Nomadic thoughts of dubious importance.

Replies or Rebuttals?

E-mail me

Author photo

Two Four

Presence of Mind

Claire Wolfe

Karen De Coster

Colby Cosh

No Treason



Nolo Consentire

The Obscure Store

Fred Lapides

Survival Arts

A Small Victory

The Creative Foot Dragger

Belligerent Bunny


Wendy McElroy

The Technoptimist


James Lileks


The Corner

Arts & Letters Daily

Andrew Sullivan

Midwest Conservative Journal

Sgt Stryker

Saturn in Retrograde

The Light of Reason

Diana Mertz Hsieh

Tal G. in Jerusalem

Little Green Footballs


The Raving Atheist

Best of the Web

Meryl Yourish



Amish Tech Support

Ken Layne


Virginia Postrel

The Truth About Israel

Natalie Solent

Tim Blair

Trojan Horseshoes

USS Clueless


Armed and Dangerous

The Volokh Conspiracy

No Watermelons Allowed

One Hand Clapping


Jane Galt

Right Wing News

Cut on the Bias

Attack Cartoons

<< current

The author is an ex-submariner, questioner of authority, cigar smoking fly-fishing fanatic who wants to live to be 103.

Improved Clinch

Thursday, July 31, 2003

"Falling With Style"

Buzz Lightyear lives.



John Venlet - 10:36:00 AM | Permalink

"They Don't 'License' Reporters, But..."

Setting: City of Chicago council meeting, jammed with reporters, cameramen and a smattering of interested citizens. The floor has been opened for questions and the first question has been directed at an unnamed city official.

City official: "Are you licensed to inquire about these matters?"

Citizen: "No."

City official: "You're not, well I'm afraid you'll have to leave and the questions you're asking will be stricken from the record."

Citizen: "But I have a letter from my blog editor, and here's my driver's license and I was fingerprinted once for a background investigation."

City official: "Sorry, your publication, a blog, is not a recognized literary conveyance. Additionally, you're just a citizen and you have no need to inform yourself in matters pertaining to the state. Licensed reporters will provide you with any information you need via legitimate publications. Bailiff, escort this interloper from the council room."

Can you imagine such a conversation taking place? No you say? Well, no need to imagine as this could take place in Chicago.

Billy Beck's assessment is spot on,

"Suppose that you, dear reader, took the audacity in mind that you would ask questions of, say, city officials, with the idea of writing about them at, say, your lowly miserable weblog. You might write about it ineptly, even, but here is the essential question: is there anything going on in any of these places that require city approval for your access that you would not have a right to ask about? What citizen should not have an absolute right to question any city official without the price of admission requiring the authority of a "news editor" and submission of one's life to examination for approval?"

"Think about that.

My apologies for any ineptness in the writing of this post.

John Venlet - 8:41:00 AM | Permalink

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Novelty Item

All the hype about the Segway scooter was exactly that, hype. They keeping trying though. Unfortunately they keep trying by attempting to entice the government to purchase the novelty scooter, at $5,000.00 a pop, using New Yorker's dollars, that have been collected by the state, rather than consumer's dollars, freely spent. The following quote, from this New York Post article, detailing the police department's free trial of the Segway, is a laughable.

"It's used to enhance interaction with the public and visibility," said the Segway's operator, Officer Chintua Alozie of Manhattan Traffic Task Force. "It's easy to use. I trained only one day."

Compelling reasons to buy, window dressing and easy to use.

John Venlet - 9:41:00 AM | Permalink


"Nor denial of preferment. Secondly, that to be neglected and unprefered by the public favour, is not a punishment; because no new evil is thereby on any man inflicted, he is only left in the estate he was in before."

Thomas Hobbes
Leviathan, Chapter 28, Of Punishment and Rewards, pg. 230

John Venlet - 8:52:00 AM | Permalink

Betting Ends

Yesterday, I posted "It's A Bet," linking to the story of the Pentagon's plans for a terrorism futures market. Today, the betting window is closed. The window of betting opportunity seemingly lasted only as long as the time you have to place bets on FOX's show Banzai.

Antes paid have been forfeited to the state.

John Venlet - 8:31:00 AM | Permalink

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

On Christianity

Elaine Pagels discusses the historical realities of Christianity. From her article, "The Politics of Christianity."

"What I've learned through studying the Gospel of Thomas and the context of the politics of early Christianity, is that anyone who participates in Christian tradition without having learned anything about it—and that's most people who participate in it, because it's not taught in public or private schools for the most part—often think of their traditions as immutable, as if they've just come down from God."

Elaine ends her longish read with this,

"While the Constitution does protect religious freedom of worship, it's supposed to protect secularism."


Via Arts & Letters Daily.

John Venlet - 10:20:00 AM | Permalink

Best Line of the Day

"At the mall Saturday afternoon we passed a big sign in the Express window; it advertised “Recklessly Sexy Jeans.” Sounds to me like “jeans that make you sleep with anyone after a couple of shots of Captain Morgan.” Might as well infuse the pants with clamydia; saves time."

