The Unrepentant Individual

...just hanging around until Dec 21, 2012

November 3, 2008

It’s Almost Over…

Just one more day, and the government can go back to screwing us quietly instead of auditioning for the job of screwing us.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 10:20 pm || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: Politics

September 12, 2008

Voting — Americans Do It Like We Eat

Over here, a YouTube clip of Craig Ferguson discusses the election. Most of his rant is spot-on (and hilarious), but he talks about American’s “duty” to vote. He goes a bit off line when he says that our American Democracy is about:

free people making free choices…

…in this case, to choose which candidate will make us less free, and how.

Americans vote like we eat. I don’t think freedom’s on that menu. It’s like going into Cracker Barrel trying to find health food, and having a choice between the country breakfast with ham, eggs, hash browns, or the flapjacks and bacon, smothered in syrup. One may be marginally better for you than the other, but neither are good*. They may both make you feel good for a short time, but the long-term effects are pretty well negative.

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Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 4:18 am || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Humor, Libertarianism, Politics, YouTube

March 18, 2008

Alabama One Step Closer To Beer Liberty

In the South, a trend over the past few years has been for states to “pop the cap”, or vote to end their restrictions limiting beer to 6% ABV. These states allow wine above that limit, as well as distilled alcohol far above that limit, but they kept the cap for years. Often it would be prefaced as a way to stop alcoholics from getting their fix easily, or to “protect our children”, despite the fact that most of the beers in that marketspace are expensive and strongly-flavored – not suited towards teenagers looking to get hammered.

Alabama, though, is still a holdout. A local group known as Free The Hops is intent on changing that. Their bill has recently passed the state House, and will soon be coming up in the Senate. This is a watershed moment for Alabama beer connoisseurs, who quite literally would make road trips to Atlanta or Tennessee to obtain the beers unavailable in their home state.

Congratulations to Alabama’s House for coming to their senses… At least a little bit.

If you listen to the debate, what sort of impression are you left with about both the supporters and the opponents?

Hat Tips: Punditry by the Pint (by way of The Agitator)

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 6:23 am || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer, Libertarianism, Politics, YouTube

July 23, 2007

Poll Numbers That Will Satisfy All Night Long

Cross-posted at The Liberty Papers

From The Agitator, taken directly from Hit & Run:

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 9:20 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Constitution, Libertarianism, Politics, YouTube

April 9, 2007

Some Quizzes…

I’m a radical (surprise, surprise):

You Are 68% Politically Radical

You’re political views are just plain weird. A little far left, a little far right, and a whole lot of radical.
Are You a Political Radical?

And for all of you who think I’m a right-wing radical, I was only 32% Republican:

You Are 32% Republican

You’re a bit Republican, and probably more conservative than you realize.
If you’re still voting Democrat, maybe it’s time that you stop.
How Republican Are You?

But the fact that I’m 96% Capitalist should help clue you in to what questions I did and didn’t agree with on the Republican quiz:

You Are 96% Capitalist, 4% Socialist

You’re a capitalist pig – and proud of it.
You believe that business makes the world great…
And you’d never be ashamed of being rich!
Are You a Socialist or Capitalist?
Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 10:49 pm || Permalink || Comments (7) || Trackback URL || Categories: Internet, Libertarianism, Personal Life, Politics

April 5, 2007

Interview — Blogging vs. Pamphleteering

One of the regular readers over at The Liberty Papers is doing a college paper on the similarities between bloggers & pamphleteers. He was looking for an expert to interview, and when he couldn’t find one, he contacted me. With his permission, I’m posting his questions and my answers below the fold.


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Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 5:34 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Blogging, Books, Education, Internet, Libertarianism, Media, Politics

February 10, 2007

Georgia Expands Sunday Sales Law

Well, it’s another Saturday here in Atlanta, so I need to make some decisions. The only beer I have in the house is homebrew. I’ve got plenty, but I need to decide whether I want to pick up some commercial beer as well. Since it’s Atlanta, though, I don’t need to decide whether I want to do this today, I need to decide for today AND tomorrow, because the Georgia Legislature is beholden to the Religious Right, and has made Sunday sales of alcohol illegal.

Well, as I’ve pointed out before, help is on the way. A bill was introduced to legalize the Sunday sales of beer and wine. But it began to take fire from liquor distributors who were legitimately upset that liquor wasn’t included, only beer and wine. Well, they’ve made some changes, and the law got even better.

