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I Loled

Hat Tip to Crusader Rabbit

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Our police are out of control

Wow. This tape sounds like the Soviet Union.

Official: “We don’t need any grounds.”

Shopper: “Well, that’s ridiculous.”

Official: “That’s the United States. I’m sorry. I don’t know what to tell you.”

Shopper: “You don’t need any grounds for your actions?”

Official: “Absolutely not.”

Official: “We catch 3 terrorists a day at this border crossing.” (either this guy is full of shit, or we are to believe that they are catching ALL of them)

official: “Stop shaking your head. You’re a Canadian citizen?”

Shopper: “what are you going to do? Shoot me?”

Official: “Was that a threat?”

“You’re in a lot of trouble. You ever hear of obstruction of justice? … As soon as you pulled away, that’s assault. Do you understand how much trouble you are in right now? You’re going to jail.”

Fortunately, the Canadian man — identified only as “qtronman” on YouTube — had recorded the incident, and he later uploaded the recording, so we know the border agents are lying.

The couple were on their way to a mall in Niagara Falls, in the United States, when they were ordered out of their car by a U.S. border guard — apparently because they didn’t care for the Canadians’ impatient tone when they couldn’t name the specific stores they’d be visiting.

Throughout the exchange leading to the arrest, the Canadian man comes across as exasperated but cooperative — not out-of-line for a person dealing with other adults he considers to be acting in an abusive and irrational way. He didn’t bow and scrape, though, which may have antagonized the border guards.

The officials, on the other hand, sound provocative, and even as if they’re enjoying their use of authority.

I always wondered what it was like to live in a country as it became a dictatorship, always wondered how the people there could be swept up by a Mussolini, a Stalin, a Hitler. Now I know. I don’t like where this country is headed. The groundwork is there for a police state- all we need is the dictator to pull it all together.

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My Underwater Home

This Wall Street Journal column reads like my own history. I had been single since my divorce from my first wife in 1999. Child support was high, and I didn’t have a lot of money, so I rented. That was OK by me, because I was left with little money at the end of the month, and renting fit my bachelor lifestyle just fine.

That was until three events occurred that would shape my financial future far more than I ever knew. The first was that my ex-wife threw our 16 year old son out of the house in 2004. It seems that he was getting more expensive to take care of than the child support was giving her, and at 17 years old, his tax credits would no longer be available to her.

The second factor was that I got engaged, and my new wife to be (and her cat) moved into the house in preparation for the upcoming nuptials. Then, my daughter was thrown out of the ex-wife’s house for the same reasons that my son had been tossed out. All of a sudden, there were four people and a cat living in a two bedroom apartment.

It was obvious that we had to get a place to live that would better suit our family. The wife to be and I planned ahead, and decided that a three bedroom home would be good for us now, and then when the kids moved out, would still be small enough to be manageable. I thought about renting, but EVERYONE from financial experts to family told us that buying was the way to go.

We shopped around and found a 1500 square foot house with three bedrooms and two baths on a quarter acre lot for the low asking price of $250K. At the time, the median home in the Orlando metro area was selling for $255K, so we were NOT being greedy, especially considering that we were making a combined $110K a year. We made an offer, and after some back and forth, we settled on a price of $236K. Everyone I knew said that I had gotten a great deal. The following paragraphs are from the article, but it is like the author was at my closing:

Because we were plunking down only 7% or so on the down payment, we were faced with a steep insurance fee. I was naively insulted by this PMI–the idea that we were risky borrowers out of the box. So we opted for a “piggyback” loan, a second loan that would cover the rest of the down payment and allow us to avoid the PMI. We would pay about the same per month, and when our home’s value rose, we would refinance and combine the two loans into one. A lot of the people I turned to for advice were recent homebuying colleagues facing similar questions, or longtime owners who were doe-eyed by low interest rates. I don’t recall anyone saying “Dude, wait a few years.”

We negotiated a bit on the price and closed the deal in May [2007 for about $232,000] at a 6.12% rate. At the time, I didn’t know that the second loan was a de facto home-equity line of credit. I knew it would be a higher rate–a little more than [2] percentage points higher. But the loan amount paled in comparison to the main mortgage, so I wasn’t overly concerned.

On signing day I thought I was prepared for the blizzard of paperwork. I wasn’t. This is apparently a rite of passage not exclusive to any era. There was at least one big reveal: Our piggyback loan was actually a balloon loan. In 15 years, we’d have to pay a big chunk, in the thousands, in full. I was taken aback by this–how could I have missed this detail? I’m not a financial luddite.

