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

Improved Clinch

Sunday, December 14, 2003

New Home

I've moved. You can now access my blog here. If you've linked to me in the past at this address, I want to thank you, and, I hope that you will update your links and favorites to my new home. Blogging, hopefully, considering my technical illiteracy, will continue unabated.

John Venlet - 1:16:00 PM | Permalink

Update to "We'll Kick Your Ass" Below

Did a little Google search a moment ago on the post ""We'll Kick Your Ass" - " per policy" which I blogged yesterday. This article, from the Toledo Blade, provides more detail than the article I linked previously. Additionally, the article provides a photograph of the young lady, who is no longer with us. My, doesn't she look dastardly.

Per the Blade article, five squad cars participated in this fiasco which led to death for a young girl. A girl who was, allegedly, seen "erratic driving" and had "a broken headlight."

She's dead because she seemed to be driving erratically and had a broken headlight. Of course the police, through the mouth of one Lieutenant Farrell, "...would like to express condolences to the family," or at least Farrell would as the sentence italicized begins with the word I. Additionally, Farrell had this to say, "It's regrettable and unfortunate."

Who writes this shit for the cops?

John Venlet - 9:42:00 AM | Permalink

Psst, Hey Kid, You Want a Gumdrop?

Read this story and then ask yourself why you are tolerating state run, public education.

Via Skip Oliva at The Rule of Reason.

John Venlet - 9:10:00 AM | Permalink

Stomachion - Eureka

Earlier this year I had enjoyed NOVA's presentation of "The Archimedes Palimpsest." Via the New York Times we are now informed that this work is revealing its secrets and what it is revealing is that Archimedes was further ahead of his time than we can really even appreciate. Fascinating story.

Link to NYT article via Greg Ransom's PrestoPundit.

John Venlet - 8:57:00 AM | Permalink

Saddam Captured

I turned on my computer at 7:57 AM, went to the MSN home page and found this story, filed at 7:56 AM, which says Saddam was captured. So I go to Drudge, to verify. Nothing yet. Google had a link to the story also which the Google bot found at Reuters.

John Venlet - 8:09:00 AM | Permalink

Saturday, December 13, 2003

"We'll Kick Your Ass" - " per policy"

Click on the above link, which doubles as the title to this post, and which I commented on earlier this week here. Now, click on this link, which will take you to a short AP article about an 18 year old woman who was shot and killed by a Michigan State Police trooper. The article is conveniently lacking in details in regards to the young ladies "traffic violation," though a justification statement, of sorts, does state that the young lady was shot "after a pursuit that reached 60 miles per hour."

It will be interesting to see what additional details emerge in regards to this incident, but my gut reaction to this is what could this young woman, who, as the article states, "apparently tried to injure a trooper," have done, injury wise to a state trooper, that has resulted in her lying, lifeless, in a morgue?

One last comment. You'll notice that I appended the title of this post with "as per policy." I appended that to the title because the printed article, which I clipped from my local paper ends with this sentence, "The trooper who shot the woman has been placed on administrative leave, as per policy." Those three little words, which are omitted from the article online, speak volumes.

John Venlet - 12:24:00 PM | Permalink

Friday, December 12, 2003

The Fallacy and Inefficacy of Group Labels - An Individual Examination

The longer I consider group labels the more inept such labeling appears. Consider myself. I was brought up in a Dutch Christian Reformed household, and remained a professing member of said group until the age of thirty-two. In fact, at the age of thirty-one, I was elected President, a title mind you, of a Dutch Christian Reformed church. A position typically held by the minister of the church or an over the age of sixty elder. So would these facts put me in the Christian group, the Protestant group, the Calvinist group or the Dutch Christian Reformed group?

Admittedly, my upbringing has had a distinct effect on how I live my life. For example, I think it is a noble thing to consider those less fortunate than I and because I do, I support entities of charity for those who are down on their luck. Does this fact put me in the liberal group? Hardly, because if I provide for charities that assist those in need, I do so voluntarily. Does this then put me in the voluntaryist group? In the same vein, do I think individuals who require some form of charitible assistance in their lives should drink at the trough of charity endlessly? No. Does this fact then put me in the conservative group? I hardly think so.

