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, September 30, 2010

2012

I'd like you to to read some pieces and then come back here for mine. There are four, and they are in large part repetitive, but I think they're worth your time. They are:

The Decadence of Election 2010

WWIII ahead: Warfare defining human life by 2020

Hatred is killing your profits; new meltdown ahead

And, finally, America on the brink of a Second Revolution

The first piece is by Peter Morici - "a professor at the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission." The last three are Market Watch op-eds by Paul B. Farrell - "the author of nine books on personal finance, economics and psychology, including The Millionaire Code, The Winning Portfolio, The Lazy Person's Guide to Investing. Farrell was an investment banker with Morgan Stanley; executive vice president of the Financial News Network; executive vice president of Mercury Entertainment Corp; and associate editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. He has a Juris Doctor and a Doctorate in Psychology."

There are a lot of specifics in these three pieces that I disagree with, but the overall conclusions? I'm pessimistic enough to go along with most of those.

Peggy Noonan said it in her 2005 column, A Separate Peace: "tough history is coming."

Though he explicitly states that the problem is bipartisan, Paul Farrell lays most of the blame for the coming chaos at the feet of the Right. I really don't give a damn who's to blame. I'm convinced that it's the inevitable result of Thomas Sowell's "Conflict of Visions." I'm reminded of two quotations - Ambrose Bierce, who said "Revolution is an abrupt change in the form of misgovernment," and Arthur Koestler who said "Politics can be relatively fair in the breathing spaces of history; at its critical turning points there is no other rule possible than the old one, that the end justifies the means."

Koestler also said "The most persistent sound which reverberates through man's history is the beating of war drums."

We're a nation of pissed-off people in a world of pissed-off people. The "greatest generation" in Tom Brokaw's analysis is the last one to have known true hardship. Each successive generation has been progressively (in all meanings of the term) infantilized. We've been promised free ice cream all of our lives, but that ice cream is running out. Still, as Farrell says, most of us are in denial, and will continue playing on the railroad tracks until the oncoming freight train runs us down.

As Billy Beck says, the Endarkenment cometh. We're not voting our way out of this.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Our Pubic Schools

I posted that (click on the pic for the backstory), because it's a perfect lede for this:
IAmA HS teacher: This is a list of "suggestions" we got in our mailboxes today on how to dumb-down our classes even more than they already are. I'm so angry I can hardly see straight.

Of course, as in most workplaces, "suggestions" are requirements-in-waiting. I'm sure if I don't adopt these "new methods" I'll get a bad review come June.

They talk and talk about improving our state test grades, but once the news cameras are gone this is how they really want us to run our classes -make them so easy everyone can pass without doing any work at all. Then they blame the low test scores on "lazy teachers" and the Union. It's beyond sick.

Here's the list:
Multiple Choice

Consider open book tests using page references

Limit to one word or short phrases

Provide only one choice per letter (eliminate: A and B & All of the Above)

Eliminate: None of the Above

Offer a maximum of 3 choices

Avoid using negatives in questions (Which of these is not...)
True-False

Avoid negative or comparative wording (which is NOT, etc.)

Avoid the use of specific determiners (always, never, and no)

Balance the number of true answers to the number of false (Ex: tell the students "there are 5 true and 5 false")

If this is impractical, at least tell the student how many of each (5 true, 7 false)

Eliminate the need to rephrase false statements to make them true
Fill-in & Completion

one word answers or short phrases only

Provide a word bank and/or page number clues

Give the first letter of the answer

Limit the number of fill-in-the-blank responses to 1 per question (Ex: President [blank] was the 1st President of America, his vice president was [blank] is not recommended.)
Essays

Weigh the merit of using any essay questions at all

If you must use essay questions:

Allow students to list answers without complete sentences

Provide "answer starters" (provide the first sentence or paragraph from a well-written essay)

Consider providing open book or notebook time

There were several other references to "consider giving open book tests with page references" that I eliminated as redundant. Geez, I wonder what they want all our tests to be from now on, but can't come right out and say it? I could never guess...
I'm proud of one of my posts drawing 571 comments. This one has (at the time of this writing) 2876.

(h/t: Unix-Jedi for the latter link.)

Finished Monster Hunter: Vendetta

Damn, that was a fast, fun read!

Next!

Larry Correia is going to be in Scottsdale in October for a book signing. I may have to make a trip up there to see him again.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

From the Grave

This appears to be real. Here's the obituary posted at the funeral home website. Here's the newspaper edition:

(Click for full size.)

From an email from my brother. (Now, back to reading.)

I Picked Up My Copy

. . . of Monster Hunter Vendetta. Don't expect to see much posting for a while.

...Or Their Pets

Today's 365 days of Dilbert cartoon calendar entry:

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Find I Dislike Cass Sunstein Very Much

...despite the fact that Glenn Reynolds and Eugene Volokh (both men I admire) seem to think well of him.

I heard an audio clip on the radio on my way home this afternoon. (Yes, I was tuned into Glenn Beck for the 15 minute drive home. My iPod is on the fritz until I can reload the operating system.) That clip was taken from this C-SPAN interview:

Here's the key portion of the transcript:
Let me explain the division among conservative legal thinkers. Some conservative legal thinkers like Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas think that the Constitution means what it originally meant. That means we should understand the document by going into a kind of time machine and capturing the public understanding of the public that ratified the document a century, or more than a century ago.

So that is a very distinctive approach. It would involve quite radical changes in our existing Constitutional understandings, and Justice Thomas is entirely clear on that. He's voted to overturn the Supreme Court's own precedents over twenty times.
He says that like it's a bad thing. I'm sure Professor Sunstein doesn't object to Brown v. Board of Education in which the Supreme Court overturned its own precedent.

