I had a busy weekend and didn’t get back into town until 22:00. By the time I unpacked and settled back in I was too tired to get any posts written. Too bad, so sad.
John Tierney, a politician from Massachusetts, is introducing a bill that would require all firearm to be equipped with technology that prevents them from being used by anybody besides its owner. What makes this case interesting isn’t the legislation but Mr. Tierney’s justification:
A House Democrat inspired by the last James Bond movie has offered legislation to produce handguns with “personalization technology.”
The idea is to produce guns that can only be used by the gun’s owners. Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) cited the latest James Bond movie, “Skyfall,” as inspiration for the bill.
Technology appearing in movies is now real? Awesome!
Seriously, my life is going to be so much better with a giant walking robot!
According to the Star Tribune the State of Minnesota lost 11,600 jobs last month but, somehow, unemployment went down:
Minnesota’s job market posted its second straight negative month, shedding 11,400 jobs in April, the state said Thursday.
The biggest job losses were in trade, transportation and utilities, which shed 5,700 jobs, according to figures released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 5.3 percent in April, its lowest point since May 2008 and well below the U.S. rate of 7.5 percent in April. The March figures were revised upward from 5,200 jobs lost to 3,300 jobs lost.
One may wonder how an economy could lose jobs and experience a drop in unemployment. Logic would dictate that unemployment would go up as the number of people without jobs also went up. What we’re seeing here is another example of the state cooking the books in order to make unemployment look better than it actually is. I’ve touched on how the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses what is called the U3 unemployment statistic in order to make unemployment look better than it actually is. Another trick often used by statist statisticians, such as the ones employed by the State of Minnesota, is seasonal adjustments.
Seasonal adjustments, as the name implies, involves removing drops in unemployment caused by seasonal changes from the official statistic. The theory goes something like this:
- During certain seasons there is a spike in employment during the rush to hire needed seasonal help. Christmas, for example, generally involves a spike in employment as stores try to have enough staff to deal with the Christmas season rush.
- After these seasons conclude stores, who no longer need the additional help, can the seasonal employees.
- Since this is seasonal it can be safely ignored when creating unemployment statistics because those employees aren’t actually unemployed, they’re, err, um, look over there!
In other words if your unemployment statistic is looking bad you merely have to write off a large section of unemployed people as a seasonal phenomenon and your unemployment statistic will suddenly look better! Further adding precedence to this scam is the fact that there are multiple seasonal adjustment calculations to choose from! If one of the calculations isn’t giving you the statistic you want you can simply use a different one. Eventually you’ll find a calculation that will give you the statistic you desire.
War is peace, freedom is slavery, and unemployment is employment.
Remember when the Minnesota legislature and Mark Dayton said Minnesota’s tax victims wouldn’t be on the hook to pay for the new Vikings Stadium because proceeds from electronic pull tabs would cover the costs? As it turns out gambling revenues weren’t as high as the estimates had people believing so Minnesotans are going to be paying the bill:
Gov. Mark Dayton wants to rely on new revenues from cigarette and corporate income tax to help pay the state’s share of a new Vikings stadium.
Myron Frans, commissioner of revenue, explained Dayton’s plan to the Tax Conference Committee Thursday.
It would include two funding sources: approximately $24.5 million in one-time revenues from tax on the current cigarette inventory once the tax is increased. Dayton is proposing an increase from the current tax of $1.23 per pack to $2.52 per pack.
It’ll state with cigarette and corporate income tax but I guarantee that the state will be pilfering from everybody in a short while. Meanwhile Zigy Wilf, the owner of the Vikings, will continue enjoying his life as a billionaire thanks, in part, to the fact we’re all paying for his Colosseum.
I always thought the point of bread and circuses was to distract the serfs from their miserable existence not remind them of it.
Last night we had our first United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) match at the Oakdale Gun Club. Due to the ammunition crisis I’ve been sitting on my stockpile in anticipation for USPSA, which means I haven’t shot for months (I did shoot a little last week but I was mostly at the range to help my girlfriend sight in here new AR-15). Surprisingly I didn’t suck as much as I thought I was going to. Although I did hit one no-shoot I’m fairly certain he was a Klan member or a Nazi so I think it was OK.
I also lacked the time to get a bunch of blog posts up for today so you’re not going to get much. If this bothers you feel free to incentive me to write more by paying me money.
The more power the state obtains the lower the quality of life for the general populace is. Power production is one of the most heavily regulated markets. Although the state claims it must regulate power production in order to reduce pollution its interests in the market involves protecting its cronies from competition. Consider the Clean Air Act, which we’re told was passed to ensure better air quality. In actuality it was designed in such a way as to drum up business for expensive sulfur dioxide scrubbers and protect eastern coal producers. From Political Environmentalism by Terry L. Anderson:
Under the 1970 Clean Air Act, the EPA had established a policy whereby all coal plants were required to meet a set emission standard for sulfur dioxide. The original standard of 1.2 pounds of sulfur dioxide (SO,) per million British thermal units (BTUs) of coal could be met in a variety of ways.
Despite its apparent flexibility, this regulation had disparate regional effects. Most of the coal in the eastern United States is relatively “dirty” due to its high sulfur content. Western coal, on the other hand, is far cleaner. Using western coal enabled utilities and other coal-burning facilities to meet the federal standard without installing costly scrubbers to reduce the sulfur content of their emissions. At the time, scrubbers were so expensive that many midwestern firms found it less expensive to haul tons of low-sulfur coal from the West than to utilize closer, dirtier deposits.
When the Clean Air Act was revised in 1977, it was time for the eastern coal producers to get even. As Ackerman and Hassler (1981) noted, eastern producers of high-sulfur coal elected “to abandon their campaign to weaken pollution standards and take up the cudgels for the costliest possible clean air solution-universal scrubbing” (31). The result was a “bizarre coalition of environmentalists and dirty coal producers” that successfully advanced a new set of environmental standards that probably did more harm than good in much of the country (Ackerman and Hassler 1981, 27).
Under the 1977 law, coal plants had to meet both an emission standard and a technology standard. In particular, the law contained new-source-performance standards (NSPS) that forced facilities to attain a “percentage reduction in emissions.” In other words, no matter how clean coal was, a new facility would still be required to install scrubbers. This law destroyed low-sulfur coal’s comparative advantage, particularly in the Midwest and the East. If all new facilities had scrubbers, then there was no need to transport low-sulfur coal across the country. Less expensive, high-sulfur coal from the East would work just as well, even if it produced substantially greater emissions.
The result of such regulations is predictable, power production facilities pay more money to install sulfur dioxide scrubbers and we, the consumers, pay more money for electricity so the power production facility can pay off the scrubbers. We end up getting less electricity for more money and suffer a hit in our overall qualify of life because of it.
Now consider the United Kingdom (UK). That state’s rule over power production has led to a shortage of power. Being a state the only solution seen by the UK is rationing:
Fridges and freezers in millions of British homes will automatically be switched off without the owner’s consent under a ‘Big Brother’ regime to reduce the strain on power stations.
The National Grid is demanding that all new appliances be fitted with sensors that could shut them down when the UK’s generators struggle to meet demand for electricity.
Electric ovens, air-conditioning units and washing machines will also be affected by the proposals, which are already backed by one of the European Union’s most influential energy bodies. They are pushing for the move as green energy sources such as wind farms are less predictable than traditional power stations, increasing the risk of blackouts.
The result of the UK’s unwillingness to expand their power production with reliable sources may lead to massive amounts of food spoilage as refrigerators across wide swaths of the country shut themselves down and people dying of heatstroke because their air conditioners automatically shut off when it was 115 degrees outside. Once again the state’s desire to control everything is leading to a drop in the overall qualify of life and, in a rather ironic twist, a potential waste of food, which isn’t a green policy at all. Oh, and to add insult to injury, people living in the UK will be footing the bill for the development and installation of the technology that will allow the power facilities to automatically disable your appliances.
