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Sunday, July 31, 2005

lauren bacall tells it like it is

Bacall doesn't mince words about Tom Cruise in this flash from the Drudge Report:
Sun Jul 31 2005 11:06:05 ET

New York -- Lauren Bacall tells TIME Tom Cruise is not a great actor. "When you talk about a great actor, you're not talking about Tom Cruise," Bacall says.

"His whole behavior is so shocking. It's inappropriate and vulgar and absolutely unacceptable to use your private life to sell anything commercially, but I think it's kind of a sickness."
I don't care if Cruise uses his private life to sell things, but what he is selling, the pseudo-scientific pseudo-religion known as Scientology, is itself a sickness. And I think she is too kind about his acting - not only is he not a great actor, he is barely a mediocre one. This is unlike Bacall, who not only has great acting talent, but was one of the most beautiful (with a sexy voice to boot) of her day. She gains bonus points in my book for appearing in several film noirs, one of my favorite genres. And I don't know about you, but I can never hear her name without thinking of The Clash song "Car Jamming": "I thought I saw Lauren Bacall, I thought I saw Lauren Bacall..."

happy birthday, milton friedman

Ninety-three years ago today, Milton Friedman was born. Woo hoo! I'll be celebrating by starting to read Two Lucky People, his autobiography, co-written with his wife, Rose.

I'll also celebrate by watching the first episode of his classic mini-series, "Free to Choose", which I recently illegally downloaded, via BitTorrent, uh...I mean, a friend of mine legally purchased a copy and uh, is lending it to me to watch.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

the conspiracy to pass cafta

Kent Snyder of the The Liberty Committee explains in this update exactly how CAFTA came to be passed, despite the fact that it was DEFEATED when the official 15 minute period ended, 180 nays to 175 yeas. You should read the whole sickening, sordid story, but here are some excerpts:
...Because President Bush and the House leadership knew the vote would be razor close, the day of the vote began with the president making a rare appearance on Capitol Hill to speak before a closed door, members-only meeting of House Republicans that morning. He even brought Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with him.

And the arm-twisting began.

"The last-minute negotiations for Republican votes resembled the wheeling and dealing on a car lot. Republicans who were opposed or undecided were courted during hurried meetings in Capitol hallways, on the House floor and at the White House. GOP leaders told their rank and file that if they wanted anything, now was the time to ask, lawmakers said, and members took advantage of the opportunity by requesting such things as fundraising appearances by Cheney and the restoration of money the White House has tried to cut from agriculture programs. Lawmakers also said many of the favors bestowed in exchange for votes will be tucked away into the huge energy and highway bills that Congress is scheduled to pass this week before leaving for the August recess." -- The Washington Post, July 28, 2005...

...Two hours of debate on CAFTA ended in the U.S. House at 10:59 p.m. Wednesday night. Representative Ray LaHood (R-Illinois), speaker pro tempore, then ordered a 15-minute vote -- at the end of which CAFTA had been defeated! But with the vote kept open for more than one hour after it began, the "final" vote tally was 217 in favor to 215 against, with two not voting. Or was it? We were led to believe that the two members who didn't vote, Jo Ann Davis (R-Virginia) and Charles Taylor (R-North Carolina) who were already on record as going to vote "no" and would have
defeated CAFTA, had been persuaded to remain silent. Mr. Taylor's was a key vote from a textile state that everyone was watching.

Republican leaders "spent much of [the] time wrestling with about 10 rebellious but 'undecided' Republicans, pleading and pressuring one after another to vote for the agreement." -- New York times, July 29, 2005. The herd mentality dictates that if you can break key resistance, the rest will follow.

But on Thursday, the day after the vote, I received a telephone call from a talk radio host in Congressman Taylor's district. He told me he had asked Mr. Taylor that morning why he didn't vote against CAFTA as he had pledged. The talk radio host told me "Taylor said he had voted 'no'...but somebody changed it and Mr. Taylor was furious." "'I voted NO,' Mr. Taylor announced in a terse statement on Thursday, saying the House clerk's written log showed his vote...." -- New York Times, July 29, 2005...

Well, I don't know exactly what happened to Mr. Taylor's vote, if it was an error with his voting machine (as some articles have suggested), or whether it was something more sinister. But this little story on how House votes actually occur in the age of presidential imperialism should scare the shit out of people who look to their congressmen for representation.

Friday, July 29, 2005

good catch

Gene Healy reads Max Boot so you won't have to and they only thing you're missing is some pretty loony claims. Boot warns of the sinister plans of the Chinese:
Their different approaches include financial warfare (subverting banking systems and stock markets), drug warfare (attacking the fabric of society by flooding it with illicit drugs), psychological and media warfare (manipulating perceptions to break down enemy will), international-law warfare (blocking enemy actions using multinational organizations), resource warfare (seizing control of vital natural resources), even ecological warfare (creating man-made earthquakes or other natural disasters).
That's right! The Chinese are working on attacking us with man-made earthquakes!!! Although that's the most outlandish of his claims, they are all pretty ridiculous. Just what is "international-law warfare"? How many people do we expect to die in such a battle? I wish Max would tell us.

Does Boot actually believe this drivel? Surely the logical conclusion of the discovery of an earthquake machine is that we should invade China! After all, if we invaded Saddam because he was merely pursuing nuclear weapons, then an even more agressive response would be needed against an enemy that can cause tsunamis.

Healy also catches some silliness by Frank Gaffney in this article. My favorite part is where Gaffney warns that the Chinese are "invest[ing] heavily in T-bills to acquire strategic economic assets". Huh? Just how does owning treasury bills give those slanty-eyed yellow devils "strategic economic assets"? It sounds to me like they are merely giving us low cost loans. Those bastards! How dare they make it cheaper for us to borrow money?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

giant squid may be cannibals

As reported in this article from The Daily Telegraph, DNA analysis of a giant squid's stomach contents indicates that they may consume each other:
GIANT squid may have more on their menu than ill-fated sailors.

Australian researchers have discovered that the mysterious creatures – enshrined in myth as ferocious beasts that attack hapless mariners – may indulge in cannibalism.

The University of Tasmania team used a novel DNA-based approach to test the stomach contents of a 190kg male specimen caught by fishermen off Tasmania's west coast in 1999.

Three tentacles and 12 squid beak fragments were found in the stomach of the giant squid.

While the beaks could not be identified, DNA from stomach juices and tentacle fragments all belonged to the giant squid, or Architeuthis dux.

The only other species identified was a fish, the blue grenadier, not previously recorded as Architeuthis prey.
If I may ask a question, please...this particular giant squid was hauled in, according to the article, in are you only now getting around to analyzing the stomach contents!? IT'S TWENTY-OH FRICKIN' FIVE, MAN! What have you been DOING with this poor Architeuthis dux all these years! It must be a pretty relaxed environment over there at the old University of Tasmania. Any job openings?

Seriously, I assume it is because this particular DNA sequencing technique was not available earlier. One of the nice things about biology is that you can stick a specimen in the freezer and continue to learn from it as new technologies are developed. The article goes on:
Identifying the prey of giant squid has also been difficult, due to the scarcity of samples and their tendency to finely macerate their food.

To eat, they shoot out two longer tentacles like a bungee cord before drawing their prey into the mouth, where a parrot-like beak chops the meat into small chunks.

Australian Antarctic Division research scientist Simon Jarmon said while the study could not rule out accidental self-ingestion, the Tasmanian research was probably the first time giant squid cannibalism had been demonstrated "reasonably conclusively".

"People for a long time thought that DNA in dietary samples would be too degraded because of all the digestive processes," he said.
One thing's for sure: death by being fed to a giant squid will not be high on my list of best ways to die.

judging the law

Radley Balko has an excellent column up today at on a neglected restraint on government, jury nullification:
Here in America, the Founding Fathers understood the importance of allowing juries to determine not just the guilt or innocence of the man on trial, but the justice and fairness of the law he's charged with breaking. John Adams said of jury nullification, "It is not only [the juror's] right, but his find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court." John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, said "The jury has the right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy."
Be sure and read Clay S. Conrad's Jury Nullification: Evolution of a Doctrine. It's a great book.


I have a pet theory that the reason most journalists choose their jobs is because they simply aren't smart enough to become a doctor, engineer, lawyer or accountant, etc. My theory got a big boost today thanks to an article in the San Francisco Examiner:
Check out the blog of Morgan Spurlock, better known as the "Super Size Me" guy and star of the new show "30 Days." Log on to and see what the guy who ate fast food 24/7 for an entire month really thinks. The site has only been up since June so you have some time to check up and get in on what is fast becoming a popular blog. The site contains a ton of stuff about McDonald's, so if you're a fan of the chain don't go. However, if you are a fan of chatter about popular culture and American corporate governance check it out.
Are these people even capable of basic reading comprehension?!? How can someone spend even ten seconds reading the Morgan Spurlock Watch weblog and not realize that it's by a critic of Spurlock and not Spurlock himself?

Spotted via The Agitator.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

forever che!

I can't get enough of articles slamming Che Guevara. The left slobbered over him for so long and still tries to sweep his atrocities under the rug. It's left to people like Alvaro Vargas Llosa to write great articles like "The Killing Machine: Che Guevara, from Communist Firebrand to Capitalist Brand":
Guevara might have been enamored of his own death, but he was much more enamored of other people’s deaths. In April 1967, speaking from experience, he summed up his homicidal idea of justice in his “Message to the Tricontinental”: “hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine.” His earlier writings are also peppered with this rhetorical and ideological violence. Although his former girlfriend Chichina Ferreyra doubts that the original version of the diaries of his motorcycle trip contains the observation that “I feel my nostrils dilate savoring the acrid smell of gunpowder and blood of the enemy,” Guevara did share with Granado at that very young age this exclamation: “Revolution without firing a shot? You’re crazy.” At other times the young bohemian seemed unable to distinguish between the levity of death as a spectacle and the tragedy of a revolution’s victims. In a letter to his mother in 1954, written in Guatemala, where he witnessed the overthrow of the revolutionary government of Jacobo Arbenz, he wrote: “It was all a lot of fun, what with the bombs, speeches, and other distractions to break the monotony I was living in.”
Originally published in the July 11th, 2005 issue of The New Republic, thanks to the Independent Institute, the full article is now online.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

our rights suspended for 10 more years

Ron Paul bravely stood up for our freedoms while most of congress cravenly voted to extend the PATRIOT Act for another 10 years. We all know that the PATRIOT Act extension miraculously came to a vote right after the London terrorist bombings - how conVEEEEENient. In Paul's current column at, he raises an excellent point about the scoundrels who cite the bombings as proof of the necessity of the PATRIOT act:
Unfortunately, some of my congressional colleagues referenced the recent London bombings during the debate, insinuating that opponents of the PATRIOT Act somehow would be responsible for a similar act here at home. I won't even dignify that slur with the response it deserves. Let's remember that London is the most heavily monitored city in the world, with surveillance cameras recording virtually all public activity in the city center. British police officials are not hampered by our 4th Amendment nor our numerous due process requirements. In other words, they can act without any constitutional restrictions, just as supporters of the PATRIOT Act want our own police to act. Despite this they were not able to prevent the bombings, proving that even a wholesale surveillance society cannot be made completely safe against determined terrorists. Congress misses the irony entirely. The London bombings don't prove the need for the PATRIOT Act – they prove the folly of it.
I'm still awestruck at how easily this PATRIOT Act renewal came to pass, with hardly any notice from the mainstream press. It's depressing, damn depressing, but it's good to know we have at least one sane and heroic man in the House, a thorn in the side of Leviathan, who we can always count on to speak truth to power!

