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

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Quote of the Day

Mr. Corti opines
'If you can't defend what's yours, where are we at?'
I'd say you were in the UK. - Robb Allen, When the Will is Present

Another Sign of the Apocalypse

Another Sign of the Apocalypse

Al Franken has been declared the junior Senator from Minnesota.

If the Chicago Cubs win the pennant, I'm heading for the hills.

Priceless

Priceless!

Commenter DJ left a link to this in comments, with that title. He was right:

It's Comcastic

It's Comcastic!

Apparently a contracted crew working for Comcast in my neighborhood has cut the line going to my house - no TV, no internet, no nada. And they can't get a technician to look at it until tomorrow afternoon at the earliest. I'm expecting no service at home for at least the next couple of days.

Blogging, needless to say, shall be light.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Parallels

Phil at Random Nuclear Strikes links to this David Deming piece, Death of a Civilization through a chain of other blogs. Permission to reprint is given, so I shall.

Death of a Civilization

by David Deming

Over the past several years we have learned that small groups of people can engage in mass suicide. In 1978, 918 members of the Peoples' Temple led by Jim Jones perished after drinking poisoned koolaid. In 1997, 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult died after drugging themselves and tieing plastic bags around their heads. Unfortunately, history also demonstrates that it is possible for an entire civilization to commit suicide by intentionally destroying the means of its subsistence.

In the early nineteenth century, the British colonized Southeast Africa. The native Xhosa resisted, but suffered repeated and humiliating defeats at the hands of British military forces. The Xhosa lost their independence and their native land became an English colony. The British adopted a policy of westernizing the Xhosa. They were to be converted to Christianity, and their native culture and religion was to be wiped out. Under the stress of being confronted by a superior and irresistible technology, the Xhosa developed feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. In this climate, a prophet appeared.

In April of 1856, a fifteen-year-old girl named Nongqawuse heard a voice telling her that the Xhosa must kill all their cattle, stop cultivating their fields, and destroy their stores of grain and food. The voice insisted that the Xhosa must also get rid of their hoes, cooking pots, and every utensil necessary for the maintenance of life. Once these things were accomplished, a new day would magically dawn. Everything necessary for life would spring spontaneously from the earth. The dead would be resurrected. The blind would see and the old would have their youth restored. New food and livestock would appear in abundance, spontaneously sprouting from the earth. The British would be swept into the sea, and the Xhosa would be restored to their former glory. What was promised was nothing less than the establishment of paradise on earth.

Nongqawuse told this story to her guardian and uncle, Mhlakaza. At first, the uncle was skeptical. But he became a believer after accompanying his niece to the spot where she heard the voices. Although Mhlakaza heard nothing, he became convinced that Nongqawuse was hearing the voice of her dead father, and that the instructions must be obeyed. Mhlakaza became the chief prophet and leader of the cattle-killing movement.

News of the prophecy spread rapidly, and within a few weeks the Xhosa king, Sarhili, became a convert. He ordered the Xhosa to slaughter their cattle and, in a symbolic act, killed his favorite ox. As the hysteria widened, other Xhosa began to have visions. Some saw shadows of the resurrected dead arising from the sea, standing in rushes on the river bank, or even floating in the air. Everywhere that people looked, they found evidence to support what they desperately wanted to be true.

The believers began their work in earnest. Vast amounts of grain were taken out of storage and scattered on the ground to rot. Cattle were killed so quickly and on such an immense scale that vultures could not entirely devour the rotting flesh. The ultimate number of cattle that the Xhosa slaughtered was 400,000. After killing their livestock, the Xhosa built new, larger kraals to hold the marvelous new beasts that they anticipated would rise out of the earth. The impetus of the movement became irresistible.

The resurrection of the dead was predicted to occur on the full moon of June, 1856. Nothing happened. The chief prophet of the cattle-killing movement, Mhlakaza, moved the date to the full moon of August. But again the prophecy was not fulfilled.

The cattle-killing movement now began to enter a final, deadly phase, which its own internal logic dictated as inevitable. The failure of the prophecies was blamed on the fact that the cattle-killing had not been completed. Most believers had retained a few cattle, chiefly consisting of milk cows that provided an immediate and continuous food supply. Worse yet, there was a minority community of skeptical non-believers who refused to kill their livestock.

The fall planting season came and went. Believers threw their spades into the rivers and did not sow a single seed in the ground. By December of 1856, the Xhosa began to feel the pangs of hunger. They scoured the fields and woods for berries and roots, and attempted to eat bark stripped from trees. Mhlakaza set a new date of December 11 for the fulfillment of the prophecy. When the anticipated event did not occur, unbelievers were blamed.

The resurrection was rescheduled yet again for February 16, 1857, but the believers were again disappointed. Even this late, the average believer still had three or four head of livestock alive. The repeated failure of the prophecies could only mean that the Xhosa had failed to fulfill the necessary requirement of killing every last head of cattle. Now, they finally began to complete the killing process. Not only cattle were slaughtered, but also chickens and goats. Any viable means of sustenance had to be destroyed. Any cattle that might have escaped earlier killing were now slaughtered for food.

Serious famine began in late spring of 1857. All the food was gone. The starving population broke into stables and ate horse food. They gathered bones that had lay bleaching in the sun for years and tried to make soup. They ate grass. Maddened by hunger, some resorted to cannibalism. Weakened by starvation, family members often had to lay and watch dogs devour the corpses of their spouses and children. Those who did not die directly from hunger fell prey to disease. To the end, true believers never renounced their faith. They simply starved to death, blaming the failure of the prophecy on the doubts of non-believers.

By the end of 1858, the Xhosa population had dropped from 105,000 to 26,000. Forty to fifty-thousand people starved to death, and the rest migrated. With Xhosa civilization destroyed, the land was cleared for white settlement. The British found that those Xhosa who survived proved to be docile and useful servants. What the British Empire had been unable to accomplish in more than fifty years of aggressive colonialism, the Xhosa did to themselves in less than two years.

Western civilization now stands on the brink of repeating the experience of the Xhosa. Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the late eighteenth century, Europe and North America have enjoyed the greatest prosperity ever known on earth. Life expectancy has doubled. In a little more than two hundred years, every objective measure of human welfare has increased more than in all of previous human history.

But Western Civilization is coasting on an impetus provided by our ancestors. There is scarcely anyone alive in Europe or America today who believes in the superiority of Western society. Guilt and shame hang around our necks like millstones, dragging our emasculated culture to the verge of self-immolation. Whatever faults the British Empire-builders may have had, they were certain of themselves.

Our forefathers built a technological civilization based on energy provided by carbon-based fossil fuels. Without the inexpensive and reliable energy provided by coal, oil, and gas, our civilization would quickly collapse. The prophets of global warming now want us to do precisely that.

Like the prophet Mhlakaza, Al Gore promises that if we stop using carbon-based energy, new energy technologies will magically appear. The laws of physics and chemistry will be repealed by political will power. We will achieve prosperity by destroying the very means by which prosperity is created.

While Western Civilization sits confused, crippled with self-doubt and guilt, the Chinese are rapidly building an energy-intensive technological civilization. They have 2,000 coal-fired power plants, and are currently constructing new ones at the rate of one a week. In China, more people believe in free-market economics than in the US. Our Asian friends are about to be nominated by history as the new torchbearers of human progress.
Or, as the Geek With a .45 has put it, "Entire Societies Can and Have Gone Stark Raving Batshit Fucking Insane," and ours appears to be well on its way.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pitchforks, Torches, Dogs, Tar and Feathers

Pitchforks, Torches, Dogs, Tar and Feathers

So, I see the "Cap and Trade" bill "Pile of s--t" passed the House with the aid of eight "Republican" representatives even though 44 Democrats voted against it. Not surprising in and of itself, but The Washinton Examiner reported on Friday the really blood-boiling news:
On the House floor

By all appearances, the House is about to vote on a very long bill of which it has no completed official copy.

Texas Republican Reps. Joe Barton and Louie Gohmert have just asked the chair whether there exists a complete, updated copy of the Waxman-Markey carbon-cap bill.

"If a bill for which there is no copy were to actually pass this body," Barton asked, "could the bill without a copy be sent to the Senate for its consideration?"

Through a series of parliamentary inquiries, the Republicans learned that the 300-plus page managers' amendment, added to the bill last night in the House Rules Committee, has not even been been integrated with the official copy of the 1,090-page bill at the House Clerk's desk, let alone in any other location. The two documents are side-by-side at the desk as the clerk reads through the instructions in the 300 page document for altering the 1,090 page document.

But they cannot be simply combined, because the amendment contains 300 pages of items like this: "Page 15, beginning line 8, strike paragraph (11)..." How many members of Congress do you suppose have gone through it all to see how it changes the bill?

Global Warming is apparently so urgent that we can't even wait until members of Congress know what they're voting on.
Our. Elected. "REPRESENTATIVES." Voted. On. A. Bill. They. Could. Not. Possibly. Know. The. Contents. Of.

And they PASSED IT.

Oh, and don't worry - if it passes the Senate you won't get that promised 5-day "review and comment" period Obama promised during his "Sunlight before Signing" speech. (And is five days enough time to review an 1,100+ page document anyway? Oh, silly me, the House did it in less than 20 hours!)

I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Seventy-Five Days and Counting

Seventy-Five Days and Counting


The Fourth Annual Gun Blogger's Rendezvous is now only 75 days away. Still undecided on whether to attend?

Here are some highlights:
Alan Gura, the lawyer who won D.C. v Heller will be attending. (BTW, the first anniversary of that victory was last FRIDAY. How time flies!) At the pizza dinner Saturday night, you can bid on an autographed Heller Kitty T-shirt donated by Anthroblogogy. Yeah, we're fanboyz of a lawyer. Get over it.

Firearms lawyer and blogger Mark Knapp will also be attending.

Along with Glock, Para USA, Brownell's, Dillon Precision, Crimson Trace and many others, the National Shooting Sports Federation is now a sponsor, and will be picking up the tab for the pizza dinner on Saturday, thus allowing the $30 registration fee to be donated to Project Valour-IT. (The adult beverage tab will, however, still be ours.)

In addition to the Para GI Expert that I personally am donating, Para USA is donating another as yet undisclosed pistol for the Saturday evening raffle. I'm not certain yet, but I believe for that one you must be present to win.

Hi Point firearms is donating one of their carbines this year, rather than a pistol, so you have a chance to win one of at least THREE (3) firearms, and your odds are pretty damned good. Not to mention the other great swag provided by the ever-increasing number of fine sponsors.

Instead of just ONE day of shooting at the fine Palomino Valley Gun Club range, there may be the opportunity to go shooting THREE times - General blastage on Friday, Steel Challenge and Action Pistol-type shooting on Saturday, and possibly Cowboy Quick-Draw for those who are able to attend on Sunday. That's still being worked out, but things are coming together.

And, as always, there will be plenty of sitting around shooting the breeze in the hospitality room, and I believe we will be visited by a representative of the NRA again this year. (I want to know where my wheelbarrows full of money are.)
So make your plans to attend! This promises to be the biggest gathering yet.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Security Theater

Security Theater

Found at AR15.com, by a member who worked at an airport driving and operating a fuel truck:
As a fueler, we pretty much lived in our trucks. We just didn't have the time to stop and grab a drink, and when you are working in a 100 degree + environment, in the sun, jet exhaust, and in the middle of a 20 acre asphalt frying pan, you either hydrate, or you die. One of the modifications we made to the trucks was the installation of a 5 gallon water cooler. And it was a lifesaver. However, when they caught that liquid explosives plot, the edict came down that no liquids were to be on the ramp. So off came the coolers, and all of our water bottles went into the locked TSA fridge of doom behind a security checkpoint.

Needless to say, our schedule went to hell in a handbasket. (Stopping, driving back, and spending 15 minutes to get a drink of water every 20 minutes is not very efficient. . . )

As a result of the huge number of delays and under pressure from the airlines, the TSA head called all the fuel jockeys in to 'discuss' the problem. We told her that we either got our coolers back, or the delays were to continue. Round and round we went, still no solution. And the TSA girl was getting mad at us for our attitude towards the whole situation. . . .

TSA: "You guys seem to be treating this as a big joke. Why is such a serious matter so funny to you guys?"

K13: "Honestly?"

TSA: "Yes. Why is it so funny?"

K13: "Ma'am, you are afraid that we are going to replace the water in our 5 gallon water jugs with some sort of liquid explosive, is that correct?"

TSA: "Yes."

K13: "And that we might use a liquid explosive to conduct a terrorist attack on an aircraft, or the terminal. "

TSA: "Yes."

K13: "You are aware that as part of my job, I drive a rolling 8000 gallon capacity bomb. And seeing as I haven't crashed it into the terminal, an airplane, or a baggage cart screaming 'Allah Ackbar' yet, what makes you think I'd use a water cooler as an explosives cache. . . . "

TSA: ". . . . . . "

We got our coolers back the next day.
We're in the very best of hands, and I feel safer already . . .

RIP, Acidman


Three years ago today, Rob "Acidman" Smith passed away from a pulmonary embolism.

Just, damn.

Three years ago, I wrote this:
I've been reading Acidman since about the time I discovered the blogosphere. I started this blog just so I could debate one of Rob's commenters on the topic of gun control.

Say what you want about Rob, he didn't pull any punches. He said what he meant, meant what he said, and took no shit from anybody. I admire and respect that. It was fascinating watching the ongoing train wreck that was often his life, and I feel for both Sam (his daughter) and Quinton (son from his second wife "the bloodless cunt"), and especially for his Grandmother. Outliving your children is one thing. Outliving your grandchildren must be especially hard.

Rest in peace, Acidman. If there's an afterlife, I hope yours is a lot like Costa Rica, with sweet nubile women, a working Roscoe, and all the good food, good beer, and good company you could ever want.
I still get an occasional visitor from Rob's archives. Per his request, Gut Rumbles is still up, and his past posts are rotated around the front page.

It's really kind of odd, but I "know" more people through the internet who have died than I know personally who have. Cathy Siepp in March of 2007. AR15.com prolific poster "Eric the (fill in the blank) Hun." Airboss. Christiana Hendrix, wife of Mike Hendrix of Cold Fury. I'm sure there are more, but those come immediately to mind.

Yesterday both Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died, earlier this week Ed McMahon passed. I took a look at Rob's archives to see what he had to say about them. Nothing on Farrah or Ed, but he had quite a bit to say about Michael:
In MY humble opinion, Michael Jackson is a great performer but one of the most fucked-up human beings (if he's even human anymore) on the face of the planet. Look at what the confused bastard has done to himself through plastic surgery over the years. He resembles a goddam ALIEN, for crying out loud.

He is a weird dude.

He can sing, he can dance and he can entertain. I don't know why he couldn't be happy with those abilities looking just the way he did when he was born. I am not nearly the good-looking guy I was when I was 26 years old. Years of bar-life, shiftwork, hard-drinking and hard-living have taken a toll on me. My hair is gray silver, my beard is the same color and I don't have the same sparkle in my eyes that I did 25 years ago.

But I remain pretty much who I was back then.
And he remained that way to the end, I think.
Michael Jackson is one fucked-up individual, but I believe that the people going after his ass for child molestation are more fucked-up than he is.

--

I dreamed that I played basketball with Michael Jordan last night. I was proud, and I remember thinking in the locker room after the game, when Mike shook my hand, "I have played with THE VERY BEST, and I didn't embarrass myself." I regretted waking up from that one.

When I start dreaming about Michael Jackson, someone drag me off and shoot me.

--

What do YOU think is an erotic fruit? (and any reply containing the name of Michael Jackson WILL be deleted.)

--

Is Michael Jackson a pedophile? I don't know, but I DO KNOW what he's guilty of. He's different. In fact, that crazy bastard is downright ALIEN if you look at what he's done to himself over the years.

But that shit doesn't make him a criminal.

People are always too eager to jump on ANYBODY who is "different." I know that fact because I've been different for my entire life. Individuals suffer when they don't join the mob.

Think back to high school. You needed to wear the "right" clothes, hang around the "cool" people or face scorn and ostrascism. I tried that shit for a while, until I realized that MY worth wasn't what some fucking spoiled teenager said it was.

Being different is no crime. But being different WILL bring you a lot of grief in life. Just try it and see if a mob doesn't come after you.

They will. They always have, too. Just read history.
Like I said, Rob didn't pull any punches. He said what he meant, meant what he said, and took no shit from anybody.

I still miss the guy.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
(S)ome of you have already encountered Markadelphia, who essentially functions as Kevin’s reactive target range. - LabRat, I’ll Eat Fish and I’ll Eat Meat, But There’s Some Shit I Will Not Eat
Read the whole thing. And most definitely read her latest rant in the comments! LabRat at full voice is unbottled awesomesauce.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Someone Else Died This Week

Someone Else Died This Week

Someone you should know.
Jerri Nielsen FitzGerald

Jerri Nielsen FitzGerald, who died on June 23 aged 57, was dramatically rescued from the South Pole 10 years ago after diagnosing and treating her own breast cancer.

In the winter of 1999 she was the sole doctor among 41 research staff at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, run by the US National Science Foundation, when she discovered a lump in her breast, and lymph nodes appeared under her arm. Although at first she kept her condition to herself, the burden eventually became too much to bear.

Rescue was out of the question – because of the extreme weather conditions, the station is closed to the outside world for the winter. Jerri Nielsen (as she then was) had no choice but to treat the disease herself. She trained colleagues to care for her, and was in communication by email and via teleconference with doctors based in the United States.

Jerri Nielsen, an accident and emergency doctor based in Cleveland, Ohio, performed a biopsy on herself with the help of non-medical staff, who practised using needles on a raw chicken. A machinist on the base helped her with her IV and test slides, and a welder helped with chemotherapy.

Anti-cancer drugs were parachuted in during a daunting airdrop in July 1999 by the US Air Force in freezing blackout conditions.

In the meantime, as Jerri Nielsen continued with her medical duties, her own doctors in the United States recommended that she return as soon as possible for treatment. "More and more as I am here and see what life really is, I understand that it is not when or how you die but how and if you truly were ever alive," she wrote in an email to her parents from the South Pole in June 1999.
RTWT, but she also said this:
"Everyone has to get something. Some people are ugly, some people are stupid. I get cancer."
I like her attitude!

You're Gonna Smoke a Turd in Hell for That

You're Gonna Smoke a Turd in Hell for That

Cowboy Blob says goodbye to our three most recent big names who have passed on, in the way only he can. (*Snerk!*)

He's NOT a Liberal. He's a LEFTIST.

He's NOT a Liberal. He's a LEFTIST.

My favorite political cartoonist hits another one out of the park:


For the Leftist, "Government" is the answer to EVERYTHING, and if government fails, it's because the right person wasn't in charge, so the solution wasn't properly implemented. WE MUST DO IT AGAIN, ONLY HARDER!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wherein Kevin Channels Al Qaeda

Wherein Kevin Channels Al Qaeda

Having been recently accused of harboring commenters "little different" from Al Qaeda members, particularly on the topic of homosexuality, I thought I'd offer a preliminary brief comment on something I found via AR15.com today. (I fully intend to crank out an Überpost on the subject, hopefully this weekend.)

It would seem that two University of Michigan sociologists, Karin A. Martin and Emily Kazyak, have authored a paper, published in Gender & Society, entitled "Hetero-Romantic Love and Heterosexiness in Children's G-Rated Films" (available as a PDF file.) Ms. Martin is an associate professor of sociology, and Ms. Kazyak is a doctoral candidate whose "research interests include gender, sexuality, social theory, and social psychology."

The link that brought me to the paper came from the decidedly right-wing site LifeSiteNews.com in a piece entitled "Team of Researchers Blames Children's Films for Perpetuating 'Heteronormativity'". I'll admit, my initial response to the piece was that I thought it had to be satire.

Sadly, no.

I Googled "Sociologists for Women in Society," which is a real organization, and from there it was a pretty simple couple of steps to find and download the source document. Now, I haven't finished reading it yet, but in the first couple of pages I found some eminently quotable stuff that I just had to share. In fact, the paper opens with a quote from another sociologist, Henry A. Giroux:
The role that Disney plays in shaping individual identities and controlling fields of social meaning through which children negotiate the world is far too complex to be simply set aside as a form of reactionary politics. If educators and other cultural workers are to include the culture of children as an important site of contestation and struggle, then it becomes imperative to analyze how Disney’s animated films powerfully influence the way America’s cultural landscape is imagined.
(Emphasis mine.)

I thought educators were supposed to educate. Here we have a sociologist telling us explicitly (with the implicit approval of the authors of the paper in question, since they chose the quote) that the job of "educators and other cultural workers" is to use the "culture of children as an important site of contestation and struggle." How Marxist that sounds, doesn't it? The pertinent question would be "contestation and struggle" against what? This reminds me very much of the daycare teachers that inspired my essay The George Orwell Daycare Center who wanted to use their position as educators to teach children that "a class-based capitalistic society" is "unjust and oppressive."

