9/11 for Kids

I agree with every part of this op-ed:

My middle school reacted swiftly. It only took one threat of suspension to get us to stop doing moves from “The Matrix” in the hallways.

They banned water guns, pocketknives, scissors and, inexplicably, magic markers. News reports started coming in about kids being expelled and arrested for things like playing with a paper gun, tossing a rubber band or having a butter knife in their car.

Some schools even punished students for wearing rosaries and Stars of David because they were “gang signs.”

Things didn’t get any better when I went to high school. Because Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold wore trench coats during part of their rampage, our principal banned all coats and jackets. When it got cold, she’d go class to class every morning and collect all the coats we had brought and pile them up in her office.

I’ve heard Columbine referred to as “9/11 for kids,” but I think the adults were more traumatized than we were. Their obsession with their vow to “never let it happen again” made them paranoid. They’ve spent the last decade coming up with ridiculous, ineffective rules and regulations. A temporary safety is allowed to trump any concern for liberty.

Maybe it was 9/11 for kids, after all.

via The Metropolis Times: Op-Ed: Ten years in the post-Columbine world.

Slumdog Millionaire: China under the KMT?

Three things that helped me understand the early Cold War were Slumdog Millionare, The Man Who Stayed Behind, and I Chose China.

One thing the Communists were really good at, when they took over a
country, is giving a lower-middle-class lifestyle to almost everyone,
and keeping it there. In economies that could have integrated with
the west (Cuba, East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, even
North Korea) this was really bad. In economies that started out
tremendously, and bitterly poor (the Soviet Union and China) this
wasn’t necessarily a bad deal.

I think India now is what China would have been if the KMT had won the
civil war. More-or-less western government tend not to go crazy, so
no cultural revolution, no great disruption, etc. But Communists
countries tend to do far more for the extreme poor, so you get
gigantic slums like in Bombay which simply do not exist in China.

Bad, but not as bad as it could have been

My laptop ( a Dell Inspiron 6000) stopped booting up today.

While I was immediately worried, I knew that I lost nothing of value. I have been using Microsoft Live Mesh to sync My Documents, so all of my important documents were immediately available in the cloud.

A couple minutes later I had downloaded Ubuntu and put it on a flash drive. I used that to boot up my laptop, and saw that all my files were intact.

I am delighted at how much more user-friendly Linux is now than the last time I used it.

While I still need to investigate the best way to recover my work flow from this situation, none of my files were lost, and I was rapidly back to almost full productivity (no automatic Mesh syncing to Linux, sadly).

Will we reward speculators for destroying houses?

When the housing bubble collapsed, many speculators who owned the mortgages or related financial instruments refused to sell them at market value.

The speculators said that the market value was an “accounting fiction,” and if only the house sat unempty for months or years on end, it would become valuable again.

The speculators refused to sell the house to someone who would care for it, out of their financial self-interest, and in many cases the houses were subsequently destroyed.

Calculated Risk: Report: One-Third of REOs Seriously Damaged
Popik says responses from thousands of real estate agents nationwide to the questionnaires he sends out quarterly indicate that badly damaged foreclosed homes … are a much bigger element of the national housing picture than officials in Washington have acknowledged.

“In many cases, it costs so much to rehabilitate these houses, it’s just not cost-effective,” he told CNN. “And the properties are eventually going to be bulldozed.”

Whenever speculators complain about “toxic assets,” they are angered that the goods they purchased are now worth less because (a) they purchased them in a bubble and (b) they have not maintained them.

The definition of a “toxic asset” is (a) something worth less than it once was that is (b) owned by someone politically powerful.

In China, where Obama is not President…

tdaxp’s note: I normally don’t write rhetorical posts, but on consideration I will publish this one anyway. Regardless of his original intentions or beliefs, Barack Obama has rapidly transitioned our society to an authoritarian/socialist model. This has real consequences, even if some parts of the socialist agenda are accidentally initiated by others.

Computer literacy makes you a threat in the eyes of the American police. Using proxies (such as for partialing out different content on different internet service providers) and Linux (” a black screen with white font which he uses prompt commands on”) can be used to increase sentences and seize property. Fortunately, this is only true in the United Staets. In China, where Obama is not President, I regularly use both proxies and linux.

Being an employee of a trade syndicate helps you get a good position in the American government. Obama now has 5 RIAA lawyers working for him. Fortunately, this is only true in the United States. In China, where Obama is not President, lawyers who attempt to sue grandmothers often find themselves outed by protests and internet activism.

In the United States, Barack Obama continues to subsidize foreign oil and natural gas. In China, where Obama is not President, the gas price discourages purchases from unstable third-world country and incentivizes produces to look to alternate energy.

In the United States, more than half a million people lost their jobs. In China, where Obama is not President, the economy grew 6.1%. Part of the reason is that Chinese President Hu JIntao, unlike American President Barack Obama, is not persuing socialist policies. In China, car companies and banks are expected to make money, and not merely function as arms of the Departments of Health and Human Services and Treasury.

Fortunately, our Presidency is not entirely terrible. In some areas, Barack Obama is taking leadership from China. High-speed rail. Glad that he is taking some cues from the People’s Republic.

Some cool links

I’ve been busy at the conference, and so posts in my Google Reader really piled up. Here are my reactions to some, in no particular order.


Sinosplace points to the first episode of the Menu Stealer, courtesy of ChinesePod

The Menu Stealer – episode 1: Guilin Mifen from PraxisLanguage on Vimeo..

There were three races of Neanderthals. At the education conference I was at their were some Critical Race Theorists who deny human biodiversity. I wonder if we will get Critical Neanderthal Theorists who deny racial differences among our extinct neanderthals cousins? Also from gnxp, King Carlos was more inbred than offspring from brother-sister marriages, Azerbaijan is more secular than France, the US and Korea are the top sources of missionaries

Tom, as always is well worth reading. He correctly attacks the Republican Party’s attempt to turn the Defense Department in to a jobs program, celebrates the upcoming publishing of Blueprint for Action by Tsinghua University, applauds the “soft-kill” approach to Havana, and applauds US-Indian security cooperation. Sadly, he overlooks that fundementalism is a modern form of Islam, or that judicial activism being applauded by a black gay New Yorker does not mean that Iowa supports homosexual marriage. I find a good filter for Tom’s work is to be skeptical of any piece that (a) reflects the ongoing business interests of Enterra Solutions or (b) concerns social issues.

Mexico is considering legalizing Marijuana. This is a more constructive approach than making fun of cancer victims, which is how Barack Obama responds to the issue.

A Chinese girl enjoying 15 minutes of fame is criticicized for having a black boyfriend.

Microsoft scuttles a company pub and scales back Live Labs. Too bad. If Microsoft is going to be an innovative place to work, it needs to encourage the cross-socialization of company employees and create disruptive technologies.

CN Reviews points me to ChinaSmack, which translates posts and comments from Chinese online forums. Typically these are human interests stories, such as this one on bullying among female college students

Goldman Sachs, which received $15 billion from AIG, will give $5 billion to AIG. Supporters of Barack Obama and Tim Geithner will call this progress.

Thanks to gmg Design for a recent link.