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"If every consumer -- no, let's not call them names! -- if every person boycotted stores that were introducing so-called 'loyalty cards' -- don't you love the doublespeak! -- and RFIDs, then that would make a huge difference. But people have to act now, before every store uses them, at which point none of us will have any real choice. So people now have a very big responsibility to make sure that their kids will have a choice ... "
"Conservative groups have found common ground with the liberal American Civil Liberties Union in their opposition to the USA Patriot Act and pledge to wage a high-profile fight against it, claiming even its renewal is shrouded in secrecy."
"Supporters of medical marijuana said on Monday they were gaining support in Congress but not enough to pass a measure expected in the U.S. House of Representatives this week that would prevent the federal government from prosecuting patients who use the drug."
"The Memo confirmed what many progressives had long suspected: that the Bush administration first decided to start a war in Iraq and then rigged a case to justify it. According to the Memo, Britain's intelligence chief reported the following assessment with regard to his then recent trip to Washington: 'Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy'."
"The latest drug panic is over the rising use of methamphetimine. This time, the outrage seems to stem from the fact that some meth users not only make stuff in their own garages, but that a key ingredient, pseudoephedrine, can be derived from common cold and allergy medicines found in the local pharmacy. Lawmakers across the country have predictably jumped into over-reaction."
"In a free society, the state does not regulate peaceful economic transactions, even when the transaction concerns 'risky' products such as alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. In a free society, the government doesn't tell bar owners they can no longer welcome smokers as costumers. In a free society, the law recognizes bars, restaurants, hotels and clubs as privately owned businesses, not as 'public places'."
"I found myself with so many folded corners as to render my markings relatively useless. Similarly, trying to extract quotations that give an accurate overall impression is difficult. Without explicitly hoisting the flag of anarchy, Shaffer nonetheless extols its virtues in ways that can resonate more strongly than the symbol does, and to a wider audience than if he'd used that 'dreaded A word'."
"So why then doesn't the African Union, Amnesty International, Thomas Friedman, or the United Nations worry about them ['people that live in these marginally governed zones' in Detroit] like they do the Somalis? Because they have a flag, a government, and the other symbols of political legitimacy, however absent of any actual legitimacy and effectiveness they may be."
"It has been said that the increased destructiveness of political systems over the centuries derives from the fact that our technological capacities have increased exponentially, while our civilizing sentiments have increased only arithmetically. In exploring our 'dark side,' we might become aware of why placing weapons designed for mass slaughter in the hands of sophisticated killer-apes was not one of nature's better moves."
"We don't exactly have 'medical marijuana' in Hardyville. That is, we don't have it in the sense of some government grudgingly giving us permission to smoke an herb and putting us in a database of drug users. On the other hand, we also don't have the government condemning good people to choke to death on their own vomit by taking away the only drug that eases their nausea."
"Will medical marijuana advocates, such as Americans for Safe Access, NORML and Green-Aid, find that educating the jury pool in their nullification prerogative is their only way to defeat the Federal efforts to steam-roller their home-grown velvet revolution? It wouldn't be an unreasonable choice."
"Today, Harley-Davidson officially opens the doors of its first dealership in Russia since the 1917 Revolution, hoping to harness the spending power of the new Russian rich."
"How one wishes American conservatives would take their cues from their Russian counterpart, and stop glorifying a foreign policy of global meddling and social engineering. Sadly, they have caught the Jacobin virus, and are sickening themselves and the nation with it."
"Around this nation and worldwide, not only are human-rights organizations documenting widespread abuses, including physical and psychological torture of what are euphemistically called detainees, but more reporters and editorial writers, including here at home, are exposing the administration's disintegrating cover-up of the egregious lack of accountability for these violations of our own laws and international treaties we have signed."
"The danger is that the conspiracy theorists were right and that this was nothing but a steppingstone to a Middle East empire from the start. Michael Ledeen, the brilliant neoconservative, has been pleading for an expansion of the war to include Iran from the very start -- the drums beginning to beat slowly in the media deep would appear to suggest that he's finally going to get his wish. "
"If Germans were complicit, as Goldhagen claims, how can Americans avoid the charge of complicity in Bush's crimes against Iraq when Americans are in possession of such damning facts and have the power of impeachment? Why do Americans tolerate a liar and a war criminal as their president?"
"The Thomas piece is remarkable on a number of levels, not the least being its frank and undisguised hypocrisy: Evan Thomas was one of the figures involved in the Koran-toilet-unnamed-sources fuck-up, and so an article written by him that denounces as unpatriotic the 'legacy' of America's most famous unnamed source is humorous from the outset."
