Monday, January 26, 2004

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.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/26 at 07:45 AM
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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.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/26 at 07:19 AM
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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.

He states,

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.

His conclusion.

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.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/25 at 08:18 PM
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Is He Suffering From Stenosis?

Bill Clinton Book Writing ‘Physically and Pyschologically’ Taxing.

Via a Drudge headline.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/25 at 05:46 PM
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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.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/25 at 03:52 PM
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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?

Posted by John Venlet on 01/25 at 10:25 AM
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I Don’t Know Whether to Respect this Guy, Just Laugh or Start a Free Mumia Style Campaign

Oldest U.S. Bank Robber Gets 12 Years in Prison.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/25 at 09:11 AM
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“To the Moon Alice, To the Moon”

Claire Wolfe has uncovered the real reason Bush is beating the drums to go the the moon.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/25 at 08:57 AM
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New Look

Samizdata has a new look.  Check em out.  But don’t go for just the look, read the posts too.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/25 at 08:48 AM
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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?

Via The Obscure Store.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/25 at 08:27 AM
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3 for 3

Over at Catallarchy, Micha Ghertner appears to have been burning the proverbial midnight oil.  The effects of this diligence have produced three posts, each worth taking a short time to read.  The posts are, The Black Blog of Communism, Huh? What Planet Are You From?, and, The Ethics of a Living Wage.

I’d say that’s batting a 1000.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/25 at 08:10 AM
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Saturday, January 24, 2004

A Local Issue That Could Arise in Any Neighborhood

If there is a less accurate way to measure the worth of an individual, than basing that judgment on the color of one’s skin, I am not aware of it.  Individuals who harbor prejudice, based on the color of an individual’s skin, are simply unthinking fools.

With this thought in mind, I invite you to read an article that was published in the Grand Rapids Press on Thursday, January 22nd.  The article is titled Bid to rename Franklin for MLK is renewed.  Now why has this “bid to rename Franklin” been renewed?  Here’s what the second paragraph of the article states.

Although city commissioners shied away from the idea 18 months ago, a couple of new faces on the commission may give the effort renewed momentum.

So, “new faces,” which basically means recently elected city officials, want to rename a street, which has been known as Franklin St since 1912, to honor MLK.  According to the article, the street was renamed Franklin St in 1912 so a city commissioner could present the street name as a “baptismal gift” for his godson, Franklin B. Morrison.  How sweet, warm hugs all around.

Consider that reasoning, for a moment, if you will.  A city commissioner renamed a street in 1912 as a baptismal gift for his godson for Pete’s sake.  There is no rational reason for that 1912 name change other than garnering the city commissioner warm fuzzies.  What a nice guy, he renamed a street for his godson.  I wonder if the folks alive in 1912 received as much benefit as I am receiving from that name change currently, which is none.  I submit that this “renewed” bid to rename Franklin St falls into exactly the same category.  But, with the additional benefit, to the “new faces,” of an official feel good act to garner the “new faces” warm fuzzies and a false legitmacy to their supposed service to the city and the public which “elected” them.

As I thought about this today, I wondered how many streets are actually named after MLK.  Well, according to this article, there are over 650 streets named after MLK.  The article also has this to say.

Dr. King would have been opposed to just naming a street running through the heart of the black community for him,” said the Rev. Aaron Johnson, a former Fayetteville City Council member who marched with King before King’s death on April 4, 1968 ...

Besides the streets named after MLK, I wonder how many parks, buildings and what not are named after the man?  Hundred’s?  I do not know.

I invite you to read a letter, written by an individual who lives in the area, which would be effected by this feel good foolishness.  Addressed to the city commissioners, the mayor and the city manager of Grand Rapids, Michigan, it deals more in factual thinking than feelings and suppositions.

It was incredibly frustrating to again read the untruths being spread by Robert Dean and the Grand Rapids Press. As a resident of Franklin Street, I am still waiting, after two years, to be contacted by the Racial Justice Institute for their bogus survey.  They keep misleading the public by stating the untruth that 90% of residents are in favor of the name change! Why have they never contacted any residents who live on Franklin east of Fuller? Some of you may recall our group, who spent hours sending out a mailing to ALL adddresses on the entire length of the street. I still have the true, accurate data which we presented at our meeting in October 2002 which shows that the majority (greater than 70%) of people who took the time to respond do NOT want the name of our street to change. When is the Racial Justice Institute going to stop lying to serve their own purpose? Interesting that none of the proponents of the name change even live on Franklin Street, so would not have to deal with the hassle and expense of changing their address on every legal document they possess. How easy it is to make decisions that will not directly impact your own life!  At a time when the city’s and especially the public school system’s financial woes are a constant topic on the news, how can you justify the unnecessary expense of an official street name change? Why would you want to spend money in this manner instead of using it to fund a Martin Luther King scholarship for underprivileged children, for example? When will people try to honor Dr. King in a manner more fitting to his memory and his dreams?  Is renaming a street really going to get to the core of the problems in the inner city of poverty, joblessness, drugs and crime? Or is it instead going to actually divide a neighborhood which prides itself on a long history of cultural diversity?  How many children could be helped by the amount of money it would take to replace all the street signs, especially the ones off of 131?.. Martin Luther King Park, on the corner of Fuller and Franklin, is rarely used as a site to actually honor Dr. King and his vision. What a sad statement to his memory to have such an untapped resource. I hardly think that a commemorative renaming demonstrates a “lack of commitment to the diverse inclusion…” as Mr. Dean stated in the paper.  Let’s honor Dr. King in a more practical manner to actually benefit the causes for which he worked so hard during his lifetime. Clearly there is a difference of opinion between those who are pushing a political agenda for their own advancement and those who would be directly affected by this expensive, inappropriate proposal. Please keep in mind that most of the residents of Franklin Street may not have been asked their opinion yet, but will not stand by while elected officials make decisions that will directly affect thir lives.  Our city commissioners are supposed to represent ALL the citizens in their respective wards, and I hope this responsibility is not ignored.  I will be happy to again present the data which our group spent many hours collected so that both sides of this debate receive equal representation. Thank you for your time.

Laurie Merucci
The Citizens to Preserve Franklin Street

Posted by John Venlet on 01/24 at 02:37 PM
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Last night I was introduced to a website that I think is nifty.  I haven’t delved very deep into the website, they offer a news and a merchandise button to click, but I have enjoyed goofing around with one of the windows that opens up when you click the link provided here.  Give it a whirl and check out the wallpapers offered, free, by clicking on the white dots.  Oh, and turn the volume up a bit on your speakers, if you have them.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/24 at 10:52 AM
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Friday, January 23, 2004

I Can’t Talk Right Now

The title to this post would make an interesting epitaph.  I mention it because Daniel Medley of LoboWalk linked to a blog called Sheila Astray’s Redheaded Ramblings.  Sheila has a small collection of famous epitaph’s and last words posted that are enjoyable.

Update Epitaph:

If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl.

H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomaty, Epitaph, pg. 679

Posted by John Venlet on 01/23 at 02:56 PM
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A Short Reflection on Turning the Other Cheek

This morning, while wielding the accoutrements of a competent hotel housekeeping staff, in preparation for the homecoming of the lovely Melissa, I was contemplating on the above.  I mean the title to this post.  This pathetic cliche, of almost mythological proportions, is trotted out by Christians, pacifists, secularists and the like as a justifiable argument against war, protecting yourself from harm and who knows what else.  This “turn the other cheek” mentality is derived from Matthew 5:39 and is repeated in Luke 6:29 of the Book.

Now don’t misunderstand me here.  I can appreciate turning the other cheek, say, if I am slapped by a lady for uttering crude commentary in regards to her appearance, to her face.  Ungentlemanly behavior indeed.  Or, say if I am mocked for some foible or irrational thinking. Or, a more common occurence, which I would wager has happened to most of us, being flipped off while driving.  I will readily turn the other cheek in those instances.  But let’s consider turning the other cheek in the instances where the cliche is most commonly applied.

For example, let’s say some two-bit thug is demanding my wallet, and, as a means of convincing me, said thug is brandishing a knife or a gun.  If I turn the other cheek in this scenario, I am more than likely going to be turning that cheek for the last time.  I think the more appropriate response is to teach the thug a lesson in respect for property rights.  This lesson could be delivered in a harangue, for which the thug will have no patience, or, more appropriately, by allowing the thug to contemplate his mortality and, possibly learn something about property rights, quickly, by peering into the barrel of a Berreta.

How about in war?  Should we be turning the other cheek in war?  I think not.  If all individuals, collectively, turned the other cheek in a war scenario, sure, the war would end quickly, but, more than likely, so would the individuals.  The agressors would consider the turning of the other cheek as a sign of weakness and a license to rape, pillage, plunder and mutilate.  I do not think the cliche can be intelligently applied here.

I am in favor of forbearance.  I have to be, I’ve got four teenagers who, at times, emulate their father’s unending questioning of authority, but I’ll be damned if I will allow some dirt bag to push me around and take my property because a group of men decided to slip into the Book the turning of the other cheek.  It’s only in there because these men thought it might be useful to keep the sheep penned up.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to scrub the commode.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/23 at 12:55 PM
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