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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

No Longer Gun-Shy About Going to Court

No Longer Gun-Shy About Going to Court

Ashley Varner of the NRA's Public Affairs office (Hey Ashley? Where's my wheelbarrow full of cash, eh?) emails this afternoon:
We have a new bill and a new release to force Fenty's hand by Congressional act:
Bi-Partisan Bill Introduced to Restore the Second Amendment Rights of D.C. Residents
http://www.nraila.org/News/Read/NewsReleases.aspx?ID=11372
The NRA is also involved in the San-Francisco and Chicago gun ban lawsuits, and Dick Heller's suit against D.C. It's about damned time, I'd say. The title of this post comes from a line in the Wall Street Journal's piece How a Young Lawyer Saved the Second Amendment that I linked to last week. Let's hope we have better luck than we did with Seegars v. Ashcroft.

(Edited at the request of Ms. Varner. Sorry, Ashley.)

On Revolution

On Revolution
...revolutions are not won by enlisting the masses. Revolution is a science only a few are competent to practice. It depends on correct organization and, above all, on communications. Then, at the proper moment in history, they strike. Correctly organized and properly timed it is a bloodless coup. Done clumsily or prematurely and the result is civil war, mob violence, purges, terror.

--

Organization must be no larger than necessary - never recruit anyone merely because he wants to join. Nor seek to persuade for the pleasure of having another share your views. He'll share them when the time comes . . . or you've misjudged the moment in history. Oh, there will be an educational organization but it must be separate; agitprop is no part of basic structure.

As to basic structure, a revolution starts as a conspiracy; therefore structure is small, secret, and organized as to minimize damage by betrayal - since there always are betrayals. - Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rendezvous

Sounds romantic, doesn't it? Well, it will be for me this year because my wife will be going with me. (She gets to gamble while I do gunnie stuff, but still...)

Fodder of Ride Fast and Shoot Straight has created a countdown clock that was so cool I had to steal it:


Reno, Nevada October 9-12, 2008 at the Circus Circus Hotel
The third annual Gun Blogger Rendezvous is coming up fast.

Here's the list of committed attendees (I made my reservations last week):

KeeWee, from KeeWee's Corner

Phil & David, from Random Nuclear Strikes

US Citizen, from Traction Control

Ride Fast & the Commandress, from Ride Fast - Shoot Straight

Mr. & Mrs. JimmyB, the Conservative UAW Guy

Lou from Mad Gun

Dirt Crashr, from Anthroblogogy

Chris & Mel Byrne, from The Anarchangel

Uncle, From Say Uncle

Larry Weeks, from Brownell's

Mr. Completely himself

Ashley Varner
and Glen Caroline from the NRA (second year in a row!)

The interested but not yet committed:


Sebastian, from Snowflakes in Hell
(Not Bitter, though)

Countertop, from Countertop Chronicles

Ahab, from Call Me Ahab (And hopefully Mrs. Ahab?)

Stickwick Stapers, from Carnaby Fudge (And hopefully her hubby as well.)

Joe Huffman, from The View from North Central Idaho (And Barb?)

Retired Geezer & Mrs. Geezer, from Blog Idaho

Mr. & Mrs. BillH, from Free in Idaho

Murdoc, From Murdoc Online
 

We will again be fundraising for Project VALOR-IT, and spending a pleasant Saturday at the excellent Palomino Valley Gun Club where you will get a chance to shoot a variety of ordnance belonging to the array of gunnies attending. I'll be bringing by M1 Carbine and my M1 Garand, and probably the Remington 5R, along with a pistol or six. Hell, this year I might bring my XP-100. US Citizen promises to bring his new Hyundai Barrett M82 with the cybernetic telescopic sight and more than the measly five rounds of .50BMG he brought last year. Much blasty goodness! And the rest of the time when you're not in the hospitality room talking with the people you normally only get to exchange pixels with, you can shop, eat, sleep, eat, gamble, eat, watch the circus acts, eat, see the cars, eat, and (if you're not too stuffed) perhaps get romantic?

C'mon, join us! It's a lot of fun. Room reservation information (and some pictures from last year) is here. Come celebrate the Heller decision, and listen to a couple of us wax eloquent about our trip to Blackwater!

Quote of the Day


Another one from Heather MacDonald's The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society. But first, a quote from philosopher Eric Hoffer from an interview he did with Eric Sevareid:
I have no grievance against intellectuals. All that I know about them is what I read in history books and what I've observed in our time. I'm convinced that the intellectuals as a type, as a group, are more corrupted by power than any other human type. It's disconcerting to realize that businessmen, generals, soldiers, men of action are less corrupted by power than intellectuals.

In my new book I elaborate on this and I offer an explanation why. You take a conventional man of action, and he's satisfied if you obey, eh? But not the intellectual. He doesn't want you just to obey. He wants you to get down on your knees and praise the one who makes you love what you hate and hate what you love. In other words, whenever the intellectuals are in power, there's soul-raping going on.
Now, from Chapter 1 of MacDonald's book, The Billions of Dollars that Made Things Worse:
If the practical visionaries who established America's great philanthropic foundations could see their legacy tday, they might regret their generosity. Once an agent for social good, those powerful institutions have become a political battering ram targeted at American society. You can instantly grasp how profoundly foundations have changed by comaring two statements made by presidents of the Carnegie Corporation just a generation apart. In 1938 the corporation commissioned a landmark analysis of black-white relations from sociologist Gunnar Myrdal; the result An American Dilemma, would help spark the civil rights movement.
An aside, it was Myrdal who wrote in 1942 that America is "conservative in fundamental principles . . . but the principles conserved are liberal, and some, indeed, are radical."
Yet Carnegie president Frederick Keppel was almost apologetic about the foundation's involvement with such a vexed social problem: "Provided the foundation limits itself to its proper function, Keppel wrote in the book's introduction, "namely, to make the facts available and then let them speak for themselves, and does not undertake to instruct the public as to what to do about them, studies of this kind provide a wholly proper and . . . sometimes a highly important use of [its] funds."

Three decades later, Carnegie president Alan Pifer's 1968 annual report reads like a voice from another planet. Abandoning Keppel's admirable restraint, Pifer exhorts his comrades in the foundation world to help shake up "sterile institutional forms and procedures left over from the past" by supporting "aggressive new community organizations which . . . the comfortable stratum of American life would consider disturbing and perhaps even dangerous." No longer content to provide mainstream knowledge dispassionately, America's most prestigious philanthropies now aspired to revolutionize what they believed to be a deeply flawed American society.
That was the lead-in for today's QotD, the next paragraph:
The results, from the 1960s onward, have been devastating. Foundation-supported poverty advocates fought to make welfare a right - and generations have grown up fatherless and dependent. Foundation-funded minority advocates fought for racial separatism and a vast system of quotas - and American society remains perpetually riven by the issue of race. On most campuses today, a foundation-endowed multicultural circus has driven out the very idea of a common culture, deriding it as a relic of American imperialism. Foundation-backed advocates for various "victim" groups use the courts to bend government policy to their will, thwarting the democratic process. And poor communities across the country often find their traditional values undermined by foundation-sent "community activists" bearing the latest fashions in diversity and "enlightened" sexuality. The net effect is not a more just but a more divided and contentious American society.
On that note, I invite you to read a post of mine from last October, Hubris, from which the Hoffer quote came.

And which of our two presidential presumptives was a "community activist"?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Atomic Nerds Turns One

Atomic Nerds Turns One

LabRat ponders what she's learned over the last twelve months.

