If government would just close the doors and sneak away for three weeks, we’d never miss ‘em.
–Ronaldus Magnus, 1975
on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson
If government would just close the doors and sneak away for three weeks, we’d never miss ‘em.
–Ronaldus Magnus, 1975
on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson
DA PREZ IS NOT going to Gettysburg for the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s address at the dedication of the memorial cemetery.
Because Lincoln was a Republican, or something.
SOME NEAT STUFF I GET TO DO at my day job.
You can click through to the entire board, (new stuff added regularly) by clicking the link at the bottom of each widget.
A COUPLE OF SINGLES tossed in the can being held by the little old lady from the DAV outside the grocery store: two bucks.
The smile from the little old lady: a million bucks.
The thousands of lives sacrificed in defense of liberty by those whom we honor today: priceless.
IN MY TRAVELS THROUGH knowledge, the world, and everything in search of elightenment, knowledge, wisdom, and skills. I can start out to the market to buy tomatoes and come back with an eighty-foot yacht.
Metaphorically speaking. I have no idea where I’d park a yacht on our street.
So I’ve been shopping for instruction books on pencil drawing as aids in re-upping my drawing chops, which have been allowed to lay fallow for far too long. I’ve been, in particular, looking for a book on figure drawing that I used in high school and think rather highly of. Needles to say, it’s most likely out of print.
Instead, I stumbled across the series of books by Will Eisner of which the volume at right is one. IT looks fascinating, and offers a great deal to be learned about storytelling in any medium, and as such is highly recommended.
But, as I nearly forgot to mention, it doesn’t do much about your actual drawing chops.
Meantime, I have discovered what might actually be the ur source on this topic: Giovanni Civardi’s Complete Guide to Drawing (Art of Drawing). And, of course, it’s out of stock at the moment. ::sigh:: So I have to wait.
A NOTION THAT’S been floating around in my mind for the longest, but recently was excited by an article in the New York Review of Books.
First principle: The right to privacy is absolute. There is a bright line. But on the rights-of-the-individual side of the line is that you have the right to be unobserved, your privacy untrammeled, in your own mind. And that which comes out of your mind — the “effects” part of “Persons, papers, and effects” in the Fourth Amendment — is your property and only your property, and anyone coming into possession of it has a morally absolute and fiduciary responsibility to protect its confidentiality. In a perfect world, they should not even acknowledge or admit that they have it. Therefore, information about you — meta-data — your effects — is private and secure from any search or seizure absent a presentation of a warrant, duly prepared, issued, and executed according to the Fourth Amendment… only to the individual who owns the information. In the presence of legal counsel, if so desired. Nor is any person permitted to reveal information that is about themselves if it relates to another, without all of the appropriate hoops having been jumped through.
Second principle: the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It is mostly about limits on government, but — especially in the Bill of Rights — it enshrines the American Exception: sovereignty rests in the individual. Thus no one — public or private — may violate any of the rights therein enshrined. As we have learned, it is quite possible for individuals to violate an individual’s civil rights. And a regime of rights is useless if it is enforceable only in the public sphere. No, your doctor may not open your patient records to the government. No, your bank may not inform the IRS even of the existence of your account.
As you can tell, we have a lot of work to do in this area.
(Hat tip: Good Shit)
IN VOLUME? Somehow, my brain, on hearing about Smashwords’ Oyster program, keeps going there. As one author asks in comments, how does this do anything but lose money? I guess that Coker must have figured somehow that there’s a margin to be made, there, between the number of books read per month and the subscription rate. But I don’t see it. The whole buffet effect and all that.
I guess we’ll see.
WHILE THERE WILL BE promotional work to be done, and — down the road, when the KDP Select enrollment has played out — a paper edition, I’m pretty much done with The High T Shebang. Now, it belongs to the reader and I move on to the next one.
The working title is vague. At the moment, it’s Discovery and I’m thinking of it as a sort of an origin issue. (To use the comic book jargon.) Except that it won’t be the only one. I’ll have several over the years, I’m sure.
This one picks up Dolly’s tale the morning after her Genesis and carries through, more-or-less chronologically, to Cally’s Genesis, passing along the way Dolly’s training in the Troll Guard at Camp Meander and the start of her relationship with Drummond as her being a Real Grrl. And those are the last spoilers you’ll get out of me.
I’m also intending to seriously buckle down and get my drawing chops back. I have a pencil. I have paper. I have a scanner. I have drawn in the past. I will draw again in the future.
OVER THE NEXT however long, there will be changes around here. I suspect that this blog will be turned over to rants by Dolly in-character — mostly about politics and assholes, assholes and politics, and assholes in politics.
Then, the former Dolly Apocrypha site will become my artist’s site — about my writing, illustration, design, cabinetmaking, photography, and general things of joy in life and creation.
And then again, the site you probably haven’t seen (and there’s not much there there), which is the site for my publishing imprint, Dreamflower Works, will feature the works published by Dreamflower Works. At the moment, exclusively mine.
