A Car, A Washer/Dryer, and Air Conditioning

No, this isn’t a Johnny Carson Carnac skit.  And yes, I’m old enough to remember Carnac, even though I didn’t get it.

These are the first three items that are considered to be necessities by Pew Research Center.

You know what that means–it’s just a matter of time before everyone has a “right” to these things.

And once something is a right, of course, we can get it from the gov’ment.

For “free”.

HT Reason Hit & Run

Business Fail Because of Banks and Credit Card Companies? C’mon.

I normally wouldn’t comment on a situation like Cindy Fairless Lay’s.  She is closing her privately owned business here locally, and that’s none of my business.  However, Ms. Lay wrote a guest column for the KNS (related article) today in which she explains why her business is closing.  In doing so, she’s put herself out there, presumably to solicit opinion and reaction.  I happen to have some.

Because the closing of my business is due to (lending) practices of my bank, legal loan-sharking of credit card companies, price gouging by oil companies, two governmental agencies arguing as to whether my cakes with cream cheese frosting can be sold, and a president that suddenly, as if he were innocently surprised, announces our country is headed for the worst economic shakedown since the Great Depression, I cannot remain silent.

Let’s break this down.  Her business is closing for the following reasons:

  • Bank lending practices
  • Loan sharking by credit cards companies
  • Price gouging by oil companies
  • Two government agencies
  • President Bush

What?  The first two reasons lead me to believe this business was highly reliant on debt for operation.  And that leads me to believe this business would have never even gotten off the ground without debt from banks and credit cards.  Did Ms. Lay write an article crediting them for her success when the business was thriving?  Seems fair to me.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe this business was started from a pure cash position.  Maybe.

And I wonder if her business accepted credit cards from customers.  If so, does that make her complicit in their “loan sharking” practices?  Or is it only loan sharking when they charge you high interest rates and punitive fees?  I’m no fan of credit cards–don’t have one.  But to lay the blame for the failure of your business at their feet while failing to recognize that it was you who agreed to the terms they presented is ridiculous.

Could it be that failure to effectively control debt leverage contributed to the closing of this business?  That seems like a management issue to me.

And price gouging by the oil companies?  If oil companies were gouging and getting away with it, why have gas prices dropped so much recently.  They’d have to be fools to drop prices if they were getting away with unfair gouging practices.

No one is more irritated by the idiocy of government agencies than me, so I sympathise with Ms. Lay there, but their decision over whether or not a cream cheese frosting can be sold is a major factor in the business failure?  Really?  This would make sense if the business were “The Cream Cheese Frosting Company”, but this was a restaurant.  Was the whole thing riding on the ability to sell cream cheese frosting?

Lastly, this is (obviously) President Bush’s fault.  I guess that is a given, because everything else seems to be his fault too.  Look, I’m no fan of Dubya, but I’ll give him this–he has to be the hardest working President in history based on what I’ve heard and read.  I mean, to be personally responsible for every single problem of every single person in this country is quite a feat.  Hell, I don’t even have the time to wreak that kind of havok in my own life.

Ms. Lay seems like a nice enough lady.  She enumerates her virtues as a humanitarian in her article, and she sounds like a nice person to work for and with.  Apparently her food is really good too.  But at the end of the day, she has to realize that she took risks and lost.  She was not forced to take these risks.  In fact, she’s quite fortunate to live in a place where the opportunity to take these risks is available to her.  I’m not sure what her purpose was in writing this article.  Maybe she’s looking for a bailout?

First They Came For The Chemists…

A retired Massachusetts chemist had his home raided (without a warrant of course) and his property stolen by authorities. Why?

Experiments. That’s right. He was doing experiments.

Deeb is not accused of making methamphetamine or other illegal drugs. He’s not accused of aiding terrorists, synthesizing explosives, nor even of making illegal fireworks.

Pamela Wilderman, the code enforcement officer for Marlboro, stated, “I think Mr. Deeb has crossed a line somewhere. This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation.”

Wilderman thinks he has crossed a line…somewhere. Sounds like reason enough to me. I’m really scared by precedents like this when they go unchecked. It’s a threat not only to people who like to tinker with science as a hobby, but also to people who homeschool and people who may be developing new products or processes in their spare time.

