This Party

10 September 2009

Congress to Obama--

We're not going to go English House of Commons on you, but we'll be at least as raucous as the Dutch.


08 September 2009

Use of the Hype 2012 tag...

...can officially begin.


04 September 2009

Discussion Question

Has America's level of distrust in its leaders and the corresponding apathy made America fundamentally ungovernable?

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16 April 2009

Suck It Rendell

I ranted about this on Facebook, but it's worth ranting in public too. Rendell wants to

1) Allow municipalities to enact their own gun laws. This is old hat for him, and the Assembly soundly cracked his idea over the head last time. Frankly, it would be asinine to have only limited uniformity in gun laws across the state. Right now one can find and know the laws and abide. What happens when a person travels halfway across the state and every single township, borough, and city they pass through has its own rules, all hard to find and written as well as half the local laws I've ever seen? (My last township's income tax form says that people do not need to file a tax return unless they have income. It next says that everyone without income needs to file a tax return. Then it reminds us that people required to file will be fined $500 if they do not file. It's almost as sensible as the Georgia state income tax form that-- I kid you not-- said to "add or subtract" one line from another.) It just would not work. Did you just have a fender bender in a town that allows only unloaded weapons in cars? Oops! You should have run into that guy in the last town back instead, to keep yourself out of jail. Want to prevent people from traveling with their handguns? You would need to pay off only a few city council people in cities with interstate crossings to ban non-residents from transporting guns there instead of just paying off half plus one of the legislature to go DC on us. That sort of thing can't happen if the rules are uniform.

2) Ask Congress to re-enact a ban on "assault weapons." Let's look at that for moment, shall we? The federal "assault weapons" ban was a ban on a few specific models of semiautomatic firearms that looked like menacing military style weapons instead of consumer target, hunting, and defense weapons. The key here is looked like. A host of guns that work the same way-- semiautomatic actions-- were never banned. Fully automatic weapons-- the guns that actually work differently from the consumer weapons-- are already illegal among the general population under federal laws. So what exactly was the point? Yes, some police in Pittsburgh got themselves killed last week. That had nothing to do with the "AK-47" one of the shooters had. It was about police being called to a place to be ambushed. If they had been ambushed by people with swords or piano wire would we be wanting congress to outlaw knives and pianos? Or would we compromise and only outlaw knives that looked like electric knives or pianos that looked like player pianos?

I think Rendell needs to buy a clue before I am forced to buy an NRA membership.

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29 March 2009


Do either of the major political parties have any clear direction right now? The Democraps can't seem to do anything except act like the government will save us from, well, everything, and the Republicants are trying to dance somewhere between "Rush is Right" and "Democrats are Wrong."

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06 February 2009

Socio-Political Unrest = Good times! on your dollar

Nate explored an interesting train of thought on Lyin Cheatin Midwesterners - but I wanted to go just a little bit further with it by examining what causes our good honest politicians and government employees to go bad.

Lets start by setting some controls (facts), variables (assumptions), and operators (guidelines).
1) One of my personal favorite Sociological operators - "Perception IS reality". What people perceive as fact, they will treat as fact.

2) Another Operator - In Cost/Benefit analysis, greater risk = greater reward

3) Government Employee = any person whose pay check originates from "The Office of..." or holds political office of any level (Twp Supervisor thru Fast Eddie Rendell)

4) Variable - Personal Choice - You can't fix stupid, but everyone has a choice to be stupid.

5) All Facts as set forth by "Lyin Cheatin Midwesterners" - particularly the ratios proposed by Nate as to ratio of politicians to population

Ok, Now that that is out of the way - I countered Nate's line of thought with the idea that while corruption studied as a ratio to population is correct, it does not take into account enough socio-politico-economic factors. I proposed that corruption is more aptly found in higher concentrations of population such as major metropolis' and organized service provider campi.

Alright, I know I get long winded, so I'm going to boil this all down to a clip that you canpost on your refrigerators...
Political corruption will exist when individuals believing that their position of service gives them perceived power and when they believe that said power negates the cost benefit analysis of rational though to the point where all decisions are base on "what's in it for me."

Rod Blago - incorrectly believed that his position allowed him to put up the senatorial seat by whatever means he deemed appropriate. Conversely, society had already determined that no one person had sole authoritarian dictatorship of that process and any violation there of would be "corrupt." For all Rod's crying about whether the tapes actually said what they said is like Clinton asking what the definition of "is" was. Rod's obvious thought was what he would get from the persons interested in purchasing the appointment.