Congratulations, you two, and you did over 56,000 hits in one year!

It's Here!

My CMP M1 Carbine arrived this morning! It is indeed an IBM, and the tag attached to it indicates that the barrel is IBM as well:

Interestingly, from what I can find online IBM's M1 Carbine serial numbers are supposed to begin with 3651XXX. Mine is 363XXXX, but stamped on the receiver above the S/N, mostly obscured by the adjustable rear sight is "IBM CORP". So do I have an IBM-assembled rifle based on a Saginaw receiver? Anyway, for those coming here for gun pron, here are some photos:







There is no "FAT" cartouche on the stock, and the stock itself is pretty banged-up, but the metal looks to be in very good shape. The bore is filthy, but the rifling looks strong. The receiver fit in the stock is pretty sloppy side-to-side. I don't know how that's going to affect reliability and accuracy yet.

Normally I don't name my guns. The only one that has a name is my 10/22 - "Conan the Borg," after my wife said upon seeing it, "That's technologically barbaric!" This Carbine, however, needs a name. I think I'll call it "Baby Blue."

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
Your idea is presumptuous and self-centered. You want everybody to do what you want, and you’re willing to use the power of the state to enforce it. That is the ultimate in self-righteous egocentric claptrap. You assume that your way is morally superior and everyone can fall into line.

I’m in favor of freedom. Freedom to choose your own path. Freedom to volunteer if I want to. America was made great because we were a nation where free men could choose their own way, their own path. Our government was created to protect our rights, not to tell us what to do, not to make up morality, or tell us what to do with our time, energy, and property. That was nice while it lasted. - Larry Correia, I’ve been taken to task by an Obama disciple. Bring it on.
It was very difficult to choose a pullquote from this piece because it's all just so damned good! RTWT!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The "Threshold of Outrage"

The "Threshold of Outrage"

Well, we've had another rampage killing, another church shot up. Pretty much everyone in the firearms community is aware of this, but for future readers I'll spell out the specifics. On Sunday morning a man armed with a semi-automatic shotgun and 76 rounds of ammo walked into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church during a children's performance of "Annie Jr." and opened fire. According to the reports so far, he fired three shots, and was then subdued by congregants when he attempted to reload. There were two fatalities and seven wounded. From the reports, the first person killed placed himself directly in the shooter's path in order to shield others. As of this writing, four people are still in the hospital, two in critical condition.

The shooter, 58 year old Jim Adkisson, left a four-page letter in his vehicle that gave clues as to the reason for his rampage and leading authorities to believe that he intended to use all of the ammunition he brought, and die in a hail of police gunfire. In the letter, Adkisson indicated antipathy towards Christians, and extreme antipathy towards "liberals" and their causes, gays in particular.

He did not expect resistance.

When I wrote Why I Am an Atheist, I included a couple of jokes, one of which was a "how many X does it take to change a light bulb?" joke. For the Unitarians the punchline was:
We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey you have found that light bulbs work for you, you are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your light bulb for the next Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, 3-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.
If there's a "liberal position" on something, the Unitarian Church can be counted on to support it. The particular church Adkisson chose was openly friendly to homosexuals, and that may have had an influence on his choice of targets as well.

Mr. Adkisson was unemployed and apparently unable to find work, at least work that he found acceptable. He was receiving food stamps, and there was a letter found that stated that his food stamps were to be reduced or cut off. Mr. Adkisson's only criminal record was two DUI convictions in two different states. CNN reports that Adkisson had threatened to kill his fourth wife and himself in 2000 which resulted in an order of protection barring him from contacting his wife. He apparently drank heavily, and had done so for quite a while.

Adkisson purchased his shotgun a month before the shooting. He was not a prohibited person. A waiting period would not have helped. The shotgun was not a high-capacity "street sweeper," but apparently a standard hunting shotgun with a three-round capacity. He was an angry, bitter old man of 58, probably alcoholic, who wouldn't or couldn't face the fact that his problems were of his own making. Like too many people today, he decided to end it all, but to take as many with him as he could in a burst of rage.

Some time back, Billy Beck wrote an essay in response to a post at the newsgroup misc.activism.militia. I linked to it in my 2005 essay, March of the Lemmings, and I came across it again recently. In that piece Billy stated something that I unconsciously absorbed, I think, and have restated myself in my various "Reset Button" postings:
Every human being has a "threshold of outrage" beyond which a transgressor proceeds at peril of response. At this point in our history, individuals are responding ever more frequently. The only question to me concerns the nature of the response.
It would appear that this is the case in Mr. Adkisson's rampage. In 1997, Carl Drega killed two policemen, a judge, and a newspaper editor in New Hampshire over property rights. In 2000 Garry DeWayne Watson killed a town alderman and a city worker and wounded two others also over property rights. Also in 2000, 77 year-old Melvin Hale shot a Texas State Trooper to death because he'd been pulled over for not wearing his seat belt. In 2003, Arthur and Steven Bixby of South Carolina shot two Sheriff's deputies to death over the taking by eminent domain of a 20-foot wide section of their property. Also in 2003, Stuart Alexander, owner of a sausage manufacturing business in California, deliberately murdered three of four state inspectors in his office. The fourth escaped only because Alexander couldn't run him down. In 2004 Marvin Heemeyer destroyed a good chunk of Granby, Colorado with an armor plated bulldozer before taking his own life, again over property rights.

And yesterday, Jim Adkisson decided that he was going to kill himself some liberals because they were keeping him from getting work.

Last week and over the weekend there were a lot of pixels spilled over a letter to the editor written by an outspoken member of the militia movement, a letter threatening bloodshed against "anyone who tried to further restrict our God-given liberty." A lot of the discussion was heated, too much of it was insulting. Far too much of it lacked perspective and thought.

Billy Beck is spot-on. Everyone has a "threshold of outrage." For everyone it's different, and what happens when that threshold is crossed is different for everyone as well. But the general public doesn't share the outrages perpetrated by society on its individuals. No one is able to accurately gauge the egregiousness of the insults and injustices - or lack thereof - visited upon those whose personal "thresholds of outrage" were crossed. Our media hasn't done it. In many cases of government overreach that do end up in the media, I (and I'm sure others) wonder what prevents the victims from exacting a similar revenge. Perhaps their own personal "thresholds of outrage" weren't crossed, or simply a violent response just isn't in them.

But when someone states in a public forum that "There are some of us "cold dead hands" types, perhaps 3 percent of gun owners, who would kill anyone who tried to further restrict our God-given liberty," the picture the general public gets isn't one of a patriot standing up for the rights of all, it's this:

That's not the picture I want attached to the battle for my individual rights.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
I once asked a mother on food stamps what she would do without them. "I'd get a husband," she replied matter-of-factly. Here was news, I thought - a tantalizing bit of evidence of welfare's corrosive effect on the inner-city family. But when I recounted this exchange in an article for one of the nation's most influential newspapers, the editor ordered me to leave it out. Quoting it, he said, would "stigmatize the poor." - Heather MacDonald, the opening paragraph of her book The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society
This promises to be an interesting read.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

ROFLMAO

ROFLMAO!

ABSOLUTELY NOT SAFE FOR WORK, but funny as HELL: "Show Them to Me"

Yes, I am a sexist pig.

Edit: Link fixed to work better.

