Thursday, June 29, 2006

How will the Supreme Court's redistricting ruling affect the LPTX?

As most everybody probably knows, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that in the mid-decade redistricting by Tom DeLay-backed Republicans in the Texas legislature, only District 23 was required to be redrawn. The Libertarian candidate for that seat is Cecil Lamb, who lives in Boerne. Boerne is in Kendall County, which as you can see from this map of the district is on its edge.

Considering, however, that Boerne is not near Laredo, which is the main area of contention (the Legislature split the 95% Hispanic city in two so that they wouldn't elect a Democrat), it's worth hoping that Lamb is safe.

The other district involving Laredo is District 28. The Libertarian candidate is Glenda Moyes, but considering that she doesn't have a site up yet, I'm not especially concerned about her getting moved.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Wouldn't it be nice for East Timor...

...if they didn't have to worry so much about their government? The only reason that East Timor is in a civil war is that different groups want to have control over the (presumably major) powers of government.

The Office of the Prime Minister kindly obliges with an organization chart of the executive branch. On the plus side, this site probably could have loaded instantly in 1995, but that doesn't have any relation with how much bureaucracy the poor East Timorians are supporting. With that much power in government, it's small wonder that a new republic has trouble adjusting to the idea of elections. The Federalists would have had a much harder time in 1800 if they knew how much power Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans planned on wielding - hence the Hartford Convention when they found out.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Ooh! Let's escalate vs. North Korea!

American forces in Japan are setting up equipment to ward off any North Korean missles that might find their way west. This all seems like a great idea, until you realize that the only reason Kim Jong Il is such a psychobeast is the attention we give him whenever he waves a stick.

Of course, with US troops in the area, it's hard not to be concerned about an off-the-wall dictator running an archaic Stalinist state with a sprinkle of Nazism. There's an easier solution, however, to North Korean grandstanding than diplomatic whirlwinds, one that would keep our troops even safer.

In 1950, there was some rationale to having troops in Japan and South Korea. (None of this would have been an issue had Roosevelt not finagled the Japanese into declaring war, but that's another issue). The economies of both areas were in shambles, and they couldn't protect themselves. In 2006, the economies of both nations are vibrant and very capable of supporting defense forces that could crush a North Korean invasion.

It would be a benefit both to the people of North Korea who are being strangled by the Kim Jong Il's need for the appearance of weaponry and to the people of the United States who are supporting our troops abroad to bring them all home, and let the governments of South Korea and Japan do their jobs.

The real solution to crime

The city of Dallas, which even before this year's jump in crime across the nation had one of the worst crime rates in existence, is now focusing on banning realistic-looking toy guns. This would almost be excusable if Dallas had the same amount of crime as Boise, but it doesn't. Banning toy guns is an enormous waste of time and contraction of liberty that doesn't solve a single problem.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

First crash coming up

Assuming my wisdom teeth extraction doesn't go horribly wrong, on July 6th some friends and I will be distributing these fliers at a meeting of Dallas-area union "progressives". More help is always welcome, so contact me if you're interested.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Civil War: Why?

It's hard to argue that the Civil War didn't have a huge effect on America. It destroyed the infrastructure of the South, it created a lasting resentment across much of the area, and it provided a catalyst for the elimination of many Constitutional limitations on government, among other things. Southern political extremism still wields power over the United States and, to a great extent, the world.

Should the Civil War have been fought? Obviously no moral justification can be assigned to either side - both did too many horrible things for one to be justified. What would have happened if the Southern states had just been allowed to secede?

Had the Southern states been allowed to secede, the North and West could have gotten on fine without them, and as the South slowly decayed (their form of government was disastrous, and slavery was on its way out anyways), eventually the South would have wanted back in. Many of the current tensions consuming the country would have been avoided.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Bird Flu v. Big Government: We're so screwed.

Bird flu is now being transmitted between humans. Naturally governments everywhere will use this as an excuse to increase their power. I posted a long time ago about why big government wasn't the solution to bird flu, but there's one major reason that could use refreshing: the FDA and other regulatory agencies hamper the development of drugs and vaccines with their silly rules. This isn't just a problem with bird flu, but when it comes to pandemics that could kill billions of people, it's especially frightening.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Responses to my earlier LTE

Wes Benedict, the Executive Director of LPTexas, sent out my earlier LTE to whoever's on the LPTX mailing list this morning. He apparently received several responses, which he was kind enough to pass on to me. The first:
I disagree with this letter to the editor by Nigel Watt. The
Libertarian Party has always been about increasing individual liberty.
A Republic does not ensure that. Only constitutionally protected
government with a Bill of Rights, whether a Republic or a Democracy,
can do so.
I'm not quite sure what his disagreement is, but OK. I never said republics were perfect, just that they were better than democracies.

