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Another Side to Offshoring

Every trade has at least two sides. That’s a fact often forgotten in discussions of outsourcing, off-shoring, and their effects on local economies. The urge to “buy American” or “buy local” often means “pay more” or “get less value”.

Jingoistic and xenophobic claims about the importance of who we trade with steer decision-making away from the economics of finding the best for the lowest cost. Trade and commerce become untethered from the quest to increase productivity and wealth. We no longer engage in trade to make our economic lives better, but to make our emotional lives easier.

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Two Points Missed

1) Re: Guantanamo Terrorist Transfers

The media chatter seems focused on the inconveniences and perceived threats to US communities should the detainees be transferred to US prisons. No, they’re not going to escape and become some kind of TV action series bad guy fugitives. And, no, they’re not going to be able to command terrorist activities from within SuperMax confinement. As prisoners, they would represent no credible threat.

If they were brought onto US territory, however, their legal status changes. They would get the full benefit of legal rights and due process. And since they’re being held without charge and on sketchy evidence, US law would compel their release.

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Stinko de Mayo

I have reasons to mock Cinco de Mayo. Personal reasons. Nothing against Mexico, or whoever needs to be offended by me not worshipping Mexicans today.

But since President Klink showed his intellect and cultural sensitivity once again, I was inspired to become more informed than the President of the United States. That my info comes from Wikipedia will not deter me. Wikipedia is at least as accurate as anything coming out of the White House.

We’re all idiots. Me, Barry, and pretty much all y’all:

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Dissent Supressed

Even the tortured are asked to talk.

Quoted from: Cobb

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We Just Got a Tiny Bit Richer

The world we make today is better than the world we made yesterday. In general and in aggregate, products are relentlessly improved. Sure, there are spectacular failures, like New Coke or the Yugo. We notice those biggies, but overlook routine tiny stuff that does work.

Consider the perforations added to the plastic wrapper around a stack of paper napkins. The package now doubles as a dispenser. Neato! My napkins now stay clean until I make them dirty, and they don’t scatter around the kitchen on windy days.

Most cheese seems to be sold in zipper bags these days. The zipper is cheap and fails more than I would like, but usually it outlasts the cheese, which now lasts longer thanks to better packaging.

Freedom’s Frontier

I have lamented that none of the popular advocates for limited government make a moral argument. Libertarians, Limbaugh, or even Ron Paul, focus on efficiency and effectiveness, or how the state causes waste or violence. These are all, I think, sufficient justifications for minimizing state power. But they’re not the most important.

By settling into a debate over the most efficient or effective form and balance of government, they concede a necessity of government. This is pragmatic. To fetishize un-governed anarchy removes one from participation in our political society. Anarchists are self-disenfranchised. So, I accept the efficiency arguments must be made, to move us to greater liberty. Or at least to resist encroaching tyranny.

The Oldest Song Ever Recorded

Via Maggie’s Farm comes this performance:

Interestingly, it sounds to me much like the music encountered by the Starship Enterprise about 500 years hence.

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Mother Earth Wants You to Shut Your Piehole

It’s Earth Day, and many outlets are picking up some version of this story:

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that overweight people were likely to be more responsible for carbon emissions than slim people because they consume more food and fuel.

‘Staying slim is good for health and for the environment. We need to be doing a lot more to reverse the global trend towards fatness, and recognise it as a key factor in the battle to reduce emissions and slow climate change.’

Historicizing Current Events

Big Media doesn’t always lie. Despite the transformation from “reporting” to “journalism”, fabricating people and events is still frowned upon. More insidious that outright lies—which can be crushed by genuine reporting and investigation—are lazy half-truths.

Media faces seem to look only as far and as long as needed to satisfy their preconceptions. Hurricane Katrina was a Federal Government (Bush) failure. As long as you focus on the 50,000 safe-but-whining people at the Superdome while quickly skipping past the 7,000 people rescued from imminent death by the Coast Guard.

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Trading Places

The People’s Daily, a newspaper published by the government of China, has printed a column warning the people against hating the rich:

If viewed through the prism of social development, one can easily understand why wealth used to be so despised in traditional Chinese society. China is typically an agricultural country, and in its time-honored history, the theory of  'attaching great importance to agriculture but restraining commerce' has been hammered into the people's mind, well and truly. With time, 'poverty mentality' would come into being, which encourages the thinking that if you have more, then I must have less. Even worse, now that many of the Chinese have grown up exposed to similar thinking and similar teachings, they tend to form an abnormal psyche of 'hating the rich.'