Back from the Match

Back from the Match

Today's Pima Pistol Steelworker's match was a little different from the ones I've shot there before. Normally we have five different shooting bays to use, so there are five different scenarios to shoot. Unfortunately we've had some pretty severe rain over the last week so three of the bays weren't available. Plus, apparently they're going to be running a Steel Challenge shoot at Pima soon, so today's shoot was a practice setup for that. Only four stages, but they were taken from the Steel Challenge website, modified slightly for our equipment. We don't use a stop plate, but rather a standard shot timer, and we shot the plates in any order. Here's a quick video of me shooting Stage 2. There are four falling plates and two silhouettes. The stage is: knock down the plates, two rounds on each silhouette, step over the shooting line (that piece of 2x2 on the ground at my feet) and engage the silhouettes with two more rounds each. Note that I'm using an 8-round capacity standard 1911. And I missed the first plate.

Here's another shooter on Stage 1 showing you how to do it right. In this stage there are three large targets that get two hits each, and two small targets that get one hit each. Shoot them all, step over the firing line and do it again:

I'm not embarrassed by my time, but I definitely need improvement. Still, I had a lot of fun! And I wore my Heller Kitty shirt, and got a couple of compliments on it.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
It was better when we lived in The History of Me. We knew how Me would end -- birth, fun, school, fun, job, fun, family, fun, age, fun, death and then ... probably fun, who knew, who cared? The meaning of this history was not deep but was to be found in the world "fun." Mini-Mes love fun. You could almost say it is their religion, a religion of fun. A funny concept, fun. Fills the space between birth and death. "He was a fun guy" could be a generic epitaph for the era.

Now we find ourselves back in history as it has always been and it is not fun. Not fun at all. The history of history has little to do with fun, almost nothing at all. - Gerard Van Der Leun, On the Return of History
Another of Gerard's typically outstanding efforts, this time from March of 2006 in anticipation of the midterm elections and this year's Presidential debacle race.

Please RTWT, and follow it with this piece from the UK's Daily Mail: Last rites for my dear old mum, a bedside farce and why the rights culture robs us of happiness

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Suddenly I Feel a Little Better...

Suddenly I Feel a Little Better...

...about having to pull the lever for McCain this November:
Barack Obama talks.
Barack Obama talks about lifting the child from Bangladesh from poverty.
John McCain already did it.

John and Cindy McCain adopted Bridget McCain... From Bangladesh.
RTWT

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
Remember brick walls let us show our dedication. They are there to separate us from the people who don’t really want to achieve their childhood dreams. Don’t bail. The best of the gold’s at the bottom of barrels of crap.

--

Get a feedback loop and listen to it. Your feedback loop can be this dorky spreadsheet thing I did, or it can just be one great man who tells you what you need to hear. The hard part is the listening to it.

Anybody can get chewed out. It's the rare person who says, oh my god, you were right. As opposed to, no wait, the real reason is... We’ve all heard that. When people give you feedback, cherish it and use it.

Show gratitude. When I got tenure I took all of my research team down to Disneyworld for a week. And one of the other professors at Virginia said, how can you do that? I said these people just busted their ass and got me the best job in the world for life. How could I not do that?

Don't complain. Just work harder. [shows slide of Jackie Robinson, the first black major league baseball player] That's a picture of Jackie Robinson. It was in his contract not to complain, even when the fans spit on him.

Be good at something, it makes you valuable.

Work hard. I got tenure a year early as Steve mentioned. Junior faculty members used to say to me, wow, you got tenure early. What's your secret? I said, it's pretty simple. Call me any Friday night in my office at ten o’clock and I'll tell you.

Find the best in everybody. One of the things that Jon Snoddy as I said told me, is that you might have to wait a long time, sometimes years, but people will show you their good side. Just keep waiting no matter how long it takes. No one is all evil. Everybody has a good side, just keep waiting, it will come out.

And be prepared. Luck is truly where preparation meets opportunity.

So today's talk was about my childhood dreams, enabling the dreams of others, and some lessons learned. But did you figure out the head fake? [dramatic pause] It's not about how to achieve your dreams. It's about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.

Have you figured out the second head fake? The talk's not for you, its for my kids. Thank you all, good night. - Dr. Randy Pausch, Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.
RIP, Dr. Pausch. You will be missed.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Damn

Damn

Dr. Randy Pausch has died. Dr. Pausch, if you are not familiar, was a well-loved professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University who contracted a particularly aggressive form of cancer. I've written about him before. Dr. Pausch was asked to deliver one of a series of lectures entitled "The Last Lecture." As I noted before, schools such as Stanford and the University of Alabama have mounted "Last Lecture Series," in which top professors are asked to think deeply about what matters to them and to give hypothetical final talks. For the audience, the question to be mulled is this: "What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance?"

Dr. Pausch's lecture, however, wasn't hypothetical.

He gave his lecture on Sept. 17, 2007. If you haven't seen it, block out 76 minutes of your time, plus ten or fifteen to recover from the experience. Trust me, it's worth it.

Dr. Pausch left the world a gift. What we do with it is up to us.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
I pack up my gear, head to the range and in the solitude of my lane, pick up my pistol and transcend all barriers of gender, age, race and disability. I have seen so much diversity at the range, so much openness and camaraderie among those that would probably never even exchange a hello in any other situation. Guns really are terrific equalizers. They make us realize that we are all just people - fingers on triggers, a breath between silence and noise. - Breda, finding truth
This tied with one from Tam:
I love living in American-occupied America, where you can walk into Mailboxes Etc. with a Pattern 1853 Enfield replica under your arm and the guy behind the counter says "Wow, that's a beauty!" before boxing it and shipping it without so much as a blink. - Mailing a musket
A coin-toss decided the order of posting.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Meanwhile, Back Where Great Britain Used to Be

...comes this heartwarming story of stupid criminals:
How wrong fuel sunk £1 billion drug deal

The operation to land £1 billion of cocaine was going like clockwork: the catamaran had glided into position in the sea off west Cork and the cargo was being ferried ashore to a remote location, ready for distribution across Britain.

Months of planning suddenly went awry, however, because of the simplest of blunders — somebody put diesel in a petrol engine. The mistake caused an inflatable boat to capsize, tipping dozens of bales of cocaine into the choppy waters and casting one of the drug dealers into the sea.

When the emergency services were alerted, police found 61 suspicious packages floating around the upturned boat in Dunlough Bay, west Cork.

Yesterday four men were convicted for attempting to smuggle what became the largest seizure of cocaine in Britain and Ireland, on board the ironically named Lucky Day.
Pretty humorous, no? Until I got to this part:
Joe Daly, 41, from southeast London, Martin Wanden, 45, of no fixed address, and Perry Wharrie, 48, from Essex, who were carrying out the orders for a criminal syndicate based in Britain and Spain, were jailed for their role in transporting and storing 1 tonne of high-grade cocaine.

Wanden and Wharrie were each sentenced to 30 years and Daly to 25. A fourth man, Gerard Hagan, 24, from Liverpool, who pleaded guilty, will be sentenced later.

Wharrie was jailed for life in 1989 for the murder of an off-duty police officer and released in 2005 on licence.
The sonofabitch murdered a cop, got LIFE IN PRISON for it, and SERVED FIFTEEN YEARS?!?!

WTF? WTFF??

(h/t to Theo Spark)

The Four Boxes

The Four Boxes

The saying goes, we have four boxes with which to defend our liberty: the Soap Box, the Ballot Box, the Jury Box, and the Cartridge Box.

