing to give him a pass for whipping up a patriotic frenzy amongst supporters who feel the same way.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:33 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

But I feel underrepresented in the "No Trump is not Hitler, but nor is he the reincarnation of James Madison" camp.

Posted by: jk at September 28, 2017 4:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

That's cool - as long as you aren't afraid of the boogeyman.

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2017 4:33 PM

September 26, 2017

Not For Long

I'm promoting a comment thread to a new post. Both because I wish to add a link, and also to add the internecine category as I think I may have cheesed off Brother Keith on Facebook. Brother jg (who never gets cheesed off at me) said below "but I don't think Trump has ruined the NFL, he's just pointing out that it has been ruined."

I had given the President of the United States of America only half credit for ruining the NFL, but I am quite peeved with him. There is a dynamic of his speaking with bravado to excite his base, then his opponents overreact and act stupidly. Then the President and his base enjoy the overreaction. Lather. Rinse F'ing Repeat. (Oh, and Rant...)

This has been annoying me since Jan 20. But it had been annoying me from Monday-Friday, and a half day on Saturday. It ruined Sunday's otherwise excellent NFL lineup (Chris Collinsworth pointed that out as well). So I am bummed.

The new Link is to David French. And this or my commentary cheesed off ka. He adds one excellent point that the First Amendment does not proscribe Collin Kaepernick, but it does President Trump. I'd add that among 32 rich NFL owners, some likely have some business deal in front of the executive branch. The President would like me to fire my Left Tackle? Huh, he's on the bubble...

In the space of less than 24 hours this weekend, the president of the United States did more to politicize sports than ESPN has done in a decade of biased, progressive programming. He singled out free speech he didn't like, demanded that dissenters be fired, and then -- when it became clear that private American citizens weren't going to do what he demanded -- he urged the economic boycott of their entire industry.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:35 PM | Comments (10)
But jk thinks:

AND I LAMBASTED HIM FOR IT! If all bad executive behavior is the be permissible because one of the previous 44 did it, it's going to be a looooong few years. "Well, Jackson drove the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears; I don't see why President Trump cannot..."

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2017 10:01 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And you are perfectly welcome to lambast Trump for anything he says but the fact remains, there is no proscription in law or in tradition on the head of state weighing in, or even "issuing verdicts" on controversial issues. That was the purpose of my example. I did not make any judgment that what either of them said was right, only that they are within acceptable norms to say it.

[As an aside I should also point out that Andrew Jackson's use of government force to relocate folks is a far different matter than calling anyone "sons of bitches."]

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2017 3:50 PM
But jk thinks:

To recap: he's better than Andrew Jackson and about the same as Barack Obama. Okay, we're in agreement.

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2017 4:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Really? Is that the best you've got today brother? Smug?

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2017 6:49 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahahaha! Well, it is a Wednesday...

No, no statute, but I think both examples incredibly and outrageously wrong. President Obama absolutely positively should not have commented on an ongoing local investigation (not only Gates, But Treyvon Martin "if I had a son"); it was a perversion of justice.

Calling for a private firm to fire somebody for voicing a position with which you disagree is really no better.

Both are very Banana-Republic-ish. There's no law against wearing a big Evita hat with fruit either, but...

(How was that? That was better, wasn't it? The Evita hat? I thought that was pretty good!)

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2017 7:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well there's this ideological struggle under way. Some even think it has escalated into a war - Social Justice versus Culture. What happens when one side stops showing up to the battle, but the other side doesn't?

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2017 8:48 PM

August 25, 2017

And, the Asshole of the Day Award goes to...

Doctor Neil deGrasse Tyson:


This was on SciBabe's Facebook feed. Love her, but she has a blind spot for doctor supercilious.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:11 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I commented "I bet there were a few doubters last week."

Posted by: jk at August 25, 2017 6:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Dear Dr. Ty,

Would that be "predicted" from tree rings and insect larvae examined last century, or "forecast" from atmospheric observations over the past thirteen days?

(Even then, only prompting an NHC advisory 8 days ago.)

But yeah, I guess weather is a proxy for climate predictions then after all, right?

Posted by: johngalt at August 25, 2017 7:10 PM
But jk thinks:

The post drew several comments along the lines of climate != weather. Our hostess defended the tweet with "It's Dr. Tyson!"

Well, then.

Posted by: jk at August 26, 2017 1:24 PM

August 8, 2017

l'Affaire Kaepernick

It's Sports. It's a Rant. I suspect I am plowing new ground...

Unlike Spike Lee, whom I admire unconditionally as a filmmaker, I've no problem with the soft demand for the services of one Colin Kaepernick. In fact the idea of his not getting a job in Miami because of his fondness for Ché Guevara T-Shirts makes me somewhat giddy. Consequences! 'Bout bloody time one of the limousine lefties pays for his sins.

Blog friend SC hates Jay Cutler in the way that Inigo Montoya hates the man who killed his father. He was stunned to see Cutler get the Dolphins' gig.

But I have what I hope might be an original thought. The unoriginal thought is that whole "1 - 10" thing. If you're going to be a pain in the ass, you can get a job in the NFL. But you had better be an uncontestable asset to winning football games. The possibly original thought is that this is why we don't see Tim Tebow starting for the Broncos this Thursday. And, indeed may be why the Broncos had little appetite for Mr. Kaepernick.

I liked Tebow. Even this old atheist fell for his aw shucks charms and his passion for his philosophy and beliefs. I even bought a gorram Jets t-shirt!

But one day, when things were not going so well, I saw an interview that bugged me. "At the end of the day," quoth #15. "It's not about football. What really matters is the platform it provides to do our ..." and I did not hear the rest of the sentence because some idiot was screaming at the TV. Some guy with glasses. And a beard.

Jesus told the tax collectors and soldiers to be good tax collectors and soldiers. That and "render unto Caesar" are my favorite parts of doctrine. And, I'm sorry Mister Tebow, but you are paid "a lot of simolians" for your football skills -- wherever they came from. That interview has never left my mind. Peyton Manning is either a pretty good bloke, or has the world's finest PR firm. I suspect him to be a caring individual. But he shows up early to view film -- not to advance his message, but to win.

I suspect at the end of the day, NFL coaches and GMs see that in young Mister K. It's too bad really, and I suspect his SJW girlfriend. But I do not think it's race. I do not think it has anything to do with supporting the troops. I think rather that people see a man lacking the focus to win a championship, even though he might possess the skills.

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

Sports talk today had both Kapernick and Tebow starting at QB, despite their pain-in-the-ass-ness, if they were starting-caliber QBs. As backups, however, "don't let the door hit ya."

Posted by: johngalt at August 8, 2017 4:32 PM

July 18, 2017

Bloody Libertarians!!!!

My favorite Senators are all in a cabal to ensure eternal government control of healthcare. As the great healthcare economist Peter Green would say, "Oh well."

Golly, I love liberty. And principle. And all that shit (uh-oh, it's now "a rant.") But I also live in Colorado and have seen 36,471 AARP commercials about the vicissitudes of "the Republican Health Care Bill." And I watched breathless coverage of the brave and true (albeit paid) disabled protesters in Sen. Cory Gardner's office. Sens. Paul, Lee, and Johnson "cannot vote for" a bill they don't like. Gardner -- and I suspect many heaving sighs today -- is out of work if he votes for a bill Paul likes.

The fact is. freedom is off the menu. The genius, if you wish to call it, of Obamacare was providing the benefits "with stroke of a pen" and deferring the casts and ramifications for future administrations and Congresses. The "right" to keep your layabout 25-year old on your insurance in case he sprains his thumb playing World of Warcraft is embedded in our hearts and statute. All moves toward liberty will be met with pain.

Jim Geraghty puts it better than I:

The problem is that "starting fresh" doesn't change any of the dynamics in place. Republicans (and, by extension, much of the country) want contradictory changes, changes that Moran lists as his requirements. Americans want lower premiums, but they also want insurance companies to keep covering preexisting conditions. They want to see the cost of Medicaid go down, or at least rise slower, but they also don't want to throw anyone off of Medicaid. They want the number of uninsured to go down, and they want the mandate repealed.

And we want property rights, privacy, and liberty. Get on it, Republicans -- time's a wastin'...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:14 AM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

...and chocolate sprinkles on top.

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2017 1:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Now we know how the Roman Empire came to an end.

Seriously though, things that can't go on forever, won't. Nobody can say with certainty how this will turn out but something has to give. And it can get pretty bad before that has to happen. c.f. Venezuela.

Even more seriously, I think we all need to relax. The main reason nothing is happening on this in Washington is because there's no consensus over what to do amongst voters, who need to get it "good and hard" for a while longer.

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2017 5:26 PM
But jk thinks:

You're clearly right on the consensus. My concern on the reaction to "Menkenian Democracy" is that the worse things get, the more people look to the State for solutions.

I'm pretty relaxed. But my buddies on the Dem-loving left and RINO-hating right have a frighteningly good point: "You guys have been planning this for seven years, and when you get the opportunity, we get this?"

Just as ObamaCare's flaws were obvious to people not named Pelosi before the bill was passed, all the challenges to Repeal and Replace were apparent since it was. No plan. No ideas. That is a disappointment.

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2017 11:24 AM
But johngalt thinks:

To the contrary, mon frer, the problem was too many plans, and too many ideas, such that none could be agreed upon.

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2017 2:27 PM

June 27, 2017

Feelin' the Bern -- Papal Edition

Pope endorses slavery:


Posted by John Kranz at 9:48 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Perhaps, yes. Or at the very least, faith healing.

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2017 12:30 PM

June 14, 2017

Glad My Lefty Buddies Are Not my Gun Buddies

Sorry, but I know a dozen guys fitting this demographic and philosophical/economic profile. Thankfully, they tend to be anti-gun.


Photo credit Photo: Derik Holtmann/Associated Press (Click for WSJ version).

Posted by John Kranz at 5:54 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

In a family PM yesterday I wrote, "He was a middle-aged white guy who couldn't get ahead in private business. He gravitated to Bernie's "equality" message. But others like him became the "Trump Train."

I further explained, "It's a matter of worldview - am I envious of the success of others, or not? Do I believe in fixed wealth inequitably distributed, or limitless wealth created 'by each according to his ability' restricted only by government and one's own ambition?"

But what provokes a sign-waver to become a mass murderer? When does it become "okay" to kill people because they disagree with you? Or even because they seek to change policies that you think save people's lives, and therefore lead you to conclude that "they're killing people?"

I can remember a case in Colorado Springs, and another in Kansas, where a right-winger murdered doctors and/or patients at abortion clinics, motivated by the belief that it was protecting the lives of the unborn from being murdered.

In both examples, the moral justification is the same - "The end justifies the means."

Ayan Hirsi Ali describes it as an appeal to the "pure principle"... in the case of Islamists, the pure principle of the prophet; in the case of pro-life extremists, the pure principle of assisted self-defense; in the case of committed socialists, the pure principle of equality.

But all of these pure principles have something in common - they expressly refuse to acknowledge an absolute individual right to life, liberty and the pursuit of property.

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2017 11:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Circa 2014: "Non-egalitarian-socialist teaching is forbidden."

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2017 11:34 AM

April 28, 2017

A Cruel "I Told you So"

I was harsh, way back in 2013, reviewing John Mackey's "Conscious Capitalism.

Yet at the end of the day, I see Conscious Capitalism as an out. Well, me missed our quarter, but the new Thursday all-day Yoga sessions are really going to help us connect with our feelings.
A couple of years ago, we saw a billboard for at a bus shelter in New York City. The sign read, "If your company cared, it would be in the caring business." This is a sad but largely true statement; too many companies do not care and are not designed to care about anything other than their own prosperity.

Huh? What? With heavy heart, I apportion only 2.5 stars.

UPDATE: I'm being defensive before anybody even offers criticism, but I suggest John Allison performed the same task with philosophical purity. His [Unadjectived] Capitalism is no less empowering than Mackey's CC: workers are happy and management practices integrity. Yet Allison recognizes that capital is a scarce resource and proper allocation requires conventional scorekeeping.

Reading it today, I was surprised at the low score if not the tone, though I remembered why. Mackey's company has fallen on some seriously hard times. Their stock got a bounce this week on news that Albertson's might buy Whole Foods. Back in '13, Mackey no doubt expected to buy Albertson's and bring his holistic supply chain to the entire industry.

It's tough for me to kick somebody when they're down [insert Firefly reference here...], especially one who has tried to explain the virtues of capitalism to dirty hippies. But, as a wise and stunningly handsome fellow wrote four years ago, "If the book is 33% defense of Capitalism, it is undermined by the next 33%. This is 'Conscious' Capitalism. And like President George W. Bush's 'Compassionate' Conservatism, the modifier negates the noun."

Mackey has created a lot of value in a difficult industry. It's churlish to suggest his philosophy undermined his business. But it did. Whole Foods earned the sobriquet "Whole Paycheck" because its customers were expected to overpay for food to support the Conscious side of Mackey's Capitalism. And some remain.

But competitors found it easy to undercut their prices with similar offerings. I bristle at the Organic, GMO-free, All Natural, Super Healthy, YaddaYadda food offerings on Walmart* and King Soopers (Colorado's Kroeger). But they're adjusting to market demand. And since it is all bullshit anyway (oops, this post just became "a rant"), the big guys can do it at a much lower premium.

Sad. But kids, if you get your capitalism from Milton Friedman, and build a business that seeks to optimize asset value, you'll find yourself on much sounder footing.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2017

Pompous Ass Alert

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is getting the capital-S Science crowd into an excited molecular state for the big march! "This is Science! It's not something to toy with!" He shouts at 2:45 of his new four-minute video. I cannot embed, but you should oughtta watch it. It's archetypal Tyson.

But -- am I wrong? -- he's a property rights denier! That's not a bon mot attempt on my part, the video opens with the question "How did America rise up from a backwoods country to become one of the greatest nations the world has ever known?"

I expected Deirdre McCloskey to come out and explain Bourgeois Dignity in her scratchy voice. But no, Tyson's dulcet tones continued . . . it is . . . wait for it . . . you're not going to believe this . . . it is because of Science! All these amazing industries we invented! Because we used to believe in science, I mean Science!

So, Doctor Tyson, Dr. McCloskey would ask you, as a proponent of Popperesque epistemology, "why did this scientific miracle happened here?" We believed in Science better than the Danes? Britain started to doubt that F= dP/dt and lost her empire to the colonists? In a word -- and I know you love direct talk -- Bullshit! (Okay, I just added the "Rant" category.)

By the same token, are we failing in the 21st Century because we've ceased to believe everything that you and Bill Nye say? Or are we slipping because we're abandoning bourgeois dignity?

He says that once we all agree on the obvious science (of climate change), only then we can make the informed political choices between [~3:05] carbon credits, taxes, do we put a tariff, do we subsidize? He did not list any free-market options, but, hey, it's only a four minute film. No doubt time was tight.

When you stop denying the benefits of property rights, Dr. Tyson, then and only them will we be able to have the political conversation about solving the problems of our day. This is economics! It's not something to toy with!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:59 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Let em have it, brother!

Does it make me a fringe partisan hack, however, to add: "This is liberty! It's not something to toy with!" -Patrick Henry

Posted by: johngalt at April 19, 2017 4:51 PM
But jk thinks:

Three of my friends share this video today. Sigh.

Posted by: jk at April 20, 2017 11:34 AM

February 15, 2017

Jumping the Shark?

For Valentine's Day, my lovely bride and I watched the movie "I Hate Valentines Day" written, directed and starring Nia Vardalos. Pretty good film: don't drop everything to view it, but it features good characters and performances, albeit with some pacing problems.

Vardalos's character has two male gay friends who work at her flower shop. The film was made in 2009 and the portrayal of the gay characters is quite positive. Both are good people, good friends, and I think of great benefit to the screenwriter to have male characters without any sexual tension with female characters. Because of this, or to prove progressivism, or as a diktat of the David Geffen gay mafia -- I don't know the reason, but it strikes me that these characters have been common for decades. The gay relative in "Mrs. Doubtfire" may have been a precursor (1993); movie buffs will find earlier examples.

I started wondering whether future viewers will cringe at these stereotypical portrayals of gay men. And I rather suspect they will. My Dad didn't think anything askew when "Amos & Andy" came on. The smiling, tuxedoed tap dancing African-American servant was a movie staple for just as long.

Likewise, they were not portrayed "badly." They had charm, talent, and style. They were valuable members of society who were beloved by the white folk with whom they interacted. But we cringe today at the plastic and stereotypical portrayal. If all they could do is sing and dance, all the standard-issue gay characters can do is parrot grooming tips and dating advice.

Chuck Klosterman has a great book "What if We're Wrong," [Review Corner] asking what future society will ridicule or dislike us for. I speculate 30 years of plasticine portrayals of young gay men in movies might make the cut.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:24 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2016

Told You So, Sec. Clinton!

Old joke: Brakes fail on a car coming down a perilous mountain. Car is full of engineers, so each uses his/her ability to save the car: thermo, aero, mechanical... When they arrive safely at the bottom, the software engineer breaks his silence and says "let's roll it back up the hill and try it again with higher air pressure!"

I'm a software guy. And we do get the luxury of changing initial premises and re-running things, hundreds of times if necessary.

Reading scores of "Why Clinton Lost" and "Why Trump Won" articles, I notice an important omission. Had Sec. Clinton listened to me and chosen Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper as her VP, they would be measuring curtains and picking cabinet officers today.

Senator Kaine was the worst VP pick at least since Thomas Eagleton. He brings the swing state of Virginia, okay, and might assuage some #berniebros. But he was just one more old, White, oleaginous career politician with whiffs of scandal -- something of a Hillary-Lite. Gov. Pence, conversely, was a great compliment to Trump: serious, equanimous, and well schooled in legislative process. And yet not enough of an insider to undercut the brand.

Now, our Democratic Guv is not totally beloved 'round these parts (even though he provided a thoughtful blurb for my book), but he would have been a great asset to the campaign. Firstly, he would not have performed sooooo incredibly miserably in the debate. They say VP debates don't count, but they might want to reassess after this year.

Secondly, he has a gift for straddling party divides. He's a Geologist by training and careful to preserve the energy sector that is important to his state and its tax base. And yet, he manages without completely aggravating the greens. He could have wowed the progressives with the horrid "achievements" made in the Democrat years, but still provided enough of a moderate face to keep some of the Wisconsin/Pennsylvania/Michigan Democrats in line.

Can't control Director Comey or Putin -- but she could have picked a better VP and won.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:33 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

One of many failings of the Clinton campaign for which we may give thanks. I'm just glad she isn't likeable.

Posted by: johngalt at December 22, 2016 5:45 PM
But jk thinks:

I think the "WHY AREN'T I AHEAD BY FIFTY POINTS YOU MIGHT ASK!!!????" may go down as the best campaign commercial for all time. Not the response, just the in-your-face awfulness.

Posted by: jk at December 22, 2016 6:33 PM

December 13, 2016

A Limit to my Republicanism

My anti-majoritarian bona fides speak for themselves. In fact, the doctor says to let her know if they start telling me to do bad things...

I'd ditch the 17th Amendment in a heartbeat and I love the Electoral College. I even like the tale of the whimsical faithless elector in 1820 who voted for John Quincy Adams to prevent James Madison from repeating Washington's unanimous election. Oregon dude in 1876 less so.

But -- and I will stand still and take my rebuke like a software developer if you disagree -- I do not accept that some Unitarian Minister from Okidokkee County should truly be empowered to force his/her conscience on a nation's election. UnMadisonian? Perhaps.

There are close elections, though I do not think 2016 falls into that group. Accepting electoral votes requires a little explanation, but it is valid. In a close race, however, a faithless elector flipping the entire election would rightfully -- and I'm trying to avoid using the word shitstorm here* as vulgarity denotes the poorly expressive -- it would be a very bad thing.

As we've seen from Doctor Jill Stein, there is no shortage of money and emotion between an election and the electoral college. Whether by mischief, malfeasance, or misplaced conscience, that would be playing with fire. States should send votes and not electors.

* As I did not avoid barnyard vulgarity, this post is classified Rant.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:01 PM | Comments (3)
But nanobrewer thinks:

I for one will stand up and say "Huh?" Minister whom? Now, if you're talking about Vaca and Nemanich, those two are scums, as Wayne Williams said in a veiled fashion. Nice to see them bashed down by a Clinton judge and a GOP SoS!

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 14, 2016 12:20 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I read Federalist #68 to see if there was any mention of the "will of the voters." There was not. Did the electors run under their own name, and state their own platform, as a proxy for casting a presidential ballot? It does not seem so. For them to act as such, today, particularly after the contretemps surrounding the 2016 Colorado GOP State Assembly (and its delegate process) seems outrageously ludicrous. And those attempting to be pragmatically non-democratic are ... Democrats?! No. When Democrats are the ones who all of a sudden preach "states rights" and "Constitutional originalism" then you know, something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Posted by: johngalt at December 14, 2016 12:11 PM
But jk thinks:
In Federalist No. 68, Hamilton wrote that discernment also depends on the electors being disinterested and insulated from political pressure. The virtue of the Electoral College is to raise "every practicable obstacle" against "cabal, intrigue, and corruption" and other "heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people." In other words, the coordinated, partisan effort to mau-mau the electors is precisely the sort of politicking and political tampering that the Electoral College was designed to prevent. -- WSJ Ed Page
Posted by: jk at December 16, 2016 10:43 AM

December 12, 2016

This Might be a Very Good Week

Afflicting the afflicted:

FB Fried posts an Occupy Democrats meme with a photo of smoggy, yellow, Sepia-toned Manhattan in 1973 and crystal clear, post card Manhattan today. Text: "I'm sharing this in case you think environmental regulations AREN'T necessary."

Under is bla bla bla "So why then do the Koch brothers and the Republican Tea Party want to take us back to a time before sensible air pollution controls?"


And it's only Monday...

Posted by John Kranz at 9:50 AM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

You are, obviously, totally and completely insane. Look how many words ending with "-ion" that you used. Obviously you think too much. Nutball.

Posted by: johngalt at December 12, 2016 3:19 PM
But jk thinks:

He actually came back and tried to pick it up. I replied again and received "You are insane. get help.

I wish he had because I think it is important. My first tussle with this guy was over the Shirtwaist Triangle factory. The 40 hour work week and weekends are thanks to union. My company would not provide safe working conditions without OSHA. Software engineers would make 50 cents an hour without minimum wage. And so on.

Every good thing is a product of legislation -- of course we want more of it! The ACA! Dodd-Frank! The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau! Please, Sir, may we have more?

I don't mind his calling me insane. He read an entire Randy Barnett book and just called him "slimy" for supporting Drug legalization. It seems the guy who argued Raich in front of the Supreme Court. Is just saying that to make us think he's a cool kid. No other comments.

Too bad: a bright fellow in many ways.

Posted by: jk at December 12, 2016 4:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Would there be lemonade stands if government didn't make laws to require them?

Okay, maybe not a clear enough example.

Which came first, jobs or employment law?

What keeps professional athletes from being paid minimum wage?

If someone offered you more money to do the same job somewhere else, all other things being equal, would you quit your job and take the new one?

If you can do that, why can't an employer fire you and hire someone who will do the same job for less?

Does society "owe" ever person a job at a wage that makes him happy?

Do jobs grow on trees, right next to money?

Who's the insane one now?

Posted by: johngalt at December 12, 2016 5:21 PM
But jk thinks:

I do not have high hopes.

The one I tried on our first parry was Tom Woods's: Imagine if overnight all employment regulation from the previous hundred years vanishes but all capital equipment and innovation stays. Would you job change?

Now imagine, that all wealth and innovation in the last hundred years disappears. Would any employment law save your lifestyle?

It is capital that saves labor's bacon. The weekend was brought to you by the forklift, not the box carriers' union.

That went nowhere. He's not big on thought exercises and hypotheticals. Again, sad, I actually found a guy who would read a Randy Barnett book. He would just not consider any of its ideas.

Posted by: jk at December 12, 2016 5:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

" case you think environmental regulations AREN'T necessary."

In the sixties and seventies, they were necessary.

Legislation and technical fixes were a start in the battle for clean air, but no magic solutions were achieved overnight. The automobile and oil industries continued to resist tougher standards. The public paid homage to clean air but resented carrying the burden of responsibility through higher costs and reduced automobile performance. Cities groped with ways to keep air quality from diminishing further. But as long as Americans cherished the automobile, emissions problems would remain. The intimacy between the individual and an energy source was nowhere more apparent than in the relationship between Americans and their cars.

The question of the day, however, is this: If the pollution crisis is under control, what sense does it make to impose uneconomical requirements to target the last one percent of pollutants?

Posted by: johngalt at December 13, 2016 11:35 AM

October 10, 2016

How much money I make

Next time a survey probes my income, I think I'll just say:

"I don't make enough that candidates admit they'll raise my taxes. But I do make enough that they do when they win."

Huh? Not bad, izzit?

Posted by John Kranz at 10:00 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Not bad. A bit wordy though, maybe? How 'bout:

"I'm above the welfare cliff... dammit."

Posted by: johngalt at October 10, 2016 6:49 PM
But jk thinks:

I was looking for a way to trim it. Yours is indeed punchier.

Timely, too: a friend of a friend who is putting his life together in addiction recovery recently texted that he had to give up his second part time job because he lost the benefit that provides his medication. Governor Bush's "tollbooths to the middle class."

Punch and pith aside, I'm not positive they're equivalent. My inspiration was Sec. Clinton's assurance that she would absolutely-positively-absolutely-never-ever raise taxes on anybody earning less than $250.000. I believe Candidate Obama made the same pledge. I remain under their projected line. And yet, when they start looking for revenue...

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2016 7:20 PM

October 5, 2016

Hypocrisy Much?

There have been a few cases where a voter has been shown to have difficulty obtaining an ID to vote. I remember two, but accept that it happens on some level. One person was 100+ and had a Y2K-ish issue getting records retrieved.

I'll confess that each of these is a tragedy if it truly disenfranchises a legitimate voter. Yet these are paraded in the media -- "See! You cannot possibly require identification. Lulabelle Mae here will be stripped of her rights!"


There is a curious zero-sum math to elections which is ignored. If, say, 19 fraudulent registrations were to be found in, oh a swing State, say Virginia...

It's election season, which means Democrats are again pushing the line that voter fraud is a myth. Allow us to introduce them to the 19 dead registered voters in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Harrisonburg Registrar Debbie Logan late last week acknowledged that her office had fielded 19 fraudulent applications, submitted under the names of dead Virginians. The fraud came to light because a long-time clerk saw an application under the name of Richard Claybrook Sr., the deceased father of a well-known local judge. The elder Claybrook died in 2014.

According to news reports, investigators have obtained a confession from Andrew Spieles, a James Madison University student working for a voter registration shop called HarrisonburgVOTES. The outfit purports to be nonpartisan, but it is run by Joe Fitzgerald, the chairman of his congressional district's Democratic Committee, and Mr. Spieles is a member of Virginia Young Democrats.

I expect that opponents of Voter ID will say that that is only 19. And they might have a point.


If I rounded up 19 people who were not able to get ID's and put their faces on the Evening News (oh please, oh please, let them be minorities) there would be an outcry of epic proportions. And yet, by filing 19 false votes you are disenfranchising exactly 19 legitimate voters just as surely as if you said "sorry sir, no handicapped transgendered Hispanic Jews are allowed to cast ballots. Thank you and have a nice day"

Yet these 19 are not on teevee. They are Bastiat's unseen but thye have surely been disenfranchised.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:04 PM | Comments (0)

September 8, 2016

Who Cares What Their Interest is? They're a Minority!

A direct quote (~53;00) and good summation of the anti-republicanism on this week's EconTalk. Wow

Posted by John Kranz at 5:10 PM | Comments (0)

September 7, 2016

l'Affaire Kaepernick

Brother jg shared a very handsome and very European-looking staircase on Facebook last week. It was for the benefit of a relative of his who enjoys the expression "L'esprit de escalier" or staircase wit. I wish I had said this when the Colin Kaepernick was roiling. The only people talking about it now are crazy partisans. And yet, I had a keen-if-tardy insight that well describes my opinion.

One of my five favorite SCOTUS decisions is Snyder v Phelps. It makes me proud to be an American, defines "Republicanism," and forever makes me leery of anarchism.

In this decision, we say that our most despised, slime-mold, troglodyte, bass-ackward citizens have the right to share their bad ideas -- even at the expense and irritation of our most beloved and heroic. This is heady stuff. The litigants are:

-- Fred Phelps: he "and his followers at the Westboro Baptist Church believe that God punishes the United States for its tolerance of homosexuality, particularly within the military. To demonstrate their beliefs, Phelps and his followers often picket at military funerals. "

-- Albert Snyder: his son, Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, "was killed in the line of duty in Iraq in 2006. Westboro picketed Matthew Snyder's funeral displaying signs that stated, for instance, 'God Hates the USA/Thank God for 9/11,' 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers,' and 'Don't Pray for the USA.'"

The court ruled that the slime-mold citizens could not be prosecuted for or prevented from sharing their speech. This is correct and up there with protection for flag burning as a symbol of real respect for rights. Likewise, our intrepid young second-string overpaid quarterback cannot be prosecuted for or prevented from sharing his opinions. That is correct and admirable.

But, the court never said I had to like Westboro Baptists. No Justice held that I had to buy their game jerseys or put them on my fantasy protest team. They are free to speak and we are free to dislike them.

Mr. Kaepernick has a fan base whose demographics skew heavily toward the patriotic and law-and-order crowd which venerates both police and soldiers. His protest targets those fans -- who pay his salary. He commits no crime, but a sin of "branding." He is free to accept the consequences on principle and receive my general admiration. But he is not free to insult a majority of his fan base and avoid consequences "because of the First Amendment."

Posted by John Kranz at 3:03 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Okay, the linked article has its charms but I threw up in my mouth a little at:

"Dick Gephardt on trade, Ron Paul on war, Tom Tancredo on immigration."

He left out Marx on Economics, Mao on Personal Liberty, Ray Kroc on fine dining, and Mark Sanchez on ball possession.

But, but, but. My blog brother will be happy to hear I am "evolving." Rewarding the lawlessness of Sec. Clinton is beginning to seem as dangerous as elevating the trog -- er, protectionist wing of the GOP.

Flight 93 indeed. But the field in Pennsylvania is covered with Kindergartens and orphan homes.

Posted by: jk at September 8, 2016 3:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I didn't reply to your comment because I thought you meant to apply it to the next post up, and was waiting until you fixed it.

I can't speak to "Dick Gephardt on trade" but do you disagree with Ron Paul on War?

Is war ever justifiable?

Sure. If you're attacked, you have a right and an obligation to defend (your) country. I do not believe there is ever a moral justification to start the war.

And as for Tancredo and immigration, we Coloradoans have debated that at length. It's a tricky issue, but I believe the article justifies the "anti-immigration" point of view:

Continetti trips over a more promising approach when he writes of "stress[ing] the 'national interest abroad and national solidarity at home' through foreign-policy retrenchment, 'support to workers buffeted by globalization,' and setting 'tax rates and immigration levels' to foster social cohesion."

Among the things on the decline in America, social cohesion is certainly on the list.

If conservatives are right about the importance of virtue, morality, religious faith, stability, character and so on in the individual; if they are right about sexual morality or what came to be termed "family values"; if they are right about the importance of education to inculcate good character and to teach the fundamentals that have defined knowledge in the West for millennia; if they are right about societal norms and public order; if they are right about the centrality of initiative, enterprise, industry, and thrift to a sound economy and a healthy society; if they are right about the soul-sapping effects of paternalistic Big Government and its cannibalization of civil society and religious institutions; if they are right about the necessity of a strong defense and prudent statesmanship in the international sphere–if they are right about the importance of all this to national health and even survival, then they must believe–mustn't they?–that we are headed off a cliff.

Let's pump the brakes and maybe, just maybe, turn the wheel back a smidge to the right.

Posted by: johngalt at September 12, 2016 6:22 PM

July 19, 2016

The two faces of Trump

I keep asking Trump detractors, "What is so bad about him that you would not do everything in your power to defeat Hillary?" The common theme is his character - rude and crude, sexist, speaks without thinking, etc.

In a column for which I otherwise have no use, Robert J. Samuelson is more specific in his criticism. And in that criticism I am prone to criticize the critic.

Trump's serious deficiencies are of character, not intellect. He is a salesman whose favorite product is himself. His moral code is defined by what works. What works to build his popularity is legitimate, even if it's untrue, tasteless, personally cruel or inconsistent with what he's said before. What doesn't work is useless, even if it involves incontrovertible truths, important policies or common courtesies.

If his moral code really is "defined by what works" then he is a realist. Meaning, he does not seek to evade reality, he embraces it. Samuelson sees this as a fault, but the stated reasons are "even if it's untrue, tasteless, personally cruel or inconsistent with what he's said before." Let's examine these individually:

Untrue - How can something work if it is untrue? I think he means lying to achieve an end (c.f. Hillary Clinton) but epistemologically speaking, "true" equates with "works" so I can only conclude that Samuelson is referring to subjective truth, i.e. partisan opinion.

Tasteless - Another subjective measure. For context I will quote from the beginning of retired General Michael T. Flynn's speech at the Convention last night: "My message is simple - WAKE UP, AMERICA!" Taste is for tea parties, not life and death struggles with mortal enemies, which is where America finds herself today on many fronts.

Personally Cruel - It is true that Carly Fiorina does not possess the same universal beauty as, say, Melania Trump. And highlighting that fact was unnecessarily, and personally, cruel. He has done this a few times, but always retreated - a sign of self-awareness that most detractors don't acknowledge. Nevertheless, 'tis true... Donald Trump has feet of clay.

Inconsistent with what he's said before - Which is a character flaw because "everyone knows" that changing one's mind is the kiss of death for a professional politician. (Marco Rubio, call your office.) Donald Trump is not a professional politician, nor an ideologue. He's a patriot. He loves his country. He says and does what he thinks will work to make his country as prosperous, as free, as respected and as safe as it has been at better times in our great nation's history. If something doesn't work the way he expects, only a fool would stick with it.

Then there are Samuelson's critiques of "what doesn't work." Yes, what doesn't work is useless. I agree. If they really were "incontrovertible truths" then they would work so, again, incontrovertible only subjectively, in the opinion of Samuelson and his fellow relativists. Important policies? Important to whom. For what. At what cost. Common courtesies? A replacement term for the now discredited self-censorship of "Political Correctness."

I submit that Trump is not a man of poor character or a populist weathervane. Instead he is an experimentalist. He tests ideas in practice and can afford to lose the investment he makes in ideas that fail. It has worked for him in business, so now he's trying it in politics. And if his approach proves to be a spectacular failure, it will be no greater defeat than that of Messr's McCain and Romney before him. In contrast to those men though, his movement of supporters believe, at least Trump will give every effort and not neuter or censor himself in the contest - in the name of "good taste."

