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Ether Mind

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Fantastic

"They denied deity, and in the same breath worshipped the fetish of science that they had permitted to obsess them quite as harmfully as do religious fanatics accept the unreasoning rule of their imaginary gods; and so, with all their vaunted knowledge, they were unintelligent because unbalanced." - The Mastermind of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Copyright 1927.

Better write this down before I forget it

In Academia, the various ideologies are distributed based on their theoretical feasibility; that is the nature of the medium. After all, in theory, Communism has some good points. In theory, Capitalism is better. And in theory, both have various flaws.

These theories can be debated endlessly, but in the end the percentage of people holding each view will be representative of the view itself. If ten percent are commies and twenty percent are capitalists, then that would seem to imply that capitalism is twice as desirable in theory as communism.

In reality, socialist college professors make up a relatively large percentage. However, outside academia, outright socialism is much less prevalent. Since the theoretical desirability of socialism is the same among the general population as among college professors, the difference must be in the nature of the medium. The general population judges ideas based on practicality and personal benefit. Since these factors reduce the number of socialists in the population, it is therefore a mathematical certainty that:

Socialism is impractical and/or does not benefit most people.

Of course, since the goal of socialism is to benefit most of the population, these two factors are equivalent.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Words of Wisdom One

These are what pass as deep thoughts in my world. I have actually typed or said everything here this week. Warning: I sound even more like a jerk than usual.

Me: For what it's worth, God's plan is infallible, which means that you can't screw it up. Does that make you feel better?
Her: NO.
Me: It always makes me feel better.

"Mensa's required IQ is only 132? Anybody can get in, geeze."

"We should make another Bill and Ted movie: Bill and Ted's Righteous Ride."

(dicussing Christmas)
Me: I hope I get a hot redhead named Casie.
Him: Someone you know?
Me: Not yet...

Me: How'd your Ph.D. defense or whatever go?
Him: Well. It was a master's defense.
Me: Okay. I didn't think you were that smart.

"I was under the impression that marriage was the best way to raise children, because most people can't afford good daycare."

"I caught some flick flubs though. Apparently the writers didn't realise that secular humanism wasn't invented during the revolutionary war."

"That was a waste of pants."

"I went to bed at 12:40 from boredom, couldn't sleep till 2 of course. Woke up at nine and reset the alarm, went back to sleep. I dreamed that I woke up like 10 times and kept hitting the snooze, so when I woke up for real I thought it was noon and I panicked. So I ran to school to pay the electric bill, but I had to hack into their security. At which point I realised I was still dreaming."

"I'm considering whether to become more disillusioned, but I'm not sure whether it will benefit me."

"I know this goes against thermodynamics, but I think the room actually gets colder when he comes in."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Adventures of Johnny American - Mission Improbable

The World of Tomorrow is a world where men breathe free... but not easily. It is a world where dreams come true, but nightmares are far more common. This world is a world born from minds so closed to dissent that they barely recognize each other and never recognize themselves. This is the world... of Johnny American.

We left our hero in the State University, a powerful but reclusive enclave populated by the progenitors of the world's ills. Here, in the bowels of Academia, the mighty Vote-a-tron was first conceived. Here, the warped and twisted ideologies of the past centuries sprung full-fledged from the foreheads of bleary English Lit majors like Marx. Here, in the sinister tower called the Earl Warren School of Law, where those are born who prey upon the living and the dead... we find...

Johnny American.

