"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"

Buy "The Case for Democracy"

View NASA picture

The Sticker

jk [at] threesources [dot] com
AlexC [at] threesources [dot] com
JohnGalt [at] threesources [dot] com

AlexC Bio
jk Bio
Johngalt Bio
LatteSipper Bio
Cyrano Bio
Ellis Wyatt Bio

Maybe the world is ThreeSources -- add a #3src hashtag to post your tweets

November 22, 2014

Wherein jk Parts Company with Jonah Goldberg

Jonah -- proudly -- represents Burkean conservatism and I am grounded more in a Lockean, rights-based libertarianism. So we have parted on shading and nuance several times. But my history with, respect for, and appreciation for Goldberg has always provided the benefit of the doubt to his case.

But we have found a cross product of -1 on an important issue. Jonah finds mondo-scientist and hateful shirt-rocker Matt Taylor culpable in shirtgate -- not of misogyny, but of fashion violations and a class 3 abuse of casual Friday.

Many of my friends and colleagues on the anti-PC right have responded with understandable outrage. And it's true: Taylorís confession of wrongdoing did feel forced -- awfully North Korean.

Still, the feminists have a point. Although I like the shirt (which is now selling like hotcakes), I would never wear it to a nice restaurant, never mind on a globally broadcast TV interview. The reason I wouldnít wear it has very little to do with my fear of offending feminists. It's simply unsuitable professional attire. I'd ask critics of the feminist backlash, would you wear it on a job interview? How about to church or synagogue?

So the Burke-Locke split is just a small creek compared to the sartorial ocean that divides me and Mister Goldberg. I always wanted to explore things more deeply with blog friend Perry. He was a Wall-Streeter and his blog linked to the occasional "Ten Must-Do Men's Dressing Tips" of which I would follow . . . zero.

There is a huge split between East Coast and West US, more between urban and rural, and a monstrous divide between technical professions and New York Journalism. I don't know that I'd wear "the shirt" to a job interview but I have interviewed and hired many who were dressed equally casually. Nor would I refrain from hiring a candidate who showed up in that. I would shave points off only if it reinforced some other concerns.

I think a lot of people choose technical professions because they don't like to dress up. And on a higher plane, most want to be accepted for their achievements if not the content of their character -- certainly not the color of their shirt. Law and Investment Banking might be swell occupations, but to the tech worker they appear capricious with the attractive, well dressed and obsequious worker advancing faster than his or her better qualified rivals.

Doctor Taylor probably went into science to avoid being judged by his shirt. Jonah Goldberg makes a mistake to apply his standards outside his profession.

November 21, 2014

"Universally accepted"

While looking up the prescribed quarantine period for persons exposed to the Ebola virus I found this gem of an edit as the second sentence of the Ebola Virus Disease Wikipedia entry:

It is universally accepted that the Ebola virus scare was the brainchild of the pharmaceutical industry. (Witness the H1N1 panic that resulted in millions of unused vaccine doses.)

I checked the date of the latest edit and found it to be ... today.

It has since been edited again and that passage removed. Interwebs. Sheesh.

Cry Havoc -- and Let Loose the "Contact" Spoilers!

Party like it is 1999! JK has become the last person on the planet to see "Contact," discussed in post and comments this week.

I liked it plenty but do not plan to rank it up there with Serenity. Some of it may be the terminal 1990s-ish of it. At least it wasn't the 70s; the 90s were berry berry good to me. But the computers and President Clinton cameos jar one out of plotline immersion.

It gets three and a half stars right off the bat for location footage of the VLA -- I went to school for a year right down the road from the VLA in Socorro. Dialogue gives the location as Socorro, but I think the actual location is Magdalena.

Bonus points [seriously, we're ignoring potential spoilers in a 17-year old movie now, are we not?] for the ambiguity given to her experience. It reminded me of "Normal Again," one of my five favorite Buffy episodes. Buffy spends half the episode in a mental hospital with a kindly doctor telling her (living, happy and married) parents that she has constructed this fantastic world where she is a superhero. She spends the other half in Sunnydale fighting monsters.

I'd like to watch Contact again, but I only got a 24 hr. rental. But on first, I think they did the same admirable job of not taking sides.

There are many interesting questions asked. I think I see why it is loved and perhaps why in one case it is not. The production is good (I bet mind blowing in '97). I am on record as an anti-Sagan grouch but was not bugged by Saganism. The lovely bride thought it lacked for sympathetic characters. I think I could find twenty minutes to trim. But these are small beer in a ThreeSources review.

