The Record to Beat

Posted in Geekdom on May 1st, 2006 by Дмитрий

As of today, I have had my cell phone number longer than any other phone number I’ve ever had (aside from my parents’ house) - beating out the record of my old cell number (which I had in Fresno) of 3 years, 5 months and 19 days. It is the record to beat, and probably will be, provided we stick with a single carrier/service when we move house. This is because come September, when my current contract is up, I intend to finally dump the 415 (San Fran) number in favor of one that does not carry a 15-buck local telecom tax (and more accurately reflects my chosen permanent home).


Or, as David mentioned, it finally signifies our move from Neilsen DMA #6 to #47. At least I’ll still be in a slightly larger market than my hometown of Fresno.


But who’da thought that Asheville was a larger market than the Triad??


Posted in Uncategorized on May 4th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Our loan was approved. All that’s left is the inspection (scheduled for a week from today), after which only 10 days will stand between us and our keys.


We’ll probably be moving in mid-late June, but our lease on our Matthews apt is not up until Mid-July, so I’ll be making every possible attempt at squeezing extra Gaggle time in between now and then.

Lies My Parents Told Me

Posted in About Me on May 5th, 2006 by Дмитрий
  1. You can’t drink soda in the morning

  2. Someday I’ll grow out of my obsession with Siouxsie and Robert Smith

  3. Someday I’ll have to wear a tie every day

  4. Someday I’ll have to grow up

  5. In the real world, if you look or act wierd, you’ll never get anywhere

I’m glad I uncovered these lies before I fell for them.


*sips Diet Coke*

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The Perils of Multiple Cultures

Posted in Americana, Economics, Rants on May 9th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Francis Fukuyama, in his book The End of History and the Last Man discussed the “Universal and Homogenous State” as that polity which existed when man had reached the end of his political-intellectual development. In Fukuyama’s thesis, this state was the capitalistic post-industrial constitutional democracy. His identification of this system as the culmination of mankind’s political and cultural development was rooted in the objective fact that all successful and competitive cultures on Earth today have adopted most of the Western system of legal and economic governance.

That is an important preface to any Western perspective on multiculturalism, because most Western pundits (who place positive value on Western culture and institutions) have spent dozens of years and gallons of ink criticizing the betrayal of Western culture to the “multicultural society” developing in most Western states.

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Egg Foo Yuan

Posted in Economics on May 10th, 2006 by Дмитрий

A good few in Washington talk about an ‘unfair advantage’ being held by the Chinese market due to ‘currency manipulation’. Like many issues in politics, using vague and sweeping terms like these guarantees they’ll be able to prove themselves right.


Of course, they shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. The US has a huge fiscal imbalance which should result in a plummetting currency weight abroad. This isn’t happening too much in East Asia generally and China particularly - not because of some evil hostile communist plot, but because all the securities Washington is selling to finance its welfare and war ambitions is being bought by China and its neighbors.


In other words, without China soaking up US treasury bills to keep its currency down (and consequently America’s up), Washington would have a much harder time financing its 5-year spending spree. Either interest rates would have gone up MUCH faster the past few years, resulting in a much more painful recession and recovery (if any), or the administration and Congress would have actually had to control their spending and think of the future, or both.


I’m just saying, be careful what you wish for.

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Club America

Posted in Americana on May 10th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Can all you smarmy creepy metrosexual guys with your stupid ugly fake mohawks just die?


Painfully, preferably.


I remember back when I was hanging with the hardcore goths and a mohawk was something you had to spend a few hours working on each day, what with the hairspray and blow-dryer and bright purple dye… Now these metrosexual guys make them look like the result of just failing to take a shower for a few weeks (and sleeping evenly on each side of their head during that time).


I guess that could actually be the case. Maybe metrosexuals don’t sweat the normal natural scents we’re used to. Instead they just smell stronger and stronger of Hugo Boss or CK One as the days go by without a shower. But I guess they don’t have time to do anything with their hair or shower, what with all the time they spend making sure that their wardrobe does not match and that nothing about them makes them look straight…


As Robert Smith said 10 years ago, it’s all about “the way you so carefully couldn’t care less…”


“Club America” by The Cure

i ride into your town on a big black trojan horse
i’m looking to have some fun
some kind of trigger-happy intercourse

“club america salutes you” says the girl on the door
“we accept all major lies
we love any kind of fraud
so go on in and enjoy…
go on in and enjoy!!!”

