Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Housing needed!

So I got word from my landlady that she's selling my cozy little townhome! Please let me know ASAP if you have any housing leads near the orange line in Arlington, VA. To add to my stress, I have a final exam this week and next and then I leave for China the last two weeks of May. How am I supposed to move in June!?!

My fave article on Obama's first 100 days

Here's the article by the ever entertaining (if somewhat turncoat) Christopher Buckley. And here's my fave thematic interpretation of Obama's first 100 days:
What Else Is On? In this analysis, Mr Obama is overexposing himself by appearing on television 23 out of every 24 hours. “The American people like him, but they want to see a fresh face on TV every now and then.” Mr Obama’s ubiquity is even suggested as the main reason for the frenzied rapture over chanteuse Susan Boyle. According to this thesis, “it’s the first time since January 20 that someone other than Mr Obama has been on television”.
hat tip: David

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


So I understand why some of the New Yorkers were upset by the low-flying Air Force One yesterday, but enough to file a class action lawsuit?!
Garcia-Rose, who works with nearly two dozen post-traumatic stress disorder patients ages 15 to 47, said she was inundated with phone calls from patients Monday morning.

"They're traumatized. They're asking 'How could this happen?' They're nervous. Their anxiety levels are high," she said.

Garcia-Rose is considering filing a class-action suit against the government for sanctioning the plane's unannounced flight. "I believe the government has done something really wrong," she said.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Getting stoked about my China trip

If you find good China articles over the next few weeks, send them my way. I just realized I have to read like 500 pages before I go plus the two tourguide books I want to skim through and earmark for things to do in my freetime. Thankfully, a few of the major items are taken care of for me - like the Great Wall!

And shout-out to my girl, May Chen, I love that I'm going to get to see her when I'm in Hong Kong. I'm a little nervous about what partying with her entails, but I'll come prepared!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I loathe the USPS

Like any job, there are tedious tasks I have to endure, but at a small nonprofit everyone gets more than their usual fair share. For instance, I am the main point of contact for the United States Postal Service as well as for Charitable Solicitation Registration (which is a whole another can o'worms). The silver lining to my interactions with these bureaucracies is that it reminds me of why I hate regulation - or rather why I love limited government.

In my ideal world, the federal government would stick to what it was ordained to do in the Constitution, but this is the real world. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7 of the U.S. Constitution empowers Congress to "establish post offices and post roads." This, however, does not imply that the federal government does or should have a monopoly on mail which is why I hope the FedExs of the world figure out how to make inroads in delivering standard mail soon. In my reading of the postal clause, I see a well-intentioned government trying to promote commerce and society and convenience by creating post offices not undue burdens on businesses or stressful delays in correspondence and package delivery! Why are there copious amounts of paperwork and unreliable delivery times?

It is because of the U.S. Civil Service and the bloated fat, cud-chewing cows that makeup the U.S.P.S. specifically. Whew that felt good. See yesterday, the post office sent business reply envelopes addressed to my nonprofit to a LIBERAL MAGAZINE. They could have just as easily shredded the donations than forwarded them! Thankfully, they have more integrity than that - plus they had a monetary incentive to correct the problem (the post office charged their business reply account instead of ours). Regardless, I am peeved, but whenever I talk to someone at the post office it's like talking in a foreign language. They don't care about serving you or making you happy because their job isn't on the line. They have ridonkulous job security that is immune to the effects of the market.

So yeah, that silver lining? It's how fired up I am to "stick it to the man" and raise money for our partners who fight such bureaucratic/regulatory nonsense!

I would dig this office...

I hate having clutter on my desk, but this solution is a bit extreme...

A Majority Female Workforce? - The Daily Beast

Is a new gender gap widening? According to the Financial Times, records show the biggest gap between male and female unemployment since collection began in 1948, as men bear the brunt of the economic downturn. Men have lost 80 percent of the overall 5.1 m

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Libertarian joke and food for thought from Fred Smith

"What happens when two libertarians agree? Both know the other has sold out."

Ok, maybe that's only funny if you're libertarian, but it makes a point. We libertarians often compete to see who is more hardcore or principled. I think it's a bunch of righteous bunk. I mean, if we're ever going to enact change we have to work with and possibly in the system we currently have. We can't keep bumping our heads against the statist wall expecting it to move!

