Thursday, November 11, 2004 - Jesus speaks through the Republicans

Reason #1 why I'm neither Christian nor Republican. - Jesus speaks through the Republicans

Progressive News - The News Media?s Political 'F' Word by Normon Solomon

Interesting piece - while I cannot even remotely classify myself as a "progressive", I agree with this viewpoint, 100%.

Progressive News - The News Media?s Political 'F' Word by Normon Solomon

Yahoo! News - Boston Highway Project Said Full of Leaks

Who could have guessed a government project that already went over time and over budget (to the tune of $15 billion dollars) would also have other problems?

When you're done shaking your head and thanking whatever diety you want that you don't live in Taxachussetts, head over to The Cato Institute for some refreshment.

Yahoo! News - Boston Highway Project Said Full of Leaks

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Supreme Court hears case on drug-sniffing dogs' role in searches

Hmmm... The Supreme Court looks to do damage to the Fourth Amendment as well. While they make the argument that dogs sniffing luggage at airports is OK, I don't think it is. Besides, the main difference between airports and hiways is that the dogs are sniffing to protect the safety of the passengers on the plane - hiway stops have no such wide ranging public benefit (of course, if you believe drugs are a moral crime, then you won't believe that either).
KR Washington Bureau | 11/10/2004 | Supreme Court hears case on drug-sniffing dogs' role in searches

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Yahoo! News - Ashcroft, Evans Resign From Bush Cabinet

One down - three to go (Rice, Rumsfeld, Cheney).

Yahoo! News - Ashcroft, Evans Resign From Bush Cabinet

Communications Privacy: A Significant (If Quiet) Ruling

Here's one reason not to trust the mainstream media, whether the nightly news, radio news, or e-news providers. Do your own research to find the stuff that's important to you - get an RSS reader (I use Klip Folio, and read what it gives you. Then you won't be so worried about GMail and more worried about how the First Circuit has wiped it's ass with the Wiretap Act in regards to Internet communications.

And remember - behave in such a way that you wouldn't be ashamed if other people talked about you in public, even if they lie.

Communications Privacy: A Significant (If Quiet) Ruling

Monday, November 08, 2004

Times Online - Sunday Times

There's are some damn good reasons never to fly again - here's one reason never to leave England on a plane as well. I am actually flabbergasted that one woman thought a naked picture of her via this device was "less intrusive" than a manual search. Are people that scared of freedom?

Plane passengers shocked by their x-ray scans

Friday, October 22, 2004

Why a Republican senator won't vote for Bush

Worth the time to read. Of course, it only concentrates on certain factors of the Bush Administration - there are other concerns that could be applied to Kerry, or Badnarik, or any of the four Socialists (including the Green), one Fascist (Constitution Party), and the independent Nader.

Actually, for the first time, I find myself actually agreeing with something George Will says. I'm also noticing that as he gets older (or as I get older), William F. Buckley starts sounding more and more mainstream.

Muslim American Society

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Freezerbox: Private Ryan, Amnesiac

A very good essay on American revisionist history since WWII. For the record, I question America's involvement in the War in Europe, but not the War in the Pacific.

Freezerbox: Private Ryan, Amnesiac

Friday, October 01, 2004

Part of the Patriot Act struck down!

Got this from the ACLU - I'm on their Action Alerts e-mail list:

ACLU ASKS MEMBERS TO ACT As Congress Considers New Law Enforcement Powers

Ruling in an ACLU case, a federal court has struck down a Patriot Act provision that gives the government unchecked authority to issue "National Security Letters" to obtain sensitive customer records from Internet Service Providers and other businesses without judicial oversight.

"This is a landmark victory against the Ashcroft Justice Departmentâ??s misguided attempt to intrude into the lives of innocent Americans in the name of national security," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "Even now, some in Congress are trying to pass additional intrusive law enforcement powers. This decision should put a halt to those efforts."

The ruling is the first to strike down any of the vast new surveillance powers authorized by the Patriot Act. Saying that â??democracy abhors undue secrecy,â?? Judge Victor Marrero of the Southern District of New York struck down Section 505 of the law on the grounds that it violates free speech rights under the First Amendment as well as the right to be free from unreasonable searches under the Fourth Amendment.

At the very moment Judge Marrero issued his decision, members of Congress were debating whether to give the government additional Patriot Act-type powers. The debate over new law enforcement powers came as Republican leaders in the House and Senate engaged in a game of political marksmanship with Democrats. The ultimate loser could very well likely be our rights.

Over the next few weeks, Republican House and Senate leaders are expected to bring the question of new law enforcement powers and several other controversial measures to a vote. You can make a difference today by taking action and sharing this information with your friends, family, colleagues and neighbors.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004 NewsFlash - Court takes on question of seizing land

Eminent domain is, at it's best, the government forcing you to sell your property for a fair price, because the land can be put to better use for everyone (like building a hiway through it).  However, lots of states use eminent domain to take your land, pay you a pittance for it, then sell it to developers who turn it into a luxury hotel.  This is wrong - I don't give a good god damn what the gomerals and imbeciles who call themselve state Supreme Court Justices say or think.  Taking someone's land because someone else can build something that brings in more taxes is evil.  Honest politicians tell you they're raising taxes and take their lumps - cowards and subhumans take your land and get their goons to make it legal.

That being said, it looks like the case will go to the U.S. Supreme Court - I'm not sure if I'm happy or worried.  The issue will be decided for a while (until something comes up to make the precedent useless), but the way the Supreme Court has been interpretting the Constitution of late, I'm not sure I want that pack of thieving illiterati telling me what the 5th Amendment means - they certainly don't know what the 1st, 2nd, 9th, or 10th mean...

BTW, if you live in Connecticut, I'd be thinking of selling and moving now, before the Governor comes to your house with a check for $100 and a bulldozer... NewsFlash - Court takes on question of seizing land

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Property rights assault in King County

The King County Council is considering a proposal to limit the use of lands owned privately. Go to the Citizens' Alliance for Property Rights for more information.

And if this passes, welcome to Soviet Seattle.

Diversity: Useful or farcical?

I've been thinking a bit about diversity lately, and have come to the conclusion that diversity as it is enforced in our schools and companies is a farce.  We're trying to make sure there is a diverse population that mirrors our American society, but doing it by surface values, not by the things that make us diverse in the first place.

We enforce diversity by looking at:

  • skin colour
  • gender
  • religion
  • cultural elements
  • physical handicaps

But not by looking at:

  • ideologies
  • personal philosophies
  • structures of thought

We pay lip service to diversity, but don't actually provide for diverse populations.  The recent primary election in Washington should provide some backing for this.

In this election, for the first time in 70 years in Washington, people had to pick a party in the primary (former primaries were blanket primaries, meaning voters could vote for whoever they wanted to in any party - in other words, a baby general election).  Results from this primary were fairly consistent - Republicans and Democrats got 98-99% of the vote, and Libertarians got the remaining 1-2%.  These results were consistent whether it was a statewide race (governor, senator, etc) or local races (county reps and such), which helps to normalise the diverse population of the state and each individual political unit.

What does this show, you ask?  Well, there's one more piece of background info - this is the first election in Washington that the Libertarian party had major party status (i.e. they were called out on the primary ballot as a party - there were no Greens, Socialists, or other parties on the ballot).  For the first primary ever, Washingtonians had a third choice, a third way of looking at things, a third ideology to apply to the problems of the day.  And the diverse Washington population still followed the sheep mentality of voting Republican or Democrat by a 98-99% margin.  Even the fringe news stations in this area concentrated on R v. D races, not mentioning any Libertarian candidates or their races.  Debates leading up to the primary, and planned debates leading to the November election, excluded Libertarian candidates.

In other words, while Washington has a very diverse population in terms of nation of origin, creed, race, sex, religion, and physical handicaps, we're still a homogeneous pack of sheep, listening to the media focus on the big two parties and not thinking for ourselves.  In other words, where diversity really counts, we're not diverse - at least, we're not teaching people critical thinking, which helps lead to diverse ideas and ways of thinking.

