Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Quote of the Day.
For generations our primary vision of a dystopian future has been that of Orwell's 1984. This was a fundamentally "masculine" nightmare of fascist brutality. But with the demise of the Soviet Union and the vanishing memory of the great twentieth-century fascist and communist dictatorships, the nightmare vision of 1984 is slowly fading away. In its place, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is emerging as the more prophetic book. As we unravel the human genome and master the ability to make people happy with televised entertainment and psychoactive drugs, politics is increasingly a vehicle for delivering prepackaged joy. America's political system used to be about the pursuit of happiness. Now more and more of us want to stop chasing it and have it delivered.

Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism, p. 20
Couldn't let that one pass unquoted.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On the Next Überpost.

Yes, I know I've been promising it for a while, but so far it's gone through three iterations and I still don't have it hammered out to a conclusion I can live with. This one's very complex, and complicated by the fact that I'm currently reading Liberal Fascism which plays directly on the topic I'm writing about.

So I'm going to shelve it (again) until I can complete Liberal Fascism and get all my metaphorical ducks in a row. It seems like every day I find some new news article or old archived post by someone that I bookmark and stick in the file for this piece.

I think this one's going to be long, even for me.

The current working title, if you're interested, is "The George Orwell Daycare Center," and it's a much reworked and very extended takeoff from an earlier post, Philosophy melded with a more recent one, Human Reconstruction, the Healing of Souls, and the Remaking of Society, with a lot of other stuff mixed in, and a little RCOB thrown in for spice.

In the mean time, short filler posts. Sorry.
Yes, Exactly.

From the Toronto Star - "A look beyond the handgun ban":
David Kennedy, an anthropologist at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York, is the godfather of this approach. In 1996, when he was a professor at Harvard, Kennedy launched the Boston Gun Project, the first intervention of its kind. It reduced gun crime in the city by 60 per cent. Since then, it has blossomed to a number of cities across the U.nited States.

Kennedy views bans, like the one Miller is pushing for, as a symptom of the problem, not a cure. "For people desperately searching for a solution, it seems like it makes sense," says Kennedy. "What they don't understand is that there are better tools that don't require law to implement, and are practically cookbook and off-the-shelf."

Chicago's Project Safe Neighbourhoods is close to Kennedy's prescription (he helped advise on the project); Cincinnati's Initiative to Reduce Violence is its full manifestation. In Cincinnati, gun-related homicides spiked in 2006 to 89, more than double the annual average, since 1991, of 43.

Kennedy's research team unpacked what he calls typical trends: They identified 69 distinct street groups, comprising about 1,000 people. Of the 89 homicides, these 1,000 people – less than half a per cent of the city's population – were connected to more than 75 per cent of them.

Identifying the problem makes the solution relatively simple, Kennedy says. "If we change the behaviour of these people, we solve the problem."
(Emphasis mine.) Precisely what I've been saying since I started this blog. In America, and I assume pretty much worldwide, the vast majority of violent crime is committed by a tiny percentage of the population, almost all of whom have prior criminal records. As I have noted here in the past, American homicide rates are heavily skewed by the fact that young, black, urban males - who make up less than 13% of America's population - commit and are the victims of well over half the homicides America suffers each year. And on top of that, the young, black, urban males that actually commit the murders are a tiny fraction of that 13%.

But the political response to this is "gun control"?

As SayUncle says, "Gun control is what you do instead of something."

But the philosophy says the number of guns is the problem, not the behavior of a tiny, identifiable group of people, and since the philosophy cannot be wrong, the consistent failure of the "solution" - gun control - cannot be because the wrong path is being pursued. No, no! The failure must be due to improper implementation! The only response must be to do it again, only HARDER!.

(h/t: Say Uncle)

UPDATE and correction: Chris Byrne in comments notes:
Actually, blacks as a whole are about 14% of the population.

Young, male, urban blacks, are about 3% of the population.

Of those, 24% have a felony criminal record.

It's not about race, it's just demographics.
He's right, and I knew that. According to the CDC's data:

2005 - Total population 296,507,061
Black males 10-34 years old 7,763,680, or 2.62% of the population.

Homicides (all) - 10,438
Black males 10-34 - 5,181,

2.62% of the population, 49.6% of the victims.

One-gun-a-month laws, closing the "gun show loophole," licensing, registration, "assault weapon" bans, and handgun bans will somehow make this all go away because "the number of guns" in America is the problem.

No it's not.
Identifying the problem makes the solution relatively simple, Kennedy says. "If we change the behaviour of these people, we solve the problem."
Yes indeed.
Quote of the Day.
Both campaigns are showing how green they are by filling mailboxes with metric tons of ads printed on the pulped carcasses of dead trees. The airwaves are jammed with promises that Barack will heal the sick and the blind, Hillary will get you a gold house and a rocket car, and both of them are promising they'll not only slash gas prices and punish rich fat cats, but they'll also get you a great-paying job and your own personal physician to live at your house and fix what ails you for free, Free, FREE!
Tam, from Misunderstanding the concept
Read the whole thing, because she's bang-on about what the job of President is supposed to be limited to.

And McCain? His only saving grace is he's not promising you your own personal physician. Like I said, he's the least objectionable repulsive Democrat in the race.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Quote of the Day.
Obama wants me to believe that a candidate who: (1) was utterly supine and silent for 20 years in his own church as racial hate was propagated by the pastor; (2) who refuses to condemn a prominent supporter and fundraiser for whom bombing American sites is still seen as a good thing, and (3) who has said not a single word on the campaign trail as his party heavyweights removed post-Abramoff earmark reforms... is a candidate who will stand up to Washington interests and change the way business is done. While helping get America past its racial issues, and healing its political divides. That a candidate talking up charter schools as part of the solution, who has received positive ratings from teachers unions for blocking them, is to be taken at face value.

50 bucks for that whole bridge, you say?

Joe Katzman, Straining Belief: The Obama Campaign & Michelle's UCLA Speech

RTWT.
Is it Me...

...or have the comment threads gotten much quieter over the last week or so? ;-D
New Bumper Sticker on the Sidebar.

Click it for the full-size image. I got the idea here.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Shooting Steel.

I shot my second Pima Pistol Club Steelworker's match today, and did fairly well. They haven't got the scores posted to the web yet (don't know if they will, either) but I finished third in the Stock pistol class - and I was shooting my single-stack Kimber Classic with 8-round magazines. My total time for the five stages was a tick over 175 seconds, which was a good distance behind second place, but that guy was shooting a Browning Hi-Power, using Europellets and magazines with capacities as high as 17 rounds. He didn't change mags much!

Overall, I'm pretty happy with my performance today, though I really, really need to work on my speed at controlled pairs.

UPDATE - 4/28: Will has some constructive criticism.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Range Report:.

Back from the Elsy Pearson rifle range outside of Casa Grande. First, I want to say something about the range itself. The city of Casa Grande has done a very nice job improving the range; raising the berms, providing covered shooting positions on the shorter bays, adding benches on the 50 yard range, and putting up fencing around the facility. My only complaint is that the fencing prevents vehicles from driving down the long (250 yard) bay. This makes toting out my 32-lb. 9"x12"x1" steel AR-500 plates a no-go anymore. Needless to say, they didn't make the trip this time.