I will also be scarfing up domains that could be seen as belonging to various trademarks. More about that as time goes on, but they’ll probably mostly just be parked on pages.
I DON’T FEEL SO much like a poseur any more — talking a good game while not actually delivering. But, after 50 years of trying, I’ve finally published my first novel and it’s up for sale at Amazon. And, if you go and buy it by clicking the link at right, you help defray the costs of operating this site at no additional cost to you.
Everyone around Gabrielle Francesca East — Dolly to her friends — has an agenda. Mitchell Drummond, her lover, guardian, and Geppetto wants to wrap her up in bubble wrap and protect her from the world. Dolly just wants him to make her forget her name by making hot, monkey love with her. Her family resent Dolly’s fortune: a fortune they assert is rightfully theirs. Dolly? She just wants to shop. Half the Gods want to control her; the other half want her dead; Dolly just wants to party with her friends.
When clones of blonde, Hollywood starlets — probably from the same lab that made Dolly’s body — start showing up halfway around the world, Drummond and Dolly set out at the head of the Troll Action Team to find out what’s behind the clones. The answer will send shock waves through the whole shebang.
Growing out of a long series of email exchanges on The Center for Xena Studies, a Xena: Warrior Princess mailing list, The High T Shebang is the first volume of the long-awaited epic, the Dolly Apocrypha. See where it all began.
Truth in advertising disclaimer: Violence. Explicit and graphic sexual dialog and situations. Adults only. Parental discretion strongly advised. Not for children or young teens.
Coming in 2014, The Baby Troll Chronicles continue.
Also. Some time ago, I promised that anyone who became a member of my old blog site would get a free copy of my ebook. About a thousand responded. While this is a different book, I feel it incumbent upon me to honor that promise. As soon as I can figure out how to do it, if you are among that thousand-or-so, you will be receiving an email detailing how to get a copy.
IF YOU’RE NOT IN THE letters industry, you may be unaware of a local tempest-in-a-teapot that popped up here recently. Seems a bunch of seamy books, self-published, for the most part, but not exclusively, have been removed from public view — the aggregator claims temporarily, but with no assurance of the length of the temp involved. (Irish indie author David Gaughran posts.)
Much… well, some as been made of the contention that there is no right to free speech in the UK. Not true. The right exists, the state has merely chosen not to recognize it. We in the United States have what purports to be a constitutional guarantee, which guarantees seem by and large to be honored more in the breach. However, I contend, the defense of it does not go far enough.
You hear this all the time. I suspect the most frequent assertion of the mistake notions about rights comes from the political Right which says “There’s no right to abortion in the Constitution,” with the follow-on claim it therefor doesn’t exist. While I agree that abortion is, on balance, reprehensible — possibly even murder, albeit without a clear legal definition, not much more can be made of it — a right to access the procedure does exist. It must. At the same time, it must be made clear that the right to access a medical procedure (provided one possesses the wherewithal to compensate the providers) does not guarantee that said providers are obligated to — so to speak — provide it, whether compensated or not. “We don’t serve your kind in here,” is well within the most simple and primitive rights of the individual to assert and enforce. That some find it unaesthetic or inconvenient notwithstanding.
The right to freedom speech, expression, the press is free-standing and pre-exists any state. All a state can do is recognize or infringe upon it. And all an individual can do is recognize or infringe upon it.
And that last is where the crowd that says, “Private entities’ infringing upon freedom of speech is not censorship.” Bullshit. It most certainly is. And, it might be seen, such behavior from private individuals or corporations is MORE reprehensible than it may be from governments, as there never was any contemplation of granting private entities any let over the free expression of individuals. The right is free-standing and absolute. It inheres to the individual human being. NO actor may infringe. The right shall not be infringed — under law. (In a lawless state, an individual may do anything he can get away with; that’s the difference between anarchism and libertarianism. The latter acknowledges the possibility of a need for a state, however skeletal and minimal.)
The Constitution limits the state. As the 800lb gorilla of politics, the state must needs be set about with limits. It has too great a potential to damage fragile liberty. But that is not to say that the rights of the individual are not enforceable against infringing individuals or corporation.
Now, granted, there are private property rights and rights of free association — not to mention rights of commercial liberty — in possible conflict in the situation alluded to at the beginning of this post. A merchant has every right to choose what merchandise to stock. However, an entity — such as Amazon — which puts itself forward as the landlord (so to speak) of an open marketplace may be seen as operating a kind of a public accommodation. And, whatever your take on that principle, it is a recognized legal principle of our structure of civil rights.
Where we go from there, I do not know — or haven’t formed an opinion, yet — but it seems clear to me that Smiths, Kobo, Amazon, and the rest are engaged in censorship, are not blameless, and owe it to their suppliers, their customers, and the nation of Man at large to create a structure that meets the needs of everyone, even-handedly, not forcing offending materials on an unwilling public, nor allowing its access by the unprepared young, nor infringing on the freedom of expression of the authors using their marketplaces.
And most certainly, no one should respect the complaints of those who assert the right to infringe upon the rights of individuals for the sake of offense or convenience. Those deserve nothing but our collective (and individual) scorn.