One corollary to this - I heard last week that the head of the Aryan Nation passed away.  He lived in northern Idaho, and his death was celebrated by many.  My question is this: in a population committed to diversity (such as a university or a company), would his presence be welcome?  He does represent a different ideology than other people, and therefore would help increase the diversity of that population?  Your answer, of course, depends on whether you define diversity properly or politically correctly...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Confederate Flag, from Lincoln Journal Star

This is an interesting story, from both points of view. 

Lincoln Journal Star

I applaud the university for not dropping the hammer on Montgomery.  Jennings needs to read some history, as does the professor Jones.  He finds it's hard to untangle the Confederate flag from racial inequality, but I feel that is because Northern historians have worked so hard to make that connection that it's almost heresy to speak otherwise.

  • The War Between the States was not fought about slavery, but about the federal government excercising power it did not have unequally between Norther ports and Southern ports.  The war started, after the secession of South Carolina, with a blockade of Southern ports by unarmed ships of war.
  • Abolitionists made up about 2% of the population in the years leading up to the war.  Allying yourself with this small fringe at the time would have been politcal suicide, which is why Lincoln never did.
  • Slavery was not a serious issue in the Presidential debates leading to the 1860 election of Lincoln.
  • Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation did not appear until 1863, and only freed slaves in the Confederacy, the one place Lincoln's Union had no power to enforce it.  It was a measure used as a propaganda weapon, not a serious effort to free slaves (which didn't happen until the 1870's and the 14th Amendment).
  • The Confederate flag (which I proudly display as a bumper sticker on my motorcycle) is a rallying point for state's rights and small federal government.
  • The flag's rise to prominence in the 1960's had less to do with racism in the South and more to do with federally mandates affecting state's rights again.

In short, the War Between the States had as much to do with slavery as WWI had to do with the killing of Archduke Francis Ferdinand.  Was it an issue?  Sure.  Was it a major issue?  Doubtful.  Was it the single most important cause of the war?  No.

On a side note, Jennings and Jones need to look up the word "diversity" in one of their college library's dictionaries.  A diverse population will have equal amounts of liberal blacks, Northern socialists, and Southern flag wavers.  Their cause of ridding the world of the Confederate flag is no different than Hitler's cause of ridding the world of Jews - it's just a smaller scale, and politically correct to boot.  Or should that be jackboot...?

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Primary election today

Today is primary election day in Washington state.  Despite some of my preivous posts and rants, I voted today, for a few reasons:

  1. This is a primary election, not a general election.
  2. Everyone running today is a state office seeker, not national.
  3. In uncontested races in Washington, you need to get 1% of the vote to move on to the eneral election in November.  This is critical for Libertarian candidates in Washington, who are mostly running uncontested in the their parties for some seats.
  4. Simple game theory.

That last point needs some explaining.  The application of game theory here deals with actions and outcomes.  There are two possible actions: voting and not voting.  There are (simplistically) two outcomes: a wasted vote or a vote that counts.  By applying game theory, I see that if I don't vote, I have a 100% chance of wasting my vote, and a 0% chance of making it count.  If I vote, I have a 50% chance of wasting my vote, and a 50% chance of making it count.  These percentages can be argued, but the important point is there is a non-zero probability for either outcome if I vote, and a zero probability of having a vote count if I don't.  Simple game theory - if I want my vote to count, I need to vote.

That said, I also support Initiative 318, Instant Runoff Voting, currently being circulated.  I feel this makes a much better alternative to a primary or caucus system and saves money - how much better can it get?

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Hiding behind states' rights

Put aside the fact this is an 18 year old child, Christian, and conservative, and just look at the words here.

Then take into account the youth and culture this child has, and read it again.

Is there any excuse here?  I think not.

What I got from this essay was: state's rights are a farce, a strong federal government is necessary, and government should use that strength to enforce morality.  Of course, the idiocy of legislating morality, from Congress, the Constitution, or the bench, seems to slip past this boy.  He also ignores the fact that the federal government has grown stronger under his conservative Republican administrations, while simply paying lip service to the idea of decentralization of power.

This boy needs a dose of reality, and some real history lessons.

Hiding behind states' rights

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Picking Neither of Two Evils by Bob Murphy

I'll have more comments on this later, but for now, vote your conscience, not what the media thinks.  Remember there is always another choice, and until the NOTA meme is more popular, your vote is never wasted on a third party candidate.

Picking Neither of Two Evils by Bob Murphy

Bond issues on the ballot

This election, in Washington (as I expect in most communities), there are a host a bond measures and tax increases for things like fire coverage, libraries, and other items.  The big ones for me this year is a fire department property tax increase and a library bond renewal measure.

Before you go ahead and vote yes for these (I like fire services, and love libraries), ask yourself: Is there a better way to pay for these services?  Property tax increases affect everyone, even if you don't own a home (if you rent, the owner will pass on the tax increase to you, his customer).  Bonds need to paid off sometime, and that requires more taxes as well.

As I said, I enjoy fire services and libraries, but I'll be voting no to each measure.  Simply put, I'd rather pay for the service directly than indirectly.  I'd have no problem contracting with a local fire department for service, or paying for the service after the fact if I was not contracted.  I'd also rather pay for my library card directly (I don't think $25-50 a year is exorbitant) than make everyone in my community pay for the library.

Vote no on these measures, and make people come up with alternate, more libertarian, funding measures.  Your neighbors will thank you when their taxes decrease.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Driver?s License? We Don?t Need No Stinking License by Paul Clark

Good article...

Driver's License? We Don't Need No Stinking License by Paul Clark

Reject the National ID Card

Here it comes again folks. Remember that you heard it hear first - if this passes, there will be nothing left to distiguish 1937 Germany from 2004 America than an accent in our leader's voice.

Reject the National ID Card by Ron Paul

The Origin of the Income Tax

Good reading for those of you interested in how we started as a republic and ended up a socialist state.

The Origin of the Income Tax

Thursday, September 02, 2004

ENN News Story - Silly string ban a serious matter in Los Angeles

Reason numer 237 (yes, I have 236 other reason) never EVER to live in California.  Like they say:


ENN News Story - Silly string ban a serious matter in Los Angeles

Thursday, August 26, 2004 / Home UK - Rival prescriptions for health costs / Home UK - Rival prescriptions for health costs

And on the other side of the Republicrat fence (you do know Republicans and Democrats are just two factions of the same politcal party, right?), John Kerry thinks people who make over $200K a year are "super-rich".  I guess that includes congressmen and public officials, right?  Covenient number, since rank and file Congressmen make about $150K a year in salary (not counting benefits).  Majority and Minority leaders in both houses make a little more at $175K (how does being voted captain of the team warrant an extra $25K a year?), while the Speaker of the House make over $200K a year.

How much would he make as President?  Over $400K, plus free room and board, free security, free travel anywhere, with an extra $50K for expenses.  The VP gets a little over $200K a year.  Both are eligible for a $150K a year pension with an extra $150K for an office and staff for that office.

Like I said, $200K is a convenient number, and while it appears "super-rich" to people on welfare, it should strike people like Kerry and Edwards and simply being a pay raise for winning a popularity vote.

Of course, as members of government, neither Kerry not Edwards (nor Bush nor Cheney) need worry about public health care - they have a government benefits plan that covers them very well indeed, as well as a retirement program they donate into, just like I do at my place of business.  The difference here is that my company makes it's money by inventing, manufacturing, and selling things - Kerry's employer makes it's money by holding guns to people's heads and taking a third of what they earn. / Home UK - Bush's speech to focus on owners' society / Home UK - Bush's speech to focus on owners' society

Why do I get the feeling that, while Bush talks a good game about people owning things, he's really after fictional entities owning things, like the RIAA, MPAA, and so on.  This sounds like lip service to libertarian ideals as a way of beefing up the Justice Department to crack down on file sharers - in other words, another neocon holy war to centralize and enhance power in the capitol.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Libertarian Anarchism: Responses to Ten Objections by Roderick T. Long

Long but worth the read...

