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Shouldn't they credit the economist Sam Vimes of Anhk Morpork for this theory? "Vimes earns $38 a month, and a pair of quality boots that lasts ten seasons costs $50. He can't afford $50 boots, but he can afford $10 boots that last a whole season. However, at the end of ten seasons he has spent twice as much on boots as a rich person who could afford to initially spend the $50, all the while still having wet feet because of the quality. This, to Vimes, explains how a wealthy person could have double the luxury as Vimes does by spending half as much." Terry Prachett's Nightwatch (quote from the Houston Press' THE 5 MOST BRILLIANT PRINCIPLES POP CULTURE GAVE US
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I remember the last time the dreaded Politically Correct trend swept the nation - or at least, the pages of bilge generated by lazy pundits. What's really going on, of course, is that folks other than those on the right are insisting on airing their views - and sometimes seeking to suppress folks with opposing views from speaking their minds. The Right used to have a monopoly on this - and are now upset that powers they once exclusively wielded are now being used against them. They want to return to the 1950s, when only the Right had the ability to suppress speech they didn't want heard. Censorship of offensive ideas is bad, regardless of whose views are being censored. However, the folks protesting the dreaded "PC Police" are also the first ones to try and suppress speech that they themselves don't like (See e.g. the Dixie Chicks, or the boycott of Doritos by the same folks who decried the boycott of Chik-Fil-A.) I'd suggest that government suppressing speech is bad (so public universities shouldn't regulate speech). However, until right wingers start advocating forcing Oral Roberts University to invite Iranian mullahs on campus to try and convert their students to Islam, I'd suggest that they either shut up about the PC Police, or begin calling themselves the Wingnut Police.
Toggle Commented Sep 20, 2015 on Freak Speech at Whiskey Fire
Indeed. For that matter, students are taught ideal gas law ( in beginning Chemistry and Physics classes to teach basic fundamentals of how gasses behave, and then introduce more and more real-world complications (such as Van der Waals equation.) And so, teaching free market theory by starting with an infinite number of providers and rational consumers with perfect knowledge operating in a realm where everything can be bought and sold in a market is a good starting point. What far too many people do is decide against making all those messy real-world corrections (monopolies, irrational consumers, public goods such as clean air and clean water...)
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To quote Hunter S. Thompson: "even a blind pig finds the occasional acorn."
Toggle Commented Jun 28, 2015 on OK Then at Whiskey Fire
Conservatives define morality as anything which allows them to either keep their existing power, or seize more. Moral relativism, thy name is Republican.
Toggle Commented May 30, 2015 on Ceep Cool with Koolidge at Whiskey Fire
Does the use of Che Guevara's image in a capitalistic enterprise (such as selling T shirts) amuse someone like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen? Or do these folks simply recall Che's death by a secret police death squad as a triumph of the rule of law? (/snark)
Toggle Commented Apr 19, 2015 on Waving That Bloody Shirt at Whiskey Fire
Terry made the world a more cheerful place through his writing, and we are all diminished by his untimely death.
Toggle Commented Mar 15, 2015 on Buggerit at Whiskey Fire
That's it exactly - they're angry about other grifters scamming the marks that they were planning on scamming themselves.
I'd suggest examining another Greek philosophy in the context of banking systems: "nothing to excess." It's the Goldilocks dilemma: too many regulations and too few regulations yield non-optimal results. The trick is to set a level of regulation that is "just right." Currently, we're in far too little regulation territory. One solution: get rid of the "I'll be gone, you'll be gone" short-term income maximization motivation by paying bonuses in company stock, and putting a 5-year hold on selling it (or using it as collateral). This would have to be imposed by law to avoid prisoner's dilemma issues, but it would go a long way to fixing our current financial markets. Can't do it now, as there's not enough political will - perhaps after the next crash...
Toggle Commented Jan 30, 2015 on A Moral Case for Bank Money at Economist's View
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As government ratchets increasingly to the right, the right keeps moving the goalposts further right. Before long, they'll claim that the John Birch Society was a communist front organization...
