Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bosch Fawstin... Keeping It Real on Islam


Bosch Fawstin posted in April one of his most compelling pieces of writing to his blog.  I have seen a lot written on Islam since 9/11 and his piece in particular strikes this sweet spot between firmly removing the goggles of political correctness and using a soft enough tone so that he can be heard by a reasoning mind willing to challenge its own unconscious beliefs and assumptions.

Here are some key takeaways from the piece:
  • "There is nothing in Islam that stays the hand of Muslims who want to kill non-Muslims."  
  • "The Muslim world is where the true meaning of Islam can be found in practice. Islam – not any alleged deviant form of it – means misogyny, censorship, anti-Semitism, homophobia, wife-beatings, beheadings, honor killings, pedophilia/“child marriages”, murdering infidels, etc. This is evil, and Islam sanctions every bit of it, but we’ve been told that we must respect “one of the world’s great religions” because it’s a religion."
  • "Our problem is not “Islamophobia”, but Islamophilia  ...this uncritical, uninformed, absolute defense of Islam by Western elites after 9/11..."
I think Bosch is convincing on this point: Non-violent muslims give cover to the extremists in their group by their lack of vocal and outspoken protest.  Maybe they feel like they can't speak out for fear of retribution.  If so, I think that is indicative of the nature of Islam.  Worse, Islam gets partial credit for their choice of non-violence.

The BIGGEST question I have after reading this is: "If Islam is about peace, where is their outspoken Martin Luther King or Ghandi figure?"  He/She (yeah... right) doesn't exist and that might be because he would be a contradiction... snuffed out in an instant as a traitor to Islam.

I think Islam shouldn't be as big of a threat as it is.  A country without the manufactured moral crisis that we have would have already gone to war and secured unconditional surrenders from Iran and Saudi Arabia.  But it is the way it is because people in the West refuse to look upon Islam and talk about its fundamental nature.

A desire not to see the world in black and white sometimes results in our refusal to admit what is before our eyes.  Or, if I am being generous, perhaps we get confused between what is the signal and what is the line noise.  Either way, we are in deep doo-doo until we get our heads on right and I thank Bosch for his piece.

-Francis

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pre-existing Conditions Are A Manufactured Crisis Created By Government



Those who are interested in pre-existing conditions as a litmus test of judging the moral rightness of a policy should consider who is responsible for their existence and what kind of policies brought us to a state where the only way to get affordable health-care is to have employer-provided health insurance.  There is a whole history of legislation since WWII-era wage restrictions and deductions for employer provided insurance that got us here.

The phenomenon of pre-existing conditions didn't happen because it made sense in the free market any more than the phenomenon of widespread employer-provided insurance.  It happened because of decades of dislocations caused by government policy. And now the next generation of politicians and their proponents, including Obama's euphemistically-named "Truth Team", are citing the consequences of their predecessors' previous folly to justify their policy of further control of medical care.

Their arguments will only seem to hold water if you are unaware of history and/or economics.  Inoculate yourself against fallacy.

Force is not Freedom... Even when it's motivated by compassion.

-Francis

(photo credit: "Shell Game" by EmilyKBecker)

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Thoughts on Gun Control



(I wrote this in response to a FB status which I considered to be thoughtful and inviting of discussion)

Well... I think Chris Rock has a point, but I don't think you can make bullets cost $5k without abridging someone's rights.  I think we can all agree that no one has a right to "take down" anyone else.  The point of a "right" is that you are free to do something without the interference of government/law-enforcement-officials.

(FYI - I own a gun and I am quite responsible about it: it stays locked away for periods of extreme lawlessness, or for practice against paper targets.)

The problem with preventing rights violations (such as murder) is that a person has to be mortally victimized in order for the perpetrator to have demonstrably violated another's right to life.  But it is proper that the law should have to prove its case against a criminal.  It is a worthy cause to ensure that our governments cannot arbitrarily revoke someone's rights.  Tyranny and systematic imprisonment of political enemies is the inevitable result of a failure to do so.

Regulations are tricky and have unintended consequences.  For instance, bans of items have proven to create black markets and empower aggressive organized criminals (e.g. prohibition of alcohol and drugs), which causes a different ripple effect of murder.  And regulation can also be used tyrannically against political enemies.

