Thursday, February 26, 2004

Word for the day: horde.
"We horde our way along Mass. Avenue"

Bears seek game commission help in controlling lawyer population.

cannibal coments at amptoons. i wrote:
I'm a hard-core libertarian. there's one in every crowd. since reading "stranger", the idea of being soup at my wake has been at least as appealing as other funeral customs i see in your culture. on the other hand, i'm pretty adamant about not being killed to be eaten, until i'm ready. apply the golden rule, and you can see why i'm vegetarian. as to the ick factor, for one like me, it comes into play like this: person A wants to be eaten. ok. person B wants to eat a wiling victim. ok. ykiokijnmk. your kink is ok, it's just not my kink.
person C wants to, by force,prevent A and B from doing their thing. ick! that's.. gross.
I usually use a rights approach or a utility approach to argue for choice-based morality. but in the end, it's a preference. denial of choice is icky. (somebody, instapundit? made a "yuck" point about canibalism, that i later saw applied to homosexuality in that discussion of ws101)
Cannibalism seems like an uncommon practice, with few real-world applications. (this relates to foie gras and the freespace v clerk discussion.) However, let's say B is willing to pay A to eat him. Did anybody's position change? Now let's say B does't want to eat A, just wants his liver for a transplant. This could come up more often.
The harm from a rule against cannibalism might be minor, if we set aside the way such a rule detracts from the sanctity of contract. But a rule against people selling organs is gonna kill thousands of people, serious real world consequences. Similarly, interfering in people's voluntary health care choices can kill thousands, millions, billions. So deciding whether we are for or against choice-based systems, in hard cases like cannibalism, has serious consequences, either way.

Posted by: aardvark,arbitrary, the on February 26, 2004 12:57 AM

how 2 get people 2 link 2 yr blog - amptoons

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Did Dudley do right? I think so.
hat tip julio at wwdn.
cops asks guy for ID. Guy refuses. S Ct takes case.
aclu eff cato john gilmore file amicuses.
whole thing on video at

Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 10:33 pm Post subject:


Julio, thanks for the link.
I read a lot of supreme court opinions, and this is the first time I’ve seen a case with video. The people filing amicus briefs in this case are the good guys – EFF, Cato, ACLU, John Gilmore. When wil boxes with Barney to raise $ for EFF, this is the kind of work he’s supporting.
The facts aren’t perfect here – a bit of macho redneckedness maybe on both sides. The question presented narrows down the issue to one I think 5 members of the court will go for – in the absence of probable cause, is there a duty to show ID? It’s an issue I feel strongly about. I’ve been illegally stopped and searched a few too many times. My roommate won a roadblock case in the Supreme Court. I have a case about the right to express political opinions without giving ID, that has so far gone to the state supreme court and is not over. I’ve engaged in verbal judo with cops over this issue. Knowing how to do that now is one of the reasons I went to law school.
update: i've read the case now - it should be a winner. 5-4 split.

update: good post at crescat, includes a ray bradbury story.

will wants to know if chess is a sport.
it turns out this is a koan-like question. no one knows.sport>disportment>mutant.
a sport must have rules and a winner under the rules.
"that one looks prettier" doesn't count. One commentator says it must be a multiplayer contest, no bowling or archery, so the olympics are games,
need not be sports. whether chess counts (i think it does) depends on how much vigor is required for play. that is, some people insist sport contains a sweaty element, others might disagree. chess, a martial art and a game, has some sportlike attributes.
for a little exercise, construct a dialog in sports law 101, with the prof as socrates. i can't remember any chess playing at law school. odd.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Potvaliant. Word for the day.

Bond, Heidi Bond. Latest crescat. Yay.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Stumbled across this one: lee v kemna (s. ct. 2002, 6-3).
Lee was convicted of felony murder at a trial where his alibi witnesses
were sent home by a bailiff, and he was denied a continuance to try to find them. The witnesses were family, and I express no opinion on whether or not he drove the getaway car. This is about whether he received a fair trial. He lost at trial, lost on appeal, lost an appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court. His writ of habeus corpus was denied by a federal court, denied by the eighth circuit, and granted by the U.S. Supreme Court. Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas dissented. The supreme court takes few cases, less than 1%. If they had not taken this case, Lee would have stayed in prison without a fair trial. It wasn't a death penalty case. Cases like this, though, support the idea that Missouri is in the habit of executing or imprisoning people who haven't had fair trials.
When i interned at the Missouri Supreme Court, there was a case of a guy who as sentenced to 10 years with no trial. Eventually, the court decided to take the case and overturned the sentence. Part of my distaste for attorneys general stems from that case. I think the prisons are full of people wrongfully convicted. "Full of" may be an overstatement.
But, if accused, don't count on a fair trial. What i'm reading: "How to be invisible." It's about keeping a low profile so as to avoid being wrongfully accused, or, if wrongfully accused, how to avoid one's accusers.

notes for a letter to perry
majors v abell 317 F.3d 719 (7th Cir. 2003),


Southern unappeal:
The ninth amendment discussion going on around the blogosphere seems to have originated at southern appeal, so i took a look.
Those guys are mean. Nobody cares how much you know until them know how much you care. Feddie (or one of them) "I don't care." Direct quote. It shows. Similar perceptions of "the right coast." The federalist society, when i was a member, was a lopsided mix of libertarians and conservatives, where for conservative read smug abrasive rich white males. That's not going to win the hearts and minds of the people.

