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Friday, November 28, 2008

"To the victor go the appointees?"


The Post points out the G.W. Bush, like Bill Clinton before him and other outgoing presidents prior to that, has converted political appointee jobs into civil service jobs on their way out the door.

The difference is that appointees serve at the pleasure of the President, while civil servants are protected from being fired for political reasons.

This is just another example of why government power should always be curtailed, and never expanded. Power is abused by politicians.

The government is not comprised of altruistic individuals. Unfortunately, and despite examples throughout all recorded history, believers in government somehow think that politicians and bureaucrats only act in the best interest of society.

The fallacy is tragic.

"Lessons for the GOP to learn"


Hardaway is a law professor at Denver University. And he completely misses the point.

He states that Republicans should not "assume that independent voters will vote for the candidate who best upholds such traditional values as fiscal responsibility .... and limited government."

That might have some truth if the Republicans had nominated someone that stood for fiscal responsibility and limited government. They did not.

John McCain is a big-government Keynesian. When the Republicans nominate someone that thinks the government should regulate free speech (The McCain-Feingold Act), that gives tribute to Al Gore's Cult of Global Warming and thinks that taxpayers should bail out failed private business, they become irrelevant.

The Democrats have these things covered. The Republicans are not going to win by trying to be "Democrat-lite."

That is the single most important lesson the GOP needs to learn.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

"Americans can still be thankful"


The Post offers bad economic advice and simplistic platitudes this Thanksgiving. To wit:

"...Americans have a can-do spirit and work-together heritage..." Here we have a meaningless platitude offered up as sage encouragement.

"
...now doesn't seem at all the time for Congress to take a vacation. This is [an economic] crisis that demands an all-hands-on-deck, no-time-to- waste work ethic." Wrong. The more Congress does, the worse the economy gets. One does not need to be a laissez-faire capitalist to understand that if you keep stirring the souffle, it will only make a mess. At some point, you just have to leave it be and let it bake.

"Lincoln found solace in our nation's promise even during our darkest hours." Here we have a platitude mixed with a horrific comparison of the Civil War to our current government-induced economic downtown.

"We should remember that example on this Thanksgiving Day and put our best, bipartisan effort to work for our future." And yet another meaningless platitude.

Too many of confuse useless words like "put our best, bipartisan effort to work for our future" with meaningful advice. It takes effort to stake out a position and explain why it is best for our future. The Post merely hopes we can all come together and figure something out. How about a suggestion?

Either say that Congress needs to let failed private businesses go bankrupt or that Congress needs to forcibly take money earned by taxpayers to prop up failed businesses because it will benefit the collective.

I obviously think the second solution is horribly wrong, but I have more respect for thost that advocate it in good faith than I do for those sitting on their hands hoping someone else will save us all.

For clamshells, that's a wrap

The Post demonstrates that it can take a stand when it is so inclined. In its second editorial of the day, the Post declares emphatically:

We're talking about the ubiquitous plastic "clamshell" packaging that can turn a pleasant gift exchange into an exercise in "wrap rage."

As we hurtle toward Black Friday, the day shoppers are supposed to be out in force snapping up post-Thanksgiving Day deals, several major retailers and manufacturers have announced that they're creating alternatives to those packages that are maddeningly difficult to open.

Hallelujah.

Hallelujah in deed. The Post took a firm stand - it is against hard to open packages.

Monday, November 24, 2008

"Breathe easier over mercury"


The Post lauds Colorado's Air Quality Control Commission's new rules calling for an 80% reduction in mercury coming from smokestacks by 2014 and 90% by 2019.

So, after the reduction, how much mercury will be allowed to come out of smokestacks?

They have no idea. 

According to the Post, no one does. The first step is to determine "accurate measures of mercury emissions." 

In other words, they do not know how much mercury is out there, but they are damn sure it is too much.

The Post affirms its philosophy that no regulation is bad. What will that regulation do? Don't know. Don't care. Regulations are good. Corporations are bad.

Mercury may well need to be reduced. These new regulations, however, do not even ask that question. They mandate private action without even asking if it is necessary.