What did I miss?

Art Posted by John Kranz at 5:09 PM | What do you think? [1 comments]
But nanobrewer thinks:

I'll take this:

1. An excellent story of a scientist struggling mightily against various nefarious sources (competing scientists, doubtful colleagues, speedbump bureaucrats...) that attempt to sway, thwart, divert, etc... many times over the frustrating banality of ignorance, with a sprinkling of greed and envy.

I found Ellie's character heroic, perhaps sympathetic... I could relate. I also found Foster appealing back then, which surely helped. It was a mystery and an adventure rolled into one, with a great script. No real villain to wrap your bile around: brilliant! The premature death of her father wasn't played up for sympathy but became integral to the story.

2. I also found the deist sub-theme probing and intelligent, with Joss posing some worthwhile questions to both Ellie's atheism and the storefront, instant-conversion of the others'. It also fed the story (well, a dramatic and fun diversion really), by allowing Joss to play spoiler and Drumlin (T.Skerrit) to show a conniving side - and the mass of agnostics to find a way to hang their risk-aversion hats on (and perhaps position themselves for payoff?).

3. The science sure seemed solid (which helped me relate to Ellie), and the hoopla - bad and good - around the discovery of ET intelligence felt just right.

4. The inclusion of historical figures: digitized Clinton, Leno, King, etc... touched me. Sorry if it seemed Passe to others after Forrest Gump.

5. I found the denouement terrific: I LOVE IT when aliens are portrayed in this fashion. As far from Star Trek as could be (and I like Trek). Bablyon 5 did this a time or two (looks like very similar time lines too: B5/S4 was in '97 and featured a similarly filmed confrontation with humans v. "first one" aliens in the conclusion to the Great Shadow War), and I've always preferred enigmatic aliens in books.

It really hit on all levels for me. It was at that time, my favorite all time SF movie. Clearly still in the top 5.

My favorite line: "so beautiful.... they should have sent a poet."

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 23, 2014 12:08 AM

Plain Old Quote of the Day

By the power of greyskull, this is ridiculous. This guy is supposed to be a lawyer. The question of his authority to do X is independent of what Congress does. The executive branch may not write laws. You could look it up. Letís imagine China pulls a Pearl Harbor and sinks the Seventh Fleet. On the merits, the U.S. should declare war. Those merits do not entitle the Gary, Indiana Department of Motor Vehicles to usurp Congress's authority and declare war unilaterally. -- Jonah Goldberg [Subscribe]
But johngalt thinks:

Help me out here. I'm not slow, per se, but I am literal-minded.

If Congress declares war and the Executive does not wage it, the states may not? Same for invasion by immigrants?

Posted by: johngalt at November 21, 2014 7:02 PM

Quote of the Week

Perhaps Emperor Obama has an effective plan. It's not a Constitutional plan, and it's not really even an American plan -- but it could be a strong plan for tyranny, based on new imported demography.

As we have seen, the Founders worried greatly about Caesarism, and they did their best to safeguard against it. But back in the 18th century, they couldn't be expected to foresee every possible subversion of their new Republic. Today, in the 21st century, it's our job to assess the new threat to our Constitution, and to make a new strategy to preserve and defend it.

- Breitbart columnist "Virgil" in A Republic, If We Can Keep It: The Founders vs. 'Emperor Obama'

November 20, 2014

And They Wonder Why Men Don't Do Punditry

Katie Pavlich and her hurtful shirt:

But nanobrewer thinks:

Took me 4-5 clicks to figure this out... and I think I've gotten part of it. I do like the AAS reply to the ShirtGate kerfuffle:

the AAS is committed to the philosophy of equality of opportunity and treatment for all members, regardless of gender, gender identity or expression, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or religious belief, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, veteran status, or any other reason not related to scientific merit.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 21, 2014 3:02 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Only women notice clothes.

Posted by: johngalt at November 21, 2014 7:51 PM

November 19, 2014

Eppur si muove

Princeton's Galileo:

Hat-tip: Insty

But johngalt thinks:

Golum! He's clearly evil.

*end sarcasm*

I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees; They need CO2, More, if you please!


