Mail 729 Monday, June 18, 2012
" And God forbid that we try to set up some kind of government run distribution system; that would really be disastrous. "
Didn’t we have that at one point? I distinctly remember as child going to the Parish (i.e County, I’m from Louisiana) School Board warehouse and my parents getting butter, powdered milk, sugar, cheese, and (rarely) powdered eggs. All with USDA stamps and in bulk amounts. It was a regular monthly distribution.
Also, in Iraq I had some experience with distribution of government/US staples and fuel (not to mention government pay and pension distribution – all in cash). Inventory, eligibility determination and distribution CAN be a ‘goat rope’. Additionally, discussions with many Iraqis and observation of pre-war government warehouses show that it COULD ALSO be rife with fraud and corruption on both sides of the distribution table. But, we managed to get a handle on it. Thus, I believe it could be done in the US with proper supervision.
Cheap energy = prosperity!
Drill here, DRILL NOW!
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired.; Former Governor of Wasit Province, Iraq; Righter of Wrongs; Wrong most of the time; Distinguished Expert, TV remote control; Chef de Hot Dog Excellance; Avoider of Yard Work
We can do anything: but the problem is that we tend to set up bureaucracies, and the Iron Law takes it from there. As a mission with a definite date for dismantling it’s easily within the capability of the military: but as an eternal bureaucracy?
There is considerable mail on the climate debate. The evidence against the Man Made Global Warming hypothesis appears to be piling up. That hasn’t stopped a number of science commentators from continuing to champion it, but apparently some real scientists are dropping out.
Don’t confuse me with the facts…
…my mind’s made up.
"Part of the preamble to Agenda 21, the action plan that came out of the Rio Earth Summit of 1992, reads: "We are confronted with a perpetuation of disparities between and within nations, a worsening of poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy, and the continuing deterioration of the ecosystems on which we depend for our well-being."
"In the 20 years since, something embarrassing has happened: a sharp decrease in poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy and a marked reduction in these global disparities."
Taxes crippling CA
The upcoming fifth edition of Rich States, Poor States, a publication that I co-author annually with Stephen Moore and Jonathan Williams, will show just how antigrowth California’s business environment is. Our study uses 15 pro-growth attributes to rank the states’ economic competitiveness. In the first four years of the index, California never ranked outside the bottom ten states; this year, it will probably manage that feat—just barely—thanks to the expiration of numerous temporary tax increases (several of which Democrats want voters to reinstate in November).
Taxes are indeed a big part of California’s economic problem. At 10.30 percent, the state’s top marginal personal income-tax rate is the fourth-highest in the country, and its top marginal corporate income-tax rate of 8.84 percent is 25 percent above the national average. Excessive taxation is an equal-opportunity tormentor, afflicting labor and capital, poor and rich, men and women, old and young. In the short run, higher taxes on labor or capital will reduce after-tax earnings. Some people will violate the law and fail to report taxable income; others will use legal options, including tax deductions and credits, to reduce their payments. In the long run, residents—those who can afford to, anyway—will vote with their feet and leave the state, shifting the tax burden to lower-wage workers, as well as to immobile land and property.
Hardly surprising. If something can’t go on forever it will stop.
The Space Review: D.D. Harriman versus Dan Davis
An interesting comparison of two of Heinlein’s character’s and how they have informed the space movement.
Regards, Charles Adams, Bellevue, NE
An interesting analogy I had not thought of.
Emailer Mike T. Powers mentioned FDA regulation causing drug shortages; the Washington Examiner seems to agree:
President Obama’s Food and Drug Administration has caused "a public health crisis" — a prescription drug shortage over the past two years — by increasing the number of threats issued to raid and close drug manufacturing plants, according to House investigators.
"This shortage appears to be a direct result of over-aggressive and excessive regulatory action," House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a statement. "These drugs can save lives and keep people who need them living healthy lives. The FDA is failing to ensure the availability of quality products."
