NH: Compulsory Drug Testing for all Drivers

A bill has been introduced before the New Hampshire House of Representatives, called HB 575-FN – AN ACT prohibiting driving with any amount of certain controlled drugs or metabolites in the blood or urine which slips this little gem into our laws:

II. Any person who drives, operates, or attempts to operate an OHRV, drives or attempts to drive a vehicle upon the ways of this state, or operates or attempts to operate a boat on the public waters of this state shall be deemed to have given consent to chemical, infrared molecular absorption, or gas chromatograph test or tests of his or her blood or urine for the presence of any schedule I controlled substance, as defined in RSA 318-B:1-b, or its metabolites.

Read that again if it didn’t sink in. If you’re going for a gallon of milk, you’ve implicitly given your consent to have to pee in a cup or be stuck for a blood draw just by pulling out of your driveway. No commission of a crime is required, no reasonable suspicion need be raised. You’ve implicitly consented, just by driving, or riding your ATV or snowmobile, or piloting your boat. If you’re out fishing on the lake, you cannot refuse a random blood draw. Well, you can, but you’ll be found guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to arrest. I’m sure you’ll be eventually vindicated on fourth amendment grounds, if you can afford to fight it, but any way you cut it this is outrageous and demeaning.

This bill is sponsored by Reps. J. Flanders and Welch, of Rockingham District 8. The committee members contact info can be found here and you can find contact information for your legislators here.

A hearing is scheduled at the Legislative Office Building in Concord on 02/05/2009 at 11:00 AM, Room 204. Everybody needs to be there.

Repeal Year

A post over at Russ Nelson’s blog about the tendency for politicians to do “something” reminded me about an idea I posted elsewhere I called “Repeal Year”.

The basic idea is this: for each biennium, a legislative session would be divided in two halves – the first for repealing old legislation, the next for enacting new legislation. In the event of a national/state emergency, both houses could vote by a supermajority (3/5) to enact a single cohesive bill during Repeal Year.

Obviously two-year budgets are required, but that’s a good thing, as New Hampshire has shown.

The major effect here is that the old, crufty legislation that’s only taken out when desperate prosecutors can’t accuse a man of any other crime, would be quickly eliminated, and legislators could be “doing something” by making government more efficient and less onerous.


Which Geithner Would You Prefer?

Tim Geithner has to acknowledge one of four possibilities:

  • The tax code is too complex for a treasury secretary to comprehend
  • This particular treasury secretary can’t understand the tax code
  • This particular treasury secretary doesn’t pay attention to details when it comes to accounting
  • This particular treasury secretary did understand the tax code and defied it

In an era where nobody alive understands the whole tax code and calling the IRS will get a taxpayer seemingly random answers to questions, let’s hope Tim goes for Door #1 and uses his unique position to disassemble a legal monstrosity that makes every American a criminal.

Tim may have painted himself into this corner, but he can parlay that embarrassment into heralded accomplishment.

Coronation a Good Thing?

Yesterday my reaction to the extravagance of the Obama inauguration was that it came off more like a coronation than an inauguration and the costs were tremendous. (a word to those who think all costs were borne by private donors: pfft, right).

However, today I read an argument by David Warner over at the Volokh Conspiracy that’s changed my mind:

The real battle is between the guy we actually get to elect (Bush/Obama) and the guys we don’t (the permanent bureaucracy). The purpose of all the pomp is to impress upon the unelected the fact that the elected guy does have a large gang behind him. We’d do well to remind them more often, if the Bush Administration is any indication.

Thinking through the psychology of the opposite approach, I think he’s right. At least until we can get rid of the large unelected bureaucracy. One way to check this would be to understand the perception of Utah’s governor, who reportedly insisted on a de minimis inauguration. Any politicos from Utah reading?

Ounces of Gold to Buy the Dow

This is a great chart that illustrates in a simple manner why the US economy is having such problems:

In terms of the Dollar, decoupled from real assets, we had a market boom in the 2000’s. But if you figure out what that Dollar actually buys, in terms of real commodities, not traders on Wall Street, we see that the Dollar has been in decline since 1999, and has lost nearly 75% of its value over that period.

Washington’s solution to the problem? Weaken the Dollar further with inflationary spending. The obvious way to buck the trend is to switch holdings from Dollars to the commodities that are ‘gaining value’.