atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#2454: TSA follies

I have to go through the Grope-a-Tron, yet TSA let a loaded handgun get aboard a plane IN A CARRY-ON BAG.

Okay, letting guns on planes in checked luggage--that happens all the time. The guns must be unloaded, of course.

* * *

Someone doesn't get the concept of unemployment insurance. The premiums that are paid to cover unemployment insurance comes out of your gross pay; it's money you would otherwise receive as wages. In other words, you pay for your own unemployment and hope you never have to collect.

(The employer contribution therefor is also wages you would receive.)

So this guy has just wasted $10,000. Granted, it's his money and he can do with it as he likes; but he does not owe California so much as one red cent, because the unemployment compensation he received from California was paid for out of his own damn pocket.

* * *

"...[I]t felt rather like trying to talk trigonometry with an automated customer service recording."

* * *

Cuba bans Michael Moore's pro-socialized medicine propaganda movie Sicko. Because it shows medical facilities in Cuba which are unavailable to the average citizen subject there.

Heh.

* * *

Do you know what a Potemkin Village" is? China's building a shitton of them.

There's enough empty housing in China right now to house 200,000,000 people.

And the DPUD post says:
China is trying to use a billion serfs to keep a hundred million living at about a 1950s US standard of living and it’s going to come crashing down and it’s going to be much uglier than the fall of the Russian empire.
The important thing to remember about economic depressions is that they happen in slow motion. The Great Depression of the 1930s seems like it happened quickly only because we're reading about it in the history books: we don't have to wait for next year; we just turn the page.

If you want to compare our present situation to the 1930s, we'd be somewhere in 1930 or 1931 right now. The economy improved after the big crash in 1929; the problem is, that rebound was just that--a rebound--and it was only a temporary return to pre-crash conditions.

But the Great Depression lasted ten years. It didn't even begin to lift before the US started cranking out stuff for Lend-Lease; and in fact it took US involvement in WW2 as a combatant to lift us out of the Great Depression.

The problems with our economy are structural: extending the Bush tax cuts a couple more years is only going to punt the problem further downfield. Our government simply spends too much goddamned money--much more than it has--and has not rescinded its plans to spend even more beyond that already-bloated amount; the ruling party will change in a couple of weeks but there are no plans in place to make any serious changes to "business as usual", which means that the over-spending will continue. The Fed is monetizing the debt, which is going to be hyperinflationary, and there is still a lot of fake black ink on banks' ledgers.

The euro is in a slow-motion collapse as nation after nation runs into a sovereign debt crisis; Ireland is the latest but it won't be the last. Spain, for example, is still teetering on the precipice.

China is supposed to be the big economic powerhouse which saves us all--but as we can see, the tiger is made of paper, and the revelation of China's housing bubble is merely the latest bit of proof. And this is the country which buys most of the US debt.

The dominoes are falling in slow motion, but they are falling.

* * *

Dang, that was depressing. But the 14 hours of sleep I had last night seem to have returned to me the capacity for political blogging, which is a good thing.

Tomorrow I need to do some shopping; I also want to hit the bookstore to see about Yotsuba&! volume 9 and vol 7 of Bamboo Blade. Maybe pick up something else to read while I'm on the planes/at the airports etc, later this week.

Got to load some stuff on the Aluratek, too.

* * *

They say that people can sense it when they're going to die. My mother's father knew he was going to die, and went around saying goodbye to everyone; a day or so later, he dropped dead of a massive heart attack.

I would wager that if that is really so, then it might also be possible for those near to the doomed to have an inkling.

What I do know is that I had this vague sense of dread about this year's holiday season. I wasn't looking forward to it as I normally do and didn't even really think about the upcoming festivities as anything other than "Oh, that's coming soon, isn't it? Meh."

I was really worried when Mom went in (on Nov 30) for her stress test, because there's a nonzero chance that someone in Mom's condition could die during such a procedure; but I relaxed after that and chalked it up to nerves.

Then this.

Try as I might, I cannot reconcile that kind of thing with the notion that humans are nothing but meat machines, you know? Precognition requires spirit at least, because the meat machine is incapable of predicting the future with any kind of certitude.

I don't have a problem with this, of course, being a semi-devout Christian. But I cannot help playing devil's advocate (somewhat literally in this case) because I have a scientific mind. My conclusions always lead me to the same place: we are not just lumps of matter with temporary self-awareness. There's a hell of a lot more to life than what we see and what we can measure.

The fact that there are some fundamentally unknowable things about existence does not invalidate science; but neither can science invalidate the best tools we have for understanding these unknowable things.

In Creator, there's this line: "Someday, when Science finally reaches the top of the mountain, it will find that Religion has been there all along." I can't argue with that; it's right. We ignore that truth at our peril.

* * *

...my science fiction is built around that theme, in fact. Heh.
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