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January 30, 2015

All Hail Jonah!

Yup, still Friday... Students at Berkeley are turning on Mark because he's a dead white male and claims extant gender differences. Jonah Goldberg [subscribe] notes:

This is like watching Godzilla stomp across Tokyo and your only complaint is he's not wearing pants.

UPDATE: And his gift is his ability to weave something more serious in to "no pants" and "the idea that The Vagina Monologues is sexist because it lacks wangs in the cast -- and I don't mean Asians."
It’s amazing. We spent a century trying to explain to the Left why Marx was wrong. It just never occurred to us to try "He's a white guy!" It should have been obvious. It's like we spent hours trying to hack their computer and then suddenly someone suggests trying "password" as the password -- and voila.

What was I saying? Oh, right: Because pragmatic liberalism (deceitfully) claims no ideological principles save the greater good, it has few defenses when its ideological principles are attacked, particularly from within. If good is simply defined by what (liberal) people at any given moment think good is, all questions become contests of power. Bertrand Russell understood this as early as 1909, when he wrote that if everyone becomes a pragmatist, then "ironclads and Maxim guns must be the ultimate arbiters of metaphysical truth." Russell's point was that there’s nothing within pragmatism to delineate the proper and just limits of pragmatism. We must look outside pragmatism for truly meaningful definitions of the greater good.


All Hail Taranto!

It's Friday! One more AHT:

taranto150130.gif

I don't care who are, that's a funny joke...


Bon Mot of the Day

A lot of the talking points, it seems, are the product of lies that capitalize on ignorance and fear, though there's an entire subset of arguments that can be classified as appeals to Monsanto or argumentum ad Monsantium. -- They're Economical with the Truth

Rose Wilder Lane/Willa Cather Economics

Megan McArdle has a jewel of a column today, riffing off Peggy Noonan's riffing off Sen. Joni Ernst's (Sooooey! IA) SOTU response. It seems the American glitterati class is amused by Ernst's stories of covering shoes in bread bags. Noonan remembers -- and McArdle missed it but was aware of it. Now "We've become so rich that we have forgotten something that is well within living memory: Americans used to have much, much less."

In every generation, we forget how much poorer we used to be, and then we forget that we have forgotten. We focus on the things that seem funny or monstrous or quaint and darling. Somehow the simplest and most important fact -- the immense differences between their living standards and ours -- slides right past our eye. And when Ernst tried to remind us, people didn't say "Wow, we've really come a long way"; they pointed and laughed.

I'm older than McArdle and younger than Noonan (though they both look a lot better than me). But I am the youngest son of late bloomers and generations go back pretty far. My Dad was 18 at the start of the Great Depression. All my grandparents were born in the 19th Century. By the standards of the day my father, the local ad-kingpin, was pretty well off; but his gooberhead nobody youngest son lives like a king in comparison.

My youngest grandmother -- I assume -- had the life of a Willa Cather character. McArdle was a fan of Rose Wilder Lane's Little House on the Prairie books, and reminds readers that the romance of Laura's life was a foundation of brutal poverty. "The Ingalls family were in many ways bourgeoisie: educated by the standards of the day, active in community leadership, landowners. And they had nothing."

There's a reason old-fashioned kitchens didn't have cabinets: They didn't need them. There wasn't anything to put there.
To forget this is a great boon to the Progressives. I suspect most of the titterers were of that ilk. The most recent leg of Deidre McCloskeyism can be blinked away. Then all the advantages we enjoy today can be attributed to Unions and Regulation -- and not to free market capitalism and bourgeois dignity.
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm, never seen that before. The syntax:
had nothing."

caused the entire remainder of the post, and all subsequent posts, to appear italicized. I changed to:

had nothing."

and cleared the problem.


Not to detract from a good post about an excellent point. My grandparents lived in a house very much like the one we are working diligently to replace with something much larger and better appointed. And considered themselves kings, I'm sure.

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2015 3:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And HTML tags in comments are hidden just like in body text. So only fellow 3src login holders will know.

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2015 3:30 PM
But jk thinks:

You are quick -- I saw it and corrected it, clobbering probably your fix. So If it is bad now, y'all can blame me.

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2015 3:53 PM
But jk thinks:

And -- to be safe -- in your new home, make the cabinets big enough that your children might have an extra tin cup someday. I know it sounds extravagant, but you don't know what wonders of prosperity the future world may hold.

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2015 4:02 PM
But jk thinks:

As if on queue, actress Melissa Gilbert discusses scarcity. In a way.

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2015 6:03 PM

Quote of the Day

The first clue that the Taliban Five would attempt to assist the Taliban once released from Guantanamo Bay is the fact that they’re called the Taliban Five. -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
But johngalt thinks:

Let's be precise here: The "Taliban armed-insurgency Five."

That is all.

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2015 3:15 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, I wouldn't want to be hasty and suggest that the Taliban is a terrorist group.

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2015 5:51 PM

January 29, 2015

My New Mayor

Don't come 'round my town unless you look like me.

Don't say you weren't warned...

