Medicare for All?

Correspondent BA reports that new “Health and Human Services” Secretary Alex Azar made his fortune selling insulin, and that his erstwhile confederates are presently under investigation for “price fixing.”

In response I reiterate the argument that we’d be better off abolishing HHS. It would certainly be a more satisfying solution than fretting over who is at its helm. Regulatory capture is the very story of legislative activism and empty-headed do-goodism. The Rainbows and Puppies Act never quite works out the way the Great Unwashed expect.

IF Azar is a thief, I am delighted to learn it. Recognizing that he would be in no position to abolish the office, but instead could use it to mulct tax victims, I still contend that the corrupt, in their natural desire to avoid exposure, tend to do less damage than do-gooders. Short of shutting down the office I opt for the prudent scoundrel over the committed true-believer.

(It may be an error or an oversight, but BA appears to conclude that “This is why we need Medicare for All.” This may be the most perfectly silly non sequitur I’ve seen coming from this particular correspondent, for whom I have generally great respect and affection.)

Never say Nephite?

Correspondent TK claims that “liking Mormons is a whole heckuva a lot easier than liking many a secular.”
Correspondent SA agrees, and includes Jehovah’s Witnesses as well, then suggests that “Trinitarians are the worst.”

While I don’t share SA’s experience with Trinitarians (nor therefore his assessment) I am otherwise inclined to agree with both.
If I were so wired I’d be torn between the LDS and a theology of my own devising. Among human beings generally Mormons seem to me to be among the most civil and sincere, irrespective of their peculiar ideology. Among arrogant atheists I come across as a fairly decent fellow (I hope), but I’m nowhere near as nice as most Mormons.

I’m either willing to engage proselytes when they show up, or politely brush them off, depending on my mood.

I was outside my house one afternoon in Kawaihae Village when a couple of “Elders” showed up. (“Elders” who, from the looks of them, may have been shaving for about three weeks.) I told them up front that I was an atheist materialist who had actually read the Book of Mormon, and that if they wanted to they could hang out and we could wash my car while we entertained each other. They both rolled up their sleeves and tucked their ties into their collars and we set to. It turns out we didn’t talk all that much about the New World Testament after all. I was clearly conversant and not buying any of it, and they were too smart to continue laboring fruitlessly. Instead we talked mostly about the city” of Corvallis and Oregon State University — my own alma mater, and one of theirs as well.

It was simply a lovely time, and I was grateful for their help and they were grateful for the cold drinks and we were all grateful for the beautiful day and each other‘s company.

Interlac Arithmetic Makes No Sense

Interlac, the putative lingua franca of 30th & 31st century United Planets’ (and larger) known space, is loads of fun! We know that it isn’t a “real” language. It isn’t even code. It’s English, couched in your basic symbol substitution cipher. But its presence in panel backgrounds gives the stories an additional other-worldly flavor. For those of us who are so motivated, reading the “hidden” messages provides even more entertainment. The presence of Interlac, like any other “Oestre Egg,” should never detract from the story, nor materially contribute to the plot or action. For those with the wit to pick them up, however, these “eggs” can provide a lot of extra fun!

Interlac numerals, as originally presented, are a problem. The first three make sense, but after that they break down. Since Legion stories are literary events, and not mathematical treatises, the silly numerals were a tiny problem, if any problem at all. Still, they are inelegant and inconsistent and an affront to obsessive math geeks. The apparent similarities between the Interlac 6,7,42,and 43, for example, betray fundamental flaws.

My personal “retcon” solution is to assert that (in continuo) Interlac is derived from Coluan, and that their number system happens to be base four, or “quartal” rather than decimal or octal or hexagecimal. Serious (ly bent) arithmetricians often argue that bases twelve or sixteen offer greater computational efficiency than our own decimal system, and the field of datics bears this out, at least in re hex. I stipulate that Coluans, for whatever reasons of their own, developed a base four system, as presented above.

While “quartal” is as sound a construction as octal or decimal, I like “Quartalac,’ as it gives the name more of an Interlackian rhythm. Also, the extra weight helps it stand up to Hindu-Arabic’s superior syllabic firepower.

