Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Stupid government tricks, part 26...

It seems we've been deluged lately with stories about absurd actions by our government against its citizens.

Last week I wrote about this unfortunate soul that was arrested for purchasing cold medicine for her husband and daughter.

Now comes this story about a woman that has been threatened with fines and arrest for watching her neighbors children while they wait for the school bus.

I really don't think the government is any nuttier than it has been for years. I just think more people are noticing.

At least I hope that's it.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hey George, when you're right, you're right!...

“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master.”...George Washington

A lot of people are upset that part of the health care reform being discussed would mandate fines or jail time for people that don't comply and buy health insuance.

On the brighter side, if you don't buy health insurance and are sent to jail, health care will be provided to you at no charge. If you refuse to surrender when the high sheriff comes to arrest you for not buying health insurance, there is a good possibilty that eventually you will be shot and killed, and you won't need health insurance anyway.

I guess the government would consider that one of those win/win situations they like to talk about.

I have heard people claim that the government wouldn't shoot a citizen over health insurance laws, or seat belt laws, or jaywalking laws. But George was right when he pointed out that government is indeed force.

Non-compliance will be met with the threat of force. Further non-compliance will be met with actual force. Continued non-compliance will be met with ultimate force. That is how government works. It's also why we should work to limit the amount of power the government has, and confine it to protecting citizens from force and fraud, instead of instituting both.

That's bound to be a lot healthier for all of us.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cold and flu season...and maybe a little jail time...

Cold and flu season is approaching, and as usual we are being deluged with a lot of good advice on how to avoid becoming ill. I found this story the other day that shows we should also be careful even after we get sick.

Apparently Sally Harpold, a grandmother from Clinton Indiana, purchased a box of Zyrtec-D cold medicine for her husband at one drugstore, and then less than a week later bought a box of Mucinex-D for her daughter.

What she didn't realize was that she is only allowed to buy up to 3.0 grams of pseudo ephedrine, an ingredient in over the counter cold medicines, per week. The two purchases netted 3.6 grams.

It also brought the police to her door 4 months later, where she was arrested, hand-cuffed, hauled into jail, questioned about her cold medicine purchases, and then bailed out by her husband who was thankfully over his cold and able to get to the jail to bring her back home.

The Vermillion County Prosecutor and the Vermillion County Sheriff justified the arrest as a valid method for battling methamphetamine production in small labs in Indiana, and forcing it to be manufactured in larger labs in Mexico.

It is a travesty that any elected official would defend a law that allows an arrest like this to take place.

It's an even bigger travesty that so many of us won't condemn a law that allows an arrest like this to take place.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Be careful what you ask for...twice...

I wrote this story a couple of years ago about how sometimes people are just way to sensitive. I'm not sure things are getting much better.

If someone criticized our last President's policies, they ran the risk of being called unpatriotic. If someone criticizes our current President's policies, they run the risk of being called a racist.

I have a buddy that runs a fairly good sized construction crew. He told me at coffee this morning that the company had been having sensitivity training classes for the management team. Apparently someone somewhere has decided what names are acceptable to call an employee that just backed your new dump truck over your new pick-up truck, although I'm still convinced at least part of that determination should be based on how big the employee is.

He also told me that one of the guidelines in the workplace is that you can only ask a woman to have sex once. Anymore than that, and it is considered sexual harassment.

I asked him if that same rule applied whether her answer was "yes" or "no". He said he wasn't sure, but that he was going to ask at the next meeting.

I'm anxiously awaiting the answer.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cost of Government Day. Another record broken!...

I guess it's one of the signs of being an old man to reminisce about how much things used to cost. I've been in business long enough to remember when some new houses cost what some lawnmowers cost now.

I also remember, not to many years ago, when Americans only had to work 6 months out of the year to pay for the government.

This year, according to the folks over at Americans for Tax Reform, we had to work until August 12th to meet those obligations. That is a new record, and beat the 1982 previous record by 23 days.

Next year, I think I'll just stay in bed until September.


Saturday, September 19, 2009


We have a giant sandbox in the backyard, and when all four of the grand kids get done playing in it, there isn't much to do other than just take them in the house and dip them all in the bathtub. Its just about as much fun as the sandbox. I've taken a lot of pictures of them in both places. Apparently that's not such a good idea.

