27 August 2013

Camping Fun

What we saw outside our campsite this past weekend.

16 February 2013

The Kumbh Mela

A mass of humanity that is more than one can truly comprehend.

24 January 2013

Jacobin Mag

I just discovered Jacobin Mag, a far left publication of essays put on by what I would call "kids". The quality of the output, while sometimes overly academic, is quite high. I really like some of the possibilities is imagines for society and they largely seem to have found ways to escape the "hippy" ambience I find so common in leftist popular literature.

Here's a great paragraph by Seth Ackerman in a treatise on how socialism might fare under modern economic theory. The paragraph is a critique of social democratic economies (EU and to a lessening degree the US).

But the social democratic solution is unstable... There’s a fundamental contradiction between accepting that capitalists’ pursuit of profit will be the motor of the system,  and believing you can systematically tame and repress it through policies and regulations. In the classical Marxist account, the contradiction is straightforwardly economic: policies that reduce profit rates too much will lead to underinvestment and economic crisis. But the contradiction can also be political: profit-hungry capitalists will use their social power to obstruct the necessary policies. How can you have a system driven by individuals maximizing their profit cash-flows and still expect to maintain the profit-repressing norms, rules, laws, and regulations necessary to uphold the common welfare?

His answer is intriguing: socialize the capital markets. I've not yet formed an opinion of this solution, if it might work and how it might play out. Nor am I an economist by any stretch of the imagination. But I find the possibility intriguing and it could point a way out of our current world-wide economic crisis.

23 January 2013

Liberalism is not Communism

There's a survey where you can give input to the Republican party. I went and spoke the most honest, core statements that I think the conservatives in our midst need to hear. Apart from the multiple choice questions, the few places for open input were short and to the point.

"We are not a center-right nation. Liberalism is not Communism. Get your facts straight."

Hopefully somebody actually read them.

21 December 2012

Its the Guns, Stupid

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun"National Rifle Association (NRA) Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre

Umm, no. That doesn't work. This happened while LaPierre was speaking today.


"We ask why there is violence in our schools but we have systematically removed God from our schools"Mike Huckabee

That's not true either. From the same Pennsylvania shooting linked to above:

During a news briefing at the Geeseytown Fire Hall, officials confirmed the woman was shot and killed at a church. The Associated Press reported that the woman was fatally shot while decorating for a children's Christmas party at the Juniata Valley Gospel Church.

I suppose God was systematically removed from that church as well?

No. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is to get rid of all guns in the first place. Hunting? Eh, maybe. Second Amendment? Its outdated at best.

20 December 2012

Post-Racial Children

Race is a major issue in the US, as it is in many places across the globe. We've just gone through an election cycle that was filled with racial undertones. Social conservatives here are apoplectic about the growing demographic shift away from WASPs to folks of many creeds and hues. My children have been exposed to hateful racial epithets both in my presence and away from me.

Still, with all this, it was interesting to see how my kids have a different view of "black" and "white" people. Being of mixed race and rather young themselves, they struggle with the concepts of caucasian vs asian vs black vs all the other colors of the rainbow. Last night was a great example.

Last night we watched Psy perform the famous Gangnam Style song taped from November's American Music Awards show. My daughters were excited to show me some "famous white man" who was in the performance.

Before the performance a gentlemen (sorry, I'm horrible with celebrity names because I basically don't give a damn about celebrities) was introducing Psy. He was African American and dressed in black attire. Leia said something like, "He's the black man. That's not the white man. That man is the black man. Wait for the white man to show up."

I respond, "OK. You're right. That's a black man. I'll wait."

When the song starts Leia chimes in again, "He's Psy. That's not the white man. That's Psy. Wait and the white man will come out."

So I dutifully wait. Meanwhile my wife is laughing at the exchange and explains to me that MC Hammer performs alongside Psy on stage. Sure enough, here comes MC Hammer to dance alongside Psy.

Leia jumps up and down all excited. "See! I told you! There's the white man dancing, too."

Now, for those of you familiar with MC Hammer you'll know that he, too, is African American. In fact, MC Hammer is noticeably darker than Psy or anyone else immediately apparent on stage at that time. MC Hammer is, however, dressed in a starched white suit with his famous baggy trousers. Leia seemed oblivious to the fact that the "white man" and the "black man" both are called "black" men in our culture. Instead, it was the color of the suit that signified the "white man".

I gave it a chuckle, happy that racism has not yet intruded its ugliness upon her life.

18 December 2012

Repeal the Second Amendment

Frankly, the second amendment is wrong and should be repealed. Guns ownership should be entirely restricted and on an as-needed basis only. And I can think of very few reasons why anyone would need a gun under such a law.

The second amendment is at best an anachronism. Armed militias are generally useless unless there is outright civil war. If the shit really does hit the fan and we have another civil war (gods forbid!) then guns aplenty would roll across our borders. There's no need to arm the populace now.

For those who think gun ownership makes you safer or able to defend yourself -- you're wrong. Plain and simple. Look at the numbers.