Thursday, January 31, 2008

Macroeconomics for the "Compassionate"

Before you cast your vote for someone who promises to 'help' the downtrodden by fixing the prices of things, you ought to understand some basic economics.

Methodology note: Although it's said that a picture is worth a thousand words, I make every effort to avoid using pictures unless they are absolutely necessary. This is one of those necessary cases. I'll be using the kind of pictures you can see in most macroeconomic texts, only with the P and Q axes reversed, because it makes more sense to my math/science background: Quantity is a function of price, so the P axis is horizontal.

Fundamentally, a sale takes place when both parties to the transaction believe it benefits them. The buyer values the good/service more than the money he's spending, and the seller values the money he gets more than the good/service. Economists like to split this up and look at the motivations of both parties:

The Law of Supply

People sometimes have trouble grasping this simple concept:

When the price of something goes up, more of it will be produced.

It may seem backwards, especially to those familiar with 'volume pricing' arrangements, where suppliers will offer incentives to purchase large quantities, or 'sale' pricing designed to help liquidate inventory, or to keep contstruction workers productive during the slow season, etc. Those are actually responses to the interaction of the LoS and the Law of Demand as we'll see later. One factor that's important here is there are short- and long-term effects of the LoS: Potential producers make long-term decisions based on that they expect the price they can charge for their goods/services will be, that affect their capacity to produce the actual goods/services. Then they make short-term decisions based on fluctuating market conditions.
  • If farmers think the price they can get for wheat will be higher next year, they may plant more wheat and less soybeans, or spend more money on fertilizer and pest control to increase yield per acre.
  • If the price of oil is expected to go up, it justifies drilling deeper, or other more expensive techniques for getting to it.
  • If the net income that can be earned by doctors (after paying for such things as malpractice insurance) looks like it's going down, fewer people will practice medicine. Perhaps some of them will work for insurance companies, medical schools, or malpractice law firms.
The exact amount that the quantity of the good/service produced goes up or down with the expected price thereof varies. Economists call this 'elasticity of supply'. The more elastic the supply curve is, the more the quantity will respond to increasing or decreasing prices. Economists also talk about short-term elasticity vs. long-term (it takes a long time from planting to harvest), but the general idea remains - in a few cases increasing prices will not increase the quantity produced, at least in the short to medium term (there are only so many seats in a stadium for a sporting event, but other/larger stadiums can eventually be built), but will never decrease

The Law of Demand

This one's a lot easier to understand:

When the price of something goes up, less of it will be consumed.

There are a handful of situations where a low price affects the perception of the quality of the good/service, but that's contrary to the 'all other things being equal' clause that's implicit, if not explicit, in all economic discussions. How much quantity responds to price, once again, is 'elasticity'. The more elastic demand is, the more the quantity demanded will fluctuate with the price. Once again, long-term expectations drive long-term decisions. The more the price of gasoline is expected to rise over the life of your next vehicle, the more likely you are to buy one with good fuel economy, and thus you will use less gasoline. Even short-term changes in price will produce effects such as carpooling, riding public transportation, and cutting back pleasure travel in response to a sudden gas price hike.


Since the supply curve slopes upward and the demand curve slopes downward, there must be a certain point at which they cross:

At the equilibrium price, exactly the same amount is produced as consumed.

It isn't hard to understand why.
  • When prices go above equilibrium, the producers want to sell more than consumers want (and can afford) to buy. After producers have already made the investment to produce a good, or build the capacity to provide a service, they naturally want to maximize the return on that investment. Parking lots full of cars that aren't selling don't make an auto manufacturer any money, so the price will have to come down to move the merchandise.
  • When prices go below equilibrium, the producers know that even if they raise prices, they'll still sell the same quantity, and make more money in the process, so they do.
Whichever direction prices drift from equilibrium, they are pulled back to it....

Interference with Equilibrium

Well, they are when market forces are allowed to work.

Here's where the Compassionate come in. The market can seem cruel and harsh, so they want to help protect people from it. All sorts of government policies have been enacted to manipulate markets by force.
Artificial Maximum Price
Sometimes, a government decides that the price of something is getting out of hand, and the best solution is to set a legal maximum that can be charged for it.

If that maximum is higher than equilibrium, then it doesn't do much other than make people feel good about having Done Something™ to fix it. It may actually have the perverse effect of reducing the expectation of future price increases, and therefore discouraging people from investing in the capacity to provide that good/service. The long-term effect of that may be best described as a flattening of the supply curve; the reduction in capacity shifts the point of equilibrium beyond the maximum price...

When equilibrium is above the maximum price allowed by law, we have locked in place the situation that would ordinarily only obtain temporarily without the price control: People are willing, and have sufficient funds to be able, to purchase more of the good/service than others are willing and able to sell to them.

If a maximum price law has any effect on price, it creates shortages

Artificial Minimum Price
Sometimes, a government decides that it's unfair that the people who produce some good or service get so little for it, and try to set a minimum price. There are two ways to do this:
  1. Have the government guarantee a minimum price that it will pay to producers, so they can always get that minimum price.
  2. Make it illegal for anyone to pay them less than the minimum.
Either way (if the minimum is actually above equilibrium) the result is that people are willing and able to produce more of the good/service than people are willing to buy at that price, the price cannot drop to correct the imbalance. If a minimum price law has any effect on price, it creates surpluses

Here's where the two ways to set a minimum price diverge. In the first case, such as for farmers, the government has committed to actually purchase the surplus commodities that no one wants to buy, at least in the short term. Typically, those commodities eventually are distributed ("government cheese") at a later date, absorbing some of the demand that would otherwise exist at that time, or they're simply destroyed. But in the second case, such as minimum- or prevailing-wage laws, it has made it illegal for the labor to be sold for less than the specified price.

A minimum wage law that has any effect on wages creates surplus workers, also known as unemployment.

It's really obvious when you think about it. The law doesn't guarantee that anyone who wants a job at $x/hr will get one, it only says that it's illegal to make anything less. If you believe that someone is better off unemployed than making anything less than some magic amount per hour, then this may make sense to you.

