Monday, January 29, 2007


I've been misspelling it! That's why you can't find it on Google.

It looks like the Wikipedia entry gets its info from their official website.

No, they [Wikipedia] have a section on the Molson Concert:
On September 3, 1995, Molson Brewing Company arranged for several popular rock bands to give a concert in Tuktoyuktuk as a publicity stunt. During the months leading up to concert, radio stations across North America ran contests in which they gave away free tickets. Dubbed The Molson Ice Beach Party and Polar Beach Party, it featured Hole, Metallica, Moist and Veruca Salt. Canadian film-maker Albert Nerenberg made a documentary about this concert entitled Invasion of the Beer People.

So I wasn't lying.

Oh, here's an aerial photo, which is just as exciting as all aerial photos, and Kyle's got a picture of a sunset from there... Oh, that's right! That's Mars.

Well, compare that to this.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Ron Paul is running for President.

Just thought you should know.

Tom Sowell takes on the accusation of "Greed"

hurled at economists and their followers among fiscal conservatives and libertarians. I heard A.L. Brown do it last night on AM1500. He said, approximately, that all that conservatives care about is money. My answer to the radio was, I wish conservatives would confine their policy prescriptions to reducing government and it's costs. A.L. was taught in college that the purpose of the government is to decide who gets the loot.

Just a minute ago, I was reading a guy who said, "for most Libertarians, the credo is, 'I've got mine. You go get yours.'"

Funny, I don't remember running across that line in any to the 10- or 20,000 or so pages of Libertarian literature I've read.

Anyway, Sowell:
Think about it: I could become so greedy that I wanted a fortune twice the size of Bill Gates’ — but this greed would not increase my income by one cent.

If you want to explain why some people have astronomical incomes, it cannot be simply because of their own desires — whether “greedy” or not — but because of what other people are willing to pay them.

The real question, then, is: Why do other people choose to pay corporate executives so much?

A partial answer:
Many observers who say that they cannot understand how anyone can be worth $100 million a year do not realize that it is not necessary that they understand it, since it is not their money.
One of the reasons why central planning sounds so good, but has failed so badly that even socialist and communist governments finally abandoned the idea by the end of the 20th century, is that nobody knows enough to second guess everybody else.

My beloved Walter Williams wrote an article a while back called The Virtue of Greed, and, of course there's John Stossel's special report on the topic.

About the Stossel show, David Kelley, President of The Objectivist Center, who was on the show, says this,
"But I will say there was one key point, which we spent a lot of time talking about, that really did not get into the program: the distinction between "good greed" and "bad greed." "Greed" is an ambiguous term. There is an important distinction to draw between the pursuit of money as a reward for achievement and as a financial instrument for further achievement, on the one hand; and the pursuit of money as an end in itself, or a means of acquiring power, or a means of acquiring prestige, or any of the other "global values" that I talked about in "The Best within Us" (The IOS Journal, March, May 1993). The pursuit of money in those latter contexts is greed in a bad sense. And that is a vice.

Of course, there are only a few people arguing, like Gordon Gekko, that "Greed is Good." (An inspiring speech, btw.) But people who lump both types of "greed" into one concept are not doing a service for humanity.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Reading the news this morning

I had the thought... Come to think of it this is an old article about the Eason Jordan and Dan Rather "Blogstorms". Anyway, I wonder if it's possible for Bloggers to make much of a dent in the MSM these days or if the MSM's case has hardened.

"He, being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall be suddenly destroyed, and that without remedy."

I wonder if Tyndale was responsible for that sentence, or if it was one of King James' scholars not watching his carb intake. But I like the sentiment.

FEE responds to the Senate's inaction yesterday thusly:

Minimum Wage Hits Senate Impasse
"Senate Republicans rejected an effort by Democrats to pass minimum-wage legislation without breaks for small businesses on Wednesday, setting the stage for a potential impasse with the House, where lawmakers are demanding a clean bill." (New York Times, Thursday)

Blessed gridlock.

FEE Timely Classic
"Decency Requires a Minimum-Wage Law? It Just Ain't So!" by Aeon J. Skoble

I added the emphasis. Indeed. Glad to have gridlock back, it's been too long.

Here's the conclusion of the Skoble piece:
The bulk of [Republican Senator Douglas] MacKinnon's argument [in 2003]commits what logicians call the "ad misericordiam" fallacy: he expounds on the fact that he himself used to be poor, that it is terrible to live in poverty, that it is hard for the working poor to make ends meet, that many poor people are poor from birth, and that the poor are people too, equally deserving of dignity. All the things he says on these subjects are true. But they don't constitute a refutation of the economic principle explained above. (It is as if one tried to refute the law of gravity by describing how awful it feels when a piano falls on one’s head: it is indeed awful, but that's what falling pianos do.) And they don't address the real suffering of the real people who will be made worse off by these misguided attempts to help people.

