Friday, August 08, 2003

TWIC Cards

MAXIMUS Awarded $3.8 Million Smart Card Project by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration
RESTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 9, 2003--The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has awarded MAXIMUS (NYSE:MMS) a five-month, $3.8 million contract to assist TSA in field testing various technologies that will lead to a common and universally-recognized Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) that could potentially be used by 12 million transportation workers at seaports, airports, and land transportation hubs.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Radicals Pleading Guilty

Glenn Reynolds on the Sherman Austin case:
You also see in this case the way in which threats of "terrorism" are allowing prosecutors to extract plea bargains in dubious cases. One consequence is that when the Justice Department gets a plea bargain, you can't automatically assume that it's proof the underlying case was especially good, just that the accused was afraid to roll the dice.

You can't protect cowardly radicals from pleading. This happens a lot in political cases. See the case of Jim Bell or the case of Michael Milkin or the case of Bill Gates.

In these political cases, it's quite common for the defendants to plead and in some cases get longer sentences than they would have got with a straight conviction.

The "Right to Discriminate"

David Bernstein on The Volokh Conspiracy
Hmm. I don't know of anyone in the Federalist Society orbit who advocates a constitutional right to discriminate, as such. Richard Epstein advocates a constitutional right to liberty of contract, a right that would include the ability to discriminate, among many other things. Eugene has vigorously argued that much of the "harassment" part of antidiscrimination law conflicts with, and is a violation of, the First Amendment. And my forthcoming book (which I know Judge Calabresi has seen, and I hope got his attention), argues that the scope of antidiscrimination law must be limited so that it does not conflict with vigorous protection of the constitutional rights to freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, expressive association, and the right to petition government. But none of this is the same as supporting a "right to discriminate."

I don't know why Prof Bernstein is hiding the fact that libertarians believe that enactments such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are major human rights violations. That's certainly what I argued back in 1964 during a 7th grade class debate. I think that those who look to the Constitution for validation of this view (rather than to Natural Law) could point to the 5th, 9th, 10th, & 14th Amendments; the Contracts Clause; and the principle of Substantive Due Process.

Indeed, since discrimination is a fundamental aspect of the application of human intelligence and that of the lesser creatures (this is food, that is danger); genuine outlawing of discrimination would be madness.

I must admit, for example, that I practiced many forms of invidious discrimination in the selection of my wife.

Federal Protections and Responsibilities

Sign the Petition ||
There are more than 1,000 federal protections and responsibilities denied to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender couples because they cannot legally marry in this country.

Whoa! If there are that many federal protections and responsibilities the Feds have way too much power. They're mucking about with too many things they shouldn't be. Personally, I try and avoid as many federal protections and responsibilities as I possibly can.

Monday, August 04, 2003

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

In honor of the 74th General Convention of the Domestic and Foreign
Mission Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA:

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

by Rudyard Kipling

I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out
in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes
would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will bum,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.

Unregulated Surgery

I'm shocked and appalled that the Feds are not protecting us from rogue surgeons.  From a New York Times feature on how to develop a new surgical procedure:

Surgeons who want to try something new have a great deal of leeway, because new operations, unlike new drugs, are not regulated by the government. As a result, many surgical techniques have simply been brought into practice by doctors who invented them, started using them and then taught them to colleagues.