Friday, November 30, 2007

Carl Milsted says Ron Paul's in his Upper Left Quadrant

And that's a hell of a good place for him to be.
What we are seeing is bigger than any particular campaign. What we are seeing is the political awakening of the "Upper Left." Think of the Left-Right spectrum as going from egalitarian to aristocratic; this puts Democrats to the Left and Republicans to the Right, as expected. Now, add a second dimension: freedom. Democratic Party represents the Lower Left – bigger government with the promise of more equality. The Republican Party has factions both in the Upper Right (Reagan, Forbes) and the Lower Right (the Bushes).

You'll have to go to The Free Liberal to see his chart.
A new political party which occupies the Upper Left has the potential to become as big or bigger than the existing major parties.

But there is no such party. But we do have Ron Paul. For the first time in ages, the Upper Left has an outlet other than apathy, bitterness or conspiracy theories.

Then he explains just how Paul fits in there.

Whiskey and Car Keys for Wall Street

Lew Rockwell makes hay with a couple good analogies. First:
[The vice chairman of the Federal Reserve] said the Fed would follow "flexible and pragmatic policy making" and "act as needed."

Whoo hoo! You see, to markets that are worried about the future, this was interpreted as a pledge to lower interest rates and flood the economy with more credit.

Let's ask ourselves: why would this make anyone optimistic? Let's say that you are playing the game Monopoly and one player proposes to double the money stock for everyone. The problem would be obvious to everyone. If the prices on the board could change, they would double. Since they can't, the game will only last twice as long as before. Meanwhile, players would become more reckless with their investments in houses and hotels. It wouldn't really make the players more wealthy; it would only create an illusion that would be temporary.

The analogy isn't exact, but the point should be clear. Paper money is not the same thing as wealth. Wealth comes from trade, investment, and capital accumulation. Money is merely a tool that facilitates the creation of wealth; it is not identical to it.

So what good does the new money do? From the perspective of Wall Street, it forestalls a recession. But what if a recession is needed? That is to say, what if a business downturn is what the economic fundamentals call for? In that case, new money injections do positive harm by preventing a correction and only add to the eventual problems that we all must face. It is no favor to the drug addict to keep him high until he is a corpse, and it is not good economic management to keep an economy drugged up until it hits the wall.
So why is Wall Street cheering? Is the investor class merely looking for another credit subsidy? The sad truth is yes, that is precisely what the financial markets want. This should not surprise us. A profligate and drunken son might be ruining his life, but the last thing he desires is to be denied access to his parents' credit cards.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Some simple questions I feel like answering

from Mark:

1. Spaghetti - White or Red sauce? I'm for red, generally, but I like a good white.

2. Salad - Plain, or which dressing do you prefer? I'm naturally a gourmand: give me something different but good. Of the standard choices, I'll take ranch, but I'm looking for something to put my Sancha Inch oil, from Dr. Al Sears, on. (He says you can drink it right out of the bottle, and I want to tell you that he's right.)

3. Eggs - How do you like them? Fried over-easy is my first choice, boiled second, raw in a shake third.

4. Toast, English muffin, etc - light, dark or burnt?? Medium - between light and dark.

5. How do you drink your coffee, espresso or tea? Black and strong. I like espresso. But sometimes I've had enough coffee and I'll have tea, Earl Gray and Green with Lemon Grass are my favorites. I don't adulterate any of those with cream, sugar or lemon.

6. How do you take your steak? Well, Med, still moving, etc etc? Medium rare. I like it to look cooked and be hot all the way through. But blood doesn't bother me.

7. Soda - Regular, Diet, sugar free, blah blah blah etc etc?? My wife buys sugar free and I drink it, but I don't buy it myself. I buy juice and tea, left to my own devices.

8. Muffin - Tops or Bottoms? I eat the whole thing.

9. How do you drink your water? Ice, no ice, lemon, lime, straw, etc etc? Straight out of the filtered tap.

10. Salsa - Mild, Medium, hot or Brain burn? Depends on the food I'm putting it on. I like them all, but I won't wipe out the taste of a delicious veggie or meat dish with a too-hot sauce. But I'm always willing to experiment.

Packers v. Patriots! That's my dream!

I don't know what my beloved Brett Favre would have to pull out of his wazoo to get there (and then win), but I've let out the breath I was holding while waiting for them to have a decent season. I'm breathing easy now.

