June 17, 2013
Sunday evening and here I sit writing about my last week and my plans for the week upcoming.
Not a lot happened last week. I got a lot of reading done, and I thought a lot about stopping Magic in the Monastery but decided against it. I had an idea for another book and considered starting it up, and I also considered going back to any of the dozen or so stories I have stopped in the past but not abandoned. That is one of my biggest problems, I have too many story ideas and if I don’t watch myself I dart from one to another and never finish anything.
Wednesday with my $800 Social Security payment coming in I will be busy all day running all over town. Out of that $800 I make my tithe to church, make my cell phone payment and my life insurance payment, then I buy groceries and whatever else I want. This has to last until the first of the month when I get my VA Disability of $100 and my USAF retirement of $1250. (All numbers here are just approximations and not actual amounts coming in.) Living alone I have enough so that I’m never in real trouble except for the fact that I never seem to put anything aside.
Of course, one problem with living alone is that if something happens it is all on me. So that hypoglycemia incident of a week ago Friday could have been deadly because there was no one to help me or call 911. Having to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom was, indeed, a life saver.
Another problem with living alone is that I can put things off without really having any consequences. If you look in my kitchen you will see dirty dishes stacked in the sink that have been “soaking” for years. I never use them, so why wash them?
There wasn’t a meeting of the Pima County Board of Supervisors last week, I presume so that they needed the time to prepare for the budget presentation this week. The Election Integrity Commission meets Friday and will investigate a third new election system, but since the Secretary of State won’t authorize a trial of a new system even though he has pushed for one for at least two years, I guess it will just be background information for if we ever get the authorization to conduct a trial with a digital scanning system instead of an optical reader system.
If you wish to do so please pray for Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Diocesan Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy at Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Laura Goodman, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Frederick Jenning, Greg Maynard, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Thomas Rice, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Matt Woodruff, Brian; for those in need especially Michael Ballesteros, Preston Ballesteros, Steven Leonard, The Reverend Nancy Meister Book, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Elsie Petropoulos, Susan Southwick, Raymond Turner, Ed, Lee, Francesca Jarvis, Mary Wilcox, Amanda, Amy, Phil & Vince, Billy, Charlie, Jerry & Rondy, Monica & Carri, Nichole Rob; for animal companions in need especially Scooter, Skylee, Shonee, Gussie, Mollie; for those who have died especially Jesse L. Thomas Jr., Jamie E. Leonard, Todd J. Clark.
What I’m reading: Primarily GURPS books but I have been reading Nero Wolfe e-books also.
What I’m watching: I am finishing off the Emergency! series on Netflix and have started the Ah My Buddha series which I have just bought.
What I’m writing: Magic in the Monastery with some work on my Arlun campaign.
June 13, 2013
Vice-President Biden is on record as saying that Al Gore was elected President of the United States of America. This is based upon, I guess, the idea that the election results in Florida should have gone to Al Gore but were prevented from doing so by fraud on the part of the Republicans.
Elections are important enough so that such questions should only be in the minds of idiots. However, there are enough reasonable doubts about the integrity of American elections so that questions on the validity of any specific election are valid for intelligent and reasonable people. Even if there are no, or maybe just few, proven instances of election fraud, the integrity of elections is too important to ignore the chance of such fraud.
Elections take many forms. Here in Tucson, the city not Pima County or the State of Arizona, the City Council is composed of six Ward members and a Mayor. The Mayor is elected city-wide with no consideration for the Wards. Each Ward Council-member is elected city-wide but is supposed to represent a specific Ward. So, for each Ward the representative is elected by those outside the Ward. Given the disparity of registration between Democrats and Republicans, with Democrats having the massive advantage, it is rare for a Republican to get elected, even in the two Wards where the advantage is to the Republicans. It does happen that a Republican gets elected but the Democrats are elected for those two Wards far too often. There has even been Republican Mayors. However, for a Republican to get elected to a Ward or to the Mayor’s office, the individual has to overcome a huge deficit before the election even starts. Name recognition and personal reputation have usually been the carrying factor. The argument for continuing this system is that the local issues are not partisan. If that is the case, let us have all 100 US Senators and 435 US Representatives elected nation-wide.
Every issue is partisan to the point that each of the dozens of political parties have different ways of dealing with the issue at hand. The voter should select between the various parties based upon the philosophy of that party as embodied in the specific candidate. And the elections should not be decided by fraud.
