Leave Us Alone!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Last Chance to Stop the Ohio "Patriot" Act

Senate Bill 9, the Ohio "Patriot" Act, could come to a vote next Tuesday. If you have not yet done so, please take a few minutes to contact your state representative. The ACLU of Ohio makes it easy to take action against this threat to our civil liberties.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Some Random Items About Random Bag Searches

On my last post, Matt pointed to The Citizen's Guide to Refusing New York Subway Searches from the Flex Your Rights Foundation. I'll be traveling to New York in a few weeks, so the guide might come in handy for me.

At Liberty Belles, Clara asks, "Will they check ID?" The answer, according to this New York Times article, is that they already are.

At Reason, Charles V. Peña and Ted Galen Carpenter, both of the Cato Institute, explain why the searches are useless.

If you would like to tell the City of New York what you think of these searches, one of the comments on the above-linked Liberty Belles post has some numbers to call, including one that is purported to be Mayor Bloomberg's home number. Scroll down to the second comment on the page.

If you have been subjected to one of these searches, The New York Civil Liberties Union has a survey you can fill out.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Michael Bloomberg: Quisling in the War on Terror

The City of New York has recently started subjecting subway passengers to random bag searches. From The New York Times:

The police last night began random searches of backpacks and packages brought into the New York City subways as officials expressed alarm about the latest bomb incidents in the London transit system.

The searches, which will also include commuter rail lines, are not a response to a specific threat against the city, said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who authorized the searches shortly before he announced them at a morning news conference.

This new policy actually helps terrorists in a couple of ways. First, terrorist attacks against the western world are attacks on western freedom. By making New York less free, Mayor Bloomberg is doing exactly what the terrorists are trying to do. The terrorists are trying to diminish freedom in the western world, including New York. Mayor Bloomberg has diminished freedom in New York in response to terrorist attacks. That means that Mayor Bloomberg and the terrorists are on the same side.

Second, the searches are completely ineffective. According to the Times, "Those who refuse will not be permitted to bring the package into the subway but will be able to leave the station without further questioning, officials said." This means that any terrorist who encounters a random bag search while attempting to carry a bomb onto a subway would be able to leave and go to another station where riders wouldn't be searched. President William W. Millar of the American Public Transit Association admits that "The public wants to feel safe, as well as be safe. So this has a benefit of perception" (quoted in the Times). This means that police officers, who could otherwise be deployed in ways that actually improve the safety of New Yorkers, are being diverted to the subways to provide a mere "perception" of safety. By diverting officers from real police work to this meaningless exercise, Mayor Bloomberg is actually making New Yorkers less safe, something else that would please the terrorists.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Operation Iraqi Freedom

At Kn@ppster, Thomas L. Knapp skewers the new Iraqi Bill of "Rights," which seems to be written in about the same way our Bill of Rights has come to be interpreted. Here's a sample:

Freedom of speech and press -- "All individuals have the right to express their opinion and publish it in any manner in accordance with the law, provided it does not disturb the public order or public morals. ... Freedom of opinion, expression organization, publishing, the press, media, advertising, meetings, peaceful demonstration and parties is guaranteed ... insofar as public security and morals are not harmed." If you're not an idiot, this should be pretty self-explanatory. If you are an idiot, here it is in simpler English: You're permitted to speak and write, as long as the government likes what you have to say. If not, well, it sucks to be you, doesn't it?
(entire post here)

Yep, freedom is on the march!

Thursday, July 21, 2005


From Crain's Cleveland Business:

Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro said evidence he has seen suggests that Toledo coin dealer Tom Noe has "pilfered" nearly $4 million in funds from the Bureau of Workers compensation for his own use.

That word pilfered is in quotes. Did Jim Petro really say "pilfered?"

From The Columbus Dispatch:

"Tom Noe pilfered millions intended for injured workers," Petro said of losses in the state's investment funds.

