March 31, 2009
March 27, 2009
You know how people fear that Photoshop and video editing software are going alter real footage so drastically to make fake news appear to be real?
I actually wonder if the opposite is going to occur. I wonder if we're just going to stop believing real news altogether, assuming that everything we see has been edited, because we know it can be.
March 26, 2009
Drivers in Chicago are being ticketed for parking in front of inoperable parking meters, and some of the ones that are working have quadrupled their rates since Chicago Parking Meters LLC took over.
The conclusion I hear? Privatization is bad.
I agree. IF privatization simply means blindly handing over any governmental job to a non-governmental entity. This alone ignores the major benefits of privatization, which are competition and incentive-driven accountability. Neither are happening in this case.
If Chicago Parking Meters LLC sucks, fire them and hire someone else. They obviously are either incompetent or have no incentive to do a good job. Unlike the privatization of highways, where the company tolls people for usage, and maintains the road to encourage use/tolls, this situation has no similar incentive. They're not in charge of the roadways. And honestly, I'm sure they weren't in charge of the rate hike either. They're simply in charge of meter maintenance. And if they suck, fire them.
March 25, 2009
Do you think you should pay the same amount of insurance on your land-locked home as someone who lives on the Ocean? With the much riskier premise of floods for the home with the more scenic view, this would be ridiculous, right?
And yet, intrinsically, we don't like the idea of having someone with a riskier premise for sickness having to pay more for health insurance than us?
Is it because that for many of these conditions, the party has no control over them?
By the way, just to throw another wrench in the argument, the Fed DOES subsidize flood insurance for coastal owners.
March 24, 2009
The South WAS pro-Union. They recognized the benefits of a shared defense. Free trade. Strength in numbers. Hence the forming of the Union in the first place.
They simply didn't think the benefits were worth the growing Federal intervention in what they believed were their constitutional rights as states.
March 23, 2009
March 20, 2009
March 19, 2009
So, my wife figured out how to make the most amazing Shamrock shakes I've ever had.
Low fat ice-cream, skim milk, creme du menthe. Blended.
As you can see, it really isn't that bad for you in terms of dessert. And that's the problem. It doesn't taste like it would be bad for you AT ALL. And I feel like having one every night!
Here's why I think shamrock shakes create a false appearance of health.
1. They're green. Green things tend to be good for you
2. They're minty. Mint reminds you of dental hygiene.
It's pure genius. You diabolical Irish.
March 18, 2009
How do Kim-Jong Il and Fidel Castro do what they do?
Most dictatorial rule is transferred every 10-20 years by guerilla groups who assassinate the head honcho and take over power, only to have their number two guy shoot them down the road.
How are these guys so amazingly powerful? Not just with showering their populace with propaganda that keeps them in bondage? But in keeping their closer circle happy being just under the throne?
It's incredibly impressive. And I have to admit that we could probably learn something from it, if we could figure it out.
March 17, 2009
Let's say half of the states in America want abortion to remain legal.
And half of the states in America think it's literally a crime against humanity and try to pass federal laws to make it illegal. So, the half that want abortion to remain legal decide to secede from the Union, rather than remain under a statist regime that ignores the rights of the states.
The other states, determined to preserve the Union at all costs decide that engaging in battle against these states is the only remaining option.
Is this war justified?
If not, then are you prepared to defend the Confederacy as well?
March 16, 2009
Why do cashiers give me back my money like I'm blind?
Shouldn't bigger bills go on the outside, so that when folded over, the largest tender bill is seen? Why would the 1 go on the outside? To fool potential burglars? And why is it upside down?
I just don't understand the best practices that went into this determination of cashier etiquette.
I want a vote.
March 13, 2009
If you're a man my age, you grew up wearing clothes far too big for you. And while most of the truly ridiculousless effects of that stage ended post-junior high, there are lingering effects that I have just begun to realize.
