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

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Another Quora Thread

No, not that thread, a different one.  If you're among the tl;dr crowd, just skip down to the last comment.  It's in gold.

Here's the question that was asked last December:

Questions that Contain Assumptions:  How do extreme gun rights advocates defend the fact that the shooter in San Bernadino was able to legally buy AR-15 assault rifles with 1400 rounds of bulletproof vest-piercing ammunition?

Here's my answer and the comment thread that followed:
You're obviously not familiar with California's gun laws. If, in fact, the San Bernadino shooters were armed with fully-functional AR-15 rifles, they did not acquire them legally. Those are verboten in California, as are pipe bombs.

You are also obviously not familiar with "bulletproof" vests. Vests are classified by what power levels they are rated to stop. The classes are:

Level I - rated to stop up to .38 Special, a rather mild handgun round.
Level IIA - rated to stop up to 9x19mm and some .357 Magnum handgun rounds.
Level II - rated to stop high-velocity .357 Magnum.
Level IIIA - rated to stop most .44 Magnum handgun rounds.

You'll note that none of these are rated to stop any rifle cartridge. The Level IIIA vest is the heaviest vest normally worn by police officers in the performance of their everyday duties, because as the level of protection goes up, the vests get thicker, heavier, stiffer, hotter, and more uncomfortable. A Level IIIA vest or lighter won't stop a .30-30 Winchester round (traditional deer rifle cartridge) from one of these:

 photo win94.jpg

The lightest rated vest that can stop a 5.56NATO round (the round fired by the standard AR-15 rifle) is Level III, and it includes plates made of steel or ceramic. Level IV vests are the only vests literally described as being able to stop "armor piercing" ammunition fired from rifles, and 5.56NATO ammunition does not meet the definition of "armor piercing."

As far as having 1,400 rounds, that's less than a case and a half of ammunition - otherwise known as "a good weekend" in a lot of places in America.
Edwin Blake Waddell
We can quibble over specifics. My only point here is that it bothers me (and many others) that these shooters were able to get assault-style rifles (or weapons, whatever semantics you prefer) legally. My point was never that the weapons were obtained illegally. That's the whole problem! Some laws need to change. I question how thorough these "background" checks are. The F.B.I. found evidence that Farook was in touch with people domestically and abroad who have Islamist extremist views, according to officials. Sounds like a red flag to me. We can argue about whether they had "rifles" or "weapons" and how many rounds of ammo they had, and what kind of bullets they were but the bottom line is: another day in America, another mass shooting and it is becoming the "new normal." Whether they are terrorists or mentally ill or normal people who "snap", I'll say it again: It's too damn easy to get a gun (especially multiple assault guns) in this country! Something needs to change. Background checks need to be expanded. Maybe a mental health evaluation needs to be passed before purchasing a gun. I think I am hearing from "good guys" who want to "keep their guns." NO PROBLEM! I don't want to take away guns from good guys. They may save my live some day. But strengthening a few regulations might, just might, keep some "bad guys" from getting guns. I would think responsible, safe gun owners would welcome tighter regulations. You guys would PASS a tighter background check. The Farooks of world (mostly) would not. I know: "bad guys still find a way of getting weapons." Well some, yes. But if tighter regulations kept just a few mass shootings from happening, it is worth it!
Except the weapons were acquired illegally, and apparently modified illegally, and combined with illegal explosives.

And your response is that you want to make it MORE illegal. Illegaler!

I think you need to do some research. How about reading this report (PDF, 18 pages):

Enforcement of the Brady Act, 2010

If that's too long for you, here's the TL;DR version:

In 2010, about 76,000 background checks resulted in denial of sales, some 47.4% of which (34,459) were for "a record of a felony indictment or conviction." How many people ended up in jail for signing their names to a falsified Form 4473 - which carries a 5-year prison sentence? Well, 62 people were "referred for prosecution." That's 0.18%.

Of those 62, thirteen plead guilty or were found guilty - down from 73 in 2006.

Or how about this:

 photo federalprosecutions.jpg

It doesn't appear that more laws are needed, but possibly the will to use the ones we've got already. I have to ask - if we aren't using those laws, then what are they for? And why should we add MORE?
Ok, I'm fine with using the ones we have if they will really bring down gun related deaths. I just think that access to guns is part, not all, of the problem. I'm not satisfied with the ways things are in America related to gun deaths. The rate of prosecutions are not keeping up with the rate of gun deaths. Look at the stats in this article especially in contrast to other countries:
Gun related deaths are down. Are YOU aware of this?

Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% Since 1993 Peak; Public Unaware

 photo homicides.jpg

The guns are already out there. They're not going to go away. Making it more difficult for people to buy guns from gun shops will have NO EFFECT on firearm accessibility to people who are willing to commit murder, which (as it happens) is also illegal.

Here's one of my favorite excerpts from the gun control meta-study commissioned by the Carter Administration and published in 1982 as Under the Gun: Weapons, Crime and Violence in America:

"The progressive's indictment of American firearms policy is well known and is one that both the senior authors of this study once shared. This indictment includes the following particulars:

(1) Guns are involved in an astonishing number of crimes in this country.

(2) In other countries with stricter firearms laws and fewer guns in private hands, gun crime is rare.

(3) Most of the firearms involved in crime are cheap Saturday Night Specials, for which no legitimate use or need exists.

(4) Many families acquire such a gun because they feel the need to protect themselves; eventually they end up shooting one another.

(5) If there were fewer guns around, there would obviously be less crime.

(6) Most of the public also believes this and has favored stricter gun control laws for as long as anyone has asked the question.

(7) Only the gun lobby prevents us from embarking on the road to a safer and more civilized society.

"The more deeply we have explored the empirical implications of this indictment, the less plausible it has become. We wonder, first, given the number of firearms presently available in the United States, whether the time to "do something" about them has not long since passed. If we take the highest plausible value for the total number of gun incidents in any given year - 1,000,000 - and the lowest plausible value for the total number of firearms now in private hands - 100,000,000 - we see rather quickly that the guns now owned exceed the annual incident count by a factor of at least 100. This means that the existing stock is adequate to supply all conceivable criminal purposes for at least the entire next century, even if the worldwide manufacture of new guns were halted today and if each presently owned firearm were used criminally once and only once. Short of an outright house-to-house search and seizure mission, just how are we going to achieve some significant reduction in the number of firearms available?" (pp. 319-20)


"Even if we were somehow able to remove all firearms from civilian possession, it is not at all clear that a substantial reduction in interpersonal violence would follow. Certainly, the violence that results from hard-core and predatory criminality would not abate very much. Even the most ardent proponents of stricter gun laws no longer expect such laws to solve the hard-core crime problem, or even to make much of a dent in it. There is also reason to doubt whether the "soft-core" violence, the so-called crimes of passion, would decline by very much. Stated simply, these crimes occur because some people have come to hate others, and they will continue to occur in one form or another as long as hatred persists. It is possible, to be sure, that many of these incidents would involve different consequences if no firearms were available, but it is also possible that the consequences would be exactly the same. The existing empirical literature provides no firm basis for choosing one of these possibilities over the other. Restating the point, if we could solve the problem of interpersonal hatred, it may not matter very much what we did about guns, and unless we solve the problem of interpersonal hatred, it may not matter much what we do about guns. There are simply too many other objects that can serve the purpose of inflicting harm on another human being." (pp. 321-22)

Here we are 33 years on, with probably 200 million more firearms in private hands. Homicide rates are at levels last seen in the 1960's, but nobody told the public, and the constant drumbeat of "GUN CONTROL!" is increasing in tempo.

