Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Garlic for the Zombie Lie

I'm posting this link because the notion that waterboarding yielded actionable intelligence and might therefore be justified is going to continue to rear it's ugly head at frequent intervals and will need to be bashed in the skull each and every time.

Detainee's Harsh Treatment Foiled No Plots
Waterboarding, Rough Interrogation of Abu Zubaida Produced False Leads, Officials Say

By Peter Finn and Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, March 29, 2009; A01

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Random Comments

One of the ironies of Obama decrying the Boom/Bust economy is the fact that in includes vast swaths of the Clinton Presidency as well. Well before "Housing bubble" entered the vocabulary, Dot-com bubble was a household word.

You'd think the the Republicans would catch on that they can improve the economy AND blame a Democrat while embracing Obama's current efforts!

Another thing worth remebering about Boom/Bust is that the boom half of the cycle is just as unhealthy and crippling as the bust portion. It's the period during which people are extracting wealth from the economy while not putting anything of particular value into it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Which of these are too insulting?

Having joined the #badgeofhonor list of twits blocked by Jake Tapper, I invite both my readers to ascertain which of my posts was sufficiently bile-laden to justify such treatment:

phd9: @jaketapper The 'insult' threshhold will always be lower to the recipient than the provider.

phd9: @jaketapper The Leno transcript has 4430 words and yet you have nothing to report on but two of them - mumbled at that. Agenda much?

phd9: @jaketapper When I think 'populist' - Orange County in number one on MY list!

phd9: @jaketapper re: Confidence. Look on the bright side. He didn't say he's doing a heck of a job.....

phd9: @jaketapper The AIG bonuses were "contractual" obligations. Yet the Big 3's UAW contracts were abrogated. Why not AIG's?

phd9: @jaketapper I know chasing earmarks are fun - BUT!http://mediamatters.org/items/200903130027?f=h_column

phd9: @jaketapper Two thoughts re partisanship 1. Never underestimate the power of selective attention. 2. How did we get to this point?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Twitter won't let me post this:

It's nice that everyone hates the AIG bonuses. Where was the outrage over their equally grotesque salaries?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Re: Judge selection....

The task of actually applying Constitutional tests to statutes is significantly less difficult than people make it out to be. It only becomes a problem when the clear text of the Constitution runs counter to the current public will. It's worth noting that this is why its necessary to have a Constitution in the first place. Without a document in place to enumerate our inalienable rights, the tendency of majority blocs to oppress minority viewpoints would be nearly irresistable.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Re: Animal Spirits

In response to this

You keep capitalizing "Animal Spirits" in a way that either stresses it as unique or mocks it (I'm not sure which.)
From my perspective though you are treating as remarkable, something that is blindingly obvious. Humans ARE animals. We are capable of rationality but it is not our standard operational mode. The fact that we hold ANYTHING of value beyond what we can eat, drink or breathe is an artifact of our evolutionary history. Our historical fascination with precious metals in particular reveals that what we regard as valuable is entirely arbitrary and that there is no such thing as "intrinsic value"
Why then should it be surprising that the health of our economy depends entirely on the mindset of its participants?
I could expand on this and point out how our whole political system revolves around the notion that if we throw our money into a big enough pile so that counting it is no longer intuitive, when we then remove it again in manageble chunks, it feels like we've gotten something for nothing.
We refer to the process as 'earmarking'
The only arguments between the the two political parties is whether it's preferable to spend more than you collect or collect less than you spend.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

More earmarks....

The problem with earmarks is that EVERYBODY does it. For weeks now I've been comparing the Federal trough to a lottery pool. Everyone pays into one big pot and then competes to see who can draw the most money back out. If anyone were serious about reducing earmarks, then they would simultanously be favoring doubling State Income or Sales taxes. By acting like a financial heat-sink, the Federal government gets to participate in the sleight of hand that allows people to think that they're getting something for nothing.
The only difference between the Republicans and the Democrats is that the Republicans howl about the process while the Democrats simply shrug their shoulders and proceed.
Guess which approach is more dishonest?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Re: Earmarks

I wish that if people were going to play silly games with big numbers, that they'd take the additional step of dividing by 250,000,000 to get the figure 'per American'
Not only would this knock the numbers down to a more easily imagined size, they would allow for more direct comparisons to typical American families other expenditures.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Obama at Health summit

If there is a way of getting this done where we're driving down costs and people are getting health insurance at an affordable rate and have choice of doctor, have flexibility in terms of their plans, and we could do that entirely through the market, I'd be happy to do it that way.
I'm starting to get tired of people regarding "The Market" as if its some kind of magical diety. In any situation, it's important to examine motivations and incentives and assure oursleves that the actual incentives lead to the behavior we want. In many cases, the market is the best way to acheive this but in certain cases it fails miserably.
There is no 'market' for electricity and phones in many rural areas. There is no 'market' that will assure that hog farms don't pollute their surroundings. And there is no market that will allow people who are already sick to get their health needs paid for.
There is an appropriate time and place for Government action and it doesn't betray any Conservative principles to acknowlege the fact. We've been lied to for so long that this simple truth is no longer on the radar.