It's good that we're facing Dallas now and not five weeks ago. The Packers are better now than they were then, and they're already in the playoffs. Will they step up to the plate, or will they lay off this weekend?

You know what? I'm only talkin' about this to draw the attention of a certain Pats fan, who's updated his site, who needs to come over here on a mission from God to straighten my ass out.

Huh. That seemed funnier before I typed it up.

I'll leave it there, because I've always been interested in where things go when people misunderstand me. Usually life takes an interesting turn...and this one looks promising.

Mark, when I strike it rich, I'll donate the second huge wad I get (after the one I give to my own church) to yours for some more stone work. The stone is lovely. The siding looks Amish.

The grounds and the interior are as beautiful as any I ever seen, though. They make you understand how such things would make one want to praise God. or at least thank Him for giving you life in His creation.

Still looking for the pics of your knockout wife.

I told you I need help.

Preliminary! Preliminary! A list of abhorrent presidential acts.

I need to do more research.

Here’s a good resource, but I'd almost be tempted to call it a Whitehouse Whitewash:

1. Washington – violent suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion.
2. Adams – Alien and Sedition Acts (although, I abhor the latter more than the former.)
3. Jefferson – Embargo Act of 1807
4. Madison – Nothing really bad on the Whitehouse site.
5. Monroe – Ditto.
6. Adams, J.Q. – proposed a lot of unconstitutional things
7. Jackson – removal of Indians from the eastern states.
8. Van Buren – Huh! I like the guy!
9. Harrison, Wm – Gave an excessively long inaugural speech, but then he died from it.
10. Tyler – I know he did something I don’t like, but it’s not on the Whitehouse site. Supported the Confederacy after his presidency, but for reasons I respect.
11. Polk – Mexican War. Although makes it look reasonable.
12. Taylor – Pushed for holding the Union together by force.
13. Fillmore – He did quite a bit, actually, but signing Fugitive Slave Act is what I most dislike.
14. Pierce – signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act repealing the Missouri Compromise.
15. Buchanan – And they called Grant “Useless.”
16. Lincoln – “You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it." No, sir. The oath says, "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My daughter asked me to help her research DDT tonight

for a homework assignment in persuasion - she's taking a "pro-DDT" position. Apparently she was working exclusively off the information from one website. I'm pretty pro-DDT myself, but I gave her a bit of a lecture about trusting the information from one guy. (Though he sounds pretty reasonable - the couple sources I checked check out, but he makes some claims I couldn't verify - one is that bird eggshell thinning and other problems are caused by PCBs, not DDT.)

I showed her what the WHO has to say. I had to download two PDFs for that...small ones ("WHO Position on DDT" and "Frequently asked questions on DDT use for disease vector control." Then we checked out Dean Esmay's discussion.

And NPR.

I've mentioned that the whole "there are two sides to every story" storyline that most news outlets bugs me. I found it a bit annoying that NPR thought it appropriate to oppose the head of the WHO's antimalaria campaign with a guy who'd say,
"This is a chemical that has been studied and evaluated...and over the years has been found to cause cancer, endocrine disruption, adversely affect the immune system and is very problematic from the standpoint that it is persistent." DDT collects "in fatty tissue and in the environment," he adds, and can also be passed on in breast milk.

Such does not appear to be the case. It does build up in fatty tissue and is indeed passed on in breast milk, but whether or not it's a cancer risk to humans is still in question (read that third link - they were "anti" and they came up with nothing, to my mind).

After how many decades of study? [Update: Here's one answer to that question.]

It's a non-issue. The only real issue left is the environmental impact, and I need to dig deeper to see about that. I'm not going to take just anybody's word on it. I have to say, though, that after all this study, that Esmay's and his guest's defense of Rachel Carson (for some reason, I'm not able... Wait, here it... no... Yes! Vic Stein is the guest's name!) at least goes along with what looks to be the "scientific consensus" on DDT. That is that agricultural [or willy-nilly] applications are not the proper use of it.

We've had Silent Spring in the house. I'll see if I can verify that that's what Carson was saying.

I don't want to come off as a Moderate.