Posner watch:
hat tip steve middleton

By Bloomberg News
A U.S. appeals court has thrown out a $3.1 million settlement of claims
that FleetBoston Financial Corp. illegally provided telemarketers with
information about customers.
The settlement "sold these 1.4 million claimants down the river," wrote
U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner. The decision, issued Thursday for
the Seventh U.S Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, sent the case back to
the trial court.

Friday, February 20, 2004

My new word for the day: shibby. (added boymeetsboy.keenspace.com to links.) I've already forgotten yesterday's word. Day before was pickleball.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Today's contest:
Compare and contrast the alleged use of torture by Bush I's CIA with the alleged use of torture by Bush II's Homeland Security.

What he said.
Juan non-volokh on so called market failure.
I would also note that the existence of a "market failure" -- in this case the under-provision of positive, education-related externalities -- does not, in itself, justify government intervention. For while markets may fail to produce theoretically optimal outcomes, so too do government programs. The relevant comparison must always be between the admittedly imperfect private marketplace and the equally -- if not more -- imperfect government alternative. Too often, the assertion of market failure is taken as sufficient justification for government action without any consideration of whether the policy proposal in question, as it is likely to be implemented in the real world, will actually produce a superior net result.

note to self: open source ljb bio.
see, Robert Caro's 4th book on lbj won't be out for 8 years and i can't wait so i've been doing some homework. i may soon
start a notebook on what happened when. so why not make it some kind of open source effort. maybe in the form of a blog with comments.
readings so far include
sam houston johnson - my brother lyndon
eric goldman - the tragedy of lyndon johnson
fallen giant
making of the president, 1960, 1964.
Oh, perhaps some sortof relational datbase like this one about bush
see also

Jacob: ok, david horowitz's "follow the network" project thingy might be silly as applied, but the idea may have merit. I'd like to see a book on Nader's interlocking directorates, a la "the company state", a clever look at the dupont company and its subsidiaries.

So this guy I know is raising money - 10K in 10 days, so far, for city of hope,
a cancer research center with a history of torturing animals. I'd like to know more about their current practices.

Will, go to yale.
That's a placeholder for a possible post in response to interesting things from the crescats. trouble is, there's always more of them.
Diary stuff- today i mailed a fat tuesday care package to an ex, and got a haircut.
News: 10th cir upholds do-not-call. I am suspicious of the 18 million dollar price tag - either that contains a lot of pork, or wasn't competitively bid.
But it's a win for privacy, if a loss for speech.
Dean's effectively out.

Monday, February 16, 2004

morelinks to add:
natalie solent
bond heidi bond
froomkin www.discourse.net

http://lancelot.uchicago.edu/log/ looks interesting..pacific island anthropology

links to add:
Aardvarks are not indigenous to the Middle East, nor do they typically speak Arabic. Instead, they tend to spend much of their time eating termites and digging intricate tunnel systems which they then abandon to others, making the whole endeavor somewhat pointless. Still, it's a living.

Abu Aardvark is the weblog of an aardvark who got out of the tunneling and termite game to become a professor of political science, a Middle East specialist, and the father of a beautiful baby aardvark cub. Abu Aardvark speaks more Arabic than the average aardvark, but sadly has no better manners. He tends to be a little more snarky than he should be, and has been described as 'objectively pro-statue' by those who are in the business of rendering such judgements.

Abu shares a link to this bbc story suggesting that we are all descended from aardvarks

Saturday, February 14, 2004

just posted at wil's trek support forum:
Post subject: blogger permalinks help

I blog, via blogger and blogspot.
When others try to post links to my site, it brings up the top of the blog instead of the specific post.
Apparently there is something missing or wonky in the code.
I am so not a coder.
My easy tech support request is for how to fix this.
My more difficult tech support request, is for how to fix this, in one sylable words a five year old could understand.
I expect we will go thru several iterations of "thanks, but i still don't get it"
Thanks in advance.
nolan chart 100/100 kinsey# pi earth first mars next
if i have any readers who know this one, i'm at arbitraryaardvark [at] themail.com

Twenty questions about crescat sententia
Does it have lights on it? Unknown.
21. Do you use it at work? Yes.
20. I guess it a game? No.
19. Is it made of metal? No.
18. Can you open it? Yes.
Is it heavier than a pound of butter? Unknown.
17. Could you send it in the mail? Yes.
16. Can you use it at school? Yes.
15. Does it use electricity? Yes.
14. Is it smooth? Usually.
13. Can you hold it? Irrelevant.
12. Can you play games with it? Yes.
11. Is it heavy? Sometimes.
10. Do you hold it when you use it? No.
9. Would you use it in the dark? Rarely.
8. Would you give it as a gift? Yes.
7. Does it make noise? Yes.
6. Is it usually colorful? Yes.
5. Can it be used for recreation? Yes.
4. Is it outside? No.
3. Is it smaller than a loaf of bread? No.
2. Is it hard? Sometimes.
1. It is classified as Other.

hey will, and jacob: Heartland institute is a chicago-based libertarian think thank that has done policy studies showing that public funding of arenas is bad for the economy.
But, i would add, good for corrupt politicians, e.g. George Walker, Texas Ranger.

