Monday, May 25, 2009

Chasing Bugs

Because of this bug, here’s the female, which, when I walked in the door to my home not long ago, I was very reliably informed just started hatching, on waters which shall remain unnamed, I will be out of contact for the next five (5) or six (6) days, for the most part anyway.  I just got out from behind my windshield, and now am furiously preparing to jump back behind the windshield to chase this fabled fly, and the large trout it induces to feed on the surface, during the day.

This is one of those times when there is not more to LIVING than flyfishing.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/25 at 07:28 PM
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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Missing Link is all Marketing

I mentioned the recent so-called missing link story a couple of times recently.  The first post was titled Very Bold Assertion and the second post was titled It’s Not the Missing Link, Just an Aunt from Long Ago.

Today, while perusing the History channel, a when I’m out of town occurence only, I see a pitch for a show called The Link, which naturally is about the so-called missing link.

I found this interesting, because in the first piece I had read about this tale, there was this paragraph.

Prof Hurum - who last summer dug up the fossil remains of a 50ft marine monster called Predator X from the permafrost on Svalbard, a Norwegian island close to the North Pole - then assembled a “dream team” of experts who worked in secret for two years.

Couldn’t have been that big of a secret if the History channel already has a show in the can.

UPDATED SPELLING ERROR 10.21.2009

Posted by John Venlet on 05/24 at 09:36 PM
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Galt’s Gulch Under Our Noses

Interesting piece on the underground economy down in San Antonio, Texas.

Many individuals tend to think that a Galt’s Gulch scenario could only be realized in some clandestine location, but that is not the case, it happens around us on a daily basis, and many of us could, and some of us do, participate in such an economy on a daily basis.  And is it not only drug dealers who are powering the human action of such an economy.

San Antonio, though, in addition to (and sometimes because of) our poverty, is engaged in a vast and diverse “shadow economy,” a bajillion financial transactions by countless folks whose necessities are paid for through means not accounted for by the GNP, not measured in the Dow Jones, and usually not registered with the IRS. Statistics for this shadow economy are, well, shadowy, involving as it does barely understood labor performed by sometimes-undocumented people with no written record of it ever happening.

I say more power to them.

NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND ECONOMY

Via The Transparent Life of a Happy Curmudgeon.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/24 at 01:39 PM
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Just Don’t Call Me Late for Dinner

In a piece titled Being a Criminal, Larken Rose obliquely asks, whether you’re ready to be called a criminal.  I am.  But let’s remove the obliqueness from Rose’s question by reading what this means.

People with brains have a problem with authority. And while being at odds with “authority” and “the law” does not automatically make someone a good person, it also doesn’t automatically make someone bad, either. Whether someone respects and honors the individual rights of other people is what matters. The trouble is, so many people, including those in the pro-freedom “movement,” still have a desire to receive the approval of authority. (bold by ed.)

Rose continues.

Try asking yourself, or the people you know, “Are you willing to be a criminal?” Most will vehemently say no. But why? These days, when politician scribbles are called “laws,” what does it mean to be a “criminal” anyway? All it means is that someone disobeyed any one of the myriad of arbitrary politician commands and demands. Why should anyone feel bad about that? (The truth is, by that definition we’re ALL criminals, since the sheer volume of “laws” makes it impossible to even KNOW all of them, and impossible to obey them all.

Read the whole thing.

Via Bill St. Clair.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/23 at 12:30 PM
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The “Drug War” and on Free Markets

A couple of interesting posts to read at No Third Solution.  First, a post in regards to the nationalization, though it’s being called a bankruptcy, of Chrysler.  A dealer, who is being cutoff, wonders aloud how this can happen in a free market.  David Z responds.

Joseph asks, presumably in all seriousness, “How can this happen in a free market?” It can’t, dude.  Check your premises.  These things don’t happen in a free market.  If these things are happening, the market isn’t free.  We aren’t even in the same ballpark.

This post is titled “How can this happen in a free market?”

In the second post, titled Ending the Drug War: Going Mainstream?, David Z translates a statement uttered by James Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police.  Pasco’s statement.

“While I don’t necessarily disagree with [Kerlikowske’s] focus on treatment and demand reduction, I don’t want to see it at the expense of law enforcement. People need to understand that when they violate the law there are consequences.”

David Z’s translation.

Yes, yes… “Rule of law” scam and all. Translation: I don’t want to end the war on drugs if it means we don’t get to play Cowboys-and-Indians anymore. I don’t want to end the war on drugs if it means that police officers will lose their jobs. Talk about withholding the cure to profit from the sickness—the zenith of moral bankruptcy. So, as long as people like Pasco are in any position of influence or authority, expect your protectors to continue waging the war.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/23 at 12:09 PM
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Trivializing the Good Book

There is no doubt, and I care not whether you are an atheist, a Christian, an agnostic, an animist, a Buddhist, a Muslim, or what have you, that the Bible is an important piece of literature, and not only for individuals of faith.  As with all important works of literature, whether of an historical nature or not, the Bible should be read and the words sifted carefully.