Special People, Special Presidents

I’ve never had a President. The common construction, “He’s my President,” or, “He’s our President,” doesn’t fit my perspective. The relation between citizens and government leaders is not ownership. Presidents, as the Constitution was drafted, are chief executives. They fill a role in a bureaucracy. They’re not idols.

A President is just “the President”, not much different from the local Fire Chief or the CEO down at the widget factory. That a voter has some infinitesimal influence in determining who becomes President does not create ownership. Not to me, anyway.

The language of possession reinforces the passions. Campaigners exploit this. Once people begin to perceive ownership, the candidate becomes intertwined with their identity. The portion of reason or logic guiding choice and response diminishes.

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Visions for Detroit

CNN has a pair of stories casting Detroit as a place of opportunity. First, Anderson Cooper reports housing has become so cheap that artists are finding they can afford to live there:

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British Fatties Shirk Responsibility

A British family of four claims they are too fat to work. Together they weigh over 1,150 pounds. And they’re in the news because they claim their welfare benefits, equivalent to about $41,000 a year, are not enough to live on:

The Chawners, haven't worked in 11 years, claim their weight is a hereditary condition and the money they receive is insufficient to live on.

Girl Scouts Go Post-Modern

The Girl Scouts are in the midst of a major rebranding:

With enrollment dropping sharply, the organization is experimenting with a total makeover of the Girl Scout experience.

What's in: books and blogs written in girls' voices on topics such as environmental awareness and engineering; troops led by college students; videoconferencing with scouts in other countries.

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Pitchforks!

In repsonse to tough times, Congress is stimulating itself:

We all need to sacrifice.
Well, everyone but those lucky enough to be a member of the Pelosi-Reid Congress.

They gave themselves a raise last month.
They now make $174,000 a year for their 3 day work week.

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Degrees to Nowhere

Education is like torture. Or, the opposite of torture, in the way popular culture regards it.

We are all proud to hear that the United States does not torture, but we do not have a sound, common definition of what constitutes torture. Torture is vague, something that evil people do. Take waterboarding. Some say it is obviously cruel, while others point out that we do it to our own as a routine part of training. We go on to ignore the lack of definition and argue about whether this vague idea is effective, and under which hypotheticals it might be exceptionally permissible.

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One Stereotype Smashed

Credit Default Swaps (CDS) are one of the financial instruments at the center of the financial maelstrom. I came across an interesting fact about them:

Blythe Masters made her career early on by recognizing the potential for credit derivatives, hedges that banks use to offset the risk of loan defaults. Despite her youth, she had enough gravitas to convince regulators around the world of the essential soundness of the little-known financial instruments.

Inciting Insurrection

Yesterday was NRR’s weekly stop for Bar Night. I overheard one of the regulars lamenting that Rush Limbaugh’s rhetoric of wanting Obama to fail would incite violence from groups like the KKK. I don’t think racists wackjobs need any help building their fury. Further, I do not see Limbaugh as an opinion leader. He gives voice and clarity to what his audience already believes, rather than feeding them beliefs to cling to.

It isn’t Limbaugh’s rhetoric at the root of our imminent civil unrest. Barry is the one inciting violence with inflammatory speech:

Other presidents have been accused of using "enemies" as a political rallying point. Almost invariably, however, these enemies have been foreign (the "evil empire" and "axis of evil"). Obama is the first president "in my adult life" to set American against American, to create enemies at home as a political rallying point, to create a climate in which law-abiding American citizens are singled out as being worthy of attack.

Yep, Barack has met the enemy, and he is us.

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Eat the Rich

Neo-neocon senses a hunger for class warfare:

The feeling has been fed by decades of maceration in the idea that life is supposed to be fair and that fairness equals equality; that people are entitled to do well financially; that it’s a zero-sum game in which, if your neighbor is doing better than you are, then he/she is taking something away from you; that economic downturns are always the fault of the rich doing something underhanded and crooked; and that taking it out on the rich will benefit the rest of us.

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Give Me Liberty, or Pass the .223

Since TJIC is abstaining for Lent, I’ll try to step in:

"Otherwise, freedom will be sacrificed" is not a phrase that some of us will ever accept. I'll take to the streets, back alleys, and the like, to physically fight what is easily a Marxist attempt at extinguishing our freedoms.

So I die fighting for what was fought for by Washington, Hamilton, Knox, et. al., hell, I'll die for a good cause and in good company.

I realize many, many of our citizens have never even held a gun and cannot imagine doing any harm to another but that's ok, they can simply pass the ammo.

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