Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
<Previous Next>
Fri Jan 7 23:28:25 2005
Around here, speech is not free, just heavily discounted

The idea of "unfair competition" between business and government is, I think, rather stupid. The government has a certain amount of duty to avoid favour of any given business over another, and this serves a number of purposes, from making it harder for said business to control the government via strongarm tactics, to keeping business from playing a large role in who is elected. It also helps keep the incentive to do a good job in business, when buying is based on the merits of products/services (although it's important to note that modern capitalism doesn't have this quality so much due to advertising). In some sense, a notion of a fair playing field between businesses proper doesn't seem too bad, but it's important to remember that society does not have a duty to the rights of businesses, as they are not people. Unfortunately, to some extent American law has forgotten this, and corporatists speak of free speech and other rights for business as being a good not unlike, and often on equal or greater importance than, that of individuals. This is unfortunate. Business is there by the grace of society, to serve what is really important, the people. When we speak of its good as the primary good, and think of things like GDP as goods in themselves rather than a rough measure, to be supplemented by others, of how well off people are, we've lost sight of something essential. This really disturbs me.

One of the few areas where I think BushJr is doing something good for the country is legal reform. I don't know if his plan has loopholes, not being a lawyer, nor if it's likely to be effective, but I'm happy to see efforts on this front. One thing I wonder about is why this is a conservative issue rather than a liberal one. The senate minority leader, according to that link, thinks that limiting lawsuits is a handout to pharmaceuticals. It does seem almost like they're talking about two different bills -- BushJr's phrasing makes it look like it's about doctors, and the democratic leaders make it seem like it's about drug companies, noting BushJr's campaign finance ties to insurance companies and the medical industry. What's the bill really about? Three main possibilities.. first, it's mostly about doctors, second that it's about one or the other, but will happen to benefit both, and third that it's mostly about protecting big drug companies. To really understand it, we'd need to understand what's in BushJr's head, and where his money comes from. Or, we could examine the bill, ideally with the help of lawyers. Hmm.

Abbas, the soon-to-be leader of the Palestinian Authority, whose name I doubtless will be mentioning again and again on here over time, is walking a thin line just like his predecessor, and perhaps also like his opposite. Abbas needs not to be seen as accepting of Israel's attacks (if these are self-defense or not is a topic of long debate without an easy conclusion), but also seems to have an interest in peace. I wish him luck. Similarly, I wish Sharon's luck -- his bold plan for peace is causing him to need to draw on unfortunate and unlikely allies to maintain control of the Knesset.

Wales, the current leader of Wikipedia, talks about Wikinews. I'm not sure what to think -- from what I've seen, what Wikinews does is at ends from what he envisions, or at least states. Wikinews is mainly about the wiki folk filtering a great number of existing, commercial news sources, and packaging them into an article. I don't think we'll be doing any original reporting. Of course, packaging into an article, in an open process with a focus on NPOV, is valuable in itself, and in fact I might argue that exposing more people to the idea of NPOV and the efforts to make it there is almost as interesting as the idea of having theoretically NPOV news/encyclopediae/whatever out there. I may eventually write an essaylet on this.

Edge magazine has a very interesting article in its most recent version. They asked a number of prominent thinkers what they believe that they can't prove. This is, na klar, a difficult question -- from at least some perspectives, there's not a hard line between things we feel we can prove and things we can't, based mostly on degrees of certainty. Still, let's ignore that and look at the answers. A few highlights worth reading include: Daniel Goleman, Randolph Nesse, Martin Rees, Charles Simonyi, Verena Huber-Dyson Philip Zombardo, etc etc.

The show "Crossfire" was cancelled. Some have speculated that it's relating to their interview with Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's "Daily Show". In that interview, Stewart claims that what crossfire does is scripted, with the topic and form of the discussion being like professional wrestling. If you recall, a few months ago, there was the concern of the presidential debates being similar. The question I have for Stewart is how does he know, or how can he tell? I haven't watched a lot of Crossfire, and so perhaps I'm missing out on it being obvious, but it seems rather bold to me to claim to know that the premise of the show is bad. What kind of debate/discussion would Stewart like to see?

I'm less inclined to stay with Verizon after reading this. The next CD from one of my favourite music groups, Plaid Tongued Devils, is announced. Just 3 months to wait until Minsteroma is released. Hurrah!

Sometimes I think the Mac techie community is on crack. In the first, they show you how to make a simple routine to allocate a string complex and stupid, making the programmer write half a page to allocate a string buffer, returning some bizarre structure users would need to look up to handle error checking. In the second, they have ten silly whines about computers.

You'll notice that I disabled anonymous comments on this BLOG. This is because I'm heading to europe soon, and am shutting down a number of things in my life for the time I'm gone. I will not be reachable by phone, and my email access will probably be sporadic.

Ferienplan: 1st week: Paris, Frankreich 2nd week: Sankt Moritz, Schweiz 3rd week: Brussel, Belgien und Amsterdam, Niederlande

Ich komme auf 31 Januar. Wieder!