Gospel of Marque
The following comment left at heidi bond's site would make more sense if i enabled links to the posts in question, but I'm lazy and might not get back to that.
Heidi (Letters of Marke? doesn't sound right. Marque.) Poor chickens!
Tim Sandefur, freespace, goose-stepping.
Curmudgeonly clerk, poor geese.
Will Baude, cres-cat, libertarianism as goose torture.
I wrote:
As of 2-14 the link goes to a pic of a fat woman breastfeeding twins, but i think i get the general idea. At the moment I am annoyed with Will for siding with freespace vs curmudgeonly clerk re torturing geese to make pate. That is, I am annoyed with Wil for describing the pro-torture position as the libertarian one. I think that many people will tend to respond, poor geese! and tend to associate libertarian bloggers with heartless goose-torturers, which doesn't exactly help in the stuggle to win hearts and minds of the people. Sandefur's "rational basis" test fails in fact and theory. That is, he argues only rational animals can have rights. This is unworkable. Some gorillas have more reasoning ability than some republicans. I think the standard has (should have) more to do with awareness. The geese certainly know they are being tortured.
(it's also possible to derive rules against cruelty to animals based on the idea that such actions are practice for cruelty to humans. design of concentration camps borrowed from university of delaware research on efficiently housing and killing chickens.)
So far the geese lack a Fredrick Douglas to tell their story. As an aardvark, I am in solidarity with the geese.
later thoughts: freespace isn't so much making the argument as pointig to it. he admits there's a potential argument some animals reason to some extent.
I want to connect my argument about awareness rather than reason as the criterion, with some of the bentham-mill discussions.
Which ties in fully to epstein and consequentialist justifications for policy regimes.
Bentham said that a dog (or a goose) has some ability to experience happiness.
Bentham's utilitarianism urged maximizing overall happiness.
The marginal happiness to the goose liver eater does not outweigh the unhappiness of the goose.
(i got interupted at this point. it will take several more grafs to move from
Bentham's act-utilitarianism to Mill's libertarianism as rule-utilitarianism, and apply that to the geese.)

Friday, February 13, 2004

Cres-cat will baude points to a seemingly reasonable dialog betwen epstein, friedman, barnette. Throw in Posner and you'd have the whole chicago gang.
Epstein (who is in my top 10 for the supreme court, if i got to choose)
is making a poor argument for taxation and emminent domain.
It'll be interesting to see where this goes.
It reminds me of volokh's attacks on Paul Craig Roberts -strange outcroppings of statism by usually anti-statists.
More as I read further.
barnette, and especially friedman, tear apart his argument.
friedman has a new book, future imperfect, but i couldn't find it on his web page.
Epstein's attempt at rebuttal is lame. He is scoffingly dismissive of the possibilty of ungoverned regions to resist statist agression. Go watch Black Hawk Down, in which an ungoverned society defeats the usa.
Or read Friedman's the machinery of freedom. Or, the moon is a harsh mistress. Or a history of the revolution. I was i think 18 when I read Friedman, and was happy to see a book-length exposition of thing things i know to be true. Met him once briefly at, I think, a FedSoc event. He was going on and on about his kewl new pocket organizer, in a charmingly extropian geek way.
In the end, Epstein comes out of the closet as not a libertarian but a moderate. For a moderate, he's pretty cool. But we thought he was one of us. He's one of those who are riding the freedom train, but plan to get off at the next stop.

One of the topics of the discussion is whether social systems should be justified by their consequences.
My philosophy jargon is rusty enough that i will avoid terms like "deontological."
Our knowledge of consequences is imperfect, and can be gamed.
If social policy choices are made solely on our best guesses about consequences, this creates a motive for people to lie to us in order to promote their policy preferences.
In my now-lost paper on "rights and the market in blood", 1980, I showed that we had been gamed. A socialist activist, R.M. Titmuss, posing as a health-care researcher, faked a study showing that the blood supply rises by banning the sale of blood. His policy choices were enacted into law, with the consequence of creating a blood shortage that kills over 1000 per year.
There was no sound theory in support of the policy, just some gamed data.
I use this example (somewhat oversimplified here) to show the danger of a solely consequentialist approach.
What I advocate instead, is that policy choices should be derived from good theory, but tested by evalution of consequences.
Correct theory should work in the real world. If it doesn't, doublecheck both the theory and the data. Libertarianism offers a consistent theory that seems to produce optimum results.
Hinduism, mormonism, zoroastrianism, are examples of silly theories that produce good results. One of the big challenges in ethics is to develop workableeticalsystems not grounded in silly myths.
Allfor now.

links to add to sidebar when i get around to it:

just found out my ex lost a half-brother and several cousins in 9-11.
She's been laid off from her job with homeland security, being an overpaid armed guard at a dam, keeping terrorists and elephants away.
She's back at the hotel.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

attn will baude:
Container 14: among other things, Blackmun's bar exam and poetry

liberty on hold
I didn't know til today that the statue of liberty has been closed since 9-11. Very fitting. the terrorists in charge are asking 5 million in ransom.

zinn on free speech

via howard: "Gay Marriages in Mass. Survive Vote; Lawmakers narrowly defeat a constitutional amendment to restrict matrimony to a man and woman; Emotions run high at statehouse."