The knee-jerk environmentalist will no doubt argue that all mercury is bad and should be eliminated, no matter how finite its risks may be at infinitesimal levels. Apply that argument to all dangerous substances and see where it leads.

Too many of us wish we could. Too many of us are working toward that goal.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rep. Joe Knollenberg Supports Bailout of the Auto Industry

More evidence the Republican Party is a sad joke. 

Knollenberg, a Republican, says that taxes "are not your money" at about the 3:00 mark. My God, what arrogance.

He is nothing more than a looter, wishing to forcibly take peoples' earned money, then giving it to his cronies in Michigan. We, the American people, get exactly what we ask for. And he is it.

When you vote Republican because "it's not as bad as voting for a Democrat," this is the pathetic result.

"Judicious use of power to pardon"


I love this kind of editorial. It is completely pointless. 

Regarding end of term pardons, the Post calls for George W. Bush to "use the power judiciously."

The Post does not recommend any particluar pardons, nor does it warn against any particular pardons. It only pleads "do the right thing, Mr. President."

Since the opposition to this editorial is for the W to use the power injudiciously or for him not to do the right thing, there will probably not be any opposition.

Next week, the Post will come out in favor of kittens, sunshine and friendliness.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Dead deserve their due"


The Rocky says displays of cadavers is a bad idea and disrespectful to the dead, when the bodies were not donated to science by the person while living and not yet a cadaver.

Apparently there is such a display of non-voluntary plastinated corpses at Colorado Mils Mall right now.

I can't see that helping sales at the food court.

"Forget Cabinet of rivals; this is a Clinton revival"


At first, it seems the Post is lamenting Obama's collection of Clinton cronies in his cabinet:

He promised to bring change to Washington, but so far, Barack Obama's early administration lineup looks like a Clinton White House class reunion.

But, no! The Post says this a good thing!

By surrounding himself with Beltway veterans who know the ins and outs of Washington, it should be easier for Obama to push through his agenda.

So, paradoxically, the best way to effectuate change is by doing things the same way.


"If you can, help those in need"


The Post calls for donations so private charity can assist "those in need."

I thought the government was supposed to do that. Once Obama takes over, will not the government "spread the wealth around a little bit" so the needy get their fair share?

Private charity is an old school idea. What is the point of charity when the government is supposed to take care of us? Money given to charity would be better spent by the government.

If people have money to donate to private charity, tax rates are not high enough.

Right?

"Be apart of Christmas"


The best thing about this column is the clever headline. (Get it? Be "apart" of Christmas, not "a part" of Christmas?)

This is just one of thousands of articles that will decry the commercialization of the holiday.

"Keystone Kops, but not funny"


The Post laments the Denver Police Department's accidental sale at auction of a car filled with evidence in a murder case.

The purchaser of the car understandably threw away the bloody bandanas and other evidence she assumed was trash.

This is just another example of the ineptitude of government, yet somehow some people want to give the government more authority over our lives.

BlueCarp categorically states that increasing government power is always a bad idea. Always.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wait, is this how the quote goes?

"Give me absolute safety & security and a government that looks after me, or give me death!"
-Patrick Henry

(Props to Israel Anderson, my Facebook friend from Boulder, for coming up with this).

Denver tax money at work ... for painted sand bags?

Denver spent $50,000 on a pile of sand bags painted red. It is called "art."

Check it out here.

That money would have been better spent if it had been converted to $1 bills and burned to provide heat for panhandlers on 16th Street Mall.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More dialogue with Mount Virtus

Ben Degrow, over at Mt. Virtus, responded to my note (previously published on his blog and copied here): Here is what he said most recently:

I don’t see drug legalization as an issue that’s going to build a governing coalition - that’s one of those “agree to disagree” issues.

“Prohibition on gambling”? I’m not aware of any movement to outlaw Vegas, Atlantic City, etc. This is not some make-or-break issue for the “religious right”.

“Condemnation of consenting adults’ private sexual behavior” - Do you have a problem with this as long as it doesn’t resort to the tools of government?

