Monday, February 28, 2005
Friday, February 25, 2005
It's about the Jeff Gannon / Guckert "controversy."
Additionally, this article again references the major problem I have with the way governments are currently using this power. The 5th Amendment limits establishes that the government may take your property for just compensation. However, no one actually gets compensated for the value of their property, where the government steals property from person A and gives it to person B. When this happens, the government is simply over-writing the market with an arbitrary value for the property.
By this, I mean, if the private developer who proposes to kick a homeowner off a property doesn't want to, or can't, meet the price set by the homeowner - he simply has the government set a price and do it for him. However, if the land was so damn valuable to the developer, then he or she should have paid for it.
Yes, there will be those few intractable people who don't want to sell their property, but isn't that their right? Moreover, there are market incentives for these people to sell (for example, will the property ever attain the same value that it currently has in light of this anticipated development?)
Finally, imagine this scenario. You worked for and now own a highly treasured Picasso. You would like to keep it in your home. However, the government decides that your property could make them more money in a state run museum. Therefore, they take your (priceless) property, and reimburse you with a sum set by an appraiser who works for the state. Isn't that the same thing that the government is doing in this case? Actually, I argue that the above example is less extreme than the issues involved in the Kelo case because, in my scenario, the Picasso is at least going to a public museum.
Is anyone with me on my idea of a constitutional amendment that prevents governments from profitting from law enforcement? I should say, is anyone with me yet?
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
(FYI... I DON'T have Dutch Elm's Disease)
Monday, February 21, 2005
It's like this, any person who believes in a government for the people and by the people have to recognize that the government cannot be used to take private property from one citizen and give it to another citizen just because the government thinks it's for the best.
Eminent domain is for interstate highways and other relevant uses like military bases, etc. It is not a device for resident A to steal from resident B simply because he can build a prettier castle.
Perhaps we're doing too good a job of teaching our teachers to relate to children. They're so good at it that they can't even relate to people their own age anymore. Yeah right.
Maybe with this on their mind, they can focus less on promoting chaos in Iraq and look more towards helping bring stability to the region.
However, my personal opinion is that there is no chance that Syria will do anything militarily meaningful with respect to pulling troops out of Lebanon. Still, killing a revered and respected leader and uniting a populous that has just seen that despotic regimes are, shall we say, not highly regarded in the international community seems like a pretty poor idea to me.
"BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A city ordinance bans complete nudity at all gentleman's clubs, but one has challenged that ordinance by distributing pencils and sketch pads to patrons during "art night."
The ordinance does give nudity exclusions for artistic displays which include dance, ballet and dramatic performances, so every Monday and Tuesday, the club encourages customers to sketch the models as they perform nude routines.
"As far as the Boise city code, it specifies it has to be a serious artistic manner and this is a serious artistic manner," said Chris Teague, Erotic City owner.
The club has put on art night for two months, and Teague said he has not received any complaints.
Boise Police officials say the club has not been cited for any ordinance violations."
Genius . . . I'm going to have an art night at my house.
* Also, note that they describe Ashlee Simpson as "lip-syncher." I found that amusing.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
The Nanny State finds a red light in her pocket.
Me, on the other hand, I'm against them for broader jurisprudential reasons. I simply believe that traffic laws should exist more as an ethic than as hard fast laws that are punishable by the state. Criminal charges should apply only when a driver is so intentionally reckless that his or her threat to the community is readily apparent (eg. fleeing from the police and hitting another driver). Absent that type of behavior, traffic offenses should really be civil matters.
Look, yes it is important to have laws (civilly enforced) that allow us all to get on the roads and be comfortable that we all have a reasonably certain expectation of how other drivers will behave. For example, we should all drive on the same side of the road, stop at stop signs, and realize that green means go. However, red light cameras are stupid. First of all, most people who run red lights simply aren't paying attention, therefore, threatening them with fines does no good – they didn't mean to run the darn light in the first place. In these cases, I tend to believe in the tenet – no harm / no foul.
I'll take it a step further. I understand the general purpose of these laws. They promote safety (though, don't get me started on speed limits). Still, I have often approached a red light late at night – looked both ways and decided that it was safe to cross regardless of the color of the light. I see nothing wrong with that. Similarly, don't we all sometimes hesitate at green lights to wait for traffic to clear even though we have the right of way? I don't want a system to have some kind of overarching control over my personal judgment.
I just see no point in criminalizing the way people approach customary behavior in the first place – and I believe that regardless of whether that criminalization is enforced by camera or street cop. If someone has an accident, let's treat it as just that, not as a crime.
Unfortunately, governments don't really care about your safety - they care about generating revenue. Read the following excerpt from this article:
"In North Carolina, a judge ruled Tuesday that the state constitution requires 90 percent of camera proceeds to be dedicated to the school system. Currently most of that money is given to a private contractor. This ruling will cost the city of High Point $1.3 million, and if upheld will lead to removal of cameras from all eleven North Carolina jurisdictions where they are used. A 2004 North Carolina study also found camera use increased accidents."
