I Hate Guilt

Today I got a letter from my little cousin (once removed):

Hi! I’m joining in the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope For Heart event at my school. I will be jumping rope to help the American Heart Association raise money to fight heart disease and stroke. Can you help me by making a donation? Thanks!

The American Heart Association’s online fundraising website has a minimum donation amount of $25.00. If you want to donate less, that’s ok. You can just send the check right to me and I’ll make sure the American Heart Association gets it.

Thank you!

You know, normally I’d be all for something like this, because I think both the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association do a lot of good work.

But lately, they’ve been pushing smoking bans and were lobbying for sticking it to big tobacco. So now the AHA and ALA aren’t charity cases, they are political activist groups hell bent on removing freedom from Americans. And because of that, I will ignore my cousin’s e-mail. I’d really like to help out, but not at the expense of liberty.

Charity groups get involved in political issues at their peril.

Hair Questions Only Please

I don’t know if anyone saw the guys that put up the guerrilla marketing LED devices all over Boston give their press conference, but I would highly recommend it, because it’s a total riot. Click on the “TOP VIDEO” link on that story. If I can find a better video feed, I will post it. Looks like their attorney advised them to say nothing about the case, and they decided to have a bit of fun with the press:

“I feel like my hair is pretty perfect but altogether I want to redirect this to the haircuts of the ’70s,” Berdovsky said, ignoring reporters’ shouts.“I really like the one where the hair curls around to the back,” Stevens replied.

“Oh yeah, that one’s so hot,” Berdovsky then responded.

Frustrated reporters, trying to get the pair to respond to serious questions about the incident that at one point involved the participation of the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, finally tossed a question that gave one of them cause to reflect.

When asked whether they were afraid their hair might be cut if they are sent to prison, Berdovsky stopped his rant and answered, “Whatever happens I feel that my hair is safe at the moment.”

Kudos to them for treating this like the steaming pile of bullshit that it is. The only people at fault here are the authorities for overreacting. People should be pissed at their government, not these two guys. It should be obvious to anyone who doesn’t have severe brain damage (i.e. not Boston and Massachusetts politicians) that these devices were NOT bombs, and were not intended to be threatening:

“It’s clear the intent was to get attention by causing fear and unrest that there was a bomb in that location,” Assistant Attorney General John Grossman said at their arraignment.The surreal series is about a talking milkshake, a box of fries and a meatball. The network is a division of Turner Broadcasting Systems Inc.

The 1-foot tall signs, which were lit up at night, resembled a circuit board, with protruding wires and batteries. Most depicted a boxy, cartoon character giving passersby the finger — a more obvious sight when darkness fell.

“It is outrageous, in a post 9/11 world, that a company would use this type of marketing scheme,” Menino said Wednesday. “I am prepared to take any and all legal action against Turner Broadcasting and its affiliates for any and all expenses incurred during the response to today’s incidents.”

You’ve got to be kidding me? Mumbles Menino can go to hell and so can the Massachusetts AAG. I don’t think their charges of planting a hoax device will stick, and I really hope they go after these clowns for malicious prosecution. If you live in Massachusetts, and you like it there, I think you need to lay off the crack. At the very least, you need to start electing better people to run your government.

UPDATE: Bruce at mAssBackwards makes a really good point.  But first instincts, I would think, is that a brightly colored LED display with a cartoon like figure on it is not, in fact, a terrorist explosive device, and maybe out to be checked out, but not create absolute panic.  Bruce does have a good point, though, and I’ll agree that being cautious and checking out the devices was warranted.  But I still strongly comdemn the Boston authorities reaction in the aftermath.  Plus Turner came forward and claimed responsbility for the signs, and they were ignored!  Then the city went ape shit and starting throwing bogus charges around.

The Slow Implosion Stops for Now

I will very seldom post about business stuff on here, but it’s interesting to see my former employer actually turning a profit.  What really gets me interested enough to post is that it seems they want to cash in on the troubelsome practice of civil asset forfeiture:

Separately, Unisys said Wednesday it received a blanket purchase agreement that could allow it to sell $112 million in services to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture Management Staff over eight years. The services are to support the staff’s consolidated asset tracking system. The government has already ordered $8 million in services under the agreement.

Boy I’m glad I don’t work for them anymore. Unisys executives have never known a customer so sleazy they wouldn’t deal with them.  I’m glad my labor isn’t going to help the government steal private property more efficiently.

It’s crap like asset forfeiture that makes me laugh at the left when they try to get me to care about the fact that Bush is stomping all over our civil liberties.  Maybe I’ll be able to get worked up about it when the left starts worrying about the civil liberties I’ve already lost because of the War on Drugs.  Sorry, but at the end of the day, I’m a lot more concerned about the government stealing my property without proper due process, than I am about the NSA possibly listening in on phone calls when I call the middle east (which I do oh so regularly, you know).

Internet Purification

From Insty, we hear that the Chinese government wants to “purify” the Internet.

But he made it clear that the Communist Party was looking to ensure it keeps control of China’s Internet users, often more interested in salacious pictures, bloodthirsty games and political scandal than Marxist lessons.The party had to “strengthen administration and development of our country’s Internet culture”, Hu told the meeting on Tuesday, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

“Maintain the initiative in opinion on the Internet and raise the level of guidance online,” he said. “We must promote civilized running and use of the Internet and purify the Internet environment.”

