August 15th, 2005


Amusement in the Morning

Today's amusing headline: Forecasters Predict Drop in Deficit, noting that the deficit has dropped. At the bottom of the article, we have a moment of truth:

The projection for the deficit at the end of the current budget year on Sept. 30 remains far worse than when Bush took office. At that time, both White House and congressional forecasters projected cumulative surpluses of $5.6 trillion over the subsequent decade.

Instead, deficits returned three years ago after four years of budget surpluses. The chief reason was that forecasters assumed that a surge in revenue in the late 1990s — fueled in large measure by the stock market boom — would continue.

The economy hit a recession, the market tumbled and a surge in homeland security spending after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks combined to produce a return to deficits.

In other words, this is reading tea leaves for any out year, and no one is good at it. Not even sometime economist Paul Krugman.

Can Feminists Argue Coherently?

Evidently not.

A brief selection:

Below are selections from five of the more coherent critics of last week's column:

"Yes. It's defintely the influx of WOMEN into the workforce that caused this low 'real wage.' It's not:

a) the exponential increase in child births.

b) the exponential influx of immigrants (both legal and illegal)

c) the increase in the retirement age, thus putting exponential increases of people working later in life in the work force

d) the exponential growth of corporations in this country

e) drops in economy because of exponential offshoring of jobs

Jesus ... for a woman ... I just made this guy look like an idiot. I better get back in the kitchen."

This was an interesting – and all too typical – response, notable primarily for its tangential relationship to the world we currently inhabit. In response: a) American childbirths have dropped from 18.4 to 13.9 per thousand, b) 34 million women entered the labor force between 1970 and 2000, 2 million more than all legal and illegal immigration into the U.S.A. during the same period, c) fewer people are working past the age of 55 than ever before, d) more corporations would increase the demand for labor, not reduce it, e) The economy has not dropped but grown from 5.03 trillion in 1970 to 11.75 trillion in 2004 as measured in 2005 dollars.

A straightforward response: but a response to someone who has only "attitude" on her side, rather than facts. A pitiable case, really, and you'd hope it would be rarer than it is.
  • Current Mood
    amused amused

With Regard to A Side Note in This P (

With regard to that note, another joins the fray: Dr. Weevil, who has a fragment from Petronius:

Since today is International Kissing Day, here’s a little poem attributed to Petronius (Fragment 54 in the collections, though it doesn’t look particularly fragmentary):

Foeda est in coitu et brevis voluptas
et taedet Veneris statim peractae.
non ergo ut pecudes libidinosae
caeci protinus irruamus illuc
(nam languescit amor peritque flamma);
sed sic sic sine fine feriati
et tecum iaceamus osculantes.
hic nullus labor est ruborque nullus:
hoc iuvit, iuvat et diu iuvabit;
hoc non deficit incipitque semper.

And here is Ben Jonson’s translation (Underwood 88):

Doing, a filthy pleasure is, and short;
And done, we straight repent us of the sport:
Let us not rush blindly on unto it,
Like lustful beasts, that only know to do it:
For lust will languish, and that heat decay,
But thus, thus, keeping endless Holy-day,
Let us together closely lie, and kiss,
There is no labour, nor no shame in this;
This hath pleased, doth please and long will please; never
Can this decay, but is beginning ever.

Line 6 (“thus, thus”) seems to depict or enact the kiss itself, and is even more effectively alliterative in the Latin (sed sic sic sine fine). Jonson’s “Holy-day” is what we would call a holiday

Thanks, doc.
  • Current Mood
    accomplished accomplished

Gaming With Limits

Ever thought, "I'll just put so much into the machines and see if I win, and if I don't I'll have a good dinner with the rest" and ended up with no dinner? This guy has your number and a way to not spend it all. (Read fast -- R-J subject to link rot). I'm sure his mother appreciates this better than his prior invention: bungi-cord sling for weightless (well, you know what goes here). She would disagree, since she thinks her son is creative and brilliant.

I think that's called cognitive dissonance.

Meanwhile, since Las Vegas has some of the greatest places to eat in the USA, do yourself a favor and save up a bit for food. Check out the Bettor's Safe.
  • Current Mood
    amused amused

Ten Reasons Sharia and Vegas Will Never Fit

It ought to be obvious. But the article here shows that sharia law (muslim law) is a bad idea for democracies. But my point, of course, is that Las Vegas can't adopt it.

Here's why:

1. Sharia demands that drinkers and gamblers be whipped. What can I say about this other than hospitality and gaming are the two biggest industries in town?

2. Sharia allows husbands to hit their women if they fear that women are being high-handed. Divorce is an option for both parties, here, and family members don't always take their relatives being abused without reacting. 'Nuff said.

3. Sharia allows "an eye for an eye" -- literally. We have an entire tort system that handles this matter. Revenge isn't satisfying. Living well is.

4. Thieves must have a hand cut off. We have jails, and they work. Not only that, but inmates can join the construction industry in town without much difficulty, or work in hospitiality or food service much better with two hands than one. Someone forgot about "rehabilitation" when setting up Sharia -- admittedly, it comes from a period that we've outgrown, but there's a reason we outgrew it. It was wasteful and inefficient.

5.Highway robbers should be crucified or mutilated. See prior point about primitive law.

6. Homosexuals must be executed. This is another "confusing the sinner with the sin" moment. The other side is stating that they are loved, so the sin doesn't matter. Mature adults can work out modus vivendi and discussion. Primitives have problems here.

7. Married fornicators should be whipped and adulterers stoned to death. Did I mention wasteful before? It probably would help with the public health problems, but at too high a cost.

8.Islam orders death for Muslim and possible death for non-Muslim critics of Muhammad and the Quran and even sharia itself. That's me, a critic. If you've read this far, you should be one by this point. If not, you're not paying attention. "possible death". Yeah, right. Ask me if I care. "To live is Christ, to die is gain" as St. Paul said. Or, in the words of Mr. Eastwood: "Make my day!"

9. Islam orders apostates to be killed. This is actually a restatement of 8: any criticism of these moonbats is thought of as something punishable by death. They seem to be unduly fascinated with the death penalty: you'd think most of them had never heard of the immortality of the soul.

10.Islam commands offensive and aggressive and unjust jihad. Which means you're not spending time at restaurants and gaming tables, nor are you starting businesses with their chance of failure and success.

In other words, if you look at it, IT IS NOT PROPERLY PART OF ISLAM. It is just Arab law from the same century as Mohammed, treated as if it were absolute because it was from then. It has been cemented into place because of a tenth century decision that interpreting the law to apply it to changed circumstances is illegal, because "the gates of reason are closed." I'd put it that the minds of the clerisy are closed, myself....

Sharia: bad for Vegas, bad for Americans, probably bad for Arabs, too. But definitely bad for those who want to live a peaceful life: under Islam, you have to pay extra for that, and you probably won't get it.
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed