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Don Surber, retired columnist from West Virginia, has perfectly described a key problem with reforming laws to reach goals: it doesn't work. The permanent government steps in, and the elected officials say, "We can't do anything." We know better, but they continue to deny it.

The 1965 law and its 1986 reform made this problem.

Thus, good men and good women think they can fix the law and fix the problem.

That won't work. The people in California tried that with Prop 187, which denied the benefits of citizenship to people here illegally. A judge said this was "unconstitutional" and the Establishment refused to appeal the decision.

And with that, the bad law stays.

Yes, the judge can be impeached. Tell me how well that works.
19th-Dec-2016 07:38 pm - Baselines
It's important to see what's going on. I have found ShadowStats (http://www.shadowstats.com) to be a useful baseline because the statistics are transparent (same reason professionals like it: it helps not to have a goal for your numbers). Recommended.

OK, just so I have a baseline for unemployment at the end of Obama. Let's see how Trump really affects it. 22.8% looks high for those in the prosperous sections of the country, but for those living in the areas that voted for Trump, it's not a bad starting place. This was a major reason for rejecting Hillary: she continued to view that description as "dark" rather than reflective of part of the country.

This chart will update as the months go on, but the statement above of the baseline will not.

7th-Dec-2016 08:08 am - What is a "Boggs Violation"?
A Boggs Violation is a double standard in arguments: you allow your side freedoms you do not allow the other, and consistently construe the other's argument so that you can maintain the conclusion that they are stupid, venal, and evil.

It comes from a hard-fought battle at the Reform Club, finally brought to a close by Denny Boggs, 6th Circuit Justice who submitted the following [numbers added]:

re: By the way, apropos targeting metaphors and the like

Danny J Boggs [Sixth Circuit Address]
Fri Apr 2 05:42:07 PDT 2010

I think we could just bring this thread to a conclusion by simply agreeing that:

1. All of MY SIDE's references and statements are to be taken in the coolest, hip-ironic, culturally aware, benign-metaphorical way possible (see Watts v. United States, and [granting my side the full benefit of the] the conflicting interpretive modes the various judges/justices on the Supreme Court and the Court[s] of Appeals [have approved]),


2. All of YOUR SIDE's references and statements are to be taken in the most mindlessly literal, threatening way possible.

That should work for almost all of our commentators, of whatever persuasion.

3. Also, any charge against MY SIDE requires exquisite legally admissible proof of its accuracy,


4. Any charge against YOUR SIDE must be true if it was asserted by anyone, anywhere.

5. People on MY SIDE are responsible only for what they said personally, in full-quotation context.


6. People on YOUR SIDE are responsible for the inferred implications of anything said by anyone who ever held any idea vaguely similar to what your people think.


On internet discussion groups, a "Boggs Violation" consists of reasoning wherein your opponents are relegated to the even numbers of the list, while your own side has the privileges of the odd numbers. In the case of the Reform Club, this brought the discussion to and end. Frequently when it is alleged now, the purpose is to stop the side committing the Boggs Violation from doing so without acknowledging it.
6th-Aug-2016 09:26 am - Book? Recommendation
It's a pleasure to recommend a couple of books I've enjoyed:

1. Clinton Cash: Graphic Novel which serves as an outline for the much longer book of the same name. It's interesting to see what's coming, and I can think of no better "future preview" of the United States than this short book. Where are we going and how are we getting there?

2. Somewhither by John C. Wright (to whom I was introduced by LiveJournal some years ago as johncwright, though his most recent posting appears in John C. Wright, Author, and remains trenchant and well-written. This is apparently only a Kindle book on Amazon, which limits its distribution to that platform: but if it comes out in paperback, snag one. Welcome to a different world, connected to this one in ways that might surprise you, with its own rules that you can discover along with the protagonist. Recommended. Hoping there's a sequel.

3. Genesis Commentary by Peter S. Ruckman. This is one of THOSE books: written by a pastor at a church in Florida laying out what he's learned from studying the book of Genesis in the KJV. "Not my circus" I can hear the objections. But here's the thing: he's very smart, he argues for his points well, if loudly, and he may be more convincing than you'd expect. Genesis is the starting point for a lot of what we see right now in the world, and this is a good introduction to it. You may not agree with him, though I suspect that wouldn't bother him, but you'll enjoy the process of learning his perspective and more about a foundation stone of what we see now.