I wonder why that is?
I'm sure we could trade "definitive" articles all night to support our views (my turn) but 'crazy me' still thinks that the more guns there are, the more gun deaths there are.
AKA: "I reject your reality and substitute my own."
Yep. We both have our own versions of reality.
The question is: Which of our two respective realities is the one that doesn't go away when you stop believing in it?
And the pièce de résistance, posted tonight, more than a year after this thread originated:
Sekaye Knutson

I was leaning towards increased gun control until I saw this beautifully thorough thread.
And THIS is why I write there.

RIP Professor Brian Anse Patrick

Just announced on his Facebook page:

It brings me great sadness to report that Brian Anse Patrick, pictured here with a great elk that he took down in Montana in 2010 (his favorite activity of all), known to many as the author of numerous books published by Arktos and elsewhere, as a Professor of Communication at the University of Toledo, as a championship target shooter and advocate for gun rights, as a CCW permit instructor, as well as through his many lectures and interviews on the subjects of propaganda and the American gun rights movement, passed away after suffering from cancer on the night of December 26/27 at the all too premature age of 62. As generous a soul as there has ever been, many of us who knew him can attest that our lives were made better through our friendship with him. Brian helped me through many rough patches of my own life over the course of nearly 20 years with his sage counsel and indefatigable drive to help his friends, as well as with his astute wit, which was matched only by the sharpness of his marksman's eye. He was also the one who first taught this city boy how to shoot and appreciate the outdoors at his estate in northern Michigan, a true refuge from the ravages of the modern world where we would be regaled with tales of his wild youth and philosophically plumb the depths of life, the universe, and everything while quaffing the finest spirits. He was certainly the most fiercely independent individual I have ever known in both mind and action, and a man who benefited from a lifetime of wide reading and love of good books. I also never knew anyone else who could throw together a meal in half an hour from whatever was lying around his kitchen and have it taste like the best thing you'd ever eaten on every single occasion - and never be the same twice. His story, rising from a ne'er-do-well problem child with a GED to become a tenured professor, should be an inspiration to those who see academia as closed to the unconventional. He was representative of an archetypal type of primordial American which is becoming all too rare in America today. Brian, wherever you are now, you won't be forgotten.
Professor Patrick is the author of The National Rifle Association and the Media: The Motivating Force of Negative Coverage, which I quoted from extensively in my 2008 überpost The Church of MSM and the New Reformation. Someone sent the Professor a link to it, and after that we sometimes traded emails and he sent me proof copies of a couple of his later publications. Great guy and a stout supporter of the Second Amendment. Read his 2015 Daily Caller peice, A Martin Luther of Gun Rights?

Give 'em hell wherever you are, Professor.

It's official:  2016 sucks donkey balls.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Quick! Before it Disappears!

Got another live one over at Quora.  If you don't want to read the entire thread (it's epic), just skip down to the last two comments in the thread started by "Iwan Doherty."


Saturday, December 17, 2016

I Was Only Off by Twelve Years...

Back in 2004 I predicted:
So, here's my prediction: When Bush wins the election with enough margin to prevent cheating on the part of the Dems, there are going to be riots. There will also be domestic terrorism by the moonbats.

The "Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party" has no place to go? They've been stirred up past the point of no return. They're going to go completely nuts.
I was only off by, oh, twelve years and three elections:

 photo desperate_democrats.jpg

Ironbear was right - the thought that they no longer have their hands on the levers of power has made them go stark-raving.  In addition to the items listed above:
Suddenly that "cold civil war" is warming up.

"May you live in interesting times," indeed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Observations on South Carolina

So I've been back in South Carolina for my third trip in the last eight weeks or so, and I've had some thumb-twiddling time here so I've done a bit of driving around and sampling local cuisine at non-chain restaurants, and one trip to a local movie house (tiny, two-screen, one-show-a-night), and I've noticed some things.
  • Apparently there was a helluva recent storm (I expect it was Hurricane Matthew).  There are trees and highway signs down everywhere in various stages of being cleaned up. 
  • There's a lot more swamp in South Carolina than I realized.
  • There's a lot more trees in South Carolina than I realized.  Damn those woods are thick!
  • There are more churches per square mile than I would have believed.
  • Palmetto State Armory has a LOT of billboards up on major thoroughfares.  Black rifles - with suppressors! - don't seem to frighten the natives.
  • I've lived in the South before, and South Carolina is hands-down one of the most polite and friendly places I've ever been.
  • Even small towns seem to have 2-3 Japanese restaurants of some kind or another.
  • BBQ appears to be the State Food.
  • At least in November and December the combination of cool air and lots of water makes for a lot of morning fog.  Coming from southern Arizona that's kinda cool.  Haven't seen fog in a while.
Anyway, that's what I have to report.   Oh, and I saw a couple of deer this morning crossing a fairly major road.  Lots of "deer processing" places advertising on the side of the highways, too.  Given the thickness of the local woods, I don't imagine there are a lot of long shots during hunting season, unless you're on the opposite side of a farmer's field.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Miss Sloan

So there's a movie opening this weeked wherein the NRA is bashed by a Washington lobbyist.  I thought I was going to have to sit down and write a screed, but someone already beat me to it.  Once again in the longstanding tradition of TSM, here are another person's words who said it better than I could.  From the page for the film, I give you AdultAudienceMember's review of "Miss Sloan":
Movies like this are like peeing on yourself in a dark suit. It might make you feel warm and relieved for a little bit, but in the end you have done nothing but stained your underwear. This movie was obviously meant to be red meat for the victorious Hillary. Ooops, that didn't work. Libs, gun control is dead. This movie is full of lies and half truths. According to the FBI, so-called assault weapons are used in so few crimes (only a fraction of the 500 deaths out of 30,000 annually), that they don't bother keeping and exact count. Most deaths (2/3rds) are suicides of old white men. Of the remaining the vast majority of deaths are associated with gangs, drugs, and cities run by Dems. Why isn't there a movie about the urban culture of Chicago where young black men are being slaughtered by other young black men? Well, that wouldn't fit the narrative, would it? As for the contention that most gun owners want more restrictions, that is believed only by the uneducated. I teach psychology, sociology, and statistics. That number was milked from a survey. Surveys are statistical and psychological manure. They require voluntary participation and honesty. Few gun owners are going to participate and civil-rights opponents will lie.

The WHO concluded that there is no correlation between gun violence and ownership. It is a cultural issue. As for suicides, Japan allows no firearms and has just about the highest rate while the US, with just about the loosest on the planet, is tied for 50th in the list of nations. It doesn't take any courage to make a movie based on lies. It's about the money....and this dog will lose tons of it.

Since 2000, the FBI has processed 300 million firearm sales. Prior to that there was a conservative 200 million already in civilian hands. BHO has sold more guns than any other President hands down. And yet, with one half billion firearms in the US, the violent crime rate continues to fall. As concealed carry States have swollen to include all but three, crime has dropped. Where is the blood in the streets?

What should have been made is a movie about Obamacare and all the damage it has done to health care. That is a crime. Well, that's going to get washed away soon, too.

