Saturday, July 31, 2004

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Here are a few quotes from the bard.

Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?
William Shakespeare

from Shakespeare's Othello:
"I had rather be a toad
And live upon the vapor of a dungeon
Than keep a corner in the thing I love
For others' uses."

"O monstrous world! Take note, take note, o world,
To be direct and honest is not safe!"
(~Iago, Act III, Scene 3)

Shakespeare, William (1564-1616) _All's Well That Ends Well_ IV.v
A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good livery of honour; so belike is that.

Assume a virtue, if you have it not. -- William Shakespeare, Hamlet

"Action is eloquence."
- William Shakespeare

Juliet: What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
-- (Romeo and Juliet Act II, scene ii)

Reputation, reputation, reputation! Oh, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.
-- Shakespeare's Othello

"A good wench, give it me!"

-Iago, from Othello II.iii

Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.
- Iago,

Othello (1602-4) act 3, sc. 3, l. 155

Fierce extremes
In their continuances will not feed themselves.

-- King John, Act 5, Scene 7

Doubt thou the stars are fine
Doubt that the sun doth move
Doubt truth be a liar
But never doubt I love
- Hamlet

Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon 'em.
Twelfth Night

Some men never seem to grow old. Always active in thought, always ready to adopt new ideas, they are never chargeable with foggyism. Satisfied, yet ever dissatisfied, settled, yet ever unsettled, they always enjoy the best of what is, are the first to find the best of what will be.

It is meant that noble minds keep ever with their likes; for who so firm that cannot be seduced.

Oft expectation fails, and most oft where most it promises; and oft it hits where hope is coldest; and despair most sits.

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.

In time we hate that which we often fear.

He is not great who is not greatly good.

Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind; the thief doth fear each bush an officer.

There is a history in all men's lives.

False face must hide what the false heart doth know.

It is the mind that makes the body rich; and as the sun breaks through the darkest clouds, so honor peereth in the meanest habit.

Those that are good manners at the court are as ridiculous in the country, as the behavior of the country is most mockable at the court.

There's not one wise man among twenty will praise himself.

My words fly up, my thoughts remain below.
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.

Each present joy or sorrow seems the chief.

Strong reasons make strong actions.

Our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.

Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.

Gold is worse poison to a man's soul, doing more murders in this loathsome world, than any mortal drug.

It is a kind of good deed to say well; and yet words are not deeds.

We know what we are, but not what we may be.

I had rather have a fool make me merry, than experience make me sad.

"Ah, that death would annihilate it, it would be infinitely preferable to the world as it is. Ah, but there lies the rub!" - Shakespeare

This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
-- William Shakespeare

Ophelia: 'Tis brief my lord?
Hamlet: As a woman's love.
-- William Shakespheare (Hamlet)

He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.
-- William Shakespeare (Hamlet, Act I, scene 2)

What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! -- William Shakespeare (Hamlet, Act II, scene 2)

"Good Night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow."
- Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare.
Act II, Scene II, lines 220-221

'Tis a common proof, that lowliness is a Edward Young ambition's ladder, whereto the climber upwards turns his face; but when he once attains the utmost round, he then unto the ladder turns his back, looks into the clouds scorning the base degrees by which he did ascend.

'Tis in my memory lock'd, And you yourself shall keep the key of it.

'Tis one thing to be tempted, another thing to fall.

'Tis the mind that makes the body rich.

... and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

I served my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.

"The course of true love never did run smooth."

"This music crept by me upon the waters, allaying both their fury, and my passion, with its sweet air."

"How sour sweet music is when time is broke and no proportion kept! So is it in the music of men's lives."

We are such stuff as dreams are made on, rounded with a little sleep.
from the Tempest, Prospero said it to Ferdinand and Miranda at the play performed by the spirits

"Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear, to dig the dust enclos├Ęd here. Blest be the man that spares these stones, And curst be he that moves my bones."
Shakespeare's epitaph.

Check out:

William Shakespeare - WikiQuote for more quotes from this Author of many of the classics that helped define and standardize the modern English language.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Fallacy Files Weblog

Fallacy Files Weblog

I found reference to this from one of the blogs in my giant joy of a blogroll. I forgot which one. I would like to give them credit for the find. Well, if you think it was you, feel good that I'm sharing it.

