Monday, January 31, 2011


Bragging on Myself

I took second in the latest Wizbang weekend caption contest, the first time I've entered in quite a while. I also started playing chess via the computer with people all over the world. I'm 3-1 and hungry for a new game.


Sunday, January 30, 2011


The criminal truth

H/t Small Dead Animals

UPDATE: Lars Hedegaard, who was mentioned in the video, was acquitted of criminal defamation.


Friday, January 28, 2011


High Speed Trains

There's a line in an historical novel I read (but can't remember its title) in which the hero is responding to a former slave blaming his own short-comings on slavery. The hero says something like: "You're still blaming slavery? Come on, man. It's 1876!"

I was struck by the President's plan in the State of the Union address to spend taxpayer money or borrow on invest in high speed trains. All I can think of is: "Trains? Trains, really? Come on, man. It's 2011."

We swamped by sky high federal spending, drowning in government debt, and President Obama is proposing more government spending on trains and windmills as the way out? How did this fool get elected to anything?


Thursday, January 27, 2011


Thought of the Day

The Feds and California are proceeding with a plan to fund a high-speed rail line from L.A. to Fresno. Now all they have to do, is find someone who wants to go to Fresno.



Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Emma Henry Audition--Local Girl Gets On Idol

My step-son Charlie has played with Emma, no, wait, that sounds bad. He's played in a band she was in, through the House of Rock program at Swallow Hill. We knew she was on Idol tonight, but we didn't know the outcome. She sang a Cyndi Lauper song pretty well, but had nearly to beg to get the two out of three votes necessary to go on. I hope she rises to the challenge. One of the girls who followed her really could sing.



Thought of the Day

Obama said, "We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook."

And then the government outlawed Edison's great invention, made the Wright brothers' air travel insufferable, filed anti-trust charges against Microsoft and made cars too expensive to drive by prohibiting oil exploration, and right now -- at this very minute -- is desperately trying to regulate the Internet.

Ann Coulter



Ehrenreich Incoherence

In an opinion piece today in the ever shrinking LA Times, Socialist author Barbara Ehrenreich, whom my son was required to read by Jesuit educators, bashes conservatives, flushes the recent call to violence of one of her ilk down the memory hole, and ultimately makes no sense. Her start:

Why are Americans such wusses? Threaten the Greeks with job losses and benefit cuts and they tie up Athens, but take away Americans' jobs, 401(k)s, even their homes, and they pretty much roll over.
Her end:

But there is one thing you can accomplish with guns and coarse threats about using them: You can make people think twice before disagreeing with you. When a congresswoman can be shot in a parking lot and a professor who falls short of Glenn Beck's standards of political correctness can be, however anonymously, targeted for execution, we have moved well beyond democracy -- to a tyranny of the heavily armed.

How these wussie, round heeled types became the tyrannical weapons wielders who stifle free speech is not explained. It's because the article is irredeemably incoherent. It's first grade name-calling masquerading as deep political analysis.

Who is the professor Glenn Beck is mad at? Frances Fox Piven, a old die hard Socialist, who recently wrote in the Nation, calling for mob action and violent riots. You can see for yourself here. This I think is the offensive part.

The initiatives that would be responsive to the needs of the unemployed will require federal action. Local protests have to accumulate and spread—and become more disruptive—to create serious pressures on national politicians. An effective movement of the unemployed will have to look something like the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece in response to the austerity measures forced on the Greek government by the European Union, or like the student protests that recently spread with lightning speed across England in response to the prospect of greatly increased school fees.
We'll leave the nonsense about the unemployed striking alone. Clearly, however, she's not just calling for peaceful protest; she's calling for the sort of riots which killed three, injured others and destroyed a lot of property in Athens and Thessaloniki, much of it by Molotov cocktail. To say we need Greek type riots is to call for real and not merely rhetorical violence. Shame on Ms. Piven (and on the ones who threatened her).

Ms. Ehrenreich kind of downplays the reality of Ms. Piven's call to violent action.

The question [why are Americans wusses] has been raised many times in the last few years, by a variety of scholars and commentators -- this one included -- but when the eminent social scientist Frances Fox Piven brought it up at the end of December in an essay titled "Mobilizing the Jobless," all hell broke loose.
Ms. Piven did more than ask why are Americans wusses, just as the Greek rioters did more than "tie up Athens." Ms. Piven deserves the criticism she has received (but not the threats--almost all calls for violence are bad, even if, as in 1776, and 1861, they ultimately achieve good).

Somebody needs to remind me why Barbara Ehrenreich is worth reading. I'm not seeing it.

UPDATE: steiff at RedState posts on the same op ed, focusing on Ehrenreich's distortion of history. Well worth reading. Here's a taste.

In truth, Piven’s essay was nothing more that the masturbatory fantasy of an aging communist who has lived to see her entire life’s work repudiated. She’s bitter at the idiots who failed denied the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and she’s can’t understand why people with families have better things to do that riot their way to Marxism. There is no evidence, real or anecdotal, that there is a mass movement in favor of more government out there held in check by Joe Six Pack and his SIG Sauer. The real mass movement, which was carried out 100% non-violently, was the Tea Party Movement which seems to have escaped the attention of both Piven and Ehrenreich.

UPDATE 2: James Taranto does even more damage here. Money quote:

Ehrenreich's explanation is America has become "a tyranny of the heavily armed." Americans don't get politically involved because they're afraid of getting shot. The implication is that if only the government would take away Americans' guns, Americans would be able to grab their Molotov cocktails and rise up against the government, or for the government, or something.

But wait. How has it escaped Ehrenreich's notice that the past two years have seen the greatest flowering of grass-roots democracy in America since the civil rights movement? We refer, of course, to the Tea Party movement. To be sure, you won't see any Molotov cocktails at a Tea Party gathering. You may see some guns--a normal part of life in most of America--but they will be borne lawfully and not used violently.

Since the Tea Party advocates individualism and not socialism, we may assume that Ehrenreich strongly disapproves of it (as does her pal Piven). But to bemoan the dearth of grass-roots activism in America without even acknowledging the Tea Party's existence suggests a detachment from reality bordering on the clinical.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Early Oscar Picks

Here is THE LIST of nominees:

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids are All Right
The King's Speech
The Social Network
127 Hours
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter's Bone

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Annette Bening (The Kids are All Right)
Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)
Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem (Biutiful)
Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
Colin Firth (The King's Speech)
James Franco (127 Hours)
Jeff Bridges (True Grit)

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale (The Fighter)
John Hawkes (Winter's Bone)
Jeremy Renner (The Town)
Mark Ruffalo (The Kids are All Right)
Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech)

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams (The Fighter)
Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

Best Documentary Short Subject
Killing in the Name
Poster Girl
Strangers No More
Sun Come Up
The Warriors of Qiugang

Best Short Film (Animated)
Day & Night Teddy Newton
The Gruffalo Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
Let's Pollute Geefwee Boedoe
The Lost Thing Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary) Bastien Dubois

Best Short Film (Live Action)
The Confession Tanel Toom
The Crush Michael Creagh
God of Love Luke Matheny
Na Wewe Ivan Goldschmidt
Wish 143 Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

Achievement in Art Direction
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
The King's Speech
True Grit

Achievement in Cinematography
Black Swan (Matthew Libatique)
Inception (Wally Pfister)
The King's Speech (Danny Cohen)
The Social Network (Jeff Cronenweth)
True Grit (Roger Deakins)

Achievement in Costume Design

Alice in Wonderland (Colleen Atwood)
I Am Love (Antonella Cannarozzi)
The King's Speech (Jenny Beaven)
The Tempest (Sandy Powell)
True Grit (Mary Zophres)

Achievement in Directing
Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)
David O. Russell (The Fighter)
Tom Hooper (The King's Speech)
David Fincher (The Social Network)
Joel and Ethan Coen (True Grit)

Best Documentary Feature
Exit through the Gift Shop Banksy, director (Paranoid Pictures)
Gasland Josh Fox, director (Gasland Productions, LLC)
Inside Job Charles Ferguson, director (Representational Pictures)
Restrepo Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, directors (Outpost Films)
Waste Land Lucy Walker, director (Almega Projects)

Achievement in Makeup
Barney's Version
The Way Back
The Wolfman

Achievement in Film Editing
Black Swan (Andrew Weisblum)
The Fighter (Pamela Martin)
The King's Speech (Tariq Anwar)
127 Hours (Jon Harris)
The Social Network (Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall)

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Biutiful (Mexico)
Dogtooth (Greece)
In a Better World (Denmark)
Incendies (Canada)
Hors la Loi (Algeria)

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)
How to Train Your Dragon (John Powell)
Inception (Hans Zimmer)
The King's Speech (Alexandre Desplat)
127 Hours (A.R. Rahman)
The Social Network (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)
"Coming Home" from Country Strong Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
"I See the Light" from Tangled Music and Lyric by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
"If I Rise" from 127 Hours Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
"We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3 Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Achievement in Sound Editing
Toy Story 3
TRON: Legacy
True Grit

Achievement in Sound Mixing
The King's Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

Achievement in Visual Effects
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Iron Man 2

Adapted Screenplay
127 Hours (Simon Beaufoy and Danny Boyle)
The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin)
Toy Story 3 (Michael Arndt, story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich)
True Grit (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)
Winter's Bone (Debra Granik and Anne Rossellini)

Original Screenplay
Another Year (Mike Leigh)
The Fighter (Paul Attanasio, Lewis Colich, Eric Johnson, Scott Silverand Paul Tamasy)
Inception (Christopher Nolan)
The Kids are All Right (Stuart Blumberg and Lisa Cholodenko)
The King's Speech (David Seidler)

My favorite film last year was True Grit and I think Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld deserve the awards for their respective performances therein, but that's not how you pick 'em. Look for a near sweep by the King's Speech. More on this later.