So go ahead, Donny, swear a little. I'm with the lot who have had it up to here with the bullshit we've seen for the last 30 years. And even Samuelson admits, Trump's deficiencies are not of intellect.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:54 PM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

I have to agree with Samuelson, almost to a "T." DJT's character is only acceptable compared to HRC... he's thereby still my 9th or 10th choice in the field. Oddly, I think he's ahead of Kasich, in my head, as a matter of academic trivium.

This in particular is worthy of note (and repetition):

There's no secret as to what's happening. A slowing economy is colliding with a rising demand for government benefits, driven mainly by an aging society and its impact on federal programs for the elderly. Even in 2016, Social Security and Medicare represent nearly half of non-interest federal spending. Their share will grow.

Trump doesn't appear prepared to help either the economy, nor the public debt.

I could understand Trump's .... erm, bravado, if he were more successful, but I'm not really sure he is so (aka, the rumor that he inherited $100M and turned into merely 700, which could have been done with a mixed mutual fund). So, color me cautious with this idea of him being an 'experimentalist.' Just as likely a theory is he's a spoiled brat from NYC who simply needs to be "seen" and so plays lazily and gaudily with large piles of money. At least it's mostly his money.

Still, I agree again with the column about DJT being "a patriot. He loves his country." That counts for a lot, including his small and rare sense of reflection that being a boor isn't helping his branding.

Like Sarah Palin, he's not as smart or as dumb as seems most times. All that said, I'm leaning towards voting for him.

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 21, 2016 10:22 AM
But jk thinks:

Samuelson's a man of the left. I don't think he's going to cotton to any GOP nominee.

I don't believe I have ever suggested Trump lacked intellect. He lacks foundational principle. "Experimentalism" is for the progressives -- let our dear leaders "experiment" with our lives. Hey,. maybe a 45% tariff on Chinese goods would be worth a try. Maybe if we banned all the black guns.

The uncouthness is not by itself disqualifying although it disturbs me.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2016 6:01 PM

May 24, 2016

Government denies existence of problems

First, allow me to quote American Thinker's Rick Moran:

"Oh. My. God."

Does Disneyland measure wait times? Does Disneyland measure wait times!! You clueless bureaucrat, Disneyland knows the wait time for every major attraction in every park to the minute - in real-time. And, much more importantly, Disneyland, like every private-sector business, does everything in their power to reduce their wait times. Even going so far as to accept appointments for the highest demand attractions, as is done with great efficiency in industries such as, for instance, with no specific reason for mentioning it, MEDICINE! Unless government is in charge. You clowns can screw up anything. Perhaps because, since your job doesn't depend on it, you really don't care about your "customers."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:40 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2016

Grouchy, and quite possibly racist


I have told my Conservative buddies to chillax before about Google Doodles. Insty gets into a lather when they fail to recognize American holidays. Bing® is guaranteed to do a nice photo on Veterans' Day or Memorial Day. Google: not. so. much. "But really, lads," sez I, "aren't there bigger fish to fry?" Well, today I have developed a taste for small fried fish.

I generally have Bing/IE on one computer and Google/Chrome on another for testing. Today I switched both to Bing because I became tired of Yoko Ono Yuri Kochiyama glowering at me (told you it might be racist). My biggest objection is the celebration of activism. The way to fix things in these people's minds is to get a microphone and fulminate. There's a place for that, but more frequently, those seeking change in a moderately free society with mechanisms for self rule should do a little work crafting and promoting a solution.

The glorification of Community Organizing is tiresome.Bing has a pretty picture.

UPDATE: The Yoko Comparison was perhaps too kind.

Kochiyama then appeared to endorse "freedom fighters" who "revere" bin Laden and "join him in battle."

"I do not care what the U.S. government or Americans feel--I think it's shameful what this government has done from the beginning of its racist, loathsome history," she stated later.

"When I think what the U.S. military is doing, brazenly bombing country after country, to take oil resources, bringing about coups, assassinating leaders of other countries, and pitting neighbor nations against each other, and demonizing anyone who disagrees with U.S. policy, and detaining and deporting countless immigrants from all over the world, I thank Islam for bin Laden," she said. "America's greed, aggressiveness, and self-righteous arrogance must be stopped. War and weaponry must be abolished."

UPDATE II: The Internet is frequently its own antidote:


Posted by John Kranz at 1:31 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2016

Life in 2016: All Toilet, No Humor.

Grampa, what side were you on in the great pee wars of 2016?

I've started this post a few times and thrown it away, but I think I am the last undecided person in the country on the North Carolina/LGBT/bathroom issue. I need to do some research, I suppose, on the actual Tar Heel State ordinance. But the greater issue is fraught with peril.

I think it is fair to say I have been friendly to gay rights in a hippie, libertarian, laissez-faire manner. I stand by that 100% and celebrate the achievements over the last couple of decades.But gay marriage is not zero-sum. My heterosexual-thank-you-very-much marriage is not diminished by a union with different anatomical collections. What I'd like to see from both sides is an admission that bathroom laws are indeed zero-sum.

Absolute enforcement will cause discomfort from transgendered people. I don't wish to be the cause of that. Good people who mean no harm should be able to use the facilities in which they are comfortable. I certainly don't mind if a female saunters into the "little boys room." I'll live.

But. I have a bunch of other middle aged guys on my Facebook feed who have shared the meme that says "Share This if you don't mind sharing the bathroom." And for the first time, I understand "White Privilege." These people in the least vulnerable group are sanctimoniously advertising their tolerance. It's like hearing Bill Gates saying he'd pay 35¢ more for a hamburger if the cow gets a free massage.

So, lefty buddies, you too have to admit people will be discomfited and harmed. You're giving away the next stall, not only to yourself, but for a bashful ten year old girl or a rape survivor. Are you truly indifferent to their comfort? And, at the margins, it will certainly facilitate predators.

These may well be trades we want to make in a path to a more inclusive society. I'm not prepared to say they are not. But I do not hear this admission from my prog friends.

I don't know what the resolution is. I'm a fan of the status quo ante: a general tolerance and mutual respect to resolve on a case by case basis. Codifying and legislating will likely lead to pain. Long term, I suspect the communal "john" will disappear faster than round doorknobs.and two-prong AC outlets. New buildings will likely switch to having a bank of individual rooms. That wouldn't be bad -- a kind of Steven Pinkeresque progress as we grow wealthier.

Okay, let me have it. But please accept the potential of real harm if your side wins.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:06 PM | Comments (9)
But johngalt thinks:

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

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

Stop fighting to the death over trivialities. Please?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think brother JK forgot his primal role:


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

If not, move on...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 18, 2016

Trial* Rant

I am a capitalist. I believe in the natural right of every human being to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I believe happiness is tightly coupled with prosperity. I believe prosperity comes from jobs and jobs come from businessmen, not government.

The two leaders for the Republican presidential nomination are cast as "the businessman" and "the lawyer." On its face that is an easy choice - businessman, all the way. But this particular "businessman" is better known for his failures than successes, and his techniques are properly described as a full-employment program for lawyers, principally to sue other businessmen. The "lawyer" on the other hand is reviled by nearly all of his fellow lawyers in the US Senate, and during a floor speech there quoted heavily from Ayn Rand's epic novel 'Atlas Shrugged.' A story in which the hero was, the businessman. He went so far as to say, "If you have not read 'Atlas Shrugged' then go out and buy a copy. And read it."

What I'm saying is, if you too value prosperity and the earned rewards of hard work, be careful to vote for the man who actually values what the other man claims to be, but is not - instead of the man who became famous for firing people on prime time TV.

* Testing it out here in the laboratory before taking it on the road to social media.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:19 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Pretty good, man, no stylistic suggestions.

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

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

Okay, maybe a little condescending...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 25, 2016

Research project

I'm going to select the Rant category in case I lapse into all caps.

The scolds. The scolds. The Scolds. I swear if see that lady with the voicebox one more time, I'm taking out a second mortgage and buying a carton of Marlboros.

But today's topic is the Epidemic Scourge of Texting-while-driving." Nossir, I'm at home at my desktop. No worries that I'll -- "STAY IN YOUR LANE ASSHOLE! WHERE'D YOU" -- oh. where was I?

A 12th degree black belt scold posts this "everybody must watch this and pass it on" video. I bet you've seen it: Hong Kong movie theatre shows driving video then sends a text to all the theatregoers (invasive little bastards) [oh yes, definitely "Rant"]. As they all peek down at their phones CRASH! the film driver hits a tree. DON'T TEXT AND CINEMA, KIDS, YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!

Then it says (1:15) "Mobile use is now the leading cause of death behind the wheel." I am calling shenanigans. (Maybe in Hong Kong, three of their five annual fatalities involve a phone.) I called my friend Google up to ask if she thought this was true. And it gets interesting. Whom to believe?

Up top: The No. 1 Cause of Traffic Fatalities? It's Not Texting by Philip Cohen Oct 8, 2014

The article says some researcher estimates "more than 3,000 annual teen deaths from texting," but there is no reference to a study or any source for the data used to make the estimate. As I previously noted, that's not plausible.

His first hint was when the texting deaths exceeded the total deaths by 40%. Hmm, maybe these numbers a little shaky? We counting Cook County ballots or something?

Then there are a few that say yeah right it sure is. But three out of four are from tort lawyers. Hmmm.

How about some gub'ment stats? For all my libertarian whining, I do credit a Federal imprimatur on data. The NSC admits it may be low, but the headline is underreporting.

This is some serious Gospel among my friends. And I do not know why but it correlates to left wing beliefs. Any strong feelings, wisdom, or random speculation from ThreeSourcers?

Posted by John Kranz at 7:05 PM | Comments (5)
But nanobrewer thinks:

My brother studies alertness (for accident aversion) professionally. I asked him a few years back about TXT-induced accidents and he said it's not major, but DISTRACTION is a major cause of accidents (speed being the other I recall him citing), and cell phones do contribute. Cohen's data is fascinating tho...

So, why are liberal sites hyping this no-data nonsense? Well, to cite Phil Cohen, who opposes

scare-mongering manipulations of data that take advantage of common ignorance
we should note that both scare mongering and leveraging ignorance is high-fashion these days, and profitable on many of those days, thanks in part to the machinations of Dr. Mann.

Generally, liberals tend to love panic for reasons that go beyond this post... triggers the "Daddy!!!" response, perhaps?

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 28, 2016 1:19 AM
But jk thinks:

My lefty friends tend to carry over the scold/tell people what to do in both politics and personal lives.

Interesting story about your brother. Generalized distraction I accept. "I never text and drive" assures the guy in the silver MR2 with the Starbucks in one hand and the Havanese dog on his lap...

Posted by: jk at March 28, 2016 11:23 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Even before cell phones and texting, I had far more accidents and close calls as a beginning driver (read: teenager) than I do as an experienced driver. Perhaps tech is not really the culprit today after all.

That said, tech is already being brought to bear to solve the problem, with talk to text functions integrated on the dashboard. But then, if the car is self-driving doesn't it become guilty of texting while driving too?

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2016 12:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And let's not forget, it isn't just driving while texting that they - the scolds - want to criminalize.

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2016 4:11 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

American culture is guaranteeing Yeats' near-century old poem remains prescient.

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ are full of passionate intensity." Tip to Krista Kafer's blog at KNUS

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 28, 2016 4:25 PM

February 20, 2016

it's official, I'm a hater

I officially hate The Donald. When he embraced the '9/11 truther' angle during the debate coming up to SC I got mad, when he pimped the "Bush said there was WMD, and there weren't so he lied" line I turned into a hater. Ridiculous. Pathetic. I can see it was part of some cynical calculation to get Dems to show up and boost his numbers for the SC primary, but it was ugly and nasty, and .... just Trump.

Note that I'm any ardent lover of the legacy of Bush 43 (though I think it was overall positive), but I believe that the "lie" about WMD is one of the most pernicious and corrosive lies ever pimped on We the People. Not to relitigate this, but it's pretty clearly proven that some were indeed found in Iraq. I guess the WSJ story I saw many moons ago about roughly 70 tons discovered to have been moved through Syria, some landing in Jordan even was never substantiated. Still, the Duelfer report and David Kay were crystal clear that Iraq had nascent programs ready to kickstart in a heartbeat. So, while it's agreed there were never the mass quantities of WMD's as were claimed by the W administration, it's not remotely acceptable to say it was a lie.

What I would say, in a cocktail party setting, would be: well, if W actually lied about WMDs in Iraq, did John Kerry, Al Gore, Albright, Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton and HRC herself lie when they said there were WMDs in Iraq, or was it only George W. Bush that lied? If W manipulated the CIA and NSA, how did he manage to manipulate MI6, DSGE, FSB, Mossad and the UN?

Harrummph. We hates it, my precious.... hates him forever

Posted by nanobrewer at 9:07 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I hate what he has done to this election. My special hate-decoder-ring test is "would I be happy to hear he has terminal cancer?" and no, I suppose I do not hate him.

I was, however, reflecting how he cleared the field of all small government candidates months before a vote was cast. How great would it be to have a debate with Govs. Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal again? On stage with Sen. Rand Paul taking on -- respectfully -- the big-gubmint conservatism of Gov. Bush and Sen. Rubio. Sen. Cruz might strategically split the middle.

No, sorry, clown car and those who can tolerate its wake (does a car leave a wake, jk? You're not mixing metaphors again I hope...) He despoiled the whole enterprise. I wish him a long life but on TV and not in politics.

Posted by: jk at February 20, 2016 1:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Many of the small-government candidates are gone, but their voters are not - according to D.C. McAllister in my Otequay of the Ayday.

Posted by: johngalt at February 22, 2016 3:20 PM

February 11, 2016

Prosperity's Dark Side

*Rant Warning*

Indoor plumbing and the washing machine may have heralded a longer, happier and healthier life for all mankind, but these labor saving advances come at a price - detachment.

We tend to think of youth arriving in waves by generation, every twenty years or so. In reality, the waves are five times as frequent - every four years another class of know-nothings matriculates from the academy. So while the naïve waifs who elected President Obama may now actually, for the most part, recognize their error, two more waves have washed over top of them. And since nothing has been done to correct their curricula, the tide of egalitarian socialism is on the rise, making each successive wave that much stronger than before.

Witness the rise of Senator Socialist, the Independent-In-Name-Only from Vermont, who offers nearly everything as reward for one's vote, deftly stopping short of promising to outlaw war and neckties and long pants. One wonders how his followers might change their thoughts and attitudes and priorities if they had to wash their own clothes, by the river, by hand. Or if they had to defend their village from armed invasion by hungry hoardes from beyond the horizon.

I'm for making the viewing of History Channel's 'Vikings' a mandatory precondition for voter registration. All four seasons. The fourth of which, begins a week from tonight.

(Either that or they have to charge their iPhone with a bicycle generator for a month or so.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:13 PM | Comments (10)
But johngalt thinks:

"Already paid for? Certainly. May I see your receipt?"

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 3:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahahaha -- now I have to try twice as hard to find it so I can steal your joke.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2016 4:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Seriously! I hope you do.

Is he/she suggesting that government is some kind of "subscription shopping service?" Pay a nominal monthly fee and you can come in and pick up whatever you want or need whenever you want? I hear they're doing that in Caracas right now.

Here's how "paying for" something works:

1) Look at price tag.
2) It's worth it, here's my money, take it away.
3) It's not worth it, negotiate or shop around at competitors.
4) Find the lowest price is higher than you are willing to pay, decide to pay it after all, here's my money, take it away.
5) Live. Without. It.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 5:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:


According to this, youts are the problem after all.

It is safe to say that billions of dollars have been spent over the past two decades promoting and educating the public on the benefits of capitalism and free markets. There are publishing imprints, media companies and new conservative news sites everywhere. Yet, something has gone horribly wrong.
Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 5:42 PM
But jk thinks:

A problem. The problem?

I think the meme was posted by my biological brother -- perhaps just "liked" because it does not show in his feed. I like your quaint and classical concept of purchase as well. But the word we're looking for is "entitled."

They flipped burgers in high school and took unglamorous jobs out of school. Had the greedy capitalist bastards paid them what they were worth and not cheated them, they would all have nice cars and live in mansions.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2016 6:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

From paragraph 2: "No other age or ethnic demographic preferred socialism over capitalism."

Other than Millennials, that is.

Now re-read the excerpt two comments previous, followed by nb's excellent 'Socialist Schooling' post.

The problem. Worse than ISIS.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 6:17 PM

November 15, 2015

And You Guys Can Suck Eggs

I'd start a category for "things I cannot say on Facebook," but I fear it would be overused. This is under "Jihad" and "Rant," so proceed with caution.

I'm told -- and not just by loony lefties -- that I am a racist. I have indeed changed my profile pic to use the French Tricolore. I don't expect points for originality or courage for the grueling work of clicking the button under my friend's. It does not rank up there with Paul Revere's ride.

But I am told that I am racist for not caring about the Kenyan attacks last April, even though they had a similar body count, or the attacks in Beirut the night before. I did not adopt the Lebanese nor Kenyan flags in my profile pic. I clearly only care about Europeans.

Well, Balder-fucking-dash! (I did say "Rant.")

I decry terrorism in all its forms. I feel for all victims of violence. But I retain the right to choose that which upsets me. And Jihad in the land of Voltaire upsets me. That does not equal my saying "147 Deaths in Kenya are fine."

It does say that we have set aside some territory that accepts Enlightenment Values and that their retreat is a particular loss. A music concert in the French capital is the triumph of Enlightenment Values as were the offices of the cheesy and puerile -- but free -- "Charlie Hebdo."

Lebanon sadly enjoyed Enlightenment Values for many years. I am sorry for its fall back ito 7th-Century-ism, but it did not happen last Friday night. Kenya has struggled for its post-Colonial history with governments of oscillating quality and rights protection. I hope for her and am optimistic reading Angus Deaton and William Easterly that good days lie ahead.

But I am particularly upset about Paris. And those who don't like it can suck eggs.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:00 PM | Comments (7)
But Jk thinks:

Thanks. That'll work for half of them.

Another makes the more legitimate point that it is too little and smacks of sanctimony. I can dig that, but I dug up our patron quote:

"During my long journey through the world of evil, I had discovered three sources of power: the power of an individual's inner freedom, the power of a free society, and the power of the solidarity of the free world."-- Natan Sharansky, "The Case for Democracy"

Posted by: Jk at November 15, 2015 5:47 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I didn't see the comments, but the only comments including the "racism" theme I've ever seen that were NOT dripping with sanctimony were overinvested in misdirection and/or false-equivalencies in order to push a poorly produced argument.

It's somewhere between a dodge and an intellectual crutch, but that earns no points in FB-land. Here's one I've always yearned to put down in response to phony put-downs:

"Citation of the term racism tracts too closely to the bigoted ignorance of the 19th century whereby some homo sapiens were deemed to not be fully human. I do not glorify this; do you? If not, please post a credible argument. If so, please join us in the 21st century."

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 15, 2015 11:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Am I really a racist, or are you really an ad hominist?"

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2015 2:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I feel you. As I'm sure you noticed, the mass murders committed by hopeless, impressionable, sex-starved loser boys in Paris in the service of equally hopeless sex-slave holding loser boys in Raqqa moved me to profanity too, on Friday.

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2015 3:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Official" ISIS-

"In a blessed attack for which Allah facilitated the causes for success, a faithful group of the soldiers of the Caliphate, may Allah dignify it and make it victorious, launched out, targeting the capital of prostitution and obscenity, the carrier of the banner of the Cross in Europe, Paris..."

I will fight to defend prostitution.
I will fight to defend obscenity.
I will fight to defend those who choose to carry the banner of the Cross.
I will fight to defend individual liberty.

F*** Islamic State.

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2015 3:28 PM
But jk thinks:

[A Thumbs-up emoji on the racist/ad hominist comment]

In an unrelated skirmish, I got called a "fraud" by a woman I don't know. She seemed quite nice. But I was discussing refugees with another guy and had to clarify if me or my interlocutor was the "fraud." It was me. Again a very nice forum of good people -- it kind of made my day.

Posted by: jk at November 17, 2015 3:39 PM

October 8, 2015

Driverless Cars - Oh the Inhumanity

James Lileks takes to NRO to vent about idiot millennials who "want to ban human drivers ASAP." It is a steak and potato dinner dripping with awesome sauce that you should read start to end, but I'll give you an appetizer.

It is not enough to welcome the possibilities and opportunities of self-driving cars. The old order must be swept away, because go f*** a tailpipe. The pleasures of driving must be dumped in the dustbin with other pleasures of life that have fallen out of favor, like pie or a cigar, because go f*** a tailpipe. We need a BAN and we need Laws enforced by officers of the state with guns, and by the way, f*** the police and guns are bad, but we'll be fine with cops pulling black people over 24/7 because driving your own car is now probable cause, because go f*** a tailpipe.

And then tell me if you're still good with your car having a "Controls-that-I-can-use-ectomy."

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:59 PM | Comments (5)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm with Lileks. Besides, I'm addicted as it is to the awe and wonder on the faces of people who see that my car has a clutch pedal and a manual shifter; if I'm not surrendering those controls, I'm sure as heck not surrendering my steering wheel.

And I can parallel park in one pass. There are only two other Californians I know who can say that.

Cold, dead hands, my friends. Cold, dead hands.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 8, 2015 5:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Joey Chitwood and ...?

Posted by: johngalt at October 9, 2015 11:41 AM
But Jk thinks:

Well, my friends on the left love to discredit Liberty by quoting some goofball White supremacist.

This goofball anti-humanist can be as wrong as pants on a trout -- and is -- but I remain a huge fan of autonomous vehicles. We've been through it before, but this is a productivity boost on the order of women entering the workforce.

Keep the 'Cuda, practice your parking, I'm ready. One downside: without the 35,000 needless deaths, gun rights advocates will lose a convenient talking point.

Posted by: Jk at October 9, 2015 4:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I agree that a self-driving feature is good, but it is just that - a feature. Not a replacement for the sentient being in the driver's seat. We've been through this part before too... this is the first evidence I've seen of any intent to BAN human drivers.

I'm also pretty sure your overstating the productivity benefit. Likely that extra time will be used for leisure more often than "workin' for the man." And women in the workplace nearly doubled the workforce. That's a big productivity boost. But this is a tangent. The salient point is - "Wham! Down comes another tranche of glorious laws to forbid people from manipulating their own possessions in a manner that suits them."

Posted by: johngalt at October 9, 2015 5:55 PM
But jk thinks:

I of course object to "ban drivers;" it's the first I've heard it as well. Here's to keeping the choices to own and drive or not.

Brother jg, neo-Calvinist! Fearing the plebes will devote newly acquired productive time to leisure and not toil. I'd suggest that leisure can be economic activity and that anything is likely better than sitting in traffic, searching for parking.

The comparison to women is perhaps extended but not overwrought. Some were working already, some did not, and teh transition was gradual. I don't see a 50% overnight boost either in the rear-view mirror, or out teh windshield of my futuristic but emasculated Google-bug.

Posted by: jk at October 11, 2015 12:02 PM

September 16, 2015

Bitcoin, Blockchains, and Papal Infallibility

Kids, do not try this at home. This is a professional segue artist -- and there might still be blood shed.

Being interested in Libertarian thought and monetary policy, I've met no shortage of Bitcoin enthusiasts. I have withstood them all, remaining interested in the technology and the liberty influence but not interested enough to dive into this too-volatile storage of value.

Wences Casares makes the best case I have heard. Don't invest what you cannot lose, but have some as a Taleb-esque, high beta play to catch a possible 40x appreciation and hedge against societal failure. He may or may not sell you, but he is a smart guy:

Another blogger on Bitcoin . . . where is the "Yawn" button?

I've two interesting asides. One: technophiles will enjoy this article in InfoWorld: Blockchains Beyond Bitcoin. While Bitcoin has grabbed the spotlight, there are a bunch of applications for the distributed ledger system provided by block chains. Very thoughtful article.

Two: watching Casares made me think of this disappointing story. Both Pope Francis and Caseres were deeply impacted by Argentinian politics. Yet Casares sees the damage inflicted by government -- and lauds Bitcoin as an opportunity that would have protected his family's property rights from rapacious government.

Pope Francis is older, but saw a similar history and cast the merchant and the capitalist as the villain in his tale.

Today it replays in the Mideast. Millions have been destroyed by government. But Pope Francis sees the enemy: Capitalism.

"This is the tip of the iceberg. We see these refugees, these poor people who are escaping from war, escaping from hunger, but that's the tip of the iceberg. But underlying that is the cause, and the cause is a socio-economic system that is bad, unjust, because within an economic system, within everything, within the world, speaking of the ecological problem, within the socio-economic society, in politics, the person always has to be the center. And today's dominant economic system has removed the person from the center, and at the center is the god of money. It's the fashionable god today. I mean, there are statistics. I don't remember very well, but -- this is not exact and I could be making a mistake-- 17% of the population has 80% of the wealth."

Yes -- clearly the poor refugees escaping Syria and Iraq need more government and more religion looking out for them.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:34 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Perhaps if Blockchain had an automatic tithe function...

But (more) seriously, consider this from the first linked article:

Only the person who holds the corresponding private key can decide what happens next to their coin.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't this comport with "the person always has to be the center" as the Holy Father insists?

But knowing Holy Fathers the way I do, what he really means is that persons collectively have to be at the center, not individual persons.

Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2015 2:19 PM

September 8, 2015

"Preening pretenders who let us down, again"

My blog brother agrees with Jonah Goldberg that Trump has neither ideas nor principles. Calling it "The Bonfire of Principles" Goldberg writes,

Conservatives have spent more than 60 years arguing that ideas and character matter. That is the conservative movement I joined and dedicated my professional life to.

To which I'll reply, "How's that working out for you?" Conservative Treehouse's Sundance gives you a fairly detailed accounting of the recent record of "Washington D.C. conservatism" and it isn't pretty - unless you're a Democrat. To tide you over until you have time to read the link, I'll gyp the close:

The last federal budget was passed in September of 2007, and EVERY FLIPPING INSUFFERABLE YEAR we have to go through the predictable fiasco of a Government Shutdown Standoff and/or a Debt Ceiling increase specifically because there is NO BUDGET!

That's a strategy?

That's the GOP strategy? Essentially: Lets plan for an annual battle against articulate Democrats and Presidential charm, using a creepy guy who cries and another old mumbling fool who dodders, knowing full well the MSM is on the side of the other guy to begin with?


Don't tell me it's not, because if it wasn't there'd be something else being done - there isn't.

And don't think we don't know the 2009 "stimulus" became embedded in the baseline of the federal spending, and absent of an actual budget it just gets spent and added to the deficit each year, every year. Yet this is somehow smaller fiscal government?

...And you're worried about what Donald Trump might do?


[no emphasis added]

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:33 PM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

My and Sundance's point is not to "throw away" the conservative movement because of Boehner and McConnell, but that those two have thrown it away so we must change horses.

Every single candidate, with the possible exception of Rand Paul, has a flawed mixed philosophy. It is filled with contradictions. That is why I can throw them all over the side and go with a non-politician - a businessman. After all, the businessman is a member of America's most persecuted class.

America’s industrial progress, in the short span of a century and a half, has acquired the character of a legend: it has never been equaled anywhere on earth, in any period of history. The American businessmen, as a class, have demonstrated the greatest productive genius and the most spectacular achievements ever recorded in the economic history of mankind. What reward did they receive from our culture and its intellectuals? The position of a hated, persecuted minority. The position of a scapegoat for the evils of the bureaucrats.

"Make America Great Again - Reward Businessmen"

Posted by: johngalt at September 9, 2015 12:12 PM
But jk thinks:

As long as the businessman is Carly Fiorina, I suppose we're okay. But I sense a huge disconnect.

I sez: "Ideas and principles is important and Mister Trump has got none."

You sez: "Who cares? People with ideas have failed us, let's put all our chips on a megalomaniacal blowhard and see if things come out better!" (Okay, I'm paraphrasing a bit...)

And a quick factual correction while my typing fingers are warmed up: The 60 year conservative movement you denigrate took us from Rex Tugwell, New Deal, World Communism (or is that Coism?) as a desirable and inevitable to Reagan, the defeat of the Soviet Union, and a solid if too-small foundation of think tanks and scholarship based on liberty. How's that working out for me? pretty good -- thanks for asking.

There's much work to be done victory is by no means certain -- but I'm very certain it will not be moved forward by Mister Trump.

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2015 12:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Did you choose the Silver, Gold, or Platinum health plan? There are only three coverage choices anywhere in the wide, wide world of America now (and Bernie Sanders is smiling.)

Trump's idea is "Make America Great Again." You likely dismiss it because of the ways he's talked about doing so, but any recipe will work as long as it includes 'less regulation.'

Trump's principle is "Don't be a loser." I can think of worse words to live by: "Don't do stupid stuff." "Ain't gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent." "Don't misunderestimate me."

But for all the value the WSJ opinion page places on the presidency, this preview of President Trump's first hundred days suggests that it doesn't matter who is in the White House - nothing will change. At least, not much, and not quickly. But I suspect the author gives Donald too little credit. The man loves a challenge and loves to win. I can see him, eventually, becoming the most effective capitol hill negotiator in history.

Posted by: johngalt at September 9, 2015 4:26 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm going to take the cyanide pill now. But a few words first...

I'll start at the end: yes, the best negotiator in history! Okay, but what is he negotiating for? Nobody knows, and increasingly his fans don't even care. Just win baby! Get that universal care you always wanted! Expand eminent domain! Yaay! Us Republicans are riding on top of the bus now!

I'll stop. I don't get it. Jonah doesn't get it. And there does not seem to be a Rosetta stone.

Obamacare is indeed awful. But I see it as a warning of what happens when you give the other side too much power and a good reason for eternal vigilance. If you think things could not be worse had the New Dealers been in control since Truman, I suggest you lack imagination.

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2015 4:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You may or may not agree with them, but there are quite a number of ideas here. Although we are left to wait for ideas about something besides immigration.

Posted by: johngalt at September 9, 2015 5:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahahaha! That is hilarious. Thanks for sharing. When the web guy gest back, he will change it to "Position."

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2015 5:36 PM

September 4, 2015

Emmanuel Goldstein

The bible exhorts us to "love thine enemies" and I am down with that. But it's getting harder and harder to put up with my friends.

I have long stood for gay rights and gay marriage. One of my first activities was opposing Colorado's Amendment 2. It passed -- my perfect record remains intact -- but was struck down by the courts.

I will be performing at friends' wedding tomorrow where there ain't a Y chromosome betwixt 'em.

And, I think Kim Davis, the KY County Clerk, wrong to deny licenses authorized by the State. I consider it a potential firing offense.

Enough bona fides for ya?

I got queasy yesterday to see the two minute hate on the Internet directed not at Emmanuel Goldstein, who deserves it for his scurrilous spy work with Eastasia, but at Ms. Davis. She's as wrong as pants on a trout. But the indignation machine is truly frightful. One FB friend started it with "oh what a glorious day! each meme about this horrible bigot woman is better than the last!" Y'all know I love memes -- but the ones I saw included "How did anybody this ugly get married three times?"

Keepin' it classy, as they have done since President Clinton needed to denigrate some detractors.

David Harsanyi is at risk of losing all hail status for some recent work with The Federalist, but he hits it out of the park on Reason's blog:

As far as I can tell, there are only three unassailable constitutional rights left in the United States: the right not to be "discriminated" against, the right to have an abortion and the right to have a gay marriage. In the eyes of liberals, nothing--not the freedom of association or religion or anything else mentioned in the First Amendment or Second Amendment--will ever supersede these consecrated rights.

The rest? Well, it's malleable, depending on the situation.

This is after saying "After all, it's not a clerk's job to ascertain the constitutionality or practicality of a law . . . There are hundreds of other vocations she is free to pursue if this one doesn't suit her."

The lack of proportion on these people astonishes. This is one person in a great big country. I'm sorry for someone denied their license -- but this is the worst thing that happened all week? No dentist killed a lion?

UPDATE: Ehrmigawd! All Hail Taranto!


Posted by John Kranz at 1:19 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

What Harsanyi doesn't say is that the Democrat Christian Kentucky clerk chose to go to jail. Many of the other clerks in Kentucky who would have issued the licenses are in her own office. All of her deputy clerks, in fact, except for her son. She could have simply stood aside while one of them did his or her job and would not have been in contempt of court.

And there is the reason she was jailed. While it's true that much law breaking goes unpunished, contempt of court is always met with consequences.

Posted by: johngalt at September 4, 2015 3:25 PM
But jk thinks:

Did not know any of that, thanks.

Again, I'm not recommending she be appointed Commissioner of the NFL or get free milkshakes at Chick Fil-A for life. I'm offended by the lack of proportionality among her detractors.

Another friend (rhymes with Satay Dipper) retweeted today:

Mike Huckabee is deliberately stirring up fear & hatred among Christians toward LGBT people. It's anti-Christian & inexcusable. -- Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans)

I come to bury Huck, not praise him. But my Conservative tweeps are all a-twitter about some rather visible famous people who have called for executing Americans based on the color of their skin. The Governor's defamation of LGBT to Christians seems rather tame.

I'd respond to both that it's a big crazy country with 300 million partially-crazy people in it. Some crazy is guaranteed. To fixate -- or worse, legislate -- on single digit, random events in unhealthy and unproductive.

Posted by: jk at September 4, 2015 4:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It still isn't clear to me with whom you are the most disappointed - Kim Davis' supporters or detractors. I expect over the top vitriol from the gay marriage "happy" warriors, so I don't even really notice it when they follow script in this case. To her supporters I say, "I agree with you that there is a "war on Christianity" and evidence of it is all around us... but this ain't it."

I was rather pleased when I first heard this clerk had picked this battle. I felt it would serve to highlight how public employees may not discriminate, but private ones have every right to do so. Hasn't quite been cast that way publicly yet, but I remain hopeful.

Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2015 1:39 PM
But Jk thinks:

Dee Tractors got me down.

Posted by: Jk at September 6, 2015 11:35 PM

July 22, 2015

All Hail Greg Gutfeld

WE HAVE YET ANOTHER CONVERSION! Another lefty friend discovering her inner Catholic. Who cares about differences on contraception, abortion, gay marriage, divorce, and -- one assumes -- transubstantiation of matter. It's me and His Holiness against FAUX NEWS!