I've stated precisely where I stand on the question of Originalism and why in Cut-'n-Paste. Let me repeat some of the quotes that piece opened with:
On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed. --Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823, The Complete Jefferson, p. 322 Paul K. Sadover

--

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those intrusted with its administration to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism.... If in the opinion of the people the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield. - George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

--

Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government. - James Madison

--

The Constitution is a written instrument. As such, its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when it was adopted, it means now.South Carolina v. US, 199 U.S. 437, 448 (1905)

--

A provision of the Constitution, it is hardly necessary to say, does not admit of two distinctly opposite interpretations. It does not mean one thing at one time and an entirely different thing at another time. - Justice Sutherland (dissenting), Blaisdell (1934)

--

I quite agree with the opinion of the court that whether the legislation under review is wise or unwise is a matter with which we have nothing to do. Whether it is likely to work well or work ill presents a question entirely irrelevant to the issue. The only legitimate inquiry we can make is whether it is constitutional. If it is not, its virtues, if it have any, cannot save it; if it is, its faults cannot be invoked to accomplish its destruction. If the provisions of the Constitution be not upheld when they pinch, as well as when they comfort, they may as well be abandoned. - (Ibid.)

--

The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections. - West Virginia v Barnette (1943)

--

Judges know very well how to read the Constitution broadly when they are sympathetic to the right being asserted. We have held, without much ado, that "speech, or...the press" also means the Internet...and that "persons, houses, papers, and effects" also means public telephone booths....When a particular right comports especially well with our notions of good social policy, we build magnificent legal edifices on elliptical constitutional phrases - or even the white spaces between lines of constitutional text. But, as the panel amply demonstrates, when we're none too keen on a particular constitutional guarantee, we can be equally ingenious in burying language that is incontrovertibly there.

It is wrong to use some constitutional provisions as springboards for major social change while treating others like senile relatives to be cooped up in a nursing home until they quit annoying us. As guardians of the Constitution, we must be consistent in interpreting its provisions. If we adopt a jurisprudence sympathetic to individual rights, we must give broad compass to all constitutional provisions that protect individuals from tyranny. If we take a more statist approach, we must give all such provisions narrow scope. Expanding some to gargantuan proportions while discarding others like a crumpled gum wrapper is not faithfully applying the Constitution; it's using our power as federal judges to constitutionalize our personal preferences.
- Judge Alex Kozinski, dissenting, Silveira v Lockyer denial to re-hear en banc, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, (2003)

--

I respectfully dissent from our order denying rehearing en banc. In so doing, I am expressing agreement with my colleague Judge Gould's special concurrence in Nordyke v. King, and with the Fifth Circuit's opinion in United States v. Emerson, both taking the position that the Second Amendment secures an individual, and not collective, right to keep and bear arms.

The panel opinion holds that the Second Amendment "imposes no limitation on California's [or any other state's] ability to enact legislation regulating or prohibiting the possession or use of firearms" and "does not confer an individual right to own or possess arms." The panel opinion erases the Second Amendment from our Constitution as effectively as it can, by holding that no individual even has standing to challenge any law restricting firearm possession or use. This means that an individual cannot even get a case into court to raise the question. The panel's theory is that "the Second Amendment affords only a collective right," an odd deviation from the individualist philosophy of our Founders. The panel strikes a novel blow in favor of states' rights, opining that "the amendment was not adopted to afford rights to individuals with respect to private gun ownership or possession," but was instead "adopted to ensure that effective state militias would be maintained, thus preserving the people's right to bear arms." It is not clear from the opinion whom the states would sue or what such a suit would claim were they to try to enforce this right. The panel's protection of what it calls the "people's right to bear arms” protects that "right" in the same fictional sense as the "people's" rights are protected in a "people's democratic republic."

. . .

About twenty percent of the American population, those who live in the Ninth Circuit, have lost one of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights. And, the methodology used to take away the right threatens the rest of the Constitution. The most extraordinary step taken by the panel opinion is to read the frequently used Constitutional phrase, "the people," as conferring rights only upon collectives, not individuals. There is no logical boundary to this misreading, so it threatens all the rights the Constitution guarantees to "the people," including those having nothing to do with guns. I cannot imagine the judges on the panel similarly repealing the Fourth Amendment's protection of the right of "the people" to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, or the right of "the people" to freedom of assembly, but times and personnel change, so that this right and all the other rights of "the people" are jeopardized by planting this weed in our Constitutional garden.
- Judge Andrew Jay Kleinfeld, dissenting, also from Silveira v Lockyer denial to re-hear en banc, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, (2003)

--

It is literally true that the U.S. Supreme Court has entirely liberated itself from the text of the Constitution.

What 'we the people' want most of all is someone who will agree with us as to what the evolving constitution says.

We are free at last, free at last. There is no respect in which we are chained or bound by the text of the Constitution. All it takes is five hands.

What in the world is a ‘moderate interpretation’ of the text? Halfway between what it really says and what you want it to say?
- Antonin Scalia, excerpts from a speech quoted in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, 3/10/04

--

Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. - Clarence Thomas (dissenting) Kelo v New London (2005)

--

Obliterating a provision of the Constitution, of course, guarantees that it will not be misapplied. - (Ibid.)
The interview with Sunstein seems to be from 2006 during or just previous to the Alito Supreme Court nomination hearing. Sunstein had just published his book Radicals in Robes: Why Extreme Right-Wing Courts Are Wrong for America. You'll note that he doesn't seem to have a problem with extreme Left-Wing courts.

Some of Sunstein's other books:

Free Markets and Social Justice. - I'd like it if someone could just define "social justice" and illustrate how it differs from plain old everyday justice.

Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness - Co-written with Richard Thaler, this book is described at Barnes & Nobel thus:
Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain, is that, being human, we are all susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself. Thaler and Sunstein invite us to enter an alternative world, one that takes our humanness as a given. They show that by knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society. Using colorful examples from the most important aspects of life, Thaler and Sunstein demonstrate how thoughtful "choice architecture" can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice.
Who is this "we" that is entrusted to do the "design(ing) of choice environments"?