Hat-tip: Revealing Politics

UPDATE: Heronner says she was quoted out of context. Revealing Politics provides the full context and suggests it is "still terrible."

But johngalt thinks:

"I feel that we as a board have been very respectful about listening to both sides of this issue. We've been gathering facts the whole way through this."

So folks on one of the sides of this issue apparently have been sending emails to trustees and to citizens, and knocking on citizen's doors to present the facts as they see them. Do I gather correctly? And this is "spam, misinformation" and/or "harassment?"

I wonder if the same would be true if the facts being shared were from her perspective? Actually, no. I don't wonder.

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2015 6:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

BTW, this is awesome stuff. Thanks for posting!

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2015 6:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Awesome for you, brah -- I live here!

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2015 7:27 PM

Three Cheers for Sen. Michael Bennett

My Democrat Senator joins my Republican Senator in supporting KeystoneXL!

No Republicans voted to block the legislation, and eight Democrats voted to approve it.

Well done, Senators.

But johngalt thinks:

Would you settle for one cheer? "A single cheer only, please."

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2015 3:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Huh? The quality of mercy is not jg?

-- One of eight D's voting yea (cheer the one!)
-- 20 months from election (cheer the two!)
-- Potentially pissing off Tom Steyer (cheer the three!)

If my math is incorrect, let me know.

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2015 4:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm willing to suggest that the Senior Senator's strategery is as follows: Cheer the one will do him more good regarding cheer the two than would cheer the three.

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2015 6:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Perhaps. One of my gripes has been that he is a backbencher and 100% reliable vote for Team Blue. Just eight strikes me as borderline ballsy (well, on the Michael Bennett scale).

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2015 6:57 PM

All Hail Taranto!

taranto150129.gif


"Selfishness" Rocks!

Economics Hoss Walter E. Williams: Gas-Price Demagogues Feed Off Economic Ignorance

Show me someone who doesn't want more of something, be it cars, houses, clothing, food, peace, admiration, love or war. The fact that people want more is responsible for most of the good things that get done.

You'll see Texas cattle ranchers this winter making the personal sacrifice of going out in blizzards to care for their herds. As a result of their sacrifice, New Yorkers will have beef on their grocery shelves.

Which do you think best explains cattlemen's behavior, concern about New Yorkers or their wanting more for themselves?

But jk thinks:

Dr. Williams can sneak both of our favorites into one short column.

Which worker receives the higher pay, a worker on a road construction project moving dirt with a shovel or a worker moving dirt atop a giant earthmover? If you said the guy on the earthmover, go to the head of the class. But why?

It's not because he's unionized or that employers just love earthmover operators. It's because he is more productive; he has more physical capital with which to work.

My lefty friends credit unions and regulations with the 40-hour work week and absence of child labor, when it is capital and capitalism.

Posted by: jk at January 29, 2015 5:16 PM

Holy War by Any Other Name Would Smell as Wretched

President Obama's official spokesman as much as said, "the Taliban are not a terrorist organization." His administration refuses to acknowledge that Islamic terrorism (or "extremism") is related in any way to the Islamic religion. But as Investors' Ed page reminds, the Muslim holy war goes way back, to at least 1991:

This is the same Muslim Brotherhood whose strategic goal, according to a 1991 memorandum by one of its operatives, is "eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions."

Some serious parsing of the words "eliminating, destroying and victorious" is required to evade the existential threat to human liberty which this portends. This, Muslim religious war with civilization.

Click through on the IBD link to read about how Muslim Brotherhood Egyptians hostile to the pro-western Egyptian army leadership were welcomed to the Obama State Department, while Bibi is shunned. Stunning.

But jk thinks:

Disturbing. As Hans (or is it Franz?) says "I'm not going to sugar-coat this." I remember sitting at the kitchen table of a friend of this blog in 2008 discussing the forthcoming loss of all the hard fought gains from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. We were both proven right -- and I've never been so disappointed.

But the people got what they voted for and that is a facet of democracy with which I must agree. The William Easterly problem with the Iraq War is perhaps that the US cannot count on a long-term commitment. The next bums get to overturn your best laid plans.

Ergo, while I deplore the President's Harvard-Faculty-Lounge foreign policy, he is within his right and I oppose him with little more than eye-rolling. You can't fix stupid and I cannot fix the Administration's worldview.

One can better influence domestic policy -- videlicet The Tea Party, flipping both houses of Congress, and asserting Constitutional limits through the Supreme Court.

What we will need when the bender of the Obama Years wears off is the strongest possible economy, both to project power as needed but more subtly to lead by example and retain confidence.

As bad as it gets, there's just nothing we can do until January 2017 in regards to foreign policy. Hard to fix bad domestic policy -- but not impossible.

Posted by: jk at January 29, 2015 2:57 PM

January 28, 2015

My Blogfather Retires

I bid a fond -- and I hope gracious --farewell to Andrew Sullivan on his impending blog retirement.

I cannot deny that I thought Sullivan completely and totally lost his mind during the Bush years. I could not bear to read his bilious attacks and had to wander away from regular readership many years ago.

