The search for the second terrorist suspect responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing is underway today. Meanwhile, the governor of Massachusetts has issued a ‘lockdown’ order to nearly 1 million people. Check out some of the photos online; Boston looks like a ghost town in broad daylight.

Here’s my question: Should it be legal for the state to issue a ‘stay inside’ or ‘martial law’ type order to an entire city when searching for one individual? This individual is understandably very dangerous. But should the state be allowed to use its own definition of ‘dangerous individual’ to enforce such strict movement orders on nearly 1 million people?

Think about that for a minute. 1 million is about 1/300th of the population of the United States of America. In other words, the state is lowering the annual GDP of the entire nation by 1 day for 1 million people, or 1/365 * 1/300 *\$15.09 trillion, for a total loss of up to \$137.8 million. (It might a little less, since I rounded up. It could also be more, because large population centers often have slightly higher than average salaries. But you get the picture.)

I don’t know what the best answer is, but the ability to put 1 million people on ‘lockdown’ seems like a lot of power to me. Should ‘safety’ be valued more than ‘freedom’ in this case? Or should citizens retain the right to travel freely when just one fugitive is on the loose?

Statistics update: Boston has an annual GDP of \$313.7 billion. Using just the city’s GDP and city’s population instead of a national estimate yields a far more precise statistic for the total economic activity cost of the lockdown. 1/365 * \$313.7 billion = \$859.4 million. Wow. This means my original estimate was actually on the low side. This is a more accurate number and it’s about 6 times as much!

Second update: HotAir quotes a tweet from about a local economist claiming the cost of shutting down Boston would be between \$250 and \$330 million a day. I would have imagined it to be more than that, especially on a weekday. I wonder which numbers he is using.

On second thought, I’m not factoring in ‘Black Friday’ retail sales. ‘Black Friday’ may imply lower average GDP per day before the holiday season starts, and higher average GDP per day from Black Friday until Christmas. Maybe this economist is factoring that into his calculations somehow.

A couple of stories on ‘death’ and ‘taxes’ this morning, on tax day 2013.

This man blew himself up on his front lawn last night. According to neighbors, he had a ‘very strong dislike’ for government… The government can’t demand money from you once you are dead.

TurboTax’s efile system reportedly crashed temporarily… but it is back online now.

To give you an idea of how little that is, consider the fact a small business making more than \$400 gross income pays at least 13.3%* in social security and medicare taxes. Obama paid just 5.1% more than the poorest business. A comparable private business** making \$608,000 (Obama’s gross income) would be forced to pay 39.6% income tax + 13.3% self employment tax or 52.9% of their income in taxes. (in 2013: 39.6% + 15.5% = an even higher 55.1%)

What percentage of your income was taken this year?

(*Self employment tax will go back up to 15.5% in 2013)

(**Read: an entity generating jobs without coercing any persons)

This article in the Huffington Post outlines why conditions in teaching are getting worse and worse, and warns young people to avoid joining the profession.

However, the article seems to blame cuts and governmental intrusion. While the government’s meddling is a problem, as more federal involvement just lowers quality, the cuts themselves are not. As a counter example, many private schools deliver a superior product, with less funding.

A voucher system would allow schools to compete for the best teachers, and the teachers to compete for the best schools. We need to roll back federal involvement in education; states should manage their public schools. We also need to roll back state involvement in education; parents should manage their private schools.

Do kids belong to parents, or to the government?

This is yet another question progressives are forcing us to reevaluate.

You’d think the answer would be obvious. Apparently, not so. See the video below.

This is once again a product of the change in our culture. When you don’t want to take personal responsibility for your actions, such as your sexual activity, it is a natural product that you would ask your government to take care of your kids for you.

Furthermore, instead of allowing parents to choose higher quality private institutions via school vouchers, thus getting more education for less money, progressives want parents to put more money into corrupt teacher unions and campaign coffers.

This stems from the fact the left believes that you shouldn’t have any choice, because you might make bad decisions. It is a natural conclusion then that the government should have full responsibility over your children.

I mourn for future generations of kids. We are getting less education, fewer usable skills, fewer on the job training opportunities for kids, all at a much greater cost. Future generations will be tens of trillions in debt to pay for the rampant welfare and poorly spent education money of their parents.

Until our cultural fabric regains a desire for personal responsibility, everyone – including the children, perhaps especially the children – will suffer.

Check out this funny article about a bank robber in Washington D.C. who failed to rob two separate banks.