(echoing clang, gasp)
Johnny: Gee whiz, this is hot.
Emma: Then can we go home?
Johnny: First, you can't go home. Second, the ventilation system is the only way to get into the law school.
Emma: You could take the SATs.
Johnny: You're pretty cocky for a five year old. Pass me the hook.
Emma: I'm six!
(snick, snick. snick)
Emma: What are you doing, Johnny?
Johnny: The room below us is the dean's office. We need to find out whatever we can about their plans, but what we really need is to find Eliza Jane.
Emma: How are you going to get through that little hole?
Johnny: I'm not.
(silence)
Johnny: C'mon, let me hook you.
Emma: No!
Johnny:It's just a little rappeling. You act like you've never done this before.
Emma: This is stupid!
Johnny: Don't be such a baby.
Emma: You're a baby!
Johnny: Darn it! Just- here, give me that-
(clang)
Emma: EEEK!
Johnny: Oh-
(distant thud)
Johnny: Ohhh...
Emma: That was fun!
Johnny: Are you okay?
Emma: Hahaha!
Johnny: Okay, now look for evidence.
Emma: I don't see any.
Johnny: Look harder, please!
Emma: Someone's coming!
Johnny: Bah!
(squeaky winch noise)
Emma: Wheeeee!
(thud, thud, thud clang.)
Emma: Owch!
(pause. door opens)
The Dean: I trusst that you found your facilitiess ssuitable?
The Dr.: Oh, yes, indeed. Very much so. Hm. Indeed.
The Dean: Very well then. You will have an ample ssupply of tesst subjectss, brought from the ssurounding area. Young, healthy subjectss. That iss no problem. Your, ahem, payment has been arranged. The first batch will be delivered in the morning. In the meantime..
The Dr.: Yes?
The Dean: We have your firsst tassk waiting. It is not sstrictly in your field, but.. we could not trusst this one to Dr. Mangle. We need the mother alive.
The Dr.: Ah, indeed?
The Dean: Yess, you see we musst tesst..
(pause)
The Dean: The grandfather wass Peter American.
(gasp)
The Dr.: I see.
The Dean: No doubt you are aware of what happened to him. There wass nothing left, Dr., nothing, and we need hiss sspecial talentss. Do you undersstand?
The Dr.: Perfectly, but why can't the feminists help you?
The Dean: We don't want to kill the fetuss, we only need the DNA... it may prove usseful leverage, if brave SSir Johnny triess to interfere.
The Dr.: Oh. Ah. Hmm. Indeed. And where are they being held?
The Dean: They're in sstorage, in-
(door slamming open)
Squeaky Voice: Sir! Security has been breached!

Will Johnny and Emma escape from the School of Law with their lives and their sanity intact? Will Eliza Jane ever breathe free air again? And what diabolical plans hae ensnared the fetus? These questions might well be answered in the next exciting episode of
The Adventures of Johnny American.

Magic Fingers

I forgot to insert this quote last week:

"Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!" - A. Dumbledore, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Okay,

Nazism itself was probably socialist, but socialism doesn't necessarily call for the destruction of all other nations. Government as practiced by Hitler was not left- or right-wing, that's all I'm saying.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Alt.Binaries

I often ramble on about the supposed dichotomy between Utilitarian and Rights ethics that underlies the US political world. You know, classical liberalism v. post-liberalism, communism v. capitalism, whatever.

I forget that there is another one that crops up frequently, and I would be remiss to omit it. For lack of a better word, I'll call it Nietzcheism.

Nietzcheism- Might is Right.

We are tempted to dismiss it because it seems primitive, but it makes sense; it is even observable. Don't the fittest survive in nature? If the natural world exists that way, why shouldn't man?

This led Hitler to try to implement his vision of racial unity. He assumed that if a master race supplanted the inferior races, mankind as a whole would be better and all the survivors would benefit. Maybe he was right, but history seems to indicate he was not a part of said Master Race. Bombing England? Why? Marching all the way to Stalingrad? Why?

The reason this came up is that many right-wingers have been striking back against the pinkos lately. "Fascism ist not Right-Wing," they say, "Ist National Socialist Workers' Party, dumkoff!"

Well, yes, but Nazism and Fascism are not precisely the same. In fact, I haven't seen a good definition of "Fascism" yet. It makes me think the term was created by the commies that McCarthy was out to get, to distance themselves from Hitler.

The point is, Hitler's vision was clearly not left-wing either, because it was not based on the idea of the greatest good for the greatest number. It was based on the idea of Might makes Right, a third ethical system which is largely defunct today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Right-Wing Critique of the Week

Sometime Friday or Saturday, this paper on the wizard government in the Harry Potter series was brought to my attention. I did read the first book a few months ago, so I thought I'd catch up on the series. 76 hours later, I finished Half-blood Prince, read the research paper, and collapsed. Well, now I'm back with ill-considered thoughts.

