Thursday, November 10, 2005

Jonathan Pearce on bemoans the loss of at least some protection against double jeopardy in Great Britain. Pearce pointed out at least one bad consequence, perhaps the least of their troubles, "If people can be repeatedly tried for the same crime, it creates a potential very bad and unintended consequence: police and the Crown Prosecution Service will become lazy in the preparation of cases."
That reminded me of a TV show I saw:
I recall seeing a Law and Order episode that pointed out that the double jeopardy protection in the US constitution isn't absolute. The example was a trial where the judge was corrupt, I believe. That defendant could be tried again because he never had a "real" trial in the first place. This exception, however, just emphasized the unusual circumstances that have to occur to justify disregarding this protection. The "new and compelling evidence" standard that now appears to be in place in Britain sets a much lower hurdle. Sometimes there is such a thing as a "slippery slope".
Robert Bidinotto wrote an eloquent post on the despair that's affecting most libertarian-leaning objectivists such as myself. I don't seem to have been able to get my comment to post, but here's what it would have been:
I agree. The political sphere is useless, even counter-productive as an arena within which to fight for individual freedoms. Luckily, in the US, for now, we have another arena - the economy. I am abandoning politics and will from now on concentrate solely on economics, not just to get rich - though I hope that happens - but to reclaim my soul as a free man.
Now I know that makes the politicians tremble in their boots, but what I mean is I'm not going to worry about politics any more. It's something about the wisdom of Scooter Libby, that "all the aspens are connected at the roots" that has made me feel that rooting for any side in the political wars is a mug's game. So I'll read my Raymond Chandler book, watch Maigret and conspire to become prosperous in my old age.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Another invasion of private property rights is laid out in this post on Samizdata:
And why, just because a premises is open to the public, does the owner therefore lose all right to control who enters? He still owns it, his money is still at risk, he still pays taxes. Why are his preferences and his judgment of no value whatever? Under what collectivist theory is this valid or good?
That Euan Gray really gets my goat! He seems to think that every conventional cliched restriction on individual freedom is its own justification.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Qui sème le vent récolte la tempete.

First report I've seen of a firebomb being thrown AT a mosque in France (not my translation! Babelfish?):

Attempt to set fire to a mosque with Annemasse in France
In the night of Monday to Tuesday a machine flamer was launched "in direction of a room of Moslem prayer" in Annemasse (Haute-Savoie), without making damage, indicates an official statement of the prefecture in Annecy.
According to AFP's, the incident occurred towards 0h20 Tuesday. The frontage of this mosque, located in a sensitive district, was slightly blackened by smoke. According to the official statement, the prefect of Haute-Savoie made share with the president of the association NOUR, which is occupied of the place of worship, "of his firm judgment of the act which struck the mosque, of his consideration for the faithful ones of this room of prayer, and of the support of the services of the State". In Annemasse, city frontier with Geneva, 3 cars were burnt in the night. For the whole of the department of Haute-Savoie, 16 vehicles were destroyed by fire.

"Machine flamer" indeed! Link leads to French version.
11 Novembre

I can't stand the lily-livered "social concern" expressed by a Parisian resident in this post on Dean Esmay's blog. So I opened fire with both barrels:
Yep. They can't help it. They have to do it. They're being oppressed. This appeasement makes me sick to my stomach. Why are all the poor French youth not rioting? Is this fellow saying the Vietnamese youth are pampered while the Algerians are not? How about the Poles and the Italians? They're not subject to French arrogance? Nonsense. Mostly, it's the example of the Palestinians which is uppermost. Rioting and destroying and killing are the ways to get respect and money and the tsk tsking of the liberal elite. Meanwhile, this blog is interesting.
The blog I link to is truly fascinating. I've asked my sister, currently a librarian in Nigeria, for her expertise in understanding it. The site has automatic translation, although it's not very good. Thinking about Esmay's post, I am probably overreacting by assuming Dean is expressing approval of the Paris-guy's statements. He could be citing him as a horrible example. We'll see how the comment thread develops.
I give dietary advice to the world via Marginal Revolution:
Maybe the problem isn't eating between meals but insisting on "meals" at all. Why eat food in huge glumps when you could just graze and never really get hungry? I know there are work reasons, but even there you could keep snacks in your desk. If you want to have a meal for social reasons, just treat it as a grazing opportunity. That way you never feel deprived and have less compulsion to upload cubic yards of fodder as you see happening at every table in every restaurant these days.
So how's this working for me, you ask? I've been doing this for a couple of months now and can still fit into my clothes, though I may have put on a couple of pounds (I threw my scale out). I feel a hundred per cent better, though, knowing I'm never going to diet again.

Monday, November 07, 2005

I'm branching out, a bit, to Belgravia Dispatch:
Does anyone really think that what these rioters want is a job in a store selling souvenirs, a little apartment on the Seine and a tiny car? Nonsense. They want to bring down the government, establish Islamic law, attack Jews and send suicide bombers into every remaining territory of the West. And until they establish control, they want the UN and the EU to give them money to live on and to spend on armaments and to stash in Swiss bank accounts. In other words, they want to be the Palestinian heros so beloved by de Villepin and his cronies, but on the Left Bank, not in the West Bank.
Lost province

Alright, I admit it, I've lost it, with this comment:
So, if Saddam were still in control of Iraq, he could declare the parts of Denmark containing majority-Islamic populations as a "nineteenth province" (or would it be the twentieth?) of Iraq and invade to liberate these twenty-first century Sudeten Germans. I've heard there are somewhere around a half-million Iraqis in Germany. Dusseldorf has always been part of Babylon!
on this post.
The Dailypundit folks seem to be waking up to the scope of the ethical problems involved in surrogate births, and abortions. So I had to comment:
Someday it might be possible to avoid the problems with surrogate human mothers, before complete in vitro births are possible, by implanting a human embryo in a pig or cow or gorilla. The delivery would have to be by Caesarean, I assume. The status of the surrogate "mother" would be much less problematic. So the attention will shift to the fetus. With no human at risk, does the human mother or father have absolute powers of dispensation over the life of the fetus, at any stage before birth? Any change of mind could not be justified by any appeal to the danger to the "mother" or her right to control her body. Convenience would emerge as the only consideration. Hmm ... how about if the life of the animal surrogate is at risk and the human fetus is not yet viable? Does the fetus' life trump that of a gorilla? Why not?

Oh, what a brave new world ...
And why oh why is no one considering the emotional toll on the computer involved in an in vitro pregnancy when the fetus is aborted because the genetic mother can't afford day care?

Someone seems to think that Joe Wilson was an agent provocateur:
Enter our hero, Joseph C. Wilson, from stage left. The French forgery about Niger led straight to Wilson’s bogus trip to Africa. Wilson supposedly went there to find out the truth for the CIA. But every government involved already knew the truth about the bogus document, because it showed incorrect names of Niger officials. A single telephone call to Niger would have established that fact.

The reason why Wilson had to travel to Niger in person to “investigate,” while drinking mint tea with his uranium mining friends, was to establish his bona fides – to make him an instant “expert witness” on Saddam’s dealings with Niger. Did French intelligence urge Wilson to make his trip and enlist his wiufe Valerie to propose him? Without that trip, Joseph C. Wilson had no special claim to any expertise about Saddam’s weapons. It was Valerie Plame who was the CIA WMD expert, but it was Wilson who became the front man.
When are they going to come around to the truth, that the real agent was Libby? Although I suppose you could call him a mole rather than a public con man like Wilson.