I suspect that it would be Thomas Sowell's "Anointed" - the intellectual elite.

Or, how about:

Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, described at B&N:
Cass Sunstein and Martha Nussbaum bring together an all-star cast of contributors to explore the legal and political issues that underlie the campaign for animal rights and the opposition to it. Addressing ethical questions about ownership, protection against unjustified suffering, and the ability of animals to make their own choices free from human control, the authors offer numerous different perspectives on animal rights and animal welfare.
What, we humans get "nudged" but animals don't?

And then there's:

A Constitution of Many Minds: Why the Founding Document Doesn't Mean What It Meant Before - Like HELL it doesn't.

And finally, this:

The Second Bill of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More Than Ever - If you needed any more evidence that Cass Sunstein doesn't understand the founding philosophy of this nation, that book title is enough all by itself.

Irony

A wealthy British businessman who owns the company that makes the two-wheeled Segway has been found dead in a river in northern England after apparently falling off a cliff on one of the vehicles, police said Monday.
That is all.

Quote of the Day - Antigunner Edition

From the Financial Times piece Kennesaw, where everyone is armed by law by Anna Fifield:
...while I am game to try shooting, I am afraid I might enjoy it.
Isn't that admission revealing?

(h/t to Say Uncle for the pointer.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"We Know the Warning Signs"

Back before the third Gun Blogger Rendezvous, attendees were invited to come to a special media event put on by the National Rifle Association. The NRA decided, for whatever reason, to announce its support for John McCain in the 2008 presidential election in Reno. Several of us attended, filling seats in the small conference room along with many residents of the Reno area, and a few (damned few) members of the local media.

After the announcement (while the media packed up and left), Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox invited questions from the audience. One young woman stood up and asked a very pointed question that both men deftly avoided. Her question struck me so much that I interviewed her. Her name is Ly Chho. Her family is Chinese, but she was born in Cambodia, raised in Taiwan, and is now a naturalized American citizen. Her question?
I am a new NRA member. I have been a citizen for only fourteen years. I believe in the Constitution and the Second Amendment, and when I see Obama, I see Communism, and I am afraid. I believe he is going to win the election. Do you have any plans in place if this happens?
Today, Instapundit linked to a piece by DaTechGuy on what he found at the 9/12 Tea Party protest in DC. Of all the people he spoke to at the rally, he took only one video interview. His subject was Clara Csiong, another naturalized American of Chinese descent. Her path to this nation was from China through pre-Castro Cuba.

Watch the video. Listen to what she says. Remember: she is what's known around these parts as a "primary source."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Quote of the Day - Politics Again

From my wife, recent citizen, registered Democrat:
I'm going to start my own party, the FUA Party: "Fv*k You All."
She is not at all enamored with any of the existing powers-that-be.

And We Should Trust You . . . Why?

I found this cartoon over at Mostly Cajun:

And that's pretty much how I see it. We're not voting our way out of this. We're, as the cliché goes, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

But Jon Stewart has the thousand words to go along with that one picture:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Postcards From the Pledge
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice . . .

Friday, September 24, 2010

I See the Church of the MSM is Still Practicing its Faith

A while back I wrote The Church of the MSM and the New Reformation, a book review of sorts of Professor Brian Anse Patrick's The National Rifle Association and the Media: The Motivating Force of Negative Coverage. If you haven't read my piece, the really fascinating thing that Professor Patrick determined from his research is that there is a bias in the media, but it's not exactly a Leftist one. Certainly the majority of journalists, editors and publishers lean that way, but the bias he found and documented was what he termed administrative control bias:
The larger concept that lies behind the consistent ranking is a broad cultural level phenomenon that I will label an administrative control bias. It has profound implications. Administrative control in this usage means rational, scientific, objective social management by elite, symbol-manipulating classes, and subclasses, i.e., professionalized administrators or bureaucratic functionaries. The thing administered is often democracy itself, or a version of it at least. Here and throughout this chapter terms such as "rational," "objective," "professional," and "scientific" should be read in the sense of the belief systems that they represent, i.e. rationalism, objectivism, professionalism, and scientism. Scientism is not the same as being scientific; the first is a matter of faith and ritualistic observance, the other is difficult creative work. William James made a similar distinction between institutional religion and being religious, the first being a smug and thoughtless undertaking on the part of most people, the second, a difficult undertaking affecting every aspect of a life. The term scientistic administration would pertain here. Note that we move here well beyond the notion of mere gun control and into the realm of general social control, management and regulation.
As a result of this, Professor Patrick continues, members of the media see themselves not as a check on government, but as the clergy in the Church of State:
Previous to objective journalism, baldly partisan news media were the norm; under objectivity news became a scientific tool of social progress and management. The elite press continues also to serve this function, connecting administrators and managers not only to the world they seek to administrate but also to other managers with whom they must coordinate their efforts. So in this sense social movement-based critiques have been correct in identifying a sort of pseudo-pluralism operating in the public forum, a pluralism that is in reality no more than an exclusive conversation between elite class subcomponents - but this over-class is administrative in outlook and purpose.
It's their job to sit below the Cardinals of the Church of State and above us proles. They are the interpreters of the Text, the tellers of Truth, and it's their job to make sure we don't hear about anything that would interfere with the way the Church says the system should be running (as long as it's their people in the red vestments):
Journalists acquire importance in the mass democratic system precisely because they gather, convey, and interpret the data that inform individual choices. Mere raw, inaccessible data transforms to political information that is piped to where it will do the most good. Objective, balanced coverage becomes essential, at least in pretense, lest this vital flow of information to be thought compromised, thus affecting not only the quality of rational individual decision-making, but also the legitimacy of the system.

