Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Post

I remember when this album crossed my desk in 1990. I took the entire staff into Production to listen. There are songs from this album, Every Christmas, that I can't locate on the intertubes, or I would have posted them all here.

If you ever want to hear a man share his soul's love for Christ and Christmas, this is the guy you want to do the job. It is not candy cane Christmas. It is a man's love for Christ. And through Christ, for men.

Christ was born to die for our sins. And he had the choice; and one who was willing to guide Him to make another choice. And at the penultimate it can be argued nearly made that choice. The Christmas Season is the beginning of the story of a man's life who has changed the world, and continues to change individuals on a daily basis.

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you, thanks for sharing with me over the years.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My fourth grade Sunday school teacher was a cellist. I fell in love with her immediately. If you attended Rose City Park Presbyterian in the early '60's, you know what I'm talking about.

The woman I lost my virginity to? A cellist.

There is something about the cello that is absolutely, no intersection of any members of any set, that applies to women who play the cello with any mordant characteristic of any type, figurative or literal.

This song is one of the most beautiful ever written. And now, you can listen to the product of that mind.



Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Busy, But There Is This

One of the world's most beautiful pieces of music.

By the way, Merry Christmas.

"And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Licking Ones Own Balls

The paradigm of a dog's ability to lick its own private parts has been suggested as an aim for each and everyone of us.

"If you could do it, you'd do it, too."

Short-term pleasures have been able to supplant any idea of long-term investment. Even the trading floors have been, until recently, trading in the 9950 to 10950. 12150 is the new number. Nobody thinks this is a new floor. Markets are still trading, hoping for short-term gains in frequency; have you looked the the volatility index? None of this is new stuff. Our economy continues to shed long-term investment opportunities through start-ups and new investment, and yet the current administration is attempting to call its policies winners, since more people are leaving the market for employment.

To date, the information you can access is still out there. You can still find out what the U-3 level of employment is. It is abysmal. Our country's macro-economic policies are propping up companies like General Electric, and failing companies like Pete's Country Store. The difference is not only in scale, but in intent.

Today's screed by our elected Commander-in-Chief was the most hateful screed ever elicited from a national figure, outside of general world war. And the enemy? Any man or woman who lived, not for the betterment of the community, but, for the selfish pleasure to benefit him- or herself.

America. The Land of the Free. Home of the Brave. And now, we are told, those who seek only to improve their own life is an enemy of the State.

Fifty years ago, this would have been recognized for what it is; the advocacy of Socialism in America. Fifty years ago, the worst possible thing that could have happened, occurred; Albert Shanker. (2:24)



Now, we have a President who tells us, "Lick Your Balls!"

I'm busy, but I think, shouldn't we have a President who understands that licking one's own balls isn't productive, even though it would be--theoretically--pleasurable?

Barrack "Balls" Obama.

Yeah.

I'll vote for him.
.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Their Inherent Self-Contradiction

"That seems like a good thing to have happening when it’s a child, of the age of three, or five, or twelve. We want kids to feel like they’re a part of what’s going on."

Here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bonamici Campaign Manager Punts

It's pretty clear from this story, that the Bonamici campaign doesn't know all the players.


Did Big Unions pay for the hatchet job? The question was asked, but the campaign manager for Bonamici didn't answer anything. Ask her a question. You get a question.


Is this the transparency you were hoping for? I'm not impressed with either the non-answers, or the denials.




"The polling firm, Luce Research, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is making calls in the first Congressional District, in what are purported to be part of a voter preference poll.

"What starts out as a seemingly fair series of questions which is divided into three parts, each section asks questions about the acceptability, or un-acceptability, of positions held by the two congressional candidates, Susan Bonamici and Rob Cornilles. It isn’t until the third part of the survey occurs, that the real intent of the survey is revealed, the denigration of one of the candidates in that race, Rob Cornilles.

"What had been the suggestion of impartiality of polling questions is replaced with what is best known as “push-polling” questions, that tend to represent, or, in the case of Rob Cornilles’ candidacy, mis-represent, the views of the candidate, Mr. Cornilles, to show him in the worst possible light.

"The final section of the poll is spent mis-representing the Republican candidate, Rob Cornilles, as being anti-feminist, anti-employment, a pro-crony capitalist, and, as a Tea Party radical.

"None of which positions, from what we can ascertain, are true. 

"Contact was made with Bonamici campaign Manager Carol Butler, but the questions of whether or not the campaign had hired Luce Research, or whether or not the campaign had conducted push research was answered with questions about whether or not such activities had occurred. She never clearly issued a denial.

"It is possible that outside firms may be responsible for these phone survey calls. But the Bonamici campaign refused to point out whether or not these calls were performed by such outside groups, or what outside committees.

“'Whoever is behind this, this is dirty, divisive politics at its worst and offensive to Oregon voters…' said Mary Anne Ostrom, Cornilles campaign manager."

The polling firm, Luce Research has not returned our calls.

When asked, Senator Betsy Johnson stated, “Are you surprised that they are using push-polling?”

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Pornography of Push Polling

I just received a call from Luce Research.


It was balanced at first, and then, when the pollster asked if I wanted to discontinue the poll, I iterated that I would continue.


I'm glad I did. The following questions were invective raised against congressional candidate Rob Cornilles.


Susan Bonamici is engaging in unscrupulous campaign tactics. The charges raised by this phone call were wrong, deliberately wrong, and intentionally misleading. It is an act of poisoning the well. 



The polling firm, Luce Associates, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is making calls in the first Congressional District, in what are purported to be part of a voter preference poll.

What starts out as a seemingly fair series of questions which is divided into three parts, each section asks questions about the acceptability, or un-acceptability, of positions held by the two congressional candidates, Susan Bonamici and Rob Cornilles. It isn’t until the third part of the survey occurs, that the real intent of the survey is revealed, the denigration of one of the candidates in that race, Rob Cornilles.

What had been the suggestion of impartiality of polling questions is replaced with what is best known as “push-polling” questions, that tend to represent, or, in the case of Rob Cornilles’ candidacy, mis-represent, the views of the candidate, Mr. Cornilles, to show him in the worst possible light.

The final section of the poll is spent representing the Republican candidate, Rob Cornilles, as being anti-feminist, anti-employment, and pro-crony capitalist. And, as a Tea Party radical.

None of which positions, from what we can ascertain, are true. 

At this moment, the Cornilles campaign has no comment. The polling firm, Luce Research and, the Bonamici campaign has not returned our calls.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why The Phenomenal Failure of Today's Test Doesn't Bother Me

Inside game, outside game.

The world, in the 1930's, was entirely different from the world we face today. The intercontinental railroad had its first intercontinental railroad completed in 1869. Just twenty years earlier, Morse code was developed, shortening, again, intercontinental distances. (The first intercontinental that worked, was laid in 1866.)

So, in the 1930's, the first rules of wired and wireless communication were adopted. In 1934, the Communications Act was passed. Here is where I adopt a statist solution. Wireless transmission occurs because there are parts of the Spectrum that are good for different things. Some spectra are better suited for light emission. Some spectra are better suited for radio transmission. Without regulation of spectra usage, some of the benefits of electronic communication would be lost in a hash of noise. Imagine road builders without a regulator. Anyone can build a road, at any place, at any time, at any location. I own fifty acres, want to build homes and decide to put my roads in without any sense of current traffic patterns. I may rate my new roads as "safe" and/or "dangerous," but the fact is, some roads should not be built. It's why we pay governments. To regulate certain activities. With radio communications, which include television, communication links that you may not be aware of (since you don't own a receiver on those frequencies), fire and weather signals, and wireless internet, imagine a world where anyone could build a transmitter on any frequency chosen, without any central coordination.

The Spectrum also is used by such things as radar. If you fly, you would want to know that the part of the spectrum that is used by radar isn't being used simultaneously by an entrepreneurial broadcaster. Attempting to play his (or her) idea of socially conscious radio. Without some type of agreed upon regulation, spectra could be used that can kill others. As we move into adopting greater applications of digital media, the use of spectra increases, and there are definite advantages to adopting digital technologies. For one, digital technologies that make sense require less bandwidth. The usable Spectrum, being limited, is being challenged for use by alternative technologies, some of which haven't even been created.

What was attempted today, was pure, political hubris.

What was attempted was, a national activation of the Emergency Alert System.

It was, as predicted, a total cluster. Of the worst possible kind.

It was an attempt to both exceed the capabilities of the system, and an attempt to further the idea that centrally controlled information was better than that of its constituent parts. An example:

On March 11th, of this year, a Tsunami Warning was issued for the West Coast. The warning was issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. What most of us know of as, the weather guys. Under the rules of NOAA, the warning was issued once.

