February 6th, 2006

wombat

Don't know where it was, but it's back now.

As you my recall, last week I was having problems getting at LJ from my workstation in Evil Banking Neighbor Emergency Backup World Headquarters, to the point where by Friday I'd pretty much given up on it. Today I opened up my third Exploder window and decided "what the hell, let's give it a go." My LJ page popped right up. So...WTF?

Sleeping late yesterday of course meant that I couldn't get to bed at a decent time, not that I tried all that hard. Yes, Civicrack ate my brain, but I was also waiting for an Irish cake to finish up. Still, despite not turning in until 0200, I managed to get up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 0600, eat a decent (if carb-heavy) breakfast, pack my lunch, and motor on over to the Sprawl...in time to miss the 8:04 train, which would have gotten me in to work only slightly late as opposed to excessively late. Well, I can make it up with no problem this week. Even if I hadn't been running late I still would have taken the train, since I have class tonight -the assessment class, again- and am in no position to be writing checks for parking.

Finished Charles Stross' The Hidden Family Friday night and will post a brief review later; am rereading The Atrocity Archives and thinking that I really ought to get a copy of that and Singularity Sky for myself. The Hidden Family will have to wait; the paperback comes out in May.
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wombat

Maybe it's not the right tool after all.

Daniel Drezner points to an interview with Milton Friedman that appears in the New Perspectives Quarterly, specifically to a question regarding the Scandinavian countries, which combine high taxes with high employment. Friedman points out that these countries have a high degree of cultural homogeneity, which allows them to form a consensus on societal goals in a way that's a lot harder for polyglot nations like, say, the US.

The great virtue of a free market is that it enables people who hate each other, or who are from vastly different religious or ethnic backgrounds, to cooperate economically. Government intervention can’t do that. Politics exacerbates and magnifies differences.


Which Drezner says Amy Chua might have some problems with. Chua's thesis is that many Third World countries which have free markets and democracy wind up with the wealth in the hands of one ethnic group, which is then scapegoated in the political process, with pogroms ensuing. So why didn't that happen in America? One could certainly argue that we've had ethnic minorities dominating parts of the economy at different points in our history, but nobody rose to power encouraging a purge of the WASPs or the Jews - those politicians who tried that sort of thing achieved local successes but never really found a national following, since we're just too diverse.

Besides, we don't really have a democracy here. We have a republic, deliberately designed to prevent the kind of mobocracy that runs amok in places like Indonesia, Rwanda, and similar hellholes. The military is small, professional, apolitical to a fault, and a long way from the centers of power; the police, in contrast, are fairly widespread and don't have a lot of tolerance for angry mobs. Maybe that's part of the problem - most of these places are parliamentary democracies, with a largely uneducated electorate and a relatively large, politicized military that sits around looking for trouble.
dead wombat

Early exit

Mercifully, tonight's class in Education Measurement & Technology (was Assessment) ended at 7:30. I'm not sure if I was conscious for more than half of it, but the guy next to me says I wasn't snoring...still, every time I woke up it seemed that the professor was looking right at me. Well, it's my third time through the course, I'm coming in directly from work, and the amoxicillin makes me spacey.

So I rode the 5E out to the Sprawl and drove home. I think this would be a good time for an early bedtime, now that I've had my medications and some fluids to wash them down with, since tomorrow is another day.