The statements led Fox's Gutfeld to suggest Pope Francis "doesn't want to be your grandfather’s pope" during a June 16 episode of "The Five" after a draft of the encyclical leaked to the public. "He wants to be a modern pope," Gutfeld lamented. "All he needs is dreadlocks and a dog with a bandana and he could be on Occupy Wall Street."
Posted by John Kranz at 3:12 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

In the words of a certain comic-strip writer who's recently announced he's coming out of retirement:


This is nothing more that the secular Left doing in the religious arena what they do it the political one every four years. "McCain/Romney/Jeb is a Republican that finally I could consider voting for!" In the political arena, that sentiment lasts just long enough for the RINO to secure the nomination; immediately afterwards, that support evaporates, and the chosen Republican is suddenly demonized. Admit it, it's happened twice.

"Now here's a Pope I finally can get behind!" they'll announce. Let His Holiness come out against homosexual marriage or abortion, and that support will disappear faster than pancakes at a Sunday breakfast buffet.

I'm no Catholic and I've got no right to pick the leader of their church, but I've got to tell you, there are some ways I'm missing that Benedict XVI fella.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 22, 2015 4:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair, but it drives me mad (jk, step away from the Facebook...)

JPII. Miss me some anti-Communist Holiness.

Posted by: jk at July 22, 2015 4:47 PM

July 21, 2015

Time for Despair Yet?

Donald Trump is up in the polls, and the most pro-liberty State Rep I have ever met solicits viewpoints on whether grocery stores should be permitted to sell liquor with comments running 2-1 against.

There is no constituency for liberty. Perhaps AEI conservatism, a'la Arthur Brooks is the best to be hoped.

I'll see if another cup of coffee helps....

Posted by John Kranz at 10:56 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

The fact that "The Donald" is polling better than politically-correct politicians is due, in my opinion, more to the fact that he refuses to couch his statements in politically-correct code language than to any specific issue he talks about, or what position he takes on that issue. For that, I am a big fan. Before one can have a marketplace of ideas, one must first have more ideas to listen to than the number Bernie Sanders proposes we have of deodorant.

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2015 3:19 PM

July 14, 2015

Miss me?

It sure seems like a long time since jk has railed against Saganism -- is he okay?

Damn straight, Skippy.

My "I F'ing Love Science" lefty pals are all agog on Facebook over the Pluto flyby (even though it is only a dwarf planet..) and the pentaquark discovery at the Large Hadron Collider. As well they should be.

I don't want to spoil the fun, but I wish to ask whether they might pause and give our species a few props. I know we're all insignificant and stuff -- dust mites of the galaxy and all. But people sent this craft to Pluto, built the Collider, staffed it, analyzed the results -- and shared those results with the world.

Go humanity!

Posted by John Kranz at 6:34 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Never missing a chance to bash a Republican over a current event...

But NASA is also one of the main purveyors of the satellite observations of Earth that are a basic necessity for many fields of Earth science. That's the part Cruz doesn't like: He wants to slash the agency's budget for Earth sciences—in particular, for climate change, a subject on which Cruz's theories are, in the words of one scientist, "a load of claptrap."

Funny how the warmists have gone from "97% of scientists" to "one scientist."

Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2015 6:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Or, if you prefer your pride a little more provincial, here's a great bon mot from a FOBOTW member:

The US launched something the size of a piano 3 million miles, hit a target window approximately 37 x 55 miles in size, and arriving within 1 second of the estimated time of arrival.

Not bad for a country that doesn't use the metric system in daily life.

Posted by: jk at July 15, 2015 1:25 PM

June 18, 2015


Well, I checked "rant" just in case I lapse into capitol letters.

"Laudato Si" is out and from Bill McGurn, I am guessing it is as bad as any ThreeSourcer feared. The WSJ Ed Page has a higher percentage of Catholics than most Catholic churches, and they strain to match church teachings with their free-market leanings. McGurn cannot find the sunny side of this.

Blog friend sc shared an interesting piece this morning. Crux Magazine provides a good overview of what encyclicals are, their target audiences, and a brief history. It would be a good overview for the non-Catholics among us or those who went to Catholic schools but didn't always pay attention.

The end of the article contains -- benignly to the authors -- my worst fear: that this will be important and persuasive.

Other religious leaders also have been emboldened by Laudato Si.

Two days before the encyclical was to appear, Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Anglican Church, issued a "green declaration" signed by British faith leaders who assert that climate change has hurt the poor of the world.

On June 15, the Buddhist leader Dalai Lama told his more than 11 million Twitter followers that "since climate change and the global economy now affect us all, we have to develop a sense of the oneness of humanity."

A day later, the Lausanne Movement, representing Evangelical Christians in almost 200 countries said Evangelicals were anticipating Laudato Si and grateful for it.

A Catholic, an Orthodox, an atheist scientist, and an economist will present Francis' [sic] letter this Thursday in Rome. Francis explained this move on Sunday, saying that "we need unity to protect creation."

Trolling level: expert.

UPDATE: The more I read, the worse it gets.

Pope Francis opens the encyclical, which includes extensive sections on the theology of creation, with a lament for man's sins against "Mother Earth": "We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life."

Posted by John Kranz at 11:57 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Tantum nos ...

Perhaps dagny's friend was right, so many years ago, that religion is a greater threat to liberty than world socialism. But the one thing none of us ever dared contemplate was that they would join forces to subjugate "every person living on Earth."

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2015 1:23 PM
But jk thinks:

Omnibus. (Is that "totally?")

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2015 4:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In the 'Pope Bjorn' post you mentioned that the early leaks may have presented an inaccurate summation of the encyclical's overall message.

A Catholic editorialist, having now read it, reports that Pope Francis is unduly pessimistic about the world. Furthermore, he doesn't understand what helps the poor and what hurts them. Francis' principal failure? Recognition of the power of property rights.

Given that poorly defined and enforced property rights lie at the heart of so many environmental problems, especially in poor countries, this whole area is a big omission from this encyclical. This is not a trivial issue or sniping from the sidelines. It is far more fundamental than many of the political-economic issues discussed by Pope Francis which really were a diversion from the excellent moral-theological analysis.
Posted by: johngalt at June 19, 2015 12:57 PM

May 14, 2015


Never, in the history of dudedom, has a dude ever been so angry upon receipt of a windfall $20. But I have been grouchy for a week:


Can you read that? That's a check from the "Toyota Motor Corp. Unintended Acceleration Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products liability Litigation c/o Gilardi & Co LLC." I'll give them props for the oxford comma, but the rest is bulls**t.

My biological brother posted an interesting article from Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker. Like anything else Gladwell, I find much to critique. As I'm clearly in rant territory, I'll say that he couldn't find liberty in a dark room with both hands.

But he is bright and thoughtful, and he makes a point about the engineer mentality. On the Gladwell scale, I surely possess it. He looks at the Toyota acceleration case and the Cobalt ignition swith and a quick peek at Honda air bags on his way to the Ford Pinto's famed "exploding gas tank." The topic is a hotshot engineer who was tasked with interpreting crash data and deciding whether to pursue recalls.

I spent my teenage years washing Pintos at a rental car company. I know them pretty well. But they became the archetype of both unsafe vehicles and uncaring corporate decisions. Thanks, 60 Minutes. Gladwell -- I think -- climbs on the side of those who deny any exceptional flaw in the Pinto. The statistics are all in line with other small domestic cars of the era: Vegas, Gremlins, &c. (You kids missed the 70s lemme tell ya...)

I don't have an opinion on Honda air bags, I suspect that the Cobalt ignition switch was real and recall-worthy, I don't know, but most of them fall apart with any type of statistical look: miles travelled, vehicles on road, even against other fatalities it's a statistical wash.

My biggest gripe with Gladwell, and what I shared with my brother, is that this recall anything that might bug anybody ever mentality adds to the price of new vehicles -- and that keeps many people in older vehicles with far fewer safety features. Gladwell wants the engineers to see the photos of three dead teenage girls, as though they cannot infer from a burned and twisted Pinto carcass.

I suggest they're better with cold, numerical calculation. Else they will prioritize the victims in the picture over the unseen young people driving or sharing the road with less safe, older vehicles.

It's a long article with maddening bits to liberty lovers, but I recommend it if you can squirrel away the time.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:23 PM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

Didn't one of the original Charlie's Angels drive a Pinto? The one played by Kate Jackson, if memory serves. Never has a Pinto looked soooo good.

There's the "Engineer mentality" and then there's the "John Galt Engineer mentality." The latter says, "I made this machine that can do things. If you like what it does you may buy it, and do as you wish with it, AS IS. No warranty is expressed or implied. If it blows up because of some confluence of unlikely events, tough shit. But then, you could walk if you prefer.

I had one or both of these sentiments when I heard a Fox News legal expert, who I usually admire and agree with, ask the questions: "Why aren't there seatbelts on passenger trains?" "Why do we have 20th century technology in 21st century transportation?" "Why are our passenger trains no more advanced than the 'Chattanooga Choo Choo?"

I dunno, maybe because THE SEATS RIPPED OUT OF THE FLOOR IN THE CRASH? Look at it this way, Mister Unappreciative Ingrate: Some thirty-something store clerk, promoted to "engineer" from conductor (with how much training or proficiency testing?) just ran the "Choo Choo" into a siding at 100-plus miles per hour with 200-odd souls on board... with but 8 fatalities. Do you think you could design something better? Something safer? Go ahead then - I quit.

Posted by: johngalt at May 14, 2015 6:17 PM
But dagny thinks:

I seem to remember a movie called The Verdict with Paul Newman addressed this issue.

Posted by: dagny at May 14, 2015 7:58 PM
But dagny thinks:

OK wrong movie. Someone help me out??? What is the movie where the car company engineer knows that the car is going to explode on impact but they build it that way anyway.

Posted by: dagny at May 14, 2015 8:07 PM
But Jk thinks:

The Verdict was about medical malpractice. But if you think of the other, let me know and I'll rent it. I got $20.46.

Posted by: Jk at May 14, 2015 9:27 PM
But jk thinks:

The other facet I cannot ignore is that the Yoonited States owned a huge position in GM during this period, thanks to the bailout. The Toyota acceleration and GM ignition switches were covered as equally as were Watergate and Benghazi.

Posted by: jk at May 15, 2015 9:36 AM
But dagny thinks:

Class Action - Whew that was killing me!

Gene Hackman
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

Posted by: dagny at May 15, 2015 12:29 PM

May 6, 2015

"I'm concerned about the America you would have us live in."

This requires no explanation or embellishment. Megyn is correct, without exception.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:55 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Snyder v. Phelps! Well played, Ms. Kelly!

First Amendment absolutism makes me proudest of my country. Snyder. Skokie. Larry Flynt. Bong Hits for Jesus. Flag burning. SCOTUS has been reliable (give them a Mulligan on McConnell v. FEC) in protecting speech from the "common sense" restrictions offered by Mister O'Reilly and Mister "we'll fight Jihad with Love."

I know I'm a broken record but I still don't hear the anarchist answer for this. The bill of rights (our last rights defended after Carolene) are really remarkable in their escape of democratic "common sense." You're simply not likely to get anything like that from private agency.

Posted by: jk at May 6, 2015 4:45 PM
But jk thinks:

And, All Hail Taranto:

Today, however, that post-9/11 cliché has real meaning. Some intellectuals are arguing for curtailments of civil liberties that would both fulfill terrorist objectives and damage one of our most cherished values, namely the freedom of speech.

Exhibit A is this Washington Post headline: "Event Organizer Offers No Apology After Thwarted Attack in Texas." The event is the "Texas cartoon contest attacked by two gunmen late Sunday," featuring images of Muhammad, the Muslim prophet; and the organizer is Pamela Geller, a truculent critic of Islam.

Posted by: jk at May 6, 2015 5:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I just heard Geller interviewed on the radio. She corrected this media characterization, stating she is a truculent critic of "jihad and murder in the name of Islam" not of Islam.

Posted by: johngalt at May 6, 2015 5:48 PM
But Terri thinks:
But johngalt thinks:

Me too, Terri, and thanks for linking it here. It goes right to the heart of the questions, "Why do you provoke them" and "Why do you insult an entire religion?"

If a subset of members of a group that adheres to a specific religion claims a moral right to murder people for violating any one of several tenets of that religion, it is incumbent on everyone else to speak and act in contravention to that claim. Some are brave enough to do that and some are not. (And some oppose doing so for other self-serving reasons.)

Furthermore, the amount of bravery required varies with the particular religion in question. If the folks of a specific religion are intent only on using law to impose their beliefs, rather than the most barbaric forms of highly publicized murder, it is much safer to mock elements of that faith. c.f. "Piss Christ" and the like.

Posted by: johngalt at May 7, 2015 11:49 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I've long been madly in love with Ms. Kelly, now I must accept that I'm simply not worthy.... ahkthpth, who wanted to move to NYC anyway?

Posted by: nanobrewer at May 8, 2015 10:51 AM

April 23, 2015

Sites with Obnoxious Popping

On browsing at PowerLine:

[JK] had to set them up in IE as a non-trusted site

That's a neat trick! Yes, they occasionally apologize for their association with WordPress, and that site plays Holy Hell with my Firefox (and sometimes Chrome)... only Netzero has been discovered to be worse. All I can say is thank god for hand-helds!!

On Media & Blogging:

[JK] Whedon-y glow around here of late and I hoped to keep the ember lit

Um, all I've seen is the various levels of medieval savagery he's willing to propose for those of us out of step with his White-Privileged anti-prosperity approach to Global {whatever}. Is that what you mean, JK?

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:47 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Life is funny sometimes. I've often laughed that the most avowed socialist I ever encountered, Kurt Vonnegut, wrote Harrison Bergeron -- the singular and perfect refutation of Socialism.

Of Course, Mr. Vonnegut also wrote "God Bless You, Mister Rosewater," my brother's favorite, and an obvious anti-capitalist screed. I was thinking of Rosewater when I was reading Nozick's praising Rawls (with me so far?) They tell the same story but it does not hold up to factual scrutiny; Bergeron does. Bergeron is popular, Rosewater draws stares even from Vonnegut fans.

Whedon might be in that class or he might subconsciously question progressivism's underpinnings. Or it might be art. My Buffy sire, Jonathan V. Last, calls "Amends" the most religious hour ever on TV (that's a compliment). Whedon is an aggressive atheist and laughs at that, but it is easier to read it Last's way than Joss' (Joss, Like Moses, Jesus, or Gates gets a singular possessive without the s). Perhaps the stories escape their authors' control. Blog friend sc, burdened with a lot of pointy-head graduate English Lit education, likes to quote CS Lewis that there are fundamental archetypes which creep out in our literature and art.

But at the end of the day, Whedon and Vonnegut deliver powerful messages of liberty, though their personal relations with the topic may be more complex.

At the risk of going to the well one too many times, I was going to suggest that I thought of Dollhouse's evil Rossum Corporation when I read of our former SecState's exploits in the NYTimes:

The article, in January 2013, detailed how the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, had taken over a Canadian company with uranium-mining stakes stretching from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world's largest uranium producers and brought Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.

Rosatum, Rossum -- you can call it coincidence, but this is the Internet.

Posted by: jk at April 24, 2015 9:56 AM

April 13, 2015


I still am down with "Whiskey" and "Sexy," but how are we liberty lovers going to communicate the dangers of democracy? It is hard to think of a word with better appeal.

Two recent local stories remind me that this blade has sharp edges. The first is public outcry over development of a golf course and neighboring community (hmm, sounds suspiciously like where I live) in Arvada Colorado (a western suburb of Denver).

It seems Molson-Coors owns 145 acres "zoned primarily industrial, with some agricultural zoning and commercial use. While a full rezoning proposal has not been submitted to the county, developers are expected to submit an application for the mixed-use development, which would include 454 homes and duplexes."

The neighbors are not pleased.

The first public meeting about the development of Applewood Golf Course was called off after less than an hour because the more than 500 people in attendance filled the auditorium at the Manning School to a "dangerous level of over-capacity."

I had seen this on the teevee news the other night and it brought bad memories. I, too, fought some development near my home. Our group used the same concerns "the traffic, the safety, the children!" We had all been assured by slick real-estate developers that the parcel would remain undeveloped because of unstable old mines -- a geologist was brought in and it turns out the mines were under the existing homes, the new space was clean.

I understand their displeasure. One tends to take ownership of undeveloped land near ones home, expecting the vistas and the dog walking opportunities. But land ownership actually has a well defined legal pedigree around here: there are deeds and titles, and stuff like that. I was just developing a liberty perspective and saw -- before most of my neighbors -- that this guy had owned this land since I was in Junior High and that my little 70' x 100' plot did not really confer the right to dictate terms.

That story has a happy ending. The developer and the neighbors ended up in alliance against the city as he wanted his expensive homes far away from our riff-raff shantytown -- the City was looking to abut them to make different use out of pound of flesh land he was donating to the city to facilitate the deal.

I get it. I look into their eyes and see a younger, more foolish, me. But when it is not you, it is so obvious. The news person asks each what should be done with the land. "Just the golf course," "open space..." There are an awful lot of suggestions from people about the best use of land they don't own. The TV anchors agree: all these people care, they're going to have to figure something out.

Umm, no.

Closer (geographically) to home, I see on Facebook that our burgh is slated to receive royalty. The Erie Colorado Lifestyle page asks "What do you think of the new Burger King?"

"Yuck! do people still eat there?" "Wish it was something healthier!" "Would prefer a 'Mad Greens'" Yadda-yadda. Sorry to belittle my neighbors, but somebody is opening this (it is not clear whether this deal is done). Putting up money, paying franchise fees, hiring, permitting, building. If you want to pick what goes there, open something.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:30 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Dagny and I watched "300: Rise of an Empire" last night. It's the sequel to "300" and I really liked it. But then, I'm a liberty lover.

It touches on the differences between democracy and freedom. Not about big government taking and redistributing, but about war and existence. Greek warriors volunteer for battle with Persian invaders and fight, "for your fellow soldiers, for your families, but most importantly, for Greece." They would rather "die on their feet than live on their knees."

Greece was the birthplace of democracy. As such, it was also the birthplace of the tyranny of majority rule. They can be excused. Nobody had ever tried government "of, by and for the people" before. People smart enough to travel into space should know better. But it's just so damned easy to abdicate governing to politicians, who seem to enjoy it for some reason.

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2015 7:30 PM

April 7, 2015

Dark History Recounted

Peter Berkowitz pens an explosive recapitulation of the Scooter Libby prosecution in todays WSJ.

I doubt a single ThreeSourcer does not believe that Libby was railroaded by our nations own Inspector Javert, Peter Fitzgerald. Much of the story is well known, but the new hook is Judith Miller's new memoir, in which she recounts Fitzgerald's manipulating her to coerce false testimony, and a pretty obvious example of exculpatory evidence he was bound legally and morally to share.

Yet Javert -- I mean Fitzgerald -- was sure he could crush Libby enough to compel (equally false?) witness against VP Cheney. Several lives were destroyed, but Berkowitz throws one more item -- the latency this induced into the successful "surge:"

It is painful to contemplate how many American and Iraqi lives might have been spared if Mr. Libby, the foremost champion inside the White House in 2003 of stabilizing Iraq through counterinsurgency, had not been sidelined and eventually forced to resign by Mr. Fitzgerald's overwrought investigation and prosecution.

Republicans have -- unsurprisingly -- turned on Amb./Sec./Gen. Colin Powell. On a Facebook forum I stated that I appreciated his service and honor, but that I did not understand his politics, Yadda-yadda. Another member reminded me that Powell knew the Libby charges were false and could have ended the contretemps with one true sentence. But that never happened.

I've also seen complaints that President Bush should have pardoned him on the way out the door, but chose his legacy over what was right. It is hard to argue with either of those.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:03 PM | Comments (1)
But AndyN thinks:

I'm not sure "turned on" is really accurate. Unless I'm mistaken, by Powell's own account he's voted for the Democratic candidate in a majority of the presidential elections in which he's voted. I think saying that Republicans have turned on him at least implies that he's a Republican who's gone astray. That doesn't seem to be the case.

Posted by: AndyN at April 7, 2015 10:45 PM

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 18, 2015

quel horreur -- the world's worst music store closing!

The Libertarian Musicians' Guild will not require a huge hall for its annual meeting. Good acoustics, perhaps, but not a ton of seating. We'll conclude someday, why art attracts leftists.

A FB friend from a guitar group whom I do not know well posts a link to this, with a long introduction that is more overwrought that the article.

This is an obituary for Guitar Center, a chain of big box musical instrument stores that was captured and infected by private equity during a national trend of greed and reckless expansionism in the late-1990s and early-2000s. The company started as a Los Angeles organ store, became a successful purveyor of guitars after the Beatles arrived in the United States, evolved into a national competitor over a period of decades, and shall finish, with sad poetry, as the symbol of everything dysfunctional about American corporate finance, management, and retail in the modern age.

CEOs, bad. Private Equity, bad. Debt, bad. Okay, I hear you.

Two things are funny. One, I am not certain how bad things are. Eric Garland does link to a WSJ article about the firm's finances and it does not look great. I am not sure it's as far as "obituary" yet (Mr. Twain, line one!) Garland seems well versed, but companies come out of dire straights all the time -- except when they don't. I'm not sophisticated enough to call this one.

Funny the two, is that no guitar player likes Guitar Center (though I've heard great love of the giant one in Austin). It's the McDonalds of music stores -- many will patronize their stores, but they'll apologize when caught ("I just needed some mic cables man, don't tell Mom you saw me here...")

I don't want to see anybody fail, but this is a hugely competitive business. Reading Garland, it looks like they "went big" in 2007 with some Bain Capital financing. (Boo! Hiss! Greed!) I'd say they've had a great run (past tense -- again the one nearest me appears open). Like, oh roughly 137,855 businesses, they do not have an answer for Amazon. GC (or is a big box retailer, not an authoritative source for personal service. Amazon has better IT, the same inventory at the exact same price, better return policies, Prime® shipping, and a billion regular customers.

My "dinky," "little," local shop, Wildwood Guitars went big on Internet sales a few years ago. No Bain-style financing required. They now have the same quaint store where everybody calls me by name and I can hang out half a day. But they have a website and an amazing inventory. I bought a guitar from MusiciansFriend last year because I thought Wildwood did not carry the brand. It turns out they did. The guitar was defective and Wildwood ended up boxing it up and shipping it for me (astonished that MF was charging return freight on bad gear), reordered one at the same price, and when it arrived, checked it out and set it up perfectly.

So, GC has Wildwood eating their lunch on one side, and Amazon devouring them on the other. I don't really think their debt structure is the problem. I suggested it had to do more with Joseph Schumpeter.

UPDATE: Not as current as the WSJ article, but Fortune: Bucking trend, Guitar Center plans big expansion, overhaul of store fleet

At a time when overall music instrument sales have stalled and web sites like ( AMZN 0.86% ), eBay ( EBAY -1.79% ) and Craigslist are selling more and more music gear, Guitar Center is doubling down on its physical presence, with plans to open between 15 and 20 stores a year for the foreseeable future on top of its current fleet of 262 locations. (It had 210 stores back in 2007.)

One such new store is the mega-store Guitar Center opened Thursday in New York’s Times Square.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:50 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Joseph Schumpeter? Well, musicians are creative people; it seems appropriate that the closing of a guitar store would represent "creative destruction."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 18, 2015 6:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Rimshot -- aisle five.

Posted by: jk at March 18, 2015 6:53 PM

March 13, 2015


I just performed an email search for "jk cheats on his taxes." I will turn over all matches to the IRS if I am audited.

Why would they want to see the others?


Posted by John Kranz at 4:36 PM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

While IDK if I want to know the source of this frustration, I can share the upcoming first anniversary of my non-issued tax return (yes, from 2013).

I can also share a fair amount of info and advice on the IRS, which is all family and FB friendly....

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 13, 2015 5:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Can DC Matic be sold west of the Mississippi?

Posted by: johngalt at March 13, 2015 7:03 PM

February 19, 2015

Single Best Argument for Libertarianism

If I could sell one single idea, I would think it might be: "Government has no valid role in diet and nutrition."

You can attack it with consequentialist arguments: "they suck!" Or you can attack it with first principles: there is a very vibrant market in literature and ideas in the nutrition and exercise space; government is not needed.

But the Feds have fallen on their face, repeatedly, from the Four Best Lobbyists 4 Food Groups , the Food Pyramid. Once again. Emily Litella style, they say "nevermind." This time on cholesterol. But rather than humility (I do kid myself sometimes), the new guidelines just airbrush out all the b******t they told you last time, while hectoring you on several new and very dubious fronts.

But the broadminded approach extends a little too far; now everything from environmental sustainability to helping immigrants adjust to a new food culture falls under the DGAC's purview. And the committee hasn't really abandoned its tendency to single out specific nutrients as special diet dangers, suggesting that drinks with added sugars are a good candidate for targeted taxation:

For all those who did not DIE (all caps and ****-ed out swear words, damn, this is a rant) from the previous Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) recommendations, you now have to be hectored on environmental concerns as well:
In addition to recommending particularly dietary patterns based on their ability to promote health, the report for the first time notes the advantages of "sustainable diets"

All this for an industry with a most vibrant private-sector discussion. Walmart* does not wait ten years -- they offer low-carb dieters a marvelous bucket of meat and cheese and cheese wrapped with meat. Capitalism rules!

Posted by John Kranz at 6:02 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I suspect all of us grew up with the Four Basic Food Groups* being drummed into us. The USDA has always been unduly influenced by parties seeking to tilt the scales to increase their industry's share of the shopping cart, and more recently, parties bound and determined to stigmatize meat. The way I hear it, meat is to the rest of the menu what fossil fuels are to wind and solar - the energy-density champion.

I'd sooner do away with the USDA entirely, its welfare programs and its bad regulations, and trust my family doctor, my high school health sciences teacher, and private experts whose opinion I value, and let me buy as I see fit**. When you all vote me into office, it'll happen.

*(I was once asked by a friend to name the Four Basic Food Groups in the REAL American diet as practiced, and to name one common dish that had it all. I quickly came up with lasagna, but I was wrong. The four food groups in the REAL American diet center around alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat -- and therefore Irish Coffee represents a balanced diet.)

** We'll see what the free market does with Little Caesar's latest concoction, linked here. I'm torn; Little Caesar's is the second-worst pizza chain around after Pizza Hut, but it's wrapped in three and a half feet of bacon.…/little-caesars-fast-foo…/23565411/

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 19, 2015 11:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Errrr, let's try that again...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 19, 2015 11:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Cholesterol, Cholesterol! Good thing it's okay now.

Posted by: jk at February 20, 2015 10:27 AM

February 13, 2015

Let us ask ourselves, "Why do they hate us?"

Is this not the Progressive prescription when atrocities are committed in the name of religious faith? When, more than 14 years after Muslims celebrated in the street the 9/11 atrocity, an American man allegedly murders three Muslim students because they are Muslim, is it not just as advisable for Muslims to contemplate why some may feel anger toward them?

Koos Mohammed opines in Morocco World News:

We have Iraq, where the ‘war on terror’ has been terrorising civilians for over a decade now. First raped by the CIA, children in Iraq are now raped by ISIS. What were once safe countries for the average civilian have been turned into something from apocalyptic films in Libya and Syria. The Western media won’t report it, but the freedom the West exported to Libya has manifested itself in a chaos that makes one think, if hell had a jungle, this would be it.

In Palestine, Israel’s most recent military attack on the Gaza Strip left over 2,200 people dead; mostly civilians. The murders of Palestinian civilians by soldiers and settlers occurs almost weekly.

In Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the dictators there (friends of the West by the way) brutally suppress the civilians. Executions are common. Those who dare speak out, face life behind bars, or risk being whipped publicly.

So where are Muslim lives sacred? The truth is, in today’s world, in this current setting and condition, Muslim lives aren’t safe anywhere. [emphasis mine]

I must have missed the reports of rapes and other atrocities by the CIA. Perhaps they were overshadowed by Abu Graib. And it's difficult to tell what Koos values more - freedom or dictatorial leadership of "safe countries for the average civilian." But I really must ask, Is it so difficult to publicly state "I am a Muslim and I reject those who kill innocents in the name of my faith?" Or how about, "I treasure the freedom and safety and individual rights inherent in the western nations, and I condemn anyone who threatens those rights for any reason, including religious fundamentalism?"

And oh by the way, those rapes being perpetrated in Iraq... by ISIS... are the acts of Muslims. People in glass houses.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:13 PM | Comments (1)
But Jk thinks:

You might enjoy this.

Posted by: Jk at February 15, 2015 2:48 PM

So What's the Deal with Obama's AUMF Anyway?

Well, you could read this article from The Hill, or you can just let me explain it to you:

President Obama, under intense public pressure to respond to Islamist State atrocities that have been splashed across American televisions off and on for many months, announced a campaign to "degrade and defeat ISIL" using air strikes and foreign troops trained by American soldiers. He claimed that a congressional resolution from 2001 (you know, after 9/11 when even Democrats were willing to deploy our military) gave him the legal authorization for this new campaign.

Since that half-hearted plan isn't succeeding, congressional Republicans have been critical of the President. To shut them up he has asked them to vote for a new authorization, that he's said he doesn't need, to keep doing the same thing he's already doing. If they approve it, they own his strategy. If they defeat it, they are to blame when the thing he's already doing doesn't work because, he will say, "I asked for authorization to confront ISIL directly and Republicans in congress said 'no.'"

So essentially, it's a complete waste of time for everyone except Obama, who needs a political cover strategy. And it scares the crap out of congressional Democrats who, like Nancy Pelosi, "would hope that we could find common ground to have bipartisan support for how we protect and defend the American people" while at the same time contending that "a provision to bar 'enduring offensive ground combat operations' is too vague and could allow for U.S. troops to be sent into the field." Sure wouldn't want to risk war in the service of "defend[ing] the American people" would we? Nosirree.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (3)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Even WaPo's Eugene Robinson, as big a fan of BHO as can be found that gets paid to write, in a large vote of confidence for Boehner, wrote:

[AUMF] explains his view of why to fight this war. But it doesn’t really tell us how.

Obama has asked to be liberated and constrained at the same time. He wants no geographical boundaries placed on his ability to go after the Islamic State and “associated persons or forces.” But he also asks that Congress rule out “enduring offensive ground combat operations” and wants the war authority to expire after three years.

I would summarize - without contradiction - even further than JG has: since Obama has no idea how to govern, fight wars, create jobs, etc... all he can do is campaign. So, he'll continue to propose incoherent ideas that allow for more speeches and let the MSM fly cover for the bad/unworkable ideas.

PowerLine's Paul Mirgenoff adds to JG's point that there's an intent to constrain his successor, so his incoherence can be hidden.

Robinson finishes off with uncharacteristic brevity: But how urgent is the threat? This is a question Obama seems to want to defer.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2015 2:27 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Shoot, I messed up, the paragraph following the italicized quote from Robinson is also his.

Can someone hint me the code to imbed URL's in a comment post?

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2015 2:29 PM
But jk thinks:

We live to serve: Comment HTML

Posted by: jk at February 17, 2015 3:30 PM

February 3, 2015

Curricula Complacency

I am already guilty of starting brother jg's discussion down a side road with my first comment. Even I cold not torture it further.

But allow me a quick rant which may or may not fit in. You can call it jk's law if you'd like:

Half of what you are taught in school is absolute crap.

My progressive friends equate the teaching of Creationism with poison. We must seek out any place in this great nation where that happens, expose it, ridicule them, fine them, lock people up, and put it all on the Daily Show.

Now, I do not subscribe to Creationism and would vote against its being taught to my imaginary offspring. But I accept that the time they are not being taught that, they will simply use the additional time to reiterate the benefits of recycling. I was taught many things that were absolute lies, or drivel and I -- well, my classmates came out okay.

It is part of critical thinking skills. The suggestion that 12 years (15 after pre-K and Community College are free) will be filled with absolute truth is naïve. So, the rush to purge a curriculum of a bad definition of liberty, or the easy way to add six and nine -- or underestimating the efficacy of carbon dating, seems over-pursued.

Tell your precious snowflakes that half of what teacher says is absolute crap and that they need learn to distinguish which is which. Then buy them pizza.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:36 PM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2015

"A Truly Persuasive Work"

The previous post dealing with the "compatibility" of capitalism and Catholicism prompted dagny in a comment, and me in my thoughts, to consider the morality of capitalism.

Those thoughts included a recent review corner entry where it was suggested that a flourishing humanity progressing toward ever more prosperity and justice can be achieved by convincing people it is, a) a good thing and, b) achievable through free trade, i.e. capitalism. (More specifically, through the unfettered use of "fossil" fuel energy sources.) And that, c) presenting a moral basis for the primacy of humanity is "a new vulnerability to defend, not reinforcement."

I believed I had found an author who gave a moral basis for humanity to dominate nature in this Michael Shermer book whose "exploration of science and morality ... demonstrates how the scientific way of thinking has made people, and society as a whole, more moral" and did so without resting his case upon a foundation of Objectivism. It appeared that his justification was rooted in widely accepted principles of science and morality, and not a new vulnerability. The book is 439 pages and I've not read it but this reviewer was left wanting.

The reader is constantly reminded that it is Shermer who is driving this bus, authoring this heavy tome. When he fails to wrangle with hard issues, there is nothing the reader can do about it beyond reading on and hoping for something better in a later chapter. But that something better never came for me. I was not satisfied with the author’s overbroad reach, his irrelevant details, his glossing over the toughest issues, his very human but unfortunate tendency not to see the fallacies in his own reasoning and the failure of his own assertion of the facts. The book seemed not so much scientific and rational to me as opinionated. Perhaps the author has been too successful for too long and has become complacent. But I did not see in him a consistent ability to question his own thinking and hone his argument in order to achieve a truly persuasive work.

This illustrates my point that people long for a moral basis to justify their beliefs, and ultimately their actions. (No great leap of insight there, for this is the chief factor in the historic success of man's many theistic traditions.) Failure to justify the moral basis for human flourishing will, eventually and always, crumble in the face of some unchallenged moral basis to the contrary.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:35 AM | Comments (3)
But Jk thinks:

You can rat on me. The author was in Denver last night, and I could not be persuaded to enter the big city on Friday night.

I read the Kindle sample thus morning both of "The Moral Arc" and Steven Pinkers Better Angels of Our Nature upon which it is built.Both are very good and I struggle to decide which to complete. Both provide generous samples (both are generous books, Pinker's weighs in at 851 pages, Shermers 550).

Shermer seems borderline Objectivist to except that he extends -- I hope you're sitting down -- the sphere of protections to all sentient beings. Reading the first couple chapters it does not seem unmoored from principles.

And, just counting stars, there were many many more complimentary reviews.

Posted by: Jk at January 24, 2015 5:01 PM
But jk thinks:

Incentives matter. Shermer's is ($16.99/560) = 0.03/page. Pinker is ($10.99/832) = $0.013. That Harvard value that everyone speaks of....

