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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Holy. Crap.




Found at Theo Spark.

Too Cool

Hobbyists still do some of the coolest stuff.  And I bet it gives our overlords nightmares:






Your own unmanned aerial reconnaissance drone!

Quote of the Day - Mark Steyn Edition

This is why there are professional pundits.  From Mark Steyn's most recent jeremiad, After America:  Get Ready for Armageddon
Once the state swells to a certain size, the people available to fill the ever expanding number of government jobs will be statists -- sometimes hard-core Marxist statists, sometimes social-engineering multiculti statists, sometimes fluffily "compassionate" statists, sometimes patrician noblesse oblige statists, but always statists. The short history of the post-war western democracies is that you don't need a president-for-life if you've got a bureaucracy-for-life: the people can elect "conservatives," as from time to time the Germans and British have done, and the left is mostly relaxed about it all because, in all but exceptional cases (Thatcher), they fulfill the same function in the system as the first-year boys at wintry English boarding schools who for tuppence-ha'penny would agree to go and take the chill off the toilet seat in the unheated lavatories until the prefects were ready to stroll in and assume their rightful place. Republicans have gotten good at keeping the seat warm.
Ain't that the truth?

I'm only about 100 pages into it, but so far the entire book is filled with bits like this.

Footnoted.

"Get Ready for Armageddon" indeed.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quote of the Day - Lines from Fiction Edition

I was introduced to author Richard K. Morgan's works by my shooting buddy Dusty. Here's a quote from the novel Altered Carbon appropriate to today:
The personal, as everyone's so fucking fond of saying, is political. So if some idiot politician, some power player, tries to execute policies that harm you or those you care about, take it personally. Get angry. The Machinery of Justice will not serve you here – it is slow and cold, and it is theirs, hardware and soft-. Only the little people suffer at the hands of Justice; the creatures of power slide from under it with a wink and a grin. If you want justice, you will have to claw it from them. Make it personal. Do as much damage as you can. Get your message across. That way, you stand a better chance of being taken seriously next time. Of being considered dangerous. And make no mistake about this: being taken seriously, being considered dangerous marks the difference – the only difference in their eyes – between players and little people. Players they will make deals with. Little people they liquidate. And time and again they cream your liquidation, your displacement, your torture and brutal execution with the ultimate insult that it's just business, it's politics, it's the way of the world, it's a tough life and that it's nothing personal. Well, fuck them. Make it personal.

Nine Years of . . . Other People's Posts!

SayUncle turns nine years old today. I remember back when he actually wrote stuff, and sometimes committed journalism!

All kidding aside, Chance is one of the best aggregators on the web today when it comes to firearms, law and rights. He's my second stop daily after Tam.

Keep it up, Chance. You do a helluva job.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Quote of the Day - Economics Edition

And here we have the heart of the difference between Hayek and Keynes: one knew that markets work to give us the best of all possible worlds, while governments create and exacerbate malfunctions; the other imagined that governments were somehow capable of both perceiving and correcting malfunctions by means of the printing press, provided the right technocrats are in charge.

-- Hayek’s Ghost Haunts Julianne Hough

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Six Years of Weapons-Grade Snark

View from the Porch turns six today.  Tam is always my first stop in the morning, and for good reason.  Apparently the same is true for a lot of other people, too.  Here's to many, many more!

Quote of the Day - Mark Steyn Edition

I picked up a copy of Mark Steyn's After America the other day.  I haven't had time to read it yet, but it's next on my list.  (That stack never seems to get any shorter - stuff just keeps getting piled on top.)

Anyway, I found an interview of Steyn by John Hawkins of Right Wing News that contains today's QotD:
Yes, this is a 50/50 nation. This is a House divided and as I said in the book, it’s a House divided in really the most fundamental way of all because it’s not about rich versus poor, it’s not about black versus white, it’s not about any of that. It’s about the division about the nature of the state itself which is, I think, the most irreconcilable in a way. One side has to win and one side has to lose. We can’t compromise on this. They are two incompatible visions. One vision is broadly consonant with the American idea as it has existed since its founding. The other, which is that we can live as a large Sweden is an utter delusion. So one of these sides has to win and one has to lose. It’s not clear which is going to come out on top in that 51/49 battle.

But that’s the good news, that there is still something to play for. That puts us ahead of Portugal and Greece and a lot of these other places. The bad news is that if the wrong side wins, it will be a totally different scale of disaster from anything that’s likely to happen to Portugal or Iceland. So in other words, if we win, we win big, but if we lose, we lose big.
Here's the kicker, though:
I noticed Bermuda already has had a lot of wealthy Americans coming in and buying up old estates and things. But, there is not going to be any place to flee. In the end, they’ll come for Bermuda, in the end they’ll come for Monte Carlo, and in the end you’ll be in Switzerland and they’ll come for you there because America is the order maker on the planet and when America goes, eventually as agreeable as Bermuda is, it slides in, and it takes Bermuda down in its wake. So this is the hill to die on.

One of the greatest lines I get told by so-called moderate Republicans about almost anything you talk about is always, “This isn’t the hill to die on. This isn’t the hill to die on, this isn’t the hill to die on.” You have this conversation with them for two hours and you realize you’re already 15 hills back from where you were. This, America, is the hill to die on. If you cannot defend and save a half millennium of western liberty and progress and prosperity on this hill, there is no other hill to die on anywhere on the planet.
Echos from the depths of 1985:
Most of the American politicians, media, and educational system trains another generation of people who think they are living at the peacetime. False. [The] United States is in a state of war: undeclared, total war against the basic principles and foundations of this system. And the initiator of this war is not Comrade Andropov, of course. It's the system. However ridiculous it may sound, [it is] the world Communist system (or the world Communist conspiracy). Whether I scare some people or not, I don't give a hoot. If you are not scared by now, nothing can scare you.

But you don’t have to be paranoid about it. What actually happens now [is] that unlike [me], you have literally several years to live on unless [the] United States [wakes] up. The time bomb is ticking: with every second [he snaps his fingers], the disaster is coming closer and closer. Unlike [me], you will have nowhere to defect to. Unless you want to live in Antarctica with penguins. This is it. This is the last country of freedom and possibility. -- Yuri Bezmenov.
Yes, Bezmenov again. Just because he gave an interview to a Bircher does not mean that he was wrong about the endgame.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Quote of the Day - Atlas is Pissed Edition

From Tam, today:
I swear to Mises, if Ayn Rand had put a scene in Atlas Shrugged where the federal environmental cops were raiding musical instrument manufacturers because they weren't complying with federal wood-labeling laws, critics would have howled with derision at the fanciful and unrealistic scenarios she was making up to ham-handedly hammer her point home.

This is the part where I am grabbing you by your lapels, shaking you and yelling "Now will you people listen?
Claire Wolfe was wrong. It's not too early, it's too late.

