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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

But Kids Shouldn't Have Access to Guns!

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes:
Henderson, N.C. — A Henderson teenager shot and killed an intruder Thursday morning, according to the Vance County Sheriff's Office.

When deputies arrived at 586 S. Lynnbank Road, they found a man lying in the yard. Michael Anthony Henderson Jr., 19, had been shot in the chest with a shotgun, deputies said. He was taken to Maria Parham Medical Center where he died.

Deputies did not say which of two people home at the time -- teens ages 14 and 17 -- pulled the trigger, but no charges are expected against them or their parents.
Police are now looking for the deceased's accomplice. I wonder if in North Carolina he can be charged with murder, since someone died in the commission of the felony he was helping commit.

From the comments to the story:
According to other news sources, there was a 14 year old son and a 17 year old daughter home at the time. The son shot the intruder to protect his sister.
I'm sure Mr. Henderson was just a misunderstood boy hard at work getting his life on track.  According to this story:
Henderson appears on the Vance County court records system with a firearm charge and numerous driving infractions that had been due for hearings in District Court on Jan. 19 and March 15.

He also carried a record of numerous trespass, assault, affray, bodily injury and property damage charges against him, with offense dates spanning his late teen years including April and July of this year.

Henderson had been given a sentence of 16 hours community service for a Sept. 29, 2009, assault, then months later committed another assault on Feb. 23, 2010, for which he was sentenced to serve 30 days in jail.
Yup.  Choir boy.

UPDATE:  The 911 call.  Yup, the 14 year-old was the shooter.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Here We Go Again

In September of 2009 the website MomLogic posted a piece:  Gun Accidents Kill 500 Kids Each Year.  The gunblogosphere found it in May of 2010, courtesy of Damnum Absque Injuria.  Apparently a couple of propagandists journalists at the Denver Post recently discovered it, and took it as Gospel. Instapundit links to the blog Free Colorado where - professional journalist - Ari Armstrong did to the Denver Post writers what I did to the MomLogic column, only he went directly to the authors of the piece.  (I know I left a detailed comment there, but it's gone now.)

At least he got a retraction out of the Post. I still haven't seen Salon retract their much more outrageous "statistic" of 4,000 deaths a year.

And they keep telling us that the professionals have all these layers of editorial oversight, which is what makes them better than bloggers.

I don't bloody think so.

"OK, That Was Awesome!"

This is what terrifies them - the smile:

Those are screenshots from this CBS News piece about the increasing number of female shooters in the U.S. - up 47% since 2001, according to the piece.  The shooter is CBS's Katrina Szish, and I suspect that was her first experience with a firearm.

It probably won't be her last.

That's the smile you get from a new shooter - Every. Single. Time.

The anti's are terrified of that - the realization that shooting is fun. Or as the interview subjects put it, exciting, empowering, relaxing.

Also from the piece:
Katrina Szish, CBS: "A lot of people would not expect shooting to be a sport that women would be interested in. And a lot of people would say guns are masculine."

Lesa Ellanson, NRA certified shooting instructor: "It would depend on how you define femininity. I think a capable woman is the most feminine expression of power that there is."
Which reminded me of this post from quite a while back. Unfortunately, it's so old the links are broken, and the comments are gone, but I agree whole-heartedly with another subject of the CBS interview, Jill Kargman:
"I always dress up. I'm very traditional feminine in certain ways. But when I'm shooting a gun, I guess I feel empowered, and empowerment is sexy."
Damned straight.

"A fábrica está fechada."

Wretchard riffed recently about the decline in fertility among Western nations in If Tomorrow Comes, with several references to Mark Steyn's repeated observations about the negative population growth in Europe.  Richard, quoting Steyn, blames it on socialism,
The problem as Steyn succinctly puts it, is that socialism not only "runs out of other people's money", as Margaret Thatcher once put it. It simply runs out of people. Future historians, if there are any left, will puzzle over how this came about. The economists will have an easier time explaining it. Through some process, socialism has apparently increased the discount rate to the point where the future is consumed for the sake of the present. Not only is investment taxed to feed consumption, tomorrow is hocked to pay for today.

If the fiscal deficit is the direct monetary expression of this high discount rate, the collapsing population is its equivalent demographic expression. Both are saying the same thing, in different terms. In incentives terms, the future is no longer real; so people don't save up for it nor do they have any incentive to sacrifice for it.
I don't think it's quite that simple.  Take, for example, Brazil.  A recent piece in National Geographic, Brazil's Girl Power, explores how that nation's fertility rate dropped precipitously from 6.1 in 1960 to 1.86 in 2009. In Brazil,
where the Roman Catholic Church dominates, abortion is illegal (except in rare cases), and no official government policy has ever promoted birth control
this is a pretty astonishing change over what is essentially just a bit more than two generations. In addition:
And it's not simply wealthy and professional women who have stopped bearing multiple children in Brazil. There's a common perception that the countryside and favelas, as Brazilians call urban slums, are still crowded with women having one baby after another—but it isn't true.


In a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte, an unmarried 18-year-old affectionately watched her toddler son one evening as he roared his toy truck toward us; she loved him very much, the young woman said, but she was finished with childbearing. The expression she used was one I'd heard from Brazilian women before: "A fábrica está fechada." The factory is closed.
The National Geographic piece concentrates on two primary influences: Television, and culture. Specifically, the effect television has on culture.

An example of the effect:
Encountering women under 35 who've already had sterilization surgery is an everyday occurrence in Brazil, and they seem to have no compunctions about discussing it. "I was 18 when the first baby was born—wanted to stop there, but the second came by accident, and I am done," a 28-year-old crafts shop worker told me in the northeastern city of Recife, as she was showing me how to dance the regional two-step called the forró. She was 26 when she had her tubal ligation, and when I asked why she'd chosen irreversible contraception at such a young age—she's married, what if she and her husband change their minds?—she reminded me of son number two, the accident. Birth control pills made her fat and sick, she said. And in case I'd missed this part: She was done.

So why two? Why not four? Why not the eight your grandmother had? Always the same answer—"Impossible! Too expensive! Too much work!" With the facial expression, the widened eyes and the startled grin that I came to know well: It's the 21st century, senhora, are you nuts?
It's an interesting premise, convincingly presented.  Strongly recommended.

Wretchard concludes his piece:

Imagine there's no countries.
It isn't hard to do.
Nothing to kill or die for.
And no religion too.

And then the music stopped. This was the silent scene where we came in at the beginning of the screening: the churches closing at the rate of two a week; the factories closing even faster. What Lennon failed to grasp was that any society that had nothing it would sacrifice for would find nothing worth investing in. And so here we are, dragging on the end of our smokes, tipping over any bottles that still might contain some wine. Because the vineyards are barren and will stay that way. The ultimate problem with "living for today" is that tomorrow eventually comes.
With Brazil, and I suspect most, if not all of the Western world, "living for today" is pretty much the basis of the decline in birthrates. Children? "Impossible! Too expensive! Too much work!"