4. Personae by Ezra Pound. Recommended to the English buffs who haven't read poetry in a while. This is an excellent collection of poems, some agreeable, some prickly, by a different voice. One of the poems in the collection, entitled simply "Salutation the Third" is an argument with a reviewer in the New York Times, which prefigures much of the poet's future. "Ancient Music" plays on "Summer is icummen in, lhude sing cuccu!", but is instead, about Winter, and will strike an immediate, laughing chord among those who have lived or live where Winter has sway.

5. The Collected Poems of Rudyard Kipling is by way of apology to those who don't like modern poetry. I enjoy Kipling more and more as the years go on, and recommend him as a bedside book to pick up on restless nights (not, as expected, because he'll put you to sleep, but because you'll start to enjoy being awake more).
In the USA, we use traditional measures in everyday life, and SI when we have to communicate on topics that might have international interest, like science. One of the place that bleed over occurs is in medicine, which, although an art, subject to many individual vagaries, is allied to science.

Pediatrician, discussing fevers, said a low fever was 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. I'd internalized the number as 100 years ago, and took a moment to see her thermometer: she had one set to report on the Celsius scale. 37 is 98.6, 38 is 100.4, 39 is 102.2, and 40 is 104 in the cute little lisp converter I wrote to figure this out:

(defun ftoc (x)
( * (- x 32) .5556))
;Correctly translate Fahrenheit to Celsius
(defun ctof (x)
(+ ( * 1.8 x) 32))
;Correctly translate Celsius to Fahrenheit

Result? I keep my definition, and note that the pediatrician may be using the Celsius numbers as shorthand for low, serious, and emergency fevers.

And add a new characteristic error to my collection. Do you have any favorite characteristic errors you notice?
13th-May-2016 12:01 pm - My tweets
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12th-May-2016 12:01 pm - My tweets
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11th-May-2016 05:47 pm - My tweets
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9th-May-2016 09:06 pm - My tweets
  • Mon, 18:33: RT @EugeneMirman: Regardless of who you support this coming November — please try to be condescending and assume the worst of everyone you…
  • Mon, 18:40: RT @DPRK_News: Beet ration increases from six pounds per family to 2,500 grams per family, in celebration of victorious Seventh Workers Par…
7th-May-2016 12:01 pm - My tweets
4th-May-2016 12:01 pm - My tweets
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3rd-May-2016 12:01 pm - My tweets
2nd-May-2016 12:01 pm - My tweets
2nd-May-2016 08:38 am - My tweets
30th-Apr-2016 02:59 pm - My tweets
27th-Apr-2016 03:00 pm - My tweets
22nd-Apr-2016 10:33 pm - My tweets
22nd-Apr-2016 08:53 am - Intelligence
An article from the Mail says that moderns are about one standard deviation less intelligent than Victorians.

While it bases its test on reflex time, I'd suggest that a simpler demonstration of the same thing is the everyday vocabulary employed in novels and popular non-fiction. It is much larger, full of reference to standard works (Book of Common Prayer, Shakespeare, King James Bible, Pilgrim's Progress &c. &c.) most of which are now considered too difficult for highschool, which remains the final degree for the majority of the population. Thomas Hardy, Anthony Trollope, and George Meredith were major novelists, though the standard was Dickens. Thomas Carlyle is one of the most enjoyable non-fiction writers. In the US, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry James would be his opposite numbers. Take a moment and try them out. My trick is to have a pocket dictionary nearby, and make a pencil mark every time I have to look up a word: if I see something with 4 or more, I take time to write it out for myself. There may be other tricks that work as well when facing unfamiliar vocabulary.

What's discouraging about this is the direction of the change over time, and how poorly it is reflected in our popular understanding of ourselves. Reality. It takes work.
21st-Apr-2016 12:03 pm - My tweets
20th-Apr-2016 05:26 pm - New Experiences
Not sure what to make of this. Was browsing newspapers around the world, hit Australia, and ran into google insisting that the news site was unsafe (I'm browsing, not sending credit card information), and then ran into a server denial. Went through Google to see if the link had changed, ran into the same thing. Copied the link, searched for a proxy that existed to avoid censorship, and got in.

If the links from the US to Australia are getting corrupted before the transition to dictators censoring at will, I can imagine how that evolves.

20th-Apr-2016 09:47 am - My tweets
18th-Apr-2016 09:37 am - Society's Infrastructure
The problem the US is currently facing has to do with the decay of its social infrastructure, leading to many decisions undertaken in profoundly discivic ways.

Time to rebuild, guys.

Example: Mannerbund
17th-Apr-2016 12:06 pm - My tweets
17th-Apr-2016 01:52 am - My tweets
13th-Apr-2016 11:47 pm - My tweets
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