Friday, December 31, 2010

Person Of The Year - Thomas Perez

The standards for Person Of The Year were put in place a couple of weeks ago.  The ballots have been counted.  The auditors have verified the decision. 
Because of the ghastly nature of The Year Of Our Lord 2010, necessary attributes of POTY2010 will include:

1) POTY2010 must be a government employee, or someone receiving taxpayer money.  This opens up the field to almost all of us.

2) Since "Doing Harm While Claiming To Help" was the story of 2010, the POTY2010 winner must be someone who did significant economic or physical harm to a significant number of people.
3) All POTY2010 nominees, in striving for the prize, can gain style points with politically correct justifications for the harm that they have done. 

4) Since 2010 was dominated by rent-seeking, subsidy-hogging, quota-queening and stimulus-stalking, the POTY2010 must necessarily be a Prince or Princess Of Protectionism.  No obvious quid pro quo is necessary, but a little evidence of mutual backscratching helps the contestant.

5) Nominees lose style points by going too far.  The Omnibus Spending Bill of a few weeks ago, for instance, was so outrageous that even a few Democrats were disturbed by it.  The POTY2010, on the other hand, must be a master of subtlety, mis-direction, and spin-doctoring, and show that he understands the exact degree to which we are a nation of compliant sheep.   

6) POTY2010 is all about accomplishing a lot of harm with limited authority and resources, but remaining within the boundaries of polite society.  Therefore, presidents, dictators, generals, plutocrats and serial-killers aren't eligible.  When the POTY2010 dies, goes to Hell, and approaches The Throne Of The Beast, Satan should embrace the winner, take his hand, and say "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, you have been faithful with a few things; I will give you many things." 

7) You don't have to be an economic idiot to win POTY, but it helps. 

The envelope, please....

Person Of The Year for 2010 is Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division ! 

Here's the American Spectator on Mr. Perez's accomplishment:

Byron York has the story. Tom Perez, the head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights has completely severed all links between his lefty-ideological, artificially constructed world and the normal realms of common sense and logic. Several colleges wanted to institute a voluntary program to use the Kindle book-reading device for its class texts. Repeat: VOLUNTARY. But Kindle didn't have voice-activation gizmos (or somesuch) for the blind. Reports York: "The Civil Rights Division informed the schools they were under investigation. In subsequent talks, the Justice Department demanded the universities stop distributing the Kindle; if blind students couldn't use the device, then nobody could."
Yeah.  Outlawing college textbooks on the Kindle because the Kindle discriminates against the blind?  That's brilliant.  Statists across the land probably removed their hats to Mr. Perez as a gesture of respect. 
This is lunacy. Sheer lunacy. How does it hurt a blind student one iota if his normally sighted classmates use Kindle? Does that keep a blind student from getting the texts braille or another blind-friendly format? No. Does that do a single smidgen of a fraction of a hemi-demi-semi-quaver to violate the civil rights of the blind person? Of course not. No, no, and no, no, no, no. The educational opportunities and/or experiences of blind students would be affected in no way at all if other students use Kindle
So, let's look and see if Mr. Perez met the standards required of POTY2010. 

1) Yes, Perez is a government employee.  According to Wikipedia, he has spent his adult life working in government or teaching in government schools.  By currently popular standards, these are excellent credentials for making me pay far, far, far more than I should for my daughter's damn college textbooks.
2) Has he done significant harm while claiming to help?   Something like 30% of us now attend college.  Almost all of us now attend elementary school, middle school, or high school.  Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, has ensured that we will continue to purchase expensive hard copies of required textbooks because THE ELECTRONIC VERSIONS DISCRIMINATE AGAINST THE BLIND !!!!  Brilliant.  Absolutely freakin' brilliant  !!!

3) Ok, how is this for a politically correct justification for outlawing electronic books that discriminate against the blind.....

"Advancing technology is systematically changing the way universities approach education, but we must be sure that emerging technologies offer individuals with disabilities the same opportunities as other students," Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez said in a statement. "These agreements underscore the importance of full and equal educational opportunities for everyone."

Well done, sir.  Well done. 

4) The Kindle is quite possibly the dominant nightmare for the academic publishing industry.  There is no evidence of a quid pro quo between the Justice Department and publishing companies.  None.  None at all.  But when Thomas Perez and I arrive in Hell, all things will be known.  And if Thomas Perez and the DOJ weren't under pressure from publishing companies to arrive at this decision, I will kiss his ass on the steps to Satan's throne, and give him 30 minutes beforehand to draw a crowd.
Rational humans don't come up with stuff this stupid unless there's a lot of money at stake. 

5) Mr. Perez didn't go too far.  Most people haven't heard of him.  A few parents and students are upset.  The people at Kindle are probably upset.  Overall, though, there hasn't been a populist uprising.  Are we scared the Perez will outlaw iPods on campus because they discriminate against the deaf ? 

6) Compared to an Obama, Bush, Kim Jong-iL, or Bernie Madoff, Thomas Perez is small potatoes.  But he's done a lot of harm with the authority he has, and that's what counts. 

7)  And the final qualification, economic lunacy....   The market generally solves problems because of demand, not be decree.  But naw, Thomas Perez says "screw that".  Here's Byron York again:

Some officials at the schools were puzzled. Given the speed of technological development and the reality of competition among technology companies -- Apple products were already fully text-to-speech capable -- wasn't this a problem the market would solve?
That's not Perez's way. To him, keeping the Kindle out of sighted students' hands underscored "the importance of full and equal educational opportunities for everyone."
In early 2010, after most of the courses were over, the Justice Department reached agreement with the schools, and the federation settled with Arizona State. The schools denied violating the ADA but agreed that until the Kindle was fully accessible, nobody would use it.

One obvious solution to the problem, of course, was to fix the Kindle. Early on, Amazon told federation officials it would apply text-to-speech technology to the Kindle's menu and function keys. And sure enough, last week the company announced a new generation of Kindles that are fully accessible to the blind. While the Justice Department was making demands, and Perez was making speeches, the market was working.