My desire to have a tyranny-minimal government means, unfortunately, I have to wait for a killer to show that he is indeed a killer before I let my government throw the book at him.  I don't know that it is possible to engineer all of the crime out of a society without engineering the liberty out of it too.

Watch for People Who Try To Sieze the Moral High Ground


An easy way to get the silent assent of your detractors is by attempting to seize the moral high ground without their noticing.  I see this tactic used all of the time in political discussions.

One of the things you learn from Objectivism is to identify and explicitly question moral premises of arguments that are presented to you.  It is good inoculation against exhortations to honor "Social Contracts" you never made.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Annoying Dr. Who Moralism - S06E13 "The Wedding of River Song"



>> FYI - Spoilers follow.  


In episode S06E13 of Doctor Who, the character, Amy Pond, is confronted with whether to untie/rescue the wicked Madame Kovarian when it turns out that her murderous alien allies, the Silence, have decided that she is better off dead and that they no longer have a use from her and will kill her by way of her "eye drive" eye patch.

Madame Kovarian: [weakly] Amy... help me.
Amy Pond: You took my baby from me. And hurt her. And now she's all grown up and she's fine, but I'll never see my baby again.
Madame Kovarian: But you'll still save me, though. Because *he* would, and you'd never do anything to disappoint your precious Doctor.
Rory: Ma'am, we have to go, now!
Amy Pond: [to Kovarian] The Doctor is very precious to me, you're right. But do you know what else he is, Madame Kovarian? Not here.
[Amy re-attachs Kovarian's eye drive] 
Amy Pond: River Song didn't get it all from you, sweetie.
[eye drive activates and Kovarian screams] (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1824359/quotes?qt=qt1563102 )
This seemed like an act of justice from a Dr. Who character.  And Pond didn't seem to much hesitate on the matter.  Wouldn't it be amazing if that action stood on its own?

But no.  This is the BBC.  Here's what we get instead.


Later... when Amy Pond is pondering the death of the Doctor, she has misgivings about her choice to let Kovarian die.  Worse... she takes moral responsiblity for having murdered Madame Kovarian.
Amy Pond: I killed someone. Madame Kovarian. In cold blood.
River Song: In an aborted timeline, in a world that never was.
Amy Pond: Yeah, but I can remember it. So it happened. So I did it. What does that make me now?
(http://mattywhite.tumblr.com/post/11349940757/i-killed-someone-madame-kovarian-in-cold-blood)
I have trouble with this.  Madame Kovarian is a person who has demonstrated a long-term determination to kill Amy Pond's best friend, The Doctor.  In the process of trying to do so, Kovarian kidnapped Pond , kidnapped Pond's daughter, and brainwashed River Song to be a killer.  

Kovarian is betrayed and senteced to agony or execution by the same allies she willingly chose to cooperate with.  And *somehow* Pond's choice not to rescue her from the consequences of her own actions is deemed to be "killing her".  Who here is doing the killing?  Certainly not Amy Pond.

As a show... I like Doctor Who, I just disagree with the blatant moral fallacies which show up here and there.  The one of which they are most guilty?  The protagonists take moral responsibility for the actions of others.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Balancing the Percentages in a Relationship

Photo by Sepehr Ehsani 
I was asked to ponder last night an idea of give-and-take in a relationships and friendships.  The idea was that you should put in 90% and expect back only 10%.  Though it seemed like a reasonable heurisitic for tempering expectations and sense of entitlement in relationships, this didn't quite resonate with my approach to relationships.

I responded that I put in 50% of the effort and I expect to receive back 50%, plus interest.  I added that both of us should.  :)  You bring yourself to any relationship and you hope that you end up with more than you started with, otherwise what's the point?

I'm not talking about a tit-for-tat kind of trade of taking turns making sacrifices.  Rather it's a trade in enjoying the experience of the other person, and sometimes their counsel, and sometimes their help in achieving certain tasks.

It may be worth noting that I don't expect to get back what I put in.  Borrowing concepts of money for a moment, what you get back may not be in the same denomination or even the same currency as what you put in. But the crucial principle is that, over the long term, what you get back should be more personally valuable than what you put in.

