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Dear Congressman Smith

April 12, 2014

As a Missouri citizen, I was embarrassed to learn that you’re a Republican for Missouri’s 8th district. Now to be honest, I wouldn’t expect a Republican from the Boot Heel to support a repeal of marijuana prohibition. That’s no surprise.

What was a surprise was reading about your asking the current administration to override the will of those states that have repealed marijuana prohibitions.

Republicans Demand That the Feds Impose Pot Prohibition on States That Have Opted Out

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder was grilled once again about his response to marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington. He correctly responded that the Justice Department has “a vast amount of discretion” in deciding how to enforce the Controlled Substances Act and argued that his decision to focus on eight “federal enforcement priorities” in states that have legalized marijuana for medical or general use is “consistent with the aims of the statute.” Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) was not buying it. “Federal law takes precedence” over state law, Smith said. “The state of Colorado is undermining…federal law, correct? Why do you fail to enforce the laws of the land?”

What will your constituents think about your wanting the US Department of Justice to crack down on those states that dare to exercise their own authority? Whatever happened to the idea of limited government, Mr. Smith? And what about the states as ‘laboratories of democracy’? Hmm?

But take those as rhetorical questions. I suspect your questioning of A.G. Holder about marijuana laws will play pretty well in most of Cape Girardeau.

So let me change my tack. Do those concepts of limited government and state sovereignty only apply to gun laws and not to drug laws?

What will you be saying if Missouri nullifies federal gun control laws and the DOJ doesn’t attempt to overrule it? Will you say that Missouri is "undermining… federal law"? Will you ask Mr. Holder why he’s failing to enforce the "laws of the land" by not enforcing federal gun laws in Missouri?

I think Ima join both NORML and the NRA, just to make a damned point.

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Tax Day Is Coming

April 12, 2014

There’s a little bit of strong language in this clip.

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When insanity becomes normal

April 11, 2014

I have no comments about the situation in Venezuela to add to the ones I’ve made before, aside from this: Pity the people of Venezuela.

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It’s the police

April 8, 2014

Last week, one of my sons sent me a link to The New Yorker column mentioned below. I thought it was mildly amusing, though it was a pretty cliched view of libertarians. Yeah, yeah… we have to put a quarter into the two-way radio to use it. (Seriously? You couldn’t even work a good tech angle into the column?)

What it sort of reminded me of was Neal Stephenson’s novel Snow Crash — except that Snow Crash was more interesting to read.

So I was glad to see Conor Friedersdorf’s response to that column in The Atlantic yesterday. His response is just chock full of examples of how not to Serve & Protect. (My emphasis below.)

N.L.P.D.: Non-Libertarian Police Department
Law enforcement in America, brought to you by liberals and conservatives

On March 31, The New Yorker published an item in its humor vertical, Shouts & Murmurs, titled “L.P.D.: Libertarian Police Department.” At least 31,000 people liked it.

I can laugh along with parodies of libertarian ideology. But shouldn’t a reductio ad absurdum start with a belief that the target of the satire actually holds? Tom O’Donnell proceeds as if libertarians object to the state enforcing property rights—that is to say, one of the very few state actions that virtually all libertarians find legitimate! If America’s sheriffs were all summarily replaced by Libertarian Party officials selected at random, I’m sure some ridiculous things would happen. Just not any of the particular things that were described. 

That isn’t to say that there weren’t parts of the article that made me laugh. It got me thinking too. If the non-libertarian approach to policing* was the target instead, would you need hyperbole or reductio ad absurdum? Or could you just write down what actually happens under the officials elected by non-libertarians? It is, of course, hard to make it funny when all the horrific examples are true.

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The jig is up

April 8, 2014

As someone who ran Windows 2000 and Windows NT4 for many years past their EOL dates, I’m not too worried by Microsoft’s EOL plans for Windows XP.

But doesn’t the idea that XP still needs bug fixes and security patches after 12 ½ years seem a little odd ? (How long does it take, Redmond?)

Microsoft to Windows XP users: The jig is up

Starting Wednesday, Windows XP users will face a new world with no more technical support or OS updates. That world could prove hazardous to the health of their PCs, which why Microsoft is advising diehards to kick the XP habit.

Okay, so let’s say you still run Windows XP. Exactly what will happen now that Microsoft is cutting off support? First off, your installation of XP won’t mysteriously vanish or suddenly stop working. You’ll still be able to use XP just as always with all of the same features and programs you know and love.

What end of support does mean is that after today you will no longer be treated to bug fixes, security patches, and other updates from Microsoft to defend and protect XP. In fact, today’s Patch Tuesday marks the last round of updates for XP. If any new security issues or vulnerabilities are discovered in XP, Microsoft will no longer be in the job of patching them.

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More about climate alarmism

April 8, 2014

Here’s is an interesting confirmation of something that skeptics of a man-made climate apocalypse have been saying for years.

Dutch Professor Leaves UN Climate Panel

Dutch professor Richard Tol took his leave from the UN climate panel, as he does not agree with the negative conclusions in the latest UN climate report. The consequences of climate change are over-estimated in his opinion. 

“The panel is being governed from within the environmental policy, not from the science”, Tol said. Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented their fifth climate change report in Yokohama, Japan.

The report is warning that any chance of reversing global warming will be lost if something is not done on a global scale to change climate policies.

Climate economy professor Tol finds the report “alarmist and apocalyptic” and that the effects of climate change are being exaggerated. “That over-estimation is being encouraged by a self-selection of authors and referents in the panel”, Tol tells Belgian paper De Morgen. Tol refused to sign the report, according to the Daily Mail.

“There are leading scientists with the IPCC, but there are many average researchers who are just as good. Next to that we seat a number of other people who have the right political connections. The organization is being led and controlled by people who have a stake in climate policy. The IPCC is being governed from within the environmental policy, not from the science.”

I wonder whether Professor Torcello has factored this into his evaluation of what constitutes misinformation about climate science.

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Another take on a Smart Home

April 7, 2014

Here’s a video from Honda about its Smart Home concept house.

If (like me) you’re not very worried about your "carbon footprint" then it will seem a little like a lot of to-do about nothing.

But on the other hand, if you’re interested in decentralization and self-sufficiency (again, like me) it will pique your interest. A 10 KWH battery is sort of intriguing by itself, since I’ve been making back-of-the-envelope calculations on how to store 20-30 KWH in a flywheel.

What I’d like to know, though, is what the carbon footprint is to ship volcanic ash around to make cement as well the answers to similar questions that occurred to me as I watched.

Via Gizmag

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