Sen. Seth Harp, R-Midland, said the plans were designed to address criticisms of a bill he previously had introduced, which would have let communities decide whether to legalize the take-home sale of beer and wine on Sundays.

The new proposals would add liquor sales to the plan’s options and give communities the choice of allowing alcohol sales only after noon — when church services traditionally end. An unusual coalition of religious conservatives and liquor distributors had lined up against Harp’s original bill.

Representatives of at least some of those liquor groups say they now support the effort.
‘‘Now that the bill includes spirits, it is the right bill for Georgia,’’ said Jay Hibbard, a vice president with the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. ‘‘The overwhelming majority of Georgians support Sunday sales, and it’s going to allow that overwhelming majority the opportunity to decide for themselves.’’

While I’m ideologically opposed to the noon restriction, it doesn’t seem onerous enough to fight over. After all, on the East Coast football doesn’t start until 1 PM, so it’s not like those folks out west who have to be ready by 10 AM. But the fact that they’re opening this to liquor makes things very good, because most of the really good, hard to find beers and wines aren’t available at grocery stores. Without the ability to sell liquor, it’s unclear whether it would have made financial sense for the dedicated liquor stores to be open.

But, alas, it’s still going to be a tough fight, against people who have nothing better to do than try to meddle in our lives to assuage their own moral concerns. Unfortunately, that includes the governor:

‘‘We obviously will still oppose the bill, obviously for the same reasons,’’ said Sadie Fields, director of the Georgia Christian Alliance. ‘‘I grew up in an era when everything was closed on Sunday — now we’ve encroached on the day and turned it into just another day.’’ Fields said she appreciated Harp ‘‘recognizing that part of the Sabbath when people are in church,’’ but that the noon option doesn’t change her mind on the plan.

Supporters of Sunday sales still have a lot of work to do if the plan is to be approved by the Legislature this year. Even if it clears both chambers, Gov. Sonny Perdue, who says he does not drink alcohol, has said it would take ‘‘a lot of persuasion’’ for him to sign it.

I challenge the Georgia legislature to overwhelmingly pass this bill. I want it to show up on Sonny’s desk with the knowledge that he’ll look like the jerk if he vetoes it. A 55%-45% vote in the legislature gives him far too much political cover to veto a bill that 80% of metro Atlanta residents and 68% of the statewide population want to see passed. If this comes to Sonny’s desk after a 70% vote, though, and he vetoes the bill, it will show the state of Georgia that he’s acting purely at the behest of the middle-Georgia religious conservatives, folks that wouldn’t be forced to legalize the sales in their own communities anyway.

Georgia, it’s time to join the 21st Century.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 10:45 am || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer, Libertarianism, Politics, Religion

February 2, 2007

John Edwards Has A New Blogger On Staff

Hit & Run is reporting on John Edwards’ new blogger, Amanda Marcotte. Some of you remember Amanda as the raving feminist* from Pandagon. Well, it seems that one of the earliest things Amanda has done after the announcement of her new position is to go back and delete a post where she jumped to conclusions about the Duke rape case.

Perhaps she should look further back in her history, to the blog Mouse Words. Before she got picked up by Pandagon, she made a name for herself on that blog. Back in the day, I was a very new blogger, and adopted the resident libertarian position, debating her.

But for those of you “right-wingers” like me (I include libertarians in that group because to a leftist like Amanda, anyone who doesn’t agree is a right-winger), you should know something about her. She thinks that those of us on the right are either evil or stupid. I got into it with her on this post at Mouse Words, dealing with creationism and public schools. It was then that I realized she divides right-leaning individuals into one of two groups, and as I pointed out at the time, she thinks I’m in the wrong one.

I’ve realized that to the left, there are two types of right-wingers: the stupid, and the evil. The evil is a very small, powerful group. Their goal is to find ways to destroy the country in such a way that it shores up their power, and makes them the ruling elite of the country. The stupid group is everyone else that votes Republican. They are pawns, too dim to understand that they are being manipulated by their evil string-pullers.

