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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

MiniTrue Goodspeak

So yesterday Jon Stewart put on a combination concert and stand-up show on the DC mall. Many hip young people showed up to have a laugh at the expense of the over-35 crowd. The medja is, of course, insisting that the turnout for this was HUUUUGE! While, of course, downplaying the turnout of the over-30 crowd for Glenn Beck's recent tentless tent-revival.

The AtlanticWire reports:
Sure, Stewart's Rally Was Bigger, but Does It Matter?

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's rally reportedly drew 215,000 people, far more than the 87,000 estimated by the same company to have attended Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" event earlier this year. But does it matter? Liberals are celebrating the numerical triumph, touting it as a sign that more Americans are put off by Tea Party-style politics than drawn to it.
So, 215,000 to 87,000, eh? Almost 2.5 times as many! Wow! And the source cited? CBS News.

Nazzofast, Guido.

Charlie Martin of PJMedia has done his own calculations, with accompanying graphics, and concludes differently:
Before this went to press, CBS News made their own estimate: 215,000 versus their estimate of 87,000 for the Beck rally.

To which I say “Oh, nonsense.”

Their contractor, AirPhotosLive.com, it turns out, did at least publish an explanation of their methodology,.

AirPhotosLive.com is correct that trying to count oblique photos is unsatisfactory, which is why we don’t: we use the oblique photos to get geography bounds on the crowd against landmarks, and then make a range of estimates using the Park Service’s own standards for crowd density.

The Beck rally covered roughly 2.4 million square feet and by AirPhotosLive’s own photographs large parts of that area were packed as densely as any overhead picture of Stewart/Colbert. The Stewart/Colbert rally had, at most, about 6/10th the space — 1.62 million square feet vs. 2.4 million. For it to have had that many people, they would have had to be packed about 6.7 times more densely than the densest parts of the Beck crowd.

Not a chance. Not even if they were packed in olive oil.
What are you supposed to believe, the media or your lyin' eyes?

Painting, Not Posting

Sorry about the lack of content. I've been painting the exterior of my house. It's been nine years since I did it last, and the Arizona sun has beaten the hell out of the last coat. I've gotten quite a bit done, but it'll take today and probably another weekend to finish up.

Ah, well.

At night I've either been reading or watching DVDs instead of writing. I strongly recommend the SciFi Channel's mini-series The Lost Room. I got it from Netflix, and my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed it last night. (Why oh why must SciFi, er, SyFy mass-produce crap like Mansquito when it can do quality stuff like The Lost Room?)

I'm a bit over halfway done with Thomas Sowell's Intellectuals and Society, and I just finished Eric Flint and Marilyn Kosmatka's Time Spike, part of the 1632 universe. Quite good.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Quote of the Day - Stunning Admission Edition

This one comes from HillBuzz, An Open Letter to Rush Limbaugh and His Listeners — With Notes on the Democrat Civil War Already In Progress:
...even if you called yourself a Democrat for 32 years, the way I did, because everyone you grew up with and everyone in your family was a Democrat, that in 2010 it's time to ask yourselves what that really means.

Do you want to be in a party that calls people racists for stepping out of line and voicing opposition to the socialist lurch of the current administration?

Do you condone voter fraud and the shameless, undemocratic tactics employed by Democrats?

Do you wish to associate with the likes of ACORN, the SEIU, the Black Panthers, and all the other thugs, goons, and degenerates the Obama campaign and White House employ as the DNC's muscle on the ground?

It is crystal clear that being a patriotic American who loves this country is intellectually incompatible with being a Democrat. If you love America and want it to prosper, the Democrat Party is at absolute odds with everything we need for a thriving, successful economy.
(Emphasis added.)

And this is the perfect place to quote Tam from yesterday when she went and voted early:
So, where do I go vote... for whoever's gonna fire you?
Tuesday will be interesting. No doubt about it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Peterson Syndrome

The upcoming elections on Tuesday promise a landslide for the Republican party, but as Instapundit (among thousands) has said, "don't get cocky."

The gun-rights movement, similarly, has enjoyed a landslide of victories in the last decade since the nadir of the 1994 "assault weapon ban." That landslide took a long time to build momentum, starting all the way back in 1987 with Florida's passage of "shall issue" concealed carry legislation, proceeding to the earth-shaking Heller and McDonald Supreme Court decisions of 2008 and 2010 respectively.

We shouldn't get cocky. The Other Side is still out there. It's not over.

I started TSM a bit over seven years ago because I was tired of reading the unrefuted illogic, obfuscation, distortion, and outright lies promulgated by The Other Side. The Web offered a voice for people like me, and I used it - first on Usenet, then on message boards, and finally in the blogosphere.

And there were hundreds like me!

And there are hundreds like them.

We were on the internet.

They were on radio, television, newspapers and magazines.

But as the media paradigm has been changing, this has, too.

One recent example, Joan Peterson of the Brady Campaign, has become the darling of the gunblogging set. She has set herself up as the prototypical anti-gun activist, spewing falsehoods and distortions with nearly every utterance. Joe Huffman has diagnosed her as having a mental defect, to wit:
She is frequently incoherent. She cannot distinguish the difference between intentions and results. If she is a liar she would not repeatedly make these kind of mistakes. Or if she is a liar then she is very very smart and skilled to consistently use the same sort of tool without ever slipping up.

I claim it is not necessarily and in fact probably isn't stupidity. If this were stupidity then this sort of faulty thinking would not continually show up throughout human history even with people that are exceedingly well respected. Every age and society has stupid people in it and they are easily recognized and the instances of them being well respected are exceedingly rare. This is some other type of mental disorder.

This mental disorder can be, and has been, easily detected. Ask the question, "What is the process by which you determine truth from falsity?" People suffering from this mental disorder not only won't be able to supply an answer but frequently cannot even understand the question. The question is nonsensical to them. They are lacking a thinking process. Hence, by necessity, they fail to process information. Asking them to supply a process when they are totally unaware of the existence of such a concept results in the same sort of difficulty as asking a person blind since birth what color the walls are. They have no common basis with the questioner such that they can even understanding the question. This is the same sort of response we get from her. She cannot understand concepts that to us are intuitively, blindingly, demonstrably, obvious. It is nearly impossible for us to believe that she does not understand what we are saying. But if she were blind you would not claim she was stupid or a liar if she did not know the color of the wall.
As Joe notes, this condition is now known as Peterson Syndrome.

It's not an uncommon affliction.

Let me illustrate now another victim, G. Eyclesheimer Ernst. Mr. Ernst has been active in the gun control movement for years, first running an online magazine entitled The Firearms Policy Journal that later morphed into the tax-exempt Potowmack.org web site. Where Joan Peterson's illness may be attributed to the shock of her sister's murder, I'm not certain of the source of Mr. Ernst's. It may be that it is a genetic condition in his case, but Mr. Ernst's particular version of Peterson Syndrome is focused not on the gun, but on society, or - as he puts it - "It's not about guns, it's about citizenship."

