August 2011 Archives

Ominous news. He must not be doing terribly well.

[Via Daring Fireball.]

John Gruber’s guess is pretty good.

But the saddest part of all of this—to me, anyway—is that Hewlett-Packard, a name synonymous with world-class test equipment, is now going to be, of all things, an enterprise information management company, the test equipment company having been spun off as Agilent in the 90’s.

I give HP, the enterprise information management company, less than a decade before Agilent could snap up the HP name from the ashes.

I. They. Calculators. Don’t stop making. Just hope.

Gruber quotes an NPR article and then in mocking tone says, “But those lucky duckies who can’t afford to shop at Walmart don’t pay any federal income tax. Unfair.” because he gets knocked every time he mentions taxing the rich by people who point out that over half the country pays no Federal income tax.

Whatever, because he’s wrong about what’s unfair.

What’s unfair is that greater-than-half the country gets to decide what to do with the income of the less-than-half of the country that supports them in one way, shape, form or another.+

Ben Franklin said it pretty well. “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”

The republic has ended.


+ And before you go griping about how people who have incomes are not being supported by the “other half,” just take away all of the federal services that they enjoy and see just how much support they aren’t getting…

I find it very interesting that the buzz surrounding Texas Governor Rick Perry’s entry into the Republican presidential candidate field seems to be centering around his faith and public declaration of his Christianity.

It doesn’t seem to be centered around his state’s economic growth and job creation. It seems to be centered around his faith, of all things.

Maybe that’s interesting to some people, but with 76% of Americans identifying themselves as Christians, my question is, Why? Are the remaining 24% of you scared for some reason? How about the Christians in the crowd? What’s got you all so uptight?

Are you afraid that he might pray you into economic health? (Surely he didn’t govern Texas into health—he just prayed, right?)

Are you afraid that he might bless you and you might not want to be blessed? (Don’t sneeze around him!)

Are you afraid that he might base his morals, not on his frail human feelings, but upon a codified set of values? (That’s the Bible, in case you were wondering, and a big part of it applies to non-Christians, too.)

Are you afraid that he might pray for guidance as President? (If God answers, then is that a bad thing? And if He doesn’t and Rick Perry makes up his own answers, is that any worse than anybody else?)

Are you concerned that he might stuff his religion down your throat, passing laws willy-nilly establishing a state religion, forcing you to worship his God, over the dead bodies of the Congress and Supreme Court—you know, the other two branches of government which establish that fabled system of checks and balances?!

Good grief. Go do some real work and focus on the real issues at hand. Does he have more experience than, say, the current sitting President? Has he grown the economy he was in charge of better than the current sitting President has his own? Has he demonstrated a willingness to lead the charge from in front of the troops instead of secretively from behind closed doors?

This is the stuff you should be focusing on, not whether he believes in the Christian God or in the Flying Spaghetti Monster (though that would be really, really entertaining).

So, go on! Dig! But don’t forget to be fair… and dig through Obama’s record, too. Oh… that’s right… You didn’t bother to do that in 2008, so I don’t expect you to do it this time, either. Sigh. Well, at least we’ll know what we’re getting when Rick Perry is elected in 2012. Instead of someone who promises vague concepts with no track record to speak of, we’ll have a thoroughly-vetted candidate whose record will speak volumes for itself.

And you’ll still be stuck with Mr. Hope and Change. Good luck with that.

It’s clear that Warren Buffett is on Obama’s team, but that much notwithstanding, what about the Oracle of Omaha makes what he says any more right than the next guy? He says, “Tax the extremely wealthy.”

I say, “What’s ‘extremely wealthy?’”

He says, “Earners of $1M or more per year.”

I say, “Why $1M? What’s so special about that?”

And he has no answer.

But given the liberal propensity to tax, it’s just as likely to be $250,000 (Obama’s definition of “rich”), which sounds like a lot of money, but isn’t necessarily a lot if you’re married, filing jointly, and burdened by, say, student loan debt. (See this link for a bit more on the subject.)

The money quote?

The American Spectator… simply asks, “… [W]hy do Buffett and the other rich people so ready to pay more have to be told to pay more? Why don’t they just pay more on their own?”

So just pay up, Mr. Buffett, and put your money where your mouth is.

Amen.

[via Daring Fireball]

Quoted here for your reading pleasure, Charley Reese, in 1985:

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don’t write the tax code. Congress does. You and I don’t set fiscal policy. Congress does. You and I don’t control monetary policy. The Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices—545 human beings out of the 235 million—are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.

I excluded all but the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it.

No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislation’s responsibility to determine how he votes.

A CONFIDENCE CONSPIRACY

Don’t you see how the con game that is played on the people by the politicians? Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of Tip O’Neill, who stood up and criticized Ronald Reagan for creating deficits.

The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it. The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating appropriations and taxes.

O’Neill is the speaker of the House. He is the leader of the majority party. He and his fellow Democrats, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto.

REPLACE SCOUNDRELS

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 235 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted—by present facts—of incompetence and irresponsibility.

I can’t think of a single domestic problem, from an unfair tax code to defense overruns, that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.

When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red. If the Marines are in Lebanon, it’s because they want them in Lebanon.

There are no insoluble government problems. Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take it.

Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exist disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people and they alone are responsible. They and they alone have the power. They and they alone should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses—provided they have the gumption to manage their own employees.

This was penned in 1985—over two decades ago. Since then, he’s republished this position with minor variations, but his point remains the same. So here’s my question: Why doesn’t it ever get any better? Why can Mr. Reese point to the same body comprised of different people who are always doing the same things over and over again, decade in, decade out, and make the same statements?

A simple answer: there’s no accountability. In our system, “accountability” is pushed aside by “re-election.” Perhaps if Congress had a “No Congressional District Left Behind” program similar to the heaping pile of dung foisted upon our educational system or, better yet, we merely took Warren Buffett’s advice, things might get better.

Come to think of it, you know what I want? I want somebody like Linda McMahon, a straight-talking outsider. In fact, I almost don’t care about the who as much as what I want to hear. What I want to hear is somebody who will promise the following:

  1. to go to Washington and live on a salary and healthcare plan comparable to the average American’s,
  2. to leave Washington after a term in which they fail to achieve a promised, measurable result in the nation’s economy, whether it’s their fault or not, and
  3. to leave Washington without a golden parachute, to return back to being whomever they were in the first place.

All it would take is one candidate, liberal or conservative, to espouse this notion and then to dare other candidates to do the same. Then we’d have a chance of seeing good things happen.

But until then, all I can do is really hope for real change, ‘cause I haven’t seen it yet.

[via Blonde Sagacity]

Brought to light by John Gruber quoting PC World from March:

Google has acquired a U.S. patent for its popular cycling logo system, also known as “Google Doodles.” Patent 7,912,915 was granted on Tuesday, nearly 10 years after its initial submission in 2001 by Sergey Brin.

The patent is entitled “Systems and Methods for Enticing Users to a Web Site.”

Yeah, it absolutely reeks of “obvious” viewed by 2011 standards. But at least it’s not an idea but is an actual implementation.

I have a lot less heartburn with patenting something that is real vs. patenting an idea. I say that if you can’t make it work and demonstrate that it works, it shouldn’t be patentable.

But more on that in a future entry.