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Funny how someone's views about "minority rights" shift dramatically - once they view themselves as the minority in question. I'll bet these same folks have no qualms about forcing their particular flavor of Christianity on others because "the majority has spoken."
Toggle Commented yesterday on When You Add up the Numbers at Whiskey Fire
Funny how wonderful it is to be a "disruptive" industry, but not a "disruptive" activist. Of course, the real reason people opposed to such ideas oppose strident activism is because it is so often productive. Consider, say, the effect of Operation Rescue on the debate over abortion.
Toggle Commented Apr 12, 2014 on Wrinkled Ghosts at Whiskey Fire
We could build fully-automated fast-food restaurants today - but minimum wage workers are still cheaper. Little by little, automation will eat away at jobs ranging from bus and taxi drivers to newspaper reporters. (They've already got automated sports writing software.) As the technology gets cheaper, more humans will lose their jobs to the robots. True, robots won't eliminate all jobs - but they'll eliminate enough of them to hurt - badly. I'm not sure whom would patronize robot fast-food places, though. Those without jobs won't be able to buy food at all, and those with jobs will want better quality food (probably at robo-Sizzler).
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Who knew that Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and the rest of the right-wing radio stars were collectivists? I mean, they typically attempt to discredit and intimidate their opponents, and routinely engage in character assassination - and as only collectivists do this according to Mr. Koch, this must mean that they are collectivists. Right? Oh, the Birthers too? Who knew? Then, too, there's the litigator that Chris Christie hired to "investigate" the bridge scandal. He "has a reputation as a brutal cross examiner who does “crisis management,” shutting down public criticism – often with aggressive attacks on the sources of that criticism." Who knew that Chris Christie hired a "collectivist" to perform the investigation? Of course, when someone the Koch Brothers like and/or support engage in such tactics, they're merely crafting an effective public relations campaign. Could this be what is really troubling the Koch Brothers - that attacking them directly might prove effective in countering the Koch Brothers' own campaign of discrediting and intimidating their opponents through character assassination?
We don't need to hold them for a day - merely eliminating the various ways to game the system is enough. This is what they did when building the new IEX Stock Exchange: "All three predatory strategies depended on speed. It was Katsuyama who had the crude first idea to counter them: Everyone was fighting to get in as close to the exchange as possible — why not push them as far away as possible? Put ourselves at a distance, but don’t let anyone else be there. The idea was to locate their exchange’s matching engine at some meaningful distance from the place traders connected to the exchange (called the point of presence) and to require anyone who wanted to trade to connect to the exchange at that point of presence. If you placed every participant in the market far enough away from the exchange, you could eliminate most, and maybe all, of the advantages created by speed." Source: The Wolf Hunters of Wall Street (
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It's not "effectively" a form of insider trading - it IS insider trading, because it is based on non-public information. The way it works is that brokerage X receives a very large order. Using their ultra-fast connection, they trade on the basis of that non-public information. Their customer's order is placed on a slightly slower connection, which (when executed) locks in the broker's profit. Remember "The Sting"? Same thing, except with computers. It also would seem to be a breach of the duty that each broker owes their clients of good faith and fair dealing.
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I expect Mr. Murdock thinks that the restrictions placed on others would not, of course, apply to him. It would be interesting to put Mr. Murdock into a time machine, send him back to 1960, and send him on a road trip through the South. After that, he could try and buy a house in a nice neighborhood in liberal San Francisco in, say, 1957. (White Neighborhood Rejects Willie Mays,5750555)
Toggle Commented Mar 2, 2014 on Whoops, Forgot the Burper King at Whiskey Fire
Not even "Please don't chop my head off?"
Toggle Commented Feb 17, 2014 on Oh, Is That How It Works? at Whiskey Fire
I'd also use Mr. Mankiw's article as evidence that the economy cannot be explained as the actions of actors with perfect knowledge making rational decisions to maximize their individual gains. If society has indeed "decided" to let the financial industry run the economy, the decision was either based on flawed perceptions of the situation, irrational decisions of some actors, or decisions made for some purpose other than maximizing individual profit. For example, consider a society where decisions are made by persons who make the effort to both register to vote, and actually cast ballots ("voters") - and also assume that these voters make decisions based more on emotion than cold rational analysis of individual profit. Let's further assume that some percentage of these voters make their decision based on television ads, media reports, and personal prejudices rather than individual research and careful analysis. One last assumption: let's assume that interested parties with significant financial resources can buy advertising and favorable media reports. Given this, the idea that the extremely high salaries paid to financial industry folks are well-deserved based solely on the fact that those people are actually paid those salaries can be seen as the product of something other than rational analysis.
Toggle Commented Feb 16, 2014 on Oh, Is That How It Works? at Whiskey Fire
No, they got the job because of the "Golden Rule": they have the gold, so they make the rules. It sounds quite a bit like what the British Raj told Gandhi, and what Marie Antoinette told the French citizens...
Toggle Commented Feb 16, 2014 on Oh, Is That How It Works? at Whiskey Fire
Wall Street and big business figured this out long ago: For generations, Procter & Gamble Co. PG +0.53% 's growth strategy was focused on developing household staples for the vast American middle class. ... P&G's roll out of Gain dish soap says a lot about the health of the American middle class: The world's largest maker of consumer products is now betting that the squeeze on middle America will be long lasting. "It's required us to think differently about our product portfolio and how to please the high-end and lower-end markets," says Melanie Healey, group president of P&G's North America business. "That's frankly where a lot of the growth is happening." Source: Wall Street Journal, As Middle Class Shrinks, P&G Aims High and Low , September 12, 2011. In my more cynical moments, I wonder whether they know global warming poses a major threat, and they plan on accumulating as many resources as they can on building walled estates with robotic defenses with which to defend their automated farms from the starving hordes.
Toggle Commented Feb 9, 2014 on Who Benefits from Benefits? at Economist's View
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I feel your pain - I went through a 5-year period cycling between unemployed and marginally employed, and it was soul-killing. I finally got a good job, but I've never felt secure again.
Toggle Commented Feb 5, 2014 on Unemployment is Hellish at Economist's View
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So, she's shocked that after opening her personal life up for discussion, people start asking her personal questions - or aren't in complete agreement with her personal beliefs? Not that asking people whether a vasectomy is planned isn't rude and prying - but sharing one's pregnancy tests at office meetings isn't particularly work-related. Wait until it's closer to parental leave time, for goodness sake.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2014 on Your Favorite Babies Suck at Whiskey Fire
The easiest way to detect a bubble: can someone earning the median income for that area afford to buy a median-priced home without resorting to exotic financial instruments? If the answer is no, there's a bubble. Remember all those "liars loans" and zero-down loans just before the US bubble burst? Not to worry, though- prices will fall when interest rates go up.
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Half a league, half a league, half a league onward. Forward the Light Brigade... As a nation, we need to stop glamorizing wars and turning them into good guy/bad guy morality plays.
Toggle Commented Jan 12, 2014 on Yes: Nothing at Whiskey Fire
The underwater homeowners, with a few exceptions, lost everything. The banks and the Wall Street brokers cashed large bonus checks. For all the talk of "moral hazard", the hazard faced by the various actors was inversely proportional to their morals. Folks that knew they were bankrupting their companies in order to qualify for a big bonus check made out quite nicely. People that borrowed against their equity to do wildly irresponsible things such as help with their kids' college tuition, make repairs to their houses, or pay medical bills didn't do so well.
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Hmmm, a Thai-style turkey, brined using green curry paste and stuffed with Pad Thai... or possibly a Tequila-Lime infused turkey with cornbread and jalapeno dressing...
Toggle Commented Nov 29, 2013 on Eat Birds at Whiskey Fire
You beat me to it - funny how their love of the free market (or voting) turns to hate if they don't win. Sort of like a 5-year old playing a card game. Maybe the next Star Wars movie could be take place on Planet Galt, and be called The Invisible Hand's Revenge
Perhaps it was intended as a "Gangnam Style" homage?