The range is (currently) unattended - there are no rangemasters, so shooters are on their own recognizance. This is a mixed blessing because as we all know sometimes shooters are our own worst enemies. Rangemasters can sometimes resemble Eric "RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH!" Cartman, or other shooters on the range can sometimes be unsafe. (Yes, we admit it.) But today (as has been my past experience there) everyone was polite and safe.

The other downside of the range, since it's unattended, is that it has no target stands and no restroom facilities other than "I'm going to step around this berm here..." The latter wasn't much of an issue today, but I don't have an actual target stand. I bought one of those cheap-ass "stick it in the ground" cardboard supports, but apparently the designer of this wonder of engineering has never heard of caliche. I had a little trouble setting up suitable target for a bit.

After getting unpacked and setting up the chronograph, I fired five rounds, cleaned, fired five more and cleaned again. Then I fired ten rounds through the chrono. While I was doing this I was getting the scope on target by aiming at rocks. This rifle is heavy enough that even shooting 175 grain rounds I could generally see the bullet impact downrange. Not always, but more often than not. Because the scope base has 20 MOA built into it, I had the elevation of the scope cranked all the way down. Good thing, too. I only brought it up about 1-½ turns to get it close at 200 yards. Windage was very close out of the box, so the scope mount is true to the bore.

The chronograph, a Chrony Beta Master, did not retain the information for my load which was 43.5 grains of Varget under the Sierra 175 grain MatchKing in a Lapua case touched off by a CCI BR-2 Large Rifle Benchrest primer. (Use at your own risk - I'm not responsible if this load blows up your gun!) To the best of my memory, the average velocity was about 2660 fps with an extreme spread of 75fps and a standard deviation of about 25fps, which is at best fair for a long-range load. I need to get the standard deviation down into the low teens or better.

Still, how'd it shoot?

Well, here are two sample groups from when I was getting the scope onto paper:

That was my second 5-shot group. This was my third one:


That's at 200 yards. Winds were light, but occasionally gusty. I won't blame any of those shots on wind. (Dammit.)

The interesting thing about the Leupold Tactical Milling Reticle in this scope is that at 14X there is an exactly ½ mill space in the center of the crosshairs. The orange target dots are 1" in diameter, so they subtend ½ mill at 200 yards (or close enough not to be able to tell the difference.) I tried my damnedest to keep that tiny orange dot in the dead center of the reticle. Seems to work!

I spent the rest of my 50 rounds busting rocks and then plinking the steel targets located up on the side of the mountain that is the ultimate backstop at the Casa Grande range. I need to get a laser rangefinder next, because I estimate the plates I was shooting at were at about 600 yards. I hit 'em a few times, too! (I will blame wind - and range estimation - for the misses there.)

I had to remount the scope when I got home. Unfortunately at 14X the eye relief was too short for me to shoot comfortably, so I loosened the mount screws and shifted it back two notches on the base. That ought to work much better now, but I'm going to have to re-zero the scope. (*Damn!* Work, work, work, that's all this hobby is!)

Next up on the agenda is to load another 50 of the 175SMKs over a bit lighter powder charge, and 50 of the Lapua 155 grain Scenar hollowpoints that are just as long as the SMKs. The primers on the first fifty flattened a tiny bit, but there was significant primer cup flow into the firing pin hole of bolt face. I think that load is just a bit hot for this rifle.

I also ran 100 rounds of my new .45ACP load through my Kimber Classic and Eclipse. I'm using the Ranier Ballistics 200 grain hollowpoint over 7.0 grains of Unique touched off with WLP primers. (Same warning - use this load data at your own risk!) The cases are mostly WCC once-fired match brass. Feed, function, and accuracy were on par with the (much more expensive) Speer 200 grain Gold Dot, so this is going to be my match ammo from now on. Now I need to load a couple hundred of them so I can shoot in the Pima Pistol Steelworker's match tomorrow morning.

Finally, I still have to scrub the Remington barrel squeaky clean and treat it with Ultra Bore Coat before my next outing. I'm not much of a believer in "breaking in" a barrel, but I did want to get some rounds out of the rifle before treating it. Right now it's definitely a sub-MOA gun. I want it to stay that way.

UPDATE: Here's a shot of fired vs. unfired primers.


Pressure, no?
Off to the Range!.

Report to follow.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bathroom Cleansers Cause Suicide.

We must ban them, for the chillllldren!
Japan teenager commits gas suicide, 120 evacuated

TOKYO — About 120 people were evacuated from their apartments in western Japan after a 14-year-old girl killed herself by producing and inhaling poisonous hydrogen sulphide gas, the local fire department said on Thursday.

The increasing use of such poisonous gas to commit suicide has received much media attention in Japan in recent months, after websites showed methods of creating the gas with bathroom cleansers.

At least 40 such cases of suicides have taken place this year, Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported last week, citing the Japan Suicide Prevention Association.

Almost 90 people, including the girl's mother who had been out at the time, went to hospital in Konan City on Wednesday night after the apartment "smelled like rotten eggs" from the hydrogen sulphide that the girl made, the local fire department said.

A note saying "poisonous gas being produced" was posted on the door of the girl's apartment, and police found a bathroom cleanser container in the apartment that may have been used for making the gas, the fire department said.

Japan has the second highest suicide rate in the Group of Eight nations after Russia, a World Health Organization report showed.

The annual number of suicides has been above 30,000 for nine years in a row, police figures showed last year.
Boy, it's a good thing they don't have any guns! The entire population of Japan would be dead inside a year!

The G8 nations are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The WHO report the piece refers to is probably this one (PDF file) from 2004 which gives rates per 100,000 population for males and females separately according to the latest (available at the time) data.

For males the G8 rankings are as follows:

Russia: 69.3 (2002)
Japan: 35.2 (2000)
France: 26.1 (2001)
Germany: 20.4 (2001)
Canada: 18.4 (2000)
United States: 17.1 (2000)
United Kingdom: 11.8 (1999)
Italy: 10.9 (2000)

For females:

Japan: 13.4
Russia: 11.9
France: 9.4
Germany: 7.4
Canada: 5.2
United States: 4.0
Italy: 3.5
United Kingdom: 3.3

Wait... We have all those guns. Almost one for every man, woman, and child in the country! Guns cause suicide! I read that all the time!

Why aren't we all dead?

(Or are we being lied to?)
Memeage.

Just for the hell of it, I thought I'd do this meme even though no one (to my knowledge) tagged me with it:

1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. No cheating!
2. Find page 123.
3. Find the first five sentences.
4. Post the next three sentences.

Now, I'm not going to post a picture of my reloading/blogging/websurfing area (it looks like the aftermath of a tornado), but bear in mind I've got books on just about every horizontal surface to my left and right - and one is a 7' tall bookshelf with six shelves. But it just so happens that I have a book on my computer desk (under a pile of stuff) so that's the one I'm pulling.

Here we go:
I am really, sir, the English public schoolboy. That's an eighteenth-century product. What with the love of truth that - God help me! - they rammed into me at Clifton and the belief Arnold forced upon Rugby that the vilest of sins - the vilest of all sins - is to peach to the head master!
That's a portion of an excerpt from Tom Brown's School Days taken by James Bowman for his book Honor: A History in the chapter "Honor Between the Wars."

Now I'm supposed to tag five others, but... meh.