Anyway, it appears to be a great blog that I'm going to add to my blogroll and visit as much as I visit Roderick T. Long's Austro-Athenian Empire. (That's a compliment by the way.)

It's about time we start having blogs with a focus on epistemology that's on par with many blogs' focus on political philosophy.

Update: I was able to relocate the post that I was looking for. So thank you Order from Chaos, I'm sorry that I forgot that I got the link from you.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Tariffs Piss Me Off

PITTSBURGH -- U.S. Steel Corp. (X) turned in a second-quarter profit, thanks in part to strong demand for steel products and higher prices.

Was this why we increased steel tariffs and caused the steel importers in New Orleans to lay off more workers than there were in the entire "threatened" domestic steel industry. (Not to mention the increased costs down the line in construction, durable goods, etc.

No wait. Didn't they remove the new tariffs recently.  I think it's about time we remove the remaining ones.

The nation's largest steel company, which posted its second consecutive quarterly profit following four quarters of losses, said net income in the latest quarter was the highest recorded since the company began reporting steel results separately in 1991. The company also said the quarter benefited from the acquisition of National Steel Corp. last year as well as ongoing cost-reduction efforts.

I wonder if those steel tariffs they lobbbied Bush for a few years back was part of their "ongoing cost-reduction efforts".

U.S. Steel Tuesday reported net income of $211 million, or $1.62 a share, compared with a year-earlier net loss of $49 million, or 51 cents a share.

The steelmaker said a charge for the early redemption of senior debt reduced its latest earnings by $22 million, or 17 cents a share. Results in the year-earlier period included a gain of $23 million, or 22 cents a share.

Revenue, meanwhile, surged 47% to $3.47 billion from $2.36 billion a year earlier.
U.S. Steel said its domestic and European results were helped by "significantly improved prices and margins," despite increased costs for purchased raw materials.
Looking ahead, U.S. Steel Chairman and Chief Executive Thomas J. Usher said in a prepared statement that the company expects "continued strong profitability through year-end resulting from robust world-wide steel pricing and tight supplies, as the world economy continues to recover and as demand from developing countries, especially China, remains at very high levels."

-Yolanda E. McBride, Dow Jones Newswires; 609-520-7861
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
07-27-04 1040ET

So, let me see if I got this straight.   Those "damn Chinese" who were "dumping their steel" on the world just a few years ago and were the reason we need to have "protective" tariffs from their "predatory" activities are the one's you can't say enough nice things about. 

Oh wait, that's right.  It's bad mercantilist economics to attack "the colonials" when they're staying in their proper place.

***Grumble, grumble, grumble...***

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Back in the Day 5...

Yesterday was the 5 month anniversary of Somewhere over the Rainbough, and you know what that means: time for my month in review post. I was a little busy (and a little lazy) yesterday and did not get to it. I also attempted to get BilLee to do it until I realized it would be quicker and easier if I did it myself, so here goes.

BilLee started off this month with quotes from Joseph Addison, a dead british guy who contributed to the Cato Letters. Later he posted quotes by Dale Carnegie, the renowned self-help guru from whom we get the phrase "when life gives you lemons make lemonade." He also put up quotes from the greatest of all philosphers, Socrates.

I started with a spirited rant about universities using government funded grants and scholarships to hide the rising cost of tuition. Then I complained about the sheer lunacy of requiring a permit to practice a constitutionally protected right. Next I shared my discovery of America's civil peacetime flag (as opposed to the military wartime flag that we typically fly).

BilLee shared his thoughts on independence day and how great it is for us that our founding fathers were such successful traitors. I followed this with another long tirade about the Martha Stewart case and the newest moronic rulings of the judge presiding over it. BilLee discussed his own dressing habits and how unusual personal styles can be considered terroristic threats, and he followed this with his own thoughts on instant runoff voting.

I put up a post next on the strangness of my own brain at 5 am, and my own tendency to have neurotic dream imagery in "My Nocturnal Brain." Next I shared my frustration with the anti-war-litmus-test-libertarians along with my own confusion regarding their skewed definition of what a war is. Then I had a fun post contemplating the possibility of a recession in the blogosphere and whether or not such a thing could be accurately determined.