Government-funded “faith based initiatives” were & are a bad idea, and believe it or not - the non-monolithic “religious right” does not have any sort of principled devotion to this idea.

I admire your devotion to libertarian principles, but many of the issues you raised are red herrings. For example, questioning and speaking against the morality of homosexual behavior is not the same as using government to outlaw it. And I don’t know any serious person who advocates the latter.

The case for limited government won’t be won by equating the church and religious community’s powerful pulpit for free moral suasion with government prohibitions. If abandoning the latter entails abandoning the former, what you have is the Libertarian party that won 0.4% in the recent election.

My response to his response:
Quick followup:  
Above all, Ben, I love you.
Having said that: Drugs - no, the issue is not one that is "going to build a governing coalition." That is not my concern. My concern is freedom and smaller government (they are largely the same thing). Joining a coalition that is opposed to freedom and smaller government is complicity in statism. 
Gambling - yes, there are a places that allow gambling. They are in the minority, and the moral police have succeeded in preventing people from making their own choices throughout most of the country, including the ban on internet poker. That is an illegitimate use of government force, imposed by those in favor of state power over individual freedom.  
Banning gay marriage is far more than questioning the morality of homosexuality. Banning homosexuals from adopting children is far more than the use of a bully pulpit. Both use the force of government to enforce a moral code. As a libertarian, I see no role for the government in marriage between heterosexuals, either, but if the government is going to mandate marriage licenses, discriminating on who gets them is an illegitimate use of power. Marriage is between two people and their god. Where does the state come in? What role does it play? Does the state make a sacred commitment between two people more sacred? I think not. Once God has blessed a union, is the state's blessing needed? Marriage licenses, and thereby state involvement in a private, religious ceremony, came about so the state could keep the races from mixing. The state has no legitimate interest in the recognition of marriage.  
I'm a Southern Baptist, and grew up going to Sunday School, church, and Wednesday night fellowship. In my religious education, I have not been made aware of a single instance when Jesus advocated the use of government power to enforce morals. Jesus spread morality via example, teaching and love. Jesus did not spread morality via force. Indeed, spreading morality via force is an absurd notion, yet one that groups like Focus on the Family insist on pushing.

CityPub South

Restaurant: CityPub
Address: 3575 South Yosemite
Denver, CO 80237
Type: Bar & Grill
Date: November 12, 2008
Meal: Dinner
Server: Tiffany
Entree: Nachos with beef (10.45) & Coors Light Draft ($3.00)
Cost: $13.45

I am partial to the CityPub. It is my neighborhood joint.

I usually get the hot Buffalo "City Wings," but went with the Nachos this time. The first half of the plate was good, with crunchy chips and some discernible difference among the toppings.

By the time you hit the homestretch of the plate, you are left with a big mess.

Other than the numerous jalapeno slices, the plate is rather bland. 

I will stick with the hot wings from now on. They are always hot, good-sized, and not too wet. CityPub also offers a blueberry habanero sauce on the wings. I tried it once, because a server was pushing it. I won't try the blueberry habanero again. It was way too sweet for my taste.

I like traditional Buffalo wings with blue cheese. Any other sauce - blueberry habanero, barbecue, teriyaki, mango, honey - does not belong on a chicken wing.

To any serious wing aficionado, it should go without saying that wings are not breaded. Ever. 

CityPub gets that right, of course, or it would not be my neighborhood joint. i would be forced to move to a better neighborhood.

As for the beer, it is served just cold enough in a pint glass. The way I like it.

CityPub's original location is downtown, near the capitol building, at 321 East Colfax. It goes by CityGrille at that location, but it is the same place.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Oil and water? Or Nestle's Quik and milk?

My friend and PPC colleague, Ben Degrow, has a good post on the future of the Republican Party at his blog, Mt. Virtus. He says

[t]o make [The Republican Party] work would require the more doctrinaire elements of both the libertarian and social conservative wings of the party to give a little, but I believe it’s the kind of approach necessary to build a principled and winning coalition around life, liberty, and limited government.

