WolfesBlogArchives: May 2003

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

THE NEW RULING BY THE SUPREMES IN THE MARTINEZ CASE will lead to the widespread use of torture by U.S. police. There is still some small room for hope; the Supremes say you may sue the police officer for "outrageous conduct" (and hope that the jury believes your word against those of the testilying cop who claims he treated you with grandmotherly kindness). But apparently all manner of coercion is okay as long as the information squeezed out of us by foul means isn't used against us in court.

Posted by Claire @ 08:48 PM CST [Link]

WHEN I SAID I'D BE BACK TO BLOGGING ON TUESDAY, I REALLY MEANT IT. But reality had other opinions. My road trip to the Grand Western Conference of the Free State Project was plagued by multiple truck problems, which ultimately left me sitting on the side of the freeway in the early morning rain just when I should have been heading home.

However, this was also a classic case of dark clouds having silver linings. From the moment I arrived in Missoula, Montana, with a crippled truck late Friday evening, everybody -- most especially Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association -- rushed to help. An auto-electric shop stayed open late on Saturday, and on that day my ex Significant Sweetie (who's as nice an ex as anybody could ever want to have) and a stranger named Andy hauled me back and forth to the conference. Free Staters Debra and Torry Ricketts (Debra also being Clairewolfe.com's Webmistress of the Dark) bought my lunch and brought it to me when I was too frazzled even to know what to order. Sunni Maravillosa sat in at my table to help with book sales. Rick Tompkins, who was there to sell books for himself and Vin Suprynowicz, ended up selling a bunch for me as well, and asked nothing in return. And I'm sure I'm forgetting to mention yet other acts of kindness.

On Monday -- which could have been the real catastrophe, with a dead truck in the middle of nowhere -- all kinds of kind Montana strangers helped out, giving as fine an example as any why Montana looks increasingly like the strongest Free State candidate. But the best part of that disastrous holiday Monday was that Gary Marbut swooped in once again and not only fixed my truck when no shop was open but treated me like a princess all day, gave me a free shooting lesson, fixed me a great dinner, and put me up at his house, which is in one of the most glorious spots in a glorious state. (Just take a look at the view from his front yard. After looking at the photo, multiply the gloriousness times 10. The photo was taken in poor light and misty air and doesn't begin to show the real wonders.)

All I had to do in exchange for this day-long mini-vacation in paradise was clean up the watermelon we conspired to blast all over Gary's patio. After that, I can categorically state two things:

Gary also gave me a couple of really wicked privacy ideas, which I'll share once I've recuperated a bit.

Tomorrow I'll write a bit about the conference itself (which was sponsored by the Montana Libertarian Party). The short version of that report will be that the conference was outstanding and by golly I actually think the cat herders of the FSP may pull this project off, despite all the odds. Oh yeah, and that Montana just increased its odds in the Free State voting by a great heap. Everybody there was very impressed with the conference, the state, and the super-friendly, cussedly independent Montana people. For instance, when they talk about "new gun laws," they mean ones that get rid of restrictions, not ones that add restrictions. What other state can say that?

Posted by Claire @ 04:38 PM CST [Link]

IT SEEMS THE HYSTERIA AGAINST TOY GUNS isn't the exclusive province of American edu-crats with nothing better to do. Rick from Germany sends word that school kiddies in Manchester, England, are turning in their squirt guns and pop guns in a "toy gun amnesty." If they don't have a toy gun to surrender, they can turn in a poem instead. This is -- you figure out how -- supposed to help end war.

Guess everyone's forgotten how their gunless grandparents had to beg the people of the U.S. to send real guns to them in a real war with a real enemy. Hmph. Maybe in the future we should let them stave off deadly attackers by writing poems at them.

Posted by Claire @ 03:52 PM CST [Link]

Thursday, May 22, 2003

I'M OFF TO THE GREAT WESTERN CONFERENCE OF THE FREE STATE PROJECT! No new blog entries until I return on Tuesday May 27th -- so if you just can't live without my Pearls of Wisdom [roll of eyes], show up in Missoula, Montana, at 9:00 a.m. Sunday, when I'll be speaking on "Home of the Heart: Why Even Anarchists Need a Free State." For that matter, if you can live without my Pearls of Wisdom (and trust me, it's easy, I do it everyday), show up on Saturday, stay for the whole weekend, and meet Vin Suprynowicz, J.J. Johnson, FSP founder Jason Sorens, and others.