i’m buying for my bright new friends
blue suzannes all round
and my mood is heavily pregnant…
yeah you’re right
i couldn’t help but notice your icy blue eyes
they’ve been burning two holes in the sides of my head
since the second i arrived


and it’s not too hard to guess from your stick-on stars
and your canary feather dress
your hair in such a carefully careless mess
that you’re really trying very hard to impress

you’re such a wonderful person living a fabulous life
sensational dazzling perfectly sized
such a wonderful person living a fabulous life
sharing it with me in club america tonight…


so we talk for a while about some band you saw on tv
but i don’t listen to you and you don’t listen to me
yeah it’s an old routine but it’s a very special part of the game
and you don’t really care what i call you at all
when i can’t quite remember your name


and it’s not too hard to guess from your stick-on stars
and your canary feather dress
the way you so carefully couldn’t care less
that you’re really trying very hard to impress

you’re such a wonderful person living a fabulous life
sensational dazzling perfectly sized
such a wonderful person living a fabulous life
sharing it with me tonight

yeah you’re a wonderful person living a fabulous life
fantastic divine and thrillingly bright
such a wonderful person living a fabulous lie
with me in club america tonight…

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Aw, That’s Tho Thweet

Posted in Sods on May 11th, 2006 by Дмитрий

It’s apparently queer-boy couples’ night on HGTV. Three shows in a row featuring faggy domesticy boys (including two faggy firemen in Baltimore). Not all of them are the gross shiny annoying ones, either. Maybe David and I can get some free remodeling if we ask HGTV to visit our new house…

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Spare Some Change?

Posted in Home on May 25th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Geez, getting a house is a lot of work. We write our closing check today, after which we’ll be so incredibly broke. Thank gawd for that King of the Hill episode - maybe I’ll spend some time panhandling while I’m in SF next week - everyone else is doing it, and I’ll probably make more money than actual work…


Yeah, so that’s all I’ve got. Sorry a 2-week absence couldn’t produce anything more worth reading…

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Ixnay on the Ongresscay

Posted in Economics on May 25th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Let’s look at some of the things our wonderful congress has been spending its six-figure-salary time working on the past few days:


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Ich bin ein Hausbesitzer

Posted in Home on May 27th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Or something like that…


We signed about 300 different papers and got a big comfy king-sized bed delivered, then spent our first night in the big empty house.



Now I’m off to San Francisco again in 12 hours. Hopefully I’ll have some time on my hands for catching up on journals then. When I return to NC on 6/12, it’ll be a mad rush to finish painting, moving, setting up the new office, etc before I have to leave again. It’s gonna be another busy month. Geesh.

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Pave Everything. Spare Nothing.

Posted in Evil on May 29th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Quote of the day:


Mother Nature is a faghag.
A loud and gaudy old bitch.
How do I shut these fucking birds up?
I’m besieged! All these ugly bees spreading pollen from those slutty little flowers.
All those small furry creatures screwing like animals out in the open.
Disgraceful, I say.
Pave everything. Spare nothing.

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Give Me Tacos or Give Me Death

Posted in Americana, Economics, Rants on May 30th, 2006 by Дмитрий

America’s Demographic Future

Americans, as a group, are clamoring for more restrictive immigration laws in the US. The populist reasoning behind this is the perception that the primary immigrant class today are low-skilled Latin-American workers, and that their entry into the US is placing an unacceptable burden on the economy of this country. The rhetoric usually avoids racist noises, despite a distinct and undeniable undertaste in all debates on the topic. More often than not, those demanding limits to immigration point to the existing limiting laws which are being violated by most of those who enter the US today.

Thus, the immigration debate revolves around three specific assumptions:

Does immigration hurt the US economy?

How baffling that this is even a viable question for an American to pose. The United States is an immigrant nation. The political entity which is the US was founded by Anglo-European immigrants, whose immunological possessions and pioneering natures drove out or killed off most of the indigenous population of the geographic entity which is the US. Americans, whether legally and illegally arriving and residing, are a replacement population.

The US is a capitalistic, multiparty democracy. The foundation of the USA is institutional and legal, not ethnic, linguistic or religious. There were numerous references to religious foundations in the nation’s founding documents, and the primary dominant population that established the nation was ethnic European and solidly Anglophonic, but the legal basis for the polity explicitly prohibited a state religious order, and the lack of an established linguistic order is quite glaring, in comparison to the other established independent states of the world at the time. Additionally, with a vast, empty nation to build and pioneer, and the very revolutionary nature of the nation’s birth, immigration was a cornerstone of the early development and industrialization of America. Huge processing centers were established in New York, Boston, Baltimore and San Francisco to ensure orderly migration, both for the sake of political stability and for the health of the existing population. Until the late 1800s there were no specific quotas on immigrants based on national origin, and those that appeared between the 1880s and 1940s have been roundly criticized from all sides for specifically targeting and prohibiting ethnic Chinese, Japanese and African at times when racism was considered a suitable official immigration paradigm.

