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Showing posts from April, 2008

Even if the politics ain't pristine, calling in the Gestapo is a seriously bad idea

I do not doubt that the Michigan recall petition drive against Speaker of the House Andy Dillon (D-17th District) is politically and maybe even externally motivated, as Phil Power of the Center for Michigan and others claim . The two prime movers in the drive, former State Representative and current MaComb County Commissioner Leon Drole t and Wayne County Taxpayers Association Chair Rose Bogaert , both have ties to well-known anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist . And I can even accept--at least for the sake of argument--that the recall petitioners may be using less-than-ethical tactics in some of their attempts to gain the necessary 8-10,000 signatures (25% of the registered voters in the district). But none of that excuses the following three items: 1) The idea, apparently prevalent in Michigan progressive Democrat circles that the very idea of citizen recall of elected officials is somehow anti-democratic (just like term limits) . Here's the afore-mentioned Phil Power holdin

I like Nancy Willing, but I'm not drinking the kool-aid on Obama's military expansion

Delaware Way is one of my daily reads. Even though I don't agree politically with Nancy on a lot of things, she (a) educates me from time to time, and (b) keeps me up to date on what Delaware's progressive brethren and cistern are up to. That said, I got into the most interesting exchange with her over on Down With Absolutes (and the exchange had little or nothing to do with the overall thread, which is why I'm not continuing it there). I raised this issue about Senator Obama's position on US military expansion: Me: "I have read Obama's platform. There you will find his promise to INCREASE the size of the US military. Ask yourself why he would propose that when his first act is supposedly to pull out of Iraq." Nancy: "We have to increase the military. Obviously. We have destroyed our standing army with constant redeployment, stop loss and demoralizing lack of care upon return (most recently please read about Fort Bragg conditions and last

And Argentina thinks it has it all together for decriminalizing drugs. . . .

Hopefully you read Tyler's post on that issue . Now Chile (at least the town of La Prado) moves from Drug War to Drug Peace to . . . Drug Love-in. Courtesy of Fausta's blog : For the first time in Chile, a mayor plans to give out free Viagra to men 60 and older in his town to improve their "quality of life" four times a month, according to media reports. "This has to do with quality of life and it's done responsibly. It's not just like handing out candy at the corner," Gonzalo Navarrete, a physician and mayor of the poor town of Lo Prado south of Santiago, told Las Ultimas Noticias daily. He said any man 60 years and older who wants it can have up to four Viagra pills a month after undergoing a thorough medical exam to avoid potentially harmful side effects of the drug Sildenafil. "We'll give out four, 50 milligram pills, in other words, for four sexual relationships per month," Navarrete said, adding that the program would have a

With apologies to Pink Floyd. . . .

. . . because while I loved the album, I fell asleep during the movie of The Wall . Who could forget, "HEY! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!" Apparently not the Media Awareness Project , which has one of the best intellectual dissections of what's wrong with random drug testing of American students, including this gem: None of this is to say random drug testing is totally indefensible. It's just that the following defenses don't pass muster: * If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. This is the single most odious line of reasoning ever concocted because it misses the point. People, including students, are not required to prove they've done nothing wrong. * For safety's sake. Though the safety message is appealing, at its heart, drug testing isn't about safety. It's about control. It is worth noting students are not police officers, airline pilots, doctors or even teachers. They shouldn't be forced to choose betwee

This is Brian. . . . This is Brian on medication?

Unless you happened to notice it in one of the comment sections last week, you probably missed the fact that Brian had surgery this week. Despite his undying affection for Thai ladyboys and a western hemispheric union, Brian's really a fairly private person, so I had not mentioned this before. He's doing well and will hopefully be back to posting soon. In the interim, however, I made one discovery and had one disturbing thought. The discovery is that the blogspot spell checker recognizes the word ladyboy . I'd never actually typed it before. There may be something ominous of a Spenglerian nature in that. The disturbing thought is that they gave Brian a morphine pump for his first day out of surgery and some serious pain meds (he told me--no shit--that he asked for medical marijuana and was refused). We all know what to expect from Brian in the course of a normal week: twisted explorations of our world from a perspective that is Libertarian crossed with fan-dancing

I finally figured out for whom I'd like to vote for President: George Phillies

While there is a great deal of entertainment to be found in this year's electoral politics, there's very little comfort. Between them the various wings of the Demopublican Party offer three Senators who all fully support the military-industrial complex, an interventionist foreign policy, and the continued creep of government into virtually every aspect of our personal lives. If there is a significant original idea between them, I can't find it. Clinton and Obama--when they actually talk policy--admit that the differences separating them are distinctions of nuance. McCain offers his own brand of perpetual pandering that is neither conservative nor moderate, but clearly aimed at purchasing votes anywhere he can find them. I have spent a lot of time examining the available candidates in the Libertarian Party, and while I see a lot of divergent personalities (as well as the basic split between Radical and Reform Libertarians), I see only one candidate for whom I could vo