Joshua Jordan, KSC
The FDA regulations and regulators are killing people, but you don’t see them from failure to approve. You do see those who die from an approved drug that goes wrong.
David Warren intuits the Iron Law:
"But there is an inflationary tendency in all bureaucratic works. By increments the reach of the agency increases, its staffing and budget expands, and the matters it deals with become ever more trivial and absurd. "Hard cases make bad law," and what starts as a reasonable-looking proposal – often to get around red tape – ends in what we have. From Daniel Hill (the first Ontario human rights commissioner) to Barbara Hall (the current one), is a standard tale of progress, from the sublime to the ridiculous."
For the few who don’t know, this refers to Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy.
The Silencing of Maya –
This story puts an unexpectedly human face on the software patent issue. A little girl who is virtually unable to speak for medical reasons now has a virtual voice. Her name is Maya, and her virtual voice is an iPad app called "Speak for Yourself." This app has been revolutionizing her life, but the app is now in danger because of a patent dispute. The patent holder has persuaded Apple to remove the app from the iTunes store even before the litigation has been settled. The rest you can read for yourself, but this is one of those hard cases that reveals just how much our technology is changing our lives.
And this is more information about what it’s like to enable a child who can’t speak to communicate.
Most software patents don’t have such obvious human consequences. It seems to me that the patent holder is holding onto a fading business model. They sell their hardware solution for about $9,000. Their customers have asked for an app for years but the company has shown no interest in undermining their hardware monopoly. An iPad and a few bucks for an app could, literally, sink them, much like ebooks and print-on-demand can sink traditional publishers. I haven’t read the patent or any of the legal motions, but I would get a chuckle out of seeing Bill Gates or Daddy Warbucks come through and buy out the patent holders.
The Copyright Law was written before the telegraph was invented, and revised in 1975 before the real beginning of the computer revolution. The Digital Millennium Communications Act was written when few lawyers and fewer Congresscritters understood anything about the Computer Revolution, few used the Web, and even the lobbyists didn’t know what they wanted.
It is time to have a complete new debate on intellectual property laws, and a complete redrafting of copyright and patent. The problem is that those who make the laws know little about the technology, and those who use the technology know little about law.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has one set of views, and they are not those of many authors. Authors themselves are confused as to what they want and need.
Before there is a revision of law there needs to be a discussion to understanding among those who create intellectual property. That is happening, but the pace is very slow.
A good start…
This law was passed to override an Indiana Supreme Court ruling which basically said residents had no reasonable expectation of being secure from police break-ins and warrants were no longer necessary. In other words, court said the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States no longer applied in Indiana because it inconvenienced law enforcement.
Forty-nine states and assorted districts and territories to go.
Next to get "asset forfeiture" laws subject to the Constitution.
I’ve read that governments should fear their citizens but subjects fear their governments.
Actually, under the Common Law, a man’s home is his castle, and he is presumed to have the right to defend it. That slowly vanished in a slurry of misunderstanding and of court transfer of power to government. Now you are told to leave your defense to the professionals, who seem to have no duty to defend you, nor much in the way of restraint in doing it. As witness the Long Beach incident in which police, in hiding and whose presence was unknown, shot dead a mildly drunken man sitting on a friend’s porch and brandishing a disconnected hose nozzle that resembled a gun. The officers pleaded that they felt in danger of their lives. None have been suspended or charged in the incident with is acknowledged to be ‘unfortunate.’ Salve, Sclave.
from ‘In Praise Of Narrow Minds’
"Now there is nobody as narrow-minded and as dogmatic as a mathematician. This is a man who just will not open his mind to hearing about new methods to square the circle or to show that two plus two is sometimes not four. He will rebuff, sometimes angrily, arguments which claim triangles have four sides. What a judgmental bigot! It is as if this man is in thrall to a religion, who actually has hold of Truth and believes it come what may. A truly closed mind.
"We should all have minds as narrow. To possess and hold Truth—and not to be talked out of it because of faulty, frivolous insults, or because many have decided to be against you.