But this isn't a paper about economics, it's about sociology and sexuality. The next quote illustrates the authors' position:
Heteronormativity includes the multiple, often mundane ways through which heterosexuality overwhelmingly structures and “pervasively and insidiously” orders “everyday existence”.
(Reference omitted.)

Checking my dictionary for the word "insidious," I find this definition:
1. intended to entrap or beguile: an insidious plan.
2. stealthily treacherous or deceitful: an insidious enemy.
3. operating or proceeding in an inconspicuous or seemingly harmless way but actually with grave effect: an insidious disease.
So "heteronormativity" is "insidious."

Here's where I go all Al Qaeda on you. Now, one of my absolute favorite quotes comes from Teresa Nielson Hayden, wherein she says:
Basically, I figure guns are like gays: They seem a lot more sinister and threatening until you get to know a few; and once you have one in the house, you can get downright defensive about them.
(Hey, this is a gun blog.) But one thing homosexuals are not is normal, in the original definition of the term as "approximately average." They are outside the norm. They've even adopted for themselves the word "queer," which is defined as "strange or odd from a conventional viewpoint; unusually different." But here we have a paper that seems to open with the statement that "heteronormativity" is "insidious," (when, in fact, it's "normal" - by definition) and it's the job of "educators and other cultural workers" to "contest and struggle" with this insidiousness, starting with our CHILDREN.

OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!


(*Ahem*) Excuse me, but fuck THAT noise.

More (much more) to follow, hopefully this weekend, but we'll see how long it takes for THIS Überpost to spring forth fully formed from my sweat-beaded forehead. Oh, and I'd very much like to hear from the GLBT audience on this. I know for sure that at least two gunbloggers are open and read this blog at least occasionally, Jeff at Alphecca and Zendo Deb of TFS Magnum. Comments?

"Gerbilism" Draws Another Mental Picture Entirely

"Gerbilism" Draws Another Mental Picture Entirely

Instapundit links to an interesting piece at Accuracy in Media, ‘Gerbilists’ In The National Press Corps. The lede:
Doug Bates doesn't know it yet, but with the help of his daughter, the associate editor of The Oregonian has coined the perfect descriptor for journalism in the Age of Obama: "gerbilism."

Bates explained the genesis of the term Sunday in a commencement address to future journalists from the University of Oregon. As a child, his young daughter confused Bates' profession with the name of her favorite rodent in a school report about what her parents did for a living. "My dad Doug works at the newspaper," she wrote. "First he went to college to learn about gerbilism."

The punch line no doubt scored Bates a few laughs, but he segued into a serious point:

I've decided "gerbilism" is a pretty good word for what's been going on in the news media these days. Gerbilism is an apt term for something that's soft and warm and cuddly, safe and timid, with no sharp teeth and no bite whatsoever. Gerbilism, I've decided, is partly responsible for a lot of our nation's problems today.

Soft, warm, cuddly, safe, timid and no sharp teeth or bite -- yep, that sounds like much of the national media's coverage of Barack Obama.

You might be interested in reading the rest, but what came to mind when I read that involved Richard Gere and Habitrail tubes, which I thought was a perfect analogy for what "gerbilists" were doing for the current administration.

Can We Actually TRY This

Can We Actually TRY This?

Joe Huffman takes a look at Dennis Henigan's latest PSH, his book Lethal Logic: Exploding the Myths that Paralyze American Gun Policy. Henigan's position:
"Guns don't kill people, people kill people." Henigan counters with Ozzy Osbourne's take on that: "If that's the case, why do we give people guns when they go to war? Why not just send the people?"
Joe replies (and I'm doing this post to archive this):
Suppose you were to drop Dennis Henigan and Sarah Brady in the woods with all the guns and ammo they can carry. And a half mile away you drop in an Army Ranger or Navy Seal completely naked, one hand tied behind their back and a patch over one eye. If you tell them only one side can leave the woods alive I'm betting that by the next morning, despite being outnumbered 2:1 and out armed, the warrior will be walking out of the woods fully clothed, armed, and wearing Sarah and Dennis's ears as a necklace.

Gun are tools used by people. Without the people the guns don't kill, with or without guns people can kill. Guns just make violence against people easier. Sometimes that violence is for good and sometimes it is for evil. Most of the time guns are used for good. Reducing the access of guns to good people enables evil.
Absolutely.

Quote of the Day - GunNuts Radio Edition

Quote of the Day - GunNuts Radio Edition
If the Iranians take to the street in support of their freedoms, the President supports their `protest'. If 250 conservatives gather in a park in the US because they're pissed about paying taxes, it's "low-level terrorism." - Truthsayer on a call-in to the 6/23 show.
This July 4th should be interesting. Lots of TEA Parties are scheduled.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quote of the Day - If the Foo Sh!ts Edition

Quote of the Day - If the Foo Sh!ts Edition
Before the 1994 Republican takeover, Democrats had sixty years of virtually unbroken power in Congress - with substantial majorities most of the time. Can a group of smart people, studying issue after issue for years on end, with virtually unlimited resources at their command, not come up with a single policy that works? Why are they chronically incapable?

One of two things must be true. Either the Democrats are unfathomable idiots, who ignorantly pursue ever more destructive policies despite decades of contrary evidence, or they understand the consequences of their actions and relentlessly carry on anyway because they somehow benefit.

I submit to you they understand the consequences. For many it is simply a practical matter of eliciting votes from a targeted constituency at taxpayer expense; we lose a little, they gain a lot, and the politician keeps his job. But for others, the goal is more malevolent - the failure is deliberate. Don't laugh. This method not only has its proponents, it has a name: the Cloward-Piven Strategy. It describes their agenda, tactics, and long-term strategy.

American Thinker, 9/28/08 - Barack Obama and the Strategy of Manufactured Crisis by James Simpson
Interesting read. I am once again reminded of the warnings of Yuri Bezmenov from the 1980's. And remember Rahm Emanuel's "You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid."

Or that others would thwart, given the time.

(I can hear Markadelphia's head explode from here!)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Well, That Wasn't So Bad

Well, That Wasn't So Bad

My first root canal was this morning. My gum's a little tender where the needle went in (and in, and in) for the anesthetic, but other than that, no real discomfort. All I've taken all day is a couple of Motrin. I can even bite down on my left side with no problem. I was in the chair for about 90 minutes as the doctor had a little trouble finding the roots (very deep in the tooth), but it all came out OK (no pun intended.)

The stock market decline has been more painful for me than this damned tooth.

Update On the $134.5B in Bearer Bonds Case

Update On the $134.5B in Bearer Bonds Case

I first linked to this story on Friday, June 12. Here's an interesting update from the U.K. Telegraph:
Is this the death of the dollar?

After two smugglers were stopped last week with what at first appeared to be $134bn in US state bonds, the tension and paranoia surrounding the fate of the dollar hit a new high.

By Edmund Conway
Published: 7:32PM BST 20 Jun 2009


Border guards in Chiasso see plenty of smugglers and plenty of false-bottomed suitcases, but no one in the town, which straddles the Italian-Swiss frontier, had ever seen anything like this. Trussed up in front of the police in the train station were two Japanese men, and beside them a suitcase with a booty unlike any other. Concealed at the bottom of the bag were some rather incredible sheets of paper. The documents were apparently dollar-denominated US government bonds with a face value of a staggering $134bn (£81bn).