With respect to Nigel Watt he makes a false distinction between Republic and Democracy.

A country is a Democracy if the Head of Government is elected, directly or indirectly by a vote of the citizens.

A country is a Republic if the Head of State is not an hereditary prince.

The United Kingdom is a Democracy BUT NOT a Republic. Tony Blair is head of Government and Queen Elizabeth is Head of State, It is a Democratic (or Constitutional) Monarchy.

The United States is a Democracy AND a Republic. President Bush is Head of Government and Head of State). It is a Democratic Republic (or Representative Democracy).

The error of describing a Representative Democracy as a Republic and using this world as if it was a synonym is sufficiently widespread that many dictionaries, especially on-line ones, also make it.

One need only consider that Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, and Saddam's Iraq were also Republics to see how foolish the mistake is.

Presumably if several dictionaries say there's a difference, in many educated circles there is. We'll ignore this semantic nit-picking and go on to the last paragraph.

Germany, the USSR, and Iraq were all one-party governments. Clearly this ineffectualizes the republican form of government. What a government ostensibly is does not matter - and that's something all libertarians should be well aware of.

Dallas Country Commissioners have it together

Apparently the government of Dallas County is sending a bill to Mexico and the surrounding counties for indigent care given to constituents of those governments at county-run Parkland Hospital. I'd prefer that free are wasn't paid for by taxpayers at all, but if it is, this is the right way to send a message to make the siphoning of the welfare state stop.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Five Reasons Government is Bad for Labor

1. Historical precedent. Most of the time governments have intervened in labor disputes, it's been to the detriment of the workers. Governments have forced workers back to their jobs, condoned violent strikebreaking efforts, and rescinding support when labor needs it most.

2. Freedom to associate. When government involves itself in labor, it is regulating our constitutional freedom to associate. A government which is allowed to give powers to certain groups can take them away and even reverse them after the next election.

3. Corruption. With major corporations funding the elections of most members of Congress, trusting those same legislators with the welfare of labor is dangerous, at best.

4. More government means more taxes, eliminating many of the gains that labor has made. Programs that benefit labor may be taken away, but the taxes won't be – and that's taking one step forward and two steps back.

5. The rising debt of the federal government will almost certainly lead to hyperinflation sometime in the future. Inflation makes it harder for those with small incomes to make ends meet.

Protest is the only way things get done.

Pledge (despite the poorly spelled webpage) to burn a flag if the anti-flag burning amendment passes. Hopefully it won't, but if it does, in the interest of patriotism I will have to desecrate the flag. Scary, isn't it?

Sweet 1950's video


Monday, June 19, 2006

Ron Paul "threatened" by fascist running as Democrat

Shane Sklar, Ron Paul's Democratic challenge, describes himself as a "conservative Democrat". What that really means, it turns out, is "unapologetic fascist":
Sklar said he is against abortion and gay marriage.
Does that put him anywhere close to the liberal camp, even ignoring the abortion stance? No, that puts him close to Hitler, who hated homosexuals and supported big government.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Decentralization pushes forward in Spain

Hodgepodge nations like Spain and Iraq have always annoyed me with the obviously coercive nature of their existence. Iraq, unfortunately, is being kept together by outside influence, but Spain seems to be waking up to the absurdity of its existence.

The only reason such things even matter is that countries like to impose trade barriers. It's been suggested that a lot of the reason that the United States has been so succesful is that it constitutes one of the world's largest free-trade zones. I'm sure, however, that if Catalonia and the Basque areas completely seceded from Spain, they would impose tariffs on each other, ruining any progress that had been made.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Endowments: A solution to taxation?

The school district that services my area, Highland Park ISD, announced a few months ago that it was trying to raise an endowment to, among other things, reduce taxation. (Unnamed critics of using private money to reduce taxation were named in the newspaper article, so I sent, and they published, an angry letter.) This got me thinking as to whether municipal endowments would be an effective way to end taxation without being what Tim West calls "Anarchy Next Wednesday" nuts. Parts of the municipal budget that can be eliminated would be, and that money would be put into the bank until it reached a point where the interest would be able to pay for the remaning municipal government. (Banks might be willing to give high interest, since it would be guaranteed that the money would never be removed.)