From Lilek's Bleat.

John Venlet - 10:00:00 AM | Permalink

It's A Bet

Ante up folks, the Pentagon is opening up the betting parlour for predicting future terrorist attacks. You can bet on all your favorite despots, tyrannical nations, even biological attacks.

While some find this proposal less than edifying, Stephen Green asks, "Can you think of anything less grotesque?"

John Venlet - 9:52:00 AM | Permalink

Deconstructed Today not Tomorrow

Radley Balko deconstructs a Tom Tomorrow cartoon by fisking. Complete with cartoon.

John Venlet - 8:56:00 AM | Permalink

No Label

Ray Thomas, writing for The Sierra Times, pens a piece titled "The Search for Truth I." His opening statement,

"No, this is not going to be another of those multi-part articles, continuing week after week. It is one that will continue, periodically, for many years (if I live that long). Because this is what I do. There is no "right" or "left." There is either the search for truth or the effort to obscure it. The power seekers maintain a constant effort to obscure the truth, for their own purposes. I maintain a constant effort to first, search out the truth, and then to expose it for all to see. I am not a "right-winger." I am not a "conservative." I'm not even a libertarian (small "L") and especially not a Libertarian (big "L"). I belong to no party and subscribe to the tenets of no party -- completely. I agree completely with nobody. I search for the truth and expose it. It's as simple as that."

A couple of additional quotes from the article,

"Truth is an absolute, no matter how much the collectivists want to pa int it as being a non-absolute so they can manipulate it. They even deny the existence of absolutes, hoping we'll believe it."

"Collectivism was invented for the specific purpose of enslaving people. It is as old as the world, but has only been recognized by those it is designed to enslave in recent years as it has taken over country after country, all over the world, enslaving millions.

Read the whole thing.

Via Rational Review.

John Venlet - 8:50:00 AM | Permalink

First Amendment Discussion

Daniel Medley, over at Lobowalk, posts some comments and a link to a rebuttal commentary of a reader's viewpoint in The Idaho Statesman on the first amendment and who the amendment actually applies to and what this means. The reader's viewpoint is titled "Don't peddle a state religion." Definitely good advice. The rebuttal to the reader's viewpoint is written by the former chaplain of the Idaho Senate. Who manages to get off track a bit on this by dragging the Supreme Court's recent ruling on sodomy into his rebuttal.
Give them a read.

John Venlet - 8:32:00 AM | Permalink

Kid Stuff

Ben Kepple posts that "Illinois Has Officially Gone to Hell" after reading this article from the Chicago Sun-Times. The article relates the tale of a small business owner and grandma whose granddaughters, 9 year old twins, who were photographed by a Sun-Times photographer, washing grandma's small shop windows. The caption to the photo stated that the girls "earned money" washing grandma's windows. The said photo evidently caught the eye of an over zealous Illinois Labor Department minion who decided grandma was exploiting the children. You can about guess the rest of the story, although grandma only ended up being scolded rather than cited. The girls' grandma is asking the right question,

"How are you supposed to teach children about responsibility and rewards that come from helping other people? What are they supposed to do? Sit at home and watch TV?"

One of the twins provides a valuable insight also,

"It's just weird," said Christina. "We can't even sweep."

John Venlet - 8:09:00 AM | Permalink

Monday, July 28, 2003


In continuing efforts to sow racial dis-harmony parents (of undetermined color in the linked article), in an Oberlin, Ohio school district, are protesting the appointment of a white teacher, to replace a reassigned black teacher, as an instructor of black history. No information is available as to whether either teacher mentioned in the article is actually QUALIFIED to teach history, well, except for their color.

Via Drudge.

John Venlet - 1:09:00 PM | Permalink

Ignore Coercive Redistribution at Your Own Peril

Sage, at the blog None the Wiser, links to an article at the Mises site by Per Henrik Hansen titled "Denmark: A Case Study in Social Democracy."

Be sure to read Hansen's "Denmark: Potemkin Village" also.

Good reads.

John Venlet - 9:51:00 AM | Permalink

Dumbing Down Illinois School Children

The state of public education here in the USA is rather pitiful. My state, Michigan, is no exception. Michigan educators seem to think that buying every sixth grader a laptop will transform schools. Ha. Bernard Chapin writes about his impressions of public education in Illinois, where he has been a school psychologist for the past nine years. It isn't pretty. Why has Chapin written his article? He says it best,

"I mention all of this to the reader because I know that cockroaches, even when they have two masters’ degrees, are terrified by expansive rays of light. It is my pleasure to illustrate to those on the outside exactly what transpires on the inside. At least my documentation will benefit those of you who were previously unaware."

Hopefully you are not totally unaware.

Via Strike the Root.

John Venlet - 8:52:00 AM | Permalink

Being Alive

Philosophic musings from Johnny Rotten.

"Lydon says he is indeed serious when asked about published reports that the Pistols want to play Baghdad.