Since I started off with the Presidential Election of AD 2000, let me show how much fraud there was in Florida. Thousands of Republican votes were suppressed in Florida. You almost never hear of this but it is true. To explain: In 1964 the TV news organizations did their first outcome predictions. They predicted various States for President Johnson even though the polls in that State were still open. There was a huge outcry and the networks promised to not do it again. They kept that promise in 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, & 1996. Eight times. Florida is a 2-Time-Zone State with the Peninsula having a Democratic majority registration and the Panhandle having a Republican majority registration. When the polls closed in the Peninsula the polls in the Panhandle had another hour yet to go before closing. This is nothing new, Florida has been a 2-Time-Zone State ever since the time zones were put in place, over a hundred years. However, for some reason, the TV networks forgot all this and called Florida for Al Gore before the polls were closed in the Republican-majority Panhandle. They didn’t even try to correct this until after the polls were closed in the Panhandle. So, how many thousands of Republicans who were getting off from work did not go to the polls and vote because it would have made no difference or because the implication was that the polls were closed?
Another point in that election in Florida was the “hanging chad” problem. Arizona used to use that sort of ballot wherein the voter punched out a chad to vote. I used that system several times. Plus I have used that sort of system for other reasons, such as inventory control and so forth. It is unlikely that if you punch a single card at a time that the chad will hang and if it does, it is easily noticed and correctable. If you try to punch several at once then hanging chads become common and can be harder to notice. Plus, almost all of the hanging chad ballots were from just a couple of counties where the Democrats ran the election. If there was not election fraud then the hanging chad problem would have been more widespread and not just limited to Democrat-controlled areas.
A last problem with that election was that the State of Florida did not purge the voter registration lists of those no longer eligible to vote, i.e. felons, or who hadn’t voted for so long that a reasonable person would probably believe that they would not vote again in Florida. Sociologists who have studied the issue say that criminals tend to vote Democratic. I am sure that not all criminals would vote Democratic and definitely not every Democratic voter is a criminal. However, how many people voted who were not eligible? And, was such ineligible votes balanced between the two major parties? Given that voter fraud is a crime, and criminals tend to vote for Democrats (according to those who have studied the issue) then it would seem that fraudulent votes would tip toward Democrats.
And yet, even with all the benefits the Democrats got, in every recount Al Gore lost Florida.
June 10, 2013
I have not been feeling well all day today. I’m not really sick, but I’m not really well either. I missed church this morning, which I do not like to do, and basically I’ve laid in bed all day just trying to feel good enough to get up. I have gotten up, fixing meals, going to the bathroom, doing this post, and my morning checks and medicines but I had to work at it each time. If I was married I would have driven my wife crazy today, I am sure, will whining about everything and anything. Since I live alone, I just whined to myself and I couldn’t stand it.
I have mentioned before that I am a diabetic and that I am on insulin. Well, my blood sugar has been so bad that I have gotten out of the habit of carrying candy with me just in case. It’s no big deal when I am at home, but it might be critical when I am out. A couple of years ago, maybe three, I had a low-blood-sugar event where I passed out and walked for about three or four blocks before I collapsed – including crossing a busy street. It was only after I collapsed and started to get back up that the symptoms of hypoglycemia hit me. Told this to the doctor and he was shocked, but diabetes is a strange disease. I mention this because I hade another event last week. Thursday night (actually right after midnight Friday morning) I woke up and had to go to the bathroom. Nothing strange about that, I am of an age where that happens a lot. However, I was experiencing all the classic symptoms of hypoglycemia. It took probably ten minutes for me to test myself (blood glucose level was 67) and get something to eat. But, if I had not had to go to the bathroom, would I have woken up just because of the hypoglycemia? I don’t think so and I would have died as a result since I had nowhere to be that Friday and no one would have gotten in touch with me until Saturday morning. I can remember an incident when I was growing up that is relevant. My family was living in San Diego and we had a dog, a Weimaraner. We went on a vacation back to Indiana and left Bruno (the dog) with the breeder. The breeder did something and Bruno was changed. My parents had to go back almost immediately because my Grandmother died and a neighbor lady watched up four boys. One day she came to wake me and Bruno snapped at her, just missing her. A couple of weeks later Bruno snapped at my youngest brother and bit his neck just missing all the vital veins and arteries in the neck. We gave Bruno to some friends of friends. These people had a horse farm and Bruno had the necessary room to run. He became the dog of their eldest child, their daughter, and was extremely protective of her. This caused problems but they never got rid of him because one night Bruno came into the parent’s bedroom and literally dragged them into the living room where the younger child, their boy, was in a coma. He was what is now called a Type I diabetic. I don’t have a dog and if I did there is no one the dog could drag around to save me. Being a Type II diabetic does not mean that I am any less vulnerable to a coma than a Type I.
