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Waxing Philosophical

…or your mustache or surfboard.  Your choice.  :-)

(from Free North Carolina)

David Hume, Republicanism, and the Human Scale of Political Order

Hume 2

Aristotle taught that “To the size of states there is a limit, as there is to other things, plants, animals, implements, for none of these things retain their natural power when they are too large or too small.”1 In this paper I want to explore Hume’s views on the proper size and scale of political order.

Size and scale are not the same thing. The scale of a thing is the size appropriate to its function. Scale for human things is the human body and its capacities. Classical architects have longed explored the relation between the human frame, its sensory capacities, and the proper size of doors, windows, courtyards, gardens, the width of streets, plazas, and so forth.

What is the proper size and scale of political order? The answer depends on what we think the function of political order is. Plato and Aristotle thought the function of political association is to achieve human excellence. Since virtue is acquired through emulation of character, face to face knowledge is required of political participants, and this places a limit on the size of the polity.

Aristotle said it should contain “the largest number which suffices for the conduct of life, and can be taken in at a single view.”2 Another classical measure was that one should be able to walk across the polity in a single day. The ancient Greek republics were of this human size and scale.

I’ve asked this question previously.  What is the function of political order? (government?)  Is it to ‘nanny’ the population into some pre-determined ideal – pre-determined by the (almighty, all-knowing) government?  Or is it to allow individuals to be FREE; free to make their own choices and mistakes, and perhaps learn from them?  Or not?  THEIR choice?
And allow them to follow whatever path they choose, as long as it doesn’t impinge on the ability of others to follow THEIR path?
Sadly, I believe most Americans are so fed-up by the ongoing political machine that they don’t care.  And, anyway, they are too busy trying to eke out an existence for themselves and their families, with the ever-present demon of surveillance and taxation wolves at the door.  Or already inside.
How many different taxes and fees are you forced to pay?  And how many agencies are recording your movements, actions and attitudes, through direct physical surveillance, monitoring email, cell phones and social media?  Information many times given up by you voluntarily.
What kind of political order do YOU want?
And do you even have a choice, anymore?

Health Warning

burgerFrom Ref Desk, one of my daily reads…

FACT OF THE DAY:

Burger King’s Triple Whopper with cheese has an amazing 1,230 calories. Hardies Monster Thickburger has 1,420 calories and 2,770 grams of sodium. Carl’s Jr.’s Double Six hamburger has 1,520 calories and 111 grams of fat. Most people need only 44-66 grams of fat per day, and most of them should come from sources like nuts, fish, and olive oil. – Provided by RandomHistory.com

I love how in their scary facts fat grams are listed in only one of the three examples!  Of course, one may extrapolate from the two items previously listed that they, too are not low in fat.

And, these hamburger sandwiches are named – presumably to attract customers – Whopper, Monster Thickburger and Double, respectively.

The Nanny State, in it’s infinite wisdom, has seem fit to force purveyors of food items to provide us – the ignorant public – with statistics and facts regarding the content of their wares.

As if we didn’t suspect a Monster Thickburger was unhealthy for us.  Or a dozen doughnuts.

Duh.

The Meat Of The Matter

cured

(Via Theo Spark)

BALONEY writ large……………………from Rico

This is sheer BALONEY writ large.
– Here’s some nanny government, leftist, multi-culti, envirowhacko agenda shenanigans to be aware of.
A few days ago the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report saying bacon, and other meat is bad for you and suggests that eating meat is as dangerous as smoking.
– WTF? Really? You wouldn’t shit me now, would you?
Of course, this is a UN organization and about half the names on their ‘report’ suggest a religious and/or cultural rejection to consuming pork and beef.
– That’s just a coincidence, right?
Let’s connect some dots before deciding.
Two weeks ago the Federal Government took bacon off prison menus and said it was because the prisoners “didn’t want bacon.” They then almost immediately reversed that decision because of the outcry from prisoners.
– In May 2013 AP reported that WHO said people should eat more insects, that it was good for you, and good for the planet.
– Look at the attached photo from 2008. It was taken at a UN Food And Agriculture expo promoting eating insects.
Yeah, there is a clear “pattern” here, and it’s not a good one. It is chronic and persistent social engineering from the cultural Marxists who refuse to grasp that some things are simply “none of their damned business.”.
Now I’m hungry for some bacon to go with my breakfast eggs (remember when the “experts” said eggs were bad for us, only to be proven wrong?).
– Maybe a nice hot-dog for lunch, followed by a steak for dinner. Make that a grilled steak in honor of all the global warmunists that tried to outlaw backyard grills to “save the planet.”
Have you ever noticed that the  folks who said we were all going to freeze to death in the 90’s are now saying we are all going to drown in warm water?  And that these same folks are the ones who are largely vegan, or support things like eating insects and tofu (for the good of the planet), and that animals have RIGHTS? There is a a geopolitical agenda linked to all of this.  The United Nations, lessening the sovereignty of The United States and COLLECTIVISM. And hatred of the individual and belief that people are inherently EVIL, and we are all killing Mother Earth.
I’m all about individual choices, let the collective be damned!  I’d rather die earlier eating bacon, pepperoni and hot dogs, then live to be 105 eating tofu and insects!
And I LIKE bacon!