Libertarian Anarchism: Responses to Ten Objections by Roderick T. Long

Lincoln's 'Great Crime': The Arrest Warrant for the Chief Justice by Thomas DiLorenzo

Another nail in the coffin of the Lincoln myth.  Point of fact - Lincoln was not a great man.  He was a tyrant who's main purpose in waging war against the Confederacy from 1861-1865 had nothing to do with slavery, but everything to do with consolidating supreme federal power in Washington D.C.  Don't believe me?  After reading the article below, read DiLorenzo's book "The Real Lincoln" listed at the bottom of the essay.

Lincolnâ??s 'Great Crime': The Arrest Warrant for the Chief Justice by Thomas DiLorenzo

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Snitch: The rights stuff: What to do

This is a very interesting editorial.  The writing smacks of a college junior or senior in journalism, but the issues are good and so is the information.  I've got some argument points with the author on certain things, like where power flows from and to (he alludes that it flows from the federal down to the states, when in fact it wasn't that way until Tyrant Lincoln made it so) and he puts a lot of faith in the 9th and 10th Amendments, but other than that, I like this author.

Snitch: The rights stuff: What to do

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Commentary on Marriage Protection Act

Nice set of comments here.  This time it's Congress, rather than the executive branch, overstepping it's authority.  One can only hope that the Supreme Court doesn't decide Article III is worthy of crapping on, as they did the First Amendment.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Funny, from The Onion

In today's Onion:

Garroting Survivors Call For Wire Ban

WASHINGTON, DCâ??The nation's garroting survivors demonstrated outside the Capitol Monday, raising a hoarse but plaintive cry for a nationwide ban on potentially lethal wire. "Every year, dozens of people are severely injured or even killed by garroting," croaked Gerald Michaels, who still bears a necklace of scars from a 1997 telephone-cord-assisted mugging that nearly claimed his life. "This legacy of shame will continue until we eliminate the lethal wires that run through our homes, above our streets, and through our very way of life." Michaels recently accepted a $2 million grant from a coalition of sponsors that included Bluetooth and Cingular Wireless.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Why Vote?

Dr. Paul Hein has a great essay on about why voting does no good.  I agree with him, but there is one small flaw in his argument - while not voting make sense from the point of view of the non-voter, it tells the person up for election absolutely nothing.  There is nothing that differentiates the indifferent, apathetic non-voter from the principled non-voter.  Thus, someone who gets 75% of the vote (with a 25% voter turnout, this means 2 of every 10 Americans) claims a mandate for their particular views.

How to resolve this situation?  We need a way to separate lazy people from principled people who don't like thei system or their choices.  One way to do this is an idea I stole from L. Neil Smith, author and libertarian.  The idea comes from one of his books (either The Probability Broach or The American Zone, I've forgotten which one - doesn't matter, buy them both and read them).  The idea is rather simple, and can be ramped up from a grass-roots write-in campaign to deliver a message to true democratic reform.

For every election where there is a person running for an office (i.e. not referendums or initiatives), one additional selection will be added to the list of people running for that office.  That entry will be titled "None of the above are acceptable."  That's it - nothing could be simpler.

If NOTAAA wins a majority of the vote, then the second place finisher gets the office, knowing he failed to appeal to a majority of the voters and, more importantly, having any "mandate" he may have felt taken forcibly away from him.  It also gives local, state, and federal officials a good idea of how many people came out to vote and didn't like their choices, as well as an historical record of

Here's where the ramp-up comes in - at a later point in time, this can be expanded to where, if NOTAAA wins, the office remains unfilled (I like this option, as it cuts down on the size of government).  There are problems here - unfilled seats on the state or federal level may have to be filled by appointment or other method that sidesteps the voting issue, and it does nothing to address the huge pyramid of civil servants who are never elected to office but do all the work. 

So, there you have it - the reason why not to vote, and one reason why I would consider voting again.  It's too late for this election to put NOTAAA on the ballots, but by 2008, I'd like to see this taking off in local elections in my home state, wherever that is at the time.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Kumiai by Mike Rogers

A recent essay called Kumiai by Mike Rogers on highlights one of first-level derivatives of my own philosophy of personal responsiblity.  Simply put, I believe I am responsible for my own actions.  My actions can be injurious or beneficial - I try to correct the injury if I can and share the benefits with my neighbors if I can.  Deriving from this is the concept of community, where people working together in local efforts of their own free will can have a larger beneficial effect on the locality as a whole.  Mike's explanation of the Japanese idea of kumiai illustrates this beautifully.  I believe this loss of community in the large urban and suburban centers of America have had a deliterious effect of our national sense of liberty and the wish/need for central government to our rescue.

Minnesota legislators run afoul of Constitution

There's an interesting story on the Minnesota Public Radio site that details efforts to get a concealed carry law passed in Minnesota.  Problem is they tacked the conceal carry bill onto another bill - dealing with a Department of Natural Resources technical bill.  In other words, the two bills in one package are completely and totally unrelated, which seems to run counter to a clause in the Minnesota state Constitution which prohibits it (Article IV, Section 17 states "LAWS TO EMBRACE ONLY ONE SUBJECT. No law shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title.").

I tend to agree here.  State and federal legistatures do this often, group unrelated bills and add riders to other bills in order to get things done, i.e. create more laws.  I'm glad the Minnestoa State Constitution prohibits this, but am disturbed that it continues to happen in the face of a clearly written law.  The article even says that the Minnesota state legislature passes hundreds of bills a year - that's hundreds, if not thousands of new laws for you to deal with.  And the bills aren't particularly useful, IMHO - a bill regulating circusses (wonder if that applies to the state legislature)?

In any case, opponents of the conceal carry law may be doing Minnesota a favor by challenging it in the state's Supreme Court.  While their motives are suspect, their cause may be a good one, getting a ruling that bills need to cover a single subject, as the Minnesota State Constitution says.  It could mean more bills (splitting multi-subject bills into multiple bills), which can mean less of them getting to the legislature and getting passed.  Of course, it could also mean a longer legislative session, more legislators, and more tax dollars to make sure Minnesotan's are protected from circusses and their garbage is properly disposed of.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

As a Connecticut native and a converted collectivist, this essay strikes a chord with me.

The Conversion of a Connecticut Yankee by Norman Patterson: "The Conversion of a Connecticut Yankee"

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Very well done commentary on a recent Supreme Court decision on maximum sentencing.
FindLaw's Writ - Allenbaugh: The Supreme Court's Decision in Blakely v. Washington

Friday, July 02, 2004

OK, there are four posts about this interview - I think the main takeaway from this is the egotism and self-importance of George W. Bush that comes through more in the interview and not in the transcript. Instead of being a citizen of the U.S. answering questions and concerns from an interviewer, he's more of a member of royalty, granting an interview to the peasants. The egotism and consdescension he shows in the interview is disgusting and one of prime reasons.

OK, 'nuff said - Bush has to go, and Kerry's not much better. Start a movement in your state to add a "None of the above are acceptable" choice to ballots. It the only way to tell our elected officials that 75% voter apathy isn't apathy, it's people disgusted with lack of proper choices.
The interview (RealPlayer format).
Here's the transcript of the interview...

Interview of the President by Radio and Television Ireland
Brilliant - the first story on this page recounts an interview between an Irish news correspondent and Bush. Unlike American interviews, this woman pulled no punches and asked ard questions that Bush didn't want to answer.

WORLD VIEWS: Irish journalist riles Bush over Abu Ghraib, missing WMDs; world absorbs the 'shock of decapitation'; Arab analysts dissect Washington's calls for Arab 'reform'; and more.
Interesting editorial on a recent Supreme Court ruling on sentencing guidelines.

