-- C.A. Beard
On last month's Fix;
the answer to last month's Fix,
"How do you maintain optimism?"is
Well, not too many people took this one on. However, Tom Hall gave a pretty reasonable response, assuming that one can find a silver lining.
On an Ugly Truth: part 2
Last month I described how an acquantence of mine has been hassled by the law. To refresh your memories - a quick recapitulation.
Imagine you are driving along Friday night and get pulled over for speeding. You were doing 38 in a 30, you shrug, figure what the hell, and prepare to take your punishment. The cop comes back, orders you out of the car, demands your license, informs you that you are being charged for driving on a suspended license and has your car towed. Dumbstruck, you argue that can't possibly be true, you just had your car insurence redone by a new company in order to get cheaper rates. They checked the state DMV computers and confirmed that you qualify for the cheapest "preferred rate" insurance. Nevertheless, you find yourself taking a cab home and the next day you and a freind take a cab to the impoundment where you spend $50 to free your car so the friend can drive it home. On Monday you call DMV to find out what the HELL is going on. You find out that you have an unpaid parking and speeding ticket, both from 1993. The parking ticket started at $3 and through the miracle of exponentially compounded interest is now at $53 (bet CitiCorp would like 123% per year). The $50 dollar speeding ticket is now at $250, and due to non-payment and a no-show at court, your license was suspended and you now have an additional $250 driving on a suspended license ticket.
This person has since appeared in court to combat these charges. However, in the time between that Friday night and the court appearance (a period of about 2 weeks) the State DMV actually sent him a brand new driver's license, which he applied for six weeks before - and a piece of paper telling him that his license has been reinstated, dated after the Friday night. At court the judges asks him, "How do you plead on the charge of driving on a suspended license?"
"Not guilty", he replied.
"On what grounds?", asks the judge.
"On the grounds that the state was issuing me my new license before the incident, and has reinstated my license since the incident - so at no time have I been without a license."
Incredulous, the judge asks, "The state has reinstated your license?"
He produced the paper.
The judge reccomended that the prosecutor drop the case, and with no intelligent counter, the case was dismissed.
On defining morality;
An interesting case is going on in Michigan. A women in Detroit lost her baby when her boyfriend punched her in the abdomen. The fetus was mortally wounded. The prosecutor in the case is pressing for agravated assult on the women and second degree murder on behalf of the infant. The defense attorney argues that no murder was committed, since the fetus was in the first trimester, and according to the supreme Court decision Rose vs. Wade, it could have been legally aborted. The defense argued that if abortion is not murder, than his client could not be guilty of murder either. No matter how the local court rules, look for this issue to come before the supreme Court.
You know that we have a serious problem in this nation when we can no longer define unambiguously what murder is.
There is a simple way out of this morrass, but it contradicts the creeping socialism that has embraced this nation since the Civil War. The United States was founded upon the principle of individual rights and private property . Today these principles are all but forgotten. Freedom of Speech, freedom from unprovoked search and siezure, and freedom of arms are all curtailed. Rather, rights are assigned according to group memebership. If you are black, hispanic or a female, you get automatic extra rights under the rubric of Affirmative Action. If you have AIDS, you are entitled to extra health care and job security benefits. If you're in a gay unmarried relationship, you're entitled to the legal standing that straights have to get married for. The reason for the usurpation of group rights over individual rights is easy enough to understand. It's easy to pander to a few single issue special interest groups. It's a bitch to have to pander to millions of individual voters.
The way out? Oh yes. It's pretty simple. Ready?
People own themselves and the fruit of their labor. Such a simple truth, yet it has been lost. Yet, if one remembers it, many socalled legal conundrums are readily dealt with. For instance;
A mother owns her own body, and hence the fetus within. If someone injures her and kills the fetus against her wishes, they are violating her rights to control her own body. Similarly, when someone chooses to ingest drugs, either for a high or to end their life, that too is their right. Taxes are theft, unless those who are taxed voluntarily enter into a contract with their govt. to surrender a portion of their labor in exchange for certain well defined services. When the govt. exceeds the contract, they are acting immorally.
I'll leave it to others to comment on the contractual integrity of the US Constitution in light of the past 100 years. But for now, just remember you own yourself and the fruit of your labor.
On the Speaker of the House;
Newt Gingrich has been found guilty of misleading Congress on his use of funds from a tax exempt grant (for education of inner city blacks) to partly finance his partisan college history class. The unapoligetic tenor of the course was that liberal policies have hurt blacks, and only self reliance could be counted upon to remedy the mess. For this sin, the Speaker has been fined $300K.
Opponents of Newt point out with glee that he rose in stature by tearing down a Dem. Speaker, Jim Wright of Texas, and this is an eye for an eye. Is it?
First off (and I know this will come as a shock to some of you), there are _many_ college courses which have a political bent:
A little more perspective is in order as to the nature of Newt's sin. Did he personally profit from it? The IRS has said no. In fact, a walk down memory lane may be appropriate here. The worst that could be leveled against Bush and Reagen was Iran/Contra, a scandal to defeat communism by diverting funds illegally without Congessional approval. In fact, in the latter 1/2 of this century the only Rep. politician of national stature who did something illegal for personal gain was Nixon, and that was simply to get reelected.
Contrast this with recent Dems.
I end with an observation related to what I saw on tonight's (21 Jan) Jim Lehrer News Hour.When Lehrer asked the panel of Congressional members who sit on the Ethics committe whether the Speaker should pay the fine from his own money or his campaign chest, the answer was unanimous. "The charge is Newt's responsibility", they said, "he should pay out of his own pocket. "
For some reason, no one asked whether its ethical for the Clinton's to maintain a legal defense fund, which was created by Bill after only 1 year in office, and which gets annual injections from gala Hollywood fundraisers.
Now I have thought of (not surprisingly) a darker motivation behind the "fine." The Ethics committee has been very open about proclaiming that the $300K value has been arrived at becuase this is what they estimate the investigation of Newt has cost the US taxpayer. In other words, the fine amounts to court costs, to be paid by the defendant. The committee calls the fine an estimate, because the cloak of legal privelage "forbids" them from making the accounting record public. Hence, we really have no idea what was spent. Second, 74 counts were brought against the Speaker, 73 were dropped. Usually in a civil trial, the defendant is only liabel for court costs on counts for which they have been found guilty. But Newt will be fined for the total investigation.
We are on the verge of a very dangerous precedent. Imagine - you can investigate any Congressperson at any time for any reason, and guilty or innocent demand that they pay bankrupting court costs (which can be claimed to be any amount) from their personal funds. Talk about gagging your opponents. Meanwhile, today (22 Jan.) Minority Whip David Bonior (D MI) and President Clinton are calling for a return to civility and bipartisanship. This is a little like Hitler crying, once the tide of battle swung against him, "Can't we all just get along?" House Dems and the President have tagged and mounted their trophy, now they want to get out of the woods before hunting season opens on them.
>From firstname.lastname@example.org Tue Jan 14 13:22:19 1997 Hi Stevey, I'm running one month behind as usual and so am responding to your survey of last month. Namely, "Frontier research is dead in America. Particle physics, manned space flight,in short all those things which give humanity a new frontier to explore and a reason to grow. Comment on any possible effects and solutions." The premise "Frontier research is dead in America" is wrong. Three of many points that invalidate the premise: 1. You are going to get married. This will provie you and the humanity that you represent "a new frontier to explore and a reason to grow". As far as commenting on "possible effects and solutions" related to your impending marriage, I am not qualified or brave enough to speculate. 2. The Genome projects, the related advances in molecular genetics over the last few decades, and the impending advances. Nothing is more fundamental to humanity and its frontiers. 3. ION STORM !! take care, JeffEd: As usual, Jeff is using the New Age Flaming Liberal definition of a word, as in "I've taken up Tai Chi as a way to enhance my self knowledge and expand my personal frontiers." Well, not this editor! When I say frontier, I mean pack up the family, kiss the relatives goodbye knowing that you'll never see them again and set sail across the ocean (or the Cosmos) in search of a New World.
Particle physics is necessary (as explained in the last issue) in order to produce the advances needed in propulsion design which will open up the universe. The genome project, as important as it may be to health and fitness, is not about to take humanity to the stars.