Toggle Commented Jan 25, 2015 on It's a Hypothesis at Whiskey Fire
Standardized tests are absolutely worthless for measuring teacher performance for two reasons: 1) To be at all meaningful, you'd need to test students both at the beginning of each year as well as the end of each year, and measure improvement by how much they had improved. 2) More importantly, standardized tests typically measure rote memorization of facts rather than how to use those facts. One classic example of this was described in Richard Feynman's book "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: ... I discovered a very strange phenomenon: I could ask a question, which the students would answer immediately. But the next time I would ask the question, the same subject, and the same question, as far as I could tell, they couldn't answer it at all! ... After a lot of investigation, I finally figured out that the students had memorized everything, but they didn't know what anything meant. When they heard light that is reflected from a medium with an index, they didn't know that it meant a material such as water. They didn't know that the direction of the light is the direction in which you see something when you're looking at it, and so on. Everything was entirely memorized, yet nothing had been translated into meaningful words. In the misguided quest for measurable metrics, we're generating a legion of students trained to memorize and regurgitate facts - without training them how to use those facts. Another case of poorly-chosen metrics causing decision makers to make bad decisions.
I'd say that if the Affordable Care Act taught us anything, it's that the current Republican Party does not negotiate in good faith. Remember all the unilateral concessions that President Obama's team made? Remember how the Republicans got one concession after another, and still voted against it? As others have pointed out, the Republicans tried everything they could to block this legislation. In the post-Gingrich era, Republicans routinely conduct a scorched earth negotiating policy against the Democrats, where the Republicans enact all their policy objectives while accepting only unilateral concessions from the Democrats. Had the ACA not been passed with Democratic votes (despite every obstruction the Republicans could muster), there simply would not have been any legislation at all.
Toggle Commented Jan 11, 2015 on Policy Uncertainty at Economist's View
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Yeah, restaurants and bars have never had problems with people passing out from too much alcohol. (/snark)
Toggle Commented Jan 3, 2015 on Weird Weather Patterns at Whiskey Fire
Yes, and freshman physics is classically described as the study of frictionless elephants whose masses can be ignored. Freshman start on oversimplified versions of physics, and then more and more complications are added. So, too, with economics: one starts with the basic analysis framework that consumers are all coldly logical, unemotional self-centered greedheads with perfect knowledge and an infinite number of competing suppliers, and everything is bought and sold in a market. Then, one starts adding complexities: monopolies, imperfect knowledge, non-logical behaviors, goods which are not bought and sold in markets (clean air and water), etc. Some of the basic premises of elementary economics should be challenged, such as the idea that humans are rational creatures rather than rationalizing creatures. However, it seems unrealistic to be able to explain complex economies in an introductory course.
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Yeah, building a new casino is a guaranteed moneymaker - can't fail! Just ask Atlantic City... Two More Atlantic City Casinos May Declare Bankruptcy (NY Post, September 30, 2014) There could soon be just six Atlantic City casinos in operation. ... There were 12 at the beginning of the year.
Toggle Commented Dec 20, 2014 on Shocker in Gloomtown at Whiskey Fire
I'm not so sure that income inequality hasn't always entered into the opposition to EPA regulations, if only indirectly. Consider the price of housing as a function of distance from a polluting business. The immediate impact of an industry generating significant air pollution is inversely proportional to the distance one's home is from that industry, so expensive housing tends to be farther away from polluting industries than cheaper housing. Imagine if a power plant belching out noxious fumes and soot is directly upwind of, say, the most prestigious country club in the area - but does not affect air quality in residential areas. Now imagine an identical power plant, but this time sited in a location surrounded by the homes of the poor and lower-middle class. Imagine further that the plant's owners and the rest of the upper and upper-middle class residents live upwind from the plant and are not often exposed to the soot and the smells. Wouldn't we see opposition to the respective plants linked to income levels? The "get the EPA off our backs" meme has similar correlations: the rich see added expense to install pollution controls, and no direct benefit to themselves because they are rarely exposed directly to the pollution. Add in the increasing ideological opposition to having the government provide anything of benefit to the population other than military, police, and fire services, and one sees opposition to government pollution regulations with a correlation to one's income level.
