November 25, 2008

Creeping Socialism

Bailouts, Banks, and Bull****

Someone better at high finance than I am has run the numbers and the current bailout-a-looza is the single largest bill the US has paid.

Ever.

It beats the total cost of fighting World War II--including the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe.  It beats the lifetime cost of NASA.  It absolutely overwhelms the total cost of Iraq, Vietnam and Korea together.

The root cause?  Well-meaning but utterly idiotic legislation forcing lenders to assume higher risk to loan to people who couldn't otherwise afford a home.  Because, after all, home ownership is a Right.  The other factors all piled up on top of that single (Carter-era) premise.

And if the banks can't do it, the government will just have to buy them out and make it happen.  Responsibilty?  Bah, that's so nineteenth-century!

Posted by: Douglas Oosting at 12:30 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Posted to category: Creeping Socialism


November 19, 2008

Second Amendment

Stimulate the Economy!

Today is National Ammo Day, so get on out there and stock up!

Posted by: Douglas Oosting at 12:33 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Posted to category: Second Amendment


November 18, 2008

System

Let's see how bad the spam is

Comments have been opened to 'everybody,' as apparently mee.nu really really wants you to make a website even if you're only going to register to make comments.  Hopefully I won't regret this...

Posted by: Douglas Oosting at 08:35 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Posted to category: System


November 17, 2008

Looking Ahead

A Modern Presidency?

In Gulliver's Travels, one of the places the hero visits is Laputa, a land where all those in power are accompanied by "Flappers."   These functionaries block the ears and mouths of the important and powerful with their flaps, permitting the powerful to fully occupy themselves with their thoughts.  When the Flapper thinks their person needs to hear something, they remove the ear block. 

This, of course, is a satire on courtiers, bureaucrats, pages, messengers, lackeys, yes-men and sycophants that inevitably surround leaders.   It is every bit as true today as when Swift wrote about it.  Our President is incredibly busy and important, and cannot be bothered by such petty things as the actual unfiltered opinions of the people.

This leads me to the current hoo-rah about President-Elect Obama and his electronic leash.  Err, I mean Crackberry.  As with many of our executives in business and politics, he is extremely fond of his, using it throughout his day to keep on top of his schedule, contacts, and things that Must Be Remembered.   Entire working styles have evolved around rapid access, fast emails and text-messaging, synched calendars, and so on.

Of course, It Must Go.  Security risk, you know.  Oh, and those pesky legal discovery laws.  Would hate to have to explain the "missing 18 emails" some independant counsel wants to dig up.  Besides, the REAL risk here is that he might accidentally be exposed to non-filtered, un-agenda-approved EXTERNAL INPUT.  Not to go off into conspiracy-land, here, but if I'm a career apparatchik, that's the last thing I want to have happen!

Welcome to the Twenty-First century and the first of many disruptive technologies that will greatly alter How Things Get Done.
Welcome to the Twenty-First century and the first of many disruptive technologies that will greatly alter How Things Get Done.  There will be more, and the more "in-touch" the officeholder, the more dependant they will be on them to function "normally."  It does all of us a disservice to immediately cripple a decision-maker by removing their tools.

It is time for a quick review of how our laws work and interact in the face of technology not even dreamt of when those laws were first written.  A web-cam & microphone in every elected officials office?  Insta-mail with 'smart' summarizers to 'poll' the public far better than Gallup can ever hope for?  Automatic electric shock administration to the next Congresscritter using the word "bailout" ?

One thing is for sure, the future sure doesn't look like it used to.

Posted by: Douglas Oosting at 06:55 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Posted to category: Looking Ahead


November 11, 2008

Quotes

Veterans Day 2008

We sleep peaceably in our beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf.

 -- attributed to George Orwell

Thank you, to all those who fight for our country.

Posted by: Douglas Oosting at 11:12 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Posted to category: Quotes


November 08, 2008

Disgrace

It's the History Eraser button!

Back in the days of the Soviet Union, they would frequently edit photos by erasing people that had fallen from favor. A lineup of generals viewing a parade would suddenly have a gap in it. And that gap had always been there, according to them. George Orwell referenced this in 1984 in the main character's job at the Ministry of Truth. Usually, these erasures were clumsy, and many people had the original publications to compare to.