2. Texas Tom writes;
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 21:19:07 -0800 From: Tom Hall
>"How do you maintain optimism?" By looking at the bright side of things. Man, these are getting a lot easier.... Later, *****_ ## *** \ +------------------+ ** __ __| | Tom Hall | (| o \ o|) | Game Designer | ** \ | | Ion Storm | ** ****| | email@example.com | ** * O *| +------------------+ ** \__,_/*
3. Renee Sanger-Redman writes;
Date: Fri, 24 Jan 1997 8:58:07 EST From: RSREDMAN@goodall.uncg.edu To: sglanger@Oakland.edu Subject: Forwarded: Just for a thought... Steve - This was sent to me and I thought you might enjoy it. Renee Subject: Virus Alert!!!! NEW VIRUS ALERT....... Immediately scan your computer for the following viruses! PAT BUCHANAN VIRUS: Your system works fine, but complains loudly about foreign software. COLIN POWELL VIRUS: Makes it's presence known but doesn't do anything. HILLARY CLINTON VIRUS: Files disappear, only to reappear mysteriously a year later; in another directory. O.J. SIMPSON VIRUS: You know it's guilty of trashing your system, but you just can't prove it. BOB DOLE VIRUS: Could be virulent, but it's been around too long to be much of a threat. STEVE FORBES VIRUS: All files reported as the same size. PAUL REVERE VIRUS: This virus doesn't horse around, warns you of impending attack. Once if by LAN, twice if by C. POLITICALLY CORRECT VIRUS: Never identifies itself as a "virus", but instead refers to itself as an "electronic micro-organism". ROSS PEROT VIRUS: Activates every component in your system, just before the whole thing quits. TED TUNER VIRUS: Colorizes your monochrome monitor. DAN QUAYLE VIRUS: Thier is sumthing rong with yur koputer, but ewe cant figyur outt watt! GOVERNMENT ECONOMIST VIRUS: Nothing works, but all your diagnostic software says everything is fine. NEW WORLD ORDER VIRUS: Probably harmless, but it makes a lot people really mad just thinking about it. FEDERAL BUREAUCRAT VIRUS: Divides your hard disk into hundreds of little units, each of which does practically nothing; but all of which claim to be the most important part of your computer. GALLUP VIRUS: 60% of the PC's infected will lose 30% of their data 14% of the time (plus or minus a 3.5% margin of error). TEXAS VIRUS: Makes sure that it's bigger than any other file. ADAM AND EVE VIRUS: Takes a couples of bytes out of your Apple. CONGRESSIONAL VIRUS: The computer locks up and the screen splits in half with the same message appearing on each side. The message says that the blame for the gridlock is caused by the other side. AIRLINE LUGGAGE VIRUS: You're in Dallas, but your data is in Singapore. FREUDIAN VIRUS: Your computer becomes obsesses with marrying it's own motherboard. PBS VIRUS: Your program stops running every few minutes to ask for money. ELVIS VIRUS: Your computer gets fat, slow and lazy; then self destructs only to surface at shopping malls and service stations across rural America. OLLIE NORTH VIRUS: Causes your printer to become a paper shredder. NIKE VIRUS: Just does it. SEARS VIRUS: Your data won't appear unless you buy new cables, power supply and shocks. JIMMY HOFFA VIRUS: Your program can never be found again. KEVORKIAN VIRUS: Helps your computer shut down as an act of mercy. STAR TREK VIRUS: Invades your system in places where no virus has gone before. HEALTH CARE VIRUS: Tests your system for a day, finds nothing wrong and sends you a bill for $4,500.00. GEORGE BUSH VIRUS: It starts by boldly stating; "Read my docs...No New Files!" on the screen. It proceeds to fill up all the free space on your hard drive with new files, then blames it on the Congressional Virus. ? Renee Sanger Redman, Ph.D.
4. Sheryl write from the refreshing MidWest.
From: Sheryl Quimby
Do you have any idea how cold it is here? It's so cold that on Saturday when I went to turn the corner my blinker lever snapped right in half! And, I told you about the screws on my license plate snapping in half too!!! I want to go somewhere tropical!!! I can't stand it anymore. Needless to say since I don't have a blinker lever and no front license plate these aren't things I can just let slide. So, I took my car to Viking this morning and it is going to cost $150!! I have just about had it with money. I think I am going to sell my car, buy a bike and head south!! This Minnesota thing is getting to me. And, I've only lived here for 31-1/2 years. So, I'm a slow learner. The temp today is going to get up to a balmy high of minus 5 degrees. The low this am when I went to work out was minus 20 with a wind chill of minus 50. It's no wonder my gas bill was $212. My sister said hers was $220 so I don't feel so bad.
-- The instructions on the seat in front of me on a United Airlines
flight. Another example of our govt. in action.
"Never ascribe to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetance."
"There is no excuse for violence against a citizen who is only exercising her Constitutionally guaranteed rights." (22 Jan. 1997)
-- Pres. Clinton in the aftermath of a bombing of a Wash. D. C. abortion clinic. May we assume the President would make exceptions to this rule if you're a Branch Davidean or a Weaver?
It's common practice to raise children in America on several myths (ie Santa Claus). Eventually, though, the child will either discover the truth on their own, or the parents will have to break it to them. The destruction of such childhood fantasies may be crucial to growing up, however it occurs at the cost of the child coming to believe they cannot trust everything their parents tell them. In other words, is maturity necessarily bought at the price of skepticism, and ultimately cynicism? Perhaps so. For those of you who are parents, or are on the path to be, how would you handle the "childhood myth?"
