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Friday, May 28, 2010

TimeMoney Is MoneyTime

The adage, "time is money," has it exactly backward; in truth, "money is time." I've previously briefly touched upon what I mean by this. In this post, I mean to explore the idea a bit deeper.

But first, I wish to share with Gentle Reader a very good recent (and conceptually related) post by 'The Deuce:' Government stimulus disproven... yet AGAIN
A trio of Harvard economics researchers have discovered, to their surprise, what those of us not drinking the socialist/Keynesian Kool-Aid have known forever - that government "stimulus" actually damages the economy rather than stimulating it:
Recent research at Harvard Business School began with the premise that as a state's congressional delegation grew in stature and power in Washington, D.C., local businesses would benefit from the increased federal spending sure to come their way.

It turned out quite the opposite. In fact, professors Lauren Cohen, Joshua Coval, and Christopher Malloy discovered to their surprise that companies experienced lower sales and retrenched by cutting payroll, R&D, and other expenses. Indeed, in the years that followed a congressman's ascendancy to the chairmanship of a powerful committee, the average firm in his state cut back capital expenditures by roughly 15 percent, according to their working paper, "Do Powerful Politicians Cause Corporate Downsizing?"

"It was an enormous surprise, at least to us, to learn that the average firm in the chairman's state did not benefit at all from the unanticipated increase in spending," Coval reports.
Will those "scientific" socialists, now that we have this study demonstrating the harm that socialism does, accept the evidence before them and change their ways? No, of course not. This is hardly the first time socialist economics has been empirically disconfirmed. The economic failure of socialism has been demonstrated every single time it's been tried, but that doesn't stop foolish people from clamoring for more government-run healthcare, government-run education, and more and more government spending on whatever suits their fancy. At the end of the day, Leftism is a dogmatic religion. It was never adopted for empirical or rational reasons, and those who follow it will rarely drop it because of empirical data or rational analysis. Socialism has absolutely no rational or empirical foundation whatsoever, and still they believe.

It's easy to see why simply throwing government money around can't stimulate anything, if you just step back and think about it a little bit.

Wealth is not the same thing as money. In and of itself, money is worthless, just metal trinkets or pieces of paper (or even just bits on a computer). Wealth actually consists of goods and services that people want and need. Another way to say it is that wealth is goods and services that there is a popular demand for, and yet a third way to say it is that wealth is those goods and services that improve peoples' quality of life. The value of money derives entirely from one's ability to trade it for actual wealth. If, say, tomorrow prices suddenly went up so much that a loaf of bread cost a billion dollars, or every time you made some money Uncle Sam took all of it away before you could spend it, your money would be worthless, because you could no longer trade it for stuff you want and need.

As should be intuitively obvious then, when the government prints cash and throws it at states and various pet projects, it is not creating wealth. Increasing the amount of metal trinkets and green pieces of paper does not just magically increase the available amount of the goods and services that people want. In fact, while the government could invent a potentially unlimited amount of money, the amount of wealth that a society can potentially have has a hard upper limit, because it relies on the ability and manpower of the population to produce it. The key to a successful economy is to maximize the amount of actual wealth generation - the production of goods and services that people want - thus maximizing the overall quality of life (ie wealth) of the society.

Government spending, however, does the exact opposite of that, which is why it harms the economy rather than helping it. By definition, when the government spends some money on a project, it is spending that money on stuff the government wants (or thinks that people should want) rather than on stuff that people actually want.

When the government pays 1000 people to dig 1000 holes in the ground and fill them back up (to borrow from Keynes own absurd example), it is not creating wealth. There is no demand for 1000 re-filled holes. Nobody wants them. An un-hole in the ground doesn't improve anyone's quality of life. But such spending is worse than a mere waste of time, because if those 1000 people weren't digging holes for the government, they could be spending their time doing something else - practically anything else - for which there was actual demand. So by paying people to do things for which there is no demand, the government actively diverts society's most valuable resource - manpower - away from wealth-generation, thus actively inhibiting the economy from reaching its wealth-generating potential.

And, of course, where does the government get the money for such wealth-diminishing projects in the first place? It either taxes it from productive, wealth-generating citizens, or it prints it outright, which diminishes the existing value of wealth-generating citizens' existing monetary possessions, and is actually just another way of taxing them indirectly. So either way, the government diverts monetary resources away from wealth-generating people to pay potentially wealth-generating people not to produce wealth. So government "stimulus" actively inhibits the economy by diverting both money *and* manpower away from activities that create wealth and improve quality of life, and towards activities for which there is no demand.

So it's hardly surprising that, as this study shows, companies in states that got more federal money "retrenched by cutting payroll, R&D, and other expenses". The whole reason that companies spend money on R&D in the first place is to increase consumer demand for their products and services, and that becomes moot when the government is paying them to *not* meet consumer demand. And why wouldn't they cut payroll? The reason companies hire more people in the first place is that they want to expand in order to meet customer demand... which is moot when the government is paying them *not* to meet consumer demand.

Or to sum it all up, this study ought to be unsurprising to anyone who hasn't completely ignored the observable results of socialism for the past 100+ years, or who understands that waving a magic wand can't make houses, and TVs, and cars, and clothing, and food, and masseuses, and everything else people want just appear out of thin air. But none of it will stop the socialists from believing.
Of course, neither 'The Deuce' nor I are saying that setting and holding government spending at $0.00 will make us all infinitely wealthy. I expect that not even the insane persons at the borderlands between libertarianism and anarchism would assert that.

Rather -- given human nature and the reality of the world -- while government is a necessary evil, it remains a multi-facetted evil. And, government does not (and cannot) directly and positively create the good which derives from sound/moral government; rather, whatever good does come of government is generated negatively, by the suppression of the worse evils of lawlessness and anarchy and wickedness.

So, some level of government is necessary, else civil society cannot exist. But, by its nature, government must always act as a brake on the wealth-generating capabilities of civil society. Government cannot generate wealth, but can only consume it. And, trying to use government to "create jobs" or "stimulate the economy" not only consumes wealth, but actively destroys it via what is called "lost opportunity costs."

Money is time

As 'The Deuce' points out, money is not wealth, but rather at best it represents wealth. At worse, say in Weimar Germany or in present-day Zimbabwe, money becomes a sort of anti-wealth, similar to anti-matter, in that the money-generation of the government acts to destroy the existing wealth of the host-society.

A society's wealth is the total of goods and services that the society generates and/or has stockpiled from the prior generation of goods and services. Notice: the consumption of goods and services does not add to a society's wealth any more than it adds to an individual's wealth. The consistent consumption of more wealth than generated leads to the emotional illusion of being wealthy, but it is, in fact, an indicator of poverty; or, at best, of declining wealth (as in the case of retired persons living off the wealth they have stockpiled during their working years).

While the ultimate point of wealth-generation is to consume it, consuming wealth necessarily destroys it. Thus, when a society consistently consumes more wealth than it creates, it must, in the end, end up in poverty -- all the gold and silver brought back to Spain from the New World ended up sinking Spain into centuries of poverty; for the gold was not wealth, and it was not used as leverage for the generation of new wealth but rather was used to subsidize the consumption of more wealth than the society was generating. And, over time, this led to the society generating less wealth than before the influx of gold and silver. Need it be pointed out that the United States has been doing something very similar for a long time?

As we've seen above, at one level of analysis, wealth is the total of goods and services that a society (or individual) generates and/or has previously stockpiled. But, at a deeper level of analysis, an individual's or society's real wealth is the capacity for future generation of goods and services. That is, at this deeper level of analysis, wealth is not really the goods and services themselves, but is rather the time and effort of generating goods and services.

As individuals and as societies, it is time which is our ultimate currency. We expend time to generate (and to consume) goods and services; and, of course, we also expend time to generate and "consume" the intellectual and spiritual goods and services we need once our physical needs are met.

It is in coming to this deeper level of understanding the true nature of wealth that we grasp that the adage "time is money" is a false statement of shallow materialism/consumerism, and that, in fact, "money is time." For, while money represents goods and services, goods and services represent time.

Update (2010/06/17):
'The Deuce' has further comments which Gentle Reader may wish to read.

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What's A President To Do?

Lawrence Auster asks: What is it that everyone expects Obama to do?
In the midst of the entire political universe, Republican and Democrat, dumping on Obama for not doing enough about the Gulf oil spill, this comment at expresses more or less my own reaction:
Reply 22 - Posted by: Sfacheem, 5/28/2010 7:45:43 AM

I for one, an Obama "hater" and rock-ribbed conservative, cannot figure out exactly what it is everyone wants the president of the United States to do about this. It seems to me that if the private sector company that drilled the well and assembled the rig, and the U.S. federal department that oversees oil rigs can't figure out what to do, how does one expect the president to know what to do? Are we that shallow in 2010 America that we "need" to see that he "cares" by watching him roam around the oil-slicked beaches in a pair of rubber boots with a tear streaming down his cheek?

The infantile mind set of blaming the president of the U.S. for everything gone wrong in the world is for liberals. We should be above the practice.
Who can even rationally speculate as to what is going through the minds of the Obama worshippers?

But, as for me, and I suspect most others who are opposed to the leftist plans to subsume the nation, what I expect Obama to do is to pay the price for his own past demagoguery against Bush in particular (who is not a conservative, in any event) and all conservatives in general. What I expect Obama to do is to live, or as the case may be, die, by the same standard he demanded of Bush. Sure, the standard is illogical and unfair -- but *he* demanded it. Sure, he never expected to himself actually be held to the standard he demanded of Bush. So? I think that the schadenfreude of watching Obama hoist by his own petard is wholly appropriate.

Yes -- in isolation -- this dumping on Obama for "not doing enough" about the oilspill is misplaced; worse, it is wrong, both logically and morally. But, this is *not* in isolation ... the world didn't begin anew when he pushed his silly "Reset" button.

Perhaps, someday, the political expectations and discussions in this country will be conducted at the level of mature adulthood. Perhaps, someday, when someone demands/asserts "caring" from government as the criterion by which to judge the propriety and/or effectiveness of action or proposed action, the rest of us will raise an eyebrow and then quietly ignore the children.