Minimum-wage laws disproportionately affect lower-income, inner-city people with little education and no work experience in a particular skill (important voting blocs for the politicians who insist on increasing the minimum wage from time to time). They don't get many chances to work those low-skill/pay jobs and gain experience that makes them more attractive to employers who are willing to invest in training them to be even more productive (and therefore pay more to retain those productive workers).

These wage laws are the economic equivalent to the secure fire escape on the side of a building, where the ladder from the 2nd floor to ground level is retracted to prevent burglars from climbing it. People who lack formal education or training can't get on the ladder and begin to pull themselves up to higher rungs. The true beneficiaries of minimum- and prevailing-wage laws are the leaders of organized labor, who can win higher wages from which to extract union dues, and the leaders of minority ethnic advocacy groups, who benefit from having a societal ill to organize against.

Because the workers they represent are better skilled, and therefore more productive, the labor leaders can demand a multiple of the minimum wage for those workers. Suppose there is a job that can be done in an hour by a union worker with years of experience, or in three hours by an unskilled worker. If the minimum wage is set to $7/hr, so long as the union scale is under $21, it's actually cheaper to hire union labor at nominally higher rates. So the employer agrees to a contract at $19-20/hr. it's a good deal for both sides. The union is using the law to forbid competition. It would be an anti-trust violation if it weren't being done by the government itself, or on behalf of a union. (Anti-trust laws specifically exempt labor unions.)

The very people that the law pretends to help are the ones hurt the most. (This is a long one, so click on the title to read the whole essay, which won't appear on the front page.)

Today in History: January 31

  • 1606 Guy Fawkes is executed for his plot to bomb Parliament on November 5th.
  • 1752 Gouverneur Morris born; wrote Constitution Preamble, "We the People..."
  • 1841 American puzzlist Sam Loyd born; created the 15-puzzle among many others.
  • 1881 American chemist Irving Langmuir born; Nobel 1932 for surface effects in colloids.
  • 1917 Germany, WWI, announces unrestricted submarine warfare; luxury liner Lusitania already torpedoed on May 7, 1915.
  • 1958 James Van Allen discovers the inner Van Allen radiation belt.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Nader Back from the Dead

In 2000, Ralph Nader got 97,421 votes in Florida -- and Al Gore lost Florida by 537 votes, and thereby the White House.

So, today Nader started up an "exploratory committee" for another run at the presidency.

My guess is that he'll get several millions thrown his way (e.g., to his favorite causes) if he "decides" not to run.

Pres-Race Glance: January 30

Dem: With MI, NH, IA, NV, SC and FL done.

Delegates Needed 2,208

402 Clinton (+ 281 in FL)
218 Obama (+ 180 in FL)
55 Uncommitted (no change)
47 Edwards (+ 21 in FL dropped out)
Next up: Super-Tuesday on 2/5.

GOP: With MI, NH, WY, IA, NV, SC and FL done.

Delegates Needed 1,259
180 McCain (+ 114 in FL)
87 Romney (0 in FL)
29 Huckabee (0 in FL)
11 Thompson (dropped out)
8 Paul (0 in FL)
3 Uncommitted (no change)
0 Giuliani (dropped out)
1 Hunter (dropped out)
Next up: Super-Tuesday on 2/5.

From my cold dead hands Pt.2


A man who has been indicted on charges of illegally possessing up to $1 million worth of Jack Daniel's whiskey claims he is a collector who was trying to sell the vintage bottles they came in, not the spirits.

$1,000,000 divided by 2400 comes out to over $400 a bottle. At my local liquor store, four hundred bucks worth of Black Jack would be more than enough to put me, and several people larger than me, into an alcoholic coma. If the cops have put the value of his stash at a cool mil, then obviously he's selling the bottles and not the hooch.

Today in History: January 30

  • 1862 First American ironclad warship is launched, the USS Monitor.
  • 1894 Charles King patents the pneumatic hammer.
  • 1933 Adolf Hitler becomes Imperial Chancellor of Germany.
  • 1943 Holocaust comes to Letychiv, Ukraine; 7,000 Jews are murdered by the Gestapo.
  • 1948 Indian pacifist Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi is assassinated by a Hindu extremist.
  • 1958 First two-way moving sidewalk in service; 1,425 feet long, at Dallas TX.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


[ED: Don sent this one via the tipline. Thanks!]
The Democrats want a new drug....

Today in History: January 29

  • 1737 Thomas Paine born; wrote Common Sense for the American Revolution, and The Age of Reason in French prison during France's Revolution.
  • 1810 German mathematician Eduard Kummer born; invented ideal numbers.
  • 1886 German Karl Benz patents the first internal combustion engine car (a 3-wheeler).
  • 1936 The first Baseball Hall of Famers: Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner
  • 2002 President George W. Bush, in his State of the Union Address, declares Iraq, Iran and North Korea an Axis of Evil for sponsoring terror.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Monday, January 28, 2008

Today in History: January 28

  • 1807 London's Pall Mall, the first city street illuminated by gaslight.
  • 1886 German Karl Benz patents the first internal combustion engine car.
  • 1915 U.S. Coast Guard created.
  • 1916 Louis D. Brandeis becomes the first Jew on the Supreme Court.
  • 1932 Japanese start the Shanghai War; it lasts till May 5th.
  • 1981 Ronald Reagan lifts Jimmy Carter's oil/gas price controls, thus ending the 1979-80 energy crisis.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I, Pencil

We find ourselves engaged in the quadrennial spectacle of politicians promising that if only we elect them to run our government, they'll "fix things" so that, for instance, everyone will have all the health care services they want. Some of our contributors have touched upon the insanity of these promises. In future articles, I'd like to explore in more detail why they never deliver the results they promise, but first it would help to read some foundational material. Fifty years ago, Leonard E. Reed "ghost-wrote" I, Pencil, a first-person narrative of how the simple writing instrument comes to be. Our protagonist makes this extraordinary claim:

Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me. This sounds fantastic, doesn't it? Especially when it is realized that there are about one and one-half billion of my kind produced in the U.S.A. each year.
Read the essay, and ponder the arrogance of those who think a central planner could make sure everyone has pencils, much less health care.