How on earth did these two men, who at first refused to identify themselves, come to be there, trying to ride the train into Switzerland carrying bonds worth more than the gross domestic product of Singapore? If the bonds were genuine, the pair would have been America's fourth-biggest creditor, ahead of the UK and just behind Russia. No sooner had the story leaked out from the Italian lakes region last week than it sparked a panoply of conspiracy tales. But one resounded more than any other: that the men were agents of the Japanese finance ministry, in the country for the G8 meeting, making a surreptitious journey into Switzerland to sell off one small chunk of the massive mountain of US bonds stacked up in the Japanese Treasury vaults.

In the event, late last week American officials confirmed that the notes were forgeries. The men, it appeared, were nothing more than ambitious scamsters. But many remain unconvinced. And whether fake or otherwise, the story underlines one important point about the world economy at the moment: that the tension and paranoia surrounding the fate of the US dollar has hit a new high. It went to the heart of the big question: will the central bankers in Japan, China and elsewhere continue to support the greenback even in the wake of the worst financial crisis in modern history, or will they abandon it as America's economic hegemony dissipates?

Dollar obituaries are nothing new. The currency has been presumed dead more times than Shane Macgowan. But like the lead singer of The Pogues, the greenback has somehow withstood repeated knocks and scrapes over the years and lived on, battered, bruised and a couple of teeth the lighter, to fight another day. In the 1970s and 1980s there were plenty predicting its demise, although at that point the main challenger was the Japanese yen. And in the years preceding this crisis, economists and investors including Peter Schiff and George Soros were lining up to declare the dollar's demise as the world's reserve currency. In the late 1990s, the creation of the euro gave dollar sceptics another stick to beat the currency with, and no doubt the European currency has claimed some of the prominence in its first decade.

Now, following the collapse of the global financial system, those warnings have become louder still, and ever more difficult to dismiss – because this time around there are threatening noises coming from those who actually have the power to do something about it. First came a paper from Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the People's Bank of China (PBoC), a couple of months ago, positing the idea of introducing the special drawing right (SDR) – a kind of internal currency at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – as an international reserve currency. These calls were then repeated, with more force, by the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, who last week declared that the world needed new reserve currencies in addition to the dollar.
There's more. I strongly recommend that you read the rest, and hopefully I'll have an addendum to this post later this evening.

UPDATE: (As promised)

Here's some more interesting stuff on this incident.

On June 16, the site Seeking Alpha put up a list of what was termed "strange inconsistencies" in the story, but here's the pertinent paragraph (IMO)
Thus far, about the only piece of information that appears to be reliable as reported by various news sources regarding this huge mystery is the remarkable authenticity of the 249 seized bearer bonds in denominations of USD $500 million. If any of the other facts, as they are being reported, are remotely accurate, then the bearer bonds were likely counterfeit. Still, the interesting part of this story, at least to me, is that the smugglers seemed intent on being caught with the counterfeit bonds. This leads me back to my previous question. What possible reason would the smugglers have for wanting to be caught? One of the quickest ways to sabotage and usher in the death of a currency is to raise legitimate questions about its ability to withstand counterfeiting efforts. Prove that counterfeiting is not only possible but highly likely, and the world’s confidence in the sabotaged currency will undoubtedly plummet.
The comments to this piece are even more interesting, including a link to a story about scam run in 2004 using counterfeit $500k, $100M and $500 million-denomination 1934-dated bearer bonds.

And then there's another speculative post from The Market Ticker from yesterday. This one quotes a Reuters story:
A purported $134 billion in U.S. government bearer bond certificates seized by police near the Italian-Swiss border are fake, the U.S. Treasury said on Friday.

"Based on the photograph we've seen online, they are clearly fake. And not even good fakes," said Stephen Meyerhardt, a spokesman for the Treasury's Bureau of the Public Debt.

He added that there is only $105 million in Treasury bearer bond securities outstanding, so the $134 billion amount seized far exceeds the universe of outstanding securites.
However:
In the last two years, Italian authorities have seized some $800 million of U.S. bonds in the Como area in northern Italy.
Were they bearer bonds? And here's the key graph from that Reuters piece:
The forgery determination came a day after the Treasury warned U.S. banks against the potential for increased currency counterfeiting activity and large cash transactions by North Korea in an effort to evade U.N. sanctions aimed at cutting off financing for Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Which kind of answers most of the "who, what, where, when and why" questions, doesn't it?

Except for these, from the Market Ticker piece:
So let's see if we can try to sort out what we're "learning":
  • The bonds are declared fake by the Treasury, stating that there's only $100 million outstanding and obviously $134 billion have to be fake.
  • Italy claims to have seized $800 million in real US Bonds in the last year.
  • The last legitimate issue of paper US Treasuries (that is publicly admitted to) was in the early 1980s when bearer instruments were outlawed. All are now stated to be electronic (just a serial number and amount.)
  • The two gentlemen are allegedly Japanese, and there are various stories about who they really are - from notorious counterfeiters who have served hard time for previous offenses to Japanese finance officials. Most notably, there has been no public statement from Italy about these gentlemen's actual identities.
  • It appears from all reports that these two were detained but not arrested, with some reports that they were not only released but took the allegedly-fake instruments with them, even though Italian law precludes both your release and return of your fake instruments if you are caught with fake securities or currency.

This is stuff out of a Tom Clancy novel, and the longer it goes on and the more twisted the "explanations", the less sense it makes.

I find it incomprehensible that the Italian government released these two if they were actually caught in a massive counterfeiting operation with $134 billion in fake US Securities.

I find it equally incomprehensible that there was not an immediate indictment out of a US Prosecutor coming from such an event and a demand for extradition back to the United States.

And further, I find it equally incomprehensible that if the securities are in fact real, and Treasury is lying, that Italy would not impose the fine.

Only the latter scenario, however, covers what apparently has happened - the two "couriers", whoever they are, have been released and, according to some accounts, they took the allegedly "fake" instruments with them, and there has been no US indictment issued for counterfeiting the instruments.

Uh, can we have some truth here folks, because none of what is being reported adds up and my BS detector is ringing off the hook.

Mine too. (End of update.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

I've GOT to Try This

I've GOT to Try This!


The cartoon is the daily The Argyle Sweater by Scott Hilburn, probably the closest thing to Gary Larson's The Far Side I've seen since Larson retired.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
Already, the government runs our children’s education and our parents’ retirement. Now we’re allowing it to usurp our banks and nationalize what remains of our auto industries. Within weeks, Washington promises a plan to dictate our health care. To do all this, we’ve let Washington run up enough red ink to impoverish our grandchildren. As if all that weren’t enough, the president still found the time to kick our friends in London and Tel Aviv while courting a genocidal, election-stealing maniac in Tehran. He even gave a speech in Cairo — that oppressed, impoverished Old World megalopolis — in which he assured the world that America really is no better than anywhere else.

Well, once upon a time, we were.

Stephen Green, Once Upon a Time in America
As always, RTWT. And the comments.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
Invoking the soapbox is appropriate for this stage of the game.

