Friday, February 13, 2009
Bill out of Atlas Shrugged almost as long as Atlas Shrugged.
The final version of the so-called stimulus bill, which will make economic news continue to sound like it was cribbed from Atlas Shrugged, clocks in at 1,071 pages long (up from 424 pages long when first written). This is just 121 pages shorter than that prophetic work. Rich irony was just a back-room deal away!
Congress is admittedly poised to pass it without having read either tome. Were I a conservative, I'd propose a law that Congress would not be allowed to vote for any bill during a "cooling-off" period of a length of time it would take an average person to read the bill.
But I am not, and such a measure would be a mere band-aid. The way to fix this grotesquely wrong situation is for a substantial number of Americans to demand that the government do its actual job, which is protecting individual rights, and nothing else. If enough people read Atlas Shrugged, and began voting (and persuading other voters) accordingly, we wouldn't have to worry about what a bunch of little dictators are happily passing, unread.
WSJ: Bring Back Gold
Via HBL, I heard of an excellent article arguing for a return to sound money, and chronicling some baby steps in that very direction.
If capitalism is to be preserved, it can't be through the con game of diluting the value of money. People see through such tactics; they recognize the signs of impending inflation. When we see Congress getting ready to pay for 40% of 2009 federal budget expenditures with money created from thin air, there's no getting around it. Our money will lose its capacity to serve as an honest measure, a meaningful unit of account. Our paper currency cannot provide a reliable store of value.At least some people are out there making arguments like this....
Stop by Titanic Deck Chairs to read it, if you haven't done so already.
My Take on the All-Ett
Before Christmas, I talked about wanting to try the "All-Ett", an ultra-thin wallet made of rip-stop nylon. I ended up ordering one myself and have been using it instead of my usual leather tri-fold for about a month.
I'm sticking with the All-Ett, but have to give it a mixed review. I went with the European Leather version, because I wanted something small and "sophisticated", as the product description bills its leather exterior. I wanted to try a thin wallet, but not so badly as to carry around something that would be embarrassing to take out of my pocket in public.
First, let's get the bad out of the way. The All-Ett is just barely passable as far as the fashion department goes. It is leather, but there is a prominent seam in the middle that runs the entire length of the outside of the wallet, and the brand name is stamped on the outside. Perhaps the latter won't bother most, but I personally hate my clothing and accessories to carry advertising.
The interior takes getting used to. The fabric that makes the All-Ett so thin is crinkly, and will make a racket when you add or remove bills. I have either gotten used to that or have since learned how to do this more quietly. Also, cards slide in and out easily. If you are, as I am, someone who can easily automate standing orders like, "Be careful opening your wallet, and always straighten out your cards before closing it," this won't be a problem. If not, it might be. There is nowhere to place photos. I may add plastic sleeves for this purpose later on.
Now, for the good. The thickness of my new wallet is less than half of what it was for the old. In fact, I now rarely notice my wallet when sitting down. That used to be especially annoying -- as in sleep-inducing to my leg -- when I wore jeans and drove. For trips of more than about fifteen minutes, I'd just take my wallet out of my pocket. Now, I can leave it in. And, if you want my wife's opinion (the one that really counts!), this image over at Life Hacker will give you an idea. She really dislikes the exterior of the wallet, but she's not exactly nagging me to get rid of it, either!