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, January 02, 2011

The TSM 2010 Retrospective

This has become an annual tradition. I started doing it in 2007, so this will be my fourth look back over the previous year.

In January the Quote of the Month came the very first day:
I made it to 2010 and all I got from the SF books of my youth is the lousy dystopian government. - perlhaqr
You can still get it on a T-shirt.  I got mine last year.

Being still unemployed (laid off December 7 of 2009), I did manage to pen an Überpost that month:  What We Got Here Is . . . Failure to Communicate, a multi-thousand word book report on Thomas Sowell's magnum opus A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, using examples from the comments at TSM to illustrate Sowell's sagacity.

Then I got a new job.

February's Quote of the Month came in response to Audi's "Green Police" Superbowl TV ad. You'll just have to click on the link for that one. No Überpost that month, though. I was getting up to speed at my new place of employment.

March brought us the oral arguments in McDonald v. Chicago, and an interesting transcript of them. Alan Gura once again proves why he's the man when it comes to arguing before the Supremes when he lays down the smackage on the Wise Latina:
Justice Sotomayor, States may have grown accustomed to violating the rights of American citizens, but that does not bootstrap those violations into something that is constitutional.
If there were any real justice in this world, that would have left a scar. That later became Quote of the Day, and is the Quote of the Month for March. My new job sent me to Chicago that month for a service call, and I had a pleasant dinner with a reader at Ditka's while I was there. Also in March we learned that the federal Department of Education apparently has a bunch of Remington 870 short-barreled shotguns with ghost-ring sights, and Knoxx stocks, as they went out to purchase an additional 27 units. I guess you need that kind of firepower to deal with the teachers unions unruly students parents.

The HVAC unit on my roof died early in the month. Well, the heat exchanger in the gas heater did. I finally got THAT paid off a couple of months ago. Word of advice: pass on Goodman products. I replaced it with a Trane.

Also in March I commented on Al Gore's Feb. op-ed We Can't Wish Away Climate Change wherein he stated that "From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption."

Redemption.

REDEMPTION.

When someone sees government as a means to human redemption I want them kept as far from the levers of power as is possible. I had a bit more to say on the subject a couple of days later.

March was also the month that Congress overcame all protest and passed the 2,000+ page "Health Care Reform" bill.  Lots of posts about that, but boiled down to a soundbite by Representative Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan's 11th District in this pithy observation:
The Democratic Party believes that you can take an imperfect health-care system and fix it by putting it under the most dysfunctional and broken entity in the United States today: It's called the Federal Government.

That proposition is insane.
And if a picture is worth a thousand words, this one sums it all up:








No Überpost this month either, just a lot of linky and not a lot of thinky. I left that to others.

April started off no better. However, April brought a surprise - Arizona became the third state in the nation with "Constitutional Carry." Permitless legal concealed-carry legislation passed and the governor signed the bill.

I started running a monthly bowling-pin match at my local range in April. All those people carrying really ought to be able to hit a bowling pin at 25 feet, don't you think?

Supreme Court Justice Stevens announced his retirement in April, prompting me to quote Justice Scalia at some length concerning the "Living Constitution" question. Not an Überpost, but an important topic, I think.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed another bill in April, SB1070, which drew a little attention from the media all the way to the White House. Not being a fan of government in general, I was a bit skeptical of the law to begin with, but it pissed so many of the right people off, I warmed to it later.

I did manage a baby-Überpost on the topic of the education system: Dept. of Our Collapsing Schools - Twofer Edition, discussing how ill prepared high-school graduates are for college, and a story about how a "model school" run by Stanford education professors performed about how you'd expect a school run by "education experts" to perform. It failed. While just down the street, another school teaching kids from the same demographic is succeeding. Why? Read the piece, if you haven't.

Finally, in November of 2009 the HaloScan commenting system I had been using since 2003 switched to Echo. By the end of April it was quite apparent that Echo was NOT popular with my readers, but I had almost seven years worth of comments, and I didn't want to lose them in switching to another system, as Echo's export function didn't seem to import to any other service. More on this later in the year.

