Friday, March 31, 2006

That's all right, isn't it?

Killian's Red

(66% dark & bitter, 66% working class, 0% genuine)

I'll start with a quote from a review of Killian's Red that I think will reflect on you, too: "deep flavor, somewhat mild, with a moderate head." It goes on to talk about a "light caramel odor," and while that sounds nice, I don't think I can go that far in my analysis.

Overall, Killian's is a very good beer. The only thing that kinda sucks is that even though it says "Irish Red" on the bottle, this stuff's made by Coors, not peaty old Dubliners. I guess that's my way of telling you that you scored on the lower side of the "genuine" part of my test. Here's my guess: you're a sensible, likeable person, and you're popular among different groups of people. The test probably read that as a slight superficiality.

Personality-wise, you have refined tastes (after all, this stuff is kind of expensive), but you know how to savor what you get. Your personality isn't exactly bubbly, but you're well-liked nonetheless. Your sense of humor is rather dark, but that's just another way to say sophisticated, right?

As a real George Killian would say: Sláinte! Cheers!

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 40% on dark

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 39% on workingclass

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on genuine
Link: The If You Were A Beer Test written by gwendolynbooks on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

What? Is that on cable?

You scored as Moya (Farscape). You are surrounded by muppets. But that is okay because they are your friends and have shown many times that they can be trusted. Now if only you could stop being bothered about wormholes.

Moya (Farscape)


Serenity (Firefly)


Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)


Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)


SG-1 (Stargate)


Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)


Enterprise D (Star Trek)


Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)


Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)


Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)


Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)


FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)


Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with

Thanks Mr. Pt.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I see that MY blog ads are still pushing Anne of Green Gables related sites.

Good. I'm a complete convert.

It's probably not well known that Anne was a conservative. At a time and place when (and where) I wouldn't have minded being called a conservative. Canadian Tories weren't, from 1900-1920, what they were, by a long shot, in the late 18th Century. The Old Whigs had won the intellectual war by then.

Unfortunately, the New Whigs (fascinating post on the term herek, though I take my usage from Friedrich A. Hayek) had taken over the Liberal Party, who were too strongly influenced by the winners of the French Revolution, and who were promptly overpowered by socialists.

Gladstone vs. Disraeli: Well, I prefer Gladstone, generally, but Disraeli was seldom truly awful. (Is that D'Israeli? Let's get that right here. Google says nope.)

Of course, England was given to free trade unless it regarded her colonies. She has a strong tendency to revert to the policies that caused us to rebel whenever she was feeling her oats.

There's a lesson there.

Dave Thompson's on the air right now, though he'll be off by the time

I publish this.

He's my favorite local radio personality. [That link says "Weekend Shows;" he's been on nightly from 7:30-10:00 for three weeks.] I liked Jason Lewis better when he was in town, but then he moved to Charlotte. And then, that was then, before Lewis fell under the spell of Pat Buchanen. Frankly, I like Buchanen, too, as a guy, but I don't like his political philosophy at all.

Anyway, Dave Thompson's the closest thing to a minarchist libertarian you'll find on the air, short of Neal Boortz, though usually Dave applies a touch of "Minnesota Nice" when he disagrees with you.

One thing Dave has always had over Jason is that he's not given to abusing his vocabulary. That LLD has paid off at least in that respect.

Completely off topic, I met Jason once at an appearance. I'm a 6'0" 230, strong as an ox, brown-eyed handsome man, and I'm not accustomed to being bowled over by the appearance of another male, but I was when I walked up to shake his hand.

He absolutely fit my model of masculine perfection. Pictures don't capture it. "Broad at the shoulder, narrow at the hip," he's gotta be all of 6' 3"... Red hair, every feature strong... I was pole-axed.

And he seemed to recongnize all that with warmth and consideration. I won't transcribe that abortive conversation, because it's embarassing to me. But I left a greater fan because of how he handled it.

I'll always be a fan of his for that, even though I find that Dave Thompson now does a better job of expressing my political opinions on the air than he did when he left.

Herman Cain, at today,

The other lie liberals perpetually tell is that low tax rates cause budget deficits. History proves just the opposite – that cuts in income, capital gains and dividends tax rates increase the amount of federal revenues available for Congress to spend. The only thing that can cause a budget deficit is when Congress spends in excess of available revenues, and the president at the time signs off on that spending. Members of Congress who blame tax cuts for causing deficits might as well argue that gun manufacturers cause homicides, fast food restaurants cause obesity and cigarette makers cause lung cancer. Surely no one would agree with that flawed logic.