"We're very, very interested in playing Baghdad, and we're meeting all kinds of denials and red tape," Lydon says. "I'm slowly cutting my way through it."

He adds: "If you want to give them democracy, do it properly. Give them the Sex Pistols. Wake up, America."

Lydon says the band would promote the show "as an act of charity," adding, "I don't do these things as a joke or a prank, as strange as that may sound to those of lesser mental abilities that really don't get the point of being alive.""

From a Reuters article headlined "Sex Pistols Ready to Bring Anarchy to U.S.A." Via Yahoo! News.

John Venlet - 7:46:00 AM | Permalink

Sunday, July 27, 2003


The New York Times publishes an article titled "Homeowner Boards Blur Line of Who Rules Roost" wherein they lament the power of homeowners associations to control the people who have voluntarily agreed to be subject to the associations contrivances. Which doesn't necessarily surprise given the NYT's penchant for championing government control over people's lives. Can't have homeowner associations wielding more clout than the government you know. This snippet, from the article, would explain NYT's interest in this subject,

"The growth of associations has created "a whole sector of people who don't use public services," said Evan McKenzie, a professor of political science at the University of Illinois in Chicago who has written widely about the subject. Homeowners who live in such communities, he added, "don't need local governments.""

Can't have people not needing public services or local governments can we? It's too precedent setting.

Feel free to use nytimesoops as your login name and nytimes as the password if you are not registered at NYT yourself. Just log out when you are done.

John Venlet - 11:58:00 AM | Permalink

A Joke Telling Penis or a Sex Crime?

Today, in The Grand Rapids Press, on the front page no less, there is an article titled "Case could redefine TV morality." And not just locally. The case involves one Tim Huffman, a local Grand Rapidian and amateur TV producer of the show "Tim's Area of Control." I first mentioned this case back in January. Huffman has been convicted of a sex crime, misdemeanor indecent-exposure, for broadcasting a joke telling penis on his show. It seems the said penis offended the sensibilities of one Maria Allen, the alleged victim, whose friendship with the assistant prosecutor may have influenced the prosecution's tenacity in pursuing the case. At least that insinuation is made by Mr. Huffman's attorney.

Why is this case so newsworthy? Beyond the fact that the said penis was never positively identified in a penis lineup as Mr. Huffman's. Because it is defining your television as a public place rather than an inert object that allows you to view images at your own discretion.

Will this case make it to the highest court in the land? If it does, it will only prove the fecklessness of the judges who have ruled on the case to date and the ignorance of the jurors who convicted Mr. Huffman. The case should be set aside, Mr. Huffman's conviction should be overturned, and Maria Allen and the rest of the we want to control your TV viewing crowd, should be instructed in the fine art of utilizing their clickers to change the channel or shut off their TV.

John Venlet - 10:05:00 AM | Permalink

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Individual Property Recovery

"Somebody stole his car. So Robert Morse Sr. stole it back."

He tried to get the police to recover it,

"Morse called police from a pay phone and waited on the line at their suggestion as two men walked out of the store with candy bars and beer, hopped in his car and drove off."


"I waited around, but the police never did show up," he said.


"Over the next three weeks, he continued searching for the car but didn't see it again until July 20."


""I was really discouraged when Flint city police didn't come (to the eastside store)," he said."

Reverting to self reliance,

"I told my son, If I ever see that car, I'm going to take it. I'm not going to call police.'"

The police of course were helpful, after the fact,

"Township Police Chief Wayne Bates said officers swept the car for evidence and took fingerprints."

From The Flint Journal which titled this story "Luck, spare keys help owner recover car stolen in June."

John Venlet - 9:56:00 AM | Permalink

I Want to Do Good for Society

When you hear the above statement uttered, check your wallet, because anyone uttering that statement is sure to be dipping into your wallet or pockets for monies to fund their desire to do good for society. David Carr, writing for Samizdata, has found, what he calls, "the next generation of guardianistas," whose life goals seem to be centered around the opening statement to this post, as this Guardian article so poignantly, cough, points out. David analyzes the information contained within the Guardian article,

"On the face of it, the revelation that nearly a third of graduates want to devote their lives to consuming taxes and finding ever-more bizarre ways to spend other people's money, should be somewhat alarming. But maybe it is simply a doleful recognition that the private sector has little use for people who have spent three or four years immersed in 'Gay Studies' or the 'History of Yoghurt'.

I suspect the real culprit here is the addle-brained article of faith for our political elites that lack of personal achievement is inextricably linked to feelings of self-esteem, especially the self-esteem that grows from having 'qualifications' regardless of how bogus they might actually be. It was this conviction that led to an explosion of state-backed 'universities' which tossed out potemkin qualifications like Palestinian candy."

Read David's entire post here.

John Venlet - 7:58:00 AM | Permalink

Friday, July 25, 2003

Concentration, The Game

These people (amputee wannabes) should get together with these people (cannibal wannabes).

Linked via Two Four and Right Wing News.

John Venlet - 9:51:00 AM | Permalink

A Letter to Rolling Stone

"I don't know what you call this in New York, but in Washington, we call it "failing upward." It means that any PR is good PR. It means that the more miserable the wretch, the more lucrative the book deal. It means that any day now, we can expect Lizzie Grubman to get her own late night talk show, and Jayson Blair will be dating Tyra Banks. It means that no matter how big a piece of shit you are, so long as you're famous, or your fuck-up was catastrophic enough to put you in the headlines, someone's willing to give you a "second chance," despite the fact that there are hundreds of people more talented than you who didn't fuck up, and never got a first chance."

Radley Balko in a letter to Rolling Stone regarding their hiring of Stephen Glass.

Update: Perhaps Radley should address a letter to Esquire also. It seems Blair is going to review a Glass movie. From the article,

"BLAIR, WHO THE newspaper said embellished parts of dozens of reports, will review the movie version of the Stephen Glass story, “Shattered Glass,” said David Granger, editor in chief of the men’s magazine.
“We thought it was a clever way to do a movie review, to have the most infamous fabricator review another infamous fabricator,” said Granger."

Via MSNBC an AP article "Jayson Blair to
write for Esquire."

Yeah, real clever.

John Venlet - 9:42:00 AM | Permalink

Where Are the Multiculturalists Now?

"Iraqis said today they were unconvinced by photographs of the bodies of Saddam Hussein's sons and demanded the corpses should be dragged through the streets as proof the feared brothers were dead."


""Death is not enough. They should have been hung up on poles in a square in Baghdad so all Iraqis could see them. Then they should have died as people ate them alive," said businessman Khalil Ali. "The photographs do not mean anything."

With all the hue and cry about posting the pictures of the dead Hussein boys, usually from the multiculturalists, the above quotes, from an article in "The Age," in the land of Oz, make sense to me.

Let them vent their anger, it's part of their culture right?

Link via Rational Review.

John Venlet - 9:17:00 AM | Permalink

Ditching Hitch

Another, so called friend, Dennis Perrin, slaps at Christopher Hitchens in "Obit For A Former Contrarian."

Link also from Karen De Coster.

John Venlet - 8:59:00 AM | Permalink

Turn Your Head and Cough, Oops Wrong Doctor

"The Viagra Monologues" on the "The Vagina Monologues."

Don't laugh too hard.

Via Karen De Coster.

John Venlet - 8:33:00 AM | Permalink

Tabloid Humor

"Standing in the supermarket line the other day, I was struck by competing celebrity-gossip headlines: On the cover of one tabloid was happy news of the impending wedding of J.Lo and Ben. On the cover of a second was the news that the glamour couple is in trouble.
"It's just like Iraq," I thought (proving once again that I am seriously weird). One report says everything's going to hell. Another says things are looking great. The evidence is conflicting enough to provide either story line, and both sell papers. The only way the poor reader will know which is right is to wait and see what happens.

Personally, I give Iraq better odds than J.Lo and Ben. Not that that's saying much."

Posted by Virginia Postrel.

John Venlet - 8:14:00 AM | Permalink


"Throw the little citizen-doggies a bone and they won't bark while you steal the gold, silver, and the rest of the Bill of Rights."

Clarie Wolfe on Congress voting to limit "sneek and peek" warrants.

John Venlet - 8:01:00 AM | Permalink

FAA - Federal Avoidance of Actualities

Via Alan K. Henderson we are pointed to a World Net Daily article titled "FAA most responsible for 9-11?
Aviation security analyst says FBI, CIA not solely to blame."
Within the article, are many quotes from Andrew R. Thomas, the managing director of Global Market Stratigies, Ltd., who places the majority of the blame for September 11 on the FAA and not the CIA or FBI. For example,

""The nexus of the 9-11 tragedy is not centered at the FBI or CIA. Instead, it sits squarely on the shoulders of the FAA. The focal point of the attacks was a long-standing vulnerability – lax in-cabin security," Thomas said".

Alan's comments are worth reading also,

"For decades the FAA's policy has been for crews and passengers to cower like a bunch of sheep every time someone tries to hijack a plane. Guys with freakin' knives were able to kill 3,000 people because the FAA applied unilateral disarmament to its industry, taking gun control to the extreme of disarming both the proverbial citizens (passengers) and the proverbial cops (flight crews), with the exception of the rare sky marshal."

John Venlet - 7:34:00 AM | Permalink

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Can't Accept the Risk, Evidently

I wonder if they'll attempt to capture the offending seal?

"Inquiry into fatal leopard seal attack begins."

John Venlet - 11:18:00 AM | Permalink

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

What's Next?

This whole "bright" thing has gone too far. I've said it's mere folly and I've also wondered why anyone would want to wear a label. Today, while stopping by Strike the Root, I find an article by Paul Crider titled "Finding Value in the Bright Movement."