Last Christmas, my wife bought me a medium-sized dress shirt. I was dissapointed she had guessed wrong, because I always buy large. I tried it on, and was amazed. This shirt actually looked like it fit correctly. I couldn't understand it. I had been buying the wrong size of clothes my entire life.
And I thought I had came across the answer to buying clothes that look good on me...Medium...But, there was so much more to learn.
I have since discovered "fitted dress shirts." If you do not have a giant pot belly, you should not be buying unfitted dress shirts. All you get is 4 extra inches to tuck into your pants. I have since learned that jeans come in different styles. I have since discovered that I didn't know what clothes that fit were supposed to feel like.
The secret? BUY CLOTHES THAT FIT YOUR BODY.
Not muscle shirt tight. Not 3-inch shirt tuck down the pants loose. Simply clothes that fit the shape of your body.
I am grateful for these continued discoveries and resentful for the teenage aingst music that kept me chained loose for so long.
March 11, 2009
March 10, 2009
If I handcuff a child, they will no longer be able to burn their hand on the stove. But, neither will they be able to paint or play a musical instrument.
The benefits of regulation are to prevent risk. The downside of regulation is preventing growth.
While some types of regulation may have prevented the ridiculously bad investments that have led to this recession, enstating new regulations now should be treated with great reservation.
The current goal of the stimulus package is to open up the credit markets again. Making it even harder for people to obtain loans would do just the opposite.
March 09, 2009
You've probably heard about the latest controversy behind Obama's call to cap the charitable deduction rate at 28% even if you earn money in the 35% bracket (simultaneously proposed by Obama to be raised to 40%.)
Here's what I like about the tax deductability of charitable donations. It's, in essence, letting me choose where my tax dollars go. Because for every $100 I give away to charities, I get to pay $28 dollars less in taxes (if I'm in the 28% bracket.) And technically, I wouldn't have to pay any taxes at all (if I give away a little more than I earn in a year.)
The closer we get to a 100% charitable deduction rate, the closer we are to choosing what non-for-profits succeed. I think I'm more likely to trust an organization that is succeeding based on the populist belief that they are doing good things, rather than the ones who rely on lobbyist contracts.
March 06, 2009
If you're like most people, you're buying the cheapest stuff they sell. If you can afford a REALLY nice car, you're probably not going to want to take any chances, and since you can afford it, you'll go with the premium gas.
Who does that leave using the middle pump? I wonder if it evens work, or if it's just an aesthetic thing - the power of 3's.
March 05, 2009
I have recently become aware that people who hate the idea of "legislating morality" often have no problem with the current progressive tax system in our country...
Please explain how our progressive tax system is not a conflict of this belief. Show your work.
March 04, 2009
So, I'm on my way to an interview today to develop a new freelancing relationship with a marketing firm. I took a route I was unfamiliar with. Making good time. Then, a white van pulls in front of me, slows me down to 25 mph.
I get frustrated. Seconds later, we pass by a hiding cop car that immediately pulls over the man driving a ways behind me. We were in a school zone, unbeknownst to me.
Without the white van, I would have surely been pulled over.
Possibly late. Certainly frustrated for an interview that went quite well.
Divine interaction or sleigh track logic? Certainly the car behind me couldn't give God credit, could they?
It makes me wonder if I've ever gotten a ticket so that someone else could make it somewhere on time.
March 03, 2009
My jar of JIF didn't make it through the security check on the way home from my travels this weekend. Supposedly, I could have "hid things in it." I understood and apologized before remembering that the same jar made it through airport security on the flight down.
The security officer said, "Well, were there more things in the bag on the flight down?" I became confused, wondering if wrapping an extra pair of jeans around the jar would have magically hidden it from the x-ray machine?
But then my wife said, "Oh, well there WERE apples and bagels too on the flight down."
Are the security officers really making judgment calls like that? "Hold on a second. There's a jar of peanut butter in that guy's bag....oh wait, never mind, there's apples too, it's probably just a snack."
Of course, this is now only my second best airport security story.
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