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Posts by danielmryan

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  • Smoking Pot and Tying the Knot

    12/12/2012 7:19:01 PM PST · 99 of 107
    danielmryan to ansel12
    Conservative activism? Thanks.

    Well then...good luck. To be frank, you have your own way and having the likes of me on board would likely be an impediment to you. Again, best of luck. Goodbye and Godspeed.

  • Smoking Pot and Tying the Knot

    12/12/2012 3:40:07 PM PST · 93 of 107
    danielmryan to ansel12
    Your opinion, pal. Lotsa luck with your own activism.
  • Smoking Pot and Tying the Knot

    12/12/2012 2:42:11 PM PST · 88 of 107
    danielmryan to ansel12
    I've been thinking on what you said re. smoking, and I've figured out why the libertarians are less insistent upon rolling back the smoking bans. Here's my take on why:
    1. The second-hand-smoking issue complicates things. Now, I know that the experiments are often set up to reach the politically correct conclusion. But, unlike with global warming, there isn't an active community of skeptics that recurrently debunk the findings. Junk science second-hand-smoke studies may be, but you not only have to prove it, you also have to have an active community (including scientists) rallying to the cause. (And even then it's tough, as the global-warming issue has shown.) There's been no Climategate in second-hand smoke studies. And, if it proves that second-hand-smoke does cause deleterious effects, then second-hand smoke would have to be pegged as a kind of pollution (aggression) by libertarians.
    2. Smokers may complain but are nevertheless obedient. There's no open cadre of smokers that flout the smoking ban. That's very much unlike Prohibition, where the Volstead Act was frequently and openly broken. Laws that are openly flouted over a wide swath of society (not just in the projects!) are perceived to have something wrong with them.
    3. Despite recent attempts to obliterate the distinction, there's still a hard difference between the civil law and the criminal law. In everyday life, that means a hard distinction between a fine and jail time. That's why laws like speeding laws are regularly flouted but aren't the centre of a mass movement to repeal. If you get a traffic ticket, it's almost like getting a tax bill. The only people who go to court over those tickets are people who want to fight them. No jail time is directly involved. The lawmakers have really picked their spots on traffic laws: the only jailable offenses are ones that either involve outright aggression, have been credibly depicted as tantamount to outright aggression, or represent driving that's typically reckless. For the rest, it's little more than forking over the money. Same goes for the anti-smoking laws.
    What I'm trying to get across is that the marijuana laws are low-hanging fruit for libertarian activists. There's no cluster of studies that say second-hand marijuana smoke causes damage to someone else, so there's no widely-claimed third-party effects to complicate the issue. The marijuana laws are widely flouted, including in middle-class circuits: a law that's widely disregarded by people who are law-abiding at heart is easy to cast as too strict. Combine that with jail time, not just a ticket, and you conjure up the image of (otherwise) law-abiding people being hauled off to the hoosegow and Bubba. What's made marijuana repeal do-able is the fact that the typical marijuana user does not show the behaviour patterns of the typical criminal - just as the typical illegal drinker in the Prohibition era did not show those patterns either. This last point is important. You may have noticed that libertarians are for open borders at the theoretical level, but they're for a lot of things at the theoretical level. In terms of activism, they haven't been pushing amnesty. Had their mission in life solely been to festoon libertarianism with liberal glamour, they would have. But, for now anyway, little Pedro is doing without them.

    One of the main reasons why the Brits' mercantilist laws were seen as tyrannical in the American colonies was the fact that many people made their living through smuggling - and were men of integrity. In other words, they were the opposite of the stereotypical "black marketeer." Their inner integrity was enough to impress their fellow Americans into seeing the laws as unjust. If there's any point that's decisive in re unjust laws, it would be this one. People who are law-abiding through and through, but who nevertheless break a specific law, put the question mark on the law itself. Smokers, on the other hand, are obedient, so the question mark remains unput. Sort-of like the TSA.

    And, I should add, libertarian support for repealing prostitution laws was stuck in the theoretical bubble until the trade itself became gentrified. As long as "what about the pimps?" is a decisive question, even a libertarian recognizes that there's no point in pressing the issue with activism.

    To sum up, the behaviour of all-too-many marijuana smokers themselves, combined with the severity of the marijuana laws, make repeal a winning issue. If FedGov were stupid enough to make possession of a handgun a jailable offense, you can bet that there'd be a bevy of libertarian activists agitating for repeal. That issue would be even more of a winner than repeal of the marijuana laws.

