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"Now that the election is over, it is time to go to work. If you are happy about the election, the ideas below will help you do your part to heal the nation. If you are unhappy about the election, the ideas below will help you prepare."
"In an imperfect world there will always be unscrupulous people doing unscrupulous things, but fraud and deceit are best handled by a sound legal system (consisting of competing private courts!) than by entrenched bureaucracy."
"Do you remember, lefties, the movie V for Vendetta? What a great moment in our romance that was. We libertarians loved the movie. You loved it too. The film was representative of our whole eight-year fling. We libertarians, you progressives, united against the common enemy – our ancient enemy – the corporatist, militarized, theocratic police state. You’ve always had a subversive streak and Bush brought out the best in you."
"The Linux Foundation's Jim Zemlin provides an interesting twist on the most cutting-edge Windows machines from Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and others: they're all running Linux."
"The vast majority of rascals are getting reelected tonight. That’s the bad news. But since I am a 'glass one-eighth full' kind of guy, let’s focus on some of the bad guys going down in flames."
"Let it be acknowledged that the BWCA acted within the terms of its agreement with Joseph, in exactly the same sense that Shylock acted within the terms of his contract with Antonio when the moneylender demanded that the Merchant of Venice be put to death for defaulting on his loan."
"U.S. banks owed, on average, less than $600 million to the Federal Reserve between 1986 and the start of 2008. Their outstanding debt to the U.S. central bank hit a record high of $12 billion just after the 9/11 attacks of 2001. By the middle of last month, that outstanding debt stood above $400 billion"
"Government mandates destroy the whole idea of volunteerism, and the inevitable insistence that service be performed for an approved organization or cause (which is the case with most existing service requirements) is, frankly, a bit totalitarian. Our children, as well as ourselves, are independent individuals. We are not resources to be drawn upon by politicians. Nor do we owe our labor to the government."
"Disney admits that its profits are falling - down 13% in the latest quarter. Morton's Steakhouses say the customers aren't coming in the door the way the used to. And the Wall Street Journal tells us that "frugality" is making a comeback. Hey, we knew that too! But that's just what rehab is all about…sobering up…straightening out…drying out. It's humiliating too. You have to stand up and admit that you were an idiot and a jerk…promise to do better…and ask for forgiveness."
"Security theater involves engaging in ritualistic measures that create a sense of improved security, while doing almost nothing to actually improve security. In the context of flying, security theater includes such idiocies as requiring passengers to remove their shoes and to not carry liquids aboard planes. But the most absurd aspect of airport security is the government's no-fly list. ... Yet every day, hundreds of thousands of travelers are forced to tolerate tedious delays, and uncounted millions of taxpayer dollars are lit on fire, while we all engage in a ritual that is less rational than a Balinese tree exorcism, and considerably more expensive."
"There is a harmony of interests in society in which people cooperate and exchange without the aid of an outside, all-controlling, leviathan state. Society contains within itself the capacity for self-management. Another way to put this view is that the free society works. Sadly, this view is not held by either the right or the left in our political culture."
"We don’t need another Lincoln, or an Obama; what we need is more Fredrick Douglasses and Harriet Beecher Stowes. We need more Martin Luther Kings, Big Bill Haywoods, and Helen Kellers. We don’t need more FDRs, we need more Eugene Debs. We don’t need more JFKs, we need more Philip Berrigans. We don’t need to look to great men to lead us to the promised land, we need to recognize the power that we, the nameless and 'the powerless,' possess when we assert our power rather than make assertions of faith directed at the great leader myths."
"While other folks were voting or not voting yesterday, I was unvoting. (In fact I voted on the initiatives and referenda, but I unvoted on all those who would claim to represent me.)"
"If there is a state in our midst, increasing prosperity is, in fact, fuel for its growth. As our material well-being increases, we are sure to become less free under any state."
"Turns out that someone tampered with newspaper machines, replacing the front page of USA Today with a counterfeit version bearing the headline: 'Capitalism Wins at the Polls: Anarchy Brewing in the Streets.' The prankster attacked not only USA Today racks but six others belonging to the Duluth News Tribune."
"He criticized corporate personhood and its legal immortality, sounding rather like one of the more radical greens, and in the next breath he denounced environmentalist bureaucrats who 'couldn’t design and build a path to an outhouse.' He dug gold but he was not a gold-digger."
"What is needed now is a domestic revival and a more nuanced and intelligent approach to international relations. This means talking with people before we bomb them. This means an emphasis on cooperation, not obedience."
"Obama will inspire and unify the American people and, as a result, move the crusty Washington political apparatus to at long last serve the interests of all. At least that’s the theory and the widely held expectation. The truth is that some political promises cannot be kept because they run up against the wall of reality, namely, the unmalleable laws of economics."
"Mozilla Firefox usage share has topped 20% during two separate weeks in October while Internet Explorer has dropped to 71% of browser usage according to data from Net Applications."
"Magnesium levels can often define how the human body responds to stress. Over a decade ago Dr. Mildred Seelig described how stress triggers release of hormones from the adrenal glands that liberate stored fats and sugars into the blood circulation. Higher-than-normal circulating levels of cholesterol and blood sugar are characteristic of chronically-stressed modern humans."
"The old adage that presidents rarely govern in synch with the way they campaign applies here, and in spades. Change? Not in the foreign policy realm, buster. Indeed, if any change is involved, it may well be for the worse."
"I recently suggested that the U.S. government’s bailout of the financial system, which includes the de facto nationalization of several banks, would arouse populists around the world and give them the perfect alibi to confiscate private property. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina has been the first to confirm my prediction."
"While the nation is on the subject of socialism, we really ought to talk about public schooling. With the possible exception of the military, it’s the best example of a socialist institution one could ever find."
"What explains the paradox of the dollar’s sharp rise in value against other currencies (except the Japanese yen) despite disproportionate US exposure to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression? The answer does not lie in improved fundamentals for the US economy or better prospects for the dollar to retain its reserve currency role."
"Bangalore, the fifth-most populous city in India, is the tech outsourcing capital of the world. In the past decade, more than 500 multinational corporations have established office parks, call centers, and luxury hotels here. ... But there's a dark side to Bangalore's rocket ride. City officials—at least those who aren't taking bribes—struggle to reconcile the gleaming promise of the information economy with the gritty reality of systemic corruption...."
"Judging by the way he ran his campaign, Obama seems to have the potential to be a competent President. If he displays genuine intellectual curiosity on economic and fiscal issues, brings an end to the wars, and refrains from alienating social conservatives very often, he would be on the right track."
"Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, and Eugene Debs all had one thing in common: they were fans of science fiction. More than that, they all used scifi at one point or another to shape their political actions and views."
"Desperately, blindly seeking something, anything, anyone to stop the downward spiral, the electorate has chosen a new president, giving him a wide margin of victory. Awaiting his inauguration, the future chief executive promises to clean house and turn the country around, but the public does not have a clear vision of what is coming."
"There are tens of millions of white Americans who are part of ethnic groups that have never produced a president. The fact is, all 42 of our presidents have been of British, Irish, or Germanic descent. We’ve never had a president of southern or eastern European ancestry."
"Other people are afraid that Mr. Obama will hand out bales of money, too, only to a different class of people. I suppose he will. ... Even so, the new President will face not only a tide of woes created by his predecessor, but very likely, too, an obese and ineffectual federal bureaucracy unable to carry out even well-intentioned programs."
"We live in a world of scarcity, and the list of scarce resources includes time and knowledge. At any moment demand exceeds supply. Under these conditions, we adapt means to achieve chosen ends. We face opportunity costs and make tradeoffs according to our subjective preferences. The perception of costs prevents us from achieving lesser values at the expense of greater values. Respect for other people and their property, backed by law, prevents us from shifting costs to them without their consent. The result is the market -- that emergent order which serves the general welfare and encourages personal responsibility as each person pursues his or her private interests."
"The researchers isolated and tested a chemical, which they call simulin, and found that it accelerated the removal of excess sugar from the bloodstream, increased the sensitivity of insulin receptors, reduced the amount of carbohydrates absorbed, and reduced the amount of glucose manufactured by the liver. It also helped '[mobilize] carbohydrates from the fat cells'."
"The population of the US has steadily grown over the past few centuries ensuring a steadily expanding market for innovations. At the same time world population has been expanding ensuring economic growth worldwide. That world population has also grown in accessibility and desire as billions moved from subsistence farming into the marketplace."
"A fungus that lives inside trees in the Patagonian rain forest naturally makes a mix of hydrocarbons that bears a striking resemblance to diesel, biologists announced today. And the fungus can grow on cellulose, a major component of tree trunks, blades of grass and stalks that is the most abundant carbon-based plant material on Earth."
"The official next generation release of Ubuntu Linux has just landed. Intrepid Ibex, as this version is known, promises a number of subtle but important feature updates that help make Ubuntu even more user-friendly."
"The Emergency Economic Stabilization ('Bailout') Act of 2008 makes eligible for its $700 billion of largess, not only banks, but also savings associations, credit unions, security brokers and dealers, and insurance companies. As if this scope of engagement were not sufficiently outrageous, the act stipulates that the eligible 'financial institutions' include, but are 'not limited to' the ones named. Will pawn shops be the next ones permitted to join the queue?"
