Friday, July 03, 2009

I have to be quick and take advantage of this Internet time my computer is gracing me with. I've been back home in Lubbock for about 9 days and it only took 3 of them for me to bar myself from my computer and disable all Internet connections. It's taken 5 days of throwing chicken bones, clicking on anything that looked clickable while wading through Chinese computer gobbledygook to somehow restore a connection. Gotta be fast. Like driving with a broken fuel gauge, you never know when time is up.

  • Saw my president speak live for the first time. He seems to be making a very conscious effort to limit his "uhs" and "ums." That, well, uh, good. At times he was well-spoken, pleasant, mandatory politically vague and a tad condescending with a hint of smarmy. A combination of Buddy Christ and high school quarterback class president - equal parts. Sometimes shaken, sometimes a bit stirred, but mostly enjoyed. Especially by those wanting to enjoy. I give his press conference performance a very solid "Whatever."
  • News: Wal-Mart backs an employer mandate for health care - Okay, sorta interesting, though it becomes more interesting after reading short posts about this from The New Republic and National Review Online. The former suggests and the latter flat-out states that this is not just altruistic good citizenship. TNR states "On the other hand, politics is all about channeling self-interest so that it serves the public good. And the timing of this is pretty telling." NRO has this to say "It makes perfect sense for Wal-Mart to back a regulatory initiative that hurts its bottom line as long as it hurts its competitors more." This interested me because of the similarities to the companion measure to the Pure Food and Drug Act, the Meat Inspection Act, which supposedly was a response to the unhygienic conditions in meat packing plants brought to light by Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. Sinclair's intended focus was the working conditions and not the meat itself. One source, Gabriel Kolko's Meat Inspection: Theory and Reality, states clearly what I've seen before - "The reality of the matter, of course, is that the big packers were warm friends of regulation, especially when it primarily affected their innumerable small competitors." According to Kolko, regulation was initiated by the big meat packers some 20 years before Sinclair to increase competitiveness ( i.e., profits). No real point. Find your own. I just like the parallels.
  • As bi-political (conservative/libertarian) I feel it necessary to end with a quote from C.S. Lewis.
    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may
    be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under
    omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his
    cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own
    good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own

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