Commenter Archive

Comments by Sully
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On “Hanging out in the sacrifice zone

@ bob:

Am I far right or far far right for believing that the Fedal guvmint shouldn't be doing anything not plainly listed in black and white in the Constitution and its Amendments?

Aside from printing and mailing my monthly SSN check of course.

On “Portland narrowly non-escapes non-detonation of non-bomb by non-entity

Congress needs to fully investigate why the FBI Terrorism Task Force was investigating a planned attack in a city that specifically rejected participation in the Terrorism Task Force. Who ordered the investigation to be continued once it was learned that the Somali Religion of Peace member specifically intended to attack in Portland?

Even if laws weren't broken, budget money was certainly wasted.

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@ miguel cervantes:

If that idiot is representative of the attendees at the tree lighting I have to agree with him that the FBI should not be hounding guys like that Somali.

"

I can't comment on this story until I learn the liberal versus conservative percentage breakdown of the typical tree lighting crowd in Portland.

On “New universe, just like the old universe

An interesting article. We need to start looking closely at Penrose's rings to see if there's a message encoded in them; like the one out there beyond the nth billionth digit of pi.

On “One Last “Is Palin Running?” Book Boomlet Piece

Based on her guest appearances on Fox News, Palin has convinced my wife and I that she's only marginally more competent and intelligent than Obama. We haven't watched the Alaska thing; but I take it as a sign she's not serious about running. Same thing goes for her daughter's appearance on Dancing with the stars.

Having seen what a shallow, flighty, inexperienced poseur can do since 2008 the country will go for someone with actual credentials in 2012, or at least I hope it will.

On “Death to Zombie Contentions!

@ CK MacLeod:

Thanks. I should have thought to look on ebay myself. I'll unfold enough of it one of these days to see what it actually is. It's much, much larger than that one the guy is holding up at the ebay link. I'm guessing it's something like 10 or 12 feet on a side at least.

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CK,
You designed a fantastic blog for the original purpose, at least as I saw it; which was to have freewheeling continued discussions with a relatively small group of acquaintances whom one could come to somewhat know. And the blog worked well for that purpose for quite a while.
Given what I've seen of comment (lack of) functionality at other sites I think that there are a lot of places you could give advice on that score.

On another note there's a question I've been meaning to ask you. We have a giant vinyl movie poster, I think from the last star wars picture, (folded up) that's been in our garage since our son brought it back from the movie theater where he worked about ten or twelve years ago. I've been considering cutting it up to use as rain tarps for wood piles. Do such things have enough value to make that inadvisable.

On “Disastrous consequences

@ CK MacLeod:

Progressives generally view themselves as seeking greater democratic control over economically significant decisions, disposal of public money, etc.

How they view themselves doesn't signify. The way they act is like totalitarians happy with democratic control only when it furthers their goal of making all "money" "public money" to be doled out by them on the basis of political correctness.

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@ CK MacLeod:

Reducing all public concerns to “economic sense” is also a kind of totalitarianism

But it is, at least, the soft totalitarianism resulting in the minimum enslavement of citizens of the productive class to the whims of citizens adept at manipulating the political process.

Freeing public concerns from the necessity of making economic sense results in the sort of hard totalitarianism that Krugman wants, wherein all output can be disposed of by citizens adept at manipulating the political process.

By the way, can you point to a government program (aside from defense) that Krugman opposes or wants to cut in any significant way?

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@ CK MacLeod:

So, because we live in an imperfect world afflicted with unintended consequences stemming from formerly made uneconomic decisions we should forevermore pour more unaccountable money into projects that make no economic sense. . .

Thus is it that we have a government subsidizing tobacco farmers and maintaining high tariffs to sweeten the profits of cane sugar farmers while it spends money on advertising programs aimed at curbing the consumption of tobacco and refined sugar.

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@ fuster:

"No, Sully, they’re telling us something about the limitation of economic theory that rests on assuming rational choice and also assumes that rational choice for individuals adds up to rational choice for a society."

And you, Krugman and CK are telling us that choices made by interested individuals who won't pay the bills should override choices made by individuals who will pay the bills.

Meanwhile, I've proposed off the top of my head two alternatives for funding the project that would more closely apportion the cost to those who would benefit from the project, neither of which you have addressed.

Here's another possibility. NYC commercial real estate owners would presumably be the biggest beneficiaries from the greater availability of labor coming in from NJ. Fund it with a special real estate tax surcharge dedicated to paying off the bond issue necessary to build the tunnel.

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@ CK MacLeod:

there may be numerous legal and other complications. Up until recently, NJ may have insisted on participation in part because its governor and others wanted credit and whatever degree of control they get from their end.

I agree completely. NJ pols wanted a chance to share in the fat envelopes of cash that could be milked from such a project. And they wanted their fair share of the "jobs" that could be created for their pals.

The inability of the private market to settle transportation issues – in particular railroad rates – and government’s success in doing what private methods couldn’t were a major impetus to Progressivism. Transportation and public works involving multiple jurisdictions touches on too many factors for the electorate in any separate jurisdiction to absorb them all rationally.

And as a direct result the passenger railroads are as messed up and as undesirable to commuters as they have become.

Instead of waiting around another generation for some plan that conservatives can pretend is sufficiently “private,” maybe the people can choose to suit themselves, through their democratically elected representatives.

And it seems to me that the people have done just that by electing Christie. So how come you're whining about it?

Your arguments are the same ones that make virtually the entire budgets of governments at every level immune to cost benefit analysis.

Perhaps Krugman in his wisdom can propose $14 Billion in cuts elsewhere in the budgets of NYC, NY State and NJ to free up the money for this project if it's so important. Or, perhaps he can propose a change in work rules, union involvement, style of management, etc. that will credibly prevent this project from becoming another endlessly more costly big dig.

