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August 31, 2007 05:05 PM UTC

Friday Open Thread

  • 179 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols


Do the humpty hump.

Comments

179 thoughts on “Friday Open Thread

  1. Just curious gang but is it time to finally and completely end our reliance on fossil fuels and get out of the Middle East?  Is it time to switch to new fuels and give back that brown, dirty substance to the Arabs and drive them to bankruptcy because oil would be devalued so much?  Is it time to formulate a “Manhattan project” level push for these new fuels to be produced in mass?  Are we comfortable altering world trade routes, military alliances and deployments and political powers?  Are we ready to begin to halt the damaging effects on our planet? 

    I am ready and I am taking action.  How about you?

    Have a great day and a very safe weekend!

    1. What action are you taking?

      Basically, we’ve been waiting for the last 20 years to end our reliance on fossil fuels which have been more of course than a blessing for Americans. While the argument goes that those fuels have run our economy, I personally believe, they have also ruined our economy, our environment, or foreign diplomatic power and policies.

      As for your suggestion to recreate a Manhattan Project to end our reliance on fossil fuels, I don’t think that will happen. We have been waiting on the “free-market” to provide, and like all other shortfalls the free market has, it will not provide what we want until one resource has completely run dry. Bush, even after 7 state of the Unions, will not end our dependence on foreign fossil fuels; too many in his “base” are making bank.

      Again, Im curious as to what action you are taking.

      1. What am I doing?  I’ve restructured my investment portfolio to lean more on renewable technologies, re-did the house with solar panels and knocked out a wall for more passive solar (gotta take advantage of the 300 days of sunshine per year in this state!).  I also purchase alternative energy from Excel.  I am finding that it is not too much more strain on my budget to do these things.  That said, I still own my Ford POS!  I guess a Prius is next!

        1. because of the energy to manufacture it.

          A traditional gasoline car that is made in large global volume that gets high mileage like a Fit or yaris is actually greener.

          I know those cars don’t have green sex appeal, but they are better.

          Battery disposal is also a problem that we have yet to address for Hybrids.

          1. The recent study that rated the Prius so low – at least the one I’ve seen – based its “green” ratings on longevity.  They rated the Prius at 100,000 miles; many Prius owners have now surpassed that mark, which invalidates the calculation.

      2. They used to, but with the change in investment emphasis to the OHMIGODNEXTQUARTER thinking, that’s pretty much history.

        Libertarians, that’s one of the very successful roles of government.  Would those companies giving rocket rides to the uber-reech have gotten going w/o NASA?  Doubt it. 

        I run The Shack In The Back (a.k.a. my tiny house) on wind.  The fact that Ex-Hell has had a waiting list for several years shows that the public is willing to put its money where its mouth is.

    2. The problem is, you’ve got to convince both the voters in COlorado and Xcel to switch from coal to nuclear and to build enough plants not only for present electricity generation but also to provide power for electric or hydrogen cars.

      So yes you’re right, we can do it. But how do we get enough voters to understand that nuclear is safer and kills fewer than our present use of coal & gas?

      – dave

              1. In other words, the market doesn’t deal with it, because the environment is, by definition, not privately owned (it wouldn’t be an “environment” if it were privately owned; it would be some kind of bounded space, which must be bounded by an environment unless it is infinite in extent).

        1. I agree completely that we’ll have to rely on nuclear–nothing else can come close to meeting our projected needs.

          The downside is that building more nuclear power plants is nuts in a country that is completely failing to tend to our existing infrastructure.  We don’t do unannounced meat inspections any longer, we still don’t check more than a fraction of foreign containers, we’ve been giving children lead-paint covered toys from China for years, and we’re nowhere close to rebuilding New Orleans, let alone knowing which major bridges might collapse next.

          We need a renaissance of competence in government before building new nuclear plants could be sane.

                1. Nobody is raising their hand.

                  However, you do advocate almost completely unregulated free markets.

                  Myself I made my money in the finnancial markets. I love free markets, but I know that appropriate regulation makes them better.

                  1. you are advocating a type of soviet style government.  You want more regulation which leads to more control over people’s lives.

                    As for your second statement I would simply say that it is great you made your money and I believe you did so because the power of the market is so strong that it can succeed, to a point, despite regulation.  But if we continue on the regulation path there will come a day where it will falter, just like it did in the Soviet Union. 

                    1. by that argument, NYSE or NASDAQ would, in your opinion be better, without any regulation or rules whatsoever ?

                    2. If there are organized, transparent rules to the game, as in NYSE or NASDAQ (and a myriad of other markets) people for the most part know what they can and can’t do, and as a result profit can be made.

                      If there are no rules to the market the listed companies could just say thanks for your investment and take your money and never come back again.  This happened a lot a few years back in China.

                      If there are no rules or organization to the market would you want to put your money there ?  I wouldn’t.

                    3. I wouldn’t put money there either.  we just disagree about who should be doing the regulating. You think government should and I think the NYSE and NASDAQ can regulate themselves.  After all if they don’t then people will not have faith in them and will put their money elsewhere.

                      the market works. 

                    4. I just want more regulation which leads to more control over people’s lives, that’s all.

                    5. all liberals and dems are like that, but you know that already – they just want more laws without any reason really.  Don’t know why.

                    6. God, is it April Fool’s Day again already?  Or just Fools?

                      Yeah, that work great.  Especially w/o the threat of a hammer if they don’t.  Oh, that’s a form of regulation, isn’t it?

                    7. Drunk engineers, defective rolling stock, bridge collapses, collisions, overcharging farmers.

                    8. I don’t know what you mean.

                      In our RR system, it was the owners who looted.  Crappy, deadly service with the profits going to the greedy owners. 

                    9. You should pick it up sometime and read it.  It is a great book. 

                      You sound an awful lot like Wesley Mouch and Bertram Scudder who decry the owners of companies for actually wanting to make a profit off of their companies and that the true purpose of corporations should be to serve the public. 

                    10. for those seeking justification of their selfishness.  I find Ayn Rand and Objectivisim so repugnant I could never read such a fat volume of spin.

                      Hate to tell you Foggy, not only have I owned a business with employees, I’ve also been self-employed for many of my years. I even developed a pay system for my labor in which we both made more money. 

                      I have no grudge against profits or incomes. As always, the devil is in the details. 

                      And thinking that corporations exist for the public and  not the owners is rather old, you know.  That’s why our forefathers made incorporating so difficult.  Depending on state, of course, typically corps could not own other corps and had short term expirations.  At renewal, they had to show how they have benefited society.

                      You haven’t just sucked up the Kool-Aid, you’ve drowned in it.

                    11. reading your comments is like reading part of Rand’s book.

                      I am glad that you have owned a business and are self employed.  Capitalism works! 

                      I will let you know that there are several other characters in the book that are similar to you, owners of corporations who feel that the reason for business is to serve the public good but in the end they all lose out.

                      I agree that “thinking that corporations exist for the public and not the owners is rather old…”, but that doesn’t make it right.  Heck, the idea of slavery is very old too, but it is still wrong. 

