Friday, January 21, 2011

RSS feed debugging

I had a problem on a WordPress-based blog that I maintain where the number of entries shown in the RSS feed had somehow been reduced to two. OK... So the feed loaded really fast, but it also made the blog look like it hadn't been updated in ages. I found this page that explained how to change the number of items shown...
WordPress › Support » Amount of RSS Items in the feed
I think that the problem started when I changed themes. The new theme may have had its own RSS setting. Updating the parameter as suggested at the link fixed the problem.

(I'm posting this here so that others with the same problem will have at least one more possible search engine hit to find a solution.)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On the folly of prohibition

The Cato Institute's Jeffery Miron has written Strict Gun Control Will Seem Like War on Drugs, an examination of the potential success of proposed gun controls,

It was contemplation of the gun grabbers' dream of total prohibition, and my probably reaction to it, that caused me to adopt a more libertarian attitude toward recreational narcotics. (That means "drugs", for those of you on drugs!) Miron argues that gun prohibition cannot work for the same reasons that drug prohibition, like alcohol before it, does not work. I came at the argument from the opposite direction. I realized that drug prohibition cannot work because gun prohibition would not work. How do I know that it wouldn't work? Because as a law-abiding citizen, I know that I would violate a law prohibiting gun ownership!

I will not accept disarmament. I will be armed, even if that requires me to break the law. "If guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have guns" isn't about criminals getting guns no matter what; it's about otherwise law-abiding citizens becoming criminals for doing something they see as morally upright.

The State cannot successfully ban possession of a commodity unless the people themselves have already decided that they do not want that commodity. The people, or at least a very large portion of them, want guns. They'll get them one way or another. In the 1920s, the people wanted alcohol and they got it. Now they want narcotics. Drug prohibition is doomed to failure because too many people do not accept the idea that drugs are inherently immoral. (By the way, I am not arguing their morality one way or the other; I'm simple stating a fact.) Because the people themselves have not rejected drugs and drug use, the State will have no success banning drugs. The Drug War will be lost.

Worse than that, the Drug War brings the same unintended consequences that a War on Guns would have. If possessing a .22 rifle was as illegal as owning a machine gun, and got you the same penalty, why wouldn't you want a machine gun instead of a .22? And if you were a gun runner, and if the penalty for smuggling a .22 was the same as for smuggling a machine gun, then you would quickly see that the same risk brings greater reward if you smuggle the machine gun instead. Drug traffickers already know this. The more potent the drug, the greater the payoff is for the risk. Thus more deadly drugs like cocaine or heroin are preferred by smugglers. Pound for pound they pay better and the risk is no greater than for smuggling marijuana. Before them, rum runners realized the same truth. Hard alcohol pays better than beer or wine for the same risk. For a gun runner, the machine gun, pound for pound, is a better investment of capital and effort than a .22 rifle. When I realized that gun prohibition would follow these economic rules, and fail because of them, I realized that drug prohibition cannot work.