that turns out not to be the case

In Paul Krugman's column yesterday, he notes that Toyota has decided to build a car factory in Canada and explains that tax cuts and Republicans are to blame:
Modern American politics is dominated by the doctrine that government is the problem, not the solution. In practice, this doctrine translates into policies that make low taxes on the rich the highest priority, even if lack of revenue undermines basic public services. You don't have to be a liberal to realize that this is wrong-headed. Corporate leaders understand quite well that good public services are also good for business. But the political environment is so polarized these days that top executives are often afraid to speak up against conservative dogma.
Huh? I thought Republicans were puppets of corporations. At any rate, it turns out that Toyota is, in fact, building several new factories in the U.S. as Stefan Karlsson points out here. So one factory for Canada and 3 for America and Krugman's conclusion is that Canada has the advantage?

conservatives for surveillance

Rich Lowry praises our loss of privacy in "Caught on Tape":
Cameras won’t deter suicide bombers — what will? — but they can tamp down other criminal activity. Cameras in Britain are credited with discouraging the IRA bombing campaign in the 1990s. On a less serious front, San Francisco — one of many jurisdictions, including New York, Houston and New Jersey, that have cameras in their train systems — saw vandalism drastically decline on subway cars after the installation of surveillance cameras.
Lowry goes on to praise other cities that have helped implement the total surveillance state and mocks those who bring up privacy claims but both Lowry and civil libertarians miss the real problem with non-stop monitoring by the State. So many things are against the law that virtually everyone is a criminal. Add massive surveillance on top of that and you really do have a recipe for totalitarianism. My concerns about cameras would be ameliorated if neocons like Lowry weren't also aggressive defenders of criminalizing everything at the Federal level. To Lowry's credit, he has occasionally spoke out against the drug war, but rolling back leviathan at the Federal level is something that he and his fellow conservo-statists seem to have little enthusiasm for.


Face transplants are something that have been pondered for a while now but have yet to be attempted. Today's New York Times has an update in "A New Face: A Bold Surgeon, an Untried Surgery":
A team led by Dr. Siemionow is planning to undertake what may be the most shocking medical procedure to occur in decades: a face transplant.

After years of heated scientific debate over ethics and technical feasibility, the Cleveland Clinic last fall became the first institution to approve this novel surgery. Already Dr. Siemionow's group is searching for its first patient.

An amateur photographer - portraits of faces, mostly - with a talkative, almost merry demeanor, Dr. Siemionow is not the sort one expects to find center stage in a medical danse macabre. But this is no ordinary procedure, and she is no ordinary scientist.
I can't imagine what it would be like to have no face, but I can certainly understand that someone without one might want to undergo such a novel and risky procedure. Not everyone thinks these poor souls should be allowed to do so, of course:
"This idea needs more evaluation. What we do know either can't be quantified or the risks clearly outweigh the benefits," said Karen Maschke, the associate for ethics and science policy at the Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute in Garrison, N.Y. "Look, a lot of science is boosterism.

"People always think they're going to be cured by new treatments and life will be normal again, but that's usually not the case."

Dr. Siemionow disputes the notion that facially disfigured patients should not be allowed to decide the risks, asking, "How can people who are normal decide for burn victims 'This is not right for you'?"
Maschke makes it sounds like this is some kind of trivial cosmetic surgery like a boob job. Screw you, Maschke! Kudos to Dr. Siemionow for correctly noting that it's the patient who should make the choice.

Monday, July 25, 2005

shatner's latest album

This has been out for a while, but William Shatner has a new album out, called "Has Been". Be sure and visit the web site, there are samples of most songs and interviews with Shatner about several of them. My favorite so far is the title track and Shatner has an interesting take on the phrase "has been". It's almost always used derisively, but why, he asks? Doesn't "has been" mean that the person really has been something special? And isn't that a lot better than never having been anything, ever? It reminds me of another phrase, "one hit wonder". Again, it's a term used derisively, but a band that just has a single hit has been (ha!) a lot more successful than, say, 99% of the bands out there, right? Isn't that pretty good?

a death in london

My co-blogger and I have a running joke when discussing suicides in the news. We always say that the person killed himself by shooting himself, five times, in the back of the head, while shaving. Pretty hilarious, eh? But it's not so funny when it happens for real. At the Huffington Post, Richard Bradley notes that in the recent police killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, that Mr. Menezes was shot five times in the back of the head and neck.

The rationale that the police give for the shooting is that if Menezes was a bomber and had succeeded, many more may have died. But isn't this a rationale for shooting anyone, any time, no questions asked? It's so depressing seeing the constant excuse-making for governments, the unquestioning support of handing ever-more consequence-free power to the State.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

dawkins was wrong

On September 15th, 2001, just four days after the worst terrorist attack ever on the United States, biologist Richard Dawkins penned an article for the Guardian explaining it all. According to Dawkins, the core problem was religion:
If death is final, a rational agent can be expected to value his life highly and be reluctant to risk it. This makes the world a safer place, just as a plane is safer if its hijacker wants to survive. At the other extreme, if a significant number of people convince themselves, or are convinced by their priests, that a martyr's death is equivalent to pressing the hyperspace button and zooming through a wormhole to another universe, it can make the world a very dangerous place. Especially if they also believe that that other universe is a paradisical escape from the tribulations of the real world. Top it off with sincerely believed, if ludicrous and degrading to women, sexual promises, and is it any wonder that naive and frustrated young men are clamouring to be selected for suicide missions?
As it turns out, this is not true. As Congressman Ron Paul points out while discussing the book, Dying to Win by Robert Pape, it's not religion at all that's the problem:
The clincher is this: the strongest motivation, according to Pape, is not religion but rather a desire "to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory the terrorists view as their homeland."
Pape did a study of 462 suicide attacks between 1980 and 2004 and the conclusions might be shocking to some but they are crucial if we are to put an end to horrible tragedies like the 9/11 attacks. Even Paul admits that prior to reading the book "[he]...assumed that the driving force behind the suicide attacks was Islamic fundamentalism."