THE HIGH T SHEBANG WILL BE going to the betas over the next couple of days and, one hopes, on sale next week. Wish us luck.
Update: in my fog of fatigue after mindight, I uploaded the wrong cover file. Oops. Fixed, now.
THIS POST MAY BE MORE NOTABLE for who prompts me to write it than for its content. I have been asked to pass this along to twenty Americans via email. Since this blog has a few more than twenty readers, I calculate this is a superior method. But, make no mistake about it, it does deserve traction.
And, more heartening, this comes from a dear friend of many years whose political alignment can be winkled out from her habit of unironically calling her home “The People’s Republic of [Name of Town or State].” Yes, we do have leftist friends. Funny how the world works that way. My heartening comes from the fact that this idea could have come direct from the mouths of the oh-so-hated Tea Party.
[edited from original] Even if Warren Buffet doesn’t ask us to forward, it sure sounds like a good idea. My sentiments exactly…this would stop the mess we are in!
Winds Of Change
Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise. At least 20 if you can. It has to stop somewhere!In three days, most people in The United States of America will have this message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.
Congressional Reform Act of 2013
- 1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they’re out of office.
- 2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security All funds in the congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose. [I'd prefer to see retirement "insurance" privatized, with tax exemptions if necessary, but whatever system, the idea that government officials don't live by the same rules as the people is un-American and, as Glenn Reynolds writes, probably a violation of the titles and nobility clause of the Constitution. --Ed.]
- 3. Congress [may] purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans [may].
- 4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.[I suspect a better system might be to limit the entire operational budget of Congress to a certain percentage of the GDP (and specify that three or more independent entities must agree on the figure), but some limit must obtain. --Ed.]
- 5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people. [There are those who claim that whatever Congress is setting up for themselves amounts to Obamacare. I have my doubts. But it illustrates the fundamental mendacity of all political animals. --Ed.]
- 6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
[This should go without saying. That it needs to be said illustrates the present corruption in our government. --Ed.]
- 7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 12/31/13. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women. [Congresscritters like to claim that they represent the People and are going about the People's business. Again with the corruption. -Ed.]
Congressmen/women made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Don’t you think it’s time?
THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS! [All the same, good luck getting it past Congress without an Amending convention, as proposed recently by Mark Levin. --Ed.]
If you agree with the above, pass it on.
IT DOESN’T NEED attribution, because it’s the God’s-honest truth. But even so…
If you are in the minority of Americans not already unalterably opposed to Obamacare, keep in mind that the only reason the government is shut down right now is that Democrats refuse to fund the government if they are required to live under Obamacare.
The cartoon character is going to use evidence from within the cartoon to disprove the existence of the cartoonist.
–Heard in passing on a documentary on cable
BUT NOW I WONDER… does anybody besides me notice how much nicer and lighter the traffic is since the .gov shutdown?
A-a-a-a-a-and… another thing. What’s with all the concern-trolling for .gov employees. (Love ya guys.) I mean, seriously? Since the Democrats took over in ought-seven, I’ve lost my health insurance, had my income cut by 30%, seen my debt climb some incredible number, my household expenses nearly double… And for what? Why should I feel sorry for somebody who gets a guaranteed COLA every year, has incredible job security, who WILL get paid for time off during this furlough — eventually, has the cadillac health coverage at no cost provided by tax money STOLEN from my paycheck before I ever get to see it — at the point of a gun, I’m bound to point out?
Whose mission in life appears to be to exert control over the lives of other citizens for no good reason at whim and at will, arbitrarily and capriciously without recourse? To — viciously — violate the constitutionally-guaranteed civil rights of Americans? To murderously invade home of innocent bystanders willy nilly, whether with warrant or not, to steal private citizen’s secrets from businesses who have no right or let to divulge even the presence of those secrets?
Give. Me. A. Fucking. Break.
THE WASHINGTON ESTABLISHMENT is so het up over the crises ongoing in that town — after all, those guys induced the whole mess, they must have known this was coming… What? Are they fronting?
The reasons they’re so het up go like this:
First, they’re afraid that, if they don’t “solve” or “avert” the crisis before it eventuates, and it does, we might learn we didn’t need them after all, that the whole scare was a paper tiger.
Second, they’re afraid that, if we slow down or get a breather from the constant drumbeat of whack-a-mole crises, we might learn a few facts, like: they’re not competent to do their jobs and we really should fire them, because their jobs are to not let this shit happen; they’re not competent to do their jobs, because they can’t really fix it, and they claimed they could and would, and their job consists entirely of making promises and keeping them, and if they can’t keep their promises, what good are they?
Third, (and this circles back around to First above) they’re afraid that, if the whole thing shuts down for real, or the government flat runs out of money and can’t borrow any more, or the whole house of cards collapses to the grouund… we might discover that we don’t really need them, that we’re better off without them, that they’re paper tigers and all their guns and tanks avail them nothing against an indifferent populace (let alone a hostile one), and that we really should jsut get rid of them. Or, at any rate, most of them.