I am sure pajama boys and overweight Trigglypuffs will go see this and then weep at what could have been. And that is good. Nothing is so sweet as the taste of liberal tears.
Bravo, sir. Bravo!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Deal With It

I got this piece by email from my dad.  Apparently it's making the rounds of the interwebs.  Written by Irish op-ed columnist Ian O'Doherty in Ireland's Independent newspaper, his Nov. 13th column A two fingers to a politically correct elite is worth your time, I think (links and bold emphasis mine):
Tuesday November 8 2016 - a day that will live in infamy or the moment when America was made great again?

The truth, as ever, will lie somewhere in the middle. After all, contrary to what both his supporters and detractors believe - and this is probably the only thing they agree on - Trump won't be able to come into office and spend his first 100 days gleefully ripping up all the bits of the Constitution he doesn't like.

But even if this week's seismic shockwave doesn't signal either the sky falling in or the start of a bright new American era, the result was, to use one of The Donald's favourite phrases, huge. It is, in fact, a total game changer.

In decades to come, historians will still bicker about the most poisonous, toxic and stupid election in living memory.

They will also be bickering over the same vexed question - how did a man who was already unpopular with the public and who boasted precisely zero political experience beat a seasoned Washington insider who was married to one extremely popular president and who had worked closely with another?

The answer, ultimately, is in the question.

History will record this as a Trump victory, which of course it is.  But it was also more than that, because this was the most stunning self-inflicted defeat in the history of Western democracy.

Hillary Clinton has damned her party to irrelevance for at least the next four years. She has also ensured that Obama's legacy will now be a footnote rather than a chapter. Because the Affordable Care Act is now doomed under a Trump presidency and that was always meant to be his gift, of sorts, to America.

How did a candidate who had virtually all of the media, all of Hollywood, every celebrity you could think of, a couple of former presidents and apparently, the hopes of an entire gender resting on her shoulders, blow up her own campaign?

I rather suspect that neither Donald nor Hillary know how they got to this point.

Where she seemed to expect the position to become available to her by right - the phrase "she deserves it" was used early in the campaign and then quickly dropped when her team remembered that Americans don't like inherited power - his first steps into the campaign were those of someone chancing their arm. If he wasn't such a staunch teetotaller, many observers would have accused him of only doing it as a drunken bet.

But the more the campaign wore on, something truly astonishing began to happen - the people began to speak. And they began to speak in a voice which, for the first time in years in the American heartland, would not be ignored.

Few of the people who voted for Trump seriously believe that he is going to personally improve their fortunes. Contrary to the smug, middle-class media narrative, they aren't all barely educated idiots.

They know what he is, of course they do. It's what he is not that appeals to them.

Clinton, on the other hand, had come to represent the apex of smug privilege. Whether it was boasting about her desire to shut down the remaining coal industry in Virginia - that worked out well for her, in the end - or calling half the electorate a "basket of deplorables", she seemed to operate in the perfumed air of the elite, more obsessed with coddling idiots and pandering to identity and feelings than improving the hardscrabble life that is the lot of millions of Americans.

Also, nobody who voted for Trump did so because they wanted him as a spiritual guru or life coach.

But plenty of people invested an irrational amount of emotional energy into a woman who was patently undeserving of that level of adoration.

That's why we've witnessed such fury from her supporters - they had wrapped themselves so tightly in the Hillary flag that a rejection of her felt like a rejection of them. And when you consider that many American colleges gave their students Wednesday off class because they were too 'upset' to study, you can see that this wasn't a battle for the White House - this became a genuine battle for America's future direction. And, indeed, for the West.

We have been going through a cultural paroxysm for the last 10 years - the rise of identity politics has created a Balkanised society where the content of someone's mind is less important than their skin colour, gender, sexuality or whatever other attention-seeking label they wish to bestow upon themselves.

In fact, where once it looked like racism and sexism might be becoming archaic remnants of a darker time, a whole new generation has popped up which wants to re-litigate all those arguments all over again.

In fact, while many of us are too young to recall the Vietnam war and the social upheaval of the 1960s, plenty of observers who were say they haven't seen an America more at war with itself than it is today.

One perfect example of this new America has been the renewed calls for segregation on campuses. Even a few years ago, such a move would have been greeted with understandable horror by civil rights activists - but this time it's the black students demanding segregation and "safe spaces" from whites. If young people calling for racial segregation from each other isn't the sign of a very, very sick society, nothing is.

The irony of Clinton calling Trump and his followers racist while she was courting Black Lives Matter was telling.

After all, no rational white person would defend the KKK, yet here was a white women defending both BLM and the New Black Panthers - explicitly racist organisations with the NBP, in particularly, openly espousing a race war if they don't get what they want.

Fundamentally, Trump was attractive because he represents a repudiation of the nonsense that has been slowly strangling the West.

He represents - rightly or wrongly, and the dust has still to settle - a scorn and contempt for these new rules. He won't be a president worried about microaggressions, or listening to the views of patently insane people just because they come from a fashionably protected group.

He also represents a glorious two fingers to everyone who has become sick of being called a racist or a bigot or a homophobe - particularly by Hillary supporters who are too dense to realise that she has always actually been more conservative on social issues than Trump.

That it might take a madman to restore some sanity to America is, I suppose, a quirk that is typical to that great nation - land of the free and home to more contradictions than anyone can imagine.

Trump's victory also signals just how out of step the media has been with the people. Not just American media, either.

In fact, the Irish media has continued its desperate drive to make a show of itself with a seemingly endless parade of emotionally *incontinent gibberish that, ironically, has increased in ferocity and hysterical spite in the last few days.

The fact that Hillary's main cheerleaders in the Irish and UK media still haven't realised where they went wrong is instructive and amusing in equal measure. They still don't seem to understand that by constantly insulting his supporters, they're just making asses of themselves.

One female contributor to this newspaper said Trump's victory was a "sad day for women". Well, not for the women who voted for him, it wasn't.

But that really is the nub of the matter - the 'wrong' kind of women obviously voted for Trump. The 'right' kind went with Hillary. And lost.

The Irish media is not alone in being filled largely with dinner-party liberals who have never had an original or socially awkward thought in their lives. They simply assume that everyone lives in the same bubble and thinks the same thoughts - and if they don't, they should.

Of the many things that have changed with Trump's victory, the bubble has burst. Never in American history have the polls, the media and the chin-stroking moral arbiters of the liberal agenda been so spectacularly, wonderfully wrong.

It was exactly that condescending, obnoxious sneer towards the working class that brought them out in such numbers, and that is the great irony of Election 16 - the Left spent years creating identity politics to the extent that the only group left without protection or a celebrity sponsor was the white American male.

That it was the white American male who swung it for Trump is a timely reminder that while black lives matter, all votes count - even the ones of people you despise.

You don't have to be a supporter of Trump to take great delight in the sheer, apoplectic rage that has greeted his victory.

If Clinton had won and Trump supporters had gone on a rampage through a dozen American cities the next night, there would have been outrage - and rightly so.

But in a morally and linguistically inverted society, the wrong-doers are portrayed as the victims. We saw that at numerous Trump rallies - protesters would disrupt the event, claiming their right to free speech (a heckler's veto is not free speech) and provoking people until they got a dig before running to the *media and claiming victimhood.

Yet none of Clinton's rallies were shut down by her opponents (unlike Trump's aborted Chicago meeting) and the great mistake of the anti-Trump zealots should have learned was that just thinking you're right isn't enough - you need to convince others as well.

But, ultimately, this election was about people saying enough with the bullshit. This is a country in crisis, and most Americans don't care about transgender bathrooms, or safe spaces, or government speech laws. This was about people taking some control back for themselves.