    That said, winning on repeal would be a major notch in the belt for libertarian activists. Winning encourages them, perhaps enough to throw some muscle behind the repeal of those smoking prohibitions and other "health n' safety" neoPuritanism.

  • Benevolent Sexism

    12/12/2012 6:24:11 AM PST · 8 of 19
    danielmryan to Servant of the Cross
    Ever notice that feminists have no objection to a protective and controlling government? (Unless headed up by Republicans?)
  • Women in combat a really, really bad idea

    12/11/2012 11:28:46 PM PST · 55 of 84
    danielmryan to ReformationFan
    This makes way too much sense for many in today's world to understand.

    Many of the "many" are people who picked up the notion that boot camp has little or nothing to do with the skills needed to soldier in the field. The types who think that boot camp is all about "domination," or breaking soldiers to the harness, with the tasks themselves being ancillary to the purportedly main purpose.

    That's the type who thinks that the training standards are "arbitrary" - i.e., have little or nothing to do with skills needed on the field when soldiering.

    There are lots of people like that about. Granted that they tend to be civvies and/or bookworms, but they have influence in Congress.

  • Masked gunman kills self after opening fire at Oregon mall, killing 2

    12/11/2012 7:49:25 PM PST · 21 of 61
    danielmryan to GeronL
    I have seen a girl who could fill out paperwork for her dad when she was a kid to being someone who can barely be bothered to read at all.

    Myself, I used to thoroughly read the instructions to a new board game for the rest of the family and then explain to everyone how to play. Now, on the very occasional time I start a new computer game, I barely have the patience to nail down the basics.

    And, as for sobriety, I barely drink. [Not that I'm a teetotaler: far from it. The time just slips away.]

    So, I think that the onset of "glorious puberty" has something to do with it. :)

  • Rev. Jesse Jackson calls for a ‘major strike’ after Michigan right-to-work laws pass

    12/11/2012 7:36:05 PM PST · 37 of 57
    danielmryan to re_nortex
    In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights.... Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer....

    And the students will have to pay attention in economics class ;)

  • The Only Thing Left for the Republican Party is its Obituary

    12/11/2012 12:47:42 AM PST · 50 of 56
    danielmryan to x
    Politics is growing more ideological and more lobbyist-dominated at the same time and at the same pace.

    The two trends have gone hand in hand in recent years. Why that is, I don't know.

    People who are more ideological have easier-to-press hot buttons. Among other metiers, lobbyists are good button-pushers.

    But so are professional politicians. If a lobbyist relied on button-pushing when lobbying politicians, he'd just be scoffed at and no elected politician would take him seriously.

  • Half of America: I'd kill to protect my own

    12/10/2012 11:47:39 PM PST · 33 of 43
    danielmryan to Perseverando
    The poll, conducted Nov. 28-Dec. 3 with a margin of error of 3.14 percentage points, showed 58 percent of Americans would be somewhat or very willing to kill someone if a member of their family was threatened with attack during an emergency.

    But that would be because 50 percent expect that within two weeks of a catastrophic emergency, their home, person or family member would be physically attacked by someone desperate for food, money or commodities like gasoline.

    Yeesh. If the sample base is reflective of America, and not a chimera from a false consensus, then austerity time is going to be rough.

    One thing I remember from the Hostess bankruptcy: when good times turn to bad, camaraderie turns to acrimony. During the Great Depression, despite the lurid tales of bank robbers, crime declined. Back then, hard times lessened acrimony: brought people to their senses, in a way.

    It's a safer bet that those days are gone.

  • Half of America: I'd kill to protect my own

    12/10/2012 11:42:35 PM PST · 32 of 43
    danielmryan to Marcella
    Bothersome...but if you look it another way, it's a dead-flat counterexample to the liberal stereotype of the crazed vigilantish gun owner.
  • The Distributional Issue ... is Extremely Important

    12/10/2012 11:39:30 PM PST · 106 of 111
    danielmryan to Uncle Miltie
    That's an interesting graph: it strongly suggests that the top marginal tax rate has little or no correlation with the tax take as percentage of GDP.
  • Disowned for Voting Republican: Part II

    12/10/2012 10:39:09 PM PST · 165 of 166
    danielmryan to Behind the Blue Wall
    Thanks, and welcome.
  • Disowned for Voting Republican: Part II