[Update(s): From Wikipedia:
Many critics repeatedly asserted that she was calling for the elimination of all pesticides despite the fact that Carson had made it clear she was not advocating the banning or complete withdrawal of helpful pesticides, but was instead encouraging responsible and carefully managed use with an awareness of the chemicals' impact on the entire ecosystem.[50] In fact, she concludes her section on DDT in Silent Spring not by urging a total ban, but with advice for spraying as little as possible to limit the development of resistance.[51]

Conclusion of Reason article:
Meanwhile, Carson's disciples have managed to persuade many poor countries to stop using DDT against mosquitoes. The result has been an enormous increase in the number of people dying of malaria each year. Today malaria infects between 300 million and 500 million people annually, killing as many 2.7 million of them. Anti-DDT activists who tried to have the new U.N. treaty on persistent organic pollutants totally ban DDT have stepped back recently from their ideological campaign, conceding that poor countries should be able to use DDT to control malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

So 40 years after the publication of Silent Spring, the legacy of Rachel Carson is more troubling than her admirers will acknowledge. The book did point to problems that had not been adequately addressed, such as the effects of DDT on some wildlife. And given the state of the science at the time she wrote, one might even make the case that Carson's concerns about the effects of synthetic chemicals on human health were not completely unwarranted. Along with other researchers, she was simply ignorant of the facts. But after four decades in which tens of billions of dollars have been wasted chasing imaginary risks without measurably improving American health, her intellectual descendants don't have the same excuse.

Reason cites this study as proving that natural chemicals are more of a danger than DDT and even PCBs:
Several broad perspectives emerged from the committee's deliberations. First, the committee concluded that based upon existing exposure data, the great majority of individual naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals in the diet appears to be present at levels below which any significant adverse biologic effect is likely, and so low that they are unlikely to pose an appreciable cancer risk.

Much human experience suggests that the potential effects of dietary carcinogens are more likely to be realized when the specific foods in which they occur form too large a part of the diet. The varied and balanced diet needed for good nutrition also provides significant protection from natural toxicants. Increasing dietary fruit and vegetable intake may actually protect against cancer. The NRC report Diet and Health concluded that macronutrients and excess calories are likely the greatest contributors to dietary cancer risk in the United States.

Second, the committee concluded that natural components of the diet may prove to be of greater concern than synthetic components with respect to cancer risk, although additional evidence is required before definitive conclusions can be drawn. Existing concentration and exposure data and current cancer risk assessment methods are insufficient to definitively address the aggregate roles of naturally occurring and/or synthetic dietary chemicals in human cancer causation and prevention. Much of the information on the carcinogenic potential of these substances derives from animal bioassays conducted at high doses (up to the maximum tolerated dose, or MTD), which is difficult to translate directly to humans because these tests do not mimic human exposure conditions, i.e., we are exposed to an enormous complex of chemicals, many at exceedingly low quantities, in our diet. Furthermore, the committee concluded upon analyzing existing dietary exposure databases, that exposure data are either inadequate due to analytical or collection deficiencies, or simply nonexistent. In addition, through regulation, synthetic chemicals identified as carcinogens have largely been removed from or prevented from entering the human diet.

Third, the committee concluded that it is difficult to assess human cancer risk from individual natural or synthetic compounds in our diet because the diet is a complex mixture, and interactions between the components are largely unknown.

The committee's major conclusions are presented in detail below. They address the complexity and variability of the human diet, cancer risk from the diet, mechanisms and properties of synthetic vs. naturally occurring carcinogens, the role of anticarcinogens, and models for identifying dietary carcinogens and anticarcinogens.

In the diet, anyway.

Silent Spring Study Guide.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Want to see the Misesian review of Beowulf?

Probably not, but here are my two favorite paragraphs anyway:
The underside of government leadership is the primary subject of all revisionist history, and this form of history is something we should always give some benefit of the doubt. It is the official story of the heroism of leadership that we should suspect. This is true even with such untarnished demigods like George Washington, who, by all revisionist accounts, was an incompetent general, a man who had no sympathy for the original American idea, who jumped at the chance to send in the troops to put down a tax rebellion. The father of our country? Come on.

Have you visited the Lincoln Memorial? Pure paganism, wrapped in state worship. There he sits in the Temple of Democracy, with his hands on the fasces, [*] ruling us from the Heavens to which he clearly ascended after his martydom – the glorification of power on display for all to us. The tourists come and the tourists go. They figure the Lincoln must have been pretty marvelous and think nothing more about it.

*Bundles of sticks which the Romans understood as symbols of power: the emperor holding the pieces together. Of course, we English speakers call bundles of sticks fagots - symbols of something else entirely.