                      “You haven’t just sucked up the Kool-Aid, you’ve drowned in it.” – when you make this comment you should be looking in the mirror. 

                    12. ….it comes from Jim Jones and those who were willing to unplug their brains and do anything he said.

                      As to Ayn Rand, it’s FICTION!  Hell, one of those characters could have taken to the air with the flying monkeys.

                    13. and they are Kool-Aid drinkers becaues they don’t agree with you.  That argument doesn’t seem to hold much water. 

                      As for Rand, it may fiction, be the way she spells out her argument for capitalism and free markets is anything but fiction. 

                    14. It has to do with following authority.  Pubs love authority, love to both wield and be whipped.  Libs pick their leaders, it’s bottom up, we grant authority. 

                      Therefor, a lib does not drink the Kool-Aid due to authority.  A given lib might follow blindly, but it is not because of the alleged position of authority.

                    15. You cleverly describe oversight and regulation of markets to be some slippery slope from which we can never climb back up.  That ignores the fact that markets in the U.S. are already regulated in significant ways, and that we can point to numerous examples of other economies that occupy every data point along a continuum of regulation versus lack of oversight.

                      (I think Russia of the last decade is actually a better testament to how things go badly when unfettered capitalism is left to its own devices.)

                    16. You are right, the economy is already heavily regulated and I believe that the only reason that the market still works is not because of the regulation but because of the power of the market.

                      If you are for regulating the economy, where would you stop?  Once the government has complete control? 

                    17. And even after the government has achieved that, I think they can go for more.  If you look at it with kinda squinty eyes, you can see a market for the regulations themselves–one which obviously can’t be allowed to continue without regulation.

                      So I prefer to keep going until we have strict regulation of the regulations regulating the markets.  Which at that point could be seen as a “meta-market,” so obviously we’ll have to keep an eye on it lest it get away from us.

                      (Ha ha.  But really, your last question deserves only a farcical response.)

                      Enjoy your weekend, Foghorn and everyone.

                    18. Capitalism is its own worst enemy.  It eats it young and without regulation creates the nest for radical changes, like Communism and Socialism. 

                      You probably aren’t even aware that by FDR’s election, this nation was rife with Communists, Socialists, far left labor, all screaming for change.  FDR saved capitalism by starting a “back fire” of social programs to take the pressure off. 

                      If Harding had won, we met well have had armed rebellion in the streets.

                    19. How is the root of capitalism, the free exchange of products and services, its own worse enemy? 

                      I don’t agree with your statement about FDR.  I give him credit for his war leadership, but he set the U.S. on a slippery slope toward socialism with all the social engineering he introduced.

                      “If Harding had won, we met well have had armed rebellion in the streets.”

                      Prove this statement.

                    20. …something unprovable shows what a moron you are.  Sorry, there is no other way to say this.

                      Capitalism consumes itself by increasin disparity of income and monopolization.  That’s the natural order if not regulated.

                      You need to read some objective history, boy.  America almost went down the tubes, complete with a military takeover funded by the rich, including GW’s grandfather.

                    21. you call me a moron.  This is am all to typical response from liberals in general and you specifically. 

                      “Capitalism consumes itself by increasin disparity of income and monopolization.  That’s the natural order if not regulated.”

                      That is not the natural order of things.  Monopolies neve last forever unless you are talking about the government.  As for disparity of income, you are thinking of the economy like a pie, if someone owns 3/4 of the pie that only leaves 1/4 left for the rest of us. That is simply not true.  When Bill Gates started making billions he did not take the pie away from anyone, he baked a new pie, creating more wealth and making society better.  No one is poorer because Bill Gates is rich.

                      The truth is regulation kills the free market and the liberals in Washington are doing their best to kill calitalism as fast as possible. 

                      As for reading your suggestion that I read more objective history, funny, I was going to tell you the same thing. 

                    22. …than yourself.  Honestly, I do not want to slide into name calling, but when a person asks me to prove the outcome of something that never took place, I am reduced to it.

                      “If I had a brother, would he like cheese?”

                    23. You should have not maked a statement of what would have happened, because it is simply a guess. 

                    24. Just because you say so?

                      And I don’t have it in for FDR, he is just not the god that many folks have made him out to be and I think he did a lot of harm to our country in the form of social engineering. 

                    25. I read a lot of history,

                      I used to teach history so I sort know at least a bit,

                      FDR and Eleanor both diaried and conversed with others that if he didn’t get the steam under control either the Communists or the Fascists would take over.

                      FDR laid the groundwork for the strongest middle class ever, anywhere, anytime. Too bad you don’t appreciate that.

                    26. doesn’t mean anything to me. 

                      You may think FDR did great things, I do not and a lot of people agree with me.

                      Here is a great article called “The New Deal Debunked”

                      http://www.mises.org

                      I just got done reading “The New Dealers’ War: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the War Within World War II” by Dr. Thomas Fleming, who is the president of the Society of American Historians.

                      It was a very insightful look into the Roosevelt administration and the failures of the new deal that were evident in Roosevelt’s second term.  He shows how Roosevelt wanted war in Europe to get the economy back on solid footing.

                    27. You shoulda been in the EX-Soviet Union back in the 90’s.  Total chaos, the sharpest and most brazen made billions, the average Russion got screwed. 

                      Oh, yeah, that’s just great.

                    28. I have said it several times before and I will say it again, you cannot do it overnight (like the soviet union tried to do) but it can be done. 

                      Why don’t you ever answer any of the questions I ask you?

                    29. And, BTW, the Soviet Union had no markets other than what they controlled.

                      The post-Soviet parliament passed many laws to control rampant capitalism.  Know why they didn’t work?  Because they couldn’t regulate them.  Know why?  They couldn’t collect the taxes owed.

                      Ah, Foghorn paradise.

                    30. There was a large black market they did not control.

                      The reason that capitalism had a difficult start in Russia is because they went cold turkey from one economic system to another.  I will repeat again that it cannot be done overnight, but it can be done. 

                    31. I was referring to official markets, apples to apples, you know?

                      The post Cold War economy of Russia was almost perfect unregulated capitalism.  Wow, what a paradise.

                    32. Since you seem to have a very difficult time understanding what I am saying, i will spell it out very simply

                      1) I have never said that a government should go from a socialist government to captalist society overnight.  It will take time but it can be done. 

                      2) Regulation kills capitalism in the long run. 

                      Now, do you understand what I just said?

                    33. “More regulation = soviet style government.” More than what? More regulation than NO regulation? Again, any government is, by defintion, a totalitarian government? And what happened to agreeing that nuclear power should be regulated because of nation security concerns? Isn’t that totalitarian? You are either very imprecise, or very inconsistent. I guess you could call it the quantum mechanics of Foghorn’s “mind” (such as it is).

