Government rewriting the laws

"Bush Ignores Laws He Inks, Vexing Congress" -- this is because POTUS is using what's called "signing statements" where he gives directions on how to implement legislation he signs into laws. Or he can change the meaning of a law by saying that he will take the "mandatory" part as an advice -- effectively weakening the law.

Not only is the government "above the laws" but willy-nilly changes it, too.

This sound eerily similar to what are described in a very famous document [if you're not familar with the quote, I highly recommend that you spend some time [re]reading it]:
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.


Government: far above the law

With the news breaking on Gov't taping calls, monitoring call records and even bank records [and who knows what else they are doing], here is a timely Wired article on Law and gov't: "Gov't Break a Law? Change It"

No longer do we have a gov't by the people for the people: it is now far above the law, untouchable by mere citizens.

Even something critical to keeping gov't in check like the 2nd amendment has been weakened by all kinds of laws (like 1934 National Firearms Act), but of course the gov't itself is exempt from all these restrictions.

Fortunately, modern technology opens up alternatives to what's being regulated. As long as technology advances faster than what the laws can be written then we should be relatively free.....


Languages of senses: taste and smell

Today, we normally think of languages through our 3 senses: sight for written words and sign languages, hearing for spoken words, and touch for Braille. How about the other 2, smell and taste? One could create flavored strip language such that you taste words! (My sons would love that!) You'll need a printer ink that's flavored to make it easy to write (you may need to create two sets one for sending and one for verifying/review) -- I suppose you can skip the middle man and deposit the flavored ink directly into people's tongue. Imagine what a chat session would be like!

Smell would be harder to "send" via postal mail, but I guess you can print both smell and taste on one strip. Unfortunately, depositing smell directly into one's nose will be slower since smell differences are harder to distinguish than taste (I doubt research has been pursued to make smell into an effective language and figured what the max "bit rate" is).


Language: Origin of everything

I had a discussion with a friend of mine over my thoughts on how powerful words and language are and should be foundational to those who are serious about countering Theory of Evolution. The big picture facts are: language is necessary part of explaining and supporting any theory, Evolution or otherwise. Even "facts" can only be described and preserved in some language. A common language among sciences is the language of mathematics. But all these hand waving and paper writing are postmortems, explaining what happened (and happening) via language.

The Bible turns it all upside down:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:1-3

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. Genesis 1:1,3
Words spoke the world and life into existence. And even a language using being named "homosapiens:"
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26,27
Not only did our universe came into existence via pure words but humans were blessed (and cursed) with language, with words which transcends the reality of here and now -- i.e., independent of the space-time continuum.

Nightline: Carlos DeLuna murdered by the State

Last night, Nightline ran a story about Carlos DeLuna, which they didn't post on their web site. Based on what they presented, it sounds like the State murdered an innocent man:
  1. Victim (convenience store clerk) was stabbed and bleed a lot but they found no blood splatter on DeLuna
  2. There was no fingerprint of DeLuna at the store, even though the perp was in the process of buying a box of smokes
  3. The supposed perp was known by relatives and neighbors to carry the knife found at the crime scene
  4. This un-arrested perp bragged how someone else was taken down for his murder all the while trying to rape another woman and cut her deeply with a knife
  5. The only evidence police had was an eye witness who saw the perp in the parking lot (at night)
This perp apparently died in prison for some other crime.

Note: they will run the story at World News Tonight and 3 part series at Chicago Tribune. So I'll update this as I get more info.


Teens vs the real world

"Tech creates a bubble for kids" talks about how children today can be cocooned by technology [music, computer game, internet, etc.] and not get along with adults. But here's a laugh:
If you grow up in a culture that says it's all about you, it's hard to think it isn't.
My sons can be absorbed by tech: we allow them to use portable CD player [for music and audiobooks] and play computer games. And we give them a lot of freedom with their time ("self-directed studies") and very little stress [my oldest son still practices his piano whenever he feels like it, few minutes at a time]. However, we do not raise them with a sense of entitlement: their TV and computer game time are limited, they have to do chores, they get no allowance [only extra work earns them money], and they get taxed on the little that they make. And we let them know that we expect them to be on their own at 18 -- not that we won't welcome them at home but the expectation is that they won't be able to hang around home and not do anything.


Crow the Terrorists

There is the mouse taking out power, and now crows! It makes sense: cables used to have metal (copper) in them but with fiber optics, it's all non metallic -- which means birds like crows can easily take the cables apart and use them for nests. "Evolution" at work: birds have adapted to the human/concrete jungle! Anyway, expect more attackes from these "natural" terrorists!


Ethics gone wild

"Business Profs Rethinking Ethics Classes" is a great article on how teaching ethics without heart change [recognizing moral wrongs against God, repenting for them and accepting forgiveness from God] is worse for the students:
At the end of the semester, the number of students in a simulated trading room who were caught in misconduct or misusing information for insider trading was significantly higher than at the beginning. The students said, "You taught us how to do it," Buono recalled.
If you ask me, trying to teaching ethics without moral absolutes will only be teaching information which, in this case, can easily be used to better avoid capture. Much as TV programs like CSI teaches the would-be-criminals how to avoid getting caught....


