Sledgehammer's Cycles

Sledgehammer's Cycles
Sledgehammer's Performance and Custom Cycles

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fixed iit for ya

Progressives are complaining that companies are sitting on higher than normal amounts of cash.  Progressives seem to think that making companies spend this (to get the economy going, natch) or confiscating it (so that government can spend it to get the economy going, natch) is what every "Smart" person would want to do.

Fortunately, we have Sonic Charmer to 'splain it to them:

I think this is a case of what, I assume, are basically correct facts (companies holding lots of cash) being misdiagnosed. Let me try to help by suggesting that instead of ‘piles of cash’ we all start thinking of that cash as a rainy-day fund.

Now restate the complaint: lots of companies are holding larger-than-normal rainy-day funds. The good thing about this construction is that it naturally leads to a question: Why?

There’s only one rational answer: Because they think they might need it. But why would they think that?

Again, the answer is almost obvious: Because in their estimation, they are likely to face larger costs and/or smaller profit margins down the road.

What, I wonder, could possibly give companies that idea? Could it have something to do with – current government policy?
Read the whole thing for the whole delicious mockery.  Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm (Barack Obama!).

Drug dealers yes; medical marijuana users no

The ATF has an interesting idea of which people should be allowed to buy guns.

Now let's think about this for a second.  Seriously ill people, weak from chemotherapy, with a prescription from a doctor for a drug that can help them counter the terrible effects of their treatment - and which drug is attractive to shady, underworld thugs - no, those people are a serious risk to the community.

Selling guns to drug dealers, on the other hand, is the shiznit.  Just another day in the Bureau.

I think I know where we can find $1,147,295,000 to reduce the deficit.

Seriously, there are too many people working there, and especially too many stupid people working there.  Government employment should not be a subsidy to stupid people.  Just sayin'.

Shana Tova

To my Jewish readers, let me just say Ketiva ve-chatima tovah! כתיבה וחתימה טובה

May the New Year - and the philosophical reflections on the New Year - be rewarding to us all.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thinking about .303 Brit

You will know that I'm shooting this regularly when you see ads go up here to help finance my shooting habit.  Ouch.

I have to say, though, that it's cool to shoot a rimmed rifle cartridge.  It feels so Old School and retro.  Of course, if I got a Moisin-Nagant, I'd be paying half as much for rimmed Commie surplus rimmed rifle ammo.  With whopping great fireballs at the end of the muzzle.

And you can pick them up for a buck and a quarter.  I guess this might be my next addition to the gun safe ...

Why do environmentalists hate the environment?

I mean, clear cutting old forest in Vermont?
Some well spoken and well meaning opposition to a wind power project in northeastern Vermont today in the New York Times. At issue is whether the clean electricity that would be generated from Kingdom Community Wind project in Lowell, and its planned 21 turbines totaling 63 MW, stretched across 3 miles of ridgeline, is enough of an environmental benefit to offset the environmental impact of building it.

...

This discussion of the appropriateness of any development in sensitive environmental areas for clean power is certainly a widespread one--Earth First! has protested wind power projects in the Maine wilderness, there's been well-publicized protest of planned solar power plants in sensitive areas of California, and don't forget the opposition to Cape Wind. It's bound to be a growing one too, and one which requires some hard situational thinking. On different projects I personally come down on different sides of the issue.

In this case, it's quite true that development of wind power projects along Vermont's iconic Green Mountain ridges will seriously change the landscape.
Gee, ya think?

Here's a thought for the folks over at Tree Hugger: T. Boone Pickens is on the side of the windmills.  Have you thought what the corporate connections might be?  Hint: corporate profit is involved.


Me, I don't actually have a problem with corporate profit.  Taxing the poor and middle class to subsidize corporate boondoggles that require raping the pristine wilderness so that the middle classes and poor can pay higher electricity bills?  Yeah, I have a problem with that.

But then, I'm a 1970s style leftie, one who thinks that our governmental policies shouldn't hurt the poor or the environment.  I guess that these days, that makes me a wingnut.

Quote of the Day - First Amendment edition

Ken at Popehat, as is his wont, brings the snark about the University of Wisconsin's censoring of a professor's Firefly poster that he had hung on his office door.  The snark is directed at the UW Chancellor's pathetic public response:
If your “UW System Legal Counsel” told you that these posters could be censored based on their content, then stop hiring lawyers out of the back of a bait shop.
Actually, legal counsel found in the back of a bait shop would likely be an upgrade for the University of Wisconsin.

Facebook is twitchy over privacy and security

It seems that they have a Quick Reaction PR team in place, to dispute claims that they're cavalier about their user's security.  Like leaving behind cookies that can track the web pages you visit even after logging out:
Cubrilovic’s conclusion after examining the behavior of Facebook’s cookies is simple: “Even if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit.”

This is because instead of telling browsers to remove cookies when users log out, Facebook merely "alters" the state of those little parcels of data – including the cookie that stores your account number.

As a result, if you happen to pass by a page with a Facebook “like” button, "share" button, “or any other widget”, your information – including your account number – will be sent back to Facebook. And if you log into Facebook from a public terminal, those cookies could be left behind.
Enter the Facebook PR Ninja Strike team, with a quiver of denial:
In a comment on Cubrilovic's blog, a Facebook engineer – identifying himself as staffer Gregg Stefancik – said that “our cookies aren’t used for tracking”, and that “most of the cookies you highlight have benign names and values”.

"Generally, unlike other major internet companies, we have no interest in tracking people," the insider added.
[*COUGH* Google! *COUGH*]

Interesting that Facebook is getting edgy when people point out Yet Another Privacy Fail.  Interesting that they do it so quickly.  Interesting that they call out Google.

I almost never use Facebook.  Are they tracking my surfing?  Dunno.  In the past, they're been entirely cavalier about their user's privacy, and Mr. Stefancik doesn't actually dispute Cubrilovic’s claim.  A non-denial denial, if you will.

Me?  I don't trust them, based on their past behavior.  Your mileage many vary, void where prohibited, do not remove tag on penalty of law.

Interlude



For #2 Son.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Man who knew too much, didn't

G.K. Chesterton famously told a parable in The Thing:
In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, "I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away." To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: "If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it."

This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease.

This is an argument that Progressives love to ignore, because it is a direct attack on their perceived intelligence.  Can't have that.

But the historical result of Progressive policy prescriptions is a never ending recital of unintended consequences.  Advantage: Chesterton it would seem.

Eric Raymond has a very thought provoking post about what sexual liberation has done to women:

Women are hypergamous. They want to marry men who are bigger, stronger, higher-status, a bit older, and a bit brighter than they are. This is massively confirmed by statistics on actual marriages; only the “a bit brighter” part is even controversial, and most of that controversy is ideological posturing.

