Archive for May, 2010

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Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.

Franklin P. Jones

Thoughts on Rights and Government Intrusion

I was thinking about something the other day concerning seat belt laws. In the past I’ve been against regulations concerning the wearing of seat belts; namely that you are required by law to do so when in fact the choice harms no one but yourself in the case of an accident, thus the requirement in itself is intrusive. The government is involving itself in something that it should not!

My notion of what libertarianism meant was one of absolutes, in that any and all government involvement was inherently wrong and, I think you run into a lot of folks who have this view, it becomes a little murky when determining what is acceptable as opposed to what is off limits. It is hypocritical of me to claim all involvement is unwarranted, though isn’t it?

In the case of seat belt laws, and road regulations in general, it is perfectly acceptable for government to regulate in any way they wish in relation to a system of roads they developed, built, and encouraged the use of for the expansion of the nation. The roads are public and government property, and so in order to maximize utility and ensure the safety of everyone, these laws become necessary as deterrents, as well as punishments, for this who would shirk their responsibility as a user of public goods to follow the rules.

Whether the government should be in the business of building and regulating roads is another matter, but one I suspect most would find to be an agreeable proposition.

So, essentially what I’m saying is, there are legitimate uses of the long arm of government; and for the most part this includes the regulation of public properties and their use.

In general, though, I’m highly suspicious of the police powers of the state. Such coercion can be dangerous when given the kind of power they regularly exercise. This is indeed an affront to liberty and something that is unlikely to be corrected anytime soon.

A Short Post About My Personal Brand

Update: 6/14/2010 Frankly this is one of those things I will probably continue to evolve over time.

For those that follow me and are familiar with the little icon I use as my personal branding for my design services (hello honey, I’ll be making dinner this evening), I’ve decided to make a little change. But not because I was unhappy with the little guy; I mostly made this decision because I felt it didn’t represent what I was about any longer. This is one of the most difficult processes in freelance design: branding yourself.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m used to that icon, but that is pretty much the only brand equity it had, and so to keep it around just because I was used to it seemed like a bit of a mistake. The icon works very well as a personal brand in some circumstances. It has great proportions for many of my purposes, looks decent at different sizes in any color, and is pretty simple. But, the direction I’ve been heading in as a web designer has been a little more angular and clean, and the icon has become difficult to integrate into any other branding elements. I always had a tough time pairing typefaces with it or putting together a business card I was happy with.

Additionally, I’ve always felt it lacked a little substance. It seemed thin, and my attention to detail was not there when I first designed the icon. Basically, it’s time for me and my icon to move on. We’ve grown apart.

Developing a new icon for yourself is no small task, though. In some ways you get stuck in a rut with the old design. I certainly did. Many of my choices during the design process were based on the old design, or were an attempt to update without deviating too much from the established icon. It got downright frustrating. But then I had a breakthrough.

The old icon/logo, designed circa 2006.

I went through many, many iterations before I settled on this particular icon. It was very angular, maintaining the look of the double M only slightly, and used a custom M developed from the Univers typeface. It looked kind of cool, and was exactly what I was after, but looked a little weak at smaller sizes. It’s a damn shame, because it really was a nice little icon.

Since I needed something that worked better at smaller sizes, something that looked stronger overall, and still represented what I was after, I decided to choose a little beefier face to develop the icon from. Univers 75 Black was the ticket.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

The icon that finally made the cut is, in a lot of ways, exactly what I was picturing in my head when I decided to make the change. And it meets all the requirements I set for myself when I started designing it: it is crisp, simple, looks good in many different colors, and is very sharp at small sizes. Plus I feel like it is a better representation of me as a designer right now, and hopefully into the foreseeable future.

Since the previous icon lasted for as long as it did, I was a little reticent to make the change and go live; however, in time I think it will stand as a stronger icon overall. I also apologize for the post being longer than it was short.

So What About Illegal Immigration?

Since I have no readership to speak of, I suspect this is unlikely to spark the backlash it does elsewhere; and frankly it seems to be a wholly uncontroversial topic unless you’re a liberal and hyper sensitive to arguments against your political positions. With these caveats, written to ease my own mind, I have to ask, why shouldn’t we be looking at those that are breaking the law, and enforce those laws? And by breaking the law, I mean immigrating to the United States illegally–in a manner that is not set forth as a legal pathway to entering this country. Using the same, if not more lenient, set of laws you would see in any other country to boot.

