stat counnnter

Friday, December 07, 2007

Spotted By Mike's Eyes Dec. 2007.

I think Steven Milloy at of Dec. 6th. has coined a new term which is so admirably precise I plan on using it in future posts. See if you can spot it in this paragraph:
Andy (Revkin's article in New York Times--ME) is partly right, energy-starved third worlders would (and will) love nothing better than cheap, abundant coal-fired electricity. The problem with the piece stems from the totally-wrong idea that atmospheric carbon dioxide presents a problem that must be addressed. This is true only in the virtual world of Play Station® Climatology and has exactly no bearing on the real world. The real motivation for many in the global warming industry has always been the suppression of human activity and the global warming scare represents their greatest success, far greater than their anti-nuclear activities.
If you guessed Play Station® Climatology you'd be right. Computer game technology is exactly what climate models are about when used for predicting future climate. All the catastrophic gloom and doom scenarios come from a single source, computer climate models, not from the observable, historical record. That is why such predictions of disaster should be dismissed as nonsense. If global warming were in fact harmful to life on Earth, there would be evidence of it in the historical record. There isn't any.

Accuracy Schmacuracy

In Friday Nov 30th Detroit News is the headline "MSU [Michigan State Univ.--ME] finds tainted food killed 350 pets". But the article says "More that 300 dogs and cats may have died earlier this year as a result of eating contaminated pet food, a new survey shows" (my emphasis). It's just a survey of vets, and vet hospitals in which 347 animals "met the criteria" for the sickness. About 25% of these had pre-existing conditions. My point is if someone only read the headline, they would believe that 350 pets died when in reality it's only an estimate which could be significantly off.


"Legislators draft gift card reform" is the headline in Friday 12/07/07 Detroit News. The article says:
Both [state house and senate--ME] packages would make gift cards or gift certificates good for five years after purchase. As it stands, the life of the cards varies widely from a brief period of time to no expiration date at all.

The House and Senate bills also would:

• Bar retailers from changing the terms and conditions once a card is issued and require terms be disclosed to the purchaser.

• Require that retailers honor the gift cards, even for advertised sale items.

• Ban the charging of inactivity fees.

"Our plan protects every Michigan consumer," said Rep. Michael Sak, D-Grand Rapids, main sponsor of the House package. "Our legislation ensures that consumers get their money's worth from gift certificates, no matter when they choose to use them."
I do think that changing the terms of a card after issue is already illegal or, if our politicians were the least bit concerned about protecting rights, would be.

The idea that deciding how gift certificates should be used is not a legitimate function of government, would not occur to Mr. Sak or the legislature. That businessmen have the right to use and dispose of their own property--which includes gift cards--so long as they don't violate the rights of other citizens, is alien to the Michigan Government mindset. They know they can get away with violating the rights of businessmen because--

The legislation is called "imperfect" by the Michigan Retailers Association, which does not oppose the bills.

"They offer important protections for consumers and retailers," said Tom Scott, spokesman for the retailers' group. "We hope the legislation gives consumers even greater confidence so they buy even more gift cards."

He said the five-year shelf life is reasonable, given that retailers have to carry the cards on their books at some cost to the businesses until they are redeemed.

He said retailers are "disappointed" that the bills do not address cards issued by shopping centers for a number of stores.
Like their feelings of disappointment mean anything to the state! This is what it means to be pragmatic and only consider that which is right in front of one's nose ignoring long term consequences and even the path down which one is taking the state. It also proves that pragmatism does not work.


Burgess Laughlin said...

As you noted, sanction of the victim, as a moral element, is part of the acquiescence of businessmen in accepting more regulation. I wonder, though, if there are not other, additional factors explaining their seeming passive acceptance.

1. Psychological: "Well, now we at least know what the rules are." I have heard this from business people I have worked with. They are anti-capitalist. They don't like the "chaos" of the marketplace. It is a nasty distraction. But, under certain types and levels of regulation, they don't have to think about certain things any more. Those issues are "settled" by the state.

2. Economic: The state has set five years as the term of application. That is it. Now businesses need not invest money and effort in competing with other businesses over the terms.

Note the irony. If businessmen had met in a big conference hall somewhere and decided among themselves to stop competing on the term of application of their gift cards and set it at five years, statists would have screamed "Collusion! Oligopoly!"

Mike N said...

I agree on all points. On the point of businessmen wanting rules to play by, if the government won't give them rational rules to go by, then they'll obey the irrational rules the gov. does provide. I've always said that many if not most of today's major CEOs would not survive in a capitalist system because they have been conditioned to think they need such controls.

You make a great point about antitrust. If businessmen had agreed on their own to do this, my own Michigan representatives like John Conyers and John Dingell and others would be screaming "colusion "and" restraint of trade" and more to the high heavens. These same representatives would not have the mental acuity to see the hypocricy in their positions.