The trouble with both -- and where I might push back on your reviewer -- is that both are writing to somebody who watches CNN every night and says "no way things are less violent! Planes are disappearing into the ocean!" Both are speaking to incredulous audiences and carefully piecing together documentation. I accept the premise wholeheartedly and am ready to move along.

I have to ask if Mister Three Stars is truly missing a foundational moral premise or if he just does not accept that we've left behind barbarism at an alarming rate.

(Srsly -- everyone with a Kindle should get the sample of Pinker's at least. He academically lays out the premise he plans to prove with anecdotes about the violence in Virgil, The Bible, Shakespeare, Grimm Brothers, &c. It's a powerful read and you get a nice hunk of the book for nothin'.)

Posted by: jk at January 24, 2015 5:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I agree with you on the "hey, it's way more violent than it used to be" mythology. The population is many times larger, and we require cable news to find violence in our culture most of the time. (True, none of us live in Chicago.)

Posted by: johngalt at January 25, 2015 2:59 AM

January 23, 2015

Koch Brothers to Acquire Catholic Church and all Subsidiaries

Who says there is no good news?

The dean of the Catholic University of America's School of Business and Economics recently approached me with an idea: A research and educational program focused on the compatibility of capitalism and Catholicism. On Thursday the university announced a $3 million grant to fund this vision.

It makes perfect sense that CUA would want to teach this topic to business leaders. Free markets have liberated more people from poverty than any other force in history. But they must also be buttressed by moral principles, such as those taught in the Catholic Church.

The notion of such compatibility is troubling for some. In 2013, the Charles Koch Foundation pledged grants at CUA's request for similar studies exploring principled entrepreneurship, which prompted condemnation from a number of Catholic "social justice" groups. Catholic "activists" sent the university a letter alleging that free-market positions "are in direct conflict with traditional Catholic values."

To their immense credit, Catholic University president John Garvey and Business School Dean Andrew Abela said "screw the social justice warriors! We're talking millions!" "returning the grant would 'stifle debate by pretending that genuinely controversial positions are official church teaching.'"

I'm being goofy but it is a serious and informative article.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:31 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Here, it's already done. The "research and educational program" is already finished. Where's my share of that sweet, sweet Koch money?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 23, 2015 4:15 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll split it with you.

Posted by: jk at January 23, 2015 4:27 PM
But dagny thinks:

Don't suppose the Catholic research will reach the correct conclusion that free markets are in and of themselves moral and that no additional moral buttressing is required???

Posted by: dagny at January 23, 2015 6:55 PM

January 19, 2015

Roth People: You're Mad!

I like to belittle conspiracy-theorists. I get a clean, close comfortable shave with Occam's Razor and Super-Foamy Shave Cream®

But I tighten my tin-foil hat and peer over my left shoulder for black helicopters when somebody suggests I invest in a Roth IRA. They make a compelling case, but it is entirely predicated on trusting the government to ignore a huge pot of money. You pay your taxes and lose liquidity, but you get a nice note from Congress that "they promise!"

Nossir, I don't like it. Not at all.

The President's "FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE!" initiative has a financing mechanism that is germane to my concerns: "Hey, let's just tax all those 529 education accounts we 'promised' not to tax. I see a big pot o' money and I am just itchin' to give some away -- who's with me?"

Americans for Tax Reform lists $320 Billion in new taxes the President will ask for in his SOTU. Number four:

Tax Increase on Families Saving for College

Under current law, 529 plans work like Roth IRAs: you put money in, and the money grows tax-free for college. Distributions are tax-free provided they are to pay for college.

Under the Obama plan, earnings growth in a 529 plan would no longer be tax-free. Instead, earnings would face taxation upon withdrawal, even if the withdrawal is to pay for college.

It's almost as if responsible people who plan and save and play by the rules are subject to fleecing to finance the irresponsible. I know, crazy.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:29 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

The promise of the US Constitution was, among other things, that while other governments nationalized private property, ours would not, could not, and never would.

America - Becoming less exceptional every day.

Posted by: johngalt at January 19, 2015 2:15 PM

January 5, 2015

The Worst Newspaper Story of all Time

Bold, provocative headline, huh? You think I cannot back it up. But you have not read Denver metro drivers continue to turn away from cars in the Denver Post. To say the data supporting the headline's thesis is thinly sourced would be generous to the thin.

There is a reference to a reduction in miles driven over the 2006-2011 time frame. If those dates don't make you peckish for cherry pie, know that the supporting data set is supplied by COPrig, a far-left environmental interest group in Colorado. They could produce a study supporting their position without cherry-picking recessionary cycles.

The beauty of the piece is that it is a COPirg press release. Car sales are up! National miles driven are up! But none of this, whatcha-call, data matters because some activists at COPirg disagree. They say the new age is upon us and we're all going to follow the millennials (who presumably cannot afford cars in the Obama-Pelosi-Reid economy) and avoid the foul smelling personal automobile. And use bicycle-sharing services like Denver B-Cycle -- the story gives five paragraphs to Rick Plenge, a 39-year-old transportation engineer who uses bike sharing to get to his downtown job. He and his wife might sell one of their two cars someday, when the light rail goes to the airport (like Dave Berry, I assume you think I am making this up -- I am not).

How bad is the article on a liberty/freedom axis? The bureaucrats at C-DOT are the heroes! (Still not making this up.)

But planners say growth patterns fuel the need for more pavement in Denver. I-70 in northeast Denver handles traffic for several rapidly expanding areas including downtown Denver -- which will add more than 21,000 new housing units and 47,000 new jobs by 2020 -- and DIA -- which is expected to add 13,500 jobs by 2030.

The I-70 project and the ongoing expansion of U.S. 36 between Boulder and Denver are being built to accommodate alternative forms of transit, including bus and carpools and even a bike lane on U.S. 36.

"We want to offer people choices on how they commute," said Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Amy Ford. "People will be able to take buses or carpool if they choose."

C-DOT -- Hayekian heroes! I'm going back to bed.

(I will add this to the Rant category for its intemperate punctuation. Apologies to all who were offended.)

UPDATE I: Corrected COPrig to COPirg (Colorado Public Interest Research Group) -- thanks, Refugee!

UPDATE II: I have to give the Post some props for "A man proved his innocence in a Denver court by dropping his pants to prove he did not have the wanted man's Scooby Doo tattoo."

Posted by John Kranz at 11:47 AM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

They'll soon take to calling it an "all of the above" transportation policy. But of course, private automobiles will not be "listed above."

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2015 2:49 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Typo correction: CoPIRG (Colorado Public Interest Research Group) rather than COPrig. -Ed.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 5, 2015 6:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Corrected -- thnaks!

Posted by: jk at January 5, 2015 6:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No no... they really are prigs.

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2015 7:03 PM

January 1, 2015

New Year's Resolution

In the interest of all the creatures of the world except myself, I herewith resolve:

- To become a vegetarian,
- To purchase an electric car,
- To wear clothing woven from hemp fiber,
- To shower weekly instead of daily,
- To install solar panels on my home, battery storage in the basement, and break my unhealthy connection to the filthy industrial power grid,
- To stop resisting humanitarian efforts to improve the lives of everyone on earth at the expense of American prosperity,
- To say, "Yeah man" more often.

I realize that this is, in itself, not enough to atone for my selfish lifestyle for the past five plus decades, but it is only a beginning and I intend to redouble my efforts again next year. And I don't even consider it a sacrifice, as it is for the good of all life on earth. (Well, maybe not so good for plant life but we can't all be winners, right?] I have no doubt about the power of my intellect to wean myself from the unhealthy foods made from other creatures, like hamburgers, steak, chicken wings, bacon, ... ... ... nevermind.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:38 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. This is getting slightly better play on Facebook.

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2015 2:26 PM
But jk thinks:

A popular gag at my place of employment is to get on somebody else's (unlocked) computer and send group emails swearing gay love or antithetical opinions in the person's name. I got a queasy "he's been hacked by the NorKs" feeling before I hot the punchline.

Posted by: jk at January 2, 2015 3:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Perhaps you were expecting an "unfriend" announcement as well? LOL

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2015 4:11 PM

December 29, 2014

Why it Matters

Oh boy:

Following a visit in March to Tacloban, the Philippine city devastated in 2012 by typhoon Haiyan, the pope will publish a rare encyclical on climate change and human ecology. Urging all Catholics to take action on moral and scientific grounds, the document will be sent to the world's 5,000 Catholic bishops and 400,000 priests, who will distribute it to parishioners.

The Guardian's embrace of papal infallibility is interesting -- I dare say unprecedented. The "superman pope" (that is an actual quote, though the quotation marks are in the original) is going to finally bring the moral authority to the UN to fix things. Francis I is kickin' denier ass and taking fracking names!

Were his holiness more into "render unto Caesar," I would be more forgiving of his bad, Marx-sympathizer economics. I've heard a lot of apologies based on his personal background (Argentinian crony capitalism) and doctrine. But at the end of the day, the best defense has been that "it doesn't matter." He doesn't have a seat on the FOMC or a cardinal on the Ways & Means Committee.

But ideas matter. Economic ideas matter. Here, he will build on his bad ideas to promote worse ideas that will harm millions of people. If you'll pardon flippancy, it's a good thing he loves the poor -- he's going to create a whole lot more of them.

I just started Alex Epstein's "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels." Every ThreeSourcer will want to read this (though curiously, it will get stars subtracted for "too much Objectivism.")

Epstein points out the misery, death, and suffering we avoided by not listening to the catastrophists of the 1970s and 1980s, how humans have flourished and risen from poverty pari-passu with their energy consumption, and how vital energy is to life itself. A heartbreaking story of two specific babies lives' lost in a clinic in Nambia because the generator cannot be run all day.

Pope Francis is going to have a part in preserving and possibly expanding that poverty which is defined by lack of access to reliable energy. It matters.

Hat-tip: @novapbs

Posted by John Kranz at 11:28 AM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:
Francis will also be opposed by the powerful US evangelical movement, said Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which has declared the US environmental movement to be "un-biblical" and a false religion.

"The pope should back off," he said. "The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the science. It follows that the policies the Vatican is promoting are incorrect."

Posted by: johngalt at December 29, 2014 3:14 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason - I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other - my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen." Today won't be the first time those words have been leveled at that institution.

Nor these: "Eppur si mouve."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 29, 2014 5:21 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Either my fingers are dyslexic, or my Latin is slipping. That should be "muove," that there was no intention to badmouth dusky lavender hues.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 29, 2014 5:23 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Most TS'ers know that I am active in an old-time religion... and yet, "Render unto Caesar" is one of my all time favorite sayings.

Lighten up, Francis, God won't have any of us changing his masterpiece...

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 30, 2014 11:44 PM

December 18, 2014

"The Terrorists Have Won"

In the wake of Sony Pictures decision to mothball their movie "The Interview" in the wake of terror-like threats against movie theaters, even so far as invoking the images of 9/11 (what, are they going to fly jetliners into the Cineplex?) the punditry today has turned to criticism of Sony for "backing down" or "caving in" to terrorists.

Let's think about that for a moment...

Has this happened before?

And did it work then too?

Um hmm.

So those who lecture Sony that their decision will have a chilling effect on the movie industry should look in the mirror and ask themselves, "Did I feel the same way about Muhammad cartoons?"

Weakness in the face of those terror threats was arguably the foundation for the Sony hacking, and for the strategy the state-worshipping North Koreans chose for spiking the film about their "Dear Leader."

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:42 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

They may have won, but the terrorists have at least given the incomparable David Burge some choice material for tweeting:

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 18, 2014 7:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at December 18, 2014 9:16 PM

December 3, 2014

Once Burned, Twice Shy

I know the Entertainment Division of ThreeSources is thinly staffed, but one cannot help being intrigued by the meteoric fall of Bill Cosby. The Huxtables came along in an avowed anti-TV period of my life, so I missed all that. But I enjoyed his old show with its Quincy Jones theme ("Hoo Lawd!"), his standup comedy, and his indefatigable support of the Jazz medium.

I am a fan of due process and sense some bullying and career destruction based on circumstantial evidence. I have not followed it closely, but Matt Welch pointed out the complete lack of dispositive suggestions: nobody has come out and said "oh no, I worked on the show and Bill was an angel!" Evidence may be circumstantial and improvable, but I understand it to be overwhelming and common over multiple sources.

So I demur on defense. But it might be driven by my to-the-bone-marrow defense of Lance Armstrong. That did not work out so well for me (or Stan on South Park).

Posted by John Kranz at 10:42 AM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I confess a certain ambivalence about the whole affaire Cosby.

The piling-on of all these women coming forward suddenly, discussing events that may or may not have happened twenty, thirty, or more years ago is troubling. Perhaps its some misguided sense of Fair Play, but how do you defend yourself against an accusation of a rape from the 1970s?

I read this morning of a woman who has just filed a lawsuit, seeking monetary damages, for an alleged molestation in a bedroom of the Playboy Mansion in 1974, when she was 15. The woman claims that she suffered extreme emotional distress, but did not discover the effects of that distress until just recently (conveniently making possible the lawsuit at this late date).

There's just something in me that says the accusation has to be made within a reasonable time in proximity to the alleged event.

Do I believe Cosby did the dirty deeds? Maybe, maybe not. Celebrity is a heady and seductive thing, and he wouldn't be the first famous person to act like the rules are for little people. Should he be punished? My feeling is that it's awfully late for that. The words "statute of limitation" come to my mind.

But would I let him take my fifteen-year-old daughter to the Playboy Mansion? Hell, no.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 3, 2014 12:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A local radio caller, last week, claimed that a bus would collect eager fifteen-year-olds in town and drive them to the mansion to "party." Drugs and booze were provided on the trip. Cosby, and others, would be there waiting for them. So if that's true, and it does stand up to scrutiny, it would have been your daughter you would have had the quarrel with, not "Cos."

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2014 11:13 AM
But jk thinks:

Fifteen? I think I would have found some antipathy for and adults involved.

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2014 11:22 AM

December 1, 2014

How to get Keystone XL Approved

Tell the Democrats it's light rail!!
Okay, so I think I'm witty . . . but this was inspired by the piece on T. Boone Pickens that Brother jg shared. Mister Pickens' (he's wealthy enough to get a singular possessive like Jesus' and Moses') last big plan was to cover 1/4 of Texas with windmills and have the gub'mint build transmission lines across the country to all his potential customers.

The Golden State actually did impede light rail with environmental concerns, but generally, it seems like incredibly dubious proposals like the Ivanpeh tower, Pickens' transmission lines, and the eyesore windmills in Rocky Flats, South of Boulder get a quick pass. The pipeline however, needs to conform to the fragile Niobria water table and sacred concerns of tribal lands.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:46 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2014

Libertario Delenda Est!

May I rant? It's been a tough week.

The midterms are shaping up pretty well. I've no crystal ball or hot line to pollsters (I did get queried by Quinnipiac last night). But whatever happens, I am pretty proud of the GOP. Just this once. We did not nominate a Todd Akin this time; Colorado it seems has done a decent job deflecting the #waronwomen trope. Fundraising seems pretty good.

Democracy is good for only one thing and that is retribution. When "the bums" pass legislation you don't like, "the bums" can be thrown out. As Glenn Reynolds says "the purpose of the Sword of Damocles is that it hangs." The difference between an actual democracy and a sham like Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Kim Jung Un's North Korea, or Richard Daley's Chicago is that you can lose; who cares if the occupant won -- it's real if he or she can lose.

Poised with the chance to send a brutal message to the House, Senate, and Executive which foisted the PPACAo2010 on us, I would think we could line up the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea. Yet my success with big-L libs, whom I expected to be responsive to reason, is comparable to my successes convincing progressives. Videlicet, the big goose egg.

I've had some fiery exchanges with a bright Facebook friend this week. He's a great guy, but he has located every nutjob in every State House or Dog Catcher race. While the GOP did not have a Todd Akin in a major race, there are some down-ticket doozies. And my friend has posted every MSNBC, Mother Jones, Gawker, or Slate Post saying "See! The Tea Party really is racist and homophobic! How can you possibly vote for such a party?" I had the same conversation with Andrew Sullivan once. It's a big beautiful country and I will not be responsible for what everybody in it says.

This same week, I watched absolute meltdowns by libertarian and independent candidates. And this is where I start to get prickly. The third party gadflies are so many magnitudes removed from serious contention that there is never any vetting or substantive criticism. The GOP candidate for state district E-I-E-I-O on Oklahoma gets a microscope. While...

LOTR-F favorite Mayor Michael Dunafon is running for Governor. He's a strip club owner and liberty activist. I missed his talk but watched the video -- it's great. But he was brought back for a debate with Libertarian Matthew Hess last Monday. But he canceled -- not because of a fan -- but because he had the chance to go smoke weed with Snoop Dogg. People gave him money and put his signs up and pushed him on Facebook and he cannot be bothered to attend a debate. Who cares if he gets 0.9% or 0.89% of the vote anyway?

That's Monday. Tuesday, Gov. Gary Johnson is on The Independents in his "hi" T-shirt to promote his marijuana branding company. He gets a fawning interview. Is he running in 2016? Yeah probably. Oh boy. (You know, he ran for NM Governor as a Republican, won, and advanced the cause of liberty. His career as a big-L? Not. So. Much.)

Wednesday they had the Libertarian Senate Candidate and Pizza driver Sean Haugh of North Carolina. Like Montana in 2006, he might spoil the race for the Democrat.

My Facebook (and real live corporeal LORT-F) friend and I want the same things. The Independents's hosts and I as well. But the free passes handed out to these gadfly candidates are too much. Libertario Delenda Est.

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

Speculation: Supporting a minor party candidate is a form of "fence-sitting" or saying "none of the above" to the D or R choices. One big reason for the "No and Hell No" stance is that there are so many other people one may come across that have nothing but hatred for one or the other of the major party candidates (or parties.) So by refusing to identify with one of the "un-cool" candidates, our voting subject can claim to be "cool" in almost any circle.

And then there is the nice bonus of never having to explain why you voted for someone who screwed up in office. Because, well, connect the dots.

"Reason is not automatic. Those who deny its existence cannot be swayed by it. They cannot help you. Leave them alone." - Rand, Ayn

Posted by: johngalt at October 17, 2014 7:23 PM

October 16, 2014

Just Sayin'

Perhaps if we started executing some WaPo journalists for rank stupidity -- whether warranted or not -- the salubrious effects on Ezra Klein the others and would make it worthwhile.

UPDATE: A more measured take from Jonathan Chait.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:27 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

My sentiment as well, after reading Klein's rationalization for totalitarian thuggery "ugly problems don't always have pretty solutions."

Chait said: "Ezra Klein is not a nut; he is the polar opposite of one, which is what makes it so important that he is arguing in such expressly illiberal terms."

Bravo! All this open and public talk about the illiberalism of the left (and wherever else it be found, but especially, now, on the left) warms my heart and gives me an optimism for hopeful change.

Or the bumper sticker version:

I HOPE that liberals will CHANGE their illiberal ways.

Posted by: johngalt at October 16, 2014 12:16 PM

September 5, 2014

If You Won't do it for the Gay Muslim Whales...

I follow on Facebook and enjoy their posts. They highlight little research-y tidbits and interesting studies on nanotech, particle physics and lots of good clean nerdy fun.

Yet I suspect they have some inverse Koch (Dark David Matter?) funding stream that dictates they must do at least two Climate Change Rah Rah stories each week. Whatever, it's their feed. But I about spit out my bacon jerky when I saw this::


If Americans altered their menus to conform to federal dietary recommendations, emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases tied to agricultural production could increase significantly, according to a new study by University of Michigan researchers.


They've been wrong about everything for decades -- and wrong to the point where they have contribute to hundreds of thousands of deaths. And yet, without any trace of irony, we're told if we follow the Feds' bad dietary advice, it will align with their climate change guidelines.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:16 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

So it says that if we were eating what the government was telling us to eat, we'd be... ummm... producing four-tenths of a kilogram of additional carbon dioxide each, per day.

Is that talking about exhaling, or... something else? "greenhouse gas emissions associated with..." confused me, because the first time I read it, I assumed...

Okay, enough with trying to be civilized. I thought they were trying to say WE WOULD FART AN ADDITIONAL POUND OF GAS A DAY EACH, but that would be methane. Methane, right?

Wasn't this on the midterm in freshman Biochem?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 5, 2014 4:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Unless I'm mistaken, methane is another of the ubiquitous "greenhouse" gasses. You know, bovine flatulence? All the better to cudgel McDonald's with, doncha know.

Posted by: johngalt at September 8, 2014 11:34 AM

August 28, 2014

Homo Economicus

I'm intrigued by the economics of air travel. Discomfort is in the news thanks to deployment of a "knee defender" and the concomitant contretemps. [You get the editing you pay for at ThreeSources. More correctly "ensuing" and better omitted...]

But. While everyone complains, I do not think efforts to "buy up" comfort have succeeded at all. In short, we all holler about being packed in like sardines, but we all get on and pick the flight that costs 124.75 over the one that is 135.50.

I did buy up a prime package on United last time that gave me one checked bag and a near door seat with some extra room. That was really nice even on a short flight and I was disappointed when it was not offered on the return trip. I've speculated on a "2nd class" (still focus-grouping the name) that is 1.5 to 2x the price of coach but gives you a little gorram room. I would go for that, and I would pay for a guaranteed empty middle seat when the lovely bride and I travel together. Five or ten X for business or first class is not "on my color wheel" but I am both big and medically prone to discomfort.

Perhaps that cannibalizes business and first class for carriers that offer. But Southwest? Frontier? A $300 flight with space vs. $179 in the cattle car?

Bright though I consider myself, at the end of day, surely some very smart people who do this for a living have looked at this and found it wanting The minor improvements like I mentioned or that Frontier was pushing don't seen to take hold. I have to accept that the economics are just not there. And it follows that the whiners are a bit hypocritical.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:47 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I think the phrase you're searching for is "the price elasticity of comfort and dignity." I view it as an exercise in altruism - flying commercial is the closest thing to self-flagellation I will ever do.

I also think the whole notion of a reclining seat is an anachronism. If seats are mounted that close together, they should all be "exit row" seats, i.e. non-reclining.

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2014 3:47 PM

August 4, 2014

I Going to Cry Now

It seems Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert were underserving the smug, smarmy, fake news segment. The free market, being ruthlessly efficient, brought in John Oliver. You know he is smart because he delivers fake news in a poncy british accent,

I hate this format more than Socialism and Ebola combined and am disappointed to see a third star rising. Perhaps it is no more damaging to this great republic than bad pop music, but my Facebook feed disagrees. "John Oliver PERFECTLY Destroys <subject>" reads a typical post. Then poncy-man lectures us wee folk for a few minutes on climate change or gun violence or whatever. I was inuring to it.

But today, the Wall St Journal's CMO Today includes a clip (eleven ghastly preening minutes if you've the stomach) in which Mr. Oliver lectures us on the pernicious effects of native advertising. Nasty Corporations ruining saintly journalism.

I think it may be a special outside the paywall page, but here is the Oliver Clip just in case.

The people who are destroying Journalism, rising to protect its integrity. Pass the barf bag.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:43 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Didn't someone have to replace Piers Morgan as the "effete international paternalist snob" in American media? I call it a net win that he went from CNN to HBO.

Posted by: johngalt at August 4, 2014 3:02 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

When despair sets in... when all seems lost... when you think things have hit rock bottom...

... then just remind yourself that the arrogant halfwit commentator serving up the editorials with a British accent could have been Russell Brand.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 4, 2014 5:46 PM

July 26, 2014


Not as in Mick Jagger's singing "Meta gin soaked bar room queen in Memphis." Meta as in:

I have a probably very non-political Review Corner coming up someday for Wetware: A Computer in Every Living Cell by Dennis Bray. I am about halfway in and it is very good.

Biology was never my strong suit. The highlight of sophomore bio was when I was chosen to go to the board and draw the cell from a cheek swab. I had not completed the assignment and borrowed the lab book of my lab partner Bobbi (as in Roberta...) I boldly drew the XX chromosomes to the raucous laughter of a class that assumed "class clown" was in on the joke.

Let's say I have some catching up to do. Bray describes the inner workings of cells and single-cell organisms with analogies to microchips and electronic circuits. Very interesting stuff.

While the review will be non-political -- unless he turns to the phenyl-alkaloid proof of Socialism in Chapter Eight -- I had a political thought while reading. I was reading about the electro-chemical processes in nerve cells, placing them into the author's thesis of circuitry -- all the while reading the book which I had downloaded onto my Kindle.

Had I succumbed to legal Centennial State weed, this would have been a moment for an extended "Woooooah!" and possibly a break for a snack. But I do not do that. I instead enjoyed the meta moment of the author's transferring his synaptic activity to mine via the Amazon Cloud.

And my thoughts turned to anti-Saganism. Carl Sagan's trademark was telling humans that they were insignificant based on their infinitesimal size on galactic and universal scales. My (predominantly lefty) friends love to post Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson quotes that highlight this. A favorite is a picture from Voyager: the small speck that is Earth is pointed out and we are invited to think of our insignificance. I always reply" "Jeepers, we sent a spaceship all the way out there, had it take a picture, send it home, and you posted it to the Internet. We're actually pretty f-ing awesome critters!

So I boldly proclaim arrogance, not for myself, but for my species, for our self awareness. Bray does not claim for his entire branch of science a comprehensive understanding of even a lowly amoeba. But they're working on it. And he wrote a book. And I bought it and downloaded it onto a small computer based on the circuitry he compares to brain cells. So, suck it, Carl.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

July 3, 2014


It's Art! It's a Rant! No, it's an art-rant.

There are a million great lines in "Buffy," but if pinned down to a favorite, it might be Spike in "Becoming Part 2." Angel (as wicked, evil, brooding Angelus) has got a plan to destroy the world. Spike jumps sides to prevent this. As he explains to Buffy:

"We like to talk big. Vampires do. 'I'm going to destroy the world.' That's just tough guy talk. Strutting around with your friends over a pint of blood. The truth is, I like this world. You've got... dog racing, Manchester United. And you've got people. Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs. It's all right here. But then someone comes along with a vision. With a real... passion for destruction. Angel could pull it off. Goodbye, Piccadilly. Farewell, Leicester Bloody Square. You know what I'm saying?"

I like people for different reasons. I am overwhelmed with joy that people create art.

I'd perform a DIY root canal with a dull bit before I'd watch most of the singing reality shows like Idol, Voice, America's Got Talent, &c. They all have a bad incentive structure. You have to impress an audience in 30 seconds, which may be entertainment but I question whether it is conducive to art. I don't mean to be snobbish, there are some good folks who come out of that scene sometimes. But I know for a fact that anybody I call a hero would be laughed off in the first day so the judge could display sardonic wit.

And yet I find I really enjoy the cheesy summer replacement for Idol: "So You Think You Can Dance." I know nothing of dance. Every dance I ever attended, I was either on stage playing or sneaking beer in the parking lot. I enjoy Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire, but it is like watching Gaelic Rules Football -- interesting and enjoyable, but I understand only the surface layer.

SYTYCD is bring my appreciation chops up a bit, at least for choreography -- the fine points of performance still elude me. But these kids, and they're all kids, work so hard and dedicate so much to an ephemeral bit of joy. The show forces them out of range: the hip-hoppers have to tap and the tappers have to do ballroom. The competition and voting seem a necessary evil which I avoid. There was a local girl a couple years back for whom I sent a few texts, but I just watch.

The performances are frequently breathtaking for their beauty. I was thinking last night that, like Spike, I love people. Then this morning [uh, oh, tortured segue alert!], a friend of this blog and Facebook friend celebrated a recurring street fair in his adopted hometown:

I love Thursdays on First! Folks are setting up tents, unpacking merchandise, firing up their grills and getting hard work done in anticipation of a beautiful day. There is so much creativity in an event like this from the glazes on a pot to the spices in a recipe. The human spirit thrives in a market place. I know to some that might sound crass and materialistic but it is true nevertheless. We gather with our crafts, our food and our music. We buy and sell, eat dance and engage each other in peace. Free people, free markets and fish tacos...I'm digging it.

In spite of the court decisions that do not go our way (I was only doing 39...) and our friends' gross misinterpretations when they do, it is good to be people.

Happy Fourth, Y'all.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:47 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2014

Clearly, it was the Weather

First quarter revised GDP growth is -.2.9%. Edward Prescott and Lee Ohanian on the WSJ Ed Page point out that productivity fell at 3.5%. Not good.

Lagging productivity growth is an enormous problem because virtually all of the increase in Americans' standard of living is made possible by rising worker productivity. In our view, an important factor contributing to declining productivity growth is the large decline in the creation of new businesses. The creation rate of new businesses, as well as new plants built by existing firms, was about 30% lower in 2011 (the most recent year of data) compared with the annual average rate for the 1980s. (The data is the Census Bureau's Business Dynamic Statistics.) The decline affected nearly all business sectors.

Virtually every state has suffered a drop in startups, which suggests that this is a national, and not a regional or state, problem. It may not be surprising that states hit hard by the recession, such as Arizona, California and Nevada, have a 25% to 35% lower rate of startups. But the startup rate in such business-friendly states as Tennessee, Texas and Utah is also down substantially, and in some cases exceeds the declines in the states that suffered most during the recession. Even North Dakota, which has benefited enormously from oil and gas fracking, has a startup rate lower than in the 1980s.

I've been hearing much about "The Polar Vortex" to explain this away. You have to give points for trying, don't you? Not only is it not ObamaCare's fault -- but we can blame it on Global Warming!

Prescott and Ohanian see more systemic problems and urge tax and immigration reform plus fixes to Dodd-Frank. I can hardly argue against that, but find it interesting that they do not mention the PPACAo2010 as impeding startups and new business formation. My opposition to the PolarVortexers' explanation is that we have winter in some form every year and Obamacare is a brand new exogenous factor. Taxes and immigration policy certainly suck rags (pardon the econ jargon) and certainly contribute to tepid growth, but this sudden contraction correlates pretty closely to the more egregious aspects' of the ACA kicking in.

UPDATE: This is a guest editorial -- The Ed Page is ready to finger ObamaCare®

January saw the formal launch of the Affordable Care Act, and its attempt to transform U.S. health insurance and medical practice. So it's notable that a major cause of the sharp downward revision in first-quarter GDP was a decline in consumer spending on health care. Lower exports and investment also played a role, but the overall decline in health spending from the previous quarter was a startling 6.4%.

Health spending is nearly always a positive contributor to GDP, and in the fourth quarter of 2013 it contributed 0.62%. But health spending fell so sharply in the first quarter that it subtracted 0.16% from economic growth. The Bureau of Economic Analysis, which calculates GDP, hadn't been able to capture the magnitude of the health spending decline in its two previous estimates of first quarter growth.

UPDATE II: Obama Voter, Megan McArdle says "Big Losers in GDP Report: Democrats"
The most worrisome potential explanation is that health expenditures fell because, well, health expenditures fall when the economy is contracting. I'm not exactly ready to call recession yet -- consumption was still basically healthy, and the weather was awfully bad. But I'll be crossing my fingers until the next report comes out.

And so, presumably, will Democrats: partly because they are patriotic Americans who want to see their country do well, but also because recessions are bad for incumbents and, one imagines, particularly bad for the party that claimed the other guys had driven the economy into the ditch and that they were just the folks to drive it out.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:59 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Democrat policies just pulled the economic wheel more sharply in the same direction as the Republicans had steered it, so who thought we'd go anywhere but deeper into the same ditch?

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2014 3:49 PM

June 24, 2014

Yeah, What Penn Says

Posted by John Kranz at 12:34 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

If a white man speaks in Hollywood, and a Progressive doesn't like what he says, did he really even make a sound?

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2014 2:26 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Ask Gary Oldman.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 24, 2014 5:44 PM

June 9, 2014

GOP Policy on Energy and Climate

"We will address our energy needs and any externalities with science and innovation; they will use politics."
Maybe it is too late, or the media narrative too established, but I think Republicans could expose the lefties' anti-science predilection and possibly turn the tables.

I know Solyndra was about 11 scandals ago. But the Democrats (read The Mark Udall for Senate Campaign) have designs on playing up "denialism." How can you consider voting for a troglodyte, flat-earther who doesn't even believe in Climate Change?

To combat this, I offer, free of charge (excepting my normal Koch Brothers stipend), a GOP Energy and Climate Plan for 2014 & 2016:

Addressing Energy Needs and Climate Concerns with Science

1. Research
Offer a series of sizable "prizes" for substantive progress in raw R&D. Forgive me libertarians and strict Constitutionalists, but compared to the alternative, $10 Million for each of these is a bargain (and a prize is far less distortionary than subsidies or mandates):

  • Dime-a-watt Photovoltaics
  • CO2 Sequestration/Recovery for coal combustion
  • Flare capture/recovery
  • Direct algae production of usable fuel
  • Kudzu-diesel
  • Some wind metric...

The non-distortionary nature of a prize makes it harmless. The cost for any of these producing significant advancements would be good value. And you're supporting research institutions and American can-do-ism.

2. Defined metrics for regulation.
Why do we have Ethanol mandates, and Solyndra, and not the Keystone XL Pipleline? Some very large campaign contributors have more than a bit to do with it. EPA regs, LNG Exports, Pipelines, Hydraulic Fracturing, and the Designated Hitter will be evaluated -- in a ThreeSources' Administration -- on actual impact and cost/benefit projections: not campaign contributions.

3. Funding for Climate Science
Again, I apologize to Mister Madison, but continued grants to study not only "Global Warming" but ocean acidification, possible mitigation strategies, &c. are small compared to the current, devastating regulations.

We're not denying anything -- except that our opponents schemes have been more about science than rewarding political constituencies.

UPDATE: So, if I include a link, it is not "a Rant?"

The proposed EPA rules would cost approximately $51 billion a year and destroy 224,000 jobs each year through 2030. The poor and people on fixed incomes will be hurt the most. And all this pain will be for absolutely no gain: It will have no impact at all on the global climate, according to reports published by the libertarian Heartland Institute--based on peer-reviewed climate science.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:02 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Chuckle. Yer still good if your rant has a link to the Koch-Brothers (TM) Heartland Institute.

One question: Is there any room for safe, carbonless, nuclear power under the big energy tent?

Okay, two questions: How does this new spending on research prevent further and greater spending on subsidizing bad ideas - you know, the ones that can't sustainably survive in the market without subsidies?

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2014 2:38 PM
But jk thinks:

SIDENOTE: As you can imagine, Robert Bryce's Book was pretty keen on noocyuler power from a density perspective -- hard to beat mc2

I'm in a trading mood. Applying rational, methodic, quantitative evaluation likely gets rid of all ethanol mandates and subsidy. Boom, baby! I just paid for my x-prizes ten times over.

The straight grants will fund some nonsense, no doubt. But if we are performing cost-benefit analysis before promoting bad ideas to policy, I'm in.

