Occupy Wall Street

Reason Morning Links: Police Brutality on an Occupied Wall Street, Solyndra Makes White House Gun-Shy In Silicon Valley, an Extortion Racket Blooms in Mexico

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  • Occupy Wall Street protesters had some run-ins with the NYPD over the weekend. In one case, an officer allegedly pepper-sprayed a peaceful group of female protesters without provocation. And this after one of the girls said, "We're here for you too, we know your pensions are being cut, your friends are losing their jobs." 
  • With the Solyndra scandal still above the fold, the White House has banned journalists from its Silicon Valley fundraisers. 
  • Speaking of fundraisers: Googlers are giving money to Republicans now!
  • Steven Pinker's must-read WSJ essay from Saturday: "Why brutality is declining and empathy is on the rise."
  • Chicago Tribune editorial board comes out against ag subsidies: "The money pouring into Corn Belt bank accounts isn't just setting a record. The latest government figures show farm income blowing past the previous high of $84.7 billion in 2004 to top $100 billion this year. Land values have soared and debt is being paid down aggressively."
  • The IMF needs a bailout
  • Leaderless former cartel thugs are now extorting Mexico's teachers, causing hundreds of schools to close their doors. 

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  1. Good Morning, Mike!

  2. Hippies are rage-inducing, but there’s no call for that.

    1. No there isn’t. But it is hardly surprising.

      1. did you read the brickbat for today? The culture is the problem. Of course the 99% bad apples screw it up for the 1% good guys though.

    2. It’s like they said aobut the old IRan-Iraq war: it’s a shame both sides can’t lose.

  3. With the Solyndra scandal still above the fold, the White House has banned journalists from its Silicon Valley fundraisers.

    W-w-w-what?

    1. I wonder, do they ban cell phones and recording devices? What about hanging out outside and writing down names and license plate numbers?

      All I can think of is the wedding scene in the Godfather where Sunny breaks the reporter’s camera only with David Axelrod in the role of Sunny.

      1. *Sonny

        1. ‘Sunny’ is funnier.

          1. In the new version George Lucas has the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia digitally inserted into that scene and James Caan cut out.

            1. Whatever happened to James Caan? After the Godfather (and a personal favorite of mine – Thief), it seems it was Grade-B movies and television.

              1. He was the victim of terrible script choices. He was offered and turned down every big leading role in the 70s. I forget the whole list but it included Kramer versus Kramer I know. He turned down all sorts of roles in movies that turned out to be huge hits. And instead took roles in one fair to lousy movie after another. And it wound up killing his career.

                1. Hmm. Meanwhile, Al Pacino made hella good choices. Go figure.

                2. Thief was a great underrated movie –

                  Especially since the main character doesn’t want to be a ‘bought’ man, he ends up destroying everything he owns – his business, family and property.

                  1. ^^SPOILER ALERT^^

                3. The same thing practically happened to Sean Connery. Did you see that interview where he described his reason for retiring?

                  He said that he was offered several roles (in films like The Matrix and, as I recall, Lord of the Rings), but turned them down because he didn’t understand the script. Those movies ended up being massively popular.

                  So one day, a script for a movie called “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” came across his, presumably mahogany, desk. He read it, and he didn’t understand the appeal. But he figured he might as well give it a shot. And it was terrible. So he decided that he didn’t really understand audiences anymore these days, so he might as well retire.

                  tldr; LXG made Connery quit acting.

                  1. I didn’t know he had retired. I wonder what part in LOR he was offered. I wouldn’t think it would have been Gandolf. But I think he could have done a better job as the King of Rohan than the guy they got.

                    1. I like the dude they had, but needless to say, Connery as King o’ Rohan would have been awesome.

                    2. Wikipedia seems to believe that he was offered Gandalf:

                      Connery stated in interviews for the film (included on the DVD release) that he was offered a role in The Lord of the Rings series, declining it due to “not understanding the script.” CNN reported that the actor was offered up to 15% of the worldwide box office receipts to play Gandalf, which had he accepted, could have earned him as much as $400 million for the trilogy. After the series went on to become a huge hit, Connery decided to accept the lead role in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, despite not “understanding” it either. In July 2005, it was reported that he had decided to retire from film-making, following disillusionment with the “idiots now making films in Hollywood” and the turmoil making the 2003 film.

                    3. Wow. He would have done a good job. But I can’t see anyone being better than Ian McKellen in that role. To me of all of the cast of characters, McKellen was the closest to what I imagined the character being in the book. He was just perfect.

                    4. I read somewhere that Christopher Lee wanted to play Gandalf, but decided he was too old to jump on horses, fight, etc.

                    5. Christopher Lee probably was too old, but he would have been great.

                    6. Anecdotally, Tolkien himself said that if a LotR film was ever made, he wanted Christopher Lee to play Gandalf.

                      He is, in a way, much closer to the slightly scary Gandalf of the books.

                    7. Christopher Lee is one hell of an actor. Of course he’s been in a kajillion movies – many bad and many good.

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VE77ixG7DY

                    8. Perhaps, but Saruman really needs to be scarier/more sinister than Gandalf. In film you don’t have the luxury of spending time explaining personalities, they have to be immediately apparent.

                      So if Gandalf is Christopher Lee, who in the world can you cast as Saruman? Maybe the assassin from the Untouchables or “Jaws” from the James Bond films, those are really creepy guys.

                    9. Looked it up, Billy Drago is the name of the guy from Untouchables. He could have made a good Saruman.

                    10. Well if Christopher Lee is Gandalf, then Sean Connery is Saruman.

                      Obviously.

                    11. I thought Saruman was supposed to be more sinister precisely because he wasn’t what he seemed.

                    12. CNN reported that the actor was offered up to 15% of the worldwide box office receipts to play Gandalf,

                      O. M. G.

                      Although I find that number somewhat incredible. 1/7 of worldwide receipts?

                    13. 1/7 of worldwide receipts?

                      Yeah, I don’t believe that either. Connery did get a deal like that for The Untouchables (minimal up-front money but a big share of the profits), but LOTR wasn’t a cheap movie to make so I can’t see New Line giving away that much BO.

                      Plus, LOTR had a huge built-in audience; it’s unlikely that the success of the films would depend on Sean Connery being in it.

                    14. …I find that number [15%] somewhat incredible

                      It is. However, prior to LotR, do you remember seeing any of the other actors (with the exception of McKellen) in anything? They were looking for someone “bankable”.

                    15. Liv Tyler wasn’t bankable?

                      Also, Aragorn was in Crimson Tide, Samwise was in Rudy, Wormtongue was in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Saruman was in The Wicker Man, Gimli was in Indiana Jones, the Mouth of Sauron was in Dark City…

                    16. Liv Tyler wasn’t bankable?

                      He said “bankable,” not “bangable.”

                    17. Christopher Lee was in much, much more than “The Wicker Man”.

                    18. How does one not understand the script of the LOR?

                  2. Yet “The Avengers” didn’t kill it? In fact, everyone associated with that film should have been given the option of seppuku at its grand opening at the Chinese Theatre.

                    1. Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman walked it off pretty well, at least.

                    2. Connery picks sci-fi/fantasy films at random, because I’m not sure he understands the genre. He’s made a lot of questionable choices (‘Outland’, ‘Highlander II’), but the first ‘Highlander’ was a great choice.

                    3. Connery picks sci-fi/fantasy films at random, because I’m not sure he understands the genre.

                      What? You didn’t like Zardoz?

                    4. + the internets for the Zardoz reference BP. But really, is any movie that has a 28 year old Charlotte Rampling running around naked or half clothed really THAT BAD?

                    5. John – that’s the only reason I watched the entire thing.

                    6. it’s been a while since I’ve seen Outland, but I remember it being an okay (in a grade-b way) flick.

                    7. In a just world, they would have walked off with a severe limp.

                  3. LXG wasn’t that bad.

                    1. LXG wasn’t that bad.

                      On the other hand: it was pretty bad.

                  4. He said that he was offered several roles (in films like The Matrix and, as I recall, Lord of the Rings), but turned them down because he didn’t understand the script. Those movies ended up being massively popular.

                    To be fair, I can understand him turning down The Matrix–without the visuals, the script itself is actually pretty weak, and it took a lot of people by surprise when it became a hit.

                    But turning down LotR–a film on the most famous fantasy series of all time with a huge ensemble cast and a ton of money backing it–because he didn’t understand the script? I have a feeling there was more going on there than Connery let on.

                  5. I can see being skeptical about The Matrix, but Lord of the Rings? The book’s sold 150 million copies, fer Chrissakes.

                4. He turned down all sorts of roles in movies that turned out to be huge hits. And instead took roles in one fair to lousy movie after another. And it wound up killing his career.

                  I don’t know if it necessarily killed it. He’s been working pretty steadily for the last 35+ years now, his mid-80s drug period excepted. I think the distinction you’re trying to make is that instead of becoming a star like DeNiro, he became a perpetual role player.

                  1. I liked him in Alien Nation.

              2. He was great in Way of the Gun but that was about 10 yrs ago.

        2. I noticed that right after I hit the send button. Oh well, you get my point.

    1. Sure, if we just pump some more money into a losing system, it is bound to work this time.

      1. At least John gets it.

      2. But John, if we just prop up the system long enough, eventually it will prop itself up, without ever having asset prices reset.

        (This is what Scientologists our policymakers actually believe.)

        1. And without having to ever deal with the welfare state. I don’t know if you read it, but I responded to one of your posts this weekend by my anecdotal experience with liberals in Washington who cannot be convinced that we are broke. As long as anyone anywhere owns anything, we are not broke apparently.

          1. Because all money/property belongs to the state; they just decide how much of it you are allowed to keep.

          2. I saw that but didn’t get a chance to reply.

            I think the bigger issue is that the century-long policy of monetary inflation has created a situation where policymakers are counting on eternal price appreciation in securities and real estate, and have constructed a system that can’t function without it.

            Say for example that real estate was still 200% overvalued. (I don’t have any basis for that particular number. I’m just doing a thought experiment here.)

            The system can’t afford to allow prices to find their natural level because appreciating real estate has been used as a kind of generational savings, primarily for Boomers. The Boomers have been told they get to have 20 year retirements – and one way that was supposed to be financed was from all the wealth represented by Boomer real estate holdings.

            What if it’s not there? What if it CAN’T be there?

            We can’t meet our promises of Boomer idleness without asset price appreciation.

            The real threat of deflation isn’t the classic “reinforcing feedback cutting economic activity” phantom menace the Keynesians always talk about. The real threat of deflation is that it would catastrophically disrupt the lifestyle expectations of a huge segment of the population that has been told it gets to be idle for the next couple of decades, and needs to be able to sell accumulated assets to the rest of us at high prices for that to work.

