Saturday, August 31, 2002

Here are more news articles and commentary from the last week or so that I won't get a chance to comment on, but wanted to share. Monday is usually a big news and commentary day, so I'll probably start sharing links to articles at the beginning of the week, as well as the end of the week.

Both NEWSMAX and FOXNEWS have recent articles on DDT. It's estimated that 30 to 60 million preventable deaths to malaria have occurred since DDT was banned. Read about it HERE, HERE, and HERE.

California PASSED a bill that requires "sensitivity" training for foster parents on homosexuality, bisexuality and trans-sexuality. In another story on California, Patrick Mallon SAYS California's lack of identification requirements when voting is the Democratic Party's way of inventing voters.

I have a few education stories. Former teacher B.K. Eakman WRITES how schools brainwash children. David Kirkpatrick SAYS public schools cherry pick the best students all the time, so it's hypocritical to make this case against private schools under school-choice programs. The USA Today WRITES that school systems turn away the best candidates by making them take "useless education courses." The teaching system is designed to hire the low achievers who are the only ones willing to put up with this nonsense. CNSnews REPORTS that a new poll on school choice is being challenged for misleading language. And my favorite education story, Joanne Jacobs COMMENTS on how unqualified socialist teachers who hate capitalism purposely mis-teach economics in high schools as part of their efforts to brainwash the public school children of America.

Ilana Turner SAYS that government spending and growth impoverishes America, because huge amounts of money are wasted on unproductive people.

FOXNews REPORTS that beginning October 1, all government agencies will be subject to the "Data Quality Act," which allows any group to look at the data used to justify regulations and to conduct its own study to challenge the data's accuracy.

Glenn Sacks COMMENTS on how domestic violence laws that require mandatory arrests presume men are guilty in domestic disputes.

Here are two similar stories on using phony goods to disrupt a market. The Washington Post REPORTS that record labels are uploading damaged music files on music sharing services to fight piracy. And the Thai government is CONSIDERING MANUFACTURING fake speed pills that cause headaches and vomiting to combat drug use.
My friends and family know I’m a big fan of breakfast cereal. On occasion, I help out the community by providing guidance on selecting breakfast cereal for your family’s and your breakfast enjoyment. Here, I review three recent additions to the cereal marketplace.

I don’t understand the name of Kellogg’s Special K Red Berries, considering the cereal’s only berry is freeze-dried strawberries. Maybe Kellogg’s is keeping its options open in case the price of Strawberries gets too expensive, and they can substitute cheaper “red berries.” I don’t care for regular Special K, and don’t buy it, but Special K Red Berries is delicious. Kellogg’s was generous with the quantity of berries in the box. Excellent. 3 1/2 spoons out of 4.

It didn’t take long for Post to come out with a similar strawberry cereal. Post’s Honey Bunches of Oats with Real Strawberries is even better than the new Special K. It’s been on sale every week for the past two months, usually for only $2.19 for a 13-ounce box. Outstanding. This is Cranberry Almond Crunch-quality cereal, only it doesn’t cost $1 per bowl. 4 spoons out of 4.

As much as I enjoy Quaker’s Cap’n Crunch, Crunchberries, and Peanut Butter Crunch, the new brand extension, Cap’n Crunch’s Choco Donuts, is unsatisfactory. I could just barely taste the chocolate flavor. 1 spoon out of 4. If you want a breakfast cereal with a good chocolate taste, I recommend Kellogg’s Cocoa Krispies or Post’s Cocoa Pebbles. If you want a lighter chocolate taste mixed with a good frosting taste, I recommend Post’s Oreo’s O’s cereal.

The Onion WROTE a funny satire about a father buying his kids bagged cereal. It should be noted that independent studies--not conducted by the breakfast-cereal industrial complex--have shown that parents who buy bargain-brand cereal don’t love their children.

Friday, August 30, 2002

This will probably be a regular feature of The Sabertooth Journal. Here's a collection of all of the news stories and commentary that I found interesting since Monday, but was unable to post and comment upon in a timely manner.

There's a lot of good material on the World Summit in Johannesburg. TECH CENTRAL STATION has a section of its website devoted to the summit. James K. Glassman SAYS the idea that increasing wealth leads to a better environment is gaining support. Duane D. Freese WRITES that Bush's bilateral approach defies global warming alarmists with economic sense. James K. Glassman also SAYS Bush was right not to show, because without the president in Johannesburg, activists are forced to confront more serious matters than bashing America. Bjorn Lomborg WRITES in the New York Times that the environmentalists have it all wrong. Economic development must come before sustainability. The Adam Smith Institute EXPLAINS how capitalism and progress can cure the world's ills. Professor Philip Stott TELLS the environmentalists what the poor really need: coal, gas, and oil. For left-wing news, The Guardian SAYS rich nations should match the poor's generosity, and SAYS economic growth makes many in the rich world miserable.

There were also some interesting articles on the poor this week. The Daily Telegraph WRITES that the left admits the underclass is a myth. Reason SAYS environmentalists have a lot to learn about what the poor want. And Thomas R. DeGregori CLAIMS Non-Governmental Organizations don't speak for the poor, powerless, and hungry.

Reason TAKES ON the hypocrisy of smoking bans justified by employee health concerns.

Keith Thompson SETS STRAIGHT a sexist Stanford professor for blaming males for child abuse, when evidence shows that females commit the majority of child abuse.

Linda Seebach COMMENTS on how liberals now are worried about academic freedom in universities after spending the last 15 years trampling on the rights of conservatives with speech codes and political correctness on America's campuses.

Lisa Snell at the Reason Public Policy Institutes WRITES how government money and regulation that discourages competition can corrupt school privatization.