The title of this post is a slam against Dawkings, naturally, but he's no worse than the vast majority of commentators who are all too prone to analyze things based on their pet peeves. Dawkins, an atheist, emphasized the religious aspect of the event but if he's a true scientist, he will be pleased to see that a rigorous study has been done and the true motivator of these horrible crimes is something that we can do something about. We don't have to convince the fanatics to give up their religion, all we have to do is stop occupying their countries.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

the war on doctors

John Tierney has an excellent column today, "Handcuffs and Stethoscopes". This paragraph sums it up nicely:
If enough doctors are jailed or scared into not writing prescriptions, it's conceivable that this drug war could have more impact than the ones against heroin and cocaine - doctors, after all, are harder to replace than crack dealers. But even if there's less OxyContin on the street, is that worth the suffering of patients who can't get the painkillers they need?
Exactly! And guess what? Unintended consequences follow:
"Because diverted OxyContin is more expensive and difficult to purchase," the agency reported, "users have switched to heroin."
This is one of those issues that really makes me angry and it's great to see it get a sympathetic treatment in a major newspaper like this.

Friday, July 22, 2005

my new dream woman

Smart, libertarian, and likes to cook! How can I sweep this woman off her feet?

sullum on roberts

Jacob Sullum's column today, "As Bad As We Want Him to Be?", discusses Dubya's nomination of John Roberts to the SCOTUS:
According to a New York Times editorial, a judge who applies the Constitution as written is trying to "resurrect ancient, and discredited, states' rights theories," while a judge who fails to perceive limits on state abortion laws in a Constitution that says nothing about the issue is "an extreme ideologue with an agenda of stripping away important rights." I hope Roberts is guilty as charged.
I agree! If only Roberts was the extreme libertarian that lefties are so terrified of, but he's almost certainly not:
One aspect of Roberts' record that I do find troubling (aside from the possibility that he won't live up to the rap against him) is his position on the legal treatment of accused terrorists. This month he signed on to a D.C. Circuit ruling that allowed the Bush administration to try people accused of terrorism before military commissions that lack the procedural safeguards of both civilian courts and standard courts-martial: Unsworn statements can be used as evidence, the defendant has no right to be present, and both the right to avoid self-incrimination and the presumption of innocence are contingent on ad hoc rules written by the Pentagon.
I'm not holding my breath, hoping he'll actually rule against the Feds on anything important. He'll be a mixed bag at best.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

the economics of "outing"

Robert A. George over at Ragged Thots, notes that critics of Senator Rick Santorum have outed his communications director, Robert Traynham. I've never understood what leftists think this is going to accomplish. Won't this just discourage gay conservatives from associating with "anti-gay" conservatives? Isn't the latter group the ones who most need to meet and understand that gays are just like the rest of us? On the other hand, if the purpose of outing is to make leftist gays feel self-righteous, then maybe it's mission accomplished after all.

those racist democrats

In "Slavery Reparations", Walter Williams tells us an interesting tidbit:
The recent phase of the reparations movement contains an interesting twist. Rev. Wayne Perryman, a conservative minister of Mount Calvary Christian Center Church of God in Christ in Seattle, Wash., has filed a lawsuit against the Democratic Party. His lawsuit, filed in United States District Court in Seattle, charges "that because of their racist past practices the Democratic Party should be required to pay African Americans Reparations." Rev. Perryman's brief, citing abundant historical evidence, charges that the past racist policies and practices that were initiated against blacks by the Democratic Party -- were no different than the policies and practices that were initiated by the Nazi Party against the Jews.
Now Democrats might argue that they have more than made up for the past behavior, but that's like saying that a burglar doesn't have to go to jail if, years after the crime, he buys lots of expensive gifts for the relatives of his victims, isn't it?

a different kind of leviathan slayer...

This 1200 pound beast was caught off the coast of Martha's Vineyard. It surely would have won the weekend shark derby, but the captain dragged it in 6 minutes too late to qualify. See articles here and here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

no evidence

Alex Tabarrok makes an important point in his post, "Rx for OTC". In arguing for greater access to prescription drugs, Professor T. states, "there is no evidence that the costs of potential mistreatment outweigh the costs of undertreatment". I wish he had backed that up with a link, since it is such a bold statement. I don't doubt that it's true, since government regulations rarely have benefits that outweigh their costs, but I'd like to know what kind of studies back that up.

UPDATE: Professor Tabarrok does indeed provide a link to an article by Sam Peltzman, "The Health Effects of Mandatory Prescriptions", in the Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Oct., 1987). Since I don't have acess to JSTOR, I guess what I should have said was, "I wish I could read the article that was linked to".

Monday, July 18, 2005

u for unexcited

Bryan Caplan writes in "E for Excited" about the upcoming "V for Vendetta" movie. Alas, I have read too many bad things about the script to get terribly excited. I hope I'm wrong as it was an excellent graphic novel but given Hollywood's tendency to mess up good source material, I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

morning drinkers of the world unite!

I love this article by Jeffrey Tucker over at Why shouldn't we be able to enjoy a nice glass of Guiness with our sausage and eggs without being considered to have a drinking problem?
Do you see what is happening here? The breakfast drink is being snuck in under the label of medicine as a way of evading the social taboo against liquor before noon. That’s just silly. You don’t need an excuse, particularly not a medicinal one. You can have a bloody mary or a mimosa anytime!

Along the same lines there is rum and 7-up, rum and apple cider, and this interesting one just called "The Breakfast Drink": jigger Vodka, jigger Peach Schnapps, cup of Orange Juice, 2 jiggers raspberry Liqueur, ½ cup of Collins mix. Fascinating!

For all the wonders and complications of that latter suggestion, I still can’t get past the simplicity and clarity of my favorite of all time: a small glass of port wine.