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

One of my best friends died monday. I'm a little yclempt.
We'd never met in person - I don't have a passport, and Bri was
a secretive reclusive type. But we chatted for hours, each of us
with our own bleak despair and loneliness, but reaching out to give the other a hand up. He'd been expressing concern that i'm going to be offline for a few weeks in a few weeks; he knew his time was short. We didn't formally say good-bye, and I didn't save that last chat session, but I think we were ok. Don't know yet if any of his writing will be saved. He undervalued his writing, because his lover of 60 years, who had died a year ago, was the writer of the family, but Bri was a poet and a keeper of folk tradition. He was a retired butler, from a world of country houses and villages where everyone is related to everyone, a world that I'd only known through novels. I loved him, and I'm gonna miss him, and I mourn the loss of the world he lived in. I need to go cry, and then get on with my life. He came from a world where death was part of the natural order of things. I don't. I want to upload a backup before this bag of meat breaks down. I want to be able to keep blogging and reading, 100 years from now. And to cherish Brian.
way too many poems about death, but not the housman i was looking for
more housman
Brian liked housman - they were poets, british, and warriors.
Bri had some dark secret that haunted him, from his war years.
Something about almost starting WWIII. I know he went on one last mission last year. Something about looking for a plane that had gone down. I think he found what he was looking for. I don't expect to ever hear the real story.
Oh! I didn't realize shropshire (sp) was where it is - that's bri's general area.
I've been there, ages ago, at the youth hostel in shrewsbury.
A shropshire lad is housman's best-known work. Housman was gay.
I first got to know brian as a character in stories his lover wrote about when they were boys together. He was a gentleman's gentleman, in every sense of the word. The poem i was looking for was about a soldier who falls in love at first sight with the enemy soldier who jumps in his foxhole as he "fell upon my sword and died." But no google hits, i'm remembering it wrong.
update: usually i write in a vacuum, not expecting anyone to read any of this.
but i got a chance to share this with bri's family and friends, and it was well-received. and a book he wrote survives - one copy, and i'm worried about that one copy, but it's more than i hoped for.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Aardvark is.
silly, stupid, but is it art?
Googlism for: fred

aardvark is a browser based bug tracking system
aardvark is watching you
aardvark is ready for war by james w
aardvark is coming to town
aardvark is a simple tool for a very complex problem
aardvark is ready for war james w
aardvark is south dutch
aardvark is ready for war by james blinn
aardvark is ready for war by james blinn war 366 pages
aardvark is its teeth
aardvark is a highly fascinating creature of africa like the anteater it feeds upon ants and termites digging with its
aardvark is found throughout much of africa
aardvark is a hairy
aardvark is a solitary
aardvark is called airdie and represents the country called niger
aardvark is commonly the first animal listed in dictionaries
aardvark is generally solitary; it?s aardly a family animal
aardvark is
aardvark is ideal
aardvark is a predator
aardvark is found in grassy plains
aardvark is not at all related to the sloth or the edentates
aardvark is a cunning hunter

fred is playing
fred is free
fred is a witch
fred is in the top 1 percent
fred is a freak
fred is doing it for the blowup nookie
fred is blurry
fred is a four letter word
fred is rolling around on
fred is money
fred is feeling
fred is a loser
fred is mvp
fred is costing you
fred is missing
fred is horsing around
fred is my friend
fred is in the news
fred is a very busy person
fred is running
fred is alive and well
fred is dead
fred is condemned to death
fred is the music director of this great
fred is dead "fred is dead
fred is a witch by rachna gilmore illustrated by chum mcleod scholastic book club selection translated into french and dutch children's book centre
fred is still testeing
fred is home
fred is going organic
fred is a four letter word by fuche_bu
fred is rolling around on fred is rolling around on the floor
fred is featured on the silver back compilation with a remake of the huey lewis and the news classic
fred is cookin'
fred is a 21 year old guy
fred is a very
fred is a very handsome and spunky boy
fred is the spirit of motor racing
fred is no longer in the usa
fred is also known as an excellent writing teacher
fred is dead

Sunday comic: lil abner
(not funny, just nostalgia. haven't seen lil abner in years.)
Here's one for jasperboi.
Here's one by amptoons - i've been reading his blog without realizing the main site was there.
here's some by matt nishi - www.transe-generation.com.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Go vegan!

I found this cookbook review while googling for a poem called "against cilantro."

Here is a post about game theory that wil baude linked to.
(ok, the post i am responding to was not the post will linked to, which was the insane preference posse post. but will does write about game theory at times.)
Here is what i commented:

mad when I showed him that I could model the formation of a C60 buckyball using the principles involved in an iterated Prisoner's Dilemma Regime... heh

I think that has potential to be a publishable paper, especially if you can write it in layperson's terms. I haven't reviewed the literature to know if anybody else is using game theory this way.
Game theory is, or might be, an aspect of systems theory. People/scientists often do a lot of work applying systems theory to one particular discipline,without seeing that the model has applications to other disciplines.
The same people who rail against georgia for not wanting to teach evolution, are often the same people who don't want the schools to teach how markets work, although from a systems theory point of view, markets are like ecosystems.
Memetics has been a valuable development of applying evolutionary concepts to cultural rather than biological evolution.
I'm not a chemist or physicist or whatever you are. I'm a policy wonk (and lawyer.) One of the common fallacies i run into in discussion of public policy is that people expect governments to act rationally, instead of responding to stimuli in the way that public choice theory sugegsts.
Game theory is very useful in describing how governments function. If you can show that atoms' behavior can also be described in game theory terms, that helps show that governments need not be thought of as rational, in order to evalute stategies governments use.