Monday, January 24, 2011


Pat Metheny: Are you going with me Still my favorite


They Just Don't Make Them Like This Anymore

NGC 660, a polar ring galaxy in Pisces about 20 Million light years away. There are plenty of ring galaxies, the result of interaction of two galaxies, a little one passing through the other, larger and usually a sprial, but there are few of these where there is a considerable number of stars in a flat plane configuration within, but in a different plane from, the ring of stars.

I find this one particularly beautiful.

Below is Hoag's Object which maintains spiral elements and pretty much defies explanation. Even better is that one can see another ring galaxy inside the ring, at about the one o'clock position. What were the odds of that?


Sunday, January 23, 2011


America's Problem with Violence

I have had an interest in race since Professor (and Nobel Laureate in Physics) William Shockley got into a lot of trouble talking about race and IQ. The name calling that followed publication of The Bell Curve taught me to shut up about race. There was indeed very few ways to talk about race and escape being called a racist. Truth was no defense. There was nothing good to come from talking about race and plenty of downside. But I love the Truth more than I fear criticism. Hardly anyone reads me anyway.

Here's Charles Blow talking about gun control and urging the President to get behind new gun control legislation. I hope the President takes his advice; it will hurt him at the polls in 2012.
We are a violent society whose intense fealty to firearms has deadly consequences.
What do you mean we, white man?

Here are World statistics regarding murder per 1,000.

We're 24th, not first, as Mr. Blow, using UN statistics, implies.

Let's look way down the list to our parent country the United Kingdom. It's 46th with 1.4 homicides per 100,000. Why can't we be more like England in this respect?

Who says we aren't? What is the rate of Anglo Saxon murder in America? What is the African American rate? What is the Hispanic rate? For that matter, what is the Jewish or Chinese rate?

Difficult to get these statistics, but here are FBI figures for murder and non-negligent homicide for 2009.

Of the 15,760 homicides that year, 5,286 were committed by white offenders (which includes Hispanics) and 5,890 were committed by black offenders. 245 were committed by other races. (Asian? Trobriand Islander?) and, for 4,339 homicide victims, the race of the killer was unknown. Let's assume that race has nothing whatever to do with being seen during, or caught after, a murder and ignore the last two statistics. There were, in 2009, 39,603,903 black Americans and 244,377,572 white (including Hispanic) Americans. Simple division gives these results:

Black American homicide rate--14.87 per 100,000
White American homicide rate--2.16 per 100,000

Thus, the world murder rate for Black Americans is between 5 and 6 on the World Chart, between Russia, 5, and Mexico, 6. That ain't so good. The White American rate on the World Chart is between 35 and 36, between Macedonia, 35, and Mauritius, 36. Not as low as the UK, but better.

Would the Anglo Saxon rate be better still? I can't get the statistics to say, but, if I were a betting man, I would say yes, but only because three of the top six are Hispanic countries-- Columbia, Venezuela and Mexico.

It's even worse on this chart, where the United States is 84th in the World. Black America on this chart would be 44th, just below Russia and White America would be 117th, just under Buddhist Nepal and 22 places above the UK. On this chart, a full half of the top ten most murderous countries are in South America.

So our diverse American population might be about halfway murderous compared to the rest of the World, but is our access to guns the real reason for the ranking? Mexico has very strict gun control, but its rate is 3 times higher than ours on the Wikichart. Same with Brazil, which has a rate more than 4 times ours. Almost everyone in Israel has a gun. Their rate is 2.4 per 100,000, less than half ours, and in Switzerland, nearly every young man has a full auto rifle and a semi-auto pistol in his closet. Their rate is 1.01 per 100,000, nearly a quarter less than the UK where all public ownership of full auto weapons and any form of pistols is banned.

Is it the access to guns or something else entirely, Mr. Blow?



Translating Lefty into English

One of the least of the regular columnists at the ever shrinking Denver Post, David Sirota, who took over the looney lefty slot from Paul Campos, had an article Saturday mildly critical of the Obama Administration for not protecting local manufacturers with tariffs. At least that's what I think he means. You have to translate from time to time. He starts:

A sovereign nation investing its wealth in its domestic economy seems like a no- brainer, especially during a global recession.

Translation: Government taxing and spending is a good idea, especially now.

It's not a good idea to spend money trying to prop up, economically, wind generators, which cost a ton, add nothing to the grid, and wouldn't exist at all unless supported by taxpayers, because the wind generators have a relatively short lifespan and are intermittently working. Germany, Denmark and Spain know this now. Sirota doesn't appear to know this but it's really not the focus of his piece.

