David Hines column
Born in a mill town, David Hines has seen work as a furniture mover, computer programmer/analyst, and professional musician. Observation of politics began as a toddler, since the polls were in his parents' store. He developed a keen interest in history when permitted some independent study time in junior high school.

With a wide range of interests, he is accused by friends of possessing more useless information than any other of their acquaintance. He has officially studied music and psychology, and unofficially nearly everything else. Like many a Mensa member, he can usually be found hip deep in books. Detractors can blame the thin air of the Rockies, where he once lived, for the dearth of brain cells.

Worthy effort
David Hines
February 7, 2015

A question was raised recently about valuation. Specifically, what is a human being worth? It seems an odd question. What would be the purpose of assigning a . . .

Memory of the future
David Hines
January 12, 2015

Kronos has recently yielded to his son Zeus. The infant is nurtured by the goat Amalthea and his presence hidden from Zeus by his guards, who make noise by . . .

Briar patch kids
David Hines
November 24, 2014

"Please don't throw me in the briar patch!" Collectivists will use any excuse to push ever more collectivism. No matter how many times it fails, they'll . . .

The electrical hominid
David Hines
October 20, 2014

We have been living with an emergency for millennia and have been entirely unaware of it. Yesterday Facebook experienced a brief shutdown. Los Angeles 911 . . .

Family feud is heck
David Hines
October 3, 2014

A century ago three cousins went to war. One might think that George, Wilhelm, and Nicholas might be able to work out their differences. But they were caught . . .

The bleat goes on
David Hines
July 22, 2014

Many people choose their economics like they choose their favorite bands. They enjoy the beat. No analysis required. "I can dance to it" is sufficient.  . . .

Superpsyche me
David Hines
June 5, 2014

Superheroes have become ubiquitous in film recently. Since the federal government dispenses grants even for the study of turtles' sex lives, some enterprising . . .

Crimea and punishment
David Hines
May 5, 2014

Seems like 160 years ago. The place in question was Crimea. It was then Russian territory. It is today, too – first through lease agreement, then through . . .

Pitcher perfect
David Hines
April 15, 2014

A frequent anti-market pitch is that a free market can't work because there is imperfect information. This is a rather odd contention. It presupposes that . . .

Elephants on slippery slopes
David Hines
February 28, 2014

As I write we're in the mist of the biennial celebration of tribalism and nationalism. Olympians are taking to ski slopes in a beach community on the Black Sea . . .

Temperature tantrum
David Hines
February 11, 2014

It's axiomatic that hell is hot. But "hot" has numerous meanings. Which would apply? Hell is, of course, calorically irate. Wouldn't you be with those . . .

Making altarations
David Hines
December 29, 2013

If you've spent any time at all online, you've surely seen it. Someone declares that if you believe in Christ you will be saved. Then one professed believer . . .

Motherland, may I?
David Hines
December 10, 2013

In movies things generally have to happen fast. A car chase at the speed of Florida retirees would have insufficient impact to draw in the ticket revenues, and . . .

Bully for shutdown
David Hines
November 1, 2013

The government is shutting down, and in its absence there's so much to do – taxes to not pay; raw milk to drink; unregulated lemonade stand to open; pot . . .

Fool speed ahead
David Hines
October 3, 2013

It will surprise nobody that I think funny. When someone says, "Go ahead and...," I invariably think, "Ahead of what?" Such a wise-gluteus attitude might get . . .

Mounte banks on parade
David Hines
August 24, 2013

A new crusade for politicians is serving the unbanked and the underbanked. These are people who are said to not borrow enough from, or deposit enough into, . . .

Prep School 101
David Hines
June 29, 2013

The media and government officials have some contempt for preppers – those who set aside supplies in case of some discontinuity in business as usual. Odd . . .

Making we we
David Hines
June 9, 2013

What makes me part of the "we" that hosts the RG (Mensa Regional Gathering)? Is paying my dues sufficient? Seems to me those monies go to all sorts of purposes. . . .

Coppers on the Dollar...or Euro
David Hines
May 9, 2013

Copper has long been the poor man's silver. When aristocrats traded with the latter and nobles traded with gold, common folk produced copper coins for trade. . . .