"Just think: If you have ever been called narrow-minded then you know that your interlocutor does not want to broaden your scope, to open your mind, to make it fuller, more “accepting.” What your adversary wants is for you to change your mind, to believe differently but just as narrowly as he does, to reject what you previously believed."
Live long and prosper
h lynn keith
“The last 3.5 years have been photo ops, speeches and fund raisers; I shudder to think of an Obama not worried about reelection.
From where I sit this is definitely not a shoo-in. Obama has a crap economy
he promised to fix, and now an Attorney General on the hot seat with
Congress. Mitt Romney is just the guy to make hay with this situation.
We cane hope. The President can’t really campaign on his record.
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
You were very close on the Adams quote, so that could be why you didn’t find it. I found many quoting it:
John Quincy Adams: "We are the friends of liberty everywhere, but we are the guardians only of our own"
one source from the Congressional Record:
Thought you’d like to know.
Longtime reader and subscriber.
Thanks. That may be where I first found it. It seems a good summary of a Republic’s foreign policy. Friends of liberty everywhere, but the guardians only of or own. Of course tha may well mean making alliances. But we have also been warned about entangling alliances and the territorial disputes of others.
Solving our ‘entitlement’ problem
Totally by coincidence, I got this from one of my HS classmates (’59) yesterday. It is (supposesdly; I can’t verify it and it likely didn’t actually happen) from a 21 year old girl in Waco that makes some suggestions that would if not solve our ‘entitlement’ problem, at least ameliorate it a bit:
"IF YOU CAN’T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER,
YOU’VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM"
WRITTEN BY A 21 YEAR OLD FEMALE Wow, this girl has a great plan! Love the last thing she would do the best.
This was written by a 21 yr old female who gets it. It’s her future she’s worried about and this is how she feels about the social welfare big government state that she’s being forced to live in!
These solutions are just common sense in her opinion.
This was in the Waco Tribune Herald, Waco , TX , Nov 18, 2010
PUT ME IN CHARGE . . .
Put me in charge of food stamps. I’d get rid of Lone Star cards; no cash for Ding Dongs or Ho Ho’s, just money for 50-pound bags of rice and beans, blocks of cheese and all the powdered milk you can haul away. If you want steak and frozen pizza, then get a job.
Put me in charge of Medicaid. The first thing I’d do is to get women Norplant birth control implants or tubal legations. Then, we’ll test recipients for drugs, alcohol, and nicotine. If you want to reproduce or use drugs, alcohol, or smoke, then get a job.
Put me in charge of government housing. Ever live in a military barracks? You will maintain our property in a clean and good state of repair. Your home" will be subject to inspections anytime and possessions will be inventoried. If you want a plasma TV or Xbox 360, then get a job and your own place.
In addition, you will either present a check stub from a job each week or you will report to a "government" job. It may be cleaning the roadways of trash, painting and repairing public housing, whatever we find for you. We will sell your 22 inch rims and low profile tires and your blasting stereo and speakers and put that money toward the "common good.."
Before you write that I’ve violated someone’s rights, realize that all of the above is voluntary. If you want our money, accept our rules. Before you say that this would be "demeaning" and ruin their "self esteem," consider that it wasn’t that long ago that taking someone else’s money for doing absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self esteem.
If we are expected to pay for other people’s mistakes we should at least attempt to make them learn from their bad choices. The current system rewards them for continuing to make bad choices.
AND While you are on Gov’t subsistence, you no longer can VOTE! Yes, that is correct. For you to vote would be a conflict of interest. You will voluntarily remove yourself from voting while you are receiving a Gov’t welfare check. If you want to vote, then get a job."
Works for me.
As you note, probably made up, but bracing…
Joshua Jordan KSC quotes a news item:
"A Minnesota high school student who wears rosary beads to school in support of his cancer-stricken grandmother was ordered to pocket them by school district officials, who said the beads could be a symbol of gang membership."
Do you remember what that gang did to the Roman Empire? Best beware of them….!
© 2012, jerrypournelle. All rights reserved.