In larger population hubs such as Chicago, Philly, Pittsburgh, etc, large bodies of people directly correlates to an increased need for services and oversight. As the population grows, the needs increase, as the needs increase, positions must be filled. As positions are filled, personal ideals are bound to clash with ethical standards as personal choices soon outweigh the cost of being caught. When this happens, the seed of corruption is planted and soon blossoms into criminal activity.

The crisis really comes when one counts his ammunition and realizes there's not enough for all the corrupt people out there...pardon me, I need to run to Walmart and stock up on "supplies". Back in a jiffy.

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16 December 2008

Lyin' and Cheatin' Midwest'ners

So, Rod Blogojovichmuskanuwazzisnameagin' has been accused of a corruption. This proves the Illinois political machine is the worst oiled int eh country, yes? Well, sort of. Chicago is historically a hotbed of trouble. It's hard to get somewhere in IL without involving Chicago, and to do that means rubbing shoulders with some freaky business. But I was a little surprised at this article. So I had to read it. I mean, seriously, those cattle traders need to be watched, yes?

It turns out that the situation is probably more flash and sparkle from USA Today, who did the analysis, than anything actually newsworthy. North Dakota is not, as the headline implies, the most corrupt state. It does top the particular analysis of corruption, however, so no lie has been made. The analysis that it tops? Take the number of federal convictions for corruption during ten years and divide by the state population. Um... okay? First off, even though some factor is being divided by a population, it's not being divided by the right population. What percentage of the people in the state could be involved in corruption? Theoretically everyone, but in practice no state is that pure of a democracy. Second off, federal laws are not the only laws that could be enacted against corruption.

A better measure for the first point, why not consider what percentage of the population is involved in government? Here are a few states

WY 11,810
SD 12,150
VT 13,682
ND 14,597
MT 17,013
RI 18,511
DE 22,810
AK 23,647
LA 77,597
IL 105,471
MI 118,667
OH 119,147
PA 141,478
FL 171,342
NY 236,719
TX 259,578
CA 334,432

Now, what is the ratio of state government employees to population in those states?

WY 2.259%
SD 1.526%
VT 2.202%
ND 2.282%
MT 1.776%
RI 1.750%
DE 2.638%
AK 3.460%
LA 1.801%
IL 0.821%
MI 1.178%
OH 1.039%
PA 1.138%
FL 0.939%
NY 1.227%
TX 1.086%
CA 0.915%

(Note that I cheated a little. I used November 2008 employment with 2007 populations. But my main point lies in the first digit or two of the percentage, which won't change much.)

Notice anything about those states? The smallest states by population (1,000,000 or so and under) have about twice as many state employees as the largest states by population (about 10,000,000 and over). This is an estimate for the amount of government in the state, and is probably related to the amount of people likely to be involved in corruption. True, it misses local and federal employees. Those should to be factored in as well, along with convictions on non-federal charges.

But seeing that small states have bigger governments, loosely speaking, raises a question. If we divide convictions on corruption by relative size of government, would states like North Dakota still be on top of the heap? In other words, if we took the number of corruption cases divided by the number of people in position to be corrupt, would the numbers line up the same way as when convictions are divided by population? My guess is no. States like Illinois would probably be higher. Disagree? Then why is a state like Louisiana, which the article mentions as pretty darn corrupt, conveniently located with a government to population ratio close to the smaller states?

If anyone has time to kill, a more detailed analysis (including all government employees, not just state; doign all states; etc.) would be fun to see. Of course states like Illinois and New York would probably end up on top, so in the end it woudln't be news.

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23 November 2008

Congratulations are in order...

...for Master Johnny, who got married on Saturday. I was not able to attend, sadly. But I wish him and his wife a happy marriage!


13 November 2008

Ted Turner

Ted Turner should have run for president. Check him out on Lou Dobbs. He's so direct and cutting, it makes me feel all nice and warm inside.

06 November 2008


Sorry for my absence during such an historic election. I've been deathly ill and politics has only made it worse.

So, I guess the meaning of the word "change" will likely now be changed to "status quo." We shall see.

Regardless, I went into the polling place with my Nader pin on. Voted for an Independent, 2 Libertarians and a Democrat. One of the Democrats running for attorney or auditor general actually wanted to make it illegal to join a gang, which of course I thought was a wonderful idea since I don't much like Boy Scouts and think they should all be locked up. Anyway, though I'm no L/libertarian, they seemed to be the only candidates other than Nader who actually had anything real to say. How surprising!

Check out Some former Nader supporters have created it to try to hold Congress accountable. Maybe you'll agree with their issues, maybe not, but it's worth checking out.