OK, so what happens when women get educated, achieve economic equality, etcetera? Their pool of eligible hypergamic targets shrinks; the princess marrying the swineherd is a fairytale precisely because it’s so rare. More women seeking hypergamy from a higher baseline means the competition for eligible males is more intense, and womens’ ability to withold sex vanishes even supposing they want to. Thus, college campuses today, and plunging marriages rate tomorrow.

The question becomes: what are we going to give up? Family formation? Sexual equality? Sexual liberty?
The whole thing is very thought provoking, and is entirely unconsidered by the last generation of Progressives.  They tore down a gate because it was inconvenient.  None of them foresaw where we've ended up.

But don't forget, they're smarter that you or I.  And they have women's real interests at heart.  If those interests include a lack of marriage prospects and a lifetime of loneliness, then eggs, omelets.

What's the solution?  Beats me.  I don't understand where all these dang gates came from.  Besides, I'm clearly a Thought Criminal and an Enemy Of The State.

Note: Yes, this wasn't from The Man Who Knew Too Much.  I was going for the post title.

How about those Red Sox?

This is the strangest season I can remember.  Their April opening month was the worst I can remember.  Their summer was spectacular, perhaps the best I can remember.

And their September flame out was equally spectacular, and maybe the most spectacular I can remember.  And I can remember a lot of Red Sox September flame outs.

With two games left and the Sox tied with Tampa for the wild card, it's over.  Tampa is 6-4 in their last ten games.  The Sox are 2-8.  Confidence does not remain high.

What a weird season.

All work and no play

It makes Borepatch a boring blogger.  The problem with conference calls with Europe is that they start early in the morning.  The problem with conference calls with Asia is that they start in the evening.

Blogging will catch up, but Lord it was a long day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quote of the Day: Class Warfare edition

Ouch:
Warren Buffet has figured it out. What you do is, you write an op-ed pleading for the government to go and take more money away from people who are on the order of ten thousand times less wealthy than yourself. Progressives, having evidently taken sides in the perennial war of the uber-rich against the merely nouveau-riche and upwardly-mobile, will applaud the idea and fawn all over you for your selflessness in asking the government to go and get more money from other, poorer people.
Ouch.  All I can say is that this is just one more demonstration that Progressives are cheap and easy.  Tell them they're pretty and that their policy prescriptions are so hot, and you're getting lucky.

Raising Boys v3.0

Anyone who ever built something with a young boy - or built something with their Dad as a young boy, go read this.

Right.  Now.  Don't make me want to change my tone.

Reading that, I though of my own Dad and me.  I thought of myself and my kids.  I can't stop smiling from the memories.

Via Isegoria, to whom I can only offer a heart felt thank you.

Elizabeth Warren is as dumb as a rock

OK, Godwin says that maybe this is a little over the top, but c'mon - hyperbole is a long established and respected (OK, long established, at least) form of satire.

Quite frankly, the satires write themselves.  And what is it about Democratic women politicians from Massachusetts, anyway?

Oh, and I only did this because all the Cool Kids are.  So there.

UPDATE: Sean Sorrentino beards the Lion in his den.  Heh.

Hollywood and the Shooting Sling

Watch this scene from 1975's The Wind And The Lion, and you'll see Brian Keith as Teddy Roosevelt looped up for target practice.



I don't think you'd see that today.  Keith came by that skill honestly - a Marine in World War II, he was a radioman/tail gunner in an SBD Dive Bomber.

I hadn't realized that, and hadn't noticed the sling when I watched the film.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Babe Ruth, artillerist

You can't say that he didn't know how to repeatedly launch projectiles on ballistic trajectories.

(Image source)
Yes, that's the Bambino saluting General Pershing.  From Shorpy's:
NEW YORK. May 20, 1924. — Babe Ruth, star slugger of the Yankees, is a soldier now — a buck private. He joined the National Guard of New York today, enlisting with the 104th field artillery for three years. He was sworn in as he stood atop a gun carriage in Times Square. Police reserves had to be called to handle the crowds. The Babe's enlistment was in response to a National Guard membership drive.
I agree with the other commenter:
How many of the self centered millionaire professional athletes of today would even consider enlisting in the Reserves today ?Don't hold your breath.
Babe Ruth was paid $52,000 by the Yankees in 1924 - the average working man made around $1,200 that year.  He hit .378 with 46 home runs that year.

This is what a good day at work looks like



Son unexpectedly home on leave drops in to surprise his Mom.

Via the Welcome Home blog, where they specialize in this sort of thing.

Secular and Sacred

Here's an interesting juxtaposition.  First Sabra, on lefties and the whole "Jesus was a socialist" meme:
Nice theologic answer.  Next, Eric S. Raymond tackles the same meme from the secular ethicist perspective:

Compassion is a duty of every individual. Groups of people organizing voluntarily to achieve compassionate ends are deserve admiration and support. Collectivists pervert compassion, speaking the language of caring but committing the actions of criminals.

It is a crime to rob your neighbor. It is a crime to use your neighbor for your own ends without allowing him or her a choice in the matter. It is a crime to deprive your neighbor of his liberty when he or she has committed no aggression against you.

These crimes are no less crimes when a sociopath (or a politician – but, I repeat myself) justifies them by chanting “for the poor” or “for the children” or “for the environment”.
Sadly, this likely won't be enough to shut up the whole "Jesus believed in 68% marginal tax rates for the wealthy" crowd.  But these are two great arguments from opposite starting points, saying precisely the same thing.

The Hino-Komura pistol

(Image source)
A design from the early days of semi-automatic pistols is the Japanese Hino-Komura pistol of 1907.  The Russo-Japanese War was a triumph for the Chrysanthemum Throne, but it convinced the Imperial Japanese Army that it seeded a self-loading pistol.  You see, all the Cool Kids were getting them.

But the new-fangled things were, well, new, and so nobody really knew what worked best.  And so the Hino-Komura ended up with the marvelously quirky blow forward design.  The breech was solid, an integral part of the frame.  It was motionless when the pistol was fired, and the barrel was what moved.

The friction of the bullet is what drove the barrel forward.  Eventually the bullet left the muzzle (removing further forward impetus) and a recoil spring slowed and stopped the barrel's forward motion.  At this point, the ejector kicked away the spent case - which the extractor had been holding firmly in place against the breech - and a fresh cartridge was seated.  Then the spring returned the barrel, cocking the firing pin.

Alas for the Hino-Komura, it was not accepted for use by the Army, and only 1200 or so were made.  Highly collectible, a cache of 17 were found in a Japanese warehouse in 1992.  Sadly, there were destroyed rather than being sold to collectors.  It seems that one lucky collector found one in a box of random stuff at a garage sale, and picked the lot up for $20.  That's winning the lottery.

A few blow forward designs were implemented, perhaps most famous being the Mk 20 Grenade Launcher used in Vietnam.  Manlicher also had a commercial design in the 1890s, and Schwarzlose had what was perhaps the only commercially successful offer.  Why?