And I quoted that so I could quote this:
To be raided, let alone arrested, tried and convicted, for possessing a wood product secondary to the Lacey Act would mean war. Not simply self-defense, but war on as many as could be reached.

Not because it is only wood. Because it is such an egregiously insane and tyrannical use of senseless legislation to manipulate and punish anyone a particular bureaucrat or US Attorney would choose to harass. This is the stuff clock towers were made for, but should actually be saved for accurate targeting of principals, not the senseless killing of innocents.
-- "Reg T" in a comment at Silicon Graybeard.
Instapundit has updates.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Time's Running Out!

The Gun Blogger Rendezvous is fast approaching - September 8-11. Gun rights lawyer extraordinaire Alan Gura will be joining us again. He will be joined by Chuck Michel, the attorney who successfully defended 16 year-old Gary Tudesko who was expelled from California's Willows High School when unloaded shotguns were found in his pickup truck which was parked off-campus. Mr. Michel will be speaking about this case at the Saturday dinner.

Sponsorship this year is awesome!
And Bea!
Links cheerfully stolen from True Blue Sam.

This should be the best Rendezvous ever!

A "Chilling Effect"

In my long discussion with Australian computer science professor Tim Lambert on the topic of self-defense in the UK, I finally got him to admit that the laws there had a "chilling effect" on the willingness of residents of that polity to defend themselves against attack. Of course, that was our fault for pointing out the vagaries of the Crown Court's prosecution policies.

Using UK newspaper stories.

Well, here's another illustration of that chilling effect:
Before Monday (August 8) evening's events there were warnings that Turkish shopkeepers in Tottenham were forming "protection units" to stop their businesses being looted, while retailers in nearby Wood Green were said to have equipped themselves with crowbars and other weapons after holding emergency meetings.

When the trouble came, hairdressers, sales assistants and butchers were among the scores of Turkish and Kurdish workers who stood outside their businesses in Green Lanes, Haringey, from 8pm having been warned by police to expect trouble.

The Guardian filmed others – some armed with
baseball bats – on guard outside shops and restaurants in Kingsland Road, only a mile away from Hackney's burning high street. Three workers from Re-Style Hairdressers were among those out in Green Lanes, after word spread that an attack was imminent at about 4pm.

"I was here with my brother and my boss waiting for them until about midnight," said 16-year-old Huseyin Beytar. "If some guy ever breaks a window in this street, all the Turkish Kurdish people come down to protect the shops. We're like a family."

"We have to do things for ourselves," said Huseyin. "We have to look after each other. If they come here tonight there will be a fight, a big fight."

"We were outside ready and expecting them," said the manager of Turkish Food Market, who asked not to be named.

"But I felt very panicky because we are not safe from either the rioters or police.

"We put all of our efforts into this shop. It took 20 years to get it like this. But we do not know about our rights.

"I'm scared that the police and the government will attack us if we defend our businesses.

"We are being squeezed between the two."
(My emphasis.)  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is not the fault of the people pointing out what the government does to its own citizens.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Spenditol!

I just saw this on TV:



Haven't seen one like this before, outside of Powerline's contest.

The Top 100

So NPR did a "top 100 fantasy and sci-fi" book list as voted on by their audience.  It was picked up as a meme by a chunk of the blogosphere, including here.  At almost every site the complaint was the same - "They picked that? There's no mention of (x)!"

So here's your opportunity.  In the comments, leave your top 10 favorite fantasy and/or sci-fi novels or series.  They don't need to be in order.  Assuming this draws enough response, I'll try to combine all the responses into a real "top 100."  I think the TSM audience is a much better population sample for something like this.

I'll go first.
1.  The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Robert A. Heinlein

2.  Starship Troopers - Robert A. Heinlein

3.  Dune - Frank Herbert

4.  The General series - David Drake, S.M. Stirling - the original quintilogy, not the three follow-ons.

5.  The Vorkosigan saga - Lois McMaster Bujold

6.  The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. I - this is cheating, but it is a book I re-read, and I went to a lot of effort to get a copy when one I loaned out never came back.  This is where I first read Flowers for Algernon, and it is by far not the best story in that anthology.

7.  The Hammer's Slammers series - David Drake

8.  The Ring of Fire series - Eric Flint & others.  I also enjoy the Dies the Fire flip-side of this universe.

9.  The Nantucket series - S.M. Stirling

10.  The Past Through Tomorrow:  A Future History - Robert A. Heinlein.  Another anthology, but this one is all Heinlein.
I discovered Sci-Fi at about age 11 - Heinlein's juveniles.  When I was 13 or so, I found The Science Fiction Hall of Fame in the school library.  That was it.  I was hooked for life.  Starship Troopers, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and everything else Heinlein wrote followed.  Also Azimov, Clark, etc., though honestly I like Azimov's nonfiction better than his fiction.  While Larry Niven and Jerry Pournell are not represented on this list, I do love their stuff. The Mote in God's Eye and Footfall are favorites, I just don't find myself re-reading them.

This list represents the books that I re-read on a relatively regular basis - books I've literally worn out and had to replace.  I read a lot of other stuff, both fiction and non-fiction, but Sci-Fi is my preferred genre.  SF can be anything, from pulp to high literature, bodice-ripper to deepest, darkest horror.  Science Fiction is the ultimate "what-if?"

One more:

11.  Empire of the East - Fred Saberhagen.

So, what are yours?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Quote of the Day - The Deal Edition

From this video:




Bill Whittle:  National Treasure.

The QotD is this:
Part of The Deal, you see, is that you pay in blood for progress.  If there's no progress, what's the point?
Watch the video.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Your Moment of Zen

Astrophysicist Dr. Sarah "Stickwick Stapers" emailed me this image that makes an excellent Moment of Zen™ (click for full size)





That's a shot taken in Greenland. The bright spot to the right in the image is the moon.

Earthquake Jokes

So there was a bit of an earthquake in Virginia this afternoon, and its effects were felt quite distinctly in Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas.

The jokes, of course, began immediately.  Some of my favorites:
They discovered an new fault just outside Washington:  Bush's Fault.

That wasn't an earthquake - the Founding Fathers are actually spinning in their graves.

That was no earthquake, that was the debt ceiling shattering!

Paul Krugman said it wasn't big enough.

Everyone in Washington left work early due to the earthquake.  The economy experienced a brief rebound.

The earthquake is Palin's fault.  She's been threatening to "shake things up"!!

Quote of the Day - Electile Dysfunction Edition

As a highly disgruntled GOP-aligned voter, I must confess to viewing the current slate of GOP POTUS candidates with emotions running from despair to disdain.

You've got serial flip-flopper and dog abuser Mitt Romney, who with his usual brilliant sense of timing has decided that a period of serious economic concern and persistent financial populism among the public is the right time to quadruple the size of his multimillion dollar home in La Jolla.

