October 2011 Archives

So yes, I get it that Halloween has more children die than any other night. According to this study, most evenings one kid dies in a pedestrian accident, while on Halloween, it's 2.2 kids.

But there's gotta be a lot more than 2.2 times the number of kids out on Halloween, which means that as a percentage, the number of deaths in pedestrian accidents decreases significantly on Halloween. That's pretty awesome: it means either that pedestrian deaths don't scale linearly with the number of people, or that everyone is a lot more careful on Halloween in particular. It's probably a combination of both (probably, the more kids are out, the more careful everyone is).

That's not to say we shouldn't try to reduce that number; that is certainly a worthwhile goal. And that's why several years ago, Congress changed the switch from daylight savings time to regular time to after Halloween.

The problem is, though, that when the darkness shifted by an hour, my family, as with many others, started the evening's festivities an hour later. So there was nothing gained for us, except that it messed up the kids' sleep scheduled even more.

So, Congress, as usual: thanks for nothing.

Our entire nation depends, for our economic future, on an industry that gets hundreds of billions of dollars in direct subsidies from the federal government each year. This year, President Obama's administration is increasing it by tens of billions more.

Yet each year, the industry charges more and more money to consumers for the same product. Obama would have us think that the solution is to continue to give more subsidies to the industry, when the prices increase as subsidies do.

No, I am not talking about oil or gasoline, I am talking about higher education. Giving subsidies for education -- in the form of grants and loans for the students -- makes far less economic sense than a subsidy for oil (which is saying something). The amount a prospective student can afford to pay doesn't really change from year to year. Sure, they can get a job and so on, but other than that, it doesn't change much. So when government pays for a bigger and bigger chunk of the price, the colleges are free to simply increase the price. There's no real competition in pricing, because consumers will pay whatever they can pay and government will pick up the rest of the tab. The competition is all in what services are provided, so the colleges use the extra money from the higher tuition to provide more and more services, justifying the price increases ... but it doesn't give consumers a proportionally better education, it just keeps the college in the competition for more students.

So make no mistake: more money for grants and loans is not money for the students, it's a subsidy for the colleges, and students end up no better off. And, actually, they are far worse off, because this is all just being added on to their liabilities as a taxpayer, ensuring higher deficits and more debt.

Obama's plans to increase college grants and loans are nothing other than direct subsidies for colleges, and just make college more expensive.

DirtFish, Final Lap

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We did three groups of three laps. This was my final lap.
From: pudgenet
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Time: 01:06 More in Autos & Vehicles

DirtFish ride-along

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From: pudgenet
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Time: 01:17 More in Autos & Vehicles


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Along similar lines of yesterday's post about inequality: does anyone actually care about what these protestors think, besides themselves? We've already established I don't care about anyone else's feelings, and I mean that in a very specific way: you are entitled to feel however you like, and it doesn't -- nor do I think it should -- affect me one way or the other. So yeah, some lady on the front page of CNN is "87 and mad as hell," but so what? Why should that have anything to do with me?

I am looking for substance, people. If you just want to not feel bad, move to Haiti where everyone else is worse than you are, but people are more equal.

But there is no substance. They are mad that other people have bigger houses, and so they want to take them away. That's all this appears to be, to me, as I roll through Westlake Plaza.

Vice President Biden said the reason for the protests is that a "bargain has been breached with the American people." What bargain is that? I know of none, and, as usual, he doesn't say. He just wants us to tap into the emotions, like he does. It's the 21st century version of "I feel your pain."

Well, I don't feel their pain, because I see no substance to their complaints. Biden compares them to the Tea Party, but they are inverted: the Tea Party wants government to leave them alone, and the leftist protestors want a more activist government that will take more from everyone else and give it to themselves.

One of their most often-made complaints is something that I hestitate to even mention because almost everyone on the right agrees with it, and it's not really their point: they want to end "crony capitalism." Well a strong majority of the people on the right that I know think that we should end government subidies for businesses, including ethanol and other farming, health insurance for employees, and so on. These protestors don't care about ending "crony capitalism" any more than most of the rest of the country.

No, what they really want is to simply use government force against things they think are "unfair" to make them more "fair." That's at the root of this. When banks charge 44 cents per transaction, and the actual swipe cost is only four cents, why, that's unfair! So Senator Durbin and President Obama swoop in and cap the fees at half the average. The problem is that, aside from the fact that banks have more invested in the cost than the actual cost of the transaction (such as printing cards, providing customer service, development of the systems, and so on), it's not the job -- or even the right -- of the federal government to decide what is and isn't "fair" in the free marketplace.

(Of course, a more practical problem is that the banks always win anyway, and Durbin and Obama knew absolutely that the banks would pass on the lost revenue to the consumers through increased fees. Frankly, I wonder if the Democrats set a cap on swipe fees just so they could demonize the banks when the banks inevitably raised fees on consumers to compensate. Why have merchants upset with banks when you can have the consumers upset by banks?)

Look, people, if you don't like the banks, then avoid them. Same goes for any other business. You can do it. It just means you can't be lazy and you have to do more for youself. I know the thought of being independent scares you, but the thought of a government capable of forcing any person or business to do whatever the people want at the moment is far scarier. And leftists, of all people, should understand that.

ONO! Inequality!

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I would like someone who decries "inequality" to tell me one way in which someone else having more than you hurts you.

Please realize I am not talking about someone else having more power than you and thus being able to violate your rights without recourse. That is a separate problem. No one should be allowed to do that, regardless of how much wealth they have. What someone does to harm you with their wealth is not a problem of wealth inequality, but of insufficient protections of your rights.

I also don't care about your feelings. If you feel bad because someone else has a Bugatti Veyron and you can't afford a Ford Pinto, that's your problem. Your feelings are your responsibility alone.

And here's a hint: the fact that someone can do something you can't doesn't actually hurt you.

Your standard of how well off you are has -- or should have -- nothing to do with how much Bill Gates has. It is about how happy you are, whether you can provide education and food and shelter and clothing for your family ... the standard "standard of living" stuff. And while Americans have paltry wealth compared to the top 1% in America, they are fabulously wealthy compared to most other countries.

It is about you and your family, not about everyone else. Inequality is nonsense.

From: pudgenet
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Time: 00:07 More in Gaming


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From: pudgenet
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Time: 00:08 More in Gaming
<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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