Pres-Race Glance: January 27

Dem: With MI, NH, IA, NV and SC done.

Delegates Needed 2,208; Avail 4,220

121 Clinton (+ 12 in SC)
38 Obama (+ 25 in SC)
55 Uncommitted (no change)
26 Edwards (+ 8 in SC)
Next up: FL on 1/29

GOP: With MI, NH, WY, IA, NV and SC done.

Delegates Needed 1,259; Avail 2,386
87 Romney (no change)
66 McCain (no change)
29 Huckabee (no change)
11 Thompson (dropped out)
8 Paul (no change)
3 Uncommitted (no change)
1 Giuliani (no change)
1 Hunter (dropped out)
Next up: FL on 1/29.

Today in History: January 27

Yesterday | Tomorrow

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Connections: 103

Episode 3 of the original Connections.
(Click on the image to play — it will open in a separate window/tab)

Episode 1
Episode 2

Today in History: January 26

  • 1788 Australia Day: English fleet settles 736 convicts at Sydney Cove.
  • 1831 German Anton de Bary born; founder of mycology (spores, molds, and fungus).
  • 1875 American George Green patents the electric dental drill.
  • 1998 President Bill Clinton, on TV, denies "sex relations" with his intern Monica Lewinsky.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ban Guns & Gun Crime Goes Up

The United Kingdom banned guns just over a decade ago. They were certain *that* would eliminate gun crime.

Well, go figure. The gun crime that's been officially recorded is up by 4% over last year's reporting. And this is in a country where they don't need a border fence -- they have 26 miles of ocean. Golly. Illegal guns being smuggled onto the island so that they can be used in crimes.

Not to worry, though. The law-abiding citizens won't be shooting any criminals. The criminals are safe, at least, from them.

And why did I say "officially recorded"? Well, it's an open secret that some police departments have a policy of "discouraging" too many reports. If they can "cook the books", they'll look good to their constituents. Los Angeles comes to mind. An even better example is the wonderful country of Japan, where being murdered is often termed "heart failure".

Gas Prices and the Minimum Wage

You and I, and everyone I know, takes home a paycheck every week (or two). We "make ends meet" with that paycheck we get versus the week's groceries and gas, the kid's clothes, the monthly rent (or house mortgage) payment, taxes, etc. We're on a budget.

So, what happens when some bozo large company, say Exxon, decides to raise prices at the gas pump? Well, unfortunately for Exxon, there are other gas stations. So, we shop around for a lower gas price.

Ah, but what happens if the Chinese economy starts booming and they bid up the price of oil, so that *all* the gas station prices go up? Well, unfortunately for us, we find a way to drive less. We *have* to get to work. We *have* to get the kids to school. We *have* to get the groceries. So we plan and scrimp and cut back on nice-to-have driving -- because we have to "make ends meet".

We'd do the same thing, scrimp and cut back, if the price went up of some other commodity we use on a daily basis -- say coffee, or milk.

Mom & Pop stores are just like us; after all, they are run by a mom and pop. Their store also has a budget. They have things to buy, and they pay rent, they pay taxes and fees (more often and to more agencies); and if they're lucky and their business doesn't go under, they get to take home a profit paycheck each week (or two).

So, what happens when some bozo large government, say ours, decides to raise prices for employing some people. That's what the Minimum Wage does; it raises the price for employing the least-capable and least-trained people. Well, Mom & Pop have a budget, so they have to scrimp and cut back -- on the least-capable employees. You didn't really think that they would cheerfully continue to employ those least-capable people, did you; and go broke doing it? They aren't running a store to go broke -- they are running it so that they don't have to work for somebody else. (There are people like that -- they want to be their own boss.)

So, what do they do? They lay off a least-capable employee, to pay for the Minimum Wage price raise that the government forces them to pay to the remaining least-capable employees. And then everyone has to work harder to get all the work done, especially the least-capable employees. After all, they've just seen one of their peers laid off, and they could be next.

Now, there are 10 times more Mom & Pop stores (some of which are gas stations), with 20 employees or less, than businesses with 100 people. And there are 10 times more 200-person businesses than companies with 1000 people. And there are only a few large companies, like Exxon, with tens of thousands of employees -- and the vast majority of those are not least-capable and least-trained considering they usually have a college diploma.

What this means is that it is the Mom & Pop stores that employ the vast majority of the pool of least-capable employees, the ones being paid Minimum Wage.

And what that means is that when the law makers raise the Minimum Wage, they increase Unemployment. Just like one and one make two; raising the Minimum Wage puts people out of work and onto welfare.

Yikes! If it puts more people on welfare, they'd better raise taxes to pay for 'em while they're at it.


This was recently forwarded to me, through a long and tangled e-mail chain. I don't have any link to the original - but it's well said.

By Robert Ringer

I recently received an e-mail from Wayne Holt of Houston, TX. It stated, in part:

"I am stunned by the indifference to practical living skills that so many in our society exhibit. How can so many be so wrong for so long, and still the charade continues? It's as if we deliberately dove off a building laughing and were miraculously saved by an awning. At times, I'm tempted to believe we can't fatally harm ourselves even if we try with all our might."

Mr. Holt gives us a lot to think about. I believe the reason so many can be so wrong for so long - without seeing through the charades (plural, not singular) that are served up to them day in and day out - is because conventional wisdom, myths, and fairytales tend to gain strength with age. After all, if something has been around for a long time, it must be true. Right?

Not so fast. What really happens is that when a preposterous tale - or even an outright lie - is repeated often enough, it acquires "legs." Meaning it becomes self-sustaining. And if it attracts enough adherents, it spreads exponentially. This is how dogma evolves into "fact." Through repetition, a lie can be transformed into truth, and often is.

The dictionary defines charade as "a blatant pretense or deception." Which means that most of what we see and hear are charades.

In the 1963 classic film Charade, Regina Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) asks Peter Joshua (Cary Grant) why people lie. Joshua answers, "Usually it's because they want something. They are afraid the truth won't get it for them."

