Libertarian Jackass

"Life is short, but truth works far and lives long; let us speak truth." -- Schopenhauer

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

EMAIL Please use LJ's new address: libertarian dot jackass at gmail dot com. The Hotmail account was closed just after midnight last night, meaning all messages sent would not have been received. I haven't figured out how to adjust the email link on this page.

By the way, if you have any extra gmail invites to burn . . .
LJ LED THE WORLD ON (THE) UKRAINE PROBLEM Here's an old LJ.com post pulled from August 8th, 2003:

THE GREAT LIBERTARIAN DEBATE: IS IT THE UKRAINE OR UKRAINE?

To Hell With Political Correctness, May The Ukraine Stand Forever! Daniel McCarthy weighs in first:

The country is called "the Ukraine." Just like "Vegas" is LAS Vegas, not just "Vegas." It's pretty simple really.

As long as I have been alive, it has been "the Ukraine." It was "the Ukraine" long before I was born as well. Now, however, certain neotericists would like to rechristen the country "Ukraine." Why? What possible, logical, a priori reason can there be to call it "Ukraine"? There is none.

It's a thymological question, not a praxeological one. Since it has always been the Ukraine it should remain the Ukraine. There's no good reason to change it.

Experts agree. Consider the words of Joseph F. Foster, Associate Professor of Antrholopology at the University of Cincinnati, who writes:
It is politically incorrect. It is however perfectly grammatical English. To stop saying "the Ukraine" and start saying "Ukraine" is about as silly and unEnglish as to have stopped saying "the Argentine" and started saying "Argentine". It would make more English sense to say "Ukrainia". I however always say "the Ukraine". I also say "the Argentine" and "the Arkansas". And I am from, as the song goes "Down in the Arkansas", proud of it, and do not feel that my native State is in the least slighted by having a definite article -- or having it omitted, as is done my most Americans. I also say "The Gambia" and I believe so do the Gambians. So if this be political incorrectness, make the most of it.
Ukrainian does not even have a definite article -- many languages do not -- but I am simply not willing to allow a language which has no article to be forced upon me as a model for how I ought to use or not use the definite article in English. To me, making an issue of insisting that American and British say "Ukraine" instead of "the Ukraine" or "Ukrania" is carrying political correctness to its absurd end and I cannot understand the willingness of many fellow linguists to go along with such rampant and goofy prescriptivism.

Now, nothing of interest is ever completely easy. The term 'u kraina' means 'at the border', or in the border region. There has somehow developed the notion that saying 'At Border' is OK but saying 'the at Border' puts us on the side of the Colonialists and the Big Bad Great Russians who want the Ukraine back. To impute that kind of political awareness and motivation to British and American English speakers is silly, unfounded, and a near total misapprehension of the nature of language, culture, and their relations. The amazing thing is that some linguists and cultural anthropologists who would not tolerate such prescriptivism about English are so patronizingly willing to conform to it and comply with it when it comes from a "developing" country. Or from Americans who are courting favor with that developing country to enhance their own careers.

What we have here in part is a false issue raised by a political activist group who want to enlist the rest of the world into their particular agenda. Most Americans neither know nor care about the peculiar relations among the Russias -- Great, White, and Little, or Byelorussia, Velikaya Russia, and Ukrainia, or Little Russia. The thinking is that if A and B are having a dispute about which C is neutral and disinterested, and B can force C to talk about it the way B wants it talked about, then B has forced C to become an interested party on the side of C. So this isnt really about language and grammar at all -- it is about an attempt to force Americans to get envolved in a local dispute between Russia and Ukrainia over political control, cultural dominance, and bruised egos.

Oh, by the way, Russian doesn't have a definite article either. So this business about trying to proscribe English "the Ukraine" is really goofy and unwarranted
.
So there you have it. On the analogy of such other time-honored names as "the Argentine" and "the Levant,” and "the Sudan," the Ukraine stands as "the Ukraine." It means "the lands at the border." In English, it should have the definite article. The only acceptable alternative is Ukrainia, which is nice and Latinate as well. Take your pick -- English (the Ukraine), or neo-Latin (Ukrainia).

It’s "Ukraine," Stupid!