Initially, Mr. Crider was hesitant to apply this label to himself because, as he says,

"I was hesitant because (other than the silly sound of it) the movement did have political ambitions."

Mr. Crider now willing applies this "silly" label to himself. He should have stuck with his gut reaction of hesitancy.

So what's next? Well, as I see it, since Mr. Crider labels himself an anarchist, and the word anarchist has as negative of connotations as atheist, the "bright" anarchists should suggest an innocuous word to replace anarchist. Might I suggest "Whirls?" Bright Whirls. Now that sounds friendly.

John Venlet - 8:59:00 AM | Permalink

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

The Challenge

Per Reuters, in an article posted at MSNBC titled "Bush hits jackpot with death of Saddam sons," Bush still has a challenge,

"But the first challenge may be to prove to the world -- especially Iraqis and other Arabs -- that Uday and Qusay are really dead."

A possible solution, complete with conspiracy ideas the Arab world may embrace.

John Venlet - 9:11:00 PM | Permalink

Favorite emails

Via Wendy McElroy, her two favorite emails of the day.

John Venlet - 9:39:00 AM | Permalink

Half Baked

On a related note, dealing once again with personal responsibility, posts an article titled "Glock, Colt's Not Liable in Gun Suit, Judge Says." Seems like a positive development, until you read this,

"Weinstein found that the NAACP did prove that the industry had created a public nuisance by contributing to an illegal gun market."

Evidently Weinstein wanted to allow the plaintiffs to keep a foot in the door.

Link via Rational Review.


The New Yorks Times article on this ruling,
"Suit Against Gun Makers Is Dismissed on Technical Grounds."

NYT requires registration. Feel free to utilize user name nytimesoops and password nytimes.

Washington Times weighs in with this, "Judge dismisses suit against gun makers."

New York Post headlines this, "NAACP SUIT GUNNED DOWN."

John Venlet - 8:36:00 AM | Permalink

The Impending Death of Personal Responsibility

When members of congress are spouting phrases such as this,

"You can't legislate health and fitness..."

and in the next breath say this,

"But I feel it is critical that we do something."

followed by their lackeys saying this,

"You can't leave addressing obesity solely to personal responsibility,"

you know this man's words mean nothing to the above people at all.

Link via Juan Gato.

John Venlet - 8:11:00 AM | Permalink

Quote of the Day

From a Slashdot thread:

Anonymous Coward: I wish all you gun-toting fucktards would just go create your own nation...

pi rules: We did. Who the hell let you in here?

Link via Nolo Consentire.

John Venlet - 7:37:00 AM | Permalink

Monday, July 21, 2003

The Unfriendly Skies of East Grand Rapids

While I appreciate that ignorance of the law is not a suitable defense, I find that an attorney who says this,

"It's possible some might say they didn't know about it."

in regards to an obscure local ordinance, that was published in a local paper in 1982, and is not posted anywhere in the city, or by the lake, prohibiting planes from landing, as reasoning for ticketing a small, private seaplane operator, who landed on Reeds Lake, here in East Grand Rapids, has too much time on his hands. The pilot, and another one who did the same thing about 10 months ago, are contesting the tickets issued by the city. I wish them the best.

John Venlet - 5:38:00 PM | Permalink

Friday, July 18, 2003

Thanks From An American

My brother's boy, a Marine, returned home from Iraq two days ago. We're all thankful he's safe and sound, but that isn't what this short story is about.

My brother Mort, and a smattering of aunts and uncles, are waiting to greet our Marine at the airport. Because his flight is late, Mort is grabbing a cup of coffee from one of the airport vendors. While Mort is standing there, waiting to be served, an older gentleman approaches him and asks if Mort is flying out to his unit. Mort explains to him that he's actually waiting for his son to return from Iraq. In the ensuing conversation, Mort finds out that this gentleman's extended family lost a son, KIA, while serving in Iraq. Mort offers condolences to the gentleman and after a further exchange of pleasantries, the gentleman informs Mort he must leave to catch his plane. Which he does. After the gentleman leaves, Mort turns back to doctoring up his coffee. As Mort stands at the counter, stirring his coffee, someone approaches Mort, from behind, and slips something into his hand which is steadying his cup while he stirs with his other hand. It's a fifty dollar bill. Mort turns and it's the gentleman he had just spoken with. Mort informs the gentleman that he can't accept the fifty dollar bill. The gentleman tells Mort that the fifty dollar bill is for Mort's boy. When Mort asks why, the gentleman says that the fifty dollars is his way of saying thanks to Mort's son for serving in the military. Mort once again attempts to defer, pushing the fifty dollar bill towards the gentleman, but the gentleman refuses to take it back. Additionally, the gentleman says to Mort, he wishes he could give him more money, but that's all he can afford. Mort is rather humbled by this and asks the gentleman for his name so he can have his boy write the gentleman a thank you note. The gentleman informs Mort that his name is not important. What's important, he informs Mort, is that Mort's son know Americans are thankful for his service. The gentleman shakes Mort's hand and turns and walks away. As the gentleman walks away he turns and says, tell your boy Frank says "America says thank you."


