Friday, August 31, 2007

Source: Ron Paul

December 20, 2004
In 2002 I asked my House colleagues a rhetorical question with regard to the onslaught of government growth in the post-September 11th era: Is America becoming a police state?

The question is no longer rhetorical. We are not yet living in a total police state, but it is fast approaching. The seeds of future tyranny have been sown, and many of our basic protections against government have been undermined. The atmosphere since 2001 has permitted Congress to create whole new departments and agencies that purport to make us safer- always at the expense of our liberty. But security and liberty go hand-in-hand. Members of Congress, like too many Americans, don’t understand that a society with no constraints on its government cannot be secure. History proves that societies crumble when their governments become more powerful than the people and private institutions.

Unfortunately, the new intelligence bill passed by Congress two weeks ago moves us closer to an encroaching police state by imposing the precursor to a full-fledged national ID card. Within two years, every American will need a “conforming” ID to deal with any federal agency– including TSA at the airport.

Undoubtedly many Americans and members of Congress don’t believe America is becoming a police state, which is reasonable enough. They associate the phrase with highly visible symbols of authoritarianism like military patrols, martial law, and summary executions. But we ought to be concerned that we have laid the foundation for tyranny by making the public more docile, more accustomed to government bullying, and more accepting of arbitrary authority- all in the name of security. Our love for liberty above all has been so diminished that we tolerate intrusions into our privacy that would have been abhorred just a few years ago. We tolerate inconveniences and infringements upon our liberties in a manner that reflects poorly on our great national character of rugged individualism. American history, at least in part, is a history of people who don’t like being told what to do. Yet we are increasingly empowering the federal government and its agents to run our lives.

Terror, fear, and crises like 9-11 are used to achieve complacency and obedience, especially when citizens are deluded into believing they are still a free people. The loss of liberty, we are assured, will be minimal, short-lived, and necessary. Many citizens believe that once the war on terror is over, restrictions on their liberties will be reversed. But this war is undeclared and open-ended, with no precise enemy and no expressly stated final goal. Terrorism will never be eradicated completely; does this mean future presidents will assert extraordinary war powers indefinitely?

Washington DC provides a vivid illustration of what our future might look like. Visitors to Capitol Hill encounter police barricades, metal detectors, paramilitary officers carrying fully automatic rifles, police dogs, ID checks, and vehicle stops. The people are totally disarmed; only the police and criminals have guns. Surveillance cameras are everywhere, monitoring street activity, subway travel, parks, and federal buildings. There’s not much evidence of an open society in Washington, DC, yet most folks do not complain– anything goes if it’s for government-provided safety and security.

After all, proponents argue, the government is doing all this to catch the bad guys. If you don’t have anything to hide, they ask, what are you so afraid of? The answer is that I’m afraid of losing the last vestiges of privacy that a free society should hold dear. I’m afraid of creating a society where the burden is on citizens to prove their innocence, rather than on government to prove wrongdoing. Most of all, I’m afraid of living in a society where a subservient populace surrenders its liberties to an all-powerful government.

It may be true that average Americans do not feel intimidated by the encroachment of the police state. Americans remain tolerant of what they see as mere nuisances because they have been deluded into believing total government supervision is necessary and helpful, and because they still enjoy a high level of material comfort. That tolerance may wane, however, as our standard of living falls due to spiraling debt, endless deficit spending at home and abroad, a declining fiat dollar, inflation, higher interest rates, and failing entitlement programs. At that point attitudes toward omnipotent government may change, but the trend toward authoritarianism will be difficult to reverse.

Those who believe a police state can’t happen here are poor students of history. Every government, democratic or not, is capable of tyranny. We must understand this if we hope to remain a free people.
This weekend is my annual pilgrimage to the Cleveland International Air Show for each of the three days that it runs. This year the Air Force Thunderbirds are the main attraction, but I'm really looking forward to the F-18 E/F Super Hornet performance. It is able to do some ridiculous things in the air. I'll try to post some pictures of the event if I can.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Lion King was pretty good. Some of the mechanisms they used to represent the animals were ingenious. The stampede scene was great. I really liked the animals walking down to the stage also. The costumes were well done. Everything was good, with the possible exceptions being a few scenes in Act 2 that seemed to drag on.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

In the past 2 years, six members of the Paw family have donated $200,000 to Democratic candidates. It isn't obvious how the Paw family is able to afford such political largess. Records show they own a gift shop and live in a 1,280-square-foot house that they recently refinanced for $270,000. The Paws' political donations closely track donations made by Norman Hsu, a wealthy New York businessman in the apparel industry.

Read more about this "interesting" story at the Wall Street Journal.

Why is this interesting? Because the law states that it is illegal to reimburse someone for their political donations, and that's especially pertinent now as there are strict limits on the amount a single person can donate.