There's been a recent excrement storm over someone using Box #1 to threaten the use of Box #4. If you follow the threads and especially the comments, there is much sturm und drang over how counterproductive it is to threaten lethal force in a letter-to-the-editor of a local paper over licensing and registration. This then transitions to essentially two positions: One - our right to arms is slowly but surely being won back by people who have been fighting the good fight, within the system, for decades. Thirty-seven "shall-issue" states, the Heller Supreme Court decision, politicians avoiding gun control like it's the proverbial "third rail" all indicate that our side is winning, and throwing verbal hand-grenades is not helpful to the cause. Two - our right to arms is still being eroded daily, as a right should not require us to petition the State for a license to exercise it, the Heller decision didn't go far enough, and regardless the government is still persecuting gun owners without penalty, the State has overreached its limited powers, and TEOTWAWKI is rapidly approaching, or worse, it's already over and we just refuse to take notice of it. The second side also points out that the right to arms isn't the only right that's been folded, spindled, mutilated and defecated upon - not by a long shot.

Side one argues that the system works for those who show up. Side two points out that the overwhelming majority of those "showing up" support ever-larger, more intrusive government. Side one counters "then get involved!" Side two ripostes that threatening violence is "getting involved." Side one argues that violent revolution hardly ever results in an improvement of conditions, and that ours succeeded only because of the extraordinary selflessness of the men who led it.

Side two doesn't have much of a response to that.

Side one argues that nobody really wants what violent revolution would result in. That trying to work within the system is, by far, preferable to rooftop snipers, IEDs, and the possibility of our own military dropping cluster-bombs on our neighborhoods (or, per Vanderboegh, suicide pilots and fuel-air explosions), just to name a few of the cheerier scenarios. Side two remains mostly mum, but I hear echoes of Patrick Henry.

What this whole thing illustrates for me is, again, that humanity has a strong self-destructive streak. Now that the surface of the earth has been explored, and humans have settled everywhere that they can raise enough food to survive, we no longer have frontiers for the disaffected to go to in order to escape the restraints of societies that they cannot fit into. There's nowhere left to go. And there aren't enough of the misfits to alter those societies enough to make them even marginally comfortable. Even worse, the misfits cannot form their own societies - they can't get along with each other.

I'm not saying that Mike Vanderboegh is one of the misfits. Hell, he didn't say anything I haven't thought or written myself. Hell, maybe I'm a misfit, too, just a bit closer to the middle of the bell curve. After all, I have my own bright shining lines.

But I think one thing is certain: There's tough history coming.

UPDATE: I strongly recommend that you read The Myth of the Clean Revolution.

This too: Thoughts on a revolution

Science Fiction Once Again Precedes Reality

Science Fiction Once Again Precedes Reality

Via Instapundit, I invite you to read The Dorwin Award - a spot-on application of an excerpt from Issac Asimov's classic novel Foundation to politics today.

Freaking brilliant.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
Please overcome your irrational fear. Please find a range, and learn to shoot. Please try to buy a gun, if your jurisdiction allows, and find out how hard you’ve made it to exercise a fundamental human right, how hard you’ve made it to defend yourself against goblins who have never given two lumpy farts for your laws, your principles, or your feelings.

Please, please, please, learn that it’s OK to be free. - DJMoore, The Nonviolent Lie
RTWT

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

He'll Be Out of a Job Shortly

He'll Be Out of a Job Shortly

Kim du Toit has been following the news out of Africa ever since he left. Recently he linked to an unusual piece by journalist Kevin Meyers that broke the PC mold and ground it into dust, Africa is giving nothing to anyone -- apart from AIDS. In fact, I'm shocked that it made it through those famous layers of editorial oversight and actually saw print pixels. Please do read it.

This afternoon, Kim linked to a follow on - the expected reaction to Mr. Meyers' bit of heresy.

But instead of more heresy, Mr. Meyers has committed apostasy.

In 2003 in an op-ed about Walter Cronkite coming out of the liberal closet, FOX News host Eric Burns wrote these words:
The majority of young men and women who enter journalism do so not because they want to report the news but because they want to make a difference in society. In other words, they want to report certain kinds of news. They do not want to convey facts or explain processes; they want to shine spotlights on abuse. In some cases they are motivated by idealism; in others, by the hope that some of the light will reflect back on them.
It's a good piece. Being on FOX he could get away with it. But not, I think, Mr. Meyers. In his piece Writing what I should have written so many years ago, he says:
The people of Ireland remained in ignorance of the reality of Africa because of cowardly journalists like me. When I went to Ethiopia just over 20 years ago, I saw many things I never reported -- such as the menacing effect of gangs of young men with Kalashnikovs everywhere, while women did all the work. In the very middle of starvation and death, men spent their time drinking the local hooch in the boonabate shebeens. Alongside the boonabates were shanty-brothels, to which drinkers would casually repair, to briefly relieve themselves in the scarred orifice of some wretched prostitute (whom God preserve and protect). I saw all this and did not report it, nor the anger of the Irish aid workers at the sexual incontinence and fecklessness of Ethiopian men. Why? Because I wanted to write much-acclaimed, tear-jerkingly purple prose about wide-eyed, fly-infested children -- not cold, unpopular and even "racist" accusations about African male culpability.
RTWT.

Eric Burns also wrote:
As Cronkite so famously said for so many years, closing his newscasts: "And that's the way it is."

But it isn't. At least, not to the extent that it used to be. For what has happened over the years is that the liberal influence in journalism has become so pervasive that alternatives have developed, and there are more alternatives to liberal bias today, it seems to me, than there have ever been before---more newspapers, more magazines, more talk radio programs, and even an all-news cable network that strenuously avoids a left-leaning emphasis on issues of public concern.

Journalism, in other words, is now attracting, and in greater numbers than ever, those who want to shine a spotlight on a different kind of abuse - the one-sided presentation of news.
In large part those greater numbers are in the alternative media, like bloggers. In a 2004 Jewish World Review piece, Jack Kelly wrote about the decline of newspapers (did you see that the NYT's profits are off 82% this quarter?). He said in his piece Newspaper sale$ decline should be blamed on the journos:
Journalists rank near the bottom of the professions in honesty and ethical standards, according to Gallup's annual survey. Last year, only 21 percent of respondents said newspaper reporters had high or very high ethical standards.

An awful lot of you don't trust us to get our facts straight, to tell both sides of the story, or to put the news in context. For that, more and more of you are turning to web logs, or "blogs." There were hardly any blogs five years ago. There are more than four million today. There could be eight million by the next election.

Blogs provided you with information we in the "mainstream" media didn't want you to have, such as John Kerry's "Christmas in Cambodia," and the fact that the documents on which Dan Rather and CBS were relying for a hit piece on President Bush's National Guard service were forgeries.

Journalists tend not to like bloggers, because they report on errors we make. Dan Rather and former New York Times editor Howell Raines are unemployed chiefly because of the vigilance and tenacity of bloggers. (We journalists rarely turn the spotlights we use on business leaders and government officials on ourselves.)

People who work at journalism full time ought to be able to do a better job of it than people for whom it is a hobby. But that's not going to happen as long as we "professional" journalists ignore stories we don't like and try to hide our mistakes. We think of ourselves as "gatekeepers." But there is not much future in being a gatekeeper when the walls are down.
Mr. Meyer's admission is, I think, more evidence of this.

