Saturday, April 29, 2006

I'm pleased that people, looking for a definition of Old Whig,

often find their way here. My archives work so crappily, however, that I'm afraid they leave unsatisfied, and usually their search doesn't lead them to this post, so I'll repost the relevant part of it:
What is needed at this stage in Latin America is probably akin to what took place in 18th-century England when old Whig reformers decided to undo much of the statute book—and the agencies attached to those laws and norms legated by previous generations. By the third quarter of the 18th century, more than 18,000 norms had been repealed—some four fifths of the laws passed since Henry III. The process was dictated by the principle of individual liberty—most of the norms that undermined individual liberty and personal responsibility were done away with to the effect that the power of the state over the citizens was dramatically reduced. The result was a long period of prosperity that we now partly associate with the Industrial Revolution.

--Alvaro Vargas Llosa [emphasis added for the purpose of this post].

I think that explains very well what Old Whigs are about, and makes us all very proud.

Whiggarchy! Isonomy! Fraternity!

If you're looking for Catholic Packer Fan

I know where to find him.

For reasons of his own, he's moved to a new blog that you can find by using your intuition as you check out my blog roll--under Free Speech Friends.

If the hints don't seem strong enough, it ain't him.

(Yes, if I decide situationally when to use Cheesehead Dialect and when not to.)

Stephen den Beste Alert!!


The Calves are lookin' good after two weeks of running.

Free Image Hosting at

Of course, I'm not showing you pix of my belly or my bald head--and I cut off my ugly toes--but the legs are lookin' good.

Just ignore that Kimball Organ in the background.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Aaron Clarey's ON!


Captain Capitalism dot com

OK, why is "'The Nose on Your Face" stuck in my 'right-click'?

Captain Capitalism dot com

"Intenza-guy!!" Hilarious!!

I didn't know that John Thune

was a moron. H/T Taranto.

I didn't hear about it on Hugh Hewitt.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Want to rail against Capitalism as actually practiced?

The Mises Institute has a piece out today, The Organization of Debt into Currency: On the Monetary Thought of Charles Holt Carroll, by Robert Blumen, explaining why fractional reserve banking is fraud. The whole world's monetary system[s] are based on it, and it has some major problems. [What are you talking about?! Everything's fine!]

It may help to keep in mind that there are [up to] three people in the two kinds of transactions: the depositor, the banker/creditor, and the debtor. The fraud comes in when the debtor is handed a depositor's money by the banker... Well, here:
Fractional reserve banking is a term describing the capital structure of a bank that has loaned funds that were placed there on deposit. This is problematic because deposit and loan transactions are fundamentally different. A deposit is a contract for the storage of currency in the bank to be held in safekeeping and returned immediately on demand. The deposited funds must be available at all times should the depositor wish. In contrast, a loan is a transfer of ownership and availability for a definite term. The creditor in a loan transaction has the right to invest the funds, and pays the depositor a rate of interest. These two types of contracts are mutually exclusive from a legal point of view. [2]

When funds placed on deposit are handled as if they were loans to the bank, then the bank will attempt to earn a return on the deposits by loaning them out or otherwise investing them, while at the same time maintaining the promise of immediate availability to the depositor. In such a case, the new debtors are issued on-demand claims for the principal value of their loan, indistinguishable from the claims of the depositor whose money they have borrowed. The bank has created multiple immediate-demand claims for the same gold coins. These new notes (at least for a time) circulate at parity with their face value in gold, and therefore function as currency.

[Charles Holt] Carroll advanced several brilliant arguments against the system of "fictitious money": that it is based on a confusion in thinking; that it creates a state of permanent indebtedness; that it leads to national impoverishment rather than prosperity; that it results in price inflation; and that it inevitably leads to bank runs and then to systemic banking crises; and that it unjustly redistributes wealth from the honest and industrious to bankers and their accomplices. We will examine what he had to say on each of these.

Emphasis mine. The point is that the depositor is not the same as an investor. An investor relinquishes his claim on the money for a time. That would be like buying a CD. A perfectly honest transaction.