Look at how this article clearly, perhaps unintentionally, clarifies the actual pecking order where our safety falls in the governments considerations when making laws. That's right, dead stinkin' last.
I guess this leads me to propose a constitutional amendment I've long dreamed about - I want an amendment that keeps the government from profitting from law enforcement. Seriously, if we could force that one through, I bet everything I own that we wouldn't have 622 laws per year passed in each state every single year. (Hyperbole Alert). Our civil liberties would not be consistently trampled in the name of public profit that is covered by the thin, transparent, and easily penetrable veneer that is public safety. Seriously, if we somehow managed to pass this amendment, well, lawmakers might not snicker when asking themselves, "Will this law actually work? What unintended consequences will this law have? Do we really need this law to accomplish this goal?"
. . . . . . I dream a grand dream.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Another Post Lost to the Ether
Too bad they couldn't have given this blatant assault on civil liberties a cool and identifiable name like they did the Patriot Act. I doubt it would be very successful if we could actually call it by some cute name like the "Screws" act or something like that.
If you vote, write your Congressman or Congresswoman and your Senator or Senatorwoman.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
If you all could please refrain from sending me dirt . . . I'd be much obliged.
First, it goes without saying that this kid is being punished for making a "look-a-like" drug, but clearly the actual punishment is for what the TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATION thought, not what the kid thought. Shouldn't the kid at least have to know about the drug she is apparently imitating? Jesus, the kid's just lucky she wasn't at the beach or that it wasn't snowing. I'm seriously almost laughing out loud at the number of offenses I could imagine while watching a child play. Just because we are jaded adults doesn't give us license to project our fears and concerns onto the innocent imaginations of six-year olds.
Second, shouldn't something be said about the cigarettes all over the playground at an elementary school? Also, great recess at that school. Ok kids, put your books up, now we're going to spend 30 minutes (if that) playing with dirt. If anyone should be punished it should be the teacher for being an accessory to the creation of a "look-a-like" drug.
Yet another entry in my mental notebook about the idiocy of getting the government involved in schooling our children.
Am I wrong to believe that a slow progress towards peace is now an actual possibility instead of just a verbal facade to allow time for more suicide bombers, as it was under Arafat?
I wanna believe . . . I really do. Don't disappoint me.
Is this another example of the hypocrisy of liberal diversity?
Somebody Better Pass a Law
"The Grammy Awards for last Sunday night got the lowest ratings in nine years. There were 25% fewer Americans watching the show than there were one year ago. No surprise to me. With what we are passing off as music these days, I'm surprised the ratings were as high as they were."
Somehow, this is going to be blamed on Peer to Peer networks. Trust me, it will.
My view is that the Grammy Awards suffers from too much diversity. (I know, how is this possible?) I think that the CMA's and the Vibe Awards and such are more appropriate and significant awards than the Grammy. These award shows hit their targets. Moreover, they reward the best artists of the year - not just those that sold the most records.
The reason I don't watch is not because there aren't good acts at the Grammys, it's because I have to put up with so much stuff that I'm not interested in. Essentially, the Grammy's take a selection of good music, but after the nominations, take what amounts to the lowest common denominator - or whoever wins the Grammy is the least offensive choice or simply the most mainstream. The Grammy award is the most behind-the-times award out there.
Seriously, if Ray Charles hadn't passed away (a great loss to music in general), would his album have even been nominated for a Grammy? Would it have won best album? Heck no. The Grammy needs to get rid of any category that compares Kanye West to Wilco to Britney Spears, etc. It also needs to ensure that its voters have actually listened to all the music (which I'm sure they would claim happens), and ardently state that voters should not factor album sales into the equation. Sure they'd end up getting it wrong just as often, but at least I could respect the award that way.
Obviously, the lede for this post is intentionally inflammatory, but reading the article does reinforce my belief that the purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect the people from the government. I mean this in the sense that Democracy can be very fickle in its seemingly whimsical ability to decide what is and what is not good for you.
Simply put, if you want to oppress someone, take away their ability to fight back. While the article focuses primarily on the KKK's use of superior firepower to further exacerbate the plight of "Freedmen" in the southern states, it is clear that their confiscation of firearms from former slaves was, on some level, sanctioned by the government. Similarly, the current anti-gun movement has used, for years, whatever political pressure they could muster to villify the gun and lawful owners of the gun and create draconian laws against possession as well as ridiculous registration requirements. As they have become more and more successful, we have seen a correllating (I believe) decrease in the way society values property rights. For that matter we've seen a devaluing of individual rights. (We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society." (Hillary Clinton, 1993)).
Look the purpose of the bill of rights was to protect us from some of the abuses of democracy, which is, in effect, a might is right system of government. Also, while this little rant is a bit incoherent, let me ask what happened to the part of the 2nd Amendment that regards the right to bear arms? I know the government lets ("lets" see how insidious government controls are?) us have some weapons, but what happens if you actually have to use them?
