Women in STEM

I'm going to come right out and say it:  I don't care how many women or young girls become interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.  I don't care for the same reason I don't care how many men go into STEM or how many women become NFL head coaches.

All I care about, and what I think reasonable people everywhere should be working on, is ensuring that the young people in our lives are exposed to as many educational opportunities as possible during there formative years.  I hope that every child has an opportunity to do some real work, to see how businesses run and how things are actually made before they make major decisions about how they are going to live their adult lives.  I don't want anyone to be discouraged from going into STEM fields, or medicine, or the law.  My wish for everyone is to find their passion and pursue it, which is antithetical in many ways to the classroom/factory model of schooling.

A Cascade of Failures

I saw the title of this report cited in Reason Magazine, "A Cascade of Failures:  Why Government Fails, and How to Stop It."  To me, the meaning of this sentence is wonderfully ambiguous.  Most square pro-government types may be inclined to assume that the intention of the report is to provide guidance on how to stop government failures.  I prefer to assume that it is aimed at stopping government, period.

Rock the Vote Boat

I thought about going out to vote today.  Then I realized that there wouldn't be a "No Thanks, I don't want any government" option, so I stayed home.

More Things That Annoy Me

I am not really sure why, but when people use the phrase "speak to" in place of "discuss" or "elaborate on" it really bothers me.  I know there are cases when it is the most applicable phrase, but seriously, it drives me crazy.

I also am not a fan of the term "effect change."  I understand that logically it makes sense, but it still bugs the crap out of me.  I can also not accept someone being labeled an "agent of change."

Libertarianism Really Is All About Me

I hear people all the time attack libertarianism as being "all about me", or some variant thereof.  We try to defend ourselves by saying that it isn't so, but you know what?  They are right.

Libertarianism really is all about me.  It starts with me and ends with everyone else.  It begins with my recognition that I am not special.  The universe owes me nothing, and if I expect to get something, I realize that I am going to have to work for it.  I understand that it is not right for me to commit acts of aggression against others in order to get what I want.  I can simply see no justification for it.  I look around and see no distinguishing characteristics of any individual I have ever met that should give them the special right to initiate the use of force against me.  Likewise, no group of 5 or 10 or 10 million such individuals has that special right either.

I recognize that I have no right to initiate the use of force against others.  Everything else flows from there.

Happy Independence Day - Part II

As I was walking up the stairs from my shower, my towel fell off.  I said to my wife, "this is how I celebrate my independence."  But then I realized that the 4th of July isn't celebrated for my independence, it is celebrated for our independence.  Is the contradiction of celebrating the independence of a collective lost on everyone else?

Happy Independence Day!

As a libertarian I am rarely more conflicted than I am on the 4th of July.  On the one hand, I support nothing more than the overthrow of tyrannical regimes.  On the other, I despise nothing more than the nationalistic worship of the State.  Today I am in a good mood, so I am going to focus on the former.  I am hoping you do the same!

Dr. Thomas Stossel on Medical Conflict of Interest Mania

Dr. Thomas Stossel (yes, John's brother) recently spoke with Reason on a topic that is near and dear to my heart, medical conflict of interest.  He may be the first person I have ever heard speak rationally about the subject, and I highly recommend that you check it out.  Among medical professionals, the official party line is always that conflict of interest is a huge problem caused by an unruly class of doctors who are only out to make money getting in bed with evil, profit-making corporations who would just as soon poison their patients as show any sort of compassion.  His level-headed presentation gives me back a little bit of hope for the industry.

What Will Mankind's Greatest Advancement Be?

It seems fairly obvious to me that the single greatest advancement mankind could make is the eradication of the religious notion that government can and should solve all of the world's problems.  All one must advocate in order to achieve this is the simple explanation of the so commonly misunderstood concept of "rights."  So much of the world is concerned that the government must protect their right to eat in certain restaurants without being exposed to cigarette smoke, nicotine-laced water vapor or trans-fats.  They say that the government must enforce these "rights", neglecting their true nature and what must be done to their neighbor in order to make it so.  I implore everyone to always remember that rights are those things to be respected by others, not provided by them.