That was sufficient. At that point, radio stations and television stations across the country were informed of an impending tsunami event. Television and radio stations turned their eyes and ears on the forthcoming, possible disaster, and began sharing with their viewers and listeners information on the dangers of the impending tsunami. In my home town, the tsunami was predicted to occur between 0725 and 0730 hours. Until 0720 hours, we retained control of our studios, which were locate on the possible tsunami zone. We transmitted information about the possible size and intensity of the potential event, up to the edge of personal threat. (During past tsunami events, given the source and intensity of the event, we've maintained studio presence up to and including the estimated time of event.)

Two thoughts occur; one, privately owned broadcasters gave the most, current, usable information in the market, for the longest period of time possible, free; second, we used current, contemporaneous information in the pursuit of providing our listeners, or viewers, the greatest possible amount of information available, again, at no cost. This is why the effort to provide a national Emergency Event Activation is a horse with no legs. Market forces will determine whether or not the radio or television station you're listening or watching is worth listening or watching.

Because, responsible operators will make sure that the mission of either a television station or radio station is, to serve the community interest. And somehow, kids, the imminent destruction of ones local community seems to be of paramount importance.

I've been through a couple of wars. The last two, which involved the Middle East, were well carried by all of my broadcast stations. For those of you who forget, following the decision to correct the Iraq invasion into Kuwait, my stations went to a wartime footing, with twenty-four hour coverage of events in the Middle East. Were we required to do so? No.

Then, after 9/11, we had the invasion of Afghanistan. Again, twenty-four hour coverage. Required? No.

Then the invasion of Iraq.

Can you guess what happened? Of course you can. People want information, and under the Rules promulgated in the 1930's, broadcasters are required to provide information in the "community interest." But if you had a television station, or radio station, would you ignore the perils facing your community? People love information, and the internets aside, there are only two mediums suited to provide you with local information, twenty-four hours a day; television and radio. Television and radio have the resources, the connectivity and the reliability to provide you with the information you need, now. The attempt to impose a centrally produced "message" was idiotic at its inception. Broadcasters, whether television or radio, know what their responsibilities are. In the past week I've spent more than twenty hours of my personal time in the last week, preparing for this national event. Should it have worked? Prolly not. It would have been faster to have called press conference. Or, sent an e-mail to some folks. Who would have called other folks.

The desire to demand compliance from the broadcast community is comic. Since using the community is easier than that attempted today. If you have a message, you announce the message. As the wire conveys the message, the message is promulgated. Independent broadcasters do the independent thing; determine whether or not the message is important to the local area, or not. If important, live people with real cameras and microphones get on air and talk. If not? It may make an item on the evening or morning news. There are filters. Important? On air. Unimportant? Mebbe mentioned.

That, my friends, is the marketplace of ideas. What is important is forwarded. Can you guess what is not forwarded? (The unimportant. You should have said it. I wouldn't have.)

Broadcasters, whether television or radio, know that they have a responsibility. That it is part of the original Communications Act isn't important. Broadcasters have a contract, unspoken, with their viewers, listeners. We will provide you with information that you need, when the information becomes available.

Inside the game, we all have upgraded our equipment in the last ten months (recently extended into next year) in order to provide viewers/listeners with emergency information. Inside the game, there aren't any audio engineers available to the United States national government, or the Federal Communication Commission who understand audio propagation. This was a cluster**** of the first order. It would have been cheaper, quicker and easier to have alerted "the media" of an important announcement. Your broadcasters would have been involved, given personal and local treatment of the announcement, and more importantly, done it without the intrusion of selected believes of what would be important to my viewers/listeners. Not everything important at the "national" level is important locally. Remember, the Communications Act of 1934 had a dual purpose: an understanding that there was limited spectrum for radio use; and that the use of that spectrum, as limited by the limits of the available spectra, should be the service of the communities provided service by the use of that spectra.

Few broadcasters argue the point.

But what we've seen today.



And, then comes the feedback.

Los Angeles
What we received was very noisy, hardly intelligible and cut in and out,
basically useless!  Then at the end, the long tail of dead air....

Colorado
Sage units (all four) decided not to send the audio out. The test was
triggered just no audio.  No Audio Limit. ABORT was on the message display.

Alabama
We were listening to the PEP  and never heard it there.

Buffalo
Aired the alert tones, but NO audio! Was that way from the LP-1 station.

Rochester
Both stations received the test, along with the audio, it went flawless
there.  No report on audio quality.

South LA
On air from the transmitter plant was a lot more than noise and low audio
issues. The recording itself cut out a couple times played half way though
then restarted, playing half way through again till it cut out and went to
dead air. All during the message we received control tones over the message,
seems their audio and control was stuck in a loop or something.

Indiana
very noisy, hardly intelligible and cut in and out.

Illinois
Got the whole EAS message, with tones, IN SPANISH!!!!

St. Louis
repeating audio and tones which made it quite a mess. 
 
The rules require broadcasters to report today, the impact of the national test. But for hours, the FCC website was broken. And these are the guys who are attempting to take over control of the internet.

Some things don't need to be controlled. Spectrum usage? Sure. Content? Nope. Although, the FCC is creating rules to control content. What is the role of government? Is it to control content? or, to manage those things that governments are uniquely qualified to control? What should a television station, or radio station, carry over it's signal? Should that content be controlled by the federal government, or its agency, the FCC? Increasingly, the FCC is working to control content. I would suggest, it is signally unable to do so. It's mission, to regulate the use of spectra.

Where, and when, was it authorize by Congress to control content?

Thursday, November 3, 2011



Dear TMI,

Thank you for your contribution of $200.00 to Friends of Herman Cain, Mr. Cain appreciates your support!

We will need more loyal supporters like yourself to help elect a common sense problem solver to the White House- Please let your friends know about our campaign, the "9-9-9 Plan," and how important it is to keep our momentum going.

Remember, time is short! The critical Iowa Caucuses are scheduled for January 3, 2012
Contributions to Friends of Herman Cain are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Friends of Herman Cain is required to report the name, address, occupation, and employer of each individual who contributes.

Contributions to Friends of Herman Cain are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Friends of Herman Cain is required to report the name, address, occupation, and employer of each individual who contributes.

Herman Cain and Larry Kudlow

At the moment I made my contribution tonight, Herman Cain's Iowa Fund was at $243-thousand dollars.

Lend yourself to Mr. Cain. And report what level you find.

I'm not looking for Teh Won. I'm looking for a guy, who came from the American Stew, who took advantage of his education, who proved himself, and fixed a company. These are special tasks.

Some of you have heard of Joseph Campbell. The tasks of the Hero are pretty well defined.

"So let us review these basic things that we get from the Hero figure as presented by Joseph Campbell. First, the relevance of the Hero now; not the Hero myth, but myth itself is the Hero. In its liberating capacity, "the work of the Hero," says Campbell, "is to slay the tenacious aspect of the Father/Dragon/Ogre/King, and release the vital energies that will feed the Universe." To slay the Ogre, the reactionary aspect of the senex who promotes fear, sterility, poverty of children, the paranoid, suspicious, deceitful, illegitimate King and the nobles of the Court living in their gated communities (already having locked themselves up or committed themselves to the separated asylum of insanity, and with megalomaniac intentions) use the language of the legitimate Hero to free the world from Evil when they are themselves carriers of lies, cruelty and death."

I'm free here, to admit, that I never saw the election of Barrack Obama as playing any type of role within the Hero Myth. I'm a lot more two-dimensional. Where did Barrack Obama come from? Compare and contrast, where Herman Cain came from. Sure, Barrack Obama's mom was a pet of the upper-class, jetting around for college, meeting a swarthy Othello, creating a mythic son. All true, except for the mythic hero's feet of clay. "Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces." (Daniel 2:34.)

Name me a recent, conservative, nationally known politician who was attacked by the Press. Name me a recent, Leftist, nationally known politician who was attacked by the Press.

Shit. Leftists don't get attacked by the Press. Did you hear the recent crazy by former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and Boeing? Then, did you hear about the new plant GE is building? No? Crazy former Speaker of the House Pelosi offers, that Boeing should not be able to build a plant in a Right to Work state. At the same time Obama crony Jeff Immelt is building a plant in Auburn, Alabama. Did you ever ask the question, why is okay for GE to build in a right-to-work state, and wrong for Boeing?

I don't get it. I was accused of some "sexual" thing back in the '90's. A chump who worked for me wasn't happy that I gave increased hours on-air to a recent hire. A young woman of pipes. I can't remember any of their names. But the young lady, who was just 19 years old, had the stuff. God gave her chords. She could tell you the time, and you were glad you were there to hear it was just after eleven o'clock. Chump was a space filler. No talent, no desire to improve. Place-sitter. (This was in 1990, sometime after April, when I'd been hired to take over the operations of a company that had reverted ownership. The previous ownership had hired anyone breathing. My job was to re-create a successful broadcast company.)

When I let Chump go, Lia (?) took over his hours on board. His hours were cut. Effectively, let go. And that's when I found that he had filed a complaint with the Bureau of Labour and Industries, alleging that I had cut his hours, due to sexual favours I received from the new hire. Imagine opening that letter.

