28 June 2013

AGR discussion

After Google Reader

I am currently using NetVibes. It’s OK, although not as good as Google Reader. My main problem is that it wants to do far too much, with all sort of “social media searches” and widgets and cruft. The best part of Google Reader was that is was basically just an RSS reader.

Some other possibilities I haven’t tested yet

I have seen these mentioned as suitable replacements but I have not tried any of them myself. I should really do that, to see if they’re better than NetVibes.

If only Obama knew, this wouldn't be happening

California man faces 13 years in jail for scribbling anti-bank messages in chalk

Given that he was doing this for six months and it took some effort to clean it up, I think it goes beyond the bounds of tolerated protest. But I would just fine him the clean up and court costs — a felony conviction and serious jail time is ludicrous. It’s a good thing we have such a friend of the common man and opponent of corporate interests in the White House or who knows what might have happened to this guy.

Democracy means voting our way

The story of the pro-abortion protests in Texas is another example of how the tranzis live in a bifurcated world. As the source notes,

So … when Tea Party activists do this in the future, liberals are going to be totally cool with it, right? Right?

Of course we know the answer — the Modern American Left is entitled to use thuggery, obstruction, and violence if necessary to get their policies implemented if the ballot box doesn’t work, and they bear no guilt or blame. All of that is born by their opponents, particularly the Tea Party, regardless of whether the latter actually does any of that.

Bret noted that he thinks this is all because the tranzi belief system is a religion and this is all religiously justified. If so, then abortion is the primary sacrament of that belief. No restrictions whatsoever will be tolerated. Part of the Texas bill was to force abortion clinics to obey the same health and safety regulations as other places that perform surgical procedures. Who could object to regulations promoting the health and safety of women, so they would know that they weren’t getting the equivalent of a back alley abortion with a coat hanger?

Pro-abortion activists, of course —

The bill’s opponents said it will likely cause all but five of the 42 abortion clinics in the state to close, because the building renovations and equipment upgrades necessary to meet the surgical-center standards would be too costly.

Regulations are good, until they get in the tranzi’s way. Then they are evil. One is left wonder, just a bit, if this whole “regulation” thing might just be an excuse, not a desire.

Self regulation

Today brings up some mostly unrelated stories that both illustrate how completely unserious regulators are about the benefits of regulation.

First are the ten states with underfunded pensions who are in trouble primarily because they did not contribute appropriate amounts to their public pensions. Regulators always point out how we must regulate private pensions to avoid this kind of failure, yet in these state those who would regulate private businesses obviously saw no reason to have such regulations apply to them. In some cases this was not only considering regulations good only for other people, but actively violating regulations that were supposed to apply to the state government. If regulations are good things, why don’t the regulators obey them too?

Next up is Hollywood which has suddenly discovered that the regulatory tsunami that is POR-care is going to be a big problem for them. Once again, regulation was an excellent thing until those promoting discovered the regulations would apply to them as well. Note also that the people who will really get hit hard by this are (“unexpectedly”) precisely those middle and lower economic class people the regulation was putatively going to help.

How can we leave out the IRS, which can’t find receipts for its conference spending. Again, if a corporation did this it would be heavily fined and some people in it might well go to jail. But when the rule is on the other side, it is not only blithely ignored but no punishment will be forthcoming for those who did the ignoring. But if regulations like this are so good, why shouldn’t they apply even more to the enforcers?

The answer is, of course not, because the real point of all of this is Neo-Feudalism and rules for serfs simply don’t apply to the aristocratic class.

27 June 2013

Quantum multiple realities

Reading this article on a more advanced quantum computer I was reminded that I learned of a serious flaw in the “multiple worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics.

I was attending a local physics lecture about basic quantum mechanics with Boy Two and the lecturer mentioned the multi-worlds interpretation. I asked whether he considered quantum computation a manifestation of this effect. He pointed out that wave equations are continuous but multiple worlds are discrete. Therefore you can’t ever get the exact right number of multiple worlds to make the probabilities work out. I found that quite a devastating point. Even if you just back up and say reality splits for every possible outcome it still doesn’t work. Perhaps it is possible to use the break down of distance at Planck length scales but that seems even more hand waving. I have basically given up on that interpretation now.