Business wise I support free markets and trade. Does that group me with the capitalists? Or, since I think government has no right to interfere in free markets and trade, does that group me with the anarcho-capitalists, or possibly the objectivists who expound the wonderful writings of Ayn Rand? Or can I not be labeled an objectivist because I happen to believe in the Creator? And does this statement then group me with the creationists? Which may be a problem because I accept the theory of evolution, as far as it has been developed and supported by archaeological evidence, which could then group me with the evolutionists.
How about terrorism? I support the elimination of terrorists and those who provide them both shelter and support. Does this statement then group me with the hawks, the Republicans, the neo-cons or what? And in the same vein, I do not support the means utilized to fund these efforts to eradicate terrorism. What group would that put me in?

How about drug use? Another "war" we are involved in. I enjoy high quality marijuana, and other occasional recreational drugs. Does that group me with the stoners, potheads or druggies? If I am to enjoy any of the above mentioned, I must purchase them. Does that group me with the criminals?

The examination of these group labels, and requirements for inclusion in them, could go on and on. New group labels appear almost daily and individuals seem to jump from one to another with the same frequency with which most of us change our underwear.

I think every individual should decide things for themselves. The government shouldn't decide, religion shouldn't decide, any group you may be aligned with shouldn't decide, because if any of these decide for you, you are being coerced.

Here's my decision. I am going to do whatever I want. I will not coerce you to do anything. If you attempt to coerce me, I'll either ignore you, or, if you coerce me at the point of a gun, I'll defend my right to decide for myself. I will do unto others what they do unto me. If there's a group label for that, let me know. I'll take it under advisement, but I more than likely will not join.

John Venlet - 12:54:00 PM | Permalink

Socialism Creep

I'd expect this sort of thing in California, but New Mexico? Skip Oliva, at The Rule of Reason dissects Santa Fe's call for a "living wage."

John Venlet - 9:23:00 AM | Permalink


Jesse Walker, over at Hit & Run, comments on and provides links to a story dealing with the UN "World Summit on the Information Society." It seems that the UN doesn't want certain reporters reporting on their doings. The reporters devised some work arounds, which included a pirate radio station, which led to police raids, which led to the web.

John Venlet - 8:53:00 AM | Permalink

Drive Faster

Anna, from Belligerent Bunny Blog, links to an American Spectator article written by Eric Peters which compares Germany's driving fatalities to U.S. driving fatalities and the relationship which the speeds and skills of drivers from both countries have to this. She even manages to tie in the film "Octopussy." Unfortunately, it's the state that nannies the German drivers' skills.

John Venlet - 8:13:00 AM | Permalink

What The?

The headline reads, U.S. intelligence: N. Korea using Internet to indoctrinate the masses." A couple of thoughts.

First, take a look at this satellite photo of North and South Korea. After viewing, ask yourself, how in the world is North Korea going to be able to indoctrinate the masses, via the internet, when they can't even supply electricity to the country? Plus, I'm fairly certain, that people who are resorting to eating grass for nourishment, are not overly interested in surfing the net.

Second. If the U.S. intelligence services truly believe that the internet can be a source for indoctrination in North Korea, they've spent too much time being indoctrinated in the U.S. public school systems and military intelligence is truly an oxymoron.

Via Drudge.

John Venlet - 7:09:00 AM | Permalink

Thursday, December 11, 2003

"Surf Alaska!"

I saw this photo in our local paper tonight. You gotta admire this guy.

John Venlet - 7:47:00 PM | Permalink

Hijacked Language

I am close to concluding my first ever reading of material by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "The Confessions." Though he seems to suffer, needlessly, from a self inflicted persecution complex, I've enjoyed the book. This morning, as I read, I came across a sentence, where Rousseau makes an exclamation, in regards to an afternoon spent sipping wine, through stalks of rye, that today, would in all probability, be uttered by only 3 or so percent of the population, and could possibly get him reprimanded, much like the 8 year old child in the linked story.