"So, let’s see what we have here: 1. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the federal government no longer had an official enemy…. 2. Throughout the 1990s, the federal government began stirring up hornets' nests abroad…. 9. The never-ending 'war on terrorism' and the indefinite occupation of Iraq have given rise to perpetually growing big-government...."
"Trial and error in the marketplace would quickly reveal what rates per thousand messages would settle down to furnish a range of competing prices, and the great majority of spam would then be history; it is a problem now only because it is too cheap. ... The market would, in other words, provide its own discipline. Instead of this rather obvious free-market idea, ISPs today are emulating government by building a complex superstructure of regulation in order to solve a problem of their own making."
"What's the Constitution good for, then? Think liberty. It's a quaint value in the eyes of many legal mandarins, but one whose promotion is evident on the face of the Constitution. Filled with open-ended clauses that inspire endless debate, the Constitution invites litigation. Much of that litigation targets the government.... And liberty benefits. After all, a country in which officialdom is constantly hen-pecked by litigious citizens must, of necessity, rely first and foremost on private ordering."
"[Justice Stephen Breyer] is really saying that medical oppression by an elite is better than medical oppression by the mob. Are those our only choices? Why must we have medical oppression at all? Why not medicine by free individual choice, or self-medication? That this is not even on the table shows how far our society has moved from its individualist foundations."
"Justice Antonin Scalia led a 6-3 majority in upholding the coercive program. He was joined by Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas. All three are reputed to be committed to constitutionally limited government, but this decision should dispel that naive notion."
"[I]f foreign aid were the answer to Africa's problems, the continent should now be rich. Measured in today's dollars Africa has received $2.3 trillion over the last 50 years. Yet it has stagnated. The reasons for the failure are evident and increasingly acknowledged even by many bleeding hearts. It is politely called the problem of governance, which in ordinary language means much of Africa has been ruled by predatory elites who have been more interested in feathering their own nests than advancing the public weal."
"Paternalism is OK for children, but is it suitable for adults? For those who agree with 'Click It or Ticket' because it saves lives, would they agree with other possible lifesaving mandates?"
"At one time, Professor Rummel held that '[t]o eliminate war, to restrain violence, to nurture universal peace and justice, is to foster freedom (liberal democracy).' ... It is apparent that, at some point since, he has drastically altered that conclusion: For he now holds that war and violence, even at the cost of peace (an obvious cost in any war) and justice (arguably a cost at least in the particular war at issue), are acceptable methods so long as they have the effect of spreading democracy."
"Past U.S. presidents have resorted to military interventions overseas when their domestic popularity and agendas sagged. President Bush invaded Iraq even when his poll numbers were higher than they are now. Given current approval ratings in the 40s and sinking and declining support for his domestic policies, the president could get into even more mischief overseas."
"That there is such a distinction in the way innocents killed by private criminals and innocents laid to waste by bombings and military shootings are perceived by the average person reveals a deep and dark disparity in the way people regard the State's actions and those of ordinary individuals. This disparity is most dangerous and indeed most depraved and perverse with war, as people come to praise and rejoice in the very worst possible acts that humans are physically capable of committing against one another."
"Laura didn't start writing her books until she was 65, long after Rose had become a successful novelist. The rumor, one that we will never know is true or not, is that Rose heavily edited the books and got them into shape for publication. In other words, the skinny is that she pretty much wrote them for her mom."
"Republication of a memorial for Peter McWilliams on the fifth anniversary of his murder (6/14/00)"
"Does anyone truly believe that the German people would have supported Hitler if they had thought he was some kind of ogre? As with most leaders, Hitler preached faith, family, and patriotism. His speeches were laced with references to God. He personally claimed Christ to be his Savior. Even his adopted Nazi symbol was created around the Christian cross. As far as the German people were concerned, Adolph Hitler was loyal to historic, conservative Christian values. Why should they have thought otherwise?"
"I have watched in horror the mirror image of another Vietnam unfolding. So many similarities, so many things said that remind me of that war thirty years ago which left me paralyzed for the rest of my life. Refusing to learn from our experiences in Vietnam, our government continues to pursue a policy of deception, distortion, manipulation, and denial, doing everything it can to hide from the American people their true intentions and agenda in Iraq."
