Two Great Reads

came out of the left libertarian blogosphere yesterday, and I would be remiss if I didn't direct you to both:

Kevin Carson wrote an astonishingly complete analysis of Labor Struggle in a Free Market, and Roderick Long has a marvelous piece up on the little known (and decidedly underappreciated) Zora Neale Hurston called Watching God From the Palace of Skulls. Here's a bit of her writing:

As I see it, the doctrines of democracy deal with the aspirations of men’s souls, but the application deals with things. One hand in somebody else’s pocket and one on your gun, and you are highly civilized. … Desire enough for your own use only, and you are a heathen. Civilized people have things to show the neighbors.

And there's much more where that came from: check out both of these fine posts!

06:37 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Microsoft prepares for end of Windows

Gosh, where have I Hurd of a project like this before?

With the Internet increasingly taking on the role of the PC operating system and the growing prevalence of virtualization technologies, there will be a day when the Microsoft Windows client OS as it's been developed for the past 20-odd years becomes obsolete.

(link) [Infoworld]

06:19 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

Balkan Vice: How Cigarettes Funded War

Black Flag of AnarchyLet me see if I understand this argument correctly.

A criminal organization seizes control of the distribution of a product, charging "fees" to the end user for the service of supplying him under effective monopoly conditions. The end user, by paying these additional fees and costs, supplies the criminals with the guns and weapons they use to carry out their attacks on territory they wish to control. Once in control of the desired territory, the criminals then use the fees on these products to maintain it.

So what, exactly, is the difference between a "legitimate government" and this criminal gang? Do they not both do exactly the same thing? Can anyone explain to me the difference between these "fees" and taxes?

Lysander Spooner nailed this one:

The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the roadside, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful.

The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a "protector," and that he takes men's money against their will, merely to enable him to "protect" those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful "sovereign," on account of the "protection" he affords you. He does not keep "protecting" you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villainies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.

'Nuff said. These were indeed criminals - they were a government in training. It's the same thing...

How the illegal cigarette trade fed the Yugoslav wars.

(link) [BBC News]

07:06 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

For Many Student Athletes, Game Over

I'm not going to shed any crocodile tears for the loss of high school jocks - I've always questioned the propriety the sports in educational facilities. But what really caught my eye was this:

“In a No Child Left Behind era, all nonmath, nonreading classes have been cut back,” he [Stewart Trost] said.

Music and art are being dropped at an alarming rate, right alongside of (or, in most cases before) the basketball team. Standardized tests have become counter-productive, decreasing the ability of schools to educate rather than enhancing it.

As cash-strapped school districts across the nation scale back sports programs, some fear that the tradition of the scholar athlete is at risk.

(link) [New York Times]

07:09 /Politics | 1 comment | permanent link

Microsoft gives Apache cash to promote open source

Be still my quaking heart! I thought I felt the earth move - now I know the cause!

Microsoft expanded its support for the open-source community on Friday by giving money to the Apache Software Foundation, the first time it has given money to the long-standing open-source project.

(link) [Infoworld]

07:08 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

After Iowa Raid, Immigrants Fuel Labor Inquiries

I read a fascinating book about this kosher packing plant a few years back: Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America. And I must say that I'm not at all surprised by this tale of virtual slave labor.

Following a raid at an Iowa meatpacking plant, immigrants have described pervasive labor violations that experts say could result in criminal charges.

(link) [NYT > Home]

08:05 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Man shoots his lawn mower, police say

OK, so the sawed-off shotgun was a bit extreme, but what guy with a stubborn mower hasn't wanted to do this?

A 56-year-old Milwaukee man is accused of shooting his lawn mower because it wouldn't start.

(link) []

08:47 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link

AP: Food industry bitten by its lobbying success

Here's another adage for you: we deserve the best government money can buy - and we have it!

AP - One of the worst outbreaks of foodborne illness in the U.S. is teaching the food industry the truth of the adage, "Be careful what you wish for because you might get it."

(link) [Yahoo! News: Top Stories]

06:42 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Bin Laden Driver Faces Life Behind Bars Even if Acquitted

Wow - I never thought I'd live to see marsupial justice in an American venue...

Opening arguments get underway in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, against Salim Ahmed Hamdan -- Osama bin Laden's driver -- in what is the first U.S. war crimes trial since World War II. But Hamdan faces a lifetime behind bars if convicted or acquitted. He's deemed an enemy combatant, which the Bush administration says means he can be held indefinitely.

(link) [Wired: Top Stories]

07:09 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link


No comment.

An advertising world first has been launched in London - pitvertising.

(link) [Watching TV Online]

07:06 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link

A Locally Grown Diet With Fuss but No Muss

I don't know what to think about this trend - part of me wants to yell "Yippee! They're finally getting it!", but another part of me thinks the folks who do this are missing the point entirely, and simply substituting one set of middlemen in the food chain for another.

A new breed of business serves city dwellers who insist on eating food grown close to home but have no inclination to get their hands dirty.

(link) [New York Times]

07:00 /Agriculture | 1 comment | permanent link

Pigeons: The Next Step in Local Eating (No, Really)

Yum! Fresh squab! They really are delicious ... but I gotta wonder who gets to put the RFID tag on them and report their every roost.

With global demand for meat threatening to topple the food system, it's time we put Pollan on steroids and remembered: pigeons are fowl.

(link) [Wired: Top Stories]

07:45 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Food fears linger even as tomato scare ends

Ya gotta love this quote from the article:

"We live in an age of technology where you can bar-code a banana," said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. "We've got to work this through with the industry and come up with something that's reasonable. The more confidence consumers have, the more goods they will purchase."

So, apparently, it's not just livestock that's destined for "complete traceability" - it's every food item. You can be, however, that Dole and Chiquita will probably get an exemption from barcoding every banana - they'll get to mark each container or shipment, since they do "too many" fruits, just like Tyson and IBP will be exempted from RFID tagging every pig or chicken because there's too many ... only the "little people" will have to mark everything, and it'll put us out of business.

And won't that make the big agribusinesses sad ... losing their local competition just when it's starting to pick up and take off.

How is it that people cannot see it: proposals like this are designed by big business, for big business and they benefit big business. Regulation does little or nothing to protect the public from real or imagined dangers, but it does a whole lot to restrict access to markets and lock out new and smaller players from the game.

Capitalism, my ass! This is state socialism a la the Soviets and Cubans, and the cracks are beginning to show in the system, just like they did (and are) in those two failed economies.

AP - The tomato scare may be over, but it has taken a toll — it's cost the industry an estimated $100 million and left millions of people with a new wariness about the safety of everyday foods.

(link) [Yahoo! News: Top Stories]

07:38 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

As Price of Corn Rises, Catfish Farms Dry Up

It ain't just catfish farmers that are feeling the pinch - a fifty pound bag of chicken feed that I paid $8 for this time last year now goes for $13.29.

Unable to cope with the soaring cost of feed, catfish farmers across the South are draining their ponds and wondering what comes next.

(link) [New York Times]

06:59 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Symbiotic Bacteria's Disappearance Could Cause More Asthma

Lesson of the day: we monkey around with Mother Nature at our own risk ...

A once-ubiquitous symbiotic intestinal microbe, H. pylori, is now found in just one-fifth of young Americans, thanks to antibiotics. Its disappearance may be linked to a rise in asthma rates, researchers suggest.

(link) [Wired: Top Stories]

17:53 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link