Now (Finally) I Get to See if it Shoots

As promised, pictures of the Remington 700 5R with the Leupold on it, and an extra, added bonus:






As always, click for full size.

The rings are Burris Xtreme Tactical low mounts. Everybody I tried was out of stock on the medium height rings, but when the scope came in, I set it on the 20MOA mount and the objective bell cleared the barrel, so low rings would work perfectly - and those were in stock! Kudos to OpticsPlanet.com who not only had them, but had them for less than Midway and shipped UPS ground at no extra charge. The rings and that spirit level both showed up today.

The spirit level is courtesy of Ninth Stage, who offered me one of my choice of sizes back when I bought the rifle. After I ordered the Leupold I emailed him and asked if the offer was still open, and he sent me not one, but two - I now have a 1" version I think I'll put on the scope on my XP-100 pistol! They're very nice. He still has a few left, so if you'd like to buy one I'm sure he'll make you a good deal.

So the plan now is to make a trip to the range on Saturday to try out the Remington with my 175 grain Matchking load and zero the scope, and also to make sure my new 200 grain hollowpoint Rainier Ballistic .45ACP loads feed, function, and hit what I aim at in preparation for Sunday's Pima Pistol Steelworker's match.

Ohboyohboyohboy!

(This is a gunblog, after all! It can't be all politics, all the time.)
Quote of the Day.
Much like Eric Cartman, my hatred for hippies cannot become more intense without physically manifesting itself as a glowing orb which would follow me around occasionally bellowing things like “BRING ME THE HEAD OF ED BEGLEY JUNIOR!” or “MARTIN SHEEN MUST BE PUNISHED IN THE FLAMES OF A THOUSAND POUNDS OF STYROFOAM!” - Stingray from Atomic Nerds post Earth Day: Of COURSE it Pisses Me Off

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I Cannot Argue With this Logic...

...and I don't even drink beer!
From a friend in Europe:
"We in Denmark cannot figure out why you are even bothering to hold an
election.

"On one side, you have a bitch who is a lawyer, married to a lawyer, and a
lawyer who is married to a bitch who is a lawyer.

"On the other side, you have a true war hero married to a woman with a huge
chest who owns a beer distributorship.

"Is there a contest here?"
Shamelessly stolen from Firehand at Irons in the Fire.

Suddenly my painful duty come November is somehow less painful!
Quote of the Day.
If everyone understood science, and the scientific method, even reasonably well, there would be no such thing as liberalism. - Og in a comment at Tam's

Monday, April 21, 2008

OK, Who's Telling the Truth Here?


Regarding Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, the Ben Stein documentary that I referred to below, we have two conflicting stories. One, as apparently told by the documentary, is that Richard Sternberg, a staff scientist at the National Institutes of Health and (former) editor of Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington was responsible for the publishing of a "a pro-intelligent design article" by one Stephen C. Meyer. Meyer is referred to as "a proponent of intelligent design" by NPR, but as "director and Senior Fellow of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute" by the Institute itself.

It appears that the film, according to this site "claims that Sternberg was 'terrorized' and that 'his life was nearly ruined'...." Further: “The paper ignited a firestorm of controversy merely because it suggested intelligent design might be able to explain how life began.”

NPR reports:
Sternberg says his colleagues and supervisors at the Smithsonian were furious. He says -- and an independent report backs him up -- that colleagues accused him of fraud, saying they did not believe the Meyer article was really peer reviewed. It was.

Eventually, Sternberg filed a complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which protects federal employees from reprisals. The office launched an investigation. Ultimately, it could not take action, because Sternberg is not an employee of the Smithsonian.

But Sternberg says before closing the case, the special counsel, James McVay, called him with an update. "As he related to me, 'the Smithsonian Institution's reaction to your publishing the Meyer article was far worse than you imagined,'" Sternberg says.

McVay declined an interview. But in a letter to Sternberg, he wrote that officials at the Smithsonian worked with the National Center for Science Education -- a group that opposes intelligent design -- and outlined "a strategy to have you investigated and discredited." Retaliation came in many forms, the letter said. They took away his master key and access to research materials. They spread rumors that Sternberg was not really a scientist. He has two Ph.D.'s in biology -- from Binghamton University and Florida International University. In short, McVay found a hostile work environment based on religious and political discrimination.

After repeated calls and e-mails to the Smithsonian, a spokesman told NPR, "We have no public comment, and we won't have one in the future."
The anti-Expelled site has a different take:
Expelled doesn't even get the paper's subject right. The paper was not about how life began; it was about the Cambrian Explosion, which occurred about three billion years later. The greater error is claiming that the discussion of ID generated the controversy. There was an understandable outcry from members of the Biological Society of Washington over the embarrassing publication of what they recognized as poorly-written, inaccurate science in their journal. The argument presented in the Meyer paper had previously been reviewed and rejected by scientists. Seeing this shoddy science in their journal indeed "ignited a firestorm", but not for the reasons given in Expelled. For more on why the paper was bad science, see the review published on the Panda's Thumb blog and the review in the Palaeontological Society Newsletter.

The first question asked by BSW members was "how did this paper ever get published?" According to the Council of the Biological Society of Washington, Sternberg failed to follow proper procedure in publishing the paper: "Contrary to typical editorial practices, the paper was published without review by any associate editor; Sternberg handled the entire review process. The Council, which includes officers, elected councilors, and past presidents, and the associate editors would have deemed the paper inappropriate for the pages of the Proceedings because the subject matter represents such a significant departure from the nearly purely systematic content for which this journal has been known throughout its 122-year history." The BSW withdrew the paper in embarrassment, emphasizing that the paper was substandard science. It commented that the society endorsed "a resolution on ID published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2002/1106id2.shtml), which observes that there is no credible scientific evidence supporting ID as a testable hypothesis to explain the origin of organic diversity. Accordingly, the Meyer paper does not meet the scientific standards of the Proceedings."

Though Sternberg claimed that he was the best qualified to handle the review process, science blogger Ed Brayton notes that this is not the case: (Quote omitted)

The fact that Sternberg published the Meyer paper in his second-to-last scheduled issue as editor, and that he didn’t follow normal procedure, suggests that he knew that his actions and the paper would be seen as objectionable by his fellow scientists.
It continues:
The Claim: “In October, as the OSC complaint recounts, [Sternberg’s supervisor] Mr. Coddington told Mr. Sternberg to give up his office and turn in his keys to the departmental floor, thus denying him access to the specimen collections he needs.” (Wall Street Journal editorial, linked from Expelled website)
That is correct per the WSJ piece.

But it's apparently not true:
The Facts

According to Coddington in a January 2005 communication, “Well prior to the publication of the Meyer article and my awareness of it, I asked him and another Research Associate to move as part of a larger and unavoidable reorganization of space involving 17 people and 20 offices. He agreed. I offered both individuals new, identical, standard Research Associate work spaces. The other accepted, but Dr. von Sternberg declined and instead requested space in an entirely different part of the Museum, which I provided, and which he currently occupies.”

The Smithsonian wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal, observing, “Dr. Sternberg’s characterization of his work conditions and treatment at the Smithsonian is incorrect. He was never denied office space, keys or access to the collections.”