A light for Illinois

It seems to me the recent Supreme Court decision on Proposition 8 in California holds a key to saving the state of Illinois from financial ruin. One thing few outside the state (and many within it) do not realize is that public employee pension cuts are literally unconstitutional. Article XIII, Section 5 expressly forbids it. However, the Proposition 8 decision shows that a state Governor can simply ignore provisions of state constitutions by having some plaintiff file suit against it and then refusing to defend it or permit anyone else to do so. The resulting summary judgement cannot be overturned in federal court, as per the ruling. One wonders why Governor Jerry Brown doesn’t do this to Proposition 13.

26 June 2013

Unleashing leviathan

[…] it strikes me that one of Obama’s most pernicious influences—and there are so many to choose from—has been that he has let future politicians know what is possible in America. And, unlike his supporters, I don’t mean that in a good way.

There used to be certain assumptions on the part of politicians who would be president. […] if you went against too many of these rules the American people (and perhaps Congress, perhaps even your own party in some cases) was very likely to turn against you and not re-elect you. […] generally there was a certain respect for the unwritten law of natural consequences: the belief was that the American people had its limits. You could con all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, and all that. But enough of the people would be onto your game to stop you.

Obama has proven all of that is bunk for the right person at the right time.

neoneocon

Ultimately we have to blame the voting public who embraced candidate and then President Obama despite all of this. Obama, even as a candidate, always blithely ignored any traditional or societal (and frequently legal) constraints on his political activities, and few seemed to care. But we can place special blame on Old Media and the journalists who compose it for enabling so much of this by their consistent propaganda efforts on Obama’s behalf. It was better and more thorough than most state controlled media, driven apparently by a pathological love for the candidate which cause them, unprompted and undirected, to do whatever was needful to keep Obama looking good.

Bad and worse

As we’ve repeatedly emphasized, the possibility that the IRS was acting under orders from the White House, as alarming as it is, is far less so than the “dog whistle” alternative. If the IRS did the bidding of the party in power without having to be ordered, then the federal government itself, not just the current administration, is so corrupt as to call into question the very integrity of American democracy.

James Taranto

25 June 2013

What does it take to get through to these people?

The main thing that’s been bothering me about Russian backhanding of the Obama Administration is that the Administration seemed completely oblivious to it. Is our not very bright President and his bumbling Secretary of State finally realizing that? Sometimes the less aware people need to be hit upside the head with a clue-by-four to be enlightened. If only the Russians had joined the Tea Party would we see the Administration doing what is needed to win.

Lining up to be the next sacrifice

Rumour is that Secretary of HHS Kathleen Sebeliusis negotiating with the NFL to enlist its help in agitprop promoting POR-care. I remember just how much helping out then Presidential candidate Obama helped out Oprah Winfrey’s career. I look forward to a repeat, because people just never seem to learn.

24 June 2013

They no longer even pretend it is about facts or law

The George Zimmerman trial process grinds on, and I have come to the firm conclusion based on the evidence that the whole thing is a travesty, that Zimmerman was charged only because it was politically convenient and out of fear of civil unrest, i.e. a de facto lynch mob. Old Media did its usual job of slanting, obfuscating, and flat out lying when needed to support the mob. But what I find interesting are articles like this where even Old Media doesn’t bother to pretend the trial verdict will be based on facts or law, but primarily on the demographics of the jury. That is, race, class, and personal biases. That it has come to this is unremarked, but it seems to me we could save some money and time by just having the jury vote without the bother of needing lawyers and a judge to preside over what Old Media seems to consider irrelevant pro forma activity.

It would be rude to make them waste a bullet

As far as I can tell, the argument for why the GOP should pass immigration “reform” is that it’s better to commit suicide than fight to the death. As anyone with a clue can point out, the GOP will be blamed and called “racist” by the ruling class regardless — no political benefit whatsoever will accrue to the GOP from supporting this perfidious and ill-formed legislation. Why so many in GOP leadership positions do not grasp this is a good illustration of why the GOP is known as the “stupid” party.

Year Zero on the cheap

As I watch Egypt spiral down to destruction one has to wonder if it’s not deliberate. After all, who would be the most devastated by such a collapse? Mostly the urban and the educated, basically the same targets as Year Zero in Cambodia but this time, without any special work or effort by the government. So why not? Everyone seems to presume the Muslim Brotherhood would fall in such a situation, but I am not so confident and I have no difficulty accepting that the MB itself doesn’t believe that, but rather thinks it would be a beneficial purge of the infidels and apostate. We presume that everyone wants to rule over a modern, prosperous state but that’s just parochialism. Others have demonstratively had different priorities.

