Archive for July, 2008

Walking a Cat to Pick Up Women?

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Tyler Cowen explains the bizarre effects of a Saudi ban on the sale of dogs and cats, in an effort to stop unwanted passes at women (by men walking their pets):

This is, of course, a net benefit for the offenders to date. The newly created artificial scarcity increases the conversation value of the already owned animals and also confers a positive wealth effect on the wrongdoers. Is it not better to stop xxxx by giving everyone a pet and thus eliminating its conversational value? By the way, if this edict is enforced, we can expect an increase in the pet birth rate and also a greater number of abandoned pets.

Update:

Did John McCain Lie to a Little Girl?

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

McCain tells the girl “no” I won’t raise taxes… which would be good if he hasn’t been going around saying that “everything” is on the table, including raising payroll taxes.

This clip from Olbermann goes through John McCain’s many flips and flops on the issue, including a bizarre statement from his campaign claiming that the Senator, that is the candidate, doesn’t speak for the campaign:

Tribute to Kent Snyder

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Below is the video that played at Kent’s memorial service last week:

And just for the heck of it,  figured I’d share a couple of my favorite pictures… During the Yankee swap at our staff Christmas party, Kent (appropriately) got a Magic 8 ball… so for those of you who were wondering how all those important campaign decisions were made, the secret’s out :)

Stability means other people getting your money

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Came across this column by Dave Barry (courtesy of A Second Hand Conjecture)… It probably does a better job explaining the stupidity of farm subsidies than just about anything else I’ve ever read:

Farm Security: The mohair of the dog that bites you

If you’re like most American taxpayers, you often wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and ask yourself: “Am I doing enough to support mohair producers?”

I am pleased to report that you are, thanks to bold action taken recently by the United States Congress (motto: “Hey, It’s not OUR money!”). I am referring to the 2002 Farm Security Act, which recently emerged from the legislative process very much the way a steaming wad of processed vegetation emerges from the digestive tract of a cow.

The purpose of the Farm Security act is to provide farmers with ”price stability.” What do we mean by ”price stability?” We mean: your money. You have already been very generous about this: Last year alone, you gave more than $20 billion worth of price stability to farmers. Since 1996, you’ve given more than a million dollars apiece to more than 1,000 lucky recipients, many of which are actually big agribusinesses. Some of the ”farmers” you’ve sent your money to are billionaires, such as Ted Turner and Charles Schwab, as well as major corporations, such as Chevron, DuPont and John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance.

But that is NOTHING compared with how generous you’re about to get, taxpayers! Thanks to the Farm Security Act, over the next 10 years, you’ll be providing farmers with 70 percent MORE stability, for a total of $180 billion. At this rate, in a few years farmers will be so stable that they’ll have to huddle in their root cellars for fear of being struck by bales of taxpayer-supplied cash raining down on the Heartland states from Air Force bombers.

Perhaps you are asking yourself: “Wait a minute>! Isn’t this kind of like, I don’t know . . . welfare?”

No, it is not. Welfare is when the government gives money to people who produce nothing. Whereas the farm-money recipients produce something that is critical to our nation: votes. Powerful congresspersons from both parties, as well as President Bush, believe that if they dump enough of your money on farm states, the farm states will re-elect them, thus enabling them to continue the vital work of dumping your money on the farm states. So as we see, it’s not welfare at all! It’s bribery.

But let us not forget the element of National Security. This is where your mohair comes in. As you know, ”mohair” is the hair of any animal whose name begins with ”mo,” such as moose, mouse, mongoose or moray eel.

No, wait, sorry. ”Mohair” is actually wool made from the hair of a goat. During WWII, mohair was used to make military uniforms, so it was considered to be a strategic material, and Congress decided that you, the taxpayer, should pay people to produce it. But of course today mohair has no vital military purpose, and so . . . you are STILL paying people to produce it! And thanks to the Farm Security Act, you will continue to pay millions and millions of dollars, every year, to mohair producers!

As I say, this is for National Security. If terrorists, God forbid, ever manage to construct a giant time machine and transport the United States back to 1941, and we have fight World War II again, WE WILL BE READY.

You will also be thrilled, as a taxpayer, to learn that the Farm Security Act provides new subsidies for producers of lentils and chickpeas. And not a moment too soon. This nation has become far too dependent on imported lentils and chickpeas. Try to picture the horror of living in a world in which foreigners, in foreign countries, suddenly cut off our lentil and chickpea supply. Imagine how you would feel if you had to look your small child in the eye and say, “I’m sorry, little Billy or Suzy as the case may be, but there will be no lentils or chickpeas tonight, and all because we taxpayers were too shortsighted to fork over millions of dollars in support for domestic lentil and chickpea producers, who thus were forced to compete in the market like everybody else, and . . . HEY, COME BACK HERE!”

Yes, that would be a horrible world, all right. And that is why I totally support the Farm Security Act. I hope you agree with me, though I realize that some of you may not; in fact, some of you may be so angry about this column that you’ve decided to never read anything by me again.

Well, guess what: I don’t care! Thanks to the Humor Security Act recently passed by Congress, I’ll be getting huge sums of money from the federal government to
continue grinding out these columns, year after year, even if nobody wants to read them!

No, that would be stupid.

Barr Makes His Pitch to Ron Paul Supporters

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Ron Paul supporters who signed up for a money bomb just received the following email from the Bob Barr campaign:

Dear Friend of Liberty,

Do you believe as I do that our government is too big and too powerful?

Do you share my concern that our privacy rights and other civil liberties are being eroded in the false hope of providing national security against our nation’s enemies?

Do you worry that government spending is growing out of control and that the national debt of over $9 trillion dollars (about $31,000 for you and every other man woman and child in America) threatens our national prosperity.

Well, if you do, may I invite you to continue the revolution that began last fall with the campaign to help Congressman Ron Paul win the Republican nomination for President?

I would be honored to have you and every other Ron Paul supporter join me as we continue in our effort to make history and bring real change to our political system, and ultimately, our government.

Your support will help me reveal to all Americans that there is very little difference between the Republican and Democrat candidates for President in areas of most concern to you and me.

If you need evidence of this, then consider the very recent vote in the U.S. Senate on the reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). You may have seen me on television, or read about my strong and vocal opposition to this amazing abuse of power and violation of our privacy rights.

Both Senators John McCain and Barack Obama showed their true colors when they cast their votes with the Bush administration and against your rights and mine.

FISA is the first very big step on a slippery slope that will most surely lead to more and more surveillance – and not just aimed at foreign terrorists overseas.

Because of your stead fast support for our precious liberties, I know you must be angered like me at where our nation is headed. But unlike the vast majority of uninformed Americans, you have an understanding of the issue and a passion for freedom.

You spent much of your time, treasures and talent over the last nine months in support of a great Patriot, Ron Paul. I am sure you must be disappointed in the outcome of his bold, courageous efforts.

Well, you shouldn’t be. You helped write the first chapter in a new American history book. Ron Paul’s unprecedented support – collecting more than 1,000,000 votes in GOP primaries all across the nation and raising $35 million to get his message out – is something you can be proud of.

Now I ask you to join me as we continue pursuit of the dream.

You may be tired and discouraged about now, but this is no time to rest.

In less than four months we have to re-energize our grassroots support and let every American know of the dangers of FISA and every other facet of big government that threatens our freedom and civilliberties.

To make a difference for the future, I need your help. You were influential in turning out that one million votes. You were a leader in getting the message out on the Internet and in your community. And, you were generous with your financial support for the Paul campaign.

I believe that if you can help me in the same manner, together we will make history. Your voice will be heard.

I will be able to expose the reality that in so many, many ways there is virtually no difference in the Democrat and Republican Presidential candidates. I will explain to concerned Americans that FISA and other big government schemes are a threat to their own personal liberties.

With your help we can enlighten so many people about the needs for government reform at every level. And with you at my side I can expose the truth about our financial system, federal debt and the coming economic crisis unless we make major changes in Washington.

If what I have shared so far isn’t enough to convince you, then I encourage you to visit my website at www.BobBarr2008.com to learn more.

If you are ready to enlist in another critical political campaign, then I welcome you and ask you to take three steps.

#1. If you haven’t already, subscribe to my email list. You’ll learn about our efforts to win a place on every ballot in America and to confront Senators McCain and Obama on the real issues in the national media.

#2. Please tell your friends, family and neighbors about me and my stands on issues critical to every family in America.

#3. Help me collect the resources necessary to get the word out about my campaign. Your contribution of $50, $100, $250 or more TODAY will provide us the funds to print bumper stickers, literature and signs. Your gift will fund the operation of a national campaign headquarters and will empower us to deliver a message of change.

Between now and November, the McCain and Obama campaign machines will spend over $400 Million to win votes. With your help, I believe we can be effective with a fraction of that amount. But, we can’t wait another day to ramp up our offensive.

I salute you for your admirable efforts on behalf of Congressman Paul and thank you for your consideration of my appeal.

Sincerely,

Barr Signature

Bob Barr

P.S. – Remember, FISA is just one of many issues where Senators Obama and McCain agree. They are political clones who will not make the changes we need in Washington. The powerful and wealthy establishment that runs this country controls both the Republicans and Democrats. If we are to recapture control for the people, we can wait no longer. Thanks again for joining me in this historic revolution.

Paid for by Barr 2008 Presidential Committee.

Predictable

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Ok, so you can have a handgun in D.C. now, but only in your home and only if it’s unloaded and locked away. At least, that’s the law the DC government is attempting to pass in the wake of Heller. (Unfortunately, the Supreme Court left plenty of leeway by saying that “reasonable” restrictions on gun rights are acceptable. Leave it to the government to define “reasonable,” right? Hardly.)

The Paul-O-Meter

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008


Liberty Maven has been running an interesting series of analyzes on the presidential candidates to see how they rate compared to Ron Paul (Methodology here). While you can quibble with a point or two here or there, the overall trend suggested by the scores seems reasonable enough.

The tally (out of 99) is:

Barack Obama 17

John McCain 25

Chuck Baldwin 86

Bob Barr 88

Here are the reader-rated results

The Economics of Education

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Over on DiscoverScholars.org blog, I discuss a novel idea for keeping education costs low and improving the quality of higher education.

Just like the need to decouple health insurance from employers, I propose separating students’ available financial aid from the schools at which they’re enrolled.