Monday, July 31, 2006

M. Steve Burri, whose ancestry becomes more questionable

with each post (for example: see here and here-the latter being the reference for the following quote), has this to say,
Back in the day, down on the farm, Grandpa John, Grandpa Jerry, and I would find a hornets' nest situated high under the eaves of our two-story house or the machine shed. We would choose an attack by one of three weapons at our disposal; rocks, a water hose with spray nossle, or a Daisy BB gun. After initiating a pre-emptive strike in hopes of knocking down the nest, we would run like the dickens. We 'kicked open a hornets' nest'. We, being on the cutting edge, acted like good Liberals and ran away to hide, 'talking big' to mask our knocking knees.

But the metaphor continues. The hornets are there. If the nest isn't knocked down and destroyed it will grow and actively expand the hornet population. Normal human action in the area will increase hazardous interaction with the hornets; their lifestyles will be severely altered. Men, women, and children will be more greatly endangered, even in the simplest activities.

Taking our cues from General Douglas McArthur, we returned, doing whatever we found necessary to destroy that hornets' nest.

"Plumbline" libertarians, will object to me describing myself using their term--I would proclaim my defense in terms understandable to Presidents Jefferson and Madison and the great English stateman Edward Burke. I am, I find, a Minarchist rather than an anarchist. Though, I truly do hope to find that, as we continue to reduce the scope of government, we will never find the point at which human-beings (individuals) are incapable of handling their own affairs.

However, I fear, that nature, including Human Nature--perverted as it is by reliance on collective solutions to problems--forces us to face our collectivist enemies with congregated force.

Convincing arguments will be rewarded with at least one convert.

Holy Crap! It's 101 degrees out!

I took a walk at noon. It was hot, but not that bad. Oh, yeah, I checked before that and it was 97. [Where did I put that code? There it is!] 97°. Very logical.

What is 101° F in C? About 38°?

The wife & kids are hanging out in a tent in Deer River. Hopefully, they're actually in the river.

Oh, good. It's only 89° there according to I was afraid it would be pretty much the same all over the state.

I'm going up Friday night after work. I brought them up there yesterday and set up the tent. Rosie, who's not great at paying attention to what Laurie and I are talking about, was pretty unhappy when she found out I was going home. ('Liina didn't seem to notice.) We do all our exploring together. She'll be pretty tied to the tent with just Laurie to watch her.

I think the Rendezvous classes start on Tuesday. I hope so, for Rosie's sake, though it's too bad, it's not really feasable to run up there and set up camp after a workday and get back home in time to get some sleep before the next workday. Mapquest claims it's a four hour drive, but it only took us that long because we stopped to eat. I got home in 3¼. No, come to think of it, it was slightly less than three hours, but... It's a good thing no cops saw me.

My rule is, don't be the fastest guy on the road, but there's a lot of leeway in that rule. It certainly keeps you awake, pushin' the limits of the old pickup.

Saturday night Globe Trekker had a piece on the Deer River Rendezvous. They were filming it the day we arrived last year. I saw the camera guy and took a wide detour around him. Then I found out who they were. I'm not proud enough of my gear to go hamming it up in front of them anyway.

Temp just jumped to 102, man. Hottest I've seen it here.

Friday, July 28, 2006

A letter on Oil Profits from ARI

Oil Companies Should Not Apologize for Their Record Profits

American oil companies should be proud of the record profits they earn through honest and productive work.

Oil companies are in business to make as big a profit as they are able to--and they have an obligation to their shareholders to do exactly that. A company's right to the pursuit of profit--like an individual's right to the pursuit of happiness--is essential to America's freedom, greatness and prosperity.

Just as there can never be an "excessive" or "obscene" amount of personal happiness, there can never be an "excessive" or "obscene"amount of profits.

David Holcberg
Ayn Rand Institute
Irvine, CA
2121 Alton Parkway #250
(949) 222-6550 ext.226

Copyright (c) 2006 Ayn Rand(R) Institute. All rights reserved.

