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November 02, 2010


"Fail better" is my new motto.

Safe travels Gary!

Be well, Gary. Sorry I didn't see you more while we were neighbors, but you (alas) are not the only one with health problems.

California, here he comes!!

Thanks, all. And I'm sorry I never asked cleek to get together. Really, I'm not so bad in person. Mostly.

Meanwhile, this is so moving; George Bush:

[...] had “a sickening feeling” when he learned there were no mass destruction weapons in Iraq [....]
But, what the hell, invading Iraq was still the best idea for how to do the most good in the world.

(Or, y'know, see the Texas Supreme Court for phrasing.)

It's too sad to cry about, might as well laugh.

That chart is amazing.

I'm not surprised by the people who didn't think of the mortgage interest deduction as a "government social program." I'm frankly amazed at the people on social security, medicare, welfare, unemployment insurance, etc - direct federal aid - who think they've never gotten gummint help. That's just plain astonishing.

If you are actually going to be in Oakland (as opposed to merely somewhere in the East Bay -- a short-hand I admit to using myself on occasion), give thanks that you may finally be getting a real mayor (as opposed to a total cypher). Oakland has a lot of problems in its city government, to put it mildly. But at least there seems to be some hope of progress now.

The Texas Supreme Court applying foreign law? Wait till Tom Coburn hears about this.

George Takei is such a mensch.

That's just plain astonishing.

There are few things in human nature more pervasive than the dual desire to take full credit for any successes and disavow all responsibility for any failures.
I know quite a few people who made bank in the tech boom, and not one that attributes the lion's share of their profits to the irrational boom itself. Heck, I was listening to This American Life the other day and heard a young banker on Wall Street explain that the government bailout saving his bank and preserving his 6-figure job showed that he was shrewder than the average American, and so deserved more money.

The Lovecraft quote is all the more remarkable considering that he was a proud ultraconservative (outside the South) who only late in life became a supporter of FDR.

I'll be the first to admit that many people are benefits of government largess yet don't realize it ("keep the government out of my Medicare!"). Lower taxes but more benefits, etc...

However, about 25% of the items listed above are not government "benefits". Rather, they are simply reductions in the amount of shit government takes. Sorry - not a benefit. If I announce that I'm coming to your house to take all your stuff, then magnanimously decide to only take half, I think you'd be peeved if I called it a "burglary reduction benefit".

Needless to say, most Americans who have benefited from some type of tax credit like those above, constitute the majority of respondents who have benefited from any of the programs listed. Rightly, in my mind, they claim not to have benefited from a government social program.

Student loans/Pell grants? Yup, lots of Americans have used those, and it's silly for recipients to argue that they haven't been the beneficiaries of social programs. Score one for Professor Mettler.

Social Security? Most people pay more into that than they take out, which makes it hard to keep a straight face while calling it a 'benefit' (admittedly for some there is a net benefit).

Most of the rest are the types of things most people think of when they think of government programs, and most people are right to think that they are not beneficiaries.

Veterans benefits? I don't know the specific benefits this refers to, but unless you call a USPO worker's paycheck a "government social program" benefit, I think Professor Mettler is on weak ground with this one.

Finally, when you call things a "government social program", you're kinda loading the dice - why not ask if they've been benefits of "government programs"?

Because then you don't get the kind of answers you can laugh about with your in-group buddies.

If I announce that I'm coming to your house to take all your stuff, then magnanimously decide to only take half, I think you'd be peeved if I called it a "burglary reduction benefit".

If you start from the position that taxes are a form of legal theft, your argument holds some water.

If you see them more as a kind of dues that you pay for the privilege of being part of a larger society, then probably not.

There not having been an open thread since this one, I'm sticking this here, rather than threadjacking or interrupting a more current discussion of an actual topic of substance.

The last misc. box went out this morning. I've had my suitcase and second piece of checked luggage (my monitor) packed since last night, along with my carry-on bag. I have my collapsible cane. I have my phone, my medications, my info, my semi-usable laptop.

Oh, and I've now also achieved a haircut, and unless I suddenly bolt upright and shout "OH SH*T" at something I've just remembered, I'm ready to leave as of now. This is good.

Maybe I'll even be able to get TracFone to turn on my voice mail, without my having to talk my through it on a second phone line I don't have. Probably not, but at least now I have some time to try.

And to otherwise try to get this Power PC G4 notebook and myself to work together more cooperatively.

And otherwise try to -- what's the term? -- oh, yes, "relax."

Safe journey and happy landings, Gary.

Hoping insommnia doesn't cut in. I've already administered Ambien, but don't want to overdo it.

Any ObWi Bay area folks who would like to offer me tips on living there, or who are interested in getting together eventually, do feel free to drop me a lines, or Friend me on Facebook. You can find out just how much stupider I am when I don't have instant internet access.

Out the door to the aiport in ten minutes. Ta until I'm back online in Oakland!

Flight Date Flight Information  114 Nov 11 Depart Raleigh/Durham at 12:45 PM
Arrive in Chicago (Midway) at 01:50 PM  1440 Depart Chicago (Midway) at 03:10 PM
Arrive in Oakland at 06:10 PM

I'm assuming the TSA won't hassle me over my "RTFM" tee-shirt.

"It means 'read the forgotten manual,' officer."

"Flight manual" might work too.

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