Opponent drops bomb, steps in dog do

One of my opponents has published a false website in order to win. You can tell it’s my opponent because it is a) so negative and b) no one else has motive.

Here’s the link, so you can see it yourself.

Since the dawn of time, accounting has boiled down to:

  • Money on hand at the beginning of the period, plus
  • Contributions during the current period, minus
  • Expenses during the current period, equals
  • Money on hand at the end of the period.

The cyber-squatting hitsite says, falsely, that I have campaign debt leftover from my City Council campaigns (proof, the knucklehead says, that my opponent is more fiscally responsible than I am). The debt, she says, is caused by my total contributions being less than my total expenses.

Never mind that the forms have a spot for candidates to list their debt – and that those are blank on my campaign report (because there is no debt).

Sadly, as she asks you to elect a beginner who will not speak out against the Commerce Tax (hear that incredible audio clip here):

she gets it wrong – because there are no beginning balances on the report. As it turns out, if you total my reports from 2014 – 2016, I had more contributions than expenses, and had excess contributions in the bank at the beginning of 2017. There is no debt – that’s why the debt listing is blank. Simple for most people – scary as hell that somebody for whom it is too complicated is attempting to smear the field.

For students of irony, here’s a link to my 2001 legislation to add beginning balances to Nevada’s Campaign Contributions & Expenditure report. This provision was stripped from the bill by the Senate majority before it was passed.

Pro Arena Faction Wins Bloody Victory

Good heavens, folks. That was the headline in the Review Journal. Puh-leeze!

For all the drama imputed by the headline writer over there at the RJ, I didn’t receive very many phone calls or emails from people.

One year’s interest on our Symphony Park debt is just about the same amount of money required annually to get the City’s 38-hour-a-week employees back to 40-hours a week, and its been true since they were cut back to save money. I still think we need to figure out how to get out from under that cash payment faster rather than slower.

Ruminating on Science

Science (from Latin  Scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.[1]

So begins Wikipedia’s definition of science on August 22, 2012. Remember – Wikipedia is subject to change by anyone at any time, both the secret of Wikipedia’s brilliance, and its Achilles’ Heel. I’ve been a licensed CPA for more than 20 years. But my subscription to Science News is even older than that. I guess that gives me an unusual perspective on the debate that drives today’s issues.

Wikipedia’s definition the day I looked it up turns out to be a thoughtful paraphrase of J. L. Heilbron‘s introduction to the 2003 The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science, in which he describes Science as a meld of established and theoretical explanations of the physical world. The two parts are purposefully distinct: “established” explanations (tennis balls and all models of Estes model rockets go up into the atmosphere and fall back to the ground so consistently I can predict the outcome of a given launch) and “predictions” (each of which lives apart until its last advocate quits or until it becomes an “established” explanation). They are very different halves of a sphere. As J.L. initially said,

“… modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. It was a discovery that nature generally acts regularly enough to be described by laws and even by mathematics; and required invention to devise the techniques, abstractions, apparatus, and organization for exhibiting the regularities and securing their law-like descriptions.”

Coming from an accountant’s perspective as I do, I think of the “testable explanations about the universe” portion of Science as a sort of balance sheet. It’s the state of affairs on a given day, at a particular moment. You can measure it, take pictures of it, and gather independent observers around you who can agree they saw the same thing you did.

The other part – the “predictions about the universe” a.k.a. “invention to devise…” – is much more fuzzy. It’s the most attractive theories, at any given moment, about things we don’t understand.

At times, this category has included:

  • Thinking the Manhattan Project would incinerate the atmosphere over six seconds. Instead it saved millions of today’s grandparents’ life and limb, in Japan and America.
  • Imagine: If we can just kill all the witches, imagine all the people living life in peace.
  • These astrophysicists claiming to be honing in on the Science of galaxies are idiots. They’ve been predicting their stupid Higgs bosun for decades, and can’t prove a thing.
  • Understand the shape of the skull, predict anti-social behavior.
  • Bleeding will cure George Washingtion’s cold or flu.

To be fair, at times this category has also included:

  • Pasteurizing milk reduces food poisoning.
  • Beams of radiation will kill cancerous tissue faster than it will kill non-cancerous tissue.
  • The sun will rise tomorrow, I promise.
  • Administering insulin to dying diabetics will keep them alive for decades, until some other malady claims them.
  • No, we circle the Sun, not the other way around. I promise.
  • Beta is a better format than VHS (just kidding – that’s a joke thrown in for the grandparents out there)

The “predictions” are like an income statement. “Predictions” which eventually prove consistently “testable” are pluses; “Predictions” that eventually prove false are minuses. If more predictions this year turn out to be consistently testable than false, it’s a good year and the balance sheet grows. The income statement is positive. If it’s the other way around, it’s a bad year, the income statement shows a loss, and the balance sheet shrinks.

The years just before Science figured out that bleeding flu victims was a bad idea was a time when Science probably moved humanity backwards. Sadly, those years included the year George Washington had the flu. He was retired, so his medical murder did not interrupt the course of the development of the United States of America, back when their separate consensuses were considered. But let there be no doubt: America’s best medical Scientists killed our first President.

My late friend and colleague Bill Raggio often described aggressive policy-makers as being “too far over their skis”.  Bill grew up in Reno, less than an hour’s drive from the mid-60’s winter Olympics. He was referring to how far forward a skier should lean over their skis, to make themselves go faster. The reckless pursuit of fastest can leave a skier too far over their center of gravity. It doesn’t last long, and is usually followed by “Wild World Of Sports” caliber video of tumbling skier.

Can society get too far over its skis when it takes scientific theory as fact?