Like a snail, you'll have to bring your own shelter, though. Every motel room within 50 miles of the conference site is already booked up. Dunno about campgrounds, but probably them, too. See ya!

Posted by Claire @ 03:59 PM CST [Link]

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I'VE STARTED SAVING UP CHANGE FROM GROCERY SHOPPING. Every time I go to the grocery store, or for that matter the hardware store or Wal-Mart, I take some of the ones or fives I receive in change and stash them in the undiewear drawer. This is how I make little luxury purchases without feeling too much of an ouch. Once or twice a year, I buy something nice. A week ago it was a DVD player.

When the clerk at the appliance store asked "Cash, check, or charge?" I pulled out this handful of mostly $1 bills. And the three clerks standing nearby all said the same thing at once:

"Aha! A drug dealer!"

I joked back that yeah, I must be the biggest big-time dealer in the state, doing all my transactions in ones. We all laughed, they rang up the sale, and I took my new electronic toy home.

But you know, it ate at me. These three guys all came from very different places -- one a retiree who can't afford to stay retired, another a kid just marking time, and another a middle-aged guy involved in mainstream small-town politics on the side. Yet this idea that cash = crime has become so ingrained that all three of them thought the same thing at the same time. And TIPS-type paranoia has gotten so ingrained into my own consciousness that, by god, I actually wondered afterward if they did report me as a suspicious character. (This is a small town and at least two of those clerks know who I am and where I live, cash purchase or no.) No, a DVD purchase is hardly enough to trigger the letter of the Patriot Act or any of the other noxious anti-cash laws. But with today's amorphous standards of "suspicious activity" and with increasing threats that if you don't report someone "suspicious," you might end up in prison yourself ... well, it's created an extremely weird climate, even in the friendly little towns of the world. Very Stalinesque.

This is what "they" are doing to us.

Posted by Claire @ 01:51 PM CST [Link]

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

THIS IS ONE OF THOSE "I THOUGHT IT WAS A JOKE WHEN I FIRST READ IT" THINGS. It comes to us -- no surprise -- from the Pentagon's DARPA, those wonderful folks who brought you Total Information Awareness.

The embryonic LifeLog program would dump everything an individual does into a giant database: every e-mail sent or received, every picture taken, every Web page surfed, every phone call made, every TV show watched, every magazine read.

All of this -- and more -- would combine with information gleaned from a variety of sources: a GPS transmitter to keep tabs on where that person went, audio-visual sensors to capture what he or she sees or says, and biomedical monitors to keep track of the individual's health.

This gigantic amalgamation of personal information could then be used to "trace the 'threads' of an individual's life," to see exactly how a relationship or events developed, according to a briefing from the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, LifeLog's sponsor.

True story, sad to say. The only good news is that it won't be ready tomorrow or anything like that. You'll find the rest of this sad tale here, at Wired magazine.

Gee, I wonder if the Washington folks will share all of their e-mails, snapshots, GI tract x-rays, GPS tracks, and porn-site URLs with us. Maybe not, eh?

(Sunni M., you sure do have a way of brightening the day with your cheery little news finds.)

Posted by Claire @ 10:28 PM CST [Link]

THEY GOT RID OF THE CREEPY EYE-IN-THE-PYRAMID LOGO. And now, in a report demanded by Congress, the Pentagon has completed its equivalent of a face-lift, tummy tuck, and boob job. The [Twilight Zone theme music here] Total Information Awareness system is now the [Barney the Dinosaur theme music here] Terrorism Information Awareness system. And surely, nobody could possibly be opposed to having the helpful folks at the Pentagon protecting us against ... our own bank accounts, credit cards, medical data, and telephone records ... as long as it's for the sake of terrorism.

Well. We can all feel lots and lots better now.

Posted by Claire @ 09:02 PM CST [Link]

WHY DIDN'T THE JEWS FIGHT BACK AGAINST HITLER? And what motivated those who finally did defend themselves, like the prisoners of Sobibor and Treblinka, and the young people of the Warsaw and Vilna ghettos? Ian McCollum has written An Inquiry into the General Lack of Violent Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust. It's an easy read on a complex subject.

Ian doesn't say so, but many of the reasons for the lack of Jewish resistance sound a lot like what we hear from our neighbors right now.

