All posts by Rand Simberg

Eurodoughnuts

There is something deliciously symbolic about the fact that the middle of the Euro coins are falling out when put in the refrigerator. Does it mean that there’s a hole in the currency when the European economy cools?

(Quick little physics lesson–the center of the coin is of a different metal than the outer part, and it has a different coefficient of thermal expansion, so when the metal cools down, the center part shrinks more, and loses contact with the outer part. Too bad the coin designers didn’t consider this…)

Lead Out The Scapegoats?

This may be a first. I actually almost agree with Tom Daschle and disagree with the Administration. He’s calling for hearings into the intelligence failure of 911. In theory, this should certainly be done.

I just wish that I had some confidence that the Congress is competent to do this. Based on the Enron situation, it doesn’t look promising.

As usual, even if the Plurality Leader is doing the right thing, it’s almost certainly for the wrong reason–I suspect that it’s just a new and desperate political ploy to try to pin it on this Administration, while abvolving the last one, leading up to the elections in the fall. After all, if one of the Republicans’ strongest issues is national defense (which is what spins the voters’ propellers these days) then weakening their image in this area would be helpful to the Dems in November.

Good Priorities, Guys

The DEA raided a marijuana sellers club yesterday in San Francisco. In addition to the weed, they confiscated a shotgun and a 0.22 pistol.

Well, I’m certainly glad that, with terrorists threatening the nation, our federal law enforcement officials are applying all necessary resources to making sure that cancer patients don’t get high, even though California voters granted them the legal right to do so.

So let me get this straight. The same federal government that pays for ads to not buy drugs because it will aid the terrorists, shuts down a legal (under state law) purveyer of marijuana, forcing sick cancer patients to get their drugs illegally, thus (theoretically) aiding terrorists?

OK…

And by the way, whatever happened to that quaint old (apparent) irrelevance, the 10th Amendment?

Another Blow To Free Speech

Well, thumbing their nose at the Constitution (as usual), this travesty of a “campaign-reform” bill was passed by the House last night. Fortunately, it doesn’t take effect until the next election cycle, so there’s plenty of time for the Court to slap it back down into the moral swamp from which it arose.

I’d like to see Bush use some of his political capital and veto it, but he may be counting on the courts to solve the problem.

And if it somehow survives, I wonder if paying an ISP for webhosting services, and publishing a weblog criticizing a candidate, will qualify as “paid advertising” under the law, and thus become illegal. If not, there’s a silver lining here. Webloggers will suddenly have much more electoral influence than television stations and newspapers, and may be the place that people go to get their campaign information…

[Update at 2 PM PST]

An anonymous reader points to a story from a couple years ago describing a case in which a web site owner ran afoul of existing election law. This is a very scary precedent. Combine this FEC ruling with the atrocity occuring on the Hill right now, and webloggers may very well be in big trouble next election cycle.

[Samizdater Perry de Havilland weighs in]

Cool. Then Samizdata can live up to it’s name and act like an off-shore Samizdat for prohibited words. Intercourse [editor changed the original word–this is a family weblog…] the US laws… I am not in America and so they mean nothing to me, but my friends are in the US and we stand ready to be at their disposal.

Which raises the question of another loophole. Suppose I rehost my domain offshore. Does the law still apply? Or am I still breaking the law because I’m a US citizen? How about if I post anonymously (Samizdat style, so to speak)? Will the FEC Gestapo trace the packets to find out who’s creating the posts?

This law is really a civil liberties disaster, and I suspect that even if the courts don’t knock it down with extreme prejudice, it will quickly collapse from its own internal contradictions come election season…