Surly Curmudgeon

   The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
-- Robert A. Heinlein
  • Somewhere in the crusty outer layer of small towns surrounding the warm creamy center that is Oklahoma City.
Site Navigation
  • Current server time:
  • 12/2/2020 6:15:44 AM
  • Categories
    My Nerdly Hobbies
    The Daily Browse
    Reference Material
    Blogs of Note
    Non-blog Friend Pages

    Wednesday, March 31, 2004

    100% Property tax

    See, in normal taxation, they only take a part of what's yours. It's not stealing because they leave you with some -- it's the same as when a person holds up a convenience store and only gets the stuff in the register but not in the drop safe, that's not stealing either.

    But in this other thing, eminent domain, they get to take it all, and it's not stealing either. The reason is that the property you bought, got a mortgage for, worked long and hard to make the payments over several decades, and now finally own outright doesn't actually belong to you. No, you're a squatter on the government's land, and all the government is doing is taking back what rightfully belongs to them. And giving it to their friends.

    It's a good thing we don't believe in this kind of nonsense in the good old U.S. of A.:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Something like that would only ruin the fun.

    Posted by Tom, 3/31/2004 8:59:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Tuesday, March 30, 2004

    Zealots on the left, zealots on the right

    Cathy Young picks through the sticky mire of the recent Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and weighs the strategies of both sides in an attempt to discover where, politically speaking, the pro-abortion types went wrong:

    For assaults that cause a miscarriage before viability, more severe penalties could apply without making the fetus a separate victim.

    Why was such an option not even proposed?

    Unfortunately, many abortion-rights supporters really are ideological zealots who oppose any restrictions on abortion any time in the pregnancy. Yet most Americans, including most who consider themselves prochoice, occupy a middle ground on the wrenching issue of abortion.

    In this conflict, extremism is a ticket to defeat.

    In another area regarading "choice", where the left is firmly anti-choice, we have this piece from Angel Shamaya:

    Curiously, people who support gun prohibitions tend to be the same people who demand "choice" when it comes to abortions. Why is "choice" good when it comes to terminating pregnancies but bad when it comes to terminating vicious violent predators? Can anyone really argue that pregnancy choice is good but choosing to be able to defend yourself is bad? That makes almost as much sense as it does when people tell us we are safer by being defenseless.

    All people should have the choice to defend themselves or not. Gun owners ask nothing more or less than that. Just the choice.

    Well said. Unfortunately, this argument has been made before, and it typically falls on deaf ears. The political left as a whole seems to arrive at debates with their fingers stuffed firmly in their ears. Perhaps this is why they don't like guns; their hands are already engaged.

    Posted by Tom, 3/30/2004 11:31:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Monday, March 29, 2004

    When the thought police come callin'

    Mike S. Adams writes about his recent experiences in the ivory tower of "higher learning". Apparently the public university's "marketplace of ideas" does not include his ideas.

    Posted by Tom, 3/29/2004 2:37:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Friday, March 26, 2004

    Vitriolic Paranoia Center?

    And now John Lott gives us the flip:

    Previously the VPC claimed that it was a "myth" that "assault weapons merely look different. The NRA and the gun industry today portray assault weapons as misunderstood ugly ducklings, no different from other semi-automatic guns. But while the actions, or internal mechanisms, of all semi-automatic guns are similar, the actions of assault weapons are part of a broader design package. The 'ugly' looks of the TEC-9, AR-15, AK-47 and similar guns reflect this package of features designed to kill people efficiently."

    And the flop:

    The NPR reporter noted: "[the Violence Policy Center's representative] says that's all the [assault-weapons ban] brought about, minor changes in appearance that didn't alter the function of these weapons."

    Translation: They were lying to you all along.

    Posted by Tom, 3/26/2004 10:27:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Weird Science

    Dr. Thomas R. DeGregori gives us the lowdown on "green" ideology and its perversion of scientific method:

    Green science requires an increasing number of odd redefinitions. "Organic" no longer refers to carbon compounds. Tomatoes do not have "genes" unless biotechnologists put them there. A "chemical" is something synthesized by humans and doesn't exist in nature — ditto for toxins. "Organic" water is bottled and sold (there is now a debate as to whether it should be decertified as organic). And now DNA is a "complex protein." A proposed ordinance to ban the deadly chemical dihydrogen monoxide was on the agenda for a California city council meeting until someone realized that it was H2O, a.k.a. water. The odd items in this "new science" seemingly go on without end. To the plant physiologist, microbiologist, or biotechnologist, the supposedly "scientific" claims of the anti-GMO movement are as absurd as any of the foregoing.

    This is obviously something that needs very careful monitoring by the educated and intelligent among us. Whenever someone begins trying to redefine words and terms that previously had a universal definition, something foul is afoot. The most potent weapon in the arsenal of dangerous people is language. Remember what the definition of "is" is?

    Posted by Tom, 3/26/2004 10:20:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    The wrong tool for the job

    Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. takes pains to explain to us what exactly is the problem with our government engaging in anti-terrorism campaigns. I like his analogy:

    Here is the problem. The core failure goes way beyond anything the current government managers—however inept, distracted, or corrupt—can correct. If you tell your dog to make you dinner, for example, you can observe later that the dog failed to do so, and have great regrets about this. But what you learn from this experience and how you proceed are the crucial questions. Does the dog need better tools, more scoldings, and a professional trainer? Better to observe that the dog is not the right one for the job. In the same way, the government is not the right one for the job of providing security for the American people.

    US government policies created a reason for terrorism. Imagine this: One person gets mad enough to risk or sacrifice his life to fight back against what he perceives as injustice. For every one of him, there are 10 people who agree with him, but are not quite willing to say "this requires bloodshed", so they are willing to agitate instead. For every one of them, there are 10 more who agree but are not willing to agitate, so they just mutter to their friends about this and that. For every one of those, there are another 10 who don't necessarily agree, but they are on the fence and leaning in the anti-USA direction. For every one of those, there are 10 more who would rather not think about it, so we won't count them just yet.

    Here's the real kicker: When the USA kills anyone in the group, everyone takes one step closer to the "terrorist/freedom fighter" role.

    So if my numbers are correct (and I suspect they are on the conservative side), we have 19 guys in planes on September 11, 2001, plus 190 in the next layer, 1900 in the next, and so on, for a total of 21,109 people already leaning against us represented by the 9/11 hijackers alone. Now consider the number of people we have killed in Afghanistan and Iraq -- just the ones who were shooting back at us. How many is it? A thousand? Ten thousand? One thousand fighters would represent a population of one million people all moving toward the fighter position. Like Japan in World War II, we're going to have to kill every last one of them to win the war using government.