            1. That is a very good point. But it is not just the baby boomers. It is the entire middle class. At least in the United States, the government created a system where the only way open to the middle class to accumulate wealth was through appreciation of their homes. Think about it. We have had going on twenty years now of near zero real interest rates. And we also tax capital gains without indexing it. So any person who tries to save is between the taxes and inflation going to see very little return. The only real tax break available to the middle class is the home mortgage interest deduction. The whole system is set up for people to over pay for their houses and then put their wealth into their homes.

              This does two things. First, as you point out it creates a system that can only function through the constant appreciation of housing. Second, it takes the majority of the middle class’s wealth out of production and puts it into housing. Image all of the wealth that would have been created if all the money people have put into their homes over the last twenty five years had been put into productive investment.

              1. So, hypothetical question John. Since buying an already built home is affected by these forces (and buying a home from a major builder too because they are pricing based on these forces) then would it noe be a better idea to buy land and build your own home (acting GC type thing) price wise? Would that NOT reflect the true baseline value of the home?

                Spitballing an idea here.

                1. But the land is affected by the same forces. An empty lot in a nice neighborhood with good schools is going to cost a lot more than one in an industrial area or out in the middle of nowhere.

              2. Land and housing is a productive investment? Just because a credit bubble occurred, again, in this area doesn’t mean the area is nonproductive. If you want to take a long run view land is finite (the foreseeable ability to find new livable arable land is limited) , improved land is worth more (in most instances) than unimproved land, and it takes labor to improve land (never mind the long value chain involved). So, in and of itself land as investment is productive over the long run, it’s also functional in virtually all scenarios. The issue is the social engineering and unintended consequences involved with land. This coupled with the classic bubble issue of buying something solely for it’s perceived future value (we saw this with homes and farmland in the recent past) and not assessing the underlying fundamentals or value of the investment.

            2. I think the bigger issue is that the century-long policy of monetary inflation has created a situation where policymakers are counting on eternal price appreciation in securities and real estate,

              I don’t think its asset prices so much as it is governmental debt.

              They have been piling on debt based on the assumption that it can and will be paid off with devalued currency when it comes due. Debt is now at a level here and in Europe where the currency has to be devalued.

              The game they are playing is to devalue it as much as possible “under the table” by laundering the freshly printed fiatbux through various intermediaries and shams.

              Of course, this is a losing game in the long run, and the long run isn’t very long unless your debt portfolio is long (which ours isn’t).

        2. I see Fluffy gets it, too.

          Pretty soon my proposal will have critical mass!

          1. I read a NYT article about Greek debt over the weekend. It’s hilarious that anyone can actually believe Timmeh could be the savior for such a fucked up situation.

            1. All that’s necessary is exactly one article on Greek bonds. Anyone thinking there’s something worth salvaging there is beyond all hope.

            2. the krauts are lining up to throttle timmeh.

              1. my 2008 prediction was as follows (search foo requires too much effort at this time):
                1. Germany reissues mark.
                2. Euro collapses, funds flee to dollar and yen
                3. Yen falls like hous of shit under the weight (think lindsy lohan after a long night)
                4. Dollar takes extra pressure, cracks.
                5. Real investors spread across south american fiat and gold/silver.
                6. Saudi Rial being tied to dollar causes strife saudis make move to get oil on localized exchange…desert war ensues…again.

        3. I remember when regulators were trying to get Citi and Wachovia to merge. My coworkers and I decided that regulators had realized both houses were falling over, and so their plan was to just prop them up against one another. What could possibly go wrong?

      3. Look, he’s got a system. He’s gonna win it all back, he can feel a break coming his way.

  4. those protestors had some terrible PR. Even the NYT couldn’t put together a coherent message from their actions. Still doesn’t make it right to season and tenderize them.

    1. The progressive establishment doesn’t know what to make of a true grass roots movement.

      The protesters can see the problem

      ” I feel like our government is being run by the people they are supposed to be regulating. They’re being careless with money.”

      but have been so brainwashed by the establishment that they think more government is the solution.

      1. But corporations aren’t people and the drug war. Global warming and greed are killing the planet. My unemployment is running out and where are the green jobs? Give me a house to live in and irresponsible lending should forgive my mortgage. The rich need to pay their fair share and no more war for oil.

        1. This is far more coherent than the average campus protest.

      2. The Elizabeth Warren shriek was applauded by several ‘friends’ of mine on FB. They think the only way to more equality is more government.

        If I post links to Reason, etc showing government abuse of power, they all tend to agree, but still miss the salient point.

        The thought seems to be: Government/Courts/etc doing what I personally agree with = good. Not agree = bad. They seem to want government enforcement of morals and/or ideology.

    2. Seasoning, yes. I walked near there the other day and the smell was unbelievable.

  5. http://dailycaller.com/2011/09…..-the-gops/

    I guess Perry is a big open borders guy. If his chances at the GOP nomination were not done before, I am thinking they are now.

    1. The nativists are firmly in charge…as was seen by the ad to reduce “legal” immigration.

      Obviously there are no jobs here because foreign nationals are coming in and taking them all.

      Its good to know both parties are dead-enders.

      1. Or that “study” claiming that 80% of jobs created in Texas went to “legal or illegal immigrants” as if there were no difference.

        1. Maybe, but I’m pretty sure nearly all jobs in Massachusetts go to legal or illegal immigrants or their descendants, so Mitt is even worse.

  6. So the IMF needs a bailout from the same countries that will then be bailed out from the IMF. In the world of economic perpetual motion is not only accepted, those who do not are labeled the crackpots.

    1. You see, you have to confiscate wealth from productive people, then skim from the top to spread it amongst various bureaucratic bodies and those who are politically connected, then you give what is left to a failing system which is financially unsustainable without infinite infusions of stolen cash, then skim even more and spread it amongst the receiver’s various bureaucratic bodies and the politically connected, and voila: wealth is created.

      1. All the world’s a Ponzi scheme.

        1. Haven’t you heard? You can’t call it that! It may look, act, and be financed exactly like a Ponzi scheme but a Ponzi scheme is illegal and defrauds the unsuspecting. Since this is instituted by law and everyone knows that it’s funding is unsustainable then it can’t be called a Ponzi scheme because that would be….uhhh….dishonest?!? Never mind.

  7. The Greek tragedy: no money, no hope
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fin…..-hope.html

    People are switching off: from politics, from the mass media, from social life.

    “We would like to see the politicians executed,” says Maria, not smiling as she delivers the joke. “Most people are saying this: politicians deserve capital punishment ? at the Greek equivalent of Traitors’ Gate. It would be a nice time for politicians to be heroes, to stand up and defend the people. But they’re not.”

    1. People are switching off: from politics, from the mass media, from social life.

      ** smiles from space **

    2. The politicians must heroically find more money to borrow!

      1. The politicians must heroically find more money to borrow steal!

        FIFY

        1. but that doesn’t sound heroic. If they fix the system they can raise revenue by removing the excess wealth from the system. So I guess, it’s stealing, but in the Robin Hood sense.

    3. What we need is some classical playwright to turn this into a good ole greek tragedy.

      1. Hell yeah! If I were a better writer, I’d do it myself.

      2. With Ray Harryhausen doing the mythological creatures.

        1. Gotta throw some actresses with big hair and actors with mullets in, too. Just to be sure.

      3. Comedy seems more apropos. Aristophanes could rip these idiots a new one.

        1. Oh God could he. Imagine Obama as the Socrates character in the clouds and The Thinkery as the White House.

        2. And so could have Tacitus.

        3. So could Leonidas.

    4. Once Greece starts giving their politicians the Hemlock Heave-ho, can we stop pretending that they’re a first world nation?

      1. That might be the sign that they are the ONLY first world nation.

        1. Should be mandatory.

    5. “We would like to see the politicians executed,” says Maria,

      Maria for Censor!

      1. Woo-hoo!

    6. That’s great. However, I think as a general rule whoever actually undertakes to legally execute a sitting politician should be required to fill that politician’s seat, to show that he can carry out the duties of office in a manner less deserving of capital punishment.

  8. A Campaign Finance Ruling Turned to Labor’s Advantage
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09…..ge.html?hp

    But the ruling also changed the rules for unions, effectively ending a prohibition on outreach to nonunion households. Now, unions can use their formidable numbers to reach out to sympathetic nonunion voters by knocking on doors, calling them at home and trying to get them to polling places. They can also create their own Super PACs to underwrite bigger voter identification and get-out-the-vote operations than ever before.

    1. How did we ever get to a point where there was any question that Unions or anyone else for that matter can knock on doors and reach out to people with their political message? It is a free country. Unions should be able to create whatever the hell PACs they want to and talk to whomever they please.

      1. Exactly. But somehow libertarians are “anti” union.

        1. I don’t think people who describe themselves as little “l” are necessarily ant- union. It’s the skewed playing field and NLRB that is opposed. If the entire process was driven by contracts alone without federal law intervening then I don’t think anyone would see an issue.

          1. And not destroying/damaging/blocking use of employer property and equipment during work stoppages.

          2. Libertarians (good ones, anyway) have the same complaints against big unions as big business. Namely, that they rely on state power to maintain a privileged market position.

            1. hate unionz, hate unionz, hate unionz, got it.

              Derp.

              1. who’s the troll now?

            2. Scotsmen (true ones, anyway) …

              FTFY

              But I agree with your general point.

  9. Bloomberg rips Buffett Rule as ‘theatrics,’ says wealthy pay their share
    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/l…..en1YRSjUjM

    “The Warren Buffett thing, that’s just theatrics,” the mayor said. “If Warren Buffett made his money from ordinary income rather than capital gains, his tax rate would be a lot higher than his secretary’s.

    “In fact a very small percentage of people in this country pay a big chunk of the taxes.”

    1. Is Bloomberg angling for a third party challenge at Obama?

      1. Run, Mike, run!

    2. The only way to get Bloomberg to show his fiscally conservative stripes is to threaten his money apparently.

  10. Majority Rates Obama ‘Same’ as or ‘Worse’ Than George W. Bush
    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/po…..ge-w-bush/

    A majority of Americans rates President Obama “about the same” or “worse” than his predecessor, George W. Bush, according to a new Gallup poll.

    When a random sample of 1004 adults were asked to compare the 43rd and 44th presidents, 34 percent of respondents said Obama had been a worse president than Bush, while 22 percent said he was about the same.

    1. This simply shows how racism is still alive in this countrAh,HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      1. Yes, thinking a black man and a white man are equally bad is racism.

        1. Hah, that put a smile on my face.

  11. Robots Will Take Yur Jobz!

    http://www.slate.com/id/230444…..picks=true

    1. The computer doing so well on Jeopardy is actually a much bigger deal than Deep Blue beating Gary Kasparov at chess. If computers can actually answer questions, they can take over the roll of humans in fields like law or teaching.