What follows are some additional comments from my brother Mort in regards to the above which he left in the comments for this post.

This is Mort here, the brother in the "Thanks from America" article. The gentleman who gave me the $50 for my son only gave me a name because I was being insistent about it. I don't believe the name he gave was even true. I really just want to clarify his last statement to me which was "You just tell him AMERICA says thank you." It was quite a touching moment for me, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't shed a tear. It was also a great lesson in unselfishness that we all can learn from. I'll leave this saying we still have lots of young men and women in very hostile places so please don't forget about them. They are our freedoms future!! God bless 'Frank' and our country. Mort

John Venlet - 7:26:00 AM | Permalink

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Mmm, Lemonade

Via Jim Romsenko's Obscure Store & Reading Room comes the story, out of Naples, FL, of a six year old girl selling lemonade, a radio in a carport, playing too loudly, a realtor, a technology consultant and the police. According to the story, which I am informed made national news, though this is the first I've heard of it, the six year old's lemonade stand was shut down by the police because it was unlicensed. It seems this is not true though, because the city issued the six year old a free license to sell her lemonade.

Chuck Murphy, who wrote the story linked, seems to think that the story is "a rather pedestrian tale of a long running neighborhood dispute." In a way, he is correct, since the six year old's mom was quite frequently using the police for volume control on the realtor neighbor's radio and the realtor called the police to inform on the six year old girl's unlicensed lemonade stand. IMO both the realtor and the girl's mom were both just being childish and they really don't belong in the story. The real story is WHY IN THE WORLD DOES A SIX YEAR KID NEED A LICENSE TO SELL FRICKING LEMONADE FOR 10 CENTS OR A QUARTER A GLASS?

I think the first sentence to Murphy's story is still the correct one. This isn't a "pedestrian tale" it's

"...the story of the little lemonade girl, the nasty neighbor and big, ugly government..."

But I would amend that sentence to include, her foolish mother.

John Venlet - 4:17:00 PM | Permalink


An example,

"We can see a socio-sexual parallel between the geography of the wilderness and the topographies of narrative in this genre, which organizes a particular spatial itinerary and social anatomy."

The question that follows,

"Is there, anywhere, a reader brave or foolish enough to explain what that means? Probably not."

From "They should know better
Humanities scholars spend lots of time reading, so why can't they write?,"
published by National Post and written by Robert Fulford.

Link via Arts & Letters Daily.

John Venlet - 11:50:00 AM | Permalink

Good Read

Russell Madden, writing for The Laissez Faire Electronic Times, on "Values and Virtues"
looks at Von Mises and Rand writings.

From the article,

"Misidentifying one's emotion of infatuation or lust as "love" does not make it love. Misidentifying taxation and prior restraint laws as "freedom" does not transform such immoral acts into freedom. People who misidentify and pursue destructive X's or Y's are merely kidding themselves that such are values. Acting to obtain something that has the potential to destroy the very foundation of any value, i.e., their lives, is hardly virtuous."

"While it might be helpful to append "subjective" and "objective" to the concept "value" when we discuss these ideas, this is akin to saying "individual rights" when rights refer solely and exclusively to individuals. Talking about "group" rights, for instance, will not cause others to stare at you in bewilderment (though would t'were the case . . . ), but, in reality, talking about "group" rights is discussing a void, a null, the nonexistent."

Bold added for emphasis.

Link via J. Orlin Grabbe.

John Venlet - 10:45:00 AM | Permalink

Darn It, I May Be Delusional

"An international conference in Sydney this week will hear that some religious beliefs -- including that a virgin gave birth to the son of god -- qualify as delusions."

This research could be beneficial though if I ever get into trouble with the law.

Now excuse me while I go find my tinfoil hat.

Link via J. Orlin Grabbe.

John Venlet - 9:43:00 AM | Permalink

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Cop Fight

Check out these two photos. They sum up the "enforcers" rather well and don't bode well for us lowly "citizens," who are supposedly protected and served by the "enforcers."



It's all about taking the money folks.

John Venlet - 1:41:00 PM | Permalink

Winter Lasts Six Months in Michigan

What follows is the title of an article in Space Daily.

"Cold-Climate Creatures May Be The Survivors Of Global Warming"

Just another reason not to bitch about the weather.

Via J. Orlin Grabbe.

John Venlet - 8:26:00 AM | Permalink

A Dear Mr Robertson Letter

Via Sasha, of Sasha and Andrew's Roundtable, we are informed of correspondence from God to Pat Robertson.

Note to Emily Jones, who posted the above letter. No disclaimer required.

John Venlet - 8:17:00 AM | Permalink

Hot Enough For You?

Back on June 23rd I had this to say about this whole "bright" thing. Those comments were brought on by the Richard Dawkins article proposing the label "bright" for atheists, which I was pointed to by other sharp eyed readers who blog.