It's all of a piece, isn't it?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Here's a word I had to look up today:

Cachexia. I got the definition from Medicine
Physical wasting with loss of weight and muscle mass caused by disease. Patients with advanced cancer, AIDS, and some other major chronic progressive diseases may appear cachectic. Cachexia is a wasting syndrome that causes weakness and a loss of weight, fat, and muscle. Anorexia (lack of apppetite) and cachexia often occur together. Cachexia can occur in people who are eating enough, but who cannot absorb the nutrients. Cachexia is not the same as starvation. A healthy person's body can adjust to starvation by slowing down its use of nutrients, but in cachectic patients, the body does not make this adjustment.

Work that one into your conversations, eh? I ran across it while reading this article about CoQ10.

Cutting to the chase:
Several trials involved the comparison between supplemental CoQ10 and placebo on heart function as measured by echocardiography. CoQ10 was given orally in divided doses as a dry tablet chewed with a fat containing food or an oil based gel cap swallowed at mealtime. Heart function, as indicated by the fraction of blood pumped out of the heart with each beat (the ejection fraction), showed a gradual and sustained improvement in tempo with a gradual and sustained improvement in patients' symptoms of fatigue, dyspnea, chest pain, and palpitations. The degree of improvement was occasionally dramatic with some patients developing a normal heart size and function on CoQ10 alone. Most of these dramatic cases were patients who began CoQ10 shortly after the onset of congestive heart failure. Patients with more established disease frequently showed clear improvement but not a return to normal heart size and function.

Internationally, there have been at least nine placebo controlled studies on the treatment of heart disease with CoQ10:two in Japan,two in the United States, two in Italy, two in Germany, and one in Sweden (17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25). [I've no idea what those numbers refer to, ed.] All nine of these studies have confirmed the effectiveness of CoQ10 as well as its remarkable safety. ...The majority of the clinical studies concerned the treatment of heart disease and were remarkably consistent in their conclusions: that treatment with CoQ10 significantly improved heart muscle function while producing no adverse effects or drug interactions.

They end the article with a FAQ that is well worth reading. Here's a couple important points: "should a reasonably healthy person take CoQ10 to stay healthy or to become more robust? At present I do not believe anyone knows the answer to this question." And, "Published data on the dosage of CoQ10 relates almost exclusively to the treatment of disease states. There is no information on the use of CoQ10 for prevention of illness. This is an extremely important question which, to date, does not have an answer."

There's more. If you read the article, you'll go out and buy some. That's where I'm headed.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Robert LaFevre said this

in an article called The Abstract Concept of Liberty:
What of those who find fascination of things uppermost in their minds as they consider freedom? Ordinarily, the fascination here tends to centralize and focus on the question of money. Freedom becomes important because it means profits. Those thinking at this level usually forget that a free market has its merit because the customer is king. And, as customers rule, it is customer choice that finally determines who will profit and who will lose. A free market is a profit and loss system, with only the customers making the final decision.

In short, if one is free, one will have more money with which to buy more things with which to get more money. Here are often found those businessmen who speak from both sides of their mouths. They favor a free market until they face effective competition. Immediately, they clamor for protection against the dollar losses which will now accrue to them. The important item in their thinking is the dollars to be gained rather than the importance of deserving those dollars.

My emphasis.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

What I Ate For Breakfast

A poem by my daughter:

You won't believe what I ate for breakfast.
I had a car tire, bike tire, truck tire, tree branch,
leaves, igneous rocks, metamorphic rocks, and
sedimentary rocks. So now that you know what
I ate for breakfast, I suppose you want to
know what I ate for lunch.

KSTP has found a new kick-butt personality!

Blogger Aaron Clarey: a frenetic economist who can be found at Captain Capitalism.

Oh, he's a Friedmanite Neo-Classical, which means that he's more satisfied with the status quo than I think a Real Man oughta be. But Hell, it could be worse--he could be a devotee of Krugman, Samuelson or Galbraith!

Hey! I appreciate him just for posting this picture:

Free Image Hosting at

He's gonna get a link from me!

Or two.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Slow Bleep that I am, I've just run across Eric's Grumble

"The Sovereign Individual."

