Friday, June 28, 2002

Religious Objections to Drivers License Photos
Now these exemptions may be bad ideas, especially given the terrorist threats we now face. My tentative view would be to oppose them. But the practices of some of these states might suggest that the Florida woman's religious exemption claim isn't as silly as it might at first appear -- especially given that the Florida legislature, in enacting its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, has generally spoken out in favor of religious exemptions.

We got through the Civil War, WWI, WWII, and half the Cold War without any photo ID at all. We can probably survive the WOT.

Note that most photo objectors in the US are Christian rather than Muslim and Muslims (and anyone else) can drive in the US "temporarily" with drivers licenses from foreign countries which may not have any photo or may not have a useful photo.

Prof. Volokh discussing private and religious schools:

"Private schools may already be regulated in considerable measure by the government -- lower courts have generally rejected constitutional objections to their regulation, whether or not they get government funding."

Though many religious schools dodge regulation in practice by keeping a low profile and meeting in churches. Regulation of home schools is almost entirely voluntary because of the constitutional challenges involved in regulating in-home interactions among parents and children.

Unless a school markets itself to the general public or seeks some kind of certification, it will be hard to regulate because learning is merely an aspect of religious practice on the one hand and protected 1st amendment reading, writing, and speaking on the other.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

The Attack Queers: Liberal Society and the Gay Right by Richard Goldstein

Interviewed by Brian Lehrer on WNYC on Tuesday 25 June. [Episodes can only be listened to for two weeks.]

"All the hot gay writers in the mainstream media are conservative." [Commie women, blacks, and Hispanics in the mainstream media but no commie gays.]

"We grew out of socialism."

In fact, Andrew Sullivan, Norah Vincent, et. al. can more properly be labeled libertarian. Also the usual blather about their success being attributed to being "acceptable" to the mainstream. Though no one hired Andrew to run his blog. He just started writing it (and has lost work because of it). He's not a mainstream writer. If socialist gay bloggers aren't as successful perhaps it's more attributable to socialism than gayness.

Isn't Rosie a successful mainstream gay writer?
On The Pledge...

I'm glad that the 9th Circuit decided that youthful atheists are too delicate to be exposed to the words "under God."

I've got a long list of things that me and my children are too delicate to be exposed to.
Left Wing Tactical Difficulties in the US

I've noted a particular tactical problem that Lefties in the US face that they have not generally faced in other countries.

I was reminded of this difficulty by an exchange which occurred on Wednesday night's The Buzz on WABC radio in NYC. Hosts Malzberg and Bey were arguing about The Pledge case when Bey attempted to pull a switch on right-wing "love it or leave it" rhetoric by suggesting that conservatives who can't accept separation of church and state should be shipped out . Malzberg said, "go ahead and try." [Quotes approximate from memory.]

I feel confident that Malzberg was commenting on the tactical problem faced by liberals who attempt to oppress conservatives in America -- the balance of arms.

The fact is that conservatives (and libertarians) are much more heavily armed than lefties (and even more heavily armed than left-wing radical groups) in the US. Though half the homes in America have firearms, 10% of the population owns over half of America's privately-owned firearms. And what do you suppose the ideology off that 10% is?
Anti-Semitism on Campus
Do you know that it has become a common stunt on campus to set up “checkpoints,” in imitation of Israeli checkpoints? (To be sure, no one is trying to get through with explosives — that would be realistic.) Michael Granoff, a lay official of the Hillel Foundation, says, “Can you imagine if Jewish students attempted to imitate what Palestinians do?”

Easy to do. Just approach the checkpoints with firecrackers and set them off. Certainly an attention getting activity. If concerned about using explosives during the War, substitute water balloons.
Supremes OK drug tests on those participating in extracurricular activities at school.

No big deal.

Anyone who entrusts their children's minds to government teachers has already decided that they don't value those children very much. Minor 4th Amendment losses are the least of their problems.
Supremes decide that mentally retarded are dangerous but that you can't execute them
Mentally retarded persons frequently know the difference between right and wrong and are competent to stand trial, but, by definition, they have diminished capacities to understand and process information, to communicate, to abstract from mistakes and learn from experience, to engage in logical reasoning, to control impulses, and to understand others' reactions. Their deficiencies do not warrant an exemption from criminal sanctions, but diminish their personal culpability.

I'm not sure that this is such a good argument on the part of the court. This implies that the mentally retarded are more dangerous to society than normal people. If so, they could be subject to incarceration under "danger to self or others" principles.

It would be better to "mainstream" the retarded by treating them like any other public school graduate. Make allowances for their limitations but allow them the honor of being treated as moral actors. If the State is into execution, then they should be allowed to participate fully in the process.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Instapundit suggests George is ready to pull the trigger.

