The so called, "Economic Crisis"
Friday, October 3, 2008, 07:30 AM - Academics, Politics
As I understand it, Paulson, et al. insists that if we do not give him lots of money, somehow, the US economy will suffer.

As I understand it, this alleged suffering is due to the habit of apparently all, or at least most, medium sized and larger businesses to regularly borrow money to pay their debts and stay in business.

Yet is it not precisely these business practices, over the past 30 years who have successfully wiped small businesses out of existence in our cities? Didn't we used to have corner drugstores before Walgreens? Didn't we used to have mom and pop hardware stores before Ace and Home Depot? Didn't we used to have friendly neighborhood bookstores before Barns and Noble and

In other countries of the world, what small businesses there are work the way small business used to work in this country. They'd start business, grow, buy stuff they needed with cash (not credit) and grow some more until they reached an optimum size for their liking and then they would remain that size for many years (or, perhaps fluctuate) but NOT be run out of business by corporations with unlimited access to cheap loans.

I feel strongly that our country should be more like it was in the 1970s when, if you wanted to grow your business, you had to actually pay for stuff. If you couldn't make payroll, YOU WENT OUT OF BUSINESS. And that left opportunities for others to take over.

There should be NO bailout or rescue plan which would further inflate the currency anyway. We should allow investment banks to FAIL for being reckless and those people working there should find work in OTHER FIELDS better suited to them. This model of capitalism has too much inherent moral hazard. All politicians who were duped into thinking we need this need to be voted out of office. Starting with Ms. Wilson.

Sure, a few products will be more expensive. Sure, business will be "Less Efficient" but that way, we can actually get local culture back again and these fat cat bankers can just go crawl back into the hole from which they came.

But hey - that's just my opinion; worth every penny it costs you to read.

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A great new succinct definition for Sexism
Thursday, April 24, 2008, 06:48 AM - Politics, Gender Politics
So I was reading this morning about an interesting incident.

It appears that, in the beginning, quite spontaneously, a woman in a hallway at a hotel at a convention told a bunch of guys, "Feel my boobs! It's okay!" and therein began " The Open-Source Boob Project". Quoth the Ferrett :

At Penguicon, we had buttons to give away. There were two small buttons, one for each camp: A green button that said, "YES, you may" and a red button that said "NO, you may not." And anyone who had those buttons on, whether you knew them or not, was someone you could approach and ask:

"Excuse me, but may I touch your breasts?"

And if you weren't a total lout - the women retained their right to say no, of course - they would push their chests out, and you would be allowed into the sanctity of it. That exchange of happiness where one person are told with gropes and touches that they are desirable and the other is someone who's allowed to desire.

For a moment, everything that was awkward about high school would fade away and you could just say what was on your mind. It was as though parts of me were being healed whenever I did it, and I touched at least fifteen sets of boobs at Penguicon. It never got old, surprisingly.

Some women didn't want to. That was fine. We never demanded anything of anyone. And if you didn't want to put yours up for the Project but you wanted to touch, well, that was fine, too. It was simply for folks who felt like being open.

It was a raging success at Penguicon.... And there haven't been any hookups that I know of thanks to the Open-Source Boob Project. It is, as I said, a very special thing. (Though I wouldn't rule it out if two single people exchanged a moment.) And we'll probably do it at other cons, because it's strangely wholesome and sexual at the same time.


Reactions to this caused the originators to backtrack somewhat on their admittedly adolescent male utopia and clarify.

Reactions to the reactions included this wonderful piece that contains one of the very best most succinct definitions of racism and sexism I've ever encountered. See the second paragraph.

I love free speech. (within limits, obviously).

This reminds me of my own story of asking what shouldn't ever have been asked. But you'll have to ask me directly for the details of that. It shouldn't be published.

Meanwhile, back in the victorian era, we have idiots like John McCain doing the same sorts of things. Sigh.

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The economy
Tuesday, March 18, 2008, 07:20 PM - Political Science, Philosophy, Politics
While it has been credibly suggested that all wars are really wars between men and women, I am more inclined to conclude that all wars are really between the rich and the rest of us.

300 to 400 years ago, the world was run by warlords. Words such as honor and fealty meant a lot back then. Then, a funny thing happened; the bankers figured out that armies need to eat and the Bankers stole the world from the warlords.

Bankers have ruled the world ever since. That's why such concepts as savings and investment and "free market economy" are so well respected, irrespective of their actual value to benefit human kind.