In a January 30, 2006, letter responding to Sternberg’s concerns, Smithsonian Deputy Secretary & Chief Operating Officer Sheila Burke explained:

“As you know, as part of an effort to enhance security at the Museum, all researchers were asked to return their keys in 2004, and were issued coded identification badges to provide access to non-public areas. The badge you were issued, which provides general access to doors and elevators, is still operative. If you have any problems gaining access to conduct your research, however please contact the Security office at NMNH. In accordance with NMNH policy, please return your old keys as soon as possible to your sponsor, Dr. Vari.”

In short, Sternberg has turned two bits of bureaucratic minutiae affecting an entire division of the museum – a switch from keys to ID badges and a routine shuffling of office space – into a conspiracy to undermine him personally.
There's more, and I suggest you follow the leads, but the way it appears to me is that Richard Sternberg pulled a fast one - for whatever reason - and it resulted in a firestorm of criticism that he has since blown out of proportion - with the willing assistance of the Discovery Institute.

And this isn't one-sided, either. Watch this YouTube video of what happens when you oppose support of Intelligent Design:



You can bet that didn't turn up in Expelled.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Quote of the Day.

From Van der Leun:
(T)he Internet makes it drop-dead easy to find at least 30 things that really piss you off before your first cup of coffee cools. I don't care where you're coming from, this axiom (15 Minutes Internet = 30 Things That Frost Your Cookies) is universal.
Here's One I Hadn't Heard Before.

Via email from a family friend:
A stranger was seated next to a little girl on the airplane when the stranger turned to her and said, 'Let's talk. I've heard that flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.'

The little girl, who had just opened her book, closed it slowly and said to the stranger, 'What would you like to talk about?'

'Oh, I don't know,' said the stranger. 'How about nuclear power?' and he smiles.

'OK,' she said. 'That could be an interesting topic. But let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff - grass - yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, and a horse produces clumps of dried grass. Why do you suppose that is?'

The stranger, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence, thinks about it and says, 'Hmmm, I have no idea.'

To which the little girl replies, 'Do you really feel qualified to discuss nuclear power when you don't know shit?'

Saturday, April 19, 2008

How Did I Miss This?.(Quote of the Day)

Via Ninth Stage, from James Likeks, February 20:
On the radio today Medved and Hewitt both asked Obama supporters to call and say why they were supporting their man. Specifics, please. The replies were rather indistinct. He would end the division and bring us together by encouraging us all to talk about common problems, after which we would compromise. He will give us hope by giving us hope: for many, the appeal has the magical perfect logic of a tautology. It's a nice dream. But compromise is impossible when you have a fundamental differences about the proper way to solve a problem. I believe we can achieve a fair society by taking away your house and giving it to someone else. I disagree. It is my house. Then let us agree to give away half of your house. Compromise! But that is not a compromise. You have taken half my house. We have compromised on your behalf with those who would have taken it all. Let us not return to the politics of division. There are strangers living in my spare bedroom. Then we have truly come together. Look, this isn't a matter on which we can compromise, because we have conflicting premises. You're pretending matter and anti-matter have the same relationship as Coke and Pepsi. They don't.

If he wins, I do look forward to dissenting; since it’s been established as the highest form of patriotism, I expect my arguments will be met with grave respect. Shhhh! He’s dissenting.
RTWT.
I've GOT to Work on My Split Times...

I shot my second Tucson Action Shooters Club pistol match this morning. Again, I didn't come in last - just eleventh out of thirteen shooters. I had only one malfunction - me, not seating a magazine properly - that cost me about ten seconds to fix, and possibly one position on the final score sheet.

I don't miss much at all, but my biggest problem is my split-times - the time between shots when putting two on the same target. I really need to practice getting that second shot off, and accurately, fast. I watch a lot of the guys "spray-n-pray," and it works for them, but most of them are using double-stack magazines with ten or more rounds. I'm shooting 8-round single-stack. I can't afford to miss, or I'll be wasting time reloading.

However, if you'll note: Larry M. James and I (who finished 10th 8th and 11th respectively) took second in the team events. I'm pretty happy about that.

Friday, April 18, 2008

30 Years Sounds About Right...

...with no parole.
Men Steal Bullet Parts Intended For Iraq, Afghanistan From Army

A couple of Lake City Ammunition Plant employees learned the hard way that it's never a good idea to steal from the Army.

They face serious jail time accused of stealing thousands of pounds of copper parts used to make bullets.

Charles Dale Osborn from Odessa and Timothy Duane Langebin from Independence face serious federal charges. They're accused of stealing more than 16,000 pounds of copper and selling it to a salvage company in Moberly.

Dave Fusselman said he wasn't sure why the two men were bringing the pieces to his Moberly, Missouri salvage company every three or four weeks. He could have looked the other way, but instead he called police.

"They never suspected someone out here would take down their plate and watch them," Fusselman said.

The US Attorney's office said the two Lake City Army Ammunition Plant employees were stealing bullet cups used to make 7.62 millimeter rounds for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It's not very often that someone dares to interrupt the flow of ammunition to the troops," John Cowles, Asst. US Attorney said.

Cowles said the stolen copper would have made 1.5 million rounds of ammo, about two weeks worth of production at the plant. The suspects made more than $45,000 from selling it but now they face sabotage of war materials charges, which could mean as much as 30 years in federal prison.

"It's very unique," Cowles said. "I've never been involved with anything that had to do with such a direct impact against United States Armed Forces when they are conducting combat operations somewhere."

"Those guys weren't dumb so much as they came across the wrong operation," Fusselman said.

Knowing now where the copper came from, Fusselman hopes the plant evaluates security.

"It's amazing that many loads of copper came out and there's no system in place to show they were coming up short," he said.

Fusselman said he was concerned he'd have to pay back the Army for the copper but he got a letter from the US Attorney saying he could keep it. The plant felt it could be damaged and couldn't make bullets out of it and the US Attorney said he should be rewarded for doing the right thing.
1: Kudos to the plant owner for speaking up.

2: WTF is wrong with the Lake City arsenal that they didn't notice 16,000 lbs of missing copper jacket cups? (Rhetorical question. Yes, I know the answer - "Government.")

3: Kudos to the Justice Dept. for not gigging the guy who fingered the thieves. Damned straight he should be rewarded.

4: I don't know if I'm more impressed that 16,000 lbs of jacket cups are needed to make 1.5 million rounds or that it only takes the plant about two weeks to crank out that many!

Story h/t to Gandalf23.
Quote of the Day.

From George F. Will:
Barack Obama may be exactly what his supporters suppose him to be. Not, however, for reasons most Americans will celebrate.

Obama may be the fulfillment of modern liberalism. Explaining why many working-class voters are "bitter," he said they "cling" to guns, religion and "antipathy to people who aren't like them" because of "frustrations." His implication was that their primitivism, superstition and bigotry are balm for resentments they feel because of America's grinding injustice.

By so speaking, Obama does fulfill liberalism's transformation since Franklin Roosevelt. What had been under FDR a celebration of America and the values of its working people has become a doctrine of condescension toward those people and the supposedly coarse and vulgar country that pleases them.
Not the QotD, but do read the whole thing.

This is the QotD:
I was appalled at last night's debate and it further proves my point that we may not deserve someone like Barack Obama. One would think that that the first 45 minutes would cover important issues like the economy, Iraq, health care, and education. The four topics discussed?

-whether or not Obama is an elitist vis a vis his comments in San Francisco
-Reverend Wright
-William Ayers
-Flag pins.