Here I've hacked out the heart of it, to show it to you. If you want to see the whole body alive and breathing, follow the link. [And follow his links from it, if you want to see how Freedom works.]
Robert Heinlein, who first described Rational Anarchy, said, "A rational anarchist believes that concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blame . . . as blame, guilt, responsibility are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else."
Sovereign, as an adjective, means self-governing, or independent. We understand that a sovereign nation is completely responsible for its actions as a nation, the conduct of its leaders, the laws and police powers it applies to its citizens. And, just as importantly, we understand that there is no law that is superior to that of a sovereign nation, unless that nation chooses to agree to such law. Using this understanding of sovereign, and observing the behavior of individuals, both in and out of a social group, we can understand that ultimately sovereignty is housed within the individual. Which is what a Rational Anarchist believes.
This sovereignty does not exist because of the inherent rights of the individual, but rather because of the inherent responsibility and power of the individual. Every action is, ultimately, the result of the decision of an individual. This applies even to the ultimate expression of national sovereignty, making war.
With our current understanding of government and societies, we recognize that they are established to protect certain inherent rights, including life, liberty and property. What is important, though, is to understand that those inherent rights are the result of behavior by the individual, behavior that establishes sovereignty. The individual creates rights by taking, holding and improving property, by defending their life, by the acts of free association and free movement. And in the very act of making the decision to take such actions, the individual establishes that they are sovereign.
For responsibility for your actions and your moral decisions is inherent to you, the individual. Whether you want to accept it, or not. Your individual responsibility comes before your individual rights. It is what establishes your individual rights. And it cannot be taken from you, nor abdicated by you. No matter what anyone who believes in collectivism, of any political variety, may try to say, this fact, that you are sovereign and responsible for each and every action and decision is an unalterable, immutable fact of intelligence and consciousness.
Whether you choose to acknowledge it, or not, you are responsible for everything that you do, or don’t do. Trying to shift that blame is self-delusion. This is the difference between a child and an adult. An adult is capable, emotionally and mentally, of accepting responsibility for self, a child is not. You, ultimately, are sovereign, subject only to your own morals and ethics, responsible for yourself.

TANSTAAFL-There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch: everything has to be paid for. Are you willing to accept the price?

That IS libertarian morality. And it kicks YOUR morality's butt any day.

Update: Kyle Bennett reminded me that I hadn't included the link. Sorry about that.

And speaking of "sorry about that," I swear to God, I thought I had a permanent link to Kyle's blog. That oversight will be rectified momentarily.

Amartya Sen shows the brilliance that earned him a Nobel Prize

(Economics) in today's Wall Street Journal:
[T]he history of Muslims includes a variety of traditions, not all of which are just religious or "Islamic" in any obvious sense. The work of Arab and Iranian mathematicians, from the eighth century onward reflects a largely nonreligious tradition. Depending on politics, which varied between one Muslim ruler and another, there is also quite a history of tolerance and of public discussion, on which the pursuit of a modern democracy can draw. For example, the emperor Saladin, who fought valiantly for Islam in the Crusades in the 12th century, could offer, without any contradiction, an honored place in his Egyptian royal court to Maimonides, as that distinguished Jewish philosopher fled an intolerant Europe. When, at the turn of the 16th century, the heretic Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake in Campo dei Fiori in Rome, the Great Mughal emperor Akbar (who was born a Muslim and died a Muslim) had just finished, in Agra, his large project of legally codifying minority rights, including religious freedom for all, along with championing regular discussions between followers of Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism and other beliefs (including atheism).

Cultural dynamics does not have to build something from absolutely nothing, nor need the future be rigidly tied to majoritarian beliefs today or the power of the contemporary orthodoxy. To see Iranian dissidents who want a fully democratic Iran not as Iranian advocates but as "ambassadors of Western values" would be to add insult to injury, aside from neglecting parts of Iranian history (including the practice of democracy in Susa or Shushan in southwest Iran 2,000 years ago). The diversity of the human past and the freedoms of the contemporary world give us much more choice than cultural determinists acknowledge. This is particularly important to emphasize since the illusion of cultural destiny can extract a heavy price in the continued impoverishment of human lives and liberties.

Mr. Sen, the 1998 Nobel laureate in economics, is the author of "Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny," published next week by Norton.

If he's bucking for a Nobel Peace Prize... well, I'd vote for him. And, maybe, a Pulitzer for this piece.

Although, I suppose I'd better read the book first before I make that promise.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I believe I've been doing more that my promised one out of 3.5 posts

over at The Bourgeois Philistine of late.

Partly because I consider it my workshop and partly because a lot of what I've been thinking about is more suited to discussion under the heading of Shopkeeper or Middle-Class life-style, than classical-liberalism/libertarianism.

Take a look and tell me where you think I've gone wrong. The place is made for kibbitzing.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Blundering about like the typical bourgeois American that I am

I ran across an oldish post of mine that I thought rated reiteration:
I pretty much acknowledge all the collectivist epithets that could be hurled my way as things to be proud of. "Finnlander" is considered an ethnic slur by my ancestors who are still living. It was a term of real social oppression for some who are still living in our neck of the woods. I suppose "Jew-lover" might be used against me in a way that would make me see red. And if someone were to seriously insult my black or Mexican friends I would be very angry. And, as I've said before, I have deep respect for a number of gay people that I don't want to see harmed or hurt.

