Saturday, 28 December 2013

Facing 2014

We have been very quiet recently, here at DumbAgent.com


As most of your know, this website is a side project for Ocean Gebhardt and for me, Rebecca Gebhardt Brizi. Ocean has been busy this year after relocating to Taiwan, and setting up his translation business Acahi Translations. Follow him and his new work at http://www.acahi.com


I am completing my second year here in the US, during which I incorporated the US branch of the UK business I have been with for many years, Linex Systems (http://www.linexsystems.com).


We still discuss economics, and we still check in on this site regularly. We hope to return to this more in the new year, though it must fit around our other schedules. For now, you can read back to old posts here on the site, or order our book from Amazon. Also follow us Twitter at @oceanlugano and @rgbrizi.


Don’t be shy!






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Thursday, 26 December 2013

Christmas Outings

On the day before the day before Christmas, it was the Garden Lights at the Botanical Gardens



On the day before Christmas, the Atlanta SkyView

Which, it turns out, is held together by paper clips:

On the day of Christmas, after much food and La Patata Bollente, it was the Global Winter Wonderland

Today? Anchorman II, perhaps


Monday, 23 December 2013

Your Libertarian Holiday Movie List

Keep it safe this Christmas; here is what to watch











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Ballet Weekend

From Jaegerbombs to the Ballet all in one weekend.

Chapeau to the Atlanta Ballet for their marvelous production of The Nutcracker. Energetic and fun, ad not afraid to be a little bit silly. Good times. And yes, I would like the dancing sheep, thank you very much.

Also, for the record: a walk in Piedmont Park in the pouring rain is cute, but not comfortable. Though you will have the whole park to yourself.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Trivia Victory

Last trivia of the year. 2-man* team. Second place.

Huzzah!

Sadly we got all the questions on the Reality TV Shows section correct. So it's a slightly empty victory.


*I do mean myself as one of the "man" in question. I'm so sexist! 

Quote of the day

"we spend lots of time making money, probably because we can't spend a lot of money making time. So I'd argue that Time is more valuable than money."

Ocean Gebhardt

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Read Classics

Because you can not be part of progress without understanding how it has worked thus far.


Monday, 9 December 2013

Is it just me?

Mothers: why, when describing motherhood, do you always say "My kids are such a handful and so tiring but also such a blessing".

Why are they never a blessing first?

ACA Success story

You know: "success"

ACA supporter: 2 months of attempted online registrations, 5 phone calls to Healthcare.gov, 3 registrations (each time having to start from scratch); then, finally, a 90 minute phone call to confirm what we already knew about subsidy access and have a rep read out every single plan available to us, but with no provider names.

ACA sceptic: private price comparison site, 8 seconds to retrieve list of above plans. The site was probably built by high school students.

Note: Our state requires the application process through the exchange. This is frustrating. 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Charity

One though to add to my previous post: one thing I greatly admire in the Catholic church (and not only, but as we are speaking about Catholicism) is the charitable work. In many disaster areas the Catholic church is one of the first giving aid on the ground, and in most places carries an ongoing position of financial, nutritional and, yes, also spiritual support to those who need it most.

Dare I say: private charity increases the more private individuals have control over their own finances.

Just sayin'.

Papal Judgement

Speaking of strange judgements.

With Pope Benedict XVI we ("we") were all full of scorn and contempt for his Prada shoes and golden throne.

Now we have Pope Francis, whom we ("we") adore for not wearing Prada shoes nor sitting in a golden throne.

Neither appears to have much altered the church's position on woman priesthood, homosexuality in the church, priest celibacy, etc. (I would dare to venture even church finances and corruption, though changes have been made I do not by default equate change to improvement).

So basically: "we" are much more concerned with the Pope's shoes and chairs than much else. So are we Pope Benedict XVI?

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Morning Ominousity

An unexpected change in radio station meant I woke up to oboes playing in minor chords.

Feeling ominous.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Judgmental tolerance

I am open and tolerant of all human beings in all walks of life and adhering to any lifestyle.

Unless you partake in Black Friday shopping. Then I look down on you with contempt.

No, not me, but people in general. It has me ver confused. I've never seen such vitriol from so many people who demand so much love and respect from others.

Monday, 2 December 2013

“The Wilder Shores of Marx”, an excerpt

The Skeptical Doctor blog is a collection of writings by Anthony Daniels, also known as Theodore Dalrymple. They recently published an excerpt from one of Daniels’ earlier books, The Wilder Shores of Marx (or Utopias Elsewhere, in the United States). The book tells of when he traveled to North Korea for the World Festival of Youth and Students in 1989.