                      As for your understanding of economics, let’s turn to the actual discipline, rather than the comic-book version you seem to have read, shall we? One of the giants in the history of economics (second only to Adam Smith), and the author of the western world’s partial liberation from the more dramatic and devastating boom-and-bust cycles which preceded him (but have not followed him), was the English economist John Maynard Keynes, who argued that economies must be regulated to function efficiently, and recommended the kinds of regulations (and government investments) which would best serve the purpose. Europe and America have prospered with unprecedented growth and stability since WWII on the basis of Keynesian economics, and even the recent movement away from pure Keynesian economics retains much of what he advocated. But, thank god Foghorn is here to save us from this “fallacy,” to which a combination of mathematical sophistication and over a half century of human history have lent phenomenal support! Down with all government involvement in the economy! Virtually no actual economists hold this opinion, mind you, because economists understand externalities, public goods, transaction costs, and other realities which render the libertarian religion utterly ridiculous. But far be it from me to let reason and evidence interfere with your arbitrary convictions…, until you spout those arbitrary convictions (and do so as offensively as possible) and thus perpetuate modern superstitions which, like their ancient ancestors, serve only as obstacles to the advancement of human welfare.

                      You have claimed that you are on the side of analytical thinking. When are you going to start thinking analytically, then? Dealing from a deck of ideological platitudes, all nicely canned and labelled with easy-pop tops so you can spoon out their contents on cue, is a far cry from analysis. Analysis means forming evolving models based on detailed observation and painstaking application of mathematical logic to that empirical evidence. Just repeating the same thing over and over and over again passes for analysis only among people who don’t have clue what analysis is.

                      Arrogance by itself doesn’t offend me. And stupidity by itself doesn’t offend me. And sarcastic denegration of people who, for the most part, actually have a clue (whereas you don’t)…, well, that DOES offend me. But when you combine the three in one person…. it’s just really, really annoying. People who go to such effort to be really, really annoying usually do it because it’s the only way they can feel “powerful,” since they aren’t able to do anything more constructive. Think of adolescent vandals: Destroying things makes them feel important, because they certainly aren’t able to CREATE things, so they need to prove that they can AFFECT things somehow! Similarly, the only way for you to affect an intelligent dialogue is to throw little molotov cocktails of ideological purity into the exchange. You may not be able to contribute intelligent, original thought to the dialogue, but at least you can be really, really annoying!

                    34. I’m feeling decidedly less intelligent…relatively speaking…tonight, with so many excellent posts here at CoPOls today. I’m sure many will join me in applauding the effort you and others put into elucidating the principles which allow this great country to evolve.

                      My sincere Thanks!

                    35. OR’s posts are always outstanding. I know many people enjoy the more shortened, nuanced posts, but I love reading the well thoughtout and executed posts OR provides.

                    36. I do believe that if we continue down the regulation slippery slope the end result could be a soviet style government where the government would control most aspects of a citizen’s life.  And again, I have never said that we need “no government” I have said that we should have limited government (that can oversee thinks like nuclear power because of the national security implications) and I would appreciate it if you did not twist my words. 
                      A prime example of this soviet style government would be John Edwards recent comments where he stated ”It requires that everybody be covered. It requires that everybody get preventive care.  If you are going to be in the system, you can’t choose not to go to the doctor for 20 years. You have to go in and be checked and make sure that you are OK.”  Edwards is promoting a socialized medicine where the government takes away our freedom to choose. 

                      You can assume that Keynes is second only to Adams, I choose to disagree.  I think that Friedman debunked many (not all) of Keynes theories.  I will also state that Freidman is by no means perfect. 

                      I enjoy the debate and while you choose to use ad hominem attacks against me, I promise I will not use them against you. 

                  1. If you say through the law, I would agree.  That is why government should not pass those type of laws and let the free market work.

                    Honest question:  Why are liberals so afraid of the free market?

                    1. in all too many instances. I think it was Keynes who said “I simply can’t believe there are those who would trust the most greedy, vile s.o.b.’s with issues that effect the common good”.

                      Before the good Republican, conservative President Theodore Roosevelt stepped in, we saw how the “free market” behaved so that there was a large group of Americans in brutal and perpetual poverty, and a very very small minority of Americans with more wealth than they could ever spend.

                    2. Most of his work has been discredited by Milton Freidman and the Chicago School of economics.  Here are some good Freidman quotes for you:

                      “Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.” – Milton Friedman

                      “The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.” – Milton Friedman

                      “Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.” – Milton Friedman

                      “The greatest advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science and literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government” – Milton Friedman

                    3. Keynes was over applied.  Certis Paribus is a failure of every economic theory.  Montarism (Friedman) was pretty much discredited by the 80’s and 90’s.

                      That said Friedman was a great thinker–just like Keynes

                    4. Friedman’s work showed that many of Keynes’ principles were wrong and that is why the United States moves away from many Keynesian philosophies. 

                      How was Friedman discredited and by whom? 

                      You should read this: http://www.washingto

                      Here is a good quote from the story:

                      “Many of Friedman’s ideas have become so fundamental to modern economic thinking, it’s easy to forget how unconventional they once were. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke put it nicely in 2003, at a conference organized by the Dallas Fed to celebrate Friedman’s life and work.”

                    5. He was a great thinker, but Certis paribus  showed that friedman was wrong in precisely the same way that keynesian theories failed to predict.

                      You do understand that tax cuts to promote growth are a keynesian idea?  Supply side theory is actual just a mythology–kind of like intelligent design.

                    6. and I am not saying that Freidman is completely right.  I am just saying that you can not put too much weight on what Keynes said. 

                    7. science and quasi science are an evolutionary process.

                      Newton was “wrong” but it doesn’t mean there wasn’t value in the theory of gravity.

                      Keynes is wrong, friedman is wrong, Malthus is wrong, Adam smith is Wrong. but you can get something from reading all of them.

                    8. the role of government in reducing transaction costs, and, while he is not a Keynesian, few economists would agree that he and his school “have discredited Keynes.” None of the above quotes is a refutation of any argument any of has made: I, in fact, would endorse them all, since “free market” is rarely used as a synonym for “unregulated market.” Certainly, as I’ve said elsewhere, it would be folly to endorse concentrated power regulated by good intentions: Political institutions should be designed to be regulated by market-like mechanisms. In fact, that’s exactly what democracy is: An imperfect but hugely beneficial partial alignment of the interests of the politician with the interests of those they represent. Most of us agree that it was a step in the right direction, and I think it’s a direction we should continue to perfect (aligning the interests of those in power with those for whom they are agents, that is).

                      And while exchanges take place for the benefit of those who engage in them, they sometimes harm those who do not engage in them. That’s what “externalities” means. That’s why the economic efficiency of exchanges for those engaged in the exchange is not the only consideration.

                      The third quote is the least impressive, and the most “jingoistic,” as Friedman tends to be at times. But if applied to those who oppose what are normally referred to as free markets -U.S. and European markets- in favor of what is normally meant by the absence of free markets -command economies- I agree completely. It depends on the context in which it was said.

                      The fourth quote is either stupid or tautological, depending on interpretation. The pyramids, the Helenistic scholars of Alexandria; the great wall of china; the chinese empire; the roman empire; the roman aquaducts; all seven wonders of the ancient world, in fact; the massive and sophisticated works associated with the resources channeled through the great empires of world history…. Unless you disqualify all premodern works of art, engineering, and science on the basis of their being premodern, Friedman’s statement is just an historical absurdity. And if you do disqualify all pre-modern works, then his statement is pretty much a tuatology, since modernity has been dominated by, even characterized by, the rise of capitalism.