I do get tired of accusations that, since I'm white guy, I have no understanding of oppression. All of my Finnish ancestors were forced out of the mining careers that they were promised, upon entering this country, by the current members of the unions of the time.

They did manage to find work in the logging camps and/or were allowed to homestead farms, which they managed with great success.

Whoops! Story time!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Rosie would like me to write something funny.

I don't know if I'll succeed, since I'm such a navel-gazer, but I'll give it a shot.

I'll just start off talking about family life and see what turns up.

We, Rosie and I, have story time every night. Since last summer, we've read the Harry Potter series, the Narnia books and now we're working on L.M. Montgomery's Anne books (Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, etc.). We're reading Anne of Windy Poplars right now.

I've spent my whole life trying to be a manly man and now it's come to this. (Sigh!) Oh, well. I guess it's more important to me to be a good dad to my daughters than to be macho.

The fact is that I'm enjoying the books a great deal. Montgomery does a fantastic job of evoking the beauty that Anne sees in life, even though she began as an abused orphan waif, and then all the funny or sad things that happen as she grows into her family on Prince Edward Island.

Rosie's still interested in the stories, even though Anne is now in her twenties and a Principal of a school. Of course that keeps kids as a central part of the story. Rosie was watching over my shoulder and she wanted to see a little bit about that in here.

Now she's gone up to watch Extreme Home Make-over and Lena's down here trying to get me to play with her Clifford puppet. Oop! Took me too long. She's going back "upsthtair."

She's back. Giving me five, laughing at the hearts and flowers on her clothes. Counting something, looking for her rubber ducky, coveting my miniature '69 Olds Cutlass S. It's kinda hard to keep up. I can't type that fast.

I put up some pictures of her in "the back room". Well, one of her (more in and older post) and two of Rosie playing outside in the snow. We made a snowman today. And there's one picture of my workshop/weightroom.

My Lenten resolution was to eat only meat and vegetables, but then Girl Scout cookies came out. Oh, well.

Rosie read to me Omni's St. Patrick's Day post. I only had to correct her pronunciation of a couple words. I didn't put her up to it. Not sure why she felt the need, but what could it hurt, eh? She learned at least one new word.

She wanted to look at people I've linked. I tried Mean Ol' Meany first, because she thought the name was funny, but that wasn't really suitable for children. She thought the dog with the beer was pretty funny. But we stopped reading the comments rather quickly.

Friday, March 17, 2006

They fined 'em!? You gotta be kidding!

Dear Editor:

The $3.6 million in "indecency" fines proposed by the FCC against CBS are an ominous attack on the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment.

Just as the government doesn't fine newspapers that publish cartoons that Muslims deem indecent, it shouldn't fine broadcasters that air shows that viewers deem indecent. Viewers are free to change the channel or turn off their TV set if they do not like what they see. They can't be forced to patronize a station they find indecent.

Moreover, it is the parents--not the government--who should be responsible for determining what their children are allowed to watch on TV.

David Holcberg

Copyright © 2006 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.

Dan Henninger reaches a conclusion I can buy

in his editorial in todays Opinion Journal entitled, "Barry Bonds, Meet Andrew Fastow: There's more to morality than the politics of sex."
The efficient path to an ethical revival would be to call upon religious institutions and the schools to teach morality. Uh-oh. Morality? Entire presidential campaigns and Supreme Court nominations are fought now over someone's idea of morality. What's right and wrong has become as red and blue as our politics.

But look a little closer. These religious wars are about one thing: sex.

After the 2004 "moral values" presidential election, Pew Research surveyed public attitudes. But the only explicitly identified determinants of moral belief named in their questionnaires are abortion, gay marriage and gay rights (and belief in God).

Maybe it's time for the sex obsessives on the left and right to take their fights over abortion and gay rights into a corner somewhere and give the rest of society space to restore some ethical rootedness in an endlessly variable world. Because letting the vacuum persist long enough on values useful to everyday life will breed too many little Bonds and little Fastows. And because the constant public magnification of these ethical breakdowns makes everyone feel like scuzz by association. It has a corrosive affect on the rest of us, on our sense of who we are.

I was taught to spell "scuzz" with one 'z,' but I like his point.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I see the Blog-Ads think I'm an ally of the anti-globalists

I consider that a defamation of character (though I promise I won't retain a lawyer over the matter).

No, indeed! I'm a great fan of Globalization, Creative Destruction, Progress and, what Virginia Postrel calls Dynamism. Does Peter Drucker have a term for it? I'd throw that in too.

I don't worship at the shrine of today's political boundaries. They were different ten years ago. I'd say they're better now and they've been improving, by my JUDGMENT for the last thirty or so years.

I believe in political boundaries; they shouldn't be violated by their neighbors... as long as The Authorities inside said boundaries weren't violating the rights of their citizens.