I have been attending meetings of the Pima County Board of Supervisors lately. Even though I live inside Tucson City Limits, I am more interested in the County Government than the City Government. I often speak with the Supervisors before or after their meeting and it seems I am popular with them, even the ones who are representing districts that I do not live in. Last Tuesday I spoke officially to the Board during their meeting. The issue I spoke on was one not on the agenda so there was little that they could do but I spoke anyway. There is a Veterans Blvd and a Veterans Memorial Bridge here in Pima County but I doubt very many people know about either. Pima County does name some of their buildings, one example being the Joel Valdez Main Library. I read the biography of Mr. Valdez and his accomplishments and services were such that naming the Main Library after him was a proper honor; but, in that biography there was no mention of military service. Mr. Valdez grew up when there was a universal draft so, unless he was disabled in some way or had some other deferment, he served in the military. Given his accomplishments after his college graduation I am sure that his military service was honorable and perhaps even distinguished – presuming he was not deferred for some reason. But no mention of military service. (Supervisor Elias mentioned after the meeting that he thought Mr. Valdez had a crippled arm from birth and thus was never drafted but he wasn’t sure and I do not know.) I requested that Pima County name future buildings after veterans and provide a biography of those veterans detailing their military service. For those of you who follow this blog, you might consider getting something similar done in you community. Naming a street, unless you live in the area or have business in that area, is an honor that can easily be overlooked; naming a bridge is even worse since people using the bridge will pay no attention to the name or any signs relating to the name after one or two times (if that) where they notice the name. But a building name, especially if there is a biography attached to the building or online where it can be read, will probably attract more attention and be a greater honor. And regardless of peace or war, veterans put their bodies between you and the enemy. Peace or war, you owe a lot to them and they should be honored.
For those of you who wish to do so, please pray for Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Diocesan Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Laura Goodman, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Frederick Jenning, Greg Maynard, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Thomas Rice, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Matt Woodruff, Brian; for those in need especially Steven Leonard, The Reverends Bill & Nadine Martin, The Reverend Nancy Meister Book, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Elise Petropoulos, Susan Southwick, Raymond Turner, Billy, Ed, Lee, Francesca Jarvis, Mary Wilcox, Amanda, Amy, Phil & Vince, Charlie, Jerry & Rondy, Monica & Carri, Neal, Nichole, Rob; for animal companions in need especially Scooter, Skylee, Shonee, Gussie, Mollie; for those who have died especially Justin L. Sisson, Robert A. Pierce, Sean W. Mullen, Kyle P. Stoeckli, Ray A. Ramirez, Mariano M. Raymundo, Joe A. Nunezrodiguez.
What I am watching: Still watching Emergency! on Netflix and am almost done with that series. I’m watching Mythbusters from my own collection and I just watched Twelve O’clock High from Blockbuster.
What I am reading: Still Nero Wolfe and GURPS. I have been buying the Nero Wolfe books for my Nook and reading them there. Each book has the claim that the e-book is an accurate copy of the printed version and I keep finding where that isn’t true. The format errors and typos are jarring but I still enjoy the books in spite of them.
What I am writing: Still working on Magic in the Monastery and my Arlun campaign.
June 6, 2013
Arizona, like all other States and probably all other nations, has laws against practicing medicine without a license. In other words, you need permission from Arizona in order to prescribe medicine or medical procedures. Now, I have looked at Title 32 of the Arizona Revised Statues and there are exceptions to the requirement that one must have an Arizona license in order to practice medicine in Arizona. These exceptions are, basically, to allow doctors licensed by the Federal Government to practice in Arizona. Again, I expect all other States to have something similar.