Posted by: aardvark,arbitrary, the at February 6, 2004 07:15 PM

Alexander \Sasha\ Volokh

To: arbitraryaardvark@themail.com
Subject: Re: step 4, marxist anarchism
Date: Thu, Feb 05 10:27 PM

I agree (maybe I'll post on this later). The commune you describe might
work because it's voluntary and people can leave. The political problem
involves nation-states, where people can't leave. No problem here!
I agree that Marxism involves more than just a political system, it's
a way of looking at history, language, etc., and I agree with you that
can unbundle these, and the general perspective may still be useful.

Alexander "Sasha" Volokh, sasha@volokh.com href="http://volokh.com" target="_new">http://volokh.com
"I'd like to know if I could compare you to a summer's day. Because
well, June 12th was quite nice, and..." - Terry Pratchett, Wyrd

sasha has an interesting and wrong theory of morality, i'm gonna skip fisking it.
his comment about "not being able to leave" reminds me what's wrong with the limits to immigration being discussed at volokh.com
(barnett or bernstein, i think).
limiting immigration from immoral states legitimizes them.
america with closed borders isn't america anymore.
of course, it hasn't been for awhile, and maybe never was.

Opera economics:
Will ponders when opera singers should go for it,
risking their singing voices, or sing more carefully, so they will have a longer career.
It's a subset of a more common issue. Football players face this.
Lawyers too: do I go all out for this client, but risk pissing off the judge or opposing counsel in a way that could harm future clients?
Maybe that's whats behind the annoying "give it 110%"; if 100% is the level of play that doesn't risk ending your career.
Off-the-cuff solution:
Sing your voice out for the movie or record, conserve it during ordinary live performances.

Trying to add comments, following the simple directions at enotation.co.uk, didn't work. I am so not a coder. Haven't tried haloscan yet.
meanwhile, my tech support staff is working on my request to build a .php forum.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

The cable tv keeps up a shrill shill about how much i need their broadband service - which i already have. that's dumb marketing, clever as spam.
not sure if the keyboard or my fingers, but i'm making twice the usual typos tonight. fatigue? was up all night reading an enemy's blog. virtual recon.

I've been writing a fair bit lately about the transition to a post-scarcity economy, in which stuff and cash is less important, rep more so, access to data. But I hadn't thought much until just now of how my years in boulder helped out with that perspective. Boulder's a good place to be rich or poor, not in between. Lots of bookstores and coffeeshops, little boutiques from mountain cultures around the world. Not much manufacturing. Social status based on hipness points. Declasse. It's a good model for where we're headed.
Moving to hannibal was like stepping into a time machine from 2000 to 1950.
I've known that i'm an early adopter. But the boulder years leveraged that.
Ok, any hip college town is that way, most of california, parts of london or new york or most of toronto. But boulder alittle more so than most places.
Just somethng that hit me and i decided to write down. Maybe this isn't the right blog for this entry. But it'll do.

It occured to me .. somebody, possibly esr, said there are three kinds of bloggers, linkers and thinkers. Linkers post links, with maybe a smarmy quip.
Thinkers post rants. I do a bit of both. Yes, three, the third is diarists.
Reynolds is a linker. Volokh's more of a thinker wwith links. Wil, tho, is a diarist. And that's what prompted this post. I had a sudden urge to diarise.
WWhich I don't do, in this blog. I have blogs for that, but I don't update them.

12:12 am, 2/4/2004. or maybe 2/5, 2/6, somewhere in there.
Everything is right right now. I have 6 windows open.
One of the a new cory doctorow novel. coffee boiling on the stove behind me.
A bowl and a fork, if I want more rice pasta with green curry sauce.
Tv's on, ignored. I've drawn a hot bath and have a good book to take to it.
It's warm enough. It's quiet. The rent's paid till the end of the month, and three of my roommates are gone all week. What more can I ask.

A salon article bashes anonymous bloggers, and the blogverse responds.
I'm only pseudo-anonymous. It's no big secret that I have another identity as a crazy lawyer who litigates about the right to be anonymous.

Sasha Volokh discusses lame critique of Marxist Anarchism:
The truth is that communism cannot exist without force because it depends so heavily upon squelching individual human ambition and making it subservient to the community. The moment an individual in a communist society attempts to take property for himself, or trade with others for his own profit, there must be a collective force available to stop his activities. That neccessity leads to a strong government, which eliminates any potential for an anarchistic communism
Step 3 is where you say, "But wait a minute, here's my political-science theory where I argue that any socialism degenerates into something as bad as Soviet-style socialism, because it requires so much control over people's behavior that you need a powerful police state, the worst get to the top, etc., etc." Step 4 is where the proponent has to show how his proposed implementation avoids that problem.

I'm going to draw on my experience visiting the Bruderhof, a (non-marxist) anarchist commune in Maryland. That is, the part I visited was in Maryland; they have other centers in New York and South America.
One of things they have there is a shared belief in a personal jesus.
They live together as they think the early christians lived.
Higher-tech naturally; one of their companies does airplane maintenance for example.