    In other words, the only real way to prevent terrorism is to do less in the way of government policy and more in the way of private provision and trade, which would be far easier to do if the warfare state would stop fomenting trouble all around the world.

    Seems like it'd be a lot simpler to trade with them.

    Posted by Tom, 3/26/2004 10:09:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Thursday, March 25, 2004

    Well, that's one way to do it...

    Nate, a poster on Vox Day's blog responses, has given us his plan for the future of government education:

    I also have a suggestion for fixing the system.

    Prelimenary strike: Cruise missile attacks on NEA headquarters and all Teachers Unions throughout the US, followed by small squad ground attacks to clean up the stragglers.

    Step 1) Burn every gornment school to the ground, using every copy of every child psychology text ever written as the kindling. Erect monuments on the charred earth remaining to the souls lost there.

    Step 2) Capture every psychologist and councilor in the country. Ask them to repent. If they refuse, shoot them in the head. Twice.

    Step 3) Make all teaching certifications illegal.

    Step 4) Abolish all education studies at all universities.

    ** This action should only begin after a similar scorched earth policy has been used on the lawyers.

    yeah... that should about do it.

    To which Vox responds:

    Nate, it pains me to point out that you omitted one vital step, namely, sowing the glowing embers with salt.

    Can't be too careful.

    Pure hyperbole, but definitely the funniest I've seen in a while. Even somewhat appropriate, when you consider the "scorched earth" policy the opposition takes when trying to "rescue" children.

    Posted by Tom, 3/25/2004 12:19:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    $pace... the final frontier

    The exploration of space is absolutely essential to the future of mankind, and privatizing it is absolutely essential to the future of space travel. So says I, and these guys agree with me. I've had enough of waiting for NASA to take an intelligent, exploration-based approach instead of their current PR-based approach. I've had enough of NASA's bureaucracy keeping safety concerns from being addressed. I've had enough of billion-dollar spacecraft going up in smoke because some nitwit decided it wasn't politically advantageous to his career to get the stupid thing fixed. I want RESULTS, and NASA is not going to provide them.

    Go Sea Launch. Go Burt Rutan. Go X Prize. Make millions -- no, billions of dollars. Profit like giant corporate pigs slurping up every last morsel. Wallow in your profit-lusting corporate culture. Give us the solar system, because there are those of us who want to buy it. It can't remain government's private party forever, not if we are going to continue as a race.

    Posted by Tom, 3/25/2004 10:52:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Wednesday, March 24, 2004

    Chicken poop

    The latest publicity stunt from the ne'er-do-wells at PETA is truly over the top.

    Starting next month, Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plans to hand out "Buckets of Blood" to children outside KFC restaurants and at schools near the restaurants. The buckets are part of PETA's campaign against what it says are farming and slaughter abuses by KFC's suppliers.

    Handing these out to children is just wrong. It is in horrible bad taste, and has nothing whatsoever to do with "making a statement" or "staging a protest". It's abusive and sick. Talk to the parents if you want to do some info-dispensing, but to intrude on a parent's right to raise a child as they choose by invading that child's consciousness with stuff that they wouldn't be allowed to watch in a movie is nothing short of intellectual rape.

    Now, just so the Colonel's people don't think I'm totally on their side, this statement:

    KFC spokeswoman Bonnie Warschauer initially said, "We don't comment on the corporate terrorist activities of PETA. They are corporate terrorists and just like the United States government, we will not negotiate with corporate terrorists."

    Corporate terrorists? This is equally ridiculous. Terrorism would be PETA blowing up KFC's or burning them to the ground. As far as the restaurant chain is concerned, this is simply negative press in the form of a protest. Note that this is not a contradiction with my statement above; the difference is in who is the actual victim of the event. The restaurants are not being victimized, and they have no reason to be throwing around words like "terrorist". The families on the other hand should be taking PETA down for terrorizing their children.

    Posted by Tom, 3/24/2004 6:09:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...


    Ever wonder where we get lawsuits against the gun, tobacco, food, and other industries? Ever wonder why the various tort reforms keep getting shot down by people who are... shall we say... left of center? Check this out. It blows my mind.

    Of course, there is plenty to be had on the other side of the fence. Republicans have a lot of fishy-looking campaign finance as well; just look at this cool graphic. But we all know there's very little that's less respectable than an ambulance-chaser.

    Posted by Tom, 3/24/2004 3:37:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Cats and terrorism

    The TSA could learn a lot from owning a cat, as this article demonstrates. Cats are obstinate creatures who will constantly seek ways to circumvent your household rules. If the cat is not allowed outside, the cat will patiently test every single window and door in the house. It will watch what you do when you use those openings. It will apply constant pressure to your security arrangements until it is able to get past them. Being an ambush hunter, it has seemingly infinite patience, and can wait a long time for you to make a mistake, at which point it will pounce on the smallest opportunity. When you discover the cat's new way of dealing with you, and try to cover that hole in your security, the cat goes back to patiently probing your defenses and looking for weak spots and opportunities.

    So it is with terrorists. The problem with this whole approach is that it is failure-oriented: We are attempting to prevent a failure in security, and success has been defined as a lack of failure. This could be described as "if security fails, we're doomed." Instead of defining success as a lack of failure, success should be defined as a graduated series of less catastrophic failures than the worst failure imaginable. The success-oriented approach is to ask "when security fails, what next?" The obvious solution is to have someone on board who can deal with the problem. But who is that person? An air marshal? A pilot? Or a concerned citizen, properly armed? The air marshal costs additional federal tax dollars. The pilot is behind a sealed door that he's not supposed to open. The concerned citizen is on board, at risk with all the other passengers, and costs nothing. I know what I'd pick.

    Posted by Tom, 3/24/2004 10:42:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Simple and to the point

    Without holding marches or sit-ins or any of this other crap, Ohioans for Concealed Carry has come up with a simple way to protest businesses which discriminate against gun owners and people carrying for self-defense. It's polite, gets the point across, and doesn't interfere with the property rights of the business owner. All it does is communicate a loss of revenue and a reason why. I like it.

    Posted by Tom, 3/24/2004 10:30:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    If you ask me, it's pretty useless

    An off-road Segway? For 5 grand I can buy a pretty nice ATV and get more power and terrain-handling ability than a stupid gyroscooter.

    Posted by Tom, 3/24/2004 8:23:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Bodycomps get closer

    Here's another contender for the wearable display. The illusion of a 17-inch monitor! Now that's what I call a display.

