Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Sorry about the long silence. Back from Ohio, where I had no internet access to speak of. Will's wedding was unorthodox - Martha is militantly atheist and attends an organized Humanist group - which I jokingly call "athiest church." All the social benefits, none of that nasty burning afterlife. Anyway, they had a nice guy named Augie who did the ceremony, he's a "celebrant," like an anti-preacher I guess. Will married a woman, needless to say, but I wonder how the "defend the sanctity of marriage" crowd feels about all this. Aren't they undermining the "sanctity" of marriage just by having a civil wedding? Technically, no God means no sanctity, am I right? Again I'm puzzled by the argument. Why should a non-religious marriage be outlawed because the union in question is forbidden by the Bible. The funniest argument I've heard is that if we allow gay marriage, legal polygamy will follow. But polygamy is okay, according to the Bible! Abraham had more than one wife . . . I'm not even going to get into David's sex life on a family blog! For that matter, polygamy in Saudi Arabia hasn't led to gay marriage.

The New York Times apologizes for all that garbage about Iraq, bin Laden and WMD they printed after being spoon-fed lies by Iranian intelligence operative Ahmed Chalabi.

"senior intelligence officials stress the information Ahmad Chalibi is alleged to have passed on to Iran is of such a seriously sensitive nature, the result of full disclosure could be highly damaging to U.S. security. The information involves secrets that were held by only a handful of very senior U.S. officials, says Stahl." Gosh, who could that guy possibly know at the Pentagon?

Regarding DC and the burbs, a commuter tax worked for New York until Pataki repealed it. However, there is always a danger that raising taxes in a municipality will push businesses across the border. In the end, the solution has to be revenue sharing within an entire metropolitan region. But regional authorities, especially those whose authorities cross state lines, tend to be both undemocratic and ineffective. This more than any other issue is what makes me a crotchety old Paleo-Liberal. We already have an overarching authority, we call it the Federal Government. The best way to overcome the injustices, and almost as important, the inefficiencies caused by neo-segregationist sprawl is to push the funding and much of the regulatory power over infrastructure and land use up to the Federal level. Big steps could be taken if state constitutions were altered to deprive suburban governments of the power to use blatantly segregationist tools like minimum lot sizes and zoning against multi-family housing. Notice I am not calling for a ban on tasteless ugly big houses on outsize lawns, I am just saying that governments should not be willing to require them. I should be able to build an apartment building right next door to your mini-mansion, and you shouldn't be able to stop me. It's really the segregationist-suburbanite-sprawlers who are anti-market and pro-government intervention on these issues, not me. Why do they complain about Federal intervention in the economy but favor local government intervention?

You'll notice, as I did the other week-end, that Arlington does have apartments, condos, single family homes and businesses all right next to each other. As an older community, its "bones" were probably laid down before zoning was invented in the 1920s - Judging from what the new growth looks like, I'm guessing it still has minimal restrictions on land use. I'd love to hear about this, if anyone can tell me.
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