Yes, Attorney General Petro really said "pilfered." Encarta defines pilfer as "steal small things: to steal small items of little value, especially habitually" (emphasis in original). Dictionary.com defines pilfer as " To steal (a small amount or item)."

I guess Mr. Petro regards the theft of nearly $4 million as mere pilferage. $4 million might be a trifling sum to Mr. Petro, but to most of us, it's a lot of money.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Some Quotes

“Experience teaches us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent.”
--Louis Brandeis

“When a Republican makes you a highball, he takes the jigger and measures out the whiskey. A Democrat just pours."
--Eric F. Goldman

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
--C.S. Lewis

“The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.”
--James Madison

“It’s more fun to eat in a saloon than it is to drink in a restaurant.”
--Mike McConnell

“The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”
--John Stuart Mill

“I am not interested in getting into heaven right now. I am interested in getting into the majority.”
--Chris Redfern

“God made the idiot for practice, and then He made the school board.”
--Mark Twain

Freeman, Libertarian Critter

Thanks to Freeman, Libertarian Critter, for providing a link from his blog to Leave Us Alone! In his most recent posts, Freeman explains the term "left libertarian" and alerts readers to a threat to personal medical freedom embedded in CAFTA.

Crime and Federalism

Thanks to Norm Pattis and Mike, co-bloggers at Crime and Federalism, for adding Leave Us Alone! to their list of links. At Crime and Federalism, Norm and Mike discuss "news and court opinions, emphasizing crime, federalism, and Section 1983." Crime and Federalism is an interesting read. Check it out!

Reading Picnic

My friend Kathy Apotsos has organized a reading picnic to take place this Saturday, July 23, from 12 pm to 4 pm at Novak Park at the corner of Fulton Rd. and Bridge Av. in Ohio City. A reading picnic is a community gathering to share the love of reading with children. When Kathy told me about it, it sounded like a really cool idea. If you are in the Cleveland area and have a book that you would like to share with children in the community, or if you have children who would like to hear some stories, come on out! Food will be provided, and Ward 15 Council candidate Ed Romero will be a special celebrity guest reader.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Ohio "Patriot" Act Update

Senate Bill 9, the Ohio "Patriot" Act, could come to a vote in the Ohio House of Representatives during the House's summer session on August 2nd. That means that if you have not yet contacted your state representative and asked him or her to vote against Senate Bill 9, you still have two weeks to do so. The ACLU of Ohio makes it easy to find your state representative's contact information, and even provides a sample letter.

Here's one particularly scary aspect of the legislation, from the ACLU's talking points:

Two sections of SB 9 require people to show identification when requested by law enforcement. One section allows law enforcement to check IDs of "similarly situated" people at critical transportation sites, like airports or bus stations. The open-ended authority to seek identification from anyone at a listed site, absent a legitimate justification for the demand, has great potential for abuse. What is to stop authorities from declaring that, say, all people who appear to be of middle-eastern origin are similarly situated but that all others are not? The requirement is highly offensive to the idea that people should be permitted to move about freely absent some compelling limitation on that freedom.

Another section requires you to provide your name, address, or date of birth to a law enforcement officer who “reasonably suspects” that you have committed or are about to commit a crime, or that you have witnessed a crime, or even witnessed a plan to commit a crime. Officers could always, of course, investigate upon reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The witnessing provision is more problematic, as it could include virtually anyone at anytime who may have seen anything – making it all too susceptible to abuse.

If you care about your freedom, and that of your family, please take a few minutes to voice your opposition to this bill.

Thank You, Dale Miller!

State Representative Dale Miller (D-West Park) replied to my e-mail regarding Senate Bill 9, the Ohio "Patriot" Act:

Dear Mr. Sonenshein,

Thanks for your email. I share your position and oppose SB 9. I believe that our liberties are in jeopardy and I try to find and oppose proposals that would endanger our basic freedoms. The House went into summer recess without acting on this bill, but it could come up in our special summer session on August 2nd.