The paper I linked to up there is short and sweet, though it's not great. It describes the wizard government rather succinctly and points out a few things. A good start on analysing the series, though not particularly insightful.

If it's not clear by now, I recommend you read it so that I don't have to summarise 6 novels. In fact, it might be a good idea to read the novels. You've got a long weekend, haven't you? Hop to it.

I'd never heard of "public choice theory," which is mentioned repeatedly in the paper. Apparently, some people don't take it as holy writ that the government and bureaucracy in general exist for their own perpetuation and expansion. Of course, this is an extension of the Word of Adam Smith, may His invisible hand guide us.

Any organisation that doesn't seek its own perpetuation strongly enough will be wiped out by others that do. That's why the overwhelming majority of anything is self-perpetuating. It fascinates me that some Leftists take Evolution seriously, but deny the Word (of Adam Smith).

While reading the series, there were often instances of an old archetypal situation common in sit-coms: Action is taken while the audience, and some characters, know that it is the wrong action; they are prevented from sharing this information by oppression or unfortunate circumstances. Nearly uniformly, in the Potter series, it is authority figures who refuse to listen to vital information. Usually, after the second book, this is the bureaucracy of the Ministry of Magic. The reader is left with a strong negative impression of the government.

Actually, I thought it was a very strong series, from book 3 to book 6. The characters are extremely well written, although their realism is sometimes annoying when they behave like normal teenagers or government officials. This doesn't really detract from the story, especially for the non-misanthropic.

There are many continuing subplots, which may or may not contribute to the main story arc: Harry's Quidditch career, the struggle against Voldemort, the various relationships that develope. The backstory is gradually revealed, including a good characterisation of Voldemort. It is here that the series is exceptional. Most authors create one-dimensional evil archetypes; the good ones tend to create evil characters that have some painful secret or hidden good side, like Darth Vader. Voldemort becomes more complex and believable in book 6, but still lacks any redeeming values.

There is also a common literary 'flaw' wherein the author uses dialogue tags or descriptions instead of actions to create a character. For example:

"Oh, we'll do it tomorrow," Rumsfeld said carelessly.

So Rumsfeld is careless- but do we really believe it? It is much better to have the character actually do careless things as the plot unfolds, and reap the consequences. How bad can the enemy be if his plans are constantly thwarted? Voldemort's successful plots make the "evil" description much more personal to the reader.

This same deft hand is used to create a government that the reader can loathe. And, as the series is on its way to being the most widely-read in history, the potential impact is hundreds of millions of readers loathing government intrusion. The target audience is young and impressionable.

That said, this isn't the greatest writing ever. There is a distinct improvement in quality after book 2, which may be due to a variety of factors.

There is another paper here that looks at the public's perception of economics, using the series' popularity as a guide to its correlation with public opinion. The author is patronizing, irrigorous (if that's a word), and engages in projection and appeals to authority (the authority being the general public). He completely misinterprets the role of the houseelves and its significance, in my opinion. He also makes a few erroneous conclusions because of an apparent lack of knowledge of English culture. For example, section 8 deals with education and seems to ignore the fact that English boarding schools have spawned an entire genre of literature, which is somewhat unknown outside the UK. He makes some good points though.

Ergo Sum: the series is excellent, although there were points where the main plot did not advance quickly and I was somewhat bored. The quality of writing, emphasis on the government, and circulation of the series are all quite strong, which could lead to a significant impact on society.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Is San Francisco actually getting gayer?

I know this story is old, but I've been coping with the shock.

From an AP report by LOUISE CHU:

"The gun ban prohibits the manufacture and sale of all firearms and ammunition in the city, and makes it illegal for residents to keep handguns in their homes or businesses."

I assume it's already illegal to keep a handgun in your car. The constant traffic jam of BMW SUVs must cause a lot of road rage. Hm, when I get my laptop back I may post a picture of that.