If these are the issues that people want to focus on, our country is doomed. There is no other way to put it. I am hoping that voters in 2008 are smarter than that.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Discriminating.

Remember when that word meant "discerning," or "judicious?" Whereas now it means "bigoted" or "prejudiced."

Well, I'm guilty of prejudice.

There are two documentary films out, or coming out, that I find interesting for different reasons. One I want to see. I've prejudged it, and judiciously discerned that it's worth some of my time. The other, I don't. I've prejudged it, and judiciously discerned that it's not worth my time or my dime.

The one I want to see, and am willing to spend some of my hard-earned money on, is Indoctrinate-U by Evan Coyne Maloney. Regular readers of TSM will understand why.

The one I'm going to skip is Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed by and with Ben Stein. You know, I like Ben Stein, but I think as he gets older he's getting further and further "out there." This movie pretty much settles it for me - I can't take him seriously any longer.

UPDATE, 4/20: WRT Expelled, quoth Professor Reynolds,
I hate writing about this stuff because -- pardon me while I speak plainly -- the people on both sides of this issue are assholes. I mean, even by the low standards of Internet discussion. I'm getting email calling me a "theocon shill" for mentioning Stein, and email telling me I'll burn in hell for calling Intelligent Design "pernicious twaddle." Frankly, the rabid atheists and the rabid creationists seem an awful lot alike, and no proper hell could be truly hellish without the both of them yammering away at each other. Feh.
Er, "amen"? I mean, I'm not getting the "fanmail" he is, but I certainly understand his position.
More Right-Wing Language Manipulation.

It's getting to be all-Markadelphia-all-the-time around here (and that sh!#'s going to cease, soon) but here's his latest comment on my previous post, which - once again - requires a response:
Alright, so I guess I am little perplexed here.
Surprise, surprise.
When you first posted on my blog, Kevin, it was in regards to the Zumbo affair. You assured me that the large majority of gun owners were not Nazis and that Zumbo was out of line for calling people who owned AKs terrorists.
They are not, and he was. But you skipped over the part where he called for a ban.
You also have assured me that gun owners , especially the ones that read and post here, are fighting for their individual rights. You have accused liberals of being fascists, insisting and demanding that their way is the "right" way, forcing people to think and believe their truth and that you are not like that.
And here we have the redefinition of terms.

Markadelphia's "fascist" point is brought up by the recent discussion of Jonah Goldberg's current bestseller Liberal Fascism, wherein Mr. Goldberg points out the philosophical underpinnings of the modern Liberal/Progressive movement, and that those underpinnings share - in remarkable lockstep - the same basic philosophic principles of actual fascism. Problem is, there's no real agreed-upon definition for the word "fascism," because it's been abused to the point throughout the last seventy-plus years that it has simply become synonymous with "bad." Mr. Goldberg presents his own definition, going back to Mussolini, which I think is an accurate one:
Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the "problem" and therefore is defined as the enemy.
Apparently Markadelphia's understanding of the word "fascism" is limited to the last sentence of that definition.

He is, as usual, in error.
I listened to Schoenke on the radio today and he made it pretty clear that he is the enemy of NRA and gun bloggers like yourself. I have read the things that have been said about him, including the Confederate Yankee blog, and I have to say I see a pattern developing here that doesn't jibe with what you have told me. I'm afraid I'm having trouble seeing any allowance for individuality at all. Instead, I see a group of people saying basically the same thing:

Think like us..exactly like us..ANY wavering and....you are against us, are our enemy, and do not support 2nd amendment rights.

Correct me if I am wrong (Glad to.) but isn't this the very thing that you accuse liberals of doing?

If the reaction occurred with just the Zumbo thing...well...he did call decent people terrorists...but now Schoenke? Who will be next?
Here's the difference for you, Markadelphia:

Mr. Schoenke and his compatriots want to use the government ("the state") to take any action that they deem necessary to achieve "the common good." You know: "The last law didn't help, but the philosophy cannot be wrong. Do it again, only HARDER!"

I, and those like me here, want the government to do only that which it is chartered to do, and part of that charter is to protect and defend the pre-existing right to arms. As you note, Mr. Schoenke has declared us his enemy, because we don't want state power used against us in his quest to achieve that which they believe is "good." We oppose his objectives. It just so happens that we all believe (largely) the same thing - that the state should not do what he wants it to do. Some of us (David Codrea comes immediately to mind) are far more militant than others, but what we all share is a common understanding of what our form of government is not supposed to have the power to do. It's the niggling details on which we disagree. But David is not my enemy, nor am I his.

None of us want to use the government to "impose uniformity of thought and action." Ray Schoenke does, and his excuse is the achievement of "the common good" according to his beliefs.

So which of us fits the definition of "fascist" better?

Re-read Mr. Goldberg's definition of "fascism." Read up on the history of Mussolini prior to WWII.

Then think very hard about your support for Barack Obama in conjunction with the sentence,
"It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people."
I would ask: "Recognize yourself?" but I know that question would be futile.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I'm Not Fast Enough...

In comments to my previous post, Markadelphia proffers his "proof" that Barack (middle name shall not be mentioned) Obama is not anti-gun:
And now comes the comment that you all have been waiting for...demanding that I give you..I have to admit that even I was shocked when I heard this just a few short minutes ago driving home....

http://www.huntersandshooters.co...d=212& Itemid=70

Read and weep, folks. Could this group be part of the "millions" who were offended as Kevin says? And what could this piece of legislation be that Mr. Schoenke is talking about?

http://www.senate.gov/legislativ...on=2& vote=00202

So, could it be true? Did the "gun grabber" Obama actually vote in favor of gun rights? Are their some gun owners that favor Obama? Well, Unix and Ed asked for proof that Obama was not a gun grabber. There's your proof, fellas.

According to Schoenke, he thinks the latest furor is "a bunch of nonsense." He also went on to say that Senator Obama is a "firm supporter of 2nd amendment rights."

Oh, but wait...according to other gun advocacy groups (and I am CERTAIN everyone here ) the American Hunters and Shooters Association aren't a "real" gun advocacy group. They are anti-gun. Odd, because their web site sure looks like they enjoy guns quite a bit.
And you believe everything you see - as long as it matches what you expect to see. We've been all through this, ad nauseam, in the comment threads.
So, there you have it, folks. A group of gun owners who weren't offended by Obama's comments, have endoresed him, and actually listed key legislation that he voted for in favor of 2nd amendment rights. Shocking...appalling....whatever will you do?
As I've mentioned before, one of the "problems" with the growing gunblogging community is getting something posted before someone else does it first - and better.

I give you Confederate Yankee's take. Please, go read.

Mark, don't bother.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Don't Know Why, But This Still Astounds Me...

First, I discover that in July of last year, Senator Obama asked a crowd of Iowans:
"Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?” the senator said. "I mean, they're charging a lot of money for this stuff."
The New York Times helpfully informs its "hip, urban" audience:
The state of Iowa, for all of its vast food production, does not have a Whole Foods, a leading natural and organic foods market. The closest? Omaha, Minneapolis or Kansas City.

