Saturday, August 25, 2007

Oh. My. Gawd.

Beauty Contest...contestant.

Gotta see it to believe it.

...and people ask me why I'm not a democrat.

H/T Fark.

The Comox Valley and a *great* photographer

Ork de Rooij is an evidently young and very skilled photographer whose photos I bumped into on Flickr. The Comox Valley is still "home" for me, and probably always will be; it's a spectacular place.

Anyways, you can see lots more of Mr Rooij's (mainly Comox Valley) work here. It's *premium* quality eye candy. Yes, the Valley really looks and feels like that and this guy is one of the few who have ever managed to really capture it. Mr Rooij has a remarkable, inventive eye; his photos affect me like music.

Only one example (marked public at Flickr) and I'm only including it as a teaser. It is nowhere near his best shot, but I don't want to spoil your enjoyment by having you see his stuff (and especially his best stuff) any other way than Mr Rooij intended.

Total respect.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Saw it on a T-shirt:

Other People are Not Your Property.

In other words: They are not yours to boss around. Their lives are not yours to micromanage. The fruits of their labour are not yours to dispose of.

It doesn’t matter how wise or marvelous or useful it would be for other people to do whatever it is you’d like them to do. It is none of your business whether they wear their seatbelts, worship the right god, have sex with the wrong people, or engage in market transactions that irritate you. Their choices are not yours to direct. They are human beings like yourself, your equals under Natural Law. You possess no legitimate authority over them. As long as they do not themselves step over the line and start treating other people as their property, you have no moral basis for initiating violence against them – nor for authorising anyone else to do so on your behalf.

The basic principle of civilised social intercourse was stated in 1646 by Richard Overton:
To every individual in nature is given an individual property by nature not to be invaded or usurped by any. For every one, as he is himself, so he has a self-propriety, else could he not be himself; and of this no second may presume to deprive any of without manifest violation and affront to the very principles of nature and of the rules of equity and justice between man and man. .... No man has power over my rights and liberties, and I over no man’s. I may be but an individual, enjoy my self and my self-propriety and may write myself no more than my self, or presume any further; if I do, I am an encroacher and an invader upon another man’s right .... every man by nature being a king, priest and prophet in his own natural circuit and compass, whereof no second may partake but by deputation, commission, and free consent from him whose natural right and freedom it is.
Nor is this requirement lifted merely because you happen to be a police officer, or an elected legislator, or a member of a majority of citizens casting their votes. As Voltairine de Cleyre pointed out in 1890:
[A] body of voters can not give into your charge any rights but their own; by no possible jugglery of logic can they delegate the exercise of any function which they themselves do not control. If any individual on earth has a right to delegate his powers to whomsoever he chooses, then every other individual has an equal right; and if each has an equal right, then none can choose an agent for another, without that other’s consent. Therefore, if the power of government resides in the whole people, and out of that whole all but one elected you as their agent, you would still have no authority whatever to act for the one. The individuals composing the minority who did not appoint you have just the same rights and powers as those composing the majority who did; and if they prefer not to delegate them at all, then neither you, nor any one, has any authority whatever to coerce them into accepting you, or any one, as their agent ....
T-shirt here.

It's a fact: other people are not your property.

More reasons...

...the drug war is stoopid (Washington Post).

H/T to Jay Currie
British Columbia is now home to the greatest number of organized-crime syndicates anywhere in the world (if we accept the U.N. definition of a syndicate as more than two people involved in a planned crime). According to B.C. government statistics, the production, distribution and export of B.C. Bud, highly potent marijuana grown in hothouses along the province's border with the United States, accounts for 6 percent of the region's gross domestic product. It now employs more Canadians than British Columbia's traditional industries of mining and logging combined.

The majority of the province's criminals remain passive hippie types for whom the drug is a lifestyle choice. But...the marijuana trade is threatening to turn nasty as British Columbia's Hells Angels, one of the best-organized criminal syndicates in the world, moves in on the action. (emphasis mine)

Odd that I haven't heard Al Sharpton mention this story...

H/T to Let Freedom Reign

Wikipedia for details (warning: brutal)

I'm sure Al woulda said something if it had been, say, black folks murdered by whites, even if
Police Chief Sterling Owen IV said that there is no indication the crimes were racially motivated, and that the murders and assault "appears to have been a random violent act."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

So I'm reading Crisis Counsel at CNN/Money...

...which is a bunch of major business players talking about the recent credit shenanigans. And I read the following from Steven S. Roach from Morgan Stanley Asia:
The current financial crisis is a wake-up call for modern-day central banking. The world can't afford to lurch from one bubble to another. The cost of neglect is an ever-mounting systemic risk that could pose a grave threat to an increasingly integrated global economy. It could also spur the imprudent intervention of politicians, undermining the all-important political independence of central banks. The art and science of central banking is in desperate need of a major overhaul--before it's too late. (emphasis mine)
Now, there's a wealth of concepts referred to in that one paragraph, but I highlighted something.

You'll notice that nowhere does the guy question the existence of central banks as a good idea. It's just sorta lying there, assumed as he continues with " need of a major overhaul...."

There's an alternative. Get governments out of the money business and just put money and business back into the hands of free people. Overhauling central banks is like fine-tuning the timing on a ticking bomb. I mean, it might improve the bomb itself, but you still go boom.

Otherwise, then and as now, you're plain gonna get: imprudent intervention of politicians. Every time, and all the time.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Dammit, this guy plays a mean, mean guitar...

Christopher Cross in 1998 with Michael McDonald.

Y'gotta hang in till about the last quarter *(3:58) before he burns, but damn.

In something akin to Dennis Miller's classic rant (mediocre audio) regarding retired Admiral James Stockdale, Christopher Cross didn't have "the look" expected of a music icon back in the day (early 80's original video of the tune) and his career suffered for it.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I hope if someone shoots at my place, they use the method these folks were using...

An elderly Iraqi woman shows two bullets which she says hit her house following an early coalition forces raid in the predominantly Shiite Baghdad suburb of Sadr City. (Agence France-Presse)
Here's the photo and caption, captured from the Yahoo News page (in case the link disappears)

File this under "humour in the midst of tragedy". I'm not saying the woman is lying; the bullets could have hit her house. But they weren't fired at her house. They weren't fired at all.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I think this is a mistake:

US to move on Iran's Revolutionary Guard
Adminstration will designate group as global terrorist

Real problem, certainly. Still, bad solution. Cannot come to any good, and I don't mean that just because it'll make Iran angry.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Axl Rose and Haircut 100...and Obama.

H/T to Fark which was how I found this: Axl Rose: The Rolling Stone Interview.

Look, I don't always agree with him, but he's not bullshitting. He's telling you like he sees it. And after reading the interview I actually don't think he's an asshole--and I'm not sure it says anything good about about me that I once did. I had nothing first hand to go on. Anyways, he has reasons for what he thinks.

Continuing...I keep a list of quotes on my blog, and one of them is this one, from a sort of "let's get a classic band back together for a one-off" type of TV show I saw a few years back:
"We didn't speak to each other. That's how everything falls apart, isn't it." Nick Heyward, commenting on Haircut 100’s breakup.
But this ain't about Haircut 100, or even Axl except for what I wrote above. That's just context. It's about Reagan and Obama and Ahemedinijad, and Hillary Fucking Clinton if you want it to be:

Obama said in a TV debate that he'd talk to the leaders of the countries the US is arguing with, within the first year were he President. Hillary then made noises about "there's a reason for diplomats..." and "maintaining the prestige of the office", that sort of tripe. The upshot is now a lot of folks are thinking Obama blew it. He may have. And don't get me wrong; this article isn't an endorsement of Obama,; it's an endorsement of a method: fucking talk, man to man, any chance you get, and tell the truth as you see it. There's no insult to anybody in that--and if you think there's a loss of stature in doing that, you're foolish, or a poser (Clinton ain't foolish). The rare exceptions that exist prove the rule.

Ahmadinejad. Twice I've seen him interviewed. Twice he's made some sense. NO, I don't agree with him all over the place, but people are not their caricatures (that's mine, and I think it's original).

Reagan told his aides and diplomats to get out of the way and talked to Gorbachev. And Gorbachev talked back.

Or you and me and they can play it the other way, like always.

And I think Ian over at Ianism has more than a passing acquaintance with A E van Vogt, or Hayakawa or Korzybski; "the word is not the thing" and "people are not their caricatures."

Saturday, August 04, 2007

You may have already seen this...

but if you haven't:

1964. Stairway to Heaven.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Polygamy: Maybe the government oughtta...

...just get out of the marriage business, period.

I mean if people are allowed to be polygamists, the next thing you know men will be allowed to marry men, and women will be allowed to marry women. ;-)

Canadian Press, Vancouver:
A special prosecutor has concluded there's not enough evidence to charge members of a British Columbia polygamist colony with sex offences involving minors, partly because the women involved said they wanted to have sex with the older men.

"The real issue here is that the number of so-called complainants that we have have all told us that they consented to the act that took place," Oppal said Wednesday...[A]authorities tried to pursue charges that the women had been sexually exploited by a person in a position of trust, but that effort was again thwarted. "There's no evidence of exploitation," Oppal said. "In fact, it was surprising to me the number of young women who told police that they were the aggressors, that they wanted to have sex with the older men." (emphasis mine)

BC Special Prosecutor Richard Peck wrote:

"There is a substantial body of scholarship supporting the position that polygamy is socially harmful."

Written by folks who just took an objective look at the situation, no doubt. Me, I looked all over my house and yard and I couldn't find a single difference it made. I've heard tell there used to be a substantial amount of scholarship supporting the positions that blacks and women shouldn't get the vote and that gay folks were mentally ill.

The article says Peck "thinks Canada's anti-polygamy law does not violate the Charter of Rights guarantee of religious freedom."

Wanna bet?

And, of course, there's always that pesky Freedom of Association clause, too. Polygamy might be "associating on steroids", but that's all it is.

Just so you know: I'm not for or against polygamy in the legal or social sense. As long as it's not coercive, I really don't care who is sleeping or living with who, and I really don't see how other folks' love lives is my business. But then it's not the government's business either, any more than it is the next door neighbour's.

Billy Beck on Mugabe's Zimbabwe

HERE at Two-Four. There's a reason I hold Two-Four as essential reading.

Further on Billy's note: The New York Times and others are reporting on Mugabe's plan to:
require virtually all publicly traded companies to cede controlling interests to “indigenous” citizens...who were “disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or her race” before April 1980, when the nation won independence from white rule.
Yeah, that'll work. Like it did on the farms.

Ain't planned economies wunnerful?

More on Mugabe madness.