Thursday, March 30, 2006

Illegal Immigration

In this post I'll examine McCain-Kennedy circulating right now. First there are a few ground facts about my thinking on illegal immigration. Illegal immigration is not a national security issue, a terrorist will not take the risk of being stopped at the border. Instead he'll cross from Canada or get a student visa (this has the plus of being available even to former current terrorists who get a good education so that they have a future even if that terrorism thing doesn't work out). Illegal immigration is an economic issue and the misunderstanding of free trade leads to significant opposition. This is why McCain-Kennedy is relatively pointless. The guest worker program is a good idea, although it seems relatively pointless as is it is already in effect and operating much more efficiently than the bill's system would. Also the $2000 fee is useless to catch criminals and only a pointless hardship on those who are doing nothing wrong. Citizenship possibilities are a good idea and the relative ease of deportation among those who apply would allow us to control our citizenship. However, there are only two ways to stop illegal immigration, take away the carrot or add the stick. Adding the stick is very hard since conditions in Mexico are much worse than in America and deportations leaves the deportee no worse off than before. However adding a carrot to legal immigration is simple. One, streamline citizenship for legal immigrants and, two, remove immigration quotas. This can be done at a profit to the country and the U.S. is not runnig out of land any time soon. Furthermore, the humanitarian benefits to this are tremendous. Not only are more people able to make it to the U.S., but they don't need to get here by traveling with abusive criminals. One problem which I haven't addressed but is solved is that of criminals bringing drugs over the border. The major problem is that border agents are overrun. If only criminals try to cross the border a far higher percentage will be caught and jailed or extradited to Mexico.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Jewish Conservatism

Listening to talk shows gives you a sense of all the non-intellectual arguements of liberals. One of the favorite ones is "What Would Jesus Do/Drive/Pay out in welfare." The thing is that these callers are generally correct. Jesus was a man with strongly egalitarian views. In fact his movement is probably most similar to Korah's movement. Both were premised on the idea of, "All men are holy so why do we need priests?". It is true that Jesus would probably support the social program of the Democrats. That is why it is so much easier being a Jewish conservative. When your debater notices you're religious and uses that much used rebuttal you can laugh it off because you don't have to defend the words of someone who was (from the Jewish perspective) a charismatic, but false prophet. An example came up during the Medved show. He was arguing for something or other and a caller used his most devestating attack. "You call yourself a Christian, but..." the easy reply was, "No I don't I'm Jewish.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Katrooian Birthday

Have I ever told you what they do in Katroo?

They work and they toil for the big BBU.

“It should never have happened it never was planned

Katroo should have been a birthday paradise land

It started out small just a party or two

Then having a bird became the ‘in’ thing to do

So we paid quite a bit for the service they’d give.

For one day a year our children knew how to live.

But the poor kids shouted “we want those birthdays for me”

So we gave them “Happy Birthday See-cur-it-y”

Each kid in the land no matter his riches

Gets the same birthday whatever his wish is

You’re taught propaganda as you ride on the goat

Katroo “double-think” that you know well by rote

Like “If you weren’t in Katroo then what would you do

The government knows what is good for you”

And, “This land is good all life here is pleasant

Please ignore the report of this poor oppressed peasant.”

Then you’ll go to the mountain and you will see

All of Katroo and you’ll shout “WE ARE WE”

You’ll eat spools of hot dogs despite your protest

Because differences cause all social unrest

Then the butchers, those vermin of capitalist vice,

Saw the demand for franks, so they jacked up the price

This couldn’t continue so we made price controls

On butchers then bakers, who stopped making rolls.

Then the time-telling fish once so many and fair

Due to our hunting became exceedingly rare.

Then we cut off the heat to the mustard-off pool

Anyone jumping in was branded a fool

Then the snip-snippers you see wanted minimum wages

So we killed them all, first one by one then in stages.

Then we needed more money, no problem, taxes galore

Those who protested, well, they aren’t heard anymore.

Then let’s find a pet, we culled all the tallest

We found one 3’3, the tallest of allest.

We send it back in a box, sealed with the finest of waxes.

Who cares what it costs, it’s funded by taxes.

Then those Birthday palaces, we need twenty or more

Just to handle one birthday du jour.

And the singing herrings and the cutters of cake

Are union employees, all in on the take.

Today you are we, that is true as can be

There is no one alive who is you-er than me

Be happy you aren’t some person boring and droll.

Like a peasant, a farmer, or even a prole.

Instead you’re important, a disciple of Stalin

So be happy, be ‘free’, you’re birthday is callin’

Don’t skimp on the money, it’s not yours your savin’

So go with the service of your birthday bird maven”

Then there were two parties, and then there was one

Then everyone was equal, for then there were none.

