New Link: Time Highway

Bowermaster over at The Speculist just put in a ton of work on a new critter… Time Highway, a future-prediction rating service.  He's feeling a little put out, though, that nobody's given him any feedback.  Since I still can't comment on his blog directly (it's not a TypeKey thing, either, I have no problem signing in and commenting elsewhere), I'm writing this so the trackbacker will comment for me.

Anyway, don't worry, Phil, we got your back, and I made a prediction for you this morning. Oh, and the other guy's right about the "rate" feature — it don't work yet.

Fat Women

And not just any old fat women, either.  Two of 'em, talking about where they were going to lunch, in terms that made it starkly clear, as the elevator went to my floor this morning, that food and eros are not necessarily distinguishable…

"Oh my God, have you tried their (insert funky restaurant dish name here)?  It's SO good."

"Oh, and I love their chicken…"

This isn't restaurant talk… this is FoodPorn(tm). I mean, this was an indecent conversation.  Small children should have had their ears covered.

But they were happy.  Kinda refreshing, compared to the typical depressive type I see cruising around the offices, you know, the one who's clearly unhappy about her weight but who likes to load up her massive wihpped-cream coffee drink, — the one that comes with about five thousand calories per cup, said cup being the size of my lower leg — with Sweet-n-Low on top…

Getting beat up for fun and profit.

Some parts of training ain’t fun.

Like pushing yourself past your wind.  Or the fact that all of my advanced classes happen *after* stretching, meaning my body’s mostly completely worthless at that point.  Lately, it’s the fact that I’ve got a flinch.  It’s getting better, but for a long time I’ve had a habit of dropping my head and shoulders backwards to play rope-a-dope.

That’d be fine if I was aware that I was doing it. 

That’s one of the best ways, in fact, to avoid certain kicks while giving something else back.  But it’s a bad idea when it’s something Lizard Brain is up to, and forebrain’s not even aware is going on.

Now what’s odd, is, I don’t flinch when weapons are involved.  It’s just hands.  So, lately, I’ve been putting on headgear, and one of the puppies has spent fifteen to twenty minutes beating the hell out of me while I stay in distance and don’t hit back.

Have I ever mentioned, it’s a lot easier to get offline for some reason when you’re hitting back?  Or, to put it another way, when the guy swinging knows that you’re going to hit back?  Totally changes the dynamic.

Anyway, Thursday I went home concussed.  Saturday we had a guest, so nothing there.  Last night… less flinch, no concussion.  Having a second smack me on the back with a cane when I leaned back was a MAJOR help.

By the end of the month, hopefully it’ll be history.  Ain’t much fun getting there, but just like pressure point massage, just because it ain’t fun, don’t mean it doesn’t work.

Libertarian Democrats and the Equality Imperative

Progressives stand for equality, and their guiding light is what's "fair."

Daily KOS suggests that as the Democratic Party tries desperately to figure out where it's going, its future may well lie with the Libertarian Democrat.  At first blush, it sounds sort of ridiculous.  Libertarians who are skeptical about the Democrats on foreign policy are going to stay that way — John Murtha may fire up the True Believers on the far left of the party, but he's doing the Party itself no favors, and that's reflected in how nearly the entire Democratic Senate spares almost no effort to portray themselves as considerably more moderate.  But, foreign-policy hawks aside, there is a surprising amount in common between libertarians, who want personal liberty, and liberals, who want fairness and equality.

Equality of Opportunity is part of that.  I work for people who make twice what I do, and who work three times as hard.  There will never be equality of opportunity between us:  they will always have the opportunity to send their kids to better schools than I can afford, whereas I will always have the ability to see mine, traffic allowing, by 5:30 p.m.  We can debate whether the minimum wage has any part of this, since, so far as I know, even fast-food joints pay well above the federal minimum.  If, as  Daily KOS suggests, there is any leeway for libertarian economic arguments to enter into a debate without automatically equating said alternate voice to a callous and malign heart, as some fringe Democrats are currently wont to do, then there may be some hope for cooperation on that front.  After all, what can one call it when Angelides, a committed liberal with impeccable union credentials, is full-speed-ahead for school reforms, and the rest of the local educational unions line up lock-step against it?  Ad-hominem aside, we call that a debate.

