The Republicans have their echo chamber which allows them to influence the media, so it is my turn to help the other side.


Richard Branson Offers Climate Prize

Well, that was fast. Three days ago I wrote about the market based incentives to solve climate change, but that was dependent on implementing a cap-and-trade system. Now Richard Branson is offering a 25 million dollar prize for carbon dioxide scrubbing technology. It isn't as large as the prize the free market offers, but it creates some incentive in the short term while the government gets its act together. Thanks Richard.



The Most Efficient Solution to Climate Change

The NY Times recently featured an interesting article about prizes. I discovered the article through a post on Greg Linden's blog where he discusses the Netflix prize and big data. Since he covered the personalization aspect, I'll talk about the best way to prevent climate change.

The article gives a history of prizes: Prizes have been around for hundreds of years. Perhaps the most notable was the Longitude Prize. Prizes eventually fell out of fashion and were replaced by grants, which paid for the upfront cost of research (such as new equipment). There has been a recent surge in popularity of prizes—such as the X PRIZE, DARPA Grand Challenge, and Netflix prize—since they encourage innovation and reward results.

How does this relate to climate change? The article explains:

[Democrats and Republicans] have handed out grants and subsidies for various alternative energy sources like ethanol, even though nobody knows what the best sources will ultimately be.

I wouldn't have phrased it that way, perhaps because I'm more cynical than the author. The politicians haven't given away grants and subsidies because they believe a certain technology is promising, they give them away based on their own self interests. Iowa is the country's top producer of ethanol; Iowa is the first stop of presidential hopefuls; many politicians support ethanol, despite the obvious drawbacks. Coincidence? Again, quoth the NY Times:

A much smarter approach would be to mandate that the economy use less carbon. This would effectively set up a multibillion-dollar prize — in the form of new customers — for whichever companies came up with efficient energy sources.

Exactly. In our current situation, we are are paying to get politicians reelected by subsidizing technologically inferior solutions. The best and most fair solution is a carbon cap-and-trade program. By mandating a cap-and-trade system, the free market would automatically discover the cheapest way to prevent the most pollution.

This method is free for the government: subsidies, grants, and tax breaks empty their coffers, where as the free market delivers the best solution at no cost. You might argue that the economy would slow because of this new regulation, therefore reducing government revenue, but that would likely be offset by the increased income of whoever develops the new technologies.

If you truly care about climate change, then requesting a cap-and-trade system is the most sensible course of action. Demanding specific subsidies only hurts your cause.

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Why You Should Vote Republican

Following the example in this post, I've decided to compile a list of reasons why you should vote Republican in the midterm election:

If you support corruption in government, then you should vote Republican.

If you are xenophobic and support unnecessary, expensive fences, then you should vote Republican.

If you want the government to control your sexual life (both pre and post conception), then you should vote Republican.

If you support a big budget and big deficit, then you should vote Republican.

If you think the government should listen to your phone calls, then you should vote Republican.

If you want to get rid of Constitutional rights (like Habeas Corpus), then you should vote Republican.

If you support subsidies for large profitable companies, then you should vote Republican.

If you deny climate change, then you should vote Republican.

If you hate gays, then you should vote Republican.

If you live in fear, then you should vote Republican.

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Why You Should Vote Against I-933

Whether you support property rights or environmental regulations, your vote on I-933 should be the same: no.

This initiative rolls back any restriction on property use passed since 1995. It is this retroactivity that makes the initiative so dangerous, and why you should vote against it.

Supporters of the initiative argue that people buy land with a certain use in mind, and different potential uses factor into the property's price. Putting restrictions on the land after purchase decreases the value for the landowner, since they are no longer allowed to utilize the land in certain ways. This is true. However, the corollary is also true. In the time since 1995, citizens have bought property with the knowledge that the land around them is only zoned or allowed certain uses. If this initiative were passed, it would reduce property value for many land owners because the adjacent land would be opened up for new use.

I'll give an extreme example: Assume I bought a piece of land. When I bought the land, I knew all nearby properties had similar zoning and no one was allowed to build a coal power plant next to me. However, now I-933 is passed. My neighbor sells their land to a large energy company who gets a waiver and begins to build a coal power plant. My property value is decreased dramatically because of this new use.

In the example, I, as a property owner, was screwed by the retroactive nature of the initiative. Continuing with the example, say a bill was passed, after I-933, that prevented my neighbors from building wind turbines. Another neighbor comes along and gets a waiver to build a wind turbine. This is fair because I knew full well when I bought the property that it was zoned for wind turbines.

As you can see, it is the retroactive natural of the initiative that is really damaging. If the initiative wasn't retroactive, I wouldn't be so strongly against it.


We Don't Need Osama bin Laden To Destroy The Country, Just Leave It To Bush

America is in a crisis. Our civil liberties are being eroded, our leaders are incompetent criminals, and the "good" folks do nothing. Allow me to quote a very relevant line from the movie Boondock Saints:

Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.

The Democrats voice their opinion, but do they do anything? Fuck no. The pansy-assed Democrats, the only ones who have a chance of creating change, are so afraid of not getting reelected that they refuse to take a stand and censure, let alone impeach, the criminals we have running the country. Grow a fucking spine and make some change. Last time I checked, Bush wasn't winning any popularity polls, the people will support you. By not doing anything, you are losing my support.

Speaking of popularity, lets talk about poll numbers. 31%? Are you saying 31% of the country supports the job this jackass is doing? I wonder if these folks have ever left the butt-crack small town in which they live. Can they really be that gullible? These people aren't patriots, they are nationalists and borderline fascists. Here are a few choice quotes from a list of e-mails to CNN.

One should ask the family members of those who died on 9/11 if they think this is a good idea. I would bet that they would say that anything that could prevent another 9/11 would be worth it.
Jack Davis, Barnegat, New Jersey

Boo fucking hoo. There have been way too many excuses made in the name of the families of victims. If I was a 9/11 family member, I'd be outraged that I was being exploited in the name of domestic spying and the eroding of civil liberties. Five years ago, 3000 people were killed... that's a drop in the bucket. Over 3000 people are killed every month in car crashes, where is the outrage there?

I'm absolutely fine with it! Since 9/11, we live in a different world with an enemy who is difficult to find. They want to hide among us, and use our rights and freedoms to destroy us. If it takes a little snooping around my personal records in order for the government to uncover terrorists and their activities, then I'M IN!
Bill Konst, Gilbert, Arizona

Don't worry, Osama Bin Laden isn't going to destroy "our rights and freedoms". By the time he can get a group together, our rights and freedoms will have already been eroded beyond recognition. Don't you understand, Bill? Bush is destroying all the rights and freedoms that made this country great.

There were a number of comments rhetorically asking what we have to hide. I don't know about you, but I have lots to hide. I don't want to be targeted or smeared by the administration because of my political beliefs. I do lots of things that are illegal (like yielding at a stop sign when I'm on my bike). Also, I do and/or talk about things that the administration would rather be illegal. My home is my private zone, and the government need not know what I do on my own time, as long as I don't interfere with anyone else.

Fortunately, not everyone who commented in the story were as dense as these bozos. However, it is worrying that people can be this blind. Where is your outrage at the injustice? Things need to change, and the change needs to start now. We are quickly heading toward a dictatorship. Be afraid. If this continues, the America as we know it will cease to exist.

Andrew Hitchcock
Real Patriot