Coersion would not be used to deter capitalist acts between consenting adults. They would rely on moral suasion and non-cooperation. Like a taboo. Budding capitalists would encounter the yuck factor. Capitalist perverts could be shunned, and perhaps develop a shadowy underground
with their own bars and newsletters, and someday engage in activsm to have their deviant lifestyle tolerated, even the right to marry. Each other.
Exclusively. Oh yuck!

I liked my visit there. Good coffee and good books in the bookstore.
Tolerable food. No TV.At the time of my visit, I was deeply depressed, lonely, alienated, hoping that this might be the community I'm looking for.
They were considerate hosts. um, bruderhof.org? However, I'm an agnostic.
I don't share the thing that binds them socially. So I went back home.
There was also some stuff on the web about how they aren't friendly to people who choose to leave, suggesting there might be darker side.
But no stalinism.

I chose bruderhof as an illustrative example, but the larger point is that anarchist socialist communities do not require coersion, so there need be no downward spiral into stalinism. Does this meet sasha's step 4?

There's another point I want to make about marxism, one I learned largely from Sandra Harding, a marxist feminist philosopher. Marxist politics, having nation-states make experients at socialism, does indeed tend to stalinism, and most of the campus academic marxists have tended to be complicit in this.
But, marxist epistemology need not be coupled with marxist politics.
As we know from soc 101, weber, marx, durkheim, offer a way of looking at how societies are put together and how an individual's awareness is colored by their role in society. If this turns out to a be a useful set of theory, a person could be a Marxist in that sense, without adopting the political errors of central planning or stalinism.
I think this set of theory is indeed useful.
For example, in thinking about solipcism, it is worth noting that we think about solipsism in English, and english has a history and evolution, that Occam's razor suggests is incompatable with solipcism.
I think in English, which at least suggests that others exist.
Cogito ergo sum. The meme, "I think therefore I am", was expressed in latin, by Descartes, before being translated into English, at least suggesting that descarte existed.
We can postulate that there are others, who think about things sort of the way we do. But we can also postulate that others have had life experiences which we have not, and therefor they have had different thoughts and come to different conclusions than we have.
Marxist theory builds on this, with ideas about class consciousness.
Am I a Libertarian because libertarianism is right, or because I'm a white guy from the suburbs who was oppressed by LBJ, or both?
I am convinced that Libertarianism is right, but I also see that that is easier for me to see than for someone wwith different life experiences.
Maybe Marxist epistemology offers techiques and tools I can use to communicate the libertarian vision to people who's life experiences make libertarianism less than obvious.

Ampersand got this cartoon published. Here's what I said in the comments thread.
ampersand, minor quibble: you are mixing up the terms "market" and "free market"; they aren't interchangable. The cartoon was funny without being mean. I represent panels 1 and 2.
Government interferance with health care is indeed evil, evil. A woman has a right to choose, and her decisions are between her and her healer of choice. Well-intentioned meddling with that violates her privacy and autonomy.
Dumpster diving for medicine is indeed fun. Beats hell out of golf. I haven't found hospitals good locations for dumpster diving. I have better luck at drug stores, apartment complexes, dorms at end of semester. I also have a medicinal herb garden. At times I've been sued by our local health and hospital corporation because my herb patch violates the weed ordinance, and they sent out goons to cut down my marigolds. I digress.
In the short term, government-provided health care, as well as insurance, provides powerful disincentives for people to manage their own health via prevention.
In the longer term, government meddling that makes markets less free takes away incentives to innovate. This is a life or death issue for me.
I'm gonna need a new set of lungs some decade soon, and other life-extension gimmicks, or I will die. The current state of the art won't do.
Markets are really really good at innovation and adaptation, in the same way that ecologies are better than monocultures. Governments aren't.
(There is a subset of public health concerns, like mad cow or yellow fever, where government style command-and-control measures may have some advantage over unconstrained markets; it's an externality problem, we're working on it.)
So when somebody like Bush or Truman comes up with a new boondoggle program to further interfere in medical markets, what I hear is that they are trying to kill me. To which I am adverse.

http://www.amptoons.com/blog/001224.html Post on which free email accounts are better.
Mine is arbitraryaardvark -at- themail.com. It doesn't work very well.
It loses incoming and outgoing mail, so if I haven't replied to your email, resend it. It doesn't filter spam well at all. It's just such a hassle to change it;
I mean, if i set up yet another account somewhere, I'd have to check both, for a year or so. I'll put off dealing with this till I get a real computer.

http://www.amptoons.com/blog/001221.html Good article on the mental illness industry runaround. Meanwhile, there's a patent fight going on now over zyprexa, a Lilly product, that offers some insight into how Lilly treats beagles.
Next time I'm a rock star, I'll call my band the Beagles. TM, C 2004.

Alas a blog has a really good comments section. I found this moving. I don't agree with his/her political opinions, but the personal stuff I can relate to. It's long, and this is just an excerpt. I don't know how to do the
< click here for more > trick. Added the blog to my blogroll, which is slowly growing. I don't know how to work comments either, maybe i should check haloscan.

