Thursday, May 29, 2008


If voting doesn't work to lower taxes--and it never will: "The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else". Bastiat/1850--there's always this:

Fuel protests herald grim times for European green policy
After hundreds of angry drivers shut down highways in England yesterday in protest against green automobile taxes, and drivers and fishermen in France and Spain paralyzed their ports and roads in a fuel-tax protest, politicians began to signal Europe's ambitious emission-control policies may soon have to be abandoned.

While Europe has led the way in using tax incentives to encourage people to buy low-emission cars and to build carbon-neutral houses in order to meet Kyoto targets, it has become increasingly apparent that inflation-battered voters are no longer willing to go along.

Political leaders in Britain and France are seeking the reversal of tax policies designed to make polluting vehicles more expensive, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and some British ministers calling on their own governments and the European Union to relax ecologically friendly taxes in order to give relief to citizens suffering from fast-rising food and fuel prices.

As Prime Minister Stephen Harper launches a European tour today to persuade leaders that Canada's greenhouse-gas policies are acceptable, he may find the gaps between their views have narrowed, as formerly ecologically assertive leaders react to rising voter backlash against green policies.
The guy who wrote the headline doesn't get it.

These aren't fuel protests; these are tax protests.

The protesters quite sensibly aren't targeting the private companies. They're targeting the government. One can only hope this really means more folks are finally catching on.

--By the way, when you think of "Big Oil" you might have the wrong folks in mind anyways.

As The Economist points out:

...the national oil companies (NOCs) [are] owned or controlled by the governments of oil-rich countries, which manage over 90% of the world's oil, depending on how you count. Of the 20 biggest oil firms, in terms of reserves of oil and gas, 16 are NOCs. Saudi Aramco, the biggest, has more than ten times the reserves that Exxon does.

Check this Federation of American Scientists publication, the 2007 report to Congress titled: The Role of National Oil Companies in the International Oil Market (PDF--and, by the way, Foxit Reader, which is free and scum/malware free, works better and faster than Adobe Reader IMNSHO).

From the report:

Every firm in the top ten reserve holders, with the exception of Lukoil, in both 2006 and 2000 was state owned. Among the major international oil companies, Exxon Mobil is ranked fourteenth, BP seventeenth, Chevron nineteenth, Conoco Phillips, twenty-third, and Shell is ranked twenty-fifth in 2006. These five firms hold only 3.8% of world liquid reserves, and their major holdings are in the United States and Canada.

In contrast, the top ten firms listed in Table2 hold 80.6%of the total world liquid reserves. The top ten companies in 2006 in Table 2 have an average reserve to production ratio of 78 years, with INOC, the Iraqi National OilCompany, the highest at 173 years and Lukoil, a privately held Russian company,the lowest at 24 years.

Please, someone tell me...

What are the good and honourable reasons leftists/socialists would be against secret ballots anytime?

Secret Ballots May End in [American] Union Elections If Obama Becomes President.
...[U]p until now, a worker could placate union supporters and sign a statement saying that he wanted a union and then vote against the union when he was protected by the secrecy of the voting booth.

While the Bush administration promised to veto the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act,” Obama has made his feelings about the legislation very clear. Last year, Obama promised, “We will pass the Employee Free Choice Act. It’s not a matter of 'if'; it’s a matter of 'when.' We may have to wait for the next president to sign it, but we will get this thing done.”
I think the reason is that union activists/supporters want their intimidation targets more easily identified, but if anyone has a better, non-thuggish reason, I'd love to hear it.

After all, maybe I just don't understand.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rules are not meant to *replace* thinking...

Grapevine student with top grades won't be valedictorian (Dallas News)
Anjali Datta's GPA of 5.898 may be the highest in the Grapevine High School history, but she can't be valedictorian and get a one-year scholarship from the state because she graduated in three years instead of the usual four.
Rules are not meant to *replace* thinking. Or honour.

That's something this shining light (Shadle Park (Spokane) High School's Andrea Nelson) understood at the 3,200-meter Washington state championship race.
The awards ceremony took place, then Nelson got off the awards stand, walked over to Cochran, removed the first-place medal from around her neck and draped it over Cochran's.