When you buy stocks or bonds from a company, then sell it the next day, you're not getting a refund from the company, generally, you're selling it to somebody else. Nor can you expect to draw the monetary value of the stock from that same company while retaining ownership of the stock. A bank might accept it as collateral, of course... Well, I guess that's a bad example that just makes the matter more complicated. It certainly doesn't refute the point that someone who expects to be able to withdraw all his money within moments of depositing it is NOT an investor. And investing his money AND simultaneously giving it back to the depositor is fraud. It would be literally impossible with solid money.

In any case, the article is a clear explanation of, probably, the biggest difficulty Austrians have with other economics schools. It is the fundamental flaw in Capitalism today.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Three Articles about Oil

Oil and Metals Going Wild! (by Sean Brodrick)
4/26/2006 8:00:00 AM
Oil prices slowed their bull charge yesterday as the White House desperately applied the brakes. But that bull run won't slow for long.

I think his enumeration of the President's moves is important, and much ignored (though, perhaps, deservedly so).
President Bush did four things …

1) He waived regional clean-air specifications for summer-grade gasoline in order to boost imports of motor fuel to the United States.

2) He ordered that deliveries to the nation’s emergency reserve be suspended.

3) He gave refiners extra time to pay back emergency oil loans, and

4) He said Congress should find a way to approve permits to build new refineries a year after they are filed.

Talk About Rearranging
Deck Chairs on the Titanic!

President Bush is swimming against a tidal wave of forces that are likely to push oil and gas prices sharply higher this summer.

Emphasis his, though it's actually a subtitle. You'll have to read the rest of his piece to see what all he has to say.

I'll just quote the blurb in my email for Tibor Machan's article The Oil Conspiracy Conspiracy
Today President Bush joined the chorus of voices demanding an investigation into oil company profits. It's enough to make you think there's some kind of conspiracy -- to ignore the laws of economics.

I've praised President Bush's economic accumen before (faint praise, perhaps, but higher than the MSM), and if all he did were what's listed above, he'd be doing all he can or should do. Unfortunately, that's not all he's up to.
BTW, from Machan:
Americans are still merrily purchasing huge, gas guzzling cars, SUVs, boats, and so forth, thereby giving support to the conclusion that they aren’t hurting as much as they make out when they complain to some shallow news reporter who takes their complaint as decisive evidence for how bad things are getting.

So, yes, not only are gasoline prices not that high, all relevant things considered, but their rise is fully explainable by plain commonsense economics and politics.

Finally this from the Mises Institute:
So, let us trace this sorry story to its most recent beginnings.
(1) Congress requires new fuel mixtures during the warm weather months which are costly and disrupt available supplies, but those mixtures do not make the air any cleaner;
(2) The President and Congress decide to invade Iraq and now are making threats toward Iran, thus guaranteeing political instability and violence in the largest oil-producing region of the world;
(3) Congress requires even more ethanol mixtures, despite the fact that it disrupts supplies and ethanol manufacturers cannot meet the goals;
(4) gasoline prices spike, and members of Congress call for arrest and imprisonment of oil executives.

Something obviously is wrong with this picture.

Not surprisingly, almost all of the anger from consumers — if editorial cartoons are an indication of the direction of the rage — is pointed toward oil companies and their executives. On the other hand, members of Congress, which created this current crisis, are calling for the near-destruction of oil companies, imprisonment of executives, as well as a whole new set of taxes that would further reduce available fuel supplies — all in the name, of course, of lowering gasoline prices.
We cannot put these things into the category of bad policies made by well-meaning people. Instead, we are seeing the attempted destruction of one of the most vital industries in our country to be carried out by incompetent, venal tyrants who have no intention of telling the truth — and we have a cynical media acting as the mouthpiece.
There is a way out of this mess — reinstitute free markets in gasoline and oil — but Congress and the President of the United States, not to mention those who are politically connected, have no intention of permitting the markets to work.

Emphasis mine. I also reformatted the numbered points for emphasis.

My points, limiting myself to the present topic:
Anybody who acts surprised that starting a war in the Middle East would have an effect on gas prices is either an idiot or dishonest.

There is a great deal of political unrest in the world and most of it is in oil producing regions. Besides the obvious Middle Eastern producers we have Russia, Venezuela and Nigeria.

On the demand side, there is the economic growth of India and China. All these articles describe that better than I would.

Broderick recommends you buy oil-related stocks and precious metals, Machan says to quitcher bitchin', and Anderson says throw out the politicians, with particular emphasis on the Republicans, but Schumer and Pelosi take hits too. It's about to get tougher folks. Do one of those things, or hunker down.

Update: anybody who hasn't yet, should also read Joe Gandelman's post on the same topic. Many of the same points are made by different sources. I'd like to counter his implication that a windfall profits tax on the oil companies would be helpful for stabilizing gas prices by mentioning that one of the consequences of that would be to dry up investment in the firms, and do harm to those of us with IRAs and 401ks that are invested in oil. We'll either pay now or pay later.

BTW, let's see 'em act to stabilize the price of ethanol, while we're at it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I ran the Medtronic TC 1 Mile today.

I think I did quite well. I haven't been running much, just walking. I did do a few (three) 10 minute jogs just to be sure I could make the minimum time. Apparently I was running farther than a mile those times though. Even when I found a route that's uphill all the way. (That made me breathe hard!)

My results were:
930 Alan Erkkila 603 56/60 370/411 8:40 8:40

I'm a bit unclear about my division. Must be 40-49 yr-olds, but I'm trying to check that out now. 56th oout of 60 looks pretty awful, though, somehow 370th out of 411 Men doesn't bother me. I knew I'd get my butt whooped if I ran with my division, so I just ran with the first wave. I had to bend down to get rid of a cramp at the end, but I...shall we say...didn't "leave it all on the track." I felt pretty good and could have done it again. I even did a little jogging on the way back to the start to pick up my sweats.

Yeah, it's gotta be 40-49 year-olds. Hey! Among 56th place finishers, I was second! Whoo-hooo!

Now I need to shower-up before my wife will let me in the bed.

FEE gets me again, though this is just a section, not a whole piece:

From Economic Fascism, by Thomas J. DiLorenzo:

Few Americans are aware of or can recall how so many Americans and Europeans viewed economic fascism as the wave of the future during the 1930s. The American Ambassador to Italy, Richard Washburn Child, was so impressed with "corporatism" that he wrote in the preface to Mussolini's 1928 autobiography that "it may be shrewdly forecast that no man will exhibit dimensions of permanent greatness equal to Mussolini. . . . The Duce is now the greatest figure of this sphere and time."[1] Winston Churchill wrote in 1927 that "If I had been an Italian I am sure I would have been entirely with you" and "don the Fascist black shirt."[2] As late as 1940, Churchill was still describing Mussolini as "a great man."

U.S. Congressman Sol Bloom, Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, said in 1926 that Mussolini "will be a great thing not only for Italy but for all of us if he succeeds. It is his inspiration, his determination, his constant toil that has literally rejuvenated Italy . ."[3]

One of the most outspoken American fascists was economist Lawrence Dennis. In his 1936 book, The Coming American Fascism, Dennis declared that defenders of "18th-century Americanism" were sure to become "the laughing stock of their own countrymen" and that the adoption of economic fascism would intensify "national spirit" and put it behind "the enterprises of public welfare and social control." The big stumbling block to the development of economic fascism, Dennis bemoaned, was "liberal norms of law or constitutional guarantees of private rights."

Certain British intellectuals were perhaps the most smitten of anyone by fascism. George Bernard Shaw announced in 1927 that his fellow "socialists should be delighted to find at last a socialist [Mussolini] who speaks and thinks as responsible rulers do."[4] He helped form the British Union of Fascists whose "Outline of the Corporate State," according to the organization's founder, Sir Oswald Mosley, was "on the Italian Model." While visiting England, the American author Ezra Pound declared that Mussolini was "continuing the task of Thomas Jefferson."[5]

Thus, it is important to recognize that, as an economic system, fascism was widely accepted in the 1920s and '30s. The evil deeds of individual fascists were later condemned, but the practice of economic fascism never was. To this day, the historically uninformed continue to repeat the hoary slogan that, despite all his faults, Mussolini at least "made the trains run on time," insinuating that his interventionist industrial policies were a success.