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George for President? Patooie!
I believe Mr. Yglesias' point was that anyone can act like a lunatic asshole - Mr. McConnell's flash of evil strategic brilliance was in knowing that the more the Republicans acted like partisan assholes, the more the press would blame President Obama for failing to end partisan gridlock as he'd promised.
This argument assumes its conclusion: it concludes that printing lots of money causes lots of inflation - based solely on the unsupported assumption that printing lots of money causes lots of inflation. The reasoning sounds a bit circular to me. What the author fails to consider is that much of the money supply is not in gold coins, or paper dollars - but stored and spent via credit. Just as the Fed can expand the money supply by changing the credit rules, it can also contract the money supply that same way. It simply isn't the case that telling the Secretary of the Treasury to stop authorizing overtime at the Mint's printing presses has a significant effect on the real money supply - which means that the money supply can be contracted without the need to reduce the number of paper dollars (or gold coins).
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The rich should pay their fair share - currently, they don't. A higher marginal tax rate and more tax brackets would do wonders for our country as a whole -starting with the ability to fund public schools, colleges, universities, infrastructure repairs, and basic health care. Otherwise, our society may well collapse - which is not in the best interests of the ultra-rich, as they will be targets.
Toggle Commented Oct 12, 2014 on Inequality and Progressive Taxes at Economist's View
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Or we could just tax foreign corporations based on their US-derived profits. For example, if the US subsidiary paid $1mm in licensing fees to its Ireland-based parent, tax the parent on the $1mm. It's really silly to only tax the subsidiaries and not the entire entity.
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Guns don't kill people - it's those pesky bullets.
Toggle Commented Sep 6, 2014 on Foot Shot at Whiskey Fire
The problem is that these gun worshippers often shoot others. Consider their stupidity: any time one carries a firearm, there's a small probability of an accidental firing, or shooting someone without justification. There's also a very small chance of being attacked by a criminal (or a self-righteous gun worshipper). If you're attacked, there's a possibility that you'll successfully defend yourself, as well as a possibility that your attacker got the drop on you and will take your gun away. Considering all the probabilities, the odds of successfully protecting oneself with a gun seem far lower than the odds of getting injured or killed because you (or some gun worshipper) was carrying a gun. It's the people too stupid to understand this who carry guns around in most of the US. Side note: street gangs often get into gunfights with each other - why do gun nuts think criminals will flee in terror from an armed "good guy?"
Toggle Commented Sep 5, 2014 on Foot Shot at Whiskey Fire
Perhaps Zav Chafets didn't want to mention another possibility: that Reform Jews also listen to Republican speeches about the US being a "Christian Nation", and have enough knowledge of history to know what happen to Jews in a nation proclaiming itself as "Christian", or one whipped into a nationalistic frenzy (or both). Look at, say, Ferdinand and Isabella's demonstration of Christian charity toward the Jews of Spain (they expelled the Jews, killing any who remained and did not convert to Catholicism), or the rise of anti-Semitism in today's Russia. This isn't unique to Christianity - look at the "price tag" attacks on Christians by fanatical Israelis. Of course, once a nation declares itself to be a particular religion, disputes begin to arise over whether people are practicing the one true religion in the one true way. We see this in disputes between American Orthodox Jews and those in Israel, as well as the ongoing fights between Shi'ite versus Sunni Muslims, or the Protestant/Catholic violence that still flares up in Northern Ireland from time to time. Yes, one can see why someone trying to get people to vote for Republicans might forget to mention the jingoistic religious fanatics controlling today's Republican Party. Undoubtedly an oversight, and not an attempt to avoid facts explaining Republican unpopularity with certain demographic groups.
It's the freedom fighter / terrorist thing. Imagine if the tactics employed by the Ferguson police had been used at the Bundy Ranch. Perhaps the key is making sure that discontented citizens don't have horses?