As an experiment, I tried it with my town's budget (.pdf). Parks and pool, library, and half of public safety (we have lots of extra cops) can be eliminated - a nice 29.3% of the budget. Assuming 10% interest , (100-29.3)/(29.3 * 10%) = 24.1297 years until taxation ends, completely - and I'm sure there's more that can be eliminated, like some of the administration fees. Assuming a halving of administration fees, it's 18.5714 years until taxation ends. That's not bad, right?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Somalis want self-determination. Still.

How many times do they have to tell you, interventionists?

Oh, please no.

Somebody just found their way to this site by searching Google for "diseconomies of scale in public education". (I know this because I use Sitemeter.) Whenever I see a hit from a search, I do the search to see how highly this site is ranked by the search engines. In this case, it's ranked fourth. (It is still ranked first for "getting made fun of".) The first and third Google hits for "diseconomies of scale in public education" didn't interest me, but the second one did: the Coalition to Invest in Texas Schools. The first paragraph on the site:
The Texas public school system is at a crossroads. We have an opportunity to shape school funding for generations to come, but we must do it right: Texas schools can only keep pace with those in the rest of the country with additional student funding per capita.
"Keep pace with those in the rest of the country"? "Those in the rest of the country" are still awful. Let's invest in Texas schools effectively - let's take them private. In fact, I'd like to introduce a three-step plan to eliminate public education in Texas:
  1. Determine a specific amount of money per student that is necessary to educate that student. Allow students to pick any public school within size limits set by that school and send that money with the student. Students outside any school-bus serviced area would be responsible for providing their own transportation.
  2. Eliminate the TEA except to administer the program in step 1 and remove state oversight from schools. Schools will devolve to local control or, more logically, non-profit privatization.
  3. Spin off the monies used to send students to school into an independent charity with a sizable endowment and reduce taxes accordingly so that Texans can donate to that charity.

Hilarious Libertarian running for Congress in CT

Phil Maymin, the Libertarian candidate for US House of Representatives CT-4, has one of the funniest (but also most effective) campaign sites I've ever seen. His page on his opponents is especially gratifying:
Shays Dumps on You. In essence, he took by force thirty bucks out of every Stamford household and gave back feces. "Stamford will receive $1,500,000 to support its Waste-to-Energy Project project, the low-emissions waste-to-energy electric generation facility that will turn dry, pelletized sewage sludge into 5 megawatts of electric power in a region facing major electricity shortages and electric grid congestion." If it's such a brilliant idea, he should quit his day job and do it in the free market. If the free market doesn't want it, why should we be forced to pay for his smelly excrement?
(Shays is the Republican incumbent.)

Maymin's site is also very consistent as to the source of his views: stealing is wrong. It's a good read in Libertarian thought.

If anybody who reads this is in Connecticut's 4th district, Maymin needs 2,909 signatures to get on the ballot. He's got a good chance to influence this election, and it would be a great help to the cause.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Torts are bad enough...

...but adding big government to help the process they create is even worse.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Palestine can't keep their bureaucrats under control

The Palestinian government apparently has 165,000 employees, all of whom are owed four months back pay. Because of this, angry Palestinian bureaucrats stormed the Parliament building today, forcing the speaker to flee. Oddly, the only donors that banks are transferring money from are other Arab governments - for some reason, private donors aren't allowed to pay.

The obvious solution for Palestine is to pay off its employees and then fire every single one of them who does an unnecessary job, so that it can focus on the important things, like the brewing civil war, for example.

TV Safety: Something else for you to wet your pants about

I happened upon an interesting factoid in New Scientist today: "2300 American children are injured every year when TV sets fall on them. Doctors have called for better safety devices and warning labels."

Huh? Firstly, I cannot imagine a "safety device" to protect against the combination of gravity and heavy things. Secondly, a warning label that says "WARNING: THIS PRODUCT IS HEAVY. MAY CAUSE INJURY WHEN FALLING." wouldn't help the people reading it, who would be the ones lifting it into its position - they would already know just how heavy it is.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Regional "help" for Somalia

An association of Horn of Africa governments is trying to interfere in the ongoing civil war in Somalia, and surprisingly enough, some of the success of the Taliban-style militia which recently took over the Somali capital, Mogadishu, is due to a UN arms embargo preventing the ostensibly legitimate and secular government from buying guns to defend against the warlords.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Dallas Morning News publishes third

This qualifies me for a Lights of Liberty award (I've already nominated myself):
It frightens those of us who know what democracy means that President Bush said that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death will make the world safe for it.