      1. They already make better referees than people.

      2. roll of humans

        RC’z Law?

      3. roll of humans

        RC’z Law?

        1. With added squirrelz!

        2. Welcome back! You have been missed!

      4. “Today, the Supreme Artificial Intelligence Court, in a landmark hearing concerning the proposed overturning of Roe v. Wade, wisely answered ‘Toronto’.”

        1. eh-he hem…’what is toronto’

          1. I find you in contempt. You have 48 hours to get your affairs in order.

      5. The computer cheated at Jeopardy. It didnt use OCR and/or voice recognition to understand the questions, err answers.

        1. If all the answers were written in Mongolian, Ken Jennings would finish with $0 every time. That doesn’t mean he’s “cheating” by having them in English.

          1. It would exactly mean that if he went on Mongolian Jeopardy.

            1. Who is Gengas Khan?

            2. I imagine every question in Mongolian Jeopardy is “Who is KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN?”

            3. So you’re saying a game of Jeopardy would be impossible between people who speak different languages?

              1. I would say so. Especially considering how many puns they like to use.

      6. Joh, they are already piloting Watson in the medical field as a “diagnostic consultant.”

        Inevitably, of course, it will be used as a “treatment consultant”, to recommend the most cost-effective treatment.

        1. To me computers make perfect sense for medical diagnosis. A lot of diagnosis is “Symptoms A,B, and C equal condition X”. But there are so many symptoms and so many possible conditions that no human doctor could ever know or remember them all. But a computer could.

          1. To me computers make perfect sense for medical diagnosis. A lot of diagnosis is “Symptoms A,B, and C equal condition X”. But there are so many symptoms and so many possible conditions that no human doctor could ever know or remember them all. But a computer could.

            There is some truth to that John; however, I would rather employ the computer in the pharmaceutical arena first.

            I don’t think Watson could properly DX a hernia or Crohn’s disease, just as an example. Diff DX is is an art as well as a science. I’m no Luddite, but I am skeptical of the veracity of the DX Watson would conclude. Even in robot-assisted MIS procedures, a human is required as either the prime mover or motivator.

            And if you I took your H&R posting HX and fed it to Watson, would you really like to take the chance that the DX it spit out would be either a brain tumor, encephalitis, or syphilis? “Flu-like symptoms” alone would create a wall of possible DX’s.

            As an adjunct or supplement, fine. As a primary diagnostician, meh.

            1. Definitely as a supplement. Good points.

            2. Expert systems are designed as guidance systems for the professional. The objective is to provide options to the diagnostician that they might not have thought of or to speed along the diagnostic process.

              Complete replacement of humans in medical diagnosis cannot occur until the human subjects become wholly rational beings or until the software becomes empathetic and able to extract information from unwilling subjects.

              1. In internal medicine, especially dealing with genetic diseases, I can see the utility of such systems.

                I understand the objective and can see where such guidance would be cost-effective, as opposed to having an entire team of specialists devoted to one case. Conversely, I can also see the potential for the expert system making the process even more expensive by the system suggesting a battery of tests and exams when the attending is pretty sure, by proxy of experience and other intangible factors, that a DX is valid. Like for example, a child is admitted with left hemi blindness as the chief complaint and the expert system predicts an occipital tumor or some sort of retinopathy. I happen to know the child has an affinity for dog poop, order a test on a pretty solid hunch that the pediatric coprophile has an invader, and the kiddo test confirms a nice parasite present in the bloodstream.

                Just sayin’.

                1. Not disagreeing with you at all. Expert systems have a great deal of utility, but also are limited in significant ways, mostly by lack of experience in human behavior.

                  1. Expert systems also tend to have a problem created by the experts using them. In a medical case, the expert can pre-diagnose and decide which symptoms are important, which then drives to a particular (possibly wrong) answer.

                    1. What no one has mentioned yet:

                      Symptoms are rarely specific for a single illness. As Groovus said, they point you toward long, long lists of possible illnesses that you follow up with testing. I don’t see how you replace human judgment on which tests to order (and how to prioritize and interpret them in the context of the patient’s history) with a computer.

            3. As an adjunct or supplement, fine. As a primary diagnostician, meh.

              So basically like PDR, but heavier?

        2. Death clusters!

        3. Just so long as my robotic replacement happens just as I’m retiring, I have no beef with my robot lawyer overlords.

          1. I can’t wait for them to invent robotic prosecutors that actually charge people for every single written law that they break. Of course, it won’t destroy society if they don’t have enough robotic law enforcement to place every man, woman, and child in prison. And then, they would also need robots to run the prisons. And of course, in some states, they let prisoners vote, so I guess they could just vote for anarchy and amnesty.

        4. Inevitably, of course, it will be used as a “treatment consultant”, to recommend the most cost-effective treatment.

          I suspect amputation and euthanasia will be the most common “recommendations” for all but the least complicated cases.

        5. Most effective treatment recommendation:

          =

          Healthcare finance problem solved!

          1. dammit…..should have said:

            anydisease = drinkhemlock

    2. I’m more concerned about when the robots Unionize.

      1. Computers are great resources, but i have trouble picturing a computer being a really good teacher.

        1. You need a robot to teach you how good a robot can teach? It’s robot turtles extending their mechanical legs all the way down.

          1. No, I need a heart-warming film about a robot teacher that showed me that the most important element on the Periodic Table…is caring.

            1. Characters include a robot that teaches robots, a robot that teaches humans and a human that teaches robots.

              1. Fry: So, who’s that weird-looking guy?

                Bender: That’s a human.

                Fry: What’s he do?

                Bender: Eh, the usual human stuff. He laughs, he learns, he loves.

                Fry: Boring!

              2. I mean, on further thought, robots could make good teachers, but I don’t think they’d entirely replace humans. In addition, I suppose it’ll be awhile before robots start to stand and deliver.

                  1. Dude, yes. This video proves Western Civilization was worth it.

        2. I had a fantastic computer teacher, for an hour or two every day, decades ago. It’s dumbfounding that we haven’t seen more progress since then.

          I say “fantastic” not because the software was better than a human teacher, but because 20 copies of a computer program teaching 20 different students, each at their own pace, can be better than one lone teacher teaching a big group all together. “Mainstreaming” faster students into slower classes is a lousy idea, but even if you have separate “gifted” classes there will always be a wide spectrum of abilities in each subject in each class. So you’re always going to be dealing with the tension between wanting to slow down the curriculum to keep some students from falling behind vs wanting to speed up to allow other students to progress further ahead. The only way to let students work to their full capacity is with one-on-one instruction, and the only affordable way to deliver individually tailored instruction to every student is with computers.

          1. Not. Gonna. Happen. Ever.

        1. And, of course, I liked to a version without that lyric in it. Sigh.

          1. With the missing lyric:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..re=related

      2. I’m more concerned about when the robots Unionize.

        Is that before of after Skynet becomes self-aware?

    3. What happens to economic laws when productivity approaches infinity parabolically?

      This is a serious question.

      1. As productivity approaches 1, economic laws approach 0.

        1. The laws of thermodynamics as well.

      2. It goes back to the old Island metaphor for the economy. If I am alone on a desert island, I have to do everything myself. I am fully employed. Then one day someone else shows up. And that allows me to only fish while that person gathers fire wood and tends the garden. And then a third shows up and that allows us to specialize more and so fourth. The point of the analogy is to show that increased productivity doesn’t take away your “job”. It just takes that “job” but allows you to go do something else making or doing things that couldn’t be done before. If 80% of the population was still necessary to grow enough food, we probably wouldn’t have a lot of the specialty service sector jobs we have now. We just wouldn’t have the people.

        But what happens when productivity gets so high that we can produce everything anyone would want in the world with say 20% of the population actually working or better yet 5%? What do the rest of us do? Live a life of leisure? Invent new services and forms of entertainment for ourselves?

        1. “Invent new services and forms of entertainment for ourselves?”

          Yes. This. And as these new things are invented, there will not be enough for everyone.

          They will be scarce, and economic laws will apply.

        2. …go to goddamn Mars.

        3. But what happens when productivity gets so high that we can produce everything anyone would want in the world with say 20% of the population actually working or better yet 5%?

          Hopefully, they could spend their spare time building Ferrari 458 Italia’s.

        4. Fully interactive porn with haptic interfaces? Really, we all know that’s how humanity is going to end.

          1. With a bang?

          2. Not with a bang, but with a wimper…and sticky.

          3. Humanity may end but Hookerbot 5000 and humanity’s other robot progeny will go on!

      3. There will always be scarcity.
        And as long as there is scarcity, economic laws will apply.

        1. Just look at eBooks, for example. I was checking out Amazon’s eBook library borrowing system the other night.

          Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I had to put an eBook on “hold” because they were “all” checked out.

          There you have an example of a resource that can be replicated infinitely with no additional labor. So, since there is no real scarcity, they create artificial scarcity.

          1. Artificial scarcity, like internet in a Marriot hotel. They throttle it way down to dial-up speed and offer it for free as “hi-speed lite” and you can pay an extra $25 a day for “full speed” that is slower than any budget hotel. I’m surprised they don’t offer “hot water lite” with an upcharge for the steamy stuff.

            1. I don’t recall which airline it was, but I was flying from LA to NYC and had purchased “coach” tickets. When I got on the plane, I discovered that this particular airline had subtracted five inches of legroom from “coach” seats, and was selling the old legroom as “coach+”! Very fun with a three-month-old.

          2. Of course, without the government propping up a nutty intellectual property system, the market would drive down prices of infinitely-reproducible goods to somewhere near $0.

            1. And good quality infinitely-reproducible goods would suddenly stop being produced.

              Information wants to be free nonexistent!

              1. I doubt it. There’s still a substantial “first mover” advantage even in the face of rampant copying. See the Boldrin/Levine book.

                But in some sense you are correct ? it would probably become more difficult to profitably produce gigantic software projects by employing 500 engineers. Or to spend eight years and $700b making Avatar 2.

                And so what? From a libertarian point of view, why is it the government’s job to prop up this particular business model?

            2. only after it’s commoditized. but at first that good would be worth more.

              i’m taking all this from that Economist article on Nollywood.

          3. Probably at the demand of the publisher.

            1. Right. In this scenario, the publisher would be the artificer.

      4. economic theory would cease to exist because you would have created a perpetual motion machine and the world of star trek replicators would be here.

        no more scarcity, no more economics.

        1. Hmmm…I guess that world violates the laws of thermodynamics hard.

          1. It grabs thermodynamics, puts it in a headlock and makes it cry uncle.

          2. Congress can always amend these laws or rewrite them completely.

            Or perhaps men in black robes can declare them to be null.