Oh! The Link!

Sorry to check out without warning there.

The In-Laws were down for Thanksgiving. I find them pleasant company, but they do play hobb with the online life.

My father-in-law and I went over to Harbor Freight and bought some stuff. He got a good deal on a miter saw and I bought a reciprocating saw for 20 bucks. I saw some whittling tools there that I'd like to have. The fine ones. I already have the crude ones.

I need to take one of those crude ones to the sign I inherited from my uncle that says, "The Erkkila's". I have that on my garage. Tell me what needs changing and I'll reimburse you up to $20 for anything at my store. [I'll be able to find you. (Though, I should actually go over and practice that. Speaking of which, I should go see what's going on with it. The managers certainly haven't been sending me any checks.)]

All right, since I'm talking about my store, I need to weed out some crap that doesn't pertain to my focus, organize things better, and see what else they've got at the warehouse. The place might be good if I'd actually do that work.


Did I have something to say when I came here? Uh-oh.

I've been reading Kant in my spare moments. I find him a lot easier to read than I did during my college days, when I was under the gun. He does say something that I can understand would make Ayn Rand throw the book across the room... Damn it! Where'd I set that book down? Oh, well... No, this is Critique of Pure Reason. I'm looking for the Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics... Anyway, Kant says right up front that he was looking to save a place for belief (or faith) in the world of certain science and philosophy.

You can see how that'd set Rand off.

So, I'm reading Kant because of Hans-Hermann Hoppe's article, Economic Science and the Austrian Method. As well as everything that Kelley Ross (Ph.D) says. And the fact that Ayn Rand hated Kant's guts.

I mean, look, if you start reading Kant's smallest major work, The Prolegomena, and throw it across the room when you find out he's trying to find a place for mysticism in his philosophy, you're not going to see where he made extraordinary advances in epistemology beyond the Rationalists and Empiricists.

Dr. Hoppe makes much of the "synthetic a priori judgment." Indeed, he says that Economics consists of nothing beyond such statements. And he says that the regression to Humean Scepticism of the Logical Positivists has not been a boon to the science. They've been able to describe past states of human desires with some precision, but they haven't been able to predict future human actions very well at all. And they never will.

But the fact is, neither will Austrians.

What is predictable is the consequences of individual and collective actions. We know things about the human psyche without even looking outside our own skulls. If we need something and the politicos shut off the free avenues to it, we'll find ways around them. They'll face unintended consequences.

Then we'll face a new line of populist demaguogery and they'll enact another bullshit bandaid. With more unintended consequences.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

You guys hear about the raid

on Liberty Dollar?

I guess this
Free Image Hosting at
gives me standing to join the Class Action Suit.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Teacher: David Leibforth

My favorite teacher seems to have retired to Arizona, enjoyed success as a local politician and retired again.

I'm a bit distracted by an effort to bring up a Google Map of the Verde Valley. I envy Herr Leibforth. I spent eight enjoyable months about a hundred miles north of there, from June '86 to February '87.

Well, honestly, I could have stood to have had the gentleman looking over my shoulder during those months. I experienced many of the highest high points of my life then, and all of the lowest of the low points. Some of the former and all of the latter involving alcohol and/or drugs.

You'd think a guy would learn.

But I mean to praise Herr Leibforth, not lament my own poor decisions.

Der gute Lehrer hat uns Deutsch gelehrt. [I should use the simple past in writing, rather than the compound, but I had to concentrate on using the more conversational compound past tense in the latter years of my training as a German speaker, so now that has become the stonger habit.]

Oop! Interruption.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Well, it's a little soon to be doing another

Ron Paul post, but he has a campaign ad out that defines libertarianism perfectly in the first 25 seconds. And, then, when you listen to that, you'll see a link to what Newt Gingrich thinks of Dr. Paul.

Once again, what I'm interested in happens in the first half of the piece.

Here's a fun quote.

"And [we have an] instinct to fight wars too…that is even more dangerous than hamburgers." Porter Stansberry, quoted in The Daily Reckoning.

Crud! That's not what the permanent link will be when it gets archived. Try this, if you can't find it there. It may not work either, I constructed it myself based on how they do it in their archives.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Here's a pic of me in my TCMarathon finisher's shirt

Make that the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. I'm generally a deep admirer of Medtronic. Like any company, they've had difficulties. Unfortunately, when your products are medical devices, discovering after the fact that something is wrong with one of them is rather a big deal. I admire the hell out of the people in that company who keep trying to save lives in the face of that liability.