    Posted by Tom, 3/24/2004 8:15:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Tuesday, March 23, 2004

    Boos all around

    Here's the latest from the panel investigating intelligence failures leading up to 9/11.

    BOO to the Bush Administration, for trying to save face:

    "President Bush and his entire national security team understood that terrorism had to be among our highest priorities and it was," Powell said.

    BOO to the Clintonistas, for doing the same:

    Likewise, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told the commission that President Clinton and his team "did everything we could, everything we could think of, based on the knowledge we had, to protect our people and disrupt and defeat al-Qaida."

    How about "we failed to realize just how motivated and determined and fanatical our enemy is." How about "we completely underestimated their dedication to their cause, and completely overestimated the effectiveness of the strategies we chose to employ in our defense." How about "we were really stupid when we thought that by asking 'pretty please' we would get them to do what we wanted, and we were really gutless when we kept pursuing Care Bears stratagems to win votes when we should have been kicking butt or packing our bags and going home."

    And of course, BOO to the nitwits who are currently trying to make political hay over "Bush's" failures when Bush was doing the same thing Clinton had been doing. You can't have it both ways, chumps.

    Posted by Tom, 3/23/2004 3:09:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    It's child abuse, I tell you

    And the Voxinator agrees:

    Unlike the government and many public school advocates, I believe every parent has the right to educated their children as they see fit even if that means sentencing the children to twelve years of intellectual mutilation. What they don't have, however, is the right to expect me to cheer or otherwise salute a foolish and self-centered choice.

    Posted by Tom, 3/23/2004 11:04:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Banking Dangers

    Christopher Mayer writes about the dangers of continuing the federal reserve system's deposit insurance program as a government tool to "prevent collapse". In this article he describes a moral principle that applies to all facets of life and society:

    Moral hazard is the term thrown about to denote the effect created when people are continually shielded from the consequences of their own errors. What happens is that this factors into their future decision making and they will tend to take greater risks in the future (and make more errors). Herbert Spencer, who wrote "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to people the world with fools," perhaps penned the most succinct and memorable expression of this phenomenon.

    This is why government cannot be allowed to perpetuate any of its programs that bail people out or "provide a safety net". Removing the consequences of risk only serves to increase the risk one is willing to take. The individual moves beyond his ability to deal with the consequences of failure, and when he fails he forces others to either continue the vicious cycle of bailout or suffer a worse catastrophe through loss of his productivity than might otherwise have been suffered had he taken on a more reasonable level of risk.

    Posted by Tom, 3/23/2004 9:06:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    What is Libertarian?

    Rachel Mills tries to answer that question in her latest article at LibertyForAll, which is a reprint taken from her blog, where the permalinks don't seem to work.

    Libertarians posit that you own yourself and it's as simple as that. Anything else is contradictory and hypocritical. You own your body and the labor it produces. You own your time and how you choose to spend it. You own your decisions. You and you alone. You also own the consequences of them, at least you should. Your ownership ends at the tip of your nose, as does your neighbors responsibility for your well-being, and yours for his. We certainly believe in being good neighbors, respectful neighbors, but we don't accept that the world owes us a living. That is for us to eke out from the dust of the earth just like every human being from the dawn of time. We believe in the Golden Rule, and for some of us that might mean living in isolation in hopes not to be bothered. For most of us though, that means contributing to society, respecting our fellow man, being generous and kind, charitable, of our own accord, with the knowledge that someday we may be in need, and it is comforting, a form of insurance if you will, to work toward a society that lends a helping hand. But never once would we demand our neighbor provide for us at gunpoint should that day arrive. Charity under duress is not charity. We call it theft, and we don't like it.

    Posted by Tom, 3/23/2004 8:57:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Animated Politics

    Here's an interesting look at the politics of South Park. See also this Reason article about cartoons and politics in general, which also looks at Beavis & Butthead, The Simpsons, and King of the Hill.

    Posted by Tom, 3/23/2004 8:54:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Monday, March 22, 2004

    Recently Discovered

    I didn't know Vox Day had a blog. I'm happy to add it to my "Blogs of Note" at the left. I really dig his color scheme.

    Posted by Tom, 3/22/2004 6:05:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    United Nations, Democrats under fire

    Key people at the United Nations may have been complicit in Saddam Hussein's reign of terror and may have had financial reasons for wanting him to stay in power. This story bears further watching.

    In other news, Ted Kennedy's staff floated a memo that seems to advocate stalling Bush's judicial nominees so the Democrats could manipulate a key court case over affirmative action. Not that anything will come of it, but it certainly does look bad to those of us with our eyes open.

    Posted by Tom, 3/22/2004 10:49:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Your Papers Please

    This one gets a little technical, and the person involved is not exactly a sympathetic defendant (he's kind of belligerent on the video). The reader is left to form his own opinion, as the Supreme Court is doing right now.

    Posted by Tom, 3/22/2004 10:32:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Private Space Flight

    Here's a really cool article about Sea Launch, a private, non-subsidized business that's putting satellites into geosynchronous orbit.

    Posted by Tom, 3/22/2004 10:00:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Friday, March 19, 2004

    Good point

    Aside from the canard about the film stirring up anti-Semitism, the primary excuse being offered by the media elites for their vitriol toward Gibson and his vision of this story is that it is "too bloody." This from the same critics who rave that Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaking genius for churning out such gratuitous, blood-soaked rubbish as "Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill."

    Way to smack 'em down! Read the rest of this awesome commentary here.

    Posted by Tom, 3/19/2004 10:27:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Register to Vote!

    Especially if you're Christian. It doesn't matter who you support if you don't vote. That's about as even-handed as this staunch libertarian can get.

    Posted by Tom, 3/19/2004 8:41:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Thursday, March 18, 2004

    This is awesome

    As subversive as it gets: The Bill of Rights, Security Edition, created by Dean Cameron.

    What is the "Security Edition" ?

    The First Ten Amendments to the constitution of the United States printed on sturdy, pocket-sized, pieces of metal.

    The next time you travel by air, take the Security Edition of the Bill of Rights along with you. When asked to empty your pockets, proudly toss the Bill of Rights in the plastic bin.

    You need to get used to offering up the bill of rights for inspection and government workers need to get used to deciding if you'll be allowed to keep the Bill of Rights with you when you travel.

    Buy them now, buy them often! Give them to your friends, especially the "frequent flyers" in your life. This one gets a permanent link to the left.

    Posted by Tom, 3/18/2004 9:54:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Why Government Fails

    Murray N. Rothbard takes pains to explain to us why the government is inherently incapable of success.

    There is a fatal flaw that permeates every conceivable scheme of government enterprise and ineluctably prevents it from rational pricing and efficient allocation of resources. Because of this flaw, government enterprise can never be operated on a "business" basis, no matter what the government's intentions.

