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May 22nd, 2010 | Author:

When I was in the eighth grade, our English class spent several weeks studying Greek and Roman mythology. At the end of the project, we each had to create a myth of our own.  As a self-proclaimed “creative writer”, I was delighted with the assignment.  I spent several days considering options, and finally settled on a story about a family of giants who used to live in New York State.   The details have been erased from my memory, and I destroyed the paper soon after writing it – for reasons that will become apparent – but the highlights involve the death of the giant baby, the parents dying from grief, and the fall of their bodies creating what we now call the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers.  The water feeding these rivers came from the parents’ tears.  I spent a lot of time on this assignment, and I was proud of the final product as I turned it in.

When the teacher returned our graded papers, I was stunned – not only because she had given me an “F”, which would have been enough shock for an “A” student who loved English, but because of the note she had written on it.  She said that the previous year a student had submitted a myth very similar to mine – therefore I must have cheated and she graded me accordingly.  No questions.  No benefit of the doubt for previous work.  No investigation.  Just her summary dismissal.

I remember how devastated I was by the false accusation.  The humiliation.  The sense of betrayal.  The lack of opportunity to defend myself.  The injustice.

My feelings from this small event  – that changed my attitude toward this teacher, but not my whole life – all came rushing back today, forty-plus years later, as I watched the following video.

It’s from a celebration, of sorts, for nineteen people who spent years in prison for crimes they did not commit, but through The Innocence Project and DNA testing, have finally been exonerated.

As you watch it, I hope you’ll feel compassion for these individuals whose lives were derailed.  And I hope you’ll understand that, in many cases, innocent people are tried and convicted with false or flimsy evidence simply because we clamor to put someone – anyone – in jail when a heinous crime is committed.

We are all responsible.

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March 24th, 2010 | Author:

Here are a couple snippets from an excellent article by Thomas L. Knapp:

A woman comes upon a snake in some kind of trouble (frozen, injured or being attacked). She rescues the snake, takes it home, and nurses it back to health. It becomes a trusted friend and pet. Then one day, she decides to go to town and picks up the snake to take it with her … and it bites her. As she dies, she asks the snake why. “Lady,” the snake says, “you knew I was a snake when you picked me up.”

Every new government outrage against all that is right and good elicits reactions of astonishment and outrage — and every time I hear those reactions, I think of The Fable of the Snake.

Folks, the guys I’m quoting here are the naive, feel-good, utopian, hippy dippy doo optimists of political history. If you want to a more level-headed, accurate assessment of the ends to which government means inevitably lead, read any well-written history of the Third Reich’s Holocaust, Pol Pot’s Killing Fields or Mao’s Great Leap Forward.

It’s time to stop kidding yourself.

It’s time to stop buying the “this time, it will be different — really!” line.

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March 23rd, 2010 | Author:

According to this piece from LibertarianChristians.com, the system to take care of your car is better than the one that takes care of your body.

1. Prices – The most obvious difference is price.  Gas Stations have big signs advertising their prices so that you as a consumer can decide how much you are willing to pay without even slowing down along the highway.  There are federal regulations that prohibit hospitals from advertising and competing based on prices.

2. Upfront Estimates – When you need a mechanic to replace your head gasket, he will give you an upfront estimate of the price.  He will often give you a list of less expensive alternatives if they are available.  When you ask a surgeon to replace your heart, there are federal regulations and AMA rules that prevent the distribution of price estimates.

3. Competition – If someone wants to build a Gas Station across the street from a competing Gas Station, its quite alright.  If someone wants to build a hospital, they have to prove to the Federal Trade Commission that the hospital won’t lower prices in the community or cause undue competition.

4. Monopoly – In the early 20th century, the federal government broke up a monopoly on oil and gasoline distribution. [Not quite. The government actually paved the way for the current near-oligopoly through legislation and regulation. See comments below and Thomas DiLorenzo for more information.] In the mid-20th century, they created a monopoly on hospitals and doctors because the American Medical Association said there were too many doctors, too much competition, and doctor’s couldn’t earn enough money.

5. Do It Yourself – When you go to the Gas Station, you can pay someone to fix your car and fill up your tank, or you can buy what you need to do it yourself.  At a hospital or pharmacy, you can’t make any decisions on what medications you can take, dosage levels, or treatments.  You must have the “official” opinion of a state regulated doctor.

6. Choice – When shopping for mechanics, you can decide to hire your handy neighbor, or find someone with all the latest training and certifications.  When shopping for doctors, your only choice is regulated by the state.

7. Purchasing Power – When you buy gasoline, you are paying for the gasoline you actually purchase (and a little extra for the small amount of theft).  When you buy healthcare, your price includes a large government imposed subsidy for those who can’t afford it, thus making healthcare less affordable to more and more people each year.

So in the infinite wisdom of the crooks in Washington, Obamacare is adding more regulation – 111 new bureaucracies and estimates of 50,000 + new federal “jobs” – and they tell us prices will come down?

They really do think we’re all idiots.


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March 12th, 2010 | Author:

Jim Wetzel at The Chestnut Tree Cafe has a new post up documenting the chilling details about how to waterboard someone.  In case you think that’s ancient history, here’s a little tidbit about McCain’s new bill S3081 that makes certain most anyone can be waterboarded. (The full text of the bill is here.)

The “Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010,” introduced by Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman on Thursday with little fanfare, “sets out a comprehensive policy for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected enemy belligerents who are believed to have engaged in hostilities against the United States by requiring these individuals to be held in military custody, interrogated for their intelligence value and not provided with a Miranda warning,”

The bill does not distinguish between U.S. citizens and non-citizens, and states that “suspected belligerents” who are “considered a “high-value detainee” shall not be provided with a Miranda warning.”

A person is considered a “high value detainee” if they fulfill one of the following criteria.

(1) poses a threat of an attack on civilians or civilian facilities within the U.S. or U.S. facilities abroad; (2) poses a threat to U.S. military personnel or U.S. military facilities; (3) potential intelligence value; (4) is a member of al Qaeda or a terrorist group affiliated with al Qaeda or (5) such other matters as the President considers appropriate.

Now that the Southern Poverty Law Center and the federal government, via the MIAC report and innumerable other leaked documents, now consider virtually anyone with a dissenting opinion against the state as “posing a threat,” millions of peaceful American citizens could be swept up by this frightening dragnet of tyranny.

However, according to the bill, an individual doesn’t even have to pose a threat to be snatched, detained and interrogated – they can merely be deemed to be of “potential intelligence value” or come under the vague and sweeping mandate of “such other matters as the President considers appropriate”.

This last designation hands Obama dictator powers to have any American citizen kidnapped, detained, and interrogated on a whim.

I found all this on the same day I learned that Hillary and the US State Department released their 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.  As she slams virtually every other country in the world, Clinton had the audacity to say in her introduction that the US has recommitted “to continue the hard work of making human rights a human reality.”

Excuse me, I need to go vomit.

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March 06th, 2010 | Author:

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