"Only two other major U.S. cities — Washington and Chicago — have implemented such sweeping handgun bans."

Yes, and those are crime-free wonderlands of 50's nostalgia.

"The measure, dubbed "College Not Combat," opposes the presence of military recruiters at public high schools and colleges. However, it would not ban the armed forces from seeking enlistees at city campuses, since that would put schools at risk of losing federal funding."

I would've thought that since SF is in favor of raising federal taxes, which support the military, and wants federal funding, supplied by our imperialist government, and enjoys its freedom to promote acceptable alternative lifestyles, provided by thousands of dead soldiers, that SF would be in favor of us having an army. Ya know, just in case we get in a war with the hundreds of millions of militant Islamics who execute gays, conscript children, gang rape women for civil jurisprudence, etc.. But I can certainly see how sending the garbage collectors of the world to college at vast expense is better than having a military.

Because we can have our amigos from Sonora y Chihuahua pick up the garbage! Then everyone's happy!

Here's the part that made me laugh really hard-

"We now have the moral weight of the city [of San Francisco] behind us, and it's definitely a valuable asset to have in our corner," said Bob Matthews, an activist for the proposition."

At least I didn't lose respect for Congress

"During the debate, House members frequently spoke out of turn. The presiding officer repeatedly called for order.

At one point, Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. of Tennessee and other Democrats surged toward the Republican side of the chamber, after Rep. Jean Schmidt, an Ohio Republican, suggested that Murtha — the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee and the recipient of two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star — was a coward.

Schmidt, a former state legislator who took office after a special election in August in which the war became the prominent issue, said a Marine colonel in Ohio had asked her to "send Congress a message: Stay the course."

"He also asked me," she said, "to send Congressman Murtha a message: Cowards cut and run. Marines never do."

Democrats erupted in boos and shouts. "You guys are pathetic! Pathetic!" yelled Rep. Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.).

"Take her words down," other Democrats cried, using the parliamentary language to demand that she retract what they considered a deep insult. "Take them down."

Schmidt stood up after several minutes of frantic negotiation and retracted her remarks."-latimes.com

The LA Times has some great articles occasionally.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Adventures of Johnny American - Back to School

The World of Tomorrow is a world where men breathe free... but not easily. It is a world where dreams come true, but nightmares are far more common. This world is a world born from minds so closed to dissent that they barely recognize each other and never recognize themselves. This is the world... of Johnny American.

Last time, our hero shattered the glass ceiling- literally- in an effort to escape Suburbia. We left Johnny and his new companion as they hurtled into the University at unsafe speeds- with the fearsome Homeowners' Association in hot pursuit. Will they land safely, despite the overinflated tires on the American car? Will Johnny find his beloved Eliza Jane and her fetus?

Johnny: We landed safely!
Emma: My foot hurts.
Johnny: Probably from hitting my face.
Emma: You're funny.
(rumble of many feet. Think cattledrive.)
Voices (Faintly): NO BLOOD FOR TOIL!
Johnny: No... no...
(click. starter whines. Engine does not start.)
Johnny: Come on...
Voices: NO BLOOD FOR TOIL!
(click click click click click click clack)
Voices (roaring): NO BLOOD FOR TOIL!
(thud thud thudthudthudududududSPLATthudthud)
(creaking shocks)
Emma:EEEEEEK!!!!
Johnny: Protestors!
Voices: EEEEEEK!!!
Johnny: That's a new one.
Noe: WHAT DO WE WANT?
Voices: NO BLOOD FOR TOIL!
Noe: When do we want it?
Voices: NOW!
(window rolls down. Crowd is louder.)
Johnny: Excuse me...
Noe: What do you want?
Voices: NO BLOOD FOR TOIL!
Noe: I meant the guy in the car. That's satire, right? You're protesting the irresponsible use of fossil fuels?
Johnny: What?
Noe: You ARE an idiot. Look, if we keep using fossil fuels, the world will run out and there will be NONE LEFT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS!!!!
Johnny: But... If we don't use gas, then won't that be the same as if we ran out of oil? except sooner?
Noe: FOSSIL FUELS HARM THE ENVIRONMENT!!!
Voices: NO SMOG FOR OIL!!!
Johnny: That's nice. Would you please move your protest so I can drive?
Body: Hey, it's the guy that ran me over!
Johnny: Uh, no, that was... not me.
Body: Yes it was! That's my watch stuck in your bumper!
Emma: You ran somebody over?
Body: See! A witness!
Johnny: There weren't any witnesses! Quit twisting our words!
Body: He's using that little girl to protect himself from my slander!
Number 9: He uses little girls!
Johnny: Wha-
Voice #818: Racist!
Noe: Let's teach this warmonger a lesson!
Johnny: Emma, close your eyes and count to a million.
Emma: I can't count that high.
(smash, crash, thudthudSPLAT creak.... creak... creeeaaaak......)
Voices: OOOOOVER!!! OOOOOOVER!!!
Johnny: Oh well..
(click click click)
(gunshots)
(screams)
Voice #818: It's the Homeowners' Association! They have snipers on the buildings!
(smash, smash click click click gr)
(engine starts)
(screams and crunches)
Body: Whyyyyy!
(transition theme)