I saw this story the other day about a couple in Arizona who took some vacation pictures of their daughters, aged 1 1/2, 4, and 5 years. Apparently some of the pictures were at bath time, and when they took the cameras memory stick to Wal-Mart to get the pictures developed, an employee called the police, who then called the Arizona Child Protective Services, who then seized the three girls for a month while the couple was investigated for child abuse and child pornography. Neither of the parents were charged.

It's what happens when we have a great big government, and a lot of government employees with not enough to do.

The family is suing Wal-Mart and the government.

Wal-Mart will probably settle.

The government will probably hire some more employees.

And I guess I'd better get rid of the picture of Hannah with the soap suds bunny ears.

Just in case.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

How about some neat stuff?...

About seven years ago, our county Libertarian Party started holding a Labor Day weekend garage sale. It gets a little bigger and better every year. We depend on donated items to stock the sale, and I'm amazed every year at what some people will donate, and at what some people will buy.

When I came home from work Wednesday evening befor the sale, I made the unfortunate discovery that some one had dropped off 14 old window sashes. We've thrown away hundreds of them when we install new windows in peoples' homes. My first thought was that I would have to pay to throw these away also. I left them beside the garage and put a piece of plywood in front of them so they would'nt get broken, and make more of a mess for my wife to clean up.

Then, one of the first customers at the sale asked if we had any old window sash. She explained that she used them as a background for painting. I told her that we had just received a special shipment that we hadn't uncovered yet, and I took her to the window sash department. She agreed to buy 8. After some creative pricing enhancements, she agreed to buy 14. Life is good.

When I was younger, before the age of electronic games, Mr. Machine was a popular little robot with a clear body so that you could see all of the gears and springs that made him walk around, move his arms and toot (in the original definition of tooting). I always wanted one when I was a kid, but I never got one. Someone donated one (although it was a 1970's reproduction), and I thought one of my prayers had been answered, however belatedly. One of our most faithful helpers sold it out from under me. Life may be good, but it isn't always fair.

Even with 4 tents this year, some items had to sit outside. Luckily, concrete dogs were in high demand, and this one didn't have to sit in the sun to long.

I wasn't sure how black boxes were going to go this year. We had a whopper. It was 6 feet wide, 7 feet tall and 4 feet deep. And really heavy. It had 6 casters under it, and it used to contain a big screen TV that was used in hospitality rooms at NASCAR races. We didn't get the TV. Just the black box. Towards the end of the sale, I was getting worried that I was going to end up with a big black box in my front yard. Forever. It was a great relief when somebody stopped in and decided it was just what they were looking for. It was more of a relief when they paid for it, loaded it up, and hauled it away.

Two days after the sale we recieved a call from a man in Kentucky, who had heard about the black box from a friend who was at our sale. He said it sounded like just what he was looking for. I told him I'd try to find another one before next year.

This is what was left after "Give-Away Charlie" worked his magic on four tents of neat stuff.

(That's "Give-Away Charlie" on the left)

We've already started collecting even neater stuff for next Labor Day.

See you then.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Da Doo Ron Ron....

Every Labor Day weekend for the last seven years, we've held a garage sale as a fundraiser for the local Libertarian Party at our home on State Road 38 a couple miles west of Hagerstown. It's a lot of work, but it's also a lot of fun, and it gives us a chance to meet a lot of nice people, and a chance to discuss politics if anyone is so inclined.

But it's getting a little more complicated this year. Inez Tenenbaum, chairwoman of the recently revitalized Consumer Product Safety Commission is cracking down on ne'er do wells at garage sales and church bazaars that are breaking a new federal law which makes it a crime to resell anything that has been recalled by its manufacturer.

Even with an extra $117 million in it's budget to hire new enforcers, the Commission is counting on consumers to turn in violators. I can't imagine that most garage salers would pay much attention to such laws, but then again I'm not taking any chances.

I was going through some of the donated items the other night and ran across an old Shaun Cassidy album.

I don't know if it's against the law to sell it, but it probably ought to be.

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