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Heinlein on Voting

"If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for ... but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong."

-From Time Enough for Love

 And just for balance since I know that this is an unpopular sentiment around here, here are some far more interesting Heinlein quotes:

 The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, withou a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history.

I don't trust a man who talks about ethics when he is picking my pocket. But if he is acting in his own self-interest and says so, I have usually been able to work out some way to do business with him.

"Progress doesn't come from early risers - progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things."

"Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny."

"Be wary of strong spirits. It can make you shoot at tax collectors ... and miss."

-From the Notebooks of Lazarus Long

But does Man have any "right" to spread through the universe? Man is what he is, a wild animal with the will to survive, and (so far) the ability, against all competition. Unless one accepts that, anything one says about morals, war, politics, you name it, is nonsense. Correct morals arise from knowing what man is, not what do-gooders and well-meaning old Aunt Nellies would like him to be. The Universe will let us know - later - whether or not Man has any "right" to expand through it.

Of course, the Marxian definition of value is ridiculous. All the work one cares to add willl not turn a mud pie into an apple tart; it remains a mud pie, value zero. By corollary, unskillful work can easily subtract value; an untalented cook can turn wholesome dough and fresh green apples, valuable already, into an inedible mess, value zero. Conversely, a great chef can fashion of those same materials a confection of greater value than a commonplace apple tart, with no more effort than an ordinary cook uses to prepare an ordinary sweet. These kitchen illustrations demolish the Marxian theory of value - the fallacy from which the entire magnificent fraud of communism derives - and to illustrate the truth of the common-sense defintion as measured in terms of use.

"Value" has no meaning other than in relationship to living beings. The value of a thing is always relative to a particular person, is completely personal and different in quantity for each living human—"market value" is a fiction, merely a rough guess at the average of personal values, all of which must be quantitatively different or trade would be impossible. [...] This very personal relationship, "value", has two factors for a human being: first, what he can do with a thing, its use to him… and second, what he must do to get it, its cost to him. There is an old song which asserts that "the best things in life are free". Not true! Utterly false! This was the tragic fallacy which brought on the decadence and collapse of the democracies of the twentieth century; those noble experiments failed because the people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted… and get it, without toil, without sweat, without tears."

-From Starship Troopers

Starship troopers also has quite a few character tirades against natural rights. It is actually a really good book in spite of that fact. ;)

It's Coming

The 5 year anniversary of the Iraq invasion occurs on March 20, 2008. I suspect if the media is not too obsessed with presidential politics at that time there will be quite a bit of review and introspection on the half decade we have spent there. Of course they may just ignore the date entirely.

I have found however what I believe is the most appropriate data point to revisit:

YouTube President Bush addresses the nation March 2003.

This is G.W.'s address to the nation within a few hours after initiation of the invasion.  What strikes me the most from the video is Bush's intense focus on Saddam Hussein. Now multiple years after his death it seems the world hasn't exactly become a better place in spite of the accomplishment of this goal -though I presume that in some small way Iraq must have.

That being said I suspect that trading the terror of tyranny for the terror of terrorists, and the continuing chaos of war cannot be that noticable (or useful) of an improvement.  

Does it Take a Republican?

I have been to a handful of local Libertarian meetings in the past (all of which were in georgia not texas), and I have to admit they are usually somewhat lame. Though the UGA libertarians were slightly better it was still generally just a bunch guys getting together to complain and make fairly small plans (i.e. who is going to man the next OPH booth...) The local libertarians were usually a mix of quacks, artists, and pot smokers with quite a bit of overlap between the three categories.

As such the discourse in the meetings tended to be conspiracy-theory-esque with the occasional damn-the-man bitching.

I just got home from the first (presumably ever) Austin Liberty ball. It was a rally/concert for Ron Paul. ::note: you can call me a paultard if you want. It was still really awesome!::


One of the Largest Ron Paul MeetUp Groups + "Live
Music Capital of the World" = Austin Liberty Ball. New to Ron Paul?
Seasoned supporter? Come out for an evening unlike any other. We will
be showcasing the top videos of the grassroots movement, guest speakers
and some of the best music Austin has to offer -- all in the name of
liberty & Ron Paul.

