Sunday, November 22, 2009

QOTD

Democrat John Kerry, finally the senior Senator from Massachusetts, interviewed in the November 18th USA Today:
Q: We've talked about many challenges today, but in the current U.S. political system, do we have the ability to make the difficult, long-term choices that come with costs?

A: It takes leadership to change it. The president is offering leadership. But we're witnessing literally the most obstructionist Congress that I've seen in 26 years here. And the pressure that is put on our colleagues on the other side of the aisle not to work with us is just enormous. None of us has cornered the market on virtue, but we can have an honest debate and have a give-and-take. We don't have to lie about things and come up with phony studies that cloud the scene. But that's the nature of the battle, and we just have to keep plugging away.
Huh? This Congress already passed an economically illiterate stimulus package that paid people not to work, is about to authorize substantially increased government intervention into healthcare and will consider an depression-inducing, un-scientific climate change measure next year. What is John Kerry smoking? Probably whatever it was in 1971.

As Best of the Web's James Taranto responds:
[I]s Congress really "the most obstructionist" it has been during Kerry's tenure? If so, perhaps the answer is to elect more Republicans. The House currently has a 258-177 Democratic majority, which is as many Democrats as it has had at any time during Kerry's congressional tenure except the administration of George H.W. Bush, when the Democratic total reached as high as 267. The Senate Democratic caucus has 60 members, 58 of whom are formally Democrats, making it the most Democratic Senate since Kerry's arrival (the previous high was 57, in 1993-95).

If this Congress is unusually "obstructionist," it is because the president is giving it so much to obstruct. Massachusetts Democrats like Kerry may support a government health-care takeover and massive taxes on energy, but the American people on the whole--including those who elected many of the Democrats in those big majorities--do not. What really frustrates Kerry is not "obstructionism" but democracy.
Or, as MaxedOutMama quips:
I do not care if Obama bows to the Japanese emperor, although it is a gross violation of US tradition, based in our founding national precepts, if he would only start bowing to reality.

14 comments:

Thai said...

Indeed

It seems many views do violate the laws of physics.

PS- I do not mean to bring up the environmental angle in sharing this with you. My point is only that a lot of the tripe out there clearly violate the second law of thermodynamics and the conservation of energy. ;-)

O Bloody Hell said...

> It seems many views do violate the laws of physics.

Geez. Save us all from Economic Lysenkoism.

They couldn't even get past the second para to introduce the very first absurdist BS: "...is ignoring the world's diminishing supply of energy..."

The only supply of anything missing is basic brainpower. Every single human on this planet has more access to energy in greater quantity, density, and variant configurations than the world's richest man 100 years ago did. If they have any problem with accessing it, that's more socio-political in nature than it is based in technical issues or access to/limits of resources.

Nuclear power alone would vastly improve that worldwide, if it weren't for the vast array of obstructionist policies pushed by the sworn enemies of all humans, the Greens.

Sci-Am lost all credibility half a decade ago when they started blatantly ignoring the data and promoting the Green agenda. They are nothing but a mouthpiece for Green policy promotion. And this Economic Lysenkoism is nothing but another form of it.

Carl said...

Thai:

Especially as an alumni of Syracuse University, I'm stunned by the insanity of that article. Supply and demand doesn't violate any laws of physics. Like OBH, I doubt the validity of the "peak oil" thesis, but, regardless, economics accounts for shortages in the price mechanism. I don't always agree with OBH, but he's right that view expressed in the article is "Economic Lysenkoism."

I subscribed to Scientific American for 15 years, quitting about 15 years ago for the reasons OBH said--it became a political, not science-based, publication. Apparently nothing has changed.

Thai said...

Carl, again, you have misunderstood my point and gone off in an entirely different direction than I intended- OBH may be influencing you in this regard.

My link was meant as a joke for this particular post, where you have pointed out that some people's views on some of these issues have a way of violating the second law of thermodynamics with the idea that there must be limitless resources.

Examples you give:

1. "This Congress already passed an economically illiterate stimulus package that paid people not to work, is about to authorize substantially increased government intervention into healthcare and will consider an depression-inducing... measure next year."

AND

2. "... if he would only start bowing to reality."

i.e. From your viewpoint, you are saying some people have a hard time accepting the reality of the conservation of energy. ;-)

As I said in my original comment: "I do not mean to bring up the environmental angle in sharing this with you. My point is only that a lot of the tripe out there clearly violate the second law of thermodynamics and the conservation of energy. ;-)"


So I will say again, some views have a way of violating the conservation of energy.

Indeed, a lot of, but not all, of Keynesianism violates the conservation of energy... I hope it is clear this is a perpetual motion machine.

It is a joke mirroring to your own frustration, nothing more.

... And if you would please do me the favor of asking for clarification in the future if you are confused about a point I have made, I would appreciate it. Blog communication can often be an inferior method of communication because it can lack the elements necessary for readers to see what linguists call "aspect"- immortalized forever by Clinton's "it depends what the meaning of 'is', is".

Real world communication usually supplemented spoken/written communication with physical/situational context and body language in order to give people a better picture of another person's aspect; as far as I can tell, the clues for aspect are completely lost in blog world.

Hence you will see some bloggers jump the gun more frequently than they otherwise might.

Anyway, be well



PS- the Sci Am article is not wrong AND neither are you. If you do ever create a piece on morality, do me the benefit of asking yourself whether such a statement could be true... I think it might help you see the issue/paradox more clearly.

