World's stupidest defendant or lunatic? You decide. An eBay hacker in court yesterday, self-defended himself into the ground: Heckenkamp challenged the indictment against him on the grounds that it spells his name, Jerome T. Heckenkamp, in all capital letters, while he spells it with the first letter capitalized, and subsequent letters in lower case. This sounds ridiculous, but is apparently one of those wacky legal offshoots from people who believe that reality is malleable to their wishes.

Just as with some recent tax avoiders, these legal theologians believe that things they assert can be true just by wishing. The tax dodgers, with the help of some former IRS agents, state that tax law is actually a fake, and that only money paid by foreign corporations is taxable. What makes this funny is that they accept the jurisdiction of U.S. law in one area (tax law is invalid so can't be enforced) but reject it in another (the courts interpretation of tax law along with the actual law states you have to pay taxes). The courts have started fining and jailing people for even mentioning this tax scheme when they've been told not to.

The whole notion of tax avoidance makes me crazy. I see all these people who don't want to pay taxes as the least patriotic, least American folks out there. I am happy to pay taxes. I'd rather pay less, of course, but I know that at least a substantial portion of my tax money pays for the police, fire department, national defense, roads, medical support, etc. I don't like how all my tax money is spent, which means that as a voting American, I can use my vote, and as someone subject and beneficiary of the First Amendment, I can use my voice to change policies.

I'm not so naive as to believe that a single voice and vote can change the world, but I have felt more strongly after September 11 that my opinions aren't just my own. I look at the savvy college kids today using the market's own power to throw their weight behind better working conditions for folks around the world and think, the world may be slowly becoming a better place in spite of itself. September 11 reaffirmed my faith in mankind in the aftermath, and seemed just one more death throe of ego-driven terrorism divorced from true faith, and repudiated by folks of all ideologies.