Andrei "Dr. Dre" Kreptul refutes the foolish rant of McCarthyisms:
My fellow counterpart Daniel McCarthy, while well-versed in the ideological errors and nostrums of the neo-conservative movement which he so passionately rails against (check it out here) is absolutely and utterly wrong on whether one ought to refer to the country of Ukraine as "the Ukraine" or "Ukraine."
As a Canadian of Ukrainian descent myself, I can say with ultimate certainty that the consensus on this issue is that "Ukraine" is the proper moniker for the country known as Ukraine. Just ask any prominent member of the Ukrainian community anywhere in North America and they will tell you that "the Ukraine" is wrong and makes no sense. Everytime my fellow Ukrainians hear "the Ukraine," they cringe with disgust and their rage leads to them to want to shoot peoples' heads off. Frankly, that kind of passion and dedication to "Ukraine" over "the Ukraine" is good enough in my books.

Clearly, the correct referent is "Ukraine." If you don't believe me, just go to www.ukraine.org and it becomes crystal clear that "Ukraine" is the correct word to use. To verify that I’m right, just go to www.infoukes.com/faq/the_ukraine/ and you will see that "Ukraine" is it, baby!

KEN JENNINGS The ONLY game show worth watching is no longer as interesting to watch.

Monday, November 29, 2004

MISADVENTURES OF THE LIBERTARIAN JACKASS: ROMANTIC WEEKEND GET-A-WAY In the company of several friends, LJ escaped the madness of Southern California for the holiday weekend. We ventured up along Pacific Coast Highway, hitting Pismo Beach, Cambria, San Simeon, Monterey, Carmel By-The-Sea, Santa Barbara and many points in between.

I'll have more to say later . . .

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

LJ THROWS OUT THE N-WORD, LOSES HIS JOB What's wrong with droppin' the N-bomb? One of LJ's best friends is black and he enjoys using the term.

This post courtesy of The Angry Jew.

UPDATE: Only when employed by the government can you get fired for attempting to save money.
THE WEDDING IS COMING Is LJ tying the knot? Ha! No. LJ's older sister will be getting married to Prince Charming in a few weeks. Suggestions from our readers on wedding gifts and wedding antics will be greatly appreciated. No, I will not turn off the Blackberry for the wedding.
AND NOW A MESSAGE FROM EVIL PAUL:
Dear LJ,

I, for inexplicable reasons, found myself watching the Fox WarChannel's O'Reilly show. Bill "I've got something in my front pocketfor you" O'Reilly, wasn't in, so John Kasich sat in his throne. Of course they had to babble about the Piston's riot, which brings me to the great part: In closing, Kasich said that fans celebrating with "high fives" and "boo-ing the visiting team" and Terrel Owens celebrating in the end zone is apparently the same thing as hurling projectiles and pummelling people. Of course the first three benign things somehow tied into the "culture war" (whatever the hell that is) that neo-con/populist warmongers are always on about.

Cheers,
evilpaul
I'm delighted the NBA banned Artest for the season, but why not extend it to a lifetime ban? Also, am I the only one to notice the similarities between the U.S. government after 9/11 and Ron Artest after taking a bath in a Bud Light? Running around like an animal, taking swings at people? Did he even land a punch on the alleged beer thrower? Further, isn't it strange he chose to walk away from Ben Wallace yet he charged into the stands to blast a 5'8" 140 pound white dude? Maybe he isn't as dumb as he looks.

Monday, November 22, 2004

INSTASTATIST At the risk of boring our readers, we have to point out this post from InstaGlenn on Iraqi debt. Either Glenn really has no clue or LJ is always wrong (both are definite possibilities), but how exactly is forgiving debt a good thing? Who fronted the money in the first place? The taxpayers I'm sure.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

FINDING NEVERLAND I saw Finding Neverland this weekend. The movie tells the story of JM Barrie's journey of writing "Peter Pan" (or "Peter and Wendy").
CONGRATS TO THE GUY finding our site via the Google search: "Nair For Men." It's one product we definitely do recommend.
DESPERATE, LOSER WOMEN I just heard about this Desperate Housewives phenomenon sweeping across the nation. So, you're telling me we finally get rid of a show celebrating the lives of four annoying losers and ABC dreams up another version with a slightly more appropriate name? Desperate. Sad. Pathetic.