Torah vs. Capitalism

We see that many commandments in the Torah seem to have negative unintended consequences. For example the prohibition on interest is one which given human nature leads to less money being loaned. So I would say that three bedrocks of free-market capitalism run afoul of the Torah’s command. 1. Charging interest is a key need of capitalism because without interest no bank (and there would be no banks) will lend money to a company if it has no prospect of gain. 2. Cut-throat competition is a major part of a free-market as is obvious. The Torah, however, says that it is forbidden to drop prices to drive another store out of business. 3. The third prohibition is that of Loshon Hara our system requires circulation of information good and bad. Loshon Hara forbids this except in cases of personal need. However, even with no personal need having negative information widely known is important. The interesting common denominators of these commandments are that they can be done to non-Jews. It seems that G-d only requires us to sacrifice are economic wellbeing for other Jews. No utopian vision is needed when dealing with people of different faiths.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Megillah Thoughts

Having been tagged by Tobie I will belatedly relate my thoughts on the Megillah. The first thing I noticed was how sometimes a Midrash explanation will be widely accepted even when it makes absolutely no sense. For example most schools it is considered as fact by many of the people in various Yeshivas that Esther married Mordechai but it is going against p’shat and the Megillah’s words to sy that (it says the king sought out young virgins). Another thing which occurred to me is how little we know of all the characters. The story, told with more depth in the characters and having the things which are skimmed over in the Megillah told in greater detail, would make a fascinating book. The last thing is that it seems that Mordechai and Esther only got rid of Haman. King Acheshvarosh didn’t really care about the Jews. The Jews did all the fighting and Acheshvarosh never planned to use the army against them and never used it for them. He had Haman killed but the reason the Jews won was because G-d no longer turned away from them. The last thing I noticed was how similar Acheshvarosh was to the people against Israel. When the Jews successfully defended themselves against enemies who want to kill them his first reaction was look how many people they’re killing imagine what they’re doing outside the capital. It’s a classic “blame the victim” mentality.

Wisdom of the Crowds part II

In my last post about the NCAA I made predictions about the brackets and predicted better accuracy than the experts. So after one round I want to see how I did. First let’s see how the three “experts” did. Expert 1 predicted 26 of 32 games right this is a very good percentage and far excels any of the other two experts or my ways of picking. Expert 2 predicted 22 games right. Expert 3 predicted 21 games right. Now, how did the non-experts pick? The favorite, chosen by better seed, won 23 of the 32 games or better than 2 of the experts. The team with the better RPI won 22 of the 32 games behind one expert ahead of another and tied with a third. The bettors at Trade Sports were right in 23 of the games. Thus far it appears that the crowds, the bracket makers, and RPI are all equally good at picking and they all equal or do better than the experts.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Biologists against Evolution

One of the foundations of evolution is that if you separate a population into two different enviroments they will get more different as time goes on. Therefore it seems strange that biologists reject as racist the idea that there are some genetic differences between the races. First of all we know that there is one large genetic difference between the races, skin color. To see that is the only difference is implausible and ridiculous. I will try to give current and an evolutionary basis for why blacks are faster than whites. The evolutionary basis is rather simple. If you don't domesticate animals there is more of an advantage for speed. Also speed has no value in a heavily agrarian economy. Okay so know we have a reason to expect added speed among blacks (and also among the Native Americans), if we find data which is significant which supports the hypothesis we should accept it (absent other data, of course). So lets take a look at the NFL. You have a significant of white players but far underrepresented. Okay the devil's advocate says that's because the blacks have more drive than whites. However that can't explain why, among those with the drive (the NFL players) the last white running back has been in the last millenium and ditto for any good wide reciever. So why are the biologists so up in arms against it. Eugenics. That movement has soured evolutionists on ever taking their ideas to their politically incorrect, logical conclusions.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Freddy Adu of the Blogosphere

Or at least among the Search For Emes commenters. In general I would say that until 30 years old everyone with acess to new technology. After that half the people drop off from keeping up every 15 years. This is purely based on ancedotal knowledge but it makes sense to me. (By the way thank you Search For Emes for making me a multicelluar-organism).

