Monday, October 30, 2006

Post Gap

Sorry. Had a few things that have kept me from blogging.

1) Work. Been busy. Real busy. At the beginning of this year, I took on more responsibility (more territory). I thought it would be no problem, and it's not, really, but I have weeks that feel like I spend all my waking hours working, except for the few that I have a cocktail and read a newspaper.

2) Wedding. Not mine. My mother in law got married this weekend. An out of town thing, we were in a hotel from Thursday to Sunday. Lesson learned: Don't put my wife and her sister in a flying metal tube without the means for one of them to get out. Otherwise, there WILL be an argument in the rental car. The guy she (my MIL) married is a good guy, and his kids and their families are good people. All in all, it was a nice time.

A note on training: I haven't been, again... due to 1 and 2 above, as well as that nasty cold I had a couple of weeks ago. This week at work is going to be tough again, but I'm going to train on Weds and Fri, and get the ship pointed in the right direction.

Or I'll take up mall walking or something.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Stupid? I think so.

I also think stupid is funny, so I'm sharing.

Some nitwit, namely David Perfect ( from Jacobs Engineering, sent the crack young staff at the Hatemongers Quarterly some feedback on an old post.

From his work e-mail.

Now, I do not pretend to be the smartest guy in the world. Top 5%, certainly, but not the smartest. But exactly how stupid do you have to be to send:
F*** you for your comments on miss [sic] Rohe
from your WORK e-mail address, and not think it just might get posted on Al Gore's World Wide Web, along with your real name and your e-mail address.

And that people like me, noting the stupidity, might further the spread of that information.

Who doesn't have a personal e-mail now? I've got 2 with my name (hotmail and gmail), one for the blog (libertarianlifter at gmail dot com), and one that's totally annonymous. All free, all easy as pie to set up and check. Sure, I get a lot of spam (especially at my hotmail address, which I now pretty much use as a spam dump), but no one will ever see my work e-mail address posted on the internet after I send a nasty little e-mail.

Perhaps I should send Mr. Perfect a gmail invite.

Keeping you safe from coins?

The Federal government is cracking down on the maker and user of Liberty Dollars.

Now, I want to make sure everyone understands this scenario: someone produces a coin (a round thing made of metal), and backs it with gold and silver. I buy some. I find someone who will take these coins in return for a service, and we voluntarily exchange the 'coins' for the service.

Why would this be illegal? Who, exactly, are we hurting?

Via Lew Rockwell at Mises.

US says, 'we own space.'

The Bush Administration's National Space Policy makes it pretty clear that, at least from a weapons deployment standpoint, Space belongs to the United States.
"Consistent with this policy, the United States will preserve its rights, capabilities and freedom of action in space … and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to U.S. national interests."

In other words, analysts say, don't expect the United States to sign any new treaties that try to keep weapons from being launched.

"Star Wars"-type programs, while hotly debated by policy wonks, have mostly been far-off notions. Most Americans have heard about Defense Department experiments with exotic weapons, but it's hardly been a front-burner issue.

Craig Eisendrath, a former State Department official who worked on the first treaty to keep space free of military activity in 1967, says things are changing.

"We're going to be testing weapons toward the end of this year," he says. "Deployment will follow. It's not that far away."

This raises an interesting question - who does own space? Typically, for a resource or property with no clear owner, the person who first lay claim and develop or use the resource owns it. But space is a pretty big place, yes?

I'm also wondering why we have a National Space Policy, but then, they regulate how much water I use when I flush.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I said, 'health care is not a right!'

Don Boudreaux says it better.
It's clear that with free access to food, too many people would take too much food, leaving many others with no food at all. Government would soon realize that food storehouses are emptying faster than expected. In response, it might hike taxes even higher to produce more food - raising the price that society pays for nutrition.

Stocking stores with more food, though, won't solve the problem. With food free at the point of delivery, consumers would take all that they can carry. People would quickly learn that if they don't grab as much food as possible today, the store might run out of the foods that their families need tomorrow. This creates a vicious cycle of moral hazard that unwittingly pits neighbor against neighbor.

Eventually, to avoid spending impossibly large chunks of society's resources producing food, government would start restricting access to it. Bureaucrats would enforce rations, such as "two gallons of milk per family per week." There might be exceptions for those with special needs, but most of us would be allowed to take only those foods that officials decide we need.

Food would be a universal entitlement in name only. In practice, it would be strictly limited by government rules.
Replace the word 'food' with 'health care'.

Remarkably Well.

That's Vice President Cheney's opinion of how things are going in Iraq. Even though this has lasted almost as long as WWII. Even though there's no end in sight (2010? Ha!)

The transcript is here.