Now, I tried to defend myself and my right-wing brethren, and mentioned that we are not trying to destroy America as we know it. We have honestly weighed the policies, and believe that the policies that we are supporting are in the long-term interests of our nation as a whole. My frank response got me this:

“Brad, I don’t think you do. I think the people who want to be our evil overlords dump millions of dollars into right wing think tanks to come up with arguments that everyday folks think sound reasonable enough and then manufacture crisises so that everyday folks think that we have no choice but to implement the plans that the right wing think tanks come up with.”

Looks like I must have landed myself in the “stupid” group. Which undoubtedly has me a little angry. I don’t consider myself to be a slouch intellectually, and I’m enough of a skeptic to watch out when people are trying to exploit me. Despite my slight megalomania and delusions of grandeur, I’m not evil. The only explanation I have left is that they must be drugging my water.

This is the kind of mentality that we have to deal with from the left. Obviously our policies are absolutely atrocious, so to support them we must be evil or stupid.

So, if Amanda takes down her older old blog, remember one thing. If you don’t agree with her, she thinks you’re evil, or you’re stupid. And if the folks at Hit & Run are right, she really thinks you’re stupid, because she thinks she can just remove her previous words and they’ll go away. As they ask, hasn’t she ever heard of Google Cache or the Wayback Machine? And she thinks I’m the daft one?

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Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 10:10 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Around The 'Sphere, Blogging, Politics

January 11, 2007

New Blue Law in Georgia

In a surprising turn, new legislation in Georgia has made it illegal to sell meat on Fridays during Lent. While it has been seen as an unchangeable practice for years to ban Sunday sales of alcohol, Georgia has now become the first state to expand the practice to non-alcohol goods.

The move is a surprise to most people, both in Georgia and around the country. No other states have suggested plans to follow suit, but analysts expect a ripple throughout the South as other evangelical-dominated states consider similar legislation.

The justification for the law, by the legislators, seems unclear. Most have taken a silent approach when asked, but it is largely thought that a small minority of Christians convinced Georgia’s legislators that it was their role to enforce dietary rules of religious observance. Pastor Bobby Smith, of the New Life Church of Atlanta, did suggest that the rules were not intended to bind people to religious observance, but purely as a restriction of commerce:

“I’m not saying that people can’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent,” Smith said, “I just think that we as a society should not be encouraging it. If they want to buy their meat on Thursday, and eat it on Friday, that’s just fine. This isn’t an infringement on anyone’s rights. After all, we’re not making it illegal every day during Lent, just on Fridays. But America was founded on Christian ideals, and I think we should respect the Lord’s wishes on our observance of his laws.”

The new law has drawn ire from many sides. The ACLU issued a joint statement with the American Atheists, threatening lawsuits based on the separation of church and state. Most alcohol-related blue laws have survived such challenges based on the 21st Amendment, but it’s unclear whether the measure will have other legal cover. One Georgia legislator, though, speaking on condition of anonymity, suggested that the court may be the only option to fight this law:

“We’ve learned from the unpopularity of blue laws that very few people are in favor of the law. However, it’s not enough of an imposition that they take the energy to fight the law. The supporters, however, are rabid, and will withhold their vote, as a group, from any politician who endorses the end of blue laws.”

Legal fights are expected to take years. In the meantime, however, Georgia shoppers should hope they remember to buy their meat on Thursday.

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Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 8:12 pm || Permalink || Comments (4) || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer, Humor, Libertarianism, Politics

January 9, 2007

How About A Charity Tax Credit?

I was thinking about this yesterday. Our elected officials love to use money to help the “less fortunate”. They are either “compassionate conservatives” or “progressive”, both of which believe that rich people’s money should be redistributed to poor people.

So how much hypocrisy can we point out if we suggest that in addition to excluding charitable giving from taxable income, we also offer a 25% tax credit for it?

Think of it this way. Let’s assume that the only deduction allowed by law is for charitable giving, and $100,000 of income is in a 30% tax bracket, while $30,000 income is in a 10% tax bracket.

So the guy with the $100K income, assuming no charitable giving, owes $30K in taxes to the government. If he gives $10K to a charity, his taxable income drops to $90K, making his tax bill $27K. Obviously he hasn’t come out “ahead” on the deal, because he’s given $10K to save $3K in taxes.

The guy with $30K owes $3K in taxes. Likewise, the $30K person decides to tithe 10% to his church, or $3K. In doing so, he saves $300, so his tax bill is $2700 instead. Again, he hasn’t come out ahead, because he’s given $3K to save $300.