BilLee shared his thoughts on our new 5 kittens that our recently inherited cat gave birth to. I shared my entries into the Badnarik campaign blog's photoshop contest. Finally BilLee ranted about partisan driving skills, and shared his own experiences as a momentary escape artist and why getting around any given restraint is ultimately possible with a little patience and thought. 

Saturday, July 24, 2004

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Over at gAmanda, I came across this post about her daughter.

It reminded of a time I was in a hospital. My mental state was a little out of kilter. The nice people in the hospital uniforms decided that I should be strapped to a bed for a little while. (BTW, believe it or not, they were actually nice about it.) While I was strapped to the bed, at some point (probably the next morning) I decided to unstrap myself. Because of my mental state, it did not occur to me that the straps were originally designed not to be removable. So I examined them, then removed them. After I had succeeded in the task of unstrapping my wrists, it occurred to me that the lack of efficacy of their equipment might frighten the nice people working there so I stopped. I informed them that I was no longer all strapped in tight in a manner as to avoid the possibility of frightening them.

Not only was the person I told not frightened, he was actually impressed by my "Houdini maneuver". He saw no point in continuing to restrain me and removed the remaining restraints. I still believe there is a way out any situation if someone actually wants to leave it. The subtlety comes in determining if the situation is really one that should be left behind remaining fully aware of the price that might be exacted in the process.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Elections influenced by bad driving

Earlier this evening, I was driving along and someone in a small truck (one that was maybe slightly larger than my car) cut me off. It was annoying. He didn't put on his blinker or anything.
He had a "John Kerry" bumper sticker in his rear window.

I dislike Bush, but I dislike Kerry just as much. So, this honestly was not going to have any effect on my vote, but it got me to thinking. What if I had been an undecided voter?

A guilt-by-association could be achieved by hiring bad, aggressive drivers to drive around sporting your opponents' bumper stickers. Think about it. A close election swayed by the emotions generated by drivers selected on their basis to foster "road rage"-y sentiments.

This was just a thought I had earlier today when some annoying fellow decided to cut me off and didn't deem me worthy of receiving the warning of a blinker that is designed to signal a desire to change lanes. He has a bumper sticker to signal a desire to change presidents. This seems to be a disconnect between politics and practice. Perhaps if there was a little less of this kind of hipocrisy, there would be a higher voter participation rate.

Ok, I'm going to bed now. I simply felt like sharing that random thought I had. Maybe later in the year I'll get cut off by someone with a GWBush sticker. Perhaps that would return balance to the bumper sticker politics. I guess I have just been having strange thoughts lately.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Fun with Photoshop

In order to try out Blogger's new interface and image uploading feature, I thought I would share my entries into the Badnarik 2004 blog's photoshop contest. In the first contest I entered this one which I call "libertarian chalkboard" (yeah I know, real original title, maybe I should try "civil liberties... in chalk" or something like that). I didn't win unfortunately, but perhaps libertaria will pick up the image idea and use it in the future. It would be really easy to switch out the picture and campaign info at the bottom for other names, other years, and other campaigns. Hint, hint, nudge, nudge... It's public domain so feel free to use it if you like. I also have a 300 dpi (print) version sitting all alone and unused on my computer...

Here is my entry into the second contest it is called "Veto Power!" Unfortunately only myself and one other person has entered the contest thus far and it ends in a day and a half. So get cracking!! I worked hard on this image and would hate to win because the pickins were slim. Maybe they will extend the contest for a few days.  For extra points (think of these as whose-line-is-it-anyway points) guess whose body I pasted Richard Campagna's head onto (hint: yes that really is the oval office).   

Monday, July 19, 2004

Socrates (470 B.C. - 399 B.C.)

Here are a few quotes from the fountainhead of Western Philosophy

Let him that would move the world first move himself.

There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.
469-399 BC
From Diogenes Laertius,
Lives of Eminent Philosophers, bk. II, sec. 31

I was really too honest a man to be a politician and live.

"Wisdom begins in wonder."

What you cannot enforce, do not command.

Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.

Wind buffs up empty bladders; opinion, fools.

If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it.

He is richest who is content with the least.

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.

Here are Socrates' two simple rules for life:
Know Thyself
Take nothing in Excess

I know I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.

If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap, whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be content to take their own and depart.

Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you remember to pay the debt? - Socrates' last words

Check out:

WikiPedia's article on Socrates to learn more about this man. (Hint: He wasn't just a character in Plato's writings.)

