Sunday, May 21, 2006


One summary:

"The biggest problem in cleaning up our elections is the issue of voter registries, and Carter's commission doesn't begin to deal with it. If voter registries are corrupt, there is no way our democracy can be assured a fair election. Throughout America, people with the flimsiest kinds of ID are put on voter registries, allowing ineligible voters to determine our elected officials and the fate of the nation. That this doesn't horrify more Americans is, in itself, horrifying, and smacks of some Third World banana republic. For our elections to be right, our voter registries must be right.

I will never understand why Americans put up with all that crapola. The site from which the quote above was taken offers some simple alternatives that would be much better. Australia uses an old-fashioned paper ballot system that evokes very few complaints and criticisms, though it is not perfect, of course.



An interesting comment from a tax accountant: "As the Senate cleverly negotiates the amendments that would scuttle new immigration legislation, they blithely ignore the real nightmare immigrants face if a path to citizenship is enacted: they must pay their back taxes. Those of us who have worked in the tax field can tell you that (1) the IRS can reconstruct your past income out of the thin air with great precision, (2) The effort to fight the IRS or to reconstruct your own version of what you made and what you owe is so painful it can by itself motivate the illegal to return home and (3) Certain taxes like Social Security and Medicare are payable on the first dollar you earn and the amounts owed the government will, in almost all cases, bankrupt the illegal or make the water so deep he will drown before he survives. The House has passed a very specific bill to effect the deportation of 12 million illegals. The Senate by requiring poverty-stricken illegals to pay back taxes has finished the job. Either way attrition will shrink that population."

Spain seeks to stem tide of African immigrants: "Spain has put the last touches to initiatives, including a strengthened presence in Africa, to try to stem the swelling tide of immigrants from the continent heading for its shores. The government's plan was agreed as it was announced that a total of 656 African illegal immigrants had arrived in Spain's Canary Islands in the space of 24 hours. In Madrid Deputy Prime Minister Maria-Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said after a cabinet meeting she would be going to Brussels next week to discuss the issue with, among others, European Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso. She said that "more Europe" had to be one of the weapons in the battle against would-be illegal immigration. An "Africa plan" was to be implemented within the space of 48 hours, said de la Vega. The headquarters will be in the Senegalese capital Dakar, under the supervision of a specially appointed ambassador, Miguel Angel Mazarambroz.

Nothing like a good track record: "Russia overnight took over the presidency of Europe's chief body charged with maintaining democracy and human rights, issues on which it has frequently found itself the target of criticism. Speaking in Strasbourg overnight, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov promised "a concrete approach to the committee's tasks, respectful of the rights of all citizens and of instruments for the defence of those rights." Russia succeeds Romania as president of the committee of ministers, or executive body, of the 46-member Council of Europe, for six months. The Russian presidency is likely to dwell more on dialogue between cultures and local democracy than the basic freedoms Moscow is said to ignore."

Political posturing on gas prices mostly hot air: "Three gas station owners report for their first day in prison. The prison guard asks one of them, 'What are you in for?' He replies, 'The government says I charged customers more for my gasoline than other gas stations. I'm in for price gouging.' The guard looks at the second man. 'And you?' He answers, 'I charged less for my gasoline than everyone else. I'm in for anti-competitive pricing.' The guard looks to the third. 'And you?' He shrugs. 'I charged the same price for my gasoline as all the other gas stations. I'm in for collusion.' Like many jokes, that one has a lot of truth to it. I'd imagine many Americans wouldn't mind at all to see just about everyone involved in the oil industry do some time in the pokey these days. What's been even more disheartening has been to see Americans turn to their politicians, and ask them to 'do something' about the price of gas. We seem to love the free market until it inconveniences us. Then we want someone punished."

Genetics again: "A group of Yale researchers studying the origin of irrational decision-making found that choosing impractically isn't a behavior exhibited only by humans. Our evolutionary cousins, capuchin monkeys, exhibit the same tendency with respect to loss aversion, or the tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses rather than acquiring gains. The findings, published in the Journal of Political Economy, indicate these biases are innate in primates and have existed since before capuchins and humans split 40 million years ago. "Some of the most deeply ingrained economic behaviors turn out to be very, very ancient and hardwired parts of our decision-making processes," said Yale economics professor and the study's lead author, Keith Chen. "If I showed a string of capuchin monkey data to an economist, he couldn't, with any statistical test, tell the difference between a capuchin monkey and your average American stock market investor."

My doubts about the "hobbits" get learned support: "A report released today disputes scientists' claims that bones of a dwarf human discovered on an Indonesian island are those of an entirely new human species. The 18,000-year-old bones found on Flores Island in 2003 were given the scientific name Homo floresiensis, and the nickname "Hobbit" after the diminutive figures in JRR Tolkien's novel. Anthropologists from Australia and Indonesia said it was an entirely new human species derived from the primitive Homo erectus.... But a group of scientists led by primatologist Robert Martin said in an article in Science magazine's May 19 issue that, far from being a new species, the bones were of Homo sapiens suffering from the pathological condition microcephaly, which results in small brain and body size....Dr Martin's team also argued that sophisticated tools found with the Flores bones could not have been created by a race with such small brains. "These tools are so advanced that there is no way they were made by anyone other than Homo sapiens," anthropologist James Phillips, also of the Field Museum said."



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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