"I have never been so gay in my life."

Jean-Jacques Rosseau, The Confessions, pg. 567."

I annotated my book with the comment, "Too funny to read in 2003."

John Venlet - 11:34:00 AM | Permalink

On Conservativism

Joe Sobran has a piece up entitled "The Neon-Lit Dark Age" which is worth reading. A couple of quotes I especially enjoyed while reading the piece.

On FDR, "The only thing that prevented him from being an outright Communist was his total lack of principle."

Self explanatory, "Conservatism now is basically a posture of resistance, not a coherent philosophy with identifiable central principles."

Via The Last Ditch.

John Venlet - 9:16:00 AM | Permalink

McCain-Feingold Ruling

There are alot of posts available for reading in regards to the Supremes ruling on the above. Here is my nomination for the best, short description of the ruling. "...full 300 page turd dropped on the Constituion."

From a post by Robert Clayton Dean at Samizdata.

John Venlet - 8:27:00 AM | Permalink

Shoveling Snow Creates Property Rights?

Leonard, at the blog Unruled, has a post up which looks at the issue of property rights by examining the practice of individuals shoveling out parking spaces on public streets and then claiming the thus created parking space as their property. While I support the conclusions of the shovelers, in regards to the ownership of the parking space, I do not and cannot support the methods they use to enforce this ownership as it casts a bad light on anarchism. Malicious destruction of another's property to enforce your claim of ownership is hardly conducive to responsible anarchism and respect of property rights.

John Venlet - 8:13:00 AM | Permalink

Truth in Advertising

Click on this link which will take you to a post by Karen De Coster. Look at the photo. I agree with Karen that the "Fascist cops can kiss my royal behind." But, I have to admit, the message presented by the cop car in the photo is more accurate than the message typically displayed of "To Protect and To Serve."

John Venlet - 7:33:00 AM | Permalink

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Centralization, Like That's A Good Thing

Reading tonight's Grand Rapids Press, dead tree rendition, I come across an article entitled "Concealed weapons permit shift proposed." So I go looking for a link at the paper's website. Nothing. I also take a look at and search most of the other major dailys in Michigan. Nothing. It's an AP story so I Google. Nothing. So here are the main portions of the story.

"The authority for issuing concealed weapons permits would shift to the Secretary of State's office under bills introduced in the state Senate."

"County gun boards now issue the permits."

Of course this will "reduce costs" and "make things easier for applicants."

And how do you like this for a lesson in political babble, also from the AP article,

"Kelly Chesney, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, said she could not comment on the bills, but said Land supports changing the way permits are handled."

Quite wordy for not being able to comment.

This is not a good thing.

John Venlet - 9:05:00 PM | Permalink

Strictly for Enjoyment

Via Arts & Letters Daily, three articles.

One, on drugs and artists in various pursuits.

Two, mathematical"brain teasers and lying politicians."

Three, opinions, their value and which ends with the etymology of "idiot."

John Venlet - 9:58:00 AM | Permalink

The Fall of Rome

Greg Swann analyzes Thomas Sowell's article "Is Wal-Mart Good for America?," which analyzes a New York Times article of the same title. Sowell provides a sound market analysis and Greg provides a sound overall analysis.

John Venlet - 8:06:00 AM | Permalink

We'll Be There in Twenty Minutes

In the state's continuing bid to remove every last vestige of self reliance from individuals, they continue to arrest old men, who, while coming to the aid of an old friend, brandish and fire a pistol, wounding one of three assailants. The state's justificational statement of course is "He would have been better off calling 911.'' Which is as much like saying, "I should've had a V8." A vacuous statement.

Via Aaron Hatter at No Treason.

John Venlet - 7:39:00 AM | Permalink

Know Your Rights

The Supremes are tweaking them again.

John Venlet - 7:25:00 AM | Permalink

Best Line

Best line I've read in regards to the Pentagon's trade restrictions on countries which did not support U.S. actions against Iraq.

