Friday, January 30, 2009

Cell phone use in cars

The General Assembly is considering restricting the use of cell phones while driving. Representative Vanessa Summers and Senator Dennis Kruse have both admitted to using poor judgment in the past and now want the rest of us to use their judgment instead of our own. Their intent to save lives is noble, but the real threat to public safety on the road is driving while stupid, or "DWS" for short.

DWS means not using common sense on the road. It means trying to steer and change a CD, change your clothes, apply makeup, metabolize alcohol, etc. There is no way for elected officials to anticipate what idiots are going to do. Since it is impossible to ban every form of impairment or distraction, the solution is to educate the public on the hazards.

There seems to be a lot of people who think that if it's legal, it must be safe. Consider seatbelt laws for a moment. Shouldn't we find it odd that some folks buckle up not to avoid being killed but to avoid a $25 fine? Riding a motorcycle without a helmet is way more dangerous than riding in a car without a seatbelt. In fact, riding a motorcycle WITH a helmet is still more deadly than riding in a car without seatbelts or airbags. Yet it is perfectly legal in Indiana to ride with your head as bare as it was on the day you were born. This discrepancy makes it look like Indiana cares more for the lives of drivers than it does for the lives of cyclists.

Public health and safety will improve if people are encouraged to use their judgment to make rational decisions. I realize that many people lack this capacity at this point, but to pass laws that will simply be ignored is ineffective and ultimately counterproductive. When people are treated like children, they act like children. When they are treated like adults, some will act like adults and some intially will act like teenagers, but everyone is still in a better position to gain experience and learn from their mistakes of others. Dennis Kruse and Vanessa Summers are to be commended for owning up to past mistakes, but it is also a mistake to simply pass a law, think that the problem is solved, and move on.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New Stimulus Bill

To use the current economic crisis to justify the latest stimulus package is dishonest. A lot of the money isn’t scheduled to be spent until next year. Considering that the longest post-WWII recession only lasted 2 years, and that this one started in December 2007, the recession should be over by the time they get around to spending it all.
Republicans were right to vote against this, but the GOP has lost the last of its free market credentials last year when TARP passed. It may be generous of me to say that, since that presumes they had any free market credentials prior to that. Usually there are two kinds of fiscal conservatives: Libertarians and Republicans during Democratic administrations.

Monday, January 26, 2009

What I spent on Gas

To All,

Since 2003 I've recorded what I've spent on gas and driving. 2003 & 2004 were incomplete. 2005 got better as did 2006. 2007 was almost 100% along w/ 2008.

I just thought I'd share a little w/ you.

In 2007 I drove 12,595 miles and spent $1,615.05 on 559.468 gallons of fuel. This was in my 2002 Focus and I used premium fuel from mid August to the end of the year. I did this to see whether the use of premium fuel would significantly improve my vehicles mileage.

My Focus was destroyed in my Christmas Eve accident.

My new car is a safer 2002 Volvo S80.

In 2008 I drove 15,297 miles and spent $2,395.12 on 707.452 gallons of fuel. My Volvo requires premium so that would equate to about $100 over the Focus.

Fuel efficiency is almost the same. My Focus averaged 22.65 MPG and my Volvo averaged 22.12 MPG.

The cheapest gas I bought in 2007 was $1.88 on Jan 18th and the cheapest gas I bought in 2008 was $1.54 on Dec 27th.

Just sad to see where fuel prices have gone.

Doug

Saturday, January 24, 2009

F6 FWD: HOW MANY WAYS CAN WE GO GREEN IN '09

EDITOR: This is an excerpted forward from my original post on my personal blog F6 for your perusal. You may read the information in full context by clicking on the above previous link.

1. Commit to using less power by switching to CFL or LED lighting. They are going the way of the dinosaur and the 8 track cassette tape, oblivion in 2011. The Enviromental Working Group released the results of their study into the best, least toxic, long lasting CFL bulbs on the market. Listing in the top seven were: Earthmate, Litetronics, Sylvania, Feit, MaxLite and Philips. (Photo: Towle Road)

2. Claim your tax credits for 2009 by making your home more efficent now. One of the things accomplished by the Wall Street Bailout was the restoration of the home energy efficency tax credits that had expired in 2007. For more information and a detailed list of tax credits, visit the US Government's ENERGY STAR website.

3. Attend workshops at Allen Co. Public Library to learn how to make your home energy efficient. The Indiana Office of Energy Development (OED) is hosting monthly workshops on different areas that affect Hoosier Homeowners. There are two remaining courses Basic Photo Voltaics on the 4th of February and Introduction to Residential Wind on the 17th of March this quarter. To register for the free OED workshops contact: Chris Dorman (info is @ bottom of page), as space is limited. Once you register, more detailed information will be sent to you.

