atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#3346: Sunday morning, and I need to go cut the grass.

Right after church I came home, grabbed the gas can, drove to the gas station, filled the can, and came home.

Then I fed the cats and myself.

The grocery store--which stopped selling the brand of bagels I liked best, because they were big and pre-sliced--has started selling a store brand of bagels, the same size, pre-sliced...and between $0.50 and $1 cheaper than the old ones. My only complaint is that their "everything" bagels aren't as much "everything" as the old ones were.

But I just had one--with ham and cheese--and it tasted fine, so WTF.

* * *

This post by Michael Flynn on the nature of science is quite interesting.

* * *

Product for hikers and backpackers outlawed because its components can be used for making meth.


Iodine--iodine!--is now a controlled substance because--sing along, folks!--it's used for making methamphetamine.

How f-ing ridiculous are things going to get before we rise up and put these assholes in their place? This is ludicrous. Iodine is convenient because it's not a gas at room temperature, but I'm sure some cleverdick is trying to work out a way to use chlorine instead of iodine since they're both halogens and occupy the same column of the periodic table--and you can buy bleach for a pittance.

...and DEA will then make bleach a controlled substance because Meth Is Illegal And We Must Stop People From Making It.

Prohibition does not work. Okay? It does not work and all we're doing is giving up too much of our basic freedoms in order to continue a failed policy.

* * *

(Incidentally, this is a very nice interactive periodic table.</a>)

* * *

Karl Denninger has a good post up about states relying on tobacco money.

Here's the thing: government at various levels collects a lot of money from the sale of tobacco, and the taxes are periodically raised for a variety of reasons.

One reason: Smoking Is Bad For You And You're Too Stupid And Addicted To Quit By Yourself, so states impose ever-higher taxes as a way of trying to force people to quit. Any activity government wishes to reduce it taxes; any activity it wishes to promote it subsidizes.

(Fools, Democrats, and liberals--but I repeat myself--ignore this willy-nilly. They expect rapid economic development to continue even after raising taxes on it, then are dumbfounded when tax revenues decline. Yet in the same breath they'll expound on the benefits of putting confiscatory taxes on ammunition in order to discourage "gun violence".)

The other reason: the continuous hammering of the "SMOKING WILL KILL YOU IN A GRUESOME AND PAINFUL FASHION" message is also contributing to the decline in smokers, which causes tax revenues from tobacco to decline...and the state, having gotten used to all that lovely smoker money, can't possibly do without it, so they raise taxes on the remainder in order to recoup the loss of revenue.

...thus, of course, driving more people away from smoking, etc, etc.

Then we come to that huge tobacco settlement that was reached some years ago, where the tobacco companies agreed to pay out billions of dollars to states in order to...uh...hurm, well, medicare something, hospital thingies, anti-smoking campaigns, and...stuff. Yeah.

Naturally it wasn't a lump sum; that was impossible--so the involved states then had a guaranteed income stream for a certian number of years, based on the sales of tobacco products and such. So some of them issued bonds against that income.

But there's a problem: tobacco sales are declining thanks to a) high taxes; b) anti-smoking campaigns; and c) continuous erosion of the smoking public due to "B" and "A". Yet everything they've done with these bonds and the money raised from selling them is predicated on the number of smokers increasing rather than decreasing.

Yet, given the laws and higher taxes which are designed to limit and/or punish tobacco use, it's kind of diffcult to see how anyone with half a brain could avoid realizing that tobacco use is going to decline. That if government is so dependent on revenue from tobacco sales it should be encouraging tobacco use rather than discouraging it.

(Of course no government can endorse the use of tobacco. That's just crazy talk. After all, government isn't supposed to endorse harmful things.)

And so, suddenly, the states have more debt than they do income from their cut of the protection money they extorted from the tobacco companies with the help of the judicial system.

This really is exactly the same sort of deal as the failing pension funds problem. The pension funds are underfunded because the people adminstering them are by far and away too optimistic in their projections of "rate of return" on their investments.

So the combination of a) relying on tobacco sales for revenue, and b) doing its damnedest to discourage tobacco use has led us to an impasse. But I have a solution:

If things get desperate enough, I expect something like that to start coming from our government. WTF, that's the policy that's in place now; this sort of campaign would just make it official.

* * *

Man, it's such a nice day. If only I had something that needed doing outside....

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