Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Toothpaste Question

Here is a question for anyone with a knowledge of dentistry.

When brushing my teeth, I usually brush everything once with toothpaste, then do one or more rinsing brushes with water. Is this appropriate, or are you supposed to brush the entire time without rinsing off the toothbrush?

That is all.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Goode News

The Goode Family is to be played in re-runs on Comedy Central starting in January. According to this article, it will play at 10:30 pm on Wednesdays following South Park.

Comedy Central has hinted that if the show performs well enough, they may resurrect it.

Although on time, things may be changing. According to this article, its starts on Monday Jan. 4.

I'll keep updating with date and time information as time goes on.

Mike Judge fans, this is your chance to help him keep his show!

I'll also report on internet alternatives (if any exist) for those who do not have cable.

That is all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The "Paradox of Thrift" in Reverse

It occurs to me that the "Paradox of Thrift" that Keynesians are so enamored of actually works in reverse. In fact, a lot fo Keynesian theory is simply the "Paradox of Thrift" in reverse, which is ultimately the source of the broken window fallacy.

Basically, the "Paradox of Thrift in Reverse", or the PoTiR, is the belief that since, for any business, more consumption of that business's products means more prosperity, then spending more in general creates more prosperity.

What the PoTiR ignores, of course, is that spending is limited by resources available, and that in the near term, we are dealing with a zero-sum game. Spending on kitchenware makes the spoon-makers prosperous, but it decreases what can be spent on glassware. Consumption in and of itself can only direct to which products resources go. Investment is needed for prosperity in the economy as a whole.

That is all.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

VDARE Needs Your Help!

Please donate to VDARE. They really need your help. I have already donated $35.00, despite the fact that I am being laid off at the end of the month. Please, someone who currently has a job, donate $100.00 and hep them in their time of need! I've done it before.

That is all.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Claims on Global Warming

Interesting claims by Christopher Booker about some of the data for climate change. He argues that the data used to support global warming is largely based on cherry-picked data points or on cherry-picked methods.

If someone has a good refutation of his claims, I'll link to that, as well.

That is all.

Announcements

Update:
With my new job, there is no need put the tip jar on my blog or to ask for advertisers.



Dear Glaivester readers:

Due to my pending unemployment, soon I will be putting a tip jar on my blog.

If you want to advertise on my blog, please email me.

If anyone wishes to hire me to write an opinion piece for their webmag or anything, one-off, long-term, anything, please let me know, either in the comments or by email. For samples of my writing, see "Greatest Hits" on the sidebar. Don't worry if there are typos, if I am getting paid I will be much better about proofreading.

I am only getting around 40 visits a day, but if I blog more often I may be able to increase this (if I do not find another job for awhile, I probably will blog more often).

That is all.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

GDP Data

Thank to fellow commenter Mike S at Yggy's, I found this marvelous site where you can enter in data from year to year and get GDP figures in all four important formats (nominal/real and overall/per capita) flung back at you for any year from 1790 onwards.

Very good for resolving arguments, that. By the way, Mike S is very wrong on economics.

That is all.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Junk Silver Pricing: Calculating the worth of Pre-1965 Dimes and Quarters

The face value of pre-1965 quarters and dimes is based on silver having a price of approximately $1.40 a troy ounce. You can calculate this from the fact that a pre-1965 quarter is about 1/5 troy ounce, and is about 90% silver.

This means that $1.25 is 0.9 troy ounces of silver. $1.25/.9 = $1.39.

So if you want to know the approximate spot value of your pre-1965 quarters and dimes, take the value of silver, and divide by $1.40. The coins are worth that many times their face value.

Currently, silver is $18.52/troy ounce. That comes out to about 13.23 times face vvalue.

So a pre-1965 dime is worth about $1.32, and a pre-1965 quarter is worth about $3.30.

That is all.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nicholas Stix Added to Blogroll

I should have done this ages ago, but I have added Nicholas Stix to my blogroll. It's nothing personal, it's just that I have not been doing much with my blog template for the past two or three years.

That is all.

Die for Diversity

Diversity is more important than the lives of our soldiers, says General Casey.

In fact, Casey is coming close to admitting the real liberal goal: the elimination of whites.

That is all.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Safari 4 Sucks

I need to have the reload and stop buttons in my toolbar, and the new Safari does not have that option.

I may switch to using Opera for everything if this is not fixed.

That is all.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Is Obama the Antichrist?

No.

Don't be an idiot.

Now, based on 1 John 2:22:

22: Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son

You may argue that Obama is an antichrist, depending on whether or not you believe that he is genuinely a Christian. But in such a case, the term "antichrist" is ultimately synonymous with "non-Christian," and would hardly give him any distinction.

But in terms of calling Obama "the Antichrist," as in the final world ruler, associated with the "Beast" of Revelation 13 (which can be taken to refer either to a person or to a satanic government system ruled by him), this is simply ridiculous.

There really needs to be an evangelical equivalent to "Godwin's Law."

That is all.

Hyper Monetary Devaluation - Why Has it Not Happened Yet?

Minyanville, via LewRockwell.com, explains.

That is all.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Liberal Mind at Work

Unless you are willing to agree that homosexual relationships are equally as valid as heterosexual ones and deserve to be called "marriage," you are hateful.

And that is not simplistic, disagreeing with that is simplistic.

All must bow before the Great God Equality, nothing is better or worse than anything else.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Buffer Theory of Austrian Economics

About a month ago, Steve Sailer had a post that directed me (along with other readers) to this article by Paul Krugman.

In the article, Krugman tried to refute hangover theory with the question:

And now as then, the whole notion falls apart when you ask why, say, a housing boom — which requires shifting resources into housing — doesn’t produce the same kind of unemployment as a housing bust that shifts resources out of housing.

At first this seems a weird question, as Scott comments

Seriously, Paul basically just asked “Why doesn’t hiring people create the same unemployment that firing does?”

But on second thought, the question does bring up a profound issue within Austrian *"hangover") theory:

Why does the period of malinvestment create so much false prosperity, and why cannot the jobs created during false prosperty be continued or similar jobs created during the bust, in order to obviate the recession? What allows bad investements to make the economy seem so profitable?

As Henry Canaday asks on Sailer's blog in the comments:

I think what Krugman is asking is why, supposing the housing bubble created real but sometimes economically wasteful jobs, cannot fiscal stimulus also create real, even if sometimes economically wasteful, jobs?

To understand this issue, one has, I think, to understand the concept of a savings buffer. This is what might at other times be thought of as hoarding, etc.

What it comes down to is this: in Austrian theory, production can either be put into consumption or savings. Consumption in this case means that the resources are put to a use that satisfies an immediate or personal need. Savings means that that which is produced is not consumed in such a manner. Generally, savings by one person can be put into another's consumption, with the debtor obligated to eventually return resources to the creditor in excess of what he has borrowed. However, net savings, that is, that which is saved and not consumed by others, provides the basis of investment.

Investment is the use of resources to create structures which can satisfy needs in the future. From an Austrian standpoint, investment is a subset of savings, because the goods are being used to increase future production, even if in some sense they are consumed. To give an example: using copper to produce wiring to electrify a television set is consumption. Using it to produce wire that is used in the building of a factory to produce TVs is investment. Another term used is good order; a good of the first order is consumed, a good of the second order is used to produce a good of the first order, a good of the third order is used to produce a good of the second order, etc. In this case, the TV would be a good of the first order, and the wire in the factory a good of the second order. If the wire was used in the manufacture of a construction vehicle used to build the factory, it would be a good of the third order, etc.

It is often said that investment equals savings, and in the long run, that is largely correct; that which is not consumed eventually gets put to use.

But there is a lag time. Steel is stored, both as ingots or as beams or other forms. Wood boards are kept in warehouses rather than being turned into finished products such as chairs. People have educations that they are not currently applying, etc. These things provide what can be thought of as a buffer. This buffer is similar to inventory in a warehouse, and serves much the same purpose. What is saved in the buffer can be later taken out for use in investment, or for consumption.

So to recap, production during a given period of time can be consumed, invested, or saved in the buffer.

It should be noted that the buffer is dynamic; many things are not stored in the buffer long-term; rather, new things are added while old thigns are taken away; much as a store that is increasing inventory still uses its inventory; it is just being replaced faster than it is being used.

What purposes does the buffer serve? Is it not just idling there purposelessly? Ought we not to reduce the size of the buffer and put all of those resources to use, as in Lean manufacturing?

