Nicholas D. Rosen's Journal|
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|Saturday, March 15th, 2014|
|Georgist Conference in Pittsburgh, Part Thirty-Two
After the CGO Business Meeting, the next event was "Technology for Movement-Building," with Jacob Shwartz-Lucas and Edward Miller (and Lindy Davies, as it turned out). First Lindy, the Program Director of the Henry George Institute
, talked about marketing, and Google Adwords in particular. What worked to bring people to the website, he said, was stuff about economics, phrases like "What is economics?" and "Economic terms defined". The landing page on the website should be relevant.
We need to think in terms of having a valuable product, he said, and finding people who want it.
Jacob Shwartz-Lucas, a young Georgist and the Outreach Coordinator for The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, said that there are people out there who care, but don't understand political economy. A few years ago, he emailed 500 economists, humanitarians, etc., and asked their advice. He got book recommendations and so forth. He knew that there were problems. He has an M.S. degree in Microbiology, by the way.
He was on Facebook; he put out ideas, like microfinance. He heard from Edward Miller, a young Georgist, and learned about land value taxation, pollution charges, etc. "If justice demands it, it must be done."
To be continued.
|The Red Queen's Race
I got one amendment since my last RQR report -- well, not exactly an amendment, but it appeared on my Expedited docket. I dealt with that, and with the two amendments I already had, so I'm down to zero amendments.
I've been working on my oldest Continuing New case, not finished, but I've made progress.
About two months ago, I filled out my Financial Disclosure Report, and put it in the outgoing mail bin. Apparently it got lost somehow, so I made two more copies, and put one in a pick-up tray. Just in case they lose that as well, I wrote a cover letter for the other copy I made, and put the whole thing in an envelope. Monday, I plan to stop at the Post Office, and send it in by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested. Just one of the little frustrations of being a federal bureaucrat.
|Monday, March 10th, 2014|
|A Thank-You Note
I received a charming thank-you note from my newly six-year-old niece, expressing gratitude for the books I sent her. I presume that her writing was supervised, and that my sister or her husband addressed the envelope, but the handwriting was still good for a girl in kindergarten.
One of the books was about crystals -- if she can't read all the mineralogical terms, she can certainly appreciate the pictures -- and I heard from my sister that she appreciates the book because "dragons like crystals." Current Mood: charmed
|Sunday, March 9th, 2014|
|Friday Board Meeting
On Friday, I took a train to NYC, ate lunch, did a little shopping, and then went to the Henry George Institute
Board meeting, of which I may have more to say at some point. Then I took a train back to DC, and the Metro and a cab home. Between that and springing forward an hour, I've done a good bit of napping this weekend. I did go to the office for a while on Saturday, and finish the Office Action I had begun Thursday.
Oh, and I was re-elected as President of the Henry George Institute. Let's remember that our Program Director, Lindy Davies, does most of the work. Current Mood: awake
|Saturday, March 8th, 2014|
|Georgist Conference in Pittsburgh, Part Thirty-One
On the morning of Friday, August 9, we began with the Council of Georgist Organizations business meeting. I was there as representative of the Center for the Study of Economics
. I'm also an affiliate member (that is, as an individual rather than an organization), but affiliate members don't vote.
We approved the next meeting of the Council of Georgist Organizations, to take place in Newport Beach, California, July of 2014. There was discussion of various possibilities for 2015, with no conclusions being reached.
|Thursday, March 6th, 2014|
|The Red Queen's Race
One amendment showed up on my docket this week, bringing the total up to two.
I've been working on my oldest Continuing New case. I've basically done the searching, and know what to write in the Office Action; now I have to do the Office Action and associated papers (can you still say "papers" once they're all electronic?). I may be able to do that and even finish something else by 3:00 PM Monday; we'll see.
|Tuesday, March 4th, 2014|
Reason Magazine has an article on labor corporatism and the Volkswagen union vote
. It's worth reading for its own sake; it also teaches that labor corporatism traces to the encyclical Rerum Novarum
, which I have read. Rerum Novarum
is not explicitly anti-Georgist -- it does not mention Henry George or explicitly mention the mass movement, for so it was at the time, which he inspired -- but passages in it can be taken as anti-Georgist. Certainly George himself took it as such, and replied with admirable courtesy to the pope, but a clearly reasoned dissection of Rerum Novarum
and defense of his own views, in his Open Letter to Pope Leo XIII
By the way, there are Georgist Catholics, whatever Pope Leo would have thought about the matter, and I attended a conference on Georgist-Catholic dialogue at the University of Scranton a few years ago. At one point, there was discussion of just what the original Latin meant, and how far Pope Leo's defense of private property, which did not explicitly forbid any land reform, or taxation of land, but did seem to imply that landed property had as firm a basis as a man's property in the produce of his own labor, was compatible with Georgism. Pope Leo XIII's own thoughts are not known; he did not acknowledge George's critique.
