Monday, May 31, 2004

This is what The Advocates for Self-Government

has on Aaron Russo, and it's why he'd have been my choice:

Aaron Russo -- Libertarian

Aaron Russo is a top Hollywood producer. His films -- which include "The Rose" (starring Bette Midler), "Trading Places," and "Missing Pieces" -- have received six Academy Awards and two Golden Globe nominations. He was the first producer in Hollywood history to command a $1 million fee.

Russo has been remarkably outspoken in his opposition to run-amok government. In 1994 he attempted to launch a new political party, the Constitution Party, which had a platform almost identical in theme to that of the Libertarian Party.

Shortly thereafter he produced and starred in a sizzling hour-long videotape, "Aaron Russo's Mad As Hell." In the tape -- which was sold via mail and also aired in some late-night "infomercial" spots -- Russo goes after government abuses in a slash-and-burn style, sometimes humorous, sometimes angry, sometimes poignant. Among the major targets are the IRS -- which stands for, he says, "It Really Sucks" -- the War on Drugs, the Social Security scam, and the FDA. The tape looks like a pilot for a possible TV show, though no such show has emerged.

Getting his resume out there would have helped.

But the fact remains that the Libertarians would pull out of Iraq and fight the War on Terrorists Clinton-style. Right now, America is doing its best to protect the innocent and defeat the guilty over there, while keeping the war off our own shores. I support that effort.

I agree with LibertyBob's comment in that the LP platform needs to be prioritized and that viable alternatives to government programs must be developed and presented before anybody is shoved off the train, as it were. Cato and The Advocates are doing that, by the way, along with several other think tanks, but an effective presentation by a candidate is required. And there needs to be less resistance from the delegates to candidates who won't push all aspects of the platform equally.

They need a program of do-able changes like the Contract With America.

Well, we got the baby baptised.

She's all Christian now.

The younger boy showed up and took the roll as Godfather. He sells magazines door to door and makes decent money doing it. He's in town now because he runs the crew through here once a year at about this time. He seems to have matured considerably in the last couple of years.

Everybody's getting ready to leave town now so I don't have much time to say anything.

Here are the kids, Matt's on the left, James is on the right:
Image Hosted by

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Badnarik beat out Russo for the Libertarian nomination for President.

My first reaction: son of a bitch! What the hell are we doing picking some guy with zero name recognition? That's what I get for taking the year off from activism (though I'd barely gotten started, really).

But maybe...:

Libertarian presidential candidates debate at national convention

The contestants -- constitutional scholar Michael Badnarik, longtime radio host Gary Nolan and movie producer Aaron Russo -- delivered few barbs at each other in the debate, choosing instead to target the Republicans and Democrats.

After being beaten in the polls and primaries by the other two leading candidates, apparent underdog Badnarik used the debate to regain the attention of many delegates who had been apt to overlook him, one Russo supporter said later that night, asking not to be identified.

And that delegate was not alone in his new-found regard for Badnarik: Many were surprised by his presence and composure, as well his responses during the debate. A random sampling of delegates following the event indicated that an overwhelming majority considered Badnarik the winner.

One delegate noted: "Russo has passion. Nolan is very polished. But I really think Badnarik was the big winner tonight. The man's intellect is remarkable, and tonight he really rallied.

"I don't think anyone expected the audience reaction to Badnarik's comments, myself included. If we could have the intellect of Badnarik, the polish of Nolan and the fire of Russo, we'd have the perfect candidate."

Well, maybe if they work together we can get something going.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Got house guests this weekend

so it's a little hard to get to the computer when I'm not entertaining the company.

We're baptizing Aliina tomorrow, so my sister came up to be Godmother. My Brother-in-law had to work, so plan B is to have my stepson be Godfather. If we can find him. We've got his cell number, but he's usually up a tree with a chainsaw [not a metaphor]. Oh, right, it's raining. So, if he's awake, he's probably seeking unsavory entertainments. Fine, upstanding, Christian gentleman that he is.

The other stepson is in town. They're probably together. We haven't seen him yet.

I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

What the hell does this mean, besides that I've gotta do it differently?

Oh, never mind. I was using the Todd's permalink instead of the trackback URL.

A bit of a bio for those who want to find out more

about Randy Graf (R), Arizona State Congress, from an email exchange I initiated because of this post by Mr. Pterodactyl. You'll need a little context:

Dear Congressman Graf,

My buddy, Mr. Pterodactyl, who hails from Milwaukee, was wondering about that little Packer helmet you have in your office.

Thank you for attending to this important matter.


[Old Whig]

Congressman Graf: [T]he helmet? It sits on my desk and reminds me of the greatest sports team in the history of the world!

OW: Todd - Mr. Pterodactyl, though I can't vouch for whether that's his real name or not - and I are a couple of Packer fans and small time bloggers. (Todd's bigger than I am, blogwise.)

Todd mentioned on his blog that he'd seen you on TV and noticed the helmet. So I tried to find a bio of you, and I'm afraid, sir, that you have a smaller web-presence than I do. Maybe we could bump it up one notch. But only one. I'm not that big. Actually, I didn't intend to do that, but since you seem like a personable guy, I see an opportunity.

Which team did you mean and how did you come to such a sensible conclusion? Did you suffer through 29 years of false hopes as we did? Actually, I don't think Todd's old enough to remember the Lombardi days, but no self-respecting Packer fan would fail to study them.

Graf: I was born in Green Bay approximately two months before they hired Vince Lombardi and grew up during the dynasty. We had our lean years yes, but they are still the team of teams.

Maybe more to come.

Lew Rockwell, of the Mises Institute,

is asking today

Which Way the Young?

So partisan have been the attacks that Bush gets no "credit" from socialists for having been the biggest spending president since LBJ. At some point in the future, however, the left may inaugurate Bush revisionism and decide (once he is safely out of office) that he wasn't so bad after all since he brought back government power after its decline in the 1990s—just as the political left discovered after the fact how much they owed to World War I for socializing the economy.

As for the political right and its current literature, we are supposed to be ever vigilant against "big government" unless of course it is the really very big government that seeks world empire in the name of spreading freedom and democracy. In this case—and probably only when the GOP is running the empire—we are supposed to believe every claim of the government, spend hundreds of billions without flinching, arrest dissenters, violate civil liberties, and possibly even draft people into military service. Such positions are said to be "right wing."
There is nothing wrong with beating up the politicians in charge. It serves a good social function. But serious thought requires a more fundamental rethinking of the role of government in the world, whether at home or abroad, and the true meaning of human freedom.
The government is always looking for something that appears more dangerous than itself, and these criminals seem to fit the bill. Never mind that it was the government that promised but failed to protect us. It was the government that prevented the airlines from protecting themselves. It was the government that so badly botched the rescue operations. It was the government that had stirred up the hate that led to the terrorism. And there was not much the government could have justly done to fix the problem after the fact, since the perpetrators were all dead.

Continue reading, if you'd like your Bush bashing to be placed on a sounder basis.

In case you're having trouble with

Haloscan [I'm not, BTW, but just in case], or you hate opening comment windows, Joe's got his permalinks working. Firing on all cylinders, as the auto mechanics say.

I wonder if Pres. Bush was thinking about

this guy the other night when he butchered the pronunciation of Abu Ghraib.

Raid at Mosque

NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA-May 27, 2004 — Federal and local law enforcement officers swooped down on a mosque in Northeast Philadelphia this morning.
The FBI, IRS and INS were all involved in this morning's raid. The Counter-Terrorism Task Force raided a home and a mosque in Northeast Philadelphia on Wakeling Street.

It happened at the home of 45-year-old Muhammad Gurab and his family. He is an Egyptian national who came to the U.S. 4 years ago and started a mosque.

What's up with the IRS guys? I don't want them becoming qualified to carry out raids of this kind.

I wonder if this is what the Administration was preparing us for.

Link thanks to Little Green Footballs.

I suppose it's no surprise

that I think the Heartless Libertarian nails it here.

I just spent some time defending W and Poppy here. Then I turn to look at this guy and he backs me up perfectly.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Whoo-hooo! The Gandel Man has his links up!

And I'm IN BABY!

I'm excited because of my deep respect for Joe's work. Actually I'd like to see a more in depth CV than he has on his about me link.

Permalinks, Man! Permalinks!

(Yeah, like I programmed my own.)

LibertyBob can show you how to do it. Oh, wait... I guess not.
It must be hard to do. Like i said, i di'n't do m'own... (he mumbled sheepishly).

Joe, have you thought of an online archive of older stuff you're really proud of?

Update: Here's Joe's permalink linking me. I like Joe's new site. I'd say that if you need to link one of his articles, switch to the Typepad address. But that doesn't account for people new to his blog making spur of the moment decisions, so I guess it's his decision to make.

A press release from the Libertarian Party

Libertarians stage convention with private funds,
chide older parties for $79 million 'welfare check'

ATLANTA -- Here's one reason that even non-Libertarians should celebrate
the Libertarian National Convention, which begins on Thursday in Atlanta:
The event is being paid for without one dime of taxpayer money.

The Democratic and Republican conventions, in contrast, will cost
taxpayers an astronomical $79 million.

"Because the Democratic and Republican nominees are both known in advance,
their conventions are just obscenely expensive, taxpayer-financed
political ads," said Geoffrey Neale, the Libertarian Party's national
chair. "They are having pretend conventions, but unfortunately they're
paid for with real money."

The organizers of the Democratic and Republican national conventions have
each already received checks for $14.5 million from the Federal Election
Commission to finance their events, which will be held in Boston and New
York, respectively. That $29 million, combined with the estimated $25
million in security costs that each will incur, means that taxpayers will
foot the bill for a staggering $79 million.

"The evidence is clear: The two biggest welfare queens in the United
States are John Kerry and George Bush," Neale said.

Even worse, Neale noted, is that the Democratic and Republican conventions
are invitation-only events, closed to the general public.

"Now there's an entitlement program with a twist," Neale said.
"Politicians are taking $79 million of your money for a private party that
you're not even allowed to attend!"

The solution is to privatize political conventions, Libertarians say.

"If you agree with the Libertarian message of limited government and
individual freedom, we welcome your voluntary support," Neale said. "But
if you disagree, you shouldn't have to finance that message with your
hard-earned dollars.

"In the same way, George Bush and John Kerry should ask their own
contributors to finance the debut of their campaign ads, rather than
forcing all Americans to pay.

"It's bad enough that Republicans and Democrats plan to saturate the
airwaves with another predictable, tedious yawn-a-thon masquerading as a
political convention. They should at least have the decency not to send
the victims the bill."

The Libertarian National Convention will run from Thursday, May 27 to
Monday, May 31 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel and ballroom. The
800-plus delegates in attendance will also make changes to the party
Platform, listen to a wide array of speakers and entertainers and elect a
national chair.

Here's the most interesting speaker

Convention speaker to discuss Iraq War 'lies'

"We solved the things we're there to solve, but it's not what we were told we're there for," says retired USAF Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, who was working as an analyst for the Pentagon as the U.S. geared up to invade Iraq.

A registered Libertarian, Kwiatkowski will talk about the Iraq war at the Libertarian Party's national convention in Atlanta. Her primary thesis: The reasons for invading Iraq were manufactured.
"A lot of people may still believe this Iraq thing is part of the war on terror, that we're there to stop terrorism," Kwiatkowski said. "The terrorists [of Sept. 11, 2001] didn't come from Iraq. But now, the threat of terrorism coming out of Iraq is very real."

That's a major result of the Iraq invasion, she said: "A lot more people hate us now than before, so there's a whole new crop of terrorists.

I guess it's a copyrighted article, not a press release, so I won't quote more, but, there you go...

Sounds kinda familiar, doesn't it?

I'm no longer a 250-plus pound man

and I didn't even have to resort to these dietary recommendations from Lileks. Maybe I'll try it if I hit a plateau.

Actually, I just Think Atkins/Zone/Southbeach when I'm hungry. They say it costs something like $27 a day to eat that way. Maybe if you're stupid enough to go an buy all the "Atkins friendly" products! How much does it cost, really, to just avoid eating candy, bread, cookies, cakes and high glycemic index fruit and vegetables. It saves me money.

I had to quit drinking beer anyway, but before that I was actually able to lose 12 lbs by switching to light 3.2, which we have available at grocery stores and gas stations here. (There had to be some use for the stuff.) I couldn't hold to that regimen, but hey...

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

The Minneapolis Star Tribune

presents a fairly balanced take on the President's speech in their front page article. Actually, the main article shouldn't be called a take. It's pure reportage.

Their analysis piece reads more like a Democratic rebuttal.

The trouble with "liberal" [they get the scare quotes, I want that term reapplied to libertarianism] analysis is that it always treats people as mindless members of collectives, unable to make their way in the world without a government program. They're not reckoning with the possibility of the people of Iraq taking control of their own lives, which they are doing.

Here is their editorial position

Editorial: Bush's speech/Simply more of the same:

Did Bush succeed? Not by a long shot. It's arrogant of a president to believe speeches can dispel the skepticism borne of three years of lies and incompetence on the ground. Lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Incompetence in sizing the American troop strength that would be required to pacify Iraq following the inevitably quick opening combat. Incompetence in failing to plan well for dealing with an occupied Iraq. Incompetence in ceding control of American foreign policy to a small cabal of self-delusional neoconservatives who threw traditional American pragmatism -- conservative pragmatism -- overboard in favor of grandiose plans for remaking the Middle East into a peaceful, democratic region in one fell swoop.

Bush's speech was spectacular for its refusal to retreat from that wholly discredited vision. Throughout his speech, he continued his effort to wrap the war in Iraq in the war on terror. At this late date, just five weeks from the return of some sovereignty to Iraq, Bush refuses to acknowledge what is plain: The war in Iraq had no relationship to the war on terror; it was a distraction from the essential war on Al-Qaida and other terrorists who wish America harm. At one point, Bush referred to Iraq as the "central front" in the war on terror. If it is, that is so only because the United States invaded, and it will cease to be so once the United States leaves.

Talk about more of the same.

I listened to the President's speech and thought it was pretty good, other than stumbling over "Abu Ghraib" (it makes you wonder if he's ever used the words before, though I'm worse at public speaking than he is, so I'm inclined to forgive that sort of gaff). There was little that was new to anybody who follows the war at all, but in it he clearly stated the steps we, America, our allies and the people of Iraq, must take to achieve Democracy in Iraq.

Here are the steps President Bush listed, exerpted from the speech:

The first of these steps will occur next month, when our coalition will transfer full sovereignty to a government of Iraqi citizens who will prepare the way for national elections.

In preparation for sovereignty, many functions of government have already been transferred. Twelve government ministries are currently under the direct control of Iraqis.
By keeping our promise on June 30th, the coalition will demonstrate that we have no interest in occupation. And full sovereignty will give Iraqis a direct interest in the success of their own government. Iraqis will know that when they build a school or repair a bridge, they're not working for the Coalition Provisional Authority, they are working for themselves. And when they patrol the streets of Baghdad, or engage radical militias, they will be fighting for their own country.

The second step in the plan for Iraqi democracy is to help establish the stability and security that democracy requires.

We want Iraqi forces to gain experience and confidence in dealing with their country's enemies. We want the Iraqi people to know that we trust their growing capabilities, even as we help build them.

The third step in the plan for Iraqi democracy is to continue rebuilding that nation's infrastructure, so that a free Iraq can quickly gain economic independence and a better quality of life.

Our coalition has already helped Iraqis to rebuild schools and refurbish hospitals and health clinics, repair bridges, upgrade the electrical grid, and modernize the communications system. And now a growing private economy is taking shape.

The fourth step in our plan is to enlist additional international support for Iraq's transition.

Today, the United States and Great Britain presented a new resolution in the Security Council to help move Iraq toward self-government.

The fifth and most important step is free, national elections, to be held no later than next January.

A United Nations team, headed by Carina Perelli, is now in Iraq, helping form an independent election commission that will oversee an orderly, accurate national election.

Bush spoke pretty confidently about the UN resolution. That is the weak point in the plan, but hopefully the national interests of those who obstructed us in the past will overcome their pique at having been bypassed.

I notice that the timeline ends in January, just about the time of the inauguration of our next President. The election will hinge on our confidence in this plan, but it is to be hoped that whoever takes over, will find this task completed, with only minor mop-ups needed. Then, maybe we could afford to ignore the problem of terrorism for another eight years.

Monday, May 24, 2004

My sister is harassing me.

She sent me these jokes:


One day the housework-challenged husband decided to wash his sweatshirt. Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted, "What setting do I use on the washing machine?" "It depends," the wife responds. "What does it say on your shirt?"

He yelled back, "University of Oklahoma."

And they say blondes are dumb...

A couple is lying in bed.. The man says, "I am going to make you the happiest woman in the world".

The woman says, "I'll miss you..."
"It's just too hot to wear clothes today," Jack says as he stepped out of the shower, "honey, what do you think the neighbors would think if I mowed the lawn like this?"

"Probably that I married you for your money,"she replied.

He said - Since I first laid eyes on you, I have
wanted to make love to you really badly.

She said - Well, you succeeded.

He said - What have you been doing with all the
grocery money I gave you?

She said - Turn sideways and look in the mirror.

Q: What do you call an intelligent, good looking, sensitive man?

A: A rumor

A man and his wife, now in their 60's, were celebrating their 40th Wedding anniversary. On their special day a good fairy came to them and said that because they had been such a devoted couple she would grant each of them a very special wish.

The wife wished for a trip around the world with her
Whoosh! Immediately she had airline/cruise tickets in her hands.

The man wished for a female companion 30 years
Whoosh...immediately he turned ninety!!!

Gotta love that fairy!

* She's sitting at the table with her gourmet
* Her son is on the cover of the Wheaties box.
* Her daughter is on the cover of Business Week.
* Her boyfriend is on the cover of Playgirl.
* And her husband is on the back of the milk carton
A PRAYER.... Dear Lord, I pray for Wisdom to
understand my man;
Love To forgive him; And Patience for his moods. Because, Lord, if I pray for strength, I'll beat him to death. AMEN.

When you reach the end of your rope--- find another one and keep climbing upwards!

Townhall Book Service is selling this

A Concise History of the Crusades
by Thomas F. Madden

This hard-to-find release is on sale now for only $17.95 -- almost 20% off the publisher's price.

Misconceptions about the Crusades are all too common. Generally portrayed as a series of unprovoked holy wars against Islam, they are supposed to have been the epitome of self-righteousness and intolerance -- a black stain on the history of the Catholic Church in particular and Western, Christian civilization in general. Since September 11, variations of this theme have been used to explain -- even justify -- Muslim terror against the West. Former president Bill Clinton himself, in a speech at Georgetown University, fingered Muslim anger at the Crusades as the "root cause" of the present conflict.

But the truth is that the Crusades had nothing to do with colonialism or unprovoked aggression -- and in A Concise History of the Crusades, renowned medieval historian Thomas F. Madden sets the record straight. The Crusades, he shows, were not the brainchild of an ambitious pope or rapacious knights but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslims had already captured two thirds of the old Christian world. At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense. Their entire subsequent history is one of Western reaction to Muslim advances -- they were no more offensive than was the American invasion of Normandy.

Get hundreds of "politically incorrect" facts like these:

• Islam was born in war and grew the same way. From the time of Mohammed, the means of Muslim expansion was always the sword.

• With enormous energy, the warriors of Islam struck out against the Christians shortly after Mohammed's death. Palestine, Syria, and Egypt -- once the most heavily Christian areas in the world -- quickly succumbed.

• By the eighth century, Muslim armies had conquered all of Christian North Africa and Spain. In the eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks conquered Asia Minor (modern Turkey), which had been Christian since the time of St. Paul.

• The Byzantine Empire was reduced to little more than Greece. In desperation, the emperor in Constantinople sent word to the Christians of western Europe asking them to aid their brothers and sisters in the East.

• The end of the medieval Crusades did not bring an end to Muslim jihad -- Islamic states like Mamluk Egypt continued to expand in size and power, and the Ottoman Turks built the largest and most awesome state in Muslim history.

• Under Suleiman the Magnificent the Turks came within a hair's breadth of capturing Vienna, which would have left all of Germany at their mercy. At that point Crusades were no longer waged to rescue Jerusalem, but Europe itself.

• It is often asserted that Crusaders were merely lacklands and ne'er-do-wells who took advantage of an opportunity to rob and pillage in a faraway land. Recent scholarship has demolished that contrivance. The truth is that the Crusades were notoriously bad for plunder. A few people got rich, but the vast majority returned with nothing.

• The Ottoman Turks conquered not only their fellow Muslims, thus further unifying Islam, but also continued to press westward, capturing Constantinople and plunging deep into Europe itself. By the 15th century, the Crusades were no longer errands of mercy for a distant people but desperate attempts of one of the last remnants of Christendom to survive. Europeans began to ponder the real possibility that Islam would finally achieve its aim of conquering the entire Christian world.

• In 1529, Suleiman the Magnificent laid siege to Vienna. If not for a run of freak rainstorms that delayed his progress and forced him to leave behind much of his artillery, it is virtually certain that the Turks would have taken the city.

• Whether we admire the Crusaders or not, it is a fact that the world we know today would not exist without their efforts. Without the Crusades, Christianity might well have followed Zoroastrianism, another of Islam's rivals, into extinction.

I am rather fond of books that go against the conventional wisdom.

Here is a brilliant economic analysis

From The Therapy Sessions:

Liberals like to point to Europe as a collection of gleaming welfare states. The press works with them, and it rarely reports stories like this.

Europeans are clearly proud of their system and its policies, but they can't understand why they keep falling further behind the US. They boast about their socialized medicine, but they'd rather not think of their ageing populations, high public sector debt, and stubborn unemployment.

Government policies are at the root of these things.

The Democratic Party wants to copy many of these failed policies: increased protectionism, more social spending and higher taxes.

The Republicans want somewhat higher social spending, a little protectionism and TAX CUTS.

Both parties are insane.

This is based around an article about the Italian economy. Capitalism, Italian-style these doorknobs call it.

The world's eighth-largest economy has long been "notorious," as one recent analysis put it, "for its sclerotic labor markets, lack of respect for the rule of law and stifling bureaucracy." Not to mention the militancy of its trade unions and the unwillingness of politicians to stand up to them.

Of friend or ours (my wife and mine) moved here from Italy as an eighteen year old man in the fifties. On their last trip to the Old Country in the late nineties, he and his wife, a second generation Italian from New York City, experienced repeated railroad strikes lasting anywhere from half an hour to a couple of days. Most of them in support of other unions. Usually, because of the brevity of most of them, they were unable to leave the train. These sometimes occurred several times a day. No rhyme or reason, at least to visitors to the country.

As for the global fixation with big government, eventually annoying economic reality will intrude.

It will just come first Italy, second to Europe and finally to the US:

"Italy is going to reach a situation where, suddenly, people are going to realize they are going full speed into a wall. The problem is, they may not realize it until they hit it."

So it will be for everyone.

A gloomy prognosis, but more than merely possible.

They weren't at all kind to these men,

or Holy Bleep! These guys mean business!

The Blog Jens 'n' Frens, which I found via InstaPundit, links to this column by Mark Steyn:

Don't give Iraqis self-rule all at once

May 23, 2004


Here's a story no American news organization thought worth covering last week, so you'll just have to take it from me. In the southern Iraqi town of Amara, 20 men from Scotland's Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders came under attack from 100 or so of Muqtada al-Sadr's ''insurgents.'' So they fixed bayonets and charged.

I hate to give away the punchline, but:

By comparison, a Cruise missile, an unmanned drone, even a bullet are all antiseptic forms of warfare. When a chap's charging at you with a bayonet, he's telling you he's personally willing to run you through with cold steel. The bullet may get you first, but, if it doesn't, he'll do it himself.

The Scots haven't lost it after all. Read the article to see the results, and some great ideas for Iraq's future.

They were very kind to this man

Mob of kids chase down suspicious stranger
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

Wielding baseball bats and sticks, a mob in northwest Houston today chased down a man suspected of preying on neighborhood children in recent weeks.

"We know him. The whole neighborhood knows him," said Carlos Gonzalez.


While nobody was hurt during Sunday's pursuit, officers said citizens shouldn't take the law into their own hands.

"You need to call law enforcement and let us handle that," said Houston police officer S.A. Burk.

B.S. The law is about punishing wrongdoers. It can't protect anybody (it's just words), and the Supreme Court has said that it's not the duty of police to protect any particular individual. The police don't even have a monopoly on arresting wrongdoers. I'm sure citizen's arrests are legal in Texas.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

The Asia Times has a typically-for them-long

analysis of the U.N.'s failure in Iraq.

UNreformable? United Nations drops the ball
By Alexander Casella

At a time when the UN is facing its most serious crisis in its 50-year history, the handling of the aftermath of the attack by a UN Secretariat that appears to be increasingly disconnected with reality and only concerned with self-preservation is turning, in the opinion of many observers in New York, into a saga of literarily all the ills that bedevil the organization.

They make a good case that the world lost a great man in Vieira de Mello, when the truck bomb killed him.

Vieira de Mello over the years served in Bangladesh, southern Sudan, Cyprus, South Lebanon, Sarajevo under siege, Cambodia and East Timor. Though cautious, he knew when to take risks; in Cambodia, as head of the repatriation operation in 1992, he would drive himself in his Toyota Land Cruiser to the Khmer Rouge areas to negotiate the safe passage of returnees.

...Vieira de Mello [w]as the rare, innovative action-oriented philosopher without whom no bureaucracy is ever inspired to reach beyond the confines of convention and routine.

It's writing worthy to be compared with Macauley's History of England, with its portrayals of greatness juxtaposed against incompetence.