In a good "trader" relationship, this is true in both directions simultaneously.  No one is poorer for having been part of it on the long term.  Both people end up "richer" and each should feel lucky-as-hell to have the other person in their life.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mockingjay - Theme: Dictatorship and Resistance

“Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!”


 As I read further into book 3 of the Hunger Games, I see the exploration of some powerful themes:
 - A dictatorship cannot exist without subjects. (Dictatorships fundamentally have no power to exist on their own... they have guns and they have you)
 - Every subject of a dictatorship is a slave, the property of the state to be used and disposed for its purposes. (Your life is not yours)
 - Any attempt to live under a dictatorship solidifies your role as a slave and delivers power to the state. (Life becomes death, food becomes poison, love becomes a weapon)

 I like the quote above because effective resistance vs. naked force requires the recognition of these ideas and a refusal to accept anything less than a fully human life.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Granting Others the Moral High Ground


Politicians and would-be debaters often attempt to claim the moral high ground when attempting to disarm their detractors.  They talk about fairness as if it is an absolute.

However, it is worth noting that what is "Fair" is determined by reference which moral system is used as the standard. In the process of evaluation, one's idea of good and evil in the realm of human behavior determine what one thinks is fair or unfair in politics.

Far too few people are willing to question the moral premises on which they operate.  If we believe this, how much should we trust their politics?

In reason, you should never cede the moral high ground to someone whose morals you don't understand or agree with.  This is something that can happen before you're aware of it so it's something to look out for and the only solution I have for you at this point is to question premises.  Keep asking why.

When someone claims something is not fair... "by whose standards?"  "why are those standards valid?"

A moral judgment is not an intellectual argument that something is right, valid, and should be done.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Comments have been disabled...



To the author of the last random internet comment that will ever come my way via this Blog:

I have disabled comments on this blog fully.  Your comment was a reminder that I needed to do so.  Thank you!

Since you shared with me a link to Wikipedia on Falsifiability, it's only fair that I take a moment to share to you a concept I think you would benefit from researching:  "proving non-existence".  Best of luck to you out there.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

An Observation From a Conflict Long Since Past

Photo credit: stuartpilbrow
If you feel that you resort to hyperbole so that others will hear you out, perhaps your intended audience is not worth your consideration.

If you resort to hyperbole so that your voice is heard at all, perhaps your voice is not being used to say anything that is worth hearing.

In reverse: A profound truth will prove to be worthy of another's careful listening even if it is whispered, provided that your audience is interested in the profound and the true.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What's Fair is Not Necessarily What is Equal

A female friend of mine, whom had been visiting from out of town, was chatting with me about how generous it was for her host to forego sleeping in his own bed so that she could make use of it while in town.  She reflected that she probably wouldn't do the same were the situations reversed and I observed that it was fine because what is "fair" isn't necessarily what is equal.

By using the word "fair", I am using a word that really isn't fully fitting the situation but it illustrates by analogy fairly well.  I meant to say that I could see his valid reasons for doing so:  that it was a means of expressing appreciation, esteem, and regard for her comfort as a magnanimous host.  (i.e. probably not an ugly sacrifice)

Representing here only the male view, one of the ways that we respond to value in females (even if we're just friends) is by acts that I would more-or-less classify under the umbrella of "chivalry".  That term has a lot of historical baggage involving people wearing metal suits but if we can discard the duty notions for a moment, and just focus on the essentials of the acts, I think it solidify my discussion.

So what are some modern examples:  Opening and holding doors.  Offering a lady your arm while you walk.  Pulling a chair out for your partner to be seated.  And the one we've listed above.  What are the essentials here?  They all involve physically reducing effort, exposure, or danger on the part of the chival-ree and, ultimately, are acts which express esteem by means of contributing to an increase in safety and comfort for the lady.

And it doesn't work with the genders reversed.  Not sure I want to get into that, but I'll simply state here without any supporting documentation that you'd gut masculinity if it were reversed, barring any special medical conditions.  I don't as much cover the other end here, but women have their things they do which men feel special too that are particularly charming in feminine ways.

I think this is awesome.  It's completely unequal and yet completely sensible.  It is a way to express your gender identity along with your moral identity if you do it right (i.e. not out of a sense of duty but rather as a generous response to value).  I think it speaks well for us that, as an American society, some of us are still down with this and can still see and act upon the beauty in our gender differences.  To the ladies in particular, thanks for being good receivers of our good will.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Human Nature... or not?