Required Reading

Linda Schrock Taylor, and the One Question Test.

In 1812, the literacy rate (defined as 'read and do numbers well'), was 99.96%. Before public education. Before school lunches.

What is it now? Why doesn't anyone ask the question?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Welcome to your police state

And say good by to your human rights. President Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006

Please read this carefully...

`(a) Jurisdiction- A military commission under this chapter shall have jurisdiction to try any offense made punishable by this chapter or the law of war when committed by an alien unlawful enemy combatant before, on, or after September 11, 2001.

`(b) Lawful Enemy Combatants- Military commissions under this chapter shall not have jurisdiction over lawful enemy combatants. Lawful enemy combatants who violate the law of war are subject to chapter 47 of this title. Courts-martial established under that chapter shall have jurisdiction to try a lawful enemy combatant for any offense made punishable under this chapter.

`(c) Determination of Unlawful Enemy Combatant Status Dispositive- A finding, whether before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense that a person is an unlawful enemy combatant is dispositive for purposes of jurisdiction for trial by military commission under this chapter.

This bill says that the President can call you an enemy combatant. That's the rule. As such, you can be tried in a military tribunal, under unconstitutional rules, insted of in the Constitutionally established justice system.

I don't see how this can pass any judicial review test, but I'm not sure it will ever be tested, since the people it will apply to don't get to use the usual justice system. Nice.

Keep saying 'oh, they'll never abuse that power'. That will serve you well. Every day, we become more like our enemies.


I didn't see Sunday's game, but a tough loss to a great team. Good to see the offense put some points on the board.

I don't get the firing of Jim Fossel... I think the offense is starting to come together, and I don't think he's the problem, I think execution is. But then, I don't get paid to run a football team.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Electing a whiner?

Yesterday, the two major party candidates for Governor of Maryland squared off in two debates. One will be shown tomorrow night, one was shown live last night.

I'm no fan of Bob Ehrlich. I think he's just another big government Republican. A likeable guy, down to earth, and honest, but his politics and mine don't really jive. That said, I don't see how anyone could possibly vote for Martin O'Malley.

He was either whining or pontificating, with absolutely no substance during the debate shown last night. While Ehrlich made some points in his down home, talk radio manner, O'Malley blamed him for Enron (?!). Mr. O'Malley did seem quite proud of the Baltimore City School System's 50% graduation rate.


The thing is, I think O'Malley will win.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Because if you play poker, the terrorists win

This bill is the reason I won't vote for a single Republican for Congress, and highlights once more the total lack of any spine of the current President... as he signs the port security internet gambling ban into law. You know, because online poker has so much to do with boats and stuff.

Everything that's wrong is wrapped up in one tidy little package.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Ravens lose to Denver on MNF. As expected, the defense was fantastic, with only a couple of (costly) mistakes. The offense needs to step it up. As was said at the beginning of the season, if the offense can put 13 points on the board, the defense can win the game.

Thing is, just one of three big mistakes (the interception at the end of the first half, the 10 yard punt, or the interception that lead to the Denver touchdown) don't happen, and I think I'm gloating about being 5-0.

On MNF coverage... this is the first Monday Night game I've watched. Is it just me, or are the commentators terrible? I can't really put my finger on what it is I don't like.

Carolina next week - another tough team. It's a big game, in that the Ravens need a strong showing against a tough opponant to really get momentum for the rest of the year.

Monday, October 9, 2006

The Yellow

Or 'Sweet B and the Yellow'. Or 'SFB'. Or 'What's Left of Unprovoked Moose Attack'.

Whatever their name, they rock. A wall of sound. Iggy Pop shoving Coltrane down the stairs (I wish I could say I came up with that, but it's from their myspace). Anger and jazz and noise and fuzz. The 20something girls with their Miller Lites dug it just as much as the old guy with the ponytail.

And I'm not just saying this because my brother is in the band. This is the real deal.

Check out their myspace.

Saturday, October 7, 2006

People don't want spinach that makes them sick.

And they don't need the FBI to make sure that doesn't happen. Lew Rockwell puts it nicely here.

The companies that grow and distribute spinach have a vested interest in making sure that food is safe. Otherwise, they won't sell it. The government, on the other hand, only has a vested interest in getting more power. Who do you want regulating the spinach you eat?
The truth is that the people who buy and sell are far more interested in the well being of the public than lifetime bureaucrats who have no professional stake in the outcome of the enterprising process than the man in the moon. Their one and only interest is protecting their power and position. Increasingly, they seize on any and every headline to whip up public frenzy.

