Thought for the Day

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chumash Trail

OK. Forget that last post. Let's talk about running.
Saturday I ran up the Chumash Trail to Rocky Peak Road and back from my house. It was pretty awesome. Here's the view back toward Simi Valley from the trail:

So I looked at this run on Google maps before. I tried to get up to Rocky Peak Road a couple of weeks ago, but I had wasted too much energy and time running around on trails which turned out not to be going in the right direction, and it was hot, and I ran out of water. So I turned around without reaching my objective. Twice. On two different days.
But on Saturday I went back up there with a Camelbak and a water bottle, and of course my meter, glucose tablets, insulin pump, Gu, all the trappings of a diabetic runner.
But I kept going, up and up and up, until I finally had to ask myself, "Is Rocky Peak a dirt road?" Of course it is. As I determined later, Rocky Peak Road is a dirt road only a little bit more substantial than the Chumash Trail, and I ran about a mile on it before I headed back for home.

The postscript today is that everyone should really check out Type 1 diabetic runner Dave Masiuk is running across the USA.
It's pretty clear to me that he and I have different perspectives, but he's doing something fantastic, and I'm very impressed.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Logical Post

"Boy, don't you worry, you'll find yourself
Follow your heart and nothing else
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied

And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby, be a simple kind of man"

Lynyrd Skynyrd

"They say now watch what you say. They'll be calling you a radical
Liberal, fanatical, criminal...
Won't you sign up your name? We'd like to feel you're
Acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable"


So here is some of who I am.
Some of my opinions will align with your opinions. I may just say them a different way. Some of my opinions may strike you as radical,  liberal, fanatical, criminal...
So be it. I want to be a simple kind of man.

I am opposed to killing human fetuses. Maybe it's not a human being. It's something, and it is a living thing that gets killed.
I am opposed to the goverment forcing women to carry unwanted fetuses in their wombs. I don't want the government to force women to bear children that they do not want to bear.
I am against forcing little girls to have the babies of rapist pedophiles. This is not a hypothetical. This is a position taken by the Irish government in its opposition to abortion.
No matter how I might feel about it, I don't think I have the right to decide, either personally, or as part of society. The decision belongs to one person, the woman whose body is involved.
I am pro-life, anti-abortion, pro-choice. I don't think that's a rare position to take.

I believe that in rare cases there are crimes which merit a penalty of death. That is not an issue in our society, though.
What we debate is executions by the state. When we give government the right to kill people, we get injustice, not justice.
Innocent people are executed. The question is not whether you are all right with some murderer being executed, the question is whether you are all right with the state killing you or your loved ones after an unfair mockery of a trial. Wealth and skin color still have an inordinate influence on our judicial system.
I am opposed to state executions. They are not justifiable. And such things should not be called "death penalty" or "capital punishment" since we are not certain of the guilt of those being executed.

Outlawing marijuana is basically outlawing an avenue in the pursuit of happiness.
We should not put people into prison for things that aren't crimes. We can agree that some things should be considered crimes under the law, assault, robbery, murder, fraud, trading in mortgage-backed securities until you crash the world economy...
But having marijuana illegal at this point in time is like making the eating of meat illegal. Most people think it's OK. There are undoubtedly some negative effects from it. A minority are strongly opposed to it.
It's not something we should be putting people into prison over.
If only some other nation would legalize marijuana first, so we could see what happens when it's legal, without risking our own fragile populace. Well, there are such nations, and they have fewer problems with it than we do.
And it hasn't always been illegal here.
We know what prohibition does. It creates profitable criminal industries. It does not stop people from exercising their inalienable right to pursue happiness by chemical means.

People will say that we shouldn't begrudge the 1% their millions and billions of dollars. They don't realize that the concentration of wealth in the hands of the 1% devalues the fraction of wealth remaining for the rest of us.

Ordinary people have always wanted to get the best home they could afford, the best car they could afford, etc. Ideally, money-lenders enable people to buy things that they can't pay for all at once, but can eventually pay off. The money-lenders who have money now, were supposed to make more money by loaning what they have now to people that will pay them back, plus interest, later.
However, at some point, money-lenders started treating IOUs as if they were money.
It no longer mattered whether a debt was going to be repaid, because the debt itself was what the lender was after. Accounting firms, insurance firms, banks, real estate investors, the entire financial sector participated, continues to participate in this game, because they take in debt and pay themselves in dollars, in real money.
We have been treating debt like money for several decades, and it's gotten progressively worse. The culmination of this pattern is triple-A rated mortgage-backed securities.
And this money made from nothing devalues the money made from real productivity.
While most of us need our income to keep pace with inflation or our buying power goes down, others are making millions, hundreds of millions, billions, from nothing. This flood of fake cash, based on IOUs, drives inflation.
It inflated the cost of our homes until the bubble burst and left us with the debt, but none of the phony profit made from the debt.
This inflation hits the 99% harder than the 1%. Their getting more cash causes our cash to be devalued.

How much more is the time of a bundler of mortgage-backed securities worth than the time of a fire-fighter? What exactly does one do to make more in an hour than most people make in their lives? Don't imagine that it's just too complicated for all of us to understand. Some of us who aren't in the 1% are pretty smart.

Some people do earn more than others, by the difficulty of their work or a unique set of skills or talent, or just by working harder.
But there are those who don't produce anything anyone really wants, yet seem as if they are winning the lottery every day of the year.

No CEO should make 100 times what his lowest paid employee makes. Any executive making that kind of money is underpaying employees, overpaying himself, or both.