Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why is Crass so Funny?

I was listening to a podcast just now and they were cracking up about getting drunk and singing foul lyrics. I realize some people revel in such, but how is that a sign of anything but immaturity? Anyone can lose control of themselves and act obnoxious.

Only those able to control themselves can have quite a bit of fun without acting like juveniles.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

If We Can Just Spend a Bit More....

While a few new members of Congress took a token stand, for a short time, we are back to "business as usual" with the bi-factional ruling party. When will we realize that we cannot spend more than we take in and we can never take in enough to ever meet all the pandering of numerous elected officials? They will promise unlimited benefits, but lack the ability to pay for those benefits.

We are destroying our children's future....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Teachers Cheat? Imagine That!

With all the pressure on our flawed educational system to get good results has led some teachers to cheat on student test scores.

Are we surprised?

I had a few really good teachers during my slave days in the government school system, but I also had quite a few who were barely making it. This is what will happen whenever the government takes over something. The mediocre rise to the top, since you cannot reward excellence and still have everyone do well and feel good.

The system encourages cheating, however much we may act in pretend shock when it happens.

Why is Spending Less Such a Radical Idea?

Why do so many, especially in the traditional media, fail to realize that we will ultimately have to spend less to balance our budget. Tax increases may fit an urge to "stick it to the rich," but they can only bring in so much money, if they work at all.

I have read that the overall tax take tends to stay the same, regardless of the tax rate. If true, that would mean all this talk about using higher taxes to balance thing is just fairy tale thinking, though that would be the norm for government.

Impartial News?

How can those involved over the long term with news still cling to the claim that they are in any way impartial?

I am currently listening to The Economist's report on the modern news field and it is amazing how they can slam Fox News for being "conservative" yet claim that others are unbiased. Give me a break. I don't appreciate all of Fox News, especially their drum banging for war, but they are far more "fair and balanced" than the more traditional news outlets, including the vaunted Economist.

All journalists have their biases which impact what they chose to report and how they report it. Facts left in or over amplified provide spin even while claiming neutrality.

Get real. Admin that who you are impacts what you do!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A Balanced Budget Ammendment Would be a Waste

I am completely in favor of the federal government starting to live within it means. No one, not even the government, can continue spending more than it takes in forever. We have become addicted to debt and it will cost us serious withdrawal pains when we ultimately have to go "cold turkey" in the whole area.

(I see no other way to quit this addiction.)

Many cry that we need a Balanced Budget Amendment to solve this problem. I completely oppose that because I fail to see how it would stop us attempting to spend much. These are the politicians who claimed we had a "Social Security Lockbox" with lots of funds to cover the payments that are now hitting. Only IOUs filled the box, not anything of value. Games would be used to pretend things were balanced while the debt piled up.

The question of who would enforce it makes it flawed as well. Congress has the power to pass budgets. Who will force them to do what they won't do on their own?

I would say we should push for those in office who will truly cut back the government, but I fear that is impossible now. Too many people are dependent upon a large and growing government. Everyone wants cuts, but not in programs that impact them.

I see this as a part of the flawed "just pass a law" theory that is so prevalent in modern society. We fail to realize that a law can only punish those it catches, it can't prevent the activity.

Get ready for some rough times as stuff hits the fan.

The Economist Magazine is Against Big Government?

I have subscribed to the audio version of the Economist for several years and find it gives me a good view of world news. They have their biases, but they are far less than the other traditional media.

One thing I do find ironic is that they regularly say that "this newspaper is opposed to large government." They may be in theory, but not in practice. I rarely hear them mention any program they really want to cut and they regularly bang the drums for higher taxes to balance out budgets.

I am listening to the end of June now (yeah, I am behind) and they are continually whacking the Republicans for opposing tax increases (which the Republicans have caved on) and say very little about the Democratic refusal to cut programs. It would be more honest if they would be complaining about the Democrats refusing to consider serious spending cuts as well, but that doesn't seem to fall within their vision of less government.

What exact small government do they want?

Software Patents are Stupid

Martin Fowler has an interesting article on software patents. He does note the common claim that patents in general enabled the Industrial Revolution, something I am not completely convinced of, but he makes the great point that they were a limited scope item back then. While 14 years is forever today, it was barely a blip with the very slow rate of change at the time.

I do think that people still would have invented things that would make their life and work simpler, with patent protection, though it may (or may not) have gone a bit differently than it did.

I especially like his note

The tragedy is that patents have become a source of reinforcing existing powers. A big company may find patents a significant inconvenience, but in the end patents are good for perpetuating the current power-holders because they can snuff out the smaller ones. This is why it's hard to change the system, those with the power have no incentive to give it up.

Whatever its origins, it is really a tool of big businesses and large organizations to squish the competition now, rather than to provide for a growing competitive marketplace.

The goal should be enabling innovation, not rewarding those with the legal resources to bash those who would compete with them.

Kill the software patent now!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

A Single Party State

Contrary to popular misunderstanding, the United States is currently ruled by a single party. Sure they put on the motions of being for different things, but they are really two wings of the same party. The latest cave in adding even more debt to future generation shows that.

Even those elected under the mandate of "no new debt" caved in and voted for more debt.

The problem is that the people don't want the hard choices and frugality that truly cutting back would cost. They want "the other guy" to take the fall. They don't realize they are the other guy and have had their pockets fleeced for years.

It is not really liberal vs. conservative, it is big government versus individual freedom. Few are in the second camp these days, however much they claim to be so. Notice how much they are both happy to tell you what you can do with your own body when it comes to cigarettes, for example?

They pretend to hold radically different positions, yet we creep to the point of more and more control over our lives each and every day. I wish we would truly wake up, but too many are dependent on government filter dollars. Only a serious crash will change things and that will likely leave a mess.

Though it is coming at some point.

Does Tech Make You Liberal?

I was listening to a video of a recent conference and in the course of their talk, the speaker noted that the future (with technology) would allow for a more equitable distribution of resources. Unless I completely misunderstand the point, this is a very left-wing idea, even communistic, though I am sure the speaker would deny that.

I have seen this in a wide range of tech individuals. I do not like the liberal-conservative scale as I feel it distorts many things, but I will use it briefly in this post. Even a so-called conservative seems as rare in tech as in Hollywood.

It is quite ironic since most of these people have their money because of the few remaining elements of a capitalistic system that we still have today. (We are far from a true capitalistic system, but I will leave that for another post.) Yet they are more than happy to in essence proclaim that they, or their cohort in government, know better how to spend our money than we do.

It is ultimately all about control I suppose. They have made money and have tasted the control that comes with that money. Now they want to control others. Whatever they may proclaim, evaluate how much "freedom to fail" they will allow and that will reveal their desire for control.

You must be free to fail if you are to be truly free to succeed!