Perhaps, someday, the "liberals" will grow up.

And, just perhaps, someday, pigs will fly.

Update (2010/05/31): Here is 'Ace of Spades' commenting on the question of this post

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

People Are Crazy

On PowerLine: People Are Crazy
"... the Europeans are post-Christian in this sense, too: they have tried to "liberate" themselves from the curse of Adam by substituting borrowing for working, and from the curse of Eve by not having children. It was entirely foreseeable that neither of these efforts would end well."

(h/t Agent Intellect)

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

In defense of the impious Rand Paul

J.E.Dyer (HotAir): In defense of the impious Rand Paul

Here are two more pieces concerning Rand Paul's "impiety." I hope to write up some comments, especially concerning the silly editorial from The Wall Street Journal. But, for now, I'll just say that much of what is presently destroying America traces directly back to certain unconstitutional and incoherent (and thus, immoral!) provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Lawrence Auster: The Wall Street Journal on Rand Paul

Seve Sailer: The Rand Paul Brouhaha and 21st Century Reality

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A Day With 'My' Public

Yesterday, I went out into the public; and, Gentle Reader, it was not a pleasant experience!

For several months now, I've had a $15 gift card to one the big, nationally known chain bookstores; the nearest of which to me is a good hour drive away. Between that I just don't really care for driving, and that the trip would cost more than the card's value, I've just been carting the card around in my wallet for all these months.

Then I realized that carrying around the extra weight of the card was causing me to use more energy than otherwise (both my own personal energy and the car's when I do drive); plus, the thickness of the card in the wallet (in my hip pocket) was probably throwing off my spinal alignment. So, as yesterday was rainy (it has done little but rain for at least a week and a half), I decided to spend the card, despite that that meant a foray into the public.

The drive was actually the best part of the day.

The bookstore was a bit too warm for me ... and there were people in it: cud-, I mean, gum-chewing, foot-shuffling (these two seem to go together, and always make me think of cattle chewing their cuds as they shuffle back to the barn after a hard day of grazing), gum-snapping, flip-flop flopping; with little drama-queen girls, and little boys already so fat that the development of their bodies has been permanently altered .... arrgh! At least I wasn't subjected to someone snuffling for hours on end, rather than going to just blow his nose.

I got no pleasure from browsing through the books, either general interest or sci-fi/fantasy. None! What a waste of time in a bookstore.

But, the thing I just had to share with Gentle Reader occurred first. Walking into the store, I thought to myself, "I'd best check with a clerk that this card hasn't expired, lest I spend a couple of hours in here and then find the card is no good." So, I stopped first at the main counter.

There was an elderly gentleman in front of me, looking for the magazine 'The Economist,' which turned out to be not with all the other magazines but at my knee level just a few feet from where we were standing. He got himself a copy and handed it to the clerk.

The magazine's cover story was about the recent British election and the subsequent Tory-LibDem coalition government.

The clerk, a big, fluttery, lummox, remarked upon the magazine's cover story. "Imagine that! The far-left and the "far-right" coming together to form a single government like that," he sssaid, weaving his fingers together to illustrate the coming together of the far-left and the "far-right" into a unified government. "Maybe we can manage that, here, too.."

The elderly gentleman refrained from telling the lummox just what a lummox he is. As did I, let Gentle Reade be aware. But, I did think to myself, "I really ought to blog about this." Imagine this: there are actually people in this world who imagine that the Tories, much less Cameron's Tories, are "far right."

Then, to top off the day, the authors of the book I did buy are using "gender inclusive" language. Thankfully, this is a mild use, else I'd likely never read the book.

Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rethinking Robin Hood

For a long time now, I've had a slight dislike of the Robin Hood mythos. Oh, I had the same schoolhouse indoctrination about him as you did; and as I matured I couldn't help but admire that he was fighting Prince John (who still became King) and Norman injustice against the English ... but still, robbing "the rich" to give to "the poor"! Where have I heard that before?

Shoot! That's what I live every April 15, and I'm not even rich.

How often in our lives have we seen "liberals" call upon the memory of (and our childhood indoctrination about) Robin Hood to excuse the depredations of street-thugs and to justify their own planned depredations against the free citizens of this Republic?

The blogger 'Drew' have offers a different take on Robin Hood: Robin Hood politics

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Friday, May 21, 2010

It Wasn't the Technology

Maggie Gallagher (on 2010/05/21): The Pill Is Overrated
I also loved Raquel Welch's brassy column, KLo, but I do think most folks overrate the power of the Pill as a technology shock. The separation of sex from reproduction was a great technology shock, but what was that technology?

If you think the answer is the Pill, ask yourself: Why is it that less than ten years after the introduction of the Pill and the creation of a constitutional right to contraception by the Supreme Court, that same Court created a right to an abortion?

If we had truly separated sex from reproduction, why would we need abortion?

It was the failure of the Pill to reliably separate sex and reproduction that led quickly to Roe v. Wade.
It wasn't technology which gave rise to the (imaginary) disconnect between the sex act and reproduction, it was the social attitudes about sex and reproduction, and that happened long before "The Pill" arrived on the scene.