You've got people like Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry who seem more interested in running for President of the Southern Baptist Convention than POTUS.

You've got Sarah Palin lurking in the shadows, a prospect that gives me the willies.

And then you've got seven or so dwarves.
In point of fact, Sarah doesn't really bother me that much, but overall I'm in agreement with Professor Bainbridge here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Non Sequitur

And now for something completely different. Via Mostly Cajun, the NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy novels with the ones I have read in bold:

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien - Once. It was good, but not enough to make me want to re-read it.

2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card

4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert Well, I read the original trilogy, but that's where I stopped. IMHO Frank Herbert had one truly exceptional work of fiction in him, and Dune was it. The rest of the canon? Meh.

5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin - I've read the first two. Just not my cuppa.  I understand the mini-series is quite good.

6. 1984, by George Orwell

7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov - Really, not Isaac's best. Interesting idea, but if we were really that predictable . . .

9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman

12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan

13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson

15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore

16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov - THIS was one of Isaac's best.

17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss

19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick

22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King

24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke

25. The Stand, by Stephen King

26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson

27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury

28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman

30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess - I haven't, but I need to.

31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams

33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey

34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein - perhaps my favorite book EVER.  I've worn out multiple copies.

35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller

36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells

37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne

38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys

39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells

40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny

41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings

42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley

43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson

44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven

45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin

46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien - After completing The Lord of the Rings, I just didn't have the interest.

47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White

48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke

50. Contact, by Carl Sagan

51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons - well, I've read Hyperion anyway.

52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman - is Gaiman really all that?

53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson

54. World War Z, by Max Brooks

55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle

56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman

57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett - I will be.  I now "get" Pratchett, and will be reading all of his stuff.

58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson - I've tried, but Donaldson and I just don't get along.

59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold - I will read anything this woman writes, including grocery lists.

60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett

61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind

63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy - What a depressing read. Riveting, but depressing.

64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke

65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson

66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist

67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks

68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard

69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb

70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger

71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson

72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne

73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore

74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi

75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson

76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke

77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey

78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin

79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury

80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire

81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson

82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde

83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks - Well, I've read Use of Weapons, anyway, and Matter is on my headboard waiting patiently in queue.

84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart

85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson

86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher

87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe

88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn

89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan

90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock

91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury

92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley

93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge

94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov

95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson - And after I was done, my reaction was "Meh."

96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis

98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville

99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony

100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

Damn, not even half?  I'm a piker.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Well, That Didn't Take Long

The political cartoonist for the local daily rag is apparently afraid, very afraid of Rick Perry:




I think, however, Sebastian may be on to something:


     

Quote of the Day

From a comment to Victor Davis Hanson's Atlas is Sorta Shrugging:
I can tell you for a fact that major portions of the country – particularly urban areas on the coasts, but not just those – are diametrically opposed to absolutely every single thing you stand for. Their stance may be extremely hypocritical, unconstructive, contradictory and irrational, but they will not acknowledge it, even in the face of the most objective and logical arguments. In fact, they will look upon you as borderline criminal for rejecting their creed.

What the Obama presidency has revealed is that America is not whole anymore, but is fractured among at least two major fault lines of political, economic and social thought, and this president not only thrives on that rift, but has done everything in his awesome power to expand and deepen it.

This is not the same america I was born into over 4 decades ago. You must prepare yourselves for the real possibility that, if a great crisis breaks upon the nation, that it will not survive intact.

And don't count on either dominant political party to rectify the situation. Both have proven without any doubt that they are concerned only and specifically with what is in their short term interest as a party and as individual politicians, and they will sacrifice EVERYTHING, no matter how sacred, to pursue their goals, protect their status and enhance their position.
As I said, there will be no repeat of the war-between-the-states, but our major cities may very well burn.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quote of the Day - Atheist Edition

From Joe Huffman Lyle at Joe Huffman's, Jesus the Socialist:
When Jesus shows up in person, dressed in a black ninja outfit with his own team of storm troopers to take my property, I'll believe he was a socialist. Until then; Girls, you be trippin'. I'll go with Douglas Adams' definition of Jesus; "A man who got nailed to a tree for suggesting we be nice to people."
RTWT.

He speaks for me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Quote of the Day - "One Ring" Edition

From Adaptive Curmudgeon, Hobbits! Really! Part II:
Tolkien’s Hobbits fought to resist power. Career politicians wallow in it. Too much power makes politicians hollow and disconnected. Lacking anything else, they cling to power until they drop dead. A defeatist mentality of emptiness. If you’re wealthy enough to retire but hold elected office until you die in old age; power has destroyed you.

Conservative Strom Thurmond and liberal Edward Kennedy are egregious examples. One died in office at age 100 after 47 years in office. The other at age 77 after 46 years in office. Virtual opposites in politics; yet they both clung to power until their dying breath.
Dilbert, from December 21, 1990:

Mom Update

I went to see her yesterday in Cardiac ICU.  They'd tried to take her off the ventilator, but she's not breathing deeply enough on her own yet, so the tube went back in. 

As a consequence, she can't talk.  As I stood at the foot of her bed, I said "It must be frustrating not being able to talk."  She nodded her head.  "I'll just stand here and savor the moment, then."

That earned me the stink-eye.

"You can kick my ass later."  Vigorous nod.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

“In Britain, everything is policed except crime.”

That's a line from Mark Steyn's latest book, After America.  Here's another example:
Essex police charge man over water fight planned on BlackBerry Messenger

A 20-year-old is due in court after police discover alleged plans for a Colchester water fight circulating on BBM and Facebook


A man will appear before magistrates next month for allegedly trying to organise a mass water fight via his mobile phone.


The prime minister said last week that the government would investigate whether social networking platforms should be shut down if they helped to "plot" crime in the wake of the riots.


The 20-year-old from Colchester was arrested on Friday after Essex police discovered the alleged plans circulating on the BlackBerry Messenger service and Facebook.


The unnamed man has been charged with "encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence" under the 2007 Serious Crime Act, police said.


He was arrested with another 20-year-old man the day the water fight was allegedly due to take place, and has been bailed to appear before Colchester magistrates on 1 September. The second man was released without charge.
Surely "water fight" is a euphemism for some kind of riot?

Well, no:
In 2008 there was a spate of mass water fights in British towns and cities that were organised through social networks. Most remained peaceful.
From that second link:
A GIRL was punched to the ground by a thug - after a public water fight organised on website Facebook spiralled into violence.

Nine men were held after punch-ups erupted among 250 people - some reported to be carrying knives - in a park.