The Wisdom of Crowds 1

I decided to see how far a person could go in the NCAA brackets. I made my predictions having watched zero games this year and checking three web sources. However I'd be willing to bet that my predictions beat around half of the experts if not more. I made three brackets. One bracket was straight favorites in seeding. This is testing the knowledge of a group of experts (those who make the seeding). The next bracket was based on RPI which adjusts a teams winning percentage to strength of schedule. This is betting based on past performance. Then my last bracket was based on the line at this trading market this is the widom of crowds. After each round I'll compare the brackets to those of various experts who posted their brackets. An interesting thing about these brackets is when telling others my idea they revealed their misunderstanding of probability and game theory. Their view was that there are going to be upsets so therefore you can't pick only favorites. The problem with that is that of course if you had to pick a winning percentage for your picks it wouldn't be perfect but you don't know who'll lose. As an example say you made 100 picks each with a 60% chance in your favor. If you pick all the favorites you can expect to get 60 right. If you pick only 60 favorites you expect to get 52 right (.6 times 60=36 plus .4 times 40=52) You have lost 8 points because you assumed the games were dependent variables not independent variables. This seems to be how people act as a Yale study shows. They had a T-Square maze where there was no pattern except for a 60-40 split of right to left. The rat eventually hit its maximum potential at 60%. However the students were stuck at 52%. There are two possible reasons they got to that exact percentage. One is that they found patterns and 60% of the time the patterns pointed to the right side. The other possibility is that they subconsciously realized the odds but didn't realize how to act on them efficiently they only knew to bet on one 60% of the time.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

USA 4, Japan 3

I thought the WBC would be pretty good baseball. I was wrong it's amazing baseball. I just watched Japan play America and it has got to be up their in the classic games I've seen and it ranks ahead of any non-playoff game. First of all you had Japan really pumped about this game. Remember Japan loves baseball and wants to show itself as the equal to America. So the first batter was Ichiro and he hits a home run. The US threatens in the bottom of the first but the choker A-Rod comes up and hits into a double play. Then in the second Japan gets two runs and the US can't score. Over the middle innings the US ties the games on home runs by Chipper and Derrick Lee. This is already a good game but the final two innings are what makes it great. In the eighth Japan loads the bases with one out. They have a very fast player on. A fly ball is hit and the runner tags. The US claims he was out for leaving early but they lose. Then the (American) umps overrule the call and call the runner out. The game is still tied though and the US goes 1-2-3 on the ninth. Then Japan loads the bases on walks but Lidge strikes out Japan's cleanup hitter. Then comes the bottom of the ninth. First Vernon Wells hits a single. A sac bunt which Randy Winn beats out leads to first and second nobody out. Then Michael Young bunts but the lead runner is thrown out. Then Jeter is hit by a pitch. Bases loaded one out. Griffey runs the count full but then on 3-2 swings on a pitch out of the zone. It comes up to A-Rod, the one who buckles under pressure, A-rod lines the pitch past the pitcher. The ball hits off the second baseman's glove and the USA wins. The game was classic and it had an Olympics feel to it. Japan and to a lesser extent the US cared a lot about who won. As a Yankees fan I am worried about the fact that Jeter laid down two sacrifices. Just imagine Damon then Jeter I bet he'll break the record for sac bunts.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Yankee Haikus

1st Base- Giambi
Steroid user
14 Home Runs in July
Does he still inject?
2nd Base- Cano
Just twenty-three years
He saved the Yanks from Womack
Can he draw a walk?
Shortstop- Jeter
Loved by McCarver
The god of playoff clutchness (tm)
He dives into stands.
Third Base- A-Rod
Fourty-eight homers
Beats out the great Joltin' Joe
Why do they hate him?
Tomorrow I'll go with catcher and outfield.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

My Motto

I feel that the motto on top might reveal more of my views than any other line.

State of Fear

I must say State of Fear is not the best written book and not the deepest book but it does have something no other book has. After you hate the disingenous Hollywood enviromentalists you get the payoff near the end of the book. Martin Sheen gets eaten by cannibals.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Petty Talk Show Host Rivalries

Listening on Friday to Michael Medved it struck me how much talk show hosts despise some of the others (usually those ahead in the ratings). For example Medved was saying how any talk show host who says we are selling away our national security in the port deal is a deliberate liar (ahem Savage). Also when telling a website plugging caller why she had been cut off (by the way why do some people constantly call up these shows some of the hosts actually know these people from their calls) that I don't run my show like an infomercial for my book (ahem Hannity). Not to be outdone Savage will call the two hosts ahead in the ratings Hush Bimbo and Pawn Vanity. Of course he also claims he doesn't care about ratings but whenever they come out he trumpets his success for hours.

Dvar Torah III

This is late but the parshah is kind of boring until you think a lot about it.
It seems that there are three kinds of religious law. You have the purely religious which is represented by the giving of the Torah. This is law designed for us to serve G-d such as praying and learning. Then you have in parshat Mishpatim the law which is made to create a well functioning society. These laws are the ones responsible for protecting property rights and establishing courts. Then there is the third type which is designed to give us structure in foreign territory. Take this parshah. It doesn't really matter to G-d how big the different vessels are or the exact service. However, it is essential for us to be able to rely on the structure of religion. Just this evening I was at a shivah house. The process of mourning is one which is unknown to the mourners. They have no idea how to express their grief and what outlet they should use. However, halachah tells us that they must sit low in mourning for one week. This is a tremendous source of comfort.