Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Get well or die....

I posted this observation a while back concerning the government's use of force, and potential use of deadly force, in order to assure that people mowed their yards and wore their seat belts. As much as some people don't like to admit it, every law the government makes is backed up by force, and non-compliance with those laws will ultimately lead the government to resort to deadly force.

It's the reason I think government should be limited to only making and enforcing laws that protect its citizens from force and fraud. So that they don't have as many reasons to shoot us.

As absurd as it seems that we could be shot for not mowing our yard, or not wearing our seat belt, one of the possible consequences of the move towards government enforced health care seems even more absurd. One of the proposed plans calls for a hefty fine on individuals who don't purchase health insurance. Once again, as long as you comply, no problem. If you decide you want to pass on the insurance, for whatever reason, you will be fined. If you decide the government has no business fining you for this reason, you will be arrested. If you decide the government has no business arresting you for not having health insurance, you may be shot.

I guess it's their way of saying, "Now don't you wish you had insurance?"

On the bright side, it looks like push for the plan is losing a little steam, so maybe the final compromise won't be worth getting killed over.

And I'm going to mow my yard as soon as it quit raining.

I promise.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The cinder in another's eye...

I've never expected to agree with President Obama on to many points, but I do try to keep an open mind. And sure enough, something we can agree on finally came along.

In his speech in Ghana last week, Mr. Obama chastised most of the African continent, declaring "No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20% off the top..."

I'd have to agree, Mr. President. And the United States average corporate tax rate is approaching 40%. A lot of business owners will be facing a tax rate over 50%.

Excessive taxes discourage business investment. I'm glad we agree on something.

Now if I could only get him to agree that business investment creates real jobs. That would be something else.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

This is only a test....

I participated, as best I could with my limited typing skills, in the Palladium-Item's P-I Live! presentation tonight, with Bob Hertzog and Nate Lamar. It was fun, but it moves pretty quick, and doesn't give much time for extended answers.

One of the first questions concerned our expectations and disappointments concerning the impending Sonia Sotomayor appointment to the Supreme Court. I was disappointed when she was nominated, and I don't expect that to change when she is confirmed. It's not that she is a Democrat, or a woman, or Hispanic. I feel the same disappointment from all Supreme Court nominees and judges.

There's a simple test for Supreme Court Justices. A suitable nominee or appointee should accept the Bill of Rights as a literal, unqualified document. He or she should consider the rights of free speech, to keep and bear arms, and to be safe from unreasonable search and seizure, as absolute rights that the government can't take away under any circumstances. That's what a Supreme Court Justice should believe.

Sotomayor just doesn't pass the test. She'll fit right in.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Decoration of independence..

Chalk one up for the good guys. Government has a nasty habit of pushing in where it doesn't belong. Occasionally someone manages to push back. A feisty bunch of interior designers just pulled of a small coup in Connecticut,with a little help from the Institute for Justice, and managed to get a really bad law overturned.

A few years ago, the American Society of Interior Designers convinced the legislature there to pass a law requiring anyone who called themselves interior designers to apply for a state license. A lot of professions benefit from government licensing laws, and I've heard some worthy, if perhaps misguided, arguments defending the licensing of some of those professions. Sometimes it's just about limiting the competition.

Danny's been my barber for over 35 years. My visits don't require as much time or attention to detail as they used to, but that's another story. I think he does a pretty good job on me, considering what he has to work with.I suppose Danny has a barber's license. I never really checked, and it wouldn't make any difference to me if he doesn't. I'll keep going back as long as he is in business, and as long as my hair holds out.

And if I need the services of an interior designer, or an interior decorator, or any other professional, I'll decide based on their ability and track record, not on whether or not they paid for a government stamp of approval.


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

May the force be with you... or them...

George Washington hit the nail on the head when he said, "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." Every once in a while we are reminded just how true that is.

A few years ago, a young man in Cincinnati who made a habit out of driving without a license or seatbelt, also made the mistake of not showing up for court when he should have. Right or wrong, his actions were eventually met with the final option, deadly force.