...Businessweek in 2008 warned that in an America with few domestic purchasing mandates, any economic stimulus — whether spending or tax cuts — would likely "leak" abroad, thus "reducing its impact on jobs here."
Translation: Unless we protect or expand the requirement of more wasteful government spending on useless windmills, the taxpayer money we are wasting will be wasted on Chinese factories rather than, for example, factories in Massachusetts. Too late there, I guess.

Students of real history know that protectionism (anyone? anyone? The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act) will only make the global recession worse, just as it did during the Great Depression. The President (God bless him) and the Republicans have opposed protectionism for sound economic reasons--so that the other nations don't retaliate and international trade grind to a halt. Sirota apparently doesn't know history or believes that anti-protectionism can't have any reason to exist but greed, international greed, and corruption. What a bleak point of view.

There is none so blind as he who will not see.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Thought of the Day

Is there a single world leader remaining who respects President Obama? Certainly, none fear him. He established himself as a strategic pushover more swiftly than any president in history—even allowing for the near-record times clocked by Presidents Carter and Clinton (to be fair, Clinton at least had the slickness to wheedle the occasional advantage from his foreign counterparts). Right up to the final days of the Bush administration, rogue states stepped lightly, casting a careful eye at Washington over their hunched shoulders. Today, the world’s worst actors are playing Dictators Gone Wild.

Ralph Peters, delivering a lengthy tale of failure by the Obama Administration overseas without exception. Oh, my bad, here is the one success:

[The Obama Administration] won a significant victory over Israel–the only rule-of-law democracy in the Middle East—by convincing the Palestinians that we were ready to betray our only true allies in the region and encouraging them to pull back from any hint of rational compromise. Single-handedly, President Obama created a diplomatic Intifada that set back the peace process by at least a decade.


Monday, January 17, 2011


Thought of the Day

For a decade, from the election of Bush 43 forward, the Left has lied and cheated as it tried to return to power. Al Gore made a mockery out of the American electoral system by being a spoilsport over Florida, which Bush indeed won by 537 votes. Dan Rather forged a document to try to derail Bush’s re-election. Twice Democrats stole U.S. senators from the Republicans. After voting to support the war to get by the 2002 election, many Democrats quickly soured on the war. The profane protests were cheered by liberals who misattributed “dissent is the highest form of patriotism” to Thomas Jefferson; the words belong to the late historian Howard Zinn.

Once in power, liberals were the opposite of gracious.

For two years now, I have been called ignorant, racist, angry and violent by the left. The very foul-mouthed protesters of Bush dare to now label my words as “hate speech.”

Last week, the left quickly blamed the right for the national tragedy of a shooting spree by a madman who never watched Fox News, never listened to Rush Limbaugh and likely did not know who Sarah Palin is.

Fortunately, the American public rejected out of hand that idiotic notion that the right was responsible.

Rather than apologize, the left wants to change the tone of the political debate.

The left suddenly wants civil discourse.

Bite me.

The left wants to play games of semantics.

Bite me.

The left wants us to be civil — after being so uncivil for a decade.

Bite me.


I have been screamed at for 10 years.

It’s my turn now. I am not going to scream back. But I refuse to allow anyone to dictate what I say or how I say it. I refuse to allow the same foul-mouthed, foul-spirited foul people who dumped on me to now try to tell me what I may or may not say.

My free speech matters more than the feelings of anyone on the left. You don’t like what I say? Tough.

I will not allow people to label my words Hate Speech or try to lecture me on civility. I saw the lefty signs. The left’s definition of civil discourse is surreal.

We have a terribly unfit president who has expanded government control beyond not only what is constitutional but what is healthy for our freedom.

Indeed, this call for civil discourse is itself a direct threat to my free speech.

So screw you.

You don’t like my words? You don’t like my tone? You feel threatened?

Too bad.


Actually, that is what I want. I want the lefties to feel bad. I want them to feel hurt. I want them to cry to their mommies.

Don Surber


Saturday, January 15, 2011


As Plain as...

The netherworld efforts of Democrats to blame the right in general and the Tea Party and Sarah Palin specifically for the mass murder perpetrated by a man described by his friends, that is, people who actually knew him, as really quite liberal, has failed so abysmally, that even a relatively dim bulb like Charles Blow at the New York Times can see it. He even thinks it has come round and bit the liberals in the butt. That is indeed an epic fail.

But the insight of seeing the bleeding obvious doesn't stop Mr. Blow for this set of statements.

I have written about violent rhetoric before, and I’m convinced that it’s poisonous to our politics, that the preponderance of it comes from the right, and that it has the potential to manifest in massacres like the one in Tucson.
He may well believe these, but are any true? I doubt it. But he's made the allegation, it's up to him to provide the proof, which he does not, at least here. Another liberal article of faith. "No matter what we do, the Republicans are worse and more dangerous", 180 years of history showing the opposite notwithstanding. I think the applicable psychological term is called projection.


