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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Who will build the roads?

When I speak out against government, this is one of the inevitable responses I get. Hopefully this will finally put that erroneous line of thought to rest.

Fixing all of Ohio's bridges could cost more than $4 billion, according to a national study. It's a bill the state says it can't foot alone without additional investment from the federal government.
I honestly don't know why people continue to think that only the state can build roads. States are barely able maintain what they have, despite onerous gasoline taxes and monopoly of toll roads. The economic impact almost seems like a no brainer: high prices, poor service. The forgone conclusion is that costs for this public good will continue to go up relentlessly. Same as all the other government "services" that nobody can seem to do without.

But hey, they claim they're working to keep bridges safe through annual inspections and a "fix-it-first" philosophy. Too bad they can't afford the $4 billion it will take. And that's just an estimate. Chances are 100% certain the true cost will be higher after all the no-bid contracts are handed out to relatives of state administrators.

You probably still don't believe that private enterprise can build roads. I would highly recommend this classic essay by Walter Block on free market transportation. Sure, there are a lot more terrible things that the government does besides build roads. But still, it's a very simple illustration of how incompetent the state is at handling just about anything. If most people aren't convinced by this, I don't know what it would possibly take.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Corruption in county government. No way!

I'm absolutely shocked. Shocked I tell you! All over the news today is the story of a huge FBI raid of two major Cuyahoga county government officials. County Commissioner Jimmy DiMora and County Auditor Frank Russo had their offices and homes searched. Party finger pointing has already ensued. Some forum posters, obviously democrats, are even blaming this on Bush. Now I'm not one to disbelieve that political reasons are often in play when corruption is investigated. But saying that one party is more corrupt than the other is just too funny.

The My Fox Cleveland site separately reported last year about this contract was given out to remove asbestos from a building. Taxpayers ended up paying over a million dollars more than the lowest bid. The people who performed the service weren't qualified, even though they had a county permit to do so.

What, exactly, is the difference between this and the mob? I fail to see it. Sure, you could try to argue that the people voted for the country government. So they must be legitimate, right? I would say that voting simply means one criminal pandered to the lowest common denominator of society more effectively than the other.

The amazing thing is people vote for these crooks over and over again. People will support the government tooth and nail, no matter how inept they are. They are falsely taught, through the public education system, that this is the best we can ever hope for. I tend to think people will eventually outgrow the need for government. All they need to do is realize they don't have to put up with this kind of behavior, and institutional support will vanish. Whether it will be sooner rather than later is another matter entirely.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A cop down

The law and order crowd is all up in arms about Twinsburg officer Joshua Miktarian's death. Ashford Thompson claimed he shot the policeman in self defense, and most people don't believe it. In fact a large number of them simply assume the cop must be innocent because he wore a shiny badge. These people are completely unable to comprehend how someone might be a bad cop.

Some of the of the more choice comments make me fear for society. They are assuming he is guilty before he even had a chance to defend himself in court. These are the kind of people we expect to make an informed decision on election day? It's no wonder democracy works so well...

upsetwoman: "You've got to be kidding me. There is no way that this was self defense. Please just save the taxpayers money and just fry him!!!

OldManGrump: "I hope he gets the needle for shooting Josh Miktarian in the head 4 times. There is no defense in this world that could have justified this shooting."

tommoy: "self-defense doesnt give you free reign to just kill someone, even if self-defense is warranted. self-defense only allows you to take action as necessary to prevent the harm that is being done to you - it is not a license to kill no matter what."

cleveland78: "You either think he is guilty (for altruistic reasons or otherwise) or think he is not guilty (because you are delusional)"

Funkadelic: "I will anxiously await the needle to be inserted in Thomspon's arm as they begin the slow drip of justice!!!"

Swank: "I can't really think of any situation other than confronting a rogue cop who has lost his mind and is about to douse you with acid that would justify shooting a cop. And that only happens in comic books."

wantitall: "Fry sizzle sizzle sizzle............................Fry sizzle sizzle sizzle...........that's what would be nice to hear"

bootscoot524: "Self defense, my butt! You don't shoot a cop in the head 4 times because he was a threat to this idiot. That young, buck Thompson had a reason to be detained and instead of cooperating, he snuffed out the life of a wonderful cop"

Irishguy26: "I hope I get on the jury.... If it's up to me, this mutant will be swinging on a rope from the highest tree on Public Square!"

So there's no reason to ever kill someone in self defense? Not even if you feel your life is threatened? Bull. These posts make me sick.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Officer Simone and his gun do not make us safer

To Phillip Morris:

I read your July 15 column in the Plain Dealer titled "Officer Simone and his gun are making Cleveland Safer". Yes, I do indeed wonder why Officer Simone is being hailed as a hero. Your answer that "because he is a hero" is little more than self-fulfillment. You admit that Simone is a dangerous social statement, but I very much disagree that his actions are necessary.

The extreme version of law and order you advocate, in practice, amounts to thugs with badges that end up harassing innocent people. It is disappointing that a mainstream, respectable newspaper would publish such dreck. The police state you imagine is more damaging to our social fabric than the criminals you seek to prosecute.

Officers who speak of Simone as being "fair" don't walk in the shoes of the people he shot to death. I wonder if they would think of Simone as fair if they were the ones he murdered. I'm sure they would be singing a different tune if that was the case. The many traffic tickets Officer Simone dishes out are another great cause of concern for liberty and freedom. The vast majority of traffic stops and fines amount to little more than theft of citizens' hard earned money. Because of this, people (if they so choose) would be justified in resisting police officers in traffic stops - with force if necessary.

The penalty for robbing a bank clearly isn't death in this country. Where do you think we live, Iran? There is something called due process, which is supposed to protect us from police abuse. Simone has absolutely no authority to become judge, jury, and executioner as you foolishly conclude. Our police officers steal more money from people than all bank robbers combined. They are the ones who can go to hell. I don't advocate violence unless it is in self-defense. In my opinion, the crazed state of excessive law enforcement in this country warrants defensive resistance against police aggression.

If you doubt my statement about police abuse, you only need visit There is no evidence whatsoever that Cleveland is safer after Simone murdered those people.

cleveland blog

Lately I've been thinking about what a terrible site is. Anyone else ever post on there? I wonder if they ever did any usability tests on it. It's pretty much unusable from a web 2.0 perspective. I'm surprised if they think this is really an adequate design for their customers. Every time I go there, it makes me not want to go back. I guess the only reason I do is because they have the content, along with a decent user base.

Once you comment on a story, it's pretty hard to find again if it goes off the front page. There is no way of knowing if someone responded to one of your comments. You can't see any of your old posts when you log in. They routinely censor posts... mine have been removed several times. The layout is arranged in such a haphazard manner as to make navigation difficult.

I noticed a lot of other city papers use this same software for their online presence. Newspapers are dying, and thus far they have been unable to compete with advertising dollars online. It's no wonder when they have such pathetic sites like this. Someone really should design some decent interactive software for local news sites. Hmm...