Monday, November 29, 2010

I hate bumper stickers

Why can't we gut fish and houses? Why can't we make love and war? Why can't we make windmills and bombs?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade makes no sense

Self absorbed and often embarrassingly dressed pop stars lip sync their radio hits on ludicrous floats as children dance around dressed as doctors and cops and taxis. What sort of worldly, hallucinatory fever dream is this?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

TSA: What we need is a little empathy

My solution, or part of it at least, to the controversy over the TSA's latest dehumanization campaign is simple:

1) Make every TSA employee pose for a fancy new x-ray backspatter image.
2) Put the images in a searchable, public database online, along with full names and portraits.

While we're at, we might as well start at the top of DHS...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Raleigh and the Food Cartel

Just read this one in the print edition of Carolina Journal.

Raleigh wants to limit food truck access to the city. And it's really interesting why.

When asked why the city restricts the number and location of mobile food units, Raleigh City Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin said it was necessary to protect established restaurants from competition and to keep the streets looking neat and tidy.

“You want to balance what’s good for the entrepreneur with what’s good for your restaurant owners,” Baldwin said. “You don’t want to hurt them and put them out of business. They’ve made a huge investment.”

So it's the job of the city of Raleigh to deny consumer choice to protect restaurateurs from competition?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Not a finalist

Despite my unquestionably brilliant work, lately, I was not a finalist for the 2010 Bastiat Prize for Economic Journalism.

Missed it by that much.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Jeremy Clarkson: consider yourself on notice

10:10 mini-movie - No Pressure

And you thought it would be the Morris Marina Owners' Club that would do you in. These people will surely get you first.

Warning: graphic violence at the link. Note: this is not an anti-AGW parody.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Banality of Hope

Famed Obama 'Hope' poster artist losing hope

The story's really not all that interesting, except for one very telling little bit:

Fairey explained that when he came up with the poster in 2008, he was trying to find a single image that embodied the issues he cared most about -- promoting [communitarian] health care, helping labor [unions], and curtailing lobbyists. He likened the issues to projectiles.

"Looking at Obama's standpoint on various policies, it was like, 'Why throw all these particular projectiles over the wall... when I could put all those things in one projectile that I could hurl over the wall,'" Fairey said in a phone interview from Los Angeles, where he lives. "Obama was the delivery device in theory. Now, I realize that he maybe is not the correct delivery device, and I'll just deal with those issues separately."
[my comments]

Isn't that just a lovely picture of contemporary, electoral politics. Why make forthright statements about what you stand for when you can wrap it all up into one inoffensive word. Call it, "Hope," and let everyone see in it what they want. Fits right in with our lazy, trite, selfish, spiritual-but-not-religious, shallow, navel-gazing, Oprah-y, unsophisticated, immature culture. At least, "a chicken in every pot," was a tangible promise. "Hope in every heart," is our new aim. And so we create a government so devoid of first principles that the only ideal is power.

And we have no one to blame but ourselves. Not just with our choices in the voting booth, but our choices when we watch TV, go to the movies, pick up a magazine, listen to the radio, interact (or not) with our neighbors, etc. Or humble ourselves (or not) before God. It's our culture and I'm a part of it, and chances are, so are you.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Kathleen Sebelius is a tyrant

Cato @ Liberty: Secretary Sebelius Slips on the Brass Knuckles

ObamaCare gave the HHS secretary considerable new powers. Is one of those the power to regulate what insurers say about ObamaCare?


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Room 101

O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself.* He loved Obamacare.

* Orwell, George. 1984.
(just saw it won't enter public domain in the US until 2044)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Introduction to Canadian food

So we received a care package when the in-laws were back home in T-O.

You think you know cheese doodles? You don't. Not until you've had the uber-salted Hawkin's Cheezies. What's that I taste? Oh yeah... the unapologetic taste of trans fat.

All I have to say, is, "Swiss Chalet, here I come!"

(see also: poutine, Tim Horton's)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Richard Jewell says hello

And Jim Valvano. And the Duke Lacrosse Players.

