Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On Milton Friedman's 100th Birthday

One video I think everyone should watch - "What is America?" A lecture given in 1978 at the University of Chicago. The opening part is significant:
The title had to do with the question of whether America, by which I mean the United States of America, I mean our society, whether America is what it was. Whether America is the land of opportunity which produced over the past two hundred years the greatest freedom and prosperity for the widest range of people the world has ever seen. Whether it still is the land in which people of many races, many beliefs, many origins are free to cooperate together to achieve their separate objectives, while at the same time retaining a diversity of values and opinions. Is that still America? Or is America what it has seemed to be becoming these past few decades? Is America not what it has been, not the land of promise of the past two hundred years but is it instead a land of growing bureaucracy and diminishing freedom? Is it the land of squabbling groups seeking to control the political levers of power, of devisive tendencies that are producing not merely variety, not merely diversity, but open conflict? Is it becoming instead a land of ethnic separatism rather than the land of the melting pot?

That's what I intended by this question, and that is the theme of the whole series.

I believe the choice is still open to us, that we can still decide, you and I, our fellow citizens, which of these two directions we want to go in. Whether we want to return to the path that made this the great land of opportunity for millions and millions and millions of people, or whether instead we want to continue down the road toward a destruction of both liberty and prosperity.

I believe very deeply that we are nearing the point of no return, that we still have the choice, but that if we continue much longer along the road that we have been going, we no longer shall have the choice. That we shall degenerate into a society which will lose that spark of creativity that spark of independence and freedom that we have all loved in our country.

Thirty-four years further down the path of growing bureaucracy and diminishing freedom, toward a destruction of both liberty and prosperity, toward ethnic separatism and open conflict, I personally think we've passed that point of no return, but I'd love to be proven wrong.

Bill Whittle on Gun Control

In addition to the Afterburner, Firewall and Trifecta videos Bill does for PJ Media, he's now doing a weekly one-man show on UstreamTV called Stratosphere Lounge.  The shows run from an hour to 90 minutes or so, and there are about eight of them in the archive.  Here's an excerpt from the eighth show, it's in two parts because Photobucket limits videos to 10 minutes.  This one runs about seventeen, with a touch of overlap.  Bill does very well speaking extemporaneously.  No teleprompter for him!

Part 1:



Part 2:


His next show may be tomorrow, I'm not certain.

Me Too

Found this somewhere a couple of days ago.  Thought I'd share:



The Philosophy CANNOT BE WRONG!

Do it again, only HARDER!
Do you remember that thing about how the banks wouldn't lend to blacks and Hispanics because they were racists? And do you remember how they passed the Community Reinvestment Act so that banks were forced to reduce down payments practically to zero and lend to a lot of people they knew were bad credit risks? And do you remember how Wall Street bundled all these risky subprime mortgages and sold them to investors around the world so that when it became clear that those people weren't going to be able to pay their mortgages banks everywhere were left holding the bag and all five of the Wall Street investment houses either went under or had to be bailed out by the federal government?

And do you remember how, when it was all over, liberals said it was actually the banks' fault for "deceiving" all those people into thinking they could afford to buy homes and that the banks should be punished for it and some of those people be allowed to keep their homes anyway? And do you remember how all this cost the government close to a trillion dollars and put the whole economy in a hole that we really haven't begun to dig ourselves out of yet?

Well, get ready because the whole thing is about to happen again.
h/t var/log/otto, who asks:
How can this be anything but deliberate sabotage of our economy?
I don't doubt this is accurate. Tar and feathers are too good for them.



+



+


Some assembly required.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Outrage

I have no words.  Go read

The drug war is over.  The drugs won.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Project Valour-IT (Bumped AGAIN)

Project Valour-IT is the charity that the Gun Blogger Rendezvous supports each year, and has since 2007.  It was established by Major (then Captain) Chuck Zeigenfuss and his Soldiers' Angel after Chuck was severely wounded by an IED in Iraq.  While Chuck, a milblogger, was recovering in the hospital with about two functioning fingers on one hand, he asked his Angel to get him a laptop computer, and blegged for voice-recognition software so that he could get back online and communicate with the outside world.  As he put it,
It was the first time I felt whole since I'd woken up wounded in Landstuhl.
In fact, it made such a difference in his recovery, he thought about all of the other soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines like him and how much it could help them out, so with Soldiers' Angels he established Project Valour-IT to provide as many as he could with the technology to help them reconnect.

He has spoken several times at the Gun Blogger Rendezvous since he first attended GBR-II in 2007, and he is always inspiring.

As I noted last month, Project Valour is low on money. They are currently conducting a donation drive running through September 3 (just before this year's Rendezvous) and are trying to raise $100,000. I know times are tough and things are tight, but please pitch in if you can. You can donate to team Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines (the Marines are currently leading).

Since my father and my father-in-law are both Air Force veterans, I'm going to support the flyboys in this one:


Thanks.

BUMPED 7/25. This is just sad. C'mon Air Force, represent!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Junk-on-the-Bunk

From Maryland:
Authorities have arrested a Maryland man they say referred to himself as "a joker" and threatened to carry out a shooting at his workplace, Fox News has learned.

Police arrested 28-year-old Neil Prescott of Crofton, Md., after he allegedly called his employer and threatened to "shoot the place up," a source close to the investigation told Fox News.
Yeah, copycat.

I liked this detail:
The suspect was also wearing a T-shirt that said, "Guns don't kill people. I do," when taken into custody, according to authorities.
I don't have that one, but I do have one that says "When I SNAP, You'll Be the First to Go."

It was a gift. In poor taste.

I like tasteless gifts, though.  I used to have the smileyface with the bullet hole in the forehead.  Wore that one out.
(I have another that states, "Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints." The TSA bluehands enjoy that one when I'm flying somewhere.)

But this is the part that got my attention - the classic "junk-on-the-bunk" statement:
Police said that when they took the man into custody, they found an "arsenal" (love the scare quotes) of weapons inside his home. The Associated Press reports that a search of the suspect's home turned up more than 20 guns, including assault rifles and handguns, and more than 400 rounds of ammunition.
Uh, I have more than 20 guns in my safe.