A Fantastic Justification for my nom de keyboard

I found it at the end of Alvaro Vargas Llosa's acceptance speech for the Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award, entitled The State of Freedom: 2006:
What is needed at this stage in Latin America is probably akin to what took place in 18th-century England when old Whig reformers decided to undo much of the statute book—and the agencies attached to those laws and norms legated by previous generations. By the third quarter of the 18th century, more than 18,000 norms had been repealed—some four fifths of the laws passed since Henry III. The process was dictated by the principle of individual liberty—most of the norms that undermined individual liberty and personal responsibility were done away with to the effect that the power of the state over the citizens was dramatically reduced. The result was a long period of prosperity that we now partly associate with the Industrial Revolution.

That's the penultimate paragraph. Here's the conclusion:
Around 2,400 B.C., a man known by the name of Urukagina led a people's revolution against the oligarchic state in Lagash, one of the city-states of Sumer, in Mesopotamia, accusing special interests-court priests, administrators, the governor—of acting for their own benefit and either usurping the property of others or simply enslaving them. "The priest no longer invaded the garden of a humble man", says the document that conveys his reforms and gave the human race the first recorded word for liberty: amagi (literally "a return to the mother", referring to an idyllic past in which the gods wanted people to be free). He banned the authorities, both ecclesiastical and civil, from seizing property from commoners, did away with most of the tax collectors, curtailed the power of judges to rule in favor of oligarchs trying to exploit the weak, and got the government out of proceedings such as divorce. Although Lagash thrived, Urukagina's reign succumbed to a rival king after a decade.[sic] It stands as perhaps the first case of reform along classical liberal lines (to use a much more recent paradigm) and a very early example of struggle against collectivism, plunder and conquest. Something of the spirit of Urukagina, the first free-market reformer in recorded history, needs to impregnate the popular and intellectual discussion so that decision-makers can begin the process of "undoing" much of what has been done over the last few centuries. That process will liberate African and Latin American societies from the constraints that today impede their development even as other regions of the world—less endowed by nature and with less impressive histories—are moving in the right direction.

In the body of the speech he discusses the recent growth of Freedom and Prosperity in Ireland, New Zealand, Chile, El Salvador, China, India and some other Far Eastern nations, as well as Eastern Europe. He highlights particularly the advances in Botswana. He also discusses backward steps taken in Russia, the US and Western Europe, ominous signs in China and the resurgence of interventionist-populism and socialism in Latin America.

I have an aversion to mining all the nuggets out of a brilliant piece. RTWT. But I especially liked the "call to arms" in paragraph 16, which I paraphrase without emendation marks to make it stand better alone:
Intellectual entrepreneurs see more clearly than others the cornucopia that awaits countries that adopt limited government and let people produce and exchange value, and that let the spontaneous order breathe comfortably, you find creative ways of forwarding your ideas in order to change the mindset of others who still cling to political and economic superstition.

Monday, April 24, 2006

In Which I Rip-Off a FEE Article:

Is Socialism Good in Theory?
By Sheldon Richman

Socialism has been mortally discredited on economic grounds, thanks to Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek, and history. But for many people it has not been discredited on moral grounds. You can tell this by how often people say that while socialism doesn’t work in practice, it is good in theory.

Strange notion—that a theory which doesn't work in the world can somehow still be good. Where else is it to be judged? One would think that a theory whose consistent realization requires gulags and secret police would be morally disqualified even if it "worked."

I guess the people who say socialism is good in theory really mean they regret that it doesn’t work without the attendant unpleasantness. Why should that be regrettable? The typical answer is that in socialist theory people are not acquisitive or self-regarding; they are more concerned about others. The regret about socialism turns out to be a regret about human nature.

Leaving aside the facts that the taint on self-interest is assumed not established and that one prospers under capitalism by competitively attending to others, is this a valid statement about socialism? Originally socialism promised a superabundance of goods—so much of everything that no one would have to do without anything. Sharing would be unnecessary because scarcity would be abolished. Wasn’t that an appeal to acquisitiveness, even gluttony? To be sure, socialism’s miserable record has compelled its advocates lately to discover the "age of limits," but that is only to make a virtue of necessity.

Socialism of course did promise to reconstruct humanity, but the message was always mixed. It promised to subordinate the individual to society while liberating him to be fully himself—free of the necessity to make a living. Leon Trotsky wrote that "Communist man . . . will become immeasurably stronger, wiser and subtler; his body will become more harmonized, his movements more rhythmic, his voice more musical. The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic. The average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx." But the nice Bolshevik also said, "In a country where the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation. The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat."

