Productivity is not a gift from the government.

Via Cato @ Liberty comes information that Canada’s Liberal Party is proposing a lower corporate tax rate (emphasis mine):

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion has pledged to further reduce the Canadian federal corporate tax rate to better compete with other countries and strengthen Canada’s economic sovereignty. …Dion told the Economic Club of Toronto…“A lower corporate tax rate is a powerful weapon in the federal government’s arsenal to generate more investment, higher living standards and better jobs.” …The previous Liberal government reduced the federal corporate tax rate to 19% from 28%. Dion said he would go deeper than the Conservatives have done with their reduction to 18.5% in 2011. …“If you lower the corporate tax rate, you lower the cost of capital for Canadian companies. Therefore, these companies are induced to spend more on capital equipment. As for foreign investment, we need a big hook to snare investment, including Canadian investment, that might otherwise go south of the border. Finally, it would strengthen Canadian companies against foreign takeover,” Dion concluded.

I think this is a great idea, but I don’t think Dion understands why. This is where Liberal/Left thinking is flawed. A lower tax rate is best because it removes more of the government’s destructive power from the process. It should not be viewed as a tool to create anything other than more liberty, freeing entrepreneurs to create what customers want.

Maybe a business should invest in new capital equipment when it keeps more of its revenue. Maybe it should expand into new territories. Maybe it should launch a new product line. Maybe it should return the extra revenue to shareholders, who may then redirect the money to more productive uses. There are countless possibilities.

Tax rates should be as low as possible because government can’t know which use for capital is best. Central planners can guess, but any accuracy is luck. This proposed tax cut should be explained as a realization of that core truth, not as further evidence of the benevolence and wonderful nature of government control over business.

Consumer choice refers to an individual consumer.

Via Major Nelson, here’s a story on ten features that should be in every video game. My personal pet peeve:

4. Always let players skip cut scenes no matter how important they are to the story.

What a predicament cut scenes create. As a designer, you want all your hard work to be acknowledged, even the cut scenes. Sadly, interactive entertainment is the name of the game, and it always comes first. That’s why gamers play these things. So rather than assume every player wants to watch your story-telling chops, allow them to bypass cut scenes, tutorials, and even speed up the showing of logos when a game boots up. Tell your story through engaging gameplay, and you’ll easily be remembered and praised regardless of what you accomplished in a cut scene, tutorial, or start screen branding.

I agree. I generally watch the cut scenes the first time through a game, but I do not need to see them every time. It’s tedious and wastes my time. I have a memory, so the second time through, I know what’s going on.

More specifically, never put the cut scene after a saved checkpoint. Barring that, never make the cut scene mandatory. If my character dies before the next checkpoint, I do not want to watch the same (long) cut scene over. Many games make this mistake, but Blazing Angels has been the biggest offender I’ve played so far. I actually stopped playing the game because I couldn’t get past a mission that made me watch the long cut scene every time I started the mission after dying. My incentive disappeared because it wasted too much of my life.

As intuitive as this opt-out seems, the desire to apply one’s personal preference to everyone extends itself to so many spheres. From the comments at Major Nelson’s entry:

You should always be forced to watch cutscenes, if you’re not watching cutscenes you’re not playing the game as it was intended.

As intended. Someone else’s determination is the only way to play the game. No individual thinking or preference is valid. Really?


Nice list, but I disagree with number 4. I’d like the cutscenes to be unskippable the first time. There’s too many times that I’ve pressed a button just because I want to see if it skips or not…

Because this gamer can’t prevent himself from tasting the forbidden fruit, we must all be subject to his whims. No doubt he’ll run for political office at some point.

A private enterprise creating a video game which does not offer complete freedom for preferences is not the same as the government dictating prohibitions for non-favored choices. I can vote with my dollars. Readily conceded. But the mentality that leads to the latter is what’s exhibited in those statements. The central planner knows best or can’t control his impulses, so it’s supposedly wise to limit everyone. They do not care that a view of liberty for all includes the opportunity for self-imposed restrictions and mechanisms to control impulses. I get what I want, you get what you want. Instead, the solution is always to limit everyone.

I can (almost) die now.

I’ve mentioned a time or twenty-five that I love Alias. I’ve carried this love so far as to see The Paris Letter in New York, even though the Broadway cast did not include Neil Patrick Harris, because it starred Ron Rifkin, aka Arvin Sloane. The play was actually interesting, but that wouldn’t have mattered. With a primary cast member from Alias, my ticket purchase is guaranteed.

So it was with Cyrano de Bergerac. It does not star a primary cast member of Alias. During its 10-week run, it stars THE primary cast member of Alias, Sydney Bristow Jennifer Garner.

I purchased tickets the morning they went on sale for the first weekend, which happens to be this weekend. The show is in previews for the first two weeks, which meant there would potentially be “issues” with the show. That didn’t matter. Jennifer Garner. I’d pay to watch dress rehearsal, which turned out to be kinda what we saw. As Danielle recapped today:

… Kevin Kline basically carries the whole show, and is marvelous, but one man can’t carry an entire Anthony Burgess adaptation of the classic tale, y’know? At several points, when Kline wasn’t on stage or speaking, I felt like I was watching a high school theater club. After one scene change, the translucent curtain got caught and the entire production had to stop for ten minutes so some crew guys could come out and fix it. Quite hilarious and a first for me. We think we even caught Jennifer Garner starting to laugh. Even with all of its missteps and faults, the audience rose to their feet for curtain call, cheering Kline’s worthy performance.

Basically, the show is a disaster in its current form, despite the presence of Kevin Kline. The opening scenes desperately need a trim. The cast needs to act with each other rather than at each other. Someone needs to figure out how to operate the curtain. And so on.

