Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tax Collectors

From a post at the Mises Economics Blog titled Conserving conserves nothing, which in and of itself is worth a read, but it is the following comment appended to the post, by one Ned Netterville, which I reproduce in full below, which really caught my attention.

I have a libertarian-teaching routine that I use with cashiers at retail establishments almost anywhere—except in New Hampshire and a few other locales. It goes something like this:

Clerk: Your total is sixteen fifty, sir.
Me: No it isn’t.
Clerk: (Looking at the cash-register tape or computer screen). What do you mean?
Me: The prices marked on the shelves are six dollars for this screw driver and nine for for the propane torch.
Clerk: That’s right.
Me: No, that’s wrong.
Clerk: (looking perplexed): What do you mean?
Me: I mean the total you gave me is wrong. Six plus nine equals fifteen dollars—not sixteen fifty.
Clerk: (reviewing the register tape for a few moments before understanding suddenly dawns): Oh, yes, that’s right, fifteen dollars plus ten percent tax is a dollar fifty which adds up to sixteen fifty, like I said (looking rather relieved and sounding a bit condescending).
Me: Oh, no, you’re still wrong. The prices marked on the shelves are six and nine dollars. There is no mention of any tax.
Clerk: Everything is taxed; everybody pays.
Me: I don’t.
Clerk: (agitated): Sir, I have to collect the tax. You can’t have the items if you don’t pay the tax.
Me: Oh, so you’re a tax collector.
Clerk: No sir, not me. The state gets the tax,; the computer adds it to every transaction.
Me: Who is going to collect the money from me; who do I have to give it to?
Clerk (now sheepishly) I guess that’s me.
Me: If you are collecting the tax, you are the tax collector, are you not?
Clerk: If you say so.
Me: What do you mean, if I say so? If you don’t collect it from me I won’t pay it. Isn’t that so?
Clerk: I guess so.
Me: How much of the tax do you get to keep?
Clerk: I don’t get any of it; it all goes to the state.
Me: How much does the state pay you to collect its taxes?
Clerk: The state doesn’t pay anything.
Me: So you do the state’s dirty work for nothing?
Clerk: Yeah, I guess so.
Me: Hmmm. Very interesting. Do you know what Jesus said about tax collectors?
Clerk: No (sounding defensive).
Me: He likened them to prostitutes, but said both were entering heaven ahead of the scribes and Pharisees. You’re not a Pharisee too, are you?
Clerk: No.
Me: Well, I don’t want to get you in trouble so here’s the sixteen fifty. The extra dollar fifty is less than a prostitute would charge. Have a good day.

Actually, I’m usually less blunt, more polite and conclude by smiling and saying, “I’m just teasing. I know it’s not your fault that you have to work for the state for free.” In my experience it is the rare clerk or cashier who had ever thought of himself or herself as a tax collector until it was brought to their attention.

Posted by John Venlet on 12/23 at 11:41 AM
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Yale Marys

Yale, that alleged bastion of higher education, is also evidently a bastion of cultural sensitivity.  Too sensitive if you ask me.

The Freshman Class Council has run into controversy with its T-shirts for The Game…The original design, which won out over five other entries, displayed an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote in the front — “I think of all Harvard men as sissies” — in bold white letters. The back of the long-sleeved, navy blue T-shirt said “WE AGREE” in capital letters, with “The Game 2009” scrawled in script underneath it.

But the term ‘sissies’ is considered offensive and demeaning, and as well as a “thinly-veiled gay slur,” said Julio Perez-Torres ’12, a member of the LGBT Co-op.

Based on the quote, above, you can pretty much figure out the rest of the story.  What a bunch of Marys.

Freshman Class Council scraps offensive shirts

Via Transterrestrial Musings.

Posted by John Venlet on 12/23 at 09:40 AM
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The Horror, The Horror

Drudge links to a DenverPost.com article headlined Political activist pleads guilty in window-smashing with the headline Transgendered anarchist arrested for smashing windows at CO Dem headquarters…

The horror, the horror.  “Anarchists,” and transgendered ones at that, are in our midst.  That’s some scary stuff, hey?

In actuality, if you read the DenverPost.com article, you will learn that a punk named Joseph Schwenkler broke a bunch of windows with a hammer, got caught in the act, and alleged “anarchist websites across the country” raised money for this punk’s bail.

This Schwenkler, and those of his bail raising alleged “anarchist” ilk, are a bunch of disaffected punks who have no clue, whatsoever, that without rule does not mean violence, but the ability to act, morally and ethically, without the whip of government on your back.

Posted by John Venlet on 12/23 at 08:34 AM
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Snowblower Extraordinaire

I have not succumbed to the use of a snowblower.  Though I am certain that my preference to shovel snow will fade as I age.  When that time comes, I may attempt to get my hands on a machine reported on by Gizmag in 2005.

If you’re tired of anaemic, one-lung snowblowers with their slipping drive belts, you might consider Kai Grundt’s V8 snow blower which raises the bar on the traditional snow blower in every respect. With electric start, electric block heater, antifreeze heater and eight cylinders, it has no drive belts to freeze up and you’ll never get bored with the job as the 454 cubic inch big block Chevrolet V8 produces 412 horsepower, 430 foot pounds of torque and can throw snow 50 feet at just 3500 rpm. Nor will you get cold as the machine has been ingeniously designed to route the engine coolant through the handle bars, with the rear mounted, enclosed radiator keeping the operator nice and cosy.

For the man with everything - the V8 snowblower

Be sure to see the photo gallery.

Posted by John Venlet on 12/22 at 11:52 AM
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Trite Pain of a Deep Budget Cut

The Washington Post has a piece online titled In Ireland’s deep budget cuts, an omen for a heavily indebted United States? which begins this way.

Is this the ghost of America’s future?

Like other heavily indebted nations around the world, Ireland is borrowing vast sums from foreign investors to plug its budget deficit. Fearing that the country will buckle under the weight of so much debt, the Irish have an answer: Put the government on a diet.

There is no doubt, that governments, worldwide, will need to be put on an oh, so euphemistically described “diet.”  I recommend the barest of survival rations.

But unless the underlying cause of governments’ obesity, the “people,” are somehow brought back to rationality; i.e. grasp the reality that governments do not have any money unless they forcibly take it from this group of individuals to redistribute to other groups of individuals; budget cut “pains” will be as trite as the example published in The Washington Post piece.

In Saggart Abbey, a suburban village outside Dublin, Susan Byrne and her husband spend most available time indoors, caring for their two teenage daughters. Both girls are severely autistic; one is virtually mute. The couple this year received about $32,000 in government assistance, largely through special caregiver benefits. That sum is about to be reduced by about $1,700 a year…

The Byrnes are struggling to make payments on the house they bought during the boom years, which, as with many Americans, is now worth less than what they owe on it. The government cuts, she said, mean the family will need to drop the one treat they have tried to cling to even in rough times—a weekly trip to McDonald’s. (bold by ed.)

Posted by John Venlet on 12/22 at 10:14 AM
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Which Is As It Should Be

Banks say they’re lending, if borrowers qualify

Posted by John Venlet on 12/21 at 06:35 PM
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Dog Gone Environmental Madness

First, they came for the 100 watt incandescent light bulbs, in the name of the environment.  Will the green, conical hat wearing busybodies next come for your dog?

Man’s best friend could be one of the environment’s worst enemies, according to a new study which says the carbon pawprint of a pet dog is more than double that of a gas-guzzling sports utility vehicle.

Polluting pets: the devastating impact of man’s best friend

Posted by John Venlet on 12/21 at 05:14 PM
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Studies in Self Reliance

In today’s climate of government induced, and encouraged, helplessness, it’s encouraging to read about the increasingly rare individuals who hike up their pants, grab their own tools and get the job done by themselves.

An Indian villager burrowed for 14 years with a hammer and chisel to cut a tunnel through a mountain so that his neighbours could reach nearby fields and he could park his truck outside his home.

Ramchandra Das, 53, who lives in eastern Bihar state, carved a 10m-long, 4m-wide tunnel through the hill range from his village of Kewati. Das took up the Herculean task after villagers found the 7km trek over the mountain increasingly arduous.

When the authorities refused to help to cut the journey time, Das began carving his way through the earth in the direction of the nearest big town, Atri. The job became more pressing when Das became the first man to own a truck in the village and was unable to drive it to his home.

“I could not park my truck near my house since the mountain blocked my path,” he told Reuters. Das said he was also afraid of bandits stealing his truck. “I had to leave my truck miles away, so I decided to do something about it myself,” Das said by telephone.

Indian villager takes 14 years to dig tunnel through mountain

Posted by John Venlet on 12/21 at 10:20 AM
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Vote Buying - It’s The American Political Way

I can only laugh at the headline regarding Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) and his alleged personal stand aginst Obama’s desire to implement DeathCare as posted by FoxNews.co.

Nelson Accused of Selling Vote on Health Bill for Nebraska Pay-Off

Every vote, by every member of Congress, by every American individual who votes, is bought by promises of payoffs, in the most pejorative sense of the word.

Posted by John Venlet on 12/20 at 01:56 PM
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Dubai - “Santa Claus State”

Things are not necessarily what they seem, in Dubai, regardless of what is posted at the Dubai Tourism website, or what is stated at the site regarding the Dubai Lifestyle.