Was the new Socialist Man to be a self-centered achiever or group-centered worker bee? It was never clear how both could be accomplished.

Maybe all that people mean when they lament socialism’s impracticality is that the theory held out hope for an end to material inequality. As intellectual historian Ralph Raico reminds us, it didn’t exactly do that. Marx promised only "to each according to his needs." He never said we all have the same needs. Besides, it is capitalism not socialism that has achieved essential material equality. (See Donald Boudreaux, "Equality and Capitalism," September 2002.)

The ugliness of socialist theory now comes into focus. Under individualist and capitalist theory (and practice) each person is free to determine his own needs and, through the division of labor and voluntary exchange, to produce what’s required to satisfy them. (As the old Spanish proverb puts it, "Take what you want and pay for it.") Under socialist theory the individual's needs are determined and satisfied collectively. Dissent and venturing out on one’s own are not options. As Trotsky acknowledged, everyone is an employee and tenant of the collective—that is, the state.

It's a mystery why anyone would find that theory beautiful or regret that it doesn't work in practice.

Bourgeois logic, obviously.

Richman's my here.

Taranto would call this a "bottom story":

Interstellar Deathray Not Likely to Hit Earth

It's just the title that's funny, though. The article's pretty interesting. I believe I'll allow myself to be comforted by their computer-modeling efforts. As opposed to how I feel about economic and weather modeling.

Ain't a darn thing we could do about it anyway.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

This makes me sad that I stayed out of politics this year.

Right here, right now is the battle I long to see as the final political battle. Unfortunately, it's only a preliminary battle to the gubernatorial election in November... But I would love to see the election turn on the issue of Capitalism vs. Socialism. Instead of the mealy-mouthed middle-of-the-road arguments we most likely will actually face.

Sue Jeffers is a true Free-Marketeer. She'll be in the race with or without the Republican delegates endorsement.

God bless her.

Look at this! The Complete Works of William Shakespeare!

Right here!

This thing popped up in my comment window a few minutes ago while I was trying to write something. I'd clicked a link in a PDF document and it took about 15 minutes to do its bit. So I wandered off to do something else.

Have a soliloquy:
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.

Such a cheery thing.

Friday, April 21, 2006

My BlogAds want to lure me back into the Dog Doo biz

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Pooper Trooper of Seattle
The best new thing you discovered in Seattle. Seattle Weekly 2004

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Scented Pet Waste Bags
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Dude! I'm IN! The flyers will be out in the morning!

Agh! They got me!

The computer security folks at work have totally blocked my access to my store. Bad enough that I couldn't select products for it there.

PP!! (Hey! I'm a Dad! We're not supposed to know worse words than that.)

I suppose it used a lot of bandwidth, and I apologize for that. I promise not to abuse your abilities in the future.

I have to say, though, that I admire the way they handle these things. They just shut yer ass down. Nor recriminations or anything.

Aside to Bob: tell me what you think sucks. You're an expert and I'm not.

Ken convinced me to Wikipedia my birthday.

I'm sure there's some cool term for that, but I'm 42, fat, bald and have ugly scars. I was cool before all that happened.

I'm going to make you guess the day.

Three events:

1945 - Japan accepts the Allied terms of surrender in World War II and the Emperor records the Imperial Rescript on Surrender (August 15 in Japan standard time).

Well, that gives it away.
1980 - Lech Wałęsa leads strikes at Gdańsk, Poland shipyards.
1994 - Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, the terrorist known as "Carlos the Jackal", is captured.

Thus wrecking the mystique Robert Ludlum had built around him.

Two births:
1851 - Doc Holliday, American gambler and gunfighter (d. 1887)
1983 - Mila Kunis, Ukrainian-born actress

I may borrow that picture.

One death:
1980 - Dorothy Stratten, Canadian actress and model (b. 1960)
Ugh! Anybody seen Star '80.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I'll leave up the poop-scooping blurb for a while yet

but I'm not proceeding with that with any enthusiasm. If anybody bites on the blurb, I'll take the job, but I don't expect much.

