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Major League Baseball is a Joke

Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire both broke the single-season record for home runs a couple of years ago. Last year Barry Bonds surpassed even their records. Who cares? They’re all pumped up on steroids. It’s their right to destroy their bodies by the method of their choosing, and it’s my right to think their home run records a fraud as a result.

Now the players are threatening to disrupt the MLB season for the second time in a decade. Note to trivia buffs: there was no 1994 World Series because the players thought that their six- or seven-figure salaries were unacceptable. Of course, the situation is more complex. I’m oversimplifying the issue. But no matter how complex the issue, I find it hard to dig or even conjure up some sympathy when other people with real jobs are struggling to scrape by.

So the players and owners will haggle some more over who will get what piece of an overly large pie. A lot more people will be turned off to the game, and another nail will be nailed in the MLB coffin. It’s not dead yet, but it is looking quite pale. Three large fan clubs have already planned a one-day boycott. Visit the link, and ignore baseball on July 11.

What can you do? Go see your minor league team. I’d rather catch a Bulls game than watch baseball on TV anyway. Watch another sport, or, heck, take up your own sport. I’m starting to take up yoga and hiking.

(Someone pointed out something interesting to me the other day: was it you Dave? Baseball seems perfectly suited for radio, and basketball for television. [Though Woody Durham does a heck of a job covering Heels games.] Just one theory about their popularity.)

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Vital signs

Pulse: normal

Blood pressure: probably a little high, but mostly normal

Mood: slightly bored, mostly content

Current song stuck in head: I’m Just a Singer in a Rock’n’Roll Band by The Moody Blues

I’ve been giving a lot of political commentary on my small soapbox lately. You can say I’m slightly more interested in politics than the average person, but nowhere near the pundit. The pundits waste too much time yapping about nothing. I’m just blowing off some steam and hoping that somehow, somewhere, someone will come across this post and think a little bit harder about the world they live in.

Enough of that. Someone ought to lecture to George W. about breaking promises. Apparently Barbara couldn’t get through to him. My heart started to beat a little faster with excitement when, about two years ago, he said, “Limited government does work.” He was referring to the fact that the Texas state legislature meets once every two years. The U.S. Congress out to check that out. So should the N.C. legislature. That’ll give ’em less time to screw up the state budget.

Anyway, it has been downhill since then. Even though there has been no evidence that the boondoggle called the U.S. Dept. of Education has helped anybody learn, Bush led the charge to triple its budget. Bush affirmed his commitment to free trade, and then imposed duties and tariffs of up to 30% on steel to protect union jobs. (When did one man ever have so much power?) He praises faith-based charities and then tries to convert them into government programs. He backpedals on the International Criminal Court.

Now, he wants to get on his bully pulpit and lecture Wall Street about corporate responsibility. First of all, people on Wall Street (most of them, at least), are all for corporate responsibility. Corporate responsibility lends itself toward consistent corporate growth, which means reliable return on investment. (Yes, this is an idealistic statement, but it is also the way things work in general. People get away with fraud all the time, but does this mean that you should invest in people who commit fraud? Get real. Enron, Global Crossing, and WorldCom will make investors think twice.)

Now, the Democrats are going to try to dig something up to make Bush look like a hypocrite. (Not that they have to try too hard.) They are going to come up with something shady, blow it out of proportion, and try to use it as a campaign issue. The Republicans (now the party without a platform, except maybe the Pledge of Allegiance) will have something biting to say back, and we’re back to fake campaigns where two candidates try unsuccessfully to distinguish themselves. Well, second of all, Bush is a hypocrite. He’s been involved in shady deals, even as president, in corporate America and all over the globe politically. But with the favors the Democrats have been handing out, there’s not much room for finger-pointing.

Bush’s speech will assuredly mean more laws and regulations that hurt the common small business owner and line the pockets of the politically connected. Taxes will probably get raised, or at least the price increases induced by the friction of regulation. The average American will have less money as a result. That stupid cycle will start again.