Though some individuals of faith cast away reason when considering the words compiled within this work, and some individuals consider the Bible a collection of Aesop type fable fairy tales, the Bible, when considered rationally, does contain wisdom, if one can simply put aside their pre and ill conceived notions of exactly what this book means.

With that said, I note that Rep. Paul Broun (R - GA) is pushing for a congressional resolution to recognize the year 2010 as the “Year of the Bible.”

This is wrong, and this is not Congress’ job.  For Paul Broun, I think this resolution is simply a bread and circus type stunt, as foolish as other congressional resolutions such as “Day of the American Comboy,” or “Siblings Connection Day,” or other such nonsense.

If Congress desires to resolve that 2010 is the year of some book, it would be better off declaring the year 2010 as the Year of Atlas Shrugged, and while they are at it, they could mail a copy of Atlas Shrugged Cliff Notes to every home in America.

Not only would such a resolution honor an important work of literature, but it would honor Ayn Rand and the spirit of the immigrants who came to America and began new lives and businesses.  Individuals who made America what it was prior to its descent into a socialist, something for nothing entitlement and favor trading cripple.

The Bible bill?

Posted by John Venlet on 05/23 at 11:09 AM
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Friday, May 22, 2009

Windshield Time

Heading down the highway, today, to see family and friends.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/22 at 06:41 AM
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

More to Edmund Andrews’ Story Than Meets the Eye

I noted Megan McArdle’s piece regarding New York Times reporter Edmund Andrews, and his adventures with subprime loans, the other day in a post I titled Subprime Woes Self-Inflicted, An Economic Writer’s Tale.  I did not necessarily think that Andrews’ tale was that brave, nor did I think the blame for Andrews’ financial woes should be laid at the feet of the subprime lending industry.

McArdle, as I noted in the above mentioned post, thought Andrews tale was ”...the bravest thing I’ve read for a long, long time.”

I think Megan is probably thinking a bit differently now.

At the end of his book’s harrowing account of mortgage mistakes and credit card crises,  Edmund Andrews writes:  “While our misadventure had certainly been more extreme than those of many other Americans, our situation was not all that unusual.”  And indeed the book reads like the story of an American Everyman, easily sucked in to the alluring world of easy credit as he struggled to blend a new family.  The terrifying implication is that it could happen to you—to anyone who leads with their heart and not their head.

But en route to that moral, it turns out the story has been tidied up a little.  Patty Barreiro, Andrews’ wife, has declared bankruptcy twice.  The second time was while they were married, a detail that didn’t make it into either the book or the excerpt that ran in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine.

Good on Megan McArdle for looking further than the ink printed on NYT paper.

UPDATE (forgot to include link to McArdle’s piece): McArdle’s most recent piece on Andrews is titled The Road to Bankruptcy.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/21 at 07:31 PM
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I Understand

Billy Beck alerts us to the following.

New York City Police have been conducting inspections of firearms in private homes.

Billy, rightly asks,

Does everyone understand?

UPDATE:  Link to Long Island Firearms Forum is now available here.  Reason for broken link is as follows.

Due to overwhelming emails/PMs, I will repost this thread posted by our member. The original thread and its replies have been moved to a private forum.  Access to that forum is based on members inviting members.  This thread will be locked, so you can only read it.  LIF feels people should know what is going on out there however if you are not a local resident, please just read this and go on your way.  We are an open community of Long Island Gun owners, you can understand our position.
Long Island Firearms

Posted by John Venlet on 05/21 at 03:48 PM
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Indoor Growing Equipment Invoice Bust of David Mayo - Operation Green Thumb

I mentioned the story regarding Grand Rapids Press reporter, David Mayo, back in March in a post titled Need Hydroponic Growing Equipment? - Pay Cash or Get Busted.  In that post, I noted that the main basis for the search warrant issued to raid Mayo’s home was invoices which showed that Mayo had purchased hydroponic growing equipment, and I wondered how Michigan police obtained copies of invoices which showed such a purchase.  From my initial post.

“Operation Green Thumb has access to shipping invoices from suppliers who advertise their indoor marijuana-growing equipment in magazines such as ‘High Times.’

So, what, exactly is this “Operation Green Thumb?”  If you Google operation green thumb, you are supplied with links for community gardening projects, and other individual posts wondering just what and whom, exactly, this Operation Green Thumb is all about.

Well, some additional information has come out regarding this Operation Green Thumb in the most recent article within the Grand Rapids Press regarding David Mayo which is titled Attorney for suspended Press sports columnist David Mayo argues police violated rights when they searched home for drugs.  From the article.

In a motion filed Wednesday, Block said police relied on Operation Greenthumb, a “mysterious and a heretofore unknown ‘data’ source” in Appalachia, Tenn., which has access to shipping invoices from suppliers that advertise in the pro-marijuana magazine.

There is little doubt, in my mind, that this “mysterious and a heretofore unknown ‘data’ source” in Appalachia, Tenn.” is none other than some state funded entity dreamed up for the “war on drugs” which is probably operating illegally.

