Saturday, December 04, 2004

Daily Herald:Deer hunt opponents find holes in plan
By Joseph Ryan Daily Herald Staff Writer
Posted Saturday, December 04, 2004
North Barrington trustees on the short end of a village board vote to allow bow hunting in a gated subdivision are making a last-ditch lobbying effort to reverse the move.

Trustees Kim Forman and Kelly Mazeski are calling into question what they considered a key assertion by hunting proponents: that Wynstone's deer were locked in the subdivision by its wrought-iron fences.

They have provided the Daily Herald with pictures they say are of broken fences at Wynstone, and they plan to use them to convince the board to revote this week to reject the hunt.
Wynstone leaders said there are at least 40 deer in a forested area of the subdivision. They said the deer cannot easily leave, and therefore bow hunting 20 would sufficiently thin the herd to reduce problems.

Forman and Mazeski said the holes they found - one from a removed post and two existing under the fence - allow deer to move freely, making the count void and lowering the chance a hunt would stop the deer problems.

Wynstone president Richard Scobee said Friday he believes the holes were created by residents that want deer to enter the subdivision. He said the fences are checked weekly by maintenance workers.


So maybe even a deer can wander at will in and out of Wynstone. If so, I should think that a burglar wouldn't find such security much of an obstacle.

Interesting dispute, and it may support a point that many people have made about gated communities. Most of them aren't really much more secure than anyplace else. The security is more of an image than a reality, and would not keep out a determined intruder. This is a psychological thing, a sort of security blanket, for people who seek out these compounds. These places appeal to people with a strong sense of territoriality, who want to control their space.

By the way, there's hardly any crime in the entire Barrington area, for many miles around. It's not like they needed to fence out Alaric the Visigoth and his hordes.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Man arrested for having dynamite in apartment
Hey, I thought this was a free country. What about his property rights? Florida Kerry supporters meet for group therapy--
Voters shout epithets at President Bush during first PEST counseling session

Twenty John Kerry supporters met for their first group therapy session in
South Florida Thursday, screaming epithets at President Bush as they shared
their emotions with licensed mental health counselors.
The first of several free noontime therapy sessions at the American Health
Association in Boca Raton was designed to treat what mental health
counselors have dubbed Post Election Selection Trauma (PEST)...
According to AHA officials, symptoms of PEST are similar to post-traumatic
stress disorder. They include nightmares, sleeplessness, hostility,
listlessness, and emotional outbursts including threats to leave the
“There’s an overall sense of emotional helplessness and abandonment,” said
Sheila Cooperman, a licensed AHA psychotherapist from Delray Beach. “In
psychology, we call it ‘learned helplessness.’ After you zap a caged dog
twice, he stops moving because he knows there is no place to go. That’s what
happened with these Kerry voters. They’ve been zapped so many times that
they’re on the verge of giving up on politics.”
Cooperman, also a practicing psychic, added, “One person today said he
thinks the country is now run by fascists. Another felt personally
threatened by the president’s love for big business. Many believe Bush is
going to draft their grandchildren.

I wonder if this would work equally well for the losers in HOA elections. The problem is that when they say the election was crooked, often it isn't a Michael Moore fantasy--they really have a point.
Property taxes rising nationwide |
While fuel prices may be starting to skid, there's another expense closer to home that is upsetting many Americans: rising property taxes.

From Madison, Wis., to Bucks County, Pa., the local tax assessor is dipping deeper into homeowners' pockets as real estate prices rise and states share less of their tax revenue with local governments.

With people starting to receive their 2005 tax bills, the levies are squeezing the middle class and senior citizens - leaving them less to spend on everything from restaurants to roof repair. There is also concern the taxes could particularly hurt the home-buying chances of the young or civil servants such as firefighters. States such as New Jersey now have grass-roots efforts - verging on revolts - for reform.

"There is a property tax crisis," says Myron Orfield, a property tax expert at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. "It's especially bad in states like New Jersey, Ohio, Connecticut, and Illinois, which are property-tax dependent."

