Colby and Beyond!

A freedom lover's guide to Mayflower Hill and the Universe


                     An International Blog                                                                 Maine Election Coverage

Friday, October 07, 2005

patricksemmens.com

YOU WILL NOW BE REDIRECTED TO MY NEW BLOG PATRICKSEMMENS.COM

TO GET CONTENT FROM COLBY AND BEYOND EMAIL PTSEMMENS@GMAIL.COM WITH YOUR REQUEST

ENJOY PATRICKSEMMENS.COM!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

New Blog

I've just started a new blog about Eliot Spitzer.

Check it out!

Here's my intro post:
Welcome to Spitzer Watch

Eliot Spitzer is my Attorney General but he doesn't have my interests at heart.

Instead he has wasted state resources to advance his political career and to usurp the legislative process to create policy that would never be passed by normal legislative means. He accomplishes this by blackmailing companies and industries with the threat of lawsuits and by tactfully using the media to spread rumors that advance his agenda.

Now Eliot Spitzer is running for Governor without most potential voters knowing the truth of Attorney General Spitzer's hypocrisy.

This blog will be dedicated to exposing that hypocrisy.
Check back often.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Washington (Obvious) Post

Howard Kurtz: Master of the Obvious

College Faculties A Most Liberal Lot, Study Finds

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Diversity is what?

Some of us at Colby have tried to challenge the dogmatic belief in "diversity" that consumes Colby and many other "elite" college campuses:
the debate club at Colby College in Waterville, Maine invited me to debate the role of "diversity" in higher education with, they hoped, the president of the College, William Adams... In all the debate club invited 13 members of the administration and the faculty to debate me.  They all declined.  President "Bro," who was given an open-ended invitation to set the date, said that he was too busy and needed more time to prepare than he had available.  The other administrators, who in the words of one of the students, “make their living off of ‘diversity,’” just flat-out refused.

Now the Princeton Review has released part of its criteria for determining if a university is diverse or "monochromatic":


Diversity University Monochromatic Institute
Lots of Race/Class Interaction Little Race/Class Interaction
Diverse Student Population Homogeneous Student Population
Students Ignore God on a Regular Basis Students Pray on a Regular Basis
Gay Community Accepted Alternative Lifestyles Not An Alternative


Now 1,2 and 4 make sense to me but "Students Ignore God on a Regular Basis" is diversity?

Seems to me that real diversity is some "Students Ignore God on a Regular Basis" while other "Students Pray on a Regular Basis". Or how about: Students have a wide range of religious beliefs?

Just another example of American Academia's fundamentalist belief in DIVERSITY

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Crackdown? on Designated Drivers

In possibly the most idiotic stance I've ever heard of the Waterville Police Chief and his Deputy have vowed to crack down on designated drivers:
The increase in alcohol-related incidents have prompted police to crack down on designated drivers by vowing to charge them with furnishing a place for minor to consume, according to both police Chief John E. Morris and Deputy Chief Joseph P. Massey...

Furnishing a place for minors to consume is a criminal offense misdemeanor, punishable by a minimum of $500 and possible jail time, according to police.
What justification did the police give for this stance?
"The number of alcohol-related cases associated with Colby students has been on the rise," Morris said Monday. "My fear is that we're heading toward a significant injury or death by students who are binge drinking. It appears that all of the police and Colby efforts in the area of education are failing."
I spoke personally with Waterville Mayor Paul LePage who implied that if the statements were true he strongly disagreed with them. Mayor LePage agreed that cracking down on designated drivers was no way to avoid what the Chief described as "a significant injury or death by students who are binge drinking".

This Police Chief is not one who has particularly progressive views on drinking policies. Later in the same article the police chief criticizes the much publicized new policy of Colby to allow students over 21 to have up to 2 drinks with dinner on selected Fridays:
Colby recently instituted a policy whereby students 21 and older may drink up to two glasses of wine or up to two beers on Friday nights in a special dining room near the main dining hall. School officials say the practice is an innovative approach designed to change the culture -- to normalize the behavior and take it out of the realm of binge drinking or risky behavior. The practice is counter to the "Just Say No" approach...