My store, on the other hand, I'm going to market like a madman. It has the advantage of not being very far out of my ordinary activities. And to the degree that it is different, it's a good thing.

"Idle hands are the devil's workshop" and all that.

Still working on the store. I did a bunch of work on it yesterday and then discovered that, although it looked like it was working, my security settings were causing everything I did to disappear into the ether. I found that out this morning. So, I get to look forward to doing that all over again this evening.

Yeah, it's a tight niche I'm moving into there, but I'm told that's a good thing. If only 1% of America's citizens are interested, that's about 3 million people. A buck profit on 3 million items would make a nice nest-egg. Even with the Alternative Minimum Tax.

It never occurs to those whoresons in the legislature

that acts that are "immoral" for private citizens are also immoral for the government. I used the quotes because I tend to doubt the immorality, or unethicality, if that's a word, of business collusion or natural monopolies.

It is especially immoral for the government to pull a gun on the electorate and force us to pay high prices for any producer's product. [Calm down, Al. Step away from the exclamation mark.]

This is a comment I would like to put on this post at Homeland Stupidity. [The guy's URL is It looks like an error message.] The article is titled, "Government Drives Up Milk Prices Again."

Here are the worthy bloggers who led me to that post: Left Brain Female, VodkaPundit and Lance.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

WOD time again: I've been thinking about simony

That is, selling sacred things. I suppose I should go get the dictionary definition.

Here: "Simony is the ecclesiastical crime and personal sin of paying for offices or positions in the hierarchy of a church, named after Simon Magus, who appears in the Acts of the Apostles 8:18-24. Simon Magus offers the disciples of Jesus payment for the power to perform miracles."

Okay, I think this part is more in line with what I usually think of:
Canon law also outlawed as simony some acts that did not involve the sale of offices, but the sale of spiritual authority...

The Free Dictionary gets too much into the history of medieval litigation. Let me pull out my Webster's.

Ah, this is better: "the act of buying or selling...things regarded as sacred or spiritual."

Why do I bring it up? Why, I'm wondering if I'm guilty of it, of course.

Monday, April 17, 2006


Eric's Grumbled his last grumble?!

I can see the possible demise of my own efforts in this omen, for similar reasons. Of course I'm naturally given to paranoia.

Yet, I can foresee the rise of something greater in the future. For him, obviously, and also for me on the net. It, and we, won't go away.

The Call of the Web will bring Eric back home to us.

One day.

H/T The Unrepentant Individual.

I let that sit like that all weekend?!

Sorry about that.

Anyway, Robert Ringer has a nice theory:
Today, less than 10 years after pulling Hong Kong into its clutches, China has gone from 50 million telephone users to 500 million! And people with telephones tend to be more difficult to rule than those who communicate by carrier pigeon.

What this means is that 40 percent of China's once impoverished population now has telephone service. Even more remarkable is that 300 million of those telephones are cellphones - and that number is projected to double by 2010. (Isn't it amazing how those nasty little "sweatshops" have a way of improving the lives of the very people who produce the sweat - notwithstanding the protestations of self-anointed, clueless moralists from Manhattan's Upper East Side to Hollywood?)

I mean, it's not quite "We will bury you!" But I like it.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Godless Goodness

for Good Friday:
You can celebrate Good Friday by celebrating the Good.

For those atheists who can see no way to make this particular holiday your own, perhaps you’d be willing to reconsider.

We hear about, and are exposed to, hatred of the good for being good. But what about celebration of the good for being good?

But I'd better let him explain. If that link doesn't work for you somehow, the article is called "'The Good' on Good Friday" by Jason Dixon - Apr 14, 2006.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A second WOD.

I felt like looking up "cupidity" to see if I was guilty of it. I wish. If I were, I wouldn't be here goofing off.
Excessive desire, especially for wealth; covetousness or avarice.

Actually, I'm no fan of covetousness, nor envy nor jealousy. And averice is determined by its consequences: what does it lead you to do?

I can't find it now, but I read a quote from one of the Founders to the effect that there is nothing so innocent or salubrious as earning money. Since I can't find it and check the context, I guess all I can do is provide my own thoughts.