Equality of Opportunity is just a start, though.  One of the most damning arguments against the Drug War is not simply the fact that there would be no financial imperative for a drug trade without Prohibition — nobody who gets near the corridors of power is interested in taking a lesson from history that might diminish his pull.  No, the damning argument is that because some people have power, and clout, and connections, they and theirs can flout drug laws at will.  What happens if you're the son or daughter of Privelege, or happen to be related to a Senator, when you're caught with heroine or crack?  In the words of numerous press releases, you have a tragic problem, for which you're seeking treatment.  What happens when you're the son or daughter of a mail clerk who is caught with the same drugs?  You have a tragic problem, which is that your "treatment" involves being locked in a metal box surrounded by vicious predators, and after a couple years, even if you manage to get out of said box without being repeatedly beaten, raped, and otherwise abused (with the managers of said box unwilling to so much as lift a finger to protect you), you will be nearly unemployable, and never be able to vote again.

Any ten-year-old can tell you that this is brutally unfair.  And yet, unfairness is written into law throughout our society.

In theory, everybody should be equal before the law.  But in practice, money, power, and connections are a lot better at convincing the local District Attorney to go soft than a tearful working-class mother is.  And so the War on Drugs itself creates inequality between Those Priveleged Few who are treated like actual human beings with a medical problem, and The Rest of Us, who are treated like monsters to be controlled, who must then go through life with a Scarlet Letter of Damocles (how's that for a mixed metaphor?) hanging over our heads at every turn.  We can either choose to accept the double standard, because Power Is, or else we can let everybody among the regular citizens get away with occasionally smoking a joint if they want to, terminally-ill cancer patients included, rather than simply leaving it as a privelege for the sons and daughters of the Powerful.

When libertarians oppose Big Government, they don't do so because the fetishize the notion of squeezing environmental regulators into a can of sardines.  They do so because they're already KOS' cheering section — KOS just doesn't realize it yet.  KOS is absolutely right, that Corporations can form a threat to our liberties, as well as individual people and those with the power of Government behind them.  But it is political libertarians who can explain why, and how, they go about it — by using their money and clout to bend Government to their will, thus creating either an even-more-unequal playing field for smaller businesses, or by effectively insulating themselves against regulation. 

After all, if you've been following the political firestorms on the right side of the aisle lately, what else is the issue of earmarking all about, if it's not the Fat Cats voting themselves the cream that came out of workers' pockets?  Sure, you can say that the poor don't really pay income taxes, because they get a refund at the end of the year.  And plenty of conservatives make exactly that argument.  But libertarians and liberals both know that's pucky — when you're one of the "working poor," you don't need a refund in seven months:  you need the sixty dollars that the government has just taken out of your paycheck, and you need it this Friday, because rent is due.  Again, any kid can tell you it's unfair for people in Congress to filch that money.  But as long as the K-street lobbyists are in charge of tax policy and steering the earmarks, guess what?

Similarly, it's all well and good to say that we should have a safe meat supply, free from Mad Cow disease.  But when money gets to do the consulting, you end up with the National Animal Identification System, Cargill's new brainstorm to create two tiers in agriculture: one, where the big producers can have a site license labelling the animals that come from their gigantic factory farms, and another, that would force 4H kids at the county fair to literally register their home addresses in a federal database while small homesteaders have to buy an individual federal i.d. tag for, get this, each and every chicken they raise.  But so long as Cargill and the other giant players are the ones who get to "partner" with the USDA to write policy, guess what?

Now, there's some good news.  Thanks to the increasing transparency afforded by the Internet, the USDA has had to do some serious backpedaling on at least some of this issue (while publicly declaring that "it ain't over yet.")  But it's only had to do so because Rural America, a constituency the Democrats used to respect, essentially went thermonuclear over the issue.  And so the big boys might face reasonable regulations without necessarily being able to use Government Power as a club by which to beat down small competitors.

So long as Government, and let's be precise here, People in Government, have the power to use "Big G" as a lever for the Fat Cats to stick it to the Little People… they're going to.  So long as your city government has the power to toss you out of your house so that some developer can come in and build a shopping center where you and the kids are currently playing half-court in the driveway… they're going to.  Money and Power are like two poles of a magnet — they're going to come together sooner or later, no matter how many road-blocks one throws in the way. 

But if the Democrats want to break the Reagan Coalition, and peel libertarians (large or small "L") away from their current Conservative partners, they would be well-advised to take a page from the long-standing libertarian understanding that it's not simply economic equality that motivates libertarians, but political equality as well.  Because if Progressives define themselves as the people who "stand up for the little guy," and the Democrats would like to win libertarian and moderate votes, all they have to do is to counter Power Is with Fair's Fair at the ballot box.  And all they have to do in order to keep those voters forever, is to make those promises, and then deliver on them.

