YOUR TAX RATE VERSUS MITT’S
THE LIGHT BULB GUY
The first thing I should probably say is that if you think the “light bulb guy” from yesterday was a bit rude, wait til you read the item about Mel Gibson, below.
The second thing I should probably say is that after I wrote yesterday’s post, he sent a sheepish reply. I’m not sure I moved him at all on climate change, but I was right: he’s a nice guy with a good sense of humor.
In the meantime, though, you had some thoughts of your own:
Larry Taylor: “He is not a nice guy, he is uninformed and hostile. Bush signed the anti-bulb legislation.”
Joel Grow: “While I disagree with everything Disgruntled said, and in no way ascribe to his final statement, I DO admire its elegant, forceful simplicity.”
Beth: “Really? Disgruntled made you laugh? Well, I suppose you can’t be too mad at someone who bought your book. But I look at his screed as just one more piece of evidence that the US is hopelessly divided. Seriously, isn’t it time for the US to split up?”
☞ I think we tried that once.
Peter Kaczowka: “‘Disgruntled’ has a point. We need to use market forces to save the environment. Don’t tell people how to save electricity; raise the price and use that money to fund alternative energy via ‘feed-in tariffs.’ Don’t ban SUVs; raise gas taxes. Implement a carbon tax or ‘cap and trade.’ Factor the true cost to the economy into energy prices and the market will do the rest.”
John Leeds: “The guy with the ‘fuck you’ letter? I think he’s scared – as are the masses – and is going to be soothed by the person or party who tells him what soothes him. Like many of us, he wants the train-wreck we’re heading for to magically go away. True train wreck story: a guy I knew was from a railroad family, and so through nepotism got a job working on a freight train. All the old-timers on the train figured he must know the ropes because he came from a railroad family. So they left him in the engine at the controls and went off and did other things. At one point, several miles before the station, the engineer burst into the car and screamed, ‘Why didn’t you put the brakes on? We’re going to wreck!’ My guy had no idea what was going on. ‘But we have a few miles before we get to the station,’ he said. The engineer was stunned. ‘Don’t you know it takes miles for a freight train to stop?’ And that was that. The train wrecked. No loss of life, I’m guessing because they had time to radio in to the station, and I believe they all jumped off the train at a certain point, once the brakes were locked. And that ended his career in trains. … See – so much of what is happening in environmental and fiscal policy is like the train – you have to stop things at a point that seems counterintuitive to the uninformed. I personally believe we’ve gone past the stopping point environmentally, although I hope I’m wrong. But few want to slow the train when everything seems fine to them. [Change light bulbs? Never!] … Another tidbit to ponder – traditional cultures (paleothic, pastoral, rural Afghanistan, middle America) don’t like change. Humans are wired against it – in former times, when technology didn’t overwhelm the planet, humans were best off having a culture that was technologically in tune with the environment. Groups that were in tune and made changes only after great deliberation by the elders (who had the most life experience and memories and thus knowledge to draw from) survived the best. Also – if disagreements arose, a band of people would simply move away from the others and that was that – there was enough room then to do this. [Why God invented Canada.] … So – now we live in a time of rapidly changing technology that operates on a scale that can change planetary systems – but we are brain-built to want to live in a present that is in continuity with our past; and built to believe we can simply move out if we don’t like it. [Isn’t that why God invented Canada?] … Last point – as a former middle school science teacher (now a remedial teacher) – I’ve always been struck by how much of science we have to take on faith. Faith that the books are true, that scientists are truthful. Too much intangibility. You can’t see a proton. There are fuzzy pictures of atoms, true – but you’ll never hold one atom in your hand and examine it yourself. And quantum mechanics? The space-time continuum? Or the traditional favorite, evolution. To truly see there’s overwhelming evidence, you either say, yeah, it makes sense, and the experts who study it wouldn’t lie; or you’d have to read through a huge body of evidence. I once met an (electrical?) engineer, a man of science, who was a fundamentalist Christian. He indicated to me that he believed that the systems used for dating (carbon dating won’t take you very far back) are basically an imaginary science not based on hard evidence – and in the end, how was I to change his mind? So – a guy who uses certain principles of abstract science in his job, feels free to dismiss other principles he doesn’t have to use and conflict with his need to believe the earth is about 6000 years old. … So – I believe that it will take a train wreck, and perhaps not even that, for the masses to wake up.”
MEL GIBSON: EVEN WORSE THAN YOU THOUGHT
Quote of the Day
I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.~Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
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