I used earning in my paraphrase, though I like the expression making money just as well, because earning is difficult to confuse with stealing, scamming and counterfeiting. If your cupidity leads you to those activities, hopefully the cops will get you soon. Earning is getting paid to produce, trade or transport something.

Here. I need to go produce something.

D... (excuse me). Drat, I'm lazy!

I meant to cite Oldsmoblogger ["Slow and in the way, eh?" My Dad's '58 98 J-2 Rocket would do 140. Stock. Of course, they quit makin' 'em like that, already, by the early '60s.]

Where was I? ...Oldsmoblogger's brilliant post on libertarianism vs. republicanism.
Two paras stand out to me as points that should be more widely disseminated and understood:
...[S]omeone is likely to mention that Adams himself signed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which violated the very natural rights he previously extolled. I would say in reply that it isn't that the Founders weren't republican, it's that they weren't infallible. As I've said previously in this space, they got it as close to right as any collection of flawed and fallen human beings have ever done, but neither they nor that which they created is without blemish.

I assert that the Founders did not intend the several states to be able to abrogate the natural rights of individuals willy-nilly. If they did intend such, they were wrong. This is why originalism has evolved to original public meaning rather than the original intent of the Founders, that we may have government restrained by a written Constitution, rather than being forced to submit to rule by the dead.

It's an RWTW post. It looks like I agree with every word. [Particularly his use of Dut-d-da-DAH! Word of the Day! Risible: adj.
1. Relating to laughter or used in eliciting laughter.
2. Eliciting laughter; ludicrous.
3. Capable of laughing or inclined to laugh.]

Why do I express any doubt about that? My tendency to be agreeable gets out of hand a lot.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

HAH! Thought you'd catch me saying something new, did ya?

I'm just posting to let you know I'm still here. What I want you to do is check out the comments in the previous post.

Don't make me link it!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Lisa's Blog

Lisa's Blog

Anybody wanna feel some envy?

Check out Lisa, there. You'll see what I mean.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Hey!! What the heck happened to Catholic Packer Fan?!

Did he move?

I can't find any of his stuff. Wait a minute! Who's Jane?

I came upon this as a result of this Google search. Note the "Notify Blogger about objectionable content." Are we stifling dissent?

The NBER folks might want to consider

this study before they go pushing what these guys propose:
"The Effects of Retirement on Physical and Mental Health Outcomes" by Dhaval Dave, Inas Rashad and Jasmina Spasojevic. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 12123. A team of economists finds that Americans age 50 to 75 who retire suffer a 23 to 29 percent increase in difficulties associated with mobility and daily activities, an 8 percent increase in illness, and an 11 percent decline in mental health compared with their counterparts who don't stop working.

Hammermesh and Slemrod, the second link above, want to tax prosperous people into retirement to discourage Workaholism.

Edward Hudgins of the Objectivist Center has some strong words for the latter:
With dark humor the authors give their study -- a manifestation of all that's wrong with academia -- the subtitle, "We Should Not Have Worked on This Paper." Damned right you shouldn't have!

Rumors of workaholism on my part are greatly exaggerated.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

There's a good bit of epistemology over at

The Mises Blog. I'll just quote the conclusion:
Thus, a statement's self-referential nature can do nothing to demonstrate its falsehood; quite the contrary, it is necessary for any statement to be true. The genuine criterion for truth is non-contradiction; the action axiom meets this criterion, whereas its denial does not. Because the action axiom cannot be contradicted, it is irrefutably true. Furthermore, its formulation encompasses facts beyond the statement itself; thus, it is true about actions other than its own assertions.

If you want to see the Action Axiom in action, Read...uh...Mises' magnum opus. Or, actually, anything written by any Austrian Economist. Socialism is a small book with a big impact.

Hmm. I must have been thinking of Liberalism. Socialism can only be called small by comparison with Human Action.

Huh! Liberalism isn't that small either. How about The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality? You can read that in an afternoon.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Boner of the Year candidate

TF Stern reminded me of this story from earlier today. Former Boner of the Month: TF Stern, I should say.

But doubling the "http://" in your links hardly rises to the level of this boner ... Agh!! TF!!! You led me astray!! Where is that link?!

What?! Right smack in the middle of your post, you say?