Now another supposed learned man has jumped on the "bright" band wagon. Daniel C. Dennett, a philosophy professor, writing in The New York Times, bangs the gong for "bright" recognition. Ben Kepple has commented on Dennett's piece here and and here. Ben approaches this matter from a Christian's perspective and in the second link provided to Ben's comments, he provides links to other bloggers, both atheist and Christian, who also are commenting on this.

Personally, I stand by my first post on this where I stated this "bright" thing is mere folly. I'll add one additional thought.

Why does anyone want to wrap themselves in label? As Emerson said,

"If I know your sect, I anticipate your argument...Do I not know beforehand that not possibly can he say a new and spontaneous word?

John Venlet - 7:39:00 AM | Permalink

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Talking About It

J Bowen, at No Watermelons Allowed, on gay marriage,

"And seriously now - when so many straights are getting divorced every year, what would possess gays and lesbians to want to get in on the act? And that's not enough - they want to adopt too, so they can have child support and visitation grief too."

This, and, ahem, other arguments here.

John Venlet - 10:31:00 PM | Permalink

Powered Up

Craig Russell, writing for Strike the Root, posits that,

"...perhaps the American government continues to seek more and more Power in the world because the American people continue to do the very same thing."

Perhaps he's right. A large majority of us are connected to the "Grid," as Craig states in his article. We both suckle from and give nourishment to the Grid whether it be in the form of taxes we pay or government funds we receive or electricity and oil we consume. Many of us continue to clamor for more.

Towards the end of Craig's article, titled "Free the Slaves," he states,

"We are a greedy, desperate, soul-less people who seek Power over everything. Why then do we wonder that the government seeks the same thing?"

I'd say that, in this case, more is less.

John Venlet - 4:03:00 PM | Permalink

Escalated Violence or From Allegedly Soliciting Sex to Death

On the 9th I posited a question under the post "Barricaded? Anti-Government? Burn it Down." One of the links, within that post, led to a story about Scott Woodring who was being sought by the state in connection with a felony warrant issued for solicitation of sex from a minor. Contemplating on this has brought to mind some additional thoughts/questions.

Our local rag, The Grand Rapids Press, followed the story and I'll link to the stories published as I write down these thoughts and questions.

First, the felony warrant. Police were attempting to serve Woodring with a warrant for soliciting sex with a minor while at a gas station. At least that is the official line, per this article, from the paper. Here's what his sister says about the alleged solicitation,

"Family members say Woodring is accused of soliciting sex on July 1 at the gas station, where he encountered a group of young women.

His sister, Debbie DeVisser, said that Woodring believed women should be subservient to men, and the way they do that is by dressing the way he believes the Bible commands.

"He thinks women should wear dresses, not pants," said DeVisser, who added that her brother spent hours studying at the Calvin College library to learn about the Bible. "It's possible they were dressed provocatively and he said something."

The girls filed a complaint in Hesperia and an arrest warrant was issued."

While I will not defend Woodring's antiquated views in regards to women, I find it difficult to believe that expressing these antiquated views to some "provocatively" dressed women would lead to a felony arrest warrant because some girls didn't like what he said. Isn't it possible that the police were more interested in arresting Woodring because of this,

"He believed that the Bible and the Constitution were opposed to income tax, registration of vehicles and regulating gun ownership. He received several tickets for refusing to register his car, his sister said, but there was no record of any more serious crimes."

Fine sentiments, championed by Thoreau, if you ask me, and well known to not only Woodring's family but also the police.

Additionally, within the article just linked above, it seems that everyone, family, police, friends, were expecting the whole situation to end bad. His father thought his son wouldn't come out of it alive and the police seemed to support this conclusion also.

Secondly, the rhetoric employed to describe Woodring is also inflammatory. "Accused cop killer," "known militia member," "possessed long guns and handguns and is a survivalist." Or, the most potent rhetoric one can deploy, comparing Woodring to David Koresh, as this article does. Almost every article run by the GR Press on the Woodring story utilizes statements such as these to describe Woodring. Dangerous people, these individuals who espouse personal freedom.

Of course all of the events surrounding this will be investigated by the police. Mostly for their own benefit, as they do not want their image tarnished further and fear additional loss of trust from "the people."

I hate to think how many police, guns drawn, will come for me, or you, for emulating the kind of civil disobedience championed by Thoreau.

John Venlet - 8:04:00 AM | Permalink

Friday, July 11, 2003

Taking What They Want When They Want

Karen DeCoster links to this story about the government taking water from private property to fight a fire out west. The property owner, "Fred" Conway, in an attempt to protect his property, water, fired two shotgun blasts at a firefighting helicopter's water bucket in an attempt to conserve what is rightfully his. Conway's audacity is being rewarded by the government by pressing charges. This is the second time the government has misappropriated his private property, water, to fight a fire, without compensation. How long will it be until the government forces us to house and feed their minions?

John Venlet - 5:16:00 PM | Permalink

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Barricaded? Anti-government? Burn it Down

What is it with the state that when confronted by people with anti-government views, who barricade themselves in their homes or compounds, a fire seems to always ensue?

