363 posts • joined 20 Aug 2009
Reminds me of a Soviet joke
A butcher put a sign in his window: "MEAT TODAY!"
Quickly, a line forms. After 2 hours, the butcher comes out and says. "Comrades, there is meat, but not as much as we thought. Will all the Jews leave the line."
There is grumbling, but a number of people leave the line.
Another 3 hours go by and the butcher comes out again and says. "Comrades, there is meat, but not as much as we thought. Will all those who are not members of the Party leave the line."
There is more grumbling, but a number of people leave the line.
Another 2 1/2 hours go by and the butcher comes out again and says. "Comrades, there is meat, but not as much as we thought. Will all those who are not veterans of the Great Patriotic War leave the line."
There is more grumbling, but a number of people leave the line.
After another hour, the butcher comes out again and says. "Comrades, there is no meat."
There is a lot more grumbling. Someone is heard to remark, "Those Jews! They get the best of everything!"
Mine's the fur with the astrakhan collar...
P.S. In case you're tempted, don't get too upset — I'm Jewish...
And don't forget
the Fourth Amendment:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
It has generally come to be seen that phones, etc. are today's equivalent (and more) of 'papers and effects.'
Cat among the pigeons
(or pigoons, for you Atwood fans...)
As Buddha or Joshu might say, the question is not rightly put. [As in, "Where does the fire go when it goes out?"].
Have you ever noticed how often problems go unsolved (or unaddressed, even) because of lack of money? Have you ever heard people complain of not having enough money? Have you ever heard people complain about taxes? about costs?
Of course you have. Give yourself a point for each yes answer...
Now, let's try thinking outside the box, despite centuries of history: let's do away with money!
Don't like taxes? You won't pay them!
Costs to high? Not anymore!
Problems? Class sizes too big? Infrastructure in need of repair or replacement? Miscreants robbing you with a pen or a gun? Welfare costs, including fraud? (Etc. Etc...) No problem!
So, just how is this supposed to work?
In order to partake of these benefits, every able-bodied person must devote, say, 20 years to doing something to benefit society. [Sorry, Mrs. Thatcher — there is such a thing as society.] This grants one the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Where today, we too often measure status by wealth, under this system, status would be measured by contribution. So who would do the miserable jobs? There are, believe it or don't, people who want to be, say, old age home carers, despite today's miserable pay, when they could be cashiers or baristas. And when you consider that, in America, by far the most common job is truck driver; what shall we do with the drivers when self-driving vehicles replace them? (HINT: they will not become coders.) You speak of the dignity of work? This does not replace it, but indeed makes it the point.
Of course, there is much more to say on this subject. You can find a much lengthier discussion at http://books.noisetrade.com/cacohen/the-root-of-all-evil
Back in the 70's, I had a girlfriend whose father was working for Battelle Corp. I was told they were working on an ion drive. How fast this would go is beyond me. Perhaps, in truth (and not sci-fi), the method for obtaining those distant reaches will prove to be generational ships (ones in which those who land are the offspring of those who left...).
However, it seems to me (simple observer that I am) that nothing can travel at the speed of light except light, and that anything that did would become light. (It is indeed said [by someone] that much light is made up of those beings who attained that speed and then lacked the wherewithal to become anything other than light. They were smart buggers and that's why, when we are faced with a difficult problem, we often put light on it...)
So, back to the beginning. If we are to attain speeds that would allow a 'naut to visit intergalactic space and return to tell about it, we must indeed exceed c without passing through it. There may indeed be a way to do it, but as they say, we don't know who discovered water, but we're pretty sure it wasn't a fish!
Agent Smith: I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet.
Not only a perfect example of overstated bias, but
at times, verging on false. Take:
"This means that energy from burning hydrocarbons, whether fossil or biofuel, must be used and produced much more efficiently: nobody seriously thinks that the human race can power itself using renewables. (In any case, in practice the hippies are against non-hydrocarbon renewables too.)"
Recently, Germany achieved generating almost 80% of it's energy from renewables.
