Thursday, November 30, 2006

 

PBJ

Like they played off of in Family Guy, here is the unsual and fairly stupid "PBJ Time" song.

HatTip to Messino at JLF

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

 

Some useful figures on Marijuana

From a report by Jeffrey A. Miron, a visiting professor of economics at Harvard:

This report concludes that marijuana legalization would reduce government expenditure by $7.7 billion annually. Marijuana legalization would also generate tax revenue of $2.4 billion annually if marijuana were taxed like all other goods and $6.2 billion annually if marijuana were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco.

Monday, November 27, 2006

 

Up in Smoke

From an NYC CLASH email:


Belmont, CA - Proposed Ban on Smoking in the Home


The jackboots have reached our homes.

In 2001 Montgomery County, Maryland, tried something similar and it was laughed off the table by public commentators around the country. I find it incredible that I hear none of them now. Any ban that applies to one's home is the worst of the worst, and I feel strange even having to have to put it this way -- saying "but" -- but Belmont's ban includes the home's garden, patios and porches, the streets, and possibly in your car as well. Nowhere can one smoke except in a private detached single family dwelling with the windows shut tight.

In this insane world I'm forced to say that Belmont's ban is even worse than worst of the worst because Montgomery County's plan (not to be confused with Friendship Heights' street ban plan) was only ("only" as in so very bad already) for the home and not these other places. So I ask, where is the ridicule from the commentators this time??

Read for yourself:

November 15, 2006 (San Mateo Daily Journal)
Belmont to be first U.S. city to ban all smoking

Belmont is set to make history by becoming the first city in the nation to ban smoking on its streets and almost everywhere else.

The Belmont City Council voted unanimously last night to pursue a strict law that will prohibit smoking anywhere in the city except for single-family detached residences. Smoking on the street, in a park and even in one’s car will become illegal and police would have the option of handing out tickets if they catch someone.

The actual language of the law still needs to be drafted and will likely come back to the council either in December or early next year.

“We have a tremendous opportunity here. We need to pass as stringent a law as we can, I would like to make it illegal,” said Councilman Dave Warden. “What if every city did this, image how many lives would be saved? If we can do one little thing here at this level it will matter.”

The council was concerned about people smoking in multi-unit residences.

“I would just like to say ‘no smoking’ and see what happens and if they do smoke, [someone] has the right to have the police come and give them a ticket,” said Councilwoman Coralin Feierbach.

Councilman Warren Lieberman said he was concerned the city will pass a law it cannot enforce because residents will still smoke unless police are specifically called to a situation. Police cannot go out and enforce smoking rules, he said.

“It makes us hypocrites by saying you know you can break the law if no one is watching,” Lieberman said.

However, both Feierbach and Warden argued it is the same as jaywalking, having a barking dog or going 10 miles over the speed limit. All are illegal, but seldom enforced.

“You can’t walk down the street with a beer, but you can have a cigarette,” Warden said. “You shouldn’t be allowed to do that. I just think it shouldn’t be allowed anywhere except in someone’s house. If you want to do that, that’s fine.”


TAKE ACTION: This is one you can't afford to ignore! Contact the Belmont lawmakers. Let them know exactly how offensive this is.... That it cannot be abided and is an indecency of unspeakable proportions in a country such as ours. In addition to creating the ultimate division of people into the superior nonsmokers and the second class smokers, they are dividing us into economic classes as well. Those who can afford their own private detached home are privileged to smoke but those who can't must surrender their rights. And then write a letter to the editor of their paper as well.

Mayor Phillip Mathewson: pmathewson@belmont.gov
Vice Mayor Coralin Feierbach: cfeierbach@belmont.gov
City Council: CityCouncil@belmont.gov
San Mateo Daily Journal: letters@smdailyjournal.com

Then think about writing to any newspaper columnists you know will be interested, urging them to report on this, and/or calling any radio talk show host and asking them to take up talk show arms against it. Because as the paper also reported, the anti-smoker activists nationally are drooling:

"The decision puts Belmont on the forefront of smoking policy and it is already attracting attention from other states."

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

 

Everyone has AIDS...Again?

According to new numbers, AIDS is going to take over the world again.... It's an epidemic, no, its a pandemic, no, it's neither air-borne nor naturally contagious.

For some reason (perhaps other than money?), the World is paying attention to the alleged AIDS pandemic. You can read more on it here.

Call me heartless, but the numbers tell a slightly different story.

