Tag Archives: Politics

Ridges on Coins

5 Aug

You’ve seen them–the ridges that are around the outside edges of coins.


Technically, it is called reeding.  Historically, ridges were put on the outside of coins because the coins were made of precious metals–gold or silver.  Certain people would shave around the edges of the coins and get some of that precious metal.  They were cheating the system–trying to get a little more money from the coin than it was worth, at the expense of the person who got the coin back.

So the mints added reeding.  That was a change to the coin that made it much harder to steal money by shaving the coin.  The theft-protection system was institutionalized.

Most of the debate in the recent election has focused on the economy.  I find that a little sad and short-sighted.  But if we are going to talk about the economy, why don’t we really talk about the economy?

Let’s not only talk about the percentage of people who want jobs and can’t find them, let’s talk about changes we can make to the system to prevent coin-shaving.

There are people who make money by computer programs that shave the daily fluctuations in the prices of stocks and make profit off of that.  That practice introduces a basic instability into the stock market.  Can we instute an equilivent of reeding to that?

If you think about it, there are a number of ways the ordinary citizen can get cheated in the financial sector of the economy.  Are we wrong to expect the system to have institutional honesty?

That’s the part of the economy we should be working on.


Car for Sale

30 Dec

I have a used car for sale.  In the spirit of fairness, I feel that I should disclose a little bit of a mechanical problem with it.  The car turns freely to the right, but is not capable of moving to the left.

If you want to drive straight, you must pull the steering wheel to the left as hard as you can.  If you do that, you will drive straight.  The slightest drift to the right, however, cannot be compensated for.

In order to make a left turn you can turn right 270 degrees.  It takes more room and you might have to make your own path, but it can be done.

No analogy to Grover Norquist and the no-tax pledge is intended or implied.

Who am I? Why am I Here?

11 Nov

That’s a famous line by James Stockdale, who was Ross Perot’s vice presidential candidate.

The idea of this blog is to dig a little deeper into political issues than normally gets done.  Politicians try to simplify things to get our their messages.  The problem is, often those messages can be attractive slogans with little or no real meaning.

Politics often gets framed into the “liberal” versus “conservative” mindset.    I see it a little bit differently.  In recent political arguments (since about Reagan’s time), I believe that people who called themselves conservative have controlled the agenda.  “Liberal” has been a straw man, used by conservatives to define their opponents.  People who call themselves progressives have tried to define their own agendas–sometimes with a degree of success, sometimes not.

The idea of what a conservative is has changed over time as well.  Russell Kirk  defined the principles fairly precisely in the 1950’s and 1960s.  Goldwater, Reagan,  Buckley, and a number of others argued for conservative ideas over time.

Recently, conservatives have been defined by the Tea Party and some of the radio talk show hosts.  I did not buy in to the conservative ideas of the Reagan years or earlier.  I find today’s conservatives to be even more extreme.  Their ideas are dogmatic and not well thought through.  Today’s conservatives might reject yesterday’s conservative icons as not conservative enough.

So my views are best described as “anti-conservative”.  This blog will consider current politics, as well as core beliefs.  I encourage comments, even from those who disagree with me, but I will disallow comments that are poorly written.  If you don’t use correct grammar or spelling your comment will be removed.