Thursday, October 13, 2011

Why The Federal Reserve No Longer Controls The Money Supply

The Federal Reserve (the Fed) takes a lot of crap for today's U.S. economy. Personally, I feel a lot of this blame is misplaced, due to a) having a convenient scapegoat to blame the financial crisis on and b) the ignorance on the part of the majority of Americans on what the Fed is actually capable of doing in response to recessions, depressions, and economic difficulties.

The Fed is essentially charged with maintaining the banking industry's stability. If a bank runs into trouble, it can contact its regional Federal Reserve bank and take out a loan to temporarily ease the crisis. This role is generally called "lender of last resort." The Fed also can manipulate inflation by manipulating interest rates on short-term (generally overnight) loans. By moving interest rates up, the Fed can effectively decrease the money supply, which then lowers inflation. By setting interest rates lower, the Fed increases the money supply, which can increase inflation.

But here's the problem. Since the 1990s, the Fed has not had control of the money supply, and therefore has little to no control over inflation. This is illustrated by the fact that the Fed has not been able to influence the economy enough to bring unemployment down during the recent crisis. Interest rates up, interest rates down, the only people who really seem to care are investors on Wall Street who are so jumpy that the hint of a rumor of a rate increase will send stocks plummeting 1000+ points.

So who controls the money supply? I suggest that it's banks and credit card companies. This is why:

Read more @ - Why The Fed No Longer Controls The Money Supply

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

And We're Live!

Woot woot!


Oh yay! So excited.

Again, just for reminder's sake: this site will continue to be updated with new posts until the end of the year. Periodically, I'll post reminders on this site that it will eventually be left to languish in the realms of forgotten websites after the 1st, so hopefully no one suffers from VF withdrawal.

Thanks again, all!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Circumcision and the Law

Calif. Governor Jerry Brown signs law prohibiting local governments from banning circumcision.

This legislation was a reaction against the city of San Francisco which appeared to be poised to ban circumcision except when deemed medically necessary (SF Gate article with a few more details). Of course, parents with religious orders to circumcise their children were more than a little perturbed.


Sorry, but I have to side with the religious folks on this one. Parents should have the choice; I don't think it's much similar than parents who get their daughter's ear pierced, and maybe even a bit worse, since pain-killers usually aren't given for ear piercings (the Orange Julius was nice, but not a pain-killer). Those sumbiatches hurt!

I figured my dad and my brother were circumcised, and I know my mom is intelligent enough to have looked up the information and weighed the pros and cons, so I asked her why she had my brother circumcised. She shrugged a bit nonchalantly and replied, "So he'd look like his dad."


The sense of belonging, especially about something so intrinsic to male identity as the look, shape, length, color, twist, and bend of their reproductive organ, must be a powerful motivation to cause parents to inflict that kind of harm on their children. I don't have kids personally, but it must tug at a parent's heartstrings. As barbaric as the procedure may be, parents should have the right to choose to circumcise their son if they deem it a necessary aspect of community involvement. I sincerely hope they insist on at least local anesthetics; I certainly believe the baby can feel pain at that point, and there's no reason to subject them to that.

I also believe circumcision as a baby is somewhat more humane than as an adult. Babies don't have sex lives, so the recovery is not as severe socially or physically. A study in Pakistan showed that the average recovery time for a particular method for infants was 8.7 days, but increased to 16.8 days for children over 5 years old. Circumcision itself also takes longer; from as little as 5-10 minutes in infants to as long as an hour in adults. It's also more expensive the older the patient.

With that said, I'm not circumcising any sons I have, unless medically necessary. I had a friend who had a botched circumcision, and he often confided in me that he felt inadequate and that he would never be able to orgasm "normally." He felt it was the source of several issues in his life. I don't believe circumcision is necessary, and it's not a characteristic of my "community," so the chances of complication are too great for whatever health benefits there might be, most of which don't apply in the United States.

As a female, I can tell you that as far as performance, it makes no difference. As long as the man practices good hygiene, he should have a good sex life regardless of the status of his foreskin. I believe it a basic human right to enjoy sex safely, and if parents believe that the alteration of their sons' genitals is necessary for a proper sense of community and sexuality, then I will defend their right to choose that for their children. I do not believe that the government has the right to step in on this aspect of parental and individual choice. Thank you, Governor Brown, for prohibiting the government from taking away this freedom.