Johnny: This is taking too long.
Emma: Where are we going?
Johnny: We're looking for some sort of field that saps your will to live.
Emma: I think those people look sad.
Johnny: That's because they're engineering students. No, what we're looking for will be dark, menacing, palpable evil...
Kappa Gamma Beta: HI! Would you like to support the Law Students' Association here at State University?
Johnny: Not r-
Kappa Gamma Beta: Then you can purchase a card that will get you discounts at local restaurants, stores, and houses of ill repute! Isn't that neat-o???
Johnny: Uh, do you-
Kappa Gamma Beta: They're only five dollars, and they have this deal where you order a pizza and guess what you get?
Johnny: I don't care-
Kappa Gamma Beta: A Freeeeeee Pizza!
Emma: You're funny, lady.
Kappa Gamma Beta: Awwww, look at the little girl. Your mother must have been oppressed a lot if she didn't abort you. Probably by this chump.
(ambulance passes by)
Emma: My mom lives in Suburbia, lady.
Kappa Gamma Beta: I'm sorry she's going to hell.
(silence)
Johnny: What's wrong with you?
Kappa Gamma Beta: Look, STUPID. Everyone who lives in Suburbia goes to hell because they're all judgmental religious wackos. Now are you going to buy a card or not?
Johnny: I already told you, no!
Kappa Gamma Beta: Thanks for wasting my time, JERK!
(engine revs, gravel scatters)
Emma: That lady was mean!
Johnny: Maybe so, but I think we found what we were looking for.
Emma: Pop rocks?
Johnny: Why would- no! the source of the field. Those so-called law students didn't chase after that ambulance.

Will Johnny survive the terrors of State University? Will he find Eliza Jane? Will Emma escape the clutches of the Homeowners' Association? These questions may be answered during the next thrilling episode of
The Adventures of Johnny American.


Center of Gravity

The reason that so many self-proclaimed "moderates" are slightly left of center is that left ideologies believe that moderation is a good thing.

If a point could be defined as the center of the political spectrum, those slightly to the left would be moderates; those slightly to the right would not...

despite being relatively the same.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sigh

If the government's battle of wits is at an end, the otters have won. - CNN.com

Well, I can't say I'm surprised.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I'm a bad man

Hottest comic strip character ever.

Monday, November 14, 2005

License to Kill

Most people believe everyone should have the right to be just like them… If I walked down the street with my constitutionally protected longsword, I would be arrested. Why? It’s unusual. If it’s not something that most people do on a daily basis, it must not be a right.

Conversely, if I want to marry my lamp, show your children porn at school (which is where we’re headed), or euthanize my grandma, then of course it’s a right. Amendments 5,9,10, and 14 mean whatever I want them to mean. - Effeminem, 14 NOV 2005

Effeminem is one of my noms de guerre. I'm surprised I haven't posted anything like this already. Incidentally, a court in the 19th century found that Bowie knives were not protected by the second amendment. Let me look right quick- Ah, here. Aymette vs. The State (of Tennessee). Their state constitution also confers the right to "bear arms."

I think some states specifically have an individual right to bear arms. The more I read, the more I tend to think that maybe, just perhaps, the US Constitution doesn't give us that right. If not, then what does the amendment mean? But I digress.

The main point I wanted to make is that most people believe that "rights" consist of the things that they want to do, and maybe a little leeway fror eccentrics.

Right here, at QandO no less, a commenter says that "Liberty - because it differs from the extremes of tyrrany on one hand and license on the other - must be properly excercised,..."

I advise you not to actually follow that link, as, contrary to J.S. Mill's work, reading his comments may actually make you stupider.

Practically, if people don't exercise their rights wisely, the system will break down. A foolish dictator will destroy his system, and a flock of morons would ruin Utopia in a single generation.

Nevertheless, putting license- which is not morally reprehensible- on the same sort of scale as tyrannical oppression is wrong. If "license" is wrong, why, then we need to outlaw it... but what is it? Ah, license is anything that the commenter thinks is a bad idea! So we better hope that the person who wrote that is a brilliant philosopher-king, or there'll be trouble.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Chump Change

Please ask your local representatives to vote for the spending "cut" package. They've delayed the vote for the weekend, and many moderates are screwing around because they pity single mothers and college students.

Maybe mention that you're a primary voter.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Liberate France!

Note the exclamation point.

As much as I enjoyed the wanton violence recently, I somehow feel that liberty and progress are admirable goals. Indeed, due to aspects of my childhood, eradicating opposing philosophies has become my life's goal. This blog is an attempt to refine my own to an edge that will slice away the dead weight of the world....

In any event, it is tempting to say that the gang bangers, metrosexuals, and socialists that seem to make up 90% of France deserve to live in their squallor. I pity Britain, because of the large number of reasonable people that must live in fear of yobs and the police state. In France, there does not appear to be a reasonable group to empathise with.

Of course, their philosophies oppose mine, but their path to destruction has already been well-lubricated. We need not fear the French, although Algeria II may one day be a problem.

Then I think of the gang rapes and the general rule of might over law. France has just enough of a police presence in the slums to prevent another power structure from creating stability.

Hey, if this persists long enough, a perfect anarcho-capitalist society may emerge from the cesspool!

I doubt it. Using the same standards that we use to euthanise dogs and cats and Baathist regimes, I propose we liberate France now.

The benefits include
*Fewer communists
*More dead communists
*Improved French economy means more export markets for the US
*Law and/or Order
*Liberty and Justice for most, or perhaps all depending on how the French bar sets up its pro-bono work requirements.
*Actually, we'd have to scrap Napoleonic law. That's another plus.
*I hate communism so much.
*Target practice for troops en route to Iraq
*We can sell Brittany back to the U.K. and use the proceeds to buy everyone in America an ice cream cone.
*France has more Iraqi oil and WMD than Iraq did.
*We can end their agricultural subsidies, creating a temporary supply shortage that will result in the populace running out of bread and eating nothing but cake for months on end.

And finally,

*Put Denmark on notice.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Medium

One of my talents is getting inside the minds of other people, although I find it more difficult as time wears on... At any rate, based on Josh Marshall's writing, I've repeatedly said he couldn't do math*. This is because he is unable to properly compare certain concepts in certain ways that go beyond the English language's capacity to describe; suffice it to say, it's the same skillset as college algebra and calculus. Now, we have this:

Now, I have to confess that I'm so pitiful at math that in high school I could barely crack a passing grade in trig. In fact, on more than one occasion I failed to crack it entirely. But why go into that? - Marshall

I don't mean to pick on the guy, even though he is the leftist author of the aptly named Talking Points Memo. He is on my blogroll. I just wanted you to know that quality is hidden deep within the pseudointellectual patois in which I speak.

*Of course he may very well be more skillful than the average Joe on the street.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Quixote sounds like a salsa

I support the Fiscal Watch Team Offset Package.

