The bad news is that it’s Tax Day here in the U.S., and the income tax is immoral, and filling out the forms manually is ridiculously painful.

The good news is that Subway is giving away free cookies!

A few years ago, my friend Haym Hirsh quoted me in his .plan file as saying:

“I think making us go through the hell of filing, is like making prisoners dig their own graves.”

Since then, I’ve been using TurboTax for the Web and it’s been a lot less painful (but still immoral).

Anyway, enjoy a cookie if you get a chance.

Update: Check out the comments in which Sasha Volokh craftily draws me into a discussion about something other than cookies.

The 9-11 Commission

Jane Galt has a great post today about the 9-11 Commission (The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States).

She correctly observes that if the expectation is to discover how the attack could have been prevented and to recommend changes that will prevent future attacks, then the commission might end up doing more harm than good.

It’s possible, I would guess probable, that there is no way to do this in a way that is an improvement and maintains the values that we are trying to defend. Certainly, there can be structural and procedural changes that can improve the likelihood that we will do better, and we should pursue those that are reasonable.

But, if we turn the country into a prison, or impose restrictions on commerce and civil liberties with costs that are higher than the security benefits that they provide, then we won’t be solving problems. We’ll be creating them.

As the post says:

Clinton didn’t know. Bush didn’t know. We didn’t know. And the uncomfortable possibility remains that there are more events that we not only don’t know about–but can’t know about. Deluding ourselves otherwise isn’t helping. And if it causes us to take costly, fruitless
measures to reassure ourselves, it could actively hurt us.

Lileks Parental-Terror Watch

From today’s Bleat:

At nine the TV goes off, so Gnat can paint, read, crayon, and counteract the previous 60 minutes spent in a vegetative state. She wants a sausage. I insist she eat grapes first. No grapes are consumed. Well, she’ll starve, then.

I’m sure she learned a valuable lesson from all of this: That her daddy, while in many ways a wonderful man, has stupid theories about television, food and coercion.

And, it reminds her that he can be a real jerk sometimes.

War on Porn

There’s been a lot of discussion about the recent Justice Department push for a war on pornography; not just on the public airwaves, but in videos, cable, etc. The May issue of Reason magazine has a good article on the subject. And, Eugene Volokh has an excellent post that asks: “How can the government’s policy possibly achieve its stated goals, without creating an unprecedentedly intrusive censorship machinery, one that’s far, far beyond what the Justice Department is talking about right now?

I find this very disturbing because the anti-sex attitude is stupid, and spending significant security resources on it now is outrageous, but mostly because this program seems to reveal a profound lack of respect for individual liberty. How people think about and enjoy sexuality is a very personal thing, and consensual sexually-oriented entertainment should not be restricted by the government.

I doubt that complaining to Attorney General Ashcroft or President Bush will do any good, because these two have committed themselves to the wrong side of this issue. But, perhaps, if enough people complain to their congressional representatives about this unwarranted intrusion and waste of resources there might be some pressure applied where it might be effective: budgets.


I don’t have much to say about the recent escalation of fighting in Iraq.

On one hand, I’m a bit depressed that there is so much organized opposition to liberalization of the country (Yes, I realize that many of these people are not Iraqis).

On the other hand, it seems to be a sign of the desperation of people who see this as their last chance to avoid losing power for good.

And, the optimistic part of me wants to view this as Steven Den Beste does:

The most important thing that happened in the last few days is that many of the most dangerous people in Iraq gave us an excuse to destroy them. CENTCOM won’t throw this opportunity away.

Not an April Fool’s Joke

This is amazing.

A self-described psychic’s tip that a bomb might be on a plane prompted a search with bomb-sniffing dogs that turned up nothing suspicious, but forced the cancelation of the flight.

I propose that the government not take seriously the claims of any psychic who hasn’t claimed the JREF prize.



First, President Bush proposes ending the War on Drugs, to abandon “Our failing, destructive, prohibition program in favor of focusing our security resources on genuine security issues.”

Then, Kerry pledges to not mention his service in Viet Nam for the remainder of the campaign.

What a day!