Tuesday, January 27, 2004
I’ve owned Coke stock for a long time. It’s been a decent performer. After reading this, I may sell. This, is an article which informs me that Coke, in an effort to appear culturally sensitive, think obese kids and “commercial-free” areas around classrooms, whatever that means, will not emblazon their vending machines, which are located in scools throughout Britain, with the familiar, throughout the world, Coke colors and script. It calls to mind generic branding. Plain white packages, with a bar code, and a description, which, in the case of Coke, probably would say “Beverage, caramel colored.” Ridiculous.
Here’s what Gustav, over at Samizdata, has to say in his comments.
If Coca-Cola were truly capable of using the illuminated front of a drinks-dispenser to brainwash children into switching from Pepsi, vodka and crack cocaine, then there could be a case for the school’s prohibition of the display.
Among other things.
The Number of the Beast
We must move to smarter license cards that carry secure digital information that can be universally read at vital checkpoints,” Dean said in March 2002, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. “Issuing such a card would have little effect on the privacy of Americans.
Those words are from Howard Dean, spoken while at a conference in Pittsburgh, co-sponsored by Wave Systems, a maker of so called Smart Cards, in March 2002.
What does Dean have to say about this currently, when individuals query him in regards to statements such as above?
Unfortunately, Dean’s presidential campaign won’t answer any of those questions. I’ve tried six times since Jan. 16 to get a response, and all the press office will say is they’ve “forwarded it on to our policy folks.” And the policy shop isn’t talking.
Via Nolo Consentire.
Monday, January 26, 2004
Response to a Reader’s Email
A portion of Billy Beck’s response to a reader’s interrogatories in regards to new breeds of cats, a name for a particular philosophy and opposites.
...here is an important and useful implication: socialist pronouncements are often shot-through with glowing tributes to the “value of the individual” (in all kinds of terms, explicit and implicit), but it is only lip-service, and worse: it is actually a stolen concept. The worst sort of cynicism: an avowal of something that has no place in actual socialist philosophy, but is only used because of its marketability to almost everyone’s common-sense. People know that they are unique and ends-in-themselves. Even socialists know this: observe that, for all their pious concerns over the plight of the downtrodden, none of them give up everything they have for the objects of their concerns. This is because they all know that they, themselves, have their own lives to conduct on their very own terms and conditions, just like those they would harness to serve what they say, but not how they actually live.
As they say, read the whole thing.
He Says, She Says
Very interesting article exploring the publication of Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn’s books The First Circle and The Gulag Archipelago, which was handled for Solzhenitsyn by Olga Andreyev Carlisle here in the West. The article is titled No sign of thawing in this cold war of words - Russian Nobelist, revolutionaries’ daughter write dueling accounts of alliance gone awry.
Privacy, “What Privacy?”
Kim du Toit alerts us to how the government respects our privacy. They don’t. Really no surprise there I’d say.
There Can be No Compromise with Socialist Idealism
Radley Balko points to a Washington Post op-ed which discusses Rep. Harold Ford’s proposal to give every child, at birth, a $1,000.00 “Stakeholder Holder” account. What this means is to tax each individual, or take YOUR money, and give it to someone else. Radley titles his post A Not Entirely Terrible Idea.
The comment I left at Radley’s in regards to this post and his analysis.
How can you recognize this plan as a wealth redistribution boondoggle and in the next breath say it is not entirely a bad idea? It is plain and simple a bad idea that needs to be decried as a mere socialist ideal.
Damned Tennesee Lawyers and Whiny Parents
From The Seattle Times, in a piece titled ‘Underachievers’ parents deny honor students.
The school honor roll, a time-honored system for rewarding “A” students, has become an apparent source of embarrassment for some underachievers.
As a result, all Nashville schools have stopped posting honor rolls, and some are considering a ban on hanging good work in the hallways — at the advice of school lawyers.
After a few parents complained their children might be ridiculed for not making the list, school-system lawyers warned that state privacy laws forbid releasing academic information, good or bad, without permission.
Via Greg Swann whose has two words for this nonsense.
Sunday, January 25, 2004
Do Laws Actually Mean Less Crime?
According to an op-ed written by Harry Neuwirth, in the Silverton Appeal, Libertarians expanding on the ideas of Ayn Rand are advocating, well, here’s the title for the op-ed, ‘Anything goes’ destroys our social fabric.