Anyway, since Probligo at least wanted to see them, here's me in my shirt with my medal:
Free Image Hosting at

Running a marathon in almost six hours is harder than running it in almost five. That's my experience. I want to compare those experiences to running one in almost four.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I thought I'd share Ron Paul's thank you message.

Amazing! I have to admit being floored by the $4.2 million dollars you raised yesterday for this campaign. And unlike the fatcat operations of the opposition, the average contribution from our 36,672 donors was $103.

I say "you raised," because this historic event was created, organized, and run by volunteers. This is the spirit that has protected American freedom in our past; this is the spirit that is doing so again.

Some of the mainstream media have sat up and taken notice. Others have pooh-poohed our record online fundraising. But the day is coming--far faster than they know--when they will not be able to ignore our freedom revolution.

We are working hard, with you, to spread our message far and wide-in New Hampshire, in South Carolina, in Iowa, and in every other state with a primary. And people are listening.

As you and I know, there is hope for America-in liberty and peace, and the prosperity they bring. There is hope for America--in a sound dollar, the rule of law, and the Constitution. There is hope for America--in a people's revolution that brings us all together, of whatever race and age and background.

What momentum we have! Please help me keep it up. As you and I know, and our opponents are only suspecting, we have Success on our minds, and in our hearts.

Freedom! Surely it is worth all our hard work.

Without your help, this campaign would be dead in the water. Help us keep steaming towards victory.



Hey! In other news: I didn't bother to vote in the local school levy today, but my fellow [usually reliably commie "liberal"] citizens shot the thing down in flames! Frickin' AWESOME!!


Now I can expect the local school board to start threatening my children.

Back to the Ron Paul matter: I only donated $50. So how did that average get up to $103?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Am I the only Ron Paul Libertarian/Conservative Republican

Lutheran Taoist Objectivist INTP Packer fan in Minnesota!

I swear to God!

I've been trying for four and a half years to draw like-minded and -located souls to my blog and the best I've been able to manage is LibertyBob, the pagan from Iowa. And my brother, who disappears on a... an almost regular basis. He'll get a link when he reappears.

And Teflonman, the gay Buddhist from Singapore.

And my favorite Mormon, Texan locksmith, TF Stern.

I tend to think Mr. Pterodactyl is my closest match, buddy-wise, but he's not posting much anymore (not that I find that incomprehensible), and his twin brother and uncle (not the same person)...

Punctuation rules fail me! Ha ha ha! Haha! ...

Sorry, I cracked myself up.

The latter three links all blog together at Grandpa John's. Though you never actually hear from Grandpa John.

Feel free to tell me how to properly publish this. I guarantee I'll take it seriously. INTPs love the nitty-gritty of linguistics. And, btw, cracking oneself up is also an INTP trait.

What was I talking about?

Well, I've mentioned my closest friends. That'll do. I'm going to go ahead and tell you that as I was trying to type "friends," I actually typed "gir..." Freudian? You make the call.

Guy Fawkes Day!

Rent V for Vendetta and donate to Ron Paul.

More on [should that be two words?] Guy Fawkes.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Sheldon Richman has written the best refutation of Michael Gerson's

Washington Post op-ed, Open-Arms Conservatism. Richman says,
...[A]pparently he thinks that if the free market is not directed by a goal -- the visible hand of government, I assume -- then it won't work for the common good. Can he really be that ignorant of the work of such economists as Adam Smith, Frederic Bastiat, and those he himself mentions, Mises and Hayek? These men did nothing if not demonstrate that the self-regulating market process yields general social benefits, the common good if you will, without having an overarching goal or intention. When governments have tried to impose a goal on the political-economic system, the effort has always come to grief.

The historical record backs up the economists. Although the market has never been allowed to operate free of mercantilist privilege and other sorts of government intervention, it would be hard to dispute that societies which became substantially market-oriented achieved a general prosperity unprecedented in history.

Oh, darn it. I was thinking Sharon Harris was talking about this too, but she was talking about Michael Kinsley. I still want you to see the links in her article, though. Or, I guess they're scattered throughout the most recent issue of The Liberator Online, which is where you and up when you click that last link.

No time, but here are two I really liked, Myths of Individualism, and The Invisible Hand is a Gentle Hand.