Well, for the first thing, the buffer serves the purpose of buffering. At any given time, the amount of savings and the amount of investment may not match up exactly. This is particularly acute if you realize that savings and investment, while they are mediated by fungible cash, are not themselves fungible, at least not entirely so (Note: in the linked Sailer piece, I state that resources are fungible. That was stated poorly; my point was that resource use is interconnected and that using resources one place can reduce resource use in lots of unrelated sectors of the economy; I was not saying that resources or goods were completely interchangeable). Corn meal cannot be magically converted into iron, or an education, or wood. There are times when more of something is produced than is needed, and times when more is needed than is being produced. The buffer helps to smooth these things out; very few people want to have to buy or make everything exactly when they need it; it would be like going to the supermarket every day to get the food for that day, and to be dependent on whatever gets picked at the orchard / slaughtered at the slaughterhouse, etc. on that particular day.

In practice, we have some level of resources held in reserve to allow us to coordinate resource use over time rather than simply moment-to-moment or day-to-day. The surplus grows over time, causing prices to fall, which reduces the amount produced and increases the amount consumed or invested, or it shrinks, causing the prices to rise, increasing production and decreasing consumption and investment. The fact that there is a surplus allows this process to occur smoothly, rather than investment and consumption dropping every time there is a glitch in production (this would throw any long-term planning into chaos; no one could build or invest anything based on any plan, because they would have no idea what resources and how much would be available from day-to-day).

According to Austrian theory, the cause of the boom bust cycle is distortions in economic coordination caused by monetary expansion. Low interest rates and increased money supply cause people to assume that there are more savings than there are and that more resources are available to invest than are actually available. The explosion of investments is the boom, but because theese investments are not sustainable with the actual resources available, there is eventually a bust. (It should be pointed out that the inaccurate resource picture can also lead to increased consumption, which likewise reduces the resources available to complete the malinvestments).

But why the boom? Why are so many jobs created and why is there so much apparent prosperity during the boom?

The answer is simple: all of the apparent prosperity is caused by the consumption of the buffer.

But again, one might ask, isn't this a good thing? What about Lean? Doesn't that work and make things more efficient? Aren't we just bringing idle resources to use?

The problem, again, is that Lean requires intense coordination of a sort that is not possible in a non-centrally coordinated economy, and it is unlikely that the overall economy can be planned in this manner. Moreover, Lean is generally used for production of specific goods that have a predictable production pathway. It is not as useful when producing large heterogenous masses of goods or investing in new technology whose direction is difficult to predict.

Moreover, Lean requires a correct estimate of what is available in the future. A boom caused by monetary expansion is not an example of consciously shrinking the buffer in order to be more efficient; the buffer shrinks because people do not realize that they are consuming more than they are producing; they are overestimating what is being saved, and assumethat the buffer is not shrinking.

The bust occurs when some of the essential resources in the buffer run out, or become too hard to get cheaply. For a time, continued monetary manipulation can keep the economy apparently growing, because people are dipping further into the buffer, altering consumption and investment to use alternate resources of which there is still a surplus, or redirecting resources from producing things are still plentiful to the things that are in short supply.

Eventually, though, the buffer runs out. At this point, the bust must come, and the more depleted the buffer is, the more severe the bust is, because there is less time and there are fewer resources to ease the process of readjusting the economy.

That is why the jobs produced in the boom cannot be recreated in the bust. The resource buffer which funds the salaries that these jobs pay and the materials and whatnot that are required to do these jobs no longer exists. Therefore, any unnecessary or inefficient, unproductive, make-work jobs produced to help the bust will do nothing but take resources away from productive jobs done by productive workers.

This also explains the increase in savings and decrease in investment that you get during the bust; with a depleted buffer, investment cannot be greater than savings, and because perfect coordination of savings and investment is impossible, there is going to be a tendency for savings to exceed investment, thus increasing the buffer, until the buffer is large and diverse enough that it can make up for termporary savings deficits again.

So in short, the concept of the buffer explains why the boom period can have apparent prosperity, as well as why this same process cannot be used ameliorate the bust. This also explains why savings goes up during the bust, and does so much better than the Krugmanian idea that the savings causes the bust.

That is all.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Does Britney Spears Demean Marriage More than Same-Sex Marriage?

The long and the short of it is no, she does not. In fact, even divorce does not entirely undermine marriage as much as same-sex marriage, at least it doesn't as it is currently considered, although it could if some of the more radical people get their way.

As horrific as Britney's 55-hour marriage to Jason Allen Alexander (not to be confused with Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame), the fact of the matter is that it does little to hurt traditional marriage for most people because no one takes it seriously. What she did is a joke. People who get hitched and unhitched over the course of days or weeks are generally considered to be punchlines that everyone looks down on. There is little or no movement for the U.S. to make one-day long or one-week long marriages socially acceptable.

Even divorce is not looked at as a good thing, generally, but as a necessary evil. Very few people think of divorce as the natural end of a marriage. Almost everyone thinks of divorce as meaning that a marriage "failed," regardless of what folks like Kerry Howley and Meghan O'Rourke think.

The idea that marriage is by its nature only a temporary union and that divorce, rather than a way to end a relationship gone wrong, is simply the termination of such a union, could very well be seen as more disruptive than same-sex marriage, because it likewise degrades the traditional definition of what marriage is.

But the point is that no one sees it this way.

On the other hand, same-sex marriage is not out there to be seen as some sort of sop to those who cannot succeed as heterosexuals. It is not merely a concession to their weakness and inability. Rather, it is being set up as normal, natural, and as no better or worse than opposite-sex marriage (or, as I like to call it, "marriage."

The only way to make same-sex relationships equal to marriage is to degrade marriage to the same level as same-sex relationships. This is, by the way, why feminists who hate marriage are so gung-ho for same-sex marriage. The fact of the matter is, it isn't enough for the feminists and gay advocates, etc. to have their rights, they must tear down anything and everything that cannot easily be converted to become relevant to their lives.

That is all.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chronicles on Christianity and Pacifism

An interesting read.

That is all.

Thought on Gay Marriage

The fact of the matter is, no matter what the law says, two men or two women cannot get married.

Whatever their relationship is, it isn't marriage, and legalizing same-sex "marriage" is simply the same as calling a dog's tail a leg.

In point of fact, the best they can have is some sort of "civil union," a legal arrangement that provides some benefits, but that does not really transcend its status as a legal entity (not, mind you, that I am in favor of civil unions, but they are not as definitionally absurd as same-sex "marriage").

What legalizing same-sex "marriage" ultimately will do is to pull down opposite sex marriage (read real marriage) down to the level of civil union.

That is the true reason to oppose same-sex "marriage." By its very naturre it redefines marriage and removes the transcenent element to it.

Reading back through my archives, I find out that this is not the first time I've made this argument, but I still think that it bears repeating.

That is all.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Read Between the Lines

Assuming that there is not anything more that we are not being told, this story about a 6-year-old facing 45 days in reform school for bringing his cub scout knife to class, has an obvious racial subtext.

Education experts say that zero-tolerance policies initially allowed authorities more leeway in punishing students, but were applied in a discriminatory fashion. Many studies indicate that African-Americans were several times more likely to be suspended or expelled than other students for the same offenses.

Translation: African-American students were, on average, less well-behaved, and if people exercised sensible discretion, this fact would actually be reflected in the statistics. So sensible discretion is not allowed.

Update:Why do I have the feeling that "for the same offenses" conflates bringing a cooking utensil to school with, e.g., playing mumblety-peg (link goes to wikipedia article on mumblety-peg, not to any news story)?

That is all.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Austrian Thoughts

I think that Arnold Kling here describes the major problem with most schools of macroeconomic thought:

DeLong is of course living in the macroeconomic world where we do not worry about Recalculation. Instead, we all work in one giant GDP industry, and for some mysterious reason many of our GDP factories have shut down, so that government must build and operate some GDP factories to keep us all employed.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Steve Sailer.

That is all.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Liberalism in Full Swing

According to this piece at TPMCafe, opposing same-sex marriage, an idea that was considered joke until, what, ten or fifteen years ago, is comparable to torture.

It is simply amazing how the left has co-opted the issue to make it seem as if being against same-sex marriage is radically reactionary, even though it is not yet legally recognized in most states.

It really seems as if the process ziel describes here is on steroids on this issue.