My view of the Patriot act is that: 1) we're lucky they named it the Patriot Act, since I doubt very many people would get excited about it if they named it something long and boring like most of the laws that crap all over our civil liberties; and 2) a lot of the provisions are useful as an aid in stopping terrorism and we should keep them. However, I'll bet that, unless we limit it, the Patriot Act will be used more as a tool of domestic law enforcement (white collar crime and the drug trade), where the harms to are civil liberties are much more difficult to justify.
Thanks again to Michelle Malkin. All two our readers should regularly check out her site. I'll add stuff to the blogroll as soon as Otter shows me how.
Michelle Malkin also enlightens us about this story. Apparently, the Marine told all the proper people about the shootings, and continued in combat for three months before any charges were levied.
What I want to know is whether there was an active and thorough investigation of the incident at the time it happened - as opposed to three months later.
UPDATE: from the
Monday, February 14, 2005
I mean, it's not as if shakedowns are an unknown practice in the law enforcement community. Seriously, we have a liberty problem when this sort of thing happens. How often does this sort of meeting take place when there is no camera or tape recorder around? What a ridiculous little culture war we have going on right now. The worst part of it is we are all losers. We lose our tax dollars and freedoms. The drug dealers and users and middlemen lose their freedoms. And the police and courts gain huge budgets, but at the expense of their credibility and reputations - not to mention what used to be, i imagine, an ethical sense of prosecutorial discretion.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
I was reading Chucks post (39!) over at Tao Te Chuck this morning and I got a little angry at some of his statements. Over the last week or so there have been several posts about the climbing murder rate in Baltimore and yet the only course of action I’ve seen him offer comes today…
“Listen, you fucking spineless, incompetent excuses for journalists: Get off of your asses and do some research and force some change to happen. I realize you may be too lazy and bitter to try to make a difference, but at least do your fucking job. Nothing is going to change until the people who run this city are forced to change it, and you are the ones who can most effectively force them into action.”
I’m all about seeing journalists do more research. I think everyone can agree that they have become excessively lazy and dependent on the AP or Reuters (who in turn have become lazy themselves). What really strikes me as a terrible idea is encouraging the media to become even more of an activist than they are now.
I can see why can see why Chuck is pissed. Everyone should be pissed at the level of crime in the city. I get discusted at the once-grand neighborhoods that are now urban wastelands. I hate the culture of crime that has dominated Baltimore Streets. However, encouraging the media to have even more of an agenda is as dangerous to us as those 39 dead people are. Really isn't that everyone (read liberals) is pissed a FOX about? For furthering an agenda? (It's ok if its YOUR agenda... though I still believe FOX has less of a bias than CNN or Reuters).
Honestly, besides murder becoming so common place that it isn’t news worthy, I think part of the reason we don’t hear more about the murders Chuck is so pissed about is because the MSM IS BIASED and IS PUSHING AN AGENDA. The Baltimore Sun can’t complain about policies and politicians it fought for. Channel 11 can't tell you it's pretty boy O'Malley is a loser.
Baltimore is a prefect example of what happens when the liberal model is put in place and able to spread like the virus it is. Society FAILS.
How then can liberal newspapers, activist liberal newspapers, tell it’s readers that the politicians they supported, ideals they pursued have in fact failed. The high murder rates are proof of that failing, therefore it’s not news worthy.
Even, moreover, what happens IF somehow the papers do report the deaths in the city. Everyday, it’s the headline. “Two More Die.” Every day we hear how one more criminal killed someone in all it's horrible detail. What’s that action going to accomplish? Without changing the perceptions and the ideology of the city itself, the same failed programs and policies will still be in place, but maybe more money will be thrown at the problem. Yeah! Money will fix flawed logic!
What the city needs is some fundamental changes in how crime and criminals are treated.
Otter's 6 Steps to Lower Baltimore’s Murder Rate.
- Legalize Drugs – Most murders are drug related. Take away the incredible profits involved in drug sales, lower the reason to kill. Conservatives are simply wrong on this one.
- Limit Government’s Responsibility for those who Burden the System – Goes hand in hand with legalization. Won't reduce crime in itself, but in the long term, those who depend more on themselves take care of themselves. If you want to make the choice to use drugs, you have to be responsible for your actions. If you don’t want to work, that's your problem. Provide help for those who want it and are making the right choices.Cast aside those who don’t and don't want to.
- Enforce the Laws We Have – It seems to me that liberals will be the first ones to try and pass laws that affect everyone by limiting their rights, but always make exceptions for individuals. We don’t need anything else made illegal, what we need to do is make people responsible for their actions. I’m not talking about mandatory sentencing, I’m talking about real penalties for real crimes. Don’t make owning a gun illegal, punish the fuck out of those who use them wrongly.
- Limit the Effects of Race Lords – People who push racial differences for their own political gain should be encouraged not to (my only point I don’t know how to do). It's not a white verses black world, it hasn't been for a while. Don't make race an issue and it won't be. Juries in Baltimore don’t convict African Americans. There is a widespread myth that the system is unfair, so black juries don’t convict black criminals. Criminals who then are committing more crimes.