But my blog style, indeed a lot of the design of this blog, and my ideas of what blogging actually is -- were all ripped off of Andrew Sullivan. I'd suggest that it is the same for half the blogosphere directly or not.

In the early days (pull up a chair, youngster) there was a lot of personal interaction and the man himself would reply to a question or critique. The response was always in a sentence fragment all lower case with no punctuation -- I doubt that Michael Oakeschott would have approved. But I have fond memories of disagreements and a few special insights.

Plus, he got me to try very very hard to read Oakeschott. I read W H Auden. I read J. R. Ackerley's "My Dog Tulip" when Andrew considered starting a book club.

So, I look at a 15-year blogging career and see a net positive -- and a huge influence on me in many ways.

Exult O shores and ring O bells!
I, with fearful tread.
Walk the Internet my Captain's blog lies,
fallen cold and dead.


Estonian Exceptionalism

"We're number twelve! We're number twelve!"

When President Obama took office in 2009, the United States ranked sixth for economic freedom. Now in 2015, the United States has fallen by six to 12th place.
But jk thinks:

But -- we had a small uptick, thanks to the sequester. Our score had fallen for seven years and it is slightly up.

Yay team.

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2015 4:15 PM

Wolves at the door

As a Dish subscriber I was temporarily cut off from access (while Dish and Fox Corp argued over subscription rates to an unrelated Fox network) to any news of military successes around the world. That apparently included the Kurdish rout of ISIS jihadholes in Kobane. Daily Mail:


The video, which ends with the hostage being beheaded, was discovered by Memri TV which translated it from Arabic.

It emerged two days after Kurdish fighters expelled ISIS from the strategic Syrian town of Kobane on the Turkish border after months of fierce fighting.

The news prompted celebrations among residents who fled across the frontier into Turkey, with thousands gathering at the border in the hope they will be able to return home more than four months after the fighting first started.

The town's recapture marked a key symbolic and strategic blow against ISIS, but officials warned massive reconstruction was needed and the fight would continue for the surrounding villages.

Oh, and the video includes the following jihadhole boasts:

'Know, oh Obama, that we will reach America.'

'Know also that we will cut off your head in the White House and transform America into a Muslim province.'

and

The militant's threats do not stop at America, but also include a message for France and 'sister' Belgium.

He says: 'We advise you that we will come to you with car bombs and explosive charges and will cut off your heads'.

and

The militant then saves his most personal attack for the Kurdish leader Masoud Barazani, who is currently leading the fight against ISIS in Iraq.

'As for you, oh Masoud (Barazani), you dog, we are going to behead you and throw you into the trash bin of history.

'Know that we are men who fear no-one. We will institute the laws of Allah, may he be exalted and praised.'

So my question is this: If this were reported more widely in the west, who has any doubt of the overwhelming public support for a more aggressive offensive mission to make examples of these jihadholes, thus diminishing the sex appeal of becoming a jihadhole?

And that, friends, is why this isn't reported more widely in the west. Our media is controlled by sheep, not sheep dogs.


And, It Fails!

They may have had numbers, but the withering rationality of Brother JG held the day!

Two weeks after the Erie Board of Trustees narrowly voted to delay its consideration of a one-year fracking moratorium, the town's elected leaders struck down the measure along the same 4-3 line Tuesday night.

The accompanying photo is of LOTR-F friend Brad.

But jk thinks:

Heh. I see this made it as an update below (thanks, jg!) but I am unrepentant -- victory deserves its own post!

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2015 11:52 AM

He's a Uniter!

There are no Red States and Blue States -- The are only the United States! And they all hate President Obama's plan to tax 529 education accounts.

The decision came just hours after House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio demanded the proposal be withdrawn from the president's budget, due out Monday, "for the sake of middle-class families." But the call for the White House to relent also came from top Democrats, including Representatives Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader, and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the ranking member of the Budget Committee.

Hat-tip Jim Geraghty [subscribe] who adds a link to the Speaker's Touchdown Dance.

UPDATE: Reason sees the death of the Welfare State:

The political optics of the plan were flat-out terrible for Obama, who put forth the proposal in the context of a State of the Union address built around the theme of Middle Class Economics. The gist was that Obama proposed taxing the wealthy in order to pay for new middle class benefits, like free community college tuition.

But, somewhat awkwardly, given the president's chosen theme, 529 plans are tax-advantaged savings vehicles that currently benefit an awful lot of middle class people. In particular, they benefit middle and upper-middle class families in high-tax blue states.


But johngalt thinks:

And not just for the bait and switch on taxing 529s, some Democrats are also critical of the Administration's refusal to acknowledge Islamism, i.e. "we claim a moral right to kill people who don't think like us about whatever we decide is important, and it's usually something about Islam." Check out this Greta van Sustern interview with the 2012-elected Democratic Rep from HI-2, the charming Tulsi Gabbard. Did I mention she is an Iraq War vet?