With or without "The Pill," it was inevitable that a society composed of men who insist that they have the moral right to use women as masturbation machines will soon insist that they have the moral right to commit abortion, and to "free" women to "choose" abortion. For, after all, when the ethos is "I didn't sight up for this" -- never mind that "this" is the inevitable consequence of what one did "sign up for" -- then "this" must be eliminated.

Now, I have no truck for feminism, as Gentle Reader surely understands. But, likewise, I have nothing but scorn for most of the "men's rights advocates" (and certainly absolute scorn for the "Game" folk), who want at most for the loud-and-brassy feminists to just go away -- for they assuredly do not want to correct the real issue, which is their own impossible and absurd desire of consequence-free sexual activity.

Maggie Gallagher (on 2010/05/25): Sex Makes Babies
The problem is not the Pill. The problem is the idea, which promoters of the pill introduced and promoted with great fanfare, that we have separated sex from reproduction.

We teach the young to think of pregnancy as a rare emergency, an unexpected side effect of engaging in sexual acts. This disconnect produces a great deal of lunacy in our culture, and suffering for children, too.

Yes, contraceptives will dramatically reduce the likelihood that any given sexual act will create a new life. If we had preserved the sexual mores of, say, 1968, we would have had a drop in the out-of-wedlock birth rate as a result. (To refresh your memory, there was quite a lot of unmarried sex going on, much of it between the affianced, and, most importantly, the average length of time of a premarital sexual career was considerably shorter than it is today.) Instead, we have a 41 percent unmarried birth rate, in part because we have sexual mores predicated on an untruth. We have not really successfully severed sex from reproduction.

What are the odds that that a young woman will get pregnant during her first year on the Pill?

The answer is: At typical rates of contraceptive failure, nine out of 100 of these young women will get pregnant. (Actually, that's the average for all Pill users; young users probably have higher failure rates.) Among condom users, 17 young women will get pregnant for every 100 who rely on this method (IUD's and implants are the most successful methods in "typical use"). That's just the risk in the first year. If you spend ten years being unmarried and sexually active, the odds you will get pregnant, or get someone pregnant, are quite substantial.

Newsflash: Sex makes babies.

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You Won't Want to Believe This

Mail Online: Former French TV heart-throbs look unrecognisable on the red carpet after too much plastic surgery

The article says, "The twin brothers have had so much plastic surgery they are barely recognisable." A more complete sentence would have said, "... as human."

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Tin-horn Tyrant Makes Best Case For 'Gun Control'

Hot Air : Mayor Daley offers his argument for gun control (with video)
Today must be Irony Day in the Western Hemisphere. First we have Cuba calling immigration enforcement “brutal,” and now we have gun-control politicians demonstrating why the founders passed the Second Amendment in the first place. When challenged by a reporter to explain how gun control makes the city safer when it only disarms the law-abiding, Mayor Richard Daley responded by offering to demonstrate by shooting him:
But even supporters of tough gun regulations-myself included-have to admit that it’s not clear how much they reduce violence. Despite having some of the most restrictive laws in the country, Chicago is a national leader in shootings and murders, and the mayor himself noted that “we’ve seen far too many instances in the last few weeks” of firearm violence, including the shooting that left a cop dead last night .

So I asked: since guns are readily available in Chicago even with a ban in place, do you really think it’s been effective?

I’m hardly the only guy who asks the mayor things he doesn’t want to answer, and I’ve been responsible for at least one of his huffing, puffing, ranting tangents, which generally get the press corps laughing, thus enabling him to move on to the next question without giving a real answer to the one at hand.

But even by those standards, this was a masterful and surreal performance.

“Oh!” Daley said. “It’s been very effective!”

He grabbed a rifle, held it up, and looked right at me. He was chuckling but there was no smile.

“If I put this up your-ha!-your butt-ha ha!-you’ll find out how effective this is!”

For a moment the room was very, very quiet. I took a good look at the weapon. It had a long bayonet. (Was it seized during the Civil War?)

“If I put a round up your-ha ha!”

The photographers snapped away. Suddenly everybody started cracking up.

Daley went on. “This gun saved many lives-it could save your life,” he said-meaning, I think, that getting that gun off the street might have saved many lives, including mine.
Sure - and it put the gun into the hands of petty tyrants, who then used it to joke about killing people who ask tough questions. If Daley wanted to demonstrate the wisdom of the Second Amendment, he couldn’t have designed a better demonstration.

The Second Amendment exists for two reasons. First, the founders knew that law enforcement couldn’t defend everyone against attack - unless they created a police state that would eliminate liberty forever. They encouraged people to arm themselves, an important move in frontier areas especially, where the writ of law didn’t run very strongly. The police are very good at investigating crimes after they occur, but not in providing personal defense, which isn’t their job.

Secondly, arming the populace makes it much more difficult for those in power to seize property and liberty without due process of law. As Daley aptly demonstrated, when only the government and the criminals have guns, they both can dictate at will without fear of opposition. When a reporter asks a tough question, just wield a gun at him and then later laugh it off as a joke.

The people of Chicago need new political leadership, a story about as breaking as the Chicago Fire. But this should demonstrate the end result of the forced disarming of the American public: an out-of-control arrogance of the government.

Update: John Kass at the Chicago Tribune has the video of the encounter:
[see original for video]

We should note that Daley never pointed the weapon at anyone, but that hardly negates the stupidity of this incident.
As the old saying has it: "Your brain on liberalism!"

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This Is Going Just Too Far!

Arizona Demands the Citizenship Status of Students!

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Jonah Goldberg on FF and V

National-Treasure-in-training, Jonah Goldberg, on 'FlashForward' and 'V': TV Update
So the word is out. Flash Forward has been canceled, V gets a last minute reprieve. I guess if I had to kill one of the two, that's how I'd go too. But the real shame is that both shows could be/could have been so, so, so much better if they were just better written and (particularly in the case of Flash Forward) better cast. There's literally no character in Flash Forward I wouldn't have been perfectly happy about being killed off. None of them had chemistry with each other or with the viewer. The only guy I was sorry to see go was that fat bearded guy from all the David Mamet movies. I could spend a lot of time dwelling on the idiocy of F.F.'s scripting, but since it's canceled, why bother? But, please, someone inform the producers that the Department of Homeland Security didn't exist in the early 1990s! That was by no means the show's biggest idiocy, but it vexed me every time they referred to DHS doing this or that in 1993 or whenever.

As for V, I just don't get why it has to be so bad not good. It, too, has huge casting problems. The Hugh Jackman knock-off terrorist character is particularly idiotic. In every episode, there are countless "that makes no sense" moments (as in last night's finale when the FBI chick asks for her gun and is allowed to wander around the ship alone). My biggest pet peeve? Every single time the alien queen hottie lies to the humans - every time! - be it during a press conference or when she's talking to the teen beat Dan Rather character from Party of Five, she then turns around and smirks her villain smirk. First of all, she's supposed to be without human emotions. Second of all, even the worst politicians know that smirking-like-Montgomery-Burns after you lie to the public is a horrible habit, particularly in this age of ubiquitous cameras. But what really, really, bothers me is how it betrays the contempt the producers have for the audience. After a whole season of telling the viewer that the Vs are evil, they still think we need to see the alien queen from Victoria's secret do her Snidely Whiplash smile lest we think she really does want to give us clean energy and cancer cures.

Now, I don't think either show is quite so bad, over-all, as he paints them (*). But, on the specifics he mentions, and others of that sort, I cannot but agree.

No! Wait! On the "fat bearded guy" on 'FlashForward' being offed, I thought that was so deserved and well-done.

(*) I don't have a TV, much less cable, but I've watched them on the Hulu site. And, comparing the shows to what I remember watching on TV as I was growing up, shows which aired for years, I'd have to say that these shows are quality TV.

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This doesn't come as a surprise

This doesn't come as a surprise to me, but I expect that it does come as a surprise to most persons who want to believe that some day a computer program will be exactly equivalent to a human mind.

And, I expect that it does come as a surprise to most persons who want to believe that the 'Avida' computer program really does prove Darwinism. [The link I have no longer works, else I could point Gentle Reader to an instance of a doctrinaire evolutionist using just this -- then hypothetical, and to him apparently almost unimaginable -- example in a desperate attempt to evade the impact of my argument against the claims being advanced for the 'Avida' computer program.]

Slate: I'll Be Bach -- A computer program is writing great, original works of classical music. Will human composers soon be obsolete?

Now, though I've long expected something like this, and while as a computer programmer applaud the skill and expertise of writing such a program, I still think this would have been better left undone.

Understand, this can't even touch upon what differentiates a mind from an algorithm; it just offends my aesthetic sensibilities (and I’m only mildly interested in classical music -- you know, I think that the reason I detest most modern classical music is that the stuff that is lionized sounds as though it were written to a very bad formula; discordant sounds, but no music).

Still, when one considers pop music, haven't we been listening to mediocre "by the numbers" music for decades? So, perhaps, I'm wrong that this is Not A Good Thing -- perhaps the concept can be adapted to the generation of pop music and the mediocre part can be dropped out.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Vox Day's Problem

In a recent post on his blog, "Vox Day" demonstrates, right out in front of God and all the angels, what his problem is; or, at any rate, what a major one of them is. I'm interested to see if you, Gentle Reader, see what I'm getting at prior to me explicitly spelling out what I mean. And, it shouldn't be too difficult, as only a handful of sentences in the post are his sentences.

"Vox Day:" A wish list

And, for contrast, here is "Vox Day" not displaying "The Trouble with Vox Day:" Mailvox: a humble request

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

You will not believe this!

Toronto woman sues [phone carrier] after her affair is exposed

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Auster on Brewer

Lawrence Auster concerning Janice Brewer: "Brewer's rather colorful maiden name was Janice Kay Drinkwine. So, she went from being a wine drinker to a brewer. Whatever she's drinking, as Lincoln said of Grant, let's find out what it is, because I want to send a barrel of it to every elected official in the country."