For G. Eyclesheimer Ernst, the concept of personal sovereignty, not gun ownership in and of itself, is what trips his circuit breakers. He has been writing since at least 1990, and has been insistent from that time that the concept of an individual right to arms for the purpose of self-defense against a tyrannical government is, well, just crazy talk! In GEErnst's world, human beings should be happy cogs in Society's machine, doing whatever the Government tells them they should. The very idea of personal sovereignty is the antithesis of how the world should work. Take, for example, a letter that he submitted in 1994 to the New England Journal of Medicine and, after its rejection, to the American Medical Association which also rejected it. Cutting to the chase, GEErnst writes:
The monopoly on the exercise of armed force, separated from simple gun ownership, defines sovereignty. Government is the administrative apparatus of sovereignty. We put ourselves under the laws of this government so that the authority to exercise armed force is in one place where it is restrained and ultimately accountable to the people through democratic processes. Lincoln put it in his First Inaugural: "A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks . . . is the only true sovereign of a free people." The other choices are anarchy and despotism. No matter the corruption we call "politics," the duties of citizenship are to make this system work not point guns at it. There is—can be—no "constitutional design" that includes a contingency of extralegal armed force, organized or unorganized, as a rival sovereignty to the legal institutions of government. No state can share its sovereignty and insure the validity of its laws, the safety of its citizens, or even its own survival.
Like Joan Peterson, GEErnst's worldview cannot be swayed. In 1998, some four years later, he wrote another (unacknowledged) letter, this time to Ron Stewart, then president and CEO of Colt's Manufacturing. In that letter he sings the same tune:
The National Rifle Association's individual right is the right to be armed outside of accountability to public authority. The right to be armed outside of accountability to public authority is the right to individual sovereignty. Individual sovereigns are laws unto themselves. By definition they do not consent to be governed and do not give "just powers" to government. They create no sovereign public authority. Without sovereign public authority there is no rule of law and no civic culture of public trust which is essential to the economic existence of any business. The whole crisis in gun violence turns on accountability to public authority. It is the one point the doctrine of political liberty that the gun lobby has built around its purported individual right cannot accommodate. If you don't think so, just ask them. The doctrine amounts to a childish political fantasy.
But here's the interesting excerpt:
The NRA cannot win its childish fantasy in court. It has to have it by defeating legislation.
Right on one count, wrong on the other. The Second Amendment Foundation won in court. The NRA has achieved its ends by passing some legislation, and defeating other bills. Still other groups, notably the California Rifle and Pistol Association have also won in court and in the legislatures with very little NRA assistance, and sometimes their opposition.

Since the Heller and McDonald decisions, GEErnst has been seething. Mr. Ernst protests on his home page:
The Potowmack Institute prepared a crude draft of a brief to file in McDonald but no lawyer could be found to refine and file the arguments. There is political consciousness among lawyers. The brief would not have made any difference. The courts have become highly politicized and are not interested in arguments. There is no public that holds the courts accountable.
It would seem that the very democratic mechanisms of government that he protests are the only legitimate ones are now insufficient to the task. In bold print, GEErnst states:
The challenge is to pursue the next step which is a study by the Eric Holder Justice Department that updates Ashcroft's 2004 study, which was a gun lobby propaganda piece likely written by NRA operatives.
Which sounds like something from a bad spy novel, but is quite revealing of his damaged mindset.

After all, he's asking the "Eric Holder Justice Department" (not the United States Justice Department) to make a finding in his favor when that very same Justice Department has made it abundantly clear recently that some people are more equal than others.

GEErnst insists that "We put ourselves under the laws of this government so that the authority to exercise armed force is in one place where it is restrained and ultimately accountable to the people through democratic processes," but he steadfastly refuses to even consider the question of "what do we do if they stop being ACCOUNTABLE? Like asking Joan Peterson how she determines truth from falsity, asking that question of G. Eyclesheimer Ernst is like asking a blind man what color the wall is.

Mr. Ernst, like Ms. Peterson, isn't stupid and isn't lying. He cannot comprehend what, to us, is "intuitively, blindingly, demonstrably, obvious" - that each of us is and must be personally sovereign. We don't "give 'just powers'" to government, we loan them. We do "consent to be governed," but we retain the power to withdraw that consent. (If you don't retain the power to withdraw consent, it's not consent - it's surrender.) What Mr. Ernst cannot seem to grasp is that this is a nation of "We the People," not "Them the Government." The people with their hands on the levers of power may (and throughout history have too often proven to be) unworthy of that position, but without the power to withdraw consent the result is inevitably slavery of the majority by the minority in one form or another.

His particular pathology prevents him from acknowledging this.

I recently spent several hours perusing his site, reading his arguments, and never once did he acknowledge the existence of this one question. He cites source after source from both sides of the gun control argument; historians, jurists, social scientists, legislators, court decisions, he even refers to the 9th Circuit's Silveira v. Lockyer case multiple times, but nowhere on his site does he mention - much less rebut - this portion of Judge Alex Kozinski's dissent:
The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed - where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.
Our job as activists is to not let up. The Other Side won't.

UPDATE 10/31: Then again . . . Reader Brett emails to inform that Potowmack.org has let its domain name expire. That domain name is not registered to a "G. Eyclesheimer Ernst," it is registered to the more mundane Ernest McGill, P.O. Box 5907, Bethesda, MD 20824. I can assume this is the same Ernest McGill who penned an amicus brief for Parker v. D.C. Why the man feels the need to go by the pseudonym GEErnst is beyond me, but it's his nickel. I sincerely hope that Mr. McGill hasn't gone off and swallowed a handful of tranks and washed it down with a fifth of Jägermeister in his angst over the McDonald decision. His site is a treasure-trove of information. For our side.

Quote of the Day

From the comments to my post, Rope, Trees, Some Assembly Required from March of last year, another QotD by reader Moshe Ben-David:
It's one thing to live among a populace that sees someone across an ocean as your enemy, it's another thing entirely to know that there's a 50% chance that every person you see day to day would be more than happy to use the government to crush you and take your stuff and give it to them, and are too damned stupid to realize that such action will eventually crush them as well.

--

November of 2010 will be the final proving ground.
I'm not so sure about that last. One data point doesn't necessarily indicate a trend. It can hint at one, or more or less fit the current curve. One would be cause for - dare I say - hope, the other would crush it.

I'm expecting November to be a mediocre helping of "meh," but that's better than "damn the torpedos, FULL SPEED AHEAD!" Right now, eternal gridlock looks to be the best we can hope for.

And saying that's a good thing tells you how deep in the sh!t we really are.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quote of the Day - Rope, Tree, Some Assembly Edition

Today's QotD is an entire post from Instapundit:
RATTNER: Our Leaders Are Not Truthful About The Deficit. Of course not. If people really understood what they’ve done to us, they’d all be hanging from lampposts.
You know, the hangman's noose is a remarkably simple thing to make . . .