Friday, January 14, 2011


Thoughts of the Day

Dead young blacks don’t count in Washington politics or for the media. And that is a position so immoral and repugnant that future generations will excoriate our callousness and bigotry as savagely as we castigate the records of Bull Connor and Lester Maddox. The shocking human wastage among minorities in this country should mobilize us all to demand safe streets, disciplined schools and the dignity of achievement for our fellow citizens debased by leftist policies.
It’s up to conservatives to push for reforms with bite, since leftists never will. They thrive on the alienation of their own victims.

Ralph Peters


Thursday, January 13, 2011


Oh Darn, I Agree with a Proposed Gun Law

There is some fallacious thinking in this article by Louis Klarevas over at the New Republic. He thinks the ten years of the assault weapon and large magazine ban would have prevented ownership of a 30 plus round Glock extended clip. Nope, the law merely prohibited the manufacture of large capacity detachable magazines while giving the manufacturers a 7 month heads up about the law during which time magazine manufacturers produced thousands of extra magazines. There were plenty around to buy (at inflated prices) during the ban period, there will be plenty to buy if a stricter ban were to be enacted, as the criminal types tend to ignore the law. There are plenty of reasons to have extended clips other than a desire to murder as many as possible. But when the rubber meets the road, the internationalist has a reasonable idea:

When Congress returns, one of the legislative changes it should consider is passing a law that would require all public entities, as well as all organizations that receive public funds, to file a report on any affiliated individuals (e.g., employees or students) that they deem to be public mental health concerns. These confidential reports (which would be provided to the person in question) would then be entered into the Brady database,
called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and serve as grounds to prohibit immediate firearms purchases. People would ultimately have the opportunity to prove their mental stability and have the reports revoked in a timely manner—but, until then, or if unable to prove stability, they could not walk into a gun store and buy a weapon. Period.

The "period" is a little hopeful--a would be mass murder could still obtain weapons from criminals, or by stealing them--and the idea reverses the innocent until proven guilty meme, but it seems workable, if the person is given a reasonable and reasonably priced ability to prove he or she is not crazy.

Even a super defender of the Second Amendment like me doesn't want dangerous crazy people easily and legally obtaining deadly weapons. No sane person does.



Doubling Down on Stupid

E.J. Dionne didn't take the hint from the President's decent speech (in a somewhat indecent venue) last night and stop the 'violent rhetoric' nonsense. He dives in head first. What a maroon!

Instead of promoting a sober conversation about the dangers of violent political talk, it [the Tucson shooting] has reinforced divisions between left and right.
What dangers of violent political talk? I'm serious. Name a violent act we know was caused by violent political metaphors. None in the column. I guess it's a lefty article of faith, not that it stops or even slows violent political talk from the left, also completely unmentioned. There's more.

Even responsible conservatives have dismissed any suggestion that Saturday's attack is reason enough to condemn the threats of violence that have become standard to the discourse at the extremes of their side of politics.
What threats of violence? Name one from a responsible conservative; show us any from the Tea party or from Sarah Palin. Crickets. Another article of faith, I guess. Bad start, but get ready for the big one.

We have not focused at all on how the militarized rhetoric on the right is tightly connected to our national failure to enact the gun regulations that might have saved lives in Arizona.

This statement is what us troglodyte types call a target rich environment. It's not militarized rhetoric on the right which prevents what E.J. would consider adequate gun regulation, it's the Constitution, as amended. Gun regulations do not save lives, to the contrary, they only disarm the law abiding. No gun regulation which passes Constitutional muster would have prevented this time's crazy person, not yet treated or even diagnosed, from obtaining a weapon, his Glock 19.

The descriptions of President Obama as a "tyrant," the intimations that he is "alien" and the suggestions that his presidency is illegitimate are essential to the core rationale for resisting any restrictions on firearms.

This is a non-sequitur at best. I don't think the President is either a tyrant or an alien, and I do think he won the election fair and square; but I still resist any unconstitutional restrictions on firearm ownership. This minor screed borders on absurdity it is so disconnected. So when the Democrats think son Bush's presidency was illegitimate because of the Florida vote, they were providing a core rational for supporting the Second Amendment as written? E.J. is not an intellectual heavyweight, is he?

E.J. goes on to quote Ron Paul and Paul Broun, both Congressmen (and one a Republican) who say accurately that the purpose of the Second Amendment was to arm the citizens so they could mount an effective, armed resistance to tyranny from their own government. E.J. seems not to buy this account, but it is true, particularly from Alexander Hamilton but from Madison as well. You could look it up.