As an economist, I realize this says more about our viewers than our producers.
EVER WONDER WHERE YOUR TAX DOLLARS GO? Here's one source: U.S. soldiers helping the little brown people of the world organize soccer matches! Yay! How sweet.

Just one question (may seem a bit out of place, I'm sure): WHERE THE HELL IS BIN LADEN?

Apparently the U.S. soldiers were too exhausted after the sudden death loss to the little brown people team to do much searching . . .
GOOGLE SCHOLAR For those of you interested in how many times you've been cited. http://scholar.google.com/
SNOW ADVISORY IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA There's a snow advisory in So Cal areas above 2,500 feet. Who says we don't have winter in Cali? LJ is enjoying the evening with a fire in the fireplace, Mozart on the surround sound and a glass of California's finest merlot within close reach.

UPDATE: No night boardin' either. Mountain High is unreachable due to the EVIL California Highyway Patrol. Don't you love the Land of the Free?
IT'S COMING . . . Morgan Stanley's Chief Economist on the day of reckoning:
The day will come when foreign investors simply say no to buying U.S. investments without getting a better return. That's when the dollar collapses, U.S. interest rates soar and the stock market plunges. Under such a crisis scenario, a U.S. recession would be all but inevitable.

WOULD MATTHEW YGLESIAS MAKE A BETTER LIBERTARIAN than Reason's Nick Gillespie? I'm pretty sure that he would. Nick should write a column, "Who Cares About The State As Long We Get To Watch Porn And Smoke Weed." Maybe someone at Reason already has, I just rarely find time to flip beyond the pretty colors on the cover to actually read the articles.

More importantly, what Nick fails to understand is that government (with all it's regulations, taxes and spending programs) is a parasite. It feeds off the concentration of wealth. It feeds off a concentrated population. There's a reason you don't see a massive State in highly rural areas.

The whole "voting with your feet" garbage is nonsense. It doesn't show that people "are ready and willing to pay" for government in order to live where they want. It certainly doesn't tell us that "economic freedom" is another phrase for "nothing else to do."

Get lost, Nick. You've ruined my Sunday with your drivel.

Friday, November 19, 2004

IN CASE YOU HADN'T ALREADY NOTICED, Ron Artest has neither class nor integrity. In fact, he admitted earlier this week that he doesn't even known the meaning of the word "integrity."

Fights at basketball games. Fights at hip hop award shows. Hm. What's the common denominator here?

UPDATE: Pistons claim they will have "Playoff Level" security starting with Sunday's game. Now here's a wonderful example of being fooled into thinking armed police produce order. In truth, even if you had twice the number of security guards, hundreds of fans would easily have their way with a team. Order is produced through voluntary cooperation -- fans voluntarily remaining in their seats, refusing to act like barbarians and players with enough class to refrain from fighting with guys like Ben Wallace or the jerk fan in the third row.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

"IF A WAR IS JUSTIFIED, THEN CIVILIAN CASUALITIES ARE JUSTIFIED" Here's more:
Most importantly, the killing of wounded enemies or even of civilians does not undermine the moral validity of a war. If war is justified, then civilian casualties are justified, because they are an inevitable part of war. And war is justified on the same principles that any other use of force is justified -- as an act of self-defense, and the defense of innocent third parties. Our engagement with Iraq was an act of self-defense and the defense of innocent Iraqis oppressed by Saddam Hussein. Our current engagement is an act of self-defense against the terrorist cohorts now occupying Iraq. The fact that we avoid civilian casualties, as we do, simply adds to the fact that we are right in the war, even when extremely upsetting incidents like this occur. So even assuming the worst about this incident, it does not undermine the rightness of our involvement in Iraq.
A few minor questions about this EXCELLENT LIBERTARIAN defense of murder:

U.S. engagement was an act of self-defense? When did Saddam initiate attacks on the U.S.?

Why should I (or the half of America opposed to the Iraq debacle) be coerced into funding the defense of Iraqis against Saddam (a man once supported by the same people now calling him an "enemy")?

Isn't Saddam contained? Why is the U.S. military still "defending" Iraqis?

If I rob your house and kill your sister, do you get to chase me into the nearest residenital development and slaughter a few innoncent bystanders in your quest to bring me to justice? Is that justified?