Why wouldn’t the power production companies demand to be allowed to build more reliable production facilities? Because that would cost them money and so long as they enjoy the state-provided protection from competition they have no motivation to actually spend money to improve their product. Who would want to spend millions to build a new power plant when they can charge more money for the same amount of electricity thanks to state-mandated rationing? Nobody, that’s who.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a recommendation (i.e. do it or your state won’t receive federal highway funds) that states reduce the legal blood alcohol limit for driving from .08 to .05:
States should cut their threshold for drunken driving by nearly half – from .08 blood alcohol level to 0.5 – matching a standard that has substantially reduced highway deaths in other countries, a U.S. safety board recommends. That’s about one drink for a woman weighing less than 120 lbs., two for a 160 lb. man.
If somebody is willing to operate an automobile above the current .08 level what makes the goons at the NTSB think those people won’t do the same thing if the legal level is reduced to .05? In all likelihood they don’t believe that. Why would they recommend a reduction in the legal rate then? Easy, traffic tickets are big business and the lower the legal blood alcohol level is the more tickets can be issued. Setting the legal limit to .05 would put many people at risk of receiving a citation even after a single drink.
This latest “recommendation” isn’t about safety, it’s about expropriation.
If there was ever a story that demonstrates the fact that the primary job of the police is to expropriate wealth from the general populace it is this one:
The city of Keene has filed a lawsuit (copy here) against me and several other people regarding robin hooding (Respondents). Basically, the city wants the court to issue a “preliminary” and “permanent” injunction “restraining Respondents, or anyone under their direction, supervision, employment, or control, from coming within a safety zone of fifty (50) feet of any PEO [Parking Enforcement Officer] while that PEO is on duty.” Additionally, the city wants to stop us “from video recording, within a safety zone of fifty (50) feet,” and “from communicating with any PEO.”
The city alleges that “Respondents have repeatedly video recorded, interfered with, taunted, and intimidated PEOs during the performance of their employment duties,” which is ridiculous for several reasons, most importantly, according to the job description for a city of Keene parking enforcer, “This position requires a person” to “relate with the general public” and “Endure verbal and mental abuse when confronted with the hostile views and opinions of the public and other individuals often encountered in an antagonistic environment.”
For those of you unfamiliar with robin hooding, it’s a practice partaken by some residents of Keene that involves inserting quarters into expired parking meters so the unsuspecting owners of the car don’t come back to a parking ticket. The police don’t like the practice because it eats into their parking ticket revenue, which is why they’re filing a lawsuit.
Under statism no good deed goes unpunished.
Central planners never learn. When one of their plans go awry they blame the data, implementation of the program, and anything else that allows them to avoid admitting central planning doesn’t work. Centralized plans rely on things never changing, which in an ever-changing world is a pretty stupid thing to rely on. Hell, the fucking continents don’t even remain the same!
The United Nations (UN), the largest central planning organization in the world, want people to supplement their diet with insects instead of current livestock:
A 200-page report, released at a news conference at the U.N. agency’s Rome headquarters, says 2 billion people worldwide already supplement their diets with insects, which are high in protein and minerals, and have environmental benefits.
Insects are “extremely efficient” in converting feed into edible meat, the agency said. On average, they can convert 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of feed into 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of insect mass. In comparison, cattle require 8 kilograms (17.6 pounds) of feed to produce a kilo of meat.
Most insects are likely to produce fewer environmentally harmful greenhouse gases, and also feed on human and food waste, compost and animal slurry, with the products being used for agricultural feed, the agency said.
Currently, most edible insects are gathered in forests and what insect farming does take place is often family-run and serves niche markets. But the U.N. says mechanization can ratchet up insect farming production. The fish bait industry, for example, has long farmed insects.
How could this possibly go wrong? Let’s pretend that the majority of the regions that currently rely on beef, poultry, and pork for their protein intake decide to rely on insects instead. While the number of cattle, chickens, and pigs raise by farmers would decrease the number of insects being raise would increase. Simply walking around in forests and gathering insects wouldn’t provide enough foodstuff to replace current livestock so insects would have to be farmed. Farming insects is likely to be more difficult than farming current livestock because insects are difficult to contain (and difficult to keep out of your house). The UN report notes that many insects feed off of waste but it fails to note that insects also feed off of crops. Have you ever heard the phrase “A plague of locust?” There’s a reason people use that phrase, it’s because locust have a pension for wiping out crops.
