August 01, 2004
Gun grabbers lead assault against free speech.

Popular Mechanics, the magazine on all things mechanical and well...popular, is under a lot of heat from a small but vocal number of its readers who feel the magazine is too pro gun and features too many gun articles and advertisements.

From a Review site on Popular Mechanics Magazine:

I received a subscription for Christmas last year as it seemed like a pretty broad based magazine with lots of good articles on a variety of topics. And that is absolutely true - however, I ultimately cancelled due to the number of advertisements for handguns. Call me what you will (and yes, I'm from that bastion of liberalism, Massachusetts) but I could not support a periodical that advertises these items. Just my own personal feelings on this matter.

Popular Mechanics is a gun friendly magazine, as evidenced by articles like this one which explains why the assault weapons ban must end. Another article why smart guns are a dumb idea

The gun friendly leaning tendencies of Popular Mechanics have not gone unnoticed by people who support gun control or gun bans. Some letters have been sent into Joe Oldham, the editor of the magazine, showing displease at the amount of gun articles, opinions, and advertisements.

In the June 2004 edition of Popular Mechanics Mr. Oldham addressed the issue:

As the editor, yes, I decide what will run and what will not. And yes, I enjoy the shooting sports and am a member of the National Rifle Association. I believe that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees me, and individual, the right to own a firearm. Like most of the readers of Popular Mechanics I am generally a law-abiding citizen, have served in the armed forces of this country and am not a "gun nut". From letters I received, I think I'm pretty much in step with the majority of our readers. Knowing that I have the support of most of you reading this, I can tell you categorically that no amount of irate letters or whining or protesting will scare me into forcing gun articles out of these pages. It's part of our heritage. It's part of our editorial mission.
And that's why we print articles on firearms. Let the letters begin. Till next time.

It's about time someone stood up against the political correct atmosphere in today's society. As a consumer the people who don't like the editorial content of the magazine have every right to not read the magazine, or just ignore those stories. They don't have the right to try to shut those ideas and stories down.

I shouldn't be upset at the editorial content of The Nation, and I don't expect someone who leans left to like what is said in The Weekly Standard.

It seems that there are too many on the left who want to use powers outside those of regular free market choice to control what is said and who says it. The whole political correctness movement is evidence of that. If something you say may offend someone, you are not allowed to say it. No more "Merry Christmas". It's now "Seasons Greetings".

In a more chilling example of government sponsored censorship, Iowa Democratic Senator Sen. Tom Harkin has introduced a bill that would jeapordize Rush Limbaugh's hour of airtime on the Armed Services Radio Network.

AFRTS receives federal funds to provide radio and television shows to American service members worldwide. But Mr. Harkin said the organization provides no countercommentary to the "extreme right-wing views" on Mr. Limbaugh's radio show.

It's not like the people in the military don't want him. An hour of his show was added after a write-in campaign during a vote on programming changes landed him more votes than anyone who was even on the ballot.

I am not saying there aren't conservatives who use their power to silence what is said, because there have been. Most of the examples we see on a daily basis such as eliminating God in the Pledge of Allegiance, eliminating Columbus Day celebrations, and editing our history books is done in such a sly backdoor way and happens so slowly that we hardly notice it, until it is almost too late.

Just like the old wives tale goes. You can put a frog in boiling water, and he'll jump right out, but him in cool water and slowly bring it to a boil, and the frog allows himself to be cooked.

If we aren't careful of these infringements on our speech, we will lose those rights forever.

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July 21, 2004
Here comes butt-heads

I just heard news about a proposal to ban smoking in all indoor workplaces in Pennsylvania, including bars and restaurants. It is being pushed forward by state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery County. To tell you the truth, I'm getting sick of writing about this crap.

From the Pittsburgh Channel:

A state lawmaker says the time has come to ban smoking at all workplaces in Pennsylvania, including bars and restaurants.

State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery County, says he will push for legislation simlar to that of California, New York, Maine, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida and Massachusetts, where the law is already in place.

"It's not a question of if it will happen, it's a question of when," Greg Hartley, assistant director of Smokefree Pennsylvania, told reporter Kelly Frey in a Channel 4 Action News report from October 2003. "We think it will happen soon."

Secondhand smoke causes 53,000 deaths a year in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Rumblings surfaced early last year about a possible smoking ban at Allegheny County bars and restuarants. The noise was quieted by the state's Clean Indoor Air Act, passed in 1998, which establishes no-smoking sections in restaurants but prohibits most local governments from further restricting smokers.

Some eateries have voluntarily extinguished smoking. A Web site,, lists about 100 smoke-free restaurants in Allegheny and surrounding counties

I believe this to be an intrusion on our lives by an ever increasingly powerful government. I think that the free market should decide which establishments are smoke-free, or that allow smoking.

To me it is all about freedom of choice. There is the freedom of the owners of bars and restaurants to allow their customers have a smoke with thier meal or with their drink. If they want to be smoke-free, that’s their choice as well. A customer should also be able to choose a place to go when they don’t want to be around smoke, or one which allows them to smoke.

The government says this is all to protect your health. They have your best interests at heart. Well, there are a lot of things which are bad for you. Eating too much, eating fattening foods, drinking alcohol, and not exercising are just a few. Are they next?

The government cites obesity as a major health problem now. Is the government going to now tell a restaurateur what food he can sell? Or tell me what I can eat? Or force me to exercise? Twenty years ago the thought of a state-wide smoking ban would have seemed crazy so who knows anymore.

I am totally against this proposed law. It has nothing to do with my personal views on smoking; it has to do with my view on the role of government in trying to protect us from every little thing they view as dangerous. From seatbelts, to cell phones while driving, to cigar and cigarette smoke.

Here comes the nanny-state.

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Posted by TomCat :: Permalink :: Comments (2) :: Basic Freedom Infringed
» Blogcritics links with: Tyranny of the two-bit state senator
» The Nap Room links with: RINO Assclowns
July 16, 2004
Free Market Rules

From his own web-site:

By borrowing from future generations to give tax relief to those who need help the least, George W. Bush’s economic policies have, for the first time in history, forced the federal government to spend $1 billion more EACH DAY than it takes in.