            Even physics is no match for the magic of D.C.

      5. Time and land is not infinite, even with a star trek device producing all your food and clothing. People would still want to own their own land, and people also would still decide what to spend their time on. The marxists believe that when the star trek machine is invented, then porn stars will still do their job not because of money, but because they like it, I doubt it, people would still want something in return for doing certain things. The worlds oldest profession will always be around, so will lots of others.

        1. Plus, that replicator’s going to malfunction sometimes and your coffee will taste like ass.

          1. NTTAWWT.

          2. Nutrimatic Drinks Dispenser:

            When the ‘Drink’ button is pressed it makes an instant but highly detailed examination of the subject’s taste buds, a spectroscopic analysis of the subject’s metabolism, and then sends tiny experimental signals down the neural pathways to the taste centres of the subject’s brain to see what is likely to be well received. However, no-one knows quite why it does this because it then invariably delivers a cupful of liquid that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

        2. Men will always pay for sex (visiting a prostitute or otherwise), but the form of payment would have to change.

        3. Right, but if there is no such thing as labor scarcity – or if labor scarcity only applies in extraordinary cases like “I want to listen to the greatest violin virtuoso” – what are people actually exchanging in mundane economic exchanges?

          Detach the system of exchange from labor and it becomes kind of a “glass-bead game”.

          “We’re all exchanging items we ‘own’ but that we don’t need to labor for.”

          That seems to deteriorate into a “gift” economy (or a “compelled redistribution” economy) very quickly.

          Detach labor and we’re all turned into Ina Garten and her massive collection of gay male friends, endlessly having lunches where we eat cucumber sandwiches our robots made for us.

          then porn stars will still do their job not because of money, but because they like it

          I doubt that too. Can we really face the horror of a world without porn stars?

          1. You should read this article. Google it.

            The Economic Organisation of a P.O.W. Camp
            R. A. Radford

            Labor not = economy…fascinating article.

        4. Has anyone ever seen a bathroom on the Enterprise?

          1. They don’t need them anymore. They just beam themselves around and subtract the shit somewhere in transmission.

          2. They’re on the poop deck.

          3. If I were captain, Seven of Nine’s cleavage and pouty lips would be my bathroom.

            Oh yeah!

            1. What the fuck is with that apostrophe thingy?

      6. I wouldn’t worry about that, we’ve always got government to stand between us and the abyss of infinite productivity.

        1. It is like one of those philosophy questions, what happens when infinite productivity meets the infinite taker (government).

      7. What happens to economic laws when productivity approaches infinity parabolically?

        They vaporize. Economics is about allocation of scarce resources. When resources are no longer scarce, well, you do the math.

    4. Software expert systems have been in development since the 80’s. It’s about time they started bearing some fruit.

      I see it as perfect timing. ObamaCare generates 140,000 new injury codes just as we develop the computing power to actually classify and store all of that useless information.

      Only government could take all of that potential and turn into a power for needless bureaucracy.

    5. I was going to take your stupid jobs but then I got high. LOL

      Jess
      http://www.anymouse.com

      1. If there is a robot civil war, you spambots will be the first against the wall, LOL.

  12. Five myths about millionaires
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..story.html

    This past week, President Obama tried to sell his new “millionaires’ tax” to the Rust Belt. “What’s great about this country is our belief that anyone can make it,” he said in Cincinnati on Thursday, praising “the idea that any one of us can open a business or have an idea that could make us millionaires.” But who are the millionaires Obama is talking about? And will a tax on them help the economy? Let’s examine a few presumptions about the man with the monocle on the Monopoly board.

    1. that’s a good boy (strokes hair) carrying my water for free. expect ur trickle-down soon!

    1. global warming makes me sneeze

      1. If Global Warming makes you sneeze, we’ll call the this a case of the cure being worse than the disease.

        Across Africa, some of the world’s poorest people have been thrown off land to make way for foreign investors, often uprooting local farmers so that food can be grown on a commercial scale and shipped to richer countries overseas.

        But in this case, the government and the company said the settlers were illegal and evicted for a good cause: to protect the environment and help fight global warming.

        The case twists around an emerging multibillion-dollar market trading carbon-credits under the Kyoto Protocol, which contains mechanisms for outsourcing environmental protection to developing nations.

        The company involved, New Forests Company, grows forests in African countries with the purpose of selling credits from the carbon-dioxide its trees soak up to polluters abroad. Its investors include the World Bank, through its private investment arm, and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, HSBC.

        In 2005, the Ugandan government granted New Forests a 50-year license to grow pine and eucalyptus forests in three districts, and the company has applied to the United Nations to trade under the mechanism. The company expects that it could earn up to $1.8 million a year.

        But there was just one problem: people were living on the land where the company wanted to plant trees. Indeed, they had been there a while.

  13. Student suspended after he is overheard saying homosexuality is wrong
    …The teacher made good on his threat, and the school administration sprung into action. An assistant principal called the boy’s mother to let her know he was in trouble, and Ary was informed that he would pay for his?er? indiscretion??with a two-day suspension and a blot on his “permanent record.”…

    Insult Obama? Not on this campus!
    …But just hours in, the free speech wall was vandalized by a professor ? yes, a professor! ? who was offended that someone had written “FUCK OBAMA” on the free speech wall. Students being students, the “F-word” was written on the wall many times about many different topics, but apparently the only expletive that offended this professor enough to take action was the one referring to President Obama.

    The professor, whom students identified as Joe Kirk, demanded that the student groups sponsoring the wall ? including Republicans, Democrats, libertarians and socialists ? cover up only the Obama statement. They refused. He then told them that he would come back with a box cutter and cut it out of the wall himself, which he then did. You can see the before and after pictures at thefire.org.

    Shocked that a professor would do this, the student organizers got in touch with the campus police. When the police arrived, they interviewed the students and the vandalizing professor. Then came the surprise: The police told the students that since Prof. Kirk was offended by some profanity on the wall, the students were engaging in “disorderly conduct,” a misdemeanor, and had to cover up all the swear words on the wall or take it down. Realizing that this would make a mockery out of the purpose of a free speech wall, the students simply disassembled the wall. Thus ended SHSU’s several hour-long experiment with free speech….

    1. that’s so gay

    2. the students were engaging in “disorderly conduct,”

      That wonderful catchall for when someone has done nothing wrong, but the cop feels the need to punish them anyway.

      1. Why not charge the professor with disorderly conduct? Everything seems to have been orderly until he started being a douche.

        1. Because the professor is authorita.

          Authorita sides with authorita.

    3. When Mr. Ary ends up in a re-education cam, uh, in prison, he will find out just how misguided his statement was.

    4. I hope that was the evil Kirk…

      1. The evil Kirk from the mirror universe or the transporter accident evil Kirk?

        1. Mirror universe. That way, hipster Spock can help send the good one back.

          1. There is no universe in which Spock is a hipster.

    5. Free speech is all well and good, but a forum where anything is allowed, can be written on for free by people with no vested interest in the forum, and where speech is totally anonymous, almost immediately becomes a cesspool.

      1. One mans cesspool is another mans entertainment, are you brave enough to claim that you have the wisdom to know which is which ?

        1. Some people find cesspools entertaining.

          It’s a tragedy of the commons example. Just because some people find the fun of pissing in the public well greater than their desire for clean water, doesn’t mean we should allow pissing in the public well.

          1. In this case, however, we have a statist prof pissing in the public well of free speech, then complaining that the water tastes funny.

          2. In that case you have an objective external fact not subject to preference (“drinking piss is not good”) that makes that into a commons tragedy.

            In the case of speech, all you’ve got is “Tulpa would like it better if the speech was different”.

            To me, the speech that people engage in when they know there are no consequences represents the only honest speech.

            Maybe when all of us express our true selves, the result is a “cesspool”. If so – oh well. That’s only a tragedy of the commons if getting to see everyone’s true self due to honest communication is a tragedy.

            1. Maybe if speech without consequences was the norm, it would represent honest speech.
              Since you can only find it in a few places, it seems like most truly anonymous speech consists of people trying out various vulgarities just to get a thrill. At least, I certainly hope that /b/ is not a representation of anyone’s “true self”.

          3. Some people would define a cesspool to be a strip club, or a dancing club or a million other things out there that someone would object to. That is probably why it is not a good idea to decide what is a cesspool is, because there is always someone out there that thinks you are either a prude or a sleazebag.

            As for the public well, it is a good example why private property is such a good idea.

      2. Like Hit & Run?

        1. Your mother was a fucking whore, you douchesucking scalawag.

          1. In other words, yes.

      3. Well, look where you’re posting!

    6. So, if I am offended by the sight of roided up thugs wearing costume jewelry will the cops arrest themselves for disorderly conduct?

    7. Did anything on the free speech wall reference anything about Joe Kirk and sheep?

  14. Sorry, But With Global Warming It’s The Sun, Stupid

    Elizabeth Warren’s Non Sequitur
    …Has anyone seen this social contract that obligates you to surrender a “hunk” of what you produce under penalty of violence? Sorry, I don’t trust unwritten open-ended so-called “contracts” into which any advocate of government power may read conditions ex post. (The idea of social contract can be construed more sensibly. See this.) Moreover, why aren’t honest production and exchange of valuable goods counted as payment forward? Just as our living standard is the fruit of previous generations’ production, so today’s producers are helping to raise the living standard of the next generations.

    Boiled down, then, Warren’s argument is that since everyone has paid taxes to provide services without which wealthy people couldn’t have made their money, they should pay more. How does that follow? She’d first have to show that they are paying too little now. She only assumes this. (See Steven Horwitz’s discussion of this matter.) That’s not good enough. And maybe the services cost too much ? wouldn’t we expect that from a protected monopoly?

    She might respond that the presence of the deficit shows that not enough money is collected in taxes and therefore the wealthiest should pay more. Still not good enough. As she herself intimates, the George W. Bush years were marked by unfunded spending. That sounds like a problem of overspending, not undertaxation. Solution: Cut spending.

    1. The idea that the sun has any effect on earth’s climate is just plain anti-scientific dogma pushed by greedy oil companies.

      1. Just like those false evolution thories that posit a giant fusion reactor dumping high quality energy on the Earth all the time…

    2. By Warren’s logic a good chunk of the population should be enslaved to doctors. If I have a life threatening condition and the doctor saves my life, by Warren’s logic the doctor is entitled to a share any wealth I create during the rest of my life since without him I wouldn’t be alive to create it.

      The woman, and Cass Sunstein who professes a similar brand of dopey logic is just comically stupid.

      1. Thus fertility doctors are entitled to a share of your childrens’ wages, and their childrens’ wages, in perpetuity.

      2. Teachers too, since you couldn’t get that job without education accreditation, and you couldn’t that without teachers, mostly.

