Friday, January 11, 2008

The Bell is Tolling, Unabated

The US is at risk of losing its top-notch triple-A credit rating within a decade unless it takes radical action to curb soaring healthcare and social security spending, Moody’s, the credit rating agency, said yesterday.

The warning over the future of the triple-A rating - granted to US government debt since it was first assessed in 1917 - reflects growing concerns over the country’s ability to retain its financial and economic supremacy.

US’s triple-A credit rating ‘under threat’

Posted by John Venlet on 01/11 at 07:42 AM
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Friday, January 04, 2008

Interesting Headline

This headline caught my eye at “Goggle News”:  “Last of rogue cops sentenced to prison.” But the following headline, in regards to the exact same events is much more interesting:  Former Chicago officer who cheated drug dealers gets 25 year sentence

Consider that headline for a moment.  Should an individual be outraged because said “Former Chicago officer” cheated drug dealers?  Or should an individual simply chuckle at the disconnect such a headline displays.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/04 at 05:57 PM
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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ya Think?

"The general trend is that privacy is being extinguished in country after country,” said Simon Davies, director of Privacy International.

Individual privacy under threat in Europe and U.S., report says

I cannot think that reading such a report is actually required to comprehend this.

Posted by John Venlet on 12/30 at 05:52 PM
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Thursday, September 06, 2007

You'll Get Exactly What You're Voting For

Micro managed lives.

"I’ve passed more bills I’m sure than either of them --certainly in the state legislative level."

Barack Obama could not have uttured a more dubious distinction about himself.

For Obama, It’s Now or Never

Posted by John Venlet on 09/06 at 04:42 AM
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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Just Steal Our Stuff, Please

So, if an individual is employed by Home Depot and said individual happens to note another individual misappropriating Home Depot property shouldn’t the Home Depot employee act to prevent said misappropriation?

A reasoning individual, with a sound understanding of property rights and respect for private property, would think so, but in the case of Home Depot, if an employee notes an individual misappropriating Home Depot property, Home Depot policy dictates that the employee should simply let the thief walk away, though of course Home Depot dictates that the employee report the theft to the appropriate authority.

But what happens if the Home Depot employee acts, and apprehends an individual misappropriating Home Depot property, rather than letting the thief walk away?  Why, the individual is fired.

Dustin Chester is job hunting this week, after The Home Depot fired him and the general manager for thwarting a thief from running away with a pocket full of stolen cash.

Last week, the 24-year-old department manager confronted a man who was standing by a soda machine in front of the Murfreesboro store off Old Fort Parkway holding a crowbar and a wad of cash. When the suspect started running, Chester said his instincts took over.

He was fired Monday for violations of company policy in the incident.

“When he ran, I ran after him,” he said. Chester caught the thief and restrained him in the parking lot until police arrived.

Chester was shocked to find out that for managers and most employees, catching and detaining thieves is against company policy.

Of course Home Depot states that their just steal our stuff, please, policy is in place for the safety of their employees and customers, but this policy simply reflects just how far the principle of property rights, and protection and respect of this right, has been subverted by the rise of the culture of nannyism in the United States.  Pitiful.

Home Depot employee looking for job after stopping alleged thief

Via Claire Wolfe.

Posted by John Venlet on 08/30 at 04:48 AM
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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Denver

Off to Denver for a weekend celebration.  Back Tuesday morning.

Posted by John Venlet on 08/25 at 03:30 AM
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Friday, August 24, 2007

Now That's Insurance Service

Many individuals complain about insurance.  Complaints can range over the premiums required to be paid for the insurance, the hassle of filing claims, to the increase in premiums which can result from the filing of a claim.

I’ve had fairly few dealings with insurance companies, other than paying my premiums, but in the few instances where I did need to file a claim, the insurers who provided my coverage performed their contractural obligations for the most part hassle free.

Typically, insurers only step in after a loss, but AIG Private Client Group, takes a more “proactive” approach to protecting their clients’ assets, which I must admire, and is illustrated by the following.

A private fire crew dispatched by a national insurance company that caters to wealthy clients is guarding 22 high-end homes threatened by the Castle Rock Fire, a blaze that has forced the evacuation of hundreds of million-dollar homes west of Ketchum.

The crew will protect only homes insured by AIG Private Client Group, an insurance company that offers “loss-prevention services” to its wealthiest customers.

Of course, the fact that AIG is only protecting their clients homes will ruffle a few feathers (see some of the comments at The Obscure Store link), but those covered by AIG’s policies are paying for that proactive coverage through higher premiums, so the ruffled feathered few should simply be ignored.

Saving million-dollar homes

Via The Obscure Tree.

Posted by John Venlet on 08/24 at 04:57 AM
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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Electrifying!

Lightning strikes of airplanes are a fairly common occurence, though rarely photographed.  Here’s a link of a Nippon Air jet being struck by lightning.  The link has a real time video of the strike, a slow motion video of the strike, and a still photo.  Quite spectacular, though I’m glad I wasn’t on the jet.

Lightning Strike of Nippon Air Jet

Via Fred Lapides GoodShit.

Posted by John Venlet on 08/23 at 06:52 AM
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Drive Through DUI

Here’s a DUI story out of Nebraska which puzzles me a bit.

Schaaf, 24, was picked up on suspicion of first-offense DUI at 3 a.m. March 20 after ordering four cheeseburgers in the McDonald’s drive-through at 10th and Arapahoe streets.

When he got the to pick-up window the fast-food employee asked Schaaf to pull ahead and wait.

Lincoln Police Officer Kenneth Marrow took the food to Schaaf’s car after he said he observed, from inside the drive-through window, that Schaaf had bloodshot, watery eyes and slurred speech and that he could smell alcohol coming from the car.

What puzzles me about this story is, what in the world is a cop doing standing around inside a McDonald’s drive through window area at 3:00 A.M.?  Was he responding to a McBurglar call, or did he have a craving for some cinnamon melts?

Judge asked to decide drive-through DUI case

The Obscure Store.

Posted by John Venlet on 08/23 at 06:00 AM
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The Bong Show

Ever vigilant, the FBI, investigating a “suspicious package” onboard a Seattle ferry, has determined the item in question was a bong.

The FBI has confirmed that a suspicious package that idled one of the largest ferries in the Washington state fleet for about an hour Wednesday morning was actually a water-pipe typically used for smoking marijuana.

“Someone found a bong,” said David Gomez, FBI assistant special agent in charge.

No word on if Dr. Bongs was consulted to assist in identifying the suspicious package.

Discovery of bong delays WA ferry service

Via Ace of Spades HQ.

Posted by John Venlet on 08/23 at 05:23 AM
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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Reflections After Visiting Concentration Camps

Philosopher Douglas Rasmussen has been traveling in eastern Europe this summer and writes of his experiences at two former concentration camps, one Communist and one Nazi:

“Last week I saw the Sighet Prison in Romania which is very close to the Ukraine border. From about 1948, the Communists used it as a place for political prisoners and torture. It is a memorial now, and it shows all the prison camps and labor camps that were in Romania. It also shows a history of the Romanian resistance to the Commies. They fought in the mountains for years—indeed as late as the 60’s. I have known of this for years, but to actually see the place, the names, the faces is overwhelming. I realize now that I came here to see this prison as much as anything else. It is amazing how bland and simple a place of terror can look. You think it would be in red and orange and look evil. Two days ago, I saw Auschwitz. Well, what can one say? German efficiency is a marvel! I knew what happened there. Indeed, I have read much and seen movies, but to walk under the gate with the words ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ is unbelievable. To see huge rooms filled with human hair, shoes, brushes, to see the tickets that Greek Jews bought to go to Auschwitz thinking that it was to be a new land for them, to see the rooms smaller than a broom closet in which people were forced to stand all night and day, to see the gas chamber, the crematoria, to see it all this is more than one can take. I could not sleep after seeing it, and I cannot accept such a moral obscenity! Nothing can remove this stain, and it is something that can NEVER be forgiven or forgot. Justice demands no less. A very good philosopher and friend, Jon Jacobs, was with me. Jon is more or less sympathetic to classical liberalism and more or less Jewish, and he said the central point quite eloquently: Once you accept the proposition that people can be used without their consent, this is where you end. Philosopher Doug den Uyl then added, ‘And the first step towards thinking people can be used without their consent is to claim that the individual exists for the sake of society.’”

Bold by editor.

Via Stephen Hicks’, Professor of Philosophy at Rockford College, website. Entry dated August 6, 2007

Posted by John Venlet on 08/22 at 01:18 PM
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That Hurts the Pocketbook

Zimbabwe’s inflation—already the highest in the world—hit 7,634.8 percent in July, reminding Zimbabweans there is no relief in sight from daily hardships including chronic food, fuel and foreign currency shortages.

Naturally, muddle minded Mugabe blames it on the West.

Mugabe has accused some businesses of raising prices without justification as part of a Western plot to oust him.

Zimbabwe inflation hits record as Mugabe tightens grip

Posted by John Venlet on 08/22 at 11:35 AM
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Strident Anti Religion Cautions

Hitchens’, Dawkins’, Harris’ and Denkins’ recent contributions to the library of volumes denouncing religion(s) and promoting atheism have generated much discussion, of both the hurrahing and raspberrying sort.

For religious individuals, as opposed to parroting dogmatic religion(s) individuals, the above authors’ writings are necessarily worthy of contemplation, while the parroting dogmatic religion(s) individuals would probably recommend a good ol’ fashioned book burning.

With that said, there are a couple of interesting pieces to read cautioning against stridency among atheists.  First, a piece by Tom Krattenmaker titled Secularists, what happened to the open mind? From Krattenmaker’s piece.

Nevertheless, I find myself wanting to leap to religion’s defense when I encounter broadsides against all religion. Yes, many religious people behave in foolish and obnoxious ways, and some do cause harm in the name of their belief system. Yet the same could be said of non-believers. When a Stalin, Pol Pot, or Hitler commits monstrous deeds in connection with an ideology opposed to religion, does that somehow prove the inherent delusion and danger of non-belief?

Second, a piece by Michael Shermer titled Rational Atheism. From Shermer’s piece.

Whenever religious beliefs conflict with scientific facts or violate principles of political liberty, we must respond with appropriate aplomb. Nevertheless, we should be cautious about irrational exuberance.

For a more detailed explanation of what I think of as a religious individual, versus a parroting dogmatic religion(s) individual, see my post of June 9, 2003 titled A Short Religious Discourse Regarding Natural Law, which you’ll have to scroll down to at my old Blogspot site.

Posted by John Venlet on 08/22 at 09:43 AM
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Clueless

Most US adults in the dark about world politics

Two-thirds of US adults admit to being in the dark about political issues outside the United States, and only a third are well-versed in US politics, the results of a poll published Tuesday showed.

No surprises in that headline or factoid.

Posted by John Venlet on 08/22 at 06:10 AM
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Global Free Markets Effectively Bomb Poverty

Many left leaning individuals decry global free markets and trade, citing the impoverished status of individuals throughout the world as supposed evidence of the failings of free markets and trade.  Well, these individuals would be wrong.

Finally, the boom has reduced acute poverty. The share of the world’s population living on $1 a day or less has dropped from 40 percent in 1981 to 18 percent in 2004, the World Bank estimates.

Noted in a Washington Post op-ed written by Robert J. Samuelson titled Is the Boom in Peril?

Posted by John Venlet on 08/22 at 04:37 AM
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