As the Republican and Democratic caucuses so clearly demonstrate, politicians are a great example of relentless purveyors of charades... constantly calling for increases in the "minimum wage" (even though it affects only two percent of the population)... incessantly babbling about Social Security "reform" (even though Social Security is a pyramid scam that is mathematically impossible to "fix")... acting as though they are serious about putting an end to illegal immigration (even though every rational adult recognizes that it is years too late to do anything about it).

What do politicians hope to gain from such charades? The same things they are always after: First, our votes. Second, as a result of our votes, power. Third, adulation. And fourth, the congressional perks that allow them to live like multimillionaires.

How, Mr. Holt wonders, is it possible for the charades to continue? Because just as people get the governments they deserve, they also get the charades they deserve - and want. People love to be deluded. It feels so warm and fuzzy compared to the harshness of reality.

But what about Mr. Holt's speculation that we are somehow immune to the consequences of the self-destructive tendencies so many of us exhibit? Would that it were so, but the evidence suggests that we irreversibly damage ourselves all the time. In case you hadn't noticed, the Greek and Roman Empires are not around anymore. Neither is the Soviet Union. All of them fell under the weight of their own charades.

It is therefore not surprising that the sun is rapidly setting on Western civilization. We continue to accept the charade that freedom and equality can coexist... The charade that everything in life is relative and that there is no such thing as right and wrong... The charade that the most heinous criminals - even those from other countries who are here illegally - have the same rights as law-abiding citizens.

All noble thoughts, I guess. But, unfortunately, not good for maintaining a civilization. For better or for worse, civilization cannot exist without a generally accepted code of conduct. Sorry, but that's just the way it is.

Make no mistake about it, the resilience of the human race is remarkable. We have survived the Dark Ages, tyrants, slavery, and worse. But I do not agree that there is always an awning to catch us. For example, the six million Jews who bought into the charade that Germany was a safe and cultured nation - and that Adolf Hitler was a harmless nutcase - fell through the awning and landed in the gas chambers.

In closing, I am reminded of the tiniest of all mammals, the shrew, which weighs less than a dime. The shrew is a voracious eater who will not hesitate to devour other shrews. And when it's hungry enough, and there's no other prey around, it is capable of eating itself to death - literally - beginning with its own tail.

I believe that if a person tries hard enough, like the shrew, he can fatally harm himself. Man, of course, does not engage in self-cannibalism. Instead, he relies on the charade. Kind of analogous to a person who commits suicide by forcing the police to kill him.

I say forget about relying on the awning to save you. Focus, instead, on trying not to fall. And a good way to do that is to monitor your personal reality so you avoid buying into too many charades. If you are too wrong too often, for too long - if you continue to buy into the charades promulgated by government, Madison Avenue, and the media - sooner or later, the awning won't be there to catch you.

Today in History: January 25

  • 1736 French mathematician, physicist Joseph-Louis Lagrange born; wrote Mécanique Analytique.
  • 1627 Irish chemist Robert Boyle born; Boyle's gas law.
  • 1890 American journalist Nelly Bly completes Jules Verne's world tour in 72 days.
  • 1915 Alexander Bell makes first transcontinental phone call, New York City to San Francisco; answered by Dr. Watson.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Thursday, January 24, 2008

SpaceShipTwo Announced

Erick Schonfeld has a post about Burt Rutan's new bigger suborbital spaceship.

It's worth a quick peek.

Virgin Galactic Unveils Design For SpaceShipTwo

Today in History: January 24

  • 41 Caligula (Gaius Caesar) assassinated by his guards.
  • 1679 King Charles II disbands Parliament.
  • 1848 James Marshall discovers gold while building sawmill John Sutter at Coloma, California.
  • 1916 The Supreme Court decides that federal income tax is constitutional.
  • 1950 Raytheon employee Percy Spencer receives patent for the microwave oven.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

John Moses Browning Day

Most sources give January 23rd as American engineer John Moses Browning's birthday, back in 1855 in Ogden (then a small town) in Utah, the son of a gunsmith.

In 1879, John patented the design for a rifle he'd made. It's known today as the Winchester lever-action .30-30 (the kind you've seen in many Western movies) because Winchester bought the rights to the amazing gun and mass-marketed it.

Browning invented the pump-action shotgun -- a style carried by most police departments today. Winchester also bought the rights to this popular gun.

Browning invented the cartridge-exhaust-gas powered machine-gun, and sold the design to Colt who sold the heavy gun to the U.S. Army as the Colt Model 1985 Peacemaker.

Browning invented the modern autoloading shotgun, also powered by cartridge exhaust gas. When Winchester turned him down, he took this design to Belgium (Fabrique National de Belgique).

Browning invented the barrel-enclosing slide, seen on virtually all modern autoloading (AKA semi-automatic) handguns.

Browning invented the U.S. Military's Model 1918 light machine gun, known as the BAR -- the Browning Automatic Rifle. It was used in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and at the beginning of the Vietnam War.

However, John Moses Browning's most famous gun design is the one accepted for use by the U.S. Army, the Model 1911 .45, and Browning also designed the cartridge/bullet that went with it, the .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol). The venerable M1911 was the standard side-arm of the U.S. military for decades, and is making another comeback based on combat experience in the Middle East.

Browning (1855-1926) is the world's pre-eminent firearms designer.

Today in History: January 23

  • 1730 Shipping magnate Joseph Hewes born; North Carolina signer of Declaration of Independence; Sec'y of Navy for the Continental Congress.
  • 1862 German mathematician David Hilbert born; Hilbert Space; Hilbert's 23 problems guided math for nearly a century.
  • 1907 Japanese physicist Hideki Yukawa born; predicted the pi meson, nuclear glue, 12 years before its discovery.
  • 1911 Polish (naturalized French) Nobel chemistry winner Marie Curie is denied entry to all-male French Academy of Sciences.
  • 1964 The 24th Amendment is ratified, no more poll taxes for national elections.
  • 1986 The first Rock and Roll Hall of Famers: Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Life Sucks, If You Prefer

So, it seems like the economy is drooping a bit for a moment. Personally, I don't mind. I roll with the punches.

Let me put that in perspective. Some days I wake up a little early. And I have to be quiet for awhile so that others can continue sleeping. (Well, true, I don't actually *have* to be quiet, but it's what my personality demands.) I don't get to have quite as much fun while I wait. I usually read from one of my books during that time. (Keyboard clacking is too much noise to me.)