OF FAVORITE AUTHORS. In science fiction, there is, of course, Robert Heinlein. And Larry Niven Jerry Pournelle Spider Robinson Orson Scott Card, et al. And C.J. Cherryh — A Wave Without a Shore should be required reading for the genre. In general fiction, there’s Mark Twain. In fantasy, yes, Tolkien, but also Charles de Lint and Emma Bull.
And in thrillers, the place that was once inhabited by Alistair MacLean has lately been taken over by Tom Clancy. From Red October to Red Rabit, his books have enjoyed pride of place on my shelves. And, I have no doubt, played no small part in the re-awakening of patriotic pride in America.
Now, it seems, we’ll have those books still in the pipeline, and then: no more. May God hold you in the palm of his hand, Clancy. We’ll miss ya.
AT AFTERNOON DRIVE TIME Monday — what timing! — you’re not one of the low-information crowd, most likely. If you stood amazed that his tongue didn’t jump out of his mouth and run screaming down the street because of all the lies, fabrications, straw man arguments, an projection… Same thing.
Just a point? When he says “You can’t stop” the implementation of Obamacare today? He’s wrong. You can. Just stay away. In droves. Don’t go to the web site. Don’t try to sign up for exchanges that either don’t exist or aren’t ready. There’s plenty of low-information fools out there who’ll ably demonstrate just how not-ready the whole thing is.
No. What you need to demonstrate is how deeply unpopular this is with the productive types in the country. Me, I plan to pay the fine for the first two years at least, and figure that we’ll have a chance to vote out the bastards who sold us down the river on this, and then hold feet to the fire to really, actually repeal the whole obamination with veto-proof majorities in BOTH houses of Congress.
OF THE IPCC REPORT — even before they take all the science out of it and publish the administrative summary (which is all the media will ever report on) – has exceeded a value of 1.0.
One counter is particularly amusing…
“Germany called for the reference to the slowdown to be deleted, saying a time span of 10-15 years was misleading in the context of climate change, which is measured over decades and centuries,” the AP report said. “The U.S. also urged the authors to include the ‘leading hypothesis’ that the reduction in warming is linked to more heat being transferred to the deep ocean.”
It should be mentioned that, when noted Marxist agitprop and government “scientist” James Hansen first briefed Congress on the — scorn quotes — “crisis”, it had been less than three years since widespread predictions of a coming ice age were the accepted conventional wisdom. But that wasn’t a misleading time span in THAT context.
Let us have none of that nonsense.
AS THE STUPIDEST man in the Senate when she says Congress wouldn’t be such a mess if women were in charge.
Such as… Nancy Pelosi? Oh, well, she’s not in charge at the moment, right. And thank God for that.
But it also occurs to me to ask, “You mean they’re not?” Ried? Boehner? A couple of more girls-blouse wimps I can’t imagine.
By the way… Local readers will know this but you national and international folk may not — Boehner’s being primaried. Guy’s name is Eric Gurr. Just FYI.
Only a child, a moron, or a Democrat could believe that you could take a system as complex as medical care/insurance, impose a collectivist solution to a non-existent problem upon it, and expect the markets to function as before, only this time cheaper.
– Michael Walsh at PJ Media
BY AN INTERESTING post and discussion of Human Wave self-and-mutual promotion over at Sarah Hoyt’s blog (not to mention grocery shopping, which seems to take it out of me more than it should), so I didn’t get nearly all the work done on re-drafting Chapter 3 of The High T Affair, but I’m real close, now.
In the meantime, I had a few bored minutes near the end of the day and I opened up the cover art, which I’ve been staring at on and off for the requisite days, in Photoshop and messed around with a few things at the margin — mostly adding a muzzle flash to Dolly’s gun and putting the old map of the East family demesne in the background. The whole overall still looks to action-adventury and cartoony to me, and not enough dark-and-gritty urban science fantasy-y. But, as I review each characteristic, I don’t see an alternative that moves in that direction. So — to quote Pooh — bother.
The question cropped up in the above-alluded-to discussion, “Why is this work Human Wave?” Good question, and more than a little bothersome. But, here goes.
First off, the lead character in the Baby Troll Chronicles, the eponymous Baby Troll (a.k.a., Gabrielle Francesca “Dolly” East) is an anarchist. She doesn’t think so — she may be the most relentlessly apolitical character you’ll ever meet. But she is. As I describe her (in the perspective of her lover, Mitchell Cary Drummond), she is a teleological chaos machine. But she also resents anything or anyone who gets in her way, which makes her a natural anarchist, even if she wouldn’t respond to the description. So, while not a libertarian per se, she acts in a manner that reflects a core belief in the supremacy of the individual human mind.
She gets that in large part from Drummond. While she is the reincarnation of the Hero of a Thousand Generations, in this lifetime, her early development was greatly influenced not only by Drummond himself, but by his influences. In her time as a dolly (whence comes her nickname), she was confined largely to Drummond’s Over the Rhine loft in Cincinnati and limited for her input to Drummond’s cable subscription and his library, which took up an entire floor of his building. She had to struggle to deal with books that, in many cases, were larger than she, but there were so many of them. And, from Adam Smith to Ayn Rand, Lysander Spooner to Murray Rothbard, she steeped in the philosophers of liberty.