That is all.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Thoughts on the "Conservative Bible Project"

Via TPMCafe, and then BeliefNet, I found out about "The Conservative Bible Project."

According to the Project, the goal of the Conservative Bible Project is to create a Bible which satisfies the gollowing ten guidelines:


(1) Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias

(2) Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, "gender inclusive" language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity

(3)Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level[3]

(4)Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop;[4] defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle".

(5) Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as "gamble" rather than "cast lots";[5] using modern political terms, such as "register" rather than "enroll" for the census

(6) Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.

(7) Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning

(8)Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story

(9) Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels

(10) Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word "Lord" rather than "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" or "Lord God."


So what do I think?

Well, let's deal with this one piece at a time.

(1) It's a good idea to the extent that the goal is to avoid a bias which reinterprets passages away from what they are intendend to mean. However, the goal ought to be to neutralize bias as much as possible to get the the original meaning, not just to eliminate bias in a particular direction; one gets the concern that the goal here is not merely to remove any liberal biases but to add a conservative bias. To the extent that the goal is accuracy, which is what the goal ought to be, one should be less concerned with eliminating any particular bias and should attempt to sort through all of the biases from all directions in order to correctly interpret the Bible. Specifically looking for bias from one direction practically guarantees a bias in the opposite direction.

This is not to say that any translation may not have some biases in it, but one should not deliberately seek to impose their bias on scripture.

(2) Avoiding unisex terms is a good idea if it follows the translation; that is to say that it is a good thing not to unisexualize things that were not originally written as unisex. So this is a good idea (unless of course the translators decide to insert gender into some passage where it isn't mentioned.

Unless there is some inappropriate gender neutralization in the King James Version about which I am unaware, it seems to me that this is simply a matter of not going the route of the more liberal modern translations. It does not require any drastic reinterpretations or re-translations, as this has only been an issue in Bible translations recently.

(3) I agree that the Bible should not be dumbed down. Translations should strive to keep the original nuances to the extent possible.

(4) As with #1, this is a good idea only to the extent that one is trying to correct mistranslations or to clarify translations to get closer to their original meaning. It is also not a bad idea to re-translate terms if the meaning of the terms has changed since the last translation. However, again I think there is a problem in that the goal here is not so much to translate the words correctly as to make certain that the translations are charged in the "correct" way. This could spell trouble.

Moreover, sometimes some terms are best expressed by giving the word a context-dependent meaning; for example, I believe that the reference to Jesus as "the Word," or "logos" has particular overtones in Greek. It may be better to try to understand the Greek concept of "the Word" and to understand that it has a meaning all its own rather than to try to find a more precise English word and then to assume that the new word completely captures the concept being referred to.

(5) There are problems here in that in some cases, using modern terms may help to clarify what is being discussed, but in others, the specific terms and idioms being used are necessary for understanding the context. Substituting "gambling" for "casting lots" may make a passage more understandable, but if "Casting lots" referred to a specific game, we lose some precision.

(6) Accepting the logic of Hell just means not watering down what the Bible already says. We don't need a new translation for that, most modern translations that are not explicitly watered down accept the logic of Hell. This is hardly a universal problem.

(7) Explanations of the parables beyond what Jesus says is best done in commentary. It is a bad idea to try and add interpretation into the text, or to deliberately re-translate a parable with the goal of adding in your political philosophy.

(8) While there is some merit in trying to determine whether some of the disputed passages ought to be included or not, it would be, I think, a mistake to put such passages as the story of the adulterous woman in the same category as modern liberal revisions of the Bible. Put another way, the passage "he who is without sin" should not be regarded in the context of whether it is "liberal" or "conservative." Even if you argue for its exclusion, to label it "liberal" immediately suggests that you are leaving it out for reasons other than scholarship.

(9) I'm not certain what "crediting open-mindedness" means. If he is saying that we need to point out that the disciples were convinced by Jesus' actiosn and that their faith was maintained by his faithfulness rather than by cult loyalty, well, while that is true, I'm not certain why we would want to continually assert references into the text. If there is some other, arcane, policial meaning - well, I have no idea what it is, but I would be cautious about trying to ascribe any modern political stance to the disciples.

(10) The last one is definitely a bad idea. Other than the contradiction with #3 (also pointed out at TPMCafe and by Dreher at BeliefNet), the fact of the matter is that wordiness creates nuance. Yahweh/Jehovah, Adonai, Elohim, all of this terms have different connotations when referring to God. Attempts to make passages concise could distort or remove meaning.

In short, while I am not averse to re-translations of the Bible aimed at improving accuracy and precision and at removing previous distortions, I do not think that doing so should be done explicitly politically, so the general idea of a "Conservative Bible" is very dangerous.

That is all.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Roman Polanski

Shouldn't the U.S. have sent out assassins to get this bastard by now?

That is all.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Because, You Know, Rapists Want to Prevent Rape

Via Alas, a bunch of rape-prevention tips that are guaranteed to work, because, you know, preventing rape is the foremost goal of the person committing rape.

The reason why most advice on preventing rape is given to potential victims rather than potential rapists is the same reason that advice on preventing computer virus infection is given to potential victims rather than the people writing the virus. Namely, because they are the ones with the incentive to prevent it.

The only situation in which giving a potential rapist rape prevention advice makes sense is if that person is either at risk of raping "accidentally" (i.e. they get so drunk that they atack someone without knowing what they are doing), if they are engaging in activities that make them more aggressive with greater potential for attacking someone (e.g. taking steroids) but are ignorant of how that might affect their sexual behavior, or if they are truly ignorant of the requirements for consent.

For most rapists, who either want to violate their victims or who are simply indifferent to their victims' desires, such advice falls on deaf ears and is more feel-good pablum.

I previously made fun of this sort of thing here.

More on this later.

That is all.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Review of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra [SPOILERS]

Overall, it was a very decent film.

It did something that Transformers (the first film, I am not paying for a movie ticket to see the sequel to such trash as the first movie) did not do; namely, it managed to transpose the characters from the cartoon into a slightly more realistic-feeling setting quite believably. And it did not get lost dealing with the exploits of new characters created just for the movie or with unimportant side characters.

The movie is very big on special effects, and not very big on introspection or on the analysis of war, but, if you want to see that, don't go to a movie based on the 80s version of a toy franchise.

However, there were a few flaws.

I didn't like the Baroness' backstory. She should be German/Russian with a heavy accent, and should have chosen to be evil. The idea of her as one of the good guy's former love interests, and as a mind-controlled pawn, really don't do her character any good. She's supposed to be a former sudent radical with the hots for the chrome-domed one, for Pete's sake!

At the end, Cobra Commander was given a voice that should have gone to Destro. Cobra Commander should have had a higher-pitched, whinier voice, like the original Chris Latta voice. That's one of the iconic aspects to the character. But the backstory makes more sense than the Cobra-La backstory of the cartoon.

There is an implication that Cobra Commander's nano-facial surgery put Destro under some form of control at the end - maybe not mind control, but it is implied that he has Destro at his mercy and can give Destro great pain if he so wishes. That would be a bit of character decay, as Destro has always been portrayed as being very independent-minded. But the idea of Destro having a metal face rather than actually wearing a mask makes sense - his original appearance, with a fully-expressive metal mask, realy can only be duplicated by him having a metal face.

Finally, I think that Zartan should have had the mask/eye tattoos/whatever that he had in the original series, and that the long hair/hood that he wore would have been good as well. At least he should have had it in one scene, to make the connection with the cartoon counterpart more explicit.

I hope that if there is a sequel that we can see more of Dr. Mindbender. And he reall does need his monocle and menacing moustache.

That is all.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thinking About The Boondocks

A year or two ago, I watched The Boondocks on Cartoon Network a lot.

One thing that struck me was, for all of the supposed liberal slant of Aaron MacGruder, a whole lot of the commentary seemed to be criticizing the detrimental aspects of black culture and in trying to suggest to black people to get their acts together.

Moreover, a lot of the more biting criticism at white people seemed to be directed particularly at the Stuff White People Like Crowd.

For example, one of my favorite moments occurs after Uncle Ruckus gets up on stage and starts singing "Don't trust them new n*****s over there." All of the white people at the posh garden party stare at each other, and then someone pipes up "I think it's okay when THEY say it." Suddenly everyone looks relieved and begins clapping mindlessly (previously they were all applauding all of Huey's paranoid rants while obviously ignoring their content).