Democracy – in which the government does exactly what more than 50 percent of the electorate tells it to do – has been a failure since democratic Athens lost the Peloponnesian War to tyrannical Sparta in 404 BC.

The United States is, and always has been, a republic, in which the people elect trusted representatives to run the government. Sadly, only the Libertarian Party seems to recognize this.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Scared dollars might tank? Invest in Monopoly money!

Well, Monopoly money has at least had the same value for the past 70 years. I wish this was satirical, but sadly, it isn't. The more I think about the fact that greenbacks aren't actually backed by anything - they're only money because the Fed durn well says they are - the more I realize that any day now the bottom could fall out and we'd be screwed - and the national debt only makes it worse.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

FDA to track pharmaceuticals from factories

The FDA is apparently planning on putting RFID chips in drug containers to track them from factories to pharmacies - somehow fixing a problem with counterfeit drugs in the process. (A law requiring this to happen is 18 years old but has never been enforced due to whining from the pharmaceutical industry; the FDA now says that RFID allows it to be enforced.)

I have a better idea to stop the counterfeiting of pharmaceuticals: if I buy a drug that doesn't do squat, I ask for my money back from whoever sold it to me. Easy.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Oh great, destroy the free market more.

The Dallas Morning News reports that in the effort to remove the Wright Amendment, a compromise may be in the works to remove both Southwest and American from "each other's" airports and allow Southwest to finally fly its planes where it wants to from Love Field - but only out of 15 to 18 gates. Evidently the free market and that whole capitalism thing no longer ring a bell with any of the governments involved.

Bad for business, but none of the court's business

Geno's Steaks, a Philadelphia cheesesteak establishment, has an English-only policing for customers - if they, with clerk help, can't get out "cheeseburger" in English, they don't get one. In a diverse city like Philadelphia, this is obviously a bad business decision. But some aren't willing to leave it at that:
Juntos, a Hispanic neighborhood organization, said it plans to send people to Geno's to try to order in Spanish and may pursue court action, depending on what happens.
That is ridiculous, and I hope any reasonable judge would throw that case out, and let Geno's Steaks continue on its stupid policy.

Making the world safe for American fascism

Two of the presidents I despise the most, Bush II and Wilson, have often spoken of something along the lines of "making the world safe for democracy". This is odd, because America isn't a democracy itself - it's a republic, as I have explained earlier.

Democracies, where the government does what the majority of people say it should do, have failed since Athens lost the Peloponnesian War to tyrannical (even proto-communist) Sparta in 404 BC. Much of the reason why Athens lost was that the impressionable masses controlled the military instead of the skilled generals, causing the Athenians to launch an ill-advised expedition to Sicily, for example.

Republics, on the other hand, put a wall of separation between the people and governmental decisions. It's my opinion that because of this, a republican government should do as little as possible, but certainly most republics have not followed this train of thought. The fact that most representatives are politicos who try to pander to the every wish of their constituents is a frightening thing and a bad sign for the oldest surviving republic in the world. Unfortunately, the only party that recognizes this is the Libertarian Party.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Zarqawi's dead? Whoop-tee-doo.

Zarqawi, the recently-dead leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, was a despicable murderer, and for that reason I'm glad he's dead. But his death does not solve the fundamental problems that lead to radical Islamism - the pervasive hatred of America which stems from our long history of intervening in their lives. It's wrong - I've said it many times here and I won't say it again - but it's obviously wrong, and it's damaging our reputation and our quality of life. Let's get out before a mushroom cloud appears over a million of us.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Harvard finally decides to thumb its nose at the statists

Harvard may not be the first school that comes to mind when you think "libertarian", but they're at least getting the idea and setting up a privately funded therapeutic cloning program, since the government won't fund it. This goes to show that pulling out government funding won't hurt science, it will just put fewer rules on it.

Bill Weld is a dirty trick

Apparently Bill Weld, the Republican who tricked the LPNY into nominating him for governor, has decided to drop out of the race - despite promising that he'd run even if he didn't get the Republican nomination.

Since the best way to deal with somebody you despise is limericks, here we go:

There was once a sleazebag from Smithtown
Whose principles were pretty far down
But he could get press
And he said yes and yes
But then he went and skipped town.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

More of your money wasted killing people

Radical Islamist factions have taken over the Somalian capital of Mogadishu, kicking out US-backed "secular" warlords. In other words, US tax money has been spent angering already radical Islamists - which means more terrorism.