Five more mouths to feed, overnight

The cat we inherited from the neighbors that moved away had kittens last night (Saturday night/early Sunday morning). The cat Gizmo (I didn't name it, the neighbors did and since it responds to that name I decided to keep it.) gave birth to 3 white ones, one black one, and a gray one. The gray one is the same color as she is.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Is the Blogosphere headed for Recession?

Wired News: Bloggers Suffer Burnout

Okay it's the middle of July, everyone is on vacation, and there haven't been many interesting things going on in the news since the launch of SpaceShipOne a few weeks ago (keep in mind I said "the news" and not "the world"). So the blogosphere has slowed down a bit. A lot of bloggers are posting less, taking days, and even weeks off, and many bloggers are posting snipits and links who might have normally favored long entries and essays.

There is nothing to be alarmed about after all it is the middle of July in an election year. The most exciting thing going on where I live is voter registration drives. What I am concerned about is a bigger trend.

After reading the above article about "blogger burnout" I have begun to contemplate the question "what would it mean for the blogosphere to suffer a recession." At first I thought that it would mean that the total number of active blogs would have to be decreasing, as the total number of jobs typically decrease during a recession. But upon further thought I realized that that was incorrect.

An economic recession is when the economy itself contracts rather than expanding/growing. The blogosphere seems to be continuously growing in the number of blogs out there, but what if the actual blogging activity were decreasing. Fewer posts, or possibly even simply less content overall might indicate that blogging activity was in fact decreasing.

However given the huge growth in the blogosphere over the past year I doubt this is the case. The demand for new content, new ideas, new links, and yes new blogs has not gone down a bit. In fact since the recent lull began I have also been posting less (mostly due to my move and job-hunting activities) yet the hits to my website have been steadily increasing for the past few weeks. Which tells me that either my posts have simply become orders of magnitude better (and I'm not ruling this option out ::big grin::), I have picked up a stalker that visits 10 times a day, or that there are many people out there in my corner of the blogosphere that are having to look a little harder to find the amount of content they are accustomed to.

Perhaps its just because its July, and skimming the blogosphere for content for a potential blog post when the sun is out and the neighborhood kids are playing with the slip-and-slide feels like a chore. In any case it does feel like a "recession" in the blogosphere, but perhaps like most recessions we won't know if it really happened until its over, and given the amount of accurate data on the subject nowadays, (not to mention how ambiguous the limits of the blogosphere are) we might not even know then.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Big Picture

This was a comment at catallarchy in response to the post of a fellow blogger who happens to share my position regarding the invasion of Iraq. In response to my anger on the subject BilLee introduced me to this quote. It was lifted from the last page of the epilogue of The Ultimate Resource II by Julian Simon.

The worst offence... which can be committed by a polemic is to stigmatise those who hold the contrary opinion as bad and immoral men. To calumny of this sort, those who hold any unpopular opinion are peculiarly exposed, because they are in general few and uninfluential, and nobody but themselves feels much interested in seeing justice done them; but this weapon is, from the nature of the case, denied to those who attack a prevailing opinion: they can neither use it with safety to themselves, nor, if they could, would it do anything but recoil on their own cause. In general, opinions contrary to those commonly received can only obtain a hearing by studied moderation of language, and the most cautious avoidance of unnecessary offence, which they hardly ever deviate even in a slight degreee without losing ground: while unmeasured vituperation employed on the side of the prevailing opinion really does deter people from professing contrary opinions, and from listening to those who profess them.

-John Stuart Mill

This obviously isn't about the mainstream popular opinion, but rather it is about the popular opinion amongst libertarians. Most libertarians oppose what they call "the war in Iraq." They believe this war was started by President George W. Bush as a pre-emptive attack against the regime of Saddam Hussein in the name of national security. There are a few of us however that do not believe this is the case. We recognize that a war has been going on in Iraq since the invasion of Kuwait in 1991 through regular bombings intended to enforce the no-fly zone that killed hundreds of civilians each year, and through economic sanctions that killed many thousands more. Some figures regarding the deaths of civilians in Iraq during this time estimated that 100 thousand plus civilians died each year from inadequate food and medical supplies, a situation brought on by the sanctions, and not remedied by the U.N.'s disastrous oil-for-food program.