REAL tree-huggers *heart* CO2!
Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2014 2:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The problem with your "eppur si muove" premise - that the warming since 1998 has been zero, rather than 0.3 C - is the relatively short interval, in geological terms. (But then, so is a century.)

Warmists dismiss this with heaping helpings of Kant/Heisenberg/uncertainty mumbo jumbo.

Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2014 3:19 PM
But jk thinks:

I like this quite a bit -- it hits most of my favorite points against the alarmists.

If I could separate a couple parts per million from the good Doctor Sm&eacture;agol: anybody hear cotton to concerns of ocean acidification? A dark part of me wonders if, while we have waged war over "global warming," we might have missed a more serious and measurable issue.

Posted by: jk at November 20, 2014 4:10 PM

Major Media Reports on the Gruber Videos!

Well, Jon Stewart did.

Happy that some of my friends will see a reference to this. But the allure of this man still eludes me. There are a couple good lines (video at the link) but the "comedy" drags on for minutes of angry, passive-aggressive rants. I watch the show 1/1000 as much as my friends and I tire of the same setups. De gustibus, I guess.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Do those same friends regularly heap opprobrium on Fox? A little bit of JS goes a long way; once every 8-9 months does me fine (that's about as often as I'm aware of him taking on the left).

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 21, 2014 2:44 AM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, how'd you guess?

Now, I know we're the stoopid ones and all, but the divide is not MSNBC vs. FOX News -- the ratings make that clear. The real divide is FOX News vs. The Comedy Channel. A news organization with thousands of journalists, foreign offices, and a network of local affiliates -- against a guy who sings "Fuck You" songs.

Stewart's biggest schtick is bashing FOX. I've said a thousand times I'm not FOX's biggest fan. But Stewart intentionally conflates commentary, news, and the light entertainment news. Then he edits them to make them look as bad as possible and feeds to his crowd. They then know they are the smarterest people in the world, and that anything on FOX is wrong.

All's fair to a point. But when only FOX covers Benghazi, and now #GruberGate, he effectively brings the only non-lap dog to heel.

Like you, I suspect, I see him when a clip comes around of him bashing the Administration or figures on the left. (And this link doesn't count. He has been tough on his side but not here.) I cannot even enjoy it then. I don't like his style and I strongly oppose what he stands for. Fair and accurate journalism is difficult, discarding both in an attempt to make it funny (but still take me seriously) grates.

Posted by: jk at November 21, 2014 10:24 AM

Quote of the Day

Air Force records show that Barack Obama charged the taxpayers $1,539,402.10 for his Labor Day travels for "fundraising, personal business, and politicking." As Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton put it, "This Labor Day back-and-forth shows President Obama seems to confuse Air Force One with Uber." -- Roger Kimball

Otequay of the Ayday

Capt. Quick was last seen leaving his mother's home on the way to his girlfriend and their newborn. He was not last seen assaulting a storeowner and taking products. Yet, we know nothing of 45-year-old Capt. Kevin Quick. Apparently, Quick's crime was being a white man in America and not considered a victim -- just someone who got what he deserved at the hands of society's victims, young black men, gang members who have been badly treated and denied social justice.

Allen West on black attackers charged in murder of white officer.

Correction: It Is Easy Being Green!

Don't believe everything you hear on live at the coffeehouse dot com. This story in the New York Times suggests that -- thanks to generous subsidies -- it can be quite easy Bein' Green.

"I have never seen anything that I have had to do in my 20 years in the power industry that involved less risk than these projects," [NRG's chief executive, David W. Crane] said in a recent interview. "It is just filling the desert with panels."

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that even some ThreeSourcers will be surprised by the cravenness.
The government support -- which includes loan guarantees, cash grants and contracts that require electric customers to pay higher rates -- largely eliminated the risk to the private investors and almost guaranteed them large profits for years to come. The beneficiaries include financial firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, conglomerates like General Electric, utilities like Exelon and NRG -- even Google.

A great deal of attention has been focused on Solyndra, a start-up that received $528 million in federal loans to develop cutting-edge solar technology before it went bankrupt, but nearly 90 percent of the $16 billion in clean-energy loans guaranteed by the federal government since 2009 went to subsidize these lower-risk power plants, which in many cases were backed by big companies with vast resources.

The NY Times includes this charming bit of understatement:
The windfall for the industry over the last three years raises questions of whether the Obama administration and state governments went too far in their support of solar and wind power projects, some of which would have been built anyway, according to the companies involved.

