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Stupid Gaming Bills

Filed under: Politics — Jared @ 7:30 am

And I thought Massachusetts was smarter than this… Jack Thompson’s wishes have constantly failed to pass constitutional muster, why would Massachusetts be any different? Aren’t we supposed to be a liberal state?

Massachusetts tries Jack Thompson’s failed Utah game bill



Solving Poverty

Filed under: Economics, Politics — Jared @ 1:39 pm

I think Matt and I have come up with a pretty good solution for poverty – and one that’ll make him happy because we get to rid ourselves of the minimum wage. Matt, correct any mistakes I make:

We institute a publicly-funded job training program. The program is paid for by the state. It is an ITT-Tech style program (and probably makes use of pre-existing job training colleges, although we didn’t hash out those kinds of details) and prepares people for specific careers, like A/C repair, medical assistant, ect. We’ve all heard the commercials. At my insistance, anyone who is currently working full time to support themselves will be paid the hourly wage they are currently making for the hours they spend in school (instead of at work, theoretically). Eventually, most people have a skill more valuable than “Burger Flipper”, and the minimum wage is made obsolete.

What do you say? Spong/Rice for office in 2008?



Filed under: Politics — Jared @ 2:00 pm

This is just special (via Wonkette):


Sad Politics, Gawker Humor

Filed under: Politics — Jared @ 2:53 pm

Hadn’t started reading Wonkette till recently; glad I did, cause it’s funny. Like this gem:

 Please Keep the Gay Child Predators In Congress!

My kind of humor I suppose.


Why We Look Stupid

Filed under: Politics — Jared @ 1:26 pm

It’s easy to understand why our culture and policy look stupid: Our most visible spokesman is a moron. Not news, but still true (via ThinkingLiberal):

“A free Iraq will mean a peaceful world. And it’s very important for us to stay the course, and we will stay the course.” – George Bush, Statement – July 2003

“And, yet, we must stay the course, because the end result is in our nation’s interest.” – George Bush, Address to the Nation – April 2004

“We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq.” – George Bush, Crawford TX – August 2005

“We will stay the course, we will help this young Iraqi democracy succeed, and victory in Iraq will be a major ideological triumph in the struggle of the 21st century.” – George Bush, Salt Lake City – August 2006

“It’s never been a stay the course strategy.” – White House Statement, October 22nd 2006

I still wouldn’t want to live anywhere else (yet), but I think we look stupid; why shouldn’t the world?


Habeas Corpus

Filed under: Politics — Jared @ 11:04 am

So, since they’re doing away with Habeas Corpus, can’t they give us all the benefits of a no-rights police state? That’s where we’re headed anyway. Where’s my state RFID enabled ID badge that does away with hard currency? Why not just enact full-on racial profiling? Where’s my promised job security, presuming I narc out one of my friends? Why aren’t members of the press that get out of line being imprisoned? I mean, come on; if you’re going to do it, do it right already!


Domestic Wiretapping Program Declared Unconstitutional

Filed under: Politics, Security, Terrorism — Jared @ 12:39 pm

The title says it all. Go read about it over at Now all we have to do is hope it doesn’t get overturned on appeal – a pipe dream I’m sure, but PVC is cheap.


Yaay for Big Brother!

Filed under: Politics, Security, Terrorism — Jared @ 10:38 am


Why do we need to waste buckets of tax money on spying on ourselves?


Research, Economics, Walmart

Filed under: Economics, Politics, Science — Jared @ 1:58 pm

Ars Technica put up a very good article by Hannibal talking about old-school vs new-school R&D. It reminds me of a discussion I had with Matt a few weeks ago, and why I don’t trust the free market to figure out everything on its own. The problem with allowing economics to get entangled in science is that much of the science worth doing isn’t profitable in the near term, if ever. Hannibal describes the old research style (and this jives with my understanding of history):

The great labs of this era—Bell Labs, Xerox PARC, and IBM’s labs—were places with massive budgets, where the world’s top scientists were invited to pursue “blue sky” research into areas with no immediately apparent commercial applications. The facilities were state-of-the-art, and there was no pressure from management or shareholders to do anything but science for science’s sake. To be able to fund such a lab was a mark of corporate prestige, and the labs themselves, along with their public counterparts like NASA, were major sources of national pride. For a company like Xerox or AT&T, what it meant to have a blue sky research lab was very much like what it means for a city to host a winning sports team; it was a source of pride and an anchor of collective identity. So much like the science that they produced, these labs were ends in themselves.

Emphasis mine. He goes on to explain that the information revolution we currently enjoy has cashed in on much of this research, and that the fast paced economy of today makes “blue sky research” way more difficult to fund; shareholders want profit today, not a possible benefit to society twenty years from now.

Before I get comments or e-mails, let me explain something: I’m not against a pretty free market. Matt put up a post about Walmart that I agree with. I happen to dislike Walmart for a number of reasons (their treatment of employees is legendary at this point), but I wouldn’t suggest we dismantle them because they destroy little businesses. Business is rough, wear a helmet. On the same token, I wouldn’t suggest that we try to prevent the short-minded thinking that goes along with today’s economy. I don’t have any idea if our economy is sustainable (I leave that to the economists out there), but I know that it does drive things cheaper. And with the Internet and sites like, it is getting easier every day to hold companies responsible to their customers.

That aside, I think there is huge value in science for science’s sake. I’m not unbiased; I am a scientist after all, and if I could make a decent living in academic science (which you pretty much can’t at the moment), I would be there. But I think it is worth doing all of that research just so that we can learn more about ourselves and the universe we live in. Forget all of the capitalization potential in such research; who really doesn’t want to understand the world we live in better? The problem with such research is that it’s expensive, and someone needs to foot the bill. Private money for such ventures is not in oversupply, so where to get the funds? The only place I can think of is public money, but if we can’t agree to fund Embryonic Stem Cell research (which could, some day, relieve countless people of varying suffering), I have doubt as to our ability to do that at this point. Hopefully an oversupply of private money will appear at some point, with the realization that the research done with those dollars will likely yield results in the decades after they are spent.

And if a few companies can take that research and actually cure cancer with it? All the better.


Reporting News = Treason?

Filed under: Politics, Security, Terrorism — Jared @ 7:32 am

I just read this post over on Consumerist, and I can’t help but feeling shocked. I know that the Republicans are kinda crazy, but to call reporting on a “perfectly legal” (their words) program treason? I think I have a right to know when the government is spying on me, terrorists be damned. Every time, I will chose fear of terrorists over fear of my own government.

Do people really not get it? The terrorists ASSUME they are being spied on. They know that we’re tapping thier phones. They know that we have their financial records. What makes them terrorists is the fact that they don’t care. The training to deal with that (encrypted VOIP anyone?) probably helps too.

I’m not trying to belittle our effort to catch terrorists; it really is an important mission. But it’s not a war. We’ve had two “wars” (and I use the term loosely) since Bush came into power: Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s it. And really, although there are still rebels killing our soldiers every day, those wars are technically over. We are not in wartime. Additionally, I will not surrender my right to know what the government is up to, and especially not my right to free speech, just because the government thinks they can foolishly call fighting terrorism a war. The reporters who have blown the cover off of these illegitimate programs are heroes, and deserve recognition as such (I’m thinking Congressional Medal of Honor or something like that).

You want to win the war on terror? Stop pissing them off. Craft a foreign policy that is mildly responsible. Keep to ourselves when it comes to Middle Eastern affairs. They’ll find someone else to bomb if we don’t keep poking the hornets nest.

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