Maybe it is an age thing. I like the idea of the Guinness, the courage it takes to drink moonshine, the fussiness that comes with a mimosa, the bold stroke of the Bloody Mary, and the sheer decadence associated with “the Breakfast Drink” but somehow the clarity and stability of the glass of port – which recalls the glory of Colonial America – seems just right and just what is needed to join the movement to smash this ridiculous taboo against morning drinking.
For myself, I won't drink at breakfast or lunch on a working day; leaves me too sleepy and unmotivated. Tucker addresses this issue at the end of the article, too:
A final note on a frequent objection: morning drinking diminishes one's productivity during the day. This is true, of course, but particularly for adults who process liquor more slowly. This underscores a point that cannot be emphasized enough: like smoking, morning drinking is particularly suited for the young, meaning under the age of 25. Their systems are robust and can handle it better. Don't waste your youth: it is up to you to bring back the breakfast drink!
I agree. It's odd that the antismoking Nazis focus so much on the youth and young adults; their bodies can handle the physiological insult of tobacco smoke much better than the older folk.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

those wacky scientologists

Over at, Michael Crowley writes about "L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology's esteemed founder". Not only will you learn that the voice of Bart Simpson is a scientologist, but apparently there was a conspiracy to infiltrate the government:
[T]he church's ongoing paranoia and vindictiveness culminated in a shockingly elaborate operation, which Hubbard dubbed "Snow White," to spy on and burglarize multiple federal offices, including the IRS and the Justice Department, with the aim of stealing and destroying government documents about Scientology. The Scientologists even planted moles in some federal offices. In 1983, 11 church leaders, including Hubbard's wife, were convicted and sentenced to prison for the conspiracy. Though Hubbard was named as a co-conspirator, he was never indicted.
Read the whole thing.

Friday, July 15, 2005

worse than animated sex

Via Hit and Run, we find that Senator Clinton is outraged that some hackers have uncovered hidden sex scenes in the PC version of "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas". But where is the outrage over "Destroy All Humans"? I've just started playing this and between disintegrating helpless farmers, I'm ripping out their brain stems and conducting anal probes. Seriously, one of the main ways of earning points in the game is to perform anal probes on humans!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

child labor reconsidered

Cafe Hayek points to an excellent article in today's New York Times by Virginia Postrel. The article, "Research Changes Ideas About Children and Work", discusses recent research by Eric V. Edmonds and Nina Pavcnik on child labor and concludes with this pithy comment:
"Most child labor policy even today is directed at trying to get kids into unemployment - to limit working opportunities for kids," he said in the interview. But, "if households are already in a situation where they don't want their children to be working, but they're forced to because of their circumstance, taking additional steps to prevent the kids from working is punishing the poorest for being poor."
Like so many policies pushed by those on the left, anti-child labor laws backfire.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

flat earth mythology

Carolyn Moynihan interviews John Stenhouse in this commentary from Science & Theology News. Excerpts:
What does recent scholarship tell us about the history of the church and science?

The idea that Christopher Columbus had to defy Catholic flat-earthers to embark on his voyage of discovery has had wide currency. But as historian Jeffrey Burton Russell has shown in his book Inventing the Flat Earth, the real error “is not the alleged medieval belief that the earth was flat, but rather the modern error that such a belief ever prevailed.” Virtually all educated Christians during the high Middle Ages knew that the earth was round. The ignorant medieval flat-earth Catholic is a modern myth, a product largely of Protestant and secular prejudice.

As for Galileo, a leading historian of science, David C. Lindberg, has concluded that, though shocking by our standards, by the standards prevailing in seventeenth century Europe, the “central bureaucracy of the church and the people who staffed it lived up to widely held norms, followed accepted procedure, and even on a number of occasions treated Galileo with generosity.” The Galileo affair “was a product not of dogmatism or intolerance beyond the norm, but of a combination of more or less standard (for the seventeenth century) bureaucratic procedure, plausible (if ultimately flawed) political judgement, and a familiar array of human foibles and failings.”

Nor did that episode stop talented Catholic scientists such as Rene Descartes, Marin Mersenne, Pierre Gassendi, and Blaise Pascal from making important contributions to a range of disciplines. In a remarkable recent book, John Heilbron has shown that the Catholic church, cultivating astronomy in order to refine the church calendar, turned European cathedrals into gigantic solar observatories. According to Heilbron, the church “gave more financial and social support to the study of astronomy for over six centuries, from the recovery of ancient learning during the late Middle Ages into the Enlightenment than any other, and, probably, all other, institutions.” This conclusion has won wide assent from historians of science.
This makes me dream of a Catholic Church space program! Perhaps the Church could develop the first Von Neumann probes to explore and colonize the galaxy. OK, that's a ways off yet. Anyway, read the whole commentary.

scientology hides its true, greedy, virulent intentions

I am truly sick of seeing Tom Cruise's face everywhere, and I especially hate hearing him speak. He seems like the sort of person who thinks he knows everything but actually knows next to nothing, exactly the kind of person that would fall for the pseudo-science and pseudo-religion of Scientology. In this article from The Triangle, Aaron Sakulich exposes the greed and deadly ways of L. Ron Hubbard's cult.
But, surely, perhaps even such a nutcase like Hubbard could have started a decent group. Not so. Scientology is complex, but the basic structure seems to be something like this: everyone has problems. Some of these problems are just the problems of daily lives, while others come from past lives whose troubles still haunt us. The way to get rid of these troubles is to undergo "auditing" sessions with Scientologists. After a certain number of sessions, you've been cured of some of your troubles, and you get to move up the "tone scale." If you're near death, you're at the "chronic apathy" level of .05. You can move up through anger, grief, boredom, conservativism, all the way up to enthusiasm, at a tone-scale rating of 4.0. Most people, of course, are pretty low on the scale, and the only way to move up is through Scientologist training and auditing sessions.

So why does this sound so bad? Because these sessions aren't free. It's like a modern day Indulgence system: you pay out more and more money to Scientology, and you rise higher and higher in rank. But is the tone scale really that bad? Surely, it's just a tool to gauge a person's level of happiness? The words of L. Ron Hubbard himself say it most succinctly:

"...any person from 2.0 down on the tone scale should not have, in any thinking society, any civil rights of any kind" (Science of Survival, Part I, Page131)

Feeling nervous yet? Again, in his words:

"There are only two answers for the handling of people from 2.0 down on the tone scale, neither one of which has anything to do with reasoning with them or listening to their justification of their acts. The first is to raise them on the tone scale by un-enturbulating some of their theta by any one of the three valid processes. The other is to dispose of them quietly and without sorrow." (Science of Survival, Part I, Page157)
Scary stuff. Somebody ought to tell Mr. Cruise what Scientology is really all about. And maybe somebody can teach him how to act, too. Real acting, that is, not just mugging the camera.