The English transliterations of the symbols shown are as follows:
One, two, tri, for, fyv, sik, sen, ayt, nyn, ten, leven, dozen, trizen, tetrin, pentin, sissin, sissin one, sissin for, sissin ayt, twosis, trissis,
sekki, tekki, trikki, qwarkay, haykay, sesqway, kay, twokay.

Symbols not shown are trikay and beyond. The alert reader can probably easily imagine the look of the trikay. For numbers larger than trikay sesqway trikki trissis pentin, the multiplier would appear above or to the left of the kay, there would be no mulitplier inside, and the remaining sum less than kay would be below or to the right. For orders greater than kay we can look to the Interlac alphabet, and apply the same protocol of small enough multipliers inside the symbol, or blossoming out the left or top as needs be. Rather than spell out all 26 (sissin ten) letters, I’ll just say that the next three after kay — Mega (kay kay), Giga (mega mega), and Tera (giga giga) — should be both obvious and sufficient. Perhaps only the Coluans themselves (or Sardath of Rann) ever trouble with computing a Zillion.

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Alex (Swamp Thing) Olsen, Linda Olsen, Shvaugn Erin, & Jan (Element Lad) Arrah, are all properties of Detective Comics and Warner Communications.  Their images are reproduced by Piracy Press for purposes of analysis and scholarship.  If anything, their use here constitutes free advertisement for DC‘s properties at the considerable expense of Piracy Press and Greigh Area Associates.

Stories are selected with the greatest of discrimination, but even numbered issues of Daring Love are specifically edited with the prurient interests of atavistic fanboys in mind.  Reader discretion is advised.

Which Annoys Your Leftie Friends More?

The fact that you never vote to rob your neighbors, or the fact that you call voting to rob your neighbors “voting to rob your neighbors”?

In my case I’d have to go with the latter offense. Most of my friends are long over my peculiar voting policy (unless they still find it amusing). I think it may be their subconscious realization that voting is generally useless. However, they still hate that I won’t endorse their lies or larceny. Of course, I expect that “His Serenity Now” will again insist that he responds “more in sadness than in anger.”

Privileged Elite Mob Assaults Lone Tribal Elder

Prosecutor Preens While Jackals Slaver Over Fresh Carrion

That may be a little busy.

I appreciate the pains that headline writers take to come up with expressions that snare readers’ attention, draw them into the story, even tell part of the story, but still leave them eager for more.

Also, I don’t know for a fact that Mr Mueller is literally preening. I have no problem with the jackal comparison, of course, in light of the media’s recent disgraceful treatment of the young gentlemen from Covington, but I should probably not refer to Mr Stone as “carrion.”
I also like —

Privileged Elite Mob Assaults Lone Tribal Elder

That one is a lot more defensible. After all, the FBI themselves claim to be among the best of the best. You know, “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity” and all that jazz (though some of their detractors have referred to them as a [Sexually active] Bunch of Idiots), so you bet! Plenty elite! And privileged? Who’s more privileged than the FBI? Not only do they get to wave around cool guns that you can’t, but they also get to kill people. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. Just because Lon Horiuchi can murder Sammy and Vickie Weaver doesn’t mean that you can get away with that kind of nonsense. Now THAT’s privilege! Also, they’ll lie to you just for the fun of it with complete impunity, but if you misremember the ingredients in your sandwich last Thursday you can look forward to prison romance. Maybe “Mob” is a little unfair. These guys are pros, so they’re generally more organized than the rest of us. Still, when you’re outnumbered by about twenty-seven to one, it does feel a bit like being mobbed.

Hmmm… Even if Mr Mueller is not actually preening, it was still a pretty hefty show of force, and it left the breast-beaters and pearl-clutchers in the steno-media singing his praises.
Ah! Of course! I’ve got it! (Inspired by Charles Atlas)

Thug Flexes, Chicks Swoon


On Getting Paid for Two Weeks of Enjoyable Training — and then “Failing” the Drug Test (091214)

Dear Mrs Alias,

How unfortunate that you would deny yourself an employee of unwavering integrity and immense vigor due to your misguided allegiance to a campaign of bigotry, cruelty, and irrationality. It saddens me that people who would promote respect and dignity for even the most disadvantaged would undermine such laudable goals by rejecting applicants on the basis of their peaceful lifestyle.