The first call; counsel. But, I don't pay attorneys to go to school. Second call? BOLI. And the question I asked was, "Is it true, if ever asked, 'have you ever been accused of sexual mis-conduct?' I must now answer, yes?"

The answer is yes. I've been accused of sexual misconduct at the workplace. What happens if there is ever a repeat? Well, hell, I'm a serial offender! I'm sure there's another Level of Hell for serial sex offenders. Any jury would convict. We're trained that way. First time, shame on me. Second time, shame on you.

Charges only need be repeated to gain a level of general acceptance. Sarah Palin is a bimbo, because she is beautiful, articulate, has a Northern accent, went to U of I, was successful as a politician, a Governor of a state, and smart enough to get out, when the getting was good. Herman Cain is a Black Man, possibly a Mandingo, hitting on employees, unwilling to present himself--as does Romney--a polished trimmer, simple, honest and direct.

This is why I gave the $200.00.

It isn't a lot of money. It is an encouragement.

How do you lynch a Black Man? Today, it is with innuendo and rumour. None of the facts about our current President are ever reported. Black Panthers? Not reported. Chicago radicals? Not reported. His pastor? Not reported. His complete disregard for working men and women who aren't government employees or union members? Not reported. His disdain for hard work? Are you kidding me? But, Herman Cain, who had an employee(s) who went south? Well hell, boy! We don't even need a new rope!

I heard Kudlow tonight repeat erroneous information on his show. I wasn't really surprised. Following this story requires time. And busy folks, like Kudlow, deal with the information in front of them. I don't blame Kudlow for following the meme. And I'm sure, his producers don't have the same conviction of chasing the truth, as does Kudlow. But I would suggest, maybe it's time for Kudlow to look for more hard-working producers.

Anytime a producer deliberately keeps talent in the dark, that's a firing offense.

Kudlow was underserved tonight. But, for a company owned by Jeffrey Immelt, entirely understandable.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I happen to believe that we are meant to work together.

I happen to believe, that if we were to find ourselves without government, due to some unseen cataclysmic event, that most of us would behave exactly as we had behaved, before this cataclysmic event. We wouldn't steal, we wouldn't lie. We would look our for each other. We would talk about how to handle the aftermath of such a cataclysmic event. We would bind up the wounds of the injured, and attempt to heal the sick.

The divisions that currently divide us would disappear. Our racism, class awareness, our bias against the stupid, our envy of the smart, looking stylish, nerdiness, inability, ability, would all be subsumed by the moment. Every one of us offers a resource that we cannot dismiss out of hand. As a race of beings our urge is to survive, to create, to find ways to be beneficial to our contemporaries.

A great deal of the negativity of political opinion seems to rely upon some of the seminal works of progressivism; works like The Prince, and The Leviathan, or An Essay on the Principle of Population. That is, to simply state the proposition, progressives have declared a space on the human experience that has never been proved to be true, and yet the proponents of these beliefs have always ended up being among the greatest mass, serial murderers of generations. But, when left, simply, alone, people get along just fine.

Edmund Burke wrote some stuff. At the time, what he wrote was seen as threatening to the status quo. What he said was, that given our own head, we would treat each other well, and the problem was, how to keep government from meddling in the affairs of men? You and I experience this every day. Walking along a sidewalk, most of us give way to little old men and little old women. When we come to a door, look behind us and see another coming, we're willing to hold the door for a stranger. If you walk your dog, you know to keep a baggy in your pocket, since relying upon your neighbor to clean up your dog's poop is really silly, lazy, or rude, isn't it? And these little things are the things upon which people rely upon each other to do the simple, right thing.

The empirical proof exists. It's provable every day. In Connecticut, more than a million homes lack electricity. Is there a crime-wave rolling through CT? No. Cataclysms don't change human nature. Instead, it re-enforces human nature.  Neighbors are pulling out chainsaws, cutting trees, clearing electrical lines. The costs of rebuilding the electrical system of Connecticut isn't the sole expense of the power company. A lot of the costs are being absorbed by normal, average guys. Hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars are being expended, in time and labour. A lot of that time and labour is voluntary, and won't be counted in the cost. No insurance company will get a bill. No governmental agency will be called upon for re-embursement. The costs are internal costs. The external costs will be played up, the internal costs will be ignored. The point is, we do what we feel we must do to help our friends and neighbors, not because we must, but because we choose.

From what I see, most of what government spends money on is stuff we don't need.

What do we need?

I don't hear any discussion of what we need. Not health care, not our sexual tastes, not respect for stupid ideas. We have health care. We have sexual tastes. We have stupid ideas.

What are the things that we, ourselves, can't provide for ourselves? These are the things that governments should be worried about. Thankfully, the progressives have entered the conversation and now we're engaged in conversations about things we don't need, and the relative costs of those things, and how we can't stop funding those things because...it would be unfair to those who benefit from those things. Things we can provide for ourselves.

And we're currently in a national debate over which unnecessary things we can't give up. If you disagree with me about the things you lack, and therefore look to me to make up the slack, and if I look at you and the things you lack, and hold you accountable for your own inability to provide for yourself, you hate me for not giving you the things you want to have. Sometimes I wonder how, or whether, some people learn how to wipe themselves.

And, I guess, some people never learn how to do this.

The crustiness would be a clue for most.

Taking care of yourself isn't that hard. If you wish to learn, ask. You would be amazed at how easy it is to learn how to take care of yourself. Give me a call. I'll figure out a way to help you, give you some basics, give you a chance. It isn't a sure thing that you'll learn how to take care of yourself. You'll need to give up some ideas, perhaps, and adopt some ideas, perhaps. Learning how to take care of yourself isn't really all that hard. Trust someone to teach you, adopt the lessons, and then, exceed the expectations of the teacher. You'll find you're successful.

Take up victim-hood? Whatta path.

The funny thing is? You've got to be taught to be a victim. You have to be taught to depend upon others. You have to be taught to fear responsibility. And finally,
you have to be taught to hate.



By the way, Patinkin is the shit, isn't he?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Shenanigans

Democrats operate under different rules from the rest of us.

President Clinton, serial rapist, gets a pass for doing Monica because he's so dreamy.

Okay. I get the neo-feminist logic. As long as you promise you will love them forever, you get their vote.

Herm, talks to a woman, doesn't even step on her toes, and it's a national nightmare, again. Yet, when I talk about the law-breaking of Oregon's congressional candidates, it doesn't even earn a mention in the local newspaper.

Rob Cornilles has fully disclosed all of his contributions. See it here. His democrat opponents? Not a stitch.

 Suzanne Bonamici.

"The query you have chosen matched 0 individual contributions."

She's raised more than $430-thousand dollars, but can't find her asshole with both hands? Yeah, this is a chick I want to vote for. The query you have chosen matched 0 individual contributions.

Any mention in any newspaper? Are you serial?

We've Global Warming and Green Technology to write about.

Serially, Oregon sucks.

Whipping the Senate

What is the most egregious error of our President?

His failure to whip the Senate.

As the Chief Executive, no company would ever allow for the lack of responsibility our current Chief Executive has demonstrated. Imagine any company, that failed to provide a budget for TWO FREAKING YEARS!!!

Budgets have been passed in the House. The Senate continues to refuse bringing these budgets up for a vote.

Our Chief Executive is a joke. Fortunately, for him, he has no idea how poorly he is performing. He is the World's Most Uninformed Executive.



Time for another Beer Summit.

Bi-Partisanship Is Possible

And right and wrong.

Federal intrusion into state taxing authority is wrong. It isn't Constitutional. And, I can't come up with a single case where the Federal government has the authority, under the 16th Amendment, to roll back taxes imposed by a state. The Federal government, simply, doesn't have the authority to do what it is attempting to do. (Didn't bills have to come to the floor with a reference to the constitutionality of the measure?)

But, the sentiment is good. The sentiment is, if we tax a thing, the accessibility of the thing decreases.

Oregon is the worst state in the union in terms of understanding this reasonable statement. Okay, mebbe California is worse. The thing is, the Wireless Tax Fairness Act, is another example of federal over-reach. I applaud the Congress for having the ability to understand that taxes on communication are a form of restraint of speech. So...hmm. Maybe it is Constitutional. Maybe, this may be a pure power under the Interstate Commerce Clause.

Maybe, just maybe, congressional actions to protect an interstate commodity from local taxation is actually a power granted by the Constitution!

Imagine, legal acts of Congress, with bi-partisan support. End of days?

Determining Value...Again

Personal preferences are important. It is your, or my, personal preference to either work, or not work, to manufacture or not, to farm or not, to fish or not.

These preferences are often put into terms like wages, since wages are normally related to in terms of the exchange of currency for labour. And dollars are really good yard-sticks. Some preferences defy logic. Some are logically consistent. What is important is to remember that whatever a person's preferences are, they are his. You cannot mandate acceptance of preferences that you feel another should have. A man can not repudiate that which he knows is true.



h/t Mungowitz and Mungowitz.