But I could find nothing that gave an exception to an insurance clerk or IRS agent who tells a licensed doctor to not use this medicine but that one, or who prohibits a licensed doctor from using a medical procedure and instead requires some other treatment, even if that other treatment is no treatment. And I mention IRS agents because the IRS is going to be the governing agency for what is commonly called Obamacare. Your doctor is going to have to get permission from the IRS in order to treat you, presuming that your doctor can read the instructions that the IRS gives (have you ever tried to read the IRS Code?) and has the time to go through the (I presume Byzantine) procedures in order to get that permission. And I presume that the procedures are going to be Byzantine because so much of Federal Regulations are Byzantine. And, far too often, if you obey one regulation you violate another.
So, your life is probably going to depend upon someone who has not spent a single day in medical school and who, in the safety of an office somewhere, requires your doctor to do two times as much work as is needed. How did I come up with that figure? There was a recent story about a doctor who gave up taking money from insurance, either private or government, and was able to cut his fees by half. Now a large part of that excess he had to charge his patients was the cost of paperwork but there was still a huge time cost on him. Not only did he have to have unnecessary people in his office but his own time was required for the paperwork, even if only signing forms.
As near as I can determine, almost every one of the problems we have with our medical care is caused by government intervention. Someone who has no training and has no interest in the outcome determines what is done and get what may be a sexual rush in controlling someone else’s life. Insurance companies are similar but they have to compete and so there are limits in what they can get away with, there are no such limits on government. Government messes up and blames someone else, and then demands more power to fix a problem that they caused.
Unless the government and private insurers staff with medical doctors who take the time to examine each patient, unqualified people are going to continue to dictate medical care. And that is against the law.
June 3, 2013
Sunday evening and here I am again. I had some good news last week; a couple of weeks ago or so I mentioned that my Nook had died. Well, it turns out it hasn’t. I took it into Barnes & Noble and it charged just fine. It seems that one of the two cables I have is bad and when I tried both cables in four different power outlets I must have used just the bad one. So, I am back to using my Nook for reading my GURPS books and also the Nero Wolfe series.
Regarding e-books, there is always the statement in the front of the e-book that states that the e-book is a true and accurate copy of the print edition. I don’t believe it. I have found too many typos, formatting errors, and even a missing page in the Nero Wolfe books and I doubt that this is limited to this one series of books. And given how common the errors are, in this series, I guess that they are common in all or nearly all books.
With summer being here, yes I know it is still technically spring but the reality is that it is summer, I like to sit out by the pool of my apartment complex and read or write. However, the Tucson sun is bright enough and angled just right for writing, on my computer, is not really possible. So I take a book out and have a pipe or two while I read. Yes, I am one of those evil tobacco smokers.
Tomorrow I have to go do grocery shopping for the month, or at least most of the month. I am a lousy cook, I never learned how to really cook as opposed to open and heat, so I rarely eat very healthy, which doesn’t help my diabetes or my hypertension or high cholesterol. However, it is the situation for now. I have several cookbooks but almost without exception they are for groups of four or more and I am not sure that the left-overs can be frozen. Stews and chili can be, so I tend towards those when I cook.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I plan on joining a monastic order. As part of the preparation I need to know my date of baptism and confirmation. I am still waiting for my confirmation date but I got a shock concerning my baptism date. I had, for many years, thought my baptism date was the First Sunday in Advent 1953 but I found out it was the Fourth Sunday in Advent 1954. I always believed that my Father and I were baptized in the same ceremony (he grew up in the Church of Christ which does not practice infant baptism) and he was confirmed later in the same ceremony. I am NOT going to investigate that belief, I want to keep some happy memories.
If you wish to do so, please pray for Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Diocesan Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Laura Goodman, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Frederick Jenning, Greg Maynard, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Thomas Rice, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Matt Woodruff, Brian; for those in need especially Steven Leonard, The Reverends Bill & Nadine Martin, The Reverend Nancy Meister Book, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Elise Petropoulos, Susan Southwick, Raymond Turner, Billy, Ed, Lee, Francesca Jarvis, Mary Wilcox, Amy, Phil & Vince, Charlie, Jerry & Rondy, Monica & Carri, Neal, Nichole, Rob; for animal companions in need especially Scooter, Skylee, Shonee, Gussie, Mollie; for those who have died especially Christopher R. Drake; for animal companions who have died.
What I’m writing: Still working on Magic in the Monastery but not getting a lot forward, mainly what I am doing now is re-writing.
What I’m watching: Still going through Emergency! on Netflix but also I have been watching the Star Wars series.
What I’m reading: I have finished A History of the Great War and am going through Nero Wolfe again. I like oddball detectives although not detective stories in general.