Yearning for the functional simplicity of Sharia law: The Parable of the Uncovered Meat

This is old news if you happen to live in Australia, but may be of significant use to those of us in America who are still trying to instill a common definition of rape into our culture . The Sydney gang rapes, which occurred in 2000, involved (as Wikipedia relates): . . . a series of gang rape attacks by a group of up to fourteen Lebanese Australian men led by Bilal Skaf, against white[1] Australian girls, some as young as 14, in Sydney, Australia. . . . [resulting in sentences of] more than 240 years in jail time handed out to nine men. The problem, however, has been explained by Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, as one of uncovered meat . Here's the scoop from our friend Jim Fryar at Real-World Libertarian : Sydney-based Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali alluded to the infamous Sydney gang rapes, suggesting the attackers were not entirely to blame. While not specifically referring to the rapes, brutal attacks on four women for which a group of young Lebanese men received long jail sentenc

The Stupidity of Ethanol in a single sentence

Peg, at A Secondhand Conjecture , finds a sentence that cuts to the heart of the matter: Every fill of the tank with ethanol uses the same amount of corn a child would eat in a year, and let’s not even talk about the amount of potable water used to grow the corn in the first place. Sort of makes fossil fuels seem more rational, huh?

A Matter of Definitions: Cara and the Definition of Rape

Every so often you find a thought-provoking paragraph lodged in the middle of a post about something else. That's sort of the case here. At The Curvature , Cara has a post covering her problems with a new study about sexual miscommunication between men and women (she's also concerned with the coverage of the controversy). Hidden away in there is a paragraph in which she provides a definition of rape that I want to be sure my son understands as he grows up : But rape (of a woman by a man; switch identifiers for other types) is not necessarily a situation where a man hears and understands “no” but ignores it. Rape is when the man has sex with a woman who has not consented. If she says “no” but he genuinely thinks that means “keep going” for some dumbass reason, it’s still rape. If she gives more subtle resistance like “it’s getting late” and he keeps going without her willful participation, it’s rape. I know that our laws don’t reflect this. I know that few people seem to get

Why lecturing the rest of the world does not work: India and Iran

A multi-polar world is re-emerging in the aftermath of the Cold War, and that foreign policy reality is far more significant than the war on terror. India, as has been noted here on several occasions, is not only poised to become a major world player in automobile manufacture , but is also pursuing military and nuclear links with Sarkozy's France . The Bush administration response: lecture India on how to deal with Iran. Here's the story from The Australian News (h/t to Sukrit Sabhlok at Thoughts on Freedom) USING uncharacteristically strong language, India last night told the US to butt out and mind its own business after Washington attempted to tell the country how to deal with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he visits New Delhi next week. Ahead of the visit, the first to India by the Iranian leader, a State Department official offered gratuitous advice to India on how to handle him, suggesting that it should take a tough line in pressuring Tehran on the nu

Why the TSA needs to be reformed.... prevent international incidents for one thing, and to prevent the abuse of old people for another. As I described before, different cultures have different perceptions of privacy of their persons....none more so than Western cultures and Latin American cultures....well it finally happened, TSA pissed off the wrong Latino.... just look at the "person of interest" to the left then read the story.....luckily they get away with it with old folks all the time..... Costa Rica protests US airport security By MARIANELA JIMENEZ, Associated Press Writer Sat Apr 26, 5:14 PM ET SAN JOSE, Costa Rica - Costa Rica has suspended legal cooperation with the United States and filed a diplomatic protest over what it called the "disrespectful" treatment of its attorney general at the Miami International Airport. In a letter describing the incident, Attorney General Francisco Dall'Anese said a security officer at the airport allowed him into the United States on April 23,

Taser More Kids For Human Rights....

....It is stories like this that lead me to believe we have a human rights problem in the United States. OK guys, joke is over, bring back the 4 th Amendment. April 25, 2008- A Chicago man who was in critical condition for five days after police used a Taser to subdue him outside an Ohio bar died Thursday evening. Kevin Piskura , 24, was pronounced dead at 4:17 p.m. Chicago time of injuries suffered when police in Oxford, Ohio, fired the stun gun at him early Saturday morning. At the Cincinnati hospital where he was transferred, Piskura was surrounded by friends and family who had been keeping a vigil. Police said Piskura was fighting with an officer and ignored warnings to stop. A 2006 graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Piskura grew up in Ohio. He moved to Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood after graduation. In a statement released through the hospital, the Piskura family said they were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and thanked medical staff for their efforts