David Hines
April 2, 2013

There's been a lot of Washington Monument Syndrome going around. Turned into an acronym it might just as well be "Weapons of Mass Scaremongering," or "Words of . . .

Wealth disparody
David Hines
March 6, 2013

Many people complain about the growing disparity between the super-rich and the rest of us. They see the problem, but their proposals for solving it sink to the . . .

Shifting into the sheer
David Hines
December 27, 2012

The turn of the year is a time of traditions. One is that many government laws and regulations take effect. This year the talk has been about the dreaded  . . .

Surrey with me on top
David Hines
November 3, 2012

My politics are sometimes called "fringe." That's quite a compliment; perhaps I'm too cynical, but I don't think it is intended to be. The core of a tree . . .

Nothing doing
David Hines
October 1, 2012

Populists are disgruntled with the Do-Nothing Senate. A new sheriff rides into town. Suddenly things can get done. Since the new guy crossed the Rubicon with . . .

Deposing demigods
David Hines
September 3, 2012

It was insufficient for Stalin to eliminate those of whom he disapproved. He had photos doctored to remove the former comrades, erasing evidence that they were . . .

Reform and function
David Hines
July 31, 2012

Many people think that some straightforward reform will solve government's problems. As sympathetic as I am to such a desire, it is an illusion. Ain't gonna . . .

Sanctioning collapse
David Hines
June 3, 2012

A number of politicians are adamant about imposing and enforcing economic sanctions upon Iran and other nations. Are these people suicidal or just plain garden . . .

To die for
David Hines
March 30, 2012

Some people, including prominent politicians, tell me that some guy in a mud hut on the other side of the world wants me dead. Therefore, they say, if I don't . . .

Barging in
David Hines
January 22, 2012

Roman Senators were the "fat cats" of their time. They made their money by owning land that overseers worked for them with slave labor. In fact, this was made . . .

Narcissus at war
David Hines
December 29, 2011

It's fashionable to say that calling for an understanding of one's opponent is "blaming America first." It is believed that this is unnecessary; all that's . . .

Roarshocking events
David Hines
December 3, 2011

If there is such a thing as an historical Rorschach test, the Greek dark ages would fill the bill. I speak, of course, of the ancient history (1200-800 BC), not . . .

Second-class warfare
David Hines
November 2, 2011

The Constitution begins, "We the People." Especially during campaign seasons, people read it as, "We Some of the People." Why wouldn't they? It's now de rigueur . . .

Bunkum & Bailout Circus
David Hines
August 29, 2011

The news has been inundated with wrangling about how to keep going into debt without going into debt. Neither side has been entirely honest. President Obama . . .

Porky and the barrel
David Hines
August 2, 2011

When and why did greedy capitalist pigs arise? The guy who built the first plow was a capitalist. Instead of hunting or foraging for immediate gratification, . . .

What Pyrrhus said
David Hines
July 1, 2011

The king of Epirus was not one to allow short-term exuberance to overcome consideration of long-term cost. After the battle of Asculum, Pyrrhus discounted . . .

David Hines
May 7, 2011

"(T)he only thing we have to fear is fear itself." — Franklin D. Roosevelt Uncertainty can be stressful. People are generally more content with a . . .

Exceptionally speaking
David Hines
February 27, 2011

There's nothing wrong with taking pride in one's accomplishments, nor with being proud of one's family, friends, and associations. There is something amiss, . . .

Contra the American people
David Hines
January 28, 2011

I heard a caller on C-SPAN taking issue with the term "the American people." I must say, he has a point. He didn't have much time to articulate it, so I shall . . .

Who owns what?
David Hines
December 1, 2010

Those who thought they owned mortgage-backed securities may have been mistaken. Courts have ruled that MERS, the electronic registration system created to . . .

Dividing the Pi
David Hines
October 28, 2010

Pi is an irrational number. So is the political argument about dividing it. Here are some approximate numbers: Two of the 3 to the left of the decimal . . .

Dangerous talk
David Hines
August 28, 2010

A guy I've known for decades is freaking out about communists. I'm not at all fond of communism, nor other forms of socialism, but socialists are nice enough . . .