The nomination of Walzer to head the ["independent" Iraq-accountability panel, tasked with making an audit of the circumstances and accountabilities surrounding the Baghdad bombing] was received with gasps of disbelief by many UN staff members. Unlike such figures as Brahimi, [former president of Finland, Martti] Ahtisaari or weapons inspector Hans Blix, who all had distinguished careers in their own governments before joining the UN and were credible in their own right, Walzer was an absolute product of the UN system with no background either as a political operator or in the running of large field emergencies. Many at the UN felt that the appointment of Walzer to head the investigation was the prelude to a whitewash. "He is not the person to uncover what he is not supposed to uncover," commented a UN staff member.

With the characters in place, the drama plays out logically.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Agh! That Seventies Show is on again!

It's ruining my life!

But Red's my hero. I'm reorganizing my whole life to be more like him. Although, he seems to have lost his kids somewhere along the line. I can't imagine what he's doing wrong. He'd have been a great Dad.

I have more than one reason to like the guy. He was born in New Lisbon, Wisconsin. Whizzed past there many a time.

This is the reason I don't watch TV. I'm a frickin' addict.

Don't these people have a website?

Topher Grace wants you to think about this. Did his mother name him that?

AAagh! It's followed by Drew Cary!! I'm tryin' to blog here!!

I seem to have more questions than answers tonight.

I refuse to repent.

Here's what the Future of Freedom Foundation thinks:

It is certainly true that our age is full of conflicts which generate war. However, these conflicts do not spring from the operation of the unhampered market society. It may be permissible to call them economic conflicts because they concern that sphere of human life which is, in common speech, known as the sphere of economic activities. But it is a serious blunder to infer from this appellation that the source of these conflicts are conditions which develop within the frame of a market society. It is not capitalism that produces them, but precisely the anticapitalistic policies designed to check the functioning of capitalism. They are an outgrowth of the various governments' interference with business, of trade and migration barriers and discrimination against foreign labor, foreign products, and foreign capital.

-- Ludwig von Mises, Human Action [1949]

And some articles along those lines:


Dismantling America's Military Empire (1992)
by Jacob G. Hornberger
Future of Freedom Foundation

Foreign Policy and Foreign Wars (1990)
by Richard M. Ebeling
Future of Freedom Foundation

The Conquest of the United States by Spain (1990)
by William Graham Sumner
Future of Freedom Foundation

Conscription (1990)
by Daniel Webster
Future of Freedom Foundation

Patriotism (1990)
by Herbert Spencer
Future of Freedom Foundation

The CIA (1992)
by Sheldon Richman
Future of Freedom Foundation

The Power to Declare War: Who Speaks for the Constitution? (1995)
by Doug Bandow
Future of Freedom Foundation

American Foreign Policy: The Turning Point, 1898-1919 (1995)
by Ralph Raico
Future of Freedom Foundation

Some Other Costs of War (1991)
by Robert Higgs
Future of Freedom Foundation

The Most Dreaded Enemy of Liberty (1993)
by James Madison
Future of Freedom Foundation

More from my friends at ARI

Dear Editor:

The Bush administration's decision to expedite FDA approval for AIDS-related drugs--from years to weeks--shows two things. One, the FDA's approval process is dictated largely by politics, not science. Two, the administration knows that the FDA unnecessarily delays the marketing of drugs to people who need them.

The best way to make sure drugs are safe and readily available is not to make the FDA more efficient, but to make the FDA irrelevant. Let doctors and patients--not government officials--decide what's the best treatment. That's the American way.

David Holcberg
Writer, Ayn Rand Institute

2121 Alton Parkway #250
Irvine 92606 CA
(949) 222-6550 ext 226

Government figures out how to grow AND protect privacy.

U.S. May Get a Privacy Czar

The privacy czar, who would be appointed by the president and positioned in the Office of Management and Budget, would hold primary responsibility for privacy policies throughout the federal government. The czar would ensure that technologies procured by the federal government would not erode privacy protections, as designated under the Privacy Act of 1974. The czar would also evaluate legislative and regulatory proposals involving the federal government's collection and use of Americans' personal information. The czar would present an annual report to Congress about each federal agency's activities and violations related to privacy.
Ari Schwartz, associate director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, said that such officers would establish accountability for government actions, since they could be called to testify for wrongdoing on the part of their agencies.

"No one's going to call up the head of an agency for small ongoing violations of privacy," Schwartz said. "But writing letters to privacy officers or holding chief privacy officers responsible for being willfully negligent of their jobs will be much easier to do."

That's called a scape-goat. How does it hurt the privacy breachers?

It's a great idea as long as they don't just tack on a new position without eliminating an old one. And will they really be on our side? Who's paying their checks?

Thanks to News.

Ed Hudgins of the Objectivist Center nails it

Too Torturous a Journey to Freedom?
Or Are the People of the Middle East Fit for Freedom?
By Edward Hudgins

President Bush is correct that every individual deserves freedom. He is right
that a tolerant and peaceful Iraqi government and culture would be beneficial
for the citizens of that country, a model for the region and a bulwark against
terrorism. But we must ask a more basic question: Are the people of Iraq and
other countries in the region fit for freedom?

Any given Iraqi, Arab or Muslim might well want to live in peace with his or her
neighbors, foreign and domestic. But can we really expect limited governments
that respect individual liberty and ban arbitrary force to be established in
countries in which those principles are not written in the hearts and minds of
the enough of their citizens?

We should applaud those who risk their lives to establish such governments in
their own countries and to vanquish the self-destructive attitudes of their
fellow citizens or co-religionists. But we must understand that the people of
these countries ultimately must create for themselves modern, civil societies
and governments in their own cultural and historical contexts. If we fail to
appreciate the limits of the ability of we Americans -- the outsiders -- to
transform dysfunctional countries, we will only slow rather than hasten the day
of those countries' true liberation.

I don't know if he gets around to whether they're "fit for freedom" or not, but he does explain why nobody else is fit to judge that for them.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Joe Gandelman has bit of repartee

between John McCain and Dennis Hastert. He links to this article in which McCain is demanding more sacrifices from us, in the form of taxes, while Hastert is defending the Republicans' pursuit of tax cuts.

Hmm. Having trouble. In case I don't get these things to work, here's the URL for the CBS News article:

Oh, something's f'ed up. I'll post this to get a little bit of discussion going.

Update: I guess the answer is trackback.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

A comment by LibertyBob,

under my last post from the Lin Yutang book, spurred me to do a Google search on Asatru. Here's some of what I found:

Throughout Scandinavia the religion is called Forn SiĆ°r (which means the Ancient way or tradition), Forn sed (the Old custom), Nordisk sed (Nordic custom), or Hedensk sed (Pagan custom). The religion's origin is lost in antiquity. At its peak, it covered all of Northern Europe. In 1000 CE, Iceland became the second last Norse culture to convert to Christianity. Their prime motivation was economic. Sweden was ruled by a Pagan king until 1085 CE.

I thought it sounded familiar. They've got a good list of virtues:

Life Values: They follow the Nine Noble Virtues: Courage, Truth, Honor, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Industriousness, Self-Reliance and Perseverance. The family is greatly valued and honored. They reject any form of discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, language, nationality, race, sexual orientation, or "other divisive criteria".

I wonder if LibertyBob saw the post in which I put this link. They seem to be having some sort of problem right now. Maybe they're updating. I've noticed some difficulty in visiting a number of sites lately. It's probably related to all the adware, viruses, worms and trojans flying around out there.

I had a hell of a time trying to access The Bugbear Zone for about a week. I figured the guy had banned me for making an inane comment on his blog. Or maybe he had a look over here and hated my generic Blogger Template or something. I don't agree with him politically, at least about the big issues of the day, but he's really funny.

I mentioned IMAO the other day.

If you're not a fan of Frank J., this will make you into one.

My buds at the Ayn Rand Institute opine about the USOC warning:

[No flippancy intended, I like them.]

Dear Editor:

It is outrageous that U.S. Olympic officials warned our athletes not to wave the U.S. flag during their medal celebrations at this year's Olympic games.

What was the justification for this contemptible warning? Fear that demonstrations of American pride "might be viewed as confrontational or insulting or cause embarrassment."

U.S. Olympic officials might as well have asked our athletes to lose. This would certainly mollify those who hate us and avoid any perception of American "arrogance."

Hopefully our athletes will ignore the appeasers from the U.S. Olympic bureaucracy and celebrate their victories as they should: proud of themselves and of their great country.

David Holcberg
Writer, Ayn Rand Institute

2121 Alton Parkway #250
Irvine 92606 CA
(949) 222-6550 ext 226

Major sports news today

Randy Johnson needs to have his self-esteem boosted by congratulations from me. First, for pitching a perfect game and second, for being 40 when he did it. I'm a big fan of 40-year-olds proving that we can still do IT.

The Timberwolves look fired up for the big game seven of the... What the h is this series called. Here's a shocking quote:

Garnett will be on the Target Center floor with his teammates trying to defeat the Sacramento Kings in Game Seven of the Western Conference semifinals.