Why did the U.S. oppress the Iraqi people for a decade with economic sanctions if the U.S. is to now set them free? Except for the 15,000+ dead ones -- they are just the price of freedom.

You can say many things about the Iraq war, but "justified" is not one of them.

You can say many things about killing when it's done in the name of the State, but it's still murder.
FROM A FRIEND: "PBS stands for Pure BullShit." Little kids with their limbs blown off in Iraq, and the best PBS can do is dream up a documentary investigating the evil of . . . LOWER PRICES?

Get your priorities straight.
WHO CARES WHAT ALEX TABARROK THINKS? Not very many people, I'm sure (and with good reason).
http://techcentralstation.com/111804C.html

Why not let consumers decide the level of risk they are willing to accept? Why not let entrepreneurs accept the challenge of increasing safety?
COLLATERAL DAMAGE Sent in by D.F.:

A man comes into your home and murders your mother, your father, your siblings and your best friend. The rage you feel is beyond your control, and your grief makes the heavens weep.

The perpetrator of this crime can be located, but only at a cost- you must put a gun to a baby's head and pull the trigger before you can locate the murderer.

What would you do?

Think of that child the next time that someone says that in order to make the world safe that "innocent people might die".

Think of that child the next time someone mentions "collateral damage".

Think of that child the next time you hear of an innocent child dying at the hands of bombs paid for by your tax dollars.

The bible says "Thall Shall Not Kill", and I don't think God left it up for discussion.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

CAMERA PHONES My phone has "Push" email. Text messaging. "Always on" AOL Instant Messenger. Jay-Z's "99 Problems . . ." ringtone for all female callers. A Bluetooth wireless headset. Speakerphone. It even has a firewall. Yes, a firewall. But, I'll tell you what it does not have: a camera.

Almost every time I leave the house, I run into some clown who insists on whipping out the camera phone to capture precious moments. In restaurants. In malls. In Borders. You name it. Here's a tip: suck it up, get a real job and buy yourself an actual camera.
WE ARE EXPERIENCING TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES here at Libertarian Jackass headquarters in beautiful South Orange County. (Why not just Orange County? We don't like the Northerners. They are free to join LA County).

I apologize for the downtime. Hotmail email is gone. Finished. Junked.

The Jackass laptop AC adapter failed. It has now been replaced.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

RICH PEOPLE VOTED FOR BUSH, poor people voted for Kerry? If the election was limited to people making less than $100,000 a year, Kerry wins. Bush loses the South among voters making less than $50k.

The only question I have is this: how the heck did Kerry win California then? How can you possibly live in California on less than $100k?

Monday, November 15, 2004

OPPORTUNITY COST A puzzle from Catallarchy. I think I have to side with commenter "LuLu" on this one.

http://catallarchy.net/blog/archives/2004/11/10/opportunity-cost-puzzle/
THANKS TO "EFFICIENT E," who some of you will remember as our Summer Intern around here, we've updated the "Who Is The Libertarian Jackass?" section of the site. What follows is a reproduction of what now appears in the right sidebar:
"LJ is one of the brightest minds to grace the halls of higher education. The proof is that he made his way out of there with broken hearts en tow. His use of political knowledge and quick wit provide quick answers to complex problems with such ease that you question what you have done with your life. His extensive knowledge of markets and the inner maneuverings go beyond economics or politics. Unable to be type cast, it would take 4 Academy Award winners to play LJ in the story of his life (and not those crappy winners for writing). His flair for the dramatic leaves people with an uneasy feeling, but I assure you that after working for him for the summer, you have plenty to feel uneasy about. His interests have never wavered from the highest of academic and personal standards. He has even been able to combine academic and personal interests if you count the secretary. For the improvement of the world, LJ offers his insights with the highest possible positive externality anywhere in the blogosphere." -- Former LJ.com Summer Intern, "Efficient E"
I don't know how long this will last, but you asked for a change . . .

By the way, congrats to "E" for walking the Mission Inn 5K Run/Walk with his mother. That's very sweet of you.
CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS? I don't know what Arnaud de Borchgrave is talking about. What we see in Europe is a lack of civilization not a clash of civilizations. It's the tragedy of the commons, the triumph of public government and trampling of private property.