According to UNAIDS own numbers, individuals with AIDS represent slightly more than a half of one percent of the global population. Not quite as far reaching (even with the likelihood of their estimate being on the high side) as they claim. Additionally, what rate of growth deems the usage of words like "epidemic" and "pandemic" appropriate? I am sure that it wouldn't be something quite as low the only seven percent increase over the last two years. Given that AIDS patients have a fairly long life expectancy after infection, these numbers aren't going to be influenced by deaths as signficantly. Lastly, it is rather common practice to take into account population growth rates when estimating these types of numbers, so the growth rate might be substantially lower than below.

In 2004, individuals living with AIDS represented approximately 36,900,000. As of yesterday it was 39,500,000. That represents a Growth Rate of approximately 7.0%.

In 2004(12/31), the World Population was 6,486,626,360. As of yesterday it was 6,665,842,873. That represents a Growth Rate of approximately 2.8%.

Percentage of Population (AIDS/World) in 2004 was 0.57%. As of yesterday it was 0.59%.

Not quite the alarmist effect that is so heavily preached...


One note of interest from the UNAIDS article is this line:

Two-thirds of infections are due to shared injecting equipment.

Monday, November 20, 2006

 

Free Roads

I've been listening to Rothbard's "For A New Liberty" (free at Mises) again. He has a bit in there about how privatized roads would work, focussing on technology and tolling.
Over the summer I read "Myth of the Robber Barrons" by Burton W. Folsom. He has a chapter about Vanderbuilt's ferry boats. He started out charging a lower price than the competition, and continued lowering the price until the ferry ride was free, and he was making all his money off concessions.
Is it possible that roads could be privatized and remain free, like the ferries?
The positive externalities received by merchants and residents would be returned to those they had been extracted from. Other consequences: cities would be smaller, or zoning would be more diverse.
A possible parallel is the relative free use of the internet, especially services like google, YouTube, etc. where advertising pays for all.
Could we have free privatized roads?

 

Kidneys and Armies

A friend at work pointed out this article in The Economist about one of my favorite topics: legalizing the sale of human organs. I came across the idea of kidney markets through Gary Becker, who wrote an interesting paper that I used in my Senior Project. Check out Table 7 in Becker's paper (PDF page 44), which outlines the logical consistency in supporting both a volunteer army and a kidney market.

Of course, today I saw in the paper that some people (like Charles Rangel) do not support a volunteer army. I suppose being inconsistent is better than being consistently un-free. What would Milton Friedman do?

 

Let the battle begin

There can be only one....

Check out the game console systems here.

 

007

I watched a sneak preview of Casino Royale on Thursday evening before it opened in US theatres and I greatly enjoyed it. I would recommend it to all fans of Bond movies and movies in general. The critics and box office receipts appear to be in agreement with me on this.

Has anybody else gone to see the film? Opinions or feelings on the film?

My only complaint was the older woman behind me with the incessant Campbell's Soup-like expletive (mmmm...mmmm...mmmm...)

Friday, November 17, 2006

 

A Salute to Friedman

More here, here, and here.

Monday, November 13, 2006

 

Starting the Min Wage Discussion Again

WSJ opinion

Sunday, November 12, 2006

 

What's Government Doing To Our Money?

Aaron Russo's "America: Freedom to Fascism" is now available for free at Google video. Enjoy. Share. Debate.

 

Ditch Traffic Lights?

Hans Monderman, a Dutch road traffic engineer, advocates removing all traffic lights and replacing them with round-abouts. Monderman argues that this approach will not only improve traffic flow (since motorists will be constantly moving), but will also reduc the number of serious motor accidents.

The idea is that round-abouts make driving more "dangerous", and by making driving more dangerous, motorists drive more carefuly. As a result, drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians will have a much safer traveling experience. Sound familiar?

I think the argument sounds reasonable, it seems to be working in Brussels (which has removed almost all of its traffic lights and has seen a reduction in automobile related deaths), but I don't know if the benefits will outweigh the costs of contruction at every single intersection.

This story was found via Robert Murphy at The Mises Economics Blog.

 

Sunday Comedy

At the expense of K-Fed (the soon to be Fed-Ex)...

Catch it here.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

 

