Wed, 30 Apr 2008


Having watched people poop on the streets in Mumbai, wanting to help stop that, and not knowing what to do, I was pleased to come across the PoopReport's project to help people in India. Specifically, schoolgirls in Uttar Pradesh. They can build a composting toilet for $250, which is a fair sum, but less than the computer you're using to read this posting. Granted, it's not Mumbai, but the problem is still the same.

Posted [14:51] [Filed in: ] [permalink] [Google for the title] economics,india,poop,toilets [digg this]

Mercantilism is not the key to job growth

Our new governor says that state government needs to do more to lower cost of doing business in New York:

To create a more conducive climate for business, the governor said New York must make doing business in the state cheaper by investing in infrastructure and reducing high energy and health care costs.

How the heck is he going to do that? By pressing the "lower energy costs" and "lower health care costs" buttons? He's a Democrat, and Democrats are historically unwilling to do what is actually needed to lower these costs: nothing. Government needs to get out of the way of creative resourceful people with ideas. Government has a positive role to play while getting out of the way: by ensuring that all relations between people are peaceful. But that's government's only role.

He goes on to say:

For his part, Gov. Paterson reiterated his commitment to belt-tightening and fiscal prudence. "Our economy is still reeling," the governor said. "When this storm hits, we can't simply do what Albany usually does: turn around and tax the first business or the first resident we see. Rather, we have to cut wasteful spending."

No, David, you need to cut all spending, not just the wasteful spending. You need to do less for us, you need to do less to us. You need to do less, period. Shut down department after department, and send the people home to get productive jobs. Most of what New York State does is either irrelevant or actively harmful.

Posted [14:37] [Filed in: ] [permalink] [Google for the title] economics,mercantilism [digg this]

Tue, 29 Apr 2008

Understanding the Stimulus 2

Earlier I spoke about the "stimulus" when it was still merely under discussion. Today comes a LA Times article saying that most recent public opinion polls found that, on the eve of distribution of the stimulus checks, most Americans plan to save the stimulus rather than spend it. Of course, the stimulus serves NO PURPOSE WHATSOEVER if people save it.

Posted [22:50] [Filed in: ] [permalink] [Google for the title] economics,finance,austrianeconomics,stimulus,interest [digg this]

Wed, 23 Apr 2008

Immigrants are just like us

Everybody willing to give up home, family, community, home, hearth, and (within two generations) language to come here has the same nature as everyone else already here, and is thus already an American. We should not stand in the way of anyone who wants to set up a new life in America.


Posted [11:56] [Filed in: ] [permalink] [Google for the title] economics,immigration [digg this]

Wed, 16 Apr 2008

Freedom to disagree

The comedian John Oliver was quoted as saying, about an inflatable floating barbacue grill, which lets you cook while soaking in your pool:

"Is there any greater example of what it is to live in the freest nation on Earth than that?", he marvels with no small dose of irony

Sure, it's funny, just the idea of cooking in a pool. But why would it be ironic that freedom would produce strange outliers? In a free society, most people would be most like most other people. But out on the ends of the bell curve you've got some strange people doing strange things, and selling strange stuff. The face that you can find this strangeness is good evidence that America really is the freest nation on Earth.

Posted [12:10] [Filed in: ] [permalink] [Google for the title] freedom,economics [digg this]

Fri, 04 Apr 2008

Stop Sunspots!

Look at this chart:

We need to stop sunspots! Rather than worrying about silly CO2 emissions, we need to stop the sun from varying the number of sunspots! Or ... maybe .... more sensibly ... we should understand that the climate changes. Rather than engage in futile efforts to maintain today's climate in perpetuity, we should be prepared to adapt to changes in the climate? Maybe? Ya think?

Posted [11:44] [Filed in: ] [permalink] [Google for the title] globalwarming,climatechange,economics [digg this]

Thu, 03 Apr 2008

Why only the DHS and not the rest of us?

It's good that government operatives in the Department of Homeland inSecurity realize that anti-future laws are harmful and are going to "bypass" them. Good idea! How about they allow us to "set aside" these laws, too? After all, building a wall to keep ot workers is going to have negative effects on businesses (already is). They should grant businesses a boon by "waiving" these laws just as they are doing.

Frigging morons. Help! My country has been invaded by a government, and they won't go away!

Posted [22:58] [Filed in: ] [permalink] [Google for the title] economics,DHS,homelandsecurity [digg this]

Wed, 02 Apr 2008

Because of ....

Ever heard anybody say that something must be done "because of the terrorist threat"? The purpose of saying this is to stop discussion. Maybe there are alternative actions? Maybe it would be better to do nothing? But no, some people try to keep you from talking about these alternatives. Isn't that horrible?

Ever heard anybody say that something must be done "because of the global warming"? The purpose of saying this is to stop discussion. Maybe there are alternative actions? Maybe it would be better to do nothing? But no, some people try to keep you from talking about these alternatives. Isn't that horrible?

Both parties resort to the nuclear bomb of politics. If you are a good member of their camp, you'll SIT DOWN, SHUT UP, and do what your leaders demand.

Posted [22:49] [Filed in: ] [permalink] [Google for the title] economics [digg this]

Tue, 01 Apr 2008

Give Privacy to Get Privacy

Aleecia M. McDonald, an attendee at David Isenberg's Freedom to Connect, pointed out in the chat room that if we ask politicans to give up privacy (e.g. through financial disclosures, or invasion of private relationships), then we will have only politicians who put no value on privacy. The laws they enact will no doubt reflect their values, and will no doubt have no respect for privacy. Very insightful observation.

Posted [17:03] [Filed in: ] [permalink] [Google for the title] privacy,politicians [digg this]

Is our country run by morons?

Both the new passport requirement for crossing the U.S. / Canada border, and the requirement for standard driver's licenses makes me wonder if our country is being run by morons. And if it is, what do we do about it?

The passport requirement is completely insane for two reasons. First, because you can cross the Canadian border on lakes, rivers, and woods. Neither the fish, the birds, nor the worms care if you show them your passport. Second is an implication stemming from the first. Because there are so many ways to cross, the border isn't so much as a line as it is a zone extending into the US by some distance. So if one must have a passport to cross the line, one must also have a passport at all times within the zone. Thus, internal document checks. I was raised on WWII movies where the Nazi SS barked "Papers Please!"

The driver's license as identification is also similarly insane. Once you have an id card which everyone must have to enter federal buildings (arguably unconstitutional; how do you petition your representatives if you cannot enter the building housing their offices?) then everyone will expect everyone to have that id card, and it will become a defacto national id card. The problem with that is that once you've forged a card, or gotten a valid card matching your biometrics but belonging to someone else, you've gotten the keys to the kingdom. You can go everywhere and do everything with that fake id.

We're more secure with the current mix of identification which people don't trust overmuch.

Posted [16:43] [Filed in: ] [permalink] [Google for the title] economics,security [digg this]