Sunday, February 25, 2007

iPod Shuffle

First ten songs when iPod set to shuffle:

1. One Piece at a Time - Johnny Cash
2. Fire - Randy Stonehill
3. O How the Mighty Have Fallen - The Choir
4. I Remember You - Gene Eugene
5. Go With God But Go - Mike Roe
6. Spirit In the Sky - Larry Norman
7. Pin Your Wings Down - Copeland
8. It Takes A Lot of Love - The Waiting
9. Listen For The Laugh - Bruce Cockburn
10. Precious Jesus - Leigh Nash, Derri Daugherty
11. It's Alright Blondie - Starflyer 59

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Road to Serfdom

The Reader's Digest Condensed Version of this book by Hayek, including a comic-strip version at the end is available in pdf online here.
Also available is the comic strip version set to music here.

My rant on Wallis' blog

The religious right needed to be exposed for the rent-seeking, special interest, manipulative, exclusive ideologues that they are. Their appeals to patriotism and nationalism in the name of God were misplaced. The license granted to Israeli Zionists to commit violence without just cause departs from the unique ethical mandate entrusted to followers of Christ.

Violence is only justified for Christians in order to halt aggressors and protect innocents.

Secular nations may do what they will, but it is the responsibility of the Church to work for social justice.

We can petition those who hold the sword to punish evildoers, but there is no mandated role for the state to go beyond this into the unique realm of the Church: charity.

If there is good to be done it must be done voluntarily by willing agents. The Church is the proper institution for organizing, equipping, covering, confirming, and channeling such agents to those who are in need.

We must recognize this and keep from falling into the same trap that our mainstream grandfathers did before the evangelical religious right did also.

The state is powerful, and if it could be managed in such a way as to do good it could be a powerful tool. But the entire basis for the state is force. Compulsion. No edict is obeyed out of volition, only by submission under threat of punishment. Good works done under such conditions are stripped of their virtue. The incentive structure for those who make decisions for the state disables them from making decisions for the good. They are only capable of deciding in favor of the efficient.

Appeals to the state to do the work specifically delegated to the church is the same as asking the king to do the priestly work of sacrifice. Saul lost his kingdom for such behavior. David recognized where the lines were drawn.

Mainstream Christianity relinquished its proper role of managing welfare last century. The state took over. Whether the state has done a better job is irrelevant to those who recognize it as their unique responsibility.

Evangelical Christianity attempted to impose morality upon the state based upon human values instead of godly virtues. Where it succeeded it even got the values wrong.

The message is: Work to restrict the state to its proper sphere: wielding the sword for the punishment of evildoers. But first, work to build the church, and to live out the gospel by imitating Him who called us.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Indexed does it again!

Another clever heptagram from Indexed. She's such a card. Where's Constitutional Republic?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Externalities of Municipal Utilities

Someone is stealing Baltimore's aluminum. Light posts, that is.

Some econ inspired questions:

How long until Baltimore starts using wooden poles again? Aluminum obviously has a more highly valued use.
1. Would stiffer penalties for stealing publicly owned infrastructure deter these crimes? The current interest rate on crime is obviously too low.
2. Is the activity gang-related? Is this a lower-risk revenue source than selling drugs? Would legalizing drugs increase/decrease the number of poles stolen?!?
3. What is the lag time for decision makers to stop using aluminum and employing some alternative? What are the net welfare losses?
4. What alternative materials might be more cost-effective?
5. Would it be cheaper to just fill the light-posts with concrete to deter theft?
6. What if a monitoring device were attached randomly to various poles? How many devices would be required to insure eventual detection (statistically)?
7. What are the chances that the city of Baltimore hasn't considered #'s 1-6 above, and will propose bigger municipal government as the only solution?

Monday, February 05, 2007

It's Hard to be Black in a White Church

My new friend, Anthony Bradley, has a conversation running on his blog about how tiresome it can be to be a black man in a white church. It tiresome for white guys, too.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

My brutha's home page, he so fly!

It's a joke, people.

Hillsborough Street

Amy Denton has an op-ed at NCUS's Technician today.
I have a response:

Amy Denton might be wrong about Hillsborough Street. She cites the money already spent, says businesses would survive longer, and eatery variety would improve by installing the proposed roundabouts. She neglects the costs.
The $260,000 already spent, ought to be considered a sunk cost. Suppose you drove to the movies to see the Greatest Movie Ever. When you got there it wasn’t playing. Instead This Movie Sucks was showing, and cost $20 a ticket. You already suffered the expense of getting to the theater, so shouldn’t you still see what’s showing? No, and neither do past expenses justify future ones on Hillsborough Street.
Second, the proposed changes may subsidize some businesses at the expense of others. For example, there are two florists located on Hillsborough Street. If the changes do improve commerce for these florists we should be happy, right? But there’s another florist just a few blocks away on Peace Street. If customers gravitate towards the others, he will lose business. The Hillsborough Street florists are benefiting from tax dollars spent improving their location. Some of those taxes were no doubt paid by the Peace Street business. It’s unjust. The local businesses should pay for the improvements themselves.
Finally, Denton abuses Bowls, which happens to make a very nice croissant sandwich besides serving cereal. She neglects many of the fine eateries on Hillsborough Street, some of whom are in today’s paper. You can eat Chinese, Korean, Irish, Mexican, and American here, and the pizza is good, too.