Monday, May 05, 2014

Back in Houston

We finally made it back to living in houston.  Things are fairly different from 8 years ago, more people, more traffic and food is twice as expensive.    In 8 years I've gained about 70% in salary, but we are poorer here than when we left because of inflation.  Crazily enough, the government is claiming little to no inflation because ipads are getting better and cheaper, but once you've bought an ipad (or 2) food really is a lot more expensive.  I'm expecting real measured inflation to kick in once the government makes some program to relieve people's suffering, with mandatory wage hikes or COLA increases, or everything could crash and we'd have another 5 years of deflation and no growth or stagflation.  What has been so tiring about the past 14 years is being trapped in the tides of history.  I'd much prefer just working and saving my money and making 5% on investments, but to make any return I've been throwing the dice and risking a lot, and losing a crapload of money twice since the dot-bomb crash.  So who knows what's going to happen.

I'm only writing this because the building management is constructing offices from an area that used to be a conference room, and it's so noisy that I haven't yet been able to concentrate.  I thought i would try an old trick and start to write something here and hope that it carries over to what I have to write for work, or the carpenters will go smoke a cigarette for a little while.  Luckily  my spanish is good enough that I can follow what their plans are for the morning, and it sounds like they are leaving to go somewhere else.  huzzah.

Anyway, glad to be back home, back on my native heath.  Finally able to unpack all of my books and buy a lawnmower.




Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cognitive dissonance and attack in Syria

The news media is gearing up for EastMed War I, who knows what will actually
happen, but it seems strange/funny/laughable that the same people that chanted
no blood for oil, etc will soon be supporters in another war.
Yet again without UN support, but this time without congressional support.

http://www.voanews.com/content/russia-warns-against-military-action-in-syria/1737159.html
Lavrov said military intervention against the government  without the approval of the United Nations would be a “gross violation of international law.”
He made the comments at a press conference only hours after Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague told the BBC that an international response to the Syrian crisis would be possible without unanimous U.N. Security Council backing.

I really don't care if the UN supports an action or is opposed, but after all of the problems
in the oughts, the only way we should fight a war is by having a vote of congress that
specifically says "War". The congressional vote supporting the Iraq war turned into farce
afterwards when most people that voted for it said "I didn't vote for war".

It might be the morally correct thing to do to destroy tyrants and avenge people killed by
WMD.  I certainly thought so during the Iraq war.  But our political system doesn't
support war to the knife that is not in our vital interests.  Just bombing from a distance
is immoral, and if we don't have the will and resources to do the whole thing, then it's
better to do nothing.  (the whole thing being the beginning and the aftermath.)

Armies break things and kill people.  If we aren't willing to have things broken and killed,
even by accident, then we shouldn't use the army unless it's in our interest.  The way that
should be judged is by a declaration of war.

That the opposition to the war in 2003 was just politics is shown by the same people
(democrats, French) saying UN approval isn't needed now, but it was needed then.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Schadenfreude

I've been away from blogging for awhile, I really don't have time to do anything but work or family time,
so games and reading for pleasure have gone out the window this past year.  (Time in the bathroom reading has expanded, is my 'organimismo' worse or am I just stealing reading time).

I can see some light at the end of the tunnel in the USA, it's just a glimmer but it is going to be getting stronger all year.  The real mistake the administration made was to spy on the AP, they could have spied on fox, or oppressed the tea party or smuggled guns to the zetas all they wanted, but spying on the AP might just crack open the door to a little bit of real journalism and that is all it would take to at least get Obamacare rolled back for a couple of years.   It was a dumb mistake, if they had left the AP alone they could have ground up Fox reporters to make their bread and it would have never been broadcast outside of Fox news and Rush Limbaugh  ("help us, they are grinding us up to make bread" ..."oh you racist right wingers at Fox")

So a small amount of reportage is happening and that is all to the good.  I doubt anyone will get duckwalked out of the whitehouse though, if the president can speak about the government like he's not in charge of the executive branch, just a regular Joe watching what the silling old government is doing and not be mocked, then the little bit of hope is just a little bit.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Let it Burn


Over at Ace of Spades there is a post by Drewm that advocates "Letting it burn".


After 2010 I had some hope that we might be able to turn this massive welfare state around. The full implementation of ObamaCare means that isn’t going to happen. At least not absent a total collapse of our fiscal house of cards.
Let It Burn isn’t an option, it’s an eventuality. The questions are will we be complicit in it any longer and do we want to delay it? I say no. Let the liberals own it. Very few things are made better by delaying the day of inevitable reckoning.  The sooner it burns, the sooner we can try and rebuild.

I agree with that sentiment, much better that it all collapses while i am still young enough to work another 25 years rather than have it all come down in 2025 and I'll just have a couple years to work and save up for cat food.   Here's what I posted as a comment over there:


I think we need to expand the scale of let it burn to: let it burn - worldwide.  It's too expensive to be the world's policeman, and the fire department, and trying to rebuild countries after we blow them up.