Homeless on the range
David Hines
July 23, 2010

We libertarians are indeed politically homeless. If it wasn't already obvious, eight years of George W. Bush and over a year of Obama have demonstrated this . . .

Disempowering ideas
David Hines
June 23, 2010

Who knows how long I'll get away with writing this stuff? I may be reduced to such hard-hitting exposes as recipes for pine nuts and how to make dandelion wine . . .

Salty language
David Hines
May 26, 2010

First they came for the marijuana. Then they came for the vitamins. Now they want your salt. Not satisfied with a theoretical 100% claim on your income, the . . .

Ghost of markets past
David Hines
April 23, 2010

I've long ago ceased expecting political rhetoric to make sense. There has been much talk of how another government program will "unleash the entrepreneurial . . .

Cents of entitlement
David Hines
March 30, 2010

Some items, both new and not so new, have come to my attention recently. At first glance they may seem unrelated, but if one takes a step back they start to . . .

Bertha Hines R.I.P.
David Hines
December 22, 2009

I recently had occasion to deliver the following words: Decades ago, when lettuce pickers were on strike, Bertha's friends and neighbors had leaf lettuce. It . . .

Dear scientists in the headlights
David Hines
December 18, 2009

The revelations of fraud by climatologists have wider repercussions than may at first be apparent. The reaction by proponents of the Copenhagen accord are . . .

Curtains for the buck
David Hines
November 24, 2009

Two decades ago the Iron Curtain rapidly crumbled. The usual story is that Reagan's policies caused the Soviet Union to spend itself into bankruptcy. There . . .

Bluster's last stand
David Hines
October 22, 2009

The two kids at their lemonade stand were surprised one day when a big black car pulled up. They debated about whether it portended a lucrative customer or, . . .

The Phaeton effect
David Hines
September 23, 2009

Tales cautioning against hubris are common The Bible, for example, tells of the Tower of Babel. We moderns, of course, have grown beyond such warnings, and . . .

Unhealthy care
David Hines
August 23, 2009

Congress says they're talking about health care. Not so. All they're discussing is insurance. The issue before them is not medicine; it's merely paying for . . .

High seize piracy
David Hines
July 23, 2009

Some people think voters are bird-brains. I wish! No bird would be dumb enough to see a picture of food and mistake it for something edible. Even if a bird . . .

Export-import bunk
David Hines
June 24, 2009

A major US export is being threatened. When we can no longer export it, it will not be just a certain segment of workers who are affected, but all of us.  . . .

One flu over the cuckoo's nest
David Hines
May 21, 2009

Many are of the opinion that President Obama should seal us off from the swine flu. Well, maybe. As with anything else, actions have consequences. Native . . .

Print for prosperity
David Hines
April 24, 2009

Whenever you hear ordinary people discuss economic stimulus, someone is likely to suggest that rather than give money to corporations, each citizen should be . . .

Credit where it's due
David Hines
April 1, 2009

Credit's a good thing, isn't it? You get credit for doing good things. When your bank credits your account, you have more money. But to the bank, the credit . . .

David Hines
February 25, 2009

I grew up around pinball machines. My dad had some in his lunchroom. Today I see a lot of familiar behavior. There were the bingo machines, in which the . . .

Charge of the money brigade
David Hines
January 22, 2009

One would have thought that savvy advertisers would have changed the name of the cardigan sweater. The item became popular during Lord Cardigan's brief . . .

Quite a stretch
David Hines
December 23, 2008

To Athenians Theseus was a national hero. American voters would give him a more ambivalent assessment. Theseus would get credit for consolidating Attica . . .

The investor crass
David Hines
November 25, 2008

It's almost unanimous: voters agree that we are stupid, silly, and profligate. Roughly 98% of the electorate cast votes for candidates who said as much. The . . .

Foregone inclusion
David Hines
October 23, 2008

By now you will have grown very weary of the election. It will soon be over. We'll know which supporter of the Wall Street bailout will hold the reins of . . .

To weed or knot to weed
David Hines
September 24, 2008

My mom has a very nice lawn. It was not always so. It was once full of weeds. It had dandelion and plantain, but mostly common knotweed. I'm sure you've . . .

