Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bad Political Humor #3

How many Republicans does it take to change a light bulb?

Just kidding. Republicans have their servants change the light bulbs.

Bad Political Humor #2

How many Democrats does it take to change a light bulb?

The light bulb may not be replaced until the proper environmental impact statements are completed. Once the paperwork is finished and fees paid, bids may go out among union workers...factoring prevailing wage costs of course...duh....

Bad Political Humor #1

Libertarian knock-knock joke.

Knock Knock.

Who's there?

Census taker.

Go away.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Hooray! A New Pope

I must confess that I'm a cynic of the papacy. I'm obviously influenced by my family who has been staunchly Protestant since it has been possible to do so. Aside from my mom's half-sister who converted to Roman Catholicism after she married, you'd have to look back over 500 years to find another papist.

My own need to have a distinct identity may have led me to turn to Roman Catholicism despite the leanings of my ancestors, were it not for one small problem: The Pope.

I don't believe that the pope is a successor to the Apostle Peter. I do not believe that he speaks the very words of God while speaking ex-cathedra (for other non-catholics this means when he speaks from his special chair) and I do not believe he is the Vicar of Christ. I believe he is capable of speaking the words of God only when he reads the scriptures...just like ladee dah!

That said, it would be naive to underestimate the power the pope has in the world. While deeply cynical my own father (an Anglican and staunch opponent of the Vatican) thought that John Paul II was a faithful man and a force for righteousness within Christendom. My dad said this even though he disagreed with the pope on so many issues. My dad rarely spoke of anything spiritual, so this comment was very profound.

While Benedict XVI gets used to his new clothes and huge apartment he does so with my blessing. I also don't pretend for a moment that he cares one iota about my blessing but handing out blessings is something I can do in my own blog, so there. I wish Benedict nothing but good, and I'll pray for him as often as my mind will remind me to. (Which isn't saying much considering I'd forget to feed my cats if they didn't stand at their dish and scream at me until I dumped kibble in their bowl)

Friday, April 15, 2005

How much taxation is too much?

It's April 15th. I prepared my taxes months ago but I did not mail them until today. This is because I owed more money in addition to that which was forcibly taken from my wages throughout the year. (see my post on Taxing your Survival)

The answer to this question is probably a matter of principle to some but the questions needs to be asked. How high should your taxes be before it is too much?
Socialists won't dare answer this question because they believe that the government is entitled to all of it and the burden should be on you to qualify to use it within their pre-defined social constraints.

Then there is Ayn Rand (who is basically is to weirdo objectivist libertarian types what L. Ron Hubbard is to Scientologists) said that 100% taxation isn't too much if it was all spent on defense of the nation and individual rights. So you can see, opinions vary.

I read in an interview that Bill Gates Sr. was talking about the need for more taxation and when asked about the overall cost of government he dismissively commented, "Yes, I suppose we should look for waste, but..." This is usually the response from people who see everyone's paycheck somehow belonging to the community in the form of government taxation.

Most government agencies run pretty lean. While there is waste in any organization, the real problem isn't waste, but rather asking a more fundamental question: What should be the role of government?

If you look at government budgets (and yes, I'm geeky enough to do this sort of thing) you'll find a large portion of the budget is "non-discretionary." Excuse me? Can I get your attention please? I know this is a boring post for some of you and the words are hard to understand but I'd appreciate it if you'd just hang with me for two more paragraphs...okay? Non-discretionary means that even if you wanted to, it can't be cut. Some law requires it or it is tied to the wages and benefits of government employees. So when you cut a department it usually means they have fewer pencils and their copy machines run out of paper, or they slow down the rotation of replacing their public vehicle fleet...but the size of the department remains large and intrusive and in most cases...completely unnecessary.

I'm not for cutting budgets, I'm for ending agencies. If government is going to cost a great deal then at least I want a say in what I'm paying for. Start by keeping agencies that do things that government can do well if they had the chance: Building roads and employing police. After that, it's time to dismantle agencies that do things that bureaucracies can never do well. Stop trying to counsel our children, plan families, and decide if people can clear blackberries from their land and hundreds of other areas where government is just out of line.

And I promise: If this is enacted...the few remaining agencies can have all of the office supplies they want.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Okay, haven't blogged much lately

There has been tons of things going on in the last couple of weeks, but I haven't mentally processed it all yet.

Johnnie Cochran, Terri Schiavo, the Pope all died recently. Almost a year ago a good friend of mine's son was killed in a motorcycle accident. He was a great kid who I always enjoyed. It was devastating and awful and that's the only way to explain it. I just realized a great deal of the news lately sort of had me reliving the emotion of that trauma from a year ago. I'm okay...hell it's even kinda normal. Different times of the year bring up different experiences and feelings from the past. For right now...this is another one.

I don't have much to say right now. Give me a few days and maybe I'll pull out a gem like "Pee Trough." You can find this celebrated article at:

See you in a few days.