I find myself sliding towards being an isolationist as the only moral choice.  we can go and try to save other people, but 4 years later we lose an election and all is undone leaving people exposed to reprisals.  It's much better and moral to have done nothing, than to incite people to revolt and then not support them.

Problems in the balkans, sorry we are the friends of liberty everywhere, but only pay for our own.  Madman in Iran threatening us with nukes?  here, nuclear fire for you is very cost effective.

unfortunately starving the beast includes the defense budget, we need to choose what we really need.  Then cut back our foreign policy to match.  We can't afford a very moral precision defense policy where we invade a country and try not to hurt anyone, then rebuild the country under fire.  It didn't work and we can't afford to repeat it.

It probably doesn't matter, we'll continue to wiggle through problems until the fit hits the shan, then the consequences will happen.   The ironic thing will be it will come out much worse for places like Iran just because we can't afford to be nice.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Homesick

The instapundit links to some twits spouting off on twitter that if Romney wins they are going to leave
the country.  Good.  Go.

I've been hearing that for 10 years:  "If Bush fights an illegal war then I'll go to Canada" or if Bush gets reelected I'll move to Canada".   But they never seem to go. ( " You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately ... In the name of God, go!")

 Meanwhile when I tried to move back home a couple of years ago the chief twit shut down the oilfield for a year, no job for Joe there.  Thankfully they gave me a job here, but I do get homesick sometimes when I get to see two politicos on TV and one of them is frothing like a mad dog.  It makes me miss Louisiana.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cautiously hopeful

It's  funny watching the liberal media in a panic about how the president performed in the debate last week.  I'm hoping that their astonishment will continue, then after the election I can post the picture of Cartman drinking the tears of his opponent, Romney will win and the Senate will flip Republican and it will be a new morning in America.

I do realize that it is just as likely that I'll be disappointed.  Romney's point about the 47% might be mildly offensive to some people but it is true, the president has a large percentage of the population on his side no matter what he does or says, and he just needs to convince an additional 4% in several swing states and he'll win.

That will be bad, but there is no way of knowing if that will be the worst possible outcome.  It might be already too late to stop the Titanic of the world economy from hitting the iceberg, and having Obama at the helm when it happens will discredit the big government idea forever.

Oh well, we'll soon see.  Perhaps the Saints can come back from 1-4 to go 10-6 and win the superbowl in New Orleans, and Mitt Romney can win the presidency and take just the right actions to stop the coming economic apocalypse from happening.  But if the Saints don't win and Romney loses it won't be the end of the world, it will just feel like it.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ritholz, comments and asshats

Barry Ritholz reposted an attack on Megan Mcardle that I just didn't get. I posted a comment that didn't agree with him and a followup comment was replaced by a link to the comment policy...eg don't be an asshat.   http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/09/fisking-mcardle/

So here's that followup post:

 maybe there is some other article with clear evidence than the one you are pointing to, but just reading through point by point, I don't see any evidence of anything, just supposition
: -first point: weird attack on her father, and she went to an expensive school (is she a sleeper agent paid by the koch's for 30 years?)
-she changed in college from liberal to conservative (like most of us. you mean unicorns don't make rainbows?)
-a link to her old blog, a months worth of posts. huh? -she was rejected from the foreign service, meaning she didn't get the job that all liberal arts students want. -she made an unfunny comment during 2003 about war protesters (haven't we all)
-she was trained by some sinister organization in journalism (IHS @ george mason university) -she wrote articles against dodd frank (I wish everyone had and that crap wasn't passed) a bloomberg article starts off saying koch is against it, ooh, sinister, but a better summary was buried:
"A provision in the bill known as the “end-user exemption” is of particular concern to industry groups representing Koch, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Caterpillar Inc. The rule would exempt companies that use derivatives to hedge their risks in commodities, currencies and interest rates from posting margin, or a deposit against default, on over-the-counter trades." so now Caterpillar is evil too?
 -then several points that you could argue either side. eg I'd agree that putting large inheritance taxes just makes wealthy people hide their money. -she was against things that would 'improve voters lives ...like obamacare' . me too. and most americans too -
 -"In February 2009, McArdle led a propaganda campaign in her Atlantic blog to discredit investigative journalism exposing the first Tea Party protest in February 2009 as an Astroturf campaign backed by the Koch brothers and FreedomWorks. " There's no source for any of this. Is the tea party astroturf? who says? half of my facebook friends are in the tea party.

 -her fiancee works for freedom works. so what. -she wrote an article attacking a book about a writer that went bankrupt. read the comments in that link, it is more enlightening
 - she married her husband. is where he works a conflict of interest?
 - a crappy anecdote about meeting a black man who approves of gentrification....and?
 -attacking a ny times article that is huffy about formaldehyde, the koch's apparently love formaldehyde, but only since 2005 when they bought Georgia Pacific. is that causality?

 If you are going to accuse someone of conflict of interest shouldn't you have something, like, evidence? her marriage and where her husband works are both on her wikipedia page, that seems like disclosure. If there is something else, i don't see it from the links provided.