One objection is what to do if the gun does not return to battery (i.e. the barrel or breach does not fully re-seat).  In your typical blow back design (1911 style), you just hit the back of the gun, and it will likely be enough for the pistol to re-seat.  That won't work on a blow forward design - you have to smack the barrel back towards you.  In the event of a slam fire, the part of you that you use to smack the barrel is in front of the barrel when the pistol fires (oops).

And so we only see blow forward designs in the early days of auto-loading pistols, before everyone figured out what worked better.  While things are cheaper and more reliable now, they're more similar.  Functionally this is a big win, but a little of the poetry got lost along the way.

But maybe I need to start going to garage sales ...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Some days, I just own Google

Heh.  The link led here.  Double heh.

BBQ Review - The Salt Lick

Photo credit: Borepatch
The Salt Lick has the reputation as offering some of the finest BBQ in the Austin area.  A wag might point out that it had better, since it's kind of in the middle of nowhere (Driftwood, TX).  Well, Nowhere is worth the drive.

It's a family run business which has expanded and expanded since the 1960s  Originally just the smoke pit, they soon added a porch for dining.  Catering followed, and they now have a vineyard.  While I didn't try the wine, I suspect that more people come for the BBQ and end up drinking the wine than the other way around.

It's Texas style BBQ, which means Brisket and Sausage, along with pork ribs and chicken.  Their sauce is mustard based which is different but very good - not sweet and not sour, it's a different experience but all around delicious.

I got the "burned" Brisket - the charred outside bits.  While drier, they have a maximum smokiness which I particularly like.  The pink smoke ring is highly visible - as you can see from the picture, this is the real BBQ deal.

The smoked sausage is good, but I suspect that when the novelty wears off, I'll just go for the brisket.  Same with the ribs - nothing wrong with them, but they make me think of Carolina style port ribs, which I prefer.

Their potatoes are probably the best I've ever had at a BBQ joint.  More like German potato salad, only not as tangy, but with a smoky hint.  I suspect that their sauce is involved, and adding more sauce just amped the flavor up.  Boy, they were good.

The Cole slaw was superior - no mayo in the dressing, but what seemed more like a vinaigrette.  I particularly liked it because it was hot today and this was a lot lighter than your typical cole slaw.

The BBQ beans were "meh", but I tend not to like them very much anyway.  Even with extra sauce, they were meh.

If you go - and you should - bring cash.  They don't take credit cards or checks.  There is an ATM there, but it dings you for $2.50.  Forewarned is forearmed.

All in all, worth the journey.  A little pricey - a bit under $40 for #1 Son and me for a plate and an iced tea each.  But the portions are generous, and we have cold brisket in the fridge for dinner now.  Win.

How a Bolt Action rifle works



Pretty interesting, from Midway USA.  Of course, the history buff in me would like to see the finer points of difference between the Mauser action and the Enfield.

I'm begging you

Support JayG's Kilted To Kick Cancer fundraiser.  He's a desperate man; he's already posted eye-bleach worthy extortion.  There's no telling what else he might do.  Oh, the humanity!

We can't let this sort of thing continue on the Internet.  Think of teh Childrenz®!

In all seriousness, this is an outstanding charity, and JayG is putting his dignity where his mouth is.  It was Prostate cancer that took Dad.  I know that times are tough all around, but even $20 helps out.

And srlsy, we don't want any more kilts and purple stuffed unicorn dolls.  I'm begging ya ...

Sir Edward Elgar - Land of Hope and Glory

Even people who don't much listen to Classical Music know more of it than they think.  We're surrounded by it, and absorb much of it unconsciously.   And so with today's piece, written by Elgar for the coronation of King Edward VII in 1901.

You know this piece.  Indeed, it is instantly recognizable to the entire population.  Even we in the Colonies recognize it.

What you may not know is that there are words to it.  It became so popular in Great Britain that it is considered an unofficial national anthem there.

Elgar was born into modest circumstances in the very class conscious Victorian age.  With few prospects for financial success, but with musical genius to spare, he married the daughter of a Major General.  Her family was horrified at the match, and in fact disinherited her.

She didn't care.  His works gradually attracted more and more attention, until he broke through into national (and international) fame in 1899 with his "Enigma Variations".  Recognized as England's preeminent composer, he was approached to write for a Royal Command Performance at the Royal Opera House.  This is what he wrote.

The words are from poet A.C. Benson's Coronation Ode.  The music is typically referred to as Pomp And Circumstance.



Land of Hope and Glory (Words by A.C. Benson, music by Edward Elgar)
Land of Hope and Glory,
Mother of the Free,
How may we extol thee,
Who are born of thee?
Truth and Right and Freedom,
Each a holy gem,
Stars of solemn brightness,
weave thy diadem.

Tho' thy way be darkened,
Still in splendour drest,
As the star that trembles
O'er the liquid West.
Throned amid the billows,
Throned inviolate,
Though hast reigned victorious,
Though has smiled at fate.

Land of Hope and Glory,
Fortress of the Free,
How may we extol thee,
Praise thee, honour thee?

Hark, a mighty nation
Maketh glad reply;
Lo, our lips are thankful,
Lo, our hearts are high!
Hearts in hope uplifted,
Loyal lips that sing;
Strong in faith and freedom,
We have crowned our King!
Elgar's wife had the satisfaction of seeing her family see her husband knighted by King Edward in 1904.  Even more, George V appointed him to the Order of Merit, one of the most exclusive of the dynastic orders.  Limited to no more than 24 members, the invitation to join is at the discretion of, and is considered the personal gift from the Monarch.  That's plenty good enough for anyone, even the daughter of a Major General.  You might say that he had finally graduated into High Society, despite his humble beginnings.

Elgar is interesting in that he was the first major composer to take an interest in the new fangled gramophone, and he recorded many of his works.  You can buy them today on Amazon.com.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

So Herman Cain won the Florida straw poll

I like Cain.  He gets quite a lot of radio air time in Atlanta (particularly on Boortz), and I like his thinking and his attitude.  I'm skeptical that he can win.  He's a very non-traditional candidate - no, it's nothing about his race; it's that he's never held office before.

Not that I'm a fan of professional politicians who have never had a real job.  Click on the "Vote Them Out" icon for a rant about this.  Cain is absolutely not one of the folks I carry on about in that post.

But here's the deal: the 2012 election will go to the Republican who doesn't scare the voters.  Right now, Romney and maybe Perry are the ones most likely not to scare the voters.

But Perry didn't do well in the last debate.  Michael Graham offers up some sound advice to the Perry camp:

All you have to do is prove that you’re ready to take on Obama in November.  But right now, you’re getting your presidential aspirations handed to you by Mitt Romney. Now Gov. Perry, that’s not exactly like getting beaten up by a girl, but…

What’s particularly annoying is that, setting aside your mixed record on immigration, you’ve got the record to run on. The job creation is there, the true belief in limited government is there, the willingness to side with people/entrepreneurs against Washington/trial lawyers/enviro-whackjobs is there. Romney’s record is nowhere close.