I posted the following comment to that entry:

Where does the drug war, prohibition on gambling, condemnation of consenting adults' private sexual behavior and government funded "faith based initiatives" fall in the "less government, more liberty" rubric? I see a fundamental conflict between freedom and the religious right. Barry Goldwater said, "If they succeed in establishing religion as a basic Republican Party tenet," he told U.S. News & World Report in 1994, "they could do us in." Goldwater, as usual, was right.

It is an interesting debate. I just do not see any room for compromise between liberty and government enforced religious policies. The two do not mix.

And I guess that is why I am member of a third party without much (some might so "any") political clout.

Really? I mean really?

Yahoo News reports on John McCain's recent Georgia speech on behalf of Republican senatorial candidate Saxby Chambbliss, who faces a runoff.

I love this part:

McCain told the crowd that Chambliss, a first-term senator, “is doing what we Republicans should have done for eight years and that’s restrain spending.” And in a commentary on hisElection Day loss, the Arizona senator added, “We let spending get out of control and it cost us a lot of our conservative base.”

That this is not blatantly obvious to the Republicans demonstrates their irrelevance. Too bad there is no opposition party in congress that actually believes in small government

Just Can't Quit: How Far Will Smoking Bans Go?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Brewery Bar IV

Restaurant: Brewery Bar IV
Address: 6482 S Parker Rd
Aurora, CO 80016
Type: Casual Mexican, Sports Bar
Date: November 4, 2008
Meal: Lunch
Server: Chanelle
Entree: Shredded beef burrito, smothered in the half and half pork green chili.
Cost: $6.95


I have heard the radio advertisements for the Brewery Bar franchise, so when I found myself driving by one near lunchtime, I stopped and checked it out.

I visited Brewery Bar IV, the fourth in the series. (Hence the Roman numeral designation.)

The layout is airy, with television screens covering every potential field of vision.

Like every Mexican restaurant in the United States, I was promptly given a bowl of chips and salsa upon being seated.

The salsa was fresh and just spicy enough for my taste. The chips were room temperature, but crunchy.

I ordered the shredded beef burrito. When I requested the "hot" pork green chili to go with it, my server, Chanelle, warned me that I had better try the "half and half" sauce before I committed to the "hot." I followed her advice, and it was about the right heat. I will try the "hot" next time.

The $6.95 burrito was good, but nothing special. I would be hard pressed to distinguish any restaurant's burrito from another.

Then again, I ordered a burrito smothered in green chili, not poached salmon.

If I find myself near one of the three Brewery Bar locations (the original no longer exists), and I'm hungry, I would go again.

I imagine that the place is packed for sporting events on television, and one of the main draws of the place seems to be its array of drinks. I did not have a drink this time, but I look forward to testing the Brewery Bar's margaritas.

despite its name, the BB IV is not a brewery.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Barack Obama, Change We Can Believe In?

This is embarrassing, but let's not pretend someone could not make a similar video featuring McCain supporters.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

How Bizarre is Our Drug Czar? Unicorns!

From the Marijuana Policy Project. The War on Drugs is absurd.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The United States is officially an Obamanation before God

Hey, Republicans, promote small government or continue to get your collective ass kicked into well-deserved irrelevance.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Bob Barr Asks for Your Vote

Francisco d'Anconia and moral law

From Atlas Shrugged, 35th Anniversary edition, page 410:

"Senor d'Anconia, what do you think is going to happen to the world?"
"Just exactly what it deserves."
"Oh, how cruel!"
"Don't you believe in the operation of the moral law, madame?" Francisco asked gravely. "I do."

If we accept mediocrity, we get it. If we work for something we know is wrong, because it's not as bad as something else, we end up with something we know is wrong. 

And we call it a victory.

George Orwell would find that amusing.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Navigation

The sailor knows he will never reach the North Star, but he knows he must still sail toward it.

Where's my bailout?

Random notes on "wasted" votes.

"Upholding your principles is never throwing your vote away. I don't care if you are the only vote for a candidate, when you vote for your pinciples you are not throwing your vote away. And the implication that you are is offensive." Neal Boortz (Not that I'm a particularly big Boortz fan, but he is correct here).