Working from within the perspective of the mass democracy model for social action it is difficult to specify an ideal role model of journalistic coverage other than a "scientific objectivism" at work. An event (i.e., reality) causes coverage, or so the objective journalist would and often does say. Virtually all of the journalists that I have ever talked with regard coverage as mirroring reality.

They truly seem to believe this, that they have access to information to which philosophers and scientists have been denied. I spoke once to a journalist who worried out loud about "compromising" her objectivity when covering a story.

--

The claim being advanced here, by assumption, is that journalists can truly convey or interpret the nature of reality as opposed to the various organizational versions of events in which journalists must daily traffic. The claim is incredible and amounts to a Gnostic pretension of being "in the know" about the nature or reality, or at least the reality that matters most politically.

An ecclesiastical model most appropriately describes this elite journalistic function under mass democracy. Information is the vital substance that makes the good democracy possible. It allows, as it were, for the existence of the good society, a democratic state of grace. Information is in this sense analogous to the concept of divine grace under the pre-Reformation Roman Catholic Church. Divine grace was essential for the good spiritual life, the life that mattered. The clergy dispensed divine grace to the masses in the form of sacraments. They were its intermediaries, who established over time a monopoly, becoming the exclusive legitimate channel of divine grace.

Recollect that the interposition of intermediaries, the clergy, along a vital spiritual-psychological supply route was the rub of the Reformation. The clergy cloaked themselves in the mantle of spiritual authority rather than acting as its facilitators. Many elite newspapers have apparently done much the same thing, speaking and interpreting authoritatively for democracy, warranting these actions on the basis of social responsibility.
Example for today: Stephen Colbert vs. Christopher Coates.

Stephen Colbert, a TV comedian, is called before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security to "testify" in character. To perform, in other words, a comedy routine.

Google News records 1147 items on this bit of "news."

Christopher Coates, Voting Section Chief of the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division disobeys repeated orders from his superiors to respond to a subpoena to appear before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and testify about the dismissal of a voter-intimidation case by his department, invokes - and I quote - "the protections of all applicable whistleblower statutes" and proceeds to tell the Commission that the Department of Justice under Barack Obama's appointees isn't interested in enforcing equal protection under the law. In fact, the Department of Justice is quite adamantly opposed to the idea.

Google News records 57 items on this story, none from a major news outlet with the exception of the Washington Post.

We peasants don't need to know this, apparently. The Church has decided. The clergy has responded.

Gray Eagles

I received an email from my dad with a link to this 30-minute film. If you're a WWII history buff, a fan of P-51 Mustangs or just aviation in general, go watch Gray Eagles.

What Vapid Editorial Comments Tell Us About the UK

I ran across an editorial piece in the UK Telegraph today, What Teresa Lewis's last meal of fried chicken and apple pie tells us about America. It's really not worth reading, IMO.

But the comments are.

The author of the piece, Lucy Jones, makes her abhorrence for the death penalty apparent in the column, but in the comments, she goes one step farther:
I think it's morally, absolutely, categorically wrong to take another person's life. The details of the crime aren't going to make a difference.
So, Lucy, if someone makes an attempt on your life, you should just lie back and think of England?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This Needs Comment

In that Epic Comment Thread I referenced earlier (as of this writing, 556 comments) Markadelphia dropped this turd:
We survived higher levels of spending before...even made it through "The Scourge of FDR" and ended up in great shape.
Unix-Jedi glommed onto this almost immediately, but I ran across something a day or two ago that I cannot find now. Still, the point stayed with me, and it was this:

The Keyneseans insist that it was the "public spending" of the war economy that brought us out of the depression and spurred the incredible growth of the post-war economy.

Not so.

They seem to neglect the fact that, after the war, the United States was the only major industrialized nation that hadn't been smashed. We had our own sources of raw materials, unmatched manufacturing capability, and the rest of the world needed rebuilding.

Who else was there to provide the things the world needed to rebuild? America's economy didn't magically rebound because our government had spent a lot of money it didn't have - that was just what had provided the manufacturing base. Without a market to sell to we'd have crashed right back down. But that market was there, and it needed what we could make.

That market isn't there now, and the rest of the world makes everything anybody might need. We buy most of it ourselves, if you haven't noticed.

The world is not the same as it was after WWII, and only a fool or an idiot would fail to recognize that.

I'm also going to copy a comment from that thread in its entirety, in case Echo should ever go Tango-Uniform. By reader Moshe Ben-David:
I waded through all 544 comments. Took me a couple of hours. It was truly difficult but educational. I think I will copy and paste to a document to use as a textbook example.

I have tried to explain the bizarre way that the leftist mind such as Mark's works, but it is one thing to tell someone what it is like, yet it doesn't do as much justice as actually seeing a leftist speak for himself and prove what I am talking about; the sheer inability to grasp the most basic concepts and facts and then put them together in any meaningful way.

I must salute DJ, Unix, GOF, and Ken for their unbelieveable patience and willingness to engage in this exercise for the benefit of others who have come here to learn. I have engaged people with graduate degrees regarding the subject of Biblical apologetics in the same patient manner with facts and logic, not for my opponent's benefit, but for our audience.

That is the good reason Kevin has not banned him. He serves as a kind of lab rat or zoological specimen, where, instead of learning about such idiots in the abstract, we get to read him first hand and be able to say, "So THAT's what it looks like!"

It would be fun to coin a single word that describes Mark's condition. Ignorance can be a temporary condition that can quickly be overcome with a little education. Stupidity can be organic or physical in nature. So, what shall we call it when you encounter a human who seems to have enough cognitive ability to function in society and even seemingly pass for having reasonable intelligence and yet beneath it all engages in the grossest forms of cognitive dissonance, and worse, willful ignorance? I don't want to call it Markism because it would be too easily confused with Marxism, even though Marxism seems to be the logical reductio ad absurdum result of Markism.

