Friday, April 28, 2006


A friend sent me this, and I'm somehwat curious. Do you think that things are as one-sided as this assumes?

Dear President Bush:

I'm about to plan a little trip with my family and extended family, and I would like to ask you to assist me. I'm going to walk across the border from the U.S. into Mexico, and I need to make a few arrangements. I know you can help with this.

I plan to skip all the legal stuff like visas, passports, immigration quotas and laws. I'm sure they handle those things the same way you do here.

So, would you mind telling your buddy, President Vicente Fox, that I'm on my way over?

Please let him know that I will be expecting the following:
  1. Free medical care for my entire family.
  2. English-speaking government bureaucrats for all services I might need, whether I use them or not.
  3. All government forms need to be printed in English.
  4. I want my kids to be taught by English-speaking teachers.
  5. Schools need to include classes on American culture and history.
  6. I want my kids to see the American flag flying on the top of the flag pole at their school with the Mexican flag flying lower down.
  7. Please plan to feed my kids at school for both breakfast and lunch.
  8. I will need a local Mexican driver's license so I can get easy access to government services.
  9. I do not plan to have any car insurance, and I won't make any effort to learn local traffic laws.
  10. In case one of the Mexican police officers does not get the memo from President Fox to leave me alone, please be sure that all police officers speak English.
  11. I plan to fly the U.S. flag from my house top, put flag decals on my car, and have a gigantic celebration on July 4th. I do not want any complaints or negative comments from the locals.
  12. I would also like to have a nice job without paying any taxes, and don't enforce any labor laws or tax laws.
  13. Please tell all the people in the country to be extremely nice and never say a critical word about me, or about the strain I might place on the economy.

I know this is an easy request because you already do all these things for all the people who come to the U.S. from Mexico. I am sure that President Fox won't mind returning the favor if you ask him nicely.

However, if he gives you any trouble, just invite him to go quail hunting with your V.P. Cheney.




Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Race is, increasingly, an obsolete concept, kept alive by the politically-correct and the haters. Most people, at least in the U.S., aren't of just one race these days. And much of what people consider race isn't; it's often cultural. Thus, 'Hispanic' isn't a race; there are black, white, Indian and all manner of mixes of those three who would be considered 'Hispanic'. Same goes for all European 'races'. After thousands of years of warfare, raiding and intermarriage, there are no (native) pure races in Europe anymore.

It's just not useful to talk about 'race' anymore.

Monday, April 24, 2006


I've just started reading the Koran (E.H. Palmer translation), and what is one of the first things I see, but:
IN the name of the merciful and compassionate God.

ALIF LAM MIM. That is the book! there is no doubt therein; a guide to the pious, who believe in the unseen, and are steadfast in prayer, and of what we have given them expend in alms; who believe in what is revealed to thee, and what was revealed before thee, and of the hereafter they are sure. These are in guidance from their Lord, and these are the prosperous. Verily, those who misbelieve, it is the same to them if ye warn them or if ye warn them not, they will not believe. God has set a seal upon their hearts and on their hearing; and on their eyes is dimness, and for them is grievous woe. And there are those among men who say, 'We believe in God and in the last day;' but they do not believe. They would deceive God and those who do believe; but they deceive only themselves and they do not perceive. In their hearts is a sickness, and God has made them still more sick, and for them is grievous woe because they lied. And when it is said to them, 'Do not evil in the earth,' they say, 'We do but what is right.' Are not they the evildoers? and yet they do not perceive. And when it is said to them, 'Believe as other men believe,' they say, 'Shall we believe as fools believe?' Are not they themselves the fools? and yet they do not know. And when they meet those who believe, they say, 'We do believe;' but when they go aside with their devils, they say, 'We are with you; we were but mocking!' God shall mock at them and let them go on in their rebellion, blindly wandering on.

Those who buy error for guidance, their traffic profits not, and they are not guided. Their likeness is as the likeness of one who kindles a fire; and when it lights up all around, God goes off with their light, and leaves them in darkness that they cannot see. Deafness, dumbness, blindness, and they shall not return! Or like a storm-cloud from the sky, wherein is darkness and thunder and lightning; they put their fingers in their ears at the thunder-clap, for fear of death, for God encompasses the misbelievers. The lightning well-nigh snatches off their sight, whenever it shines for them they walk therein; but when it is dark for them they halt; and if God willed He would go off with their hearing and their sight; verily, God is mighty over all. (emphasis added)

Isn't that (the whole thing, but particularly the bold part) the perfect description of all so-called Islamic terrorist groups? Whether al-Q'aeda or the Palestinian suicide bombers, they all do evil in the name of God. And their God condemns them for it.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


If we really want to do something about crime, we've first got to stop making it so profitable.