The U.N. primarily through the insistence, support, and skills of the United States military and U.S. tax dollars was killing many thousands of civilians every year in Iraq since the supposed end of operation desert storm. Yet we were not at war? Of course we were at war. We just were not hearing about it on the news. It wasn't american lives that were being lost. It was thousands (possibly millions) of innocent Iraqis.

Now that that has been said here is the part of the comment that bugs me. If you want to get the context of the original comment I suggest you read the original post and the comments section in which it first appeared.

Brothers and sisters in the struggle for liberty: our position on non-intervention is sound. Be proud of it! Stand by it! Even if you can’t marshall all the arguments have faith that when the facts of any war abroad are eventually gathered you will be vindicated. If you ever receive information that convinces you that a particular war deserves your support - know that based on past precedent, you have been lied to. Lie down till you feel better. Go to a holy person for excorcism. But do not support any war that will ever be waged by the Washington regime. Support all soldiers who refuse to go.

Meanwhile I will vote for any and all Libertarian candidates appearing on my ballot except for those I find out are war-supporting infiltrators.

I could agree with all of this. I would agree with the entire post (minus the war-supporting infiltrators nonsense). It was an interesting and very informative post about the impact of American interventionism and how we created both Saddam and Bin Laden (a fact I was previously well aware of). The problem is that once again we find a libertarian using the term "war in Iraq" to indicate the invasion that happened last year, and implying that those of us that supported that escalation of the war have decided to favor interventionism because it happened to suit us at this particular point in history. But the fact is I, and those who I have encountered who share my position, have never supported foreign intervention, premptive warfare, or anything that would qualify under the detailed pitfalls of America's history of foreign meddling that he mentions.

What Mr. Kelsey, and many like him seem to fail to understand is that sometimes escalating a war is the only way to end a war. Now perhaps an escalation of the war in Iraq was not the only way to end our 12 year conflict, however, I believe that it was the only politically feasible means of doing so for America. Furthermore many of the so-called anti-war libertarians seem to think that support of any military action is an implicit support of the entire war and warfare in general. This would mean that since I supported the invasion that occurred last year, I must therefore support the entire war including the 12 years of sanctions, bombings, and our initial operation in 1991. Oh yeah, and I must therefore support military interventionism in general. None of this happens to be true.

Phrases like "bring our troops home" and "end the war in Iraq" are bandied about so much that many seem to think, and in fact argue as if war could be ended by the wave of some magic wand, and that troops can be brought home just as easily without care or thought to the consequences. But there are consequences and wars do not always end simply because troops are pulled back, and declarations are made.

To those supposed anti-war libertarians, I supported ending the war in Iraq in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003. I was hoping it could be done without additionaly military action, but I believe this became unfeasible after 9-11. What were your opinions then? Did you know there was a war going on? Did you care? I know some of you did or I wouldn't have ever recognized the situation myself upon becoming libertarian.

This is remniscent of summer 2003 when many millions of Americans took down their yellow ribbons when President George W. Bush declared that hostilities had ended in Iraq in spite of the fact that we were not bringing any soldiers home and were in fact sending more into danger. Likewise for those of you who think the Iraq war started in 2003 and cannot recognize a situation as war unless it's labelled that in big letters on CNN I can only ask: are you blind? or is it something else?

I'm beginning to think that its merely an attempt to stigmatize those of us that disagree as unlibertarian, and "war-supporting infiltrators." I know my opinion is unpopular amongst libertarians, but that doesn't mean that its wrong. They are looking for a black and white world where they can blacklist anyone who ever supports any action by the state as immoral war-mongers even if it is their own stance that would have ultimately led to more death, decay, and warfare. Meanwhile their litmus test would have failed to root out certain libertarian presidential hopefuls opposed to the war in Iraq who also opposed open borders, and who didn't oppose taxation on principle. I don't know about you but I would rather vote for a "war-supporting infiltrator" who's goal was to end a war, than a self-described libertarian who's own professed positions were inconsistent with the non-coercion principle. But I suppose my priorities aren't shared by all.

Monday, July 12, 2004

My Nocturnal Brain

I'm convinced that I have a nocturnal brain (presuming there is such a thing in humans). That is a brain that is most awake and active at night. Why do I think this?