I commiserate with your plight, but I do not apologize.

A decent respect for the opinions of my fellow persons (to paraphrase Mr Jefferson) demands that I articulate my motives in misdirection and guile. When asked if I would pass the probable drug screening process, I responded in the affirmative. How can I possibly square such an obvious lie with my claim of honor? One conveniently Clintonian explanation is to stretch the definition of the verb “to pass.” If I did not “pass” a sample, then you would lack the ability to infer from it my private behavior. However, as entertaining as such wordplay might be, it is neither useful nor informative.

Here are my points: As an unrelenting optimist, I wanted to give you every opportunity to come to your senses before you backed yourself into a corner. Also, as an accessory to a crime, by which I mean the assaults on personal sovereignty inherent in the “War on (some) Drugs”, you deserved to be inconvenienced. Deception, or even violence, are perfectly legitimate tactics in the constant struggle against evil. Of course, as a committed coward, I prefer to avoid violence. Furthermore, because you clearly labor under powerful misconceptions, you must be confronted with strong counter-examples to the popular stereotype of the irresponsible and unmotivated stoner. Beyond my personal pride in achievement and mental acuity, I am endlessly amused by the thought of people being inspired to wrestle with their souls. Truth remains the great liberator of the mind, and I hope that I have helped, in my own small way, to lead you from the darkness.

update 190125: I kinda ducked a bullet on this job prospect. It could have meant dealing with some extremely challenging people — not evil or vicious, necessarily, but a little slow and easily confused or frightened. Nevertheless, it was a good enough offer to pursue. I’d even begun to develop a nice cordial relationship with my trainer Mrs Alias. It’s amazing how easy it is to win your way into my heart when you act like you think I’m smart and funny.
Well, so much for Me and Mrs Alias havin’ a thing goin’ on…

If We Surrendered “Isis” the Terrorists Would Win

Brian Bendis’ broad hints of late, in re a resumed, rebooted, or re-imagined Legion of Super-Heroes, have fueled a flurry of speculation, prognostication, and condemnation. I am not among those who would scorn the notion of a Bendis Legion. I’m presently enjoying his work on Superman and am willing to give his vision as fair a trial as I had Gerry Conway‘s, Cary Bates‘, or Roy Thomas‘. As a Silver-Age Supremacist myself I have my obvious preferences, but if Bendis and DC are going to sell us the Legion I’ll be there, whether it’s “my Legion” or another Archie Legion or even one of Mark Waid’s or Keith Giffen’s Edgy Legions.

If it is to be, I expect it will have to be after Geoff Johns and Gary Franks have taken their sweet time with Imra’s involvement in Doomsday Clock. Since Geoff and Gary are taking a very sweet time of it indeed, we all have plenty of opportunity to campaign for our particular favorites, or to propose new Legionnaires (or at least Cadets.)

From column A:
Brainy, Supergirl, the founding triad, Jo & Tinya, Chuck & Lu, Brin & Ayla & Vi (oh my!), ERG 2.0 & Dawny, Nura, Mysa, RJ, Marla, Jan & Schvaugn, Dr Gym’ll, Circadia Senius, Gigi Cusimano, and Rond Vidar.

And introducing…
Magic has been well established in the Disparate Continua (Doctor Thirteen‘s protestations notwithstanding), and so appears in most Legion incarnations as well. The specific image of Isis that I’ve swiped from CBS is likely not available, as her particular parentage could be split between Warner Communications, Columbia Broadcasting, and/or Filmation Studios themselves. She was licensed to DC for a while, but such arrangements are usually perishable.

As a member of the ancient Egyptian pantheon however, Isis predates copyright and trademark considerations, and is as up for grabs as are Hercules or Thor or Jesus. While Filmation’s interpretation is off the table, Isis herself, as a thematic ancestor of both Athena and Aphrodite, remains a laudable and powerful concept. Besides, it might be a good opportunity to make this particular Isis an actual Egyptian native rather than the generic “anglo-mediterranean” we might remember from Saturday morning.

The name of “Isis” could stand some rehabilitation, too, as the televised version was pretty weak. Then there are the Losers, Ignorant Savages, and Irredeemable Sadists (LISIS) who would insult both Isis and Allah with their homicidal excess and spiritual commitment. She’s infinitely better than they are.

