A few weeks ago my birthday came and, thankfully, went. Having expressed an interest in the thought of roller skating alongside my seven-year old, my family decided it would be a lark for me to receive a pair of inline roller skates for the occasion. Thankfully, they remembered to buy all of the required padding too.
Last evening I finally worked up the nerve to put wheels under my feet for the first time in decades. The whole family was there to watch and document the event - their digital cameras at the ready. I was glad for their presence since, no matter how embarrassing it might become, at least there would be someone there to pry me off of a tree and call emergency.
The first thing to hit me was how different these skates were to the roller skates of old where we plodded along on oval tracks to the tunes of yore. These suckers were sleek and fast with an operational margin of error akin to that of a space shuttle returning to earth. It’s as if my feet were aware of a new sense of freedom since they were quick to lurch forward at the slightest movement. It required every sinew of strength to keep them securely under my person. After a slight push was applied to my frozen form by the misses, I was off and rolling.
Once I got a modicum of balance about me, my determination steeled and I began to concentrate on the rhythm of the motion, rocking away from the propelling skate and onto the weight-bearing skate. While doing this it was important to remember to point the skate in the right direction. They’re like skis in that respect and a few times I found myself doing splits which left my groin sending major complaints to my brain.
While coming down the driveway (and concentrating hard), I really got a good rhythm going. This would have been all well and good except that, in my cadenced state, I totally forgot the finite nature of driveways. By the time my wife's shriek had registered, I barely had enough tarmac left to realize that any kind of turn at this juncture would leave me a broken man, most probably at the ankles. It is true what they say about time slowing down in these instances, and I used it wisely by pondering the heretofore untried practice of braking.
Most of the precious nanoseconds were used remembering where in the hell the masochistic designers of these wheeled devils put the brake: back right. The remaining nanoseconds were spent trying to discern what would happen when the brake was applied at high speeds. When reality snapped back in, I was ready to try it and applied the brake only to find the device ill designed for the task at hand. If I did slow down, it didn’t register and I soon found myself off of the hard surface and onto the grass. The wheels immediately grabbed into the new surface and the skates turned left. As I was already an object in motion, Newton’s first law took over as I headed straight instead. I lurched into the air and, proud to say, did my first axle jump. They say the landing is what is important and I would have gotten low marks even from the American judge since I came down sideways and barrel-rolled halfway down the hill in the back yard. While rolling, I could hear the mirthful shrieks of delight and laughter from my family. (It's customary in these instances to get the laughing out of the way in case the object of the humor is truly injured.) Thankfully, I was none the worse for wear save for a fresh coating of grass clippings. It could have been worse, I could have rolled over a fire ant mound.
Yes, I did get back on them for a few more tries. No, I will not post any pictures.
I found rollerblading to be a fun exercise. Why, it might even become an annual event.
"It is not only an institution that decides who is right and wrong with regards to conflicts I have with someone else, it is also deciding who is right and wrong in cases where itself is involved in conflicts with others. Once you realize this then it becomes immediately apparent that such an institution can itself cause conflicts and then decides in its own favor who is right and who is wrong. "
"Since the courts are part of the same institution with which I have a conflict, it is easy to predict what the outcome of this conflict arbitration will be. It will be, "I the state am right and the people who complain about me are wrong." It is a prescription for increasing the power of this institution continuously; causing conflicts and then deciding in favor of itself and then telling the people who complain about the state how much they need to pay for these judgements that are made by the state itself. So it is easy to see what the fundamental flaws in the construction of an institution such as the state are."
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), like Ron Paul, is an obstetrician. He spends time during breaks going back to Oklahoma and delivery babies. His views, by today's standards, are probably technically less libertarian than Ron Paul's, and somewhat more traditionalist conservative (although he shows up as a libertarian on the RLC's lifetime index). Still, you've got to admire a guy who has people (Jake Sullum of Reason) writing things like this about him:
According to the Congressional Budget Office, Reid's wish list will cost about $10 billion over five years, at a time when the federal budget deficit has ballooned to a record $490 billion. Yet Reid marvels that "the rogue far right...has perfected the art of stopping good bills that help good people." Good bills that help good people: Could there possibly be a better governing philosophy?