Monday, July 11, 2005

dumbest article of the year nomination

I nominate "Beware of the 'Halli-bloggers'!" for dumbest article of the year. Apparently, the newest danger to democracy (and "good government"!) is that Halliburton might start a weblog! Here's exactly how democracy will be destroyed:
In testimony before the commission, Carol Darr, director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy, and the Internet, laid out a scenario in which Halliburton could choose to take advantage of a blanket media exemption for bloggers by investing in a blog that was supportive of its favored candidate. The "Halli-blogger," as Darr put it, with unlimited and undisclosed funding from Halliburton, could then create a slickly produced television-style ad on behalf of a candidate, even consulting with the campaign to design as effective a message as possible. The blogger could then, as part of the normal journalistic function, send this ad out over e-mail, or on an RSS feed, to activists and swing voters. The ad could even be sent to news outlets, as is standard practice for modern campaigns, where it would be featured in news segments, increasing its visibility and injecting its message into the bloodstream of the campaign.
So, in other words, journalists are so dumb that they would fall for a slickly produced ad on a weblog of unknown (to them) funding. Whew, thank goodness Darr has already figured it out, so there's no danger after all! No, apparently there is danger after all:
"[Bloggers argue] 'What's the difference between us and them? We deserve the media exemption also,'" Darr told Salon. "It's an easy ask, but it's a real expensive give. The cost of it is the destruction of the campaign finance laws and the prohibition on corporate money which has held for 98 years."
Fortunately, not all left-wingers are as dumb as the author of this Salon article:
Bloggers greet this possibility with a shrug. Atrios, aka Duncan Black, who also testified, calls Darr's concern "kind of silly." "It's granting a greater potential for influence than a blogger could have, or any one person or any one Web site on the Internet could have," he told Salon. "And it sort of presumes that Halliburton has discovered the magic formula such that if they only spend $10 million they will have the best Web site ever and everyone will come to it every day to hear the latest daily propaganda from whoever their candidate is."

Kos, characteristically, was more blunt. "I say, 'Welcome to the blogosphere, Halliburton!'" he wrote on his site, in response to Darr. "'Join the over 12 million blogs already in the blogosphere.' I'm pretty confident [campaign finance reform] would survive the emergence of yet another blog. One of 20,000 created every day."
Right on, Kos! The whole problem with this article is that the author, Zachary Roth, never gives a convincing explanation of how Halliburton is going to pull this off. The example given is so convoluted and ludicrous, it's hard to believe he had a straight face on while typing it. But guilty until proven innocent is the order of the day for "good government" types, so free speech must take a hit to protect us simpletons from reading Halli-blogs.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

two toms

I'm not a fan of Tom Cruise but I did go see War of the Worlds recently. I give it a definite thumbs down, although my two friends who saw it with me both liked it. Neither of them had read the book or seen the earlier adaptations movie from 1953 so they didn't know the ending.

The other Tom is Thomas Szasz and Sheldon Richman makes the connection over at the Liberty & Power Blog and points to a posting by Jeffrey A. Schaler:
A lot of people seem to have misunderstood what Tom Cruise said. It is not necessarily the case that he’s a Scientology-brainwashed wacko, or that his ideas about psychiatry even came from the Churchof Scientology. Cruise learned a lot about psychiatry from the writings of psychiatric abolitionist Thomas Szasz. Throughout the world, Szasz is considered an intellectual heavyweight, someone whose ideas about medicine, disease, science, liberty and responsibility should be taken seriously.
Read the whole thing and be sure and check out this photo of the two Toms.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

fantastic four review

I went to see "Fantastic Four" tonight. I wasn't looking forward to it too much, because of some of the fan site reviews that I had read, but through the miracle of low expectations, I was pleasantly surprised so I give it a thumbs up.

Although the filmmakers made major changes to the origin story, it actually wasn't too bad and I could see why they did it. Having Dr. Doom along for the ride from the beginning simplifies things a great deal and doesn't really ruin anything important. On the plus side, a lot of the feel of the comic is preserved, especially the relationships, like the interplay between the Thing and the Human Torch. The latter character is played very well by actor Chris Evans, something I did not expect from the snippets I saw in trailers. On the downside are the poor special effects, especially those of Mr. Fantastic and the Thing. The latter's costume is just plain bad but if the computer effects used to create Mr. Fantastic are any indication, it's probably just as well that they didn't go CGI with the Thing, too. Jessica Alba also did a fine job in her part, another unexpected bonus. And am I the only one sick of seeing Stan Lee doing cameos in all the Marvel movies? Yikes, this guy is a bad actor! He sticks out like a sore thumb. Finally, there was a so-so climax, and some other poor characterizations as well.

Friday, July 08, 2005

government vs. public health

Krugman's "Free to Choose Obesity?" is the second in an ongoing series on obesity. First off, don't you love the title and the way he uses scare quotes around the phrase "free to choose" in the body of the column? Krugman's sooooooooo much smarter than that dumb Milton Friedman, who used that phrase so famously. I used to like Krugman as a writer but I've developed a pet theory on why he's gone downhill so much: the further he strays from his speciality, international trade, the dumber he sounds. He ends today's column with this jaw dropper:
Above all, we need to put aside our anti-government prejudices and realize that the history of government interventions on behalf of public health, from the construction of sewer systems to the campaign against smoking, is one of consistent, life-enhancing success. Obesity is America's fastest-growing health problem; let's do something about it.
Where to begin? Did alcohol prohibition count as a public health measure? Was that a success? Also, I guess the good professor is unaware of the numerous studies that show that FDA regulation costs far more lives than it saves. He should check out for some tips. That's just two examples off the top of my head but why let facts get in the way of a good rant, eh?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

the hawk and i

I haven't been watching the news today, so I don't know much about the bombing in London, but I was talking to one of my co-workers today, who is quite hawkish to say the least, and he asked me what I think the UK should do, since he knows that I am quite opposed to foreign intervention in general and oppose the war in Iraq. I told him that Blair should hunt down the perpetrators and kill them, of course. Duh! I'm not a pacifist.


