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Topics - LTKoblinsky

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General / War. War never changes.
« on: April 28, 2011, 01:45:41 PM »
With the end of the 20th century rapidly approaching, this is a time to look back and gain some perspective on where we stand as a nation. Were the Founding Fathers somehow to return, they would find it impossible to recognize our political system. The major cause of this transformation has been America's involvement in war and preparation for war over the past hundred years. War has warped our constitutional order, the course of our national development, and the very mentality of our people.

General / Little Caesar's
« on: April 26, 2011, 08:37:38 PM »
Is there anything better than a fresh, hot, $5 pizza that you didn't have to drive 20 miles for and it's ready when you are?!

General / S&P lowers US outlook
« on: April 19, 2011, 09:34:45 AM »
Treasury officials “believe S.& P.’s negative outlook underestimates the ability of America’s leaders to come together to address the difficult fiscal challenges facing the nation,” an assistant secretary for financial markets, Mary J. Miller, said in a statement.

There's a lot more passive aggresive comments by 'officials' about the S&P's reports. Does anybody else get the feeling that being so close to government regulators has some effect on the rating firms' outlook?

General / mobile site
« on: April 17, 2011, 02:53:20 PM »
Why can't I access page 2 on any topics or pages on the mobile site? The 'next page' link simply acts as a refresh button. I'm on a Blackberry Tour.

General / Help with internet
« on: March 27, 2011, 05:23:35 PM »
Here's my problem:
I have the highest AT&T DSL speed tier, "Elite"; though, it doesn't always run as expected. When I first got it, it would disconnect every few minutes and I fixed that by buying a new modem. Now, instead of disconnecting, it has recently (3-4 months) started slowing down to near dial-up speeds. The weird part is that this doesn't affect video playback, podcasts, or Xbox Live gameplay (but the marketplace and downloads are affected).  My suspicion is my 4-5 year old Belkin 54g router that has served me well in the past, but I believe might be slowing. How do I test this suspicion without buying a new router?

Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

General / Xeer
« on: February 09, 2011, 11:49:29 PM »
OK, I brought this up in the leftist libertarian thread, but feel it's worthy of its own thread. Xeer is a system of common law indigenous to Somalia. Now, despite the stereotype of chaos, there are many independently studied indicators that this is not the case:
If the expectation was that Somalia would plunge into an abyss of chaos, what is the reality? A number of recent studies address this question, including one by economist Peter Leeson drawing on statistical data from the United Nations Development Project, World Bank, CIA, and World Health Organization. Comparing the last five years under the central government (1985–1990) with the most recent five years of anarchy (2000–2005), Leeson finds these welfare changes:

    * Life expectancy increased from 46 to 48.5 years. This is a poor expectancy as compared with developed countries. But in any measurement of welfare, what is important to observe is not where a population stands at a given time, but what is the trend. Is the trend positive, or is it the reverse?
    * Number of one-year-olds fully immunized against measles rose from 30 to 40 percent.
    * Number of physicians per 100,000 population rose from 3.4 to 4.
    * Number of infants with low birth weight fell from 16 per thousand to 0.3 — almost none.
    * Infant mortality per 1,000 births fell from 152 to 114.9.
    * Maternal mortality per 100,000 births fell from 1,600 to 1,100.
    * Percent of population with access to sanitation rose from 18 to 26.
    * Percent of population with access to at least one health facility rose from 28 to 54.8.
    * Percent of population in extreme poverty (i.e., less than $1 per day) fell from 60 to 43.2.
    * Radios per thousand population rose from 4 to 98.5.
    * Telephones per thousand population rose from 1.9 to 14.9.
    * TVs per 1,000 population rose from 1.2 to 3.7.
    * Fatalities due to measles fell from 8,000 to 5,600.

Another even more comprehensive study published last year by Benjamin Powell of the Independent Institute, concludes: "We find that Somalia's living standards have improved generally … not just in absolute terms, but also relative to other African countries since the collapse of the Somali central government."

Somalia's pastoral economy is now stronger than that of either neighboring Kenya or Ethiopia. It is the largest exporter of livestock of any East African country. Telecommunications have burgeoned in Somalia; a call from a mobile phone is cheaper in Somalia than anywhere else in Africa. A small number of international investors are finding that the level of security of property and contract in Somalia warrants doing business there. Among these companies are Dole, BBC, the courier DHL, British Airways, General Motors, and Coca Cola, which recently opened a large bottling plant in Mogadishu. A 5-star Ambassador Hotel is operating in Hargeisa, and three new universities are fully functional: Amoud University (1997) in Borama, and Mogadishu University (1997), and University of Benadir (2002) in Mogadishu.