One day it may be illegal to develop WordPress themes, and there won’t be any chemists to stand up for us.

via Slashdot

**UPDATE**

Reader Greg Compton sent this via Twitter–“inspector is a former theatre major“.

At least Massachusetts residents don’t have to worry about getting their doors kicked in during charades night.

Parenting for Adults

When (if) my kid(s) decide to go to college as adults, I expect they’ll do some pretty stupid things during the first couple of years and beyond.  To me, making mistakes and dealing with the consequences are important aspects of the learning process; part of acquiring an education.  Luckily, the State of Tennessee now has taken it upon themselves to get involved in my chosen method of nonparenting, if my kid adult decides to drink a couple of cold beers on campus.

Let’s take this to its logical end.  Why not also notify the parents when they skip class, jaywalk, or get thrown out of an intramural floor hockey game for beating down an opposing player while protected with full goalie gear?  Not that I ever participated in any such activity as a student.  I did, however, have a friend who talked filthy talk at a football game once.  Luckily for him, his parents weren’t notified.

It’s nice to see that while State universities don’t have the ability to support actual academic programs, they still have the ability to parent effectively.

Are They Going To Sell Them At Wal-Mart?

File under Utterly ridiculous.

A public school in California is now requiring students to wear RFID so they can track them. No, seriously.

The system was imposed, without parental input, by the school as a way to simplify attendance-taking and potentially reduce vandalism and improve student safety. Principal Earnie Graham hopes to eventually add bar codes to the existing ID’s so that students can use them to pay for cafeteria meals and check out library books.

I’ve got a better idea…why don’t you just worry about teaching them? There are all kinds of things you can teach kids in the 7th and 8th grade, like, I don’t know…the Fourth Amendment.

I guess one could make the argument that the rules and regulations of the school override the individual right to privacy. That makes sense if attendance at the school is a choice, but California is moving away from that notion already. And besides, doesn’t the fact that the schools are tax payer funded pretty much guarantee that the Constitution is applicable?

I guess this will help them get prepared for life in the Bush real world.

Dream Ticket? Whose Dream Is This?

When MLK said that he had a dream that little black boys and little white girls would one day hold hands run on a presidential ticket together, is this what he had in mind? If so, we should stop referring to him as a civil rights leader and change his title to Republican strategist. Hillary Clinton thinks she and Barack Obama may be able to join their forces to fight sit-down-and-talk-with evil later this year.

“That may be where this is headed,” she told the CBS Early Show during a marathon set of appearances on the network morning news shows. “But of course we have to decide who is on the top of ticket. I think the people of Ohio very clearly said that it should be me.”

Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for President isn’t a dream for anyone except for maybe John McCain and those “near and dear friends” of his in Washington. The funny thing is that making Obama her running mate is really the only chance she would have of winning, but if Obama gets the nomination he’d be cutting his own throat by naming her as his running mate.

McCain v. Hilly

Looks like a done deal, which really scares me.

I’ve had to hold my nose and vote Republican several times when I didn’t really want to.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it this time.  Either way, I’d essentially be voting for Democrat.

But maybe this is a good thing.  Maybe people will finally realize this time around that they really aren’t being presented with much of an option.  Maybe this is what we need to make people realize that we need a party that represents true fiscal conservatism and true individual liberty and property rights.

It’s Not A National I.D.

It’s a Federal Driver’s License.  You recognize the difference, right?

No?

The rationalization for this plan, of course, is the same as that for any authoritarian program…a centrally mandated, controlled, and issued driver’s license will make it more difficult for con artists, drug traffickers, illegal immigrants, or terrorists to gain access to identification that could compromise our security. 

You feel better about it now, don’t you?  No?  This should help:

By 2014, anyone seeking to board an airplane or enter a federal building would have to present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, with the notable exception of those more than 50 years old, Homeland Security officials said.

It’s funny.  They keep calling it a “driver’s license,” but they never mention anything about driving.

