Friday, February 07, 2003

NYC Group Give Away Toy Guns in Protest

Friday February 7, 2003 4:00 AM

NEW YORK (AP) - The Manhattan Libertarian Party conducted a ``Guns for Tots'' toy giveaway Thursday outside a public school in protest of a city bill that would ban the imitation weapons.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg interviewed, Friday, on WABC radio was upset as well. He claimed to be unable to understand why people would think or behave "like this". On the other hand, libertarians can easily understand why Mayor Mike would think and behave as he does. The advantage of outsider status I guess. Greater understanding.

I hope that the City Council toy gun ban has exemptions for museums, collectors, and New York's toy industry the way bans on real guns often do.

There are probably quite a few toy guns in museums and private collections in NYC. NYC is also the center of the American toy industry. I wonder how one can be expected to design and market toy guns without possessing them? But presumably that's the point.
Jacko Talks About His 'Disturbing' Life
Which reminds me of the old joke:

Young Man in Confessional: Father, is it really a sin to sleep with a girl?

Priest: No, my son. It's not a sin to sleep with a girl but the problem with you young people is that you don't just sleep.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Librarian's Dilemma

The editorial explains that some libraries have responded to the USA Patriot Act by deleting records so the government can't get them.

I do find the attitude it reflects pretty disturbing, especially given that (as I understand it) at least one of the Sept. 11 hijackers used a public library computer to make his flight reservations for 9/11/01. The thinking seems to be that national security investigations to stop terrorism are a greater threat to America than terrorism itself, such that it's better to have the FBI come up with nothing than to allow the FBI to collect evidence successfully.

This is not restricted to libraries. There has been a long debate about the use of encryption and other technologies to preserve privacy and anonymity online. Some ISPs offer various levels of anonymity and delete logs to facilitate the process.

Arguments in favor of this practice take several forms:

1) Government agents are more dangerous than the persons they seek. Governments killed many more people in the 20th century than did anyone else.

2) Since most federal government law enforcement actions do not involve defense of the realm against foreign enemies or prevention of Common Law (and hence serious) crimes one should not be expected to surrender various liberties in service of a lesser (or non-existant) value. Note that if something wasn't a crime at Common Law it can hardly be a serious breach of anything. They were bright people and would have noticed the problem. Immigaration, money laundering, drugs, taxes, administrative violations, etc. make up the bulk of Federal LE activities. Not crimes at Common Law so not serious. If the Feds restricted themselves to serious crimes maybe we'd care less about giving up privacy.

3) The Zone of Privacy arguement.

Overlooked Advantages of ID Requirements

ID requirements and the various proofs of this and that that our rulers expect us to present these days are not uniformly bad. What's forgotten is that some of these requirements are for things we may not want to do anyway and the lack of "appropriate documentation" provides us with a good defense to charges that we failed to do something that they desperately want us to do.

For example, the fine public schools or the Northeast have imposed all sorts of ID requirements on new students for fear that children from other districts will sneak into town and steal the fabulous educations they offer. Parents have to present utility bills and various forms of ID to establish local residency. Those who lack the required proofs, cannot register their children in school. This means that they can hardly be charged with truancy since they may lack proof of residence in any school district.

If the PO requires ID to mail packages (as some now do) then private alternatives start to look better. Encourages the use of UPS & Fedex.

If you lack picture ID (either permanently or temporarily) and are ordered to appear in court as a juror or a witness or in a civil matter, you can point out that you are unable to comply because you lack ID and thus cannot enter the courthouse.

Likewise for meetings in Federal buildings with employees of the Federal Government with whom you would rather not meet. Should get you through one round of excuses in any case.

Our rulers have not yet required us to have ID, period, but have only required us to have ID if we want to indulge in certain activities. So if we'd rather not play, they can hardly punish our lack of ID and the accompanying lack of ability to comply with their orders, can they?

I'm sure that in practice they will think that they can expect us to obtain ID and then present it to comply with their orders to do things but it would make for some interesting converstions.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

DANA BLANKENHORN EMAILS: "Two words -- Space Elevator." Sounds good to me. He didn't like my paper-ballots piece much, though. Oh, well.

Great idea! until you get to the punchline of the joke, "The bad news is that you get to write the Environmental Impact Statement."