Thursday, March 11, 2010

Crazy Couple Days

We got a phone call yesterday from Debbie's mom; her trip to the doctor turned into a trip to the hospital with a possible heart attack. The "possible" turned into a "yea, you had one" and a two-night (so far) stay at St. Mary's in Saginaw. Yesterday and today was the whole "hurry up and wait" routine and a battery of tests. No definite results yet; the heart cath that was supposed to happen today, then tomorrow, then today, and now tomorrow again will probably be the thing that settles was the next step is.

Other than that bit of excitement, not much going on other than work, work, work. My office is either full of people all day like it was yesterday, or completely deserted like it was today. At least I had time to clear out a bunch of stuff that's been sitting in the file cabinet and do some dusting and what-not. The glamorous world of tax prep, eh?

The downsizing of Detroit is back in the news. I'm not sure of the reason for all the hand-wringing about how to force people to move out of mostly-empty neighborhoods. It's seems pretty simple to me. Announce that after such-and-such a date, those neighborhoods will no longer have city water, city sewer or city trash pickup. Also, after that date, any 911 calls will go to the county sheriff's office like they do for anyone else living outside the city, and the residents will have to form up a volunteer firefighting unit just like other rural people have to do. In exchange, set up a homesteading deal where residents will be granted title to adjacent vacant lots on the condition they clear abandoned buildings, garbage, etc. In other words, grow up and be self-sufficient. Oh, wait; my bad. We're talking about Detroit, the land of total and permanent dependency.

One of the things Jerry Pournelle frequently mentions on his web site is that unrestricted capitalism will result in human flesh being sold by the pound, if not at your local grocery store, then at least via some form of special order. Are we seeing the first step towards humans as food animals? The most disturbing book I think I ever read was Through Darkest America. Is this a path we want to be on?

Only a complete idiot would equate a couple guys fishing from a row boat with a commercial fishing trawler when discussing sustainable fish harvesting. Obama may be a great many things, but the man isn't stupid. This has nothing to do with saving bluegills from extinction via little boys with fishing rods, and everything to do with eliminating self-sufficiency. From fencing off millions of acres at a shot from hunting to eliminating sport fishing to banning people from having a couple chickens in the back yard for eggs and meat to government-run auto companies to government-run health care to government bans on salt, it all reflects the neo-liberal view that no one must be allowed to fend for themselves. We must all live in a state of perpetual dependency on our self-appointed masters.

Since the profession's birth, the cry, "Kill all the lawyers," has been a common sentiment among the non-lawyer'ed. Here's one reason why. A single sentence containing 303 words, followed by a second containing 343 words, written in such an incomprehensible way that even another lawyer can't figure out what is being said. Why anyone would think this sort of nonsense makes them look smart or scholarly is beyond me.

A couple climate quickies: the reason why any carbon emission agreement that excludes China and India is a complete waste of time, and a new way to measure ancient ocean temperatures that confirms that both the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period were in fact very real and very widespread; at least hemispheric if not global.

Government is a one-way ratchet; always increasing and never decreasing. Kansas is being forced by a budget crunch to be a minor exception to that rule. But read closely. The Kansas schools have half the students they had ten years ago and a quarter of what they had in the 1960's. This "draconian" belt-tightening plan will close fewer than half the school buildings and eliminate less than a quarter of the staff. And how much would you like to bet that by the time all the lawsuits are over, not a single staff member will lose their job and the vast majority of the school buildings will still be operational? A closely related story about government employment. I guess the answer to all our economic problems is that we should all work for the government.

In two other closely-related economic stories, February set another record for the monthly federal budget deficit, and the Canadian dollar with hit parity with the US dollar and may even shoot past it.

And enough; I really must get to bed.

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