Main Line Times

Monday, June 28, 2004

Remember the Constitution? Apparently, so did the Supreme Court - good ruling and a good story.

Enemy combatants win right to U.S. courts

Friday, June 25, 2004

It would have been nice if they linked to damn study, but the practical upshot of this is that jobs won't be lost - they'll be moved somewhere else. Lose a job doing one thing, gain a job doing another thing. We might lose customer service reps to smart systems, but who builds the smart systems? This is nothing but another Luddite argument, fostered by buggy whip manufacturers against Ford's Model T.

Smart systems will erase jobs, report warns - News - ZDNet

Thursday, June 24, 2004

You had to have heard about SpaceshipOne, right? Well, check out the pictures, especially the one at the bottom. I love it!
Photos from the First Private Manned Spaceflight - 6/21/04 - Mohave, CA

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Very nicely done future history piece - well worth the read and the consideration.
D.C. Dispatch | 2004.06.22 | Taylor
Wonder how long this will hold up in federal court? The equal-protection clause argument is compelling, unfortunately more so than the Ninth or Tenth Amendment arguments...
COURTTV.COM - TOP NEWS - Utah Supreme Court allows use of peyote by non-Indians

Monday, June 21, 2004

A blow to privacy - why am I not surprised by this? The Supreme Court continues to inore the Constitution (Fourth Amendment) and the teachings of history by helping to further the centralization of power with government.
KRT Wire | 06/21/2004 | Police can require names, Supreme Court rules
Interesting, if a little redundant at times. This quote is worth the price of admission - when asked by Tim Russert about mismanagement of the war in Iraq, Sec'y of State Colin Powell answer started: "Well, it's succeeded in its principal objective of eliminating this regime... "

I agree with the author - it's refreshing to see a government official stating the war was about regime change rather than some kind of neocon morality at work. With this admission, can we now count on the impeachment of Geo. W. Bush? Doubt it, but knowing this was the mindset of the administration, it slants anything else he says.

Colin Powell's Vanishing Credibility by Jude Wanniski
KIRO-TV in Seattle is reporting a story about a man who drowned while swimming at a local lake. According to the news story (watch the video), the family is going to be contacting to county to find out why there wasn't a lifeguard on duty, and why the park they were at wasn't closed because there was no lifeguard on duty.

I think I know why there wasn't a lifeguard on duty - the county doesn't have the money to pay lifeguards. The county has posted signs at all swimming areas that there are no lifeguards on duty, and that people swim at their own risk.

This man's death is a tragedy - he was reportedly a strong swimmer, and the fact that this happened on Father's Day makes it more poignant. The pain the family is feeling is real and needs to be handled, but not by petitioning the county to either hire lifeguards or close local parks. Hiring life guards will require higher taxes, and closing parks just gives the county one less reason to exist. I'm tired of having money stolen from me at gunpoint (yes, all taxes are armed robbery - try not paying them) to help keep people safe from themselves. Life has risks, and in this case, the risk was posted in red letters on a white sign. If this family is illiterate, then our schools have failed us - again (but that's another essay).

One other thing this family needs to know - lifeguards are not required by any law to save lives. I am a trained lifeguard (by the American Red Cross), and one of the things we are taught is that, when someone fights us during a rescue, we should kick away and let them burn themselves out. If we cannot help someone (too big, too much fight, or we would be putting ourselves in danger attempting the rescue), we should kick away and let them go. The reasoning? It's better for one person to drown than for two people to drown. Even if there was a lifeguard there and on duty, there is a chance nothing could have been done. There is no telling what their reaction to that situation would be, although I would guess a lawsuit naming the guard, the county, and the Red Cross would be on it's way through the courts right now.

This was a tragic accident, and this family needs help in dealing with their grief, but turning to the county for some sort of perverted closure by asserting that everyone is incapable of keeping themselves safe is not the answer.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Very interesting analysis of the Supreme Court non-ruling on the Pledge of Allegiance.
Untitled Document
A piece of history I never learned in school - hell, it wasn't until I was out of college that I learned the Japanese had invaded and held parts of Alaska during WWII. Interesting piece, needs to be verified (not that I don't trust the author, I just don't trust media in general), and good analogy to today's endless conflict.

Censorship's Trial Balloons - What happens when wartime news gets censored? By Liam?Callanan

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Not sure what this judge was smoking, but obviously whatever it was made him forget case law and contract law - just because you don't read a contract doesn't make it unenforcable. Ask anyone who failed to read the fine print and got burned. This is the same situation, except the consumers are the ones trying to enforce the contract rather than the business.

Judge tosses online privacy case | CNET

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

It's everywhere - you've heard the story, or read it somewhere. One point to make clear, in case your local talking heads missed it.

The Supreme Court did NOT rule the Pledge of Allegiance to be constitutional. They said the plaintiff didn't have the right to make the case he did. They made no ruling on the Pledge itself.

In other words, this ain't over - there's another case coming through the Ninth Circuit that should force the Supreme Court to make that call, should it get that far. - Atheist father blasts decision on pledge
Crooks in the White House - nothing new, but some good evidence that the President's legal counsel needs to be taken behind the woodshed and given some lessons in law and jurisprudence.

This man, one Alberto Gonzales, showed in Texas that he can take rigidly defined laws and treaties and say they don't apply. With a looser definition in the "War on Terror" and much more at stake, this slippery snake is going to wreak havoc unless he is stopped.

Lone Star Justice - Alberto Gonzales' strange views of international law. By Alan?Berlow

Monday, June 14, 2004

There was a comment to the story I just posted that I had to respond to. I doubt the guy, kjantz, reads my blog, but it's indicative of the type of thinking I run into, and I'd like to respond here anyway.

As much as I dislike and distrust governmental regulatory agencies, I have to admit I distrust business even more, they need to be ridden herd on outside the bloated, expensive, inefficient justice system we've created.

Ridden herd? These companies aren't cattle, they're what creates the Gross National Product of this country, pay taxes, and employ people. In a lot of cases, they're actually in the pockets of politicians for favors, like spectrum in the public airwaves. Businesses that don't get your business don't stay viable for long, whereas politicians are viable for at least a term limit, and most of the time your vote doesn't count if two of your neighbors think the other way. Your distrust of business is less a function of business and more a function of politics, polticians, government corruption, and your own proclivities.

Do you really think a monopoly wouldn't be created is valuable airwaves went up for public bid, and then got resold to the highest bidder? Guess who would pay for that obscene profit taking--the public.

Monopolies are created in two ways - a business provides a service that is so superior that everyone uses it (Microsoft). The second way is that government creates the monopoly to provide "better service" (Amtrak). Now your task is to find two things - another operating system for your computer, and another passenger train from Seattle to New York. I'll wait...

Quite possibly a monopoly would be created - the Baby Bells are busy organizing themselves back into one big company as we speak. But there will always be hold outs, someone who won't sell. In real estate terms, the government can assert eminent domain to get the land. Without the FCC, there courts are the only arbiters, and I trust them more than I trust agencies with no Constitutional authority.

You think no business can afford the price? They'll find a way--perhaps foreign investment.

Like our foreign investments in the Middle East for oil? Business investment is much different than government investment. Without profit, there's no reason for a business to invest in a monopoly. Government invest (i.e. steal your money in the form of taxes and shuttle to other governments) for power.

Monopolies also have another problem - market saturation. Microsoft is fighting this now - when everyone has Windows, there's no one left to sell to. Now what do you do? You need to be profitable, or your company goes under. So to make money, maybe you sell/rent some ofyour airwaves to other people.

You think anti-trust laws are enforceable? Take a look at Microsoft.

They worked as far as I can tell, and as far as they were applied. Microsoft doesn't engage in those practices anymore - was that not good enough for you? Or do you propose Microsoft should have been forcibly broken up by the government? I guess it worked for AT&T...

Proud of the 'free' internet---I don't like spam taking up valuable bandwidth and my allocated mailbox space, the crooks that scam people through these schemes, the porn that is readily available.