It is right and just to lodge the protest and ask for power back.


At the moment, I'm hard pressed to come up with an historical example of when power was ever genuinely returned as the result of a polite request.

My inner cynic tells me that astute politicians will hear this, and recognize the need to dust off the old meaningless "change and reform in Washington" meme we've all heard since we were kids.

We the voters are suckers and fall for it every time.

GeekWithA.45 in a comment on yesterday's "We the people are coming"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oh Frabjous Joy

Oh Frabjous Joy

Well, I made an appointment today for a root canal - my first. Back in 2005 I had crowns put on two molars. One of them now needs the root canal.

Next Monday promises to be especially crappy.

We the people are coming.

"We the people are coming."

An open letter to our elected representatives from Arizona resident Janet Contreras, sent to Glenn Beck which he apparently read aloud yesterday. (I don't listen to Glenn, this was recommended to me.)
I'm a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. There must be someone. Please tell me who you are. Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you're willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would horribly feel so disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut job am I? Will you please tell me?

Well, these are briefly my views and issues for which I seek representation:

One, illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution. P.S., I'm not a racist. This isn't to be confused with legal immigration.

Two, the TARP bill, I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it. We told you no, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

Three: Czars, I want the circumvention of our checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution and honor it.

Four, cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There is more to say.

Five, universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision. Don't you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night and then go on break. Slow down!

Six, growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real obligations. Why don't you start there.

Seven, ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes. Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census over with our taxpayer money. I don't trust them with our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

Eight, redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs. That is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person. Why do you want me to hate my employers? Why ‑‑ what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

Nine, charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves.

Ten, corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we'll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. Have you ever ripped off a Band‑Aid? We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

Eleven, transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let's have it. Let's say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk. Please try ‑‑ please stop manipulating and trying to appease me with clever wording. I am not the idiot you obviously take me for. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me.

Twelve, unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now.

Take a breath. Listen to the people. Let's just slow down and get some input from some nonpoliticians on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed reading our bills into law. I am not an activist. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person. I am a parent and a grandparent. I work. I'm busy. I'm busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far off course. Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not. It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance. Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill. We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is such urgency and recklessness in all of the recent spending.

From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making. We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on you to bring our concerns to Washington. Our president often knows all the right buzzword is unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don't want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we're morons.

We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented. You think we're so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work , pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone and we are now looking up at you. You have awakened us, the patriotic spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far. Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office. We have cancelled vacations. We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn't ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us when hewill rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this. We don't care. Political parties are meaningless to us. Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution and that is all that matters to us now. We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you. If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one. We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent? Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming.
I hope Ms. Contreras represents a growing number of voters, I really do.

Please pardon me, though, if I doubt.

Glenn Beck interviewed the author today, I think. From the transcript:
May I, may I make a prediction. Your letter, in the next 72 hours, will be a letter that is circulated through a good portion of this country on the Internet. I have a feeling your letter may become a rallying cry.
Just doing my part.

We the People are coming.

What the .Gov Can Do for Cars, They Can Do for Health Care

What the .Gov Can Do for Cars, They Can Do for Health Care!

The first car off the new "Government Motors" production line:


Think about it. Do you really want to laugh?

Your Moment of Zen

Your Moment of Zen

Time for another one of these:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Remember Ms. Margaret Johnson? The disabled lady who shot a mugger outside her apartment building in Harlem a couple of years ago? Ms. Johnson had a NYC premises permit that allowed her to have a gun in her apartment, but did not allow her to carry a loaded gun on the streets of New York. Jeff at Alphecca recently linked to a story that reported that Chicago police often "look the other way" when someone uses a handgun in self-defense, as the NYC police did in Ms. Johnson's case.

In Jeff's comments I wondered if Ms. Johnson's premises permit had been pulled after her incident. Another commenter, "Harvey," reported that Ms. Johnson is being sued by her attacker. I found the story:
'THUG' TAKES $HOT AT GUN GRANNY

This pistol-packing granny, who shot a man she accused of mugging her in her wheelchair, wishes she had finished the job -- because now, he's suing her for millions.

"I'm a peaceful person. I wish that I had killed him," said Margaret Johnson, 59, whose grandfather, Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson, once ruled Harlem's underworld and was immortalized in several hit movies.

"I didn't think you had to pay to get mugged in New York City," she added.

Johnson and her landlord, the Lenox Terrace apartment complex, are being sued for $5 million by Deron Johnson, 48, a man with a lengthy rap sheet.

Margaret Johnson, a retired city bus driver who has a dislocated hip and a ruptured disc, said that in September 2006, she was sitting in her motorized wheelchair at Lenox Avenue and 133rd Street when Johnson tried to snatch her purse and gold chain.

She pulled out her licensed .357 Magnum and fired a round into his left elbow. Cops grabbed him moments later.

At trial, Deron Johnson, who has nine previous arrests, denied being a mugger.

He said he kicked the woman's Shih Tzu, Malika, after it attacked him, and the gun-loving granny shot him.

He was acquitted.
Reading the rest of the story I still don't know if they pulled her premises permit. Oh, and she's not getting a lawyer to defend herself in the suit. Hopefully the landlord is. Deron Johnson's lawyer is quoted as asking, "What's grandma doing walking the streets with a loaded gun?" That's easy - defending herself from people like your client. It worked, too.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

In contrast to yesterday's:
As the fascist government of Iran begins the massacre of its unarmed citizens today, the world slowly, fitfully wakes to the reality of what it means to have a weakling in Washington.

--

Now he has the job and the enemies of America and freedom have taken his measure. And today the dying started. Only the beginning, folks. Only the beginning.

The only prediction left to me is when the dying will start here. As usual, it's later than we think.

Gerard Van Der Leun, American Digest: Surprise! No Steel in Obama's Spine After All.

Monday, June 15, 2009

This is Cute

This is Cute

I just received this via email from my brother:
It is the month of August on the shores of the Black Sea. It is raining, and the little town looks totally deserted. It is tough times, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

Suddenly, a rich tourist comes to town. He enters the only hotel, lays a 100 Euro note on the reception counter, and goes to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one.

The hotel proprietor takes the 100 Euro note and runs to pay his debt to the butcher. The Butcher takes the 100 Euro note, and runs to pay his debt to the pig grower..

The pig grower takes the 100 Euro note, and runs to pay his debt to the supplier of his feed and fuel.

The supplier of feed and fuel takes the 100 Euro note and runs to pay his debt to the town's prostitute that in these hard times, gave her "services" on credit.

The hooker runs to the hotel, and pays off her debt with the 100 Euro note to the hotel proprietor to pay for the rooms that she rented when she brought her clients there.

The hotel proprietor then lays the 100 Euro note back on the counter so that the rich tourist will not suspect anything. At that moment, the rich tourist comes down after inspecting the rooms, and takes his 100 Euro note, after saying that he did not like any of the rooms, and leaves town.

No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now without debt, and looks to the future with a lot of optimism. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the United States Government is doing business today.

And if that doesn't scare you, then you are brain dead!
Hey! I know! Let's just declare all debts paid off and start over!