I can think of very little that is as funny as skewering the effete.

That is all.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

If You Can't Say Something Nice, Don't Say Anything at All

With that in mind, here are my thoughts on Ted Kennedy:

That is all.

Not Getting It about G.I. Joe

I find the last few paragraphs of this piece by Alyssa Rosenberg to be hilarious. Apparently she is criticizing the recent G.I. Joe movie for not portraying war realisitically enough; for ignoring collateral damage, for being too derivative, for making the military organization too independent of government oversight, and for focusing too much on the cool hardware.

Folks, it's a movie based on a cartoon and toy line from the 1980s aimed at boys of single-digit age (yes, I know that the dolls are older than that, but the G.I. Joe characters that we know today basically were not created until the 80s).

I'm not defending the movie. It may be horrible, as the first live-action Transformers was (I'm not looking at the second until it comes out on DVD, and maybe not even then). Buyt Transformers was bad on its own terms; the robots were unrecognizable, too much of the plot revolved around the humans, the human were played too much for comic relief, etc. You don't go to watch Transformers and then claim that it was a bad movie because it had unrealistic giant robots.

And that's the problem. Ms. Rosenberg is looking for a nuanced portrayal of war from a movie that is supposed to be about colorful soldiers with amusing gimmicks fighting over-the-top villain stereotypes. Obviously, the movie will be more sophisticated than the cartoon (although the cartoon was, for what it was, fairly sophisticated (just Google "There's no place like Spingfield"), but first and foremost the movie has to be about the things that make G.I. Joe cool, two of which are the reduced level of moral complexity and the cartoony violence.

That is all.

Friday, August 07, 2009

PETER SCHIFF MONEYBOMB!!!!!

The Schiff for Senate 2010 Exploratory Committee has a moneybomb scheduled for today (that's an attempt to raise large amounts of cash on one day).

I gave $50.00. Consider giving as well.

Rand Paul has something going on as well. I'll deal with that soon.

That is all.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Thought on Hiroshima

As I have said before, I think that the moral rightness of the bomb drop on Hiroshima is contingent upon two issues:

(1) Could we have achieved the surrender of the Japanese without either the bombing or an invasion if we had chosen to negotiate a surrender rather than insisting on an unconditional surrender?

(2) Is there any reason why a conditional surrender that would be acceptable to Japan should not be acceptable to us?

If the bombs were truly the only way to prevent a land invasion, or if a conditional surrender would have had horrible consequences, then the Hiroshima bombing was justified. If the Allies had good reason to assume either of those two things, the bombing was also justified - or, more precisely, the decision to bomb was justified given the knowledge that they had at the time. Otherwise, I think that the bombing was not justified.

There are basically two points that I think are important to consider whenever thinking about Hiroshima )or World War II in general):

(1) Is the demand for unconditional surrender a good thing to have in a war? Perhgaps in some wars it is the right way to fight, but I think that the tendency amongst some philosophers and pundits to look at unconditional surrender as a necessiity in any modern war is rather misguided/

(2) Hiroshima and Nagasaki were extreme decisions under extreme circumstances. They ought not to be considered universal precedents, as some pundits and commentariat would have them be (e.g. the desire to flatten the "Sunni triangle" in Iraq).

That is all.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Another Flaw of Keynesianism

It recently came to my attention that Keynesianism has a second flaw beyond what I deem "the Keynesian fallacy."

(The Keynesian fallacy is the belief that the circulation of money is the prime determinant of the health of the economy; if money circulates a lot, it creates wealth).

It recently occurred to me that Keynesianism has another fallacy associated with it: the belief that capital goods and labor are completely fungible (or as William Anderson puts it, "homogenous").
Therefore, whenever aggregate demand is too low, the solution is simply to increase aggregate demand, rather than to consider whether the specific demands and productions are miscoordinated or whether production is geared up to meet demand. For example, if there is a glut of rubber tires, the goal becomes to find a way to use all those tires rather than to divert production of tires towards the production of something that is more in demand.

So as a result, you hear statements about how government stimulus will definitely help the economy without costing anything or without crowding out private investment, because there are so many idle resources that will go to waste if they are not used, which the government can use. And, according to this way of thinking, as long as we have high unemployment, there is excess labor so there is no danger of the government diverting resources by employing people.

Generally, this theoretical framework can be summed up by this quote from Dean Baker:

The Post is also worried about the deficit, telling readers that there is a limited supply of capital in the world and that we are borrowing too much. Actually, for practical purposes there is not a limited supply of capital in the world when the United States and most of the other wealthy countries are seeing double-digit unemployment. We can pretty much spend whatever we want without coming up against resource constraints. (Unemployment -- means excess labor supply, get it?)

This, of course, is based on the assumptions that (a) labor is the only resource constraint, and (b) all labor is fungible.

The fact of the matter is that (a), there are raw materials and technological constraints that government can push us to the limit of, regardless of employment, and (b) that a glut in labor does not necessarily mean that there are no labor shortages in certain sectors.

Definitely government can crowd out the use of raw materials, technological infrastructure, and land, even when there is high unemployment. Moreover, government could wind up exacerbating unemployment problems if the stimulus creates demand for jobs that require skills that in short supply. This could, in turn, reduce production at other levels, thus causing the labor glut in other sectors to get worse as demand for jobs declines in that sector.

For an example of the first problem, let's say that the government spends money on building asphalt bike paths and on building new highways into largely untraveled areas (like the famous "bridge to nowhere") in the hopes of getting more settlement in those areas. That could deplete our supplies of the raw materials needed to make asphalt, and thus cost jobs that are involved in making other goods that require those same raw materials. Alternately, the spot the government takes for its road might have been used to build a factory, or some other facility that society might find more useful. This is not to say that spending money on repairing roads or on building new roads in necessarily bad (although what the federal government's role should be in such things is an issue in its own right), but it is untrue to suggest that it is costless and does not represent a drain on other potential uses of resources. In any case, any such project would need to be justified on its own terms, quite apart from its effect as a stimulus.

For an example of the second, let's say that the government decides to put the unemployed to work. There is a glut of people skilled in construction. Therefore, the government sets about trying to create more office buildings to put lots of construction workers back to work. What if, however, it turns out that these buildings also need engineers, and that, due to lots of people with a mathematical background getting into the financial industry instead of engineering (due to the recent investment bubble), there is a shortage of qualified engineers (building houses requiring fewer engineers than building large office buildings), meaning that increasing construction will take the engineers out of other occupations that require them? Then these industries will not be as successful and will lay people off, as they cannot find the number of engineers that they need in order to produce goods and employ people in the other positions in their business.

The obvious solution, of course, would be to get more people to become engineers. But (a) not everyone has the aptidue to become an engineer, and (b) there will be a delay because it takes time to train someone in that field.

In the absence of government intervention, there will still be some maldistribution of resources, as the market process may take time to get things into equilibrium (after all, learning certain professions takes time in any system). But the problem is that the government intervention, being isolated from direct market signals, is as likely to exacerbate a shortage as to solve one.

The problem with Keynesianism in regards to supply and demand ultimately boils down to the fact that it oversimplifies supply and demand into one homogenous mass, therefore eliminating a key element of the economy: diversity of resources. This causes Keynesian policy to become largely about coordinating the overall level of supply and demand, and to assume that all economic problems can be solved by adding or subtracting consumption. This, in turn, leads to all of the nonsense where simply increasing the number of exchanges is seen to be the same things as creating actual goods, which brings us back to the original "Keynesian fallacy."

That is all.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You Mean You'd Like to See them Nominate Someone Like Ron Paul?

Conor Friedersdorf really ought to at least pay lip service to him in this post at Sully's:

What I'd like to see in 2012 is a Republican nominee willing to apply these insights [e.g. about governmental incompetence and and the limits of human nature] -- all of which he or she will surely profess to believe -- to matters of foreign policy.

That is all.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Good Point

Over at Unqualified Offerings, Thoreau makes a good point, one that occurred to me but that I had never bothered to formulate or blog on:

Essentially, it boils down to if lawyers' legal opinions - later deemed incorrect - on an issue such as torture are used to absolve the people responsible for carrying out the orders of accontability, then the lawyers should be held accountable.

Despite talking points by a lot of neoconservative talk-show hosts about how liberals are trying to censor legal opinions, the fact of the matter is that by offering an opinion in an official capacity that encourages illegal behavior, the lawyer is more or less guilty of legal malpractice.

