Thursday, November 29, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I've been a bit negative lately,
So instead, I'll recommend the Hajime no Ippo (First Step) manga. It's an extremely well-written and very long comic book series from Japan. Ippo, the main character, starts out as the kid that always gets picked on, but he discovers boxing in the first couple o' chapters. The boxing is dramatized, but also fairly realistic. The technical detail is beyond anything else I've read. The art goes from OK at volume 1 to Good at volume 5 to Excellent by volume 30 or so.
The anime suffers from low production values, particularly the sound effects, but the theme songs are catchy. The OVA is great. However, the anime version only goes up to volume 30, and the Manga is currently on volume 81 or so.
The series is available at mangadownload.net.
RedState Bashing Part 8 (RedState Roundup)
RedState Finds a 5-Year-Old Weird Al Video and Links It
RedState Speculates Like an 8th Grade Creative Writing Assignment, Does No Research, Gets Called on It
RedState Cites MSM Anecdote as "Evidence" (subtitled, What Happened to Skepticism?)
Yet Another RedStater Decides that His Frontrunner is the Only One Who Will Govern as a Conservative
Well, those are all the 105 IQ posts for today. I'd like to point out that it's only 1:38 am in my timezone. The mindnumbed blather at RedState has reached levels of 1.16 posts per hour.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
RedState Bashing Part 7 (Now with 15% more punchline)
"Dear Comrade Wonkette,
In this fight with the Paultards....
We are investigating the connection. It seems the
Fourth Reich Paultards could be reviving the human experiments of the Third Reich. ..." - Nov 15, 2007
"Apparently, we've all been fooled— most especially the Paultards. It seems Herr Paul is not the purist one of all. Why, it's like having a short little black haired, mustached man clamor for a race of tall, blond metrosexuals. Mr. "It's the Constitution, Stupid" has been whoring and raping the federal treasury along with the rest of the money-nymphs in Washington." - Nov 15, 2007
"This is actually not something I'm generally inclined to write. I'm trying to get beyond writing things that might be construed as negative about Republican candidates. But, we had Hugh the other day suggest that Fred should not have gotten the NRLC endorsement because he did not support the HLA and, though not directly stating so, fairly well implied that Romney did." - Nov 17, 2007
Really. Is this something you came up with in the 42 hours since your last post comparing Ron Paul to a Nazi collaborater? Good job, then. Although, I would think that if you have a political blog then you should have thought through your "rabidly attacking people on my side" strategy a while ago. Just, ya know, in case you decided to rabidly attack someone on your own side and needed a metric to judge its reasonableness.
"Megan, a 13-year-old who suffered from depression and attention deficit disorder,"
really, both, huh. I suppose it's not because she has crappy parents.
"corresponded with Josh for more than a month before he abruptly ended their friendship, telling her he had heard she was cruel.
The next day Megan committed suicide. Her family learned later that Josh never actually existed; he was created by members of a neighborhood family that included a former friend of Megan's."That's right, her friend and friend's mother are also a ..... and a crappy parent.
"Megan's parents had been storing a foosball table for the family that created the MySpace character. Six weeks after Megan's death, they learned the other family had created the profile and responded by destroying the foosball table, dumping it on the neighbors' driveway and encouraging them to move away.
Megan's parents are now separated and plan to divorce."Apparently they can't handle stress, a trait which they passed onto their daughter. They also, apparently, have another daughter. Now I don't have a position on the "staying together for the kids idea" although, like every other naive romantic, I plan on getting married permanently. But, really, can't you stay together for a couple years? Hasn't daughter number two been traumatized enough? Could she possibly need emotional stability after this? No, because they're crappy parents.
I, who hast not kids, am in no position of moral authority here. Aside from the foosball table incident, which I suppose is excusable under the circumstances, none of their actions in the article are unreasonable. They tried to monitor daughter number one's internet activities, spent quality time with her (supposedly), used appropriate training techniques.
At the end of the day it seems like she mimicked their erratic behavior, which is much more subtly referenced in the article.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tales of the Cypherpunk 10
If City Trust Insurance was a conservative edifice, then Alpha Point Local 404 was baroque.