So, what about it? What makes enforcement so controversial? Why is it such a travesty to ask an individual, whom you have first detained because of another unrelated infraction, to produce proof of their status to reside in or visit this nation?

Population of Arizona by Race. ‘Infographic’ by Mike Mattner, data from the U.S. Census Bureau accessed May13, 2010.

The idea that such a proposal is racist is ridiculous to begin with. Let’s use a little reason to determine this assertion. First, in Arizona the immigrant population, by the very nature of geography, is going to be made up almost entirely of Mexicans. It also stands to reason that those entering Arizona illegally would also be from Mexico. And so, law enforcement is likely to single this group out when detaining an individual that has all ready committed some infraction to determine their residency status. And why shouldn’t they? It has nothing to do with race, rather it has to do with deductive reasoning in this case.

What’s the racial break down anyway? As expected the dominant race in Arizona is White at about 58% of the population, followed by Hispanic at about 30%, American Indian at about 5% (which is unsurprising considering the native history of the region), then Black at 4% and Asian at 2%.

So, with such a large Hispanic population that happens to emigrate legally or otherwise from the United States southern neighbor of Mexico, it only seems natural that law enforcement would want to target this group–when individuals have all ready been detained based on having committed an infraction of some kind–as they are the most likely to be here illegally. American Indian, Black, and Asian residents happen to make up a much smaller proportion of the population and are therefore less likely to be a substantial problem in terms of residency. White individuals make up a large portion of the population, but immigration from Europe has not been as robust as immigration from Central and South America, and will likely not recover any time soon, meaning they are less likely to reside in the United States illegally.

Put another way, if you know for a fact that residents from Fakistan are constantly entering the domain of Nationistan illegally, why wouldn’t the government of Nationistan check those of Fakistanni origin when conducting some other lawful search?

On the flip side, none of the points I made about the other racial groups in any way mean those groups are excluded from the law. On the contrary, this is meant to cover everyone, to ensure folks are here legally. This isn’t kristallnacht by any means. The law does not allow for the round up and deportation of any specific groups, or any individuals at all. In fact, it is meant to cover a case where an individual has been detained, and the law enforcement officer in question suspects that the individual is here illegally. In this situation, and this situation only, can the officer demand to see proof of residency, and that can be as simple as showing a state issued ID card.

Maybe someone can explain to me why this is such an issue because I’m grasping in the dark here.

Mulligan does have an alternative account of the current recession. He thinks it was caused primarily by distortions in the labor market, namely three successive increases in the minimum wage and a mortgage modification program that was associated with an marginal tax rate of over 100%.

Sven Wilson, When the Obvious isn’t Obvious

Glass Has Liquid

It has been a fortnight since I last wrote. Seriously. I’ve been a busy, busy individual, but a happy one in many ways. I’m taking up the Healthy Challenge posed by a fellow author, swearing off the suds for 30 days beginning after the Cinco of Mayo festivities. For me this equates to beginning Saturday, so I’ll be a couple of days behind.

Secondly, I’ve been pushing my self directed rehab on my knee pretty intensely for the past couple of weeks; couple that with a healthier diet, and another workout that washed out but helped me get in a groove, and I’m getting into respectable shape again. Except the knee still hurts. Either way, the past two months have been me working out, eating better, and strengthening the leg, which has resulted in hitting sub 180 pounds for the first time since I initially injured my knee in 2008. Not that I put on a lot of weight, I just couldn’t do enough work rehabbing the knee to stay in shape.

I hadn’t heard of this position until very recently. It has been described as important. I believe the hype.

And finally, the one little bit that just has me in stitches. I’m running for a political position of sorts. A small, but relatively important one in terms of the power the position has in determining the composition of the party. I have decided to run for the Republican party Precinct Delegate in the third precinct of Benton Charter Township. I actually don’t know if what I’m doing is running for the office so to speak, but my name will be on the primary ballot on August 3rd for the position, so if you live in the third precinct, vote for me.

I’ve been interested in political matters for much of my life and it seems this is one of the best ways for me to get involved a little more seriously. I look forward to the primary, and hopefully the next two years of my life involved in politics.