Hey, Hu Jintao, you can purify thishttp://www.pagunblog.com/blogpics/finger.jpgyou commie rat. No word yet on whether they’ll get any help in this department from Microsoft, Yahoo, Cisco, or Google.

Nutty Nutter Can Frisk This

We’re going to have fun with a name like Nutter. Especially when you start talking about crapping all over everyone’s civil liberties. For now on, Michael Nutter will be called one of the following “Nutty Nutter”, “Nutcase”, or in the case of referring to him as a possible winner “Mayor Nut”.
Of Arms and the Law links to a Philadelphia Inquirer article that previews some of Nutcase’s crime plans, which look suspiciously like every other mayoral candidates, except his would be done under the auspices of a “Crime Emergency”, which would give Mayor Nut extra special powers:

If such a declaration was made, the city would be empowered to limit or prohibit sidewalk or other outdoor gatherings; halt or limit cars and trucks within targeted neighborhoods; establish a curfew; and prohibit anyone from publicly selling, carrying or possessing any weapons.

To hell with the law if you want to be Philadelphia mayor! First time I get harassed by Mayor Nuts’ goons for lawfully posessing a firearm, I can promise them a giant lawsuit. If this gets beyond a lot of hot air, I think it’s time for us in Pennsylvania to make it a criminal offense for city and local government officials to interfere with the civil rights of Pennsylvanians. These clowns that want to be mayor might think twice if they were looking at fines and jail time for carrying stuff like this out.

I’m seirous about Dwight Evans looking like the best candidate so far, and that’s a sad statement on the state of the mayoral race in Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania Treating Adults as Responsible

In a move that feels much like Brady Grading Time, where we shoot for a low grade, Advocates For Butting Their Noses Where They Don’t Belong, notes:

They let motorcyclists ride without helmets, haven’t cracked down on seat-belt use, and still allow distracting carloads of passengers to ride with inexperienced drivers.

They have, however, landed hard on drunken drivers.

All in all, Pennsylvania lawmakers have done a mediocre job of keeping motorists out of harm’s way, a national traffic-safety advocacy group said in a report released yesterday.

In a fourth annual state-by-state report card, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety placed Pennsylvania among 31 states that have advanced, but not nearly enough, in their highway safety laws.

New Jersey scored better, ranking among 16 states that have adopted most or all of the 15 safety measures deemed important by the coalition of insurance, consumer, health, safety and law enforcement organizations.

New Jersey scored better, so I’ll make that reason number 2823 I’d rather spend the rest of my life with my head in a pile of manure than live in that state. Keep up the good work Pennsylvania! Hopefully our new Democratic legislature will tell these ninnies to go to hell, but I won’t hold my breath.

So if I may borrow some style from from Kim Du Toit, if you happen to know anyone who works with the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, make sure to give them a swift kick in the nuts.

Butt Out

I am not nor ever have I been a smoker, nor do I particularly enjoy coming home reeking of cigarette smoke after a night on the town, but I’ve never presumed that I should force my preferences on bar and restaurant owners because I don’t like it.  I avoid heavily smoky establishments, as a general rule, and that worked for me just fine.  That’s why I’m dissapointed that Philadelphia’s smoking ban went into effect yesterday.  There is one saving grace for bar owners in the city:

Private clubs and restaurants whose food sales are less than 20 percent may apply for an exemption.

But I’ve never bought the studies that second hand smoke is really that dangerous, or that public health is anything other than a cover for enforcing the majority’s preference onto business owners.  Smoking bans are passing because most people find cigarette smoke objectionable, and for me, that’s never been a good enough reason to allow the government to interfere with a proprietor’s right to control what goes on in his or her establishment.

I know many will argue that there’s a serious public health concern here, but I just don’t trust statistical epidemiological studies that have reason to be politically motivated.  I think showing a little tolerance, and accepting a little risk, is worth it for us to continue living in a society where people can still exercise property rights, and enjoy habits that the majority finds objectionable.

Divorce In Virginia

Bitter has an interesting post up about some people who want to change divorce laws in Virginia that I think is worth a read:

So since a mandatory separation giving them a year to think about it already required, what is Clayton suggesting they change? It would appear from the article that the group really is trying to keep people from leaving a marriage if the other refuses to approve it. It’s not an ideal situation at all, but I think it’s a bad path to go down if we refuse to let them out of it. If they really are just trying to add punishment like making custody rules tighter or something for the person who files, I really don’t see how that does anything to improve a family.

I think Bitter is right here. If there’s a problem with people walking away from marriages too easily, the solution isn’t to pass more laws, and get the government to intrude more into people’s private lives. I don’t have too many issues with the government recognizing marriages, and dealing with the legal mess when they dissolve as a byproduct of that recognition, but I do have a problem, a big problem, with using it as a hook to meddle in people’s personal affairs. If the government ran my life as well as it runs itself, my life would be a mess. I agree that divorce is a problem, and people resort to it too quickly, but that’s not an issue for government to be concerned about.

It’s hard for me to understand how converatives like Clayton understand that the government is bad at running the economy, but somehow think it can be good at managing people’s lives. I don’t want people’s personal affairs becoming a political issue, no matter how messed up they are. People suck, and conservatives need to get over it, and stop looking for the government solutions to that basic fact.