Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The City of Lost Their Minds

The city of Grand Rapids has just approved a “wayfinding” system, at the cost of $1,000,000.00, to assist visitors, to the city’s downtown, find their way around.  The million dollars will cover the cost of 193 signs, that’s five thousand, one hundred eighty-one dollars and thirty-five cents per sign.  Tell me why, again, exactly, why individuals support taxation and vote for dunderheads.

“All signs will point to GR.”

Oh, they also budgeted $100,000.00 per year, for maintenance.

Posted by John Venlet on 06/30 at 02:09 PM
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Iraqi Humor

I’m not certain who stated that the ability to laugh at yourself is a good sign, but, if the following is an indication, this could be a good sign for the Iraqis.

“It’s funny, isn’t it?” said Mustapha al-Kadamy, a young father as he browsed through a toy store in the wealthy Mansoor district and prepared to buy one of the dancing Saddams.

“Tomorrow Saddam will go before an Iraqi judge and so today is a good day to make fun of him—we need to be able to smile after all the horrible things he’s done to us.”

“Hip-Swaying Dancing Doll Ridicules Saddam.”

An up and coming collector’s item.

Via Yahoo News.

Posted by John Venlet on 06/30 at 10:28 AM
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At First Glance…

At first glance, when I read the headline, below, I thought maybe the FDA was endorsing Hillary, and her “common good” comments.

“FDA: OK to market bloodsuckers.”

Posted by John Venlet on 06/30 at 07:03 AM
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Burning a Hole in Your Pocket

When I was younger, and had managed to finagle a few bucks into my pocket by selling quarts of wild raspberrys I had picked myself, or by shoveling peoples walks and driveways in the winter, my Dad would ask me, when I wanted to spend that money, if it was burning a hole in my pocket.  Of course, the money was never burning a hole in my pocket, but the money was mine, I had earned it myself, and no one was taking it away from me for the “common good.”

godless, at Gene Expression, has read Matthew Iglesias’s comments regarding Sullivan and Healy’s responses to Hillary’s confession and call for government organized stealing.  The post ends this way.

“The question is this: would you rather give $100 to the government to (hopefully) spend on your behalf…or would you rather spend it *yourself*?

But even this frame is too generous, because it makes the act of giving $100 out to be a sacrifice. The empirical fact, though, is that liberals don’t really believe in sacrifice. They believe in robbery. If liberals REALLY believed in sacrifice, they’d have staged a unilateral repeal of the Bush tax cut. There’s a box on the federal income tax form that you can check to send the money back to the government. [1]

Did you check that box, Matt?

(crickets…)

Right. Didn’t think so. What passes for altruism is really the desire to spend *other people’s money* in the way you see fit. In order to appeal to people’s worst sentiments, you call those other people “the rich” and imply that they don’t deserve their money and/or they’ve looted it from “the poor” (= favored leftist group). Bottom line: class warfare is 50% envy, 50% avarice…and 0% altruism.”

The post is titled “The leftist mask slips… “

Posted by John Venlet on 06/30 at 05:54 AM
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Murdered by Numbers

One of the arguments for the state, is, the state provides the basis for large numbers of individuals to prosper in safety, with the state acting as a protective bouncer, on steroids, which the state procures from the pockets of the individuals it is supposedly protecting.  Unfortunately, protective bouncers on steroids tend to get unruly.

”...nearly 174,000,000 people probably have been murdered by governments in the 20th Century, 1900-1999. This absolutely incredible human slaughter is over four-times those killed in combat in all international and domestic wars during the same years. If all these dead were to populate a nation, out of 190 nations in the world it would be the sixth largest. Moreover, if you were to sit in a chair in a room and the spirits of these dead were to walk in one door, float before you and exit through another door, for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it would take about six years for all to pass.”

The above was gleaned from this site, which I was directed to by this post at the Mises Economics Blog.