Taxpayer Money

There is a phrase so common that it rarely raises an eyebrow just how ridiculous it is, "Taxpayer Money."  You've all heard the hyperbolic statements, "We aren't going to spend a dime of Taxpayer Money on (insert villainous project of the week here)."  Everyone on both sides of the aisle wants to look out for the little guy by protecting that hard-earned Taxpayer Money for only their own pet projects.

Get real.  If anyone actually honestly evaluated the term, they would feel compelled to give the taxpayers their money back!   Could you imagine if McDonald's issued press releases saying that unscrupulous franchise owners were wasting "Burger Eaters' Money" on over priced peanut oil and salt?  No, of course not!  Because in the world of free exchange we don't have to resort to dishonest language to hide out deeds.  I had money. McDonalds had hamburgers.  Now I have a hamburger and they have what was formerly my money.

By State logic, Taxpayer Money money belongs to the State, so let's end the charade and come up with a more accurate term.  

The Grantification of Academic Writing

In my day job I read a good number of academic articles.  They are written in specialty journals with audiences consisting of spine surgeons and researchers.  Regardless of the narrow scope and intimate audience of the journals, the authors invariably feel compelled to fill the introduction of every article with the prevalence of back pain, its cost to society etc.  Enough!  We've got it.  Move on to the interesting part.  As the reader I'm not sitting on your grant committee, so I don't need to be sold on something I already know and am quite tired of reading slight variations on the theme of how much this topic costs "society."

Don't we need regulation?

I was taught, through the lens of the Great Depression and the so-called progressive era, that the nation learned the virtues of moderation and threw off the shackles of the dangerous laissez-faire experiment with social programs and government "regulation" of industry and markets.  I was taught that our "mixed" economy was a harmonious compromise between greed and restraint.  I inferred that greed was powerful and functional; a little greed was good but too much was dangerous.  The corollary of course is that a “reasonable” amount of profit is ok, even good, but too much is bad, even evil.  The conclusion to this line of thinking is that “regulation” of industry is necessary and justified, even if it is cumbersome and costly.  What I have learned since about the historical narratives told in any venue is that they do little more than to demonstrate the preconceived notions of the narrator.  I now see the story as fantasy and the conclusions as false.

Regulation is neither morally justified nor necessary.  Less fundamental but more obvious, it has a demonstrably poor track record of efficacy.  The fact of human nature is that people trade.  Some are honest, others are not and the rest of us play for either side at one time or another.  The situation an individual is in greatly influences his/her propensity to dishonesty.  The existence of systemic protections creates moral hazards resulting in ignorant consumers and unscrupulous marketeers.  Responsibility in a broader field of things is shifted to the bureaucrat who has less incentive and less specific knowledge to make appropriate decisions in real time.  Further, the conundrum arises, as immortalized by Dr. Seuss, “Who will watch the bee watcher?”

Government - A Means of Laundering Our Conscience

How many insist that the government must do something to help the poor but pay little attention to those of us who say it does a poor job of it?  Are they bad, stupid, ignorant people?  I like to think most of them are not.  Rather, government is a short-cut -- an easy and insufficient answer to many difficult questions.  So long as one advocates that the government steps in to help the poor, the sick, and the huddled masses, one is off the hook from actually doing or thinking of anything for themselves.  In this way the government (whatever form it may take) is a convenient and insidious means of laundering our conscience when it comes to the matter of helping our fellow man.

Where Have I Been?

Loyal readers may have noticed that I have been absent lately, and by "lately" I mean for the past year.  It is not because I have stopped being interested in writing, I simply haven't been prioritizing on it.  I have been teaching myself Android app development, which has been a great deal of very frustrating, tedious fun.  I have finally released by first app, GYMer, which is for tracking weight lifting progress (sets, weight, reps, rest time and all that Jazz).  I'm very happy with the result, but I am far from done.  I have dozens of tweaks and additional features in mind that I need to further vet and develop.  Still I hope to have more free time to devote to writing now that the app is in the store.