- Make Maryland a “Shall Issue” State – CCW licenses encourage community response to criminal activity. Citizens who don’t have to rely on police intervention are more likely to assist others in need as well as deterring violent behavior in the first place. Everyone has a right to defend themselves.
- Give Tax Breaks to Small Businesses – A good idea everywhere, but in densely populated urban areas small businesses are a necessity to get people working and earning a living and taking care of themselves.
I can use tools too! (Just watch me open this oyster!)
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
I guess I could also wish for three hot single 25-year olds to move in and invite me over for balanced meals and quiet conversation about how hot they are, or how Handsome I am. I don't know what Otter and Pudge (the rest of the management) would do without me - I guess they'd have to drive out other neighbors and replace them with their own bevy of (lesser*) beauties.
Other than Browbeaten-could-you-turn-that-down-a-bit-husband and Freakishly-friendly-probably-a-swinger-deviant-red-head-girl-who-hopefully-moved-out-last-week-to-be-replaced-by-three-hot-girls, I don't know any of my neighbors.
Actually, I don't know any of my neighbors except one. That one is enough (except for the prospective hot girls). I also know a legend in the making when I see one. It's a special talent I have. Actually, this legend would be better served to have lived 300 years ago. Still, that does not dull my wonderment whenever I see him. "Greatness" is "Greatness" regardless of what place he happens to fall in the timeline. His name? No one knows. I doubt anyone ever will, but his legend - his LEGEND - will live on.
We call him STICKBOY, and he's lived the lives of a thousand heroes (if you're into that reincarnation stuff). Which I am, but only as it applies to Stickboy.
Stickboy first came to our attention when we heard a mysterious sound outside our window one Saturday (I guess) morning. A glance out the window confirmed that, indeed, Stickboy was engaged in a fabulous duel with our decidedly evil cable box. As he deftly parried the best attacks the cable box presented, we saw in Stickboy the best of ourselves. Brave, steadfast in the pursuit of all that is good, persistent, but with a certain mean streak. He's going to make a great drunk someday. Riveted, we watched as the battle progressed. Stickboy shifted to his left, parried a blow from the evil cable box and swiftly returned a lightning quick riposte, slashing quickly and delivering a devastating blow.
We remained rooted to our spot, safely away from the conflict, viewing silently lest we disturb the master at his work. After what seemed hours, the tide of the battle began to clearly favor the mighty Stickboy. Soon, the Cable Box was beaten down, barely able raise its weapons in its defense. Seeing this weakness, Stickboy recognized his vast advantages and began striking huge, punishing two-handed blows and it seemed the conflict was nearing an end. Unfortuately, at the moment victory seemed secure, the Evil Cable Box, through some arcane rite, lashed out and broke Stickboy's most powerful weapon. Suddenly, simply, Stickboy was just a boy.
Nonetheless, Stickboy perservered and smote Cable Box with the sheer force of his substantial will, and the remaining portion of his mighty stick. However, it was a gray day in our household. How could Stickboy defend us without his most powerful weapon, which, let's face it, is way cooler than a sword. Wounded and distraught, Stickboy dragged himself away from the battle - Stickless.
Fortunately, Stickboy must have a connection with the Lady of the Lake. Although, there isn't really a lake nearby. Maybe she was slumming at the drainage pond down at the bottom of the hill. I heard that after the Excalibur debacle, she got hooked on smack. However, it happened, a miracle occurred - maybe for both she and Stickboy. For, not two days later, I saw Stickboy valiantly defending our little villa betwixt the highways with - you'll never guess - a newer and more powerful stick. You got stick? I didn't think so. The Stickmeister was back.
After he saved us from the scourge of the evil tree, and then later the evil swingset, and then the evil trashcan (apparently Stickboy don't take no lip), we had a parade for him.
The Stickboy parade got me to thinking. Is Stickboy really an apt name for our hero. Many years ago, a boy with some acumen with the stick could get somewhere. He could aspire to some special greatness with a special title. Like, he could have been called Deathblighter (and conducted interviews with the local media after his heroics), or Iron Wing for his prowess with the staff. Now, in this age, what's he going to be? He's just a hero with a stick.
All he can ever aspire to be is Stickman, or maybe a logger or something. Baseball? Is there a future for Stickboy? I'll keep you updated - meanwhile, our cable hasn't given us any problems since Stickboy took it upon himself to save our MTV. Why couldn't Stickboy have lived long ago? Why is his name not written amongst the great heroes? Why couldn't we think of a more imaginative name?
We call him Stickboy, and this is his lament.
* They aren't remotely as Handsome as I.
I Get Results
Ha, I hope the MSM skewers him. Maybe even like this - weird, huh!
OK, so it isn't really the result of what I posted, but it is confirmation of his latent and inescapable idiocy. I can't wait for his failed run at the Presidency.
