blorky: (Default)
2014-01-29 01:50 pm

(no subject)

Journal highlights to date:
The entries you should read if you're only going to read two:
The best entry ever
My favorite entry

And one link because I love this exercise, and I don't want it buried: Ask me anything

Here's the rest )
blorky: (Default)
2011-09-08 08:44 am

(no subject)

Yahrzeit.
blorky: (Omar coming!)
2011-08-19 12:20 pm

(no subject)

So here's my solution to solving the excesses of a banking industry that's managed to dump us in the shitpit of finanical crashes on a regular basis:

Drop nearly all regulation on financial instruments other than a simple one on the ratings agencies. When S&P/Fitch/Moody's issues a rating, they're paid a base fee that's up to them, but they are obliged to take on some portion of the credit default swap related to that instrument. The amount of that portion is progressive based on the actual rating. In other words, if they give something an AAA rating, they're obliged to take on, let's make up a number, a CDS for .07% of the instrument value. If they give something a CA rating, they're obliged to take on .002% of the instrument value. That way, the income stream from the policy on AAA offsets the tiny expenses of having to cover their portion of CA instruments that go belly up. For bank and institution ratings, the fee would similarly be based off a CDS off the bonds those institutions issue.

The advantage to this is that it is as close as we'll get to the ideal state that free market advocates purport to desire - that risks are clearly understood, with consequences that enforce best information/best practices. If you rate shit as gold, the expenses when your AAA CDO fails will eat you up. If you become overly conservative, you'll eke out a living getting tiny income streams from AAA quality instruments that you rated as CA. Here's the important part: If you have no way of determining the quality of the instrument that an investment bank has brought you, **YOU DON'T ISSUE THE RATING**. In other words, if you have skin in the game, you won't just take the word of anybody who says "yeah, this stuff is pure gold.". If the quality of the information about the assets which back the instrument is so opaque that your models can't reliably issue a value judgment about it's likely outcome, you don't just give it a rating because you get the base fee.

There's a potential argument that this would go too far towards reducing the overall risk in the market and drive out people who want to pursue high risk/high reward strategies. I really doubt it. There would still be institutions that put together batches of NINA loans. It would get rated as shit, and if people wanted to buy it, at least they'd know what they were buying. If this method actually drove high risk instruments out of circulation, then the reason is that the market has spoken. What's the value of something nobody wants to buy? I've got a buddy who's an expert in shit nobody wants to buy. Let me call him over and we can see what it's worth. Turns out: nothing.

Other than the banking industry simply not wanting any regulation that would force them to act as a non-sociopathic member of society, what's the downside? This one regulation, this one method, akin to "don't put radium in the baby food", implements what the banking industry and libertarian free marketers purport to want - the market enforcing the consequences of bad decisions.
blorky: (Default)
2011-02-20 06:06 pm

(no subject)

Finally getting around to building the flickr stream. http://www.flickr.com/photos/23133693@N02/sets/ Yay! Lightroom.
blorky: (Default)
2011-01-10 10:48 am

(no subject)

There's a great line in "The Way of the Gun" where a character says "20 million dollars isn't money - it’s a motivation with an all purpose adapter."  It can be modified into a useful truth by saying "Religion is a motivation with an all purpose adapter."  Religion is the underlying motive for MLK and those dedicated to undercutting his cause, to Paul Farmer and Muqtada al-Sadr, for Rabbi Joseph Eckstein and Khairallah Talfah.  Religion provides the basis for the purpose of your choice.

Crazy is the reverse.  It's a purpose looking for a motivation.  When all is said and done, I think we'll discover that Jared Lee Loughner's issue was some bum luck with genetics, bad neurochemistry, drug abuse that was the result of trying to self medicate, and potentially a handful of physical or sexual abuse.  That he latched on to some incoherent mashup of gold standard and Constitutionalist rhetoric doesn't mean that those discussions were understood rationally in any meaningful way.  That the Army wouldn't accept him at a time when they seem to be accepting anyone says to me that their testing showed he was gay or psychotic, and I'd bet on the latter.