Posted by Claire @ 04:48 PM CST [Link]

YOU'VE HEARD ABOUT THE "MATRICULA CONSULAR," the ID card issued by the Mexican government to its citizens in the U.S. It's been around for 130 years without controversy. But recently, anti-immigrant and "homeland security" folks have been upset because even illegal aliens can get the card, which then enables them to better function in American society. The matricula is increasingly accepted as legitimate ID by banks, government agencies, and private businesses. Besides, it enables its holder to get back into Mexico and stay there without hassles.

Wouldn't it be funny if, after all the years of Mexicans purchasing illicit U.S. ID, a black market developed in which freedom-loving U.S. citizens obtained illicit matriculas as a means of protecting their privacy? I mean, really. Acceptible ID that doesn't immediately tie in to a host of U.S. databases -- and that grants you a quick run for the border should you ever need it. That's a pretty good thing.

You must prove you're a Mexican national to get the card. How hard is that to do? A borrowed or forged birth certificate could do the job. Reportedly, consular officials don't usually check the validity of your "proof."

Here's a site that rants (really rants) against the matricula because it's so "criminal friendly." Some links lead to useful information.

Tip (of tongue in cheek): If you do this, it might be best not to look too much like Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the day you show up at the consulate.

Posted by Claire @ 11:44 AM CST [Link]

Monday, May 19, 2003

I MAY BE MANY THINGS. BUT A SPAMMER, I AIN'T. So you can imagine my surprise last week when my mail began bouncing with "confirmed spam source" as the reason.

The first time it happened, I thought it was a mail glitch. The second time, I began to wonder if some joker had maliciously reported my domain name as a source of spam. But after hours of digging through incomprehensible geek-speak at sites like http://relays.osirusoft.com I figured out that the company that hosts clairewolfe.com has fallen afoul of the anti-spam police. Possibly due to a faulty mail-server configuration. Or possibly due to an error by a spam-blocking system. Definitely not because they tolerate spam from their servers. Because they don't. But whatever reason, the blocking service makes no attempt to distinguish the guilty from the innocent.

That's not the icky part, though. (Click "more" for ... more.)


Posted by Claire @ 02:40 PM CST [Link]

Saturday, May 17, 2003

IF YOU'VE BEEN FOLLOWING THE BATTLE between the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharers, you know that, in its zeal to track down copyright violators, the RIAA has falsely identified -- and sent lawyerly nastygrams to -- a lot of innocent people

That's because the RIAA bases its accusations on the findings of brain-dead spiders and apparently doesn't check the accuracy of findings before making threats. Just this week (as reported by Declan McCullagh), the RIAA was forced to apologize to Penn State University's department of astronomy and astrophysics for having falsely accused them of pirating songs from the artist Usher.

Penn State has no songs by Usher on its servers. What it does have is a Professor Usher, whose name appears on the site, and a collection of perfectly delightful songs about astronomy, the "Astrocappella Project," sung by a group of scientists and techies.

The RIAA made a fool of itself. But that doesn't seem to stop it from using its heavy-handed tactics to bully the innocent.

Now somebody has come up with a way of driving RIAA robots a little crazy. You'll find the deviously funny plan "The RIAA Pit of Confusion" at Kuro5hin: Technology and Culture from the Trenches. Note that this plan is aimed at protecting the innocent against RIAA harassment, not at shielding "pirates."* Declan points out that the plan is flawed, in that it addresses only Web sites, not FTP sites. But still, if it helps the RIAA develop a sense of responsibility in place of its current mindless ruthlessness (hm, is the RIAA studying to become a government when it grows up?), we'll all benefit.

* (FWIW, although I do believe in copyright protection, I think the software and music industry groups are trying to hold back the tide & are ultimately hurting themselves by attempting -- with government help -- to impose a 20th-century marketing model on 21st-century technology and culture.)

Posted by Claire @ 04:01 PM CST [Link]

SAD, FAMILIAR STORY. Woman dies after NY City police charge into her apartment in a no-knock, no-think, flash-bang, wrong-house drug raid.

(Saturday evening) It just gets weirder and weirder. ABC news is now reporting that:

New York's Mayor Bloomberg is "deeply saddened" over the woman's death. Yeah. No politician will ever be "deeply saddened" by this kind of thing unless it kills his own aging mother or affects his chances of re-election. Nobody in authority really cares about this kind of "collateral damage" from the insane -- but oh-so-profitable and power-building -- drug war.