It is one thing to express an opinion as a private citizen, or to argue as to what the law should be. But to give legal advice with the express intent of making an act okay that would not be okay without the advice - that's not okay.

Of course, we need to see how deep this thing goes. One or two issues can be chalked up to political differences. But if there are consistent issues where a lawyer has advised the government to break the law, at a certain point accountability needs to be had.

That is all.

Do (Did) Criminally-Charged Holocaust Deniers Deserve Asylum?

I'm of two minds on this.

On the one hand, laws prohibiting Holocaust denial are a violation of free speech. The hypocrisy of Judge Peters in giving asylum for a terrorist but not for people whose only "crime" was writing something, however false and horrible, is blatantly apparent.

On the other hand, I vehemently disagree with Holocaust denial and I also believe that the vast majority of Holocaust denial is not done in good faith. While what the British government is doing to Messrs. Sheppard and Whittle is unjust, I am unlikely to shed a tear over them.

Should we have asylumed them? While I am not inclined to say that we should have, they are likely no worse than other people we have asylumed in the past. Perhaps, then, that is the problem; not our unwillingness to asylum people in cases where the issue (free speech for genocide deniers) is politically incorrect, but our willingness to grant asylum when the issue is politically correct.

I would probably be okay with making overall asylum policy much tighter, provided it applied to everyone equally. It may sound selfish, but this is a British problem involving Brits on one side and Brits on the other, and I am not inclined to intervene directly. Definitely I don't feel a sense of owing anything to Messrs. Sheppard and Whittle.

Having said that, I would be much more disturbed if the U.S. adopted similar laws here, ironically enough for the old Martin Niemoller reason, that if we let them (i.e. the government) come for the unpopular, even the evil, in an unjust way, eventually they'll come for us as well. But having said that, I am not terribly inclined to try have us try to deal with other countries' problems on this front, unless of course, it involves the other country enforcing unjust laws against U.S. citizens or, to a lesser extent permanent residents.

That is all.

Sailer on Guinier on Ricci

An excellent takedown by Steve Sailer.

In particular, I am annoyed by this statement of Guinier's:

When a city replaces a bad test, as New Haven wanted to do, the employees who did well on it do not lose their right to compete for promotions

No, they did not lose their right to compete, but they lost their right to a promotion that they had earned. Also, if you can only compete as long as the deck is stacked toward a certain income, then you do in some sense lose your right to compete, as you lose whether you pass or fail.

That is all.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sandra Tsing Loh on Marriage

I think that this piece can be best summed up as "marriage isn't fulfilling for a self-absorbed, stuck-up jerk."

Ultimately, most modern takes on marriage or family or whatnot always seem to end with the author suggesting that marriage is an outdated institution that needs to be changed to be less permanent, and if children are involved seem to suggest that we reallly would be better off if parents didn't bother to raise their children so much and let the society, daycare, and schools do more of the heavy lifting (although Ms. Loh's doesn't touch as much on the subject of children).

Ultimately, all of these things seem to come out of the convicion of the author that she (or occasionally he) is the most important person in the world and that the overweening purpose of her life is to be entertained and fulfilled. Children, spouses, pets - ultimately nothing else must get in the way of their bliss.

I confess to somewhat have some of the same personality tendencies myself; but then again, that is why I'm still single, because I'm smart enough to realize that until I mature enough to do so, I should not take on the responsibility of a marriage -or, for that matter, a serious relationship.

(And before anyone thinks that I am advocating a "free love" lifestyle, I am also a virgin).

That is all.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A New Sponsor

Glaivester has a new sponsor!

It is at the top of the right side bar.

This site deals with information about prepaid (i.e. pay-as-you-go) phone plans as an alternative to "traditional" cell phone plans that require greater commitments on your part.

Please note that this is an advertisement, and that Glaivester is not affiliated with or responsible for the content and claims of the site.

That is all.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Whoever Wins, We Lose

Obama vs. Bernanke, article by Vox Day.

I also find the quote from Bernanke at the 2002 dinner to honor Milton Friedman to be hilarious:

Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You're right, we did it. We're very sorry. But thanks to you, we won't do it again.

He's right, they did do it. But not for the reasons that he thinks (being too tight with monetary expansion), in fact, almost entirely the reverse.

That is all.

I Know that I am being Slow to Point this Out

But This is bad news for the "audit the Fed" campaign.

However, we must press on to get the bill passed in the House, after which we can worry about the Senate.

That is all.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What They Are Not Reporting

I recently saw this little tidbit on Alas, a Blog, discussing a black man who was apparently assaulted for no reason by a cop.

It is interesting that in the first full pragraph of Ampersand's commentary on the occurence, he says:

Although the assaulted man — like nearly all of the protesters — was Black, none of the news reports I’ve seen have pointed out that these assaults have a racist and sexist aspect. But although all kinds of people are assaulted by cops, the victims in these stories seem to be disproportionately brown-skinned men (both African-American and Latino).

Note though, that never once does he mention the fact that the officer, Joseph J. Rios III, is Latino himself, something that he should have at least wondered about, given the almost certainly Latino name.

Considering that if this had been a white cop, Ampersand would have been all out talking about the officer's white privilege, etc., I think that it is downright dishonest not to point out that the cop here was, actually, a "person of color," by the usual definition (where "person of color" means any person other than a non-Hispanic white).

Fortunately enough, a letter writer at VDARE points out Rios' ethnicicty.

Why is this important? No, not because it should be used against Latinos who wish to become policemen. It is important because of the tremendous anti-white (or more specifically, anti-non-Hispanic white) mentality of the "anti-racism" crowd.

That is all.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Matt Yglesias, Climate Change, and Race

In a recent column, Matt Yglesias opines:

As clowns like Representative Todd Akin (R-MO) are wont to point out, the scale of the average temperature shift associated with catastrophic climate change is not especially large relative to ordinary fluctuations in the weather. In other words, in most parts of the world summer is much hotter than winter, and the summer-winter gap exceeds the sort of changes associated with carbon emissions. If you’re dumb, this becomes a reason to get blasé about climate change. If you understand the issue, you understand that even modest structural shifts in the climate can have enormous impacts—shifting rainfall patterns, altering sea levels, massively increasing the odds of extreme weather, etc.

I wonder if Yglesias will be honest enough to use this same analysis on the canard that "differences within races are greater than differences between races."

Actually, I lie. I don't wonder at all. I am pretty certain what he will do.

That is all.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Ampersand and Leftist Deception

Reading this post on Alas, a Blog gives a little insight as to how leftists operate - getting the camel's nose in the tent, and doin it through deception and deceitful double standards:

Discussing New Hampshire's new Same-Sex "Marriage" law, and the religious exemption, primary Alas-blogger Ampersand says:

Benefits are another form of pay, and giving churches the right to pay some queer employees less is an expression of second-class citizenship for queers. (If a church wanted the right to refuse spousal benefits to Jewish or atheist employees, would people be so quick to find that reasonable?)

Translation: All that business about separation of church and state - I was lying when I said that. Separation only goes one way - the church should not influence the state. The state has every right to impose its morality on the church.

But I’d rather have equal marriage for same-sex couples, and then work on fine-tuning this aspect later, than not have gay marriage at all.

Translation: All that stuff about same-sex marriage law not forcing churches to participate in or recognize marriages that they disapprove of - that's just what we say to pacify them. We'll keep it like that until we win the battle. If we have to let them keep their silly little moral ideas in order to get same-sex "marriage," then fine. We'll let them have it for now. Later we can get to the business of forcibly re-educating them, like Canada is doing.

When the folks at Alas start expressing concerns over Canadian "human rights tribunals," about German persectuion of homeschoolers, or about the announced intentions of the President of Brazil to persecute "homophobes," I will take seriously their claims to give a fig about religious freedom.

However, I suspect that what they will actually do is find little weaselly ways to claim that opposing the rights of the religious in these cases is the true "pro-freedom" position, claim that the laws and policies in question are not really restrictive of religious freedoms at all, suggest that well, rights are for the "oppressed," after all, and these people are really just oppressors, and a hundred other forms of double-think to allow them to support the suppression of their enemies while maintaining a pretense of freedom.

Once they have the power, they won't care a white about "tolerance."