Well, to make this more generic in application (something I like to think about often), let me just say this: sometimes I have to wait doing things that are lower on my priority of life activities -- I have to wait until conditions are better.

As to the economy drooping a bit for a moment, I've been out of work before. I expect to be so again. During those times, I had to wait and do lower priority things. Making ends meet involved significant changes in life-style -- naturally.

However, the way I see it, your opinion of your life colors your life. If you think that your life sucks, you'll spend a lot of time thinking about the ways it sucks. You may not be loads of fun to be with. Your next interview may not go quite so well. Your next comment to family or friends may piss them off.

Now, the Tough-Love (tm) crowd may tell you to get over yourself. I'm not a fan of that approach. Nor am I a rosy-eyed optimist. There are going to be times in your life when shxt happens. But I *will* tell you that your outlook on life can make or break your day, week, month, and year.

The last time I was laid off, I am certain that I was the only person to get the axe that showed more concern about the feelings of the messengers (who included my immediate manager, charged with the decision) than vice versa -- and they were concerned. The company went in a different direction (trying to down-size to help their shareholders) and a bunch of people got the axe. Managers get paid (on rare, painful occasions) to make those decisions.

I wasn't angry, because my personal plan is to survive lean times. I have a few friends. I have a family. They like me for who I am, not for how much money I can spread around. (And I try to work at keeping it that way.) Besides, I still have most of my original body parts. And keeping clean, getting enough to eat and drink, and staying out of the weather is easy to do in America. (Meaning, I don't have to walk out into the desert to find a piece of God-forsaken land, throw together a lean-to, sharpen a spear, and look for dinner.)

My small comment, here, may have started with the economy, but what I'm trying to say is that if you're feeling your life sucks then you should change your outlook. It only sucks if you prefer it that way. Human life has only three modes -- good (you've got a brain), great (things break your way), and that rare mode when, in spite of everything, someone's shooting at you. If you're sad, then (and pay attention here) find a corner and read a book till you get over that emotion -- because it's just an emotion, not one of life's modes. And if your current situation has thorns (that you're sad about), get your head together so you can plan how to either remove the thorns, or move to the next branch.

Oh, and if you haven't yet planned for that rare third mode of life, get a gun, get trained, and keep it on whatever passes for your nightstand. The bad guys like "night and fog".

Today in History: January 22

  • 1561 Englishman Francis Bacon born, Father of the Scientific Method.
  • 1775 Frenchman André-Marie Ampère born; founded Electrodynamics; "3 Amp fuse".
  • 1879 Rorke's Drift: 139-strong British garrison (many in the hospital) defeat some 5,000 Zulu warriors.
  • 1908 Jewish Soviet physics genius Lev Landau born in Baku, Azerbaijan.
  • 1917 President Woodrow Wilson calls for "peace without victory" in WWI; U.S. declares war 43 days later.
  • 1973 Supreme Court decides Roe v. Wade, ending state laws protecting unborn babies.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Monday, January 21, 2008

Pres-Race Glance: January 20

Dem: With MI, NH, IA and NV done.

Delegates Needed 2,208; Avail 4,220

109 Clinton (+ 12)
55 Uncommitted (no change)
38 Obama (+ 13)
18 Edwards (no change)
Next up: SC on 1/26, FL on 1/29

GOP: With MI, NH, WY, IA, NV and SC done.

Delegates Needed 1,259; Avail 2,386
87 Romney (+ 21)
66 McCain (+ 36)
29 Huckabee (+ 12)
11 Thompson (+ 3)
8 Paul (+ 4)
3 Uncommitted (no change)
1 Giuliani (no change)
1 Hunter (dropped out)
Next up: FL on 1/29.

Today in History: January 21

  • 1793 The French Convention guillotines King Louis XVI.
  • 1799 Edward Jenner introduces smallpox vaccination.
  • 1924 Vladimir Lenin dies; Joseph Stalin begins murdering rivals.
  • 1950 Communist agent, and high-level advisor to both Roosevelt and Truman, Alger Hiss is convicted of perjury.
  • 1970 First wide-body jet, Boeing 747, flew commercially.
  • 1977 President Jimmy Carter pardons Vietnam War draft dodgers.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Sunday, January 20, 2008

From my cold dead hands

Errr, or something like that.

Today in History: January 20

  • 1265 1st meeting of the English Parliament; in the Palace of Westminster.
  • 1649 Trial of Charles I of England, for treason and other high crimes.
  • 1885 American La Marcus Thompson patents the roller coaster.
  • 1920 The American Civil Liberties Union is founded by Marxists Roger Baldwin and Crystal Eastman.
  • 1942 Wannsee conference, Berlin: Nazis agree on the "final solution to the Jewish problem".
  • 1981 Iran releases 52 U.S. diplomats and staff, held hostage for 444 days, twenty minutes after Ronald Reagan is inaugurated President.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Connections: 102

Episode 2 of the original Connections.

(Click on the image to play — it will open in a separate window/tab)

Episode 1

Today in History: January 19

  • 1736 Scotsman James Watt born, made the Newcomen steam engine practical, ushering in the Industrial Revolution.
  • 1807 American Confederate general Robert E. Lee born.
  • 1813 Englishman Henry Bessemer born, invented cheap steel, the Bessemer process.
  • 1894 Scotsman James Dewar solidifies air.
  • 1977 Snow in Miami, Florida, for the first time.
  • 2001 Arkansas Bar strips sitting President Bill Clinton of his law license due to dishonesty in the Paula Jones suit.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Friday, January 18, 2008

Regurgitating the Apple

Evan Sayet's Heritage Foundation Lecture isn't exactly new, but the other day I was talking to some folks at The Chase Lounge who hadn't seen it yet.

At the risk of sounding monomaniacal about it, I consider this lecture to be an absolute must. Like Sayet, I have liberal friends and relatives, and have never been able to understand how they got there. But he was able to explain the process. It is essential that we understand our opposition. So if you haven't seen it (in a while), set aside the better part of an hour (allowing for rewinding to listen again to the points you just can't believe the first time you hear them).

