Archive for February 14th, 2006

San Francisco Starts Regulating Blogs

This is from a website called

I do not know anything about it.

I did not realize that McCain-Feingold woud restrict blogs, too:

“Just when you thought the Federal Election Commission had it out for the blogosphere, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors took it up a notch and announced yesterday that it will soon vote on a city ordinance that would require local bloggers to register with the city Ethics Commission and report all blog-related costs that exceed $1,000 in the aggregate.”

“Blogs that mention candidates for local office that receive more than 500 hits will be forced to pay a registration fee and will be subject to website traffic audits, according to Chad Jacobs, a San Francisco City Attorney.”

“The entire Board is set to vote on the measure on April 5th, 2005. I wonder if they’ll be forced to register their own blogs!”


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Elizabeth says,

“Incidentally, my favorite science fiction short story
is the one by Larry Niven about the bartender talking with
the very old creature (a chirpsithra)who remembered
visiting Earth when oxygen was a poisonous substance and
chlorophyll was threatening the dominant life form. ”

The story was called “The Green Plague.”

It talked about the greatest environmental catastrophe in earth’s history. Green plants evolved and began to take the carbon dioxide from the air and send out oxygen.

Early in earth’s history all life was sulfur based. Then the atmosphere became polluted by a substance so vicious that it actually ate iron. All the life forms at the time were destroyed or driven underground.

This murderous pollutant was oxygen. It is so potent that if you put water on iron the iron will be eaten away. Before this environmental disaster you couldn’t light a fire on earth. But this oxygen pollutant allowed fires to occur.

Niven did invent the idea that there were sentient sulfur-based beings before The Green Plague, but the rest of the story is based on fact.


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I Don’t Know Who Anonymous Is

LibAnon used to call himself Anonymous. Then Anonymous changed his name to LibAnon.

This may be the only time in history when Anonymous changed his name.

So now I don’t know who Anonymous is.

Now THAT appeals to my sense of humor.

So here is the comment from the present Anonymous:

“Now there is a movement underway to make the minimum driving age 18 or even 21.”

Comment by Anonymous

As I say, the driving record of Europeans when I looked into it around 1960 was absolutely appallling, and the minimum driving age was 21. In Britain a person almost never got his license at the first test. One woman took it over a hundred times.

Meanwhile those mature and educated drivers slaughtered each other on the highways like dogs.

We were talking about my owrking in a prison. I do not like to give out exact dates in my life for reasons which, if I explained them, would involve saying in public precisely the information I am trying to keep back.

As I said, I got my driver’s license at age fourteen. I was offended by one line written on it:

“Driving is a privilege, not a right.”

I knew at that time, at age fourteen, that in a prison one had two rights: food and medical care.

Everything else in a prison was a “privilege.” Exercise time was a “privilege” in prison. A five-minute shower once a week was a “privilege.” Any outside-cell time was a “privilege,” including yard or pacing area behind lockdown cells. Work was a “privilege.”

I didn’t like the SMELL of that line on my driver’s license at age fourteen.

As always everybody laughed at me when I complained about this. Bob was being alarmist and paranoid again.

As always, my alarmism came true. There have been proposals to take licenses away from young people who don’t finish high school. Guess what the motto of that movement was?

“Driving is a privilege, not a right.”

As the fourteen-year-old alarmist Bob Whitaker SMELLED the first time he looked at his driver’s license, to call anything a “privilege” means that you can only do it at the pleasure of some power above you, like the warden over a prisoner.

If driving is a “privilege” it means that you could have your license taken away from you for hate speech.

In America the first amendment guarantees you that no RIGHT can be taken from you expressing your opinion.

But, by definition, any “privilege” can be taken from you at the whim of the authorites who GAVE you, out of the goodness of their hearts, that “privilege.”

To call having a driver’s license today a “privilege” is EXACTLY like telling a ninteenth-century American that riding a horse is “privilege” only the government can grant.

“Driving is a privilege, not a right” is a POISONOUS phrase.




Comment by Dave —

I find it interesting that Mark doubts your story. I think if some ordinary mid-American whose life ended in the 1950s could somehow magically stick their head out the grave and see the America of today they would not be able to comprehend the hyper-regulation and outright totalitiarism that is considered normal today. Mark cannot even comprehend a society where nobody really gave a s**t whether you had a driver’s license or not, nor would give a shit whether you were inside a prison as long as you were under some prison employee’s sponsorship regardless of your age. Most rural people, for example, in the 1930s would not have even known what a “teenager” was. The concept of “teenager” was invented by the public school system for the WWII generation to get them out of farm work and into the classroom because brawny young men ceased to be needed on the farm because of mechanization. People don’t realize how recent all this age crap and hyper-institutional discernment is. For example, before WWII anybody with money could enter many university professional schools with minimal or no entrance or age requirements. The only issue: Could you afford it?


Dave is dead right about how different earlier Americans were as to age. That is useful to younger people here.

On the other hand, it is up to Derek and Mark and other younger people here to acquaint me with THEIR world.

If knowing about the past is useful to them, knowing about THEIR world is ESSENTIAL to me.

I can’t remember how old most of the people here are.

This means that I do not tailor my remarks to suit anybody. About the only time I mention age is when the commenter asks a question dealing with his age.

As I keep saying, what you comments make me think of very often has nothing obvious to do with what you say. In this case it reminds me of why I keep learning so much that other people never seem to see.

I made learned remarks about history and horses, and two commenters responded who have horses and know about them professionally. On some points I was laughably wrong, but neither of them made fun of me. The points I made about history were right, which is what you read my stuff for.

Derek just gave me some facts about the GED tests TODAY. My information is 45 years old.

All my life my wayof learning has been to baldly state the facts AS I KNOW THEM and then get shot down, over and over, and over and over.

Derek and other young people have a whole world to tell me about that I do not know. If they learn from me, that is just fine. But I am willing to bet that I very often learn more from you than you do from me.

I get shot down here all the time, and the last thing I do is resent it.

NOBODY will face me on basic issues.

This is not a brag.

You are dealing with someone who has spent over half a century sticking his neck out and getting it chopped off. Fifty years of intellectual boot camp.

So now I’m very, very, very good at it.

Well, DUHH!

No joke!

Or, as we used to say, “No s**t, Dick Tracy!” (Dick Tracy was the most famous comic-strip detective of the time.)

If I wasn’t good at it by now I would be a retard. If I state flatly that I am good at it, the worst you can accuse me of is being a braggart.

I prefer braggart to retard.


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Derek says,

“My parents wanted me to drop out of high school at 16 and go to college. I didn’t want to, because frankly, that was where I thought all the drugs and girls were. Little did I really know that there was an abundance more of both in college.

I had two friends drop out of high school and go to college with just a GED. Both make ten times what I do now. What does that say about public school?

The main argument that my roomates and I have is about public education. They support it and I don’t. I tell them I would support it if the public at large were comprised of different people. Again that makes me a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews or a racist.

I usually just laugh anymore.

They can back up their arguments with ‘feelings’ and what they consider right. I tend to back mine up with stats.

I didn’t learn that in college. I learned it in life.

Comment by Derek ”

You see how much I learn here?

When I was sixteen, I didn’t even KNOW about the GED and I found out later, about 1960, that you had to be 19 to take the thing.

From what you say the age requirement has been removed. That amazes me because the education establishment would have fought it every inch of the way.