That is all.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Thoughts on the Tiller Murder

I wonder how many of the left who are accusing the pro-life movement of contributing to the death of Dr. George Tiller because of their [the pro-life movement's] rhetoric are willing to accept any blame for the role that leftist "anti-racist" and "anti-xenophobic" rhetoric played in contributing to the assassination of Pim Fortuyn.

That is all.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

What Measure is a Non-Queer?

Via Alas, we get this defense of transgender people deceiving sexual partners about their status from "Polymorphous perversity" here and here.

What bothers me about these posts is not the legal argument, which seems to be reasonable and fairly well thought out, but the overall sense that such deception is not particularly morally wrong.

Specifically, PP says:

On the general principle that causing avoidable emotional distress to others is wrong, one could easily recognize a moral imperative to disclose some information to potential partners who might be upset by it. All the moreso in situations where the potential partner will be unwittingly involved in unethical behavior (as with a cheating spouse) or exposed to tangible risks (as with a sexually transmitted infection). While others might disagree, I am hesitant to recognize a strong imperative of this sort on the basis of membership in any socially marginalized group.

Translation: Transgendered people are victims, so that makes deceit for the purpose of eliciting sex OK.

The suggestion that transgender people who fail to disclose their gender history to sexual partners are themselves perpetrators of sexual violence owes more to horror of transgender people themselves, and of perceived "homosexual" acts, than to legal interpretation.

Translation: If you prefer sex with "cis-gendered" people (i.e. normal people, whose "gender identity" matches their physical sex) than with transgendered, or if you object to engaging in homosexual acts, you are simply a bigot and your preferences should not matter, and such deceit is okay, because it is in the service of overcoming bigotry.

Ampersand of Alas, showing his usual high level of concern about the rights of normal people, "highly recommends" this post.

Which just goes to show that the radical queer left (i.e. those who basically wish to tear down all sexual and gender norms) ultimately has little or no concern for the rights, sensibilities, and desires of anyone who is not part of their community and who does not share their views.

That is all.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Problem with Same-Sex "Marriage"

The problem really comes down to the fundamental issue fo what marriage is.

When you allow for same-sex "marriage" you are left with only two options:

(1) Have (at least) two different kinds of marriage, one for opposite-sex couples and one for same-sex couples. This is part of the reason why some people were pushing the marriage-look-alike alternative "civil unions." The problem is that our current ethos of equality will never allow this, as it is "separate" and therefore not "equal."

(2) Redefine marriage for everyone by turning it into a gender-neutral institution. The whole concept of marriage as it exists in our culture is based on the complementarity of the sexes. Such terms as "bride" "groom" "husband" and "wife" are explicitly based on heterosexual unions and do not really fit into same-sex unions. The only way to truly make the unions equal is to basically redefine the terms we use and the way that we think of heterosexual marriage in order to conform it to the same-gender model. Of course, this is what a lot of people want; traditional marriage is "sexist" or "heterosexist" to them, and terms such as "bride" and "groom" are "heteronormative," which is apparently supposed to be a bad thing.

That is ultimately what this story is about; the inexorable result of same-sex marriage is to define normal marriage down so as to make it equivalent to the ame-gender variety, and to take all of the particulars that make marriage what it is and to eliminate them. And they scoff at the idea that same-sex marriage will weaken marriage: "how," they ask, "will letting more people get married weaken marriage?" The answer, of course, is that it will weaken marriage by removing the particulars that make marriage marriage.

If I were to insist that Rush Limbaugh's (or Randall Terry's) ideas were to be labelled "feminist" or that Jesse Helms be placed in the camp of the "anti-racists," the leftists would have a field day. Obviously in that case they can see why increasing their nominal number weakens, and not strengthens, them. But in the end they do not care about marriage, or see it as a mere legal contract no different than, say a business partnership, so the idea that the same principle applies is completely foreign to them.

That is all.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sorry About Lack of Posting

I've been working to re-build the Constitution Party of Maine, to find a new job before my current job expires (I'm being laid off later this year) and to get my apartment cleaned up a little. I'll try to post more when I am not so busy.

That is all.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Please Don't Ask Questions Which Could Invalidate Me

More from Andrew:

One of Andrew's readers asks:

when you talk about "social incentives for stable relationships" and ask questions like, "Do you think that straight men would be more or less socially responsible without the institution of civil marriage?" it sounds like an affront to the way of life I have freely chosen.

Too bad. These are legitimate questions and should be asked by sociologists, whether or not you don't like them being asked.

That is all.

Blair Should Leave the Catholic Church, or Should Shut the Hell Up

Via Andrew Sullivan, I find this little gem about Tony Blair:

Tony Blair has challenged the “entrenched” attitudes of the Pope on homosexuality, and argued that it is time for him to “rethink” his views.

Speaking to the gay magazine Attitude, the former Prime Minister, himself now a Roman Catholic, said that he wanted to urge religious figures everywhere to reinterpret their religious texts to see them as metaphorical, not literal, and suggested that in time this would make all religious groups accept gay people as equals.


I am not exactly certain how statements that homosexual behavior is wrong can be taken "metaphorically." It is not that there are no parts of the Bible that are metaphorical (Daniel and Revelation obviously have a great deal of metaphor in them). It's not that there are not parts that some people take literally and others metaphorically (the Creation story). It's that there is no reasonable way to take the parts of the Bible that speak against homosexual behavior and interpret them as a metaphor for something else.

What Blair means, of course, is that he wants religious figures to ignore those parts of the Bible as not relevant because they are not convenient to our modern society.

Asked about the Pope’s stance, Mr Blair blamed generational differences and said: “We need an attitude of mind where rethinking and the concept of evolving attitudes becomes part of the discipline with which you approach your religious faith.”

Translation: actually believing what your religion says is something that only old fuddy-duddies do.

In the interview Mr Blair... implied that he believed the Pope to be out of step with the public.

So what? The Pope is a Catholic, not a Humanist. It's not his job to be "in stpe with the public."

[Blair said]: "I think what is interesting is that if you went into any Catholic Church, particularly a well-attended one, on any Sunday here and did a poll of the congregation, you’d be surprised at how liberal-minded people were."

How many religions actually teach that the public gets to vote on God's rules? What difference does it make what Catholics want to be true?

[Blair] said: “When people quote the passages in Leviticus condemning homosexuality, I say to them — if you read the whole of the Old Testament and took everything that was there in a literal way, as being what God and religion is about, you’d have some pretty tough policies across the whole of the piece.”

This is the only thing he said that is actually halfway decent, as it actually brings up the question of whether or not the Bible should be the authority, as opposed to sidestep the question of the Bible as much as possible and exploring the two sides of the issue in entirely humanistic terms.

The problem is that there are passages in the New Testament disapproving of homosexuality as well. The idea that no such passages exist generally come from people who assume that the four gospels are the entirety of the New Testament.

He continued: “What people often forget about, for example, Jesus or, indeed, the Prophet Muhammad, is that their whole raison d’être was to change the way that people thought traditionally.”

No, not exactly. At least not in Jesus' case, whose whole raison d’être (in terms of his reason for being on Earth as a human) was to die for our sins. I suppose you could argue this in Muhammad's case, as his mission was explicitly to convert people to a particular religion (i.e. change the way they think). (Put another way, Jesus' mission centered around Himself as the way to salvation whereas Muhammad's person was less essentially to Islamic theology).

In any case, though, their missions involved changing the way people thought in order to conform their thoughts to God's. Blair wants people to change the way they think so as to make their thoughts more pleasing to other men. The fact that you want to change the way people think does not make you correct.

Conventional wisdom was not necessarily wise, [Blair] said. “It can be wrong and it can be just a form of conservatism that hides behind a consensus. If you look back in time, through the suffragette movement, the fight against slavery, it’s amazing how the same arguments in favour of prejudice crop up again and again and again.”

Translation: Blair's real religion is liberalism, i.e. non-discrimination uber alles, as Lawrence Auster would put it.

Two things come out of this for me:

(1) Blair joined the Catholic Church two years ago and now thinks that he can lecture the Pope on what Catholicism should be, as a Catholic. This, for some reason, seems to be a very Blair-y thing to do. It seems to me that if he didn't like the Church's teachings, he should not have joined. At the very least, to join such an institution and then only two years later try to change it because it doesn't fit your trendy beliefs is rather arrogant.