(Deputy Chief) Massey does not think allowing students to drink at dinner is the answer.
Hopefully the mayor will act to stop his out of control police chief from putting into effect this awful policy.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

More on Speech Codes

Here is an interesting take on speech codes over at TCS where Douglas Kern says we need More Speech Codes!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Anti-Conservative Hate Speech

The following email was sent out this past weekend on a campus wide email forum. The author, Mr. Chang said some awful personal remarks criticizing previous comments by Republican student Adam Marvin in this email:

Date: 26 February 2005 11:39
From: "Hangyul Chang" hchang@colby.edu
Subject: Mr. Marvin

Adam, there are a couple of things that I want to get off my chest, which "the greatest nation in the world" entitles me the right to do so. No the greatest nation in the world is the land of your mom's pussy, which I take a trip to every fucking weekend. Get the fucking didlo out of your ass and realize that 3.125673% of all Colby students give a flying fuck about what you have to say. Furthermore, 99.999999% of Colby students probably think your a fucking dumbass. You are the most arrogant piece of shit that I have heard of. In fact, the shit that comes out of my fucking ass has more humility than you do, you fucking little piece of republican garbage. Its little white, bigot, dipshits like yourself that fucking ruin this otherwise great nation of ours. You might ass well go to fucking Washington, make a pitstop the white house, pull a Monica and suck Bush's dick.

P.S- Younis, kep truckin and honestle, no 1 cares bout spellin erors

p.p.s-what's tastier, Apples or Oranges?
As FIRE points out on their site speechcodes.org Colby has a very restrictive speech code. While the concept of speech codes is something that troubles me greatly, I hope to see Colby enforce its speech code in this case as the only thing worse than a restrictive speech code is one that is only selectively enforced.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Kyoto

Kyoto goes into effect today...

Here's some reading:

1. Kyoto's Promise v. Climate Reality

2. Consequences of Kyoto

3. Kyoto: Do the Math

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Rock the Vote Sells Out the Youth

RTV has partnered with the AARP to oppose Social Security private accounts?

I complained about their "vote or get drafted" scare tactics back in October, but this new move is absurd.

Arguments against private accounts can be made but for those who won't retire until 2040 they are a no brainer. This just RTV-AARP coalition tells us what many already knew about Rock the Vote: It never was non-partisan.

Monday, January 31, 2005

What are they teaching the children?

U.S. students say press freedoms go too far
One in three U.S. high school students say the press ought to be more restricted, and even more say the government should approve newspaper stories before readers see them, according to a survey being released today.

The survey of 112,003 students finds that 36% believe newspapers should get "government approval" of stories before publishing; 51% say they should be able to publish freely; 13% have no opinion.

Asked whether the press enjoys "too much freedom," not enough or about the right amount, 32% say "too much," and 37% say it has the right amount. Ten percent say it has too little.

The survey of First Amendment rights was commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and conducted last spring by the University of Connecticut. It also questioned 327 principals and 7,889 teachers.

The findings aren't surprising to Jack Dvorak, director of the High School Journalism Institute at Indiana University in Bloomington. "Even professional journalists are often unaware of a lot of the freedoms that might be associated with the First Amendment," he says.


If this is true we need to rethink how we teach the value of liberty in High School civics class.

I wasn't kidding...

When I said light I meant it, but now I'm back stateside.

Here some items of interest:

1- Free for students (I already ordered mine):


Click the picture to get yours.

2- 60 or 70% doesn't really matter. The turnout was larger than that of our Presidential election!

3- Bush has done a terrible job of selling his Social Secutity reform. Here's what he needs to remind people:
-Social Security in its current form is a "pay as you go" Wealth Transfer not as many believe a pension-type savings plan.