It's a great, short article. RTWT.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Reading from The Pickwick Papers

to my daughter just now, I ran into a character named Captain Boldwig.

He's a supercilious twit.

No relation.

There! Ya happy?

It turns out the Blog$hares people were very polite and prompt. No adz-kicking necessary.

Now I'm listed, I've joined up and claimed my blogs and life is just generally lovely.

Now I've got to figure out how to go about buying shares of YOUR blog.

Omni tells me that BlogShares dumped me

because they think I'm Old Blue the Heretic.

Thank you for the compliment! That guy really knows how to blog! Whether I approve of how he uses his power is beside the point. I enjoy reading it, when I'm overcome by my perversity.

Anyway, I guess I'll have to go over there and kick some adz.

Oh! Go see what Omni's going on about while you're waiting. She's got an URL for a Pam & Tommy Lee movie you've heard about. But what I find surprising is that I've been blogging longer than she has. Not by much, really, 6 months or so...

I forgot about my anniversary.

If anybody's paying attention, I've been updating without announcing it. It's that spirit of perversity again.

If any Singaporeans want to tell Omni why you love her blog, feel free to spout off here.

Well, I registered with BlogShares with no trouble. I have no idea what I'm doing there yet. I decided that I'd just accept the TOS, since Omni did. I've read enough damn TOSes.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Does anybody know how I can stuff my archives into smaller folders

or whatever, so they don't take up so much space on my front page.

For that matter, why do they work so crappy?

I got this Milton Friedman quote from The Advocates

for Self-Government:
President Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask
what you can do for your country."... Neither half of that statement expresses
a relation between the citizen and his government that is worthy of the ideals
of free men in a free society. "What your country can do for you" implies that
the government is the patron, the citizen the ward. "What you can do for your
country" assumes that the government is the master, the citizen the servant.

Damn right.

Ayn Rand had a pretty similar response.

Friday, January 19, 2007

That's what I'm talkin' about!

(Pretty sure I've used that title before, but, Hell...)

Ludwig von Mises said:
Under capitalism the common man is the much-talked-about customer who "is always right." His buying makes efficient entrepreneurs rich, and his abstention from buying forces inefficient entrepreneurs to go out of business. Consumers' sovereignty, which is the characteristic mark of business in a free world, is the signature of production activities in the countries of Western Civilization.

The civilization is today furiously attacked by Eastern barbarians from without and by domestic self-styled Progressives from within. Their aim is, as one of their intellectual leaders, the Frenchman Georges Sorel,[*] put it, to destroy what exists. They want to substitute central planning by the government for the autonomy of the individual citizens, and totalitarianism for democracy. As their muddy and unwarranted schemes cannot stand the criticism leveled by sound economics, they exult in smearing and calumniating all their opponents.

Bad writing alert!

Actually, it's just one sentence of N. Joseph Potts' Reaping Cannon Fodder that I can't understand. There is, at the very least, an element of specialized information left out that might make it more understandable. I guess I'll have to include a couple 'graphs for context, and tell you, so you don't think it's worse than it is, that the first paragraph is about the recent increase in the minimum wage. I'll highlight the sentence that bugs me:
Of course, ideas, even from the Democrat opposition, are not wanting. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) would be quite pleased to have the Republican administration institute a draft — before the next election, if you don't mind. And the Republicans rather do mind taking the blame for any such proposal, which would have to at least appear to draft the sons and daughters of congressmen, campaign-fund donors, and loyal voters impartially along with young men and women who were brought into this world in order to qualify their mothers for AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) and everybody else.

Then there's the nonstarter of competing on the labor market for the needed human input, the same way Wal-Mart, McDonald's, and supposedly even the federal civil service have to do. Now that would be a pretty pass! The world's most-formidable engine of destruction and coercion offering monetary inducements to join in its merry games and, no doubt, end up getting drafted anyway, not at the time of induction, but at the time at which the serviceman or -woman was scheduled to leave the military.

Can anybody explain what he's saying there?

There's a slap at the training of our volunteer soldiers in the article with which I take some umbrage, but I do agree with the economic analysis that the quality of the final product will be diminished when the quantity is increased. Mostly as a result of accepting lower quality recruits, though possibly also because quality training facilities and personnel will not increase quickly enough to keep up.

If you can handle sentence structure more prolix than my own, he goes on to hint at the Administration's dark conspiracy in raising the minimum wage:
No, raising its own minimum wage was far too expensive for the military to consider. And the increase in costs such a move would entail would make world domination look like an even worse deal than it already appears to be. Only the private sector, which is already paying for everything else, could afford such payday extravagance.