Need to register to vote? Want to learn how to be a delegate?
Want to be a precinct captain? Looking to score a yard sign? Want to
hear great live music in a like minded environment?

...come out and join the Revolution.

It even included some libertarian-themed music. It took place in a large coffee shop in south austin. There was a $5 cover and the place was packed... standing room only for the speakers (it cleared out a little when the bands started playing).

I only arrived in time to hear the last speaker who happened to be an organizer of talking about some of the successes his website had had, and the plans to put up a billboard in austin.

This highlighted the great and very likely unintentional genius of Ron Paul's campaign: decentralized power. Allowing supporters anywhere to buy and spread their own advertising (the austin meetup is funding locally run tv ads as we speak), come up with their own fundraising plans, hold their own rallies and marches, and even hold concerts in his honor has not only made it possible for Ron Paul to continue his campaign far longer than anyone expected to, but has also ignited a very active, passionate, and creative nationwide libertarian-oriented movement.

And while this decentralization may appear to be the obvious fuel of this movement I have difficulty imagining a Libertarian Party candidate having such success even with a similarly structured campaign.

Which makes me wonder does it take a Republican to light a fire under libertaria, or is Ron Paul just that cool... (given his speaking style and propensity for dicussions on monentary policy the latter option would be very ironic).

Ron Paul and the Hope of Winning.

I am a fan of Ron Paul. I was long before he ran for president. Checking out his latest issue or bill via his congressional website was something I liked to do on occasion. Thus seeing him run for president in a campaign that is garnering more and more money and attention is something I find very exciting.

I am one of those weirdos that gets enthralled with 30 second clips of Ron Paul speeches presented on the nightly news. I peruse google regularly for new articles about him and his campaign, and I even have my tivo preset to record shows that list him in their description.

That being said there is quite a bit of lunacy floating in the minds of some of his supporters. (Of course I am not talking about the obvious kooks: conspiracy theorists, white supremacists, people who tivo ron paul etc.).

Just follow any comment thread on just about any article regarding ron paul and you will find individuals who seriously believe that the "scientific" polls are somehow seriously flawed. That there will be this amazing groundswell of supporters in the primaries and that Ron Paul will readily come out the frontrunner in spite of poll numbers.

Its not that I think the polls are perfect or even that accurate. Its that I do not believe they are that wrong. Going from 3-5 percent to winning the primaries is a bit of a leap isn't it?

Its not that I think its impossible for Ron to get the nomination, it is just unlikely. I'll compare it to my predictions for Georgia to be in the national championship game which consisted of something like this:

If X team loses against a team they should easily beat, and Y team also loses in a game they are favored to win and a certain gold and purple team loses the sec championship game and no one pays any attention to what a certain other virginia team is doing... and ::Ta Da:: Georgia is in the championship game... maybe...

Laugh if you like. It came very close to happening.

You have to figure that that is what also-rans like Duncan Hunter and Joe Biden are hoping for. A sudden turn in their favor, a bad gaff by a front runner, combined with a premature exit by a few of those polling slightly better than them, and who knows?

Likewise Paul's campaign will likely benefit by sheer stubborness. Its one of those advantages of being a long shot candidate: there is no reason to drop out when it becomes evident that you are not likely to get the nomination. As you were never likely, there is no reason not to stick around and pick up supporters of also-rans, and hope the party has a change of heart.




The Media and the "Second-Tier"

I have been following the Ron Paul presidential campaign for literally a couple of weeks, so not that long. Still when I finally paid enough attention to get interested in his campaign I discovered how frustrating the media can be when you are interested in hearing and seeing the "second tier" candidates.

In spite of being approximately a year out from any major nominating convention the media has already determined who does and does not have a chance of getting the nomination. Of course this is pretty standard for political pundits however, they are also actively reinforcing the candidates positions as front runners or "second tier candidates."

For example the front runners in debates will get asked nearly every question and are typically allowed extra time to answer it even after the official time has ended. While they move on quickly from the long shot candidates and often do not offer others the chance to debate what has been said.

The lesser candidates are lucky if they get to answer 2-3 questions during the whole event. Meanwhile it seems the "second tier" notion is being emphasized on the local level as well. From the Austin-American Statesman (the article is about the upcoming Texas straw poll):


Sydney Hay, Hunter's campaign manager, predicted that conservatives
will "again prove that this is not just a race between a couple of
so-called 'front-runners' whose current lead in the national polls is
based on pure name ID alone and is in steady decline as Republican
voters begin to learn about the candidates."