In the city center, a cluster of round skyrises kiss the clouds and cast a literal, metaphoric shadow over Uptown. Seen from a window on the 400th floor of Greenway Plaza 119, the clouds are just whipped cream on the city's rich, brown air. The other towers give a distorted sense of scale, since there is nothing else to compare them to. A few causeways link them; a few balloons float amongst the towers, carrying office supplies and tourists and great neon advertisements. Blobs of real estate hang from a few of the causeways; pushcarts troll along them, somehow supporting their owners on the largess of what is the modern equivalent of a back hallway's traffic.
Beneath an ice cream cart, inside a tiny drop of urbanity dangling a thousand feet above the ground, a labyrinth of irregular tunnels housed the RDI account specialists. The tunnels were, coincidentally, reminiscent of a defunct entertainment venue called "Space Mountain." Whether the account specialists liked the architecture was unknown, but they did enjoy the mystique of living and working in the towers.
Light spilled out into the irregular tunnels at regular intervals. Shadows crept and flickered across the floor/wall. One shadow gestured like a tree in a thunderstorm.
"Yeah, Mohamed, it seems like there's been some kind of mix-up... Well I know the account says that, but someone typed it in wrong... No, she's on a Platinum Plus plan. But apparently they got the two mixed up and now the computers say that she's been seized by the creditor. It should be.. Yeah... that's 693-218-3400... No... It IS her then? So it was the accounts, not the names?..
But it also drives home an important point: if you do anything interesting, the squares will persecute you. Lucky it was a bouncer and not the cops.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tales of the Cypherpunk 9
"Rich, boss! Rich!"
"You realize that this could be a suicide mission?"
"Shy, it's a blind contract. Guaranteed expenses, yes. Money up front, great. Bonuses for getting shot at? An 'extreme anguish' clause? Those I'm not so thrilled about. We need to decide tonight what sort of preparations to make. What do you need on your end?"
"Guns. Lots of guns." Shilo nodded seriously at the boss.
Betty chimed in. "Shilo, no one has ever done anything like this."
"That's why it's going to work."
The two burst out laughing. Betty buried her face in her hands and and shook her curls. The boss sat there, silently, slowly turning red. The corners of his mouth struggled to break free of his iron self control. He opened his mouth to speak and quickly shut it.
Those present numbered six.
Shilo, the Cypher.
Betty, the Receptionist.
Daniel, the Producer.
Tyson, the Field Marshal.
Moe, the Analyst.
It was Moe who spoke. Red, moist lips formed words with soft, round edges. "The top priorities are to find out who is acting and what their objective is. For this case, assuming negotiation fails, I'll need a live subject."
The boss turned to her. "Why do you think negotiation will fail?"
"Contact will probably be made by Shilo, which reduces the chance of success. More importantly, evidence indicates a zero-sum, winner-take-all game. The only successful compromise would involve the winner paying the loser more than the loser stands to gain from confrontation, statistically. If that compromise were possible, Jonas would be the first one to recognize the possibility. The open hostilities by both parties indicate that they each believe the odds to be in their favor, which would stall negotiations even if both parties were inclined to participate.
The obvious conclusion is that there are disincentives for loss on the scale of total organizational destruction. In that City Trust is a franchisee and the RDI branches are run as join partnerships, the potential scale of this event could range up to global corporate collapse. On the other hand, it could represent a power play by a local RDI executive. Failure by such an actor would mean, at best, industry blacklisting. Either way, since Jonas has apparently gained control of a vital asset, this is an existential crisis for Q. We can expect to face the entire resources available to Q, which makes the identity of Q paramount in determining our response." Dark red hair flowed over deep red cashmere. "There are no bounds on the level of Q."
Tyson gazed through her. "If Q were higher than local level, Jonas would hire more help, wouldn't he? He couldn't expect us to take on RDI International without any intel."
"Possibilities include: that he has violated Franchise policy and can't draw attention to the situation. That there are special circumstances pertaining to this situation. That he intends for RDI to win, thus eliminating third party knowledge of the transaction."
Moe's eyelashes fluttered and she glanced at Betty. "That this is a personal matter, which would introduce significant error potential into analysis efforts."
Shilo said, "We can't assume Jonas will make an error. He's an insurance agent. He's as close to homo economicus as you're gonna get. The fact that he's willing to make us rich-" he caught a warning glance from the boss- "means this is big money. I smelled it when I wrote the contract."