May 30, 2013
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I do not remember who that statement is credited to but I agree with it.
Back during medieval times the local lord had a great deal of power over the people under his authority. In some countries more than others; in England, for example, this power was tempered by the jury system which was, to a large extent, absent elsewhere. We can laugh at the system that gave the local lord so much power but we give our own governments more than equal power. Another reason that local lords had less than absolute power was that for the most part the area of government was much smaller in population. A village might have just two or three hundred people and everyone knew just about everyone else. Even large cities had just a few thousand people, London had an estimated 25,000 people in the late medieval period. If the local governing official stepped over the line there were forces in place to stop and get that official to return to proper behavior. Those forces did not always work, and we hear more often of the failures than the successes, but they were there and they did work. Primary among them was the Christian Church. The church had tools that they could use and were willing to use in order to force “right” behavior.
Today most of the tools that could be used by outside forces to keep government under supervision are gone. Either their place in society has shrunk, like that of the Church, or they have been nullified by the government or they have willingly nullified themselves. Just recently this Administration used a law that was enacted 100 years ago to try to suppress the news media, seemingly to suppress the news media. That law should never have been passed by Congress and President Wilson should never have signed it. But the public was in an uproar and the government used that uproar to increase its power. Just like right after 9/11/2001. Then it was anarchists now it is Muslims. See how easy it is for government to grab power?
Back during Medieval times what education there was, was handled by the Church and such education was primarily for the benefit of the Church. Today the government handles education and I am sure that such education is for the benefit of the government. It can be argued that ever since the Progressives instituted government-run education here in America the American public character has become less independent and more servile. And those who should be the watchdogs over the Government on our behalf are products of that education system and do not pay attention to Government corruption except on rare occasions. And the Federal Government is not willing to have even the chance of the news media paying attention to government corruption, which can explain the recent attacks on the AP and Fox.
Power corrupts, it is also addictive. There are over a dozen Cabinet-level agencies in the Federal Government. Each one is full of people who desire to increase their power and prestige. And, as has become obvious these past few months, they are not willing to limit their methods of obtaining power and prestige to non-corrupt means.
May 27, 2013
Trinity Sunday is the day in the Episcopal Church, and others as well, that honors a principle or idea and not a person or event. Last Sunday was the Sunday of Pentecost and the start of the longest season in the Episcopal Church – the Season of Pentecost which will last for about half a year or until the First Sunday of Advent, the start of the Church Year. As an Episcopalian my beliefs are not as tightly controlled as some denominations – I can remember reading about one congregation that was composed of atheists who merely liked the ceremonies of the Church although that might have ben a joke – so I can differ from the official Church position on probably any aspect of belief including the nature of the Trinity and Jesus. I mention this because on a blog I follow (Simply Politics, also a WordPress blog) the writer posted an essay on why the writer was an atheist and I responded with a small bit of my spiritual journey. What I will believe tomorrow may differ to some degree but I doubt I will ever go again to total unbelief.
Today is also the Sunday prior to Memorial Day. I didn’t get to watch the Indianapolis 500 but I understand it was a good race except for the fact it ended under a Yellow Flag. One of these years I have got to go back and watch the race live. I also need to finally get a new TV and a DVR if for no other reason than the race. However, that is the future.
At church this morning it was one of the three Sundays that the American Flag is carried during the Precession and Recession Hymns. As I was wearing my VFW gear I was asked to carry the flag. I enjoyed doing it almost as much as I enjoy the rare times I get to read one of the lessons. This is another aspect of my spiritual journey. Perhaps someday I will add my spiritual musings to this blog.
I spent some time at the VA hospital here in Tucson last week. An eye exam and a consult with a kidney doctor. Plus, I investigated the possibility of mileage. On the mileage front, I can’t get it because as a retired Technical Sergeant I make too much money. Now, I have a disability rating for my knees and my back so if I have an appointment for either of those, I can get mileage or if my disability rating goes to 30% (it is presently 10%) then I qualify for mileage. But not now. So, I spend close to three hours going to the hospital and returning strictly on my own dime as it were.
My eyes have not been damaged by my diabetes and neither have my kidneys. That is the good news. The not-bad news is that I am getting conflicting information about pain relievers. At least, I think it is conflicting information. I was told to not take aspirin because of the damage it can do to the stomach. The kidney doctor told me that I should take aspirin, the coated type, because ibuprofen damages the kidneys. I couldn’t remember what non-aspirin I was taking and I didn’t remember until I was home and looked at the bottle so I can’t remember if what I am taking was one of the types he said was OK. I think it is because he mentioned Tylenol and what I am taking is the generic version, I think.
