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"On May 2, Mildred Loving died from complications of pneumonia at the age of 68. The unassuming Mrs. Loving would have scoffed at the notion that she was a hero of the Civil Rights Movement. "
"Politicians from states opposed to the U.S. government's Real ID plan had one message on Wednesday: It's not too late to turn this ship around."
"Transcending political controversy and stigma surrounding the subject, the second largest physician group in the country has endorsed the use, reclassification, and further study of medicinal marijuana."
"[E]employer-based health insurance is a historical accident, stemming from a combination of labor shortages and wage controls during World War II. It limits consumer choice by giving decisions over coverage to employers rather than employees, meaning workers who lose their jobs lose their insurance. And individuals who do not receive employer-provided insurance face a greater financial burden when they try to buy insurance on their own. Why should that be? McCain would move us away from such a system."
"The cops were looking for drugs and smashed through the back door. In the ensuing chaos, Maye hunkered down with his daughter in a bedroom and when the police broke down that door, he fired three bullets, one of which killed Officer Ron Jones. Maye testified in court that the police did not identify themselves until after they had entered his residence; indeed, he testified that they did not identify themselves until after he had fired his shots. Once they did, he said he put his weapon on the floor, slid it toward police, and surrendered."
"It’s not called the welfare 'state' for nothing. Even more serious than the economic effects has been the quiet metamorphosis of welfare from a system of public assistance into a miniature penal apparatus, replete with its own tribunals, prosecutors, police, and jails."
"Every government, pared to its irreducible essence, is an armed gang with a territorial monopoly on 'legitimate' force. In the 'war on crime' that began decades ago under Nixon, police agencies across the country frequently behave as if their priority is to beat back competition from rival gangs, while keeping the public properly subdued."
"Every single institution of public trust has decided to go all in and see what they can steal from a passive uncomplaining public made paranoid by government surveillance and the now seemingly permanent orange-alert status of the country over terrorism. The terrorists seem to have taken over the country already. But it is our own government and institutions terrorizing the public."
"[I]t will show that his innovative application of printing technologies was not only a showcase example of market anarchism, but a greater source of benefit to mankind than state-sponsored technologies can ever hope to be. It is a story not only of innovation, but of immigration, opposition to politically connected interests, and freedom of information. "
"Prior to the government’s takeover of American education and replacement of it with mass compulsory schooling (this distinction is most important), there was no system. There was a mishmash of different educational alternatives."
"I’ve always said that if you scratch a Christian long enough, you’ll uncover a moral nihilist. The same is true with statism: if you scratch a statist long enough, you’ll uncover a moral nihilist. Statists are necessarily moral nihilists because, like the Christians, they believe in a religion based on a morality of blind authority, with the State as god (whose members are without fault even if they are the worst, most corrupt individuals), the law as its doctrine, television as its daily mass, and voting as its ritual."
"A license is a grant of permission. The licensor grants permission to the licensee to do something that the licensee does not have a right to do. A rental contract, though usually called a lease, is a form of license."
"It is more than a coincidence that the way in which freedom tends to be restored―for the most part as a by-product of actions by people seeking only their own narrow goals, as opposed to a freer societal end-state―parallels the way in which freedom gained a foothold in the first place. ... The powers that be like to pretend that they have solved all the problems that brought down previous empires, but we may rest assured that they have not actually done so."
"What interests me most about cell phones is how fast they are displacing PCs as the center of mediated life."
"Sun Microsystems on Monday said it has released OpenSolaris, an open source version of its Solaris operating system, and announced a deal with Amazon.com. The OpenSolaris project has been under development for more than three years. Sun hopes to popularize the operating system with developers, students and other traditional Linux users."
"Gerace doesn't explain how Google was trying to "change the rules" by asking Verizon to adhere to the rules. He also doesn't explain why Verizon waited until now to assure the public that the openness provision will be honored. But the firm says they will file something with the FCC on the issue soon."
"What should the U.S. do about the changing of the guard in Moscow? The short answer is nothing, or at least nothing much. The U.S. government has little or no ability to influence the political course in Russia, and discretion would suggest backing off and watching warily."
"So, just how long will the U.S. remain in Iraq? The answer appears to be 'indefinitely.' The declaration of principles signed by Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki in November, commits the U.S. to a 'long term relationship' with Iraq, including 'security assurances and commitments.' Iraqi officials foresee a continued presence of 50,000 U.S. troops (about one-third the U.S. Army’s current size) as a security guarantee."