People talk a lot about "human nature" when they see people being lazy or stupid or just making the wrong decisions.

It is a key part of my personal mission in life to point out that the same people, who have the lazy impulses and want to make the wrong decisions, also overcome those at times to do amazing things.

( Photo Credit: Mike Mertz )

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Never Bring a Gun to a Banana Fight


I've noticed a pattern of behavior in people on Facebook where they will read something that they disagree with and lob a hand-grenade into the comments section.  They have nothing constructive to add but they want to indicate their disagreement with some of the following characteristics:

  • The comment disagrees with the essence of some post - no problem with this...
  • The comment is generally disrespectful of anyone who would agree with the post and is a smear or insult toward supporters of the post (see also: Argument from Intimidation)
  • The comment provides no real substantiation for the position of the commenter.  No facts, no logic.  It is generally devoid of content.  This last is important.
  • When faced with a reply that contains argumentation, the commenter enjoys the implied legitimization of his position by the defensiveness of repliers.  Meanwhile he can pick a strawman out of your argument and focus on that.  
We usually call these people "trolls".  And we do ourselves no service my taking their nonsense seriously.  Here's how I suggest we deal with it.  

Go Meta and Call It What It Is

I don't spend a lot of time on this one.  My recent response to an obvious hand-grenade was "I sense a boring troll."  Incidentally, my reply was more a warning to people who would reply than a slight toward the detractor, though it does serve as both.

Don't take it seriously.  

The detractor has provided nothing but nonsense.  Reply with nonsense.  Again, don't spend time crafting argumentation here.  The more absurd the better.  If you're not laughing when you're typing your response, you're not letting go enough.

For Fuck's Sake, Don't Argue It Seriously

This is my big takeaway... never provide deeper argumentation than the detractor brought to the table.  If he spouts a nonsense opinion, don't come back with a treatise.  Don't give troll the opportunity to be taken seriously or to pick strawmen out of your hastily written argumentation.  FB comments are a poor place to have a real discussion anyway.

The Summary: Never bring a gun to a banana fight.

Look.  Objectivists... We love our ideas. They make us who we are more than anything else. We've spent a lot of time curating them and we want to express who we are. That's great! But keep perspective. If someone believes differently and they want to be disrespectful about it, that's a reflection of their insecurity.  

What we need to be is relaxed and groovy, not only about our own positions, but about taking down bollocks on the internet.  Fight serious with serious.  Laugh at and ridicule absurdity.  But know the difference between a real argument and a hand-grenade.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Random Thought: Clever Response to Panhandler


I hold a low opinion of friends that only come to me when they need something from me.  Can you imagine what is my opinion of you?

Intellectual Activism in the Gamer World

I am involved in an exchange with the writer and senior editor of Top Tier Tactics in response to his article, "Gamers need to keep giving back, and not just to Child’s Play":