But records don’t win elections. Candidates do. (See: “Obama, B.”) So this is my challenge to you, Gov. Perry:

Either step up or get out.
Yup.  Oh, and don't scare the voters.

It will be interesting to watch this election unfold.  Right now, I'm not sure who I'm rooting for.  I do have to say that I'm less enthusiastic about Perry than I was a month ago.  Step it up is right.

Winning

#1 Son arrived here in Austin for a visit.  Watching the Charlie Sheen roast on iTunes is 100% made from Tiger Blood.
The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.
- Thomas Jefferson

Driving ProTip

To the blond trophy wife in the Mercedes at H.E.B. - the one sipping her Starbucks as she backed out of her parking space - it's considered driving Best Practice to actually look to see if traffic is behind you before you start to move.

No need to thank me; it's all part of the service.

$4000 per minute

Well, plus or minus.  I'm assuming that this is .308.



#2 Son likes this FPS Russia guy.  It looks like he's not the only one: FPS Russia has had something 20 million views on Youtube.  Enough for him to get some fairly serious advertisements (it was a Jeep commercial when I watched; good demographic targeting).

And he's going to need that revenue.  I have no idea where he gets a Minigun, but the ammo he shot off here is probably in the order of $6,000.  Yowzer.

Me, I'm not usually interested in automatic fire unless someone else is paying for my ammo.  And the GAU just dials that up to eleven.

I did wonder watching this how many rounds ricocheted off of the surface of the pond he was shooting them into.  And I hope that we can all agree that Holywood's stupidest firearm scenes involve a hand held minigun.  Forget about carrying the gun; the ammo for it needs a truck.

But it's interesting that some Internet dude seems to be able to make a living doing this sort of thing.  Cool.

Post scheduling fail

Yeah, I posted today's Saturday Redneck last night.  As an apology to my customers, all blog posts today will be entirely free of charge.

But it's a great song.  Even if you don't like Country Music, you should check this out.  Country Blues.

Pistol Annies - Hell On Heels

(Image source)
Country Blues is an idea that is so filled with Win that it hurts.  You don't hear it much, but that may be fixin' to change with the Pistol Annies' simply spectacular new song.

Long time readers will remember that the lovely and-high-heeled Mrs. Borepatch and I quite like Miranda Lambert, a very talented neo-traditional Country singer/songwriter.  Lambert has joined forces with fellow songwriters Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley to form what's being described as a Country "Super group".  Girls with guitars.  And heels.

Pistols, too.

The music is simply delicious.  Today's song takes a lot of influences from the Blues; not just the minor key, but the Blues "bragging" tradition.  The lyrics channel Muddy Waters' Mannish Boy, only from the girl's point of view.

Yeah, it's a celebration of gold digging.  It's awesome.



Hell On Heels (Songwriters: Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, Angaleena Presley)
I'm hell on heels
Say what you will
I done made the devil a deal
He made me pretty
He made me smart
And I'm gonna break me a million hearts
I'm hell on heels
Baby, I'm coming for you

This diamond ring
On my hand's
The only good thing
That came from that man
Got a G.T.O. from one named Joe
And a big piece of land down in Mexico
I'm hell on heels
Baby, I'm coming for you

I got a pink guitar
A Lincoln town car
From ol' what's his name
I meet at a bar
Got a high rise flat in Hollywood
From a married man wasn't up to no good
I'm hell on heels
Baby, I'm coming for you

Then there's Jim
I almost forgot I ran him off
But I took the yacht
Poor ol' Billy
Bless his heart
I'm still using his credit card
I'm hell on heels
Sugar daddy, I'm coming for you

I'm hell on heels
Say what you will
I done made the devil a deal
He made me pretty
He made me smart
And I'm gonna break me a million hearts
I'm hell on heels
Baby, I'm coming for you

I'm hell on heels
Say what you will
I done made the devil a deal
He made me pretty
He made me smart
I'm gonna break me a million hearts
I'm hell on heels
Sugar daddy, I'm coming for you
We shall watch the Pistol Annies' careers with great interest.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Patrick Leahy Is Eric Holder's Punkass Flunky Boy.

Well, he is.

Bob at The Drawn Cutlass has proposed this as a new meme.  So get meme'ing.

World War I in color

Not photographs, film:



Via Flares Into Darkness, who sums it up:
Mud, gas masks and artillery. No way to spend your youth. You can't help but feel sorry for those guys.
The first really usable color motion picture was Kinemacolor (1906).  I'm not sure if this video used that technique or not, but it was available.

Tombstone

Mistress At Arms emails to say that she saw my recent post with the clips from the film Tombstone, and that she and her husband visited Tombstone recently, and even found a Lee Enfield Ishapore rifle in a gun store there.  She attached some pictures, which she's kindly let me post.

Tombstone main street - photo credit: Mistress At Arms
Tombstone graveyard - photo credit: Mistress At Arms
Tombstone's chief industry is tourism, which they do with a convincing mix of gusto and camp.  We were there several years ago, and it was really great fun.

Gunfight at the OK Corral - photo credit Borepatch
Gunfight at the OK Corral - photo credit Borepatch
It's well worth a detour if you're in the Phoenix area - just 2 or 3 hours away.  Also only 2 or 3 hours from Phoenix in the other direction is the Grand Canyon, which is worth the journey.

Grand Canyon - photo credit Borepatch
It's a big country, with lots of places that seem strange and even campy.  Some of them are.  It's worth the journey.

Abuses and Usurpations

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
- Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence
This document is uniquely American, and indeed defines what it it to be an American.  Unlike Europe's sad history of tribal allegiance, best described as blut und boden (blood and soil), to be American is a mental act.  It is an act of faith, faith in a mental construct.  The Declaration defines that construct, and indeed acts as our secular credo.

But people skip most of it.  Dusty with history, they race past the bill of complaint against His late Majesty King George, to the stirring parts.  The exciting bits.  The ones where the prose transcends the mundane, and sings to the American soul.

But the Revolution was indeed a revolution, and blood was spilled.  People were killed, killed dead.  The Declaration explains - offers facts to a candid world - why the founders felt obligated to spill blut onto the boden.

I've wondered what it might take to make me feel willing to do this - to declare that I and my fellows are, and of Right ought to be, free of the political bands that connected us with the old order.  It might be something very like this:
The Belgians have ramped up their organ harvesting campaign from euthanasia cases in Applied Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology (15: 38-48, 2011) to discuss the harvesting of lungs.  I reported on this before, but there is more to add.