Ajuncting responses

Have been bothered over the weekend about whether or not it's a good idea to take a different job, if I can slide into adjunct work that will provide a rough facsimile of the money I'm receiving now, but add the time to allow me to move forward on a couple other fronts as well.  It's beginning to look like I might be able to get a class — Collin County's department head says she's going to have to hire between 5 and 8 adjuncts.  With most of my work being Euro, and having no classroom experience, I would be at the bottom of said heap.  But still, it is encouraging.

We're not quite in a position where, if I get a class or two, I can say "I'm dropping everything else and running with this." 

Yet.

Though the Bunny and I have already allowed for this come spring, if the fall pans out the way we'd like it to.

In which case, why would I take a different job that would demand more of my energies, even if it is the sort of place where people would actually slow down to hear the answer when they ask "how are you doing?"

An email came in from Iraq

saying "we're kicking the crap outta them militarily, but I agree that we're losing the media war."

This from an officer whose job is public relations.

I hope the GWB library winds up being near my school, because 90%, imho, of why the latter half of that gent's sentence is true, is that the former's not being reported.

I'm no huge proponent of Blogosphere Triumphalism, but you can learn more about what's actually going on from spending ten minutes on Strategy Page than watching CNN, etc., for a week.

WordPress vs. Blogger: review after one week

Okay, so I've ported my blog to WordPress after nearly despairing at Blogger's chronic instability.

WordPress contra Blogger, what do I think?

What's good about Blogger?  Well, basically, the ability to put javascript buttons into your profile, and the ability to muck with your template file in order to fiddle with colors, etcetera.  For instance, I love this template in general, but I don't like the fuzzy artistic thing along the top. And I'd like to be able to insert a picture under the header.  I can do that in Blogger.  I can't even start that in WordPress unless I get my own server, learn how to run it, and then go through multiple hours of self-install WordPress from the ground up.

What's good about WordPress?  Aside from not being able to link my images right (for the Life, Liberty, Property community — I'm supposed to link with an image) and the javascript problem (which is a security thing), I'm very pleased with the Categories feature in general.  I like a 3-column template, but there are several in 2-column that are VERY nice, as well.  The Dashboard is also well done.

Can't stand how they handle links, though.  It's worthless unless I want a huge, disordered list or want to embed the links under categories on display, a process I didn't manage to figure out.  Fortunately, as you can see from my link farm, there's an easy workaround built right in.

One huge difference, however, is service.  I had two related technical goofs this week.  They were courteously fixed within 6 hours, with very fast answers to questions on the WP forums.

Try getting that out of Blogger.

So, so far, I'm happy with this.  It doesn't let me do everything I want (for that, I'd have had to bug the hell out of my buddy Joe the Troll, and I don't want to do that), but it lets me do most of it, and with a high degree of ease. 

Update: there was one complaint about color. It is theoretically possible for me to manually specify a text color for the posts that might be easier to read. However, it would be a manual adjust. So if I were going to try that, I'd need an artist type to suggest a color that would be easy on the eyes against this kind of background.

I think I may have stumbled on a way of selling libertarian ideas to the left.

If egalitarianism is good, and if fiscal equality is good… how about political equality?

It's got to percolate some, but I think I can make some arguments that might turn KOS' latest "libertarian Democrats" from a theoretical nonesuch into a theoretical possibility.

Well, that’s a kick in the ass…

Having technical difficulties — the default sidebar is showing, rather than mine.  bear with, pls…

You have been recruited by the StarLeague…

Tasty

Okay, Zur and the Ko-Dan Armada aren't actually involved.

But I have an interview tomorrow at lunch with some folks who've seen me work and want to steal me.  Pay is comparable, working environment vastly superior, with actual upside potential as well if I decide I want to hang around and get motivated (~50% pay increase w/in 4 yrs).  The guy trying to steal me is retiring in a couple of years.  Quote:   "I'm getting ready to retire: upward mobility is my position."

The position is effectively mine if I want it… and there's a damned good chance I'm going to say yes.