(Hat tip - Powerline - Mission Accomplished)
Plus he mentions the Avalanche \ Beer story I so like to read (though it may not be true)
Laying on my back doing cute human things with my hands.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
A comment that grew to a post....
Conspiracy might be the wrong word for it… but I don’t think so…
For a conspiracy you need a couple of things (from memory… sorry if it’s not perfect…)
First: That two or more persons came to a mutual understanding to try to accomplish a goal.
Second: That the person willfully becomes a member of the group conspiring.
Third: An Overt act is taken to further the goal of the conspiracy.
- Joe Publisher, confused liberal who dislikes personal freedom and wants more government control, realizes that if future generations grow up thinking that they have to be responsible for themselves his (Joe’s) misguided dream of a socialist utopia is unlikely to happen. Joe, no doubt talks to Barbra a writer for the textbook, who is also a liberal. When they have a chat about not mentioning the 100 million deaths that were a direct result of the Communist experiment, they also discuss the effect not mentioning how brutal it was will have on the readers.
- Barbra can quit, or attempt to be objective in her job. She knows that this very well be the ONLY time most students will even remotely think about Communism so she knows her actions will further the goals of the Communist left. She willfully continues her work.
- Joe and Barbra submit their work, the book is published.
Is it a conspiracy held by all liberals… well I have my suspicions, but it’s unlikely. Is it even a conspiracy between all publishers and educators… again, not likely.
However, the real point isn’t if it is technically a conspiracy, rather the real point is whether or not children are getting a skewed understanding of American history and that IS happening.
Also, America IS great. Books can say that. I dislike the current trend that brands anyone saying good things about this country as, at best, and ignorant hick. Thanks hippies, you can take a bath now. The World War Two generation did the worst thing imaginable after they risked everything to defeated fascism. They gave their children more than they had. Life free of real conflict or struggle gave us the hippies. Hippies gave us… Well we all know what Hippies gave us.
Liberals still believe they can give themselves a purpose by challenging everything American (the 60’s are over, it’s a shame someone doesn’t create an organization to help them MoveOn). It’s like lip service and fraudulent ideas are more valuable then reality. How the hell can “feminists” support Bill Clinton and Democrat Jews denounce a war against Fascist Islam. Communism and Individualism are diametrically opposed to one another. Socialism is only a step or two a way from Communism, a Socialist state therefore is only a step or two away from state with no personal freedoms…
Just because a book, a person, a news program says something good about America, it doesn’t automatically make them wrong.
Monday, February 07, 2005
Anyway, the issue here is that some conservatives are all for academic freedom and free speech, so long as it's not really, really offensive speech. They're now saying they can fire him because his writings show he's incompetent (nice end run around the basic tenets of academic freedoms and the first amendment - the spirit of the first amendment anyway). This is just dumb. The best response to this kind of idiot is to call him out as an idiot. Also, would the Governor of Colorado please shut up? It's all the sudden like he owns FOX news.
UPDATE: 2/8/05 - The Governor was on Fox News again last night - this time on O'Riley - I hope Colorado is OK, since I know he hasn't done anything in about three weeks.
Kid Handsome (Hat tip - Neal Boortz (for initial link))
From the The Smallest Minority.
Friday, February 04, 2005
Let's end property taxes
It is the nature of government to expand at the expense of liberty (to paraphrase Jefferson). This is true even in democracies, perhaps especially so. There are many new examples both good and ill of how the government encroaches on our liberties. One such good example would be the Civil Rights act of 1964, which told private employers that they could not discriminate against certain classes of citizens (although, in the inverse, this could be seen as an expansion of the liberties of these "protected classes"). However, there are countless examples of government incursions that are self-serving, or which serve only to better the interests of the few at the cost of liberty for the many. The most galling of these incursions to me, today, is the widespread use of eminent domain laws.
The recent use of these laws goes well beyond the pale of what eminent domain should attempt to accomplish. This is a frequent topic on Neal Boortz's website, Nealz Nuze. Lately, it seems, state and local governments have taken to attempting to use eminent domain laws to steal land from individuals (who often do not have the power to combat such land grabs) and provide it to private developers. The rationale is that such grabs benefit society because the private developer's particular use of the property generates more tax revenue for governments than does the individual's use. This a clearly illiberal use of authority (and I'm talking classical liberal here, not our current definition, which means just about the opposite).
Such abuses got me to thinking. Why does the government get to tax property at all. There are countless other ways for governments to levy taxes. When a person knows that they must pay taxes on their land or have the authorities take that property away (at gunpoint - again see the link above for almost daily discussions of this point), doesn't the person's "ownership" effectively amount to a lease of property from the government? My view is that if we are going to say that we respect property rights, we might as well go all the way. Let individuals be confident in the fact that real property that they purchase is not going to be taxed away because the government, through its tax assessors, determines an arbitrary value of that land.
