Thursday, April 28, 2005

Toll Roads

I've long been a big supporter of toll highways, for economic and environmental reasons. It seems to me that people are going to have to get used to the idea that roads aren't free, and the sooner the better. An article in today's New York Times looks at the expanding use of toll highways to ease congestion.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Cocks vs. Women

In South Carolina, the State House recently passed a bill that changed cockfighting from a misdemeanor to a felony. And then didn't pass a bill that would do the same thing for domestic violence. Very strange.

Hat Tip (and thanks for the title of this post): Kerry Howley over at Reason.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Tax Freedom Day

Apparently, Tax Freedom Day here in the U.S. arrived yesterday, April 17th. I know it comes sometime in June up in Canada. So to me, April 17th doesn't seem that awful. Speaking of which, Jane Galt has a note on marginal tax rates that looks at whether its really OK to take half of someone's income away from them by force. Take home message:

I don't have any problem with really rather high marginal rates of taxation, but when it gets to the point where majority of your hours are spent laboring for a third party in an involuntary contract the terms of which you can't control, even to refusing to enter it, the words "taxation is slavery" do begin to have some bite.

I'm not really a "Taxes Are Evil" person, either (we do get a lot of services for them, and these benefits are often overlooked). But it does strike me as borderline immoral that the rates are as high as they are, even for the wealthy. And I like to think that if the government got out of doing all the business it does that it probably shouldn't, and back down to a reasonable size, we could have tax rates that would seem to be worth it for what we get out of them. Because right now, there's a disconnect there.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Legal vs. Illegal Drugs

Today's New York Times has an article that looks at how DHEA, a steriod-like supplement, avoided being placed on the federal list of banned substances. The really interesting aspect of the piece is that it focuses on how the decision to not place DHEA on the list while banning other similar drugs was essentially (or completely) a political decision, rather than one based on science. Which doesn't surprise me at all, but serves as a great reminder that nothing done by the federal government with respect the control of our own bodies is necessarily looking out for our best interests. To me, the awful thing isn't that DHEA is legal (I could really care less, and therefore think that individuals should be able to decide for themselves if they want to take it) - it's that a bunch of other drugs that are potentially very useful (of just plain fun) ARE illegal.

The power we yield?

What country is the United States' leading supplier of foreign oil? Yup, you folks up north probably knew it (this kind of thing tends to be a big story up there): Canada.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Friday Fun Link

Hilarious physical comedy. By penguins.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

It's National D.A.R.E. Day!

I know, I'm excited, too!

Sick of shaking

Nichols Fox has a big whine in today's New York Times. It outlines how corporations have "outsourced" all sorts of tasks onto consumers - you know, how we have to (or can) pump our own gas and choose our own groceries off the shelf. God forbid! She's tired, the poor thing.

This reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine takes a drink of juice from Jerry's fridge and says "This tastes terrible!", and Jerry asks her if she shook it. And she says, "I'm sick of shaking. You have to shake everything these days.". So Jerry picks up the juice bottles and very casually shakes it and replies "Yeah, this is really wearing me out".

I mean, is throwing out your own trash at a fast food restaurant really that much of a burden on you? And does anyone really believe that the fact that consumers are doing this is a BAD thing for the economy?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Why Blogs Rock

Because you can have intelligent debates like this, which follow up Jane Galt's post on "gay marriage" that I linked to below. I mostly agree - the original article was much more interesting as a general discussion of unintended consequences than a damnation of gay marriage (which it wasn't intended to be, anyway). And actually, after a few days of thought, I'm as supportive of gay marriage as ever, and it's because of principles rather than outcomes. Sometimes we need to do the right thing and accept the negatives (and whether or not there actually will be significant negative consequences for society at large if gays are allowed to marry is of course debatable).

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

My First Prom

Monday, April 11, 2005

More hilarity

From a new road sign in Boston: "Porn is great".

Asshole = Ashcroft?

This is the day of fun links. It's spring...we've all got a bit more bounce in our step. Check this out: airlines are overdubbing the word "asshole" with "Ashcroft" in the movie "Sideways". Hilarious.

"Parade"-style vegan carnivores

Start your Monday off with a laugh by checking out this post by Matt Welch.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Watch out, she's a NARC!!

I sincerely hope this doesn't become a trend: police officers going undercover in a high school to catch kids breaking drug laws. Awful, awful, awful.

Get Off Our Backs!

From a poll in today's Wall Street Journal: By a margin of 50% support to 37% opposed, most Republicans feel that the federal government should be less active on social and moral issues. Among all voters, support jumps to 54%-35%. Obviously, I couldn't agree more. But the fact that even a majority of Republicans feel this way is a pretty clear indication that people are sick and tired of the government butting into our lives. The question is, will they get the message?

Pop vs. Soda

Seeing as I am a displaced Canadian and have had to adapt to the vernacular here in New Jersey, this map interested me. It shows the regional distribution of various terms for carbonated sugar drinks (known as "pop" where I grew up - called "soda" in these parts).

Monday, April 04, 2005

Cultural (R)evolution and (Gay) Marriage

Jane Galt has an interesting, insightful, and thought-provoking post about gay marriage and the influence of laws on our cultural insitutions. One of the most thoughtful pieces I've read this year.

Ecosystem Assessment

The UN has come out with its Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, which outlines the challenges facing the protection of ecological services over the next 50 years. A lot of the same things we've heard before, but there are some very positive (and surprising!) admissions of the positive role that market-based mechanisms can play in achieving environmental goals, as well as the value of free-trade:

"Actions that focus on improving the lives of the poor by reducing barriers to international flows of goods, services, and capital tend to lead to the most improvement in health and social relations for the currently most disadvantaged people. But human vulnerability to ecological surprises is high. Globally integrated approaches that focus on technology and property rights for ecosystem services generally improve human well-being in terms of health, security, social relations, and material needs."

Great to hear - we need more people rejecting the status-quo environmentalism of a return to some kind of pre-industrial society and more people actually trying to find real solutions to ecological problems facing the planet.

Publication Ban?

Finally a news story from the homeland that I'm getting really interested if there is a publication ban on testiomny from the Gomery Inquiry, and a Canadian living in the US publishes it on a blog (or even comments on it or links to another blog that has the material), is this blogger subject to potential prosecution in Canada? I'd like to know, because I still need to get back into the Great White North this summer.