    12/10/2012 10:24:25 PM PST · 163 of 166
    danielmryan to Behind the Blue Wall
    I definitely agree that the Left has white people cowering in the corner when it comes to race, and that’s a big part of the problem. Just last night, I got into a conversation with a neighbor. It turns out that he’s descended from the Scottish people who were sent over by the British to hold the Ulster Plantation in Ireland for the Crown. I started to talking about the history of that group, and he said something to the effect that they have a lot of answer for in history. That’s so wrong; Scots-Irish have been on the bottom of basically every society that they’ve been a part of, never part of the ruling class, never the beneficiaries of much in the way of privilege or wealth. But here he is apologizing for them as if they were the worst oppressors in history.

    Believe it or not, part of it is vanity. If I'm powerful enough to be an oppressor, then I'm powerful. If I feel guilt, then I'm using my power responsibly. If I'm powerful enough to halt climate change by driving a bike, then I'm powerful. If I have "white skin privilege," then I'm of the privileged classes. And so on.

  • Disowned for Voting Republican: Part II

    12/10/2012 10:00:08 PM PST · 162 of 166
    danielmryan to Behind the Blue Wall
    As someone who's a Canadian and with Irish heritage, I found your father-in-law's remarks fascinating. They're reminiscent of old Irish-Catholic arguments to keep Irish Catholics "votin' the right way."

    I don't have any family legend to go on, but I imagine they went something like these:

    • "Think of the bright-eyed Irish children when they see a fellow Irish Catholic in the office. Would you deny them their confidence?"
    • "Why would you make the Irish boys so sad, which they will be if they see yet another Brit lording it over them?"
    • "The trouble with you is, you're too trusting. The Brits you see in the Episcopal Church are the same Brits that caused the Great Potato Famine."
    • "'Corrupt?' Let me assure you that the Prods will cheat you faster than you can say 'where's my wallet?' When you consider how the Brits and Prods cheat decent men every day, a few little fiddles look like nothing. We're way more sinned against than sinning."
    • "See this sign? It says 'Dogs And Irishmen Not Permitted.' Unless you vote the right way, you're voting for me, us and you to be treated like dogs."
    • "Granted, he's not a saint. But the Prods always have a hidden agenda. When they say 'reform', they mean getting rid of your fellow Irishmen and throwing them into the flop house. Nothing more."
    • (etc.)
    Do you see the psychological pressure being applied here? The mix of sentimentality and the appeal to group loyalty? If you ever wondered why a bunch of decent people would stick with a political machine, the above list should open your eyes. It was far more than micro-bribery that did the trick.

    What many don't understand about machines is, they rise and fall on emotional support. Those pressure tactics, repeated by decent people as they seem decent, reinforce the emotional bond and provide a major psychological deterrent to breaking out.

    Your father-in-law's attempt to dissuade you is noticeably revealing. It reveals the mind-set of a decent man who's emotionally tied to a kind of political machine. If you're of the mind, you could ask him to get his friends to "talk sense" into you too. You'll see similar pressure tactics - and some you didn't even know existed.

  • George Will: “Opposition to Gay Marriage is Dying—It’s Old People”

    12/10/2012 6:45:06 PM PST · 54 of 138
    danielmryan to ilgipper
    There's also a third aspect. As the number of laws multiply, and more of our activities become compelled or forbidden, there's a compensatory lunge for freedom - particularly in the personal-lifestyle area. You can't really peg that as libertarian, because many of the lungers would flat-out reject the libertarian alternative.

    If you're in chains and the chains are chafing, seeing someone else's chain cut can provide a psychological boost. That's why prisoners cheer on (and even help) escapees even though they themselves are not one iota freer as a result. If society is overlawed into becoming a kind of prison, you'll see the same attitude in the general public.

    Unfortunately, in too many cases, freedom-lungers are reacting emotionally rather than acting rationally.

  • Governor signs Amendment 64, marijuana officially legal in Colorado

    12/10/2012 6:12:59 PM PST · 96 of 116
    danielmryan to CodeToad
    Ironic that liberals think making guns legal means murders everywhere while Republicans think making pot legal means potheads everywhere, as though their own kids aren’t smoking pot in high school and college already.

    Yes, it is. Of course, there's a different irony in the fact that all mind-altering substance were legal in 1900 - all of them, including heroin - and 1900 was like, well, 1900.