Now, the US economy is beginning the Second Great Depression. It will last for years and we will probably never again be the world's most powerful nation. In our lifetimes, we won't even have the buying power again we had 10 years ago. The crooks in the Whitehouse have indeed looted the entire nation and now -- even they're broke! What idiots!

But back to the rich vs. the rest of us.

Who wants to bet that just as Kennith Lay and his friends got off, so too will the crooks on Wall Street whose successful lobbying against strong banking regulations combined with the morons in the Whitehouse with their idiotic war for oil and protection of the government of Israel have plunged this country into economic collapse (within the next year, I think).

The real problem is, let's say for a moment that we all agreed that everyone worth over, say, one billion dollars needed to be hung. Well, the first thing they'd all do is hire a bunch of mercenaries to protect them and kill us, first. That's the truely difficult part of this mess. They've structured the world (bankers, that is) so that they can escape anonymously and -- even if they can't -- they still have power because we use money to trade.


I propose that everyone in the world collectively take a holiday from money.

Let's figure out alternative systems for bartering goods and services within societies on a small scale so we all can be fed, then let's all (that is, everyone all over the world) refuse to offer goods and services in exchange for monetary compensation. That's really the problem. While money has value, the crooks can use it to escape. They have more of it than us. But we have the goods, services and resources.

Hmm. Maybe there are a few tiny holes in my otherwise brilliant plan. I guess this is a kinda half formed thought. I'll work on this some more and get back to you all.


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The Economy in 24 months from now
Sunday, March 9, 2008, 11:21 AM - Politics
So since key states such as Ohio and Florida are still using Diebold and ES&S voting machines and central tabulators, there is NO reason to believe that the 2008 presidential "election" will not once again result in a candidate winning who was not voted for by the people.

This time, it will be a democrat. The media is carefully monitoring public sentiment and always adjusting so that the "race" will be appear to be as close as possible so that when the fixed candidate (Hillary Clinton) "wins", there will appear to be less reason to dispute it.

Then, Saudi Arabia will relax their "investment" in US treasury bonds. Other systems currently employed to stave off the current dramatic recession will be retired and much of the nation will be plunged into 3rd world economic status. That is, inflation will go into double or triple digits. Gas will go to $10 or $25 per gallon by mid 2010.

The other thing I am monitoring is lots of speculation among the tinfoil hat crowd that another 9/11 will happen just prior to election day (perhaps this is their backup plan?) so that bush can declare a "national emergency" and suspend voting (and the constitution) "temporarily".

The thing is, this time, the so called, "tin foil hat crowd" has been joined by a number of top intelligence officials. I have even heard it speculated that such an attack will occur in Chicago, Houston or Portland.

I will not be surprised if any of this happens.
I will not be surprised if none of this happens. I am only an egg.

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An Unfortunate Adventure
Sunday, March 4, 2007, 06:46 AM - Sociology, Politics, Friends
In the late afternoon of Wednesday, 28 February 2007, my housekeeper Rochelle and I had decided to play musical furnishings; she knew of a guy with a truck who, for the better part of a tankful of gas would help us move the table in my apartment (which I'd purchased for $25) into her place and then go to my storage to get me one of my desks to replace it and bring it back to my apartment.

Ernie Montoya, Thief of Albuquerque

She introduced me to Ernie Montoya. He was a fit young articulate sweet sounding 29 year old guy. He said his birthday was today (28 Feb) or maybe tomorrow (1-March) and we conversed in the truck on the way. He had a White 2001 F-150 Ford pickup truck. When we were finished with the trip (he also helped me load a couple of additional pieces of furniture for the apartment in addition to the desk) he dropped me back off at home and left and I realized that my recently purchased $3,000. MacBook Pro laptop computer was missing. Since it was sitting on the very table which we had moved at the beginning of the trip, I knew I had personally moved it immediately prior to Rochelle and Ernie's visit. Since Rochelle had been cleaning for me for over a year without incident, I suspected Ernie of taking the computer.

But when questioned on Thursday, Ernie was well spoken and polite and easily told me he knew nothing about it but he'd happily help me search for it on Saturday.

More of Ernie Montoya, the thief

In further discussions with Rochelle and her sister, Rishanna, it came out that Rochelle had been missing a credit card. Since we now had someone to suspect, further investigation showed that the phone call to her bank to change the PIN number of her credit card had come from his mobile phone, number 505-319-9507. But he still denied everything. He didn't get angry, he just couldn't understand why we could come to such conclusions.