GOP consultant Chad Wilbanks warned against activists favoring a
lesser-known candidate because actual voters in the March primary will
be unlikely to follow their lead, rendering the poll results

Participants "are going to have to choose someone who has a
realistic chance of winning, even if they're not there," Wilbanks said.
"They cannot pick a second-tier candidate. You want to have some sort
of credibility."


So Texas Republicans are being discouraged from picking a candidate in a non-binding vote that has not already been determined to be a frontrunner by the media and the traditional polls. Meanwhile the strong finish of second tier candidates in other local and state straw polls has not inspired the media in the least to reassess the "second-tier" label of any of these candidates, and of course an internet following doesn't count for anything.

Thus mainstream media is turning "second-tier" status into a self fulfilling prophecy. In fact the republican CNN-YouTube debate has seemingly been called off because of the refusal of the front runners to participate. First it was postponed, and now it is being called the "Florida debate." It is unclear if youTubers will get to participate or if it will just be another canned frontrunner media spot.

Yet if the frontrunners do not want to field questions from youTubers while the second-tier lesser heard candidates do isn't the solution to let all parties have their wish? It would be really nice to hear a debate that was not 90 percent Rudy and Mitt. Those two not showing up would make for a far more interesting hour of television, and we might actually get some straight answers for once.

Of course CNN cannot have a debate with only second-tier candidates, that would, after all scar its credibility as a debate venue. Front-runners it turns out hold within their magnanimous talking heads the entire legitimacy of the whole process.

My Obscure Liberalism

To me the following quote embodies what it means philosophically to be "liberal."
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

I think it necessitates tolerance of differing opinions, a belief in the rights of individuals, a belief in the right to freedom of speech, and a strong enough belief in these rights that you would die to protect them.

Thus I find it difficult if not impossible to ascribe the term "liberal" to those unfamiliar with this concept.

The sad thing is just how very obscure my definition is in this day and age.

Chavez Steals 30 Billion From Private Oil Companies

Chavez completes takeover of private oil fields:

The companies ceding control included BP Plc, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp, Chevron Corp, France's Total SA and Norway's Statoil ASA. All but ConocoPhillips signed agreements last week agreeing in principle to state control, and ConocoPhillips said Tuesday that it too was cooperating.

While the state takeover was planned well ahead of time, the oil companies remain locked in a behind-the-scenes struggle with the government.

Chavez says the state is taking a minimum 60 per cent stake in the Orinoco operations, but he is urging foreign companies to stay and help develop the fields.

They have until June 26 to negotiate the terms.

The companies have leverage with Chavez because experts agree that Venezuela's state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, cannot transform the Orinoco's tar-like crude into marketable oil without their investment and experience.

So Chavez lays claim to the capital without the expertise or experts to effectively use it. This scenario seems familiar. I hope ConocoPhilips holds their ground if possible or leaves entirely.

The Crimeless State

A few weeks back I was surfing the blogosphere when I came across the statement from a marxist that crime is a capitalistic concept because it is attached to the concept of property. Honestly I had never thought of it that way.

Thus I came to contemplate what is "crime" when not attached to property. The connection of property to crime seems to be one of the essential elements of commonlaw governance. Of course there is the idea of the victimless crimes, and other vice crimes (blue laws come to mind). The banning of the sale of alcohol on certain "holy days" in certain places. Prostitution, illegal gambling, and drug possession though all involving property in some way do not involve another person infringing on property at least not until the government steps in to enforce its mandate.

These are all things that in my mind are not crimes, at least not outside of a governmental declaration (i.e. legislation) that they are. Thus if property is detached from the concept of crime the only activities that will be called criminal are those that the state declares criminal.

This is important because at least in the western world we have this notion that the state should never be above the law. Clearly the practice of this is not what it should be in the western world, but we do still have this protection to a degree.

Purgery, corruption, theft, and murder are all crimes we can hold our leaders, officials, and police responsible for. Thanks in no small part to our common law system of governance. If all law and crime becomes dictates of the government detached from any concept of property and thus any system of common law among the people, then there is no way for the government to ever be held to any legal standards.

