Saturday, February 21, 2009

Privatization of exclusive government functions leads to corruption and erosion of our rights.

This story underscores a basic fact about privatization of government functions, viz., that it leads to corruption and rights violations for our citizens.

When companies, like private prisons, make their profits based on the number of beds they fill, then increasing the number of inmates becomes incentive-ized.

It's that simple.

In my opinion, there are three exclusive government functions that are non-delegable:

1) Administration of justice

2) Collection of taxes

3) National Defense.

If you'll check your recent history, and by that I mean since Bush was elected, then you'll note an increase in privatization of all those functions. The news stories of those failures are ample.

Privatization is code for tolerable corruption.

Keeping our government answerable to the people means that privatizing certain functions intimate to the running of our country must never occur.

This case is a prime example of why. These judges give law and order a bad name.

Venality of this sort deserves public flogging.

Weed use linked to lower rates of workplace injury.

Here's an interesting scientific study that produced some counter-intuitive results.

(It's a pdf..)

Basically, the Swiss study showed that alcohol use while on the job led to greater workplace injury.

Here's the kicker: Marijuana use on the job was linked to lower rates of workplace injury even lower than that of workers not under the influence!

My suspicion is that the stoners are avoiding work while on the job so they have overall lower risks on the job.

Guess we'll need another study to find out.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Government is getting out of faith-based funding--The Constitution is finally on top again.

This story is good news.

I've always had my doubts about the Constitutionality of government funding of faith-based organizations. It violates the Establishment Clause in my opinion.

Furthermore, I don't think it fair that organizations who get tax-exempt status under the 1st Amendment should get tax money from those of us without the same benefits. Why should those groups who don't pay expand at the expense of those who do?

It's unfortunate for the populations these organizations serve, but we can ill-afford to fudge even a single time on the Constitution. It is inviolate.

The law is the law and to allow any exceptions sets a bad precedent.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Holder calls the nation out on matters of race--Excellent!

I give kudos to the Attorney General for his blunt assessment of race issues in America. We needed calling out on it.

For too long we as a nation have tiptoed around race, when what we need is an open and honest discussion. No group has a claim on being correct on this.

Here's what I know: Every single person has a race issue on some level. Failure to acknowledge that keeps our head in the sand.

Refusal to accept that simple fact will get us nowhere.

The mere fact that all of us suffer from prejudice is what makes us more alike than different.

Racism is inappropriate, but until we openly discuss matters of race without fear of political correctness or fear of labeling then we cannot grow as a nation.

Race is an outdated concept and I think most people are willing to explore the opportunity to move beyond it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

New drug shows how stupid pharma can be with their cash

Stories like this make me wonder why all the money spent to develop such a drug wasn't spent on things like, oh let me think...CANCER!

I have few problems with drug companies making a profit, but this takes the cake.

I have restless legs, but I don't take drugs for it. Likewise, why do we need a drug for improving eyelashes?

Screwed up priorities if you ask me. I'm sure they'll claim it's to help those who lost eyelashes and so on to give it some veneer of medical necessity.

So many people can't afford such a drug in today's economy that I doubt the market will support such a stupid call from the drug company who makes it.

Aggregate unemployment will result in widespread chaos.

Jobs are the fundamental resolution to our global problems.

Failure to realize this simple point will doom us all to chaos and diminishing returns in any of our attempts to fix the economy.

When companies make micro-economic labor choices, viz., layoffs, etc. then it may stave off that particular company's demise. When many companies do so globally, then it aggregates to profound effects. This is the micro-economic decisions having macro-economic effects.

Keeping employment up is the best prophylactic against protests and social turmoil. Working people have no time to protest and worry about the precariousness of their economic position.

We're in for trouble on a global scale because out-sourcing of labor will not save companies when the market is full of the unemployed. The unemployed have no means to purchase even cheap goods and services.

We're now in a time where the global economy is a zero-sum game.