You'd think he'd be fined and suspended after all those gun comments the other day. Get your panties on straight you easily offended people.

This is the first time in 13 years that a Minnesota sports team will play the deciding game of a playoff series at home. The last time was 1991 when the Twins won the World Series at home.

That was when Super Jack Morris pitched the greatest game I've ever seen: the ten-inning 1-0 shutout of the Atlanta Braves. Tears still come to my eyes when I think of it. Manager Tom Kelly said, after the game, that when Morris insisted on going back for the tenth inning, he told him, "What the hell! It's only a game!"

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Time once again to blow out all my fans

with a passage from The Wisdom of India and China, edited by Lin Yutang (long out of print, but worth getting a used copy, I think). Continuing from Here.

Then the Lord Buddha said:--Ananda, I want to question you; please listen carefully. You have just said that at the time your faith in me was awakened, that it was due to seeing the thirty-two marks of excellence. Let me ask you: What was it that gave you the sensation of seeing? What was it that experienced the sensation? And who was it that experienced the feeling of being pleased?

Ananda replied:--My Lord! At the time I experienced the sensation of being pleased, it was both through my eyes and my mind. When my eyes saw my Lord's excellencies, my mind immediately experienced a feeling of being pleased. It was then that I made up my mind to become thy disciple so that I might be delivered from the cycle of deaths and rebirths.

The Lord said:--From what you have just said, Ananda, your feeling of being pleased originated in your eyes and mind. But if you do not know where lies the perception of sight and where the activities of the mind originate, you will never be able to subjugate your worldly attachments and contaminations. It is like a king whose city was pestered by robbers and who tried to put an end to the thieving but was unsuccessful because he could not locate the secret hiding place of the robbers. So it is in the lives of human beings who are always being troubled by worldly attachments and contaminations, causing their perception of sight to become inverted and unreliable and seducing their thoughts and causing them to wander aobut ignorantly and uncontrolled. Ananda, let me ask you? Referring to your eyes and mind, do you know their secret hiding place?

Ananda replied:--Noble Lord! In all the ten different orders of life, the eyes are in the front of the face, as are my Lord's clear lotus eyes, and mine also. The same is true of the other sense organs, they are on the surface of the body, but the mind is hidden within the body.

The Lord Buddha interrupted:--Ananda, you are now sitting in the lecture hall, are you not? And when you are looking out to the Jetavana Grove, can you tell me where the hall and the grove are situated?

Certainly, my Lord. This quiet and splendid lecture hall and the Jetavana Grove are both situated in Anathapindika's beautiful park.

I shall leave you hanging here and retire to bed.

I guess showing my thought processes

is a little too disturbing for you folks, eh?

I usually don't sit down with the idea of just filling space.

I've been meaning to say something about the weekend. Rosie had a dance recital. Here's a picture:

Image Hosted by

Excuse me. Gotta shut off the TV. I've got Seinfeld on in the background. Everything's gonna come out like a standup bit.

Where was I? Rosie's dance recital. You have to try not to laugh at the littler girls who have no idea what they're there for, because you don't want to freak out the girls who are really putting their all into it. Rosie doesn't like dance because it cuts into her play time, so I guess this is it. For now, at least. We'll have to try again later.

I tried to talk Laurie into Karate lessons, but she wouldn't go for it. Then I thought, what if the instructor is some kind of pervert pedophile. How am I going to protect her? I guess I wouldn't have to do it alone, there are these guys called cops. But then the damage would.... A-ah, drop it. I can't protect her from everything, but that's at the top of my list of things to protect her from.

Anyway, the show went pretty well. It's amazing how that works with just one dress rehearsal.

I think I'll put something up to fill up the big space

made by that picture and the title.

Maybe something moderate, or blasting Republicans to please my friend (almost wrote "fried") Joe.

Since I spend so much of my time listening to conservative talk radio, it's a little hard to come up with something off the top of my head. My emails from the Liberty Commitee or probably have something.

Whoa! This isn't bashing Bush or Republicans, but it's big news, form Agence France-Presse:

Four arrested over US man's beheading
From correspondents in Baghdad
May 19, 2004

FOUR people have been arrested over the beheading of US businessman Nicholas Berg, whose killing was shown earlier this month in a video on an al-Qaeda linked website, a senior Iraqi source said today.

Here's that picture I was talking about.

Image Hosted by

I hope to see something from S & W and Colt soon. What other American companies are there?

Earth Shoes are the answer!

I have no idea why they hide their website under the Discovering Archaeology site, but...

I was almost doubled over in pain from my hip yesterday afternoon, when I put on my old pair of shoes to go out and mow down the dandelions. (Or see if I could.) I had absolutely no pain from the moment I stood up. So I wore them to work today and was able to take my lunch hour walk. What I feel now (I'm sitting) seems more like the low-level, residual pain of an old injury.

So I'll be going back to WalMart to get a new pair.

Update: the style I'm wearing must be special-made for WalMart. It's called Grady - probably after the old guy from Sanford and Son (or check this link) - and costs about half as much as what they sell on their own site, which is actually

Monday, May 17, 2004

Here's something you might like

to check out. Coming to you via a commenter at IMAO.

Wave of the Future: The XM-8 Battle Rifle. I'll get you a picture later.

I never liked Hunter S. Thompson

Lileks rips him today. Today vs. Yesterday. Speak of the Devil, that was last Monday's article. Here's today's.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Nowhere does this article explain

What the hell they're talking about when they say "tobacco buyout." Is this such a commonly discussed issue in Washington that we just understand "tobacco buyout - good; Bush - bad?"

Here's a partial answer:

The agreement specifically states that "Buyout legislation shall mean any act of Congress, signed into law, that compensates current or former domestic flue-cured and burley tobacco quota holders and/or domestic tobacco growers and eliminates the tobacco quota and price support provisions of the Federal Tobacco Program."

This doesn't explain whether they have the best possible idea to fix the present, centrally controlled system, though the WaPo article states that the latest version would include increased regulation via the FDA.

My concern is, what the hell are they up to? The Motley Fool explains:

That's right -- there's movement in Congress to offer tobacco farmers a significant lump-sum payment in order to entice them to give up their current livelihood. More specifically, the buyout would be compensating farmers for phasing out various economic protections they've enjoyed since the 1930s via a system that supported tobacco prices and regulated production. (Europe is also looking into dropping its tobacco-protection systems.)

States such as Kentucky and the Carolinas have been looking for $13 billion in buyouts, to be paid over six years. Lest you find yourself suddenly tightly clutching your wallet, know that the money would come from further taxes on tobacco products.

A recent Reuters article notes that the buyout wouldn't end tobacco farming. It would mean the loss of many small farmers who couldn't afford to continue in the new system, but large farmers might actually see production levels increase, permitting them to profit even on lower prices as they compete with foreign growers.

I'd like to think that Bush is rejecting this deal because it's worse than the previous one. The only quote from WaPo is this, "'They've got the quota system in place -- the allotment system -- and I don't think that needs to be changed,' Bush said."

I may actually read this:The Economic Impacts of a Tobacco Quota Buyout.

Okay, it was short. I read it. It ignores Henry Hazlitt's One Lesson, The good economist considers more than just the immediate effects on the beneficiaries of a policy proposal. They analyze how many jobs will be created in North Carolina due to the influx of money from the government, but they don't consider where that money is coming from and how much pork will be required to bribe the legislators of non-tobacco producing states to help producers of a product which is dwindling in demand. Or should be.

So what it comes down to is The Washington Post is trying to drive a wedge between tobacco growers and President Bush, when I am quite sure their editorial position is that tobacco shouldn't be produced or consumed at all.

So what does the President think? I can't believe he's pleased with the present situation of subsidies and quotas and I'd like to believe his opposition is due to the fact that the proposed alternatives aren't much of an improvement, just an updating of the technocracy. But he's a compassionate conservative - pretty much a communitarian, not a libertarian. If you combine communitarianism with a utilitarian grip on the lessons of history, you'll come out all right. Trouble is, history is always subject to reinterpretation under new theories, which may or may not be sound. I suspect communitarianism is too open to unprofitable developments.

Can I find more about the President's position?

Not easily. I can't find what the question was or any of the context. Former President Clinton authorized a study. Looks like the commission was killed by President Bush. There's probably some more value to be found in the University of North Texas CyberCemetary.

Oops! Major thunderclap. I think I'll go ahead and post this before the power goes out.

This Google search shows more special interest (I like to call them courtiers) screeching than any deep economic reasoning.

Update (sort of): I just ran a spell check and the checker thought I should replace 'buyout' with 'buttocks'. Hard to argue with that logic.

Vinod Vallipollil

points to an article explaining New Zealand's economic turnaround. The key: reduce the size of government.