Posted by: johngalt at January 28, 2015 11:42 AM

"Only reason can help people look beyond what they initially feel

I mentioned Andy Peth in the comments below. He is a master messager for ideas he interchangeably calls conservative and liberty-oriented, possibly a byproduct of his "Basic Evangelism" class in Seminary. Tonight he mentioned his critique of the Joni Ernst SOTU rebuttal. This part struck me as perhaps useful in reaching young folks trying to find some answers. Boulder moms, perhaps.

"From each according to his ability. To each according to his need." This Marxist ideal collapses nations from Russia to South America, and our president has hitched his wagon to it. Avoiding this topic because redistribution initially feels good --is crazy. It’s like Christians avoiding talk of sin because sin initially feels good. We need to start answering why, as in, "Why opportunity? Why not rob the few for the many? Why vote for us? Why not them?" Let’s offer reason, as only reason can help people look beyond what they initially feel. Let me say that again: Only reason can help people look beyond what they initially feel. Yes, inspirational stories are good too, but these should accent reason, not replace it.

January 27, 2015

CALL TO ACTION!

Enough Boulderites have polluted the freedom-loving polity of Weld County, that my home town of Erie is voting on a fracking ban. There was a hearing last week which I could not attend. Brother jg emails that it is continued or brought to a vote tonight. I will see whether I can attend.

But -- either way, there is a handy web page to email council members. Here is mine.

Thank you for your time. I write to urge a no vote on any bans or moratoria on fracking or energy development in Erie.

Weld County has practiced safe energy development for a long time. My wife and I moved into the county in 2008 and we love it here. I own no mineral rights nor directly profit in any way from energy production. All the same, I am a strong proponent of property rights and it is unfair of me to determine the disposition of others' property.

I do benefit indirectly from the economic activity, lower energy costs, and tax revenue from energy production.

I have no doubt that those who seek to restrict it have good intentions. But they are wrong on property rights, wrong on the externalities of energy production and wrong to oppose an important economic source of wealth for Weld County and the State of Colorado.

Please vote for property rights.

UPDATE: Rejected.

Two weeks after the Erie Board of Trustees narrowly voted to delay its consideration of a one-year fracking moratorium, the town's elected leaders struck down the measure along the same 4-3 line Tuesday night.

Click through for details, and for a picture of blog friend Brad Beck giving testimony.

But johngalt thinks:

"Like"

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 6:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I have made plans to attend. And I have reprinted copies of this 2008 ThreeSources blog post, which I intend to share with council members.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 7:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I went. I saw, the teeming hoarded waiting to speak. I read, the agenda with "Oil and Gas" as item 9. I left, to go pick up my children. But not before handing a stack of "Oil Math" blog reprints to a staffer with assurance that she would make sure each Town Trustee receives a copy.

Have a good evening frackfriends and fracktards. I'm gonna go have dinner. And listen to Andy Peth , tonight's guest on Grassroots Radio Colorado!

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 9:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

They even let me on the radio with them.
http://grrc.podomatic.com/player/web/2015-01-27T18_05_45-08_00

Scroll to 2:00, I come on around 4:20. Fun stuff!

Posted by: johngalt at January 28, 2015 1:50 AM
But jk thinks:

Well done on both counts.

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2015 10:28 AM

Everything on the Internet

Deflate Gate. The Ideal Gas Equation. And a whack at Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I knew it was going to be a great day.

The farce of the NFL's "Deflate-Gate" affair has become hysterical enough that prominent astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson felt the need to weigh in on Twitter, and in the space of 125 characters, Tyson managed to bungle some straightforward fundamentals of science.

There is something for everybody in this story.

Sports Posted by John Kranz at 12:55 PM | What do you think? [1 comments]
But johngalt thinks:

Beautiful! I got my math-science model correct on the first try and this famous Bozo botched it! Climate "science" is, apparently, more accessible to Tyson than run of the mill junior high school physics.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 2:43 PM

Israel shows US an ambassador

Ron Dermer gives an impressive speech in Florida, cited here and noting:

“The Prime Minister’s visit here is not intended to show any disrespect for President Obama,” he continued. “Israel deeply appreciates the strong support we have received from President Obama in many areas – the enhanced security cooperation, heightened intelligence sharing, generous military assistance and iron dome funding, and opposition to anti-Israel initiatives at the United Nations.”

perfect opening moves.... then to answer the WHY doe Bibi wish to address congress:

Th[at] is not just the right of the Prime Minister of Israel. It is his most sacred duty — to do whatever he can to prevent Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons that can be aimed at Israel.”

along the way, saying we have learned from our history that the world becomes a more dangerous place for the Jewish people when the Jewish people are silent

Hat Tip: PowerLine

An impressive stroke; wonder if the Manhattan Media noticed? Why do so many prominent Israeli's have just-across-Mayberry names? And while I'm on a postulating parade: who's the last ambassador we had that was worth a damn?

More Bebi, now.... faster, please.

But johngalt thinks:

While we're reading Powerline, let's give this one a look. Perhaps there's another reason the White House doesn't want to be seen with Bibi - they're participating in the Israeli election, and not to Netanyahu's favor. Izzat legal?