Robert Bartley, editor emeritus of The Wall Street Journal once wrote:
The opinion of the press corps tends toward consensus because of an astonishing uniformity of viewpoint. Certain types of people want to become journalists, and they carry certain political and cultural opinions. This self-selection is hardened by peer group pressure. No conspiracy is necessary; journalists quite spontaneously think alike. The problem comes because this group-think is by now divorced from the thoughts and attitudes of readers.
Perhaps finally that may be starting to change. Unfortunately it may be too little, too late.

Perhaps Mr. Meyer will be able to get a job with FOX News. Or maybe he can go the Michael Totten/Michael Yon route and become an independent blogger/journalist existing on what he can earn directly from his readers. That is, if he escapes the clutches of the Irish Thought Police.

I recommend emigration to the U.S. and asylum from political persecution. I wish him a lot of luck.

Frightening the White People

There is an interesting discussion going on in the comments to a post at Snowflakes in Hell on a letter to the editor written by Mike Vanderboegh. Mr. Vanderboegh is a strident voice for the right to arms, an extremist's extremist. He is, as I described him in my own comment at Snowflakes, the Malcolm X of the gun-rights movement.

He's the guy who wants to, as SayUncle puts it so wincingly, "frighten the white people."

Mr. Vanderboegh is currently writing a book, one that makes John Ross's Unintended Consequences look like a trip to Disneyland. It's entitled Absolved, and it's being published, chapter by chapter, on various gun blogs. David Codrea, a member of the Black Rifle Panthers himself, has a link to all the chapters posted so far. You might find it an interesting read. Mr. Vanderboegh is a pretty good writer.

The general consensus of the 66 (so far) comments at Sebastian's is that actually telling people that gun owners are willing to kill over the right to arms is counterproductive in the struggle to convince a majority that having a right to arms is a good thing. Of course there are those who think Mr. Vanderboegh is off his rocker, or that anyone who doesn't agree wholeheartedly with him is a traitor, but generally the middle-of-the-road position is "he's right, but we shouldn't say things like that out loud." Most believe that we're turning back the tide of gun control, and that the Heller decision illustrates this emphatically, so tossing verbal hand-grenades is more than a little counterproductive. Others argue that incidents like the David Olofson prosecution and conviction prove that the government is still coming after us, and they'll keep doing it retail until they figure out how to do it wholesale.

I'd like to point out that Mr. Vanderboegh is not the only person out there who has stated, seriously, that lethal force against government officials isn't off the list of possible responses. In fact, in January of 2007 SayUncle (in all seriousness) and Tamara (you never can really tell) made it plain that that was a position they both took.

Mr. Vanderboegh wrote in his letter to the editor:
There are some of us "cold dead hands" types, perhaps 3 percent of gun owners, who would kill anyone who tried to further restrict our God-given liberty. Don't extrapolate from your own cowardice and assume that just because you would do anything the government told you to do that we would.
SayUncle wrote:
What makes me a gun nut?

Not the number of guns I own. For someone who yammers on so much about guns, I probably own considerably less than the average reader here. I own the following: Ruger 10/22, a Walther P22, Kel-Tec 380, an AR in 9mm, Glock 30, an AR in 5.56. I think that's it. Six firearms. I have a lot on my to buy list but they always get pushed back due to other priorities or whatever. And here lately, I've actually sold a couple of firearms. One, because I didn't care for it and one because I was offered too much to turn it down.

It's not that I like how they work mechanically or tinkering. I do that with other stuff and I'm not nuts about that. I like to do woodworking but I am not a woodworking nut. And I don't blog about woodworking.

It's not hunting. I don't hunt.

It's not the zen of target shooting. I zen playing cards, golf, and other activities as well.

So, what is it? I thought about it long and hard. And it's this simple truth:
If you fuck with me bad enough, I'll kill your ass.
Simple. Not elegant. But that truth is what scares the shit out of others and it's that truth that makes people look at you like you're crazy. It won't be a NRA slogan any time soon. But it's what you're asserting when you claim to be a gun nut, whether you like it or not.
SayUncle is one of Mr. Vanderboegh's "3 percent." So am I. But SayUncle made his statement on a blog, a site read mostly by others who share, largely, the same beliefs. Mr. Vanderboegh made his statement in a newspaper, where people who don't think the way we do are in the majority.

I'm ambivalent on the topic, myself. I think those who really need to understand that some of us are willing to kill already do. That's why they go after people like David Olofson - to frighten the rest of us. I think that the 97% of the gun owning population that isn't on the same wavelength as Mr. Vanderboegh and SayUncle and myself needs to be reminded from time to time that the Second Amendment isn't about hunting and target shooting and gun collecting. There's a reason they enumerated an individual right to arms, and it had to do with watering the Tree of Liberty, if necessary.

Where Mr. Vanderboegh and I differ is on when (or whether) that watering needs to be done. I suspect that SayUncle and I are in more agreement that Mr. Vanderboegh and I would be. As I said in my own comment at Snowflakes in Hell:
There's a group of people, and as far as I can tell it's growing, that not only believes that we're headed for violent revolution, they want it.

And what scares me is, sometimes I think they're right.
Your thoughts?

Robb Allen Undergoes Sex Change

Robb Allen Undergoes Sex Change!!

Pictures don't lie, Robb Allen of Sharp as a Marble has had a sex change operation!

And he did it all in the pursuit of fame!

He wants to get on Ahab and Squeaky's podcast. (Via email.)

I Can Haz IBMeraphim

I Can Haz IBMeraphim!

I just checked my account at ODCMP.com and my order for an IBM M1 Carbine has been processed! Yay me! I was getting seriously concerned that they would run out before they got to my order. Now I can order brass & bullets. (I've already got magazines.)

Guess what I'll be bringing to the Gun Blogger's Rendezvous this year?

Firehand Pens an Uberpost

Firehand Pens an Überpost!

Entitled Some more on elite viewpoints and families, it's worth your time. Excerpt:
(B)oth the Brit and American articles note the collectivist nature of the people who don’t want women to have the choice to stay home. ‘Paying back society’, ‘failing the feminist cause’; you don’t have- or shouldn’t have- an individual life: you have to make your choice(the one allowed) based on what’s best for the collective. Hell, these people might as well put an eyepiece on their Blackberry and walk around saying “You WILL be assimilated.”
Go. Read.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

The Heller vs. D.C. ruling affirming that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms was a major civil-rights victory building on 15 years of constitutional scholarship. Accordingly, we owe a great deal of thanks to principled and dedicated legal academics including Don Kates, Dave Kopel, and the blogosphere’s own InstaPundit (aka Glenn Harlan Reynolds) for their work on the Standard Model of the Second Amendment.

But there was another trend at work; the beginning of public recognition, after the year 2000, that anti-firearms activism has been founded on systematic errors and widespread fraud in the academic literature on gun policy.

The scholar we have to thank most for this awakening is Michael Bellesiles, the author of Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture (September 2000). In looking back on the public debate that led up to the Heller ruling, I can think of no other single person who did so much (even if inadvertently) to change the political climate around gun rights. - Eric S. Raymond, A Brief History of Firearms Policy Fraud

RTWT.

I never thought I'd thank Michael Bellesiles, but Eric makes a very valid point. Anybody know what Podunk Community College he's teaching at these days, or did I hear that he'd left the country?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Got Socialism

Got Socialism?

That's the new bumpersticker Blake Wylie is giving away with the purchase of a copy of one of his works of art.

Thing is, it's not a joke. Investor's Business Daily published an interesting piece today, The Sweet Illusion of Socialism, that I suggest you read.