Dropout Certificate Teardown

I read "My Official Certificate of Dropping Out of School" and had a good laugh. Here are the quotes with my comments:
The guardian and student signing below accept total responsibility for the named student being a school dropout.
OK, here we go....
By signing this document, I realize that I will not have the skills that I will need to survive in the new millennium.
By staying in school I will only learn to follow directions from others rather than taking my own initiative and making my own directions
I understand that I may be unable to perform even everyday tasks that would have used the skills I learned in reading, writing, computers, science, life skills and other school classes.
None of which may ever be necessary in the day to day living of an adult. Basic skills like reading and writing and math do not require classrooms to acquire let alone practice.
I further understand that as a dropout, I will probably earn just over $500 per month, less than half what I would have earned had I graduated. I realize that over the course of my lifetime, I will likely earn a grand total of $329,000 less than my peers who graduate.
On the other hand, those like Bill Gates (world's richest person), Michael Dell and Steve Jobs are doing very well by being dropouts.
If I cannot read this form, I certify with an "X" that this form has been read to me, but I realize that since I can't read very well, I actually have no way of knowing for sure exactly what this paper says. I'm signing anyway and hoping that I am not signing away anything that I will later regret. I realize that as a school dropout, this just may be one of many times that I will not be able to understand what nearly everyone else does.
Whatever. I'll be coming up with an alternative home educating pledge/certificate in a day or two...

"The Corporation" and the state

I watched the 40 minute version of "The Corporation," and it was funny to see how people think that the State will save us from the "big evil corps!" But keep in mind that Hitler was voted into power, so any democracy can turn evil, much worse than the corporations. For example, the problems today at Somalia or Darfur or Iraq were not caused by corps but the state. Democracy takes control away from the peoples and turns it over the few in power who in turn can use it against the people, as Hitler did. [All these secret phone monitoring, phone record keeping, tracking internet usage and detaining prisoners at Gitmo sounds like we maybe heading that way.]

Corporations can turn bad and unfortunately, just like unions, they are all state sanctioned entities. So to say corps are evil are missing the point: state and their underlings (both corps and unions) are bad and can turn evil. The less state and government and regulations we have, the better we will be. We don't need help from the government. We are adults, not children and we can all decide for our ownselves without help.

Home better than Schools

Key words pointed out Gary North's "Why Home Schools Are Superior to Private Schools."

What took Mr. North 20 years to figure out, I had understood for a long time: "true education" = "self-education." Once I have the tools to learn any new subject, I am free and empowered to learn anything I want. That is, the ability to learn empowers a person to be as educated as the person wants!

Other things he writes I agree mostly: going to Christian schools isn't much better than going to public schools since you are taught to follow the authorities [teachers, the state, etc.] rather than the One and Only Authority and to discount all other authorities.

[I'll have to blog about truth without Authority is meaningless: that is, universal, absolute truth cannot come about independent of universal Word and absolute Maker.]

Homeowner's Tax Myths

Bankrate.com's "5 homeownership tax myth" has great points on why you must be very careful about buying homes: homeownership is way overrated. Don't be fooled into thinking that you'll be "throwing" your money away if you rent. Cost of ownership is much higher than merely monthly mortgage payments. There are maintenance costs [which aren't tax deductible], as well as tax bite if and when there are loses [you can't write it off and if you get any part of your loan forgiven, you'll owe taxes to IRS as the forgiven amount as "gift" income].

So, be very careful before you ever sign up for a "death pledge" [mortgage]. I personally would rather break up my 401k/IRA and pay the IRS penalty rather than get another to-death loans....


Mouse the Terrorist

"Mini-mouse makes major mischief" talks about one mouse taking out 40% of Phnom Penh, Cambodia's electricity.

Try keeping out those kind of terrorists! Reminds me of:
a lizard can be caught with the hand,
yet it is found in kings' palaces.
-- Prov 30:28


Future casting

"5 hot products for the future: The Institute for the Future couldn't get clients to read its trend forecasts. So it started giving away prescient product ideas instead."

Sounds like a cool job but probably not easy to get!

Unschooling for 38 years

Psychology Today's June 2006 issue had a great article introducing Sudbery Valley School, titled "Education: Class Dismissed".

What is interesting is that they call it "Democratic Education" rather than unschooling. And there are many other similar schools around the world.


Testing: Stress and cheating

When I saw the title "Stress high during China's student exams" it made me tie it with another article this morning "Some TAKS scores in Central Texas raise suspicions: Analysis examined April 2005 answers for irregular patterns." High stress results in unintended consequences like cheating: in the Texas TAKS case, there is stress for teachers and principles since they have their pay tied to the scores. In China [and other Asian countries like Japan and S.Korea], it results in suicides.