                      So, you did a great job of quoting an academically marginal economist (in the sense that he lies at the extreme end of the range of beliefs on this matter among professional economists, and thus on “the margin”) to defeat some straw men. Good job.

                    9. We are not a democracy, we are a republic. 

                      I do admit that I think Friedman is one of the best economists of all times.  Does he have flaws?  Sure, we all do.  But to call a Nobel Laureate an academically marginal economist (even within your context) is beyond imagination. 

                    10. pretty much sums up your intellectual defects in general. When discussing the fine distinctions of political systems, you are right, we are a republic, not a democracy. When discussing broad categories of political systems, we are, by a convention recognized by political scientists and politicos themselves, a democracy. I live in Littleton, but when communicating with friends overseas, it is enough to say that I live in Denver, though it is not technically correct. When talking about representative government versus totalitarian government, the convention is to call all variations of the former “democratic.” It’s really not that hard to grasp.

                    11. and borders on ignorance.

                      I could care less what political scientists and politicians say, I care what the founder of our country intended.  I care what Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, and Adams intended for our nation more than your opinion. 

                    12. Liberals are not of afraid the fictional free-market. We are just astounded how people use that phrase to screw over workers.

                    13. What we don’t like is monopolies, collusion, lack of transparency – both financial and product information, and subsidizing.

                      You give us a market where we truly know what is going on financially in public companies, we truly know the quality and ramifications of products offered to us, a market that does not allow collusion or monopolies, then, and only then, I would be willing to seriously consider haing a truly free and unfettered market.

                      But until that fantasy comes true, the only organization that can compete with company’s natural impluse to maximize profits, is the federal government. And we have such a strong capitalist system because of that regulation and oversight.

                      If you don’t think so go somewhere like the Phillipenes where it is a free market with almost no regulation or oversight. The economy sucks because almost everything has become an effective monopoly.

                    14. when I think of monopolies, collusion, lack of transparency I think of government. 

                      Personally, I think there are very few instances where true monopolies can work for long and I feel that the monopolies that have survived have been protected by the government, not destroyed. 

                      And can I ask, what is so bad about maximizing profits?  If I offered you a job making twice what you re making now, could people point at you and say that all you are trying to do is maximize profit for yourself?

                    15. And here all this time I was thinking that the economy was supposed to benefit us.

                      The monopolies in steel, railroads, and oil lasted for decades and perhaps might have gone on forever if not for the Sherman Anti-trust Act and subsequent “trust busters.”

                    16. People are out for themselves because everyone is selfish and that is not a bad thing.  They use the economy to benifit themselves everyday by getting better paying jobs, getting an education so they can get a raise and starting their own businesses to make even more.  That is a good thing because it makes the economy grow. 

                      I don’t agree with your opinion of monopolies.  Sure they would have gone on for awhile, but eventually someone would build a better mousetrap and would gain market share. 

                    17. …look up “Gilded Age.”  Disastrous for most Americans, great if you were a Rockefeller.

                    18. In American history, the “Gilded Age” refers to the post-Civil War and post-Reconstruction era, from the 1870s to the 1890s, which saw unprecedented economic, industrial, and population expansion.  The era overlaps with Reconstruction (which ended in 1877) and includes the Panic of 1873. The era was characterized by an unusually rapid growth of railroads, small factories, banks, stores, mines and other enterprises, together with dramatic expansion into highly fertile western farmlands. There was a great increase in ethnic diversity from immigrants drawn by the promotions of steamship and railroad companies which emphasized the availability of jobs and farmland.

                      The wealth of the period is highlighted by the American upper class’s opulent self-indulgence, but also the rise of the American philanthropy (Andrew Carnegie called it the “Gospel of Wealth”) that endowed thousands of colleges, hospitals, museums, academies, schools, opera houses, public libraries, symphony orchestras, and charities.

                      Sounds horrible.

                    19. “To die rich is to die disgraced.”

                      The Wikipedia article obviously has neglected to mention the downside of this bifurcation of wealth.

                      You also imply that the wealth of the robber barons caused all these good things to happen.  Opening the frontier was like found money, little cost, great economic stimulus.

                      Don’t forget, the transcontinental RR was funded by the government via land gifts.  They didn’t do it on their own.

                    20. Who did they rob?  If they did rob people why were they not put in jail?  The men typically refered to as “robber barons” made their wealth by offering people what they wanted at a price they both agreed on.  No robbing necessary.  Also, they were not barons, they held no title. 

                      Lets use the right terms in describing people instead of imflamatory terms.

              1. What a great analogy!!

                The whole Mad Max tableau is a good example of anarchy…and not too far from Libertarian philosophies…..gas, guns, and greed.

                I will remember that the next time I’m engaged with some Libertarian-UberCon.

                Ah, Paradise!

                1. means building your own internal combustion engine from wrecked parts, drinking from pools of rainwater and eating bugs, and defending your territory against psychotic Australians with war paint and feathers.

                  I’ll say it again: Libertarianism is a mental disorder–specifically Dissocial Personality Disorder (F60.2)–masquerading as a political philosophy.

            1. is that over the last 6 years the Bush regime has reduce oversight and regulation and the results have been horrible, everything from tainted food to falling bridges. While you can go overboard with government oversight, that is not a significant problem at present.

              However, if you truly want to live in a minimum government country – why don’t you move to Somalia? It is a libertarian dream with the government only handling those basics you think it should. And clearly no limits on what guns you can own.

              1. Government revenue is up.  the economy is steaming along.

                You cannot blame the bridge collapse or tainted food on Bush any more than I could blame Clinton if it happened why he was president.  Remeber who signed NAFTA.

                I don’t want to move to Somolia, I want to fix the United States. 

            2. The notion of a ‘free’ market without or prior to the state is an ideological abstraction. No market is possible without a society to provide it with moral, legal, political, and administrative foundations. All markets are socially structured and socially patterned by legal codes,
              policing, norms of interaction, and common mediums for exchanging goods and information. In a state society, this necessarily entails the state. No form of modern market has validity apart from the state or states that gives it licence, scope, and regularity. It is the state that
              guarantees the property rights, enforceable contracts, product standards, and sound money upon which the operation of any modern market depends. Unless by the term ‘free’ we mean a brigand economy of sixshooters,
              pirates, and highwaymen, a market inherently involves the
              state. David Marquand put it well: ‘The truth is that it is as misleading to talk of the state ‘distorting’ the market as it would be to talk of the market ‘distorting’ the state. Without the state there would be no market: at the door of the auction room stands the policeman. Moreover, no market can exist apart from the cultural surround to which it adheres, and which adheres to it, giving it some normative regularity and some potential for change, both of which – regularity and change – depend in part on the state’s structuring powers. Indeed, even policies which roll back or prevent ‘interference’ in a
              market require state action to put them into practice and to maintain them. Any new market freedoms that we may contrive – through deregulation, privatisation, and free trade agreements, for example – are inescapably the result of state power to structure and restructure economic and social life.