I am probably done with doctor’s appointments for a while so I can pay off my co-pay bill probably next month. Although I will still be racking up charges for my medicine but at least I can get it down below $100. I still need to start saving up for the various reunions and other visits I expect to be taking over the years.
Regardless of where you are in the USA there is probably a veterans’ service organization near you that will be doing a ceremony at a cemetery to render honor to the veterans who are dead. Memorial Day was originally a day to go and decorate the graves of Civil War dead and has expanded to honor all the dead from all the wars American has been in. Those veterans’ service organizations will probably also be holding an Open House so the public can see some of what they do to help veterans. I urge you to attend the ceremonies and Open Houses in your area. Even if you are not a veteran, especially if you are not a veteran, it is an experience you should not miss. I will be attending at VFW Post 4903, and probably rejoining that Post and no longer being at large.
If you are of a mind to do so, please pray for Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Diocesan Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill; Christopher Gallo, Laura Goodman, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Frederick Jenning, Greg Maynard, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Thomas Rice, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Matt Woodruff, Brian; for those in need especially Eleanor Feeney, Troy & Sandy Hall, Steven Leonard, The Reverends Bill & Nadine Martin, Christine Nystrom, Elise Petropoulos, Susan Southwick, Ann M. Stephens, Elizabeth Traficanti, Raymond Turner, Dan Cole, Joan Zatorski, Ed, Lee, Mary Jane Hunt, Francesca Jarvis, Roberta Kilpatrick, Peggy Southwick, Mary Wilcox, Amy, Phil & Vince, Jerry & Rondy, Monica & Carri, Nichole; for animal companions in need especially Scooter, Skylee, Shonee, Gussie, Mollie; for those who have died especially Dwayne W. Flores, Eugene M. Aguon, Trenton L. Rhea, Jeffery C. Baker, Mitchell Kirk Daeling, and William Joseph Gilbert.
What I am watching: Various movies and TV shows, mostly Emergency! on Netflix but a lot of my own DVDs.
What I am reading: Still on A History of the Great War but almost finished. I am anxious to see who wins WW I. (joke!)
What I am writing: Still going strong on Magic in the Monastery and doing some on my GURPS campaign.
May 23, 2013
It can be argued that government regulations, especially Federal regulations, are an attempt to control the uncontrollable. There are about 312,000,000 people in the United States of America and if businesses are added to that, including non-profit organizations, the total would probably reach 325,000,000 entities if not more. Each of these entities will make thousands of economic decisions each week. Go to the grocery store and you decide to buy or not buy each item in that store. Stores will decide to stock or not stock the items that they sell. Non-profits will buy or not buy supplies. People and organizations will decide to build new buildings, stay in their present location or move to an existing structure. Businesses and n on-profits will hire people or not based upon their needs and situation.
In all of these cases, it is the person, business or non-profit that must make the decision based upon their needs and capabilities. They have, and you have, a stake in the outcome of the decision and thus they, and you, try to make the best decision you can. A business or non-profit will consider many facts, and try to ensure that the facts are relevant to the decision to be made. Unsafe buildings or equipment are a fact to be considered. If a business or nonprofit has equipment that will hurt or kill employees on a regular basis then the cost of that equipment in terms of medical and legal expenses will outweigh any possible savings; thus, the business will consider how safe equipment and structures are and try to make the best decision possible.
Government regulators, having no stake in the outcome of their decisions, have no such limits. Government regulators can operate on the ridiculous assumption that they can eliminate any risk and craft regulations accordingly, and pay no price for their folly. The regulators can sit in their offices and craft regulations based upon not reality but politics and a thirst for power. And they do this by force; every government regulation is backed up by people with guns and history shows that the government will use force or the threat of force to get its way.
