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Teaching Pigs to Sing

12.30.2002

New years is upcoming and it looks like it will be a peaceful time for me. Nothing much happenning here in Southern California other than the normal stuff. What are you doing (or did you do) that is exciting for the new year?

For my friends in Oregon, here is a good story.

Comments?
posted by Randall 11:11 PM

12.25.2002

Yea! Another Christmas is gone. I have never been the one to celebrate. Seems like if one is to be a good guy (or bad guy) they should be one all the time, not just on specific days. With that, I leave you with the gift that I should have purchased for my liberal friends. Enjoy.
posted by Randall 10:35 PM

12.24.2002

Here is an interesting internet survey if you are interested. Complete it and enjoy.
posted by Randall 1:23 PM

For those of you who have been here before, you will see that I have changed the layout. I think this page looks better and provides a cleaner organization. Tis my Christmas gift to myself.

Now for some good and juicy stuff... Follow this link and try not to laugh too hard.


I wish all my readers a great Christmas and keep the comments coming if you are so inclinded.
posted by Randall 12:58 PM

12.21.2002

This team blog has reverted to an individual blog due to the lack of interest of my team members: Joy, Kevin, Alan and Junior. Log on, read my thoughts, comment, sign my guest book (at the bottom of the page) or stay away. Whatever floats you boat.
posted by Randall 11:29 PM

12.15.2002

A simply great link that all good Americans should love. The link is here. Surely someone will comment about this.
posted by Randall 11:12 AM

12.14.2002

The value of a thing in the market is based on its scarcity in relation to demand. And capitalism itself is based on the competition to acquire the scarce resource of money. The great utility of this system is that an organized market supremely serves individual desire. A simple act of purchase allows me to command the resources of the world. With a single expenditure, the magnesium of South Africa, the oil of Arabia and the labor of China can be fetched from around the globe, used to assemble any product that I might personally choose and delivered into my hands as if by magic carpet. All that’s required of me is a sum of money that contributes to this process. There has never been a better method for the productive allocation of wealth and the distribution of goods and services. As a result, we live today in a large-scale global economy that continues to expand into every area of human activity. Adam Smith, many years ago, rightly regarded this as a kind of miracle. The market, mated today to our modern system of mass production and mass distribution, has produced more wealth and distributed it more widely than in all other epochs of human history. This has liberated us from toil, but more importantly, it has freed us to independently pursue uniquely personal visions of happiness. From a speech delivered by Larry Harvey on April 25, 2002, at Cooper Union in New York City. I guess this goes to show that I am not the only person who knows of this old dead whiteboy named Adam Smith.
posted by Randall 9:22 AM

12.10.2002

And the train keeps on rollin. There's a great article by Jacob Sullmun at Reason.com that points out how our fine taxdollars are being spent. Any comments?
posted by Randall 9:21 PM

12.08.2002

I made it to see the movie, Bowling for Columbine, on Friday evening. As a documentary, the film isn't bad. Michael Moore does a pretty good job developing the concept that problems exist in the US of A. Unfortunately, he doesn’t provide any solutions. It is a good film that should encourage honest and open debate for the minds capable of
exercising such activity.


From the michael moore webpage:


"Bowling for Columbine" is an alternately humourous and horrifying film about the United States. It is a film about the state of the Union, about the violent soul of America. Why do 11,000 people die in America each year at the hands of gun violence? The talking heads yelling from every TV camera blame everything from Satan to video games. But are we that much different from many other countries? What sets us apart? How have we become both the master and victim of such enormous amounts of violence? This is not a film about gun control. It is a film about the fearful heart and soul of the United States, and the 280 million Americans lucky enough to have the right to a constitutionally protected Uzi.

"Bowling for Columbine" was the first documentary film accepted into competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 46 years. The Cannes jury unanimously awarded it the 55th Anniversary Prize. From a look at the Columbine High School security camera tapes to the home of Oscar-winning NRA President Charlton Heston, from a young man who makes homemade napalm with The Anarchist's Cookbook to the murder of a six-year-old girl by another six-year-old, "Bowling for Columbine" is a journey through America, and through our past, hoping to discover why our pursuit of happiness is so riddled with violence.

posted by Randall 12:06 AM

12.06.2002

What about a quiz? Take my quiz if you want.
posted by Randall 11:22 AM

12.03.2002

Another day gone. Has my blogging team has lost interest?
posted by Randall 11:14 PM

Paul Marks posted another great post at the Samizdata.net blog. The article is copied below for your reading pleasure:


The Fight Starts

Paul Marks poses a question about a a hypothetical character who seems strangely... familiar

What does one do about the growth of government leading to the collapse of society?