This doesn't exactly make Hillary unique among the Clintons though... Billy boy got lots of Chinese cash for his campaign also, then, he let the Chinese have advanced US ballistic missile technology. Experts say the technology he let them have advanced their program by an estimated five years. Now the Chinese have ballistic missiles capable of hitting the US mainland. The Clinton's are Machiavellian, anything for political power and money. Wonder what these "contributions" will cost the US if Hillary is elected.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The wife and I are going to see the Lion King tonight. I'll report back tomorrow on my thoughts.

This will be the second Broadway show that I've seen (and third musical overall). The first was Spamalot. I enjoyed that, and I think I will enjoy Lion King too.

I saw a mini version of it at Disneyland a few years ago, and I like that.

I was told to get aisle seats so that we could be as close as possible to the animals as they walk down to the stage. I did one better... we're at the intersection of two aisles, so we'll see them walking towards us from the side, and then down to the stage.

Monday, August 27, 2007

111 days until graduation. Of those, 30 of them are class days.

60 total class sessions and I will be done!

Every week and a half I am 10% closer to graduation.

Each minute that goes buy during class, I will be .01% closer to graduation.

Can you smell the anticipation in the air?

Friday, August 24, 2007

I thought that the busy times were over... well, I thought wrong. It seems like every day, I've got at most 2 hours of "free" time. Yes, yes... complain, complain, complain.

Once school starts, my Tuesdays and Thursdays will start at 5:45 AM and will end at 10:30 PM. And by end, I mean that's when I will get home.

I really miss being able to veg out. There's always somewhere to go and something to do. I don't want to go anywhere. I want to sit. I don't want anyone to come over. I just want to sit and do nothing.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Indians won a close game! Color me surprised. I thought for sure when they had 0 outs with a man on first and second in the tenth that I was going to witness a walk down strikeout lane. Well, the next batter hit into a fielders choice, so a man on first and third now with one out. All you have to do is hit a fly ball. Instead? Strikeout. Now it will take some clutch hitting - which has been really lacking lately - to get the job done. Hooray for the infield single. Follow that up with a legit single, and it's 3-0. In comes the human gas can to throw some fuel onto the Tigers. In other words, Joe Borowski. He gave up a run and made it more fretful that it needed to be, but a win is a win is a win.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Going to the gym in the morning isn't really all that bad. We don't have quite enough time to get everything done, and I do feel somewhat lethargic while I'm there, but it's not all bad. I think we actually need to get up 15 minutes earlier so that we can finish our cardio and weights on the 3 days we do that. We have plenty of time when it's just cardio. In fact, it's nice because we get to have breakfast before we go. It's not chicken nuggets and waffles, but it's still good.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Tired. So very tired.

We went to the gym today before work. That means I got up at 5:45 AM and headed for the gym... it's dark at that time of the morning and I was still sleepy.

More sleepy time. Less worky time.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

In the past 8 days my companies stock (PCP) has lost $25.89 off it's share price.

For no reason. I don't care that hedge funs are selling off any liquidity in order to cover themselves as they were heavily invested in real estate holdings. Why aren't they regulated? Why are they allowed to play their own private games with stocks?

Hedge funds don't make most of their money when a stock goes up. They make most of it when it goes down. They short millions of shares, drive down the price of a stock, re-buy it later at a much lower price, and then reap the rewards. Companies stocks pay the price, and often there is no legitimate basis for the drops.

Take our stock for example. We've blown past analyst estimates by more than 10% for 17 consecutive quarters. That sounds like a pretty safe bet. So how to explain losing $25 over a week period? There is no answer except for panic selling and hedge fund manipulation.

It's time to regulate the mothers.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Inmate claims Michael Vick is an Al Queda operative and sues him for $63 billion.

Read his list of defendants here.

He's got everyone from President George W. Bush to Wendy's. Yes the fast food chain. He's got Sugar Ray Leonard on there! What do Tony Blair, Rudy Guliani, Three Mile Island, Chubby Checker, and Disney's Typhoon Lagoon have in common? They're all defendants in the case.

Read his full handwritten filing.

According to the plaintiff, Michael Vick subjected him to microwave testing, used drugs in school zones, and has to stop physically hurting my feelings and dashing my hopes.
bunt (bŭnt) Pronunciation Key
v. bunt·ed, bunt·ing, bunts

v. tr.
1. Baseball
1. To bat (a pitched ball) by tapping it lightly so that the ball rolls slowly in front of the infielders.
2. To cause (a base runner) to advance or (a run) to score by bunting.
2. To push or strike with or as if with the head; butt.

v. intr.
1. Baseball To bunt a pitched ball: The batter squared away to bunt.
2. To butt.
1. Baseball
1. The act of bunting.
2. A bunted ball.
2. A butt with or as if with the head.