        Though in all seriousness, now that I think about it, shifting teacher pay to a % of income earned by their students up to age 35 or so might be helpful:
        1) obviously, because it would make all teachers more invested in their students financial well-being. And it would make teaching bullshit majors much more poorly rewarded as befits the relative uselessness of their “contribution” to society.

        2) because middle-class parents might feel more pressure to get their kids into private school or homeschool them to exempt them from the requirement.

        3) because high-school teachers and elementary teachers will feel some pressure to get people into an employable position at younger age rather than pissing away time and untold amounts of money sucking up to communists in order to get a license to work in the good jobs.

        4) while people still might consider their good teachers to be worth it, people stuck paying a shitty public school teacher a chunk of their paycheck for life will have more zeal to weed the fuckers out of the system.

    3. I guess Liz Warren’s mission is to provide Objectivists with proof that there are real-life villains exactly like the ones in Atlas.

      1. It’s funny how much fawning she’s getting from some leftwing media sites. I could be wrong about this, but I think there’s some voter concern about us turning into Greece. . .or worse. More socialism isn’t the answer.

    4. The other gaping hole in her logic is the fact that these ‘free’ services are available to everyone.

      Everyone else gets to use the ‘free’ roads.

      Everyone else can hire employees educated in our ‘free’ public schools.

      All non-thieves are equally engaged in the mutually beneficial activity of refraining from stealing from each other.

      Warren is trying to justify a progressive tax scheme, and there’s really nothing in her argument that does that.

      If free roads + free education + no stealing = wealth, then everyone should be able to produce an equal amount of wealth and everyone should pay the same dollar amount (not the same percentage rate, but the same dollar amount) in taxes.

  15. Occupy Wall Street protestors

    So now Liberals support occupations.

    1. Didn’t you read the Russell article on Obama, jtuf? They believed it for a while.

  16. Out of The Closet Conservative in A Democratic City
    http://pointsandfigures.com/20…..atic-city/

    It’s always fascinating to me that liberal Democrats are supposed to be all accepting, and the live and let live party. However, in practice I find they are less tolerant, and want to tell and direct everyone more than the right wing Christian conservatives they love to pillory.

    Moving to the city from the suburbs made me a libertarian. It’s eye opening. I really do appreciate the diverse views I have gotten while living in the city. I changed my views on gay marriage-I hope if you are reading this and don’t think it is right you will too. I am still pro-life, but think the Federal government ought to just stop funding it and create economic incentives for people to be able to choose life. No doubt, the devil is in the details around those two statements and I would love to engage people about them.

  17. Pelosi and Reid at odds with Obama over trade
    http://thehill.com/blogs/on-th…..ade-deals-

    Throughout the summer, Obama has been making the case that the trade accords with Colombia, South Korea and Panama will help the ailing economy by creating jobs. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) disagree.

  18. Shocked that a professor would do this, the student organizers got in touch with the campus police. When the police arrived,

    they all had a good laugh.

    1. Indeed, one of the police whipped out a can of spray paint and produced the free speech classic “FUCK ‘FUCK OBAMA'”.

  19. Realizing that this would make a mockery out of the purpose of a free speech wall, the students simply disassembled the wall.

    Fucking pussies. Maybe the school will offer grief counseling sessions.

    1. At least they learned something.

  20. http://miami.cbslocal.com/2011…..-poll-win/

    I think maybe Cain winning the straw poll in Florida may be kind of a big deal. Cain is a little loopy. The 9-9-9 plan sounds good until you think about it. But Cain’s success shows how desperately people want something different and how gravely dissatisfied they are with the current governing class. When you think about it what does Cain offer? I can’t see where he offers anything other than he is not a politician and he speaks with a sincerity that is a complete antidote to the reptilian smoothness of people like Perry and Romney.

    1. John,

      Florida is a loopy state. They could have easily gone for Bachmann had she promised free prescription drugs for all. As it was, Cain was a cancer survivor and thus connected with all those angry (yet slightly confused) old people.

      The north and east will go to Romney. Perry will get the south and possibly California, but Romney will be nominated. Then Obamny will compete against Robama and we’ll be in for another 4 years of status quo ho.

      1. We won’t have four more years of status quo no matter who wins. Like Herb Stein used to say, “when something can’t go on forever, it won’t”. I think the next President and the country at large will be living that statement.

        1. You’re right, it can always get worse.

    2. When you think about it what does Cain offer?

      Good God man!!! He offers double pepperoni and extra cheeze.

    3. The Florida straw poll has an excellent record of picking the next nominee. Which kinds of scares me, in this case.

      Although I’m so down on Perry and ROMNIAC, that Cain might just be the better choice.

      1. A lot of the crazy stuff Cain says would never get enacted anyway. I don’t think he is up for the job. But then again neither are Romney or Perry. And we know Obama isn’t up to the job. But I think people desperately want someone to stand up and call bullshit. And that is what Cain is doing.

        1. A lot of the crazy stuff Cain Paul says would never get enacted anyway.

          And yet, paralyzing fear will still grip the GOP

        2. You do realize that nearly any one of the H&R regulars would be considered “crazy” if we ran for office?

          Cain has some goofy ideas, but so does everyone. He just hasn’t been sufficiently polished by PR consultants to avoid saying them out loud.

          You can’t look at the operation of our govt during the past decade and say the people in charge aren’t crazy.

          1. Absolutely Tulpa. Yeah, compared to someone like Elizabeth Warren, Cain is Edmond Burke.

          2. You do realize that nearly any one of the H&R regulars would be considered “crazy” if we ran for office?

            Yup. And I’d still take any of us over every politician in office.

              1. You can be my Secretary of Health and Human Services.

              2. Yes, but I’d vote for you with one condition: you write your own speeches and don’t let your staff edit them. That alone should provide me with enough epic lulz to last for years. I’d donate to anybody who gets up on stage during a debate and says anything half as vitriolic as your baby-boomer rant from last week.

                1. i missed it…linky please.

                2. Where is this boomer rant? Link please…

                  1. Boomer rant. Sorry it took so long, my computer went on strike.

                    1. Goddam union hardware.

              3. Saccharin Man, you would be the perfect Veep. I could see you answering a question regarding your qualifications posited by some pundit and your response includes references to Philip K. Dick and oozing putrid, pustulated, and rancid cuntsores.

          3. He just hasn’t been sufficiently polished by PR consultants to avoid saying them out loud.

            Yeah. Same with Gary Johnson, really. Both are businessmen at heart, not politicians, so it’s not surprising.

            People outside of politics tend to underestimate the very real skill set of a politician, and the amount of work it takes to obtain. To be sure, their “skills” are mostly worthless in the productive world – but are quite valuable when running for office. Johnson managed to get away with it in New Mexico but it’s hard to do that at the national level.

      2. He did successfully run a businesss that provides a service. He’s not a moron. He might even mean well.

        Now his ideas are mostly awful and he has a disturbing hatred of Muslims, so it’s important to keep in mind that it can always get worse.

      3. The Florida straw poll has an excellent record of picking the next nominee

        Citation needed.

        1. Beg, and ye shall be indulged.

          The Florida straw poll touts its record of accurately signaling the GOP’s eventual nominee. In the three times it has been held, Ronald Reagan won in 1979, George H.W. Bush in 1987 and Bob Dole in 1995. Each was nominated for president the following year.

          http://content.usatoday.com/co…..ney-paul/1

      4. I feel like Cain taking over and running government based on policies that sound suspiciously like pizza deals (9 toppings, 9 dollars, delivered in 9 minutes or less!) would indicate that a new author was taking over with a style more like Stephenson than Rand. And frankly, I’d much rather live in Stephenson’s dystopia than Rand’s.

    4. According to Fox News this morning, Republicans are pushing even harder to get Chris Christie to run. It seems they don’t so much care for front-runner Romney and they want someone who is for small government. If only someone like that were already running…

      1. The irony is that there’s nothing small government about Christie.

  21. “I’ve found
    You can find
    Happiness in slavery.”

    At least stick around until the one minute mark…

    1. The dancing around 2:20 is awesome.

      1. It better be. It cost them 1% of their GDP to stage that.

    2. Well done. Excellent ending.

      As Our First Lady says, “Let’s Move!”

    3. “putting? the ill in Kim Jong”

      That was you, wasn’t it.

    4. Kim looks so ronry.

    1. Sounding does not sound like fun.

    2. I cannot wait for this fucking album. I can’t imagine that it will be the letdown that Heritage was (though after multiple listening sessions, I’ve come to the conclusion that some of what I already thought was good is much better than I originally thought, and that some of what I thought was bad is absolutely fucking horrible – I have a better impression of the album overall, but it’s still not nearly as good as anything else they’ve done).

      My preordered Special Edition (with book, Blu-ray and CDs) ought to be here tomorrow. Vinyl too. I’m a nerd like that (of course it’s this very behavior that burned me with Heritage and its subsequent tour).

      I wish I could go see his show, but it’s just not feasible for me, and I’m a guy who will travel to see a show without blinking an eye (I’m traveling to Orlando – from the Bluegrass – to see Opeth’s abortion of a show).

      This track has taken a BUNCH from 70s and 80s Chamber Rock group Univers Zero, a Belgian group of classically trained musicians who essentially played prog with orchestral instruments. They’re interesting, but I won’t spend any more money on buying their stuff.

      I’ll fucking buy anything by Steven Wilson, however. I’m a sucker like that. I’m the type that will by some obscure Dutch album because he mixed it (see Paatos).

      1. I downloaded it. It’s pretty good. Enough that I’ll have to buy it.

        1. Just downloaded it too. Givng a first listen now. Everything I’ve heard off of it (previously) has been very good so far.

      2. I cannot wait for this fucking album.

        After the massive disappointments that were Insurgentes and Welcome to my DNA, I can’t imagine why. Heritage is better than both of those put together and squared. But I hope I’m wrong, and I’ve preordered it. (I do like Univers Zero.)

  22. Stephen Pinker’s must-read WSJ essay from Saturday: “Why brutality is declining and empathy is on the rise.”

    This was obviously written long before all those violent tea party rallies and “cross hairs” political ads.

  23. Americans Express Historic Negativity Toward U.S. Government
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/149…..nment.aspx

    49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. In 2003, less than a third (30%) believed this.

    1. Highest levels since April of 1776?

  24. 127 responses and counting. And not a single troll post from double asshole or any of the other resident trolls. Yeah, maybe there is less disagreement. But the threads are much more informative and pleasant without the trolls.

