Aug 2, 2012

Joshua for president

Now here's a feel-good story for you. Joshua Smith is nine. He heard his hometown, Detroit, was broke. So he set up a lemonade and popcorn stand in front of his modest home. He dedicates the proceeds to the city, to pay down its debt.

I will not be cynical about Joshua. Good kid. Willing to work. Heart in the right place. Plus, undoubtedly, other virtues once associated with the idea of being American.

However, I'm a little concerned about the city he is trying to help. Detroit is, of course, ruled by grasping politicians who control a regulatory Stasi even Honecker would have been proud of. Unt dey haf ways. That's why Detroit is broke.

Who can doubt that  someone with a badge is checking on this lad? Street vending license? Health department license? Zoning approval? Local EPA-like organization hazmat clearances? City, county, state, and federal tax ID number? Sales tax permit?  Compliance with EOE dictates?  Timely filed reports to OSHA?

Young men like Josh both irritate and frighten the Hacks of City Hall (and Congress etc.).

For one thing, they  cringe at yet another shot of publicity calling attention to the results of their stupid and venal ways.  Worse yet, they detest a demonstration that a nine-year-old boy knows more about the problems and their solutions than they do.

Of course there's one large structural problem with Joshua's plan. When he turns his profits over to the city he is, by definition, handing money to the politicians. They will piss it away. Or steal it.

Aug 1, 2012

MIserycom update

The technician appears and seems to operate at a higher level than his colleagues. After years of frequent outages, treated by Mediacom  with new F conncectors, different modems,  head shaking,  incantations,  and, I would bet, more than a little percussive maintenance, this man discovered a faulty linear amplifier serving the neighborhood.

Bless all the competent men and women everywhere.

EDIT: This post is withdrawn as of three days after being written. 

Libertarian Oak

Life in Bucolia has its rewards.

At 7 a.m. I am watching New Dog Libby romp. Guy in a pickup, a professional tree man,  pulls up and wonders if I'd care to own a big load of bucked burr oak. I said "sure" and asked where it was. "Down on Lake Shore Drive, but I'll bring it to you. Where ya want it dumped?"

"Aww, c'mon. I'll go get it."

"Naah. I'll bring it."

I smiled, said thanks, and pulled out a medium-sized Federal Reserve Cartoon. "Why don't you treat your crew to a few beers on me after work?"

"Nope. Glad to get rid of it."  (Repeat dialog on the same theme for a couple-three more lines.)

The friendly tone, along with money offered and refused, is one example of genuine good will with  which Ayn Rand seasons her lessons on free markets and rational self-interest. Others might just call it  the KY Jelly of commerce.

The pictured result greeted me when I returned from cage-fighting Mediacom. There's more fuel than the picture represents, a full cord at least, value in FRCs  $150 or more.


Why libertarian? Because two men cooperated to their mutual advantage. I got firewood free, save for the labor of cutting and splitting. My pal saved the trouble and expense of hauling it a long way. Not even Elizabeth Warren could improve on that, though she would damned well try. Or at least report me to the IRS if I forget to declare it as in-kind income.


Ladies and Gentlemen, I rant, briefly but wholeheartedly.  Mediacom.

If you have a choice in the matter of  high-speed internet connection and Mediacom is one of them, choose another. Move heaven and earth to choose another. Perhaps you will be fortunate enough to discover a provider which does not consider it a great personal favor to dependably deliver the cable signal for which you pay handsomely.

Since the choices around here are limited, I shall spend too much of tomorrow morning at the local Miserycom office, begging and pleading and groveling in hopes that someone there is (a) capable of and (b) cares enough to fix the  expensive fubared SOB so that it stays fixed for a while.

This TMR report comes to you via a wussy neighborhood wireless signal, the oft-used rescue vessel for which I thank all the gods plus its rightful owner. Believe me, if you're on the Good Ship Mediapop, you need a life boat.