 Zillow now estimates my house to be worth about $110K. That may be high, as Zillow estimates that the home 2 doors down is worth $145K, and it just sold for $110K. The tax assessor values it at $99K. That’s right- my home is worth about 45% of what I currently owe on it. (If you want to read how that happened, and how the banks profited by it, read this)

To make matters worse, both my wife and I have taken reductions in salary. We are making 14% less now than we were when we bought the house in 2007.

One thing the Fitzgeralds in the article failed to really appreciate is this: I owe $125,000 more on my home than it is worth. In 15 years, I will still be underwater on this home, but I can rent a comparable home for $700 less than my monthly payment is now. Even including the mortgage tax deduction, that comes to $500 a month. In 15 years I will have paid $90,000 more for this home than I would have paid to rent, and I will still be underwater. That is $90,000 more that could be in my retirement fund.

No thanks. My decision has been made.

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Maybe they didn’t do it after all

The lead FBI investigator can’t remember any details about the investigation she was heading up, the tapes that supposedly prove that the Hutaree were planning to kill cops are unclear, and they still haven’t figured out if the weapons confiscated were illegal to possess.

It takes over a month to run a serial number to see if it is stolen, measure the barrel length, and see if a gun is full auto? This is starting to look more and more like the Hutaree are being used, as is the rest of the RKBA crowd, as a strawman for the Obama administration’s ineptitude.

Edited on 4/29/2010 to add:


The judge doesn’t think they did it, either.

Arthur Weiss, a lawyer for Thomas Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Ind., said disgust with the government as recorded by the undercover agent is similar to what’s said daily by radio and TV talk-show hosts Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.
“Millions of people” are talking about “taking our country back,” Weiss said.

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My Senator on Health Care Reform

I sent a letter to my Senator (Bill Nelson) asking his where Congress gets the power under the Constitution to require that citizens purchase Health Insurance. Here is his reply:

Dear Mr. Street Pharmacist:

Thank you for contacting me about health care reform. On March 25, I voted to pass the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act. This legislation made some improvements to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which passed the Senate last year with my vote. President Obama signed both these pieces of legislation into law.

Under this new law, insurance companies will not be able to discriminate against folks with pre-existing conditions. Those who can’t afford insurance will receive tax credits and subsidies to put toward the cost of purchasing a plan. Small businesses with less than 50 employees will not be required to do anything different, but they will have the opportunity to take advantage of tax credits if they choose to offer insurance. The government will invest in training more primary care doctors, paying them better, and making sure they have the opportunity to practice in the parts of the country that need them the most. Seniors in the Medicare Part D doughnut hole–the gap where they are forced to pay 100% of their prescription costs–will receive a rebate this year to help cover those costs, and the doughnut hole will be closed entirely by 2020.

There has also been a lot of misinformation out there about what exactly this new law does, so let’s be clear: if you have health insurance now, you can keep it. If you own a business that offers health insurance, you don’t have to do anything different. And members of Congress did not exempt themselves from any part of this law. In fact, members of Congress and their staffs are specifically required by this new law to purchase their health insurance through the State-based exchanges beginning in 2014. For a complete summary of the law in plain English, and tools to help you figure out how it will affect you personally, please visit the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation’s website at http://healthreform.kff.org/

Again, I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue. Please don’t hesitate to contact me in the future.

Sincerely,

Senator Bill Nelson

A form letter. It didn’t even come close to answering the question.

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Who is John Galt?

I recently sat through a lecture on nutrition, and the speaker attempted to make the case that nutrition and restaurant food are mutually exclusive. I agree. After all, if people complained about a restaurant’s food the way they complain about hospital food, the restaurant would soon be out of business for lack of customers.

There are only a few things that bring flavor to food, and those items are: fat, sugar, and salt. All three of them are bad for you to one extent or another. The speaker in this case tried to say that since those restaurants are putting fat, salt, and sugar into food, the government needs to step in and regulate these ingredients and mandate the levels of them. There was something in there about weight gain, health problems, blah, blah.

The speaker was formerly a manager of a restaurant that was a part of a national chain, and he was complaining that the restaurants only want to sell food, and do not care about health and nutrition. He said that as a manager, he was not paid to think about the health concerns of his customers, only sales numbers.

During the question and answer period, I pointed out to the speaker that no one holds a gun to the people who eat in establishments, and overeating is the responsibility of the person stuffing his face, and that making a law to tell me what to eat because others want to lose weight is wrong. He replied, “Not if my taxes are paying for your health care.”

The next speaker in the seminar began talking about cardiac problems. He then made a statement that 600,000 pacemakers are inserted per year all over the world, and more than 58% of them are for white males over the age of 60. He tried say that this fact made the health care industry racist, because white males constitute far less than 50% of the world population. He went on to say that this was accomplished by keeping costs high, ensuring that the whites (who obviously cheat their way to the top) are the only one who can receive care.