Rand on Government

I used to be a pretty strong advocate of Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy, but there is one thing I still cannot wrap my head around.  As far as I can remember, she based her political philosophy, rightly so, on an axiom of non-aggression -- no one should initiate the use of force against another.  But how then did she arrive at her advocacy for a government with a monopolistic power to use physical force?  What happens if someone refuses to participate in the government system?  Are they to be forced?  

Another Thing that Annoys Me

This is probably going to offend a lot of people at least a little bit, but I have to get it off my chest.  I am really annoyed by people who say "Q1", "Q2", etc. when they are talking about quarters of the year.  I may be alone, but I find it to be one of the most subtly annoying bits of corporate-speak imaginable.

An Original Affirmation

Is it my lot in life to wait patiently? If I want to stay where I am, it will be.  I do not want to stand by and cower in the shadows of 'great men', hoping that someday a few rays of sunshine will come my way. I want to bask in the sunlight of my own creativity, my own foresight, and my own sweat. I will take both risk and reward in that.  I have been looking for my door into summer, hoping that it would be around the next corner, all the while not knowing that all I had to do was cut a hole in the wall.

OFA Attacks Koch Brothers for Giving Out Booze, Ok with Penalizing Failure to Purchase Commercial Product

Organizing for Action (OFA) send out the email below yesterday, detailing the dastardly deeds of the left's favorite whipping boys, The Koch Brothers (Dun-dun-dunnnnn).  When you get past the class warfare, the envy, and the assumption that youth are an ignorant class of rubes who will follow anyone giving away free beer straight to their death, the hypocrisy becomes a little bit more clear.  OFA thinks that throwing a party and giving away free alcohol to consenting adults in an effort to celebrate lack of support for an intrusive government edict is some "sick crap."  Yet, by their support of the bill, they favor penalizing these same poor rubes for being too ignorant to purchase a fed-approved commercial product.

The email was written as follows:
This should humiliate anyone who's ever been associated with the Koch brothers. 

One of their anti-Obamacare groups is going to college campuses, giving away free booze to try to bribe young folks out of getting health insurance. 

Let them spend their millions on sick crap like that. Whether they like it or not, they're losing this debate, all because of the work you're doing. We're the group that's capable of putting these groups in their place. 

Here's why I'm writing -- we're facing a huge fundraising deadline on Monday, and I need to know if you'll chip in to help.

According to our records associated with this exact email address, you haven't chipped in yet this year:

    -- Supporter Status: Active 
    -- 2014 Membership: Pending 
    -- Suggested action: Donate $5 or more today.

If I had one thing to say to the Koch brothers, it'd be: "SCOREBOARD!"

Despite the millions of dollars they've spent, more than 5 million Americans have already signed up for private plans through the health insurance marketplace. 

We're beating them through one-on-one conversations, helping people get the facts about getting covered, and dismantling the lies these groups are spreading about health care reform. 

No matter what change we're fighting for, it seems like the Koch brothers have always been on the other side.

Our track record is pretty damn good. We've shown we can beat them, because we're building something bigger, stronger, and smarter than just a pile of money. 

We'll never be able to go toe-to-toe with their checkbook -- and we don't need to, because we have a much more powerful tool in the hundreds of thousands of Americans standing up to make their voices heard.

That's what makes us different, and it's what makes these fundraising deadlines so important.