Not worth the investment. It's an economic choice, not necessarily a socialist one.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Quote of the Day - Social Justice Edition

What do you call it when someone steals someone else's money secretly? Theft. What do you call it when someone takes someone else's money openly by force? Robbery. What do you call it when a politician takes someone else's money in taxes and gives it to someone who is more likely to vote for him? Social Justice. -- Thomas Sowell, Random Thoughts

OK, Christmas is Over...

...back to the depressing, pessimistic stuff again. ;-)

First, watch this:

Trust me, if you haven't seen it, it's worth your time.

OK?  Now, watch this:

Both are examples of large numbers of people performing coordinated acts. The first is, in a word, beautiful.

The second, frankly, creeps me the hell out.

The first required literally weeks, months, and in the case of the organist, years of practice to make that performance come off. The second? Merely required a bunch of willing minions.

Human beings, for the most part, are herd creatures. We have, as a species, a need to belong to something, to be a member.

It's something I personally don't do well. I don't really grasp it. I've been asked several times why, if I like firearms so much, didn't I join the military? Simple - I wouldn't fit in, and I know it. Or I would, but I'd hate every second of it, which is essentially the same thing.

I watch hundreds, perhaps a couple thousand people doing what some disembodied voice tells them to do in a public park, and I cannot understand why. Yet I can understand the group performance of the Hallelujah Chorus. One is an exercise in mind-control. The other, an act of beauty.

But at the bottom, they both make use of the human need to belong.

And I cannot help but wonder if that voice had told those "two tribes" to kill each other, if some would not have tried it without thinking...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Grandma Got Indefinitely Detained

From the folks at Reason:

In October of 2008, when I asked Rev. Donald Sensing if he still believed what he wrote in 2003, that:
When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free.
He responded:
The demise of freedom in this country has accelerated even faster than I imagined back in 2003.


The only difference between the outcomes of McCain's or Obama's presidency is how quickly they will accelerate the robbery of the people's rights, not whether they will.
No argument here.

Oh, and I am TJIC. I guess that makes me a domestic terrorist now?

Quote of the Day - One Can But Hope Edition

From The Corruption of America, linked yesterday:
What gives me confidence for the future? Gun sales, for one thing. U.S. citizens legally own around 270 million firearms – about 88 guns per 100 citizens (including children) today.

That's a hard population to police without its consent. America is the No. 1 country in the world as ranked by the number of guns per-capita. That plays a major factor in the kind of government you will see take root in America. Things might go too far in this country for a while... And I'd argue they've been going the wrong way for too long. But the government can only take things so far before they'll be faced with a very angry, well-armed opposition.

If the government attempts to take our guns... my opinion would change immediately. But that's one right the Supreme Court has been strengthening recently. It gives me hope that most people in America still understand that the right to bear arms has little to do with protecting ourselves from crime and everything to do with protecting ourselves from government...
RTWT. I mean it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

If You Read Nothing Else This Weekend... The Corruption of America by Porter Stansberry.  It's an überpost, and it's pretty much a distillation of what I've been writing here since 2003, but it's absolutely worth your time.

The situation destabilized the entire city. Most of the people who could afford to leave did. Over the next 18 months, 140,000 upper- and middle-class residents – almost all of them white – left the city.

And so, you might ask... after five years of centralized planning, higher taxes, and a fleeing population, what did the government decide to do with its grand experiment? You'll never guess...
I would. "The philosophy cannot be wrong! Do it again, only HARDER!"

Tough history coming, indeed.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thomas Sowell: "What are they Buying?"

I've begun reading Thomas Sowell's Dismantling America, a collection of his short pieces. I just finished "What are they Buying?" and wanted to share it with you. Here it is in video. It's absolutely worth your 4:45.

What are the Beltway politicians buying with all the hundreds of billions of dollars they are spending? They are buying what politicians are most interested in -- power.
If you're running an Apple product, the YouTube link is:

Monday, December 19, 2011

What HE Said

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother blogging anymore.  Mostly Cajun says exactly what I would have, only better because he did it in a lot fewer words.

Dogbert Explains the "Affordable Housing" Debacle

Sunday, December 18, 2011

How Do You Feel About a Central AZ Blogshoot? (Bumped)

For some time in late January?  (Poll added.)

There's a bunch of us now, and I haven't met half of you. Just a short list - Let me know who I've missed in comments and I'll add them:

Great Satan Inc.
Exurban League
Sandcastle Scrolls
Guffaw in AZ
Dustin's Gun Blog
Gator in the Desert
Arizona Shooter
Empty Mags
Eric Shelton
Cowboy Blob
Desert Rat
Macker's World
Religion Press
Bill of Grace
Nine Pound Sledgehammer
Primeval Papa 
Vuurwapen Blog
An Inconvenient Man
Cap'n Bob and the Damsel
Of Arms and the Law
Void Where Prohibited

That's seventeen twenty-six.  Remember, they don't all have to be gun bloggers, just bloggers who might be interested in going to a shoot.  Who else?

BUMPED: It looks like the last Sunday in January is the winner.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Can't Say I Disagree...

This Made Me LOL - Quote of the Day matter how highbrow your tastes, sometimes you need to just shut up and eat your awesome. -- Tam, I'm impressed.
From her review of Larry Correia's Hard Magic and Spellbound.  Good advice for all occasions, though.  (How does she do that?)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Quote of the WEEK

If a mad scientist were to repair to his laboratory to design a machine that would make white liberals uncomfortable, that machine would be Thomas Sowell
From Thomas Sowell: Peerless Nerd in the December issue of Commentary magazine. By all means, read the whole thing.

Another excerpt from the article, and an example of what the QotW is talking about:
(A)s Sowell reminds us, reality is not optional; facts must be accounted for. It is not as though he is in possession of secret, arcane knowledge. For instance, these facts are easily documented: Gun-control laws began to be passed during times when crime was declining, rather than climbing. Crime began climbing after gun-control laws were passed. Places with very strict gun-control laws typically have more crime than do places without them—a fact that holds true between countries and between regions of the United States. There is little or no relationship between the rigorousness of gun-control laws and criminals’ access to guns. Many countries have lots of guns but relatively few murders, while others have few guns but relatively many murders. Swimming pools kill many more people in accidents than guns do. You do not have to be a great scholar to look at those facts and ask: What is the point of gun-control laws?
ETA:  Dr. Sowell put in another appearance on Uncommon Knowledge back in October.  He discusses his latest book, The Thomas Sowell Reader, the subject of the Commentary piece.  You can watch it here.

"Always listen to experts.

They’ll tell you what can’t be done and why. Then do it." - R.A. Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

So a Bloomberg publication runs a pretty positive story on the increase in gun ownership among women, but - being objective journalists - they have to get a soundbite from the opposition, to wit:
Those Americans who have acquired handguns for protection are living with "serious delusions," says Caroline Brewer, a spokeswoman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. She contends that few are trained rigorously enough to deploy their weapons in the shock and heat of an attack, that they'll shoot innocent bystanders, that more times than not their firearms will be turned against them.