Or, perhaps Krugman could come clean (as Thomas Friedman has) and openly propose that we move toward a less messy system like that in China and North Korea, where transportation projects are run by rational all powerful leaders rather than by elected politicians who need to worry about voters too stupid to understand the exquisite logic of continuing to spend on pet projects long after the treasury is bare.

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@ fuster:

Traffic into Manhattan during the day is absurdly congested. you spend more time idling or inching forward than you would believe. It’s a horrendous waste of gasoline and people’s time (an hour or more every day per person adds up) and once you get your car into town, parking it is ruinously expensive (The average price for monthly parking in Manhattan is $431, last year. daily rates around $30-40).

And yet people still insist on commuting by car, paying more than the cost of the bridges they use. At the same time people obstinately refuse to use and pay for mass transit at rates that make it sustainable. Perhaps they're telling us something about how badly mass transit systems are run by the very flunkies you want to entrust with more money for use in building a tunnel.

But if you insist on government involvement I have another suggestion that can prevent the NJ governor from being able to starve the city of cheap day labor from his state. Have NYC issue bonds to build the tunnell and pay off the bonds by charging New Jersey tunnell commuters a surcharge for the privilege of entering the city.

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@ fuster:

From Wiki re MTA formerly Triborough Bridges and Tunnels

Surplus revenue, formerly used for new automobile projects, would now be used to support public transportation. Since then, more than $10 billion has been contributed by the TBTA to subsidize mass transit fares and capital improvements for the NYC Transit Authority, Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North Railroad.[3]

So, it turns out NY/NJ pols already had the 10+ billion in excess charges on bridge tolls. They could have used that to build a new tunnel but they blew it on subsidizing mass transit fares. . . for people who are not willing to pay the cost of mass transit, as I said before.

I never said government should shun all public works; but when a public work strictly benefits one particular group of citizens that work should (insofar as possible) be paid for by that group of citizens (like bridge and tunnel tolls).

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If the tunnel is an economically worthwhile project there's a very straightforward alternative available for getting it built. Set it up as an independent authority with no guarantee by government and let it sell bonds based on the revenues it's going to collect from people using the tunnel.

Oh, but that would presume people willing to pay the true cost of commuting by rail. . .

On “Among the things about which I have no time to care

I would comment but I'm befuddled, bemused, bewildered and bewitched by the often self contradictory opinions already expressed. The comment string begs for a poem; but unfortunately I'm going on safari to the Peoples Commonwealth of MA tomorrow and don't have time this evening.

On “First and last refuge of moral cowards

"No one starts out with such absurd assumptions."

You're absolutely right. No one starts out with those assumptions. Rather, they start out with the intention of using any and all rhetorical weapons regardless of reasonableness, appropriateness, truth or applicability.

As you have in this post.

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"Does Krauthammer actually deny that racism, nativism, homophobia, and Islamophobia figure in. . ."

Does MacLeod actually deny that paraplegicphobia figures in. . .

On “Flamesem & Japesem (Actually Very Shaggy)

It's not too late to seek help. Show this blog post to any Psychiatrist and he will surely prescribe something to chill you out.

On ““Accessory to 9/11” – the Other(‘s) 9/11 Truth

@ narciso:

This is what he said Sully when he was trying to be diplomatic, when the fires were still burning at ground zero, imagine what he says in different context.

Plus, he was talking to an infidel, so he can't be trusted to be telling the truth, assuming he believes the clear words of the god he serves in the book from which he preaches.

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For this reason anyone who declines to condemn Rauf, or to condemn his defenders, or who goes on to attack his attackers, will sooner or later also fall under suspicion of being an enemy, a collaborator, a nutjob, a lurking neo-Marxist anti-imperialist fellow-traveling saboteur and traitor. . .

You left out a category - useful idiot.

By the logic of this apologist imam any action, even one taken in self defense, makes one an accessory to all future events that flow from that action.

Had not those damned Tutsis insisted on surviving and reproducing the machetes of the Hutus would never have come to be stained with the blood of children.

Of course, once one begins playing that game one loses the right to criticize those who point out the logic of taking it all the way back to the prime mover accessory, the deceitful intended world conqueror and his evil seventh century book.

On “All in favor of thought control…

The mere burning of artwork is weak. Serious believers burn artists.

On “How to make money: James M Buchanan on completing the American Revolution

@ CK MacLeod:

Buchanan argues that the stability of the unit of account should be one of them – that the entire system would function more efficiently if everyone’s financial calculations weren’t subject to radical aggregate revaluation.

If that's what he's arguing I agree with him completely. Where I have an issue is his (I assume based on your piece and the foregoing discussion) belief that an "independent" group of bureaucrats can be expected to be more trustworthy and wise in managing the money supply than the market will be if the fiat currency has to be backed up with reserves of a commodity ala the gold standard.

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@ narciso:

The political class and the public "economists" still believed in the 1960's that government bureaucrats could better allocate resources than the market, hence the experiment with wage and price controls ala WW2.

Currently the political class and the public economists still believe that the money supply can be better managed by government bureaucrats than by the impersonal market; but the market keeps on keeping on biting them in the rear. Eventually it will bite them in the rear to the extent that it did during the Great Depression which was arguably worse by far than the panics and shorter sharper lesser depressions and inflations that plagued the gold and silver years.

One nice thing (for the political class, government bureaucrats and unscrupulous "investors" who subvert and ultimately own them) is that control of the money supply allows them to make such depressions and inflations relatively painless for themselves while they work to increase their power. Until common folks realize what is happening and rise up with pruning hooks to upset the whole system.

People in general come to have reason to hate it when that happens, of course.

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