“Land of the Free” Sightings

Balko takes an extensive look at a few of the worst prosecutors in the country. And shame on any member of any jury in any of these cases who aided and abetted the prosecutors and the state in their criminal enterprise.

What in the holy effing hell?

Well, clearly the cobra must have its mouth sewn shut, is de-fanged, or otherwise rendered inert, but this is one disturbing video. Human beings have evolved fear of snakes for a good reason, and those ancient ancestors who didn't possess a healthy degree of fear never got a chance to propagate their genes.

The Clever Japanese

Living there for five years, I never ceased to be impressed with their ability to utilize space in very efficient ways, and it's something that pretty much permeates everything they do.

They hadn't invented cubic watermelons yet, however. In retrospect, seems kinda obvious, eh?

Isn’t it the truth?

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats."

— Howard Aiken, computing pioneer and innovator

“Smart” Money “Logic”

Now hear this. The income tax is a blessing.

The more money you make, the more income tax you are required to pay. A blessing?  Yes, in a round-about way. If you had to pay more income tax last year, it means you also earned more in spendable income.

All together, now, kids: parable of the broken window (broken window fallacy). Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas. Setting aside the moral principle that all taxation is always theft (though legitimized through law, like slavery used to be), she is taking account of ce qu'elle viot, but not of ce qu'elle ne voit pas. She's looking only at the increase in funds not stolen, not the increase in funds stolen, or what you or any individual might have been able to do with them. The dollars you earn ultimately represent your time, either time you spend at labor, thinking, producing, or future time at leisure. This is gone from you for good, and it's being spent or squandered by some other individual or several individuals other than you. Take account of that. Your tax money is not being spent by "the government" or "society." It is being spent by one or more individuals, and they are spending your money on their values instead of yours.

Far from being a blessing; it's a curse.

Yes, Finally

Maybe I haven't been paying enough attention, but this is the very first time I've seen fully honesty injected into this situation, other than by me. Radley Balko, on To Catch a Predator.

I also think there’s an important distinction between men who arrange for with sex post-pubescent girls below the age of consent, and men who prey on young girls and boys who haven’t yet reached sexual maturity. The former is a natural, hard-wired attraction. I agree with laws that put the age of consent at somewhere between 16 and 18, which means I agree that people who break those laws ought to face some sort of penalty. The hard-wired attraction, then, is countered by by the promise of punishment, and hopefully one’s own recognition of the exploitive nature of engaging in sex with someone not psychological or emotionally mature enough to make good decisions about physical relationships.

But there’s something sleazy, unfair, and itself exploitative about sending an attractive girl (who sometimes is of age, but poses as underage) out to tap those natural impulses, removing the social barriers to acting on them (by giving the targets anonymity, the promise of no-strings-attached sex, and massaging away their apprehension), pouncing on the weak-willed men, then raking in cash from advertisers while showing the whole thing on television.

I think that men with thoughts of engaging in sex with post-pubescent girls were a lot more deterred back in the day when they understood that they might have to deal with a father, brother, or uncle.

Please, Indeed

Lew says "oh please," but this for me would constitute my largest problem with Paul (follow the links, if you like). I don't mind that he has faith in a deity, for it's not really a scientific proposition, and so much of it is wrapped in family tradition anyway -- I love Christmas time, even though I consider literal belief absurd. But denying the scientific fact of evolution and natural selection -- especially using that ignorant "just a theory" line -- tells me that in some measure he places his faith above his perception, cognition, conceptualization, and reason. I simply cannot take anyone completely seriously who denies evolution and natural selection -- either because they're ignorant (excusable, but why take ignorant people seriously?) or explicitly places some degree of limitation on reason in favor of faith, which is really inexcusable, and you must therefore place great suspicion on their ability to honestly deal in facts.

I could have taken it a little easier if he'd waffled on the issue, simply stating that he's not well enough versed in the theories to judge one way or the other, and he doesn't consider it important that he does. Misrepresenting the word "theory," however, is a pretty serious offense, in my view. Ever heard of the theory of relativity, or the the theory of quantum mechanics, or the theory of a host of other things? How about this one: the theory of gravitation, which ultimately described the motion of solar systems.

I suppose you can look back to the time where it was outrageously suggested (and how dare they teach out kids!) that the sun, planets and other galaxies of stars didn't revolve around Earth each day and understand that it literally took centuries for the theory of gravitation and other clearly observable aspects to be accepted. And the reason it took so long, of course, was because of religious doctrine that was wrong -- just like it's always eventually wrong when it seeks to explain complex scientific phenomena from the perspective of people who haven't even figured out running water, forced air heating, or refrigeration. So, understandable, because I guess that's just the way people are. But that doesn't make any of those people any less ignorant or obstinate, indeed inexcusably stupid, once facts with clear logical implications were established. So, the question is: how stupid do you want to be? You can be as stupid as you like, you know.

That said, the hopeful thing about Paul is that he doesn't want to force his silly religious views down your throat or mandate they be taught in schools. He wishes to eliminate the Dept of Education, which should be done: education should take place at home, or at the authority and expense of a small local community, however they may decide to do it.

Update: Well, look at this. Turns out the original video was doctored. I don't know that it makes a huge difference, but I suppose it's more along the lines of the waffling I wrote about.