Mr. Obama, perhaps sensing a lack of reaction from the crowd, moved along to the next topic. After all, he never claimed to be a farming expert.
Just a guess, but I'm willing to bet most Iowa farmers are more familiar with iceberg lettuce than arugula, and most non-farming Iowans shop at the local Fareway which probably doesn't carry arugula. The NYT covers his faux pas with its glib "He never claimed to be a farming expert" line, but what he illustrated was that he had absolutely no feel for (and I'll capitalize) Middle America.

And he still doesn't.

Nor is he alone in this, apparently obviously.

I was also not aware that his latest "guns and God, xenophobia and bigotry" gaffe was reported by none other than his acolytes at The Huffington Post by someone who supports him and who paid $2,300 to see him at that posh Hollywood mansion appearance that was otherwise closed to the media. Not only that, but the piece written by Mayhill Fowler was submitted for editorial review! And Ariana Huffington herself, while on David Geffen's palatial yacht in Tahiti (probably eating arugula in her salads), gave it the go-ahead!

I am reminded of Bernard Goldberg's analysis of Eric Enberg's CBS Evening News "Reality Check" piece from the 1996 campaign of then-candidate Steve Forbes' "Flat Tax" proposal. The piece was so biased that it drove Goldberg to write an editorial on it that was published in the Wall Street Journal. That op-ed cost Goldberg his job at CBS, and his book Bias grew out of his experience. In Bias he wrote:
Jerry Kelly from Enterprise, Alabama, spotted the bias in the Enberg report. Jerry Kelly spotted the wise guy and the one-sidedness. And Jerry Kelly is a general building contractor, not a newsman.

Who didn't find anything wrong with Enberg's piece?

First off, Enberg didn't.

His producer in Washington didn't.

The Evening News senior producer in Washington didn't.

Jeff Fager, the executive producer of the CBS Evening News in New York didn't.

His team of senior producers in New York didn't.

Andrew Heyward, the CBS News president and Harvard Phi Beta Kappa, didn't.

And finally, Dan Rather, the anchorman and managing editor of the CBS Evening News didn't.

Not one of them spotted anything wrong with a story that no one should have let on the air in the first place.
Here, nobody saw anything wrong with what Obama said, in Hollywood, on Millionaire's Row, at a $2,300-a-ticket fundraiser.

Mayhill Fowler didn't.

Marc Cooper, editorial coordinator for Huffington Post didn't.

Amanda Michel, another HuffPo editorial layer didn't.

Editor Roy Sekoff didn't.

Ariana Huffington herself didn't.

But millions of Middle Americans did, and they're not newspeople or politicians.

This was not a story dug up by Obama's opposition, this was a story released by his supporters - none of whom recognized the bomb that Obama had built and that they were dropping.

And what is apparently worse is the report that Obama's "aides tell reporters he is privately bewildered that anybody took offense" - thus his "If I worded things in a way that made people offended..." non-apology.

What's worse than that? Apparently a big chunk of the country thinks his characterization of rural America is correct, not just the "hip, urban" crowd and those who ride around on 425-foot yachts or pay $2,300 to see candidates in the multi-million dollar mansions of their most fervent supporters.

I said in a comment that I predict no matter who wins the Democrat nomination, the Presidential race is going to be the nastiest, dirtiest election this nation has seen since Andrew Jackson ran. Commenter Bilgeman, however, may have the right of it:
We can survive a Jackson campaign.

I'd be more worried about a repeat of the 1860 election.
The Great Divide between the Left and the Right in this country just keeps getting wider, and nowhere is that better illustrated than here.
BAG Day.

I didn't buy a gun for "Buy a Gun Day" this year, I bought that back in November. Instead, I bought a scope for that rifle I bought back in November that, I'm ashamed to say, I have yet to put a single round through. To complete (mostly) the package, I purchased a Leupold 4.5-14x50mm Mk 4 LR/T M1 scope with Tactical Milling reticle, and I purchased it from fellow gunblogger USCitizen off his Commercial Site. This is what I bought:


(Click for full size)

I also bought a set of Burris Xtreme Tactical medium-height rings that I fervently hope will give me both sufficient barrel clearance and eye-relief. I probably won't have everything in hand by this weekend, but I very much hope to get the assembled rifle to the range before the month is out, and I'll post pics as soon as I can.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Markadelphia Defends Obama's Elitism.

This one deserved a post of its own. In response to yesterday's Quote of the Day, Markadelphia responds:
About two weeks ago, Senator Obama was on Hardball and told the audience that he believed that marriage was defined as being between a man and a woman. There was little or no reaction to this comment, the "liberal" media did not cover it wall to wall for two days, and the gay community did not go ape shit.
Yeah, why is that? Could it be because he's a Democrat?
Compare the reaction at that time with his most recent comment....hmm...we'll come back to that in a moment.

So, why don't we look at the FULL quote.

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow those communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it's not surprising to me then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti immigrant sentiment or anti trade sentiment as to way to explain their frustrations."

Based on the reaction he has received about the comment, I think his statement is quite accurate. The Qotd reaction (and Kevin's) is quite typical of the "rock granite" stubborn refusal to look at who is actually fucking them over and continually blame the "other" which, ironically, is what Obama is describing. It's a distraction from the serious issues of the day and it puts energy into something that will ultimately solve no problems--which works out perfectly for the people (Bush, Cheney and pundit machine) who supposedly are on their side.
I have a tradition of letting other people's words say things if they can do it better than I, so here I will quote Marc Danziger, the "Armed Liberal" from Windsofchange.net on the full quote:
Here's Obama's original quote:
So, it depends on where you are, but I think it's fair to say that the places where we are going to have to do the most work are the places where people feel most cynical about government. The people are mis-appre...I think they're misunderstanding why the demographics in our, in this contest have broken out as they are. Because everybody just ascribes it to 'white working-class don't wanna work -- don't wanna vote for the black guy.' That's...there were intimations of that in an article in the Sunday New York Times today - kind of implies that it's sort of a race thing.
Here's how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long, and they feel so betrayed by government, and when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn't buy it. And when it's delivered by -- it's true that when it's delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama (laugher), then that adds another layer of skepticism (laughter).

But -- so the questions you're most likely to get about me, 'Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What's the concrete thing?' What they wanna hear is -- so, we'll give you talking points about what we're proposing -- close tax loopholes, roll back, you know, the tax cuts for the top 1 percent. Obama's gonna give tax breaks to middle-class folks and we're gonna provide health care for every American. So we'll go down a series of talking points.

But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
--

Obama believes that the people he's discussing - poorer, gun-owning, church-going economic left-behinds in rural America are bitter and negative toward government because it hasn't delivered.

There's an alternate hypothesis, which is that they don't think it's supposed to. That there are a solid body of Americans who believe - with whatever justification or historical validity - that government's role is to leave them alone. I'll bet that people who believe those things tend to migrate away from major cities or never move to them, tend to go to church a lot, believe in guns, and in American culture. They are - wait for it - culturally conservative.

Marc thinks that liberals "can reach them, should reach them, and must reach them.

I disagree, because I'm one of the ones who believes that government's role ought to leave me alone as much as possible. Here's the Rev. Donald Sensing on the same point:
Let's look at Obama's laundry list of Pennsylvanians' dysfunctions again:

  • bitterness
  • "Clinging to"
  • guns
  • religion
  • racism
  • chauvinism
  • anti-trade sentiment
  • Reading the full context of Obama's remarks, it strikes me that he believes that all of these (presumed) symptoms spring from the fact that there is too little control of the economy by the federal government. Obama said that all of these dysfunctions began when the government let their jobs go away and then, through both Republican and Democrat administrations, did nothing to "regenerate" them.