Should there be a "gatekeeper" regulating internet bloggers? In the aftermath of the Shirley Sherrod incident, that's what CNN promoted on July 23.

Those folks I mentioned know that it doesn't take blogs or anonymity to drag someone's name through the mud. They had their lives turned upside down by the traditional media. In fact, in the Lacrosse Players' case, they were happy for blogs like Durham in Wonderland, who acted as a check on the crusade by the media.

As for anonymity generally: many of the political broadsides and pamphlets and books that voiced the ideals of American independence and liberty were published anonymously or under pseudonyms. Writing anonymously has always been a way to put forth controversial ideas. They discussants on the program acknowledge the need for such a thing, but not in places as free and open as America. I think that's taking an awful lot for granted. Especially given the amount that free speech has been under attack around the 'free' world.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Man builds, lives In 89 square foot house

Interesting story. Not for me, but I'm glad this guy can do something different like this that makes him happy. And also that he can connect with others who feel similarly and provide a service to them.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hayek agrees with me!

Ok, that's putting it a bit generously.

Back during the debate... well, back when the debate over Obamacare was just getting revved up, I made the point to all who would listen that the legislative effort was not about universal health care. In fact, if that was the goal, there was a much cheaper, healthier, more freedom respecting way to go about doing it:

Step 1: Let markets work! Both in the provision of health care services directly and in how they are financed. Competitive markets, more than any other power on this planet, drive efficiency. The outcomes would be lower real costs in service, along with higher quality.

Step 2: Give direct assistance to those who can't afford health care services. Look, if you're going to declare access to health care services an affirmative right, to be provided by the government, then you should go about implementing it in the otherwise most efficient way possible. Let the markets work. It's just about the exact same argument as the school choice argument, though perhaps with or without the same Establishment Clause issues that would lead me to support education tax credits over vouchers. I don't know, I haven't given that bit a lot of thought.

Anyway, any form of relief will have it drawbacks, but surely this would be far and away a better system than either the one that existed before Obamacare, or the one that will replace it. It leaves the markets intact (or as intact as possible), and actually achieves universal coverage, which one of the most leftist presidents in recent history couldn't even pull off with a sympathetic Congress.

Oh yeah, the title. Hayek said more-or-less the same thing:

nod to Angus at KPC for pointing that link out

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kagan: comfortable with laws that COULD ban books

Kagan’s Own Words: It’s Fine If The Law Bans Books Because Government Won’t Really Enforce It

At least as Solicitor General. There are a couple of very disturbing elements at play here. One is the obvious: that a law that includes the possibility of banning books could at all be tolerated. This is so obviously anathema to the principles upon which this country was founded that it needs no further examination. The second, and Scalia almost touches on this, is that Kagan seems completely oblivious to the fundamental injustice of unenforced (or practically unenforceable) laws. Unenforced laws only restrict the actions of one class of individual: the conscientiously law abiding citizen. It does not, however, restrict the actions of merely the practically law abiding citizen. This results in a de facto unequal application of the law. Yet another reason we need criminal justice reform to strip away all the unclear, unjust laws on the books.

As a side note, it's interesting that books are treated sacrosanct, but other forms and mediums of communication are not, when it comes to crafting and judging legislation like that overturned in Citizens United. Why is that? Is the distinction really valid?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Us and Them

"Forward!" he cried, from the rear, and the front rank died
The general was sacked, and the lines on the map moved from side to side

Friday, March 05, 2010

Ray LaHood's kids must have had terrible nightmares around Christmas

Ray LaHood as Santa Claus

From the linked article:

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is fast becoming one of President Obama's most influential cabinet bosses, and not just because he's in charge of doling out billions of stimulus dollars. Yes, he tells Whispers, it's fun playing Santa Claus to states and cities around the nation.

So his children grew up with the story that Santa Claus didn't have elves to make his toys. Santa Claus came into your house to take all the toys you had, and that's what he gave out again at Christmas. You just hoped you got your favorite toy back, or got more toys than you had before.

ht: Cato @ Liberty