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Anti-Tipping Manifesto

I don't tip ... and neither should you!

My opposition to tipping, and hence my refusal to tip, is something I worked out 25 to 30 years ago. I've just never yet written up an "anti-tipping manifesto."

First, the immediate background on what prompts me to write up and post this "manifesto" --

Recently, on Facebook, a friend from college (to date us, that was nigh-on 35 years ago) said, joking:
[Concerning] my new haircut and beard trim. The barber said I was starting look like Trotsky. There went his tip...

After some back-and-forth, I said:
You could just do like I do and decline to tip *anyone* -- tipping is a degrading and anti-American custom ... and a scam

Nancy Hartley said:
I don't know you Troy, but if you were a waiter/waitress working for far less than minimum wage and tips were considered part of your salary you might rethink your attitude.

To which I replied:
No, I wouldn't
And, in fact, I have worked those sorts of jobs (and also the fast-food types where no one ever thinks to tip, because there isn't someone telling them they're "supposed" to), both when I was in college and afterward because I wanted more money (for a while, but the added stress wasn't worth the money to me). I've received exactly one tip in my life -- $5 on the very first pizza I delivered as a freshman, ant the pizza itself didn't cost much more than the $5 -- and I *tried* to turn it down, but the guy was drunk, so rather than anger him I finally kept it. The point here is that even before I'd worked out what is wrong with tipping, the whole concept made me uncomfortable.

Come to think of it, I suppose one could say I did receive a few other "tips" -- some women (and a man or two) flashing a bit too much skin, and under-garments, at me when I made the delivery. What? I'm gonna give you a discount (paid for out of my pocket!) because you show me your tits? Which I never even asked to see!

I also recall hearing, and being disgusted by, my sister-in-law ranting because "some guy shafted her," meaning that he didn't give her as much extra (and potentially unreported) income as she figured was her due.

Anyway, Bill (the old friend) said:
you don't tip Troy???? Degrading?? I have a very dear and close friend who works for Otterbein, put herself thru school there it took 11 yrs and she used to be a full time waitress at Bob Evans and now works there part time. Sometimes to help her husband out he's in construction, she'll work 7 days a week all winter. She would give you the shirt off her back and is one of the funniest people i know. She loved my mom too. I can not ever ever think of not tipping her and in cash because BE will take taxes out. She has worked for BE for over 25 yrs and is just now making more then any wait staff at $3.15 an hour, most make a dollar less then that. I always tip at least 20% to anyone even if they are rude to me or I get bad service, you don't what kind of day they're having. I think it's totall unchristain not to tip and inhuman as well.

Nancy Hartley said:
Well said Bill. There are many, many people out there, especially in today's economy, that appreciate our Christian attitude.

Nancy Hartley said:
Troy, my apoligies to you. I did not mean to offend you, if I did, with my message. It is so easy to say things in this format without even knowing the person. One of the few dangers of this advancing technological age.
I have no idea how she turned a terse "No, I wouldn't" into that I took insult. *sigh* I'm a man; men tend to be terse; I am frequently very terse -- the alternative being very verbose, as here.

I said (to Nancy Hartley):
Actually, Bill's near-tirade wasn't "well-said," it was emotive and apropos of nothing I'd said. Tipping is not "Christian." It's degrading, demeaning, insulting ... and it's also a racket

Bill said:
why would paying someone a living wage be degrading troy and it's up to me to believe what is christian or not, that is between me and my higher power. i believe you get out of this life what you give, not tipping comes across as being cheap and selfish. you work for tips every time you service the public, i feel sorry for your wait staff. but I love you no matter what you think or feel Troy and you have the right to your opinion even if I don't agree.

I said:
Bill, if you thought I was coldly logical 30 years ago, I can assure you that I am even more myself now than I was then.
To explain a bit more -- back in those days, some of my friends (including Bill) would express the opinion that I was sometimes "too logical." As though such a thing is possible! Also, in those days, out of friendship, I would bite my tongue when some silly-minded liberal (I'm looking at you, Bill) would accuse me of being "closed-minded" for sticking with the opinions I'd started with ... you know, same as they were doing. I don't bite my tongue any more.

Now, for that "manifesto," for the explanation of why you, too, should decline to tip: "Because I'm always right, of couse!"

OK, if you really need more, let's examine the issue, point by point -- combining the two statements I quoted above, I said that "Tipping is an anti-American custom; it is not "Christian." It's degrading, demeaning, insulting ... and it's also a racket/scam."

And, by the way, I am not saying that these points are exhaustive, only that they examine what I said previously:

1a) Demeaning -- it is demeaning to live off charity. It may be that this or that person cannot avoid reliance upon charity, but it is always demeaning to one's dignity as an adult human being to be reliant upon it. Trying to put tipping into its most positive light, it is charity.

1b) Demeaning -- the second aspect of being demeaning hhich follows from the custom of tipping is reflected in Bill's joke. Now, of course, Bill was just making a joke, and his joke is not the point here. The point is that there are *are* people who use the expectation of a tip to humiliate their waiter or waitress to whatever limit they can push (and, by the way, I expect that considerably more than 50% of such jerks are women).