Now let’s pretend that one of the insect farmers experience a failure in the system they’re using to contain their insect herd. What consequences would follow a massive number of fast-breeding crop-consuming creatures breaking out of their cages? In all likelihood all crops in the vicinity would be wiped out. In other words foodstuff would escape, more foodstuff would be destroyed, and the people in our hypothetical society would face the potential of starvation.
Of course central planners tend to believe they can control everything so this scenario has likely been written off as impossible.
Minnesota is now the 12th state to repeal its prohibition against same-sex marriages. Needless to say some of my friends, specifically my deeply religious friends who believe its the state’s duty of uphold their religion’s definition of morality, are a bit upset. As you will soon learn I have no sympathy for them. The religious organizations that told them to oppose the repealing of the prohibition on same-sex marriages are the same organizations that made this outcome possible. Although I touched briefly on the subject I feel it’s important to drive home this fact.
Back in the day the stated told various religious organizations, “Hey guys, we’re going to define marriage.” Most of the religious organizations at that time were perfectly fine with that news because the state said it was going to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. The Mormons weren’t overly enthusiastic about the news but they were a small enough minority that nobody cared what they thought. Likewise, homosexuality was stigmatized so great in those days that few would dare admit they were gay and therefore no opposition was raised against prohibition same-sex marriages. In other words statism worked exactly as it always does, the politically influential were able to wield the state’s capacity for violence against those who weren’t politically influential. What those short-sighted fools failed to realize is that things change.
Fast forward to modern times. Religious organizations have lost a great deal of their influence over the state. They can no longer wield the state’s capacity for violent reliably. The tables have turned and the same religious organizations that enjoyed the state’s power in the days of yore now lack a great deal of political influence. Now that the state isn’t favoring their definition of morality those religious organizations are pissed. Boo-fucking-hoo.
Those organizations made their bed when they agreed to ceded the power to define marriage to the state. Once the state declares a power for itself and remains mostly unchallenged it is practically impossible to rip that power from its hands. To make matters worse the longer the state holds power the more difficult it becomes to take it back. People living today never knew a time when marriage didn’t require some kind of permission slip from the state. Since things appear to be working and they know no alternative they’re unlikely to challenge the state’s declared power to define marriage. It really sucks to be one of those religious organizations that wants the power to define marriage back because, in all likelihood, they’re not getting it. The state didn’t just declare the power to define marriage, it sunk its claws deep into that declaration by tying anything and everything to its stupid permission slips.
Like it or not, marriage is no longer a religious institution, it’s a state-defined relationship used to determine who can have special privileges. Had those fools resisted the state’s power grab this entire fight probably wouldn’t have happened. The religious organizations could still choose to recognize only marriages between one man and one woman and everybody ignore those organizations. But those fools didn’t resist, they accepted the state’s power grab with open arms, and allowed marriage to become more than a religious institution. Why do you think homosexuals give a shit about marriage? It’s because they are relegated to being second-class citizens without having the ability to enter marriages. When you have a man getting arrested because he refused to leave his partner’s side at a hospital and he knows his arrest could have been avoided if the state recognized same-sex marriages you can damn well bet that he will fight for state-recognized same-sex marriage. When the state tells same-sex couples that they can’t adopt children [PDF] because their relationship lacks the state’s seal of approval you can damn well bet those couples are going to fight for a state-recognized seal of approval. And guess what, they and their allies (which I am) have the political influence and therefore can wield the state’s power.
If you oppose same-sex marriages for religious reasons let this lesson sink in. The next time the state tries to grab additional power, even if the power grab stands to directly benefit you, oppose it. Fight that power grab with every fiber of your being. Because once the state has that power it will keep that power, it will tie that power into its political machinery so tightly that it can’t be removed, and eventually that power will change hands and you’ll no longer receive the special privileges you once did.