Click the title to see the rest

Today in History: January 18

  • 1689 Frenchman Montesquieu born, wrote The Spirit of the Laws.
  • 1896 The first x-ray machine is exhibited, in New York City.
  • 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising begins in Poland, Jews against Nazis.
  • 1944 Siege of Leningrad ends; Nazis lose.
  • 1969 Pulsars, rotating collapsed neutron stars, were discovered.
  • 1998 Matt Drudge breaks the Clinton-Lewinsky affair story on his website, The Drudge Report.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Thursday, January 17, 2008

NC Campus Safety Task Force Report

[ED: Another submission to the tipline. A tip o' the hat to Don. ]

A story in the Greensboro News & Fishwrap (Hey! Don’t blame me! I think it was Jerry Bledsoe that coined this.) got me going the other day. Seems the Campus Safety Task Force has released its report on what NC needs to do to prevent a Virginia Tech incident at one of the UNC campuses. Now there’s nothing wrong with that on the face of it. But having read the report I’ve got a few quibbles with it.

(The full report is
The Task Force’s recommendations are broken up into four parts: Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery. And most of the recommendations I don’t have a problem with. They are good, solid, common sense recommendations so I’m going to deal with the ones that I think need to be looked at more closely:

Recommendation 3:

North Carolina should prohibit those who have been involuntarily committed from purchasing guns by reporting this information to the National Instant
I have to make an observation. The report finding states that "Sheriffs cannot determine whether a gun permit applicant has been involuntarily committed." Although NC is one of 22 states that report mental health related information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, "as a general rule, such reports are confidential". Setting aside my feelings about having to get a permit to buy a handgun, let’s say this recommendation goes into effect. Now any NC citizen (since that’s the only people who would be applying to a NC County Sheriff for a purchase permit) who has been involuntarily committed should not have a purchase permit issued to them. Wonderful. How about the out of state student who obtains a firearm in his home state and brings it with him to campus? Does this recommendation address that in any way. Doesn’t look like it to me.
Recommendation 6:

Campuses should practice and regularly update their emergency plans
Why just plan for violent acts? Let’s not forget tornadoes, hurricanes, fires etc.
Recommendation 8:

Campuses should adopt multiple, redundant notification systems and rigorously evaluate such systems
And while they are notifying the rank and file student to stay down, the deputized members of the campus community should be notified that their services are needed. Deputized members? Keep reading.

So what’s missing from the report? As I said above, what about the out of state student who brings a gun from his home state. For that matter, how about an instate student who brings a gun belonging to someone else from home. And the criminal who has stolen or bought a gun off the black market. How do we address these very real possibilities?

How about deputizing members of the campus community who hold Concealed Carry permits and letting them bring their weapons to campus? Think that would make a difference? Remember that a similar incident on the campus of the Appalachian School of Law was stopped by two students who brought their weapons to campus in spite of the laws against doing so. The recent series of shootings in Denver, CO was stopped by a church member acting as an armed security guard.

Folks, lets admit reality: it’s a lot easier to stop a crazy person armed with a gun if you’ve got a gun yourself. So why are we so intent on denying this basic, common sense means of protection to our college students? Remember, I said let those who hold CCW permits bring their weapons to campus. If you’ve gone through the training and back ground check to get a CCW, you’re probably very low risk to go postal.

A friend of mine offered some comments after he read this that I thought ought to be included:
In all the studies I have seen, and even the proposed new laws in VA, they all have one common fallacy: that the "bad guy(s)" are going to play by the rules. I have yet to hear or read about someone who has said: "Boy, I sure would like to rob a bank, but I’d have to break the law and get a gun illegally." If someone is willing to break a law that carries the death penalty, they are not going to sweat stealing or otherwise illegally obtaining a firearm.

All it does is muddy the waters for the law-abiding folks that do care about keeping themselves and others safe. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for keeping the guns out of the hands of people with "questionable mind sets". (Boy, that opens up a lot of grey area!) But do not for one minute believe it will even slow down someone that plans to do bodily harm.

So where do we go from here? It might do some good to let Attorney General Roy Cooper know how you feel about this. He is running for the Democratic nomination for North Carolina governor, after all.

Today in History: January 17

  • 1377 The Papacy is returned to Rome from Avignon.
  • 1706 Benjamin Franklin born; scientist, inventor, an Editor and Signer of the Declaration of Independence.
  • 1886 Aeronaut Engineer Glenn Martin born. Hired Douglas, Bell & McDonnell; taught Boeing to fly.
  • 1982 Cold Sunday, temperatures go far below all-time record lows in many U.S. cities.
  • 1991 Gulf War: Operation Desert Storm begins.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pres-Race Glance: January 16

Dem: With MI, NH and IA done.

Delegates Needed 2,208; Avail 4,220

97 Clinton
55 Uncommitted
25 Obama
18 Edwards
0 The Rest
Next up: NV on 1/19

GOP: With MI, NH, WY and IA done.

Delegates Needed 1,259; Avail 2,386
66 Romney
30 McCain
17 Huckabee
8 Thompson
4 Paul
3 Uncommitted
1 Giuliani
1 Hunter
0 The Rest
Next up: NV and SC on 1/19.

Before 9/11

[ED: this one comes from the tipline. Thanks Andrea!]

On October 12, 2000 a small boat came along side the USS Cole as it was taking on fuel in the Yemeni port of Aden. Two men on the smaller vessel detonated a bomb, blowing a 40' hole in the hull, killing 17 sailors and injuring 39 more.

Then President Clinton made this promise. "We will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to find those who killed our sailors and hold them accountable." --October 14, 2000

The presumed mastermind of the attack,Abd al-Rahim al-Nashri, was arrested in the United Arab Emirates in November 2002 and currently resides at Guantanamo Bay. Five other men were arrested and tried by the Yemeni courts. Jamal al-Bedawi was sentenced to death for his part in the attack. He escaped from prison in April of 2003 but was recaptured in March 2004. He escaped again in February 2006.

On October 17, 2007, al-Badawi surrendered to Yemeni authorities as part of an agreement with al-Qaeda militants. Following his surrender, Yemeni authorities released him in return for a pledge not to engage in any violent or al-Qaeda-related activity, despite a $5 million reward for his capture

al-Badawi is still at large.