More importantly, for David Mayo and his wife anyway, because the government acknowledges that said invoices may not be used as evidence, due to their mysterious nature, the initial search warrant should be ruled as illegal, any evidenced obtained from Mayo’s home should be ruled inadmissable, and all charges against David Mayo and his wife should be dropped.

I guess we will find out shortly.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/21 at 02:42 PM
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UFOs, Climate Change, and Ponies

Great post by Natalie Solent over at Samizdata titled If they get ponies, so must we, which delves into UFO hysteria and climate change hysteria.  The opening paragraphs.

In the days when UFOs were big news, someone - as usual I have forgotten where I read this, but it might have been in something by Arthur C. Clarke - once put forward a very good reason not to believe that the US military were concealing alien visitations: “If there really were UFOs,” said a military man, “all us captains would be majors.”

And so they would. The proven existence of alien spaceships buzzing around in our atmosphere would prompt a vast expansion of the armed services. No doubt the governments of the world would also pour resources into the sciences. Administrators, too, would need more power and money in order to deal with the dramatic changes to our accustomed mode of life that might be necessary. The alien threat, scary though it would be, would be so good for so many people in receipt of a government salary that I am quite surprised that no one of any significance propagated it. In fact, according to believers in UFOs, the military-industrial complex went to great efforts to pooh-pooh the whole idea. Given the benefits it would have brought them, maybe I should revise my cynical views about bureaucrats.

Ponies for everyone.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/21 at 12:43 PM
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David Souter, Now He Notes The Endarkenment’s Shadow

Geek with a .45 notes some comments of Supreme Court Justice David Souter from a recent speech at Georgetown University Law Center, which he read at The BLT: The Blog of LegalTimes, and which I repost here.

In a speech at Georgetown University Law Center today, retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter made a powerful plea for re-educating the American public about the fundamentals of how government works.

The republic, Souter said, “can be lost, it is being lost, it is lost, if it is not understood.” He cited surveys showing large majorities of the public cannot name the three branches of government, something he said would have been unheard of when he was growing up in rural Weare, N.H. What is needed, Souter said, is nothing less than “the restoration of the self-identity of the American people.” (bold by ed.)

Indeed, the self-identity of the American people is sorely lacking, and has been for some time, now.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/21 at 09:59 AM
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Economic Quote of the Day

Misery alone is not enough to fuel an economy.  Japan and Germany recovered and blossomed because they were capitalistic societies; their success is a triumph of capitalism.  China is toying with communism, socialism and capitalism, all at the same time. Unfortunately, at the time of crisis if a choice is given, government will chose the path of lower resistance — communism and socialism.  (Just think of what the U.S. government is doing today.) (bold by ed.)

From a post by Vitaliy Katsenelson titled Will China stay the capitalist course?

Posted by John Venlet on 05/21 at 09:50 AM
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Green Day Soundbite

The band Green Day has a new album out, which actually is selling quite well.  But, because Walmart has an internal policy not to offer for sale in their stores albums which carry parental advisory stickers, Green Day is upset.

I’m not going to get into the issue of the foolishness of legislative parental advisory stickers, but I do want to address the following comment uttered by Green Day guitarist Mike Dirnt.

“As the biggest record store in the America, they should probably have an obligation to sell people the correct art.”

I’m sorry, Mike, Walmart should be under no obligation to sell any bands records, regardless of the fact that Walmart is the biggest retailer of albums in the nation.  Granted, being required to censor your own records, to meet Walmart’s requirements for being stocked on their shelves, is onerous, and, as your frontman Billie Joe Armstrong states, so “1953.”  The fact remains, though, that the restrictive policy is Walmart’s policy, it was not forced on Walmart by the State, and it is not being forced on Green Day, unless Green Day desires Walmart to stock their album on their shelves.

If Green Day finds Walmart’s policy offensive, refuse to comply, as your own frontman, Armstrong, acknowledges.

...It’s like a game that you have to play. You have to refuse to play it.”

Refuse to play the game.  It’s sound advice, and I recommend it highly.

Green Day lashes out at Wal-Mart policy

Posted by John Venlet on 05/21 at 08:42 AM
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Geert Wilders, Free Speech Denied, Prosecution to Move Forward

I’ve mentioned the the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders a number of times in these pages.  I even exchanged supportive emails with Mr. Wilders regarding the Netherlands’ attempts to deprive him of his right to free speech, and the Netherlands’ courts move to prosecute him for producing his movie Fitna, which you can view at Samizdata.

Geert Wilders had appealed the politically correct concocted charges against him, and lost.  Wilders then appealed to the Dutch supreme court, and also lost.  This man will now have to stand in the docket for speaking his mind, and sharing impressions of the dark side of Islam.  This is a travesty, and the Dutch should be ashamed.  As a Dutchman, I know I am.

Prosecution of Wilders to go ahead

Posted by John Venlet on 05/21 at 08:00 AM
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