Because after not having the time or patience to pull a blog entry out of my head for several days I suddenly find myself overflowing with ideas, and it's 5 AM. And of course I have to be up early tomorrow, but little things like that do not seem to matter to my nocturnal brain which had decided that thinking is more important than sleeping.

I'm well aware of the fact that your brain never really sleeps, and that for most people it can be more active when you are asleep and dreaming than it is during the day. I have a particularly active brain though when it comes to dreaming. I woke up from another neurotic dream a few hours ago to find myself contemplating my past, the use of symbols in dreams, the clarity (or lack there of) of my own thoughts, and the nature of morality itself, among other things. And like any brain active in the middle of the night I had to think about these things all at once, jumping from one topic to the next before I was even conscious that the subject matter had changed.

Now I am awash with thoughts I would love to blog on, and talk on, and think on, I have crazy dream imagery of giant rats and strangely formed tigers fresh in my mind, and I have to be up in about 5 hours to go to a job fair that I do not really want to go to.

I've been thinking about altruism (and not in a postive light), the nature of spirituality, ethics, imagination, creativity, evil, social diversity, and the impact of one's past experiences (my own in particular) on the present. And I've been wishing that there was some way I could convey all this mess of random thoughts into one clear coherent form, but alas it is 5 AM and coherency does not seem to be a high priority in my brain at this moment.

So since I do not think I could do justice to a rant on any of the above topics I've decided to blog on my brain. My brain should not be up at 5 AM when I am getting up at 10Am. My brain should not try to rehash my past while I am sleeping. My brain should focus on one thing at a time at least until the point that I am fully conscious of what I am thinking of before it changes the subject. My brain should let me go to sleep when I want to. My brain should not use people I do not like, and events in my past I would rather forget as recurring symbols in my dreams for issues in my current life.

My brain should find fascinating topics to contemplate when the sun is up, and not when I am trying to sleep. My brain is probably the perfect brain for an aspiring writer, and I should probably stop complaining about the inconveniences of having a very active imagination. There are worse things than being inconvenienced by an active mind that won't let you sleep. I just cannot think of any at the moment. Okay I am going to try and sleep again. If you find a long post here on the evils of altruism in the morning that means I failed. Goodnight er-morning... it's almost 6 now. Good brain, ignore all that stuff I just said, and let me sleep without fighting off tigers and giant rats...

Sunday, July 11, 2004

I'm a fan of Instant Runoff Voting

I am in favor of adopting Instant Runoff Voting. I think it would discourage negative campaigning since candidates won't want to turn off voters that might have otherwise picked them as their second choice option.

Friday, July 09, 2004

We now officially have a fashion police.

In Magnifisyncopathological's recent post called A Terroristic Threat? Free Daniel Chappell!, pointed out that a local Austin radio show host has been arrested and charged with a class B misdemeanor for going out in public with a woman's stocking on his head and buying chewing gum.

I wonder when they'll decide that someone walking around in a bathrobe, bermuda shorts, a liberty penguin shirt, and a "vote libertarian" button should be locked up for making some people feel nervous. Since that's the kind of fashion offense I tend to commit and I live in the Austin-metro area, I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

More Judicial Insanity

MSNBC - Martha Stewart's bid for new trial denied
U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum said there was “no reasonable likelihood that this perjury could have affected the jury’s verdict.”

Really? Then why did witness lie if he didn't think the lie would have an impact on the jury. In this case the witness lied about being involved in the ink analyses of a document that he was testifying on. He was the expert witness describing the findings of the document. To have bothered to lie under oath surely he must have believed that the jury would not consider him a credible witness on the subject.
The judge said “overwhelming independent evidence” supports the jury’s guilty verdict.

And yet the judge was never in the jury room, and doesn't know what evidence did or didn't sway them. This is a judge trying to function as a jury after the fact. They are effectively saying "I would have still found you guilty, so I bet the jury would have also."

And this ignores the allegations that one of the jurors lied to get on the jury. How could that event have effected the trial? If he was someone who had already made up his mind and succeeded in convincing the other jurors in deliberation than surely it would be cause for a mistrial. Still though we do not know if that is the case, and unfortunately the judicial system is not taking these allegations seriously.

