Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Ron Paul Page-A-Day #5

This is from Dr. Ron Paul's classic "The Revolution - A Manifesto"

Early on in my presidential campaign, people began describing my message and agenda as a "revolution." In a way, it is, albeit a peaceful one. In a country with a political debate as restricted as ours, it is revolutionary to ask whether we need troops in 130 countries and whether the noninterventionist foreign policy recommended by our Founding Fathers might not be better. It is revolutionary to ask whether the accumulation of more and more power in Washington has been good for us. It is revolutionary to ask fundamental questions about privacy, police-state measures, taxation, social policy, and countless other matters.

This revolution, though, is not altogether new. It is a peaceful continuation of the American Revolution and the principles of our Founding Fathers: liberty, self-government, the Constitution, and a noninterventionist foreign policy. That is what they taught us, and that is what we now defend.

I was never interested in writing a campaign book, as they tend to have (deservedly) short shelf lives. But the ideas I have been promoting, and which have struck such a powerful chord with so many Americans, are ideas that are overlooked and neglected because they do not fit into the template of trivial questions with which I opened this chapter. This book is an opportunity to highlight and explain them in the kind of systematic fashion that campaign speeches and presidential debates simply do not allow.

The revolution my supporters refer to will persist long after my retirement from politics. Here is my effort to give them a long-term manifesto based on ideas, and perhaps some short-term marching orders.

At the same time, I am also describing what the agenda of George W. Bush's successor should be if we want to move toward a free society once again. Our country is facing an unprecedented financial crisis precisely because the questions our political and media establishments allow us to ask are so narrow. Whether or not politicians actually want to hear them, it has never been more important for us to begin posing significant and fundamental questions. "In all affairs," Bertrand Russell once said, "it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted." I'm not in the habit of quoting Russell, but when in American history has his sentiment been more true?

I quote Russell fairly often. This gem in particular: "The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic." -- Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays, "An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish"

But that's beside the point. You can purchase Ron Paul's "The Revolution: A Manifesto" for less than $14.00 by hitting the link above. Dr. Paul provides enough good evidence to push most political issues into the realm of arithmetic.
Picture of Ronnie-wan Kenobi from here.

The National Organization For Marriage and the Gathering Storm and the Gay Marriage Thing and the Plague Of Parodies from Stephen Colbert and others

From the National Organization For Marriage:

And here's a nice parody, Pay close attention to the lovely married couples at the 1:10 mark:

Here's the Stephen Colbert take on it. For the impatient among you, you can click to the 3:25 mark:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Colbert Coalition's Anti-Gay Marriage Ad
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

Could've been written yesterday

Lifted from John Shuey's Facebook page:

"All human situations have their inconveniences. We feel those of the present but neither see nor feel those of the future; and hence we often make troublesome changes without amendment, and frequently for the worse." - Benjamin Franklin

Friday, April 17, 2009

A question about Octomom

Nadya Suleman had six kids. Through in vitro fertilization she had eight more.

She was already on welfare, but there are lots of families on welfare.

Fourteen kids - a lot for one family, but there are hundreds of thousands of kids conceived every year by parents who are already on public assistance. We used to have an employee at our prototype shop who fathered four before he left High School, then spawned another six shortly afterwards. (He was a fellow ex-Mississippian, BTW. An extremely fertile one.)

Why has there been such an outrage over Octomom?

Picture of Octomom Art from here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pictures From The Texas Tea Party, Fort Worth Texas, LaGrave Field, April 15th, 2009

While I was looking for more online photos, I discovered that Texas Governor Rick Perry has his own Flickr account, and has posted photos of himself speaking to the Texas Tea Party crowds. That's goofy.
Or here's another scenario.... Someone else has permission to Flickr these photos of the governor speaking to the Texas Tea Party crowds. And they do it under the name "Governor Rick Perry". That's goofy.
Ok, here's the nightmare/doomsday scanario.... Some poor bastard posts photos of the governor addressing the Texas Tea Party crowds, and is paid either by the Republican Party or by YOU.

Does anyone know? Any of these three scenarios are disturbing.

Here are a few pics from yesterday's event. See the previous post for commentary. The crowd was larger than anyone expected.

The effect of this poster is somewhat less than that of the real thing. Which two words jump out at you?

Funny. Accurate. And you can't start teaching 'em too young.

This is a low estimate. This girl's current debt is now in the low $40k level. If you look at the current unfunded future liabilities due to entitlements and projected deficits, her household owes $350k. And The Teleprompter Jesus says he's going to spend her way out of debt.

A favorite. And it's a nice poster, too.

I'll add more to this post as soon as our governor, or a volunteer, or his employee stops spamming the likely sources.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tea Party, Fort Worth Texas, LaGrave Field, April 15th, 2009

The Good News: Fort Worth's Tax Protest Tea Party at LaGrave Field was packed. I would estimate the attendance at 4-5,000. I'm going to throw in pictures and YouTube videos as friends send them to me.

The Bad News: The protest was sponsored by Tarrant County Republicans. They're all for the government spending money like drunk cowboys for eight years, just as long as no one is taxed to pay for it.

The Good News: There were a lot of libertarians, Ron Paul devotees, some open-minded 9-12ers, and Campaign For Liberty people in attendance.

The Bad News: The early speakers, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, couldn't inspire a two year old to go to the potty. (Update from Thursday morning. The link is to a video from the Austin TX tea party.)

The Good News: Two of the later speakers, a private businessman and a kid from Grapevine High School, came armed with plenty of red meat rhetoric, and delivered it well. Even when I disagreed with the message, I enjoyed the delivery.

The Bad News: There is enough outrage over the current spending levels that there might be a huge Republican revival as early as 2010. But I can't see the point in going back to the greater of two lessers. It's not going to make any difference whether Mommy or Daddy is driving the car if neither one of them is going to change the direction they're taking us.

The Good News: John Spivey (the Big Daddy of the Tarrant County Libertarian Party), Michael Coyne and I took the Tarrant County Libertarian Outreach And Propaganda Ministry to The Tea Party and gave away almost all our literature. DVD's, pamphlets, old newspapers and fliers. If we'd had "Bob Barr For President '08" bumperstickers, they'd be gone. People are sick of the mess in Washington.

The signs in the crowd were great, and I'll be downloading pics as friends send them to me. Some of my favorites:

"Haste, Waste, and Fear" - that's not an economic plan

"Next Time, Read The Bill !"

"Congress, Get Off The Kool Aid"

"Brother, can you spare a trillion?"

"Save The Golden Goose"

"These Colors Don't Bow" (heh heh heh)

"Don't Tax Me, Bro !!"


"It's the debt, stupid"

"I don't know, Beavis....Do you feel stimulated?"

"You can't tax stupid, but next time you can vote 'em out !"

And of course there were lots of eight year olds running around with signs stating their portion of the national debt.
As a protest against the levels of taxation, this event was a 6 or 7. As a forum for ideas about reducing spending, it was a 2 or 3. As an attempt to deny any Republican guilt for the current debt level, it was an 8. If you spend it, you should pay for it. The Republicans have spent it.

Having attended both Fort Worth tea parties, I think the earlier, smaller one was the better protest. The first one was held outside a local bar, and could be seen by passing traffic. Unless I'm mistaken, it was hastily organized by members of the country-rock group that was playing outside. And it let people outside the anti-tax movement see our frustration. You couldn't go down Camp Bowie or Hwy 183 without noticing us and paying attention.

This thing tonight was a right-wing echo chamber. The "protest" was far removed from any passing traffic, and I couldn't help wondering how much smaller the event would've been if it had been held, say, outside the Dallas Fed, or near the Fort Worth Mint, where there might be some onery passersby loudly disagreeing with The Republican Gospel.

Speaking of the gospel.... a few of the speakers accused Obama and the Dems of trying to take away their right to pray in government buildings or in schools or in government subsidized nursing homes. Let me say this very slowly.... If there is such a being as the Christian God, a being who knows everything, and is conscious of your every thought, you don't have to stand up and show off and pontificate in order to pray. You can merely "think" your prayer to God, and God will get the message, right?

This is from Matthew 6:5-6: “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." Get it? Get it? That's Jesus talking. That's how and where you're supposed to pray. End of story. Everything else is showing off.

I don't know why the anti-tax and spend issue has to be linked to the oogedy-boogedy wing of the Republican Party.

I got to meet a kid named Race who helps run the right-leaning libertarian Blogs Of Our Fathers website. These kids will be heard from. (They need to somehow reconcile their stated purpose of protecting individual liberties with their advocacy of States Rights To Protect Marriage. But hey, they're all very young.)

One other observation. LaGrave Field is a semi-pro ball park with plenty of parking. Parking was only $5.00 inside the fence. But an overhead photo of the event would show a small ring of vehicles near the ballpark, surrounded by a vast ring of empty $5.00 parking spaces. Just outside the fence was a huge ring of people who parked on the street for free.

Real tax protesters don't pay to park.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Barack Obama Speaks The Truth ! ! !

Here are some little snippets from President Barack Obama's speech today at Georgetown University, little instances where, intentionally or not, he spoke the truth :

I know that some have accused us of taking on too much at once....

Now, some have argued that this recovery plan is a case of irresponsible government spending....

Of course, there are some who argue that the government should stand back and simply let these banks fail....

And although there are a lot of Americans who understandably think that government money would be better spent going directly to families and businesses instead of banks....

Some have argued that we shouldn't attempt such a transition until the economy recovers....

Now, I realize that for some, this isn't enough. I know there is a criticism out there that my administration has somehow been spending with reckless abandon, pushing a liberal social agenda while mortgaging our children's future....

There are times when the man really does know what he's talking about.

Judge Mark Ciavarella - "Hell Is For Children"

I've long believed that our prison system is an entrepreneurial activity. Since I have several employees who've been Involuntary Guests Of The State, I get to hear the stories. Yes, a lot of those stories are bullshit. But there are enough common threads running through their rants that some consistent trends begin to emerge.

So I wasn't surprised to read this story about Judge Mark A. Ciavarella in this month's issue of Reason magazine:

In 2004, responding to concerns about the unusually high rate and cost of incarceration in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. told the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, "I'm not in the business to determine whether placement rates are up or down, I'm in the business of trying to help these kids".

For a tidy profit, that is. In January, Ciavarella and Michael T. Conahan, president judge of the Luzerne County Court of Common Please between 2002 and 2007, admitted receiving $2.6 million from the operators of two juvenile detention facilities and conspiring to hide the money from the Internal Revenue Service....

This portion is from Jacob Sullum's Reason magazine's Hit & Run department :

First, the judges helped the detention centers land a county contract worth $58 million. Then their alleged scheme was to guarantee the operators a steady income by detaining juveniles, often on petty stuff.
Many of the kids were railroaded, according to allegations lodged with the state Supreme Court last year by the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, an advocacy group.
In asking the court to intervene in April, the law center cited hundreds of examples where teens accused of minor mischief were pressured to waive their right to lawyers, and then shipped to a detention center.
One teen was given a 90-day sentence for having parodied a school administrator online. Such unwarranted detentions left "both children and parents feeling bewildered, violated and traumatized," center lawyers said.

There's also been a lot of interest in decriminalizing marijuana, since we've now got the highest incarceration rate on the planet. Do you think someone's profit motive might be standing in the way of decriminalization of weed? Click here to find out which groups lobby hardest against it. If you've hired many ex-cons, you won't be surprised. Much credit for bringing this issue to light goes to Virginia Senator Jim Webb.

Side note, slightly off-topic: Here's a bizarre video based on Pat Benatar's song "Hell Is For Children", apparently put together by someone close to the Ciavarella situation. I think that's a picture of the Luzerne County Courthouse alternating with pictures of The Vatican???? The video ends with a painting of Jesus sitting in the clouds looking depressed over the whole situation. But if Christian fundamentalists are to be believed, he shouldn't. He's the one who invented the literal Hell For Children.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Weekly Radley and Congressman Eric Massa and two fuel cell cars and two SUV's

Let's start with someone calling himself HydroKevin, at the Hydrogen Cars Now website, who has blessed us with this heartwarming story.

Eric Massa, a new Congressman from upstate New York is driving a Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle today from his home in Corning to Washington DC for the swearing-in ceremony. The Democratic Congressman is making the 282-mile trip to promote the creation of green energy jobs in the 29th district where the Equinox FCV is currently being produced (Honeoye Falls).
According to Massa, “Taking this GM electric fuel cell car to Washington reflects all that I will stand for as your representative - creating good jobs in western New York, breaking our addiction to foreign oil, taking meaningful steps toward addressing global warming, and getting our economy back on the road to success. I look forward to being sworn into office on Tuesday so we can get to work.”
Massa is a former Republican who decided to turn Democrat because of his opposition to the Iraq War. On Capitol Hill, Congressman Massa is also interested in gaining a position on the House Transportation Committee. (emphasis mine)
So far the journey is going well for the Congressman interested in promoting green energy. At least he learn a lesson from the Big 3 Automaker CEO’s and didn’t take a private corporate jet to Washington to talk about alternative fuels at the swearing-in ceremony.

But Radley Balko gave us this addition to the story in the latest issue of Reason magazine. Keep the giggles to yourself, please:

"The problem was that the distance between those two points is 280 miles, and the car's range tops out at 250.
So Massa drove one fuel cell car to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and had an SUV tow a second fuel cell car behind him. He then switched cars and continued to the nation's capital while the SUV towed the first car back to Corning. Once Massa arrived in Washington, D.C., in the second fuel cell car, a second SUV towed that car back to Corning.
In other words: To make a point about conservation and energy efficienty, Massa made the equivalent of three trips from Corning to D.C., two of them involving an SUV."

HydroKevin, please take note.....The point of the Green movement is to acquire Green government subsidies for your business. Nothing more. Please stop acting like it is for real. Please. It bothers those of us who know better.

And I think those of us in the freight, shipping, and logistics industry should do whatever is necessary to get Eric Massa onto that House Transportation Committee. With thinking like that, business will boom. Fuel cell vehicle backhauls, anyone?

pic of the green dollars from here (worth reading, BTW)

Hypothetical question as income tax day approaches

Imagine that you're the kind of person who would never vote for a Libertarian Party candidate because they're too weird.

Imagine that you're either a big government Republican whose leaders want to spend lots of money blowing up mosques in the Middle East, or a big government Democrat whose leaders want to spend lots of money blowing up the economy in North America and to continue spending money blowing up mosques in the Middle East.

Pick one of the two. There's now very little difference, except the Democrats now have a much faster financial burn rate.

So....if you're a long-term supporter of either the big spending Daddy Party or the big spending Mommy Party, is it not downright immoral and hypocritical to claim any tax deductions? Don't you imply by your actions in the voting booth that government knows best? Do you experience any guilt for not giving them everything?

Just curious.

How To Spot A Bad Argument

This is from Johann Hari, writing in "The Independent" :

As a rhetorical trick, it is simple. Anyone can do it, and we are all tempted sometimes. When you have lost an argument - when you can't justify your case, and it is crumbling in your hands - you snap back: "But what about x?"

You then raise a totally different subject, and try to get everybody to focus on it - hoping it will distract attention from your own deflated case.

So whenever I report on, say, atrocities committed by Israel, I am bombarded with e-mails saying: "But what about the bad things done by Muslims? Why do you never talk about them?" Whenever I report on the atrocities committed by Islamists, I am bombarded with e-mails saying: "But what about Israel? Why do you never write about the terrible things they do?" And so it goes on, whatever the subject, in an endless international shifting of blame, united in the cry: "What about them! Talk about them instead!".....

The best way to respond to what-aboutery is to state a simple truth. Say it slowly: there can be more than one bad thing in the world. You can oppose American atrocities, and Chinese atrocities. You can be critical of Israel, and of Islamism. You can condemn Dubai's system of slavery, and the fact people are detained without trial in Britain. You can stand independent of governments - including your own - and criticize anyone who chooses to abuse human rights. The world is not divided into a Block of Light, and a Block of Darkness; you don't have to pick a tribe and defend its every action.

So whenever you hear the cry "But what about?!", you can reply: what about we ignore this crude attempt to change the subject, and focus on the subject in hand?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

We need a Guido Fawkes.

A couple of posts ago, I asked my online friend NickM to translate one of his British rants into American English. I couldn't understand much of it. Too much British slang, and too many Nickisms for me to make sense of.

Nick politely declined, but gave us an excellent essay on how to use humor to further one's love life. (Worth reading !)

Well, I eventually dove into Nick's original post, because when Nick becomes incomprehensible and starts speaking in Chaucer, it's usually something worthwhile and important.
The post was about a blogger calling himself Guido Fawkes. (He's in the Libertarian Blogger section to your right.)
Mr. Fawkes has somehow intercepted some nasty Labour Party emails, published them, and it just might be enough to bring down the Gordon Brown government !
Here's one of the first Samizdata pieces about the incident.

This is a bigger deal than our guys nailing Dan Rather's hide to the wall.
This might be a bigger deal than Matt Drudge ripping the lid off of Clinton/Lewinsky.


We need a Guido. Quickly.

My Brother's Book ! ! !

This is a great day ! ! !

That isn't a picture of Barack Obama prostrating himself before the king of Saudi Arabia.
That's the cover of my little brother's book ! ! ! Now published by Palgrave MacMillan ! ! !

This is from the Amazon product description:
What was imperial honor and how did it sustain the British Raj? If “No man may harm me with impunity” was an ancient theme of the European aristocracy, British imperialists of almost all classes in India possessed a similar vision of themselves as overlords belonging to an honorable race, so that ideals of honor condoned and sanctified their rituals, connecting them with status, power, and authority. Honor, most broadly, legitimated imperial rule, since imperialists ostensibly kept India safe from outside threats. Yet at the individual level, honor kept the “white herd” together, providing the protocols and etiquette for the imperialist, who had to conform to the strict notions of proper and improper behavior in a society that was always obsessed with maintaining its dominance over India and Indians. Examining imperial society through the prism of honor therefore opens up a new methodology for the study of British India.

And here's an excerpt from one review:

“Patterson’s examination of masculinity and male codes of honor (racial, legal, and social) as a central element underpinning the British Raj ads significantly to scholarship on gender and imperial rule, as well as metropolitan Victorian and Edwardian British society. He eloquently unpacks the “white man’s burden,” showing how central maleness was to racial superiority, and how each was maintained through the specific norms and institutions of the Raj. His brisk prose delights as he marshals the latest theoretical and empirical literature, along with revealing an array of new sources for uncovering the interstices of whiteness and civility, honor and power, disclosing the micropolitics of force behind gentlemanly virtue.”

- Jonathan Judaken, author of Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish Question and editor of Naming Race, Naming Racisms, is Associate Professor of modern European cultural and intellectual history at the University of Memphis

Hit that "White Man's Burden" link to see my take on Kipling's poem.

Anyway, click here to read the first few pages of my brother's book. And if you EVER wake up in the middle of the night wondering about the morale of British troops stationed in India during WWI.... Dr. Steven Patterson is your man.

Elsewhere on these pages, I've posted the editorials of my little sister, Dr. Amy Cooper (hit the label below).

My little sister Jill doesn't have a doctorate, but she does have a nursing degree and a masters in speech/communications. Here is Jill's page on the website of the college where she teaches.

For a bunch of farm kids, we sure spend a lot of time typing.

A request for the Cat Counters

My online friend NickM from the Counting Cats blog has anger issues.

When he is in full possession of his senses, I understand everything he writes.

But when Nick is truly outraged, he makes use of every British colloquialism, slang expression, and obscenity at his disposal. When this happens, I don't understand a word of it without making use of Google.

Please join me in asking Nick to translate this post into something resembling American English. Nick lived over here for a couple of years and I'm sure he can do it.

P.S. - I understand the part about the clawhammer.