There is time in this short talk to give you only some of the highlights of the Xeer. First, law and, consequently, crime are defined in terms of property rights. The law is compensatory rather than punitive. Because property right requires compensation, rather than punishment, there is no imprisonment, and fines are rare. Such fines as might be imposed seldom exceed the amount of compensation and are not payable to any court or government, but directly to the victim. A fine might be in order when, for example, the killing of a camel was deliberate and premeditated, in which case the victim receives not one but two camels.

Fines are used in another interesting way. It is expected that a prominent public figure such as a religious or political dignitary or a policeman or a judge should lead an exemplary life. If he violates the law, he pays double what would be required of an ordinary person. Also, it should be noted, since the law and crime are defined in terms of property rights, the Xeer is unequivocal in its opposition to any form of taxation.

Second, in order to assure that compensation will be forthcoming even in cases where the perpetrator is a child, or penniless, or crazy, or has fled abroad, the Xeer requires that every person be fully insured against any liability he might incur under the law. If an individual cannot make the required payment, a designated group of his kin is responsible. Van Notten describes in an interesting way how this happens:

    A person who violates someone's rights and is unable to pay the compensation himself notifies his family, who then pays on his behalf. From an emotional point of view, this notification is a painful procedure, since no family member will miss the opportunity to tell the wrongdoer how vicious or stupid he was. Also, they will ask assurances that he will be more careful in the future. Indeed, all those who must pay for the wrongdoings of a family member will thereafter keep an eye on him and try to intervene before he incurs another liability. They will no longer, for example, allow him to keep or bear a weapon. While on other continents the re-education of criminals is typically a task of the government, in Somalia it is the responsibility of the family.

If the family tires of bailing out a repeat offender, they can disown him, in which case he becomes an outlaw. Not being insured, he forfeits all protection under the law and, for his safety, must leave the country.
A third point about the Xeer is that there is no monopoly of police or judicial services. Anyone is free to serve in those capacities as long as he is not at the same time a religious or political dignitary, since that would compromise the sharp separation of law, politics, and religion. Also, anyone performing in such a role is subject to the same laws as anyone else — and more so: if he violates the law, he must pay heavier damages or fines than would apply to anyone else. Public figures are expected to show exemplary conduct.

Fourth, there is no victimless crime. Only a victim or his family can initiate a court action. Where there is no victim to call a court into being, no court can form. No court can investigate on its own initiative any evidence of alleged misconduct.

Last, the court procedure is interesting. From birth, every Somali has his own judge who will sit on the court that will judge him should he transgress the law. That judge is his oday, the head of his extended family consisting of all males descended from the same great grandfather, together with their spouses and children. Several extended families make up a jilib, which is the group responsible for paying the blood price in the event a member kills someone of another jilib or clan. The oday, or judge, is chosen carefully, following weeks or months of deliberation by elders of the clan. He has no authority over the family but is chosen solely for his knowledge of human affairs and his wisdom, and he can lose his position if his decisions are not highly regarded in the community.

Enough quotes, but there are good descriptions of the court proceeding, description of the anarchy, and an explanation as to why democracy will fail in Somalia. All in all, I think this system would make Ian cum in his pants.

General / What is Wealth?
« on: January 15, 2011, 10:46:36 AM »
Neat little animated video I found on reason.tv