              As Karl Polanyi long ago observed, it is no accident that the expansion of the ‘free’ market in the early nineteenth
              century was accompanied by a great expansion of the state as well: “Just as, contrary to expectation, the invention of labour saving machinery had not diminished but actually increased the uses of human labour, the introduction of free markets,far from doing away with the need for control, regulation,and intervention, enormously increased their range….Thus even those who wished most ardently to free the state from all unnecessary duties, and whose whole philosophy demanded the restriction of state activities, could not but entrust the self-same state with the new powers, organs, and instruments required for the establishment of laissez-faire.
              (Polanyi, 1944: 140-141).

              Free-market ideology has long wrestled, and wrestles yet, with this basic contradiction: that ‘freeing’ the market from the state depends upon the state. But like any economic arrangement, a ‘free’ market is a social
              creation – not a force of ‘nature’ and the autonomous laws of efficient and adaptive production.

              Again in Polanyi’s words (1944: 139), ‘There
              was nothing natural about laissez-faire; free markets could never have come into being merely by allowing things to take their course….Laissezfaire itself was enforced by state action.’

              Even capitalism is a social phenomenon.

              1. At least credit the person you got the information from. 

                This is not your own, it is from a working paper done by
                Michael Bell and Philip Lowe entitled Regulated Freedoms: The Market and the State, Agriculture and the Environment.  It was done for the Department of Agricultural Economics and Food Marketing in 1998. 

                1. An important assumption for a functional free market is that consumers have sufficient information to make rational decisions, e.g., on which products to purchase.

                  Since corporations go to great lengths to prevent the availability of the necessary information (i.e., they choose ignorance) at least one basic assumption behind free markets is violated.

                  Thus, regulations are necessary in order to provide consumers with some of the information that is needed to make good decisions.

                  How does a libertarian determine which car is safe? How does a libertarian assess water quality? How does a libertarian know whether radioactive tailings were used as fill around his/her house?

                  Trial and error?

                  (Perhaps this explains why there are so few libertarians?)  😉

                  1. How does a publication like Consumer Reports survive?  It does so by helping people make rational decisions about the products they by.  Same with products with the UL label.  The government isn’t doing the testing, it is the private sector.

                    In fact, when was the last time someone you know said they were going to see what the government had to say about a product before they bought a digital camera?  They didn’t because they are not regulated by the government.  They likely used Consumer Reports or another publication to get their info.

                    No government needed. 

                    By the way, I am a Republican, not a libertarian. 

                    1. We (or at least I) do not believe that the federal government should have sole or exclusive oversight. I think the feds should set a minimum that all parties must meet. For anything above that something like Consumer Reports is the appropiate solution.

                      The government makes sure that a digital camera won’t poison us with a leaking battery. Consumer Reports tells us which one of the cameras takes the best shot.

                      But, I can live with a camera that takes lousy shots. I can’t live with one that will hurt me.

                    2. We don’t need governments to tell us which products are “best.” And in no way did I intend to imply such a thing.

                      We do depend on governments to set and enforce standards for safety.

                      I don’t need the government to tell me what color of insulation to buy. But I would like to be able to include in my decision making which insulation will off-gas formaldehyde and which won’t.

                      (Of course, I am assuming, given my naive and idealistic nature, that the government in question is of the people, by the people, and for the people.)

                    3. Why can’t Consumer Reports tell you how meets their exacting standards?

                      Take the drug arguement with the FDA.  If a private company wanted to evlauate drugs and took only half the time as the FDA, wouldn’t that be a good thing?  People who wanted to wait on the FDA could and those who don’t would not have to.

                      As for trusting the government to tell you what will and will not hurt you.  that scares me. 

                    4. And how do we hold CR accountable for providing us with the information we want?

                      Or, are you suggesting that there should be competition in this realm also?

                      That eventually we’ll pick the private company that provides the most reliable information? 

                      Bummer if you first try out the low cost company and end up dead because your car brakes were faulty. Maybe your neighbors will be able to learn from this?

                      (In my world, there is no difference between you and me and “the government.” You and I are the government. Remember? So, if you fear the government, you are basically saying you fear yourself. Hmmm, maybe I should be afraid also?)

                    5. “That eventually we’ll pick the private company that provides the most reliable information?”

                      that is exactly right. 

                      What scares me about government is the people who think they know better than me about how I should run my life.  Big Brother I tell ya.

                    6. Everything you’ve written is so over-the-top it must be satire.

                      Thanks for a humor filled afternoon!

                    7. I started with satire, but have commenced to share my vuews.  You may consider it over the top, just as I consider many of the liberal views proposed to be over the top. 

                    8. Take children’s toys – where can I get information about how they are made, what goes in them, what level of lead is in the paint used on them, etc.

                      Or beef – how can I find out what beef at King Soopers has only taken cows that are not sick and has a sanitary slaughterhouse.

                      Or you pick any product – how can I find out if it’s safe and effective? Pick any time in our history to get the example.

                      It’s never worked. I’m not against your concept. I just want something that will work.

                    9. When I buy a toy for my child I am proactive by looking on consumer reports and I also make sure that it is A) plastic, B) not painted.

                      As for beef, this is a perfect time for you to buy locally.  I don’t like the idea of buying packaged beef in a store, so I go in with a buddy and we buy beef by the half right from the rancher.  that way we know where it comes from and how it is grown.  We even pick the beef out before it is slaughtered so we know it is in good health. 

                      If consumers demand better reporting they will get it because companies want to make money for their owners or stockholders. 

                      I am glad that you are not opposed to my idea, but I think you want a perfect system and with 6 billion people on the planet nothing will ever be perfect. 

                    10. Tell me, do they carve the half into all the cuts for you or do you have to find your own butcher to do that?

                    11. I went to several farmers to see how they did their packing and picked the one we liked best.  They will cut your beef to order and the really nice thing is that while it does cost more up front, it cost less in the long run because you are getting prime cuts like steaks and roasts much cheaper than you can get them in a store. 

                    12. One legitimate use of government involves mediating the externalities of individual choices. Governments often both overstep this role, and fail to fulfil it, depending on the nature of the government and who is in power at the time. However, it is absurd to claim, for instance, that government has no legitimate role in regulating such activities as gun ownership and gun use, automobile operation, commerse, domestic violence (which just over 100 years ago was legally considered a private matter over which government had not jurisdiction), and so on. These are “private” choices that either impinge upon the rights of others, or vastly increase the probability of impingements upon the rights of others. The question, at least for a marginally nuanced mind, is not WHETHER government has a legitimate function in regulating “private” behaviors, but rather precisely where to draw the line, by what criteria, and according to what values.