Monday, October 31, 2011

No, Max.

And that's why a real discussion about the minimum wage laws needs grounding in definitions.

These aren't managers. These are better than the dead-enders who end up getting wages worth more than they.

"If you have attributes that employers value, whether you're a surgeon or basketball player, the rules of micro-economic, or macro-economic analysis probably don't affect you. If you are Kobe Bryant, you're lucky. There is only one of you."

My point here is, the demand for low-skill labour is restricted by minimum wage jobs. Because of the way economics is taught--and, today, barely taught--we look at the supply and demand curves for labour, and decide that miniscule rents for labour barely rise above the level of insult Where surgeons and Kobe are making millions, yet rarely, if ever, do we dis-aggregate the market for labour to take into account that there are people with few skills, people with many skills, and people with rare skills. Which are worth more?

People with few skills are, in my opinion, worth less than either people with more skills, or people with rare skills. Garth Brooks is a better entertainer than I. That is a rare skill. I believe that I may be a better businessman than Mr. Brooks. I think I may have more skills. But his rare skill is worth more to the market than my mundane skills.

I believe that the average OWS protester may have fewer skills than I. Maybe, only a single skill, that isn't in demand. Is it right that I earn more than this OWS occupier and less than Garth Brooks?

I have no problem with that.

Remember, the argument about minimum wages isn't about the range of abilities and skills provided by the labour market. The question posited is one of, given the lowest wages offered in the market, do efforts to provide for minimum levels of income meet the criterion set out by policy makers? That is, to provide workers with a minimum level of income that allows the worker to have sufficient income to provide for himself a "living wage." A wage that provides enough sufficiency, that a housing payment, a car payment, a clothing payment, medical care and child care, are all within his reach.

I suggest that efforts to mandate a “living wage” deposits a larger, increasing number of people into a caste that is unemployable, given the constraints of the “minimum wage” model, itself.

These are all, true, concerns of those living within poverty.

If you are truly living in poverty, you know that your chances of catching a break are very limited. You don’t have the personal hygiene. You are missing teeth. You don’t have the wardrobe. Your diet is poor, your complexion is sallow, and your affect is weak. You may only be able to barely read and write. You lack basic math skills. You have problems learning. You have emotional problems that limit your ability to listen to criticism without getting angry. People laugh at you. You aren’t attractive.

So, the catch is: these efforts to provide for a certain level of “human dignity” does little to lift the truly poor in our communities, and does more for the second to the bottom tiers, and third to the bottom tiers of our lower-income citizens. Minimum wages tend to lock-out, perpetually, the lowest of income earners.

"The thing that's lost in most discussions of the Labour Curve is the meaning of the curve, from point-to-point. The aggregate Supply Curve describes the number of persons willing to work at a buck, as well as those willing to work for two-bucks, then three-bucks, etc. The amount of aggregate wages paid is the sum of those wages."

In micro-economics, the curve describes something most of us tend to ignore. At a certain point in wages, no one is interested in providing himself as an employee. Labour is not induced to provision. The demand for labour can price itself so low, that there are no takers.

At the earliest point of entry to the market for labour, the first entrant may offer his labour for a modest rate. Let's take a buck an hour. It is at that point that the micro-economist begins looking at the entry into the market, those who are willing to provide labour. The Supply Curve for Labour isn't just a rhetorical, or an hypothetical. There are really people out there, willing to work for a buck, two bucks. This is an empirical.

Even though the number of people willing to enter the Labour Market at low rates is small, the curve (which does, typically in the texts, seems to be a straight line) views the additional increases in the number of willing workers as increasing as the wages increase. (The reason why the line is straight is that we're typically looking at static analysis. Once we employ dynamic analysis, the curves to actually curve. And as wage rates increase, the number of workers available for employ increase--at some point, very quickly.)

For an economist, the area of interest, when it comes to wages, is the area “under the curve.” Two things are happening. First, we find the first person who is willing to accept the lowest paid position. This is our Alpha. His wage rate, multiplied by the number of people willing to accept this wage rate determines the total value of income, at that level of wage.

Then, we go to Beta, the next level of income that induces another—or more—workers to enter the workforce. This expands the area under the curve, and the value of A(n) + B(n) equals the value of wages under the curve. As we move upward, this process is continually repeated. It is the aggregate of Workers(n) at the point of equilibrium that determines the total income for employees at or below the equilibrium level. It is my assertion, that the equilibrium level of employment, without a minimum wage, is both larger than that required by a minimum wage, but would make an employer more likely to hire someone with certain deficiencies, having been able to avoid paying second tier employees higher wages than they deserve. The amount of income produced by second tier workers (who don’t deserve higher wages) is smaller than the amount of benefit that would accrue to the lowest level of wage earners, and would increase the overall net income of whatever political boundaries one would impose; whether city, county, state or nation.

These are all, true, concerns of those living within poverty. But the catch is, these efforts do little to lift the truly poor in our communities, and do more for the second to the bottom tiers, and third to the bottom tiers of our lower-income citizens. Minimum wages tend to lock-out, perpetually, the lowest of income earners.

"The thing that's lost in most discussions of the Labour Curve, is the meaning of the curve, from point-to-point. The aggregate Supply Curve describes the number of persons willing to work at a buck, as well as those willing to work for two-bucks, then three-bucks, etc. The amount of aggregate wages paid is the sum of those wages."

In micro-economics, the curve describes something most of us tend to ignore. At a certain point in wages, no one is interested in providing himself as an employee. Labour is not induced to provision. The demand for labour can price itself so low, that there are no takers.

"What determines the shape of the Supply Curve for Labour? Is it simply the level of wages? Or, are there other determinants that affect the shape of the curve? Do you need to work for someone else? Do you have a choice?"

At the earliest point of entry to the market for labour, the first entrant may offer his labour for a modest rate. Let's take, a buck an hour. It is at that point that the micro-economist begins looking at the entry into the market, those who are willing to provide labour. The Supply Curve for Labour isn't just a rhetorical, or an hypothetical. There are really people out there, willing to work for a buck, two bucks. This is empirical.

Even though the number of people willing to enter the Labour Market at low rates is small, the curve (which does, typically in the texts, seem to be a straight line) views the additional increases in the number of willing workers as increasing as the wage increase. (The reason why the line is straight, is that we're typically looking at static analysis. Once we employ dynamic analysis, the curves to actually curve. And as wage rates increase, the number of workers available for employ increase--at some point, very quickly.)

What determines the shape of the curve? It depends upon choice. It is true that the higher the wage, the greater the willingness to enter the labour pool. My personal rule has always been, “if you’re willing to pay me more, and require me to do less, then, I’ll work for you” isn’t made up. That’s my rule. The pool of training and experience I carry—Human Capital—is larger than a lot of people. Clearly not as rare as Kobe. His Human Capital is something that only God can provide. I will never be as good a golfer as Tiger. (Ahem.)

But, in the market of all available skills, and all available experiences, devotion to work, and traits of character, I am not in the lowest percentiles.
May I suggest that I am, at least, average?

The discussion over the minimum-wage laws tend to be totally misguided, since they tend to impose values over the preferences of those at the lowest level of economic ability that they are, and will continue to be, mismatched to the abilities, of those on the lowest economic tiers.

The Supply of Labour Curve is an aggregation of values, determined by the individual, of the willingness of individuals to choose to offer their labour for a wage. At each level of increase, the Marginal Increase in Wage, the number of persons entering the market at that wage is added to the number of persons who were willing to enter the market at lower wages, which allows you to determine the total wages of workers. As the increment of Wage increases, so to do the number of persons willing to work at this, new, higher wage. Added together, this sum of increased marginal wages (multiplied by the number of workers at each point) creates a total income level for those who are willing to work at, or below, the Market Equilibrium wage level. What we see is, that without the minimum wage, total wages of those at the equilibrium level will be greater than the total of wages with an imposed Minimum Wage. Total income will increase. More people will be better off.

National Income will rise. Fewer people will live in poverty.

And more importantly, those with few job skills will be given the opportunity to gain Human Capital. Without a Federal Jobs Program, or Guaranteed Student Loans.

Who is better off without the Minimum Wage? We all are. But the minimum wage isn’t about making life better for anyone.

Is it?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Determining Value

I have a soft spot in my heart for people who serve themselves. There is a woman in my employ, is attending courses at the local community college. Or, rather, remote learning at the local community college. It seems that lectures are over-rated, and so students take their lessons over the innertubes. Of course, this perversion of the Socratic Method tends to lead to testing for results, rather than teaching. In an effort to maximize the revenue of schools, look for a big increase in this form of "teaching" as schools begin to realize that they don't really need classrooms, just a series of recorded lectures and intertube delivered tests. You will be taught how to repeat the necessary responses at the appropriate time.

But parroting the words, rather than understanding the words, seems a waste of time.

For example, take a rather innocuous chart, referred to as Supply and Demand chart.