    What is this fatal flaw? It is the fact that government can obtain virtually unlimited resources by means of its coercive tax power.
    The clinching argument, and one that is used quite correctly by opponents of government ownership, is: If business operation is so desirable, why take such a tortuous route? Why not scrap government ownership and turn the operation over to private enterprise? Why go to such lengths to try to imitate the apparent ideal (private ownership) when the ideal may be pursued directly? The plea for business principles in government, therefore, makes little sense, even if it could be successful.

    Posted by Tom, 3/18/2004 9:53:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Worm's-eye view

    Here is a view from the bottom of the death of the Assault Weapons Sham, the lawsuit protection bill, and the rest. It's a good look at the dynamics in play on the pro-gun side of the fence.

    Posted by Tom, 3/18/2004 9:51:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Wednesday, March 17, 2004

    Government Worship

    Today's series of articles revolve around the monolithic, overbearing, and oppressive presence of government in our lives. Of course, some will argue that this is the theme of every day here at CenterDigit, but these articles are especially to the point.

    The festivities kick off with the curmudgeonly grumpings of the inimitable Vin Suprynowicz, as he launches a call to repeal every law passed since 1912. I especially liked his little dig at Social Security, though his pro-rate plan is far more aggressive than mine:

    Take Social Security. Point out that this Ponzi scheme is actuarially bankrupt, and the Peanut Gallery shrieks "It's easy to criticize; what do you suggest we do?!"

    In good faith, we might suggest they do a pro-rated division of any money the government wants to contend is actually in the "Social Security Trust Fund" among those aged 50 and older, based on how much they paid in, while telling workers under 50: "Sorry, you're out of luck. But at least you've got 15 years to save for your retirement, and you'd better get started."

    The screaming then begins: "But what about the starving oldsters who depend on those payments? They were promised!" And is the target of this outrage those who foisted this transparent socialist fraud on a befuddled nation? No, it's those of us who have bravely assumed the role of bank examiners, merely holding open the door to the empty vault and pointing out they've created an unsustainable system.

    Then some guy named Doug Hagin sounds off against the Democrats and their style of double-talk:

    Choice is another term Democrats love to use repeatedly. When a Democrat says he supports choice what he really means is he supports only a woman’s right to abort her unborn child. Choice for schools? No! Choice to carry a firearm for self-defense? No! Choice to privatize your Social Security? No!

    Of course not. Democrats have no great love of choice when it comes to choosing between self-sufficiency and sucking at the government teat. This of course in no way pardons the Republicans or President Bush for the most overwhelming expansion in government power over private citizens our nation has ever seen, the dastardly USA PATRIOT Act and all of the intelligence, intrusive monitoring, and "anti-terrorist" crapola that goes with the new Culture of Fear.

    But what exactly is the point of this nanny state anyway? This question is mulled over by Fred Reed in his latest article at

    Why is the government involved in the schools? If the public schools worked, an argument could be made for them: If children don’t learn to read, they are more likely to end up on the public nipple, which is everybody’s business. In fact, if the schools worked, you wouldn’t have to make an argument for them. In the fifties and early sixties, they did work. They taught the educable to read, did a reasonable job of preparing the bright for college, and did very little else. Which was exactly right.

    Today they don’t work – endlessly, badly, overwhelmingly, highly documentably don’t work. They don’t work because they are chiefly a means of imposing social agendas for powerful lobbies and of hiding the failures of the swing vote in presidential elections.

    Note that government is the cause of the failure. It is government in one form or another that mandates the hiring of low-grade (read certified) teachers, insists on hiring according to color instead of competence, forbids the firing of the demonstrably useless, and mandates the purchase of terrible texts. Government requires teaching to the level of the dullest-witted. Government also prevents the establishment of good schools in competition with itself. Don’t think so? Try to start a school and run it as you wish.

    What else do we see in schools that's disturbing? How about the teaching of government worship to our young children? This story is about guns, but the most frightening quote comes from the student who has learned that government is his best friend, protector, and giver of all good things -- a position normally reserved for God:

    As for Hunter, he says this program taught him there are better solutions than violence [meaning self-defense]. "We were learning that guns don't solve things. Instead, go to the police."

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the future: a nation of infants who depend on the benevolence of the sovereign and his agents for their well-being. The government fights most vociferously for public schools because that is its means of indoctrination. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Public schools are child abuse. It doesn't get any simpler than that.

    On another note, I had actually intended to be done with Martha Stewart for a while, but when Ilana Mercer writes, I read. She makes largely the points that have been made before, but she does it with such style I can't help but mention it.

    I for one truly believe that we are in the beginning of the end for America's greatness. The free market that we were built on is slowly being replaced with a government ever-more bent on running every aspect of our lives, from the food we eat to the fun we have to the cars we drive to the toilets we poop in. Big Brother is already here, he just didn't announce himself, preferring instead to slip quietly in through the back door. As Fred's article says in the title, we no longer live in a free country. The question is what, if anything, can be done about it?

    Posted by Tom, 3/17/2004 10:58:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Activists under fire

    Penn & Teller's show "Bullsh*t" will be doing a piece on PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the animal rights movement. It promises to set the dogs howling across the nation.

    Posted by Tom, 3/17/2004 10:01:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Tuesday, March 16, 2004

    Bureaucratic idiocy at its best

    A city in California went so far as to plan a vote on banning items made with water. The only way this could be cooler is if they actually did it. I'd like this to be a lesson to the "ban first, ask questions later" crowd. It won't be, but I'd like it if it was.

    Posted by Tom, 3/16/2004 9:06:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    I hope they've read their Asimov

    Sony is working on autonomous robots.

    Posted by Tom, 3/16/2004 8:42:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    NASA falls down again

    In this article we see how Star Trek has mapped out the future for us, we see how private industry has adopted it enthusiastically, and a little thought shows us how NASA has utterly failed to follow the map laid down by the visionaries of the past like Gene Roddenberry and Robert Heinlein.

    Posted by Tom, 3/16/2004 8:40:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Do as I say...

    Check out these stories (here, here, and here) of envirowacktivists destroying private property to promote their ideology. I wonder how many of them would turn right around and (rightly) condemn Christians for blowing up abortion clinics?

    Posted by Tom, 3/16/2004 8:28:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Monday, March 15, 2004

    Stupid-size me

    You may have heard about this documentary where some nitwit ate McDonald's for a month, then complained about how bad it made him feel. Well, here's the Center for Consumer Freedom's take on it:

    If anything, ''Super Size Me'' is a lesson in why obesity lawsuits are so frivolous. Spurlock consciously chose to eat just one type of food day in and day out. He was no unwitting victim of convenient, inexpensive and tasty food.