An excerpt:
In April, when Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., was asked if presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama was a Marxist, he replied:

"I must say, that's a good question . . . I will tell you that during this campaign, I've learned some things about him, about the kind of environment from which he came ideologically. And I wouldn't . . . I'd hesitate to say he's a Marxist, but he's got some positions that are far to the left of me and I think mainstream America."

It was a good question, but there is a broader one: Will America hold to the principles of capitalism and free enterprise or will it embrace elements of socialism, Marxism and communism?
The author, Terry Sater, writes that like we haven't done that already. The question in this election is whether we're going to give them a bear hug or not.

Another bit:
In May, two House Democrats called for nationalization of the U.S. oil industry. A June Rasmussen poll reported that 37% of Democrats liked the idea. Webster's defines "communism" in part as "a theory advocating elimination of private property" or "a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production with the professed aim of establishing a stateless society."

In 2004, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., said: "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." She could have easily quoted Karl Marx, who said: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
It's a short piece, so I won't quote any more, but give it a read.

This is what I was writing about in The George Orwell Daycare Center. This is what 100 years of subtle (and not so subtle) alterations to our education system and media outlets by people who have embraced the beautiful lie despite the record of history has resulted in: a population of which half has pretty much wholly abandoned the spirit, intent, and letter of the Constitution, and the large majority of the other half only vaguely remembers what it was supposed to be for.

Marx and Engels have prevailed, using Antonio Gramsci's strategy. The next President will either be Barack Hesitate to Say He's a Marxist Obama, or John Quote "First Amendment Rights" McCain. (Unless Hillary gets lucky while Barack's on his current World Tour.)

Neither one of these men - Senators both - seems to have much of a grasp of of the Constitution they swore an oath to uphold and defend.

I am reminded of another quote by Robert Anson Heinlein:
The worst thing about living in the declining era of a great civilization, is knowing that you are...

Ramirez was First

Ramirez was First!

I really need to read Michael Ramirez's political cartoons daily. He got the Obama Berlin speech joke out first, like last Tuesday:

Just Saw The Dark Knight

Just Saw The Dark Knight

One word movie review:

Damn!

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
I think the United States is the greatest country that's ever existed on earth. And I think that it is difficult to argue on objective grounds that it is not. I think the facts really point in that direction. It's the greatest force for good of any country that's ever been. I think it would be a mistake to say the United States is perfect; it certainly is not. But when historians look at these things on balance and measure the good with the bad -- and I think if you do that on a rational basis and make a fair assessment -- I think it's hard to say that there is anything better. I wasn't born in America - but I got here as fast as I could. - Elon Musk, founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX, and Chairman of the Board of Tesla Motors. Musk was born in South Africa.
h/t to Samizdata for the pointer.

The entire point of That Sumbitch Ain't Been BORN in one paragraph!

Monday, July 21, 2008

2008 is Turning Out to be a Busy Year

2008 is Turning Out to be a Busy Year!

First, in May I got to celebrate TSM's fifth blogiversary by going to Louisville to attend the NRA convention/2nd Amendment Blog Bash. As a result of that, in August I get to go to Blackwater in North Carolina and shoot Para-USA's pistols and ammunition. Then in October I'm off to Reno for the third annual Gunblogger's Rendezvous!

Now, y'all are planning to attend GBRIII, aren't you? It's time to make your reservations and travel arrangements! You never know which airline might be going out of business next! I'm driving, but I made my hotel reservations this evening and I've got my check for the pizza dinner all made out and ready to mail.

C'mon, Reno in October is beautiful! Come hobnob, gnosh and imbibe with with us! Throw some rounds downrange on Saturday! Shoot other people's ordnance! It's a great weekend!

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
I am lucky enough now to be able to say that yes, I do have a small purpose in my life, such as it is. I go to work, love my family and then, in my spare time, send some words out into the universe hoping that they will help a woman realize that yes, she is free - free enough to fight and be feminine at the same time. Free enough to choose to live. - Breda

Sunday, July 20, 2008

One Small Step for (a) Man...

"One Small Step for (a) Man...

...One giant leap for Mankind."

On this day in 1969, thirty-nine years ago, Astronaut Neil Armstrong made the first bootprint in lunar dust. At 20:17 GMT, (about 1:17PM Mountain Standard time) with 25 seconds of fuel left in the descent stage of the Lunar Module and warning alarms going off constantly, Armstrong gently set the Eagle on the surface of our moon. At 02:56 GMT of July 21, or 7:56PM MST July 20, Armstrong stepped off the LM and spoke the words recorded forever in our history. He swears to this day that he said (or meant to say) "One small step for a man..." but history records otherwise. I watched him in grainy black-and-white on a neighbors 25" television. I'd seen the Saturn V launch from the banks of the Indian River four days previously. My father was a quality control engineer for IBM, responsible for ensuring the Instrument Unit (guidance system) of the Saturn V rocket worked to specification.

Doesn't matter. Armstrong landed on the freaking MOON after taking manual control to prevent landing in a boulder field.

They say nobody remembers who the second man on the moon was, but I do - it was Buzz Aldrin, a guy still willing to punch the lights out of moon-landing deniers. Go BUZZ!

Does anyone remember the name of the last man to leave a boot print on the moon?

I do. Gene Cernan, December 14, 1972.

We're not scheduled to return until 2019.

Yeah. Like that'll happen.

In Britain He'd be in Trouble

In Britain He'd be in Trouble

Self-defense is all about attitude.

Stealing blatantly from the Ass. Press again, comes this story out of Charlotte, N.C.:
Charlotte teen foils burglary with pocketknife

Fourteen-year-old Dante Gardin first hid in his closet from the burglars who broke into his Charlotte home.

But when one of them kicked in his locked bedroom door Saturday morning, Gardin told The Charlotte Observer, he decided to act.

Gardin said he cut the man on the stomach with a pocketknife he grabbed before he hid and the man dropped his gun.

The teen said when he grabbed the gun, the thieves left without taking anything.

Gardin said he called police, but officers could not find the green van he saw driving away.
No 14 year-old needs a pocketknife! He should've curled into a ball and begged them not to hurt him!

Nah, screw that. Good for him. Too bad he didn't have a 12 gauge. I wonder if the police will be able to find anything when they run a trace on the gun dropped at the scene. Maybe they'll get lucky and the perp will go to an emergency room to get his gut sewed up.

Oh, wait, of course they won't. The eeeeeevil NRA prevents them from running traces... What? You mean they don't?

NEWSFLASH! Obama's Berlin Speech Leaked!

NEWSFLASH! Obama's Berlin Speech Leaked!

A pseudonymous media insider going by the name of Red Pepper has secured a page from the speech presumptive Democrat Presidential nominee Barack Unqualified Obama wants to make before the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. So far only one sentence of the text has been released to the New Media, a line that hearkens back to John F. Kennedy's emotional and inspiring speech given there in 1963. Some 45 years later, Senator Obama's voice will echo with power as he delivers these words:

"Ich bin ein beginner!"

Joss Whedon RULES!

Joss Whedon RULES!

Mad Ogre linked to Joss Whedon's latest offering, Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. Starring Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible and Nathan Fillion as Captain Hammer, it's laugh-out-loud funny.

And poignant.

And wicked social commentary.

One quibble: It's more of a vlog, really...

Well. THAT was Different!

Well. THAT was Different!