What bothers me most about the Martha Stewart case is that there seems to be this general malaise on the subject. From the actual jurors who said statements after the trial indicating that they believed they were "looking out for the little guy" by punishing her for a dubious crime she was never charged with (insider trading), and believed to be innocent of, to the prosecutors and judges who have simply waved off known perjury, uncredible witnesses, and potential perjury amongst the jurors themselves. Then there is this complete lack of interest in the case by most Americans for the mere fact that for some reason or other they do not individually like Martha Stewart. As if that could ever be a good reason for someone to be convicted of a crime. I cannot count the times I've encountered people who claim they either "don't care what happens," "they know she's guilty because she's a nasty person," "Martha is going to get what she deserves," or that "Someone should have taught Martha that lying isn't right."

It all comes down to the fact that she's an overachiever in a field that most people disdain: the home. For those that live in suburbia there is always someone with a nicer garden, nicer lawn, nicer parties, that is a better cook, better organized, makes better costumes, makes nicer decorations, better cookies, and simply entertains guests better than you can. These are not typically all the same person. For those that care about these things they usually tell themselves that it is only because they have a life to live, and cannot spend there time hand making their decorations and cookies.

Martha however managed to perfect all these things, and made a fortune doing it. Combine that with a relentless perfectionism that makes her allegedly hard to work with (though I do not doubt this point), and America has suddenly decided that Martha deserves to go to prison. She is guilty because we want her to be guilty, and she should go to prison because we think it would be amusing to see Martha Stewart in prison.

Few outside of the libertarian community have bothered to ask if it should be illegal at all to lie to Federal investigators when you are not considered to be under oath. All the evidence in the case was circumstantial and many of the most telling points made by witnesses were effectively retracted. One witness who claimed that Martha bragged about her inside tip later said that she may have simply thought that Martha said that in her own head.

The fact is we cannot know if Martha lied. The evidence presented against her was speculative. It was circumstantial evidence and the prosecutors speculated that it indicated an attempt to cover up a crime, but the evidence could have been explained in any number of more likely ways. In the end it doesn't matter if she did because the department of justice isn't even sure if what she would have been attempting to cover up had she been lying was actually a crime.

Its illegal for those within a company to sell on an inside tip, however it is not illegal to sell your shares in a company because a friend of yours is also selling regardless of whether the said friend is CEO of that company. When the DOJ realized that they were on shaky legal ground because they had no evidence that Martha knew anything about the FDA not approving ImClone's new cancer treatment, they stopped the investigation.

Instead they decide to charge her with lying about selling her shares based on the alleged knowledge that her friend and CEO of the company was also selling. A crime they did not charge her with because they were not convinced that it was in fact illegal.

Yet the whole case was based upon the premise that said actions were illegal, and indeed that is what the jury saw. They saw someone benefitting at the "expense of the little guy" through insider trading.

So much for informed juries.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Blogger's being Crazy...

So they make blogger all new and improved a few months ago, but now it's glitchy and annoying. Blogspot pages come up as "not available" and you have to refresh them several times to get the blog. Some of my posts aren't coming up after they have been edited, or even newly written. I think I've hit republish blog like 5 times already in the last 10 minutes and the new posts still are not coming up. So if you are reading this it's because blogger mysteriously started working again. There's no point in a user friendly interface if the software never works right.

Dale Carnegie, (1888-1955) American writer and speaker

Here are a few quotes to get a sense of the guy. (Hint: He was a self-help guru.)

Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

Don't be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves.

If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.

When fate hands us a lemon, let's try to make a lemonade.

The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus. And I put them in a book. If you don't like their rules, whose would you use?
Dale Carnegie (1888-1955)

First ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst.

If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive. If only the people who worry about their liabilities would think about the riches they do possess, they would stop worrying.

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interrested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interrested in you.

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no help at all.

Principle #1
Begin with praise and honest appreciation.

Principle #2
Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.

Principle #3
Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.

Principle #4
Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.

Principle #5
Let the other person save face.

Principle #6
Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.
Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise."

Principle #7
Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.

Principle #8
Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.

Principle #9
Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

It is the way we react to circumstances that determines our feelings.

Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see a bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.

Many people think that if they were only in some other place, or had some other job, they would be happy. Well, that is doubtful. So get as much happiness out of what you are doing as you can and don't put off being happy until some future date.

When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health, and our happiness. Our enemies would dance with joy if only they knew how they were worrying us, lacerating us, and getting even with us! Our hate is not hurting them at all, but our hate is turning our own days and nights into a hellish turmoil.

One of the most appalling comments on our present way of life is that half of all the beds in our hospitals are reserved for patients with nervous and mental troubles, patients who have collapsed under the crushing burden of accumulated yesterdays and fearful tomorrows. Yet a vast majority of those people would be walking the streets today, leading happy, useful lives, if they had only heeded the words of Jesus: "Have no anxiety about the morrow"; or the words of Sir William Osler; "Live in day-tight compartments."

Don't be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones tend to take care of themselves.

If you want to win friends, make it a point to remember them. If you remember my name, you pay me a subtle compliment; you indicate that I have made an impression on you. Remember my name and you add to my feeling of importance.

Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.

All the king's horses and all the king's men can't put the past together again. So let's remember: Don't try to saw sawdust.

The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore.

If you believe in what you are doing, then let nothing hold you up in your work. Much of the best work of the world has been done against seeming impossibilities. The thing is to get the work done.

Check out:

Dale Carnegie quotes and quotations - BrainyQuote for more quotes from the guy.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Thoughts from Independence Day

Yesterday was Independence Day. We celebrated our successful secession from a government that no longer was acting with our best interest at heart. In that spirit, I introduce you to

It's important that we remember that the founders of the American Nation were successful traitors. I recommend you check out what happened to most of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Aren't you glad that the founders subverted the British Empire? I would have preferred that they had done it more like Ghandhi had, but perhaps our species had not civilized enough at that point for that pacific strategy to succeed. These are just a couple things I was thinking about recently.

The "Peace" Flag?

The United States Civil Flag for Peacetime

Through usage and custom, horizontal stripes had become adopted for use over military posts, and vertical stripes adopted for use over civilian establishments. The Civil Flag, intended for peacetime usage in custom house civilian settings, had vertical stripes with blue stars on a white field. By the Law of the Flag, this design denoted civil jurisdiction under the Constitution and common law as opposed to military jurisdiction under admiralty/military law.

Although intended just for Customs house usage, the new Civil Flag became adopted by both customhouses and merchants, and others who could afford them, to show their civilian nature and not under military control.

I found out at church today (that's right I'm an atheist that goes to church... ::big grin::), that America has a civilian peactime flag that has fallen into disuse. This was presented as part of today's theme "True American Patriots: Heros of Conscience" which was very appropriate for the fourth of July, not to mention very interesting. Anyhow this page tells a little bit about the history of that flag, and has pictures of it. It's worth checking out. It would be nice if we could start flying them again to reaffirm that we are not under military rule, and particularly that the military should have no authority over civilian matters in times of peace.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Freak Occurence in organs. - Rabies-infected organs kill 3 patients - Jul 1, 2004

"This has never happened before," said Dr. Mitch Cohen, an infectious disease expert at the CDC, in a conference call with reporters.

Hmmmm... I guess they were about due then huh?

Permission to Speak Freely?

Reuters AlertNet - NY convention protesters say rights threatened

NEW YORK, June 15 (Reuters) - New York officials are threatening the rights of demonstrators planning to show up at the Republican National Convention by failing to issue a single permit so far, a protest leader said on Tuesday.

Leslie Cagan of protest group United for Peace and Justice said the group applied for a permit more than a year ago but has not yet been granted permission.

The city "has yet to do anything in terms of issuing permits guaranteeing not only that we are able to protest but, more importantly, that we are able to exercise our constitutionally protected right to assemble, to march, to rally, to make our voices heard," Cagan said.

From the U.S. Constitution
Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

I seem to have missed the part of the first amendment where government officials get to issue permits to allow individuals to exercise their constitutionally protected rights.

Protest permits?!? Hello? What's next free speech permits? Religion permits?

If you have to ask the government permission to do it, then it is not a right. Since the city of New York is in fact subject to the constitution of the united states it cannot simply decide to deny individuals the right to assemble, and protest on public property. Likewise it cannot make laws to curb, or deny that right to individuals.

Amendment XIV

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

American citizens do not have a right to be issued a permit to speak freely and peacably assemble. We have a right to do it regardless of whether we ask permission from the government, or receive permits. It's a pity that the organizers are even humoring these officials. They should have ignored them from the get-go and planned to simply show up. Let's see the New York bureaucrats turn away several hundred thousand people who are peaceably assembling and intend to be heard.