"To suggest all these guns make the world safer is pure fantasy," she says.
Really? Let's look at some "fantasy" from just the past couple of days, shall we?

First up, we have a blog report of a defensive gun use by a woman:
Short version: Cee shot at a home invader, missed, but successfully convinced him to run like hell.


Cee’s sleep schedule has been off this week, so she was still awake around 1:3o in the morning, when she heard something at the back door. She thought it might be the furnace making odd noises, so she peeked around that corner, down the hallway with the furnace, laundry room, and back door, and saw the doorknob jiggling.

My brother and I were fast asleep, so she chose to go grab his handgun instead of waking either of us—an excellent decision because, when she got back to the hallway with that firearm, the bad guy’s head was through the door.


So, the bad guy’s head was at the bottom of the doorway because he was standing on the ground. When he saw Cee, they stared at each other for what she said felt like forever. It wasn’t too hard to see the dude because, even though the back-porch light wasn’t on, there was a kitchen light shining partly into the hallway.

Then he resumed trying to open the door and climb into the trailer. Apparently, he didn’t notice that she had a handgun at her side. That’s when she shot at him. She’d used Matt’s 9mm only a couple of times before, as it’s a rather-new addition to their little collection, but she didn’t have any trouble flipping off the thumb safety or aiming. The hollow point hit the mostly closed door, about six inches to the right of the bad guy’s head.

He vanished.
Anecdote #1.

Anecdote #2:
PHOENIX - Police say a suspect who was shot in the backyard of a south Phoenix home Monday afternoon has died from his injuries.

Phoenix police Officer James Holmes said the 29-year-old man was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries after being shot by a female homeowner.

Holmes said what sounded like a young child called 911 stating that her mother had shot a man at the home near 45th Street and Roeser Road.


Holmes said the incident started earlier in the day when the woman saw two males in the backyard around noon.

She called her husband who told her to get out a gun, Holmes said.

Around 3 p.m. the woman saw two males in her backyard again and went out to check.

Holmes said one of the males pulled out a weapon and pointed it at the woman.

She reportedly raised her own weapon and fired at the man, striking him at least once.

Holmes said the suspect's weapon was recovered at the scene and at this point it looks like a case of self defense.

The woman and the girl were not hurt, Holmes said.
Anecdote #3:

Note that the woman had just purchased her .38 and had never fired it, yet she was able to defend herself against an attacker who continued to try and enter her home after being fired upon.

In none of these cases were the women apparently "rigorously trained" - especially not in the last one. In none of these cases did they shoot innocent bystanders, and in none of these cases were their weapons taken and turned on them. Granted, the plural of anecdote is not data, but would these three women have been better off disarmed?  Caroline Brewer, Brady Campaign expert, once again proves Heinlein's Rule:  listen to the "experts," then do the exact opposite of what they advise.  Brewer is the delusional one living a fantasy.

39 Years Ago Today...

Eugene Cernan left the last of these in the lunar soil:

I was ten years old.

We also left behind six American flags, six lunar module descent stages, three lunar rovers zero-emission electric vehicles, three retroreflective laser targets, the crashed remains of six ascent stages and five Saturn S-IVB third stages (what, you thought we left them in lunar orbit?), along with tools and trash and other miscellaneous and sundry items, including a two golf balls.

And 39 years later, we don't have the capability of going back, much less the will.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011


Capitalist Pig and Mz. VRWC attended last Sunday's Bowling Pin shoot and took some video.  They sent me some of it, and most of it has me in it, shooting.  This one, for example, is Major and I'm shooting my Kimber:

That's me in the center, if you couldn't tell.  This was early, before it warmed up.

Here's the Minor semi-final, with Mz. VRWC on the right and Jim Burnett on the left.  This one was tight, but in the video replay it's obvious that Mz. VRWC won by a fraction of a second:

Here's one where having those extra two rounds in the Smith 327 made the difference.  That's me on the right:

Here's one where having the extra two rounds were no help at all:

And, finally, the one class that I seem to do very well in - .22 rimfire:

That's Capitalist Pig in the center. Thanks for the video!

Next match is January 8.  Hope to see you there!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wise Ladies

And words of wisdom.

From Breda:
Carry your gun - it's a lighter burden than regret.
From Tam:
If you don't have your own pistol, you may have to wait the rest of your life for the police to bring theirs.

Quote of the Day - Mark Steyn Edition

From his NRO piece Statist Delusions:
Europeans have assured their citizens of cradle-to-grave welfare since the end of the Second World War. This may or may not be an admirable notion, but, both economically and demographically, the bill has come due. Greece is being bailed out by Germany in order to save the eurozone but to do so requires the help of the IMF, which is principally funded by the United States. The entire Western world resembles the English parlor game “Pass the Parcel,” in which a gift wrapped in multiple layers of gaudy paper is passed around until the music stops and a lucky child removes the final wrapping from the shrunken gift to discover his small gift. Except that, in this case, underneath all the bulky layers, there is no there there: Broke nations are being bailed out by a broke transnational organization bankrolled by a broke superpower in order to save a broke currency. Good luck with that.
That's it in a nutshell.

Match Report - Bowling Pins 12/11

Well, my plans for Revolver Domination didn't pan out too well.

It was a chilly morning, but at least this time it wasn't raining.  Ten people showed up, four of us with revolvers, all but one with .22's.  A bunch of regulars didn't make it, but several new shooters did, and one couple, the lovely and talented Capitalist Pig and his wife Mz. VRWC drove down from Phoenix to make the match.  Once again, EUropellet shooters outnumbered those of us who prefer God's Pistol Caliber as designed by John Moses Browning (PBUH).  And, once again, we had a variety of winners.

John Higgins once again took Minor with his EAA Witness.  His son Travis took Revolver with his Python and unerring aim.  (I have to work on the "unerring aim" part.  Eight shots don't help if four of them are misses.)  I took .22 rimfire again with my MkII Target, and Jim Burnett with his Clark Custom 1911 pin gun took Major and then beat John Higgins with his Witness to be overall match winner.  9mm is not always faster!

Capitalist Pig and Mz. VRWC shot some video, so I might get a chance to post that in a day or so.

The match started on time at 0820, and we were all finished by 1100.  I think it's safe to say that everyone had a good time.  A big thanks to everyone who helped to set pins and tear down after the match.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pole Dancing

A few weeks ago, Lissa posted a video of Jenye Butterfly doing a pole dance performance, stating:
This is not pole dancing, this is Cirque du Freaking Soleil!!
Two weeks ago, a member of posed the question, Pole Dancing as an Olympic Sport?

Well, why not?

And there would certainly be a Men's Division....


Quote of the Day - Government Edition

Why is it that you have to take a series of tests to drive a car, but there is NO testing requirement to drive a government, which is far more dangerous? -- Historian
From the comment thread to Edumacation, We Don't Haz It.