Ignoring the fact that their principles have undermined the social efficiency and grace that prevailed during and prior to the early 20th century, a minority constituency still insists that unlimited rights be granted to anyONE to do anyTHING, further undermining democracy and social stability, unwittingly inflicting great harm upon friends, neighbors, and enemies.
Every individual I am acquainted with who advocates personal responibility and liberty would behave no differently tomorrow if their were no laws, as they do today encumbered by numerically staggering numbers of laws. Doing no wrong, unless unjustly wronged.
Let there be no doubt. It is dramatically evident today from the statistics on crime, suicide, divorce, drug abuse, late term abortion, civic and domestic violence, child pornography .... When did these criteria begin to go into decline in America? When we legislated privilege into law in the early 20th century. When philosophical zealots seized privilege and named it a “right” to which Americans were entitled WITHOUT LIMIT. Since individuals have an absolute right to do what they like… [See quotes above.]
Liberty – Natural Rights – must be judiciously limited if democracy is to survive!
A conclusion which advocates rule by force.
Is He Suffering From Stenosis?
Via a Drudge headline.
21st Century Snake Oils
If you mindlessly accept what is read in the papers, heard on teevee soundbites and what is spewed by professional jobholders, the health system is a shambles. It’s too expensive, not available to everyone, and, is not in need of an invisible hand, but a socialist hand. Indeed, some professional jobholders, today, are mouthing platitudes to the fact that affordable health insurance is a right. I’ve diligently read, and reread, the Bill of Rights, and I’ve found nothing of the sort within that states this.
The main reason for this push to socialize American medicine seems to be the costs. Everyone complains about the costs. Health insurance costs too much. Health care, out of pocket, costs too much. I can’t afford it, it costs too much. Blah, blah, blah. I’ve been thinking about this since cocktails were served Friday night.
A very good friend and I were standing in the kitchen enjoying a martini. During the course of the conversation, he mentioned he was suffering from tendinitis, in his elbow. Which, I think, is more commonly known as tennis elbow. Since he was aware that I had, in the past, suffered from this minor inconvenience, he inquired as to my course of treatment. I told him I took ibuprofen, of no particular brand name, and that the malaise, over time, disappeared. In reply to my answer, my friend relayed to me a course of treatment he was invited to partake of, which, he stated, was “kind of strange.” “Do tell,” I replied, so he did. What follows, are impressions of a foray into the world of physical therapy, which, if you think about it, may shine some light on why health care “costs too much.”
My friend had mentioned his tendinitis problem in a general conversation among his associates. One of the listeners, immediately upon hearing of the problem, effusively informed him of a “great” physical therapy service that, evidently, performed “miracles” for exactly the type of problem from which my friend suffered. As a bonus, the listener just happened to have a “free” consulation card my friend could utilize for an evaluation. So he did.
He drove over to the physical therapy services offices, directions conveniently printed on the reverse of the “free” consultation card, tucked away in the commercial zone by the airport, and, was swept into the world of physical therapy for relatively healthy individuals. You see, physical therapy isn’t just for accident victims and sports injuries any longer, it has become an indispensable tool for those injured while pecking away at their keyboards, although why it wasn’t when people were pounding at manual typewriters remains a mystery, lifting boxes and paper cuts.
When he walked into the physical therapy offices, he informed me, he was immediately impressed by the number of people coming and going. Patients, therapists, UPS men and what not, it looked busy. After waiting a short while, he was called by a receptionist who informed him a physical therapist would see him shortly. Considering he would have a wait, he wandered around the waiting area to admire and explore the expansive display of diplomas and certificates. There were Master degrees in physical therapy from actual universities, certificates of proficiency in short-wave diarthermy, electric muscle stimulation and phono/iontophoresis. Not to mention certificates honoring proficiency in cryo-therapy, which, in my day, actually was simply known as soaking a sprained ankle in ice. But what really surprised him, were the grandious certificates signed by L. Ron Hubbard. A half-a-dozen or so of them, he said, which, he wanted to investigate in greater detail, but was unable to as his name was called.
He was ushered into a small room and immediately a physical therapist (PT), in a wonderfully white smock, entered the room. The first question the PT asked, was “Do you know anyone you can refer?” Not, what the problem was, not what the physical therapy service could provide but “DO YOU KNOW ANYONE YOU CAN REFER?” The second question asked was, “Can you commit to a series of treatments?” After replying to these questions, the PT launched into the wonders the physical therapy service could perform. As proof of this, the PT offered my friend a 6 inch thick binder of testimonials to peruse, hand written, by prior beneficiaries of the majic performed. A couple of paraphrased testimonials from a brochure.