    'Nuff said.

    Posted by Tom, 3/15/2004 1:08:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    The tone changes

    The press is starting to sound alarmed at the success of The Passion. This article could almost be titled "why won't this thing die?"

    Posted by Tom, 3/15/2004 9:15:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    This is just disturbing

    Kaba Kick

    I don't know what else to say. Maybe it's a good thing the Japanese aren't allowed to own guns. After all, look at what their soldiers are like.

    Posted by Tom, 3/15/2004 9:13:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Friday, March 12, 2004

    There is no morality at gunpoint

    This is one of my personal axioms that has led to my libertarian political position. It is also one of the reasons I am a libertarian as opposed to a Libertarian. A Libertarian would argue that freedom is necessary, morality irrelevant. I argue that freedom is necessary, morality is the point. I had never come across another libertarian looking at it exactly the way I do, until today.

    This article, one of the longest I've ever seen at Mises, is just brilliant. Murray N. Rothbard goes over a "top-ten" list of the most common complaints against capitalism and the free market ideology, and patiently refutes each one in exacting detail. One of his points has to do with the morality of individual choices, and how the government may or may not be ethically employed to "encourage" morality.

    The question that must be faced, then, is: Can force advance morality? Suppose we arrive at the demonstrable conclusion that actions A, B, and C are immoral, and actions X, Y, and Z are moral. And suppose we find that Mr. Jones shows a distressing propensity to value A, B, and C highly and adopts these courses of action time and again. We are interested in transforming Mr. Jones from being an immoral person to being a moral person. How can we go about it? The statists answer: by force. We must prohibit at gunpoint Mr. Jones from doing A, B, and C. Then, at last, he will be moral. But will he? Is Jones moral because he chooses X when he is forcibly deprived of the opportunity to choose A? When Smith is confined to a prison, is he being moral because he doesn't spend his time in saloons getting drunk?

    There is no sense to any concept of morality, regardless of the particular moral action one favors, if a man is not free to do the immoral as well as the moral thing. If a man is not free to choose, if he is compelled by force to do the moral thing, then, on the contrary, he is being deprived of the opportunity of being moral. He has not been permitted to weigh the alternatives, to arrive at his own conclusions, and to take his stand. If he is deprived of free choice, he is acting under the dictator's will rather than his own. (Of course, he could choose to be shot, but this is hardly an intelligible conception of free choice of alternatives. In fact, he then has only one free choice: the hegemonic one—to be shot or to obey the dictator in all things.)

    Dictatorship over consumers' choices, then, can only atrophy morality rather than promote it. There is but one way that morality can spread from the enlightened to the unenlightened—and that is by rational persuasion. If A convinces B through the use of reason that his moral values are correct and B's are wrong, then B will change and adopt the moral course of his own free will. To say that this method is a slower procedure is beside the point. The point is that morality can spread only through peaceful persuasion and that the use of force can only erode and impair morality.

    Like I said, there is no morality at gunpoint.

    Posted by Tom, 3/12/2004 8:58:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    This makes no sense to me

    Millions of people are taking to the streets today in Spain, not in a national day of mourning, but in protest against the terrorist attacks that recently rocked that country. What the...? If the people who committed the terror attacks were the sort to be moved by a protest, it's hard to believe they would have carried out the attacks to begin with.

    And maybe I've just played one too many wargames, but it sure seems like those crowds would be a tempting target for the sort of terrorist leader who could orchestrate a one-two punch. You know, pull off a bombing of some trains, then cut loose with the big guns in the middle of these giant crowds.

    Posted by Tom, 3/12/2004 4:07:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Public School is Child Abuse

    Here's still more evidence: The Best Defense is a Good Offense

    The worst thing about this story is the following:

    Alicia is being homeschooled as they fight to get her back into Talawanda. They have nobody left to appeal to and will likely be forced to sue the School Board to get her case reconsidered.

    How about not doing that and instead continuing to homeschool your child outside of the barbaric and unhealthy environs of a public school? How about teaching her something as opposed to letting her brain rot in the teenage penitentiary her school has obviously become?

    Posted by Tom, 3/12/2004 1:49:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Things that make you go Hmmmm...

    Here's an interesting story about a woman who shot her abusive husband with his gun as he was attacking her. The reason it is interesting is the type of gun used, a .45 caliber revolver. They're not exactly the most common beast, the only ones I know of being the old cowboy guns (and the newer replicas of same) in .45 Long Colt, or the very few revolvers in .45 ACP, such as Smith & Wesson's model 625. Like I said, just interesting.

    And then there's this report about the UN losing the black box from a plane that may have had something to do with Rwanda's genocide. If the worst-case scenario is true, then hundreds of thousands are dead as a result of government incompetence.

    Finally, if you're looking to cash in on the religious market, has a quick article about the stocks that do the most business with religion-related goods.

    Posted by Tom, 3/12/2004 10:17:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Thursday, March 11, 2004

    Gun Gestapo

    Here's an infuriating look at the rank sexism and citizen harassment that's apparently SOP at the BATF.

    Posted by Tom, 3/11/2004 9:32:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...


    So this nitwit wants us to talk about facts...

    But as voters have seen time and time again, it is politically dangerous to dabble in facts when one's intent is to sway public opinion into buying the line of the well-funded gun lobby.

    He precedes this comment with this line:

    While this might be true if one were only speaking about public gun shows or newly manufactured guns, the actual fact is that the sale of guns, particularly used guns, at private gun shows does not require the same background checks as all other gun sales.

    I defy this twit to show me the line in the laws regarding background checks that says "except at gun shows".

    Looking elsewhere in his idiotic piece, we see this wonderful tidbit:

    Washington, DC's Bulls Eye Shooting Supply - the dealer that supplied the weapon to the DC sniper - is one of the repeat offenders, having been connected to the sale of weapons traced to over 50 area crimes.

    Hmm... a search of revealed only one business in or near Washington DC with the name "Bullseye", and it appears to be a carpenter's shop or something. There are two with the name "Bulls Eye", but one is a marketing firm and the other is apparently a building contractor. Could that be because Bulls Eye Shooter Supply is in Washington STATE? As for the store "supplying" the snipers with their gun, the store maintains that the gun was stolen, a point which has never been disproven.

    Posted by Tom, 3/11/2004 9:24:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Too cool...

    Exoskeletons are here! If you, like me, have been waiting for this gadget since the heady days of Star Frontiers (circa 1982), this is a great day.