As for nuclear, while I have in the past been against it, due to the waste problem, with the advent of molten salt reactors, I think we may have found a reasonable alternative to today's reactors. For those who think the waste is not a problem, I would point them toward the Hanford Reservation.
"a relatively little used language"
OK, it's not English, French, Spanish or Chinese, but there are a surprising number of places around the globe where Nederlands gesproken is. Apart from the Netherlands and Belgium, there is South Africa and Namibia, Indonesia, certain islands in the Carribean and Surinam. Maybe I've even missed something...
Well, that's one man's opinion...
It is, of course, very convenient and simple to develop a world view if you're selective about the facts you choose. I will not posit mine here (no doubt suffering from similar flaws), but I can mention some things forgotten.
During the earlier periods, the salaries of the heads of corporations (latterly known as CEOs) was perhaps 7x that of the lowest paid worker. Today it is many hundreds of times greater, and even more so, if you factor in cheap off-shored labor.
Before 1974, salaries and standard of living rose on a near-yearly basis. After 1974, salaries (excluding corporate officers and factoring in inflation) remained stagnant.
Prior to the 60's, most families were supported by a single (usually male-earned) salary. With the advent of the women's movement, women who felt they'd been getting the short end of the stick, entered the workforce in great numbers. Now, it's common — even necessary — for multiple paychecks to support a a family. It's my belief that while those 60's white male-based employers outwardly responded negatively, in secret they rejoiced at the near-doubling of the workforce, especially with cheaper labor. (Even today women fight for equal pay for equal work.) The trend for off-shoring continued the joy as corporations raced to the bottom to find the cheapest labor. (And why wouldn't they? It is the sole purpose of corporations to profit.) This played into the breaking of union power (which was not helped by some apparent corruption among unions — I'm looking at you, Teamsters.)
American wealth was boosted by huge infrastructure projects, not least of which was the National Highway System, which fostered trade and travel with it's concomitant growth effect on the economy. This was paid for with taxes. Somewhere along the line a general tax revolt ensued, egged on by the rich who admittedly bore a large burden. Without taxes and with the addition of huge defense expenditures (military-industrial complex, anyone?), today we are faced with crumbling infrastructure, which we could rebuild, but those think government should pay for nothing but defense object and we are at a stalemate. Obama's plans for such came to very little.
The Glass-Steagall Act was an attempt to protect the ordinary citizen from predation by monied interests. Even though Roosevelt (decried as a class traitor and blamed for just about any and every governmental or economic ill that ensued by my right-wing friends) was cool to the idea, it became the law of the land until it was repealed under Bill Clinton. (For those unaware, among other things, it prevented the combination of commercial and investment banking.) Not too long thereafter, the world suffered what we now term 'the Great Recession,' caused in no small part by those banks playing money games with the economy (there are many good histories of what happened.) We need mention only in passing Credit Default Swaps; slicing and dicing unsupportable mortgages as investments which the issuers, themselves, bet against; and interest-rate rigging — though of course there are many issues as deep. Average Americans suffered dreadfully and were further taxed with paying for a bailout. Those banks (the ones that survived) did very well, thank-you and their officers, even better.
I'm quite sure there's more, but I've gone on long enough...
Another Country Heard From
Perhaps 30 years ago, I read in a book by Freeman Dyson the theory that the other side of a black hole is a white hole, spewing matter and/or energy into another location, perhaps another universe. It has been posited that in another universe, the big bang would appear to be a white hole.
"The concept of a “white hole,” a hypothetical object emerging spontaneously from a singularity – or a time-reversed version of a black hole – was introduced by Igor Novikov in 1964, but without referring to it as a white hole. The following year the concept was independently considered by Yuval Ne’eman, who called the object a “lagging core.” The apt name “white hole,” which may first have been used in 1971, soon became popular while “lagging core” was forgotten. Contrary to the black holes, white holes or lagging cores are not believed to exist in nature. They were sometimes called “little bangs,” a term also used with somewhat different connotations (Hoyle 1965; Harrison 1968).'
