Pain Heals, and Chicks Dig Scars

picture-2I don’t want to get too hopeful about the angry talk and anti-government rhetoric out there. I don’t want to believe that maybe, just maybe, there’s some honest outrage against the overlords from both parties, and that it’s not just about a single issue here or single personality there. I don’t want to get too excited when I hear about politicians fearstricken when they’re reminded by respectable people who do productive things with their lives –”Hey assface, that’s not your job, and come to think of it, neither is a lot of this other stuff you people have been doing for five, 10, hell, 50 years.”

I don’t want to get all hopeful when I hear people talk about big ideas like liberty and republicanism instead of policy minutia, election pragmatism, and party affiliations.

I don’t want to get too hopeful because I don’t want to be disappointed again.

You get older, you take your lumps, and you get wiser. You settle in and settle down. Trade pollyanna optimism and idealism for knee-jerk cynicism. Surrender to…well, surrender.

Because look, I know what I believe and what I’d like to see is outside the acceptable for civilized and polite folks. Stuff like how I believe that freedom means freedom to, not freedom from. That government should fear the people. That you can’t govern an honest man.

So I know it’s not like things are swinging directly over to my lonely 18th Century corner of the map, to create a bad time-space metaphor.

And age, experience and a pretty thorough study of history tell me all this rowdiness lately probably isn’t even going to be a solid, lasting lean in my direction. Not even a bit.

But you know what? I can’t help it. I am a little hopeful. Why not?

How else do you live? All dead inside like an old Vegas hooker or third-term senator? No. Just…No.

A man either lives life as it happens to him, meets it head on, or he turns his back on it and starts to wither away.

Heard that as a kid and believed it growing up. And knowing the alternative — yeah, I’ll choose to stick with it.

This latest spark? Maybe it will fizzle out, sell out, or burn out. And maybe I’ll get burned again.

So what? I think I’m going to be a little hopeful. I’m not near as cynical as I was back when I was old.

On My Reading List: Why ‘Income Inequality’ Is No Big Deal

With a big hat tip to Reason, because I’m too busy these days to do any reading, I’m adding this to my reading list — which I’ll get to by year’s end.

Recent discussions of economic inequality, marked by a lack of clarity and care, have confused the public about the meaning and moral significance of rising income inequality. Income statistics paint a misleading picture of real standards of living and real economic inequality. Several strands of evidence about real standards of living suggest a very different picture of the trends in economic inequality. In any case, the dispersion of incomes at any given time has, at best, a tenuous connection to human welfare or social justice. The pattern of incomes is affected by both morally desirable and undesirable mechanisms. When injustice or wrongdoing increases income inequality, the problem is the original malign cause, not the resulting inequality. Many thinkers mistake national populations for “society” and thereby obscure the real story about the effects of trade and immigration on welfare, equality, and justice. There is little evidence that high levels of income inequality lead down a slippery slope to the destruction of democracy and rule by the rich. The unequal political voice of the poor can be addressed only through policies that actually work to fight poverty and improve education. Income inequality is a dangerous distraction from the real problems: poverty, lack of economic opportunity, and systemic injustice.

Print the PDF and read the whole thing.

Thursday Roundup: See how I’m not punching him?

  • What’s that word? Oh yeah, irony. The first school named in this story of how high school seniors are so indoctrinated to fear the humorless Powers That Be that they don’t play senior pranks anymore is Liberty High School in Frisco. Sorta surprised they didn’t quote the principal at Oceania High School.
  • And speaking of Oceania schools — DISD is ensuring equality in education by bringing every school down to the lowest common denominator. Viva égalité!
  • Something smells seriously fishy here. Who needs seven night vision scopes for hunting? Who needs one night vision scope for hunting anything but the most dangerous game? And who spends an average of $7,000 on a night vision scope in the first place? Even the most advanced ones don’t run that much.
  • You know, it’s stupid enough that anyone would deny that the email has a racist tinge – referring to the White House as the black house. But I’m even more offended at the stupidity of thinking a proposed state bill in Austin originated with Mr. Obama, and with the idea of a $50 tax on gun purchases.

Monday Roundup: Can I Borrow Your Towel? Just Hit a Water Buffalo

  • When most Democrats, Republicans, the media, and right-thinking people are behind something big, expensive and grand — like they are the commuter rail scheme (or the hotel, or the Trinity Parkway) — you just know it’s probably a bad idea. I’m just going to sit here maturely and sup upon the bitter disappointment from everyone who wants to tax drivers for the benefit of a single digit percentage who feel good about themselves for taking public transportation. Muhahaha.

Daytime Curfew: Just Say No

img_4298_2Love the Kunkle. So what I’m about to say is with all due respect to the points he articulated for Unfair Park.

Dallas doesn’t need a daytime curfew for juveniles. And there are five reasons.

1) It. Is. Not. Necessary. Police already have the power to stop, detain, and deliver truants back to schools. We don’t need to criminalize truancy, and we don’t need to stack $500 fines that will fall disproportionately on the people who can’t afford them, just adding to their cycle of poverty and being in dutch with the law. (Yeah, I know, I’m not supposed to care much about the poor — smell like old milk and they don’t buy ads — but I certainly do care when it’s government piling on them.)

2) We are given a list of “defenses” to the fine — With permission of the student’s school subject to confirmation, medical excuse subject to confirmation, etc. Key words there are “subject to confirmation.” Meaning the police will be able to detain the kid (or an adult who looks young), issue the citation, and put people through the headache of the legal process even when they shouldn’t be. As a negative bonus, this sends a great message to kids — you are not a citizen, but a subject. Which brings me to…

3) Children are not the property of the city of Dallas, the school district, Texas, or the United States. The first two full sentences I taught my daughter were “I am not the property of the state. My life is my own.” (Ask my wife; I ain’t kidding you.) Kids are wards of their parents, in whose trust their rights are placed until they are of legal age.

