33 captures
03 Dec 2009 - 27 Nov 2020
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Thursday February 24th 2011
Djyrn's comments
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Now that's a really good question
Feb 22nd 2011 7:30 GMT
Crowd sourced outrage?
I'm still surprised that even though people were outraged about Tarp there was never any real movement to say, "take the money and we'll boycott you."
We're just not very good at such things anymore. Even though the technology should be a help.
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Don't join the government to get rich
Feb 21st 2011 4:44 GMT
Just going off of experience, I don't know that public sector workers are peopled with the lazy, who only took the job because it offers a steady stream of income. I only know three people in such jobs and none of them are particularly lazy. Two of them started in the military and gravitated towards those jobs because of the background. The rhetoric on this is rather empty when it comes to dealing with real people.
I do wonder about the numbers. My wife has 20 years of teaching in private schools and she makes significantly less than she woud in the public schools. I don't think that's the case throughout government, but for this one sector of the government the education workforce is large enough to lead one to question the numbers of government workers making more than their private sector peers.
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Bureaucracy in America
Feb 18th 2011 11:02 GMT
The experience the blogger describes is not unlike the experience I had this morning while visiting a dermatologist, I'd been referred to.
Many signs that say "don't eat, talk on the phone, etc. ", counter help that required proactive gesticulation in order to pry their attention away from their discussion of relationships, no smiles, paper work that included a lot of duplicated entry, the threat of a fine for missing or showing up late to an appointment, paper work acquiescing to the fine for missed appointments, and the dermatologist was kind enough to answer the question I came to ask, but more questions would require more time.
Oddly, I've had to deal with a tax issue for a non-profit I volunteer for. There too I've ran into bureaucracy, but the one reliable entity that has been easy to work with has been the IRS. The City and County of Denver managed to cash a check but ignore the paperwork. The Colorado Dept of Revenue did the same, and their agent acknowledges the issue but can't seem to solve it.
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Sumner's wheel of ideology
Feb 16th 2011 7:13 GMT
19th Century Nostalgia is a curious space to be in. Is that for real?
Nostalgia for a non-specific past that never quite existed seems more accurate.
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How to spot trouble
Feb 11th 2011 4:28 GMT
Is it measure of ambition or opportunity?
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Paul Ryan's Republicanomics
Feb 10th 2011 3:38 GMT
I don't find Mr. Ryan's concerns to be out of step with many business people I meet on a daily basis. They aren't led by pundits. They're being led by their memories of the 70's, Carter, and Reagan. It's inconceivable to many people that anything other than inflation can occur. Interest rates will go to 16%. Most of these people have one thing in common. They're old.
It's seldom mentioned, but the baby-boom generation still has a crazy amount of influence on the national dialogue. For many of our debates the boomer experience remains a huge influence, but their past experience is not the only possible outcome and not the only one worth guarding against. They do vote though, and Ryan even if he may know better -- big if -- he's playing to a very receptive audience.
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What's the difference exactly?
Feb 9th 2011 4:07 GMT
The problem with unions is the same problem that happens with most organizations. They're created for a purpose, they achieve that purpose, and then they're sustained for the benefit of the leadership. Unions suffer from mission creep, leadership must keep justifying itself to keep its power, and the only way to do that is to continuously "fight on" even when the original purpose had long since been obtained and forgotten.
This isn't unique to unions, it happens in government, it happens within corporations, it happens with non-profits, and on and on. It's human nature to a great degree. When given a position that generates wealth and/or power people will seek a means to hold on to the source of that wealth and power.
The dissonance I had with WW's previous post was the impression it gave me that he believed that bureaucratic bloat was something new that occurred only after unionization. I haven't done a study on it, but my readings in history and classics suggest that government bureaucracy has occurred in many cultures throughout history without unionization - unless class stratification can be considered a stand in. What really changes is the public opinion about the bloat.
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The fallacy of careless contrarianism
Feb 9th 2011 12:46 GMT
"...eloquence in the service of intellectual misdirection were somehow something to be admired."
Atheists have been making this argument for a very long time.
The flip side to it is that we also live in a culture where being inarticulate is proof of authenticity.
Oh well.
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Why don't Americans believe in global warming?
Feb 8th 2011 9:58 GMT
@doubleh...
Your first sentence seems out of step with the rest of your comment. You used to not believe in it, but you do now though you question the evidence? Maybe I'm mis-reading?
In any case, I've been under the impression that the measure of ocean temperatures was where the evidence was most consistent.
I could be wrong. Or, we may have a case of too many scientists pointing in too many directions, like economists.
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Why don't Americans believe in global warming?
Feb 8th 2011 9:11 GMT
I'm not sure I can do anything about global warming, or if it even exists. I do know that there are too many days in Denver when we are encouraged to avoid outdoor activity owing to air quality. And, I know that if I do go for a jog anyway it causes wheezing. That's not a good thing.
The problem with global warming is it seems distant, complicated, and therefor easy to deny. It's like worrying about a nuclear war while driving. The calamity is big but there are more immediate dangers.
It seems to me that it doesn't matter that much if people believe in global warming, as there are plenty of related reasons to conserve or even convert: air quality, limitations on oil, fuel efficiency, vehicle weight and road wear and tear, environmental damage from fossil fuels...
The thing is, that the same people who deny global warming seem to argue that air quality isn't a problem, the environment doesn't matter, vehicles should be big. When it comes down to it, I'm not sure if it even matters. People just want their cars and trucks. $10.00 gas will take care of that though.
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You got originalism in my stare decisis!
Feb 3rd 2011 6:23 GMT
LaContra and Anderson_2 bring up an interesting angle.
Scalia, for his part, seems to have declared (or been misread to declare) that the right to govern comes from God. As the justice most associated with originalism it strikes me as an odd assertion, because it seems to be contrary to the idea that the right to govern, arises from We the People.
