Previous month:
October 2008
Next month:
December 2008

Eliminating Demand for Prostitutes and Child Pornography

If you're found with child pornography, you should expect to spend some time in prison - often many years.  Judges sentence the convicted to prison even when the convicted did not produce the pornography itself.  Possession alone will get you years.  Why?

Judges and prosecutors insist that if people would stop downloading child porn, then the demand for child porn would decrease.  Decreased demand would lead to a decrease in supply.  But since you did download the porn, people who exploit children have an incentive to continue exploiting them - in other words, to provide a supply to meet the demand.  That's a legitimate argument. 

Yet the government did not apply that line of argument to Elliot Spitzer, the former New York Government who committed money laundering and violated the Mann Act.  According to U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia, the man who declined to prosecute Spitzer:

In light of the policy of the Department of Justice with respect to prostitution offenses and the longstanding practice of this office, as well as Mr. Spitzer's acceptance of responsibility for his conduct, we have concluded that the public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges in this matter.

DOJ's "longstanding practice" is to prosecutor prostitutes rather than the men who demand their services?  But why?  If men did not demand prostitutes, then there would be no market for prostitutes.  The same line of thinking that demands harsh prison sentences for possession of child pornography should apply to people like Elliot Spitzer.  If Spitzer didn't create the demand, prostitutes wouldn't provide the supply.

I suspect that DOJ, being male-dominated, is simple misogynistic.  Other than sexism, there is no way to justify DOJ's no-prosecution policy, especially in light of DOJ's stance on child pornography prosecutions and sentences.

DOJ's policy should be reformed immediately.  Those who demand prostitution, thus creating a market for it, should be punished.  To the extent DOJ is regulating prostitution at all, it should do so even-handedly.  It should respect equal protection under the law.  Men and women should feel the government's wrath.


More Proof of Obama's Alpha Male Status

During the election, conservatives were talking about how "manly" John McCain was.  Those same people worshiped George Bush's "manliness," too.  Give me a break.  Anyone who is not a beta can clearly see that Obama is way more alpha than Bush or McCain.  I just watched a couple of videos that provide concrete proof.

In this clip, he talks about why he wants to keep his Blackberry.  I will translate for the betas: "I need my Blackberry because I ain't nobody's bitch.  I'll get my own information and think for myself, so if you think you're going to play me, get over that shit right now."  Bush and McCain are both morons who would gladly let others tell them what to think.  Not thinking for yourself is beta.

In this clip, he explains that he does not want a "yappy" dog.  White yappy dogs are like anti-matter to alphas.  Bush or McCain wouldn't care what kind of dogs they'd have, because they are betas.  Or they would overcompensate by getting a Great Dane or other large show dog.  A real alpha gets a strong dog, without overcompensating.

Obama is going to do big things.  Whether those things are things I agree with doesn't change his alpha status.  He's so freaking alpha is oozes from his pores.  If you cannot see this, you are beta and are not even allowed to discuss these issues.


"Thinking Outside of the Box"

If you're using that phrase, you are thinking inside the box.  George Orwell's discussion of dead metaphors explains why:

Dying metaphors. A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically "dead" (e.g. iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgel for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day, Achilles' heel, swan song, hotbed. Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning (what is a "rift," for instance?), and incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer is not interested in what he is saying. Some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning withouth those who use them even being aware of the fact. For example, toe the line is sometimes written as tow the line. Another example is the hammer and the anvil, now always used with the implication that the anvil gets the worst of it. In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer, never the other way about: a writer who stopped to think what he was saying would avoid perverting the original phrase.

Reading "Politics and the English Language" at least once a year is a good habit.



The Pain of Independence

Does fear alter perception?  That issue remains hotly debated, though anyone who has wondered if he was going to make payroll has probably noticed himself, despite reflection, making mistakes he wouldn't ordinarily make.  What can be said: Departing from the group is literally painful, and this can be demonstrated using brain imaging.

Professor Gregor S. Berns et al. explain why in "Neurobiological Correlates of Social Conformity and Independence During Mental Rotation," which you may read here.  I'd also recommend Berns' book, Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently, which is available for purchase here.


Corruption at University of California, Berkeley

Public universities remain good stewards of public money:

The University of California plans to review hundreds of double-dipping pensioners, many of whom were rehired for their old jobs - occasionally at a higher salary than before they retired.

The university's use of retirees drew attention in April after UC Berkeley Police Chief Victoria Harrison left with a lump sum $2.1 million retirement package and then was immediately rehired for her old job - with a pay raise

...

According to a university database reviewed by The Chronicle, there were 1,900 pensioners on the payrolls of the 10 campuses and the university's headquarters last February. The review also found widespread violations of guidelines that limited retired workers to no more than one year of re-employment and generally no more than about 19 hours of work each week.

More here.  I suppose it's a good thing that the government is going after some waste.  But only now? 

How can anyone at the University of California complain of cuts when they squandered taxpayer money, giving millions-of-dollars as gifts to insiders like Victoria Harrison?


Abolish Life Tenue for Increased Pay

Even though millions of Americans are out of work, federal judges - who make more than all but 5% of the entire U.S. population - feel that they are underpaid. The President of the American Bar Association, who feels that judges should be richer than all but 1% of the population, notes:

"While many Americans are struggling financially today, few of us have jobs where we are routinely skipped over for even a routine cost of living increase and get no clear guidance on what we will earn in the year ahead."

Few of us have jobs that we can't be fired from.  On top of having complete job security (which should  mean something in this job market), judges earn six figures.  

People are suffering.  There is more bleeding to come.  Yet people who call themselves public servants, and who earn a guaranteed salary of between $169,300 and $208,100 year (plus an optional $21,000 for teaching), are complaining about being underpaid?

Abolish life tenure, and I'll support a pay raise. But would judges?


Wal-Mart Steals Millions; Pays $3 Fine

If I walked out of Wal-Mart with $8.40 in unpaid merchandise, I'd be arrested.  When Wal-Mart walks away with $8.40 of my money, no one goes to jail. (Via Kashmir Hill.)

Wal-Mart is notorious for calling the police on even the pettiest shoplifters.  Many police departments have refused to serve as Wal-Mart's private police force, telling them that they won't respond to calls involving petty theft.  Police should do more.

In light of proof that Wal-Mart is stealing from the public, police should refuse to respond to any requests from Wal-Mart, seeking the arrest of shop lifters.  You can't steal from a thief, after all.