The Tax Foundation SAYS changes in economic assumptions and statistical techniques are mostly responsible for wild swings in the Congressional Budget Office's estimates of the deficit. More spending and tax cuts are really not to blame.
I just had my 1000th website hit at 10:04:41 PM PDT, since I installed my hit counter on August 21. Interestingly, the 1000th hit was from a Google search on "opinions against Los Angeles School District ban on soda." I want to thank everyone who reads, and especially INSTAPUNDIT, TIM BLAIR, and KEN LAYNE for sending me a lot of traffic the last 48 hours.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Here’s a really bad idea explained in a poorly written and biased "news" article from the San Jose Mercury News. The California Assembly passed a bill that would require employers to allow employees to take six weeks of paid leave at 55% of their weekly pay. The bill must still be passed by the California Senate and signed by the governor.

When you read the article, notice how someone making $36,000 per year only has to pay $27 per year in taxes to fund this program, but someone making $65,000 per year has to pay $520 per year in taxes. You know damn well people making $65,000 per year will never use this program, meaning this is a redistribution of wealth, not a “self-funded program.”

The article mentions that the original bill would have allowed workers to take up to 12 weeks of paid time off, with the costs to be shared by both the employee and the employer. The author writes that to counter opposition, the bill “cut the paid time in half and eliminated the requirement that employers pay for the program.” If the writer had any inkling of economics, he would know there is no difference, because the employer would have passed on the cost of the “program” in lower wages and benefits.

This article was filed under the “local news” section of the San Jose Mercury News. When you read this entire “news” article, you’ll notice how biased it is. The article uses loaded words like “poised”, “offer”, “landmark”, and “forefront.” The author also uses the term “payroll deduction” instead of “tax.”

The article features a mother “who was recently confronted with the death of her father and the adoption of a newborn child at the same time.” This woman complains she and her husband were able to juggle their schedules, “but neither of us was able to spend the first six weeks or so of quality bonding time -- which is extremely important.'' This woman knew she was adopting a child, chose to adopt a child, and was able to care for her child, but she complains she didn’t get “quality bonding time.” If this had been so important to her, she would have saved enough money to take time off, which she was allowed to take off according to the Family Medical Leave Act.

The author finishes the piece with a biased picture of the United States. He writes, “[O]f the 130 countries that have some sort of program, only Ethiopia, Australia and the United States do not offer paid time off.” Yeah, and America doesn’t have 12% unemployment and a social welfare system crushing productivity and the entire economy.
In this wonderful story reported in the South African press, farmers and street vendors from across South Africa gave Greenpeace, the Third World Network, and BioWatch the “Bullshit Trophy” for their contributions to the "preservation of poverty" in developing countries. The trophy comprises a piece of wood with two heaps of dried cow dung. Sorry, no picture.
You knew this was coming. The Sierra Club Foundation and the Alliance for Justice — an association of civil-rights, environmental, mental health, consumer, women's and children's advocacy groups — have asked the Federal Election Commission to exempt their organizations from the new campaign finance law.

The new campaign finance law is a crock because Congress can still shake down businesses and gauge taxpayers. The only thing this new law will do well is protect the jobs of incumbents. I’m certain the Supreme Court will declare certain provisions of the law to be unconstitutional. But if a bad law is going to be in effect, it had better apply to everyone.
Seeing how I have a lot of traffic on my blog today and a baseball strike will likely occur tomorrow, I'm reposting my organizational solution to baseball. The original post appears below.

I read Bob Costas's FAIR BALL: A FAN'S CASE FOR BASEBALL a few weeks ago. It's a good book, but I don't agree with Costas's ultimate recommendations for the organization of Major League Baseball. I've never heard anyone make this argument, but I believe the American and National Leagues should dump the franchise model and incorporate into separate public corporations with each team and its farm system being an operating division. If the leagues are two separate public corporations competing against each other, antitrust issues are no longer a concern. Incorporating will compensate the large-market teams for lost revenue from proposed revenue-sharing by giving these teams more shares in the new corporate entity. Plus, fans and multi-millionaire players can buy stock and have a vested interest in baseball's success.

I think dumping the franchise model might be good for all sports. Even though revenue sharing and parity are much more pronounced in football and basketball, they too could benefit from the public corporation model. Privately-owned teams like the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Clippers are historically mismanaged. I don't care how much revenue sharing or parity there is; the Cardinals and Clippers will never win a championship with their current ownership. This is ultimately bad for their sports and their leagues. If any of my readers have seen something written on the model I suggest or want to suggest different organizational models, send me an e-mail.

I'll have some solutions for college and professional football this Labor Day weekend.
Federal bomb screeners received as little as 15 minutes of training before they started inspecting baggage for bombs. This is what Americans get for a few billion of our tax dollars.
The United States, Canada and Australia have been named to an “Axis of Evil” at the World Summit in Johannesburg “for their reluctance to co-operate with the rest of the world in tackling global poverty and environmental degradation.” I guess freedom, accountability, and reason pass for evil nowadays.
Big Media doesn’t like to report stories like this where law-abiding citizens use legally-owned firearms to protect themselves, so I’ll report it here. EXPERTS ESTIMATE that firearms are used in self-defense between 800,000 and 2,500,000 times every year in America.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Monday, I REPORTED the Los Angeles School Board was considering banning the sale of soda at all Los Angeles Unified School District campuses. Yesterday, the school board did vote for the soda sale ban to take effect January 2004.

This story received a lot of local media coverage in Los Angeles. KABC CHANNEL 7 led last night's 11:00 newscast with the story. THE LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS put the story on this morning's front page, just above the fold. I give the LOS ANGELES TIMES credit for putting the story on the front page of Section B--state and local news.

I can't believe that the local media thinks this is big news, but they don't think incompetent teachers, grossly low reading scores, a state crackdown on home-schooling parents, political indoctrination in public schools, and teachers unions illegally using union dues for political purposes are news stories. No, wait a minute. I do believe it.
I removed the hyperlink and punctuation from my e-mail address on the left-hand side of your screen. I'm receiving six penis enlargement junk e-mails per day now, and I'm going to attribute the sudden increase to my website. I'll forego the easy jokes because my mother reads this. The e-mail address has not changed. I still want your e-mails, but you'll have to type in my e-mail address from now on.
The leaders of both Egypt and Saudi Arabia are opposed to an American-led attack on Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein and establish a democracy. Egyptian and Saudi Arabian leaders oppose democracy in the Middle East and among Arabs, because they know their days in power are numbered once the Arabs in their countries see other Arabs living in freedom.