Consider who gets to testify when regulations are considered: those with the wealth to spare someone to argue their case. That is, big business. And why should big business support regulations that might harm them unless those regulations limit or suppress competitors? Consider regulated taxi services. Established services can send someone to lobby for regulations that prevent a more efficient competitor from starting up. Here in Tucson the Tucson Airport Authority sets the fare rate for any taxicabs that take passengers to or from the airport. If I startup a taxi service and can charge less and still make a god living I cannot take anyone to the airport without charging the same as every other taxi service in Tucson. What benefit can I offer then? The established companies, the big business of taxicabs in Tucson, will either shut me out of the largest section of the trade or force me to operate without giving my customers a benefit that I can provide. And, if I were to operate a taxi service and not go to the airport I would still be shut out of a lot of business because the established services operate a central dispatch service wherein they assign a cab from one of the member services when a customer calls in. If I can provide a taxi service at less cost but cannot become a member of this dispatch service how can I survive as a business? By their influence with a government agency, the airport authority, and collusion between themselves they have prevented competition from improving service to the customers.
OSHA has many regulations and will inspect businesses to ensure compliance with those regulations. A serious fine can result for some of the most stupid of reasons such as a handrail being set less than an inch too low or high. Such regulations will have no rational effect on the health and safety of business employees but give the government employee a great deal of power. Indeed, a fair argument can be made that most government regulations are in this category. Workplace safety was improving before OSHA came into being and continued at the same rate of improvement once that agency started it crusade. But over the years OSHA has expanded it reach into more and more areas of every business, justifying more and more OSHA employees and supervisors. OSHA even tried to, some years back, take control over homes where someone worked either by telecommuting or through a home business or perhaps even by home visitation such as nurses and so forth. The outrage inspired by that grab forced OSHA to back off, but can you doubt that they won’t try again?
It is the nature of government to desire power, and most regulations (I believe) are not based upon need (except the need of the government to expand its power). Government regulations have given us the baby seat, which does not improve the safety of children, the seatbelt, which does not improve the safety to drivers (who adjust their driving to a risk level that compensates for the increased safety of the seatbelt), and OSHA which does not improve the safety of workers. Government regulations give schoolchildren politically correct schoolbooks while those same children cannot find the United States on a map of North America, cannot add 2+2 and get 4 three times out of five and so forth.
Government regulations are not based upon needs except the need of the government to increase its control over your life. Government regulations are used by the Establishment to protect themselves and prevent successful competition. If government regulators were eliminated and put into the workforce our economy would be able to expand at a rate that would make this country the leading economy without peer.
May 20, 2013
Today can be considered the birthday of the Christian Church. This is the anniversary of when eleven scared men decided to become active and vocal men spreading a message. Compare the reports in the Gospels and Acts of these men before Pentecost and the reports in Acts after Pentecost. Of course the women who followed Jesus were braver than the men, and the Romans considered the Christian Church to be a church of “slaves and women” according to Pliny the Younger. (In his report back to the Emperor, he reported killing women who were leaders of the Church, the suppression of women leaders came later – when the Church was trying, very hard, to become acceptable to the Roman Empire.) So, anyway, it is an occasion to celebrate.
Last week I had to get blood drawn for my renal specialist visit this Wednesday. I hate having to have blood taken, especially when I have to fast beforehand. Luckily it was over quickly. I also attended the Pima County Board of Supervisors weekly meeting. As soon as I get some paperwork done I am an official member of the Pima County Election Integrity Commission. The meeting was interesting for other reasons as well, there was a property dispute that had to be dealt with.
Now I do not know all the details of the dispute but I think it boils down to the fact that a property owner built a guest house too close to a scenic road and the house is ugly. The property owner seems to have measured a required distance from the edge of the road instead of the county property line which is 40 feet from the edge of the road. So the house is completely visible from the road and it is ugly, this is my personal judgment based upon a picture of the house I saw afterwards. However, since this fight has been going on for some time now, I doubt it is over.
I did not win anything at the Lottery this weekend. Arizona has the Powerball and the Mega Millions multi-state lotteries and The Pick State lottery. I got nothing on any of the three. I buy tickets every drawing because I consider the lottery to be the only voluntary tax in existence. Plus, I approve of where Arizona’s portion of the money is supposed to go to. I’m not sure it still goes where it was originally supposed to go, but I keep paying that tax.
I have to go to see the eye doctor tomorrow and the renal specialist Wednesday. I’ve been going down to the VA so much, I wonder if they pay mileage. Even if it is just a small bit per mile, I’d make out like a bandit. Maybe, if I remember tomorrow, I’ll stop by the proper office and ask.
I am still working on understanding my new computer and Windows 8. It is slow going for me.
