Thursday Highlights

Tomorrow, train ride to East coast begins. In ze meantime … links?

  1. Trickery of the shoe varietal.
  2. From the same source, of memory, loss, and recovery.
  3. We can thank the White House for this Christmas gift.
  4. If true, amazingly stupid.
  5. Selfie … pretty close to selfish.
  6. On those manmade gasses and their effects.
  7. Fundamentalist Islam and the UK.
  8. Well, at least they can claim a better rollout than the US, that it didn’t cost $1 billion, and took less than 6 years to develop.


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  1. Boonton says:

    5.Selfie … pretty close to selfish.

    Wow, what a stupid column. The right has, it seems, become to discussion what Professional Wrestling is to sports. A mere simulation of the real thing that is absurdly fake yet almost abusively aggressive about insisting that everyone pretend it isn’t. For example:

    I thought his small business tax policy, as he explained it to Sam Wurzelbacher (a.k.a Joe the Plumber), was appalling….

    Hang on, a ‘business’ is an entity that provides goods or services to customers in exchange for money. “Joe the Plumber” was neither a Joe nor a plumber. In fact to date he has never been a small business but a c-level pundit on the right (last I heard about him, some rag of a website was paying to send him off to Israel to ‘report’ about the Middle East). So basically you have a ‘hero’ who was nothing more than a failed tax cheat who like to fantasize about ‘someday’ starting a real business but in the end just grabbed 15 minutes of fleeting fame to parlay into a half-assed career in the reality entertainment industry.

    The guy just couldn’t comprehend how Obama’s proposal to raise his tax rate from 36 percent to 39 percent was going to be of any help to him and his small plumbing business.

    You mean his imaginary business? Why didn’t he just imagine having more money? And let’s pause for a moment, to be in the top tax bracket you don’t need to have a small business, you need to have a very successful small business. There are plenty of small business owners who are a notch above the poverty line, I’m sure there are some who are also on food stamps.

    But this is what the right has become. At least Ayn Rand could claim to be a successful ‘small business’. Now it just cultivates failures who sit around imagining they are successful so they can bemoan the responsibilities that actually come with real success. This is indeed the intellectual spawn of the Donald Trump age of Conservatism.

  2. Boonton says:

    6.On those manmade gasses and their effects.

    It’s interesting that he neglects to provide a line on his graph representing the temp. of all oceans together. But it doesn’t really matter, this argument fails.

    If you said manmade gasses is causing ocean warming, you could counter that by demonstrating that there is no ocean warming. But as he points out some oceans are warming. His counter is that other oceans are not. Specifically the Indian and S. Atlantic are warming but the Pacific (the largest ocean) is flat (but slightly positive) and the North Atlantic has slightly cooled.

    Well here’s a problem, suppose there is no ocean warming and various forces are simply causing more heat to distribute to some oceans and away from others. If that was the case you’d be able to show that the total heat of all oceans has remained the same. Warming in one ocean will be offset by cooling in another ocean. Of course this won’t be a degree for degree match. The Pacific is much bigger than the Indian so if the Indian goes up by 1 degree and the Pacific goes down by 1 degree that really represents cooling since the Pacific represents much more water.

    But the biggest ocean, the Pacific, shows small warming while 2 of the 3 other oceans show larger warming. Only the N. Atlantic shows slight cooling, not sufficient to offset all the other oceans so overall there’s more heat in the oceans, which is totally consistent with global warming.

    He then goes on to ask a pretty stupid question IMO

    Or, in other words, why is the warming of the global oceans (0-2000 meters) over the past 10 years limited to the Indian and South Atlantic Oceans, when carbon dioxide is said to be a well-mixed greenhouse gas, meaning all ocean basins should be warming?

    Does your house have a uniform temperature? Let’s say it’s a very cold day and you crank up the heat. Your house has some small rooms but one very large living room with high ceilings. The smaller rooms are going to get hot fast and first but the larger room is going to warm slowly. Since the Indian Ocean is more like a small room and the Pacific like a large room, one wouldn’t expect the same warming in each.

    The other reason this is a stupid question is that while CO2 is ‘well mixed’ the oceans have much more complicated dynamics. Simply warming all the water 1 degree doesn’t mean that each ocean will simply go up one degree. Currents cause heat energy to be non-uniformly distributed.

    What can’t be done, though, is create more total energy out of nothing. In other words, if you put all the oceans together they can’t all get warmer unless more energy is being applied to the oceans.

    In other words, it’s a cold night at 20 degrees. Your bedrooms read the temp increasing from 65 degrees to 69. Your giant living room barely moves from 65 to 66. A modestly sized room, though, bucks the trend and moves from 65 to 63. There can be NO other reasonable explanation than your house’s heating system is active. Something must be artifically heating the inside of your home since the balance of the rooms cannot gain temperature on their own. Likewise the oceans are indeed warming.

  3. Mark says:


    You mean his imaginary business?

    Wiki quotes him as an employee of a plumbing contractor. What he asked was, “Wurzelbacher said, “I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes 250 to 280 thousand dollars a year. Your new tax plan’s going to tax me more, isn’t it?” …. and your (amazingly off-key response) is that hypothetical questions cannot be asked of candidates. Intellectual spawn you shouldn’t demean with intellectually empty replies.

    I see you don’t actually go the extend of defending shallow selfishness at state funerals.

  4. Boonton says:

    “I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes 250 to 280 thousand dollars a year.

    As a general rule of thumb, think at least a factor of ten in terms of price. In other words, a business that generates $250K a year in profits is going to cost at least $2.5M. One would figure someone who had this type of funds wouldn’t have a problem paying off his tax leins. Or perhaps he meant he was going to borrow the money to buy such a business, but then his interest payments (and depreciation) would likely eat a lot into that $250K per year leaving him with little or no taxable income.

    and your (amazingly off-key response) is that hypothetical questions cannot be asked of candidates

    I have no problem with hypothetical questions, but they must be related to the reality of the underlying subject. Here the blogger you cited asserted the Wurzelbacher response indicated some failure of Obama’s ‘small business policies’. Yet anyone who is at all familiar with real small businesses sees just how wrong the whole hypothetical is.

    For one thing, the transaction described above is not about creating a small business, simply transferring it from one owner to another. More importantly, they almost never happen. Usually transactions like that happen when a big business seeks to limit competition by buying up smallers ones. Or they happen if a small guy is expanding and is after the accounts of someone who wants out of the business.

    For another thing, the hypothetical is wildly optimistic. While many plumbers are small businessmen, the odds are that they wouldn’t be anywhere near $250K in yearly income. Look at, for example. 90%+ will not break $70K. A majority would be under $50K. If you include a wife and small family to support (one or two kids) then almost all plumbers would benefit from a tax plan that lowered middle class taxes while raising upper income ones. The vaste majority of small businesses make modest amounts of money (even more so if you exclude trial attorneys from being classified as ‘small businesses’)

    Of course the problem when you combine an immature mind with hypothetical making is that any attempt to be realistic is tossed out the window. Kind of like a child who tells you he doesn’t need school since he’s going to be a rapper. That’s a fair hypothetical to deal with if you’re allowed to address the hypothetical realstically (namely most rappers won’t make any money doing it so they’ll need a day job), not so fair if you’re not (i.e. “assume I’ll be the world’s richest rapper, what good will school do me?”)