4) This is a feel-good, do-nothing-but-harass-people initiative backed by clueless elected officials who want to look like they’re doing something.

5) Show of hands — who thinks this $500 fine part has nothing to do with the city’s $100 million budget deficit? Anyone? Anyone?

Wednesday Roundup: It’s Worse Than You Think


  • When asked if (NTTA) sees a conflict of interest with the judge (for NTTA toll fines) being an employee of the NTTA and hearing cases related to tollway violations, Davis stated “no not at all.” And they want to keep public records from the public. And they spend tollway money on first class sight-seeing junkets to Europe. Yeah, no problem at all.
  • Define “bad ass” — a soldier from Fort Worth in Afghanistan in boxers and flip-flops, and he’s all out of bubblegum.
  • So now a three-judge panel has ruled that open meetings laws go too far in a case coming out of Alpine, Texas, and that elected officials should be free to discuss public matters privately. Basically, those pesky open meetings laws violate the First Amendment rights of our civil masters servants. This is a road we want to go down. If we’re tired of this whole “constitutional republic” thing. Thankfully, several state AG’s, including the Texas AG, are seeking to get this really bad ruling reviewed. (h/t Grits for Breakfast.) As if it’s not hard enough getting public records and information in Dallas County.
  • Via Big Bob: In trying to slap a tax on gentlemen’s clubs — despite there being no correlation between strip clubs and sexual assaults — the Lege has just given every strip club a good reason to drop their cover charge. Unintended consequences, sometimes I love you.

Tuesday Roundup: And Now, Here’s Ollie Williams…

  • If you ever had doubts that local schools should be run strictly by locals, look no further than the federal Title 1 rules. It appears the one bright spot in DISD — its magnet schools — because are safe from cuts but how smart is it that the district can’t, by federal fiat, pump extra funds into schools that need it beyond a 10 percent median?
  • This news will be heartening to more than a few in my network.
  • The Dallas City Council will be voting on its latest revenue enhancer — a daytime curfew for juveniles — which has the added benefit of making kids feel like they only have liberties at the sufferance of their civil masters. Want reasons why it’s a bad idea? Look no further than your friendly neighborhood blog.

Proposed Daytime Curfew — Who Are You Kidding?

I’ve mentioned the proposed Dallas daytime curfew for those under 18 during school hours. Even though police already have the power to take truants into custody, this new curfew would criminalize them and — big surprise here — slap a $500 fine on parents. I’m sure it has nothing to do with Dallas’ budget crisis. Anyway, here’s more on the issue from the Citizens Against a Daytime Curfew. Take it away, Laurel Allen.


Is the proposed daytime curfew necessary?

According to the Texas Education Code, police are already fully empowered to take any child seen in public during school hours into custody in order to determine if they are a juvenile in need of supervision, or if there is probable cause that they are in violation of the compulsory school attendance law under Section 25 of the code. In the process of making that determination, they have the ability to intervene in a manner that requires the involvement of the child’s parent or guardian, the courts or juvenile board, and the school district.


[Read more...]

Friday Roundup: I’m Going to the Special Hell for Item One

  • Yeah, it’s real fun to be the guy who “defends” a convicted sex offender. This is going to make me real popular. But I’m just a little troubled that this guy is facing 10 years not because the law regards what he did as a danger to children, but rather because of a technicality. John Joseph Stuart…faces a felony registration-violation charge that could send him back to prison for up to 10 years. Stuart, 32, wouldn’t have had any trouble with police if he had disclosed his job at the SAT and ACT Prep Center, which he co-owns with his wife, Frances Stuart.” If a sex offender is an imminent threat he shouldn’t be let out at all, but the sex offender registration laws go way overboard and do almost nothing but make the state pols who pass them sound tough on crime. They’re ineffective mainly because 95 percent of child sex abuse victims know the perpetrator, i.e. Uncle Don, not the stranger in the trench coat with a pack of Smarties on the end of a fishing line.
  • Conflicting reports on how the Richardson city council race for Place 4 is getting a little ugly, which means it’s suddenly interesting to me. In a race pitting a more hardcore conservative against an Establishment country club type Republican, I hear it two ways. Ed Cognoski — the classic example of the guy who can’t believe McGovern lost since “everyone I know voted for him” but who’s been following the races in his ‘burb closely — says the unfortunately named Tom Bache-Wiig is acting all douche-baggy. A trusted friend who is also following the race tells me it’s the other way around: “The ‘Richardson Coalition’ PAC sent a mailer with some really shitty remarks about Tom Bache-Wiig. The RC supports Gary Slagel, the former mayor, and class-A elite jackass. TBW is a true conservative, and quite frankly, his mere appearance in the race scare the country club set to death.” Is this Richardson’s version of Huckabee vs. McCain?
  • Good. Because I don’t care what you think about illegal immigration, national security, the need for a border fence, the environmental impact, or any other issue except this: the government needs to respect private property rights. Period. Full Stop.
  • Finally, from a dear friend Down Under:
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Wednesday Roundup: Vandelay! Say Vandelay!

  • Props to the Dallas Morning News and Austin Statesman for backing better compensation for wrongful convictions. Next up should be criminal charges for prosecutors who withhold exculpatory evidence or otherwise knowingly prosecute an innocent.