"Although the UK doesn't suffer from a particularly high rate of crime, the usual culprits (ratings-hungry media and election-pandering politicians) repeatedly air concerns about rents in the social fabric of the nation, and centuries of libertarian tradition repeatedly fall under attack by those who believe that a 21st-century Panopticon is the only possible solution."
"After 60 years in power, Paraguay’s ruling Colorado Party was pushed aside April 20 by a charismatic former Catholic bishop promising economic and political reform and power to the people. The election of Fernando Lugo as Paraguay’s new president was hailed by an official of America’s left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research as a sign of the 'deep and irreversible . . . changes sweeping Latin America.' But 'change' doesn’t always mean change for the better. And only time will tell whether Mr. Lugo will pursue an independent new course that improves conditions in the poverty-stricken nation of 6.5 million, or follow other recent populist politicians who, in the name of change, have curbed individual liberties and strangled their economies."
"Politicians shovel billions of subsidy taxbucks at farmers who get rich selling corn to bio-refiners. ... The results are (a) the non-carbon emitting biofuel used in 'green' cars is zeroed out by the carbon-emitting process of deforestation, and (b) turning food into biofuel threatens millions with starvation worldwide."
"The Democrats ... who are supposed to be small-d democrats ideologically and are committed to egalitarianism in rhetoric if not in principle, have a frankly hierarchical delegate-selection process, with the 'supers' erected as a bulwark to prevent any kind of populist takeover by the grassroots. The whole process was conceived as a scheme to derail just such a candidate as Obama, and it looks like it just might work like a charm."
"The ends justify the means, especially if they can be sanctimoniously decorated with phrases like 'national security' or 'clean politics.' The bad guys persuade themselves that they're the good guys while they persecute the innocent."
"Hillary cannot possibly win in 2008. However, the economy is so weak, and will likely remain so weak that the next president could easily be a one term president. If Obama wins the presidency, Hillary has zero chance of winning the nomination in 2012. Obama will be the next Democratic nominee if he wins the presidency. It is as simple as that. On the other hand, if McCain wins the presidency, Hillary does have a chance of being the nominee in 2012. Beyond that she will be a washed up has been."
"If I do something that affects you, positively or negatively, without your consent or without my own ability to withhold a benefit unless you pay, then that is an externality."
"People who are exquisitely sensitive to distortions generated in markets by external political intervention enthusiastically endorse central control or overriding of ecological processes. For their part, many environmentalists who are well versed in ecological understanding are insensitive to the deep distortions arising from political intervention in the market. Sometimes they blame markets for what is really the result of political intervention. Sometimes they seek political intervention without appreciating how it is likely to backfire."
"The Japanese started it with candy wrappers you could eat. ... Now, food science chemists are on their way to making available a wrap for meats that can be eaten. ... The researchers employed natural anti-microbial agents derived from sources such as cloves, oregano, thyme and paprika to create novel biodegradable plastics that have the potential to block formation of bacterial biofilms on food surfaces and packaging."
"Apparently, the misunderstanding had to do with reverse-engineering, in which the inner workings of software or hardware are deduced from its behavior."
"Those who promote paper because there’s not enough gold and silver have it backwards, he contends. One of the reasons paper money is so dangerous is because it’s so easy to produce. During war, countries often resort to counterfeiting their enemies’ currency in an effort to destroy their economy. What should we make of this practice in peacetime, under the protection of our own government, as a means of promoting economic health? "
"Tax champions will promise to put the money to biofuels or infrastructure, but we know where it will really go: to boondoggles. Governments simply are not equipped to provide goods and services rationally, that is, cost-effectively and according to consumer demand, the way private markets are."
"If we had free world markets, food would be exported from some countries, such as the United States and Europe, where food is plentiful, to countries where it is needed. This is because it would be profitable to ship goods to needy areas like Africa, where shortages were making prices rise. The fact that this is not currently happening can be a result only of government price controls (which prevent prices from rising in needy countries), trade restrictions, or some other government barrier that prevents people from getting what they need."
"Predictably, the interests that benefit from the government monopoly—providers who charge Pemex above-market prices, employees who earn ever-rising salaries even as production declines, and politicians who routinely place their cronies on the payroll—are fighting to keep their privileges."