Since I have a camera outside my apartment door (although lack of disk space prevented me from having it on that week) I decided on a bluff. I told Ernie on Thursday that police forensics persons would examine the recording on Monday to see if the black blob he was seen carrying in the pictures would be acceptable identification of the theft in progress. (The computer was in a black bag)

I figured that would give us a weekend to come to an understanding without him losing face. He dissembled. He suggested that he has a black bag of his own and he would discuss with his lawyer whether or not I had the right to film him (using a camera in plain view) on the threshold of my apartment door. He still denied everything. By this time however, I was confident from his lack of anger at my accusations that he was lying.

The police were polite and kind but admitted that it was unlikely in their opinion that I would be able to get my computer back, even though I had lots of circumstantial evidence of the perpetrator, his name, mailing address (4400 San Pedro Drive NE), birthdate and vehicle description.

At first, my reaction was to place myself in his position. This motivated me to offer him $200. cash to get my computer back. But being a $3,000. laptop, he would have no motivation to accept my money as opposed to that from his fence or pawnbroker.

So -on advice from a friend who knows such people- I left messages on his voice mail to the effect that I had $200 to get my computer back, and I didn't care if I gave it to him directly or -if that didn't happen by Saturday night at 9 pm- I would give it instead to a couple of ex-marines who would gladly take it in exchange for breaking his arms to get it back- the choice was his. To cover my own previous lie, I said that I had already spoken with the police forensics people on Friday and they verified that the video wouldn't be good enough.

He called Saturday afternoon at 3 pm. Unlike his usual calm and gentle demeanor, he sounded angry and scared and terse. He would meet me and exchange the computer for the money as quickly as possible with no possibility of witnesses.

I invited over Rishanna (whom he knows) and called him back saying she was there to use my internet connection (a legitimate reason for her presence) but he was adamant; he would not come over until even she left. This frightened me. I figured since he knew her, there would be no reason for him to not feel comfortable with her company. I thought perhaps he wanted no witnesses because he meant to do me violence. I was scared too. The thought of actually being responsible for breaking the arms of another person was upsetting to me and I finally decided that my threat -although thankfully successful- had no teeth; I just couldn't do it.

Although I was glad to feel free of the burden this decision removed, I was at the same time filled with the kind of fear it caused so I made some more phone calls and finally decided, after further advice, to meet him at the Frontier Restaurant which was close by and always populated.

So as I waited there, I explained to another police officer what was happening. He made it very clear that it was his job to strongly advise me against these actions. I believe he was being guided by management decisions that prioritized actually helping the public as less important than preventing the possibility for lawsuits against the city. I could hardly blame him for doing what he was instructed. He left. I waited for Ernie to call.

Ernie the liar and Meth addict

Ernie called; I told him where I was and he said to meet him out the back door. The parking lot of the Frontier is very well lit and probably video surveilled, so I agreed. He drove up in a white 4-door hatchback jeep like vehicle (License beginning with "HP") with another guy. They showed me that the computer worked (I used my telescope to see it in the hands of the person in the passenger's seat from my position at the driver's window) and I showed them the money. We exchanged possessions. They drove off. This freaky subplot had -for the most part- ended.

But only for me. Rochelle is still missing her good pants and credit card. Who knows how many other innocent people have had possessions or identities ripped off? I feel good that I got my computer back, but I feel bad that -although at every step of the way I kept the police informed {Except for the part about the threat} no harm came to him as a result of these experiences.

If I were truly being a socially responsible creature, it would have been incumbent upon me to see to it that some kind of justice be done. Either having him caught by the police and sent to jail for -oh, say- 3 months to 2 years or have both his arms broken. Arms heal (mostly). So I was assuming that two broken arms would significantly change his lifestyle for at least 2 months. To have both broken instead of just one would mean he would need help to take care of himself and this would -I would hope- require that he trust someone absolutely. I thought perhaps this kind of trust would improve his ability and willingness to participate in society more in accordance with its rules, but we'll never know. Perhaps the next person from whom he steels will do this. I understand that if I had done this, there is a chance that I could have been sent to jail for it myself (for causing violence to another person) along with whoever I hired to do it. This would have been a just jail sentence and it would have been appropriate -as long as I didn't have my life ruined in the process, a distinct possibility).

Alas, I was just too chicken. Perhaps if I had not already been feeling bad about other aspects of my life, I might have had the courage to do that. And who knows, maybe he might've fallen in love with his caregiver and it could've been the best thing that ever happened to him. We'll never know.

Update: It appears that Ernie spent the $200 he extorted from me on Methamphedimines. The women he paid for them still might have the bills I gave him. I have their serial numbers on file.

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