Daniel scritched in his notebook, then looked up at Moe. She sat to his right, on the corner of an ancient steel desk. "You need a live subject, huh. That it?"
"Yes." Her lips sealed together. One demure red pump hung from her toes and brushed Tyson's knee. To his right, the boss was in his "thinking mode," chin on fist. He faced Shilo and Betty, who was recomposing herself next to Daniel.
"And I need guns."
"No you don't."
Tyson raised his hand. "I need guns."
"Lots. Here's a list."
"Great. By the way, Shy, the motor pool is not happy with us lately."
"Why are you telling me this?"
"Just thought you'd be interested. Shy."
"More upgrades!" Betty said.
"Boss, does she need more-"
"Upgrades! Onegaiiiiii Dan-chama. Kudasai with sugar on top."
"She needs survivability, Dan. We were looking at some stuff that can seal arterial wounds, but I don't know if it would be better to go for one of those last-ditch things."
"I need super strength!"
Three voices shouted "No!" and for one moment the din was united. Betty folded her arms.
Daniel wrote. "I'll get her an appointment. Shy, do you need anything besides guns?"
"I need a KTX-A33 size medium long, a thousand meters of I9 cable, an EOD van on standby, and the basic issue uniform and gear for RDI and Alpha Point. Also try to get an MX-80 in new condition. Also, put a rush on my general supply order. Also, I need twice as much of everything in inventory."
"See? Make a reasonable request and there's no problem."
RedState Bashing Part 6
I already picked on Moe in an earlier post, but not by name. Here are some choice bits of vapidity:
"Embrace them for too long, and you end up not being able to turn that part of your brain off. As these two guys could tell you. Well, they won't, because they're in the moment - but they could. As always, comments Over There are the best part. You think that we're peeved about our candidate choice?"No, I don't know wtf that post was about either.
"Possibly the too much coffee and the not enough sleep are doing the writing for me, but there's something about all of this that seems... not quite spontaneous, somehow. I hesitate to call it "staged," but only because I don't want to sound paranoid. Of course, now that I've typed that out and so essentially admitted it, well... Anyway, we'll see how this goes.""The British have a Law of Unintended Consequences, too. Probably spelled differently, though."
No, it's not. My British spelling jokes are at least funny, although I can't post them here.
"I presume that this is a rhetorical question, Megan. ... Because teacher's unions reliably support Democrats, while doctors do not. Sheesh. Ask a hard one, next time."
Good job, you answered a rhetorical question. If it were possible to refund time, you'd be getting a lot of requests on that one.
"There was a blog that went to submissions. To the author: you're not in trouble for it, but at least one Director is uncomfortable giving credence to what was essentially scurrilous rumor on the original speculator's part. Frankly, so was I. And if it turns out to be false your excellent point about it all will be obscured by the faux outrage of others.
PS: And to the person who recommended it: I've noticed that there is a habit among some of our left-leaning regulars to recommend blog entries that might be considered embarrassing to the site."Great people talk about ideas; average people talk about things; small people talk about other people. I'm having chest pains and flashbacks to Jr. High with that one. Kudos on maintaining your asinine style by adding a PS to a blog entry. An improperly punctuated P.S., I may add.
"This is a hard call to make about my banning policy.
By Moe Lane
Should I keep pretending towards being witty, or should I just use this image?
[picture of a baby]
I mean, clearly this one's unsuitable:
[picture of a baby]
Although this one might do:
[picture of a baby]"
WTF was that? you have a banning policy? No, better yet, you were pretending to be witty? I missed it somewhere. But honestly, they were just pictures of babies. No crying, no funny antics, no dirty diapers that could possibly explain what relevance they have to a ban policy. No links to explain wtf is going on.
To summarize, Moe Lane is the worst writer I have ever seen on the front page of a blog. That includes Dilemmas of a Virgin Slut, written by a vacuous college girl. It includes David Kurtz, the moron that posts on Talking Points Memo when Josh is too busy running his faux empire.
In fact, and this just occurred to me, I don't think I've seen any actual analysis or right-wing political content in any of Moe's posts.
RedState Bashing Part 5
RedState Guy: "Pffffft."
(Normally I would make up stupider, satirical summaries of what my subject wrote, but this post is so idiotic that I can actually use copy-and-pasted quotes. The ones in red.)