Ya Think? Just maybe? A hair too far?

Even if you are not surprised at the depths of cronyist depravity, I think you might want to bookmark this as an enumeration that you can share with friends. Considering the source, it is stunning.

But AndyN thinks:

...some of which would have been built anyway...

This may not technically be a lie, but I suspect that the percentage of these projects that would have been built with the owners own money, and without government price guarantees is vanishingly small. The people running those companies didn't get rich by being stupid.

Posted by: AndyN at November 19, 2014 12:54 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Or by producing a lot of energy, either.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 19, 2014 1:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Energy companies would naturally have made some investments in new technology simply for the sake of innovation. But the key element behind "would have been done anyway" is "contracts that require electric customers to pay higher rates."

"Subsidies and government support have been part of many key industries in U.S. history -- railroads, oil, gas and coal, aviation," said Damien LaVera, an Energy Department spokesman.

So has slavery, Mr. LaVera. So has slavery.

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2014 1:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Advocates say these policies "create jobs" and "promote economic growth." Sure, it's a freakin' perpetual motion machine - just keep adding money and money will "come out."

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2014 1:57 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Old time TS'ers know my history with Green Energy (summary: a guarded optimism). That optimism been slipping b/c of just this type abuse, which I've been watching grow for over a decade. Yes, some of these projects would have been "built anyway" but far, far fewer.

It's a good time to review how Green Energy crazy programs have worked in other places:

Here's the Economist (summary: much more a fan of gov't programs than free market solutions) "The Cost del Sol"


Another report (Puffington Host, of all places!) notes: Spain's expensive green energy failure can serve as a lesson to Ontario. A recent study shows for every 'green job' created 2.2 real jobs were lost elsewhere in the economy due to the impacts on electricity pricing.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 20, 2014 2:28 PM

November 18, 2014

But johngalt thinks:

Why can't this be smoking gun proof that PPACA is a hoax and "catnip for conservatives" at the same time?

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2014 1:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay, I'll put a dollar in the jar.

Imagine, for one shining second, if an "architect" of a George Bush legislative achievement -- say, the 2003 tax cuts -- were to be found being similarly candid on YouTube about any efforts to game the system on CBO scoring.

Posted by: jk at November 19, 2014 2:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Or, if a Republican candidate for President said, "47% of Americans will never vote for us because they collect too much in government cheese."

Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2014 2:24 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hopefully, this will finally blow the lid off the idea that CBO estimates are to be believed. Ideally the head of CBO will be subjected to some "Lerner" style hearings.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 20, 2014 2:11 PM

Doesn't Sound Settled to Me...

So. Climate Change -- we gonna freeze or bake in the winter in America?

If anything, [Martin Hoerling of NOAA] says, the warming world will see fewer extreme weather shifts because the Arctic and mid-latitudes will be nearer in temperature.

But Jennifer Francis, a researcher with the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University who studies the impact of Arctic warming on the global climate, disagrees. Her research predicts that as Arctic warms (and it is warming extraordinarily quickly) the jet stream will weaken and narrow. "When you have a strong jet stream it's like a thick rope. You can give one end a tug and not much happens." But as it weakens, she says, it's more like a string. A shake (or a typhoon) will send waves all along its length, causing the Arctic monster to move south more often.

Uh huh.

Prepare the Shocked Face...

"We have been thinking that if young children choose healthy food, they will eat it," said Susan Gross, a research associate at Johns Hopkins. "But our research shows that is not necessarily so." -- Kate Scanlon, Daily Signal
So hard to save the world.

Quote of the Day

Harvard's policy was written by people who think sexual assault is so heinous a crime that even innocence is not a defense. -- Alan Dershowitz
Hat-tip: Glenn Reynolds

UPDATE: I had mistakenly attributed the quote to Prof. Reynolds. ThreeSources apologizes for the error.

Movie Review - Interstellar is Stellar

First quick note: NO SPOILERS here!! Also, if you don't like spoilers, try to stay away from too many reviews. If you do, or don't care to see the movie, then revel in more than a bit of Climate Realist schadenfreude.