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Quote of the Day - Constitution Edition

In the comments to Saturday's QotD, reader Crotalus left this:
Come to think of it, our Constitution is a restraining order as well, and those in power treat it the same way that common criminals treat standard restraining orders.
I hadn't really thought about it in just that way before, but he's right. The purpose of a constitution in a Constitutional Republic is as a restraint on the powers of government, and since power corrupts and attracts the corrupt, pretty much all it takes is time and entropy for those restraints to be overcome, bypassed, and finally ignored. Now we have 545 people who each swear an oath to uphold and defend that piece of paper before they assume their offices, and by all appearances well over half either haven't read it, or are deliberate liars. Or both.

And I'm not sure about the rest of them.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Something Got Past the Filters!

That's happening a lot to the MSM these days, but this was Sunday's Dilbert-a-Day calendar 'toon:

Explains a lot, doesn't it?

Quote of the Day

What this is all leading up to is I'm sick to death of all of it. I'm sick of not being able to trust a damned word that comes out of the major media; I'm sick of not being able to trust that LE officers will follow the damned law themselves; I'm sick at the knowledge that a lot of people in uniform will just follow their orders even when they know they're wrong; and I'm very deep-down-in-my-soul sick of corrupt, lying, condescending politicians. And I'm very very sick at heart that none of us can afford to NOT watch them and listen to all this and yell about it to make sure others know. Because we don't know when it might be some little bit of knowledge-spreading by someone out there that lights enough of a fire to keep something from going over the edge.

-- Firehand, Irons in the Fire
Can I get an "AMEN!"?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Quote of the Day - Politics One More Time

P.J. O'Rourke from his Weekly Standard column They Hate Our Guts (And They're Drunk on Power):

This is not an election on November 2. This is a restraining order.

And we all know what restraining orders are, don't we?



(h/t: Instapundit - like he needs another link.)

GLOCK

I shot my first Glock, excuse me, GLOCK today. The Tucson Rifle Club is hosting a Glock Sport Shooting Foundation match, "Duel in the Desert IV" today and tomorrow. The match is a three-stage event, four runs at a six-plate rack, and three runs each at GLOCK 'M and 5 to GLOCK (PDF files). One of the guys who helps run the USPSA matches sent an email saying "bring your own ammo and you can shoot my pistol." Since I don't own a Glock, er, GLOCK, I decided to take him up on the offer. Mr. Completely endorsed it. I ended up shooting someone else's pistol, but that was OK.

The Model 17 I shot was not stock. It had about a 2lb. trigger and the sights were definitely aftermarket, with a fiber-optic front and an triangular rear notch. However, I now understand what everyone who comments on the Glock (oh the hell with it) grip angle is talking about. It naturally points WAY high in my hand, and takes a concerted effort to keep the sights lined up.

It was quite a bit more expensive than I had anticipated to shoot the match. Apparently I'm now a member of GSSF for the next year, not that that will entice me to actually buy one. Still, I had fun, and I was not as bad at it as I expected, with a strange gun and all.

We'll see if I win anything in the random drawings. I'm sure not winning any prizes with my shooting.

UNCLE Sam

I've been thinking about this for awhile. Last Friday I wrote Government /= Adulthood, from which I will repeat here:
Quite while back I quoted one Jeffery Gardener from an April 27, 2005 Albuquerque Journal column, "Save Us From Us." In it Gardener said:
During the 1992 presidential debates, there was a moment of absurdity that so defied the laws of absurdity that even today when I recall it, I just shake my head.

It was during the town hall "debate" in Richmond, Va., between the first President Bush and contenders Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.

A grown man - a baby boomer - took the microphone from the moderator, Carol Simpson of ABC News, and said, in a fashion: You're the president, so you're like our father, and we're your children.

See? My head's shaking already. Where did that come from? Would a grown man have told a president something like that 100 years ago - or 50?

We've got our wires crossed, and our ability to accept responsibility for our lives - once so ingrained in our American nature that President Kennedy felt comfortable telling us to "ask not what your country can do for you" - has been short-circuited. We've slouched en masse into an almost-childlike outlook: You're the president, so you're like our father.

The fact that an adult - on national television, no less - would say this and later be interviewed as though he'd spoken some profound truth struck me then, as now, as more than a little absurd. It was alarming.
It's still alarming.

In today's USA Today was a letter from G. Bruce Hedlund of San Andreas, California. Mr. Hedlund said this:
Think of our country as a society made up of children and a government made up of adults. It is up to the adults to weigh all the options and provide services in the best interests of the children.
There is so much wrong with this I don't even know where to start, but I will say that this attitude is responsible for the US receiving the government we've voted for.
In the comments to that piece, reader Dutton recalled something he'd read that I had published, a QotD from an AR15.com contributor that goes like this:
This "homeland" shit that suddenly started up in the last couple years pisses me off. It reeks of the "fatherland" and "motherland" propaganda shit our enemies used throughout the 20th century. The Nazi regime was "father" to the German people. The Soviet regime was "mother" to the Russian people.

This guy is our uncle and that's as close as I want the fucker.

I don't need the government to be my big brother, my parent, my nanny, or my caretaker. It needs to maintain public services (roads, etc.), maintain foreign relations and the military, keep the states from squabbling, and stay the fuck out of my life.
I was doing some web-surfing earlier in the week in relation to the Obama "people are askeered" piece, and ran across a reference to George Lakoff's book Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think. I found it in association with Thomas Sowell's A Conflict of Visions, which I have read. I can't find that link right now, but what I found interesting was the reference to Lakoff's divisor. Sowell divides people into two categories based on their "vision." One vision, the "constrained" or "tragic," sees humanity as inherently flawed, requiring a system of government that can constrain the worst acts of the worst flawed. The other vision, the "unconstrained" or utopic, sees humanity as perfectible, and requires a system of government that can enable the enlightened to lead us all to that perfection.

Lakoff, on the other hand, narrows his topic to "conservatives" and "liberals," leaving out (I would argue) a pretty significant chunk of the populace. According to the Wikipedia entry on Moral Politics, Lakoff says that the conservatives are the party of the "Strict Father," and the liberals are the party of the "Nurturant Parent." I've heard it expressed elsewhere as "the Daddy Party and the Mommy Party."

And I think there's some validity in that argument. That's what they've become. Except they're the dysfunctional, divorced parents of the modern present, either fighting over the kids or ignoring them.

And they were never supposed to have those roles to begin with.

I have argued on these pages for years that our educational system has been deliberately dumbed-down to produce a pliant electorate. Our media has done much the same. On a fairly recent episode of Vicious Circle, one of the contributors was Tracie, a professional member of the MSM (a newspaper reporter). She mentioned that her AP stylebook instructs her to write to a fourth-grade level, for instance.

I've quoted from Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers before, but here's a pertinent piece of that book:
Mr. Dubois then demanded of me, "Define a 'juvenile delinquent.'"

"Uh, one of those kids -- the ones who used to beat up people."