But as Amazon was unveiling the new Kindle last week, Perez was sending a letter to educators warning them they must use technology "in a manner that is permissible under federal law."

Now, Perez is at work on a far bigger project, one that could eventually declare the Internet a "public accommodation" under the ADA. That could result in a raft of new Justice Department regulations for disabled access to all sorts of Web sites.

Of course, most Web access problems are already being solved by the market, but that won't stop the Justice Department's zealous civil rights enforcer.
That wraps it up.  Thomas Perez meets every qualification in a way that lesser Nannies can only envy.  He is our winner !

The picture of the winner came from here.  The photoshop of voluntary blindness came from here

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Weekly Radley - Libertarian Utopia Edition

The piece from New York magazine that I linked yesterday (The Trouble With Liberty) is getting kicked around The LibertySphere, and will probably continue getting kicked for a while. 
Here's part of Radley Balko's take on it, mostly about a statement that libertarians promise an unrealistic utopia just like every other political animal does:

No, they don’t. People use the utopia canard to make libertarianism seem creepy and cultish. Look, politics is a dirty, corrupt profession that rewards people who display the characteristics you least want in someone in whom you entrust important decisions about your life. The general premise of libertarianism is that people should be free to make their own decisions about their lives—that as much of our lives as possible should be kept within the sphere of civil, voluntary society, and out of the sphere of political society. There would still be problems in a libertarian society. There would still be crime, income inequality, acne, nu metal, and reality TV. Most libertarians merely believe that in a libertarian society, most people would be better off than they are now—that being free to make more of your own choices is preferable to having politicians make them for you. Most conservatives and liberals also believe that most people would be better off if their own policy preferences were implemented. That isn’t in the same ballpark as promising utopia. People will still make bad decisions. They should be free to do so.

If anything is utopian, it’s the idea that the world would be much better off if only we put more of society in the hands of a few very smart people who somehow know all the answers. And that somehow the political process will ensure that those all-knowing people always end up in a position to make all the decisions.

I wish I had said that. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jews For The Preservation Of Firearm Ownership

Go here to marvel at the website of "Jews For The Preservation Of Firearms Ownership"

The site refers you to the chart I've included below.  Here's some info on where these guys are coming from:

Why must all decent non-violent people fight against "gun control"? Why is the right to keep and bear arms truly a fundamental individual right? You can find the answers in this new book.

People frequently ask why we are so dedicated to our cause? This book answers that question by collecting the key facts and arguments in one place.

People have asked us to present the whole JPFO argument in one place. We have done it. Available now in an easy-reading format and a handy size, the new book is entitled Death by Gun Control: The Human Cost of Victim Disarmament.

The message is simple: Disarmed people are neither free nor safe - they become the criminals' prey and the tyrants' playthings. When the civilians are defenseless and their government goes bad, however, thousands and millions of innocents die.

Professor R.J. Rummel, author of the monumental book Death by Government, said: "Concentrated political power is the most dangerous thing on earth." For power to concentrate and become dangerous, the citizens must be disarmed.

What disarms the citizens? The idea of "gun control." It's the idea that only the government has the right to possess firearms, and that citizens have no unalienable right to use force to defend against aggression.

Death by Gun Control carefully examines the "gun control" idea: its meaning, its purposes, its effects. It comes in many forms, but in every form it enables the evildoers and works against righteous defense.

Yeah.  See below. 

The Genocide Chart © 2002
GovernmentDatesTargetsCivilians Killed  "Gun Control" Laws   Features of Over-all "Gun Control" scheme 
Ottoman Turkey1915-1917Armenians

(mostly Christians)
1-1.5 millionArt. 166, Pen. Code, 1866
& 1911 Proclamation, 1915
• Permits required •Government list of owners
•Ban on possession
Soviet Union1929-1945Political opponents;

farming communities
20 millionResolutions, 1918

Decree, July 12, 1920

Art. 59 & 182, Pen. code, 1926
•Licensing of owners
•Ban on possession
•Severe penalties
Nazi Germany
& Occupied Europe
1933-1945Political opponents;

Jews; Gypsies;

critics; "examples"
20 millionLaw on Firearms & Ammun., 1928

Weapon Law, March 18, 1938

Regulations against Jews, 1938
•Registration & Licensing
•Stricter handgun laws
•Ban on possession
China, Nationalist1927-1949Political opponents;

army conscripts; others
10 millionArt. 205, Crim. Code, 1914

Art. 186-87, Crim. Code, 1935
•Government permit system
•Ban on private ownership
China, Red1949-1952


Political opponents;

Rural populations

Enemies of the state
20-35 millionAct of Feb. 20, 1951

Act of Oct. 22, 1957
•Prison or death to "counter-revolutionary criminals" and anyone resisting any government program
•Death penalty for supply guns to such "criminals"
Guatemala1960-1981Mayans & other Indians;

political enemies

Decree 36, Nov 25 •Act of 1932

Decree 386, 1947

Decree 283, 1964
•Register guns & owners •Licensing with high fees
•Prohibit carrying guns
•Bans on guns, sharp tools
•Confiscation powers

Political enemies
300,000Firearms Ordinance, 1955

Firearms Act, 1970
•Register all guns & owners •Licenses for transactions
•Warrantless searches •Confiscation powers

(Khmer Rouge)
1975-1979Educated Persons;

Political enemies
2 millionArt. 322-328, Penal Code

Royal Ordinance 55, 1938
•Licenses for guns, owners, ammunition & transactions
•Photo ID with fingerprints
•License inspected quarterly
Rwanda1994Tutsi people800,000Decree-Law No. 12, 1979•Register guns, owners, ammunition •Owners must justify
need •Concealable guns illegal •Confiscating powers

Governments killed around 200 million of their own people in the previous century.  Never forget that.  Please. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Trouble With Liberty

New York magazine has published a piece by Christopher Beam called "The Trouble With Liberty".  It's a longish take on the Libertarian movement and our arrival from the political wilderness, and is worth reading.  Fiskable at some later date, but still worth reading. 