    It is the lack of regulation of the economy, Obama believes, that makes people bitter, racist, religious, hunters, patriotic or protectionist. All these things are bad, and they all result from free-market, democratic capitalism. I know that many of you reading this will think I'm over-reaching here, but I stand my ground: Obama's remarks are in fact as clear a declaration of cleaving to socialism as almost anything he could have said.

    Mrs. Clinton had a politically brilliant, though ideologically identical, rebuttal:
    "It's being reported that my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania who faced hard times are bitter; well, that's not my experience," Mrs. Clinton told an audience at Drexel University. "Pennsylvanians don't need a president who looks down on them; they need a president who stands up for them, who fights for them, who works hard for your futures, your jobs, your families."
    Coming from a hard leftwinger like Hillary, this statement is easy to parse: the presumed reason those jobs were were lost 25 years ago was lack of federal regulation of corporations. Since Hillary has already said she wants to force mortgage lenders to freeze rates of existing and future loans for five years, it's not hard to imagine that she might propose one day to forbid companies from firing people or moving jobs elsewhere in the country or the world. I mean, she actually did propose, back in the day, that you and I not be allowed to choose our own doctor. What level of coercive regulation could possibly be considered a stretch for her to embrace?

    It has been commented exhaustively across the blogosphere and the MSM commenti that there's not a dime's worth of difference in the political ideology of Hillary and Barack. True that, and it's Euro-style socialism through and through.

    But what I find especially disturbing in Obama's remarks, that I have not seen in Mrs. Clinton's ever, is the ideal of the "perfectibility of man." This is the hoariest socialist doctrine of all, explicit in Marxism and later, Marxism-Leninism. This is an idea so utterly vacuous and foolish that not even the Euro socialist governments cleave to it, if they ever did, except in Eastern Europe, and then only when they were communist. Clearly implicit on Obama's remarks is the idea that since racism, religion et. al., arise from the lack of government regulation, they can be expunged by more of it.
  • You remember the "perfectibility of man," don't you? Obama's going to "heal our souls" - he's the only candidate that can!
    You see, we can all become virtuous if only the government controlled our lives.

    Not only are Obama's remarks a clarion call to socialism, they also objectify the people he refers to. He dismissed them as free, moral agents in their own right. Gosh, it's no wonder those white people hate blacks and Hispanics, go to church and buy guns and feel angry - they can't help it. The government has let them down. But with proper government regulation, intervention, activism (oh, just pick your own name), then they won't be racists, religious, xenophobic, or own guns.

    It gets worse:
    "It comes off very badly," Democratic strategist Kirsten Powers said of the small-town America remarks." They are things that I think in a liberal world sound totally normal, and outside of that world I don't know that he appreciates how it sounds. And it just sounds very elitist, and it sounds like he's looking down on people."
    Emphasis added. (I except WOC's own Armed Liberal from Ms. Powers' observation, but that a Democratic "strategist" said it is pretty revealing, I think.) That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
    Yes, it does come off very badly. But Markadelphia doesn't recognize that. He continues:
    The people they should really be pissed off at are laughing all the way to the bank.....the people that have manipulated their bitterness and their honesty into votes.

    Several here lament long and hard about how liberals are "sheeple" who follow along with whatever their side says. To a certain extent and with certain people, this is true. However, the art of getting people to become sheeple has never been more perfected than it has with the "stupid rednecks in flyover country who believe in God, guns and country." This recent flap is an excellent example.
    Thanks, Mark, for telling us what you really think of us pore, ig'nant, Jeebus-freak gun owners! You sound exactly like Obama! (I'm shocked, shocked, I say!) You too believe that "it is the lack of regulation of the economy that makes people bitter, racist, religious, hunters, patriotic or protectionist," so what Obama said rolls off you like water off a duck's back.
    It illustrates how the "fake outrage machine" works in this country.
    Trust me - the outrage ain't fake.
    A bunch of people will now get angry at Obama for being "condescending" or the terribly false belief that he actually looks at people as Kevin says he does.

    So, by all means, let's continue to debate, ad nauseaum, how Senator Obama is an "elitist" or a hater of America. Meanwhile, Bush Co will dance with glee as it continues to pull several layers of wool over millions of eyes.
    Mark? Bush isn't running this year. And all three candidates with any chance for the office are elitists who believe that they know better than everyone else how to run our lives.

    Hillary Clinton thinks of Middle America the same way, but she's (so far) been smart enough not to say so in public. And McCain? I think he believes he knows how to do everything better than anyone. Take his "comprehensive immigration reform," his "campaign finance reform" etc., etc.

    You don't go into politics unless you think you're better than other people.

    Here's a clue for you, Mark: All politicians "pull the wool" over the electorate's eyes. It's been that way from the beginning. In Barak's case, the mask slipped - very publicly.

    Saturday, April 12, 2008

    Quote of the Day.

    I found this one early Friday, but didn't have a chance to post it. It's via Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review Online:
    It occurs to me that more and more that Obama is actually a political stem cell. He has the promise to become anything you want him to become and cure everything.
    I thought that was a particularly apt analogy.

    Until later that same Friday, when Barack (middle name shall not be mentioned) Obama let the mask slip in front of his San Francisco homies and said the words that whipped around the world in microseconds:
    It's not surprising, then, they (small-town Pennsylvanians) get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
    Stem-cell? Not so much. Stereotypical liberal who panders to the hoi polloi for their vote? Yeah. Pretty much. Especially his absolutely typical non-apology:
    If I worded things in a way that made people offended, I deeply regret that.
    "Because I meant it, but I would have rather said it in a way that kept you from understanding exactly what I meant. I regret saying it, but it's what I think about you stupid rednecks in flyover country who believe in God, guns and country."

    The news media is right, Obama's comments do give Clinton an opening - and a warning: Keep your true thoughts to yourself, and above all, keep bamboozling the base! If the mask slips, if the façade cracks, it can all come crashing down in an instant.

    Oh, and here's the QotD:
    Bite me. Lave my nethers, neglecting not the 'taint, you effete, snobbish, socialist, class-war-mongering whore. The condescension drips off of your words, but here's the thing: telling people that you think they're backwards, inbred whiny rednecks with hard-ons for guns and Jesus is not the way to win their votes. We get it: you're all enlightened, and here to lead us po', ig'nant, heavily-armed, toothless Jeebus-lovers to Ye Olde Hope Village d'Changeville, where we'll all get a unicorn that poops sparkly marshmallow rainbows.

    Far a candidate who is promising to unite us, you're certainly playing the whole "politics of Othering" vote-mongering, balls-deep.
    Ayup. I wish I could have said it half that well.

    UPDATE, 4/13 via Instapundit:
    Seizing Moment, Hillary Totes Bible to Gun Range

    Sensing an opportunity to portray Sen. Barack Obama as elitist and out of touch after his remarks about “bitter” rural Americans who cling to guns, God and xenophobia, Sen. Hillary Clinton stopped after church today at an indoor gun range, where she fired roughly 300 rounds through a handgun she said she carries concealed everywhere she goes.