One muscle-bound thug flew into a rage after a girl playfully squirted fizzy drink over his T-shirt. He chased after the laughing teenager and sent her flying with a right hook.

Then he stood over her menacingly until other shocked revellers pulled him away. One said later: "She was lifted completely off her feet.

Around 250 people had gathered in London's Hyde Park to cool off with water pistols in the heat - but the event turned sour as visitors reported seeing men "flashing their weapons".
So, let me get this straight: Setting up a fight with water guns and water balloons is now a crime??

Only in England. And apparently Iran.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I Got Nothin' for You

My mom had open-heart surgery today - two valves replaced.  She should be coming out of anesthesia late tonight, and will be in ICU for two to three days, followed by 9-10 more in CCU.  She's 77 and tough (she's already had both knees replaced - and watched the surgery on a TV monitor as they did the first one.)  I think if she could have been conscious for this, she'd have watched too.

Anyway, I'll be spending some time after work at the hospital for the next few days, so blogging will most probably be light.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Match Report - Bowling Pins, 8/14/11

Well, this was the lightest turnout since I started running this match, only four shooters showed up.  A year ago there were fourteen shooters besides myself.  Hmmm....

Still, the five of us had a great time!  This was the first month for a specific revolver class, and there were four of us with revolvers:  Don M. came with a Ruger Super Redhawk with "bunny-fart" loads (though a couple of them sounded suspiciously loud), I brought my S&W Model 25 Mountain Gun in .45LC, Travis Higgins brought a beautiful 6" Colt Python (shooting .38s), and Cliff Reed brought a Taurus 65 (also shooting .38s).  Four of us also had automatics, two 1911's, a Browning Hi Power, and a Sig 229, and four of us brought .22's - three Mk IIs and one MkIII.

Since there were so few of us, we competed in pairs until one shooter was eliminated, then finished the match with the top three contenders vying for the overall win.  Travis won the inaugural revolver competition, and I took .22 and the auto classes. Travis had to beat me four times to win with his Python, and did so with relative ease.  I need more wheel-gun practice.  (Or a lighter .45LC load.  That thing THUMPS.)

There will be no match in September - I will be at the sixth annual Gun Blogger Rendezvous in Reno, Nevada that weekend.  The next match will be in the fall - hopefully a cooler and less humid October 9.  We will have a revolver class again - that was fun!

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Quote of the Day - Accurate Diagnosis Division

Reader Phil B. emails a link to another outstanding piece:  Untouchable, from the blog The View from Cullingworth.  Read the whole post, but here's a taste that qualifies for QotD:
Unlike Oborne – and unlike the left – I reject the idea of man’s perfectibility. Or indeed that we are in need of a “moral reformation” – it is an economic and political reformation we require, a change to the order of things. It is not moral decadence that links the powerful to the rioter but a belief that they are untouchable, that the normal rules of society do not apply.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Quote of the Day II - (formerly) Great Britain Edition

Tam brings it so hard I had to do two QotD:
...look at Cameron's résumé: He's a blandly handsome guy who went to all the right schools and has never had a productive non-government job in his life... No wonder Obama hates him; they both wore the same dress to the prom.

England used to be a cool place. It used to rule the world. Now it's like an island of California, except without the nice weather and food.

--  It's a poor craftsman that blames the tools

Quote of the Day - John Adams Edition

I must entreat you, to consider the words of this authority (Sir John Kelyng, Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, 1665-71); the injured person may repel force by force against any who endeavors to commit any kind of felony; if any of the persons made an attack on these soldiers, with an intention to rob them, if it was but to take their hats feloniously, they had a right to kill them on the spot, and had no business to retreat; if a robber meets me in the street and commands me to surrender my purse, I have a right to kill him without asking questions; if a person commits a bare assault on me, this will not justify killing, but if he assaults me in such a manner, as to discover an intention to kill me, I have a right to destroy him, that I may put it out of his power to kill me. -- John Adams, History of the Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770
(My emphasis.)  Adams' point was that the inherent right of self-defense was not denied to soldiers by dint of being soldiers.  They were entitled to the same rights as any man on the street when it came to defense of self and property.

It doesn't work that way in (formerly) Great Britain anymore.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Self-Defense in the UK

I left this in a comment at Say Uncle this morning in response to the assertion that "There is no right of self defense in the English law system. The use of force is solely the right of the Crown."  I thought it would make a pretty decent post of its own, especially with the hyperlinks included.
OK, I’ve argued this question extensively. Here’s the deal:

In the UK, under the law you are permitted to use “reasonable force” to defend yourself or others.

Here’s the rub: Other people after the fact determine what was "reasonable" at the time of the incident.

Possession of anything "with the intent to threaten to cause injury or fear" is verboten – so if you pick up a baseball bat and stand outside your property as a deterrent to rioters, your intent is to "threaten to cause injury or fear" and you're therefore guilty of being in possession of an "offensive weapon."

Apparently you're supposed to wait until you, personally are under physical attack before you can pick up anything with which to defend yourself, and then you are restricted in how you use that item to some "reasonable" level to be determined at some future time when the jurors can reflect calmly on the situation.

Further, as has been explained to the British public, the law does not require the intention to kill for a prosecution for murder to succeed. All that is required is an intention to cause serious bodily harm. That intention can be fleeting and momentary. But if it is there in any form at all for just a second – that is, if the blow struck was deliberate rather than accidental – you can be guilty of murder and spend the rest of your life in prison.

As a result, the Crown Prosecution Service can (and has) prosecuted people for merely possessing anything they consider to be an "offensive weapon" whether or not said "weapon" was ever displayed. They have prosecuted people, like the man who beat a burglar with a milk bottle, for "unreasonable" use of force. One man was acquitted not too long back of murdering a home invader with his shotgun when his defense was that the gun "accidentally discharged" as he was pointing it at the huge, steroid-enraged bodybuilder climbing through his second-floor window and verbally threatening to kill the homeowner. Since there was no intent, fleeting or momentary, he wasn't guilty of murder, apparently, even though he had to unlock the gun cabinet, retrieve his shotgun, unlock the ammo cabinet, retrieve his ammo, load the gun, aim the gun, and put his finger on the trigger. All of that was "reasonable," but pulling the trigger intentionally would have been an act not of self-defense, but of murder.

The result of these laws is that the act of defending yourself is legally risky. Even if you’re acquitted, it may cost you a fortune in legal fees, and you very well might go to jail. If you actively defend your property, the chances are very high that you will be prosecuted for – at a minimum – possession of an "offensive weapon" and "causing fear," and you will most probably lose in court.

All of this has what has been referred to as a "chilling effect" on the willingness of the British populace to actively defend themselves. You'll note in the stories coming out of the UK that the people doing the "vigilantism" are almost exclusively immigrants – mostly Turks and Sikhs. They haven't had their self-reliance beaten out of them yet.

