Tuesday, July 29, 2008

California Proposition 8

San Jose Mercury News reports that the language in proposition 8 has been changed to read as a constitutional elimination of so-called "same sex marriage." The article is short, so here it is in full:

SACRAMENTO (AP) - When Californians get their ballot pamphlets in the mail, they'll see a new description of the proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage.

Proposition 8 on the November ballot had been described as a measure to limit marriage between a man and a woman.

But the Secretary of State's office says that description was changed to reflect a May 15 California Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

The ballot title and summary now describe the initiative as a constitutional change to eliminate the right of same sex couples to marry.

The revised language also says California could lose several tens of millions of dollars in sales taxes if same-sex marriage were banned.

Critics of the measure say the change accurately shows the initiative would take away a current right of Californians.

California is a beautiful state; southern California in particular. Were the government not so screwy, I would love to live there. Maybe passage of proposition 8 will be a step back towards governmental sanity.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Webb: Tyrant, Warner: Gutless

The Senate passed the silly and unconstitutional anti-free market foreclosure bill Saturday, and President Bush has his pen dripping in anticipation to sign it into law. Only 13 senators dared to oppose the economically ignorant juggernaut.

Virginia's U.S. Senators have proven once again that they have their own self-interests at heart: Webb (D) voted in favor of the bill, and Warner (RINO) abstained.

Check the news on Yahoo to see how your senators voted.

Here is what the presumtive law would do (from The Hill):

The bill props up Fannie and Freddie, known as government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), allows the refinancing of up to $300 billion in distressed mortgages, enacts a package of tax breaks to help the housing market and tightens federal oversight of Fannie and Freddie. The two mortgage giants saw their stock plunge this month as fears rose about their solvency.

Specifically, the bill would give Treasury officials temporary authority to offer the GSEs an unlimited line of credit and to invest in the companies. It would also allow the Federal Reserve Bank the power to consult with regulators on the companies' financial health. That authority would expire in December 2009.

For homeowners at risk of foreclosure, the bill offers a new program within the Federal Housing Administration that would allow them greater latitude to refinance their housing loans at a discount.

Where in Article I Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution does it say that Congress has the authority to bail out stupid borrowers and negligent lenders at the expense of the taxpayers?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gay Marriage is Wrong

I am tired of the Gay Marriage debate. Gays should not be allowed to marry each other. Many left leaning news outlets have taken to calling gay marriage "same-sex" marriage in an attempt to lessen the offense to regular (heterosexual) people.

My argument is not "Gay People are Icky." I know, and have known, many gay people. While I find their sexual behavior somewhat disturbing, it is none of my business. Gay people are no more (and sometimes less) offensive to me than straight people.

I, being a heterosexual man, have no more rights or privileges than a gay male. I can not marry another man. Gay marriage confers special rights on a group of people who claim victim-class status. It is the dream of modern liberalism to classify and label everyone into a group, and then decide which groups should get which rights. Like the pig said in George Orwell's Animal Farm, "some of us are more equal than others."

Traditional heterosexual marriage should be the only form of marriage approved and endorsed by the state because the stability of the state is dependent upon continuing the population of the state. Gays can have wedding ceremonies, commit their love for one another, and even have their union approved by a church. But their relationships should not be sanctioned by the state. Gays are not able to procreate, and therefore gay marriage is against the interests of the state.

What happens when gays want to get divorced? They throw the state into crisis. An example cited by the L.A. Times, about two women who married in Massachusetts, and who now seek a divorce in their home state of Rhode Island:

Then, after two years of marriage, the 10-year relationship soured, and Chambers filed for divorce. That put the couple into a legal limbo that is becoming increasingly common as same-sex couples married in one state try to divorce in another.

A judge in Family Court, where divorces are handled, asked the Rhode Island Supreme Court for a ruling on whether his court had jurisdiction, given that Rhode Island doesn't recognize gay marriage. The state Supreme Court decided that the women weren't legally married in the eyes of the state and therefore couldn't get divorced.

Chambers then tried filing for divorce in the state's Superior Court, but last month a judge there ruled that the court had no jurisdiction over marriage dissolutions. A Massachusetts divorce isn't an option because only residents who have lived in the state for a year can file there.

"They've given us no choice but to be married forever,"

Be careful what you wish for.

UPDATE: Maybe the women in the above mentioned article, who felt their union was important enough to travel to Massachusetts for legal sanction, should go live in said State for a year so that they are eligible for a "same-sex divorce," thereby keeping the rest of us out of their irrational legal problems.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

VDOT Dummies

The road I live by is considered "rural."

When VDOT puts down a new road surface, why do they not fill in the holes before applying said surface? One month later, all the holes have shed the new tar-and-chip stuff, and have become relatively deeper than before.