May the process of de-civilization continue with the likes of de Borchgave as our public intellectuals.

Living in Spain during 2000, I have some experience with a similar situation. Moroccans -- allegedly entering Spain illegally -- caused all of the criminal activity I personally witnessed. Spain has some of the most spectacular "public" plazas, where thousands of young Spaniards gather to celebrate and socialize during the evenings of the weekend. Groups of Moroccans often mixed in with the crowds, stealing, starting fights and vanadalizing property.

An American student was knifed by a Moroccan trying to defend himself.

A fellow American chased down a group of Moroccans after they stole a girl's purse.

A fellow American chased down, tackled and berated a Moroccan "car thief" being pursued through the streets by Spanish police.

In Spain, the Moroccans had to take seats on the back of the bus.

Also, against the advice of the State Department, I spent the weekend in Morocco. Of course, I told everyone I was from Canada or Germany, because the United State of America is so hated. (Hint: Not for our "freedoms"). I can understand why Moroccans wish to emigrate. One man told me in broken English: "See how beautiful our country is -- we have NO industrialization." Sadly, I did not see beauty. I saw poverty. I saw disease. I saw young children that looked more like skeletons than humans. I saw large families crowded into small apartments, producing goods for the market on Sunday.

I watched a small, frail Moroccan boy follow me through the market begging for Spanish pesetas.

This was not civilization. This was primitivism.
ARAFAT CONTROLLED A FINANCIAL EMPIRE WORTH $3 BILLION? Uh, are there still any questions as to why we don't have "peace in the Middle East"? Someone benefits greatly from the lack of peace.

And that's the way the cookie crumbles.

Sources:
http://drudgereport.com/flash3.htm

Sunday, November 14, 2004

GROWING HATRED FOR MICROSOFT I just received a message that I can no longer access my "free Hotmail accounts" via Outlook (which, in turn, feeds one of the accounts to the Blackberry). Since I'm already using Firefox instead of the horrible Microsoft web browser, I might as well dump Hotmail all together and use my Gmail accounts. So, if you email me on a Hotmail account, please use my Gmail instead. Hotmail will be going "Bye Bye Bye" within a couple of days.
THE US DOLLAR One of the most popular topics in the financial press as of late has been the potential for a collapse in the US dollar, led by huge sell-offs from China and Japan (and may I add, India?). In my view, this sell-off won't occur until such time as it is in the interest of China and Japan to do so. Their political regimes also benefit from the world dollar standard, you see. But, it's fun to read this article and laugh about those of you who will be screwed by skyrocketing interest rates.
PIERCE BROSNAN ON HOW HE got fired as James Bond. I don't know, but maybe it has something to do with the fact the he's 51? But, he is right about his taste for older, more refined ladies: "But I am 51, and I think it looks ridiculous when you see a couple and think, why is he with such a young woman? To my eye, women get sexier around 35. They know a thing or two, and knowledge is always alluring."

Amen, Pierce.
DRUDGE FLOATED THE RUMOR on Friday that George W. Bush is currently reading ("thumbing through") Natan Sharansky's The Case for Democracy. I happened to be at Barnes&Nobles on Saturday evening, so I glanced through the introduction. I must say, if you throw the phrases "after 9/11" or "because of 9/11" or "everything changed with 9/11" in the first chapter, I'm probably going to toss your book across the Starbucks Cafe. He does have an interesting paragraph in which he summarizes his thoughts: "I am convinced that all people desire to be free. I am convinced that freedom anywhere will make the world safer everywhere. And I am convinced that democratic nations, led by the United States, have a critical role to play in expanding freedom around the globe."

Most of what he writes I cannot disagree with, except to say he (and most academics as well) use the word "democracy" as if it's interchangeable with "freedom." This is just not the truth in reality.
I FEEL BAD FOR DUMB REPUBLICANS Even Eminem has a clue on the Iraq War:

"I've never been one to be all that political," Eminem says. "Most of it is in the song, and I would prefer to leave it at that, but my personal opinion-and I'm just one person who happens to speak to a lot of people-is that we live in the best country there is, and this guy is fucking it up. There's people over there [in Iraq] dying and we can't get a straight answer why.