I thought one of the comments was particularly succinct:
“Writing a robbery note should be a basic skill for all high school graduates of the D.C. School System.”

I agree. And the honor students can then go to college and learn to issue IRS tax forms.

This article, via Reason.com, is full of all kinds of excellent. It is, in the words of Bill and Ted, ‘most triumphant’.

In particular, one piece about ‘jury nullification’ stuck out to me.

Better yet, if he sits on a jury or two and stubbornly refuses to find any reason why he should convict some poor mark who was hauled in for owning a forbidden firearm or for ingesting the wrong chemicals. Jury nullification isn’t illegal (yet), but it helps others escape punishment for doing things that are, but ought not be [sic]. No harm, no foul is a good rule for a juror, no matter what lawmakers say.

It is good that those on trial are assumed innocent until proven guilty. But I also believe the laws broken or in question should be assumed unnecessary until proven necessary, regardless of precedent. Every single trial should be a possible battleground to overturn an unjust law that infringes on a person’s basic rights, before it is determined whether or not the law was broken.

Wow, now here is a fantastic example of the slippery slope conservatives have been discussing, as it relates to same-sex marriage.

Once you redefine marriage, you apparently have to punish people who disagree with you. (After all, criticism and free speech are equivalent to emotional trauma in the eyes of liberals…) This new House resolution written by a Democratic congresswoman calls on the 50 states to emulate a Californian bill in limiting the free speech of all therapists.

The existing Californian legislation limits therapists from expressing their opinion concerning sexual orientation. In this way, we are already losing our rights to free speech, in the name of ‘sexual liberation’.

The battle for marriage rights was never really about marriage. Such a thing could have easily been accomplished with alternative legislation. It has always been about silencing dissenters. Once these ‘nontraditional’ orientations have marriage rights, they will be just one step away from silencing medical staff, therapists, churches, and ultimately, all citizens, by outlawing so-called ‘hate speech’. (Where ‘hate speech’ will include ‘I disagree with the homosexual lifestyle.’)

While the resolution doesn’t explicitly list acceptable gender orientations, a Republican amendment to exclude ‘pedophilia’ from recommendation for protection was struck down by Democrats. Representative Alcee Hastings, D-Florida, had this to say in support of the resolution:

“This bill addresses our resolve to end violence based on prejudice and to guarantee that all Americans, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability or all of these ‘philias’ and fetishes and ‘isms’ that were put forward need not live in fear because of who they are. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this rule,” he said while Congress was considering the plan.

Since the amendment to exclude ‘pedophilia’ from the resolution was voted down by Democrats, resulting legislation could stop therapists from telling pedophiles that they should try to resist their lust for children.

Just think of it: The House Democrats sponsoring this resolution have effectively grouped homosexuality and pedophilia together. It is actually the most refreshingly honest piece of dishonesty I have seen from Democratic legislators in years.

But should we be surprised that the Democrats supporting the rights of homosexuals are now supporting the rights of pedophiles? We have already witnessed these ‘nontraditional’ orientations linked together in the form of NAMBLA. And the vast majority, or close to 100%, of child abuse crimes are committed by males, where only 60-70% of child abuse victims are female, which implies a greater share of homosexual sex offenders than statistically present in the population.

My prediction: the next big push from these ‘free sexual thinkers’ will be to lower the age of consent, and to ‘release’ minors from the convictions of their parents. Democratic logic: “After all, life will be too difficult for those with the new legitimate sexual orientation of ‘pedophile’ if the age of consent stays at 18, right?! ‘Pedophiles’ need to be able to get married and adopt, too!”

This is a natural consequence of the ‘subjective morals’ we have taught children in school. What’s next? No counseling for murderers, because ‘being a murderer is a way you are born, not a choice’? Once you accept the premise that there is no right way to live, any way becomes equally valuable. Will we soon see a return of gladiator rings to satisfy the lust of a violent people?

In any case, I knew this sort of thing would happen over time as the moral fabric of our society is shredded, but I had no idea the progressive party would move so quickly.

Update 4/4/2013: The first version of this post talked about a ‘bill’ by House Democrats. The WND article talks about the item as a bill, but it is actually a resolution. The resolution would not change federal law, but instead asks states to emulate Californian law.

Now here is a guy who gets it. Checkout David Stockman’s opinion piece, in of all places, the New York Times.

It’s a long piece, but worth every sentence. If you want to understand the reason for America’s recession and growing debt, I recommend reading it in its entirety.

