Saturday, April 4, 2009

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff 21

Tooting My Own Horn
I've always believed that if you got it, flaunt it. I got it--an article in the latest issue of The Objective Standard. The article is titled "Houston, We Have a (Zoning) Problem".

Fascism and Socialism
The confusion over fascism and socialism is sometimes amusing to watch. The left regards anything done by Republicans as fascist, while the right automatically declares Democrats to be socialists. Consider this uninformed nonsense from Brains and Eggs:

The 20th century saw the rise of two significant offshoots of totalitarianism: communism and fascism. Communism represented the far left and fascism, the far right.

[W]hen Obama fires the CEO of General Motors, that's more socialism than it is fascism... Bush is the fascist.

The truth is, under socialism the means of production are owned by society. Under fascism, the means of production are "privately" owned and controlled by society. But ownership without control is meaningless. In terms of essentials, fascism is no different from socialism. Both are statist. For more on this, check out Myrhaf's post at The New Clarion.

Forty Lashes
Though things are certainly growing worse in the US of A, they aren't as bad as Saudi Arabia--yet. CNN reports (HT: Politics without God):

A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced a 75-year-old Syrian woman to 40 lashes, four months imprisonment and deportation from the kingdom for having two unrelated men in her house, according to local media reports.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam called Wahhabism and punishes unrelated men and women who are caught mingling.
And what horrible crime did this 75-year-old woman commit that warrants being beaten by the government? The two young men (the age of one was reported as 24) were delivering bread. They too will be whipped and imprisoned, all because they were delivering bread to a non-relative. And Islam is the religion of peace.

Another Money Grab
On Thursday the Texas House approved a new tax on sexually oriented businesses by a vote of 141-1. According to the Chronicle:

The new tax would apply to every sexually oriented business that charges an admissions fee. It would total 10 percent of the gross receipts of the business' admissions.

The money will be used for a fund to help victims of sexual assaults. Apparently, lawmakers think that the only people who commit sexual assaults are those who visit strip clubs. Even if this were true, which it isn't, it is a gross injustice to penalize those who have committed no crime.

This is just another money grab by the state. Rather than reduce the size and scope of government, they simply look for someone else to tax. And those who engage in unpopular activities, such as smoking and visiting strip clubs, are easy targets. If the Legislature wants to tax aberrant behavior, perhaps they should start in their own chambers.

I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that the strip clubs find a way around this one. All they need to do is wave admission charges and have a drink minimum (if that is legal).

Parker Gets Snippy
This week mayoral candidate Peter Brown asked mayoral candidate Annise Parker why some of her financial numbers differed from those of a department head. Given that Brown is a Council member and Parker is the City Controller, this seems like a reasonable question. According to the Chronicle:

Parker, who is running against Brown and two others to become Houston’s next mayor, politely explained that the estimates were different because the two offices have their own methods of measuring city financial stability. Then it got a little testy.

“I’m not sure I know of another way to explain that to you, sir,” she snapped.

Personally, I like a woman who shows a little spunk. But Mayor White, who is positioning himself to run for the United States Senate, is concerned that city business will become politicized. I hate to break the news to him, but that is what he has been doing for the past five years. Whether it is forcing green building codes down our throat, or vowing to halt the Ashby High Rise, or granting tax favors for another development, he has been politicizing City Hall throughout his reign.

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