Anyway, it may be true to say that over a century of Catholic social teaching grew out of a conservative pope's hostility to the notion that taxes should fall on the ownership of land, rather than labor, capital, and entrepreneurship. Or that may be an exaggeration, but Rerum Novarum
makes it quite clear that Leo XIII, at least, preferred labor unions under clerical guidance to radical reform of taxes and property.
|Income Taxes Filed
Well, I've electronically filed my income taxes, to the IRS and its little brother in Virginia. TurboTax does help, but it shouldn't be necessary; also, in addition to paying $49.99 plus sales tax (another tax we shouldn't have) for TurboTax Deluxe, I paid another $19.99 to file my Virginia return. It used to be that I didn't have to pay for the privilege of paying state income tax, which could be done by mail, or, later, by telephone; but I think that the electronic tax-package lobby bears some responsibility for the current arrangement.
|Saturday, March 1st, 2014|
|How Universities Fail Their Students in Crisis
The estimable Leah Libresco has an article on how universities fail their students in crisis
; it refers to the recent kerfuffle at Patrick Henry, as well as to Angie Epifano's troubles at Amherst, about which I have blogged before. (I am an Amherst alumnus, class of 1985, who was barely graduated rather than expelled, and I have issues, to put it politely, with some of the people who were in authority at Amherst College twenty-nine years ago.)
LL's article does suggest that the administrators with whom Miss Epifano dealt may not have just been fatuous lunkheads (which is not to insist that they were not). They may have been acting according to policies made for pretty good reasons of liability. If a student has been raped, and is therefore presumptively traumatized, it may be good sense from the legal perspective to expel her, or closely supervise her while she remains on campus. That way, just in case she kills herself or kills someone else, the college probably won't be held liable, and similarly with a student who admits to having some psychological problems.
There seem to be several perspectives on this. First, if you are a college student or prospective student, you should read about these issues, and be warned. There may also be a case for passing laws to change the risk calculus which educational institutions face, so that they won't be held liable if a student who was not obviously a ticking time bomb does commit a crime or suicide, but will be held liable if they go too far in bullying or wrongfully expelling students. I must admit, I could see such a legal reform leading to perverse consequences of its own, and I don't claim to have a perfect solution. Current Mood: infuriated
|The Red Queen's Race
I got one quasi-amendment on my Expedited docket, and dealt with that, so I'm back to where I began, with one amendment on my Amended docket (formerly known as the Regular Amended docket).
Also, I did a Continuing New case, finishing before 3:00 PM Monday, so it got counted for last biweek, and then a Regular New case.
|Wednesday, February 26th, 2014|
Last week, I participated in USPTO Toastmasters' International Speech contest. I flatter myself that I gave a pretty good speech, but I didn't win first place, or even second, so someone else will be representing us in the Area-level contest next month. The competition was stiffer than it was in some past years.
|Sunday, February 23rd, 2014|
|Saturday, February 22nd, 2014|
|The Red Queen's Race
I got two amendments this week. One of them appeared on my Expedited docket, so I dealt with it. The other is on my Regular Amended docket, or whatever it's called in the latest version of eDAN, and I'll get to it later, so I have one amendment to be done.
I also dealt with a Special Programs New case this week. Before the Expedited amendment appeared, I started work on a Continuing New case; I probably won't be able to finish that by Monday at 3:00 PM, but I'll see what I can manage.
|Friday, February 21st, 2014|
|Georgist Conference in Pittsburgh, Part Thirty
We -- those of us who went on the bus trip, at least, which was most of us -- went to the Heinz Historical Museum on the afternoon of Thursday, August 8. the museum guide told us about the Seven Years War (1756-1763), and Dan Sullivan told us how the Washington family's illegal land speculation started it. That may be a slight exaggeration, but it isn't a groundless assertion. Virginians were trying to expand their settlements and landholdings into the backcountry, and George Washington was involved. Dan Sullivan said that when he went out as a surveyor and then a militia officer, his notebooks reflected his concern with the economic potentials of the land, where other men made notes on the military aspects, such as where a good place to put a fort might be.
There were French and Canadians active in that part of the world. The Indians tended to see them as a counterweight to the British North American colonies, with their expanding population and greed for land. Not only was French Canada further away, but the French colonists tended to intermarry with the Indians and exchange with them culturally, for example, by getting tattoos to prove how tough they were. The French Canadians were farmers to some extent, but also fur traders and woods runners, and their population was smaller, but they had been able to hold their own militarily, since every man from the age of sixteen was a soldier in the militia. Like their Indian allies, they were excellent light infantry, while scarlet-clad British regulars were burdened by more equipment, and not trained or well-suited for fighting in the forests.
