Welcome to Liberrants, a blog dedicated to editorials, discussions, and studies of all things libertarian. Don't let the title mislead you; it's merely my attempt to be creative in describing myself as a "hopeful curmudgeon" who embraces the goal of the free, peaceful, economically vibrant society envisioned by America's founding fathers. Jump in! Contribute! Enjoy!

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Location: Tucson, Arizona, United States

A critically thinking curmudgeon whose goal, in addition to creatively venting about the imperfect world in which we live, is to induce critical thinking in others. The ultimate goal is to help bring about a peaceful world in which we can all live in freedom.

Monday, October 29, 2007

More Random Reflections

  • Heartfelt congratulations to the Boston Red Sox for proving that “the Curse” did indeed end three years ago. While some might argue that they owed their victory as much to the Colorado Rockies’ offensive impotence as to their own skills as a team, it was obvious from Game 1 of the American League Division Championship series that this team was headed for the top. However, I must admit that my congratulatory tone here is largely self-serving. As a life-long New York Yankees hater, it always warms the cockles of my heart to see the Red Sox come out on top. Furthermore, having seen our Diamondbacks defeated by the Rockies, who definitely proved themselves not to be the powerhouse they or the media wanted us to believe they are, I was not about to “go with the herd” and cheer the Rockies on as “our National League brethren.” This attitude seems to have seized local Diamondback fans like a plague and it truly mystifies me. Why on earth would one want one’s division rival to win a World Series? It boggles the mind. This is why, during the late 1990s when the Yankees were winning yearly American League Championships as if it were pre-ordained, I always and without exception cheered for their National League rivals in the World Series, even though the rest of my fellow Baltimore Orioles fans were remaining “loyal to the league.” Nonsense! To paraphrase the old Arab folksaying, my enemy’s enemy is my friend.”

  • Speaking of baseball, let’s quickly revisit the free-market economics behind it. The news yesterday that Alex Rodriguez has opted out of his optional contract final year with the Yankees and is shopping for a new home has prompted not a little whining from self-styled “pundits” about “greed.” Apparently the opportunity for A-Rod to earn a couple of hundred million dollars over a five-year period has sparked the usual flames of socialist-statist envy, with the usual hue and cry about how “outrageous” baseball salaries are “destroying the game.” *SIGH* I grow weary of having to do this, but for the benefit of the many slow learners and economic ignorami out there, here it is, once again: No one will earn any amount of money that isn’t commanded by the market. The fact that A-Rod is being offered this “obscene” amount of money to play baseball is due to the fact that millions of fans out there are willing to pay lots of money to see him exercise his talents in a venue where they can be put to best effect. I personally think that A-Rod is grossly overrated and worth nowhere near this kind of money, as his post-season performance seemed to prove beyond a doubt. But apparently many other baseball fans and club owners think otherwise. We’ll soon see whose opinion prevails, since it is ultimately the owner of one team who will decide whether the cost of A-Rod’s salary and bonuses is more than offset by his on-field performance and with it the increase in profit his presence brings to their team. Either way, we’ll once again see that the market has an amazing knack for consistently bringing about results that are satisfactory to all stakeholders involved.

  • Once again, is anyone else as sick as I am of “God Bless Amerika” replacing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch? ENOUGH! BASTA! STOMATA! KHALLAS!

  • I’m afraid I can’t put the issue of home defense off any longer. By this I mean the investment in guns and security cameras and/or a burglar alarm. While I certainly regret having sold my handguns before leaving Virginia, it was easier than transporting them across country, the risks of doing so simply greater than I cared to undertake. So what prompts the urgency of purchase now? Well, last Friday had me doing what I usually do first thing in the morning, which is taking our two dogs for an early morning stroll around the yard, returning them to the house to feed them, then transferring them to the dog run on the east side of the yard for the day. I keep two padlocks secured to the chain link gates, just to allow the dogs to be locked up if I go away from the house for any appreciable length of time. Up until Friday, however, I seldom used them. It wasn’t until about 9:30 AM that I heard barking coming from an unusual angle of the house, making me think that someone’s dogs had gotten loose. Indeed, “someone’s dog-s" (plural) had gotten loose – mine. Imagine my surprise at both of them showing up at my side door! I immediately grabbed both by their collars and walked them back to the run, where I found both gates wide open. Now I know for a fact that I had secured both, as I’ve done every morning in the six months since we had the run built. Neither dog can jump high enough to push open the wishbone gate latches, so I’m convinced that someone had to have opened them. The scariest aspect of this is that if this had happened, I should have noticed it since I’ve made a habit of sitting at my kitchen table to work, with my kitchen dining window facing the east side of the yard, allowing me to see most of the comings and goings on the dirt road outside the property line. The fact that I couldn’t see who might have approached the run and let the dogs out really unnerves me. Why, in the fifteen months that we’ve lived here, has this not happened before? I’m not aware of any new neighbors or anyone with a grudge against us, so I can’t even make a short list of suspects. Still, the fact that someone could sneak up on us like that has me worried. It’s time to definitely reinvest in some firepower and, preferably, a surveillance system. If any readers can suggest something for external home surveillance that is both inconspicuous and affordable, I’m open to suggestions.
  • I finally got my daughter to open up about the speeding ticket that she received on here way to work in Oro Valley the other week and for which she has a court date on the 14th of next month. From her description of events, it sounds like the uniformed extortionist, er, cop had the wrong car in his sites, but I still have to get her to take me out with her to retrace her commute path and explain sequentially what happened. Only then can I give her definitive advice. For my readers’ benefit, if you ever visit the Tucson area, beware the northwestern suburb of Oro Valley! This despicable little burg, inhabited by retirees and yuppies, is a notorious speed trap and the town government, apparently bereft of legitimate means of collecting sufficient revenue, has resorted to theft from motorists as its primary source of income. Tucsonans know what I’m talking about. More on this to follow.

  • Digging the debt ditch a little deeper. Not only did I trade my vintage Ford Escort wagon in for a more terrain-appropriate vehicle (a 2004 Nissan Frontier XE pickup) last week, but my dear wife also picked up a similar vehicle (a 2004 XE V6 crew cab) from the same dealer, with my full consent and blessing. Driving the eight-cylinder Yukon Denali SUV the forty round trip miles to and from work each day was becoming quite painful on the wallet. Also, since we ultimately want to use the Denali as a “family road trip” vehicle, the wife didn’t want to keep putting miles (and the attendant wear and tear) on it. I think it was a sensible decision, though one that will extend our accelerated debt payoff period for a bit longer than either of us would like. Still, it’s nothing insurmountable. On the current schedule I’ll have my truck paid off in seven months, hers in not much longer, so I think things will get back to normal shortly. Nothing onerous, especially with two income streams.
  • Speaking of debt and its elimination, I strongly recommend purchasing the book or audio CD equivalent of John Cummuta’s Transforming Debt Into Wealth. While John’s critics have pointed out that his methods are not original, I maintain that John puts a more human and approachable spin on the process than perhaps any other consultant out there. His methods truly do work and an investment of twenty to forty dollars for his book or audio CDs will more than pay for itself in the end. John, consider this a free plug from a sincere devotee!