4. Watch the Docu Drama LIQUID ASSETS when it rebroadcast in February on PBS 39. "Liquid Assets" tells the story of essential utility systems: drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater. These complex and aging systems-some in the ground for more than 100 years-are critical for basic sanitation, public safety, economic development, and a host of other necessities of life. The documentary highlights communities from across the United States, providing an understanding of hidden water infrastructure assets, demonstrating watershed protection approaches, and illustrating twenty-first century solutions. On the 28th of January Fort Wayne City Utilities is hosting a screening and discussion at the Allen Co. Public Library.

5. Get a little dirty for clean rivers and water. Participate in Save Maumee and other organizations river clean up projects. For now the fourth year in a row, Abi and Ryan Bailey are planning putting together Save Maumee's Earth Day Project this year it will take place on Divine Mercy Sunday, the 19th of April, 2009 from 11A-4P.

6. Insist that the City uses pedal power for all concerts and events Downtown. We have all heard of Rock The Vote initiatives since the early nineties to get people out to exercise their civil duties and participate in the political process. Do you want to see something really cool and a way to literally return the power to the people? Then check out Rock The Bike and these soon possibilities of people generated power supplies coming to a concert venue near you.

SoyLent Green, Here We Come! This is just the beginning of the list to find out the last three and view more detailed information and analysis check out this post on F6 at your leisure.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama is right to close Gitmo

We're Americans. We're supposed to be the good guys. Part of our strength is our capacity to be humane. While our nation has mastered the art of the big stick, it has forgotten the part about speaking softly.

Towards the end of World War II, Germans fled west towards the Americans and British to surrender while putting up a stiff resistance against the Soviets. This is because they expected better treatment from the western Allies. If Taliban holdouts expect to be subject to torture or "advanced interrogation techniques" (or whatever euphemism you prefer) when captured, that makes it much more likely that they will fight instead of surrender when cornered, thus increasing the possibility of American casualties.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama's speech

One paragraph struck me in particular as I was listening. My comments are in red:

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.

I am a cynic and I do understand that the ground has shifted. The stale political arguments still apply more than ever.
The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.

The size of something has an impact on its performance. An SUV may be more powerful, but it also consumes more resources than a subcompact. Are you using that power effectively? If not, then you are just wasting resources. Sure, the SUV still "works" in that it gets you to point A to point B, but just because something works does not make it the best solution.
Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end.

Promise?

Monday, January 19, 2009

THIS POST IS COMPLETELY OPEN AND OFF TOPIC

This post is being written to establish part of our new format on this blog forum.
There will now be better use of the Label/Category System for distribution between the different types of post.
You may quickly visit any new post from this point forward that is labeled as a following category:
Social, Federal, State, Local, US History, Civic, and Libertarian Party,

This post is established herein between now through June of 2009 for any information and topics that you wish to discuss or bring to our attention or ask our opinion on. After June 2009 we will review and see if this post is necessary still.

PLEASE LEAVE ANY COMMENTS OR CONCERNS BELOW THAT ARE NOT COVERED ON OR BY OTHER POSTS AND WIDGETS ON THIS BLOG FORUM, THANK YOU. ~ THE OFFICERS OF LPAC.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

One way you can observe today's holiday (aside from refusing to use public transportation) is to read MLK's "Letter from Birmingham Jail". (Hat tip to Reason.com)

We'll be addressing present-day social and economic injustice at the downtown library at 7pm tonight. While these injustices certainly are pale when compared to what civil rights activists experienced during the 1960's, it beats sitting on the couch. Sloth is no way to honor a great man.

Friday, January 16, 2009

One way to win the War on Terror

In the past, the US has won wars in part by attacking the enemy's infrastructure. However, al Qaeda and the Taliban do not have much in the way of buildings and roads. But they do get a lot of funding through the production and sale of illegal drugs. If people were able to obtain drugs legally, depriving the terrorists' of their monopoly/cash cow.

Is this country willing to legalize drugs to win the War on Terror? Think of all the drastic measures this nation took in prior conflicts: the draft, the Manhattan Project, food rationing. During World War II, Ford and GM stopped making new cars in order to save vital resources. Can you imagine Congress or the President asking these two companies to cease production today? The legalization of drugs would be a far lesser strain on our way of life than any of these.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Timothy Geithner

Timothy Geithner, the nominee to replace Hank Paulson as SecTres, supposedly forgot to pay his Social Security and Medicare taxes.

A couple questions:
1. Is it at all possible for someone involved in finance to not know that he is supposed to pay these taxes?
2. If a Republican or Libertarian were accused of the same offense, could he get away with claiming that he forgot?
3. Shouldn't anyone who believes in the Social Security system be calling for this guy's head?

Perhaps it is best that we all overlook this. But if it is overlooked when Mr. Geithner does it, it should be overlooked when anyone else does it.

