Friday, May 18, 2007

Girl Friday - 051807

This weeks Girl Friday is a study in the elegance of the female form:

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Nickle Plated Epiphany

It is amazing the clarity of thought having a man with a gun chasing you can bring to even "true believers".

One such case is that of Michael DeBose (D-Cleveland). He was among those that just knew that people shouldn't be able to carry guns to defend themselves:

DeBose voted his conscience. He feared that CCW permits would lead to a massive influx of new guns in the streets and a jump in gun violence. He feared that Cleveland would become the O.K. Corral, patrolled by legions of freshly minted permit holders.
At least until he was chased by a man with a gun:

"The tall one reached in his pocket and pulled out a silver gun. And they both started running towards me."

"At first I just backed up, but then I turned around and started running and screaming."

"When I started running, the short boy stopped chasing and went back to the car. But the tall boy with the gun kept following me. I ran to the corner house and started banging on Mrs. Jones' door."

Now he sees the light:

"I was wrong," he said Friday.

"I'm going to get a permit and so is my wife.

"I've changed my mind. You need a way to protect yourself and your family.

"I don't want to hurt anyone. But I never again want to be in the position where I'm approached by someone with a gun and I don't have one."

DeBose said he knows that a gun doesn't solve Cleveland's violence problem; it's merely a street equalizer.

"There are too many people who are just evil and mean-spirited. They will hurt you for no reason. If more people were packing guns, it might serve as a deterrent.

Better late than never I guess.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Government Funded Science

As a follow up to one of my points in this post, namely the problem with government funding of science, be sure to go check out this piece by Robert Higgs over at
When your research implies a "need" for drastic government action to avert a looming disaster or to allay some dire existing problem, government bureaucrats and legislators (can you say "earmarks"?) are more likely to approve it. If the managers at the NSF, NIH, and other government funding agencies gave great amounts of money to scientists whose research implies that no disaster looms or no dire problem now exists or even that although a problem exists, no currently feasible government policy can do anything to solve it without creating greater problems in the process, members of Congress would be much less inclined to throw money at the agency, with all the consequences that an appropriations cutback implies for bureaucratic thriving. No one has to explain all these things to the parties involved; they are not idiots, and they understand how the wheels are greased in their tight little worlds.
Be sure to read the whole thing.

Libertine vs Libertarian

One of the most common things that I run across when either directly discussing political philosophy or reading others discussion of it is the conflation of libertine with libertarian, especially, but not only, among conservatives. However, they are by no means the same and should not be treated as such by anyone that considers themselves to be informed.

When I hear the term libertine, it is not great libertarian thinkers such as Bastiat, Rand and Mises that come to mind. Rather I think of people such as the Marquis de Sade, Ami Perrin or John Wilmot. I think of rejection of imposed religious morals and sexual freedom exercised to the utmost extremes.

When I hear the term libertarian, on the other hand, I think of personal freedom from government coercion and laissez-faire capitalism. I also think of personal responsibility. To be sure, I see how it could be easy for those opposed to ideas such as the legalization of drugs and prostitution to confuse libertarian advocacy for the legality of such things for libertine philosophy, but only if they were not being intellectually honest with themselves.

The fact that a libertarian may call for legalization of such things does not mean that he is rejecting social standards, it means that he is rejecting the forced implementation of those standards via government coercion.

To be sure, there may well be libertine libertarians, but the two are distinct philosophies and should be treated as such.

Turtle Bay Perfidy

I gave up some years ago trying to view the United Nations as a serious body whose intent was to accomplish serious things. The idea behind the founding of the UN was a noble one, but noble ideas from yesteryear have not been able to save the UN from the fatal flaws of its charter.

These flaws have been used time and again to not only render the organization useless in accomplishing it various stated goals, but also to turn it into a stick with which second rate thugs and dictators can smack the West in general and the US in specific, a task in which they are gleefully joined by nations such as France looking to exercise a position of world power that they haven't had in hundreds of years.

The latest in a long line of various corruptions, scandals and inconceivable actions involve Zimbabwe and Belarus, two countries ruled by ruthless thugs.