Sessions knows how to play the quasi-bribes

According to a report the Dallas Morning News released today, Pete Sessions, whose Libertarian challenger I'm doing some volunteer work for, accepted over $160K in trips from interest groups over the last 5.5 years. Nice.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Chavez-backed neocommunist fails in Perú elections

Perú has made a smart choice and elected a presidential candidate who campaigned against influence from Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan communist demagogue who is trying to form and anti-US, anti-capitalist, anti-wealth coalition of South American countries. Every loss for Chavez is a victory for freedom.

In defense of patents

Apparently a lot of Libertarians are opposed to patents. How they can support unregulated capitalism and not patents is beyond me - capitalism requires innovation, and without temporary patents, innovation won't happen. (Temporary is the key word here.)

This is not to say I support the current, bloated patent system. Instead, I support a simple system by which those with an idea write it down, mail it to themselves, and leave the envelope sealed. This "postmark patent" proves that one person had the idea first. A set time should be established that that person has dominion over the idea, something shorter than the current 17 years, maybe 5 or 10 years. This would encourage a fast pace of innovation while providing rewards to those who innovate.

Besides, Ayn Rand liked patents. Come on, extremists, get with the program.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Four Horrors of Public Education

I prepared this for something awesome which will be launching in a little while, but in the meantime, here's this:
  1. Abuse and molestation. Unmotivated teachers who find themselves in positions of essentially unlimited power over students abuse them, sexually and otherwise, with a nauseating frequency. According to a study by the American Association of University Women, 9.6 percent of children are abused by an employee of a public school sometime from kindergarten to twelfth grade (United States Department of Education, Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature, 2004).

  2. Hazardous school environments. In the 1999-2000 school year, there were 628 rapes or attempted rapes, 4246 nonrape sexual batteries, 11982 fights involving weapons, and 805939 fights not involving weapons. (U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), 2000) The threat of violence at school is likely to make kids scared of going and to make them have other things on their minds than learning, rendering their education ineffective.

  3. Political agenda-mongering. The existence of the intelligence design movement, as an example, demonstrates the power political agendas have over education (Wedge Document, Discovery Institute, 1998). Private schools may quietly choose between a scientifically-based biology curriculum and a faith-based one, but public schools must have an entire movement founded to pull them in a faith-based direction, along with court battles costing millions of dollars.

  4. Standardization and statistical pandering. Recent efforts to hold public schools “accountable” have resulted in statewide tests for high schoolers. These range from respectably difficult, as in New York, to risible, as in Texas. The ineffectualness of public schools at matching these standards is demonstrated by Texas, where in 2006 11% of high school seniors failed the exit-level exams, while in some schools all students, including special-education students, passed. (Dallas Morning News, 2006) Standardization also hurts college students enrolled in large state schools. Again, Texas serves as an example; the University of Texas at Austin has 37,377 undergraduate students, and though it is among the highest-ranked public universities, many of its students find it difficult to finish in four years because of the sheer number of students all trying to take the same classes. Public education encounters rampant diseconomies of scale.

Another justification for libertarianism

This fleshes out what I talked about in the post below:

An essential element for government of, by, and for the people is the acceptance of following majority rule while respecting minority rights. Purely following the will of the majority is what lost Athens the Peloponnesian War, and when the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution of the first modern government which was designed to be run purely by the people, they had the example of Athens in mind.

That is why, instead of a democracy, where the people have a direct voice in all decisions, they created a republic, where the people elect trusted representatives to make political decisions. In order to make sure even a majority of those representatives didn't disrespect the rights of the minorities, they created a three-branched government interlaced with checks and balances.

Still, however, despite the best intentions of the Founders, the rights of minorities, even those represented in the electorate, have been consistently ignored with the express consent of the majority, and still are today. Americans are forced to pay for wars they never approved of, financial aid to countries that they believe will squander the money, money to the United Nations, a world government that nobody elected, charity to their fellow Americans that they might have given anyways in a form they believe to be more effective. All this follows the will of the majority while blithely denying the rights of the minority.

Is there any way around this problem? Yes, in fact there is – anything that the government can find a way to not do, it shouldn't do. The fewer things the government does, the fewer minority rights it will be violating, and the closer we will be to a government which truly rules by the will of all the people.

Majority rule? Never!

Thanks to the thin rhetorical veil surrounding the inherent totalitarianism of the policies of presidents like Wilson and W Bush, many Americans believe that this country is a democracy. That isn't true, and that's by design - this country is a republic, so that the government doesn't blindly follow the will of the people - the Founders were familiar with the story of Athens, which lost the Peloponnesian War because it blindly followed the will of the people.