There's no way of knowing whether the famous bullseye map provided input into this kids plans.  I think that if Loughner was living in Nowhere, IA, he'd shoot up the local town meeting instead of this Congressman's town hall meeting.  While it's fair to say that the bullseye map was bad politics, there have been similar maps/"targeting" rhetoric from the DCCC.  The imagery isn't as explicit, but I think that's because it doesn't appeal to the left's base, not because the DCCC has any greater reluctance to use inappropriate strategies. 

It's also not useful to say that the bullseye imagery shouldn't be used because it can prompt borderline psychotics to act out.  There is no reasonable way to restrict one's speech so that you'll never provide the adapter for crazy people.  That thinking also bans "Catcher in the Rye" and Jodie Foster.

It IS fair to say that the bullseye imagery was bad politics.  It used the language and rhetoric that appeals to it's base in a way to make them feel more powerful (as does the "second amendment remedies" rhetoric) without improving the quality of the discussion.  Again, both sides do this, but the language used when promoting inappropriate solutions is keyed to appeal to the base, and the Left's base doesn't respond to the same thing that the Right does.

 

On the other hand, I do think that some of the excessive rhetoric will be scaled back because this incident will promote a self-imposed chilling effect based on fear of a media backlash, not because of any genuine desire to improve the debate.  19 round magazines will be restricted in a flurry of self-rightousness, to no effect on the broader issues of spree killers or crime in general.  While I'm a RKBA advocate, the loss of 19 round magazines doesn't feel like much of a burden.  Time will tell what other restrictions will come of this. 

 

Seeing as I've simplified both religion and psychosis into elegant aphorisms, it's also worth doing the same to politics.  The first thread on CNN that reported on the shooting had comments from people CERTAIN that the killer was

 

 - a liberal

 - a Tea Partier

 - an immigrant

 - a birther

 - a lesbian

 - a radical Islamist

 - an anti-immigrationist

 - an open carry advocate

 - a gay person

 

The eye brings what it sees to seeing, indeed.  It would also be nice if there were a self-imposed chilling effect on the desire to fit all stories into the narrative you want to be true.


[edit: It's most likely that he was rejected from the Army b/c he dropped out of HS.]
blorky: (Default)
2011-01-06 08:59 am

(no subject)




Interesting thing, that. My Muey Thai coach was clowning around one day and pulled up this and said "Hey, you wanna do this one?". I snickered too and said "Yeah, I'm not your guy..."

He meant no offense, and I didn't take any, but driving home, I thought "Why did we both have the same reaction?" It wasn't that I couldn't do the race, it was that we both thought that it wasn't the kind of thing I'd do.

...

huhn


...

Why is that?  Well, I'm not a runner.  Wait.  What does that mean? I can run.  I love target shooting, but hate being identified as part of gun culture. 

Well, I'm not an athletic guy.  Wait.  I dropped 35 pounds learning to kickbox and have better stamina than a bunch of people half my age. 

Self definition is a funny thing. Read this
blorky: (Default)
2010-11-04 02:28 pm

Why Elliot Spitzer is still worth paying attention to

From a recent interview:

"Do you think the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court contributed to the Republicans winning in such numbers? They were awash in money through all these front organizations that were put together after that decision.


This might surprise you. I think the Court got it right. Here’s why. Nobody has been able to answer this question—Elena Kagan, my friend who argued the case, the Wall Street Journal editorial board, or anybody else who is vehemently opposed to it. What is the difference as a matter of law and theory between what they did as Citizens United and what Rachel Maddow does on MSNBC or what I do on CNN. It all could be defined as corporate speech. I never believe in limiting speech. I have an enormous issue with the lack of disclosure.

Well, you do sort of have a track record of seeing corporations as criminals so therefore I guess you could argue that they should then have the same free speech rights as a person as well. But I have a hard time thinking of a corporate interest as a human one.

But if you want to say no in the Citizens United case then do you tell The New York Times not to print its editorial page?"
blorky: (Default)
2010-10-12 09:08 pm

(no subject)

Anybody know of a shopping app that lets you input a product available from a number of vendors and it will constantly search to see if it's available below a specific price or if someone has a sale on?
blorky: (Goddam MONKEY PEOPLE!)
2010-10-12 11:24 am

Android and the apps market

By and large, I have very few expectations about my privacy on the Web. I proceed with the assumption that if I've published something to Facebook (or LJ for that matter), regardless of whatever protections I put on my account, my content has it's been directly sent to the person who can cause me the most damage with that content.