One of my favorite free market communicators is Fred Smith over at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. I saw him speak this morning and enjoyed him thoroughly. His main point was along these lines. We can't just talk the talk anymore. We need action. Our free market movement is still relatively small "or embryonic, he said" and we will probably always be in the minority. Why? Because logically we should all be statist pigs! Many historians/economists/academics talk about the evolution of capitalism and its effects on society - increased wealth, a larger middle class, and the emergence of an intelligentsia that effectively rules the roost. This intellectual class has a vested interest in maintaining its power over the rest of the world (cue evil laugh). Ok, if you've read Hayek, you get what I'm talking about - if you haven't read Hayek, get on it. Anywho since us free marketers fight centralized power and mandates, we're class traitors. Smith argued that we need to leverage and market ourselves better. Not everyone has to be a libertarian but we need libertarian policies. Smith thinks that this can be achieved with better organization and marketing to people's core values. Here's hoping he's right and we have the means to outshout the left!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Americans vs. Brits

My entire class is taking on my British prof tonight. The question...
"Don't Americans work more?"
my prof - "Americans spend more time at work, yes."
"Well Americans are more productive than British people too"
my prof - "What was that? Once you take out the housing market, you're not actually as productive...hahahah Brits live longer too - there's a reason..."

We also argued whether you call a phonebooth a phonebooth or a tellyphone box. One of my friends said, "You know, the thing Superman changes clothes in."

There are others, but class is letting out! hizzah!

Protectionism trade good

From Tom Palmer's blog:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I <3 Texas

Texans support the 10th amendment of the Constitution - heck yeah!

My fave quote:
Perry continued: "Millions of Texans are tired of Washington, DC trying to come down here to tell us how to run Texas."

Senator Franken? vom.

I know this has been a long time coming, but I still threw up a little in my mouth when I read this headline: 3-judge panel declares Franken winner

Senator Al Franken?! ugh

I'm lucky enough to take a course from the 101st senator - Robert Dove - this semester. He was Parliamentarian of the Senate for 40+ years. I'm going to ask him what he thinks tomorrow about this heathen being a part of the distinguished rank and file. Dove isn't partisan but I'm sure he'll agree. ugh.

Monday, April 13, 2009

New fave website

I stumbled upon this RAD blog called Feather which gives you a fashion/weather forecast for the next day. It's specific to D.C. but it's by far the most exciting blogpost I read everyday.

For instance, last night's post made this following outfit suggestion. Loads of the pieces the blogger posts are out of my price range but it's a fun way to see trends and help you think about placing new pieces together. For instance, this post just reminded me that it's post Easter so I can whip out my hot white pants!

Correction - she's located in NYC - but luckily it's not too much of a different climate than down here!

About those Log Cabin Republicans

I am a Christian, and I support gay rights. For a long time, I tried to abstain from this discussion because of personal beliefs about religion and how a family should be and because I have a lot of gay friends who I love dearly whom I didn't want to offend. I didn't want to admit that while I supported gay rights, I would draw the line at marriage. But I've never felt comfortable with my position and no longer feel like I can hide behind the libertarian excuse of "governments should not be in the business of marriage anyways."

First, we need to put aside our religious beliefs. Last I checked, all Americans seem pretty on board with the whole freedom of religion thing so thus you can't use religious arguments to argue against gay political rights. If you feel really strongly about it and so does your church, nothing has to change for you. Your pastor can choose not to conduct wedding ceremonies for gay couples and you probably won't have many gay congregants as a result. Thus, your daily life will go unchanged.

One of my earliest and most basic political beliefs is a crude reduction of a Lockean principle - "My rights end where yours begin." You may have an objection or even aversion to gay marriage, but your life probably isn't affected by it. Let the people whose lives are being affected lobby for change.

I'm not the biggest fan of Meghan McCain. Let's face it, she's not the sharpest knife in the drawer and it's really just her name and connections that gets her pieces placed, but here she has a point - "A Gayer GOP:"
At the most basic level, sexual orientation should not be a factor in how you are treated. If the Republican Party has any hope of gaining substantial support from a wider, younger base, we need to get past our anti-gay rhetoric. As you can imagine, the road for gay Republicans hasn't been an easy one. Most seem to find the words "homosexual" and "conservative" inherent contradictions, much the same way so many people can’t seem to reconcile fiscal conservatism and the big-tent philosophy of freedom and justice for all. A dear friend of mine who’s both gay and Republican told me, “I find myself constantly being asked how I can reconcile who I am as a person with a party that lately has had such a gay-unfriendly message. Where I stand politically doesn't begin and end with my sexuality. Unfortunately, there is a perception that gays with moderate to conservative views are self-loathing.”
Republicans need to fight the perception that we're close-minded dictators of social morays. Advocating for gay rights could be a huge step in the right direction.

