27 December 2007

another endorsement

for those of you following Ron Paul's endorsements, he's just picked up another.


anybody who knows the real unacoder knows how much he loves monkeys and bacon. bring those two magic elements together and you've got some great music (and a tasty meal).

is this "krunk," yo?

22 December 2007

quote of the day-or-so

Trying stuff is cheaper than deciding whether to try it.
Jason Kottke via Tyler Cowen

i'm not sure Tyler knows about agile development, but this sentence is very telling.

railing against Other

i'm not exactly well-versed in monetary policy, which is why i'm not overly influenced by Ron Paul's goldbuggerism. still, i'm skeptical of even Tyler Cowen when he disses The Ron. (i have to admit, i tend to believe economists more when it comes to economics.)

more than his monetary policy, the things i don't like about Paul are what i see on his pamphlets. given the small space he has to declare his priorities in easy-to-read bullet points, i'm a bit depressed about some of his choices:
  • stop the financial dependency on China, Saudi Arabia, and other foreign governments.
i'm not exactly sure what he means by this statement. my hope is that it's a denouncement of overspending that forces the gubmint to borrow too heavily. my fear is that it may mean he doesn't want to deal with these countries at all. i seriously doubt he would swing that way, though. i can't help but wonder if his word choice is a tool for drawing in the anti-foreign element.
  • secure our borders and end illegal immigration.
  • end "birthright" citizenship for illegal aliens.
more anti-foreign rhetoric? i'm always wary of any talk against immigrants (being 53% foreign myself): most of it smells like racism couched in jingoism. my take on immigration leans toward letting more people in legally, giving us a measure of regulation. a wall along the border is not a policy. taking advantage of legal, cheap labor that we need is just good sense. the wall simply keeps immigrants from leaving once they get here.

ending birthright citizenship seems a drastic step to me, one i hope we won't have to take. again, i hope his intent is to lessen the burden on our welfare infrastructure. perhaps the issue is the infrastructure itself, though. i can't say i'm surprised if people don't try to take advantage of free money.

18 December 2007

save the environment: protect property rights

i find it odd that the most common recommendation for saving the our natural world is the imposition of grand-scale, far-reaching laws and programs thunk up and implemented by those that are supposedly in the pockets of the same corporations that are destroying our natural world. we couldn't possibly fix all the pollution without bringing to bear the mighty hammer of uncle sam!

nonsense. we've got all we need in the way of laws if we'd only enforce them. stop enabling the bad behavior through tax breaks, ineffective regulation, etc. we are subsidizing pollution when we don't make polluters bear the cost of their pollution. i agree it might take some creative thinking (and vigorous lawyering) to figure out how to bill for it, but making those pay that incur the expense is a fairly simple yet powerful idea.

i think of it this way: coal power becomes more expensive when the true costs of its consumption are known, as reflected by its price. wind or solar power suddenly becomes a better option as their prices fall relative to polluting fuels. communities affected by dirty drinking water get paid to fix the problem. i don't think any company could fail to understand the added cost of polluting.

that said, maybe i should pay some restitution since i drive a polluting vehicle. i just need to figure out who to make my cheques out to. hold us bad guys to account.

17 December 2007

a blast from the past

A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction is one of my throne room books. I re-read this passage yesterday, and wanted to share it lest anyone forget the barbed comic genius of The Daily Show. I'm using this quote without specific permission, but I'm hoping they won't sue me, since I'm essentially playing cheerleader for the people who hold the copyright.
As heirs to a legacy more than two centuries old, it is understandable why present-day Americans would take their own democracy for granted. A President freely chosen from a wide-open field of two men every four years; a Congress with a 99% incumbency rate; a Supreme Court comprised of politically appointed judges whose only oversight is the icy scythe of death -- all these reveal a system fully capable of maintaining itself.
This is one of the longstanding tenets of this blog - that gubmint is its own entity at this point, unbeholden to anyone but itself, and thus its powers should be restricted.

16 December 2007

Munger on the radio

interviewed in his capacity as gubernatorial candidate. touches on
  • school choice
  • ballot access
  • LP
  • property rights abuses
  • rent-seeking
  • transportation abuses
  • taxes, taxes, taxes
  • less Google love
  • bad gubmint
  • hippie dreads
  • college funding
  • eco-theology

good quote: "spending creates interests."

remember that you can skip over the commercials.

when is a square not a rectangle?

when it's at the post office, natch. somehow i doubt fedex or ups (curse them) would let a system fester for so long that couldn't reap more rewards from automation.

15 December 2007

rest in peace, Prince Nez

Nezbit ("Bert")
1 Sep 1995 - 11 Dec 2007

constant and loving companion, gentle beastie

we got Nezbit and Wanda back in 1995 when they were a bit over one month old. we chose him because the roughly circular shape on the top of his head (it used to be more pronounced) made it easy to find him amidst his litter mates. at the time, he fit in the palm of my hand.

09 December 2007

Milton TV

in these two clips, Milton Friedman helps an audience uncover underlying questions and delve into economics.

i got your subprime right here

no bailout. none. if people can prove fraud, i'm all over prosecution, but i can't stand the idea of a bailout. while i was wise/wussy and got a loan that fit my finances, other people went nuts, gambling their wealth on an inflated market or simply overextending themselves. i don't mind if people gamble like that, provided they are the ones to feel the sting of loss. but i don't want to pay for their miscalculations.

07 December 2007

when good tests go bad

i'm glad it doesn't happen just to me. Martin Fowler(!) writes of the disrepair that his tests fall into once he and his team leave a system in the hands of a client. i have had the same experience many times. in fact, one of those times is the reason i always put quotes on "architect."

this "architect" created a fairly buggy, lousy, hack-ridden "framework" that my team and i were required to use, even though i had already written my own framework that was actually better (and somewhat tested). on this project, a couple of us started writing tests, especially around our function buckets designed to eliminate some of the bugs in the "framework." turn around and the "architect" had deleted all the tests. when pressed, he removed them because he didn't know what purpose they served and they didn't compile. i fell prey to the same fault that MF did: i didn't teach my "architect" the value of the tests.

how do you convince someone with yonks of "experience" that they suck at what they do?

06 December 2007

new unacoder totem

recently unearthed at in historic dig.

anyone got ideas what it might have been used for?

02 December 2007

sustainable endeavors

it's common to hear the term "sustainable" thrown about these days, largely in reference to effects on "the environment." i can certainly dig me some clean water and clean air, just like any living organism, but i'm also of the mind that desirable policies are also politically, economically, and morally sustainable in that they must keep entities beyond the environment from long-term harm: say, people. the ethanol boondoggle fails that check because of the grotesque nature of Big Ethanol's reliance on gubmint handouts.

public schools (and other "public goods") fail because they necessarily bring people with differing views into conflict. rather than enabling those different views, society is demanding that citizens fit into a mold ever approaching sameness.

how do your pet policies fail the sustainability test? what doesn't fail?

ethanol is funny

via Mark Perry.

01 December 2007

oligarchy is not capitalism

R.Dale has posted a Rant against "capitalism." what i always think is odd is the statement that what we have now is "free market capitalism." i suppose in some relative sense it is, but having our national money supply in the hands of a single private entity and permitting/encouraging oligarchs to rule our economy sounds more like hegemony than capitalism. under a gubmint that is actually subservient to the people, with limited powers and a mission to protect rights, i don't think something like our current system could really exist. unfortunately for me (and you), that kind of gubmint apparently creates a power vacuum filled by hegemonists.

when people like Angus can't even spot the looney, how do we keep tabs on the huge pork factory in DC?