(2) Blair a while back supported antidiscrimination legislation that forced the Church to close the doors of its adoption agencies in the UK in order to perform adoptions within its moral teachings. Often the liberal line on homosexual issues is that "you can believe what you want, but your beliefs should not be the basis of law." It is becoming increasingly clear that this is not the real agenda, however. The real agenda is to use every tool at their disposal to steamroll over anyone who does not affirm heartily the moral equaliy of homosexuality and heterosexuality. They will attempt to use societal disapproval to try to silence the holdout churches, and eventually to silence them through law. I think that the real humanist agenda of the left is on display here, and should serve as a warning for everyone who thinks that the left will ever be tolerant of disagreement with its fundamental non-discriminatory dogmas.

That is all.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Gadsby: Champion of Youth

Start at this link to find a most intriguing work.

Why is Gadsby so intriguing? It is told if you click and look fastidiously. I will not say, but try to look at the book and find by your own work what is so intriguing first, only upon doing this should you look out for the solution from a body that is not you.

That is all.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

America's Half-Blood Prince Review

I always enjoy Steve Sailer’s movie reviews in The American Conservative. Although some find his “reductionist” method of analyzing movies to be rather dull, I find it fascinating to deal with the topic of why things happen in movies the way that they do, and how an actor or director’s experiences and background affect the message they send. Certainly, a boring, confusing, or otherwise annoying movie can be made much more interesting in my opinion by describing why some of the annoying conventions exist, rather than simply looking at them as blemishes on the movie. In addition, this often allows Sailer to bring out facts about human nature and to connect everything to everything else, allowing for some beautiful explicatory analogies.

Another of Mr. Sailer’s talents is his mastery of the written deadpan snark. He will often shoot off a phrase in his blog that, when reading it, you can just hear the “aside” tone being used as he puts down some ridiculous pretension.

All of these things can be found in his recently published work, America’s Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama’s “Story of Race and Inheritance”. In this book, he writes what is essentially an extended “Sailer-style” review of Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.

What Sailer lays out in AHBP (as it is now commonly abbreviated), is the thesis that Barack Obama, far from being a uniting postracial figure like Tiger Woods, has actually spent much of his life worrying about being “authentically black.” Moreover, he seems to aspire to all of the traits that have made it difficult for many black politicians to rise to prominence outside of the black community, namely, a desire to take from whitey and give to the black community, a resentment of the white community, and a failure to seriously consider that any of the problems of the black community are self-inflicted.

What makes this book a good read is that it continuously references back to its original thesis, and it keeps on topic with the terse efficiency that teachers ask for most written essays. Reading AHBP, one does not get lost in a lot of irrelevant tangents, and the biographical backbone moves forward in time relentlessly, allowing one to see Obama as he develops.

Surprisingly to those who do not know Sailer, and unsurprisingly to those who do, Sailer shows little animosity toward Obama, despite a great deal of skepticism about his claims. Saile even acknowledges the possibility that Obama has mellowed over the years, although he also points out Obama’s tendency to shy away from being too explicit about his philosophy and its obvious implication: that Obama is not being entirely forthright with his Presidential campaign rhetoric. Moreover, Sailer does not blame Obama’s issues on his race itself, rather, as much as anything they are the products of his white, racially self-loathing hippy mother.

Sailer also manages to bring in a lot of issues about which he has previously discussed in his blog, in much the same way that person writing his final paper for a class will refer back to various individual lessons from the class. This effect beautifully demonstrates the relevance of various social facts with which his readers are familiar. These include: African “big man” syndrome, the effects of welfare, white “anti-racist” pretensions, the social implications of interracial relationships, and much, much more.

Finally, here are two quotes, one demonstrating Sailer’s his ability to use analogies, and the other his deadpan sarcasm.

“In contrast to John McCain, who is at his best shooting the breeze off the top of his head with the reporters privileged enough to travel on his campaign bus, but whose formal speeches are strained affairs, Obama’s strong suit is delivering carefully rewritten and rehearsed orations. Obama is Daniel Day‐Lewis, making one monumental film every few years, to McCain‘s Regis Philbin, winging it on TV daily for decades.”

“Of course, ever since he left community organizing in the slums of Chicago for Harvard Law School, Obama’s solution to his failing to solve racial challenges he has set himself has been to get himself promoted.”

This book is excellent. Everyone should buy a copy.

That is all.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Three Chances to Help Improve Ballot Access!

Oklahoma, West Virginia, and North Carolina all have groups which are attempting to improve ballot access laws in those states. If you can donate, it would be appreciated. If you live in any of these states, please contact your legislators and ask them to support these bills. If you know anyone in those states you might try to call them and ask if they will call their legislators and encourage them to support these measures. Please spread the word.

From Ballot Access News:

(HB 1072 in Oklahoma)

As has been noted previously, the Oklahoma House recently passed HB 1072, which eases ballot access for previously unqualified parties in midterm years, but does not help them in presidential years. OBAR (Oklahoma Ballot Access Reform) has been paying a professional lobbyist $2,500 per month to advance and to improve this bill. The lobbyist has been paid through the end of March 2009. He is working on getting the bill amended in the Senate, so that it makes more significant improvements. Unfortunately, OBAR has exhausted its funds, and cannot pay for April work. Any contributions to OBAR will not be wasted, and will be used for his April work. Other organizations that assist ballot access, such as COFOE and Free & Equal, are likely to help. But if you wish to help, please send a check to OBAR, PO Box 14042, Tulsa Ok 74159-1042. Even small amounts are worthwhile and very much needed. UPDATE: COFOE has just voted to donate $500 for the April lobbyist bill.

If you are interested in donating to this effort, go here and print out the second page. You'll need to donate by mail by check.

(SB 731 in North Carolina)

On March 19, North Carolina Senator Jim Jacumin (R-Connelly Springs) introduced SB 731. It lowers the petition for a previously unqualified party from 2% of the last gubernatorial vote, to 10,000 signatures. It lowers the statewide independent petition from 2% of the last gubernatorial vote, to 5,000 signatures. It lowers the district independent petitions from 4% of the number of registered voters, to 3%. The Constitution Party of North Carolina deserves the credit for getting this bill introduced.

If you are interested in donating, then this is the website to go to.

(HB 2981 in West Virginia )

On March 18, a subcommittee of the West Virginia House Judiciary Committee passed HB 2981, the ballot access improvement bill. The bill is likely to get a hearing in the full Judiciary Committee next week or the week after. The bill moves the non-presidential petition deadline from May to August (so that it matches the presidential petition deadline), and lowers the number of signatures from 2% of the last vote cast, to 1%. West Virginia’s petitions were 1% before 1999, but the 1999 session of the legislature increased it to 2%.

If you are interested in donating, the Libertarian Party of West Virginia is working hard with Delegate Barbara Fleischauer to get the bill passed, and is accepting donations.

That is all.

Monday, March 16, 2009

H.B. 2981 for Easier Ballot Access in West Virginia

Delegate Barbara Fleischauer has proposed H.B. 2981 in West Virginia, a bill that will halve the requirements for a third-party/independent candidate to receive ballot access in that state.

I have been in contact with the West Virginia Libertarian Party, and they are working closely with Fleischauer to get it passed. If you want to support the bill, please donate (generously) to them (there's a donation button on their home page).

It would appear that the Constitution Party of West Virginia is also be lobbying for the bill, as Jeff Becker, who is their contact person, is pushing hard for it (see the first comment on the Ballot Access News article linked at the top of the post). Ths is not surprising, considering how much energy they put into the WV ballot access drive in 2007-2008.

However, I am not certain whether donations to the CPWV will help the lobbying effort or not. I'll tell you more when I know more.

That is all.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Same-Sex Marriage is not Conservative

A recent bit of nonsense from Andrew Sullivan:

If you decouple the notion of "family" from fundamentalist religion, same-sex marriage is revealed as the socially conservative reform it actually is. Wouldn't it be amazing if China got there first?

TranslationL: If you decouple the notion of "family" from conservative, traditional norms, then you can see that modernizing and liberalizing the definition is actually conservative!

I suppose that there are two ways to see this. First, Sullivan thinks that marriage is a traditional, or conservative, institution. Therefore, to expand the institution is to expand conservatism, however much expanding the institution may actually dilute its traditional meaning and thus damage rather than actually expand the institution itself.

Second, Andrew could be basically saying that anythign short of promiscuous bathhouse sex is conservative.

Either way, he is "defining liberalism down," attempting to make liberal ideas appear conservative and shifting the Overton window farther left.

He is not a good conservative.

