Friday, July 04, 2008
Happy Independence Day!
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Michael Berliner's editorial on the significance of Independence Day is required reading for this holiday. And by "required", I mean, "by the facts of reality", which is really the only thing that one can properly speak of as being a "requirement", Obama and McCain to the contrary.
Too bad for us that no matter who wins the Presidency, we will have someone in office who is completely at odds with what makes this nation great:
Fourth of July speeches are a time to celebrate what makes America great, to speak about America's ideals. It is notable that Obama can see nothing worth talking about but statist-collectivist-altruist ideals. For a holiday that celebrates America's independence, Obama focuses on the opposite, on our supposed dependence on on another. For a holiday that traditionally celebrates freedom, Obama advocates expanded service to the state.I differ with Myrhaf only in his evaluation of McCain's not coming off as an effete European as being bad. I say that the more a man's demeanor matches his evil ideals, the better, since he will be easier to oppose.
I submit that there has never been a candidate for President of a major party who so grossly misunderstood the meaning of America as Barack Obama. Liberals can scream that I'm "questioning his patriotism" all they want, but I firmly believe Obama is the least American, most European presidential candidate ever. [Too bad this isn't what some children are thinking of when the slam their
peersbetters for "acting white". --ed] This little man has no idea what made America great. His vision of America's ideals is exactly what is destroying American liberty and individual rights.
... John McCain is just as bad. He extols sacrificing for something greater than ourselves. He has contempt for the profit motive. He is as ignorant of economics as Obama. Just about the only good thing that can be said about McCain is that he doesn't come off as an effete European like Obama. His heroism in the military is unquestionable.
Let's enjoy the Fourth, and take the breather to remind ourselves that freedom is worth fighting for.
Brasilia -- or Nippopolis?
It seems that almost every time I hear Brazil being discussed, there is a heavy element of left-wing fantasy projected onto the country, which I always find extremely annoying.
It was in part to indulge this annoyance that I read about the fiasco of urban planning that serves as that nation's capitol. One passage in particular made me laugh because I'd recently watched a South Park episode it reminded me of.
Although he was a disciple of Le Corbusier's and clearly embraced modernism, Niemeyer, with his love of curves and organic shapes, offered a jaunty alternative to the geometric severity of the International Style (a "monotonous and repetitive architecture ... so easy to create that it quickly spread from the United States to Japan," as he characterizes it [Slam capitalism for sins of the left. Check. --ed] in his own, often repetitive, memoir). Confirming Niemeyer's assertions, Philippou repeatedly shows how eroticism inflected Niemeyer's approach --"form follows feminine" is one of the architect's many, somewhat tiresome, pronouncements -- and how that approach quite literally grew out of his girl-watching (something of a dirty old man, he's forever explaining his architecture by sketching women's breasts and backsides for mock-scandalized journalists). [It isn't "sexism" if a nihilist does this. --ed] He was obviously also inspired by the undulating beaches and topography of his native Rio de Janeiro (his longtime studio, in the penthouse of an Art Deco landmark building, takes in famously sweeping views of Copacabana and Sugarloaf). [bold added]No. The image at right isn't one of his drawings, and I'm sure his modernistic impulses prevented Niemeyer from indulging himself that literally, but were Brasilia a bit more like the "cheesing" scenes (probably not work-safe) from "Major Boobage", Brasilia would be quite the tourist trap!
Having gotten that out of my system, I have to admit that I do find some elements of the architecture shown in the article appealing, but still, the description of Brasilia as a city sounds very unappealing to me.
Now that I have your attention, ...
... consider helping to put a stop to urban planning where your efforts will be most likely to bear fruit: The Ad Hoc Committee for Property Rights of Houston, Texas -- which is working to keep the largest American city not to have zoning free of zoning-- accepts donations and has a mailing list. If you live in or near Houston and can't afford to donate, you should at least join the mailing list. Property rights are once again under assault here.
And be sure to read its Independence Day post of quotes about property rights. I particulary like the one by Calvin Coolidge.
This group beat zoning ten years ago, and deserves your support.
New York Invents Internet Looting
At least phishers and spammers can't take anyone's money by government fiat.
The Empire State has found a new way to subject its citizens to even more taxes. New York tax officials are looking to fill budget shortfalls by looking beyond state borders. As part of its budget, New York passed a first-of-its kind law that saddles sales tax collection burdens on catalog and online retailers in every state of the country.As Dismuke, who told me about this put it, "This is SICK."
As of this month, Assembly Bill 9807 requires out-of-state retailers who sell products to New Yorkers to register as vendors with New York tax officials. Civil and criminal penalties now face retailers who fail to comply. What's more, out-of-state retailers refusing to register have already been threatened with possible auditing and charges for years of back taxes.
Given the flatly unconstitutionally nature of AB 9807, maybe New York's interstate tax grab might really be a tax smash-and-grab. It may be a long while before Amazon's court case brings New York's new tax on out-of-state online retailers to a grinding halt. But in that window of time, New York could find itself benefiting from ill-gotten gains along with any other states that decide to join it. [bold added]