Friday, May 30, 2008

Jesus Is a Libertarian

It's a fair question: "compassion" is a vice, when practiced by government. But isn't it still a virtue when practiced by individuals?

The Objectivist position is that moral pressure, and guilt, are just as coercive, and just as wrong, as government coercion.

So, the liberal position is this: "We" should take money from B to give it to C. B is rich, and C is poor. But "We" does not include rich liberals, like Al Franken, who think that only saps pay taxes.

It's not charity if it's done at gun point. Is it charity if it is done out of fear of shunning?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bill o' the Day: Fall of the Noose

The current statute on racial intimidation/hate crime in NC is this, as far as I can tell:


§ 14‑3. Punishment of misdemeanors, infamous offenses, offenses committed in secrecy and malice, or with deceit and intent to defraud, or with ethnic animosity....

(c) If any Class 2 or Class 3 misdemeanor is committed because of the victim's race, color, religion, nationality, or country of origin, the offender shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If any Class A1 or Class 1 misdemeanor offense is committed because of the victim's race, color, religion, nationality, or country of origin, the offender shall be guilty of a Class I felony.

§ 14‑401.14. Ethnic intimidation; teaching any technique to be used for ethnic intimidation.

(a) If a person shall, because of race, color, religion, nationality, or country of origin, assault another person, or damage or deface the property of another person, or threaten to do any such act, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

(b) A person who assembles with one or more persons to teach any technique or means to be used to commit any act in violation of subsection (a) of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

New Legislation, introduced yesterday by Senator Berger of Franklin County:

AN ACT to make it unlawful to burn a cross or hang a noose for the intent of intimidating another person because of race, color, religion, nationality, or country of origin and to study the impact of recent cross burnings and noose hangings across the state to make recommendations for modification to the criminal laws of the state.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. Chapter 14 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:
"§ 14‑401.14A. Unlawful to burn a cross or hang a noose with the intent to intimidate.
If a person shall burn a cross or hang a noose with the intent to intimidate another because of race, color, religion, nationality, or country of origin, he shall be guilty of a Class H felony."
SECTION 2. The Legislative Research Commission shall study the impact of recent cross burnings and noose hangings within the State and determine if any modifications should be made to existing statutes to lawfully deter this type of conduct. Of funds appropriated to the General Assembly for the 2008-2009 fiscal year, there shall be allocated the sum of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) to fund this study. The Legislative Research Commission shall report its findings and make recommendations for legislation to the 2009 Session of the General Assembly.
SECTION 3. This act becomes effective December 1, 2008, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.

My view:

1. A study? Really?
2. The new legislation is not as bad as the existing law, and I had not seen the existing law. Punishing someone for "ethnic animosity" is pretty vague. Punishing someone for burning a cross is at least specific. And, "intent" is always hard to guess. But if somebody burns a cross in your yard, it is likely intended to intimidate and terrorize.

The law makes a distinction between me putting a pile of garbage in your lawn, and setting it afire, and putting a cross in your yard and setting it afire. That distinction, at least, seems right: burning a cross really is an assault. But a "class H felony" has a presumptive punishment of three years imprisonment, even if no other action or assault takes place.

Please discuss.

Betting On a Good Pair

This was posted to the LPNC Yahoo List by KPC friend and frequent commenter Tom Howe. It addresses the questions asked by many, including the judicious Steve Newton, about the Barr-Root ticket:

As a poker player, I assure you that a good pair will often lose. But it will often win, too. On thing is sure: if you don't bet, you can't win. One more thing is sure: if you bet big and then let a small raise scare you away, you have lost.

The LP chose to bet big on a good pair. We might win big -- we might get several per cent and get credit for destroying McCain. We might do this and attract hordes of thoughtful people who had liked our ideas, but previously believed our cause too far fetched. Of course, there's a chance of losing: we could be invaded the way the Reformers were.

We have a lot of chips in the pot. If we are scared away now, we're just certain to lose.

Hang tough! We have a good pair; the pot is huge! Back these candidates and the LP can be the politcal powerhouse you always wanted. Don't get wobbly now.

yours in Liberty,
Tom Howe

That is a fine way to put it. Play out the hand. If we fold, we lose the pot for sure.

And, yes, we might lose. That's how poker, and politics, work.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bill o' the Day: Control the Beaver

Best of the many Bills introduced today in the NC General Assembly, led by Speaker Joe Hackney.

HB 2572


Now, Tabor Correctional Facility can be learned about here. Note the Yam festival. (I'm not making fun. I like the Yam festival.)

This piece of legislation was introduced by the Hon. Dewey Hill, a Democratic Representative from Brunswick/Columbus counties, doing the people's business for nearly 20 years.

Here is the legislation:

AN ACT to appropriate funds for beaver control at tabor correctional institution.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1. There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Correction the sum of five thousand dollars ($5,000) for the 2008‑2009 fiscal year for beaver control measures at Tabor Correctional Institution in Tabor City.

SECTION 2. This act becomes effective July 1, 2008.

They must be worried that Bill Clinton is coming to town. THAT is when beaver control becomes really crucial.

If Doctors Were Outlawed, Only Criminals Would Have Doctors

(A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000.
(B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000.

(Calculation) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171
Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health Human Services.

Now think about this: Guns:
(A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000. (Yes, that's 80 million..)

(B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500.

(Calculation) The number of accidental deaths
per gun owner is .000188; Statistics courtesy of FBI

So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

Remember, "Guns don't kill people, doctors do."

Please alert your friends to this alarming threat.
We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand!!!!!
Out of concern for the public at large, I withheld the statistics on
lawyers for fear the shock would cause people to panic and seek medical attention...

(Nod to CC, who knows from doctors)


So, LifeLock is getting sued.

For not being able to do what they say they can do.

Todd Davis has dared criminals for two years to try stealing his identity: Ads for his fraud-prevention company, LifeLock, even offer his Social Security number next to his smiling mug.

Now, Lifelock customers in Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia are suing Davis, claiming his service didn't work as promised and he knew it wouldn't, because the service had failed even him.

Attorney David Paris said he found records of other people applying for or receiving driver's licenses at least 20 times using Davis' Social Security number, though some of the applications may have been rejected because data in them didn't match what the Social Security Administration had on file.

Davis acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that his stunt has led to at least 87 instances in which people have tried to steal his identity, and one succeeded: a guy in Texas who duped an online payday loan operation last year into giving him $500 using Davis' Social Security number.

(Nod to Anonyman, who thinks his NAME is too terrifying to reveal.)

You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up

Suffering from growth....The entire blog would be quite amusing, if it were satire. But he actually believes Australia, one of the lowest pop-density nations in the world, should shrink in every way in the next half century.

Look, the white population of the world is stable, maybe shrinking slightly.

The darker hues of humans are the one increasing in population. And many of the places that have high growth rates don't have that milky white skin, either. So both population growth and economic growth are primarily occuring outside whiteland. When white people are upset about growth, they are saying, "There seems to be the right number of me, but way too many of you!"*

So why not call this whole environment movement the "Hey, Jack, White people got their hot tubs and solar-powered laptops, why don't you dusky hordes live in your grass huts and like it?" lobby?

We may need to try to mitigate environmental damage of growth, but to decide that the present distribution of wealth and power was handed down by a pale-hued God seems unfair.

*Props to PJ O'Rourke on this thought.

I hate to keep doing this....

I hate to keep doing this, but you need to read Weigel's analysis of the Denver LP convention. Interesting, and some nice insights into politics, regardless of your view of the events on merits.

Steve Newton Takes a Fair View: Wait and See

Steve Newton takes a sensible position: Wait and see.

He's right, of course: help from Barr could easily add 1% or more to my vote total,
and we need that. On the other hand....OF COURSE we need our Prez candidate to help. That's what a Prez candidate does.

Monday, May 26, 2008

For those upset about Bob Barr....

For those upset about the Bob Barr nomination, two things:

1. It was not that implausible. His responses in the debate helped him a lot.
2. And on the merits, check this. You may or may not find it helpful. But the "he voted for the Patriot Act" claim just isn't right. Or, at least, it's more complex.

In fact, now that I think about it, it's the heart of the matter. Bob Barr opposed the Patriot Act. He tried to compromise, and agreed to vote "yes" on the Patriot Act, in order to get some improvements in a bill that was going to pass anyway. Now, one can say that that was a mistake. In fact, it was. But it is not the same as "voted for the Patriot Act."

The problem with having a candidate who has actually held elective office is that it is likely the person has had to make some actual policy decisions. Whatever else are the merits of the Barr nomination, we are going to have to decide if we want to have some Libertarians who are actually IN office, or if we are just going to continue to be proud of our irrelevance. 'Cause we have a lot to be proud of.

I didn't vote for Bob Barr. I supported Mary Ruwart. But I'm glad Bob's the nominee, and I have already contributed to his campaign. I urge you to do the same.

The Answer is "End Capitalism." (It doesn't matter what the question is)

Implications of Peak Oil for Industrialized Societies

Guy McPherson & Jake Weltzin
Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, June 2008, Pages 187-191

The world passed the halfway point of oil supply in 2005. World demand for oil likely will severely outstrip supply in 2008, leading to increasingly higher oil prices. Consequences are likely to include increasing gasoline prices, rapidly increasing inflation, and subsequently a series of increasingly severe recessions followed by a worldwide economic depression. Consequences may include, particularly in industrialized countries such as the United States, massive unemployment, economic collapse, and chaos.

So, we have a professor of evolutionary ecology, and the director of something called the "USA National Phenology Network." And not enough economics between them to power a 3-watt fluorescent dim bulb.

Oh, and check this. Remarkable.

Reminds me of another famous bed-wetter, Paul Ehrlich. Some of his predictions:

The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines. Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. Population control is the only answer. —Paul Ehrlich, in The Population Bomb (1968)

I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000. —Paul Ehrlich in (1969)

In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish. —Paul Ehrlich, Earth Day (1970)

Before 1985, mankind will enter a genuine age of scarcity…in which the accessible supplies of many key minerals will be facing depletion. —Paul Ehrlich in (1976)

Finally, remember global cooling? It went like this:

The continued rapid cooling of the earth since WWII is in accord with the increase in global air pollution associated with industrialization, mechanization, urbanization and exploding population. —Reid Bryson, “Global Ecology; Readings towards a rational strategy for Man”, (1971)

It turned out that the solution to "global cooling" was to....end capitalism. I could give you 20 more quotes from equally reputable, equally certain, scientists of actual credentials. In 1971, there was a consensus, among the kind of pop scientists that Al Gore now likes to quote, that there was global cooling. Really. (Source for these delightful quotes here)

Could we have riots, and inflation, because of energy prices? Yes, yes if we could. If we try to interfere with the price mechanism. If we let prices alone, then other technologies will come on line smoothly, as they become profitable. (Yes, you're right, we should also stop fighting stupid wars over oil, but that's a different subject, more like "pique oil.")

And what about global cooling...ah....warming? It could be bad, too. But not so bad that "peak oil" lunatics can't make it worse.

(Lagniappe: My own thoughts, discussed with Russ Roberts, on "peak oil." And, don't forget "the bet.")

Denouement: Lib Nat Convention

Unknotting the end of the beginning: details

madagascar baby

me and mrs angus are aok and enjoying a place almost as exotic as the Lib convention.

going to Ft Dauphin now and Berenty tomorrow.

come home Mungowitz, come home!!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Outstanding Live Journalism

Weigel nails it. A remarkable performance. Admits his own uncertainties, and is surprised, right there in the post.

A tour de force of what the medium can do, if you are in the right place at the right time. Plus, he got a little bit lucky: The "Root endorses Barr" maneuver was right out of the 19th century, when conventions were conventions, men were men, and so were women.


Wayne Allyn Root is the VP candidate.

Had to be, because of the endorsement.

Very interesting.

Barr / Root 2008. A nice short bumper sticker.

VP Decision

VP choice:

It HAS to be Ruwart, or else lots and lots of activists are gonna walk.

But Root delivered the nomination.

Tough one. Not like you can promise Root Sec'y of Commerce "when we win."

States working up their results, big states, Alabama, California, Texas and Maine (not so big).

UPDATE: I should note that I was just flat wrong on the Ruwart claim. She was not really seriously considered. It was Kubby who was Root's main competition in balloting.

Bob Barr is the Nominee

You probably already know.

But, it's Bob Barr, Lib Prez Candidate, 2008.

Wayne Allyn Root endorsed Barr, when it was clear Root could not win.

UPDATE: The play-by-play....Ruwart had a slight lead. Root's move was the key.

And, Barr had 60 votes just from the GA (his home state), VA, and CA delegations.

Props from Chris Matthews

Air ink from Chris Matthews, on Lib Signature Drive Success in NC.

I think he's a bit premature in giving Barr the nomination, tho. We'll know in five hours, by about 6 pm Denver time.