Comment Follow Up- The Libertarian Students of Belgium Reject Yon Goicoechea

You may have seen my expose on Yon Goicoechea. If not scroll down and read it. It was my machismo moment of outrage at CATO for awarding this extraordinary right wing non-libertarian big state rightist the Milton Friedman award for liberty. Not only has Yon been linked to student violence in Venezuela , but he calims in his interview with Playboy that he has been "promoting human rights" which I guess is a good thing even if he is only paying lip service to them, but still he has not really offering any solutions to the problems in his country like the Libertario. In fact there were so many contradictions in his positions that the students of the European Congress in Belgium rejected him going there . Look, this guy is no Bolivar, and is no libertarian. Which again makes CATO's award all that much more inexplicable. I am still looking for that video of the students in your movement throwing the gas at the national guard Yon and invite you to explain how vio

A Delaware Libertarian Exclusive: Interview with Libertarian Presidential hopeful George Phillies

This is what Dr. George Phillies says on his website : America is in deep trouble. We are on the wrong track. America needs answers. Only the Libertarian Party has those answers: Answers true to our traditions. Answers that will bring us Peace, Liberty, and Prosperity. To bring the Libertarian message to the American people, we need the right candidate: A candidate with a sound Libertarian message. A candidate with solid credentials. A candidate with an effective campaign. A candidate who is proud to campaign as a Real Libertarian. Who is that Candidate? Obviously, Phillies believes that he is that candidate. Trying to find out, Delaware Libertarian posed the same five tough questions we asked of another hopeful yesterday. Here are his answers: 1) Even when the United States has withdrawn from Iraq, the issue of our relationship with Iran (and the potential of an Iranian nuclear program) will still be high on the new president's foreign policy agenda. What are your init

Drug Peace Marches On : Argentina

As the fruitless, wasteful, destructive "war on drugs" (e.g. the arbitrary criminalization of self-regarding personal conduct) rolls on in the good ole US of A, filling our prisons and/or stigmatizing 1000's of otherwise peaceful law-abiding citizens, other countries continue waking up and acting on the reality of the total failure of drug prohibition. In one fell swoop an Argentine federal court effectively decriminalized personal drug use, at least in the nation's capital Buenos Aires. [Translated from Spanish - El Financiero En Linea] Buenos Aires, April 23 .- A federal court in Buenos Aires decriminalized individual consumption of drugs in the capital, cancelling thousands of cases of persons accused of possessing small amounts of marijuana. The ruling states that Federal Chamber of Appeals declared unconstitutional sections of the law enacted in 1989 punishing drug users. The rule punishes consumers on the grounds they are the backbone of

Weekend Watching: Sometimes I get sick of politics.....

....and when I do, it makes me wish I still lived in Asia where I could watch human bowling on TV. My last post, which can only be described as a "Machismo" moment, expresses how frustrated I am getting with CATO and it was a result of too much tension and watching CATO consistently awarding the wrong groups awards for the right kind of reasons. It is like my cousin asked, "Why not award Ron Paul, guys?" To relax the Asian way I want you to enjoy the collection of videos from this Japanese serial series and know that there is more to life than political bickering.... like human bowling.... please send me your comments or more funny videos. I have a feeling I am going to need as much humor as I can get this weekend....

Coming tomorrow: A Delaware Libertarian Exclusive Interview with George Phillies

In one sense I go way back with Dr. Phillies, even though we never actually met. In the late 1960s-early 1970s he was already legendary as one of the premiere wargamers of his generation, and the virtually undisputed master of Avalon Hill's Stalingrad . Now he's mounted a drive for the Libertarian Presidential nomination, running his campaign as if he might actually become President--a tactic that has both mystified and repelled some Libertarians, while intriguing others. If I were handicapping things right now, I'd put him in the high second tier of candidates, chiefly because Bob Barr and Mike Gravel have serious name recognition advantages, Wayne Allyn Root manages to get national audiences, and (until the recent age-of-consent controversy) Mary Ruwart has been the darling of the hard-liners (but see below on that subject). At this point, I don't think there's a front runner; I think there's happy, Libertarian chaos. Tomorrow, Dr. Phillies will answer

Mary Ruwart, Child Porn, and the Libertarian Presidential nomination

When Dr. Mary Ruwart announced her candidacy for the Libertarian Presidential nomination I was pleased. Granted, Mary's personal views have always been in the radical/anarchist segment of the LP (while mine are decidedly in the pragmatic branch), I thought she would make a good candidate because-- She is articulate enough to explain Libertarian ideas clearly. She had no discernible negatives like Bob Barr's authorship of the Patriot Act and support of the Defense of Marriage Act or Mike Gravel's plans for universal health care . The fact that she had no experience in governing or leading a large organization is not really of that much consequence, since this year a win for the LP candidate will be 1-2% in the National election and influencing the Demopublican outcome in key states: she was never going to be President. So regular readers will know that I have consistently listed her--along with George Phillies and Christine Smith--as two of the more interesting Libert