Your donation matters -- chip in $5 or more today:




Jim Messina
Organizing for Action

Don't Tread On My Obamacare

Regular readers will remember that I have somehow been added to the Obama campaign (for lack of a better word) email list.  The most recent email was simply too good to pass up because it contained this image of the new "Affordable Care Act" bumper sticker:
Don't Tread On My Obamacare (Affordable Care Act)

I have to hand it to them that this is a fairly clever play on the classic "Don't Tread On Me" flag, if one is willing to commit willful ignorance with respect to what "treading" means in any real sense.  The sentiment behind "Don't Tread On Me" is Peace and could be elaborated to, "Don't steal my stuff, make me do things against my will, or otherwise mess with me."  Obamacare is a federal law, including myriad rules, regulations, and mandates piled upon an already highly-regulated, semi-socialist medical system.  Without getting too deep in the weeds, "My Obamacare" could be elaborated as, "my right to healthcare services provided by others at a price not determined by mutual agreement and regardless of my ability to pay."  So, "Don't Tread On My Obamacare" really means, "Don't try to stop me from forcing others, through my agent (the state), to provide me a service they may or may not agree to under voluntary exchange."  What mental contortions must one achieve in order to think that this is the way civilized human should behave?

I've said it before, and I will keep saying it until I feel it is no longer necessary.  Rights are those things that should be respected by others, not provided by them.   

Tax Deductions, Cognitive Dissonance and State Worship

I had an epiphany this morning--in the shower as usual.  I have been working for the last couple of evenings on my taxes, and a family member with whom I have had numerous conversations on the topic came to mind.  He knows a considerable amount about the subject, having worked for an accountant for a number of years and heading a household since the mid-1980's.  He knows the deductions inside and out and keeps up on the vagaries of the code, and he exploits them to his maximum benefit.  For this I do not blame the man.  In fact, I find it quite laudable, as you might imagine.  But, what you don't know about this man is that he has never met a government program he didn't like.  I wonder if the thought has ever crossed his mind that his desires for the State to bring us all to Nirvana are countered by his legal attempts to shirk his duty as a citizen?

Intelligent Design My Foot!

I hit my elbow on the bathroom wall this morning while towelling off.  This was followed by immediate pain and tingling shooting down my forearm and into my fingers that lasted for a minute or two.  "Viola!"  I said to myself.  "People who believe in intelligent design must have never hit their 'funny bone'!  No intelligent designer would leave the ulnar nerve so vulnerable."

Faith in Mankind not the Legislator

More words of wisdom from uncle Freddie:
Against such conclusions as these I protest with all my strength. Far from entertaining the absurd idea of doing away with religion, education, property, labor, and the arts, when we say that the State ought to protect the free development of all these kinds of human activity, without helping some of them at the expense of others—we think, on the contrary, that all these living powers of society would develop themselves more harmoniously under the influence of liberty; and that, under such an influence no one of them would, as is now the case, be a source of trouble, of abuses, of tyranny, and disorder. Our adversaries consider that an activity which is neither aided by supplies, nor regulated by government, is an activity destroyed. We think just the contrary. Their faith is in the legislator, not in mankind; ours is in mankind, not in the legislator.

This is Your Chance

Don't everyone jump at once, but apparently the president needs help getting the word out about the great new healthcare system that he has so graciously provided for us.  So I guess maybe the popularity and great benefits of the program aren't speaking for themselves?  I just keep getting a kick out of these email calls to action.  I can only imagine in 20 years how much more hilarious they are going to be.

If you think you're never going to win a chance to go backstage to meet President Obama, I need to tell you something:

That's what I thought, too. 

When I got the phone call to tell me my name had been selected, I was floored. It wasn't long before my husband and I were getting on a free flight to D.C. to meet the President face to face. 

I'm here to tell you -- if you're still on the fence, you should go for it right now. 

Anyone who adds their name to help with the final push on health care enrollment is automatically eligible to win. Chances are, you were probably planning to help out anyway. This is a pretty amazing bonus.

When you get home, all your friends will want to know: What is it like to meet President Obama?

Here's the truth -- it felt like meeting an old friend.

The President is so warm and genuine -- he wanted to know all about me and my husband. Talking with him completely reaffirmed my commitment to keep fighting for what is important. And the photo of the three of us is one of my favorite things to show off.