The legitimacy of the latter no longer exists, though its residual existence is often used as a subliminal justification for modern immigration debate (to be addressed later). The US was founded on the assumption that a replacement population could create a nation of law, and succeed because such a nation would be governed by the principles of a constitutional democracy and the individual’s right to pursue happiness within that society.

The refutation of the general principle that immigration is good for America now largely comes from those who claim that America is now “full”, or that new immigrants are arriving in greater numbers, and requiring even lower wages, than the proportional numbers of immigrants in previous waves, and thus the arrival of the new wave of immigrants impacts the full employment of existing residents negatively, and depresses wages, prices and standards of living for all Americans.

The facts to not support the above assertions. America is a very urban nation, and yet remains one of the most empty and “rural” of all industrialized states. Property values in most of America are incredibly low when compared with comparable locations in Europe or Asia, where population density is much higher and the per capita cost of property and commodities much dearer. The wealth, flexibility and dynamism of Americans as workers and professionals makes them more capable than almost any other people of absorbing the steady rise in the cost of living in an increasingly dense, urban nation, and that rise as it does occur will always be much slower than locations which lack the massive amounts of suitable, empty space America possesses. America is not, and will probably never be, “full”.

The proportion of the population which is immigrant-born is indeed higher now than it has been at any time except a few other short periods in history. Specifically, those periods were the 1890s, 1920s and 1950s, all of which were, like today, times of great economic expansion and prosperity. Immigrants arrive because America is doing well and because the booming economy can absorb and support an increased labor pool. Immigration naturally increases with higher employment and faster economic growth, because immigrants know when jobs are available. Immigrants also consequently know when times are tough abroad, and when not to attempt migration, lest they find themselves far from family and friends and in no better economic circumstances than their former home. New immigrants today are also, proportionally, receiving higher wages relative to the general population than those that arrived in earlier waves. The reason for this is the general increase in equality which has occurred in America since the late 1800s, as well as asset and commodity price inflation which has made low-value-added labor more dear, and as increased education for the general population has made unskilled labor a more valuable commodity in and of itself. New immigrants, by and large, do not receive the legal minimum wages in their new home, but this is immaterial, since prior waves of immigrants arrived at times when the mandated minimum wages were either nonexistent or much lower relative to the average American wage.

Finally, on the economic front, there is the argument that red-blooded legal Americans would be perfectly willing to take the jobs immigrants are “stealing”, if only the flood of illegal workers would stop and they’d be given the chance.

Alas, basic economics and hard evidence does not confirm this. Generally, any free-market economy operating with an “unemployment rate” (the index of individuals claiming unemployment benefits, usually adjusted to include the long-term unemployed and wards of the state, such as the disabled and the prison population) of less than 5% is considered to be an economy with “full employment”. The freer the labor market, the higher this number will usually be. This is because a flexible labor market allows individuals to move from job-to-job with ease, and limits the cost of hiring and firing and downsizing. A flexible, dynamic market like America is definitely an economy where 5% unemployment is at least full employment, since at any one time, at a minimum, 5% of the population is most likely looking for work because they were laid off, moved jobs, became disabled or considered, for some reason, unemployable by the sate. America has had an unemployment rate in excess of 5% for only two of the past twelve years. This means our economy has been employing just about every employable resident for more than a decade, despite the swift pace of population growth by both birth and immigration, and despite the drastic changes in technology and consumer behavior our economy has had to absorb. During such a long period of booming labor shortage, immigrants are needed by the boatful more now than ever.

Should the unemployment rate dive too low, it would trigger disruptive bouts of inflation and severely impact the productivity and profitability of business. Excessive wage inflation can often be seen in successful regions of America that are for some reason sheltered (usually due to geography) from newcomers and migrants (Minnesota in the late 90s was often cited as such a case). Wage inflation eats into corporate profits, diverting capital that could be used to invest in new machinery, explore for new commodities, or engage in more extensive research and product development. Workers who live in a greater-than-full-employment environment begin receiving irrational incentives to remain in their jobs, which not only cuts into worker performance and harms the principles of meritocracy, but curtails the possibilities for personal and career development of the individual, who is both economically and institutionally discouraged from pursuing new educational or career opportunities which may arise. Japan’s experience of “lifetime employment” in the heady and booming years of the mid-late 20th century are illustrative of this, where it was literally shameful to change jobs or seek to stray from your assigned position in a society with an unemployment rate persistently hovering around 1%-2%.