Let's salute Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., for breaking with gun-lobby orthodoxy by suggesting legislation that would make it illegal to carry a weapon within 1,000 feet of elected or high-ranking federal officials at publicly announced events.
Let's not salute Mr. King for his stupid idea that elected officials are some sort of royalty who deserve greater protection than the rest of us plebeians. It's as if Mr. King was saying some animals are more equal than others. The Constitution specifically rejected titles for American citizens. All citizens deserve to be protected from homicidal maniacs, which is another, different reason why the Second Amendment exists and why the God given rights mentioned in the Declaration form an incomplete list. It's telling that E.J. embraces this sort of elitist lunacy and Speaker Boehner rejects it out of hand. Oh, and Mr. Dionne, criminals about to murder someone, don't obey gun restrictions, which is part of the reason gun free zones, like schools, are so dangerous and gun filled zones, like gun shows, are so safe. Moving on.

But by Broun's logic, isn't King's proposal just a way for big government's servants to protect themselves from, shall we say, accountability?
No. It's an ineffective and therefore unconstitutional impingement on a God given right to self defense which pretends, et al. that it will protect anyone and that the people it seeks to protect need or deserve special extra protection.

And if the rest of us ask for comparable protection, this just proves to gun control's opponents that any single restriction leads down a slippery slope to eviscerating all gun rights -- and, eventually, to tyranny.

What? So if Mr. King proposed that it would be illegal for anyone with a gun to approach within 1,000 feet of any other citizen, that would be a better law? I can't follow the logic of these statements, because, I strongly suspect, there is none. It is merely history that tyrants seek to disarm the citizenry and indeed the disarming often starts with small, innocuous steps. Not too much more to go.

Of course most conservatives don't subscribe to Broun's theory.

I don't think Mr. Dionne knows any conservatives. It is indeed the belief of most conservatives that the Second Amendment is to arm the citizenry to protect against government tyranny, inter alia, and that belief is based on history, a history Mr. Dionne either doesn't know or pretends not to know.
What I don't understand is why the highest priority of so many who are not Brounites has been to resist any questioning of far-right rhetoric by pretending that doing so is the equivalent of holding those who speak that way responsible for what someone else did.

This is undoubtedly a true statement. Mr. Dionne has shown himself to be incapable of understanding what conservatives believe and their particular motivation here. We resist "questioning" protected free speech (far-right rhetoric), as opposed to meeting it with counter arguments, because to question a party's right to speak in a certain way chills that right, and we conservatives are passionate in our defense of free speech rights, even when the "questioners" are not government officials, who are prohibited from abridging one's right to say obnoxious (but not criminal) things. More importantly, however, we're not up in arms about the left's assault on the right's right to speak (even if it offends) based on any pretense that questioning of far-right rhetoric is the equivalent of holding those who speak that way responsible for what someone else did. We're up in arms because the left has specifically accused many on the right of actually being responsible for the actions of Jared Loughner. Mr. Dionne has to know this. It was on the cable news. It was in all the papers. It was in the New York Times.

No. Jared Loughner, the accused killer, is accountable for his own actions. His politics are confused at best and he clearly has mental health problems. That is what most liberals are saying.

Well, maybe now the left is backing off its attempt to blame the shooting on right wing rhetoric, but it's only because actual knowledge of the facts proved the attempt to be groundless and really stupid and therefore ineffective. Ready for the big finish?

But, yes, this is the time to acknowledge that there is something deeply wrong with the militarization of American conservative rhetoric.

Why is this the time? Why is there something deeply wrong with how conservatives speak? Is it because that sort of speaking causes nuts to shoot Congresswomen in the head and indiscriminately into the crowd around her? But wait, Mr. Dione falsely says that his ilk isn't making that claim. So what is he saying?

The approach to guns, violence and "tyranny" promoted by loud voices on the right has been instrumental in blocking measures that could at least have contained the casualties in Tucson -- or at Virginia Tech or Columbine.

Even if this were true, and it's not, what gun 'measure' could have at least contained the casualties at the sites of the mass murders named? Is he really so delusional as to think that a law is going to stop complete nut cases and/or just, in the case of Columbine, evil people eager to murder, none of whom give a fig for the law as they pull out the guns and start shooting? This is the core of the deception E. J. and his ilk try to pull off--pass a law which we know from experience has no effect on the problem, and which has deleterious effect on the law abiding, and you're doing something good, you're saving lives. Right. We've had this debate before and the Democrats lost and now, except for the especially stupid, have completely stopped talking about the issue. Now the Parthian shot at Barry Goldwater.

Extremism in defense of feeble gun laws is no virtue.

Yes, E.J., but vigilance in the defense of our guaranteed rights to speak freely and to own guns for reasons we, and not the government, decide, is an exemplary virtue. And, I might add, so is cogent thinking. You should try it.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Thoughts of the Day

That is, essentially, what this is all about. Never has the left been so brazen or ambitious in the scope of what it seeks to prohibit. In this case, their rhetoric indicates they seek nothing short of the muzzling of the right, the entire right, everyone who disagrees. The risks of our opposition to Obama, that some people will be dangerously upset by our use of the word "socialist," are simply too high.

Oh I suppose we'll be permitted, as formalistic nod to the old, outdated Constitution, to offer token resistance. Ineffectual resistance. We'll be permitted to say things that are so non-inciting they fail to incite any genuine persuasion in the public.