Zimbabwe was recently chosen to lead the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development. That's right the same Zimbabwe that, under the foul hand of Robert Mugabe has gone from a shining example for all of Africa, to among the worst of a long line of corrupt hellholes on that continent. As Peter Brookes points out:

The former British colony was once an outstanding example of African development. But then dictator Robert Mugabe began to fear losing his grip on political power - setting out to destroy domestic threats to his rule through land seizures and redistribution. The result? The once-prosperous country's economy has shrunk 40 percent since 2000 - with no end in sight. Years of consecutive negative growth and inflation (at over 2,000 percent annually) are the world's highest; 80 percent of the populace is unemployed and/or lives below the poverty line.

And a nation that used to be Africa's prime food exporter now faces widespread hunger. As many as 4 million have left the country, mostly for South Africa, putting Zimbabwe on par with Sudan's Darfur in refugee terms.

Life expectancy has plummeted - where once the average newborn would live into his or her 60s, that infant now survives only to his or her 30s. A population that should be 18 to 20 million is just 11 million - with a reported 1.3 million orphans.
This is a country that should be leading a commission devoted to smart economic development? What a joke! Well, it would be a joke if it wasn't so tragic.

Belarus, which is ruled by the Soviet wannabe thug Alexander Lukashenko, is about to be chosen to head the UN Human Rights Council. Belarus is so bad in fact that even many of the usually feckless human rights organizations are opposing this move, but this is the same council that was headed by Libya, so don't expect such opposition to be headed.

While none of this surprises me, I am continuously surprised that so many people still think the UN can be taken seriously as the sole purveyor of international legitimacy. The time for the US to do the right thing and completely abandon the UN and its failed system has long since passed, but there are just too many people in this country that are willing to overlook things such as the above situations, the mass corruption, and everything else wrong with the UN simply because they enjoy seeing the US beat about the head and shoulders by thugs. It doesn't matter to them how much the world suffers so long as the US is "kept in its place".

Monday, May 14, 2007

Cowardly Punks

I don't know how many of you have seen the video of the elderly gentleman beaten by the carjacking thug, but here it is:

This is the kind of thing that makes me sick. Not only is the guy that did this a cowardly bastard, but so are the jackasses that just sat by and watched it happen. I haven't checked yet, but you just know that somewhere, some idiot is making excuses for this thugs, blaming rich people or some other such nonsense.

More of the Same

Back before the 06 midterm elections, the second most voiced complaint from Dems was the "Culture of Corruption". According to them, if the Dems got control they would sweep in and clean house on the way things are done in Congress. Back then, I told my Dem friends they were crazy if they thought the Donkeys were any different than the Elephants.

Needless to say, I was right and they were wrong. The Dems have done next to nothing to rid Congress of earmarks, those nasty little add-ons to bills that members use to butter up constituents, payoff lobbyists, and fatten their own pockets.

Now that the Dems control the purse strings once again, they are not quite so eager to clean up shop, Robert Bluey points out:

So when Murtha faced Republican opposition for a $23-million earmark to fund the National Drug Intelligence Center, an operation in his hometown of Johnstown, Pa., he blew a gasket -- “unleashing a loud, finger-jabbing, spittle-spraying piece of his mind,” according to The Hill.

Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), a fellow appropriator, was the recipient of Murtha’s tirade for voting against the earmark in committee. Murtha threatened to pull a pet project from Tiahrt’s district to exact revenge. Fortunately for both members, the situation was resolved, and they walked away from the squabble with their projects intact.

Such is life in Washington, where members of Congress still don’t get it.
The Dems seem to have a short memory when it comes to their campaign promises. What a shock right? Well, only if you have no idea of how politicians work or if you are just so blindly partisan that you only see problems with the "other" side.

Democrats and Republicans are both quick to point out the problems with the other side, while blatantly ignoring their own party's lapses. As the saying goes, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." The truly disheartening thing is that there is no sign of change on the horizon. Their taste of power has almost completely cleansed the Republican party of all of its beliefs of small government and fiscal sanity, so even if they regain power, expect no changes.

I guess the best that can be hoped for is continued split power between Congress and the President. At least that slows the process down a bit so that not quite as much pork gets through, but both sides have shown they are eager to be "bought off" with pork; principles be damned when there is other people's money to be wasted.