May began with Victims of Communism Day, something I think I'll repeat annually. Short and to the point.

I ran my second bowling pin match on Mother's Day of all days. Turnout was, as you'd expect, light.

On the 10th, SayUncle and Xlrq pointed to a website, Momlogic, spreading more made-up scaaary numbers about. In short, they lied about the number of accidental deaths of children, and when called on it, neither apologized nor retracted.

The blog turned seven years old in May, so I indulged in a review of some of the ego-inflating things that have been said about it and me. Thanks, y'all!

I spent some time down in central Mexico in May, which cut into my internet access terribly. The hotel had Wifi, but it was at dial-up speeds. There was access on the job site, but it was heavily firewalled, and I had actual, you know, work to do. Posting was light, to say the least.

There was one significant post for the month, though. They say the internet never forgets anything, and video of Milton Friedman is one thing I'm very glad will remain available to all. I put up a short clip I saw at Bill Whittle's, with some commentary in Intentions and Results.

June? June was gooood. The rifle I'd waited almost eighteen months for finally arrived. My Ted Brown-built LRB M25 arrived at my doorstep June 1 at 10AM. It has both a bayonet lug and the shoulder-thing that goes up. I think it made Sarah Brady cry. And Paul Helmke wet himself.

On June 2 over in (formerly) Great Britain, a taxi driver who was licensed to possess two shotguns and a .22 rifle used one shotgun and the rifle to go on a three and a half hour shooting spree in Cumbria, killing twelve people and wounding 25, according to early reports. I had something to say about that.

It was also shortly after this that I promised an Überpost to James Kelly of Scotland. Promises, promises . . .

Also in June, the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP proved that they need to study astrophysics a little bit more.

I did manage a real Überpost in June, though. Sort of. I recycled an older post with some updates reflecting the Supreme Court decisions in D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago with Cut-'n-Paste. And the Quote of the Month came out of the reaction to the McDonald decision.

By July it was fairly obvious that I wasn't holding up my end of the blogging bargain too well in 2010. Lots of linky, not as much thinky. So I linked to the best blog post and comment thread evar, in For Your Reading Entertainment. Still, TSM received its two-millionth recorded site visit shortly thereafter.

And in July, the fourth monthly bowling pin shoot started to show signs of promise.

July brought us a brilliant essay from Angelo Codevilla that he turned into a book. I made several excerpts Quotes of the Day, and now I make this one Quote of the Month. The JournoList scandal broke in July, and I managed to work it into a short piece in relation to Professor Codevilla's essay.

By early August it was apparent that something was happening in American politics that was not business-as-usual. I wrote But What if Your Loyalty is to the Constitution? - Part III about that.

I discovered in August that one of my technical dissertations is now linked by a University as a reference. Pretty cool.

Then I fisked a high school valedictorian's graduation speech. I think she is a victim of "critical pedagogy." She certainly used all the right buzzwords. And a couple of days later, I got a further example of just how far our "education" system has fallen, and another. And then an illustration of part of the problem. GIGO.

In good news, I finally understand the gublogosphere's universal praise of author Terry Pratchett. Another series I have to go buy the whole of.

August's Quote of the Month came from a different book, however: Colin Ferguson's American On Purpose.

And now we get back to that comment saga. By August, Echo's intermittent troubles seemed to have smoothed out somewhat. I put up a little throwaway post, My New Favorite Flag, and it drew the most comments of any post in the history of TSM. Don't bother looking. I'll get back to that.

On Sept. 1 my doctor called me at work and said "Mr. Baker, you're diabetic." Oh. Joy. After changing my diet and checking my blood glucose level religiously for the last four months, I conclude that I'm more "glucose intolerant" than full-blown diabetic. I can control my blood sugar without medication, and I'm (slowly) losing weight. No porphyria attacks, either.

Remember that Überpost I promised James Kelly I'd write back in June? Well, I promised again that I'd have it up in early September. I lied.

September also brought the fifth annual Gun Blogger's Rendezvous in Reno, Nevada. I've been to 'em all. The 2010 edition brought more people and more sponsors than ever, and I wrote a post to thank all the sponsors for the great swag they gave us. I finally got a few pictures posted after I got home.

That comment thread from back in August? By mid-September it had gone over 500 comments. Mostly really good. One of those comments linked to a piece that gave us the Quote of the Month for September. In a bit of prescience, I saved one entire comment from that thread by reader Moshe Ben-David and made it a post of its own. Interestingly, Markadelphia hasn't left a comment at TSM since that überthread. And no, I didn't ban him.

In serious news, the Voting Section Chief of the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division defied his bosses and testified before Congress on the dismissal of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case. The media barely mentioned it. But Stephen Colbert testifying about illegal immigration? THAT got coverage!

And in late September I discovered that I dislike Cass Sunstein very much.

And finally, more evidence (as if you needed it) of the dumbing-down of our education system.

In October, the "Green Movement" unmasked itself fully and completely with a single television ad: "No Pressure." They thought it would be funny. I had a bit more to say on it later. And from the comments to that latter piece, October's Quote of the Month.

Sandwiched between those, though, I wrote a short piece on Reality Capitalism TV. I have to wonder how much of that praise of capitalism is intentional and how much accidental.

In October a Tennessee fire department declined to respond to a structure fire for a resident who had not paid his service fee. They did, however, respond to his neighbor, to prevent the fire from spreading to his home. The result, one home burned to the ground, and some dead pets.

The outrage was immediate and vociferous, and the denunciation of "Libertarianism" was immediate. I had, of course, something to say about that, too.

Also in October we got to see what the .gov really thinks of us (again) when it comes to warrantless surveillance. As Judge Kozinski said, "1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it's here at last."

Bill Whittle started his own film production company, and began cranking out short videos, the first of which are his "What We Believe" series. Part I came out very early in October.

In the ongoing Global Warming Cooling Climate Change debate, a respected scientist wrote a resignation letter to the American Physical Society over the topic, stating "This is not science; other forces are at work." Worth a read, or a re-read.

The bowling pin matches continued in October. Fourteen people showed up! We had a good time, and I had a short video clip.

A local anti-gun bigot posted a couple of rants about open carry in Arizona that made the rounds of the gunblogosphere. I, of course, put my 2¢ in. No reply, though.

The pernicious idea that government should parent us was brought up again in a USAToday letter to the editor. I objected. Again. Of course they're not our parents. They're Our Neocortical Overlords. And at best, they're not adults, but grown-ups. (I may not be writing überposts, but string two or three of these together, and you get the same word-count.)

I shot my first GLOCK Sport Shooting Foundation match in October. Single most expensive match I've ever shot, and I did it with a borrowed gun. My feelings on Glocks remain the same: Meh.

As October drew to a close and we prepared for the November elections, I wrote a post on the mindset of The Other Side™, ably represented by one Joan Peterson. AKA "japete." Ms. Peterson is a board member of the Brady Campaign and blogger who had, by that time, become the darling of the gunblogging set for her complete disconnect from reality to the point she got her condition named for her: Peterson Syndrome. And I applied that diagnosis to another worthy member of The Other Side™.

And finally, the media once again acted in its role as clergy in the Church of State to keep the lay-people in line when it declared that Jon Stewart's October rally on the D.C. mall was bigger, much bigger, than the "Restoring Honor" rally held by Glenn Beck the month previous. But it wasn't, of course.

The election came and went, and a promise made after the passage of Obamacare was kept. Not that anybody in the political class took much notice.

Together with ExurbanKevin, we held the second annual Southern/Central Arizona Blogshoot at the Elsy Pearson Public Shooting Range in Casa Grande.  There was much shooty goodness and a good time was had by all.

If you read nothing else from the month of November, read the speech George F. Will gave at the Cato Institute's biennial Milton Friedman Prize dinner in 2010 that I laboriously fixed the speech-to-text transcription of. Or listen to the linked podcast. It's that good. And a couple of days later, a companion piece supporting Mr. Will's came along.

And remember that überpost I promised to write back in June? That I promised I'd get to in September? Still hadn't written it. But Bill Whittle distilled a good chunk of it into an eight-minute video clip in November.

November's Quote of the Month comes from Pultzer-Prize winning (for movie reviews) author Stephen Hunter from his novel I, Sniper in an excerpt which I title The Narrative.

And it would appear, even in the ultra-leftwing land that is San Francisco, that the economic reality of what's going on there and everywhere in the nation is beginning to become impossible to ignore any longer. Even by the the alt-media.

Then, on November 15 I was notified that the Echo blog commenting service (that replaced HaloScan twelve months previously) would no longer be $10/year. No, now they wanted $10 a month, a 1200% increase, and if I didn't pay up my comments - some 40,000 of them - would disappear. Thus began a mad scramble to figure out how to transition to a new commenting service and take my old comments with me. First, it required me to change the template of this blog, implementing a number of improvements, but screwing up some other stuff - like most of the older posts now show the title twice, something that delayed the writing of this post as I edited every single pre-November post in the year 2010 to correct that little irritant.

Also in November I did a little experiment at the request of Luckygunner.com, testing out some of their Fiocchi primers. The results were interesting.

I spent the rest of November screwing with the blog template and the comments, trying (unsuccessfully) to import the 16.5Mb of comments from Echo into Disqus. They imported, all right. They just aren't attached to any particular posts. Echo's export service seems to have severed that linkage, so Disqus has no clue where to put them.

And finally for November we discovered why John Conyers was so blasé about not reading the Obamacare bill. It didn't have any pictures.

December brought us the (unsurprising) news that the People's Republic of New Jerseystan still considers otherwise legal gun owners to be uncaught criminals, as Brian Aitken received a seven-year sentence for not breaking the law.

Quote of the Month goes to Daphne of Jaded Haven, who's had just about enough from the Political Class.

Markadelphia might have taken his ball and gone home, but I got a new lefty commenter in December, one "jeff c." who is apparently a Markadelphia syncophant. He left some droppings in the comments to a post in early December. He received the same response we're used to.

On a lighter note, our VP was caught in a Kodak moment that I just had to share.

December also brought the eighth monthly Bowling Pin match (September's was canceled because I was in Reno at GBRV). Twenty-two people showed up to shoot that one. I have to play with the format for 2011 because it takes too long the way we're doing it now.

The Other Side™ is still using scaaaary numbers to frighten the public. And, once again, it's inflated numbers for child deaths. Still, things are improving. In 2000 it was 4,000 accidental deaths a year. In May 2010 it was 500 accidental deaths a year, and now in December of 2010 it's 300 a year by accident and suicide. At this rate of decline we'll be into negative numbers some time around Tax Day.

And you remember that überpost? The one I promised in June? Then September? Then Bill Whittle did a great video on the topic in November? I finally finished it. Echo may be kaput, but Disqus racked up 160 comments on that one.

Daphne may have won December's Quote of the Month, but reader and fellow blogger Moshe Ben-David won Quote of the Year with one of those comments.

In keeping with what I wrote in This I Believe a Houston jewelry store owner defended himself and his wife from a gang of armed robbers, killing the three who came into his store, but suffering wounds himself. His family has put up a page where you can donate to his medical fund, as he has no medical insurance.

And, finally, Daphne's Quote of the Month gets a powerful affirmation by a surprising source, 60 Minutes, in "...the single-most important issue in the United States."

I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to settle for a "safe and secure New Year." Somehow I don't think there's going to be a whole lot of Happy going around for a bit.

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