I agree. I've tried to see the "moderate" point of view on this, but I really don't. The sins of corporations, peccadillos really, are nothing compared to the sins of commission and omission of governments.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Interesting history lesson

on the Mises Blog:
Way, way back in the beginning, there was no problem with coinage whatsoever. The dollar was simply a measure of silver that happened to approximately equal the amount in the Spanish Dollars that were then in circulation in the country.

These Spanish Dollars were very nice coins. Being made out of silver, they were very hard and did not much wear out in use. Being dollar coins, they were large. Their hardness, their heft, and the distinctive sound they made when flipped onto a solid wood counter top made them difficult to counterfeit, and very useful as hand-to-hand money. But, being dollar coins, they were of limited use for making change.

These Spanish Dollars were also known as "Pieces of Eight," since — in Spanish denominations — they were worth eight reals (pronounced "ree-als"). Smaller denomination Spanish coins, including the Half Dollar (four reals) and Quarter Dollar (two reals) also circulated; as did the one bit (one real) and half bit (one-half real). The last two coins — the one bit and half bit — were rather small coins, in terms of weight, diameter and thickness, and didn't hold up very well in circulation. But, given the social necessity of making change, they circulated nevertheless.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

How many of you know Gary North?

[Aaron Clary's saying that Mountain Dew is what he has for breakfast! Hahaha!]

Recent email exchanges tell me that I need to post a bit of his writings:

We are told by the Administration that today's
estimated Federal budget deficit of $296 billion is a
triumph. The decrease is based on rising revenues, which
are narrowing the gap with rising spending.

In short, economic growth is raising revenues. But
can this economic growth be sustained? The Federal Reserve
is now tightening the money supply -- actually shrinking it
(May 24 to July 20). If you don't believe me, look at the
statistics for the adjusted monetary base, the only
monetary aggregate that the FED controls directly.

At the same time, price inflation is rising. This is
the effect of previous monetary inflation. The Median CPI,
which is the statistic that I use to monitor the price
level, rose in June by .4% over May, which in turn had
risen by .4% over April. Year to year, the figure is up by
3.2%. This figure is accelerating. It was up by 2.5%,
January to January.

The FED's present monetary policy is designed to
reduce that rate of increase. The means of reducing price
inflation is to cut monetary inflation. This policy raises
short-term interest rates. Eventually, given the weak
recovery of the economy since late 2001, this policy will
produce a recession. That will end the rise in Federal
revenues. The Federal deficit will expand -- this time
from the range of $300 billion a year.

An inverted yield curve occurs when the short rate is
higher than the long rate. This is the single most
reliable indicator of a coming recession. The yield curve
today is almost flat: a shrinking gap between 90-day T-
bills (rising) and 30-year T-bonds (falling).

The FED is making one last stand, like Custer, against
price inflation. It is guaranteeing a recession if it does
not retreat from this policy -- a policy that can save the
dollar by allowing the American economy and the world
economy to sink into recession. Nobody believes that
Bernanke will hold to this policy of stable money when the
Dow Jones Industrial Average falls by 2,000 points.

That is the home front. Now let's look at the
situation in Iraq.

If you've paid attention, you've downloaded where that's going. North is a Christian Austrian given to expicating the nexus between those philosophies.

And if you think that's weird, check out Robert Ringer's explication of the nexus between Buddhism and Austrianism.

Knappster: The World's Smallest Political Platform (invadesoda)

Knappster (er, Kn@ppster) proposes The World's Smallest Political Platform:
"The [insert name] Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose."

Sounds catchy to me!

By the way, it's not my habit to say "read the whole thing" or RTWT. But if I link to it, I mean for you to click and read, OK?

Sunday, July 23, 2006


We had a wonderful weekend at Fort Folle Avoine. Even my wife, who usually spends her time trying to keep up with her best friend in the "cooking wonderful meals on an open fire" department. Since I get to eat both their efforts, I spend considerable time trying not to interfere with their competition.

The competition for Best Voyageur at this Rendezvous was to be decided by a fantastic triple-event made up of a single shot at three targets, the first with a flint-lock rifle, the second with a bow-and-arrow, and the third throwing a tomahawk. Your time was also a factor.

My daughter saved me from displaying my sub-mediocrity at all these skills with the ages-old toddler's plaint, "I want my Mommy!"

While she also kept me from reviewing my training in the Atlatl, which I was eager to do, I feel only the slightest regret at missing out on the Best Voyageur competition. I usually leap into such things with both left feet.

Oh! The photo I regret having missed was one of my daughters marching sided-by-side over a rise with an American flag/Gadsden flag arrangement (like my own) flying over a tent behind them with a back-drop of tall, straight white pines and white cumulus clouds.

Btw, it was hotter than H today. 98F and humid. Striking the tent was no pleasure. We spent the mid-day trying to stay in the shadiest part of the nearest tree as the sun moved across the sky. OK, during that time, our discomfort was mitigated by the company of a loquacious expert on Ojibwe (Chippewa) customs - the (we discovered) sadly checkered history of the Grand Portage band in particular.


Friday, July 21, 2006

Willis Haviland Carrier

We may have grown accustomed to cool, comfortable air in our homes, cars, offices, shopping malls, public transportation and movie theaters, but the air conditioning industry continues to solve perplexing problems with comfort in much the same way Willis H. Carrier did when he introduced the first scientific air conditioning system in 1902.

Tributes here and here*. [The latter was also published in the Washington Times.]

*Excerpt: Carrier's achievement was that of a capitalist at his best. He made scientific-engineering discoveries and applied them to create equipment to manage temperature and humidity in a controlled, uniform manner. He and his company then went further, doing what only private entrepreneurs can do: They commercialized their products, making them widely available first for manufacturers, then for retail establishments and finally for our homes, cutting prices and increasing quality. Carrier's initial $35,000 investment resulted in a company with sales of $9.2 billion in 2003.

Tom Sowell says:

There is a reason why General Sherman said "war is hell" more than a century ago. But he helped end the Civil War with his devastating march through Georgia — not by cease fires or bowing to "world opinion," and there were no corrupt busybodies like the United Nations to demand replacing military force with diplomacy.

There was a time when it would have been suicidal to threaten, much less attack, a nation with much stronger military power because one of the dangers to the attacker would be the prospect of being annihilated.

"World opinion," the U.N., and "peace movements" have eliminated that deterrent. An aggressor today knows that if his aggression fails, he will still be protected from the full retaliatory power and fury of those he attacked because there will be hand-wringers demanding a cease fire, negotiations, and concessions.

That has been a formula for never-ending attacks on Israel in the Middle East. The disastrous track record of that approach extends to other times and places — but who looks at track records?

I have a hard time disagreeing with Thomas Sowell. I think he's the greatest genius of our age... He and Walter Williams. I'd like very much for Hans-Hermann Hoppe to be proven right by history, but I think the former two are better at dealing with the reality we find now.

The article is here.

BTW, I'm heading out to Rendezvous in Danbury, WI this weekend. If InvadeSoda wants to pick up the slack, I'd appreciate it. Otherwise, talk amongst yourselves. I'll be hanging out in the late 18th Century. I gotta go pack the pickup.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Thomas DiLorenzo rips Barry C. Lynn

Should Wal-Mart Be Broken Up?
It is Lynn who advocates heavy-handed, fascist-style regulation and regimentation of industry by the state, including the "break up" of Wal-Mart and other successful corporations, yet in fine Orwellian fashion he refers to these free-market success stories as resembling "the Soviet Union in 1950" with "a certain Stalinist flair." He makes such stupid remarks because of his fundamental misunderstanding that Wal-Mart — or any other private business — has no "power" at all to coerce anyone to do anything. They can only hope to succeed by persuasion; it is the state that has a legal monopoly of coercion that it every so often uses in Stalinesque ways, including many of the ways that are recommended by Lynn.

Read the whole thing.

Lynn works for these guys and wrote "Breaking the Chain: The Antitrust Case Against Wal-Mart" for Harper's Magazine as well as the book End of the Line: The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation.

He's incited lots o' commentary.

Q. What is the Social Security trust fund? (invadesoda)

This post originally appeared on Propaganda Machine on December 20, 2004. I hope Al doesn't mind me rerunning this here. Rep. Matsui passed away after this was first posted.

Q. What is the Social Security Trust Fund?

These are special bonds held by Social Security, which must ultimately be redeemed from the General Fund. Critics of Social Security privatization like to talk about how safe these bonds are, but deceitfully avoid talking about the fact that these bonds must eventually be redeemed with money from the General Fund.

Rep. Robert Matsui (D.-Calif.) has circulated a memo stating that the $1 trillion held in Social Security Trust Fund bonds “will continue to grow in value to $6.5 trillion (in current dollars) by 2024.” He then asks "If [these government bonds] are not real, then are the bonds held by private investors, banks, pension funds and insurance companies not real as well?"

The fact is that Matsui is making my point by admitting that the bonds in the Social Security Trust Fund will certainly have to be repaid. Isn't it fun to watch privatization opponents argue against themselves?

OK, let's break down the Matsui red herring. I know that Jack owes me $100 at some point in the future. Jack knows the money he owes is about to become due, but he is temporarily out of work. Jill has decided to let Jack borrow the $100 so that he can pay me. For Jack, this $100 is a liability, for Jill it is an asset. Either way, the Jack and Jill family owes me $100. Either way, one of them must earn, cut spending, or borrow outside the family, to the tune of $100, in order to pay me. It's the same way with Social Security on a larger scale. For the General Fund, it is a liability because it is owed to Social Security. For Social Security, it is an asset for the same reason. If you think of Jack and Jill as being on the same team, as the U.S. government is supposed to be, you can see that the total net asset and liability amounts to zero. No new asset was created for the federal government by creating the Social Security Trust Fund, it only represents government lending money to itself. Whether retirement benefits are paid out of the General Fund (Jack) or the Social Security itself (Jill), the options are the same: raise taxes, cut spending, or borrow.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Terrorists in our borders (invadesoda)

In the U.S. we know Hezbollah as an international terrorist group. But there are two sides to this coin. To much of the world, Hezbollah is also known for its hospitals, schools, and reconstruction projects. It also has a powerful political lobby in Iran, Syria, and to a lesser extent, Lebanon, which it uses to lobby for the destruction of Israel.

I can't help thinking how striking the resemblance is to AARP in the United States. Instead of operating hospitals, they offer low-cost medical insurance, and lobby for expansion of socialized medicine programs such as Medicare. Instead of operating schools, they educate the public of refi scams and predatory scams aimed at seniors. And instead of firing missiles into Israel, they use their political lobby to commit violence of a different sort. They fire missiles toward their own grandchildren by lobbying against Social Security reforms that would make it less likely that future generations would retire in poverty.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Steven Cox has a convincing take on Christianity and Individualism

in his article, The Individualist Code (and read the comments on the blog):
Jesus' disciple Paul is one of the greatest examples of New Testament individualism. No sociologist or political scientist could have predicted that a leading persecutor of Christianity would become its leading proponent — but that is what happened to Paul. In his letters, he constantly emphasizes the idea that God calls individuals for the work that is special to them. His letters to the Christian churches are never the memos of a bureaucrat, insisting that everyone should conform to the policy and procedures manual. They are the advice of an individual speaking to fellow-members of a voluntary community, fully acknowledging their individuality and addressing both their virtues and their vices in an inexhaustibly individual way (1 Corinthians 9:20-22).

Paul's model for church organization wasn't the one that anyone would expect to have "emerged" from his "social context." It wasn't the vast and intricate Roman bureaucracy, which dominated the political world of his time. No, it was the cooperative relationships that exist among the various parts of the human body (1 Corinthians 12). According to Paul, individuals have different roles and different challenges, and the principles of their association are those of a libertarian society: division of labor, voluntary exchange of values, spontaneous but intelligent order.

We may recall that on one occasion, and one occasion only, Jesus advised a wealthy would-be follower to give up all his possessions (Mark 10:17-22). That was a challenge for that particular individual. So far as we know, it was never posed to anyone else.

The drama of individual decisions is important throughout the New Testament. Christianity is presented, not as a set of social customs or a subject of legislation, but as a question for individuals to decide: Do you believe, or not? When Jesus' disciples ask him whether they should call fire down from heaven to punish a group of unbelievers, he reproves them sharply (Luke 9:52-56). When Paul encounters similar opposition, he says, in effect, "All right; I'll go preach somewhere else," and he proceeds to do so (Acts 19:8-10). Conversion, the central event in a Christian's life, is always an individual phenomenon.

I'm not suggesting that the New Testament is a handbook of capitalist economics, or a guide to libertarian politics. Jesus said — contrary to the assumptions of all those religious people who have tried to use the government to put themselves in power — "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). Jesus was concerned with individual souls, not individual bank accounts.

Neither does the New Testament endorse the kind of modern "individualism" which assures us that people are just fine, no matter what they do, so long as they succeed in being "true to themselves." The great religions always challenge people to be better than they are. That challenge is essential to New Testament teaching. Yet the emphasis remains on individual choice, individual effort, individual freedom.

This is the not-so-hidden code of the New Testament. It's the code that Isabel Paterson, the great twentieth-century libertarian, had in mind when she said that modern ideas of freedom are dependent on "the axiom of liberty" embedded in Christian teaching. Paterson was not a Christian, but she had read the New Testament. She had decoded its meaning. Try it yourself.

Even Ayn Rand had to acknowledge her friend's (Paterson's) argument to that effect. Rand, of course, wasn't given to according any respect to any sort of "mysticism," including any established religion.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Speaking of "Giving up the Ghost"

My beloved friend John Rogers posted this graph and then, apparently, "died the death":
Free Image Hosting at
Now, I tend to buy this argument.

Tax cuts for the rich, you say?

All tax cuts are for the rich! The poor don't pay any!

Oh! Yeah, FICA and Medicare... Excuse me for being a workin' stiff in the middle-middle class who has a problem distinguishing which bucket the pile of crap hitting him is being scooped from.

Oh! And John? I believe you might be qualified to join InvadeSoda and me here as an Old Whig. If you only wanted to publish a couple a month or so. I mean, otherwise, you might as well get back to work on your own blog.

Just give me your take on the 9th and 10th Amendments.

Bork called them an "inkblot". He meant a Rorschach test. He was right.

I said this just now in a comment to Invadesoda's second post here

but it wouldn't be proper to neglect to welcome him here formally in a post.

Welcome, Invadesoda!

To my regular readers, I have to claim ignorance as to the meaning of the moniker. I think I read the explanation once, but either it was so commonsensical or so incomprehensible that my mind filed it somewhere unrecallable.

I'm afraid you'll have to ask him.

I've directed web-surfers to his site before, but I have an aversion to being too much like InstaPundit, so I haven't done it enough. [You gotta see his last post over there, though. It's kind of f... (excuse me) hilarious... Well, go there. You'll see what I mean.]

If Invadesoda (yes, I have his real name around here somewhere, but that's another thing you'll have to get out of him) overpowers me here, so be it. I invited a guy in who deserves the Old Whig title, if (and when) I can't carry it.

So join me in welcoming Brother InvadeSoda to Old Whig's Brain Dump!

I propose a toast: To Jefferson!

Should I care about crunchy conservatism? (invadesoda)

Al gave his take on crunchy conservatism and I have a few thoughts on it as well.

Rod Dreher has been using the term crunchy conservatism in National Review at least since 2002; however, no one seemed to care until recently, with the release of the book Crunchy Cons. I have been trying to get a handle on what it is. Fortunately he and others have put enough articles on the net about the subject that buying the book doesn't seem necessary. His journey into crunchy conservatism begins something like this:
Talking with a conservative friend the other day, I mentioned that my wife and I were having a friend over to dinner, and were going to serve him all kinds of delicious vegetables from the organic food co-op to which we belong. "Ewgh, That sounds so lefty," she said. And she's right. We're probably the only Republicans who subscribe to this service, which delivers fresh vegetables once weekly to our neighborhood from farms out on Long Island. . . . . We'd go to farmers' markets in the city to buy produce, and before we knew it, we were making and canning our own apple butter...Julie and I are probably the crunchiest — as in granola — conservatives we know (hey, my bride even makes her own granola). In some respects, the life we live and the values we share have more in common with left-wing counterculturalists than with many garden-variety conservatives.

This condescension toward so-called garden-variety conservatives is one of Dreher's recurring themes. They also make their own granola and apple butter. My wife makes her own salsa, too, but I don't see it having the slightest connection to her political ideology. I can also assure Lehrer that the conservatives I know love fresh produce when they can get it. But I live in the South, so maybe it's a Northeast thing. Dreher continues:
The music we like — jazz, hard country, bluegrass, Cuban son — is something you can only hear on, umm, public radio or see on public television. When we began talking about buying a house, we realized we wanted something old and funky, in the sort of neighborhood that your average Republican would disdain.

It wouldn't surprise me if the old houses are probably sitting on more land than is customary nowadays and therefore actually cost more. Between this and actually having produce delivered to their home, I am getting the impression that crunchy conservatism requires a certain income. So I'm surprised he doesn't just buy an iPod.

Peter Kreeft is a Catholic philosopher I have enjoyed reading. Some of his writing reminds me of C.S. Lewis's non-fiction. He too turns out to be a crunchy conservative:
What shocked me was Newton's comment: "That's my new apartment, there. Isn't it great?"

I looked at the abomination of desolation he pointed to, and gasped, "You're kidding." "It's absolutely perfect," he argued. "It's got everything: location, roominess, parking, workout room, low condo fees. And it's a real community. Look." He directed my sight to the variety of people walking through the commodious walkways: businessmen, teenagers, a family with a baby carriage. "What don't you like about it? It's designed for people."

"People, that's good," I said. "But designed, that's bad. It's artificial. It's not a real neighborhood. It's the Liberal concept of a neighborhood. I can see how Dwight would like this place, but not you."

"Well," Newton said, irritably, "It's not something we should be arguing about. It's not important. Let's get back to politics, if we want an argument."

So far I'm pulling for Newton. Peter should mind his own business.

As I read this, I asked myself, to paraphrase the febrile Peggy Lee, "Is that all there is to crunchy conservatism? Where you live, what kind of music you like, and the right to make your own apple butter?"

Dreher comes close to denying they have a political program:
Though they share with many liberals a critical interest in aesthetics and the environment, a key difference between crunchy cons and the Left is the emphasis placed on these issues. Leftists tend to absolutize their tastes and convictions, look upon people who don't share them as morally deficient, and seek to impose them on an unwilling community. Crunchy cons, on the other hand, are more inclined to think simply that they've found a neat way to live, and want only to propose it to others.
In a future post, I'll attempt to evaluate this claim.

Introducing me (invadesoda)

Hello, I'm invadesoda, which some of you may know from the legally dead blog, Propaganda Machine. Al has been kind enough to invite me to dump a few brain cells of my own here. I will try to post about once a month; between Work, Family, and House, I don't time to post more often than that, which is why I quit my own blog. So keep an eye on that byline at the bottom of post!

If you weren't familiar with my blog when it was alive, I wrote a few items about social security reform and eminent domain, plus a bunch of other random junk.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The only trouble is, there's two kinds of people who might take it too seriously.

Oldsmoblogger is recruiting bloggers for a movement to restore the Hapsburgs and the old Austro-Hungarian Empire (in Spain, too, Ken?). What would you call them? Neo-Huns?

You just have to make sure that you don't get your movement taken over by neo-Nazis.

The other group that would take you too seriously are the conspiracy nuts who already think the world is run by those people now.

Ken's got a very cool graphic for his emblem, which I seem to be having trouble getting ImageShack to show you, so I'll just link his Host's page for it. Of course, it's right there in his post. And on his sidebar.

Ken's also got a couple good self-defense rights posts up front that are worth your time. And he led me to a George Will piece about the contradiction inherent in Campaign Finance Reform:
Proof that incumbent politicians are highly susceptible to corruption is the fact that the government they control is shot through with it. Yet, that government should be regarded as a disinterested arbiter, untainted by politics and therefore qualified to regulate the content, quantity and timing of speech in campaigns that determine who controls the government. In the language of McCain's Imus appearance, the government is very much not "clean," but is so clean it can be trusted to regulate speech about itself.

The Imus reference?
On April 28, on Don Imus' radio program, discussing the charge that the McCain-Feingold law abridges freedom of speech by regulating the quantity, content and timing of political speech, John McCain did not really reject the charge:

"I work in Washington and I know that money corrupts. And I and a lot of other people were trying to stop that corruption. Obviously, from what we've been seeing lately, we didn't complete the job. But I would rather have a clean government than one where, quote, First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt."

Once again, I direct you to Ken's site.

This saying of Confucius needs a couple WODs,

"The true gentleman is conciliatory but not accommodating. The common man is accommodating but not conciliatory."

v. con·cil·i·at·ed, con·cil·i·at·ing, con·cil·i·ates
1. To overcome the distrust or animosity of; appease.
2. To regain or try to regain (friendship or goodwill) by pleasant behavior.
3. To make or attempt to make compatible; reconcile.
To gain or try to gain someone's friendship or goodwill.

ac·com·mo·dat·ing adj. Helpful and obliging.

That seems wrong. I wonder if this will help:

v. ac·com·mo·dat·ed, ac·com·mo·dat·ing, ac·com·mo·dates
1. To do a favor or service for; oblige.
2. To provide for; supply with.
3. To hold comfortably without crowding.
4. To make suitable; adapt.
5. To allow for; consider: an economic proposal that accommodates the interests of senior citizens.
6. To settle; reconcile.
1. To adapt oneself; become adjusted: It is never easy to accommodate to social change.
2. Physiology To become adjusted, as the eye to focusing on objects at a distance.

Drat! I guess I'll just have to contemplate this further.

And, so I don't forget, this lady's tagged me with a meme (OK, she's tagging everybody, not just me) I need to write about.

Friday, July 07, 2006

More Brilliance from the Auburn Austrians

Taking a section from the middle of "Look! Up in the Sky! It's An Inflation-Fighting Fed!", by Cyd Malone:
Not that the good people of the Federal Reserve like inflation. Their stated mission is to "maintain stable prices", stable being defined by Webster's as "not changing or fluctuating."[14] But why would anyone want to create an economic world where prices stay stable? As Benjamin Anderson wrote, "prices have a job to do." Prices are like the road signs we follow when driving in unfamiliar territory. They tell us where to go in terms of production. They come about naturally, they are what they are, and no grandstanding, moralizing, or wailing will change them. Experience has shown us, repeatedly, that to set a price by decree will do no more than cause a scarcity or glut.

Arbitrarily decreeing a price for money and credit is as foolish and destructive as decreeing the price of any product. Playing with prices, especially on such a massive scale as the central planning of short term interest rates entails, is tantamount to tampering with the safety valve on a boiler. Prices and safety valves are there for a reason — we disrespect them at our peril.

Even measuring a "price level" to keep "stable" has proven an impossible task. The inputs are far too numerous to track, and you must subtract all market goods which have joined the dodo bird, then add those which have blossomed anew, while making sure that you properly weight the basket to take into account every human being's ever changing valuations, and then and only then can you go to the econometrician's ball.

That hasn't prevented armies of statisticians from trying, God bless their hearts, but no human being has yet been able to climb that statistical Everest. And due to the endless, ever changing variables, accurately measuring a general level of prices using mathematics is about as likely to come about as measuring how insane a man is by mathematically tracking his various body movements. We are not that smart.[15]

I freely admit I got this belief from a man of far greater reputation than I, John Maynard Keynes. In his opus General Theory he writes of "the well known, but unavoidable, element of vagueness which admittedly attends the concept of the general price level"[16] and therefore any attempt to compare price levels from one period to the next is "unsuitable for differential calculus."[17]

Furthermore, if we would like a stable price level, why then do we cheer and clap over rising productivity numbers? More goods produced by the same amount of input causes a fall in prices. In addition, it frees up capital and labor to produce other useful, heretofore unavailable things for the consumer.[18] It makes your dollar buy more stuff. So everyone is right to cheer for rising productivity. Yet at the same time the same people who are cheering rising productivity are explicitly calling for a monetary policy to "maintain a stable price level" — a policy that, should it succeed to perfection, would destroy the very gains that rising productivity gives to the working masses.

Why on earth would we want to deliberately squander a rising standard of living? No man refuses a raise at his job, yet we cheer on the very men who are deliberately stripping from us the benefits of productivity, God's pay-raise for us mortals. Why do we do this?

The great historian Robert Conquest once wrote, "Reliance on reason alone is irrational. It neglects the instinctual or deep-set elements of the real human being".

So there you have it. We do it because, deep down in our genetics, we're all crazy as loons.

Oh! And:
We should not want a stable price level, but a stable currency.[21] Prices will take care of themselves. The cry that a currency needs to be "elastic" in order to stimulate aggregate demand is based on the fallacy of "overproduction," this theory being commonly ascribed to Karl Marx. Like most of Marxist dogma, Karl Marx never agreed with the theory, writing in his Theory of Surplus Value "the excess of commodities is always relative, that is, it is an excess at certain prices."[22] Allowing prices to freely adjust is what clears the market, not counterfeiting dollars.

Or credit.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Here's something like what I did a while back

on the other blog. As I said there, "Throw those "r"s back into your uvula and try to roll them there. If you can't, don't worry about it, most Germans can't either. I was taught to do it by a Danish girl named Merete." There're no o-umlauts here, so I don't need to throw in the valley-girl point.

Again: my pronunciations are based on the simplest, standard (Midwestern-) American English rules.]

I want to know if this sort of thing helps anybody learn and/or understand German better than they did before.

Johannes 3:16
yo-HON-ess dry:ZEKS-ayn
John 3:16

Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt,
ALL-zo hot Gote (not goat, make the 'o' real short) dee velt ge-LEEPT
[Prepositions are goofy. Try asking a Brit what time it is.]
For so has God the World loved,

dass er seinen eingeborenen Sohn gab,
doss air ZINE-en INE-ge-BORE-en-en zone gop,
that he his only-born son gave,

auf dass alle, die an ihn glauben,
owf doss ALL-a, dee on een GLOW-ben,
so [on] that all, that on him believe,

nicht verloren werden,
neesht fare-LOR-en VARE-den,
not lost become,

sondern das ewige Leben haben.
zone-dern (swallow the 'r' on this one--it's there, but barely) doss AY-vig-uh LAY-ben HOB-en.
but the eternal life have.

They capitalize all nouns in German, not just proper names, as we do. It's a terrible vice: it's what makes all those ungodly long sentences possible.

By the way, I made that into a song that I repeat over and over on my runs. I think it's kind of pretty. Maybe I'll do an audio-blog of it for you when I'm in good voice.

And, for anyone who's wondering, the poem I mentioned is on Bourgeois Philistines.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Here I am!

Had a good Fourth weekend with the in-laws. One bad spot: we hit a rock in the boat and broke the propeller. That rock is supposed to be marked, but we had a nasty, nasty thunderstorm the night before that may have blown it away (if it was there at that time). That'll cost about $300.

I ran a 10K in 58:24, continuing a trend of biting off more than I can chew.

Oh, well, somebody's gotta come in last. I actually beat two people younger than me, one of whom, a woman, looked to be in good shape.

But, Hey! Since I have to cut this short, Thomas Sowell has an interesting article out about the failings of Teddy Roosevelt:
The anti-trust laws which Theodore Roosevelt so fiercely applied did not protect consumers from high prices. They protected high-cost producers from being driven out of business by lower cost producers. That has largely remained true in the many years since TR was president.

The long list of low-price businesses targeted by anti-trust laws range from Sears department stores and the A&P grocery chain in the 20th century to Microsoft today, prosecuted not for raising the price of Windows but for including new features without raising prices. Much of the rhetoric of anti-trust remains the opposite of the reality.

Jim Powell's soon to be published book, "Bully Boy," goes in detail into the specifics of President Theodore Roosevelt's many crusades and their often disastrous consequences. But who cares about consequences these days?

TR was a "progressive" and denounced "malefactors of great wealth." What more could the intelligentsia and the media want?

One more thing to remember: here's Ben Franklin's Way to Wealth.