However, its extremely irritating to see how many free apps for the Droid request access to information that they have no use for. For example: Fandango. It's a cellphone app that can find a movie at the right time from a location near me. Why the fuck does it need mandatory access to my contact info? Why do I not have the ability to make that (and the concomitant "mail this page to your friends" functionality) an OPTIONAL setting. For the record, no, Fandango, I don't trust you not to use my contact list info inappropriately.
blorky: (Default)
2010-10-03 09:55 am

(no subject)

http://www.lensrentals.com/news is a great repository of info about how to make decisions for camera and lens purchases. The lens rental service is also highly recommended.
blorky: (Default)
2010-10-01 09:56 am

(no subject)

In much the same way that MTV stopped being about music, The Food Channel has become about the foodie lifestyle. Shows about cooking are now on....wait for it....the Cooking Channel. http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/
blorky: (Default)
2010-09-13 12:43 pm

(no subject)

Solved

Trillian addon that I had forgotten about was the culprit.
blorky: (Goddam MONKEY PEOPLE!)
2010-09-09 09:22 am

Dumbest Firefox bug ever

My FireFox has just started a minor but irritating behavior. Every time I open a new window with Ctrl-N, it takes all of the FF windows open on my desktop and re-arranges them in a stack with the oldest windows at the bottom. The problem with this is that it changes the Alt-Tab order of the windows. If I have a window that I'm doing multiple "Open this link in new window"'s from, the page I'm opening from doesn't stay as the second from the top - it's moved further and further back in the stack as new windows are open. Reinstalling didn't help. The start of this issue doesn't coincide with any change in the software, and Google doesn't seem to help (or I can't find the right combination of words to search on).

Any advice?
blorky: (Default)
2010-09-08 02:31 pm

(no subject)

Yahrzeit.
blorky: (Default)
2010-09-03 01:05 pm

Why Jonah Goldberg can be safely disregarded.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/245573/liberal-fascism-still-leaves-mark-jonah-goldberg

"The Atlantic has a review of reviews of the Kos book. It’s chock-a-block with Liberal Fascism [Goldberg's book] bashing, mostly from people who I suspect haven’t read it,.....I haven’t read the Moulitsas book, but I suspect the real differences are pretty obvious. While I do not smear all of my political opponents as monsters (people who say I do this, again, have either not read the book, are too blinkered to understand it, or are lying), it seems pretty clear that’s exactly what Kos sets out to do."

I haven't read this book but I'm sure that it smears my book which is what people who haven't read my book do.
blorky: (www.sexylosers.com)
2010-09-03 10:27 am

(no subject)

If your title is "New Media Director" and you're preaching to me about how I need to learn about Social Media channels, I expect you to know how to clear your fucking browser cache, you overpaid condescending shitspigot.
blorky: (Default)
2010-08-24 09:19 am

(no subject)

I would find it amusing if I were a minor author or minor actor or someone who's *just* worthy enough of having a Wiki entry to start updating my Wiki entry as if it were Twitter, just to see the editing wars.
blorky: (Default)
2010-08-13 03:13 pm

(no subject)

Funny thing...

I'm reading a bunch of right wing goofballs saying that objections to the Cordoba mosque aren't about the restriction of religious freedom but rather about respecting the discomfort and anguish we still feel about the 9/11 bombings. Odd, then that when blacks complain about the discomfort caused by flying the Confederate flag, they're told to grow a thicker skin. (Of course, the analogy falls apart since the Confederacy was actually about trying to retain the right to keep slaves, and Sufism <> Wahabism, but whatever. I refudiated the original point, so there.)

Similarly, in Perry v. Schwartzetc, if the argument is that objections to Walkers ruling are rooted not in bigotry, but in disagreement with a judge's ability to overrule state level legislation, would you like to revisit Heller? Yeah, didn't think so.