My 2007 Year in Review

Unlike everyone else, I slacked off and waited until 2008 was officially here to do my review. 2007 was my first year of full on blogging. I’d messed around here and there with different blogs before, but 2007 was the year I drank the Kool Aid and went at it for real. I’ll keep this list confined to what occurred on this blog. You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m somewhat guarded about the personal life. Enough about me…here are my thoughts on my 10 most notable posts of 2007:

Ron Paul’s Presidential Run
At times it seemed to me that Ron Paul news was taking over this blog. On one hand I feel like I need to apologize for that, but on the other hand, it’s my blog and that’s what I was interested in. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one who was excited by Dr. Paul’s message, and I hopefully played a small part in helping him get elected. More on that later this year, as I have some thoughts on what is realistic, and what is for the best.

Knox County Scandals
There were more in 2007 than I can even count. That makes you wonder how much stuff is going on that we haven’t even heard about yet. Last week I saw a t-shirt that read, “Miami: A sunny place for shady people.” Knox County seems to have the market cornered on shadiness this year.

Steroids in Sports (and Non-Sports)
My bottom line–WHO CARES? Next topic.

People Getting Nekkid and Almost Nekkid
I got a ton of traffic this year writing articles about Vanessa Hudgens, along with a couple of articles about the Inskip teacher who had arguably inappropriate photos on MySpace. I don’t really care who gets naked and takes photos of it, I just wonder how people can do that and not retain ALL digital copies of the material. Idiots.

Barbie Cummings and the Highway Patrol
This was just a funny local story that ended up causing me to exceed my bandwidth when it went national and I ended up ranking #3 on Google for “Barbie Cummings Blog”. Since then, Ms. Cummings life has apparently changed dramatically, much for the better. How do I know that? I’m resourceful, and it didn’t take much digging anyway. Nevertheless, it seems like she wants to leave that part of her life behind her, so I think it’s time this story finally died and went away, never to be mentioned here again.

Tennessee Smoking Ban
Thank you to our state’s elected leaders for writing and enforcing personal choice laws on private property. If you really want to look out for me and mine, stop wasting our tax dollars on this crap. Next thing you know we’re going to have to provide health care for people who would’ve otherwise died if you’d not spent millions trying to keep them from smoking.

Buddies Blogging
Some people I know IRL also started blogs this year. It’s funny that you can go months or years without talking or emailing with someone, and this medium puts you in the position to “converse” with them every day. Even when it isn’t dialog, you read what they write and they read what you write. Very cool. Not to mention the countless other blogs I’ve begun to read that I never would have learned about if I’d not started blogging for real this year.

The War On Education
Also known as the public school system. I feel like I don’t spend enough time or energy talking about this because I think it’s the number one problem facing our country. Solutions are anything but clear and simple, but one thing I’m very excited about for this coming year is that I’ve got an idea that may help a little, at least for individuals. I’m finishing up some other projects, and then I’m going at it full force.

Blogging About Blogging
As I said, 2007 was my first year blogging full throttle, and boy did I learn a lot. I posted a ton of stuff about monetizing, driving traffic, building networks, linking to other people, and I’m sure lots of other stuff that annoys people. I can’t help it…my interest is peaked. Another project I want to tackle for this year is keeping that stuff off of this site and directing it to a different blog that is dedicated to that subject.

The One I Wish Was More Popular
Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about The Wire. I really wished more people watched this show, especially the season that starts next week which will address the media. I’ve had several great conversations with people who watch The Wire, and I’d love to bring more of them to this venue. In fact, I think I’m going to, despite the fact that most people don’t know about the show. At least I’ll have the bragging rights that a couple of people heard about it from me when they are finally turned on to it.

Isn’t This Rich?

And by rich I mean the lobbies that are successful in getting governors to propose prison time and heavy fines for online gamblers and poker players in the same bill that makes the way for licensing for casinos.

Patrick’s casino legislation, which has been introduced at the State House but is not expected to get a hearing until next year, would license three casinos in three regions of the state. Casino developers would bid on the licenses, and Patrick expects they would attract 10-year licensing fees of $200 million to $300 million for each casino.

Oh, never mind. It’s the State that will get rich. My bad. Don’t you wish you could use the legal system to set up a monopoly for yourself and your buddies?

I don’t.

Thanks to Reason for pointing this one out.