Russian Intel.: Bush like Hitler

[OK, the title is wrong: I've mixed commentary with Russ intel info. Makes for a good title, though, no?]

Dread pointed out Pravda's "Russian intelligence says constitutional crisis in the USA takes deadly turn" and what an eye opener from Russia. Some of the more interesting quotes:
Bush is asserting the same powers seized by Adolf Hitler in 1933.
Bush Justice Department official and Berkeley law professor John Yoo argues that no law can restrict the President in his role as Commander In Chief. Thus, once the president is at war - even a vague, open-ended "war on terror" - Bush’s Justice Department says the president is free to undertake any action in pursuit of war, including the torture of children and the indefinite detention of American citizens.
The ignorance of the American people to these most crucial of events changing the very structure of the government they live under is both appalling and a testament to the power of their propaganda media organs controlled by their military leaders to deceive them on a scale not seen since Nazi Germany, which was the world’s last democratically-elected government to assume full dictatorial military control.
And ends with:
The twilight of this once-great nation has indeed come upon the American people, but after twilight comes utter darkness…and which they enter into now unprepared for the true horrors they will soon be facing.
Wow. I didn't vote for Bush in '04 but I didn't hate the man either. However with all that's leaking out of WashDC and commentary like the above, one really has to wonder what this country is really turning into. I didn't think my generation would be condemned so soon...


L.A. go-go: or not

LA Times' June 4th article "To live and buy in L.A." makes it sound like all is well in L.A., if you already own a home.

However, if you read sites like "The Housing Bubble Blog" or "InvesTech Research" the trend is very negative for real estate. Or even tracking the stats reported at "Bubble Tracking," the L.A. trends are negative: there have been less home sales this year than last year every month (from Jan to Apr) while the inventory is growing!

Who is right? Time will tell, but I think that things will get worse....


Resume and lies

As someone looking for job in L.A. area, I found the Wired article "Lies, Damned Lies and Resumes" funny. I also like their pointer to Forbes' list of resume lies.

I believe that using the right terms to get past the screeners is worth fiddling with [they now use search engines on resume so that they can weed out non matching ones quickly], but lies or stretching the truth will always be found out eventually and isn't worth getting fired over.


Economic doom and gloom

In all bubble markets, many things overshoots. In the current housing bubble, it's not just the home prices going up but tax revenue expectations and insurance premium income and interest income.

The problem is when they all come due!

I personally think S&L crisis of the 80's will be nothing compared when things start falling apart now, since so much is tied to the home mortgage.

There is the big expectations for bank and mortgage companies to get extra income from all those IO and Neg Am ARMs when they reset [some are starting to reset but I've read that they will peak in 2007 or 2008].

The municipal governments are also salivating over their supposed tax revenue increases of the "rising" appraisals.

And what the Feds didn't collect on capital gains of the homes, they [more than ?] made up for it with all those income/SSN taxes from realtors, contractors, mortgage brokers, appraisers, etc.

And insurance companies, which pay lots of money to mathematicians [actuaries] to get the premiums right, will over estimate income since their calculations always look at the past [hard] numbers but not any of "what if?" [Someone correct me if they're more forward looking now due to 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, but I doubt it.] That is, the home prices and appraisals were on the rise until recently [the cooling really started mid-2005 but not consistently with the median prices] so their income projections [premiums are based on home values] will be higher this year [and maybe next year too?] than last year.

Unfortunately, all these increases aren't matching the wage increases so something has to give: and many people will turn to bankruptcy, get foreclosed and/or walk away from their homes.

And that's only the home and home sales. If you factor in all those HELOC and HE loans with associated spending, those will slow down and stop since the home prices have started to fall and the equity part is disappearing [if not underwater already]. Decline in home sales and less spending through debt will contract the economy enough to bring on, I think, a depression [not just a recession]. The only question is when and how bad. And it's unfortunate that the government [including the politicians] don't/didn't learn the lessons of the 30's and we'll repeat the same craziness of the extended depression as before....

Update 6/4: U.S. Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight put out a report on housing bubble: Fresno housing prices went up 145% since 2001 (5 years ago, when the NASDAQ peaked). So, did the wages go up 145% over 5 years? It didn't go up for me: I'm making not much more than what I was making back then. And I'm sure US Labor stats will show it didn't go up that much, either. So it seems that the dotcom money moved to housing and created yet another bubble. How bad will the crash be is anyone's guess but as I wrote above, I think things will be grim...

Copyright 2006, DannyHSDad, All Rights Reserved.


Political Test: passed!

I've knew about it from various places but until yesterday, I've only seen it on blogs and mailing list [as far as I can remember] but now that I got it from a friend, I had to try "World's Smallest Political Quiz," and I passed: I'm a libertarian! [Big news, I'm sure, to my readers.]