Posted by Claire @ 11:34 AM CST [Link]

THE ROCKET SCIENTIST COMPARES "THE MATRIX RELOADED" with the novels of William Gibson and the famous SF movies of recent years.

This next sequence in our exploration of the Wachowski brothers Matrix world expands, explains, and at the same time confounds things.

Whereas the original was almost psychoterror in places (the place where Agent Smith seals Neo's mouth comes to mind), 'Reloaded' is more like good 'ol honest science fiction.

Seen it twice now, once on opening night, and once on a matinee the day after. It does not even remotely disappoint.

He also has a comment or two from the POV of someone who knows guns. To see the review, click on "More."


Posted by Claire @ 11:14 AM CST [Link]

Friday, May 16, 2003

COME THE REVOLUTION, UP AGAINST THE WALL WITH THESE GUYS. (And the firing squad will aim for their digital implants.)

Here's the lovely latest from our friends at Applied Digital Solutions:

PALM BEACH, FL– May 13, 2003 – Applied Digital Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSX), an advanced technology development company, today announced that it has developed and successfully field tested a working prototype of what the company believes is the first-ever subdermal GPS “personal location device” (PLD). Field testing and follow-up laboratory testing of the disk-shaped prototype confirm that the specially designed antenna and the induction-based power-recharging method function properly.

The dimensions of this initial PLD prototype are 2.5 inches in diameter by 0.5 inches in depth, roughly the size of a pacemaker. As the process of miniaturization proceeds in the coming months, the Company expects to be able to shrink the size of the device to at least one-half and perhaps to as little as one-tenth the current size.

(Thank you to S. for bringing this ray of sunshine into our days.)

Posted by Claire @ 03:00 PM CST [Link]

AS WE GOOSESTEP TOWARD THE AMERICAN POLICE STATE, we might want to stop to check our own F-Scale rating. After World War II, researchers strove to identify the beliefs that made people receptive to fascism. The F-Scale is the modern refinement of the test they came up with.

You might quibble with the scoring categories (I am NOT a "liberal airhead"; I am a libertarian airhead), but it's interesting. Test yourself. Test Mom, Dad, teachers, preachers, cops, and politicians.

Posted by Claire @ 12:41 PM CST [Link]

IF YOU CRINGE AT THE THOUGHT OF A SURGICALLY SPLIT TONGUE or a ring through an even more sensitive body part, then maybe you don't want to read this article. But if you shy from all that, while at the same time you believe an eye job or a butt lift would make you better looking, then maybe you'll find it to be a perception-challenging think piece.

(Rick, you sure dig up interesting stuff, even if it does make me go Eeeeeewwwww!)

Posted by Claire @ 12:33 PM CST [Link]

Thursday, May 15, 2003

AND THE WINNAH IS ... Sunni Maravillosa, who becomes the first libertarian to publish a review of "The Matrix Reloaded." Nice job, Sunni. And now you can go get some rest. :-)

Posted by Claire @ 12:07 PM CST [Link]


Posted by Claire @ 09:33 AM CST [Link]

SO THESE TEXAS DEMOCRAT LEGISLATORS ARE HOLED UP IN OKLAHOMA. They've fled the state not on any issue of principle (of course), but simply because they don't like a Republican re-districting plan. (Somehow they consider it perfectly reasonable for the R's to have to put up with a D re-districting plan. You figure it out; I can't.) Their aim is to prevent a quorum so the R's can't finagle some Dems out of their jobs. Texas law lets the Department of Public Safety round up recalcitrant legislators in that circumstance, and the Texas Rangers have been aggressively on the case -- questioning one legislator's teenage daughter and even staking out a neo-natal unit where another's newborn twins are in intensive care.

Okay, let them play their silly games. But now the R's are trying to involve the FBI. And the Department of Homeland Security has already gotten involved, which is how they discovered the whereabouts of the Funny Fugitives in the first place.

At first, I thought that was creepy. But I was wrong. For the security of the people, the DHS could have no higher mission than arresting politicians. Just too darned bad the aim is to put them back to work.

