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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Nicholas D. Rosen's LiveJournal:

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Saturday, April 1st, 2017
2:15 am
Belle's Tax-Funded Fairy Tale Life
I haven't seen Beauty and the Beast, but I have come across a link to this analysis of relevant economics and history, which may be instructive as well as amusing.

It's from the Foundation for Economic Education, a bunch of sort-of free marketeers which used to be Georgist, many decades ago, but drifted away, or at least a Georgist named Frank Chodorov was involved, way back when. I say "sort-of free marketeers" because some of us take the view that a real free market requires equal rights to land.
1:31 am
The Red Queen's Race
I got one regular amendment this week, going to my regular Amended docket, and one post-allowance item showed up in my Expedited docket, so I'm up to four amendments, one of them Expedited.

I finished one Regular New case, and I'm working on another one, which I really want to finish by the deadline for the quarter, 3:00 PM on Monday. After that, I hope to work on my amendments expeditiously.
Thursday, March 30th, 2017
9:26 pm
Trump Street Journal
I've been reading the Wall Street Journal, especially the editorial page, for many years, and have not always agreed with it, but I have mostly agreed with much of it. I do think that it has been going downhill lately by sucking up to Donald Trump. For example, it has heaped scorn on the House Freedom Caucus people, and on other critics who have raised principled and practical objections to the AHCA bill to reform Obamacare. Reasonable men may differ as to whether passing a flawed bill is better than killing it, but I am offended both by the editorialist's contemptuous tone, and by the failure to address the substance of the classical liberals' objections.

This isn't the first time I've been displeased by the Journal lately.
Wednesday, March 29th, 2017
11:37 pm
The Corruption of Economics
There's a book which I have read, The Corruption of Economics, by Professor Mason Gaffney and Fred Harrison, which argues that not only did neoclassical economics take a wrong turn in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but that it was to some extent deliberately fraudulent, conceived as an anti-Georgist strategy by the robber barons and their hacks. I believe that the thesis is essentially correct, although I do not recommend the book as an introduction to Georgism; it's best to know in some detail what George said, and why, to fully appreciate what his opponents were saying, and the significance of their statements and their omissions.

That said, the book is now online for those who are interested, at http://www.cooperative-individualism.org/gaffney-mason_corruption-of-economics-1994.htm.

There is also a postscript which is new to me, so far as I can recall, about opposition to land value taxation in the aftermath of the democratization of South Africa. Under the apartheid regime, a number of South African localities had land-only or split rate property taxes, which was unfortunately lost, and the potential for land value taxation as a means of securing to all South Africans a share of their country's natural resources was largely ignored. This is at http://www.cooperative-individualism.org/harrison-fred_postscript-on-neo-classical-economics-1994-11.pdf. I do suggest reading this, which is shorter and easier to follow than the full book.

Current Mood: Scholarly
Tuesday, March 28th, 2017
12:20 am
Cherry Blossoms
We had a warm February, causing cherry trees and other plants to start blooming early, and then we had snow, leaving some of the new flowers dead or damaged. I am happy to report, though, that at least some cherry trees are now providing magnificent displays of blossoms.

Current Mood: enthralled
Sunday, March 26th, 2017
6:50 pm
Georgist Conference in Orlando, Part Six
To continue with Dan Sullivan's talk on "Southern Slavery, Northern Complicity," Mr. Sullivan said that there were Northerners who were OK with secession; they disapproved of slavery, but were willing to let the South go in peace. Lincoln was losing support. A delegation of Virginians came to see him, and he was willing to negotiate; he would not reinforce Southern forts.

In his first Inaugural Address, he repudiated what he had said to the Virginians, and denied that there was any right to secede. He sent an expedition to Fort Sumter, and promised the Confederates that it carried only food, not trips or gunpowder, but did not let them inspect it. And so the South Carolinians fired upon Fort Sumter, and the Civil War had begun.

Then there was a Q&A session. In reply to something, Dan Sullivan said that at least some Southerners wanted an end to the external slave trade to keep up the value of their property. Connecticut slave traders wanted a guarantee of twenty years before any interference in the slave trade.

Someone, presumably Dan, cited the economist and historian Jeffrey Rodgers Hummel, to the effect that secession meant slaves running away.

Ed Dodson said that someone -- was it Charles Beard? -- pointed out that a substantial amount of immigration made Northerners American, while Southerners remained Virginian, Georgian, etc.

BTW, Dan Sullivan himself is a Northerner, a Pennsylvanian.
Saturday, March 25th, 2017
5:46 pm
A Lover of Learning
I stayed at work late on Friday, and when I went to the King Street Metro station, it was closed. There were to be shuttle buses, but not then and there, and buses through traffic are slower than Metro trains, so I splurged on a taxi. The driver, as it happened, recognized me from several months before, and we got to talking. He thought I had a British accent, which I denied; however, he noted that I speak grammatically, which the British do. I pointed out that an educated American can also speak grammatically, and that he might have a skewed sample of British, since British visitors he had driven would be disproportionately well-to-do and educated, not semiliterate chavs.

He asked where I was from, so I told him that I had grown up mostly in State College, Pennsylvania, where my father had been a Professor of Philosophy. He asked about ancient Greek philosophers; he had heard of Aristotle, and wanted to know who had drunk poison, and why. I told him about how Socrates had been tried and condemned to drink hemlock, and how Plato, the student of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle, had written the Platonic dialogues, and taught future generations about Socrates. I mentioned that a friend of mine, as a child and teenager, had read these dialogues and wanted to join the conversation; they're not something you can't access without a college education and a professor to explain everything.

The taxi driver was not very well educated; he was bright and curious. He asked me, for example, whether Socrates had lived a thousand years ago, and I answered that it had been more than twenty-four hundred years ago. He asked whether Socrates had gone to a university, and I told him no; universities had been founded centuries later, in the Middle Ages, to teach the thought of Aristotle and other thinkers.

And so it went; he had questions about universities, and which was the oldest (I didn't know), and about the months I had spent in England at the age of eight, while my father taught at Cambridge for a term. Here was a man, born in India and having grown up in Pakistan, who didn't have my advantages or knowledge, but who was bright and eager to learn. I hope he gets the opportunity to read books and learn more about the subjects that interest him.

Current Mood: impressed
2:53 am
The Red Queen's Race
I got one new amendment this week, and I disposed of one old one, so I'm back at two regular Amendments. There was a little drama; I had proposed to add an additional element to each independent claim to make them allowable, and the patent enrolled agent got back to me with word from his client: he was willing to amend two of the three independent claims, but tried to argue about the third, and claim that my rejection in the first Office Action was improperly written and invalid.

I didn't agree, and told him that if he didn't consent to the proposed Examiner's Amendment, I would send him a Final Rejection instead of an Allowance. Then he could request a pre-Appeal Brief conference, at which my supervisor and another worthy would decide whether my rejection was Boardworthy. If they upheld me, he could write an Appeal Brief for the Board of Appeals, and find out what they thought. Also, even if my supervisor agreed that my rejection was improper, and I didn't admit that it was, then the result would probably be a new non-final rejection drawn up right, not an allowance.

The patent agent didn't seem delighted, but he did authorize me to amend all three independent claims and allow the case, which I proceeded to do.

I also finished a first action rejection in a new case Monday, in time to be counted for last biweek. The I did a first action rejection on my new oldest Regular New case, and then I started work on another Regular New case this week. I want to finish that and another case before the quarter ends, with the deadline being Monday, April 3.
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
11:20 pm
You Can't Make This Stuff up (Academic Division)
Reason online has an item about six professors at Wellesley determined to protect students from the "harm" of hearing anyone express ideas they don't like. If you think that these are professors of physics and engineering (which you probably don't), then you're wrong. According to the comments, they're professors of sociology and such.

How far can this khrappe go before some academic institutions lose the prestige they have as an inheritance from the days when they were genuinely needed to educate students?

Current Mood: pensive
12:21 am
1401 Days Left
Donald Trump has been President of the United States for sixty days, and World War Three has not broken out, the Constitution has not been entirely trashed, and the government is not bankrupt (yet).

Let us count our blessings.

Current Mood: moody
Sunday, March 19th, 2017
6:59 pm
Georgist Conference in Orlando, Part Five
To continue with the morning of August 16, Dan Sullivan spoke on "Southern Slavery, Northern Complicity," and, being a Georgist, he began by saying that there are three fundamental factors of production, and three corresponding forms of slavery: Land -- tenantry; Labor -- chattel slavery; Capital --debt.

Only 4% of slaves from Africa went to the U.S., or what would become the U.S. Subsequent to initial transportation from Africa, some slaves from the West Indies were later taken to the U.S.

To begin with, Irish people were transported as slaves, being regarded as aliens and enemies. There was a case where an Englishman killed a loyal Irishman, and, rather than being hanged for murder, he was jailed until he paid five marks to the king. Irish slaves were transported to Virginia and the West Indies.

Cromwell found or stated that Irish slaves died too quickly in hot climates. African slaves cost more, and were not to be worked to death.

At this point, there were some disputes about British history.

To continue with what Dan Sullivan was saying, there were the thirteen colonies' original Articles of Confederation, and then the Constitution. He mentioned the Continental currency, which became worthless, thanks to massive British forgery. The way to tell an authentic American Continental from a forgery is that the authentic Continentals had defects, and the British forgeries did not. There was bank issue of currency under the U.S. Constitution, and before that, Pennsylvania and Maryland had bills of credit, which people could use to pay taxes.

He mentioned the Whiskey Rebellion (which was about title to land as well as the tax on whiskey); later, Green County, Pennsylvania was pro-Confederate. He reviewed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which were opposed by the Virginia and Kentucky state governments, "interposing" between the federal government and their citizens.

There were various Southern complaints: Federal assumption of state debts, bounties to New England fishermen, (indirect) subsidies to ships in foreign trade, lower tariffs on goods carried in U.S.-made ships, and 80% of tariffs being paid by Southerners. To this, the Northerners replied, "But you have unpaid labor."

Jefferson urged Washington to stay in office a second term in order to preserve the union.

Simon Legree in Uncle Tom's Cabin was from New England, and thought he could work his slaves as hard as immigrants in New England. Harriet Beecher Stowe said things about this -- and this was a quote from an abolitionist!

Horace Greeley was quoted as well.

To be continued.
Saturday, March 18th, 2017
2:08 am
The Red Queen's Race
I got one post-allowance amendment to make minor corrections in the claims; this showed up on my Expedited docket, and I dealt with it. Otherwise, I'm left with the same two amendments in my regular Amended docket as before.

I did work on the older of those amendments, and called the patent attorney to suggest an Examiner's Amendment to make the case allowable. He needed to get in touch with his client, so I hope that everyone will agree to authorize my proposed changes and let me allow the case.

I finished a first action on my oldest non-RCE Regular New case on Monday, and then I did an Office Action on my oldest (and only) Request For Continued Examination case. I've been working on another case from my Regular New docket, and hope to turn that in before the biweek ends, Monday at 3:00 PM.

I dressed up in a white shirt, blue blazer, and green Henry George tie today, drawing some comments.

After dinner, I had "first sleep," and now I'm awake and online.
Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
10:51 pm
Pi Day
Today is Pi Day, and I celebrated with a slice of the pumpkin pie I made Sunday (I thought ahead, and wanted to eat some pie on Pi Day).

Despite the snow, the federal government did not shut down today, but the Patent Office was not crowded. I suppose that most examiners were either teleworking, taking annual leave, or working flexible schedules.

Current Mood: full
Sunday, March 12th, 2017
6:56 pm
So Much for the GOP
Shikha Dalmia has an article in Reason on how the Republicans have largely abandoned their supposed principles in deference to Donald Trump. That's not to say that there are no individual exceptions, but Republican Congressmen and other leaders have, for the most part, not spoken out to say, "I still believe in free trade, fiscal responsibility, refusing to truckle to Vladimir Putin, and the other principles I believed in two years ago. I will oppose bad measures from a supposedly Republican president, just as I would oppose them from a Democrat."

As our would-be caudillo might put it in ending a Twitter pronouncement: sad.

Current Mood: cynical
Saturday, March 11th, 2017
1:37 am
The Red Queen's Race
I got one post-allowance amendment on my Expedited docket, and dealt with that. I also dealt with three older cases on my regular Amended docket, so I'm now down to two amendments, both regular Amended.

I heard back from a patent attorney on Monday, and was able to finish my oldest Request for Continued Examination case. Now, I've been working on my oldest non-RCE Regular New case; I'm not finished with it, but I see light at the end of the tunnel.
Friday, March 10th, 2017
1:03 am
Advice Column
Meghan Leahy's family advice column in Thursday's Washington Post really struck a chord with me. Someone wrote in about her bright sixteen year old daughter, who ha been diagnosed with ADHD, and is not cooperating with treatment.

Ms. Leahy wrote, "There are significant challenges in parenting and educating many gifted children. These children tend to mature more slowly, be more sensitive and often have symptoms that mimic ADHD. Or they truly have ADHD or other executive-functioning issues. What our culture often forgets (or doesn't know) is that a high IQ does not necessarily correlate with emotional maturity or intelligence. Children with powerful brains are often burdened with weak emotional regulation. So it can be stressful to live this way."

That hits home to me; I was a very bright child who didn't fit in, and didn't have many kids my own age with whom I could get along or talk about what interested me. It's a good thing that I found books and science instead of narcotics.
Wednesday, March 8th, 2017
11:17 pm
Amherst Lawsuit, REVISED
I'm trying again, rewriting slightly, and hoping at the link will work this time:

Reason online had an article about an expelled student suing Amherst College. One of the commenters asked whether Amherst contended that a student had no right to a fair investigation of an accusation against him. The author of the piece replied that there were legal complications, but, essentially, yes.

I picture a lawyer for Amherst College saying, "May it please the court, the administrators and Judicial Board members at America's finest small liberal arts institution are a notorious pack of fatuous dolts and malignant scoundrels, from whom no student in his right mind could have expected a fair investigation."

I could file an amicus brief on the subject.

Current Mood: Bitterly amused
12:04 am
Amherst Lawsuit
Reason online had an item about an expelled student's lawsuit against Amherst College. In the comments section, someone asked whether Amherst College was contending that the student had no expectation of fair treatment. The author replied that there were complications, but, essentially, yes.

I picture a lawyer for Amherst College saying, "May it please the court, the administrators and Judicial Board members at America's finest small liberal arts institution are a notorious pack of fatuous dolts and malignant scoundrels, from whom no student in his right mind could have expected fair treatment."

I could file an amicus brief on the matter.

Current Mood: Bitterly amused
Tuesday, March 7th, 2017
12:35 am
One Chore Done
I filed my tax returns Monday morning, and headed off to work a bit late; I've requested an hour and a half of annual leave. This was finishing up after entering other information, digging up documents, etc. My taxes Re more complicated than they used to be, and the makers of TurboTax can rejoice at my buying a more expensive version of their product, and paying for audit protection.
Sunday, March 5th, 2017
7:04 pm
Latin Pronunciation
I was at the Patent Office, Saturday evening, as was another examiner; as I was arriving, I turned on the lights for our section of the fifth floor, while he was apparently on his way to do so. (On weekends, the lights go off, unless someone turns them on every two hours.) He said, "Fiat lux, et lux erat." I didn't catch the last word, so he repeated it, and I replied, "Intellego."

He asked me, in Latin, whether I could speak Latin, and I replied, "Linguam vetam Romanorum novi, sed nunc, multos post annos, eam non loquor." (I have studied the old language of the Romans, but now, after many years, I don't speak it.)

We got to chatting, and he commented that the standard view among classicists is that the v was pronounced like w in classic Latin. He doubted this for two reasons: first, that v isn't pronounced that way in any Romance language today; and secondly, that there was a fourth century German named Wolfgar, or something, who wrote in Latin, and used the letter w for one thing, his own name, implying that the Romans didn't have a sound for our w, or Wulfgar could have simply used the Latin letter for that. (W was not part of the original Roman alphabet.)

He suggested that instead, the Roman v may have been pronounced as a bilabial fricative, something like the Spanish v or b. That seems to make sense, although I can't be sure, and we don't have a recording of Caesar saying, "Veni, vidi, vici."

What do other people think?

Current Mood: Scholarly
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