What is that, tu preguntas? Well, the details are here, at The Truth Laid Bear's porkbusters site. They're tracking fiscal discipline initiatives now. While "Pork" per se isn't the biggest problem in federal spending, the bill named above would save 130000000000$US over the next couple of years.

It could delay the end of our civilisation by three or four years, depending.

As quixotic a goal as fiscal discipline deserves some support. There's a good chance that significant spending cuts will be made soon, since the public temporarily wants that. However, we should not miss this opportunity to create structural reform in the budget process. By 'we' I mean politicians who have no incentive to do so except their own jaded principles.

I mean structural reform such as introducing the pay as you go system, or limiting spending to inflation and population growth, or making it a policy to outsource federal projects to private firms whenever possible.

I like the outsourcing method, as a bidding process *theoretically* causes the bidders to struggle to keep costs down. Currently, bureaucracies struggle to spend their entire budget so it won't be cut the following year. The unfortunate reality of government contracts is that they are usually awarded by pulling the winning contractor out of a hat, which encourages overbidding. This process is one of the few government shenanigan I mean systems where reform would be possible.

But don't take my word for it; whine to your congressman that spending needs to be cut. If you think it will help, tell him that you don't care about you local federally funded penguin art and multiculturalism center.

Friday, November 04, 2005

I love Rumsfeld

This has been all over the web, but read the last six lines at least.

And Yet...

Blue Topaz, a DU denizen, has created a short list of things plagueing "Bush/Republicans." After each I will explain why exactly this creature has its head stuck up its [deleted], and why they cannot defeat us. They do not know their enemy.

"Let's see, short list of what Bush/Republicans are facing:

Katrina blunders,"

What blunders? No one remembers anything from a month ago. The whole failure proved the worthlessness of the government, which is a GOP talking point; furthermore, if we really hate black people, then we are also happy that we made them suffer. Katrina is not a political problem.

"Bush toxicly unpopular,"

The right wing doesn't care about blacks. It also doesn't care about whites, poor, women with breast cancer, or George W. Bush. He could die of AIDS, and I might feel bad for a few days, but it would not affect my voting. Also, since Bush is not running for re-election, there is only one crucial inflection point at which his popularity matters: the point at which Congressmen running for re-election start to distance themselves (in swing states).

" Libby indicted,"

We really don't care. There are more sacrificial lambs where he came from.

"Rove still under investigation,"

Rove is one of the shadier individuals in the GOP, and he would still advise our candidates were he in So-Ho. Further, he is old. He is slipping. We need a replacement soon anyway.

" Reid blowing open the doors on Bush's run to war (and bonus: causing Frist to blow a gasket),"

By shutting the doors of the senate for 2 hours. Ironic turn of phrase. Frankly, half the people in the country think Bush Lied, People Died, and a quarter will never believe that. The remaining 25% were in on the deception.

"Iraq war more unpopular every day,"

I guess that could be a problem, if we didn't control all three branches of government, a majority of state governments, and have overwhelming support in the armed forces.

" Republicans poised to extend tax breaks for the wealthy on the backs of poor people,"

Yes, we are. That would be a victory. That would be a good thing for Republicans. Perhaps this individual should be more careful about its minus signs.

"Bush's Miers nomination blown up by Dobsonites,"

And Dobsonites are Republicans. Therefore, the Bush/Republican group suffered no net change, except to nominate a more conservative justice than originally planned.

" Republican-caused enormous never-ending deficit,"

The public loves deficits, or they wouldn't vote for the idiots who run the government. Besides, interest on the national debt is lower than economic growth, which make the National Debt leverage. It's good debt, not bad debt.

"polls show people trust Dems over Repukes on virtually every single issue,"

Yeah, I trust Dems too. I know that if elected, they will follow through on their campaign promises to turn the US into a communist totalitarian regime. More of a Brave New World than a 1984, but still not my preference. I don't want to spend my last years as the ruggedly handsome leader of a desperate band of freedom fighters, ala Serenity. I haven't seen that, by the way. The trailer looked good.