The one thing that concerns me is that as we support minority rights - such as gay rights - I don't think that we need to codify these qualifiers into law. The Declaration of Independence says that "All men are created equal." It doesn't say "all black, white, and yellow men" nor does it say "all men and women" - it just says men. We don't need to muddy the waters by creating new legislation or amending the constitution. Discriminatory laws need to be taken off the books, but I don't believe in mandating positive justice (holla my old h.s. debate days). Writing laws that single out specific groups is more divisive than unifying and creates special interest groups that often outlive their relevancy - hello NAACP! The Constitution protects everyone as is - let's just start living up to it in practice.

Suffice it to say, I love all of my friends gay or straight and believe in a loving, merciful God who is capable of accepting them and any flaws/sins ANY of them have...IF they will accept Him. And furthermore, my fervent hope is that my loved ones may all find a consistent partner to share their lives with. Who am I to judge and who am I to play matchmaker?

Monday, April 6, 2009

To sue or not to sue?

So I ventured four blocks into the Southwestern quadrant of D.C. to pick up my accident report in person (apparently D.C. police lack the "technology" to fax or email me said report). Here are the scant deets:
  • I was hit by a 2007 light blue Lexus SUV.
  • I have three eye witnesses.
  • The driver was a 45 year old woman with an unprounancable name who lives in Bristol, VA.
  • The police officer gave her a ticket.
  • The driver does have insurance - All State (whew)
  • Really there's not much else other than some codes which are meaningless to me. I think the cop administered a roadside blood alcohol test, but I can't understand the results. Ill give her the benefit of the doubt it was before 9am.
Here's my quandry. I have a moral aversion to the litigious nature of American society, but here I am smack dab in the middle of it and I feel entitled to some compensation. Lord knows when my neck will loosen up or when I'll get over my disproportionate fear of crossing streets. And I missed 4 days of work, a really cute dress and cardigan, my dignity in the ER, and my brisque no-nonsense walk for the forseeable future. I was a total innocent, minding my own business. In fact, I was an hour later to work than usual because I had spent the morning caring for my ill mother who was visiting me. See now I'm sick with myself. That reeks of entitlement. It's not like I want to strike it rich, but I am curious to see what the court would find as just compensation for what happened to me. Please weigh in!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Way to hit me when I'm down

My fave indie coffee shop is closing - tres tragic.

the official Whitney got hit by a car story

(I wrote this yesterday for facebook so I wouldn't have to repeat the details over and over)

Yesterday morning, I was walking to work from the metro. I was on the north side of L street about to cross 13th, but I had to wait for the light. So like any sane pedestrian, I waited for the cute little white walking man symbol to tell me to proceed. Being a fast walker, I broke ahead of the few others crossing with me - I had 20+ seconds to go on the walking sign countdown when BAM. And I do mean, BAM.

No, I did not see or hear the SUV coming. I'm told I must have blacked out, but I do remember thinking, "Oh my God, I'm being hit by a car" and being vaguely aware of flying limbs.
I was only out shortly, but my first thoughts were - I still have all of my limbs - where the hell are my shoes? They were several yards away. Yes, I was knocked out of my shoes and my purse was also several yards away in a different direction. I started to sit up, but then realized "Whitney you have been hit by a car - perhaps you shouldn't move"

Having always depended upon the kindness of strangers, I just sat there balling my eyes out and assessing my bodily harm without moving. A lovely woman who I will probably never meet again held my hand and was such a Godsend during those scary minutes while we waited for the ambulance (did I mention the fact that there was a fire station half a block away -within sight- and those good for nothing lazy bums never came out). I saw someone point out the SUV that hit me so it wasn't a hit and run but I never saw the woman driver. Another couple people called 911 and another man asked if I wanted him to call someone else. \I miraculously remembered the new office phone number and thought it best to call work bc they were only half a block away. Perhaps someone could come out and come to the hospital with me?

Next thing I know I'm being strapped to a very uncomfortable board with a very uncomfortable neckbrace and taken to the E.R. at GW hospital. Once at the E.R., I was handled by about a dozen people simultaneously as they assessed my wounds and made sure nothing was critical. The most tragic thing about this incident is that they cut a lovely Audrey Hepburn number of a dress right off my body. They wouldn't let me rolll to one side so they could unzip it. So sad!

Well goodness, after reading all of this you probably want to know how I am. I am fine! (relatively speaking) I do feel really beaten up or rather I feel like I've been hit by an SUV, but nothing is broken. They kept me overnight in that blasted neckbrace for observation since I blacked out. I couldn't remember what part of my body hit the ground and/or SUV first so they were worried I knocked my head. All of my Xrays and CT scans came back clean. Basically, I landed on my bum which will be black, blue, and green for the forseeable future and then bounced forward onto my knees which are scrapped up and then fell onto my left-hand side so my arm is banged up, but I think it was my arm that saved my head from the pavement. So I am now home in bed with my Percocet and chocolates. I think I'll take a nap now.