In the United States if one is a Democrat there is no problem - such a person does not tend to believe that the growth of government causes any damage so one can tax and spend with a happy heart (until the cannibals tear out that heart).

But what if one is a Republican? Not a Democrat by another name (like the absurd Major Bloomberg of New York City), but the sort of Republican who (whilst he may have no libertarian principles) dimly knows that an ever expanding government will cause harm to society (i.e. the web of social interactions between human beings).

Let us say that one is the sort of Republican who spent his years at Yale getting drunk (rather than being teacher's pet like his father), because he had enough sense to understand that what he was being taught was nonsense.

Well (if one is not a man of fanatical principle) one spouts off enough of the nonsense to get a "C average" (the lowest respectable grade), makes some networking contacts (that will prove of use later in life) and then goes off into the world.

Then say one becomes President of the United States (so one can not say "someone else will keep things going"), and faces a situation where defence spending (the only form of government spending that history shows is easy to cut) is going to go UP rather than down.

The "entitlement programs" (the Welfare State) continues to expand and society is under threat - so what do you do?

Perhaps you start by trying to find ways to "contract out" government activities, but (perhaps because you suspect there are no magic solutions to fiscal problems) you also announce that civilian government employees are going to get a 3.1 (rather than 4.1) percent pay increase this year - and justify it on "national security" grounds.

There will have to be many such moves if the United States is to be saved - but it is good to know that the President has some understanding (dim or not so dim) of the problem.

Paul Marks

posted by Randall 10:47 AM

12.02.2002

A couple of quotes by Randy's president.-

Republicans understand the importance of bondage between mother and child." - Gov GWB
"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure." ...George W. Bush, Jr.
All I can say is hmmmmmmmm
posted by Joy 8:35 PM

I copied the following post from the Samizdata.net blog.

Paul Marks points out that it is the spending rather than the taxing which is the root of governments woe.

People (not just us evil libertarians) often complain about taxation and there have been many attempts to reduce or at least limit it - these attempts have mostly been unsuccessful.

Few governments tax in order to create piles of money in their store houses - governments normally tax to spend. If we are to limit (let alone reduce) taxation it is government spending that we must fight. Limit one tax and the government will increase another - limit them all and government will borrow, ban borrowing and the fight come back to spending - i.e. (in the end) the fight is about government spending.

As far as I know there is only one State in the U.S. which shows (in its' laws) a clear understanding of this and that State is Colorado. Colorado has many problems and I would not claim it is the most free market State (although it is one of the smaller government States), but I think that its spending based version of a "Taxpayers Bill of Rights" has, over the few years of its' history, proved to be useful thing.

In Colorado government spending can only be increased in line with an increase in population or an increase in prices (yes I know there are all sorts of problems with the idea of a price index - but I will not go into that here). This would seem to a be a very moderate limitation - but (as far as I know) there is not another State in the Union that has such a limitations. Over the last few years Colorado has reduced the burden of taxation (i.e total taxes as a percentage of income - not reduced one tax and increased another) and balanced the budget.

The key really is government spending. To convince people that if they want some special benefit from government another benefit will have to be abolished (not just the total spending of the government increased).

In the end the fight has to be about spending. Whatever waffle either side comes out with about the "institutions of a just society" what matters is where the money goes. If we allow people to convince others that government spending is a "good thing" then all the anti tax and anti borrowing campaigns in the world will not save us.

Paul Marks

posted by Randall 8:23 PM

Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.
- Frédéric Bastiat


posted by Randall 10:25 AM

12.01.2002

Kevin I am still working on a response to your post. You response to the question I asked has inspired me to do some biblical research (which is a good thing).

Randy I have spoken to a couple of more people about the movie Bowling for Columbine that we were talking about last night. Lets try to see it this week, Jeannie says its one of the best movies she has ever seen.
posted by Joy 9:11 PM

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To teach a pig to sing is futile; it wastes the time of the teacher and annoys the pig!

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