If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Diocesan Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Laura Goodman, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Frederick Jenning, Greg Maynard, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Thomas Rice, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Matt Woodruff, Brian; for those in need especially Henry Dirtadian, Eleanor Feeney, Troy & Sandy Hall, The Reverend Bill Martin, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Elise Petropoulos, Susan Southwick, Ann M. Stephens, Elizabeth Traficanti, Raymond Turner, Ed, Lee, Dan Cole, Mary Jane Hunt, Francesca Jarvis, Roberta Kilpatrick, Peggy Southwick, Sue Speer, Mary Wilcox, Amy, Phil & Vince, Charlie, Jerry & Rondy, Monica & Carri, Neal, Nichole, Rob; for animal companions in need especially Scooter, Skylee, Shonee, Gussie, Mollie, for those who have died especially David M. Sonka, Eric D. Christian, Thomas Paige Murach, Francis Gene Phillips IV, Brandon Joseph Prescott, Kevin Cardoza, Brandon J. Landrum, Mark T. Voss, Victoria A. Pickney, Herman Mackey III, Trinidad Santiago Jr., Charles P. McClure, Michael H. Simpson.
What I’m reading: Still on A History of the Great War and working my way through it.
What I’m watching: Still going through Emergency! but I just downloaded an app for my new computer for watching anime so once Emergency! is over I’ll probably concentrate on anime.
What I’ writing: I got quite a bit done on my GURPS campaign done. If I don’t slack off I should be ready to start at the start of 2014.
May 16, 2013
To give the widest possible definition to the word politics: it is the interaction between two or more humans. Some of these interactions can also be other things as well: economic, religious, family, etc. Thus my argument for all the various topics I have lumped under the category of “politics” here in this blog.
Politics is not just what a politician does, it is what you do. You make thousands of political decisions every day. And you should be free to make those decisions without hinder, providing that you do not harm someone else. And I do not mean here harm in the modern left-wing sense of “I am offended by your actions / thoughts / statement / whatever. What I mean here is harm in actual physical or economic harm. Emotional harm probably as well but since that has led to the present perversion of the idea of harm, I am leery of that one, to abuse even though it is valid as a criteria.
So, how does this relate to political parties? Each of the dozens of political parties (yes, look it up, there are dozens of them, some very specialized and some very general) will have certain beliefs that the party believes it believes in or wants to believe in or pretends it believes in. The World’s Smallest Political Quiz is one way to help find out where your beliefs lie. But another way to find out where your beliefs lie is to examine your interaction with other humans. Honestly examine not just skim over with the intention of finding the best possible take on why you stiffed that panhandler yesterday.
Do you donate to charity? If so, which one or ones? I just made my tithe to my church yesterday, not to brag but merely as an example, and I donate to the USO. I give to various panhandlers, but not to all of them, based upon my feelings at the time. I donate to the Salvation Army during the bell-ringing season whenever I leave a store that a ringer is in front of and I have something to give. Can I do more? Of course I can. Will I? That I cannot say for certain now but I intend to. What about you? What charities do you support? Supporting charity is a political decision as well as an economic one.
Non-government organizations do better at charity than government agencies. This is inherent in the nature of the organizations. A charity must show success in its efforts in order to raise money. It derives no power from the number of people on its rolls. Such an organization does not gain any political benefit from leaving someone on its rolls for a long time. If someone is helped so that they no longer need aid, then the workers can feel good about a success and move on to the next person to help.
A government agency does not have to show success in order to raise money, it just has to justify itself to another government agency. The money comes from taxes, which are taken from you by the threat of force, not persuasion. The number of people on the agency’s rolls is justification for an increased budget and an increased number of workers and supervisors. More workers need more first-line supervisors who need more second-line supervisors etc. If a worker helps someone so that they no longer need the agency’s help, then the need for that worker and the various up line supervisors can be questioned. The natural inclination of any government agency is to grow for as long as it can. That was the problem with the Tea Board and the few other agencies that were disbanded under President Clinton, by their very nature they could not grow and could not provide a clientage that could be used to save them.
By and large political parties and politicians desire power over you. What power are you willing to give them? Remember “The power to tax is the power to destroy” and you are taxed. Charity is one way that governments and politicians gain power over you, if not by their “help” then their taxation. During President Reagan’s administration taxes were lowered and charitable giving went up. Wouldn’t you prefer to give your money, as a political and economic statement, to those charities that reflect your personal politics?