Posted by Claire @ 09:12 AM CST [Link]

TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE TONIGHT. You know, if you run outside and shoot arrows at it and make lots of noise, the demon devouring the moon will drop his prey and run off. This is true and verfiable. It works every, single time, guaranteed.

Prove me wrong, I dare you. I am a graduate of the government school system and I know exactly what I'm talking about.

(In the meantime, here's a nice little compendium of eclipse lore by Ted Pedas and Marcy Pedas Sigler, the folks who originated the "Cruise to Darkness" concept of sailing out to meet an eclipse.)

Posted by Claire @ 01:01 AM CST [Link]

AH, YOU FORTUNATE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN CIVILIZATION. Mostly, you're welcome to all that hubbub, but tonight I envy you. You're the lucky dogs who get to see "The Matrix Reloaded" when it's fresh out of the can.

I'm staying home tonight (it's actually Wednesday night as I write this) while the local one-plex plays Disney (again). But I did find this wonderful quote from anarchist ancestor Emma Goldman in Salon's erudite and enthralled review of "Reloaded":

I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from conventions and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. If it meant that, I did not want it. 'I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody's right to beautiful, radiant things.' Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world -- prisons, persecution, everything.

This exalted quote is usually shortened to "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution." That's a good one, too, even if Goldman never really said it.

The original "Matrix" had more truths in it than any 10 religions, plus beauty abounding. Not to mention Carrie-Anne Moss for thee and Keanu for me. Whotta pair!

(Now Sunni and Rocket Scientist -- send me your reviews! I'll post 'em or link to 'em.)

Posted by Claire @ 12:19 AM CST [Link]

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

WHERE IS THAT DAMN CLAIRE, ANYHOW? She ain't said anything worth sayin' in two whole days and in the meantime the world's goin' to hell without even a handbasket, 'cause the taxman took the handbasket to put his deficit in. Will somebody tell that woman that even if some eggheads have proved that monkeys will mostly piss on the computer instead of writing Shakespeare that the monkeys are probably doin' a better job than her?

And speakin' of missin' from action, she ain't said a damn word about us folks in Hardyville since ... hell, since that other fool idiot thought he was God's own gift to the whole world. And now we got another one even worse after nobody thought that was possible in the entire future history of the whole human race and where is that woman?

Anyhow, while we're waitin' for her to say something new worth sayin', somebody wanted to know where they could find some old stuff worth sayin' again. So for all you that are ready to kick gummint ass instead of havin' it keep kickin' yours, here's "Keeping the Baby Unnumbered", which is actually by Claire and Lawyer X, except the rockheads at WorldNetDaily keep changin' the credit line. And since a bunch of whiners whined about that one when it first hit the fan, here's the next one, "(Not) Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about SSNs". Now I'm gonna go hunt that woman down and put her back to work.

Posted by Nat Lyons @ 10:24 PM CST [Link]

Saturday, May 10, 2003

IN CHINA, MOBS ARE SLAUGHTERING PETS in the fear that the critters are spreading SARS. The scenes of cruelty are horrible, and ugly with self-satisfaction. The human race hasn't improved much since the fourteenth century, when panicked people killed cats, convinced the creatures were carrying the black plague. Or the seventeenth century, when dogs and cats were slaughtered by official order in a destructive attempt to halt a recurrance of the disease. (In fact, rat-killing felines were one of the few things that could have protected these ignorant people against plague.)

Back in the fourteenth century, good Christian folk also blamed the Jews for the disease, among the many other things they blamed the Jews for. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Posted by Claire @ 09:57 AM CST [Link]

WITH THE NEW HIPAA ANTI-PRIVACY REGULATIONS IN EFFECT it may be time to present your physician with this form requesting non-disclosure of your private medical data. The form is the work of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which has been doing other heroic work to protect physician-patient confidentiality. Among their latest efforts: A "Miranda warning" ad informing medical patients that everything we say can and will be used against us. (They could use some $$ to help get this ad out and pursue a lawsuit against HIPAA.)

The government and the media call HIPAA regulations "privacy regulations." Absolutely. And war is peace, fear is security, hate is love, and George W. Bush is the greatest president America ever had. Next to Bill Clinton, of course. (Remember that because of a last-minute Clinton-administration screwup, the incoming Bushies had the chance to stop these regulations dead. And instead Bush ordered them to go into effect -- even though he had to make an end run around the objections of his own Health and Human Services secretary, Tommy Thompson, to impose the regs.)