The Show / Negative Nancy
« on: January 05, 2011, 11:40:38 PM »
I don't mean to be one, but the way in which Mark and Ian dismiss capitalism really bugs me. I haven't listened much this week, but regularly over the last year or more, the hosts have periodically dismissed and in some cases derided "capitalism" based on collectivist/socialist perceptions of the concept.
Capitalism is, generally, an economic system of private ownership. With ownership, individuals are inherently given control of said property. This logically implies laisse faire government.  Any restriction on the rights of ownership or contract are NOT capitalistic. Because there has never been a truly capitalistic economy (internet, maybe, but that's a different discussion), discussion of economics is done in relative measures. More or less capitalistic in the context of this discussion. The American system is given the title "capitalist" (historically speaking) in that it has been the freest economy in world history, on net. This does not logically imply that Keynesian, Progressive, or Special Interest policies are capitalist.
As for the label argument, allowing opponents to define your vehicle of communication is absurd. Historically, liberty loving people have been chased from their stances. First, liberals were traitors (first to the Crown, then to the Union), then capitalists were cronies, and anarchists are thugs. Where does that leave people like Ian? Well, they have two choices: 1) I prefer not to label myself. I prefer to spell out every individual belief I have to anyone who asks. Plus, I hate being staked to one position; isn't it freer to be able to flit inanely from idea to idea? or 2) I'm a voluntary-anarcho-pantheo-libero-pacifi-peace- (insert label of the day here).

Now, I'm not saying that the hosts and guests aren't intelligent, just that often, they make absurd, uninformed declarations. The Cap. one just happens to be a peave of mine.

Full disclosure: I graduated from a public university with a degree in economics.

The Show / Vaccines linked to Autism?
« on: January 05, 2011, 11:07:32 PM »
The subject of this topic is a very common claim made by participants of the show. I just uncovered an article that claims the original study linking vaccines to autism was falsified and the author, Dr. Wakefield, has been stripped of his UK medical license. 10 of the 13 researchers involved renounced the study and the original publication it was published in has since pulled it.
Link: Found it on Yahoo!

General / Social Contract
« on: September 11, 2010, 03:14:11 AM »
     For some reason, I've always looked at the social contract as a theory asserting some agreement was made by our ancestors and thus we are bound to it. When looked at that way, it seems ridiculous. 
     I was reading Thomas DiLorenzo's "How Capitalism Saved America" and he presented it in a different light.  According to him, the social contract is a continuously renewing agreement. Individuals choose to participate in society in exchange for the perceived benefits of that society. When those benefits are perceived to be diminished, it is more likely that people will stop participating in that society.
     In this way, many Americans gladly participate in the US civic system because the believe it grants them a place in the "land of the free" with "inalienable rights." As government continues to move away from these terms, more people are beginning to balk.

The Show / Fashion and Ian
« on: September 09, 2010, 10:55:37 PM »
Tonight, on the show, I laughed hysterically. On one hand, we had Ian saying, "I'm not gonna be a pretender." and on the other side, Mark was saying, "...but, it'll make you popular!"
My input here is this:
A person's clothing style sends a message to others more than "its who I feel like."  When trying to outreach and deliver a message of any sort to other people, it is prudent to consider that how the person is seen will invariably influence said message. If he looks like a nutty bum or a lazy slob, the message will be seen as nutty or ignorant. Therefore, its best to dress in the manner that displays and enhances the message you want to get across.
Its not a matter of pandering or being like other people. By trying to reach out to them at all, a person is including how that person will feel about the message. Ian's line of "not caring" is arbitrary, whether he admits it or not.
None of this was intended to say that Sean (hope I spelled it right) is a detriment to the movement. The "WTF!" reaction is admittedly (on the air) what he's looking for by wearing the cape, so at least he is considering the effect of his fashion choices on his message.
Finally, Ian generalized fashion as "whats trendy." I think the caller was very right to point out the fact that this is ignorance on Ian's part. Fashion is an understanding of the various aesthetic effects of different clothing choices. For example, skinny jeans make your butt look big or black is slimming or different shades of the same color "clash". How someone uses this understanding to put together a logical decision for he/she dresses is their own personal fashion.

General / Youtube vs. Google
« on: September 06, 2010, 01:30:58 AM »
I find it very strange that youtube has been vastly more informative in many of my recent HOWTO searches than Google. Often, when I google a term like "download java on ubuntu", I get vague jargon from some backwoods linux forum... If I type the same thing into youtube, I get hundreds of detailed walkthroughs...What gives?

General / ubuntu virgin needs help
« on: September 05, 2010, 10:12:58 PM »
Hello BBS,
I am an Ubuntu rookie. I just installed said OS on my laptop today. I know nothing about root users, terminals, or other such jargon. When I use Windows, it extracts everything for me and files it away neat and hidden until I need it. With Ubuntu, I need Java. I have no idea how to get the Firefox plugin for Java, as no Java files work their magic for me. I need help, a walkthrough, you could say. So please and thank you.

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