An excerpt:

There’s never been a better time to be a libertarian than now. The right is still railing against interventionist policies like TARP, the stimulus package, and health-care reform. Citizens of all political stripes recoil against the nanny state, which is nannier than ever, passing anti-smoking laws, banning trans fats, posting calorie counts, prohibiting flavored cigarettes, cracking down on Four Loko, and considering a soda tax in New York. All that, plus some TSA agent wants to handle your baggage.

Libertarianism has adherents on the left, too; they just organize around different issues. Whereas righty libertarians stew over taxes and bailouts, lefty libertarians despise de facto suspensions of habeas corpus, surveillance, and restrictions on whom you can marry. It’s not surprising that the biggest victories of the right and the left in the last weeks of this lame-duck session of Congress were about stripping down government tax cuts and releasing the shackles of  "don’t ask, don’t tell". 
Much of Americans’ vaunted anger now comes from a sense of betrayal over libertariansim shrugged. Right-wing libertarians charge that the Bush presidency gave the lie to small-government cant by pushing Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, and a $3 trillion war. Left-wing libertarians are furious that Obama talked a big game on civil liberties but has caved on everything from FISA to DOMA to Gitmo. Meanwhile, the country faces a massive and growing deficit (too much government!) that neither party has the power or the inclination to fix. If there were ever a time to harness libertarian energy on left and right it’s now.

Japan's Nanny State Gone Wild - A license is required to administer coffee enemas

From WeirdAsiaNews, with a fresh coat of Whitening to the International Liberty blog:

Police in Chiba Prefecture arrested three men this month on suspicion of violating Japan’s Medical Practitioners Law by providing coffee enemas without the proper medical qualifications, according to local media reports.

Chikayoshi Hishiki (55) and two associates offered coffee-based enemas as a beauty treatment at their now-defunct alternative medicine clinics, according to leading daily Sankei Shimbun.

The three suspects denied any wrongdoing, claiming they only provided the equipment and cleaned up afterwards, while the clients themselves administered the procedure, the report said.

Some Japanese have become interested in filling their bums with java, believing they have discovered a secret dieting technique used by celebrities in the US and Europe.
George & Oliver Co., a Tokyo-based online marketer of health and beauty products, has jumped on this movement, offering do-it-yourself coffee rectal infusion kits for 9,240 yen (approx. $110).

The kit includes an enema bag, a tube of gel and six cans of “Café COLON” coffee, which is unlikely to become a Starbucks coffee-of-the day anytime soon.

Here's the International Liberty take on this crisis:

Too bad the gift-giving season is already over....

I’m sure these Japanese rules exist to unfairly enrich that nation’s medical profession. I can’t help but wonder, though, whether Japan’s bureaucrats have covered all the bases. Are tea enemas also covered by the regulations? What about if you use “fair trade certified” coffee from Starbucks? Are people allowed to buy toilets with built-in enemas? And what about bidets? Surely regular people can’t be trusted to operate such equipments without some sort of government involvement!

And now for a series of sentences I never thought I would type.  Never, ever, never....  The picture of the coffee enema T-shirt came from here.  The picture of the coffee enema kit and equipment came from here.  To read some stuff on a Soldier Of Fortune/Mercenary discussion board about the British Army pioneering a rectal infusion technique during the Falkland Islands war, go here.  The vintage coffee ad came from Flickr.  This post was written in, and therefore sponsored by, Starbucks

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Christmas gift to you....3 letters by Don Boudreaux

Don Boudreaux of the Cafe Hayek blog has been typing a lot.  Think of this collection as my Christmas gift to you.    Sorry it is late. 

Here's a letter he wrote to The Boston Globe on your "right" to the services of doctors and nurses and pharmaceutical companies and hospitals....

Ronald Pies, MD, asserts that every individual has a “right” to “basic health care” – meaning, a right to receive such care without paying for it (Letters, Dec. 26).
The rights that Americans wisely cherish as being essential for a free society require only the refraining from action. Your right to speak freely requires me simply not to stop you from speaking; it does not require me to supply your megaphone.
Not so with a “right” to “basic health care.” Elevating free access to a scarce good into a “right” imposes on strangers all manner of ill-defined positive obligations – obligations that necessarily violate other, proper rights. For example, perhaps my “right” to basic health care means that I can force Dr. Pies away from his worship service in order that he attend (free of charge!) to my ruptured spleen. Or perhaps it means that I have the “right” to pay for my health care by confiscating part of his income. If so, how much of his income does my “right” entitle me to confiscate? Who knows?
And if Dr. Pies is planning to retire, do I have the “right” to force him to continue to work so that the supply of basic health care doesn’t shrink? If Dr. Pies should die, am I entitled – again, to keep the supply of basic health care from shrinking – to force his children to study and practice medicine?
Does my right to basic health care imply that I can force my neighbor to pay for my cross-country skiing vacation on grounds that keeping fit is part of basic health care?
Talking about “rights” to scarce goods and services sounds right only to persons who are economically illiterate, politically naive, and suffering the juvenile delusion that reality is optional.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Here's one written to the L.A. Times, on jury nullification in relation to the marijuana wars:

Reporting on the increasing number of jurors who refuse to return guilty verdicts against defendants charged with possessing marijuana, you quote a government prosecutor who tells jurors “We’re not here to debate the laws. We’re here to decide whether or not somebody broke the law” (“Juries are giving pot defendants a pass,” Dec. 25).
This prosecutor is mistaken to assume that the law is simply that which the state declares it to be. A great advantage of trial by jury – an advantage applauded by the likes of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison – is to enable the community’s evolved sense of law and justice to moderate, or even to nullify, government’s criminal statutes. As Edward Gibbon observed, “Whenever the offense inspires less horror than the punishment, the rigor of penal law is obliged to give way to the common feelings of mankind.”
Fortunately, more and more people understand that punishing a peaceful person simply for smoking pot is horrible.

