stupidity, force

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.
stupidity, force

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.
stupidity, force

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.
stupidity, force

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

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 I do suggest reading this, which is shorter and easier to follow than the full book.
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stupidity, force

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.
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stupidity, force

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.
stupidity, force

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.
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    impressed impressed
stupidity, force

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.
stupidity, force

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?
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    pensive pensive
stupidity, force

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.
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    moody moody