President Mubarak of Egypt WARNED of intense Arab anger if Iraq is attacked before peace is reached between Israelis and Palestinians. Mubarak told students in Alexandria, Egypt, “If you strike Iraq, and kill the people of Iraq while Palestinians are being killed by Israel…not one Arab leader will be able to control the angry outburst of the masses.”

Mubarak knows there is no chance of peace between Israelis and Palestinians anytime soon, unless Arab despots who fund and give refuge to Palestinian terrorists are knocked over. But if unelected Arab dictators are deposed, he’ll be out of a job or even dead, so he can’t have any part of this freedom nonsense.

Mubarak adds, “I don’t think there is one Arab state that wants a strike on Iraq, not Kuwait, not Saudi Arabia, not any other state,” he said, adding that a military intervention in Iraq could lead to “chaos across the region.”

Mubarak is correct. Not one Arab state wants a strike on Iraq, because not one Arab state is a democracy. An Arab democracy in Iraq would not be good for the status quo of oppression, terrorism, and thievery.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, SAID in an interview that it would be unwise for the international community to try to force Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and install its own replacement. Notice how the foreign minister cannot comprehend democracy. America and its allies would not “install its own replacement,” but allow the Iraqi people to choose their own leaders.

Prince Saud al-Faisal said that it was up to the Iraqi people to oust Saddam and it was “gullible of people to think they knew better than the Iraqis what would be best for their country.” I never thought of myself as gullible for thinking that the Iraqi people wouldn’t want to live under a dictator who murders, tortures, starves, and oppresses his people on a daily basis. What’s gullible is thinking that the Iraqi people actually want to live under Saddam Hussein.

The prince said, "Whether Saddam Hussein remains or is removed from power is up to the Iraqi people. It has never been shown in history...that anybody removed from the outside and another person put in instead has made for the stability of the region." The last thing the Middle East needs right now is stability. “Stability” in the Middle East has brought us a region full of dictators, terrorists, wars, corruption, oil cartels, and perverted religion. If this is what I get from “stability,” I’ll take instability, which is the Arab code word for democracy.

These people are not our friends.
Cathy Young at Reason takes on one of my favorite topics: the hypocrisy of the left wing with their defense of communism. Communists were the biggest mass murderers of the 20th century. CHECK OUT THIS SITE by a University of Hawaii professor who estimated the number of murders committed by governments in the 20th century (up to 1987).

I dispute any claims that communism is based on good intentions of fairness and equality. Communism is about greed, theft, and slavery. It’s no wonder a system based on these undesirable principles always leads to misery and mass murders.
The mainstream media is starting to pick up stories on the proposed secessions of the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood from the city of Los Angeles. Both secession plans are on the November ballot. I live in West L.A. and I support both plans.

All of the Los Angeles politicians are against it. They claim secession will hurt L.A.’s prestige and national clout, but we all know it’s about greed and power. Secession means one million less people L.A. politicians don’t have power over, and that’s a bad thing for their egos.

The reason everyone should support L.A. secession is because it will cut down on government waste and theft. In business, economies of scale can result in huge cost savings. In government, it’s just the opposite. The larger the government entity, the more money ends up unaccounted for or is wasted on pork. The federal government can’t account for a few trillion dollars over the last 10 years. If someone went through L.A.’s books, I’m certain we would find billions unaccounted for.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

The financial statements of many federal agencies are in such dismal shape that the General Accounting Office (GAO) -- the investigative arm of Congress that audits federal accounts -- has been unable to provide an opinion on the government's finances for the past five years. Billions upon billions of dollars go missing every year. Where’s the outrage? Where are the subpoenas? Where are the congressional hearings? Where are the arrests? Where are the tougher new laws and penalties?
Now that the government foots the bill to screen air passengers instead of the airlines, the cost has gone up. But you knew this would happen, right?
Delegates at this week's UN summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg were angry and blaming the U.S. before the event. Now delegates are claiming they are upset by President Bush's absence. Why would a U.S. president show up to be bashed by these hypocrites? In case you missed it, the delegates dined on lobster and caviar while they DISCUSSED starvation.
One of every six working-age Swedes is off work because of illness or injury. The average income of Western Europeans is already two-thirds of Americans. Maybe when Western Europeans’ income is one half of Americans, the world will realize just how morally bankrupt socialism really is.

Monday, August 26, 2002

The free market Mackinac Center gives a quick EXPLANATION on how logging can be done in a responsible way, which would protect the forests, reduce forest fires, and lower the cost of housing.
A dangerous animal-activist group in Boston uses extortion and terrorism to harass legal businesses.
An environmentalist kook is speaking out against electricity, and claims a lack of electricity is a virtue of poverty. This hypocrite is the editor of an environmental online magazine. And yes, publishing online magazines do require electricity. (I'm using a computer right now to write this.)