I myself am partial to the notion, promoted by such rogue right-wingers as James Madison, that the federal government may exercise only those powers explicitly enumerated in the Constitution, which do not include subsidizing medical research, museums, or foreign travel for college students. As Madison pointed out, if Article I's General Welfare Clause is interpreted as blanket permission to spend money on good things, much of the rest of the Constitution is superfluous.
Coburn, known as the Dr. No of the Senate, does not go that far. Unlike Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the Dr. No of the House, Coburn generally does not oppose spending on constitutional grounds. But he does ask his colleagues to pay for new programs by cutting old ones instead of spending money they do not have. In a letter to Reid, he identified $45 billion in cuts that could be used to offset the cost of Advancing America's Priorities.
Reid did not respond. When you're spending other people's money, especially when you're borrowing against the earnings of people who are not yet born, there's no need to set priorities.
I really admire these folks--and people like Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who will call Congressional spending what it is--largely a waste of money, designed to pass out goodies to perpetuate its own power.
Which scenario is more likely to exaccerbate this problem more: a Republican president with a Democrat Congress; or a Democrat President with a Democrat Congress?
I.O.U.S.A. Movie Trailer:
Check your history of government growth, and look at the odds that Barack Obama will be facing a Republican Congress in light of the recent losses and things like the Stevens indictment. IF the vote for Bob Barr or other third party candidates were likely to make a difference in crucial electoral college states, is it worth sending the message--even if the results are even worse than they would otherwise be? Eric Larson's latest post on wasted votes is thought provoking, and at some level I agree with what he and the commenters have said there, so far. But the political realist in me says that the chances of Bob Barr getting elected are so remote as to be non-existent, and sending a message only--especially in those battleground states where a couple of thousand votes could make a difference--is potentially dangerous. Am I advocating the idea of voting "defensively" in my promotion of divided government? Yeah, I guess so.
But it seems more and more like we've reached a critical stage, and we have to play defense for a while longer. Think of it as political tug-of-war, where liberty-lovers are dug in and holding on. The question is, do we have the strength to have some of us let go long enough to reach forward so we can start pulling in our direction--or if any of us take our hand off the rope, will the forces on the other side pull us over the line. The forces of liberty haven't reached critical electoral mass--we haven't "bulked up" yet--either in electoral strength or political strength within one of the two major parties. So maybe--just maybe--having a divided team on the other side--one that's a little less organized--might give us the opportunity to bulk up and increase our numbers better than a team of "Gladiators" who will all work together. Just a thought.
This is an interesting statement on a lot of the web pages of Michigan Libertarians. It addresses the wasted vote syndrome of every minor party candidate ever in American politics.
Don’t Waste Your Vote. Send a Message.
The biggest objection to voting for an independent, third party candidate, like me, is the “wasted vote” argument — the idea that if you vote for someone who probably will not win, then the vote does not count. While I do think it's possible for me to win this race, I would like to address this issue for those who think a win is unlikely.
What is a Wasted Vote?
An unprincipled vote is the only wasted vote.
Voting for a third party candidate, contrary to popular belief, is not a wasted vote.
What is voting? It’s a chance to tell the state — and perhaps even the country — what your vision of government and society really is.
But how do most of us vote? Do the majority of those who believe the independent or third party candidate is the best candidate, most in tune with our own feelings, actually vote for them? No. Instead, most of us vote for the “lesser of two evils” — a defensive vote, rather than an offensive one.
The lesser of two evils is still evil.
So what happens after you vote the defensive vote? Well, then you have sold out your personal beliefs. You have become a political prostitute. You aren’t standing up for what you believe in by voting for “the lesser of two evils.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being a political hooker. If you think the Republican or the Democrat really does best mirror your beliefs, then by all means, vote for that candidate. But if you don’t, and you still vote for them, you’re helping to preserve the status quo you probably despise.
Remember, You Never Decide the Winner
In statewide races, there is a single important point to remember: You as an individual will never cast the deciding ballot! Hence there is no reason to vote for the lesser evil.
A national or statewide race will never be decided by one vote. And if, by some mathematical chance it got that close, you and I know that it would be decided in the courts. No longer is any candidate who loses a close race content to accept the verdict of the voters. You can be sure that the Republican and Democratic parties will pull out all stops to overturn the voters’ decision. Witness the lawsuits over the Washington governor’s race four years ago, and the presidential election eight years ago.
If you go to the polls to cast “the deciding ballot” in major races and you value your life, you are making an irrational decision. The chances of dying en route in a car, plane or meteor accident are far greater than the chance of casting the one deciding ballot.
So What’s the Point of Voting?
We as individuals don’t vote to select the winner.
As a practical matter, we vote to tell everyone else which choice best represents the direction that we want Michigan to go. When you vote, you gain a certain power that a non-voter doesn’t have; the power to change Michigan.
Hence voting for the lesser of two evils, whether the Republican or Democrat, sends the wrong message; it’s sending a message of compromise. In effect, a defensive vote says “I will settle for a good Michigan, not the best Michigan possible.” I urge you not to settle for anything but the best.
Remember, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. In other words, if you want change, then create change by voting for it.
The history of third parties in America is that they serve as the vanguard for new ideas. It is these ideas that make the world go round. If a third party begins to draw votes, one or both of the two big parties steal their ideas.
Socialists Can Teach Us Something
The most successful third party in the 20th Century was the Socialist Party. While never winning any significant elections, their small but growing vote totals were a threat to the Democrats. Thus the Democrats, and then later the Republicans, adopted piecemeal every major tenet of the 1916 Socialist Party platform.
Libertarians are the opposite of the Socialists, but they find their success instructive. The radical ideas about liberty that began with the formation of the Libertarian Party in 1971 are now being seriously debated or, in some cases, implemented by the other parties. An increasing number of Libertarian votes are indeed noted by the politicians as well as the media.
So rather than waste your vote on Democrats or Republicans, cast a meaningful ballot that clearly says what you believe.
Libertarians Are the Future
Despite the fact that the Libertarian Party continues to run more candidates in better-funded campaigns each election cycle, it is common to hear: “I really like Libertarian candidates, but I don’t want to waste my vote.”
After watching both Democrats and Republicans make promises that frequently become lies, two conclusions should become evident: (1) The lesser of two evils is still evil, and (2) the only way to waste your vote is not to use it for a candidate that sends the message you want to send to Michigan. In all honesty, it doesn’t matter which evil you vote for, if evil still wins.
Don’t waste your vote. Send a message. Vote for me.
I think the most interesting part concerns the 'deciding vote' issue. It probably is likely that if your vote were the deciding vote, or one of a hundred votes, the election would end up in the courts anyway.
I guess, it takes a Ron Paul or a Bob Barr to question the other two
candidates in a way that exposes their fundamental inadequacy to be
President of a Constitutional Republic. However, the questions raised
in the below article are quite interesting:
Your wife said that as president, "Barack Obama
will . . . demand that you shed your cynicism . . . That you come out
of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you
push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never
allow you to go back to your lives as usual . . ." How is any of this
remotely the responsibility of the president? Where in the Constitution
does it say that the president should be our personal motivator and
spiritual leader? Will you help us lose weight and eat our vegetables,
I guess, it takes a Ron Paul or a Bob Barr to question the other two candidates in a way that exposes their fundamental inadequacy to be President of a Constitutional Republic. However, the questions raised in the below article are quite interesting:
You're highly critical of businesses and
corporations that benefit from government handouts and pork projects.
And rightly so. But you and your wife's fortune comes from her
inheritance of Hensley & Company, a Phoenix-based beer wholesaler
and distributor. Beer wholesalers benefit from what's called the
"three-tiered" alcohol distribution system, an anachronistic
Prohibition-era law that requires beer, wine and liquor producers to
first sell alcohol products to wholesalers, who then sell to retailers.
The law essentially mandates a "middle man" in alcohol sales. It
inflates the cost of alcohol for consumers by adding an extra mark-up —
the bulk of which goes to huge companies like Hensley. In other words,
alcohol wholesaling is a government-created and government-subsidized
industry. How, then, does your family fortune jibe with your criticism
of corporate welfare and corporate handouts?