And I've got more than 400 rounds of .45 Long Colt alone.

Why do they continue to treat this like it's unusual?

Oh, right - because FEAR!

Meanwhile in Sarah Brady Paradise

The Bobbys are finally carrying firearms.  Fully automatic firearms:




But what about the CHILDREN?!?!?!


They seem to think it's pretty cool.

UPDATE:  In comments, "bogbeagle" notes "They've been carrying such weapons in England for a decade or more, esp. around major train stations and airports."  He's right.  Here's the first picture I saved to Photobucket years ago:



That's from 2003, I think.

This Makes (at least) Two

Gun carrying man ends stabbing spree

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - A citizen with a gun stopped a knife wielding man as he began stabbing people Thursday evening at the downtown Salt Lake City Smith's store.

Police say the suspect purchased a knife inside the store and then turned it into a weapon. Smith's employee Dorothy Espinoza says, "He pulled it out and stood outside the Smiths in the foyer. And just started stabbing people and yelling you killed my people. You killed my people."

Espinoza says, the knife wielding man seriously injured two people. "There is blood all over. One got stabbed in the stomach and got stabbed in the head and held his hands and got stabbed all over the arms."

Then, before the suspect could find another victim - a citizen with a gun stopped the madness. "A guy pulled gun on him and told him to drop his weapon or he would shoot him. So, he dropped his weapon and the people from Smith's grabbed him."
That's from last April. This has happened before, though. In 2005 at a Tulsa, OK Albuquerque, NM Walmart, 71 year-old Due Moore shot Felix Vigil as he attacked his wife, a Walmart employee, with a knife.

I'm sure there have been many more, but defensive gun use never makes the national news like criminal misuse does.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Back-Door Gun Control

The Hill reports:
Democratic senators have offered an amendment to the cybersecurity bill that would limit the purchase of high capacity gun magazines for some consumers.

Shortly after the Cybersecurity Act gained Senate approval to proceed to filing proposed amendments and a vote next week, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a sponsor of the gun control amendment, came to the floor to defend the idea of implementing some "reasonable" gun control measures.

The amendment was sponsored by Democratic Sens. Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Schumer and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.). S.A. 2575 would make it illegal to transfer or possess large capacity feeding devices such as gun magazines, belts, feed stripes(sic) and drums of more than 10 rounds of ammunition with the exception of .22 caliber rim fire ammunition.
The usual suspects. 

Call your congresscritters. Stomp on this one HARD.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Because I Need One

Your moment of Zen, Mt. Rainier at sunsetrise:





(Click for a slightly larger image.)

The Five Stages of Bullshit

From a comment left at Rachel Lucas' place, The Five Stages of Bullshit:
1. The crocodile tears. This includes the False Moment of National Unity, during which people proclaim that events like this bring us together, even as they sharpen their partisan knives for the next step.

2. The blood libel. With no data, motive is assigned to some conservative group or belief. This proves false 100% of the time, but like a tattoo, the accusation can never be entirely removed.

3. The Rorschach test. Every politician and pundit on earth pens an editorial explaining how this one isolated event has a much broader meaning that proves everything he’s been saying for the last 20 years.

4. Something Must Be Done. A national debate ensues on how to make sure that something like this never happens again. This event was a wake-up call and a game-changer. Everything must be on the table. We must not allow a 200-year-old piece of parchment to prevent us from Acting Right Away.

5. Suzy’s Law. Congress vomits forth a bipartisan bill that no member dare vote against. For precisely that reason, the bill includes a litany of unrelated pork and policy for both parties that could never otherwise pass. In exchange for a few billion dollars and a bit of your liberty, the president, surrounded by beaming legislators, offers a few cloying words about “what this town can do when people put their differences aside” and ostentatiously signs “Suzy’s Law”, a new set of rules that, had they been in place before the tragedy, would have made absolutely no difference.
Though it appears items 1 & 2 reversed this go-around, Jeff Bonwick, take a bow...

UPDATE:  Alternately, (5a): a bill that will probably get passed on its merits gets a gun control rider amendment.

Interesting Commentary from Across the Pond

UK expat Phil B. sent me a link to an op-ed in the Irish Daily Mail, Denver shootings: the murder is in the corrupted mind, not in the legal guns. Not what I've come to expect from UK newspapers. Excerpt:
The Denver Dark Knight shootings: first thing to note – despite the uninformed Irish wails about American gun laws – is that the number of guns per head in America is irrelevant to such a crime.

If ownership of a weapon equalled homicidal intent, the ten most murderous countries in the world would include Switzerland, Finland, and Sweden.
The 15 most murderous would include France, Canada, Austria and Iceland.

--

The figures show that in recent years, Mexico has been down at 42 in averaged rate of civilian ownership of guns, below even Belgium and Luxembourg. Yet Mexico is so much a free-fire zone that last week the only way a nine-year old boy with a massive tumour could be taken out of gang-infested Ciudad Juarez and into an American hospital was in an armoured vehicle manned by armed US federal agents.

So if we want to know the origins of such slaughters as the one at the Colorado cinema, we need to look beyond the uninformed response of: 'It's all because of private gun ownership.'

It's not.
RTWT.

Once a Month Until the Election



And this one:




And this:

Quote of the Day - Daniel Greenfield

From Sultan Knish - So That This Never Happens Again:
The edifice of government towers over public life. It is built for fighting systems, groups and "Isms'" and it can be used to ban guns, lock up the mentally ill or launch another one of its incessant public education campaigns. Its ability to stop an individual bent on causing harm to other individuals is highly limited at best.

That is where the illusion of control breaks down. The system can promise to stop gun violence, but it can't stop a man with a gun. All it can do is exploit the tragedy for more power. Only individuals can stop individuals. The only control we can possibly have comes from living in a society where the people do the right thing... and are empowered to do the right thing.

But that is not the society that the gun-controllers and police-staters want to create. The society they want is a place where everyone sits quietly, offers no resistance, contacts the authorities and waits for the accredited branches of the government to do something. A place where everyone knows that if they do something, they may be arrested or sued by the criminal afterward. A place where people are expected to be willing to die, but not fight back.
That's (formerly) Great Britain. 

Fuck THAT.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Want a Suppressed .22 Pistol?

The Arizona Citizens Defense League is giving away not one, not two, but THREE of them:
AzCDL is raffling off 3 (Yes, Three!) suppressed pistol packages.

Each package includes a Ruger 22/45 pistol with threaded barrel, plus a Gemtech sound suppressor. And, we will pay the $200 Federal Transfer Tax required for suppressor ownership.

Tickets are $10 each.
Each raffle ticket represents THREE chances to win!
Only 900 tickets will be sold.

The 3 winning tickets will be drawn on October 6th at AzCDL’s Annual Meeting in Phoenix.

The winners do not have to be present to win.  However, winners must comply with all federal, state, and local laws, and must pick up the firearm and suppressor from a federally licensed firearm dealer.  Additionally, if a winner does not qualify under federal, state or local laws for possession of the sound suppressor, only the firearm will be transferred and the winner waives all rights to the suppressor and associated transfer fees.  In some states, the possession of a firearm with a threaded barrel is illegal.  If you reside in such a jurisdiction, we cannot transfer the pistol to you.

Tickets can be purchased at upcoming gun shows and other events where you find AzCDL volunteers.

You can also purchase tickets online at AzCDL's store.

While you are at our online store, don’t forget to renew your AzCDL membership (or join if you are not a member).

Raffles are our fundraisers.  Help support AzCDL, buy raffle tickets!
I'm in, how about you?

Quote of the Day - Victor Davis Hanson

From Works and Days - The Demons of the Modern Rampage Killer:
If the suspect is charged and found guilty, I have zero confidence that he will be hanged. I have a great deal of confidence that over the next five years, his awful presence will pop up on a news broadcast. We can execute bin Laden and high-five it; we can incinerate over 2,000 suspected terrorists by video-controlled Predators, and have the president brag about it in warning away suitors from his daughters at a White House Correspondents’ Dinner— but we cannot do the same for someone who was tried, convicted, and sentenced for horrifically destroying people.

--

We the sophisticated with university degrees are supposed to know better: that hanging such a nightmarish criminal when convicted is both barbaric on our part and offers no statistical evidence that it will deter future such killers.

Perhaps. But society needs to be affirmed with a certainty that it has the clear sense of evil and good to try, convict, and punish the killer. Hanging Saddam or Eichmann, for all the controversies over their trials, at least offered some finality: they were evil and now are no more—and now we don’t worry whether Saddam was unloved, or the circumstances of Eichmann’s childhood.

In other words, I don’t care a whit whether the Aurora killer was a loner. I don’t care if he was unhappy or if he was on medication. Millions share such pathologies without killing a mouse. I don’t even know whether giving him swift justice will deter the next mass shooter. Yes, give the suspect expert legal counsel; call in all the psychiatrists imaginable; sequester the jury; ensure the judge is a pillar of jurisprudence; but if he is found guilty, I would prefer the gallows and quickly so, to remind us that we live in a civilization that prefers to remember the victims and to remember nothing at all of their killer.
Can I get an "AMEN!"?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Quote of the Day - Batman Edition

Our old friend James Kelly (much like Markadelphia) apparently just can't seem to stay away from TSM, and comments (without links) on my post Why. Then, apparently suspecting infiltration, suggests that I have been stalking him, and leaving anonymous comments at other sites.

Can you say "projection"? I knew you could.

But that's not the QotD. From that linked piece comes this picture, and this comment:




If you've actually seen the latest Batman film, you might want to note that (SPOILER ALERT!)



Catwoman blows Bane away with THE CANNON MOUNTED ON THE BATCYCLE - and suggests that Batman may need to rethink his "no guns" philosophy in the face of almost having his head blown off by Bane with a 12 gauge double-barreled sawed-off shotgun.
No, James, that wasn't me, but I'll certainly borrow it!  James' response?
Alternatively, he might want to persevere with the no guns philosophy to ensure that Bane doesn't have the 12 gauge double-barreled sawed-off shotgun in the first place.
And how would you go about ensuring that, I have to ask?  No, on second thought I don't even want to try following James down that particular rabbit hole.

And I find it interesting that, while Batman eschews personal firearms, he seems to have no problem with vehicle-mounted artillery.

Odd, that.

So Gun Control Will Make Us Safer?

That's what we're hearing.  If the "assault weapon ban" had been renewed, the Aurora shooter couldn't have killed and wounded all those people, and the entire country would be safer than it is today.  That's what we're told, right?  "More guns = more violent crime."  It's their mantra.

Problem is, that theory is provably wrong.

Australia has very strict gun laws.  In 1997 after the Port Arthur mass shooting, Australia enacted gun bans.  In point of fact:
In 2002 -- five years after enacting its gun ban -- the Australian Bureau of Criminology acknowledged there is no correlation between gun control and the use of firearms in violent crime. In fact, the percent of murders committed with a firearm was the highest it had ever been in 2006 (16.3 percent), says the D.C. Examiner.

Even Australia's Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research acknowledges that the gun ban had no significant impact on the amount of gun-involved crime:

•In 2006, assault rose 49.2 percent and robbery 6.2 percent.
•Sexual assault -- Australia's equivalent term for rape -- increased 29.9 percent.
•Overall, Australia's violent crime rate rose 42.2 percent.

Moreover, Australia and the United States -- where no gun-ban exists -- both experienced similar decreases in murder rates:

•Between 1995 and 2007, Australia saw a 31.9 percent decrease; without a gun ban, America's rate dropped 31.7 percent.
•During the same time period, all other violent crime indices increased in Australia: assault rose 49.2 percent and robbery 6.2 percent.
•Sexual assault -- Australia's equivalent term for rape -- increased 29.9 percent.
•Overall, Australia's violent crime rate rose 42.2 percent.
•At the same time, U.S. violent crime decreased 31.8 percent: rape dropped 19.2 percent; robbery decreased 33.2 percent; aggravated assault dropped 32.2 percent.
•Australian women are now raped over three times as often as American women.
And in Britain:
Gun crime has almost doubled since Labour came to power as a culture of extreme gang violence has taken hold.

The latest Government figures show that the total number of firearm offences in England and Wales has increased from 5,209 in 1998/99 to 9,865 last year - a rise of 89 per cent.

In some parts of the country, the number of offences has increased more than five-fold.

In eighteen police areas, gun crime at least doubled.

--

Last week, police in London revealed they had begun carrying out armed patrols on some streets.

The move means officers armed with sub-machine guns are engaged in routine policing for the first time. (My emphasis)

--

The number of people injured or killed by guns, excluding air weapons, has increased from 864 in 1998/99 to a provisional figure of 1,760 in 2008/09, an increase of 104 per cent.
Meanwhile, here in gun-lawless America, all forms of violent crime have been declining for over a decade, while more and more citizens have been buying (and carrying) more and more guns.

It may sound crass, but I'll take an occasional Aurora if overall homicide rates are declining, and it means thousands fewer rapes, aggravated assaults, and armed robberies every year.

(Edited for clarity.)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Quote of the Day

Dr. Helen asked, What are your favorite science-fiction books? Best response so far:
I like the New York Times, the Washington Post, Huffington, and the LA Times.
CNN is also pretty good as is the BBC.
All present a very bizarre picture of an alternate reality, like a parallel universe or a different dimension loosely based on the real world.
I don’t like MSNBC because it has no connexion whatsoever to reality, it’s pure fanatasy.

Terry Eliat, Israel

We Are Not Worthy!

Iowahawk should be named comic laureate by the next President.  Go, read You Didn't Build That.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

One Small Step for Man




On this day at 02:56 UTC 43 years ago, Neil Armstrong became the first human being to leave one of these on the surface of another astronomical body. Three years and five months later, Eugene Cernan became the last man to do so, so far.


The last Space Shuttle touched down for the last time on this day one year ago.

Elon Musk of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX fame has said that the impetus behind the development of SpaceX came when his son asked him, "is it really true that they used to fly to the moon when you were a boy?"

Now there are two-dozen or more private space ventures around the world. There is a plan to capture and retrieve an asteroid for commercial purposes. Two companies want to mine the moon.

If we can just hold it together for a couple more decades, humanity might get off this rock, and we might do it in my lifetime.

But it's not looking too good.

I Like His Foreign Policy...

...of "kill everyone and destroy everything," but I don't like his domestic policy of "kill everyone and destroy everything."




You can buy it here.

I think it ought to be printed on the back side of this shirt.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Quote of the Day - Jerry Pournell Edition

It is certainly possible to have too little government. That is not America's problem. For more than half my life people have laughed at the suggestion that "Aren't you glad you are not getting all the government you pay for?" Now Mr. Obama wants us to pay for more. -- Jerry Pournelle, Chaos Manor, You Didn't Do That!

Why

I took my grandson to see Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter on its opening weekend. When we got to the theater, I took my Kel-Tec PF9 out of the center console (in a pocket holster) and put it in my pants pocket. He saw. "You carry a gun in the theater?" he asked. "It's my job to protect you," I replied.

Now I have to practice head-shots with the thing. Maybe I ought to get the laser...

This, too Gets Added to the Once-a-Month Queue


In Relation to

the post below...


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stupid Human Tricks

This might get to be its own category.

Last month there was this specimen, today by way of Jay G. we have another:



And again, Captain Mal comments:

He Didn't Build That, Either

First there was


Now there's


Own it, Barry. OWN IT.

Quote of the Day - Dependency Edition

Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that requires every citizen to prove they are insured...






But not everyone must prove they are a citizen. -- Anonymous

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Just, Wow

While I am an avid and often voracious reader, I have never read the Harry Potter series of books.  I have grandchildren, so I have seen (and enjoyed) all the films (and they've read the books), but I just never got around to starting the series in book form.

I don't recall who recently pointed to it, but I have been reading the fanfic version, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.  I'm currently at chapter 47 of the 85 chapters thus written.

I am thoroughly, completely hooked.  At this point I don't think I could read the original without comparing it to this version, and the original would have to suffer in that comparison.  It's too bad the author cannot profit from his work, because I'm pretty willing to throw money at someone with that kind of talent.

I'm going back to reading now....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Hyperindividualism"

This weekend I caught part of C-SPAN's Book TV where E.J. Dionne was speaking about his latest, Our Divided Political Heart:  The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent . He introduced me to a new term: Hyperindividualism. I had to go look it up. According to Wiktionary:
hyperindividualism:

(sociology) A tendency for people to act in a highly individual way, without regard to society.
It's apparently seen by The Anointed as a major problem. This 2008 article states, for example:
Is there a chance that election of Barack Obama, combined with financial meltdown, will start turning us away from the hyper-individualism of recent years?

What's hyper-individualism? Like pornography, you can recognize it when you see it. Lifestyle choices such as picking a gas-guzzling SUV to reach a suburban McMansion so big you rarely visit all the rooms. Headphones and solo video games in place of group activities. Disdaining civic life or responsibilities. Chronically shopping 'til you drop. Needlessly running up credit card balances. And economically, consistently wanting more, more, more.
Before concluding:
And there's the lurking, mega-issue of our time: climate change. Carbon levels in the atmosphere are rising even more rapidly than the Nobel Prize-winning International Panel on Climate Change's already alarming projections of 2007. Per capita, we Americans are world leaders in throwing tons of waste into the fragile ecosystem of earth. The only conceivable cures include rapid energy savings, radically reduced driving, regional and home-grown foods, more compact communities. Climate dictates we get "back together again," purposefully recovering from the Bush administration’s shameful dereliction.

So is there any alternative to purposeful change, relinquishing our profligate lifestyles, abandoning our hyper-individualism, learning to pull together as we've not done since World War II? Economist Paul Romer famously declared: "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste." My bet is that Obama will agree–and move accordingly.
Wow. Wrong on all counts!

But that's not what I wanted to talk about here. Rachel Lucas had an interesting excerpt from Paul Ryan in her most recent post. Ryan was commenting on Obama's declaration that, if you'd built a business, you hadn't really done it, it was due to other people:
Every now and then, [Obama] pierces the veil. He's usually pretty coy about his ideology, but he lets the veil slip from time to time…His straw man argument is this ridiculous caricature where he's trying to say if you want any security in life, you stick with me. If you go with these Republicans, they’re going to feed you to the wolves because they believe in some Hobbesian state of nature, and it's one or the other which is complete bunk, absolutely ridiculous. But it seems to be the only way he thinks he can make his case. He's deluded himself into thinking that his so-called enemies are these crazy individualists who believe in some dog-eat-dog society when what he's really doing is basically attacking people like entrepreneurs and stacking up a list of scapegoats to blame for his failures.

His comments seem to derive from a naive vision of a government-centered society and a government-directed economy. It stems from an idea that the nucleus of society and the economy is government not the people...It is antithetical to the American idea....

[...]How does building roads and bridges justify Obamacare? If you like the GI Bill therefore we must go along with socialized medicine. It's a strange leap that he takes...To me it's the laziest form of a debate to affix views to your opponent that they do not have so you can demonize them and defeat them and win the debate by default.
Sounds familiar....

But it illustrates the conflict of ideologies starkly, the conflict "between those to whom personal liberty is important, and those to whom liberty is not only inconsequential, but to whom personal liberty is a deadly threat."

UPDATE - inspired by a comment:

This Goes Up Once a Month, Too.


Quote of the Day - Olympic-sized Genitalia Edition

From Robb Allen.  No excerpt, go read the whole thing. It's just six short paragraphs of Presidential beat-down.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Go, Baby, GO!

Forty-three years ago today I was with my family (minus Dad, who was at work at IBM's facility at the Kennedy Space Center) on the Eastern shore of the Indian River approximately three and a half miles from Launch Complex 39 when the Saturn V launch vehicle carrying Apollo 11 left Earth for its historic trip to the Moon:


I was seven years old. This was the seventh launch of a Saturn V that I had seen, and I was old enough to really grok that this time, we were going to land on the Moon! The crowds were incredible, far larger than for any previous launch. Some huckster was selling gray spray-painted coquina rock as "moon rocks" to moronic tourists. One of our group with a large pair of binoculars yelled out "They're getting ready to launch, Edna! I can see the guy with the match!" Around us, dozens of cameras were pointed at the rocket. But that's the first time I can recall where the expression "the excitement was palpable" was literally factual. It was like a force of its own.

I don't have a lot of memories from my early childhood, but this I remember. We were reaching for the stars.

Quote of the Day - Ann Coulter Edition

Innocent people dying was the objective of Fast and Furious, not collateral damage.

It would be as if the Bush administration had implemented a covert operation to dump a dangerous abortifacient in Planned Parenthood clinics, resulting in hundreds of women dying — just to give pro-lifers an argument about how dangerous abortion clinics are.

That's what Fast and Furious is about.
Via Uncle.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Quote of the Day - John Taylor Gatto (Pt. 14)

Montaigne, who actually attended school at Guienne from the age of six until he was thirteen, bequeathed an image of late sixteenth-century schooling amazingly modern in its particulars:

Tis the true house of correction of imprisoned youth...do but come when they are about their lesson and you shall hear nothing but the outcries of boys under execution, with the thundering noise of their Pedagogues, drunk with fury, to make up the consort. A pretty way this to tempt these tender and timorous souls to love their book, with a furious countenance and a rod in hand.
What Montaigne requires of a student seeking education is the development of sound judgment: "If the judgment be not better settled, I would rather have him spend his time at tennis."

Montaigne was preoccupied with the training of judgment. He would have history learned so that facts have contexts and historical judgment a bearing on contemporary affairs; he was intrigued by the possibilities of emulation1, as were all the classical masters, and so informs us. He said we need to see the difference between teaching, "where Marcellus died," which is unimportant and teaching "why it was unworthy of his duty that he died there," which has great significance. For Montaigne, learning to judge well and speak well is where education resides:

Whatever presents itself to our eyes serves as a sufficient book. The knavery of a page, the blunder of a servant, a table witticism...conversation with men is wonderfully helpful, so is a visit to foreign lands...to whet and sharpen our wits by rubbing them upon those of others.
--

When I started teaching, I was able to transfer principles of Montaigne to my classroom without any difficulty. They proved as useful to me in 1962 as they must have been to Montaigne in 1562, wisdom eternally sane, always cost-free. In contrast, the bloated lists of "aims," "motivations," and "methods" the New York City Board of Education supplied me with were worse than useless; many were dead wrong.

One important bit of evidence that the informal attitude toward schooling was beginning to break up in seventeenth-century New England is found in the Massachusetts School Law of 1647, legislation attempting to establish a system of schools by government order and providing means to enforce that order. Talk like this had been around for centuries, but this was a significant enactment, coming from a theocratic utopia on the frontier of the known universe.

Yet for all the effort of New England Puritan leadership to make its citizenry uniform through schooling and pulpit, one of history's grand ironies is that orderly Anglican Virginia and the heirs of Puritan Massachusetts were the prime makers of a revolution which successfully overthrew the regulated uniformity of Britain. And in neither the startling Declaration of Independence, which set out the motives for this revolution, nor in the even more startling Bill of Rights in which ordinary people claimed their reward for courageous service, is either the word School or the word Education even mentioned. At the nation’s founding, nobody thought School a cause worth going to war for, nobody thought it a right worth claiming.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Quote of the Day - John Taylor Gatto (Pt. 13)

Once again, from The Underground History of American Education:
A good yardstick to measure how far modern schooling has migrated from the education of the past is George Washington’s upbringing in the middle eighteenth century. Although Washington descended from important families, his situation wasn’t quite the easeful life that suggests. The death of his father left him, at eleven, without Ben Franklin’s best rudder, and the practice of primogeniture, which vested virtually the entire inheritance in the first son (in order to stabilize social class) compelled Washington to either face the future as a ward of his brother, an unthinkable alternative for George, or take destiny into his own hands as a boy. You probably already know how that story turned out, but since the course he pursued was nearly schoolless, its curriculum is worth a closer look. For the next few minutes imagine yourself at "school" with Washington.

George Washington was no genius; we know that from too many of his contemporaries to quibble. John Adams called him "too illiterate, too unlearned, too unread for his station and reputation." Jefferson, his fellow Virginian, declared he liked to spend time "chiefly in action, reading little." It was an age when everyone in Boston, even shoeblacks, knew how to read and count; it was a time when a working-class boy in a family of thirteen like Franklin couldn’t remember when he didn’t know how to read.

--

(George) Washington had no schooling until he was eleven, no classroom confinement, no blackboards. He arrived at school already knowing how to read, write, and calculate about as well as the average college student today. If that sounds outlandish, turn back to Franklin's curriculum and compare it with the intellectual diet of a modern gifted and talented class. Full literacy wasn't unusual in the colonies or early republic; many schools wouldn't admit students who didn't know reading and counting because few schoolmasters were willing to waste time teaching what was so easy to learn. It was deemed a mark of depraved character if literacy hadn't been attained by the matriculating student. Even the many charity schools operated by churches, towns, and philanthropic associations for the poor would have been flabbergasted at the great hue and cry raised today about difficulties teaching literacy. American experience proved the contrary.

--

Following George to school at eleven to see what the schoolmaster had in store would reveal a skimpy menu of studies, yet one with a curious gravity: geometry, trigonometry, and surveying. You might regard that as impossible or consider it was only a dumbed-down version of those things, some kid's game akin to the many simulations one finds today in schools for prosperous children—simulated city-building, simulated court trials, simulated businesses—virtual realities to bridge the gap between adult society and the immaturity of the young. But if George didn't get the real thing, how do you account for his first job as official surveyor for Culpepper County, Virginia, only 2,000 days after he first hefted a surveyor’s transit in school?

For the next three years, Washington earned the equivalent of about $100,000 a year in today’s purchasing power. It's probable his social connections helped this fatherless boy get the position, but in frontier society anyone would be crazy to give a boy serious work unless he actually could do it. Almost at once he began speculating in land; he didn't need a futurist to tell him which way the historical wind was blowing. By the age of twenty-one, he had leveraged his knowledge and income into 2,500 acres of prime land in Frederick County, Virginia.

Washington had no father as a teenager, and we know he was no genius, yet he learned geometry, trigonometry, and surveying when he would have been a fifth or sixth grader in our era. Ten years later he had prospered directly by his knowledge. His entire life was a work of art in the sense it was an artifice under his control. He even eventually freed his slaves without being coerced to do so. Washington could easily have been the first king in America but he discouraged any thinking on that score, and despite many critics, he was so universally admired the seat of government was named after him while he was still alive.

Washington attended school for exactly two years. Besides the subjects mentioned, at twelve and thirteen (and later) he studied frequently used legal forms like bills of exchange, tobacco receipts, leases, and patents. From these forms, he was asked to deduce the theory, philosophy, and custom which produced them. By all accounts, this steeping in grown-up reality didn’t bore him at all. I had the same experience with Harlem kids 250 years later, following a similar procedure in teaching them how to struggle with complex income tax forms. Young people yearn for this kind of guided introduction to serious things, I think. When that yearning is denied, schooling destroys their belief that justice governs human affairs.

--

Washington also studied geography and astronomy on his own, gaining a knowledge of regions, continents, oceans, and heavens. In light of the casual judgment of his contemporaries that his intellect was of normal proportions, you might be surprised to hear that by eighteen he had devoured all the writings of Henry Fielding, Tobias Smollett, and Daniel Defoe and read regularly the famous and elegant Spectator. He also read Seneca’s Morals, Julius Caesar's Commentaries, and the major writing of other Roman generals like the historian Tacitus.

--

No public school in the United States is set up to allow a George Washington to happen. Washingtons in the bud stage are screened, browbeaten, or bribed to conform to a narrow outlook on social truth. Boys like Andrew Carnegie who begged his mother not to send him to school and was well on his way to immortality and fortune at the age of thirteen, would be referred today for psychological counseling; Thomas Edison would find himself in Special Ed until his peculiar genius had been sufficiently tamed.
(My emphasis.)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Quote of the Day - Giant Amoeba Edition

It's not civil disobedience that I'm talking about. It's the opposite: Civil disobedience is meant to be noticed. It is a price paid in the hope of creating social change. What I'm talking about is not based on hope; in fact, it has given up much hope on social change. It thinks the government is a colossal amoeba twitching mindlessly in response to tiny pinpricks of pain from an endless army of micro-brained interest groups. The point is not to teach the amoeba nor to guide it, but simply to stay away from the lethal stupidity of its pseudopods.

The amoeba does not get smarter but it does get hungrier and bigger. On the other hand, we get smarter. More and more of our life takes place outside of the amoeba’s reach: in the privacy of our own homes, or in capital accounts in other nations, or in the fastest growing amoeba avoidance zone ever created, cyberspace. We revolt decision by decision, transaction by transaction, because we believe deep down that most of what government tells us to do is at bottom illegitimate.


-- Jerry Bowyer, Americans Revolt Billions of Times a Day
I'm reminded of something that Rev. Donald Sensing wrote:
A long time ago Steven Den Beste observed in an essay, "The job of bureaucrats is to regulate, and left to themselves, they will regulate everything they can." Celebrated author Robert Heinlein wrote, "In any advanced society, 'civil servant' is a euphemism for 'civil master.'" Both quotes are not exact, but they're pretty close. And they're both exactly right. Big government is itself apolitical. It cares not whose party is in power. It simply continues to grow. Its nourishment is the people's money. Its excrement is more and more regulations and laws. Like the Terminator, "that's what it does, that's all it does."
Too bad we don't have enough antimatter.

UPDATE: More on the giant amoeba by Roger Kimball. I think Roger needs to read TSM.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Question for Aaron Sorkin - Then Which Country IS?

HBO has another of its independent series running, Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom, where Jeff Daniels plays a composite of Dan Rather, Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman. Here's an excerpt from the first episode, where Daniel's character drops his pretense of impartiality and says what he (Sorkin) really feels:


Now there are some things he says there that I agree with, but not (I am certain) for the same reasons. The question I am left with though, is if America once was but is no longer the greatest nation on Earth, which one is? And how do you define it?

Just a note: Dan Rather likes the show. (Quelle suprise.)

UPDATE: Sorry Aaron, but the United States is and remains the greatest nation on the face of the Earth, and here's just one reason why.

Theodore Dalrymple on Rousseau

A philosopher for the Facebook generation.

If Jean-Jacques Rousseau weren't long dead, that cut would have been fatal.

Excerpt:
Rousseau was also the unwitting founder of the psychology of the Real Me, that is to say of the inner core of each of us that remains immaculate and without sin, however the external person actually behaves. The inner core, the Real Me, is good; what might be called the Epiphenomenal Me, that is to say the one that loses his temper, tells lies, eats too much, etc, is the result of external influences upon him. In this way a monster of depravity may preserve a high opinion of himself and continue his depravity; nothing he can do can deprive him of the natural goodness first espied by Rousseau.
Interesting piece, brief and informative.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Mortality

At my last job, the lead engineer on the project I was involved in was about five years older than me.  Peter was divorced, with grown children.  He had a Harley he loved to ride, an old house he had recently purchased, gutted and was remodeling, and a real zest for life.  He was careful (but not obsessive) about what he ate, he exercised regularly and took pretty good care of himself.

I liked the guy.  He was an early and active member of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, and we had several long discussions on that topic, but we also talked about other things.  He had a wicked sense of humor.

On Tuesday, June 26 at about 6AM he was out taking his morning walk when a 68 year old man driving a Toyota struck and killed him.  He would have been fifty-five on July 17.  I found out about it today.

Just.  Damn.

And Yet, It Won't Die

Today's Quote of the Day comes from Zombie's review of George Lakoff's new The Little Blue Book:  The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic:
For years I have wondered to myself: Is there anyone at the controls of leftist ideology? Sure, there are millions of Democratic voters and run-of-the-mill vaguely liberal Americans, but those people are the recipients of the message-control and the talking points. And then there are the pundits and the talking heads, but many of those people seem like automatons, repeating the instructions given to them on teleprompters and JournoLists. Behind them all must be the true masters, the deep thinkers, the philosophers. Lakoff is supposed to be one of those people behind the scenes, directing strategy. In fact, if you believe his own self-promotion, he is the guy behind the curtain, issuing magisterial instructions on how to engage in political warfare. So I had high expectations for The Little Blue Book.

But then I read it, and its hollowness left me flummoxed. It's not just that there's no there there; it's that he elevates therelessness to liberalism's pre-eminent virtue. Sloganeering had replaced introspection.

I finished the book with the rather unnerving conclusion that no one remains at the wheel of the Good Ship Liberalism, that it rides the political currents, adrift.
RTWT.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Ingenuity

You know, I thought this was clever (albeit spelled worng) when it was done here near Tucson last November:





But I think I like the way some Alaskans think even better:



Thursday, July 05, 2012

Pertinent Quotations

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests. -- Patrick Henry

The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of people. -- William O. Douglas

I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of Constitutional power. -- Thomas Jefferson

The greatest threat to our Constitution is our own ignorance of it. -- Jacob F. Roecker

A constitutional democracy is in serious trouble if its citizenry does not have a certain degree of education and civic virtue. -- Phillip E. Johnson

The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure. -- Albert Einstein

Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings and blood of their ancestors; and capable, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence. The structure has been erected by architects of consummate skill and fidelity; its foundations are solid; its compartments are beautiful as well as useful; its arrangements are full of wisdom and order; and its defenses are impregnable from without. It has been reared for immortality, if the work of man may ever justly aspire to such a title. It may, nevertheless, perish in an hour by the folly, or corruption, or negligence of its only keepers, THE PEOPLE. Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them. -- Joseph Story

At the constitutional level where we work, 90 percent of any decision is emotional. The rational part of us supplies the reasons for supporting our predilections. -- William O. Douglas

It is literally true that the U.S. Supreme Court has entirely liberated itself from the text of the Constitution. We are free at last, free at last. There is no respect in which we are chained or bound by the text of the Constitution. All it takes is five hands. -- Antonin Scalia

I believe the Court has no power to add to or subtract from the procedures set forth by the founders...I shall not at any time surrender my belief that the document itself should be our guide, not our own concept of what is fair, decent, and right. -- Hugo L. Black

We do not sit as a superlegislature to weigh the wisdom of legislation. -- William O. Douglas

A law can be both economic folly and constitutional. -- Antonin Scalia

The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness... They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone, the most comprehensive of the rights and the right most valued by civilized men. -- Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead v. United States, (1928)

It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error. -- Robert H. Jackson, American Communications Association v. Douds (1950)

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. -- Louis D. Brandeis, dissenting, Olmstead v. United States (1928)

The best laws cannot make a constitution work in spite of morals; morals can turn the worst laws to advantage. That is a commonplace truth, but one to which my studies are always bringing me back. It is the central point in my conception. I see it at the end of all my reflections. -- Alexis de Tocqueville

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

The Press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of the government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount amoung the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people. -- Hugo L. Black, New York Times V US (1971)

Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. -- Benjamin Franklin

The power to tax involves the power to destroy. -- John Marshall

If the provisions of the Constitution can be set aside by an Act of Congress, where is the course of usurpation to end? The present assault upon capital is but the beginning. It will be but the stepping-stone to others, larger and more sweeping, till our political contests will become a war of the poor against the rich; a war growing in intensity and bitterness. -- Stephen J. Field, Pollock v. Farmers Loan & Trust Co. (1898)

The turn will come when we entrust the conduct of our affairs to men who understand that their first duty as public officials is to divest themselves of the power they have been given. It will come when Americans, in the hundreds of communities throughout the nation, decide to put the man in office who is pledged to enforce the Constitution and restore the Republic. Who will proclaim in a campaign speech: "I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents' 'interests,' I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can. -- Barry Goldwater

We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution. -- Abraham Lincoln

Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it. While it lies there, it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it. -- Learned Hand

Quote of the Day - Jerry Pournelle Edition

The liberties of the American people are entrusted to the whole of the people. Courts can delay, courts can warn, or, as with the Warren Court, they can be something to fear. But liberty must be won continually; it is not something you can win once and go back to sleep. As we are finding more and more.

Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free. And eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Those clichés were once more than clichés and slogans; they were learned in the cradle and nurtured in grade school. We have forgotten them, and for some they are corny old clichés. They are not. They are the axioms of liberty.
-- Jerry Pournelle, Chaos Manor
UPDATE: Another one from Jerry from an earlier post:
What Mr. Roberts has seen is that a law so badly framed that it has internal contradictions and which mandates colossal new taxes while handing over nearly 20% of the national economy to federal bureaucrats has passed the House and Senate and has been signed by a President who purports to be an expert on Constitutional Law by dint of having been a lecturer on the subject at the University of Chicago as well as the President of the Harvard Law Review; and despite the obvious defects of this law, four Justices were eager to approve it. The whole course of the United States turns on the survival of five men. If one of them goes, so does the Constitution.

The old model of Congress messing with the Constitution and the Court trying to save it no longer works. We have gone too far down the road to serfdom, and if we continue there will be no turning back. The Courts cannot perpetually resist the political departments. If the Constitutionalists among us cannot regain control of the political branches, what we know as the Constitution of 1789 will be gone, irretrievably gone; it takes only one more liberal Justice.

Whereupon Mr. Roberts has thrown this question to the people. Is this the way you want to go? If so, confirm those who posed it. If not, turn them out. You have one more election to accomplish this. If Mr. Obama has four more years, the chances are good that he will be able to add one more to the Court, and there will be no turning back.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Michael Ramirez, the Bravest Speaker of Truth-to-Power




I'm fairly certain this is what is in every bathroom in the Capitol building, and quite possibly the Whitehouse:


Truth







I got these in an email a few minutes ago.  That second one is Quote of the Day.  I suspect you'll be seeing them pop up elsewhere.

Well, Damn

Blogger-on-hiatus Jed Baer emailed me yesterday with a link to someone in need.  (I helped Jed out a few years ago.)  Fellow blogger Jeff Borland of The Poor Farm, "Jeffro" is his nom de plume, has lost pretty much everything he owned in a house fire, including his precious cat Rooster and almost all of his guns.  People are pitching in to help, and the blogosphere is also responding as only we can.

I'm reminded of September, 2005 when Mostly Cajun lost his home, possessions and cats to a fire after Hurricane Rita swept through his hometown.

Jeffro writes:
As for myself, there are two things that are bothering me. One - I cannot understand how I deserve all this help and largess. I don't think I'm much different than anyone else, but I'm hearing that I'm not. Apparently my pal who wants to rent to me and my Cuz got together and figured this might just be a way for me to see just how good people could be, and teach me to take it. I've always been a do it yourselfer. Nope, don't need no help doin' that thang. Hate to bother ya, so I'll do it myself.

Well, I cannot survive without sacrificing that kind of thinking.
Most of us on this side of the fence are fiercely independent. We don't want handouts, we don't want to be a burden. But there's a difference between accepting help from friends and taking government handouts. One is voluntary, the other is taken at (implied) gunpoint and distributed at best inefficiently and at worst corruptly. Jeffro is getting immediate housing assistance from friends. Mostly Cajun got a FEMA trailer - after more than a month and a lot of runaround.

"Charity" is defined by Webster's as "benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity" and "generosity or helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering." You'll note, it doesn't say a thing about "compulsory."

If you are feeling charitable, you can contribute to Jeffro's recovery fund.

We form societies because, as much as we want to, we can't always do it all by ourselves. I have to say, in my fifty years of life the society of bloggers is the finest one I have ever belonged to.

I Wish I Had Written This

Walter Russell Mead rewrites the Declaration of Independence as it would have been approved by today's Progressives.  RTWT.

Oh, and happy Independence Day.  Let's hope there'll be another one next year.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Voting is How We Got INTO This Mess

I don't know where Bill finds his bottomless well of optimism, but I could sure use a hit off it:



Still, come November, I'll be voting against Obama.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

First I've Heard of It

So Obama's eligibility was questioned in Tennessee courts, and the case was thrown out on "standing" grounds, but the logic behind the Tennessee Democratic Party's argument is quite interesting.  To quote:
Even if the Court determined that Plaintiffs had standing, Defendants maintain that the Amended Complaint fails to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). First, Defendants argue that a federal lawsuit is not the proper vehicle to challenge a candidate’s qualifications for office. Rather this task is reserved for the electorate and the United States Congress. In other words, Plaintiffs’ claims are preempted under federal law. Second, Defendants assert that the Tennessee Democratic Party has the right to nominate whoever it chooses to run as a candidate, including someone who is not qualified for the office. To the extent that Plaintiffs seeks to influence how the Tennessee Democratic Party chooses its candidates, Plaintiffs must work through the party system.
(My emphasis.)  Constitution? We don't need no Constitution. We don't have to follow no steekin' Constitution!

Nice of 'em to admit it in a legal document.