"No Blood, No Pork"

John Venlet - 7:15:00 AM | Permalink

"Today Will Be A Good Day to Die"

David Yeagley asks, today, "Another Civil War?" David asks this question after reading Dennis Cauchon's article "Fed-up states defy Washington" in USA Today." Cauchon's article presents the idea that liberals, rather than conservatives, are championing a new drive for state's rights. Which is all well and good, well except for the fact that both groups really want state power to mean power over you and I.

John Venlet - 7:08:00 AM | Permalink

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

What a Day

Who knows how many words I read, my poor Aussie went into grand mal seizure, my son's began their bball season, they both started, JV, and were 1 and 2 high scorers, and the team won, a new computer arrived, it's still sitting in the box, and I tangled with a serpent.

It's time for a beer and a cheap cigar on the back porch.

John Venlet - 9:58:00 PM | Permalink

Compelling Reading

"Columbia's Last Flight."

As Billy Beck says,

"It's twenty thousand words, but you really should find the time for William Langewiesche's superb article on the shuttle Columbia's Last Flight at the Atlantic Online."


John Venlet - 1:38:00 PM | Permalink

Interpreting a Media Advisory

"The Federal Trade Commission issued the following media advisory today: "The Federal Trade Commission will host a press conference Tuesday December 9, 2003 to unveil new media guidance for weight loss advertising claims."

Translation: the FTC will tell weight loss advertisers what they can and can't say; any deviation from the FTC's position will result in immediate prosecution. The antitrust assault on the First Amendment continues."

Posted by Skip Oliva at The Rule of Reason.

John Venlet - 8:22:00 AM | Permalink

Chew Toy

The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler is chewing up France and acknowledging journalist Rebecca Goldsmith with the happiness of a dog reunited with its master after a day in the kennel in this piece entitled "The Socialist Manifesto Doesn't Work?! Sacre' Bleu! Non!" Down boy, down.

John Venlet - 8:17:00 AM | Permalink

Perceptions Trump Reality

Greg Ransom, over at PrestoPundit, links to and quotes portions of two separate pieces that explore Bush's lack of free market principles and the motivations for this regrettable lack. Here and here.

John Venlet - 8:07:00 AM | Permalink

School Days Paychecks

College and university level education is expensive, though I don't necessarily believe that investors in higher education get what they pay for. Meaning an education as much as indoctrination. Diana Hsieh posts a some comments and provides a link to this article, written by Peter S. Cahn, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma.

Diana highlighted a portion of Cahn's comments in her post, but they bear repeating here as one kudzu bureaucratic beast is much like another.

"Despite the university's emphasis on research and publication, it seemed that the largest financial rewards lay in administration."

John Venlet - 7:32:00 AM | Permalink

Ad Copy for DHL

Colby Cosh talks about FedEx, UPS and DHL in this, his most recent post, entitled "Neither rain, nor snow, nor SAM..." I wonder if Santa may contract with DHL?

John Venlet - 7:20:00 AM | Permalink

Monday, December 08, 2003

Intellectual Property

Claire Wolfe points to, and quotes a portion of this essay written by David Freddoso on intellectual property rights wherein David states how he truly came about to respect and understand them. A portion below.

"It's no coincidence that the greatest burst of inventiveness in all human history started just as creators' rights began to be acknowledged, and continues to this day because those rights are acknowledged. Build a world in which creators must stand by helplessly while their works are stolen by anyone with the gall, the technology, and the needed reproduction tools, and first the artists, then the rest of the beautiful, sane, and civilized world will begin to disappear."

John Venlet - 3:58:00 PM | Permalink

"Buffoon For President"

Though the title of this post, created by David Yeagley, could be applied to every candidate for public office, Yeagley has used this to describe Al Sharpton's campaign after reading Salon's recent interview of Sharpton.

John Venlet - 7:31:00 AM | Permalink

Sunday, December 07, 2003

An Un-Thinking Man's Crime

"Three Conyers Middle School students have been accused of violating the state Controlled Substances Act after a plastic bag filled with parsley was found at the school, sheriffs officials said.