If I could go again, I'd do it in a heartbeat -- heck, I'm going to throw my name in too, just in case. 

Add your name to help spread the word on health care enrollment, and you'll be automatically entered to meet President Obama himself:


Thanks -- I'll be pulling for you!


Bastiat's Negative Railroad

From Economic Sophisms, by Frederic Bastiat

I have said that as long as one has regard, as unfortunately happens, only to the interest of the producer, it is impossible to avoid running counter to the general interest, since the producer, as such, demands nothing but the multiplication of obstacles, wants, and efforts.

I find a remarkable illustration of this in a Bordeaux newspaper.

M. Simiot raises the following question:

Should there be a break in the tracks at Bordeaux on the railroad from Paris to Spain?

He answers the question in the affirmative and offers a number of reasons, of which I propose to examine only this:

There should be a break in the railroad from Paris to Bayonne at Bordeaux; for, if goods and passengers are forced to stop at that city, this will be profitable for boatmen, porters, owners of hotels, etc.

Here again we see clearly how the interests of those who perform services are given priority over the interests of the consumers.

But if Bordeaux has a right to profit from a break in the tracks, and if this profit is consistent with the public interest, then Angoulême, Poitiers, Tours, Orléans, and, in fact, all the intermediate points, including Ruffec, Châtellerault, etc., etc., ought also to demand breaks in the tracks, on the ground of the general interest—in the interest, that is, of domestic industry—for the more there are of these breaks in the line, the greater will be the amount paid for storage, porters, and cartage at every point along the way. By this means, we shall end by having a railroad composed of a whole series of breaks in the tracks, i.e., a negative railroad.

Whatever the protectionists may say, it is no less certain that the basic principle of restriction is the same as the basic principle of breaks in the tracks: the sacrifice of the consumer to the producer, of the end to the means.

Bastiat Predicts the Civil War

I collected this note while reading the Bastiat Collection on my Kindle a couple of years back.  Unfortunately, I am going to have to do some digging in order to point you to the specific essay.  However, I found it to be an incredible tid bit of history that a Frenchman who died in 1850 would predict with such accuracy the roots of the War Between the States:
Look at the United States. There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain—which is, to secure to everyone his liberty and his property. Therefore, there is no country in the world where social order appears to rest upon a more solid basis. Nevertheless, even in the United States, there are two questions, and only two, that from the beginning have endangered political order. And what are these two questions? That of slavery and that of tariffs; that is, precisely the only two questions in which, contrary to the general spirit of this republic, law has taken the character of a plunderer. Slavery is a violation, sanctioned by law, of the rights of the person. Protection is a violation perpetrated by the law upon the rights of property; and certainly it is very remarkable that, in the midst of so many other debates, this double legal scourge, the sorrowful inheritance of the Old World, should be the only one which can, and perhaps will, cause the rupture of the Union.

The Ethics of Dynamite

I just finished listening to an episode of Free Thoughts, The Ethics of Dynamite, which I cannot recommend highly enough.  Enjoy this calm and reasoned discussion on the legitimacy of the state based on the this essay of the same title.  I'm clearly a little bit more radical than these guys in terms of my view on the legitimacy of the state, but it is so rare that I hear a debate of this subject on either side that is not inflamed with vitriol that I cannot contain my excitement.

The Netflix Mandate

I finally took the plunge and signed up for Netflix.  I don't know why I was being so cheap before; I'm not really going to miss the $8/month.  And, I feel that I get a great deal of entertainment for the money.  Even more, I don't have to think about it; every month the money is charged to my credit card.  If it was more than $8/month, that bother me, but as it is I feel pretty good about it.

