Ron Paul is a Jackass

So Ron Paul has apparently said that there’s nothing to fear in the swine flu, and that this is just another example of government waste. In a response to regurgitation on Paul Burka’s blog I commented:

Uh… I’m sure that the fact that we haven’t had any serious outbreaks since the sixties has nothing to do with good government policy. I’m sure in 1976 that if the government had sat on its hands everything would have gone exactly the same way.

Sure. Right.

Sure we know how many people DID die in 1976 Ron, but how many people DIDN’T die? That’s a much more useful statistic, and without it you can’t say that the government reaction was bad.

And if you look at post-9/11 you can see that an actual event is much more useful for galvanizing wasteful government spending than is a subverted event (i.e. prevented LAX bombing). So if us “pro-government” people really wanted to make money off of this flu, we should be telling people not to worry, so more people get infected and we can use the massive public outrage to implement thousands of new programs. Oh wait, that’s what the Republican party keeps doing, and is why this country is trillions of dollars in the hole.

How about we use the government effectively? Let’s manage the disease before it kills people with the resources we have, and then admit at the end of the day that the reason things have gone so well is that the government responded appropriately.

When will Republicans realize that choking the government of money, and then criticize it when it costs too much to ramp up when we really need it, is a really ineffective and expensive way to govern? I know that vaccines aren’t part of the libertarian – “I shouldn’t have to do anything I don’t want to” ideology, but sometimes we need to be adults and do things we don’t want to. This is one thing Republicans and Democrats generally agree on since the public health cost of a vaccine vs. treating the disease is massive.

Our CDC does a great job. And you really only have to look at say – Mexico – to see this. You guys can jack around with the federal budget and education, but keep your ideology off the things that keep me alive. Thanks.

I didn’t even mention the number of places that Ron Paul had his facts wrong.

No next Bill Gates

Another teabagger on CNN. The best part:

Commentary: Next generation won’t have a Bill Gates

If we cannot borrow money…The next generation won’t have a Bill Gates, a Steve Jobs or a Mark Zuckerberg because the budding American entrepreneur won’t be able to secure the financing to create the next dynamic technology company that would have energized the economy.

Why? Because kids with super rich parents will no longer get massive amounts of money from their parents with which they can startup a business? While I understand where this guys coming from, Venture Capital is actually one of the few places that is in no way impacted by the banks having trouble loaning. And Microsoft was hardly started by poor kids with no means, securing standard small business loans with a brilliant business plan.

The US’s spending is in a scary place. The bailouts are scary. But if anything we should be talking about how we regulate these markets so that no single bank can fail in the future and take out the rest of the banking system. If a company is being watched for being too big to fail, it should be broken up. Trust busting is essential to keeping the free market moving.

You can’t in case I must

I’ve seen this argument a lot in cases where we’re talking about transit. Paul Burka over at Texas Monthly has written the latest:

I get it now. This is a real estate play. Freeways have changed cities in ways that are less than desirable. They cut off neighborhoods from the rest of the city. They are business-unfriendly, because they move traffic past commercial areas. And, of course, they contribute to sprawl and pollution. Rail changes cities in ways that are desirable. They combat sprawl by concentrating development around rail stations. The provide an opportunity for redeveloping deteriorating residential and commercial areas and adding value to the tax rolls. Freeways are better at moving people. Rail is better at moving civic values. This is why the business community in North Texas has thrown all of its weight behind this bill, and this is why it is going to pass, and Governor Perry is going to let it become law. It’s the oldest of power principles: Let the big dog eat.

But if Austin ever gets to vote on such a plan, I’ll never vote to let my gas tax money be used for rail.

What an abrupt change. He rattles of a list of benefits and then says he’ll never let his money go towards it. I see these sort of “arguments” all the time. My mother is a big proponent of them. It’s the “even though you and your friends want to take transit and this will make my experience driving better because you’re off the road, I’m going to vote against it on the off chance that this will eventually lead to me having to take transit” argument.

It’s amazing the phsycology of the human brain. And so hard to fight against these really base arguments. They seem to be ingrained at a really deep level that logic can’t touch.

Faith-based greenfoolery

Greg from Daddy Types did a great article on the anti-vaccine tomfoolery going on in California. It’s really interesting to me how liberals spent the 8 years under the Bush administration carping about the attack on science and evolution while doing exactly the same things themselves. I often read about liberals not wanting to give their kids vaccines, not because they’re afraid of autism (a few have been informed), but because they don’t want to give their kids drugs. They prefer natural remedies over drugs. I’ve grown weary of explaining what a vaccine is.

I’m afraid we’re probably going to have to have a lot of deaths to stop that particular bit of nonsense.

I don’t have a problem with midwives. I have lots of problems with the fact that hospital medicine isn’t really based on science either (due to ethical concerns). We have people railing against Demerol and Epidurals to ease labor pain, but then taking “natural” tinctures from their midwives. Tinctures generally being alchohol based. Alchohol being a drug that we definitely know crosses into the babies blood stream, thanks to pretty extensive research in the 1950s and 60s (and thus having the same exact downsides as demerol).But let’s not pretend that everyone isn’t just guessing.

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of people talking about how organically grown vegetables are the cure for obesitvy. You know, because if you eat lots of organically grown vegetables you’re more likely to be skinny. Of course if you eat lots of commercially farmed vegetables you’re going to be skinny too. ‘Cause you’re filling up your stomach with undigestable roughage.

And can we stop using the term organic? Because I’m pretty sure all the vegetables I eat are organic, regardless of how they are grown.

I’m done venting. I’ve had no sleep. How ’bout you? Any pet peeves about the way that science is mistreated in our society?

Oh, and on a somewhat related note, can we stop all of our calvinist wailing about how commercialism is immoral, and the root of all our problems today? Scavenging from dumpsters is not a scalable way to get food.

Liberace – SysAdmin

When getting mail from Jonathon Adler it is sent from liberace@jonathonadler.com. I love the idea of Liberace the SysAdmin. With his golden servers, ermine covered server racks, and pool in the middle of his data center.

At the Hospital

So after a rather exciting morning we’re at the hospital. Julie woke up at 4:45, but I didn’t get up until she took a shower around 7am. We waited until Julie’s Doctors office opened and headed over. They validated that Julie was indeed in labor. We both knew that already. So we got ourselves across the street to the hospital as fast as possible. Some stuff occurred. Lah, lah, lah. And Julie has her epidural now, and we’re hanging. The Doc is currently in surgery so they’re not going to get this party going for a bit. So we’re just relaxing. Happy for the miracles of modern science that have Julie currently out of pain.

My beautiful rock-star wife!

We feel like poop.

Julie and I feel like poop. The baby has not arrived yet. I’m working a lot on my (actually monkey-making) venture BuyPlayTix. I have a blog for it – http://blog.buyplaytix.com.

I wrote a great post on religion and how people who don’t believe in Christianity don’t call themselves Christians anymore thanks to the preponderance of extremists in the Republican party. But that post got eaten. 🙁

Maybe I’ll rewrite it at some point.

Valentines

Kind of did a low key valentines day yesterday. Julie had a murder mystery, so I scrambled to come up with a menu and then drove off to Central Market. It was a quick trip. Got home and Julie left for work. I did some prep and then Stella and I made chocolate covered strawberries. It was a lot of fun. Especially when she held up her hands to me and said, “ooohhh, dirty”. To which I replied, “Stella, we’re making candy, the best part is dirty hands. Lick them off!” Anyway, I got kind of crafty with the strawberries and here they are: