Saturday, May 28, 2005

On Blogging

I started blogging just two months ago, and still haven't gotten the hang of it, but I am learning all the time. Some of the things that I have learned are that there are some really interesting and creative people out there. The range of ideas is fascinating, but what is really interesting is how fast an idea can be put to the test. Say something dumb, and if you thought no one had ever looked at your blog, you will find that everyone will come out of the woodwork to correct you.
I am finally figuring out how to attach links to some of these interesting blogs, and have managed to clean up my blog, but I am still confused by RSS and editing my HTML code.
I also have learned that I must blog in secret. My wife doesn't like the idea that I am putting stuff on the Internet. So now I just tell her that I am looking at pornography.

Taxes and the poor Bastards who pay them

Dave and Matt are discussing the Sirota article, which seems to be longer of rhetoric than new and useful facts. The short version of the article they are discussing is that 36,000 S corporation owners are not taking a salary, but instead are taking dividends. The benefit of this method of accounting is that you can avoid paying 12.6% self employment taxes. Of course, what is not mentioned in the article is that this type of behavior is an instant invitation to a tax audit. What fun!!!
The problem as I see it, is that the Tax code is no longer used to siphon revenue to pay for the government and instead is being used for social engineering purposes. Every time that you create an exception, you create a loophole. No wonder the tax code is about equal to one page for every 3 tax payers.
Iam no fan of the sales tax, because it hurts poor people more than the rich. However, a Value Added Tax would be a lot more useful and fairer. If you were to apply the VAT tax to any product whose final value was $100 or more, you could bypass food and most essentials. Say for instance that you were going to buy a computer for $400. When the people who mined the ore to make the metal sell it to the processors, they would include a 20% VAT to the government on their profits. Repeat the process all the way through, and the net cost to the consumer is still 20% for a total of $40, raising the cost of the computer to $440. The difference from this and a sales tax, is that it is collected all along the chain, and the consumer sees the price as $440 and that is what is paid. But, the consumer would not be paying income taxes, so that the net cost between a VAT and the present system would be the same.
Companies which make profits off items that fall below the VAT tax would pay a 20% tax of their gross profits. No exemptions, deductions, whatever.
Probably the only way that this will work, is to change the way we budget for the government. Right now, we forecast what the government expects to collect, and then proceed to spend it all and then some. Let's take 5 years, and shift the spending from a future guess, to actually being based on revenues collected the prior year, and keep the government from spending more than they have.
In the meantime, we need to change the tax code to eliminate phamaceutical companies from being able to deduct as an expense advertising for their products. I am so sick and tired of seeing advertisements to "see your doctor, to find out if XXX will work for you." They don't even tell me what the heck it's for. Or, they tell me may have possible side effects of heartburn, diahrea, heart attacks, cancers, or really painful side effects that linger forever, making you seek the freedom of eternal rest. In the meantime, you can't get an appointment to see your doctor because he is so tied up with these yahoos who are following their pied piper, the TV and asking stupid questions like, "Do I need this?" Let the person who went to medical school figure that out. If nothing is really bothering you, don't bother your doctor because the TV said so.
Boy, what a rant, but I feel better now.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Memorial Day

Well, the weekend is upon us, and I suppose we should all run out and buy some furniture, appliances, a new car or something. When are we going to have the "Really Big Tuesday" sale, followed by the . . . well you know what I mean.
It is fun though, to contemplate the reason we have these big sales, the soldiers who have served to give merchandisers something to do on hte first weekend of summer. As a vet, I have noticed that since 9-11 when people find out that I served, they always want to thank me. The problem is, I feel really uncomfortable, and don't know what to say. (Imagine, me not knowing what to say).
I originally joined for selfish personal reasons. i.e. I wasn't going to college, and there were no decent jobs available, and it seemed like a ticket to go see some place other than Montana.I first joined in 1973, and went to basic training in Ft. Polk, LA. Talk about your culture clash. I went in knowing all that there was to know about the military. I had watched the movie M.A.S.H. and had read Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. Unfortunately, my drill sergeant obviously did not go to movies or read books. He seemed to have a totally different view of the military. Those were the days when the last of the draftees were seperating, and the All Volunteer Force was coming into being. Talk about a cross section of America! Okay, we didn't have any rich kids, or really smart kids, or, well, you know.
In the mid 70s, soldiers were instantly identified by their haircuts. You have to remember, that was the low point of American civilization what with disco and all.
We were often discriminated against, even when we were in civies. I was even spit on by one woman who called me a baby killer. Seeemed kind of ironic to me, since I was training to be a medic.
What really changed for me though was my attending Airborne School at Ft. Benning GA.
Jump shcool is a volunteer school. That means you have to volunteer to go, and can ask to be washed out at any time. The first day there I ran 7 miles, something that I had never done before. The problem with quiting, however, you coudn't do it until after PT. Well, every morning, me and two buddies would get up and stand in formation, and promise each other, that as soon as PT was over we would quit. Course, after PT, you got to do the fun things, so we would always change our minds and go do the training. Finally, jump week arrived, and my buddy asked me if I was going to quit, and I said "Hell No!" I was ready to go see what falling our of a plane was like.
Now jump school is physically tough, but not impossible, what they do is to psych you up to the point that you honestly believe that if you go out the door of the plane, and your parachutes fail, you are such a bad ass, that the ground will get out of your way. OF course, that notion is quickly disabused after the first jump.
Took me two jumps before I realized I was closing my eyes and holding my breath when I jumped. It really is pretty cool to see the tail of the plane going over you and other jumpers coming out after you.
From there, I learned how to rappell off a cliff and out of a helicopter. I switched to the USAF and became a Survival Instructor where I learned how to live off of the land, which is a tryly useful thing to know. I ended up leaving that job and going to collegge, where I majored in Anthropology. I really had no choice for a job, and wanted to see Europe so I went into ROTC.
From there, I served three tours in Germany for a total of 10 years, and got to travel to a lot of different countries. Including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during the Fly by= Drive by shooting called Desert Storm.
During my career, I was fortunate to almost always be in a job where I was basically unsupervised, and could do what I want. You want autonomy? do something that no one else knows what to do.
I guess the point of this nostalgic trip is, that I got much more from being in the military than I ever would have thought. I have seen people under the best and worst of circumstances, and because of that I have hope for the future of our country.
If you get a chance, go ahead and thank a vet, but don't be surprised if they just mumble something like "thanks." I am pretty sure I am not the only one who got more out of serving my country than I thought I would.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Check out the new site

Over on the right is a link to Neolibertarianism. It more accurately than any other encapsulates my thoughts on government and the world. I used to call myself a modified Libertarian, now I know that I am a pragmatic Libertarian. Give it a read. I think that you will enjoy it.

Ravalli County suicides

Carlotta, over at Big Sky Blogs, has a good piece on the recent rash of suicides that have been taking place in our local county jail. Carlotta is an excellent writer, and you need to take a look at her work and give her some well deserved kudos.

Google ads

Okay, I signed up for Google ads just for fun. Don't anticipate that I am going to pay for a single stick of nicotine delivery systems. But I just took a look at the bottom, where the ads are, and there were all of these solicitations for opinions on gay marriage, and other stuff. It must have been related to my posting about the judges, and failing to follow the precedent of not hearing "political questions."
I am curious, what if I just randomly insert words, let's say: donkey, elephant, pig, jackass, and see what comes out of it.
My guess - a lot of political connections. We will have to wait and see.

