Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Buckle up, buckle under, or buckle down...

There are a lot of things in our lives that I think are really good ideas. I try to keep my weight at a reasonable limit. I don't drink to much caffeine, and I don't drink any alcohol. I go to church just about every Sunday, and I kiss my wife every morning when I leave for work. Sometimes I even kiss her when I stay home.

Like I say, I think these are some pretty good ideas. I don't think they would make very good laws. I feel the same way about adults wearing seat belts. Good idea, bad law.

Back on July 1st, 2007, one of those really bad laws that required pick-up truck drivers to wear a seat belt took effect. The new law did allow a few exemptions, however. One of those exemptions was for "..a newspaper motor route carrier or newspaper bundle hauler who stops to make deliveries from a vehicle." Since I delivered Libertarian Party newspapers from time to time, I was glad to learn that at at least sometimes I wouldn't be committing a violation if I was driving without my seat belt fastened.

Last February, while I was heading out to deliver a few copies of the January edition of the LP News, a young Wayne County Sheriff's Deputy stopped me for not wearing my seat belt. When I explained the law to him, he told me he thought the law only applied to postal workers in government vehicles. He was wrong.

After four months and three trips to Richmond, I had my day in court. The prosecuting attorney said the motor route didn't start until I made my first delivery. I read the above exemption several times, but I couldn't find that clause in it anywhere. Unfortunately, the judge agreed with prosecutor, and just as unfortunately, they were both as wrong as the young officer. The judge told me to give the clerk $25.00.

Thomas Jefferson said that "It is the natural tendency for government to grow and liberty to yield." I suppose he was right. It's also the natural tendency for government to interpret laws to give the government more power, and to allow the citizens less freedom. Kind of makes you want to buckle down and fight a little harder.

I guess I'll be considered in violation a little more often than I used to consider myself in violation, but life goes on. And I've known for a long time that freedom isn't free.

Sometimes it costs $25.00


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Something sold, something new...

When you get close to 60 years old, the chances of doing something you haven't done before get a little slimmer. And even if you find something you haven't done before, there's a good chance you won't have the energy to do it anyway.

Ive been writing for a long time. The first thing I ever had published was a poem in the Hagerstown Exponent in 1962. I was in the 5th grade at the time. I've had a lot of letters and articles printed since then.

The internet made it a lot easier to get what you write in front of a lot more people. People can write a blog, or participate in an online forum, or just make a comment about at article if you are so inclined. I do all of those from time to time. Sometimes people agree with what I write, and sometimes they don't. One time a reporter from Florida contacted me to let me know that a candidate down there was reposting my blog under his own name. I think the reporter thought I should be upset. Actually, at the time I was kind of flattered.

But getting back to doing things that you haven't done before, last Friday I picked up a bunch of copies of "Stinky Shorts". It's a book of short stories about my old buddy Stinky Wilmont and me that I've been putting together over the last few months.

Friday night I sold one of the books. It was the first time I've ever sold anything that I had written. It felt pretty good for the first time.

By the way, If you're interested, Stinky Shorts is currently available in Richmond at Augustin Printing, in Hagerstown at The Corner Oak and Nettle Creek Hardware, In Cambridge City at Building 125, and in New Castle at Bill's Diner.

Hopefully by later this week it will be available at www.StinkyShorts.com

Right now I'm going to look for something else that I've never done before.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

That's kinda what I expected...

This week we learned that, like so many other government give-away programs, Medicare is expected to go broke even sooner than expected. Actually, I suppose it's only sooner than some people expected. Some of us figure it's already broke.

I also received a notice from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development today. It seems that starting on July 1st, three classifications of individuals that used to eligible for unemployment benefits won't be eligible for them anymore. Then on October 1st, another couple of groups become ineligible.

For quite a while now, the state has been paying out more in unemployment benefits than employers have been paying in. That's another good way to go broke sooner than expected.

Margaret Thatcher once said that the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other peoples money.

And sometimes eventually ends up getting here sooner than anybody expected.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Well shoot....

The farm I was raised on wouldn't bear a lot of resemblance to most of the farms today. The tractors weren't nearly as big: but then I suppose they weren't nearly as expensive, either.

We ate the eggs from our own chickens when they were still laying eggs, and then ate the chickens with some of Mom's dumplings when they stopped. Our beef came from our own cows and our pork came from our own pigs.

We had a pasteurizer for our milk, too. I don't think there was a law that said we had to have it, but apparently Mom thought it was a good idea, and besides, I'd seen enough in the milking parlor to discourage me from drinking milk right from the bucket, anyway.

I know that there are some people out there that prefer to drink raw milk.

Unfortunately, the FDA takes a dim view of such decisions, and recently conducted an armed raid on a farmer that was providing customers with unpasteurized milk.

Now, I don't drink near as much milk as I used to drink, and the milk I do drink will probably be pasteurized and homogenized, but that's just me. If someone decides they want to drink raw milk, that's okay too. I just wish the government didn't feel the need to pull a gun out over it.

It seems a lot of 3 letter government agencies are using a lot of guns anymore. The Department of Education recently purchased some shotguns, apparently in case someone defaults on a student loan.

I'm not sure when we cross the line that makes our country a police state, but I have to believe that armed assaults on raw milk by the Food and Drug Administration, and raids by the Department of Education at least put us a little bit closer.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What's in store for us?...

I'm not much of a grocery shopper. I usually start looking around, forget what I went in for, and come out with something I really don't need. My wife Susan complains that it costs to much when I accompany her to the store. I think maybe she said something about impulse buying.

At any rate, occasionally necessity takes me in, and I find what I was looking for, and I make it out of the store before the cart runs over.

Last week I stopped in for a couple of items on my way home from work, and ended up behind a young lady with a full cart at the checkout counter. She was busy talking on her cell phone, and only stopped and appeared quite annoyed when the clerk would pick up an item from the cart and explain to the woman that the certain item wasn't WIC voucher compliant. Her answer to the clerk on every non-compliant item was in that case, she didn't want it.

According to the WIC website, to be eligible to qualify for this benefit program,

"you must be a breastfeeding and postpartum woman, infant or child up to 5 years of age and: (1) are individually determined by a health professional to be at nutrition risk; and, (2) meet an income standard, or are determined automatically income eligible. A person who participates or has family members who participate in certain other benefit programs, such as the Food Stamp Program, Medicaid or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, automatically meets the income eligibility requirement."

You can't always tell just buy looking, but I'm pretty sure this particular woman wasn't at any type of a nutrition risk, and I would worry that any child she was breastfeeding would be emotionally scarred for quite some time.

Never the less, I suppose she qualified for the help, but I can't help wondering why some items were necessary if someone else was paying for them, but not so necessary if she had to pay for them. And I wondered who paid for her cell phone, tattoos and piercings.

Before it was over, I wondered why the heck I went into the grocery store anyway.