THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 332 October 18 - 24, 2004
Highlights this week:
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October 18, 2004
Continuing to recover. My apologies to all in Japan who have been inconvenienced by my inability to make this trip. I'm all right, but slow.
The election is turning shrill. The Congress rejected a revival of the draft by 400+ to 2, but Kerry continues to use it as a scare tactic. He's also being shrill about Social Security although everyone who had studied the issue knows that investing retirement savings makes sense. As an example: for four years in the 1960's I paid into TIAA/CREF when I was at Pepperdine. I now get just about as much from that as I do from having paid into social security for forty years. Professor John McCarthy at Stanford opted out of social security for TIAA/CREF and now gets more from his retirement than he made as a full professor at Stanford. Social Security is a scheme for taxing current income to pay retirement; a Ponzi scheme backed by the government. There is no "investment". Either Kerry knows this, in which case he is a fear monger, or he doesn't, in which case he's pretty stupid. I cannot think that his fear tactics will help him; and his turning to that is a sign of desperation.
Next I presume will be the lawyers.
|This week:||Tuesday, October
The new byte column www.byte.com is up and it's pretty good if I do say so...
The campaign continues to be shrill. I am increasingly fearful of the dangers of Kerry's election, although I understand and appreciate the argument that Bush, having surrounded himself with the neo-jacobins and allowing himself to be talked into invading the wrong country, deserves to be turned out on his hear and replaced; given that the House will remain Republican, we can afford an unlikable Liberal Democrat President. That argument makes sense, but my dislike of great changes is probably relevant also. The present administration is modernizing the armed forces and believes in a strategy of technology. Kerry has said -- well that's the problem, Kerry has said almost everything. While some of this is normal politics, some is really odd. He can't possibly believe that Bush contemplates conscription, but there he is saying it. He continues to act as if his family background is Irish Catholic, which is an odd thing to pretend. He can't believe that taking less than 5% of new Social Security funds to put into private investment retirement accounts will make much different (compared to economic policy and growth rates, which in fact that kind of investment may affect favorably); yet he is shrill on that subject. He scares me.
Bus was seduced by the neo-cons, but the "mankind wants to be free" view is taught in every US school in the land, and why is Bush stupid for believing it when all the social scientists and Democrats say they do? Do they not believe it, but just say so? Is is better to be sincerely wrong or to be cynically hypocritical?
Meanwhile, the Republicans remain The Stupid Party, with their pandering to immigrant votes, unable to do the electoral arithmetic -- Steve Sailer does a very good job of analyzing that fallacy in the latest American Conservative (a magazine which is beginning, finally, to act as if it wants to earn its name following its love affairs with Norman Mailer and other enemies of all things conservative).
I suppose the best thing that could happen in the election would be for Bush to win just barely, with enough votes cast for Libertarian and Conservative party candidates to have made it a landslide if he had got them.
And Francis Hamit calls attention to http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/washpost/20041018/tc_washpost/a40639_2004oct17
October 20, 2004
It is raining like crazy here and the Internet is not working well. I have switched to the satellite since Adelphia cable modem is entirely unreliable.
Satellite works. Latency is bad but total throughput is acceptable. Actually it's not. The whole system is simply unacceptable, but what can I do?
I will have letters and comments on Social Security over in Mail.
The satellite almost works. Adelphia cable modem doesn't work at all. For reasons not clear to me, I can send mail but my mailbox at jerrypournelle.com is responding with odd messages.
Mail to me a email@example.com gets to me. Other mail hasn't done so for an hour or two. It may be something to do with the stupid windows share program on the satellite server, which doesn't really work very well.
Ah. Now it does. Apparently the cable is damaged: it connects but JUST BARELY so we will stay with the satellite for a while. Mail to me at all addresses now gets through.
Well, once again, things fix themselves: it took resetting the cable modem (duh) but all is well now.
October 21, 2004
Well I am home cleaning up the place rather than on an airplane home from Tokyo, and much as I regret having to cancel the trip and disappointing my friends at Nikkei Byte on their 20th Anniversary, I am glad I am not on an airplane today. I'm all right, but I don't want to be far from facilities.
And I got this advisory
American Airlines flight 7210 is delayed. Tokyo Narita (NRT) departure is
now estimated at 6:00PM. Estimated arrival at Los Angeles International
(LAX) is now 11:15AM. Your Orbitz record locator for this trip is 857MT0E8.
although I did cancel my reservation. Since my son's wedding is Saturday and things start tonight, I again regret missing the trip, but it is probably as well.
I found an article at National Review Online that I thought you'd like to see:
You will undoubtedly want to forward this on to Mr. Niven.
And indeed, it is a disturbing article. Slippery slopes, anyone?
"How many boards could the Mongols hoard if the Mongol hordes got bored?"
October 22, 2004
Bush Trounces Kerry:
Probably the most scientifically valid poll so far:
October 23, 2004
Alex is getting married today.
October 24, 2004
Wedding was lovely, bride was beautiful, reception went perfectly. Had all five of my children in one place for the first time in a while.
I return to find that Norton is popping up messages
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