"The problem is not that soldiers are stupid. They are not. Rather it is (I think) that they become excessively taken with the technology and power of their weapons, with the computers and precision and speed, with themselves, and just do not stop to ponder the difficulty of killing hornets with a howitzer."
"The cost of war is always more than anticipated. If all the costs were known prior to the beginning of a war, fewer wars would be fought. At the beginning, optimism prevails. Denial and deception override the concern for the pain and penalties yet to come. Jingoistic patriotism and misplaced militarism too easily silence those who are cautious about the unforeseen expenses and hardships brought on by war."
"A German immigrant, and graduate of the Royal Polytechnic School of Berlin, Roebling came to the United States in 1831. It was not until 1845 that he built his first suspension structure. From 1845 until his death in 1869, he designed five major suspension bridges. Two -- the Cincinnati-Covington Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge -- are still standing."
"Tom Turpin had already made his mark as the author of 'Harlem Rag' (1897), the first published instrumental rag by an African American composer. While Turpin published only four other rags in his lifetime ... his influence on the development of ragtime was immeasurable. The Rosebud Cafe was a regular haunt of St. Louis' best rag players, and was the first stop of any musician traveling through the River City."
"Her first film for Selznick was the thriller The Spiral Staircase playing a mute servant. She also starred as a homely woman in The Enchanted Cottage and did a sequel to Claudia, Claudia and David both with Robert Young. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in 1947's Gentleman's Agreement starring opposite Gregory Peck."
"Absolute Power is an indictment of the modern American central government, its ruling politicians and even to a small extent the powers behind the 'throne.' It has perceptive insight into the corrosive effects of power."
"[Repairman] Jack is wise to distrust the actions of his own government more than the potential threat of random, isolated violence from terrorists. Both the State and terrorists prey on people's fears to get what they want. But any group of terrorists can, at most, kill hundreds or thousands of innocents. Governments destroy millions." Book Review of F. Paul Wilson's latest Repairman Jack novel.
"Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins is the first film to focus on Batman. The story, which does include some very effective villains, revolves around Bruce Wayne and his transformation into the Batman. Despite a terrific supporting cast, Christian Bale is the star here. It’s his movie."
"If you have teen age children, or grandchildren, this book will give you some sobering visions of their world and the terrible burden of pain they bear in this age of senseless rules and prohibitions. Renew your understanding of the terrible gulf between those who learn such things as gun safety or self medication from loving parents or are compelled by their very nature to experiment on their own and learn the hard way - if they survive."
"Last week, the Supreme Court upheld the federal government's right to ban marijuana use, even in states that allow it for medical reasons. What do you think?"
"The debate over the future of the detention center at Guantanamo, Cuba, was ramped up another notch today as Vice President Dick Cheney offered to transfer all detainees held there to the secure undisclosed location he calls home."
"But, realistically, politics cannot be expected to reach the moral level of an enterprise as high-minded as professional prizefighting. For in the fight game, boxers are expected to follow the rules, and they're penalized if they fail to do so. Hitting below the belt can lead to a disqualification. Fixed fights are considered a criminal outrage. And, most important, the boxers are expected to actually slug it out, not simply dance around and hold on to each other." True, but still amusing.
"When democratic or communist institutions have been established for several decades, the way back to liberty is very difficult. People become used to safety nets and responsibility shifting. The transition process must be very difficult. We do not know what the transition would be like from partially responsible societies (under democratic regimes) to fully responsible societies (libertarianism)."
"The problem for ID [Intelligent Design] is that in many ways complexity theory is actually leading away from the direction in which they would like to go and toward the idea that order can emerge in nature without any directing intelligence."
"What if Zeno's real lesson isn't that movement from point A to point B is impossible (obviously it isn't), but rather that there is no such thing as a discrete slice of time?"
"Some point to the 'feminization' of education over the last decade, which occurred largely in response to a perceived need to encourage girls. But, if boys and girls learn differently, then the changes may be placing boys at a disadvantage."
"MyPyramid involuntarily subjects Americans, especially figure-conscious females, to the very same risks of dieting and dietary restrictions: dysfunctional eating, food fears and eating disorders; nutritional shortfalls; and health problems such as doubling long-term risks for high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes to name a few."
"If the first archetype of Man sacrificing Man to Man is based on the Political Means of force and fraud, then the second archetype, God sacrificing Himself to Man, is based on voluntary persuasion, what Nock called the Economic Means. Not only Jesus, but every legitimate spiritual teacher has claimed that people must voluntarily change their hearts and minds. "
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