However, because the richer person is in a higher tax bracket, he gets a greater tax reduction per dollar donated than a poorer person. He reduced his taxes by 30% per dollar he donates, while the poorer person only reduces his taxes by 10% per dollar. What if we added a 25% tax credit (on top of the exclusion of donations from taxable income), in order to help spur on charitable giving? (Note, I’d make the tax credit only apply until you get to $0 taxes paid, not allow you to get a refund for taxes never paid).

So in the first scenario, the rich person donates $10K and thus reduces his tax burden by $5500. Again, he’s still not coming out ahead, but instead of owing $27K in taxes, he owes $24,500. Essentially, by adding a tax credit, he gets a benefit as if he had donated a little over $19K. So from a tax perspective, it’s like slightly less than doubling his donation.

In the second scenario, though, the person who donates $3K reduces his tax burden by $1050, making his final tax burden $1950 instead of $2700. Again, he hasn’t come out ahead, because he donated $3000 to save $1050. But his $3K donation has the same effect on his tax burden as if he had donated $10,500, making the effect on his tax burden of more than tripling his donation.

To make a change like this encourages charitable giving, while giving lower income people greater tax reduction per dollar donated than higher income people. To elected officials who like to play God with our paychecks, while “helping the poor”, this would make a lot of sense.

If our elected officials really wanted to encourage charitable giving, which many of us outside of Congress would argue is much more effective at helping people than letting government have the money, we could get a lot of people in Congress to sign on to this proposal. However, I doubt it will happen. I think our elected officials believe that all money for good purposes should flow through Congress, and the idea of interrupting their own revenue stream in favor of private charity goes against everything they stand for. After all, they’re more interested in power and control than results, as we’ve seen from pretty much every government program ever designed.

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Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 11:57 am || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Libertarianism, Politics, Ponderings, Taxes

December 13, 2006

Some Drano For The Internets

I know I’m late to this one, but I was just reading the Top Ten Funny Political Quotes of 2006 (HT: Jason Pye).

And this is what Ted Stevens thinks of the internets:

Ten movies streaming across that, that Internet, and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got… an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday, I got it yesterday. Why? [...] They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes. And if you don’t understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it’s going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.

I hate it when my coworkers send me an Internet and it gets delayed!

Now, I knew there were people less knowledgeable about computers and the internet than my father. I just didn’t know they were in the Senate.

Jon Stewart, always usually funnier than I am, really gave it a more complete treatment. Responding to Stevens’ question of why the “Internet” was delivered late:

“Maybe it’s because you don’t seem to know jack shit about computers or the Internet — but that’s okay — you’re just the guy in charge of regulating it.

Watch below for as hilarity ensues.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 8:58 am || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: Internet, Poker/Gambling, Politics, Snark, Technology, YouTube

November 8, 2006

Rep. Tom Price Won

As expected, he took (I haven’t checked the totals since last night) 70%+ of the vote. Such is the life of living in a “safe” district. But as I pointed out, I didn’t vote. And yesterday, I sent the below letter to Rep. Price by fax.

All over the country, Republicans got blasted yesterday. There will be a lot of spin about why this occurred. But I think the crucial point is that Republicans didn’t live up to their promises. They managed to placate the religious conservatives, but they forgot that the Republican party has a lot of small-government libertarian types who have been left out in the cold. Some, like me, stayed home. Some, who had Libertarian options on their ballot, voted for them (there was no Libertarian candidate for the House in my District). And some held their noses and voted not for Republicans, but against Democrats.

The question now will be whether the Republicans have learned their lesson. Hopefully, Rep. Price will get a chance to read my letter, and hopefully hundreds and thousands of other voters have sent similar letters. I’ve said before that voting (or not voting) is— by itself— a horrible way to “send a message”. If you voted Democrat, you haven’t taught the Republicans much of a lesson, other than to be more like Democrats. If you voted Libertarian, you may get a little attention. If you didn’t vote, they don’t know why. That’s why I sent the below letter, so my Congressman would know why:

Dear Rep. Price,

« Hide it

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 11:46 am || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: News, Politics
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November 7, 2006

Woke Up This Morning

(which is also the title of a great song, the theme song from the Sopranos, sung by A3)

On the way to work this morning, I was listening to talk radio as usual, and they were playing some quotes about today’s election. Specifically, the quotes were from Howard Dean and Ken Mehlman.

