Anthropomorphic Personifications

a place for thoughts or a lack thereof

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More ohio debate

Clinton says she wants to make trade deals enforceable? for just one example of where the US has been the side to let down the deal. To say nothing of the deals and treaties that the US has been part of shooting down or at least pushing for the rules to be so lax as to be irrelevant.

I'm pro free trade. done right. ie when there are appropriate moral/environmental conditions. and no/minimal/mutually-agreed-but-otherwise-necessary subsidies.

I'm in no condition to be trying to make coherent arguments.

Mr President?
What do you know about manticores?
Godamn near everything.

Watching the Democratic Debate

They're discussing health care.
And credit where credit is due: I was inspired by Clinton on this. She was talking about how if someone doesn't get/have insurance (and can't afford to pay for it themselves) then the cost of their treatment is spread among every one else. (Yeah, umm humm that what insurance is. If I don't need care then I'm just subsidizing everybody else. I do understand that there is a 'freerider' difference but that's just how it struck me.)

So then you need a system whereby there can be no free riders. and you need a second layer of insurance/subsidy for those who can't afford the premiums.
Together it really starts to look like single payer, doesn't it? But, I understand that in the US there is a strong desire for competition (which does tend to foster efficiency of a sort (of course, whether efficiency is the highest good one could want from a health care system (or an economic system) is open to debate (I propose that it may not be))) so, couldn't you preserve that competition by having the government collect premiums(taxes) and then allow people to pick their insurance company/policy/coverage, whom the government would then pay at a default rate. (with a default backup if the person does nothing. ie congressional insurance?) Proceed as currently, for care and payment.
Of course you leave open the possibility for people to pay their insurance provider at a higher rate for additional services, which creates what in Canada is called a 2 tier health care system and is considered bad, but which i expect few americans would have any reservations about.

Back to the show.

Mr President?
What do you know about manticores?
Godamn near everything.

Monday, February 18, 2008

LED displays keep folks guessing at nightclub bathrooms - Engadget

LED displays keep folks guessing at nightclub bathrooms - Engadget

No further discussion needed... this is just pretty funny.

Yay for long weekends!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

102-year-old immigrant docks in NZ (+video) - New Zealand news on

102-year-old immigrant docks in NZ (+video) - New Zealand news on "New Zealand's oldest immigrant - sprightly 102-year-old Eric King-Turner - has arrived in his new home country on-board The Saga Rose cruise ship this morning."

Just adorable.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Call for Epochal Leadership

Yet another article with political overtones. I like the thrust of this one quite a lot
The Call for Epochal Leadership: "Momentous change calls for a special kind of leader: a pilgrim, not a passenger. Such a leader is willing to embark on a journey through uncharted territory. Epochal leaders from Moses to FDR have used their spirit, vision, and skills to build a bridge from one era to the next. They not only provide safe passage through transition but also transform our sense of the future from dread to exultation. Epochal leaders are called by crisis, and it is the nature of historical change that such leaders must be propelled by instinct—not experience."

According to James Couzens, Ford's first financial chief, "To the undertaking neither Ford nor I brought any considerable experience…I imagine if we had more experience we might have gone about our work differently. Certainly we should have known that many of our most successful innovations could not possibly succeed!"
Now, I suppose that the argument in favour of experience in Politics would be that, unlike business, the Political world is not a vacuum and as such you can't just come up with a brilliant idea to trample your rivals. Of course , the experienced candidates seem much more prone to confrontational politics than what Obama has shown so far.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Living within their means

Now I'm as guilty as the next credit card toting consumer (without an mortgage) but, is it just me or does this sound suspiciously like a good thing?
Economy Fitful, Americans Start to Pay as They Go - New York Times: "But now the freewheeling days of credit and risk may have run their course — at least for a while and perhaps much longer — as a period of involuntary thrift unfolds in many households. With the number of jobs shrinking, housing prices falling and debt levels swelling, the same nation that pioneered the no-money-down mortgage suddenly confronts an unfamiliar imperative: more Americans must live within their means."

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Yet more late night "Eureeka! I've solved the world!" rambling.

New York Times: "A better argument might be that transparency could help smoke out the special-interest players hiding in Washington’s crevices. You’d never know from Mrs. Clinton’s criticisms of subprime lenders that one of the most notorious, Countrywide, was a client as recently as October of Burson-Marsteller, the public relations giant where her chief strategist, Mark Penn, is the sitting chief executive. Other high-level operatives in her campaign belong to Dewey Square Group, an outfit that just last year provided lobbying services for Countrywide."

OK... so I haven't followed the links in the original... which might provide more support but...

Seriously... She might be awful but let me get this straight: her chief strategist is the CEO of a PR firm who had countrywide as a client... and this is meant to be a problem?

Even if it really is a "public relations giant" (the giant makes it sound scary. and big.) and depending on exactly what PR services were being provided for what part of countrywide's operations and presuming the size of the contract was sufficient for him to know, is it realistic to expect him to actually share the same goals as a client? Now sure, both PR and Lobbying are activities subject to abuse, but the mere presence of an established six-degrees of separation (or 3) does not establish wrong doing or wrong influences. (Tobacco Oil and Agricultural industries might need additional attention... perhaps.)

Which brings me back to a point that I particularly like: Obama's Plan to put Everything on c-span. Assuming for a moment that nefarious schemes are being cooked up (not really a stretch is it?) making everything public would solve a lot or at least give people a better sense of what the issues actually are and who's playing even if many people don't care about the rules.

Of course the effectiveness of making everything public depends upon some kind of trusted intermediary to filter it effectively... cause I have things to do besides watch c-span. Ideally in some way that would guard against that intermediary becoming beholden to special interests. I'm less than adequately satisfied that the current american media system would be wholly up to the job.

On a final and divergent note... often times it would be worth it for more people to pay more attention to more special interest groups. Be sure to follow the money, but the people who pay that much attention to an issue or subject know a lot about it.
Boy that's a half baked idea if ever I've had one.
Damn was heading for bed 2 hours ago. damn.


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