    Posted by Tom, 3/11/2004 9:10:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    The more things change...

    The new Iraqi constitution says nothing about the right to bear arms. All they get is a frighteningly totalitarian statement about arms ownership being permitted only under the auspices of licensure by civil authorities. Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss.

    Posted by Tom, 3/11/2004 9:09:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Wednesday, March 10, 2004

    Bodycomps on the way

    I'm a big fan of the concept of the wearable computer -- a computer that you could wear rather than carry. One of the big challenges is how to get wear a display around that won't cause too many problems. That brings us to the latest website I've discovered,, and one of their recent finds, the Eyetop Centra. I'm not saying this is the solution to the wearable display problem, but it definitely seems to be one step closer.

    Posted by Tom, 3/10/2004 4:38:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    OK, this woman is an idiot

    Either that, or she doesn't understand the English language. Helen Thomas' inane rant against the NRA finished up with this little gem:

    The newspaper quoted a spokesman for the Center for the Study of Elections, as identifying the NRA as having overtaken Christian conservatives "as the very best interest groups on the right at grass-root mobilizing."

    The NRA is only in temporary strategic retreat. It's up to the people to call the shots this time and make the lawmakers do the right thing by extending the ban on assault weapons.

    "Grass-root mobilizing" means "getting the people involved". But then she goes into this crap about "the people" needing to get involved. Hello? Braindead reporter? You just got done saying that the people are already involved, and it appears they agree with the NRA. So sit down and shut up.

    Posted by Tom, 3/10/2004 9:40:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    More Martha

    The CATO Institute has a dandy article about the Martha Stewart mistrial. Here's a tidbit:

    On the evening of the Martha Stewart verdict, the U.S. public radio show Marketplace opened with David Brown saying, "It's rare that a case involving insider trading attracts such attention." Unfortunately, this case attracted only careless attention. Reporters paid considerable attention to the handbags Ms. Stewart was carrying, but not to the eccentric nature of the alleged crimes. As a result, Mr. Brown and the jury came to imagine the Martha Stewart case involved insider trading. It did not. There is a dubious SEC civil case pending, but that has to do with fines, not crimes.

    Juror Chappelle Hartridge told reporters the jury felt Stewart's background as a stockbroker meant "she should have known her moves were illegal." The jury thought Stewart was guilty of insider trading, and should have known better because she had been a stockbroker.

    The reason jurors and journalists wrongly accused Stewart of insider trading is just one reason Martha Stewart deserves to win on appeal. Judge Miriam Cedarbaum prohibited the defence team from mentioning the fact that it was perfectly legal for Martha Stewart to sell on her broker's advice, regardless what Doug Faneuil may have said or why. Either his explanation or hers may be correct, and they are not mutually exclusive. But the jury would surely have wondered why the motive for selling ImClone stock mattered so much if they could have been told the sale itself was no crime.

    Reason also has a wind-up of the events, and a list of the offenses of which Stewart was actually convicted, from the mouth of Juror #8. Unfortunately for Juror #8, none of the things of which they actually convicted her are illegal. You know, things like being a mean person, or being wealthy.

    Posted by Tom, 3/10/2004 9:13:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Tuesday, March 9, 2004

    It's never as simple as we'd like it to be

    Here's a decent article about the competing political interests of a homosexual gun owner. New York Times registration required, because they're idiots.

    As a lesbian in a long-term relationship, Margaret Leber objects to the idea of amending the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

    But Ms. Leber, a software engineer and a registered Republican in Jeffersonville, Pa., is also a member of the Pink Pistols, an organization of gay and lesbian gun owners, and marriage is not the only issue on her mind.

    "Right now, I am leaning toward Bush," Ms. Leber said. "All the Democrats just rolled into Congress to vote for this gun-control bill. Somebody with my values and beliefs can't be a single-issue voter."

    Posted by Tom, 3/9/2004 9:32:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Workin' for a livin' has an article about employment that's long on points but short on depth. Still, it's a good "talking points" memo to draw from when dealing with socialists and other opponents of the free market. I especially liked the argument against licensing:

    When the government passes a law saying certain jobs cannot be undertaken without a license, it erects a legal barrier to entry. Why should it be illegal for anyone to try their hand at haircutting? The market will supply all the information consumers need.

    Posted by Tom, 3/9/2004 9:30:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Monday, March 8, 2004

    A house with no foundation

    This article tells us what's fundamentally wrong with the government's case against Martha Stewart, and her conviction:

    [Juror 8]: "Well, as I understood it we weren't supposed to consider insider trading..."

    ...the jurors apparently remained convinced that Stewart had engaged in the "crime" of "insider trading," or at least something similar, since they believed she was trying to cover up something illegal. They could not have reached their decision otherwise, as it would have been a logical absurdity.

    In other words, Martha was convicted of covering up a crime that she didn't commit, and which the government no longer claims was even committed.

    Mother, to child: "Did you take a cookie from the cookie jar?"
    Child: "No"
    Mother, upon re-counting the cookies and discovering that none were in fact missing: "There are no cookies missing, so you didn't take one. However, because you tried to cover it up, you're grounded!"
    Media and the "man on the street": "Great parenting! We never liked that kid anyway."

    Tell me again why Martha's conviction is such a good thing.

    Posted by Tom, 3/8/2004 12:28:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Great article, horrible closing point

    I really liked this article, right up until the end, when the author overstates his case:

    In the words of the radical Violence Policy Center: "The public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons -- anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun -- can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons." Machine guns were, of course, effectively banned in 1934.

    Machine guns were regulated in 1934 with the National Firearms Act, but you could still buy them pretty easily up until 1968 when the Gun Control Act was passed. Even after that, it was still possible to get one, provided you went through all of the rigamarole of getting the $200 tax stamp and registering it with the BATF. It wasn't until 1986, with the Firearms Owners Protection Act, that the door really slammed shut. That was when it was decided that no new machine guns could be added to the registry, freezing the supply at whatever was available at the time, to wit:

    "(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), it shall be unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun.

    (2) This subsection does not apply with respect to--

    (A) a transfer to or by, or possession by or under the authority of, the United States or any department or agency thereof or a State, or a department, agency, or political subdivision thereof; or

    (B) any lawful transfer or lawful possession of a machinegun that was lawfully possessed before the date this subsection [Page 670] takes effect."

    An extensive analysis of the FOPA (1986) and its historical context can be found here.

    Posted by Tom, 3/8/2004 10:55:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Passion Profits

    Let's see, $30 million to make, $15 million worth of advertising and... current box office at $212 million and beating the curve. Disney, Time Warner, Sony, and Viacom must be rolling in dough to pass up profits like that.