By eliminating property taxes, we ensure that individuals will not be interfered with in their use of land they bargained for and purchased. One argument against this view is that it prohibits the widespread growth of dynastic wealth - that is wealth that is passed from generation to generation, meaning that the wealth is effectively removed from the market for eternity or thereabouts. However, we already have the death tax (estate tax) wherein the government gets approximately 60% of the value of the property upon the owner's death (there are exemptions which currently exclude estates worth less than approximately 1 million). Moreover, for dynastic wealth to truly become a problem, the Parent owner would generally have to pass the property on to only one of his or her progeny. Otherwise, the wealth has a naturally diminshing value in that it is spread out among the children of the parent owner.
The only property taxes that should be levied should be on corporations, because a corporation is really treated as an individual who does not, generally, die. For example, IBM isn't going anywhere, so it could, without such a tax, acquire property in perpetuity and never have to pay a tax.
How awful would it be if the owner of a $200,000.00 home were left alone by the government instead of having to make yearly payments of thousands of dollars. Wouldn't most people save this money and redistribute it in other parts of our free market? Wouldn't property ownership then become an even greater creator of wealth and not just another means to rework an individual's tax burden? Why is it that the government has been allowed, through this tax to effectively claim ownership of the entirety of our country while in the procees relegating property "owners" to mere lessors?
I propose a constitutional amendment that offers protections for property owners from government incursions. Recall, it is the natural course for governments to expand their powers at the expense of liberties. Isn't it time for us to fight back on behalf of our liberties.
Note, I didn't even sink low enough to criticize governments horrific management of property rights, which can often lead cities to tax most of their citizens into other areas. That's a whole other discussion.
Death and dying has been a pretty popular topic around me lately. Recently, a co-worker died at the age of 56 one night. In that same week, my boss’s husband suffered a serious heart attack and it was initially thought he would stay in a coma. These events have caused a lot of people, including myself, to reflect on our existence and those other heady topics best left to philosophers. After all, in the grand scheme of things, none of us are all that long to the world.
Thinking about a life worth living, my views have changed little in the last decade. I feel I’m pretty lucky to have come to my conclusions when I did, without so much time being wasted. The logic I use to live is to “do THINGS that make you HAPPY”. I think it’s the THINGS that most people overlook.
Everyone has heard someone say “enjoy what you do”, but that’s only half of it. If you lived a hundred years and on the first second of the 101st year of life you looked back, what would you see? If you follow the prescription of enjoy what you do every day, and every day since you were 20 you did just that, you did one THING that made you happy. How would you look back on your life?
Sure you could say you were happy, that’s part of the hypothetical, but what have you done? What would you remember. Your life could be summarized as two stages or periods, pre-twenty years old and post twenty years old. Following the "happy" coarse, it wouldn’t matter if you lived to a thousand years old, your past would be remembered as the "thing that made me happy for 9980 years and the thing I did before that." If your life were a JPEG, you would be a pretty small file even if the image were large. I’d rather be an image with very little compression.
We mark the passing of time with events. We mark our existence through our accomplishments and failures. Without events, without THINGS there is no reason to note the passing of time. When I look back at my life, I don’t think of the work-weeks that disappeared without incident. Those weeks all blend together, wasted. One week or a thousand, they are remembered the same, even if during that time I may have been happy. With a finite amount of time here, we can’t afford to waste large periods that will only be remembered as one THING.
The THINGS I do add time to my life, add depth and add markers. The more foolish, grand, stupid, funny, or even tragic the THING is the more weight it has. The more "time" it pulls to itself, the more you can tie your past to it.
It was after I added “I am he the chosen one” sign to my back windshield that I got pulled over for kidnapping and before I painted the smiley face on the hood.
The THINGS we use as reference points are events and projects that stand out most from our day to day existence. Creating something new can only happen once, and makes a great anchor in time. The day I wrote that song, painted that picture, even cooked that awesome dinner, these THINGS stand out. The 234th time I made Kraft Mac and Cheese doesn’t.
Even more useful, are the THINGS so memorable that even the classes of events are near unique; college trip to Florida, road trip to Massachusetts, kicking the clown out of the dunking booth and all the foolish things that went with each of those events.
Sure you could fill your life with serious accomplishments. THINGS you can look back on, beaming with pride. They work too, and you need those as well.
However, when you look back, when you look back and smile it’s the foolish crap you did that puts a grin on your face. For me it’s the drunk tree climbing, the throwing Mikes bed out the window, the bon fires, the road trips, the Slackers Weekends, and the parties. The THINGS that you do just for the hell of it. The foolish THINGS.
When I look back on my life, I take comfort in knowing that it will require more than a short while to reflect on where I’ve been and what I’ve done. I already know it’s more rewarding then looking back and saying I was happy for 80 years doing x, and before that I did y.