Of course, some might argue that in a universe that includes a Diana of Themyscira, an “Isis of Memphis” would be redundant. Fine. So are the Super-Cousins and the whole Bat-Family. Besides, Diana and Isis can patrol separate centuries.
And Brainy always needs a little magic around to keep him on edge.


Emphatic Yield

We could call it “The One Jerk Rule.”
Every time you see a cop pull someone over you can be confident that there is at least one jerk involved.

Ideally, the jerk in question would be some jackass who had been driving like a maniac and threatening the rest of us with expensive inconvenience and mortal injury. Or perhaps the jerk is nowhere near the scene. Suppose my evil twin were to hold up the local Quikk Stopp. When Officer Friendly pulls me over he doesn’t know I’m not the jerk he seeks. He sees that my vehicle or I match the suspect description he was provided. If I’m patient and wise it will eventually be sorted out. Such events are rare, but do warrant mention. But those aren’t the jerks I wish to discuss.

Anyone who joins a cadre whose policy mandates that members fill quotas of abuse, whether it be Komrade Kruschev rounding up Ukrainians for mass-murder, or Officer Speedbump lying in wait for the tenth pickup going at least five miles per hour past the limit, has also chosen to be a jerk.

I’d say that more often than not I “run” the stop sign nearest my home on my way to work. “Run” is an exaggeration. I slow down to assess the situation and then conduct myself with both discretion to Deputy Fife’s possible presence down the next block, and deference to my own skin.

If I weren’t so lazy and cowardly (your basic Pussican American), I’d be tempted to ignore the next parked cruiser I saw when I safely negotiated entry into an intersection. As tickets for such an infraction could range from forty to two hundred bucks (your mileage may vary) I would thereupon demand a jury trial (and stand pro se), arguing that such dicta are a violation of the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition against uncompensated takings. Ignoring a stop sign is in and of itself neither trespass nor threat. FAILURE to YIELD can be reckless endangerment, and when rights of way are posted or otherwise understood it is also breach of contract.

But when an intersection is well lit and it is clearly safe to enter I do no harm to society by conserving my perfectly good momentum. I paid for that momentum by burning my own gasoline, which I purchased ultimately with my labor and irreplaceable time. By legislative or administrative fiat am I to be deprived of my just property? Or am I to be fined, and therefore deprived of my just property? (Am I to be forced to burn more gasoline and enlarge my carbon footprint and thus accelerate global coo– warmi– climate change?) There is no discernible benefit to “society” from this policy, just injury to the innocent and riches for the ruling class.

I will concede that stop signs at security checkpoints, factory or refinery gates, military installations, hygiene stations etc may well be appropriate. On public streets they are offensive. It is just as easy to mark thoroughfares with “Yield” signs. Failure to yield is already stupid and dangerous.
Let’s stop harassing the harmless and return to sensible security.

Convoluted Confession

Congratulations to the nationally renowned and Cincinnati’s locally celebrated drug dealer Molly Wellmann, whose outstanding record of serving toxins to junkies (et al) has earned her the recognition of her peers.

One might prudently hope that former Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor doesn’t get word of this elevated acclaim. In light of her confession (also in Friday’s Enquirer) that “without real border security [I am] at risk of becoming… drug-addled,” and in light of her long-standing record of interfering in the lives and businesses of strangers, there is a very real danger that Ms Wellmann’s newly found fame my redound to her disadvantage. (Two points about paraphrasing — Ms Taylor said “we.” This was rude. She seems to arrogate to herself the authority to speak on my behalf, as if I shared her inability to make grown-up decisions in the face of pharmaceutical temptation. Because she said “we”, which is a pronoun that ALWAYS includes the speaker, “I” is an apt substitution.)

While we might take comfort from the fact that Ms Taylor is safely out of office, we should heed newly installed Enforcer Mike DeWine when he claims that “it is appropriate to hold accountable those who dispense… drugs that can kill.” Should Ms Wellmann and I (and every other clerk at every other Quikk Stopp along the Interstate) expect to be jacked up by Maleficent Mike’s legions of eager DAs for our contributions to emphysema, bronchitis, cirrhosis, and despair?