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Comment: Re:Not so fast, cowboy ... (Score 1) 722

by Alaska Jack (#46718045) Attached to: Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

Good point. It was also a little surreal to have the SC rule that the mandate was, in effect, a tax, when the official position of the administration -- i.e., the ones pushing the law in the first place -- was that it was NOT a tax.

See here, for just one of many examples:

"The White House argued on Friday that the individual mandate at the heart of Obamacare is a penalty, not a tax, contradicting the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling a day earlier upholding the historic health care law. " --

lllll AJ

Comment: Re:in other words... (Score 1) 341

by Alaska Jack (#45902379) Attached to: The Quiet Fury of Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

You don't understand.

*I* was going to refer the the "fireman first" principle -- I just didn't think I needed to.

The fireman-first principle (Or Washington Monument syndrome) is a *conservative/libertarian* argument, not a progressive one. Notice how it is attributed to National Review? It basically states that when taxpayers express a wish to scale back the size or scope of government, politicians often fight to preserve it by threatening to cut, not areas that are wasteful or inessential, but essential or highly visible government services -- like firemen.

That this principle exists does not mean that National Review doesn't think the size or scope of government should be restrained. It doesn't mean "Oh well, politicians will threaten to cut the police force, so we should just keep feeding the beast." As even a moment's thought would make obvious, I would have thought.

lllll AJ

Comment: Re:Cranky for a military takeover, are we? (Score 1) 341

by Alaska Jack (#45901557) Attached to: The Quiet Fury of Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

1. As demonlapin points out, you don't understand how tax brackets work.

2. Tax experts have pointed out, literally hundreds of times, that the attacks against Romney's income tax rate were politically motivated sound-bites meant to outrage people like you, who don't understand how taxes work. Here are just a couple of links:

It took me ten seconds to google "Romney tax myths"

3. Your source includes no claim or evidence that Romney "cheats on [his] taxes." The ones who decide whether or not a person is "cheating on his taxes" is the IRS. To my knowledge, the IRS has never accused or indicted Romney of tax fraud. Please tell us all how you know otherwise.

lllll AJ

Comment: Re:in other words... (Score 2, Insightful) 341

by Alaska Jack (#45901437) Attached to: The Quiet Fury of Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

"Blindly "tightening the purse strings" leads to those parts of government that are good and useful to be sacrificed first, while the partisan and corrupt parts better defend themselves and their budgets. So, instead of a progressive nation of healthy, happy, nutritionally fed, employed, well educated citizens in a nation focused on freedom, scientific and technological advancement, we have become the secretive spymasters and bullies of the world, looking for the next war to line the pockets of the oligarchs, while the bigoted, ignorant masses fight from paycheck to paycheck, if they can find a job, until they die from easily preventable disease, if they survive the worst infant mortality rate of any first world nation."

There's no evidence for this, and a moment's thought will reveal that it flies in the face of common sense and historical evidence. As the federal government has grown, it has steadily expanded its scope far beyond what the framers seem to have intended... and it's consumed more money to do so.

"The worst infant mortality" part just shows your bias. It's been shown time and time again that this claim is misleading. (In a nutshell, it's because the US counts nearly every pregnancy, even those where the fetus is for various reasons given very little chance of survival. Other countries "write off" these problematic pregnancies and births. This is how Cuba, for example, claims to have a lower IM rate that the US, which is preposterous given the level of care available there.)

"Instead of demanding that the money be taken away, we should be demanding that the places where the money is being mis-spent be stopped"


lllll AJ

Comment: Re:Mob or no mob, this was DUMB (Score 1) 399

by Alaska Jack (#45770121) Attached to: Justine Sacco, Internet Justice, and the Dangers of a Righteous Mob

Erich -

These are good questions, but see my two other comments in this thread.

I could care less about defending this girl, and I can certainly agree it was stupid to send out any tweet about race or AIDS that could in any way be misconstrued.

But that doesn't change the fact (I believe) that people ARE misconstruing it.