It’s difficult for me to pick one quote, because the article is like 22-carat gold. (including quite a few of his criticisms of conservatives) We like to idolize our past Republican presidents, but they have joined in on the central planning, love of theory, spending sprees, and fiat currency manipulation just as much as their Democratic counterparts. Here’s a quote near the end, discussing the possibility of gently deflating our Keynesian fueled bubble, that really popped out at me:

These policies have brought America to an end-stage metastasis. The way out would be so radical it can’t happen. It would necessitate a sweeping divorce of the state and the market economy. It would require a renunciation of crony capitalism and its first cousin: Keynesian economics in all its forms. The state would need to get out of the business of imperial hubris, economic uplift and social insurance and shift its focus to managing and financing an effective, affordable, means-tested safety net.

The United States hasn’t had a free market in 80 years or more, and Mr. Stockman knows it. While I am not in complete agreement with one or two of his ideas (such as his jab at lowering tax rates, or recommendation to limit the free speech of politicians), he has earned my respect with his completely spot on analysis of the causes of our problem: Keynesian economics, central planning and heavy regulatory burdens, fiat currency, and out of control federal spending sprees.

Via HotAir: This author is implying as much. Check out the article:

Yet his exploration of Kadoodle — think of it as the equivalent of Evil Spock, complete with goatee — not only illuminates how search engines shape individual choices but asks whether the government should have a role in keeping this power in check.

Yes, because clearly, federal bureaucrats are unbiased*, and could totally be trusted with that power. (*note my usage of sarcasm.)

You can splice it any way you want, but if Google wants to propel some listings to the top, it is their right to do so. It’s called ‘the right to free speech’. If you don’t like it, you can always use Bing, Ask Jeeves, or any of the other hundreds of search engines available.

Free speech is inconvenient. It is, by definition, biased. And yes, it’s completely feasible Google could bring some headlines to the front in a biased manner.

How do you think Google decides which articles make it into the ‘top news’ page? A federal panel of bureaucrats of equal partisan makeup? Would you want a bunch of bureaucrats to choose your news for you? Even if Google uses software to choose news listings, the natural bias of the marketing team, in a celebrity worship culture, is going to mean more articles on sports and politics and fewer articles on math, astronomy, or even engineering. (When’s the last time you saw a physicist or mathematician make it into the news every month for an entire year? And yet you see articles about Obama or Justin Bieber every single day)

I wouldn’t trade free speech for anything. All free and biased speech should be protected, including the speech of those with different viewpoints than my own. (such as the views of Google)

Tagged with:

What facets of white male culture create so many mass shootings?

Why are so many white men and boys producing and entertaining themselves with violent video games and other media?

Why do white men buy, sell and manufacture guns for profit; attend gun shows; and demonstrate for unrestricted gun access disproportionately more than people of other ethnicities or races?

Why are white male congressmen leading the fight against gun control?

I think there’s a better question we should be asking: “Why do journalists use miniscule and incomplete data sets to draw massive conclusions?”

According to this left leaning news site, there have been 62 mass shootings in all of the United States*, totaling 513 victims since 1982, or 513 deaths in 31 years. (*This figure is for the entire country)

In order to learn whether gun control laws work, we need to compare this figure to a place that has strict gun control. How about Chicago, which has had strict gun control since 1982?

I went ahead and added up the homicides per year in Chicago since 1990 (which is actually a shorter time period by 6 years, compared to mass shootings since 1984). Would you like to guess how many people have been murdered in Chicago in just 23 years? 14,968.

To put that number in perspective, we lost 2,996 civilians on 9/11, and we have lost 4,459 military personnel in Iraq.

513 victims/31 years = 16.6 deaths per year due to mass shootings
14,986 victims/23 years = 651 homicide victims per year in Chicago, with its strict gun control laws
651/16.6 = 39 times as many deaths in Chicago per year

My final question: why does the left insist on taking guns away from everyone, when a single city ruled by liberals since 1931, and strict gun control since 1982, has had 38 times more homicides per year than mass shooting fatalities in the entire country?

To quote somebody who is kind of famous:

“How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Luke 6:42

Update: I just thought of one last fun little mathematical exercise: Chicago covers about 234 square miles. The United States covers 3,794,101 square miles. 651 homicides/234 square miles is 2.78 deaths per square mile per year. If you multiplied that statistic to cover the United States, you would have 10.5 million deaths per year. That would be enough deaths to wipe out today’s population of 300 million in just 30 years. It’s a good thing the rest of the country is not run the same way as Chicago is, isn’t it? Oh wait…