On the filibuster compromise

I have been listening to all of the right wing commentators who are lamenting the failure of their party to act in a heavy handed manner toward the use of the filibuster by the Democratic minority. Thomas Sowell seems to think that the end result is the future death of the Republican party.
Maybe I am just too dumb, but I see this as a victory for the Republicans more so than the Democrats. Sure some Republicans would like to slap the minority around a little just to remind them of their place, but the compromise does not mean that this is completely off the table.
In fact, the compromise seems to return to the status quo ante-108th Congress. It leaves the filibuster available, but reduces its outrageous use as of late. Democrats had to cave on what they had called totally unqualified, or as the Chuck Schumer mantra went "out of the mainstream." (I do not think that I want Schumer to define the mainstream). Even their objections being based on principles were taken to task, since they now agree that so many are going to be approved.
The beauty of the compromise are the magic weasel words "extraordinary circumstances" which will allow a filibuster. In my mind that is a pretty high standard. But let's say that the next time a nominee comes up, that the Democrats decide that he or she meets the "extraordinary circumstances" test. If I was one of the Republican Senators, I would want them to show with specificity what makes them so. And if I did not feel that they were worthy of a filibuster, I would feel betrayed and demand the either "nuclear" or "Constitutional" option be brought back into play.
Now, let's say that you are one of the compromisers. You know that if only two people return to the Frist camp, you are going to lose when he implements the termination of filibusters on judges. So, you have a President of your own party, who is wildly popular with his own base, (your primary voters) who can make a big difference in your choice of career. Since you know that there are probably two who will side with the President, wouldn't it be better to get on the band wagon early? A sort of Prodigal Son returns?
Further, Frist can spin this as having tried to accomodate the Democrats, that they have betrayed him once again. I always thought that the Democrats would cave, mostly because they would lose a siginificant tool that has been used way too often. This compromise seems to allow everyone to declare victory while at the same time doing nothing of any real substance. Politics at its finest.

Saddam and WMDs

This seems to be the most concise report of the WMD discussion in Iraq prior to the war. What I don't understand is, how come those who, like Galloway, say that the WMD allegations were all a lie, dismiss Saddam's role in the whole thing.
I suspect that there is a latent and pervasive racisim that says third world leaders cannot be held to the most minimal standards, while at the same time holding this country to impossibly high standards.
This is not to say that we should not strive to achieve the highest standards, but a misstep does not excuse the filling of mass graves by other countries does it?
A writer to the editor of the Missoulian, a while ago, lamented the death of 400 Iraqis in the recent spate of suicide bombers, and blamed the US for their deaths. Why not blame the ones who set the bombs? Would it be because they are brown skinned, and not as responsible as we are? Additionally, what about the graves with thousands of bodies that Saddam filled prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom? Are those okay, and if so, why?
In 1998, the Senate voted 99-0 to go to war with Iraq when Saddam ousted the inspectors. What changed between then and 2003? Oh yeah, a Republican was now the one who was in charge. Seems to me that a lot of supposed acting on principles are really naked politics. So much for high minded principles beyond teh waters edge.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Other blogs to consider

I don't know who is reading this, I assume some family and friends, but I would like to point out a couple of other Montana blogs that I do enjoy.

Left in the West,a is written by a young, smart Leftie from Missoula. Dave Budge a is a much better Libertarian than I am.
Dave, from his picture at least, looks just as cranky as I feel. Matt, on the othr hand has a lot of energy that only youth can maintain about any issue.
Perhaps philosophically, as we grow older, our idealism is replaced with cynicism. Or, our idealism is replaced with a much more accurate view of reality. I don't know, but I do enjoy both of these writers.
Because diversity of ideas stimulates the mind, I would heartily recommend both of these fine bloggers to anyone who accidentally stumbles across my site.
Oh, and even more Montana bloggers are available at Big Sky Blogsa

On Howard Dean

This link does a pretty good job of eviscerating Dean for his appearance on Meet the Press last Sunday.
Having watched the interview, I think that it can be added that Howard Dean uses volume and rate of speed to overcome shortcomings in facts, logic and consistency.
Why the Democrats are using him, leads me to believe that the Democratic Party is lost, and looking to find a base, rather than trying to attract the middle.
A good friend Democrat once explained to me that the Democrats were the centrists, that the vast majority of Americans were right wing, and the Republicans were the Radical Right. Perhaps this is their problem. They don't know who they are, or who anyone esle is either.

On Judges and Judging

The above opinion piece, (registration required) makes a pretty good argument. However, I think that the real problem is that the courts have forgotten the golden sanctuary of defining a problem as a political problem, not a legal one.
I can't remember off the top of my head, the hoary case where the Supreme Court refused to hear a case because it declared the issue political, but that has always been the refuge for where the courts should not go.
For instance, when the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court ordered the implementation of gay marriage, was there some hidden right that was accidentally discovered to have been overlooked? Or was it that the political process was taking too long, and the court decided to accelerate it?
The result was the explosion of state constitutional amendments banning gay marriage everywhere else. So, by jumping the gun, the Mass Supreme Court did more to set back gay marriage than Dobbs or others of his ilk could have done.
Rather than attack the problem legally, supporters should have attacked it politically. As in, what does it matter to you if you are straight, and someone who is gay wants to have all of the protections that you enjoy? Instead, the majority of the public, including a large number of Kerry supporters, reacted to this assumption of power by enacting constitutional amendments, since there is no other way to reign in judges.
If judges would stick to determning what is legal, and not to interpreting what they would like legal, the courts would restore their legitimacy. Instead, they have sold out to the desire to change society rapidly, without the benefit of public opinion.
This is not to say that the Republicans are necessarily right about judges. When they wrote their Schiavo law, they did it so poorly, that the judges did their job by saying that there was no reason to intervene. This is symptomatic of the larger problem of legislatures writing muck, and hoping that the courts will sort it out.
That is not the province of the courts. The legislatures must write clear, and unambiguous laws. WE the public need to demand that weasel words are not used in lawmaking, in order to fully and completely understand what our elected representatives are really trying to do. And hold them accountable for those actions.

Did Kerry finally sign the Form 180?

As you will no doubt notice, on the right is a clock showing the number of days that Senator Kerry has not fulfilled his pledge to release all of his records. Acoording to the above link, Kerry is now saying that he signed the form last Friday.
Do I believe him? Not really, I have always felt that Kerry was willing to say anything, but unwilling to do anything to get the job done.
Why the reticence in releasing his records? Some say that it will prove that the Swift Boat Vets were right. I think that a more prosaic answer is more likely: Kerry received treatment for VD. It was common practice in Viet Nam to show up Monday morning for the "short arm inspection" and get your shots. As an officer, he should not have been engaged in such behavior, but it was not unusual for everyone to have had at least one viral encounter.
So, will the Form 180 prove the Swift Boat Vets right, or will Kerry simply be embarassed? We all wait with eager anticipation. How sad is that? But since he rose to the challenge, I don't think that Kerry can escape it now. But then again, he has drug it out for this long.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

This guy gets it!

When people who claim to be "Liberal," are willing to sacrifice all of their basic principles because a Republican is accomplishing them, they have last the moral superiority that they have always claimed.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Why do Democrats think that Bush is Dumb?

So many of my good Democratic friends are offended by Bush, and anyone who supports him. Mostly, they are offended that someone so "dumb" could be left in charge of country, or worse, be re-elected.
Here is my question for them: If Bush is "dumb" but keeps getting what he actually says that he wants, who here really is dumb? It wouldn't be those who are so arrogant that they are sure they know all of the answers, even if those answers are wrong, would it?

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Have you ever noticed that people who claim they are being censored, or silenced never shut up?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Montana economics and taxes

Left in the West has a comment about the tax rates and their impact on the state of Montana's economy. Unfortunately, the article that he is basing his argument on is too short on any examination of all of the variables that are included, if they are considered at all.
Montana is the 4th largest state, and 44th in population. We suffer from a lack of efficient infrastructure to promote the sales, distribution and customer base to attract bsuinesses to serve us. For instance, Missoula County is approximately equal to the greater NY City area in geography, but we have only 70,000 people compared to nearly 10 million for NYC. The cost of providing goods and services to the NYC market as a per capita basis is dramatically less than to provide the same articles to say Condon.
The reason that this is important, is that in his comment, Left says that a lowered tax rate does not influence prosperity. I take issue with his conclusion, because I do not believe that governments actually create wealth, they only consume it. For instance, during the last election, Bush was chided for having a net loss of jobs during his tenure. Never mind that the bubble economy of the 90's was based on fraudulent accounting practices, or that the 9-11 attacks knocked about a trillion dollars out of the economy. But presidents do not dreate jobs unless they expand the employment of government agencies. Even then, the net effect is to reduce jobs, because it takes taxes to pay for the new government employees, and the taxes can only come from the citizens who pay those taxes. Take everyone in the state of Montana and make them government employees. you will have 100% employment rates, but no one to pay their salaries. It is only from the business side that wealth is created, which creates the opportunity to make money to pay taxes.
The role of governemnt in the creation of wealth is to reduce the hindrances to making money to make jobs, to pay people, etc. In the 19th Century, Congress awarded every other section of land along railroad right of ways to get the railroads to push the tracks throughout the country. With the use of widespread rails, shipping goods here and there resulted in reduced cost, creating a broader array of choices for the customer at lower cost. the same scenario was repeated in the 1950s with the introduction of the Interstate highways.
If you look at a successful individual tax rate, especially in this state, you would be amazed at the amount that governments at all levels consume. Take someone at the highest tax rate for the feds, which if memory serves me right is at 37%. Add 11% for state tax, and then throw in property taxes, gas taxes, telephone tax, airline tax etc., not to mention the social security "contribution." It quickly adds up that more than half of what you earn is going to be going for taxes. Why bother to work, if for every dollar that you earn you have to pay 60 cents?
In fact, one my more amusing moments is whent the Democrats rail against tax cuts for the rich. Let's see, they pay the highest rates, so we should not give them a tax break? Let's just give it to the poor and working claases. If you do, the net result will be that a family of four can go out to a McDonalds one day more a week than before. This will certainly stimulate McDonald's sales, and result in the hiring of more McD's employees.
But if you give a tax cut to the wealthy, what do they do with it? So long as they don't put it into a mattress, it will create more and better jobs. Suppose that the wealthy recipient of a tax cut decides to build a house. They hire contractors who employ workers of differing skills and pay them a lot of money. More than a McD's employee would get. This can be repeated at every opportunity that the wealthy purchase something of high value. But it goes farther. A McD's is constrained by only creating burgers. A contractor may decide to branch out and develop indoor pools, or something, enhancing the wealth creation aspect of the work, creating more highly paid workers.
Wealth creation is not a zero sum game. It is actually very dynamic with successes and failures. Tax rates that are confiscatory destroy wealth and wealth creation. We need to realize, that while taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society, we are not getting our money's worth out of the price.


Dave and Matt are continuing the discussion about the effects of taxation and governments. After reading their excellent posts, it seems to me that the issue is being portrayed as a moral one: Either government is inherently good, or inherently evil. I believe that governemnt is really an inherent necessary evil.
But I think that Matt is incorrect in saying that the growht in the 90's was due to government intervention. He may have been quick to quip, and I must confess that I was just as bad. For instance, say that the government is going to construct a bridge. You can measure the costs that the government expends in creating the bridge, but it is difficult to measure the value to society in the improvement in access and transportation. Yet there is usually a real benefit to building a bridge.
I am a modified Libertarian, in that I understand that the government is not going to go away, and will continue to consume my taxes. However, on the other side, there does not seem to be an evaluation of what the appropriate role of the government is. As an example, say that your primary concern is providing shelter for the homeless. A worthwhile goal. Why doesn't anyone ask that the money given to the National Endowment for the Arts isn't applied to the problem? Do the homeless really need art galleries?
I know that this will be perceived as censorship, because any limitation on giving a crappy artist money to produce crap is always decried as censorship. Maybe, what we need to do is to reevaluate what is necessary, what is nice, and what we can afford.
Sure there will always be disagreement with these categories, but that is why we elect legislators to decide this.

Fillibusters and Nuclear Options

Krauthammer has an interesting take on the Senate judicial battles. I agree with him, and would like to add that the whole mess seems to be getting worse as tempers rise.
One interesting aspect is the use of the term "nuclear option." As a retired servant in uniform to our great country, and a devout student of the arts and sciences of war, the use of nukes at any time is usually counterproductive.
Mutual Assured Destruction was the most immoral policy that mankind had ever dreamed up. It basically said that while we know that we are going to die, so are you. It accomplished no legitimate military objectives, and did not reduce or minimize the harm to civilians. In fact, due to its design, it had to attack civilians. A 10 Megaton warhead could destroy a city, but was inappropriate for taking on a company sized element. Besides, cities don't move. Soldiers do.
Now the term is invoked by teh Democrats as being an affront to democracy. What a joke. In a democracy, aren't you supposed to be allowed to vote? Sen. Reid says that the filibuster is used to protect the rights of the minority. In a democracy, I always thought that the minority is to be respected, and protected, but isn't the flip side of the bargain that the minority has to respect the wishes of the majority? The use of the filibuster in these cases is only because the judges will probably be confirmed by a majority of the Senate. This is not protection of the minority. It is the tyrannhy of the minority.
To fight this one out, as the democrats seem to be doing, will only result in their assured destruction. Rather than acting responsibly, and voting yea or nay, they have changed the rules to say that the minority can obstruct the decisions of the majority. If they think about this for a minute, they have to realize that someday they will be in the majority, and a minority of Republicans will use their arguments against the assignment of judges.
It would not be very pleasant to be hoisted on your own petard.

Guns, Press and Condi Rice

Found this, and it says beeter than my posting about the 2nd Amendment what I was trying to say. One of the problems that we have with our modern society is the specialization in all aspects of our lives. For instance, I have a rebuilt 68 Mustang that I enjoy tooling around to the Dairy Queen every so often. It is not that sophisticated, and I can change the plugs, set the points, tinker with the carb, etc. However, I also have a 2001 Passat, where the engine compartment is essentially sealed, and I know that if I did go into it, I would probably make a huge mess, and so rely on the expertise of my local mechanic to do what I cannot.
The point I am trying to make here, is that we are allowing the police to become just as specialized. How many times do you see the officers waiving everyone around some activity, telling everyone to "Move on folks, nothing to see here." In the old days, when police forces were first created, the policeman was the leader of an ad hoc posse of ordinary citizens who were to obey the officers directions, and they became themselves witnesses to the crime. Since most of the citizens were armed, there was no problem in confronting a perpetrator.
Now, we have unilaterally disarmed and allowed the police acting in our behalf to assume full responsibility for law enforcement.
By keeping everyone armed, it actually creates a new and interesting condition: The armed citizen, as adjunct to the enforcement of the laws. It also serves an additional purpose of enforcign civility. Never pick a fight with a guy with a gun is a good motto.
I miss civility, even if it was only enforced with a gun.
But it also means that we have the potential to protect our Constitutional rights when the police are unable or (as in the Deep South in Secretary Rice's childhood) unwilling to protect the citizenry.
We as citizens need to learn to do more for ourselves, and not turn all of our lives over to the specialists in the government.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Crime & Punishment

Soon, due to the Governor's signature, there will be higher fines, and more jail time for anyone caught for DUI. Yes, DUI is a problem for the country. However, increasing fines and jail times, do not actually deter the person who is going to get caught.
For instance, even now, no one is saying that "Well, since the punishment is going up, I better hurry up and get my DUI now, before the punishment is too great.
The reality is, that it is the probability of being caught, rather than the punsihment that determines whether or not someone is going to do any crime. Right now, you are more likely to get caught for having a DUI than the kid that breaks into your car and steals your stereo. The reason for this is that the officers can cruise around in their steel boxes equipped with the latest in communications technology, which will allow them to instantly check on the ownership of your car.
By running your plates, they can begin to look for the most insignificant reason to stop you and begin their DUI processing.
Should you be stopped, don't think for a minute that the Constitution is going to help you. In California v. Schmerber, the US Supreme Court basically said that you do not have the right to an attorney before taking any tests, or answering questions. DUI laws were the original source for todays anti-terrorism laws.
In order to prottect society, and to deter drunken drivers, let's put less money into jails and more into patrols. This will do more to protect the greater whole of society than any punishment. For most people stopped for DUI, the blue lights in the rear view mirror will always do more than any fines or jail time.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

What's wrong with the Democrats

Found this, and it seems to be spot on for the problems that the Democrats are having. I know that it is fun to be in the minority, becasue you can snipe away unfettered by having to provide anything of value to the discussion. However, if the Democrats are really interested in regaining the majority, they will have to address the issues.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Why the 2nd Amenement is important

My wife, who is a good Democrat, does not like guns, and can't understand why we are allowed to have them. Several of my more urbane friends share her belief systems, and think it unnecessary to maintain the right to keep and bear arms.
The problem with the 2nd Amendment, is that it really is very clear. Congress shall make no law for the restriction of the right to keep and bear arms. If you think that this is an archaic meaning, and no longer appropriate, then move to repeal the Amendment. Just don't say that it is not what it says. If you do that, what is next? Does the 1st Amendment really say that the people have the right to peacefully assemble? Maybe in the age of post 9-11 we don't really mean that. Further, why don't we force defendants to explain themselves? Or why should we be free from unreasonable searches and siezures? If you have nothing to hide, why would you care?
It is only a small step from saying one part of the Constitution doesm't mean what it says to saying that nothing that you read means what it says.
When the framers of the Constitution came up with the most brilliant document of the Enlightenment, they did not look to the government to safeguard their rights, they looked to the people to keep the government in check. We seem to have forgotten that, and tend to believe the government with an unquestioning bias to whatever they say.
We need to reassert our responsibility to keep the government in check, and not allow nibbling at the edges, for fear that the whole thing will soon disappear.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Don't drink and blog

To those specific list of instructions that every adult should know, here are a few more:
1. Don't drink and drive, it will result in the loss of your rights under the Constitution, and cost you a lot of money.
2. Don't drink and dial. No matter how you feel, dialing an ex lover is not a good idea when you have been drinking, especially if they are not drinking.
3. Don't drink and blog, your spelling is atrocious.

Monday, May 02, 2005

A Modest Proposal for Election Reform

Okay, Democrats say that the Republicans stole teh election in 2000. Republicans say that more people voted in Milwaukee and Seattle then were registered to vote. (Both going to Kerry). So, what to do. My fear is that if you believe your opponent is cheating, it gives you license to cheat as well.. Soon, we will see swarms of Republicans riding on buses from polling station to polling station to swamp elction workers with last minute resgistrations. Sure, theat is what the Republicans accuse the Democrats of, but they lack the imagination to actually try something new, and besides, it works.
One method that would reduce the amount of fraud is to contract with NCR and other ATM software managers. For instance, there I am in Vegas, having blown my cash, and travellers checks, what do I do? I go to an ATM to get some more money to get my money back. Remarkably, ATMs have over a 99.9% accuracy rate. So, if we could get the same level of accuracy in voting, we would eliminate alot of the spoiled votes, where people try to divine what the voter wanted.
Say that you go to the county election office, and they give you the equivalent of an ATM card, and tell you that you can vote at any ATM machine in the world. No more lost ballots, or late from the war zone. INstead, you go to an ATM, punch in your PIN number, and enter your vote, no matter where you are. Since you are registered to vote, you willonly have a ballot for your home district. And, as a bonus, you could print out your ballot to show the results. Should you realize that you made a mistake, you could still go back and vote again and override your previous vote.
Simple, cheap and easy. It will never happen for these very reasons.