UPDATE: I realize this guy is not representational of the environmental movement. I posted this story, because other media outlets and blogs were picking up this story. I suspect that more than one mainstream, national opinion writer will comment on this guy in the next two weeks. I also posted this story because guys like this make the rest of the environmental activists seem mainsteam, even though the mainstream environmentalists' hypotheses are based on junk science, flawed computer simulations, and an underlying desire to impose worldwide socialism.
It should be no surprise to my readers that high taxes on cigarettes in some states has led to cigarette smuggling from low-cigarette-tax states. A 13-hour drive from Charlotte to Detroit can net up to $10,000.
California's Democratically controlled General Assembly Friday passed a bill making it easier to sue gun makers. This is more PROOF the Democrats are bought and paid for by the gun-control lobby.
California state legislators are already overpaid at $99,000 per year. But with extra living expense money, a car allowance, staff salaries and office and travel expenses, it costs taxpayers more than $400,000 annually to keep each lawmaker in office. When you divide the legislature's $197 million budget for the fiscal year that ended June 30 by 120 lawmakers -- 80 Assembly members and 40 senators -- it comes out to more than $1.6 million per politician annually. What a rip-off.
I find this COMMENTARY in the Boston Globe by Ellen Barry absolutely fascinating. Someone on the Boston Globe staff is actually arguing that women who file false charges of rape aren’t criminals, but are in fact suffering from some mental affliction. Filing false charges is not only against the law, it is an affront to the entire criminal justice system. I thought most Americans considered sending innocent people to prison an atrocious act, but apparently this woman at the Boston Globe thinks these criminals should receive our sympathy instead of our contempt.
Employment experts SAY provocative pictures on your desk at the job--wives in swim suits, husbands with bare chests, naked babies--could result in sexual harassment claims, lost productivity, or a tarnished company image. I still say family pictures on one’s desk at the office show a lack of commitment to the firm. Show me an employee with pictures of his kids on his desk, and I’ll show you an employee who cuts out 15 minutes early to watch Little League games.

UPDATE: A reader asks if it's okay to put pictures of his employer's family on his desk instead. No, this is not okay. It shows the employee is committed to the firm, but it is also shows the employee has deficiencies in critical traits, such as judgement, independence, courage, accountability, intelligence, and organizational politics. Broadcasting to your co-workers that you are a sycophant is a sure way to lose all credibility.
The Los Angeles Unified School District will vote on Tuesday to ban the sale of soda at all 677 school campuses. THIS ARTICLE fails to mention how the soda ban will improve math, reading, and writing skills already at embarrassingly low levels in L.A. schools. The school board claims banning soda sales will help combat childhood obesity. There is no word yet whether the school board will stop encouraging the banning of sports and physical activity, like dodgeball and tag, that have a tendency to “hurt feelings” and “lower self-esteem” now that the school board has determined obesity is the public schools’ problem.

You can add soda bans to the long list of non-educational matters that public schools think is their business. Pull your children out of public schools and demand a tax refund for the educational services you are not receiving.
The former Florida Secretary of State who helped prevent Al Gore from stealing the presidential election has a book due out in October. This ARTICLE from the Tallahassee Democrat mentions some of the issues Harris discusses in her book. As you probably remember, Harris was thrashed for her appearance by hypocritical, left-wing women’s groups who attack men for “lookism.”
California Governor Gray Davis is keeping America safe from terrorists by OUTLAWING plastic knuckles. Davis claims he is worried these devices could be smuggled on to airplanes.
The left-wing, South Dakota Senator Daschle is REWRITING the nation’s energy laws to give a boast to corn growers and the ethanol industry in South Dakota and surrounding states. There is no doubt this type of legislation would result in fuel shortages and higher energy prices.
The Tennessee Court of Appeals has FOUND that current child support guidelines that prohibit financial considerations for children from second families "violate the equal protection guarantees of the federal and state constitutions." The Court is acknowledging how damaging child support laws are to second wives and the children from that marriage.

Some states allow a second wife's income to be factored in when determining the child support a divorced dad pays to his first wife. Thus second wives' income is used to support their stepchildren, even in cases where first wives are not working.
The 10-day Earth Summit opens today in Johannesburg. South African President, Thabo Mbeki, called on Sunday for an end to “GLOBAL APARTEID” between the rich and poor. The leaders of poor nations are of course demanding more aid, instead of pulling their people out of poverty by delivering the rule of law, democratic elections, property rights, and capitalism. Even Britain is now BLAMING America for the world’s poor, because of America’s refusal to give more handouts to corrupt world leaders.

Radley Balko at THE AGITATOR notes the obvious bias in CNN’s COVERAGE. The third paragraph of CNN’s articles states, “More than 60,000 delegates are in the city to find ways of reducing world poverty without repeating the environmental damage caused by industry in the West.” This isn’t the reporter quoting anyone. This is the reporter’s own opinion in a news article. Radley sets the reporter straight on the facts.

Meanwhile next door in Zimbabwe, the racist President Robert Mugabe is causing a famine by confiscating white-owned farms. Now Mugabe's wife is PARTICIPATING in the thievery.
Police in Delaware have begun a database of future suspects. The database contains the name of people who are likely to break the law. The criteria for landing in the database are not clear, but many of the people whose pictures were taken for the database were briefly stopped for loitering and then let go.
Michael Radu TAKES ON charges against the United States from the radical left. Left-wing kooks in America and Europe have been accusing the U.S. of moral inconsistency and hypocrisy, and now are accusing the U.S. of condoning and possibly actively encouraging the right-wing regimes of 1970s South America of eliminating the communist threat with extreme prejudice. Both the commentary and the left-wing kooks fail to mention the over 100 million people communists murdered in the 20TH CENTURY.
George Will COMMENTS on the NEA’s plan to be a sensitivity tutor for parents and teachers regarding the September 11th terrorist attacks. Will says the NEA’s plan illustrates “three things that make the public education establishment a national menace”: (1) the NEA’s complete distrust and elitism towards parents; (2) the NEA’s obsession with political correctness and anti-Americanism; and (3) the NEA’s emphasis on feelings instead of thinking and learning. I hope Americans wake up to the threat to American society and liberty that the teachers unions represent before it’s too late.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

I saw the annual TCHAIKOVSKY SPECTACULAR at the Hollywood Bowl last night, in the open air with 18,000 of my closest friends. The sound is perfect, even from hundreds of feet away, except for the occasional clanking of bottles by the audience. The Hollywood Bowl is one of the few venues left in America that lets customers bring in their own food and drink--including bottles full of booze. I suppose symphony music doesn't attract the type of audience known for throwing bottles nor does symphony music have a tendency to incite an audience into throwing bottles. The finale to the 1812 Overture included fireworks timed to the music. It almost brought a tear to my eye. I give it 3 1/2 violins out of 4. Go see it next year.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Columnist Michelle Malkin's COMMENTARY for the week ties together education news stories I posted YESTERDAY and WEDNESDAY. Michelle notes the hypocrisy of California demanding home-schooling parents have teaching credentials to teach their children, while 27% of middle- and high-school classes in California are taught by teachers not trained in the subject they are teaching.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