    Posted by Tom, 3/8/2004 10:25:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Sunday, March 7, 2004

    Passion and a Parable

    Well, I've finally seen The Passion. As I suspected, the various media and professional victim groups were probably doing some very potent drugs when they came up with their "anti-Semitic" theory. The Roman soldiers did not "get off easy", as I've seen some say. The whole debate was a pointless waste of time, unless you count the ticket sales boost that the controversy may have generated.

    My dear sister-in-law sent me the following parable. I do not know if the events truly happened, or where they may have happened, but even if it is only a story, the point is valid nonetheless.

    There was a certain professor of theology named Dr. Christianson, a studious man who taught at a small college in the Western United States. Dr.Christianson taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution. Every student was required to take this course his or her freshman year regardless of his or her major.

    Although Dr. Christianson tried hard to communicate the essence of the gospel to his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the course as nothing but drudgery. Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously.

    This year, Dr. Christianson had a special student named Steve. Steve was only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going into seminary for the ministry. Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an imposing specimen. He was the starting center on the school football team, and the best student in the professor's class. One day, Dr. Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him.

    "How many push-ups can you do?"

    Steve said, "I do about 200 every night."

    "200? That's pretty good, Steve," Dr. Christianson said. "Do you think you could do 300?"

    Steve replied, "I don't know - I've never done 300 at a time."

    "Do you think you could?" again asked Dr. Christianson.

    "Well, I can try," said Steve.

    "Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and I need you to do about 300 push-ups in sets of 10 for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it," said the professor.

    Steve said, "Well...I think I can...yeah, I can do it."

    Dr. Christianson said, "Good! I need you to do this on Friday. Let me explain what I have in mind ."

    Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room.. When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts. Now, these weren't the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited - it was Friday, the last class of the day and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr. Christianson's class.

    Dr. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, "Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?"

    Cynthia said, "Yes."

    Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, could you do 10 push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?"
    Steve said, "Sure," and jumped down from his desk to do a quick 10. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Dr. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk.

    Dr. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, "Joe, do you want a donut?" Joe said, "Yes." Dr. Christianson asked, "Steve, would you do 10 push-ups so Joe can have a donut?" Steve did 10 push-ups, Joe got a donut. And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did 10 push-ups for every person before they got their donut. And down the second aisle, 'till Dr. Christianson came to Scott.

    Scott was on the basketball team, and is as good of a condition as Steve. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship. When the professor asked, "Scott, do you want a donut?"

    Scott's reply was, "Well, can I do my own push-ups?"

    Dr. Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them."

    Then Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then,"

    Dr. Christianson shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do 10 push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?" With perfect obedience Steve started to do 10 push-ups.

    Scott said, "HEY! I said I didn't want one!"

    Dr. Christianson said, "Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don't want it." And he put a donut on Scott's desk. Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow.

    Dr. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry. Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, "Jenny, do you want a donut?"

    Sternly, Jenny said,"No."

    Then Dr. Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do 10 more push-ups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?" Steve did 10, Jenny got a donut. By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were beginning to say, "No" and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve also had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these push-ups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms an brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

    Dr. Christianson asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever in the class, to watch Steve do each push-up to make sure he did the full 10 push-ups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Robert over to where Steve was so Robert could count the set and watch Steve closely.

    Dr.Christianson started on the fourth row. During his class, however, some students from the other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room. When the professor realized this, he did a quick count and saw that there were now 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it. Dr. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

    Steve asked Dr. Christianson, "Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?"

    Dr. Christianson thought a moment. "Well, they're your push-ups. You can do them any way you want." And Dr. Christianson went on. A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, "NO! Don't come in! Stay out!"

    Jason didn't know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, "No, let him come."

    Dr, Christianson said, "You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do 10 push-ups for him?"

    Steve said, "Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut."

    Dr. Christianson said, "Okay, Steve, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?"

    Jason, new to the room hardly knew what was going on. "Yes," he said, "Give me a donut."

    "Steve, would you do 10 push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?" Steve did 10 push-ups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered,was handed a donut and sat down. Dr. Christianson finished the forth row, then started on those visitors seated by the heaters. Steve's arms were now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. Sweat was profusely dripping off of his face and, by this time, there was no sound except his heavy breathing. There was not a dry eye in the room.

    The very last two students in the room were two young women, both cheerleaders, and very popular. Dr. Christianson went to Linda, the second-to-last, and asked, "Linda, do you want a donut?"

    Linda said, very sadly, "No, thank you."

    Professor Christianson quietly asked, "Steve, would you do 10 push-ups so that Linda can have a donut that she doesn't want?" Grunting from the effort, Steve did 10 very slow push-ups for Linda.

    Then Dr. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. "Susan, do you want a donut?"

    Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. "Dr. Christianson, why can't I help him?"

    Dr. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, "No, Steve has to do it alone, I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not. When I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book. Steve, here, is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone else has failed a test, skipped a class, or offered me inferior work. Steve told me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do push-ups. I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your push-ups. He and I made a deal for your sakes. Steve, would you do 10 push-ups so Susan can have a donut?"

    As Steve very slowly finished his last push-up, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 push-ups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor. Dr. Christianson turned to the room and said, "And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, plead to the Father, 'Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.' With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, he yielded up his life...and like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten."

    Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat,physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile. "Well done, good and faithful servant," said the professor, adding, "Not all sermons are preached in words."

    Turning to his class the professor said, "My wish is that you might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who spared not only the Begotten Son, but gave Him up for us all for the whole Church, now and forever."

    "Greater love hath no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

    Posted by Tom, 3/7/2004 8:32:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Thursday, March 4, 2004

    Some coverage of the Senate gun bills

    Here's just a smattering of coverage on what happened Tuesday to the Assault Weapons Sham and related bills:

    Looks like everyone is declaring victory on this one. I figure that includes libertarians, since no laws were passed, and government doing nothing is far better than government doing something.

    Posted by Tom, 3/4/2004 10:32:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Passion play

    Ann Coulter is in rare form today as she flogs the New York Times and the Democratic party faithful over their misunderstanding of what The Passion and Christianity are all about.

    The most amazing complaint, championed by the Times and repeated by all the know-nothing secularists on television, is that Gibson insisted on "rubbing our faces in the grisly reality of Jesus' death." The Times was irked that Gibson "relentlessly focused on the savagery of Jesus' final hours" – at the expense of showing us the Happy Jesus. Yes, Gibson's movie is crying out for a car chase, a sex scene or maybe a wise-cracking orangutan.

    Ann, give up on trying to educate them. Like MTV, some people just don't get it.

