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I answer the Neighborhood Game round 2

This is a page from the original version of Pagan Vigil. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at know you were waiting breathlessly

Time for my answers to round two.

The neighborhood has grown so it touches an Amish community. Your local city government insists that the building code applies to the Amish. The Amish say that it doesn't because of religious reasons.

As reader Modeh B'Miktsas picked up, this was partially inspired by a story posted on Wren's Nest, but it's also been making the libertarian rounds. The Amish have been doing this for a long time, and I am really curious what has changed.

While I am at it, I might point out that municipal building codes aren't the universal solution. New York City lost a potential men's shelter run by Mother Teresa's order because it was a multiple story building and any renovation wold have required an elevator.

I also have to wonder what the purpose of the law is. Does that mean that the best way to build is specified by the building codes? In that case why do I have to flush my toilet four times to clear the bowl? Why haven't I been able to get decent water pressure in a shower head?

If I had my choice I think I'd let the insurance companies specify the building codes.

An advisory board has submitted a list of books that should be pulled from the shelves at the local library. These books include Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, The Way Things Ought To Be by Rush H. Limbaugh III, Sex by Madonna, Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot by Al Franken, Call of the Wild by Jack London, State and Revolution by Lenin, The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor Lavey, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

Every one of the books on this list has been banned at one time or another. This particular post was inspired by an article about
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. Now I do think up to a point, parents should control what their kids read. Where that point stops is debatable (12? 15? 18?). But the real issue here is why should other parents decide what your kid should be allowed to read? And once again Modeh B'Miktsas noticed that the real issue is that public thing. Once libraries and schools become public, you invite many long and noisy debates about what is and is not allowed.

Me, I don't agree with censorship. Yes, there are things that I do not think kids should be exposed to now matter how gifted (the Marquis de Sade comes to mind, as do any of the Saw movies), but I do think that choice belongs to the parents.

The mayor has proposed a tax on all non-diet soda.

Another torn from the headlines, only it was the Governor of New York.

Sin taxes don't work, all they do is create a black market that is untaxed. And it's way too easy to make it somebody else's problem, especially if the business is "morally questionable" (whose morals? what questions?). A few years ago it was the tobacco companies that were the target. Now it's the investment banks.

Better still to have a uniform tax to go along with that uniform rule of law we're supposed to have.

The local police want to limit the powers of the new Citizen Review Board so that it can only request documents and information that is part of the public record. During an investigation, almost nothing is part of the public record, which means that the CRB can't do it's investigation until after the police force finishes it's internal investigation.

Another taken from the headlines via The Agitator's entry on the subject. The whole point of having a Citizen's Review Board is so the CRB can conduct a confidential investigation into any action of the police force, without question.

I'd want any police chief who suggested that wasn't a good idea to be fired now.

Your neighbor across the street thinks you use too much water. She's asked the city council to set up limits on water usage.

As long as you pay for it, why is it her business?

So there you go, that ends round two.

Posted: Fri - December 19, 2008 at 06:13 AM

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