Safety Tip of the Day: Electricity and Acetylene do not Mix

Found this via a trade publication:  How to Turn Your FJ Inside Out

The story:
So my time almost came to an end this morning... im very lucky to be alive.

First of all, GO HUG YOUR WIFE/HUBBY and tell them you love them.

i had an acetylene bottle in my truck, the valve was bumped so slightly and over night the truck filled with the gas. i noticed the smell, and opened the doors to air out the truck. i drove the truck out of the garage to get some more air movement. i went to roll the pass side window down and as soon as i touched the power windows. BAM. with me in the truck. i lost all hearing out of my right ear and got a scratch on the back of my head. all things considering, im alive.

so now ive got the question out to toyota about a 2012 TT. 125 to canada only, 15 in standard. i want a standard...

pictures tell 1000 words.

dont take any minutes or seconds you have for granted... it may be your last...

peace everyone,
Apparently he lost the ability to use the SHIFT key, too.  More (and bigger) pictures at the link.

Just, DAMN!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Remember "Anagnorisis and Peripeteia"?

That's the post I wrote about Mike Rowe's TED speech about his work on Dirty Jobs.  Mike discussed in that video one of the Dirty Jobs episodes in which he worked on a farm castrating lambs.  It's a relatively graphic, funny, and interesting video, but the key part was where he talked about castrating lambs . . . with his teeth.

Turns out, that might not be such a great idea.

Weird what you stumble across on the web...

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Edumacation, We Don't Haz It

I stumbled across this post at Pithy Title Goes Here, and had to explore further. It seems that an adult took a standardized test for 10th graders, and failed miserably. What was at fault? Why, the test, of course!
"I won’t beat around the bush," he wrote in an email. "The math section had 60 questions. I knew the answers to none of them, but managed to guess ten out of the 60 correctly. On the reading test, I got 62% . In our system, that's a "D", and would get me a mandatory assignment to a double block of reading instruction.

He continued, "It seems to me something is seriously wrong. I have a bachelor of science degree, two masters degrees, and 15 credit hours toward a doctorate.

"I help oversee an organization with 22,000 employees and a $3 billion operations and capital budget, and am able to make sense of complex data related to those responsibilities.

"I have a wide circle of friends in various professions. Since taking the test, I've detailed its contents as best I can to many of them, particularly the math section, which does more than its share of shoving students in our system out of school and on to the street. Not a single one of them said that the math I described was necessary in their profession.

"It might be argued that I’ve been out of school too long, that if I'd actually been in the 10th grade prior to taking the test, the material would have been fresh. But doesn't that miss the point? A test that can determine a student's future life chances should surely relate in some practical way to the requirements of life. I can’t see how that could possibly be true of the test I took."
Wow, a multi-degreed professional couldn't do 10th grade math!

I guess I shouldn't snark so much about "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader."

Who was this highly credentialed person?
The man in question is Rick Roach, who is in his fourth four-year term representing District 3 on the Board of Education in Orange County, Fl., a public school system with 180,000 students. Roach took a version of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, commonly known as the FCAT, earlier this year.


Roach, the father of five children and grandfather of two, was a teacher, counselor and coach in Orange County for 14 years. He was first elected to the board in 1998 and has been reelected three times. A resident of Orange County for three decades, he has a bachelor of science degree in education and two masters degrees: in education and educational psychology. He has trained over 18,000 educators in classroom management and course delivery skills in six eastern states over the last 25 years.
(My emphasis.)  Surely it must be the test!

I'd certainly like to see the questions.  Let me quote once again from The George Orwell Daycare Center:
"There is really nothing very mysterious about why our public schools are failures. When you select the poorest quality college students to be public school teachers, give them iron-clad tenure, a captive audience, and pay them according to seniority rather than performance, why should the results be surprising?

"Ours may become the first civilization destroyed, not by the power of our enemies, but by the ignorance of our teachers and the dangerous nonsense they are teaching our children. In an age of artificial intelligence, they are creating artificial stupidity.

"In a democracy, we have always had to worry about the ignorance of the uneducated. Today we have to worry about the ignorance of people with college degrees." - Thomas Sowell


"It is only from a special point of view that 'education' is a failure. As to its own purposes, it is an unqualified success. One of its purposes is to serve as a massive tax-supported jobs program for legions of not especially able or talented people. As social programs go, it’s a good one. The pay isn’t high, but the risk is low, the standards are lenient, entry is easy, and job security is pretty fact, the system is perfect, except for one little detail. We must find a way to get the children out of it.”—Richard Mitchell, the Underground Grammarian.
As Glenn Reynolds puts it, "Credentialed, not educated."

I'm not discounting the possibility that the questions themselves are ridiculous, after all, I've had some experience with "new math" myself.  Again from George Owell Daycare Center:
In 1960: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four fifths the price. What is his profit?

In 1970: (traditional math): A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 80% of the price. What is his profit in dollars?

In 1970: (new math): A logger exchanges set L of lumber for set M of money. The cardinality of set M is 100 and each element is worth $1. Make 100 dots representing the elements of set M. The set C of costs contains 20 fewer points than set M. Represent set C as a subset of set M, and answer the following question: What is the cardinality of the set P of profits?

In 1980: A logger sells a truckload of wood for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

In 1990: (Outcome-Based Education): By cutting down beautiful forest trees, a logger makes $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class discussion: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel?

In 2000: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $120. How does Arthur Andersen determine that his profit margin is $60?

In 2010: El hachero vende un camion carga por $100. La cuesta de productiones...
So I want to see the questions.  But somehow I don't think that would explain the whole problem.

And I really wonder how Mr. Roach would do on the American Civics Literacy Quiz.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Fast & Felonious

I haven't said much about the federal government's "Fast & Furious" program.  Scanning the archives, I think there are only three posts wherein I mention it, and one of them is congratulating David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh for getting acknowledged as real live authorized journalists for their truly outstanding work in exposing the crimes.  Most of what I'm going to say here is mere repetition of what David and Mike have been reporting all along, but I want some recording of these crimes on this blog.

And it was criminal.

The vast majority of news coverage still calls it a "botched operation" where weapons "slipped across" the border and were "lost," but the fact is the weapons were intentionally allowed across the border with no expectation of tracking them until they were recovered at crime scenes, and there is evidence that tax dollars paid for at least some of them.

Less mentioned are the allegations that "Fast & Furious" was not an exceptional program, that there were other, similar programs operated out of Texas and Florida, with the Florida operation moving weapons to MS-13 in Honduras called "Operation Castaway."  Even less mentioned is the allegation that the U.S. State Dept., through its "direct commercial sales" program - the same program that is used to provide weapons and materiel to friendly governments like Mexico - provided military weapons directly to the Zetas cartel with no straw-purchase middlemen whatsoever.

And now it is reported that over the three years of Obama's first term, "direct commercial sales" to the Mexican government have increased significantly from the Bush era, some ten times greater in 2009 over 2006, and that a significant portion of those weapons have ended up "diverted" into cartel hands.

How significant?

Well "Fast & Furious" was responsible for something on the close order of 2,500 weapons. The (admitted) "direct commercial sales" diversions are on the order of 9,000 weapons.

And the .gov hasn't released information on how many weapons ostensibly went to the Mexican government through the "direct commercial sales" route in 2010 and so far this year.

In one of the few posts I did on F&F, I quoted an op-ed from the local alt.weekly that postulated:
A high-ranking member of the Sinaloa cartel has testified that his organization received from U.S. and Mexican authorities guarantees of immunity and all the weapons it would need to crush its competitors — an ongoing initiative that's resulted in an incredible escalation of violence in Mexico over the past few years.

It's quite possible that "Fast and Furious" was not a sting at all, but was intended to aid the Sinaloans in their efforts to recapture the quieter "good ol' days" when they enjoyed a virtual monopoly.
And now we have email evidence that the massive multiple-sales of arms to known straw-purchasers by Arizona gun dealers at the encouragement of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives were to be used as an excuse for more gun control regulations.

As one commenter put it,
The more the news reveals about Fast & Furious (& Handgrenades!) the more that I think: Chicago Way. The corruption is so thick you can't flush enough toilets to get it down to the gulf of Mexico.
In high-level politics, there's never just one reason anything happens, there are layers.  Heads need to (figuratively) roll over this.  Enough across the border have already done so.  But there need to be many high .gov officials in prison cells over this.

Of course there won't be.  Just like Rod Blagojevich won't spend 14 years in prison.  After November, 2012, I doubt you'll hear another peep about Fast & Furious from the legacy media.  It'll be as though it never happened.  Eric Holder might - might - not be Attorney General, but that's the most that will happen.

It's a Meme!

First Mike Rowe, then John Ratzenberger, then Jay Leno, now City Journal has an in-depth look at the lack of skilled workers in industry. Pullquote:
"The ability to make things in America is at risk," says Jeannine Kunz, director of professional development for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in Dearborn, Michigan. If the skilled-labor shortage persists, she fears, "hundreds of thousands of jobs will go unfilled by 2021."

The shortage of industrial skills points to a wide gap between the American education system and the demands of the world economy. For decades, Americans have been told that the future lies in high-end services, such as law, and "creative" professions, such as software-writing and systems design. This has led many pundits to think that the only real way to improve opportunities for the country's middle class is to increase its access to higher education.

That attitude is a relic of the post–World War II era, a time when a college education almost guaranteed you a good job. These days, the returns on higher education, particularly on higher education gained outside the elite schools, are declining, as they have been for about a decade.
I ran across something in the archives a couple of days ago that I want to repeat here. It was an excerpt from a 1974 interview by Eric Sevareid of Leo Rosten on the topic of "higher education." Remember, this was 1974, considerably longer than a mere decade ago:
We're practically using the colleges as a dump into which to put youngsters we do not know what to do with. There are today 45 million people between the age of roughly 7 and 24. Their parents don't know what to do with them. They want them to go to college and they often think that they're being trained for jobs. But they're not getting training for useful employment.

Someone has said that education is what remains after everything you've learned is forgotten. The purpose of educating young people is not only to illuminate their spirit and enrich their memory bank but to teach them the pleasures of thinking and reading. How do you use the mind? As a teacher, I always was astonished by the number of people in the classroom who wanted to learn as against those who just wanted to pass. I took pride in my ability to communicate. Generally "communicate" meant one thing. Now the young think "communicate" means "Agree with me!"

The student rebellions of the 1960's exposed the fact that our entire educational system has forgotten the most important thing it can do prior to college: indoctrinate. I believe in the indoctrination of moral values. There's a lot to be said for being good and kind and decent. You owe a duty to those who have taken care of you. You owe a duty to whatever it is that God or fate gave you - to use your brain or your heart. It's senseless to whine, to blame society for every grievance, or to assume that the presence of a hammer means you have to go out to smash things.

The young want everything. They think they an get everything swiftly and painlessly. They are far too confident. They don't know what their problems are, not really. They talk too much. They demand too much. Their ideas have not been tempered by the hard facts of reality. They're idealists, but they don't sense that it's the easiest thing in the world to be an idealist. It doesn't take any brains. This was said by Aristotle 2,300 years ago. Mencken once said that an idealist is someone who, upon observing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, assumes that it will also make better soup.
Hell, most of 'em can't make soup if it doesn't come out of a can.  But they can make drum circles in public parks!

Bowling Pin Match, Sunday December 11

Usual place, the Tucson Rifle Club action range.

Time: 8:00 AM sign-up, first rounds downrange about 8:20

Handguns only: .22 rimfire, centerfire revolver (.38 caliber minimum), semi-autos (9mm minimum). Single-shots, if you're a masochist.

You're welcome to shoot your revolver against the semi-auto crowd, but we think it's more fun to shoot wheelgun-vs.-wheelgun.

Cost: $10 for the first gun, $5 for any additional guns. Bring about 100 rounds for each. You probably won't need 'em all unless you're really good at missing fast, but 50 probably won't be enough.

Mead Strikes Again

As I've mentioned before, my first exposure to Walter Russell Mead came from his seminal 1999 essay The Jacksonian Tradition, brought to my attention by Steven Den Beste.  Take time to read that, if you haven't already. 

Since then Mr. Mead has become a blogger, posting at Via Meadia at The American Interest, and he's done some excellent stuff.  Yesterday's essay is an outstanding extension of The Jacksonian Tradition, and applies to the current Republican presidential primary race.  Entitled The Age of Hamilton, It too is worth your time.  Excerpt:
President Obama will run for re-election as a Hamiltonian and a custodian of the 20th century progressive state. He will argue that modest and careful reforms, trimming a few excesses here, making some innovative policy shifts there, can keep the old ship afloat in the twenty first century. Like JFK, he will argue that the best and brightest can develop government policy that will guide the nation to a brighter future through collective action and state investments.

Governor Romney, so far as one can discern, is at his core a Hamiltonian as well, but he has less sympathy than President Obama and the Democrats for the blue synthesis of Hamiltonianism and social democracy. He stands roughly in a line of Republican presidents like Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and George H. W. Bush who accepted the basic elements of the progressive state. Former Speaker Gingrich is also a Hamiltonian, but much more than either Romney or Obama he believes that Hamiltonianism needs to be re-imagined for our times. Congressman Paul is the one Jeffersonian in the race, and of the four he seems the least likely to be elected in 2012.

Monday, December 05, 2011

For the Recoil Junkie

The .700 WTF being fired:

Who Says Dilbert Isn't Topical?

The Nursery Rhyme was Wrong

Big fleas have little fleas,
Upon their backs to bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas,
and so, ad infinitum.

Found at today:
I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.
Thomas Jefferson
Letter to William Ludlow
September 6, 1824
Every single damned one of the bloodsuckers, from tiniest to largest, suck on the host, not on each other.

We Might All Need This in a Few Years

The Global Village Construction Set, "the fifty most important machines it takes for modern life to exist":

Friday, December 02, 2011

Support Soldiers' Angels

And maybe win something nice.

Linoge over at Walls of the City is holding a contest:
The Rules:

How to Earn a Ticket: 

1.  Every five dollars you donate directly to Soldiers’ Angels nets you one numbered ticket.
2.  Every five dollars you spend in their Dollar Days or Amazon shops (where the products are shipped directly to them) gets you one ticket.
3.  Every five dollars you spend in the Angels’ Store for any product that is shipped to "ANY Hero", "ANY Wounded Soldier", or "A SPECIFIC Soldier" earns you one ticket.
4.  DO NOT SEND ME MONEY.  All money and goods should go directly to Soldiers’ Angels
5.  DO SEND ME THE RECEIPT.  Anonymize it however you like, and use the actual receipt or a screencap, but email from an address I can reach you back at.  Send the receipt/proof to “linoge (at) wallsofthecity (dot) net”. 
6.  Within 24 hours, you should receive an email from me indicating your ticket numbers.  If you do not, feel free to email me again or comment here.

How We Will Do the Drawing:

1.  The drawing will occur in decreasing fair market value (in other words, most-expensive item first, according to MSRP). 
2.  You can only win once. 
3.  When you send me your receipt, please indicate how many tickets you want put in each pool. 
4.  A single drawing will take place for each prize (currently 12), not each pool. 
5.  Sometime on 01JAN12, with Better Half watching over my shoulder, I will hit up and generate however many numbers I need.  I will email the winners that day.
Go check out the various goodies he's giving away. If you can't use 'em you can re-gift 'em!  I've got $50 in Amazon credit I think I'll donate to the cause.

Quote of the Day - Education Edition

Another one from Tam:
Look, without getting into my usual rants about public education (in which I point out that the adjective "public" modifies the noun "school" the same way it does "transportation" or "restroom": serving as a warning that it is filthy and full of junkies and criminals,) can we agree that the school board has larger fish to fry than this minnow? After all, what good does it do to be able to laboriously copy out "See Spot run" in the most elegant of scripts if you haven't successfully been taught to read it in the first place?
UPDATE: This one from Tam is better, and would have won had I seen it first:
Central governments have managed to turn murder from a hobby pursued at home by individual craftsmen into a wholesale industry churning out slipshod and substandard corpses in numbers that can’t be read without sounding like Carl Sagan.
It's connection to education? We should learn from our past.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Anybody Used a Sight Mark Sight?

It looks like they make a clone of the Burris FastFire II.  (Hell, for all I know, Bushnell markets the Sight Mark piece under their own label.)

I'm thinking seriously about getting one for the TRR8, but I'd like some user feedback first.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tough History Coming

Yeah, there's a whole long list of posts here under that label, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I think it's Ayn Rand's oncoming train.

I've concluded that it really doesn't matter much who triumphs in next November's snout-count, our President and all our Congressweasels aren't going to pull our chestnuts out of the flames - they're just going to keep pouring coal - sorry - sustainable cellulose fiber on the fire.

In Europe the EU is about to crumble, but our banks have decided to try to help "save" them from themselves.  Yeah.  That'll work. I've seen a lot more Titanic references in relation to the U.S. and world economies lately. The iceberg may very well be the mound of Euro debt that Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal or even France are impaling themselves upon. Mixing metaphors further, there seems to be a long stack of dominoes that The Anointed™ have been placing oh-so-carefully for the last four or five decades just waiting for that first one to tip over.

And bear in mind, whether you like it or not ours is a global economy. When one collapses, the rest will feel it, and it will be painful.

In Greece there have been riots over "austerity measures." In England there have been riots over ... what, exactly? Oh, yes: because they were "good fun"! We've got "Occupy Wall Street" idiots rioting in Oakland. If our Congressweasels do try for "austerity measures" here, do you doubt there'll be widespread rioting?  And immediate appeasement?

Meanwhile the current Administration has blocked the "shovel ready" development of an oil pipeline from Canada's oil sands to the U.S., and is prepared to unleash the mighty power of the EPA on companies developing oil and gas deposits in the Bakken and Marcellus formations.

Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and somebody (*cough*Israel*cough*) seems to be throwing monkey wrenches into their mechanisms. But you have to wonder if it's just not enough. I mean, Pakistan already has nukes, and they're pretty pissed off at us right now. Plus China has given us an ultimatum: "Any Attack on Pakistan Would be Construed as an Attack on China".

I look at the world, and I cannot help but assume that we're just fucking doomed. We're apparently way overdue for another massive die-off, but Mother Nature hasn't come up with that elusive superbug, nor have we figured out just what it'll take to motivate us into throwing nukes at each other - yet. Our energy supplies haven't run out, but unless we stop shutting down drilling and mining, that's going to happen. We've already proven that wind and solar aren't going to cut it. Nuclear holds the most promise, but after Fukushima, there's a snowball's chance in hell that any new reactors will get built before the turn of the next century.

And our government has concluded that if you have guns, ammo, seven days worth of food, or are missing a couple of fingers, you might be a terrorist and they should be able to abduct you, take you out of the country and hold you indefinitely without charges.

Good thing this wasn't in effect when Richard Jewell was a suspect in the Olympic Park bombing. He'd have probably died well before the age of 44.  I'm sure there are many more we've not heard of in the intervening years.

In December of 2003 Donald Sensing wrote:
When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free.
I asked him in October of 2008 if his opinion had changed any. His response, in part:
Yes, most definitely it has. The demise of freedom in this country has accelerated even faster than I imagined back in 2003.


The only difference between the outcomes of McCain's or Obama's presidency is how quickly they will accelerate the robbery of the people's rights, not whether they will.
One author of the bill in question above is John McCain.

I will once again repeat the apocryphal but descriptive ("fake, but accurate" if you will) quotation attributed to Alexander Frasier Tytler regarding democracies:
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by dictatorship.

The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith

From spiritual faith to great courage

From courage to liberty

From liberty to abundance

From abundance to selfishness

From selfishness to complacency

From complacency to apathy

From apathy to dependency

From dependency back again into bondage
According to the latest statistics, more than one-third of the total wages and salaries paid in the U.S. come from .gov payouts. If that's not dependency, what is?  So the next step is...

But hey, the wealthy have made their separate peace and are planning for the collapse. I guess they don't have to worry about Uncle Sam thinking they're terrorists or anything. They won't do anything so gauche as stockpile MRE's.

I don't fault them. In their position, I'd probably do the same. But I'm not looking forward to a return to feudalism, that's for sure. This peasant intends to remain armed and free. There is a reason the Second Amendment was written, and it didn't have anything to do with "sporting purposes."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

First Mike Rowe, now Jay Leno

Found at Classical Values.

Unsafe Gun Handling

Looks like Paul Taylor is going to run with this theme for a bit:


Quote of the Day - Instapundit Edition

I remember when "Insane Clown Posse" was just the name of a band, and not a description of our political class.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

We're Winning

Read the latest Wapsi Square strip, then read the comments.

This is hardly the first appearance of a firearm in Paul Taylor's strip, but it's the first time I've seen one fired by a main character. And note that Monica has excellent trigger discipline!


My new revolver was delivered to the gun shop today.  The US Postal Service notified me by email.  However, the dealer didn't get it into his Bound Book today, so I couldn't pick it up.  I have to wait until Monday.  The brass and bullets showed up on Wednesday.  The moon clips showed up on Tuesday, but not the tool to load and unload the clips.  That's on backorder.  I picked up a pound of Alliant's Power Pistol this afternoon, so I'll be loading a hundred .38+P rounds for testing - for next weekend.

I will be able to get some practice in before December's bowling pin match, but I really wanted to take it to the range tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"...when a long train of abuses and usurpations..."

Back in August of 2009 I wrote Restoring the Lost Constitution. In that piece I quoted a bit from an Orson Scott Card novel:
(America) was a nation created out of nothing - nothing but a set of ideals that they never measured up to. Now and then they had great leaders, but usually nothing but political hacks, and I mean right from the start. Washington was great, but Adams was paranoid and lazy, and Jefferson was as vile a scheming politician as a nation has ever been cursed with.


America shaped itself with institutions so strong that it could survive corruption, stupidity, vanity, ambition, recklessness, and even insanity in its chief executive.
and asked the question, "But can it survive enmity?"

Gerard Van der Leun now addresses that question in his piece, Presence of Malice: Against the Conservative Portrait of the President. You'll note that it expands upon the point of last Saturday's Quote of the Day, that also came from Van der Leun's site.

For that which we are about to receive may we be truly thankful...

Monday, November 21, 2011

This is What I'm Talking About

Breda's other half (no, that's not a "short" joke) Mike has written a three-piece (so far) essay on the divide in our culture, entitled Concord Bridge or Fort Sumter. I recommend you read all three parts.

I can't find fault with it.

ETA:  Read this too.

What HE Said

Alan Caruba on global systemic failure.  Go.  Read.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

And This is Why the Party's Over

Quote of the... well, end, I suppose:
The Republicans more or less follow the laws and constitutional procedures, the Democrats deliberately and consciously break them. But the Republicans, while they complain incessantly about the Democrats, never identify this underlying fact. Why? Because that would show that the system is no longer legitimate. And the function of the Republicans, as "patriotic, conservative Americans," is to uphold the goodness and legitimacy of the system, a legitimacy which rests on the belief that everyone in American politics shares the same basic principles and loyalties. So the Republicans, as defenders of the system and its presumed basic unity, cannot expose what the Democrats are. If they exposed it, politics would be replaced by open war between two radically incompatible parties and America as we know it would come to an end. -- Lawrence Auster, View from the Right, Kagan's non-recusal and what it means
Found at Van der Leun's. I've been saying it for years. So have others. This is a realization that most people will not be able to avoid much longer, regardless of the education system, the media, and the .gov. Sooner or later Mr. and Ms. MiddleAmerica are finally going to say "ENOUGH!"

Friday, November 18, 2011

National Ammo Day

Saturday is National Ammo Day. My contribution this year is going to have to be the 500 Speer 158 grain .357 SWCHP bullets and 500 pieces of Starline .38+P brass I ordered today from Midway. I should receive the order next week.

I hope that's enough to make Sarah Brady cry.

"We Trusted His Judgement"

And that tells you everything you really need to know about the Obama administration:

So when will Corzine be put in the cell reserved for Kenneth Lay?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Early Christmas Present

I'm getting a new gun for Bowling Pins.  US Citizen of Traction Control has an FFL, and access to a large stock of firearms.  Well, I'm reducing that stock by Qty. 1.  I'm ordering one of these:

That's a S&W Model 327 TRR8 - a Scandium-alloy 8-shot N-Frame .357 magnum with a stainless cylinder milled for moon clips, 5" stainless barrel with a Dan Wesson style barrel shroud, provisions for mounting Picatinny rails both on the top strap and under the barrel, all finished in matte black. 
Here's a shot of the business end with both rails attached:
It should make a fine Pin gun. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shut it Down! Shut it ALL DOWN!

I'm there:

Today's User Friendly.

A Dampness on the Pins - (Match Report)

Or:  Eight people can have a lot of fun in the rain.

Turnout was light Sunday due to the weather (and the NASCAR race in Phoenix).  Bill and Elaine Tab rejoined us from the soon-to-be-frozen North, and Joe Lancaster rejoined us from his latest tour of the Sandbox.  It drizzled on us off and on, and we had a downpour for a few minutes in the middle of the match, but eight of us in total showed up with nineteen guns.  First rounds went downrange about 8:30, and we were finished by 11.  The competition was pretty fierce, with several ties and several sets going four or more rounds.   

The winner in Major was Jim Burnett with his Clark Custom 1911 pin gun.  Minor and overall pistol champ was John Higgins with his EAA Witness 9mm.  (In the eternal argument between .45 and 9mm, 9mm can be faster in pin shooting.)  Revolver had only four competitors this month, and Jim won that one as well with his S&W .41 Magnum, squeaking by John and his Python.  I learned firsthand that you should not try to reload your revolver with an EMPTY speed loader.  It will cost you the round.  I took the .22 rimfire class with my MkII Target.  I had a couple of really good runs with it.

The next match is December 11.  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Quote of the Day - It's the .gov's Fault Edition

From The Washington Examiner, Conn Colin's column (say that three times fast) "Facts show Fannie, Freddie led mortgage market to the collapse":
From 1992 through the height of the housing bubble, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac used their monopoly position in the mortgage securitization industry to reward firms like Countrywide for making bad bets in the housing market. Countrywide's success was a signal to other market participants to lower their standards as well.

Wall Street banks are not blameless for the financial crisis. But they were only responding to the incentives set up by the federal government. Ignoring this history will help no one.
But ignore it they will.  It does not fit The Narrative™.

RTWT.  The .gov set up the conditions, the lenders ran with it.  If they didn't they'd have been penalized by the .gov.  Once one major lender did it, everybody did it.  Why wouldn't they?

STILL No Blog for You!

I'm back, but I've got to build three tables for the bowling pin match tomorrow, cut some pin tops, and load a hundred rounds of .45LC.  Maybe later.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bowling Pin Match, Sunday, November 13

Usual place, the Tucson Rifle Club action range.

Time:  8:00 AM sign-up, first rounds downrange about 8:15

Handguns only:  .22 rimfire, centerfire revolver (.38 caliber minimum), semi-autos (9mm minimum). Single-shots, if you're a masochist.

You're welcome to shoot your revolver against the semi-auto crowd, but we think it's more fun to shoot wheelgun-vs.-wheelgun. 

Cost:  $10 for the first gun, $5 for any additional guns.  Bring about 100 rounds for each.  You probably won't need 'em all unless you're really good at missing fast, but 50 probably won't be enough.

It promises to be damp this weekend, so bring rain protection.  Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 07, 2011

No Blog for You!

I'm going to be AFK for the next few days.  Sorry.  Blogging will be light to nonexistent. 

Quote of the Day - Law Enforcement Edition

From a link at Everlasting Phelps:
Worries about testimony from some officers are not new. Under the former district attorney, Lynne Abraham, city prosecutors would not allow officers deemed untrustworthy to testify in court.
BUT they'll be allowed to keep working as police officers.

Untrustworthy police officers.

There. Doesn't that make you feel better, peon?

Authorized Journalists

David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh, that is.  At least according to my hometown newspaper, the Brevard Times.  (I grew up in Brevard Country, Florida.)
In January 2011, journalists David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh picked up the Gunwalker story from They began to investigate and report their findings as well as precipitate a Senate Judiciary Committee inquiry into the matter led by U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA). Codrea and Vanderboegh have zealously attempted to publicize the issue ever since. Their hard work finally paid off - Fox News briefly began to report the story while CBS began a full length investigation which aired last month. Just yesterday, CBS reported that the National Rifle Association used its annual convention to highlight the Gunwalker scandal.
And there's this:
...President Obama's claim that 90% of guns recovered from Mexico originated from the U.S. Obama's 90% statistic drew criticism from media outlets such as Fox News and PolitiFact in April 2009 that his claims were not true and unsubstantiated.

So did the Obama administration hatch a plan to create evidence by using the A.T.F. to enable U.S. gun shipments to Mexico beginning in November 2009 in order to back up his 90% claim made just seven months earlier? It is quite possible that we will find out that answer as the Senate investigation proceeds.
So now we have official acknowledgement from the MSM that bloggers can be journalists.

And it's interesting to see even a small MSM outlet ask the question, "Was Fast and Furious botched, or was it intentional?"

Codrea and Vanderboegh: The Woodward and Bernstein of the Twenty-first Century!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

It Isn't That There's No Jobs,'s that there aren't qualified people to fill the jobs that are out there.  Mike Rowe understands it.

Right now, American manufacturing is struggling to fill 200,000 vacant positions, I'm told.  And there are 450,000 openings today in trades, transportation, utilities.  The skill gap seems real, and it's getting wider.  In Alabama a third of all skilled tradesmen are now over 55.  They're retiring fast, and there's really nobody there to replace them.  Alabama's not alone.  A few months ago in Atlanta, I ran into Tom Vilsack, our Secretary of Agriculture.  Tom told me about a governor he knows who is unable to move forward on the construction of a new power plant.  The reason, I thought, was fascinating.  It wasn't a lack of funds or lack of support, it was a lack of qualified welders.  

In general, people are surprised that high unemployment can exist at the same time as a skilled labor shortage.  But they shouldn't be.  We've pretty much guaranteed it.  In high schools the vocational arts have all but vanished.  We've elevated the importance of higher education to such a lofty perch that all other forms of knowledge are now labeled as "alternative."  Millions of parents and kids see apprenticeships and really valuable on-the-job training opportunities as vocational consolation prizes best suited for those not cut out for a four-year degree.  And still, we talk about creating "millions of shovel-ready jobs" for a society that doesn't really encourage people to pick up a shovel.

In a hundred different ways I think we've slowly marginalized an entire category of critical professions, reshaping our expectations of a good job into something that no longer looks like work.
If tough history does come, we'll be learning those skills again because we must.

Now, go read the associated post at House of Eratosthenes.


In keeping with the previous post:

About that 9% Unemployment Rate

My wife has been working part-time on-call at a local children's shelter.  She had worked there full-time, but it's pretty emotionally wringing, so she went part time instead.  However, they've been cutting hours a lot, so she's only been working one or two days a week, tops.  So she's decided to re-enter the workforce.

Now, granted, she left the full-time workforce about ten years ago to provide day-care for our grandkids, this after having worked at call centers for literally over a decade, first as an international long-distance operator, then as a dispatcher for a national automotive emergency service company when the company providing long-distance operator services lost their contract.  Since then she's worked at a couple of public schools, at the children's shelter, and one short stint as a deli worker at a local grocery store.

So now she finds that to apply for a job, you pretty much HAVE to have a computer with internet access - something she really doesn't like.  She's pretty much an internet widow as it is.  Having to, figuratively, ask my mistress for a job grates on her more than a little bit.  But what bothered her more than anything are the qualifications employers are asking for, and the stupid damned psychological tests they make you take now.  For example:  one local position open was for a part-time parking lot attendant.  They wanted someone with accounting experience.  Excuse me?  To sit in a booth and collect parking fees for minimum wage?  Part time?  That position, unsurprisingly, is still open.  I looked at some of the job openings out there.  I realize there are a lot of unemployed people out there, but since when do you need a college degree to work at a call center?  For $8 an hour?  (Maybe that Master's in Comparative Theology will pay off for someone!  Kinda tough to pay off the $120k in student loans on that salary, though.)

More to the point, though, pretty much every online application included a psych test - a timed psych test.  I was prompted, however, to do this post because of today's Dilbert cartoon:

No wonder it's tough to get a job.

Mr. Completely's in the Hospital

Keewee left a comment this morning.  He's got a kidney infection that zapped him pretty hard.  Drop by and tell him to get well soon!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Is That a Microphone...

... or are you just happy to see me?

Sorry, but that just kicked over my gigglebox for some reason.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Interesting Data Point

I picked up the current issue of Tucson's alt.weekly, and ran across an opinion piece concerning a local artist whose subject matter is the border and narcotics trafficking.  Near the bottom of the piece was this, however - and bear in mind, this is the local lefty rag:
Consider the scandal du jour, the "Fast and Furious" sting operation in which U.S. agencies secretly facilitated the purchase and transmittal of thousands of weapons from U.S. gun dealers to Mexican drug cartels. It may seem like an isolated instance of bad judgment, corruption or incompetence, but it's really a perfectly logical dynamic of a vast industry that annually generates somewhere between $350 billion and $500 billion—a massive, global current of cash that actually kept some banks afloat during the 2008 financial crisis.

A high-ranking member of the Sinaloa cartel has testified that his organization received from U.S. and Mexican authorities guarantees of immunity and all the weapons it would need to crush its competitors—an ongoing initiative that's resulted in an incredible escalation of violence in Mexico over the past few years.

It's quite possible that "Fast and Furious" was not a sting at all, but was intended to aid the Sinaloans in their efforts to recapture the quieter "good ol' days" when they enjoyed a virtual monopoly.
(Emphasis in original.)  Hmmm.  When even your team isn't covering for you anymore....