Hat tip: KHOW's Mandy Connell.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 11:58 AM

January 26, 2015

Somebody check my math

It's been a while, I'm a little rusty. According to the ideal gas law:

PV=nRT

Which basically means, for a constant amount of gas in a constant volume of space, the pressure is proportional to the temperature. A football that is inflated to 13 (or 12.5) psi at 70 degrees Fahrenheit will have a lower internal pressure at [game time temperature: 20 F].

Pg (psi) P (psi) P (Pa) V (m^3) n R T (K)
12.5 27 186158.52 0.004237 0.322844229 8.31 294
9.928571429 24.42857143 168429.1371 0.004237 0.322844229 8.31 266

So the cold ball might be as low as 10 psi, with no tampering.*

But who knows, maybe they checked their balls outside in the cold. (If they did, they're better men than me.)

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Hmmm. As it turns out, ThreeSources is not the only entity in the blogosphere to apply the Scientific Method to the Patriots. http://bit.ly/15EiaxX

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 26, 2015 6:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, "probably" a cheating sonuvabich...

My NFL rule book is hidden below my ThreeSources Family Decency Style Guide somewhere, but were the Pats' staff to fill them to 12.50001 psi in the warmest section of the locker room, do we have an infraction?

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2015 6:58 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Since they DO inspect and test the balls at halftime, I'd say... to a statistical probability.

But if you're going to cheat, you may as well go the full NASCAR: http://bit.ly/15Ennpe

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 26, 2015 7:16 PM
But jk thinks:

Don't. Ever Go. The Full. Smokey Yunick...

You guys are thinking me naïve, but I love football. Happy to see from my earlier link that there may be a serious investigation, but I'd be disappointed. I did not bat an eye for tape-gate and yawn at performance enhancing drugs. I may read Brother jg's speech again, but his one lays funny on the gut.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2015 7:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not even close to approved under the TSFDSG but maybe this will help you get over your moderate indigestion.

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2015 7:38 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And if you're sick of the Deflategate scandal, you might be interested to know that Aaron Hernandez' jury was seated today, and opening statements should follow. There's a palate-cleanser for you.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 26, 2015 8:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay. AFC guy that I am, I'm ready to embrace RAH's suggestion. Go Pats!

But I remain intrigued by the forensics. if it can all be explained with PV = kT, why does it not happen all the time? Do they check every game or was this some sting to catch the tall poppy Patriots? They have been playing this game in bad weather for some time. And for several years, they have allowed teams to control and manage the game balls. It seems easy to determine whether this is a big deal or not, but I've no confidence that we'll ever know.

Posted by: jk at January 27, 2015 10:22 AM
But johngalt thinks:

A PhD colleague confirmed my math, albeit with some reservation about the fluctuation of atmospheric pressure. He also suggested a lady physicist had done the math and, if I understood him correctly, "the air pressure doesn't change" with temperature.

But physics professor and former quarterback Otto Rieke says differently. Spoiler alert: He agrees with moi.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 11:48 AM
But jk thinks:

Compelling.

What's the old line? It's not what we don't know but what we think we know that is wrong. I am held captive by an exchange with a Physics professor when I was a young man. I tried to use the derivative of the Ideal Gas Equation (IGE) with respect to t to derive the rate of loss of air pressure with the rate of temperature.

We had just derived the equation from the definition of kinetic energy (a very nice piece of theory) and I suggested the differential as a real world application.

Said prof approved my math as well. But he strongly cautioned that tire air was composed of heavy particles at high pressure, thus violating a few assumptions of an ideal gas (point particles, elastic collisions, no attractive forces between molecules).

Frantically combing the intertubes for backup, I saw nothing to suggest that Mister Brady's balls were so special [Pfft.] as to be outside the useful application of the IGE. Dr. MacDonnell may well have meant a microscopic deviation from 100% accuracy, but it left me with a lifelong skepticism of using the IGE outside of helium at low pressure in a lab.

We've some cold weather headed our way. Let's do an empirical test and get our handsome faces on the teevee news.

Posted by: jk at January 27, 2015 12:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The video features a football on a desk with an air pump inserted in it. They also demonstrate air pressure measurement with a pen-style pressure gauge (reads in 0.5 psi increments.) I hoped they would show just such an experiment (which can be done with a common freezer, by the way, not just a cold day.)

Yes, the ideal gas law is not the "always exact equation for physical gasses at all temperatures and pressures" law. But for computing the delta P versus delta T of a given number of molecules of a given gas in a given volume* at values around STP, it's close enough for an engineer.

* PhD friend points out that a football is at least slightly elastic, and can grow or shrink with pressure to reduce the magnitude of the effect. But like I said, close enough for an engineer.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 2:25 PM

House Freedom Caucus

I like the looks of this.

"Our main hope is that we can represent the voids and valleys for our constituents back home," Rep. Raúl Labrador of Idaho told The Daily Signal today. "With a small group that is nimble and able to work on issues that are of importance to our constituents, we can make a difference in Congress."

Called the House Freedom Caucus, the group serves as a conservative alternative to the Republican Study Committee, which has over 170 members. However, it was not formed to be "anti-RSC," a Republican congressional aide told The Daily Signal last month.