Note that one of the four killed and harvested had a mental illness, described in the paper as self mutilation.
When I read this, my first thought was this cannot be true.  But the magic of blogosphere linkage led me to the source, an article by Dr. D. Van Raemdonck et al. in the journal Applied Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology:

The highlighted line is the epitaph for a mentally ill woman who was killed by the Belgian Government for her organs.  Like an animal put to death so that her body parts could sustain some other creature, she was disturbed enough to hurt herself and so was condemned to death.  She was just about exactly my age.

And Belgium, that historical exemplar of humanity, sent doctors to dissect her.  All for the greater good of society, don't you know.

I look on this situation, and wonder if the outcome would have been different if her family had fought for her.  Quite frankly, I don't know.  What I do know is that some Belgian Doctor killed her Dead Right There, and cut her apart.  I know that he did this with the full moral and legal approval of the Belgian State.

I don't know whether that kind of thing would ever take root on these shores.  I certainly hope not, although we're constantly told by our Moral Betters™ that we need to be more like the Europeans.  We were told that ObamaCare wouldn't blow the budget, or force people into Medical Exchanges, or kill private medical insurance for a lot of folks.  Maybe the people who told us that didn't really know what they were talking about, and we're just ending up that way.

And so maybe the people who will say that this sort of atrocity could never, never, never, ever happen here actually know what they're talking about.  Maybe they're not just a bunch of Statist Pricks drunk on their ideology of control.  Maybe they are, as they tell us, nicer than we are.

But here's the sticking point for me:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Life.  My credo tells me that it's an unalienable right.  That means that any contract I might make that would terminate that is null and void, just like any contract I might make to sell myself into slavery is null and void.  Unenforceable, by the terms of our credo.

And so I watch with nauseated fascination as the Europeans once again tread on forbidden soil.  Blut-soaked boden, you might say, but that would describe the better part of that unhappy continent.  So much for Belgium, and for a Europe that would not look twice at this.

The mentally ill are terribly, terribly vulnerable.  That illness is a scourge on them, and on their families.  I can understand why some would be willing to take drastic measures to put an end to that scourge, even desperate measures.  But there's only one word that describes a State that would not just stand by and let that happen, but which would officially sanction it.

Evil.

And so I think on our land, and our credo.  What would it take for me to follow in the path of our Founders?  Because it is true what they said, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

This might do it for me.  I'm not a violent person - indeed, I see myself as a citizen who is (and of right ought to be) part of the social order.  This society deserves people like me to actively support it.

But if the Moral Exemplars™ who are convinced that we need to be more like Europe send Men With Guns to my house to take one of my family members away for vivisection, well then the social order is a little different.

Like I said, I don't know that things would come to this pass.  I don't know if the Men With Guns would show up to claim my family member's organs "for the Greater Good".  If they did, I don't know whether or not I'd do everything in my power to make sure they didn't go home that evening fully staffed.

What I do know is that my last thought as I lie dieing will not be that Men With Guns came for my family, and I didn't do everything I could to stop it.

I like Europe, and Europeans, but my ancestors all came to these shores because they made a choice to embrace that credo
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Amen.  I will not - ever - embrace this abuse.  This evil.

Postscript: While I don't think this is likely to come to pass on these shores, I'm not at all sure if this post would have resulted in Men With Guns coming to visit me, and taking my guns away - as this post demonstrates that I'm clearly "not suitable" to own guns.

Via Secondhand Smoke via Pseudo-Polymath.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

In which I get well and truly pissed off

I've worked hard to keep this blog G-rated (OK, PG-rated), and the biggest part of this is watching my language.  It's not just striving to be family friendly (I doubt many kids read this; certainly mine don't.  Much).

Rather, it's because the coarsening of our social discourse is not just a shame, it's cheap and easy.  I may have my shameful moments, but cheap and easy is nothing I aspire to.

And yet, I have steam coming out my ears, an hour after I queued up a rant for tomorrow's posts.  I get my Wookie suit on, exhibiting full frontal wookie.  But I wrote this an hour ago, and I'm even angrier now than when I started.

Government derives its just power from the consent of the governed.  This is an axiom that should strike terror into the heart of today's Progressives.  Should.

And so back to the concept of shame.  This is a desirable social trait, which ensures cohesion of the entire society.  As this is broken down - always in the name of "Progressive norms", of course - at what point is society justified to jettison the Progressives, for the sake of social cohesion?  After all, it's all about What's Best For Society, Not For Individuals?  Right?

Right?  Bueller?

We're always told by out Betters™ when a Republican gets caught in a sex scandal that it's all about the hypocrisy®.  Okay, fine.  So what happens when a Progressive's ideology gets caught in a web of hypocrisy?

[crickets]

And damn whoever gets hurt by Progressive hypocrisy.  That's why I'm fuming, and why I'm thinking that Progressives are a bunch of thieving, hypocritical  bastards that couldn't tell their asses from a hole in the ground because they're so blinded by their Moloch ideology that they will prostitute their body and soul for a cheap tumble in the sack with any old pretty Progressive face, as long as he flatters their sense of Moral Righteousness™.

They're so slutty and easy.

Back to the regular PG-13 rating tomorrow, albeit with a full on Wookie-suit rant.

Raising Boys v2.0

#2 Son wore his Army JROTC uniform to school yesterday.  The lovely and likes-a-man-in-uniform Mrs. Borepatch said he looked great.  I dare say I'll get my chance to appreciate this particular place on his journey to Honorable Manhood when I get back to Atlanta.

But it made me think of this.


Pop Warner, 2004.  I think this was the first uniform he ever had.  But it represented the same ideals of his current one: pride, teamwork, striving to be better than he thinks he can be, sacrifice, doing what needs to be done no matter the weather, and (hopefully) the taste of victory.

The Romans had a set of manly virtues, which they used to grind their enemies to dust.  I still see these in the new generation: Dignitas, personal pride. Disciplina, fealty to their military oath. Firmitas, tenacity. Honestas, respectability. Industria, an ethic of hard work. Severitas, self-control.

There are times that I despair for our nation, and offer up a heart-felt prayer.  God save this Honorable Republic.

Days like yesterday make me think that sometimes the Lord hears, and answers.

New Adobe Flash patch

Here we go again:

Adobe Systems has issued an emergency update for its ubiquitous Flash Player that fixes a critical security vulnerability that attackers are actively exploiting to hack end user machines.

...

The Flash vulnerability affects versions 10.3.183.7 and earlier for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Solaris and Flash 10.3.186.6 for Google's Android operating system for mobile phones. Those using recent versions of Flash on Windows or Mac OS X can install the upgrade automatically after being prompted by an auto-update mechanism, or they can upgrade manually by installing a file downloaded here. In some cases, those using Flash with multiple browsers must update more than once. Those wanting to know what version they're currently running should visit this page.
Of course, Flash is what puts the You in Youtube.  So head on over for some security goodness.  You know that guy who got hacked by the new Flash exploit that's going around?  Don't be that guy.