Posted without Comment

Found at Walls of the City.  He found it at Gun Free Zone.  Somebody tell me the original source and I'll link to it.

I've Already Addressed This Question

Dan Miller at PJ Tatler asks Will the United States have another Civil War?  I addressed this question several years ago, and more than once.  In that first piece my response was:
Jefferson suggested a small armed rebellion every 20 years or so. We didn't take his advice. Our last one ended in 1865, and it was so devastating I think it put us off rebellion entirely too long.

Government isn't "us" and hasn't been for a long, long time. It represents the people who run the Democrat and Republican Parties, and those who pay them the most. Government-run education has ensured that the end product coming out of our schools is uniformly ignorant of how the system is supposed to work, and it's done a damned good job of indoctrinating our children in the "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" philosophy, and the "if it feels good, do it" philosophy. Fifty-plus years of this has produced a very large, very ignorant, very apathetic population.

I think that "pressing the reset button" is going to happen, but all it's going to get some of us is a tighter collar and a heavier chain.
In the second piece I wrote:
What prevents another Civil War here isn't the Army or the fact that we hold a higher loyalty to our Nation than to our State of residence, it's ignorance and apathy.
Well, we seem to be overcoming the apathy problem, but ignorance? Not so much.

In the third piece I returned to my original position:
I cannot help but wonder: Are we going to war again, against each other? And what form would that take?

I think the answer might very well be "YES," and the form will be that of domestic terrorism.
Dan Miller, in a longer piece at his own blog expands on his take on the subject:
Although the persistent atrophy of states’ rights is among the causes of many problems from which discontent arises, that atrophy does not itself seem to concern great numbers of citizens. It is also a reason why a civil war is unlikely: states now are much weaker than were those that seceded in 1861. Then, the states were considered far more than now as sovereign countries. Before and during the war, many of the South considered "United States" to be a plural expression. Hence, it was often said that the United States "are," rather than "is." When the country was viewed as a consortium of separate and sovereign entities, the plural usage was grammatically correct. The plural form has fallen into disuse; I still use it as a reminder that the states retain the authority not delegated to the federal government even though they have forfeited much of the power to exercise it.
I've said the same myself. What we have isn't people in different states clamoring to be released from the Federal yoke, it's people in large cities wanting Federally-provided welfare versus suburban and rural populations that generally want benign neglect when it comes to Federal interference.

The States aren't "red" or "blue," they're differing shades of purple, but the cities are "blue" and outside the cities are, on the whole, varying shades of "red."

You'll note, all of the rioting going on isn't occurring in places like Lizard Lick or Henley-in-Arden or Arma, Greece.  It's occurring in Philadelphia, London and Athens.

So no, we're not going to see another iteration of "The War Between the States."  But we very well might see our major cities burn.

Quote of the Day - English Riots Edition


The state is not your friend, so do what you have to do and if you drive off some thugs, do not call the police after it is all over as nothing good will come of that. -- Perry de Havilland, Samizdata - Defend yourself and be a vigilante

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Taking the Law into Your Own Hands

I was fascinated to read England riots: When is it right to turn vigilante? at the BBC website. Excerpts:
Stories are emerging of Londoners forming vigilante groups to protect their homes and businesses, but police have warned this is making matters worse.

--

...little by little a picture is emerging of Londoners beginning to fight back against the wave of violence - in some cases by taking the law into their own hands.

--

But when is it right to take the law into your own hands?

--

But are those who take the law into their own hands to protect shops and homes more of a hindrance than a help?

--

He urged people not to take the law into their own hands.
I keep remembering Sir Robert Peel's Nine Principles of Modern Policing, the seventh of which is:
Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
But now, we are told, taking those duties seriously is "taking the law into our own hands."

Uh, that's where it's supposed to be. Principle No. 1 is
The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
You'll note, they're not too good at that.

But "vigilantes" are.

I don't advocate chasing looters and arsonists down and beating 'em to a pulp - that's not the duty of citizens. Detaining them, however, for retrieval by authorities is. That's why there is such a thing as the power of citizen's arrest. This power traces back to "Anglo Saxon law in medieval England." I guess they've "Progressed" themselves right out of it.

Perry de Havilland at Samizdata has more on the subject. Tomorrow's Quote of the Day comes from that piece.

We'll see how many people get prosecuted for protecting their own property after the riots finally settle down. After all, according to UK law:
The term 'offensive weapon' is defined as: "any article made or adapted for use to causing injury to the person, or intended by the person having it with him for such use".
True,
The courts have been reluctant to find many weapons as falling within the first limb of the definition and reliance should usually be placed upon the second. On that basis, it must be shown that the defendant intended to use the article for causing injury
However, standing outside your property with a half-dozen friends or family members, all armed with baseball or cricket bats, axe handles or steel pipe in anticipation of rioters pretty much meets the definition of threatening or causing fear. That's the idea - make 'em sheer off somewhere else out of fear of seeing their own blood.

As I said in "(I)t's most important that all potential victims be as dangerous as they can",
Britain today represents a perfect example of the pacifist culture in control, because that culture doesn't really distinguish between violent and predatory and violent but protective - it sees only violent. Their worldview is divided between violent and non-violent, or passive. There is an exception, a logical disconnect if you will, that allows for legitimate violence - but only if that violence is committed by sanctioned officials of the State. And even there, there is ambivalence. If violence is committed by an individual there is another dichotomy: If the violence is committed by a predator, it is the fault of society in not meeting that predator's needs. The predator is the creation of the society, and is not responsible for the violence. He merely needs to be "cured" of his ailment. If violence is committed by a defender, it is a failure of the defender to adhere to the tenets of the pacifist society. It is the defender who is at fault because he has lived by the rules and has chosen to break them, and who must therefore be punished for his transgression.
Thus defending your own property is "vigilantism," not a duty "incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence."

Quote of the Day - British Riots Edition

Phil B., expat Brit and current resident of Middle Earth emails a link to Counting Cats in Zanzibar from which comes the QotD:
One thing that is quite interesting though is that this demonstrates how weak the authorities’ grasp on power really is. Numerous commentators throughout history have noted that even the cruelest dictator rules by consent; if the people do form a mass against him, he cannot prevail. A lot of people are saying, “why are the police letting this happen?” and while we’re all I’m sure going to play armchair quarterback with this for many happy internet-arguing weeks to come, there does seem to be that lesson here that mass resistance- or rather, a kind of mass ignoring of the hypothetical “social contract”- leaves government/governance reeling, especially in a nominally liberal polity. It makes you realise just how compliant we are; ten million smokers or whatever the number is, all dutifully trooping outside to have a ciggie. The authorities rule by the presumption and acceptance of power, and when people just ignore them they lose control very quickly.
This scares the snot out of those presumptively in power, and you know what to expect of frightened animals.