Found here.

As a snapshot, graphs like these are useful tools to help us understand things, like value of employment we should be able to attain for a market, all other things being equal. If we have employment at the intersection between the Demand for Labor, and the Supply of Labor, we have reached the moment when there is equilibrium in the market for Labor. Unfortunately, the statement that the equilibrium point is at the locus of w* for Wages and L* for labor doesn't mean anything. Nothing useful, or usable.

This doesn't stop people from talking about the Supply and Demand for labor. Or, using charts like this to defend or to attack someone's viewpoint on what normal or optimal wages should be. Or, the correct level of wages. Or, the morality of wages.

The graph suggests a couple of things, but really explains nothing. Why?

The function f(x) = Wages is too simple. If only wages were higher, more people would be willing to work. Therefore, the solution to low employment is...arrgh! The approach of the above graph presents only one possible determinant, Wages. But let's take a moment, and look at the values, or choices, that each point along the above curves represent.

Let's start with the Supply of Labor. Let's slide down to the left on the red line above.

What does that point on the curve tell us? The impulse is to say, "Well, at that wage rate, not many people would be employed." Again, the above supply curve equates the quantity of labor provided as simply the determinant of wages. There is a simple, singular, independent variable that determines employment. Wages. We're done here. Economic analysis is over.

Worse, the teaching is over.

The industrialization of education requires this type of thinking. Colleges put the facts before the students. Students are taught to testing, gaining the capacity to parrot the appropriate responses to test questions. Those with the greatest ability to respond appropriately are the educated. Taking the learning out of education reduces the risks that some students may fail. Burrowing into the subject requires us to learn more about the determinants of the labor supply. And it's best that we move along as quickly as possible, since a better understanding of what the supply curve for labor teaches and informs us can be disregarded. And, no longer regarded, discarded.

What determines the shape of the Supply Curve for Labour? Is it simply the level of wages? Or, are there other determinants that affect the shape of the curve? Do you need to work for someone else? Do you have a choice?

That is, work or starve. Either find suitable employment or fail to subsist. So, there is no choice. You must work for a wage, or die. But that isn't true, is it? There are alternatives to hiring out your labor to another. Gardening, fishing and hunting. Methods of avoiding hiring yourself out. Or better,thievery. Simply taking from others in order to provide for yourself. Do I need to work if I can steal? So, among the determinants of the supply of labour, should we not also suggest an ability to garden, hunt, fish and steal? What about the stay-at-home mom? At what wage rate might she consider giving up her time with her children, to pursue a wage? Clearly, wage rates alone are not the single determinant of persons willing to work for wages. If I am a thief, and feel badly about stealing for a living, and I'm willing to forgo thieving and instead agree to work for two dollars an hour, am I better off?

See, that's the whole thing about the Supply of Labor curve. From the lowest wages, on the lower left-hand side, to the highest wages, on the upper right-hand side, each individual is faced with making choices about his preferences; to garden, to hunt, or to steal. Is it worth two bucks an hour to give up stealing? Four bucks? And what do I gain by taking up wages and giving up theft?

I can subsist and I can take pride in my individual choice to be something more than a thief. By no longer relying upon harming others, I can develop self-esteem. I am a better man when I'm not stealing. Obviously, people like me better. I have more friends. I'm able to be trusted. Maybe, even valued. And as I work, I learn about my work, increasing the value of my Human Capital. And the guy down the street comes up one day and offers to double my wages, if I go to work for him.

The thing that's lost in most discussions of the Labour Curve, is the meaning of the curve, from point-to-point. The aggregate Supply Curve describes the number of persons willing to work at a buck, as well as those willing to work for two-bucks, then three-bucks, etc. The amount of aggregate wages paid is the sum of those wages. So, the total of wages paid is equal to the area under the curve, from the lowest wage, to the highest wage paid. Not everyone is being paid at the equilibrium or clearing wage rate. As employers move marginally offer higher wages, where the value of wage rates as a determinant of whether or not to supply labor exceeds all the combined values of the other determinants of whether or not to accept employment, at those values, the last incremental increase in employment will occur.

Of course, none of us really know where that moment is. Or when it occurs. In fact, markets have a funny habit of moving up and down, both in terms of supply and of demand, attempting to maximize the returns offered to both buyers and sellers of labour. And we have yet to offer another glaring hole in this static analysis of labour markets; the wages of the specialist.

If you go to the website where I grabbed the graph, (SWCollege) you'll find that there are a set of assumptions given, in order to, I suppose, avoid the terrible hash of determinants that are expressed as preferences by persons choosing to either enter or leave the labour market. They are:

" the labor market is perfectly competitive,
" the minimum wage covers all workers, and
"worker productivity is unaffected by the wage rate."

    Wow.

    It's no wonder discussions about the effects of the minimum wage get so confused.

    We began with this chart:

    Found here.

    This chart was constructed with the above "assumptions." Here's my cut and paste chart that show what will actually happen:



    The area below and to the left of L(new) will be those workers who will no longer be able to compete for employment. Additionally,

    those above the red line, and to the left of L(s), the area cross-hatched, are those that are being overpaid. The funny thing is, the area described to those who are being overpaid is smaller than the area of those who would be willing to accept lower wages.

    All of the models presume that the lowest paid employees will be beneficiaries of minimum wage standards, imposed by the state. Why would anyone, with a minimum wage imposed upon them, hire the least talented workers for jobs that would be filled with the best talented available for the same price? The number of employees being hired is the same for the first diagram, as for the last. The wages, or nominal income of workers, is the same. Those who would only choose to offer their labour at the highest rate (Wmin) are being hired. Those between L(new) and L* are being hired. The only change is that of those below the preference curve for seeking work, from Lnew to Ls are being overpaid. All of those workers to the left of Lnew are unable to find work.

    Let's briefly examine the assumptions of the Minimum Wage Model.

    "The labor market is perfectly competitive."

    What that means, is that buyers have the ability to choose which employee they hire, without impediment. If this is true, then what separates those willing to work for a dollar or two an hour, from those who desire at least minimum wage? We looked at a few of those determinants. A willingness to give up hunting and fishing and thievery. A willingness to let a child float into daycare, in order to pick up a few bucks, or, get a life. Whatever it is, an employer is going to be looking at the best candidates for the lowest possible bucks. No high school diploma? Ehhhh. No appreciable skills? Ehhhh. No math skills? Ehhhh. Earrings and tattoos? Ehhhh. Nice, normal people, with a modicum of skills, behaviours and abilities will be preferable to those without said qualities. That doesn't mean that those who fail to meet this bar don't deserve to find employment. It just means that the State has imposed barriers on employers that benefit those with greater Human Capital, than those without the benefits of Human Capital. Education, training, manners, sensibility.

    "The minimum wage covers all workers."

    That is, no one is free to decide for themselves what the minimums are. Choice, as in the determinants of how the preference curve for those willing to find employment, will be ignored. Whether or not you are willing to work for a lower wage is unimportant. The determinants of whether or not you "should" provide yourself for employment at wages lower than the minimum wage have been taken from you. You are no longer free to choose for yourself whether or not you should take a low-paying job. This has been done so that you have dignity, and protection from a job that offers less than a living-wage. The fact that you'll never get a job under this system is unimportant. The System will make sure that, under the banner of Social Justice, you receive just as much money as the rest of us.

    And finally, "Worker productivity is unaffected by the wage rate."

    Not only do they deprive both sellers and buyers of labour from the values of choice, they establish that the parameters of choice are unimportant. "Worker productivity is unaffected by the wage rate?" What planet do you live on? Worker productivity has never been affected by wage rate. Wage rate has always been determined by worker productivity.

     Worker wages = f(x) = Worker Productivity.

    How else to state this? A worker's wages don't depend on the productivity of the individual worker? Alice Through the Looking Glass? Of course worker productivity is unaffected by wage rate. Everyone to the left of the red Supply line in the above graph is getting paid more than they would demand. Every one at the last, marginal moment, is getting paid exactly what they would need to be paid. (If anyone is getting screwed, it's the last employee hired!)

    It's funny, but there was a study conducted of the effects on unemployment and the minimum wage, here in Oregon, a few years ago. It found that minimum wages didn't affect unemployment. I can totally see how that can happen, given the current state of accepted science. All I'm asking you to ask yourself is, given that only a limited number of people will be hired, due to a minimum wage law, do you think that it is fair to create a permanent class of unemployable, under the banner of legislating the determinants that would allow the individual to go to work at a lower rate? Is the Legislature actually creating a prophylactic against self-denigration, in the name of protecting the worker's dignity? And how can a Legislature make choices for the individual better than the individual? If our job was to increase the total income of the citizens of the state, wouldn't that be easier to do without the minimum wage? The area under the Supply curve of permanently unemployed is certainly larger than the area of the over-paid.

