Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Quick Libertarian Platform Committee Update

The Libertarian Party's platform committee recently passed (by email ballot) this recommendation, which I supported but initially considered doomed to fail:

Add new Plank 2.5 as follows:

As we oppose all government intervention in marketplaces, we favor the repeal of intellectual property laws. Disputes between inventors, creators, authors, artists, businesses and other such entities should be resolved without government intervention.

My similar initial view is that the convention delegates are unlikely to pass the committee's recommendation. But I'm glad the LP is finally starting to wrestle with the notion of "intellectual property." We'll get to discuss it on the floor, assuming it's early enough in the committee's report for the delegates to actually get to (at present, the convention agenda only allows two hours for platform business, because non-business dog and pony shows take priority over the party's actual work with the convention committee).

The committee has its first electronic meeting tonight from 7pm-9pm Mountain Time (yes, you're all invited to watch if you're really that hard up for entertainment). The information, not all of which I understand:

Meeting ID: 307 741 855

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Meeting ID: 307 741 855

Hard to Believe ...

... how little I've blogged this month.

For that matter, I basically took a week off of doing anything but the absolute minimum.

Got a painful ear infection that made it difficult to concentrate (the antibiotics haven't finished it off yet, but they're working on it).

Also, I quit smoking at right about the same time (ten days ago).

I'm not sure what the ear infection / non-smoking ratio of grouchiness and complete exhaustion is, but I do think I'm starting to come out of it.

NB: I don't know if Chantix works for everyone, but it's working for me. Except for the vivid dreams part. I was hoping for vivid dreams, but if I'm having them I'm not remembering them. On the "suppresses nicotine cravings" end, it's great stuff. I used a patch for the first couple of days, and have had a nicotine lozenge every day or two, but 90%+ of the time, I don't even miss the cancer sticks.

Hopefully I'll be completely back in the saddle by the end of the week.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Oren Cass Gets It

Via James Hohmann at WaPo:

"When you had a situation where the free market was delivering the social outcomes that conservatives most prized, libertarians and conservatives tended to agree,” [Cass] said. “What we've seen more recently is a growing understanding that the market does not necessarily in all cases deliver a set of social outcomes that conservatives prize.”

Or, to put it a different way, libertarianism and conservatism are not and never have been allies as such.

Libertarianism is a river that always flows in a particular direction (toward a future of freedom) on principle.

Conservatism is an improvised beaver dam of pragmatism built to block/contain that river.

Every so often, the dam breaks and conservatives yell "see, we're going in the same direction!" as they float down the river helplessly until they can get their acts together to start their blocking operation again.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

"Fractured and divisive contest for the nomination"

That's WaPo for "Bernie's winning."

The results in Iowa and New Hampshire aren't that dissimilar from 2008 or 2004.

The difference is that in 2004 and 2008, only reasonably party-establishment-approved candidates were putting up the winning or near-winning numbers.

If the vote totals for Sanders and Buttigieg in New Hampshire were reversed, WaPo would be crowing about how Buttigieg is "uniting the party."

Brief Platform Committee Update

The Libertarian Party's platform committee has finished voting by email ballot and the following proposal has passed:

Amend Plank 3.4 as follows:

We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders.

The committee is currently voting on the following proposal, and it looks pretty good for passage:

Add new Plank 2.5 as follows:

As we oppose all government intervention in marketplaces, we favor the repeal of intellectual property laws. Disputes between inventors, creators, authors, artists, businesses and other such entities should be resolved without government intervention.

Looks like we've got a nicely radical committee this year! Of course, passage of these proposals is up to the larger body of delegates to the national convention, but we're certainly going to be giving them some things to discuss.

We STILL haven't decided on whether to have a meatspace meeting between now and national convention time (I'd like to get that settled one way or the other ASAP -- if the answer is "yes," air fare and lodging costs go up every day we delay setting a time/place).

In fact, we haven't even scheduled our first "e-meeting" yet.

My personal opinion is that almost all of our work could be done more efficiently by email, but I'm in the minority on that. Most people want at LEAST some Internet-based conferencing.

Monday, February 10, 2020

OK, Time for an Either an Oscar Consolidation or an Oscar Exclusion

Last night, Parasite became the first non-English-language film to win the "Best Picture" Academy Award.

It also won several other Oscars, including "Best International Feature Film," the award for "a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States with a predominantly non-English dialogue track." That Oscar used to be called "Best Foreign Language Film."

The awards should either be consolidated or exclude each other.

That is, now that it's been established that a foreign-language and/or foreign-produced film can win "Best Picture," the academy could get rid of the "Best International Feature Film" category as redundant.

Or, if Parasite is consider an outlier and it really isn't time to get rid of a special category for "foreign films," it could allow a film to be nominated for one or the other, but not both.

I haven't seen Parasite, so I don't know if it really was the best picture in either category. But if e.g. The Irishman and Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood weren't eligible for both categories, Parasite shouldn't have been either.

Friday, February 07, 2020

Blog Bleg

I don't recall making any big changes to this blog lately, but all of a sudden it loads verrrrrrrrrrry slowly for me (in multiple browsers, on multiple OSes).

Anyone else having the same problem? Anyone have an idea as to why?

FreedomPop is Dead, Long Live Ting

A couple of years ago, we got Tamara signed up with FreedomPop, which seemed like a pretty good cell phone deal ($79 per year of phone/text/limited data, decent price on a refurbished Samsung S5 phone).

It turned out to be kinda crappy -- the "phone/text" part of the deal was actually VOIP, which used your data unless you were connected to Wi-Fi, etc. Tamara usually ended up spending another $10 a month on data because of that, and half the time the damn thing didn't seem to be able to find a tower or whatever.

A few months ago, we received notice that her service was being transferred from FreedomPop to a company called Ting (yes, that is a referral link, and if you're looking for inexpensive cell/data, I suggest you use it see below).

Now she's paying $10 a month plus tax ($11.74 total) for real cell phone/text and a gigabyte of data (she hasn't had to buy additional data yet). The service always seems to work and she's had no complaints.

Well, one complaint, but not with Ting -- her S5 took a dirt nap, and she has to get a new phone. She's getting a Motorola Moto G6 from Ting for a hundred bucks.

If you use that there referral link to go with Ting, you get $25 credit and she gets a referral spiff.