The idea of "unfair competition" between business and government is, I think,rather stupid. The government has a certain amount of duty to avoid favour ofany given business over another, and this serves a number of purposes, frommaking it harder for said business to control the government via strongarmtactics, to keeping business from playing a large role in who is elected. Italso helps keep the incentive to do a good job in business, when buying isbased on the merits of products/services (although it's important to note thatmodern capitalism doesn't have this quality so much due to advertising).In some sense, a notion of a fair playing field between businesses properdoesn't seem too bad, but it's important to remember that society does nothave a duty to the rights of businesses, as they are not people. Unfortunately,to some extent American law has forgotten this, and corporatists speak of freespeech and other rights for business as being a good not unlike, and often onequal or greater importance than, that of individuals. This is unfortunate.Business is there by the grace of society, to serve what is really important,the people. When we speak of its good as the primary good, and think of thingslike GDP as goods in themselves rather than a rough measure, to be supplementedby others, of how well off people are, we've lost sight of something essential.This really disturbs me.
One of the few areas where I think BushJr is doing something good for thecountry is legal reform. I don't know if his plan has loopholes, notbeing a lawyer, nor if it's likely to be effective, but I'm happy to see effortson this front. One thing I wonder about is why this is a conservative issuerather than a liberal one. The senate minority leader, according to that link, thinks that limiting lawsuits is a handout to pharmaceuticals. It does seemalmost like they're talking about two different bills -- BushJr's phrasingmakes it look like it's about doctors, and the democratic leaders make it seemlike it's about drug companies, noting BushJr's campaign finance ties toinsurance companies and the medical industry. What's the bill really about?Three main possibilities.. first, it's mostly about doctors, second that it'sabout one or the other, but will happen to benefit both, and third that it'smostly about protecting big drug companies. To really understand it, we'd needto understand what's in BushJr's head, and where his money comes from. Or,we could examine the bill, ideally with the help of lawyers. Hmm.
Abbas, the soon-to-be leader of the Palestinian Authority, whose name Idoubtless will be mentioning again and again on here over time, is walkinga thin line just like his predecessor, and perhaps also like his opposite.Abbas needs not to be seen as accepting of Israel's attacks (if these areself-defense or not is a topic of long debate without an easy conclusion), butalso seems to have an interest in peace. I wish him luck. Similarly,I wish Sharon's luck -- his bold plan for peace is causing him to need to drawon unfortunate and unlikely allies to maintain control of the Knesset.
Wales, the current leader of Wikipedia, talks about Wikinews. I'm notsure what to think -- from what I've seen, what Wikinews does is at ends fromwhat he envisions, or at least states. Wikinews is mainly about the wiki folkfiltering a great number of existing, commercial news sources, and packagingthem into an article. I don't think we'll be doing any original reporting. Ofcourse, packaging into an article, in an open process with a focus on NPOV, isvaluable in itself, and in fact I might argue that exposing more people to theidea of NPOV and the efforts to make it there is almost as interesting as theidea of having theoretically NPOV news/encyclopediae/whatever out there.I may eventually write an essaylet on this.
Edge magazine has a very interesting article in its mostrecent version. They asked a number of prominent thinkers what they believe thatthey can't prove. This is, na klar, a difficult question -- from at least someperspectives, there's not a hard line between things we feel we can prove andthings we can't, based mostly on degrees of certainty. Still, let's ignore thatand look at the answers. A few highlights worth reading include:Daniel Goleman, Randolph Nesse, Martin Rees, Charles Simonyi, Verena Huber-DysonPhilip Zombardo, etc etc.
The show "Crossfire" was cancelled. Some have speculated that it's relating totheir interview with Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's "Daily Show".In that interview, Stewart claims that what crossfire does is scripted, withthe topic and form of the discussion being like professional wrestling. If yourecall, a few months ago, there was the concern of the presidential debatesbeing similar. The question I have for Stewart is how does he know, or how canhe tell? I haven't watched a lot of Crossfire, and so perhaps I'm missing outon it being obvious, but it seems rather bold to me to claim to know that thepremise of the show is bad. What kind of debate/discussion would Stewart liketo see?
I'm less inclined to stay with Verizon after reading this.The next CD from one of my favourite music groups, Plaid Tongued Devils,is announced. Just 3 months to wait until Minsteroma is released. Hurrah!
Sometimes I think the Mac techie community is on crack. In the first, theyshow you how to make a simple routine to allocate a string complex and stupid,making the programmer write half a page to allocate a string buffer, returningsome bizarre structure users would need to look up to handle error checking.In the second, they have ten silly whines about computers.
You'll notice that I disabled anonymous comments on this BLOG. This is becauseI'm heading to europe soon, and am shutting down a number of things in my lifefor the time I'm gone. I will not be reachable by phone, and my email accesswill probably be sporadic.
Ferienplan:1st week: Paris, Frankreich2nd week: Sankt Moritz, Schweiz3rd week: Brussel, Belgien und Amsterdam, Niederlande
Ich komme auf 31 Januar.Wieder!