    Widespread welfare does introduce a different dynamic, but that's a dynamic all its own. The Controlled Substances Act has not prevented the welfare culture from getting out of hand. Nor would Prohibition have, come to think of it. It's cold comfort to know that you've been flash-mobbed by fifty clean and sober ferals.

    The way I see it, there are two arguments that the drug prohibitionists rely upon with regards to the welfare culture:

    1. Without the Controlled Substance Act, the welfare culture would be worse than it already is.
    2. Without the Controlled Substances Act, more middle-class people would fall into the welfare culture.
    The first is dubious because the welfare culture already accommodates lawlessness. (Reminiscent of gun control!) As for the second - well, Colorado will show and tell.
  • Governor signs Amendment 64, marijuana officially legal in Colorado

    12/10/2012 5:52:46 PM PST · 92 of 116
    danielmryan to Morgana
    Was wondering how this would affect drug tests now.

    Simple answer: if marijuana is as legal as alcohol, then the precedents established for alcohol tests kick in. For example, airline companies are perfectly within their rights to bench any pilot or co-pilot that's drank in the last 24 hours. Trucking companies are likely obligated to bench a driver that's had enough of a tipple to make the breathalyzer frown on them. I believe those rights extend to the right to fire for chronic reprobates. As a general rule, if alcohol testing is permitted then marijuana testing would be.

    One interesting unknown (to me, anyway) is welfare recipients. Does a state or municipality have the right to test for drunkenness, or does it violate a welfare recipient's "rights?" If the former, then they can be tested for marijuana use.

  • 'He's treated like the worst of the worst': Sandusky put on hard routine...

    12/09/2012 12:52:19 PM PST · 16 of 46
    danielmryan to Morgana
    And that's what he gets for doing what he's done: it's called "justice." End of story.
  • School District Owes $1 Billion On $100 Million Loan

    12/09/2012 10:33:50 AM PST · 19 of 28
    danielmryan to SkyDancer
    Sort of like a balloon payment then. The investors don’t see a dime until the bond matures? Then the borrower can file bankruptcy and not pay and those bond holders are out their investment. Right???

    Doesn't look too good when you're on the other side, does it?

    That's why the early zeroes (or "strip bonds") sold to the public were stripped U.S. Treasury bonds. Theoretically, Treasuries have zero credit risk.

    What you pointed out did happen at the end of the '80s in the junk-bond arena. The whizzes at Drexel started peddling so-called "payment in kind" junk bonds, which were essentially zeroes. Your interest payment was more junk bonds of the same issue.

    Needless to say, those deals didn't end all that well.

  • School District Owes $1 Billion On $100 Million Loan

    12/09/2012 9:52:47 AM PST · 17 of 28
    danielmryan to SkyDancer
    That’s one heck of a vig. to pay.

    It's not that bad if you consider the time factor. Ever hear of zero-coupon bonds? You might not have, because they've faded from view, but they were fashionable in the 1980s. Sometimes, they were promoted as the perfect investment for an IRA.

    Essentially, a zero-coupon bond is a bond whose coupons (interest payments) are stripped off and sold elsewhere. What's left is the principal payment on maturity. You can take a 30-year Treasury bond and make it into a "zero" by splitting the interest payments from the bond itself and assigning them elsewhere. Zero chop shops sold the coupons to different clients.

    Since these bond pay nothing - nada - until the maturity date, they sell at a huge discount to the payoff at maturity. In essence, the huge discount is compensation for the nada you get over the life of the bond.

    Back in the mid and late-1980s, you could still get 8% on long-term Treasuries. A twenty-five year zero would pay nothing over the life of the bond, except at the end. To yield 8%, a $1,000 twenty-five-year zero-coupon bond would have to be sold for only $146.

    That's how the math works. In order to yield 8%, that zero has to be sold at about 1/7th of face value. The huge payout at the end is compensation for being locked out of any payment for the entire twenty-five years: for getting nothing until the big payday.

    A "capital appreciation bond" is a zero-coupon bond. From that article, I inferred that one of them had a wait period of forty years (!) No joke: a forty-year CAP that pays off $15 per dollar of original loan yields a wee bit more than 7%. Seven percent per year: that's how the compound-interest math works out.

    So the vig looks huge only because it's pushed back into a lump sum at the end.

    (I found that, when some dealie seems outrageous, that it's best to imagine I'm on the other side of the transaction...)