The quickest way to do that is to end the War on Drugs, which hasn't accomplished anything, except to make a lot of bad people very rich. Legalize and regulate drug sales, so they have to meet Truth-in-labeling laws. Take all the money we're wasting on drug law enforcement, and put it into treatment programs and drug education. Hire a small staff to review federal drug-related convictions, with the goal of eventually identifying about 10 a week for pardons.

Let the tobacco farmers grow industrial hemp instead of tobacco, and reduce their dependence on getting people hooked on nicotine.

A modest proposal to help win the war on drugs.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Campaign Finance Reform

Why should we keep making more and more complicated laws and regulations to try to control campaign financing? All we're really doing is creating a system that's incredibly difficult to oversee and enforce. Let's try something simpler.

Sure, there are parallels between campaign contributions and speech. But there are even stronger parallels between campaign contributions and voting. So why not put similar restrictions on them?

Let's only allow registered voters to make political campaign contributions, and only to those candidates for whom they are eligible to vote. E.g., you could contribute to candidates for your House seat, your two Senate seats, and President. IOW, candidates could only get contributions from their (potential) constituents.

We could allow PACs, but limit them to campaigning on issues, not parties or candidates. PACs could be sponsored by corporations, unions, or other organizations, but could only accept contributions from registered voters (might allow strictly limited donations from sponsor, say $50,000/year for the first 5 years, for seed money). PACs could not donate money to candidates, but could only produce educational materials, including advertisements, clearly labeled as to source.

We should establish a searchable database, accessible over the Web, of congressional votes, indexed by bill name, bill subject, bill title, member name, etc., to allow citizens an easier way to keep track of what their representatives are doing. [idea from Ralph Nader]

We should also establish a searchable database, accessible over the Web, of all Federal government contracts, grants, and other agreements [again from Nader]. Also add Federal Court decisions, and all laws and regulations.

Of course, it may be that the problems with campaign financing can only be solved by eliminating campaigns. Which can probably only be done by eliminating voting.

Maybe we should select those who serve in "elected" positions completely by random, from a pool of all registered voters. Could the results be any worse than they are now? What do you think?

Friday, April 14, 2006

I Hate Spam

I don't usually like to use the 'H' word, but spam is one of those things that actually deserves it. It's invasive, it wastes your time, it uses up bandwidth, most of it is part of a scam (of one sort or another). But what can be done about it (and similar things, such as malware)?

Well, my first take is that we need a Constitutional amendment, tentatively:
Information about a citizen belongs to that citizen, and, except for legitimate government uses, cannot be used by anyone other than that citizen without their permission.
Then pass laws that require such permission to be renewed on at least an annual basis, prohibit selling such information and make it illegal for any commercial enterprise to send any unsolicited email to an individual, other than an annual request for permission to send them specific email, explicitly described.

Also, pass legislation specifically enabling services such as Blue Frog, creating a defacto do-not-spam list, one that actually increases costs for non-compliant spammers, which is the only way most of them are going to pay any attention.

What about malware (adware, spyware, viruses, worms)? First, we need some standards about how complicated contracts (such as end-user license agreements) can be, so that it's far more difficult to hide unexpected things in them. That should also include standards about how complicated the law can be (there will be a future post about simplifying government. In the meantime, feel free to give me your ideas).

One idea is that any license agreement is null and void if any of the covered software has any hidden functionality that results in the user's loss of control over any of their personal information. Also, any install software should require a separate action from the user to agree to install any software that communicates outside the local computer, with a simple, but accurate and complete explanation of what is being communicated, and why. If the developer wants to require some such software to be installed for the rest of the software to be installed, that's fine, but his only option should be to get a specific agreement for the software in question or abort the entire installation and back out any changes.

There should be a set of industry standards for naming and documenting what each task on the computer is, so a user can look at Windows Task Manager, for example, and be able to tell what gcasDtServ.exe is, what it does, and if it's necessary for it to run all the time. That won't stop viruses and worms, but will make it easier to spot stuff that doesn't belong.

What do you think?