Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Another Proposal to Ameliorate the Negative Effects of an Idea I Oppose


The Universal Basic Income craze doesn't seem to be blowing over as I had hoped it might. I keep seeing stories about small-scale experiments with the concept (in America, something of the sort is about to start in Stockton, California). The craze includes quite a bit of commentary from the nominally libertarian end of the political spectrum. Today, it's Ryan Bourne commenting at the Cato Institute regarding UBI's effects on employment.

But if such a scheme were to be implemented, I would say that one immediate consequence should be:

Repeal of the minimum wage.

After all, the idea of a Universal Basic Income is that it's a basic income, right? Anything above and beyond it is gravy, extra. And since it's universal (everyone gets it), there won't be anyone who can't afford to live while getting paid whatever deal he or she can drive with an employer instead of there being a government-mandated floor, right?

Now, just to be clear, I am not going to burn my libertarian purist card and support UBI, which I consider both evil and cockamamie. It's not some kind of "trade" I'm saying should be "offered." I'm just saying that if the one does happen, the other should be required to happen with it.

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Russiagate


It's been a long time since I've read Charles Mackay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (or excerpts from it -- it's been so long that I don't remember which!), so I'll just rely on a snip from the Wikipedia summary:

Witch trials in 16th- and 17th-century Western Europe are the primary focus of the "Witch Mania" section of the book, which asserts that this was a time when ill fortune was likely to be attributed to supernatural causes. Mackay notes that many of these cases were initiated as a way of settling scores among neighbors or associates, and that extremely low standards of evidence were applied to most of these trials.

As applied to witches, that dynamic apparently resulted in quite a few stretched necks, burned corpses, etc.

As applied to Russians, well, the hysterical ninnies and the demagogues (it's not always easy to tell who is which) are getting faster and louder with their bizarre comparisons of some "Help Jesus Beat Hillary" Facebook ads to Pearl Harbor and 9/11 (for example, here and here and here and here).

Which, if people don't CALM THE FUCK DOWN, could eventually end up producing a much higher body count.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Where is the Line?


In my opinion, it's not a real Smashing Pumpkins tour unless D'Arcy Wretzky is there on bass.

In my opinion, Axel Rose is right out for any band that wants people to believe they're AC/DC.

Then again, back in 1987 I saw a version of the Byrds that didn't include Roger McGuinn (the only "real" Byrds it included were original drummer Michael Clark and later bassist Skip Battin), and I was OK with that.

Where do you draw that kind of line?

If Ringo and the ringer who replaced Paul toured with two other guys as The Beatles, would that fly for you?

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