23 June 2013

Domestic surveillance

I am still pondering the discussion of the NSA and its domestic surveillance. One thing that is clear to me is that it’s not Snowden vs. the NSA — even if Snowden turns out to be a ChiCom agent that doesn’t mean the NSA surveillance is a good thing. Conversely, even if Snowden is a patriotic whistle blower doesn’t mean the surveillance is bad. I see too many people presuming that these truth values are opposites, when in fact they are only weakly correlated.

But there are some much deeper issues here which make me very nervous. This comment from Instapundit is one I find very plausible —

The administration has admitted to spying on everybody, including the press; collecting every bit of communications and personal data it can, including credit ratings, purchases, and browsing history. Nowhere have they said Congress is exempt. Verizon was the first phone company where it was admitted that everything they touch goes to the NSA. Upon taking office, every member of the House and Senate is handed a Blackberry to do everything on. Who has the contract for the Congressional Blackberries? Verizon.

Since this started in 2009, one has to assume that every member of Congress regardless of party has been compromised, or has family that has been compromised; and is being blackmailed, extorted, or bribed in some form or combination, and is under the control of the administration. This explanation is the Occam’s Razor for why the Congress, the Republican Caucus in particular, has been so passive and refused to fight back against Obama.

There are implications for the future of the country.

I have no doubt many will say “the Administration wouldn’t do that!” but as we’ve seen over the last five years there seems to be very little this Administration won’t do for political advantage.

This is interesting as well — Lawyers eye NSA data as treasure trove for evidence in murder, divorce cases. Why not? I say, bring it on. Let’s see what the public thinks if this kind of data is known to be readily available from the government. The Obama Administration already leaks sensitive data to its political allies why not to everyone?

We don't need science, we're regulators

A theme I’ve been trying to find the energy to rant on is the question “if regulators have no respect for regulation, why should I?”. It’s a variant of Instapundit’s view on global warmening — “I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who tell me it’s a crisis act like it’s a crisis”. I have felt this way for a long time but haven’t really been able to express it well but maybe it’s time to give it a try.

Up to today is the EPA, which IMHO is the poster boy for this theme. The EPA has simply given up on science, as it has not been producing the results desired. Here we see the underlying point that regulation is based on political goals, not scientific facts, economic results, or public safety. In particular this regards the issue of fracking, which the EPA is desperate to prove unsafe. They have done multiple studies which have failed to prove that so, like the EUlite, they will keep doing studies until they get the “right” result. After all, the EPA already knows the answer, it’s just a matter of tweaking the studies until one makes it a plausible claim.

Unfortunately for the EPA facts are stubborn things and it just hasn’t worked out. The solution, obviously, is to simply give up on the scientific method and not allow any peer review of the latest study. Why should that be needed, since the EPA knows the correct answer and this is all just a formality anyway?

This is where the well regulated economy ends as the emphasis shifts from facts to political success and thereby become divorced from reality.

14 June 2013

Rewriting history the Old Media Way

George Wallace was a Republican apparently. One is left with the question, are modern journalists mendacious, stupid, or utterly historically ignorant? Why not all three, some may respond. It does make it mordantly amusing to be lectured about not knowing history by a journalist.

When results don't matter

As far as I can tell, no amount of the unfolding and massive disaster that is POR-care makes any difference whatsoever to its supporters. Results are quite simply irrelevant.

Some things are more interesting than others in this regard. My current favorite is the rumour that Congressmen and Congressional staff are considering fleeing public service because the costs of POR-care would be too much due to Congress (for once) being subjected to its own legislation. What we see is not that our nomenklatura is surprised by the abject failure of their own efforts, but that they will get caught in the disaster they made for others. This bit is exquisite in demonstrating both this and the TwoAmericas view of our nation —

Rep. John Larson, a Connecticut Democrat in leadership when the law passed, said he thinks the problem will be resolved.

“If not, I think we should begin an immediate amicus brief to say, ‘Listen this is simply not fair to these employees,’” Larson told POLITICO. “They are federal employees.”

Yes, indeed, no government created disaster should inconvience our ruling class. I have yet to have a regulator explain why I should respect and appreciate regulations when they do not. Let them demonstrate the cure on themselves first.

As an example of how the regulatory mind does not deal well with objective reality, we have the failure of POR-care exchanges to attract actual insurers despite already delaying the rollout due to, frankly, having had no idea how complex this actually was.

But, if you’ve got a problem, the regulators have a solution that makes the regulators better off. Who can object to that?

05 June 2013

Christie 2016

Looks to me like NJ Governor Chris Cristie is setting up for a 2016 Presidential run … for the Democratic Party. I think he could do it.