And put her own spin on it.
And Drummond is a dyed-in-the-wool libertarian. Agonizes over it. Goes overboard in his respect for individual autonomy to the point he wonders whether he has the right to urge Dolly to get medical treatment.
And the larger situation. Upothesa, the vast, global conspiracy to which both owe fealty of a sorts is a supra-national un-governed organization. Involved in commerce, it almost inevitably engages in smuggling, albeit never of arms, drugs, or humans. Being supra-national and pre-existing all nations, it has little respect for government and goes its own way on the “Do what you like, just don’t let the policeman on the corner see you doing it” principle.
Upothesa started back in the Stone Age as a partnership between Gods and a family of Men. Since the Twilight of the Gods, which began with Zarathustra and continues to this day, the Gods themselves have diminished and Men have become greater. At the time in which Dolly and Drummond swim in these waters, great changes in the power structures of Upothesa portend. I can’t say much without spoilage, but the Trolls — traditionally very xenophobic — have begun to admit select members of other hominid species into their secret worlds. Gods are increasingly withdrawing from the daily affairs of Upothesa. There is a great conflict brewing between Trolls and Elves. And the very edifice of Upothesa is threatened. All of which means that mankind — if it can sieze the day — faces a future fraught with possibility.
The very definition of the Human Wave.
Not that I intended it. When I began writing the Dolly stories fourteen years ago this winter, the Human Wave wasn’t even a glimmer in Sarah Hoyt’s eyes, though in retrospect, it would seem to be inevitable. But, then, historical moments almost always do. But, as I think on it and work through the issues of getting the stories on the page and screen, it seems a natural fit. Mankind is shedding its gods and marching toward a future in which we must stand alone, masters of our own destiny. That’s Human Wave. That’s why the Baby Troll Chronicles are Human Wave.
THE ACA IS HELPING businesses deal with the escalating cost of — not health care, but health insurance (which, we’ve pointed out myriad times before is NOT insurance)? I suppose. If shedding the cost onto the taxpayer is dealing with it. But… really? That’s the best you can do?
FOR AN INDICTMENT, let alone a conviction.
So. When will the prosecutor be brought up on charges? How about the original trial judge?
THE SECOND AMENDMENT is not only the Law of the Land, it’s the SUPREME Law of the Land.
So get out your checkbook, Senator. Belly up to the cash register, Congressman. The fine for civil rights violations under color of law is $10,000. That’s FOUR zeroes.
Or did you not vote for an “assault weapons” ban?
Let’s hear no more of this witlessness on the matter of the flatly un-constitutional, deeply flawed, overwhelmingly unpopular, (and mendaciously-named) — scorn quotes — “Affordable Care Act.”
ONBTW: We the People think a government shut-down would be a Good Thing.
ON THE OTHER HAND, I think he’s full of it. He begins with a fallacy when he says, “We have a health system that, in terms of costs, is really out of control.” I’m sorry, “WE” don’t have shit. “WE” needn’t and probably shouldn’t (though I’m chary of using the word should) have anything — in common. Each of us is unique, has our own needs, wants, desires, diseases, and foibles. Nor should it be any different.That’s the way God planned it, to quote that old song. (Yes, boomers, it is an old song. Get over it.) Why any one-size-fits-all solution (if solution it is) should be put forward in the first place ought to make you suspect any such and anyone who WOULD put it forward. If you get my drift.
And that leads to the flaw in this thinking:
“Attack the costs first, and then worry about expanding coverage,” he said. “I would much rather see another plan that really attacks costs. And I think that’s what the American public wants to see. I mean, the American public is not behind this bill.”
Why anyone so well enriched by the market should be so ignorant of how markets work is beyond amazing and falls into the flabbergastion zone. It is, in matter of fact, the very attacks on the pricing and distribution of medical goods and services that has so badly distorted the market, so horribly perverted incentives in the market, as to put all but the most basic care beyond the reach of ordinary Americans. (Or so they think.) And the NUMBER ONE cause is the use of — so-miscalled (scorn quotes) — “insurance”.
Are you aware that a little less than half of what you spend or is spent on your behalf on medical goods and services goes, not to pay for those services, but to pay for insurance, including (but not limited to) the overhead (call it an unfunded mandate) required to DEAL WITH insurance? (Pardon me: “insurance.” (It’s not.))
If you really want to lower the costs of medicine and medical care, here’s the prescription.
1. Eliminate tax deductions for “employer-paid” “insurance” coverage. (And, as you do, admit that it is neither employer-paid NOR insurance. Make it WELL known that, if the value of the labor were not there, the “insurance” would not be available, and that if it is, the employee is better off getting the price of the insurance in his pay packet.)