Could there be something else besides a draft or pushing up the number at the bottom of the butcher's bill to bring the young'uns flocking in at the gates to augment the mighty host required to defend America? Why … yes! Why not snatch the laurels of altruism from the opposition's brow and boost the number of "volunteers" all in one, magnanimous stroke? Simply diminish the private economy's ability to compete for the hungry, young prizes!

So there is, after all, a purpose for the minimum wage. He does make it clearer as he goes on, that that purpose is not one that "liberals" and liberals would support. Except for Charlie Rangel.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Milton Friedman

In an interview by Russ Roberts:
Milton Friedman: ...I've always felt that the big defect politically of the Federal Reserve is precisely that so much depends on unelected representatives. The central bank is treated as if it were the Supreme Court. That's why during the Depression, there was no effective controls on the central bank. There were members of Congress who knew what to do and who trying to get the Fed to do it but they had no way to do so.

[Ed: there were some members of Congress. Was it a majority?]
Russ Roberts: There was no incentive directly. There was an indirect incentive, of course, which was humiliation and the stigma which has endured. They had no idea at the time of how bad that would turn out—how those decisions would look in retrospect. But you're suggesting that the disadvantage of the current system is a lack of accountability.

Milton Friedman: Right.

Russ Roberts: But the alternative, the elected system, has the problem that you mentioned earlier of the temptation to exploit the ability to create money to increase revenue.

[Ed: to buy votes.]
Milton Friedman: But that's why what you want—if possible—is a mechanical system. If there was any virtue to the gold standard, it was that virtue. Maybe you could create the same thing now. My favorite proposal really is a little bit more sophisticated—or less sophisticated if you want to look at it that way—than a straight increase in the quantity of money. I would—if I had my choice—freeze the amount of high-powered money. Not increase it.

Russ Roberts: High-powered money being bills and cash.

Milton Friedman: High-powered money is the currency plus bank reserves.

Emphasis mine.

"If"? That's the deciding factor for me! I don't want money to be controlled by the next tyrant. That and the fact that gold is what The People chose, as opposed to the technocrats.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


argumentum ad invidiam
(An argument to envy); an appeal to low passions.

Not something I'm recommending, in case you're wondering.

I got the phrase from James Mill's defense of Say's Law against an assault by a Mandevillian Physiocrat.*

But read Sowell's A Dangerous Obsession and Dangerous Obsession II. Okay, that last is #3 of 5 on Townhall.

Looks like I need to catch up.

*Keynes could be called a Mandevillian Mercantilist.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A guy oughta write a post now and then, eh?

It's tough when I've gotta deal with screaming and/or whining kids when I turn the TV on to something I want to watch. I wanted to see what Bush had to say tonight, but I wasn't even able to tune in talk radio until the guys were wrapping up the subject. The guys who aren't just Bush mouthpieces anyway. And Savage records his show earlier, so even he was no help.

He wouldn't have been anyway.

Actually, sometimes he really does cut to the heart of the matter, just as he claims.

I suppose I could review Dragon Tales for you. I saw an episode tonight that I hadn't seen before.

Rosie plugged in The Incredibles while that was on upstairs, so we rewatched that. What an amazingly well done story that is. You've got the pathos of the "Supers" suppressing their powers - unfulfilled middle-aged man with a boring job, whiny kids too bored to fulfill anyone's expectations. You've got the comedy of their failures to suppress their powers. You've got your family values, your love story - even some unrequited love - along all the great action/adventure you expect from a super-hero cartoon, and tons better animation than you'll ever see on Saturday morning. Except maybe for some Warner Bros products, the Saturday morning cartoons have the stupidest stories imaginable. And the worst animation since Hoppity Hooper.

Oh, I'm sorry! Did you want to hear about Dragon Tales?

[I'll just tack this on here, rather than create a new post.] I meant to say something a couple weeks ago, when my Matt Helm Yahoo group brought it up, about the Sex Wagon from the Dean Martin movie (you can't hardly call it a Matt Helm movie - it's about Dino, the martini-swilling playboy, not Helm, the cold-blooded government assassin) The Silencers has been restored and is on display at the Volo Auto Museum, in Volo, Illinois; 50 miles northwest of Chicago.

They just might lure me into that state to see it. I thought those movies were pretty funny when I was a kid. That's why I started reading the books.

The books aren't funny. Not in the same way. There's a lot of dark humor. If you want to be a tough-minded killer, they're must-reading to gain the mind-set.

Or, maybe it's a bad idea to spread that info around.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

We need to check out this

She sounds like she has the solution.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Still in Oklahoma. Got the truck fixed.

My brother-in-law came by yesterday morning and fixed the brakes while I was sleeping in. Heckuva deal, eh?

He's a professional diesel mechanic. And a fine Christian.

We forced him to take a hundred bucks for his work. It was tough going, but we won.

The missing cylinder was pretty much a spark plug. That looks like a problem that will come back. Until it does, though, we can't diagnose it.

I need to find out why my family just got so darn quiet.