Quite frankly, I don’t care about Bush’s involvement in any shady business deals. He will deal with the consequences of doing business with dishonest people. He should not have the power to impose regulations at all. The federal government’s only economic powers are to prevent trade wars between states, to prevent trade wars with foreign nations, and to impose small duties and tariffs as necessary to fund essential government functions. The federal government needs to give up the other economic powers it has usurped (perhaps even minting coin and printing bills). (Heck, maybe even patenting can be considered an “economic power.”) One result of this is the lobbiers will be out of business and corporations can focus on running their business rather than scoring a lawmaker. Another result is that frauds like Bush can’t impose regulations that make his friends rich and you poor, all the while doing it in the name of protecting you from evil executives. And my favorite, we can concentrate less on what our fat-off-pork Congress is doing and concentrate on some real solutions to our problems.

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Berkeley to vote to hamper economic development in third-world countries

In this story, Rick Jones is doing his part to rob third-world coffee workers of their jobs. You see, Rick takes his coffee “Fair Trade,” that is, businesses in Berkeley will be forced to buy coffee from businesses that are certified “Free Trade.” Right now, “Free Trade” means that the coffee business

guarantees a so-called living wage for small farmers in developing countries. Or the coffee would be shade-grown, protecting rain forests and other sensitive environments. Or it would be grown without pesticides.

So Rick, a newbie lawyer, wishes to dictate which coffee brews people can drink. To Berkeley’s credit, even it’s mayor is reluctant to tell people which type of coffee they want to drink.

Here’s the deal: either people will buy the coffee produced by poor, poor workers who are paid cents per day, or the poor, poor, workers will have to go find a different job which pays a few cents a day. This stage is necessary in the economic history of a country, even our own. Prosperity has to start somewhere. Those who would boycott the work of those in sweatshops, “child labor camps,” and other politically incorrect jobs only work stump economic development in third-world countries.

Prosperity cannot be legislated. It cannot be boycotted into existence. Just as swimming against a riptide yields no progress, so working against economic principle usually accomplishes little that is desirable.

If you want to help a country develop, don’t dictate to people what coffee they can drink.

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Liberty and security in a post-9/11 world

There is one sane congressman, as far as I can tell. His name is Ron Paul, a Republican from Texas. He started the Republican Liberty Caucus, and, though I really think the RLC is swimming against the riptide, we need people to make the effort.

Anyway, Paul has made some comments on liberty and security in a post 9/11 world. It’s worth a read. He claims that our government’s current efforts to secure America are not only leaving us poorer and less free, but also less secure. I concur.

I have a question. Do you honestly believe that our Department of Homeland Security is going to to make us any safer? It is going to cost billions of dollars, and Tom Ridge is going to make more mandates on top of the millions of laws, executive orders, judgments, pronouncements, and regulations that are supposed to guide us today. He is going to lobby for more power for the government, and less power to the Constitution and Bill of Rights. In short, homeland security is now a government program, to be abused by the politicians and the politically connected.

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Random thoughts on the war on terrorism

While I support justice for the terrorists of September 11, and while I support disruption and destruction of Al Quaeda and other terrorist networks, I can’t help but think that the war on terrorism is failing. Rather than bombing terrorists, we are:

  • Strip-searching 4-year-olds and 80-year-olds at airports
  • Bombing innocent civilians in Afghanistan
  • Strong-arming countries into more than just fighting terrorism
  • Appropriating $2 million to transport insects from Washington, DC to Maryland in an “emergency” spending bill
  • Destroying freedom—the foundation of America and the best reason for our struggle

I feel no safer, no freer, no better at all. Our war on terrorism is doomed. Why?

“The War on Terrorism is just another government program” — Harry Browne

Politically, the only thing that changed on September 11, 2001, is the trumpet that the government toots when they take away more of our money and freedom.