UPDATE:  The gal with whom I was going to interview had a death in the family last night, so while the interview is still on, I'm going to need to do a double-interview.  Apparently one of my three apparent competitors tested and interviewed well enough to be considered an actual competitor for the gig.  The first will be today at lunchtime, and will allow me to take the skills test, etcetera.  The second will be a meeting with the local Regional Director on Thursday.  In the target company, that's effectively as high as you go until you're dealing with the Board and Board-appointed positions.

Assuming that the gent in question continues to cheerlead on my behalf (and he'd better, since he's the reason I'm applying), it means the gig isn't entirely in my pocket, but I should still have an advantage, since I'm going to be focused on company issues at large, rather than simply "I can make pie charts please give me a job."  More as it comes in.

 UPDATE TWO:  I have blown right through Interview #1, and have had the upward-mobility confirmed — the company has an explicit hire-from-within policy, and my predecessor was offered the same opportunities I'm looking for, but for one reason or another chose not to take advantage of them.  I basically went right on past the basic questions with "this is what you really need done, and this is how I'd go about looking to streamline it" type responses, which went over well.  Tomorrow I'm being driven to the final interview with the Regional Director (it's nice to be recruited!)… and should have a solid impression by Friday latest.

Massive ICE raids provide DC cover and career opportunities

Looks like a couple thousand illegals got busted.

I see two fundamental bennies with this, on the side of the administration.

1.  It's great air cover for Bush's two-pronged approach on illegal immigration.  It's a lot easier to push some pro-active measures, with weekly news of busts.

2.  This is the finest air cover a career ICE agent could possibly want.  Want to demonstrate that you're satisfying the taxpayer demands?  Deport, deport, deport.  This is one of those few situations where all you have to do is show a number. 

Gee, Phil, your department deported 1400 illegals this year.  Not bad… but Bob's guys took almost 5000 out of circulation… I'm sorry, I know you've really wanted this job… but I have to give Bob the slot.  There's another one coming up in six months — if you can get your numbers up, I'd love to see you apply for it.

It's not often that Taxpayer Demands so neatly accord with Bureaucratic Nirvana. Expect to see a lot more busts.

QandO Guest-writer savaged on the KOS front

QandO isn’t linked here directly, which is a pity — it’s part of LLP (and a big critter in its own right), and my new blog won’t play nice with my own blogroll, which means that eventually I’m going to have to do one manually –bleah.  But Mona wrote on how, in the wake of KOS’ aforementioned “I don’t have a clue about what it means to be libertarian, but it sounds good, so let’s all be libertarian democrats” post, she’s cautiously thinking about investing some capital on the Donkey side of the political divide. 

The result has been a total firestorm in the comments section, and several follow-up posts on QandO’s main site.

While dissatisfaction with the GOP appears to be high, apparently KOS’ thesis isn’t drawing a lot of sympathy.

Barcepundit’s “Special Treat for Nerds.”

Found on YouTube, he posts it up here.

Of course, the only problem is that, as usual, the crew of the Enterprise is saved by a Deus Ex Macchina, and fifty dancing monkeys don't get to leap out of Worf's egg-like cranium.  I won't spoil the rest, but… we've got survey material here…

One, two, three, four, I declare a

NERD GRUDGE-MATCH!

Who should win, and why?  Put it in the comments…

Isquibibble’s “Red Oval” Day

This is a plug for folks to swing by Janus Gate’s site.

Besides being a worthy nutcase with a great writing style (have to see if we can get her short stories about the hidden lives of strawberries online), you’ll be rewarded with this account of a Yuppie Dad being told what’s what by a three-year-old.

Mark Steyn redefines the nano-second.

Over at McCleans.ca in a little essay subtitled "this is how nations die."

I believe the old definition of a nanosecond was the gap between a New York traffic light changing to green and the first honk of a driver behind you. Today, the definition of a nanosecond is the gap between a Western terrorist incident and the press release of a Muslim lobby group warning of an impending outbreak of Islamophobia.

Sounds like "Quote of the Day" material to me…

  • Featured Eyeballs

  • What’s today again?

    June 2006
    M T W T F S S
    « May   Jul »
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    2627282930  
  • Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 125,078 hits
  • Recent Comments

    www.ebisawa-ss.com on New Link: Time Highway
    0jr on Batshit-Crazy in Budapest
    0jr on Batshit-Crazy in Budapest
    Yet More Infantilizi… on Everything you know is….…
    Yet More Infantilizi… on Dread for the Future: is it Cl…
  • Follow

    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    Join 220 other followers