2) Degrading -- it is also personally degrading to live off charity and hand-outs, but the specific degradation I have in mind is of a different sort than point 1). Here, I have in mind the sort of moral-and-rational degradation which seems always to follow from believing/asserting that others owe one something which they do not, in fact, owe one:
a) such as I mentioned with my former sister-in-law ranting because a customer didn't give her the free income as she just knew was her due (and, by the way, that was reflective of her attitude toward her ex-husband's relatives);
b) or such as we are presently seeing in Europe, for instance, in Greece, where the so-called citizens are rioting to demand that the tax-payers of Germany are obligated to support the Greeks' indolent government-subsidized lifestyles;
c) or such as we are presently seeing in the US, where "public service" union thugs intimidate -- and injure -- taxpayers who object to the gravy-train.

3) Insulting -- Tipping is insulting on multiple levels (such as touched upon above); but it's also insulting that:
a) some customers imagine it is their right and/or duty to second-guess the employment agreement between an employer and his employees -- in truth, it is none of your damned business what they have mutually agreed that her work is worth to her and to his business;
b) some employers are willing to place on their customers the expectation that it is the customers' job to pay his employees some imaginary "fair living wage."

4) Racket/scam -- Tipping is racket or scam as touched upon in point 3b -- the employers and the employees are in on the scam and the marks are their customers. Do you, O Big Spender, tip everyone with whom you come in contact? No, you tip only certain ones whom someone has told you you're "supposed" to tip. Do you, O Big Spender, enquire of your prospective tipee how much she pulled down last week -- you know, does she really "deserve" that big tip because she's so "underpaid?" No, you don't.

Then, there is the temptation to tax-cheating and/or unfairness of it all -- there is the temptation (and the ease of doing so) to not declare all one's tips ... and there is the tax-law assumption that the waiters pull down x% in tips, such that even if he or she doesn't, their employer is still required to tax them on the assumption that they did.

5) Anti-American -- is it really necessary to explain the above is anti-American?

6) not Christian -- is it really necessary to explain the above is not Christian?

Perhaps, later, I'll add some more touching upon the things Bill and Nancy Hartley said; and perhaps explain the labels under which I've categorized this post.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Lightworker's Prayer

The Lightworker's Prayer --
Our Zero, Who art The Won:
Hollow be Thy Fame;
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy Will be done, in earth as it is in Europe;
Ration this day our health care needs,
and forgive us our carbon debt
as we demonize the "racists" who protest compounding unpayable Debt;
And lead us not into "anti-Government" demonstrations,
but deliver us from Tea Bagg ... er, Partiers;
For Thine is the Hope'n'Change, and the Mandate, and the Nobel, forever.

The title of the "prayer" is a reference to this; the content of the "prayer" is reference both to some of the over-the-top adulation of "The One" and to some of the political viciousness of the Partisans of the Ass.

This is the version history, so to speak; Gentle Reader is free to decide what works and what doesn't:
Our Zero, Who art The Won:
Hollow be Thy Fame;
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy Will be done, in earth as it is in Europe;
Ration this day our health care,
and forgive us our carbon dioxide
and forgive us our carbon debt
as we demonize those who speak against You;
as we demonize those who ask to see Your Birth Certificate;
as we demonize those who protest compounding unpayable Debt;
as we demonize the "racists" who protest compounding unpayable Debt;
And lead us not into thinking for ourselves,
And lead us not into questioning Your Policies,
And lead us not into "anti-Government" demonstrations,
but deliver us from Rush Limbaugh;
but deliver us from Tea Bagg ... er, Partiers;
For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever.
For Thine is the Imperium, and the Mandate, and the Nobel, forever.
For Thine is the Hope'n'Change, and the Mandate, and the Nobel, forever.

I wasn't totally satisfied with the last line being straight-up, as in the original version; changing it lead to these other changes.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I Can't Believe I Missed It!

Oh, my goodness! Here it is, May 11, and I've just realized that I missed celebrating "Quatro de Cinco," the new holiday promulgated by Our Zero, The Won.

I propose that right-thinking Americans ought to ensure that "Quatro de Cinco" becomes and remains a cultural icon.

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Darwinists' Blind Spot

Over at the 'Uncommon Descent' blog, '' has posted an article concerning the continued flogging by the 'modern evolutionary theorists' (aka Darwinists) of that favorite Dead Horse of theirs: "The vertebrate eye is wired 'backwards' ... therefore it isn't designed!" ( see The Blind Leading the Blind )

I wish to share with Gentle Reader a comment he made within the comments-section and my comment upon the comment.

'' said:
Blind spots are never detected unless one eye is blacked out and even then the blind spot is “filled in” by the brain’s software.

The blind spot is not in the macula (the high visual acuity part of the retina) so where one is actually looking at something, there is no blind spot.

The only blind spot here is in the eyes of the Darwinists who keep insisting that they were right when they made claims based on their own flawed common sense. When they are proven wrong, they still refuse to see design in the eye.

Claiming that they could design the eye better, without backing it up experimentally, makes them look even more lame and pathetic.