Paul Supporter email: I said that RedState should seriously consider the issues. Just compare the candidates' platforms to the Republican Party platform. They banned me from their site because I said that.
RedState Guy: "We just recognized it as being from a Paultard."
Yes, you've certainly presented an airtight case. Bravo. Well, no more considering the issues for me. Cuz, you know, I vote based on "electability" and endorsements. Cuz, you know, that worked so well for the Democrats in 04.
Red State Provides Ample Material For Jest
Race and Intelligence
before too long. Heck, I actually had to read all the words in the sentences to understand what he was saying.
I don't comment on race issues so much because they fall into 2 categories:
1) attempts to dole out pork
2) the completely obvious
Anyone who has lived in the hood for any length of time has ample opportunity to compare the behavior of different races under identical conditions. Some of the similarities are funnier than the differences. One of the most interesting points is that racism is openly accepted by blacks. But regardless of what you take away from the experience, it leaves you completely unable to talk to the average upper middle class white person about any racial political issue. Odds are, their experience with blacks is limited to Martin Luther King Jr., Will Smith, and the average upper middle class black person that lives down the street. Since our educational system is designed to iron out individual variation, I almost think that the effect is less pronounced than it would be in nature.
Edit: Did you know that Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, raps with a "black" Detroit accent? If you lower the pitch of one of his songs it is strikingly obvious.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Tales of the Cypherpunk 8
The City Trust Insurance Company occupied a small building in a city where real estate was at a premium. Its eight story glass facade was simple, humble, and outrageously extravagant, surrounded by skyscrapers that charged 100b a square foot and stretched into the clouds.
It was a historic building actually, the former courthouse. Where once men had come seeking justice, they could now buy justice for a low, low monthly premium.
Shilo knew a lot of history. He knew a lot of things. He cared about very little, and he cared little for history. The ancient mahogany doors hissed closed behind him.
Inside was a two-story-high lobby with a single sheet of pure white marble for a floor. Water trickled amongst exotic plants that were carefully, professionally subdued; a soft pearl light bathed the space from thousands of hidden sources. The interior was just as understated as the exterior.
The clerks nodded him past from granite booths. The glass tubes against the far wall gave Shilo a distorted view of himself. Isn't everyone's self image distorted? he thought. Sa na, Betty would say. An elevator dropped from the ceiling and stopped in front of him. The golden arch of the elevator's door passed over his head.
* * *
Jonas' office was wood paneled with a rather large window making up one entire wall. For the moment, the glass was a transparent grey, opaque from the outside. Jonas sat at one end of the office on a white khaki loveseat. Shilo faced him from a red suede couch. Cappuccino cooled on a small oak table and dripped from a machine at the bar.
Jonas stared miserably at his Cappuccino. Shilo sipped his from a large coffee cup. Jonas straightened his blue tie and dusted off his grey plaid suit. Shilo
added cinnamon. Jonas coughed. Shilo said,
"Listen. We wouldn't ask if we didn't have to. If I had to explain myself to a contractor every time I ran off with a beautiful woman and ignited a turf war between rival syndicates, I'd never hear the end of it. But you have to understand that contractually, we're in a tight spot. Now, we could drop you as a customer; but we would hate to do that. Your company is one of our most important priorities and we don't want to leave you in the lurch at a time like this. Besides, our working relationship is great. Option two is that we could work blind, which would require a much larger contract. We don't really prefer to do that, and considering what we would have to charge, it wouldn't be a good value for your company. I think the best solution, and the boss agrees with me on this, is that you let us in on what's going on. Then we can come up with a temporary addendum... um.."
Jonas stared miserably at Shilo. "I want option two."
* * *
"Betty-chaaaaaan! We're rich! rich I say! Hahahaha!" Shilo hugged her around the shoulders and started dancing around the office. All activity stopped and 13 eyes turned toward them. Tyson leaned out of his office and smirked. "Rich, rich!" Betty, turning incredibly red, struggled to touch the ground as Shilo swung her past the printers. "Sh- sh- sh-SHY!"
"What the smeg is going on out here?!!" came roaring from the boss's chamber, followed by the boss himself. For a split second, half the office thought they saw a charging bull in Van Heusen slacks. Thirteen eyes turned toward him, then back toward the spectacle. Betty was now limply hanging from Shilo's arms, a dreamy smile on her face, and his mouth was frozen in the shape of a 'ri-.' "What. The. Smeg. Shilo."