WiNG,
Thanks for taking the time to respond.  This is an important discussion and I thank you for taking my response seriously.  I'd like to take up the major point of your reply in the form of a hypothetical: 
Are you suggesting that any time a child anywhere in the world starves to death, you bear the responsibility for it unless you give some money (or time) to some kind of charity?  That no matter what else you do in your life, you are guilty if you do not "give something back"?  This is the main question I will explore.
Here's a counter hypothetical for contrast.  Consider a person like Steve Jobs.  He probably put himself through some amount of school to learn.  He probably spent a lot of time dickering around with electronic things that didn't help any homeless people.  He probably saved every cent that he made, diverting none of it to charity, to start his own business out of his garage.  And in the process of pursuing his dreams about gadgets made products of uncompromising integrity and vision, employing thousands of people who are able to be productive and creative and live lives of purpose.  Is he to be considered a worthless human being if a child anywhere in the world dies of hunger?  No. 
Charity is a personal choice - not a personal responsibility.  We are responsible for our choices, but only to ourselves and what those choices mean for our lives and our goals.  We are always responsible for our actions and the contents of our character.  No one else can do that for you.   
Charity is not an unqualified good.  An easy counter example is the act of giving money to an alcoholic.  In that case, you are merely enabling his self-destructive behavior.  If you send money to help a person living in a dictatorship, your help will only be siphoned off to enrich the dictator.
Whatever the case, you can't just act blindly and promiscuously because you believe your intentions are noble.  Outcomes matter.  And the reasons why poverty exist matter.  And it doesn't come down to people not giving enough away for nothing in return.   
The poor in the world are poor because they lack liberty - because they lack any kind of protection of their individual rights.  And much as I might feel for their plight, there is little I can do to help them unless they already have the right ideas on the ethical principles on which to structure society to enable their flourishing as living beings.  Those people, empowered by a rational ethical ideology, might be able to stage a revolt and make the next America as our founding fathers did here. 
I don't feel bad for saying that I'm too busy fighting for the right kind of ideas here in America to preserve our liberty, which is eroding year over year, to be concerned about the poor in Manila.  And the core of what is eating away at our premises of liberty is Altruism.  The idea that man has no right to live for himself.  That self-sacrifice to others is his moral purpose and the basis of all virtue. 
Under Altruism, what right does Steve Jobs have to keep pursuing Apple corporation and NeXT and Pixar?  The capital invested there would be much better if it went to the people with the greatest need, right?  Investing in hokey pokey technologies to make interfaces and images prettier seems like a petty concern compared to a child who is starving to death.  His investment capital would have been sacrificed and we would never have experienced the good things that Apple has brought to the world. 
We thrive in this country because our founding principles aim to leave us free from arbitrary force.  Each man has a right to his life and to pursue his happiness.  That's in the Declaration of Independence and it stands in the face of Altruism, which says the opposite.  It doesn't mean that you'll never help other people, but it doesn't make it virtuous or important either.   
The less we recognize and acknowledge the importance and the goodness of individuals using their independent judgment to act on goals of their choosing and not feeling bad if they make a profit while doing so, the poorer we all will be.  Those profits may be reinvested into productive efforts, or spent on rest on relaxation so that the creativity  and productiveness can continue.  In any case, those profits are noble and good.  The vision of what you want to do with your life and bring into the world and trade with others comes first. 
WiNG: If you've read this far, I thank you for your patience and interest.  I come back to your blog because you have found a very good niche that I hope that you continue to explore and refine and make into what it ought to be.  I consider gaming to be one of *my* chosen forms of rest and relaxation which serves to recharge me for my productive activities and I am glad for your previous postings.  This one just seems like a horribly indulgent and digression and one which compromises *your* vision.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Formula for Starting and Keeping an Exercise Routine

20090122P90X004

Start small.  Be consistent. Same time every day. No exceptions.

Exercise for at least some completely do-able minimum number of minutes of your choosing. Make the number of minutes so small you have no excuse not to: 15 minutes.

Or... Work out until you run completely out of breath three times.  This means you are so winded you have to take a break to continue.

Will power? You don't need it. There's nothing to fight through here if you remove the hurdles.  Make a consistent schedule and make it small and manageable.  Then you can do anything.

Photo by Vermin87 on Flickr

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Sermon on the Mount vs. America





Kathleen Kennedy Townsend doesn't disagree with the Sermon on the Mount.  I think we can agree on this.  She made it abundantly clear in her article, "Ayn Rand vs. America", which was published on the website of the Atlantic on 8/23/2011.  So it's not surprising to me that she disagreed with the views of Onkar Ghate that the government should not be permitted to interfere with economic activities.


And, she seems to consider it essential to her conception of America that there is a "preeminence of faith in the American consciousness."  If you  take a survey of people to find out what kind of morals they hold, this is more or less true.  The religious people are altruists and the non-religious people will not challenge the ideas of the Sermon on the Mount.  


There is an important debate to be made here and a question which must be asked:  What is the core ethic that has made America free and prosperous?  Was it Sermon on the Mount as Townsend suggests? She sums it up as, "We can only be free when we work together for the well-being of all Americans--including the least among us".  