Yes I am - I filter my spam, have an ISP that doesn't count filtered spam towards my e-mail limits (free market at work - you should find a new ISP/e-mail provider), am smart enough to avoid the scams, and aren't attracted to the porm.

Your first complaint is a function of a free market - people marketting and advertising their wares via spam. Well, if it wasn't so cost effective to do so, it wouldn't be a problem. In short, they're making more money from the spam than it cost them to send it. Either stop clicking through the spam, or make it cost more for them to send it.

Your second complaint smacks of the mommy state - do we need to protect everyone from scam artists and hustlers? I don't want that job, and I'd resent anyone who came to me trying to do that job.

Your last complaint is absurd - I'm offended by religious television programming. I certainly don't think it should be outlawed - I just don't watch it. For you, it's pornography - don't look, don't buy it, and get on with your life. No one guaranteed this life would be without pain or offense or outrage - if you think your morality trumps mine and entitles you to a law enforcing that morality, you're wrong.

The Internet is a perfect example of what unregulated business is really like.

Yes it is - unfettered business that is driven by market forces. It's beautiful - if I don't want to pay for a service, I don't. If I find it cheaper somewhere else, I take my business there. If I don't like porn, I don't go to those sites.

With government, try not paying for the service sometime - it's called tax evasion, and they'll draw a gun on you to make you pay. If you find a service cheaper somewhere else, you can pay for that while paying the government too - the Post Office still gets your money even if you use Fed Ex or UPS. If you don't like a service, tough - you get it anyway, you can't opt-out of government.

The free market is better than any central planning from government, plain and simple. It is not, however, safer - you might get your fingers burned. That's the price of freedom. And I'm willing to pay it.
Good follow-up commentary on a previous article by the same author. For the record, I'm a proponent of doing away with the FCC, as well as auctioning off national parks and federal wildlife preserves. The White House - well, let's just auction off it's current inhabitant. Oops, wait, already done - big oil got him before my eBay bid got through...

One line he used in this article rings true: "People tend to be better stewards of what they own than of public property they don't."

Abolish the FCC? You're crazy - News - ZDNet

Friday, June 11, 2004

I love Ron Paul. If you can choose where to live, move to Texas and move to his district, and keep voting for him.

Superpower or Superdebtor? by Rep. Ron Paul
Good, but long, essay on the President. I especially liked the comparison by Alexander Hamilton of the President he was proposing for the new Constitution and teh King of England. See if you can spot the differences...

Down With the Presidency by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Interesting - seems there's a Christian group out there trying to do the same thing as the Free State Project, but with a different goal. Ned Barnett, a politcal consultant, is quoted in the story - Ned is right and wrong. States do have a right to secede, always have and always will. However, the federal government took that right away at the point of a gun. That doesn't make it legal or correct, just enforced. Hope these Christians arms themselves well... - Family - Group Wants Christians To Fill S.C., Secede

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Another e-mail, this time more disturbing, from one Gina Clemmer at Smartgirl Technologies, advertising a US$250 Seattle Demographic Analysis Workshop for June 25, 2004. This one takes place in Bellevue, Washington, and promises to teach me how to extract demographic info from the latest census (1990 and 2000) and other survey data. To sell the workshop, they include participant comments from two public agencies (King Country Public Health Department and UW - yes, UW is a public agency as long as the state keeps funding them) and two other organizations (NPower Seattle and Seattle Goodwill).

What's disturbing is what they say I'll be able to do - namely extract, plot, and track demographic data including Poverty, Race, Age, Housing, Language, and Transportation. How do they get that from the census? The census is about apportioning the number of Representatives each state gets to send to Congress(U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 2, amended by Amendment 14). All the census takers can ask is how many people live at this address, so we can get the right number of congressmen (one for every 30,000 people, again Article 1, Section 2). Anything else is specifically prohibited (Amendment 10).

So these people are telling me how to mine data gathered illegally, and selling CD's full of illegally gathered data as well. Too bad this information isn't in musical form - the RIAA might do something about it then. As it is, this will be ignored by our government, and the people selling this show have no incentive to blow the whistle on themselves.

To stop this, then next census that comes around, make sure you answer what you should - how many people live at the address listed. Anything else is prohibited, and you can explain that to the census taker who shows up, if they have the intelligence to read and understand the simple English of the Constitution (yes, simple English - you want complicated English, try Chaucer or Thomas Pynchon).
OK, I just got the wierdest mail from the Libertarian Party of Washington State (LPWS) - the party was invited by the student Republicans at the Univeristy of Washington in Seattle to participate in a vigil for Ronald Reagan, recently deceased. I've been asked to bring candles, flowers, pictures, and my favorite quotes or speeches. I'm to be there at 9:00pm on June 9.

Now, aside from the (questionable) good karma we get by being invited to a semi-official event by the student supporters of a major political party, why would I want to go to this?

Reagan was called "The Great Communicator" - I've no doubt it was because he was a trained and paid actor in his previous life.

Reagan ran up the federal deficit more than any other president before him and set the stage for Bush the Elder, Clinton, and Bush the Younger to follow in his footsteps.

He's creditted with ending a Cold War that was fizzling out on it's own.

He did not fulfill campaign promises to end welfare.

Maybe I'll go, and bring some of my best quotes - I can guarantee I won't be flattering. Hope I don't get attacked for attacking the (late) Great Communicator.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Brilliant piece on the drug war from a British point of view. I especially liked the contrast between anti-drug policy and anti-terror policy, and how they are both moving in opposite directions, in fact supporting each other's problem.


Thursday, June 03, 2004

Good article sent to me by a motorcycle riding friend. It goes to show that if the government isn't out to get you, your employer may be. Send a message - order pizza from Domino's. And tell Pizza Hut what you think of their damn "policy".

WorldNetDaily: Pizza man saved by gun, but fired for packin' heat

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

This man, more than anyone, makes me want to move to Texas.
Freedom vs. Security: A False Choice by Rep. Ron Paul
While I would in no way label myself "progressive", this brief article makes sense to me. Politics makes strange bedfellows? I don't think so - even stopped clocks are right twice a day.
Ashcroft Degrades American Democracy - Center for American Progress

Friday, May 28, 2004

I just saw a story on KIRO-TV detailing the Pierce County, Washington, smoking ban and the city of Lakewood (in Pierce County) and others that have passed city ordinances allowing smoking in public places. In particular, the news story concentrated on the Grand Central Casino in Lakewood that has seen business plummet since the ban was enacted. In the story, a waitress at the casino showed a paycheck for the previous week with the ban in place, commenting that it was about one third the size of her normal paychecks, and her tips had decreased from 80-90 percent. The casino hosted a rally event, bringing in local bar and restaurant owners affected by the ban. County health officials came to casino, saw people smoking, and confronted the owners. The owners told them to cite them or leave - the health officials left, but a raid may be planned for the weekend.

We are seeing, in microcosm, the effects that well-intentioned but ill-considered laws passed by narrow-sighted "officials" have on business. Instead of making people healthier, they are causing businesses to close, people to lose jobs (and therefore health and other benefits), and the economy to suffer. The same forces being seen at work in Pierce County over this smoking ban work nation- and world-wide when environmental, health, and other regulations are forced on businesses in the absence of other market forces.

Health officials say it's too early to tell what the effects of the ban on business are, but for a small business owner, waiting for the health department to figure it out will be too late. What will the health department do once they figure out the effects on business are bad? Repeal the legislation and reinstate the businesses that failed while they were doing studies? Don't hold your breath.

If there is a need or requirement for smoke-free bars, restaurants, casinos, or other businesses, market forces will help create them. The smoking ban has already shown that there is a market desire for smoking establishments in Pierce County - why has this negative lesson been lost on Pierce County health officials? I guess since they didn't listen to the major protests that occurred before the regulation was passed, they don't have the sense to see what they're doing now.