Regards

Carl said...

Thai:

I apologize if misunderstood you, though I was critiquing the article, not you.

Carl said...

Thai:

The Krugman post you cited is similarly economically illiterate: it supports the equivalent of paying people not to work (how did that go for the former Soviet Union?) and assumes government can make appropriate investment decisions (how did that go for Japan in the 1990s?). If anything violates the laws of thermodynamics, it's Krugman's (and Keynes's) preposterous perpetual motion machine.

Thai said...

Carl, just checking that you recognize that I do understand this?

Humor Carl... humor?

Thai said...

By the way, I assume you noticed the name and date of the commenter at the bottom of the last link and that is why you shared it with me. ;-)

OBloodyHell said...

> ... And if you would please do me the favor of asking for clarification in the future if you are confused about a point I have made, I would appreciate it.

Thai, you are already aware of the bandwidth limitations inherent in the communications medium you are utilizing. It is unreasonable and foolish to expect others to "guess" when you aren't being clear as to your meaning. Esp. when the appearance seems to match with previous expressions and ideas.

One of the reasons I'm as wordy as I am is BECAUSE I grasp exactly what you complain about, and am attempting to compensate for that. It's convenient that my thought process are already fairly well organized and thus easily assembled into an expression of words, so I write first drafts that are like other people's second drafts, and can write almost as fast as I can type.

But it's still up to you to make yourself clear, and not expect others to guess when your apparent intent isn't what you mean it to be.

That's not a criticism, it's just an observation. And it's particularly true when you're expressing yourself in a manner which doesn't particularly jibe with positions which typically fit with other positions you have taken.

OBloodyHell said...

Also:

> some people's views on some of these issues have a way of violating the second law of thermodynamics with the idea that there must be limitless resources.

Save us all from amateur physicists, as well.

The second law of thermodynamics is far more complex and subtle than most people grasp. On the surface, it's pretty basic -- "in any closed system, things go from an ordered state to a disordered state"

The relevant thing is, we aren't in a closed system.

There is an entire UNIVERSE out there which we don't have any use of or access to -- YET -- to say nothing of the "nearby" universe of resources which we either don't know how to effectively utilize or have not attempted to utilize -- at the moment. In the latter I speak of the obvious options for fusion, to say nothing of total mass conversion. Both of which are "nothing but" distinct engineering challenges for accessing. A big "but", no dispute, but there is little reason to assume that, given time, we won't be able to develop those resources. And fission resources, which we DO have full access to in an efficient mechanism, are virtually certain to give us plenty of time -- at several times current energy usage levels (i.e., allowing even the fourth world to fully develop), breeder reactors can keep us supplied with energy for thousands of years. Give us fusion and/or total mass conversion and there is no practical time limit on our "limited resources". Mankind will have become something else before we run out of resources.

Even without any of that, space has tremendous resources available once we take the time and effort to establish a presence there. And that is a combination of challenges to engineering and will, none insurmountable.

"Doom and gloom" is the product of a lack of imagination, not of the Real World.

Thai, you need to go hunt up Julian Simon. The primary resource affecting humanity is their brainpower. And that's one reason why increasing population is a Good Thing -- every one of them is another brain to think about other ideas and other ways to do things -- and that is one reason why the American heritage of individual freedom is so important -- because it provides the best known framework for those brains to function well in and express their ideas. And one damned good reason to fight like hell all those who would destroy that freedom and inventiveness... like Obama, Ayers, Reid, Clinton, and Pelosi.

I am not just against these people -- I am adamantly against just about every single thing they stand for.

Thai said...

OBH, do you see how people's moral constructs (or moral matrices) of the world they perceive can be different and yet two people with two different moral matrices, still arrive at similar places?

Thai said...

Put another way, please perform the following experiment where you are to have a conversation with yourself. You will need a tennis ball and a blue marking pen.

It is concerning the same issue of "aspect" I mentioned before. It is really another variant on the theory of relativity, amateur physics is completely beside the point.

The conversation you will have with yourself will be about "the tennis ball".

Now on one side of the ball, draw a small dot with the blue ink pen. Then look at the ball from a point of view where you can see the dot. Call this perspective "A" (e.g. includes the blue dot)

Then look at the ball from another point of view where you do not see the dot. Call this perspective "B" (e.g.no blue dot).

Now talk with yourself about the ball.

Both perspectives on the ball are fundamentally correct. But if you use wording like "the ball" (wording which should seem quite precise at first glance), but do not include additional information about the dot, you will think you are having a perfectly precise conversation when in fact you are talking about two different views on the same (and different) thing.

Both views are precisely correct, and even if you say "the green tennis ball right there" so you think you are being more precise, still the views on the same thing are different yet BOTH are correct.

I assume you are following me?

Thai said...

Also, re: "I grasp exactly what you complain about, and am attempting to compensate for that."

I think I understand. No foul then.

Like Godel's famous "this sentence is false", some things cannot be solved through more engineering. More information is not always better information.

Another alternative is simply "wait" and let events unfold and a clearer picture will (slowly) emerge.

Thai said...

And I am sorry but the statement "The second law of thermodynamics is far more complex and subtle than most people grasp" followed by "I am not just against these people -- I am adamantly against just about every single thing they stand for" is imply too delicious to leave alone.

"A rose by any other name does not seem as sweet".