But, it got me to thinking, "What if the fee was automatically deducted from my paycheck on a pre-tax basis?"  Not only would that simplify things for me, but it would obviously increase the value proposition of Netflix, so much so that they would doubtless be able to increase their prices without loosing customers.  In fact, they would probably see a considerable expansion in their subscriptions, because let's face it, avoiding every possible penny of taxes is great fun.  Everyone else in the entertainment sector - and frankly, outside of it as well - would cry "foul".  This is rightfully so as Netflix would be profiting greatly from a fortuitous tax loophole.

This should make you wonder why we pay for health "insurance" this way.  Do we benefit from greater access to cheaper care because we are able to pay for it with pre-tax money, or does this practice simply inflate the prices, remove the true consumer from the decision making process and artificially drive the expansion of this voter-preferred sector of the economy?      

An Unfortunate Hole in Federally-Administered Education

Does anyone think that it is coincidence that we (at least everyone I have talked to) were never taught, in federally-administered schools, very many details about the lead up to the Constitutional Convention?  All I remember was a passing mention of the Articles of Confederation and how inadequate they were, particularly with regard to the "weakness" of the federal government.  All of these arguments seem to be based on the supremacy and importance of a large, strong federal government.  Why is so little attention paid to the strong apposition to the reformulation of the confederation (and why am I reluctant to use that word?)?  Why was I well out of school before I learned of the Anti Federalists?

While I do not believe this is a coincidence, I also do not imagine that it is the result of a massive conspiracy, but rather as an emergence of the religion of State observed by most citizens.

Today's Act of Mental Heresy

Today, I would like you to commit serial thoughtcrime.  Every time you encounter the word "government", I would like you to replace it with "organized crime" or an appropriate synonym.  If you hear "leaders", or better yet, "public servants", replace it with "boss" or some equivalent.

If you think this is silly or if it does not reveal any insight into our world, feel free to go back to your regular way of thinking tomorrow.
Disclaimer:  To protect the delicate humors of your friends, neighbors and coworkers, be advised not to make any utterances of your revelations.  Instead, provide your thoughts in the comments below.  

Confessions of an Alleged Former Libertarian

I have often wondered, "Where are all the former Libertarians?"  Well, I was delighted to come across tale of one on the School Sucks podcast.  In the highly recommended episode Brett goes word-by-word though a Salon.com article titled, "Confessions of a former Libertarian: My personal, psychological and intellectual epiphany."  I opened the article immediately upon arriving home from my daily commute.  Even though Brett went through the article in great detail, I couldn't wait to read it with my own eyes, thinking that there had to be some substance that I missed by just listening to it.  I was greatly disappointed. In spite of the title there was no description of an intellectual epiphany within the article. The author describes how the logical consistency of libertarianism made him feel good and allowed him to win arguments, but how, over time, the fact that he and his friends didn't feel that the ideology allowed him to act compassionately led to his conversion to "unremarkable liberalism."

I see.  It's a simple matter of feelings over mind, so let's work through the illogical progression.  I used to think that no one had the right the initiate the use of force against others.  But this didn't sit well with me.  What if some people don't have everything that I think they need, after all?  Other people can provide it for them.  Why shouldn't they be forced?  Viola!  I have a right to force A to give to B what i think B needs, because by God, that's the compassionate way to live!

Organizing Your Money for Your Safety and Freedom!

Somehow I was fortunate enough to get on the "Organizing for Action" mailing list.  Boy are they barking up the wrong tree!  I say "fortunate" not because they will benefit in any way from sending me the emails, but because I get a fair amount of entertainment out of them.  I didn't watch any of the Great Leader's speech last night, nor have I yet read any news reports on it.  But, I can guess from this email what he's planning on doing - higher minimum wage, higher deficits, more spending on everything, especially education and other feel-good programs, rinse and repeat.  After about a term and a half in office, I get the sense that the brilliant tactician has finally come up with a plan to save us all from ruin!  Unfortunately, and I'm still guessing here, it's the same shit he's been doing all along.

For your entertainment, I have included the text of the email below:

Daniel --

Tonight, President Obama made sure everyone knows:

He's not waiting for Congress. He's taking action now, and he's going to explore every method in his power to restore real opportunity for all Americans.