I shot my first night match yesterday. The Tucson Action Shooter's Club runs its Summer matches in the evenings. I missed last month's because even at 4:00PM the temperature was still 108°F. I enjoy shooting, but even I have my limits. However, yesterday it wasn't too bad, and despite the prediction of rain it didn't look likely, so off I went on my 37 mile drive to the Tucson Rifle Club. According to the web site, the shoot is supposed to start at 18:00 (that's 6:00PM for us regular folks) but I got there at just a bit after five, figuring I'd help set up.

I was the first one there.

Nobody else showed up until nearly six.

The first shots didn't go downrange until about 7:00, as the sun was setting over the berm - directly into the eyes of the shooters.

We shot four individual stages, and two "team" stages. While we were shooting, we watched a spectacular thunderstorm roll over the greater Tucson area (well to our East and North). The weather was warm, but there was a constant, cooling breeze. It was very pleasant. As the day got darker, we ended up shooting under the lighting of halogen lamps, and one stage was shot illuminated only by traffic flares.

I had a couple of malfunctions. I didn't seat one magazine properly and resulted in a jam, and on one stage I decided to switch from my Kimber Classic to my Eclipse because the Eclipse has tritium night sights. Mistake! I haven't shot the Eclipse enough and it still needs breaking in. I had a jam with it, too. I was reminded of a line from the movie The Ghost and the Darkness when one hunter is convinced to leave his trusted 7x57 Mauser in favor of a bigger caliber rifle - that fails him at a crucial instant, nearly getting him killed:
You went into battle with an untested weapon?
Oops!

Oh well, while I wasn't a speed-demon, I didn't finish last either.

Now I need to find a fiber-optic front sight for my Kimber Classic. On one stage, lit from behind the shooters, the front sight just disappeared on me. I actually looked at the pistol to make sure it hadn't fallen off! It was still there, but the lighting gave it the same albedo as the backstop and targets.

We finished shooting just after 9:00PM, as the tail of that big storm was sweeping Westward toward the range. There was a mad hustle to get the targets, stands, and barriers into the storage container before it struck. There was a lot of nervous joking about handling lightning rods as we picked up. I got off the range about 9:20, and drove through some of the hardest rain I've seen in a while. What was normally a 45 minute trip turned out to be almost an hour. It was a good shoot. I look forward to next month's.

Here's a good example of what you can expect to see when Michael Bane films the Para/Blackwater shoot next month:

I hope they edit.

A lot.

Edited to add: Muzzleflash is COOL!

McCain "F^*K IT!" Bumpersticker Update

McCain "F^*K IT!" Bumpersticker Update

Jed and I are still selling the bumperstickers, but I thought I'd bring y'all up to date on where we stand so far.

There have been a total of 49 orders for 271 stickers. The most recent five orders went out in Saturday's mail, including one twelve to Vodkapundit (who promises a plug on his blog.) Heh - I've got the names and addresses of several prominent bloggers now! Jed got his dental work covered, and on top of that we've donated $375 to the Soldier's Angels General Fund.

Thanks to all of you who ordered, and a big fat raspberry to those who haven't!! ;-)

I Need to Disinfect the Internet Now

I Need to Disinfect the Internet Now

With steel wool and sulfuric acid. There is nothing in my pantheon of humanity lower than a pedophile. You can imagine my reaction to finding this in my Sitemeter records for today:

Eeeew!

Note that it came from Pakistan.

Osama can haz internet?

Obamania

Obamania!

Fox news reports:
Obama Trip Could Push Rock-Star Persona to New Heights

Barack Obama’s advisers insist his coming trip abroad is not a campaign swing. Even so, the high-profile journey has all the trappings of a rock-star tour.

The Illinois senator’s trip to Europe and the Middle East has generated so much interest that all three TV network news anchors are planning to accompany the candidate.
Drudge links to this piece:
CBS scores first Obama interview abroad

Lara Logan, chief foreign affairs correspondent for CBS News, has landed the coveted first interview with Barack Obama while he's abroad, according to sources familiar with the arrangements.
Did she faint? I hear a lot of women faint around Barack John Paul George Ringo Obama.

Investor's Business Daily's senior editor and political cartoonist Michael Ramirez hits just the right note:

UPDATE: Scott Ott weighs in:
McCain Backs Timeline to Get Obama Out of Iraq

(2008-07-20) — Republican presidential nominee John McCain today for the first time said he can now support a timeline to reduce the American presence in Iraq, specifically advocating the withdrawal from Iraq of Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama, and several battalions of U.S. news anchors and reporters.
ROFLMAO!!

Why I Read Instapundit

Why I Read Instapundit

Glenn is a veritable firehose of information and links. From Friday, the Quote of the Day for today by Jerry Pournelle:
The purpose of modern government is to take money from the folks who save and pay their bills and live within their means, and use that to hire government workers; and to keep their power by using the money to buy votes from those who do not save and pay their bills and live within their means. And of course the money comes from those who work and save and pay their bills and live within their means -- who else will have any money for the government to take?

Or am I unduly cynical? But you ain't seen nothing yet. Wait until we have President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Senate Leader Reid. Then you'll see a lot of new laws, all designed to help you. Maybe it's not possible to be unduly cynical.
From yesterday, a chart that illustrates what Jerry was saying:

In somewhat related news, I just ordered 800 rounds of .30-06 ammunition from the Civilian Marksmanship Program.

I mean, perhaps it's just not possible to be too cynical.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Global Warming Slaughters Baby Penguins

Global Warming Slaughters Baby Penguins!

In another Associated Press story (no link - on purpose), it is reported that "Hundreds of baby penguins swept from the icy shores of Antarctica and Patagonia are washing up dead on Rio de Janeiro's tropical beaches."

The horror!!

What's causing this eco-disaster?!?!

Why, we are, of course!

Several possible causes are listed by various "experts": overfishing, causing the penguins to have to range further out to find food; oil pollution from offshore drilling platforms. But no, according to one biologist:
I don't think the levels of pollution are high enough to affect the birds so quickly. I think instead we're seeing more young and sick penguins because of global warming, which affects ocean currents and creates more cyclones, making the seas rougher.
This man obviously stays on top of the latest scientific research in the field of Global Warming! Here's a hint: The oceans are not warmer, there aren't more cyclones.

Interesting Excerpt...

Interesting Excerpt...

...from the WSJ piece on Alan Gura linked below:
The court's close division meant that Mr. Gura needed the vote of Anthony Kennedy. Most court-watchers consider him the least predictable justice, but not Mr. Gura: "I received a lot of grief from people about Justice Kennedy going into the argument. We were told that we were not responsible, gambling on the views of this one justice who might be completely inscrutable and unpredictable. . . .

"Justice Kennedy did not trouble me all that much. The fact is that if you look at Justice Kennedy's voting pattern, the cases where he tends to disappoint the so-called conservative bloc -- in almost all those cases, Justice Kennedy sides with a claim of an individual right being held by a person against the government, whether that is in the abortion context, or whether that's in the context of intimate sexual relations, whether it's the habeas case in Guantanamo Bay."
However, Kennedy voted against Suzette Kelo in Kelo v New London. He even wrote a concurring opinion in that case.

Almost always isn't always.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
For decades the Second Amendment might as well have been called the Second-Class Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court spent the late 20th century expansively interpreting the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth amendments, not to mention unenumerated rights ranging from travel to sexual privacy. But not until last month did the court hold that the Second Amendment means what it says: that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." - James Taranto, How a Young Lawyer Saved the Second Amendment
(h/t - Dave Hardy)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Just Like Us Only Better

Just Like Us Only Better

The AP reports (no link - on purpose) that former "Only One" and current actor Dennis Farina was given a sentence of up to two years probation and a fine of $1,991 for accidentally attempting to take a loaded .22 caliber pistol in his briefcase onto a commercial flight on May 11 of this year. According to the story, "while on probation" Farina cannot own or carry a gun.