And if you live in, or are visiting, western Washington (Seattle, Puget Sound area) this weekend, stop in the Grand Central Casino in Pierce County, drop a few bucks at a Blackjack table, and light one up for freedom, even if you don't smoke or gamble. I'll do my best to get down there this weekend. Civil disobedience is the last non-violent tool we have left to fight off the forces of tyranny, no matter how small or mean.
There's a crucial line in this story that I think is critical to all liberty lovers:

"A defendant has a right to offer a defense no matter how outlandish, silly or unbelievable one might think it will be," [Judge Robert L.] Holzberg said.

The emphasis was mine, but remember that line if you're ever called denied your day in court. Woman claims she's innocent because she was performing oral sex

Thursday, May 27, 2004

OK, you wanted to know how far our government - the government we vote for, the government we ask for, the government we deserve - will go to preserve it's power base. Well here it is - a NY court is exercising power over the reproductive rights of two NY citizens.

Now, I'm not a fan of what the couple is doing and has done, but where does the State get it's power from? From the people who accept that power. This judge stepped over the line - her judgement is one sentence away from mandating sterilization for this couple. Why didn't go there? Because she calculated just how much she could get away with - she knew that a ruling of mandatory sterilization wouldn't fly nearly as well as a simple order to stop procreating, so she didn't mention it, despite the fact that sterilization would prevent just the situation she wants to prevent.

This isn't a ruling of justice, it's a political statement, and this judge should be removed from office and disbarred for making it.

Infoshop News - NY Family Court orders Riochester couple to stop having children

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

I just saw a great sig line on a Slashdot post:

There are four boxes used in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, ammo. Use in that order.

Well, this is my soap box. I've tried the ballot box, but the 2000 election conviced me that it doesn't really matter. Judges have already, through the voir dire jury selection process, nullified the jury box. What does leave us?

Monday, May 24, 2004

Unbelievable. Now they want to spend more to save more in the long run. I think we should abandon the agency and it's focus, return the "billions of wasted dollars" to the taxpayers they were looted from, and encourage everyone to purchase firearms for their own safety. I'd feel better knowing everyone was taken care of themselves than have Mother Government trying to watch over us all...

Report raps Homeland Security for muddled IT - News - ZDNet

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Good essay comparing the U.S. unde the Patriot Act to 1930's Weimar Republic Germany. Disturbing parallels, if you can get past the liberal knee-jerk reaction to dismiss comparisons to Nazi Germany.
Brian Cloughley: Where Are You Heading, America?

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Nice piece on the demise of neighborhoods and the advance of collectivism. My only point of disagreement with the author is his assertion that collectivism was not born in congressional chambers or Ivy League schools - I believe that's exactly where it was born. It is our own grievous fault that we did not commit infanticide on that terrible babe shortly after it's birth...
Collectivism Begins In Your Neighborhood by Butler Shaffer

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Illinois is trying to raise money by raising sales taxes across a variety of markets, including farming supplies, custom software, and private sales of watercraft. Personally, I think that if Illinois needs more money to cover their bottom line, they should cut some services, using the U.S and Illinois Constitution as a guide to what services are required and what are fluff.

Look at it this way - in your home, you have an income from your job and expeditures for the things you need to live and survive. Once you take care of food, housing, and basic necessities, the rest of the money you have can go for the fluff items - digital cable, internet access, nicer cars, nicer clothes, jewelry, travel, etc. If you find that you are spending more than you are bringing in, you've got two choices - bring in more money to cover the expenses, or cut some of the expenses. In a normal family, increasing the income isn't feasible, so expenses get cut. In government, however, cutting expenses by dropping services is seen as political suicide, so income gets raised in the form of taxes.

At some point this has to hit an end. As any family knows, expenses don't usually go down on their own. The same goes for government. As more and more people demand government services (in the form of entitlements, more police, better roads, subsidized health care, etc.), the cost of government will go up, meaning taxes will go up, meaning people will have less money to handle their own expenses, which means they'll go to the government for more services to cover the ones they can't (public housing, welfare, jobs programs, etc.), which means government needs more money, which means more taxes and less money available to the individuals. Can you see the cycle?

What happens when taxation reaches 100% of your income? If government is now taking everything you make to provide services, and still not providing enough for you to meet your needs, where will the money come from? What will be your incentive to actually make more money, if you don't get to keep it? How will charities provide the services they render if no one has money to freely donate? How will business stay in business when no one has money to buy their goods and services? And when those businesses and charities fold, how will the government provide for those displaced workers? They're not making an income on which to pay taxes, so there's that much less to go around to everyone else.

Increased taxation does not help the economy. You would expect government elected officials - especially career politicians like Illinois' governor - to know and realize this. But they don't. So the beginning of the answer here is clear:

Stop electing morons.

Burr Wolff | Tax News

Monday, May 10, 2004

It's a few weeks old - sorry I didn't see it earlier.

I've been personally "interviewed" by the SS. At the time, I was frightened, but not roughed up, much like the kid. Somewhere in D.C there's a folder with my hand-writing samples in it, just waiting to be compared to some threatening snail mail the Pres may received. They can wait.

This was also my first run-in with an old boys network (got turned in by some local cops who didn't like my viewpoints on a BBS system), my first evidence that the Bill of Rights is more lip-service than actual enforced law, and my last time looking at a government employee with less than contempt and disdain. - Secret Service?questions student on?drawings - Apr 27, 2004

Friday, May 07, 2004

This is what happens when you try to split hairs with the Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court and the Bush Administration should be ashamed of themselves - the Court for upholding this blatantly anti-First Amendment legislation, and the Bush administration for not vetoing it outright to begin with.

Liberal Net rules spawn political attack ads - News - ZDNet

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Brilliant commentary from the Cato Institute.
Coastal Post Online

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Decent think tank - haven't scoped it all out yet, but the stuff I've seen and the positions I've seen them take so far lead me to believe their another ally in the fight against totalitarianism, no matter the flavor...
About Pacific Research Institute

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Brilliant! A very nice piece that I completely agree with - there is no difference between Republican and Democrat anymore.

Voting For The Lesser of Two Police States by Anthony Gregory

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Very nice policy opinion piece. I liked the part where Cochrane, a Brit, says that the British rail system is a) rarely on time and b) won't solve any transportation problems associated with cars on roads even if it was.

Fractal stupidity - News - ZDNet

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

If the Top-Two primary system is adopted and used, look for Washington elections to look a lot like California elections, where candidates are selected on name recognition rather than their stands on issues. Also look for there to be fewer and fewer new entries into races as incumbents, with their inherent name recognition through official means, are repeatedly passed through the primary process.
The Daily News Online

Saturday, March 06, 2004

One good reason not to vote - unfortunately, not voting won't do anything. No politician has ever taken the absence of an apathetic public as a mandate to change.

No Choice by Brian Dunaway

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Everytime this woman opens her mouth, I thank my lucky stars I do not, nor have ever, lived in an area where she or her husband have wielded politcal, legislative, or executive power. Carefully avoiding the word "draft", she managed to say directly that there weren't enough U.S. soldiers on Iraqi or Afghani soil - of course, I think there are too many soliders on foreign soil, but what do I know? I was never married to a President!

To add insult to injury, she then says, "Off the record, they’ll tell you they don’t have enough and have never had enough." By saying it in an open forum, you've just put it on the record. But what do I know? I was never cuckolded by an intern!

She also wants to delay the return of sovereignity of Iraq to the Iraqi's for a few months to ascertain whether the government would be secular or religious. I love how she treats iraqi sovereignity over their own country like Ashcroft treats American civili liberties. Or how she ignores the fact that our own secular government has become a religious pulpit for Christian morality. But what do I know? I was never elected Senator in a state I had never lived in before!