We believe, because of the way the parsley was packaged, at least two of the students believed it was marijuana, said Rockdale County Sheriffs Deputy Myra Pearrell."

From this article, where Daniel Medley, of LoboWalk, asks the question,

"If you believe, have you committed a crime?"

John Venlet - 7:10:00 PM | Permalink

An Open Letter to Los Angeles County

Dear Los Angeles County Office of Affirmative Action Council,

In regards to your recent decision to call for the elimination of master and slave labels on computer equipment, and, your lack of forethought in providing acceptable alternatives, among other shortcomings, for the manufacturing industries from which you procure, I am compelled to write.

First, as reported in this CNN article, which informs us that the offensive terms are used in other industries, I must chastise you for your lack of audacity and thoroughness in not first calling on all automakers to follow suit by disallowing the use of the term master cylinder. As you have so clearly shown us, as you gather together and quaff electric koolaid, the term master must be eliminated. In seems only reasonable, to me at least, that a more effective method to eliminate the use of the word master, throughout not only LA but the country, would be to start with the automakers and, more directly, the grease stained, friendly neighborhood auto mechanics. Almost every American owns a vehicle, and we cannot allow them on the road, let alone within the county of Los Angeles, with master cylinders installed under the hood. If you can compel auto mechanics to assist your lofty goals of protecting us from offensive language, it appears to me that this beneficial change would be assimilated into society so much the quicker. Might I suggest the term citizen cylinder? This term could also be employed by the computer industry, but in a somewhat reversed manner. The slave switch could be labeled citizen and the master switch could be labeled politburo.

Secondly, in your next enlightment session, might I suggest instead of imbibing electric koolaid, an alternate beverage be consumed, such as absinthe with peyote buttons as a garnish. More importantly, might I suggest that such an august body as yourselves crack open a dictionary. Utilization of the dictionary would provide you with a far more encompassing body of legislation to eliminate the use of the word master and provide marked efficiencies. Elimination of such offending phrases and words as master-at-arms, master chief petty officer, which is especially grievous because it is somewhat redundant and may offend American Indians, master key, mastermind, master of arts, master of ceremonies, etcetera could be eliminated in fell swoop. Swept away with a Stalinesqe pen stroke. If you are in need of a good, unabridged dictionary, you might check your local cooperative library.

I almost feel sorry for myself, living here in the state of Michigan, a borderline redneck striving for enlightment, as I gaze westward towards your land of comradeship. Even so, here I shall remain, ignorant and somewhat chilly as winter sets in. But I salute you, albeit one fingeredly, as you, the County of Los Angeles, boldly leads America to its coming glorious era of felt boots, gulag archipelagoes and mass graves of the ignorant.

Servilely and with abject apologies for my syntax challenged prose,

John Venlet
A Simple, Ignorant Individual

John Venlet - 4:44:00 PM | Permalink


The other night, while enjoying a couple loud mouth soups, shaken not stirred, with a friend, I mentioned the cannibal. My friend, surprisingly, was not aware of this event, so I gave him a brief rundown of the known facts of the matter to date. I emphasized, in relaying the tale, that, as this Guardian article states, the German authorities found this case of cannibalism "problematic" since cannibilism is not "illegal" in Germany. Evidently Germany, like the U.S., hasn't totally codified morality, as of today at least, but the government is working on it, and since there isn't a "law" against cannibalism the Germans had to settle for charging the cannibal with murder. Which isn't quite as aberrant as cannibalism, but it'll have to do. When my friend heard this part of the story, he wondered if the U.S. had any laws against cannibalism, which I honestly did not know the answer to. But I reminded him we did have the Donner party, which I believe they still give fifteen to thirty seconds worth of coverage to in secondary school, so maybe the government, both local and federal, hasn't felt a need to get a law on the books. You know, just in case we forget how immoral cannibalism is.