Justice?

Justice?
By the time the game warden arrived, Kevin Kadamus was sitting down and holding his 17-year-old son in his lap, a blanket covering the boy's bloodied body.

"He was trying to talk to his son, encouraging him to hang on," Warden David Gregory said.

Jacob Kadamus couldn't hang on. With a 12-gauge shotgun, his father had mistakenly shot him in the torso on the opening day of Vermont's turkey hunting season. He died at the scene.

Now, Kevin Kadamus must cope with more than remorse and grief. The 45-year-old computer consultant and father of three has been charged with manslaughter.
That's the opening of an AP piece entitled "Hunting deaths pose challenge for prosecutors". As one investigator put it, "There isn't an exemption under the law for family members being charged."

In 2006, according to the CDC (the latest stats available), 611 people age 10 and up died as the result of an unintentional gunshot wound. The CDC doesn't break that data down into hunting accidents, but you can see that they are pretty rare overall. Some are called "accidents" and no charges are filed, but as one game warden was quoted, "There's three distinct actions that have to take place: You have to aim the firearm, take the safety off and you have to pull the trigger. None of those actions are ever accidental. The simplest way to avoid an accident is to identify your target." Shooting someone accidentally requires multiple violations of the four rules of safe gun handling. It's not accidental. At the very least it's negligent.

But is criminal prosecution called for when the victim is a family member? Is the purpose of such prosecution punishment? What punishment can be greater than the knowledge of ones responsibility for the death of a loved one? Deterrence? The incidence is so rare to begin with that I find that idea laughable. Justice? For whom? Who is served?

It's different when the negligence is that of someone outside the family, as in the case of the two Oklahoma police officers involved in the accidental shooting death of a 5 year-old, or the complete negligent misuse of a firearm such as the moron who shot his wife while trying to use his .22 pistol as a drill.

Or is it? I'm interested in your thoughts on this.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
There are a million things to hate about President Bush’s costly and wrenching wars. But the fact is, in ousting Saddam in Iraq in 2003 and mobilizing the U.N. to push Syria out of Lebanon in 2005, he opened space for real democratic politics that had not existed in Iraq or Lebanon for decades. “Bush had a simple idea, that the Arabs could be democratic, and at that particular moment simple ideas were what was needed, even if he was disingenuous,” said Michael Young, the opinion editor of The Beirut Daily Star. “It was bolstered by the presence of a U.S. Army in the center of the Middle East. It created a sense that change was possible, that things did not always have to be as they were.”

Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, Winds of Change?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

You Know, If You Put Enough Garlic On It

You Know, If You Put Enough Garlic On It . . .

. . . crow still tastes like sh!t.


Billy's right.

Again.

I let emotion get the better of me, and leaped with insufficient consideration. Now I sit here impaled on my own fallibility.

Hey, we lesser beings do that from time to time.

Let me be right up front. Billy Beck grates on my nerves. A lot of people do that, but Billy's the only one who's right damned near every time, and I'm man enough to admit that. He grates on my nerves because of his 80-grit high-speed carborundum personality, and I let that get the better of me. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa. And I mean that, sincerely.

I misinterpreted his comment - the one I used as "Quote of the Day" Saturday. I was wrong. It fit a mental niche I'd carved out, and I slotted him right into that niche. As I said, I knew I was going to regret it later. I do. But when I conclude I'm wrong, I try not to compound the error.

I was wrong. I apologize. The other threads will contain, shortly, a link to this apology. Hopefully this concludes this week's episode of Drama Llamas, brought to you courtesy of my personal assholeness. I'd blame it on an abscessed tooth, but no, it was just me being me.

Again, Beck, I apologize. I fucked up. You were right. Again.

Sigh

*Sigh*

And the beat goes on . . .

Beck has responded to yesterday's QotD post. He copied me via email, so I'll post my reply to him as I sent it, verbatim:
Billy Beck wrote:
 "Beck's threatened retribution over this post,..."

You really are a fuckin' asshole, Kevin. You can complain about me all day
long, but I never do things like that, to you or anyone else.
Pot? Meet kettle. Right back at'cha, Billy. You have and you did. I quote:

"You will be exposed as an ignoramus of very dubious motive if you press on in this direction.
If you don't think so, then make the most of it."

and:

"
I'm going to watch, and then deal.
I told you."

That's a threat, sir. Very similar to the previous:

"
Now: just do it. If you don't, then the very *least* that you can count on is me making you a resounding hypocrite all over the whole 'net, and it will never stop. You will go down in history with my boot in your ass. And that's just the beginning. I've dealt with this sort of thing before, and I know the whole course."

That wasn't a threat?
*I did no such thing*, you chintzy little girl.  You don't know what you're
talking about. Words mean things, son, and "retaliation" does not mean what
you think it does.
Well, apparently I'm hindered by the fact that I'm one of the "inferior animals that looks like a human being," so you have to cut me some slack, because that sure did read as a threat. Yes sir, words mean things. We simple creatures take the simple interpretations first.

And the name-calling? Very creative. I'm awed. Truly.
 I haven't said a word about it out loud for a couple of reasons, and I
probably won't. (I'm not sure yet.) Everyone in your little high school
class out there will believe you and I'm not going to worry about that.

It's just so puny and shitty, man. I would expect this sort of thing from
a Usenet liberal. As little as I think of you, and didn't have you figured
for that.

I do now, though.
And I used to respect you a lot more than I do now. But it has become apparent that you're a sad, angry little man pissed at the world because it doesn't meet your high expectations. It's a bitch when you figure out that your philosophy, however perfectly it functions in your mind, is disregarded by 99% of the people around you, isn't it? Your schtick of screeching and flinging feces like a rabid baboon any time someone disagrees with you about anything has gotten past old. You've got about three emotional settings: one, seven, and eleven, and it appears (at least to me) that you're spending more time at eleven than at any other. I can no longer hear you over the sound of your own anger. But that's my fault too, I guess. Your own personal little clique of admirers will believe you, I'm sure, so we're even on that score.

You once said that you didn't understand why people didn't lead themselves. It appears that you've finally figured it out, and that realization has embittered the fuck out of you. Well, sorry, but you're the one whose perspective has changed. Humanity is as it's pretty much always been. I try to deal with what is, rather than how I think it ought to be. That makes me less than a human being in your eyes, I suppose. Try not to be too disappointed in the fact that I can live content despite your disapproval. You're disappointed with the world enough already, I'd hate to add to your already crushing burden.

Kevin
As I said, I knew going into this I was going to regret it, but I needed to do it.

I'm sure the poo-flinging isn't over yet.

UPDATE: The poo-flinging is finished. I was wrong, and I apologized.

Quote of the Day - Going Galt

Quote of the Day - Going Galt
If that's what people want, so be it.

I'm done. If Congress passes Obama's destructive zombie health plan in any form, I quit.

I will simply not practice medicine anymore. I will take my psychiatry books and my years of experience and do something else. I used to wait tables when I was in college. It's an honest living and Obama isn't interested for the time being in nationalizing restaurants--yet.

Let me be clear. I don't believe that people have a "right" to health care; because, what advocating such a "right" basically means is that you believe you have a "right" to my mind; you have a "right" to my professional competence; i.e., you have a "right" to enslave me.