To sleep, perchance
David Hines
August 20, 2008

Is socialism in our genes? Perhaps — in a manner of speaking. I was having a discussion with someone who has been reading up on epigenetics. This is a . . .

Socket to me
David Hines
July 24, 2008

Bureaucracy lovers are saying that they know how to solve our energy problems. I think maybe they stuck their fingers in the socket. Our governmental energy . . .

Bubble rap
David Hines
June 21, 2008

We've been hit by a lot of bursting bubbles recently. There was the tech bubble a decade ago. People thought they would get rich on companies with no products . . .

David Hines
May 22, 2008

Here in America we finish what we start. Tiles may fall off the roof and kill us immediately after the Big Digging is done but, by golly, after many years we . . .

More is better
David Hines
April 23, 2008

We truly live in a consumerized society. I keep hearing that more is better. The result of this attitude is oversized government, oversized budgets, and . . .

Picking a pickpocket
David Hines
March 23, 2008

Voters in the primaries have chosen the unlimited credit card. All three top contenders have promised to spend a bundle, one on unlimited war, the others on . . .

Winning at love
David Hines
February 21, 2008

To know whether you're winning, it's important to know what it means to win. In life, ending up with love might mean a win. In tennis, it denotes an utter . . .

Big screen follies
David Hines
January 24, 2008

I suppose it was inevitable. With a Hollywood writers' strike, the presidential campaign extended back into time, getting an early extra season. Like many  . . .

Dis the season
David Hines
December 22, 2007

I understand that Hollywood is preparing a progressive update to our holiday favorites. As a public service, I herein give recaps so that you can acclimate . . .

Anatomy of a document
David Hines
November 28, 2007

In some old horror movie — probably in several — one hears the ominous exclamation, "It is alive!" Often the creature does not resemble anything we might think . . .

Speaking of liberty...
David Hines
October 23, 2007

To the consternation of many, Columbia University recently invited Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to speak. There are many things to find screwy about this event. As a . . .

Mutton chef
David Hines
September 18, 2007

I was asked recently what is appropriate for the people to vote upon. Are they to elect only their public officials, or is anything up for grabs in a referendum . . .

Sticking it to 'em
David Hines
August 24, 2007

A piece of wood — the English longbow — was the terror weapon of its day. With it the Welsh resisted invaders. It was capable of penetrating most armor, and . . .

Deals on wheels
David Hines
July 25, 2007

I once had a Corvair. It was a great car. It was fuel-efficient, very dependable, and easy to repair. With the engine over the drive wheels, it had excellent . . .

Tease for two
David Hines
June 21, 2007

Have you stopped beating your spouse? Yes or no? No other response is acceptable. Would you like being told that you must have a car, and must choose . . .

Dead presidents
David Hines
May 29, 2007

Have you noticed that candidates tend to portray themselves as the former presidents they least resemble? In the recent MSNBC debate, the Republicans . . .

Tying the not
David Hines
April 23, 2007

Many wives are on the outs with their in-laws; Elizabeth got a head start. She sat on a couch instead of on the floor. She wore leather shoes. She drank some . . .

For want of a nail
David Hines
March 30, 2007

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and General George Patton had a few traits in common. Both surnames have six letters, with double consonants in the center. Both . . .

The Ovarian Office?
David Hines
March 2, 2007

Many people seem to be enthused about a woman's running for president. They seem to value this almost to the exclusion of a discussion of her politics.  . . .

Minimizing our window
David Hines
January 26, 2007

As I write, Congress is debating the minimum wage. Regardless of how one feels about the issue, the language of the debate must strike us as bizarre. "We're . . .

The fetters of America
David Hines
January 4, 2007

In the struggles of the Diadochi after Alexander's death, the descendants of Antigonus were the ultimate victors. The Antigonids did not so much rule Greece as . . .

Skool is out
David Hines
November 29, 2006

I've listened to a few debates from across the nation during this election season. Quite a number of candidates who claim to care about education speak of the . . .

From general to specific
David Hines
October 26, 2006

I was recently asked the difference between general and specific welfare. It's amazing that many people, in and out of government, don't understand the . . .