Food Stamps, Etc.

Doc in Yuma (a regular, loyal reader and sometime contributor) sent me this regarding control of Food Stamps.

Sent to him under the title “Compassionate Conservatism”.

Put me in charge…

  Put me in charge of food stamps. I’d get rid of Lone Star cards; no cash for
Ding Dongs or Ho Ho’s, just money for 50-pound bags of rice and beans,
blocks of cheese and all the powdered milk you can haul away.  If you want
steak and frozen pizza, then get a job.
  Put me in charge of Medicaid. The first thing I’d do is to get women
Norplant birth control implants or tubal ligations.  Then, we’ll test
recipients for drugs, alcohol, and nicotine and document all tattoos and
piercings.  If you want to reproduce or use drugs, alcohol, smoke or get
tats and piercings, then get a job.
  Put me in charge of government housing.  Ever live in a military barracks?
You will maintain our property in a clean and good state of repair.  Your
“home” will be subject to inspections anytime and possessions will be
inventoried.  If you want a plasma TV or Xbox 360, then get a job and your
own place.
  In addition, you will either present a check stub from a job each week or
you will report to a “government” job.  It may be cleaning the roadways of
trash, painting and repairing public housing, whatever we find for you.  We
will sell your 22 inch rims and low profile tires and your blasting stereo
and speakers and put that money toward the “common good..”
  Before you write that I’ve violated someone’s rights, realize that all of
the above is voluntary.  If you want our money, accept our rules.  Before
you say that this would be “demeaning” and ruin their “self esteem,”
consider that it wasn’t that long ago that taking someone else’s money for
doing absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self esteem.
  If we are expected to pay for other people’s mistakes we should at least
attempt to make them learn from their bad choices.  The current system
rewards them for continuing to make bad choices.
  AND – While you are on Gov’t subsistence, you no longer can VOTE!  Yes that
is correct.  For you to vote would be a conflict of interest.  You will
voluntarily remove yourself from voting while you are receiving a Gov’t
welfare check.  If you want to vote, then get a job.
  Alfred W. Evans, Gatesville , TX
First of all, I’m a (conservative) libertarian (small L).  Voluntarism, coupled with non-nanny-statism would be the order of the day.   With that in mind, some of the controls suggested are ones with which I disagree.  For example…
“Food” choices.  If an EBT (food stamp) recipient wants T-bone steak or Twinkies to eat – I don’t care!  Only so many funds are allocated each month, and buying steak will ‘eat up’ the funds rather quickly.
It would be nice if the purchase of TP, laundry soap and similar household items were included on the ‘approved’ list, though.
Forced birth control is repugnant to me.  And recreational drugs and body disfigurement are not on the food stamp list.  Not my problem.
The whole ‘government housing’ thing is also repugnant.  If someone wants to live in a hovel or cannot afford maintenance, it is no concern of mine.  As long as it doesn’t affect the public health and safety.   Funny how a ‘conservative’ cries for such control, but screams about the prospect of FEMA camps…
I do like the idea of (voluntary) government service to help maintain the infrastructure.  I’m not certain it should be tied to receipt of food stamps, however.
“While you are on Gov’t subsistence, you can no longer VOTE!  For you to vote would be a conflict of interest.”
WOW – what a concept!
Of course, while a compassionate State maintains some kind of a ‘safety net’ for the truly needy, I’m a little unclear how this can be administered efficiently, fairly and at a reasonable cost.
After all, it IS government of which we speak!

Fear Of Their Own Shadows

(for those who missed this!)

The lovely and brilliant TAMARA takes the Internets, AGAIN!  It seems some media fools were demonstrating how to use a portable fire extinguisher, when this exchange came about:

I am including in the dialogue the parts where I was yelling at the television. (Tamara)

Savannah Guthrie: “A lot of us are intimidated though, like, by the idea of turning it on…” *makes gestures and facial expressions as though she’s holding a well-greased and annoyed cobra at arms length*

Me:Wut?” *tilts head on side like RCA Victor mascot*

Jeff Rossen: “I… I will tell you, I actually never used a fire extinguisher before and I thought there would be a kickback and I was afraid to use it…”

Me: (yelling) “OH. MY. GOD! It’s a fire extinguisher, you sackless herbivore! What are you afraid of, you big girl’s blouse?

It had honestly never crossed my mind that a grown human being could feel an ounce of trepidation about a fire extinguisher. That’s like… I don’t know, being scared of pillows, or footstools, or filing cabinets. And whatever you call this bizarre phobia, two out of five Manhattanites on my TV screen just admitted to suffering from it!