Donald J. Boudreaux
And finally, here's an open letter/bitchslap to the president of the Sodexo Foundation:

Mr. Stephen J. Brady, President
Sodexo Foundation
Gaithersburg, MD

Dear Mr. Brady: 
Your foundation’s website says that “Forty-nine million people in the United States are at risk of hunger.” While this statement’s meaning is vague, I assume that you intend to suggest that 49 million people in America are so poor that they are at serious risk of suffering malnutrition.
Yet today’s New York Times reports on a recent poll by the Pew Research Center that finds that the number of Americans who consider themselves to be middle-class is nine in ten (“So You Think You’re Middle Class?” Dec. 23). That’s 277 million (out of a total of 308 million) Americans who don’t think of themselves as being poor. Even if we assume that every one of the 31 million other Americans thinks of himself or herself as being, not rich, but poor – and even if we further assume that every last one of those 31 million people is “at risk of hunger” – your figure of 49 million ‘at-risk-of-hunger’ Americans seems impossible to square with the Pew survey results.
Are there really 18 million people in America who are so unaware of their own circumstances that, even though you classify them as being “at risk of hunger,” they classify themselves, not as poor, but as middle-class? Seems dubious, to say the least.
While I applaud your efforts to extend a helping hand to needy Americans, you should do so honestly. In fact, hunger is not a problem in America – not for 49 million people; not even for 31 million people. In fact, no modern American this side of mental insanity or criminal captivity comes close to starving to death.
Our society’s elimination of one of history’s most consistent killers – starvation and malnutrition from too little food – is complete. This victory should be celebrated rather than obscured by claims, such as that which adorns your website, that are somewhere between inexcusably obscure and blatantly false.


Donald J. Boudreaux
Why does Dr. Boudreaux go to the trouble of writing all of these letters?  Why should he bother?  He has tenure.  He's got it made.  
He probably does it because he knows that we have a great system, and he doesn't want Messiahs, Nannies, Busybodies, Saviors, Prohibitionists and other pests to start jacking around with it.
He knows the cause of health, wealth, and having time to enjoy them.    
Is Free Market Capitalism perfect?  No. 
But Utopia is not an option.  Never has been, never will be.   

Teachers and writers like Don Boudreaux, Thomas Sowell, Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek have done more for the good of humanity than all the government programs that have ever burdened the world.  

What your employees have been doing - DEA edition

From The New York Holy Times:

WASHINGTON — The Drug Enforcement Administration has been transformed into a global intelligence organization with a reach that extends far beyond narcotics, and an eavesdropping operation so expansive it has to fend off foreign politicians who want to use it against their political enemies, according to secret diplomatic cables.

In far greater detail than previously seen, the cables, from the cache obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to some news organizations, offer glimpses of drug agents balancing diplomacy and law enforcement in places where it can be hard to tell the politicians from the traffickers, and where drug rings are themselves mini-states whose wealth and violence permit them to run roughshod over struggling governments.

Diplomats recorded unforgettable vignettes from the largely unseen war on drugs:

¶In Panama, an urgent BlackBerry message from the president to the American ambassador demanded that the D.E.A. go after his political enemies: “I need help with tapping phones.”

¶In Sierra Leone, a major cocaine-trafficking prosecution was almost upended by the attorney general’s attempt to solicit $2.5 million in bribes.

¶In Guinea, the country’s biggest narcotics kingpin turned out to be the president’s son, and diplomats discovered that before the police destroyed a huge narcotics seizure, the drugs had been replaced by flour.

¶Leaders of Mexico’s beleaguered military issued private pleas for closer collaboration with the drug agency, confessing that they had little faith in their own country’s police forces.

¶Cables from Myanmar, the target of strict United States sanctions, describe the drug agency informants’ reporting both on how the military junta enriches itself with drug money and on the political activities of the junta’s opponents.

Officials of the D.E.A. and the State Department declined to discuss what they said was information that should never have been made public.

No, it should have been made public.  We need another political party representing us in Washington, one that will make a few trips to PetSmart to purchase some shorter leashes. 
These guys need to be put on one. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A picture of Al Gore carved from a block of ice and blowing hot air

The only reason I'm posting this picture is so that I can be the number one Google search result for pictures of Al Gore carved from a block of ice and blowing hot air. 
You can go to The Jammie Wearing Fool for the context. 

Mrs. Sepulchre generally wants nothing to do with the goings-on that take place on these pages, but she's a big fan of this version of Frank Loesser's classic "Baby, It's Cold Outside".  This is Barry Manilow and K.T. Oslin. 
Y'all stay warm !  Merry Christmas ! 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Nyquil, Guns, and Wal-Mart

My friend Harper at Passed Up Strange, is getting ready for a holiday filled with drugs and guns and other weapons. 

She also has weighed in on Janet Napolitano's ghastly visage appearing on TV screens at Wal-Mart. 

Worth reading every day, that Harper.  Nyquil.  Guns.  Wal-Mart.  The three things that make life worthwhile. 

Is there a Master Teleprompter? Can we prove that He exists?

From Breitbart TV:

Is it a coincidence when reporters and anchors all use the exact same words when describing the 111th Congress in such flattering and historic language? From network anchors in New York to local news across the country, where do they all get the same words?

This video contains some pretty funny stuff, and it raises a theological question, just in time for Christmas.... Is there a Master Teleprompter Programmer?  A single higher power before whom we should all bow and pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor? 
After all, if the spokespeople of all these primitive cultures speak the same language, use the same words, and have the same value system, doesn't that imply that there is a Great Typist In The Sky who has written these words in all our hearts? 

If not, then these are just a bunch of Statist sock puppets reading the required list of Democrat talking points.

You decide.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Libertarian Quotations

Some people on Reddit have started  several collections of favorite Libertarian quotations.  Here are a some of the best ones.  And if you want another overdose, you can go here.  I apologize for not having time to look up every attribution and format the quotation marks.  This was a cut'n'paste job.

"There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him." Robert Heinlein

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." George Washington

"Make no laws whatever concerning speech, and speech will be free; so soon as you make a declaration on paper that speech shall be free, you will have a hundred lawyers proving that “freedom does not mean abuse, nor liberty license,” and they will define freedom out of existence." -Voltarine de Cleyre

"It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master." - Ayn Rand

"Government is a gang of thieves writ large." -Murray Rothbard

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all." -H. L. Mencken

"When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe." - Thomas Jefferson

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." - Thomas Jefferson

"It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world." - Thomas Jefferson

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." - Thomas Jefferson

"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government." - Thomas Jefferson

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson

"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." - Thomas Jefferson

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered." - Thomas Jefferson

"Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils." - John Stark

"What individualism teaches us is that society is greater than the individual only in so far as it is free. In so far as it is controlled or directed, it is limited to the powers of the individual minds which control or direct it." - F.A Hayek

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

"When robbery becomes the purpose of law, and the policeman's duty becomes, not the protection, but the plunder of property, then it is an outlaw who has to become a policeman." ~ Ragnar Danneskjöld

"All men are brothers and each man is free."- Rose Wilder Lane

"The finest opportunity ever given to the world was thrown away because the passion of equality made vain the hope for freedom." - Lord Acton "

"Is it just or reasonable, that most voices against the main end of government should enslave the less number that would be free? more just it is, doubtless, if it come to force, that a less number compel a greater to retain, which can be no wrong to them, their liberty, than that a greater number, for the pleasure of their baseness, compel a less most injuriously to be their fellow-slaves. They who seek nothing but their own just liberty, have always right to win it and to keep it, whenever they have power, be the voices never so numerous that oppose it." - John Milton

"The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit." - Milton Friedman

"Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal". - Martin Luther King Jr.

"Extremism in the Defense of Liberty is No Vice; Moderation in the Pursuit of Justice is No Virtue." - Barry Goldwater

"A government which robs Peter to pay Paul, can always count on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

"Today, wanting someone else’s money is called ‘need,’ wanting to keep your own money is called ‘greed,’ and ‘compassion’ is when politicians arrange the transfer." - Joseph Sobran

"Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods." - H.L. Mencken

"There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. Then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. Then I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income." - Milton Friedman

"If goods do not cross borders, armies will" - Bastiat

"Socialism works until you run out of other people's money" - Thatcher

"A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to chose his master once in a term of years." - Lysander Spooner

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions" - Obvious 

"No intelligent man has any respect for an unjust law." -R.A.H.

"Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else." - Frederic Bastiat

"A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground." - H. L. Mencken

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it." - Frederic Bastiat

"If we can’t trust people with freedom, how can we trust them with power?" ~ Unknown

"None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free." ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison." ~ H.D. Thoreau

"Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? ~ Patrick Henry

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." ~ Samuel Adams

"There is no freedom without the freedom to say 'no'." ~ Michael Rivero

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." ~ Anatole France

"When once a republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying any of the growing evils but by removing the corruption and restoring its lost principles; every other correction is either useless or a new evil." ~ Thomas Jefferson

"It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere." ~ Voltaire

"Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve." ~ George Bernard Shaw

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." ~ William Pitt

"The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse." ~ James Madison

"A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.” ~ George Washington

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.” ~ Groucho Marx

“When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.” ~ P.J. O’Rourke

“The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is rendered to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

"The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it." ~ Henry.L. Mencken

"Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure." ~ Robert LeFevre

“A tyrant is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.” ~ Plato

"Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves." ~ Henry David Thoreau

"Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth." ~ Lucy Parsons

"In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place." ~ Mohandas Gandhi

"It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind." ~ Voltaire

"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal." ~ Emma Goldman

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have."

"The funny thing is a government big enough to give you everything you want is the government that collapses on the people receiving from it."

This one is more of a parable than a quote:

Suppose that one man takes your car from you at gunpoint. Is this right or wrong? Most people would say that the man who does this is a thief who is violating your property rights.
Okay, now let's suppose that it's a gang of FIVE men that forcibly takes your car from you. Still wrong? Still stealing? Yup.
Now suppose that it's ten men that stop you at gunpoint, and before anything else they take a vote. You vote against them taking your car, but the ten of them vote for it and you are outvoted, ten to one. They take the car. Still stealing?
Let's add specialization of labor. Suppose it's twenty men and one acts as negotiator for the group, one takes the vote, one oversees the vote, two hold the guns, one drives. Does that make it okay? Is it still stealing? Suppose it's one hundred men and after forcibly taking your car they give you back a bicycle. That is, they do something nice for you. Is it still stealing?
Suppose the gang is two hundred strong and they not only give you back a bicycle but they buy a bicycle for a poor person as well. Is it still wrong? Is it still stealing?
How about if the gang has a thousand people? ten thousand? A million? How big does this gang have to be before it becomes okay for them to vote to forcibly take your property away without your consent? When, exactly, does the immorality of theft become the alleged morality of taxation?

"About fifteen years ago a conservative columnist wrote that Americans are faced with a choice between the Stupid Party and the Evil Party. And that once in a while the two parties get together and do something that’s both stupid and evil, and that’s called bipartisanship." Tom Woods

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over lousy fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average of the world’s great civilizations before they decline has been 200 years. These nations have progressed in this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to Complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage." - Alexander Tytler (but I've seen this attributed to aboud a dozen different writers)

"The humanitarian wishes to be a prime mover in the lives of others. He cannot admit either the divine or the natural order, by which men have the power to help themselves. The humanitarian puts himself in the place of God.
But he is confronted by two awkward facts; first, that the competent do not need his assistance; and second, that the majority of people … positively do not want to be "done good" by the humanitarian…. Of course, what the humanitarian actually proposes is that he shall do what he thinks is good for everybody. It is at this point that the humanitarian sets up the guillotine." - Isabel Paterson

"The more artificial taboos and restrictions there are in the world, the more the people are impoverished — The more that laws and regulations are given prominence, the more thieves and robbers there will be." - Lao Tzu

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges  "The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws."~ Publius Cornelius Tacitus (AD 56 – AD 117)

"Few prefer liberty, most just want fair masters."