Billy Beck has been preaching civil disobedience as the tool to wrest back our liberty - not, as Counting Cats says, "run(ing) outside and set(ting) fire to World Of Carpets and steal(ing) mobile phones", but simple refusal to comply - stop paying taxes. Stop feeding the Beast. Unfortunately, for this to be effective it must also be widespread.  Pillaging and burning has the advantage of being (mostly) anonymous and, if you're so inclined, fun.  Refusing to pay your taxes?  They have your number - literally.

So expect to see looting and arson, but principled civil disobedience?  Not so much.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Snark or Prophecy?

A sign in the window of a Manchester Subway restaurant:



It reads:  "Due to the imminent collapse of society we regret to announce we are closing at 6pm tonight."

Found here.

I do still love the British "stiff upper lip."

Too Little, Too Late?

Well, THIS is interesting, from Amazon.com.uk:



I guess a bunch of people over in Ol' Blighty have figured out that they are responsible for their own protection first, regardless of what their government tells them.

Either that, or American baseball has developed a tremendous following.

Odd about the lack of glove and ball purchases though...

Quote of the Day - English Riot Edition

The British state lectures, hectors and micro-manages the law-abiding. When it comes to defending them, it is, all too often,  AWOL. -- Andrew Stuttaford

Brilliant!

First this:



Now this:



That's no moon, that's our national debt!  And our economic Titanic continues to sink.

Monday, August 08, 2011

A Third Day of Rioting in London

Trevor Reeves said his business which has been in his family for five generations has been "completely trashed"

--

Shops were looted and buildings set alight as police clashed with youths. The trouble also spread to Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol.
  • Several fires broke out in Croydon, including one at a large sofa factory which spread to neighbouring buildings and tram lines
  • In Hackney 200 riot officers with dogs and mounted police were located around Mare Street where police cars were damaged
  • Looters raided a Debenhams store and a row of shops in Lavender Hill in Clapham, as well as shops in Stratford High Street
  • A Sony warehouse in Solar Way, Enfield, a shopping centre in Woolwich New Road, a timber yard in Plashet Grove, East Ham and a building on Lavender Hill were all on fire
  • More than 100 people looted a Tesco store in Bethnal Green, the Met said, and two officers were injured
  • Cars were set on fire in Lewisham
  • A bus and shop were set alight in Peckham
  • Buses were diverted as the violence spread to Bromley High Street
  • There were reports of looting of phone shops in Woolwich High Street, in south London, and a torched police car
  • Shops and restaurants were damaged in Ealing, west London, and there was a fire in Haven Green park opposite Ealing Broadway Tube
  • Football matches at Charlton and West Ham which were due to be played on Tuesday have been postponed at the request of the police
  • At Clapham Junction looters stole masks from a fancy dress store to hide their identity

--

One resident in Croydon, who gave his name as Adam, said he saw two cars which had been set on fire.

He said: "One older woman was dragged out and they set the car on fire. Then another car around the corner was on fire, then we counted about 12 to 15 shops that had been looted.

"The looting started about three hours ago. I just came back into my apartment and the looting was still going on - not a single policeman."
"Not a single policeman."

That's not all that unusual in incidents like this. There just aren't enough police. So what you get is:













What you won't see is this:







Those are Koreans protecting a shop during the Los Angeles riots in 1992, when the police were nowhere to be found. You won't see pictures of people defending their property against looters in London - that would get them arrested.

I expect the number of Brits fleeing Airstrip One for greener pastures will now increase above the 200,000 or so that have been leaving annually.

UPDATE:
Police lose control of streets shop owners form local "protection units"

News Desk 9am Sunday

Shop owners along Wood Green, Turnpike Lane and Green Lanes, the majority of which are of Kurdish or Turkish owned have formed local protection units following riots in Tottenham which have spilled over to Wood Green.

"We do not have any trust in the local police, our shops are next on the target list by the thugs who have ransacked Tottenham, we will protect our property", said a leading member of the Green Lanes "unit".

Shop owners have been seen by London Daily News reporters carrying crow bars, and other objects in case of attacks.
But, thankfully, no pictures which would be used as evidence against them.

The Tools and Mechanisms of Oppression

Ayn Rand wrote in her frighteningly prophetic 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged many warnings, among which was this:
There is no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is to crack down on criminals. When there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking the law. Create a nation of lawbreakers and then you can cash in on the guilt. Now that's the system!
The Geek with a .45 wrote, back 2004 and unfortunately no longer available at his site, this warning:
We, who studied the shape and form of the machines of freedom and oppression, have looked around us, and are utterly dumbfounded by what we see.

We see first that the machinery of freedom and Liberty is badly broken. Parts that are supposed to govern and limit each other no longer do so with any reliability.

We examine the creaking and groaning structure, and note that critical timbers have been moved from one place to another, that some parts are entirely missing, and others are no longer recognizable under the wadded layers of spit and duct tape. Other, entirely new subsystems, foreign to the original design, have been added on, bolted at awkward angles.

--

We know the tools and mechanisms of oppression when we see them. We've studied them in depth, and their existence on our shores, in our times, offends us deeply. We can see the stirrings of malevolence, and we take stock of the damage they've caused over so much time.

Others pass by without a second look, with no alarm or hue and cry, as if they are blind, as if they don't understand what they see before their very eyes. We want to shake them, to grasp their heads and turn their faces, shouting, "LOOK! Do you see what this thing is? Do you see how it might be put to use? Do you know what can happen if this thing becomes fully assembled and activated?"
Assembly and activation proceeds apace.

Three recent books come to mind, Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent by Harvey Silverglate, Go Directly to Jail: The Criminalization of Almost Everything by Gene Healy, and The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice by Paul Craig Roberts. There are others.

Just a few days ago, the Wall Street Journal reported that
For decades, the task of counting the total number of federal criminal laws has bedeviled lawyers, academics and government officials.


"You will have died and resurrected three times," and still be trying to figure out the answer, said Ronald Gainer, a retired Justice Department official.
They've given up even trying to count them.

As I said in Malice vs. Stupidity
At some point it becomes immaterial whether the laws were due to incompetence or maliciousness. That point is when their implementation is indistinguishable from maliciousness. I submit that we've passed that point, and the only thing preventing even more massive public blowback is our general ignorance and our well-established general respect for the Rule of Law. As I've said, the .gov has done a good job of practicing such persecution on a retail level, rather than wholesale, but it's getting to the point where the abuse is going wholesale and the stories are getting out to the mass audience.
And I've said elsewhere I think a lot of people are getting fed up with ever-increasing government intrusion into our lives. Government interferes lightly on a wholesale basis, but it does its really offensive intrusions strictly retail. So long as the majority gets its bread and circuses, it will remain content.

Until it happens to you. Then you get pissed right quick, and wonder why nobody hears your side of the story.

I've reported here at TSM on just a tiny fraction of these prosecutions; George Norris and his orchid import business,  the persecution of Albert Kwan and the prosecution of Joseph Pelleteri are just some examples.  Other bloggers have as well.  Sebastian noted how an 11 year-old escaped the mailed fist of the law in Massachussetts with a mere suspension from school when he could have been prosecuted under felony law, for example. There are many, many, many more such examples. If you have your own, please feel free to leave them in the comments. Links would be appreciated.

But today's post is inspired by a YouTube video I watched over at Jaded Haven. I'd not heard of the case, but I was not surprised.  Go watch.

Still, you don't have to be surprised to have an RCOB event.

A recent Rassmussen poll indicates:
(J)ust 17% of Likely U.S. Voters think the federal government today has the consent of the governed. Sixty-nine percent (69%) believe the government does not have that consent. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.
Is there any wonder why?

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Tottenham Rampage

In 1909 the Tottenham Outrage occurred. A pair of anarchists armed with then-new semi-automatic pistols attempted to rob a local business payroll, and went on a shooting spree in their attempt to escape. Normal citizens joined in the pursuit, going so far as to provide privately-owned weapons to the normally unarmed police in pursuit.  Their escape was foiled.

One hundred and two years later, same place, a different kind of outrage:
The riot that tore through parts of north London's deprived Tottenham neighborhood has cast a pall over Britain's capital, echoing an earlier era of racial unrest, while spreading malaise through a city preparing to host the Olympic Games.

Eight officers were hospitalized after a peaceful protest against the shooting death of a young man degenerated into a Saturday night rampage, with rioters torching a double-decker bus, destroying patrol cars and trashing a shopping mall.

Looters descended on the area around midnight, setting buildings alight, and piling stolen goods into cars and shopping carts. Sirens could be heard across the capital as authorities rushed reinforcements to the scene.
More information and pictures here.

Crank up Your Speakers

A European Shell commercial that is music for car enthusiasts:



From a comment at The Truth About Cars review of the Bugatti Veyron comes this bit of universal truth:
I could never afford one, but I don’t want to live in a world where things like this are not possible.
The complete inverse, I gather, of what the proles are supposed to feel.

Quote of the Day - Endgame Edition

This column is so right that it's very difficult to pull just one piece out of it for a quote of the day, but Janet Daley's UK Telegraph op-ed If we are to survive the looming catastrophe, we need to face the truth is today's must-read:
We have arrived at the endgame of what was an untenable doctrine: to pay for the kind of entitlements that populations have been led to expect by their politicians, the wealth-creating sector has to be taxed to a degree that makes it almost impossible for it to create the wealth that is needed to pay for the entitlements that populations have been led to expect, etc, etc.

The only way that state benefit programmes could be extended in the ways that are forecast for Europe’s ageing population would be by government seizing all the levers of the economy and producing as much (externally) worthless currency as was needed – in the manner of the old Soviet Union.

That is the problem. So profound is its challenge to the received wisdom of postwar Western democratic life that it is unutterable in the EU circles in which the crucial decisions are being made – or rather, not being made.

The solution that is being offered to the political side of the dilemma is benign oligarchy.
Yes, that's what's being offered, but it's not what will be delivered.

Read the whole piece.  Twice.  At the time of this writing there are nearly 800 comments.  One of them was this:
...this article is the most important one I have ever read in the mainstream media.
I concur.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Hypocrisy, Thy Name is "Democrat"

Brilliance from REALMREYNOLDS.com:



Someone should run tell the National Institute for Civil Discourse!

Edited to add, seen in a comment thread elsewhere:

"Let's assume that everything you say about me is true. That makes your problem somewhat bigger, doesn't it?"

Well, I've Never Heard This Theory Before

Apparently the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan was a war crime against Britain.
The bombings of Hiroshima (66 years ago today) and Nagasaki were anti-British no less than anti-Japanese acts, designed to prevent the War from instead being ended by the British re-conquest of the Empire in Asia and the Pacific...
(My emphasis.) I'm almost afraid to point to it. The crazy might follow back here.

This Sounds Familiar

From that WSJ page mentioned in the previous post:
The "two different worldviews" that divide Washington, explains Eric Cantor, are too far apart for anything more than an armistice.
That sounds remarkably like Anarchangel's quote from a while back:
There can be no useful debate between two people with different first principles, except on those principles themselves.
I quoted that in What We Got Here . . . is Failure to Communicate.  Also Thomas Sowell, from an Uncommon Knowledge interview:
Peter Robinson: If you had a sentence or two to say to the Cabinet assembled around President Obama, and this cabinet holds glittering degrees from one impressive institution after another, if you could beseech them to conduct themselves in one particular way between now and the time they leave office, what would you say?


Thomas Sowell: Actually, I would say only one word: Goodbye. Because I know there's no point talking to them.
Sounds like Eric Cantor finally figured it out.

Incentive

I saw this on a Wall St. Journal web page today:




Wow! A High Interest Rate of 1.00%!

I think I'll just go run up my credit cards.

Your Moment of Zen - Crashing Waves Edition

Reader Pascal sent me an email with a series of beautiful photographs, of which (for some reason) this one struck me most:




This is the work of Clark Little, and more of it can be seen here.

This Needs Explosive Targets

Joe Huffman runs Boomershoot, an annual long-range shooting event held every spring in upper Idaho.  At Boomershoot, the goal is to hit small (4" square and 8" square) targets with rifles at long range.  How long?  The closest targets are more than 300 yards away, the farthest are 700 yards.  Joe does this to promote the skill of long-range shooting.  I've been to the shoot (2009).  Trust me, hitting a 4" square boomer at 640 yards is very rewarding.  Two in a row is an almost indescribable ego-boost.

It looks like long-range shooting is gaining popularity.  As some wag once said, "A golf course is a waste of good rifle ranges."  Now there is Rifle Golf.
A round of "rifle golf" works like this: Accompanied by a guide, you drive a six-mile loop on a dirt road on a sheep ranch. Along the way, you stop at four different shooting stations. The stations have tables and chairs for benchrest shooting. At the first station, your first target to shoot at is a black wooden silhouette of a moose, at 442 yards away. At the place where a hunter would place an ideal shot on the moose (at the center of the heart/lungs area), there is a hanging half-circle white metal plate, about 11 inches in diameter. If you hit the plate on the first shot, that's scored as an "eagle" (2 under par). If you get the plate on the second shot, that’s a birdie (1 under par). If you miss the first two shots at the distant target, you take your third shot at something closer; on "hole" 1, that’s a deer at 285 yards.
RTWT. It actually sounds like a LOT of fun.

But it would be more fun if the targets exploded.

