Sunday, January 22, 2012


[via Futility Closet]

George P. Spencer of Lyndon Center, Vt., died in 1908 at age 83. His epitaph is inscribed on the sides of a granite monument:
Beyond the universe there is nothing and within the universe the supernatural does not and cannot exist. Of all deceivers who have plagued mankind, none are so deeply ruinous to human happiness as those impostors who pretend to lead by a light above nature. Science has never killed or persecuted a single person for doubting or denying its teachings, and most of these teachings have been true; but religion has murdered millions for doubting or denying her dogmas, and most of these dogmas have been false.
(From Charles L. Wallis, Stories on Stone, 1954)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Actual Problem With The Deficit

Too small. The link at the end of paragraph 3 of the article is also worth a read.

I understand why people have a hard time accepting that the entire public debate on the deficit is premised on a falsehood (actually, many falsehoods), because it is upsetting to think that almost everyone, including every major political figure in Washington, has it wrong.

I also understand why well-educated people with MBAs, or at least an Econ major, for which they paid a lot of money, need to believe that what they were taught was correct. The implicit argument from authority is easily justified when your authority teaches at Harvard, or the like. Especially when you agree with the authority's political views, like I agree with Krugman (mostly).

The simple fact is, the linked article describes the reality of the modern monetary and banking systems. Its premises are all based on facts, not theories, and many, if not all, of the implications are backed up by data. Regardless of where you learned it, if the model that you use to describe things actually describes neither the past nor the present, you may wish to reconsider your model.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Beyond Austerity"

A very good analysis of why we are where we are economically, and why austerity is exactly the wrong thing to do about it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Do You Support Ron Paul? [Updated]

UPDATE: This earlier post explains the problem a little better.

If so, I suggest you really haven't thought this one through.
In a Ron Paul America, there would be no environmental protection, no Social Security, no Medicaid or Medicare, no help for the poor, no public education, no civil rights laws, no anti-discrimination law, no Americans With Disabilities Act, no laws ensuring the safety of food or drugs or consumer products, no workers’ rights. How far does Paul take his war against Washington? He wants to abolish the Federal Aviation Authority and its pesky air traffic controllers. He has one magic answer to every problem—including how to land an airplane safely: let the market handle it.
Sounds delightful!

Your Right-Wing SCOTUS

Gee, you mean the mythology and the reality are at odds? Whodathunkit?
“The Roberts court’s overall record,” Professor Chemerinsky wrote, “suggests that it is not a free speech court at all.”
Meh. Just pay attention to the cases they want you to pay attention to. 

When Freedom Isn't Freedom

Must-read article about why the myth of American freedom is just that.

Michael Moore Sux

What a piece of work that guy is.

The ACA: Constituional

This does not mean the SCOTUS will uphold it, given the makeup of the Court. But, I think this analysis is spot-on.

Friday, January 6, 2012

On Meritocracy [UPDATED]

UPDATE: This and this.

One of my many quixotic quests is to disabuse people of the insidious myth that this is the land of equal opportunity for all. It is such a preposterous, and destructive, lie.

Affluent families can literally buy a better résumé. “In a bad economy, the demographic shift has the potential to reinforce a socio-economic gap,” says Todd Breyfogle, who oversaw the honors program at the University of Denver and is now director of seminars at the Aspen Institute. “Only those families who can help their students be more competitive will have students who can get into elite institutions.”
Where you start has everything to do with where you end up. Sure, hard work matters to some extent, as does luck, but being born into privilege is far and away the most significant distinguishing factor. And, as the linked article asserts, the disparity increases in hard times like we're in.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Answer To "Get A Job!"

If only millions of Americans didn't suddenly become lazy, we wouldn't be in this mess! The "argument" really is that dumb.

If every open job were filled tomorrow, 75% of the unemployed would still be out of work.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ron Paul Is Nuts

I find it most disturbing (like Darth Vader your-lack-of-faith disturbing) that otherwise sentient people find Ron Paul's candidacy appealing. Note, I said "candidacy." I agree with RP on a few things, like the "War On Drugs," and our imperialism. But, the dude is whack, as the kids may still be saying. Check it. The idea of a man so unwaveringly married to a patently unrealistic (as well, as inhumane) world-view being President is brain-bruising. Plus, the dude's a racist, straight up.

And yet, in the never-ending pursuit of showing how desperately ignorant they are, some folk apparently believe that such fervent religiosity of ideals is just what this country needs. Yikes.