Maybe we could call it Markean "Mark - ee - an", but I'm afraid too many would mispronounce it "Mar-keen." How about "Markasian?"
We've been saying this for three years.

And he Just. Doesn't. STOP.

Quote of the Day - Harsh Your Mellow Edition

Reader Ken left a link in the Übercomment thread yesterday to a piece over at The Market Ticker entitled The Only Part That Mattered In Obama's Telethon. Read the whole thing, but I'm going to excerpt two parts - a lead-in and today's QotD:
Entitlements consume, for all intents and purposes, every dollar of tax receipts in the here and now. Not tomorrow, not as growth in medical spending occurs, not in the future.

Right here, right now, today.

Note that we haven't spent one nickel on defense yet. Nor have we paid the interest on the debt, which is quite mandatory. Nor have we funded one
of our so-called "discretionary" programs, including Homeland Security, Energy, Education, HUD, Department of State, Veterans Affairs, Justice or anything else.

What President Obama told you is that The Federal Government has no plan to deal with this, not now and not in the future. It cannot even meet its own entitlement spending from the taxes it collects, leaving the entirety of the rest of the government, including national defense, to be put on the credit card.


You were told, today, that our government is insolvent.

Not "might become" insolvent if we don't change our ways.

The United States is insolvent, right here, right now, today, and The President announced it for all who cared to listen worldwide on national television.
(Emphasis in original.)

I quoted that so that I could put this in context. It's a comment by "Peter99" to the piece:
Although there's nothing new in here, the beauty of this ticker, IMO, is that it succinctly and unambiguously shows that the leaders of this country, both parties, starting from when the gov't got into the entitlement business up through today, have collectively, increment by increment, created a situation that cannot be salvaged without pretty much dismantling the system as it exists.

And, even the least discerning reader should be able to see that, no matter how it occurs, the dismantling is going to be extremely painful for everyone.
As I said, RTWT. And all the comments.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Southern Arizona Blogshoot

A funshoot is in the early planning stage for Southern/S. central Arizona in early November. More to follow. Stay tuned.

More ObaMao

I'm sure many of you have already seen this image that made the rounds of teh intarwebs recently:

I found it here, with another image you might find equally interesting.

Here's one you probably haven't seen, taken by a previous coworker on a trip to China back just before the Winter Olympics provided by Sarah a long time ago (my memory is failing me):

(Click the image for full 1200x1600 size.)

Sarah wrote in her email (all the way back in April):
A friend of mine brought this back from China after the Olympics -- it's not satire, it's a genuine expression of admiration on behalf of like-minded people. When the American media was in Beijing, apparently there was an attempt to hide these souvenirs from other Americans. Kinda says it all, doesn't it.
Can anybody translate the caption? Joe Huffman's coworker says the caption translates as "Serve the People."

"Serve the People"?

IT'S A COOKBOOK!!

Quote of the Day - Language Manipulation Edition

Seventeenth century philosopher Thomas Hobbes said that words are wise men's counters, but they are the money of fools.

That is as painfully true today as it was four centuries ago. Using words as vehicles to try to convey your meaning is very different from taking words so literally that the words use you and confuse you.

Take the simple phrase "rent control." If you take these words literally-- as if they were money in the bank-- you get a complete distortion of reality.

New York is the city with the oldest and strongest rent control laws in the nation. San Francisco is second. But if you look at cities with the highest average rents, New York is first and San Francisco is second. Obviously, "rent control" laws do not control rent.

If you check out the facts, instead of relying on words, you will discover that "gun control" laws do not control guns, the government's "stimulus" spending does not stimulate the economy and that many "compassionate" policies inflict cruel results, such as the destruction of the black family.


Thomas Sowell, The Money of Fools - Part I
But they mean well!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Your Moment of Zen

We're overdue for this:

(Updated: Click image for full size 850x570 pixel image.)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Dumbing-Down of America

Another example of what our education system (or the destruction thereof) is wreaking on the country is given by Old NFO in his post We're getting old:
I'm on the road again, putting stuff on a boat to go test it and I'm looking around and other than the geeks, everybody else has gray or white hair (if they have any hair left)...

Ages are 68, 67, 66, 66, 63, 61, 59, 58, 58, 56, 53 and 51, or an average of 60+ years; and all of the scientists were over 60 too (one is 79 years young). Two guys were lured back out of retirement to come work on this stuff. We were in at 0630 every morning, worked until about 1900, and did it again and again till we were done. And some of the stuff was 'designed' on the spot to get things done...

--

But a problem (or at least my perception), is there are NO younger people in training for any of our jobs. I literally went around to the various organizations represented and asked! The consensus was when we all retire (I think ALL of us will be gone within 5-6 years), there will literally be no one with the capability to build/integrate/assemble/deploy/retrieve systems like this; much less anything larger.
RTWT.

I'm an engineer, working for a not-small engineering company. In my department we have several engineers past retirement age working part-time to supplement their incomes (and because they have the experience, knowledge and judgment that younger engineers lack). Read what Old NFO has to say about the younger members of his "team." This is not atypical in my experience. And it's a for-real problem.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

How Government is Like Bacteria

I've been getting links and comments from The Silicon Graybeard for a while now, but I'll admit that I haven't spent much time over there.

That's going to change. One excellent example of why is this recent post, On Germs, Weeds, Companies, Governments and Skunks. Excerpt:
(Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine's) most memorable law, and where I'm going with this, was "Systems of Regulations created as a management surrogate take on a life of their own and exhibit a growth history which closely parallels other living entities observed in nature". He went on to show the number of pages in armed forces procurement regulation vs. time along with a curve of weed growth (from the journal "Weed Science"), and produced a graph any biology student will instantly recognize as the sigmoid growth curve of populations, also called the logistic function.