That is all.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Neuroscience, Andrew Sullivan and the "Christianists"

I don't think that advances in neuroscience are as threatening to the idea of the human soul as the materialists think they are. After all, even if there is a material aspect to our consciousness, it does not negate the possiblity of an additional amaterial dimension (I think that an analogy to the Trinity can be made here). In fact, I would argue that tactual subjective consciousness requires a material dimension.

Why? Because to have actual consciousness requires identity. And if consciousness is a purely material process, it is simply fungible information, without an identity.

It's like the old question, when Captain Kirk teleports, is he being transported, or is he killed and replaced with an exact copy? When "transhumanists" talk about downloading a person's consciousness into machines, are they really moving his consciousness, or are they killing him and creating a copy? If they can copy his consciousness into a computer without erasing it from his head, then how is "downloading" his consciousness any different from copying it and then killing him.

Take this a step further, and the question becomes, what keeps us us when all of our bodies' materials are constantly being removed and replaced? How can we have continuous consciousness, as opposed to having instantaneous consciosness that is constantly being destroyed and replaced by an exact copy? There has to be some source of identity that keeps us us, unless you are going to argue that consciousness and the self are purely an illusion (which is what some argue).

In any case, it seems to me that consciousness can have an amaterial (even a supernatural) element and still express itself materially and have its amaterial experience affected by the material world (after all, how is infiltrating one's brain with a psychiatric drug different in principle from experiencing material phenomena such as touch and sight? If the existence of senses that see the material world does not logically require one to be a materialist, why should the fact that we can alter our perceptions more directly through chemical stimulation of neurons?)

That being said, Andrew Sullivan's piece on "Neuroscience And The Christianists" seems to quote approvingly the idea that we are nothing but matter, with no attempt whatsoever to qualify that.

The obvious implication is that to believe in a soul is "Christianist" rather than Christian.

Althogether, one starts to wonder what exactly does the non-"Christianist" Christianity in which Andrew Sullivan wishes for Christians to believe consist of?

That is all.

Why Oh Why?

Racist police are apparently also sexist, because they kill a lot more black men than black women.

Exactly why this is is a mystery, but I think it is safe to say that it has nothing to do with the fact that black men are far more likely to be dangerous in a police confrontation involving the use of deadly force than black women (this is true of men vs. women generally). Obviously, they are just racist-sexist jerks who hate black men.

That is all.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Keynesian Fallacy

I have coined a new term: "The Keynesian Fallacy."

The Keynesian Fallacy is the belief that the foundation of an economy is the circulation of money.

What makes the economy better is increasing the circulation of money, also known as the velocity of money. Put another way, what improves the economy is for money to change hands as frequently as possible in economic transactions.

This is why dumb ideas such as the idea that make-work jobs (digging holes and filling them back in) will help the economy (even if some jobs proposed by Keynesian stimulus packages are not "make-work," they are usually justified on a basis that would apply equally to useful or to make-work jobs, so the idea behind why the jobs might help the economy is faulty). Or the idea that increased spending is what an economy where people are drowning in debt need.

Ultimately, in reality, what matters is what is produced, how it is used, and what is consumed. Money is simply a medium of exchange (which makes it a "store of value" as well). Most economic transations and phenomena can be best understood by first taking money out of the equation and asking what is happening to the resources behind the money. Alternately, after deducing what the economic consequence of an action would be without reference to money, the best course to explaining how it would play out in real life is to figure out how the monetary situation would represent the action and its consequences.

More on this later.

That is all.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Are We Cowards on Matters of Race?

Attorney General Holder's recent speech, in whcih he asserted that we are "essentially a nation of cowards" on issues of race.

Specifically, he said:

Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.

You know what? He 's right. We are cowardly when it comes to discussions of race. But for some reason, I really, really doubt that he would like to have an actually uncowardly discussion. I have a feeling that a real discussion ofracial issues is the last thing that Mr. Holder would want.

That is all.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Message to Obama

I recently used the White House contact form to send this message:

Dear President Obama:

I am deeply upset by the lack of an E-Verify provision in the economic stimulus bill. In times like these, when our unemployment rate is rising, we need to ensure that any jobs produced by the stimulus go to American workers.

I am also deeply upset by the way that Pelosi and Reid bypassed the conference committee and worked out the conerence bill in secret. You promised us a more transparent administration,than Bush's, and there was great talk of making the conference committee proceedings open to the public.

In the end, the Democratic Party leadership betrayed American workers in this bill by not passing the E-Verify provision, and the secrecy with which the Democratic Party leadership determined the final shape of the bill rivaled the deviousness of the Bush Administration.

Please, Obama, reconsider signing this bill, and demand that protections for American workers, including an E-Verify mandate, are added to the stimulus.

Failing that, please push to get E-Verify re-authorized and please push to expand its reach.

Thank you for your time.


Please, Glaivester readers, consider sending a similar message yourself.

That is all.

CRA Enforcement is Very Recent

Yes, the CRA appears to have pushed banks to make more loans to people who couldn't afford them. And it appears to have done so much more during the recent housing bubble (~2002 and after) than, say, before 1995.

Steve Sailer has the information.

That is all.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Beware HR 4, Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009!

Update: Do not write just yet, though. I have severe doubts that this bill will go anywhere. But keep an eye out.

Apparently, Bobby Rush has introduced firearms registration legislation into the House.

Keep an eye on this in case it goes anywhere. If it looks like it is going to, start writing your Congressman.

Oh, and join GunOwners of America, or at least sign up for their alerts.

That is all.

Monday, February 09, 2009

As Long as You Are White, You're a Racist, so Shut Up Because You Are an Evil White Person!

Let's be honest about what Amp thinks.

That is all.

TRAITORS

Senators Baucus, Nelson, Menendez, and Reid opposed the E-Verify amendment (SA 239) to the stimulus package, indicating that they want to use government money to give work to illegal aliens.

If these are your Senators, please call them and tell them how they have betrayed the trust of their constituents.

That is all.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Support SA 239, the E-Verify Amendment

Please, any reader who is not a member of NumbersUSA, please visit the site, register, and immediately use the online fax system to send your Senators faxes that they need to make certain that any stimulus contains an E-Verify provision (requiring states and employers receiving stimulus money to use E-Verify, the electronic system for verifying employees' eligibility to work in the US).

You can customize the fax, so be sure to put in the title that they need to support Senate Amendment 239. In the body, make sure to tell them not to pass any bill that does not contain SA 239.

There is also contact information so that you can phone them, but phone lines are likely to be busy and answering service mailboxes are likely to be full.

That is all.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thoughts on Families

I cannot help but think that this post and this post by Ta-Nehisi Coates can be interpreted as "I don't like to pass judgments on alternate family types because I do not want to pass judgment on my father."

The statement:

Families need to be utilitarian, not doctrinal. If it works, let it work.

is very nice, but it ignores the fact that not all family types work as well on average, and certain types that may work in individual cases are not ideal on a statistical basis and should not be what we aspire to.

And there is some of that ol' anti-racism in this, as well. One subtext here is that this is considered a normal way to do things in much of the African-American community and so we need to show more tolerance rather than be caught up in our European notions of what a family ought to be. Which of course ignores the question of whether the European of African models work better (as a societal norm, not in every individual case) in terms of creating a stable family life that is conducive to maintaining the things we like about modern society.

None of which to say that Ta-Nehisi is not a good sincere individual. Indeed, he seems to be a loving and responsible father, which is a good thing in this day and age (always good, but I fear it is becoming increasingly rare).

But nonetheless, one wonders in many cases (and for many people, I don't single out Coates as a special case) people's opinions on the moral and societal issues of the day are driven by a need to justiy their behavior or the behavior of those around them.

That is all.

What's up with Google?

Update: Fixed.

Update: Google and Youtube are now also listed as harmful. Something has gone wrong, it's not deliberate.

It does not appear that this is effecting news or blog searches, just web searches.

I do a search and I get almost all the results coming back with "this site may harm your computer." I click on the result anyway, and I get sent to a Google page that tells me to d oantoehr search or pick another result, and has no option for "take me to the site anyway." I click on the link to a Google explanation of why it thinks the site is dangerous, and I keep getting error messages.

These aren't strange or sites; these are wikipedia and lewrockwell.com.

The only site that isn't listed as potentially harmful is YouTube. What, is Google trying to prevent people from looking at any non-Google-owned site?

Fine. I'll search through Yahoo!

That is all.
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