UPDATE: Libertarians At Large To Air Next Thursday

Libertarians At Large usually airs on channels Comcast 57 and Verizon 27, from 7-8 p.m., every third Thursday of the month. Tune next Thursday as tonight's show had to be delayed in broadcasting due to technical difficulties. This month's guest will be Libertarian, Mike Jablanski, longtime Libertarian Party of Allen County member. We apologize for the inconvience and will return live to the air next month.

As always the Libertarian Party of Allen County would like to thank Access Fort Wayne and The Allen County Public Library for providing us these opportunities to serve the public and promote the discussion at all levels of government about what is best for the future of of our communities, state, and nation.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Stimulus

I maintain that tax cuts are the most effective form of "stimulus". When the taxes of ordinary people are cut, they do one of the following:

1. Spend the money, which helps retail and manufacturing.
2. Save the money, which helps to increase the amount of capital available to banks.
3. Invest the money, which helps increase the amount of capital available to corporations.
4. Use the money to start a business, which helps create jobs.
5. Burn the money on the front lawn, which helps control inflation.

Right now, a lot of government projects are being proposed under the pretext of creating jobs. These projects must be justified on their own merits, otherwise it would be cheaper to simply provide the unemployed with food stamps.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Recent shooting

A Fort Wayne police officer fatally shot a man in the head yesterday. With the information available from this article, the shooting was probably justified. If that is the case, then I heartily commend the actions of the FWPD. This probably was a case of "suicide by cop", since the deceased called the police and made threats, then pointed a weapon at the officers. I wish that this fellow had sought counseling rather than putting the police in this situation.

A couple thoughts:
1. I would like to point out that this incident did not take place on the south side of Fort Wayne. In the past, TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers included the phrase "South Side" in the headline when a killing took place on the south side of town, but never used the phrase "North Side" in the when a killing took place on the north side of town.
2. In this case, the dead man's actions were what led to his demise. Many homicide victims do place themselves in dangerous yet avoidable situations. Your own actions play a larger role in your risk of being murdered than your place of residence.
3. No matter where you live in Fort Wayne, you are more likely to die in a traffic accident than be murdered. I personally feel safer walking down Oxford at night than I do driving on Coldwater Road during rush hour.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A small bit of advice to both Obama supprters and opponents

Blagojevich is accused of demanding payment in exchange for appointing a US Senator. But politicians trade favors all the time. You vote my way on a bill, I’ll vote your way on a different bill. If you vote against my lucrative contract, I’ll stop giving to your campaign committee. How would you like a job as a “consultant”? A savvy politician always makes sure little is said aloud and nothing is in writing so that there’s a reasonable doubt and criminal charges won’t stick.

To be sure, there’s plenty of corruption in the private sector as well. Human nature being what it is, we cannot rid the country of corruption. While it is essential to give government a certain amount of power to control private sector corruption, too much power increases the risk and possible damages by corrupt officials.

Obama’s supporters must be careful what they ask of this man and what powers they wish to endow upon him. Even if he turns out to be the greatest president who ever was or will be, he will only be in office for a maximum of 8 years. Whoever succeeds Obama as POTUS will retain the powers and privileges that were assigned to Obama during his administration.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Gas tax

It's rare that you'll hear a libertarian call for a tax increase, but here it is in this article.
Very few people, libertarian or otherwise, enjoy paying taxes. But it is argued that gas taxes are a fair way to pay for road construction. It's certainly more fair than than using revenue from income tax. But the problem that I have with this is that a person driving a $90K electric car pays no gasoline tax but still uses and benefits from the same roads that I pay for when I buy gas for my 1995 Suzuki Swift. If you use public roads then you should pay for public roads, regardless of how fuel efficient your car is. The best solution that I can come up with is to have states collect a federal tax to pay for interstate highways when motorists renew their license plates.

To call a gas tax a "carbon tax" is dishonest if that same tax isn't applied to coal, natural gas, ethanol, kerosene, wood, or any other organic material burned by humans. You cannot claim that the purpose of the tax is protect the environment if the funds are used to pay for road construction and maintenance.

The good news

Why do blogs such as this and the media at large focus on bad news? Because it more dramatic, and it's what people want to read and watch in spite of claims to the contrary. Some of the most popular shows on TV are about crime and bad relationships. Nobody is going to watch a sitcom called "Two People in a Happy, Stable Marriage". But if it's truly what you want to see, here is some good news for everyone regardless of their ideology or partisan affiliation on the Reason website.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

What if your boss borrowed your retirement money?

Some poor guy thinks that his boss "borrowed" his IRA. If it's true, then his boss probably will go to jail. This sort of thing is illegal for a very good reason. Your employer should not be able to borrow your money without your permission. You should be allowed to demand interest payments in return if you decide to take on additional financial risk.

Yet the federal government borrows money from the Social Security trust fund. And the rate of "return" is often lower than a certificate of deposit.