The state has in effect become crimeless because nothing it does can be considered a crime unless it declares its own actions criminal. As such any form of commonlaw or other customary law are immediately destroyed in communist regimes, that the state may become the ultimate arbiter of what is and is not criminal activity and none of those standards will be applied to itself.

The result is governments that incarcerate, starve, and often execute citizens it believes to be too powerful, too rich, too stuborn, not thinking correctly or even in the case of North Korea simply related to someone who disagrees with the government. The atrocities of communist governments continue to compile to this day, because owning one's own life is a "capitalistic concept" attached to the idea that your body and existence can be and is your own property.

It Is no accident that criminals in communist states tend to be those who disagree with the government rather than those who have stolen, destroyed property, or attacked their fellow humans. Crime in the totalitarian regimes becomes an issue not of respecting the property and boundaries of your fellow humans, but of the state deeming you or your behavior improper in some way.

Without a means for the people to hold the state responsible for its actions detaching the concept of crime from the concept of property made the atrocities of communist regimes not only probable but inevitable.

Free Cuba

This is a documentary originally made by The Lexington League and propagated on Youtube about Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas, founder of the Varela Project, and his struggle as a political dissident under the Castro regime.

Back to May Day 2007: A Day of Remembrance

The Great Kim Jong Il

North Korean communist propoganda has found its way to Youtube giving us a glimpse to what the citizens of that country might see daily.

This is the description of the video from its contributor::

Dear Leader Comrade Generalissimo Kim Jong Il the brilliant statesman, political genius, prolific author, musical virtuoso, master of the arts, prodigious humanist, invincible military commander and respected Lodestar of national reunification leads the Korean nation in building the great powerful prosperous country with his adroit and inovative economic ideas.

Making the rounds on field guidance insterction tours, Comrade Kim Jong Il always makes himself aware of every details of a situation and teaches the creative ways to overcome difficulties in reaching the targets of the six-years plans which are the driving force of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea economic processes based on the mass-centered Juche-orientated Korean-style socialism which is the system the Korean people have freely chosen by themselves out of their own free will.

Thus Leader Kim Jong Il is the mass-based leader truly serving the people by bringing about the great upswing in revolutionary economic building for the prosperity of the Korean people and all of humankind.

This description is from its contributor:

Dear Leader Comrade Generalissimo Kim Jong Il's wise perfect leadership is so extraordinary and genuinely mass people-based that the entire Korean nation rely upon Him as their god giving him the passionate worship of the peerlessly great Mt. Paektu-type general born of Heaven.

Drawing strenght from the all-powefull image of Kim Jong Il, the Korean people can always achieve the greatest victories.

Also available on YouTube:

Kim Jong Il The Great Athlete
Kim Jong Il The Great Warrior
Kim Jong Il Fashion Designer
Kim Jong Il The Great Traveler
Kim Jong Il The Great Architect

And many more...

Back to May Day 2007: A Day of Remembrance

Hoeryong: Peering Inside a Death Camp

From, " Former guard: Ahn Myong Chol remembers atrocities:"

A food factory produced soy sauce and cookies and bean paste. And here the women worked between 20 and 30 years old. The women are the sexual slaves of the security officers, they are forced to wear only white thin gowns and no underwear, they are not given underwear. They make all the beautiful women work here.

The prisoners go to the coal mine along this road, in carts pulled by cows. And while they are passing through here, I was instructed to beat a disabled person by my superior, and I had no choice but to obey.

Even in the small village there is an officers headquarters, and if any prisoner disobeys, then he can be beaten here, and the officers were armed, and they would kill prisoners here.

Not only here but all other places, even in the small hills they bury bodies. And when we cut the trees down, sometimes we find a buried body. Not only here, but all around here are buried bodies.

In the hills here, if there is some flat area, it is covered with graves. And if people start to farm there, they find bodies or bones.

This area is where there are the most densely buried bodies. There are graves all over here, and we can see the graves where there are no woods. There is no particular area to bury dead bodies, but they put them all in this general vicinity, and no one can cry. It is forbidden to cry, and there is no funeral ceremony, and the officers say, “The anti-revolutionary person has died, so there is no reason to cry.”

How can these things happen?