    1. Where have all my trollers gone? Gone to slate, everyone…

    2. Dude, don’t ruin it. Now that you’ve said something, he’ll start showing up and making stupid remarks.

      1. The most annoying excuse for trolls is the whole “it would be boring if everyone agreed”. No it wouldn’t. You can still learn things and have a pleasant and interesting conversation without being at the other person’s throat. By that logic, there is no value in ever speaking to anyone besides people who violently disagree with you on whatever the topic of conversation is.

        1. seriously, and leaving libertarians by themselves still means there will be plenty of dustups. As a political philosophy, they’re the worst when it comes to unity.

          1. As unlibertarian as it is, if I were king I would have Hit and Run have a registration feature. Then I would kick double asshole and Orin and Max off. I wouldn’t ban Tony. He makes stupid points. But he at least tries to engage and make a point. But the people who just come on here to shit on every post need to go.

            1. There’s nothing unlibertarian about a private interest controlling who can post on their privately-owned blog.

              If the trolls want to speak they can invest in a web server like Reason did. Getting an audience comparable to the one they get for free at H&R might be tough, but that’s their problem.

              1. I would agree that there isn’t anything inherently unlibertarian about banning the usual suspects from a private board, but they’d have to change their “Free Minds” mantra because at the very least it would be a bit hypocritical.

                1. If the decision for banning/deleting posts was based on one’s manner of presenting one’s ideas rather than the ideas themselves, I don’t see anything contradicting the “free minds” part.

                  1. I agree Tulpa. If you are Tony of MNG or Neu Mexican and you make conventional liberal points that at least relate to the topic at hand, you should not be banned. But if you are White Indian and use every thread to drone on about whatever your mundane pet peeve is, you get banned. If you are double asshole and never make any points but just post invective, you get banned.

                    1. There should be limits and regulations on free speech. But not capitalism.

                    2. ^^This^^ is why we should have a registration system and double asshole should be banned. It makes no substantive points. It ignores the obvious point that a private entity determining who can post on its board is not the same as government regulation. It adds nothing to the discussion. It just shits on the thread.

                2. Re OO: I’m not seeing any mind there.

            2. so asking clarifying questions, which usually underscore internal contradictions qualifies as “shit on every post”?

              1. Yes you do. You never add anything or make any points. You just post shit.

                1. one can see why u dont like my questionz.

                  1. Miss the point much? As Tulpa already said, “There’s nothing unlibertarian about a private interest controlling who can post on their privately-owned blog.” On your blog you can say what ever you wish. No internal contradictions.

                    1. and yet my point was entirely different than tulpa or john…which u missed.

                    2. No, I understood perfectly that you had no point.

            3. Hey some trolls are fun. C’mon, getting in that first “Shut the fuck up Lonewacko” was fun.

              1. Lonewacko actually wasn’t bad for a long time. At some point he became like White Indian and every post was an excuse to talk about immigration.

                1. Even then he wasn’t as bad as White Indian. Very few of his comments were more than one paragraph. I don’t mind trolling as much as scrolling.

            4. Why? Any idiot that only uses a few names is easily filtered by the tools made available by board members (thanks, voluntary social action!).

              And for the rest of us that don’t really mind being reminded how people elsewhere “think”, we aren’t denied that opportunity.

          2. SCREW YOU!

            I just had to add that for fun.

        2. It isn’t like us libertarians are a unified block. We disagree. Remember the Jon Stewart posts? (BTW, I was right, and y’all were wrong). I remember someone wanting to get LibertyMike’s address so we could go punch him in the face about whole he-who-shall-not-be-name issue. And god, if I have to read another my-fucking-shitty-obscure-microbrew-is-better-than-your-beer thread, I’m gonna puke.

          1. The beer threads are some of the best ones on H&R.

            1. second!

              1. Third! I get good tips from you guys.

    3. 127 responses and counting. And not a single troll post from double asshole or any of the other resident trolls. Yeah, maybe there is less disagreement. But the threads are much more informative and pleasant without the trolls.

      The first time I ever heard the word troll used, it was in reference to John. He was even referred to as the “resident conservative troll.”

      True story.

  25. Warren Buffett stirs up a lot of talk about raising capital gains taxes; shortly afterward, Berkshire Hathaway announces a share buyback program.

    Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

    1. read where both mark cuban & bill gates now endorse the buffett plan

  26. Coming out of the closet as a conservative

    On a completely unrelated note, I am so excited that Boardwalk Empire AND Downton Abbey are back.

    1. when I tried to post this, it was flagged as spam.

    2. I live in Chicago. It’s home of machine politics. Politicians of course will tell you there is no machine but they are full of Obama stimulus.

      Heh, I’m hoping “Obama stimulus”=shit becomes a new meme.

      Oh, and I wonder who he ‘stole’ that line from.

  27. With the Solyndra scandal still above the fold, the White House has banned journalists from its Silicon Valley fundraisers.

    Score one more for the most transparent administration the world has ever seen.

    1. Well, that’s one way to avoid future scandals.

  28. As many as 25% of rapes may be false accusations.

    I read another article on Slate, and it put it as between 8 and 10 percent. Still, much higher than the standard feminist claim.

    1. Misooooooooooogynist! Also, proably a rapist.

    2. In the ER (and cop) trade, these are well known, generally pretty obvious and, called “hummers” – as in, “You were raped? Uh huhm…”

      1. They are also periodically referred to as “Icees”, as in “You were raped? Oh, I see…”

  29. Leaderless former cartel thugs are now extorting Mexico’s teachers, causing hundreds of schools to close their doors.

    By the way, did I tell you that Mexicans can be put in jail, for years even, with no trial, if they ever dared to defend themselves? With a gun?

    1. Well I should hope so.

      Would YOU trust a Mexican with a gun?

      Good morning and Happy Monday, OM 🙂

    2. If I am not mistaken it is an automatic two year sentence in Mexico for even possessing a fire arm. Now, drug cartels who own much of the law enforcement in Mexico, would never use that law to disarm their enemies or pesky civilians would they? The insanity that is gun control.

      1. Re: John,

        If I am not mistaken it is an automatic two year sentence in Mexico for even possessing a fire arm.

        That would be up to two years for smuggling a gun into Mexico. You can have a gun at your house if you register it at your nearest Army base. Why the Army, you say? Because Mexico has suffered a few anti-government rebelions since 1910, as late as this century, so the government does not want the population to be armed with anything more powerful than a .32

        You can declare your hunting rifles at the border but you cannot bring your handgun, or the Federales will hold you in jail until you see a judge for sentencing – which would take months or years, depends on whose gears you grease and by how much.

        So, kiddies, if you want to see the result of socialist policies imposed for years and years from the 50s to 1995 (mixed economy policies, monetary manipulation, super-protectionism) just look at Mexico. We were barely on the road to recovery until the current president decided to listen to the hated gringos and fight a war he can’t win.

  30. Also, can I say, the best thing ever: Jezebel’s saturday and sunday social threads.

    It’s amazing how many boil down to, “I’m a not conventionally attractive (read: fat) woman, in her late 20s, who can’t get laid/get a relationship” “I had/keep having awful dates/relationships” and “I have tons of sex- so I tell people on the internet- that is basically anonymous”. Of course, the best are requests for “vibes” which can effect everything from moods to when a child is born.

    1. I usually go internet-free on the weekends, so I’ve yet to try and make trouble in those threads.

      Maybe I’ll just send “vibes.”

      1. Slacker!

        You’re a 9-5 troller of feminazi boards, and that’s just not cool. Are these union rules?

    2. that almost reads like a /b/ thread – “why can’t I get a woman?” “Is it because I never leave my parent’s basement and over-idealize the perfect woman?”

    3. The I am not conventionally attractive whine is one of the more pathetic ones. I see tons of fat unattractive women who are married or have boyfriends. It is no that hard. Take a shower, shave your legs, dress in something besides a running suit, put some makeup on and try to have a personality.

      1. It’s all about personality. I’d MUCH rather hang with “not conventionally attractive” chick than a blah-ass bitch who’s hot.

        1. Yes. And you have to marry by personality. No matter how hot a woman is, the sex will get old and you are going to be stuck living with her.

          1. And you have to marry by personality. No matter how hot a woman is, the sex will get old and you are going to be stuck living with her.

            You’ve analyzed this on a much more deep level than has occurred to most. We’re going to have to consider this.

          2. That’s not an argument for marrying an unattractive woman, it’s an argument for not getting married at all.

        2. Why would I want a personality? I already have a personality.

        3. I was about to say, I know a few chunky or “not conventionally attractive” women who are still damned sexy. It’s the personality.

          On the other hand, I know a few beautiful ice-queens who have the personalities of drywall. Conversation is as dull as ditch-water with them.

          1. Look at the chick on mythbusters. Objectively she is no better than a six. She is a cute redhead but hardly a Goddess. Yet, she is one of the most searched for celebrities on Google. She has an enormous following. She is a legitimate sex symbol despite only possessing better than average looks. Why? Because she, at least on the show, projects such a great personality. It takes her from cute to sex symbol.

            1. Six with that rack? You have seriously high standards.

              There’s also the fact that she’s into guy stuff like machines and guns and explosives and stuff. It’s the same dynamic that leads some women to try to “turn” gay men — they want someone to fuck AND have fun with.

              1. She is a mom of at least one maybe two kids and in her mid 30s. Maybe she is better than a six. She is attractive. I wouldn’t kick her out of bed. But she is not a bombshell. She is not Bar Rafeli or Scarlett Johanson. Yet, she has a following like she is.

                And the fact that she is into “guy stuff” is the reason. Guys look at her as being someone they could hang out with and would want to be around.

            2. A six? You’re fucking nuts. I’d give her at least an 8.

              http://ebashy.com/actors-23_Kari-Byron.html

              1. She is cute. But look at her. The top picture is her with a ton of makeup on in a glam shot. Most women would look great under such circumstances. She is not a classic beauty. It is her personality and public persona that make her so popular.

                1. She’s cute, has nice skin, but not beautiful IMO, but also has a great body.

                  1. And she has a real body, which is another thing in her favor. There is a huge pentup demand for non siliconed women out there.

                    1. I’d give her a 7.5 when she was in her twenties. But John, you’re in D.C. If you don’t lower your standards a bit, what is there gonna be to stare at?

                    2. I find there to be a ton of hot women in Washington DC. A lot of them are crazy feminist Jezebel types. But they are very nice to look at.

                    3. I’m in the 7ish camp too … maybe an 8 if you ever saw her in the 1st season when she was just a background intern.

                    4. careful John, you’re very close to a “market failz” moment, 😉

                    5. I think it may be time for government to subsidize the appearance of real boobs on TV LIT. We clearly have a market failure here.

                    6. I’ve been plugging a Nature Conservancy for breasts for years now. No one wants to donate; there seems to be a free rider problem.

      2. try to have a personality.

        Screeching harridan is a personality, John. Or did you mean a slightly pleasant personality?

