Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Weird thing of the day 23 February 2005/14 'Adhar Ri'shon 5765 (Purim Qatan/National Dog Biscuit Day)

Greetings.

General note: You can reply directly to the mailed version of the blog, and the replies go directly to me. However, some of the replies some of you have sent me are more suitable as comments directly on the blog, so please feel free to post your comments. On-line commentary was one of the main reasons I wanted a blog in the first place.

Caveat: Comments whose language or insinuations go beyond the bounds of decency will be deleted. I have already done this to Bobby Awesome.

Furthermore, I would like to note to the last person to send me a message on Social Security that:
  • I am not a Democrat. I am an anti-Republican. The difference is not that I think the Democratic Party is great; rather I believe that the Republican Party has degenerated into the party of the greedy rich who do not care if the rest of the country suffers horribly, so long as they themselves do well, and therefore must be opposed.
  • Taking Bush’s plan in the most generous light rationally possible, I still oppose it. Yes, some people might do better on it, but many would not. Stock is not a reliable place to keep money in the long term. The market fluctuates, and given enough time, the market inevitably crashes. The odds are that many people on Bush’s plan will lose money in their private accounts in the stock market, which defeats the purpose of Social Security in the first place. One’s money would be safer in a mattress. Now, I am aware that Bush wants to make his plan one which people opt into, so one could easily avoid the problems associated with the stock market. That is good news for me, but what about those who do not realize that stock is risky? I am a religious man, and in my religion the ideal is that people ought to care for each other, including helping the poor and getting them self-supporting so they do not need charity, and that we should reduce human suffering. (These values are shared by other ideologies, too.) The Bush plan works against these ideals, since it would make millions of people financially worse off, resulting in many people needing to give money, time, and effort towards helping them that might otherwise be better utilized (such as towards education and curing diseases). Net suffering would increase. As such, I feel justified in exercising my democratic rights and complaining about Bush’s plan. Those who disagree may complain about my complaining in comments on the blog. I am quite fallible, and if anyone has good reason to believe I am wrong on this or any other issue, I welcome such criticism.
Today’s weird thing is A. K. Dewdney’s article “A Tinkertoy computer that plays tic-tac-toe”. Enjoy.

Aaron
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