The gulag seems like a thing of the past. It seems like knowing about these atrocities should somehow keep them from happening. Shedding light on it and exposing atrocity to the eyes of the world should prevent a repeat of history, right?

We hear about cruel things happening in areas of instability --- ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, genocide in Rwanda, and the continued chaos in Darfur. While these events are certainly terrible, they seem to have a different flavor from the concentraion camps described in the above quote. Genocide often arises in times of conflict, times when it's very hard for the rest of the world to have a sense of what's going on, where the fog of war hides the bloodshed. When the war ends, when the fog lifts, the atrocities end. Thus, we have a way of fighting war-born atrocities: end war.

Yet, the systematic killings carried out by tyrannical states exist in places not embroiled in war. Should the lessons of the past not relegate them to a dark page of human history? Have we not learned from the past? Perhaps, it's the very stability that perpetuates their existence. The gulags are isolated and protected behind the curtain of militarized government ruling over an insular society cut off from the rest of the world. As such, we have few tools to fight these atrocities, or even know that they occur. We have to rely on the tales of those that escape, on old pictures taken in secret or from a distance, and satelite imagery.

Today we look to North Korea, to a camp on its north-eastern border secluded in mountains. It is called the Hoeryong concentration camp. Because so few priosoners ever make it out alive, most of the stories we have come from former employees.

Who are The Prisoners of Hoeryong?

From The U.S. Committee on Human Rights in North Korea, The Hidden Gulag:

The most strikingly abnormal feature of the kwan-li-so system is the philosophy of “collective responsibility,” or “guilt by association” — yeon-jwa-je — whereby the mother and father, sisters and brothers, children and sometimes grandchildren of the offending political prisoner are imprisoned in a three-generation practice. Former prisoners and guards trace this practice to a 1972 statement by “Great Leader” Kim Il Sung: “Factionalists or enemies of class, whoever they are, their seed must be eliminated through three generations.” According to the testimony of a former guard at Kwan-li-so No. 11 at Kyungsung, North Hamgyong Province, this slogan was carved in wood in the prison guards’ headquarters building. According to the testimony of YOON Dae Il, a former police official, the number of family members abducted and sent to the lifetime labor camps depends on the severity of the presumed political offense.

The other strikingly abnormal characteristic of the kwan-li-so system is that prisoners are not arrested, charged (that is, told of their offense), or tried in any sort judicial procedure, where they would have a chance to confront their accusers or offer a defense with or even without benefit of legal counsel. The presumed offender is simply picked up and taken to an interrogation facility and frequently tortured to “confess” before being sent to the political penal-labor colony. The family members are also just picked up and deposited at the kwan-li-so, without ever being told of the whereabouts or wrongdoings of the presumed wrongdoer.

The most salient feature of day-to-day prison-labor camp life is the combination of below-subsistence food rations and extremely hard labor. Prisoners are provided only enough food to be kept perpetually on the verge of starvation. And prisoners are compelled by their hunger to eat, if they can get away with it, the food of the labor-camp farm animals, plants, grasses, bark, rats, snakes — anything remotely edible. It should be noted that below-subsistence-level food rations preceded, by decades, the severe nationwide food shortages experienced by North Korea in the 1990s.

Are Dissidents Being Gassed in Camp 22?

Witness statements and documents disputed by the Democratic Republic of North Korea are all we have to answer this question.

Witness statements from a report by The Guardian:

I witnessed a whole family being tested on suffocating gas and dying in the gas chamber,' he said. 'The parents, son and and a daughter. The parents were vomiting and dying, but till the very last moment they tried to save kids by doing mouth-to-mouth breathing.'

Hyuk has drawn detailed diagrams of the gas chamber he saw. He said: 'The glass chamber is sealed airtight. It is 3.5 metres wide, 3m long and 2.2m high_ [There] is the injection tube going through the unit. Normally, a family sticks together and individual prisoners stand separately around the corners. Scientists observe the entire process from above, through the glass.'

He explains how he had believed this treatment was justified. 'At the time I felt that they thoroughly deserved such a death. Because all of us were led to believe that all the bad things that were happening to North Korea were their fault; that we were poor, divided and not making progress as a country.

'It would be a total lie for me to say I feel sympathetic about the children dying such a painful death. Under the society and the regime I was in at the time, I only felt that they were the enemies. So I felt no sympathy or pity for them at all.'