Anyway, as I reviewed this conversation sitting on the back porch last night, soaking up a bit of moonshine, it was a crisp, clear night with the moon two days from full, enjoying a handcrafted ale and a three dollar and eighty-five cent cigar, I got to thinking about some comments I had read on other blogs in regards to this German aberrant. One blog, proudly aligned libertarianally, meaning they'll only club you if you want them to, even was discussing, with decorum, whether the German gourmet should be charged with murder, since the main course freely agreed to be slaughtered and served. After partaking of himself appetizerly of course.

As I contemplated that high philosophical discussion, I was glad that there are still men in the world who, individually, remain aloof from the insanity surrounding us. Here's where I finally get to the clarity, the title of this post. And I hope I haven't obscured your view.

Billy Beck has stripped bare the words, my own included, with which this German evil has been veiled so I shall say no more.

"The worst part is he got over four hundred people to reply to him online in the first year."

John Venlet - 8:23:00 AM | Permalink

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Christmas Spirit

A couple of days ago I noted the state of Virginia's new law banning Christmas trees in certain dwellings. Via The Agitator we are pointed to this Washington Post article with additional suggested items to be banned for our own good.

John Venlet - 9:01:00 AM | Permalink

Stamp Collecting

The best comment I've seen in regards to the Robeson stamp being issued.

"The stamps might be discontinued though - people won't know what side to spit on."

John Venlet - 8:32:00 AM | Permalink

Zeroing In

Daniel Medley, over at LoboWalk does the math and his calculations prove the sum in regards to zero tolerance policies. Daniel's solution.

"...the real reason behind most zero tolerance policies; laziness."

John Venlet - 8:25:00 AM | Permalink

"Pixie Dust"

"Fame is the only remaining universal currency. It collateralizes loans for Donald Trump; it buys a bully pulpit for Rosie O'Donnell and literary influence for Oprah Winfrey. It secures the best table in the restaurant, no reservation required. In an age of almost unimaginable abundance, celebrity is the last scarce good. Is it any wonder that people pursue it, and proximity to it, so assiduously?"

From Aaron Haspel's first and last words on Michael Jackson.

John Venlet - 8:12:00 AM | Permalink

Colby Cosh Accused of Being Broadminded

Colby Cosh has been taking some heat becuase of a recent National Post column entitled "Tolerating reflexive intolerance," which he blogged on also. The column, and the accompanying blog post, have been generating alot of traffic and mail for Colby and he shares some of the mail, and his responses to that mail, here.

John Venlet - 7:51:00 AM | Permalink

Imagine - Unfortunately I Don't Need To

Alan K. Henderson points to a FrontPage Magazine article written by Tatiana Menaker. Tatiana, who had attended Leningrad University in the Soviet Union, the alma mater of Ayn Rand, Lenin and Putin, has a few things to say about San Francisco State University in a piece entitled "My Second Marxist Indoctrination." From Tatiana's essay,

"Imagine the utter amazement of a refugee from a Communist country, where Marxism was forced on all students, now having to sink in a puddle of socialist propaganda again -- but this time in the middle of an American university!"

John Venlet - 7:36:00 AM | Permalink

Friday, December 05, 2003

Jury Duty

Compare this post and this post to this story I just read via The Obscure Store.

I have to admit, the linked story provoked a chuckle.

John Venlet - 3:16:00 PM | Permalink

Reformation, No Dissolution

A number of blogs have posted comments and links to this Tech Central Station column, written by Edward Feser, a Visisting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. The column, entitled "Does Islam Need a Luther or a Pope?," makes for interesting reading and I recommend it.

I do have one problem though. The column ends by suggesting that what Islam needs is a Pope. An incorrect conclusion. What Islam, and every other organized religion needs is a Jiddu Krishnamurti.

A brief excerpt from Krishnamurti's speech dissolving The Order of the Star in the East.