Security ProTip: Hack your GM car

GM seems to think that a couple extra bucks from sleazy Insurance Companies is worth more than their customer's good will.  Ooooh kaaaay then.

Everyone, it seems, is posting about how OnStar® collects your location and speed data, which GM shares with the government and sells to other companies.  OnStar® essentially is a spy tracking device in your car, with no way for you to opt out.

Except, of course, the OnStar® SpyTrackR™ is electronic.  It needs power.

Security ProTip: if you unplug the power to the OnStar® SpyTrackR™ it won't spy on you.  ASM826 shows you how to do it.  Looks like it will take you 15 minutes, with basic tools.

Hack your car.  You'll be glad you did.

And speaking of Steam Punk ...

... what could be better than Charles Babbage's steam powered Analytical Engine?  Why, a bunch of blokes who are planning on building Charles Babbage's steam powered Analytical Engine:
So, it's not without trepidation that I say that it's time Britain built the Analytical Engine. After the wonderful reconstruction of the Difference Engine we need to finish Babbage's dream of a steam-powered, general-purpose computer.

...

Am I mad? Would you donate to make the Analytical Engine an oily, steamy, brass and iron reality? Can we live up to Lovelace's words when she wrote: "We may say most aptly, that the Analytical Engine weaves algebraical patterns just as the Jacquard-loom weaves flowers and leaves. "

PS A commenter asked about pledging money to the project. I'm not quite ready to start accepting cash! :-) But people can pledge by either sending me an email or simply writing a comment here. That'll give me an idea of interest in doing this.

PPS UPDATE. Please visit Plan 28 for more on this topic.
It may be madness, but it is superb madness.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What Computer Security looked like in the 1970s

Wow.  Just wow:


Click to embiggen, and get the entire delicious thing.  Me, I want the ray gun, and the very Steam Punk Atomic Age computer console.  In fact, I want a fusion Steam Punk/Atomic Age computer console that guards my house while I'm parking my helicopter.

And a ray gun.

What first aid kit for TEOTWAWKI?

TOTWTYTR brings it.

This is a really, really good idea for a second range bag.  Hopefully nothing goes wrong, but if it does, it goes really wrong, really quick.

I also think that with as many EMT folks who are also gunbloggers, a (say) one-hour first aid refresher at a blogshoot is a particularly useful idea.  It won't make the rest of us EMTs, but it will give us an idea about what to do if something goes really, really bad.

RTWT, and bookmark it.

Shut up! The Science is settled!

Man, it's getting harder and harder to be an Orthodox Global Warmer Defender of the Scienciness™:
Oh dear, now we have three peer reviewed papers (Lindzen and Choi, Spencer and Braswell, and now Richard P. Allan) based on observations that show a net negative feedback for clouds, and a strong one at that. What will Trenberth and Dessler do next? Maybe the editor of Meteorological Applications can be persuaded to commit professional suicide and resign?
Me, I think that the next step is that Michael Mann and Phil Jones will send in the Spetsnaz, or something.



Take that, Denier Scum!

TheOnesDay® No. 14

It's Wednesday, mockery time for the LightBringer.  I was going to add my weekly snark, but I find that I already have.  That dude is so toast that Mussolini could beat him.


And don't give me any backtalk about Mussolini not having a birth certificate.  Neither did The Won.  Or being dead - The Won's chances are hanging upside down, too.  And he's not nearly this good without a TelePrompTer ...



Now that's a guy who can give a speech.  In front of classical columns, in fact.


Duce! Duce! Duce! Duce! Duce! Duce! Duce! Duce!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Raising boys

Foseti ponders how to raise boys.  It's an interesting post, and more pensive that Foseti usually runs to.  You should RTWT.

Ten years ago, I would have had a lot to say on the subject.  A typically Borepatchian post, filled with references both ancient and obscure, a hat tip to one of the great quotes from out Western intellectual tradition, and an excess of self-assuredness.  Then the last decade happened, and I learned the real meaning of the saying If you want to hear God laugh, just tell him your plans.

#1 Son and #2 Son are doing just fine, thank you very much.  Grown (or growing) to Honorable Manhood.  I suspect more of their own doing than of mine.



And so I'll just offer this to young fathers: Your sons are always watching you, and learning from you.  I suspect that this applies to daughters, too, but have no direct experience in that.

When the hair on the back of your neck stands up, you'll know that you understand me precisely.

Kalil Gibran said it better:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The Archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
When the hair on the back of your neck stands up, you'll know that you understand him precisely.

You're welcome.

Mussolini could beat Obama next year

So just how bad are Obama's chances next year?  So bad, that the media that shamelessly covered for him in 2008 are running bits like this now:



That's John Stewart, brutally and repeatedly mocking the Administration in general, and Obama and Biden in particular.  Repeatedly.  Stick a fork in it.



Mussolini will absolutely bury these losers.  I predict he'll take 44 states.


Via Michael Graham.

The Force is strong with the Corgi



I LOLed.

Via Theo.

The Evans Rifle

I may start a new meme here.  In researching my recent posts using scenes from the film Tombstone, I ran across an odd and wonderful old rifle: the Evans Repeater.

(Image source)


I grew up in Maine, and went to school there (as did friend Weer'd Beard).  Warren Evans was a dentist in Thomaston (on the mid coast, near Camden).  He designed a more or less typical rifle on the late 1860s, but with one marvelous oddity: the stock contained a magazine that held 30 rounds.  It wouked like an Archimedes screw.

(Image source)
Only instead of raising water, this raised cartridges.  Each time you worked the lever action, the magazine screw turned a quarter turn, feeding a new cartridge to the chamber.

Evans incorporated the Evans Machine Rifle Company in 1871, setting up a manufacturing facility in Mechanics Falls, Maine (known today for really not much at all).  He hoped to interest the Army because of the massive magazine capacity - possibly illegal in some states today.

Alas for Mr. Evans, it didn't work out.  The Army thought the rifle too heavy and clumsy, and subject to jamming from dirt and dust.  You also reloaded it the same way you shot it - One round, cycle the lever action, load a new round, cycle, lather, rinse, repeat.  He got a nibble from the Russian Army, but it was too little, too late.  His company folded in 1880.

But the rifle made an appearance in the film Tombstone.  Of course, it's in Red Dead Redemption.

So new meme - firearms trivia.  And with some old thing from Maine (no comments that I'm some old thing from Maine, if you please).  If folks like it, I'll do another.  But a ProTip just between you and me, don't go betting cash money on your firearms trivia against Tam.  Just sayin'.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm your huckleberry

While looking for the video for yesterday's post, I ran across some collections of Val Kilmer's performance in Tombstone.



I'd forgotten just how fabulous his performance was.  The scene where he and Johnny Ringo speak in Latin is worth the entire price of admission, just by itself.

The first rule of anything

Sometimes it's easier to not do something stupid than it is to do something smart.  Boy, howdy:
Did you catch that? Sowell said that
(a) the market recovered from the crash of '29 just fine, This is highly believable based on the quick recovery from the depression of 1920, and Harding's complete lack of governmnet response.
(b) that government action was the (whole? primary?) cause of the great depression, (c) that the primary legislation responsible for the start of the great depression was a set of import tariffs...which cost the country hundreds of thousands or millions of jobs -- because that's what tariffs do.
This will make you think, which is a good thing (RTWT).  It has major, major implications for what's happening right now.

For extra credit, analyze the Euro crisis using this framework.

But the Elite is smart enough to fine tune the economy

And fine tune each of our lives.  But it seems that there's "smart", and there's smart:
Olson showed back in 1982 that modern macroeconomic theory was basically worthless in developed stable countries.  Macroeconomics posits a free market in which wages and prices adjust dynamically.  That applies to an ever-smaller sector of the U.S. economy.  We have a rapidly growing governnment that directly or indirectly employs more than one third of our workers, many of whom are unionized.  We have a health care system that consumes 16 percent of GDP and is staffed with doctors who restrict entry into the profession via their licensing cartel.  The financial services sector is about 10 percent of the economy and they now tap into taxpayer money to keep their bonuses flowing in bad times.  The automotive industry kept itself profitable over the years by successfully lobbying for import tariffs.  When the profits turned to losses, they successfully lobbied to have taxpayers pick up those losses.  A university-trained macroeconomist might be able to predict what will happen to babysitters in a depression, but not the price of cereal, the wage of a manufacturing worker, or the fate of those Americans who collect most of our national income (e.g., Wall Street, medical doctors, government workers).
Pretty smart, right there.

Via Isegoria, so you know it's smart.

Range Report - Lee Enfield No. 4 Mk. 1

The Lee Enfield No. 4 was a variant of the Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield (SMLE) of World War I fame.  Most of the modifications were to make it easier to manufacture - a critical advantage in 1939 when it was adopted.  His Majesty's forces carried this as they first stared Hitler's Wehrmacht down, and then took the battle to the Continent.

The rifle's name is the combination of the names of James Paris Lee (designer of the Bolt) and Enfield, the town in England where the Royal Small Arms Factory was located.  In keeping with Lee's original 1879 design, the magazine is removable, but was only removed for cleaning and maintenance.

All in all, something like 19 Million Lee-Enfield rifle variants were made.  All used the same bolt action and ten-round internal magazine.  The action has the reputation as the fastest bolt action ever made in a battle rifle, and the Tommys all trained for the "Mad Minute" - sixty seconds where the soldier was expected to put a minimum of 15 aimed rounds into a 12 inch target at 200 yards.  That was the minimum passing score, and well-trained troops would typically double that.  Since the rifle was loaded via 5-round stripper clips, that means that four stripper clips would have to be loaded during that 60 second interval.





That aimed shot every 2 seconds meant that a company of British infantry could put 3000 aimed rounds down range in a minute.   German troops in 1914 reported that they ran into machine gun fire; it was actually a regiment of soldiers firing this.

It fired the rimmed .303 British round, shown here next to the .45 ACP for scale.  The .303 cartridge is rimmed (like a revolver round), adopted in 1888 for the (Black Powder) Lee-Metford rifle.  Later, cordite replaced the black powder, which was ultimately replaced by smokeless propellant.  The round was the standard British battle cartridge from 1889 until the 1950s, seeing service under Queen Victoria, Kings Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI, and Queen Elizabeth II.  Quite a run.  While still widely available, it's a bit spendy (I paid $18 for a box of 20 and thought it was as good a deal as I'd likely find).  You might want to consider reloading these.

It has quite a bit of splat, and I found myself improvising a recoil pad after the first ten rounds or so.  It's certainly not impossible to shoot, although it's is said that the Jungle Carbine variant (with a shortened barrel) kicks so hard that it was issued with a rubber butt plate.  The M1 Garand has a positively soft recoil in comparison.


The sights are clearly designed for a battle rifle.  The older SMLE didn't have the peep sight behind the chamber; rather, it had a U-sight mounted in front of it.  You can flip the sight up, and the sight can be adjusted for ranges from 100 yards to way, way out past "Fort Mudge" (1300 yards - at least the scale goes to "13").  You adjust the range by turning the top knob.  Each click from turning the knob is a very fine adjustment - it seems like ten yards or so.  It takes a lot of clicks to get the sights up to 1000 yards.


The problem, as long time readers have been anticipating, is not with the rifle.  It's with my marksmanship.


Eighteen rounds down range at 100 yards.  The first 3 were low off the paper because I expected the rifle was zeroed at 100 yards.  Walking the impacts upwards got the rest on the paper, although I can't say that I'm very pleased at my groupings.  The red circles are each 3 inches in diameter, and were quite difficult to see with my (mumble-something aged) eyes.  There's a decent chance that most would go into a 12 inch black target (the "Mad Minute" target), although then you'd need to put it at 200 yards.

The trigger is outstanding - an eighth inch of take up, but then with a crisp break after a heavy pull.  My marksmanship was in no way hampered by the trigger.

The bolt works very smoothly.  It is based on Lee's locking design patented in 1879.  The design is "cock on close", where pulling the bolt back ejects the spent case, and then closing the bolt both chambers the round and cocks the weapon.  There is a cocked indicator, sticking out from the back of the bolt below here.  You can also see the safety lever sticking straight back towards the butt stock (in safe position).  Rotating it upwards and forwards will ready the rifle to fire.



The bayonet is the "pig sticker" spike, which replaced the traditional sword type.  I didn't shoot with the bayonet on, as my marksmanship can't take any more challenges.  Still, this is likely lighter than the sword type, and you'd still get your stabby-stabby with this in place.

This is great fun to shoot, and attracted a small crowd at the range.  While it would do fine on deer (or larger game, like Kudu), you need younger eyes than I have if you're going after anything further than 100 yards or so.  Or a scope, but bubba-ing a great old piece of history like this would be a shame.  It was the rifle of Empire, from the days when the sun literally never set on the British Empire.  The Empire's day has passed, and this rifle has passed with it, but for those who appreciate the poetry of rifles (as opposed to the stark utilitarian prose of modern designs), this rifle brings it in imperial gallons.

The standard disclaimer:

I'm not any kind of gun or shooting expert. I like shooting, and shoot a fair number of different guns, but I'm really a dilettante. Your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, do not remove tag under penalty of law.

I don't do scientific, repeatable tests. There's no checklist, although that's not a bad idea. I write about what I like and don't like, but it's pretty much stream of consciousness. Opinion, we got opinion here. Step right up.

I'm not a shooting teacher, although I do like to introduce people to shooting. Maybe some day I'll take the NRA teaching class, but until then, you get a dilettante's view. You'll get opinion here, but if you get serious about shooting, you'll want to get someone who knows what he's doing to give you some pointers. It can help.

And oh yeah, shooting things is fun.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Why are Progressive politicians so short-sighted?

(Image source)
The greatest chess players think many moves ahead.  Rather than focusing on the current move, they (likely intuitively) analyze what the impact of this move will be in four, or six, or ten moves in the future.  Computers have essentially replaced humans as the best chess players, because they've become powerful enough to plot all possible moves, for twenty or thirty moves in the future.  Then it's a simple sort routine to rank the most useful moves at the top.

Progressive politicians sure don't seem to be doing that.  Offered for your consideration, as Exhibit A for the case of the (Thinking) People v. Progressives, the fiscal disaster that is ObamaCare:
Speaking of ill-considered financial decisions made by politicians intent on their policy priorities, new emails revealed by the AP show that the administration was warned that parts of ObamaCare were a financial disaster--but plowed ahead anyway.

...

The administration seems to think that it can fix the program--but the only workable fix appears to be making the thing mandatory rather than optional, which is hardly what they said when they were  passing it.
There are two possibilities here: they might have been incompetent, which is what most people are assuming.  Or this might have been the plan all along, to get the Country into a "Oops, we need this because it's a crisis" situation.

Quite frankly, it doesn't matter for this discussion.  The important question is this: What did they think would happen when people find out?

Offered as Exhibit B: Australia's economy-destroying Carbon Tax:

Firstly there’s the anti-democratic nature of it: apparently [Prime Minister] Gillard is doing things that are considered utterly beyond the pale in other nations. Ergas suggests that by granting “property rights” she is threatening to make the cost of removing her legislation all but insurmountable. (For all the world, it appears she’s determined to stop the opposition offering the people the choice to remove the carbon tax. Could it be, that for the sake of an advantage in the next election campaign she’s tossing the country down the nearest black hole?)

Secondly, the Australian Carbon Tax is a freakishly large sacrificial offering: Australians will be hit for  $391 for every man, woman and child, and that’s just the first year (according to the government estimates). Compare this to the EU. There in the land-of-exploding-economies,  each good citizen has had to fork out  the vast grand sum of (wait for it)  … one dollar fifty cents each (yes, $1.50). And, it gets worse, (how do you satirize this?)  — that’s the cumulative total since the EU started trading in 2005.
Maybe they'll pass it, and maybe they won't.  Maybe it'll be too insanely expensive to unwind once passed, or maybe it won't.  That will be a topic for another day, but the question at hand is the same as for the Democrats here Stateside: What do they think will happen when people find out what it does to them?

Both of these seem, quite frankly, as verging on the suicidal.  There's a new New York Times/CBS News poll out.  It's very interesting.  Here are some answers to the question "What do you think is the most important problem facing he country today?"

Healthcare: 3%
Environment: zero percent (yes, zero)
Economy: 27%
Jobs: 32%

Admittedly, this is the US public, not the Australian public, but I'll happily bet cash money that polls are similar with the Aussie public (please leave all wager offers in the comments; the ammo fund is running low here at FOB Borepatch).

So we see not just a minor miscalculation, but a situation where the math is off by a factor of ten.  Something is going on here, with supposedly intelligent and canny politicians burning (with Carbon Offsets for the Australian Labour Party, no  doubt) serious political capital.  To the first glance, anyone with two brain cells to rub together would say Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Immodestly, I'd like to suggest an answer to this conundrum.  It's Gramscian Damage once again.  As Progressives came to control all of the intellectual institutions (especially the Media and the University) in the Post-War years, they gradually squeezed conservative thought from "legitimate" discussion.  Of course, nature abhors a vacuum, and so it was replaced by a lot of twaddle.  A year ago, I described what happened next:
The Long March Through The Institutions is complete, but the results are not what were expected:
But the Progressive Politicians are indoctrinated members of the intellectual institutions, fully steeped in the dogma that Progressive politics is a one-way ratchet (every now and again a new shift leftward; never a shift back).  And so their eye is on the lookout for that ever elusive moment when the ratchet can be tightened another click.  Who really cares about the consequences, because it's a one-way ratchet, right?

Except it's not:
The deal was that the government would buy social peace. The problem for the people who make up the government is that the way to make a name for themselves is with bigger, more visionary projects. Let's take a simple example: city planning. The first really big advance was a Cartesian grid pattern for streets: north/south avenues and east/west streets. So what do you do if you're the next urban planner? Maybe radial grand avenues (like in Paris), but this isn't as useful. What if you're the 426th urban planner? The biggest wins are at the beginning.

And so with social programs. Bismark and FDR plausibly did save industrial capitalism, by helping to ameliorate people's fears of future poverty. It was actually a near thing, too, as a study of post-War Britain shows. So how does a new, ambitious politician make a name for himself? Go big, or go home.

But if you go big, you spend big (or you inflate big, which doesn't win in the long run). And so back to the deal: social peace in return for industrial capitalism. If the politicians have a different view of social peace than population, then there's your contradiction. Remember, the early gains are always the biggest. The biggest gains in people's perception of safety against future poverty were handled by Bismark, FDR, and LBJ.

Which puts Obama, Pelosi, and Harry Reid in a deep hole of contradiction. The health care bill is very unpopular, in no small measure because most people are generally happy with their health care program. Sure, some are not covered, and people with pre-existing conditions are screwed, but we're talking most people. And so you see a ratcheting up of the scare talk (it's a crisis!) at the same time that the details of the program are hidden (vote for the bill so we can see what's in it), and people aren't buying it. It's the Bismarkian Welfare State that's scaring people now.
It's been said that Gramsci's goal was not an intelligentsia that could argue more effectively against counter-Progressive ideas.  Rather, it was an intelligentsia where counter-Progressive ideas would not be able to be formed in the thinker's mind.

And so we look at ObamaCare, or the Australian death-by-Carbon-tax proposals and ask what did they think would happen when people find out?  They look at you with uncomprehending eyes.  It's a one-way ratchet.

Most people are happy with their health care, but the Progressive State may have to take it away because of the coming fiscal crisis (interesting that so many provisions only kick in after the 2012 elections).  Health care only concerns 3% of the population.  Global Warming doesn't even move the meter (zero percent), and yet Australian families are staring at $1000+ a year in taxes.

So what's coming?  A reckoning*.



The Dinosaurs became so closely adapted to their climate that, while dominating the ecosystem, they lived on the very edge of the abyss.  Today's Progressives have used a Gramscian strategy to adpat themselves very closely indeed to a top-down world dominated by a philosophically monocultural elite.  But the Elite sees the meteoric glow of the Team Party in the gloaming, and wonders what it might mean to their one-way ratchet.

The Dinosaurs sniff a change on the breeze, and roar their defiance.

* I suspect that your Gormogons are behind this (always a good starting assumption, actually).  Not only is this cunningly subtle intellectual misdirection, Doc Holiday is their Huckleberry.  Coincidence?  I think not.