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>23 December 2003
Home for the holidays
Headed home for Xmas/New Years! It'll be nice..
This is a link to a Wash Post article about the Coase theory and how it applies to politics. It's a very nice analysis of how economies of scale in general are getting smaller as informations costs fall.
If the premise of the article is true, maybe the Libertarian party has a long-term chance after all?
I 'found it' on the internet, and i'm sure there are plenty of others who feel torn between being a democrat and a republican but don't think that there is an actual party out there for them. But there is.
>22 December 2003
This is the true story of a legal case - that's resulting decision gets used to justify a great deal of government action. Let's see how just this all seems, shall we?
A farmer from Ohio with quite a modest farm was 'permitted' only to grow 11 acres of wheat on his farm, based on an "Agricultural Adjustment Act". He decided to grow 23 acres.
The Secretary of Agriculture in his state brought a case against him for growing this wheat, even though as per his admission, the extra wheat was never intended for market but rather for self consumption.
Case goes back and forth, ends up in the Supreme Court whereby it is ruled that this 12 acres of what is considered material enough to have "a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce."
Case then gets used by the Government to justify the application of the commerce clause of the Constitution to read that this, in fact is a legal definition of 'interstate commerce' and therefore subject to regulation.
The exact text of that clause in the Constitution goes a little somethin like this..
"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts, and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;
to Regulate Commerce with foreign Nations and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes."
This is from a document that outlined the powers of the people and the government and did it in what would be the equivalent length of a 5 page legal brief.
Do you really think that it was ever the intent, based on those words that the founders used to mean that an 11 acres worth of wheat never intended for distribution - not just among the states, but not even inside a single state, and probably not even to a different country, city, town, or even house?
Not me. And not you either.
And people ask why governmental policies should always be looked upon cautiously? Whatever the broadest definition allowed to give the maximum amount of power is, that is what will end up happening.
And that, my friends is the story of WICKARD v. FILBURN.
One last thing..
A quote from the Reason Online interview with Bobb Barr regarding the PATRIOT Act -
Reason: Do you regret voting for the USA PATRIOT Act?
Barr: I do. I was hoping at the time that it would not be used as a floor but as a ceiling. But it’s been a taking-off point for expanded authority in a number of areas. Perhaps most important is the fact that the administration seems to be pushing its application as broadly as it can in nonterrorism cases. And despite the assurances by the administration that Section 215, which relates to obtaining records from libraries and other repositories, is not being used, the fact is it is being used.
And there you have it. Overreaching rules are never used as a limit, but instead as a starting point.
Think about what you might happen to wish for because it just might come true.
>18 December 2003
Sleigh Bells Ring, are ya listenin?
OK - minor updates. It's Christmas time, the NYHC holiday party is today. Earlier this week was the SWBIDC party.
I'm just feeling all in the mood. Its nice to get happy holiday messages, so thanks Renee! I hope that a Hawaii Christmas is nice, it's prob a lot like Fla Christmas.
I just spoke with Sandy, and she seems a lot happier than she did over the last few weeks. That also makes me happy. =)
Heather got laid off just in time for the holidays but she needed a little nudge to get things movin in the right direction.
=) That is also going well, btw. These three weeks that we'll spend together should be really good. She's warm, sweet, caring and pretty and hot. All together. It takes a little bit of work, but I'm willing to put it in.
Umm, I posted a Reader's Opinion into the Sentinel but I guess it wasn't up to snuff to get published.
I go home in a few days, I cant wait!
I'm gonna start using JFK cause of the new AirTrain service. I can take LIRR out to Jamaica and it'll be like 10 bucks total.
I'm gonna pick up the guitar again and get some playing on once again.
And finally, today is Xmas shopping day. I'm gonna head down to SoHo and pick up some things for the folks in my life..
Oh yeah, The list of people I need to shop for just so that I can reference it later
>12 December 2003
If I could unleash all of the unformed sentiment about how I feel about the state of environmentalism today - it would look almost exactly like what Michael Crichton says in this speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Fran. (Again, thanks to The Agitator for providing the link.
Some wonderful quotes:
"Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it's a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.
There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability."
"Increasingly it seems facts aren't necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It's about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them. "
"There is no Eden. There never was. What was that Eden of the wonderful mythic past? Is it the time when infant mortality was 80%, when four children in five died of disease before the age of five? When one woman in six died in childbirth? When the average lifespan was 40, as it was in America a century ago. When plagues swept across the planet, killing millions in a stroke. Was it when millions starved to death? Is that when it was Eden? "
"The truth is, almost nobody wants to experience real nature. What people want is to spend a week or two in a cabin in the woods, with screens on the windows. They want a simplified life for a while, without all their stuff. Or a nice river rafting trip for a few days, with somebody else doing the cooking. Nobody wants to go back to nature in any real way, and nobody does. It's all talk-and as the years go on, and the world population grows increasingly urban, it's uninformed talk. Farmers know what they're talking about. City people don't. It's all fantasy. "
"But the natural world is not so malleable. On the contrary, it will demand that you adapt to it-and if you don't, you die. It is a harsh, powerful, and unforgiving world, that most urban westerners have never experienced. "
Man, I could keep going but i'd just end up quoting the whole damn thing.
How Taxes Kill
How do taxes kill? Well first our fine Mayor first decides to impose a 75% tax (A full 3 dollars on a 4 dollar real per pack cost) on cigarettes in New York City in the name of public health.
Then, predictably, many 'entrepreneurial' people see opportunity to make money by buying packs (or cartons or cases) of cigarettes somewhere else for their real non-NYC taxed price, and then selling them to people at a decent profit for somewhere between that 4 dollar real cost and the 7 dollar NYC taxed cost.
Then also, predictably, this has brought a great many 'undesirable' peopleinto the fold by attracting them to the large profit margins from this now illicit activity.
The results? The NY Post reports that
* Sherwin Henry, 23, who was re-selling cigarettes bought in bulk from a Long Island Indian reservation, was fatally shot in the head on the rooftop of an East New York, Brooklyn, apartment building on Nov. 19.
* Cody Knox 19, was chased down through a crowd and stabbed to death in broad daylight near Brooklyn's Fulton Mall in a cigarette-selling turf dispute.
* A 25-year-old Bronx man, whose name was withheld, was shot at 1304 Miriam Ave. in another turf war.
* Desmond Jordan, 34, was shot twice allegedly by William Giddens, last May 17 in front of 24 Humboldt St. in yet another battle.
That's two lives lost and two people shot already over the taxes on cigarettes. Its pretty clear that it is not cigarettes or smoking or tobacco addictions that caused these deaths, but rather the Government decision to try to make a quick buck off of the smokers habits to feedtheir very own habit - spending.
If there were no black market for cigarettes, there would be no incentive to peddle cigarettes illegally and therefore no need for the violence that always accompanies these types of black markets. You would think that we would have already learned this lesson during prohibition, or the horrible inner city crack problems of the 80's or maybe even during our miserable failure of what we've been calling a 'Drug War'.
Think about that the next time you support banning some activity that youdon't personally like or you support taxing it to death. You can stop people from making legal and free transactions, but you'll never stop people from wanting what they want to have.
(Thanks to Radley Balko at The Agitator for the blog entry and pointer to this. )
>11 December 2003
The roller coaster of feelings..
Has taken another stop. Yes, I'm back together with Heather. I'm gonna go with it and this time it'll be what I thought it could be. (i hope!)
Here's to blind luck and love and faith and all that jazz..
20 Pages. of hell..
I'm hard at work writing up my 20 page education paper. I'm halfway done with page 18. I really don't think that there is much more to say, so now is the "search and boslter" part of the paper writing. I will be interested to read the paper in it's entirety after i'm done, however.
It's not the work of think tank PhD's or anything but I think that it provides a pretty cogent argument for school choice and tax credits based upon analysis of the work of many different studies.
Next up -- Housing Law final. I think that will be saved for Monday though. Then I'm done with this semester!
>08 December 2003
Sweet, Lovely Florida
Lo and behold, my preferred state is Florida.
Florida is the perfect state for you. I hope you
don't mind hurricanes all that much. But
really though, Florida is nice.
What State Is Perfect For You?
brought to you by Quizilla
What a shocker!
Wireless number portability - if anyone has switched carriers, please read!
OK - I just switched from Sprint to TMobile and for about a week now Sprint has yet to cancel my service. I jsut called someone at the FCC and he tells me that you can cancel your old service as soon as the new one starts working.
So Sprint, fuck you for trying to squeak another month of paying out of me cause i'm done with you. As for anyone reading this, please call and cancel your old service once your new phone starts working.
Just another Manic Monday.. Wish it was a Sunday
Ok. The Heather visit was pretty good. It didn't feel exactly like it used to, but that's neither good or bad. What a weekend to get snowed in though! It gave us a chance to just hang out, which was nice.
I'm still not 100% used to the waiting for the shower/hair/get dressed or for the slowness of 4AM pizza eating, but I think that those are small things.
updates to follow, i'm sure..
>04 December 2003
Tomorrow - a day like.. today? NO, Better!
Tomorrow Heather is comin to visit. I'm sorta excited about seeing where this will go? Anyways, more updates on that to come, surely..
The return of the uninsurables
Here's a link to a thought provoking blog entry by Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution on the current state of the uninsured.
In media outlets, in debates amongst more liberal leaning friends and just flat out in general overuse as far as im concerned are the latest figures that show that there are 43 million uninsured in the U.S. This is an argument that many give for needing universal healthcare.
Well after a little bit of digging, here are some figures:
11.6 of the 43 million (27%) are illegal immigrants. Offering a mandatory healthcare policy to illegal immegrants would probably serve to even further ratchet up the tension of immegration policy and make these immigrants or ptential immigrants worse off by not allowing them access to the U.S. job markets. (which, even for ultra crappy working conditions give these immigrants a chance to either build capital welath or send remissions back to their home countries - remember, to live here illegally and perform menial work is a choice that these people are willing to make to escape their home conditions or to better the conditions of their families)
Roughly 12 million are only unemployed for part of the year - or rather they were just unemployed and in between jobs. They had health coverage after they became employed.
Many are college students who are either covered under their parents coverage or at the very least more likely to have some kind of parental or familial assets available to them should any medical emergency occur.
Here's a kicker:
"15 million of the uninsured have incomes of $50,000 or more. The fastest-growing population of uninsured has incomes exceeding $75,000. About 14 million are eligible for Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan but are not enrolled."
"The 'entire year uninsured' receive about half as much care, in dollar-valued terms, as the fully insured. As a last resort, you can always show up at an emergency room and simply demand care. In the year 2001, uninsured Americans received at least $35 billion in health care treatments."
So while I would agree that healthcare coverage is a problem, this seems to me as yet another case where liberals use their ultimate powers of doomsday negativity about the world to show that there is a huge problem when in fact there is a smaller one. Of course, this happens to try to further an end (Universal Healthcare) and to justify it by painting the worst possible picture and scaring people into thinking that we need it.
>02 December 2003
Wow. Here are some gems. Thanks to the Bidinotto Blog for this story.
"I don't think a lot of electricity is a good thing, it is the fuel that powers a lot of multi-national imagery."
"There is a lot of quality to be had in poverty"
"The idea that people are poor doesn't mean that they are not living good lives."
"Actually, the problem in the world is that there are too many rich people."
"people who used to spend their days and evenings in the streets playing music on their own instruments and sewing clothing for their neighbors on foot peddle powered sewing machines lost their culture."
So let me get this straight. People in the third world are actually better off without electricity, sitting in the dark, spending ten hours a day getting clean water and farming for food just to make it through till tomorrow. These people don't have access to medicine, communication, decent shelter, plumbing, a reliable source of food or any other so-called 'luxury' item and you would go on to think that their quality of life is actually better.
It's reeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllyyyyyyyy easy to be some 'environmentalist' and sit in this country given all of the luxuries that we have and say some stupid shit like this. If you were to visit Ghana or Haiti or Pakistan or any number of really truly poor countries and ask ANY person if you could trade places with them, there would not be ONE fucking person that wouldn't give their left arm to trade places with you.
End of story.
This just goes to prove that some of these viscious enviro types don't give a shit about people, whether poor or not. They just want the world to return back to the 'Valley of the Apes'.
Well, hey if you fear human consumption so much, there's a REALLY easy way to reduce that consumption by one person... Move off to some third world country and stay there forever. I don't see that happening too much though - they enjoy the lifestyle and conveniences of the first world too much to do anything other than bitch about it.
>01 December 2003
Needed: 7 pairs of glasses, prescription strength
Now, watching this weekends UF/FSU tilt, it was clearly a great game played by two really good teams. And that's about all that's good that i'm gonna say.
If those fucking blind ass ACC referees on that field don't get fired/demoted/reprimanded or soemthing for blowing six fumble calls, then somehting is amiss in the world. I realize that sometimes calls don't go your way, but how is it possible for that many calls to go the other way?
That's why I am writing a strongly worded letter to ACC Commissioner Swofford and also Director of Football Occifials Tommy Hunt. Not that I think that it will actually do anything, but hey I can still believe that one man's voice says something? If you're a gator and you for some odd reason stumble across this, please send a letter and/or fax to them as well.
Commissioner John Swofford
Atlantic Coast Conference
P.O. Drawer ACC
Greensboro, NC 27417-6724