When Social Security started there was 1 retiree to 16 workers and the Social Security tax was 2% with a cap at just $60. Currently it is down to 3 to 1 with a tax rate of 12.4%, and after the baby boomers retire it will be 2 to 1. This is not sustainable without a 50% increase on payroll taxes, the most regressive tax America has.

The Social Security Trustees report of 2003 stated that the financial shortfall that Social Security will have was already 10.5 trillion dollars (apporximantly our entire annual GDP) and that number will grow larger every year the current system remains in place.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

En Francais

I am in Dijon France for the month so the posting will be extremely light. Sorry but going to an internet cafe everyday and posting particularly when all the letters are in the wrong places just isn't possible.

So far I haven't noticed any glaring cases of Anti-Americanism. People look at me funny when I talk but that should be expected given my horrific accent!

Speaking of cross-cultural miscommunication, one friend told her host family that the tsunamis were "terrible". Unfortunatly in French "terrible" means terrific! But as they say... C'est la vie!

Saturday, December 25, 2004

A Christmas Thought

Being Christmas and all, this quote from P.J. O'Rourke's Parliament of Whores seemed appropriate (Buy it on Amazon for just 1 cent!):
On God and Santa Clause

"I have only one firm belief about the American political system, and that is this: God is a Republican and Santa Claus is a Democrat.

God is an elderly or, at any rate, middle-aged mate, a stern fellow, patriarchal rather than paternal and a great believer in rules and regulations. He holds men strictly accountable for their actions. He has little apparent concern for the material well-being of the disadvantaged. He is politically connected, socially powerful and holds the mortgage on literally everything in the world. God is difficult. God is unsentimental. It is very hard to get into God's heavenly country club.

Santa Claus is another matter. He's cute. He's nonthreatening. He's always cheerful. And he loves animals. He may know who's been naughty and who's been nice, but he never does anything about it. He gives everyone everything they want without thought of a quid pro quo. He works hard for charities, and he's famously generous to the poor. Santa Claus is preferable to God in every way but one: There is no such thing as Santa Claus."
1 cent people!

Final Election Thoughts: The NY Times and 3rd Parties

After the “Nader effect” on the 2000 Presidential election, where Ralph Nader won enough votes that he likely changed the outcome of the election, I would have hoped for better media coverage of 3rd parties during the 2004 election. I would be disappointed!

Ultimately, while there was more attention paid to Nader than before, this coverage was not a substantive look at any of Nader’s policies but instead consisted of reports about the polls and the possibility of Nader playing spoiler. Meanwhile the other third party candidates received relatively no media attention, even compared to what was received by Ralph Nader. (Odd given that 3 candidates were on more ballots than Nader.)

A search of the New York Times for the month before the election (10/2/04-11/2/04) revealed the following:

-Ralph Nader was mentioned in 72 articles (well over an average of two per day)
-Libertarian Candidate Michael Badnarik was mentioned in 2 articles,
-Green Party Candidate David Cobb received one mention
-Constitution Party Candidate Michael Petrouka was never mentioned (He was only mentioned once in the previous year on August 28, 2004)

The coverage of Nader and what little coverage the others recieved was of low quality: Only one article in the Voter guide mentioned any policy proposals. (The rest explored the spoiler possibilities or Nader's battles to get on ballots.)

The lack of attention given to Badnarik seemed to be the result of a blind spot for the national media. Badnarik was on the ballot in 48 states plus Washington, DC as compared to only 34 state ballots that Nader appeared on. In addition Badnarik received just over 400,000 votes as compared to Nader’s approximately 503,000. Given Badnarik’s receiving of 80% of the vote total that Nader received, the 36 to 1 ratio in New York Times coverage in favor of Ralph Nader is a failure on the part of the New York Times.

One day maybe the NY Times will take the lead and cover candidates who could inject new ideas into Washington!