"Wrong."

"Huh? But the book said -- "

"My apologies. Your textbook does so state. But calling a tail a leg does not make the name fit. 'Juvenile delinquent' is a contradiction in terms, one which gives a clue to their problem and their failure to solve it.

--

"'Delinquent' means 'failing in duty.' But duty is an adult virtue -- indeed a juvenile becomes an adult when, and only when, he acquires a knowledge of duty and embraces it as dearer than the self-love he was born with. There never was, there cannot be, a 'juvenile delinquent.' But for every juvenile criminal there are always one or more adult delinquents -- people of mature years who either do not know their duty, or who, knowing it, fail.

"And that was the soft spot which destroyed what was in many ways an admirable culture."
Government /= Adulthood drew a few links, one from Bayou Renaissance Man. Peter's take on it was this:
In the USA, both major political parties are equally guilty of passing laws and regulations favoring their particular interest and support groups. People wail and scream about President Obama riding roughshod over US contract and financial law to give major benefits to the unions in the Government takeover of General Motors and Chrysler; but they forget that Republicans did the same for the bankers and businessmen who supported them when they were in the majority in Congress and the Senate. Both parties are equally guilty.

If our society is made up of children, we have no business voting. Voting is for adults. If we're adult enough to vote, we're adult enough to demand that those we elect act in our interests, not theirs: and that means holding them accountable as servants of the people, not masters. The day we surrender to them power over us in loco parentis is the day that we're truly screwed.
I think that day was many years ago. It's just taken awhile for the damage to accumulate.

In the comments to Peter's piece, Rauðbjørn of Firepower & Philosophy linked to his post, The Difference between an Adult and a Grown-up. He had this to add:
I've been thinking a lot lately about my relationships, and why I get along so well with some people, and why others make my teeth itch. I finally came up with an answer. Those people I get along with best are Adults, Grown-ups make my teeth itch.

Now, I know what many of you are thinking, "Rauðbjørn, those words mean the same thing! Don't they?"

My response to you is "No." In a word, the difference between an Adult and a Grown-up is responsibility.

Now then, any schmuck can take responsibility for himself. Those who don't are easy to spot, just sit in on a day's worth of arraignments down at your local courthouse. Of course there are sometimes a few Adults and even a Grown-up or two mixed in, but by and large, the docket is a hit parade of 30 year old adolescents. Those too impressed by their own fart-smell or the size of their Johnson to have a care in the world, or if they care, are too broken to be able to follow the rules without a post-hypnotic suggestion and a Quaalude.

A Grown-up is someone that pays his bills, meets his rent, saves for the future, keeps his nose clean and to the grindstone. They have a dog and a white picket fence 2.3 kids and barbeques on Sunday. He is John Q. Public.

An Adult is more than this.
Go read the whole thing. Interestingly enough, just the other day Instapundit had a one-sentence post, IS “ADULT” BECOMING A DIRTY WORD? But of course! Now it means "Grown-up" at most.

Jeffery Gardener in his Albuquerque Journal op-ed was exactly right: would anyone a hundred or even fifty years ago have even considered the idea of telling a sitting president "you're like our father, so we're your children"? And it is now not an uncommon outlook. It's shared by the members of both major parties. They differ on whether government should be Stern Daddy or Nurturing Mommy, but they see their roles as being the Adults, and ours as being at most the 30 year old adolescents who still live at home.

Face it, sitting on the couch eating Cheetos and watching porn while Daddy puts the roof over your head and Mommy does your laundry is a lot easier than doing the hard work of being an Adult, much less a Grown-up, but John Adams was pretty much right when he said:
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
Adams said "moral and religious" but what he meant was ADULT.

Unfortunately, it has become obvious that we aren't electing Adults, we're electing (at best) Grown-ups. Regardless, our government shouldn't be our parent, it should be no closer than that distant Uncle.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Here's an Interesting Test

Note that I didn't say "good," but "interesting." It's a test of your "moral politics." Here's the graph where they place your score:

Note that on this graph, at least, they put National Socialism right next to National Communism, and not on the other end of the spectrum.

Most of the questions really didn't work for me. The choices were, well, insufficient. Still, the result was interesting. You?

Our Neocortical Overlords

You find interesting things in foreign newspapers. Two recent pieces from The Australian are cases in point.

The first one, We have a fundamental right to be wrong, is an opinion piece that mentions one of my least-favorite people, Cass Sunstein.

Excerpt:
Frank Brennan's recent National Human Rights Consultation report recommends assessing all legislation to ensure it conforms to Australia's human rights legislation.

The report also proposes an information campaign to ensure we all understand our obligations on human rights.

This is an excellent example of the social-engineering approach that assumes everybody needs ideological education and that we will all think the same with a wink and a nudge from people who know what is best.

Especially a nudge, along the lines of the ideas in behavioural economist Richard Thaler and law academic Cass Sunstein's Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Welfare and Happiness.

Not that the pair want to manipulate people's politics or impose their own ideas of social justice on anybody. Far from it: they focus on economic issues, arguing that society can be improved by using policy to nudge people into making decisions they otherwise will not see are in their interest. But Nudge's underpinning idea is that most of us do not know what is good for us. This appeals to people who think they do.

There is nothing perpetually aggrieved intellectuals enjoy more than demonstrating that the rest of us are idiots.
There's more. Read the whole thing.

After that comes Obama descends to pseudoscience, a truly fascinating op-ed written by a Washington Post columnist. It's fascinating that an Australian paper picked this piece to run. Of course, the headline in the Post was a bit different, Obama the snob. Mr. Gerson has this to say:
After a series of ineffective public messages -- leaving the political landscape dotted with dry rhetorical wells -- President Obama has hit upon a closing argument.

"Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now," he recently told a group of Democratic donors in Massachusetts, "and facts and science and argument [do] not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared. And the country is scared."

Let's unpack these remarks.

Obama clearly believes that his brand of politics represents "facts and science and argument." His opponents, in disturbing contrast, are using the more fearful, primitive portion of their brains. Obama views himself as the neocortical leader -- the defender, not just of the stimulus package and health-care reform but also of cognitive reasoning. His critics rely on their lizard brains -- the location of reptilian ritual and aggression. Some, presumably Democrats, rise above their evolutionary hard-wiring in times of social stress; others, sadly, do not.

Though there is plenty of competition, these are some of the most arrogant words ever uttered by an American president.

The neocortical presidency destroys the possibility of political dialogue. What could Obama possibly learn from voters who are embittered, confused and dominated by subconscious evolutionary fears? They have nothing to teach, nothing to offer to the superior mind. Instead of engaging in debate, Obama resorts to reductionism, explaining his opponents away.
But of course! The Ruling Class are our intellectual superiors! We live in the "flyover states." We shop at Wal*Mart. We eat at McDonald's and The Olive Garden. We don't even know the price of arugula! We make bad decisions! (Well, we did elect these clowns . . . )

"Bad decisions," of course, being defined as "counter to our Neocortical Overlords."

I, for one, do not welcome our Neocortical Overlords. As Glenn Reynolds has been describing them recently, they're not so much educated as credentialed, and we're finally figuring that out, as the house of cards we've built over the last hundred years is teetering near collapse.

You're damned right we're scared.

And as Thomas Sowell (among others) has been pointing out for literally decades, the problem with The Anointed isn't that they know so much, it is that they know so much that is wrong.

And they're in charge.

Bill Whittle - What We Believe Part III

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Need a Cold Shower After That

I love words. Specifically, I love the expert use of words. I like good writing. Sturgeon's Law says that 90% of everything is crap, but with several million blogs out there, 10% yields a pretty significant quantity of not-crap.

Today I found a piece over at Four Right Wing Wackos entitled Sultry. Whoa. Read the whole thing, but here's a taste to whet your appetite:
From the opening notes, she stopped walking, and damn near slithered up to the microphone, as if every joint in her body had just been given about two or three new directions they could bend. She didn't take the microphone, she just touched it with her fingers and leaned into it, with this come-hither smile on her face that made every guy in the place damn near jump out of their suits.
Go. Read.

That's good writing, Dave.

I'll be in my bunk.

Mutually Exclusive

I found this bit of news today kinda interesting:
Crowd gets raucous at Oberstar-Cravaack forum

U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar and challenger Chip Cravaack didn't just face each other at Tuesday's Minnesota 8th Congressional District candidate forum at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center Auditorium, they faced angry mobs of their opponent’s supporters.
But that wasn't the "kinda interesting" part. This was:
Oberstar said the health-reform package "that I proudly voted for" will guarantee coverage despite pre-existing conditions, guarantee coverage won’t be cut off, end caps on benefits and, eventually, reduce the cost of health insurance while covering more people.
Guaranteed coverage of pre-existing conditions. Guaranteed uncapped benefits. Guaranteed unlimited coverage. More people enrolled.

And it'll cost less.

Either he's stupid enough to believe that, or he thinks we're stupid enough to.

But economics precludes it.

And they wonder why the TEA Party exists.

Monday, October 18, 2010

You CAN Find Anything on the Internet

You just have to wait long enough, and someone will post it.

My first car at age 16 was my dad's hand-me-down. He'd bought it for something like $700 in 1974, put another couple-hundred in parts into it so it would run, and drove it until 1978 when he went down to the Ford dealership and placed an order for his very first brand-new automobile, an F-150 pickup truck.

That was the year I turned 16. Our insurance agent told him, "Don, you have a new driver in the house. The insurance company sees 'new driver' and 'new vehicle' and they put two-and-two together and come up with a 60% increase in your insurance premium. Put the old car in your son's name and insure it for the minimum you can." So he did. Which is how I, out of three children, was the only one who got a car from my parents.

Pissed my brother off.

But the car in question was no particular prize. It was a 1969 Simca 1118:

Only mine didn't look that good. It was originally silver, but the sun had faded that right through to the gray primer underneath. The interior was sun-rotted so the front seatbacks got reupholstered with T-shirts stretched over them. I got some scrap carpet from a friend - brown shag, no less - and carpeted the floor with that. Door panels, too. No radio, so my dad had mounted a 12V-powered AM-FM under the dash and wired it into the harness.

Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive, 1118cc, water-cooled, 56Hp. Zero-to-sixty? Take a lunch and eat it when you get there.

But it was a car, and it took me anywhere I wanted to go.

I always wondered what that car would be like with an engine transplant out of a Honda CBX.

BRILLIANT!

I've used that particular adjective before, but it's appropriate once again for this bit of artistry found at American Digest by way of the blog Serr8d's Cutting Edge:

We're all used to hearing that bad economic news is continuously occurring "unexpectedly," but when an American city sits under a mushroom cloud in the not-too-distant future, we will be undoubtedly told that the weather there turned "unexpectedly warm," and not to worry.

We're in the best of hands.

And it was all George Bush's fault.

Your Moment of Zen - Winter Approaches Edition

Click for the full-size image.

What We Believe, Part II

Bill Whittle strikes again:

I can't wait for Part III.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

GunUp Goes Live

At this year's Gun Blogger Rendezvous, Dan Hall, founder and CEO of GunUp.com came out to tell us about his plan to build the biggest, bestest site on the intertubes for people interested in things firearm to go to. Their mission statement is short and concise:
Our mission is to provide prospective, new, and experienced gun enthusiasts with a one-stop destination to share, discuss, review, and compare guns with confidence.
That site has now gone live.

Sunday Movie Reviews

I've seen two movies in the last three days, RED and Secretariat. Both were excellent. RED is your typical anti-gun Hollyweird crowd making big bucks using weapons we can't have in ways only governments permit to their agents, but it's a load of fun as a summer (now fall) blowup movie. Catch it at a matinee. It's great.

Secretariat is what we expect from a Disney film - wholesome family entertainment. But remember when I wrote a couple of days ago about Capitalism TV? This is a capitalist movie. Rich people are not treated as evil. The "Death Tax" plays a prominent (if understated) role. And risk - real risk - is portrayed as something worth taking, not avoiding at all costs. As the main character, "housewife" Penny Chenery Tweedy says,
This is about life being ahead of you, and you run at it.

It's the will to win, if you can, and live with it if you can't.
It shows us what we as a nation have sacrificed over the last thirty-odd years on the altar of "self-esteem" with the abhorrence of competition. It is a very "tea-party" movie about people who are not ashamed to be bold, successful, and who are willing to take risks.

Besides that, it's a well written, well acted, and well made film I strongly recommend.

UPDATE: Eric S. Raymond also highly recommends RED. Good review.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Government /= Adulthood

Quite while back I quoted one Jeffery Gardener from an April 27, 2005 Albuquerque Journal column, "Save Us From Us". In it Gardener said:
During the 1992 presidential debates, there was a moment of absurdity that so defied the laws of absurdity that even today when I recall it, I just shake my head.

It was during the town hall "debate" in Richmond, Va., between the first President Bush and contenders Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.

A grown man - a baby boomer - took the microphone from the moderator, Carol Simpson of ABC News, and said, in a fashion: You're the president, so you're like our father, and we're your children.

See? My head's shaking already. Where did that come from? Would a grown man have told a president something like that 100 years ago - or 50?

We've got our wires crossed, and our ability to accept responsibility for our lives - once so ingrained in our American nature that President Kennedy felt comfortable telling us to "ask not what your country can do for you" - has been short-circuited. We've slouched en masse into an almost-childlike outlook: You're the president, so you're like our father.

The fact that an adult - on national television, no less - would say this and later be interviewed as though he'd spoken some profound truth struck me then, as now, as more than a little absurd. It was alarming.
It's still alarming.

In today's USA Today was a letter from G. Bruce Hedlund of San Andreas, California. Mr. Hedlund said this:
Think of our country as a society made up of children and a government made up of adults. It is up to the adults to weigh all the options and provide services in the best interests of the children.
There is so much wrong with this I don't even know where to start, but I will say that this attitude is responsible for the US receiving the government we've voted for.

On that note, I think I'm going to go get some dinner.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Internet Access

I haz it. Bandwidth, no so much. And I'm on the wired network, not WiFi.

Giant Multinational Corp. provided it as part of the conference package. I imagine that they had to, considering their clientele, and the fact that the equipment this conference is covering starts in the low eight-figures price range.

I'll say this for the venue: Posh. Very, very posh. I feel out of place.

It promises to be a busy couple of days, so blogging will remain light.

Oh, and still no reply from Alan Baird. He must've thought my missive was a death threat, too.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On the Road Again

I'll be out of town until Saturday night. I'm leaving tomorrow morning for a conference. Apparently no one told the Giant Multinational Corporation that Las Vegas was a politically-incorrect place to hold one of these things, and since it's only a six and a half hour drive I'll be bypassing the friendly Security Theater kabuki actors and making the round trip by ground vehicle. (I really need to get a Nevada non-resident carry permit.)

Anyway, I don't know if the hotel will be providing WiFi gratis. If not, I probably won't be posting much the next three days.

Oh, and as of 7:00 PM MST, no reply from Alan C. Baird.

Monday, October 11, 2010

More Anti-gun Bigotry

I found this through Northwest FreeThinker. It seems a blogger for Salon, a fellow Arizonan, got all bent out of shape when he saw an old man open-carrying in his local Whole Foods or its equivalent. He wrote a blog post about it, entitled "Gunfight at the Shopping Cart Corral."

It went viral throughout the open-carry community. That piece, or at least a long excerpt from it, is posted at We The Armed. Please go read. A second piece, "National Quick-Draw Contest" was also written. These two essays resulted in irate comments and what the author, Alan C. Baird, states were not one but two "death threats."

"Reasoned Discourse" broke out. The author flushed not one but both of the essays. As is normal, protests that his First Amendment rights were violated have been invoked.

So I dropped Mr. Alan C. Baird an email this evening. Here it is:
Mr. Baird

I'm sure by now you're probably sick of the subject, but please allow me to add one more voice to the cacophony inspired by your recent pieces on the carriage of firearms in Arizona.

You just experienced the backlash from what Dr. Michael S. Brown described in 2000 as "a decades-long slow-motion hate crime."

Unfortunately, I didn't get to read the whole piece, merely the excerpt at the "WetheArmed" forum (I assume it was an excerpt. Surely you weren't finished?) but do you really think these words were not insulting?
"Don't look. He might shoot."

"...some corpulent 80-year-old a**hole was standing in front of the donut peaches, packing a pistol."
"80-year-old" is descriptive. "Corpulent" is descriptive. "Packing a pistol" is descriptive. But unless he was wearing an "I am an Asshole" t-shirt, the last is merely an illustration of your personal prejudice. This is known where I come from as "bigotry."
"Not a law enforcement guy, just some retired jerkoff who evidently wanted to enhance the perceived size of his schlong."
Now, just out of curiosity, how could you tell that this jerkoff - er, gentleman wasn't, say, a retired law officer? And what is it that makes "law enforcement guys" somehow better than non-law enforcement guys when it comes to carrying a weapon? This too illustrates your bigotry. And what is it with you people and penis size? If you believe that gun owners own guns to compensate for the size of their wedding tackle, does your desire to disarm everyone mean you want yours cut off?
...when I saw that gun in the grocery store, steam started shooting from my ears.
Why, exactly? Could you please explain that to me? Feel free to use big words, I have a college degree. In something useful.
I marched up to the front office and loudly demanded to see the manager. When he arrived, I was apoplectic....
I'm very glad you don't own a gun. Obviously have anger control issues and you're not a stable person. I'm beginning to understand why you don't like to see other people armed - you think they're just like you, and lack of self-control is "normal." I assure you, it is not.

Oh, the manager lied to you (he might not be aware of it, but he's wrong). There's no law that states that any business cannot post a "no firearms" sign. It's perfectly legal. Stores are private property, and they may post to their heart's content. They just run the risk of losing business.
I pulled out the big guns: "Displaying a gun is an implied threat of violence."
Not when it's "displayed" on someone's hip in a holster. Pulling it out and waving it around, known legally as "brandishing," is. Oh, and I love your double entendre there, "pulled out the big guns." Cute metaphor, pen being mightier than the sword and all.

I notice you weren't willing to test that theory here.
"Guns are just murders waiting to happen.'"
Really? All of mine must be defective, then. This too is bigotry.
"If he's psycho enough to wear a gun in a grocery store, he's psycho enough to use it. All of us would end up on the evening news, looking like Swiss cheese."
Wow, you are such a bigot! Do you hate black people too? Replace "gun owner" with the "N" word, and you're expressing precisely the same hatred of a minority group. I seem to recall there was a penis-fixation component in that bigotry, too.

Here are some examples for you to review of elderly people compensating for their tiny shriveled-up "fazes":

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/crime/os-senior-thwarts-robber-20100925,0,7201060.story

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/aug/31/311152/ala-grandmother-shoots-intruder-in-her-bedroom/news-breaking/

http://nalert.blogspot.com/2010/05/chicago-man-80-did-what-he-had-to-do.html

http://www.kcci.com/news/23208133/detail.html


http://www.kvoa.com/news/82-year-old-fights-off-attacker/

If you only read one of these links, read the last one. An 82-year-old a**shole, er, woman is attacked in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Sierra Vista. I'm betting she's not retired from any police department. I'm sure that prior to this assault most people believed that the worst criminals in that area were jaywalkers, too. At worst, shoplifters. That didn't stop her from being assaulted there severely enough to put her in the hospital for a few days.

Her handgun stopped the assault, though. Was she compensating for the size of her penis?

Perhaps if she'd been wearing her penis, er, handgun exposed, her attacker would have picked a different victim. Had she not been carrying her handgun, perhaps her walking stick might have been "a murder waiting to happen." Her assailant said words to the effect that he planned to kill her before he took it from her and began beating her with it.

Mr. Baird, you're a bigot. An angry bigot. You are prejudiced against guns, and by extension the people who own and carry them. You have very little self-control, and you believe that's normal - you must be normal, right? Therefore no one should own a gun, much less carry one - except for those who collect a government paycheck. Somehow that distinction makes them special, different, trustworthy.

Would you like a list of links about corrupt, murderous cops?

Mr. Baird, I too am a resident of Arizona. I live in Tucson. I'm a gun owner, and I possess a Concealed Carry permit (though those are no longer strictly necessary since Arizona became the third "Constitutional Carry" state.) I'm a recreational shooter. I try to get to the range at least a couple of days a month on the weekends. I run a bowling-pin match at the range I belong to every second Sunday of the month. I'm also a blogger. I run The Smallest Minority, and this letter will be posted there in its entirety - with links - as soon as I hit "send." A few thousand people will see it. It will probably generate some more mail. Sorry about that, but hey, you reap what you sow.

My blog has open comments. In over seven years, I think I've only banned two commenters, and I've NEVER flushed a post down the memory-hole.

In closing, I think it might behoove you to get some psychiatric help. Work on your bigotry, your fear of firearms, your self-control issues, and your curious fixation on things penile. Also your hatred of your fellow man. If you don't, you might end up strapping on a firearm and calling out an 80-year-old a**hole who might blow your penis off with his .45 in self-defense.

Trust me, I know some old guys who can SHOOT.

Kevin Baker, proprietor,
http://smallestminority.blogspot.com

P.S. - The First Amendment does not protect you from the public consequences of your own words. It protects you from government infringement in the expression of your thoughts and ideas. You know, where armed agents of the State come and tell you to shut up - or else. If you'd like, drop me a line and we can discuss it.
Somehow I doubt I'll hear from Mr. Baird, though I'd love for him to come to the November 6 Blog Shoot.

Joe Huffman has a piece up on the topic, too.

Hopenchange Fails Again

I'm not sure how long it takes to bring a TV series from concept to the small screen, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's about 20 months if you really push.

I'm betting that NBC's Outlaw was a brainstorm that occurred about the time someone realized that Obama was going to be President. Consider the premise: an ultra right-wing Supreme Court Justice, gambler, womanizer, picks up an ACLU lawyer one night after boozing and betting in Atlantic City, and in the morning he becomes a new man! (I'm surprised he didn't come out of the closet, too!) He retires from the bench to open his own law practice to protect the "little guy" against capitalists, conservatives, all the evil exploiters of the downtrodden! (But I repeat myself.)

How could it miss?

Apparently they showed three episodes an then put it on hiatus.

Which is now permanent.

All together now, aaaaaawwwww!

UPDATE: Reader Sarah left an interesting comment which caused me to do a little research into the writing of the show. As far as I can tell, the creator, producer, and writer for the shows that aired is John Eisendrath. He was interviewed before the show premiered, and here is his explanation of the thoughts behind its creation:
I wanted to do this show because I do not have much faith in the legal system and I have seen innocent people be hurt by it. And I longed for [change] particularly by judges who knew they were doing something that would hurt innocent people but felt that they were bound by the law to hurt them because that was their job, to uphold the law.

I wanted to write a story about a judge who couldn't do that anymore, who felt like he had a higher calling that went beyond (h)is obligation to following the law as a judge. But as a conservative, he knew that he couldn't just make it up as he went along, so he left to do something in pursuit of that higher calling.
Yup, that's one definition of conservatism. And a beautiful definition of why liberals love judicial activism: Don't uphold the law, make it up as you go along!

Quote of the Day - de Tocqueville Edition

From the National Review Online column by Mark Krikorian, "A Network of Small Complicated Rules, Minute and Uniform" from October 1:
The federal government bans the incandescent light bulb. It bans street signs that have all capital letters and mandates what font they need to be in. Now, Congress has seen fit to focus its august attention on the volume of TV commercials.

The problem is not that these things create unnecessary costs or destroy jobs, which they do, or that lawmakers have more important things to do, which is also true. Rather, the federal government has no business doing any of these things. Yes, the entitlements trainwreck is a bigger issue, but if we, as a people, continue to shrug at this sort of thing, our unfitness for self-government will become undeniable.

It still amazes me that Tocqueville foresaw this soft despotism so long ago:
It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.
That's about 2/3rds of the whole piece, but it's the QotD.

I'm amazed at the prescience of de Tocqueville, but given the predictability of human nature, maybe I shouldn't be.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

MidwayUSA Discount Codes (repost)

Another bump on this one. MidwayUSA is offering discounts to my readers through October 17:
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 ends at 11:59 PM CT October 17, 2010.

Match Report - 10/10/10 "Ten Pins"

Match Report - 10/10/10 - "Ten Pins"

Today's bowling pin match went off quite well if I do say so myself, but I can see some changes are going to be necessary. Fourteen people showed up to shoot the match (not counting me), and this was the first month where we shot a .22 rimfire class. Five of the fourteen brought a .22 to shoot in addition to their centerfire guns, and one shooter brought two different .45's to shoot, so there were a total of 20 entries (plus mine).

I ran out of entry sheets!

In agreement with the shooters, we had only three qualifying runs per shooter with their centerfire pistols instead of five, then we went straight to the .22 competition. Instead of running a .22 classifier, I just lined up two shooters against each other and ran one "practice" round to see what kind of differential we were looking at. From that I set a handicap, and we ran a double-elimination tournament. John Higgins with an iron-sighted S&W model 41 took the honors, competing against "Doc" O'Hanlon shooting a Browning Buckmark with a red-dot. Best match of the day, though was this one, filmed by John O'C with his cell phone:

I wish I could tell you who was shooting, but that match was a dead-even tie at just over five seconds.

After the .22 competition we started the centerfire class, running a single-elimination competition due to time constraints. I lasted two whole rounds before I was eliminated. The match eventually ended up with Jim Burnette shooting against Phil Roberts. Jim has a long history shooting bowling pin matches and has an original Clark custom compensated 1911 chambered in John Moses Browning's (PBUH) .45ACP. Phil was shooting an uncompensated STI hi-cap 1911 in .40 S&W. Jim won the first round, but Phil pulled it out in the last two for the win.

John O'C drove down from Chandler for the match, and as I mentioned, provided the video above. He won the drawing at the end of the match and took home the $21, which might actually cover the cost of his gas for the trip.

I want to thank everyone for coming, and for helping set up, run, and tear down afterwards. It makes everything run much more smoothly.

I think for next month's match we will stay with single-elimination, but we will go to a best 3 out of 5 competition rather than best 2 out of 3. The idea here is to come out and shoot, and if you got taken out in the first or second round, you didn't get to shoot much. Again, we will stay with the three runs for time for the centerfire shooters, and one side-by-side "practice" run for those competing in .22. (I may have to drag out my MkII and join in on that one. Or maybe my Single-Six...)

Overall, everyone seemed to have a good time, but I'll keep trying to improve the match and pull in more shooters. The next match will be held November 14 at 8:00AM at the Tucson Rifle Club.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Bowling Pin Shoot - Tucson, Sunday October 10

At the Tucson Rifle Club Action Range. Classifying starts at 0800 (8AM).

Pistols only, .38 Special caliber or heavier. We will also have a .22 rimfire class, so bring 'em!

Course of fire:
Five standard bowling pins placed on a 4' x 8' table approximately 42" high. For "Major" calibers (.40 S&W or higher) the pins are placed 12" from the front edge of the table. For less powerful centerfire calibers, the pins are placed 18" from the back edge. For .22 rimfire, pin tops are placed on the back edge. In all cases the targets are spaced 18" apart across the 8' width of the table.

The shooter starts from the "low ready" position, 25 feet from the front edge of the table. At the sound of the timer, shoot all five pins off the table.
Each shooter will have five three (3) timed solo runs to establish a handicap. After all shooters have been timed, shooters will be paired off in competition. Slower shooters will receive a handicap advantage. Two tables, two shooters. At the sound of the first beep, the slower shooter begins. At the sound of the second beep, the faster shooter begins. Whoever clears their table first, wins. Best two out of three determines the set winner. This way revolver shooters have a chance against semi-autos, stock guns have a chance against race guns. I determine the handicap delay. If I think you're sandbagging, I'll disqualify you or adjust your handicap to suit.

This is a double-elimination match. Losers from the first round will compete against each other, winners will compete against winners. Competition will continue until there is only one shooter left who hasn't lost twice. The .22 class will be separate from the centerfire classes.

Cost to shoot is $10 for the first gun, $5 for each additional gun. A dollar from each entry goes into a pot. At the end of the match, a random drawing will occur. Out of those still present, someone will win the pot. The winner of the match just gets to be king of the hill for the month.

Bring enough ammo!

Hope to see you there!

"This is not science; other forces are at work."

Another Martin Luther 95 Theses moment.

"Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; Former member Defense Science Board, Chairman of Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; Former member Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former member, President's Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety, Chairman Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board; Served in US Navy in WW II; books: Technological Risk (about, surprise, technological risk) and Why Flip a Coin (about decision making)"

Professor Lewis has resigned from the American Physical Society. Here is his letter of resignation:
Sent: Friday, 08 October 2010 17:19 Hal Lewis

From: Hal Lewis, University of California, Santa Barbara
To: Curtis G. Callan, Jr., Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society

6 October 2010

Dear Curt:

When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago).

Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence—it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute could there be?

How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it. For example:

1. About a year ago a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a fraction of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then President immediately launched a hostile investigation of where we got the e-mail addresses. In its better days, APS used to encourage discussion of important issues, and indeed the Constitution cites that as its principal purpose. No more. Everything that has been done in the last year has been designed to silence debate

2. The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider it. One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word incontrovertible to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.) In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a far longer “explanatory” screed, admitting that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the original. The original Statement, which still stands as the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is. This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific society is at stake.

3. In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.

4. So a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mind—simply to bring the subject into the open.

5. To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members’ interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.

6. As of now you have formed still another secret and stacked committee to organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful petition.

APS management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do you wonder that I have lost confidence in the organization?

I do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is always risky to discuss other people’s motives. This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it. Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club. Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise. As the old saying goes, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. Since I am no philosopher, I’m not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.

I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents me, but I hope we are still friends.

Hal
That took balls.

Friday, October 08, 2010

In Response to That Video . . .

. . . the one about "I'm voting Republican because..." I give you this email I just received from my brother:
A Flood of American Liberals

The Manitoba Herald as Reported by Clive Runnels, Oct. 6, 2010

The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The recent actions of the Tea Party are prompting an exodus among left leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray, and to agree with Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck.

Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night. "I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota . "The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry.. He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn't have any, he left before I even got a chance to show him my screenplay".

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. He then installed loudspeakers that blared Rush Limbaugh across the fields. "Not real effective," he said. "The liberals still got through and Rush annoyed the cows so much that they wouldn't give any milk."

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers -- the so-called northern coyotes -- who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons and drive them across the border where they are simply left to fend for themselves." A lot of these people are not prepared for our rugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a single bottle of imported drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley Cabernet, though."

When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about plans being made to build re-education camps where liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR races.

In recent days, liberals have turned to ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have been disguised as senior citizens taking a bus trip to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans in powdered wig disguises, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior citizens about Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney to prove that they were alive in the '50s. "If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we become very suspicious about their age," an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and are renting all the Michael Moore movies. "I really feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them," an Ottawa resident said. "How many art-history majors does one country need?"

In an effort to ease tensions between the United States and Canada, Vice President Biden met with the Canadian ambassador and pledged that the administration would take steps to reassure liberals. A source close to President Obama said, "We're going to have some Paul McCartney and Peter, Paul & Mary concerts. And we might even put some endangered species on postage stamps; The President is determined to reach out," he said. The Herald will be interested to see if Obama can actually raise Mary from the dead in time for the concert.
Turnabout is fair play, no? Interestingly enough, this dates back to at least 2006.

Bill Whittle

Need I say more?

"We're going to make this much more difficult for you if you don't cooperate."

These are words that ought to chill you when delivered by an agent of the government.

Wired has the story of 20 year-old American citizen Yasir Afifi who discovered a GPS tracking device attached to his car. He removed it, took pictures of it, and posted those pictures on line asking viewers if they could identify it. Turns out it was an Orion Guardian ST820 tracking device.

People wondered if it was real.

The answer to that question came less than 24 hours later when the FBI came to recover their "expensive piece" of hardware. Afifi was told:
We're here to recover the device you found on your vehicle. It's federal property. It's an expensive piece, and we need it right now.
When Afifi asked if the FBI had placed it on his car, the response was:
Yeah, I put it there. We're going to make this much more difficult for you if you don't cooperate.
Now the really chilling thing about this is that the FBI didn't need a warrant to track the whereabouts of Mr. Afifi. They needed no probable cause, and didn't have to convince a judge that it was necessary to put a tracker on his car, they could just do it to whomever they wished because the Ninth Circus Circuit Court of Appeals has said it's fine. In the January 11 decision of U.S. v. Pineda-Moreno the Court said:
...in United States v. Knotts, the Supreme Court held that law enforcement officers do not conduct a "search" cognizable under the Fourth Amendment by using a beeper to track a vehicle because "[a] person traveling in an automobile on public thoroughfares has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his movements from one place to another."
Pineda-Moredo appealed for an en banc rehearing and that appeal was denied in August (PDF).

I am reminded, once again, of Judge Alex Kozinski's unforgettable dissent in the denial of an en banc rehearing of the Silveira v. Lockyer case. In that one Kozinski wrote:
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.
Kozinski also dissented in this case:
Having previously decimated the protections the Fourth Amendment accords to the home itself, United States v. Lemus, 596 F.3d 512 (9th Cir. 2010) (Kozinski, C.J., dissenting from the denial of rehearing en banc); United States v. Black, 482 F.3d 1044 (9th Cir. 2007) (Kozinski, J., dissenting from the denial of rehearing en banc), our court now proceeds to dismantle the zone of privacy we enjoy in the home's curtilage and in public. The needs of law enforcement, to which my colleagues seem inclined to refuse nothing, are quickly making personal privacy a distant memory. 1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it’s here at last.
Read the whole dissent, it's worth your time. And hey, it's Kozinski. The man can write.

And remember: YOU HAVE NO EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY WHEN MOVING IN PUBLIC. The .gov can track you for any reason it feels like.

And if you find out they're doing it, they can "make it very difficult for you" if you don't cooperate.

Remember who your masters are! 1984 indeed.