"Greenspan says he was shocked that self-interest didn’t prevent reckless investments. But conspicuously missing from his testimony was any reference to the perverse incentives that the government in many ways created for the mortgage industry."
"We’ve never had a free market and have been running away from one almost since the country’s founding. Consequently, we have today a corrupt system of corporatism or crony capitalism, in which politically-connected producers have learned how to soften, and in some cases circumvent, the buying public’s judgment through tariffs, quotas, subsidies, bailouts and other coercive methods."
"Coin dealers and collectors are still reeling from the US Mint's announcement that it had run out of American Eagle gold coins. But what ought to surprise every American isn't that a government agency came up short. It's that the US government should be making little metal discs at all.."
"A congressional investigation has revealed that a group of Harvard psychiatrists, instrumental in pushing the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children and its off-label treatment with antipsychotics, concealed from university officials the millions of dollars they earned in consulting fees for the companies that make those drugs."
"Our evolved psychological and physiological makeup predisposes us to fear actual and potential threats, even those that exist only in our imagination. . . . The people who have the effrontery to rule us, who dare call themselves our government, understand this basic fact of human nature. They exploit it, and they cultivate it."
"As ever, the Orwell Inversion Test is necessary. Obama claims that his vast campaign wealth comes from small individual donors, yet he has also received funds from some of the most notorious looters on Wall Street. Moreover, the “dove” and “candidate of change” has voted repeatedly to fund George W Bush’s rapacious wars, and now demands more war in Afghanistan while he threatens to bomb Pakistan."
"The very wealthiest senators -- into nine figures -- are all Democrats, led by both Massachusetts Senators, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, and including a Rockefeller. Democrats also filled the ranks of the poorest Congress people, coming from both Dixie and the Rust Belt. The lawmakers’ most popular investment was one that they give much money to, the weapons maker GE, with 20 more members than second place Cisco at 68 investors from Congress."
"I can only wonder, in spite of Senator Obama’s fine words, whether the Democrats in general, who famously ruled impeachment 'off the table' when they gained a political majority two years ago, would in fact be unwilling to cede power if it was theirs to wield; and secondly (and most significantly), because it allows those responsible for the long list of egregious crimes that have soiled America’s name to leave office unchallenged."
"The neocons used September 11, 2001, as a 'new Pearl Harbor' to give power precedence over law domestically and internationally. The executive branch no longer had to obey federal statutes, such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or honor international treaties, such as the Geneva Conventions. "
"Central banking has been a corrupt, mercantilist scheme and an engine of corporate welfare from its very beginning in the late 18th century. The first central bank, the Bank of North America, was 'driven through the Continental Congress by [congressman and financier] Robert Morris in the Spring of 1781,' ... The Philadelphia businessman Morris had been a defense contractor during the Revolutionary War...."
"Marshall was founder of both the Advocates for Self-Government and the Alliance for the Separation for School and State. ... Marshall's conferences (SepCons) were important gatherings of the wide variety of advocates of education freedom and opponents of government schooling. The Alliance continues to play a key role in promoting liberation of families from the state."
"Government has tried countless ways to sustain its Fed-induced booms and avoid the painful but necessary corrections. Its track record has been an unmitigated disaster, unless inflating the economy out of a crisis for a bigger one later is regarded as success. Yet the idea persists that intervention works, that if a mountain of facts show otherwise it’s always possible the intervention was too little, too late."
"In his books, millions of readers were introduced to scientific concepts such as cloning, the spread of new diseases, nanoassembly, deep-sea exploration, quantum computing and the discussion around climate change."
"Mummy, mommy.. mom…"
"Using increased petroleum revenues from the oil price spike, the Russians will hike defense spending 26 percent next year to about $50 billion—the highest level since the collapse of the Soviet Union. ... Even the $50 billion a year has to be put in perspective. The United States is spending about $700 billion per year on defense and starting from a much higher plain of capability."
"Converting the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad into a university would mark a gigantic step toward reconciliation with Iraq. It would convey not only our long-range peaceful intentions towards Iraq, but also that our power resides in the talents of the American people and their values."
"After a week lecturing at Kansas State University and then in Kansas City, Missouri, I could not shake the feeling that what Kansas and Missouri need most is the equivalent of Radio Free Europe, which was so effective in spreading truth around inside Eastern Europe during the Cold War."
"Muscular liberals and neoconservatives hate each other only because they are so much alike. Although neoconservatives feel less favorable toward any U.N. or other multilateral veneer for the mailed U.S. fist than muscular liberals, they still love to invade other nations for righteous reasons – that is, to save the world or make it more like us."