Part of the problem lies in demographics and the rapid growth of exurban communities. Young couples who can't afford suburban homes have moved to "edge" communities further from the cities. Those are filled with children, and to educate them the communities have to jack up property taxes to build new schools and hire teachers.

And add to that the cost of paying your HOA assessments.'Master/slave' Most Politically Incorrect Phrase
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The computer term "master/slave," which was banned as racially offensive by a Los Angeles County purchasing department, was named the most politically incorrect term of the year on Thursday.
Among other terms on the top 10 list of politically charged words and phrases, issued by the word usage group Global Language Monitor, were "non-same sex marriage" to describe heterosexual unions, "waitron" for waiter or waitress and "higher being" for God, a term some people found too religious.

I'll go this article one better: "heterosexual marriage" is a redundancy, i.e., an unnecessary modifier, because there isn't any other kind--at least, in 49 states and the DC. Only in Massachusetts do people need to specify which flavor of marriage is being talked about. It's like the old "49 state cars" that could pass smog device inspections in all states except California.
Daily Herald: Rock star's verbal arrows fly in neighborhood's bow hunt debate

The Nuge strikes back!
Some of the usually reserved residents of a gated community are in the cross hairs of rock star and hunting activist Ted Nugent, who is backing local leaders' plans to cull deer. But residents on both sides don't like the attention. "This is out of control," said Richard Scobee, president of Wynstone Estates, an upper-class subdivision in North Barrington where guests need approval from a resident to get through the front gate. Wynstone leaders have proposed a bow hunt in the coming weeks to kill off half a herd, about 40 deer, that they say is eating thousands of dollars' worth of landscaping and endangering drivers. The Motor City Madman, as Nugent is sometimes called, is on their side, though they didn't really invite him into the debate. Nugent, perhaps best known musically for his rendition of "Cat Scratch Fever," first came on the scene when a local trustee played a video at last week's board meeting that featured him howling as he killed various animals with arrows at his sprawling game ranch in Texas.

The short clip was meant to stir emotions against bow hunting, but a majority of officials still approved a plan to allow the Wynstone hunt.

A few days later, Wynstone resident Carol Bieniek, who opposes the hunt, gave a local radio interview in which she called Nugent a "redneck."

Enter Nugent: "My critics are soulless. They try to fault me for participating in the proven assuredness of the renewable harvest," he responded in an interview Thursday with the Daily Herald... "I started bow hunting on my father's back before I could walk," he said. "I have been anointed in God's tooth-and-claw nature system, and I bow to its authority."


This is getting more fun by the day. This Barrington area is, shall we say, extremely affluent, so we are watching people who have lots of time to fuss over things like this.

Note the homeowner association president freaking out because things are "out of control." And the liberal suburbanite Carol "I'm a mom" Bieniek, who can't abide killing deer, and no doubt would have a fit if anybody around her used a politically incorrect epithet, but has no problem calling Nugent a "redneck" even though she doesn't know him from Jed Clampett. Talk about acting to type--I guess they sent these two folks down from Central Casting.

By the way, the article notes that Nugent lived in nearby Palatine when he was a teenager. Do they have any rednecks in that particular Chicago suburb? Any Palatine neighborhoods called Possum Holler? I didn't see any refrigerators in the front yards last time I was there, and people seemed to have all their teeth. But still--it isn't Barrington, don't you know? The public cost of privatization
AS BIG DIG holes leak taxpayer dollars by the gallon, as Halliburton overbills the Pentagon by millions, as Enron CEOs go to jail for defrauding stockholders, and as HMOs provide less and less health care for higher and higher fees, it is time to reexamine that great myth spawned by the Reagan revolution: the myth of privatization.For too long, Republicans have been able to promote, unchallenged, the notion that the private sector can deliver goods and even public services more efficiently, more cheaply, and better. "Privatization" has meant a variety of things: from giving corporations taxpayer money with little government oversight, as in the Big Dig, to turning public schools into for-profit charters, to forcing community colleges like my own to rely less on state funding and more on private fund-raising, including raising student fees in order to survive. Whatever its form, privatization is based on the general concept that business is good, government is bad.
Susan Jhirad is chairwoman of the English Department at North Shore Community College

