Monday, December 31, 2012

Wrapping Up This Blog

Looks like the Fall happened without any new posts here.

On the way to the airport from my recent Christmas visit to CA, my parents suggested I let people who may read this know that it's done. I thought such a gesture a sensible and conscientious thing to do for the close friends and family who may be waiting next to their Google alerts for my muddled thoughts to be posted.

So, until further notice, my thoughts will not be posted here. May this blog be kept at rest until it is useful again.

However, I am still active on The Internet via Twitter (@Tay_Bark) and guest blogging for The Institute for Faith, Work and Economics' blog (blog.tifwe.org).

For those few who've faithfully supported my efforts to communicate through this medium, I thank you for your readership! It's always meant a lot to get feedback from someone who says they've read my blog. I look forward to interacting with you all through Twitter, the IFWE blog and wherever else our paths may cross!

Thanks all!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Summer Break

I guess my blog is on summer vacation.

Let's see what happens in the Fall.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Ex-Patriot Act

This is ridiculous.

Eduardo Saverin renounces his US citizenship because of high capital gains tax and Sens. Schumer and Casey come up with legislation that would stick it to him anyway.

The articles say the legislation probably won't get out of committees, but it's a little crazy that things like are thought up in our Congress.

The thinking behind this Ex-Patriot Act seems to be that America made you rich, now you owe your country. Why? Do hyper-successful/wealthy people owe anything to the government? Sure, one can extrapolate all sorts of things: public schools, police, roads, whatever, that may have formed a foundation for success. But what's the true value of all that? Why does a rich person owe more than a "normal" person?

Rather than government institutions being a catalyst for human success, I think that informal institutions like culture, morality, community and personal attributes are far more influential than anything the government would contribute. All that mixed with a little right-place-at-the-right-time.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Commenting on Regulations

Ever wanted a direct voice in federal regulation formation? I'm sure you've had that thought many a time sitting at home with nothing to do. Well, know that you can!

Check out Regulations.gov to review upcoming regulations and submit what they call "public comments." It is required by law that they read all comments in the allotted time frame before regulation becomes law. If a salient enough point is brought up, amendments have to be made.

Now, while this public comment feature is a good thing, having all these regulations coming through the pipe in an ever increasing number may not be a good thing. Kind of like awesome cinnamon rolls in prison or something: it brightens your experience, but the experience overall still stinks.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The State of Those Republicans

In reading this Reason article on why conservatives should hope for a Romney loss this November, I found one of the last paragraphs particularly poignant and agreeable:

"The GOP is in a state of intellectual flux, illustrated perfectly by the ideological heterodoxy of its presidential field. Various strains representing different interests are fighting for the soul of the GOP: The neocons are duking it out with anti-war Paulistas. Social moderates are trying to wrest some space from pro-life religious conservatives. Deficits and debt worry everyone, but there is no consensus on entitlement reform. The GOP allegedly stands for the free market—but it has yet to figure out whether Bush’s financial bailout was right or wrong."

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Random Thoughts

Open Face Surgery by Cryptopsy is my latest favorite Over the Top Ridiculous Best Metal Song/Band Name Combo.

Buffett/Obama want rich people to pay more in taxes. Limited gov types say, "So send the government a check!" Progressives retort that's ridiculous because then the rich won't pay. Perhaps not all that ridiculous as the folks at the Buffett level of income probably all know each other and could peer pressure each other into voluntarily giving the feds 50% of their income (or whatever). I'd imagine when you're at that status you are not separated from anyone famous/exorbitantly wealthy by more than 2 degrees. It would be a spontaneously constructed sort of coercion, rather than state coercion, employing existent cultural norms/good behavior rather than threat of force from the state.

I watched a bit of the movie Death Race last night. Don't sue just yet: it was on TV, there were explosions, I was tired. The producers came up with the name "Criminal Island" for where the prisoners are imprisoned for the death races. Of course, Jason Statham's character was partnered with the one beautiful woman in the "Terminal" cases prison who shampoos her hair everyday. Additionally, while everyone else's partners are getting killed by stray gunfire, she's unhurt.  I'd like to see a movie where the heroin that the hero is partnered with has a terrible personality, hygiene, and quite masculine looks due to the time they spend mastering the things the typical heroine is good at in movies (marital arts, tech stuff, decision making, etc). The two would then form a bond of friendship and mutual respect or at least a working relationship until they part ways.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

LRA Responds to Kony 2012

Hat tip to my friend Divine for bringing my attention to this open letter from the LRA to...everyone?

They drop quotes from Jesus, Thomas Jefferson, US Secretary of States, generals. And it's really long.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Titanic Centennial

I just read this great article in The New Yorker on our culture's fascination with the Titanic disaster. At first I took issue with the claim that the fascination is "unending." But by the end I can see what the author meant. It's a bit long yet contains one of the best endings to an article I've read in a while. Worth a read as it summarizes the key literature and films about the disaster over the last 100 years.

Growing up, I went through a phase where I read and watched all I could about the Titanic. I remember the National Geographic TV special my family had on tape that I watched dozens of times, even taking it to my friends' houses to show/watch with them. They usually weren't as into it as I was. Titanic and the story of the Bismarck (huge German battleship during WWII) were subjects of my pre-teen amateur studies. I liked sunken ships, I guess.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Man Crushed

Our culture gives attention in spurts. Although that's not news to anyone. The Kony2012 campaign exemplified that characteristic. 

I navigated over to Invisible Children recently to see what was up, since that whole subject has fallen out of the social media discourse for the most part. On their site was this post from Jason Russell's wife regarding his health and it seems he was emotionally destroyed by the attention he and his organization received. Apparently he will be in the hospital for weeks and will spend months recovering before he is deemed stable enough to return to work. This is a story that truly saddens me. Imagine pouring your life into a project to have a laser beam of global attention focused on you that goes from majority support to majority ridicule in a matter of a week.

Not only did the rise to fame, the critiques and then public collapse all get talked about as they were happening, most likely they will stick around for awhile for his children to read about, as things on the internet don't just go away. It has become a part of the Russell, IC history.

Invisible Children took advantage of a powerful force: social discourse through social media. And like any powerful force, it can do both good and harm. While I think most any situation can be redeemed, thus far, at least, it seems more harm than good has come from this case, especially in Russell's personal life.

UPDATE: Google search counts over time for Kony.