Posted by Claire @ 01:45 AM CST [Link]

Friday, May 9, 2003

KAREN DE COSTER HAS A FUNNY ON HER BLOG TODAY. It's not only a hoot, it's sort of encouraging. Take a look and decide for yourself whether George W. Bush has just doomed himself to be the next Michael Dukakis. (Michael WHO???)

Posted by Claire @ 10:29 PM CST [Link]

HELLO TO A FRIENDLY BLOGGER. At times I have the sneaking suspicion that there are about 200 libertarian bloggers in the world and we're all reading each others' copy every day. Then I check my Webstats and discover the unexpected. This week, for instance, Wolfesblog got a handful of visits from Veiled4Allah. That's the blog of a young American convert to Islam, Al-Muhajabah (a nickname that means "she who wears islamic dress"). Veiled4Allah is worth a look. I especially like Al-Muhajabah's list of links. Her list contains some of the usual libertarian suspects, but a really marvelous variety of points of view.

Posted by Claire @ 10:18 PM CST [Link]

Thought everyone here would enjoy the following e-mail exchange that took place this morning between myself and "Secret Squirrel".

Name changed to protect the brazen, of course! :)

SS: I work in a library, and my computer accidentially erased everyone's SSN #'s... Shucks, don't know how that happened! ;)

DR: Are you serious? This is GREAT! I *love* it!!! Way to go!

SS: Oh yeah. Took me the better part of the day, but somehow, I made that mistake.... (whistles)

We could use a few more SS's. Not just in libraries, either. Blockbuster® clerks could develop severe cases of dyslexia, for instance ... (wink, wink)

Posted by Debra @ 01:47 PM CST [Link]

Thursday, May 8, 2003


One thought to consider when evaluating the privacy invasion aspects of the RFID thing...if they are ubiquitious, then anyone scanning a wide area will be getting a whole bunch of data. Snipping them out and carrying a bunch of them around might be kinda fun. "My god Burt, this gal is carrying 4 pairs of bluejeans, 100 frozen dinners, and a refrigerator, and a snowblower!"...

I love the way this guy thinks.

Everybody who cares about privacy knows by now that we're soon to receive a little bonus with virtually every purchase we make -- a radio-frequency ID chip (RFID) woven into our undiewear, embedded into our bedding, planted in our pot pies, buried in our books, dug into our drugs, and tucked into our tampons. Manufacturers are lining up to contract for billions of such chips, even though the tech standards aren't quite "there" yet. The Gnomes of Euro announced long ago that, as of 2005, every scrap of their currency will carry an RFID chip woven into its fibers. (The dollar won't be far behind.)

EVERY SINGLE ITEM WE EVER BUY, EVERY BILL THAT EVER PASSES THROUGH OUR HANDS will carry a unique idenifying number. And these numbers will be scannable and trackable for the life of the item, unless the chip is "switched off" or destroyed. And The Rocket Scientist isn't kidding; industry groups really do have ambitions literally to set up a network of scanners -- in airports, seaports, along highways, in stores -- yes, and in homes -- that would tell them where their product is at any given time. And oh, goodie, wouldn't the feds also love THAT?

In anticipation of this privacy-slaughtering Blitzkrieg whose forces are amassing on the borders of our lives, we should definitely be developing exactly the kinds of defenses The Rocket Scientist suggests.

Others include:


Posted by Claire @ 08:55 PM CST [Link]

Wednesday, May 7, 2003

DO YOU REMEMBER THE FARMER FROM THE UK WHO GOT A LIFE SENTENCE FOR KILLING A BURGLAR? In a fit of near-sanity, his sentence was eventually reduced to a "mere" five years for manslaughter. But now, here's what British government lawyers have to say:

Government lawyers trying to keep the Norfolk farmer Tony Martin behind bars will tell a High Court judge tomorrow that burglars are members of the public who must be protected from violent householders. ...

In legal papers seen by The Independent, Home Office lawyers dispute Mr Martin's contention that he poses no risk to the public because he only represents a threat to burglars and other criminals who trespass on his property.

They say: "The suggestion ... that the Parole Board was not required to assess the risk posed by Mr Martin to future burglars or intruders (on the grounds that they do not form part of the public at large) is remarkable.


(And thanks for this one, too, Rick.)