Veteran's Day

May Dad is a U.S. Marine. He trained near the end of the Vietnam era, and recieved a medical discharge after serving for almost three years. He gave his knees for his country, and I am proud of him.
It's taken me a while to reconcile my libertarian-leaning opinions with his sacrifice. I feel like I've learned a few things that have changed the way I think.
The country is not the government. Dad served his country, not some politicians in Washington D.C. He was not thinking of Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter when he volunteered for the Marine Corp. Nary a soldier was thinking of how much they loved Roosevelt or Truman as they pounded the beaches of Imo Jima. They did it out of love for their country, love for their moms and dads and sisters and brothers. Aunts and Uncles, cousins, grandparents, friends, co-workers, girlfriends, wives, sons and daughters. For their comrades and for freedom, for the American way of life, which was still relatively free in the 1940's.
Veterans fought for the right reasons. Politicians fought for power. Or maybe they just believed in power, the way George Bush does. They believe political power can be used to do good. I'm not convinced.
How were our soldiers to know that Roosevelt was provoking both the Germans and the Japaneese by supplying England and China with weapons? How were they to know that WWII was effectively over at the battle of Stalingrad, before the bombing of Pearl Harbor? They watched "Why We Fight" at the movie theaters and were told all kinds of propagandistic exaggerations of the story.
They bought into the same nationalistic story that the Germans were teaching their children.
They were lied to.
So, I'm grateful for all of the soldiers who sacrificed for their ideals and their true loves. I'm grieved at the clouded distiction between law and government, between State and Country, between security and liberty.

Friday, November 10, 2006

 

Outsource the DOT

If they just outsourced all the DOT work, we would not have this problem. Wouldn’t that fix all the disincentives involved with public employment (if there weren’t any)?

I mean if roads have to stay public, just contract out private companies. The one thing they need to do is have a strong legal counsel and competitive bidding structure. Yes, the have the incentive to bid higher, but if they are actually held responsible (strong contract), then it might save time(drivers) and money(taxpayers).

Here's the related news.


Thoughts?

 

Arbeit macht frei

From our favorite Douche, and nominated for the "Biggest Douche in the Universe" (Oh sorry, that's a different John Edwards), here is a message from ONE AMERICA (FOR ALL OF US):

Dear Friend,

Because of your efforts, yesterday a blue wave swept this nation and elected historic numbers of Democrats at the local, state, and federal levels.

To all of you who phoned, walked precincts, talked to your friends and neighbors, gave money and made this victory possible -- I thank you.

This election was about nothing less than the future of the world, and the American people spoke loud and clear: America is better than what we've seen under George Bush and his Republican allies. It's time to clean up the mess in Iraq; restore our moral authority to lead in the world; put the needs of ordinary families ahead of wealthy special interests; and begin to address the issues that George Bush has ignored or made worse during his six years in office.

I want to particularly congratulate the state minimum wage coalitions that did incredible work in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and Ohio, where voters passed ballot initiatives to increase the minimum wage and index it to inflation. Winning these minimum wage ballot initiatives is a huge step toward lifting millions of working families out of poverty.

Democrats scored incredible victories across the country, winning governorships in states in every corner of the country and winning critical state legislative seats. We also reclaimed control of the House and made impressive gains in the Senate -- the first step in putting the brakes on George Bush's nightmarish regime -- and today we should celebrate this historic victory.

But tomorrow we must begin anew. Yesterday's results are not the end, but the beginning of a historic transformation that our country must undertake in the coming years. We have to change direction -- not just put on the brakes. And in the coming months I look forward to working with you and building upon the incredible success of last night -- and building the One America that works for all of us.

Thank you, again, for everything you're doing to put our country back on track.

Your friend,

John


Yes tomorrow, we gather our weapons and advance upon all those Americans that don't "work for all of us". Soon enough, they will all work for all us -- for one America...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

 

A conversation starter...

Will the control of the legislative branch of the Federal government by the Democrats, slow the growth of leviathan? Will we at least see a temporary slow down?

I honestly hope that we can see a lame duck government for a while.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

 

For the Record

I stood in the rain for a little while tonight gathering petitions for the Libertarian Party. Ty Harrel, who has sent me more mail than I have ever received from any one person, refused to sign.

 

Mike Munger on WUNC's SOT

Great interview. Munger says he wants into the debate, and that is leadership enough. Link at Munger's blog.

Munger supports government funded daycare as a way to help welfare moms get back to work. He also opposes the legalization of drugs. Are government programs justified by virtue of efficiency?

Speaking of getting into the debate...
SPEL held a Republican vs. Democrat debate last night. Libertarians weren't invited, but I stirred up the lingerers afterwords. The Republican got his butt whipped, as I predict the party will today.

 

Election

The Giant Douche vs. the Turd Sandwich....

Will this election be any different?

If you don't know what I am talking about click here.

Friday, November 03, 2006

 

Ethical Philosophy: A Quiz

This quiz tells you whose philosophy your own most resembles. I'm a combination of Emmanuel Kant, Ayn Rand and John Stuart Mill (my top 3).

I'm a little suspicious about the outcome, (aren't Rand and Mill opposites? Utilitarian v. Objectivist?), but take it anyway. It's fun!

Be sure to prioritize your answers - it's very important for the outcome.

CrispAds Blog Ads

Does someone you know deserve flowers?
Web Site Hit Counter
Dell Canada

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?