I took some English classes in college, but I guess I missed the ones where they train you in political economy. Maybe you only get to that in graduate school.
Daily Herald: gated community allowed to bow hunt deer

This story is so confused that it illustrates what a nether-world private communities are in. The reporter doesn't understand who is permitting whom to do what. The point is that public officials gave a private government permission to bowhunt deer at a time and place that would otherwise have been illegal. Why? Well, it's a Goldilocks kind of thing--apparently the gated community BOD (but not all its members) think 40 deer living in the community are too many, and 0 wouldn't be enough, but 20 would be just right.

Now, there are generally applicable laws that govern deer hunting here in Illinois, and they are very specific and restrictive. I'm not against deer hunting--in fact, I'm all for it, and I have Browning hunting bow and a 12 gauge Remington 870 with an 18" barrel to prove it. And I thoroughly approve of Ted Nugent (see the article), unlike the anti-hunters in the article who think he's just awful because he visibly enjoys killing and eating animals.

But why should a gated community get this exception from laws that govern the rest of us? There are deer all over the place where we live. They get hit by cars, they eat in people's cornfields, and so forth. I'd love to shoot a deer off my patio some morning, and fill the freezer. It would be easy to do. But nooooooooooo...I have to obey some of the most restrictive hunting laws on Planet Earth. Is this a case of a gated community getting special privileges? Or is there something special about the number 40? Expiring minds want to know.
Yahoo! News - Headless Bodies Found at Mysterious Mexico Pyramid
Fred Pilot passed this along. He claims it proves that "CIDs have been a failure for at least 1300 years." I guess because the remains suggest there were some acriminous BOD meetings...

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The discovery of a tomb filled with decapitated bodies suggests Mexico's 2,000 year-old "Pyramid of the Moon" may have been the site of horrifically gory sacrifices, archeologists said on Thursday...After 200 years of excavations, archeologists are still largely in the dark about the origins of the city, which is believed to have housed 200,000 people at its peak in 500 A.D. -- rivaling Shakespeare's London, but a millennium earlier. ...The master-planned city-state collapsed around 700 A.D., an event as mysterious as its formation.

Oh, and one more thing...the Evil Empire encroaches...

It was the site of a modern-day controversy earlier this year when protesters fought and lost a battle to keep the Mexican unit of retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. from building a new store a half-mile away.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

BBC News | AFRICA | 'Pee inspectors' roam Swazi town
Here's yet another municipal government that has come with an original idea. How long before this starts getting written into CC&Rs around the USA--now that it has leaked out? Whoever came up with this idea was a real whiz. So to speak.
HOA vote-rigging alleged
Ukranian-style hijinks in Arizona HOA race? The Arizona Republic is on the case. In other news, there's no governmental oversight of HOA elections in Arizona. Oops.

Allegations of voting irregularities and proxy tampering have some residents in Chandler's Carino Estates subdivision calling for an outside investigation of a recent homeowners association election.

But it's unclear who or what oversees such elections in the state's thousands of homeowners associations, even though their elected boards set fees, levy fines and enforce neighborhood rules.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Illinois gated community OKs targeting Bambi- (United Press International)
This story was in the Chicago Tribune today and now has filtered out to the nation. Too many deer in gated community. HOA smash. - News - Inflatable SpongeBob Characters Disappearing From Burger Kings
Here's my theory. HOA radicals are stealing these things to put on their roofs and defy their association directors. Spongebob inflatables--the pink flamingos of the 21st century.
I'm ready...I'm ready...I'm ready...

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

TIME Coolest Inventions 2004: Invention of the Year: "The Sky's the Limit
Ingenious design. Entrepreneurial moxie. A world-changing vision of the future. The amazing SpaceShipOne has it all"
And the winner of Time's Invention of the Year prize is...private space travel. Optimists Club Calls It Quits
Isn't this one of the signs of the Apocalypse?
QUAKERTOWN, Pa. (AP) - It's a glum day for optimists. After 24 years of community service, the Quakertown Optimists Club is calling it quits. They're holding their last meeting on Thursday, citing declining interest."I feel sad," club president Bernard Kensky said.


KSL News: Provo To Change Strangely Restrictive Pet Law
Proving once again that HOAs don't have a monopoly on bizarre pet restrictions...
PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Believe it or not, there's a law in Provo making it illegal to own both a cat and a dog. The law allows residents to own up to two dogs or two cats at the same time -- but not a dog and a cat together. After getting complaints, the City Council is planning to change the law next month.
I'm being picketed... my seven-year-old twins, Isabel and Conor. They wanted to watch cartoons and I pre-empted that for a football game. They stood in the kitchen and chanted what's on the sign, giggling in between.

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Constitution of Private Governance
Here's a summary of a forthcoming book from Hart Publishing in the UK:
The Constitution of Private Governance
Product Standards in the Regulation of Integrating Markets
Harm Schepel


In quantity and importance, private standards are rapidly taking over the role of public norms in the international and national regulation of product safety. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the rise, role and status of these private product safety standards in the legal regulation of integrating markets. In international and regional trade law as in European and American constitutional and administrative law, tort law and antitrust law, the book analyses the ways in which legal systems can and do recognise private norms as ‘law.’ This sociological question of law’s recognition of private governance is indissolubly connected with a normative question of democratic theory: can law recognize legal validity and democratic legitimacy outside the constitution, without constitutional political institutions and beyond the nation state? Or: can law ‘constitute’ private transnational governance? The book offers the first systematic treatment of European, American and international ‘standards law’ in the English language, and makes a significant contribution to the study of the processes of globalization and privatization in social and legal theory. For the thesis on which this book was based Harm Schepel was awarded the first EUI Alumni Prize for the “best interdisciplinary and/or comparative thesis on European issues” written at the EUI in recent years.
Harm Schepel is currently a Senior Lecturer at Kent Law School and at the Brussels School for International Studies, University of Kent. He earned his doctorate from the European University Institute in Florence.
Voluntary Codes Book
Here's an interesting book:

Voluntary Codes: Private Governance, the Public Interest and Innovation

Kernaghan Webb, Editor

Paperback: 466 pages
Publisher: Carleton Research Unit for Innovation, Science and Environment (October, 2004)
ISBN: 0770904823
An examination of the increasing use by business of consumer, environmental, worker, and other market-based voluntary codes of conduct, and the public policy implications of such codes. The book explores codes from a variety of different perspectives, supplemented by case studies, drawing on both developed country and developing country examples. The audience of the book includes those in government, the private and the voluntary sector, and associated academic disciplines examining innovative governance approaches (e.g., law, public policy and administration, environmental studies, political science).
Public and Private Governance
Here's my kind of curriculum, from Australia.
Daily Yomiuri On-Line: Anarchy reigns in Japan
Driver lets woman off bus on Hamada Expressway

Yomiuri Shimbun

A bus driver has been fined for stopping on the Hamada Expressway in Chiyodacho, Hiroshima Prefecture, to let a 76-year-old woman get off the bus, it was learned Saturday.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Special Survey On Californians And Their Housing: Housing Costs Lead Many Californians To Consider Moving

Here's a summary of a recent study by the Public Policy Institute of California with some disturbing findings:
SAN FRANCISCO, California, November 18, 2004 — Although Californians deeply value their quality of life in the Golden State, a surprising number say that the cost of housing could drive them away, according to a new survey released today by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) in collaboration with the Hewlett, Irvine, and Packard Foundations... one quarter (24%) of Californians today say the cost of housing in their part of California is forcing them to seriously consider moving – to another part of the state or away from California altogether...About six in 10 California adults say they own their own home. Majorities of whites (71%) and Asians (59%) own their homes; majorities of Latinos (55%) and blacks (51%) are renters...Of those who say their home values have increased a lot, only 23 percent think they would be able to find another home to buy in their region.
Seventy percent of Californians would prefer to live in a single-family detached home, even if it means they have to drive to work and to travel locally.