"The phrase 'Merchants of Death' takes center stage in the movie Iron Man, which is a spectacular exposé of a subject that dominates the American economic landscape but about which Americans have very little knowledge. The phrase and the movie deal with the odd juxtaposition of capitalism and war as found in the weapons industry."
"The last century-plus of U.S. foreign policy has largely been a story of aggression and empire-building. American presidents have intervened and interfered in every region of the world, not in self-defense, but in the name of U.S. 'national interest,' which in reality means the interest of well-connected corporations and their ambitious political agents who felt appointed by history to bring order to the world."
"Rev. Wright mentioned the attacking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic bombs at the end of World War II. (One might also add the conventional fire-bombings of German and Japanese cities.) The primary goal of these attacks was to purposefully attack the adversary’s civilian population in order to damage morale and motivate the enemy’s citizens to pressure their government to sue for peace. Proponents of such bombing will say that the enemy was nefarious, and in the case of Japan, dropping the atomic bombs obviated the need for a U.S. invasion, thus saving the lives of many U.S. military personnel. Nevertheless, by the analytical definition, these attacks were terrorist strikes that were questionable when the war had already been won, when the United States knew that the Japanese had made overtures to surrender, and when exchanging the lives of civilians to save military combatants was morally dubious."
"What do war, Congressmen, Senators, and the defense/offense industry have in common? The answer, if you haven’t already guessed is 'profits.' Conflict makes money for the military industrial complex, and the cronies they place in Congress, the Senate, and the White House."
"The Left is most attractive to Flynn—and to me—when it is most 'firmly rooted in American tradition.' He’s willing to sing a song for the dreamers, and in doing so he offers an entertaining survey of antebellum utopian settlements. ... The Oneidans turned their small fry over to a 'Children’s House,' where they were raised by well-meaning strangers, and while this strikes us as monstrous I am not sure how it really differs from the system of daycare that politicians and policymakers of all stripes laud and subsidize today."
"Beginning in 1910, Rockefeller money flowed into organizations such as the Race Betterment Foundation and the Eugenics Section of the American Breeders Association, which spearheaded the eugenics movement — the 'science' of 'improving heredity.' These organizations, also funded by the upstanding Carnegie, Harriman and Kellogg families, sponsored academics claiming that those at the top of the social ladder had proven their racial superiority, while those at the bottom were biologically incapable of success."
"Stephen remembers the Swiss scientist who discovered LSD."
"Sparks worked for 30 years at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey before taking over as director of Sandia in 1972. He served in the post until his retirement in 1981. Sandia and Bell labs officials said Sparks invented the first practical transistor, a semiconductor device that led to devices such as personal computers, cell phones and DVD players. "
"While the assassins of peace prowl the world, intent on stirring up violent passions, they don't have much opposition on the home front – except in the hearts and minds of the American people. Yet this heartfelt revulsion against the horrors of the past eight years finds no clear, unstinting voice, no consistent champion among the contenders for leadership in either party."
"Americans were less naive about dishonest politicians in the first century after this nation’s founding. But that still did not deter presidents from conjuring up wars. Presidential deceits on foreign policy have filled cemeteries across the land."
"The Bush administration has vehemently and publicly denied what the empirical data point to, by blaming anti-U.S. terrorist attacks on hatred of American freedoms. Polls taken in Islamic countries counter this viewpoint. The American people, as if supporting their local sports team against a rival, would prefer to buy into this administration’s Tarzan-like foreign policy ('America good; others bad'). Instead, we should be engaging in the more difficult, soul-searching task of discovering the root causes of anti-U.S. terrorism."
"Eighteen American war veterans kill themselves every day. One thousand former soldiers receiving care from the Department of Veterans Affairs attempt suicide every month. More veterans are committing suicide than are dying in combat overseas. These are statistics that most Americans don't know, because the Bush administration has refused to tell them. Since the start of the Iraq War, the government has tried to present it as a war without casualties."
"The science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon famously observed that '90 percent of everything is crap.' ... [Some p]eople ... are (understandably) nervous about how the Internet is eroding the traditional gatekeeping function of the culture's elite institutions. And of course much of what the Internet offers as a substitute for traditional journalism is worse than worthless. But, as Sturgeon's Law reminds us, that's beside the point."