The economics of globalization? Guess what kids: Adam Smith and Ricardo (and Malthus, Say and Bastiat) mastered the field over 150 years ago. That is: open trade to Everyman and both sides will profit.

Celebrate The Ides responsibly, please.

That means no stabbing.

(Well, all right. Maybe a little. Insert photo of your favorite tyrant here.)

"Caesar had his Brutus," as Patrick Henry put it (in the footnote), on this day... I want to say 2050 years ago, but since the monks who made up our calendar didn't have zeroes, don't we have to subtract two years from that?

So we'll have to wait a couple years for the big wingding.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Here's a quote to go harangue

The Mises Institute about (the link is to the blog where haranguing is allowed):
I urge traditional believers in laissez-faire to remember that the market economy is a dynamic order. It is misleading to look at "jobs lost" due to some factor or other and ignore the jobs created by the same underlying processes. For example, I am quite sure that over 100 million US jobs have been destroyed by machinery during the 20th century, in the sense that one could count up every single job that was eradicated by the introduction of a particular labor-saving device. Naturally this doesn't mean that currently the vast majority of Americans are unable to find work, and that those who do must sell their labor hours for pennies. Yet arguments comparable to this lie behind much of the anti-globalization hysteria.

Before we let Dr. Murphy go, you should read this:
"...[I]t's not merely misleading, but 100% counterproductive, to oppose New World Order, backroom multinational corporation/NGO/Third World slave labor camp deals by saying one has "second thoughts on free trade." Yes, the true friend of free markets and liberty opposes thousand-page regulatory documents like NAFTA and GATT. If a multinational corporation cuts a deal with a petty tyrant and gets villagers to make sneakers at gunpoint, that's not "free trade" by any stretch."
Until the critics can come up with at least one actual recommendation that is (a) a deviation from laissez-faire and (b) will make Americans richer, I see no reason to reject the presumption of liberty. As is so often the case, not only is freedom just, it is also pragmatic.

FEE's In Brief post today is pretty good

[Here's the link.]
News & Commentary
Medicare Drug Benefit Woes Continue
March 13, 2006

"Pharmacists say they have been losing money under Medicare's new prescription drug benefit, and they have taken their concerns to the White House, forcing the administration to confront political problems caused by the rocky start of the program." (New York Times, Monday)

In the words of Mises: "Economics does not say that isolated government interference with the prices of only one commodity or a few commodities is unfair, bad, or unfeasible. It says that such interference produces results contrary to its purpose, that it makes conditions worse, not better...."

FEE Timely Classic

"Prescription for Disaster"
by Sheldon Richman

Friday, March 10, 2006

Eugene Tan analyses the declining achievements

of Singapore's Education System.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear:
Yet, in our deep-rooted belief that education is the universal medicine to all social ills, we keep expanding the catchment of education. We believe that if we manage to keep everyone in the school system long enough, everyone will be educated.

But how many times must we remind each other than getting an education and being educated are entirely different issues? Yet, the equivalence is drawn every time. The glaring differences (I won't even use the notion of subtlety here) are blurred with broad strokes.

We expand and expand and expand our educational streams and institutions. In the name of providing differentiated education to different parts of the student spectrum, have we considered that there are those whose real education is from the university of the society? Mandatory education does nothing for them.

It's unnatural to stop quoting him there, but this is a taste. It's brilliant. Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Al said...
God's not so bad, really. But sometimes his(?) rules make him(?) seem like a s***. (cf. His non-interference in the war between the angels and the demons.)

9:31 PM

It'd be more cryptic, I suppose, if I hadn't given the reference. If I shouldn't have, you know where to find me.

I like people with an edge to 'em.

That's why I have no friends now. None of 'em could stand each other and they all held it against me that I wanted to hang around with one or more of the other ones.

I like cats too. And "our" cat loves me and hates everybody else.

And, of course, I married one of my friends and none of the rest of my friends can stand her.

It's edged things that I like. I also collect knives.

This is all in aid of introducing an excerpt [a word with a bite] from Ann Coulter's critique of the Oscars:
Although I must tell you, overall, this Academy Awards ceremony was a major strategic retreat by Hollywood. Despite all their Bolshevik bluster about how Democratic politicians won't stand up to Republicans, the Hollywood left is as scared of decent patriotic Americans as the Democrats are.

"Brokeback Mountain" did not win best picture, "Munich" won nothing, and the Palestinian suicide bombers movie won nothing. There was no angry self-righteousness from Vanessa Redgrave against "Zionist hooligans," or from Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon for the Haitian boat people. There was no Bush-bashing. There was no Michael Moore. The host was not Whoopi Goldberg, so that's a big fat reward to every man, woman and child in America right there.

This may have been the most American Oscars yet, if America consisted of beautiful airheads in $50,000 dresses. And that was just the guys in "Brokeback Mountain."

I believe this marks the first time in Oscars history that an award recipient shouted, "Thank you, Jesus!" upon receiving his award. Admittedly, this was the only part of the speech that didn't have to be bleeped and it was for a song titled, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," but it's still a step forward.

She's America's best comedy writer, don't you think? I understand she does a heck of a stand-up show as well.

She doesn't slaughter all the sacred cows that are askin' for it, but she gets a lot of them.

She keeps her tools sharp.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Damn! Kirby Puckett died!

I'm listening now to Kent Hrbek on TV.... This will be a bit hard for me to write anything worth reading.

I loved Kirby. I came to Minnesota in 1987. It probably won't surprise anybody that I became a fan of the Twins that year. I think Puckett won my heart for the Twins when I was working a double shift one night and he hit for the cycle while we were listening on the radio. For those, ignorant of baseball jargon, that means he hit a single, a double, a triple and a homerun. If you don't know what those terms mean, I can't help you here.

Let's make it clear. I wasn't even a baseball fan, though it's hard to be an American boy and not learn a lot about the game. I suppose Moliter's 25 game hitting streak to start the '87 season got me pretty interested. But, as I say, I knew some things about baseball by then. I knew about Joe DiMaggio's streak and Pete Rose's. Actually, I learned about the former via the latter. Looks like 'Roids can't screw up that record.

Pretty sure Puck wasn't a "roid boy". [A friend and workout partner of mine was once called that. He considered it a complement, since he's one of those people who doesn't need steroids. I hope the RCMP is using his talent properly.]

[Interruption to blow bubbles and put bunnies to bed.]

I suppose it's just as well that I've lost my train of thought. There are better sources of info on what's happened.

Stewart Rhodes provokes a thought

in the Liberty Committee's More Liberty blog. In his article Government Supremicists, he argues:
The left and right differ only on what part of the federal government gets to decide when we are stripped of our constitutional protections. Certainly, many liberals disagree about particular policies, such as some of the provisions of the Patriot Act, the invasion of Iraq, rendition for torture, and the manner of confinement and treatment at abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. But we are concerned here with the constitutional law claim that we the people can be treated like the enemy at all. The right insists the president can do it entirely on his own, while the left insists that he must have the blessings of Congress and/or the courts before he spies on us, interns us in military brigs or concentration camps, tortures us for information (or renders us to a foreign nation to do that) or have us tried by a hand-picked military tribunal in a show trial before having us shot (if we get a trial).

These accusations of unconstitutionality need to be tried. It's not gonna happen in a government court, and an ad hoc court wouldn't have subpoena power, but I highly recommend that somebody hire a real, impartial judge who'd do it because he was interested in the questions (interested, as in "curious", not as in 'having a financial, or political, stake in the outcome'--here's a WOD for you: disinterested is a synonym of impartial, not uninterested--what I'd like the judge to be uninterested in is political-correctness, left, right, neo-con or anarchist; i.e. I want a disinterested judge). And real attorneys for the defense and prosecution.

And, of course, real procedures for handling evidence, testimony and whatever.

LibertyBob could summon an All-Thing.
It is these last procedural protections of the Bill of Rights (along with the First and Second Amendments) that the neo-conservative government supremacists now seek to destroy to attain their dream of unrestrained, unlimited "war" power in a loosely defined war on terror; a war that will likely never end. And the loyal opposition only insists on a role for politicians and willful judges in this murder of the Bill of Rights, trusting only in the god of democracy and the high priests on the federal bench to secure our lives and liberty. Our Constitution and our Bill of Rights have been largely abandoned by both the Republicans and the Democrats.

In the short-run, I'd say he's exaggerating, but I see his point for the long-run.

War is problematic for libertarians. It's a break-down of the rules of civilization--or, for those who hate civilization to start with (yeah, I've read some of your crap, I don't see that your version of anarch will help my daughters live long, healthy, happy lives), it's a break-down of Love and Respect and an outbreak of Hate and Violence.

I'm afraid that sometimes the Lovers and Respecters have to band together to suppress the Haters and Violators. It'd be nice if governments embodied love and respect, but they never will. They should be the embodiment of rules and procedures to protect individuals who practice those values.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Liberty Papers is a thing of beauty!

You guys are just kickin' A!

It's the Cato's Letters of the 21st Century. I applaud you! [Though I'm wistful about my lack of time to join you.]

I'm adding a new link to you in my link bar.

Bill Bradford's dead too?!!

[My first thought for a title for this was "AAGH! G** D*** H***!!"]

J****! What are we going to do now?!

I take deep comfort in this list:
R.W. Bradford

Stephen Cox

Andrew Ferguson
managing editor

John Hospers
Bruce Ramsey
Jane S. Shaw
senior editors

Brien Bartels
David Boaz
Alan W. Bock
Douglas Casey
Eric D. Dixon
Brian Doherty
Alan Ebenstein
David Friedman
Bettina Bien Greaves
Leon T. Hadar
Gene Healy
Robert Higgs
Bill Kauffman
Dave Kopel
Bart Kosko
Loren E. Lomasky
Sarah McCarthy
Wendy McElroy
William E. Merritt
Robert H. Nelson
Randal O'Toole
Ross Overbeek
Durk Pearson
Patrick Quealy
Jeff Riggenbach
Scott J. Reid
Ralph R. Reiland
Sheldon Richman
Timothy Sandefur
Sandy Shaw
JoAnn Skousen
Mark Skousen
Tim Slagle
Fred L. Smith Jr.
Martin M. Solomon
Clark Stooksbury
Thomas S. Szasz
Martin Morse Wooster
Leland B. Yeager
contributing editors

Mark Rand
Kathleen Bradford
assistant editors

S.H. Chambers
Rex F. May

There are a great many geniuses there. Their eulogies may be read here.

Let me quote from Joanne Skousen's:
In 1991 I gave a talk at the Eris Society meetings in Aspen, Colo. Entitled "Confessions of an English Major," it was about my experience as a politically incorrect but morally erect graduate student at the University of Florida. Afterwards Bill talked to me enthusiastically about my speech, both the content and the delivery, and suggested I should run for president on the Libertarian ticket.

"We need someone like you," he said. "You're a woman, you're married, you go to church, you like raising your kids, and you're intelligent besides. We need you to demonstrate that Libertarians aren't just druggies and anarchists." I took it as a compliment but thought nothing more about it until the week before Labor Day, when Bill started calling me from the Libertarian Convention every few hours to say, "Get out here! We need to nominate you!"

I was in Utah, taking my firstborn to her college orientation, and wouldn't leave her. But I love being able to tell people, "The Libertarian Party wanted me to run for president, but I had to take my daughter to school!"

The fact that Bill was serious about nominating me says a lot about his attitude toward liberty. He knew that liberty isn't just for anarchists, or technocrats, or druggies, or men, although that is the impression the media seem to have of libertarians. Bill knew that libertarian principles are as relevant for religious stay-at-home moms as they are for pot-smoking single males. He also believed that a libertarian political victory was possible. His wasn't just the purist, out-of-the-ashes-of-anarchy libertarianism, but a workable, electable libertarian style of limited government.

May Mr. Cox and the rest of those on that list worthily carry on the work of the Master.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Oh my God!! Harry Brown died!!

The Libertarian Party has the announcement here.

This is Harry website.

I own his books, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, Fail-Safe Investing and Why Government Doesn't Work, and the videotape The Great Libertarian Offer.

I also own a couple tapes of him speaking at Liberty Magazine conferences and I think he's in an Advocates for Self-Government set I bought. I still intend to buy Libertarianism A-Z.

I voted for Harry in 2000. (I was still a Republican in '96.)

You deserve a quote from How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. Heck, I'll give you a whole section of the chapter "Freedom from Government":
Three Principles
The first principle in in dealing with government, then, is: Don't be awed by it. What little the government accomplishes is almost always due to the voluntary participation of its citizens. Those who don't want to help the government can go their own ways without running into much trouble.

The second principle is: Don't confront the government. A sure way to make your life miserable is to attack the government head on. Its resources are limited, and it can't waste them tracking down every possible violator of every law. But it will certainly aim its power at anyone who publicly defies it. So keep to yourself, do what you have to do.

The third rule in dealing with government is: Don't organize. Don't get a large group of people together to defy tax laws, promote ways of circumventing the government, or openly violate regulations.

By joining protests, you might wind up in jail. And you won't have much freedom there.

And mass campaigns are easy targets. That's where the government is likely to devote its limited resources. When many people are doing the same thing, it's easy to stop them by passing laws or by applying existing laws against them.

When you act alone, however, you're usually not worth the trouble.

I once summarized the book jokingly to my wife as "Tell everyone who bugs you to f***-off!" Actually, it's more like, "Do whatever you want to do, but don't tell anyone who doesn't need to know." Emerson said, "Every actual government is corrupt. Good men must not obey laws too well." [I didn't cut and paste that one. I have it memorized.]

I was also rather enamored of chapter 12: The Previous-Investment Trap: my summary, you don't owe it to anybody or anything to "go down with the ship." [I'd say that the Egyptian ferry crew, the other day, misunderstood this principle to the point of justly prosecutable dereliction of duty, if not manslaughter... I mean... What did they think their job was? They committed fraud on the people who depended on them for their lives, to the point that many people died unnecessarily.] You have no duty whatsoever to sink you life with an obvious loser. In fact you have a duty to the preciousness of your own life to cut that loser loose.

[I just posted the latter paragraphs, somewhat edited, as a review at Amazon.

Hm. I might be editing that further, if I can. It seems that there were thoughts I'd thought I'd expressed that didn't appear.]

Apply the stop-loss investing principle across the board in your whole life.

Have I done that?

Not entirely, no. There are still some people in whom I've invests sizable portions of my life who haven't paid off yet, in terms of my happiness, but they may yet. The promise is not yet extinguished. With people, a hard and fast 25% stop-loss order is just another oppressive regulation.

The canon of libertarianism is named Human Action, after all.

Update: there are many beautiful encomiums to Harry on the blog of his latest great effort Downsize DC. An effort that will last well beyond his lifespan and doubtlessly bear the fruits of Freedom and Peace beyond its own lifespan.

Business Know How, besides having a ton of great articles

on how to run a small business, also has a pretty good blog.

Oh, I just had a link... Here:

Theory of Capitalism

Practice of Capitalism. (That's where to find the Business Know How articles.)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I hate to make excuses, but

it seems, lately, that everytime I have an idea for a good post I get interrupted.

See! The baby just came down with an earache. We're trying Dimetap and a heat-pad. Earaches almost always start with a runny nose, and she's had one for a few days now. I know how to keep gunk out of my eustacian tubes, but it's tough to teach that to a baby.

I suppose I should get in the habit of calling her a toddler. She definitely toddles these days.

I'd say the minimum research for a good post is three news articles. Four, if one's an editorial. Sometimes I post on less--when I think it's a good idea to just get my gut reaction out there, as I did on my last post. My opinion on the UAE deal stands until I'm proven wrong.

Hannity's on right now citing Dubai Ports World's support for Hammas and other shady UAE dealings. I haven't expressed my thoughts about Hammas winning the Palestinian elections, I guess. I think they'll actually do better than the PLO. If they look like they're pulling a Hitler, they'll be stopped.

Though, ugh! That reminds me of a theory I used to hold--and maybe still do, though it hasn't been tested much lately: stopping fights between people who want to fight only brings on greater catastrophes later. And, more importantly, delays (or destroys the opportunity for) a reconciliation.

Sadly, that means that, in the short term, there will be violence. But the combatants will burn out their hostility and learn to respect and love each other afterwards.

I developed this theory in Junior High, with the help of some friends, and I have yet to see it disproven.

How should it work in practice?

1. Don't interfere with the initial blow up. As long as deadly weapons aren't involved, third parties should mind their own business.

2. Third parties must confine themselves to ensuring a "fair fight." That is, one combatant versus one opponent. Third parties must not judge the adequacy of either, lest they unfairly weight the competition toward one or the other. However obvious the outcome may seem, you could be wrong, and interference will not bring about love between the opponents.

This is the essence of The Rule of Law.

I saw many fights in Junior High in which the combatants learned to respect each other and made up to become the best of friends. I've seen no evidence that international relations are carried on on a higher level of thinking, though I've seen plenty of evidence that diplomats think they can make people feel what they feel.

Another example from my personal experience comes from my time at the Grand Canyon. Back in 1986 I lived in a dorm with all the other lower-echelon schlubs there, and the neighbors were given to having drunken parties. I would have joined them, but my job started earlier than theirs, so I had to get to sleep earlier, and my work-week ran Thursday-Monday.

Anyway, one night the neighbors were partying and one of the drunks grabbed this girl's ass. She was rightly offended and dressed the offender down thoroughly. Unfortunately, she didn't let it drop at that point. She threatened the guy with everything she could think of-including a thorough pounding by her boyfriend, as soon as his work-shift ended, and hounded him with these threats for the next several hours until her boyfriend did finally arrive.

All this was going on on the other side of the paper-thin walls of our dormitory while I was trying to go to sleep.

For the next hour, the two men kept trying to have a proper fight and the neighbors kept separating them. The monkey-wrench was that the offended girl would start screeching at the offender every time she saw him.

Finally, the offender went back to his room--which was unfortunately, right next door to mine--where he pulled out his revolver. The girl goaded her boyfriend into finally confronting him there.


The boyfriend is no longer with us.


I blame the girl first, for not taking care of her own ass, and demanding that somebody else do it for her.

Second, I blame the people who thought it was a great idea to interfere with a fist-fight. Instead of peace, they got death.

I want that case to be studied by all so-called Peacemakers.