"It's your medal," Nelson said to her, the Tri-City Herald reported. "You're the state champion."
Later, said Nelson: "She totally deserves it. She crushed everybody."

There are *no* principles involved.

from CNN: Sources: Dems could meet Florida, Michigan half way
Clinton and her supporters have been pressing for a compromise that seats as many delegates from the two states as possible. Clinton's Web site encourages people to write to the Rules and Bylaws Committee.

"There is one number that we are going to be satisfied with, and that is 2.3 million people having their votes counted," Clinton supporter Tina Flournoy said. About 600,000 people voted in Michigan and about 1.7 million in Florida.
Understand this: if Clinton thought she'd lose in those states, she would be fighting every bit as hard to ensure those 2.3 million people wouldn't get their votes counted.

Principled bahaviour isn't her strong suit.

Not that I have a dog in this race anyways; Clinton, Obama or McCain...jeezuz, you poor Americans. That's your top 3 for President???

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

There's always Toronto...

...and the mayor is an idiot.

Miller aims to ban handguns, shut ranges
Mr. Miller has pushed for a national handgun ban and for tighter controls at the U. S. border, and said yesterday he made no apologies about banning sport shooting [in Toronto]. He pointed to the shooting death of bystander John O'Keefe on Yonge Street this year by a legally registered handgun.

"After John O'Keefe's tragic killing, I don't think there's any defence for sport shooters any more," he said. "It's a hobby that creates danger to others.… Guns are stolen routinely from so-called legal owners."

"Do we as a society value safety or do we value a hobby that creates danger? And nobody can deny that that hobby directly results in people being shot to death on the streets of Toronto."
Does this reasoning make sense?

Well, try substituting automobiles for guns, and stolen or street racing car accidents for shooting deaths. If it makes sense for the one, it oughtta make sense for the other.

Let's ban cars and motorcycles while we're at it, then.

Miller may love his children, wife and his dogs--but he's still a shallow-thinking twit. I'm sure the criminals will pay a lot of attention to the ban. Don't they always?


Leading Edge Nanny Statism...

I wrote my last post about Zero Tolerance, and Mike asked me:
Honestly Ron, where do you find this would be funny if it weren't so common.
OC noted:
"This is the stuff of life. Greasy-pated, microphallic bureacrats, strutting around trying to impose their tiny, little wills."
Yup, and Britain's Daily Mail is one prolific source of examples. After all, Britain is leading edge these days when it comes to nanny-statism.

Like this one: Health and safety zealots tell youngster her 2ft paddling pool needs a lifeguard

For nearly a quarter of a century, Lourdes Maxwell has celebrated the arrival of summer by putting a paddling pool in the garden. This year, however, her two grandchildren and the children of her neighbours may have to find another way to cool off in the heat.

Miss Maxwell's local council has decided that the pool - which is only 2ft deep - needs a lifeguard.

The 47-year-old divorced mother of three has also been told she must have insurance before she can inflate the toy outside her house in Portsmouth.

The health and safety edict came after she wrote to the city council asking for permission to put a bigger pool in the communal garden outside her home.

Not only was she told it was too dangerous, but the council told her to empty the existing pool.

After her MP intervened [emphasis mine], the local authority softened its stance, saying Miss Maxwell could have a pool if she paid for insurance and ensured supervisors were on constant watch...Miss Maxwell, who is a full-time carer to her son Aiden, said yesterday: "It is absolutely pathetic. I have had a paddling pool outside the front of my flat every summer for 24 years, ever since Aiden turned one year old.

"Neighbours' children would come and enjoy the pool and I would give them ice lollies. It was always a very social occasion."

She added: "Now suddenly I'm not allowed.

"I asked around for insurance and they just laughed at me. No one offers insurance for paddling pools.

"I'm always there to supervise but they're trying to tell me I need lifeguards for a kiddies' pool as well - it's crazy."

Nigel Selley, Portsmouth Council's neighbourhood manager, defended the ruling yesterday.

He said: "We did not have sufficient assurances that the risks associated with providing such a facility would be well-managed.

"We have since spoken to Ms Maxwell and she is aware of our concerns for child safety and the risks associated with drowning."
Oh yeah, she's certainly aware of your concerns, Nigel.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Zero Tolerance means "Zero Thinking"...

Teenager, 16, fined for littering ... after letting balloon go at charity event

Newcastle Council said it had a zero-tolerance approach to littering.

Stephen Savage, director of regulatory services and public protection, said:
"We believe pursuing action against offences like this sends out an uncompromising message that litter dropping in the city will not be tolerated."
Yeah? Well, understand this, Mr. Director of Regulatory Services and Public Protection:

I *will* protect myself from *you*.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fresh from...

...the Hugo Chavez School of Economics, comes Maxine Waters (D-umbass, California) with this remarkably honest (albeit totally inept) bit of threatening at the recent United States Congressional Hearings on oil prices.

Well, it's nice to see that she's honest enough to flat out state that "liberal" and "government take over" are pretty much synonymous, while still progressive-ly dishonest enough to want to backtrack big-time when she forgets herself and trots out the very accurate, but totally useless for propaganda, "S-word".

S'okay, Maxine. We absolutely understand.

h/t Two-Four

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Oh gimme a break...

California mulls steep tax on adult entertainment

The last time I remember this ridiculousness being floated (in 2005) it was:
Sen. Blanche Lincoln, an Arkansas Democrat, characteriz[ing] her bill introduced last week as a way to make the Internet a "safer place" for children. The bill would impose a 25 percent tax on the revenue of most adult-themed Web sites.
Yeah right.

It'll make the Internet a more profitable place for cash-sucking bureaucrats and professional moralists, and a lot less safe for anyone else with a wallet is what it'll do.

Note that *all* the sponsors of that 2005 legislation were Democrats, not fundie right-wingers.
Other Senate sponsors of the legislation--all Democrats--include Thomas Carper of Delaware, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Ken Salazar of Colorado, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Evan Bayh of Indiana and Kent Conrad of North Dakota. (CNET)
Anyways, this time it's Democrats again, in California (Yahoo News)--and the same magical 25% target.

California. Well, robbers rob banks 'cause that's where the money is. Even if Willie Sutton didn't exactly say so.

And, what??? politicians think that 25% sounds enough like stealing a measly quarter or something?

Anyways, I LUVVED this quote from the ABC article on the subject of California's "efforts".:
College students who were lobbying at the Capitol Monday to push for fewer education cuts want any way to boost state coffers, even if the money came from a questionable source.

"When you're going for a greater cause, it doesn't matter where you get the funds, as long as it's a legal source of funding and it's going to improve the future and the economy," says college student Bridgette Dussan.
Ah, so all you gotta do is write law that makes it legal, *then* take it.

Because she "think[s] it's going for greater cause" is what makes it all right.

Yeah, I love modern educations.

In the meantime, Assemblyman Charles Calderon (Democrat dontcha know...) claims he's doing it (...sniffle...choke......) for the poor porn workers, and the caring folks who have to, you know, help them pick up the pieces:
"there is something wrong with the porn industry. The workers don't usually have a long career and California taxpayers end up footing the bill at a time when the state is broke".

"When they come out, they come out with no skills. They come out unemployed. Many come out addicted. If they go on unemployment or on welfare or Medi-Cal, that's a cost to the state."
Oh, Chuck, you're *so generous*...with someone else's money.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Angry Studies Departments...

Bumped into the phrase "Angry Studies departments" at Small Dead Animals, in a post by Vitruvius.

I'd never encountered it before, but it evidently stems back to a post by someone named Jim, I gather relating to the old Duke affair..

Anyways...what a perfectly appropriate description.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Find of the Century: Wisdom.

Boreded Ceiling Cat makinkgz Urf n stuffs

1 Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh skiez An da Urfs, but he did not eated dem.

2 Da Urfs no had shapez An haded dark face, An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz.

3 At start, no has lyte. An Ceiling Cat sayz, i can haz lite? An lite wuz.4 An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark but taht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin.5 An Ceiling Cat sayed light Day An dark no Day. It were FURST!!!1

6 An Ceiling Cat sayed, im in ur waterz makin a ceiling. But he no yet make a ur. An he maded a hole in teh Ceiling.7 An Ceiling Cat doed teh skiez with waterz down An waterz up. It happen.8 An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has teh firmmint wich iz funny bibel naim 4 ceiling, so wuz teh twoth day.

9 An Ceiling Cat gotted all teh waterz in ur base, An Ceiling Cat hadz dry placez cuz kittehs DO NOT WANT get wet.10 An Ceiling Cat called no waterz urth and waters oshun. Iz good.
The lolcat Bible Translation Project.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Here's a mixed-up story...

...Christian group appeals human rights violation CTV/CP
TORONTO -- A provincially funded Christian group is appealing part of a tribunal ruling that found it violated the rights of a worker who had to quit after revealing she was gay.

Ontario's Human Rights Tribunal ordered Kitchener-based Christian Horizons to compensate Connie Heintz and to end a code-of-conduct agreement for its 2,500 employees.

The contract, which all staff must sign, forbids workers from cheating on their spouses, having pre-marital sex or homosexual relationships, using pornography, and "endorsing" alcohol or tobacco.

The group says it will no longer require employees to sign the agreement, but it will be appealing the remainder of the tribunal's order.

The evangelical organization is funded almost entirely by the province and operates more than 180 residential homes in Ontario for people with developmental disabilities.
Just exactly *how* did the Christian organization violate the rights of the worker involved? After all, it was the worker who actually signed and then broke the contract.

So, lets sort out this *some* of the right and wrong in this story:

1) a Christian group ought to be able to demand its employees uphold what it sees as "christian" standards. That's a no-brainer; after all, people can freely choose to work for the organization, or not. I guess it's also perfectly OK if they decide they don't want employees to sign such a contract, too--but they equally ought not to be forced into that decision.

2) The government ought not to fund religious organizations, for any reason. That's a no brainer, too; religious people can fund religious organizations if they want them enough. In the same vein, why should (for example) atheists be forced through taxation to support religious organizations? Why should, say, gays be forced to support organizations that don't like them (and wouldn't choose to hire them)?

3) Not that The State ought to be in the charity business in the first place, but it still remains that if I hire someone to do something, I accept their standards or I don't hire them in the first place. That's a no-brainer, too. Why was the government hiring an agency whose ethical (as in hiring) standards were at odds with its own standards?

4) Any agency, religious or otherwise, equally, ought to accept the standards of its employer, or it ought not to work for them. The religious organization in question knew full well it was accepting a secular task, on behalf of a nominally secular government--and it knew the sort of HR practices that are part of that package. The religious organization was fully free to try to help disabled people on its own terms without being hired by the government, without accepting the State's payments.

5) The religious organization had an employment contract that an employee freely signed. The employee then broke the terms of the contract. Instead of faulting the employee for breaking the contract, the so-called "Human Rights Tribunal" of Ontario instead ruled that the organization owed the contract-breaking employee some compensation.

6) Why would a gay person choose to work for a homophobic employer...and lie to do it?

So what we have is a lovely mish-mash of unprincipled behaviour on pretty much everyone's part. And the result?

The result is that now religious organizations don't even have the right to insist that their employees meet their moral standards.

In other words, the result is stupid.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Sad. Just sad.

Rich Nikoley over at also writes (well) about this. I've got something to say, too, because this is just sad.

The so-called DC Madam (actually the human being, Ms.Deborah Jeane Palfrey, an honest and discreet business woman) killed herself.

Here's why:
I cannot live the next 6 to 8 years behind bars for what you and I have both come to regard as this 'modern-day lynching' only to come out of prison in my late 50s a broken, penniless and very much alone woman

Who did she hurt? No one. Who did she betray? No one. Who did she steal from? No one.

Evidently there must are...people...(I guess that term still applies)..that think--that must think--somehow her death was necessary for "the common good".

Read what she wrote.

There are so many laws that cause this kind of real damage, all in the name of some hideously abstract "common good". Please stop putting up with them.