It was about them saying that they won't be hectored and bullied by the toddler tantrums thrown by pissy and spoiled millennials and they certainly won't put up with being told they're stupid and wicked just because they have a difference of opinion.

But, really, this election is about hope for a better America; an America which isn't obsessed with identity and perceived 'privilege'; an American where being a victim isn't a virtue and where you don't have to apologise for not being up to date with the latest list of socially acceptable phrases.

Trump's victory was a two fingers to the politically correct.

It was a brutal rejection of the nonsense narrative which says Muslims who kill Americans are somehow victims. It took the ludicrous Green agenda and threw it out. It was a return, on some level, to a time when people weren't afraid to speak their own mind without some self-elected language cop shouting at you. Who knows, we may even see Trump kicking the UN out of New York.

Frankly, if you're one of those who gets their politics from Jon Stewart and Twitter, look away for the next four years, because you're not going to like what you see. The rest of us, however, will be delighted.

This might go terribly, terribly wrong. Nobody knows - and if we have learned anything this week, it's that nobody knows nuthin'.

But just as the people of the UK took control back with Brexit, the people of America did likewise with their choice for president.

It's called democracy.

Deal with it.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Friday, December 02, 2016

Fake But Inaccurate

So there's been a lot of buzz about "fake news" in media and political circles.  But Newsweak's political editor, Matthew Cooper admits that its "Madame President" issue cover article wasn't written by Newsweak staff, and wasn't even read by Newsweak editors before it published:

How much other content is written and unvetted by Newsweak's staff?  And for that matter, other "news" magazines'?

As Instapundit states about Global Warming alarmists' rants, "I'll believe it's a problem when they start acting like it's a problem."

Monday, November 28, 2016

Mental Maps

In 2005 I posted the piece below, titled Three Strikes and You're Out or Third Time's the Charm?
In either case, please note which direction they're traveling every time.

Back in February of last year I posted Love that Detroit Iron! which I will repost here in its entirety:
You have to give them an "A" for effort, or at least persistence. What a way to reimport the classics!

Marciel Basanta Lopez and Luis Gras Rodriguez have again attempted to sail from Cuba to Florida, but once again have unfortunately been intercepted by the Coast Guard short of their goal. Back in July they made the journey in a specially modified 1951 Chevy pickup.

Yes, really. Here's a picture of it:

Well, they just nabbed them (and eight of their friends and relatives) trying again. This time in a specially modified 1959 Buick!

They must have a lot of that funky green paint.

What's next? A 1955 Ford?
Well, they must've run out of green paint, and instead of a '55 Ford, they used a '48 Mercury:

Migrants' 'taxicab' boat stopped at sea (Link broken)

The Coast Guard halted a homemade craft about 25 miles off the Keys that looked like a taxi. The boat was loaded with Cuban migrants.


KEY WEST - A blue, 1948 Mercury automobile loaded with Cuban migrants made it within 25 miles of the Keys late Tuesday before being stopped by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The unusual, homemade 'boat' -- described by federal officials as possibly a 'taxicab' and sporting a white top -- was stopped south of Summerland Key in the Lower Keys. It was the third time in nearly two years that Cuban migrants have tried to make it to the United States using trucks or cars specially rigged to operate as boats.

One of the men aboard the Mercury tried to make the voyage in February 2004 in a Buick but was sent back to Cuba, according to Luis Grass -- the brainchild behind similar attempts who made his way to Miami this year.
I wonder what Luis "drove" on his successful attempt?

Television footage from NBC 6 in Miami on Tuesday night showed Coast Guard officers boarding the vehicle, which appeared to have been modified with a boat prow in front.

As many as 12 Cubans voluntarily left the car late Tuesday and moved onto a Coast Guard cutter, according to numerous federal sources. It was not immediately known if they would be returned to Cuba.

The interdiction unfolded just before dusk Tuesday.

"A U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircraft detected it just before 8 p.m.," said customs spokesman Zachary Mann. "According to our guys, it looked like a floating taxi."

Citing U.S. policy, Coast Guard spokeswoman Sandra Bartlett said she could not immediately comment on the incident or whether the migrants would be returned to Cuba, a process that could take several days.

Under the U.S. wet-foot, dry-foot immigration policy, Cubans who reach U.S. soil are almost always allowed to remain in the country, while those caught offshore are generally returned to Cuba unless they can convince a U.S. immigration officer they have a 'credible fear' of persecution if returned to the island.


It was the latest in a series of recent attempts by Cubans to try to 'drive' their way to the Keys.

In July 2003, a group of Cuban migrants -- dubbed "truckonauts" and heralded for their ingenuity -- attempted to flee Cuba in a retrofitted, green 1951 Chevy truck. The group was stopped off Islamorada -- their truck-boat floating on a pontoon bed and powered by propellers that had been attached to the vehicle's drive shaft.

The vessel was sunk at sea as a hazard to navigation.

Returned to Cuba, several of the Cubans tried again in February 2004 using a similarly rigged 1959 Buick sedan. At least some of those who attempted that voyage, however, were taken to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba for resettlement in a third country.

Among that group was Grass, an enterprising mechanic credited with converting the classic vehicles into seaworthy escape vessels. Grass, his wife and young son were among 20 Cuban migrants resettled in Costa Rica last November.


Grass said late Tuesday that one of his pals -- who may have subsequently received a U.S. visa after failing last year to reach Florida by Buick -- made Tuesday's voyage with his two sons and his wife, who was having difficulty leaving Cuba because she is a doctor.

"He finally made a taxi from Havana to Miami," chuckled Grass, who told The Herald he spoke with the man's friends in Havana late Tuesday.

The group, he said, was from San Miguel Del Padron in Havana.

Grass and his family finally made it to the United States in March after crossing the Mexican border and requesting political asylum.
You have to admire their ingenuity and doggedness.
Bill Whittle noted once that if your map of idealism matches up with reality, you take note of which way the rafts are traveling when determining whether capitalism or communism works better. I can't remember the last time anyone risked their lives getting on a raft made of an antique car, much less flotsam and jetsam, and set sail for Havana to join the People's Paradise of Cuba.

How do you go about having a productive debate with people disconnected from reality? How do you reason with people who've abandoned the practice? How do you even discuss first principles with people who think words mean only what they want them to mean, and can change their definition at any time? For whom "winning" is the only priority, and are unparalleled masters at psychological projection?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Missing a Few Words...

So the big news today is that Fidel Castro, dictator of Cuba has died.

The missing words?  "Screaming in a fire."

Oh well, can't have everything.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Everything Old is New Again

This time?  The "Two Americas" meme. 

If I'm not mistaken, this is the motto that John Edwards ran for President under in 2004, but now, after eight years of Obama's Presidency - unexpectedly! - it's a new claim and somehow all Trump's fault.

Apparently Obama wasn't much of a uniter after all.

Either that, or the Ctrl-Left and its media mouthpieces can't come up with a new idea to save its life.

I guess it all goes back to that other fallback meme:  We're ungovernable.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Quote of the Day: Ctrl-Left Edition*

Via Instapundit today:
It’s important to understand why liberals are so angry and so scared. They are angry because they believe they have a moral right to command us, apparently bestowed by Gaia or #Science or having gone to Yale, and we are irredeemably deplorable for not submitting to their benevolent dictatorship.

They are scared because they fear we will wage the same kind of campaign of petty (and not so petty) oppression, intimidation, and bullying that they intended to wage upon us.