When VDOT breaks out the bush hogs and sicklebars, why will they cut 20 feet from the side of the road (outside of the right-of-way) to get redbuds and blackberries, but a locust or poplar in the right-of-way or overhanging the road with less than 8' of clearance is completely overlooked?

Like most government operations, VDOT must be populated with workers whose intelligence is on level with a retarded monkey.
NOTE: The image above is (probably) not from my road.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What the Heller

Dick Heller, the man in Heller v. D.C., has been denied a permit for his pistol.

Because his pistol is "bottom-loading," it is considered analogous to a machine gun. Last time I looked, virtually all semi-automatic pistols are "bottom-loaders." An auto-loader is nothing new, and is surely not a machine gun. Many people have auto-loaders for self defense in their homes. In Justice Scalia's words, these are "the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home." Would Heller's permit be issued if he had a wheel gun (that's a revolver) instead? One round from a .454 Cassul would definitely ruin anyone's day faster than 7 little 9mm paras. But then D.C. would probably classify it along with medium sized artillery pieces.

The District, smacked in the face with the constitution, wants to use every regulatory loophole in its arsenal to create a de facto gun ban. Isn't this just sour grapes? Really, to classify an auto-loader as something akin to a M249 SAW is ridiculous. Heller's quasi-machine gun, interestingly, only holds 7 rounds in its "clip," 3 rounds less than what was permitted under the Clinton gun ban.

The closing of the above article at Hot Air hits squarely on the mark:

Exit question: How many millions of dollars in litigation expenses will it cost the District to fight, and lose, the next round of lawsuits instead of complying with the Court’s decision now in good faith?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tony Snow - R.I.P

More entertaining (and less annoying) than Chris Wallace as the host of Fox News Sunday, Tony Snow has died at 53. Prayers to his family and friends.

Paper and Ink: Donations Needed at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Just another unintended consequence of the devaluation of our currency (if you can call it that - we may be burning greenbacks in the wood stove this winter, just like the Germans in 1923).

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are poised for a bailout. In the words of John Edwards: "Why?" Have we not bailed out enough corporations, financial or otherwise, to satisfy the teat-suckers? And when I say teat-suckers, I mean everyone who would enrich himself through government plunder of his neighbor. How long can this charade go on?

FDR made private ownership of gold illegal, and nullified all private contracts that called for payment in gold in 1933. Back then, you could redeem your paper money for gold at $20 an ounce. Look closely at the $5 bill below. It is a "demand" note.

"The United States of America Will Pay to the Bearer On Demand..." Our paper money does not say that anymore. It does not even say "United States Note." It says "Federal Reserve Note." What is being held in reserve is anyone's guess. It could be Skittles or M&Ms.

The rate for foreign banks to redeem U.S. gold was set at $35 per ounce (inflation already) until Nixon closed the doors to the vault at Fort Knox, stating that at $35 an ounce, we will soon have not an ounce of gold remaining. Inflation has done its dirty work since then, to the point that our currency is, quite literally, not worth the paper it is printed on.

Senator Daniel Webster, denouncing President Madison's administration and its funding of the the War of 1812 through paper money, said: "Of all the contrivances for cheating the laboring classes of mankind, none has been found more effectual than that which deludes them with paper money." Paper money, the Federal Reserve, government bailouts - the whole thing is not only wrong, but unconstitutional.

So when the government bails out Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the Federal Reserve will once again create magikal dollars out of thin air for the purpose, and through the roundabout transfer of wealth, the taxpayers will one again be left holding the empty bag.

We are just kicking the proverbial can down the road, postponing the day of reckoning when our bloated system fails. Michelle Malkin is calling this "the Mother of All Bailouts." She also cites that John McCain (who knows a little about money - Keating Five? - and should know better) is riding the fence on the issue:

This morning, McCain says “I don’t think that there is a requirement for a government bailout” while reiterating that Fannie/Freddie “must not fail.” Cognitive dissonance, desperate straddling, or totally out of touch with reality? Take your pick. Even the free-market WSJ supports a federal bailout. Agh.

I’ve long warned of the inexorable bailout frenzy in the wake of last year’s stimulus-palooza. The Fannie/Freddie rescue will make the Bear Stearns bailout look like chickenfeed

It would be less painful to allow failure now, rather than to keep bailing out every "important" corporation to the point where the whole thing comes crashing down. And crash it will.

Government should not be the arbiter of prosperity.

UPDATE: Lew Rockwell calls it fascism. Indeed it is.