People lose their minds over "$3 million to give monkey's cocaine!" or "$600,000 to study parakeet flatulence!!" -- or whatever the outrage of the week is. You can bash science grants from a libertarian or Constitutional perspective, but you cannot tell me that's what is breaking us. I shrug pretty vocally at those.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2014 5:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I didn't say it well enough - by "subsidizing bad ideas" I meant, handing out much greater grants, or mandates, or rules, or loans (you can pay us back when you are profitable, wink wink) for cronies to start businesses based on one or more of those bad ideas. Perhaps its unfair to expect you to fix everything, but I think those ventures must be off limits with gub'mint dough.

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2014 11:46 AM

June 7, 2014

Negotiating with Satan

I call this a rant because it comes straight from my thoughts, without any supporting hyperlinks.

I hear many commentators discuss the implications of America's recent decision to negotiate with terrorists in the trading of five Islamist war criminals for the feckless Bowe Bergdahl. "This will only endanger our troops as it encourages the enemy to attempt taking more of our soldiers as hostages."

What I don't hear is anyone contemplating what this exchange has done to the Jihadis. Here are some observations:

- Dealing with their enemy with dialog instead of bullets weakens the "purity" of the "all infidels must be killed" ideology. UBL seemed to be more ruthless in this ideology than the Taliban, and their leader Mullah Omar, now seem to be.

- Trading value for value is capitalism. This is the path to peaceful coexistence. Capturing more Americans to trade for other things they want is, while distressing, an improvement on the strategy of "kill enough of them that they lose their political will and flee."

Our soldiers' presence in their primitive lands seems to have effected a sort of "Peace Corps" effect as they learn that, individually, Americans are not devils.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:26 AM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

Since writing this I've felt some regret about analogizing the trading of hostages with capitalism. Human lives are not "capital" and capturing free people is not "creating wealth." Capitalism requires free trade, and trading in captivity can never be compatible with free trade.

Is an expanded hostage trade really an improvement - from the civilized point of view - from the "kill the infidels" strategy? If it helps to lead a great number of Islamists to recognize their enemy's right to exist, and eventually reform Islam and renounce its mistaken moral license to kill infidels on sight, then yes I think so.

Do I believe this is Obama's strategically desired outcome? No. I believe he withdraws from battle for egalitarian pacifist motivations, and trades Gitmo's prisoners as a means to close Gitmo. The Taliban and other Islamists (Iran, anyone?) may be more likely to draw undesirable conclusions from America's actions than the one I outlined above. So just consider this hopeful observation as my attempt for the "blog optimist of the month" award.

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2014 9:54 AM
But johngalt thinks:

It also bears my stating openly that the Taliban's behavior in this episode has affected my attitude toward them, if only slightly. A reading of their history as the government of Afghanistan is warranted, however, to show just how far they have to evolve and reform from a society of forced religious order to one of individual rights.

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2014 10:23 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee's quarrel with this post is that it seems too dependent upon ipso facto analysis. Just because the Taliban has kept a soldier alive as trade bait does not indicate that they have moved closer to Western values of individual life and commerce. These people have been haggling since Abraham put Isaac on the alter and drive a harder bargain than God. They may be ideological, but they are also supremely practical. They will not give up a thing of value for nothing, whether the return be propaganda, comrades or money. Kidnapping for ransom is a time-honored craft in that part of the world.

Obama has now establish the "list price" of a US serviceman. Moreover, because he justified the trade based on Bergdahl's "deteriorating health," he has incented the Taliban to capture soldiers and starve/torture them within an inch of their lives to extract maximum value. Because Bergdahl lived, others will be tortured and die. Another case of Obama picking winners and losers, perhaps.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 9, 2014 5:34 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Trading one's life for 72 virgins may the most extreme example of Islamic haggling, though one could argue that it less like haggling and more like heaven on the pre fixe plan.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 9, 2014 5:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes. I believe you're right BR. Continued reflection convinced me that this doesn't show the Taliban has moved away from a pure ideology. Instead, it shows that their ideology was never pure to begin with. That, I think, is the important takeaway here: Despite all of their, literally, "holier than thou" rhetoric they are no different than any other human males who, as Robert Heinlein wrote, "will hoist the Jolly Roger" when they see a good opportunity to do so.

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2014 11:53 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And that criticism remains: If America is so evil, Taliban, how can you negotiate with them?

Answer: Because the negotiation is not between "good" or "evil" in either an absolute OR a relative sense, but between "haves" and "want to haves." Or in familiar terms, producers and looters.

Hey, don't Democrats frequently call Republicans "evil" too? Hmmm.

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2014 11:57 AM

May 28, 2014

On Human Freedom

I live and think and act under the premise that the universal natural state of man is freedom.

I asked a friend recently if he thinks that liberty is a universal ambition of every person. He wasn't sure. So I asked him if he had to choose between total liberty and total control, which he would prefer for himself? Would he prefer to work and earn and choose which "hovel" (his word) to rent, or to be given some sort of "hovel" by someone else with no freedom to choose anything about it. His delay in answering suggested an attempt to evade the question asked, which he did by replying that being given a hovel is better because he would know that more people are thus able to have similar hovels and fewer people would be homeless.

There were other beliefs expressed, such as "man is no better than nature" and "humanity can't expand without harming nature." I relate this story because it gave me insight into the thinking of lefty Facebook Friends: "I believe we are all sailors on the same ship, and we have to work together for the common good. The earth is our ship and the universe is our ocean." I didn't think to remind him of the myriad mutinies and riots that happen when order breaks down during long and indeterminate journeys, but I did ask him to consider my original question only in terms of his own desires. His own needs and wants, notwithstanding the effects of his choice on anyone else.

"That's not fair," he replied.

It wasn't that he couldn't answer the question, I think, but that he didn't believe he had any right to consider the question in such a way. I wasn't suggesting - yet - that he actually live his life that way, but merely asking him to think about how he might do so. He stood up, said he couldn't do this, and walked away.

You have permission, lefty Facebook Friends, to stop worrying about everyone else every moment, with every act you take or sentence you utter. I'm not saying you may be inconsiderate, only that you are an end in yourself. Why does that threaten you so?

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

May 24, 2014

"McDouble My Wages"

Sign at a minimum wage rally outside a McDonald's restaurant:

"Just Double My Wages"

One tried and true rebuttal is, "Why not triple them?" But I thought of another one that I think may be new.

Doubling your wage is like paying you one wage for working and an equal additional wage for doing nothing. Would you then quit your job and expect me to continue paying the second wage?
Posted by JohnGalt at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2014

On Science

I am working on a new "Elevator Talk" for Climate Change (or DAWG, as it 's known around these parts). The issue is still politically fraught with peril -- every day, my Facebook includes Sen. Mark Udall's asking Rep. Cory Gardner to "sign his petition affirming climate change." It is a crude distraction from ObamaCare®, but don't think crude does not work [insert random Mencken quote here...]

My position has evolved somewhat over the years: not enough to effect policy, but I have softened pari passu with that big Antarctic sheet of ice.

"So, jk, on a scale from 0-10 where zero is 'it's a hoax' and ten is 'metaphysical certitude: we're all gonna die!' where do you stand on Climate Change?"

Does it have to be an integer? I'd say about 4.5 [Who is unreasonable now, baby? I'm a moderate!] Hoax requires mens rea and I will accept that a preponderance of the scientists are genuinely concerned. Politicians probably run the spectrum from following along to "yes, this'll meet my needs," but I'll accept the scientific concern as legitimate.

That gets me to two.

The science of Physics suggests a 1.3° C temperature rise to accompany a doubling in atmospheric CO2. I'm a big fan of Physics -- I have all their albums [pause for laughter as needed here...] Seriously, that is well founded and experimentally reproducible. I accept, therefore, a projected 1.3 degrees of man made warming over the next 50 years.

I think that gets me to four.

Now, the practitioners of climate science take that 1.3 degrees and multiply like a Keynesian at an all-you-can-eat buffet. They show, through computer modeling, that as it gets warmer, there will be more barbecues, and people will eat more meat, and that increased bovine flatulence will raise the temperature 300 degrees and we'll all broil. Okay, it is not that bad, but they are taking fundamentally good science and taking some liberties with it.

The climate science, unlike the physics, is not reproducible or empirically provable.. In fact, the experiment we call the real world diverges substantively from their models.

This puts all the numbers >= five off limits.

But there is a beta, if I can borrow from finance. There is a non-zero chance that they are right. The introduction of more heat to a complex, chaotic system could start a cycle of warming. I multiply the very small beta of probability by the very large coefficient of suckage should this transpire and get 0.5: ergo 4.5.

SecState Kerry suggests that there is no great cost to overreaction and great costs to under reaction. I purport the exact opposite.

If I -- and Physics -- am right, there is a 1.3 rise, which is well within normal fluctuations. Nobody would have noticed had VP Gore won Florida in 2000 and had other things to spend his time on than movies. If I am wrong, don't we want to be richer and smarter? If we waste our time and innovation on government-directed green boondoggles, we will not have the technology or resources to really tackle it if it is bad.

Well, that's it. I've had this in my head for a few days, but was inspired to try it reading the Guest essay by Steven Burnett on the site. Burnett has a degree in Psychology and one in Chemistry. He compares the rigor of soft and hard science.

If I may wax poetic for a moment, the hard sciences are like a rock while the soft sciences are like sand. They are fundamentally composed of the same stuff, but it's the structure that makes them different. You must find a comfortable spot to rest on the rock but sand conforms around you. An uncomfortable rock must be dealt with, sand can simply be brushed away. Rock climbing requires training and equipment, a walk on the beach does not. I have had the opportunity to do both, and from personal experience, rock climbing is both harder and more fulfilling.

UPDATE: In case this post wasn't long enough for you... But I had to share the WSJ Ed Page's answer to Sec. Kerry:
The "worst that can happen" is that we spend trillions of dollars trying to solve a problem that we can't do anything to stop; that we misallocate scarce resources in a way that slows economic growth; that slower growth leads to less economic opportunity for Boston College grads and especially the world's poor, and that America and the world become much less wealthy and technologically advanced than we would otherwise. All of which would make the world less able to cope with the costs of climate change if Mr. Kerry is right.


Having read your thoughtful response concerning MMGW wherein you begin with a "0" to"10" what if, and end with a coolly (warmly?) calculated "4.5", I wish to perhaps precipitate a thaw in your math.

There are three distinct areas of focus, however blurred, for a consciousness. They are ideas, things, and people.

The hallmark of the first is the imagination. It is preoccupied with, in addition to whatever may arise to temporarily occupy its focus, envisioned (visionary?) manifestations of "what ifs."

The second area of focus are "things." The hallmark of this consciousness is curiosity. What, how, and why, are perpetual questions to which such a consciousness endlessly seeks answers.

The third area is people. The hallmark of this consciousness, when whatever imagination (ideas) or curiosity (things) might have initially been at play is/are determined to be of relatively little value, it invariably chooses people as the objects of its focus. The hallmark of such a consciousness is politics.

Of course we each are, in differing proportions, amalgamations of all three. On one end of the spectrum lies the occasional Einstein, exploring the intergalactic vortex while working as a clerk in the patent office, never losing sight of his reverence for science and the requirement that his imagination can only become validated when confirmed by reality.

Representing the other extreme, the likes of Barrack Obama, who, apparently never having had an original thought in his life, merely adapted to playing the political game in which he found himself at birth, consistently through to its current manifestations.

The rise of the idea of man-caused destruction of the Earth is the product of politics. It has no basis in actual science itself, and little in its relatively new and larger arena of science, Climatology.

However, since its political postulation, first as MMGC in the early seventies, then as MMGW, recently MMCC, to now, where I indicated at the last LOTR meeting I heard the first snippets of MMCD (disruption replacing change - the boring and virtually imperceptible pace of change giving way to the far more dramatic and dire term, DISRUPTION ((film at eleven!)), the proponents have been joined by sincere and credible consciousnesses who are honestly trying to investigate said claims. To the extent these additional voices remain credible, and are not shown to be seeking renewed funding or new Grant money, they tend to provide a veneer of respectability to what was/is, on its face, a "modern" vehicle for the destruction of individual freedom and Capitalism.

Now, I do not wish to be what I am arguing against. I always remain open to the possibility that the claim of MMCI (influence replacing whatever might be the latest fashion) is in fact occurring. One of the nasty traits of we humans is that certainty stops inquiry. However, I insist that the motivation for inquiry be imagination or curiosity, not arising from the sewer of politics!

The high priests of the "settled science" of MMCI are certain of their inquiry, and denounce, demean, or discredit, any heresy to the contrary. I therefore am resting comfortably at a .0014, awaiting further demonstrable, repeatable, evidence - not simply the computer modeling of premises.

Dave, the denounced, demeaned, "discredited" denier, Walden

Posted by John Kranz at 10:00 AM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Not evil, just wrong. Whether they know they're wrong or are just myopic, they're wrong. They ignore the buffering effect of water vapor or, as Sonny Bunch explains it, the Godzilla effect.

So what part of this can be explained on the elevator ride? The "I'm a moderate" part? ;)

Posted by: johngalt at May 21, 2014 1:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Besides, you'll never get a more convincing elevator speech than, "Because, science." And everything you're associated with "sucks balls" if you dare to try.

Posted by: johngalt at May 21, 2014 2:19 PM
But jk thinks:

[I interrupt this thread with some very good news. We have successfully recruited a new blogger to ThreeSources. Dave is a frequent Liberty on the Rocks - Flatirons guest. He and often vie for who gets the first question in, but his are better.

I'll wait until the lawyers sign-off before formal announcements, but here is the kind of discourse we'll be seeing 'round these parts -- jk]

Having read your thoughtful response concerning MMGW wherein you begin with a "0" to"10" what if, and end with a coolly (warmly?) calculated "4.5", I wish to perhaps precipitate a thaw in your math.

There are three distinct areas of focus, however blurred, for a consciousness. They are ideas, things, and people.

The hallmark of the first is the imagination. It is preoccupied with, in addition to whatever may arise to temporarily occupy its focus, envisioned (visionary?) manifestations of "what ifs."

The second area of focus are "things." The hallmark of this consciousness is curiosity. What, how, and why, are perpetual questions to which such a consciousness endlessly seeks answers.

The third area is people. The hallmark of this consciousness, when whatever imagination (ideas) or curiosity (things) might have initially been at play is/are determined to be of relatively little value, it invariably chooses people as the objects of its focus. The hallmark of such a consciousness is politics.

Of course we each are, in differing proportions, amalgamations of all three. On one end of the spectrum lies the occasional Einstein, exploring the intergalactic vortex while working as a clerk in the patent office, never losing sight of his reverence for science and the requirement that his imagination can only become validated when confirmed by reality.

Representing the other extreme, the likes of Barrack Obama, who, apparently never having had an original thought in his life, merely adapted to playing the political game in which he found himself at birth, consistently through to its current manifestations.

The rise of the idea of man-caused destruction of the Earth is the product of politics. It has no basis in actual science itself, and little in its relatively new and larger arena of science, Climatology.

However, since its political postulation, first as MMGC in the early seventies, then as MMGW, recently MMCC, to now, where I indicated at the last LOTR meeting I heard the first snippets of MMCD (disruption replacing change - the boring and virtually imperceptible pace of change giving way to the far more dramatic and dire term, DISRUPTION ((film at eleven!)), the proponents have been joined by sincere and credible consciousnesses who are honestly trying to investigate said claims. To the extent these additional voices remain credible, and are not shown to be seeking renewed funding or new Grant money, they tend to provide a veneer of respectability to what was/is, on its face, a "modern" vehicle for the destruction of individual freedom and Capitalism.

Now, I do not wish to be what I am arguing against. I always remain open to the possibility that the claim of MMCI (influence replacing whatever might be the latest fashion) is not in fact occurring. One of the nasty traits of we humans is that certainty stops inquiry. However, I insist that the motivation for inquiry be imagination or curiosity, not arising from the sewer of politics!

The high priests of the "settled science" of MMCI are certain of their inquiry, and denounce, demean, or discredit, any heresy to the contrary. I therefore am resting comfortably at a .0014, awaiting further demonstrable, repeatable, evidence - not simply the computer modeling of premises.

Dave, the denounced, demeaned, "discredited" denier, Walden

Posted by: jk at May 21, 2014 5:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Welcome to the page! Racist. /sarcasm ;)

Posted by: johngalt at May 21, 2014 6:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at May 22, 2014 3:43 PM

May 20, 2014

Falsus Libertario Delenda Est!

Having recently escaped Colorado's Second Congressional District, I consider myself well-informed about Rep. Jared Polis (Libertarian? - CO).

He is currently the darling of the big-L Libertarians who are certain to have discovered the elusive "Libertarian Democrat:" cryptozoology's greatest prize! Rep. Polis is a regular on "The Independents" on FOX Business Channel. He received positive coverage in Reason:

A conventional Democrat in some respects, he also supports many causes that matter to libertarians: legalizing marijuana and hemp, restraining NSA surveillance, reforming copyright and patent laws, and making space for the virtual currency Bitcoin.

"A conventional Democrat in some respects." Yes, the obligatory disclaimer for interviewer Scott Shackford. Let me help you, Scott. He is a conventional Democrat EVERY FREAKIN' PLACE AND EVERY GORRAM TIME THAT IT COUNTS. Minority Leader Pelosi does not have to worry about his vote (including yea on ObamaCare on March 21, 2010).

When he's on his own, he pens a Libertarian Editorial in the WSJ. And he accepts campaign contributions in Bitcoin! He's like Mises reincarnate!

If they looked a little deeper, they'd see not only "A conventional Democrat in some respects," but a wellspring of dirigisme. The Blueprint [Review Corner] chronicles Polis as one of four überfunders of statehouse races providing the Democratic legislative majorities in Colorado which brought us draconian gun laws and insane regulations on energy -- especially to rural Coloradans. Thanks, Jared! Or shall I call you Murray Rothbard?

Today, he is in the press for using his considerable funding to force his energy views on the entire state. (Remember when Hayek did that?)

DENVER -- Democratic Rep. Jared Polis reminded Coloradans Monday why it's tough to tangle with a rich guy, outraising his pro-business foes in the latest campaign-finance reporting period on his proposed statewide anti-fracking initiatives.

One Polis group, Coloradans for Local Control, donated $1.45 million to another Polis group, Coloradans for Clean and Safe Energy, which is running the campaign to place a slew of anti-fracking measures on the Nov. 4 ballot.

That one donation--the only contribution so far to the Polis-sponsored issue committee--exceeded the combined $900,000 raised by two energy-backed coalitions during the two-week reporting period ending May 14, although their overall fundraising tops the Polis campaign's at $3.77 million.

Those damned oil companies and the nefarious Koch Brothers outspent in one day! By a statist who is feted as a "Libertarian."

If that's what they're like, I definitely want out! Libertario Delenda Est!

Posted by John Kranz at 3:36 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Snap! This is a kick-ass takedown of Jared NIMBY-King Polis and his Reason puff piece. This should be tagged in the Rant category. I'm going to come back and read it regularly whenever I'm feeling down.

Posted by: johngalt at May 20, 2014 5:07 PM
But jk thinks:

As I did lapse into all caps, it does indeed belong under "Rant" (added). I had self-visualized better self control when I started :) As the great philosopher Peter Green said, "Oh, well."

Thanks for the kind words.

Posted by: jk at May 20, 2014 5:11 PM

February 13, 2014

Defining Opression Down

Quick. Name the most oppressive place on the Earth. Now, hands up all who chose "the makeup aisle of our local Target store." Two, three . . . a couple guys in the back . . .

And, of course, Dr. Kelly Flanagan's friend. Flanagan is a licensed clinical psychologist and happy father of three. He writes inspirational letters to his young girls and posts them on his blog.

I actually find that endearing. Please don't construe this missive as objecting to positive self image for young girls. Buuuuuuuut, I wonder is the Doctor is not a bit over the top:

Dear Little One,

As I write this, I'm sitting in the makeup aisle of our local Target store. A friend recently texted me from a different makeup aisle and told me it felt like one of the most oppressive places in the world. I wanted to find out what he meant.

You know the rest. The models on the magazine covers are pretty and well below the median BMI of Target shoppers. The same magazines offer advice on flat abs and . . . The accompanying photo shows a bunch of them together to engender maximum outrage.

I am all for good self-image. But anybody who is "oppressed" looking at a magazine cover needs a psychologist -- even if he is one. Or, perhaps the advice of a software developer and guitar player.

Dear Big One,

Hey, you might notice someday that there are some people who are better looking than you. Or smarter. Or better at Parcheesi.

Through Ricardian comparative advantage, we can leverage and enjoy capabilities of others. I would not want to watch a football game where nobody played better than me. Nor would I attend a symphony staffed by players with inferior skills to mine.

Find your place in the world, Doctor! Enjoy the diversity and skills -- and yes the looks -- of your fellow humans.


Posted by John Kranz at 11:07 AM | Comments (1)
But dagny thinks:

I really don’t have time for this but I just can’t resist. Drat you JK!

So, “most oppressive place on earth,“ qualifies as a massive exaggeration but I have some sympathy for the sentiment. Additionally (liberal or not) I mostly agree with what he is telling his daughters. Strength doesn’t lie in fingernails. Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumber…. Err wrong song.

I do dispute some of JK’s letter to the Big One. No one feels oppressed looking at a magazine cover of Peyton Manning because the vast majority of us understand fully that we are not suited to be NFL quarterbacks. But the magazine covers here and the culture that supports them tell all of us with 2 X chromosomes that we SHOULD look like the girl on the cover and not that she is something to be admired for what she is and can do and we aren’t and can’t.

Maybe this one is just a little personal for me because I remember spending my whole high school career concerned that I was, “fat.” Now for those of you who didn’t know me, I was a 3 sport varsity athlete in high school and could bench press my weight and then some. No one who runs a state qualifying quad A 400 meters is fat. So I have spent some time since then trying to figure out how and why I thought I was fat. Part of it was definitely magazine covers and television programs bombarding us with size Zero women and telling us that was how we should look. So was/am I oppressed? Probably not. Are there important lessons here to help my daughters live healthy, happy lives? Yup, especially if they are lousy at Parcheesi or not a size Zero.

Posted by: dagny at February 14, 2014 4:24 PM

February 6, 2014

Immigration, English, and Coca Cola

We've heard many opinions on the multi-lingual Coca Cola Superbowl ad "America the Beautiful" including here, here and here. I'd like to share one more viewpoint. This from a son of Chinese immigrants who also happens to be a Republican candidate for congress in the Colorado district that encompasses Boulder (CO-2).

If you like it, or him, be sure to "Like" his Facebook Page. I did.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:52 PM | Comments (4)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Hmmm... The Refugee is no longer in Colo CD2,(hence the nom de plume), but Leing might actually be worth some financial support. Cory Gardner is kind of a lock in CD4. I'll have to check out Leing's policy positions, but likely anyone is better than Polis.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 6, 2014 3:34 PM
But jk thinks:

"Personally, I enjoyed the ad as it celebrated the diversity of culture we enjoy in America" (0:15)

Me too.

"For me the issue is about empowering everyone to learn to use the language" (0:45)

Me too.

Posted by: jk at February 6, 2014 3:50 PM
But jk thinks:

@Refugee: Leing sent an energetic and bright young staffer to Liberty On The Rocks - Flatirons. Brother jg spoke with him and I was quite impressed.

Posted by: jk at February 6, 2014 3:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I was most impressed by his claim to have won a student body election on the CU-Boulder campus. He said he was on the "Empower" ticket. This in contrast to the "Veritas" ticket or unaffiliated.

Turns out, with a quick search, he was seated despite finishing 6th out of 7 candidates. :) Colorado Daily.

Posted by: johngalt at February 6, 2014 4:57 PM

February 5, 2014

Makes One Question the Whole Community Organizing Profession

I have good friends drooling with excitement that Trader Joe's is opening stores in Boulder and Denver. I'm happy for commerce but lack the experience to elicit ecstasy. But, you gotta like a company that "goes Galt" before kowtowing to a lot of demands.

I'll stick with admiration for the company, but the story is as sad a one as you're gonna read today. Expanding into Portland, the company deliberately chooses a location in the less affluent Northeast section of town. Here come jobs, fresh food, property values, rich hipsters to patronize other area stores. This is going to be great. Oh, wait...

The company selected two acres along Martin Luther King Blvd. that had been vacant for decades. It seemed like the perfect place to create jobs, improve customer options and beautify the neighborhood. City officials, the business community, and residents all seemed thrilled with the plan. Then some community organizers caught wind of it.

The fact that most members of the Portland African-American Leadership Forum didn't live in the neighborhood was beside the point. "This is a people's movement for African-Americans and other communities, for self-determination," member Avel Gordly said in a press conference. Even the NAACP piled on, railing against the project as a "case study in gentrification." (The area is about 25 percent African-American.)

After a few months of racially tinged accusations and angry demands, Trader Joe's decided it wasn't worth the hassle. "We run neighborhood stores and our approach is simple," a corporate statement said. "If a neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe's, we understand, and we won't open the store in question."

Score a big win for the PAALF! Yaay team.


Hat-tip: Insty, who points out "Trader Joe's isn't cool anymore because it is successful."

Posted by John Kranz at 11:16 AM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

Wait a minute - Isn't "RAT" what that 2008 RNC ad subliminably called the DemocRATs?

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2014 12:25 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Next, the PAALF will complain that they're being treated like the ghetto they've helped create.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 5, 2014 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks all that is right in the world that they prevented "Gentrification." Can't have any of that.

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2014 3:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This particular brush with "gentrification" being safely swept aside by PAALF, many more have succeeded and, in the process, contributed to America's white supremecist nation status.

A race hustler's work is never done.

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2014 4:41 PM

February 3, 2014

One More Commercial...

Who knew the opening safety was going to be the highlight for Broncos' Fans? Ah, well, I still bleed orange & blue. I just did not know there would be so much of it to clean up...

One controversy remains. There was a slight tweet-storm over the poly-lingual Coke commercial. I liked the commercial a lot and was surprised and disappointed at negative response

I'm willing to hear other opinions from ThreeSourcers. But I suggest that the offended conservatives can suck an egg. And, if they don't like the Tagalog section, they can suck Balut.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:35 AM | Comments (10)
But Mrs. Kaa thinks:

Good friends of my husband Brother Keith, I commiserate with you all on the Bronco's loss. As an inveterate fan, I am officially taking a football hiatus to mourn last night's blood bath. Hopefully, come September, there will be a good enough reason to rejoice once again.

I've pondered your discussions and I'd like to share my two cents as this particular commercial touched a nerve. First, let me say that whatever portion of the song they decided to translate in Tagalog was poorly done.

While it is true that most basic concepts are lost in word per word translations, in any language, the so-called concept and poetry behind this particular effort is so misguided in its context that the translation comes across as almost farcical. "... sa ibabaw ng mga prutas" (:16) literally translates to "on top of fruits." Really?? I don't remember anything remotely similar, conceptual or otherwise, in the original version.

Second, as a 1st generation American of Filipino descent I found myself completely at odds (read offended) with the ad alluded to in this post.

As much as I respect and enjoy celebrating diversity amongst cultures, we immigrants choose to come to this country to become Americans. Nobody, least of all the American government, put the proverbial gun to our heads, nor twisted our arms to make us take the necessary steps to come here legally. And while we are free to celebrate our heritage privately, in the public square, it is all about assimilating.

The public display of diversity, while cute in its concept, is an affront to someone like me who has chosen to become a productive and conservative member of this American Society regardless of the statistics reflected in my Driver's License.

IMHO if these diverse people groups sung America The Beautiful, as originally written in English, it would have been more inspiring, more inclusive and more a celebration of diversity than the botched up, ill-translated (at least the Tagalog portion) mess that was presented.

And if these executives and producers were still gung ho over having to present this 60 second spot in multiple languages - it's called sub-titles. It's not like we haven't used them before.

Posted by: Mrs. Kaa at February 3, 2014 4:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, even with a happy outcome, we begin today what blog friend SugarChuck calls "seven months of darkness." Day one is extremely dark this year and the teevee weatherfolk promise a week of snow and temperatures bouncing between sub-zero and sub-freezing.

Your comment matched my Facebook friend's, and I err in conflating "I wish they had..." with "I'm never drinking another Coke 'till I die..." For the record, I artistically disagree. My lovely bride who came to these shores as a baby from Manila Bay and is so Americanized/assimilated that she is denied service in National City liked the commercial as much as I did.

It is certainly fair to dislike it. Riza did not mention fruit toppings, but is that old chestnut true that Coca-Cola means "Bite the wax tadpole" in Chinese? Maybe it is a regional attempt at payback.

So, I can't sell the art. Do my beloved ThreeSourcers agree that boycotts and high dudgeon are out of place?

Posted by: jk at February 3, 2014 6:09 PM
But Mrs. Kaa thinks:

Seven months of darkness notwithstanding, my hiatus is solely based on how the Bronco's derriere was served on a silver platter by no less than those evil incarnate, vulture wannabees from the Pacific Northwest.

For the record, the commercial left a bad taste but I am still fully entrenched in the Coca Cola camp. I shudder at the thought of the alternative.

Posted by: Mrs. Kaa at February 3, 2014 6:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Maybe we should just talk about football?

However, I can connect "on top of fruits" with "upon the fruited plain." Thank you Mrs. KA for your personal insights. I think you might have struck the issue with the words "public display of diversity" and the contrasting perceptions of it relate to the distinction between assimilation and Balkanization.

Ultimately, as a proud new owner of an "Enjoy Capitalism" in Coca Cola script tee shirt I understand how the marketing team for a quintessential American brand saw this spot as a "we're all Americans now" message, both from us to the world and from the world to us. I vote we follow it with a rousing rendition of Kumbaya (in multiple languages) and spend the rest of the day trying to figure out how the Super Bowl became a home game for the bad guys.

Posted by: johngalt at February 3, 2014 6:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Clearly, that Microsoft feller that owns them pulled some ticket allocation chicanery.

In all fairness, we're meritocracy folks 'round these parts. And I have never seen such speed as the Seahawks D. The good guys would have a perfect screen setup and I'd be salivating for 30 yards. Then some pass rusher would run the ball carrier down from behind for a short gain or loss. Never, ever, ever seen that.

And, the Denver defense was notoriously ineffective at getting the other team off the field all year. We just scored enough points to compensate. Spotting them eight, we were unprepared for any capacity to disrupt out offense.

Posted by: jk at February 3, 2014 7:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You had me at "unprepared."

Posted by: johngalt at February 3, 2014 7:35 PM

January 31, 2014

Not Using My Tune in a Beer Commercial! (See Update)

It was pretty popular in my day to freak out when a popular artist's music appeared in a commercial. I don't know if times are more enlightened now or not. But I offer a pragmatic consideration:

The music in the Bud commercial I love is from Passenger. "All the Little Lights." The particular track seems to be pretty popular [see UPDATE for an important contradiction]:


The whole album on MP3 is $5 and I am diggin' it.

UPDATE: I've been the last guy to the party before. Passenger is Michael David Rosenberg who adopted the name after the band broke up. And, mea maxim culpa, he had some success with the tune before the King of Beers came along:

I do not retract my props for the All the Little Lights" album. It's quite good.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:49 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Submitted for your consideration: giant, big-business, capitalist-oppressor-of-the-masses telecom company Nortel, in 2000, used "Come Together" by noted anti-capitalist John Lennon. Someday, I'm going to find out what John thinks of that.

To coin a phrase from the cool kids, "your argument is invalid."

Say, now that marijuana can be sold legally in your state, how long you think it will be before someone airs a commercial for it and licenses Bob Dylan's famous tune for the soundtrack?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 31, 2014 4:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Working from memory: Michael Jackson owned the publishing for the Lennon/McCartney songbook and it was a pretty frequent topic of conversation between Sir Paul and the King of Pop that he please resist the temptation. I don't know if the spot you describe was during his stewardship.

It was a pretty big deal either way. I recall that.

Posted by: jk at January 31, 2014 5:16 PM
But jk thinks:

... and it was a cover: Watch on YouTube

Posted by: jk at January 31, 2014 5:19 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Still, the choice of song as well as songwriter gives me pause. It's not such a big deal to most people anymore, I suppose, but I may one of few left who still reacts to the practice.

The notion that, for example, an investment bank that specifically states in their commercial that they're targeting my generation, and chooses to play Credence in an attempt to win me over. Really? You think that picking Credence for your music is going to convey to me that you can be trusted to decide which hedge fund to sink my money into?

And yet, they wouldn't be doing it if it didn't work. Television commercials cost money, and they focus-group and test-market these things before plunking down their money. No one has ever gone broke underestimating the intelligence of the average mass-media consumer.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 31, 2014 5:50 PM

January 30, 2014


Seen it? When Brother Keith posted it on Facebook yesterday, it was a little over a million views. I just watched again (okay a few times...) and it is 13,183,691.

I ranted a bit on FB but I need a little room and a safe place to stretch. This is awesome. There's the Mona Lisa, Van Gogh's Houses at Auvers has always been a fave, Beethoven's Fifth, John Coltrane's Giant Steps . . . and this year's Budweiser Super Bowl commercial.

The left may whine about corporations and capitalism and consumerism and materialism and irritable bowel syndrome and FOX News and that goofy trapezoid behind the goalie out of which he cannot play the puck. But this masterpiece validates all I hold dear.

First let us apply some Adam Smith and Leonard Read. How many people were required to make this? And to bring in a little Yaron Brook, how many were creative and artistic? Art Directors, writers, sound engineers, costume, makeup, lighting and cinematography, The music on its own is masterful, and that paid the bills of several players, composers, and engineers.

I love art jobs, but let's salute the agents, accountants, advertising execs, project managers and those who made and brought coffee. A little Hayekian spontaneous order makes all those goods and services available on demand.

All funded by the good folks at Anhueser Busch to sell more beer. It's an "institutional ad" to promote the company without product mention. Nobody can be certain if it works. But the camera guys and singers and lighting techs will get paid to do something they love instead of sustenance faming.

Thanks Capitalism! And GO BRONCOS!

UPDATE: Corporate stooges slogging through another day at work:

Posted by John Kranz at 11:32 AM | Comments (2)
But dagny thinks:

You forgot all the animal trainers doing something they love as well.

Posted by: dagny at January 31, 2014 1:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Thought of it but did not type it (suuure....)

Posted by: jk at January 31, 2014 1:57 PM

January 20, 2014


Happy Martin Luther King Day, ThreeSourcers. I assume we all have the day off and will be shopping for mattresses -- based not on their color but on the content of their support.

My problem with the holiday and the hype is that the wrong elements of Dr. King's achievements are celebrated. We see the crowds at the Lincoln Memorial listening to the superb "I Have a Dream" speech. That is a great moment and a great speech. But I draw a line from it to the election of President Obama. No doubt many supporters of King and the President would be happy with the suggestion.