My response:
Indeed. It is as though one were to point to the fact that if one were to cut off a man’s right arm, he can no longer write a letter (at any rate, not until he develops fine motor control over his left hand), or that if one cuts off a man’s leg, he can no longer run a race, as evidence of “bad design.”
As '' rightly points out:
1) the (in)famous "Blind Spot" resulting from the allegedly backwards wiring of the vertebrate eye is *not* in the field-of-focus of vision, but is rather in the peripheral field of vision. That is, it is in the portion of the field of vision where one cannot really see detail in any event ... when one looks at a thing, the blind-spot has no bearing with respect to what one is focused upon.
2) the blind-spot of one eye is compensated for by the peripheral field of vision of the other eye. Thus, in almost all cases (with two properly working eyes), there *is* no blind-spot at all in one's field of vision.

It's not as though these are previously unknown facts; yet the 'modern evolutionary theorists' continue to mercilessly flog that poor Dead Horse.

But, also read the full post at UD -- the article discusses a Darwinistic/materialistic admission that "... the strange, “backwards” structure of the vertebrate retina actually improves vision" ... which, being so opposite to the Dead Horse they've been flogging all these years, is *still* evidence that "Evolution Done It!"

Truely, "With "Evolution," all things are possible!"

This "Blind Spot" Dead Horse is on an intellectual par (and as intellectually dishonest) as a classroom exchange in the recent episode of the program 'FlashForward" (while this link is still valid, see from the 26:00 mark)

In this scene, the instructor tells his class of highschool students: "You can do what you will, but, at any given moment of your life, you can will only one definite thing; nothing other than that thing. What do you guys think that means?"

And a girl who has obviously been paying attention all semester answers, "That ... free-will is a lie?"

And he answers, "Exactly."

Examine the "reasoning" here -- that you are free to will either 'A' or 'B,' but not 'A' and 'B' simultaneously is "proof" that you never were free to will either 'A' or 'B' in the first place!

It's logically impossible -- which means it's utterly impossible -- to reason with persons who "reason" with such "logic." And that is why it's impossible to have a rational and civil converstaion with most Darwinists (or 'atheists' or "liberals") on any point of disagreement between their worldview and yours -- most members of the three groups "reason" using the same mode of anti-logic as the highschool instructor is using.

Continue reading ...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

By Hook or Crook

Here is a news item concerning a recent "liberal" outrage against reason, decency and society: Ga. Seniors Told They Can't Pray Before Meals

And here is Lawrence Auster's analysis of it:
They have now, in principle, completed the revolution. It was done in three stages:

1. You turn the Constitution on its head by saying that the 14th amendment, which has power over the states, "incorporates" the Bill of Rights, which only has power over Congress. Thus the First Amendment's provision that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," is effectively translated into, "a state shall not establish a religion," changing the Constitution from a limitation on federal power over the states into a mandate for unlimited federal power over the states.

2. Then you redefine "establishment of religion" to mean, not a favored denomination which receives tax dollars and membership in which is required to hold political office, but ANY religious expression, period. With steps one and two in place, all religious expression under the auspices of state and local government is outlawed.

3. Finally, you progressively subsidize the entire society, so that everything in the society is funded by government, and therefore there is no area in the society where any religious expression is allowed. Remaining holdouts are eliminated as the grip of government funding and regulation keeps expanding.
It doesn't matter that most "liberals" are "good people" with "good intentions" -- all "liberals" act as social enablers for the mankind-hating, power-seeking, liberty-denying leftists who set their agendas.

"Liberals" are inconsistent leftists -- it is never leftism itself which they oppose, in principle, but only that they want sometimes to defer or escape some of the logical consequences of leftism. And so, since the "liberals" have no principled opposition to the demands which logically follow from the commitments of leftism, the "hard-core" leftists can always ratched them (and society) ever-leftward, and the "liberals" will always find a way to justify the new outrage.

For, after all, Gentle Reader, the *real* enemy is you and me. And those "wicked" "racist" "angry" "white" "hateful" "ignorant" "teaba-" ... Tea Partiers.

In a bummer development for Waldo, Prayer restored at Port Wentworth Senior Center

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Law By Hypertext

Hanns Kuttner on NRO: Another Constitutional Oddity

One other area of the constitution about which Obamacare raises new questions is the presentment clause: “Every Order, Resolution, or Vote . . . shall be presented to the President of the United States” (Article I, Section 7).

Hundreds of pages into the law comes a section about Indian health. The Indian Health Care Improvement Act has been up for reauthorization for some time. Section 10221 of the new law says:
. . . S. 1790, entitled “A bill to amend the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to revise and extend that Act, and for other purposes,” as reported by the Committee on Indian Affairs of the Senate in December 2009, is enacted into law.
This legislation is 276 pages long. For whatever reason, the Senate did not include the full text in the legislation it passed that ultimately made it to President Obama’s desk.

This certainly is a more efficient way to do things. It allows legislation that the president signs to be short and pithy. It conserves paper. Fewer pages to print. If “enactment by reference” became the norm, laws would be ever so short. But does it square with the Constitution?
As the (ahem) lady said: "But, we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."

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