Now, I'd love it were the same group to be called, say, "The GOP" or something. And I have generally high esteem for the RSC. But this is a good step.

In related news, with heavy heart I had to un-follow my big-L nemesis on Facebook. He posts outrageous, incendiary things about all those losers and fools who still vote GOP, but he has never engaged me with any kind of intellectual honesty. I will wait for he and his three dedicated "atty boy" followers to vote in a new era of total liberty -- and then I will pile on the bandwagon and brag how I knew him back when. Until that time, I will not spend much time on those who will not honestly engage, whatever side they be on.

But johngalt thinks:

Typo alert: Heh - I thought it said "Frodo" Caucus.

This reminds me a lot of the Principles of Liberty effort in Colorado. Much good could it do.

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2015 6:05 PM
But jk thinks:

"Freedo" fixed, thanks for the sharp eye. Neither the Hobbit nor the legendary session bassist "Freebo" enjoy their own House caucus.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2015 6:29 PM

I Guess there is to be a sporting event of some type this weekend...

Now that I have complimented Lance Armstrong for candor, I'd enjoy hearing ThreeSourcers' opinions on Tom Brady's soft balls. [pffffft! Where did I leave that ThreeSources Style Guide? We should have one on-line...]

I am a Pats fan, which is a lonely enterprise on the Colorado Front Range. I've mentioned that Tedy Bruschi's Never Give Up was an inspirational text in our home. Brother Keith has reminded me that #54 has moved on, but the organization is portrayed as having class and integrity from Mr. Kraft on down. Likewise, we appreciate success 'round these parts. Walmart* and Starbucks are not hated for results.

That said, I am deeply disturbed. This strikes me much worse than doping and 100x worse than filming practice fields because I suspect the other enumerated infractions are common and speak to who is unlucky enough to be caught or enforced.

Tampering with the ball. No, Mr. Brady, it is not ISIS -- rest assured you have cleared that bar. But -- if true -- and it got a little worse today, that is a disturbing sin. I saw it compared to stealing signals -- it's not. Filming a practice may be in line with stealing signals. Tampering with the ball is worse.

It tales a lot to draw my support to the NFC, but I am on the ropes. A teevee sports guy "it's hard to get Denver fans to root for the Seahawks, but the Pats may have achieved the impossible." Sad. Not who wins or loses, but that would be a harsh blow the NFL and it would negate what has been a great season.


But Keith Arnold thinks:

I would have loved to root for the Broncos. Or in their absence, the Packers or the Cowboys.

As for the two teams who actually made it to the dance, the hardest decision I have to make is which team I hate more. Twelfth Man versus Darth Hoodie. Legion of Boom versus Gronk.

It's shaping up to be a good day to wash the dogs.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 26, 2015 4:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If I may lend a brother a philosophical hand, I think he is still feeling the glow of his most recent Review Corner. I on the other hand, see the issue through a Heinleinian lens:

I will accept the rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

I would have more respect for Brady and Belicheat if they just said, "We perform better when the ball is inflated 1.5 psi below the league's minimum, so that's how we prepared them. I am willing to face my Creator at the pearly gates and answer for that "transgression" so I did it, because I want to WIN. Do you play sports for some other reason?"

Regulating the air pressure in a football is stupid, in my opinion. What the hell is this, NASCAR? Every team should get to prepare "The Duke" as it sees fit. Only caveat - they have to use the same ball for everything; running, throwing and especially kicking.

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2015 4:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It's hard to get me to root for the Patriots, but the press may have achieved the impossible.

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2015 4:58 PM
But jk thinks:

I appreciate the bold new vantage point. Coating the old pigskin with Ebola to discourage interceptions is out?

As they are all on the same field, I like the idea of the balls' being interchangeable. But allowing a preference within a range is compelling.

And. Your speech. Dude. Awesome. Had they said that, I'd buy a Licensed Brady jersey.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2015 5:21 PM

A Hero?

Lance Armstrong gives "the honest answer" that "nobody wants to hear." Looking at pro-cycling in 1995, he would do it all over again.

"When Lance Armstrong did that, I know what happened. I know what happened to cycling from 1999 to 2005. I saw its growth, I saw its expansion.

"I know what happened to the cycling industry. I know what happened to Trek Bicycles -- $100m (£66.5m) in sales, to $1bn in sales."


I'm strangely proud again.


Our Betters at Davos

You know. The 1700 private-planefuls of people who have flown to the Swiss Alps to fix Climate Change. IBD has a great editorial.

It's pretty obvious that people who can pay $40,000 to attend Davos and fork over $43 for a hot dog, $47 for a burger or $55 for a Caesar salad -- all actual prices at this year's World Economic Forum -- would seem to be in a poor position to lecture the rest of us.

Even so, Bloomberg highlights remarks by subprime mortgage billionaire Jeffrey Greene that "America's lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence. We need to reinvent our whole system of life."