Well Said!

I suspect said Manhattanites are ferried to work by limousine, and returned to their condos nightly under the watchful eyes of armed security.  No wonder they scoff at those of us in fly-over-states who seek self-sufficiency and self-protection.

EVERYTHING IS DONE FOR THEM!

It’s as though they are AGE 5 !

BRAVA, once again! – all hail the Queen of Snark!

Person Of Interest, Part Dos

Regular readers may recall I love the TV show Person of Interest.  In it, a supercomputer is built, gleaning data about people from all exterior sources, including traffic and surveillance cameras, and calculates if the person so surveilled is either in danger or a danger.

Of course, there is a battle royal between various elements in the government (and, by extension private contractors), as to who is going to have access (in the government) to this data, and what they will do with it.

There is a second computer in the mix, and, of course the computer’s creator and his allies.

I am anxiously awaiting the next season.

Now comes real life (courtesy of Wirecutter)…

From Boston to Beijing, municipalities and governments across the world are pledging billions to create “smart cities”—urban areas covered with Internet-connected devices that control citywide systems, such as transit, and collect data. Although the details can vary, the basic goal is to create super-efficient infrastructure, aid urban planning and improve the well-being of the populace.  (yeah, right! – Guffaw)

A byproduct of a tech utopia will be a prodigious amount of data collected on the inhabitants. For instance, at the company I head, we recently undertook an experiment in which some staff volunteered to wear devices around the clock for 10 days. We monitored more than 170 metrics reflecting their daily habits and preferences—including how they slept, where they traveled and how they felt (a fast heart rate and no movement can indicate excitement or stress).
MORE

DATA MINING EXTREME!

And you thought the NSA reading your email wherein you mentioned you purchased a pressure-cooker, or watching you do whatever you do while surfing porn was a problem!

Sheesh!

Gimme That Ol’ Time Research

Old-Timers will completely get this.

(Youngsters, not as much!)  :-)

I remember a time (voice fades out, looking wistfully skyward…)

When a random thought regarding some subject entered my mind,  And I wanted to know more about it. So, I checked my bookshelf for dictionaries, encyclopedias and reference books.

If THAT failed…

It was a trip to the public or college library, next chance I got, searching for similar materials and more specific ones about the subject.  Later-in-life, as a private investigator, city directories and telephone directories sometimes offered help.

And failing all that, the reference desk librarians.

But, all this took time, legwork and shoe leather.  It was what we had.

Since the early 90’s, most of us have had access to The Internet.  And now many of the same reference materials are available on line.

More quickly and with less walking.

I wonder what we old-timers will be wistfully thinking about The Internet in 10 or 20 years?

Ain’t technology grand?

Or have we been sucked in to a vortex of uber-surveillance, wherein ‘they’ can watch and record our every movement and action.  And what were look for on the ‘net, and where we shop, what we buy, how and where we travel and work?  With whom we communicate and associate?  What ideas we share?

Of course, the same data was available 25 years ago.  But took much more in-person research and surveillance.  And time.

And much as we cannot go back to dial-up, we can’t stop this ever-encroaching technology.  But we can petition the government to stop abusive information gathering, and limit our exposure – somewhat.tin_foil_hat_area

(Puts tin-foil chapeau back on and skulks back into the shadows…)

Our Tax Dollars At Work

EMPLOYEES HIRED TO DRIVE DRUNK CA SENATORS HOME AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE

Good thing they haven’t anything to worry about in California, like corruption, drought and deficits…

h/t David Hardy

If Nanny Bloomberg Says Only Minorities Should Have Arms, Is That Reverse Racism?

Or simply Affirmative Action?

Bloomberg said that we should restrict guns to minorities. Then, he asked everyone not to release any video and they complied. But here’s the audio.  (SayUncle)

bloomberg

Drug Stores

Remember when we called a spade a spade?  Not pharmacies?

I remember, as a grade-school kid, going into Skaggs Drug and buying CP potassium nitrate in 4 oz. bottles.  No one questioned me.  There were no forms to fill out.  No one asked if I was making rocket fuel or gunpowder from it.  (I was!)

And I still have all my eyes, hands and fingers!

Here it is some 50 years later, and my roommate not only acquired the crud I had (and am finally getting over, thank you!) but it progressed into some kind of respiratory infection.  Antibiotics and numerous pills later, she too is finally getting better.

And one of the medications prescribed was sudephedrine.  You know, the stuff that can be distilled into methamphetamine. 

And I had to present my driver’s license (which they swiped into the cash register computer system) and then sign for it.  For the 12 tablets!

Not only am I annoyed at this invasion of privacy, but for THIS amount?  When the Mexican cartels are buying it by the ton and making meth and exporting it here?

PITA.

The Travis McGee Reader recounts a similar story.  Go there and read it.

The shed a tear for our loss of more freedom, once again.

And, if you can, go launch a bottle rocket.bottle rockets

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…