Some format changes - I've added links to the stories I read and post here (thought that happened automagically - surprised me) and made the perma-links easier to find and click. I also split up the right side bar and added a new link to Melissa's Liberty Blog. She's as rabid a libertarian as I am, but uses cleaner language (that is, if you're offended by the words "fuck" and "shit" - if you're offended by the use of words like "socialism" and "collective", like I am, it's positively obscene).
I'm also trying to track down some editorials referenced in a recent letter I got from the Advocates for Self-Government. Two people, in three separate op-ed's, blame libertarianism for the damage Katrina did to New Orleans.
Close your mouth - took me a while to close mine, but it's better in the long run if you do.
Anyway, I want to find the complete editorials before commenting in depth. I also want to find contact info for the writers to publish here. Some quick thoughts on what I read:
Libertarians didn't build substandard levees
Libertarians didn't encourage people to live below sea level by providing cheap flood insurance
Libertarians didn't deny basic 1st and 2nd Amendment rights to reporters and victims in the area
Private organizations moved quicker and more efficiently to provide aid to victims, despite government efforts to stop them
Anyway, I'll have more once I find the complete op-eds in question.
People ask me sometimes why I'm against my little patch of unincorporated King County either incorporating into one of the neighboring towns (Seattle, Tukwila, Burien), or becoming it's own little town. I tell them right now I have three levels of government sitting on me - county, state, federal. Incorporating adds a fourth, which I don't like. When they ask me why not, I'll start pointing to this article...
WTF, people? You can't build a deck on Sunday in this little shit-ass TN town? You work 60+ hours a week, with lots of Saturday OT, and want to do some home improvement on Sunday, but the Spring Hill aldermen say, "not on Sunday".
It's a religious based decision, of course - someone brought up the question of Seventh Day Adventists celebrating the Sabbath on Saturday. No one brought up Jews, or Baptist's Wednesday services, but the argument is the same - the holy day shall not be used for work of any kind, especially the kind that can disturb you when you and the fellas watching the game and the women-folk are washing the dishes.
I'm presuming the reason why is noise - wonder if you're working on building some furniture in your garage, got the table saw and planer going full blast, making all sorts of noise with the door open if they'll stomp down on you. How about working on your car with the air tools? Band practice in the driveway?
Creepy, when you think about the "mission creep" as the article puts it. How long before they can track a single phone from point to point on a whim, rather than with a court order? If you're concerned about tracking, turn your cell phone off when in the car - you shouldn't be talking when you're driving anyway. How will they deal with out-of-state travellers as well? There have already been hassles between Missouri and Illinois over out of state auto purchases and riverboat casinos (in one incident, a riverboat turning around in the Mississippi crossed the court-enforced state line and was issued a citation by the State Patrol - I forget which state in which gambling is legal). Could be interesting if the Illinois and Kansas AG's gets a lot of complaints about possible privacy issues from residents travelling into Missouri on a regular basis (St. Louis and KC are border cities).
Thinking technically, does it matter if only one car in ten has a cell phone? I wouldn't think so - one cell phone moving 20 mph on the interstate out of St. Louis into the burbs should be as telling as 100.
You know, we have this type of feature in the Seattle area right now, without cell phone tracking. This is just another reason why, though I want to live in the St. Louis area, I plan to live on the Illinois side of the river...
Today's "The Government You Deserve" story brought to you by WLTW-TV in Cincinnati.
Remember all you Cincinnati folks, this is the government you voted for, the officials you wanted in office. Fred Enderle, City Manager who sent the police force after this woman, was either elected or hired by elected officials - and he's standing on the principle that it's OK to arrest and fine a woman for not paying her city income tax, all $1.16 of it. Thank the gods you Cinicinnati people have an upstanding principled city manager who won't let things like economies of scale or common sense get in the way.
Move out of Cincinnati while they still let you, and before they bring in another Kansas School Board member with an overload of principles and deficient common sense to be your next city manager...
Now before you all get on my shit for trashing a guy with principles (which I admire - about time we found a public official who actually has them and admits to them), let's discuss this from a different POV. Sure, he has principles, and he states them fairly accurately in the story - there are laws, and you have to comply with the laws. However, before that, he does state that there is some expense involved (ostensibly in the arrest and prosecution of this woman). This is where my admiration of his principles breaks down.
In the private sector, there are rules, by-laws, best practices, etc. You follow these because it's the best way to get the best return on your investment, whether that's a stock you bought, an employee you hired, some equipment you're leasing, or customer service you're delivering. Every rule, best practice, whatever, has a cost associated with it - computer programmers take extra time to comment code and follow standards because the initial cost (in terms of time) is made up later when it comes time to service the code. Auto manufacturers use bolts to fasten things, and take the time to specify those fasteners, because loosening a bolt is easier than breaking a weld when it comes time to service (a vast overgeneralization, I know, but bear with me - I'm running out of analogies).
So, there are costs and returns on the tules you follow when you're doing business. The minute the cost of following those rules becomes higher than the return you get from them, the rules get tossed. For example, if you're writing code that only gets used once in one place and will never be serviced, comments are not done, or are done in a very limited fashion.
The other thing to remember is that there very few universal laws, and almost none of them are codifiable into local code. How do you legislate being responsible? Honorable? Having integrity? You don't. The laws we follow in business - and the laws enacted by all governments - are made up by us. They may originate from a common experience, but they're certainly not universal.
So, the city manager asks what cost do you stop enforcing law? When the law is counter-productive to the economy of the city (i.e. when it will cost more to enforce than it will return to the city). And when the law being enforced does not protect one citizen from the harmful actions or inaction of another. The city is out $1.16, and has spent how much trying to track it down? Do the math - will the fines she pays even make up the difference? I doubt it, but I'd love to hear someone with real numbers...
Oh, and I've been getting spammed religiously in comments - if you've got something real to say, please do so, as I'd love to see something real. My dick and tits are big enough, my mortgage is fine thankyouverymuch, I don't want a fucking Rolex, and I don't need prescription Viagra - I don't give a flying fuck how much you like my blog, I ain't buying your shit, visiting your site, clicking your link, or looking at your pictures.
Very well done, somewhat poignant, essay on why we should not support our troops. The whole thing boils down to a Rush Limbaugh paraphrase at the the end - you can't support the troops without supporting the war and government that started it. I support neither the war nor our government, and despite pressure from all sides, do not support our troops either. They are the instruments of an illegal war, and they have freewill, uniforms and chain of command notwithstanding. We didn't allow the "We were under orders" defense of Nazi prison camp guards - why do we put up with it now?
I think I'll see if my library has the book and read it - of course, I think the Guardian got it wrong, comparing liberals to conservatives, neither of whom seems to think that government is too small. Better to see this as a libertarian children's book, but until I read it, the jury's out...