A usual example is the common bacteria E. coli. This species can divide and produce a new generation every 20 minutes; if conditions could remain optimum it would undergo geometric growth and produce a colony the size of the planet in 24 hours. Because conditions can't remain optimum, it has a logistic growth curve, producing much smaller colonies.

In regulations, there is a price for this. Although the legislators and regulators never consider this, every regulation consumes some amount of time and money to comply with. The new Finance Reform bill has been estimated to required the development of 250-300 new regulations. Every regulation slows down, hinders and costs every honest business real money. Despite the widespread talk of corrupt CEOs and general lack of corporate ethics, I've been working in the manufacturing industry since the mid 1970s, and every company has had an active, if not aggressive, ethics compliance program with requirements for training and seminars every year. There are exceptions but most companies do their best to be honest and law-abiding. Government seems to think it's mere coincidence that countries with lower tax rates and lower regulation attract business, and they demonize companies for moving to countries where the environment is better.

A simple way of determining if someone you talk to has any economic sense is to ask them about corporate taxes. The economically ignorant (I'll be polite) will scream to tax the corporations. Those with sense will tell you corporations are fictitious and can't pay tax. Tax is part of the cost of doing business and therefore passed on to the buyer (the people calling for them to be taxed). Corporations can collect taxes for the government (for which they are punished with more costs, not paid) but cannot generate them. Every penny a company has comes from its customers. In a global market where they compete with companies in cheaper environments, they are at a disadvantage.
I quoted that so I could quote this:
This is where we find ourselves as a nation.

We are strangling in a bureaucracy with a Code of Federal Regulations that has grown like a bacterial culture. A nation that was founded by a constitution that fills about 14 printed pages in today's technologies, passes financial reform bills that go over 2000 pages, health care bills that go almost 3000 pages, and more. Each bill creates hundreds of new regulations, which are so poorly written they have to be refined by hundreds of court cases. The court cases effectively create new law and new regulations. Since congress is in session every year and passes at least one new law every year, the total number of laws and regulations increases without limit and everything eventually becomes illegal.

What can we do? We can't form a "skunkworks country" that can get around our laws and create a more mobile, productive society. We only have one option: we have to create a national process, like industries do, to become more "lean, mean and low to the ground". Get rid of superfluous laws. We simply must reduce the size of the CFR and reduce the destruction caused by the regulation and litigation in our society. To me, Tort Reform is absolutely essential. A big part of the industrial lean activities is to study what policies need to be gotten rid of because "we've always done it that way". The same should be done with the CFR.
In other words: "deregulation."

There's a lot more there. Please, go read.

And Graybeard? You're on the blogroll.

EPIC

A couple of weeks ago I posted My New Favorite Flag, a little throwaway post (or so I thought) until perennial commenter Markadelphia spoke up.

The result is quite possibly the longest comment thread in TSM's history.

We're going to top We have topped 500 on this one, folks, and it is positively filled with example after example of why I don't ban Markadelphia - he's just too perfect an example of what we're fighting against.

I Need One of These

Joe Huffman may have video-recording glasses, but I think I need one of these: The Hawk Eye R/C helicopter with video camera. With a little practice, I could use this to film USPSA runs from downrange!

Friday, September 17, 2010

New Shooters

During Saturday's festivities, Bill Brassard talked about what the National Shooting Sports Foundation does. Among its many functions, the NSSF is active in getting people into the shooting sports. This is crucially important, as the political power of the gun rights movement is dependent on a populace that is not ignorant of firearms. England's gun control experience is a history of making gun ownership more and more rare by making legal acquisition and possession progressively more difficult and expensive until only a tiny percentage of the population there has actually seen a firearm "in the wild" as it were, much less fired one.

Familiarity is what we have to preserve. As Teresa Nielsen Hayden once put it so brilliantly:
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.
Amen.

A lot of us in the gunblogging community are in on this idea. Shortly after I started TSM I put up the invitation at the top of the sidebar. I wasn't the first, but I'm far from the last. A couple of years ago, Mulligan from Do Over set up a web page (also linked at the bottom of my offer) where he lists at present about sixty people around the country (and one in Canada) most of whom make essentially the same offer I do: we'll provide the range fees, targets, protective gear, firearms, ammunition, and instruction. All you have to do is show up.

We need to add to this list. Will you help?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Blogroll Additions

I met some new people at this year's Rendezvous. First, GG from Girls {Heart} Guns, who is a newbie shooter, and very enthusiastic! She's also very safe, as she relates in this post.

Next up was Olav and his wife Patricia from Firearms and Training. Olav is a fine shot, and QUICK. On Saturday, the last run we did was five shots on a single steel plate at 7 yards as fast as possible. I watched Olav put five rounds on target from his 9mm S&W M&P in just over a second. You could have covered the group with a playing card. I told him I didn't see the happy-switch on his pistol!

Two guys from CS Tactical made their first trip to the Rendezvous, Mike Cecil and Andrew "Mase" Mason. CS Tactical has a forum, too! Not only that, but Mike's a helluva competitor. He won the Cowboy Fast Draw match on Sunday, beating out "Millisecond Molly" by literally milliseconds.

True Blue Sam made it this year. Zeke of Engineering Johnson couldn't make it due to work (he was in Viet Nam showing 'em how to make pop-top cans), but his grandmother Bea was insistent that she was going to her second Rendezvous, so it was up to Sam, her son, to provide escort duty! Bea is 79 years old and has been shooting for just a couple of years, but she handloads her own ammo - .357, .44, and .45 Colt.

Making his second trip to a Rendezvous was D.W. Drang of The Cluemeter. I haven't had him on the blogroll before, but I will shortly!

This was also Molly's second Rendezvous. She's going on the roll as well.

Also new this year was Dan Hall of GUNUP.com, a new site (not quite ready, but soon!) that aims to be THE place for people to go for gun-related information on the web. Sounds like they have a plan and the people, let's wish 'em luck!

Mr. Completely Really Delivers!

When Mr. C sets up a Rendezvous, he goes all out! This year somehow he got a lot of balloonists to come to Reno just for us! Here's the view out my hotel room window two mornings in a row. (Click the pictures for the full-size versions.)

And if you were in attendance, you were certain to go home with some T-shirts and other great swag. Here's some (blurry) shots of some of the piles of stuff that were given away:



Seriously, if you can make it next year, DO IT.

MidwayUSA Discount Codes

As promised, Mr. Colin Anthony, MidwayUSA's marketing specialist has provided some discount codes that you, my readers, can use! I've been doing business with Midway for over a decade, and I spend on average about $750 a year there. I think they like me. Anyway, here's his email:
To receive your Savings:

1. Place in-stock products in your shopping cart totaling:
$10 off $100 - Use Promotion Code 19310
$20 off $200 - Use Promotion Code 29310
$30 off $300 - Use Promotion Code 39310

Enter the promotion code in the box entitled "Promotion Code" on the shopping cart page.
2. You will see the discount on the Confirmation page before placing your order.

3. Remember, this promotion code is valid for orders placed on MidwayUSA.com.

4. Limited to in-stock products, one per Customer and one promotion code per retail order.

5. Excludes Gift Certificates and Nightforce products, Sale priced products and Clearance products.

6. Offer valid for retail Customers only.

7. Offer cannot be combined with Birthday or Special Pricing.

8. Hurry, offer starts at 12:00 AM CT Sept 17, 2010 (that's tomorrow) and ends at 11:59 PM CT October 17, 2010.

Colin B. Anthony
Marketing Specialist
Thank you again, Colin!

And for a great review of the pistol case that Midway gave to all the bloggers who attended GBR-V, go read Anthroblogogy's post on it.

Quote of the Day - Professional Advice Edition

Your professional career will not reward failure, so get as much of it in as early in life as possible.

Mike Fahrion, Common Sense Crumble? - B&B Electronics Serial Communications Blog

(Just as an aside, you have to wonder just how much failure The Won experienced during his early years.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Now for Something Completely Different!

By email from my dad:

THIS is How You Shoot "Smoke-n-Hope"

That's "Millisecond" Molly Smith, 14 year-old 2010 World Steel Challenge Champion in both Lady's Iron Sight Revolver and Junior Revolver. She won six of eight stages to take the overall championship with her S&W 627, and you can see why. On the round where she missed the stop plate once, her time barely broke four seconds!

As someone observed, normally it would be considered kinda creepy for so many old guys to be filming a 14 year-old girl, but we all want to grow up some day to shoot like she does!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Next Up, THANKS!

There are a lot of people to thank for their contributions to the fifth (!) annual Gun Blogger Rendezvous, none more than Mr. Completely and Keewee for their efforts to pull it all together. As Mr. C put it, for him it's not a lot of fun, but it sure is rewarding when it's all done.

For the rest of is, it is a lot of fun, and we really appreciate it.

Others who contributed involved many in the industry:

Bill Brassard Jr., Director of Communications for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The NSSF provided the pizza dinner Saturday night, and Bill is the gateway through which bloggers can get media credentials to attend the annual SHOT show in Las Vegas.

Rachel Parsons of the NRA, who provided a very nice breakfast for us Friday morning before we headed off to the range, but was unable to make it herself due to illness.

Randi Rogers AKA "Holy Terror" of Glock, who provided a certificate for any standard Glock handgun.

Charles Brown of Hi-Point Firearms and MKS Supply, who provided a certificate for a 9mm Carbine.

Kerby Smith of Para USA who provided a 35% discount coupon for any new Para pistol

Lori Petoske of Ruger Firearms who provided very nice briefcase-style range bags for all of the bloggers, plus cups, hats and other swag.

Larry Weeks of Brownell's, who unfortunately couldn't be with us as this year he was a range officer at the USPSA Multi-Gun Nationals being held in Las Vegas. Brownell's provided AR-15 mags (I scored two), one of their top-of-the-line range bags, and other great stuff.

Colin Anthony of MidwayUSA, who provided shirts, a stack of excellent pistol range bags and other stuff, plus a discount code for blog readers (and another one to come!)

Patrick Harlan of Crimson Trace, who provided a certificate for any in-stock Lasergrip, and some very nice pistol rugs and other swag.

Leupold, who through Allen Forkner of Swanson*Russell, provided a damned nice VX3 scope.

Jamie Klund and Gary Shank of Cabela's who hosted a tour of their 125,000 square-foot Reno store, and let us fondle the rare firearms in their Gun Room, (including a $30k Single-Action Army!) Cabela's also gave us some discount coupons that most of us made immediate use of.

The Cowboy Fastdraw Association, who put on a match for Rendezvous attendees Sunday at absolutely no cost to us. It was, to coin a phrase, a blast. Special thanks to "Quick Cal" Eilrich and the Sage Hills Reno Rustlers Cowboy Fast Draw club who ran the match.

The Palomino Valley Gun Club who run a fine range, and the Western Nevada Pistol League who let us shoot their steel on Saturday.

Richard Brengman of Special Interest Arms, who brought some of his stuff to Friday's Show-'n-Tell for us to look at and handle. Richard lives an hour or so away in Gardnerville, NV, and said he thought some other local manufacturers might be interested in attending next year.

Derek of The Packing Rat, who donated an Air Venturi Bronco break-barrel air rifle. Derek is also the unofficial photographer for the Rendezvous.

And the Silver Legacy Resort and Casino who treated us well all weekend.

And thanks also to all the attendees who helped us raise money for Project Valour-IT. I met a bunch of new people this weekend, and my blogroll will be growing.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Home

I left Reno about 1:20 yesterday afternoon after dropping Mr. C, KeeWee, and U.S. Citizen off at the Silver Legacy following the cowboy fast-draw match, which was a hoot. I got my butt handed to me in two consecutive matches, but the finals were pretty exciting. I'm glad I stayed for it this year.