It was funny. They were both so upbeat, so confident. Dean was popping off about America “wanting change” and talking about how great having both houses of Congress was going to be. Mehlman, was pontificating about a “shift” towards the GOP that would help the GOP retain both houses.

One name came to mind:

Baghdad Bob

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 9:53 am || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Media, Politics, Snark, YouTube

November 6, 2006

Plans for the Mid-Term Election

This election is putting most classical liberals in a bind. We don’t really want to see the continuation of the borrow-and-spend behavior of our current one-party rule, but we likewise don’t want to see the tax-and-spend-even-more behavior of the Democrats. We don’t want to see the enforced-morality of the paternal state our current one-party rule is pushing, nor do we want to see the nanny-state version of people telling us to live our lives. We want the government out of our pocketbooks and our homes. Classical liberals have divergent issues on the Iraq war, to be sure, and that adds one more major question mark.

Many of us are soul-searching as to how– or even whether– to vote next Tuesday. Do you vote for the lesser of two evils? And is the lesser of two evils continued Republican control of Congress, or is it divided government? Is it more important to hold your nose and vote against your principals as a defensive measure, or is it better to just throw up your hands and stay home, knowing that your absence at the polls only contributes to the greater of two evils getting elected?

I don’t know how each individual person’s situation works, but I have a bit of an easy out this year. There is no Senate election this year in Georgia, so nationally, the only race I have to vote for is for the House. And I live in a “safe” Republican district, so I know that my vote won’t count. So I’m staying home tomorrow. My congressman, Tom Price, seems to be a nice guy. I’ve actually met and talked to him, but he’s not receiving my vote. He’s a first-term guy, and I keep looking at the votes he’s cast and one thing is clear to me. He values loyalty to the party line over voting for freedom. This time, I can’t bring myself to hold my nose and actively vote for a continuation of the Republican party rule.

But, of course, my congressman won’t read this blog, and certainly won’t know that I didn’t vote or why I didn’t vote. That’s but one reason why voting is a very poor way to actually try to “send a message”. So I’m going to draft a letter and fax it to his office tomorrow, so he knows that he’s lost the vote of someone who would be likely to support him otherwise, and why he lost that vote. If he finds himself asking why his margin of victory isn’t as large as he had hoped, perhaps my letter will clue him in.

Remember, folks, voting (or not voting) is very unlikely to actually effect any change upon the political system. It’s only the first step. If you really want to make a change, make sure your elected official knows exactly why you voted for them, why you voted for their opponent, or why you stayed home. “Sending a message” at the ballot box is easily misinterpreted, so you need to do something to make it more clear.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 9:48 am || Permalink || Comments (4) || Trackback URL || Categories: Libertarianism, Politics
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November 1, 2006

Oklahoma Restricts One Less Freedom

Tattooing in Oklahoma becomes legal Wednesday

Some say it’s an art. Others say it’s a sin. But nobody can say tattooing is illegal in Oklahoma after Wednesday, when the state becomes the very last to permit it.

The moral tangle is over. The win goes to lawmakers who argued that tattooing is inevitable, so it may as well be regulated for safety.

The win is also claimed by the state’s tattoo artists, who can now ink most anyone 18 and older without fear of handcuffs and fines.

The law that passed after much foot-dragging has earned praise and criticism, but either way, it has an effect.

It looks like today, one state becomes the last one to finally realize that people are capable of making their own decisions about their body. I do think that a lot of people are surprised by this, though. Not that they’re surprised that Oklahoma is changing the law, but surprised that Oklahoma had the law until 2006 in the first place.

But this isn’t an isolated case. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. One of the most egregious flaws of government is their tendency to restrict freedom and enforce the prejudices of the majority by law. You see it here in the south, where you can’t buy alcohol on Sunday because it offends too many religious people. You see it happening all over the country now, as cities and states try to ban smoking in all public places because it’s now widely regarded to be a faux pas.

I’d like to say that this change in the law is Oklahoma’s realization that outlawing behavior that they simply find unappealing, which does not infringe on anyone’s rights, is bad policy. But it’s not. This is them retreating from one restriction of freedom that no longer has a lot of public support. I’m sure they won’t be shy about keeping those restrictions that exist, or enacting new restrictions, as long as the majority supports it. After all, that’s what government is for, right?

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 10:36 am || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Libertarianism, News, Politics

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