Anytime we pass a law giving the government control over some portion of our lives, we also give them the power to enforce that law. By force, if necessary. If Timothy Thomas had simply paid his traffic ticket, no force would have been necessary. But when he didn't pay the ticket, a warrant for his arrest was issued. When he decided he didn't want to be arrested, he was shot.

That's probably part of the reason most people just go ahead and pay seatbelt tickets, even if they disagree with seatbelt laws.

It's also a good reason to limit the amount of power the government has over us, so they don't have so many reasons to shoot.

I saw this story today about a man who let his yard grow to tall. Apparently Christopher Rhymes had an aversion to mowing his yard. After it got about a foot and a half tall, the Indianapolis Office of Code Enforcement sent someone in to mow it for him. Reportedly, Mr. Rhymes took offense, pointed a shotgun at the government's appointed lawnkeeper, and the Special Weapons And Tactics team was called in to quell the uprising. Luckily, no one was killed before Mr. Rhymes decided to give up.

It doesn't sound like Mr. Rhymes thought things out to well. Maybe he didn't want to. Maybe he couldn't. Or maybe he was just having a bad day.

Whatever the reason, I'm glad he gave up. If he hadn't, eventually the government would have killed him.

Then they would have went ahead and mowed his yard.

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Impersonating the impersonators...

I see where recent lieutenant-governor candidate Dennis Oxley tried to avoid a public intoxication arrest by claiming he was a state representative, and was subsequently charged with impersonating a public servant.

There was also a story this week that Indiana prisons are at 99% capacity. Given the antics of our legislators the past few sessions, I'm afraid that strict enforcement of the "impersonating a public servant" law might push the prison population over the top.

As if they hadn't already given us enough to worry about.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

North by Northeast, or there abouts...

Back at Millville Grade School, Summit Taylor’s furnace room also doubled as the teachers’ smoking lounge. Nothing fancy, mind you, but it did have a couple of vinyl covered chairs, and one of those ashtrays on a stand, with a button that you pushed to send the ashes and crushed butts down to the base of the stand. I think Summit dumped it in the coal furnace when it got full and you couldn’t push the button anymore. They probably wouldn’t let him do that nowadays.

Whenever we were out for recess, and Summit was out taking care of his janitorial duties, and the teachers weren’t smoking in the furnace room, my old buddy Stinky Wilmont would occasionally sneak in and swipe a cigarette or two. I don’t know if he really liked to smoke them, or if he just liked the way he looked when he stuck one of them behind his ear. Maybe he just wanted to prove he could get away with it.

Whatever his reasoning, he never seemed to think there was really anything wrong with stealing, or smoking, or sticking cigarettes behind his ear. At least until Principal Baker caught him in the furnace room, with a couple of the principal’s smokes. When the wood and smoke cleared, the tearful Stinky was a changed man, and quite remorseful about his despicable actions.

I guess it’s possible that he had seen the error of his ways, but his revelation would have carried a little more weight if it had occurred after he had swiped only a couple of cigarettes, instead of waiting to appear after he was caught.

There’s something that’s called a moral compass. Most people have one, I think. Not everybody’s points in the same direction, for sure, but I do appreciate people with firm convictions, even if our compasses don’t always line up. At least I know which way it’s pointing.

Mark Sanford, the South Carolina Governor who had at least a two year long affair with his mistress from Argentina, had a revelation similar to Stinky’s when he was caught, metaphorically speaking, with his pants down. I understand that we are all subject to temporary lapses in judgment, but Mr. Sanford’s remorseful tone would have been a little more convincing if he had adopted it a year and a half or so ago.

I felt the same way when I heard Bernie Madoff, the con man who bilked investors out of billions of dollars, explain how horrible he felt about what he had done. If he was actually sorry for his actions, and not just about getting caught, I would have thought his conscience would have kicked in a few billion dollars ago.

I realize the world is way too big to expect everyone to agree on what is moral or ethical. But I would submit that if your sense of right or wrong is based on what you think you can get away with, or if it’s based on the fear of punishment from your principal, or your spouse, or your government, or if it changes only after you’re caught, you might want to consider getting your compass recalibrated.

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