He used the example that a pacemaker can cost upwards of $50,000 installed, and that a stent (used to open blocked cardiac arteries) cost up to $5,000. He said that laws should be put in place to set prices at a level that people could afford.

I walked out. How can you argue with people who do not understand economics? If you tell me that I must not sell a product for more than a certain price, what will you do if I simply refuse to produce said product?

I feel more and more every day like I am living in an Ayn Rand novel. It would be funny if it weren’t so true, except it won’t be Reardon metal, it will be some medical breakthrough. Perhaps a drug? Reardonodon? Reardonalanine?

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I am tired of my governor kissing Obama’s Ass

Governor Christ’s office announced today that Obama’s programs have saved or created 33,218 jobs in the state of Florida in the first quarter of the year.

That is perplexing to me, since the Agency for Workforce Innovation claims that in March of 2010, Florida saw 12.3% unemployment, which is the highest it has been since 1970. 1.1 million out of Florida’s 9.2 million workers are out of work. Florida’s total nonagricultural employment in March is 7.1 million, down 4,000 jobs from the previous month and down 149,600 jobs from a year ago.

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More signs that our country is living the movies

In this case, it is Demolition Man.

John Sparton:”Do you have the salt over there, Bob?”
Lenina Huxley:”Salt is not good for you, hence, it is illegal”

That’s right, the Federal Government now says that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should regulate the amount of salt that can be added to foods to help Americans eat less sodium.

Because Americans get most of their sodium from processed and restaurant foods, it is not enough to simply tell them to eat less salt and regulation of the food industry is needed, the Institute of Medicine said.

The FDA is already putting together measures to do this, the Washington Post reported.

See, now that the Government controls your health care, they control your life. You that voted for Obama… Are you ready to admit yet that it was a bad idea? Or are you such a fanboy that you can’t admit that he is a tool?

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Articles of Confederation, 6 through 8

We are continuing our examination of the Articles of Confederation. We began our examination with the theory of natural rights, and then followed it with a post on the Preamble and First Five Articles. The next two posts will examine the next four articles, VI through IX (six through nine for those of you ignorant of Roman Numerals) which deal with relations with other nations, including war and defense. As in the past, Articles in black, my comments in blue:

Article VI No State, without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, shall send any embassy to, or receive any embassy from, or enter into any conference, agreement, alliance or treaty with any King, Prince or State; nor shall any person holding any office of profit or trust under the United States, or any of them, accept any present, emolument, office or title of any kind whatever from any King, Prince or foreign State; nor shall the United States in Congress assembled, or any of them, grant any title of nobility.
No two or more States shall enter into any treaty, confederation or alliance whatever between them, without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, specifying accurately the purposes for which the same is to be entered into, and how long it shall continue.

No State shall lay any imposts or duties, which may interfere with any stipulations in treaties, entered into by the United States in Congress assembled, with any King, Prince or State, in pursuance of any treaties already proposed by Congress, to the courts of France and Spain.

No titles of nobility, and all negotiations and treaties must go through the Confederate Government.

No vessel of war shall be kept up in time of peace by any State, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the United States in Congress assembled, for the defense of such State, or its trade; nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State in time of peace, except such number only, as in the judgement of the United States in Congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defense of such State; but every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.

No states can maintain a military without going through Congress, except the militia, for which the arms will be kept in storage. Note here that there is no mention of the people keeping and bearing arms, that the state is required to keep the arms.

No State shall engage in any war without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be actually invaded by enemies, or shall have received certain advice of a resolution being formed by some nation of Indians to invade such State, and the danger is so imminent as not to admit of a delay till the United States in Congress assembled can be consulted; nor shall any State grant commissions to any ships or vessels of war, nor letters of marque or reprisal, except it be after a declaration of war by the United States in Congress assembled, and then only against the Kingdom or State and the subjects thereof, against which war has been so declared, and under such regulations as shall be established by the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be infested by pirates, in which case vessels of war may be fitted out for that occasion, and kept so long as the danger shall continue, or until the United States in Congress assembled shall determine otherwise.

No State can make war, or prepare for war, without running it through Congress first, except in the case of pirates.

Article VII.
When land forces are raised by any State for the common defense, all officers of or under the rank of colonel, shall be appointed by the legislature of each State respectively, by whom such forces shall be raised, or in such manner as such State shall direct, and all vacancies shall be filled up by the State which first made the appointment.

Not much to comment on here.

Article VIII. All charges of war, and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defense or general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress assembled, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several States in proportion to the value of all land within each State, granted or surveyed for any person, as such land and the buildings and improvements thereon shall be estimated according to such mode as the United States in Congress assembled, shall from time to time direct and appoint.
The taxes for paying that proportion shall be laid and levied by the authority and direction of the legislatures of the several States within the time agreed upon by the United States in Congress assembled.

This is why the large states were upset that they got the same vote as a smaller state, but had to pay more taxes.

Article 9 is the longest, and will be getting its own post. See ya there! 

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The Articles of Confederation, the preamble and first 5.

Having already described the concept of Natural Rights, we now continue our study of the meaning of the constitution. The “Articles of Confederation” were the precursors of our Constitution, and I think that no study of the Constitution can be made without reading and understanding them. What I want to do is discuss the Articles, and then move on the problems and arguments that resulted, which should give us a good idea of where our founding documents came from. We will begine:

The Articles of Confederation were referred to as “The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union” and was the basis for the Union of the States. They were written by the Second Continental Congress and the draft was sent to the States for ratification in November of 1777. The ratification process was completed in March 1781, legally federating the sovereign and independent states, already cooperating through the Continental Congress, into a new federation called the “The United States of America.”

They were a series of 13 Articles along with a preable, and I will touch on the big ones here (my comments in blue, the actual text of the article in black):

Preamble: Listed the States that were a part of the Union, which were the Thirteen Colonies: New Hampshire, Massachusetts bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

Article I: Stated that the Confederacy would be called “The United States of America”

Article II: This one is important to understanding the mindset of the people who wrote our Constitution. The article states:

Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.

Article III: This article states the purpose of the confederation:

The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.

Article IV: This article is long, so I am going to parse this one, so that it can be studied phrase by phrase:

The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in this Union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States;

Doesn’t this sound familiar? Except for paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice, all inhabitants are entitled to all the privileges and immunities of one state have all the same privileges as citizens in another.

and the people of each State shall have free ingress and regress to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties, impositions, and restrictions as the inhabitants thereof respectively, provided that such restrictions shall not extend so far as to prevent the removal of property imported into any State, to any other State, of which the owner is an inhabitant; provided also that no imposition, duties or restriction shall be laid by any State, on the property of the United States, or either of them.

The people of each State would be permitted to travel freely and trade freely between States under the same conditions as the residents of the State in which the commerce was taking place.  This was to prevent protectionism or import duties between States.

If any person guilty of, or charged with, treason, felony, or other high misdemeanor in any State, shall flee from justice, and be found in any of the United States, he shall, upon demand of the Governor or executive power of the State from which he fled, be delivered up and removed to the State having jurisdiction of his offense.

This is the extradition clause, to prevent a criminal from running between States to avoid prosecution.

Full faith and credit shall be given in each of these States to the records, acts, and judicial proceedings of the courts and magistrates of every other State.

The “Full Faith and Credit” Clause.

Article V:

For the most convenient management of the general interests of the United States, delegates shall be annually appointed in such manner as the legislatures of each State shall direct, to meet in Congress on the first Monday in November, in every year, with a power reserved to each State to recall its delegates, or any of them, at any time within the year, and to send others in their stead for the remainder of the year.

 Notice that there is no requirement for HOW the Delegates were to be picked. It could have been by vote, by heredity, or drawing names out of a hat. I think this is important, as it appears like each State in the Confederacy was intentionally staying out of the internal affairs of the others.

No State shall be represented in Congress by less than two, nor more than seven members; and no person shall be capable of being a delegate for more than three years in any term of six years; nor shall any person, being a delegate, be capable of holding any office under the United States, for which he, or another for his benefit, receives any salary, fees or emolument of any kind.
 
Ahh, yes. Term limits and conflicts of interest were being avoided with this one. (IMO, we should still be doing this.)

Each State shall maintain its own delegates in a meeting of the States, and while they act as members of the committee of the States.
In determining questions in the United States in Congress assembled, each State shall have one vote.

This was a problem that was later fixed by the Constitution. A large State would contribute and risk more, but still only get one vote, but granting more votes to larger states would allow large States to dictate to smaller ones.

Freedom of speech and debate in Congress shall not be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Congress, and the members of Congress shall be protected in their persons from arrests or imprisonments, during the time of their going to and from, and attendance on Congress, except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace.

Another way to prevent shenanigans- a Delegate could not be prosecuted for doing his job. This prevents one state from avenging a vote that they were unhappy with, or interfering with a delegate to keep him from appearing in Congress to vote.

The first 5 articles dealt with the way the Confederacy would be set up and administered. The next post will deal with the next 4 articles, which dealt with external relations.