The movie has inspired a bit-storm by not embracing the Hollywood meme about CAGW, and much electronic flame is unfurling. I suspected as much when reading a review on Rotten Tomatoes (which only gets two stars in my books), that lamented over an opportunity lost to scold movie goers about CO2 emissions. This reviewer also struggled with too much technobabble, which I found (as did my date, who had a year of college that is now happily forgotten) to be trimmed to bare necessity. There was a terrific (short!) scene demonstrating wormholes cutting through space-time, and the background to astronomical singularities and time dilation seemed appropriate (interestingly synergistic with the new movie on Dr. Hawking), and even added to the story. First script I've ever seen that treated Time as a resource (tho' Prisoner of Azkaban may qualify).

So, w/o spoilers, I can say that TS'ers who wish to see this will not have it spoiled by Hollywood proselytizing. It's excellent, scientifically weighted but not too jargon-laden, has several nods to what me and my friends refer to "Yankee Know-How" which (as noted in reviews at NRO and WS) is a pro-American, pro-liberty theme. It's 168 minutes; take a pit stop before going in!

My favorite quote was:

We used to look up and wonder about our place in the stars. Now, we look down and worry about our place in the dirt.

Matthew McConaughey is excellent and family themes are very powerful. Jessica Chastain is every bit - perhaps even more - as intensely engaging as she was in Zero Dark Thirty. Micheal Caine and John Lithgow are very good, and there are no T&A distractions. Cinematography and effects are as fantastic as one expects from the Nolan brothers, and the script moves quickly, but takes time to allow us to get to know characters. The score is powerful, but a little too much so, as it overwhelms dialog at times, which may or may not have been important.

The bad guy is strange, and not done very well is a problem that delivered on all the wrong levels but one (which is another spoiler). The script is tight, grants suspense without mustache-twirling, and is more than up to the mind tricks that so intrigued in Memento and Inception.

4/4 stars; tho' not quite enough to knock Contact or Serenity off my personal pillar as the best of sci-fi. If not for Fury I might go back and pay theater prices again!

Posted by nanobrewer at 1:12 PM | What do you think? [16 comments]
But jk thinks:

I provided very detailed and nuanced literary criticism to help my Brother realize his full potential. But I think I can share it here:

It's Awesome!

Posted by: jk at November 19, 2014 12:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Very interesting, and very impressive. "I knew him back when..." This being the first I've heard of it, I can give my first impression. And, from the jacket notes given it does seem very much like, if I may, ahem... Atlas Shrugged Part 4? I was one among the doubtless millions who yearned for more when that story came to end.

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2014 1:40 PM
But dagny thinks:

Happy to spend 5.99 on KA's book. Sight unseen. Unfortunately the last time I had time to read a book all the way through for fun was in the hospital when my last daughter was born. Not willing to be pregnant again to make time to read the book.

Also, not willing to discuss my issues with Contact here at this time. Too many spoilers involved.

Posted by: dagny at November 19, 2014 2:35 PM
But Mrs. KAA thinks:

Shameless self promotion does go a long way --

JK thanks for the endorsement.

Posted by: Mrs. KAA at November 19, 2014 3:49 PM
But jk thinks:

I look forward to any help I could provide and know all ThreeSourcers feel the same.

The approbation was honest -- as is the jealous rage I feel from the others 'round here. "How come JK got to read a preview?" The answer was that I made a fortuitous reference in a post to an plot element. Keep swingin' kids.

Posted by: jk at November 19, 2014 3:57 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm going to come to JK's defense; my enlisting his opinion did result from an exchange on a post that had touched on a plot element I was using. It was my fault for not broadcasting it at that point; I suppose you can write that off to what passes for humility in me. I would gladly share with the others here; JG, I believe I still have your e-mail address tucked away for safekeeping, but if you'd like to send me a reminder of it by way of a Facebook private message or something, I'll be happy to make use of that.

Atlas Shrugged Part 4? I'm not worthy. I'll posit that I've set it against a background of a future Earth that results from the worst of an Atlas Shrugged kind of world.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 19, 2014 5:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Huh. Did I imply that I disliked being the object of jealous rage?

Posted by: jk at November 19, 2014 5:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No jealousy from me, with or without rage. Envy, yes. JK was indeed the best choice for this assignment but I prefer to, much as the chef whose senses are overwhelmed by the work in the kitchen to the point he doesn't fully enjoy the meal, wait and enjoy the full, completed product.

Perhaps a more suitable subtitle would be: "Picking up after Atlas shrugged."

(Or, "A funny thing happened on the way to the end of humanity.")

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2014 6:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Shrugs." I meant to say, "Picking up after Atlas shrugs."

Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2014 1:23 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Brother KA: please open a new post on this when it's ready for publication. I'm interested, in the story and in the journey (one I've thought of taking, and whose BFF is already 3/4 down).

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 20, 2014 2:42 PM



Midnight Sun

Lionel Hampton & Johnny Mercer ©1947

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


Two Cheers for Small Politics!

Ron Fournier has made some friends on the right for his rare willingness to criticize the President. Surely they'll seize his mainstream journalist rewards card. I, too, applaud independence.

But my pal, Insty, links and lengthily excerpts his latest "The Extraordinary Smallness of Washington." I like a whack at President Obama as much as most (well, the lovely bride enjoys it more). But let's be careful what we wish for, can we? Fournier shows his lefty stripes:

On immigration, we need durable new rules that give 11 million illegal immigrants some form of legalization without punishing those who followed the old rules, and that acknowledge the steep social costs of porous borders. In other words, true reform would be bipartisan, addressing credible concerns of conservatives and liberals alike.

Instead, we're about to get temporary half-measures issued by fiat from Obama.

On energy, we need a national policy that balances the threat of global warming against the hunger for jobs--one that acknowledges the economic and national security benefits of diversifying our energy buffet.

I'd love me some comprehensive immigration reform. And I'd equally hate me some notional energy policy. What Fournier misses is that we have had some pretty sweeping legislation: ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, TARP, The Stimulusticus, Auto Bailouts, Cash for Crunkers...

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. had a nice cottage industry ranking the Presidents. "Bigness" was his key indicator. Grover Cleveland's firm vetoes, Warren Gamaliel Harding's releasing Eugene Debs and daily meetings with Charles Dawes to trim spending score low. Fournier makes the same mistake.

November 17, 2014


Monetary Policy and ISIS. Gotta love the WSJ Ed Page.

ISIS is swimming in capital--more than $1 billion in cash and reserves, by conservative estimates--and has established sprawling taxation in Iraq and Syria. In practice, however, the ISIS economy is notable only for generating large flows of refugees. That probably doesn't bother its leaders too much. But armies won't march on propaganda alone, and operational overhead adds up.

Forget weapons and ammo: ISIS's 20,000-plus fighters also require square meals, secure transport, lodging and first-aid. Oil production in Syria has fallen by 70% since the start of the U.S.-led bombing campaign, and the United Arab Emirates on Saturday formally designated ISIS a terror group.

The ISIS treasury--Bayt al-mal, or house of money--had the foresight not to respond to its liquidity woes by issuing paper currency. If the group had forged better relations with Muslims worldwide, it might be laundering cash through hawala--a global money-transfer system that relies on Islamic honor-codes instead of promissory notes. To put it mildly, though, most Muslims wouldn't wipe their feet with ISIS's "honor." Hence the terror group's decision, "by the grace of Allah, to mint a currency based on the inherent value of the metals gold and silver."

Trouble is, the market value of gold and silver is not "inherent" but dictated by supply and demand. Citizens in ISIS territory can now be expected to hoard gold and silver to trade for whatever foreign goods and currency they can find. Friedrich Hayek in 1977 aptly described "the gold standard" as "the only method we have yet found to place a discipline on government." What ISIS has failed to understand is that metal-backed currency helps protect ordinary people from money-minting despots--not the other way around.

Say what you will about FOMC Chief Janet Yellen -- she does not generally open the Jackson Hole meetings with a beheading.

But johngalt thinks:

On those grounds, Yellen is indeed a "moderate."

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2014 5:59 PM

Quote of the Day

The late Karl Popper started to think about what distinguishes science from other social practices by confronting the apparent "irrefutability" of ideological systems like marxism or psychoanalysis. The problem with such world views is that they never seem to be testable, there is never any clearly identifiable fact "in the world" which can refute them. The "timidity trap" argument gives me a horrible deja vu feeling in this sense. Each time things don't work out as planned what Mr Abe and Mr Kuroda have to do is more of the same, no matter if you blow Japan clean out of the water, since the only reason the recommended recipe hasn't worked to date is that the balance sheet expansion and the associated stimulus haven't been big enough. I think it is time Paul [Krugman] came of age intellectually speaking and started to identify for us some concrete indicators which could prove his hypothesis wrong if they moved in the expected direction without producing the expected result, and stop telling us repeatedly that he has normally been right. -- Edward Hugh
But johngalt thinks:

"Concrete indicators." Yes like, in another field perhaps, "temperatures stopped rising without draconian conservation and redistribution and energy mandate measures."

