Boat registration is back

March 16, 2009

The Idaho House of Representatives recently passed a bill to combat invasive species in our waterways. A noble goal. Now if only our representatives were a bit brighter and wrote bills that would help ACHIEVE the stated goal! House Bill 213 is designed to generate funds to combat invasive species. How is it going to accomplish this goal? I have no idea. But every year it’ll cost $20/boat for every out of state motorized boat, $10/boat for every in-state motorized boat, and $5 for every nonmotorized boat.

Their goal will have one “benefit” – boaters will be discouraged from entering our state. This will reduce the spread of invasive species. It will also reduce the flow of tourist dollars to our state. It makes sense to charge motorized boat operators – they have a high risk of bringing invasive species like the quagga mussel in to our lakes on boat trailers or in bilge water. It makes absolutely no sense to charge nonmotorized boaters. We have a much lower risk of importing invasive species. We don’t carry water in our boats (at least, not if we can avoid it!), and don’t use boat trailers. And yet, we’re still stuck paying for it.

It’s been suggested the money will be used to provide washing stations for boats (although the bill doesn’t say this). I see a lot of problems with this. Boat washing is practically impossible to enforce. Are we going to have an officer stationed at every lake to make sure boats are washed before being put into the water? Those who would actually use them are the same people who are already being careful about spreading invasive species. Those who are likely to bring them to our lakes are likely to ignore the washing stations anyway.

All of this aside, why are kayakers and rafters stuck paying for this too? I can guarantee there won’t be a kayak washing station up on the Payette. My kayak will never be near one, and has zero risk of bringing invasive species to Idaho. Yet I’m still going to be out $5 every year. Since this will be impossible to enforce, I plan on ignoring the registration. I suspect I’ll have a lot of company in that decision.

We do still have time to stop this bill! Every boat owner in Idaho, whether motorized or not, should call their state senator! It hasn’t passed the senate, although it will be up for vote very soon. Even if you’re out of state, think about giving a call or writing a letter to a member of the Idaho legislature. This will impact you too if you ever want to boat in Idaho.


Joining the Blogosphere

March 16, 2009

I had blogged previously under a different name, but let the blog die out after just a couple months. It was narrowly focused – a big mistake. This blog is much more broad – even I don’t know what I’ll talk about! It’s a safe bet it will include kayaking, books, politics and school.

I am addicted to whitewater kayaking. It’s a huge rush, a great workout, and gets me out in nature. I’d recommend it for anyone. I’m nowhere near an expert, I’ve only been kayaking for one season. Once the weather gets a little warmer, I hope to get out on the water again! I’m waiting for temperatures in the 60’s – my roll is still weak enough that I have decent odds of swimming if I flip. I’d rather avoid hypothermia if that does happen.

Politically, I am absolutely disgusted with both parties, and the party system. I hate that both our present and our last president seemed to be representing their parties instead of the people of this country. I want the party system completely destroyed and every individual to run on their own merit – no matter what letter is next to their name. I support an effective government that provides the greatest freedom possible for all of us. Our current government is great at one thing – spending money. It spends very little time analyzing whether it is spending the money well. The recent stimulus bill is the ultimate example of that. Over 1000 pages of text, and not one member of Congress read the entirety before voting on it.

I am in my fourth year of college – and essentially a freshman. I spent my first three years of school studying computer science. I had a high-paying job at a large tech company, but it had a condition that if I changed majors, I would lose my job. So I put up with the boredom of my classes and work for money. Last semester, I finally admitted that it wasn’t going to get any better. I am now pursuing a degree in nursing. I love working with people – a statement that would shock those who knew me in high school. This field will let me grow as a person and mean I’m not staring at a monitor eight hours a day. I’m almost a year in to my new degree, and loving it!

I hope you enjoy my blog. I welcome any comments on any topic. My moderation policy is very loose. If it isn’t blatant spam or outright trolling, it won’t be deleted.

Free books!

March 16, 2009

For those of you who aren’t aware, Baen has made many of their books available for free! Their nefarious plan is to make some books available free so you get hooked, then charge you for others. Their prices on their other e-books are reasonable though – a little cheaper than a paperback. Check them out at

The Right to Bear Arms

March 16, 2009

Time to get political!

I am a strong advocate of the Second Amendment. While I intellectually support all the political arguments for it – keeping the government in check, states’ rights, and citizen defense against an invader, I am emotionally in support for one reason: the right to self-defense. As a human being, I have a right to life, to freedom of speech, to possession of property. Only one thing preserves these rights: the threat or use of force. I can trust law enforcement and the government to defend the latter two. After all, I have time to reclaim possessions, and can always repeat what I tried to say the first time. However, if my right to life needs defense, the need is urgent. I don’t have time to wait for the police to come or for lawsuits to be filed. The police can’t be around 24/7, so I need the tools to defend my life effectively. In the case of an attack by a predator, the best tool is a gun.

It doesn’t matter if the predator is human or animal, there is no tool more effective than a gun for self defense. A club or bat requires strength, and that I be close to my attacker. I only weigh 130 pounds, I do NOT want to be within arms reach of a large attacker. Pepper spray and tasers both have weak and temporary effects. Only a gun lets me stop an attacker at distance and conclusively. Currently, I don’t own a gun. I don’t have the training to use one effectively. I plan on rectifying this deficiency shortly. Unfortunately, this training will do me no good for most of the day. Neither my university or my workplace seems to value my life very highly – both ban the carry of concealed weapons.

If a gunman walked into one of my classrooms (believe it or not, criminals rarely follow the bans on concealed weapons!), everyone in that room is likely to die. Security will take several minutes to respond, and if past events are any indicator, another half hour to “evaluate the situation.” The only people with the power to stop the gunman are his intended prey. As things currently stand, I do not like my odds. Most classrooms only have one door, and the gunman has the advantage of range. We may be able to rush him, but not without a lot of fatalities. If concealed carry were permitted on campus, there is at least a possibility of a quicker resolution. If the student carrying the gun can stay calm, react quickly, and shoot accurately, there may only be one fatality – the attacker’s. I think this is the preferable situation. The president of our university, Bob Kustra, seems to disagree.

The usual response I get is that all those guns on campus would just kill more people! This is a very poor argument. By their logic, we need to ban matches before they set someone on fire! Those who oppose concealed carry seem so closely focused on the tools that they forget the people. Those who are likely to use their guns carelessly are the same people who are likely to ignore the law anyway. The law only stops the honest. Utah has actually permitted concealed carry at nine of their state universities. This policy has been in effect for close to two years. In that time, there have been zero deaths, zero shootings, zero negligent discharges. Apparently guns don’t spontaneously go off, and responsible people can carry one without incident.

This post could go on indefinitely. There are so many facts and arguments in favor of concealed carry. If any readers disagree with my view on this, please leave a comment! If I only hear views I already agree with, I’ll never learn anything new.