    And all this talk about the minimum wage really has nothing to do with employment. There are always key people whose wages have, and will exceed the minimums authorized by the state. So, looking at the graphs on the effects of legislation on employment really have nothing to do with who is, or isn't employed. If you have attributes that employers value, whether you're a surgeon or basketball player, the rules of micro-economic, or macro-economic analysis probably don't affect you. If you are Kobe Bryant, you're lucky. There is only one of you. But if you're 18 or 19 years old, with nothing more to show than a high school or college diploma, or worse, chances are you are entering the job market without the skills or attitude that entitle you to anything but a, to your opinion, drastically low wage. You may be able to subsist off your parents and friends for a while, but at a certain point your parents will either kick you out, or die. You do not have to accept the fact that you have no usable skills, and that given the alternative, even with minimum wage guarantees, you will probably never find suitable employment. I'm just not sure you understand what the alternatives are. Unless, and until, you recognize that your choices are being conditioned by a set of determinants that are currently holding you harmless as a result of government guarantees, will you be willing to come to your senses, and demand real change.

    If you are young and unemployed, your choice to remain unemployed may be the result of mandates from the State. It may seem to be your choice, because you "won't" take any job that is beneath your personal dignity. Well, Precious, chances are you don't know what subsistence is, yet. You will. But it may be after the money runs out; either Federal, State or Daddy's.

    Let's increase the bottom-line income of our state's residents. Isn't it time we quit worrying about mandating the conditions for personal dignity, and allow all our citizens to determine for themselves, what work they're willing to do, and what price?





    Saturday, October 29, 2011

    Love

    I'm glad I'm a musician.

    I'm glad I learned music. The language of music. The theory of music. I'm glad that I can go to a keyboard and play the notes written by Debussy, J.S. Bach and Rhapsody in Blue.

    Tonight's Music Appreciation Moment, is brought to you by Toots Thielemans.




    I dig the kiss.

    Compare the Belgian's love for Stevie with this:



    I'm supposed to forgive this, since this racism appeared on a Leftist network (MSNBC.) I guess if the only news you get is from big city newspapers and network news, you haven't heard of the racism of the Left. Occupy Wall Street, originating in British Columbia, has been filled with lurid slurs against Jews. The violence, the theft, the rapes, none of this has been reported.

    Remember when the big news about the Tea Party was someone spat upon a black Congressman? (No? Well, it was a big deal. Teapartiers are racists, yannow?)

    Why does the Obama Administration continue to harp on race, racism and the opposition he faces in the national dialogue as racist? What do you call it when arguments aren't made, but coloured? If I agree with you at the correct time, I'm not a racist. When I contradict you at the inopportune time, I am a racist.

    Here's another Thielemans riff, with Billy Joel:



    Black, white, yellow, brown, I am indifferent.

    If you think, if you rely upon yourself, if you take care of you family and your friends, your clients, you're going to find me willing to be your friend. So, I'll wrap up.

    The last cut, is, again, Billy Joel. But here's the tie-in. Toots Thielemans wasn't just a great harp player. Mr. Toots was also known as a great whistler. If you ever heard an "Old Spice" commercial, that was Mr. Toots whistle. He was one of the world's greatest whistlers, among whom I also number Bing Crosby, myself, and Billy Joe.



    If you haven't read Camus, I recommend it. L' Étranger was published in 1942. Camus was a contemporary of Sartre. I guess the reason why I preferred Sartre to Camus was the idea of reflection, rather than abnegation. The revolution in thought created by the inquiries of Sigmund Freud were taking hold, at a time when the criticisms of C.G. Jung were being planted. Freud introduced us to an idea that we weren't who we thought we were. Jung introduced us to an idea that at best, who we were, or attempted to be, was a representation of the metaphor of who, or what, we were, as we attempted to represent that existence. And, consequently, who we were, and who we thought we were, were totally different beings. Camus saw this as the "stranger," or "the other," creating a duality of thought, either denying who we are and accepting who we thought of as ourselves, or as reversed, living who we thought we were, but denying who we truly were.

    It leads to a confirmation bias, when examining Sartre. Sartre wasn't, in my opinion, attempting to state that there was either a denial in our existence, but rather, a lack of comprehending the scope of our existence. That there existed a duality? Sure. Perhaps. "Being and Nothingness" (1943) posited that our apprehension of who we are and what we do may be appositional to who we "really are, and what we're really doing." But the product of Sartre wasn't the nihilism of Camus, but an ontological inquiry into what we can perceive about ourselves, compared to the beliefs we've been taught to hold. Combine Jung with Camus, and you have L' Étrange. With Sartre, you have No Exit. 

    C.G. Jung (Siggy) is later adapted by Campbell. Duality continues, and is explained into rational and non-rational. Sign posts versus symbol. Or, as I like to divide it, funny or non-funny.

    The heuristics of Campbell are often misunderstood. While Sartre attempted an heuristic of study, through a certain acceptance of the ontological method, Campbell associated more closely with Camus, and the metaphysics of Kant and Heidegger. Drawing upon the principles of the Platonic School, it was easy to talk about the beginning and ending points, without describing the process that occurs at either end of the spectrum. This isn't entirely fatuous, since discussing pure reason and the perfect rely upon much of the insigh and reason of Plato, and his teacher, Socrates.

    Induction a priori, is legitimate. What is not legitimate, is extending those templates onto what we naturally observe in the world. We simply don't compare the results of induction to deduction, when deduction is possible. At a certain point, we need to examine what is truly a priori. What exists, in advance of experience. If that a priori condition has no foundation, it is not a condition. Numbers have values, as we define them. One is one. Two is two. One plus three is four. And it is, every time. An equilateral triangle as three sides of the same length. These are a priori statements, and true in every re-statement.

    The problem comes, when we attempt to construct the perfect, equilateral triangle. It isn't possible. We can come close, very, very close, but perfect triangles are impossible to build. So, there is a thing we can know, in our perception of things that are knowable, that aren't possible in existence. Duality continues.

    The existence of the rational and the non-rational is the fifty, or one-hundred, year old monkey on our backs. We like sports because, in most cases, there are definite outcomes. We ignore politics because we never seem to gain a clear outcome. The "Tea Party" won the elections last year, but it isn't clear whether or not those individual victories will actually have the impact on the national political process we were hoping they would have. Mitt Romney, we are being told, is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. A "moderate." Someone, we are told, who represents the middle of the Party.

    We know, a priori, that we cannot continue to spend more than we take in. That the promises made from prior politicians are simply used tissue paper, not worth the time flushing down the toilet. We're also being told, that unless we ignore the fact that we cannot spend more than we take in, that we will not win in the upcoming elections, and that we need someone like Romney to gain control of the White House. This is a new type of duality.

    We know one thing (about our debt, and increasing indebtedness) and we are told that we need to ignore this need to end, limit, or reduce our debt, in order for our desire to end, limit, reduce this debt, to succeed. This is like looking into a mirror and seeing a monkey. Which is great, if you're a monkey.

    I'm not a monkey. There is not a non-rational position on debt. You cannot wish it away. You cannot tell yourself that is someone else's debt. It is your debt. You may wish to shove it off onto someone else. But this is not an act of love. It is an act of theft. Just because you may not have to pay the bill, doesn't mean you aren't charging the item to the national account. This is not a form of duality.

    It is a form of theft.

    It's time to stop lying to ourselves and to others. Not having to pay for a thing today is not a form of duality.

    Billy Joel teaches:

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    October, 1917

    Too few are being taught. Idolisation is not teaching. Statements are important, but simple assertion isn't fact. If I were young today, chances are I would be caught up in the web of what passes for education. When I was young, one of the features of my bedroom was the built-in bookshelves of the family's books. Everything, from Asimov to Wagner was in those shelves. Including an edition of Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia.

    I had a grandmother who would send me books for Christmas. Not exciting, but because of her, I had books like Bruce Catton's "The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War (1960)." I was a child of both, North and South. On one side of my grandmother's family, is an uncle who was buried on Island Number Ten. On the other, was a family who grew up in Missouri and Oklahoma, raised on Southern values of courtesy, grace and charm. Reading Catton was, for a young boy, a look at the fury of the years from 1861 to 1865. In 1965 I was lucky enough to visit the battlefield of Gettysburg. On that trip, I walked the Freedom Walk in Boston. I listened to a concert at Lincoln Center. I watched the dancers at Radio City Music Hall.

    Gettysburg was different. My father had been involved with Columbia Records. And the visit to the New York office of Columbia Records is a memory. But my dad and I had different beginning and ending points. (Someday, maybe, my son will post this part of the family 8mm film to utube. If he does, I'll provide you a link.) I really don't know why he took this trip. What drove him to New York. (I have my thoughts.) Thankfully, as a ten year-old, my consciousness didn't allow for a lot of externalities. On this trip, through North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Ontario and Quebec, Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma (where I had my first tornado) the lasting memories were divided by my time at the New York World's Fair, and my time at Gettysburg.

    Gettysburg. The final battle in the War Between the States.

