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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Keynes vs Hayek: Round 2

Love it love it love it!

and in case you missed it the first time around, here is the first one.

Monday, April 18, 2011

“Organizing” the mailbag

A while back I subscribed to the email list just to see what would happen – and mildly curious how much organizing would actually go on in the great state in which I reside. To their credit I haven’t received any spam of the sort I shouldn’t expect from signing up. I do though receive the info I expect which is always interesting to peruse.

“The view from outside Washington” from Jim Messina 

This is an email following Obama’s speech intended to begin a

new conversation in Washington about how to reduce the deficit while protecting crucial investments in our country's future

The only new conversation in town is the one started by his opponents who actually have political office holders (not just fringe candidates) discussing entitlement reform.

[Obama] spoke about things you don't generally hear in Washington conversations too often dominated by special interests: He'll cut waste and excess at the Pentagon -- particularly spending that is requested not by our military, but by politicians and corporate interests.

Anyone who has never heard a politician talk about the evil special interests that oppose the politician’s righteous agenda raise your hand. … How about cutting waste and excess? … Anyone? I thought not.

He'll eliminate tax cuts for Americans in the highest tax brackets who don't need them, including himself

You absolutely do not need to justify tax cuts. You have to justify taxes and spending. Its not about need. Its about deciding what does the government actually require to function. There are millions of things that none of us need, but which we will fight tooth and nail should a third party attempt to confiscate. How about we have the government round up all iPhones and ship them to poor children in Mali?

Discussing need in the face of unequal confiscation is a race to the bottom of the living standard.

he will reform the individual tax code so that it's fair and simple and so that the amount of taxes you pay isn't determined by what kind of accountant you can afford

This I agree with but believe neither he nor his opponents will ever take seriously. Put all the tax accountants and the IRS out of a job. Fine by me.

President Obama's plan would protect the middle class, invest in our kids' education, and make sure we don't protect the wealthiest Americans from the costs of reform at the expense of the most vulnerable.

Please define MIDDLE CLASS for me.

Oh the children!!!! We all know its just a matter of spending enough money on them. Otherwise we would have to take a serious and deep look at the institutions that provide the learning and make tough decisions about whether they were actually effective and why.

Don’t forget that Mr. Monopoly’s best friend is Snidely Whiplash and they both are just out to pick your pockets before they tie you to the railroad tracks while they twirl each other’s mustaches in an oddly-unsettling-to-watch manner. This is not a zero sum game in which Washington and Jefferson issued one lump sum of cash over 200 years ago to the whole country that we are still just shuffling around amongst our selves. Wealth is created and destroyed every day, often in both non-obvious and non-intuitive fashions.

The other side has presented a very clear alternative: End Medicare as we know it, privatizing the program that millions of seniors rely on for health care. Make deep cuts to education. Slash investments in clean energy and infrastructure. All to pay for tax cuts for people making over $250,000 a year, and all while actually raising our national debt.

You know its just quite obvious that the best way to keep health care spending down is to require people to pay the bill directly themselves. Having Daddy President and Mother Congress write the check for me makes me never care how expensive it is… until they decide to stop writing that check because my brothers and sisters need something more important.

Deep cuts to education need to be made because there is no evidence that more money = smarter students. The only proven correlation is more money = more expensive students. You know what expensive students get you? Student with debt.

I’ll take all the clean energy investment cuts you want if it makes my milk and steak prices go down. Alternative energy technologies will become reality when they become financially feasible to main street USA. Oil is cheap, dirt cheap. Until that changes (read – we really start to see the end of the flow), stop driving up the prices of all my other consumables.

Here's the first step. Join our fight for a deficit reduction plan that will actually reduce the deficit -- with a goal of shared prosperity through shared responsibility. Add your name to support President Obama's plan -- and then help bring more people into the conversation:

Hmm, it might be tempting if there actually was a plan and not just some lofty rhetorical goals that I’ve heard before again and again.

Going to that site, here is the plan.

    • Rein in the deficit while protecting seniors and the middle class, and making the investments we need to win the future;
    • Ensure that the most vulnerable Americans are not the only ones sharing the burden of fiscal responsibility;
    • Keep spending low while strengthening Medicare and Medicaid, and end trillions in tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires who don't need them; and
    • Set aside partisanship in favor of a renewed sense of shared responsibility and shared sacrifice

Well, gee. Why didn’t I think of that.

SIDENOTE: You have to love that the recent White House Deputy Chief of Staff writes an email entitled “The view from outside Washington”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

People want the Command Line?

Seriously are we still talking about this?

In the world of computer interfaces

  • command line = tell it in broken English what I want
  • GUI = tell it in pictures/metaphors what I want

I don’t want either!

We don’t need to tell it what we want. We need it to give us what we need naturally. We shouldn’t have to interpret our intentions for it. It should interpret our intentions for itself.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

They think we are intolerant?

I was a bit surprised to see the characterization of the reason for the Middle East rioting in response to the burning of the Koran in Florida. I heard this on TV and then found the reference on the web (my emphasis)

The small fire from the small Florida church has now spread all the way to Afghanistan where Muslims are outraged at what they believe is religious intolerance by Americans

Do the people writing this really believe that they think we are intolerant? Um, no. That is just projecting our world view onto their situation and misreading it poorly. They believe we are blasphemers and heretics which sort of explains their behavior. If you look at it as “you’re intolerant, I’m gonna riot!” then it makes no sense. If you look at it as “Burn the BLASHPHEMERS!” then it makes sense.