I got to Las Vegas about 8:30PM, but didn't end up getting a hotel room until after 10:00 (don't ask). I didn't wake up until 8:00 this morning, and was on the road gain at 9:00. I pulled into my driveway this afternoon at 3:30. I am wiped out.

A Rendezvous Recap (with pictures!) will fill the next few days' posts. And links. Lotsa links.

I can't wait for next year!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11

Tam (once again) has said it better than I could, so go read (as if you don't go there first).

On a related note, part of what we do here at the GBR is raise money for Project Valour-IT. Last year we raised over $8,000. The economy sucks this year. Several regulars were unable to make it, and things for most of the rest of us are tight, But we still have soldiers coming home with severe physical injuries - even after the "end of major combat operations" in Iraq. One (anonymous) previous attendee who could not make it this year still donated to Project Valour-IT via the link I gave above in honor of the Rendezvous. If you can spare it, please consider doing the same. Even if you can't, please spread the word.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

GBR-V Update

About a dozen of the expected 30 or so people have already shown up, about half are new faces. There's no WiFi in the hospitality room this year (the hotel discovered they could charge convention goers extra for that service) so no live-blogging this year, at least from me. I'm going to HAVE to look into a Verizon net card next year.

Oh, and no Überpost this weekend. I didn't have time to finish it (well, I didn't take the time) and I'll be busy the next four days, but I promise it's coming.

Rendezvous!

OK, I'm here! I just got checked in and I'm in my room. Next up, the Silver Baron 'B' ballroom to find out who else is here.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

OK, Another Post

On the way up to Reno, I'm stopping by this place: Special Interest Arms. They do...interesting things with Lee-Enfield rifles, and I have a couple that I'm interested in selling. I've got a No. 4 MkI* Savage barreled action that has a bad bore, and a No. 5 MkI that has way excessive headspace on a #2 bolt head (instant case head separation). Besides, Gardnerville isn't that far out of the way. I have another No. 4 and an original No. 5. The No. 5 shoots pretty well. The No. 4 not so much. I might try to partially trade the two I'm bringing for a 7.62x39 conversion kit for my other No. 4.

On the other hand, those suppressed .45ACP carbines look wicked cool . . .

And the proprietor has said that he might drop in on the Rendezvous this weekend, which would be cool.

The HP DeskJet D2680 SUCKS!!!!

My daughter got one as a freebie in a bundle with a new PC. She liked the printer she already had, and knew that I didn't have a printer for the Franken-puter I built last year, so she gave it to me. (Prior to this, I've been using my Epson Stylus RX620 3-in-1 printer/scanner as a network printer, but I have to have the old machine it's running on in the other room on at the same time.)

Let me reiterate: The HP DeskJet D2680 SUCKS!!!!

Yes, the HP DeskJet D2680 SUCKS!!!!

And, not to put too fine a point on it, the HP DeskJet D2680 SUCKS!!!!

Not only does it go through (expensive, non-refillable) ink like a 426 Hemi goes through hi-test, it can't seem to print more than three pages before locking up the print spooler in the middle of a page. Sometimes it can't even print one entire page.

Apparently this is a known issue. It's been known for a while. And HP still hasn't fixed it.

No wonder they're giving these things away for free. If they actually sold them as printers, they'd be sued for fraud.

No Blog for You!

I'm in final preparations to head out for Reno tomorrow, and of course I'll be on the road for most of tomorrow. I'll check either tomorrow evening (assuming I find a hotel with WiFi) or Thursday once I get checked in at the Silver Legacy.

Hopefully the long-promised next Überpost will be finished and up by Saturday. We'll see.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

In Honor of James Lee

Hint: It doesn't work that way, and no matter how hard you try, wishing won't make it so.

It especially doesn't work if you try replacing the technology in the grinder with people.

Brilliant!

Here's some political activism I can get behind:

Send a CFL to your congressman

They've mandated these bulbs. I think we should make them choke on 'em.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Quote of the Day - Education Edition

Zombie agrees with me:

The media and public schools were correctly identified by Gramsci as the most influential cultural institutions, and it was therefore those that the left realized must be targeted.

It is this sophisticated Gramscian plan, and not the more brutish Marxist idea of simply seizing power by force, which has guided leftist thought in America since WWII. And it is why the media and education have, over time, been slowly turned into engines of leftist propaganda. Gramscianism matured into “critical pedagogy” which is the real-world application of his educational theories, and countless left-leaning young adults have for decades been nudged toward careers in education and the media. Some time ago, we crossed a threshold in which the Gramscian infiltrators no longer had to ply their trade surreptitiously, but became the majority in the media and in education, and after that point the process accelerated rapidly as they took over both fields and turned them into ideological weapons.

"Zombie" - In Pursuit of Cultural Hegemony, Part IV of his five-part series on ideological warfare in America's public school systems.
Read it all.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Speechless

Just a few minutes ago, someone was directed to my Failure to Communicate essay by plugging the following (verbatim!) into ask.com:

Thomas Sowell Theories is his theories idea or detrimental to society

Mouth hangs agape.

Quote of the Day - Try "Both" Edition

Now I am scared. The NRA may be right. We have heard from several hunter friends they have had the same experience. Either the Department of Justice is a total joke or the government is building a database so they know where to go and pick up private citizens' guns. -- Maybe the NRA's right to be paranoid
This is not an either/or question. There's every reason to believe that the answer is "Both."

(h/t to SayUncle)

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Well, So Much for Good News

So, I get on the internet when I get home, and discover that there's been a blast at Widener's. Thankfully, apparently no one was killed.

And today I received a call at work from my doctor. My lab tests say I'm a diabetic.

Oh boy.

(At least I don't need to worry about my porphyria any more.)

UPDATE: Widener's says "Wasn't Us!!"