Monday, July 24, 2006

Signs, signs

The Town of Cary is getting a lot of flack from citizens over the new signs that are popping up all over town. There have been many letters written to the News & Observer complaining about how unsightly these signs are, and about how they are a big waste of the taxpayers' money.

One interesting theme that has appeared in more than a few letters is the complaint that the town is being hypocritical by putting up these garish signs while banning most signs for commercial purposes. Whether these letter writers understand it or not they are criticizing a fundamental aspect of the relationship between government and the governed.

Does anyone (other then libertarians) question the power of government to tax? If it is wrong for individuals to take money from others without consent, how can the government do it? Granted, with regards to the sign issue, we are not comparing apples to apples, but the point is that government has the power to do things that no individual or group is allowed to do. Why? Read the sign above and think about all that it implies.

Ostensibly, one of the functions of these signs is to warn drivers about upcoming traffic problems. If this is the case then the sign that is a block from my house is facing the wrong way! It can be viewed when traveling north on Kildaire Farm Road, but at this spot it is southbound traffic that tends to be the problem. Every evening at rush hour traffic flowing south backs up for blocks, turning the road into Kildaire Farm Cluster F*%$. Even if the sign was facing the right way, I don't see what good it would do. There aren't many alternate routes drivers could take once they are able to see the sign.

The only thing that has appeared on the sign near my house is a reminder to buckle up, and how they can make you.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Tarheels on ice

[N.B.: the writer of this article hates hockey.]

I HATE HOCKEY! Ok, ok, it's wonderful that the Carolina Hurricanes won Lord Stanley's Cup, but can we get over it? I mean, what is the big deal about winning the championship of a game that is played by Canadian ice skaters with bad hair cuts, and fewer teeth than a native of Appalachia? And why do we want a trophy whose name sounds like a piece of athletic equipment worn by a Member of Parliament? I say!

My ire has been stirred up because of all those damn twits with the Hurricanes' flags on their cars weeks after the finals have completed. Please don't tell me you are so hard up for a major league championship that you will accept it from a team made up of dorky-looking hosers who couldn't tell the difference between North Carolina BBQ and a Philly cheesesteak. Eh?

So why do I hate hockey so much? Because it is too much like soccer which is the athletic equivalent to John Tesh music - you're always expecting something to happen and it never does. It's extremely frustrating to watch a "sport" where the ball/puck continually changes hands/feet/stick (whatever!) for three hours until some canuk/Pele gets a lucky shot on goal. I'll bet TV viewers sleep through most of the goals scored, hoping to catch the "highlights" on SportsCenter. Any sport that has two columns for loses in a team's standings is asking to be ridiculed. I guess it's better than having four columns in the standings.

And what the hell is icing anyway? I thought this was a sport not a baking contest.

Sports pundits were claiming that fans wouldn't return to the game after last year's lockout. Ha! Sports fans are like dogs, it doesn't matter how long you are gone, when you come back they will piss all over the carpet with excitement that you have returned.

I guess this is the end result of the yankee invasion over the past decade and a half (damn carpetbaggers!). Let's just hope that this gets flushed out of our system by the time ACC basketball season starts.

New Orleans, Part Three - St. Bernard Parish

St. Bernard Parish, which lies southeast of New Orleans, was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Driving through the area nine months after the fact the neighborhoods seem like ghost towns, and the occasional person you see looks defeated and tired. We stopped and talked to one lady who was outside her house getting rid of the weeds in her yard (she felt she had to do something). Her husband had died not long after the hurricane and she was not sure what she was going to do. As we were talking to her I could see the inside of her house - it was completely gutted.

Here are some pictures of the area.

I'll have more to say about the stupidity of the government trash pickup later.

My aunt lived in this area for 40 years and some of her children settled here as well. Here is a picture of her house. Luckily the X on the door had a zero in the lower quadrant.
Unlike other parts of the city there is no water line in this area, most likely because the water almost completely covered the houses. As proof here is the inside of my aunt's house

FEMA trailers are a common site throughout the city.

But there are some signs of life in the area. A common theme throughout is "We're coming back."
More to come.
Part 1 | Part 2

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Environmentalism done right

Here's an article from the San Jose Mercury News about how two environmental groups are protecting the environment the right way - via the market process. The gist is that the groups are purchasing fishing permits from fisherman in an attempt to protect the seafloor off the California coast. Rod Fujita, a marine ecologist with Environmental Defense in Oakland, states is well by saying "People respond to economic incentives. The solution is not to blame or punish them but to provide incentives for stewardship, not exploitation."

HT Cantillon's Paradise