Sex: Hell yes! Control of Others: Hell No!

Read each and every one of these posts: Digby, Amanda, Avedon, Tena and Echidne. They chew up and spit out a daft person who argues that complete abstention is a woman’s only answer to unwanted pregnancy.
Echidne, closes her fine piece with the following:

The truth of course is that our choices do matter, but they matter in a probabilistic sense, not in the sense of being meted awards and punishments by some cruel wingnut god. And humans are human, which means that none of us can control everything in our lives. Not even wingnuts can do that, though they would love to control other people’s lives.

Sadly, wanting to control other people’s lives does little to differentiate wingnuts from the common liberal. For example, with respect to the war on drugs wingnut and liberal politicians are pretty much indistinguishable. Combine the wingers and the liberals together the result is a beast that would have every aspect of your life under tight reign.

Originally via Atrios.

Report to the South Dakota Legislature

If this bill becomes law in South Dakota:

HB1222 would require each institution under control of the Board of Regents to report annually to the Legislature “on steps the institution is taking to ensure intellectual diversity and the free exchange of ideas.” It defines intellectual diversity as “the foundation of a learning environment that exposes students to a variety of political, ideological and other perspectives.”

Then an appropriate report might be:

This institution supports a learning environment that exposes students to a variety of politcal, ideological and other perspectives. End.

Stupid legislatures deserve appropriate responses. They might, though, actually read a report that is this short.
As to the long list of ‘may includes’ I suggest the institutions interpret the ‘may’ exactly and ignore the list.

Via Instapundit who apparently thinks this silliness is a good idea though he is a bit more cryptic than usual. On the other hand he may be using the word moving to suggest a movement.

Smoking Outdoors

In the midst of a fine hammering of the use of false information  to support efforts to ban all outdoor smoking Michael Siegel says the following:

There is, in my opinion, simply no justification for invoking the state’s police powers to regulate smoking on streets and sidewalks, places where people are free to move about and where, in most situations, people can simply avoid substantial exposure to secondhand smoke. And I am aware of no scientific evidence that secondhand smoke exposure on streets and sidewalks is a significant public health problem.

Well, yes, it is not a public health problem but it can be damned obnoxious and offensive to a nonsmoker. I can choose whether or not to enter a smoking establishment but why should I have to delay or hasten my walk down a sidewalk because some jerk (being polite) decides to light up right in front of me (other examples are myriad).
Outdoor smoking should be allowed but the smoker should be subject to charges of simple assault and/or battery if the smoke touches another person or forces them to change their position or path in order to avoid the smoke.
Via Hit & Run via To the People

Price Gouging?

Post Katrina gas prices maybe went up 10-15% depending on where you lived and in most cases they have rolled back down. Nevertheless, cries of price gouging were rampant and continue. But that is gas. If it is some other good like, say, oysters then it is a feel good story:

With two-thirds of Louisiana oyster beds wiped out by the Aug. 29 storm, prices of Pacific oysters have soared as Gulf Coast processors scour for alternatives thousands of miles away. That’s allowed Taylor Shellfish to raise its prices 38 percent in the past month to $40 per gallon of oysters.
“It’s the strongest demand that I’ve ever seen for oysters,” says William Taylor, ……
Prices have surged as much as 50 percent since the hurricane, according to the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, giving the Northwest growers some relief, even as they sympathize with the hurricane victims 2,000 miles away.

Imagine the outcry if gasoline prices had gone up 50%!
Seems like so-called market forces working the way they should in both cases. It can, though, be a bit hard to tell if the market is really working in the extensively regulated and subsidized oil and gasoline business.

Credit Freezes and Personal Information

Kevin Drum has this right though he does not go quite far enough:

I have an idea to fix this: don’t take three days to unfreeze the report. In fact, I have a better idea: by default, personal credit reports should never be shown to anyone until the credit reporting agency contacts the consumer independently and receives permission to do so. This could be by phone, internet, or mail.

I proposed something related but more generalized a while back:

No institution or business, government or private, can be allowed to collect or distribute, for free or for fee, any information about an individual without that individuals specific consent on a per incident basis and if the distribution is for a fee then that individual must be compensated at a rate agreeable to the individual.

We must give back control of personal information to the owner of that information: the involved individual. Right off the top I can’t think of any acceptable exception to this.
In the other direction and something I did not address in the earlier post:

Individual consumers of goods and services may disclose evaluative and price information about their transactions with individuals and entities who regularly offer goods and services to consumers. Individuals and businesses engaged in commercial activity may disclose price and evaluative information about their activities as long as this information can not be related to an individual connsumer. Private institutions or businesses may collect and disseminate this information for free or for fee except as noted above.

Thus you can evaluate and provide pricing information about your doctor, lawyer, service station, hardware store, etc., by name but not vice versa.
The general principles here are: 1) individuals own information specifically related to them; 2) therefor individuals can not be prevented from releasing seller specific evaluation or information so long as that information is truthful and non-libelous; and 3) for these purposes corporations, partnerships or other commercial associations of individuals are not individuals.