Liberty

…And the lack thereof.

What's the price of a signature?

Last night I made a late night run to the grocery store and was surprised to see a woman with a clipboard by the front entrance asking people coming in and out to sign some form of petition. It’s not uncommon to see this at Safeway; the entrance is a bottleneck for all traffic in and out and a favorite spot for pollsters and panhandlers alike. What was odd was that there would be someone collecting signatures at nearly midnight.

Gary Johnson announces support for same-sex marriage

Today Gary Johnson, GOP candidate for President in 2012, announced that he is updating his position on same-sex marriages versus civil unions. I support the legalization of same-sex marriage in my own state so overall I’m pleased to hear this announcement. I am also a little concerned about the language Gov Johnson used when he said that marriage should be up to individuals rather than the states.

I’d like to see the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) go away and I would like to see the federal government recognize for tax and other legal purposes any marriage that was legal in the state in which it was performed. But I’d like state legislatures or the people of each state to make that call. If a state does not wish to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, I don’t think the Federal Government ought dictate that they do. That seems almost as bad as DOMA.

Obama to California: my autocracy beats your democracy

Today, the four California US Attorneys—at the orders of the Obama administration—are taking steps to shut down marijuana dispensaries in California. Dispensaries have been ordered closed. Federal prosecutors have sent letters to sixteen pot clubs and their landlords instructing them that their property will be seized if they don’t shut down operations.

How do market forces prevent gas main explosions?

Today’s news says that Rand Paul is opposing legislation that purports to make gas pipelines safer. Many are jumping on this as an example of Tea Party resistance to any measure that might cost business some money, even if it will save lives. A brief look at the bill raises some concerns about whether it actually addresses any safety issues. Regardless of the merits of the bill itself, it raises the question: how do we go about ensuring safety? If it is not the job of the government, how would market forces prevent tragedies like the San Bruno explosion last year?

A few gay men

Update: this is a joke. Cpt Hill never said any of this. It was lifted from Col Jessep's monologue in the film A Few Good Men. It would be an appropriate response to Rick Santorum's answer to Cpt Hill's question, but it is entirely fictional. I'd thought it would be obvious, but it seems that quoting a movie that's almost 20 years old gets lost. I apologize to anyone who earnestly believed these to be Cpt Hill's words. 

Stephen Hill's reply to Rick Santorum really ought to be:

Senator, we live a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it, you? You, Senator Santorum?

September 22 GOP debate wrapup

On Thursday, nine contenders for the GOP nomination for president participated in a televised question-and-answer session hosted by Fox News and Google. As usual, I hesitate to refer to these events as «debates» because they really aren’t debates. There’s not enough time allotted to permit more than a soundbite on each issue and there are few real chances for rebuttal. They are all about the personalities and very little about the principles and issues.

The elephant in the room

Tonight at 6pm Pacific/9pm Eastern time, nine GOP presidential hopefuls will take the stage in a live question and answer session intended to familiarize Americans with the candidates. This will be the seventh so-called debate in the 2012 presidential primary season, and the second to include Governor Gary Johnson, who appeared in the first of these debates back in May but who has not been permitted to participate since. In a surprise (but welcome) decision on September 20th, Fox News invited Johnson to participate in the debate over the objections of the Florida Republican Party, a co-sponsor of the event.

Johnson was the Governor of New Mexico from 1994 to 2003, a republican elected and reelected in a predominantly democrat state. Unlike some republican governors elected to liberal states, he was uncompromising on fiscal policy, using his gubernatorial veto over 750 times in his eight years in office. This proves two things about voters that seem to be forgotten in today’s political climate: that voters will back a candidate they believe has integrity even over one with whom they agree on policy issues (within reason, of course) and that voters are hungry to escape from the unholy alliances that party politics force.

Libertarian: better adjective than noun

Recently I listened to a Commonwealth Club discussion with Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch titled WWLD: What Would Libertarians Do? Gillespie and Welch are co-editors of Reason magazine, which I’ve never read, but is reputed to have a strong libertarian bent. The topic is of interest to me, as I have mixed feelings about libertarians.

WINO

Most politicians deserve a little name-calling, but there are two labels—really two variations on the same label—that have become popular lately and really get my goat. They are RINO and DINO: Republican In Name Only and Democrat In Name Only. Even Libertarians call other Libertarians LINOs, Greens have their GINOs, and probably even Independents who get called IINOs even though I have no idea how to pronounce it.

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