Here's a quote Vinod doesn't exerpt (that's expert spelled sideways, sort of):

When a reform government was elected in 1984, it identified three problems: too much spending, too much taxing and too much government. The question was how to cut spending and taxes and diminish government’s role in the economy. Well, the first thing you have to do in this situation is to figure out what you’re getting for dollars spent. Towards this end, we implemented a new policy whereby money wouldn’t simply be allocated to government agencies; instead, there would be a purchase contract with the senior executives of those agencies that clearly delineated what was expected in return for the money. Those who headed up government agencies were now chosen on the basis of a worldwide search and received term contracts – five years with a possible extension of another three years. The only ground for their removal was non-performance, so a newly-elected government couldn’t simply throw them out as had happened with civil servants under the old system. And of course, with those kinds of incentives, agency heads – like CEOs in the private sector – made certain that the next tier of people had very clear objectives that they were expected to achieve as well.

Tasteless Adult Humor Department

I won't post this here (I have way too much class), but it's pretty funny.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Evil Corporate America comes to the rescue

like the cavalry in old westerns.

Want a Different
Abu Ghraib Story?
Try This One
Saddam had their hands cut off. America gave them new ones.

Friday, May 14, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT

Oh, whoops! I got that link from InstaPundit.

I just added FFF's Freedom Biographies

to my link list.

Ha! That last post was my 666th!

There'll be the devil to pay!

Anyway, FFF has this link in their biographies section to a story from FEE about John Bright:

John Bright: Voice of Victorian Liberalism
Published in The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty - August 1988
by Nicholas Elliott

I like this section:

Before 1867, only 16 per cent of British adult males had the right to vote. In the 1860s, Bright led a vigorous campaign for full manhood suffrage, secret ballots, and equal representation for industrial cities like Birmingham and Manchester.

He rested his case upon two principles. First, since working people must pay taxes and bear the impact of legislation, they should also have a voice in government. Second, he expressed faith in the decision-making ability of ordinary people. A frequent claim of reactionary conservatives was that common people are incapable of making important decisions. Bright reversed this and argued that progress had been achieved only by enforcing working class opinion. He was somewhat naive in supposing that a mass franchise would lead to low taxes, free trade, and a non-interventionist foreign policy.

The People are sheeple, the masses are asses and in the end, every government rests on what the People allow, based on what they "know." GOOD education is the key, not this obedience training our kids are herded through. They need to know how to discern the truth. But in the end the people are more to be trusted than any politicians.

Things are getting better in Iraq

It looks like the American trained Iraqi security forces are becoming more accepted among the people there. To the point where even the American media are taking notice.

Friday, May 14, 2004

My muse hasn't left me

so much as I've just been "busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest."

Actually, that's been somewhat the case, since everything I need to do requires me to be on my feet, and my hip's been killing me for the past couple weeks. I stepped in a hole in my yard a two weeks ago and wrenched it good.

Also, I've been combatting the adware plague on my computer quite a bit lately. I've won the battle for now and learned quite a bit about my operating system, but who knows what will come up next. I'm knocking wood.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

The Finns Get It

The OECD doesn't.
OECD warns Finland of consequences of lower taxes
Organisation notes expenses of caring for ageing population.

The OECD feels that the Finnish state has no need to accelerate economic growth by taking money from state coffers. According to the outlook, "A pick-up in world trade is likely to boost growth over the coming years, with output rising above potential in 2005 and unemployment edging down".
"It is unlikely that cuts in labour taxes will be sufficient to achieve the government’s goal of a substantial increase in employment, unless accompanied by other reforms."

Sharply disagreeing with the OECD assessment was Timo Lindholm, head economist of OKO Bank.
"The growth in state tax revenue has continued in spite of the tax cuts", he points out.
According to Lindholm, the government should actually accelerate its tax cuts.
"We can afford that. When taxation is high, domestic demand cannot be increased."
Lindholm suggests different means to deal with the economic burdens of an ageing population.

All the arguments are Keynesian, but when in Rome.... Fears of an overheated economy are highly exaggerated.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

This is little more than an outline

but perhaps discussion would help get my juices flowing. (That's what's called a homely simile.)

Government is fully capable of failing as much as anybody. Getting a government job doesn't turn anybody into an angel instantly.


a. Al Ghraib prisoner abuse--not to mention the horrors of our own prisons. [Much later: Abu Ghraib, excuse me.]
b. Abusive police, there's a couple of stories in the news I'd like to link, but I'm not finding them quickly.

There are likely to be more scandals in government than in the private sector, because that is the quickest route to power, hence, that's the route the skanks will head down. Democracy produces scandals, other systems produce tyrants.

Businessment get put in prison for the tiniest scent of corruption:

Mises article today
This may or may not have been an obstruction of justice. A gray area is bound to result when trying to judge someone's motives. Quattrone claimed that his was a routine e-mail and that he was never led to believe that it would hinder the federal investigation. Prosecutors argue that his e-mail proved that Quattrone had something to hide, even though no devious intentions were shown over the course of two trials. (An earlier Quattrone trial ended in a hung jury.)

It is clear that this lack of intent to deceive investigators should play heavily in Quattrone's sentencing hearing. Unfortunately, it is also clear that given the orchestrated backlash against the private sector following the most recent recession, Quattrone will receive little mercy from a justice system hell-bent on demonizing the market so as to draw attention away from the State's very great complicity in exacerbating the effects of the boom-bust cycle.

As the feds scapegoated business to hide the ill-effects of New Deal policies in the 1930s, so they are today—this time, to cover for the disastrous economic results of its fiscal, monetary, protectionist, and regulatory interventions in the market order that create unsustainable economic booms and that prolong the market correction process. The great irony today is that the very political classes that benefited from Quattrone's efforts turned against him once the economy dipped.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

I am Buttercup!


Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

I'm not sure who she's (I'm?) referring to here. It concerns me somewhat.

[Days later] I completely forgot to mention that it was Ayn Clouter who led me to this ignominy.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Check out this month's Reason cover!

Image Hosted by

The circled item is an aerial photo of my house. Yes, it came in the mail, and no I didn't photoshop it.

Well, all right. The explanation is somewhat mundane. They personalized 40,000 covers for their subscribers. Oh, I guess that's breaking news, sort of. I haven't read the full details yet, but they provide this information for me:

The median income in my zip code is $39,620.

(My wife makes more than that. I don't.)

Median age is 33.

(For those of us in town here it's, well I 40, Rosie's 7. Is the median halfway between the two ages? The sample is way too small.)

23.01 % of my neighbors have college degrees or better.

(Check. --Does that include the kids?)

The ad on the back says the Institute for Justice is defending me against Minnesota's tendency to use Eminent Domain for the benefit of PRIVATE developers. For which I thank them.

Inside the back cover it urges me to go to to get a form email urging Jim Ramstad, my representative, to vote for decriminalization of medical marijuana. Which I'm inclined to do.

I hope JB wasn't too put off by my

down in the dumps post the other day. I'll have to think of something to inspire one of those well thought-out comments of his.

Ah, it'll have to be later. Gotta read somebody a story.

I took the "which movie would you be in" test

as Mr. Pterodactyl recommended. I'll be dipped in something!

Lord of the Rings!

What movie Do you Belong in?(many different outcomes!)
brought to you by Quizilla

No doubt my friends are all as talented as I am.

Donald Luskin

talks about outsourcing:
The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that the volume of offshore outsourcing will increase by 30 to 40 percent a year for the next five years. Forrester Research estimates that 3.3 million white-collar jobs will move overseas by 2015. Gartner estimates that by the end of this year, 1 out of every 10 IT jobs will be outsourced overseas. Deloitte Research estimates the outsourcing of 2 million financial-sector jobs by 2009.

These aren't even really "estimates." They're forecasts. No, they're S.W.A.G.'s -- stupid wild-ass guesses.

I tend to agree with his line of thought.

He goes on to explain how comparative advantage works, but you'll have to read his explanation.

Sounds like Vinod Valloppillil is the blogger I want to be.

[Okay, so I can't post a link in the title bar.]

A thoughtful, insightful, informed libertarian. I plan to study his work and see if I can compete on that level without losing my personal voice.

I may just be a shlub.

The Moderate Voice links a new blog, The Iron Blog, in which Valoppollil is the libertarian participant in a continuing debate on current affairs.

I may soon add both to my link list.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Hey! The new dashboard is pretty cool.

A block quote indenting thingy! Italics got the point across, but this is the proper way to do it. They may talk me into getting the Google search bar too, with the Blog This button.

Had some storms this afternoon, had to hit the basement, but it was nothing too scary here. The weatherman said a tornado was tracking straight at us, but the Twin Cities record remains clean. I've heard that the temperature changes caused by large areas of pavement break them up. That's the only good reason I can think of for living in a big city.
I forgot to comment on it the other day, and I'm sure somebody corrected Hugh Hewitt by now, but he was going on and on about John Kerry saying to the Anti-Defamation league that one of the greatest commandments is "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." He thought it rediculous that Kerry would cite a passage from the New Testament to ingratiate himself to a group of Jews.