2. End Medicare and Medicaid. (Pay subsidies to those who really need it. Pay them from the general fund, as an on-budget item. Get rid of the slush funds that politicians use to buy votes, but which otherwise only warp the marketplace out of all reason.)
3. Allow “Major Medical” carriers to sell across state lines. (Yes, it’s a blow to states rights. Boo hoo. They shouldn’t be allowed to meddle in the buying options of the people regardless. Think of it as a counter-blow FOR the rights of the People.)
4. Remove tax disincentives for savings, including medical savings accounts. (Don’t try to incentivize or subsidize them; just get the Hell out of the way and let the People solve what government has broken. Trust me; they will.)
5. Run a clock on the FDA. Enough with the endless delays and blockage of new drugs and devices. (Better yet: privatize the whole thing. Follow the UL model. Give the regulators incentives to ALLOW, rather than block, new drugs and devices.)
6. Having limited the time it takes to GET a patent on a drug, push for quicker generics. (Lantus insulin is out of patent. Why is there no generic long-acting insulin glargine? (Hint: it’s a three-letter agency of the government.))
7. Two words: tort reform. (‘Nuff said.)
There might be more. Probably is. But this would be a good start. Problem is there are too few opportunities for fraud, graft, corruption, and vote-buying in it. But youthepeople would be well-advised to, if you DON’T get this or something very much like it, to vote ALL the bastards out of office. At least.
BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, there’s all those people all over the world struggling to get in to Russia.
IF IT WERE ABOUT THE MUSIC, these guys would still be a band, touring, and making records. But it’s not, and more’s the pity. There’s a good deal more business than music in the music business. Some might say it’s best that way. Only the strong survive. The problem is that the wrong strengths are selected for. The talent, sensitivity, creativity, ability, and heart get abraded away until all you get are the ones who can stand that, or have only that which can withstand all the bullshit you have to go through just to work at your art.
I love this song. Of all the numbers on their eponymous album, it’s the one that can make me cry, singing along with Natasha: …When going home feels like movin’ on. But the rest show an abundance of talent, sensitivity, creative ability, and heart on the part of everyone in the band. Watching their concert footage makes you understand how much joy they took from playing music together.
It was their misfortune to get caught up in a time of transition, in a foreign country, held hostage to corporate maneuverings, and so ground down that, I would suspect, the tax that the business side levies against the creative side just got to be too much. I’ve seen it happen a brazilian times over my forty-plus years in the music business. You have to be tough to make it in this business we call show — not even to the top: just to make it to where you can earn a living at it can take all you’ve got.
Of course, things are better, now. For one, it’s becoming possible for musicians of independent spirit to make a living without a major label contract. Not easy, mind, but possible. In fact, the members of Bering Strait are building careers, together and separately, either as independent artists or on boutique labels, courtesy of the Internet and the indie music scene.
Which bodes well, I think, for all manner of artists. The future seems bright with promise for artists and those who would partake of the art, the music, the cinema, the literature. In the future, we may look back on this as a watershed moment when everything changed in ways we couldn’t anticipate beforehand, but saw as nearly inevitable afterwards.
“JUST CLOSE THE CAGE DOOR and walk away.”
Have to say, it’s probably the most sage advice I’ve heard in many a long year.
BUT, FOR THE MOMENT at least, it answers most of my concerns about earlier design attempts. Click through the category link to compare and contrast the changes.
I JUST CHANGED the entire first quarter of my novel. In one of those Disney moves. You know, where the painbrush waves across the screen like a magic wand and — hey! presto! — the scene changes from winter to spring in a waterfall of paint colors. The challenge is to make all the changes in two chapters. OK. Not a quarter. A Twelfth. But still… By next Sunday.
Think I can do it?
And, yes, it should improve things immensely. First Reader agrees it should be an improvement in pacing, if nothing else.
JOHN W. CAMPBELL, shortly before he died, saying something to the effect of, “All those space-ships and time-travel and telepathy, and not one of us anticipated the digital computer.”
And it’s true. Even as late as 1964-65, when Heinlein was inventing that Dinkum Thinkum, Mike, one gets the impression that computers a hundred years down the road would still be made of massive steel frames holding racks and rows of racks of vacuum tubes manipulating limited computing resources in an arcane art and science managed by engineer-priests.
And, even so, the state of the art just then was the DEC PDP11, if memory serves. The VAX, 8088, and the microcomputer were still in the future.
My point being not to disparage the greats of the Golden Age of science fiction, but to point out (for the billionth time) the futility of trying to predict surprises in so chaotic a space as the enterprises of men.
You wanted a flying car? How about a flying truck?
Play with that notion for a moment. How far down the — pun intended — road do you suppose this development will come? Get ready to defend your flyover rights.
IN THE DISCO ’70S inform the American people that the reason Hollywood isn’t speaking out more stridently is because they’re afraid of being labeled racists for criticizing The Won.
Live by the race card, die by the race card.
(Hat tip: Ace)
SO I TOOK A COUPLE of extra days off to extend the three-day weekend to five. Days, that is. My intent was to, by the end of the weekend, have a copy of my ebook edition of The High T Affair that I could send to beta readers, and to have made contact with all those who have volunteered or been roped into volunteering to beta-read this thing. (Apparently, none of them read BTB on a holiday weekend or they haven’t taken the hint, because none of them have gotten in touch with me.)
Well, just after bedtime on Tuesday (before going back to work at the Patch Factory on Wednesday), I have a nearly-perfect conversion (sans table-of-contents and with an extra scene separator) to show around. Yay, me.
So, the first lesson here is to never give up until you win. Because you will always — ALWAYS — lose until you win. So, if you give up before you win, guess what? You lose. And that, my dear readers, may just be the canonical definition of a loser: someone who gives up before they win.
Take me, for example. At dinnertime, I was in the depths of despair. I had been beaten by a primitive (open source, yet) word processor. But then, I remembered that word processors leave tons of cruft in their files. (Most programs do. Modern, well-made programs clean up after themselves when they save. Progams made by teenage wonks don’t. Let that be a lesson for you. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs may have been heroes to their mothers, but they were teenaged wonks and couldn’t code for shit.
The second — and final for this post — lesson is to NEVER, NEVER, NEVER involve Microsoft Word or any Word emulator in a production workflow in which consistent results are needed time and again. There’s a reason why pro graphics houses WILL NOT accept ANY input from Microsoft — and that includes their mis-named (dis-named, as in disinformation?) MS Publisher. And that is, if your livelihood depends on it, Word will let you down every. Single. Time. Now, in my case, it was Open Office, but the principle holds, whether it’s Word, Word Perfect, Atlantis, Open Office or Sigil or any of the myriad other out there whic MAY be used to provide input to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program. They embrace fundamentally flawed premises. And why on earth the engineers at Amazon decided to depend on — or to permit or accept dependence on — Microsoft products for what is essentially a graphic-arts process is beyond me. As we say about Stupid Engineer Tricks day after day at the Patch Factory, “Why would you want to do that?”
As for me, I’ve somehow gotten my clock adjusted to Vacation Time and I have to get up early as all fuck in the morning. Say, “Good night,” Gracie.
Good night, Gracie.
IN THE WORLD since I’ve been gone?
You were gone?
Ha! Ha! Very funny. No. BSN. I spent all day Friday and Saturday combing through the final edit of The High T Affair and setting named styles for EVERY. SINGLE. CHARACTER. (Including spaces.) (Especially spaces.)
I have this to conclude: Word processors are aggravating as hell. They never get it right. You tell them to do something and they get it wrong. You tell them to do something the same way twice in a row and you get two different results. The rituals required to get ANY results are arcane and inconsistent. Asking for consistency is asking for the blood to go back in the moon. The documentation sucks. For example: In Open Office (version 4) — TRY to find a list of what all the special characters mean. Just TRY.
And then, output. Why are supposedly modern word processors STILL using a brute-force, inline-style driven approach to rolling HTML? Why are they still rolling HTML 2.x? WHY ARE THEY STILL USING UPPERCASE TAGS?
On the other hand, I have gotten a fairly clean and elegant build in both MOBI and ePub of the book. A few minor tweaks (which Murphy tells me will take all day TODAY) and I should have something to send to betas.
Oh! And I’ve changed the cover. Not final, but a radical departure from where I was before. I need to write post or posts about THAT. Don’t know when I’ll be able to find the time.
Looks like pub date will be pushed back a week.
AND DECIDES ALL ON ITS LONESOME that atheism is a religion and entitled to First Amendment protections.
All well and good. And, now, it’s also not privileged above other religions and we’ll hear no more about taking down Christmas creches.
I saw what you did there.
A ONE BOOK WRITER Kris Rusch writes on the difference between getting published and making a career at writing. In aid that… With the publication of my first novel perhaps a week or so away, I am mindful of the keystone requirement — the next book.
Even as I’m trying to wrangle beta readers and get the cover together for The High T Affair, I am in the background processes of setting up the next one: pouring the first draft into Scrivener; considering whether to meld another story line into this one; wincing at the terribly juvenile plot, characterization, dialog, etc. of the first draft.
I’m also looking two, three, four books down the road, trying to chivvy the ideas into line, playing the long-story-arc game.
How’s your career planning going?
Interesting to note that writing buddy, Jaime Lee Moyer’s first novel, Delia’s Shadow is set for release September 17, but has been available for pre-order on Amazon for several months. We met on the OWW thirteen years ago. (Before, I should note, it was the OWW, back when Mr. Redley (Del Rey Books) was the sponsor.) Who beat whom to book publication? (And does it matter?) I have a copy of the MS for the third book in her trilogy. I’ve read earlier drafts and am excited to see the final thing. Back in the workshop days, I compared her voice to Zenna Henderson. I still get the gentle warmth, but now it’s uniquely Jaime’s. The genre is paranormal fantasy with a soupcon of San Francisco history. Recommended.
BUT NOT THE WAY YOU’D THINK
Well, not the way I’d hope you’d think from the headline.