      3. All a woman really needs to do to get married is to act nice and be mostly sane. A husband and children are inevitable after that.

        1. Pretty much. What amazes me about the Jezebel crowd is that women basically have a super power; their sexuality. They can use it to get men to do all kinds of stuff. And yet, the women at Jezebel do everything they can to deny the power exists and to demean those who use it.

          1. They can use it to get men to do all kinds of stuff. And yet, the women at Jezebel do everything they can to deny the power exists and to demean those who use it.

            Except when one of them uses it to bolster her “Fuck You Dad!” pathologies–you know, the same types who slut around because they think “the patriarchy” wants them to be monogamous.

            1. Best trick the patriarchy ever pulled.

              1. Man, I should have joined the patriarchy.

        2. And, of course, not have completely unrealistic expectations.

          Although plenty of women have those and get married. Much to their husbands’ dismay.

        3. What they really need to do is stop holding out for Brad Pitt and “settle” for a man that they can get.

      4. I see tons of fat unattractive women who are married or have boyfriends.

        I see what you did there.

      5. The I am not conventionally attractive whine is one of the more pathetic ones.

        Just date guys 10-15 years older than you.

        Problem solved.

        When I was 25, I only found 5-10% of 25 year old women date-able. Now that I am 42, I would call maybe 35% of 25 year old women date-able.

        Instant upgrade for 30% of the female population.

      6. Failing looks or personality, character is as attractive in women as in men, if only for the scarcity premium.

    4. Of course, the best are requests for “vibes” which can effect everything from moods to when a child is born.

      This is so LOL–these are the same types who will mock Christians for believing in a God who answers prayer, yet ask a bunch of strangers online for what is essentially the same thing when they need something positive in their life to happen.

  31. Mexicans can be put in jail, for years even, with no trial, if they ever dared to defend themselves? With a gun?

    This is the sort of sensible gun control we need in this country.

    1. No… it should be more stringent. Anyone within 100 meters of an unapproved firearm should be summarily executed. This would prevent anyone from ever being a victim of firearm violence, well… except those poor unfortunate souls who by bad luck are near some foolish criminal who had one. Oh well, ignorance is no excuse!

  32. “I had/keep having awful dates/relationships”

    Umm-hmmmm- it’s quite baffling.

    1. Which parameter is held constant?


  33. Nader takes shots at first lady’s health initiatives

    Although the White House has been vocal about its childhood obesity concerns, a new report released this week shows that billions of taxpayer dollars are spent each year in federal subsidies to support food additives associated with unhealthy food.

    According to the Los Angeles Times, the report found that billions of dollars are spent in federal subsidies for commodity crops. Much of these tax dollars are used to support corn, the key ingredient in the often demonized ingredient high fructose corn syrup.

    Issued by left-wing activist Ralph Nader’s Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the report shows contradictions between President Obama’s public policy and his own household rules: The first lady does not allow her children to eat any foods made with the corn sweetener.

    The good ol’ “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” policy.

    1. so eliminate all agricultural subsidises…which mainly effects red states? lesee what boner & the teapartiers do

      1. I guess our trolls like to sleep in. It was nice while it lasted, though.

        1. and just that quickly, a regular becomes a troll

        2. i wuz bizzy subsidising my boner

          1. and another regular becomes a troll

            1. i lik usng wordz i dont understand

            2. You could leave.

              1. nope – libtiod trollz r fun!

    2. Lets have a four way election, BO, the Republican nominee with Nader and Paul as independents. That would be a really interesting election.

  34. A Cain vs Obama election campaign would be epically lulzy. At this point, that’s the best I can hope* for.

    *get it?

    1. What would really raise the epic LUTZ is the fact that Herman Cain, a guy who was born in Memphis, raised in Georgia under Jim Crow, and attended an HBC (Morehouse) is, in terms of his life experience matching those of the vast majority of black people, about a thousand times more “black” than our first black President. The contrast between the two would be hysterical.

      1. He’s not black, John, he’s “black”. You know, an Uncle Tom; a lawn jockey who’s no better or more black than Clarence Thomas. He’s trapped in a life of hatred for himself and his people, as shown by his Tea Party/Republican affiliations.

        Liberal Rule #1 for Black People: You cannot think anything outside of what the liberal elite tell you is appropriate to think on the Team BLUE plantation or you are not a “real” black person.

        1. Damn straight.

          Real “blacks” are liberals raised by white grandparents and attend elite white schools.

        2. Ah, like Warren Buffet is for rich people.

      2. I bet a dinner at Cain’s house would be more likely to have some delicious gravy to put on some mashed potatoes.

  35. Back to the “free speech” wall:

    I wonder how long it would have stayed up if somebody had written ABOLISH TENURE on it.

    1. The one thing I’m wondering about in that story is who the cops were going to arrest for disorderly conduct. I don’t think you can arrest someone whose property is vandalized with the F-word for disorderly conduct, can you?

    2. I actually said this sitting in a budget policy meeting for a college. The next line was review and cut the administration and hire more people that are relevant to your goal and model, you know, professors and teachers.

      The ideas didn’t get a lot of reception. I was actually told that getting a PhD and teaching isn’t a bad gig. The pay is good and you don’t have to work all year by a Dean. Talk about systemic issues…

  36. I just loved this:
    The IMF needs a bailout.

    So simple and eloquent. I lol’d.

  37. I don’t think you can arrest someone whose property is vandalized with the F-word for disorderly conduct, can you?

    Those slutty “free-expressionismists” got what was coming to them. They were begging for it. They should have known better.

  38. I blame John.

    1. John hates kittens, too.

  39. Speaking of the Pinker “violence decreasing” piece, has anyone else noticed how common humanoid robots fighting each other has become in entertainment and commercials? (in particular I’m thinking of that Hugh Jackman movie I can’t recall the name of).

    I imagine this is supposed to be to avoid having humans fight each other on screen, but seriously? The human form evolved to be optimized for other functions besides fighting. You put an unarmed human in a cage with a similarly-sized wild animal, the human is going to get killed 99 times out of 100. If you’re going to design robots to fight, there’s no point in having them resemble humans.

    1. I first noticed that in the Star Wars Phantom Menace movie. There is all these robot army fighting scenes and very few actual humans fighting and being killed. I remember thinking at the time, in between my horror about what an awful movie it was, that it really was Lucas dumbing down his movie so it could be marketed to five year old children since a robot destroying another robot is not nearly as disturbing as a human being killing another.

      1. Yeah…but of course the piles and piles of dead stormtroopers were similarly treated in the original films. They did at least have human voices, though.

        How they killed all those stormtroopers on Endor with only one onscreen Ewok casualty I’ll never know.

        1. ROTJ was really when the series started to go downhill. If you watch it now after seeing the last three, you can really see hints of the awfulness that would become the prequels. Star Wars and ESB were made for teenagers. They were not high art. But there were some reasonably serious and disturbing scenes in them. When Vader whacks Obi Wan or when Vader puts Han Solo in the carbonite, those are actually pretty adult disturbing scenes. They were not written for five year olds. But much of Return of the Jedi is, right down to cute muppets playing the leading roll. That tendency only got worse as time went on.

          1. ROTJ is a weird movie. When defending his decision to leave Saruman out of ROTK, Peter Jackson opined that one thing that made ROTJ the worst of the original trilogy was the decision to have the resolution of ESB at the beginning of ROTJ, which totally screwed up the pacing.

            I was 5 when I saw it the first time, and I remember the Rancor scene, the Sarlacc pit, and Luke getting electrocuted being very scary for me.

            1. Darth Sidious is a genuinely disturbing character.

      2. I remember thinking at the time, in between my horror about what an awful movie it was, that it really was Lucas dumbing down his movie so it could be marketed to five year old children

        The Star Wars movies have ALWAYS been marketed to kids. They still are–look how many nerds whose emotional development was stunted at age 12 are still obsessed with them.

        1. True. But the first two were marketed to teenagers. I think they were marketed for the 12-17 year old crowd. The later ones seem to be marketed to the 5-10 year old group. And I think that was intentional. They made the first two to appeal to teenagers but found they made millions by selling toys to 5 to 10 year old kids. So they dumbed down the succeeding movies to that group.

          1. That’s interesting. I’d assumed that the first one was marketed to people who had been kids at the time serials of that sort (but shorter and cheaper) were common. So I figured that was people who were in their 30s-40s in the 1970s.

        2. Right, they just lack the emotional maturity to appreciate adult things like soap operas and romantic comedies.

          From what I can tell, emotional maturity is a euphemism for being easy for women to control.

          1. Right, they just lack the emotional maturity to appreciate adult things like soap operas and romantic comedies.

            Um, I never actually mentioned appreciation of these as markers of high emotional development.

            From what I can tell, emotional maturity is a euphemism for being easy for women to control.

            You really think that’s why nerds don’t have game? Nerds epitomize the term “emasculated male”–a lisping, weak-voiced, soft-chinned, pop-culture fetishizing goon with poor social skills and perpetual mommy issues. These are the types who, when they do luck out and manage to hook a woman, end up like the poor sap in the “Suzanne researched this!” Century21 commercial during the height of the housing boom.

            1. What? Seth Green pulls or pulled all sorts of hot chicks, and the dude is a huge nerd.

    2. If you’re going to design robots to fight, there’s no point in having them resemble humans.

      The dumbest thing is when they show a robot holding a gun and pulling the trigger.

      Why not just build the gun into the robot?

      1. The only argument I can make is that you still have humans around as well. Parts stream commonality, etc. It’s easier to stock a ton of guns and hand them out to everyone, human and robot alike, than to have a separate supply chain for the robot gun.

      2. If you build the gun into the robot, it doesn’t have the excuse that it was reaching for a taser.

      3. Oh, probably because Star Wars isn’t science fiction, it’s fantasy. None of it really has to make any sense.

    3. You don’t see a lot of humanoid forms in BattleBots. There’s a reason for this. Of course, future technology will remove all those limitations, like physics.

      1. Indeed!

        If anything, those who want to prevent their fighting displays from being emulated by the viewers should strive to make the fighters as non-human as possible. The humanoid robot fighters seem to be a concession to the fact that people enjoy seeing humans fight more than metallic wedges on wheels.

    4. Well, it would probably be more like 70 out of 100 if you used a Stone Age human vs. a random wild animal. And one of our advantages is the fact that any nearby stone or branch can become a weapon, which you take away by putting us in a cage. Also, a lot of our disadvantages have to do with lacking claws, teeth, armor, strength (chimps have a similar body plan but are much stronger), not the actual body plan itself. For example, a cassowary could easily kill an unarmed human, not really because of the superiority of its body plan, but because it’s armed with a huge beak and claws. Without those the fight would be a lot more even. That being said, I do agree with your main point that a human body plan makes no sense for a robot (arms that are only useful in a forward direction?), especially one made for fighting.

