Mail Friday July 1 2011 – testing

Mail 681 Friday Jule 1, 2011 – 1

This is an attempt to publish Mail. I made up a package last night but Word informed me that I could not publish it. It gives no explanations, and Help was as useful as Microsoft Help usually is. I have no idea whether there is something in one of the mail items, or if I inadvertently put in a bad character. I am going to publish this several times (assuming I can do so at all) adding mail to it each time in a series of tests. Apologies to those getting multiple feeds.

All right. That worked. Now to start adding some mail.

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All right. I pasted one of the unpublishable letters from last night. I was promptly told that I cannot publish. I tried eliminating my reply and it still will not publish. First see if this will publish –

And it does. Now to see if I can paste in any letter at all and get it to publish. This will not be an organized mail session.

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Subject: America saving California



Dr. Pournelle



Now to the point you mentioned that America might save California from itself where they are voting themselves largess. The question really should be: “Who is going to save America?”


Scott Hodge of the Tax Foundation in testimony in front of the Senate Budget Committee on March 9, 2011 showed that right now that 36% of filers do not pay income tax and that shortly that number will be almost 40% due to tax credits that the Democrat controlled Congress passed and the President signed into law:


[quote]In 2008, these tax rebates boosted the number of nonpayers to nearly 52 million, or roughly 36 percent of all tax filers. Moreover, the rebates boosted the maximum income for nonpayers to more than $56,700. In the absence of the rebates, the threshold would have been roughly $44,500.


When the final IRS data is tallied for tax years 2009 and 2010, it is likely that the number of nonpayers could approach 40 percent due to President Obama’s making-work-pay credit, first-time homebuyer credit, and American Opportunity tax credit. As a rule of thumb, we can now expect that the typical family of four earning up to $50,000 will owe no income taxes.[5] [End Quote]


So as you can see asking America to save California is like asking the blind to lead the blind.


Robert Allaband


Oh, I am aware of the irony here. The only thing that can save the United States, or California, is what my father used to call an economic dose of salts; and at the moment that is politically impossible. We are not so bad off as Greece where they riot because the retirement age for civil servants may be set to 55 instead of 50, and there is insistence on raises and more spending even long after they have gone broke, but it’s close. The political leadership in both California and Washington has built a tax and spend machine that is ruthless, and any attempt to cut back anything is met with fiery opposition, and the claim that this is a preference for the rich over – the kids, the poor, the sick, nurses, teachers, anyone other than the political organizations which forcibly collect dues and make big donations to political campaign funds, which are of course the main beneficiaries of this system. Boss Tweed used to fix the potholes and actually provide some services for the constituents: Los Angeles has managed to have all the high salaries, exchanges of favors, bureaucracies within bureaucracies, and the rest of it and still be the pothole capital of California. Probably there is a lobby of autorepair shops that donates to keep the potholes unfilled, and God how the money flows in…


We all know that in the past decades the cost per pupil in the schools has doubled while the effectiveness of our K-12 schools has been going down and down. We expect it. But any attempt to cut back on all the money spent, or to introduce some form of productivity testing to the schools, is always an attack on the teachers. The only remedy to bad schools is to throw in more money. We don’t have any more money, so we must raise more money, with taxes, or borrowing, or balancing the budget by putting in an item on how we expect money from the Easter Bunny. Charlie Sheffield and I described a school system in Higher Education that was seen as a horrible slur on the school system. It seems to have been prophetic, and if it was in error, it was an understatement of just how awful things can get.


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fusion space “drive”


Message Body:


 I saw this interesting tidbit about a potential fusion space drive in and article on the IEEE Spectrum magazine on line site. It is pretty brief, but informative description of a non-continuous fusion reaction used for a space drive based on boron as fuel (since it is low on neutrons). It produces significantly more power than is input by a pulsed laser.

 The NASA scientist who is working on this said he thought it would take 10 years to make it usable as a space drive.

 Joe Kubler

NOTE: this published, but when I attempted a reply I got the cannot be published message. I am trying again, first with this note. Then I will try to do a reply.

I used a boron fusion drive in a story some decades ago, after I visited Los Alamos and talked to the project director. There were high hopes for fusion as an interplanetary drive system. Other projects got higher priorities and I have not followed this, but it is good to see that work still continues. This isn’t Heinlein’s torch ship, but there’s enough ISP to generate interplanetary commerce.

Comment: that worked and published. Now to see if I can color it.