This should come as no surprise, but an estimated one in four public middle- and high-school classes is taught by a teacher not trained in the subject. Read a quick news article HERE, or read the 14-page report HERE.
Here’s a quick ANALYSIS on campaign spending limits and how these laws limit competition in politics. Spending limits protect incumbents. Period. The author notes that the true problem is Big Government and legislators wanting to put their grubby, little hands on everything—not campaign spending.
Dennis Prager WRITES an interesting piece on how out-of-control "compassion" has led to the banning of peanuts of any kind at a Georgia elementary school. It seems the allergies of two or three kids dictates that the school makes everyone else suffer, lest the school appear insensitive to these children and their parents. This is one more example of American public schools focusing on feelings and self-esteem instead of something important like reading and math. I'm sure this school has already banned dodgeball and tag, because it leads to hurt feelings. The kids in this school are definitely going to be wusses.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Left-wing kooks are trying to pass a “living wage” law in Atlanta, Georgia. Joe Bommarito POINTS OUT the complete lack of understanding of basic economics these loons have.
A 28-year-old Louisville man underwent a vasectomy in a bid for leniency for failure to pay $1,000 in court-ordered child support. The article fails to MENTION if the mother took responsibility for herself and child and got a job.
A 76-year-old Pennsylvania man was convicted of harassment and sentenced to 30 days in jail for saying the media-dubbed “n-word.” A lawyer ANALYZES the incident.
A Massachusetts ballot measure would abolish the STATE INCOME TAX. A recent poll showed that 37 percent of voters support the measure.
I’m all for individuals receiving market-determined wages, but the whole point of unions is to build inefficiencies into the labor market and undermine market-determined wages. This article SAYS, “the leadership of the National Education Association, the country's top teachers' union, is so far removed from ordinary classroom environments they can no longer relate to the tasks facing working-class teachers.”
John deLaubenfels WRITES the only sexual perversion involved in prostitution is the perverted fear of sex the people who seek to criminalize it have.
School officials in CALIFORNIA are warning parents that they cannot educate their children at home unless they obtain professional teaching credentials. Of course this is an impossible demand to meet by the beginning of the school year. I have no doubt the teachers' unions are behind this gross attempt at subverting competition in education and trampling on parental rights.
UCLA law professor EUGENE VOLOKH discussed the dark side of privacy laws Tuesday morning. I’m late, but I’ve decided Eugene’s discussion is too good not to share.

Many states prohibit people from tape recording conversations without the speakers’ consent. Some states only prohibit tape recording conversations where the person doing the recording isn’t involved. Essentially, the intent of these laws is to protect people from eavesdropping and warrantless intrusions and misconduct from the government.

But some states prohibit taping conversations unless all parties grant permission. Eugene Volokh RECOUNTS how the Massachusetts government used its “privacy” law to restrict people’s liberty and their ability to protect themselves from government misconduct, when a motorist was convicted of four counts of wiretapping for tape recording his traffic stop.
The U.S. General Accounting Office REPORTS that public school teachers in Texas and Georgia are using a Social Security loophole to qualify for increased benefits that during their lifetimes could amount to about $450 million. Workers enrolled in state and local government retirement plans do not pay social security taxes or receive benefits. There are about 2,300 of these retirement plans in existence, with approximately one-third of the workers not covered by Social Security.

Generally, Social Security benefits are payable to the spouses of retired, disabled, or deceased workers covered by Social Security. If both spouses worked in positions covered by Social Security, each may not receive both the benefits earned as a worker and the full spousal benefit. The worker receives the higher amount of the two. Until 1977, workers receiving pensions from government positions not covered by Social Security could receive their full pension benefit and their full Social Security benefits, as if they were non-working spouses. In 1977, legislation created a Government Pension Offset (GPO) to equalize the treatment of individuals covered by Social Security and those with non-covered government pensions. GPO prevented workers from receiving a full spousal benefit on top of a pension earned from non-covered government employment. The intent of the law was to treat government workers just like everyone else.

The law allows workers to avoid that reduction in benefits if both Social Security and their government pension cover them during their last day on the job. As you might expect, teachers are transferring to clerical and maintenance jobs outside the government pension system before they retire. In Texas, some teachers are working a single day as a janitor before retiring, and paying about $3 in Social Security taxes for that day of work to take advantage of the loophole.

The investigators said they did not have time to confirm if government workers outside of Texas and Georgia were using the loophole—which surely they are.

Dave’s quick analysis and recommendations:
1. Workers in all 2,300 government retirement plans could be taking advantage of this scam, which could put the cost to taxpayers at over $100 billion. Of course this scam will only grow in size, as more government workers become aware of it.
2. This gross conduct shows the inherent problems of exempting some people from laws. Either a law is good enough for all of us or none of us. In case you didn’t know, Congress has its own pension plan, and is exempt from Social Security taxes.
3. Since Social Security isn’t good enough for government workers or the people who make the laws, it’s not good enough for the rest of us second-class citizens. Dump Social Security and give Americans the freedom to manage their own retirement.

Someone tell me again why public school teachers are supposed to be revered.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Here are the CATO INSTITUTE’S arguments against going to war in Iraq. I’m an extreme hawk when it comes to waging war in the Middle East, but the Cato Institute has made some plausible arguments—unlike the anti-war kooks at the New York Times or in academia.

Fear of acting because of the potential downside is bad government policy and a bad way to live one's life. Yes, it's possible the war doesn't go well. Yes, it's slightly possible the situation in the Middle East could get worse instead of better. But how much worse could the situation get? How much more of a downside could there really be?