Posted by Claire @ 02:56 PM CST [Link]

SAKS TELLS CUSTOMERS IT WON'T ACCEPT MORE THAN $350 IN CASH. And you can thank the USA-Patriot Act. At least the guy who wrote this editorial can still laugh about it. A little.

(I love it. This item came from Ulrich in Germany who manages to keep better tabs on America than most Americans do. When you visit his site, be sure to hang in there long enough for the background to load; it may take a minute, but you'll recognize it when it comes up. Thanks, Rick!)

Posted by Claire @ 02:45 PM CST [Link]

GOOD NEWS. SORT OF. An industry group involved in development of the radio-frequency ID tags (RFID) that are eventually to be placed in virtually every item we buy, has announced that a "kill" switch will be part of the design.

Unfortunately, this switch will require clerks to ask customers if they want the chips turned off. And it appears not every chip will have the "kill" function. Which means most of the chips will remain "on" for the entire life of that new shirt, bag of rice, firearm, or controversial book that you buy. While sidestepping the ghastly tracking abilities of these chips, the makers stress how "useful" they could be if not turned off:

For example, garments could tell a washer what settings it (sic) needs to be washed under, or foods could tell a microwave how long and at what temperature they need to be cooked.

Eeeeeeeew-yuck! Are we really so stupid that we need our food to tell us how to cook it? No, wait a minute, we're so stupid that our popcorn will talk to our microwave instead of us. We've reached a sorry pass if that's the sort of benefit they have to buffalo us with, these days.

(Thank you to C^2 for the heads up. P.S. A rocket scientist points out that a quick zap in the microwave should de-activate any RFID chip a manufacturer foists upon you. This will work great for anonymizing a tee-shirt or book. But don't try this with your new Ruger! Might also not be a good idea to microwave your credit card or a roll of film.)

Posted by Claire @ 02:24 PM CST [Link]

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

IT'S NOT PURITY, BUT PRIORITIES. Some people mistakenly think I advocate an exalted standard of libertarian purity. Then they point out -- quite rightly -- that neither I nor anybody else can live totally according to "pure" libertarian principles. That is, one can't live one's life without ever funding some freedom-destroying government project or compromising one's own liberty or privacy in some way.

Heck, I've pointed that out myself. If you live naked in a cave, someone pays tax on the cave to support government. Or the cave gets a tax exemption, which thrusts the burden of taxation on to some other poor sucker. And either way, although you've done your utmost, you're not "pure." But the, purity isn't the point. Priorities are the point.

The point is: How consistantly do we live according to our principles, in this imperfect and all-too-human world? And do we strive to live as consistantly as possible with them? And if not, why not?

Let's say that the ideal -- the admittedly unattainable ideal -- is 1) never to cooperate or compromise with the state in any way and 2) to do [more]

Posted by Claire @ 03:14 PM CST [Link]

Monday, May 5, 2003

SOME GHASTLY DO-GOODER ATTACKED OUR LOVE FOR OUR CANINE BEST FRIENDS. Apparently loving your dog is unfair to the homeless or some such rot. Not to mention that it turns you into a lonely, inert couch potato (a fact that my crew of four devoted woods-walkers would be surprised to learn).

Karen "Pit Bull" de Coster answered so brilliantly on LewRockwell.com that the rest of us dog lovers can just hang loose and not have to get our own back-fur up. (And to you Friends of the Kitties: no specisism intended. Karen's defense is as much about freedom and free markets as about critters.)

Posted by Claire @ 01:14 PM CST [Link]

OH DARN. I forgot to write about TV Turn-Off Week. Missed it by a week or so..

But you know, if you start right now, you can get in plenty of practice for next year's TV Turn-Off Week.

Posted by Claire @ 12:58 PM CST [Link]

TWO WOMEN, ONE CHECKED FIREARM, AND THE TSA. The government protects us against retired LEOs with unloaded guns in their checked luggage. I feel SO much safer now ...

Posted by Claire @ 10:27 AM CST [Link]

Sunday, May 4, 2003

PANAMA IN A NUTSHELL. Considering going offshore? Wondering whose advice to trust? Meet Sandy Sandfort. Sandy is a lawyer, entrepreneur, writer, and American ex-patriate now living in Panama. He has written a 30-page, 9,000-word report, Panama in a Nutshell. This report is loaded with solid information on how to incorporate a business, open a bank account, or live well in this very friendly Central American country.

