Why not, if it's free?
Posted by aogTuesday, 27 May 2008 at 13:36 TrackBack Ping URL

Via Hot Air I found the story of how Congress neglected to send the entire Farm Bill to the President. Well, mistakes happen, but it’s amusing and frightening at the same time to read of the House Majority Leader (a member of the Democratic Party) explaining how it was a non-issue, that there’s no need for the President to actually see the legislation that he might sign or veto. It’s like a bad situation comedy plot, where the victim could easily escape the web of disaster if he’d just fess up and admit to a mistake. But no, that would be wrong. Far better to just embrace the concept of secret legislation.

But then again, why not? Hot Air seems to think that there will be a political price to pay, but I found that doubtful at best. The Democratic Party and their Old Media allies are defining deviancy down with an express elevator and I just don’t see any limit to how blatantly they can wave away political traditions and protections without penalty. Some may think there’s no way it could get worse, but I see no evidence of a bottom.

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Harry Eagar Tuesday, 27 May 2008 at 14:09

Tee hee.

Private sector no better. We literature students dote on stories like the novel by Henry James that was published with a chapter out of place and no one noticed for 60 years.

I once got a review copy of the American edition of an English book and, by reading the preface, discovered that the book had two authors. The title page listed only one.

When I inquired, it turned out that the publisher had not bothered to have anyone in his employ read the book.

That was my job, apparently.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 27 May 2008 at 16:30

Hmmm. Roger Federer makes mistakes when he plays tennis. So do I. Therefore he’s no better than me. Yes, I can see the attraction of that view.

The real difference is multi-sourcing. If some book publisher is lousy, I get another one. If my state government is lousy, I’m stuck. Treating the private sector as being a monolith like government is a framing designed to ignore one of the greatest benefits of the former.

Harry Eagar Tuesday, 27 May 2008 at 18:29

Unless you hire Perkin-Elmer Corp. and it puts the collimator in upside down and shoots your apparatus into space.

joe shropshire Tuesday, 27 May 2008 at 19:14

Absolutely, they shoulda hired Scaled Composites.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 27 May 2008 at 20:03

You can get a refund or insurance for dealing with Perkin-Elmer. Try getting a refund when Child Protective Services decides to grab your kids. Or trashes your house due to a wrong address on a search warrant that nobody bothered to check.

Ali Choudhury Friday, 30 May 2008 at 06:07

You can always move states, or even countries.

erp Friday, 30 May 2008 at 08:51

Ali, the U.S. has become homogenized with one state much like others in most things and what country would be a better bet than the U.S.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 30 May 2008 at 10:46

That’s a rather high threshold. Surely even though it’s possible to do so, the difference in transaction costs makes it clear one should prefer the private sector as much as possible.

Harry Eagar Saturday, 31 May 2008 at 13:47

Except when helium is concerned.

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 31 May 2008 at 14:17

Helium-3 or Helium-4?

Harry Eagar Sunday, 01 June 2008 at 19:25

Both. But I believe that what comes out of the ground in Texas is mainly He-3, and that’s what we should worry about.

Bret Monday, 02 June 2008 at 11:09

If we “run out” of He that’s a big deal why?

Harry Eagar Monday, 02 June 2008 at 11:24

It’s needed for as yet (mostly) uninvented but near-certain electronic devices for computation and novel ways of generating power.

There’s no substitute.


Annoying Old Guy Monday, 02 June 2008 at 11:54

I read the article and it makes no mention of these “near certain” yet uninvented devices. It’s hard for me to credit that there’s a crisis if helium remains cheap — no one is smart enough to buy helium futures to rake in the cash when the helium reserves are all but depleted of this critical material? The article does note a 50% price increase, which indicates that the market is already reacting to this incipient “crisis”. If you’re right, then the price will continue to increase, until recycling and additional extraction from natural gas becomes profitable, thereby increasing available helium. The market isn’t a mysterious entity from another dimension, it’s the sum of people applying knowledge and the price is the result of that application. When you say that price is wrong, you’re saying your smarter and more aware than all of the helium producers and consumers combined. That’s rather hubristic, I think. For what reason should we believe you over them?

P.S. I also note that the article lauds the federal helium reserve, which ran for 70 years and accomplished exactly nothing except spending taxpayer money. Yeah, that’s visionary alright. How is that better than a “market failure”?

Bret Monday, 02 June 2008 at 12:40

Harry Eagar wrote: “There‚Äôs no substitute.


Harry Eagar Monday, 02 June 2008 at 21:46

Or ever. Helium is a funny element, it can do things nothing else can.

Guy, the market is reacting: It is ignoring the small revenues from helium in favor of the enormous revenues from petroleum. In other words, it is a grasshopper.

The feds saved the resource — antlike.

The resource has minor importance now, it will be vital later. Except that left in the hands of the old patch boys, there won’t any.

The market will do to helium what it did to samphire.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 03 June 2008 at 09:55

But that doesn’t mean there is no other way to accomplish the same end.

And it isn’t the market that is ignoring the small revenues from helium, it’s the people who run the petroleum industry. What the market does is create the small revenues by reacting to the supply and utility of helium, which apparently is judged not all that high. You claim that’s wrong, but again, why is your judgement superior to the combined wisdom of the helium producers and consumers?

As for the feds, they did nothing useful. They may have saved, ant-like, but no winter came, making it not saving, but waste.

I am also glad to see that you can accurately predict future technology. That’s a talent no one else has, and you should be able to make yourself rich using it.

Bret Tuesday, 03 June 2008 at 10:22

Yes, He is a funny element - when I breathe it in my voice sounds funny.

Other than entertainment like that and kids’ balloons, we can probably live okay without it.

We can probably also get it from non-earthly sources eventually (e.g. the moon).

cjm Thursday, 05 June 2008 at 12:41

i bought a helium mine in the sky

Tracked from Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator: Congress' "Blunder" Mires Farm Bill Vote on 27 May 2008 at 18:44

The House overwhelmingly rejected President Bush's veto of a $290 billion farm bill, but what should

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