The argument about “destabilizing” the Middle East is absurd. There will only be stability in the Middle East when all leaders are democratically elected, the rule of law exists, and private property is protected. Why would America, Europe, or the UN want to protect the status quo in the Middle East? I don’t understand the connection between nations whose leaders fund and train terrorists and a secure supply of energy. Certainly free people would be much more interested in selling us as much oil as we want—minus the terrorism part.
This Washington Times article is responsible for a lot of criticism of the National Education Association teachers union. A few lines from the article include the NEA “suggesting to teachers that they be careful on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks not to ‘suggest any group is responsible’ for the terrorist hijackings that killed more than 3,000 people. Suggested lesson plans compiled by the NEA recommend that teachers ‘address the issue of blame factually,’ noting: ‘Blaming is especially difficult in terrorist situations because someone is at fault. In this country, we still believe that all people are innocent until solid, reliable evidence from our legal authorities proves otherwise.’”

I suppose Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda claiming responsibility isn’t proof. I also suppose all 19 of the hijackers being Muslim Arabs isn’t solid, reliable evidence.

This article is believable because the NEA has a history of promoting left-wing indoctrination in public schools, but Porphyrogenitus at RANTING SCREEDS says the NEA is “getting a bum rap” in this controversy.
A reader asked me, “If I’m trying to hide my name, why do I allow other websites to publish my name.” The answer is that I’m not really trying to hide my name; I’m just trying to make it more difficult to be penalized for my opinions.

I don’t get paid to blog or write, and my career working for others in the world of business and marketing is not over. The only legitimate threat to me is an overly nosy future employer or co-worker who wants to find out more about me with a simple Internet search. I use the moniker “davemeck” to prevent a simple Google search on my name from going directly to my blog. I have no doubt that my opinions could be used against me by an over zealous manager or human resources representative.

I don’t think I’m hiding much with “davemeck.” My moniker is a simple contraction of my name. I send e-mails to others regarding my blog with a Verizon e-mail account that contains my full name in the address and signature. If I were truly concerned about my name being used, I would send e-mails through a Yahoo account, I would use a more elaborate pseudonym, and other websites would refer to me by my pseudonym. I certainly wouldn’t link to sites that used my real name either. Here’s some more information on anonymous and pseudonymous blogging HERE, HERE, and HERE.
Federal agents in 29 states arrested dozens of fathers who owe millions in child support. Government officials described this as a significant expansion of the federal role in enforcing child support laws and court orders. The story mentions “Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives have united to toughen the law on child support for welfare recipients and more affluent parents.”

Let’s take a closer look at one of the examples in the news story: An “Oklahoma man, James A. Circle, says he earned more than $39,000 a year and had been ordered to pay $350 a week for a child in New Jersey.” $350 per week adds up to $18,200 per year. This “affluent” man is making only $39,000 per year, which after taxes is around $26,000 per year. This leaves approximately $8,000 per year for the man to live off, after he is forced to send $18,200 per year to New Jersey. Of course the mother need not work to support herself and the child whom she had 100% of the power to decide to have.

These support cases truly show government’s complete ignorance of economics. Not only do these child support laws provide a disincentive to marry or have children under wedlock, throwing people in jail for failure to pay child support is the best way to ensure there is no income from which to pay child support.
I’m not even going to get into the inherently flawed and racist reasoning for demanding slave reparations. The most interesting thing about this story is how the mainstream media turned a non-story into major news. On Saturday, all of the television news channels and mainstream media websites were reporting this story. I originally heard “THOUSANDS” rallied in support of slave reparations. I assumed the vague “thousands” was the media’s way of hiding the actual numbers at the rally.

A friend of mine who watched part of the rally on C-SPAN said there couldn’t have been more than five or six hundred. Today, websites are claiming “hundreds rallied.” CNN, MSNBC, and AP. Why would the media bother to report this non-story if only “hundreds showed”? Is it because they sent reporters, cameras, and satellite trucks and had to justify the costs? Or is Big Media trying to show how powerful it is by manufacturing popular support for slave reparations, even when there clearly is no support?

I’m curious how many of the “hundreds” were members of the media. Here’s The Onion’s satirical take on the media reporting KLAN RALLIES. Seventy percent of rally attendees in this lampoon are undercover reporters.

According to a CNN/Gallup Poll taken in February, 90% of white Americans think the government should not make cash payments to black Americans who are descendants of slaves.

Sunday, August 18, 2002

I spent the last week reading BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES by Tom Wolfe. This book was originally published in 1987, and the MOVIE starring Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis was release in 1990. I never saw the movie, which didn't get very good review, but the book is outstanding. Other than the obvious absence of cell phones, this book could very well be set in 2002. The book takes a satirical and brutal look at New York society and the justice system. The characters in the book may be satires, but they could be taken right out of the news. The characters include a civil rights demagogue who is nothing more than a self-promoting shakedown artist, a district attorney who cares more about re-election than justice, and a free-loading con artist disguised as a journalist. Four stars out of four.
I still haven't received a reply from the Nigerian scam artists whom I offered my help getting $60 million out of a foreign account.
I received an e-mail from U.S. News and World Report columnist John Leo this morning. I linked to his commentary on ABORTION ACTIVISTS. The e-mail reads, "Dave--Your site looks wonderful. And thanks for the plug. John Leo." Unbelievable! John Leo reads The Sabertooth Journal! Now that I know such important people look to me for insight and commentary, my effort will surely double. Three weeks ago, Mr. Leo WROTE an opinion piece on bloggers, so it's possible he's a frequent reader of blogs. Let's hope Mr. Leo has added The Sabertooth Journal to his list of favorites or bookmarks.
Radley Balko at THE AGITATOR gave my D.C. STATEHOOD SOLUTION a mention on his website. I enjoy reading The Agitator, and encourage my readers to visit. Be sure to check out Radley's PUBLISHED WRITING section when you visit.