It's also always struck me as odd that many originalists decry the "reading of rights into the constitution." The original language and intent of the 9th amendment suggests to me that we don't have to look to the constitution for a list of our rights. We can reserve the right to privacy, for instance, without having to prove it as enumerated in the constitution. It seems to me that an originalist would be very concerned with this point, but originalists have often been very hostile to it.
Other originalists might adhere more closely to the intent of the 9th amendment, and more closely to the idea that authority does not come from God but from man. I'm guessing such originalists might not be conservatives, and would probably be just as selective of the parts they think are important. This all suggests to me that originalism it nothing more than intellectual cover for conservative goals, and that's what really drives decisions. I shouldn't have to make the disclaimer that this is not unique to the right, but....
Originalism, like libertarianism, like Federalism, seems to be an intellectual argument often used by one side when it suits them. I think it entirely likely that the other side will pick up the mantle of originalism when it seems to suits need.
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The government does in fact force you to buy vegetables
Feb 3rd 2011 5:05 GMT
I'm guessing that folk are working too hard to make the connection. It's all reduction to the absurd.
What's the difference between requiring the purchase of fire arms or health care v. taxing and buying spinach? That's the constitutional question?
I guess the real difference is that I might choose a shot gun and Kaiser Permanente on the one hand, but I'd rather not buy spinach it's made more expensive through the process if I were free to buy broccoli instead spinach might come down in price and I might get more veg for my buck. Then again, I might also buy pizza.
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Fixing the mandate
Feb 2nd 2011 8:42 GMT
@ Anderon_2
Don't I know it?! The unintended consequences of my actions were pretty far reaching. Most folk went on their spouses plan. Some found some medicare plus,.... something or other. We lost one bachelor who went to a larger employer for the benefits in spite of a loss of autonomy and income.
I have lot of issues with Obamacare, but I have no love for our current system. We've socialized the most likely losses by giving the needy and elderly access on the public dime. Privatized the profitable parts. Screwed up employment incentives through group underwriting and tax incentives. And, added inflationary mechanism on inflationary mechanism in the form of additional tax preferred accounts that enable further increase in premiums. There's not much to love about our system.
Many would argue for a libertarian reform. I have some sympathy with their ideals, but have no belief in the political reality of their ideas. The fact that we're having a legislative dialogue is, to my mind, a good thing. Eventually we'll get somewhere in our own American way.
@RR -That's not THE obvious conclusion. It's AN obvious hypothesis. It seems that if other countries use less services we ought to be able to put a number to it. Do they simply not use less throughout life? Less at the end of life? Less in the beginning? Are they just healthier? Do we suffer from cultural relativism that means we're doomed to use more services? Does preventative medicine play a role in usage? Does the access to medicine without prescription have an impact on this?
Seems to me that we're a long way from a conclusion. I just get more questions.
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Fixing the mandate
Feb 2nd 2011 6:03 GMT
@remy
You're not a free-rider, you're an enabler of your older cohorts. The fact that you're on the plan helps improve the census and keep everyone's rates down. You should gather all your fellow 20-somethings together and opt-out as a group then demand compensation for staying in the thing. (I killed a small group plan about 12 years ago by opting out and going on my wife's plan, the result was a huge jump in everyone else's premiums since they were all a good 10-20 years older.)
Now the problem with your dropping out of health care is that, while healthy, you can still get sick and end up in the ER or have an unlucky accident send you there. At that point you can pay up or you'll be a free rider, and you should be sent to the curb to die. If we aren't prepared to take the drastic step of sending you to the curb to die, then preventing your free-riding makes sense.
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Anthony Kennedy, a nation turns its angry eyes to you
Feb 1st 2011 11:57 GMT
DoubleH,
Auto insurances use as a means to protect the other doesn't strike me as terribly different from forced pay insurance that keeps someone paying so that they don't become a public burden when they do get sick.
Io T:
Since you shared your two complaints.. Mine is that much like the financial services we have gone the route of privatizing the profitable part of the system and socializing the unprofitable part. The private system doesn't want old people, sick, or poor, they don't compute in the spreadsheets. So instead we put all those people into medicaid and medicare. The healthy people with incomes, however, we send to the private sector. It's a neat game, but not one I lay at the feet of either party. It's just something everyone seems to like.
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The perils of hype
Feb 1st 2011 5:47 GMT
Maybe his reading of the tea leaves is that the old guard and tea party folk are gonna bash each others brains in to the point where someone can rise above the fray?
Yeah, I don't think it's a good explanation either.
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We're number one!
Jan 28th 2011 6:00 GMT
Hurray for Indiana, birthplace of the number two guy.
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We're number one!
Jan 28th 2011 4:37 GMT
Colorado is number one in cocaine use and lowest in obesity.
I think I see a new block buster diet book in the making. Cocaine, if it doesn't kill you it'll at least make you thin.
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More of the tasty bits please
Jan 27th 2011 4:37 GMT
"Who could argue with that?"
Tax attorneys and accountants to start with.
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The lessons of Ireland
Jan 26th 2011 11:29 GMT
@Jomiku "Another piece of the ideology is that our economy is "shackled.""
The description I've been hearing is that there's a lack of "certainty." When did we ever deliver certainty? We're a democracy.
I heard this from Dow Chemical's CEO yesterday as he explained why he can't build a plant in the US, but can in China.
What bugs me about it is that it implies a world where China with her one party rule, and crony capitalist structure is preferable because she delivers "certainty". I imagine for a big business crony capitalism does have its benefits.
I'm not sure that's the path we should go down, though with the Wall Street bailouts and subsequent push back against reforms, I have my fears that we are anyway.
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