Toggle Commented Nov 16, 2013 on The Saddest Post on Earth at Whiskey Fire
The housing bubble was really obvious to anyone whose paycheck did not depend upon denying the approaching doom. Try this simple thought experiment: What if the median income for a given locale is too low to qualify one to purchase a median-priced home? I expect other markets have similar, easy-to-understand indicators of imminent collapse. The hard part is calculating irrational behavior in the market, which I think of as the "lemming stampede factor." When large crowds of marks have bought into what the hucksters are selling, prices get distorted. However, that should be irrelevant when calculating whether the indicator lights should switch from green to yellow (or red). The lemmings may surge and push prices well past the danger point - but the lights should blink red once the basic fundamentals show that people are gambling rather than investing.
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Perchance the Post is viewing this through hard right ideological glasses: I expect Caliph Garrett's analysis is closer to the show's intent. From the sounds of things, SpongeBob gets fired by an abusive, short-sighted boss (a type much beloved by Wall Street) who fails to see the harm his business will suffer by getting rid of a loyal, underpaid skilled employee (the case study is Circuit City's demise after they fired their top salespeople to save a few bucks.) SpongeBob then finds out his skills are in demand, and he can get a better job paying more money with a less abusive boss. The interesting thing is how unsympathetic the Post's article is to the plight of the long-term unemployed. If I were in the newspaper industry, I'd try and make people with obsolete job skills in a dying industry more sympathetic. Perhaps they feel that denying their fear of unemployment by portraying all unemployed as lazy and unmotivated helps magically protect them from being laid off when the real-life Mr. Krabs running the megacorp that owns the Post wants to lay off some more reporters to pay some of his legal bills. (The thought pattern goes something like: "I'm worried about losing my job and being unable to find another one. Only lazy, unmotivated people get laid off and/or can't find a new job - even in a shrinking profession such as the newspaper industry. I am a motivated workaholic, therefore I'm not lazy and unmotivated - and therefore I won't be laid off (or if I am, I'll immediately get a better paying job at one of the many new newspapers springing up all over the country). Delusional, magical thinking, or a grit-your-teeth and push out the ideological message my bosses demanded? You make the call...
Because we'll all be so much safer when all the meth-addicts are heavily armed.
The Tea Party's evolution is a good example of how easy it is for a plutocrat to start something that can grow out of the plutocrat's control. From the French Revolution through Reagan's funding of the Taliban, we find that starting a stampede is much easier than stopping it. As the poem goes: There was a young lady from Niger. Who smiled as she rode on a tiger. They came back from the ride; With the lady inside; And the smile on the face of the tiger. The Koch brothers have to date maintained some control by setting up a large number of small organizations, so that no one organization had the power to take over the movement. It'll be interesting to see whether they can maintain this control over time, or whether the monster that they created takes on a life of its own.
Toggle Commented Nov 3, 2013 on Plutocrats vs. Populists at Economist's View
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I have two words for anyone who thinks a place with no government means absolute freedom: Street Gangs. We have choices: we can have a government in which we have some voice in the decisions, or we can battle gangs until they kill us or we submit to their rule.
Toggle Commented Nov 2, 2013 on They Are Not Us at Whiskey Fire
It sounds as though the Common Core math folks need to spend more time studying the Common Core English composition materials. It also reminds me of Tom Lehrer's song "New Math" ( New Math was the 1960s version of the Common Core Math. I am curious as to why we have to completely change how subjects are taught every few years. Perhaps the reason that US children's test scores lag behind those of children in other countries is that every few years, the textbook companies come up with a radical new way of teaching the subjects (which requires purchasing all new textbooks, of course). It's right up there with teaching elementary students base two and base 8 math because they might be programming computers in machine language some day. P.S.: I copied the sentence from the Common Core instructions into MS Word, and ran a readability check on it. The Flesch Reading Ease score was 27.5, and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level test gave 12.0. In other words, they really need to turn on readability statistics in their word processor, and check the score before firing a string of buzzwords at their students. Giving instructions to grade school students using sentences requiring a 12th grade education seems somewhat negligent.
Toggle Commented Oct 27, 2013 on Missed Two Classes and NO HOMEWORK at Whiskey Fire