It's a dangerous misconception to say that the government (you call it a democracy, though it's really a republic) should always do what the majority of the people want. The majority of Germans in the 1930s approved of the killing of Jews (even before Hitler anti-Semitism was rampant), but that didn't make it right. The majority of Americans approved of invading Iraq on specious evidence and even shakier moral grounds, and that didn't make it right. The government should not always do what the majority of people want, and that is why we have a republic instead of a democracy.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

UN Watch: A good idea with the wrong goals.

Liberty Belles alerted me to UN Watch, a group which monitors the UN for corruption and general idiocy. But then I realized that they support the basic idea of the UN, that is, non-republican world government. It's a shame, because a UN watchdog is a great idea.

Interesting discussion in progress

Right now I'm involved in a very interesting discussion on the Cornell Class of 2010 forums about international intervention. You can't see that, so I'll copy-paste my last post here - I think it's easy enough to figure out what the other people have said from what I'm saying.

Alright, first let me say that I think y'all are taking two things for granted that shouldn't be:

1. The US government and its budget will always be inconceivably large, so that strength should be used for good purposes. I don't think any of you have considered a situation in which the government was miniscule.

2. There is a universal definition of altruism. For example, you and I might agree that distributing condoms in poor countries is altruistic. A priest, however, would disagree, and it is wrong to use his money to distribute those condoms - just as it is wrong to use my money for missionary work. That's why privatizing charity makes a lot more sense than it being the US government's job. (Besides, when donated money goes through government, a lot of it gets siphoned off in the bureaucracy - completely overtly. Charities are accountable to their donors, however, so they don't do that.)

Now, one person at a time:

Alana: I don't think the US government has a moral duty to anyone outside the United States. All of you seem to take it for granted that it does - I'd like to know why.

You then ask if we don't help people in need, who will help us when we are in need? I'm not repudiating altruism in general, only altruism done by the theft of money from people (ie taxpayers). If taxes were dramatically reduced, people could give more of their own money to causes which they believe in (ie the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - more people could do that sort of thing.) And, I think the recent natural disasters have shown that they will; I'm sure everybody's high schools collected money for Katrina relief. When wildfires almost destroyed Cross Plains, a small town in West Texas, a fund immediately sprang up at my HS to help it, and we were able to do some real good.

Jared: If they're stationed on this side of the border, they're not involved in other countries. I think you meant something else by that, but I'm not quite sure what it was so I'll stick to what you actually said.

You'll also note that I never said the government should do exactly what the majority of people demand. I said that the people should be left to do what they want, within the bounds of the rights of others. If people really want to stop a genocide, they can raise a private army (it's easier than you might think) and go over there and deal with it - those are the mercenaries Mike is talking about.

Justin: Points numbers 1 and 2 I've already dealt with above.

As for point number 3, I know the precedent has already been set, but I'd rather that it hadn't, and I don't think we should be extending it.

I pretty much agree with almost everything Justin and Jared said in their second posts.

Douglas: You brought up abortion, which as it's a controversial issue is in the right place in this thread, so I'll go ahead and open up another Pandora's box and state my position on abortion, which can be extrapolated from my position on charity above:

I've yet to see adequate evidence from either side as to when a zygote actually becomes human. At this point I think it's when the primitive streak emerges, but there really needs to be more research done. Thus I don't think abortions (besides late-term ones which aren't done to save the mother) should be banned at this point, but I don't think taxpayer money should be used for them either.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I'm sure lucky I can swim.

Seeing what the state legislature is doing to Texas public schools, I'm ecstatic that I got out when I did. Now they've pushed back the start date to after Labor Day, for the great reason of providing longer summers to strengthen families. I'm not making that up or even exaggerating; behold what State Senator John Carona said in the Dallas Morning News today (unfortunately, he's my senator):
Texans want their summers back for good reasons. Longer summers provided by the traditional school year give families more opportunities to spend quality time together without school-time distractions of homework and extracurricular activities. Shorter summers result in loss of time with noncustodial parents and extended family. The time lost with family members whom children don't see day-to-day translates into a loss of traditions and values that are handed down from one generation to the next.
Well, geez, why don't you just dissolve all the "independent" school districts and administer all Texas schools directly from Austin? If Texans want their summers back, they'll get their local school boards to do it. That's why we have school districts. (Admittedly, public schooling is still an unnatural monopoly, but that's another issue altogether.)