We saw various dioramas, artifacts, and illustrations. To make a long story short, George Washington and his men fought a skirmish in the disputed lands, and killed not just a few enlisted men, but a French officer, de Jumonville. The French, who had greater forces at hand, got him to sign a letter, in French, apologizing for the "assassination." Washington, a monoglot, later claimed that he hadn't understood the letter. This was a stain on George Washington's reputation, and an incident in the series of squabbles that led to outright war. We heard more about the war, for example, how the British general Braddock led us troops into a catastrophic defeat in the wilderness, from which Washington had the astonishing good fortune to escape.
Anyway, the war ended with a British victory, and the British conquest of Canada. The American colonists no longer felt much in need of British protection against a nearby foe, the British wanted to squeeze the colonies for revenue to pay for some of the debt incurred fighting the war, and to continue restricting American commerce and manufacturing; there were various other grievances, and so the stage was set for the American Revolution.
After the museum visit, we went to dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse.
|Sunday, February 16th, 2014|
|Georgist Conference in Pittsburgh, Part Twenty-Nine
Reporting on Thursday, August 8, I neglected to turn a page in my notebook, so my last entry ended a little earlier than it should have. I reported that David Harrell said that he was concerned that leftists define "commons" very broadly -- socialism by another name. How to distinguish their "commons" from the real and legitimate commons?
Greg Pace answered that, sorta.
David Harrell asked, "Where do the commons end?"
Greg Pace recommended OntheCommons.org
. He did not, to my mind, give much of a straight answer.
After the session on "The Commons Movement," we ate lunch, and heard more reports from member organizations during lunch.
In the afternoon, we set off for Pittsburgh itself (we were in a hotel near the Pittsburgh airport), and took the Monongahela Incline up a steep hill to an overlook where we could see the Golden Triangle and some other parts of the city. (The Incline is something in between a streetcar and an elevator. It takes people up and down a hill that I wouldn't care to try to walk or drive up.)
After looking and chatting for a bit, we got into buses, and set off for the John Heinz Historical Museum, which, in association with the Smithsonian, was doing a special display on the Seven Years War, aka the French and Indian War, 1756-1763. More about that in the next installment.
|Saturday, February 15th, 2014|
|Live Not By Lies
Here's an article by Angelo Codevilla, Live Not By Lies
. Tip o' the hat to Sarah Hoyt for the URL. Please read the article, whatever your political opinions may be. A difference of opinions is one thing; systematic lying about the facts is another. Current Mood: indignant
|Georgist Conference in Pittsburgh, Part Twenty-Eight
After the scheduled speakers on "The Commons Movement," Joshua Vincent of The Center for the Study of Economics
spoke for a bit, talking about how we got a law passed in Connecticut. We had some success there in 2009, a pilot program in New London, but the City Manager hated it, and put landowners on the committee.
were in favor of the bill; they're actual capitalists, not necessarily seeking special privileges. The environmentalists and anti-sprawl people were also in favor of the bill.
Hartford has a high property tax rate, and Greenwich the lowest in the state. Three cities are to have a pilot program for LVT. There's dialogue on what to do; perhaps a statewide property tax?
Joshua Vincent went on to mention OntheCommons.org
, where he had an article published a few months before. (Here's an article by Joshua Vincent about Connecticut
, published in onthecommons.org, and here's another article from that publication
, by Professor Mason Gaffney and Rich Nymoen.)
Alanna Hartzok said that we need dialogue between the Georgist movement and the commons movement.
David Harrell said that he was concerned that leftists define "commons" very broadly -- socialism by another name. How to distinguish their "commons" from the real and legitimate commons?
|Friday, February 14th, 2014|
|The Red Queen's Race
I began the week without any amendments, and I didn't get any, so I'm still at zero amendments, the Red Queen outraced for now. I confirmed the abandonment of an application that could have shown up as an amendment; instead, the attorney realized from my first action rejection that there was good prior art against the claimed invention (claim 1 was anticipated, not just obvious), so he confirmed to me that he had not filed a response.
I did a first action on my oldest Continuing New case. I started on my oldest Regular New, but I put that aside because a special TrackOne case had appeared on my docket as a Special Programs New case. I'll try to deal with that next.
|Wednesday, February 12th, 2014|
|A Small Celebration
Today I attended a small party for three of my colleagues at work, two of them in an office across from mine and down the corridor just a little, and one in the office just past that. (I have an office of my own with a window; they're sharing office which don't have windows, but they may move on to better things.) They gave a little party because they have now passed the first half of the program, and now have partial signatory authority. They can now sign their own non-final rejections, but still need a supervisor or primary examiner (I'm a primary) to sign their allowances and final rejections. In another year or so, they may be primaries like me.
I had just eaten lunch, so I didn't eat much of the goodies, but I ate a few blueberries, and drank an ounce or so of coffee. Current Mood: Congratulatory