                      The fundamental error in the philosophy you espouse is the assumption of “independence” of human actors. Society, by definition, is a network of individuals whose actions are INTERDEPENDENT in almost every sense of the word. A person can be a self-made…whatever…but virtually NO ONE has ever managed to eschew all benefits of human interdepence. The entrepreneur benefits from well-defined and enforced property rights, and the rugged mountain man, even if was so remarkably self-reliant that he actually wore only the pelts of the animals he killed and ate, lived only in tents made from their hides, nevertheless rarely manufactured his own rifle, and if he did, almost certainly did not mine the ores from which it was made. Our existence is based on complex webs of implicit and explicit contracts. The failure to recognize that is not an intellectually defensible value-system, but rather a purely self-serving, and generally delusional attempt to exempt oneself from those obligations within those contracts that that individual finds inconvenient.

                    13. Where we disagree is that you think that a legitimate use of government involves mediating the externalities of individual choices.  I do not think that is a legitimate use of government and I find nowhere in the constitution where it could be considered a legitimate use of government except in those cases where it is expressly spelled out in the constitution.  And I am not talking about government in general but specifically the United States government.  The Constitution allows the right to bear arms, therefore any regulation on the right to bear arms is unconstitutional.  As for regulation of automobile usage, why does there need to be government oversight?  Commerce is obviously covered under the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.  I would like you to provide your back up on your statement that “over 100 years ago was legally considered a private matter over which government had not jurisdiction”.  The fact of the matter is that the federal government has no right to regulate private behaviors except those spelled out in the constitution.  This is exactly what the founding fathers feared, government control over people’s lives, which is why the rebelled against England. 
                      “The fundamental error in the philosophy you espouse is the assumption of “independence” of human actors.”  All I can say to this statement is wow; I cannot believe that you think that we do not have the assumption of independence.  I agree that we have interdependence as a society, but we cannot forsake our independence in the process.  The mountain man is a prime example of free market capitalism.  He bought a gun and earned a living and didn’t require government regulation or oversight to do it.  He did it all on his own using the money he made to buy the products he needed. 

                    14. and the problem with relying solely on advisory entities is that consumers have limited to time to research the commodities they purchase. Elsewhere on this thread I mentioned that one legitimate use of government is to mitigate externalities. Another related use is to reduce “transaction costs,” which often impede, sometimes completely, the ability of the market to arrive at efficient allocations of resources (which is precisely what the market is good at doing). Of course, stable companies, that never change ownership (or just their name), that engage in the sale of goods marred by unexpected or abnormal hazards, will eventually lose in a competitive market to companies that are not so afflicted. The problems with this bloodless logic are manifold, including: 1) While that evolutionary learning curve is occuring, innocent people (including children) may be dying, and are certainly endangered (according to the hypothetical we have constructed), as a result of the defective product; and 2) All a company has to do to escape detection once its errors are about to catch up to it, is change its name (or merge with another company, or reorganize in any way which results in a name change), thus creating increased transaction costs in being detected, and a postponement of being disciplined by market forces (which depend on informed consumers). Unless the product defect is so aggregious that it is newsworthy, the public will not know that company X is the same company that had health and safety concerns arise in connection with its merchandise.

                      I don’t “trust the government” at all, but, fortunately that’s not the real issue here. Social institutions relevant to the large-scale industrial aspects of modern societies are not, and should not be, based on trust. They are, and should be, based on the absence of trust, and on the need to create commitment mechanisms that take the place of trust. I don’t feel relatively safe walking the streets of major cities in close proximity to tens of thousands of people, many of whom are as nutso as you are, because I trust them all: My sense of relative safety is based on the functioning of a legal and penal system (as well as a normative system diffusely enforced through social approval and disapproval and the material consequences that may result from such sanctions) to which most people are crudely rational and self-interested enough to respond. I don’t rely on government to do the tasks we appoint our government to do because I trust either “it” or the actual people who comprise it: I rely on government to do certain things because, all things considered (including their inherent untrustworthiness), it is the best agent to rely on for doing those things. There are legitimate disagreements over exactly what responsibilities fall within that sphere, but it adds nothing to the debate to speak and write as if nothing falls within that sphere. And once it is admitted that some activities fall within the sphere of what government is uniquely, or best, able to provide (national defense? Imagine the potentially catastrophic consequences of privatizing our national defense!), then the whole discussion becomes a technical one of determining what those activities are.

                      This is the problem with “speaking ideology.” It almost always misses the point, which is almost always subtler than the ideologies that people speak. While you decry how horrible “liberals” are, you advocate positions that are based on ideological short-cuts rather than detailed analyses, just as many liberals do. And I am loathe to cede the world to either one of you.

                    15. which is why you elicit the angry responses that you claim discredit everyone who isn’t you.

                    16. Eric the Red(hair) even agreed with me on a small issue and I am glad that we found common ground.

                      I think I elicit angry responses from you because you are angry. 

            3. So, you advocate “no government,” and others respond that that’s a bit too Hobbesian for them, and your delicious come-back is “Just look at the soviet union, where the government was in charge of everything.” Hmmm. What’s wrong here? Could it be that there is a whole range of possibilities between “no government” and “totalitarianism”? I know that’s a tough one for you, simply because you’re so accustomed to your own over-the-top rhetoric that you have defined ANY use of government as totalitarianism. But, you know, is a convention, and a certain amount of agreement on meanings of words is at the heart of that convention: The existance of any government, and a government that is totalitarian, are simply not the same thing, and just arbitrarily declaring them to be does not make it so. Governments can be more or less centralized, can have more or less direct control over an economy, can have more or less legal restraint effectively placed on them, and so on. The world is full of variety. Jeez, mahn! How thick is that slab of bone surrounding the little pea perched atop your (undoubtedly red) neck? Knock, knock, anybody home?

              1. I would like you to point out where I have ever stated that I advocated “no government”.  You can’t because I never have and you are twisting my words to suit your argument.  The fact is you are lying about what I said. 

                Please stop lying about what I have said. 

                1. When you repeatedly respond to any mention of government by equating the mentioned use of government to totalitarianism, you are implying a position that at least approaches the one I inferred you to mean. I have noticed, however, that you assume an exaggerated position, and then deny in later posts that you ever assumed such a position. As for the discourtesy of putting words in the mouths of others, I seem to recall an obnoxious poster who “pretended” to be a liberal for a tediously long time, in order to put words in the mouths of liberals in general, as part of a highly antagonistic rhetorical ploy.

                  In fact, your self-exemption from the behaviors you decry in others is perhaps your most consistent theme. You despise the liberal tendency to engage in attacks on conservatives, and yet made quite a career out of purely “snarky” attacks of liberals in return. You complain to me constantly about my ad hominem attacks (a peccadillo I have never denied), announcing indignantly that you would never stoop to my level (hmmm…), calling me names based on your distaste for my chosen style of discourse (hmmm…), but, gee, thank god you never lower yourself to ad hominem attacks!!! The fact that you justify your ad hominem attacks on me as responses to mine on you doesn’t quite cut the mustard: After all, I only started in on you after your barrage of antagonistic and derrogatory posts, not arguing issues, but rather trying to impress upon the world how undesirable liberals and liberal manners are. Hmmm….