As I've noted, the tweet makes far more sense if you read it as sarcasm, and imagine the girl giving an eye-roll as she says it.

Again, one can still say it was stupid, especially for a PR professional. But while that would suggest that she (at least occasionally) has bad professional judgement, having poor judgement is much less of a sexy crime than being a racist.

(And note that, if you read the tweet as sarcasm, it would in fact suggest she is anti-racism, since she was *parodying* what she sees as racist ideas).

lllll AJ

Comment: Re:What if she hates what is going on there? (Score 1) 399

by Alaska Jack (#45770085) Attached to: Justine Sacco, Internet Justice, and the Dangers of a Righteous Mob

SCHecklerX -

Actually, as I noted in my comment upthread, that's the only context in which the tweet itself makes any sense.

I have no interest in "spinning" it. I'm not a progressive, and I suspect this girl is. I think she expected that her "followers" all knew her to a certain degree, and would know she was being sarcastic.

People should try this: Read the tweet in question. Then, read it again, this time picturing the girl rolling her eyes as she says it. Takes on completely different meaning, doesn't it?

lllll AJ

Comment: Re:Another Case of Poe's Law? (Score 1) 399

by Alaska Jack (#45770023) Attached to: Justine Sacco, Internet Justice, and the Dangers of a Righteous Mob

Jah-Wren -

You are right, and 95 percent of the super-justified, self-righteous commenters on here are just making themselves sound foolish.

The tweet only makes sense as a work of sarcasm -- like walking outside during a rainstorm and saying "Wow -- great day!" In person, the way you convey sarcasm is with a turn of voice and an eyeroll. We all do things like this all the time. It's just that allowance for this type of expression don't exist on Twitter.

I am not a progressive and have little sympathy for that worldview. But it's relatively obvious to me that this girl is a progressive who was sarcastically *parodying* the white-privilege view put forth in her tweet. She obviously thought her "followers" would understand that.

This fact, which you've picked up on, has gone over the heads of nearly everyone else here. No one even wants to stop for a second and actually think about it.

lllll AJ

Comment: Re:Administrative Costs are the problem (Score 1) 827

by Alaska Jack (#44587357) Attached to: The College-Loan Scandal

"Adminstrative Costs are the problem."

Well, no, they're not. They're a SYMPTOM of the problem, that is causing many people to confuse cause and effect.

It's not "Rising administrative costs cause universities to charge more."

It's "Increased demand, propelled by government subsidization of costs (i.e., cheap loans), allows universities to raise prices to the point where they can afford to spend lavishly."

lllll AJ

Comment: Newsflash: Gov't prints money, prices increase (Score 2, Insightful) 827

by Alaska Jack (#44587253) Attached to: The College-Loan Scandal

Ah -- the Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again!

This is exactly what classical, supply-and-demand economics would predict.

Most of us understand why the government can't just print more money. The price of everything would just go up.

This is exactly the same scenario. The only difference is that in this case, the government is printing a special kind of money -- money that can only be used for one thing. It is no surprise when then price of that thing just goes up accordingly.

Subsidies (i.e., cheap loans) increase demand. Increased demand causes the price to rise.


* The US massively subsidizes education. The price of education rises far beyond the rate of inflation.

* The US massively subsidizes housing. The price of housing rises far beyond the rate of education.

* The US massively subsidizes health care. The price of health care rises far beyond the rate of inflation. (Except, of course, the kinds of health care -- like cosmetic surgery -- that do not typically get subsidized. Costs in these areas have plummeted.)

I don't pretend to have an answer to this dilemma. The only really clear thing is that the laws of supply and demand aren't *statutory* laws, that can just be altered with a pen and a lot of hand-waving. They are fundamental natural laws, and well-intentioned attempts to manipulate markets (from student loans to price-control regimes) almost always trigger equal and opposite consequences.

The real shame is that important issues like these are so easily demagogued. Even though the system is clearly broken, no politician in his right mind would ever propose changing it. "Look!" people would scream. "He hates education! And poor people!"

panic: kernel trap (ignored)