Americans are doing well. They are fully employed. Even at times of higher unemployment, the supposed “right” of lower-skilled or unskilled Americans to step down from their Teamster-inspired pedestals of false prosperity and demand a job “stolen” by an immigrant are laughable. A native son of the Tennessee trailer park has no more inherent right to pick grapes for 50 cents a ton than a migrant worker with no ID or birth certificate. Maintaining a dynamic and functional capitalistic order requires the mobility and flexibility to tie oneself to their own skills rather than to a sponsoring industry or employer, and rewards those who are astute self-improvers rather than merely part of the protected unskilled-citizen class.

In any case, today, at a time of fast economic expansion, is when we’re having this debate on immigration, so today is the day you should go from door to door of any unemployed American in Ohio and ask them if they want to go to California for the summer and pick cherries in the 103-degree heat and have no guarantee of additional employment after September. Odds are, pickings will be slim in more than one aspect.

The final argument in this section of our discussion is a simple one: do immigrants excessively tax local and regional community services, such as schools, hospitals and government services?

Of course they do. That is because such services are being provided by the government, who can never efficiently adjust to its own market. Public schools have always been overwhelmed, underperforming and incapable of properly addressing the needs of poor or minority or immigrant students and families. Demolish the union-controlled, purposeless and bureaucratic public school complex of America and the problem is solved. Who will teach “our” children, you ask? Simple: teach your own damn children or don’t fucking have them.

Hospitals and emergency services are overburdened with the case loads of numerous poor and immigrant families who lack basic health provision. This is because the horribly inefficient mixed-economy of American health care is incapable of deciding whether it wants to be a price-stabilizing government service or an efficient and competitive private industry. Choose a side. If it’s the latter, at least people will stop looking for medical care they can’t afford and the plaintiffs will get the population controls they so wish for. If it’s the former, then about 50% of the bureaucratic inefficiency caused by this mixed heath care economy would be eliminated by the universality of service and monopoly of provision. No more $300.00 cups of yoghurt or $50,000.00 finger splints. Bring it on.

Mexican Immigrants are Dirty Rotten Criminals Compared to Irish and Italians

No one admits that they think Mexican or Latin-American immigrants are different because of some mystical racial-ethnic-linguistic quality, but the “special case” argument is made very often. It’s usually framed in terms of “their loyalties lie in their homeland, not in America” or “they’re much closer to their native homes, and won’t assimilate like people who traveled from the other side of the world” or “they all congregate in Spanish-speaking communities and never learn English or adjust to the American way of life”.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. The supposed lack of adequate assimilation or Americanization of Hispanic immigrants is specifically given the repeated treatment of these arguments because, on some level, immigrant Hispanic communities are easier to spot, and Hispanic populations easier to discern in the cacophony of immigrant America. Unlike their Italian or German predecessors, Mexican immigrants don’t become as invisible after they learn English and join the PTA. They still, by and large, are brown and shorter and have black hair and mustaches. It’s not racist to admit the existence of physical (and socio-physical) differences among ethnic groups. And racism is no less depraved when directed at Bavarians than when directed at Salvadorans. It’s just that red-blooded white trash Americans find it easier to level their racism against a group they have an easier time differentiating from themselves.

All of the arguments on the failures of immigrant assimilation were leveled against German, Italian and Irish immigrants to New York in the 1890s, 1900s and 1920s. Now they’re merely leveled against Mexicans and Columbians in California and Arizona. The vehemence of the racists was just as strong 100 years ago, except now it’s easier to catch hold of by the populist elites in America because they can identify with a physical differentiation among the new arrivals compared to previous waves. Japanese immigrants were interned in desert camps during World War II because they looked Japanese, or had Japanese names, even if they spoke 3rd-generation American English and owned businesses in affluent streetcar strips. Few Italians or Germans were interned (though it was done), mainly because they could convincingly disclaim their ancestry and the government would often have had a difficult time proving otherwise. The same basic human behavior is why many Americans claim exceptionalism for Latin-American immigrants today: their excessive numbers and lack of integration are explained by the fact that they are visible to the average paranoid white American, and such basic xenophobia can be easily utilized by populist politicians (whose numbers grow as America’s legislature falls deeper and deeper into the inertia caused by gerrymandered districts).