Read the whole excerpt here. On this page we want to highlight this passage in particular:



Department Store Number 1 was a tacit admission of the desirability of an abundance of material goods, consumption of which was very much a proper goal of mankind. Such an admission of the obvious would not have been in any way remarkable were it not that socialists so frequently deny it, criticising liberal capitalist democracy because of its wastefulness and its inculcation of artificial desires in its citizens, thereby obscuring their ‘true’ interests. By stocking Department Store Number 1 with as many goods as they could find, in order to impress foreign visitors, the North Koreans admitted that material plenty was morally preferable to shortage, and that scarcity was not a sign of abstemious virtue; rather it was proof of economic inefficiency. Choice, even in small matters, gives meaning to life. However well fed, however comfortable modern man might be without it, he demands choice as a right, not because it is economically superior, but as an end in itself. By pretending to offer it, the North Koreans acknowledged as much; and in doing so, recognised that they were consciously committed to the denial of what everyone wants.







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Thursday, 28 November 2013

On Serena Williams

Well put:

"The Williams scourging is a clarifying cultural moment. It should be conceptually possible to separate the issue of the boys’ culpability from the question of whether the victim had the power to avoid the assault in the first place by behaving responsibly. Parents tell their children not to get into strangers’ cars not because they think that a stranger would be justified in abducting a child who did so, but because not getting into a stranger’s car is the best way to avoid kidnapping."

Indeed. These are two separate things which both merit comment. 

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Hair pet peeves

Here are a few:

"Why don't you grow your hair out?"

"Why do you have short hair"

"Men/Guys/Employers/People prefer long hair on women"

All these are very strange things to say. Seriously. If you do not think these are strange comments to make to a woman with short hair, then check your premises.

IMHOfie

My post about humans and their rights.

Basically a selfie.

Just of my brain.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Humans and their rights

Discussion following a recent post on The Skeptical Libertarian facebook page


  • Joe Dailey Heath care shouldn't be a business.
    • Ryan Rice Why?
      Like · 6 hours ago via mobile
    • Joe Dailey Because access to healthcare is a basic human right. I have a hard time working that in with my Librarian views but it still just feels wrong to deny someone access to medicine.

      Also because the cost of medicine and health care are insanely overinflated. There is absolutely no reason at all why a few stitches in the ER should cost thousands of dollars. 

      I don't claim to understand the whole game but i understand enough to know someone is cheating
      Like · 1 · 6 hours ago
    • Chris Wilson Food's a business. Housing is a business. Clothing is a business. I can't think of any other means to provide the best quality of a product to the most people at the best possible price
      Like · 4 · 6 hours ago
    • Joe Dailey I can grow my own food, i can build my own house i can even make my own clothes but i can not heal my self if i get cancer or fall off a damn cliff and break every bone in my body. We live in a society and with things like this we all need to help each other out sometimes. That's just my gut feeling
      Like · 1 · 6 hours ago

    • Dietwald Claus Joe - why is health care so expensive?
    • Joe Dailey I "think" is partly/mostly from a Corrupt government that takes money from pharmaceutical companies to squash competition with restrictive laws. Like i said , I'm not really sure. And i also don't know how to make a system that works. 

      I have way more questions then i do answers. But i do know fundamental right and wrong and it's wrong to let someone rot when you can help them
    • Rebecca Gebhardt Brizi Access to healthcare is a basic human right, as in nobody has the right to deny you that access. As with food, shelter, etc. Health insurance has to do not with healthcare but with payment thereof. Health insurance - insurance of any kind - is pure economics: I choose to mitigate the risk of sudden large payments by making regular smaller payments to an entity who will then help me cover those sudden larger costs. So, Joe, I am agreeing with you and taking it one step further, as well as separating the care from the insurance.
      Like · 1 · 4 hours ago
    • Evan Derv nothing that requires the resources or work of another person can be a right. Or else people don't have a right to own their own bodies. 

      Healthcare cannot be a human right. 

      It's a nice ideal, but positive rights are impossible to provide for without forcing people to provide for them.

      Get rid of mandatory minimum insurance, get rid of allowing policy exemption to certain firms/individuals/organizations for coverage caps/or provision, allow interstate insurance competition.

      Turning insurance into pre paid medical care via the magic of a legislator's pen is economically ignorant and is going to continue to raise the cost of healthcare. When the end user doesn't pay and has to use a middle man to purchase healthcare, the cost incentive is driven up and the entire population of insurance buyers pays for it.
      Unlike · 1 · 2 hours ago · Edited
    • Rebecca Gebhardt Brizi "Get rid of mandatory minimum insurance, get rid of allowing policy exemption to certain firms/individuals/organizations for coverage caps/or provision, allow interstate insurance competition." - Amen

      Re: human right, I always think of a human right as something to which people can not impede access, rather than something which you have a right to receive. So nobody has a right to say you may not receive health care. And requiring you to pay for it is not impeding access, of course.
      Like · 1 · 2 hours ago
    • Evan Derv exactly. It's been a recent redefinition of "unable to access" something because of the specious argument that you have to pay for it. Duh. We have to pay for everything! 

      In fact, those of us that own businesses or have employees pay much MORE for "society"(government) than others. Birth control is not expensive now, why do ALL men (whether impotent, gay, old or unmarried) have to carry Female product riders on their policies? It's not fair to men or women. It's a vote buying scheme for ideologues. 
      Inb4viagracoverage, which isn't mandated or even used to a degree that is statistically significant!