Gary Swenchonis Sr., the father of one of the sailors murdered on that October day has written an open letter to the President of Yemen.
President Saleh,

It has been over seven years now since our son and his mates were brutally murdered in your country on October 12, 2000 when terrorists attacked the USS Cole and murdered 17 innocent young sailors and injured 39 more.

Let me begin by thanking all the Yemenis who called us at our home and sent letters of condolence. The kindness, compassion, warmth and sympathy expressed in those calls and letters comforted us and gave us a strength that we carry with us today.

Unfortunately we never received a letter of condolence from you or your government sir. You never even denounced that horrible tragedy, nor did anyone in your government. On the contrary, your government hindered the investigation at every turn. But then, so did our own; US Ambassador Bodine continually obstructed the FBI’s investigation.

Today in History: January 16

  • 1581 The English Parliament outlaws Roman Catholicism.
  • 1777 Vermont declares its independence from New York. Go Green Mountain!
  • 1868 William Davis patents the refrigerated boxcar, improving food transport.
  • 1919 Congress ratifies the 18th Amendment, Prohibition starts one year later.
  • 1953 New artificial element, Fermium, isolated from debris at "Mike" H-bomb test, Eniwetok.
  • 1956 President Nasser of Egypt publically vows to reconquer Palestine.

Yesterday | Tomorrow

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Today in History: January 15

  • 1759 The British Museum opens, the world's oldest for the public.
  • 1861 Elisha Otis patents the safety elevator, ushering in skyscrapers.
  • 1885 Wilson Bentley takes the first photographs of snowflakes, all different.
  • 1907 Lee de Forest patents the vacuum tube amplifier, ushering in electronics.
  • 1943 Remaining Japanese "volunteer" to leave Guadalcanal. Semper Fi!

Yesterday | Tomorrow

Monday, January 14, 2008

Concealed Handguns in Michigan Calming Thugs Down

Six years ago Michigan joined the new breed of states. It granted its citizens the right to carry concealed handguns for self-defense just for the asking (with proper training and a background check). Now, in every hundred people you run into there, one or two will be packing legally -- law-abiding citizens with guns.

And overall, violent crime has gone down. No massive numbers of road-rage shootouts. No out-of-control saloon shootouts. No blood in the streets. No OK Corral. All these things the Nervous Nellies (including Chiefs of Police, who should know better) warned about turned out, yet again, to be so much nightmare fantasy disappearing in the light of day.

I don't blame them, though. It's just that some people find it hard to trust their upstanding fellow citizens. I guess it's an idea that takes a bit of getting used to. But even if this idea of trusting one's neighbors had drifted away from America over the decades since the Sixties, it's been making a comeback. Today, forty of the fifty states are the new breed -- they will license you to carry concealed just for the asking. They trust their law-abiding citizens.

Here's how staff writer Dawson Bell put it in the Detroit Free Press a few days ago.

Six years after new rules made it much easier to get a license to carry concealed weapons, the number of Michiganders legally packing heat has increased more than six-fold.

But dire predictions about increased violence and bloodshed have largely gone unfulfilled, according to law enforcement officials and, to the extent they can be measured, crime statistics.

The incidence of violent crime in Michigan in the six years since the law went into effect has been, on average, below the rate of the previous six years. The overall incidence of death from firearms, including suicide and accidents, also has declined.

It's good to know there are a lot of well-trained responsible citizens out there in Michigan, 155,000 of them. Another example of When law-abiding citizens have guns, everyone is safer all around.

Ezra Levant Update

Ezra Levant has a blog where he is chronicling his experience with the Alberta Human Rights Commission kangaroo court. He has several more videos of his interrogation posted as well as an in depth look at this extremely misguided process.

Little Green Footballs points to an example of the grammatically and ethically challenged thoughts of Mr. Levant's accuser, Syed B. Soharwardy.

[Ed. Note: Our previous story about Levant is here]

Today in History: January 14

  • 1742 Edmond Halley dies, forced friend Isaac Newton to publish his Calculus.
  • 1806 American Matthew Maury born, 1st to map the ocean floor, father of the Trans-Atlantic cable.
  • 1898 Lewis Carroll dies, wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
  • 1914 Henry Ford started the continuous motion assembly line, an 8x speed up.
  • 1978 American Kurt Gödel dies, his Incompleteness Theorems ended a century of attempts to axiomatize mathematics.

Yesterday | Tomorrow

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Epistemology of Don

This post fromAtomicNerds includes a link to this article. Incompetent People Really Have No Clue, Studies Find

There are many incompetent people in the world. Dr. David A. Dunning is haunted by the fear that he might be one of them.

Dunning, a professor of psychology at Cornell, worries about this because, according to his research, most incompetent people do not know that they are incompetent.

On the contrary. People who do things badly, Dunning has found in studies conducted with a graduate student, Justin Kruger, are usually supremely confident of their abilities -- more confident, in fact, than people who do things well.

This brought to mind the famous/infamous quote by SecDef Donald Rumsfeld.
"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."

The epistemology of Don divides human knowledge into three parts:

1. The things we know we know

2. The things we know we don’t know

3. The things we don’t know we don’t know

The scary part of Dr. Dunning’s study is that truly incompetent people vastly overestimate their grasp of #1 and are blissfully unaware that #2 and #3 even exist. Competent (one might say, wise) people are always aware of #2 and temper their confidence in #1 by acknowledging #3.

Speaking the truth

Magazine publisher Ezra Levant appears before the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

Today in History: January 13

  • 1864 German physicist Wilhelm Wien born, discovered the proton.
  • 1908 English-born Frenchman Henry Farman 1st to publicly fly a 1 Km circuit.
  • 1930 First issue of the Mickey Mouse comic strip, by Walt Disney.
  • 1957 Frisbee invented by Wham-O Co., from a pie tin.
  • 1992 Japan apologizes for forced sex slavery of Korean women in WWII.