Mexican immigrants vote in American elections. That’s one reason there’s a debate in the first place - many groups fear the rising democratic power of that constituency. Cuban immigrants attend PTA meetings and write letters-to-the-editor. Dominican immigrants take their families on Sunday excursions to the mall. They might have lots of family in their home countries, but they generally have lives, jobs, property, kids and communities they want to keep right here in America. Americans, by and large, puff their chests up about nationalism/patriotism, but as human beings, our true concerns, by and large, lie in the human-scale things we live with and love every day: our work, our schools and neighborhoods, our friends and the businesses and merchants we solicit daily. That’s where our loyalty lies, new immigrants are no different.

We live in an era of globalization. Data and information travel across the world at the speed of light. Phone calls and email tie people together as closely as human contact - some weblog users would say the relationship is even closer in many cases. Distance is immaterial, as the inefficient factory owner in Cleveland would tell you after he lost his vendor contract to the company in Shenzhen. Just because their country is in this hemisphere does not predispose Hispanic immigrants to have any more “loyalty” or affection for their homeland than 3rd-generation Italian mob-bosses living in Las Vegas in the 1950s.

Geography is a fool’s argument, engaged by fools who fear such conspiracy theories as the takeover and secession of California and Arizona from the Union by a Mexican majority. The massive demographic and philosophic changes required for such a scenario, even at today’s fast pace of migration, would be decades, if not centuries away, by which time the children and grand-children of current immigrants would be driving SUVs (or whatever is quintessentially American at that time) around their suburban neighborhoods and watching American Idol (or whatever), and concerning themselves far more intently with KFC versus McDonald’s for the evening’s dinner than with a Mexican-American revolution.

The “special case” scenarios are endless, they’ve all been done before, they’ll all be done again. Maybe 100 years from now it will be South Asian or Indonesian or central African immigrants who face the fire. Regardless, it’s racism, cleverly disguised as patriotism. Maintain your institutions and devotion to the pursuit of the American Dream and no number of immigrants will dilute your fortunes, no matter what their origin or pallor.

They Breakin’ da Law!

Lawbreakers. Illegals. Border-jumpers. Economic Refugees. Undocumented migrant workers. Call them what you will, immigrants who arrive outside of the specific legal paradigms of current US residence policy are breaking the law.

So are protestors who block a government building. So are teachers who lead their public school classes in prayer. So are prosecutors who refuse to consider the death penalty in capital cases in states which have it. So were thousands of homos at San Francisco City Hall in 2004. So were young black men that chose to sit at the counters in white-only diners in Greensboro in the 50s.

Laws are the basis of the constitutional democracy which is America. But they are also a tool which can be abused. Laws which dilute the proper functioning of a free market, free labor pool, and community of trading capitalists in an environment of legal constitutional covenants are improper laws for America to enforce. As has been stated before, immigration laws during earlier waves of mass migration to America were strongly centered on racist foundations. Americans, by and large, so not want to (admittingly) return to such a paradigm. But if current immigration law were fully enforced, the wage inflation and economic disruptions to a booming American market would be devastating. That’s the main reason American politicians have such a hard time deciding what, if anything, to do on the issue. Most politicians are dependent upon large corporations for their campaign contributions and policy direction, and thus cannot severely upset their local, regional or national economy with imprudent and destructive labor market reality-meddling. On the other hand, politicians are kept in office one vote at a time, by appealing to the lowest common denominator among their likely voters, most of whom today are older, whiter and less reflective of economic and intellectual matters than business leaders, and these voters obtain their intelligence from a media which markets itself on the most reactive 3-second sound-bytes possible. Thus, the best option is to talk tough and reactionary whilst doing as little as possible to upset the status quo.

Immigrants aren’t really breaking the laws - the immigration laws are already broken. To fix them, America needs to make a firm promise to reinstate a system of mass immigration processing centers at the best potential entry points in the country. Use the funds now being wasted on prevention, detention and deportation to process residency applications, and increase staffing at (and the number of) embassies and consulates abroad to help make applying for migration simpler and more logical. Remove quotas and let the market decide how “full” America can get. Eliminate a system that keeps immigrants on the wrong side of the law (and conveniently prevents them from voting or complaining about their local politicians and leaders) and prevents their speedy integration and participation in their community.

Immigrants are America. Americans are immigrants. A free, democratic, wealthy America requires more immigration, not less. A free, democratic, wealthy America is not possible so long as it allows its legal system to fail to serve its citizens; be they past, present, or future citizens.

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