"The central theme of Barack Obama's successful campaign for the presidency was his call for 'change'—albeit often with few details. There is an imperative need for change in America's foreign policy. Even during the cold war, Washington's strategy led to security free-riding by allies and clients, caused the republic to blunder into ill-advised military crusades, most notably the Vietnam War, and imposed unnecessary financial burdens on taxpayers."
"That means speaking to your phone rather than typing, pointing with your finger instead of clicking on buttons, and gesturing instead of touching. You could listen to music, access the internet, use the camera and shop for gadgets by just telling your phone what you want to do, by waving your fingers at it, or by aiming its camera at an object you're interested in buying."
"What does an Obama presidency and, more importantly, the prospect of long-term center-left dominance mean for the future of American politics? Essentally, it means that the traditional WASP ruling class is on its way down, to be replaced by a more multiethnic, multicultural, secular, feminized and gayized ruling class that will be ruling over a crumbling empire and decaying economy."
"I think it's time to revisit the computer of the future and determine what exactly should constitute the next generation of the smartphone/pocket computer. To that end I present my ultimate wish-list computer. This, of course, is in addition to the built-in features of current smartphones."
"According to the International Monetary Fund, Iran, Venezuela and Nigeria need oil prices above $95 per barrel just to cover their respective national budgets. Saudi Arabia requires oil prices above $75 to cover its budget. Well over half of the revenues of the Russian Federation come from taxes on hydrocarbons. Mexico gets over 40% of its federal revenues from taxes on Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the national oil company."
"I hope you're enjoying the temporarily cheap prices at the gas pumps, because this is purely a function of the compressive deleveraging that is going on right now, as contracts and positions held in energy markets are being dumped by everybody and his uncle to raise cash to meet margin calls. My guess is that oil and its byproducts will become much more difficult to get in the months ahead...."
"Ursula Le Guin, the grand high mage of science fiction, fantasy and creative storytelling, comes to the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival."
"The story is about Arnold's determination [to] prevent Tunney from a) being kidnapped and raped by one group (Satan and his followers) and b) being murdered or 'sacrificed for the greater good' by another group of seemingly 'well-intentioned' people."
"The last time the Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress, Gillian Anderson wore pants."
"From his pulp roots, the character developed into an influential American hero on the airwaves and the silver screen."
"Hollywood studios are jamming the release pipeline in 2009 with 3-D movies with 13 films scheduled for next year. 3-D movies are usually projected on a silver screen, referring to the actual silver content embedded in the material that makes the screen highly reflective.
"The revelation that Obama's candidacy was the only thing that gave their lives any meaning has caused many supporters to wander aimlessly, unsure of..."
"In the dark, abysmal depths, there dwell timeless alien horrors that once roamed the void of space in the ages before the earliest building blocks of life congealed within the primordial waters of our doomed planet. From far beyond the stars, they came to this world when it was young and forged mighty edifices in the inaccessible places where nothing else could exist, there to rest in dreamful torpor for endless aeons."
"And now that the governments of America have literally become the economy (and paying themselves handsomely in the process!), there is no way that the government can be allowed to shrink..."
"As we rediscover our individuality and withdraw our energies from the collective abstractions to which we have attached ourselves, our personal and social integrity will no longer be in destructive contradiction."
"Why are diamonds, which are little more than decorative baubles, so much more valuable than water, without which we would die? The answer is that value is determined at the margin, meaning that we value not 'diamonds' as a category compared to 'water' as a category, but one more diamond compared to one more unit of water."
"I think the main research hurdle in describing this development is to specify what exactly is being structured. My guess is that it is the informational nature of the organism."
"A pillar of American constitutional government is undoubtedly the concept of representation. Citizens enjoying the voting franchise cast ballots for potential representatives; those winning a majority (or even a plurality) of votes take seats in legislative assemblies and executive offices from the federal level down to the local level. These officials then enact and enforce laws that, at least in theory, people must abide by and live under."
"Nearly everyone seems persuaded that the financial system that has been behaving so perversely in the recent past and has not yet finished doing so is one of purebred deregulated free market capitalism. This is not the case (just as the late lamented Soviet Union was not a purebred socialist system)."
"Do you want to maximize your productivity, push your career to the next level, and maintain a positive outlook at work?"
"Wiki… another Hawaiian word that has found its way into English"
"Not all University of Oxford researchers are uptight and humorless, 'irregardless' of what you might think. In fact, a bunch of them compiled a list of the Top 10 Most Irritating Expressions in the English language -- just because we needed one. Though maybe 'you could care less'...."
"Watch footage from the first 3D film of the Northern Lights and find out more about the expedition to capture the phenomenon."
"Each and every argument was so perfectly wrong and misguided that the reader had no other choice but to take the opposite perspective, to such an extreme that even fence-sitters would disagree and take a stand against old code and legacy crapola."
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