    Her lower lip bulging from a dip of Skoal, Sen. Clinton put her Bible in her handbag, and drew out her own Para Ordnance Warthog .45 caliber pistol.
    You know it's Scrappleface because a real authorized journalist would never get the details of the firearm right!

    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    Another Pulitzer!.

    Michael Ramirez is my favorite political cartoonist. I've featured his pieces on here numerous times. Back in November of 2005 I was disappointed to learn that the LA Dog Trainer Times had let Ramirez go, Mike being the only good thing about that paper. He was rapidly snapped up, however, by Investor's Business Daily where he's been working ever since.

    Mike won his first Pulitzer in 1994. This years award was not for a particular cartoon, but:
    For a distinguished cartoon or portfolio of cartoons published during the year, characterized by originality, editorial effectiveness, quality of drawing and pictorial effect, in print or in print and online
    A sample of last year's work is here, or you can peruse his stuff at CagleCartoons.

    Given the recent post on Hollywood, here are two of his that I really like:



    The ratio of lefty political cartoonists to righty ones is probably greater than 100:1. It's nice to see one of the very best in the minority get some well-deserved recognition.

    (H/t to Mostly Cajun for the pointer.)
    Quote of the Day.

    Once again by the mistress of snark, that inimitable quipsmith Tam:
    Of course, the initial reaction to this is to head for the history section of the library in search of the appropriate "Decline and Fall of Rome" quote. I mean, what could possibly be more decadent than adjusting the tint knob on one's cornhole? - from Anus niveus, stupor mundi.
    That she writes like this at all is enough to engender envy. That she does it at 2:00AM is astounding.

    Wednesday, April 09, 2008

    Tam on the 17th Amendment.

    All you ever needed to know about that particular example of cranial flatulence.

    Honestly, given the fact that the 16th (income tax) and 17th (popular election of Senators) Amendments passed in 1913 (both inarguably due to "progressive" influence) followed by the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) in 1919 and the 19th Amendment (women's suffrage) in 1920, we have the briefest period of massive (and on the part of the first three, destructive) change to the Constitution since its ratification.

    Yes, I blame the Left. Yes, I think it was intentional.
    Arizona Political Bloggers Make the Front Page.

    Well, it's only the Arizona Daily Star, but still...
    Bloggers becoming a potent force in politics

    Call it moonlighting.

    By day, Michael Bryan is an attorney. But nights and weekends, you'll usually find him hanging out at political events and public meetings.
    He's a blogger, and since launching "Blog for Arizona" in 2003, Bryan has watched the practice go from being viewed as a "marginal, cranky kind of thing to do" to being just another way for people to get their news.
    I've tangled with Mr. Bryan before. We've even traded emails. Given the quality of his thinking, I'm surprised that he's an attorney. I cannot help but wonder what his specialty is. He actually started as a Deaniac, and the name of the blog was originally Dean4Arizona. He's now an Obama supporter, so at least he's consistent!

    RTWT, it's actually kinda interesting. It's not all about Mr. Bryan, but I was surprised this morning to see his name above the fold on the front page.

    Tuesday, April 08, 2008

    Memed.

    I've been tagged by two bloggers with this meme, so I guess I'll be a conformist and play along.

    Here are the rules:
    1. Write your own six word memoir.

    2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want.

    3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere.

    4. Tag at least five more blogs with links.

    5. Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play....
    Here we go:

    Liberty, sovereignty, the pursuit of happiness.


    Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it.

    It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. - MaxedOutMomma
    Here I will break out of the conformist mold, and decline to tag anyone else. If you're inspired to respond, please do.

    Monday, April 07, 2008

    Too Long to be the QotD, Too Good to Pass Up:.
    The press coverage of Iraq, the WoT, and conservatives generally seems to be getting worse almost by the day. I see an analogy between hunger and the story the lefty press is hankering for - the one that busts the "we're making progress" idea wide open. Imagine a small animal in cover that would have to leave the cover and risk predation to get food. The species has evolved a sensible moderate fear of being in the open - too willing to leave cover, the animal gets eaten. Too unwilling, it dies of starvation. Over generations, a roughly sensible degree of willingness to leave cover evolves. But now suppose food becomes scarce. The value of staying in cover rapidly drops as starvation threatens, so the animal becomes more willing to leave cover in search of food - becomes reckless, even, if food is scarce enough. Recklessness in search of food becomes a better bargain as hunger increases.

    The reporter looking for the big story that finally, finally gets Bush - the story Chimpy McHitlerBurton cannot escape - that reporter is facing an increasing threat of starvation. 10 months and counting down. Time is running out. The animal must leave cover. The press must dispense with even the pretense of objectivity and go out into the open. I predict more and more recklessly open bias in reporting between now and January. They're getting hungrier and hungrier. They're staring starvation right in the eye... - "Hyperpotamus" in a quote at Confederate Yankee: MSNBC Games McCain Speech with Irrelevant "Breaking News"
    As I told him, he just described the end of Dan Rather's career!
    Want a Quick Overview on "Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming"?

    I strongly recommend you watch the 50-minute film produced by Warren Meyer, the proprietor of Coyote Blog and Climate Skeptic. (Of course Warren can be ignored by the Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming faithful - he once worked for Exxon, and admits it!)

    Warren offers multiple options for viewing his video. I just downloaded and watched the Windows Media version.

    Compare the information in his video to this 30-second "Public Dis-Service" commercial designed to frighten our children:



    I am now thoroughly convinced that "Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming" is nothing more or less than the latest incarnation of Rachael Carlson's "Silent Spring" and Paul Erlich's "Population Bomb" - another excuse to politicize all aspects of life, and to frighten the population into giving unlimited power to government officials in order to "save us from ourselves."

    As Richard Thripp at the YouTube site commented on the "Tick, Tick" video:
    Together we can obliterate self-sovereignty!
    That is the plan. And that is the Quote of the Day.

    Sunday, April 06, 2008

    OMG, That is Just So... WRONG!

    And yet, so appropriate:


    (Click for full size - if you really need to.)

    I don't know where Van Der Leun found it, but I found it there.

    Saturday, April 05, 2008

    Irony, Indeed!


    The post below, I Love My People has been linked at Un-DemocraticUnderground

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=118x165622

    (Link left cold, on purpose.)

    One "Iverglas," hit the site some time after, I believe, I was ceremoniously kicked off after my own six month stint there - September 3 of 2002 by none other than Skinner, the site administrator. "Iverglas" appears to hate all firearms and anyone who does not hate all firearms, and posts this:
    I see no reason for thinking that this post is anything other than the astroturf effort undertaken by the online "gun rights" community to take over discussion at that site:
    http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2008/04/i-love-my-...

    The original post is dated January 6, 2008, so it took a while for our grassroots to find it, but just damn!

    I complained awhile ago about some of our more vocal elements sometimes being a detriment to our cause, but the comments to this post are outstanding, even given the inevitable minor errors. The entire tone is calm, logical, factual, and fierce.

    Everybody who commented? Take a bow. You deserve it.

    Everybody who linked? You are the difference between Joyce-funded astroturf, and the grassroots from the divots our opponents keep picking out of their teeth.
    Ah, irony.
    Indeed. Obviously, "Iverglas" has A) no understanding of the word "grassroots," and B) no understanding of the word "irony."

    Because they just whacked him/her in the mouth.

    Heh. How's that divot taste, Iverglas?