This will be the last time I mention The Sabertooth Journal being cited on another website, except for mentions in THE VOLOKH CONSPIRACY, INSTAPUNDIT, and WSJ BEST OF THE WEB. When I started this blog, one of my goals was to be mentioned on those three sites for writing something profound or of interest. Eugene Volokh's mention on Thursday doesn't meet my criteria, so I can't check his site off my list just yet. I will make exceptions for mentions in the mainstream press too.

Friday, August 16, 2002

Glenn Reynolds posts part of a letter from an INSTAPUNDIT reader arguing against D.C. statehood. The reader writes, "I am absolutely opposed to statehood. The Framers of the Constitution were aware of what happened to London during the Gordon riots of 1780 and didn't want the federal government to be intimidated by mobs uncontrolled by local government. It's sort of like they anticipated Marion Barry." I don't believe the lack of D.C. statehood is about intimidation from mobs.

I think it's based on a very simple principle that the government should not have a vote. From the time D.C. was created to today, the residents who live there and the economy in general are dependent upon on the federal government. These people either work directly for the government, for private entities involved in government, or private organizations whose livelihood is dependent upon the government economy. These people would benefit from the expansion of the federal government, and would therefore continually vote to expand government. U.S. senators and representatives from D.C. would be advocates for the government. This is dangerous to liberty, and should be rejected at all costs.

This argument could also be used against government workers in general. Public-school teachers, police, social workers, soldiers, and government workers at any level have an incentive to increase the size of government. Their unions make them even more dangerous. U.S. elected officials have recently spoken out against tax and government cuts, because hard-working, middle-class, government workers would lose their jobs. Once the majority of Americans are dependent upon the government for their livelihood, either in the form entitlements or jobs, liberty is in extreme danger. This situation may actually exist today, but I'm not certain and will have to check.

"No taxation without representation" has become a rallying cry for proponents of D.C. statehood. Ben Domenech has a solution to the issue of D.C. taxation without representation (link via INSTAPUNDIT). Ben WRITES that we should get rid of the taxation part. The District of Columbia would experience a huge economic boom from businesses looking to relocate in this tax haven, and the calls for statehood would go away.

My solution is quite different. I would get rid of the U.S. citizens living in D.C. Expand and build new universities. Most students can claim residency at their parents' home and vote there. Rip down housing to build more privately-funded memorials, monuments, and museums. Let foreign nations build bigger and better embassies. Stuff every federal government entity (except military) and every international agency with an American presence into D.C. The demand for land to construct new office buildings will be enormous and could be privately funded or funded by selling off government buildings in other cities. Throw in some shopping malls and a new sports stadium and there isn't any land left over for residents. The only people living in D.C. will be the president, some federal government officials, foreign embassy staffs, and students. Not only would there be no need for D.C. statehood, this plan would also lead to the repeal of the 23rd Amendment, which gave D.C. the right to vote for presidents.
From the Samuel B. Griffith-translated version, Chapter 13: Use of Spies, "His mouth still smells of his mother's milk."

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Virginia Postrel takes on the critics of international trade and globalization in this NEW YORK TIMES OPINION PIECE. The New York Times requires registration to read its website, but it's simple and free.
I read Bob Costas's Fair Ball: A Fan's Case for Baseball a few weeks ago. It's a good book, but I don't agree with Costas's ultimate recommendations for the organization of Major League Baseball. I've never heard anyone make this argument, but I believe the American and National Leagues should dump the franchise model and incorporate into separate public corporations with each team and its farm system being an operating division. If the leagues are two separate public corporations competing against each other, antitrust issues are no longer a concern. Incorporating will compensate the large-market teams for lost revenue from proposed revenue-sharing by giving these teams more shares in the new corporate entity. Plus, fans and multi-millionaire players can buy stock and have a vested interest in baseball's success.

I think dumping the franchise model might be good for all sports. Even though revenue sharing and parity are much more pronounced in football and basketball, they too could benefit from the public corporation model. Privately-owned teams like the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Clippers are historically mismanaged. I don't care how much revenue sharing or parity there is; the Cardinals and Clippers will never win a championship with their current ownership. This is ultimately bad for their sports and their leagues. If any of my readers have seen something written on the model I suggest or want to suggest different organizational models, send me an e-mail.
I haven't eaten popcorn for years because of its lack of taste. I don't recall there being "theater style butter" popcorn the last time I bought microwave popcorn five years ago. Casually checking the supermarket shelves on my last trip, I noticed a variety of brands of theater popcorn. There's 450 calories in a popped bag of this stuff, but I went for it anyway. I bought Jolly Time's Blast O Butter. Two thumbs up.
CNN's CROSSFIRE was debating the idea of banning cell phone use at public performances. I loathe the show because it's just talking heads regurgitating the party-line, but I caught the piece flipping through the channels. The conservative Robert Kovac didn't exactly make a good argument everyone could relate to when speaking against the bill. Kovac said he has never heard a cell phone go off when he's at the theater for Shakespeare and opera performances. The very simple argument against this bill is that it's one more nanny-state intrusion on our lives, and that theaters and businesses should be free to set their own rules and throw people out for violating them.
The left-wing kooks in Europe are trying to blame America for the worst flooding in Europe in over a century. The Elbe River was expected to keep rising into the early hours of Friday morning to its highest level since 1845. There's no mention of America causing the 1845 flooding too.
I had intended to wait until this weekend to start promoting and marketing my website, because I wanted as much content up as possible before I started drawing readers. I decided to give Professor Eugene Volokh at THE VOLOKH CONSPIRACY an early heads-up, because we've e-mail each other numerous times and I consider him responsible for my interest in this new medium. Eugene not only MENTIONED my site, he CITED and linked to my post on JOHN LEO and abortion activists. It turned out to be a good day to mention my site to Eugene, because The Volokh Conspiracy had over 5000 unique visitors on his website with links coming from INSTAPUNDIT and SLATE.
I received today another e-mail from Nigerian scam artists. This scam is fairly well known today. I've seen stories on network news magazines, and in the written press. I received my first e-mail a year and a half ago at work and promptly deleted it. Now that I'm a journalist, I'm going to investigate this further. I sent a reply to the e-mail stating that I would be happy to help them get their $60 million out of a foreign account. You can read more about this scam HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

I've been a fan of John Leo since 1990 when I was a freshman at the University of Wisconsin. At the time, UW had a fascist student speech code, and Leo, at U.S. News and World Report, was one of the few national commentators speaking out on the dangers and absurdity of political correctness. UW's speech code was ruled unconstitutional by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in October 1991.