These days, Photoshop makes it easier to erase, but it's still not perfect.

For every skilled pixel-pusher trying to edit history, there are ten more ready to analyze every artifact, jaggy, and color blend. But on a website?
For every skilled pixel-pusher trying to edit history, there are ten more ready to analyze every artifact, jaggy, and color blend. But on a website?

I direct your attention, Gentle Reader, to change.gov, a fast rename of the original Obama campaign site. Now it appears to be an official statement on the process of transition, and the plans of the incoming administration. Let us not quibble over the use of the .gov domain for what is not an "official government agency," nor over the "Office of the President-Elect." Instead, let's visit the "America Serves" section.

Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year and by developing a plan so that all college students who conduct 100 hours of community service receive a universal and fully refundable tax credit ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free.

Sounds quite laudable, doesn't it? "encourage community service." Thing is, that's the second draft. Here's the original wording, emphasis is mine.

Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year.

Now, drafting kids out of middle school and putting them to work is a separate topic unto itself, but suffice it to say, is not a good idea. Striking it out and saying "ok, that one isn't a good idea. How about volunteer instead?" would be a good approach.

Instead, President-elect Obama (or, rather, his team) erases it completely from the record. We never said any such thing! This is not a good way to build trust with the people you are supposed to lead.
It's the Same Old Thing we've seen before, not "Change."
It's the Same Old Thing we've seen before, not "Change." What else will get swept down the memory hole over time?

Remember this proclivity to whitewash mistakes, and when your memory disagrees with "official history"...well, you'll have to decide who you trust more, won't you?

Posted by: Douglas Oosting at 10:53 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Posted to category: Disgrace


November 07, 2008

Looking Ahead

...sometimes I despair

For whatever skill I have with words, Bill Whittle always manages to say it better.

Posted by: Douglas Oosting at 01:04 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Posted to category: Looking Ahead


Looking Ahead

Rep. Flake's Way Out of the Wilderness

Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has some ideas on "what do Republicans do now?"

I suggest that we return to first principles. At the top of that list has to be a recommitment to limited government. After eight years of profligate spending and soaring deficits, voters can be forgiven for not knowing that limited government has long been the first article of faith for Republicans.

This appeals to me!

(H/T: The Volokh Conspiracy)

Posted by: Douglas Oosting at 09:00 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Posted to category: Looking Ahead


November 06, 2008

Creeping Socialism

I hope I don't need this category...

This category will contain attempts to implement [edit: "by the Government"]1 pure Marxist ideas, both blatant and subtle.  As President-elect Obama2 has indicated he views "redistribution of wealth" a priority, I fear I will have many entries here.
more...

Posted by: Douglas Oosting at 12:33 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Posted to category: Creeping Socialism


Disgrace

Neither side has a monopoly on stupidity

So, apparently there are already "Impeach Obama!" Facebook sites up.  I'm not going to link them. 

Here's a reminder:  Impeachment requires evidence of a crime.  You certainly can't impeach a man who hasn't even taken office yet.  It served no purpose in 2001, and it serves nobody--much less the country--now.

Posted by: Douglas Oosting at 12:30 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Posted to category: Disgrace


Dissent

Why am I doing this?

The purpose of this weblog will be to demonstrate how to dissent with what our Government does, without resorting to feces-flinging antics.  For eight years, the public has had to listen to screams of "Chimpy McHitler Halliburton," calls for impeachment (without evidence of any actual, you know, crime having been committed) or even assassination fantasies.

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism" we were told, but that wasn't dissent.  That was rage, an extended temper tantrum a four-year-old would have been in awe of.  Adults?  Not so much.  No stilt-walkers, giant puppet-heads, or chanted slogans here.  I deal in Reason, not rhetoric.

My goal is to try to produce 3 or so articles a week right now.  If I find myself infected with the 'writing bug' or reader demand (!) I will do my best to blather more.

I certainly anticipate no shortage of things to be in dissent over.

Posted by: Douglas Oosting at 12:24 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Posted to category: Dissent


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