    Compared to Gettysburg, every subsequent confrontation between the North and South were conditioned by Gettysburg. Sherman's "March to the Sea" would not have been possible without Gettysburg. History has a way of teaching, if you choose to read books. My books, when ten, were encyclopedias and Bruce Catton. As I grew older, again I turned to Bruce Catton and his trilogy on the Civil War. I read others, of course, and studied American History in college, with some magnificent professors. Constitutional Law. Philosophy. Several law courses on the First Amendment. Oh, Russian History, too.

    After my Freshman year, I decided that K-12 Education wouldn't be too much of a fit. Did you ever take Psych 201? I mean, fergawdsakes, what kind of duncity must one bridle before one asks, "are you sure?" Instead I took after more amenable pursuits. I didn't mind the incoherence of certain subjects. I read Sartre, Rousseau, Kant, Freud, Mann, Jung, Campbell (of course), Madison, Smith, Hume, Yeats, Hemingway and lots of other dopes. For a while I was an Honor's student. I couldn't stand being a part of the "elite."

    (h/t Ace.)

    The "elite" are populated by persons who hold intensely personal beliefs. Not generally accepted beliefs. Things like treat your neighbor decently. Keep you nose out of other people's business. No. The social restraints of minding your own business are not the hallmarks of a member of the Elite. Now, it may be posited, that I view myself as a member of a certain elite. I'm well educated, I read difficult books, I have my own business. I can do a lot of the math. I know what is a standard deviation.

    I also believe that you have as much political right to express your views as I have. No more, and no less. And, I believe that your right to express your views are as important as is my liberty to express mine. But what I'm seeing now, what we're experiencing now in our government, exceed pure political expression. Our government is now moving against us, in ways that are seemingly without limit.

    Let me borrow a few words from an alert I received through one of the trade associations I belong to;

    "New Workplace Posting Requirements"

    "The new rule, which takes effect on November 14, 2011, requires employers to post an 11-by-17-inch notice in all places where other personnel notices are typically posted. In addition, employers who customarily communicate with employees about personnel rules or policies on intranet or internet sites must also post the required notice on those sites. The rule sets forth the content of the required notice, including information about employees' rights to form, join, or assist a union; to bargain collectively; to join in other concerted activities; and to refrain from such activities. The notice must be posted in a foreign language where 20 percent or more of an employer's workforce is not proficient in English."

    In a footnote to the memorandum is this:

    "Generally, the NLRA covers most private sector employers that engage in interstate commerce above certain de minimis levels. The NLRB has set revenue-based jurisdictional limits that vary among categories of employers' industries. These limits include, for example, $100,000 for office buildings and shopping centers, $250,000 for law firms, and $1 million forcolleges, universities, and other private schools (the highest revenue limit listed in the jurisdictional standards). If no specific revenue-based jurisdictional standard is listed in the regulation, the NLRB generally applies a $50,000 threshold before asserting jurisdiction over an entity engaged in interstate commerce. In addition, there are several employer categories over which the NLRB asserts jurisdiction regardless of revenue levels, including, notably, enterprises in the District of Columbia, financial information organizations, accounting firms, professional sports, and stock brokerage firms."

    This over the posting of an 11-by-17-inch poster. And the size of the poster is important. One can't simple download the poster and post it on an 8 by 11-1/2 inch sheet of paper. That would be too easy.

    I spent too much time today, reviewing the Youtube postings of the Occupy Portland crowd. Are there anarchists? Yes. Are there Socialists? Yes. Are there Communists? Yes.

    There was a time when teaching our children meant giving them the tools to think critically for themselves. In our public schools, that time has long passed. Teachers teach to give themselves authority and paychecks. They envision themselves as part of the "elite" described above.

    Gettysburg. The last great battle of the South. When you walk the battlefield, you see the field where Pickett's Charge occurred. You see the Devil's Den. You stand in the Devil's Den. You see the impossibility of the moment.

    So, the impossibility of the moment.

    October, 1917.

    Forces from around the world flocked to partake in the moment that was the Russian Revolution. Earlier that year, Oregon had defeated Pennsylvania in the 3rd Rose Bowl. (14-0) Woodrow Wilson begins his second term. Within months, the United States decided it was in the national interest to send troops to occupy Arkangelsk. Inside Moscow, agitators of all sorts had descended. Emma Goldman. John Reed (from Portland.) The first Progressives had all the thematic and intellectual strength of that we currently perceive of the OWS movement. Everyone has an idea, and no one has any basis in any type of definable system of thought, whether ontological, metaphysical or epistemological, to make any coherent statement.

    You cannot debunk the Brownian motion of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Which was the place Moscow found itself, following the Revolution of 1917.

    We can kill the Tsar. And then, we can declare victory and begin to kill the useful idiots.

    What we cannot do, is ever return to the moment when the South declared independence from the nation. If we give up our Constitutional form of government, which seems to be the process that our President is taking us through, if the Courts decide that outcomes are more important than the words on a document, then the nation is theirs for the taking. Our nation is one of law, not of men.

    Today, the Administration is taking great strides in establishing a form of government that exceeds the boundaries of our Constitution. There are men and women, in the House, and in the Senate, who are attempting to retain for us our Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms and liberties. There are propagandists in the media who view themselves as members of an elite caste of citizen, for whom the rules of individual rights and responsibilities no longer applies. The Fourth Estate has become co-opted by the forces of entitlement and avarice. Oh, and a certain, dull stupidity. Why worry about a Fifth Column, when the Fourth Estate is willing to do the job, itself?

    The whole thing is too reminiscent of the writings of contemporary authors of the Russian Revolution. Yeah, I know that turn-of-the-century history isn't important. Because it was so long ago, and no longer relevant. But imagine, if you had a library, where you could find books of critics of the Russian Revolution, free to you, to peruse. But we're burning books. We're looking to close libraries. We're going to become a Kindle-World, where only the books offered on our Kindles will be the books we read.

    It's like burning the Library of Alexandria. (Which you've never heard of.)

    Do you know why the Communist Party of the United Socialist Soviet States of Russia was originally called the Bolshevik Party?

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Maybe There Is Hope, After All

    From President Obama's speech, October 25, 2011:

    “'The one thing that we absolutely know for sure is that if we don’t work even harder than we did in 2008, then we’re going to have a government that tells the American people, ‘you are on your own,’' Obama told a crowd of 200 donors over lunch at the W Hotel."

    I hope he's right.

    H/T Jonah Goldberg

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    We Need A President Who Can Run This Country Like A Businessman

    Not.

    We need a President who will run government like a government.

    I'm tired of having government supplant the creativity of the individual. Solyndra? Yeah, that was a good policy move.

    Oregon is all about policy. We've lost touch with the creativity of the entrepreneur, and now we rely upon centrally planned innovation. I keep waiting for the drum circles in Salem.

    I know that Ms. Bachman isn't in vogue right now, but I prefer her to Romney. I know that Huntsman is getting smothered by bad poll numbers, but I prefer Huntsman to Romney. In the top tier, I favour Cain and Perry, because they aren't talking about coming into government to create a new, corporate CEO of America. We don't need an American CEO. We need a President. Someone who manages the Executive Branch of our three branched government. I don't need the Senate to act as a supervisor of the "direction our country is headed." I don't need a House of Representatives directing the "course of our country."

    Why?

    Because we have no idea what the course of our country is, where our country is headed, or what important decisions we, as individuals, will find ourselves needing to make. Setting up a committee isn't a better answer, but it is a convenient, comfortable response. Bottom line, you and I both know that what happens in the future is a mystery, but how we're trained to deal with the unexpected may earn us an additional day on this sweet planet.

    Can I vote for Romney?

    No.

    Because, at the root level, he is no different from Obama.

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    A Thought Before the Conference

    When did the split occur? When did it become ideologically indefensible for a man to take his own life, and the lives of his family, into his own hands? When did some external arbiter obtain a greater sway over his life, and said adjuncts? What again, is the purpose of our government?

    I have, and have had, relatives from Connecticut to Missouri, a great-uncle who died on Island Number Ten. Family in Oklahoma, Kansas, Idaho, Minnesota and Oregon. None of those relatives came to this country for guaranteed access to health care, the food bank, or this new form of social justice.

    I don't think that this was the outcome that Herbert Spencer would have predicted.

    The Battle For Survival is twin-faced; one side offers reliance upon self, the other relies upon the other. This is the tranch offered by Sartre. In a neo-realist world, there is either the intended société ordinaire, or something else. What occurred, from franchists to atheists, was a stone upon which the language of a new metaphysics could be mounted. The lever is being applied now; what is held as "normal" is currently not working. The utility of our political process is being devalued, from Tea Party Patriots, to Wall Street Idiots. When you listen to the Wall Street guys, one of the inflections one should perceive, is a total denial, if not repudiation, of the status quo.

    There is a real difference between the English School and the European School. (Who advised us to avoid "foreign entanglements" exactly?)

    The confusion is our fault.