Burning at both ends
David Hines
September 27, 2006

A democratic nation seeks energy independence. It relies upon outside sources for oil, and is investing in the development of alternatives. Its jobs are . . .

God and the machine
David Hines
August 24, 2006

Have you ever thrown a book against a wall upon discovering that the author wasted your time? I must confess, as even-tempered as I am, I have done so. The . . .

Byzantine baksheesh
David Hines
July 26, 2006

Politicians are bad for my survival. Every time I hear "bipartisan," I risk losing my recent acquisition of nutrients. They mouth this word like it's something . . .

Hobson's choice
David Hines
June 30, 2006

When each side of a catfight thinks you're allied with the opponent, you must be doing something right. I've been called a heartless conservative by Democrats . . .

Business as usual
David Hines
May 25, 2006

A great many people today blame capitalism for all the world's woes. If only those greedy businessmen could be controlled, they say, problems would disappear.  . . .

A fine day for paying fines
David Hines
April 28, 2006

In spring, a young man's fancy turns to tax forms. It does, at least, for the young man who was too busy with his sweetheart on Valentine's Day, shopping on . . .

David Hines
March 24, 2006

The passing within days of each other of two once-ubiquitous icons — Don Knotts and Dennis Weaver — prompted thoughts of shared mythos. At one time, the Andy . . .

Bulking up
David Hines
February 22, 2006

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, questions arose as to why a huge federal government and its massive agency, FEMA, responded so poorly. The Salvation Army was . . .

David Hines
December 29, 2005

Our leaders have done such an outstanding job of attaining the goals outlined in the preamble of the Constitution that they have moved on to other tasks.  . . .

Prophet and laws
David Hines
December 27, 2005

People often speak of profit as though it were an evil. But what is profit? It's a person saying that his/her labor or contribution of resources is valuable, . . .

Tempus pugit
David Hines
November 26, 2005

Pugilism is out of style these days. No longer is boxing the Friday night network staple my father enjoyed. There is zero tolerance for the school bully.  . . .

Promises, promises
David Hines
October 26, 2005

"Vote for me," he said. "I'll create jobs." He kept his promise. She estimates that Room 132 is on the site of her former kitchen. As she leaves work in . . .

Kings and not-kings
David Hines
September 29, 2005

To most people, "emperor" implies more arbitrary power than does "king." It was not always so. Rome's kingship ended when the son of King Tarquinius . . .

David Hines
August 27, 2005

According to legend, Romulus set the pomerium, i.e., the sacred boundary of the city, and the course of its defensive walls. Disgruntled at having lost the . . .

Reinventing ourselves
David Hines
July 27, 2005

It is a core belief in some political circles that centralized control is the impetus behind innovation, that if government doesn't fund and direct, it won't be . . .

Dirty fingernails
David Hines
June 25, 2005

When I was young, my mom had to sweep the porch every day. Soot from steel production settled every night. She no longer has that chore. The foundry is long . . .

Voter chow
David Hines
May 25, 2005

I keep hearing in ads that certain brands of pet food taste better. Better than what is not specified. I wonder whether the copywriter tasted the products to . . .

To everything there is a season
David Hines
April 28, 2005

The new growth of spring is happening around us. It brings to mind traditions of the quickening. In old England, it was common to burn off the furze in . . .

Serfing the Internet
David Hines
March 28, 2005

Much is made of the benefits of civilization. Certainly, there have been many advances. We live in a privileged age and place. Our markets are filled with . . .

Here's mud in your eye
David Hines
February 23, 2005

I heard somebody say, "Hines sight has 20-20 vision." Maybe so, with heroic optometric effort. How far is infinity? The optometrist's answer is "twenty . . .

On robots and respiration
David Hines
February 3, 2005

Computer programming is the definitive deterministic paradigm. The computer will not question your omniscience. It will do exactly as you tell it to. If you . . .

Blowing hot and cold
David Hines
December 28, 2004

With snow falling, my thoughts turn to global warming. Only three decades ago, experts were concerned about the opposite. The fear of global cooling was on . . .

Santa syndrome
David Hines
November 1, 2004

Years ago I knew a guy who had a plan to jump-start the economy. He called the White House to present it. "Let me speak to the President." "I'm sorry, . . .