But -- as you've probably guessed -- my intentions are a bit more nefarious. The heroic King is shown as the speechmaker. He got up and gave a great speech to a huge crowd, and the country was better for it. All true.

But I was deep into my 40s before I understood the heroic leadership of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. And I got it not from a gauzy PBS special but from Robert A Caro's Master of the Senate. LBJ is in the Senate and in confederacy with the other Southern, white, Democratic senators successfully kills ever civil rights bill that shows up on the floor. To show the change a nation would demand, Caro provides one of his many lucid expositions on the boycott.

In his depiction we see a different MLK. There were speeches and sermons, yes. But the heroic King was not a politician. He was a field general and a pastor. He held the boycott together, managed violence both by effectively protecting the boycotters and preventing retaliation that would have damaged the cause. The end result was a moral victory upon which the nation could build. Even ol' LBJ realized that his presidential ambitions required that he bring "a Nigra Bill" up for a vote. Thus is one of our great civil rights leaders born.

Some on the right, reflexively reacting to media hegemony and hagiography, point out MLK's failings. Against the politician MLK model, that is fair game if not necessarily effective. But the MLK of 1956 was the real deal. I love David Mamet's line of his protagonist who fought in the Civil War "to broaden the definition of those who were created equal." Dr. King fought to reify those gains.

I just wish we would celebrate heroic leadership and not political oratory.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:46 AM | Comments (9)
But jk thinks:

Nooooo! 3/5 is in the Constitution, created equal is in the Declaration. The difference is the majority of our nation's history: approaching the perfection of the Declaration with the realities of the Constitution. Three-fifths hell, it protected slavery until 1820 and countenanced it until the Thirteenth Amendment.

Created equal is perfection and fits perfectly with yesterday's Ayn Rand Facebook Bot quote:

Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man's genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. - Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness

Created equal. Born with inalienable rights.

Posted by: jk at January 21, 2014 12:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Arguing from nothing but your conclusion:

"Created equal. Born with inalienable rights."

I do not see the logical connection from A to B. But even if we accept it prima facie, contravening A undermines B. And there is no shortage of evidence that men are born unequal in every way. So the one thing that should be regarded as equal - inalienable rights - is undercut by every other inequality.

Refer back to the Craig Biddle piece you linked here:

As Rawls explains, on this standard, "it is incorrect that individuals with greater natural endowments and the superior character that has made their development possible have a right to a cooperative scheme [i.e., a legal system] that enables them to obtain even further benefits in ways that do not contribute to the advantages of others."

The very people you might expect to advocate that all men are equal at birth - those who seek to keep men equal always - are the first to claim that some are "superior" at birth while others are "disadvantaged." Standing on the principle of equality at any stage of man's life plays directly into their hands. Even when quoting great men like Dr. King and Thos. Jefferson, "created equal" gives rise to the clarion call of the egalitarian - forced redistribution.

Equal is not fair. Equality is not liberty. Equality is anti-freedom.

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2014 3:09 PM
But jk thinks:

I have a Dream. Someday jk and jg will go out for a beer and talk about football... (Hey Centennial Staters, IBRC is tapping a new Cream Ale Tuesday night)

I'm finding it difficult that you do not recognize -- or that I fail to describe -- equality qua equality. Not "-of opportunity" or "-of outcome" but an intransitive equality. If forced to define it, I would move a few words to the right in the Declaration and say that we are each born with equal rights to life, liberty and pursuit or Lockean "property."

To demonstrate equality qua equality, I would cite Chief Justice Taney in Dred Scot v. Sandford In what may or may not be dicta, he says that Scot has absolutely zero rights because he was born a slave. It took three amendments to fix that.

I do not see that as a guarantee or redistribution. You have the right, while we're on the 14th, "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

That is not a divisible hyphenated equality, nor a guarantee of Socialism. Just that Mister Scot, like Mister Taney enjoy birthright liberty.

Posted by: jk at January 21, 2014 5:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

What have I said that contradicts anything in your response? My goal is to erect a moral, philosophical foundation that would have helped the 14th Amendment proscribe the 16th: Said "equal protection of the laws" having been eviscerated by "without regard to any census or enumeration."

Whenceforth, the state may now take unequally from her "subjects."

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2014 6:42 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm not totally clear where exactly we differ, but there are still 12 days until the Super Bowl and they are not tapping the keg until Thursday...

One of those blog posts where I am expecting "Here here!" or "Keen insight, jk!" (Actually I was expecting recriminations for a too-kind portrayal of MLK. Just as I am Chief of the Dalai Lama police, I know the good Reverend Doctor's sanctity irks some folks 'round these parts.)

I just don't get the trimming and the qualification. I get your tale that it has been abused, but the Progs abused language, philosophy and the infield fly rule to achieve their ends. If "all men are created equal" did not stop 3/5 representation or Dred Scot, I don't see how your asterisk is going to stop indirect taxation.

Posted by: jk at January 21, 2014 7:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

There is a passage in Atlas Shrugged where John Galt curses the man who created the fictional character called "Robin Hood."

A similar dynamic is at work here. What is remembered of Jefferson's and King's "all men are created equal" is that equality of men is an ideal, to be pursued by any means. My venom is meant for those who re-purpose a natural and rational basis for liberty to the goal of liberty's polar opposite: equality. Jefferson and King (and you) are innocent, but accomplices as well.

Posted by: johngalt at January 22, 2014 1:50 PM

January 9, 2014

Real Book Software: Awful, Awful, Awful!

I bought a product so startlingly bad I need to post a review, both for catharsis and to perhaps prevent another from buying it. I did find a forum where people have been complaining about this for a few years. Spread the word.

I saw a banner ad for Real Book Software. The Real Book is a popular and famous book of charts for Jazz songs. It is a play on the term "Fake Books" which provide rudimentary enough chords to let you "fake it." The Real Book had meatier arrangements and actual transcriptions of solos. It is pretty interesting story [Wikipedia].

The Real Book Software was a good idea: put the book on tour computer, allow search and sort of the charts by genre, composer, title, performer, yadda yadda. They even package mp3s of the tunes so you can listen, and -- big draw for me -- versions of each in Band-in-the-box, a popular software I use to print charts but it also plays the songs for you to play along.

The ads and docs looked funky; that should have been a warning. But it fit into a new educational direction of mine and I was intrigued enough to PayPal $127 (Oww!) Wish I had searched online before paying. If you find this, I strongly advise you to steer clear.

The worst thing about Real Book Software:
The piracy protection -- moving beyond the ironic for somebody selling a compilation of likely pirated material -- is so unforgiving that it will not run on my computer without freshly installing it each time. I got a key from their support that allows me to reinstall beyond the 14 day period.

Second worst thing about Real Book Software:
Support is not very sympathetic. I was good natured and asked them to swap it for one of their products without the protection mechanism. "No, buddy, we have your money and you don't. That is how software works. Maybe you should buy a new computer that it will run on." I do software for a living and that is not really how it works.

A very bad thing about Real Book Software:
When it is installed and licensed, it works. But the GUI is very cheesy and the workflow is uninviting. You can sort, listen and view/print the charts (well, I can until I turn my computer off) but it doesn't feel like much value is added.

They were denigrated in the Band-in-a-Box forum, but I enjoy the band-in-the-box files. Those are just sitting in a directory. They don't connect or index to the program at all -- of course, this is good for me because the program does not work. Saved me some typing -- I'm not pleased that I paid $127 for it but it's keeping me from finding and burning down the dingy studio apartment where this business is surely headquartered.

Please feel free to link and share. I see from the forum that they have been defrauding naive players like me for a few years. Knowledge might be power.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:37 PM | Comments (3)
But johedoe thinks:

Yep, me too, I got ripped by this dude... worked a little bit and his overcomplicated protection mechanism made it unusable in no time. Scum software.

Posted by: johedoe at February 1, 2016 5:05 PM
But Dennis thinks:

I agree that installing and the anti-piracy stuff is way too complicated. I also think the software seems quite amateuristic. Everytime you want to install a plugin it first gives you an error of somekind, then you click OK and then you can direct (manually) the program to the needed path. Very annoying. The idea is great, the execution is very poor.

That being said I do like the amount of songs in there. It's like you have a huge collection of jazzmuziek at one mouseclick. I do think it's a great resource. However, some of the audio doesn't work either...


Posted by: Dennis at April 29, 2016 7:01 PM
But Ed Greany thinks:

Unfortunately I bought this software (the 4.01 version) long ago. Never got it working. When I sought help I had to purchase their 5.01 version as they don't give help with the old version anymore. That was one year ago. I tried again to install the software without success. Then my Keyfile apparently expired. I thought I would give it another go this week but after over 20 messages with their "help desk" I give up again. They don't have a help on the phone service. Sending emails is ridiculous!

Posted by: Ed Greany at February 27, 2019 4:08 PM

November 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, Shoppers!

Perhaps an anti-rant is by definition a rant. The opposition-to-retail-on-Thanksgiving contingent on Facebook seems to be growing. George Takei has now weighed in (he's agin' it).

Teevee news last night unironically ran a story on the "controversy" of Black Friday's incursion into Thursday -- and followed it with a story on the growing trend of eating the big meal out. I guess food workers don't have families, that is just the retail sector. Kitchen help is staffed from orphanages or something. This tickled:


Now, a boycott or Facebook group whine is a part of the free market. Shaming corporations to improve treatment of workers and customers is valid and non-coercive. I should applaud. But I think this contretemps is misinformed and I know that the Deirdre McCloskey appreciation for Bourgeois Dignity and commerce will not receive a fair hearing (I'm just posting this here).

I am betting that a lot of young people will get some additional hours that they'd like and that most will pay holiday premium wages. The assumption of helpless Dickensian urchins cowering before their cruel employers is a bit much.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:36 AM | Comments (2)
But AlexC thinks:

I hope everyone participating on this boycott visits their families by walking, bicycling or riding their broomsticks.

Some of us oilfield trash has to work on Turkey Day (and Christmas, and Easter and Memorial Day and Independence Day, and Arbor Day and Bastille Day & etc etc etc), to provide the fuel you use to get around.

Posted by: AlexC at November 26, 2013 12:02 PM
But jk thinks:

And The Koch Brothers' Permanent Assurance, Pharmacy, and Shooting Range will be open at 7PM...

Posted by: jk at November 26, 2013 12:10 PM

November 13, 2013


If you did not care for my Typhoon rant, I bet you won't like this:

If you feel it's urgent to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, then deep in your heart you also support Obamacare. -- Matt Miller

Hat-tip: Taranto

Posted by John Kranz at 6:51 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Ummm, no.

Faulty premise alert: "A typhoon is obviously beyond anyone’s control. But so is a preexisting condition."

No it isn't. Not always. Maybe not even usually. Judgement is required, but government mandates, like O-care, make judgment illegal.

Posted by: johngalt at November 14, 2013 2:51 PM

November 12, 2013

A Bake Sale to Buy a Bomber?

Great Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons last night! The lovely bride and I have missed several to care for dear Harriet, and it was good to get back.

The program featured three winners of the Leadership Program of the Rockies' "Defending Capitalism" speech contest. We heard three great speeches and multiple ideas to reach those not immediately disposed to the wonders of liberty. The (excellent) crowd also coughed up $800 to supply impressionable youth with Ayn Rand books and their teachers with instruction materials.

None of the speakers seemed to be radical big-O Objectivists, but Rand's writings were obviously influential -- and I believe are a sizable part of the LPR curriculum. National Defense came up in the Q&A session. Only one of the speakers was anarchist enough to suggest private defense.

When I got home, and saw that a US Carrier and supporting ships were headed to the Philippines for typhoon relief, I wished I had asked the group about plunder and taking money from my neighbor at gunpoint to fuel a carrier group on a relief mission.

Your friendly blog Deepak-Lallian libertarian has no problem with this. I wonder if others do have a problem or how they rationalize it if they do not. This is a tertiary at best relation to actual defense, but it is important to the maintenance of a Liberal International Economic Order. Of benefit to all taxpayers:

  • Projection of US power and capability. I don't worry militarily about China like some of my righty friends, but who's that in their backyard with the capacity to help?

  • Ditto for Freedom. A great Facebook meme is "Capitalism: financing all the other -isms for thousands of years..." Who has the largess to do aid on this scale?

  • The Philippines is home to a large Communist faction (gotta stay poor after the Colonials leave...) as well as the unfortunately acronymed Moro Islamic Liberation Front MILFs for radical Islam!. This is pretty good PR for America and Western Capitalism

Do I have a fight? Robbing Peter to help Pinoy? Or is this valid use of our defense infrastructure and budget?

Posted by John Kranz at 11:23 AM | Comments (8)
But T. Greer thinks:

Nah, we should let the Chinese do it. They would serve as a great well spring of liberty across the region. ^_~

Posted by: T. Greer at November 14, 2013 12:42 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

Also, my big beef with the health care problem is not really redistribution per say. The more and more I think about it the more I like Charles Murray's proposal for a lump-sum 'demogrant' or Milton Friedman's negative taxes.

What I find alarming about health care is the liberties it infringes (mandates and lost plans), regulations it enacts, and corporate fat cats it holds up. The health care bill does not bother e because it takes from those who have and those who do not - it bothers me because it distorts and perverts the entire United States economy, destroying the people's independence and the workings of the market with one big inefficient, corrupt behemoth.

Posted by: T. Greer at November 14, 2013 12:50 AM
But jk thinks:

Apology not required, 3srcjg . . . but I did wonder what I said that cheesed you off so. (I might want to use it again someday!)

I was looking for a Snyder v Phelps or ACLU-defending the Illinois Nazis (man, I hate Illinois Nazis...) argument. This is a good excuse for a standing army in peacetime and I have yet to hear someone criticize it beyond the overhead to deliver $1 of aid.

Posted by: jk at November 14, 2013 11:21 AM
But jk thinks:

@tgreer: clearly, my work is not done (heh).

I hold your intelligence and knowledge in the highest esteem. But I would challenge you to consider foundational principles one step lower. I'm not even one of the Randians 'round these parts and I get a little queasy. It sounds like you don't mind "a little" abrogation of property rights. Or that the government is entitled to abridge the right to contract "somewhat."

You are then asked to draw a line somewhere between those two liberties (which I consider foundational) and the liberty shredding monstrosity (we certainly agree) that is the PPACA. I humbly posit that you have set yourself up for failure. But that an absolute principled stance on the sanctity of contract and property rights is consistent and eternally defensible.

The nannying, "noodger," Malcolm Gladwell intervention is tempting, especially to one of your academic prowess. Adhering to foundational principles provides a new perspective.

Posted by: jk at November 14, 2013 11:54 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That's just it - I wasn't cheesed off, just being matter-of-fact. QE, on the other hand, cheeses me off.

But back to the point at hand - redistribution v. central planning. Obviously I want neither, but blog pragmatist usually reminds me that "we live in the world we gots" and a pluarality of 'Mericans want the down-on-their-luck to be cared for. So yes, I'm with TG. If we "must" have redistribution then let it be transparent and in broad daylight. Then let recipients choose where and how to spend their "USA" [Uncle Sam's Allowance] in a purely capitalistic unregulated free-market. Eventually there will be fewer and fewer who are "down-on-their-luck" as they learn about saving, investing, profiting and prospering.

Brilliant, TG. I'm in! Who's with us? (And if you aren't, you're a whiny, sniveling, belly-crawling maggot.) ;)

Posted by: johngalt at November 14, 2013 2:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Dagny said she wasn't quite clear about what TG proposed. While neither of us is familiar with Charles Murray we have both read about Friedman's negative tax rate and, by way of another example, R.A. Heinlein's birthright annual income. [Briefly mentioned in the comments here.]

The idea I think TG and I share is this: If we're going to use the power of the state to take stuff from some people and give it to others, let us insist that it be explicitly recognized as such. And do it directly, without the package-deal of government management of this or that program. Just give them cash, i.e. "Uncle Sam's Allowance" and turn them loose in the free market.

This is more efficient, less prone to cronyism, and makes no pretensions about what, in fact, it is. Sell it as "America is so prosperous it can pay everyone a monthly allowance simply for being here. Now take this and spend it wisely. Better yet, invest it and become one of the makers instead of the takers!"

Posted by: johngalt at November 15, 2013 1:37 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 9, 2013

These People are Animals!

We hereby pause from our Syria coverage (well, now that Vladimir Putin is going to ride in and save the day, we mightn't return).

The antecedent in the title is the whole gorram Kennedy family! Every few months, I read of some absolute depravity: JFK whorring out 19-year old interbs, Chris Dodd & Teddy sandwiching a poor waitress, the younger males all with rape lawyers on speed dial. Helen Maria! What gives with these people?

A diary belonging to Robert F. Kennedy Jr has emerged containing details of encounters with 37 different women during 2001
  • He often describes himself as a victim and uses the word 'mugged' as shorthand for being seduced
  • He also writes of his guilt at being unable to control his libido
  • 2001 was the year that his wife Mary gave birth to their fourth son, she killed herself in May 2012
  • Kennedy has denied that the diary belongs to him

Camelot? Caligula's Palace is a better analogy. Brutal, murdering rapists all of them -- at least Papa Joe was an honest bootlegger.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:35 PM | Comments (0)

September 3, 2013

Wampum Generating Idea

Wampum. Even when I come up with a serious idea, I cannot avoid the puerile. Put that racist transgression aside and hear me out.

You can get the jump on a future Review Corner by picking up Sagebrush Rebel by William Perry Pendley. It is the story of President Reagan's environmental stewardship, his universally maligned Interior Secretary James Watt, and the primacy of good energy and mineral policies. And it is very good.

I had a side thought, not suggested in any way by Pendley. But among Reagan's achievements was a respectful and honest relationship between Reagan's Interior Department and the governments of indigenous Americans: a "government to government" relationship.

Reservations are sovereign nations are they not? Why not trade in the casinos and cigarette sales for a Libertarian Utopia? I saw the folks on Stossel who were mooring a cruise ship 12 miles off San Francisco to populate with engineers who can not get H1-B visas. (Sort of a Pirate Radio for geeks -- were I a younger man...)

Instead of a million dollars for a ship, weather concerns. and expensive transfer of supplies from the mainland -- why not New Mexico or Oklahoma? Lay some fiber optic cable and develop world class business facilities. Tenants would enjoy non-restrictive immigration policies and lenient taxation. The reservation would attract capital. jobs, and educational opportunities.

UPDATE: The seasteading venture is Blueseed, and its founders are interviewed by John Stossel (~20:20)

Posted by John Kranz at 11:36 AM | Comments (3)
But AndyN thinks:

How sure are you about lenient taxation? How are imports into the US from reservations treated? Would a company have to be owned, or at least majority owned, by tribal members to avoid getting hit by business taxes that the IRS hits companies with when they bring profits home to the US? Employees who work there will still have to pay all applicable municipal, state and federal taxes unless they live on the reservation too.

I think it's a prospect worth pursuing, especially since technology has made it possible to run just about any kind of business anywhere that you have space. I just don't know that tax relief will necessarily be a particularly big selling point.

Here's another thought - I'm always hearing about how the indigenous population got the short end of the stick with the crappy land they were dumped on. How about covering that crappy land with solar panels and windmills? It seems they'd have a lot fewer NIMBY complaints.

Posted by: AndyN at September 3, 2013 6:10 PM
But jk thinks:

There are many questions, and I have not it through; this is brainstorming.

But my comparison was to the seasteading plans (I added a link to the Stossel show as an update to the post). They're talking about $27,000,000. I'm suggesting the Rez as a cheaper alternative and am serious that it would offer some opportunity for the current residents.

As you posit, there will eventually be a negotiation between the US and either Blueseed or my Pueblo-capitalism-incubator. Here, too, I would suggest my idea has an advantage. Politicians would be wary of putting the screws to indigenous Americans as soon as they started to be profitable in business. Bunch of rich guy VC sharks circling outside SF bay? Not. So. Much.

Both require full-time residency in the new nation. I would hope the US would be gracious neighbors to either and allow frequent travel and reasonable custom arrangements.

Posted by: jk at September 3, 2013 6:35 PM
But jk thinks:

One concern about the solar or wind farms is the transmission lines to get power to big cities where it is needed. I believe that is a larger hurdle than getting land. A large farm in SoCal could not get environmental dispensation to build a comparatively short stretch into Los Angeles. Algae farms, perhaps.

Also, I find the windmills and solar plants to be a huge eyesore and would not wish any more evil on those we have treated badly. May be a minority view, but I can see the monstrous ones in the Rocky Flats wind tunnel in Boulder Valley from high ground near my condo -- 25-30 miles away.

I cannot wish those upon people who value Earth and nature. A swishy business park, yeah.

Posted by: jk at September 3, 2013 6:45 PM

August 26, 2013

Don't Want to Hear it!

My Twitter feed was abuzz with high dudgeon (in 140 character increments) with people who were upset at the raunchiness of last night's MTV Video Music Awards.

With all due respect, world, what were you expecting? I get offended less easily than you and I wasn't watching. Why were you?

Posted by John Kranz at 4:19 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I have two words for Miley Cyrus: Cheryl Brooks.

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2013 2:11 PM

July 15, 2013

I don't know if you guys have heard about this Florida trial...

Apologies in advance to those who have been enjoying ThreeSources as a "Zimmerman Free Zone;" this breaks the streak.

On one hand, the trial says nothing about anything. To quote Edna St. Vincent Millay:

And lay them prone upon the earth and cease
To ponder on themselves, the while they stare
At nothing, intricately drawn nowhere
In shapes of shifting lineage;

As Insty remarks, it's a case about race except the perpetrator is "blacker than Homer Plessy." Jacob Sullum, and many others have pointed out that it is not about "stand your ground" laws. And Taranto reminds that it fits nowhere into lynching or mob rule cases.

It is one single and tragic case.

At the same time, it is about everything, because everybody (at least on my Facebook and Twitter feeds) have imbued everything into it. It's not about stand your ground laws, but it is clearly about using a gun for self defense: not in a clear case of zombies kicking down your door, but in public at a confrontation of one's choosing.

To those not involved directly, it a media event first and foremost. NBC's shameful editing of the 911 launched this endeavor. And MSNBC and FOX have kept the embers aflame for months. A pox on both their houses.

Post verdict social media has been an exercise in sad. My famous lefty FB pals are ready to leave the country or burn down the local Chick-Fil-A. Our blog friend Lattesipper has changed his profile pic to Trayvon's -- and yes, he uses the adorable cherub of 15, not the more current gangsta audition pictures.

One lefty work friend posted a very humble, mirror-image-of-my-thoughts blurb on Facebook. She admitted she had not seen the whole trial and that she didn't have personal knowledge of what went down and what was right. But she was upset at Facebook friends who consider Zimmerman a hero. I was going to post that we were mirror images but shared some humility about dictating to the rest of the world what really happened and what each person really thought. In the 15 minutes it took me to come back to it, her friends had filled the post "Hero?? You mean sad f^&*in jerk loser of all time!" Repeat, adding sanctimony and intensity.

I demurred and will continue so to do. A lot of people are upset. A young African-American I played hockey with as a lad was quite upset. I am going to be uncharacteristically quiet.

But ThreeSourcers know I am a terrible person already -- and I have a segue.

One can view this in the Arnold Kling/Jonathan Haidt prism. FOXNews and MSNBC have played this up. To the FOX viewer, it is Civilization vs. Barbarism. GZ is a community watch guy -- defender of civilization. Martin was a dope smokin', street fighting hood. One defends the property owners, one is a punk and a problem.

To MSNBC (and to be fair, all of the not-specifically Conservative media), we have oppressor/oppressed. A 17 year old boy tragically loses his life -- shot by "a wannabe cop," who was probably a racist.

I guess I will be true to my libertarianism. I don't know what happened. I don't know what any of the participants were thinking. But I believe in due process. The State of Florida threw everything they had at this case (because of media malfeasance, but we work with what we have). And six good people of Seminole County Florida -- unanimously -- said that the state had not made its case.

I sure as hell do not want to make it much easier for prosecutors to indict. I do not think the young African-American community would be well served by advances along that line. Personally, I am happy because I thought the decision to prosecute was political. I consider Zimmerman a tragic player and not a hero.

I guess I take my lefty friend at her word, she always complains of a right wing lunacy flood on her feed. I find it somehow hard to believe that she has more and wackier right wing friends than I do. I certainly suspect a strawman; this kook tsunami is claimed more than it is seen. But I follow Taranto's Best of the Web on Facebook, and there were some pretty happy people posting there. Perhaps the worst lesson is just how easily people can be played by the media.

UPDATE: I do love this country: Juror B-37 gets book deal.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:55 PM | Comments (10)
But johngalt thinks:

Zimmerman is no hero, but he's also no murder.

"How does something like this happen?" How do dozens of young men get shot to death every weekend in your home town, Mr. President? Is the root of the problem more likely "wannabe" cops, or "wannabe" thugs?

But in this specific case it seems a series of events conspired to lead to the result. Many say that Zimmerman provoked the altercation. He may have, but none of the facts in evidence constitute a crime. Or shall we make it illegal to walk down the street behind another person?

Posted by: johngalt at July 15, 2013 6:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Further: Oakland demonstrators carried banner advertising [Last video at story.]


Not exclusively the self-interested race concerns we've been told, it seems.

Posted by: johngalt at July 15, 2013 7:42 PM
But jk thinks:

I think brother jg and I are on the same page.

There is so much bad information around, I do not know what is true anymore. The damning thing I heard was that GZ was told not to engage by the dispatcher on the 911 call. Taking that as true, I don't think it alters the legal decision but it figures poorly in my moral calculus: neighborhood watch should defer to the Police.

Posted by: jk at July 15, 2013 7:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Socialists come out for anything...

Posted by: jk at July 15, 2013 7:53 PM
But jk thinks:

UPDATE: Like Will Saletan I got it wrong:

The 911 dispatcher who spoke to Zimmerman on the fatal night didn't tell him to stay in his car. Zimmerman said he was following a suspicious person, and the dispatcher told him, "We don't need you do to that." Chief prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda conceded in his closing argument that these words were ambiguous.

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2013 10:23 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Of course the trial says something; it says a lot really. Unfortunately, the most salient point is how quickly Ratings Whores turn into Propaganda Pimps (and how badly it dishonors both the dead and the living).

Think the FB team will let that through?


Posted by: nanobrewer at July 17, 2013 1:18 AM

July 13, 2013

The "Producer's Pledge"

"I am proud of my company's product and the profit we make by selling it to others - freely, and to our mutual benefit. Since certain government entities have materially restricted my ability to produce and profit it is no longer beneficial for me to sell my product in the jurisdictions of those government entities. I therefore pledge that I will no longer sell my product through distribution channels that serve the state, county, or local governments that restrict or prohibit my ability to produce my product."

The idea here is that when the voters of, say, Boulder County, Colorado, find their gasoline prices spiking and supplies becoming scarce they will finally make the connection between their voting habits and the supply of daily conveniences that they have come to take for granted.

If you are interested in the supporting "rant" for this idea, read on below.

Ayn Rand said,

"Productive work is the central purpose of a rational man’s life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive work—pride is the result."

Anyone who has ever felt the gratifying sense of an accomplishment after making or building something has a hint that this is true. But the central purpose? The central value? To answer those questions ask this one: What else, other than productiveness, gives man pride?

Just as the passage of the 2009 "Stimulus" Bill precipitated a civil uprising known as the TEA Party, the partisan overreach of Colorado's 2013 legislative session produced a movement advocating that many rural Colorado counties secede from the rest of the state. Practical problems with that idea spawned a call to rearrange Colorado's legislature such that every county is represented by its own state senator, regardless of population, as is the case regarding the several states in the United States Senate. But this too has a practical problem. The same problem that led to both the 2013 Colorado legislature and the 2009 United States legislature being controlled by a single political party. The problem is something Americans have long been taught to hold as a virtue. The problem is democracy.

Democracy is not the same thing as freedom. Democracy is the idea, not that people decide how to live their own lives, but that a large enough group of people can decide how everyone is to live his life. To understand if an idea is virtuous or not imagine its extreme. The extreme of democracy is ochlocracy. (Look it up.) The extreme of freedom is, liberty. And to understand just how mixed up and turned around political philosophy has become, consider the fact that those who once advocated for extreme freedom, whether from a monarch or from a religion, were called "liberals" but those known as liberals today are advocates of "social equality" and/or "environmental protection" via democracy - a decidedly anti-liberty prescription.

The men and women of rural Colorado have many reasons to seek separation from their neighbors in the urban counties but as one county commissioner said, "The mandate that tells us what kind of energy sources we may use was the last straw." And understandably so. In addition to producing food that feeds the urban county populations, many of the rural counties produce another valuable export product that results in billions of dollars in wealth creation and millions of dollars in tax revenues to state and local governments. That product, actually many products, is known as oil and natural gas.

For economic reasons the fastest growing process used today to extract oil and gas in the United States is hydraulic fracturing, or fracing. (Also spelled "fracking.") The only real difference between fracking and conventional drilling is that a water-based solution is pumped into the well after drilling and before pumping to create pathways through which the oil may escape to the well bore. That's it. It's not polluting and it's not sinister, although its detractors do everything possible to convince us, the people who vote, that it is both of those things. And many people are convinced. One such person is Washington County resident Steve Frey who said, "I don't want be [sic] in a 51st state. I don't want any part of their fracking that they're doing in Weld County."

I could not possibly agree more with Mr. Frey's contention that he has a right to be free from every aspect of the oil extraction process called "fracking" that he disagrees with, for whatever reason he chooses to do so. Industry must begin taking immediate steps, doing everything in its power, so that those who oppose its practices must not be forced to accept the severance tax revenues accorded to their local government by fracking. Unfortunately, government holds the reins on virtually every aspect of this unfair treatment of Mr. Frey and others similarly situated. Industry has but one thing it may control. Namely, to whom and to where it chooses to sell its product.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:56 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Well said and well thought. But it strikes me as a very tough sale.

Trying to think of a producer who would eschew a sale, it would probably have to be more direct. Maybe I wouldn't sell to the Taliban, but withholding gas from a poor stupid Boulder guy's Subaru? It doesn't take many cycles to rationalize away that.

My employer sells bucketloads to gub'mint. I read your pledge first, as you presented and thought "we're not going to leave that money on the table" while he rest of your post loaded.

NED bless Magpul (though principled stands might be a plus in that industry) but while government seems pretty close to Atlas, I think business is light years away. And for every principled Galt, there are a dozen James Taggarts to patch things over. In fact, we probably make the Progressives' favorite error of conflating business-folk with Capitalists.

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2013 12:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes. Your very last point is key. And it is the only way we can convince producers to do this, as a moral issue.

"Do not conflate winning special favors from government with achievement. Cronyism and achievement are each other's mortal enemies."

(I quote because I just said it on Facebook.)

Just as peaceful Muslims lose credibility when they fail to denounce the crimes of Islamofascists perpetrated in the name of their faith, capitalists lose credibility when they fail to denounce and distinguish themselves from crony-capitalists.

I'm not thinking we would encourage individual gas stations to refuse fueling Subarus (while still selling to SUV owners) but for oil producers or refiners to stop selling to retailers who don't agree to temporarily padlock their pumps in those cities and counties. The producers will still have a world market to sell into. The retailers will be under public pressure to make a decision. If one agrees he will be the only one in the region to receive fuel shipments. This applies to all counties, even the ones that allow fracking.

There are details to be worked out, for sure, but to any extent such a plan is executed, especially just before an election, it will bring an important question into the public square: Do producers need consumers, or do consumers (and government) need producers?

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2013 1:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"We will rebuild America's system on the moral premise which had been its foundation, but which you treated as a guilty underground, in your frantic evasion of the conflict between that premise and your mystic morality: the premise that man is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others, that man's life, his freedom, his happiness are his by inalienable right." | Atlas Shrugged
Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2013 11:01 AM

July 10, 2013

"saucily exhibiting Kelly Slater's package"

There are many reasons to embed the preceding promotional video. I'll try to hit them all, in no particular order.


Product placements for HTC phones and Windows Phone OS, which they refer to as "Surface" at the end of the promo.

A hip soundtrack, featuring a group I'd never heard before.

Feminist schadenfreude. After all, has there ever been, in the history of advertising, a man who complained that a woman in a commercial was "sexualised?" The commenter's mindset is clearly revealed by the term "typical blonde size six surfer girl." Jealous much?

Equality. This one nearly provokes me to profanity. It is fast replacing altruism as, in my opinion, the most dangerous and dispicable idea in human thought. To wit:

So what exactly is so offensive this time, as the surfing giant is merely using a tried and tested marketing approach? Probably the fact that this little voyeuristic semi soft-core porn clip is representing a professional sport which has been fighting a long and ongoing battle for gender equality.

Please. Men and women are - wait for it - differ'nt. Commercial advertising is as free-market as anything else left in this world and its practitioners have discovered a formula that works. You may not like the formula, and you may not like that it works, but no amount of snippy commentary will ever change those facts.

Freedom. Freedom to voluntarily participate in a promo video featuring ass shots, of your own ass. "12 butt shots in one minute and 46 seconds exactly." Huzzah! Perhaps you'd prefer if she wore a burka, Ms. Salvo? As a father of daughters, I have no objections whatsoever to this promo. Natural, athletic beauty is nothing to hide or to battle against using shame, much less the government regulation that is so routinely resorted to in such matters of "inequality." You, who claim to seek "gender equality" would have more credibility if you didn't object to the same "offenses" as does the Taliban.

Did I mention badonkadonk?

Hat tip to Tully Corcoran and the "Popular Now" feed on Bing.

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:24 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

And I speak fluent Redmondonian. The tablet at 0:29 is Microsoft's "Surface:" positioned to destroy the iPad about the same time ads like this lose their efficacy and appeal.

Posted by: jk at July 11, 2013 9:41 AM
But johngalt thinks:

In "North Colorado" the iPad will be illegal.

Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2013 2:02 PM
But Sugarchuck thinks:

What strat?

Posted by: Sugarchuck at July 11, 2013 4:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahahahahahahahahaha! Make sc miss a Red Strat with a rosewood fretboard and you're doing something right!

Posted by: jk at July 11, 2013 5:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

He must have been mesmorized by the hip soundtrack. And I too, since it easily merited its own bullet point on this, the successor to the blog for "Jazz, Guitars, and Right Wing Politics."

Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2013 6:32 PM
But jk thinks:

There was a soundtrack?

Posted by: jk at July 11, 2013 6:42 PM

May 11, 2013

Political Language?

A beloved relative posted this today. I cannot embed, but you'll want to go read the headline on "The Earth-Shatteringly Amazing Speech That'll Change The Way You Think About Adulthood."

For those who do not have progressive friends on Facebook: a) what in the hell do you do for aggravation?, and, b) know that belches out a constant stream of stuff like this which is fawned over by Facebook Progs in search of something really deep. I'm being mean and petty -- but you have not yet watched the video. Watch it coast to coast and tell me I am being harsh.

It's humorous in a David Sedaris -NPR kind of way; you can hear the chattering classes tittering in the audience. Talk about first world problems -- the wheel on his shopping cart sticks! Can't Harry Reid do something about that? Children ride in these carts ferchrissakes!

Yes, life sucks so bad. Your sweet car gets stuck in traffic, and the supermarket is so full of plenty that you have to walk through clean and "over-lit" aisles full of inexpensive varieties of goods to get what you want. The f***ing humanity!

But the solution, kindly provided (that's what makes it soooo amazing!) is to realize everybody else's life sucks too! Maybe worse! Damn, I feel better.

How about you appreciate the affluence that a bad shopping cart wheel is the worst part of your food acquisition experience (vis-a-vis hunting down a mammoth with a spear...)? Or hows and aboutin' you plan ahead to shop at a less congested time. Or order online? Or start a company that delivers groceries to the others who find this unpleasant?

I came here to rant, but I left a comment for my dear cousin:

"I hope this guy does not work the 'suicide hotline.'"

Posted by John Kranz at 11:31 AM | Comments (2)
But Terri thinks:

Yes my friends you've just spent tons of money and time to get this great education which you really needed to have because only the educated know that big secret found in the lines of a Jimmy Buffet song.

"Life is mostly attitude and timing"


Posted by: Terri at May 11, 2013 10:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And our parents thought the kids of their generation were worthless, stupid lazy-asses. We were pikers! Today's crop wouldn't know "adulthood" if their Depends undergarment slipped.

Posted by: johngalt at May 12, 2013 12:06 PM

February 6, 2013

A Rant is Clearly Required

These ^&!@*^ing people have a lot to answer for!

Ranting is not my thing, but we sit back and let "them" push "these things" through.

We know better. We knew about ethanol mandates. We knew about plastic bag bans. We knew about the moronically foolish inefficacy of Kyoto. And yet, these predictable policy train wrecks keep happening.

San Francisco's Plastic Bag Ban Kills About 5 People A Year

I was aware of the negative economic consequences of plastic bag bans and plastic bag taxes, both for bag manufacturers and businesses that use the bags. I was also aware that when you raise the price of things (as the plastic bag tax does in places like D.C.), you make things harder for the people least able to adjust to arbitrary price increases -- the poor. And I was aware that any environmental benefit we're likely to see from bag bans and bag taxes is speculative at best.

I was not aware that the plastic bag bans have a death toll, as Ramesh Ponnuru writes in Bloomberg:

Ponnuru offers a novel; suggestion: how about leaving people alone?
The authors argue, not completely convincingly, against the idea that regular washing and drying of reusable bags would solve the problem. They point out that the use of hot water and detergent imposes environmental costs, too. And reusable bags require more energy to make than plastic ones. The stronger argument, it seems to me, is that 97 percent figure: Whatever the merits of regularly cleaning the bags, it doesn't appear likely to happen.

The best course for government, then, is probably to encourage people to recycle their plastic bags -- or, maybe, just let people make their own decisions. Plastic-bag bans are another on a distressingly long list of political issues where I cannot see eye to eye with Eva Longoria.

Like ethanol. There is NO BENEFIT (see, it is a rant if you use all caps!). It is a non-solution to a problem that may or may not exist. Yet, undeterred, they'll be on to their next big fix, ignoring the hungry Guatemalans and dead infected Americans in the wake of previous "successes."

Posted by John Kranz at 2:32 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Huzzah! Imagine the benefit to society if government, and the media which drives much of its behavior, instead focused its considerable resources on issues of greater import, e.g. how many squares of toilet tissue Eva Longoria uses in the loo.

Posted by: johngalt at February 6, 2013 6:29 PM
But Steve D thinks:

Who cares if washing the bags will happen or not? The best course for the government is to sit down, shut up and no run around banning anything and everything they see.

Posted by: Steve D at February 8, 2013 5:30 PM

December 20, 2012

Sarah Hoyt - "Ungovernable"

Sarah Hoyt, who grew up in the Socialist Paradise of Portugal and is a successful author of many a fine SF/F novel, sees the future...and has faith that the American people will weather the difficult times ahead with some measure of style:


I’ve said before that I became an American by reading Heinlein books. This is true at least to an extent, though I’d be at a loss to explain the process to you. I mean, if you knew how to do that, book by book, chipping away, so someone starts out wondering what’s wrong with all those Americans who don’t like taxes (don’t they know taxes are civilization? And have always existed) and ends up thinking getting a Don’t Tread On Me tattoo is a brilliant idea, even while immersed in a socialist, communitary system, we’d have no problems. We’d just use “the process.”

Mind, you, it is likely that the er… Heinleinizing (totally a word. Don’t worry your pretty head) of my opinions came from watching socialism up close and personal. Heinlein had help. But all the same, and even so, by the time I came to the States as an exchange student I had been, so to put it, primed to react to the US as “home.”


This is why statists of any stripe so often throw their hands up and call us ungovernable. Not that this gives them the idea they shouldn’t try. No. Instead, they try to devise more cunning ways of governing us. You have them to give credit for dreaming the impossible dream. It’s the one proof we have that the sons of beetles are Americans.

So… after sixty years of creeping statism, they’ve now “captured the flag” – they have actually got all of the important systems sewn up: news, entertainment, education, government.

They think – can you blame them? – that they won.

I won’t say they can’t hurt us. They can. The mechanisms they’ve seized hold of are important and they are – natch – misusing them.

I’m not saying that this will be easy. It won’t. Our economy is likely to be an incredible shambles, and I’ve said before I think we’ll lose at least one city.

But, listen, the problem with these sons of… Babel is that they might be American, but they’re not American ENOUGH. If they were, they’d understand “ungovernable” and this willingness for each of us to go it alone (often for common benefit, but on own recognizance, nonetheless) is not a bug. It’s a feature. And that it’s baked in the cake of a people who came here to escape the top-down spirit of other places. Some of the black sheep (or as one friend of mine calls it, the plaid sheep) attitude is genetic, hereditary, inborn. And enough of us have it.

Finally, let's note that Sarah is from COLORADO. There's just something about that place. Rand didn't choose it to be a star of Atlas Shrugged out of thin air.

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 12:47 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Not to diss on brother ew's excerpting skills, but read the whole thing. Touquevillian.

Posted by: jk at December 20, 2012 1:22 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I see I spelt it "Unogvernable" in the link but I'm leaving it 'cause it's appropriately symbolic!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at December 20, 2012 1:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

An interesting comparison of American individualism and European specialization. One might expect comparative advantage to give Europeans the edge, but that's not the way this essay reads. Instead it gives them, stagnation.

Could it be that specialization, while more efficient, also creates monopolies? Or at least cartels. Supply is diminished and costs rise to the point where the nonessential is just dispensed with. A translation: Nonessential = luxuries.

So in addition to individual empowerment and, yes, liberation, the human tendency toward generalization also tends toward larger and freer markets. Whoa - felt a shudder just then.

Posted by: johngalt at December 20, 2012 5:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Sorry man, but I don't see any of that. I see a bit of class-distinction (Americans don't "know their place") versus a bit of boisterousness. A bit of community spirit. Yet even in the context of our specialization discussions I don't see it here.

Posted by: jk at December 20, 2012 6:17 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I think it's not exactly specialization or generalization, but American's do-it-yourselfization that she is getting at. When merde happens, more Americans jump in the water and rescue the kid, fix the leak in the dam, put out the fire...whereas most Euros wait for the official, credentialed unionized repair person. Our government officials are always trying to turn us into that, but she thinks it hasn't really taken.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at December 20, 2012 7:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:
Part of the thing with Europe is the worship of the “experts.” “We’ll take it to the expert” or “We’ll have the expert do it.”

There is more than one thing going on here, I admit. One is a submission to authoritah. Another is a certain humility that "one person can't do everything." Though whether it is a chicken or its egg, this condition depends upon specialization.

Maybe it's my exposure to academia that makes me more sensitive. Whenever someone tells me I "can't" then I, like Heinlein, become more determined. "No, buddy ... YOU can't!"

Posted by: johngalt at December 21, 2012 4:04 PM

November 5, 2012

Albert Jay Nock: The Masses and the Remnant

Have you read the Book of Isiah lately? As we head into tomorrow and the Most Important Election of Our Lifetimes, I recall what the great Albert Jay Nock had to say in The Atlantic Monthly back in 1936:

It was one of those prosperous reigns, however — like the reign of Marcus Aurelius at Rome, or the administration of Eubulus at Athens, or of Mr. Coolidge at Washington — where at the end the prosperity suddenly peters out and things go by the board with a resounding crash. (...)

"Tell them what is wrong, and why and what is going to happen unless they have a change of heart and straighten up. Don't mince matters. Make it clear that they are positively down to their last chance. Give it to them good and strong and keep on giving it to them. I suppose perhaps I ought to tell you," He added, "that it won't do any good. The official class and their intelligentsia will turn up their noses at you and the masses will not even listen. They will all keep on in their own ways until they carry everything down to destruction, and you will probably be lucky if you get out with your life." (...)

Why, if all that were so — if the enterprise were to be a failure from the start — was there any sense in starting it? "Ah," the Lord said, "you do not get the point. There is a Remnant there that you know nothing about. They are obscure, unorganized, inarticulate, each one rubbing along as best he can. They need to be encouraged and braced up because when everything has gone completely to the dogs, they are the ones who will come back and build up a new society; and meanwhile, your preaching will reassure them and keep them hanging on. Your job is to take care of the Remnant, so be off now and set about it." (...)

As the word masses is commonly used, it suggests agglomerations of poor and underprivileged people, laboring people, proletarians, and it means nothing like that; it means simply the majority. The mass man is one who has neither the force of intellect to apprehend the principles issuing in what we know as the humane life, nor the force of character to adhere to those principles steadily and strictly as laws of conduct; and because such people make up the great and overwhelming majority of mankind, they are called collectively the masses. The line of differentiation between the masses and the Remnant is set invariably by quality, not by circumstance. The Remnant are those who by force of intellect are able to apprehend these principles, and by force of character are able, at least measurably, to cleave to them. The masses are those who are unable to do either.

One may, if one has actually had a semblance of an education, recall that the Founders made sure the masses would not have a real voice in how the United States was to be run. As in every Republic in history, this gradually broke down. 1913, 1933, 1965...each step in the process seemed right at the time. There were good reasons; all the best professors at America's finest universities taught them.

And so we have come to this pass. Tomorrow, I expect that the masses will reelect the President and accelerate the time whent he Remant must again rebuild a failing society. Take a deep breath, Three Sourcers. We are a piece of the Remnant and better put on our armor and sharpen our swords, for truly the Scheiss is coming.

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 3:14 PM | Comments (4)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I realize that this is serving as a sort of election prediction. I would be delighted to be proven wrong tomorrow. If so, I will happily go right out of the Prophecy business!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at November 5, 2012 3:47 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Might I add, when the Scheiss hits the rotary impeller, it will not be distributed evenly.

Isaiah had an unenviable job laid out before him. I disagree with you about tomorrow's expectations, but even with the SCOAMF departing 1600 Pennsylvania, it only slows down the process. Eventually, all Republics follow the course of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

That being said, it will be the place of the Remnant to rebuild in the aftermath of the economic carnage, and I'd recall these words to your mind for that situation:

"The road is cleared," said Galt. "We are going back to the world."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 5, 2012 4:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"SURVIVOR: US Economic Collapse Edition"

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2012 5:16 PM
But dagny thinks:

Seems like there are several places I could put this reply but I am going to put it here because, I think I must be counted among the pessimists at this time. I don’t wish to be remnant. Such re-building will require guns, and hunger. I might survive such but as one of the few parents on this blog, I realize that it would be very hard on my little kids. It will cost them a childhood if not more.

I remember on election eve 4 years ago thinking that we would probably win because there was no way that 50% of our electorate was stupid enough to vote for such a thinly-veiled, failed socialist ideology. Boy was I wrong! I clearly misjudged our electorate. I still don’t think they are mostly stupid, naïve, uneducated, or lazy. I think they are mostly irrational. I don’t think they are intentionally or maliciously irrational. I think they are unknowingly trained to be irrational.

For example, many say that, “health care is a right, everyone should have healthcare.” But they also agree that Doctors, Nurses, and Janitors in hospitals deserve to be paid. So how can I have a, “right,” to someone else’s efforts? But the vast majority of Americans are capable of holding these and many other inherently contradictory ideas.

So I think they will re-elect Barack Obama because they are incapable of recognizing which policies have resulted in our current economic woes, and which policies might correct them based on rational analysis. I sure hope I am wrong again!

Win or lose, I will continue my efforts to fight the destruction of this country as we know it.

As my jg says, “Atlas Shrugged was a cautionary tale, not a blueprint.”

Posted by: dagny at November 5, 2012 8:45 PM

October 25, 2012

Joda Vida Loco

Colorado has been in the national news again for the past weeks, and for another horrific reason. Ten year-old Jessica Ridgeway disappeared on her way to school October 5th and was found dead some days later. I hung on every bit of news with an uneasy combination of need to know, fear, and a simmering rage and hatred for the unhuman monster who could perpetrate such a crime. I was not surprised to learn that the confessed suspect is a maladjusted male who was teased mercilessly by classmates, including girls, and with bizarre interests such as medical examination and mortuary science. I was surprised to learn that he is but 17 years old himself.

I haven't written anything about this before now since I'm confident my thoughts and feelings are universal, particularly amongst parents. But today I want to cite a coincidence that I think is at least a partial clue into the devolution of a human mind to the level we witness here. Last weekend, while harvesting the season's final hay crop, I found a book discarded along the county road that passes our farm. I picked it up. I was mildly taken aback by the doodled word-cloud that covered the outside in half-inch tall red letters:

FEAR, PAIN, SICK BOY, Tourtcher, MADDNE$$, Die By The Sword, DEATH, suicide, I For AN Eye, Blood For Blood, F*** The World, Vengeance I Demand, War, MEth, F*** Sleep, Murder, CRip, KillER, No Mercy, Lust, NO $URENDER, HATE, Rage, REtROBution.
My Hunger, LiES, TRUE Love (garbled), -> Killa, WASTED Time, TRust no Bitch, Kill All that Snitch, F*** The PiG$, ANti Government!, Anti ChRISt, Anti All Realigion.
104% Blood BANG 104% the Punnisher. Demon.
Joda Vida Loco.

I have no idea whose this is, or how it got on the side of my road. But it seems obvious to me it is a school-aged rant. I remember my high school years. It wasn't easy trying to fit in and be myself all at the same time, particularly when I didn't even really know how to "be myself" or who I was. I scribbled kill this, kill that. But this seems beyond anything I ever thought or felt. It brings my constantly integrating mind back to one thing: The crippling of young minds.

Teach your children. Teach them well.

Posted by JohnGalt at 8:50 PM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2012

jk Takes a Contrarian Position

Brother jg and I both enjoyed the political pundits we follow on twitter mixing up replacement-ref-bashing and politics. You can see a few in the #3src Twitter widget. (By the way, if you have four characters, add it to your tweets -- this is not an exclusive club and I see a lot of blog friends' tweets that I wish they had tagged.)

But I am not abandoning my position of taking Capital's side against Labor. Even after that horrible game. Even after the Interc-- I mean touchdown that ended it. I encourage the owners to be reasonable but hold firm. And I decry that the entire sum IQ of the nation's sportscasters (over/under?) has been devoted to demanding capitulation.

Yes, they suck -- but they suck in a fair, random and chaotic/unpredictable way. Too bad about the bad calls in the last two minutes, Packers, but as my friend routinely tells his kids after a close loss: you want to avoid close losses, score more points. One of the nation's premiere quarterbacks was sacked eight times and held without a touchdown pass. You can't blame that on rookie refs.

I was at LOTR and just caught the last quarter. But I assume if the other games I have seen are anything to go by that lads in green and gold benefitted from a questionable call or two. Suck it up. Score more.

After the teachers' strike in Chicago, I do appreciate that the referees' walkout is legitimate, legal and moral. You guys cannot do this without us, they claim, and many think they are right. I am going to continue to be a stooge for capital and encourage the owners to stand firm.

But damn -- that was a bad call.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:42 AM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

My understanding is that the refs were locked out by the owners. They aren't on strike.

As bad as things are with NFL officiating I fully support the owners' position. BUT, they need to decide if saving tons o bucks in referee compensation is worth damaging their brand. Their companies, their choice.

I heard a known conservative-minded sports commentator say today, "The commissioner can do whatever he wants. The owners can do whatever they want." It sounded derisive at the time, but it is true and as it should be.

Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2012 1:02 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

JG, you appear to be accurate on the lockout-vs-strike issue. The way I hear it, though, it's not a "tons o bucks" issue; one person I read had calculated that for the 120 refs, the total increase in compensation costs is just $35,000 a week total for the lot of them - a drop in the bucket for a business like the NFL. They could completely underwrite that with just two more fines a week for helmet-to-helmet hits (okay, I'm guilty of snark on that one. Sorry).

If it's true that the money isn't that big and the real sticking points are the ability to replace poorly-performing refs and modification of a cherry pension, then the situation does equate in my mind a lot more with the Chicago teachers.

It's been written that on top of their jobs averaging $149,000 a year, the majority of refs have regular day jobs as well. I don't know whether that's true, but if it is, then I would extend your final thought. The commissioner can do what we wants, and the owners can do what they want (except choose who to sell their teams to and move to where they want to move, of course, but that's for another discussion). So can the refs. If they're not getting what they want, they're totally free to go do whatever else they want with their lives and let others compete for the vacancies their departures create.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 25, 2012 1:57 PM
But jk thinks:

You missed something (UPDATE: I mean by not viewing the game, I am not criticizing interleaved comments). The final play was somewhat the icing on the cake. The final five minutes were played pretty much by Lewis Carroll rules. Phantom pass interference and roughing the passer penalties were followed closely by non-calls of the same blatant offenses.

Business Week, which I consider farther left than The Nation, unsurprisingly misses the key difference. The NFL is a private entity which must consider damage to its brand versus discounted future costs and labor flexibility. The children and taxpayers of Chicago are underrepresented in negotiations, but I think the NFL owners are pretty well lawyered up.

C'mon. You gonna stop watching because the refs are bad? I didn't know there was such a thing as a conservative sportscaster -- but I think the rest are overplaying the damage card. Three hundred angry calls to the Wisconsin local sports talk radio station don't cost the league anything. I think it unlikely that people will stop watching or buying the terrible beer that is cleverly advertised.

Go billionaire 0.1% owners! Smash those poor $150K guys! Show no mercy!

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2012 2:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

That cherry pension plan is probably costing a lot more than $35k per game. That was the tons-o-bucks I was thinking of. To the extent the sticking point is performance reviews and replacing bad refs, I'll posit that this is the Revenge of Ed Hochuli whose call in that 2008 Broncos game, by the way, effectively reversed the outcome of the game.

Let's step this debate up a bit though: Limbaugh points out that the poor officiating in today's NFL is analogous to partiality in the news media covering American politics. "Which is a greater outrage?"

Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2012 2:21 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'll go along with that: anyone upset by the damage done by the incompetent refs and not upset by the greater and more relevant damage done by the obviously-biased Obama Steno Corps - er, the Mainstream Media™ - ought to have his head and his priority examined.

But if we're going there, then consider:

LIFE IMITATES POLITICS: Bad calls have always been a part of football; we accept that refs aren't perfect, but we do require them to be neither incompetent nor partial. Green Bay was a victim of that last night, but here's a truism: if it's not close, you can't lose a game due to one last-minute bad call. You want the score to be outside the margin of ref error.

That applies to elections just like football. You want to make the margin of victory greater than the margin of fraud. If you do that, you can't get burned by bags of votes mysteriously appearing in the trunk of someone's car, or voting irregularities in the polling places.

Josef Stalin once reportedly said "It's not the people who call the plays, it's the people who make the calls." Stalin was, according to some anonymous sources, an ardent New England Patriots fan.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 25, 2012 2:43 PM
But jk thinks:

You ever see a picture of Stalin and Belichik together? Just askin'...

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2012 3:05 PM

August 30, 2012

"Straight Outta Rand"

Via Althouse

"That’s straight out of Rand, and ’50s anti-Communist paranoia."

To the tune of, well you know:

You are now about to witness the strength of reason

Verse One: Paul Ryan

Straight outta Rand, crazy m*********** named Ryan
From the gang called GOP
When I'm called off, I take the gloves off
Rhyme a syllogism, and bodies are hauled off
You too, Walsh, if ya f*** with me
Mitt Romney gonna hafta come and get me
Off yo ass, that's how I'm goin out
For the punk m*********** that's showin out
Progressives start to mumble, they wanna rumble
I throw the math and they cry and stumble
Goin off on a m********* like that
with a sharp brain that's pointed at yo ass
So give it up smooth.
Ain't no tellin when I'm down for a rational mind move
Here's a budget rap to keep yo thinkin
with a debt like that, you should be blinkin
Reason is the tool
Don't try and call me no m********* fool
Me you can go toe to toe, no maybe
I'm knockin liberals out tha box, daily
yo weekly, monthly and yearly
until them dumb m********* see clearly
that I'm down with the capital R-A-N-D
Boy you can't f*** with me
So when I'm in your neighborhood, you better duck
Coz Paul Ryan is logical as f***
As I leave, believe it, I'm manned
and when I come back, boy, I'm comin straight outta Rand

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 3:30 PM | Comments (1)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

What can I say, it's rap day. That ain't no 'hip-hop."

(ADDED: If you are not familiar with the original source material for this parody it probably makes no sense, so

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 30, 2012 4:08 PM

July 5, 2012

I Don't Need Your (Culture) War. However...

In response to my post Law of the Day on Tuesday, Brother jk notes "I tend to run from this stuff because it is tainted with "The Cuture War" which I avoid."

Amen, brother. The "Culture War" belongs with the Wars on poverty, drugs, cancer, etc. They aren't "wars" and they can't be won. However, neither can we disconnect our love of liberty from the culture that sustains it.

I'm not planning to make this an wide-ranging essay, just a few observations and assertions that can be tested and critiqued. I am a huge fan of Paul Johnson's epic Modern Times, and on the Fourth of July Ed Driscoll of PJ Media taps it, if only to partly disagree with Johnson's main thesis.

It's a great, wide-ranging piece, but I don't think Driscoll has quite hit the nail squarely on every point, this time. The New Man theme, the "starting from zero" conceit, got its big debut with the French Revolutionaries, not the scientific socialist eugenics technocrats of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. About a million died in that 18th century effort to change the very nature of humanity, admittedly a pittance compared to the tolls of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and their heirs, but given the old technology the French had available, pretty large, non?

One of the many, many wonderful things about the U.S. of A. is that we managed to have our culture "wars" over the last five decades with hardly a handful of persons actually killed on either side. Lots of court battles, from Griswold to Roe to Lawrence and all points in between, have broken the legal power of the State to ban birth control, abortion, adultery and sodomy. The battle in most educational institutions to "celebrate" homosexuality, teenage oral sex and condoms for every 12-year-old has been won, and our third graders are being drilled on how "proud" people should be about, well, you know, THAT.

We are in the middle portion of a vast experiment in yes, moral relativism. Nothing is bad, except "trying to tell other people what to do." The funny thing is, the Founders, who ranged in religious conviction from hard-core Christian to Deist to (closeted) atheist, all seemed to believe that individual liberty and continued self government would have to stand on a base of a moral people.

I consider myself a libertarian. I don't believe the power of the state should be used to enforce all of my personal beliefs about the Good, the True and the Beautiful. However, I don't believe that a culture that says it's beautiful to have children with no fathers and no means of support except the state, to screw who- or what-ever you want without social censure and to "tolerate" the intolerable is going to continue to thrive.

I don't want a war, for sure, but I want to be able to apply social pressure to meet the standards that allow for freedom and prosperity. These standards include some restraint and delayed gratification. I'll keep speaking up for those, call it what you may.

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 2:37 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Speak up, by all means available. Convince, cajole, even tell "other people what to do." But do so privately. Keep the power of the state out of it.

I'm reiterating rather than contradicting (except on the point that humanity can't win a "war" on cancer) but the focus of your ire should not be those engaged in anti-success behavior, rather the government policies which enable and encourage them. The Siamese-twin of liberal social policies must be a complete dedication to allowing individuals to succeed or fail by their own lifestyle choices. The social safety net is the root cause of cultural decay, not freedom.

I'm reminded at this point of an awesome Tweet by brother Robert last week: "Reality doesn't listen to speeches."

Posted by: johngalt at July 5, 2012 5:24 PM
But dagny thinks:

"The social safety net is the root cause of cultural decay, not freedom."

I would add that the government coerced social safety net is the root cause of decay.

The VOLUNTARY social safety net that indicates that we have the wealth to support our children, parents, friends and neighbors and even complete strangers if we wish to is the hallmark of a hugely successful society.

Posted by: dagny at July 5, 2012 6:23 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Your points are well taken, and I could have been clearer--all of the things I see as undermining the culture are indeed national government approved or supported laws, programs or education system initiatives. I would argue that states should have the right to restrict or ban some of the things I rant about, see Justice Scalia's many dissenting opinions...

I fight with myself on whether I would vote for them, though.

"Nobody ever said it was gonna be semi-tough."

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 5, 2012 6:25 PM

May 15, 2012

The Gay Marriage "Distraction"

It is a well travelled Republican talking point that the gay marriage issue is a distraction from President Obama's economic record. It's true of course, but the Republicans are as much to blame for said distraction as the Democrats.

A friend from suburban Wichita, Kansas emails a link to this story about a public school teacher posting his views against gay marriage on his Facebook page. He has every right to his beliefs, of course, and to speak them publicly. But by continuing to oppose legal recognition of same-sex marriage we allow him to become the face of our conservative party. I will not stand silently by. How many of us have wished we could have been present in the face of an incident of racial discrimination in the segregated south and that we would have had the courage to say, "No, that is wrong?" Same story, different age.

My Kansas friend sent the link with the note "Need your comments here" to both me and my brother. What follows is my response, which rebutted my brother's.

[Brother] writes that it is "nonsense" that established law denies a right for same-sex marriage, then declares there is "no defined right for same sex couples to "marry." Which is it?

[Brother] writes that "The majority of the country does not care what people do in their own bedrooms or whom they decide to 'love'" but then proclaims homosexuality "abnormal" and that he doesn't support homosexual weddings because that would "redefine something that has been a pillar of communities for 5000+ years" and "the more we break down the institution of marriage to simply be a whim, the more our society will continue to degrade." So you, and "the majority of the country" are fine with homosexuality, you just don't want to acknowledge it in law?

[Brother] faults Conkling, the Hutchinson teacher, for "taking the cause backwards" and "fuel[ing] the opposition" by opposing gay marriage on religious grounds. I say [brother] is no different by attempting to oppose this individual liberty on non-religious grounds, whatever those might be. Until he clarifies his contradictions there's no way to know what objective basis he claims.

Conkling's "logic" is even more fallacious: Homosexuality is wrong because it is a sin, equal in God's eyes to all other sins, and we are ALL sinners. He says all sins are equal in God's eyes so homosexuality is equal to murder, but it's also equal to lying. Do you agree that lying is as wrong as murder? I don't. Conkling says he condemns gay marriage "because those who embrace it will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven." First of all, doesn't the bible teach man to "judge not?" Secondly, there are other beliefs about heaven and sin and for one man to impose his own upon all other men is just as wrong as Sharia law.

Would it not be better to simply allow civil unions, conferring all the legal rights of marriage while witholding the term "marriage" than to continue to allow this issue to divide Americans and distract from issues that actually matter to all of us, like whether or not America will be a socialist country? And even if they aren't satisfied with civil unions and come back next year demanding "marriage" who cares? Whatever it is called it will still be a minority behavior. Unlike drug legalization nobody makes a legitimate case that legal homosexual marriage will cause more homosexuality. (But so what if it did? Will that affect you? Your children? Anyone who is not "abnormal?")

The cause of western laissez-faire capitalism is a cause of individual liberty. Individual liberty in commerce is a human birthright, as is individual liberty in social relations. Individuals are, by their nature, free to join a commune or establish a nuclear family; free to love another of the same gender or of the opposite gender. If you want to live free of oppressive taxation and wealth redistribution your only argument is individual liberty as a human birthright. But you weaken that argument by denying others a liberty of which you disapprove. Stop it. Admit your mistake and strengthen your position in the debate that really matters - that really affects you and your family's lives - by abandoning a debate that doesn't matter. Don't insist that your beliefs hold dominion over the beliefs of others lest they turn your logic back on you and insist that you are your brother's keeper.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:23 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Agreed and well said. There are quite a few things which may be defined as sinful which we do not elevate to statute. "Coveting thy neighbor's ass" is still okay in Weld County, as far as I know.

I allowed a many-years-old subscription to National Review elapse when they demanded -- on the cover -- a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage. I wasn't petulant about it, still respect NR, and have slid a little money their way since.

But I basically reached the same conclusion, that I could not employ the supremacy clause for a personal matter and expect others to defend my economic liberty. I suspect that would not have happened under WFB's more libertarian hand but I have no empirical proof.

On the pragmatic side, I think it remains a killer. Trying to attract somebody younger than 30 to the table of liberty is difficult in the wake of North Carolina's vote and now Colorado's lack of vote.

Posted by: jk at May 15, 2012 6:45 PM
But sugarchuck thinks:

JK drops his subscription to the National Review and I drop out of the Republican party. I struggled for several weeks about attending our caucuses, knowing that Party of God types would choose Rick Santorum and that a majority of the evening would be spent pushing an amendment to our state constitution limiting marriage to one man and one woman. Even before Obama weighed in the strategy was to generate voter turnout based on opposition to gays. I cant possibly vote for Obama but I will not be in a party or campaign that seeks to benefit from an assault on the dignity and liberty of my brothers and sisters. And I won't be alone. Republicans are on the wrong side of history when it comes to Gay rights and they will pay a price for decades to come. Fifty years from now nobody will remember the Bidden gaffes or Obama's fundraising predicament; people will remember the first black president was the first to run for office as a supporter of gay marriage. Democrats enjoy almost unanimous suppport in the African American community based on Kennedy/Johnson era civil rights legislation and if Republicans don't wake up they will lose another voting block.

JK and John Galt, as always, provide a reasoned argument rooted in the Constitution and I appreciate that but this has become something more visceral for me. A couple of weeks ago a little girl in a town next to ours hung herself after being bullied for a year over her mother's sexual orientation. Last night I went to a funeral for one of my daughter's classmates. He climbed onto an overpass and jumped onto the highway below. He was bullied to death for being Gay. I am sickened and heartbroken. I will not be in a party that would deny the basic human dignity and equallity due every man and woman. I wont be part of a political movent that would deny the choice of marriage, the most important, valuable and meaningful decision I've ever made, to others. Bob Marley sings of "forwardin' this generation triumphantly," though in my case it is our younger generation that has been "forwarding" me. Henceforth I intend to help them "sing songs of freedom" and if the Republican party wants to block freedom's way I intend to roll right over them.

Posted by: sugarchuck at May 16, 2012 9:55 AM
But johngalt thinks:

JK is correct about established attitudes, and I think my brother's beliefs reflect his environment more than his heart. The Kansas friend I mentioned lives near Wichita, more evangelical even than Colorado Springs and yet he replied to me, "in my world in Kansas USA I could care less what the corn-****ers do, just don't interfere with me or my family." A libertarian position that, if a bit intemperately stated.

I can't cite examples of friends or neighbors who've been affected by discrimination, and dagny observed that my attitude has *ahem* evolved. I can say I was profoundly ashamed when my neighbors and fellow delegates loudly booed the speaker from Colorado Log Cabin Republicans when he suggested the Colorado civil unions bill should be supported. When I said, fairly loudly and to no one in particular, "Hey, be nice" the woman next to me turned around incredulously. The rest of the conversation was unspoken but I do believe I impressed upon her that her attitude was something upon which she should reflect.

I had a similar experience at the Romney rally last week. A woman asked me if I wanted to sign her pro-life petition, ubiquitious at GOP events. I shook my head and asked her if she was aware that over two-thirds of Republican delegates to the state convention approved a resolution that abortion and pregnancy are personal, private matters and not the business of government. She was speechless but a man nearby blurted out, "Well they are wrong!"

In the first case I pleaded for civility, and in the second merely cited a fact. The reaction from those who heard me was reflexive, but shallow and unsupported. There was no furher debate or discussion, the respondents merely drifted away silently. These are simply ideas which they've never considered. None has dared utter them in such settings, in all likelihood.

Ayn Rand said that silence in the presence of ideas which you find abhorrent is tacit approval of them. Simply say, "I disagree" she advised in 'Philosophy, Who Needs It?' I hope that brother Sugarchuck, or any of the rest of us, will not abandon the Republican party when it most needs a voice for liberty. Our country's present state of divisivness and the failed leadership of the president present an opportunity to discredit the idea of socialism, but the left is not the only source of discredited ideas - the unchallenged dogma of social "norms" on the right should be confronted at the very same time.

To those who say that gay marriage or even civil unions are just a "drip, drip, drip of liberalism" I give the following reply:

Liberalism was established for the promotion of liberty. Thomas Jefferson was a "liberal." George Washington was a "liberal." Modern leftists co-opted the term and it has come to mean socialist or communist. I'm all for liberalism, but not socialism or communism. I understand the difference. Do you?
Posted by: johngalt at May 16, 2012 12:27 PM

March 6, 2012

What if?

This clip is about much more than just Ron Paul.

Hat tip: M4GW

And then there's this Whittaker Chambers-esque rebuttal.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I wondered where the Judge went, I have not seen him in some time.

Put me in the Occam's razor group: bad ratings. (I don't have much other truck with in your rebuttal link. The Founding Fathers were horrified at the development of "Factions," not proud developers of the first parties. Rep Paul's spending record is better than Senator Santorum...)

I did get itchy fingers because I have seen several lefty Facebook friends post this -- with approbation. I guess half bashes Republicans, it must be 50% okay. But I was still surprised. My favorite comment was "How did they slip this past the FAUX censors???" Umm, he does this about every night, people.

In the end I have to put the Judge -- entertaining as he can be -- in my "Libertario Delenda Est" camp. I may not be overwhelmed with Governor Romney's liberty bone fides, but the idea that he's "just like Obama" will go a long way to giving us a second Obama term.