Sincerely yours,
Dale Miller,
State Representative

It's good to know that someone in Columbus is looking out for our civil liberties. We need more elected officials like Representative Miller. I am fortunate to be represented by him.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Who Knew?

Here's Dr. Macit Selekler, a neurologist at the Kocaeli University Faculty of Medicine in Kocaeli, Turkey, quoted in an MSN Health article:
To prevent ice-cream headache, people should avoid ingesting cold liquids or cold foods in large amounts and fast.
Yes, they needed to go all the way to Turkey to find a doctor to tell them that.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Freedom Democrats

Logan Ferree and Dev
One of the major features is that it allows people to create an account so they can submit stories to the site. Dev and I will go through and if it's good, we'll bump it up to the front page. If you're familiar with DailyKos it's a bit like that.
Other really cool features of the new site are Neighbor Blogs and Pro-Freedom Links, each of which allows you to review recent posts from several blogs, including Leave Us Alone!, all on one page.

Mom's Column

My favorite elected official's quarterly column recently appeared in newspapers throughout southern Ohio, including the Ironton Tribune. Her first column, which appeared before I started blogging, is here.

What's the Deal with Flavored Martinis?

I was out drinking the other night, and the bar had a big, long list of flavored martinis. What's up with that? I always thought the whole idea behind a martini was that it's basically just pure gin disguised as a cocktail.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Some Things Transcend Language Barriers

Click here to see an animated picture of a skeleton giving you the finger.

(Link via Libre Expresion sin Pudor)

Radical Liberal

Thanks to Mike Renzulli of Radical Liberal for stopping by and commenting here, and for adding this blog to his list of links. Radical Liberal has been up for only a couple of days, and Mr. Renzulli already has a lot of good stuff there.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Democratic Freedom

Thanks to Logan Ferree of Democratic Freedom for linking to my post about Paul Hackett, and for adding this site to the Democratic Freedom blog roll. Democratic Freedom is a blog that seeks to promote libertarian ideas within the Democratic Party, something that I support for the most part. Related sites are the Democratic Freedom Caucus and the DFC Talk mailing list.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Democrats should Follow Paul Hackett's Lead

The editor at Ohio 2nd has a collection of blogposts and news articles covering Thursday's congressional debate between former State Representative Tracy Flick Jean Schmidt (R-Miami Twp.) and Marine Reserve Major Paul Hackett (D-Indian Hill). This quote from Major Hackett's opening remarks caught my eye:
I'm for limited government, I'm for fiscal responsibility, I'm for a strong national defense, and I'm for fair trade. What do these concepts stand for? That means I don't need Washington to tell me how to live my personal life, or how to pray to my God. And I don't need Washington to dictate to my wife the decisions that she makes with her doctor, any more than I need Washington to tell me which guns I can keep in my gun safe.
(more debate quotes and analysis here)

This is almost exactly what Democrats should be saying. First, the Republicans have completely dropped the ball on fiscal responsibility and limited government. We Democrats should pick it up and run with it.

Second, we should abandon gun control, at least at the federal level. Abandoning gun control works to our advantage because pro-gun voters tend to be single-issue voters. A pro-choice stance on guns would make Democrats more electable not only in the south and west, but also in Michigan and Pennsylvania. We are, at least to a greater extent than the Republicans, the party of social tolerance and personal freedom. We should be more tolerant of gun owners.

I might have some differences with Major Hackett and most other Democrats over what "fair trade" means, but I think most of us can agree that government shouldn't subsidize the movement of jobs overseas.

It's almost impossible for a Democrat to win in the Second District, but by making a good showing (in the Second District, more than a third of the vote would be good for a Democrat) Major Hackett could position himself well for a future election.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Using the Dead to Make a Sale

Yesterday on Public Square, some jackass was yammering into a microphone, threatening passersby with eternal hellfire unless they accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. I didn't pay him much attention until I heard him mention the London transit attacks. I don't remember his exact words, but he said something to the effect that something like that might happen to you at any time, so you need to make sure that you are saved. How sick does someone have to be to use such a horrific event, one that happened just that morning, to make a sale. This asshole couldn't even wait until the bodies were counted.