Arnold Kling has an excellent essay over at Tech Central Station entitled, "Fight Socienics". Kling makes an interesting analogy between early the twentieth century elite fascination with eugenics and the current belief of social good over economic freedom and coins a new word:
Socienics is seductive today, just as eugenics was seductive to the "enlightened classes" a hundred years ago. But we need to fight socienics. The presumption should be that our individual liberty is foremost.

Taxes and regulation that infringe on individual rights should have to climb difficult hurdles of Constitutional review, not be granted easy deference. The standard for sanctioning the taking of our property in the name of social good should be something far stronger than a city council's majority vote supported by a thin policy rationale. Instead, the standard needs to approach "beyond a reasonable doubt."

What I am advocating is a dramatic change in our political culture. Just as eugenics came to be viewed with revulsion, I am suggesting that all of the socienics projects that attempt to use government to achieve social improvement need to be questioned and challenged.
At a minimum, that's for sure.

saddam, the czar and the kaiser

Leon Hadar makes an excellent point in his column today. Basically, when the Russian Czar and Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany were deposed in the early part of the twentieth century, everyone thought that was a good thing and that conditions would improve in both countries. Clearly, that is not what happened and Hadar cautions us that we might eventually be nostalgic for Saddam if what eventually replaces him is on a par with Stalin or Hitler. Sometimes it's better to stick with the devil you know.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

watching spurlock

Radley Balko has started a specialty blog, dedicated to keeping an eye on Morgan Spurlock. If everyone links to the new blog using "Morgan Spurlock" as the link text, guess what website will start to move up to the top in google searches for Mr. Spurlock?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

bitter left-winger, comic strip edition

Via Jim Lindgren, I see that Garry Trudeau pokes fun at bloggers in the Sunday edition of Doonesbury. According to Mr. Trudeau, left-wing bloggers like Duncan Black, Daily Kos, and Oliver Willis are "angry, semi-employed losers who are too untalented or too lazy to get real jobs in journalism" and they are so poor, they have to eat catfood. The aforementioned gentlemen are probably also unaware that we are "at the tail's end of the media's fascination with blogging."

Mr. Trudeau is no doubt upset that people no longer get their news and commentary solely from the New York Times or the Washington Post any more. That horrible internets (ha ha, I said "internets", just like that dummy in the Whitehouse) promotes wasteful competition in the news analysis area, leading to false consciousness in the proletariat, uh, I mean, misinformed opinion among the citizenry.

No doubt Trudeau is still angry at the internets for leading HIM astray back in August 2001, but what's really sad is that Trudeau himself used to be a funny and insightful commentator in an unusual forum during the Watergate era. What happened to that guy?

Monday, July 04, 2005


I bought several video games yesterday and have spent most of my off-time today playing them. I've been shooting pimps, gang members and corrupt police officers all day in various editions of "Grand Theft Auto". Right now I'm stuck on two different missions in GTA III, one where I'm supposed to hunt down a pimp and kill him and the other where I'm setting up a car bombing. I can't seem to complete either one, consistently getting killed by the pimp or running out of time for the car bomb. Grrrr.

quote of the day

I found this quote over at the Independent Institute's Center on Peace and Liberty. It's from John Quincy Adams in 1821:
“[America] has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.... She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.... [America’s] glory is not dominion, but liberty.”
I'm still often astonished at how the early leaders of this country understood so well the problems we face two hundred years later. Consider the war in Iraq. Even if we believe the neocons are totally well-intentioned and want nothing but freedom for the people of Iraq and the Middle East, Adams clearly foresaw how "[America] would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom." It is not enough for us to have good intentions. We need to have a humble foreign policy and not imagine that our intentions and might are sufficient to change the nature of war itself. As James Madison said,
“Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies. From these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, debts and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the dominion of the few.... No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
War makes it harder for us to preserve our liberty. It always has and always will. That's what the founders understood better than anyone in the Federal government does today. This is not about Bush's bungling of the war in Iraq. No one can do war well. The problem with the Democrats is not that they are anti-war (they aren't), they just imagine that if they were in charge, they could intervene abroad competently and that is a lie.

a libertarian holiday

Happy 4th of July, everyone! Anthony Gregory has an essay up today on "Celebrating Independence From the State" that tries to end on an optmistic note:
Amidst all the collectivist economic disasters, the bloodshed and the attacks on the Bill of Rights, there is reason to hope. Like the founding generation of this country, most Americans now see themselves as independent from the State. Perhaps this Fourth of July is no reason to celebrate too excitedly. But we need not despair altogether. Today's disaffection with the State may indeed become tomorrow's contagion of liberty. Some time down the line, five, ten or fifteen years from now, if not as early as a year or two from now, we just might have true cause to celebrate our Independence Day with as much exuberance as the day, marking the greatest revolution in history, deserves.
Mr. Gregory is a bit more optimistic than I am. I look around at what's happening these days and wonder how will we ever get out of our current messes. Maybe we will have a Berlin Wall kind of moment some day, where the State is dramatically reduced, but I just don't know how to get to a freer future from where we are now.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