Sorry, Hugh. Jesus was quoting Scripture to satisfy the experts; Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the Lord.

Powerline quotes Kerry:
For all of its history, ADL has been self-asked to live up to one of the oldest most fundamental principles of civilization. It is actually one of the Commandments as we know: "Love your neighbor." And all of you are yourselves showing courage, because it can be bitter, it is tough. Bigotry, hatred, fear, drive people to do things that are inexplicable, and it is hard in any community to stand up against that, but it is vital.

And Hugh:
John Kerry -- connecting again with yet another audience. ADL is a largely Jewish organization, which is not likely to recognize John Kerry's "commandment" as one of the big 10.

It may be rambling drivel, but it's not an inaccurate use of the passage.

Ah, Powerline does indeed make this point. But I'm much briefer.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Sorry to be such a dullard today.

No, I haven't gotten around to fixing this thing yet. I had to go out and trim my hedge. It's about 300 yards long around three sides of the yard, so it wipes me out pretty good. I'm feeling the first hints of soreness in my forearms. My wife is completely unsympathetic. She, of course, has never done it.

Plus the fact that my power trimmer died and my stepson, I think, hocked his gas trimmer for drugs (libel alert: I don't know that). He's bought himself a new used truck and abandoned his old used truck on the street in front of our house. That'll work well for him. They ticket you here for parking overnight on the street. They'll tow it for him soon. I think tomorrow I'll load all the junk he's left here back on it.

CPFJB was wondering how I managed to worry about such foolish things as the presidential election when I had so many problems. Answer: I'm used to problems; these other things still need to be dealt with. I'm a bit tired of politics for now though.

I think it was John Adams who said, "I study tactics and naval engineering so that my son may study politics and history and my grandson may study poetry and pottery."

Friday, May 07, 2004

Has anybody run into this SideFind thing?

It's annoying the hell out of me. It pretends it's a search engine, but it won't even offer any service. It just keeps popping open a side window. I think it's spyware or adware.

McAfee says it's in my System Restore files, but it says it's write protected so it can't do anything about it. I have four other things like that. I've written down the addresses and I opened one file, but there's a ton of stuff. Can I delete that whole file?

Update: for those of you who don't like to open comment sections, I explained what I eventually had to do to solve my problem in this post: On SideFind. But read the comments in both places.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

I made some adjustments to my links.

I added Free-Market.Net, an shuffled things around to indicate, somewhat, the esteem in which I hold them. No doubt that's an ongoing project.

As far as the My Community section, I couldn't bring myself to oust E. G. Ross from the place of honor. If you want to compete with him, you know what you have to do. (Hint: drop dead.)

Ron's my brother and most frequent visitor and commenter, followed closely by LibertyBob. I'm not going to do a statistical analysis to figure out where John and Todd fit into those categories--considered yourselves tied.

Ayn Clouter pops in now and then, and I enjoy her writing wherever I find it, even though I'm pretty sure we don't vote for the same candidates. She shows me that there's more to enjoying life than agreeing on politics. [This Grammar God declares that last sentence acceptable.]

The Moderate Voice gave me a great honor once, but he never comes around anymore.
Update: I'll be d***ed, but not quite yet.

50words is here because...of her dogged determination to be understanding. And we've had a good exchange or two.

HAC's here because a lot of us "met" there, and I feel comfortable speaking my mind on her site. Of course, arrogant puke that I am, I'm not backward about speaking my mind on any site that allows comments.

Another quote from Jean-Francois Revel's


Discredited by its compacent indulgence of, or complicity in, Communist genocides, the Left never stops imagining fascist dangers culled from the museums of history. According to its own version of history, the only real twentieth-century totalitarianism was Nazism, or more generally fascism in its multiple forms. Hence the incessant drumming on the subject of Hitler, the Holocaust, Mussolini and Vichy, whereas the chronicle of Communism's crimes, which have continued long after 1945, is always subject to vigilant censorship. Any book devoted to the topic sets off a counteroffensive against its author (or authors), on whom are dumped cartloads of mendacious calumnies, above all the accusation of serving the interests of Nazism and anti-Semitism. This practice is aimed at discrediting them, so as to avoid the duty of having to formulate replies. [Footnote: For detailed descriptions of these tactics, I refer the reader to two of my own books: La Grande Parade (Plon, 2000; Pocket, 2001); and La Nouvelle Censure (Robert Laffont, 1977). In La Grande Parade I describe in particular the disgraceful defamatory treatment inflicted on the authors of The Black Book of Communism.] But it is the Left whose loyalties we have to question.

It is not surprising if students, in their manifestos and demonstrations, call upon a truncated version of history: this is the expurgated version that prevails in secondary and university education. Jacques Marseille, himself an hors caste (pariah) historian, recounts: "When I sat on the examining board of the HEC [Footnote: Ecole des hautes etudes commerciales: the top French business school, one of the Grandes Ecoles.], I often questioned the students about Stalinism. Most of them replied with a straight face that Uncle Joe's mistake was to prioritize capital goods over the consumer goods sector. Then I would ask them if they weren't aware of any more serious transgressions--the Gulag, for example.... Amazing!" [Footnote: Le Figaro, 26 April 2002.]
The fundamental role of anti-Americanism in this agenda will be readily understood. Europe in general and its Left in particular absolve themselves of their own moral failings and their grotesque intellectual errors by heaping them onto the monster scapegoat, the United States of America. For stupidity and bloodshed to vanish from Europe, the U.S., contrary to every lesson of real history, must be identified as the singular threat to democracy. Even during the Cold War, although it was the U.S.S.R. that annexed Eastern Europe, made satellites out of several African countries and invaded Afghanistan, and although it was the People's Republic of China that marched into Tibet, attacked South Korea and subjugated three Indochinese countries, it remained dogma among Europeans--from Sweden to Sicily, from Athens to Paris--that the only power that could be fingered as "imperialistic" was America.

This is all on pp. 158-159 of the hard cover. This is pretty representative of his writing. It really draws you in. He also hammers European Rightists, like Jean-Marie le Pen, for their use of America as a scapegoat. If you're interested, buy the book.

Well, how about that?

One political hurdle has been crossed in implementing a Personal Rapid Transit system in Duluth.

They're looking at the SkyWeb Express system, developed at the U of MN. They've got a five minute video for people with a fast internet connection, but it says the same thing they say on their home page.

They also have news updates, including some negative articles. Here's one from a guy running a small local paper that wasn' there when I was, who's as enthusiastic as I am. It's a good introduction to the whole concept as well, if you've never heard of it.

Update: I didn't mention earlier that they're spending a lot of time waiting around for the Government, governments actually, to act. I learned as a kid, that if you wait around for somebody else to do something for you, you're wasting life-force.

It's about time the French started

applying their isolationist attitudes properly:

France tries to soften local style of Islam

Officials there have deported two allegedly radical clerics, leading a Europe-wide crackdown.

By Peter Ford | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

PARIS – As European governments crack down on radical imams as part of their battle against Islamic terrorism, they have laid bare a central problem for millions of their Muslim citizens: a lack of homegrown religious leaders to guide their integration into Western societies.

Dalil Boubaker, the head of Paris's Grand Mosque, is harsher. "There are 1,500 places of Islamic worship in France," he says. "Five hundred of them have proper imams. The other thousand are clowns."

So we finally hear from a moderate Muslim leader.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

I missed this in the news:

Dear Editor:

The re-election of Sudan to the U.N. Human Rights Commission--chaired by terrorist-sponsoring Libya in 2003--demonstrates once again the total moral bankruptcy of the United Nations.

The list of atrocities and violations of human rights in Sudan is endless. As Human Rights Watch reported this week, "The Sudanese government is complicit in crimes against humanity," including the "killing, raping and looting of African civilians." More evidence on the nature of Sudan's government is that children "as young as 9 years old" are "forcibly recruited" to fight a civil war that has "resulted in the death of 2 million persons."

According to the U.S. Department of State, "female genital mutilation," usually "performed on girls between the ages of 4 and 7," is "widespread" in Sudan. To this day in Sudan, "slavery persists, particularly affecting women and children."

Outraged at Sudan's election to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, the U.S. delegation walked out of the meeting--just as it did a year ago after the election of totalitarian Cuba to the same commission.

America's continuing participation in the United Nations, an organization that protects and serves as a forum for the bloodiest dictatorships and terrorist regimes in the world, is a sanction of evil that runs contrary to America's self-interest. If the United States has any respect left for human rights, it should follow the example of its delegation and walk out of the United Nations.