Well, I'm not going to use yesterday's events in London to make any points. My thoughts are with the victims, their friends, and families. The perpetrators must be brought to justice and must not be allowed to prevail. Here is Mayor Ken Livingstone's statement, which is much more eloquent than anything I could ever come up with.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Mutualist Blog

Thanks to Kevin Carson, of the Mutualist Blog, not only for stopping by and commenting here, but also for adding me to his blogroll. At Mr. Carson's other site, Mutualist.org, he explains free-market anti-capitalism a lot better than I ever could.

Freedom on the March

Here's a disturbing account, from the Los Angeles Times, of an American filmmaker held without charge for over a month and a half in Iraq:

Cyrus Kar's family says he left his Los Feliz apartment for Iraq to make a documentary film about a Persian king who wrote the world's first charter of human rights. But now they fear he may never get home.

On May 17, Kar was stopped at a Baghdad checkpoint in a taxi allegedly packed with a common component for improvised explosive devices, according to a Defense Department spokesman. Since then, he has been in U.S. military detention outside Baghdad.

Kar's family says the detention is a mistake. Kar, 44, a U.S. citizen and Navy veteran who was born in Iran and came here during his childhood, is a patriotic American who supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq, they said Tuesday. He has not been charged with a crime, the Defense Department spokesman confirmed.
entire story here

link via Hit and Run

More Judicial Activism, Please

At Reason, Damon W. Root makes a libertarian case for judicial activism.

Mr. Root is right. Conservatives like to complain about out-of-control, activist judges, but the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decisions in Gonzales v. Raich and Kelo v. New London illustrate the danger of judicial restraint. In both of these cases, the court stepped aside and let legislatures do as they please. If anything, we need more judicial activism to protect individual liberty from the political branches of government.

Is That a Gas Pump Sticker, or a Campaign Sign?

The use of gasoline pump inspection stickers for a little bit of taxpayer-funded self promotion is a long standing practice among county auditors in Ohio, but Delaware County Auditor Todd Hanks (R - Delaware) has taken the art form to a whole new level. This sticker on a pump at the B.P. station on State Route 36, just off of Interstate 71, is about the size of a small index card and looks more like a campaign logo than any gas pump sticker I've ever seen.

Across the highway at the Flying J Travel Plaza, Mr. Hanks uses smaller white stickers. I guess these stickers weren't big enough. Mr. Hanks had to use four of them. That's right, four inspection stickers on one pump. I've been buying gasoline in Ohio for 15 years and I've never seen more than one inspection sticker per pump. Way to get your name out there, Mr. Hanks!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Randy "Duke" Cunningham: Piece of Crap, Part III

Thanks to Audient, for pointing out this story from MSNBC:
Federal authorities intensified their investigation into U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham's dealings with a defense contractor Friday by searching his California home and a yacht where he has stayed while in Washington, D.C.

Cunningham's lawyer called the searches "an appalling abuse of government power."

(entire story here)

It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. I hope the congressman is enjoying his holiday weekend.

Ed Romero Announces Bid for Council

On Thursday, City of Cleveland Risk Manager Ed Romero announced that he is running for the Cleveland City Council in Ward 15, on the city's near-southwest side. Speaking on the steps of the former Deaconess Hospital, Mr. Romero emphasized his experience in promoting public safety and neighborhood development.

Mr. Romero, a South Hills resident, also stressed collaboration with residents to transform their community. “I say to you my friends, with your help and the help of our local community we can shape the future of this ward to return it to its former greatness. I pledge to my neighbors in Ward 15 that I will work tirelessly and utilize all my resources to make sure this happens. “