Shilo grinned and shoved a single sheet of paper into the boss's face. Betty hung onto his other arm and tried to regain her footing. The Boss scanned the contract silently.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Tales of the Cypherpunk 7
"Shy, you know I like to let my operatives handle things as they see fit. You're the top man at the company. Some weeks you make more than I do. But I gotta tell you, I'm a little concerned about recent events. First, you get ambushed by a couple of cops. Day in the life. Then, we get in a shootout that costs upward of 6k and makes it onto the nightly news. It happens. But when my SISTER BETTY gets SHOT AT then we start to have a FUCKING PROBLEM!"
The boss suddenly screwed up his face and punched the van's wall with a clang. The fuzzy black composite wall cracked. The sheet metal underneath dented, then righted itself with a hollow 'pop'. The boss's black, slitlike eyes were wide open. The boss's pale, impassive face was flushed. Behind him, the driver glanced back at the sound.
Shilo and Betty sat on a bench at the back of the van, facing toward the boss. There were no cabinets or electronics, but there were olive drab harnesses on one wall and a drop-down bunk against the other. A recently used syringe and IV bag lay on the bunk.
Shilo rubbed his arm again. "I'm not real hot about it either. I think this might offend my sense of honor somehow. Yeah, well, maybe not. But what started all this was that cop wanting some woman back from Jonas. Now, call me crazy, but maybe this isn't just a personal thing. We need to find out who this woman is and come up with a new contract for Jonas. If we handle it right, we stand to make a lot of money off of this."
The boss clenched his jaw and brushed a lock of black hair out of his eyes. Jonas, their client, was the owner of the local City Trust insurance franchise. In the absence of any sort of industrial regulations or unified legal system, insurance had become the most important financial vehicle for managing risk. As such, City Trust and other banks now did almost 30% of their gross business in insurance. Profit margins were low, but it was safer than loans.
Financial companies, even franchisees like Jonas, were large and rich, but seldom targets. That's why Jonas could get by with a small, high-end firm like theirs to handle special operations. However, if something big went down, it wasn't covered by the base contract. Jonas would have to authorize any expenses over 30k per month.
Betty spoke up, for once. "These cops are from RDI. The local branch has 730 front line employees and a hundred and fifty support personnel, plus the executive team. They have been known to conduct joint operations with Blackwater and Alpha Point. Their banker is Bank of America. Their insurance is through the same. Arms suppliers are Colt and Allied Signal." Her blue eyes were flat and she looked as though she were reading from the sleeve of Shilo's jacket.
The van pulled into its spot and turned off.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
My Foil: That's a silly argument. How is innovation and resource extraction mutually exclusive?
Me: It's called economics. Economics is "the study of the distribution of scarce resources." Labor is a scarce resource. You can drill for oil all day, or innovate all day, or do half and half. The decision is based on comparative advantage. We have the comparative advantage in innovation. Saudi Arabia has the comparative advantage in oil. Because this particular advantage is so extreme in Saudi Arabia, they do almost nothing but drill for oil and produce services for internal use.
My Foil: When the US was the world leader in oil production, was that because we put innovation on hold in order to concentrate on it?
Me: Yes. See above.
My Foil: So you've noticed that Saudi Arabia is not a democracy. But it is also a model of the social paradigm that you favor, where men rule their wives and make the decisions.
Me: I'm an anarchist. I oppose patriarchy AND democracy. However, for practical purposes, I prefer democracy. It's the least bad system, as has been noted. So no, I don't prefer that social paradigm. I don't think anyone here does.
My Foil: You don't see many nations with male only suffrage, it's either universal suffrage or no suffrage. Why is that?
Me: Because men try to be fair. If you support democracy as an end in itself, then universal suffrage is quite reasonable. I note that we don't allow felons to vote in some states.
My Foil: So if we're going to roll back the clock on suffrage, why stop at women's suffrage? On what basis do you deny it to women but give it to propertyless men?
Me: I don't really want propertiless men voting either, but I think our voter turnout statistics say they don't. Anyway, if you have democracy as its own goal, then universal suffrage is ideal.