NOW and Planned Parenthood aren't really sending a mixed message, because it's the same message they have always been sending. NOW and Planned Parenthood don't actually believe in choice. They certainly don't believe that individuals should be free to buy the products of their choice. They certainly don't believe that people should be free to support the social programs of their choice. They certainly don't believe that businesses should be free to contract with workers of their choice. They certainly don't believe that people should be free to observe religious practices in their everyday life. And they certainly don't believe that men should be free to choose or not choose to support a child they do not want. As someone who supports abortion and choice, I would rather NOW and Planned Parenthood stop insulting us all by claiming to be "pro-choice."
I requested a seasonal disconnect for my cable television at the beginning of June. Of course the cable company never came over to disconnect my cable. This is the third time I have been granted this gift from the cable gods. When I was a student in Madison, Wisconsin, I decided I was watching too much television, so I cancelled my cable. They never came over to disconnect it. When I lived in Studio City, the cable company never disconnected the cable when the previous occupant cancelled. I lived there for three years without ever seeing a bill, but I received a lot of direct mail pieces asking me to sign up. In all three residences, the coaxial cable went directly from the wall to my cable-ready television. Not having a cable converter box probably greatly increases the possibility of free cable, and I realize this is getting harder with the switch to digital cable, which requires converter boxes. A friend of mine said the cable company never came over to collect his converter box when he cancelled, so there's hope for everyone.
I saw the movie SIGNS starring Mel Gibson last weekend. I'm giving the movie four stars out of four. The movie did an excellent and humorous job of integrating extraterrestrial "science" into the storyline and dialog. One notable extraterrestrial legend absent from the film was the use of anal probes by alien visitors.

Emphasis from "extraterrestrial experts" on anal probes of humans by alien visitors blows the entire idea of UFO's and alien contact for me. Earth has sent its greatest pilots, scientists, and cream of the crop into space to study and advance our civilization, yet an even greater civilization that has mastered space and maybe even time has built its space program around the equivalent of moronic teenagers with ass fetishes. This alien civilization is so advanced that it's not considered a waste of resources to travel across the galaxy to give anal probes, or these aliens know everything there is to know about the universe except what humans keep in their colons. I don't get it.
Letter from Gotham addresses the fundamental flaw and hypocrisy of mandatory child support laws. Diane E. writes, "If you believe that the woman should have 100% of the life and death power over the fetus, then you cannot believe that the man has 50% of the responsibility of the free choice she has made." She continues by noting these laws provide a disincentive to marry. Read more HERE. Not mentioned in this editorial is how these laws have legalized forms of blackmail and fraud, undermined due process, and are the product of women's groups who hate men. More comments from me on child support laws are sure to follow.
UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh FACT CHECKS an interview with HCI President Michael Barnes. This is more evidence of how the gun-control nuts use deceit and misleading statistics to further their cause.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

I was recently engaged in a debate with other libertarian-oriented people in regards to mandatory auto insurance. Others argued that the purchase of auto insurance should be voluntary. Getting hit by someone who doesn't have insurance is the risk another driver takes when driving. I don't agree with this argument and I don't think mandatory insurance laws are inconsistent with individual liberty.

When I purchase auto liability insurance, I'm purchasing protection for the risk I am to others when I drive. I purchase collision and comprehensive insurance and carry my own health insurance for the risk I am to myself when I drive. If I hit a freeway retaining wall or drive into a tree, my insurance protects me. But I have to purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance to protect myself against other drivers. Other drivers hitting me isn't really my risk; it's the other drivers' risk. I have bought insurance to protect me when I fully or partially cause an accident, because of the potential risk that I am to others. Other drivers are obligated to do the same.

There is a second problem with the argument that I accept the risk other drivers won't have insurance when I drive. The problem is I'm not necessarily driving when these other drivers represent potential risks to me and others. An uninsured driver could hit me when I'm a pedestrian crossing the street, hit my car when it's parked, or even hit my home. Or do I bear all the risk of crossing the street, parking my car, or having a home?

I see mandatory auto insurance laws as a free market solution to protecting property, something the government has been granted the power to do. Certainly, I have the right to sue uninsured drivers in civil court, but this won't guarantee I will be justly compensated. The courts wouldn't even be able to handle all lawsuits involving uninsured drivers, if everyone decided to sue. Mandating auto insurance frees the courts, while protecting everyone's property. I think mandatory auto insurance is analogous to Kennesaw, Georgia mandating the ownership of firearms in households. Mandating firearms was a simple and efficient way to protect Kennesaw residents' life, liberty, and property without increasing expenditures on police.
Welcome to The Sabertooth Journal. The purpose of this web log will be for me to provide pro-free market and individual liberty comments and editorials on politics, business, society, culture, entertainment, and sports. I intend to emphasize ideas currently in the news and provide accompanying links, but I will also comment on ideas as they come up, even if they are not in the news. I encourage my readers to send me e-mails with questions, comments, corrections, and suggestions. Though I won't be providing a message board or public comments, I would like this to be as participatory as possible.

This web log is being hosted on Blogger's free blog service for the time being. I hope to generate enough interest so I can move The Sabertooth Journal to another server with its own web address. These next few weeks, I'll be trying to work out all of the bugs with the current Blogger service. I'm already having problems with the archive's template code not updating, and Blogger has not shown an interest in resolving this. I hoped to upgrade to Blogger Pro in the near future, but I'll reconsider if Blogger continues to not take an interest in my very simple technical problem.