    America, and Americanism, is the result of a successful revolution against a tyrant, and, the successful advocacy of values. There hadn't been, before the United States, a single country in the world that put the liberty of the individual as the highest goal of a society's incorporation. Even post-World War Two countries, set up after our domination and control of their political structures, have slipped away from our native dynamic.

    Gaining acceptance of others has become a by-word of modern life.

    One hundred and sixty years later, modern American intellectuals have come to embrace the spoiled intellectualism of Europe. This explains most of what passes for thought in the current intellectual mileu. The French Revolution wasn't about upholding the values of the American Revolution. It was significantly different. The harbinger of liberté, égalité, fraternité was not the writing of folks like Hume, Descartes and Smith. One of the "names" Leftists call conservatives is "reactionary." The French Revolution was a reaction of the, what was then, a modern bourgeoisie. What today, perhaps, we would call Wall Street.

    I bring this up as an antidote to the question of, "who is complaining about what?"

    Aka, the OWS. Does the Occupy Wall Street movement represent the values of Hume, Descartes and Smith? I'd offer, no.

    The Left offers us a menu of lost causes. Why would we attempt to adopt that menu for America?

    As I said, short. The intertube conference is going on now.

    Town Hall Meeting on the Intertubes Tonight

    Economy and Job Creation Town Hall
    Join Rep. Kevin Cameron
    Ray Burstedt, President SEDCOR
    Jason Brandt, CEO Salem Chamber
    Diane McLaran, Executive Director, Chemeketa Center for Business and Industry
    Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 6:30pm
    Pringle Creek Community, Painters Hall
    3911 Village Center Dr. SE Salem

    You can also watch and participate from your computer.  This town hall will be live streamed via http://www.ustream.tv/channel/cameron-town-hall.   There may be a brief advertisment when you first go on the ustream channel, but then you should be fully able to engage.  This is our first time trying this technology.  Our hope is that it will alllow people to listen and participate in the Town Hall that may not be able to actually attend in person. 

    Be there. 

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Speaker Gingrich's Mistake

    Drawing down troops in Europe is not a Peace Dividend.

    Those of us old enough to remember, having two armored divisions forward based in Europe does have an impact on the world's balance of power.

    Removing the remaining brigades will not enhance our national security, nor reduce the costs of maintaining the peace. Maintaining the peace means having a reliable force or enough substance, with the logistics and transportation necessary to provide a quick response.

    Speaker Gingrich either does not understand the role our forces around the world play, or is again victim of his own intellectualism. By the way, I don't believe in Man Made Global Warming, either.

    Herman Cain's Mistake

    Should we ever negotiate with terrorists?

    My answer is, no.

    Never.

    Whether I am a member of our military services, or simply an American abroad, if I am kidnapped, held hostage, or threatened, I do not believe that our government should ever negotiate with the attempted kidnapper, hostage-taker or thug.

    Signalling that hostage negotiations are possible is an abnegation of our historical stance and policy of never negotiating with our enemies. I was reminded of Fabrizio Quattrocchi, in his final moments. "Vi faccio vedere come muore un italiano."

    Me too, bub.

    But...

    What is our current foreign policy on kidnapping, hostage-taking and/or thuggery? As an American, can you rely upon you country to track down these rhetorical miscreants? I don't think so.

    We've lost more than common sense in three years. We've lost common decency.

    Americans will never back down to threats; whatever and any type of threat. That's not what Americans do.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    What Do You Want?

    When I teach, I attempt to teach simple things.

    Give a look at the word, "want."

    I like Saul Bellow. I like "Henderson, the Rain King."

    It isn't hard to figure out why. Saul Bellow is a great writer, and "Henderson, Rain King" is a great book. At the time when I was studying the book, I had the great fortune of being in a writer's group that included a Nigerian prince. Or, Prince. A real Prince. (You know, they do exist.)

    Henderson had a sense. And this sense was not among the listed senses, of taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight. Henderson had a sense that something was missing. He kept repeating, "I want."

    What are the synonyms of want?

    This word game is important, I think, because we tend to define our feelings in terms of what we either have, or lack. Words have greater meaning than we first suppose; words are chosen in order to define and to choose perfect or imperfect; present, future or past tenses. Speech is one of those curatives; when we speak, we commit to a thought. There are innumerable times when I've found myself speaking words that made no sense. Speaking, or writing, is a good thing.

    To find oneself with an ineffable sense, what to do?

    Taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight and ineffable. WTF?

    Fortunately, Rene was there already. Thinking. "I think, therefore, I am." Is existence a sense? The little grey cells, do they observe, or impute? Let us think for a moment; what is the difference, gift, selectivity, perversity, blasphemy, heterodoxy of independent thought, or worse, outcomes that differ from other, accepted thoughts? Do we, as a race (Man) accept and defend diversity of opinion, or do we closer (more closely) adopt herd instincts? Is thought a herd instinct? Am I better off accepting the opinions of the herd, or better off discarding the views of popular opinion and instead, chart my own course?

    You and I know, that for years the idea of a Sixth Sense has purported to be something akin to an Extra Sensory Perception. That always struck me as funny, since nothing about us is able to sense anything above and beyond our primary senses. Freud thought it this, and Jung thought it that. Sartre had a name for it, Kant called it Intellect. The point is, there is something there, there, that we choose to label as something else. Conscience, guilt, self-awareness, reason, internalization, doubt, no doubt there are other words that would work as synonyms. As we push forward, we are all trying to find ourselves within a formula, or focus, of whatever word we choose, to help us find a lens for viewing the people, friends, family, lovers, those we hate, who we know and don't know. We attempt to find a way of our dealing with certainty and uncertainty. We attempt to create bias and prejudices that can protect us, just as medicine men of years past assured us of their wisdom and protection, if only we adopted them as our medicine men. The Sixth Sense is, basically, outsourced to those who claim, and to those to whom we defer, as having a certain elegance in dealing with the holes in our perception and our understanding of what is going on around us. These holes, these wants, what we lack, what we want.

    Sartre, for me, did express best the hidden sense. I don't share the nihilist impulse of a Sartre. But Sartre was fundamentally right in his expression of the Other. Just as Freud and Jung were stumbling around trying to find rational solutions to human psychology, Sartre, on the other hand, simply dismissed the errant metaphysics of a Kant, and simply created his own. To understand Sartre isn't an abdication of Western Thought. Sartre was, after all, a product of the West, just like you and me. Freud and Jung attempted to work within a framework of the senses and the intellect. How the brain functions. Sartre attempted, as I'm attempting here, to find where the Other was indicated, and how the Other works on our fundamental approaches to self-actualization. And, I will repeat again, metaphysics isn't a form of intellectual inquiry that will, or would have, gained us much of a needed perspective on human thought and action. Metaphysics apologizes for error. Epistemology explains error. Empiricism explores that which is knowable. The problem for Sartre lies in empiricism. We can, a priori, describe hypotheticals that question relationships between people, clouds, tire traction and hummingbirds to wheat. A priori knowledge is that which we can know before experiencing. A lot of what we know a priori has been discussed in the works and criticisms of Plato. This is epistemology. Empiricism is a posteriori. Sartre was involved in a discussion of that which we could observe. An empiricism that was forced by priors. Sartre's defect was, he attempted to discover relationships in advance of observations, and ended up becoming a metaphysicist. And of how understanding that simple explanation of the five senses didn't take us to an understanding of what we observe and how we act. The easy answers of Freud and Jung were generally accepted as explanations of an epistemology that didn't take into account the role intellect plays in determining what we derive as understanding. And Sartre, more importantly, attempted to define intellect as devoid of the religious. To Sartre, God was as much the Other as was Oneself. It was as alien to Sartre was his reason. (My contempt for Sartre.)

    Who are you? ("Alice in Wonderland.")

    Who are you?

    Are you the product of your parents, your teachers, your community? Are you the product of any semblance of inquiry? Are you well-read, or do you watch someone called Snookie on television? When you ask others for those things that you want, are you asking for X-Boxes, or clean sheets, or food? Are you asking for books?

    What do you want?

    Do you want to know about yourself? Do you want to know what your expectations for yourself are? Let me ask, what do you expect of yourself? Are you able to take care of yourself? And, if you don't know how to take care of yourself, what are you doing to ingratiate yourself with someone who does know how to take care of himself? Are you getting closer to someone with merit, success, competence, or are you distancing yourself from these fellows?

    Want, lack, need. What do you want? What do you lack? What do you need? You cannot simply rely upon your senses for the answer. And this is doubly true if you have a family. It's good enough to attempt to survive on your own sense of survivability. But added the weight of family, children, the Road Warrior intellect is unfavourable.

    Miss. Without. Too rare. Absent. Determined insufficient.

    What do you lack?

    Do you lack a framework for decision? Then, pick one. Will you be an empiricist, a metaphysician, or an ontologist? Knowing you can be wrong on any and all questions, what system of thought will give you the chance of greatest benefit?