Kurt Schlicter

(* As far as I know, the exquisitely accurate expression "Ctrl-Left" was coined by Jonathan Sullivan.)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Word of Advice

If you ever bring bedbugs home in your luggage, just burn your house to the ground and start over. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Quote of the Day - Southern Edition

So I spent some time earlier this week at a gold mine under construction in South Carolina.  Part of that time was spent in "site specific" safety training, said training being administered by the head of site security.

Now, I grew up in the South, my parents are from Appalachian coal country, so I've heard a few "Southerinisms" in my time, but this one:
"Some folks in this county would steal the yeast from a biscuit without touchin' the crust."
This one was new.

Monday, November 14, 2016

I Chuckled

Just got this via email:
News Update from Canada

The flood of Trump-fearing American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week. The Republican presidential campaign is prompting an exodus among left-leaning Americans who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray, pay taxes, and live according to the Constitution.

Canadian border residents say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, liberal arts majors, global-warming activists, and "green" energy proponents crossing their fields at night.

"I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said southern Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. "He was cold, exhausted and hungry, and begged me for a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn't have any, he left before I even got a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?"

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. He then installed loudspeakers that blared Rush Limbaugh across the fields, but they just stuck their fingers in their ears and kept coming. Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals just south of the border, pack them into electric cars, and drive them across the border, where they are simply left to fend for themselves after the battery dies.

"A lot of these people are not prepared for our rugged conditions," an Alberta border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a single bottle of Perrier water, or any gemelli with shrimp and arugula. All they had was a nice little Napa Valley cabernet and some kale chips. When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing that they fear persecution from Trump high-hairers."

Rumors are circulating about plans being made to build re-education camps where liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer, study the Constitution, and find jobs that actually contribute to the economy.

In recent days, liberals have turned to ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have been disguised as senior citizens taking a bus trip to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans in blue-hair wig disguises, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior citizens about Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney to prove that they were alive in the '50s. "If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we become very suspicious about their age," an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage, are buying up all the Barbara Streisand CD's, and are overloading the internet while downloading jazzercise apps to their cell phones.

"I really feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them," an Ottawa resident said. "After all, how many art-history majors does one country need?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Do I Know Anybody in South Carolina?

I'm going to be there all next week.  Got to get up at O'mygod-thirty tomorrow morning to make an 8:15 flight out.  I arrive in Charlotte about 4:30PM, and then I have to drive to Lancaster, SC to get to my hotel.  I'll be working ~10 hours a day all week, but I ought to be free for dinner at least one night.  Anybody live in the general vicinity and want to get together?

Congratulations, Bill

Bill Whittle on the night of the election:

And he's getting married, too!  Congratulations, Mr. Whittle.  And thank you.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Subverting the Electoral College

So the Left wants to subvert the Electoral College:

Last-Ditch Effort Underway to Elect Hillary Clinton, Block Donald Trump Presidency
The number of electoral votes per state is determined by the number of congressional districts plus one for each senator, for a total of 538.

But there is nothing in the Constitution that prevents any of the electors from refusing to support the candidate who won their state, or from abstaining. Twenty-nine states ban the "faithless elector" practice.

A petition on is pushing for electors to vote for Clinton instead of Trump. It had more than 175,000 signatures as of Thursday morning; by early evening, it had more than 1.4 million.

Part of the petition reads:
Mr. Trump is unfit to serve. His scapegoating of so many Americans, and his impulsivity, bullying, lying, admitted history of sexual assault, and utter lack of experience make him a danger to the Republic.

Secretary Clinton WON THE POPULAR VOTE and should be President.

Hillary won the popular vote. The only reason Trump "won" is because of the Electoral College.

But the Electoral College can actually give the White House to either candidate. So why not use this most undemocratic of our institutions to ensure a democratic result?


There is no reason Trump should be President.

"It's the 'People's Will'"

No. She won the popular vote.

"Our system of government under our Constitution says he wins"

No. Our Constitution says the Electors choose.

"Too many states prohibit 'Faithless Electors'"

24 states bind electors. If electors vote against their party, they usually pay a fine. And people get mad. But they can vote however they want and there is no legal means to stop them in most states.
I have one thing to say to that:

 photo 651054721.jpg

Talk Radio

So, I've spent a lot of windshield time over the last couple of days, and I've been listening to Talk Radio (which I very seldom do). Who is this Trump guy that the Right Wing radio guys are talking about? Who they say is going to get into the White House and start accomplishing all this stuff that he promised to do, or that they think he'll do?

Excuse me, but haven't they been paying attention over, oh, the last forty years or so?
  • Presidents don't have that kind of power
  • The Stupid Party isn't that organized (which is how Trump won the nomination).
  • The Stupid Party loathes Trump almost as much as The Evil Party does.
 We're in for at least four years of gridlock. If we're lucky, Trump will get a real Constitutionalist confirmed to the Supreme Court to fill the seat vacated by Scalia. If we're EXTREMELY LUCKY.
As far as getting anything actually DONE? MAYBE Obamacare will die a horrible death, but Trump has already said he wants to replace it with something. I'd like to introduce President-elect Trump to Thomas Sowell, who once said:

“No matter how disastrously some policy has turned out, anyone who criticizes it can expect to hear: "But what would you replace it with?" When you put out a fire, what do you replace it with?”
I swear, what I'm hearing from the speakers of my truck sounds exactly like Peggy Joseph:

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Orthodox Media

Back in 2008 I wrote The Church of MSM and the New Reformation, an examination of media bias and a book review of sorts of Professor Brian Anse Patrick's The National Rifle Association and the Media: The Motivating Force of Negative Coverage. Professor Patrick examined a question very similar to one asked this year - how does the NRA thrive when it is so reviled by (what he terms) the "elite press" - in his case he examined nine publications: the New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report.

This year the media asked itself the same question with regard to Donald Trump: "How is it he's still so popular?" Or, as Hillary put it, "Why aren't I fifty points ahead?"

"Bias" wasn't the answer, Professor Patrick discovered:
It is not that liberal-conservative bias does not affect coverage at times. Or that other forms of bias do not exist. One would have to be naïve to the point of addle-headedness to believe otherwise. Elite journalists tend to identify themselves with politically liberal causes, and personal idealism cannot possibly be segregated from the interpretation of events. Doubtless, too, old fashioned economic concerns have killed many a news story. Many discern in the national media, some on the basis of good evidence a conservative bias supporting economic imperialism and mindless consumerism.

Additionally, the powerful forces of personal psychological projection interact with the amorphous nature of external events that media professionals must daily interpret, in ways that allow just about everyone to see what they need or want to see in the media. The Left sees bias for the Right; Right sees Left; schizophrenics and the devoutly religious see the Hand of God, devils, or aliens at work; we could also list racism, sexism, internationalism, and the exploitation of women and girls, men, animals, and classes. There are bugs and bugaboos in the media appropriate to nearly every orientation or fixation. So bias is often not just about what affects coverage, but also what affects perceptions of coverage.

That elite media may be biased for or against a particular issue or topic is interesting, and this knowledge may help an interest group rally indignation or manage its public relations; however it tells little about the overall functioning of media in society. This latter concern is the broader and more important idea, with larger implications. The overall ranking results provide such an explanation.