But Keith Arnold thinks:

Until these petulant horses' asses collectively stand together and announce to the world that they are the chiefmost among sinners in the income equality discussion, and en masse announce their agreement to give all their worldly goods to the poor, flog themselves, wear hairshirts for a decade, and live on the average income of an inhabitant of the world, I care a little less than a third of a metric damn about what any of them say on the subject.

I don't begrudge a single one of them so much as half a farthing of their personal fortunes. Income inequality is as necessary to a working economy as temperature inequality is necessary to a working climate. But when any of them have the temerity to scold and lecture the western world for being successful and themselves not stand first in line to remedy what they see as the problem, then they can take their sanctimonious claptrap and reinsert it into the orifice of their choice.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 26, 2015 12:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Horse's asses should be singular possessive in the antecedent, since "asses" is the plural term. Other than that, Word.

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2015 2:39 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

A debatable point, especially with you being the horse expert here. I reasoned that a horse has two asscheeks and but one ass, and therefore to have plural horses' asses, one required plural horses.

Be that as it may, the original phrase I was going to use might have pushed the boundaries of both good taste and the ThreeSources stylebook, and equine hindquarters was the polite alternative.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 26, 2015 2:51 PM
But jk thinks:

We're worse than the People's Front of Judea. I confess I stopped mid thought to try on the apostrophe in both cracks as it were. Put me down as a squish on abortion, capital punishment, and l'affaire cul de chevaux -- I find either use defensible.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2015 3:23 PM

Enumerated Powers Doctrine Cuts Both Ways

Until seven minutes ago, I was convinced that the Speaker was not only within his rights to invite PM Netanyahu to speak to Congress, but also that it was a good idea to tell our ally that not all of us are pusillanimous appeasers.

But I find this blog post from the Tenth Amendment Center compelling:

First, Congress has no Article I, Section 8 to host a foreign leader. (Moreover, the necessary and proper clause, the usual refuge of Congress when it lacks an express power, isn't available here, because Congress isn't passing a law. The power is only to "make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper...").

Second, reception of foreign leaders is an exclusive power of the President. Article II, Section 3, provides that "he [the President] shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers." In this situation, Prime Minister Netanyahu, appearing as the official representative of his country, should be classed as a "public Minister."


I wish my opponents to follow the clear text of the Constitution; I will ask my friends to do the same.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

It is a compelling argument. If we had a government that was being run in accordance with the Constitution, I would wholeheartedly take your side.

And I have a world of respect for the Tenth Amendment Center, whose aim is to impartially and unpartisanly hold everyone's feet to the fire to govern in accordance with the Tenth Amendment, the amendment in the Bill of Rights that is probably more disregarded than any of the other nine. Kudos to them.

However, we are saddled with a lawless Executive, whose violations of the Constitution and its amendments are far more egregious and far more numerous that this likely overreach by Mr. Boehner and Congress. If this argument were to be used by anyone supporting the pretender in the White House (and brother, be it heretofore known that IN NO WAY do I accuse you of that unpardonable sin), I would invite them to clean their own damb house first.

That being said, I would also submit that Art. II, Sect. 3, is not merely an exclusive power, but an exclusive responsibility. It says the President "shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers." So let him do his job and receive Mr. Netanyahu. As many of my Second Amendment friends will point out, there is a significant difference in the options available between "shall" and "may," as in the words "shall issue" and "may issue." It is Mr. Soetero's job and duty to receive Mr. Netanyahu; let him therefore do some receiving. Calling him a "coward" and "chickenshit" are optional, but receiving him seems mandatory.

And if anyone would care to split hairs, I'd be tempted to suggest that Congress isn't "receiving" Netanyahu by way of acknowledging or refusing to acknowledge him in his capacity of an ambassador or public minister of Israel; Congress is opening discussion regarding the hazards of Radical Islamic Violence (something the Executive Branch continues to refuse to acknowledge, I might add), and in its rightful duty to hold debate and hear witnesses, Mr. Netanyahu has made himself available as something of an expert witness on the subject with something meaningful to say. I for one would be very interested in his thoughts and experiences.

For the sake of snark, does Art. II, Sect. 3 have anything to say about receiving green-lipped degenerates who eat breakfast cereal out of bathtubs? I may have missed that part.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 26, 2015 2:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My point of view requires no disclaimer: Even if our government were operating in an Originalist Constitutional manner I see no barrier to Congress "receiving Ambassadors and other public Ministers." At no place in Article II Section 3 do I see the world "only" or any other term conveying exclusivity.

And if one is inclined to insist that it must be an enumerated power of Congress in Article I, my reply is, "Very well, let the members of Congress receive this public minister as private citizens. This is still a free country, with rights of free speech and free association, is it not?"

And then if yours truly was feeling snarky I might add, "And get off your high horse." But I'm not feeling snarky.

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2015 2:50 PM
But jk thinks:

I started this on Facebook and apologize for venue diffusion.

Before switching, I suggested that many of the supporting arguments sound suspiciously like the President's "I'd love to honor separation of powers -- if it weren't for those intransigent Republicans!" I appreciate the more nuanced suggestions made above.

Madison, of course thought the 10th that we revere redundant. Obviously, by enumerating powers proscription of extension and extrapolation is assumed.

