Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Vermont State Rep. Fred Maslack has read the Second Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution, as well as Vermont 's own Constitution very carefully, and
his strict interpretation of these documents is popping some eyeballs in New
England and elsewhere.
Maslack recently proposed a bill to register "non-gun-owners" and require
them to pay a $500 fee to the state.
Thus Vermont would become the first state to require a permit for the luxury of going about unarmed and assess a
fee of $500 for the privilege of not owning a gun
Maslack read the "militia" phrase of the Second Amendment as not only affirming the right of the individual citizen to bear arms, but as a clear
mandate to do so.
An idea whose time has come.
Friedrich Nietzsche was the first to notice that religious emotions, like guilt and indignation, are still with us, even if we're not religious. He claimed that we were living in a post-Christian world—the church no longer dominates political and economic life—but we, as a culture, are still dominated by Judeo-Christian values. And those values are not obvious—they are not the Ten Commandments or any particular doctrine, but a general moral outlook.
It seems that aside from bad judgment, there was a fair amount of actual fraud.
It seems that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac--the U.S. government, in effect--"routinely misrepresented the mortgages they were acquiring, reporting them as prime when they had characteristics that made them clearly subprime or Alt-A...." The much-reviled Wall Street bankers relied on those representations by agents of the federal government when they bought and sold securities backed by those misrepresented mortgages.
Qualitatively, this is not quite as bad as Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, but it is worse than anything Enron did. Quantitatively, it caused financial devastation compared to which Enron and Madoff are barely grains of sand in the ocean. So, wouldn't one expect our reporters to show a little curiosity? Silly question, perhaps: mainstream reporters don't like where that trail leads. Also, to be fair, most of them are not smart enough to understand it.Ouch.
We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results. At the time we made clear that "we will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new laws and other restrictions on our services. If we determine that we are unable to achieve the objectives outlined we will not hesitate to reconsider our approach to China."
These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered--combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web--have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.
Long overdo but at least they finally realize who they're dealing with.
The whole thing is here.