I’m already looking forward to the next foolish THING even as I type this.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
First, this is the city that fines everyone for parking anywhere, but a couple years back, it was discovered that Baltimore was improperly using it's parking budget - not providing parking (sorry, no link). The city is also noted for other such corrupt practices like the one linked here. There is also this:
"While there will not be much construction of office space in downtown Baltimore,
there will be other construction activity in the city. A recent report indicated that the
downtown area requires at least 3,500 additional parking spaces; this shortage is now a major concern of downtown employers. Currently, at least four parking garages are at
various stages of planning, which are expected to add over 1,700 spaces by the end of
2001. A number of hotels for the city continue to be discussed, although not as many as
at this time last year. The 750-room Marriott Waterfront Hotel in the Inner Harbor is about
half complete, and may be finished by the end of the year. There is growing pressure to
begin work on a hotel at a Pratt Street site near the convention center and Oriole Park.
The City recently broached the idea of publicly funding the hotel so as to get work
Notably, if you don't want to spend $20 - $30 a day on parking, the parking garages are not a great idea. Baltimore has also taken to putting up parking booths to charge people more for parking in what were once metered zones. So, for example, in the Inner Harbor - where parking is almost impossible to find - it now costs $8.00 to park for more than one hour, when it used to cost two. I guess you know what an all-day trip will bring. The lack of parking and the use of parking as a revenue source for the city really inhibits the growth of business in what are otherwise pretty nice areas. Nonetheless, the "Greatest City in America (not counting all the other cities)" continues to fine and harass citizens who want to go there to frequent its businesses.
The best is that, as the post below demonstrates, the City is almost completely incompetent when it comes to anything administrative. The way they combat their idiocy is to place the burden on you the citizen to determine whether the City has cited you for something. Additionally, even if the City totally screwed up, due to some devil's agreement with the City and State courts, you are held responsible for the City's errors.
I know this is anecdotal evidence, but the City once wrongfully booted my car, and although they immediately acknowledged their (idiotic) mistake, they didn't send a crew out to unboot it for 4 days. They also owe me $85 dollars for overpayments of two tickets, but they made it so difficult to collect that I eventually just gave up. Oh yeah, and two and a half years ago I moved out of the city.
Martin O'Malley, our esteemed Mayor, is more concerned with fining his political opponents for improper signs and playing in his crappy half-ass band than he is with administering the City. He hired a great police chief for the City, who, when he moved to be the State's top cop, was found to have been siphoning the public funds. Notably, whenever something terrible happens in the City, O'Malley is always on hand with the repair crews. "We're working as hard as we can to get _______ back to the families of this community," seems to be his mantra. What is always left unspoken is that the City was aware of the problems for years and never did anything about it. He fancies himself as the next Kennedy - unfortunately, that Kennedy is Teddy. Too bad I don't still live there to vote against him.
Hey Baltimore, here's a slogan: "Baltimore, Grab Your Ankles"
I hate Baltimore....
I hate Baltimore.
I mean I really do fucking hate this fucking city.
For those who don't know, the city is run by idiotic liberal democrats. It has been for decades and look what they created; look at what great liberal idea was birthed from that rancid and festering mind. A city where liberals don’t need to compromise with conservatives. A city that is a true expression leftist design. A city overrun with bureaucracy and staffed with the lowest levels of human incompetence. State employees armed with their guidebooks, and armed with their rulebooks, low level hacks who put in their seven hours a day. Annoyed “workers” irritated that you interrupted them from pressing questions of the day, “What a I going eat for lunch today?”
I hate Baltimore.
I tried to renew my tags online today. I haven’t received anything in the mail, and my tags expired in September. No go - “An error has occurred.” Upon further analysis of the page I discovered I have an outstanding parking violation in Baltimore City. Ahh, the City that Reads! Charm City! The city I work in. Baltimore City! Parking ticket though? Seemed like bullshit to me. A mistake? I DON’T PARK ON THE STREET. I never do. Parking on the street is a pain in the ass. I always like the ease and convenience of garages and I don’t mind paying for it.
I hate Baltimore.
So I leave work in the middle of the day and walk to the Abble building. Constructed in the 50s the building hurts the eyes; uglies the skyline. Abble building, named after a person no doubt, certainly not named for the incompetent drones that walk those sickly green halls. Abble building, I think this may be what writers call Irony. Upon arrival I wait 25 minutes while the 4 people ahead of me are assisted. At last, it's my turn. I pass my registration to a clawed hand behind the counter. Bejeweled and painted fingernails 3 inches in length scratch and bend the paper in an attempt to grasp the 3x5 piece of card stock. A gold tooth snarls back at me. I ask for information about my parking ticket.
I hate Baltimore.
Claws click away at a keyboard.
I hate Baltimore.
I hate Baltimore.
It appears that on Oct. 10th 2002 I parked in a passenger loading zone at 200 West Madison St. I don’t know where the fuck that street is and I certainly don’t remember getting any fucking parking tickets.
I hate Baltimore.
It also appears that the address on file was my old address. My car is clearly registered to me at my current address. Instead the glorious Department of Motor Vehicles have been mailing warnings to a residence that I haven’t lived in for over 4 years. “This isn’t that bad, I see tickets for thousands of dollars every day” Somehow that makes me feel even worse. “Is there someone I can talk to?” I plead. “Can I argue this?”