"What light is to the eyes – what air is to the lungs – what love is to the heart, liberty is to the soul of man. Without liberty, the brain is a dungeon, where the chained thoughts die with their pinions pressed against the hingeless doors." - Robert G. Ingersoll

"Get off my lawn."

If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life. — Henry David Thoreau

America needs fewer laws, not more prisons. – James Bovard

War is just one more big government program. – Joseph Sobran

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. – John Adams (1814)

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin

One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation. – Thomas B. Reed (1886)

If you are not free to choose wrongly and irresponsibly, you are not free at all. – Jacob Hornberger (1995)

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. – P.J. O’Rourke

The more corrupt the state, the more it legislates. – Tacitus

Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. – George Washington

No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session. – Mark Twain (1866)

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him. – Robert Heinleinpermalink

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
permalink - C.S. Lewis

The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: "Your money, or your life." And many, if not most, taxes are paid under the compulsion of that threat. - Spooner

The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the roadside, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful. - Spooner

The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a "protector," and that he takes men's money against their will, merely to enable him to "protect" those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful "sovereign," on account of the "protection" he affords you. He does not keep "protecting" you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villanies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave. - still more Spooner

The proceedings of those robbers and murderers, who call themselves "the government," are directly the opposite of these of the single highwayman. - even more Spooner, who knew a good thing when he found it.

"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." - Denis Diderot

"Everyone's a collectivist until it's their turn to be fed into the sausage grinder for the 'greater good."

"If you're wondering why big business doesn't endorse libertarianism, it is the same reason that drug dealers oppose legalization."

"If it is humiliating to be ruled, how much more humiliating it is to choose one's rulers."

"For every person hewing to the root of the tree of evil there are a hundred hacking at its branches." - Henry David Thoreau

"Experience has taught the lesson, without a single exception, that no arbitrary prohibition law was ever obeyed, and that it's enactment brings no settlement of the question, but rather leaves it like a burr on the body politic to irritate and enflame." - Gov. Malcolm Patterson, from his statement when vetoing prohibition in the state of Tennessee in 1911. Regardless, the state legislature overrode his veto.

"If men are good, you don't need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don't dare have one." -- Robert LeFevre

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary." - H. L. Mencken

Libertarianism is a people’s movement and a liberation movement. It seeks the sort of open, noncoercive society in which the people, the living, free, distinct people, may voluntarily associate, disassociate, and, as they see fit, participate in the decisions affecting their lives. This means a truly free market in everything from ideas to idiosyncrasies. It means people free collectively to organize the resources of their immediate community or individualistically to organize them; . . . Liberty means the right to shape your own institutions. It opposes the right of those institutions to shape you simply because of accreted power or gerontological status. - Karl Hess

From the Easy Rider script:
George : "They're not scared of you. They're scared of what you represent to 'em."
Billy: "Hey, man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut."
George: "Oh, no. What you represent to them is freedom."
Billy: "What the hell is wrong with freedom? That's what it's all about."
George: "Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things. I mean, it's real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Of course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free, 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em."
Billy: "Well, it don't make 'em runnin' scared."
George: "No, it makes 'em dangerous. Buh, neh! Neh! Neh! Neh! Swamp!"

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. - James Madison

"When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated." -Thomas Jefferson

"I share the Founders’ vision of limited government who's only legitimate authority is the protection of the rights and property of the people, and the ability of people to voluntarily join with others to help their communities and themselves. I don’t agree with the conservatives who want government to play the role of morals policemen, and I don’t agree with the nanny state liberals. I’m a libertarian." - UNKNOWN
If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. - John Stuart Mill

Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative. - John Stuart Mill  (do a bit of Googling on the term "Classical Liberal" before using this one !)

"Economic power is exercised by means of a positive, by offering men a reward, an incentive, a payment, a value; political power is exercised by means of a negative, by the threat of punishment, injury, imprisonment, destruction. The businessman's tool is values; the bureaucrat's tool is fear." -Ayn Rand

Any excuse will serve a tyrant. ~ Aesop

"A government afraid of its citizens is a Democracy. Citizens afraid of government is tyranny!"-Thomas Jefferson

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."-V for Vendetta

"By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention." - Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Book 4, Chapter 2

"The essence of libertarianism: leave people alone without coercion, and they will, as a consequence of their natural inclinations, engage in productive activity that benefits everyone."

"Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under." - H. L. Mencken

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." ~Thomas Jefferson

"There’s an old saying about the definition of a liberal, as opposed to a radical: a liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to." - unknown
"You cannot fight and beat revolutions as you can fight and beat nations. You can kill a man, but you simply can't kill a rebel. For the proper rebel has an ideal of living, while your ideal is to kill him so that you may preserve yourself. And the reason why no revolution or religion has ever been beaten is that rebels die for something worth dying for, the future, but their enemies die only to preserve the past, and makers of history are always stronger than makers of empires."

"War is the health of the State. It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate cooperation with the Government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense. The machinery of government sets and enforces the drastic penalties; the minorities are either intimidated into silence, or brought slowly around by a subtle process of persuasion which may seem to them really to be converting them... Other values, such as artistic creation, knowledge, reason, beauty, the enhancement of life, are instantly and almost unanimously sacrificed, and the significant classes who have constituted themselves the amateur agents of the State are engaged not only in sacrificing these values for themselves but in coercing all other persons into sacrificing them." -Randolph Bourne

"It is only when our rights are infringed or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defense" - President James Monroe

"Besides, citizens only allow themselves to be oppressed in proportion as hurried on by a blind ambition, and looking rather below than above them, they come to love authority more than independence. When they submit to fetters, it is only to be better able to fetter others in their turn." - JJ Rousseau, 2nd discourse

"The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin." -Sun Tzu; Art of War

While it is a moot question whether the origin of any kind of property is derived from Nature at all ... it is considered by those who have seriously considered the subject, that no one has, of natural right, a separate property in an acre of land ... Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society. - Thomas Jefferson

Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers. - John Jay, FEDERALIST No. 2

If I am not for myself, who will be? If I am only for myself, what am I? - Hillel, Pirke Avot

The Libertarians, of whom I'm rather fond, are running Harry Browne (as their nominee for President). Libertarians are, just as they claim, principled and consistent- they believe in individual liberty. Commendable as they are, and despite their reliability as allies in civil liberties struggles, you may notice that Libertarians sometimes prove that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, and that there is a difference between logic and wisdom.-  Molly Ivins

308,745,538 people.