Yesterday | Tomorrow

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Connections: 101

In order to understand what our modern civilization is about, it's helpful to see how interconnected are the historical events which produce technological innovations. For that, we turn to the master, James Burke, who wrote and hosted several television series on the subject. Here, for your entertainment and enlightenment, is Episode 1 of the original Connections. (Click on the image to play — it will open in a separate window/tab)

Today in History: January 12

  • 1592 First appearance of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, at the Rose Theatre.
  • 1665 French jurist and amateur mathematician Pierre de Fermat dies.
  • 1737 John Hancock born, 1st to sign Declaration of Independence, President of the 2nd Continental Congress 1775-1777, and of the United States in Congress Assembled 1785-1786.
  • 1876 American author Jack London born, wrote "Call of the Wild".

Yesterday | Tomorrow

Friday, January 11, 2008

Today in History: January 11

  • 1725 George Mason born. Father (with Madison) of the Bill of Rights.
  • 1755 Alexander Hamilton born. 1st U.S. Treasury Sec; see him on a $10 bill.
  • 1814 British surgeon James Paget born. Father of pathology, the study of diseases.
  • 1902 First issue of Popular Mechanics magazine is published.
  • 1922 Leonard Thompson, age 14, receives first insulin injection, proving diabetes survivable.

Yesterday | Tomorrow

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth

Seattle television meteorologist M. J. McDermott examines what's wrong with the way schools teach basic arithmetic skills.

Today in History: January 10

  • 49 BC Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon, signaling the start of Roman civil war.
  • 1776 Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense.
  • 1855 Englishman Henry Bessemer patents his revolutionary blast furnace design to make steel.
  • 1920 League of Nations holds first meeting, ratifies the Treaty of Versailles ending WWI.
  • 1949 RCA introduced the "single", a 7-inch 45 rpm record, 8 minutes of music.

Yesterday | Tomorrow

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Today in History: January 9

  • 1349 Jews in Basel Switzerland, believed to cause bubonic plague, rounded up and burned alive.
  • 1839 French daguerreotype process announced: first practical photography.
  • 1890 Czech writer Karel Čapek born. He coined the word "robot" in his play "R.U.R."
  • 1951 U.N. headquarters in New York City opens for business.
  • 1991 Soviets stormed Vilnius to stop Lithuanian independence.

Yesterday | Tomorrow

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Being a Thug is More Dangerous Than Ever

13 years ago, Tennessee joined a new breed of states by granting its citizens the right to carry firearms for self-defense. Its laws on citizen self defense have been successively broadened since then. With the close of 2007, the Memphis Police Department has reported almost 3 times as many justified self-defense killings as in 2006. Christopher Conley, of Memphis newspaper The Commercial Appeal, opens his article on the increase this way:

The number of justifiable homicides in Memphis jumped from 11 in 2006 to 32 in 2007.

No one is sure why, but one man has a theory.

"The thugs have started running into people who can protect themselves," said Tom Givens, owner and instructor at the firearms training school RangeMaster, 2611 S. Mendenhall in Memphis.
He goes on to mention that the thugs aren't winning as much as they used to, either:
There were 19 fewer criminal homicides in 2007 compared to 2006.
Looks like yet another example of when law-abiding citizens have guns, more good guys win, more bad guys lose, and everyone is safer all around.
[Comments on this post are now closed. -Ed.]

The Bumper of My SUV

Chely Wright

[Comments on this post are now closed. -Ed.]

Today in History: January 8

Editor's Note: Because quer has expressed interest in Today in History, he was asked to take over the column. He has accepted, beginning with today's edition. Welcome, quer!]

  • 1790 George Washington delivers the first State of the Union Address.
  • 1815 Jackson's militias beat British regulars in Battle of New Orleans.
  • 1889 Herman Hollerith patents punch-card tabulating machine -- his company becomes IBM.
  • 1942 Stephen W. Hawking born: wheelchair, voice synthesizer, and quantum gravity.
  • 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson declares his "War on Poverty".

Yesterday | Tomorrow
[Comments on this post are now closed. -Ed.]

Monday, January 7, 2008

Today in History: January 7

  • 1953 President Harry Truman announces that the United States has developed a hydrogen bomb.
  • 1927 New York City: The first transatlantic telephone call is made, to London.
  • 1894 W. K. Dickson receives a patent for motion picture film.
  • 1610 Galileo Galilei observes the four largest moons of Jupiter.

Yesterday | Tomorrow

[Comments on this post are now closed. -Ed.]

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Today in History: January 6

  • 1941 The New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn lays down the keel of USS Missouri (BB-63).
  • 1907 Maria Montessori opens her first school.
  • 1745 Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier born, Annonay, Ardèche, France
  • 1706 Benjamin Franklin born, Boston, Massachussets


[Comments on this post are now closed. -Ed.]

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Soldier and blogger Andrew Olmsted has been killed in Iraq.
He sends us a message from the other side.

Updated - 1/8/08
Olmsted compassionate to the end.

[Comments on this post are now closed. -Ed.]

E!3 Essay: Forty Second Boyd and the Big Picture

Bill has a new masterpiece. Here's how to get to Part 1:


Just the FAQs

"Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!"

One would expect readers to be full of questions about what's going on here, and what it has to do with This post attempts to address those questions. As other questions come along, this post will be edited to address them as well.

"In the beginning was the Word"

The E!3 community exists due to the creative talents of Bill Whittle. His essays have resonated strongly with those who value the principles at the heart of Western Civilization, including Freedom, Reason, and Honor. The response has been nothing short of overwhelming. So he asked some of the core members of the E!3 community to create a place separate from the essays themselves, wherein we can discuss them, as well as other items in the news. The idea is to free him to concentrate on writing more great essays, so he won't feel the need to write more frequently, but in the process give up on his high standards of quality.

We won't limit ourselves to talking about Bill's essays; we'll find other things to talk about too. But whenever there's a new essay on, you'll see a link to it here.

"Does anybody really know what time it is?"

You may wonder at the time stamps on posts here. You may wonder where "here" is. Although the vast majority of us are in the US at any given time, the administrators of the site have chosen to use GMT for all times and dates. That means the day begins 5 hours earlier here than in the MainScream Media centers of New York City and Washington, DC (4 in the summer).