Aug 11 18:14

Spare the Rod, Save the Child

I know many ex-Catholics who were similarly terrorized into obedience as children, and who wanted no part of the faith as adults as a result.

But that is NOT the message Jesus preached, nor is it the message of loving churches.

One teacher told me that no matter how bad I had ever been, I could always take my punishment, try to make amends, and the next day was my chance to be good.

I probably count as an ex-Catholic. I lost the Church when I was 14, and haven’t found my way back. Attending a Catholic high school was no help.

The terror and rebellion of childhood seems to animate much of the conversation on religion. Some hatreds last a lifetime. But if we look at what Sunday School was supposed to be teaching, that hate is always one-sided.

Jul 11 10:35

Replacing Leviathan

This is the first in a 3-part series to outline the importance of programs funded by the OAA –such as Meals On Wheels –to the dignity of seniors across America. Please read, share and tell Congress to take action and not play political games with seniors’ health and well-being.

This FedGov law funds local Meals on Wheels programs. By the political structure I wish we lived under, it would have never been under Federal jurisdiction. But we can’t act on the world as we wish it was.

Having direct personal experience with my local MoW (Eastside Meals on Wheels), I’ve seen the program is useful and effective, with even some "public" purpose. Enabling people to stay in their homes has a cascade of benefits to neighborhoods and municipalities.

Apr 17 10:14

Middle-Class Advocates

I’ve been learning party politics with the Republican Paty in Minnesota. I spend almost as much time needling them for their shortcomings—as I see them, of course—as I spend on party work and cheerleading.

In one of those wonderful moments where the internet confirms you are not totally alone, I just came across a comment at Vox Popoli that could have come right off my fingertips:

The Democrats have become the party of the Truly Rich and the Welfare Class. They have totally abandoned the middle class, which the Republicans could sweep up if they weren't so addicted to being the Business Party.

At every convention I attend, I like to Tweet something like: “The first candidate to mention seniors, veterans and workers gets my support.” Few manage it.

Feb 21 13:54

Two Kinds of Liberty

In the comments, Vox writes that libertarianism is, “the political ideology based on the principle of maximizing human liberty.”

Which inspired commenter cailcorishev to write:

Feb 13 19:56

Bigger Than the Beatles

The Beatles didn't cure cancer or anything, but they didn't cause any either, so let's not go nuts one way or the other. They were good and effective songwriters and interesting and compelling singers, especially in harmony. I don't freight celebrities with superpowers. The Beatles' celebrity eventually so overpowered their talents that even they started ignoring the music they were making. John Lennon seemed to think he really was going to cure cancer using nothing but his attitude, and got lead poisoning for his trouble. People should stick to their knitting.

Sep 11 21:24

Peter Pan Politics

In the end, wearing snarky t-shirts is the mark of someone who doesn't want to be responsible, but just make powerful noise.

Quoted from: Cobb

Jun 09 2013

Class Warfare

When did “earning your keep” lose its dignity?

May 18 2013

A Negative Railroad for Chicken

A new company has emerged in the Middle East that smuggles fast food from an Egyptian Kentucky Fried Chicken to Gaza residents through a tunnel.

People in the conflicted region can now satisfy cravings for food from the Louisville-based fast food headquarters by ordering through a company that charges the American equivalent of $30 for smugglers to bring the greasy goods from Al-Arish in Egypt to the doorsteps of hungry customers.

They tell me the grilled chicken isn’t greasy.

May 13 2013

I Hope God is Laughing

The State of Minnesota has passed legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. Still just between two partners, and between people who are not already related.

There is a massive emotional outpouring of joy. The law is not a surprise, so there is really only perfunctory statements of grief from opponents of SSM and opponents of any kind of government involvement in marriage.

A few comments on Facebook have coalesced into a recognition.

For all the happiness and love I see from and for homosexuals today, they are still a shadow. A same-sex couple will never get to experience the joy produced by the birth of a child conceived in a loving union between bodies and souls.

No earthly power can overrule God’s design.

I would like to be happy for the gay couples I know who now might legalize their relationship. And I can be happy for them. But after awakening to this essential difference, I will probably regard every same-sex couple with at least a hint of pity.

It is a sad day. Not for the loss of traditional marriage, but for the acceptance of delusion as truth. If Satan exists, this is how he would want his world to function.

May 11 2013

Risk Management

You can't tell the truth to strangers.

Quoted from: Sippican Cottage

Feb 23 2013

The Worth of Work

Sippican Cottage muses on the difference between working and making:

Unlike most of the world, I am not allowed to have the Process be the Product. At the end of the day there has to be something tangibly different with the world or we don't eat. Sometimes we don't eat anyway. Most of the world we inhabit now is all Process and no Product. What is Twitter, or Tumblr, or Facebook, or a million other things you could name that consist solely of: This is how I go, when I go like this.

The federal government thinks the process is the entire product. The public school system can produce only public school teachers. The EPA is now supposed to protect the air from humans. The Department of Energy doesn't make any, and would prefer you didn't as well --or else. Cities like Detroit are trying to exist with no population now. Search your mind. You'll have to search hard to find exceptions, not examples.

As I have complained more than once, talking about jobs and creating jobs misses the point. What matters is creating value. Not just something you value, or that has an abstract value, but something that has tradable value. Something you can exchange for food and shelter.