But Jennifer Garner! And being a Broadway play, two more words come into play: stage door. I did not get an autograph like I recently managed from Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal while they performed in their return to Rent, but being up close was worth driving to New York to spend barely six hours in the city.

The Internet is closed?

Is there a better way to jump back into blogging than to return with a rant?

Like most everyone these days, I pay my bills online. It’s convenient, it saves postage, and I don’t have to deal with humans. It’s the trifecta of incentives. I haven’t purchased new checks in nearly six years, as a result. I love the Internets. But apparently there are operating hours for the Internets. Encountered tonight while attempting to pay my health insurance:

The online self-service feature you have requested is unavailable at this time. Our regular system operating hours are Monday through Friday from 4:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Saturday from 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

I’m familiar enough with IT to base my livelihood on knowing it. I’m fairly certain that no computer system, regardless of the business’ size, needs 53 hours of maintenance per week. I suppose the gerbils behind the scenes are unionized, so anything more than a a 68.5% up-time would be abusive.

If it wasn’t such a hassle (and irrational), I’d change my insurance company. It’s not too much to ask to be able to submit a few bits representing money at 7:30 on a Sunday night.

It’s 4:00 am and I can’t sleep.

I’ve been meaning to blog. Really, I have. But … There’s always a “but”, isn’t there? Of course there is. And it’s always something ridiculous like “I had to watch one more episode of Battlestar Galactica” or some other time-sucking necessity. I know. It’s true.

So, I’ve meant to blog. But tedium got in the way. Danielle’s needed help with a flat tire. Then the flat tire had to be replaced. Being the only person in the house with an abundance of free time meant I got to search dealerships for the best rates and wait with the car while all the necessary stuff was inflated and rotated and stuff.

Also, my car ran into a minor, self-inflicted issue. The check engine light appeared, alleging that the coolant temperature sensor was busted. The part was $7 and easy to replace, so I replaced it. Except I left the old o-ring in the tube, so the sensor was not secured by the clip. I knew something was wrong, but chose the moron path. The first time I drove after this repair, being cautious to verify that everything was good, I journeyed no more than one mile from my house before my car had spilled all of its coolant. I caused no damage to the car, but more days lost with getting everything back to normal.

I also bought a new car. I ordered it, actually, but it isn’t here yet. It ships today. More on this later.

Most importantly, reports that joblessness will lead to a significant increase in productivity for hobbies and long-buried dreams are all false. At least for me. I needed a break when this stretch started in April. I needed it into May and probably beyond. But at some point, I tipped from regenerating to degenerating. That point snuck by me unnoticed. In the future I’ll pay more attention should this scenario arise again because now I know it’s part of this fun.

This time around, though, wow. Now I know what it’s like to let nearly 6 months pass and have not nearly enough to show for it. This is not bad, but it must stop. If that makes sense. I want to write more, both here and not here. I must accomplish tasks for my house. There’s missing drywall in my garage from a leak many months ago, for example. Cold weather isn’t that far away, my garage is a mess, and a new car needs to park where there is now just a mountain of disorganized uselessness. And so on.

Since I’ve done nothing but scour the Internet with a less-than-focused attention, I’ll start refocusing. The internet is wonderful but only a low level of mindless wandering is worth the expense. If I’m going to surf for the blog, I should blog. I’m going back to work soon, so I expect my overall productivity will increase. I want to do more, too.

For starters, to ease back in, I liked this post from Scott Adams on freedom:

Thanks to religious restrictions on freedom in the United States, we have a long list of things you can’t do (at least whenever you want): prostitution, marijuana, euthanasia, gambling, polygamy, and on and on. You might argue that the law is just trying to protect people from harm. But if that were the case, bicycles would be illegal.

The details on some of those list items are important, but yes. Yes.

The short version of this entry is that I’m still here and plan to be here for a long time. Even though I don’t demonstrate it sometimes. Still, blogging at 4:00 am must count for something, right?

I’m never watching the Phillies again.

The title of this entry is a lie. I’ll be back in February, as anxious as ever, when the Phillies return to Clearwater for Spring Training. But after last night’s series ending debacle, I need all four months between now and pitchers and catchers to forgive this team for being the stupidest successful team I’ve ever witnessed.

In the sixth inning last night, with the Phillies losing 1-0, Rollins and Utley walked with 1 out. The pitches they saw from Jiminez were progressively worse. The only smart move for the next hitter, Pat Burrell, is to step into the box and pretend to be a statue for at least one pitch. The bat should not have left his shoulder. Make the rookie Jiminez throw something good before thinking about swinging. It’s what the Rockies did the entire series to the Phillies pitchers. Pat Burrell swung at ball 1, popping up to shallow left field. The rally died before it got going. The Phillies lost the chance at a championship by abandoning fundamental baseball.

This entire postseason never happened. Let’s never speak of it again.

The Race for Eleven One

I have stories to blog about, but I’ve been focused on car issues and the Phillies in the playoffs. The car issues are resolved, fortunately, and the Phillies in the playoffs is almost resolved, unfortunately. Something more substantial than baseball will return tomorrow, I think.

As for the Phillies, after watching today’s loss, I feel like the season-ending script is re-writing itself. Sunday afternoon I felt as though I was a child in a poor family told by his parents that there’s extra money, which means there can be a Christmas this year. Today, I feel like those parents finally mentioned that, while there can be a Christmas this year, I won’t be receiving anything. Because they hate me.

I love the Phillies, and I have phaith that we can struggle through two tough road games this weekend to bring it back to Philadelphia for the deciding Game 5. But my intellectual streak wants to challenge that so badly because we are a stupid, stupid team. All emotion and no brains. That’s a recipe for the suckage portion of the emotion-fueled pendulum we’ve exhibited so far, not a consistent push for wins on the fundamental portion. We have to fix this.