                  The difference between us isn’t that I ONLY post rational arguments, and you NEVER do: That would be an exaggeration, since, when someone passes a certain threshold of obnoxious behavior (as you did long before I started responding to you), I indulge my desire to shove it back in their face (making ad hominem attacks, in other words), and you have, ocassionally, actually posted thoughts that went beyond “Liberals bad. Smell bad too.” The main difference between us, in terms of our presentations on this blog, aside from the differences I have already impolitely pointed out (correcting your misrepresentation that I considered all conservatives dumb and all liberals smart), is that I don’t falsely claim to have taken the high road (which neither of has actually done), but rather content myself to point out all of the ways you have taken the low road. I don’t deny having slid down the embankment to enjoy this little tete-a-tete with you. What we’re really talking about is self-knowledge and intellectual honesty, traits you lack, and I don’t.

                  Speaking of dishonesty, I loved the attempt to claim that you are not inventing facts if you preface the invention of a fact with “I have to say” and avoid the phrase “studies show”!!! That was just beautiful! So, if I preface, for instance, “All conservatives are cross-dressing child molestors” with “I have to say,” it is no longer the invention of a fact, but just the expression of an opinion!!! Incredible!!!

                  If you can’t see what a jerk you are after that one, you never will (and of course, you never will, which is why most people are smart enough not to waste their time doing what I’m doing now). So, recognizing that my new responsibilities in life preclude the continued pleasure of playing this little game with you, I concede that you will never concede, and that it really doesn’t matter. Keep on being the hillarious jerk we all have come to know and, well, know. What would the world be like without ’em?

                  1. “When you repeatedly respond to any mention of government by equating the mentioned use of government to totalitarianism, you are implying a position that at least approaches the one I inferred you to mean.”

                    You are making assumptions by inferring what I mean.  And as my dad always said, you know what assuming does, right?  I don’t thin that all government is totalitarianism, but I do think that the United States is on the slippery slope toward socialism. 

                    As for “exaggerated position I have made in past post, please let me know exactly which exaggerations you are referring to and where I denied the exaggerations and I will be happy to clarify. 

                    “You I As for the discourtesy of putting words in the mouths of others, I seem to recall an obnoxious poster who “pretended” to be a liberal for a tediously long time, in order to put words in the mouths of liberals in general, as part of a highly antagonistic rhetorical ploy.”

                    The tediously long time was all of two and a half days and it was don’t to expose the mindset that many liberals have that they demand everyone be tolerant, but they are not tolerant when it comes to points of view that differ from their own.  It is very hypocritical.  After two and a half days I clarified that what I was satire aimed at exposing how liberals act in direct contraction to their stated belief of tolerance. 

                    I don’t exempt myself from anything and I would ask you to point to one instance where I have name called or questioned someone’s character or integrity. 

                    And I do despise liberal tendency to engage in attacks on conservatives.  Just like I despise conservative attacks on liberals, t just lowers the debate.  If you can show me one instance where I have attacked a liberal, I would like to know.  Show me exactly when I have launched an ad hominem on you.  Show me the money.

                    “The difference between us isn’t that I ONLY post rational arguments, and you NEVER do.”  I beg to differ and I would point out that this type of statement is exactly the type of “vision of the anointed” that scares me.  It seems to me that you are completely unwilling to listen to an opposing point of view and I have no doubt that, sitting at your computer right now, you think that you could take on the likes of a Walter Williams, Bill Buckley, Thomas Sowell, or George W. Bush in a debate and win. 

                    Again, please point out where I ever said that you said, “all conservatives dumb and all liberals smart”.  I would like to know where I said that. 

                    I have not invented facts.  If I start a sentence with “I have to say” that would obviously mean that I am stating something that is an opinion.  If I say “a study shows” that means that I am stating a fact that is backed up by a study.  It seems simple to me.  I am sorry if you don’t understand it. 

                    As for your statement of “what a jerk you are”, I have not called you names, but you have continued to call me names.  I have not attacked your character, but you have attacked mine.  So to call me the jerk is incredibly brazen. 

                    1. if you just keep shutting your eyes and insisting it’s not there. Look, Here it is again:

                      “I must say, most intelligent people think you’re wrong” ISN’T an unsupported (and arbitrary) factual assertion? The phrase “I must say” transforms it into something else? Maybe in the self-serving universe where you live, but not in the one the rest of us share.

                      Recognizing the diverse uses of the words “democracy” and “republic,” and that different uses are appropriate in different contexts (such as references to “stable democracies” when referring to a broad range of political systems commonly grouped beneath that label), “borders on ignorance”? I guess we just can’t all be as didactic as you.

                      Indeed, calling me ignorant -oh, sorry…, saying that my comments are ignorant (I realize that such fine distinctions are the bases of your fragile reality)- ISN’T an ad hominem attack? Calling someone ignorant, even indirectly (if you can call your phrasing indirect), ISN’T “name calling”?

                      Sure looks like “the money” to me!

                      I shouldn’t make assumptions by inferring what you mean? Do you understand the nature of linguistic communication at all? It is BASED ON such inferences! IT DOESN’T EXIST without such inferences! So, I’m (implicitly) an “ass” for interpreting the meaning of your statements, as is a necessary component of all linguistic communication? It’s mighty convenient that those you dislike find themselves so easily in the wrong!

                      And so on, and so on. This is too tedious, you’re too absurd, and I’m too busy to keep wasting my time. If you want to play this game of inciting others with your belligerence, and then strut indignantly when they respond in kind, always managing to claim, in defiance of the plain and simple facts, that you are shocked -SHOCKED, I TELL YOU!- to be made victim of such impolite behavior -Well, It must be the liberals who are behind it! That’s all I can say! Jeez, mahn! Could you BE a bigger fool?! Could you have your little teeny reptilian brain any further up your…, well, you get the point.

                      Go on, now, enjoy your convenient hypocricies, revel in your little delusions, drink deeply of the draught of your ignorance, strut the indignations of the thug who gets insulted in his turn…. We’re all impressed by how well you’ve put me in my place. I was just no match for you.

                    2. If I am wrong I will admit it and move on, but you have not wanted to support your statements with facts. 

                      I disagree with you interchanging the words democracy and republic.  We are obviously not going to agree on this issue.  I think you are wrong. 

                      As for calling you ignorant, that is not an attack, it is a statement given the fact that you do not understand the difference between republic and democracy.  It is no different than if someone called me ignorant about rocket science. 

                      Yes, I do understand the nature of linguistic communication.  The problem with inferring is that is usually when people start to misunderstand what others are saying.  To prevent that all one has to do is ask for clarification instead of jumping to conclusions that are not there.  You are not an ass by any means for interpreting my statements, but if you don’t understand where I am coming from you should ask for clarification instead of jumping to conclusions. 

                      I won’t bother addressing all of your attacks. 