My first reader, in order to Get Right On It, is taking a printout (I supposed it’s a bootleg, but I think it’s OK; I know the rights holder personally.) to WorldCon to read in the down times. One of which will be, I’m told, babysitting for a Hugo nominee.
Our brush with fame.
Except that One of the Gang is going to be reading, the rest doesn’t really mean much. It’s just kind of funny.
Amusing-and-cute funny, not disturbed-and-potentially-violent-neighbor funny.
OK, WELL, OG POSTED a thing about BLACK Magic Marker, which brought this to mind.
HERE WE GO AGAIN! Democrat pusillanimity is going to get us into another land war in Asia. And they’re going to go about it in half-hearted, half-measures, executed in a half-assed manner by less than half the numbers of personnel we should use. The Big Stick on the cheap. Because — you know — it has always worked so well in the past. (Can you say, “Vietnam”?)
IT’S SUPPOSED (BY THE LEFT) to be a trump card, and it’s turning out to be a joker.
No jokers in bridge.
You are SO perspicacious, Dolly!
SPOKEN (WELL, WRITTEN) TO DEMOCRATS
You are the enemy.
You are not benevolent.
Your first goal is to disarm us.
Your second goal is to eliminate privacy.
Your third goal is to criminalize our opinions.
You want power for yourselves, and nothing else.
You believe yourselves entitled to rule us absolutely.
You routinely wish for the deaths of conservative figures.
You would have us forcibly “re-educated,” if you could pull it off.
You are trying to destroy all remaining restraints on the federal government.
You’re doing everything you can to criminalize disagreement with your agenda.
You accuse your political opponents of every foul crime and motivation in the book.
And you do it with a contemptuous smirk that says “You can’t stop us no matter what you do.”
I tried to grant you the presumption of integrity.
I can’t. You’ve forfeited all claim to decency or benign purpose.
The only difference between you and the Communists of North Korea is your skin tone.
From here to the end of my life, I will do all in my power to have you seen for what you really are.
Not decent people with different opinions about what’s best, or what means are acceptable.
Not persons agonized over America’s residuum of violence, or poverty, or racism.
Not neighbors peacefully willing to agree to disagree with other Americans.
You are none of those things.
You are the enemy.
You are villains.
–Our Curmudgeon, at Liberty’s Torch
I SUPPOSE IT’S NOT all that obvious, but, despite having more-or-less completed the final edits on The High T Affair over the weekend, I suspect I will be unable to meet my self-imposed publication deadline by September 1 — next Sunday.
I can still try, but I have yet to register copyright, finish the cover art (which, it looks like, will be vastly different from what you’ve seen so far, but that happens a lot in creative projects), and herd the thing through a beta read.
I may have to push it back a day or two.
SO IT OCCURS TO ME that one reason there isn’t as much griping about the price of gas as influenced by corn-fed ethanol (and the accompanying rise in food costs) is that… Well… So you grab a bag of frozen kernels from the freezer case at your neighborhood Kroger. Sure it may say, “Kroger” on the bag – or Green Giant or Birdseye – but, really, who MADE the corn that goes into that bag? You don’t know, do you? So, where your money goes… well, you can stop buying it, but who does that help?
Does this sound a little like why medicine costs so much? You just submit the bill (or, worse, your providers do) to the insurance company and it gets paid – less your 20% or whatever your copay is. You don’t know where the money comes from or where it’s going, really. (OK, well, yeah, it comes from your productivity at your job, but you never see that. You’re working for the twenty bucks a week you put in your wallet to buy a beer on Friday. The rest of it just… drains away and you never really see it.
But, really. There is a Big Corn, and they’re paying off congresscritters to rip you off.
Oh, and the poor schmuck who tills his 532 acres of high-yield Pioneer Breed 153 or whatever is on the sign isn’t getting rich off it, either. It’s somebody else up the food chain. The farmer gets the shaft along with the rest of us.
Blah! I’m sound like a Young Pioneer or something.
<joannewhorley>IS THAT A CATEGORY JOKE?</joannewhorley> asks what he thinks, no doubt, is a terribly clever question: “Why aren’t there any libertarian societies?”
Might as well ask why Henry Ford’s first car wasn’t a 2013 Thunderbird.
Dipshit. It’s because libertarianism is highly advanced and is not something that you start out from. It requires educated and sophisticated understandings of the relationships among people and between people and the state. It requires an advanced conception of the necessities of self-government. You start out with anarchy, develop through various stages of autarchy through democracy and republic. Libertarianism is an END STAGE governmental form.
If you want to know why there are no purely libertarian societies, look in the mirror. Are YOU well-advanced enough to govern yourself? (And not meddle in the affairs of others?)
I SAW IN PASSING a blog topic on the Washington Post site: “Is Capitalism Moral?” And I’d like to propose a little thought seed — a virtual brain grenade… you pull the pin, throw it, and sometime later, it goes off.
Does capitalism even exist? Isn’t the word really the root of a straw man argument in the (FAIL) witless maunderings of idiot… well, idiot-not-savant Karl Marx?
Just axin’s all…