Re: I'm shocked!
@ TW — re: ERM
Presumably, whether developed or not, this other land you speak of is owned. If not by the City itself, such a required use would again be a taking. If you are saying the current owner(s) would be allowed to build low-income housing or a trailer park for same, there can be no objection — save for the rancor of the abutters should such a project be implemented.
Re: I'm shocked!
@ TW — taking in law
Not sure what you're referring back to, nor do I know UK law. In the US, while the point is somewhat moot, there are plenty of examples where it is.
• On the [New] Jersey Shore, landowners have been barred from building on land they bought for that purpose.
• In Massachusetts,Title 5 requires homeowners on septic systems, before the sale of their houses, to either hook up to city sewers (at their own expense, and with the ensuing sewer charges, where once it was free) or have their systems tested and certified by state-chosen contractors (again at their own expense which, 25 years ago, was $800). Should the system fail the test, it must be remediated (again at the owner's expense) or hook up as above. The Massachusetts Constitution states:
[ARTICLE X] "…no part of the property of any individual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, [EMPHASIS MINE] without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. "
(When I brought up this inconsistency during the hearings for Title 5, I was told there are some issues more important than the Constitution!) Apparently, this issue has been problematic for a long time. In the current legislative session, a bill has been put forward to remedy this:
"An Act relative to due process to prohibit the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions from adopting environmental and developmental policies that would infringe or restrict private property rights"
I could go on, but I won't.
"given that it's the good burghers of Palo Alto – through their city council – who decide on which pieces of land you can build on in that fair city, then they're fucking insane to be paying for something which they themselves created for free."
Is TW serious? Since the current owner has undoubtedly paid for the property, for the city council (et al) to simply withdraw permission for anything other than the current use amounts to government seizure by eminent domain. Surely that does not jibe with Worstallism. In fact, the US Supreme Court (in Kelo v. the City of New London [strangely by majority of the liberal justices]) ruled that a higher tax value is sufficient reason for such seizure.
Not that I'm recommending this. Among the other problems with this week's screed is externalities. When we say, "for our wealth stock is, by definition, our capital, and GDP is the annual income that we gain from employing that capital. If we're getting less GDP from the same capital, or we've more capital producing the same GDP, then the society is becoming less efficient," we are saying that things like environmental preservation have no value, primarily because they are not monetized.
And I will say again that rises in prices (too often confused with value) are more often than not synonymous with inflation, and are not really growth.
Slightly related story
Don't know if this is true or not...
Australian Police have been unable to recommend a prosecution for the following scam:
A company takes out a newspaper advertisement claiming to be able to supply imported hard core pornographic videos. As their prices seem reasonable, people place orders and make payments via check.
After several weeks, the company writes back explaining that under the present law they are unable to supply the materials and do not wish to be prosecuted. So they return their customers' money in the form of a company check.
However, due to the name of the company, few people will present these checks to their banks.
The name of the company: "The Anal Sex and Fetish Perversion Company"
Re: Nice Article (9/11)
One could, perhaps, be forgiven for branding me a conspiracy theorist (though after this article, you have to wonder). I would suggest the anyone interested look for the film "Loose Change," which is available free (and virally) online. Pay particular attention to "Operation Northstar,' which dates from when all this began.
Alexander Cockburn wrote in The Nation many years ago (you can tell how many by the example) the following [paraphrased]:
The difference between Republicans and Democrats is, if a Contra were raping a nun, the Republican would say, "Go for it!" and the Democrat would say, "Now, you know that's not right. Ask her nicely and if she says 'no,' I'll help you."
Assuming (and we all know what 'to assume' does...) they succeed, would they then employ the droids in all oil and gas circumstances, given that it is cheaper in long run (or so they assume...)? Oil and gas fracking has driven a lot of new employment in these here United States, such as the boom in North Dakota, which previously employed but a few bachelor farmers, used car salesmen and a sheriff or two.
What will happen to the roughnecks? Think of the children!