Then she actually finds something to admire Saddam Hussein for - his stand on women's rights. Ignore the fact that his stance on general human rights would make Hitler proud - at least women in Iraq could go to school, hold jobs, and participate in government. She says giving the Islamic religion jurisdiction over civil law would be "a horrific mistake - and especially for it to happen on our watch." On our watch? Does this legislator have no sense of ethics? What a contemptible, over-inflated ego it takes to take ownership of the government of a separate country and it's views on civil liberties! According to Clinton, it's our job to continue the civil government of Iraq to support her human and women's rights positions. I thought it was her job to represent her constituency - did the people of Iraq vote her into office? If so, then she's in the right. If not, then's an self-righteous egoistic meddling busybody with no more sense than God gave gophers. But what do I know? I'm just a libertarian!

MSNBC - Clinton questions future of volunteer army
Good essay.

Are Current Bill of Rights Erosions Unprecedented? by Anthony Gregory
Damn, I love this guy - I'm seriously considering moving to his district just so I can vote for him.

Eliminate Federal Court Jurisdiction by Rep. Ron Paul

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Why am I not surprised this level of intrusiveness is starting in Taxachusetts? One more state to avoid living in... / Business / Taxes / State's new technology gathers information to find tax cheats

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Brilliant summary essay - now I want to read the book.

The Myth of the Morally Superior Yankee by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
Worth the read. I've got mixed feelings on the military - I've got great respect for those people who join and fight in it, but I agree with Brad, it's go to go.
Four Reasons We Should Abolish the Military by Brad Edmonds

Friday, February 06, 2004

I caught wind of this story from Vin Suprynowicz, and just now was able to track down the real story in a newspaper. Not scared yet? If you're not, then you're either dead or already brainwashed. -- News: Airlines, hotels ordered to give FBI information

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Brilliant - another knuckle-dragging mouth-breather who feels someone owes them some money for their perceived offense. No one gets out of life without some pain, suffering, or offense - get the fuck over it already and move on. By pursuing this, you're just making a bigger deal than it needs to be - I've already seen JJ's breast more times on TV news than I ever would have if it had been ignored. Miami & Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Dolphins & More

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Another blow to the First Amendment, this one from a Federal appeals court. Remember this - if you put a frog in boiling water, he'll fight to jump out. If you put him in warm water and gradually turn up the heat, he'll fall asleep and cook to death before he knows what's happenening to him.

The Charleston Gazette - APNews

Monday, February 02, 2004

Interesting article - think I'll read Bork's book. I don't agree with his point of view, but he's working for the same end I am - a return to a self-governing Constitutional form of government.
Phyllis Schlafly: President Bush finally speaks out against activist judges
What a fucking crock - I'm cutting back on my American football viewing from one game a year to zero now.

Apparently, the NFL didn't like the bare breast shot at the end of the halftime show. However, they seemed OK with the diabetic-coma-inducing tripe that happened during the pre-game show, with some unknown singer paying tribute the Shuttle Columbia crew (which reminded me of that scene in “Running Man” where the dancers did a tribute to BuzzSaw – absolute crap, I should have been compensated for having to sit through it.) And I have no fucking clue what either the bare breast or the sugary song has to do with football.

And what does any of this have to do with Liberty in America? Simple - it's a double-standard for men and women. Bare-chested men are common place on TV - bare-chested women not so much. CBS can't take the moral high ground here - ads for their "Two and a Half Men" showed a woman in a thong-like bottom. Neither can the NFL, unless they've stopped selling cheerleader calendars and posters. Apparently the FCC is investigating now - your tax dollars at work, preventing exposed breasts from appearing on the air. Loosely covered, visible through sheer material, barely covered by bikinis - those are fine, apparently (or did I imagine those on the dancers at the halftime show?).

I won't get into the issues of taste and decency - you make your own call. To my mind, the most entertaining part of the half-time show was the bare breast, and that was a marginal call. The rest of it was a bunch of barely-talented idiots who make their living feeding your kids auditory corn syrup doing the same thing to an audience of millions. The NFL was offended by the bare breast - I was offended by the fact that the Super Bowl has become a spectacle, bread and circuses for the masses.

And I've wasted too much of my life ranting about it.


Friday, January 30, 2004

Interesting story, and I have some definite ideas on how a Libertarian society would handle this. What's disheartening is the quote from Bona Flecchia, a journalist, who says states the case exposes lots of loopholes in "regulating" Internet commerce. From my POV, this isn't a case that exposes the need for more regulations, but a perfect case of caveat emptor and how cross-indemnification should work.

The story also didn't go into depth on the real crime, one Rodney Fee who seems to have embezzled $60K from the company, leaving the customer's involved hanging. It seems that whether you're buying off the Internet or at a brick and mortar retail store, this kind of crime can hamper business and customer satisfaction.

Anyway, I'll have more to say about this later...
MSNBC - EBay, PayPal and the Fufu's furniture fiasco

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Not exactly concerning liberty, but it does concern the disturbing trend towards patenting software, a practice I abhor. Nomadix marketing director said the company wouldn't pursue legal battle over the patent, so my next question then is: Why bother patenting it if you're not planning on protecting it via the legal system?

Hot-spot developer wins log-in patent - News - ZDNet

For more information on why software patents are evil, check out the League for Programming Freedom's web page.

Monday, January 26, 2004

It's just a chip in the wall, but it's a start - the Berlin Wall was felled by starting with a chip as well.

Yahoo! News - Part of Patriot Act Ruled Unconstitutional

Interesting discussion re: this story on Slashdot.
Do not, under any circumstances, elect this man to any political office, under pain of long, slow death at the hands of a Socialist madman...

Howard Dean's 'smart ID' plan - News - ZDNet

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Why I don't fly anymore. Or ever will again voluntarily.
The Register
It's absolutely amazing, when you read this, that people tolerate government at all. Georgine Welo was "saddened" that she wasn't entitled to take someone else's money from them - poor little socialist bitch. I'll give her a few days to think before she sics the city lawyers on Ms. Jemison to coerce the money out of her on some other grounds...

In the meantime, I'd recommend Ms. Jemison use part of her winnings to arm herself against government agents... - City misses out on lotto windfall - Jan. 20, 2004

Thursday, January 15, 2004

I heard on KIRO-TV tonight that there is a law being pushed through by the state of Washington's Department of Agriculture that would keep downer cows (cows that are too sick to support themselves) from entering the food chain. It's a way to prevent BSE (mad cow disease) from entering the human population. While keeping the food supply healthy is a good idea, something made me think when I heard the story.

The state's beef and dairy farmers are fully behind this law. They all think it's a good idea to either test or incinerate downer cows. There's really no argument over this law. So what's the problem? Simple...

If the farmers and producers think this is a good idea, why do we need a law?

Simply put, the dairy and beef farmers have expressed their sense that they are in favor of the reforms that are being put forth. A law is not necessary - the industry is saying they agree, and can work out their own methods of compliance without getting the state involved. There is no reason to involve the state of Washington into this, and no reason for a law.
Interesting story simply because it affects our Capitol - how many lobbyists and other power brokers either carry or have members of s retinue that carry? How will this affect them? Or will it - we all know the rules handed down by courts usually don't apply to the powerful...

Gun Rights Aren't for District, Judge Rules (

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I like this guy's editorial - he's as pissed off as I am.

Kurt Nimmo: Bush and the Supreme Court

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Brilliant - read the whole study, if you've got the time.

Reuters | Breaking News from Around the Globe
"Bounding the Global War on Terrorism" by Dr. Jeffrey Record
What a fucking joke - and people wonder I don't trust government. Even with simple, straight-forward, and plain-worded promises, they can't seem to deliver. Why should we trust them to respect our rights when reading and interpretting the Bill of Rights?

Treasury breaks word on e-mail anonymity | CNET

Friday, January 09, 2004

Interesting case or a state denying gun ownership rights to a man, and his Second Amendment (as well as other Constitutionality claims) fight... It's kinda nice to see someone fighting the good fight on principles and making the Constitutionality claims in court. It will be interesting to see where this goes...