[Dialectal, to push, strike.]

bunt'er n.

If you don't understand the purpose of posting a definition here, allow me to explain the situation.

The Indians and the Tigers are tied for first place in the AL Central. The Indians and Tigers are playing each other on Tuesday in Cleveland. The Indians and Tigers are tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 9th.

The Indians have a man on second with no outs. None. Not even one. Zero. No outs. Man on second. No outs. What do they proceed to do? Let's swing away shall we! It will be a grand ole time. Let's swing all night long. What proceeds to happen? It goes something like this... in order:

Strike out.
1 out.

Strike out.
2 outs.

Strike out.
3 outs.

Let's play extra innings shall we? Then the Tigers score 4 in the top of the 10th and win 6-2.

Hence, my suggestion to BUNT THE FREAKING BALL! Bunt like your life depends on it, because it does. If you keep playing like dung then you will miss the playoffs again. BUNT! When you only need one run, and you have a man on second with no outs, you bunt. It's simple really. They're major league baseball players. They should all be able to bunt. So bunt. Just bunt. For the love of God, bunt the ball.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The house is coming together. There's still a lot of little stuff that needs to be done in order to get ready for the big party this weekend though. We're still in the process of figuring out which of our stuff we're going to keep, which we're going to get rid of, which we're going to put into storage, and where can we possible put all of our wedding gifts.

On top of that, we're going to the gym every day, so there's only so many hours to work on the house, and of those, there's even less hours when we even want to work on the house.

How's that saying go? A busy beaver is as happy as a pig in mud? Idle hands make the world go round? Two elephants walked into a bar?

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Indians just got swept at home by the Yankees and are now trailing in the wild card. They're still okay for the division, but they play the Tigers 5 times in the next two weeks, and it's critical that they win at least 3 of those games. They're be in really nice shape if they can take all 5, but I don't think that's likely. They look lost without Travis Hafner out there.

We'll see. Will this be another swoon for the Tribe or a close but no cigar year, or will it be the year they finally return to the playoffs? Time will tell.

Friday, August 10, 2007

11 hours and 41 minutes. That's how long it was supposed to take us to get from Nags Head, NC back to waterlogged Cleveland.

14 hours and 45 minutes. That's how long it actually took us.

Why the delay, you might ask?

Outside of Richmond, Virginia we ran over a S hook in the highway which punctured the rear drivers side tire. It stayed in (which was good) so that we could drive to the next exit 3/4 of a mile away. We pulled into a BP station, asked them where we could go to get it fixed, filled the tire with more air, and headed on our way. They suggested a Wal-Mart Tire Center about 3 miles away.

We got about 90% of the way there when the S hook dislodged itself from the tire and we began RAPIDLY losing air pressure. I managed to make it to the driveway of the Wal-Mart before the tire went completely flat. Lindsay went inside to get some help and I began the process of unloading the car and retrieving the spare.

After the spare was put on, they took the car in and patched the other tire, for a total cost of $9.50. So other than a 2 hour delay, we didn't come out any worse for the wear. We were both okay. The car was okay. The rim was okay. No real problem.

It certainly made for a long day though. We left NC at 5:45 AM and got home at 9:30 PM. We had a 30 minute nap in Maryland which did help refresh us quite a bit. We had a good time though and did get home safely, so that's all that matters.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Today is Lindsay's birthday. Happy birthday Lindsay! She's still a young pup... only 27.

Friday, August 3, 2007

We're off to Nags Head today. This is a picture of the house we'll be staying in.

It should be a good time. Believe it or not, I'm really looking forward to some really fast go karts. And sleep. But not at the same time.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

"Repairing damages to luxury vehicles involved in low-speed crashes of 3 to 6 miles per hour, which typically happen in commuter traffic or in parking lots, can cost significantly more than for other cars, according to tests released Thursday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The institute conducted a series of four low-speed crashes on 11 2007 luxury vehicles. It found the Infiniti G35, which starts at $31,450, had the highest repair bill at nearly $14,000 in combined damages for the four tests. In one test involving the front-end, the G35's bill was more than $5,000."

Searching for Indians tickets. We received a $50 gift card to for a wedding present. I'd really like club seats, but those are $98 each. Then Ticket Master rips you off with a $4 convenience charge per ticket on top of that.

How exactly does doing their job for them make it more convenient for me? Shouldn't I be able to charge them? Seems like it...

Anyway, there are a ton of promotion games left, but I'd like to sit somewhere decent. That doesn't appear to be likely at this point though.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

It's the first day of August. I go back to school this month.

This is the final semester (potentially) of my long and esteemed college career.

In December you'll be able to call me Dr. Van Awesome.