Oh! Very well then...
A teacher who kept a 40 mm shell on his desk as a paperweight blew off part of his hand when he apparently used the object to try to squash a bug, authorities say.

The 5-inch-long shell exploded Monday while Robert Colla was teaching 20 to 25 students at an adult education class.

Part of Colla's right hand was severed and he suffered severe burns and minor shrapnel wounds to his forearms and torso, fire Capt. Tom Weinell said. No one else was injured. He was reported in stable condition at a hospital.

My beloved Red Forman would, I believe, call him a "Dumb-Ass!"

Here ya go, pal,
Free Image Hosting at

Of course, this gent gets the special April Fool version of the Boner of the Month Award. Kindly contact this site, sir, to receive your trophy.

Hmm. Interesting.

Objectivists disagree with Nativists. Check out Immigration Quotas vs. Individual Rights: The Moral and Practical Case for Open Immigration
by Harry Binswanger (April 2, 2006)
Suppose a tidal wave of immigrants came here. Suppose that half of the people on the planet moved here. That would mean an unthinkable eleven-fold increase in our population--from 300 million to 3.3 billion people. That would make America almost as "densely" populated as today's England (360 people/sq. km. vs. 384 people/sq. km.). In fact, it would make us less densely populated than the state of New Jersey (453 per sq. km.). And these calculations exclude Alaska, Hawaii, and counts only land area.

And contrary to widespread beliefs, high population density is a value not a disvalue. High population density intensifies the division of labor, which makes possible a wider variety of jobs and specialized consumer products. For instance, in Manhattan, there is a "doll hospital"--a store specializing in the repair of children's dolls. Such a store and the many specialized, niche businesses require a high population density to have a market. Try finding a doll hospital in Poughkeepsie. In Manhattan, one can find a job as a Pilates Method teacher or as a "Secret Shopper" (2 jobs actually listed on Craig's List). Not in Paducah.

[Tee hee! Binswanger means, "I'm pregnant."]

He has much more to say, including a very clear definition and defense of Rights.

Monday, April 03, 2006

A dose of Mises,

From here:
When a peace-loving nation is attacked by a bellicose enemy, it must offer resistance and do everything to ward off the onslaught. Heroic deeds performed in such a war by those fighting for their freedom and their lives are entirely praiseworthy, and one rightly extols the manliness and courage of such fighters. Here daring, intrepidity, and contempt for death are praiseworthy because they are in the service of a good end. But people have made the mistake of representing these soldierly virtues as absolute virtues, as qualities good in and for themselves, without consideration of the end they serve. Whoever holds this opinion must, to be consistent, likewise acknowledge as noble virtues the daring, intrepidity, and contempt for death of the robber. In fact, however, there is nothing good or bad in and of itself. Human actions become good or bad only through the end that they serve and the consequences they entail. Even Leonidas would not be worthy of the esteem in which we hold him if he had fallen, not as the defender of his homeland, but as the leader of an invading army intent on robbing a peaceful people of its freedom and possessions.

How harmful war is to the development of human civilization becomes clearly apparent once one understands the advantages derived from the division of labor. The division of labor turns the self-sufficient individual into the dependent on his fellow men, the social animal of which Aristotle spoke. Hostilities between one animal and another, or between one savage and another, in no way alter the economic basis of their existence. The matter is quite different when a quarrel that has to be decided by an appeal to arms breaks out among the members of a community in which labor is divided. In such a society each individual has a specialized function; no one is any longer in a position to live independently, because all have need of one another's aid and support. Self-sufficient farmers, who produce on their own farms everything that they and their families need, can make war on one another. But when a village divides into factions, with the smith on one side and the shoemaker on the other, one faction will have to suffer from want of shoes, and the other from want of tools and weapons. Civil war destroys the division of labor inasmuch as it compels each group to content itself with the labor of its own adherents.

Mises is using the term "liberal" in its original sense. If you go to this link, he explains what that means.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

I meant to mention: I just watched my beloved George Mason University

get bounced out of the Final Four.

Good thing I don't love them for their basketball. Florida's gonna kick some butt.

Kyle's got another great post up:

First They Came for the Drunks.

His latest is pretty good too.

Ya'll hungry?

You gotta check out this link from the Teflon Man.

Awesome, baby!!

Anybody sellin' that around here?