Obviously, I wasn't around for Vietnam, but it's almost becoming like Vietnam 2. "My personal take is that when 9/11 happened you had bin Laden," he continues. "It was an attack on America from one guy, and all of a sudden we're going after someone we haven't heard about in fucking ten, twelve years. It's like two people are standing here and one punches you in the face and you don't do anything back to him-you punch the other guy in the face."


Hm. A libertarian? Definitely. Libertarianism is for everybody!

I'm no Eminem fan. I've heard a few tracks off the new album and I really think he should retire. Sadly, he sounds (in style and subject matter) almost like every other rapper now -- a sharp contrast to how he entered the game. In other rap news, Old Dirty Bastard is dead. Reminding us -- once again -- that crack kills.

http://www.vanityfair.com/commentary/content/articles/041109roco01

Saturday, November 13, 2004

LADIES LOVE FLOWERS Gentlemen, shower your lady with flowers. (As for LJ, well I just get them for my mother.) If you are searching for bargains, check out downtown LA's flower district. The market is open to the public Saturday mornings, where you can grab dozens of long-stem roses for a fraction of the retail price. Arrive early and explore that wonderful world of flowers.
MORE FROM THE PIGS The Boston cops now say the officer who murdered a woman was targeting a different fan. And that makes it beter how?

Imagine a private security agency randomly killing citizens. How long would it remain in business? About 5 minutes.
"WHEN THE PIGS TRY TO GET AT YA, PARK IT LIKE IT'S HOT" There is no question cops (already burdened by low IQs and barely able to follow certain patterns) target certain vehicles. LJ seems to be a favorite target, at least in the last 12 months. I received a letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles in which said organization expresses its distaste for my driving style. I sent a letter back stating simply: "I haven't hit anyone . . . yet."
LOS ANGELES WANTS a sales tax to pay for more cops. I can't find the article online, but I heard from a friend that a similar ballot measure in LA County went down in flames because of "the black vote."
KIERKAGAARD ON "AUTHENTIC EXISTENCE" An article worth a few moments of your day:

From beginning to end, Kierkegaard's writings are marked by an intensity of argument and expression that can only be explained -- if "explain" is the right word--by his uncompromisable passion for the truth. He was convinced that almost everyone--maybe everyone except Jesus Christ and a few spiritual "virtuosi" who have honestly followed Jesus--had settled for something less than the truth. Kierkegaard’s many readers are fascinated, perhaps even spiritually titillated, by his pressing every question to the limits, and then beyond the limits. The pressing, the fearless exploration, never ends.

[...]

Since a person's relationship with Christ, however, is of infinitely greater importance than his relationship with his society, the main fire of Kierkegaard's polemic is directed against the treason of the church. In this connection, Kierkegaard makes a lasting contribution to the endless--or at least unending until Christ returns in glory--debate over the proper relationship between, as the twentieth-century American theologian H. Richard Niebuhr titled his classic book, "Christ and Culture." Niebuhr proposed five main "types" of that relationship as Christians have thought about these things over the centuries. Kierkegaard, one might suggest, is polemicizing against the type of Christ as culture and is arguing for the type of Christ against culture.

Even more telling, I believe, is the similarity of Kierkegaard's argument with the chilling Legend of the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. I have sometimes suggested, half tongue in cheek, that if anything might be added to the canon of the New Testament it should be the Legend of the Grand Inquisitor. Although Ivan Karamazov tells the story against the Catholic Church, it is the story of all Christians and the subtle ways in which Christianity can be displaced by Christendom, in which people can be seduced into surrendering their souls to the established order. When Jesus appears in the public square of medieval Spain, the Grand Inquisitor has him put in jail and explains to him, with sophisticated reasons, why he has no right to come back, why people do not need him and cannot bear him as their contemporary. The established order has now taken over the business of salvation, the Inquisitor tells Jesus, and it is simply intolerable that he should return to interfere. After the long night's monologue, in which Jesus says not a word, the Inquisitor opens the prison door and says, 'Go, and come never again." Kierkegaard, I am convinced, would relish the tale.


http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0410/articles/neuhaus.htm
FUNNY QUESTION ASKED OF LJ: "Hey, if you are talking on your cell phone, how come I don't see a wire from the headset to the handset?"

It's called Bluetooth. Get with the 21st Century.

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