But anything more than that? We're not allowed to say it. The risks are simply too high.

Jared Loughner proves that, in fact, by not proving it. Loughner clearly was not watching Glen Beck or listening to Rush Limbaugh or reading Sarah Palin's tweets. We know this for a fact. The leftist media even admits this, sometimes, when they have no other good options.

But that just proves that our provocations are even more dangerous. For if such provocations tilted the mind of a right-leaning politically-involved sort of Category 3 person, well, that's the paradigmatic situation you're looking for to prove your thesis. In that sort of situation, you'd have the proof you were looking for.

But -- follow the leftist logic here -- Loughner is not a Tea Partier, or a conservative, or even right leaning at all. This proves that not only can our provocations influence our own crazies (which is 60% of us, to hear them talk) but in fact are so potent they can even drive those who don't listen to us to kill.

Do you see that next argument taking shape? Taking shape? Having taken shape, I should say, past perfect. Krugman and all the rest of them, having called this as a deranged right-winger (and been proven wrong) simply make their argument more all-encompassing. They're no longer arguing that right-wing invective can have an unbalancing effect on right-wingers who hear it.

Their new argument is that right-wing invective can have an unbalancing effect on non-right-wingers -- left-wingers, even -- who don't hear it.

That's how insidious this all is. That's how dangerous this all is. Right wing chatter can now drive left-wingers who don't even hear it to kill people.

Ace of Spades



Tweedledee Logic

  1. Sarah Palin publishes a map of Congressional districts targeted for Republican wins in the midterm elections.
  2. A year later, as if on another planet (Planet Sciozo, to be frank) a person who has no association with Sarah Palin, who has never seen the map, who does not care about politics and who did not vote in the elections of 2010, shoots the Democratic Congresswoman from one of some 20 districts targeted for electoral takeover.
  3. Sarah Palin is responsible for the Congresswoman's shooting.



Tweedledum Logic

  1. It's just crazy not to accept as good the Democratic political agenda.
  2. Republicans don't accept as good the Democratic political agenda.
  3. Republicans must be crazy.
  4. The shooter in Tucson this past weekend sure seems crazy.
  5. The shooter must be a Republican.

You can stop there, or you can actually examine the LA Times' line of bs, as Matt Welch certainly has here. Up to you.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011


If It's All the Same to You

I think I'll sick with my idea of ordered liberty and my God given right to free speech, guaranteed by the First Amendment to our Constitution, and not temper my speech with a mind toward what an insane person might think of it. I don't care what an insane person might think of what I say, nor should I ever have to. I'm speaking, mainly, to sane people--some of the present company excepted.



More Vicious Lies

Even after we know (at least in our hearts, if not yet clinically) that the overwhelming cause of last weekend's tragic shootings was schizophrenic madness, there are still people blaming the Right in general and the Tea Party specifically. Like this a-hole, Jacob Weisberg, who writes in Slate thus:
It was the anti-government, pro-gun, xenophobic populism that flourishes in the dry and angry climate of Arizona. Extremist shouters didn't program Loughner, in some mechanistic way, to shoot Gabrielle Giffords. But the Tea Party movement did make it appreciably more likely that a disturbed person like Loughner would react, would be able to react, and would not be prevented from reacting, in the crazy way he did.
Vicious, asshat liar. There is absolutely no connection between the scrupulously law abiding, leave the site of the peaceful protest cleaner than it was, Tea Party protesters and this particular nut case. His obsession with the Congresswoman he shot first started in 2007 when she didn't answer his koan/question, a year before the Tea Party came into existence.

But what about Sarah Palin? Surely she did something to egg this guy on.
Palin went so far as to put a target on someone who subsequently got shot. Whether or not the man who fired the gun was inspired by Palin isn't the point. The point is that you shouldn't paint targets on people, even in metaphor, or jest.

They were not targets, you ignorant fool. The bulls-eye (used by the Democrats and Kos) is the target. The cross hairs inside a circle, with or without mil dots, is the targeting device. Sarah Palin's marks on the map were neither. It's so common knowledge now that to repeat it as a fact is another vicious lie. Where is Weisberg's wailing at Kos and the Democrats for their targeting of Republican districts? Not in this article. Not anywhere. There's more.

Again, none of this says that Tea Party caused the Tucson tragedy, only that its politics increased the odds of something like it happening.
Lie. Neither this dim bulb or anyone else knows whether hard ball politics has any effect on nut cases. No idea whatsoever. Furthermore, in 2007, when the smudged lens in the mad mind of the shooter turned to focus forever on the Congresswoman, there was no Tea Party. There were, however, lefty libels against the President then, the Orwellian named 9-11 truther movement, which continues to fuel contempt for the Republicans (and which finds its most fevered true believers on the left) by accusing the Bush Administration of mass murder. The shooter was a 9-11 truther. I wonder if Mr. Weisberg likes apples? I wonder how he likes them apples?



Thought of the Day

Actual violence isn’t necessary for the Left’s campaign to slander the Right, but it is useful. Former president Clinton, with the help of the left-leaning press, cynically pinned responsibility for the Oklahoma City bombing on “talk radio.” Because conservative talk shows expressed hostility to big government, he argued, they were creating a “climate of hate” that inspired Timothy McVeigh.

Strangely, the Left never perceived a link between the rhetoric of Al Gore and the violence of environmental-extremist “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, or, say, the anti-free-trade stance of American labor unions and the anti-globalization riots that have accompanied all of the IMF and World Bank meetings of the past several years.

Last year, liberal politicians and commentators urged the nation to refrain from jumping to conclusions when Maj. Nidal Hassan, shouting “Allahu Akbar,” gunned down 45 fellow soldiers (killing 13). But when it suits their preferred narrative, liberals jump most eagerly, and it must be said, contemptibly, to conclusions.

Mona Charon

Mona is saying that we ought to get actively psychotic people into hospitals for help. Compare that to liberal Richard Cohen who wants to repeal or amend the Second Amendment. Which one would be more effective in stopping another nut with a gun?


Monday, January 10, 2011


Inappropriate Thoughts on Tragedy

When I read the first accounts of the shooting in Tucson, AZ this past weekend, specifically that 15 to 20 shots were fired before the pause in shooting occurred (during which heroes risked their lives to save others and brought the shooter down), I immediately thought, "he used a Glock." I was right; it's probably a model 19.

But here's the weird part. According to reporters:

As deadly as the shooting was, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said it could have been worse but for the heroic actions of several bystanders.

Dupnik said a woman managed to knock a magazine of ammunition from the shooter's hands after he had emptied his first clip of 31 bullets and was attempting to reload. The sheriff's department identified the woman as Patricia Maisch.

The sheriff said the shooter managed to get another magazine into his gun, but a spring jammed or malfunctioned and the gun could not fire again.

During the pause, two men tackled the shooter and held him on the ground until law enforcement arrived, the sheriff said.

The first reports said that the shooter had two 30 round "extended" magazines (I can only find 32 or 33 round magazines) and also two "regular" 15 round magazines. He obviously used the first of the extended magazines and had the second one knocked from his hand by another hero (or heroine) and he was moving on to the "regular" magazines when the gun jammed. A Glock jammed. Extraordinary.

Real gun fans might well use that information to support a belief in the existence of a benevolent God. (I know that sounds lame in the face of this extreme human tragedy, but it indeed could have been much, much worse).



Thoughts of the Day

And as Byron York pointed out, if the Arizona gunman had shouted "Allahu Akhbar!" and left a YouTube manifesto proclaiming his intention to gun down a Congresswoman in pursuit of jihad and in honor of Bin Laden, the media would still be scratching its collective head as to his motivation.

But since he left jumbled lunatic ravings, they know Sarah Palin is to blame.

From which I infer what - that it is OK to categorize and demonize all right-wingers but not even extremist Muslims? Puzzling.

Tom McGuire

To paraphrase Justice Cardozo ("proof of negligence in the air, so to speak, will not do"), there is no such thing as responsibility in the air. Those who try to connect Sarah Palin and other political figures with whom they disagree to the shootings in Arizona use attacks on "rhetoric" and a "climate of hate" to obscure their own dishonesty in trying to imply responsibility where none exists. But the dishonesty remains.

To be clear, if you're using this event to criticize the "rhetoric" of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you're either: (a) asserting a connection between the "rhetoric" and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you're not, in which case you're just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?

Glenn Reynolds

As presented by port side demagogues . . .

Phase 1: Sarah Palin publishes a map.
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Gunfire.

Really, at the end of the day, they have nothing more than this to make their case that Palin is responsible for the shootings.

Pejman Yousefzadeh

The cross hairs inside a rifle scope do not extend beyond the optical tube. A circle with two lines crossing at right angles, which lines extend beyond the circle are, vis a vis maps, surveyor symbols, which are no more threatening than a banana. That ignorant and prejudiced people on the left called innocuous map symbols something else, and then imputed a raving schizophrenic's actions to their misinterpretations, says a lot more about them, none of it good, than it says about Sarah Palin and the so-called inflamed rhetoric of the right.

Roger Fraley, Jr.


Tuesday, January 04, 2011


Stuck In The Middle With You - Stealers Wheel - Gerry Rafferty - Dead at 63

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Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street--RIP


Monday, January 03, 2011


Discovery of the Year

No, this is not an upside down close up of the face of one of the aliens in District 9 (soon to return to the screen in District 10), but a detail of a recently discovered cave in Viet Nam, which is both massive and beautiful, as this article in National Geographic shows.

How did the Vietnamese not know about this?

I've been in a very large cave near Huntsville, AL. This place dwarfs that.


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