Coasting to Perdition
David Hines
October 27, 2004

By and large, roller coasters are kid stuff. Not many octogenarians are fond of them. For good reason. The thrill is created by stressing the system. Heart . . .

Illness in Babel
David Hines
October 10, 2004

I find that a great number of people were surprised to learn that because one British company had a contamination problem, flu shots in the US would not be . . .

David Hines
July 16, 2004

Who says that TV is bad for youth? When I was a kid, horror movies and science fiction were standard Saturday fare. They have prepared me for the present day. . . .

Faith in the improbable
David Hines
July 11, 2004

I am quite confident that come November the sun will rise in the west. To date I've never seen it happen, but it's bound to one of these days. I am the . . .

Selling it
David Hines
June 11, 2004

Consider the pizza. I recently did as I was stuffing one into my face. This food item would once have been inconceivable in Italy. When tomatoes first . . .

Anonymity is not an option
David Hines
April 20, 2004

I was gratified to see the Government Reform Committee in hot action on the floor of the House. These stalwart defenders of liberty diligently debated the . . .

Elicio et vinca
David Hines
March 5, 2004

Geographical henotheism is the belief that various deities hold sway over different territories. In their own land they are more powerful than elsewhere.  . . .

Little wars and big fictions
David Hines
January 12, 2004

Despite a great deal of popular opposition, President Bush has welcomed more illegal aliens. There are many good, hardworking Latinos, and who can blame the . . .

Juris imprudence?
David Hines
January 7, 2004

Jury nullification, also called jury independence, is the principle that the jury has the right to judge not just the facts but also the law and its application . . .

Reason's greetings
David Hines
December 17, 2003

Merry Christmas! No, I make no apology for the greeting. If the holiday holds no meaning for you, it is merely another non sequitur, such as "ethical . . .

Hunting for justice
David Hines
December 10, 2003

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Norma Cramer says that if fined she will go to jail rather than pay. This senior citizen may be charged with . . .

Protection racket
David Hines
October 27, 2003

Whose job is it to protect the Constitution? In a recent discussion a young friend in the military said it's their job. Indeed, they take an oath to do so.  . . .

Net stalkings
David Hines
October 15, 2003

In medieval times, a serf worked a month a year to pay his dues to the lord. This year we worked through April 14 to pay off the feds. Then there are state, . . .

Take my home, country rogues
David Hines
October 11, 2003

According to some experts, one of the most pressing needs in Iraq is the guarantee of property rights. Under Saddam, title was not very secure. If you own . . .

Cargo cult
David Hines
October 8, 2003

When Allied troops arrived in Pacific islands during World War II, they would build runways. Soon planes arrived, bringing all sorts of goodies. The natives . . .

The more things change
David Hines
October 5, 2003

Dateline Washington, August 13, 2033— Tensions rose today as President Jenna Bush designated Canada, Switzerland, and Sweden as the "Axis of Discounts."  . . .

An ounce of perversion
David Hines
October 1, 2003

My attention was recently directed to an article about medical marijuana in Canada. The government operates herb gardens in subterranean installations. Some . . .

Road to Babel
David Hines
September 29, 2003

"Civilization’s enemies attack civilization’s foundational idea, the proposition that human nature is not infinitely plastic, that people cannot be socialized . . .

A crass menagerie
David Hines
September 22, 2003

If you've ever wondered why a standing ovation doesn't involve any sheep, take a gold star out of petty cash. A Roman general, celebrating a triumph, sacrificed . . .

Eden by fiat
David Hines
September 19, 2003

This is a very strange year. The fireflies have yet to appear. They're awaiting action in Congress which will specify acceptable colors of light. In accordance . . .

The emperor's new clothes
David Hines
September 17, 2003

Toward the end of the Republic wealthy Romans would spend tens of thousands of dollars on a dinner party, eating rare delicacies such as hummingbird breast and . . .

Looking glass economy
David Hines
September 12, 2003

How shall I rob thee? Let me count the ways. On a computer installation project once, the client, an accountant, asked my boss what sort of degree he held.  . . .

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.