From Monica Crowley's blog:

The results of the 2010 Census are in, and as of April 1, the official population of the United States was 308,745,538. Over the past decade, we grew by 9.7%, slower than the 13.2% growth rate of the previous decade. But the growth didn't happen equally across America. Some parts of the country lost people; other parts gained them. Interestingly, deep blue (that is, heavily taxed and unionized) states lost big numbers of folks. Red states picked them up. This means that when congressional districts are reapportioned based on the new population numbers, GOP-leaning states will pick up more seats. According to the Associated Press:

This is Monica Crowley.  You can catch her on the The McLaughlin Group, Sunday mornings on PBS. 

"Texas will gain four new House seats, and Florida will gain two. Gaining one each are Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.

Ohio and New York will lose two House seats each. Losing one House seat are Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Florida will now have as many U.S. House members as New York: 27. California will still have 53 seats, and Texas will climb to 36.

So Ohio and New York will both lose two house seats, probably those of Democrats.  That is great ! 
Texas and Florida will gain two each.  Unfortunately those will probably go to Republicans. 
Wouldn't it be great if there was some more representation from a political party that just wanted to leave you alone ?  If any of these numbers matter to you, then your government has gotten too big. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Awesome Predictive Powers of The Global Warmists

Here's The Independent (UK) from just 10 years ago....March 20th, 2000.  Put your coffee down.  You don't want to get giggly and start spewing all over your keyboard:

Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

This is a pic of the snow on the A3, taken a couple of days ago. 

....However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".

"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.

This dude is in Epsom, somewhere in South England.  He's trying to dig out his car from all the non-snow.  Please take note that the insane statements about the snow came from Dr. David Viner, a legit scientist from the Infallible, the One True Church, the Peer Reviewed Climate Research Unit at The University Of East Anglia.  I'm not anti-science.  I'm not an anti-intellectual.  But in this case, I think Dr. David Viner and the CRU Hockey Team were looking for a payday. 

....David Parker, at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Berkshire, says ultimately, British children could have only virtual experience of snow. Via the internet, they might wonder at polar scenes - or eventually "feel" virtual cold.

Here's a picture of a British kid in the "virtual cold".  Jesus Christ Almighty, I can't believe these clowns are still taken seriously. 

Heavy snow will return occasionally, says Dr Viner, but when it does we will be unprepared. "We're really going to get caught out. Snow will probably cause chaos in 20 years time," he said.

No, Doc, heavy snow like this always causes chaos.  It doesn't matter if you call it weather or climate.  Heavy snow causes chaos. 

The chances are certainly now stacked against the sort of heavy snowfall in cities that inspired Impressionist painters, such as Sisley, and the 19th century poet laureate Robert Bridges, who wrote in "London Snow" of it, "stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying".

Not any more, it seems.

I bet someone wishes he could take a Mulligan on that last sentence. 
Oh, and here's The Telegraph (UK) from a couple of days ago.  Almost every road in Britain is a snowed under mess....

Forecasters warned that parts of Britain could see record low temperatures this week of -26C (-15F). Heathrow will experience lows of about -9C (16F) tonight and further snowfall is expected in the South East during the evening rush hour.

Motorists continued to struggle. The M25 was closed in both directions for about six hours while drivers on the M40 in Oxfordshire suffered severe delays.

Commuters were warned to expect treacherous conditions with thick ice and freezing fog today. Train passengers also face delays and cancellations, particularly in the North. Eurostar services between London and Paris have also been affected.

Air travel experts warned that even when the weather improves it will take at least 48 hours before flights return to normal.

And let's close it out with a comment from Powerline, from which all these great links came....

It's fun to ridicule the warmists because they are so often wrong, but their errors are in fact significant: a scientific theory that implies predictions that turn out to be wrong, is false. A principal feature of climate hysteria is its proponents' unwillingness to be judged by the standards that govern real science.

Yeah, they screwed up when they offered a concrete prediction, and it really hurts the funding when  prophecies don't come to pass. 
They'll not make that mistake again. 
But don't despair.  Let not your heart be troubled. 
If you look over in the sidebar, you'll see a countdown for the end of 2013, when Gore predicted that the polar ice caps will disappear. 
The blog entry for January 1, 2014, is going to be a fun post to write. 

The Food Stalinization Act of 2010 has passed the Senate

Here's the Wall Street Journal on the most blatant "screw the consumer in favor of the producer" act since the Toy Safety Act.  It was almost held up because of a technical/parliamentary error, but too many Benjamins were at stake: 

The Senate waved through the largest expansion of food regulation since FDR on Tuesday, 73 to 25, and maybe the bill won the votes of 13 Republicans because there was hardly any public controversy. These days, the government needs to take over entire industries to get anyone to notice.

Not that this bill in the name of food safety isn't a down payment. The Food and Drug Administration will gain new powers over the 2.2 million farms and 28,000 food producers in America—including federal standards for agricultural practices and food processing, transportation and storage—as well as the authority to mandate nationwide recalls.

High-publicity outbreaks like salmonella in eggs or E. coli in spinach have obscured the reality that food-borne illnesses have fallen by nearly one-third over the last decade—largely because businesses have every incentive to police themselves. Meanwhile, Congress's increasing demands on the FDA—it regulates about 25 cents out of every dollar spent in the economy—mean that the agency does nothing well. When the FDA mistakenly fingered tomatoes as the source of 1,300 illnesses in 2008, the tomato industry suffered $100 million in losses. The real culprit was tainted jalapenos.