                    3. You can argue, in all earnestness, that calling someone “ignorant” is neither an insult nor an ad hominem remark (it is the latter, by the way, strictly by definition, even granting your tortured denial that it is an insult). You claim to understand the nature of linguistic discourse, but continue to assert that failing to ask for clarification of any statement that requires interpretation (i.e., all statements) is a transgression (leading to conversations that are nothing more than endless requests for clarifications). You insist that a very widely recognized conventional use of the word “democratic” is mistaken, though language is nothing more than a set of conventions, and the fact that a use is a widely recognized convention trumps your narrow hisorical construction. And, just to cap it all off, you declare, in the epitome of false humility and open-mindedness, “If I’m wrong, I’ll admit it…!” Brick walls of proof can, and have, fallen on top of you, and yet you remain in the most steadfast of denial! Wow!!! I have to take my hat off to you.

                      You, my friend, are a remarkable work of art. There’s just nothing more anyone can say about it. I’m way beyond all other reactions: There’s nothing left but admiration. Few people ever achieve such perfection.

      1. I think utilities should use the same model for funding nuclear plants as they’ve used for wind farms.

        Start up a subscription program like WindSource. When enough customers subscribe (i.e., put their money where their collective mouths are) to fund construction of a new nuclear plant, then go nuts!

        The same sort of program could also be used for initiating new coal plants. Have the people who are so vocal about their support for non-renewables fork up some money up front in the same manner that people have shown their support for wind generated electricity.

        1. Wind energy is a way to let a small number of people “do the right thing.” But even with wind the much larger incentive is the recent ballot initiative requiring Xcel to buy from non-carbon sources.

        1. …is from the nuclear weapons industry not strictly nuclear power, but the fuel cycle for nuclear power has produced huge problems – uranium miners with lung cancer and other diseases; pollution of air, water and soil from a uranium mill and tailings area near Canon City, CO, for example.

    3. Anyone with a car can also run synthetic oils to reduce petro consumption.  This helps the environment in two ways: First, running only the engine with synthetic oil will usually bump fuel mileage about 3%. If you have a 4WD with a transfer case and two differentials, expect to see 8-10% improvement using the appropriate gear oils. I also run it in my manual transmission and it’s available for automatics (many quarts, be forewarned!) Over 100,000 miles my Jeep will use about 400 gallons less of gasoline than if I ran conventional oils.

      Second, you can extend your change interval.  How much? Even after 30 years, it’s debated.  Mobil takes the CYA position of factory suggestion, Amsoil (and the very original Mobil 1) says 25K or one year. If you have an older car, it’s not unreasonable to keep the oil sweet with normal make-ups and filter changes and to not change it. If you were to follow this regimen, you would save maybe 150 quarts of oil over 100K miles. 

      So, it is possible to save 400-500 gallons of petroleum per 100K miles on a synthetic oil program.  And your engine will be much happier, too.

      BTW, that old saw about changing oil and filter every 3000 miles is promulgated by the – shock! – oil and Greasmonkey companies.  It’s from the 1940’s when oil was really primitive.  At the least, extend your change interval to what your owner’s manual says, nowadays usually 7500-10K miles.

      Folks have run 100K on synthetics without change and the engine still looks brand new after disassembly. 

      So, it’s your call.  And no, I’m not an Amsoil dealer!

      1. Just kidding, that’s the bitter jealousy shining through. I’m working my normal hours today and on Sunday. And of course there’s no such thing as a three day weekend for the parent of young children…

  2. Did anyone read the Statesman article re: Lamborn?

    Apparently, he called the Bartha’s, which they have a copy of the tape, threatening them for using their first amendment rights. Said to the Statesman, in his words…”I’d like to get together with you as brothers and sisters in Christ.” If not, there would be “serious consequences.”

    What a dumbass!

    1. I’m so old-fashioned, I hadn’t heard about the updated Bill of Rights that eliminates the responsibilities that used to go with those rights.
      /

    1. saw them once a lot of fun.

      Cracks me up that bad ass gansta rapper messiah Tupac Shakur started out as a backup dancer for these guys.

    1. If Craig was simply reaching to pick up toilet paper off the floor, WHY???!!!!!!  There’s clean paper on the roll — who wants the stuff on the floor??!!!!

  3. Seems like a good plan: easy to implement (executive branch action at the FHA), focused on the right part of the problem (inability to refinance adjustable rate loans) and avoids a capital market bailot (unnecessary and detriental to good risk pricing).

    However my lack of trust in the president is so great I kep thinking “what am I missing?”

    Anyone else notice that when he talks about anything, and I mean anything, he sounds like he just hear about it this morning?

    1. It’s that he then turns around and either does the oppisate or does try but is so inept that the results almost always are terrible.

      In this case I am guessing it will be inept execution that screws it up.

    2. …could be wrong…but suggested that the banks of foreclosed properties rent back to the previous owners. Actually, if they rented back, they just need a deed in leiu of foreclosure.

      Renting back, the property isn’t vacant and eventually can be sold.  Of course, this means the banks become landlords, which historically they do not want to be.  But these are historically different times, and it’s not rocket science. Set up a new subsidiary, manage the properties. Agree on a market rent, or perhaps the original low ball mortgage payment. Collect the rent, put the house up for sale. The homeowner can breath for a bit, collect his or her wits, and make a Plan B. Eventually they can leave with a shred of dignitiy, too.

    1. If long term monogamous same sex relationships were accepted by society, their would be fewer men available to satisfy the desires of self hating “straight” conservatives in airport lavatories.

      It would also put thousands of small businesses out of business.  Think of all the personal trainers, escorts, models, massage therapists providing “services” to conservative pastors whose business would shrink.

    1. That moves one Senate seat from guaranteed Repub to leaning Dem. And in Idaho, it will be leaning Repub but it will be competitive.

      There won’t be much money coming to Schaffer – they will need it to try and keep Virginia and to hang on to Idaho.

      1. If Craig doesn’t resign, If Craig runs again, If Craig wins the nomination-he would probably still win in Idaho.  If he resigns, or doesn’t win the nomination, it’s an even safer bet.

          1. Dave, I wish I could agree with you, but Idaho is not Montana.  If Craig resigns, it’s safe R (unless the R nominee is himself arrested for soliciting . . .).  Virginia, on the other hand, there a good Dem candidate will have the edge.

            As for Craig, I have not been able to get “I think Bill Clinton is a nasty, bad, naughty boy” out of my head today.  What a world.

          2. Montana has a Dem gov and leg.  Montana went for Bush by 20 points…Montana Dems actually have a bench of candidates.

            Idaho went for Bush by 38 points-Dems have been a hopeless minority in the Leg, has completely wiped out Dems in congress since 1994, and rarely get more than 40% of the vote in open races…I’m sure eventually Dems will win the governorship in a decade or two, but Idaho is much more red than Montana is…

      1. but if Davis wins the nomination, it’ll be a tossup.  Davis is a great campaigner, he’s very smart, and can raise lots of cash.  If anyone is going to give Warner a good run, it’s going to be Davis.

  4.   A.P. is reporting that Lavatory Larry is going to resign his senate seat tomorrow.  Idaho Governor Butch Otter will then name a successor.
      BTW, N.Y. Times had a funny sidebar story about Gov. Otter today.  Apparently back in ’93, this good, solid conservative Republican competed in, and won, the “Mr. Tight Jeans” contest at some C/W bar in Boise!

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