But little reported earlier this week comes this great news, as reported by Reuters:

WASHINGTON, July 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. government posted a larger-than-expected budget surplus in June, propped up by higher quarterly business tax receipts, a government report released on Tuesday showed.

In the Treasury Department's monthly budget statement, June income outpaced spending by $19.14 billion, slightly less than the government's June 2003 surplus of $21.23 billion.

"What we are seeing is the impact of a good economy, the impact of extraordinarily strong corporate profits, and likely the impact of more people being caught in the alternative minimum tax," Drew Matus, financial markets economist at Lehman Brothers in New York, said in response to the report.

"Surprisingly strong receipts are really helping out a great deal here. There is no reason to suspect, given the employment growth we have seen, that this trend will change any time soon," he said.

Corporate income tax inflows grew 38 percent in June, when quarterly tax statements are normally filed, compared to June 2003. Individual tax receipts were nearly 9 percent higher.

Read that last paragraph closely. Income tax inflows from business grew 38% and individual inflows grew 9%. Wha' Happaned? If you listen to John Kerry you would assume that tax cuts would starve the government of needed funds and eliminate food from the mouths of poor children.

But as predicted, and as happened two previous times taxes were cut (Reagan and Kennedy), money coming into the treasury has actually increased!

If that isn't proof positive that tax cuts spur economic growth, and that growth in the economy happens best when the government gets out of the way, then I don't know what is.

The same tax cuts which are causing the economy to grow at such a substantial rate are the same ones which John Kerry wants to eliminate.
From his own web-site again:

To restore fiscal discipline and strengthen our economy, Kerry will repeal Bush’s special tax breaks for Americans who make more than $200,000.

Many of those people who 'make more than $200,000' do so because they own businesses. That income which is taxed as individual income is actually business income. By increasing taxes on these individuals (and therefore the business) you decrease the liklihood that they can invest in their business to increase productivity and grow and make even more money.

That means fewer jobs created, and a slower growing ecnonomy.

Now I am not saying that tax cuts alone get the job done. We are still spending too much. Bush is spending like a liberal, with the new drug entitlement program, and increases in many domestic programs.

But through a combination of tax cuts, and fiscally responsible spending, we can actually increase the amount of money coming into the treasury, pay down the debt, and maybe afford a few nice things for you and me.

More reading is available at Blogcritics

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Posted by TomCat :: Permalink :: Comments (8) :: Economics
» The LLama Butchers links with: Shhhh...Nobody tell Sully!
» RIGHT ON RED >> links with: Tax Cuts, Biaaaaaaatch!!!
July 14, 2004
Guns guns and more guns

According to John Lott, a well-respected researcher in the effectiveness of Gun laws, and author of More Guns, Less Crime, the gun grabbers have gotten their hats handed to them. Gun control is a losing issue. The fat lady is warming up.

From his Fox News Article

This month, the Million Mom March in Washington drew an anemic showing of only 2,000 people, while this year, all of the Democratic presidential candidates— however unenthusiastically— spoke of Americans’ Second Amendment right to own guns. These are just a few of the signs that the facts finally seem to be catching up to the movement. The future for the movement looks even worse.

Whether the subject is concealed handgun laws  or bans on semi-automatic so-called “assault weapons,” gun control debates have been filled with apocalyptic claims about what will happen if gun control is not adopted. One common prediction is that laws allowing the carrying of a concealed weapon will result in crime waves, or permit holders shooting others. However, with 37 states now having right-to-carry laws, and another nine states letting some citizens carry, permit holders have continually shown themselves to be extremely law-abiding. It is becoming more and more difficult to attack those laws.

Gun control does not work. Proponents of banning guns says that it will reduce crime. In England, where handguns were banned in 1997, crime has rose an average of 29% in the period of 1997-2002.

In Australia where guns were also banned, violent crime rates averaged 32% higher in the six years after the law was passed (from 1997 to 2002) than they did the year before the law in 1996. The same comparisons for armed robbery rates showed increases of 45%.

All gun control laws do is remove guns from the hands of law abiding citizens who merely wish to defend themselves. Criminals will continue to break the law and carry guns.

Gun control supporters say we should rely on the police for protection. For the majority of Americans though who don't live 5 minutes from police, waiting for police to arrive could mean the difference between being killed, injured, or assaulted by people entering their homes, or bothering them on the street.

Many gun grabbers who tend to be liberal call themselves pro-choice. They are for the woman's right to choose, and believe that the government should keep it's hands out of a woman's womb. But when it comes to the choice of carrying a weapon to protect themselves, they are all for taking that right away. And it is a right.

Just read the Second Amendment.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

The "Right of the People". People you and me. Just like the right of the people peaceably to assemble. People like you and me.

This entry and more can be found at The Nap Room

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Posted by TomCat :: Permalink :: Comments (4) :: Introduction
» The LLama Butchers links with: Hey Liz!
July 12, 2004
In walks Elliot Ness

Sometimes on Sunday, when it's raining or an important game is on the TV, I head over to the gun range to have a beer, eat a sausage sandwich and hang out. It's a nice bar. It's quiet and limited mostly to members of the club. Every Sunday they feature different menu items. Sometimes it's a sandwich, sometimes it's clams. Bottles of Yuengling are a buck as are all cans and bottles.

The trouble is, this bar is a speakeasy. They have no liquor license. If you know anything about Pennsylvania you'll know the Liquor Control Board doesn't stand for that.

Well, after 54 years of operating under the radar as a speakeasy, the gun club was raided last night.

The State Cops came barging in and made everyone leave. They confiscated the beer and the money and fined the bartenders $1,000 each.

I'm just glad they didn't come in when they had poker tables set up. That would have been really bad.

Now I know they broke the law, but it's a stupid law. The reason they didn't have a liquor license is because there were no liquor licenses to buy. The LCB is ironfisted in how they regulate liquor licenses. Some of their laws are draconion and stupid. Plus they are expensive. Very expensive.