As for the supporters, I don't hang around with them, and I stopped reading comments in blogs long ago. In truth, there are two blogs I read comments on: this one and Body and Soul, because I find the people don't get into petty arguments in these two places, there are no "First Posts!", conspiracy theories don't get bandied about, etc. I am probably the most abrasive poster on both of the blogs, and I don't think of myself as particularly abrasive, but more needy and high-maintenance (as I seem to have proven again, which I can never apologize enough for leading you to write such an overwhelming rationalization for your feelings on Dean and the other candidates and their respective camp-followers). I am sorry that I somehow made you feel you needed to respond to me, because I'm so far out of the mainstream, I am on the beach.

I'm sure you are totally correct in all of your statements, and I am not going to argue with you about them, because I really don't know all that much, and even if I did, I wouldn't be able to state it well, so why bother? In truth, I really didn't understand a good portion of what you wrote, because it was over my head.

Basically, I feel like the world I currently live in is trying to kill me and I don't have the energy or ability to stop it, and I am crying out for something to change. I read that the Democratic party is going to "hit back" just as hard as the Republican party is during this election, fight just as dirty, do whatever it takes. That they have whole teams of character assassins working day and night. I can't live in that world, and I fear that when whichever Democratic candidate makes it into the white house is going to be just as scuzzy as the current group. Not to say that they are Republican-lite's either, but that their hearts will be hardened. They'll have made promises to be tough on crime, tough on the poor, tough on those who don't pull their weight. Clinton did so much damage to the poor, to QTBLG people, and we are basically looking for another Clinton. A Clinton will cut back on services for the poor and disabled just as quickly as a Bush will, as was proven over the last ten and more years.

I don't even know what I'm talking about anymore, I'm just so sad and I fear for humanity that we have lost our compassion. I don't see how the cycle of human disaster is ever going to end. I haven't heard any campaign promises except that they are going to make things better for the children. Makes me wish I were a child again, to be pandered to so much. Nobody panders to the disabled or the homeless. Nobody cares. We are the unsolvable problems. Even when they build low-income housing, they build it so the working-poor can afford it, but not the disabled or the homeless.

For instance, the low-income housing group here where I live has apartments that start at $400 a month. Which is great. Totally affordable for someone on a low income. However, I get a check from the state for $339 every month, from which I am supposed to pay for housing, utilities, basically anything that isn't food, and I get $140 for food every month. That's a little over $30 a week for food. Which is enough to buy some bread and a few other items. I'm disabled, so I can't just drive down to Wal-Mart and buy the industrial barrel of rice and beans, and even if I could, I can't prepare it myself. Toast is hard enough to prepare.

I really do believe that whoever the Dem president is will make live better for the middle class, no doubt about it. And maybe for the working poor, but Dems don't have a great record on helping the working poor (see Bowling for Columbine). Dems will likely revoke as many of the corporate and wealthy person giveaways as they are able to, and that's a good thing. If they manage to implement health care for everyone, that'd be great. One of the best things I get is Medicaid which is the greatest thing in the entire world. I spend thousands of dollars a month, a large portion of that on medications, but also on doctor visits (I have like five different doctors with the promise of more on the way) and they don't get paid full rate when they accept a Medicaid patient, they have to eat the rest of the costs themselves, so there are a lot of places that don't take Medicaid, or if they do, they take a limited number, or have special days that they reserve for Medicaid people and the rest of the days for people who actually make them money.

I totally want other people to get what they need, and if I have to suffer so someone else can get what they need, I am willing to suffer. Other than Medicaid, I don't feel like I am being a huge burden on society. I was hugely productive while I wasn't physically disabled, even while I was mentally unstable -- in fact, it was probably my mental instability that allowed me to work so hard. The results of my work are still alive today, making people who read them happy, making money for my friends and ex-business partners, so I feel like I've contributed to society. But even if I hadn't, I don't feel that it is ethically, morally, spiritually (whatever is your driving inner-force) good for people to let the under-underclass rot away. I don't see any of the current crop of politicians of any stripe coming to my and our aid.

But, as important as that is to me, even if Bush announced and paid for (cause he has this habit of announcing things and then not paying for them) all disabled people to live in a beautiful home or condo with a view of the mountains, lobster dinners every night, visitors every day who would come to read to us and be our friends and not abandon us, the best medical care available, super-high tech stuff, and I could call today and have a limousine come pick me up and bring me to the appointment the very next day. I *still* wouldn't vote for that murdering, lying, war-profiteering bastard. Cause my life isn't worth 20,000 or so Iraqi lives, and the possibility of an upcoming civil war which will take many more lives, or even just the inhumane way we treat the people there. It's not worth it. And believe me when I tell you that it would be a very very tempting offer.
So, we may not agree on words, but we agree in principle in a general way about human rights and how important that is, and that pretty much trumps all the rest of the garbage which is nothing more than a side show compared to what is really important.
Thank you, PinkDreamPoppies, for taking me seriously. Something which only a handful of people have ever done in my life. You have given me a gift that is rare and very precious.
Posted by Ananna at February 5, 2004 03:29 AM

I responded:
Ananna, I found your comments moving. I copied part of that to my blog at http://vark.blogspot.com, and added alas a blog to the links there.
I don't have to agree with your politics to relate to your experience. I think looking to the government for compassion is misplaced; it would make no less sense to look to the mafia. If there's compassion to be found, it's at places like this one, where people come together by free choice to form community. We are in transition to a post-scarcity economy. You and I might be poor by the materialist standards, but there's a wealth of information and interaction here online.
How can we help each other?