Clairewolfe.com is the first to offer Panama in a Nutshell. Buy the report and for a limited time Sandy will personally answer most of your questions about Panama at no charge. That's a heck of a deal. Click here to find out more and to order your copy of Panama in a Nutshell.

Posted by Claire @ 11:48 PM CST [Link]

Saturday, May 3, 2003

IT'S QUITE A CLEVER SETUP, the way moral uplifters excuse their own vices while wanting us to go to hell or jail for ours. You almost have admire the chutzpah of a man like Mr. Bennett. Almost.

Religion and government: the twin frauds that enable small men to control others while dodging the responsiblity to control themselves. A pox upon them both..

Posted by Claire @ 01:16 PM CST [Link]

SEEMS THE U.S. FEDGOV DOESN'T APPROVE OF CANADA. Lessee ... Big Brother Sam says Canada protects privacy too well. He says Canada doesn't spend enough money on cops. He's irked because Canada didn't want to rush into war. And a whole bunch of U.S. feddies also got their knickers in a knot because Canada merely considered decriminalizing marijuana.

The land of the free?

Too bad about those damn gun laws. But then, millions of Canadians, including at least three provincial governments, are resisting firearm registration. How many U.S. states have said no to Brady or the Clinton-Bush "assault-weapons" ban?

Posted by Claire @ 12:00 PM CST [Link]

Friday, May 2, 2003

ONCE AGAIN, THE LEFT DOES IT BEST. If you're engaged in any sort of organized activist or monkeywrenching efforts, copy and post this common-sense security list by private investigator Sheila O'Donnell. Follow it and reality-check yourself against it once a month or so.

Posted by Claire @ 02:40 PM CST [Link]

OH, BROTHER. Intel announces open-source lip-reading software Great for those who like to give commands to their computers via voice. Crappy for those who don't look forward to the day when Big Bro's surveillance cameras can interpret our lip flapping, feed our alleged words straight into a database, and send out instant ninja-raid alerts if they think we've uttered "bomb" instead of "Bombay" or "Bush sucks" instead of "Botox."

Posted by Claire @ 02:29 PM CST [Link]

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON ON "GUN CONTROL." The George W. Bushwhack on the "assault weapons" ban is just something that runs in the family.

Posted by Claire @ 12:44 AM CST [Link]


Treasury's debt managers have taken a number of steps since February to prevent the government from defaulting on the national debt, but ``on current projections, the extraordinary measures taken since Feb. 20, 2003, will only be adequate to meet the government's needs until the latter half of May,'' said a statement released Tuesday.

After that - absent a boost in the government's borrowing authority by Congress - Treasury would breach the current $6.4 trillion ceiling on the national debt.

``The Treasury will continue to work with Congress to ensure the government's ability to finance its operations,'' Treasury said.

Treasury has asked Congress to boost the government's borrowing authority, although it has not suggested a specific amount. A proposal is pending on Capitol Hill that would raise the debt ceiling to $7.38 trillion.

Last year, Congress boosted the old debt limit by $450 billion, from $5.95 trillion to the current $6.4 trillion.

(Thanks to RW for the info.)

Posted by Claire @ 12:32 AM CST [Link]

WHEN I FIRST HEARD THAT THE NRA HAD ONE OF ITS OWN CONVENTION ATTENDEES ARRESTED for passing out pro-gun literature in the public area outside the convention hall, I figured there had to be more to the story. Like maybe the guy was nude, lewd, loud, obnoxious, trespassing, or keeping delegates from passing. But the more that comes out, the more it looks like the NRA doesn't believe in free speech, any more than it really believes in gun rights. Tim Condon, Esq., an attorney from Tampa, Florida, and member services director for the Free State Project, really was arrested for peacefully handing out pro-gun Free State literature in a public place. He and the FSP are considering legal action against the NRA. Go get 'em, guys!

Posted by Claire @ 12:23 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, May 1, 2003

NEXT TIME SOME STORE SAYS ONLY HELPLESS WHIMPS ARE WELCOME you might slap this on their window. Found it at Simon Jester's site.

(Anyway, you don't need no stinkin' permit.)

Even though I sign this message, that site belongs to some other little devil.

Posted by Simon Jester @ 05:56 PM CST [Link]

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