August 9th, 2015

#4848: Torpedoing the Sanders campaign

It's happened twice now, and I'd wager that it's going to continue to happen as long as Bernie Sanders represents a credible threat to Hillary Clinton's presidential aspirations.

Another take on the latest Sanders shout-down by the same constituency responsible for the first one.

The legion has its marching orders: Hillary in 2016. Nothing else will be acceptable.

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Arguably, welfare reform in 1995 merely changed the nature of the welfare cliff, rather than eliminating it. It used to be that any income at all (just about) knocked you off the welfare rolls; now there's a certain maximum amount you can earn before that happens. A single mother can collect quite a paycheck while working an unskilled job.

...married couples need not apply, of course.

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Vox Day talks about Europe's impending mass deportations.

Economically speaking, life in America should be pretty fricking easy. Computers and automation anhd machinery have done away with a lot of manual labor--when was the last time you saw people digging ditches with shovels and picks?--and the net effect on productivity and prices has been astounding. Any examination of the standard of living results in a baffling conundrum: where did the money go?

Partly it has gone into additional goods and services which didn't exist thirty, forty years ago. In 1975 there were no iPods, no cellular phones; cable TV was not common, computers were either room-sized machines or things hobbyists built from kits. The Internet was still the province of universities and defense contractors, of people who had to know UNIX and other arcana to navigate it.

In 1975, your phone was a beige plastic device about the size of a canned ham that was permanently tethered to a plug in the wall. The big innovation was the introduction of Touch Tone, a few years prior. The technology to build a cellular telephone had not yet been invented.

In 1975, you had four or five television channels, and you were limited by what broadcasts you could receive. CBS-NBC-ABC were in charge of all the programming you were likely to see; if they didn't show it, you didn't see it. The VCR had reached the home market, but cost about a thousand dollars at a time when a good new car cost five thousand. There were no video rental stores, and the home video market was still basically nonexistent. If you were lucky, you lived in a place with PBS and some UHF stations that ran reruns, so you weren't stuck watching whatever the big three felt like running.

You could get a Pong machine to hook to your TV, in 1975. That was state-of-the-art in videogaming.

Computers--in 1975 if you wanted a computer you talked to IBM and wrote a big check, or you busted out the soldering iron and built your own from a kit. Even so, they were pretty expensive, and if you didn't know how to work something like that you had absolutely no use for it.

If we adjust for inflation, we see that just about everything has become less expensive in the last fifty years. A loaf of bread that cost thirty cents now costs two dollars, but ought to cost at least five--and doesn't. A gallon of milk has doubled in price, rather than quadrupling.

We should have reaped, long before now, the bounty of leisure time and ease from all this deflationary pressure on prices. Even factoring in all the goods and services we rely on now which didn't exist in 1975, things ought to be easier rather than harder. Why isn't that the case?

Vox Day argues--credibly--that the influx of migrants (legal and otherwise) from central and south America is the reason.
America's living standards have fallen considerably since 1973, but no one realizes it yet because the combination of technological advancement and debt-spending conceals that fact. But it gradually becomes obvious, as Americans become increasingly unable to afford houses or even college educations.
I know very few people who are living as well as their parents did in the 1970s even as we factor in all the technological marvels we live with today.

I begin to think--around everything else--that taking the US off the gold standard and moving to debt financing has hidden the precipitous decline in our standard of living, even as the country burgeons with spanish-speaking immigrants who refuse to learn English or to assimilate any more than is strictly necessary to continue the flow of dollars southward. Our government's policy of nonenforcement of immigration laws (except where they find it convenient) has left us with a poorer job market, decreased wage growth, and an overall lower standard of living than it otherwise would be. The huge federal budget deficts have not helped.

It's kept the banksters and the politicians--the aristocracy--in charge, and rich; it has not helped anyone else.

* * *

"Time is an illusion! Lunchtime, doubly so!" And I'll answer that quote with another one, that I might not have entirely correct: "Someday, when science finally struggles to the top of the mountain, it will find that religion has been there all along."

I do not, in general, inherently trust any pronouncement made by science after about 1980 or so, with some deviations to 1970 or even 1960. Academia has been captured by people who benefit from X being true rather than Y (e.g. anthropogenic global warming; also, the lipid theory of heart disease) and they are not afraid to skew results to support their preferred results (ibid.). Physics has been largely immune to this phenomenon thus far, but it's got its share of crackpottery which makes no damned sense whatsoever, and plenty of physicists who otherwise have their heads glued on straight nonetheless support theories that are demonstrably false (ibid, again, because damn).

The idea that time is a feature of the universe, and does not exist external to it, is something that is intrinsic to a proper understanding of Christian cosmology. God exists outside the universe and outside of time; to Him, the universe is a static multidimensional structure.

* * *

Today is a day of rest. Tomorrow is Fiero day.

#4849: Something new to worry about!

Mrs. Fungus and I went to see Minions, and really enjoyed it. We hit the grocery store on the way home, and as we were about to leave the parking lot I saw that the "check engine" light was on; a quick scan of the instrument cluster showed that the "AIRBAG" light was also on, the gauges were all registering zero, and the odomter read "no bus".


...engine was running fine, and nothing was out of the ordinary, so I pulled into a parking spot and shut the engine off. Waited a few seconds and restarted it, and the gauges came back and worked perfectly fine all the way home.

And of course it has to happen a week before I have to start commuting. Perfect.

Plus side, the engine ran fine; what I'm seeing on-line says that the two most common failure modes are one where the engine runs--in which case it's just a bad connection at the instrument cluster--or the engine does not run, which indicates that the crankshaft position sensor has failed.

So tomorrow I get to take 'er to a parts store and have the codes read, just to make sure; after which I'm going to pull the instrument cluster and clean all the connectors. And pray to God that this doesn't turn into the non-running variety of failure.


There are a few quirks that the Jeep has displayed over the past eight years, electrical in nature. For example, sometimes when I signal a left turn, the relay rattles and the light doesn't come on or start blinking. If I shut off the indicator and turn it back on, it works normally.

There was all kind of animal hair in the nooks and crannies, like under the front seats--straight hair--and the damage that the thing's had since before I bought it suggested to me that it had hit a deer that ended up in the passenger compartment--which is why the front edges of the fenders are wrinkled and there's that crease in the A-pillar on the passenger side, and also why the paint on the nose piece doesn't quite match the rest of the truck. The wrinkles are why I got a $8,000 truck for $5,000, and the cosmetics have not really bothered me all that much. The owner's manual looks like it was left to moulder in a swamp for a few months, which suggested to me that the interior had been open to the elements for a while.

All these are things that I discovered/figured out after buying the truck, but everything worked fine and it didn't smell bad or anything. And it's been a jim dandy vehicle.

Hopefully this is just another minor thing for me to attend to, and it won't turn into a gigantic clusterfuck. But if it does, well, I'll just have to figure out how to manage, is all.