The larger concept that lies behind the consistent ranking is a broad cultural level phenomenon that I will label an administrative control bias. It has profound implications. Administrative control in this usage means rational, scientific, objective social management by elite, symbol-manipulating classes, and subclasses, i.e., professionalized administrators or bureaucratic functionaries. The thing administered is often democracy itself, or a version of it at least. Here and throughout this chapter terms such as "rational," "objective," "professional," and "scientific" should be read in the sense of the belief systems that they represent, i.e. rationalism, objectivism, professionalism, and scientism. Scientism is not the same as being scientific; the first is a matter of faith and ritualistic observance, the other is difficult creative work. William James made a similar distinction between institutional religion and being religious, the first being a smug and thoughtless undertaking on the part of most people, the second, a difficult undertaking affecting every aspect of a life. The term scientistic administration would pertain here. Note that we move here well beyond the notion of mere gun control and into the realm of general social control, management and regulation.
In other words, journalists are statists. But beyond that, they see themselves as having a job in that state apparatus:
Previous to objective journalism, baldly partisan news media were the norm; under objectivity news became a scientific tool of social progress and management. The elite press continues also to serve this function, connecting administrators and managers not only to the world they seek to administrate but also to other managers with whom they must coordinate their efforts. So in this sense social movement-based critiques have been correct in identifying a sort of pseudo-pluralism operating in the public forum, a pluralism that is in reality no more than an exclusive conversation between elite class subcomponents - but this over-class is administrative in outlook and purpose.


Journalists acquire importance in the mass democratic system precisely because they gather, convey, and interpret the data that inform individual choices. Mere raw, inaccessible data transforms to political information that is piped to where it will do the most good. Objective, balanced coverage becomes essential, at least in pretense, lest this vital flow of information to be thought compromised, thus affecting not only the quality of rational individual decision-making, but also the legitimacy of the system.

Working from within the perspective of the mass democracy model for social action it is difficult to specify an ideal role model of journalistic coverage other than a "scientific objectivism" at work. An event (i.e., reality) causes coverage, or so the objective journalist would and often does say. Virtually all of the journalists that I have ever talked with regard coverage as mirroring reality.


The claim being advanced here, by assumption, is that journalists can truly convey or interpret the nature of reality as opposed to the various organizational versions of events in which journalists must daily traffic. The claim is incredible and amounts to a Gnostic pretension of being "in the know" about the nature or reality, or at least the reality that matters most politically.

An ecclesiastical model most appropriately describes this elite journalistic function under mass democracy. Information is the vital substance that makes the good democracy possible. It allows, as it were, for the existence of the good society, a democratic state of grace. Information is in this sense analogous to the concept of divine grace under the pre-Reformation Roman Catholic Church. Divine grace was essential for the good spiritual life, the life that mattered. The clergy dispensed divine grace to the masses in the form of sacraments. They were its intermediaries, who established over time a monopoly, becoming the exclusive legitimate channel of divine grace.
And here's the kicker:
Recollect that the interposition of intermediaries, the clergy, along a vital spiritual-psychological supply route was the rub of the Reformation. The clergy cloaked themselves in the mantle of spiritual authority rather than acting as its facilitators. Many elite newspapers have apparently done much the same thing, speaking and interpreting authoritatively for democracy, warranting these actions on the basis of social responsibility. Of course, then and now, many people do not take the intermediaries seriously.

It is not accident, then, that the pluralistic model of social action largely discounts journalists as an important class. In the same way the decentralized religious pluralism generically known as Protestantism discounts the role of clergy. This should be expected. Pluralism and Protestantism share common historical origins. American pluralism particularly is deeply rooted in the Reformation's reaction to interpretive monopoly.

Journalists, particularly elite journalists, occupy under mass democracy this ecclesiastical social role, a functional near-monopoly whose duty becomes disseminating and interpreting the administrative word and its symbols unto the public.
I told you that, so I could tell you this. Will Rahn is a political correspondent and managing director, politics, for CBS News Digital. He wrote an op-ed that published today entitled "The unbearable smugness of the press," in which he says (in part):
Journalists love mocking Trump supporters. We insult their appearances. We dismiss them as racists and sexists. We emote on Twitter about how this or that comment or policy makes us feel one way or the other, and yet we reject their feelings as invalid.

It’s a profound failure of empathy in the service of endless posturing. There’s been some sympathy from the press, sure: the dispatches from “heroin country” that read like reports from colonial administrators checking in on the natives. But much of that starts from the assumption that Trump voters are backward, and that it’s our duty to catalogue and ultimately reverse that backwardness. What can we do to get these people to stop worshiping their false god and accept our gospel?

We diagnose them as racists in the way Dark Age clerics confused medical problems with demonic possession. Journalists, at our worst, see ourselves as a priestly caste. We believe we not only have access to the indisputable facts, but also a greater truth, a system of beliefs divined from an advanced understanding of justice.
(Bold emphasis mine.)

I have news for Mr. Rahn - it's been apparent for quite a while that journalists act as a priestly class.  I think, at their worst, some recognize it in themselves - and wallow in it.

Which explains, I think, why more and more Americans are abandoning the Church of the MSM.

Still, it's nice to see self-confirmation of Professor Patrick's hypothesis by a member of media.

UPDATE, 11/11:  See also: At NYT, “Talented Reporters Scrambled to Match Stories with What Internally Was Often Called ‘The Narrative.'”

Best Reaction I've Seen So Far

So apparently Stephen Colbert was conciliatory on election night when it appeared that Trump might win:

(You needn't watch the entire thing, but at least watch from about 1:50 to about 3:30.)

But the very next day:

Right back to form.

I found these clips over at, along with this excellent reaction by "John_Wayne777":
Fuck Colbert and fuck his little buddy John Stewart.

Colbert had a show for how many years predicated entirely on mocking people who disagree with his progressive preferences. And he's a contributor to the bubble of smugness that these motherfuckers live in.

He is the fucking poison. He is the fucking toxicity.

I'm sick to fucking death of people who have been calling everyone who disagrees with them intellectually deficient and morally degenerate trying to pretend they are somehow deeply intellectual by asking how politics became so "toxic".

Not, you understand, because there are people dragging Trump supporters out of cars and beating them up for supporting the wrong candidate. Not because there were fuckheads burning cities and killing police officers under the headline BLACK LIVES MATTER! Not because one of the parties rigged its primary so it could ensure no significant opposition to a woman under investigation for the FBI who somehow magicked up a 300 million dollar fortune by giving "speeches".

No, politics is "toxic" because a bunch of people went out and voted for a dude they don't like and told these people to go fuck themselves.

Yeah. Fuck that "toxic" shit.

Motherfucker, I didn't turn politics into a fucking knife fight. You fuckers are the ones who decided that no law or principle mattered more than winning.

I haven't stooped to your level and never will...but neither will I continue to abide by Marquis of Queensberry rules. You want a knife fight? Fine. Don't fucking whine when you get cut.
And I second this approval:

New York Times Inaguration Day Headline

(As seen on Facebook:)


Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Time to Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Author Nick Cole posted on his FB page:
To those who are grieving this morning... grieve. I understand. I am so sorry.
To those who achieved victory... be gracious. No matter what.
To all of you... we have a Republic, if we can keep it. And WE are ALL its children. Love one another. No matter what.
God bless America.
I left the following comment:
Sorry, Nick, but The Other Side™ has been diligently working for 100 years at demonizing their opposition. Charles Krauthammer correctly identified the issue when he made his declaration in 2002:

"To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil."

If you believe your opposition is EVIL, then there is no "loving your enemy" - they aren't merely wrong, they're EVIL and must be not merely defeated, but destroyed.

That's been increasingly how the Left has been working for the last couple of decades now, while the opposite side of the aisle has been treating them as "The Loyal Opposition." WE'RE in a contest. THEY'RE fighting a WAR, with nothing less than the fate of humanity riding on the outcome. We get involved in politics every couple of years, maybe. For them, it's existential.
See 2005's March of the Lemmings, or 2008's Human Reconstruction, the Healing of Souls, and the Remaking of Society.

Bring on the Trump Derangement Syndrome™! The next four years promise to be fascinating.

So for Dinner Last Night...

...I understand Hillary was served a super-sized Basket of Deplorables with a side of crow.

Still, I'm having a hard time understanding the celebration from the Hard Right when Trump is about as far from a Conservative as you can get and not have a (D) after your name.

Looking forward to all those Leftists leaving the country, though, and showing how RACIST™! they are.  I mean they're all talking about moving to the "Great White North."  NOBODY is talking about moving "Brown South."

Tuesday, November 08, 2016


I am NOT this Kevin Baker! Never even met the man!

But the Schadenfreude is extra tasty!

In "Honor" of the Day

Had to repost this one:

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." - H. L. Mencken

I'm Disappointed.

But not surprised.  Today's XKCD:

Monday, November 07, 2016

Black Tuesday

So, here's my prediction for Election Day - or as I prefer to call it, "Black Tuesday" -

Trump will win the popular vote.

Hillary will win 270+ Electoral College votes.

Some Electors won't vote the way their states vote, but it won't swing the election.

There won't be a 2nd Civil War - people are still too comfortable.

We're in for four more years of deepening crap, regardless.

My recommendation?  Enjoy the decline.  What else can you do?

UPDATE, 11/9/16:  Well, got THAT exactly backwards, didn't I?

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Almost Full Service

Also seen tonight:

 photo IMG_1118.jpg

If you can't read it all, it's a liquor store/deli that also sells groceries, ice and ammo.  Guess they don't sell guns, though.  They should have called it "Alcohol, Tobacco, and Ammo."

Automotif - 50's Merc

Saw this outside the burger joint I ate at tonight:

 photo IMG_1119.jpg

 photo IMG_1120.jpg

 photo IMG_1121.jpg

Lighting sucked, and all I had was my cell phone, but very tastefully done!

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

"Obama Promises To Lower Health Insurance Premiums by $2,500 Per Year"

One of my Facebook friends is someone I went to High School with.  She posted this tonight:
Tonight I decided I wanted to be fully informed about what Obamacare would mean to our family if we chose to pursue it as our health insurance option. I went to the Obamacare website online. That website sent me to an insurance broker who called my home. I told him I wanted to check rates for Obamacare for our family of four. He said, "I can give you a quote but its going to be a terrible plan and more expensive than any other plan because the rates just went up 40% in North Carolina." I pressed him to give me the rate anyway. He then quoted me a rate of $2195/month with a $14,300 deductible. (That equals basically paying $2195/month with no coverage short of a healthcare catastrophe.) I then asked him how that quote would change if my income was lower. He said that the rate would be exactly the same for anyone over a $40,000/year income. If someone making $40,000/year (only $16,717/year above the poverty level for NC) decided to sign up for Obamacare, they would be paying $26,340/year in insurance premiums plus whatever health care costs they had until they met their $14,300 deductible. (By the way, if this happened, it would mean, at that point, they would have spent more than they make/year on their healthcare.)

Who wants to sign up for that deal?
Nobody. Nobody at all.

I refer you back to February's post, "American Health Care is All Over But the Screaming." Read the links. And the links in the links.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Quote of the Day - Brad Thor Edition

If you're unfamiliar with Brad Thor (I was), he is the author of technothrillers such as his most recent novel Foreign Agent.  He was interviewed by Reason's Nick Gillespie on current political events (and his new novel).  Today's QotD comes at 25:40 of the interview:
I'm a big believer of Federalism.  There's too much going on in Washington, it's too disconnected, and we ought to be making decisions... I moved to Tennessee because I didn't like the decisions in Illinois.  I mean, if the states are the laboratories of democracy, Illinois' a fricken' meth lab.

Sign of the Times

 photo Before_n_After.jpg

The Leading Cause of Electile Dysfunction

Happy Halloween!

 photo predator-pumpkin-face.jpg

Thursday, October 27, 2016

I WILL NOT Register

I discovered in 2003 that the state of New Jersey had outlawed the original Marlin Model 60 .22 caliber rifle as an "assault weapon" because its tubular magazine held "more than 10 rounds."  Now New York City has done something similar, but it's magazine capacity limit is five.  And they're serious about it:

 photo New_York_Assault_Weapon.jpg

The only effective use of a firearm registry is to make it easier to take guns away from the law abiding.

I will not register.  After the first felony, the rest are free.

Monday, October 24, 2016

I'm REALLY Tired of 2016

Rest in peace, Steven DenBeste.

I've quoted extensively from Steven's work at U.S.S. Clueless, and today I find that not only has Steven passed, but the archive of U.S.S. Clueless is gone as well.  Both are major losses.


UPDATE, 10/27/16:  Several commenters have noted that the archive is available on the Internet Wayback machine and in several other sources.  Apparently a lot of people felt it was worth making a copy.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

I Used to Joke...

I'm completely serious here.  I used to joke that if the Cubs won the pennant it would be the Seventh Sign of the Apocalypse.

Apparently that was taken as a challenge.

I need to load more ammo.

America, Fuck Yeah!

Two videos from Jay Leno's Garage that just make me feel good:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Nerd Humor

This made me laugh out loud - literally: The United Federation of "hold my beer, I got this". From the link, the part that kicked my gigglebox completely over (edited for clarity):
Klingons: "Okay, we don't get it."

Vulcan Science Academy: "Get what?"

Klingons: "You Vulcans are a bunch of stuffy prisses, but you're also tougher, stronger and smarter than humans in every single way. Why do you let them run your Federation?"

VSA: "Look, this is a species where if you give them two warp cores they don't do experiments on one and save the other for if the first one blows up. This is a species where if you give them two warp cores, they will ask for a third one, immediately plug all three into each other, punch a hole into an alternate universe where humans subscribe to an even more destructive ideological system, fight everyone in it because they're offended by that, steal their warp cores, plug those together, punch their way back here, then try to turn a nearby sun into a torus because that was what their initial scientific experiment was for and they didn't want to waste a trip.

"They did that last week. We have the write-up right here. It's getting published in about six hundred scientific journals across two hundred disciplines because of how many established theories their ridiculous little expedition has just called into question. Also, they did turn that sun into a torus, and no one actually knows how.

"This is why we let them do whatever the hell they want."

Klingons: "...Can we be part of your Federation?"
Hat's off to "roachpatrol," the author of that bit.  That's funny right there, I don't care who you are... And the rest of the thread is as well.  Especially:
There is a phrase in Vulcan for "the particular moment when you understand what the word 'fuck' is for."

Friday, October 14, 2016

So Costco is Selling Explosives Now?

Just got this via email:

 photo Costco_explosives.jpg

Somehow I don't think this offer is going to last long....

Another Quora Exchange

A question was asked over at Quora:
Should the British have the right to carry firearms in self defence like the Americans who have that right? I think Britain would be better off.
I responded:
Should they have the right? I think, personally, that it should never have been taken from them in the first place - but it was. However, there’s more than just the right involved. With rights come responsibilities, and Jonathan Phillpotts’ answer illustrates this very well. Because the British lost this right so long ago, by and large they no longer have the mental attitude necessary to exercise it. The Britain of the Tottenham Outrage no longer exists.
Mr. Phillpotts took some exception. Here's our comment exchange (so far):
JP:  I disagree. It's not that we don't have the mindset to use firearms in our own defence. If our history had parralled yours I would be voicing my whole hearted support for concealed carry. However what my original post is trying to convey is that we have a very different outlook as countries because we have very different histories. We can walk around in our daily life without even considering people around us are carrying. You can't. That very difference is why you need your guns, and we don't, to feel safe.

Different mindsets and actions leading to the same feeling of security.
KB: Most defensive gun uses here are against people not armed with a firearm. In the UK this would be considered a “not proportional” response.

Section 3 of the Criminal Law Act 1967, provides that “A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime…” and the question of reasonableness is subject to the amplifications contained in such cases as R v McInnes and R v Palmer. It has been held that "if a jury thought that in a moment of unexpected anguish a person attacked had only done what he honestly and instinctively thought was necessary, that would be most potent evidence that only reasonable defensive action had been taken." Normally only reasonable force is acceptable but if in the unexpected anguish of the moment excessive force is used it may still be acceptable, if the defendant honestly and instinctively believed it was necessary. It has been long established (prior to either the Criminal Law Act 1967 s 3 or AIDS) that a woman may take the life of a man attempting to rape her, though she may not generally carry a weapon to achieve this.

I ask you: How is a woman to resist to the point of lethality a sexual assault against a (most probably larger, stronger) man without a weapon?

No, you don’t have to worry about considering other people around you carrying. Guns. What about Knives? Chisels? Multiple assailants? What if you’re disabled or with your kids and you can’t run?

In the UK the law requires a “proportionate response.” This is insane. It asks the assault victim to read the mind of his (or her) attacker, to ask the question of whether that person or persons intends to inflict bodily injury or possibly death so that they can respond proportionally. And the victim’s actions will be judged by a dispassionate court after the fact. That mentality exists throughout your population - that’s how it ended up in law. I’d say the overwhelming majority of gun owners in the UK don’t believe in using a firearm defensively given my interaction with a number of Brits on the subject.

The American mindset (and law) is considerably different, and well described by this quotation from Col. Jeff Cooper:

"One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that 'violence begets violence.' I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure — and in some cases I have — that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy."
JP: I can’t deny anything you have said. Especially proportionate response, or reasonable force as it’s called over here, that law, in it’s execution, is a joke. However that doesn’t justify this country arming itself. All that would do is increase the amounts of problems, not reduce them. See the likelihood of being stabbed or assaulted is very low and mostly they just want your wallet or phone. Hardly worth killing, or worse being killed, over. Raise the stakes and the robberies get more violent as the criminal is even more nervous than before. Not to mention that without the right level of training you're more likely to have the gun taken off you by multiple assailants.

All of that being said; I would like the ability to defend myself (not necessarily with guns though) and have the law back me up if I needed to do so, but that isn’t how our country works. It puts the presumption of guilt on to a person carrying a weapon and wants the Police to enforce the law. And let’s not forget that the majority of our police aren’t even armed with firearms and they actively seek out criminals. If they don’t need guns then the vast majority of civilians don’t either.
KB: I rest my case....

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Read This

Found it over at The Feral Irishman.  The blog is new to me, Taxicab Depressions.  The post is entitled "What's On The Ballot."  Excerpt:
* 20 trillion dollars in debt

* 120 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities

*Insurance companies withdrawing coverage or doubling premiums for millions as Obamacare collapses

*North Korea developing and testing land-based and submarine ballistic missiles

*Iran fast-tracked to nuclear weapons

*Billions of dollars and pallets of shrink-wrapped cash shipped to Iran

*Pakistan threatening India with nukes

*Venezuela collapsing under socialism

*Iranian gunboats and Russian fighter jets harassing US Navy vessels in the Persian Gulf

*Russia installing missile batteries in Syria and Eastern Europe

*China building airstrips in the South China Sea

*Police officers targeted for murder across the country

We are so screwed.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Embracing the Suck

After a great deal of thought and study, I've come to another uncomfortable conclusion I can no longer put off:  Short of an untimely death or disabling medical event, Hillary Clinton will be our next President.

I concluded in 2012 when the Republicans nominated Mitt Romney and then the voters reelected Barack Obama that the public education system had exceeded its Progressive mission and produced a majority electorate unwilling or unable to rub two brain cells together, and the United States as we knew it was essentially finished.  It was my hope that what Aaron Clarey terms "the Decline," what Billy Beck terms "the Endarkenment," would at least be slowed by avoiding this outcome, but it is not to be.  Iceberg?  What iceberg?  All Ahead, Flank!

So I am free to vote "None of the Above."  And I won't feel the need to shower with battery acid and a Brillo pad afterwards.

Robert Heinlein wrote, “The worst thing about living in the declining era of a great civilization is knowing that you are.” Sometimes I really wish I drank alcohol.

As Professor Reynolds is fond of saying, "Something that can’t go on forever, won’t. Debts that can’t be repaid, won’t be. Promises that can’t be kept, won’t be. Plan accordingly."  Yeah.  Our "austerity riots" are going to be spectacular.

Plan accordingly.

UPDATE, 10/14/16: Scott Adams concurs, for the same reason. And he's been predicting a Trump landslide for months.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Debating Hillary, Pt. 6: Provocations

Last one from the previous debate:

Debating Hillary, Pt. 5: Fighting ISIS

Bill continues his dissection of Hillary's debate statements:

I wonder if he'll do the same to tonight's performance.

Quote of the Day: Political Hypocrisy Edition

From Alan Andrews on Facebook:
I think it's refreshing that the Democrats have finally decided that sexual abuse of women disqualifies you from holding a political office. I'll just sit over here and wait for them all to resign...
Don't hold your breath, Alan.

Friday, October 07, 2016

"Good News, Everyone!"

</Professor Farnsworth Voice>

There will be a 2016 Punkin' Chunkin' World Championship! It will once again be held in Bridgeville, DE, November 4-6.  I look forward to it being covered on the Science channel.

I love this stuff.

Debating Hillary, Pt. 4 - Cyber Security

This should leave a SCAR.

Debating Hillary, Pt. 3 - Energy and Climate Change

Trump needs to hire Bill:

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Bill Whittle: Debating Hillary Pt. 2 of 6

Go, Bill, go!

Make the Rubble Bounce

I have stated from very early in the history of this blog that America's public education system is responsible for the mess we're in right now, and that it cannot be "reformed."  (See the posts on the left sidebar under "Education.")  The phrase I've used is "Nuke it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure."

I've been challenged on that, asked "What do we replace it with?"  I think this guy has figured it out.  Worth your 20 minutes.

Edited to add:

Here Dr. Mitra talks about what he did with the TED prize money:

Also worth your time.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Who Could Have Seen This Coming?

Near ‘Collapse,’ Minnesota to Raise Obamacare Rates by Half
Minnesota will let the health insurers in its Obamacare market raise rates by at least 50 percent next year, after the individual market there came to the brink of collapse, the state’s commerce commissioner said Friday.

The increases range from 50 percent to 67 percent, Commissioner Mike Rothman’s office said in a statement. Rothman, who regulates the state’s insurers, is an appointee under Governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat. The rate hike follows increases for this year of 14 percent to 49 percent.
Oh, yeah. We did.