    Posted by Tom, 3/4/2004 10:25:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Wednesday, March 3, 2004

    A good day to be a gun owner

    It is extremely likely at this point that the Assault Weapons Ban is dead. There are two things riding against it: The first is that the Senate, when approached by the anti-gun lobby to take up the issue again, will say "we've already done the gun issue this year." This is a typical response to interest groups, even from politicians who agree with them. The most fervent supporting politicians (Feinstein, Schumer, Kennedy, possibly Clinton) will promise to "fight the good fight" and a lot of other rot, but they know that it's an uphill battle and will quietly let the issue die.

    If by some miracle the anti-gunners do get it moving again, they face the second obstacle: opposition to the bill is likely to be a whole lot stronger when the bill is by itself as opposed to when it is smuggled along with another bill. The House will never renew the bill by itself; they are too strongly pro-gun. There has to be a carrot for the pro-gun people, and the best one has just died an ignominious death. National concealed-carry reciprocity would be a temptation, but let's face it, that one isn't going anywhere.

    So I'm just kind of happily looking forward to being able to buy guns with standard-capacity magazines again, as opposed to these stupid Clinton-era limited-capacity ones. It's looking optimistic for gun owners this year.

    Posted by Tom, 3/3/2004 11:25:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...


    So I've finished Heinlein's latest, last, and first work, For Us, The Living. Great book, easy to see how it's a first effort and a first draft, but great nonetheless. He sets up some more of his economic ideas that were eventually brought into Beyond This Horizon, and offers some exercises one might try to see how the whole Social Credit Theory works.

    Here's the fascinating thing, though: I just discovered that Ayn Rand wrote a book just a few years before Heinlein wrote For Us, The Living, and it was called We the Living. Considering that Heinlein was a fan of Rand's (see mentions in FUTL and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress), I'm intrigued by the possibility of some overlap in ideas. So I guess my next task is to look into this Rand book, and see if there are any parallels.

    Posted by Tom, 3/3/2004 9:43:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Tuesday, March 2, 2004

    Dodged a bullet

    (pun intended)

    Well, the Assault Weapons Sham goes down in flames, along with the Gun Show Ban, a "Safe Storage" Law, Cops-only concealed carry, and yet another bit of "armor-piercing" ammo stupidity, taking with it the lawsuit protection for innocent gun makers. 5 out of 6 ain't bad, I guess.

    Posted by Tom, 3/2/2004 4:44:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    This will probably suck

    Disney is getting ready to do a live-action version of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I am already sickened. I predict they will find some way to write the entire Christian message right out of the film, especially considering what I've already said regarding them and The Passion. C.S. Lewis is no doubt spinning in his grave.

    Posted by Tom, 3/2/2004 2:58:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Friends Quiz!

    ...Because I've been way too serious lately...

    I'm Joey Tribbiani from Friends!

    Take the Friends Quiz here.

    created by stomps.

    Posted by Tom, 3/2/2004 11:09:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Hans-Hermann Hoppe

    This interview with the Austrian economist has some great points made about the nature of markets, government, and social justice. A few key points:

    An entrepreneur risks his own property in the attempt to satisfy some future, expected buyers' demand better than others do. If he succeeds, he will earn a profit, indicating that he has served consumers well. If he fails, he will make a loss, indicating that he has served consumers badly. Because they risk their own property, entrepreneurs are generally careful and circumspect in their investment and try to avoid any waste. 'Bad' (loss-making) entrepreneurs will sooner or later go bankrupt and become employees (instead of being an employer), and their mal-invested capital goods will be bought up (at appropriately lowered prices) by other or new entrepreneurs.

    By the way: In contrast, government officials do not produce anything consumers demand (otherwise they would not need taxes to finance themselves; they would simply sell whatever 'goods' they had to offer and live of[f] the sales-revenue). Government officials spend their tax-revenue on what they think is good, not on what consumers think good. Moreover, government officials, who do not spend their own money, but the money coercively taken from others in the form of taxes, are typically careless and wasteful in the management of such funds.


    We must first quickly define what we mean by state. I adopt what one might call the standard definition: a state is an agency that exercises a territorial monopoly of ultimate jurisdiction (for all cases of conflicts, including conflicts involving the state itself) and, by implication, of taxation.

    Now: we have learnt in Microeconomics that "monopolies" are "bad" from the viewpoint of consumers. Monopoly is thereby understood in its classic sense as an exclusive privilege granted to a single producer of a commodity or service, i.e. as absence of 'free entry.' Only A is allowed to produce x. Any such monopolist is bad for consumers because, shielded from potential new entrants into his area of production, the price of x will be higher and the quality lower than otherwise.

    Posted by Tom, 3/2/2004 9:51:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Afraid of Success?

    Hollywood is. 4 major movie studios (Time-Warner, Disney, Sony, Viacom) all passed on The Passion, and are now wondering where their profits are. The 45 million-dollar movie has already paid for itself 3 times over, and it hasn't even finished a week at the box office. We all knew that Hollywood was running our of ideas, now we see that they are terrified of new ones.

    Posted by Tom, 3/2/2004 9:29:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Faith, Shame, and Insurgency

    This is a very good article about the effects of the Iraq war on the common Iraqi. It attempts to describe and understand the wildly variant feelings that the Iraqis have about U.S. intervention, and is valuable if only for that reason. It also provides a much more reasoned and dispassionate look than we've been getting from the ground troops of the two major parties, not to mention pro- and anti-American journalists.

    "I hate Saddam! I hate Americans! I hate Iraqis -- and I hate myself! I need a Valium!" cried one woman at the Hewar Gallery. It was, I thought, an apt summation of the mentality shared by many Iraqis today.

    Posted by Tom, 3/2/2004 9:14:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Monday, March 1, 2004

    Christian Music

    Went to the MercyMe concert last night, featuring Amy Grant and Bebo Norman. Overall, a great show. MercyMe has some great sounds, did a cover of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" and U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name", which was offered as a song about Heaven. That's a perspective I'd never considered before, and I don't know if U2 originally intended it as such. But it was an interesting twist, for me at least.

    And of course, everyone was on their feet singing along when MercyMe played "Imagine".

    This morning however, in spite of the great show, I woke up wondering about one thing: Christian music has come a long way, but it's still pretty centered around the old-fashioned type of guitar. Why don't we have one of those electric guitar riffs that just grabs your attention and sticks in your head? Where's our "Money for Nothin'"? Where's our "Stranglehold"? Where's our "Purple Haze"? We need something like that. Christian music writers: get on it.

    Posted by Tom, 3/1/2004 9:02:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...