"I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. If you first understand that, then you will see how impossible it is to organize a belief. A belief is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others. This is what everyone throughout the world is attempting to do. Truth is narrowed down and made a plaything for those who are weak, for those who are only momentarily discontented. Truth cannot be brought down, rather the individual must make the effort to ascend to it. You cannot bring the mountain-top to the valley. If you would attain to the mountain-top you must pass through the valley, climb the steeps, unafraid of the dangerous precipices. You must climb towards the Truth, it cannot be "stepped down" or organized for you. Interest in ideas is mainly sustained by organizations, but organizations only awaken interest from without. Interest, which is not born out of love of Truth for its own sake, but aroused by an organization, is of no value. The organization becomes a framework into which its members can conveniently fit. They no longer strive after Truth or the mountain-top, but rather carve for themselves a convenient niche in which they put themselves, or let the organization place them, and consider that the organization will thereby lead them to Truth."

Read the whole thing.

Interesting character that Krishnamurti.

Linked via Diana Hsieh.

John Venlet - 1:10:00 PM | Permalink

It's a Sad Day

It's a sad day when a soldier, serving in Iraq, has a book, "that's openly & legally published in the U.S." confiscated because it is declared in the same category as "unexploded ordinance, foreign dirt, and porno."

Tyranny inported into a land of tyranny from the land of the free?

Via Claire Wolfe.

John Venlet - 8:25:00 AM | Permalink

"Group ownership is not Marxism..."

"Group ownership is not Marxism, nor any flavor of socialism/communism/statism. It makes perfect sense with a residential street, or a fiber network, or insurance company, for the customers to be the owners. It only becomes a statist program if people are forced to pay for it whether or not they want to use it, if others are prevented from setting up a competing system using their own common property, or if the owners are forced to provide the service to others or accept new members against their will."

Bold added for emphasis.

Via Andy Stedman, at No Treason, commenting on a Lawrence Lessig article posted at Wired.

John Venlet - 8:10:00 AM | Permalink

A Reflexive Institutionalized Response

A few days ago I posted a link to two separate posts at No Treason which, though both posts were in regards to different subject matters, brought to our attention insitutionalized man. As an example of this, the No Treason posts quoted some lines from the film "The Shawshank Redepmtion." A movie whose tagline reads "Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free." One of the lines quoted, spoken by the character Red, portrayed by Morgan Freeman, is as follows,

"Thirty years I've been asking permission to piss. I can't squeeze a drop without say-so. There is a harsh truth to face. No way I'm gonna make it on the outside."

A rather sorry statement coming from an individual.

Because I've been thinking about that line, and the ramifications it implies, I want to share with you a recent conversation that exemplifies just how deep insitutionalization has entrenched itself in daily life.

While attending a neighborhood cocktail party, a monthly social affair, in a neighborhood where I do not reside, but none-the-less am welcome, though uninvited, a conversation was inititated dealing with dogs. Specifically, the conversation centered around a new to the neighborhood couple's dogs which had absconded from the couple's new abode. The closing statement, made in reporting this incident, was how happy the couple was that they had licensed their dogs or, they believed, they would've have never gotten them back. The dogs were gathered up by Animal Control officers and held for payment of finders fees, which the couple readily paid.

Upon this concluding statement, a close friend of mine interjected that I, John, take offense at being required to license a dog and hence refuse to do just that. When the fairer half of the runaway dogs couple heard my friend's statement of my feelings in regards to dog licensing, she inquired as to what I would do if my dog ran away. I replied that my dog would not run away so it wasn't a concern. Because such simple, straightforward replies can be so exasperating, I was asked to imagine what I would do if my dog did run away. My reply was once again simple. I replied that I would go out and search for my dog and if that search was fruitless I would then check the pound on a daily basis in hopes of being reunited.

My response did not wholly satisfy, unfortunately, because the next statement I needed to reply to dealt with the fact that the cost of licensing a dog is a paltry fifteen dollars. A fact I will not dispute. The cost is minimal, and, in fact, I've smoked cigars that cost fifteen dollars so fifteen dollars is a mere trifle. I responded by asking why I should pay fifteen dollars to license my dog in order to receive the state's assistance in locating my dog, if, in fact, it did run away. And, more importantly, I wondered aloud to those present, am I not ultimately responsible for my dog and its whereabouts. To which most everyone present readily assented.

Unfortunately, most everyone present, who owned a dog, stated they would still purchase a license for their dog because the state decrees that they must and, just in case their dog ran away.

