A member, and hoping to stay that way, of the reality-based community

05 November 2012

2012 Presidential Election: Electoral Map

Here's my prediction.

2012 Presidential Election: Electoral Map: This map displays the projections of the sender and does not reflect the opinions of 270toWin.

29 July 2012

We have a lot of this lately, it seems.

If money really is speech, it's also just another way to voice one's beliefs.  Yet we have a tough time applying that standard universally.  We're arguing over the meaning of "social good".  The Right and the Left both suffer a version of the persecution complex.  Somehow we need to accept the disagreement and work to find the middle.

From this wall (not for the easily offended).

P.S. Doing this in Paint made me feel like I was drawing with Monty's micro-tip.

22 July 2012

The silliness of the season.

Maybe it's the heat.  Something's gotten to the Rs in their pursuit of the White House.  How else to explain the recent hoo-hah about Obama and the Job Creators.  As Paul Krugman points out, there's nothing but lies in Romney's (and Romney's surrogates) attacks on the recent comments that have been given the shorthand, "you didn't build that."

"This onion structure is why you should never believe reasonable-sounding conservatives who say that you’re attacking a straw man, that “nobody believes” that wealth creators owe nothing to society. Oh yes they do — it’s usually hidden inside a couple of more socially acceptable excuses, but at their core Ryan and people like him believe that they’re characters in Atlas Shrugged."

The distinction Krugman ignores, for rhetorical simplicity, is that the wealthy are not, in fact, arguing that they owe "nothing."  They are arguing that they owe no more than anyone else owes.  Which isn't any less stupid than having them claim to owe "nothing" in my book.

Mitt Romney needs to explain to the American people how many American jobs his money that's parked in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda is creating annually.  Until he does that, I see no reason to listen to anything he or any of the people who support him have to say.  Even after, he needs to explain why simple fairness doesn't require him to pay a rate at least as high as everyone making less than he does.

10 July 2012

LIBOR rates were *self-reported*?

I only just read the bit where LIBOR rates were self-reported.  I consider my mind blown that a government was convinced that a rate that could be written into contracts was based not on the report of that rate (approximately) in the most recent past, but on an estimation of the future.  That's just mind-bogglingly certain to result in the kind of scandal we see now.

This is a perfect and frightful example of regulatory capture gone painfully (for the taxpayers, and the debtors) according to expectations.  I just am aghast.  Maybe something will change soon?

A Republican who (mostly) speaks sense

I have vague memories of his tenure in the House as a Congresscritter (R-SC), but Bob Ingliss speaks some remarkably sensible things in this interview.  I think his analysis of the way out of our economic troubles is wrong, but then I'm well known as a card-carrying DFH, and think Paul Krugman has the right prescription there.

But I thought it was amazing to hear such communitarian thinking from someone on that side of the aisle.  They're usually making noises that have more in common with eating the poor than thinking we're all in it together.

20 February 2012

You gotta be cruel to be cheap.

Blake Hurst opines in today's NYT that, because today's hog farmers don't practice "needless cruelty," the rest of us should shut up about conditions on modern, productive hog farms because we're benefiting by getting cheap meat.  OK, he doesn't directly draw that conclusion.  He only makes that series of points in that order,  anticipating that inference.

Along the way he also impugns my intellectual capacity.  "[W]e can't ask the pigs what they think...."  Well, he can't know my mind, so how does he think he can assert that the standard I demand of my meat producers is "needless" cruelty?  He can't, of course.  Which is why he's writing this drivel.

I completely understand that eating meat entails some level of cruelty to the eaten.  I am not deluded on this account.  My acceptance that cruelty will therefore exist does not mean that I cannot expect that the least cruelty possible be inflicted.  I'm even on board with forcing the consumers to help with the butchering, on the theory that if you're not willing to do it yourself, maybe you shouldn't enjoy the fruits of the labors of those who are.

Mr Hurst even acknowledges, if only obtusely, that the issue here is cold, hard cash, not mere possibility.  The only ways to produce hogs without a specific form of hog confinement (gestation crates), which is coming under scrutiny for it's factory-cum-laboratory-like resemblance and the lack of exercise afforded the sow, are "complicated, expensive, or dangerous to the pigs."  I think it should be obvious which of those I would continue to object to, but in case you missed it, I'm comfortable with farmers working harder, and it costing more for my pork chop.

We cannot progress as a society by consciously or unconsciously inflicting more harm on our food or the environment than we must to survive.