Expatriates and foreign visitors - both male and female - enjoy a relaxed and pleasant lifestyle in Dubai. There is virtually no crime, the city is clean, apartments and villas are modern and spacious and the climate is pleasant for most of the year. There are many clubs and societies in Dubai. Freedom of worship is allowed to all religions, and Christian churches have existed in Dubai for many years. Foreign newspapers, magazines, films and videos are readily available. Alcohol may be consumed at home provide a permit is obtained, or in hotels, and on licensed club premises. Women can drive and move about unaccompanied.

The dark side of Dubai.

Via No Watermelons Allowed.

Posted by John Venlet on 12/20 at 01:45 PM
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Best Quote on ObamaCare

This is government as prison rape.

From a New Paltz Journal II post titled ObamaCare: It doesn’t even rise to cynical Menckenian democracy.

Posted by John Venlet on 12/20 at 10:29 AM
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Sunday Sound Advice for When It Happens

Remember kids, you can buy an M4 and milspec body armor, wear Oakly ballistic shades, wear two days of stubble on your chin and even attach a night vision optic to your weapon. But the gear isn’t going to make you a Ranger, or SEAL, or even anything but what you are when you stand half naked in front of the bathroom mirror.

Don’t get hung up on gear. Don’t get hung up on what some other unit uses. Realize that when you DO have to act, you aren’t going to have your M4gery or SR-25 handy. Keep your wits about you.

From a post at American Mercenary titled The rifle.

Posted by John Venlet on 12/20 at 10:25 AM
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wikipedia - Drowning in a Sewer of Climate Mis-information

Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit,” has definitely been edited, doctored, when it comes to information relating to the climate in a very one sided way.  And not just by anyone, but by one William M. Connolley, Green Party activist/zealot.

Connolley took control of all things climate in the most used information source the world has ever known – Wikipedia. Starting in February 2003, just when opposition to the claims of the band members were beginning to gel, Connolley set to work on the Wikipedia site. He rewrote Wikipedia’s articles on global warming, on the greenhouse effect, on the instrumental temperature record, on the urban heat island, on climate models, on global cooling. On Feb. 14, he began to erase the Little Ice Age; on Aug.11, the Medieval Warm Period. In October, he turned his attention to the hockey stick graph. He rewrote articles on the politics of global warming and on the scientists who were skeptical of the band. Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer, two of the world’s most distinguished climate scientists, were among his early targets, followed by others that the band especially hated, such as Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, authorities on the Medieval Warm Period.

All told, Connolley created or rewrote 5,428 unique Wikipedia articles. His control over Wikipedia was greater still, however, through the role he obtained at Wikipedia as a website administrator, which allowed him to act with virtual impunity. When Connolley didn’t like the subject of a certain article, he removed it — more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand. When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred — over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions. Acolytes whose writing conformed to Connolley’s global warming views, in contrast, were rewarded with Wikipedia’s blessings. In these ways, Connolley turned Wikipedia into the missionary wing of the global warming movement. (bold by ed.)

From an article in the National Post titled Wikipedia’s climate doctor.

Via a post at Wendy McElroy.com titled Warmapedia.

Posted by John Venlet on 12/19 at 02:54 PM
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Congressman Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) Is Nuts, and a Whiney Little Boy to Boot

Congressman Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) is nuts, and a whiney little boy to boot, who, instead of running to his mother crying “Timmy is picking on me, mommy,” has run to Attorney General Eric Holder crying to investigate a woman, Angie G. Langley, for running the website MyCongressmanIsNuts.com which is critical of him.

Here’s a copy of Grayson’s letter to Attorney General Eric Holder (4 pg. pdf file hosted by Politico.com).

What a maroon, as Bugs Bunny would say.

Grayson wants to send critic to jail for five years

Via InstaPundit.

Posted by John Venlet on 12/19 at 08:08 AM
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Spank the Court and the Meddlers - UPDATE

Back in October 2008, I noted that the State of Wisconsin had charged a paster, Barry W. Barnett Jr., with child abuse, for spanking his twelve (12) year old son.  His son stated, under questioning, that the spanking hurt “a little.”  The post was titled Spank the Court and the Meddlers.  I stand by the title to that post, and would gladly adminster the spanking to the court and the meddlers.  It would only hurt a little, but would be highly beneficial to the court and the meddlers development as rational human beings.

I mention this, today, because one Michelle Barnett, I am unaware of Michelle’s relation to Barry Barnett or his son, posted a comment on my initial post stating that a trial date has been set, “FINALLY,” of April 29, 2010, and that Barry Barnett is fighting the charges so ridiculously levied against him.

Posted by John Venlet on 12/17 at 06:03 PM
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