“They treated me like a person. Not a number. I am glad my doctor recommended therapy and a co-worker recommended…” so and so company.
“The staff here has been wonderful and so friendly. I have already recommended…” so and so company, “to many people and will continue to do so in the future.”
One can only assume, by reading these paraphrased testimonials, that the writers were also actually cured of some physical ailment. I cannot ascertain for sure though. The brochure containing these abbreviated testimonials also utilized the phrase “Many others.” It gave a listing of 23 different ailments which the physical therapy service could remedy, followed by “Many others.” I’m wondering if the physical therapy service has an R & D department continually adding to their hocus pocus. They also used the phrase many others following the list of half-a-dozen insurances the service accepts. They are not picky, I guess, and, the more lines you have in the water, the more fish you are liable to catch.
The PT did explain to my friend why he was suffering from tendinitis. His tennis elbow was, according to the PT, caused by lifting too heavy of an object. The PT then explained how this particular muscular area in my friends back was sending scrambled signals to his shoulder, which, misinterpreted the signals itself, and passed them on to his elbow which interpreted the signals from the shoulder as pain in the elbow. My friend said it sounded like it made perfectly good sense while he was talking with the PT. What I thought, upon hearing this, is of the old experiment of passing a short message from individual to individual in a pysch class and how scrambled the message was by the time it was received by the indivdual at the end of the line.
After this spiel from the physical therapist, my friend was directed to another person, the insurance expert. The insurance expert informed my friend his doctor would have to okay the course of physical therapy treatment. To expedite this, the insurance expert would forward the physical therapy services’ evalution of my friend’s condition to his doctor immediately, but, my friend would have to call his doctor as soon as he left to encourage his doctor to give the okay. If this didn’t occur, insurance may not cover the cost and my friend would have to pay for services rendered out of pocket. The insurance expert hammered this fact home, multiple times, and, as a parting reply to my friend asked, “What’s the first thing you are going to do when you leave?” My friend, not recalling, was supplied the answer when he had not replied in the five second alotted time span, “Call your doctor,” said the insurance man.
After this review with the insurance man, my friend thought he was on his way out, but he was wrong. He next had to go through an exit interview with a young lass. The exit interviewer wanted to know my friend’s impression of his visit, if he was ready to sign up for treatment, and she also reminded him to call his doctor so he could be “approved” for service. And, she informed him, as she handed him a free consultation card, to “tell your friends.”
After listening to this story, I had to admit to my friend that his experience in the world of physical therapy for the relatively healthy was “kind of strange.” Even without having the time to review the certificates signed by L. Ron Hubbard.
Building Blisters, Tremelo and a Jinxed Guitar Sale
Billy Beck is off jamming today, according to his posting entitled Studio Bits. Billy’s post includes guitar photos, a layed down track for your listening pleasure, and a short lesson in Billy’s own method of tremolo bar use. When are you taking it on the road?
I Don’t Know Whether to Respect this Guy, Just Laugh or Start a Free Mumia Style Campaign
“To the Moon Alice, To the Moon”
Claire Wolfe has uncovered the real reason Bush is beating the drums to go the the moon.
Samizdata has a new look. Check em out. But don’t go for just the look, read the posts too.
A Righteous Catholic Priest
I know, I know the title to this post seems, well, incongruent, but give me a moment to explain. Here’s the headline that caught my eye, Police arrest priest in Norton drug raid. The headline is promptly followed by this secondary headline. “Pastor charged with cultivating marijuana at rectory. Second man accused of trafficking; 35 plants seized.” Which, somewhat confused me, because now the priest is labeled a pastor, but, I figured the newsroom edit guys were just confused as to the correct terminology to employ in typesetting this tale.
But what really interested me about this story are two small details. First, the name of the church. The church, attached to The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, is named the Prince of Peace Catholic Church. Can I get a loud amen for that? How apropos is that, considering the allegations?
Second, this statement.
‘I can’t believe he would do anything that God wouldn’t want him to do,’’ said Anne Goch.’
You said it Anne. It’s only the cops and the state who don’t want the father propagating his message of peace via the lovely cannabis plant.
Bless me father for I have sinned, and can I get a dime bag as my penance?