Posted by John Venlet on 06/30 at 05:28 AM
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Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Stealing, and Bragging About It

I can recall, as a child, stealing.  I knew it was wrong, and I am glad that I was caught, and punished, by my parents.  I can still recall my personal humiliation.  Who will punish Hillary Clinton, for stealing, and bragging about it?

“Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you,” Sen. Clinton said. “We’re saying that for America to get back on track, we’re probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.”

Back off, Hillary.

“San Francisco rolls out the red carpet for the Clintons.”

Via Drudge.

Posted by John Venlet on 06/29 at 12:39 PM
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More Real Estate

In a post the other day, titled Real Estate - Bubble, Bust or Boon? I linked to a few individuals opinions on the real estate market.  Today, while perusing BDMag.com, I came across an article on emerging real estate markets which provides information on minority homeownership trends, and how this information could be utilized as a part of a long term growth strategy for the real estate market.  The article is titled Emerging Markets: Grow Your Business Well into the Future.  An excerpt from the article.

As measured by the U.S. Census Bureau, today one quarter of the nation’s households are minority households. In the most recent annual study produced by Harvard’s Joint Center of Housing Studies, The State of the Nation’s Housing 2003, housing industry experts estimate that by 2020 that percentage will have climbed to one-third. The study also points out that the leading demographic drivers of growth in minority households are immigrants, the majority of whom are Hispanic. African Americans and Asians are also strongly represented in net household formation projections of 1.4 million per year over the next 15 years.

Posted by John Venlet on 06/29 at 09:58 AM
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I’d Call It Art

Crop circles, art, or messages from outer space?

Michael Soper, a spokesman for Contact International, said last night he was sure it was another message from outer space. He said that while many crop formations were clearly done by dedicated crop artists, some contained messages and were unexplainable.

SO WHAT ARE ALIENS TRYING TO TELL US THIS TIME?

The design is aesthetically pleasing, to me.

Via Dean, at Dean’s World.

UPDATE (07.12.2012):  Repaired link to facsimilie of original article as original article is lost in cyberspace, which is more explainable than inexplicable, unlike crop circle conspiracists musings.  Also updated link to Dean’s World Homepage as the archive only goes back to July 2004, and original post was from June 2004.

Posted by John Venlet on 06/29 at 05:52 AM
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You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

“So I told my dad what I have been doing, for the last dozen years, when I get a jury summons: I pitch it in the wastebasket. No hesitation, no guilt, just pitch it. My dad’s ears perked up at that, and he thought, “hmmmm.” After talking about it a few times, I kinda eased any concerns he had about that, because quite frankly, if the court ever approaches me with this issue, I’ll just say “What jury summons?” Without registered mail, they just can’t proved that I ever received one. And that’s that. They won’t have the time nor resources to pursue it any further.”

Karen DeCoster discussing jury duty with her father in a post titled “Jury Summons to the Wastebasket.”

Posted by John Venlet on 06/29 at 05:22 AM
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Monday, June 28, 2004

Quote on Voting

“Vote: the instrument and symbol of a freeman’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.”

Ambrose Bierce

Posted by John Venlet on 06/28 at 07:25 PM
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These Two Should Get Together

The girl hawking John Kerry to James Lileks, at the end of this Bleat, should maybe get together with Matthew Yglesias.  Yglesias doesn’t mind coercing individuals for their money, and the John Kerry hawking girl doesn’t think it’s your money anyway.

Link to Yglesias piece via No Treason and link to Lileks’ Bleat via VodkaPundit.

Update:  Robert Clayton Dean, posting at Samizdata, weighs in on Lileks’ Bleat report of the John Kerry hawking girl.  Dean’s post is titled “What we are up against in America.”

Posted by John Venlet on 06/28 at 06:44 PM
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In His Own Words

SCOTUS ruled, foolishly in my opinion, on the Hiibel case recently.  I first posted my reponse to this here, and then added a link to Timothy Lynch’s opinion here.  Now you can read Larry Hiibel’s account here, of why he took this all the way to the Supreme Court.