Dr. Sanity - THIS TIME, I DON'T CARE ANYMORE...LET THE ZOMBIES TAKE OVER MEDICINE
Yes. That's exactly what it means. And do read the whole piece. She has a lot more to say that needs to be heard.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I Can Haz .38 Super?

Well, I traded in a gun today. My Kimber Eclipse Pro II. Even with the new internal extractor slide I haven't been all that happy with it, which is too bad because it's too pretty not to shoot better than it did. It was NOT fond of my pet load that works flawlessly in my full-size Kimber Classic. And that load also works perfectly fine in my other Commander-size 1911, the Para Gun Blog .45.

Still, I'm a happy camper, because I traded it straight across for a brand spanking new EAA Witness Elite Match .38 Super.


Now I've got to accumulate more magazines, a fiber-optic front sight, holster, mag pouches, reloading dies and components, etc., etc., etc.

Should be a fun gun for steel shoots. Seventeen round magazines means a LOT fewer magazine changes.

Anybody got a pet load for the 124 grain Gold Dot?

Glenn Greenwald, Ted Rall, and now Bill Maher

Glenn Greenwald, Ted Rall, and now Bill Maher?

As I've reported earlier, the bloom is off the Obama rose for Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald. This was followed by a strident denunciation by political "cartoonist" Ted Rall. But now even Bill Maher has nearly had enough, in an LA Dog Trainer op-ed, no less:
Enough with the Obamathon

The president is on TV more than the ShamWow guy, but I want to see a little more action.

President Obama should just join the cast of "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!" It's not that farfetched; he's been on everything else.

I'm still a fan, but there's a fine line between being transparent and being overexposed. Every time you turn on the TV, there's Obama. He's getting a puppy! He's eating a cheeseburger with Joe Biden! He's taking the wife to Broadway and Paris -- this is the best season of "The Bachelor" yet!

I get it: You love being on TV. I love my bong,
I'm shocked - shocked by this admission!
but I take it out of my mouth every once in a while.
I'm shocked - shocked by this admission!
The other day, I caught myself saying to a friend, "Don't tell me if he's fixed the economy yet, I'm Tivo-ing it."

Remember during the campaign when John McCain attacked Obama for acting like a celebrity and we all laughed at the grumpy old shellshocked fool? Well, it turns out he was right.
I'm shocked - shocked by this admission!
Sorry, senator. I'm sending a nice gift basket of high-fiber muffins your way.

It's getting to where you can't turn on your TV without seeing Obama. Who does he think he is, Dick Cheney? Come on, sir, you don't have to be on television every minute of every day. You're the president, not a rerun of "Law and Order." Save some charisma for a rainy day. Taking strangers from a TV show on a tour of your house? We have that show; it's called "Cribs."
Cue accusations of "RACIST! Oh, wait. Silly me. Maher's a Democrat.
And letting reporters ask you questions like "You like to be the one who picks out the shaving cream, don't you?" Or as it's called today, "journalism." I was willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt until I saw him take Brian Williams into his bedroom, and at the end of the bed there was a teleprompter and it said, "Who's your daddy?"
Now Maher's doing teleprompter jokes?
I mean, selling the personal part to stay popular, I'm all for it, but you got us already. We like you, we really like you! You're skinny and in a hurry and in love with a nice lady. But so's Lindsay Lohan. And like Lohan, we see your name in the paper a lot, but we're kind of wondering when you're actually going to do something.
Mouth hangs agape.

He has done a lot of stuff. He's validated all most all of the actions taken by his predecessor (that's what had Rall all fired up), he's dissed his gay constituency (that's got Democratic Underground all fired up), he's essentially taken control of major banks and two of the Big 3 auto makers. How can you say he hasn't done anything? Oh, right. You're Bill Maher.
I know that's harsh. But when I read about how you sat on the sidelines while bailed-out banks used the money we gave them to hire lobbyists who got Congress to stop homeowners from getting renegotiated loans, or how Congress is already giving up on healthcare reform, or how scientists say it's essential to reduce CO2 by 40% in 10 years, but your own bill calls for 4%, I say, enough with the character development, let's get on with the plot.
See? Obama just didn't do what Bill wants done.
And let's stop worrying so much about doing anything that might tarnish the brand. See, this is why I don't want my president to be a TV star: Because TV stars are too worried about being popular -- and too concerned with getting renewed.
First rule of modern politics: Keep getting re-elected. And Barack is still campaigning.

Seems only natural. He's never actually had to do anything before. Campaigning seems to be all he actually does well, so he's sticking with what he knows.
You can relax about that, Mr. President, knowing that there's a large, rich organization doing everything it possibly can to ensure that you'll get reelected: It's called the Republican Party.
Now there's Truth with a capital "T".
Speaking of which, if you can't beat Republicans now, when they're so down they take orders from Rush Limbaugh, then when? The way to get renewed for your reality show that you love so much is to act boldly now.
Because the advice of a comedian is precisely what you need!
Obama needs to start putting it on the line in fights against the banks, the energy companies and the healthcare industry. I never thought I'd say this, but he needs to be more like George W. Bush. Bush was all about, "You're with us or against us."
Yeah, those banks, energy companies and the healthcare industry are just like the guys who want to destroy Western Civilization.

But wait: I thought Rall's argument was that Obama was acting too much like George W. Bush. Now I'm confused.
Obama's more like, "You're either with us, or you obviously need to see another picture of this adorable puppy!"

Bush had horrible ideas, like torture and deregulation and preemptive war and tax cuts for the rich, but he pushed them through, in their full measure, never mind Congress or the Constitution or the Geneva Convention or the Magna Carta or the Code of Hammurabi.

The point is, he didn't care if it made him unpopular with every human on the planet not named Cletus or Fred Barnes. Which it did.
Nothing like the strength of one's convictions. And you'll note that Congress went along. Not that Obama (nor the Left for that matter) seems to have any actual convictions beyond "We know what's best for everyone else." (That would be the Imperial "We.")
And we need to marry the good ideas Obama really believes in with that Bush attitude and Bush certitude. I'd love for Obama to come out one day and say, "Jesus told me to fix healthcare." Or, "History will decide whether stopping the polar ice caps from melting and drowning us all was a good thing."
I reiterate: What is it that Obama "really believes in"? No one's been able willing to find out. Even immediately after the election the media noted that nobody knew the guy. He was "a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views." Bill Maher: Exhibit A.
In conclusion, Bush was a jerk, but he never cared about being seen having a burger with Dick Cheney. He picked up the phone in the White House and said, "I'm the president, bring me a burger." And they'd say, "Sir, this is NORAD. Would you please stop ordering burgers with the red phone?"
Ah, yes, the "Bush is a moron" meme. Stay classy, Bill!
I'm glad that Obama is president, but the "Audacity of Hope" part is over. Right now, I'm hoping for a little more audacity.
Stand by for further disappointment and disillusionment! I'm sure President Obama has someone writing another strongly worded memo to Kim Jong Il right this minute!

This would be fun if it wasn't so damned serious. And the fact that the alternative was McCain is even more depressing.