blogroll update

I've been very careful about adding blogs to my blogroll over there on the left. Sure, I could populate it with every blog I read, but no, I want to list only the best blogs, both in quality and quantity. With that in mind, and after careful consideration, I have added Will Wilkinson's "The Fly Bottle". Mr. Wilkinson is a fine writer and I wish he would blog more than he does. Here's a great entry from yesterday entitled "The Unnerving Risk of Being Wealthy: Becoming Slightly Less Wealthy!". Commenting on a piece by Jacob Hacker in The New Republic, Mr. Wilkinson writes:
I've been trying to find someone to tell me that people like Hacker are saying something that is more significant than, say, the risk of being hurt in a car accident went way up after most everyone got car. It's just totally trivial that you can't face the "risk" of your income dropping from $80 to $60K a year if you never made $80K. But why exactly is it that the "risk" of losing a quarter of your income is a risk anyone ought to care about if you'll still be pretty damn rich when you hit the downside. I understand what's going on when people want the state to guarantee a minimum, but I am totally mystified by the normative sensibility behind Hackeresque worries about increasing volatility for the upper and middle classes.
But, of course, there is no normative sensibility. Hacker writes what he writes because he believes that the only way for left-wingers to regain power is to frighten everyone in the middle class into believing that only the Feds can save them. What Hacker most assuredly does not want people to think about is this:
We are richer because of the possibility of swings in income. The efficiency of the economic order, and the overall rate of growth, depends on the ability of the system to dynamically allocate resources to their most valuable use. This entails a fair amount of turbulence inside the general upward trend. Our economic security requires that we be exposed to some income volatility.
Of course, there is a lot we could do to make things better for the middle class (and the poor and the rich), but it would be the opposite of what Hacker wants. By eliminating government programs that make our economy worse and actively harm people, we could make the inevitable volatility easier to bear and re-empower people to deal with their own problems. Imagine the tax breaks we could give to the middle class if we eliminated all farm subsidies and corporate welfare! Of the benefits of real free trade! But neither of those items is on the agenda of the left, is it?

Saturday, July 02, 2005

wrong, wrong, wrong

Radley Balko points to an alert from Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting on a recent rant from Paul Harvey. Apparently, Harvey said the following on air:
"We didn't come this far because we're made of sugar candy. Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and across this continent by giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. That was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever.

"And we grew prosperous. And yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves. So it goes with most great nation-states, which--feeling guilty about their savage pasts--eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry up-and-coming who are not made of sugar candy."
This isn't just appalling as a defense of slavery and genocide, it's also appalling because it buys into the left-wing notion that these things were essential for the success of capitalist societies like America. Nothing could be further from the truth and it speaks of the intellectual bankruptcy of Harvey and others who defend past American atrocities by saying it was a necessary evil. It sees success as a zero-sum game: we prospered because we stole from others. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Capitalism succeeds because it is a positive sum game, a system of mutually beneficial exchanges. Slavery harmed America because slave owners used the coercive powers of the State to subsidize their evil enterprise. It was the Army that slaughtered the Native American, not frontier traders.

Harvey's conclusion is absurd as well. Just which "lean, hungry up-and-coming" invaders are going to "ultimately dominate" us? It's the worst kind of neocon drivel to think that hewing closely to civilized principles of peace and freedom means we are made of "sugar candy" and ripe for takeover.

Friday, July 01, 2005

don't blame the chinese!

Anthony P. Mueller tells us What's Behind the Trade Deficit Numbers? over at
...Trade deficits imply that foreigners lend the money to the United States with which the imports can be bought. The U.S. sends blips on a computer screen abroad and receives goods in exchange for consumption at home.

A blissful economic symbiosis exists between the United States, China, and Japan. The U.S. consumer wants his binge to never end. China needs the U.S. dollars earned from its trade with the United States in order to buy goods from other countries and pursue its economic development strategy. For Japan, the United States serves as the harbor for the savings surplus that it has accumulated.

Seen from an U.S.-perspective it may appear as if China (as it was said of Japan in the 1980s) was competing in an unfair way. It is said that China keeps its currency intentionally undervalued. But while the United States has a huge trade deficit with China, most other countries have a surplus in their trade with China.[ii]

The U.S. deficit with China is not so much the expression of superior Chinese competitiveness, but the result of a lack of competitiveness of the United States. China is reluctant to revalue its currency because the Chinese authorities are right to fear that a revaluation of their currency would lead to an increase of China’s trade deficit with the rest of the world, particularly with its Asian trading partners...

The U.S. trade deficit is an American problem. It is the result of insufficient savings at home and a widening budget deficit. In structural terms, the U.S. trade deficit shows that the productive capacity of the U.S. economy is too small relative to spending. Foreign financing allows the government to expand its expenditures without putting too large a burden on the taxpayer. This way funds are set free for private consumption...

...In the United States, as of now, the trade deficits have widened because the import of goods has been increasing. But what will happen when the trade balance is largely in the red because of U.S. interest payments on accumulated debt? When more and more of the trade deficit will come from interest payments and less from the import of foreign goods, the lifeblood of the trans-Pacific symbioses will dry up...
This is a very enlightening article which brings some common sense to the trade deficit issue and what it means. Those who reflexively state that the trade and current account deficits don't matter miss the point; it is a piece of information which sheds light on the macroeconomic situation our country finds itself in, and how it got there. As Mueller shows, the borrow-and-spend party will come to an end when interest payments take over goods importation as the principal component of the trade deficit.

Mrs. jmc would not have approved of my spending my few remaining minutes before going to the hospital with her for the delivery by making a blog posting, but fortunately she is taking a last-minute nap right now, so I'm off the hook (at least until she reads this...) Gotta go!

talk to ya later...

My blogging will be sparse at best over the next few days, as our second daughter's birth is imminent. Fortunately you will continue to have A.W. View's wit and wisdom in the interim. Be blogging soon...

"hail seizers" indeed!

Jacob Sullum's column today starts off with a great title, "Hail Seizers!" and slams the New York Times:
For the Times, acting in the public interest includes reassigning property rights based on the government's determination of which owners will generate the most tax revenue and jobs. In New London, the public interest happens to coincide with the interests of Pfizer, which inspired the city's redevelopment plan when it decided to open a new research facility adjacent to Fort Trumbull. In New York City, the public interest happens to coincide with the interests of The New York Times, which used eminent domain to forcibly obtain the land on which it is building its new headquarters.
and goes on to make a great point about human rights:
The nonchalance of the Times regarding eminent domain abuse is of a piece with its derogation of property rights, which it sees as inferior to so-called human rights. (Try to imagine the Times running a celebratory editorial on "The Limits of Human Rights.") Yet property rights are human rights: Your ownership of your house stems from your ownership of your body and the fruits of your labor.

In this light, all rights are property rights, without which it would be impossible to exercise, say, freedom of religion or freedom of the press. How free would The New York Times be if people could occupy its offices at will?
Indeed. Leftists/statists like those running the NYT believe the personal is political so how can people who don't believe in property rights expect to have their own property rights respected?