Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How convinced do you have to be?

I tell you I believe in violent jihad.

I tell you I want to go to Somalia to the battlefield.

I tell you that individuals who fight for Islam are to be admired

I tell you that sharia should be the law everywhere in the world

I tell you that the Islamic madrassas (school) that I attend is a front for violent jihad

I send you videos supporting the martyrdom of jihadists

I tell you how to lie to the authorities if you are stopped on your way to Somalia

I then lie to the FBI when they suspect I have broken the laws about providing material support to terrorist organizations, including an intent to travel to Somalia to fight in the jihad.

What is the only reasonable conclusion?

You guessed it.  All of this is merely inference and there's no proof that I ever intended to actually do anything.  A $500 fine and three years probation for the charge of lying to a federal officer.



Much like many issues on the left, they are willing to basically invent the science in order to push their pet schemes on us.

Here's the money quote (emphasis mine):

part of its justification for the rule was based on the effect that mercury would have on children born to an entirely hypothetical population: 240,000 women of child-bearing age who consume 300 pounds of freshwater fish that they or their families have personally caught each year. ....     the EPA never actually identified a member of this population -- it merely assumed that such women existed.

To determine the harm that mercury would have upon these children, the EPA utilized a computer model which predicted that the mercury would lower the I.Q. of the children by a miniscule 0.00209 points. On top of that, says Michaels, the EPA claims the loss of 0.00209 I.Q. points will cost those children up to $6,000,000 a year due to reduced earnings.

So let's see. 
  1. A woman who consumes 300 pounds of personally caught freshwater fish a year, that's about a pound a day
  2. a loss in IQ of 0.00209, so that's 0.0000209% of their current IQ
  3. a loss of $6,000,000 a year in reduced earnings
And you wonder why I am skeptical about government regulation of the environment.  I may not be 100% sure of what private conservation efforts would look like in a libertarian society, but they sure as hell would be better than this.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Remotely track, lock, or wipe your Android phone

Worth a watch.  It's about five minutes long and the process is super easy.  Once you have this set up you can wipe or lock your phone remotely from Google's Android Device Manager page.  Also worth noting that you can locate your phone using that page if you lose it (at least within about 3,000 meters in my location).

Sunday, April 19, 2015

This day in history (Hey, Massachusetts, pay attention)

April 19th, 1775.  The British had declared Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion and the British Army was ordered to capture and destroy their military supplies (also known as guns and ammunition) which were stored at Concord.  The battles of Lexington and Concord ensued.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, two hundred and forty years later:

  • There are 33 steps that you must go through to purchase a handgun
  • You can't have more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition without a permit
  • There is an approved list of firearms that can be legally sold in Massachusetts
  • You can't buy a handgun unless you have a carry permit
  • Carry permits are issued on a "may issue" basis which means that the police chief gets to decide if you are allowed to defend yourself (hint: you generally won't be allowed)
  • You can only own "high capacity" (more than ten rounds) magazines or firearms if you have the right kind of carry permit AND the firearm is on the approved list
  • "Assault" weapons are basically banned.  Keep in mind that "assault weapons", as defined by the media, the anti-gun left, and Massachusetts, are not actually assault weapons.  They are commonly available semi-automatic actions which are installed in a rifle with certain cosmetic features such as collapsible stocks, flash suppressors, pistol grips, and detachable magazines
Oh, by the way, there are "standards" that have to be met before you can buy a firearm not on the approved list.  Unfortunately the state Attorney General refuses to actually answer questions on whether a firearm meets the standards, and refers you to your lawyer.

This is only a quick synopsis based on a speed review of the GOAL website and some of the Massachusetts state government websites on gun ownership.  Fortunately for me my father left Boston 45 years ago and I didn't have to grow up in a totalitarian state.

Freedom, baby.  Happy Anniversary, Massachusettsians.  Do you even remember why you fought those battles?

Thanks to No Lawyers, Only Guns and Money for pointing out this anniversary.

Job creation

If I give you money to do something for me, do you have a job?

What if I don't hire you as an employee, but just pay you to do a task.  Do you have a job?

I hire a gal to come in and clean my house every couple weeks.  Does she have a job?

Robert Reich, former secretary of labor, thinks that you don't get to claim that you created jobs if you don't hire employees.  He is, allegedly, an economist.  That doesn't bode well for the reputation of economists.

Specifically he claims that Uber can't claim to have created jobs if they also claim that their drivers are independent contractors.

(Clever aside: As Kevin Williamson so aptly writes:
We all eagerly await his application of similarly high standards to, e.g., the steady stream of outright fabrications produced by Hillary Rodham Clinton, Harry Reid, etc.
but I digress)

Getting back to the main idea, Williamson points out that the leftist default is apparently that you are either destitute or dependent.  You are either the ward of the government or an employer, or you have nothing.  There is no situation where you have a job that doesn't depend on someone else.
I would suggest that there is a third option.  That you find a way to support yourself: not by getting your government cheese each month; not by signing on as a cog in some corporate machine; but by finding something that you can do and for which someone will pay you.   You can be employed and not an employee.  Trust me.  I've been doing it for about ten years now and it is much more satisfying than showing up and punching a time clock somewhere.  True, you have to be responsible for your own actions.  True you have to get out and hustle a little.  But you work on what you want when you want.  How is that not a good thing?

The raisin court

I wrote about the National Raisin Reserve back in 2013 in a post cleverly titled I Heard it Through the Grapevine.  (Ouch, my arm hurts from patting myself on the back).  There's even a "Raisin Administrative Committee".

Did you know that the government regulates raisin production?  Did you know that you aren't allowed to produce "too many raisins"?

Yep, in a law dating back to the forties the government gets to decide how many raisins can be produced by American raisin farmers and they confiscate any raisins above that limit.   The raisins allegedly go into the "raisin reserve" although I have no idea what that means.  Are there giant silos filled with raisins somewhere in Kansas?

Anyway, one farmer claims that this is un-constitutional.  I can't see how he is wrong.

Now there is a SCOTUS case and they will be hearing arguments this week.

I hope that the Supreme Court will weigh in on the side of free markets here and just throw out this whole stupid law (which has been used to regulate a variety of crops other than raisins over the past seventy years or so), and in doing so strike a blow for free markets. 

Maybe then we can start discussing milk pricing and sugar subsidies.