Thursday, May 31, 2012

Generosity Causes Homelessness

Here's the story: A driver tries to give a disabled person a few bucks at an intersection, one dollar falls to the ground, and the driver is given a $344 ticket for littering.

What the ...? Well, you see, in Columbus, Ohio, it's illegal to give money to a panhandler.

Um, okay, but the ticket was for littering? Well, you see, the penalty for littering is higher than the penalty for giving to a panhandler, so they're prosecuting him for the "greater crime." All for giving a few bucks to a disabled panhandler.

This is your tax dollars at work. Not at work, trying to help a disabled adult whose only income is from panhandling. No, that would be foolhardy, and would only encourage people to be disabled and destitute. No, this is your tax dollars hard at work punishing those naive fools who help out their fellow man.

Anti-panhandling laws (and anti-"camping" laws, and loitering laws, and...) arise out of the notion that if you make life inhospitable to the homeless and destitute, that they will, at best, suddenly be able to get a job and move inside, or, at the least, move on to another locality.

In Columbus, however, they've taken the next step. It's no longer enough to punish the poor for being poor, they've taken it upon themselves to punish decent citizens who take pity upon their fellow man, and therefor encourage them to be disabled and broke.

In some ways, this does make sense: it's easier to collect a fine from the guy with a job than from the guy on the street. But this is also their public policy, they obviously believe that it's that driver's fault that the guy in the wheelchair is a beggar.

Clearly, the good people of Columbus have discovered and gone after the root cause of poverty: Generosity. If we would only stop caring about the less fortunate among us, life would be wonderful, and our streets would be clean and safe.

Thank you, Columbus, for leading the way to a sweeter smelling, less caring America!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Side With...

Each election year there are a variety of websites that claim to match you with your perfect candidate for President. This year, one which has done a pretty good job of it is I Side With... (.com). I Side With... uses a wide-ranging questionnaire to determine your politics. In some categories you can expand beyond the basic questions to give additional information.

Once your survey is complete, you are shown how close your views are to those of each of the declared candidates. Here are my current results:

I say "current" results because the I Side With... algorithm is apparently updated as more information becomes available, or when the candidates change their positions (this must keep them up late at night, keeping up with Mitt's policy gymnastics). Candidates that have dropped from the race are also dropped from your results.

When I took the I Side With... survey, back on April 21st, my results were slightly different than when I logged back into the site just now to write this blog post. At that time Barack Obama and Fred Karger were each tied at 70% concurrence with my views. Clicking on "More info" under Obama today, I see that he pulled ahead of Karger by 4% after yesterday's statement on gay marriage.

Romney, meanwhile, has dropped from 31% agreement in April to only 13% agreement today, and Ron Paul has dropped from 37% to 25%.

Holding steady as the candidate I most agree with, is Green Party candidate, Kent Mesplay, at 83% in April and May.

Not shown in the graphic, but in the survey, is Jimmy "The Rent is Too Damn High" McMillan, with whom I currently have 37% in common (clearly, we agree about the damned rent, but not much more).

Back in April, I enjoyed taking the I Side With... survey and reading the results. The site is cleanly designed, easy to use, and clicking "More info" under any of the candidates clearly explains how they arrive at the results. Today, I'm even more impressed with how they've continued to refine their algorithm and update the results. A great effort. Check them out at

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