At the beginning I was sure this was going to be a climate change quote. Our friends on the left love to quip, "But, science." Except without any possibility of "refutability" there is little difference between science and the ideological systems, like Christianity or Islam. (The latter certainly have better traditions.)

I believe I'll try explaining to them... present stances on climate change are proof that, in the battle between science and religion, the latter has won - at least in the minds of the, umm, "believers."

T-shirt idea:

Global-Warming Infidel
Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2014 5:56 PM
But jk thinks:

My opposition to "climate science" for several years was exclusively to rely on Popper. Their models' predictions never happen.

But yes. Science! And 97%! Epistemology not. So. Much.

Posted by: jk at November 17, 2014 6:06 PM
But jk thinks:

And I'll take an LT in the pewter. Seriously -- I like it.

Posted by: jk at November 17, 2014 6:07 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

My opposition to AGW was based on my thoughts of natural systems: I needed to be sure the rises reported in the "hockey stick" scenario were clearly outside of statistical norms. Boy were they ever!

I line like to use in coffee klatches is: "If I were a devout christian, then I'd consider the AGW theories to be blasphemous. Since I'm not devout in that way, I merely see them as hubris."

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 18, 2014 12:00 AM
But jk thinks:

Sorry, nb, lost me there -- was that a "Hockey Stick Yay" or a "Hockey Stick Boo?"

Posted by: jk at November 18, 2014 10:05 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I have a phrase which brother JG's comment evokes:
In more civilized times, you might have said 'I don't know.' As a greek philosopher noted long ago, that phrase embarks one on the way to wisdom. Sigh; I suppose one of man's enduring truths is that Wisdom is not conventional (nor convenient).

I consider things that are "Concrete" the only things that gov't can do properly, like firestations, McCloskey ships and border fences (though I'll make allowances for an LCS-1 here and there).

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 18, 2014 3:11 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

JK: I meant so far out of statistical norms as to be fantastic... as in Fantasy land. I am not a fan of Doktah Mann.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 18, 2014 3:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I love the phrase, NB. "In more civilized times..." Personally, I like to say, "I don't know. Let's find out." I think that expresses the same sentiment, with less poetry.

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2014 3:18 PM

And it doesn't get enough credit...

That guy the President has never heard of seems to remember the President.

Hat-tip: Guy Benson @ HotAIr

But johngalt thinks:

40% of the $5.9M that Gruber has been paid for various consulting contracts related to the government takeover of the health care sector is $2,360,000. Please contact the IRS to make payment arrangements, Mr. Gruber.

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2014 4:35 PM

GruberGate HIts Colorado

If I read this correctly, Colorado paid MIT Health Care Wiz Jonathan Gruber an undisclosed amount for his standard sample pack of lies -- but did it after the State decided to do its own exchange.

Over a year after this controversy erupted, the Colorado Health Initiative, a private non-profit dedicated to "serving as an independent and impartial source of reliable and relevant health-related information for sound decision making," issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) COHIEX #0001 for a study to analyze the effects of the exchange on the Colorado insurance market. The RFP was titled, "Independent Consulting Firm to Conduct Background Research to Support the Development of the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange." Gruber was awarded the contract, briefed CHI on the basics of his findings in September, and published his final report in January of 2012.

The Legislature had already adopted SB11-200 which created the exchange. Nevertheless, the paper has been cited in a number of different policy discussions, from a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment brief on unintended pregnancy to a February 2012 article in Health Affairs titled, "Colorado's Health Insurance Exchange: How One State Has So Far Forged A Bipartisan Path Through The Partisan Wilderness." The paper was cited in a July 2012 assessment of state exchanges by the Commonwealth Fund (Unfortunately for Commonwealth, its glowing assessments of Maryland's efforts weren't born out when the exchange actually launched.)

While the paper didn't influence the state's decision to launch a state exchange, it was cited in a Colorado Health Foundation paper pushing for full state Medicaid expansion. That paper was released in February of 2013; the bill to expand Medicaid, with the federal government picking up most of the initial tab, was passed in that legislative session (SB13-200).

Thanks, Amy! And Hat-tip: Insty

Tweet of the Weekend

Don't click this. Comments (2)