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Showing posts from 2006

Water Power

No I’m not talking about damming rivers to produce electricity. In the home of Big Oil, Houston, TX, a man claims to have invented a technology that will cripple the oil and gas industry forever. Sound too good to be true?

Granted, I’m not chemist, but as far as I know, the process of electrolysis is nothing new; but like any other renewable energy source, the amount of energy needed to produce the fuel is so large it makes the whole thing impractical. Has Mr. Klein invented a new technology or super efficient way of doing electrolysis? I wish I could believe Mr. Klein has discovered a clean, renewable way of producing energy. Of course, with everything else that seems to good to be true… it probably is.

War on Christmas

Christmas is a time for family, friends, and me to write about how much i dislike the concept of gift-giving. I do it every year... but it has always the same mumbo jumbo about commercializing a Christian holiday and so forth. So this year I decided to change things a bit. I got my inspiration for the blog from an article that Johnathan Chait wrote in The New Republic. I'm sure all of you free market lovers will appreciate this rare step away from my traditional socialist blogs. So without further ado... I declare what Bill O'Reiley likes to call "War on Christmas."

Gift giving is economically inefficient. The concept of gift giving brings our society back to the primitive system of bartering. Of course, we did away with that economic system long ago because it’s so stupid! Can you imaging trying to buy something under the barter system? I’ll trade you my donkey if you fix my roof… yeah right. The problem lies in the fact that for a barter system to work there always…

Up in Smoke

25% of the population smokes… and they sure are pissed off about the new Smoke Free Ohio legislation. As a result they are throwing around all kinds of arguments trying to convince us that the smoking ban will ruin our lives and our wonderful state.

I’m not buying it.

The common argument is that the smoking ban will devastate local businesses. Sports bars and bowling alleys will have to board up their windows and move to Pennsylvania where smoking is still allowed. The way they spin it makes it sound like smokers are the only people in the whole state who go out and eat/drink/bowl. Keep in mind that 75% of us don’t smoke, and more than 50% of us don’t want to inhale it. Is it not possible that non-smokers will be more willing to visit these places now that they are smoke free? I know I will certainly be more likely to eat at a Buffalo Wild Wings or Dennys now that these places have clean air. Smokers aren’t the only people who these places do business with.

Additionally, overwhelming emp…

Save the Internet

While watching Home Alone on TBS this weekend I saw the following anti-net-neutrality commercial air a couple of times.

Did anyone catch the small print at the end of the advertisement? The National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) produced this commercial; I’ll get to the significance of that in a minute.

So what is net-neutrality? Right now, the user decides what is on the internet. If I want to run a search on Google, I use Google; if I want to run a search on Yahoo; I use Yahoo. The ability I have to choose is thanks to net-neutrality. So why is the NCTA concerned? Keep in mind that this is the same lobbying group that wants you to buy cable packages rather than individual channels and wants to ban VOIP services like Vonage and Skype… Getting rid of net-neutrality is a scheme by “the multi-billion dollar cable and telecom companies” to take away your freedom to surf freely on the internet.

How can they possibly do this you ask? Consider the following hypothetical scena…

It's Satire Stupid

In September the Tonight Show with Jay Lenno did a spoof interview with Bill Clinton. I'll admit, the interview is pretty funny and anyone watching it on the Tonight Show knew the nature of the show and that it was obviously a fake. I became concerned when I saw the clip on Special Report with Brit Hume. Has Fox News become so desperate to make liberals look bad that they're running satire pieces on a their popular primetime news program? As if TV news in America wasn't already bad enough...

War on Blogs

The following is an open letter to John McCain regarding legislation he recently introduced which would force bloggers to censor material posted on their blogs or face criminal penalties.

Dear Senator McCain,

I am disturbed by the language of the Stop the Online Exploitation of Our Children Act of 2006, which you recently introduced in the Senate. Certainly I support protecting children from predators on the Internet; but your bill takes an entirely incorrect approach to the situation. According to your bill, I must watch the comments posted on my blog like a hawk, and if I don’t report illegal videos or photos posted by my readers I would have to pay a fine of up to $300,000… And if a sex offender signs up to post comments on my website I must delete his account… And if one of my readers posts a link to a website associated with a sex offender I must delete the post and his account. I ask why I am being held to a higher standard than Time Warner, my internet service provider, who must …

Convenient Consumption

Most of us are accustomed to buying Pepsi or potato chips from a vending machine. Sometimes vending machines have useful products like laundry detergent and batteries; but whatever the machine is selling, it’s usually something you can get for less than five bucks. This weekend on a trip to the University of Kentucky, I made an interesting find in the lobby of the student center: an iPod vending machine. Yes, that’s right, an iPod vending machine.

You can buy everything from a 1 GB shuffle to a 60 GB video. Plus, you can pick up extra accessories like headphones, plastic cases and portable travel speakers right at the machine. You can pay with cash or any major credit/debit card. Once you make your selection on the computerized touch screen, the machine dispenses your item similarly to the modern Coker and Pepsi machines.

Its amazing that the iPod has become such a norm in society that it’s now something we are willing to “pick up” from a vending machine in a lobby. Why does everyone h…

Holiday Hypocrisy

I write about this topic every year, so I’ll keep this short and let the video I posted tell the story. I find it amazing that on Thanksgiving Day we (society) sit around a table with twice as much food as we can eat and talk about all the things we are thankful for. I’m thankful for my friends, my family, blah blah blah. Now, I’m not saying that everyone in the world is faking it, but I truly believe many are. The day after Thanksgiving, commonly known as “Black Friday” is the perfect example of how much society cares about consuming as much as we possibly can. Just remember, Christmas is a holiday to celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ.

Is this how Jesus wants us to celebrate?

Killer Video Games

In Connecticut, a man was shot outside of a Wal-Mart and rushed to the hospital. In California and Wisconsin, retail customers were trampled in a riot outside Wal-Mart doors. At a Wal-Mart in Kentucky, several customers were shot with a BB gun. And in Pennsylvania a man was robbed at gunpoint immediately after he walked out of the store. What do all of these scenarios have in common? Other than that lots of shady stuff happens at Wal-Mart… all of this violence was over a toy, Sony’s Playstation 3. When CNN and Fox News picked up these stories, Americans were led to believe that this was going to be the hottest holiday item in history and demand for the PS3 was through the roof. In reality, PS3 demand is not high, it is not the hottest gift of all time, and all of the violence was committed for virtually nothing.

So you’re probably wondering how I can possibly say that demand for the PS3 is not high… so let me explain the context of the Playstation 3 launch. When economists refer to sup…

Blood For Oil

First they told us we were going to get rid of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. When they couldn’t find any, they told us we were there to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people. When it became clear how miserably that was failing, President Bush has finally admitted the real reason we’re in Iraq: oil. Now that Americans have decided that single-party rule isn’t working in Washington and we need to change course in Iraq, Bush is desperate for ammunition, arguing that leaving Iraq would severely disrupt our oil markets. According to Bush, if we don’t use our military to protect Middle-Eastern oil, we would be handing over our oil to terrorist insurgents, who would use that valuable resource as a weapon against the US and other countries.

Speaking in Colorado on last week, Bush lectured, "You can imagine a world in which these extremists and radicals got control of energy resources, and then you can imagine them saying, 'We're going to pull a bunch of oil off t…

Black Box Voting

When I wrote about libertarians a few weeks ago I didn't expect to receive so much criticism from self-proclaimed libertarians. But if there is one thing I think we can both agree on is this: the election system in our country is completely jacked up and is violating our most basic liberty. The problem is complex and will be even more complicated to correct; here is a bried overview of the problem… many states have switched to Diebold electronic voting machines in time for the 2006 election. Computer experts unanimously agree that there are serious security holes; in fact, one even said that the Diebold election software is easier to hack than a 1996 version of America Online. But our government isn’t exactly helping either. Giving contracts to Diebold and dodging vote recounts in close elections is definitely not helping to ensure that every vote gets counted.

Aside from the issues relating to electronic voting machines, the election infrastructure in the country is seriously flaw…

Danger Polls

If you think Bush's approval ratings among Americans are low... you'll be interested to know what our friends around the world think about The United States. Of course, those bastards in France all hate America, but they're idiots and don't know anything about world security... or so the saying goes. But thank God for Britain, Isreal, and Canada for supporting us in the Iraq war, they know whats good for the world. Well... notsomuch. These statistics, based on research conducted by the British newspaper The Guardian, will definately make you think twice.

Those who think US policy has made the world less safe than 2001:
Britain: 69%
Canada: 62%
Mexico: 57%
Israel: 36%

Those who think the invasion of Iraq was unjustified:
Britain: 71%
Canada: 73%
Mexico: 79%
Israel: 34%

So our friends aren't exactly our biggest fans. But the most outrageous thing about how bad our image has gotten internationally is based on who the British think is the biggest threat to world peace. When aske…

Terrorist Media

Censorship, blanket racism, persecution, cracking down on freedom of speech… sounds like Iran, China, and Venezuela, right? Wrong. According to the BBC, 67% of Americans believe the English Al-Jezeera television station should be banned in the United States, and 53% believe it shouldn’t even be launched at all. True, Al-Jezeera is very critical of US policy… but why is that so bad? What happened to freedom of speech and freedom to make decisions based on the information presented? What is so difficult about changing the channel or turning off the TV if you don’t like what you’re seeing? It’s one thing for Americans to look the other way while our government shits on the constitution and the Geneva convention; but its entirely another to ask the government to censor our news and control our information.

Freedom of speech in this country has turned into the freedom to hear what we like to hear. Watching Fox News makes me laugh because of how ridiculous most of the “news coverage” is, bu…

Tyranny Addiction

“The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom.” ~George W. Bush

Is it George? Just last week three events occurred that led me to believe America is actually not concerned with advancing freedom. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez walked into New York and made a very hostile comment about you to the United Nations. "The devil came here yesterday,” he said, “right here. It smells of sulfur still today." And then Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the guy you don’t like too much, went around lecturing the UN about the evils of American power and proclaiming that the Holocaust never happened. And finally, China, our favorite communist trading partner, managed to block UN efforts to establish a peacekeeping in Sudan to stop the nasty genocide that has been going on there.

Should we use our American strength to bully around these freedom haters, George? Probably not. These three events paint a pretty clear picture of the world’s dangerous oil addiction. The Chinese N…

Rethinking Libertarianism

Classic libertarian thought is fairly straightforward: the government is an evil institution bent on crushing individual civil liberties and using violence for perpetual expansion. Classic Libertarians fear big government and believe that the more the government grows, the more it crushes liberties and personal space. These classic libertarians are especially afraid of expanding military and state policing powers, believing the state is only going to use force against its citizens. Fair enough… if the government is the biggest threat to personal liberty, then it’s reasonable for a classic libertarian to oppose it.

But what if the government isn’t the biggest threat to freedom and liberty?

In the past, libertarians believed in free markets because under traditional theories of economics, what is good for business is good for the consumer. Today, this isn’t quite so true. Libertarians are now rethinking their view of the government for one simple reason: corporations are becoming more pow…

Congressional Bingo

You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Unfortunately, someone forgot to deliver that message to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist last week, when he tacked an online gambling prohibition bill onto a much larger port security bill up for vote in the Senate. Mr. Frist, along with other congressional Republicans, believe that online gambling is immoral; that it ruins families; that is sends young people into huge debt before they graduate from college; and that big brother needs to lead them on a path to a healthy, gambling free life. Of course, gambling is OK as long as its bingo in a Catholic Church, the Ohio Lottery, or horses running around a track. Sound a bit hypocritical?

Mr. Frist and his Republican buddies have been pushing free trade for years. The Central American Free Trade Agreement, for example, was a huge win for these free-trade Republicans. In the gambling world, it was big news when the small island nation of Antigua sued the United States in the World Trade Organizatio…

Go Google!

Anyone who knows me well enough can tell you that I am by no means a fan of what I like to call “the corporation.” Every day when I pick up the newspaper it seems like big business is involved in more corruption scandals and engaging in more questionable behavior. Supporters of “the corporation” tell me that these companies are acting in their best interest by focusing exclusively on their bottom line; and these people tell me that companies have no responsibility to anyone but their shareholders. Whether or not it is acceptable that big business exploits its employees, pollutes the environment and hurts communities is debatable. But when a company goes above and beyond its bottom line, it usually catches my eye. As of yesterday, I am really excited about one company in particular: GOOGLE.

Google recently announced plans to start a for-profit philanthropic company called The fact that is not a non-profit like the vast majority of charitable organizations, makes i…

Dead or Alive?

Is the electric car really dead? Chris Paine’s new movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?” makes the case that the electric car was born in the early 1990s and died nearly a decade later. But is that really the whole story of the electric car? Is there no hope for the future electric vehicles? I think not…

Electric cars have been around as long as the internal combustion engine. In the early days of the automobile, gasoline powered cars proved more convenient and more reliable than their electric counterparts. The electric cars worked some of the time, but most of the time they didn’t. Consumers had a practical reason to drive gasoline powered cars.

Fast forward to 1990. The California Air Resources Board passed legislation requiring that 2% of all new cars sold in California by 1998 had to be zero emission vehicles. General Motors led the way by introducing the EV1 in 1996. A very select group of consumers were leased the EV1, and for the most part, they loved them. The EV1 was powerful, …

Automotive Woes

Americans are obsessed with cars. I recently encountered severe rush hour traffic outside of Cleveland, and couldn’t help but observe the behavior of other drivers trying to make their way down the busy interstate. There were as many different types of people out there as you could imagine: white, black, Asian, male, female, etc. The only thing that most drivers had in common was that they were the only person sitting in the car. Even with gas prices now flirting with $3 per gallon, the American ego is too big to stop people from giving up their very own car. What won’t be changed anytime in the future is America’s fixation with cars; what can be changed is the type of cars that we drive.

For many years, liberals followed the simple axiom: buy American. Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler manufactured their cars in American cities like Detroit, Flint and Pontiac and employed unionized labor. American auto employees earned high wages and received good benefits. Choosing a new car was a n…