David Holcberg
Ayn Rand Institute

2121 Alton Parkway #250
Irvine 92606 CA
(949) 222-6550 ext 226

Want to know how I really feel?

Here's a letter I wrote to my sister:

Dear German Family,

I'm healthy as ever. Losing weight. My computer's been munching down adware and viruses, though. I cringe every time I see the little modem icon light up.

Laurie's been having wild swings of blood pressure. She's being tested for that.

Rosie can read pretty well now. Her first reading group was apparently for kids whose parents taught them to read when they were three. The word lists for spelling were unbelieveably counterintuitive. But she's in the right group now. Rosie likes being read to, and she seems to enjoy doing it herself - she figures out words you wouldn't imagine her getting, though she doesn't necessarily remember them or learn to spell them. She reads cereal boxes pretty well. She'll probably teach Aliina to read by the time she's three.

Aliina is stunningly beautiful and cheerful. She's also big. Off the scale. Rosie was, and is, at the top of her size charts for her age, but Aliina's bigger than she was. We're afraid to let Rosie hold her. The measurements don't seem all that impressive when we take her to the doctor, but somehow she just looks huge. She hates shots, and we hate to make her go through them, but diphtheria, tetanus and polio are far worse. A couple of times, after her first set of shots, she woke up in the middle of the night screaming just like she did when she got them. And this last time, she was Happy Baby until she saw the needles on the table. Laurie had to leave.
The nurse did a real good job though and maybe I was good at holding her steady (I knew the consequences of failing at that, Laurie held her last time [not to place blame ] and she was sore for a week). She was a little tender the next day, but she seemed perfectly well two days later. What's the feminine form of Captain America?

Who to vote for? Bush. As a Libertarian, I hate to say that, but our guy isn't better on the War on Terror. Actually, I don't like that term. Terror is an emotion, which is a part of each individual. It should be the War on Terrorists. I'm afraid we have to find them and kill them, and I believe Bush is showing great determination and strategic skill at that. Terrorist attacks were down last year. They had camps in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now they don't. Qaddafi appears to have lost heart for that kind of warfare. The killers are stupid enough to go fight our troups in Iraq and they're getting slaughtered. Criminals are almost always people who were too stupid to live the right way; they're people who refuse to listen to their teachers and learn to be constructive, and for the most part, that's what we're up against. I think Osama bin Laden is scraping the bottom of the barrel.

I say Bush shows strategic skill because he's not just bombing the crud out of all the Muslim countries, he's using the minimum of force necessary. He wants the vast majority of the people there to become productive citizens of their own countries. Remember, we still have bigger weapons in reserve, if it comes down to that. Maybe somebody should tell our enemies that.

This is not a quagmire. Vietnam was much worse, and remember, on the tiny atoll of Tarawa, in World War II, we lost 1100 marines just getting on the beach. In twenty four hours. Not to mention Normandy (D-Day).

These thoughts probably wouldn't go over big in Germany these days, so, as a missionary, mind your "ps and qs," but remember them at voting time.

Love, Alan.

Here's her answer:

Dear Alen,
Thanks for the advice on who to vote for. It was a good letter. I hope to write more later.

Note the typo. Cue Rodney, "I don't get no respect."

Whoa! Some interesting surfing here!

The Centre for Counterterrorism Studies (CT Studies) provides advanced and innovative counterterrorism and security strategic and tactical training, analysis and consulting for the US Government and corporate sector. Get a professional, in-depth understanding of the issues and enhance your CT and security awareness by attending our executive-level courses taught by experts retired from the FBI, CIA, DOD, RCMP and KGB.

And great news links too.

Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies (CI Centre) Counterintelligence Training, Analysis and Consulting.

Take one of these trips:

SpyTrek®: Espionage-Themed Travel Excursions
The most intriguing and unique vacations you'll ever go on!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

I've been neglecting spiritual matters lately.

Now you're in for it:

Continuing The Surangama Sutra [Introduction part 1 here, part 2 here--for some reason my computer bumps up a couple posts when I click the permalink, so you may have to scroll down] with

paragraph 5

From that time I have constantly thought about them [the thirty-two marks of excellency in my Lord's personality] and have been more and more convinced that these marks of excellence would be impossible for anyone who was not free from all sexual passion and desire. And why? Because when anyone becomes inflamed by sexual passion, his mind becomes disturbed and confused, he loses self-control and becomes reckless and crude. Besides, in sexual intercourse, the blood becomes inflamed and impure and adulterated with impure secretions. Naturally from such a source, there can never originate an aureole of such transcendently pure and golden brightness as I have seen emanating from the person of my Lord. It was because of this that I admired my Lord and it was this that influenced me to become one of thy true followers.

The Lord Buddha then said:--Very good, Ananda! All of you in this Great Dharma Assembly ought to know and appreciate that the reason why sentient beings by their previous lives since beginningless time have formed a succession of deaths and rebirths, life after life, is because they have never realized the true Essence of Mind and its self-purifying brightness. On the contrary they have been absorbed all the time busying themselves with their deluding and transient thoughts which are nothing but falsity and vanity., Hence they have prepared for themselves the conditions for this ever returning cycle of deaths and rebirths.

Ananda, if you are now desirous of more perfectly understanding Supreme Enlightenment and the enlightening nature of pure Mind-Essence, you must learn to answer questions spontaneously with no recourse to discriminating thinking. For the Tathagatas in the ten quarters of the universes have been delivered from the ever returning cycle of deaths and rebirths by this same single way, namely, by reliance upon their intuitive minds.

It is because of the straight-forwardness of their minds and the spontaneity of their mentations that the Tathagatas have ever remained, from beginningless time to endless time, of one pure Suchness, undisturbed by any complexity within their minds nor any rising thoughts of discrimination.

The folks at

would like us to celebrate the banishment of Napoleon to Elba 190 years ago April 11 by remembering the words of Thomas Jefferson on Napoleon

An exerpt from the article by Laurence M. Vance:


Robespierre met the fate, and his memory the execration, he so justly merited. The rich were his victims, and perished by thousands. It is by millions that Bonaparte destroys the poor, and he is eulogized and deified by the sycophants even of science. These merit more than the mere oblivion to which they will be consigned: and the day will come when a just posterity will give to their hero the only preeminence he has earned, that of having been the greatest of the destroyers of the human race. What year of his military life has not consigned a million of human beings to death, to poverty and wretchedness! What field in Europe may not raise a monument of the murders, the burnings, the desolations, the famines, and miseries it has witnessed from him?

A good reminder of history.

Monday, May 03, 2004 linked me to

The American Enterprise magazine, the official organ of the American Enterprise Institute. I wasn't aware of how good these guys were up to now. Karl Zinsmeister, the editor and chief, has written this gem, Don't Be Afraid of Competition, which, though it's one of those editors article's which acts as an introduction to the rest of the magazine, goes a long way toward debunking most of the anti-capitalist, anti-globalist crapola that passes for left-of-center rhetoric these days.

I hate to take up a Fisking at this late hour

but the WaPo is asking for it. I'll just do a paragraph or two:

As much as has gone wrong in recent months, there remains a viable way forward on both the political and military fronts. That course is one identified not by us or the Bush administration but by United Nations mediators and Iraqis themselves. The administration has begun to embrace this strategy, but there is still much more the president must do to make a successful outcome possible.

Yacking is enough to satisfy killers. That paragraph takes care of itself, fisk-wise.

America's greatest disadvantage now is that it has almost entirely lost the political authority and public tolerance it enjoyed in Iraq a year ago.

How did we gain that authority, and, I would say "deference" rather than "tolerance."

A poll released last week by CNN and USA Today showed that 71 percent of Iraqis regard coalition troops as occupiers.

71% of Iraqis acknowledge reality. That would make a great headline for an article about how delusionary 29% of them were.

Fifty-seven percent say they would like the foreign forces to leave immediately, even though a majority also say that a pullout would make the situation worse.

One presumes that the 57% make up about 3/4 of the 71% who acknowledge the reality that the coalition is an occupying force and are not diluted by those who refuse to acknowledge (no doubt for political/rhetorical reasons) that occupying is part of liberating.

The many errors of the U.S.-led occupation,

As opposed to the deliberate evil repression of the Baathist regime

ranging from failure to create a more international administration

in the face of the short-sighted selfish opposition of the French, German and Russian governments

to the slowness of reconstruction

Construction is always slower than destruction

and, most recently, the shocking reports of mistreatment of prisoners have helped create a situation in which no U.S. political initiative is likely to be accepted by Iraqis.

Yep, it was treasonous behavior that must be prosecuted.

Unilateral military actions, even against extremists with little support, risk touching off a national uprising.

Non-sequitur: the extremists don't love the U.N. any more than I do. Considerably less, I should think.

Weak allies are at greater risk than strong ones. Even John Kerry realizes that failure is not an option in Iraq.