Posted by: jk at March 6, 2012 5:26 PM

February 10, 2012

Two Minute Hate: Sen. Santorum Edition

Yesterday brought two events to wake me from my "Senator Santorum is okay...nothing to worry about...move along..." stupor. I must confess, I have given him too much benefit for a world of doubt. Blog sister dagny was right all along.

Event one: I don't want to speak out of turn, but a good friend of mine confided to be "done" with the GOP. I've heard this 100 times and said it seven or eight, but this was pretty serious. The confluence of an anti-gay-marriage initiative and Santorum's Tuesday Sweep was too much to bear. I'll leave out the back-and-forth but share the conclusion without permission. "I'll vote against Obama and puke in the parking lot."

We all get a little down; this is something worse. And what do I say "Mitt Romney! Mitt Romney! Mitt Romney!!!?"

Event two. I'm never sure what to make of Fox Business's Judge Andrew Napolitano. He puts on a good rant, but he never weaves it into anything pragmatic. Still, it's good to have truth tellers. [Side note: A guy put one of Napolitano's rants on FB and all his liberal friends said "That was on FOX? Boy I bet the censors were sick that day!" Umm, guys, he does that every day and I cannot think of another network that would put it on.]

Last night he had Reason's Matt Welch on for a brief segment to whack the Senator about his stated aversion to libertarianism. Santorum looked at the camera and said "I want to drive libertarianism out of the Republican Party." That stings a bit.

Then one remembers his debate performances. Rep. Ron Paul would make a statement. Speaker Gingrich would grind his teeth a little and wait for "Crazy Uncle Ron" to finish. Gov. Perry might roll his eyes. Gov. Romney probably did not play "Bizz-Buzz" in college, but he would have been good -- he combined a friendly smile with a blank stare, the essence of non-committal.

But Senator Santorum would pounce! High dudgeon and incredulity: "You really believe X?" While one can consider many of Paul's ideas out of the GOP mainstream, I suggest we at least join Senator Jim DeMint and give these ideas a basic respect to keep their believers in the party.

Perhaps life is good in a very bad year. Senator Sweatervest and Speaker Crazyman can split the non-Romney vote, each keeping the other out. We might well end up with Governor Romney (what, no disparaging sobriquet?) but maybe it is time for least evil. Ron Paul could continue to tell the truth and concomitantly place third or fourth.

And were Gov. Doginthecrateontheroof (who's your daddy?) to choose a Paul or Rubio for Veep, I might find some enthusiasm.

And, we've always been at war with Eurasia!

UPDATE: Kim Strassel suggests he needs a message beyond "Faith, Family, and Freedom."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:52 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Yeah, but the Democrats are a) lying and b) won't do anything about it. Republicans are signing petitions and shouting applause lines.

Both immigration and gay rights present conservatives with opportunity for a reasonable legal foundation -- but one that can quickly devolve among rank-and-file to unseemly yeah I'm going to say it bigotry. I appreciate nuanced serious positions that differ with mine but also get quickly irked among the less nuanced populists.

Both "Two-minute hate" and "We've always been at war with Eurasia" are from Orwell's 1984. Work would stop for two minutes and Emmanuel Goldstein would be displayed on giant TV monitors so everybody could yell at the traitor. Only the actual enemy used to change with the politics of the leaders, who would never explain, but would always assert that we have always been at war with xxxx.

Posted by: jk at February 10, 2012 2:46 PM
But Terri thinks:

JK, you have just put the final nail in the coffin that was my support for Santorum.

Consider the Kool-Aide drained. Go Romney. yay

Posted by: Terri at February 10, 2012 4:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Mitt-mentum! Feel the excitement!

Posted by: jk at February 10, 2012 4:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'll part with you only on the characterization "bigotry." My dear neighbors who may express a profound opposition to the cultural modifiers you cited do so out of a sense of defending a heritage and a way of life that's pretty swell, and if guilty of anything it is a misdirected rage that should rightfully be aimed at a collectivist government that, despite its many and variable claimed goals, seeks nothing more than to destroy the good for no other reason than that it is good. They are absolutely positively, with a very few rare exceptions, not bigots.

I wonder what "Senator Sweatervest" would say if he learned just how close he came to one of the epicenters of libertarianism in the party when he shook hands with the denizens of the table at the LDD. Personally I think he suffers from the same misdirection. Give me half an hour with him.

Posted by: johngalt at February 10, 2012 4:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Calling the word parser. Can a non-bigot be guilty of bigotry? I say "Certainly, you greasy dago!"

Seriously, I don't think the great unwashed are bigots but I do think I've seen them do/say things that I would call bigotry. On immigration, ThreeSourcers have made intelligent distinctions of sovereignty and incorrect but serious evaluations of economics.

But on the street, at the Tea Parties, and at Thanksgiving dinner, I hear complaints about Spanish restroom signs at Target, "Dial one for English" at private companies, and an Aurora Pizza joint's accepting Pesos (George Selgin, call your office).

I remember Amendment Two many years ago in Colorado, where I found myself on the other side of my normal political allies. Of course, there were good people on both sides, but I remember some pretty unenlightened comments that went far beyond the legislative question. I've already spoken too much for another but I sense there might be some of that underlying.

Posted by: jk at February 10, 2012 5:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

That's correct, as the great American "melting pot" experiment, having been proven a resounding success, is forceably abandoned in the name of multiculturalism. We are told this is necessary to celebrate and honor other cultures when in fact, it is merely to denegrate and dismantle America's. Of the portion of the citizenry that recognizes this and wishes to reverse it, some react differently than others.

Yes, that plays into the hands of the destroyers and we must help our misguided neighbors understand: The pernicious threat to Americanism is not "others" but the redistribution of wealth and property.

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2012 10:18 AM

November 13, 2011

A Liberal Progressive Government Organizer's Job is Never Done

To piggyback on a theme of the excellent Review Corner jk miscategorized as self-promotion, I'll indulge in some self-promotion. The extended family gathered at my brother's home in Boulder County Friday evening for dinner and viewing of Atlas Shrugged Part 1 (HD DVD - egads.) While driving back home to Weld County my talk-radio alter ego, Jon Caldera, was conversing with listeners (850 KOA, Denver's News, Weather, Broncos and CU Buffs Station) about the latest social engineering in Boulder - speed limits for bicycles in crosswalks. [Ponder the disconnect in that headline.] "Boulder goverment wants to regulate every aspect of our lifes," Caldera wistfully concluded. As a 20-year resident of the town, having just viewed the most "leave me alone" movie ever made, and having just been regaled of the woes one endures when attempting to add a couple of rooms to one's Boulder County home, I was compelled to call.

Final hour of Caldera's Friday, 11/11/11 show.
After the 15 second commercial, drag the progress bar to 26 minutes 20 seconds. I’m on for about 6 minutes.

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:55 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Well played, bra, well played.

The creeping Boulderism he discusses has me alarmed. For most of my 18 years on the eastern edge of the county, my little burg of Lafayette was safely removed. Now that I have escaped, it is completely Boulderized.

In true, blue-state style of course, it has a bunch of superb restaurants. If the good guys ever rule the world, there won't be anyplace to eat.

Posted by: jk at November 13, 2011 10:44 AM

July 4, 2011

My Favorite Supraconstitutional Event

Call me names; throw jk from the train if you want. But I watch "A Capitol Fourth" on PBS every year. Steve Martin just brought his bluegrass band. I love it.

UPDATE: Ms. Jordin Sparks nails the National Anthem. I may have to start watching "Idol..."

Posted by John Kranz at 9:37 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2011

An Insight Into ObamaCare®

Peter Orszag, of "bend the cost curve" fame, has now been demoted from US Medical Czar Plenipotentiary to "Bloomberg Columnist." For this, Lord, may we be truly thankful...

But he's worried, he is. You see, Americans are living longer than ever, and there are many important innovations in health technology and knowledge. He documents several of them in "How My Wi-Fi Scale Adds to America's Class Divide." Oh, the bright kids in the front see where this is going...

But it's worrisome, too, because the same technological change that allows any of us to walk around with all this personal data at a glance may wind up exacerbating the growing gap in life expectancy between people with high levels of income and education and those without.

If I may translate (I took a semester of Orszaggian in college): "exacerbating the growing gap in life expectancy" means that some people will live longer. O cruel world! Why, if we grow life expectancy to 150 years, that will exacerbate the longevity differential between those who die young.

And it is grossly unfair, because the people living longer are wealthy! They can afford a Wi-Fi Scale! Correct me if I am wrong, but causality might be what economists call "bassackwards" here. Professor Reynolds has suggested that Obama Administration members (Orszag, check) confuse the markers of middle class with the habits and skills that produce it. Give them a house, and they will have the same advantages that a person who works hard, saves and protects his credit rating has -- see, they both have a house! (To be fair, Reynolds directs this more at the ruling class, but I think it works.)

What about those damned, lucky rich people who are going to outlive their disadvantaged counterparts?

The leading explanations for this involve health behavior -- including diet, exercise and smoking. For example, men 50 and older without a high-school education are more than twice as likely to smoke as those with a college degree. Exercise behavior also varies substantially. Among 45- to 54-year-olds in one study, only 16 percent of those without a high-school degree exercised vigorously at least once a week, whereas 56 percent of college graduates did.

If the new personalized health technologies wind up being used disproportionately by people with more education and income, driving that group toward even better health, they will probably cause the gap in life expectancy to widen still further.

So, Pete, buddy. A guy could read that and see that guys who exercise, eat well and don't smoke are healthier and live longer. Might they also be more likely to buy a Wi-Fi scale and a medical ID bracelet?

Might -- and I know I am way out on a limb here -- might those serious. forward looking individuals be more likely to complete their education and be successful in careers?

I don't know about your senior year in high school, Mr. O, but mine did not have the magic health class that told me how to care for myself. You got much further in college than I did; maybe it was a 400 level course, or postgrad. But I have this sneaking suspicion that you describe a behavior and not a class.

Hat-tip: Prof Mankiw

UPDATE: I fixed the spelling of Orszag (was Orzag, mea culpa). Someday, I will tell you all the story of the Knoxville Law Professor I have proofreading for me. It's a good one...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:51 PM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2011

Rant Contest

A serendipitous review of the "Rant" category on this site revealed that, in its history, we've collectively published just FOURTEEN! Shame on us.

Here is the scoreboard to date:

AlexC- 2
JG- 7
JK- 3
BR- 2

It's a long weekend. The challenge is on!

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:10 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

What's the score for thoughtful, well reasoned exegeses? Oh, never mind.

Posted by: jk at May 28, 2011 5:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If one reviews the entries in the category he will find that all of them are thoughtful and well reasoned something-or-others. Maybe we'll change the category to "Rant."

I use the label to mean "this is something that has some original content."

Posted by: johngalt at May 28, 2011 6:31 PM

March 11, 2011


The repercussions of the 7th largest earthquake in recorded history are just being understood but there's still time to take a shot at the happiest city in America and one of her sacred cows - windpow .. pow .. poof.

Whilst driving my one-ton diesel pickup (by myself) to pick up a lunch burrito I happened to pass Boulder's swank new "multi-use" development that occupies the old Crossroads Mall site. It's called Twenty-Nineth Street. (No, not 29th Street, "Twenty-Nineth Street.") On the most prominent corner of the property, 28th and Arapahoe, they've installed one a them newfangled "wind turbines." "Free energy from the earf" I think they call it. And on a day when wind had whipped a "controlled burn" out of control in the mountains, the weather reports warn of "60 mile per hour gusts" and the average wind speed at Atlantis Farm has been 15 mph or higher all morning the wind turbine is - not spinning. It twists in the wind alright, and the blades aren't completely frozen but if it completes a full revolution in a minute I'd be surprised.

Could it be that these things require, not just subsidized installation but subsidized maintenance? Stop. Stop! You're killing me!

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:21 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

More of them green jobs, man! Somebody's gotta fix those things!

I wonder if they lock in high winds. The one in front of the Lafayette library never spins when it's really whippin', yet I frequently see it spinning in a lighter breeze. Safety issue?

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2011 3:58 PM

October 1, 2010

Is This a Sick Joke?

While on assignment recently in Chicago, The Refugee had the occassion to drive on I-88 in the western suburbs. This would be unworthy of mention except that upon entering the highway he was greeted with a large sign proclaiming, "RONALD REAGAN MEMORIAL TOLLWAY." Seriously?!? Is this some Democrat pols idea of a joke? It's hard to imagine that The Gipper, who's signature issues were lower taxes and getting government out of the way, would want to be immortalized with a tax collection mechanism that impedes traffic.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2010

"Capitalism is the only truth that keeps the nation healthy and fed."

I happened upon this on FNC's Huckabee show yesterday and have to share it, now and for posterity.

Actor Jon Voight, one year the junior of my 'mad-as-hell over the state of American governance father' uses his interview on the show as a platform for a ranting expose against the sitting President of the United States, except that he isn't ranting - he's sober as a judge and serious as a heart attack.

Hat Tip: Marc Schenker at Associated Content who gives a thorough review of the letter and its presentation. Special recognition for the word "Bailoutpalooza."

UPDATE: [12APR 12:38 MDT] I checked google news to see if any other media outlets were talking about the Voight letter. You can see all four related stories here. But you can't see the original story that I HT'ed anymore. Apparently has blackballed it. And earlier today the original author, Marc Schenker, posted another story revealing the censorship. Of course that posting gets "The content you're looking for has been removed" treatment as well. But google saw it before it was yanked.

Associated Content Censored My Accurate Reporting on Voight's Criticism of Obama Associated Content - Marc Schenker - ‎19 hours ago‎ today. As some of you have read, my article of today ACCURATELY REPORTED on Jon Voight's criticism of Barack Obama, which was delivered on Mike Huckabee's ...

Is this a genuine case of internet censorship? Anyone know how to access the google cache pages? "is an open content network. AC's platform enables anyone to participate in the new content economy by publishing content on any topic, in any format (text, video, audio and images), and connects that content to consumers, partners and advertisers."

Apparently some content is less equal than others.

Mega hat tip: The patriot who youtubed the Huckabee appearance - "DouggieJ." It may only be a matter of hours before youtube blows him away too.

Note: As of this UPDATE, the video has 18,458 views (compared to 196,251 who viewed 'Obama can't name any ChiSox players?')

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:34 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I dunno man. It's nice to hear a Hollywood cat talk up capitalism, but I think rape and poison are over the top.

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2010 3:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A more appropriate word may be found than rape but poison is precisely correct: "Giving them the idea that they are entitled to take from the wealthier who have lived and worked in a democracy that understands that capitalism is the only truth that keeps a nation healthy and fed." [pointed glare]

Keep swallowing that and, when you run out of the wealthy, you're dead.

Posted by: johngalt at April 11, 2010 6:00 PM

December 22, 2009

He Hate Me


Capturing my thoughts in the wake of the Nebraska (and Louisiana and Vermont and Massachusetts and Connecticut and NEVADA) windfalls.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:17 AM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

love it. nice XFL connection.

Posted by: AlexC at December 22, 2009 5:27 PM

December 2, 2009

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Coach Josh McDaniels has apologized to the six million viewers who heard him use bad language when (Dave Barry would herein point out that the author is not making this up) yelling at professional football players.

Y'know, I'm a bigger fan of civility than my blog posts let on. I watch the 1956 Stanley Cup finals and believe that we are really missing something not having Joe Louis Arena populated with fans in suits and ties. Yeah, they're all male and white, but the boorishness of society does get me down. Freedom and civility need not be mutually exclusive.

But, darn it all, I don't think anybody is too surprised that a pro football coach might use a few salty bon mots after his team gives up 15 ^%&%@ yards in procedure penalties in the %^&*$@ red zone when the team is trying to snap a &^*%$@# four game losing streak.

The broadcast was done by the NFL network, which gets to follow cable rules. The local FOX affiliate rebroadcast it. If we must have a witch hunt, I think they should have probably caught it. Personally, I would just say "Shit Happens" and move on...

But forcing the coach to apologize? I saw some smarmy nanny-moms on TV who were aghast. There is something really wrong here, that we can feign this hyper-sensitivity in an ocean of crassness.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:44 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Can't swear in a football huddle...
Can't smoke in the armed forces...
Can't use arm-twisting tactics on spies and terrorists...

What is this country coming to? Before you know it there will be no praying in foxholes.

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2009 3:15 PM
But jk thinks:

I can't tell if he's smiling or not -- can you?

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2009 4:20 PM

November 2, 2009

A Philosophical Ramble

Ulysses Grant drops an interesting line in his (awesome, awesome, awesome) autobiography. He says -- during an uncharacteristic digression in the middle of military history -- that he "always thought the South could profit from defeat." He explains that the Confederate States were built on an inferior economic system and that both slaves and non-property holding whites would be better off under the North's economic system.

I'd suggest that the bulk of the country today, myself included, agrees with that. I got to wondering why "enforcing our values and way of life" is accepted for slave-holding States who were following the United States Constitution, but it was not acceptable for us to impose those same values on the indigenous peoples of America who had generally far worse governments than Mississippi, South Carolina, and Alabama. I’m very sympathetic to those who feel that the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were forced on the returning States. But I think that is a procedural question, the abolition of chattel slavery by force is accepted mainstream thought.

This is the kind of thought that will ensure that I never hold elective office. If anybody wants to throw their futures away in the comments, I'd be extremely interested.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:43 PM | Comments (3)
But T. Greer thinks:

I got to wondering why "enforcing our values and way of life" is accepted for slave-holding States who were following the United States Constitution, but it was not acceptable for us to impose those same values on the indigenous peoples of America who had generally far worse governments than Mississippi, South Carolina, and Alabama.

Simple: because we never did such thing in the first place?

Lets take the Cherokee as an example. We did not enforce our values on the Cherokoee. Heck, they tried their best to emulate the Western example, inventing a syllabary alphabet, published their own newspaper, built upwards of 60 black smith shops, and wrote their own constitution. How did we reward the adoption of our ways? We killed their leaders, took their land, and forced them to move a thousand miles away to federally defined and enforced reservations.

Forgive me for sounding like Howard Zinn, but this is exactly what we did. We did not play the role of a benign enforcer of proper morality and governance. Following the Jackson administration, we took indigenous property, broke treaties with indigenous peoples, and destroyed the liberty of indigenous peoples. We did not impose values. We betrayed them.

Posted by: T. Greer at November 2, 2009 10:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Can't argue. I'm most disappointed with the abrogation of treaties (and the 11th Amendment denying them a chance at redress). I don't think Howard Zinn and your local History Professor would agree that we should have simply conquered and forced assimilation.

But the real anger at American policy that I read and see is not that -- it is the subjugation of their lifestyle: our (and it's always second person) enforcing our values on another culture. Who are we?

In my darker moments, I answer that "we" were the guys who created the free business climate that enables Sam Colt to invent interchangeable parts.

Reading about Tecumseh's brother, "The Shawnee Prophet," I have been held captive by the disconnect between the numinous native American of today's history and media compared with the reality of tribal rule that recognized no minority rights and was less of a stranger to atrocities than our history.

It's quite possible that I have rebelled against the Kevin Costner vision too far and have lost center. It doesn't help that the topic is so taboo I feel guilty typing this. There's no search for truth.

Posted by: jk at November 3, 2009 11:30 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

Fair enough. Your right of course -- if the Indians owned slaves (some of the afore mentioned Cherokee did, oddly enough), the men in blue would not be celebrated for forcing a "more just value system" upon the Indians.

Along a similar vein of thought is this: if the slaves of early American republic were multiracial, would academics still be so angry about the subject? At times I can't help but think that it is not the restriction of liberty the racism of the slavers that so disgusts progressive-types.

Posted by: T. Greer at November 4, 2009 11:15 PM

September 7, 2009

I Love Oil

(And why everyone else should too.)

JK recently heralded America's Petrosesquicentennial, the 150th anniversary of the first American oil well. We are quite enamored of the "black gold" on these pages. And why not? 3.8 gallons of oil derived gasoline (you may have heard of it - it's been used as a primary motor fuel for nearly a hundred years) which can be purchased on any street corner for about ten bucks, produce as much energy as an average lightning bolt (about 500 megajoules.)

And the safety of this miracle fuel is such that anti-industrial zealots like those on Dateline NBC have had to use remotely detonated explosives to recreate accidental fuel tank explosions.

But there's more to oil than gasoline. Much more. Modern necessities made from oil include jet fuel, propane gas, plastics, asphalt, and dozens of petrochemicals essential to hundreds of industries we could hardly imagine living without. (Paints, fertilizers and textiles to name just a few.)

I went searching for the historical significance of the Petrosesquicentennial and found the following graph of world population and income since 1500. It shows a precipitous rise in population around the time of the Industrial Revolution. But the per capita world GDP rose only 31 percent in the early decades of the Industrial Revolution (1820 to about 1870). In the next 30 years however, inflation-adjusted individual incomes went up another 45%, and 20 years later nearly doubled from there. Finally, by the end of the 20th century, individuals earned a whopping SEVEN TIMES what their ancestors did at the time commercial oil production began.

(Click on graph to enlarge)

While the Industrial Revolution began in the early 1800's without oil it "centered on improvement in coal, iron and steam technologies." The truly modern developments "steel, electricity and chemicals" were hallmarks of the Second Industrial Revolution which, though not clearly delineated from the first, roughly coincided with the commercialization of oil in America.

So if you love iPods, cell phones, jet planes, mass transit, modern medicines, supermarkets, artificial light, white collar jobs ... and the income to pay for all of these and more ... you'd best come to grips with your closet love affair with oil.

UPDATE [10:43a EDT]: As often happens, I omitted a key argument in the thread. The point of all this was to set up the assertion that the advent of cheap and abundant oil was not only coincident with the Second Industrial Revolution, but catalyzed it. Try to imagine the course of the industrial age without it. Certainly a gallon of gas could have been replaced, say with 121 cubic feet of natural gas or 9 pounds of coal, but extracting and using a liquid fuel proved far more practical and economical than those gaseous or solid ones, at least for some uses. And I contend those uses were - and remain - important. Add to this the less obvious fact that many chemical uses of oil may be irreplaceable.

Oil has clearly fueled prosperity. Not only that, it did so for everyone.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
But jk thinks:

And let's not fail to celebrate John Rockefeller, who gave non-wealthy Americans the gifts of affordable heat and light. His nickel-a-gallon kerosene provided productive hours of reading and working to those who could not afford dollar-a-gallon whale oil.

For this generous gift to our nation's poor and his unprecedented philanthropy, we call him a "robber baron."

Posted by: jk at September 7, 2009 11:23 AM
But JC thinks:

"Enamored with oil"
The terms "ignorance is bliss" comes to mind with the mountains of scientific evidence pointing to the fact that we need to migrate away from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels have served as a valuable resource and a sturdy bridge to where we are today. That bridge is about to collapse and if we fail to engage fully in the deployment of alternatives, we are going to be challenged with how quickly we can migrate to another planet! I have a poster on the wall that says "If you can't adapt, you get left behind." Those words are positioned strategically over the fossil remains of a plesiosaur.

NAVY responds to RAND report:

As the "sweet crude" (easy to refine) sources dwindle, we see the industry shifting to tar sands and shale. The added cost to extract usable fuels from these "hard" sources are being passed on to the consumer while the global oil giants amass huge profits in preparation for energy intensive extraction processes.

Time for a paradigm change!
Every single day our individual homes are awash in energy (wind and solar being the primary). What percentage of that energy did you capture today? Still dependent on the ever-increasing costs for fossil fuels? Still denying the advantages of migrating to alternatives? Prepare to become fossilized! :?

Posted by: JC at May 30, 2013 9:23 PM

October 22, 2008

American Journalism Dismantled by ... a Democrat

If John McCain is going to win this election it will be with the help of great Americans like Orson Scott Card. A science fiction writer (who's work dagny likes) he's also a Democrat and a newspaper columnist published in North Carolina. And according to Rush Limbaugh (where I first heard this) he's far enough left to be pro gun control. And yet, he takes American newspapers apart:

I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.


This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.


Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. "Housing-gate," no doubt. Or "Fannie-gate."


But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie — that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad — even bad weather — on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.


If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe — and vote as if — President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.

If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats — including Barack Obama — and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans — then you are not journalists by any standard.

You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a news paper in our city.

Every blogger should link this column.

Every American should send it to his local newspaper.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2008

If You Think the Price of Arugula is bad...

The Refugee was recently shopping and noticed that the price of his favorite cheese has increased from $7 to $8. What do they make this stuff out of - petroleum?

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 6:46 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

An eight dollar cheese eater! Out to coffee last week, The Refugee kept dropping french phrases and Sartre quotes. I am starting to worry.

Posted by: jk at September 22, 2008 7:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Am I the last one to notice that even a small coke purchased separately (not part of a combo-meal) is a buck fifty?

Pick your favorite reason:

1 - Fuel surcharge for delivery of beverage syrup and (horrors) CO-2.

2 - Devaluation of the dollar through inflation.

3 - Congress' shiny new minimum wage law telling burger joints how much they must pay local high-schoolers to lean out of a window and hand you a cup of mostly ice and a little carbonated sugar water filling in the spaces.

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2008 11:22 AM
But jk thinks:

4) Increased demand for corn sweetener from fuel mandates;

5) Fifty-cent tariffs on Brazilian sugar that could substantively lower the cost of sweetener and fuel (President Clinton famously took calls from sugar lobbyists while he was in consultation with that woman, Miss Lewinsky). Keep in mind that recent studies show sugar to have just as much nutritional value as corn sweetener.

Posted by: jk at September 23, 2008 12:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

6 - The emergency "Federal fast-food rescue from economic reality" plan hasn't yet been passed and signed into law "before the end of the week" in order to prevent "global economic disaster."

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2008 3:44 PM

July 26, 2008

An Olive Branch from One America to the Other

John Edwards' greatest legacy in American politics may be in revealing the existence of "Two Americas" that uneasily coexist with each other in the same time and space on this continent. I propose the following olive branch, from one of those Americas to the other:

"You let us legalize drilling for oil and we'll let you legalize pot."

Now that's what I'd call a real kumbaya moment.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:04 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

That would be win-win for the libertarians, where do I sign?

Posted by: jk at July 26, 2008 7:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Wouldn't it be win-win for everyone? Who could possibly want pot AND oil to be against the law?

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2008 1:17 AM
But jk thinks:

You need to use some smiley faces or LOL or something, I can't determine the sarcasm level.

At the risk of seriousizing frivolity, how many people would support legalized pot and ANWR drilling? I'd say about 9%, making a pretty good little-l-lib identifier. Though my favorite is still the Instapundit commenter: "I dream of an America where millions of happily married gay couples have closets full of assault weapons."

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2008 11:13 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I tried to get my point across with a one-liner but it seems we've got different impressions of what "win-win" means.

In "my reality" it doesn't mean that a majority of voters win on BOTH counts, but that by giving up something of less value (to them) they receive in return something of greater value (to them.) Hence my question, with ZERO sarcasm: "Who could possibly want pot AND oil to be against the law" meaning that drilling for oil is likely of more value to those who want to "prevent the decay of our nation's moral fabric through abuse of the demon-weed" and I presume, from observation of citizen's initiative efforts, legalization of pot (use, cultivation, sale, possession, etc.) is more important to hippies than ANYTHING else on earth.

So the only subset of voters for whom this proposition is NOT win-win are those who value neither legal use of petroleum oil or legalization of cannibis. How many people are really in that group? Who would they be? Puritanical environmentalists? Show me one!

Posted by: johngalt at July 28, 2008 3:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the explanation -- speaking slowly and using very small words usually works great.

I'm fine with drilling AND assault rifles AND pot AND gay marriage -- if we can only do something about those wicked trans-fats!

I am really intrigued by this book recommended by Samizdat Dale Anon. Anybody read it? (This full-color graphic novel re-tells the story of police Lt. Win Bear, who while investigating the murder of a university physicist, gets blown "sideways in time" and finds himself in a technologically advanced, fabulously wealthy world where government is nearly extinct and everyone carries guns.)

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2008 4:15 PM

October 12, 2007

Two Personal Attacks

Don Luskin says "Conservatism is Doomed."

...when even reliable warhorses like columnist George Will start swallowing the Left's lies about economics. First it was Will's puff-piece adulating Austin Goolsbee, Barack Obama's economic hatchet man. Will's column was too crowded with charming lifestyle details about Goolsbee to bother to mention his 2005 "paper" claiming that any benefits of the Bush administration's Social Security reform proposal would be consumed in fees earned by the investment industry -- when, in fact, the administration's proposal specifically ruled out precisely the high-fee investment vehicles that Goolsbee used in his "study."

Conservatism may well be doomed, but Mister Will is not a reliable indicator. Will is "conservative" on some level, but he is "Washington establishment" far more than ideological. Will's whacks at President George Herbert Walker Bush gave us President Clinton as much as Ross Perot. I trust Will on Baseball, but not on politics.

While I am handing out disapprobation. I fell for the early reviews on Austin Goolsbee. He was associated with the University of Chicago (moment of reverence) and was recommended by a lot of libertarian bloggers. He has been a regular guest on Kudlow and Company, and while he is no doubt a bright guy, he truly is a party hack. He doesn't attempt an academic distance from politics, he proudly parrots the Obama/Democratic line.

Let's see, who else is on my list here: the impressionist who sings "Take me out to the ball game" on TBS every 17 seconds...

Posted by John Kranz at 5:28 PM

January 7, 2007

What Can Brown Do for You?

We love to shop online. Living on a farm and spending most of our time in town doing the ol' 9 to 5, it's incredibly convenient to point and click and have our "must haves" show up on the back porch some predictable number of days later. It also has a nostalgic element as I imagine my grandfather ordering from the Sears catalog decades ago.

Online tracking services make the experience even better. Until there's a blizzard the week before Christmas.

I don't begrudge UPS having delivery delays during the storm of the century. Particularly out here where the roads were frequently impassable.

I don't even really fault them for sending their employees home on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, despite the fact postal carriers worked both of those days to help make Santa Claus proud.

What I do hold them accountable for is the gall or incompetence or both to tell a customer (me) on Saturday that my packages were "on the truck for delivery today" and then, when they didn't arrive, to tell that same customer (still me) that all UPS facilities were closed and that "only air shipments were delivered yesterday."

Had they told me this on Saturday I'd have driven to their distribution center to retrieve the items myself. Perhaps they consciously decided to lie to people to discourage throngs of angry Santa's helpers arriving on their doorstep. Who knows.

What I do know is that the week before Christmas is for shipping companies what the day after Thanksgiving is for retailers. It's their Super Bowl. It's their chance to rise to the occasion and demonstrate their commitment to customer service and to win customer loyalty for life. As far as I'm concerned, UPS laid an egg.

Now my occasions for yelling at the television aren't limited to pick-pocketing politicians, they also include UPS commercials.

What can Brown do for me? "Go to jail. Go directly to jail. If you pass Go, do NOT collect $200."

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:52 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

And yet you are not coerced to support Brown with your tax dollars nor compelled to use it for letter delivery.

I order everything online as well, I was going to give a leg up to UPS through the triumvirate blizzard. They came a few times in very bad weather, USPS missed several days. A different scale but they have different jobs.

Posted by: jk at January 8, 2007 11:38 AM

September 24, 2006

Nickname Fetish

(this is the part where I channel Jerry Seinfeld)

What's the deal with liberals and their nicknaming of people?

How many different variations of George Bush are there?

I think it's evolved into Chimpy McBushburton or something.

But here's a new one.

Felix Allen Macaca, Jr.

Let's break this down.

1) Felix. Some how appealing to the whole Jewish thing. Perhaps some latent anti-semitism. Hard to say.

2) Allen. To make the nickname work, you need the connection to Senator Allen.

3) Macaca. Apparently it's a vicious ethnic slur that can be found in high abundance on liberal blogs. Incredibly no one seems to know what it really is, nevermind using it on a regular basis. Unlike the other vicious ethnic slur that dare not speak it's name.

4) Jr. His father's name was George Allen. A football coach, hall of famer, too. Diminutive, however.

Posted by AlexC at 2:00 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

You may be familiar with the incumbent Republican representative of CO-4, Marilyn Musgrave. I posted a pair of blogs in August about her. Well, I finally heard what the local lefties are calling her when "Progressive Radio's" morning host Jay Marvin referred to her as... "Marilyn Manson Musgrave." Now THAT's a stretch of credulity.

Posted by: johngalt at September 24, 2006 10:59 AM
But jk thinks:

I was wondering when "macaca" was going to find its way onto these pages. I've been waiting for the perfect joke opportunity to say "don't call me Macaca!"

TNR has been all fusillade all the time on Senator Allen. As a southern social conservative, I think he's easy to ridicule and they smell a bit of blood in the water (we're having a sale on metaphors this paragraph).

To be fair, I think the Felix-as-anti-Semitic charge against his detractors may be as risible as the "macaca" accusation against the Senator. Felix is a funny, French moniker (now Neds and Felixes are going to boycott ThreeSources) which is incongruous with the big cowboy booted Allen.

I think the answer, Jerry, is that they think they're being very clever. Now that's scary.

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2006 4:12 PM

April 28, 2006

MySpace: The End of the Internet As We Know It

Web2.0 is a hot buzzword.

So everyone's got to get in on the hype.

    Both YouTube and MySpace fit the textbook definition of Web 2.0, that hypothetical next-generation Internet where people contribute as easily as they consume. Even self-described late adopters like New York's Kurt Andersen recognize that that by letting everyone contribute, these sites have reached a critical mass where "a real network effect has kicked in."

    But the focus on the collaborative nature of these sites has been nagging at me. Sites like Friendster and Blogger that promote sharing and friend-making have been around for years with nowhere near the mainstream success. I've got a different theory. YouTube and MySpace are runaway hits because they combine two attributes rarely found together in tech products. They're easy to use, and they don't tell you what to do.

YouTube is actually pretty cool.

But I'm convinced you have to have a high threshold for pain to be a MySpace user. As a result of this article, I decided I'd see if any people from my high school were on there. (Bensalem Township HS, Class of 1995, btw)

Yes they are. (21 out of 450)

Unfortunately they have no self control when it comes to these pages. Is it possible to open up a MySpace page that doesn't peg your CPU @ 100% or kill your web browser? Not everyone wants to hear your favorite song when you load the page!

I finally opened up the web page source and found the host that serves the music, , put it in my hosts file pointing to and now myspace is pleasantly quiet.

But that doesn't solve the problem of garishness. Which is why I bolded the above line.

Anyone can build a webpage. It's like 1995 all over again, except instead of obnoxious blink tags, we have superflous flash animations, multiple embedded videos, Bon Jovi and black text on a black background!

I shouldn't want to punch my computer when I want to see what old friends are up to.

I'm all for making the internet and computers easy. We all benefit.

I guess that's the downside of freedom to do what you want. No one's stopping you from being obnoxious... especially if you don't even realize it.

Posted by AlexC at 11:17 PM