When I think about this conversation and Red's inability to piss without the state's say so, I wonder how many people are even aware as to how institutionalized they already are. As more and more individual responsibilities are abdicated to the state, with little, if any, forethought, by the individuals abdicating, I fear it may not be long before most people are asking the state if it is alright to take a piss. I know the dogs won't be asking. Will you?

John Venlet - 7:38:00 AM | Permalink

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Eminent Domain Sacrilege

A man's home, when justice was practiced rather than law, used to be his castle.

Via Cold Fury.

John Venlet - 9:21:00 AM | Permalink


A historian by the name of Robert Carver has a piece entitled "America is not a Christian nation" posted online at The Illinois Leader.

He's right.

Via George F. Smith at Strike The Root.

John Venlet - 9:10:00 AM | Permalink

At Least They Still Have a Choice

Drudge provides a link to a story under this heading "Chicago High School To Require All Students Get Drug Tested." When I first read the headline I wondered how such a draconian measure could be instituted in Chicago schools. Upon reading the article you'll find that the schools mentioned are all private, parochial schools. So, though the schools decree the testing to be mandatory, and the testing is intrusive, the parents and the students still have a choice.

John Venlet - 8:48:00 AM | Permalink

Ho, Ho, Ho

Arthur Silber neatly sums up a new Virginia law that bans fresh cut Christmas trees in certain dwellings, in response to this comment from the assistant fire marshall of Fairfax County, VA,

""We're not looking at carting off Grandma on Christmas Eve because she has a cut tree in her house," he said."

Arthur's summation,

"The point is simply this: now they could cart off Grandma if they wanted to."

John Venlet - 8:22:00 AM | Permalink

The Clinton Legacy

"It is beyond doubt, from the words out of their own mouths, Bill and Hillary Clinton are anti-American, without national identity, and obssessed with globalism and power. Bill Clinton devoted himself to bringing America down to the Turd World level (a Michael "Savage" term). Hillary is clearly an enemy of the state. The Clintons want to change America into something it is not, never was, nor was ever meant to be. And the means justifies the ends. Only in their case, the ends are as ugly as the means."

David Yeagley in a post entitled "When the Wicked Reign" where he comments on Linda Tripp's recent Larry King appearance and her doings with the Clintons. Mulitple links are embedded in Yeagley's post.

John Venlet - 8:15:00 AM | Permalink

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Just A Thought

If a man who desires to gain wisdom, can overcome his obstinancy to criticisms, he bears correction easily and prospers.

John Venlet - 9:44:00 AM | Permalink


VodkaPundit points to a Roger L. Simon post where Roger has this to say about group labels,

"So what divides our society now is not the old dichotomy between "liberal" and "conservative," it is those who oppose fascism and those who want to let it be. On this blog, I am going to start calling those sides what they really are -- anti-fascist and pro-fascist."

The comment thread associated with the post meanders widely.

John Venlet - 7:56:00 AM | Permalink

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Actually, There's Only One Party

Greg Ransom, at PrestoPundit links to a Doug Bandow column at that comments on the Medicare fiasco. The column ends with this statement,

"Republicans no longer believe in limited constitutional government; their primary role in Washington is to enact Democratic programs veiled in conservative rhetoric. Americans might as well vote Democratic: then, at least, they would benefit from truth in advertising."

Greg ends his post with the comment, "Ain't it the truth, sad to say."

The actual truth is that there is only one party of socialists using the labels of democrats or republicans in order to disguise their nefarious agendas.

That, would be "truth in advertising."

John Venlet - 8:53:00 AM | Permalink

Slaveholders and AIDS Research

Natalie Solent has written a piece for Samizdata entitled "Life is still tough for the owners of lazy slaves" which compares the travails of slaveholders to the decline in AIDS research. An analogy I'm sure some will take offence at. Natalie ends her piece with the following statement, which, in fact, is an important point many seem to forget today.

"Important work is done by free men."

John Venlet - 8:37:00 AM | Permalink

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