Also, if you believe (as many bloggers do) that the Administration was using the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation as a distraction tool while the military buildup took place, this probably means that the buildup is more or less over and that more serious action is imminent.

Fire up Alex Garza's Moon on the old Handspring (a phases of the moon calculator). Note that the dark of the moon in August is the night of Thursday the 8th. In September the night of Friday the 6th. Hmmm.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

So some time ago I answered the question Why do Libertarians Dominate Blogdom?

Wherein I used a G.K. Chesterton quote to illustrate why the ideologically organized can produce arguments on the fly -- an obvious survival skill in blogdom.

Here's a demonstration from my personal life. My wife and I are listening to Tuesday's Morning Edition on NPR when up pops a story on a Rock Fish ban on the Left Coast. Apparently Rock Fish stocks are down so 20% of Left Coast fisherfolk will have to shut down. So my wife asks, "How can we handle problems like that?"

Because of my reading and experience, I was able to reply with no perceptible pause, "Government fisheries management has been tried for 60 to 100 years and the stocks continue to decline so it is a demonstrable failure. Protecting fish stocks requires the development of property rights in fish populations or in aquaculture areas (whichever approach works best with different species). Currently, fishermen can only profit by harvesting fish. Property rights will give someone ownership of the capital value of fish stocks which is the best way to encourage their appropriate cultivation."

Now you may well disagree with my remarks but the point is that I was able to generate thoughts and arguments on point in an instant.

Just the capability one needs for blogging.

Now as to why libertarians rather than, say, communists dominate blogging? Later.
Good News About the Geneva Convention

Many have argued that the US Government is bound by the Geneva Convention in fighting the War On Terror (WOT). And they may well be right.

The good news is that you are not. Civilians defending their homes against attack are neither protected by nor subject to the Geneva Convention since they are not signatories and not part of any sort of an armed force.

This means that if some Al Quida member (in or out of uniform) attacks you, or if you just happen to encounter one on the street, you can kill them without having any Geneva Convention problems. You need neither accept surrenders nor take prisoners. You can still be subject to war crimes prosecution and ordinary criminal law but your potential liabilities are somewhat reduced by the elimination of Geneva Convention problems.

If you happen to be a US citizen in the US, the government probably won't extradite you for War Crimes prosecution and US juries are unlikely to convict you of anything for capping an Islamic terrorist (just make sure you've got a real one before pulling the trigger).

Also those unfortunate restrictions like no Dum-Dum ammo don't apply either. So go to town.
Regulatory Searches of Private Land

NPR's All Things Considered had a story about Florida's invasion of homeowner's backyards to kill citrus trees for citrus canker. Hear an 84-year-old woman describe her attempt to defend her 4th Amendment rights against peace officers and tree killers in Florida. A judge later ruled that warrants (or permission) were required to go on to people's land.

It's important to note that courts have generally upheld warrantless regulatory searches of businesses but have been reluctant to do so in the case of homes. Good argument in favor of home-based businesses.

NPR's Phillip Davis reports that Florida's battle to eradicate citrus canker has caught home owners in the middle. State officials have been destroying blighted trees on residential property without permission. Healthy trees within a certain radius have also been destroyed. A Florida judge ruled this was unconstitutional and that officials needed to have permission before entering private property. Citrus canker is a threat to the state's $2.3 billion citrus industry. (4:00)

Monday, June 24, 2002

Protecting Liberty in a Permanent War

A complaint about US citizen POWs from CATO

Note however that there is quite a bit of precedent for holding US citizens as POWs. Lincoln held about 215,000 US citizen POWs (who were wearing gray at the time). In an undeclared war no less.

Also as to duration, we had no idea how long the Cold War would last either -- Harry Elmer Barnes "Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace" -- and I recall that in 1984, I didn't think that it would end 5 years later. There was also the fear that we wouldn't know when the Cold War ended. In the end, we did. I also recall the Malaysian Insurgency which lasted from 1948 or so until the '90s when the last communist unit got too old and retired.

It can take a while.

The Napoleonic wars lasted around 26 years from '89 to '15.

At this point in WWII, FDR had interned more than 200,000 US citizens and enemy aliens (out of a much smaller population). The max that the US is holding right now is 2K. Not too many yet.
Saw two previews at the local Cineplex over the weekend. Both for slacker films: Blue Crush (a Surf Chick Flick) and 8 Mile (Eminem's debut as Detroit trailer trash living near 8 Mile Road).

The peculiarity of these films is that the making of them contradicts their subjects. The making a modern theatrical release takes the focussed effort of thousands of people over several years. If the film makers emulated their subjects, the film would never be made. So the existence of the film proves that the subjects of the film (in these cases) are pathetic losers who have nothing but themselves to blame.