However, if you believe that democracy is only a pragmatic method of trying to reach certain goals - like the protection of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - then obviously there is some group that will vote "better" than others. If you're a socialist, then you can make the same argument for denying male suffrage. Of course, it may only be "white and cuban males between the ages of 27 and 53, who drink moderately but can't handle a manual transmission" who vote better. Sa na.
The question is, how do you get a group small enough that it tends to vote for the goals that you want it to, yet large enough that it is statistically predictable? Is any group actually capable of not oppressing the nonvoters?
If Vox is to be believed, women may have been relatively worse off than men before women's suffrage, but we are all absolutely worse off today.
Social issues fascinate me
"Mr Clee said there was no doubt the girl consented to sex but because of her age the offence amounted to rape.
The judge said: "She was a girl of 10 and you are a man of 20. Those bald facts do not properly represent the true facts of this case.
"The prosecution accepts that you believed she was 16 and that that belief was reasonable.""Well, logically, it was the right decision. You have to chew it over a bit, true. If you read the article, it supports the 'reasonable belief' statement. We can't really judge without pictures. Then you have to wonder if the kid was drinking a lot of milk or something. Maybe she was ethnic.*
"the girl was in the care of a local authority"
I'm not sure what that means, but perhaps an orphanage? What is the government is doing to manufacture delinquents like this? Not that I blame the girl for anything; no one earns my irrational contempt until they're at least fifteen. But it's not like this case developed in isolation. Based on everything I've read about the UK lately, it doesn't even surprise me.
*This use of the word 'ethnic' is a colloquialism. Thanks to the nature of the blogosphere, I must annotate such things.
Good Bad Example 3
"This is one of the strangest blog communities I've run across in awhile. You're all paranoid how much power the government has over you, yet you think that half of the populace should shut up and let the other half rule them as they see fit. You whine about how Christians should get all the credit for inventing science, yet you can't accept the results that science has produced which overwhelmingly show that the Earth's age is measured in the billions of years and all living things share a common ancestry because it conflicts with a simplistic reading of your holy texts. You complain that women won't fight for liberty, yet most of you are dead set against the war against Islamic terrorism."
He attempts to use the "you have contradictory positions!!1!" attack, not once, not twice, but THRICE in a row. Is it just because I've been programming LISP for 2 days, or does this look like a computer generated list? Anyway, it's interesting because each one of the attempts contains a different logical fallacy. Collectively, they also make the mistake of treating a heterogenous group as if it were homogenous.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Good Bad Example 2
What *I* like is when someone tries to use reductio ad absurdum and fails miserably. The following quote is from Vox Day's comments. He purposefully aggravates groups that are already on edge, and as a result he gets a lot of incoherent rage:
"So what's your point. How do any of those definitions mandate male suffrage, or any suffrage at all? Are you willing to give up your vote?"
Yes. I would fall to my knees and weep tears of joy if I could give up the vote in exchange for freedom. No one said anything in favor of male suffrage, although it's a slightly better idea than female suffrage. But if I could actually live free AND not have to stand in line to vote?
Just imagine: the DMV would take your money, give you an EZ-tag, smile, and all of it would be done in 10 minutes! Slightly less war, cheap crack rocks at Walmart, full employment for the homeless in our nation's sweat shops. I could walk down the street with a sword and no one would hassle me. No taxes. Gays could get married. Priests could condemn Gays to the fiery pits of hell and it wouldn't be considered a hate crime. The Philip Morris private school chain. Oprah with guns. The Martha Stewart Living Mutual Fund.
Of course our sociological and technological bases aren't advanced enough to sustain a stable balance of power in the absence of democratic government. So we have to vote. For now.
Friday, November 09, 2007
1) Troop drawdowns - probably beginning March 09 and ending in mid 2010. By that time, Iraq will be "stable" in the sense that the government will probably hang on and beat the insurgency eventually. I know that literally no one in the US agrees with me on this, so don't bother responding unless your time is really worthless.
2) No gold standard - Unfortunately, we don't really have any gold to back our money up with. It's essentially worthless already, and the minimum wage hikes over the next two years are going to push it a lot lower. On the plus side, this should alleviate the mortgage bust.
3) Budget vetos, leading to an annual budget increase that is less than inflation.
4) Paul spending less than the authorized budget, which creates huge political issues and calls for impeachment.
5) Some sort of meaningless tax restructuring.