Giving your vote to someone out of some misguided sense of loyalty is a wasted vote.

If winning is the only thing that matters, everybody voting for McCain is wasting their vote.

A vote for someone that does not represent your principles is a wasted vote.

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." John Quincy Adams

The implication that the Republican Party (or any other party) OWNS my vote and if I don't give it to them is offensive. Every vote must be earned. Giving a vote to someone who has not earned it is a wasted vote.

If you accept two poor choices, you will keep getting two poor choices. If McCain wins, the Republicans will continue down the big government bailout trail, and everyone that voted for him is an accomplice.

That's worse than a wasted vote. That's complicity.

Denver Broncos defense: The Orange Slush

The Broncos are 29th out of 32 in total defense.

(Feel free to use "Orange Slush," just credit BlueCarp and send a nickel every time you use it.)

Denver Post - Colorado Voices


According to the Post, "Ryan Brown grew up in Colorado and is a sophomore at Duke University in Durham, N.C., where she is a features writer for the student newspaper and co-editor of the undergraduate literary magazine."

Ms. Brown's column concerns how the government has failed to help people in New Orleans, three years after Katrina.

Ms. Brown "had never seen anything like it — an entire American city submerged. I didn't know people could die in droves in a natural disaster in this country in the 21st century."

Welcome to reality, Ms. Brown. Mankind has not yet triumphed over hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and mudslides. Nature is heartless. Rabbit babies get eaten by wolves. (Although I imagine the groundskeepers at Duke do a good job of keeping that from happening inside the gothic stone walls of the University.)

Denver Post's Endorsements

The Post wraps up all of its endorsements in today's paper.

Its reasons for supporting Obama include the belief that "Barack Obama is better equipped to lead America back to a prosperous future."

This is baffling.

When has a government controlled economy ever led to prosperity?

When has an increase in government control over an economy led to an increase in prosperity?

I'm serious, someone help me out here.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Atlas Shrugged and John McCain

If one agrees with Ayn Rand's description of politics and government in Atlas Shrugged, one can only conclude that John McCain is, in her terms, a looter.

McCain favors the confiscation of money via taxes to prop up failed private business. He is in favor of rewarding bad business decisions by paying those that made the decisions $700 billion.

For the sake of argument, let's say McCain isn't as much of a looter as Barack Obama, and therefore warrants our support.

Henry Rearden, one of the heroes of Atlas Shrugged, had a pertinent thought on the subject:
Degrees do not matter, he thought; one does not bargain about inches of evil.
- Atlas Shrugged, 35th Anniversary edition, page 303.

Q & A: The Constitution Party, religion and politics

In response to this post, I was asked why I didn't vote for Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin, instead of Bob Barr.

I responded in the comment section of that post, but my vanity precludes me from leaving it there where someone might - mon dieu! - not get to see it. I repost it here, with some additional commentary.

Here ya go:

My feelings about the Constitution Party are addressed in this earlier BlueCarp post, where I outline the CP's belief that the New Testament should play a major role in the government. I do not share that belief.

As a Goldwater fan (note: the poster's handle is "goldwater_ conservative"), I think you would appreciate a distaste for the mix of religion and politics. Goldwater said "I don't have any respect for the Religious Right. There is no place in this country for practicing religion in politics. That goes for Falwell, Robertson and all the rest of these political preachers. They are a detriment to the country."

You can find more of his thoughts on religion and politics right here. I agree with Barry.

In sum, I think the Constitution Party, if it where in power, would implement a theocracy, thereby destroying individual rights and growing government in an attempt to enforce the New Testament. To me, they are as dangerous as any other pro-state party, just in a different way.

I grew up going to Sunday School in the Southern Baptist Church. I have been taught, and believe, that religion is about love and faith.

The government's only tool is force. The government can force people to behave in certain ways or put them in jail, yet force is a tool incapable of producing faith.

Government can use force to put you on your knees, but it can not make you pray once you get there.

No government can make anyone love or have faith. It is a futile exercise.

You can not beat love into someone's heart. You can not create faith by force.

That's why I voted for Bob Barr and not Chuck Baldwin.