I'll call your attention to David Bernstein's response. He also sees a parallel both of absolute Constitutionality and the appearance of honoring the separation of powers.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2015 4:52 PM

January 25, 2015

Review Corner

To be dishonest is to be disconnected from reality, which is a very unhealthy place to be.
I promised some kinder words for Objectivism. Cato CEO and BB&T Hoss John Allison is on the Yaron Brook level of describing the ideas of Ayn Rand. And in the follow-up to his impressive "The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure: Why Pure Capitalism is the World Economy's Only Hope" [Review Corner], He shares the principles -- heavily derived from Rand -- that he used to build a large and profitable bank that navigated the stormy seas of the Panic of '08 without even a quarterly loss.

The Leadership Crisis and the Free Market Cure: Why the Future of Business Depends on the Return to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness can sit on the shelf with all the pop business management books, but it adds quite a bit to the formula: wait for it . . . a philosophy and moral foundation. I have enjoyed many books in this genre, recently Bob Lutz's [Review Corner], but the implicit message is always "be a greater person ---be like me;" Allison gives a template that can be adapted to any organization or used by an individual for personal improvement.

Many people view integrity as some form of duty. Integrity is not a duty. It is a means to improve the probability of being successful and happy. The concept is to develop your principles outside the "heat of battle" and then to consistently apply those principles in the heat of battle because you know that living these principles improves the probability of being successful and happy. Therefore, it is important to not view integrity as a duty or some kind of ill-defined obligation. This perception encourages you to "cheat" on the very principles that are fundamental to your success and happiness.

[...]

Because there is a proper method for judging individuals and because individuals must be evaluated as individuals (because they are individuals), collectivism and all its ugly variations should be rejected. Collectivists judge individuals by their membership in groups. Since all the individuals in the group are different and therefore should be judged differently, collectivists have a 100 percent error rate.

My management days are well behind me but I enjoy business books and think we all our own managers and leaders in all but the most non-autonomous organizations. Allison's "core values" are valuable at any level.
We have now reviewed the 10 core values used at BB& T and my personal values: reality, reason, independent thinking, productivity, honesty, integrity, justice, pride, self-esteem, and teamwork. Upon reflection, one can see that not only are these values not contradictory but that they are integrated. Failure to execute on one value will make it impossible for you to execute on another value.

I deducted 0.5 stars last week to Alex Epstein for inserting philosophy where I felt in extraneous. It's central -- primary -- to Allison's book (though both are excellent proponents). Allison gets five stars.


Corporations!

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

19 Brands Owned by Giant Corporations

3. Kashi

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


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

But Keith Arnold thinks:

And yet they post this on Facebook, a medium provided by An Evil Corporation, using a computer manufactured by An Evil Corporation... I could go on all week by the benefits this woman uses daily provided by Evil Corporations.

Big corporations make possible the pooling of capital and the economies of scale necessary for innovation and wealth production. I understand the unreasoning fear and loathing of corporations, but the bulk of this is fueled by paranoia and envy.

Let's take Burt's Bees, or Kashi, two products originally provided by a small business manufacturer. They became respected and popular among people like your young, idealistic (but slightly misguided) work associate, because they are wholesome, healthsome, and Not Manufactured By A Soulless Evil Corporation. At some point, someone in one of those S.E.C.s noticed them and said "hey, this guy's making a great product, turning a decent profit, and would make a great fit in our product line."

The S.E.C. then approaches the owner with a steamer trunk full of cash, and offers to buy his little company. Maybe he'll use the cash to fund a well-earned retirement; maybe he'll stay on to manage the company; maybe he'll use the cash to market an entirely different product. Do any of these make him evil? I submit that they do not; he didn't market his product out of altruistic desire to do something wholesome for humanity. He went into business to make a living and hopefully turn a profit, by providing something wholesome for humanity.

Now Kashi's cereal and Burt's lip balm are manufactured by the S.E.C. Does your work associate provide any evidence that the S.E.C. changed the recipes, or made a single alteration to the product?

No?

Then how is it that the products are tainted, if they're no different from when the little guy made them? The product is likely now manufactured at a lower production cost, and definitely now marketed to a larger buying audience, because Kellogg's and Clorox can bring them to markets worldwide, and in sufficient quantity to meet the buying public's needs.

And -- since you opened the Firefly can of worms -- I'm going to continue it, and stay on topic. Go back to your Firefly and Serenity DVDs and take a look at the labels River tears off the food cans, the shirt Jayne is wearing that she slices with a kitchen knife, and the Fruity Oaty Bars commercial. See if you can identify what they all have in common; it's not random. There's a common trigger that sets River's subconscious gears in motion.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 26, 2015 1:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Just a wild-assed guess here: Blue Sun?

Hmmm, re-reading the comments I see I guessed correctly. Or else, perhaps, my subconscious has a better memory than my conscious.

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2015 2:58 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

You've got a good memory - I'd forgotten we had that discussion.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 26, 2015 3:10 PM
But jk thinks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe she just has a thing for blue lights?

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

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.

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

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