It is my deeply held conviction that it was not.  Contrary to what a statistical poll on the beliefs of Americans would suggest, the Declaration of Independence contains the core ethic of the United States of America.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
This is nearly as opposite to the views of the Sermon on the Mount as you can get.  It holds that there is a right to *pursue* happiness.  This is not a right *to* happiness and recognizes that we must achieve it by our own actions.  To pursue happiness is to engage in industry, and that is to be secured by government.  Industry,  when applied to an individual person is defined simply as "systematic work or labor".  If we re-arrange the words, we arrive at this: The purpose of the government, is to protect the liberty of people to engage in their systematic work for the pursuit of their lives and happiness.


So was Ayn Rand against America?  Or was she more faithful to the principles that made the United States of America more free and more prosperous than any regulator or welfare statist who operates on the ethical premise of altruism?  The answer to the question requires a lot of diligent research, and an open enough mind that you can set aside your emotions long enough to hear what she actually had to say.


People say that Ayn Rand misunderstood the nature of life as a human being.  I don't think I understood it at all until I read her words on the matter.  In a nutshell, she argues:  Life requires self-interested action, action requires thought and rationality, thought is an individual process.  Nothing I can disagree with there.  For more details, see her essay, "The Objectivist Ethics".


Going into the social sphere, where men interact with other men, she defined and wrote voluminously on the topic of individual rights.  Similarly here, I feel more American with an understanding of these ideas.  In a nutshell, she argues: Man needs to be free to exercise the rational use of his faculty of reason, a right is a freedom to action, force compels a man to act against his judgment, the role of government is to prevent the initiation of force by individuals against other individuals, i.e. to protect individual rights. For more details, see her essay, "Man's Rights".


Her words are all there, and largely available for free, to anyone who might wish to assess for themselves which set of ideas are at the core of why America works as a country and prospers.  Why we are free.  Why we need freedom in the first place.  Is it freedom if the government can use force against you and deprive you of property when you haven't violated anyone else's rights?


Here is my challenge to anyone who thinks Ayn Rand is unamerican in her ideas: Read the Declaration of Independence again.  Decide for yourself what is more American:  The Sermon on the Mount or Ayn Rand.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ends and Means


I had an exchange with a friend about what types of action are moral in war which became awkward when he disagreed with me about the morality of Sherman's march to the sea and the tactics that were used.  And the culmination of this disagreement came as a challenge to me in the form of "...so do you believe the ends justify the means?".

I think this statement is problematic.  It's a discussion ender.  It is a form of Argument from Intimidation.  e.g. "only a completely immoral person could think that the ends justify the means".  But also problematic is that the statement implies more than it actually contains.  I think what it really means to say is that "do you believe that this particular end justifies any means", which is another way of asking whether a particular end gives you a moral blank check.  I do not believe moral blank checks exist in reality.

I doubt that either of us would disagree with that point.  In order to have a rational discussion about this topic, you would have to be very clear about which ends and which means you were referring to.  For instance:
  • In war, when you are fighting for your survival vs. some state aggressor.
  • The End is to achieve unconditional surrender and cessation of hostilities   
  • You may have to kill some civilians but this would not be indiscriminate.
  • Indiscriminate killing would be immoral.
  • Using rape, such as in Africa, is the type of thing that would be off limits.

I wish I had made my points that well during the discussion but it was on the fly and not as clear.  In fairness, the conversation did close with an acknowledgment on the part of my friend that the principal difference in our positions was that I did not consider civilians of an aggressor state to be "innocent".  Which is correct.

The exchange still rubbed me the wrong way though.  What I disliked about it... what I felt was being perpetrated was a sense that if you can be painted with the "ends justifying the means" brush, that you are automatically wrong.  And I tend to think that whenever that dynamic is present, that there is likely to be a fallacy involved.  It felt like an aggressive ultimatum and such a thing doesn't belong in a conversation among friends.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Letter to Congressman Wolf - Regarding HR2417

Photo by thomasbrightbill
Please vote for H.R. 2417 to repeal the ban on incandescent light bulbs. The bill does not go nearly far enough in removing onerous regulation but it is a step in the right direction: The government's role should be limited to the protection of rights so that each individual is free to produce and trade.

Friday, June 10, 2011

How to Order a Cappuccino at Starbucks


"Doppio Machiatto, Wet" -- this is what you can ask for if you want a cappuccino similar to what you can get anywhere in Italy for about €1.50.  Ask for a cappuccino and you're likely to get a drink that is too big, with too much milk, and costs too much.