Challenge to checks of gun buyers sent back for new hearing

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

A brief note on why software patents are bad, although it does bring up some interesting ideas regarding property rights and infringement on those rights.
News: Patent owner stakes claim in Net ad suit
This guy (Steven Pearlstein) is completely off his rocker. This is typical leftist (aka socialist) rhetoric - I'll address some of his points below (my comments in bold), but you might want to read the whole article for yourself.

It's Time Uncle Sam Taxed Techies (

One of the many things I used to admire about the high-tech industry was its disinterest in seeking special favors from Washington, other than to be left alone to turn out truly amazing stuff.

That was what I loved about high tech as well. Nowadays, the politicization of my industry (yes, I work in high tech), has become a reason for my considering a major career change.

Now that's changed. Tech execs and lobbyists are lined up out the door these days, whining and pleading and warning of the demise of the American economy if government doesn't grant a special waiver of the immigration law, hand over large chunks of the radio spectrum, lower estate and capital gains taxes, contort accounting rules on stock options, make permanent the R&D tax credit, exempt them completely from either state or federal regulation (which one depends on the issue), and trample the Constitution to expand and protect their patent rights. Oh, and did I mention giving them new tax breaks for shipping jobs off to Asia?

If the government did not control these facets of the economy (as I think they shouldn't), then lobbyists wouldn't be necessary, would they? Not in the high tech or any other industry. His and my arguments are not specific to high tech, but apply equally to biotech, automotive, eneregy, and other industries. It's a mesasure of how intrusive government regulations have become, as well as the maturing of the industry. High tech industry has long been populated by libertarian minded folk, who are now realizing the world they want to change won't let them.

Topping the list is the long-running industry campaign to exempt the Internet from taxation. There is, first, the proposal to renew the federal ban on any state taxes on Internet access. The industry would have you believe this involves merely the monthly fee you pay to America Online or Comcast or Verizon to access the Web. But read the fine print, and you discover it appears to extend the tax ban to other services that might be 'bundled' with Internet access -- you know, little things like cable service, movies on demand and all your telephone calls.

I don't believe in taxation to begin with, but I'll address his more specific points below.

The justification for this extraordinary intrusion into state prerogatives is that any tax will stifle development of a miraculous and transforming new technology while widening the gap between the technology haves and have-nots. Somehow lost in all the lobbying hyperbole is the fact that Internet use is exploding (more than 60 percent of households already have it, along with virtually every library and school), while access fees are falling like a stone (AOL unveils its new $9.95-a-month Internet access service this week).

Does he realize he's just made the argument for the abolition of taxation across the board? No taxation on Internet access has allowed service to improve and costs to drop through pure capitalism, not through government intervention. Argument #1 for taxation shot to hell...

Nor is it clear why the federal government, in the name of cloclosing the "digital divide," should deny states a couple of billion dollars each year that might be used to close the much more troubling "divides" between those who have quality medical care and public schools and those who don't.

As I mentioned above, he just said that the lack of taxation and government intervention was closing the digital divide on it's own - why should added taxes close the other divides he quotes? Answer: They won't. Period.

Then there is the proposal extending the ban on states imposing sales tax on Internet transactions. The high-tech types say this is a matter of simple justice -- after all, the Supreme Court has ruled that states cannot require catalogue and 800-number merchants to collect taxes on out-of-state sales, so why should the tax law discriminate against Internet sales? But their dedication to a fair and "technology neutral" tax code rings rather hollow when you remember that traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers are at a significant competitive disadvantage, because they still have to collect state sales taxes. Ask the techies about this injustice, and you generally get a lecture about how sales taxes are outdated anyway.

Welcome to a capitalist society, Steven. The person with the best value items (lowest price for the most service) wins. Even bricks-and-mortar businesses fight to keep overhead down to help keep prices down, while maintaining a high level of service. If a new supermall offers lower store-front rents, shops move there, and the Internet has very low rents for store fronts. He's arguing that we should impose taxes to defeat the laws of supply and demand, which is a typical socialist argument - level playing fields for all, so no one goes without. Unfortunately, this only means that everyone goes without.

Perhaps we should increase taxes on people who use busses, because busses compete unfairly with auto makers and petroleum producers, keeping people from buying and using these products? We already tax autos and gas highly to help protect the environment from harmful emissions - turnabout is fair-play, after all. How about increased taxes on people who write letters rather than use the phone, because it's cheaper to write than to call? Or should it be the other way around, to help maintain the U.S. Postal Service? I guess it all depends on which industry or cause you want to artificially prop up to parade in front of the masses, eh?

Finally, there's the issue of how to regulate and tax telephone calls carried over the Internet. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael K. Powell has already parroted the industry line that government should keep its hands off so this revolutionary, cost-saving technology can develop on its own. But if the Internet telephone is the wave of the future, as everyone seems to believe, then someone (that would be Powell) ought to be giving some serious thought to how to replace a set of telecom taxes that raise big money for state and federal coffers while subsidizing universal phone access.

Subsidize is a fancy word for entitling people to services they can't afford on their own. Why can't they afford them? Because their taxed so much on everything else, basic subsistance becomes the priority. I don't remember reading the Declaration of Independence and seeing everyone guaranteed "life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, cheap health care, housing, and universal communication access". Even the First Amendment can't be twisted to guarantee that (although the current Supreme Court may think it does), although the Socialist Party certainly does think universal health care and housing should be guaranteed..

To be fair, the tech industry has one valid argument in this debate: It simply no longer makes sense to have 50 states, along with countless cities and counties, empowered to regulate and tax services that are clearly national, if not global, in character. This is why God created a federal government.

Excuse the fuck our of me? Who created a federal government? God? Think again, Steven - the federal government was created by man, specifically a group of men meeting to fix the Articles of Confederation who then ran rough-shod over their less totalitarian brothers to institute our Constitution. God (in any of its many forms) had absolutely nothing to do with it.

As much as you may want to deify our government, it is a man made institution - and what man has created, man can destroy and recreate as necessary. Bringing God into the equation is not only an offense to non-Christians (shame on you - you may lose your Democratic Party membership if you're not careful), it prominently highlights your position that the government is something that shouldn't be questioned, merely accepted, obeyed, and glorified. And that's more offensive than any religious overtones you may have made.

And rather than retreating into mindless deregulation or buying into the silly notion that to tax the Internet is to destroy it, Washington ought to come up with a reasonable federal tax regime that is truly technology-neutral and shares revenue with the states.

Why is deregulation mindless, or abolishing taxation silly? You made the point above that the lack of taxation and regulation has benefitted the users and proponents of high tech, yet now you call it silly. Personally, I think you're a socialist, but that doesn't mean anything, does it? Perhaps if I called you a traitor, it would be more to the point, but still no less an ad hominem than using mindless and silly in a summation you haven't yet supported.

In short, the federal government has no place regulating or taxing any business just as a means of raising revenue. Providing services and entitlements for my neighbors with my money is not my idea of a capitalist society - it's nothing more than Robin Hood in modern America, and he was nothing more than a common thief. The only difference between taxation and theft is when the gun is drawn on you - at least muggers have the decency to show their weapons before they ask you for your wallet, while the government waits until after you don't cough up the dough to draw the guns and jail you.

(Editorial)I think this guy is a complete moron, a traitorous socialist who can't wait to get his hands on other people's money to do what he feels needs to be done in this country. He's no better than Fagan from Dickens' "Oliver", a man who convinces others to steal for him to promote some form of common good. The problem here is that the common good, like the Moral Majority, is neither common nor good. How someone as patently illogical as Steven Pearlstein can hold a job as a columnist for a major American newspaper is beyond me - must be a conspiracy...

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Very nice commentary on the Supreme Court evisceration of the First Amendment - I especially like his concluding sentence:

"The court’s reasoning suggests that in the long run artists, editors, pornographers and the rest of us should look not to the Constitution or the courts for protection but to the politicians from whom the Founders sought to protect us."

Legal abuse of the First Amendment=The