"The gradual disappearance of conventional liquid oil may, for a time, be offset by the development of synthetic fuels derived from 'nonconventional' petroleum substances—Canadian tar sands, Venezuelan extra-heavy crude, Rocky Mountain oil shale—but the financial and environmental costs of using these materials are huge, and they are unlikely to rescue us, even briefly, from a dramatic and painful contraction in primary energy supplies."
"I picture it happening this way. The Roman alphabet is on the run, pursued by a much larger army of Arabic characters with long scimitar-like ligatures, Chinese characters that look like throwing stars, and European peasant letters bristling with umlauts, cedillas, and tildes."
"The RIAA believes in 'intellectual property,' which is a fancy way of saying: they believe that they get to own property, and you have to rent it. The bits on your hard-drive belong to them, and that means you have to install DRM that lets them control your PC so that you don't do bad things with their bits."
"[Y]ou need only visit YouTube, Crooks and Liars, or any video-heavy blog to see that the Web already welcomes such efforts to recycle what used to be perishable content, that this enriches our ability to discuss the issues of the day, and that people across the political spectrum engage in this behavior without pause. If the law thinks they're wrong, then our norms may know something that our laws do not."
"[S]earching for 'morality' in entertainment is like searching for honesty in politics: you won't find it. Yes, there are exceptions, but they 'prove the rule' in that they are notable only as exceptions, not as the start of a new trend."
"[W]e have picked out five more sci-fi films that go against the grain, and contain some accurate, plausible science. They may not be completely realistic, but they get it right when it matters most."
" I don’t think anyone who sees this movie will walk away without rethinking their relation to racism, stereotypes, and prejudices of all variety. It is a scathing cultural critique operating in the guise of stoner comedy, and I think ultimately Harold and Kumar will have more wide-scale political impact than all the Michael Moore movies combined."
"John McCain claims that if elected he would save taxpayers millions by eliminating the Secret Service and defending himself instead."
"Stephen announces a bold new initiative: Stephen Colbert's Total Gas Holiday."
"Sources close to the former president said that Mr. Clinton had been mulling such a defection for weeks, as early as the night of the Iowa primary, but that he only decided to make his decision public today. 'The American people want change,' Mr. Clinton said at a press conference in New York. 'Lord knows I do'."
"[A]s a guy who once traded options as a living, options expiring worthless means just what it seems; it's all irretrievably gone, like my youth, my optimism, my looks, my hair, the respect and love of my family, my knees, my teeth, my hearing, several internal organs and most of my money. In short, all the money is gone...."
"I think the big question around open source is how do you make money from it? And it's because the software industry has traditionally been built on an intellectual property licensing model. But the reality of the situation is with the rise of open-source software, developers don't buy things anymore. [It is] a world where you can go to the Web and download just about anything you could possibly need to put an application into production. So you don't monetize at the point of acquisition of software any longer, you have to monetize at a different place. So it's not to say that there is not money to be made in software, it's just made at a different place...."
"What was amazing about the last 20 years was that the dollar-based monetary system worked as well as it did. You would have thought - and we did think - that once the link with gold was severed in 1971, there would be no stopping inflation. Instead, inflation went down…to levels that hadn't been seen since Eisenhower. Why?"
"People often take it for granted that the 'cash nexus' is incompatible with clean living. We gain a clearer understanding of this issue by seeing that money and finance are merely instrumental institutions that serve the cause of human cooperation and human betterment."
"The redistribution of wealth engineered by credit and equity derivatives is voluntary, for it is the result of every 'player' freely taking the risk he runs to earn some expected reward. Public opinion, the media and the authorities condemn this voluntary redistribution with horrified indignation. Involuntary redistribution by taxation, on the other hand, earns overt or at least tacit approval."
"I am curious as to what 'lowering assumptions' means to these S&P people, as I have recently been told by my family that they have 'lowered' their assumptions again, too, and that they now collectively assume that I have hit bottom…"
"There's growing awareness of the problems associated with corn-based ethanol, which research shows does not significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline. The high demand for ethanol, driven by government mandates, is also being blamed as one reason for higher food prices. Cellulosic ethanol from wood chips, grasses, or agriculture waste is considered a better alternative than corn, but production has not yet been done on a commercial scale."
"Here is the answer to the Gird Your Loins video...."
"Microsoft's open-source charade is not about customers. It's about regulators. Until Microsoft can convince U.S. and European regulators that its market power is not as bad as it once was, the company will need to hide behind expressions of openness."
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