1) A sorrowful letter to my local paper from a citizen close to losing his home has escalated my anger at the city government like nothing else. He is one of many whose property tax has tripled within the past two years, leaving him barely able to afford to live here. He is a grandfather with custody of three grandchildren who is seriously contemplating the possibility of homelessness shortly, owing to high property taxes (because of increased local government assessments which are due to the skyrocketing housing market here in the American SouthWest).

But that isn’t what made me mad. You may wonder if the city council are considering decreasing property tax so as to alleviate this problem? Actually, no. They are currently considering, alternatively, INCREASING property taxes, to pay for water, power and other utilities for a city annex development over 14 miles away, and for a new city swimming pool. The basic dialogue between citizen and city council, therefore, is this:

CITIZEN: Please do something to reduce the tax burden, as I feel I have a good chance of being unable to afford my home soon.

CITY COUNCIL: Fuck you! In fact, we’d love a new pool, so you’re going to help us pay for it!

The fact that he won’t use the pool, the fact that if the pool can’t begin or survive as a private enterprise it has no right to exist, the fact that these power lines, water lines, sewage treatment plants and other facilities have nothing whatsoever to do with him, the fact that it is therefore, essentially, stealing to force him to pay for them, the fact that they will be installed for the benefit of thousands of people who currently do not even live in the city….. none of this will get in the way of a city council making decisions on behalf of other people, getting in their way and taking their money to do it.

It’s the mob. This unlimited government democracy is clearly not working for this citizen, and it ain’t working for me either.

2) The Flaky French today committed an unprecedented act of unjustified coercion against one of my favourite companies, Apple Computer Inc. You see, Apple have just been doing too damned-well for the Flighty French. They’ve got a product that is just TOO GOOD for the Fatuous French, the iPod along with its software iTunes.

The Europeans have already shown their disdain for freedom using the iPod as an example, when they ruled that the iPod was just TOO LOUD for European taste, and that it might hurt some Flimsy French eardrum, so they placed limits on Apple regarding volume. (If you don’t like being told at what volume you can listen to your music, don’t buy an iPod manufactured in the EU. Buy one in America, where you can blast your brains out if you so desire.)

Today, Foolish French lawmakers voted 296-to-193 to approve an online copyright bill that would force Apple to release the code behind its music formats, to make it EASIER for its poor competitors to catch up and make compatible devices. The Fastuous French don’t like to see an American company taking over an entire market in Europe, especially when it’s the result of sheer excellence, especially when it’s a significant, defining product like the iPod, the result of American ingenuity and innovation.

What should be Apple’s response to being told they must surrender their trade secrets and cease to protect their hard work as they have been? Consider that the French are estimated to make up only about 2% of the immense, worldwide iPod market.

I’ll give you a clue. It begins with ‘F’ and ends in ‘French.’ And it looks increasingly likely as the day closes here on the West Coast that Apple will give this kind of response, pulling the iPod ENTIRELY from the Fricking French market.

Good for them.

3) Finally, reading the wonderful and hilarious PJ O’Rourke, I came across this brilliant quote, which encapsulates the basis of my entire political philosophy: “There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn-well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.”

John Wright