Ed: This is just a hunch, but I think Gov. Thompson was probably aware of this.
Shortly after the election, the choral instructor called the White House to arrange trip times with the parade coordinator, and was surprised to learn that there was no place for their group in the parade. Angered, she told parents who vented their rage on the local TV news stations, who sent a reporter to the White House for Clinton's reaction. The White House recanted the "misunderstanding" and the students were in the parade yesterday, in a bus, while a recording of a professional group was played over the bus' loudspeakers to the crowd along Pennsylvania Ave. The students were advised to "lip synch."
2. Jan. 23, Seattle Post Intelligencer; Dem. Congressman Jim McDermott whined in a front page article on how little civility there is in the House these days. McDermott was compelled to resign from the House ethics committe after he obtained an illegally made tape of Newt Gingrich conferring with his counsel. McDermott released the tape to house minority leaders and the Washington Post. He may now be indicted on felony wire tapping rules.
3. 24 Jan; Chef Jeff Smith of the PBS TV show "The Frugal Gourmet" has been arraigned on charges by a 32 yo man that Smith sexually assaulted him while he worked as an asst. cook 16 years ago at Smith's Tacoma based restaurant. Mrs. Smith is also under investigation for being aware of her husband's proclivities and failing to take action against them.
Ed: Interestingly, Clinton defends his open stance on abortion by saying that the govt. has no right to interfere in the patient - doctor relationship.
2. Jan 9; A national survey of 8'th grade reading skills puts California in a tie for last place with Louisianna. California teachers believe they could be more effective with smaller class sizes. Currently, the class size averages about 26.
3. Oakland County; Educators are pursuing the idea that African American education would benefit if all children in the public schools were taught a little Ebonics (the name given to inner city black slang). However, one school board member commented drily that he did not think such education was necessary as his white fifth grade daughter already knew Ebonics. He based this assumption on the fact that in her class they were to have a mock Miss America competition, but none of the girls wanted to play Miss Idaho (prounounce it "I de Ho").
4. Jan 24, Beverly Hills; The 20 yo star of the movie "Clueless" lived up to that moniker in a recent public service announcement. Alicia Silverstone, who is a member of PETA, shot a Public Service Announcement encouraging High School students of the area to refuse to dissect cats, worms and frogs in their biology class. Ms. Sliverstone capped the video by kissing a frog on the head and saying earnestly, "Biology is the study of life, not death."
Ed: One wonders if the frog kissed was one of the Rocky Mtn. spotted kind, renowned for its hallucinegenic secretions.
2. New York State; This week (Jan 20.), the state of New York is suspending the state sales tax on clothes and shoes and many cities are following suit by dropping their city taxes for the week. This means that purchasers in the Big Apple are enjoying an 8.5% sale (4% state plus 4.5% NY City tax). NYC Mayor Guiliani said he is sick of seeing business go over to New Jersey and Pennsylvania where such taxes are not in place.
The response has been overwhelming. Estimates in sales growth range from a conservative 80% at Niemann Marcus to over 250% at other clothiers - rates which handily exceed XMas sales. Meanwhile state legislators are salivating over the sales surge and are bemoaning the "lost" tax revenue that the policy is "costing" the state. No one seems to be considering what would happen to the tax base if the tax cut were made permanent, resulting in higher employment (more income taxes) and greater sales tax revenue from related businesses (such as restaurants).
Ed: One wonders if the liberal populace would erupt into riots if it were pointed out that they are participating in that great supply side "myth" known as Reagenomics.
In the process, McDermott, Gephardt and Bonior have themselves committed a felony, as well as violating House rules of evidence. A move to convene a grand jury to indict the Dems. is now underwa.
2. Jan 17: The house ethics committe has found that Gingrich was less than candid when some of his early paperwork to the committe claimed there was no connection beteen tax deductuable donations and his college course. But they found he violated no federal law and have reccomended only a repremand and charged Newt $300K to pay for the committee's time.
3. Jan 16: The argument for Paula Jones to be allowed to sue a sitting President starts before the supreme Court this week. Both "Time" and "Newsweek" carried the story and mused over the possible effect the suit could have on CLinton's second term.
Ed: Strangely, they didn't seem to care about the issue just prior to the election.
4. Jan. 30: Three directors of regional FBI crime labs have been reassigned to alternate posts, pending investigations that they routinely allow their labs to tamper with evidence to assist the prosecution's case. The ATF officer who co-headed the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing, is alledging that the FBI tampering has so contaminated the evidence, that the case against suspect Timothy McVeigh is at risk.
Ed: There are several readers of this rag who've expressed envy for the socialist paradises in Canada and Europe. I wonder if this news will alter their views at all.