The board of directors at the LCB are mostly a bunch of tea-toatlers who really don't like liquor and beer sales, but know it's great tax revenue. So just like cigarettes, they keep it around for the revenue but make it hard for stores to sell it; so much so that many bars which have been around for years and years are just closing up rather than put up with the LCB.

This is so much typical of the hypocrisy of many governments, especially Pennsylvania. They are against drunkeness, but promote buying alcohol in their state owned liquor stores. In Pennsylvania you can't gamble, but they promote their lottery. Cigarettes are horrible if you listen to them, but will never outlaw them entirely because of the needed tax revenue.

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July 09, 2004
Smoking Ban to go after private clubs

People who annoy are many; New Jersey Drivers, people who have bullet stickers on their cars, and Notre Dame fans. But people who really get my blood boiling are those supporters of government rights over private rights who desire to ban smoking in every single place on Earth.

I see no problem with a business, be it a restaurant or bar, allowing smoking, or not allowing smoking. If a business owner wants to allow smoking, it is his decision. If he doesn't want smoking, that is also his decision.

On the same token it is my decision as a customer to decide where they want to shop and eat. But it is doubly true for owners and members of private clubs. These are only open to members and cater to certain groups. VFW's, American Legions, gun clubs, and other social clubs all fit the bill.

But there are certain people who won't stop at banning smoking in publc places.

From the the Boston Herald

Veterans groups, fraternal lodges and other club members pledged to take the city to court if it one-ups the new statewide public smoking ban by expanding it to private clubs in Quincy. ``The veterans will not go softly into the night,'' Hayward said.

Bill LaRaia, a retired Quincy EMT, said he's paid dues to a private club for 25 years. ``For you to tell me I can't go in there and have a cigarette - that's a disgrace.''

The issue pits private clubs against some restaurant and pub operators, who support the smoking ban expansion. Operators said they stand to lose business to private clubs.

"`We feel if you're not going to allow people to smoke in a public place, why should they be allowed to go smoke in a private club?'' said Bill Damon, with Darcy's Pub.

A state law went into effect this week banning smoking in public places, including offices, restaurants and bars, though not in members-only clubs or cigar bars. Under Scheele's local proposal, smoking would also be banned at private clubs in Quincy as of July 18. He has the authority to enact such health-related regulations under state law, said Monica Conyngham, the city solicitor.

``I don't think the state went far enough,'' Scheele said in an interview before the hearing. ``As long as we have scientific evidence that second-hand smoke does cause health problems we can impose it. (Private clubs) have employees, too, that should be protected.''


The anti-freedom patrol has a two part strategy to rid public places of smoking. First they ban smoking in public places like bars and restaurants. Then they pit the owners of those establishment against those of private clubs. Then it becomes a fairness issue.

That strategy shows the shallowness of their anti-choice crusade. When they go to ban smoking in establishments they say it will not effect the bottom line of the business. But if it isn't hitting the bottom line, then why are the owners of the bars and restaurants who are effected so determined to make sure that policy effects people who run private clubs?

The policy makers and do-gooders in this world cite how dangerous smoke is, and want it banned, but they are sure happy to feed at the trough of tax revenue and settlement money taken from these tobacco companies. I say if it is so damned dangerous, don't take any money from it!! Why would you want to benefit from such a dangerous and deadly product?

To me it is all a choice of freedom. There is the freedom of the owners of establishments who wish to allow smoking. If they want to allow their customers have a smoke after dinner or with a drink, that is their choice. As a customer I have the right to choose a place that doesn't allow smoking when I don't want to be around smoke, and allows it when I want to smoke my Cohiba myself.

Look at it like alcohol. If I don't feel like a drink with my steak, I will go to Hoss's near my house. If I want a beer or fine liquor, I will go to Greggory's. It is my choice. No one is forcing either place to be drink free or not. The market decides, and both places prosper.

People cite health over smoker's rights. I say that right now it's smoke, soon, it will be drink. If I go to a bar and drink a few drinks I am more dangerous to people health (by driving home) than I would be by smoking a double corona. So by so actively banning smoking, it stats the slipperly slope of total prohabition of almost any behavior some do-gooder deems dangerous.

Much to the surprise of many liberal, pro-government types out there the government can't regulate all danger out of our lives. With freedom comes a little bit of risk. As a mature adult, I have the ability to choose for myself what I want to do with my life. That includes choosing to indulge in a legal, taxed product or even an illegal untaxed product. (but that is another post)

If I owned a bar or restaurant, I should be able to choose what type of establishment I want to have. Then the free market will decide. If I could make more money by not allowing smoking, then smoke free it is. But the market should decide about this legal product.

This entry also found at The Nap Room

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Posted by TomCat :: Permalink :: Comments (5) :: Basic Freedom Infringed
» Munuviana links with: Consent of the Governed
February 13, 2004
Liberal No More

Ethan Davis at the Claremont Institute tells of Justice Scalia's recent visit to Amherst College. Once he made his way through the cursing and chanting protestors,

"...Justice Scalia spoke eloquently, lucidly and politely on originalism in constitutional law. Interpreting the Constitution as it was originally written, he argued, is the only way to restrain liberal and conservative judges alike from imposing their personal preferences on the country. Five out of nine unelected lawyers, Scalia said, should not be legislating for the entire nation. If the Supreme Court makes a mistake, the people can only rectify it by constitutional amendment. Directed by their professors to believe that Scalia would engage only in "vitriolic name-calling," the audience was temporarily mollified. There were embarrassed looks as some of the less radical ones quietly removed their black armbands, and Scalia spoke without interruption for close to 45 minutes."

What an outrageous proposition, that judges shouldn't dictate. Heresy!

I'd note that Scalia says he is not a strict constructionist, but a textualist. That is, for example, freedom of the (printing) press can be construed to reportage on the internet...but not a 'right' to smear chocolate on one's nude body with tax-payer funding.

Hilarity ensues, of course, ending with a rare moment of agreement:

"...the professors and students finally said explicitly what campus conservatives have known for a long time. Dissent is legitimate, so long as it comes from the left."

Read it all: "Repressive Tolerance:
Some Questions Are Beyond the Pale For A "Liberal-Arts" College"

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Posted by Noel :: Permalink :: Comments (121) :: Judicial: Federal
» annika's journal links with: Scalia At Amherst
February 06, 2004
An Urgent Plea For Insanity

Things have been pretty dead around this blog lately and I'm not sure if that's good news or bad news.

Speaking only for myself, and not all of this site's contributers, I thrive on critiquing court decisions that I believe ignore the rule of Law in the interests of furthering the favored idealism of the justices. That there has been a dearth of such court decisions recently is good for the survival of consent over tyranny, but bad for inspiration for posting cool blog entries.

So, I'm going to make a rather selfish request of all those State and Federal courts out there -- 9th Curcuit, I'm looking in your direction... -- to, please, make with some whacky court decisions already! Have you all gone sensible on us?!

Rule that NAMBLA is as legitimate as UNICEF. Or that Russians have a long unnoticed Constitutional right to U.S. Medicare benefits. Anything!
You could claim that Pat Buchanan won the 2000 election or that saying "bless you" after someone sneezes is not protected speech. Throw me a bone, I'm dyin' here!

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Posted by Tuning Spork :: Permalink :: Comments (5) :: HELP!
January 28, 2004
Franken Fried Chicen Sh--

I wonder... do you suppose the New Hampshire Department of Corrections will allow one of their "guests" to have and use a broadcasting studio?

The reason I ask that is, as you may have heard, Al Franken tackled a heckler at a Dean event. Mysteriously, Franken claimed that his tackling of the heckler was an effort to protect free speech. I suppose that's the sort of thing that passes for logic among DUMB-o-cRATS most of the time.

I'm not a prosecutor... I'm just a law student, and I don't even live in New Hampshire. However, with the magic of LexisNexis, I was able to look up the relevant criminal statutes in New Hampshire. Here, without much legal analysis, is a list of the handfull of criminal offenses that I think Al Franken violated. I doubt he'll be charged (he should be) but he could end up spending a great deal of time behind bars (it wouldn't surprise me if the total possible time could exceed 20 years).

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Posted by Bronson :: Permalink :: Comments (4) :: Humor. 'Allegedly'.
January 21, 2004

I am not a lawyer. I am thankful for that. However living in Hong Kong inevitably exposes you to legal issues because what passes for political discourse in this city revolves around a seemingly simple piece of law. The Basic Law is, in theory, Hong Kong's constitution. It was negotiated between the British and Chinese prior to the handover in 1997 as a way of assuaging British guilt at not introducing democracy to the place in the couple of hundred years they ran it. Like most such documents there is a mix of the bland and ambigious, designed to make it an uninteresting as possible. However it has become an important document to base the aspirations of Hong Kong's democracy movement.

For example, Article 45 in full reads

The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be selected by election or through consultations held locally and be appointed by the Central People's Government.

The method for selecting the Chief Executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.

The specific method for selecting the Chief Executive is prescribed in Annex I "Method for the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region". (my emphasis)

Annex I and II specifies the interim method of selecting the Chief Executive (only in Hong Kong is the head of Government called CEO) and the Legislative Council. Each Annex finishes with the same rules for changing them from the muddle they currently are:
If there is a need to amend the method for selecting the Chief Executives for the terms subsequent to the year 2007, such amendments must be made with the endorsement of a two-thirds majority of all the members of the Legislative Council and the consent of the Chief Executive, and they shall be reported to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for approval.


With regard to the method for forming the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and its procedures for voting on bills and motions after 2007, if there is a need to amend the provisions of this Annex, such amendments must be made with the endorsement of a two-thirds majority of all the members of the Council and the consent of the Chief Executive, and they shall be reported to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for the record.

Reading the English it seems simple: after 2007 both the LegCo and Chief Executive method of selection can be altered by a 2/3s majority in the (rigged) LegCo with approval from the Chief Executive. The NPC (China's Parliament), in theory, has the right to have the decision "reported...for approval" and "for the record."

Problem is China has realised they don't want Hong Kong to be too democratic. It would look like the Central Government is giving in to the voice of the people (500,000 marchers back in July and smaller protests since). It would give the people a voice. It would be the thin edge of the wedge. So the PRC does what anyone in their situation would: they slam the door. From the SCMP

After a week of dominating Hong Kong headlines, two leading mainland legal experts on the Basic Law return to Beijing today having delivered a clear message: go slow on constitutional change. They told the city in no uncertain terms it cannot elect the chief executive by universal suffrage by 2007. Think about 2030 or 2040 instead, they said.

While former Basic Law drafter Xiao Weiyun and jurist Xia Yong say they do not represent the central government, their view that Hong Kong can only contemplate introducing universal suffrage after 2030 is believed to reflect official thinking. Analysts say their visit has been arranged to informally articulate the central government's position ahead of a visit to Beijing by a Hong Kong government taskforce on political reform, and to dampen aspirations for more rapid democratisation.


The mainland experts reiterated Beijing had a decisive say in Hong Kong's political development. At a public forum yesterday, Professor Xiao said the Basic Law drafters never considered election of the chief executive by universal suffrage in 2007. Referring to Article 45 of the Basic Law, which says the chief executive will ultimately be elected by universal suffrage, Professor Xiao said it meant this would be achieved in the final stage of the 50-year lifespan of "one country, two systems". But, he said, "it did not necessarily mean that it would not be achieved until the 2030s or 2040s, or [that] it was not allowed in the 2020s".

The Basic Law says the methods for electing the chief executive and Legislative Council should evolve in light of the "actual situation" in Hong Kong, and in accordance with the principle of "gradual and orderly progress".

Democracy isn't Asia's forte. It appears the People's Republic isn't too happy about HK leading the way. No matter what it says in black and white.

The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage. Ultimate being within the next 4000 years or so.

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Posted by HK Simon :: Permalink :: Comments (2) :: International
January 20, 2004
Fisking Smith - "Waging War Against a Tactic" is a smoke-screen for a sophist.

The following is a Fisking (My first!) of some commentary by a local radio personality, Ron Smith, of WBAL (1090 AM in Baltimore MD). As a bit of background, Ron prides himself on being the “voice of reason.” His political leanings are fairly conservative, most of the time, but he does not even pretend that there should be a moral foundation for conservativism, only “reason.”

Waging War Against a Tactic
Monday, January 19, 2004 - Ron Smith

This “war on terrorism” is wearing on me.

Poor baby. Is it all the long nights you’ve been up late analyzing data, translating intercepted missives from foreign operatives who want to do America harm? No? Oh, yeah, it’s the fact that after about a year and a half, you’ve been largely unable to convince much of your audience to abandon common sense and adopt you’re “reason.”

The likelihood of any one of us becoming a victim of Osama bin Laden’s henchmen is next to zero.

Really? I suppose it’s true. How much more true did that seem in the World Trade Center on 9/11/01 at 8:30AM? By the way, is OBL the only threat? I don’t think so. The point is, some risks you just don’t take if you can at all avoid it. Some risks, though minute, are so horrific that you take significant steps to reduce them even further. I suppose, if you want to use “reason” as you are so fond of doing, it would be tough to justify our proactive use of force where you are comparing billions of dollars to a couple dozen, maybe a couple hundred more lives. Let’s be rational, after all.

Yet we are bombarded with color-coded “terror alerts” designed to keep us perpetually alarmed, and thus willing to suffer whatever our various federal, state and local governments wish to inflict upon us in the name of keeping us “safe.”

Your alternative? I forgot, you don’t ever suggest reform, you only bitch. Let me posit an idea on your whiny ass. IF there are NO superior achievable alternatives, then the system IS NOT broken. You mock the color-coding. OK… Would you prefer obliviousness? In an open culture, such as ours, to function without “undue” prejudices as the general rule, you NEED to be able to let down your guard, to a large extent. With the color-coding, we know that there is a particular type of threat, even if we don’t precisely know what, that we need to look out for. We don't have to live with either undue suspicion of EVERYBODY, nor do we have to blindly trust in the good will of everyone. Don’t pretend to be a civil libertarian concerned about the feelings of the handful of folks who will get a bad vibe because of increased suspicion. Our threat comes from ONE culture, Islamo-facism. If someone starts to meet that description, then TOUGH! They’re going to get an extra look-see.

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Posted by Bronson :: Permalink :: Comments (1) :: Philosophy of Consent
» betting black jack strategy links with: betting black jack strategy
Smoking Ban is Banned (Temporarily)

From Syracuse Post Standard:

Damon's Party House in Cicero is the first bar in Onondaga County - and possibly the first in the state - to win a waiver allowing tobacco smoking inside its premises because of financial hardship.

Damon's was granted a one-year smoking-ban waiver Friday by county Health Commissioner Dr. Lloyd Novick after presenting evidence it had lost approximately 40 percent of its bar business in three months. The state's smoking ban took effect July 24.

This is a common problem facing restaurants, bars, and other establishments who have had draconian regulations enforced upon them in the name of public health.

These public health zealots are forcing these privately owned establishments to disallow smoking. Many of these establishments are bars who cater to a professional after work crowd. These people enjoy a cigar or cigarette with their cocktail, and with the enforcement of these laws they are required to either smoke outside, or just go home to smoke.

If he would allow smoking to be present, his bar would be subject to highly punative fines, and possibly even revokation of their liquor license.

Before getting a waiver, Damon's was one of five bars in Onondaga County to be fined for violating the law, which prohibits smoking indoors at almost every worksite in the state. Damon's was fined $250 earlier this month after health department inspectors said they saw customers smoking cigarettes in the tavern. Damon said he will pay the fine.

His tavern, which is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, lost most of its regular customers after the smoking ban became effective July 24, Damon said.

His patrons - generally an older happy-hour crowd - drifted away as the weather got cold because they didn't want to have to go outside to smoke, said Damon, who smokes just under a pack a day. Damon said he hopes his regulars return now.

Is smoking bad? Yes. Though I sometimes smoke cigars. Other times I appreciate a place to eat where they do not allow smoking. But when I want to smoke, I want to be able to find a bar or restaurant that allows smoking.

The point is, it should be my choice. My choice to choose an establishment that allows or disallows smoking. It is also up to the owner. He or she owns the place, and THEY should make the decisions on things like this.

It is not the government's or public official's place in this world to watch over and regulate every possible thing that can hurt us. The world is full of danger, it is my place to watch out for it, not Uncle Sam's.

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January 12, 2004
Is That a Regulation Banana in Your Pocket


From "The fruit police" by Roger Kimball at The New Criterion's weblog, Armavirimque:

"David told us how his family had been planting a certain type of potato for decades at their farm in Wales: no more. The EU ministers decreed that type of spud verboten. They had rules for hedges, lawns, sausages, and comestibles of every sort. It became a crime to sell a pound of . . . well, of anything: one had to adopt the metric system or go to jail. Bananas that deviated too much from the perpendicular were illegal. I am not sure what happened to bananas that were overly curvaceous: perhaps they were required to take Pilates.

It all seemed so . . . absurd. And so it was. Unless you were caught selling pound of beef or a bendy banana.

I had more or less forgotten this episode until my friend sent me an article from the December 19 issue of the London Times. The headline tells the tale:

Why is this banana legally curved instead of just crooked?
Because it is the fruit of the finest judicial minds in Europe.
Unfortunately, the article is available on-line only for a fee, but here is the gist:
GOODBYE bendy bananas. Farewell curved cucumbers. So long chunky carrots. The European Union has finally triumphed in its quest to tame nature and keep unusually shaped fruit and vegetables off our shop shelves.
The House of Lords yesterday ordered greengrocers across the country to obey every EU horticultural regulation passed over the past 30 years concerning fresh produce and conform to the myriad of rules covering size, length, colour and texture.

The law lords rejected the argument, put forward by the supermarket Asda, that a legal blunder in 1973 had made the EU laws unenforceable. Now greengrocers will have to ensure that under EU regulation 2257/94 their bananas are at least 13.97cm (5.5in) long and 2.69cm (1.06in) round and do not have "abnormal curvature", as set out in an eight-page directive drawn up in 1994.

The ban on bendy bananas was necessary, according to an EU Commission official at the time, to prevent them from being mistaken for a "bicycle wheel".
I have often had occasion to quote Tocqueville's warning about the process of "democratic despotism," which proceeds by extending
its arms over society as a whole; it covers its surface with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules through which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot clear a way to surpass the crowd; it does not break wills, but it softens them, bends them, and directs them; it rarely forces one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one's acting; it does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.
Of course, the behavior of the EU does not conform exactly to Tocqueville's scenario. To be sure, it covers the surface of society "with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules"--the last time I checked there were 185,000 pages of rules and regulations; the EU "does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes" and so on. But Tocqueville was talking about democratic despotism, and the EU presents the novel spectacle of its bureaucratic, or soft-totalitarian alternative. It is (so far) less brutal, but no less infantilizing, no less an enemy of freedom.
It may seem silly to get worked up about bananas; edicts about potatoes may seem like small potatoes. Does it really matter that one's favorite sausage or cheese is now deemed illegal? The EU has declared "racism" and "xenophobia" crimes--but who in his right mind would wish to express racist or xenophobic attitudes? Exactly what are racist or xenophobic attitudes? Well, that's for the ministers in Brussels to determine. You don't like that? A pity, because, if you're a European, you're stuck with it. The ministers are not elected by you, they are appointed by each other. They meet in secret. They issue diktats that affect the lives of the whole European Community. Once upon a time, you could have criticized this sort of tyranny, but the ministers in their wisdom have decided that dissent is unprogressive. Consequently, it is illegal for journalists to criticize the decisions of the EU. Is that an infringement on the right of free speech? Who said anything about a right to free speech? This is the new, multicultural Europe. Health care and welfare and an early retirement for everyone. And a 35-hour work week. Want to work longer hours? That's a crime too."

Read it all here.

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Posted by Noel :: Permalink :: Comments (11) :: International
January 07, 2004
Mary, Mary; Quite Contrary


Mark Steyn does in the British Gun-Control/Radio Poll story:

"A "listeners' law" is, of course, a pathetic gimmick. Judging from the reaction of Stephen Pound, MP, the modish proponents of "direct democracy" believe in letting the people's voice be heard only so long as it agrees with what their betters have already decided. So, having agreed to introduce the listeners' choice as a Bill in Parliament, Mr. Pound was a bit shocked to find the winning proposal wasn't one of the nanny-state suggestions (a ban on smoking, compulsory organ donation, mandatory voting) or the snobby joke ones (a ban on Christmas decorations before December), but the right to defend your home."

"Why, the People's Champion himself, Stephen Pound, dismissed it as a "ludicrous, brutal, unworkable blood-stained piece of legislation. I can't remember who it was who said, `The people have spoken, the bastards'."

"That would be Dick Tuck, a long-ago California state senate candidate, in an unusually pithy concession speech. It's an amusing remark as applied to the electorate's rejection of oneself. It's not quite so funny when applied, by Mr. Pound, to people impertinent enough to bring up a topic that you and the rest of the governing class have decided is beyond debate. As used by Mr. Tuck, it reflects a rough'n'tumble vernacular politics; as used by Mr Pound, it comes out closer to "Let 'em eat cake"."

"The Independent's Joan Smith recalled that, when she spied a burglar on her porch, she had no desire to "blow him away". Nor do I, if I'm honest."

"But I do want to have the right to make the judgment call. You can call 999, get the answering machine rerouting you to the 24-Hour Action Hotline three counties away, leave a message, and wait for the Community Liaison Officer to get back next week if he's returned from his emotional trauma leave by then."

"'re there, the police aren't. And, even in jurisdictions whose constabularies aren't quite so monumentally useless as Britain's, a citizen in his own home should have the right to make his own assessment of the danger without being second-guessed by fellows who aren't on the scene."

"And, once you give the citizen that right, he hardly ever has to exercise it. Take Miss Smith's situation: she's at home, but the burglar still comes a-knocking. Thanks to burglar alarms, British criminals have figured out that it's easier to wait till you come home, ring the door bell, and punch you in the kisser."

Most gun-control is not crime-control, but citizen-control. And goes hand-in-hand with the abolition of the Death Penalty. In response to a brutal shotgun-slaying of 3 policemen 40 years ago, the liberal answer was to abolish the Death Penalty, and to register, and later ban, most gun-ownership.

If the State says to criminals "There is NOTHING you can do that is vicious enough for us to execute you!", even after a long & deliberative process, then it certainly isn't going to let individual victims make that determination on the spot. Though you'd never know it, many European publics support the Death penalty.

The English jurist Blackstone, who is to Law what Edison is to electronics, asserted the right to armed self-defense is an 'Absolute Right'; one that pre-dates & supersedes even Constitutions & societies. So when Steyn says "... once you give the citizen that right, he hardly ever has to exercise it.", he is quite right on the deterrence point...but the State cannot 'give' you that right; it can only honor or dishonor the right previously given by one's Maker.

British gun-control cannot be looked at apart from several other bad liberal ideas; the disparagement of traditional morality and the introduction of massive numbers of third-world immigrants, a certain number of whom have no loyalty or respect for British culture. And elites have never appreciated Thomas Jefferson's formulation: "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." Or perhaps they've appreciated it all too well.

Steyn points out one more unintended consequence; criminals now wait for victims to arrive home and turn off their burglar-alarms; can burglar-alarm-control be far behind?

As for the alleged slaughter that would take place; was there a slaughter when the people were allowed to defend their homes years ago? Did I miss this scene from "Mary Poppins"?:

Winifred Banks: "George; what ARE you doing?"
George W. Banks: "Hello, dear; I'm going to shoot a's the English way, you know."
Winifred: "But that's no burglar, darling; that's Bert---our chimney sweep!"
George: "One can't be to careful these days, dear,"...BLAM! BLAM!..."Sorry, Bert, but I haven't shot anyone for King & Country all day. Chin up...way to keep a stiff upper lip, old boy!"
Tony State: "I'm afraid you're under arrest for the murder of Rob Petrie, Mr. Banks."
Mary Tyler Moore: "Oh, Rob!"
George Banks: "Who are you, sir...and where is Mary Poppins?"
Tony State: " I'm your new Nanny...Nanny State. Your wife elected me when she got the vote. And Mary is fine. She fought off two purse-snatchers in the park with her umbrella; she should be released's her first offense, after all."
Mr. Banks: "Oh, thank Heavens; for a brief, terrifying moment, I feared she was in the waiting room at National Health."

Instead of criminals living in fear, the Elites seem fear only one thing:


Can pun-control be far behind?

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January 03, 2004
The Law vs. The Courts: Entrenchment of the Incumbent Party

It may seem like old news now, but when all this talk of election campaigns starts raging, my thoughts often turn to that travesty of a New Jersey Supreme Court decision made in October 2002.
You remember the one: Robert Torricelli--in a scandal induced freefall in the polls--bowed out of the race in order to be replaced on the ballot by a Democrat who had a chance of winning. The one where State law was tossed aside by the Democrat-packed bench. The one where the so-called "two-party system" was officially codified into law.

In 2000, Sen. John McCain threatened court action in the case of the New York state Republican primary--where George W. Bush was the only one of the several contestants listed since, by law, the Republican Party of New York had the right to list only the candidate(s) it wished to list. Steve Forbes, in a televised debate, spoke against the practice as the institution of "a Soviet-style" forced party conformity. Shouldn't Republican primary voters have a choice among willing candidates? While the inner-workings of a political party may seem out of the jurisdiction of a state court; the outer-workings of a general election are clearly subject to existing statute.
If McCain had decided to seek a "third-party" nomination in '04, he may have found his tussle with the New York Republicans to have been inadequate preparation for what might have laid ahead.

There are many reasons to protest the 2002 NJSC ruling. Sure, they ignored the statutory 51-day deadline for a party to change it's Statewide ballot. Sure, they substituted their definition of a "right to vote" for the Legislatures Constitutional authority to proscribe the voting process. Sure, they invoked their "duty" to divine the legislative intent of a statute that was wholly unambiguous. But those aren't my main concerns with the ruling. (Those are, of course, important concerns. But, for the sake of this post, I'll confine myself to the most unprecedented aspect of the ruling.)

Consider this seemingly high-minded portion:

"...the Court being of the view that -(it) is in the public interest and the general intent of the election laws to preserve the two-party system and to submit to the electorate a ballot bearing the names of candidates of both major political parties as well as all other qualifying parties and groups." "And the Court remaining of the view that the election statutes should be liberally construed --to allow the greatest scope for public participation in the electoral process, to allow candidates to get on the ballot, to allow parties to put their candidates on the ballot, and most importantly, to allow the voters a choice on Election Day."

Since they are claiming that this ruling, on the clear and unambiguous election law, is to "preserve the two-party system", and to make sure that candidates "of the two major parties" get on the ballot, they are stating in no uncertain terms that the Democrat and Republican parties (the Incumbent Party) are to be treated, in a court of law, with priviledge and deference not to be extended to any other party.
The "Soviet-style" establishment of political parties has taken root in the New Jersey Judicial branch.

Political parties are not government institutions, they are associations of citizens pooling their resources and working together toward a common cause. The candidate on the New Jersey ballot was Bob Torricelli, not the Democratic Party.

Their defense of voter choice, as they consider that to be "most important", is completely indefensible. The voters had, as allowed by law, a Democrat candidate on the ballot--and his name was Torricelli. There were also six other candidates on the ballot. The fiat that there would have been no choice without both major-party's fronting of a candidate establishes that "third-party" candidates are henceforth functionally illegitimate; they offer no choice: they are not an option.

One can only conclude that if the 17th Amendment were repealed and the New Jersey Legislature were to exercise their constitutional authority and appoint their Senators, the NJSC would have to rule that action unconstitutional.
Also, if the justices of the NJSC were instead in Massachusetts, or Virginia, or any of hundreds of other states, towns and districts, that had uncontested elections (such as the uncontested re-election campaigns of John Kerry [D-Ma] and John Warner [R-Va]), those elections would have had to be ruled unconstitutional.

Has the NJSC effectively mandated that political parties must sponsor a candidate in order to guarantee the voters' newly found Constitutional right to have a choice between the two "major" parties? Should that mandate be restricted only to the "major" parties?. Is that any of the Courts damn business?

New Jersey may have saved the Democratic Party from defeat in the last cycle, but they've paved the way for all "non-major" parties to be lawfully discriminated against in the future. These "third parties" are also associations of citizens pooling their resources and working together for a common cause, and entitled to equal protection under the law. Yet the NJSC -- by virtue of the stated rationale that formed it's judgement in the Torricelli case -- has ruled against them.
Perhaps it's just that, while settling election disputes, Supreme Court justices -- who have all been appointed by members of the Republican and Democrat parties -- are more loyal to their Incumbent Party patrons than to their sworn duty to apply the Law.

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Posted by Tuning Spork :: Permalink :: Comments (2) :: Judicial: State
January 02, 2004
Consenting Adults

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."-- Abraham Lincoln

"All attempts by the State to bias the conclusions of its citizens on disputed subjects are evil." --John Stuart Mill, 'On Liberty' 1859

"I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University."-- William F. Buckley, Jr.

"Perhaps the fact that we have seen millions voting themselves into complete dependence on a tyrant has made our generation understand that to choose one's government is not necessarily to secure freedom." -- F.A. Hayek

"There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, showers its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing."--Andrew Jackson

"It would be an absurdity for jurors to be required to accept the judge's view of the law, against their own opinion, judgement, and conscience."--John Adams

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December 30, 2003


Sen. John McCain announced a new round of Reform proposals today.

"Christmas has become institutionally corrupt," said the Senator. "I woke up the day after Christmas feeling like a 2-baht Saigon hooker on a Tet Love Holiday. And it's not just me; we just can't stop ourselves."

"That's why I'm proposing Christmas Finance Reform," he explained. "Families are too close to children, just like Parties are too close to candidates; and we don't want children to feel indebted to fat-cat donor-parents. So from now on, all private gift-giving will be a crime and we'll have public financing of all gifts."

"Did you promise little Susie a new doll-house next year? Tough!" said McCain, his eye beginning to twitch. "The Federal Gift-Selection Commision has decided she's getting a toy dump-truck. The Government wants more female truck-drivers anyway. Sure; little Susie will cry, but just tell her we here in Washington know what's best."

Another provision of the Act would ban all Christmas caroling 60 days before the holiday. "That's my favorite part...I've always hated that "We Three Keatings" song! Nobody said Reform would be pretty...but I think she's pretty..." McCain shouted, and then whispered, in the now-familiar, unhinged sing-song voice long known to criminologists and FBI profilers.

While endorsed by many serial Congressmen, a majority of Congress recognize that this Act would violate their oaths to the Constitution.

Pres. Bush also said he was firmly against it, and it is widely expected that the Supreme Court would strike down such an outrageous assault on our liberties.

Therefore, it will very likely be passed by Congress, signed by the President and approved by the Court in time for next Christmas.

Justice O'Conner could not be reached for comment, as she was busy researching Saudi court rulings regarding the celebration of Christmas in Mecca.

When asked what was next on the Reform agenda, Squinter McCain, now in full 'Bruce-Dern-on-a-meth-bender' mode, said: "Ya' know...the 4th of July has always kinda' bugged me."

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Posted by Noel :: Permalink :: Comments (1) :: Humor. 'Allegedly'.
» BLATHER REVIEW links with: I'm not here
December 29, 2003
"How to Explain Conservatism to Your Squishy Liberal Friends:

Individualism 'R' Us"---an essay by P. J. O'Rourke

"The individual is the wellspring of conservatism. The purpose of conservative politics is to defend the liberty of the individual and - lest individualism run riot - insist upon individual responsibility."

..."That we are individuals - unique, disparate and willful - is something we understand instinctively from an early age. No child ever wrote to Santa: "Bring me - and a bunch of kids I've never met - a pony, and we'll share.""

..."The first question of political science is - or should be: "What is good for everyone?" And, by "everyone" we must mean "all individuals.""

"The question can't be: "What is good for a single individual?" That's megalomania, which is, like a New Hampshire presidential primary, the art of politics, not political science."

"And the question can't be: "What is good for some individuals?" Or even: "What is good for the majority of individuals?" That's partisan politics, which, at best, leads to Newt Gingrich or Pat Schroeder and, at worst, leads to Lebanon or Rwanda."

"Finally, the question can't be: "What is good for individuals as a whole?" There's no such thing. Individuals are only available individually."

"By observing the progress of mankind, we can see that the things that are good for everyone are the things that have increased the accountability of the individual, the respect for the individual and the power of the individual to master his own fate. Judaism gave us laws before which all men, no matter their rank, stood as equals. Christianity taught us that each person has intrinsic worth, Newt Gingrich and Pat Schroeder included. The rise of private enterprise and trade provided a means of achieving wealth and autonomy other than by killing people with broadswords. And the industrial revolution allowed millions of ordinary folks an opportunity to obtain decent houses, food and clothes (albeit with some unfortunate side effects, such as environmental damage and Albert Gore)."

Read it all here.

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December 25, 2003
History Repeals Itself

"To those of us watching from afar the ructions over the European constitution - a 1970s solution to a 1940s problem - it seems amazing that no Continental politician is willing to get to grips with the real crisis facing Europe in the 21st century: the lack of Europeans."

Mark Steyn

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December 23, 2003
The Modern Jury - distilled to remove the common sense for increased effectiveness!

There's a lot that I like about law and the legal profession. A post from yesterday on my personal blog is a perfect example of that.

Nevertheless, some crap is beyond the pale. I got the link to this story from the Ron Smith Radio Program website. Below is the first paragraph -

A new guide for trial lawyers advises them to be wary of Americans with "extreme attitudes about personal responsibility" when selecting jurors in personal injury lawsuits. The author of the guide says such jurors typically "espouse traditional family values" and often "have strong religious beliefs."

FYI, that's (poorly disguised) code for "Judeo-Christian" religious beliefs. The core belief in the Jewish and Christian faiths is that God created this planet and made us in His image. He gave us a brain to control our impulses and reason our actions and creativity so that we can make a difference in our lives and the lives of others.

The necessary result of having a brain is that you are expected to use it. Of course, people with this basis for their world views will be suspicious of someone wanting the law to appropriate someone else's possessions to them. They will want to know that the plaintiff acted reasonably and used his or her noggin to at least a minimum or acceptability given the circumstances.

This is what the author of the guide calls a "personal responsibility bias." No shit. (Pardon my French).

Anyone who wants to re-allocate the defendants possessions and wealth without asking whether the plaintiff is not truly the cause of his own injury is not seeking justice, at all.

Such a person is attempting to minimize the pain they perceive. The (stupid/irresponsible) plaintiff is actually injured, and maybe the money would make him feel better. The defendant won't feel actual pain if we take his money, so the plaintiff should get the money. The root of the "compassionate-altruistic bias" (as called by the author, and in contrast to "personal responsibility bias"), is the socialist ideal that possessing any more wealth than anyone else is inherently "evil". (For more discussion on this point, see my series "Creativity versus Sharing" part 1, part 2, and part 3.)

The question, then, is: Do we want people with the basis for their world view that has led to the prosperity of the most powerful nation that this world has ever seen (that's the USA, for you frogs) to be excluded from the decision-making role in our justice system in favor of people who have bought into the core beliefs that have led France and the former Soviet Union to their positions of world economic preeminence?

Hmmm... that's a tough one. I guess it would take a Trial Lawyer to figure that one out.

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Posted by Bronson :: Permalink :: Comments (3) :: Legal Theory