Until then the best chance might be to include 3rd Party candidates in the Presidential debates.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas!

or is it Happy Festivus?

And now a Christmas Carol Ayn Rand Style:
The ruggedly handsome and weirdly articulate Ebenezer Scrooge is a successful executive held back by the corrupt morality of a society that hates success and fails to understand the value of selfishness. So Scrooge explains that value in a 272-page soliloquy. Deep down, Scrooge's enemies know that he is right, but they resent him out of a sense of their own inferiority. Several hot sex scenes and unlikely monologues later, Scrooge triumphs over all adversity -- except a really mean review by Whittaker Chambers. Meanwhile, Tiny Tim croaks. Socialized medicine is to blame.
Hat tip: instapundit

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Who said genocide can't be funny?

While some, like fellow Colby blogger Mayflower Hill, go on and on and on and on about the "Genocide" in Sudan. Some people see a bit of humor in all the madness:
Nigeria Chosen To Host 2008 Genocides

ABUJA, NIGERIA—At a celebratory press conference Monday, President Olusegun Obasanjo announced that Nigeria's troubled but oil-rich city of Warri has been chosen to host the 2008 Genocides.

"Nigeria is excited for this chance to follow in the footsteps of Somalia, Rwanda, and Sudan," Obasanjo said. "Much work remains to be done, but all of the building blocks are in place. Nigeria has many contentious ethnic groups, a volatile economy, and a dependence on food imports. We are well on our way to making 2008 a genocidal year to remember in Nigeria!"

Obasanjo acknowledged that many people considered Nigeria, a relatively stable West African nation, an unlikely candidate to host the Genocides...

"Sudan was a fantastic host this year—the 2004 Genocides have really raised the bar," Radhiya said. "For 2008, many of us on the committee had our eyes on Tajikistan. The country's ongoing ethnic and religious strife made it a strong contender. But there was some concern that the conflict was as likely to simmer down as it was to boil over."
And of course the picture:


Gotta love the Onion!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Discuss among yourselves...

Still doing the final exams (2 down, 1 to go) but I've got some good reading for you...

1. Bjorn Lomborg pens an Op-Ed for the UK Guardian: Save the world, ignore global warming. Here's the key passage:
Global warming is real and caused by CO2. The trouble is that the climate models show we can do very little about the warming. Even if everyone (including the United States) did Kyoto and stuck to it throughout the century, the change would be almost immeasurable, postponing warming by just six years in 2100.

Likewise, the economic models tell us that the cost is substantial. The cost of Kyoto compliance is at least $150billion a year. For comparison, the UN estimates that half that amount could permanently solve the most pressing humanitarian problems in the world: it could buy clean drinking water, sanitation, basic health care and education to every single person in the world.


2. Eugene Volokh observes more feuding between Cato's Tom Palmer and the Mises crew at LewRockwell.com and Antiwar.com. Palmer restarted this ongoing battle within the libertarian "movement" with a post that started:
Something Is Rotting at the Periphery of the Libertarian Movement.....

What’s that terrible smell? It’s coming from a hatred of the United States that has become so strong that it has overpowered any lingering attachment to the ideas of liberty on which the United States was founded. Lewrockwell.com and antiwar.com are where the stench is strongest.

Monday, December 13, 2004

More Wine Sir?

Blogging will be light for the next week as I take my finals. But for now...



The WSJ has this article about the recent Supreme Court Wine Case. Here's a nice quote:
Needless to say, the state liquor cartels aren't happy at the prospect of being cut out as middlemen in this lucrative business. But the arguments they muster are as weak as a white-wine spritzer. One is taxation; states may lose tax revenue if consumers can purchase wine over the Internet. Yes, that could happen, since Congress has enacted a moratorium on taxes on Internet sales across state lines. But why should wine be any different from every other product sold online?

You know the liquor lobbies are really desperate, however, when they argue that direct wine sales would make it easier for minors to obtain alcohol. Kids these days are precocious, but it's hard to imagine a teenager using dad's credit card to order $20 bottles of wine for a party a couple of weeks from now. In any event, measures already in place for blocking intra-state wine shipments to minors could easily be extended to interstate sales.
They do a nice job of pointing out the dangers of letting states regulate inter-state commerce:
If the Supreme Court lets states impose restrictions on wine sales, watch for curbs on other products sold online. A negative ruling could affect all Internet commerce in which a state can express a regulatory concern. Think automobiles or insurance or contact lenses.

Federal appeals courts in three circuits have struck down bans on direct shipment of wine; two others have upheld the ban. So now it's up to the Supremes to decide whether the Founders meant to exclude wine when they wrote the Commerce Clause requiring free trade among states.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Wine, Protectionism and the Commerce Clause

Slate has a great article summing up the cases: Granholm v. Heald, No. 03-1116, Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association v. Heald, No. 03-1120 and Swedenburg v. Kelly, No. 03-1274 which the Supreme Court heard Tuesday:
Michigan and New York allow their respective in-state wineries to ship their wines directly to customers. Both states make it virtually impossible for out-of-state vineyards to do the same. So, that was the interesting part. The states justify their tough-on-wine stance by stating that wine is different from other products that properly move about freely in interstate commerce. And they find textual justification for this idea in the 21st Amendment, which provides that "The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited." The 21st Amendment effectively repealed Prohibition in 1933, and for a time the courts treated it as though it gave the states power to regulate any and all alcohol, for any and all reasons, unencumbered by the commerce clause or any other discernible legal doctrine.

The commerce clause, or more precisely today, the unwritten or "dormant" part of the commerce clause, is a fuzzy little doctrine that bars states from enacting protectionist, discriminatory measures against interstate commercial activity. That was the deadly boring part. Things liven up again when you understand that this case comes down to two weird constitutional doctrines duking it out for world dominance and that everything will turn on whether you read the 21st Amendment as more compelling than the commerce clause or less so.
The Fall 04 issue of Regulation Magazine has an article about a study which concludes:
At the heart of the debate is a simple question: Do state restrictions on direct interstate shipment stem from public welfare concerns or economic interests?Our study suggests economic interests in both the private and public sectors are the principal drivers of restrictions on direct interstate shipping of wine. Those results have immediate consequence for the legal battles raging across the country contesting the constitutionality of direct shipment laws. To the extent that public welfare interests are required by courts to justify states’ restrictions on interstate commerce, our results cast a shadow of doubt on public interest arguments in the instance of direct shipment of wine. They also raise questions about similar restrictions on direct interstate shipping of other alcohol products, particularly specialty microbrew beers that face similar distribution hurdles.
In otherwords, this is state-vs.-state protectionism, plain and simple. Hopefully when they announce their decision in July the Supreme Court will conclude the same.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Gay Marriage is Conservative...

It seems Andrew Sullivan and others who argued that Gay Marriage was conservative were right...

Now that Gay Marriage is legal in Massachusetts unmarried gay couples are being kicked off "same-sex partner benefits" and given the choice:

1. Be treated like any non-married heterosexual (without non-married partners getting health and other benefits)

or

2. Make the commitment to one partner and tie the knot just like anyone else


But some "gay activists" don't like that choice. To them Sullivan says: "Stop whining".

Personally, I have debated at the Heritage Foundation against the Federal Marriage Amendment (Heritage represented the Pro side) and I still feel the most consistent and fair solution to this debate is one that has never really been discussed and is currently politically impossible:

The government needs to get out of the business of confering the status of marriage. Leave marriage to religious institutions and to lawyers who can create contracts between any two people. This would mean ending marriage benefits like joint tax returns but that problem could be solved with a FLAT TAX. I for one would like to see this idea discussed more in the marketplace of ideas.