I'm curious; did the law under which he was sentenced allow for imprisonment for more than one year? Because under 18 USC section 922(g)(1) "any person who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year" loses his or her right to arms. As the law expresses it:
It shall be unlawful for any (such) person ... to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.
That would pretty much mean you can't touch a gun or ammunition.

Ever again.

He pled guilty to "a misdemeanor charge of bringing a weapon into a secure area at Los Angeles International Airport." According to the AP, in exchange for his guilty plea the charges of carrying concealed and carrying a loaded weapon were dropped. I'm pretty sure those were felonies.

Anybody taking bets on how Joe or Jane Average would have been treated?

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
Obama is a three-year senator without a single important legislative achievement to his name, a former Illinois state senator who voted "present" nearly 130 times. As president of the Harvard Law Review, as law professor and as legislator, has he ever produced a single notable piece of scholarship? Written a single memorable article? His most memorable work is a biography of his favorite subject: himself. - Charles Krauthammer, Who Does He Think He Is?

A Gunblogger First Blogiversar

A Gunblogger First Blogiversary

New Jovian Thunderbolt celebrates his first blogiversary today, and possibly his 25,000th site visit. So drop on over and wish him well. I hear there's cake and ice cream!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

As long as our government controls the volume of our currency and awards itself the power to make or "guarantee" loans, this sort of evil will always hang over our heads. But no government has ever surrendered totalitarian authority over money and credit without the "incentive" of a violent revolution.

Torches and pitchforks, friends. Think torches and pitchforks. - Fran Porretto, One Degree Higher
RTWT.

I mean it.

A Concise History Lesson

A Concise History Lesson

Fran Porretto has penned an excellent (what else?) thumbnail essay on the path the Democrat party took from its "classical liberal" roots to its "progressive" posture today in The Devolution Of Liberalism.

Strongly recommended.

Public Housing, Public Transit, Public Bathrooms...

Public Housing, Public Transit, Public Bathrooms...
Seattle sells 5 of its troubled toilets on eBay (The AP can sue me.)

Seattle's five problem-plagued public toilets could be yours if you're flush.

City officials decided to pull the plug on the multimillion-dollar self-cleaning toilet stalls and instead put them on the auction site eBay.

Starting bids are $89,000 apiece.

Neighbors and city-commissioned analysts said the unisex facilities attracted drug users and prostitutes, and were less cost-effective than regular public restrooms.

On May 19, the City Council voted to remove the problem toilets. Council President Richard Conlin said although people were using the high-tech, self-cleaning silver stalls, they also fostered illegal behavior, such as prostitution and drug use.

The German-made automatic, high-tech toilets were installed in 2004 and have cost the city about $5 million. Each has handsfree washing and drying ability and an emergency button that automatically dials 911.

The automated doors on the impact- and graffiti-resistant toilets will close Aug. 1, said Andy Ryan, a spokesman for Seattle Public Utilities. The auction will last for 10 days.

As of Thursday morning, none of the toilets had received any bids.
As of Thursday evening, still no bids.

Hey, I know! Let's let the government run health care!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why Michael Ramirez Wins Pulitzer Prizes

Why Michael Ramirez Wins Pulitzer Prizes

Or wildlife. Or beachfront property.

This is Ramirez's cartoon for today from Investor's Business Daily. Click on the link. Thursday's cartoon is even better. Hell, I'll post that one too:

As Jon Stewart said on last night's Daily Show
Barack Obama should in no way be upset about the cartoon that depicts him as a Muslim extremist, because you know who gets upset about cartoons? Muslim extremists.
No wonder the LA Times fired him. He made everyone else there stare into a mirror.

(h/t Power Line)

It's Like Something from a Science Fiction Novel

It's Like Something from a Science Fiction Novel!

As I mentioned recently, I finished Michael Crichton's latest novel Next over the weekend. Much like his previous novel debunking global warming hysteria, State of Fear, Crichton is out to raise awareness about something, and has written a damned good book to do it. In this case Crichton's ire is raised by the way the biological sciences are being abused by government, industry, and even (perhaps especially) research universities. Holding a special place in his catalog of horrors is the law allowing the patenting of individual genes, as though the people who figure out what the particular genetic coding does are somehow responsible for writing that code. He goes on about this at length at his website. I invite you to read his 2007 essay, Patenting Life, and this list of topics brought up in Next.

What inspired this post, however, is the fact that throughout Next Crichton interspersed little "press releases" - a page or two as though torn from today's newspaper of stories concerning genetics. I kept looking for a URL so I could pull them up online. I have no idea if they were real or simply figments of his imagination, but I could recall some similar things that I had read and heard.

In yesterday's USAToday was another one - this Reuter's report that could have begun any chapter in Next:
Study finds genetic link to violence, delinquency

Three genes may play a strong role in determining why some young men raised in rough neighborhoods or deprived families become violent criminals, while others do not, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

One gene called MAOA that played an especially strong role has been shown in other studies to affect antisocial behavior -- and it was disturbingly common, the team at the University of North Carolina reported.

People with a particular variation of the MAOA gene called 2R were very prone to criminal and delinquent behavior, said sociology professor Guang Guo, who led the study.

"I don't want to say it is a crime gene, but 1 percent of people have it and scored very high in violence and delinquency," Guo said in a telephone interview.

His team, which studied only boys, used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a U.S. nationally representative sample of about 20,000 adolescents in grades 7 to 12. The young men in the study are interviewed in person regularly, and some give blood samples.

Guo's team constructed a "serious delinquency scale" based on some of the questions the youngsters answered.

"Nonviolent delinquency includes stealing amounts larger or smaller than $50, breaking and entering, and selling drugs," they wrote in the August issue of the American Sociological Review.

"Violent delinquency includes serious physical fighting that resulted in injuries needing medical treatment, use of weapons to get something from someone, involvement in physical fighting between groups, shooting or stabbing someone, deliberately damaging property, and pulling a knife or gun on someone."
The story goes on for another two pages.

I've quoted several times in the past a bit from Grim's Hall on the topic of young men and violence:
Very nearly all the violence that plagues, rather than protects, society is the work of young males between the ages of fourteen and thirty. A substantial amount of the violence that protects rather than plagues society is performed by other members of the same group. The reasons for this predisposition are generally rooted in biology, which is to say that they are not going anywhere, in spite of the current fashion that suggests doping half the young with Ritalin.

The question is how to move these young men from the first group (violent and predatory) into the second (violent, but protective). This is to ask: what is the difference between a street gang and the Marine Corps, or a thug and a policeman? In every case, we see that the good youths are guided and disciplined by old men. This is half the answer to the problem.
According to this report, the other half (or more) is genetic.

It's not their fault! They have a disease!

Anyone want to bet what the reaction would/will be if someone suggests that the reason young black men in America die of homicide at six times the rate of the rest of the population is genetic? Anybody want to bet what would happen if they developed an embryonic screening test for these genes?

In Next there is a scene where a group of genetic scientists and marketing people at a biotech firm are brainstorm over naming the gene they have decoded that controls (they think) sociability. I can just picture sociology professor Guang Guo and his team brainstorming "the CRIME GENE!"

Edited to add this Charlie Rose interview that I found on YouTube. It's 56 minutes long: