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

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

American-Occupied America

Home again! Flew out of Knoxville this morning at 07:00. I had to check my firearms at the American Airlines counter, and a sweet young Southern Belle was there to ensure that my firearms were unloaded. When I opened the case, all she could see was my AR-15 (the pistols were in a gun rug in the rifle case). Her immediate response?
Oh, that's COOL!
Very similar to the first time I flew with a firearm.

I love the South.

Oh, and do you want to know how to have your carry-on luggage x-rayed three times? Put a T-shirt compressed into the shape of a (very large) cartridge into it.  When I get a chance, I'll take a picture of it.

Right now my body is telling me it's almost 9:00PM, and I've got to get up at 05:00 tomorrow.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Great Read

During the numerous conversations this weekend, I was made aware that some people are unaware of the three-part tales, one part each told by law enforcement bloggers Lawdog or Matt at Better and Better, Ambulance Driver and Babs, the emergency room nurse. There are two of these stories (and I hope for more some time) and you can access each through this link. They explain the concept this way:
The following events are not fictional, but they may have happened at different times, with different patients, at different places. Each one of the authors has had patients just like these, in situations just like those described. If you want to know what it’s like to live a day in the life of an ambulance driver, or a small town cop, or a small town ER nurse, join us for the story.

It’s the same story. On the same night. With the same people.

This is what we do, and working with paramedics and cops like these is part of the reason we do it.
The first story, "Bobby," begins here. Part 2 is here and Part 3 here.

Read. Things like this make the internet.


The second "Perspectives" trilogy can be found here, here and here.

Quote of the Day - Tam Edition

You'd think that Obama would be relieved to see that there are still some forces on the planet more effective than the Democrat party at destroying businesses and leaving people homeless.

-- Wave After Wave of My Own Men
If there were any justice in the world, that would leave a scar.

Excuse Accepted

Now I know why I didn't get a chance to meet Glenn & Helen this weekend.

Best wishes for a swift recovery!


TOMMY by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!
We don't treat our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines as second-class citizens anymore, unless you're an academic Leftist convinced they only sign up for the military because they're too stupid to do anything else:
You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq. -- John Kerry
Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool, Mr. Kerry.

While we honor those who gave their lives for their country today, remember also to honor those still with us who, with eyes open, make the same offer.

Thank a vet. Make a contribution to Soldiers' Angels or The Wounded Warrior Project.

And enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Quote of the Day - Mencken Edition

It is not a fact that all men are created equal, it is not a fact that they are able to choose their rulers wisely, and it is not a fact that their judgments on public matters, taking them in the mass, are prudent and valid, or even worth hearing. But it is a fact that they are better off, the stupid with the intelligent, when the scope of government is rigidly limited, and its agents have no prerogative outside the narrow and clearly marked bounds. -- Henry Louis Mencken
Found via Van der Leun at The Clairemont Institute.
This quote will also appear in the next überpost, but it was too good not to use now.

Start 'em Young

Here's a youngster on the firing line with an MP-40:

He's got good trigger control!

And here's someone you may know, Oleg Volk with the same MP-40:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Firing a 12-Pounder

A Civil-War era 12-pound howitzer, that is:

The concussion is AWESOME.

And apparently nobody told these guys about this:

Smoke's supposed to be bad for your health.

Smells like . . . freedom to me.

Oh, and yes, the firing line really was that loud. Bullet Fest 2011

Partial pic dump here.  Enjoy!  I'm going to dinner.

Bulletfest 2011!

We're here!  As we pulled up the hill to park, the "range hot" siren sounded, and all hell broke loose.  Full auto and cannon fire galore.  When we got to the top of the hill we were face-to-face with an M3 M5 Stuart tank and a halftrack with a pintle-mounted M2.  The firing line starts on the left with not one, not two, but three muzzle-loading civil-war era cannon, and proceeds to the right with station after station containing more firpower than I've ever personally witnessed, including my trip to the Big Sandy shoot.

Many, many pictures to follow.

Time to get Ready

Well, my body says it's 05:00, but that's when I normally get up.  Breakfast starts in 30 minutes, and then we're off to the range to start burning through a couple of pallets of ammo!

I love this hobby avocation.

Quote of the Day - Tactical Children Edition

Last night at Say Uncle's, along with the eight other bloggers who showed up, Ry Jones brought his girls to play with Uncle's kids. About 8 o'clock, Uncle came in and announced that all four of them were in the back yard playing, and all of them had tactical flashlights - Surefires and the like.  "We have tactical children!" somebody said.

Friday, May 27, 2011

On My Way to Knoxvegas

I'm sitting in the Tucson airport waiting to board my first flight from here to Dallas.  Blogger was bloggered yesterday, so I couldn't work in the next uberpost.  That's going to be a few days, as I expect this weekend to be busy.  I have a camera, though, so I hope I will be posting photos and video of the shoot.

Should be a fun weekend!

Rising Seas and Shrinking Islands

No, this is not a post about Global Warming™©®.

When I started seriously studying the topic of the right to arms back about 1993, it became apparent to me quickly that the Second Amendment to the Constitution was hardly the only "right of the people" under attack, it was just the most obviously and blatantly abused victim. I have, over the intervening years, read enough legal decisions to make my eyes bleed, and I have stopped being surprised by the mental gymnastics our black-robed betters go through, the logical pretzels they twist themselves into, in order to reach decisions that no honest reading of the law could support.

Now I'm surprised when a court gets it one right.

Randy Barnett's 2004 textbook Restoring the Lost Constitution:  The Presumption of Liberty begins with a cite from John Marshall's 1803 decision in Marbury v. Madison:
The powers of the legislature are defined, and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken, or forgotten, the constitution is written. To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing, if these limits may, at any time, be passed by those intended to be restrained? The distinction, between a government with limited and unlimited powers, is abolished, if those limits do not confine the persons on whom they are imposed?
Barnett continues in his introduction:
Since the adoption of the Constitution, courts have eliminated clause after clause that interfered with the exercise of government power. This started early with the Necessary and Proper Clause, continued through Reconstruction with the destruction of the Privileges or Immunities Clause, and culminated in the post-New Deal Court that gutted the Commerce Clause and the scheme of enumerated powers affirmed in the Tenth Amendment, while greatly expanding the unwritten "police power" of the states. All along, with sporadic exceptions, judges have ignored the Ninth Amendment. As a result of judicial decisions, these provisions of the Constitution are now largely gone and, in their absence, the enacted Constitution has been lost and even forgotten.
And I would add, with the assistance of a public education system designed, as Henry Louis Mencken described it in the 1930's,
...not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality
Schools are maintained in order to bring this uniformity up to the highest possible point. A school is a hopper into which children are heaved while they are still young and tender; therein they are pressed into certain standard shapes and covered from head to heels with official rubber-stamps.
So while the executive, the legislative and the judicial branches of government have been slowly, inexorably erasing the boundaries on the defined, limited scope of government as written in the Constitution, our schools have been busy cranking out generation after generation ignorant of what it is that is being taken.

Barnett continues:
Without these missing clauses, the general scheme of the Constitution has been radically altered, which is precisely why they had to go. The Constitution that was actually enacted and formally amended creates islands of government powers in a sea of liberty. The judicially redacted constitution creates islands of liberty rights in a sea of governmental powers.
My twenty-four-year study of the right to arms has shown me that radical alteration. I didn't learn about it in primary school. I didn't learn about it in high school. I didn't learn about it in college. I learned it on my own, starting at about age 31.

When I started this blog, I detailed the history of the Second Amendment jurisprudence in one post from my online debate with an Irishman in London in The Blog that Ate Poughkeepsie, later expanded before the oral arguments in Parker v. D.C. as Of Laws and Sausages, and then slightly expanded upon again before the oral arguments in McDonald v. Chicago in Cut-'n-Paste. With respect to the Second Amendment and the individual right to arms, it was the Fourteenth Amendment's Privileges or Immunities Clause mentioned by Barnett that had to be destroyed in order to gut that right; and even now, that clause is still dead. Witness this exchange between Alan Gura and Justice Scalia during the oral arguments in McDonald:
Scalia:  Mr. Gura, do you think it is at all easier to bring the Second Amendment under the Privileges and Immunities Clause than it is to bring it under our established law of substantive due? Is it easier to do it under privileges and immunities than it is under substantive due process?

Gura:  It is easier in terms, perhaps, of -- of the text and history of the original public understanding of --

Scalia:  No, no. I'm not talking about whether -- whether the Slaughter-House Cases were right or wrong. I'm saying, assuming we give, you know, the Privileges and Immunities Clause your definition, does that make it any easier to get the Second Amendment adopted with respect to the States?

Gura:  Justice Scalia, I suppose the answer to that would be no, because --

Scalia:  Then if the answer is no, why are you asking us to overrule 150, 140 years of prior law, when -- when you can reach your result under substantive due -- I mean, you know, unless you are bucking for a -- a place on some law school faculty -- What you argue is the darling of the professoriate, for sure, but it's also contrary to 140 years of our jurisprudence.
This from a Justice who has made his dislike for "substantive due process" known ever since he's been on the bench:
I have grammar school students come into the Court now and then, and they recite very proudly what they have been taught: "The Constitution is a living document." You know, it morphs.

Well, let me first tell you how we got to the "Living Constitution." You don't have to be a lawyer to understand it. The road is not that complicated. Initially, the Court began giving terms in the text of the Constitution a meaning they didn't have when they were adopted. For example, the First Amendment, which forbids Congress to abridge the freedom of speech. What does the freedom of speech mean? Well, it clearly did not mean that Congress or government could not impose any restrictions upon speech. Libel laws, for example, were clearly constitutional. Nobody thought the First Amendment was carte blanche to libel someone. But in the famous case of New York Times v. Sullivan, the Supreme Court said, "But the First Amendment does prevent you from suing for libel if you are a public figure and if the libel was not malicious" — that is, the person, a member of the press or otherwise, thought that what the person said was true. Well, that had never been the law. I mean, it might be a good law. And some states could amend their libel law.

It's one thing for a state to amend it's libel law and say, "We think that public figures shouldn’t be able to sue." That's fine. But the courts have said that the First Amendment, which never meant this before, now means that if you are a public figure, that you can't sue for libel unless it’s intentional, malicious. So that's one way to do it.

Another example is the Constitution guarantees the right to be represented by counsel. That never meant the state had to pay for your counsel. But you can reinterpret it to mean that.

That was step one. Step two, I mean, that will only get you so far. There is no text in the Constitution that you could reinterpret to create a right to abortion, for example. So you need something else. The something else is called the doctrine of "Substantive Due Process." Only lawyers can walk around talking about substantive process, in as much as it’s a contradiction in terms. If you referred to substantive process or procedural substance at a cocktail party, people would look at you funny. But, lawyers talk this way all the time.

What substantive due process is is quite simple - the Constitution has a Due Process Clause, which says that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Now, what does this guarantee? Does it guarantee life, liberty or property? No, indeed! All three can be taken away. You can be fined, you can be incarcerated, you can even be executed, but not without due process of law. It's a procedural guarantee. But the Court said, and this goes way back, in the 1920s at least, in fact the first case to do it was Dred Scott. But it became more popular in the 1920s. The Court said there are some liberties that are so important, that no process will suffice to take them away. Hence, substantive due process.
What difference does it make whether there's 140, 150 years of prior law if the precedent is WRONG, if the court used bad decisions to reduce the enumerated limits on government power in contravention of the written Constitution?  Scalia also said elsewhere:
I think it is up to the judge to say what the Constitution provided, even if what it provided is not the best answer, even if you think it should be amended. If that's what it says, that's what it says.


[N]o government official is "tempted" to place restraints on his own freedom of action, which is why Lord Acton did not say "Power tends to purify." The Court's temptation is in the quite opposite and more natural direction –- towards systematically eliminating checks upon its own power; and it succumbs. Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 981 (1992)


If you don’t believe in originalism, then you need some other principle of interpretation. Being a non-originalist is not enough. You see, I have my rules that confine me. I know what I'm looking for. When I find it - the original meaning of the Constitution - I am handcuffed. If I believe that the First Amendment meant when it was adopted that you are entitled to burn the American flag, I have to come out that way even though I don't like to come out that way. When I find that the original meaning of the jury trial guarantee is that any additional time you spend in prison which depends upon a fact must depend upon a fact found by a jury - once I find that's what the jury trial guarantee means, I am handcuffed. Though I'm a law-and-order type, I cannot do all the mean conservative things I would like to do to this society.
Apparently, he's not so handcuffed about other things, though.

In September of 2011 the Indiana Supreme Court handed down its decision in Barnes v. Indiana, declaring not only that there is no right to reasonably resist an unlawful entry and search by police, but that "Indiana no longer recognizes a common law right to resist police." This case joins numerous other cases, both state and federal, along the same lines - expanding police powers and gutting the protections of the Fourth Amendment against "unreasonable search and seizure." I've noted several of these here myself. Examples like the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals' 2004 decision in U.S. v Gould, where the court found that searching without a warrant the residence of a known felon suspected of planning to kill two judges was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment. I wrote about this case at length in The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions, a quote taken from one of the dissents, and an essay having much in common with this one. The full cite from that dissent goes:
In summary, the Fourth Amendment is the keystone that holds up the arch of our Bill of Rights which in turn is the unique contribution of our founding fathers to our system of government which has now survived longer than any other representative government in the world. In his famous dissent in Olmstead v. United States, Justice Brandeis called privacy - which he defined as: "the right to be let alone" - "the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men." Justice Brandeis argued that the framers knew that Americans wanted protection from governmental intrusion not only for their property, but also for their thoughts, ideas and emotions. Take away the Fourth Amendment and the right of privacy disappears.

The deputy sheriffs here in Gould made no attempt to develop a sworn affidavit in writing from the purported informant, Forehand, and they therefore made no attempt to get either a search warrant or an arrest warrant from an independent third party magistrate on the basis of probable cause. I have no doubt that the deputy sheriffs believed that they were acting reasonably and with good intentions. But the old adage warns us that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." In my judgment, that is precisely where the majority opinion wants to put us - by unhooking the "protective sweep" from its connection with the execution of an arrest warrant in a home, which is where the Supreme Court framed the concept. In my view the gambit of getting permission to enter a citizen's home in order to talk to someone and then conducting a protective sweep search under the guise of sensing danger to the investigating officer will effectively eliminate the need for complying with the Fourth Amendment and at that point we will all be, literally and figuratively, on the road to hell.
We were told, immediately afterward, that this new power "would be used judiciously."

Well, that's OK then. 

After Barnes v Indiana we were given an example of what kind of "judicious use" to expect by an Indiana Sheriff:
According to Newton County Sheriff, Don Hartman Sr., random house to house searches are now possible and could be helpful following the Barnes v. STATE of INDIANA Supreme Court ruling issued on May 12th, 2011. When asked three separate times due to the astounding callousness as it relates to trampling the inherent natural rights of Americans, he emphatically indicated that he would use random house to house checks, adding he felt people will welcome random searches if it means capturing a criminal.
Judicious, eh?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quote of the Day - Thomas Sowell Edition

We don't need to send the country into bankruptcy, in the name of the poor, by spending trillions of dollars on people who are not poor, and who could take care of themselves. The poor have been used as human shields behind which the expanding welfare state can advance.

The goal is not to keep the poor from starving but to create dependency, because dependency translates into votes for politicians who play Santa Claus.

Thomas Sowell, Dependency and Votes

Edited to add this:
...though it is now clear that in the popular view of their case, as well as in the political view, the line between the deserving poor and the undeserving poor was not distinctly drawn. Popular feeling ran high at the time, and the prevailing wretchedness was regarded with undiscriminating emotion, as evidence of some general wrong done upon its victims by society at large, rather than as the natural penalty of greed, folly or actual misdoings; which in large part it was. The State, always instinctively "turning every contingency into a resource" for accelerating the conversion of social power into State power, was quick to take advantage of this state of mind. All that was needed to organize these unfortunates into an invaluable political property was to declare the doctrine that the State owes all its citizens a living; and this was accordingly done. It immediately precipitated an enormous mass of subsidized voting-power, an enormous resource for strengthening the State at the expense of society.

-- Our Enemy, The State by Albert J. Nock, 1935
It was explained to us over 75 years ago (and before), but nobody paid attention. Except the ones pushing "progressivism."  They understood all along.

To quote Daniel Webster:
In every generation, there are those who want to rule well--but they mean to rule. They promise to be good masters--but they mean to be masters.
That sumbitch ain't been born.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quote of the Day - Converted Leftist Edition

David Mamet's new book, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture is described at Amazon as follows:
Mamet employs his trademark intellectual force and vigor to take on all the key political issues of our times, from religion to political correctness to global warming. The legendary playwright, author, director, and filmmaker pulls no punches in his art or in his politics. And as a former liberal who woke up, Mamet will win over an entirely new audience of others who have grown irate over America's current direction.
That's not the QotD, this, from that book, is:
We were self-taught in the sixties to award ourselves merit for membership in a superior group–irrespective of our group’s accomplishments. We continue to do so, irrespective of accomplishments, individual or communal, having told each other we were special. We learned that all one need do is refrain from trusting anybody over thirty; that all people are alike, and to judge their behavior was "judgmental"; that property is theft. As we did not investigate these assertions or their implications, we could not act upon them and felt no need to do so. For we were the culmination of history, superior to all those misguided who had come before, which is to say all humanity.
And they and their disciples still believe it.

And they're in charge now.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quote of the Day - Edumacation Edishun

This one from Victor Davis Hanson:
Our schools rate just below Mississippi in math and science. Tell me why, given our high taxes and highest paid teachers in the nation? Can the governor or legislature explain? Is the culprit the notoriously therapeutic California curriculum? The inability to fire incompetent teachers? The vast number of non-English speaking students? Derelict parents? How odd that not a single state official can offer any explanation other than "We need more money." What is the possible cure for the near worst math and science students in the nation? Yes, I see it now: the California Senate just passed a bill mandating the teaching of homosexual, lesbian, bi-, and transgendered history, just the sort of strategy to raise those English composition and vocabulary scores among the linguistic and arithmetic illiterate.
He has much more to say on a much broader subject, but that paragraph is QotD.

UPDATE:  I am reminded that this is another good place to reference California state Senator Tom McClintock's 2005 piece, A Modest Proposal for Saving Our Schools. Nothing's changed, except state Senator McClintock is now U.S. Representative McClintock.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

More on my Houston Trip

After the meetings on Friday, the other people in my group had a flight home at 3:00PM (one, in retrospect, I probably should have been on) so after I dropped them off at the airport, my time was my own.

I had dinner that evening at Taste of Texas with Uncle Kenny and El Capitan, a couple of local Houston bloggers. Uncle Kenny co-blogs at Jaded Haven and Washington Rebel. El Capitan blogs at Baboon Pirates. El Capitan wrote about the meetup here.

It was a pleasant evening of interesting conversation and excellent food. One of the very enjoyable fringe benefits of blogging is the ability to meet good people who know you at least well enough to meet for dinner almost anywhere you go. Thank you, gentlemen.

Quote of the Day - Critical Pedagogy Edition

Karl Marx would be giddy with pride seeing what our public schools are teaching my kids today. - Lyle over at The View from North Central Idaho - Critical Pedagogy Hits Home

Saturday, May 21, 2011



Remember when I said I'd gotten some travel vouchers from United?  My parents are planning a trip, and I asked my dad if he could use them.  "What airline?" was his question.  "United," I replied.  "I'd rather walk," he said.

United has merged with Continental.

Now, flying to Houston was painless.  Getting back, not so much.  I arrived at the airport at 07:15 for my 09:20 flight - and discovered that said flight had been Cancelled.  Oh.  Joy.  So off to the ticket counter goes I to find out what my options were.

Continental had rebooked my flight.  For TUESDAYBZZZZT!  Sorry, wrong answer!  Well, they could book me on the 6:00PM flight.  That was all they could do.

OK, how about Phoenix?  I can get a rental car and drive down to Tucson.  Sure, they can do that.  There's a flight leaving at 09:10, or they can put me on standby for the 11:50 flight.  The earlier the better, so I have a boarding pass for the 09:10 flight to Phoenix, boarding to begin at 08:35, and to compensate me for my inconvenience, they give me a $6 voucher for food from any vendor in the airport.  By the time I leave the ticket counter it's 08:15.

By the time I make it through security theater (don't even ask about that) and get to the gate, it's 08:50.

And boarding has not started yet.

We finally start boarding at 09:00.  We push back from the gate at about 09:25.  And sit on the tarmac for thirty minutes.  Seems there's a hydraulic problem.  We're going back to the gate.  We get back to the gate about 10:00.  And sit.  Oh, wait!  They're going to let us off the plane while it's being repaired - no, they have another plane for us!

At a different terminal.

It's the 11:50 flight they offered to put me on standby for.  I don't know what they did, but they had one completely full flight when we pushed back from the gate.

At 12:20.

An hour into the flight, we have a "medical emergency" - a passenger is ill.  However, they decided to continue on to Phoenix rather than divert.  We land in Phoenix at 12:50 local time.  We wait while EMT's check out the ill passenger and take her off the plane first.  I'm in the back of the aircraft.  Debarkation takes twenty minutes.  I head for the car rentals.

Do you know how much it costs to rent a car one-way from Sky Harbor to Tucson International?  Don't ask.  Somehow I doubt it will be a reimbursable expense.

I call my wife once I'm in the car on the way home.  I'm going to be home in time for the birthday dinner at The Cheesecake Factory for my stepdaughter and my neice's husband.

No I'm not.  My mother is in the hospital.  Dad took her in at 03:00 this morning with shortness of breath.  She has atrial fibrillation and fluid buildup around her heart, and isn't getting enough oxygen.  This is the second trip in a month for this condition.  Apparently they didn't adjust her meds properly.  So instead of going home and then out to dinner, I went straight to the hospital.

Now I'm home.

Houston is a 17-hour shot down I-10 from my house.  Next time I think I'll drive.

But Knoxville is next weekend.  I hope American Airlines is better.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I'm flying to Houston, Texas today and will be in meetings most of tomorrow.  Dinner Friday night with a couple of bloggers (I hope) and returning to Tucson on Saturday.  Saturday night I've got a family obligation, so needless to say blogging will be light.  There's an überpost simmering on a back burner though, that I hope to hit "Publish" on in a week or so.

Meanwhile, the free ice cream machine is on the fritz.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sometimes I Wish I Drank

As Tam said, "Et tu, Clarence?"  The Supreme Court in an 8-1 decision basically rubberstamped the Indiana Supreme Court's Barnes v. Indiana decision, further eviscerating the 4th Amendment's guarantee of the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects in the name of the War on (Some) Drugs™.

And I find that I am in complete agreement with Justice Ginsberg:
The Court today arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement in drug cases.
I'd expect this of Clarence Thomas, not Ginsburg.

I feel a strong urge to get completely drunk and take a long, very hot shower.

Monday, May 16, 2011

One Hundred Years of Public Education

My brother sent this to me tonight.  I think I've seen it before, unattributed, but it's right in most particulars.
The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.
A comment in response to it seen elsewhere, however, puts it in perspective:
I'm not worried about the 1/5 of America that voted for him, I'm worried about the 3/5ths of America that didn't care enough to vote at all.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

And Yet Another

Following up on the previous post, Instapundit links to a piece about playwright David Mamet and his new book on losing his liberal outlook.  Some choice excerpts:
Higher ed, (Mamet) said, was an elaborate scheme to deprive young people of their freedom of thought. He compared four years of college to a lab experiment in which a rat is trained to pull a lever for a pellet of food. A student recites some bit of received and unexamined wisdom—"Thomas Jefferson: slave owner, adulterer, pull the lever"—and is rewarded with his pellet: a grade, a degree, and ultimately a lifelong membership in a tribe of people educated to see the world in the same way.

"If we identify every interaction as having a victim and an oppressor, and we get a pellet when we find the victims, we're training ourselves not to see cause and effect," he said. Wasn't there, he went on, a "much more interesting .  .  . view of the world in which not everything can be reduced to victim and oppressor?"
This is the whole strategy of "critical theory" - the Frankfurt school's methodology for using the education system to de-moralize (hypen used intentionally) the population. Thomas Jefferson? He can't be a great man, he was a slave owner and adulterer! Pull the lever!  Writing an essay on economics?  The grader will be a Keynesian, so it had better slant that way!  Pull the lever!

On cognitive dissonance:
"The question occurs to me quite a lot: What do liberals do when their plans have failed? What did the writers do when their plans led to unemployment, their own and other people's? One thing they can't do is admit they failed. Why? To admit failure would endanger their position in the herd."
To admit failure would require them to question their ideology, and that loses them their position in the herd.

In the beginning of Mamet's conversion, his Rabbi sent him books:
One of the first was A Conflict of Visions, by Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institution. In it Sowell expands on the difference between the "constrained vision" of human nature—close to the tragic view that infuses Mamet's greatest plays—and the "unconstrained vision" of man's endless improvement that suffused Mamet's politics and the politics of his profession and social class.

"He came back to me stunned. He said, 'This is incredible!' He said, 'Who thinks like this? Who are these people?' I said, 'Republicans think like this.' He said, 'Amazing.' "
I didn't have to be converted by Sowell's magnum opus, but Conflict of Vision's effect on me was similar.

And, of course, the article points out the inevitable herd reaction to Mamet's conversion:
After reading The Secret Knowledge in galleys, the Fox News host and writer Greg Gutfeld invented the David Mamet Attack Countdown Clock, which “monitors the days until a once-glorified liberal artist is dismissed as an untalented buffoon.” Tick tock.
Read the whole piece.

I think I just added another book onto my pile.

An Example of Critical Pedagogy

From the comments to my recent post A Failure of Critical Pedagogy comes this video of a Tucson Unified School District board meeting in which a parent stood up and read from some of the books used in that district's "Raza Studies" program, which I've covered before in Balkanization and Why I Keep Marxadelphia Around.

Watch this video, and listen to what the speaker has to say.  Then listen to the response from the TUSD governing board member.  Is he in denial, or just completely obtuse?

Do you want that taught to your kids?  How do you feel about it being taught exclusively to students of hispanic descent?


Stingray unleashes on a TSA goon employee.  Savor it all.

This Blog R 8

Eight years ago today I hit "Publish" on the first post to this blog.  Short and sweet, it went like this:
Testing, testing, testing....

Is this thing on?

Apparently so. Too bad I managed to lose the opening essay it took me an HOUR to compose. Oh well. I'll reconstruct it and put it back up later.

Welcome to The Smallest Minority, so named because most of the really good names, Eject! Eject! Eject!, USS Clueless, Instapundit, Acidman, and so on were already taken. And while not a Randian, I accept a lot of Ayn Rand's observations as accurate, and it was she who wrote: "The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities."

This blog is about the rights of individuals, that smallest of minorities, so it seemed apt.

More (hopefully MUCH more) to follow.
And much more has followed. According to Blogger I've published over 5,000 posts, an average of 1.7 per day.  (Haven't kept that pace recently.) According to Sitemeter, the site has drawn over 2.2 million hits, an average well over 700 per day (and trust me, it didn't start out anywhere near that high).

I lost the 40,000+ comments collected by Echo (and before that, HaloScan) over the previous seven years when Echo decided that increasing their fees by a factor of ten was a smart business decision. Oh, I still have the comment archives, but I was never able to successfully import them to Disqus. Dammit. Surprisingly, the old comment threads are still working (like to the Überthread - it's 574 comments long, so give it a chance to load) but I don't have links to each and every comment thread for every post - nor do I know how much longer those links will be working.  I'm still seriously bummed by that.

Eight years in the blogiverse is a long time, and I've enjoyed most of it, but as I noted in This I Believe, this blog has been an exploration of the core beliefs that guide my daily life.  Some of those beliefs are unpleasant.  But then, reality can be a stone-cold bitch.  While I still believe that the courts will not save us, (further evidence given just recently) I will admit that I was far too pessimistic about what could be accomplished via that path but not at all pessimistic enough about what can still be done to us via that same vector.  I'm even more amazed at what we've been able to accomplish legislatively.

I do wish I was less pessimistic about our political "leaders." Hell, I wish I was less pessimistic about the electorate.

Still, on the whole I'm glad I chose to start this blog and stick with it.  I hope in addition to giving me that place to explore my core beliefs and rant to my heart's content, it has also provided a service to those of you who visit, read and comment here on a regular basis.  I do this to entertain me, but I probably wouldn't have done it nearly as long without that feedback.

So, thanks.  Thanks for making all those hours worthwhile.  Thanks for giving me things to think about and things to laugh about.  I think I'll keep at it, at least for the next couple of years.  The Mayan calendar notwithstanding, 2012 looks like it's going to be one helluva year.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Barnes v. Indiana

That's the decision making all the rounds of the gun- and libertarian-blogs right now, in which a 3-2 majority of the Indiana Supreme Court held:
...that there is no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers.
What part of "unlawful" don't they get?  OK, I'll unreasonably resist.

This is a classic example of what a "living Constitution" philosophy eventually leads to.  Also from the decision:
The English common-law right to resist unlawful police action existed for over three hundred years, and some scholars trace its origin to the Magna Carta in 1215. The United States Supreme Court recognized this right in Bad Elk v. United States, 177 U.S. 529, 535 (1900): "If the officer had no right to arrest, the other party might resist the illegal attempt to arrest him, using no more force than was absolutely necessary to repel the assault constituting the attempt to arrest." The Supreme Court has affirmed this right as recently as 1948. United States v. Di Re, 332 U.S. 581, 594 (1948) ("One has an undoubted right to resist an unlawful arrest, and courts will uphold the right of resistance in proper cases.")
So it's established Supreme Court caselaw, right? And inferior courts may not tell the Supreme Court it was out to lunch, right?

Nazzofast, Guido. Here's that "living Constitution" philosophy:
In the 1920s, legal scholarship began criticizing the right as valuing individual liberty over physical security of the officers. One scholar noted that the common-law right came from a time where "resistance to an arrest by a peace officer did not involve the serious dangers it does today." The Model Penal Code eliminated the right on two grounds: ―(1) the development of alternate remedies for an aggrieved arrestee, and (2) the use of force by the arrestee was likely to result in greater injury to the person without preventing the arrest. In response to this criticism, a majority of states have abolished the right via statutes in the 1940s and judicial opinions in the 1960s.
Really? They did? Under color of what authority? I'm unaware of any Supreme Court decisions post 1948 that established this new interpretation. I'm unaware of any amendments to the Constitution prior to or after 1920 that did so.

To quote Alan Gura from the oral arguments before the Supreme Court in McDonald v. Chicago:
States may have grown accustomed to violating the rights of American citizens, but that does not bootstrap those violations into something that is constitutional.
As 9th Circuit chief judge Alex Kozinski wrote in his August 2010 dissent to that court's U.S. v Pidena-Moreno decision, another case involving Fourth Amendment protections:
Having previously decimated the protections the Fourth Amendment accords to the home itself, our court now proceeds to dismantle the zone of privacy we enjoy in the home's curtilage and in public. The needs of law enforcement, to which my colleagues seem inclined to refuse nothing, are quickly making personal privacy a distant memory. 1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it’s here at last.
And I am reminded once again of our complete disconnect from the difference between the citizenry and the police as expressed by Sir Robert Peel's Nine Principles of Modern Policing, most especially Principle #7:
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.
That stopped when the public became "them" to the police.

One more quote, this one from a TV show, Battlestar Galactica the recent version. Admiral Adama, when asked to place his space Marines in the position of policemen to the refugee fleet demurred with some writer's very cogent observation:
The police protect the People. The military defends the State. When the military becomes the police, the People become the Enemy of the State.
Our police forces are becoming more and more militarized defenders of the State every day, and rulings like this one are helping that happen.

It's an Honor Just to be Nominated

Brian of emails:
Glad to see that you're registered for our upcoming Blogger Shoot! I'm looking forward to seeing you again since the last time we saw one another face-to-face at the GBR in Reno. In conjunction with the Shoot, we're putting together an awards ceremony called The Gunnies for Saturday night at the Shoot and The Smallest Minority has been nominated for a Gunnie Award in the following category:

* Best Gun Blog - Entertainment

Voting is now open for the next 14 days to determine the winners in each of the 9 categories. It'd be pretty cool if you could announce your nomination for The Gunnies on your site.
Consider it done, though I think you'd have a hard time arguing that TSM is an entertainment site.

There are a bunch of other categories and nominees, so if you're interested in voting, go here.


I haven't used the "blogger sucks" tag in quite a while, but it appears at the moment that Blogger has eaten my last post from Thursday. Hopefully they'll be restored at some point (I'm fearing that Blogger's last backup has been corrupted), but I'm not counting on it.

Thankfully, one post I have in draft survived whatever happened yesterday. It'll be going up tomorrow, assuming that it doesn't get bloggered before then.

Oh well, anything free is worth what you pay for it.

UPDATE:  It's back.  That's good.

Really, for a free service, Blogger started off sucky but it's gotten a lot better over time.  This is the first major problem I can recall in the last couple of years, and Blogger is hardly the only platform to have problems.  As noted in the comments to the post Busy below, Doc Russia is having issues with his host, and his blog Bloodletting has been unavailable for some time now.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Failure of Critical Pedagogy

Unix-Jedi emailed me a pointer to this piece at Coyote Blog: Scenes From My Son Studying For His AP Exams. If he'll forgive me, I'll quote in full because it's short and it's important:
Scene 1, History AP: My son asked me how WWII ended the Depression. I said that the draft soaked up a lot of excess workers, which reduced unemployment, and British buying for the war helped our economy but that the war generally destroyed rather than created wealth. He said, "Dad, you can't tell it to me that way. The guy grading the AP is going to be a Keynesian." So we talked multipliers and aggregate demand.

Scene 2, Spanish AP: My son hands me a list of Spanish words he is trying to learn. They are the Spanish words for things like "social justice," "poverty", "exploitation", etc. I told him it was an odd selection of words. He said that nearly every Spanish essay in every Spanish textbook he had ever had were about revolution and stopping the rich from exploiting the poor and fighting global warming. So he wanted to be prepared for a similar topic on the AP. After the test, I remembered this conversation and asked him what the essay was. He said the topic was "show why the government of poor countries should give free bicycles to the poor to fight global warming."
These two short paragraphs are chock-full of everything I've been saying since I started this blog about the American education system and more.

In the first paragraph we see that the system is pushing a particular ideology, but it also illustrates two three crucial things: 1) the parent's involvement is critical, 2) bright kids paying attention understand bullshit when it's being spoonfed to them, and 3) they know how to game the system.

In the second paragraph the particular ideology being pushed is easily identified as the Leftist one promoted by Paolo Friere known as Critical Pedagogy. Note this again:
He said that nearly every Spanish essay in every Spanish textbook he had ever had were about revolution and stopping the rich from exploiting the poor and fighting global warming.
That's what they throw at the general population. Here in Tucson the Tucson Unified School District has what is called "Raza Studies" - a program directed exclusively at Hispanic students, which I wrote about in Balkanization. By some accounts this class doesn't stop at talking about "stopping the rich from exploiting the poor and fighting global warming." Oh no!
The basic theme of the curriculum was that Mexican-Americans were and continue to be victims of a racist American society driven by the interests of middle and upper-class whites.

In this narrative, whites are able to maintain their influence only if minorities are held down. Thus, social, political and economic events in America must be understood through this lens.

This biased and sole paradigm justified teaching that our community police officers are an extension of the white power structure and that they are the strongmen used "to keep minorities in their ghettos."

It justified telling the class that there are fewer Mexican-Americans in Tucson Magnet High School's advanced placement courses because their "white teachers" do not believe they are capable and do not want them to get ahead.
The former Arizona Superintendent of Public instruction (now Attorney General) has been trying to kill the Raza Studies program for years now. The last two public meetings with the TUSD board have been canceled because of organized student protests, which tells you about all you have to know concerning what the Raza Studies program is actually teaching.

Critical Pedagogy is not limited to Spanish language instruction and "Raza Studies," but goes throughout primary and secondary education.  The Keynesian economics bit is just another example.  But again, the key thing here necessary to counter it is parental involvement, and my belief is that such involvement is getting very thin on the ground. After literally generations of this relentless indoctrination, a declining number of kids escape it unscathed and grow up to raise their own children to recognize it for what it is, and that means we're vastly outnumbered.

Last year at the invitation of Rob Allen I fisked a high school graduation speech by a perfect example of a kid who did not receive the kind of parental involvement that this man's son receives. No, in that graduation speech it was apparent that an intelligent young woman had been taken in hand by one of Gramsci's disciples, been shown the "one true way" - and had fallen for it, hook line and sinker because no one had shown her anything different. She'd gone through twelve years of subtle (and by all evidence, not so subtle) indoctrination in preparation for what she received the last year or two of her education. The field was tilled, sown, and the harvest was ready to be reaped.

But kids like Coyote Blog's son?

Tough little weeds. We need more of 'em.  A LOT more.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Sorry about the lack of content.  I've been busy.  Got stuff lined up I want to write about, but don't have the time.

I do, however, have a bleg:  what happened to Doc Russia and Bloodletting?  The blog has disappeared.  I didn't visit often, but whenever I did, I tried to catch up.  (Doc posted infrequently as it was.)  That Kim du Toit quote at the top of the page went to a Bloodletting post.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Quote of the Month - Tam Edition

Mailing a check to the government to help the poor because you're feeling compassionate is like handing the local crackhead a twenty to fetch you a pizza because you're feeling hungry.
From The Basic Problem, a response to the question "What's this libertarian stuff about?"

Tam at her best!

Quote of the Day - "Grand Theft NATO" Edition

From a comment to yesterday's Victor Davis Hanson piece from which I took the QotD:
(W)elcome to “free market communism”.

This is “redistribution through gaming the system”. Flashing through all Western civilization, in every European, Canadian, Australian, and US marketplace. If it had a video version it would be called “Grand Theft NATO”.

50% of the people play by the “old” rules. They pay taxes, pay their mortgages, pay their own food bills, enter the country legally, and basically support the “other half”.

The “other half”…play the “victim” of the paying “majority”…and try to guilt them into paying for MORE stuff….while amassing goods and services at the discount window of the “government”, which slanders the paying majority as “greedy”. (and any other slander that imposes immediate guilt and shame…pick a weapon as you walk through the terrain…racism, sexism, homophobia, jingoism, etc)

In Grand Theft NATO, the “have nots”…are GIVEN more and more and more. They are “protected” by their benefactors…but, in order to recharge their “batteries” to press on…they MUST vote when they see their “energy” being depleted. Vote for a leftist…get more “energy”, be given more stuff…and more powerful “weapons”.

As you reach higher and more sophisticated levels…you get assistance in weapons of mass deception. Global warming is used as a hoax weapon to “redistribute” money, power, influence…from the “haves” who are ripped off on a worldwide basis…to the “have nots” in leftist enclaves.

You also get “mass media” protections…a force field shield that covers you for every misdeed, puts out false information and distortions for your benefit.

Grand Theft NATO is available everywhere you can find leftists in power. Thanks for playing…now hand over some more of OUR money…you have made enough already.

Yup, that's pretty much it in a nutshell.  Thanks to The Silicon Graybeard for the pointer.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Quote of the Day - Victor Davis Hanson Edition

History's revolutions and upheavals — whether the Nika rioting in Constantinople, the periodic uprising of the turba in Rome, the French upheavals, or the Bolshevik Revolution — are rarely fueled by the starving and despised, but by the subsidized and frustrated, who either see their umbilical cord threatened, or their comfort and subsidies static rather than expansive — or their own condition surpassed by that of an envied kulak class. Perceived relative inequality rather than absolute poverty is the engine of revolution.

These are strange and dangerous times. An insolvent federal government, an exporting China and India, and an almost complete indifference to federal immigration, tax, and regulatory laws have all combined to create a well-entitled but increasingly angry population, one "empowered" and made more, not less, bitter by the last two years of governance in Washington.

Victor Davis Hanson, Works and Days, Thoughts on a Surreal Depression

Friday, May 06, 2011

I'm Going to be in Houston on the 20th

I've got business meetings in the morning and afternoon, but the evening is free. Anybody want to get together for dinner? I'm staying over on the West side off of the Katy freeway. Can't stay out too late. I've got to leave for the airport at 5:00AM.

Quote of the Day - Coulterism Edition

Our mighty Navy SEALs not only put a bullet through Osama's head, but carried off his computers, disks and hard drives. So far, all they've revealed is that Osama had multiple Netflix rentals of "Rendition," "In the Valley of Elah," "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Love Actually."

Can you imagine what's on Osama's hard drives? I mean besides the goat pornography. Pants are wetting throughout Pakistan's military establishment.

Ann Coulter, Next Time, Use FedEx

It's a Twofer!

So (formerly) Great Britain has "some of the toughest gun laws in the world," according to former Home Secretary Alun Michael, gun laws that were necessary because (he said) "We recognize that only the strictest control of firearms will protect the public."

They tell us that getting groped and probed and scanned by the TSA is necessary too, and for the same reason - "protecting the public."

Oh really?
So much for airport security: Man 'smuggled 80 guns into Britain' by hiding them in suitcases

An American man is suspected of smuggling 80 weapons into the UK by hiding them in his suitcases.

Former U.S. marine Steven Greenoe, who holds British citizenship, apparently strolled through airport security in both Britain and America with dozens of handguns stashed in his suitcases on ten flights last year.

He is believed to have delivered them to criminal contacts in the North West of England.

On one occasion, Greenoe was stopped after officials at Atlanta airport spotted the firearms.

But incredibly he was allowed to board the flight after telling officials he worked as an international security consultant.

The revelations are an embarrassment for transatlantic security and for the UK Border Agency.  (Ya THINK?)

It makes a mockery of security regulations which mean innocent passengers have to carry cosmetics in clear plastic bags when in fact Greenoe apparently had no problems carrying weapons in a suitcase. 
(Those regulations were already a mockery.  Now they're a belly-laugh.)
So... did Project Fast and Furious expand to include Jolly Olde England?  Is Greenoe a BATF employee, on or off the books? 

Oh, and get this:
A number of 9mm semi-automatic pistols believed to have been bought by Mr Greenoe for $500 each in a North Carolina gunshop were offered for sale at up to £5,000 a piece in Britain a week later, according to the Times.

More than 60 weapons, including more than 20 Glock pistols and more than a dozen Ruger handguns, are understood to be still unaccounted for.
Wow! At current exchange rates, that's an $8200 return on a $500 investment (minus, of course, the plane fare.) Still, you're looking at close to a 16:1 ROI if you can move five at a time, and he's moved at least 60 guns that they know about. At a guess, we're talking $400k worth of profit.

I am once again reminded of Father Guido Sarducci's Five-Minute University Economics class: "Supply and-a Demand. That's it."

Apparently no one in Britain's gun-control culture has taken that one.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Got a New Gun Blogger Rendezvous Attendee

The United travel vouchers have been used.  The Redneck Engineer will be coming this year, flying in from Texas.  He may be bringing his homemade .50!

I guess I'd better make my reservations soon.

The Jokes have Started

From Primeval Papa this morning (we work together):
A Navy SEAL walks into a bar and says, "Give me a bin Laden!" 

The bartender says, "Sorry, sir, but I don't know that cocktail."

"It's easy," replies the SEAL.  "Two shots and a splash of water!"

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Want to Make $200?

Pascal is running a contest:
The GOP is having a debate tomorrow in South Carolina.

Your challenge is to listen to the questions and answers and decide what the best answer YOU would come up with.

In the past, TV tells us who wins, and they've rigged the set-up. IOW, they NAIL our minds with this set up time and again. I have myself come up with better answers, some of which were quite funny while being practical.

It is my thinking that the American public is far smarter than any currently serving politician or well-known spokesmouth. Here is your chance to prove that is true and get some publicity too.

I am going to do my part to drum up interest in unofficial answers.

To that end, I am prepared to divide up $200 for the answers submitted to my email box that I find better than the answers given by the GOP stiffs to the conservative unfriendly questions served up by the establishmentarian water carriers. And turning the tables on the water carriers by mocking their question before tailoring your answer can be a winner!

Deadline for submission is 11:59 PM Saturday, 5/07/11.
Go read the whole thing.  And give 'em hell!

Public Education Achieves its Goals

In Detroit.
Report: Nearly Half Of Detroiters Can’t Read
From that report (PDF):
The National Institute for Literacy estimates that 47% of adults (more than 200,000 individuals) in the City of Detroit are functionally illiterate, referring to the inability of an individual to use reading, speaking, writing, and computational skills in everyday life situations.
It gets better:
We also know that of the 200,000 adults who are functionally illiterate, approximately half have a high school diploma or GED, so this issue cannot be solely addressed by a focus on adult high-school completion.

While these numbers are less severe for the region as a whole, the region at-large is far from immune to this issue. Within the tri-county region, there are a number of municipalities with illiteracy rates rivaling Detroit: Southfield at 24%, Warren at 17%, Inkster at 34%, Pontiac at 34%.
Further, from the (short) CBS story, it would appear that certain areas in the D.C. metropolis and around Cleveland are even worse.  Truly, if our education system had been foisted on us by a foreign power, it would have been an act of war.

UPDATE:  Breda takes this and puts her own, much more detailed spin on it.

Quote of the Day - "Imagine" Edition

Imagine Harry out in the woods, wearing his invisibility cloak, carrying a .50bmg Barrett, turning Deatheaters into pink mist, scratching a lightning bolt into his rifle stock for each kill. I don’t think Madam Pomfrey has any spells that can scrape your brains off of the trees and put you back together after something like that. Voldmort’s wand may be 13.5 inches with a phoenix-feather core, but Harry’s would be 0.50 inches with a tungsten core. Let’s see Voldy wave his at 3,000 feet per second. Better hope you have some Essence of Dittany for that sucking chest wound.

William the Coroner, Harry Potter Needs a 1911

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

I'm Conflicted on This One (Possibly NSFW)

I don't know if it's brilliant, or if I'd have the (*ahem*) testicular fortitude to post a picture of it had I thought of it myself, but you be the judge:

Click Here for Image

I bet the charge throws are very consistent!

I'm not even going to ask what he uses for case lube.

Found at (where else?)

Quote of the Day - Human Transformation Edition

It is only those who hope to transform human beings who end up by burning them, like the waste product of a failed experiment. – Christopher Hitchens
See What We Got Here Is ... Failure to Communicate for more on this concept.  See also this previous QotD and this one

Now THAT'S Funny!

Today's The Whiteboard:

Probably true, too.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Sad But True

XKCD.  The rollover for this one reads:
The universe is probably littered with one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there's no good reason to go into space--each discovered, studied, and remembered by the ones that made the irrational decision.

Once Again, No Bowling Pin Match

The May Bowling Pin match should have been next Sunday - Mother's Day. Outstanding planning, no?

Well, like last month, it's been cancelled. The range is still doing berm work, so the Action ranges are not available.

I've been promised, however, that the work will be done in time for the June match, so the next match is Sunday, June 12 at 8:00AM at the Tucson Rifle Club. Same rules, same price: $10 for your first gun, $5 per additional gun.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Ding-Dong, Bin Laden's Dead

And apparently we have the body to prove it.

One down, how many more to go?

UPDATE: I once again bow to Iowahawk for his preternatural ability to insert multiple skewers into the various orifices of the Left when handed such opportunities.

"Apocalypse Now?" Indeed

Via Instapundit:
The Mississippi River, its tributaries swollen by snowmelt and stormwater, is rising toward a flood level that could equal or exceed anything in its recorded history. The threat to Cairo, Illinois — just below the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers — is so grave that the US Army Corps of Engineers is about to blow up a levee just downstream at Bird’s Point, Missouri, to relieve the flooding in Cairo by deliberately inundating 140,000 acres of farms and towns. The emotional controversy that has arisen over this move obscures a real and rising threat to the economy of the United States.

But the real threat posed by this historic, gathering flood may well lie several hundred miles to the south, where the Mississippi crosses the Louisiana border. There, as the Corps well knows but dare not discuss,
this historic flood threatens to overwhelm one of the frailest defenses industrial humanity has offered to preserve its profits from the immutable processes of nature. This flood has the potential to be a mortal blow to the economy of the United States, and outside the Corp of Engineers virtually no one knows why.

May Victims of Communism Day

Today is the third annual Victims of Communism Day, a day to remember the people murdered by their own governments in their quest to achieve a "worker's paradise" where everyone is equal, where "to each according to his needs, from each according to his abilities" is the beautiful dream lie.  R.J. Rummel, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Hawaii, has calculated that the total number of victims of Communism - that is, the domestic victims of their own governments - in the USSR, China, Vietnam, North Korea and Cambodia is 98.4 million people.  For all Communist governments during the 20th Century, he puts the estimate at approximately 110 million.  And this wasn't in warfare against other nations, this was what these governments did to their own people - "breaking eggs" to make their utopian omlette.

Six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, and another six million people the Nazis decided were "undesirable" went with them.  "Never again" is the motto of the modern Jew, and many others just as dedicated.  But "again and again and again" seems to be the rebuke of history.

The Communists are hardly alone in these crimes.  Rummel estimates that the total number of people murdered by their own governments during the 20th Century is on the close order of 262 million, but the single biggest chunk of that truly frightening number is directly due to one pernicious idea:  That we can make people better.

Why do I own guns?  For a number of reasons, but one of them is this:
And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?  --  Alexandr Solzhenitzyn, The Gulag Archipelago


The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed - where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once. -- Judge Alex Kozinski, dissenting, Silveira v. Lockyer, denial to re-hear en banc, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, 2003.
I intend to repeat this post each May 1 that I continue to run this blog.  This is the second time I have put it up.

UPDATE:  Sipsey Street Irregulars has a post to go along with this one.  STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.