I hate Baltimore.
“No, not until after you pay first”
I hate Baltimore.
“Fill out this form. It takes 6 months to a year to get a court date”
I hate Baltimore.
“Also writing a letter does not guarantee a trial.”
I hate Baltimore.
So here I am, I need $477 dollars to pay a $20 parking ticket I didn’t even know I had so I can spend $178 to register my fucking car. $655 I don’t fucking have right now. I understand Baltimore needs to generate some revenue somehow. After all, they taxed and regulated all the revenue generating businesses out of the area. Someone has to pay. Looks like today I’m the one getting fucked in the ass.
I fucking really truly do hate Baltimore.
(Sorry for the profanity, but I am really not happy today)
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Why Is It That Every City In the Middle East is Holy?
I was sitting in the study reading about the historical significance of . . . O.K., O.K. I was watching cartoons in the study, erm . . . uhh . . . the room with all the couches, and I happened to lament that no one actually drops anvils on anyone these days. Given that we have a perfectly good war (insurgency - whatever you want to call it) going on, I figured this would be the perfect venue for the resurgence of the anvil drop. I then looked over at Otter and suggested, "Hey, why don't we drop anvils on the Iraqi insurgents?"
His reply was, "Can't do it. Holy cities you know."
"Damn these Cities and their infernal holiness." I replied and immediately went to work on finding new venues for dropping anvils. Failing, I said, "If a man can't drop anvils on perfectly good targets, what has this world come to?" Still raging, I next asked the pertinent question, "What in tarnation, can you drop on these people? How is it that they live on life's game of tag's perpetual base." I was about to continue to damn all sorts of people to all sorts of places, when Otter calmly looked over at me and says, "I know what we can drop on them."
"What's that then?"
So that settles it, the next time there is an uprising in the Holy City of Najaf, or Mosul or, heck, Tehran. We know what to do - we'll just drop a Mosque on them. It's way more effective than a "smart" bomb.
The best part is, it works for all religions if you think hard enough.
"What about Atheists?" you ask (you smart ass you) -- Well, here's your answer - Anvils, Bitches, Anvils.
On my very second post attempt . . . and a really super awesome one at that
"When you type in a field, and it's wrong, where does it go?"
I'll answer now as I did then, "Good question."
Liberties Under Assault
Now, however, we have reached a point where matters that were once covered under the purview of civil litigation have now been criminalized. What's worse is that a person's intent, or even knowledge of the often vaguely worded statutes that forbid certain actions, no longer really matters. Even more frightening is that state and federal prosecutors are making end runs around the constitution (and your liberties) , and judges are complicit in these actions. In his wonderful book Go Directly to Jail: The Criminalization of Almost Everything, Gene Healy has put together a fabulous set of articles that explains how prosecutors make an end run around our concepts of justice, often for their own career advancement.
Healy, demonstrates how the complexity of our ever changing laws makes it difficult for any person to be confident that he or she is "law abiding." Additionally, he lays out the frightening powers that prosecutors have to dictate, essentially, that defendants (again often without demonstrating any intent to commit a crime, and who also make good-faith efforts to comply with the law) must admit their "guilt" and negotiate a plea agreement or face sanctions that can often amount to life in prison.
This excellent book came out just before the recent Supreme Court decision overturning mandatory sentencing guidelines, but it is nonetheless a must read for anyone who cares about freedom in America.
See, I have this movie idea where a physician is federally prosecuted for some vague, arbitrary heretofore unenforced provision of HIPAA. Rather than copping a plea and satisfying a young federal prosecutors passion for personal advancement, the doctor makes a principled stand and fights to prove he is innocent. Unfortunately, because his intent or knowledge of the law does not matter and neither do his good faith efforts to comply with the provisions by calling a federal HIPAA hotline (It doesn't matter if they gave you bad information), he is sentenced to jail for 20 years in federal prison.
However, it turns out that this doctor has also discovered the genetic key to prevent and reverse cancers. In an even more amazing Hollywood twist, the young federal prosecutor's lovely young wife is discovered to cancer in the late stages (she waited too long). The prosecutor, aware of the Doctor's findings, tries to compel him to cure his wife's cancer, and later tries to negotiate with the doctor - anything to save his wife. However, the doctor in an impassioned speech about how his sense of compassion was stolen by the prosecutor, refuses to help the prosecutor and the young lovely wife dies. Granted it is a selfish act by the doctor, but it is sometimes sooooooooooo satisfying to see people held personally accountable for their actions. - Note: it would probably be better if the prosecutor himself developed cancer, but let's face it, lovely young wives are so very Hollywood.
Perhaps I'm being too hard on prosecutors since ultimately it's the legislators who are at fault for this horrible legislation (and us for continuing to elect them), but shouldn't they at least be a filter for this kind of crappy legislation. Good grief - if a person had no intent to harm anything, why make him or her face jail time. It makes me want to slap them all.