Not surprisingly, this bill's main critics have been the small farms and local and organic food outfits that don't have the profit margins to comply with new regulatory burdens like the "risk-based preventative controls" that the FDA will soon enforce. The House version applies even to farmers markets and roadside stands. Naturally, agribusiness and the processed food industry (and their legal departments) couldn't be happier, and it's not the first time big business has leveraged government to weigh down smaller competitors.

I bet the champagne corks are popping at Monsanto today.  The picture of all the screws came from hereGo here to see a list of the Republicans who need to be primaried ASAP. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

They finally got something right

After months of fits and starts, a bill repealing "don't ask, don't tell," the ban against gays serving openly in the military, passed the Senate 65 to 31 on Saturday.

Eight Republicans -- Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mark Kirk of Illinois, John Ensign of Nevada, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and George Voinovich of Ohio -- joined 57 members of the Democratic caucus in support of the historic measure. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) did not vote Saturday, but released a statement saying he could not support repeal "at this time."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that President Obama will sign the bill this week.

Working in the military helped bring in equality for women and blacks.  It will probably do the same for gays and lesbians.  I hope it will then end the gay marriage wedge issue, which keeps a lot of smart people from voting for economic conservatives.  We'll see. 
Even a blind hog can find an acorn every now and then.  Good job, President Obama ! 

Merry Christmas Demotivational Poster

Here's a rerun from the last two years, when horrible unemployment levels and a sluggish economy looked like a short-term problem....

I hope everyone has a great Christmas, Xmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Happy Holidays, Winter Solstice, Deer Hunting Season, etc.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Political Spectrum Quiz

There is a new political quiz floating around on Facebook.
Go here to take it.
I am shocked at my results. Shocked.

My Political Views
I am a far-right social libertarian
Right: 9.53, Libertarian: 9.18

Political Spectrum Quiz

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Columbia U. vs. You

Here's a Glenn Reynolds piece that ran in the New York Post yesterday.  I started following this attempted theft in either Reason magazine or Liberty magazine a couple of years ago.  Can't remember which. 
What does this amount to? 
If someone or some organization has enough political clout, your stuff can become their stuff. 

We often hear politicians and pundits denounce property rights. Property rights, we're told, protect the fat cats against the needs of the public. They're a tool for keeping the little guy down.

Like a lot of what we hear from politicians and pundits, this is exactly the opposite of the truth. The fat cats don't need the protection of property rights, because they already control the political system. It's the little guy (or gal), the one without political juice, who needs strong property rights for protection from the fat cats and the politicians they control.

This was demonstrated again this week, as the last legal barrier (a possible US Supreme Court review) to Columbia University's efforts to condemn and seize two businesses -- Tuck-it-Away Self-Storage and a gas station owned by Gurnam Singh and Parminder Kaur in West Harlem -- vanished.

Columbia said the condemnation was necessary to support the university's "vision" for a new campus; school President Lee Bollinger called the victory "a very important moment in the history of the university."

The picture of fascist thief Lee Bollinger came from here

It was an important, if not especially proud, moment for Columbia -- but it was surely a bigger moment in the lives of those West Harlem business owners, as their property gets taken away to promote the "vision" of what is, in fact, a multibillion-dollar corporation servicing the daughters and sons of the wealthy, the powerful and the connected.

The picture of Cowboys Stadium, built on stolen property by the City of Arlington as a gift for Jerry Jones, came from here

Traditionally, the "public-domain" power was used to acquire property needed for things like roads and bridges. It's still often defended in those terms, but the "public use" required for such takings has now been interpreted by courts to include pretty much anything the government wants to do with the property -- including handing it over to someone else who just happens to be wealthier or better-connected than the original property holder.

The picture of the Ballpark in Arlington, built on stolen property as a gift to George W. Bush, came from here. 

In this case, the government lacks even the weak excuse that the change will boost tax revenues, since -- as Megan McArdle of The Atlantic Monthly pointed out -- the property is being transferred from taxpaying businesses to a largely non-taxpaying enterprise.

Part of the American Dream was the expectation that if you started a business, you might go broke but you didn't have to worry about the government seizing your business on behalf of those with more political juice. That sort of thing was for Third World countries, corrupt kleptocracies where connections mattered more than capability.

The picture of the Bush family taking their triumphant lap around their pile of plunder during the World Series came from here.  Those with plenty of time to kill can go to this earlier post to read about how George Jr. was able to turn an $86 million dollar investment, plus a $205 million dollar taxpayer subsidy, plus a land theft, into a profit of $164 million dollars.  Kinda reminds me of the Iraq war.  Sorry for the digression.  Back to Glenn Reynolds.   

Not anymore. In fact, some of those formerly corrupt Third World countries have started providing stronger protection for private property, as they've realized that the more power you give to politicians and their cronies, the less incentive people have to try to succeed through hard work. What's the point, if you're at the mercy of the cronies?

We, on the other hand, seem to be moving backward.

The fact is the powerful and connected -- the Bloombergs, the Bollingers, et al -- don't really need strong legal protections. Nobody's going to take their property anyway. (When's the last time you heard of a rich guy's home being condemned?) For those with juice, things seldom get as far as the courts.

The courts are supposed to be there to protect the rest: The people without the connections, the ones who depend on the rule of law to keep the predators away.

Speaking of predatory courts favoring predatory developers, this is the famous "little pink house" from the Kelo vs New London court case.  Go here to order a copy of "Little Pink House: A True Story Of Defiance And Courage", by Jeff Benedict.  And once again, the villain of the story is another academic fascist, Claire Gaudiani, the president of Connecticut College. 
That protection has never been perfect, of course, but in the area of eminent domain it's become a sick joke. The message sent is that your property belongs to you -- until somebody with more clout wants it for something else, be it a "vision," or a moneymaking scheme.

Of course, this whole rule-of-law thing works both ways. Those politicians and their cronies are quick to rely on legal protections when their own interests are threatened by people outside the political system. But by undermining the property rights of the unconnected, they weaken the social contract that protects their own positions.

As with our actual currency, our political class has debased the moral currency by which it governs, as well. May they have joy of the results.