This is government in the Bush age, in which every turn of events becomes a matter for federal goon squads to crack skulls. People often claim that the government used 9/11 as an excuse to do what they wanted to do in any case, which was to trample on the Constitution's protections against violations of our personal liberty. Not only is that true; the government is now using even the smallest and most petty excuses to do the same.

But you might say: at what cost? What is the big deal as to whether the FDA and the FBI are involved in the great spinach case or not? Surely the only result will be that merchants will become more careful about guarding the health of consumers.

Actually, I don't think that is a foregone conclusion. Many more people die per day on government highways than became sick in this spinach scare, and I see no hysteria to prosecute road builders or bureaucrats at the Transportation Department. Far from protecting people, the government has a special skill associated with perpetually endangering people such as American soldiers in hostile foreign lands, not to speak of civilians. It is not at all obvious that government has the interests of our health at heart when it regulates and controls us.

There is also an ideological cost here. Whenever government demonizes merchants, it encourages the view that we must be forever on the lookout for dishonest business people who are seeking to make us sick, and from whom only the great civil servants in government can protect us.

This feeds right into the zero sum fallacy - that in order for a big mean corporation to have a profit, someone has to lose. Which, if you made it through ECON 101, you know is incorrect.

Right? You do know that, don't you?

Rockwell also nicely points out how much free enterprise has helped us, and compares it to the 'help' the government provides.
These sorts of investigations actually encourage the view that free enterprise is a source of danger and a health hazard rather than our source of service and health enhancement. After all, a century ago, people would have found it to be nothing short of a miracle that greens could survive a cross-country trek and land on your dining table in pretty much the same state as when they were picked.
Leftists will say the only reason it arrives safe is because of the government, which, is hogwash. it arrives safe because spinach producers make a profit doing it, and they know that killing their customers is generally bad for business. The government, on the other hand, doesn't have to worry about customers. Which makes the killing easier.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Hey, let's have a protest

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of our President. He mislead everyone into war, he's signed into law a number of bills that erode the Constitution (Patriot Act, REAL ID), has overseen grotesque government growth (TSA, anyone?), and he represents the socialist wing of the Republican party.

That said, there was a 'day of protest' yesterday, with people protesting everything from global warming to Iraq. I think it might be more effective to just pick on thing, but what do I know?
"We are turning the corner in bringing forward a mass movement of resistance to drive out the Bush regime," said organizer Travis Morales with the activist group World Can't Wait.

Some dressed in costume, including a hooded prisoner in an orange jumpsuit, a devilish rendition of President Bush and two grim reapers. One man wore a red cheerleader outfit with "Radical" emblazoned on the jersey.
This is how you get taken seriously, I guess. Of course, the White House response is equally stupid.
White House spokeswoman Nicole Guillemard defended the administration's Iraq policy.

"Our constitution guarantees the right to peacefully express one's views. The men and women in our military are fighting to bring the people of Iraq these same rights and freedoms," she said. "The president believes it is important to stay on the offense in Iraq."
May I suggest Ms. Guillemard read what the Iraqi Constitution says.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Good analysis of the internet poker ban

I. Nelson Rose on the internet poker ban legislation.

You know, the legislation those small government Republicans attached to a port security bill so if you voted against it you were against secure ports, the legislation the comittee never read... yeah, that legislation.

I'm actually looking forward to Democratic control of at least one of the houses of Congress.

Monday, October 2, 2006

Required Reading - Farm subsidies

Daniel Griswald at Cato writes about what farm subsidies really mean to the 98% of us who are not farmers in the United States. He nicely points out that not only is there an awful lot of money invovled, but these subsidies (that both Democrats and Republicans seem to love so much) harm the environment and raise the cost of food.
Trade barriers and domestic price supports also force tens of millions of families to pay higher food prices. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, U.S. farm programs transferred an average of $10.5 billion a year from U.S. food consumers to producers from 2003 through 2005. That amounts to an annual food tax of $140 for a family of four — a regressive tax that falls most heavily on poor families that spend a larger share of their budgets on food.

Artificially high food prices also drive up production costs for the U.S. food processing firms, reducing their competitiveness and jeopardizing jobs. A recent report from the U.S. Commerce Department shows that import quotas have cost thousands of American jobs in sugar-using industries. Tens of thousands of U.S. bakeries, restaurants, and other businesses suffer lost sales and reduced profitability because of artificially high prices they must pay for food commodities.
This is why government intervention = bad. Even when you think the outcome is good.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

You do not have a right to health care

You can not have a right that requires someone give you something.

Put nicely by Bart Hinkle


Ravens are 4-0.


The defense did what had to be done. The offence sputtered, against what could be the best defense in the NFL. The last drive, though, showed this team has what it takes to win, even if it isn't pretty.

That's what matters.