6) Increased border deployment for national guard. Increased emphasis on deporting illegal aliens who commit crimes. Resources shuffled away from the War On Drugs.
7) End of the Patriot Act.
8) The aliens in Area 51 are released from their imprisonment as a political favor (They voted for him).
9) More gridlock on Judicial nominations.
10) No national health care.
11) More free trade agreements.
12) Class action lawsuits against importers of shoddy foreign products.
So I don't really expect anything positive. It's still a lot better than my expectations for the other candidates. He could also align with the Liberty Caucus and the racists in the Democratic party and legalize marijuana at the Federal level, or do any of a few other political jujitsu maneuvers. They're less likely individually, but the odds of at least one wacky bill making it through are pretty high.
Good Bad Example (Red State bashing part 2)
"PS: That wasn't hatred on my part, by the way. That was "contempt." Hatred implies fear. Contempt can make do with elemental revulsion."
No, hatred does not imply fear. I'm sure you can make that argument somehow, but the fact that something may be true does not elevate it to the level of fact. It doesn't mean you can use it to pretend that you know something about logic or the English language when, quite clearly, you don't. It doesn't mean you can set up a strawman and knock him down with an assertive statement which, in all probability, never even crossed your mind until it became useful to you.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
(Yeah, I know how to embed)
I think it focuses too much on his noninterventionist policy, but that would be the the thing that wins him the election, so whatever. Other than that, it's really well made. If you don't know much about him you should watch it. Hint: He's the only candidate who has consistently acted on his conservative platform throughout his time in office.
Incidentally, the only other candidate who agrees with me on most things is apparently Tom Tancredo, but inasmuch as Tancredo is a wuss with no support and standard politician principles, I'll have to back Paul.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Wasn't gonna post about Guy Fawkes day, but
The Guy Fawkes Day link is very relevant, but not because of the plot itself. After the attempted bombing, the incident was used by the English government to increase the power of the monarchy and reduce civil liberties. I personally don't see a huge assault on privacy and freedom of speech, as many people do. However, it's still an interesting parallel - terrorist attack leads to increased executive power and the use of torture. Yes, Guy was tortured.
That is one of the best (ie, mediocre) content channels on CNN. Remember to keep tabs on the Mainstream Media, or you may end up deluding yourselves like the "Reality Based Community" in 2004.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Economic Death Spiral
We're undermining ourselves with our shoddy education and the apparent desire of all Americans to be actors and buy XBox 360s and Mustangs, but whatever.
What is shocking to me is how quickly the effects of the minimum wage hike have rippled. So far, it has increased from $5.15 to $5.85. That's about a 14% increase, and we should expect a corresponding devaluation of the US's currency of 12%. This is based on the theory that the value of labor is not influenced by the arbitrary number the government slaps on it; Minimum wage workers will still get paid the minimum wage, but redefining the minimum wage redefines the currency, since the currency floats.
This theory is supported by the fact that the dollar has fallen ~7% against the Euro since the minimum wage hike passed. It has fallen ~6% against the Japanese Yen. Even China has started boosting the value of the Yuan, against which the Dollar has lost ~3%. The Yuan is tied to a basket of foreign currencies and it's not useful for this sort of analysis, but it is of note that the Chinese don't have faith in the dollar any more.
http://www.x-rates.com/d/JPY/USD/graph120.html (graph updated daily)
I'm not a huge fan of floating money; it would make more sense to tie it to a basket of commodities or just to use stock certificates as currency. THAT would be entertaining.
The dollar dropping may have benefits; I'm not thrilled, but whatever. The biggest problems associated with this devaluation are:
1) The cost of oil has increased significantly. A 10% drop in our currency results in an 11% increase in oil import prices.
2) If foreign investors in T-bills bail out, then the US Government will be essentially bankrupt. That's not likely to happen catastrophically for investment purposes, since no one really expects a long slide. However, since China holds so many bonds as a way of controlling their currency value, anything that makes them revalue the Yuan means X hundred billion dollars of bonds that won't be rolled over, which results in higher interest rates with potentially disastrous results on the US economy. The easy solution would be to cut USGOV spending on nonessential things like the Department of Agriculture, but that's not going to happen in a presidential election year. With our current slate of politicians, spending cuts are beyond laughable.
I'm a little pleased at seeing my theory, aka "Economics as it is understood by everyone" pan out.