" AND YET....."

and yet the GOP keeps winning those gosh-darned elections.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Wiki- wiki -wiki- pe-di-a

You had to be there.

Anyways, this article is a must-read for anyone who doesn't know about The Wisdom of Crowds.

And if you don't want to read that, then visit this tangentially-related site.

Scrapple is nasty

Since Scrappleface won't accept any of my posts that contain an iota of intellectual content, here's a post I TRIED to make there:


boberin, whassup?
Here's the thing; the whole WMD debate is one of those issues where both sides are relying on the same facts, but expressing them differently. I don't know how to fix the English language or human nature, yet, but here's the bare facts. And I'm reliable when I choose to use facts*.

1) Iraq's WMD consisted of
-(possibly) some cans of mustard gas, which would be somewhat decomposed. The Iraqi army no longer had many functioning gas masks, so using this would be problematic.
-some aluminum tubes which may or may not have been used to refine fissible material at some future date when inspections were over. Saddam's scientists were also conning him out of money as fast as possible, because what nuclear scientist is stupid enough to give a dictator real weapons?
-a refrigerator with an old sandwich in it.

2) A UN report released last year, which I will find if you so desire, has concrete evidence that something was smuggled out of Iraq immediately prior to the invasion. Border guards were bribed. This was probably Saddam's IKEA furniture and some hard cash, or maybe vats of Sarin.

3) It doesn't really matter, I could whip up WMD in two weeks if I wanted to. WMD were not the basis for Bush going to war. The strategic reason was new world order, the justification was Saddam's breach of the cease-fire agreement, and the media reason was... well, WMD, but that's only propaganda. The administration was divided over what to tell the public, and WMD was the one seized on and promoted by the media. WMD are scary. Technical breaches of old cease-fire agreements are not scary.

Have a nice Day!

*subject to the universe actually existing, which I rather doubt. But if it doesn't, then I'm talking to myself and my wrong assumption will not be noticed.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Seriously,

A couple of posts ago, I came out in favor of legalised abortion and showed how this is an artifact of my Christian faith. No one has seen fit to argue with this??

I can't see any savings

Several weeks ago I played with a budget simulator and cut deductions and marginal rates. Now, the tax panel appointed by Dubya Bush has recommended we do just that. Also,

"The advisory group's plans to cut deductions for mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and health care costs have already drawn criticism from lawmakers of both political parties and trade associations."

Cutting deductions for state income tax will end subsidies that encourage states like California to spend like drunken sailors*.

To be fair, the states that benefit the most from the subsidy tend to pay more than their fair share of federal taxes anyway. However, these are also the same states responsible for pushing ludicrously high federal taxes, so i have no pity for them. Moreover, multiple subsidies and credits that cancel out create inefficiency and market distortion. It is better to eliminate them all and have a level playing field.

[UPDATE:Also, let me add that I like the Alternative Minimum Tax, which is affecting more and more households every year. At this rate, the expansion of the AMT will result in simplified, flatter tax system by default within a decade or so.]

*Of course, drunken sailors spend THEIR OWN money.
**If there are a lot of typ0s, it's because my eyes are really bad today.

It strikes a chord with me

"Psychologists have a very popular term for this very popular condition you are in, it is called being "co-dependent". It means for some strange reason, you actually believe that you are responsible for someone else's life and decisions. The reasons why people come to believe this, and behave accordingly, usually have something to do with their own needs for feeling needed, wanted, important, and powerful. It can also stem from another condition, which I sense in your case, Robert. It can stem from simply being a nice person who sincerely wants to help someone else, and that of course, is wonderful.

The problem is, though, that nice people sometimes have a hard time in acknowledging a fundamental fact of life: sometimes, you just can't help someone, because they do not want to be helped, they do not want to change!! And so, you must relinquish the illusion that you CAN help." - Jamie Andreas, guitar virtuoso, in a recent newsletter. His site is here.

I wish I could pass this on to every socialist, leftist, and post-liberal. Sadly, most of them would think it applies only to playing the guitar.