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

bingo! this is the attorney who denied me a hearing and an appointment re denial of my drivers license reinstatement.
Attorney Number: 4318 82
Firm Name:
Address 1: BMV 100 N. SENATE AVENUE
Address 2: ROOM N-440
State: IN
Zip: 46204-0000
Phone: 317-233-8901
Admit Date: 09/17/1985
Status: Active in Good Standing
Status Date: 09/17/1985

update: found her blog. working hard to try to turn this around -
empathy, compassion, that sort of thing.
but mostly i'm feeling rage against the machine.
update the next day: ok that worked, she's too nice to fully hold a grudge against. she, and her flunkies, were rude to me in a way that may have been a breach of professional ethics, may have been misfeasance in office, and definately violated my state and federal constitutional rights,
but it could have been a failure to communicate, so i'll take a shot at smoothing it out.

Tomorrow I get to try, yet again, to convince the Powers That Be that the attack on the World Trade Center did not invalidate civil rights or the prohibitions against discrimination based on national origin. I expect to fail, but when the ACLU sues the state on the next grand plan, I want to be able to say "I told you so." As for tonight? I'm planning to bake brownies with my kidlet. I can't think of a better thing to do on a snowy night.
to my husband giving up law courtesy of clinical depression at the end of January. ...

i didn't know joshua was autistic.
That is that I will never permit myself to say "because of his autism my son can't do "x"", whatever "x" happens to be. His only limitation is what we're willing to try, and I won't be the thing that limits him. I've had practice. I've always taken someone telling me I wasn't capable of doing something as if they'd thrown a gauntlet. First it makes me angry, and then I set out to prove them wrong. Now, I find, I'm ready to do the same for Joseph. No one has tested it yet in practical reality, but I find myself responding to generalities in things I read with "oh, yeah? We'll see about that."...Tomorrow I shall be playing diligent lawyer, this time on my private cases. Monday is a holiday. Yaaaay!...I feel sorry for the Commissioner. What isn't being reported is that this ring has apparently been operating for at least seven years, through several administrations. The current Commissioner is being blamed for something he did not set us up for at all. He has in fact tightened id requirements tremendously, often over the vociferous objections of the inconvenienced public. I think personally he really has stepped on some civil rights, but that's just my personal opinion.*
This one concerned the prevalence of depression among attorneys. It said "Approximately 8% of Americans suffer from depression. Among attorneys, some studies have found that number to be as high as 25%."

To do: go back with camera, document incident. Bring info, maybe prepare stern letter. No need to actually draft the complaint at this point.
* It's more than her personal opinion - she has actual knowledge that her department is conspiring to violate civil rights, an ongoing federal felony, 17 usc 241, 242, so her obligation as an attorney is to fix it or get out.
Otherwise her job title is consigliori.

not bad. not the best, but might be worth aother visit.

sheesh. indy mom charged with felony over nude painting on car.
national coverage - incident promotes image of indy as anti-art,
hostile environment to artists, leading to brain drain.

This (boing-boing.org) isn't the boing-boing I was looking for.
Illustrated adventures of a bionic hypoallergenic cat.

Smart: Al Gore III attends Harvard.
Less so: Busted for driving while high with no headlights.
Note to self: get right headlight fixed.

Cory doctorow's second novel, here, free.
Via boing-boing.net - i'll fix the broken link in the sidebar any day now.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Lunar land grab:
Bush could settle mars cheaper. Give Halliburton mineral rights, so long as they land within 10 years to perfect their claim.
Space is an example of the tragedy of the commons.


[David Bernstein, 2/3/2004 06:15:36 AM]
You Can't Say That! Website: The site, just launched, is meant to provide complementary and supplemental materials for readers of my You Can't Say That! The Growing Threat to Civil Liberties from Antidiscrimination Laws, especially for students interested in pursuing related topics for research papers for First Amendment seminars or undergraduate courses in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Among other things, the site has links to as many of the footnoted sources as I (and my RA) could find online, as well as links to additional sources not cited in the book, to related op-eds, and to reviews. The site is something of an experiment and is very much a work in progress, so I would appreciate any feedback readers would care to give me. The idea is to harness the power of the web to make my scholarly work more useful and accessible. Let me know what you think.

Poincare conjecture solved after 100 years.
In its original form, the Poincaré conjecture states that every simply connected closed three-manifold is homeomorphic to the three-sphere (in a topologist's sense) , where a three-sphere is simply a generalization of the usual sphere to one dimension higher. More colloquially, the conjecture says that the three-sphere is the only type of bounded three-dimensional space possible that contains no holes. This conjecture was first proposed in 1904 by H. Poincaré (Poincaré 1953, pp. 486 and 498), and subsequently generalized to the conjecture that every compact n-manifold is homotopy-equivalent to the n-sphere iff it is homeomorphic to the n-sphere. The generalized statement reduces to the original conjecture for n = 3.
Obscure voyage to arcturus in-joke about manifold theory left to the reader.

Monday, February 02, 2004

updated links. if you'd like to be added, let me know.

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