Apparently an attempt to color the QUOTE style before publishing renders the entire document unpublishable; but if I use quote style, publish, THEN color the quote style and publish again, it works. Of course that raises the question, should I bother with the color. The quote style certainly makes it clear which remarks are mine and which are the readers.

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Not so! Not so!


Reads like an Oslo editorial, about 1100.



Steven J. Dunn

Or the Mandarins dealing with the Chinese Treasure Fleet that discovered Africa in the time of Vasco de Gama. But it is not so, we will have interplanetary commerce.

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The Sixth War


We’re back in Somalia and we now have six wars.



Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC


Bush took terrible advice regarding Aidid, who had previously had every indication that he was “our man” in Somalia, and who undertook to restore some order. Operation Gothic Serpent was a terrible idea: there was no need to arrest Aidid, who was the most popular leader in the region and who had at least some notions of western values (his son was educated in the US). The result was a terrible war of all against all, with the US exacerbating the situation as we often do when we send in leaders who know little of the local area – and worse, who have not studied the classical documents of political philosophy and reality, starting with Aristotle. We paid a price in Somalia but the people there paid worse. And the beat goes on.

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Instaneous Cheap Memory


Another game changer from IBM. I don’t want to wait 5 years, I want it NOW.



Fascinating. I want it now, too. Things flow here so…

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California vs. Amazon View 681 2011 June 30

View 681 Thursday, June 30, 2011 – 2

California today passed what the governor is pleased to call a balanced budget without new taxes. There were new taxes, of course. One of them was another dodge to collect sales taxes on Internet sales. This time California has levied a sales tax to be applied to any firm that has business or business associates in California.

Amazon responded by cancelling the Associates program, meaning that my links to Amazon books with my Amazon Associates link code no longer result in my getting some small percentage of book sales done that way. It was not insignificant income, about $2,000 a year, on which I paid California income tax, and if I spent the money in California I would of course pay state and county and city sales taxes. I do buy books through Amazon, and sometimes diet supplements. In theory I will now have to pay sales taxes on those but I doubt it will amount to anything like the amount the state will lose because I have lost the income from the Associates program. Of course Governor Brown is in thrall to the unions who insist that spending must never slow down and revenue must always rise, so there is no point in trying to point out to the Democrats that this program isn’t going to do them much good, while it will certainly bring harm to the Amazon Associates in this state. I suspect this will cause some of them to leave the state altogether. This is not a place in which to build a career.

Part of California used to be a good place to retire to, and looking at the wreckage of the state economy I’d think it would welcome more retired people, but ruthlessly enforcing sales taxes is hardly the way to attract them. Sales taxes fall heavily on those with low to low-middle income, since they have little alternative to spending a good part of their income, and can hardly find ways to bank some of it outside the state. None of which matters to those who will riot if they do not receive their perks and benefits from the government, and the legislature which has to come up with something to call a balanced budget or it will not get paid.

Of course that is farce. Part of the balance in this budget is an income forecast that simply can’t happen. They’d have been more honest if they simply set down a line item specifying $5 billion from the Easter Bunny. Of course they all know this.

Democracies endure until the citizens discover they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. I said all this long ago in my introduction to Imperial Stars.

“Democracies endure until the citizens care more for what the state can give them than for its ability to defend rich and poor alike; until they care more for their privileges than their responsibilities; until they learn they can vote largess from the public treasury and use the state as an instrument for plundering, first those who have wealth, then those who create it”.

I could wish I had been wrong. Yet it may be that America will save California. First, though, California has to be allowed to suffer the consequences of its folly. The punishment will begin soon enough.

You may also find I am forced to increase the frequency of my pledge and subscription appeals. Incidentally, those who have tried to subscribe since the conversion to WordPress and have been unable to do so should try again. It should work this time. If you were thinking about subscribing, this would be a good time to subscribe. Help test the system.

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Back to dialup for the moment. I got more than 120 mb of email, mostly spam, in four hours. At $50 a gigabyte I can’t afford that. I’m looking into what I can do about that. Historically I have not worried much about spam since I got high speed access, since my filters take care of it and my systems are fast enough to deal with it (although sometimes the slowdowns can be annoying), But If I have to pay this kind of rate I can’t afford to keep that up. I need to look at the options BlueHost offers in the spam control. Haven’t got around to that, and clearly they are not set for what I am doing.

Note that ordinary mail is not a problem. All the normal mail from all of you won’t amount to more than a few megabytes a day, and that’s not a problem. But when it gets to 50 megabytes and hour it’s a bit much for someone paying for telephone access.

I’ll work something out. It’s not as if this goes on forever.