His testimony is backed up by Soon Ok-lee, who was imprisoned for seven years. 'An officer ordered me to select 50 healthy female prisoners,' she said. 'One of the guards handed me a basket full of soaked cabbage, told me not to eat it but to give it to the 50 women. I gave them out and heard a scream from those who had eaten them. They were all screaming and vomiting blood. All who ate the cabbage leaves started violently vomiting blood and screaming with pain. It was hell. In less than 20 minutes they were quite dead.'

So I find myself wondering if Hoeryong will someday have the same sort of name recognition of Auschwitz. Will we someday, after some sort of liberation or struggle, look into this prison and wonder: How could this have happened in our world, in this day and age? How could it have gone on this long? How could it have gotten this bad? Could we have done anything to prevent it or change it? Will it happen again?

For more Info including satelite images, witness statements, a complete copy of The Hidden Gulag and a history of North Korea's prison camps please visit:

U.S. Committee on Human Rights in North Korea

Back to May Day 2007: A Day of Remembrance

Why Not Haiti?

Tonight American Idol is making a big spectacle of their own special desires to "Give Back." One of the beneficiaries of their charity is going to be Africa. The other beneficiary will be gulf coast areas still recovering from Katrina.

While I am not generally (and by that I mean not at all) a big adherent of altruistic endeavors I have to wonder why help Africa, or more specifically why not Haiti?

It seems like there is always a big drive to fix Africa, and it is a big place with many problems. However I think it makes a certain amount of sense to focus on your neighbors first. Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the world and it is really close by.

For that matter why don't we hear about more charity programs to help Mexico? I just cannot help but wonder if there happens to be some underlying politics out there in big money charity land that make some potential recipients more appealing than others.

If I Carried a Gun

If I carried a gun in my car* and was pulled over I would most likely be arrested unless I had received permission from the government to carry it.

If I carried a gun and it was seen at my job, I would be instantly fired by most of the employers I have ever had. My current employer does not have an explicit policy on the subject so I do not care to speculate how they would react. However, I do not expect it would be positive.

That instant firing for gun possession whether I possessed it with government permission or not would make it very difficult for me to get employed elsewhere especially at larger companies with specific anti-gun policies.

If I carried a gun to school, I could and would likely be expelled at every institution I have ever attended.

If I were arrested for possessing a gun without government permission, it is possible that I would loose my massage license and thus my livelihood. **

If I was seen with a gun at my church I believe I would get permanently banned from membership (they have strong feelings on gun control).

If I had a gun in my apartment and the apartment management found out about it I would be kicked out for breaking my lease agreement. Which would negatively effect my capacity to get future agreements with other apartment communities.

Given my current circumstances the only way I could own a gun without getting in a lot of trouble if I got caught with it is if I had an official license in the state of Texas to carry a concealed weapon, kept it in my car and never took it out (it could possibly come with me if it were very well concealed and then only in a very few circumstances), and parked my vehicle somewhere outside the property of my apartment complex on the property of someone who had no problem with the presence of the gun in my car.

I am currently an apartment-dweller in Austin, TX.

*FYI having a license to carry a gun is not required in Texas if it stays in your home or car to use for defense. However you will still likely be arrested if you have it in your car and cannot show a concealed carry permit.

**From the Texas department of health, Massage Licensee, Ethical Requirements: (q) A licensee shall be subject to disciplinary action by the department if the licensee is issued a public letter of reprimand, is assessed a civil penalty by a court, or has an administrative penalty imposed by the attorney general's office under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, §56.31.

Good News in DC


With some exceptions for police officers and others, the D.C. statute bars residents from owning handguns unless they were registered before 1976, the year the law was enacted. And it requires people with registered rifles or shotguns in their homes to keep them unloaded and either disassembled or fitted with trigger locks, meaning they cannot legally be used for self-defense.

"Ridiculous," Levy said.

Streamlining The Civil Justice System

This is the RIAA's new approach to going after copyright infringement.

From's instruction page:


This site will guide you through the settlement process for your case. You can pay the settlement by credit card, using either Mastercard, Visa or Discover. If you wish to pay the settlement by cashier's check, you will need to telephone one of our settlement representatives.