Just sayin'.

And hey!  There's video!


Friday, August 05, 2011

You've Gotta Have Standards!

So our public education system has resulted in a population in which 1 in 7 adults are functionally illiterate, and "only 12 percent of high-school seniors, who are getting ready to vote for the first time, have a proficient knowledge of history."

What about math? I think this picture says the proverbial 1,000 words:




Well, it's good to know in these dark days of mass ignorance that our institutions of higher learning have their standards! Or, at least are considering having standards.

The local junior college, Pima Community College has a standard: students must be at least sixteen years old. But now they're considering imposing some new ones:
The question boils down to how smart you should have to be to attend Pima Community College.

Currently there is no requirement. You only need to be age 16.

But Pima's governing board is considering changing that to require new students to have a high school diploma or GED. Students also would have to pass a reading, writing and math assessment test with the skills of a sixth or seventh grader.

Pima Chancellor Roy Flores says, "We need to find different pathways for those students that are testing in at second, third, fourth and fifth grade levels."
Sweet. Bleeding. Jeebus.  No, it's not a question of how smart you are, it's a question of how educated you are. Ignorance is correctable, but as comedian Ron White has said, "You can't fix stupid. There's not a pill you can take; there's not a class you can go to. Stupid is forever."

Bear in mind, this is a college. Yes, you can go learn to weld at PCC (and if you don't test out at above sixth grade, be prepared to suffer a lot of burns for the rest of your life), but you can also go get a 2-year associate's degree. When I moved to Arizona I went to PCC for the first two years and got caught up on my freshman and sophomore courses before transferring to the University of Arizona (at in-state tuition rates, which I couldn't get at the U of A until I'd lived here a year.)

Read the last line in the above excerpt again: "We need to find different pathways for those students that are testing in at second, third, fourth and fifth grade levels." These are, at minimum, sixteen year-olds. The vast majority of them are over 18.

And as Say Uncle put it this morning, "their vote counts just as much as yours."

You want to know how we ended up with the government we have? This is how. In 1983 the report A Nation at Risk on the state of public education in America pulled no punches when it stated:
If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.  As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves.
Our government-provided schools have produced generation upon generation of government-approved product. It's a positive-feedback loop, and it has achieved full screeching saturation.

Tar, Feathers, Rail - Some Assembly Absolutely Justified

So a recent Rasmussen poll reports that 46% of "likely U.S. voters" believe that "most members of Congress" are corrupt.  That's up 7% from June, by the way.

And I thought that only 1 in 7 adults was functionally illiterate.

Well, it would seem that their belief is well founded (quelle surprise). Watch the video:




I'd like to see the data. And the list of names.

Three Things

One, from CNBC:
Markets could rebound after Thursday's global market sell-off, but investors should see any bounce as a selling opportunity, as the world economy rolls towards total collapse, Mark Faber, editor and publisher of the Boom, Doom and Gloom Report, told CNBC Friday.

"The trouble is that governments can default in two ways. Either they just stop paying the interest and there is a debt restructuring, like Argentina went through; or they just pay the interest and the principle eventually, in a worthless currency. That's the way the U.S. will likely do it."


"By printing money, problems are not solved, but they can be postponed, and they become larger. It's like the recession in 2001. Had there not been massive money printing, it would have been steeper than what we had, but equally, we would have avoided probably the financial crash in 2008."

The next crisis will be far bigger, according to Faber.

"The next time we have a global economic crisis, it will be much worse than 2008. Before this happens there will be money printing and there will be war. The whole system will collapse," he said.
The second from Victor Davis Hanson:
The so-called tough debt ceiling deal still ups the borrowing to $16 trillion, or over 100% of annual GDP. So why are we rejoicing about curbing, rather than stopping, the borrowing? We are not discussing paying back the massive sums that we owe. And we talk not of cutting the baseline expenditures, but only about the rate of increase in entitlements — reminding us that revolutions start not with the impoverished, but with threatened cuts of subsidies to the middle class. Its appetites increase faster than the state can satisfy them, as most judge their well-being not in having at last more than the poor but in always having less than the affluent.
And, finally, the incomparable Bill Whittle:




There are people out there that would rather tear up $100,000 than bear to see everyone else get more.
Truth.

Scary, isn't it?

Edited to add one more, from Weird and Pissed Off from the post Going Galt:
All you Leftists ask yourselves a question: What will you do when the folks who provide the things you need...all quit? How will you survive when you've strangled the last doctor, dentist and power company?

I know the answer, even if you've never considered the question. You don't care. You hate humanity, and you hate yourselves for being human. You'd rather die than see mankind prosper. That's why you embrace the suicidal insanity of Leftist policies. Your subconscious has followed them to their logical conclusion, and you know, deep down, that what I'm saying is true.

33 Days 'till the Rendezvous

The sixth annual Gun Blogger Rendezvous is only a month away, and there's even more stuff to win this year.  In addition to the Ruger Blackhawk that Bea is donating, Ruger is also donating another firearm to be determined,  Glock has donated a certificate for any standard Glock pistol, MKS Supply will probably be donating another Hi Point Carbine (they've donated a firearm to the Rendezvous every year since its inception), and I have been informed by email that Weatherby is donating a PA-08 pump-action shotgun.  That's at least four and possibly five firearms, and more may be coming.

But not only firearms will be given away in Saturday's raffle.  Leupold is donating one of their VX-R Patrol scopes and a couple of game trail cameras, Pro-Ears is donating one of their electronic ear muffs, Woolrich is donating about a thousand dollars worth of their tactical clothing to one lucky winner, and there will be the usual other goodies like AR-15 magazines, range bags (Brownell's makes a damned fine range bag), t-shirts (I'm bringing two Kalashnikitty shirts donated by the maker and one S&B "bullet" vacuum-packed shirt I got at Bulletfest 2011), cleaning supplies, lubricants, and more!

In addition, you can hob-nob  with (and shoot beside) celebrities like Alan Gura, Smith & Wesson sponsored shooter Molly Smith, and possibly stars from the first season of Top Shot.

And remember, it's all for a good cause:  Project VALOUR-IT.  Here's the founder, Maj. Chuck Zeigenfuss talking about how Project VALOUR-IT came about:




Chuck has attended two Rendezvous, but won't be able to make this year's since he is currently stationed in Hawaii.

We'll be shooting Friday, Saturday and Sunday again this year.  Friday will be "shoot what ya brung," Saturday will be Steel Challenge, sponsored in part by Sig (which ought to be very interesting!)  Sunday once again will be Cowboy Fast Draw.  Here are some videos from previous Rendezvous:













You don't have to be a blogger, readers are more than welcome!  So scrape your pennies together, make your reservations and come enjoy a great weekend with a great bunch of people.  Gun Blogger Rendezvous VI is coming!