John Venlet - 9:08:00 AM | Permalink


Sorry, it's the rules. I have to follow the rules. These type of statements are like the classic defense utilized by Nazi war criminals; I was only following orders. Claire Wolfe relates a story where these follow the rules statements were overheard in the local post office. Claire sums it up quite well with this statement,

"There is NO point to this little exercise of getting ID from your friends except to Impose Procedure, Enforce Compliance, dehumanize relationships -- and of course to get customers' drivers license numbers into one more centralized database. Not one whit will it improve the rate of check clearance. In a town like ours, honesty (if it needs enforcing at all) is best enforced by knowing you have to look the same clerk in the eye tomorrow. Asking old friends and neighbors for their ID will only alienate them (subtly or overtly) and render them less friendly and loyal and ultimately less reliable."

John Venlet - 7:38:00 AM | Permalink

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Without the State, But Not For Long

Interesting little piece in The New York Times about micro-financing which is basically a small seed money loan, to create a business. The following quote is probably why it works,

"Microfinancing is a grass-roots development tool that works best when run as a viable business, independent of government."

Of course the NYT is aghast at this and in the next breath states this,

"While the emphasis once was solely on making loans, the latest trend is to offer clients a range of financial services. Governments are rightly being exhorted to regulate microfinancing institutions as a legitimate part of the financial sector."

The following paragraph explains the above,

"Remittances, the private flows of money sent home to developing nations by workers overseas, are fast becoming the cherished "El Dorado" for microfinancing promoters, as they are for plenty of other development schemes. It is estimated that last year the amount of money sent home by migrant workers — some $80 billion — overshadowed for the first time the amount of total aid and credit (both private and public) extended to poor countries. In the case of the Philippines, long known for exporting labor, remittances are one of the few things the nation's economy has going for it these days, amounting to some $7 billion a year."

Can't have the people pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps now can we? They might begin to feel no need for state intervention.

NYT requires registration, feel free to use nytimesoops for the login name and nytimes for the password.

John Venlet - 1:41:00 PM | Permalink

Lack of Integrity

A lack of integrity is far from newsworthy in politicians and Rep. Frank LoBiondo is no exception. Reneging on his pledge to serve no more than 12 years, LoBiondo is utilizing the lemming excuse as a defense for his lack of integrity, as this quote, from's article titled "Congressman reneges on term-limits pledge" illustrates,

"LoBiondo said because other congressmen have broken the term limit pledge, it would be unfair to people in his district to abide by it."

Lemming. I hope they all head to the cliffs.

Link provided by Rational Review.

John Venlet - 1:14:00 PM | Permalink

Monday, July 07, 2003

Shooting First, asking Questions Later

Via No Watermelons Allowed and The Agitator comes a link to a repository of victims of zealots against drugs. Dead Victims of the Drug War lists a total of 14 victims, which I would believe is an inaccurate count. Too low. Of the 14, 7 of the victims were either not drug users or the stormtroopers were at the wrong house.

Will the zealots be storming your, or my, door next?

John Venlet - 6:19:00 PM | Permalink

"Dear old envy"

Joseph Epstein has penned an interesting read on envy where he distinctly separates it from jealousy. I'm sure most of us know them both. The title of his piece is "The Green Eyed Monster" and it is worth a read. I definitely agree with this statement from within the article,

"In politics, envy, or at any rate the hope of eliminating it, is said to be the reigning principle of socialism..."

Via Alina at Totalitarianism Today.

John Venlet - 10:41:00 AM | Permalink

Thursday, July 03, 2003

They're Doctors Too?

After posting the item below, "Continued Dumbing Down," I stop by Wolfesblog and hit the link to this story, provided by one of Claire's sharp eyed readers, and learn that Wisconsin has so much confidence in their enforcement arm they are training the enforcers to "evaluate" what prescription drugs you may be on. Claire's comments on this folly will more than suffice for any I may conjure.

John Venlet - 7:45:00 AM | Permalink

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Continued Dumbing Down

After chasing trout interested in devouring large mayflies, night and day, I arrive home to read that the state, in their never ending quest to develop the equivalent of the 21st century Keystone Cops, has initiated a new tool that will expand the state's ability to rely on mere simpletons to enforce their laws. Specifically, the new tool is a vertical driver's license, as opposed to a horizontal driver's license, which is supposed to, well, here's the first sentence from the article I am referring to,

"A new, easy-to-check vertical driver's license will help curb underage alcohol and tobacco purchases, state officials say."

Evidently, the state prefers not to rely on their enforcement agents' abilities to read and comprehend a driver's license. Personally, I believe the state is taking a leap of faith that the simpletons know the difference between horizontal and vertical.

I wonder if there is any R&D underway to assist the enforcers when confronted by the family dog.

I should have stayed in the woods or the river.

John Venlet - 7:54:00 PM | Permalink

Powered by Blogger Pro™