On iPads, Economics, Oral Sex, and Avatars

Twenty years later, I’ve begun to realize that concepts I once though esoteric or relegated to the far stretches of my imagination have a way of abruptly showing up in the real world.

I can’t remember how old I was when my parents started taking us to Jim Fulton’s house for Bible Study, but I couldn’t have been any older than 13. I always liked visiting Jim & Pam; Jim’s deeply intellectual examinations of Christianity seemed to drive my dad batty, and Pam’s exquisite home and inherent grace were a delight to my developing Midwestern fashion sense. Those Bible studies only lasted for a few months, but Jim Fulton had a rather disproportionate level of influence on my early intellectual development.

Jim suggested I read the works of Ludwig von Mises, the Austrian economist. I found the reading difficult at first, and only gradually grew to understand and more fully enjoy it. It probably shaped a lot of my early thought on Economics and Economic Policy, and continues to influence me even now. Jim didn’t stick with non-fiction suggestions, though.

Twenty years later, I’ve begun to realize that concepts I once though esoteric or relegated to the far stretches of my imagination have a way of abruptly showing up in the real world.

Had my parents read Ayn Rand’s Anthem themselves, they might have politely told Jim that von Mises’s works were “enough for now” – but they hadn’t, so at a tender young age I found myself exploring Rand’s vision of a collectivist dystopian future. A world where Hope and Individualism were clinging to existence by a single human thread stretched the bounds of a young imagination molded by Star Trek & The Chronicles of Narnia. The concept of a world where using the pronoun “I” was a capitol crime seemed so foreign and remote that I subconsciously relegated its like to the far stretches of my imaginary repertoire.

Twenty years later, I’ve begun to realize that concepts and futures I once thought esoteric or impossible have an way of abruptly showing up in the real world. Captain Picard’s PADD came to life today in the fertile hands of Apple’s Steve Jobs. This week in California, the Merriam Webster dictionary was pulled from classrooms after a parent objected to the dictionary defining “oral sex.” The Democratic President of the United States has proposed a spending freeze, and I’m disgusted with him for shirking his promises to the gay community.

I suppose my nieces and nephews will be walking around in sexy, gangling, genetically engineered avatars when they’re my age.

Bobby Jindal’s Volcano STILL Going Strong

Redoubt Volcano Eruption, March 9, 09
Redoubt Volcano Eruption, March 9, 09
No word yet on whether Bobby Jindal has decided that volcano monitoring is important enough to spend money on. Regardless, Volcano Redoubt continues its menacing of Alaskan air travel, and manages to do it quite beautifully. Like everyone and everything else (including me), Redoubt has its own Twitter page.

Fire the Management

If it wasn’t so frightening, it could be highly entertaining to sit back and watch the collapse of the American economy. The current financial crisis, coupled with the destruction of our national reputation over the past 7 years, has all but guaranteed the end of Pax Americana.

If it wasn’t so frightening, it could be highly entertaining to sit back and watch the collapse of the American economy. The current financial crisis, coupled with the destruction of our national reputation over the past 7 years, has all but guaranteed the end of Pax Americana. The world is about to enter a period of uncertainty and global unrest not encountered since the decent of the British Empire. Burly China, Paranoid Russia and Over-Populated India are about to emerge onto the global horizon as superpowers who can stand toe-to-toe with a struggling United States in the battle for global ideological dominance. Pax Americana - an image of Uncle Sam rolling up his sleeves, one hand clenched in a fist, and a righteous glare on his face.

Step back with me for a second, and look at the United States from a different perspective. Think of the United States government as a corporation, its Executive just a CEO, Bernanke just the CFO, and Congress a collection of Vice Presidents. If a major corporation found itself in the predicament that the US government is in now, what would that corporation’s shareholders demand? I’m thinking they would demand a reckoning – heads on a platter, all the paperwork and books thrown wide open, and reviews of the performance and actions of every single officer.

Why should the American People settle for less? In fact, why are fully half of them settling for less? The McCain campaign should find itself ruined by the current upheaval. McCain and his current advisers are virtually the architects of this current financial crisis. His economic and foreign policy are virtually identical to that of the current administration. Instead of examining his platform, and making the appropriate changes, apologies and reconciliations, the McCain team is trying to cast doubt on the only alternative platform offered. As Barack Obama said of the recent debate, “John McCain had a lot to say about me, but he had nothing to say about you.”

So, America, who are you going to side with? The guy who has nothing to say about us, or the guy whose platform rests on asking us to believe in our own ability to bring about change?