"From the Folderol Folder"
Published 15 June 2005
(word count: 750)
Every once in awhile I have to clean out my Folderol Folder and make room for more up-to-date outrages. Here's an amalgam of articles and other errant oddments that don't deserve a dissertation but do merit at least a mention.
Ananova, the Brit-based web-based news service has a section called Quirkies, which features allegedly authentic articles that are, well, quirky. A recent one was headlined "Granny rugby-tackled jay walker." The lead proclaimed, "A 77-year-old granny made a citizen's arrest in Germany when she rugby-tackled a 25-year-old jay walker."
Further, she sat on the perp until police pulled up, who then hauled him off to the hoosegow. Our initial instinct is to laud the old lady. Way to go Granny! But think about it. What she did was attack a man for committing the crime of harming no one. We see the same mentality at work today that worked so efficiently during the Nazi era. At 77 the old gal ought to remember her nation's Aryan era. Today it's jaywalking, but back then the law declared it her duty to snitch out her neighbor for committing the crime of being Jewish. How's this for a hypothetical headline from the Nazi News of 1939: "Granny rugby-tackled Jew – sat on him until SS came." Still want to cheer for Grandma?
Group of Groupers?
Now we know. The correct terms are: a pride of lions, a school of fish, a gaggle of geese, and a conclave of Cardinals.
A Pair of Paradoxes
Two recent books with paradoxically similar names and themes, "The Paradox of Choice" and "The Progress Paradox," are warning us that too much stuff in our free-market society is bad for us. Quoting from Editorial Reviews on Amazon.com in both cases, the first book by Barry Schwartz tells us that "a bewildering array of choices floods our exhausted brains, ultimately restricting instead of freeing us" while Gregg Esterbrook, in his own paradox, introduces us to what he calls "choice anxiety, where the vastness of society's options is a burden." In other words, we have too many choices!
Other libertarians with lights brighter than mine (like Radley Balko and Virginia Postrel) have dissented with their own rigorous reviews of these views. But by being too brainy, both seem to have missed what to me is the obvious irony. Walk into even a small bookstore or auxiliary library and note the vast variety of books eagerly awaiting attention. By publishing their own books, Messrs Schwartz and Esterbrook have contributed to the very "bewildering array" and "choice anxiety" that they so decry. And (to belabor the point) do you suppose either has rejected the bewildering array of dollars flowing into their bank accounts?
No Gain for Pain
Seventeen servicemen who were captured and tortured during Gulf War I won $959 million in reparations, to be paid from assets frozen by the US following Bush Senior's War. But an appeals court dismissed the settlement and the Supremes refused to overturn that decision. Also, quoting from the Washington Times: "The Bush administration had resisted, arguing the assets were needed for the reconstruction of Iraq."
This means that merits of a suit are moot; future court cases will be made on the basis of expediency:
"Your honor, now that I've been acquitted of buying more than one bottle of Sudafed, can I have my confiscated billfold back?"
"Tough luck, schmuck, the Police Chief needs your bucks to build his new beachfront bungalow."
Out of Africa
Roland Adams has been convicted and incarcerated. Anyone who has had an email account for more than a month knows Roland Adams. But probably not by that name. You may know him as Lindie gutty, wife of late Benoit Koukebene, former oil minister of Congo Brazzaville. Or as Daniel Mutade, a senior employee with the Central Bank of Zimbabwe. Or as Joel T.Masluk, son of Dr.Trancle Masluk, the late former minister of finance and controller of currency of Liberia. Roland Adams of Sacramento CA, formerly of Nigeria, made over two million bucks by begging people to help him move huge mounds of money out of strife-torn African countries; he'd happily share the money with anyone who set up a joint bank account full of "good-faith" money and give him access to it. I'll miss the ol' swindler's imaginative missives. No, wait! I've just received an email from Mrs. Yasser Arafat soliciting my help in moving $42 million out of Palestine. I'll be Rich!
Government is Mafia by other means.
- by Garry Reed