      1. Good points. IIRC our brains consume a ridiculous amount of energy compared to other animals’, I wonder if that’s the reason we lost so much energy-sucking muscle.

    5. Re: Tulpa,

      I imagine this is supposed to be to avoid having humans fight each other on screen, but seriously?

      Yes, I was quite disturbed by the sight of robots fighting each other in the movie Astroboy.

      1. And those kung-fu fighting robots in Ice Pirates freaked me out. Like, what is it with robots fighting each other, man?

        It probably all started with this sort of violence

  40. How could you empathize with something which looks like an Electrolux vacuum cleaner? It has to have a tilty head, and stuff.

  41. Related to the robots vs. property discussion above:

    I realized today that we have passed the point at which the internet makes music easy to steal, and have reached the point where the internet has made music so valueless that there’s no point to stealing it.

    In the past, I would occasionally download music illegally.

    Now I don’t.

    I didn’t stop downloading music because I finally decided to stop being a hypocrite and take my own IP arguments seriously.

    I stopped downloading music because…there’s no longer any need to.

    Any song I want to listen to for free, I can just listen to for free. Somewhere.

    When you can always find whatever you want for free with no effort, why steal any of it?

    You only steal something if it has value. Music no longer has any value. Therefore I do not steal it.

    1. I stopped illegally downloading music when ITunes came out. In ITunes I am not paying for the music, I am paying for the convienence and reliability. I know the file is what it says it is. I know it won’t have any viruses. I know the sound quality will be good. I know where to find it. And I know it will download quickly. Those things are worth a buck.

    2. I must object to your statement that it is not stealing if it has no value, surely stealing is when one takes something that is owned by someone else, even if it is a single smelly sock with holes in then.

      The problem with software is whether making a copy of something is equivalent to taking it away. Like the abortion debate, it probably will never be resolved in the libertarian and non-libertarian world.

  42. You only steal something if it has value.

    So Ben Bernanke is trying to make bank robbery a thing of the past?

  43. I think the MP3 (and by extension, the Internet) has cheapened music appreciation to a certain degree. The majority of listeners don’t listen to albums, but hit singles.

    I’m old-school and actually but the majority of my music on vinyl. However, I still use MP3s/Youtube for researching potential stuff to buy. I know I’m in the minority here since the majority of people aren’t “collectors”, but the access to so much free music has made me buy even more of the stuff.

    Of course even in the 80s, most of my friends rarely bought music. They just had their friends tape it for them. Back then, I made tons of punk mix tapes for my friends since the stuff was relatively hard to get in West Michigan.

    1. I buy some single tracks, but I’m still buying whole albums, usually on CD but occasionally if the price differential justifies I download. It’s been my experience that what gets released off albums are the most marketable tracks, not necessarily the best tracks.

      Unless you’re listening to commercially engineered pop, in which case it’s all supposed to be marketable to a greater or lesser degree.

    2. Here is what I love about the internet and why I would never go back to the good old days. Everything is now available. I love live bootlegs and alternative mixes and stuff like that. And in the bad old days, your access to that was hit and miss at best. Now instead of maybe if you are lucky meeting the right Zeppelin head who will let you borrow his tapes, you can just go on YouTube and listen to the famous “Listen to this Eddie” live at the Forum in 1977 bootleg anytime you want. You want to hear that rare studio version of Brown Sugar with Eric Clapton playing lead? It is there. I love that.

      1. OTOH, I can NOT find Be Bop Deluxe “Axe Victim” (song, not album) on Youtube, so it helps that I have three vinyl and one CD copies of it (plus on the “jukebox” in the Mustang).

        Weird some of the stuff I can’t find on Youtube. (where’s the Toronto Police Set and Medley from the 2004 North American Pipe Band Championship – WE WON THAT CONTEST AND IT’S NOWHERE ON THE WEB!!!111one!!)

        1. Well, you could put it on Youtube for others to enjoy, ya lazy bastard.

        2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWbShidSq_0

          ??

          I’m not really that familiar with Axe Victim (the album) since I spend most of my Be Bop Deluxe time with Sunburst Finish. But I’ll dig it out of my collection and give AV a spin.

        3. Mustang huh? I have a new respect for you.

          1. Almanian knows to buy American.

      2. I love live bootlegs and alternative mixes and stuff like that. And in the bad old days, your access to that was hit and miss at best.

        I used to buy them out of the trunk of a guy’s car in the dorm parking lot. On vinyl. Seriously.

        1. I bought a few things out of the trunks of cars in my day too. But never vinyl. That would have been great.

    3. Plus, don’t even get me started on the fidelity. Everything’s compressed now so it sounds OK in MP3….which makes it TERRIBLE on a real audio system (I almost said “Stereo” – lol!)

      I still don’t have MP3, althought I’m ready to get a fucking iPod just for the convenience and ability to load the 1 song.

      1. Of course an IPod is just a hard drive. You can load your music directly onto it from CDs. It doesn’t have to be in MP3 format.

        1. Unfortunately, a lot of the CD’s are already compressed, so you’re right FOKED – it’s a sad state of affairs.

          1. I know. Here is the aggravating thing. MP3s and CDs were compressed because memory used to be at a premium. Well memory is needless to say no longer at a premium. We have Ipods that can store whole HD movies. There is no reason why there shouldn’t be a high fidelity digital music format. And even less reason why that format shouldn’t be standard.

          2. I know. Here is the aggravating thing. MP3s and CDs were compressed because memory used to be at a premium. Well memory is needless to say no longer at a premium. We have Ipods that can store whole HD movies. There is no reason why there shouldn’t be a high fidelity digital music format. And even less reason why that format shouldn’t be standard.

        2. There are hi-rez downloads available, but only the most ardent audiophiles will go this route. Your average listener is happy with compressed audio on their car stereo or iPod.

          I had a friend come over so he could check out my Magnepan speakers / Threshold gear / VPI turntable. It didn’t make much of an impression on him at all. When I first a ‘real stereo’, it changed my relationship with music forever – btw, it was Quad ESL-63 speakers, McIntosh electronics and a turntable with an ET-2 air-bearing arm. Fun days.

          1. I’ll probably never stop being nostalgic about my JBL Studio Monitors. Don’t remember the electronics I had backing them up, but those were the best. speakers. ever.

            1. Haha! I still have my JBL Control Monitors. 4312s. They’re still going strong 25 years after I picked them up used.

            2. bah – you need something more er, industrial. Like the UREI 813A
              http://6streetbridge.blogspot……-813a.html

              15″ Altec 604 driver on top with an Eminence 15″ woofer on bottom. It was used soffit-mounted in mixing studios. Bloody loud without a hint of distortion.

  44. PS re: music – I finally bought the TAMI Show DVD with James Brown, the Stones, The Beach Boys….Oh. My. Fucking. GOD. Some of the most-awesome performances I’ve ever seen.

    Why did I not have this back in college? Oh, cause – to John’s point – the availability of most of this stuff is SO much better now. I highly recommend this DVD if you don’t have it – just incredible performances.

    1. Wow. What year was it?

    2. It was shown on PBS one or two years ago! It is, indeed, teh awesome.

      It was a hoot watching the Stones and Beach Boys grabbing a tambourine and doing impromptu backups to whomever was performing onstage.

    1. Tu quoque? Now they sound as bad as American politicians.

  45. President goes to silicon valley, sez:

    “GIMME YO MUNNIES, YO!”

  46. http://latimesblogs.latimes.co…..gaffe.html

    * In the News:’Boardwalk Empire’
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    Top of the Ticket
    Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

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    New gaffe: Obama confuses Jews with janitors
    September 26, 2011 | 5:18 am
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    President Obama spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus awards banquet over the weekend.

    Those folks will stick with him in 2012, of course.

    But they’ve been somewhat miffed in recent months that the first post-partisan president is doing too many deals with those Republicans and seeming to give in.

    So, Obama needed to give the crowd some presidential love. He even brought his wife along. As with virtually all of Obama’s speeches recently, the Democrat’s remarks dealt with selling his jobs legislation, as if it wasn’t DOA on Capitol Hill.Obama speaks to the congressional black caucus awards banquet 9-24-11

    The first black president got to reminiscing about some other struggles in the past familiar to African Americans.

    His 28 minutes of remarks had a strange tone to them, as if somehow Obama was equating support for his jobs program legislation with the far more important and historic civil rights movement.

    He got into the usual yada-yada about rich people paying their fair share of taxes.

    And then, deep into the speech, according to the White House transcript, the president said:

    When you start saying, at a time when the top one-tenth of 1 percent has seen their incomes go up four or five times over the last 20 years, and folks at the bottom have seen their incomes decline — and your response is that you want poor folks to pay more?

    Give me a break.

    If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a janitor makes me a warrior for the working class, I wear that with a badge of honor. I have no problem with that.

    That’s what the transcript says he said.

    Now, watch the C-SPAN video below, and listen especially to the phrase “the same tax rate as a janitor…”

    Here is what the president actually said, catching himself almost in time but not quite:

    If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a Jew, uh, as a janitor makes me a warrior for the working class, I wear that with a badge of honor. I have no problem with that.

    The president has been muffing lines all over the place recently. Last week, also peddling his jobs plan at a bridge that won’t qualify, he hailed America’s building of “the Intercontinental Railroad.” You don’t seem to hear much about these gaffes in the media for some reason.

    1. He must still be thinking about NY-9; he clearly has the Jews on his mind.

      1. Jewish janitors, eh?

  47. Protesting wall street while using a device who’s manufacturer (Apple) is trading at over $400 on the stock market.
    Priceless.

  48. OK, probing the redhead debate from earlier a bit further: who would you rather have, Keri from Mythbusters or Flo from Progressive?

    1. No question. Keri.

      1. Yeah, though if Flo was consensually wearing a gag she might win.

    2. Are you serious?

  49. “With the Solyndra scandal still above the fold, the White House has banned journalists from its Silicon Valley fundraisers. ”

    Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Why not just “do no evil”?

  50. Forensic archeology?a kind of “CSI: Paleolithic”?can estimate rates of violence from the proportion of skeletons in ancient sites with bashed-in skulls, decapitations or arrowheads embedded in bones. And ethnographers can tally the causes of death in tribal peoples that have recently lived outside of state control.

    These investigations show that, on average, about 15% of people in prestate eras died violently, compared to about 3% of the citizens of the earliest states.

    HA!!!

    I am right and all you bitches are wrong!!

    1. Say, weren’t those all the idyllic matriarchal societies that the feministas like to natter on about?

      1. Hell hath no fury, RC. Anybody who thinks women aren’t violent lives a very sheltered life. What most women lack is the ability, not the intent.

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