UPDATE, Again: The $5 note above is not a "demand" note, but fiat currency exchangeable for other currency. Read more about U.S. paper money here. In 1929, there were six diferent kinds of paper currency: United States Notes, Gold Certificates, National Bank Notes, Silver Certificates, Federal Reserve Bank Notes, and Federal Reserve Notes. At the end of WW2, there were three, and in 1970, only Federal Reserve Notes remained.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

To See, or Not To See

My boys love the Pixar movies, Cars and The Incredibles being at the top of the list. I was excited to hear that a new movie was in production, but somewhat apprehensive when I heard the subject. The trailer showed an incinerated, garbage-strewn earth being cleaned up by robots. One of the voices inside my head said "leftist global-warming anti-capitalist propaganda."

I do not know about the global warming part, but the ant-capitalist part was on the money. In WALL-E, humans have left the earth, and have been floating around in space aboard some kind of self-sustaining craft for 700 years, becoming a homogeneous drone society. Humans grow fat and, apparently, stupid. They have no incentive or initiative to do anything beyond their own existence on board their nanny spacecraft.

From the article WALL-E: Economic Ignorance and the War on Modernity at the Ludwig von Mises Institute:

The startling aspect of life aboard the Axiom [the spacecraft] is its total homogeneity. Everyone is morbidly obese; everyone drinks fatty meal-replacement shakes; everyone rides around in automated carts instead of walking; no one engages in direct personal communication; no one exercises; everyone follows the BNL [Buy'n Large, supposedly a Wal-Mart/Bush conglomeration] corporation's fashion advice (when the announcements tell the people that "blue is the new red," all Axiom inhabitants switch their suit color from red to blue at the press of a button). Not only does this homogeneity mark one instant in time; it has been present all throughout the Axiom's seven centuries of travel through space. During that time, there has been no technological progress, no cultural innovation, and no noncosmetic changes in the aesthetic, philosophical, and political arrangements aboard the ship. Imagine in 2008 if nothing had changed in human affairs since the year 1308.

The humans in WALL-E are not portrayed as evil; they are polite and well intentioned, but ignorant and torpid. Strangely enough, the ship has an extensive information database about life and conditions on Earth, and nobody bothered to examine this easily accessible information for seven centuries, until the Captain suddenly has a burst of interest. Are we to assume that curiosity and elementary initiative are such rarities that they are exercised only once in 700 years?

WALL-E is egregiously wrong in assuming that technological conveniences such as easily accessible food, transportation, entertainment, and communication render all people lazy, indulgent, and devoid of initiative.

The humans decide (!) to return to the now-sparkling-clean earth to begin again as an agrarian society. No, really!

The great thing about the Pixar catalog has been its careful presentation of traditional values, such as family and friendship, in an entertaining story. Unfortunately, WALL-E appears to miss that mark by a wide margin.


Tofu "may raise risk of dementia."

Are you crazy if you eat it, or does eating tofu make you crazy?

Maybe it is the formaldehyde:
A third theory is that damage is caused not by the tofu, but by formaldehyde, which is sometimes used in Indonesia [the location of the study sample] as a preservative.

Yummy. I love it when my food tastes like leftovers from the local mortuary.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

der Changemaker and the Second Amendment

Senator Obama's position on the second amendment, like all of his other crucial policy positions, has been subject to change (there's that word again). But then he is a politician, so inconsistency and lack of core belief is to be expected.

On 26 June, before the Heller ruling was released, Obama was asked to define his position on the second amendment. Specifically, whether or not he believed it to be an individual or a collective right. Obama deferred defining his position until after the ruling, but added the comment that he has always been in favor of what he termed "common sense gun laws" that keep guns out of the hands of children and criminals. Well, everyone is in favor of "common sense." But he is forgetting that such "common sense" gun laws already exist. It is illegal for criminals to posses firearms. It is illegal, except under certain circumstances - i.e. hunting or at a firing range, and always with an adult - for children to "posses" firearms. Let us not forget that mere possession of an operable unloaded long gun has been illegal in D.C. for more than 30 years.

Why, then, is Washington, D.C. the murder capital of the United States? "Common sense gun laws" have obviously not prevented this fact. Only criminals have possessed guns in the District under "common sense gun laws." Even an otherwise law-abiding person (such as Heller) has been considered a criminal, subject to draconian persecution and prosecution, should he have the audacity to protect himself from the rampant crime in D.C.

I am amused by the statement of a leftist pundit concerning the Heller ruling: "Policy has been trumped by the constitution." Horrors! Why should we be bound by some faded old dusty piece of parchment signed into law by racist white slave-owning men!

The second amendment is correctly interpreted as an individual right. If we could speak with the founders about the Heller decision, the would unanimously exclaim: "It took a Supreme Court ruling to figure this out for you?"