Via Brian Doherty at Hit & Run.

Posted by John Venlet on 06/28 at 06:22 PM
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Cuff Em, Dano

I’ve long been polite and respectful if, and when, stopped by the police, employing the yes sir, no sir, three bags full, sir, approach in my attempts to thwart being ticketed.  My success rate has been, maybe, fifty percent.  As I age, though, my politeness, and patience, with law enforcement officers seems to be waning.  Reading a post at Somena’s Live Journal titled “2 Friends Arrested,” does not do anything to encourage me to waxing polite or respectful.

The start of Somena’s post.

“A friend of mine in St.Petersburgh who is nearly legally blind, and has not driven a car, or had a liscene for years was recently arrested.

His wife was driving their car when they were rear-ended. MG (my friend) got severe whiplash. He crawled out of the car to lay by the side of the road while the two women drivers involved in the accident waited by the cars for the police to show up. The cops show up. One of the cops sees the two women standing by the cars and my friend laying on the ground, and orders him to get up and move BOTH the cars off the road.”

Posted by John Venlet on 06/28 at 05:54 PM
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Up Against the Wall, Bananas

“Bananas must be free from abnormal curvature of the fingers’ says Commission Regulation 2257, Quality Standards for Bananas.”

The EU, swinging from the trees.

Via Marginal Revolution.

Posted by John Venlet on 06/28 at 05:47 AM
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Saturday, June 26, 2004

A “Sleep of Reason,” or Simply Natural?

Another interesting link from Arts & Letters Daily which appeals to my mystic side, or faith.  The piece was written by Pascal Boyer and is titled “Why is Religion Natural?”  An interesting excerpt for your consideration.

“Religion as the “Sleep of Reason”

There is a long and respectable tradition of explaining religion as the consequence of a flaw in mental functioning. Because people do not think much or not very well, the argument goes, they let all sorts of unwarranted beliefs clutter their mental furniture. In other words, there is religion around because people fail to take prophylactic measures against beliefs, for one of the following reasons:

People are superstitious, they will believe anything. People are naturally prepared to believe all sorts of accounts of strange or counter-intuitive phenomena. Witness their enthusiasm for UFOs as opposed to scientific cosmology, for alchemy instead of chemistry, for urban legends instead of hard news. Religious concepts are both cheap and sensational; they are easy to understand and rather exciting to entertain.

Religious concepts are irrefutable. Most incorrect or incoherent claims are easily refuted by experience or logic but religious concepts are different. They invariably describe processes and agents whose existence could never be verified and are consequently never refuted. As there is no evidence against most religious claims, people have no obvious reason to stop believing them.

Refutation is more difficult than belief. It takes greater effort to challenge and rethink established notions than just accept them. Besides, in most domains of culture we just absorb other people’s notions. Religion is no exception. If everyone round about you says that there are invisible dead people around, and everyone acts accordingly, it would take a much greater effort to try and verify such claims than it takes to accept them, if only provisionally.

I find all these arguments unsatisfactory. Not that they are false: religious claims are indeed beyond verification. People do like sensational supernatural tales better than banal stories and they generally spend little time rethinking every bit of cultural information they acquire. But this cannot be a sufficient explanation for why people have the concepts they have, the beliefs they have, the emotions they have. The idea that we are often gullible or superstitious is certainly true; but we are not gullible in just every possible way. People do not generally strive to believe six impossible things before breakfast, as does the White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass. Religious claims are irrefutable, but so are all sorts of other far-fetched notions that we never find in religion. Take for instance the claim that my right hand is made of green cheese except when people examine it, that God ceases to exist every Wednesday afternoon, that cars feel thirsty when their tanks run low, or that cats think in German. I could make up hundreds of such interesting and irrefutable beliefs that no one would ever consider as a possible belief.”

Posted by John Venlet on 06/26 at 06:15 PM
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