Let's follow the President's lead. We can win big fights this year, but with all the forces standing in our way, let's not kid ourselves into thinking that will happen without real commitment at the grassroots level -- from all of us.

Daniel, can you do your part? Chip in $5 or more and let's get to work:


Thanks -- more soon,


Jon Carson
Executive Director
Organizing for Action

How Should We Defend Capitalism?

There are those who spend their lives defending Capitalism on the grounds that it provides the greatest good for the greatest number.  They contend that Capitalism has paved the way for human achievement and that only through Capitalism will human beings continue to progress.  I agree with them and don't blame them; in fact, I commend them for their efforts.  However, I do not believe they have chosen the best course of action, because when it comes to the every day interactions among human beings, Peace needs no further justification! 

Watermelons, Wingnuts and Rational Demagogues

I was reminded today of a funny name for environmental zealots.  They are called Watermelons, green on the outside and red on the inside.  Pretty funny, right?  I thought so.

I Googled the term just to have a source to link to when I stumbled upon The Rational Wiki.  Ironically enough, as far as I can tell, The Rational Wiki is nothing more than a convenient location for examples of Ad Hominem attacks employed by folks with no sense of humor.  For example:
Watermelon is a snarl word used by wingnuts to refer to environmentalists.
I was worried that "wingnuts" would only appear once on the page.  Fortunately I was wrong:
The mistake the wingnuts make is conflating all environmentalism with socialism. Eco-socialists are libertarian socialists who tend to be critical of mainstream environmentalists and even many hard green philosophies, as well as non-anarchist forms of socialism, for not advocating for radical social change and the creation of a "free association of producers" (rather than simply allowing workers to control the means of production). Many environmentalists are critical of eco-socialists, claiming that they are more interested in promoting their ideology than addressing environmental issues.
If you can make that paragraph make sense, you're doing better than I am.

My Least Favorite Presidents - Part 1

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt - Liberty's least favorite presidentI'm tired of hearing how great Theodore Roosevelt was.  All though history class in school, and from
every adult progressive at a cocktail party since, I have had to suffer the sycophants, "Oh don't you just love Theodore Roosevelt?  He was just so full of energy and gumption.  He got soooo much done!"

"I would have preferred he got much less done.  The world would be a better place."  is my standard reply.

To which I commonly hear, "Oh but he greatly expanded the power of the executive.  He took power and authority whether his opponents thought he had the authority or not.  He created the modern office of The President."

Inquisitively, I wonder, "And this distinguishes him from Hitler, Napoleon and Chairman Mao because he was less ambitious or just less successful?"

Incandescent Bulbs

During cold weather like most of the country is experiencing, I think it is a good time to pause and remember that my super-affordable, incandescent light bulbs are currently running at the same efficiency as the much more expensive compact fluorescent ones... 100%!  As my furnace struggles to keep up, I am thankful for every Watt of "waste" heat.

Saturday Morning Spooner - Part 5

“No Treason — No. VI. The Constitution of no Authority.”
But these men who claim and exercise this absolute and irresponsible dominion over us, dare not be consistent, and claim either to be our masters, or to own us as property. They say they are only our servants, agents, attorneys, and representatives. But this declaration involves an absurdity, a contradiction. No man can be my servant, agent, attorney, or representative, and be, at the same time, uncontrollable by me, and irresponsible to me for his acts. It is of no importance that I appointed him, and put all power in his hands. If I made him uncontrollable by me, and irresponsible to me, he is no longer my servant, agent, attorney, or representative. If I gave him absolute, irresponsible power over my property, I gave him the property. If I gave him absolute, irresponsible power over myself, I made him my master, and gave myself to him as a slave. And it is of no importance whether I called him master or servant, agent or owner. The only question is, what power did I put into his hands? Was it an absolute and irresponsible one? or a limited and responsible one?
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