The speedometer doesn't make the car go faster. Showing up to a job is no guarantee that the effort is genuinely adding to the global wealth. Process is a cost, an expense. It may be necessary, but keeping busy isn’t a sustainable strategy. The process must lead to a product. Otherwise, after all the effort, somebody ends up more hungry than if we didn’t go through the process at all.

Jan 18 2013

Doping in Minneapolis

Posted by a Facebook pally:

Regarding Lance Armstrong: If I wanted to listen to the opinions of smug assholes who ride bikes and do way too many drugs, I'd move to Northeast Minneapolis.


Nov 22 2012

The Fulcrum of Freedom

In the same way that tax revenues are not maximized by maximizing tax rates, as per the Laffer curve, freedom of action and opportunity is not maximized by maximizing legal freedom for everyone on the planet.  Podhoretz, for example, would not be more free if Hamas were legally permitted to set up Jew-baking ovens in New York City, just as Americans would not be more free if 50 million Mexicans were legally permitted to enter the country and begin voting for the sort of policies they are accustomed to voting for when choosing between the Partido Revolucionario Institucional and the Party of the Democratic Revolution, both of which are members of the Socialist International.

Since freedom is not easily mathematically quantified, it is not as simple to construct a Liberty curve as a Laffer curve, but the logic is the same.

Having the heart of an anarchist, I understand the case for eliminating government. It fails, like all theoretical utopias, when applied to imperfect men in a world open to evil.

Nov 03 2012

The Eugenicist Behind the Curtain

Far from being the natural outgrowth of a broad philosophical commitment to the idea of self-ownership and control of our own bodies, the Democrats stance on the right to abortion is the sole and glaring exception to an ideology that otherwise treats the bodies of women like the bodies of government owned cattle.

A party that tells women what size of soda she can buy doesn’t actually believe that women control their own bodies.

Once you no longer have enough freedoms to marshal the resources to defend yourself politically, they won’t have to humor you anymore and they will suddenly discover that your inability to choose your own soda size, cough syrup and cancer treatments also means you don’t have the ability to choose whether to have or refuse an abortion…

Death is the lowest-cost option for treating many diseases. Applying that treatment pre-birth saves even more money.

“A society, in order to progress, must not be burdened by the avoidable demands of unfortunate genes.

Oct 31 2012

Inertial Inconsequence

The reality is that it just doesn't matter very much at all whether Barack Obama serves George Bush's fourth term or Mitt Romney serves Barack Obama's second term.

Quoted from: Kn@ppster

via: Aretae

Oct 12 2012

Economic Engineering

Here’s a metaphor for how I see the economic debate in the current election:

Imagine the economy is a bridge. The bridge has begun to groan and sway. Two engineers have proposed plans to strengthen the bridge.

The first engineer believes that more traffic moving faster over the bridge is the best solution. The second engineer proposes cutting away some of the bridge’s supports.

Obviously, neither one will fix the bridge. And either one will almost certainly bring it closer to failure.

Oct 03 2012

Diet Like Its 1993

In the midst of debunking arguments for organic foods, a Missouri farmer points out something recent headlines have missed:

Yes, this summer’s drought, which hammered the production of both organic and conventional foods, has led to a decrease in yields, but it’s worth noting that this year’s disappointing corn yield would have been a record yield just 20 years ago. The worst drought in nearly a century, and a national corn yield that would have been a record in 1993!

Food prices will still rise, since there’s not much slack in demand for corn and the stuff corn is used to make. But the underlying story is one of optimism and abundance. Similar drought conditions starved people in the 1930s. Thanks to advances in all the technology used by agriculture, we can weather the worst weather.

Sep 30 2012

Unintended Refugees

My lefty pallys on Facebook have alerted me to the imminent loss of a treasured restaurant in St. Paul:

Business is down for Mai Village Restaurant, and it is facing foreclosure. It's scheduled for a sheriff foreclosure sale at the end of October 2012.

Mai Nguyen and Ngoan Dang, owners of Mai Village, have put everything they have into the restaurant. Every single minute of their lives revolves around it.…

Mai and Ngoan were refugees from Vietnam. 22 years ago, they used all their savings to open Mai Village, one of the first restaurants to open on Saint Paul's east University Avenue…

But now, because of the economic recession and light rail construction, many customers are not coming to Mai Village like they used too.…

Sep 30 2012

Comeuppance for Apple

Albeit a minor comeuppance, it still amuses:

Apple is [most recently] famous for accusing Samsung of “slavishly copying” the design of its iPhone. The copying claims led to a long-running legal battle that ultimately resulted in Samsung owing Apple about $1 billion. It seems Apple has been doing a bit of copying designs of its own.

The Swiss are famous for clocks and watches. Switzerland has long been the source of some the most iconic watch designs and beautifully intricate timepieces in the world. The Swiss Federal Railway service has accused Apple of copying its iconic railway clock.

Clearly looking at the two clocks side-by-side, they are identical save for the Swiss clock’s logo.

Sep 30 2012

Elementary School Costs More Than a House

Government policy always has economic impacts. Over time, these impacts accumulate and multiply upon one another. This leads prices of goods and services away from what they would be under a “freer market”. Distorted prices create distorted allocations, which may be good or bad, depending on how one feels about government manipulating markets in the first place.

At some point, though, the relative prices of things get so far away from “natural” prices that the system of valuation breaks down. This breakdown is what I call “The Great Repricing”.

Captain Capitalism runs a thought experiment which illustrates how relative prices have lost touch with relative values: