Sledgehammer's Cycles

Sledgehammer's Cycles
Sledgehammer's Performance and Custom Cycles

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Will Republicans vote for a Mormon?

No, says a Mormon Republican:

A lot of Republicans hate Romney because he's Mormon, and they've been taught by their ministers that Mormons are an evil cult. This is absurdly false, but it's a serious factor in Republican politics.


They don't dare admit their Mormon-hatred openly, because the Republican Party needs the Mormon vote the way Democrats need and count on the Jewish vote -- a small and much-maligned religious minority, but one that votes as a bloc and contributes time and money far beyond their numbers.
This is an interesting analysis, and goes into why the Left also hates Romney (it's not because it's because he's a Mormon, but because he's rich).

I'm probably not the best guy to analyze this because the whole "I won't vote for him because he goes to the wrong church/wants to marry the wrong person/etc" thing is a divide by zero error for me.  I just don't understand what causes the passion.  But Orson Scott Card (a Mormon) writes clearly and logically on this.

All I would add is that all those polls showing that Mitt does better in the general election than Newt is strongly related to the fact that nobody knows who Mitt is (except for political wonks) and everyone knows Newt's negatives.  In other words, Mitt's negatives will be much higher once the media is done bashing him in the general election; Newt's probably wouldn't be much different.

I am only 10% Smart

Damn.

I knew who made Sideways.  The background of the whole thing is, of course, "smart" vs. "Smart".

Now that's a political ad!



What, are you part of the 1%?

Like Slick Willard has the stones to run something like this.  I'm not sure who this Brian K. Hill fellow is, but I must say that I like the cut of his jib.

Hat tip: The Other McCain.

Shooting Illustrated copies Borepatch

Well, not really.  But they did a review of Dragon Leather Works' Quantum holster:
The Quantum held up without complaint through the steamy North Carolina summer into the fall, and is still going strong in January. It turned out to be resistant to sweat and scuffing alike, a testament to the quality of the leather used and how it was constructed. Badurina’s goal for Dragon Leatherworks was to provide made-in-U.S. craftsmanship at a reasonable price.
Well earned recognition to Dennis, right there.  Although sadly no mention of the Way Cool Quantum logo in the article.


Let me just add that I can testify that the Quantum is comfortable even on a 14 hour drive.  It's rock steady, and the pistol doesn't move a millimeter.  Recommended.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy blogiversary to Bob at The Drawn Cutlass

5 years of snark, BBQ, and treasure hunting.  Here's hoping for many more.

Oh, and he discusses the respective, err. pulchritude of J. Lo, Kim Kardashian, and Nina Hartley.  Did I mention snark?

Don't bring a knife to a gunfight

Bring a gun knife!



And Zombies and beer, too.  But I think that even I could shoot the 'splody zombies better than he did.  I guess there's a lesson there - with an M4 you have a lot of shots, so I guess you can miss a lot.

A new Republican candidate?

Sonic Charmer throws his hat into the ring:
Frustrated with the current slate of options faced by our country, and after zero lengthy discussions with my family or soul-searching, I have decided to do the right and responsible thing by my country and throw my hat into the ring to be the evil (R) party’s nominee for President of the United States. Please vote for me, like by writing in “Sonic Charmer”, or (if you’re a broker at the convention) please broker the convention for me. Or however you call it, I’m not sure how that part works.

Key facts about me, Sonic Charmer, and why I am qualified to be the next President of the United States:

[snip]


  • Wife count: < 2 (strict inequality).



  • Would be cool with Warren Buffet’s secretary’s tax rate being lowered by special Act of Congress. (I’d overhaul the tax code to be flatter for the rest of us, but Warren Buffet’s secretary, she’s a special case, we’re all very concerned about her)



  • Visionary. I think we should build a giant space station next to a wormhole. An AMERICAN space station.

  • Read the whole thing.  There's actually a lot of great renewable, green energy you can get from a wormhole.

    On the love of Sons for their Father

    My daddy, he was somewhere between God and John Wayne.
    - Hank Williams, Jr.
    The bond between a Father and his Sons is something that defies description.  This almost - almost - describes it.



    A sixty year search.  I hope it brought them peace.
    By profession, I am a soldier and take pride in that fact. But I am prouder, infinitely prouder, to be a father.
    - Douglas MacArthur

    Sunday, January 29, 2012

    My Five fantasy guns

    Like His Newtness, I think big.

    76mm HEAT M4 Sherman main battery (with tank as gun platform).  The 76mm was a big improvement over the original 75mm - much more so than the trivial extra millimeter would suggest.  The Sherman is still simple enough to be (vaguely) practical for private ownership.  I'm guessing that this would be classified by the ATF as a "Destructive Device", so the cost will be higher because of the extensive legal work to get all the licenses.

    Ma-Deuce (P-51 as the gun platform).  Because what's more awesome than Ma-Deuce?  Six of them riding on the greatest propeller fighter of all time.  These planes are popular at air shows all over the land, but this would take that to a whole 'nother level.  Not just low passes, but strafing runs.  Like with the Sherman, I expect that you'd need to budget extra for legal fees (or bribes political contributions) to get the right licenses.  Hey, it's my fantasy, right?

    Mark 8 Torpedo tube (PT Boat as gun platform).  Yeah, it's a wooden boat, and so upkeep will be a pain (buy stock in Valspar), but let's face it - if you want to play one ups-manship at the local marina, this would about do it (note to self: make sure that proper grey camouflage paint job is done before taking it into harbor).  New England residents will get bonus points if you paint a number "109" on the bow.  And if you dock it in Hyannisport.

    Siege of Constantinople bombard.  There's a reason that the city is called Istanbul, and this is it.  The old Theodosian Walls were no match to the firepower of these monsters.  Yeah, it took a team of oxen to haul it and you were lucky to get off three shots in a day, but those old Roman fortifications just couldn't take the pounding.  Bonus points: this is likely not covered by the NFA (worst case, it's classified as a Curio and Relic firearm).  Downside: local meth-addled thugs will want to swipe it for the scrap value.

    A 2.7 mm (10 caliber) Kolibri, simply because it's about at the opposite end of the size spectrum from the Sultan Mehmet bombard.  The whole pistol isn't much bigger than a single .45 ACP cartridge (shown in the picture for scale), so this is a mouse gun that might only make the mouse mad if you hit him.  Actually, I couldn't think of anything else, but this is goofy enough to add to the list.

    I'm thinking I could score this sweet list for $20M or so - $30M tops.  Might have to look at one of the former Soviet Bloc countries for an old bombard, but I understood that the rules stated that money is no object.  I expect that this is the strangest list posted in this meme, but you guys know that any incoming transmission from Planet Borepatch is going to be weird.  It was actually fun asking myself what will dial the weird up to eleven. Sure, it's really not what Robb was getting at in his meme, but like Newt, I pride myself on being visionary.  And unlike a Moon Colony, this isn't idiotic.

    Well, it is, but it's not that idiotic.

    A note about exercise

    My 17 year old self would kick sand in my face.  Just sayin'.

    The GOP Establishment and the Reckoning

    Mark Alger has an interesting post that captures much of my feeling this election cycle:
    In short, the couch thing with Bela Pelosi: FAIL. The JohnKinging of the media (note how quickly that became a transitive verb): EPIC WIN.

    And that, I think, is the point. Tired of taking it on the chin from rude, gibbering, little homunculi of the Left, and then being laughed at for wimps when making a measured and proportionate response, We in the Right have long demanded a more muscular response -- a retaliation... a punishing retaliation -- from our soi disant leaders.

    Newt seems bent on giving that to us, in word and in deed -- without much regard to what may be drudged up out of his record to smear him with.

    And that is why he is liked by the groundlings.
    Yeah.  It's like Lincoln's reply when the Union Military Elite told him to get rid of Grant early in the war: I can't spare him.  He fights.

    But that got me thinking (as Mark is wont to do), and I went to leave a comment over there.  Unfortunately, I'm not registered or something, and so can't leave a comment.  And so I'll inflict it on you:
    I recall that scene in Tombstone, where Val Kilmer says "It's not Revenge he wants.  It's a Reckoning."

    That's what the Tea Party is about.  That's what the anybody-but-Romney crowd is about.  I dare say that's what your post was about.

    So if Romney gets the nomination, when comes the Reckoning?  Because come it will.
    People are fixated on get Obama out of office at all cost.  They're missing the Reckoning:



    And so we come yet again to the stupidity and short sightedness of the Elites.  Do they really not see the Reckoning, after the rallies and election of 2010?  Really?  If they really ram Slick Willard down everyone's throats, do they not inflame this feeling, rather than tamping it down?

    And then I think on how the Elite is handling the financial crisis in Europe, where reasonable changes early would likely have defused the situation.  But those changes would have cost the Elite control, or money, or embarrassment, and so the Elite kept doubling down, hoping against hope to cheat their way through.

    The GOP Establishment have lived up (down?) to the Progressive's scolding that we all need to be more like Europe.  Watching this, it's the same incompetence, mixed with equal measures of arrogance and desperation.  And so again: when comes the Reckoning, what happens?  Does it sweep Ron Paul to power?  Whatever it will be, it will be the more extreme for being thwarted so often in the past.

    Tagged "GOP sucks" because, well, you know.

    Jeremy Soule - Overture to Skyrim

    Image via Wikipedia
    For those of you who aren't blessed with teenage boys, Skyrim isn't an opera, it's a best selling fantasy computer game.  And this music isn't the overture (the traditional opening musical piece to an opera), it's the "Skyrim theme".

    Whatever.  Skyrim is an interactive opera with you as the main character, set in a barbarian mythos worthy of Wagner.  This is the overture.

    In a comment to last week's Prokofiev post, reader Dave H pointed out the really excellent classic music being composed for games these days.  He's quite right.  Video games have passed Hollywood in sales; the Call Of Duty franchise of games has a much higher gross than the Star Wars franchise of motion pictures.  These are big budget products, with serious actors for the voice parts (Skyrim has Christopher Plummer) and music budgets to attract serious classical talent.

    And since we're happy lacking in a landed aristocracy that would commission the talent of the day to produce music to glory their name, we at least have a market that supports quite interesting - if commercial - new classical music.  In fact, the commercial appeal is what makes the music accessible: since it's not funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, it has to appeal to a public much broader than the SWPL types who sit on NEA Grant Committees.

    And so you get a barbarian overture hinting of Gorecki or Carl Orff, with a strong flavor of a rougher Wagner or Mahler.  Is this great music?  Beats me - I'm no music critic, nor am I a music historian (although I play one on my blog).  But this is listened to my literally hundreds of thousands of people who otherwise might be putting some rap on their iPod.




    Time will tell Jeremy Soule's place (if any) in the pantheon of classical music greats, but Dave H is absolutely correct.  Classical music is alive and well.  You can pick it up at Game Stop.

    Saturday, January 28, 2012

    I got nothing

    Well, other than I can't remember the last time I actually enjoyed listening to the kids bicker. I dare say that it will get old, but it's quite odd what can suddenly seem like the Music of the Gods.

    Too slow

    On her maiden voyage in 1952, the S.S. United States won the Blue Riband prize for fastest Atlantic crossing by a passenger ship, crushing the previous record set by the S.S. Queen Mary.  To this day she still holds this record: no other passenger liner was ever able to wrest it from her.  She averaged over 35 knots speed, crossing an entire ocean.

    She was essentially constructed around her massive engines.  Designed for speed, her all-aluminum superstructure was at the time of her construction the largest aluminum fabrication effort ever under taken.

    She's been mothballed in Philadelphia since 1996, nearly three decades since she was retired. 

     

    You see, she was too slow.  The 1960s saw an explosion of air travel, all at the expense of the liners.



    The S.S. United States' speed came at a fearsome cost in fuel.  The fares were expensive, and passengers found that they could spend less and arrive three days earlier.  And so in the space of a decade all the grand old liners were mothballed, or found themselves (like the S.S. France) renamed, re-engined (with a third the horse power) and doing permanent duty as Caribbean Cruse Ships.

    Many people have tried to breathe new life into the old ships, but alas, their glory was in the trans-Atlantic crossing.  They're too big (at nearly a thousand feet long), too fast, and too expensive for the only use that people will pay cash money for today: vacation cruising.  Racing through the cold, grey North Atlantic has little attraction for most, especially when compared with sun and palm trees.

    Teletubbies vs. Zombies



    T-Bolt made me.

    Kellie Pickler - My Angel

    (Image source)
    Sometimes Angels watch over us.  They watched over Kellie Pickler.  Her Dad was in and out of jail.  Her Mom wasn't there for her.

    But her grandparents were.  She lived with them, and grew up, and became who she is under their wing. She grew up, a "normal" small town girl - church choir, cheer leading, basic growing from childhood to adult.  Without Mom or Dad.

    But with her Grand Parents, and with an extraordinary talent.  Pickler hit the big time with American Idol, where Simon Cowell said that the should be singing Country.  Her ninth place finish gave her a chance to record, and her "High Heel Shoes" song got her to the charts, and her "I Wonder" song - about her Mom, who abandoned her - kept her there.

    But this one is the one that I think that cements her place (with me) as one of the few songwriters who can capture the time, and place, and emotion of what's happening.  The "sophisticated" music critics have passed this by, but only because they've passed by the type of emotion that is common, but uncommonly captured in song.

    I'd like to think that most people would do this for their flesh and blood.  Mostly, perhaps, it doesn't.  But sometimes you even see this happening, before your eyes.
    There is an outside chance Little Bit's mother, her birth mother, will visit on Little Bit's birthday next month. That is if the stars are in alignment, the earth's crust doesn't shift, and purple rain showers develop out over the Gulf of Mexico. Little Bit hasn't seen her mother in over three years, so I'm not sure how I feel about this visit. What effect will it have on my grandchild when she has to say, goodbye.

    Her mother has promised so much over the years and, as is her way, failed. She never follows through. This hurts Little Bit. I hope this isn't another. Little Bit is so excited.
    I hope that she gets her birthday wish - to see her Mom.  But even if she doesn't, she has Angels watching over her.  Her Grand Parents.



    Little Bit has had a raw deal, but she's also been given some Angels.  I hope that in the fullness of time, she realizes that.

    Friday, January 27, 2012

    Back home

    Under 14 hours, which is a record.  No traffic delays at all, good weather, traffic streams going fast.

    And Aqua Tean Hunger Force with the kids is awesome.  And Crash the Wondercat has rediscovered my lap.  That's awesome, too.

    For Steve



    I'm in awe about the strength you had to bury your son.  I think that would destroy me.

    Et lux perpetua donna eis, Domine.  And save me from having to go there.

    Amen.

    "Bring back the smoke filled room"

    Seems that some of Romney's people think that if he loses Florida, they need to get rid of all this messy democracy and voters who don't do as they're told.




    Because there is such a desperation by the so-called party elites, but that’s exactly what Gingrich is playing against.

    And  that's why Newt's winning.  And so we get to the real problem with Romney and his staff.  Sure, he looks Presidential.  Sure, they're making all the Approved™ moves.  Yeah, they may be a little old, but hey - nobody says you can't get a nip her and a tuck there and be good as new!  Oh, wait ...



    We may have found the trouble with Mitt's campaign.  Just sayin'.

    "But ..."

    This is the most slippery of words, uttered by the most slippery of people as they try to turn our eyes from the charnal house of their philosophy.   

    Sure, 50 million babies are dead from abortion since Roe v. Wave, but women now have the right to choose.

    Sure, millions are jailed in the War on (some) Drugs, but we think that maybe we've kept someone from getting addicted.  Maybe.

    Sure, Stalin killed millions in the Gulag, but he saved the Glorious Revolution.  Didn't he, Comrade?

    Moldbug is at it again, about how the USA is a Communist Country.  I actually agree with him (I think, in the main), but am digesting his post - as indeed all his posts require digesting.  In the mean time, we need to be unflinching in how we view the World, and its history.  Unlike so many Progressives, we need to shun the slippery but, to see the past - and its actors - for what they truly were.  Even such a pretty Philosophical Construct as Soviet Communism.  Moldbug quotes Fyodor Mochulsky's memoirs, Gulag Boss:
    For his decisive action, he was offered a transfer to a new job. At this new job, he would be carrying out "special commissions," that is, he would work as an executioner, shooting the enemies of Soviet power. He agreed to the transfer, and after some special training, he was sent with his new specialty to the ancient Russian city of Uglich.

    For days at a time, he said, from mission to mission, he sat around doing nothing. He rested. Then, when the prison had accumulated a large number of condemned prisoners, the authorities would set an execution date. A specially trusted group from the security department of Uglich's prison was then sent out to carefully select a place in the woods and dig a pit. The pit was guarded until the executions took place. Starting at night and working until the morning, the prison officials would transport the condemned prisoners in a closed truck to this pit. Besides the security men and the person who would ensure that the executions took place, he said, there was always a doctor on hand. It was his duty to certify the death and write up the necessary documents.

    One at a time, they led a condemned prisoner from the truck to the edge of the pit, and forced him to get on his knees with his face toward the pit. The executioner than shot him in the back of the head, and the dead man fell in. From the blow to the head, the executioner told me, the body would turn over facing up, and straighten up on the bottom of the pit. The doctor then went down into the pit and certified that the body was dead. Then they went to retrieve the next condemned prisoner.

    He told me that from time to time, there was a prisoner who would not do what he was told and go submissively to the edge of the pit. In these cases, the security guys had to help out, and the job for the executioner would be more complicated.

    When the mission was finished and the pit was filled, they covered it with soil and tried to make it look unobtrusive. After every mission, he told me, he got drunk and tried not to think about what he had done until the next time they called. For a long time, though, he was convinced that his job was important and honorable, because he was destroying the enemies of Soviet power. He believed that not everyone could be as trusted as he was with such a job.

    But then one day, he had to shoot a fourteen-year-old girl. The executioner was told right before he had to kill her that not only was she the daughter of an "enemy of the people," she was also a "German spy." Suddenly and involuntarily, questions sprang to his mind. He was to kill a fourteen-year-old girl in an ancient Russian small town far from the front, in a place that had no classified establishments? Where had this adolescent girl done her spying, and for whom?

    When they brought her to the execution place, she held herself up firmly and was silent. But when they led her to the pit, she spoke up. She said that she did not understand why they were depriving her of her life. "Even Stalin said that children do not answer for their parents, so why me?" she asked. She was unaware, he added, that she was also accused of being a "German spy."

    In the words of my unit boss, after this execution he drank himself into a stupor so profound that he felt nothing.
    The next time some leftie rolls out the slippery but to you when the subject is the murders performed by the Left, mention this.  Mention Arthur Keostler's Darkness At Noon, and listen to the leftie spew contemptuous dismissal.  No slippery but there.

    Scientific Socialism.  Progressive.

    Ooooh kaaaay.  Hey Lefties: Sitting Bull called.  He wants his tribal thinking back.

    And I for one am unwilling to consider someone my intellectual and moral superior when he talks about the State murder of a 14 year old using that slippery word.

    ... but ...

    A stupor so profound that they feel nothing. There's a metaphor for you.

    On my way back home

    It's time - wheels pointed towards home once again, and this time with the promise that this won't be going on too much longer.  I have posts queued for the day while I drive the 900 miles towards where hearth and home (and bacon) beacon.



    It's a good day.

    Thursday, January 26, 2012

    Confession time

    All right, I have to come right out and admit it.  I don't much like shotguns.

    There, I said it.

    They're big and bulky.  They kick like a mule.  The ammunition weighs a ton: that's bad, bad Zombie juju.  Remember, zombies travel in hordes.

    But here's the kicker - I can't hit a barn door with it, even standing inside the barn.  Not much fun there.

    For all the talk I do about my modest marksmanship, Ican keep the groups serviceable with a pistol.  With some instruction and practice, I know that I can be a passable marksman with a rifle.  Now that I'll be able to spend time at the range (rather than driving between Atlanta and Austin on I-20), I may be able to take a run at that "Expert" badge that Dad earned back at Uncle Sam's Summer Camp.

    But a shottie?  The clay pigeons, they mock me.  Actual pigeons laugh at me.  Fine, then - I'll get my fowl at the supermarket.

    Sure, I know that the sound that a pump action makes as you rack the slide will make the home invader go weak in the knees.  That's about the only thing I see as useful in the scattergat.

    Uncouth, that's me.  Feel free to help couth me in the comments.

    Why do you practice drawing what you carry?

    Because sometimes you might carry a different gun.  Different gun, different draw.

    Well thought out and discussed.

    I don't think I'll bring this to the attention of the HR team here next time we're discussing "Concealed Carry Tuesday".  It would just muddy the waters.

    The Universe

    It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.
    - Isaiah 40:22

    Via NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day.
    The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe to match your nature with Nature.
    - Joseph Campbell

    If World War II reporting had been done via Facebook

    The whole thing is pretty funny.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012

    How I might - gasp! - vote for Romney

    Ace with quote of the day:
    Romney has to make the right enemies and burn the right bridges.

    Because Romney has the reputation of a flip-flopper, moderate, and side-winder, voters have the suspicion that he will drift to the left while governing, or govern straight from the middle, ignoring conservatives.

    When the Cortez set out about conquering the Aztecs, he burned all of his ships so that his band of adventurers knew the only possible way home was through conquest. Conquer the Aztecs, and then force them to cut new timber for new ships. Only way out. Conquest and glory, or death in the malarial swamps, far from Spain.

    Romney may have some illusions that the media considers him a bright, rational, non-crazy Republican and will be nice to him. Yeah, McCain thought that too.

    I would not say Go out of your way to alienate the media if I thought such a strategy carried a cost, if it could wind up losing media support.

    But it can't. If Romney gets the nomination, he will be the most demonized Republican in history (each new Republican nominee becomes the most dangerous lunatic the party has nominated in history).

    So alienating liberals (not moderates-- liberals) and the media cannot hurt Romney; if he thinks he has an in with them he's a fool who should not be president.
    Do it, Romney.  Do it.

    It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas Ramadan

    So, we once again just had the hottest year EVAH!!!one!!!  So just how hot is it?  So hot that it's snowing in the Sahara desert:



    But fear not, faithful Progressive.  There is in fact, a scientific explanation: Global Warming causes everything:



    Yeah, yeah, weather, climate.  Whatevs.  If it were actually hot you and I both know that the Press would be screaming "Global Warmeningz" rather than "Weather, not Climate".  Enjoy your cup of steaming hot hot hot mockery, Lefties.

    And this is the time for everyone who ever said the words "Republican War on Science" to wipe the drool from their chins, sit down in the back of the room, and shut up.  Grown ups are talking here.

    I haven't posted on Global Warming for a while, but this mockery is just too sweet.

    If cats ran teh Intarwebz ...

    ... deh Error codez would be like this.

    The Most decorated American Soldier of World War II

    Via A Large Regular, we run across the astonishing story of MSG Lewellyn Chilson.  The citation for his second Distinguished Service Cross reads like it should be a movie script:


    Notice the dates - almost a year had passed since the action.  The reason that it took so long is because he was submitted for so many medals that the Army put extra effort into investigating them - they didn't believe it at first.  It was such a story that President Truman himself pinned seven combat decorations on him in a White House ceremony.



    It took a lot to kill MSG Chilson: he survived the crash of a C-124 Skymaster in 1961.  But as with many of his age, the larger than life bit never translated to civilian life, and he died too young (at 61) in 1981.  It seems that he was truly a warrior, and running a gas station just didn't need that skill set.

    Among his awards are the Distinguished Service Cross (with two Oak Leaf Clusters), the Silver Star (with two Oak Leaf Clusters), the Bronze Star (with Combat "V" and two Oak Leaf Clusters), the Purple Heart (with two Oak Leaf Clusters), and the French Croix de Guerre (with Palm).  And he was recommended - twice - for the Medal of honor.

    Holy cow.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    Texas Blogshoot?

    Well, it's official: in the next 3 months or so I'll close up FOB, declare Mission Accomplished, and retire back to Camp Borepatch in Atlanta.  I'll be working remotely (well, from the company office there).

    And so the heart turns lightly to thoughts of a blogshoot, probably some time in March before logistics begin consuming the weekends prior to PCS.

    The conundrum is that Texas is not like the other, lesser States - there are bloggers from Houston to San Antonio to Dallas (and likely beyond - IIRC, Blackfork is in Tyler).  That's perhaps a 4 hour radius.

    So, who's up for a blogshoot in March?  Is it possible for an uber assembly of Lone Star gubbloggers to meet at a single venue?  That would be distilled, 101 proof awesome, but may not be practical.  If not, is there interest in a southern blogshoot and one in Dallas?

    Leave a comment with your thoughts.

    What the well dressed H4X0r is wearing

    USB/WiFi cuff links.


    2 GB storage space.  Bet you could make it autorun.

    Glurk

    Yesterday was a day an day and a half, and that's for sure.  I'm just a bit wrung out, and so I'll do a bit of cheap toss-a-cute-kitten blogging.


    More later.  You know that it takes a lot to shut me up.

    Dewey Beats Truman

    I wonder if this will go down in MSM history with that?


    Via Joel.

    Monday, January 23, 2012

    Not that there's anything wrong with that


    Srlsy.  I grew up reading that sort of thing (no, not that sort of thing,not that there's be anything wrong with that).

    Dang, no 12 gauge

    Oh, foo.  Leave him a comment on what the best round for that particular game animal is.

    2 + 2 = 4

    Truth is simple, uncomplicated.  Trying to spin truth is complicated.  This isn't complicated:

    Newt Gingrich and the Left's Thought-terminating clichés

    Robert Lifton's 1956 book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism is one of the definitive analyses of brain washing.  One of the techniques that Lifton described was the Thought-terminating cliché:
    Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism popularized the term "thought-terminating cliché". A thought-terminating cliché is a commonly used phrase, sometimes passing as folk wisdom, used to quell cognitive dissonance. Though the phrase in and of itself may be valid in certain contexts, its application as a means of dismissing dissent or justifying fallacious logic is what makes it thought-terminating. [emphasis in the original - Borepatch]
    Partly this is a defense mechanism designed to protect the thinker from Unapproved Thought™, but mostly it's a means to enforce group-think and suppress intellectual challenge.  As the Left - the institutions of the University, and Dinosaur Media, and Hollywood - have become the Establishment, this has been a very useful club for them to marginalize potential opposition.

    The tropes are well known, if tired and boring: "Republicans are racist." "Republicans are sexist." "Republicans hate gays."  "Republicans want the poor to starve in the street."  "Republicans are warmongers."

    Yawn.

    But yawn no more - maybe.  What causes Newt to electrify the audience is that he takes on these thought-terminating clichés head-on, unapologetically, and destroys them before our eyes.



    Williams leads with a thought-terminating cliché - several, actually:

    1. "Jobs not food stamps" is insulting to Americans, especially minorities.

    2. Janitorial work is demeaning, particularly to minorities.

    3. Even speaking these thoughts is belittling to Americans, especially minorities.

    Newt's reply is simply devastating: No, I don't [see that].

    That - and his detailed explanation that follows - brings the crowd cheering to its feet.  No, it's not insulting - the Obama administration has vastly increased the food stamp rolls.  No, it's not demeaning - Newt's own daughter did that work as a youth.  No, it's not belittling - only liberals think that getting paid money when you're poor is a bad thing.

    All of these are, of course, entirely logical, but Politically Incorrect and therefore anathema to the Left.  And so Williams - a fully paid up member of the Liberal Media (redundancy alert) is utterly incapable of replying.

    I think that it's because the thought-terminating cliché, while of course present on the Right, is vastly more prevalent on the Left.  Case in point, the reaction to this exchange  by Chris Matthews: Newt calling Williams "Juan" is code for racism, and that's what the audience was reacting to.

    Translation: Republicans are racist.  And if you don't understand that you're racist, that's just proof positive that you're racist. [rolls eyes]

    What Newt has going for him - uniquely among all the candidates (including Obama) is that he is able to articulate ideas.  I think that this is why he's gaining strength during the debates - he gets ideas out there, and particularly ideas that hammer Progressive's thought-terminating clichés.  Every time he does this, he ticks up in the polls.  If he can stay disciplined on this matter - admittedly a big "if" with Newt - he will continue to tick up in the polls.  The reason is simple addressable market analysis.

    Consider the breakdown of self-identified political persuasion in this country.  It's something like this:
    40% - Conservative
    35% - Moderate
    20% - Liberal
      5% - Leave me alone/no opinion/gone fishing
    Newt won't appeal to the Liberals, because their thought-terminating clichés are well established and they simply won't listen to his arguments.  They'll roll their eyes, and this will be 90% of what you'll hear and see from the Liberal Media (redundancy alert).  But they're only 20%.

    He doesn't need the Conservatives, assuming that he gets the nomination - they'll crawl across broken glass to vote against Obama.  They're sick of being told that they're racist, sexist, ignorant rednecks, clinging to their guns and religion and so this may be the path to the Nomination for Newt, but they'll likely hold their noses and vote for Romney if that's the choice.

    But the self identified Moderates are the ones who like to think that they think for themselves.  They like to think that they have open minds, and take some ideas from the Right and some from the Left.  In other words, their thought-terminating clichés are weak (note: this is a good thing).  They'll listen to him.

    And as long as the Left spouts nonsense ('"code" for racism') and as long as Newt keeps hammering away the way he did, he'll keep them listening.  And this cunning plan isn't a new one, and I didn't think this up.  I got it from Newt:



    2 + 2 = 4.  The 20% can't stand the Truth, which is why they try so hard to suppress it.  The 40% is thirsting for someone to vigorously defend the Truth, and the 35% are willing to listen.

    Will Newt be disciplined enough to do what Newt says?  In the past, he frequently hasn't been.  But the Oval Office is a big prize for one who - like Newt - has spent his life chasing that particular golden ring.  The Establishment won't help him get there.  The Media won't help him get there.

    But ideas?  And an attack on a rotted out ideology still shambling, zombie-like, unaware that its brain has been devoured by the virus of Progressive thought-terminating cliché?  Well, that's an advantage that only Newt has right now.  Maybe this is premature, but if Newt wins, it will be because he hammers this home every day between now and November:


    The Progressive ideology that so grips this Republic was not established over night.  It will not be banished over night.  But it is so over-extended, so wrapped up in desperate attempts to bend 2 + 2 = 4 to preserve its voting coalition that this is a rich target environment for anyone who will bring firepower to bear.  Romney won't, because it's too risky (not to mention anti-establishment).  Ron Paul actually is, and his support reflects this - but it's much too narrow a base, and he's a walking tl;dr*.  People will tune him out.

    But Newt won't let them.  He has shown that he can hammer simple 2 + 2 = 4 concepts in a way that the Progressive Media (redundancy alert) simply can't cope with.  Certainly Barry can't, because he's nothing but thought-terminating cliché.  I mean, it's what he does: says a lot of big, pretty, empty nothings.

    Will Newt make a good President?  I haven't the slightest idea.  Certainly he won't do some things I'd like to see: end the War on (some) Drugs, and end the War on a Verb (end the Patriot Act all other "Terror" related things).  If he stays focused on breaking the moribund Progressive ideology with simple, repeated 2 + 2 = 4, he'll go down as transformative - despite the expected flightiness, venality, and general piss everyone off that we can expect.  If he can't do this, he simply won't win.

    But the game can no longer be played at the margins.  The clichés are killing this Republic.  It's time to find someone who will kill them.  Maybe we've found him.

    Maybe.

    * No offense to Ron Paul, but I know tl;dr when I see it.  Heck, I make a practice of it here.  If you've actually read this far, you might follow Paul's arguments to their admittedly logical conclusion.  The other 95% of the population won't.

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    Geekin' the 1980s way

    ASM826 emails this (well, emailed, past tense, a million years ago) flashback to by youth:


    Reading it, I was suddenly 25 again.  I thought I was the hottest guy in town, because my PC had a 5 MB (removable!!!) Syquist hard drive!  Three Letter Intelligence Agency loved them, because you could get all classified and Top Secret and everything all day long, and then lock it in the safe when you went home.  Yeah, it wasn't a proper Winchester Drive (the original name came from the nickname of IBM's dual 30 MB Mainframe drives - 30-30, get it?), but it was on a PC!

    Of course, they wrecked me for life there, introducing me to Multix (the precursor of Unix) and then Xenix (Unix for IBM PCs) and we were off to the races.

    Over the years, I've had Coherent (a Unix for PCs from the late 1980s), PC-VMS (I can still probably whack together a DCL script; back in the day I could read DECnet traces), and then on to Slackware and a 0.99 Linux kernel.  25 floppy disks, and you had to build your own kernel.

    But I love this ad, from back when Boston's Rt-128 really was "America's Technology Highway" and giving Silicon Valley a run for its money.  And yeah, we wore neck ties, with three piece suits.  Err, and had hair, and everything.  Must have been even a little bit dashing, because that's around the time I sweet talked the lovely and yet-to-be Mrs. Borepatch into going out with me.

    Good days, good days.

    These leftie NGOs are really getting out of hand

    Hipster Hitler finds out about the do-gooders at Oxfam, and starts his own NGO.

    I must confess that this is one of my guilty pleasures.  Go ahead, buy the frisbee.  It's organic!

    The greatest visual pun of 2012

    It's early, but this now officially has pole position.


    Well done.

    Sergei Prokofiev - Alexander Nevsky

    Image via Wikipedia
    It's not true that Classical Music is dead, it's just gone to the theater.  Specifically, the Motion Pictures.  Every year sees new compositions, commissioned not by Old World Aristocrats, but by Hollywood moguls.  Some of it is quite good.

    This tradition goes back a long time.  Sergei Prokofiev is one of the Twentieth Century's greatest composers, and his music in many ways led the charge to the cinema.  Prokofiev composed most of his greatest works in Soviet Russia immediately before and during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.  The Soviet regime was desperate to build patriotic feeling in the masses, and the new film medium gave them a mass propaganda outlet.

    Just as Adolf Hitler had his film maker Leni Riefenstahl, so Stalin had his in Sergei Eisenstein.  1938 saw the release of Eisenstein's great Alexander Nevsky, featuring Prokofiev's score.  The film told the tale of the Teutonic Knights, and how their invasion was turned back by the early Russian hero Nevsky.  This is a scene from the film.



    The entire Film art was still half in the old stage theater production mindset, and so this looks stiff to our modern eye - much as Laurence Olivier's Henry V seems stiff and staged.  But the music is grand.

    No, Classical Music isn't dead at all.  It just goes with popcorn these days.

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

    George B. McClellan's Presidential Campaign

    George McClellan was in charge of the Army of the Potomac from July 1861 until November 1862.  An able administrator, he turned the post-Bull Run Army of the Potomac from a rag tag mass of whipped militia into a professional fighting force.  It's probably not going too far to say that he laid the foundation upon which the ultimate Union victory lay.

    But he was cautious to a fault.  While nicknamed "The Little Napoleon" (from his preferred poses for the new fangled photographers of the day), he refused to implement Napoleon's dictum for success on the battlefield: l'audace, l'audace. toujours l'audace!*

    And so Robert E. Lee was able to play him like a fiddle.  Lee took over command of the Army of Northern Virginia in June of 1862 when its former commander Joseph Johnston was wounded.  Lee was not then held in high regard, his stock having fallen from its pre-war heights.  Lee soon put that to rest.  In a stunning series of tactical assaults called The Seven Days, Lee essentially lost eight battles in seven days, at which point McClellan loaded his entire army on naval transport and sailed back to Washington, defeated.

    Lee wasn't attacking the Army of the Potomac, he was attacking McClellan.  No matter how good an administrator and organizer McClellan was, he couldn't fight effectively.

    Actually, that's not true - he was very effective in fighting his own organization, and especially his commander in chief.  His insubordination was the least of it (he once kept Lincoln waiting 30 minutes when the President came to call, and then had Lincoln informed that he had gone to bed and couldn't see him).  He wouldn't fight.  There was always a reason why - he didn't have enough men, he didn't have enough supplies, the weather was bad.  Lincoln once summoned a council of war of McClellan's generals - pointedly without McClellan himself - saying that if McClellan wasn't using the army he'd like to borrow it for a while.

    Finally, McClellan went too far, and Lincoln fired him.  Whether for revenge, or because of his weakness for flattery, he ran against Lincoln in the 1864 elections.  Grant and Sherman won that for Lincoln.  Unlike McClellan, they would fight.

    Newt Gingrich just handed Mitt Romney his tail end, utterly demolishing the myth of Romney's inevitability.  Watching this unfold, and looking at Romney's impressive organizational skills, his rich war chest, and his support from the entire GOP establishment, I cannot stop thinking about George McClellan reviewing the Army of the Potomac.  Crisp new uniforms, polished brass, snappy salutes, and brave martial music from the marching bands made for a pretty - and a pretty impressive - sight.

    (Image location)
    It was a sight that contrasted with Ulysses S. Grant, whose appearance was slovenly, and whose personal faults almost lost him his command.  Everyone in the Union Army establishment wanted to get rid of him in 1862.  Everyone but Abraham Lincoln who said I can't spare him.  He fights.

    Ulysses S. Gingrich just won a lopsided victory against all odds.  He did it because while he possesses many personal faults when compared to his opponent, he possesses one outstanding virtue.

    He fights.

    It's a long, long road to the Republican Convention, and anything can happen.  It's hard to say who will be the nominee.  But it's not at all hard to see the Obama Campaign attacking not the GOP, but their General should the timid and overly calculating Romney get the nod**.  If Newt is the standard bearer, then it will be a real rumble.

    Shelby Foote, in his incomparable history The Civil War: A Narrative writes about the Union Army after they had been thrashed at the beginning of the Wilderness Campaign in 1864.  Dejected - they always knew that Bobby Lee drove them back after a single battle - they prepared to march back to Washington.  Instead, the order came down the line to turn south.  A cheer rose up, as men who had been whipped squared their shoulders and turned to chase their foe.  That's the kind of leader Grant was.

    That's the kind that Newt is, too.


    To the surprise of the V Corps men, the march was south, in rear of Hancock's portion of the line.  At first they thought that this was done to get them on the plank road, leading east towards Chancellorsville, but when they slogged past the intersection they knew that what they were headed for was not the Rapidan or the Rappahannock, but another battle somewhere south, beyond the unsuspecting rebel flank.  Formerly glum, the column now began to buzz with talk.  Packs were lighter; the step quickened, spirits rose with the growing realization that they were stealing another march on old man Lee.  Then came cheers, as a group on horseback - "Give way, give way to the right," one of the riders kept calling to the soldiers on the road - doubled the column at a fast walk, equipment jingling.  In the head was Grant, a vague, stoop-shouldered figure, undersized on Cincinnati, the largest of his mounts ...
    McClellan looked ever so much more the General than did Grant.  Romney looks ever so much more Presidential than Gingrich.  But neither McClellan nor Romney would fight.  The troops know it.

    * Boldness, boldness, always boldness.

    ** Apologies to all true Sons and Daughters of Dixie for casting Obama in the role of Robert E. Lee.

    Your Saturday evening grin

    Brought to you via PJ Media's Scot "Scrappleface" Ott.



    UPDATE 21 January 2012 19:29: Thanks to Sean Sorrentino for pointing out that Scott Ott is Scrappleface, not IowaHawk.

    Always trust content from Borepatch!

    Sometime back I wrote about how I'd switched from Google to Bing as my default search engine:
    I made the switch, in all of my browsers.  Bing is now the default search engine for me.  No, this isn't because of Google's long and sorry neglect of American patriotic holidays, although that's always been an annoyance.

    It's because I don't trust the search results.
    I list my reasons there, but it boils down that that most critical of words when you deal with customers: trust.

    Reader Ron emails to point out that I'm not the only one:
    I just switched the default search engine in my browser from Google to Bing. And if you care about working efficiently, or getting the right results when you search, then maybe you should too. Don't laugh!

    Google changed the way search works this week. It deeply integrated Google+ into search results. It's ostensibly meant to deliver more personalized results. But it pulls those personalized results largely from Google services—Google+, Picasa, YouTube. Search for a restaurant, and instead of its Yelp page, the top result might be someone you know discussing it on Google Plus. Over at SearchEngineland,Danny Sullivan has compiled a series of damning examples of the ways Google's new interface promotes Plus over relevancy. Long story short: It's a huge step backwards.
    This Gizmodo story - and the links it cites - make for fascinating reading.  Why would Google play games with people's trust?  I mean, if you get a critical mass of people like me, then the number of searches collapses, the ad revenue associated with those searches collapses, and Google's earnings per share collapse.  What could possibly cause them to act this recklessly with the company's future?

    I think that it's the Law Of Large Numbers.
    As an example, assume that company X has a market capitalization of $400 billion and company Y has a market capitalization of $5 billion. In order for company X to grow by 50%, it must increase its market capitalization by $200 billion, while company Y would only have to increase its market capitalization by $2.5 billion. The law of large numbers suggests that it is much more likely that company Y will be able to expand by 50% than company X. 
    Google's Market Capitalization is $190 billion.  To grow by even 10%, they need that to turn into $209 billion.  At a current P/E of 20, that means that they need to increase their revenue by $19B/20, or an extra Billion dollars.  Where does that come from?

    It's hard to see them growing their market share, which seems to have maxed out at around 66%.  The search advertising market seems to have settled into the typical high tech pattern of a dominant company (the "gorilla"), a primary smaller competitor (the "chimp"), and a bunch of small players (the "monkeys").  Bing is picking up share from monkeys like Yahoo, while Google seems stalled.  But even if their market share is stalled, is there an extra 10% there?  Good luck with that.

    But it's even worse than that.  As more effective competitors emerge, you see what you would expect in a competitive market - the price Google can charge for its ads is dropping:
    NEW YORK (AP) - Shares of Internet search engine Google Inc. fell in premarket trading Friday after it revealed that it got less money for each ad in the fourth quarter.

    The stock was down $49.46, or 7.7 percent, at $590.11 per share in trading ahead of the market opening. The shares haven't been below $600 in regular trading since Dec. 1.

    Investors had expected that the surge of online holiday shopping in the U.S. would let Google charge more for its ads. Instead, the average price fell by 8 percent from the same time in 2010.
    So they need to grow their market share by more than 10% to get that extra Billion.  How?

    By selling the trust they've developed with their customers, is what it seems.  I've used Google since they were a beta, way back in 1998.  I switched from Yahoo and Altavista to Google because I believed that the search results were more accurate.  I've now switched from Google to Bing for the same reason.  And so did the author of the Gizmodo story.

    I'm not sure that I'm ready to short Google, but someone is going to make a ton of money doing that some day.  Because when Google has The Big Miss, their stock will drop by 50%.  The market rewards Tech companies with ridiculous P/E rations, but only when they perform.  When they miss, the market overcorrects.  Sorry, I don't make the rules here.

    It's odd that a company like Google seems to blind to the realities of new media.

    Thanks to Ron for triggering a post where I tread onto Silicon Graybeard territory.

    It's still better than a vacation to Disney World with Obama


    Well, it is.

    Hawkshaw Hawkins - Lonesome 77203

    (Image via Wikipedia)
    Hawkshaw Hawkins lived a life that's hard to believe isn't out of a Hollywood script.  He got the money to buy his first guitar as a kid by trapping rabbits.  He enlisted in the Army in World War II, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.  And he made the big time with this song three days before his death in the plane crash that killed Patsy Cline, leaving behind a pregnant wife with a small child.

    The song spent 25 weeks on the Country charts.

    It was a different world back then.  This is old fashioned honky tonk music, although it was close enough in sound to Patsy's "Countrypolitan" that he fit into the tour.  But looking back, it strikes the "New Nashville" as being as out dated as trapping rabbits.  Or leaving your singing career to enlist.

    ProTip to "New Nashville": that's why we like it.



    Lonesome 77203 (Songwriter: Justin Tubb)
    Had our number changed today, although I hated to
    But each time the phone would ring,
    They'd want to speak to you
    And it hurts to tell them, you're not here with me
    Maybe now, ole telephone will let me be.

    It's not in the book now, so you'd better write it down
    Just in case your love for me should ever come around
    You might want to call and break the news to me
    Just call Lonesome 7-7203

    I keep the telephone beside me all the time
    Hopeing you might want to call and say you've changed your mind
    If you do, then darling you know where I'll be
    I'm at Lonesome 7-7203

    You're the only one I've given our new number to
    So now if the telephone should ring I'll know it's you
    If you ever long for love that used to be
    Just call Lonesome 7-7203

    Just call Lonesome 7-7203
    Just like Hawkshaw Hawkins, they don't make 'em like that anymore.  Too bad.

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    Etta James, Rest In Peace

    One of the great artists of our day has passed on.  Over a career spanning half a century, she became unquestionably the greatest female blues singer - and possibly the greatest blues singer, period.  With six Grammys and a fistful of other awards, it's impossible to pick a favorite, and so I'll leave you with this gem from her last album, released only two months ago.



    ... show some appreciation for me, Baby.

    We'll miss you, Etta.  And envy the Lord's choir, which has now kicked things up a notch.

    Etta James, 1938 - 2012.  Rest in peace.

    The Progressive State owns you

    They want your soul, but they'll settle for your body:

    Earlier this month, a Norfolk [Massachusetts] probate judge declared a pregnant woman with schizophrenia incompetent and ordered her to undergo an abortion, stating she could be “coaxed, bribed, or even enticed’’ into the hospital for the procedure.

    Unbidden, the judge further directed that the 32-year-old woman be sterilized “to avoid this painful situation from recurring in the future.’’
    Via Stephany, we find the most appalling abuse of the Mentally Ill by the State that I've ever heard of, at least since the bad old Progressive days of Eugenics.  Back then, they had no hesitation to sterilize the "feeble minded" for the greater good of the American Race.

    Ah, but if we only get "really Smart regulation" written by "really Smart people", all will be for the best, as together, shoulder-to-shoulder, we build the New Soviet Progressive State!

    Fortunately, this madness was stopped, but it took an Appeals Court to do so.  Think about that.  A Court of Law in the Commonwealth actually ruled that a woman be sterilized and her baby killed, against her will.  I mean, we don't want any breeders like that Sarah Palin woman, do we?

    Or old people:

    Under Obamacare, an “ethics panel” will convene to determine whether your life is worth saving or not. But you will not be a “you”; you will be a thoroughly de-humanized “unit.” And the reason you will be a “unit” is because if this enlightened sort of “ethics panel” discussed you as a male or a female, they might be tempted to think of you as a human being — someone’s mother or sister or wife — a person who is beloved, and whose life is valued, even if the brain and body aren’t functioning at optimal levels.

    So if you are a 70 year-old Nancy Pelosi
    , or Paul Krugman — with a potent private health insurance plan such as the one enjoyed by Members of Congress and other bureaucrats — you will get every appropriate surgery and treatment applicable.

    But if you are a 70 year-old former bookkeeper or waitress on Medicare, well — you have swung your last golfclub or danced your last waltz, because the “ethics panel” that assesses your unithood will have no problem inventing a equation that goes something like, “Potential-Tax-revenues-minus-potential-cost-divided-by-social-and-political-value-equals…a negligible unit.
    And (via The Anchoress) in case you think that I'm exaggerating that this is precisely what Realy Smart People™ think is Really Smart Policy™, here ya go:



    The only two truly unavoidable things in this veil of tears are death and taxes, and Paul Krugman rolls them both together into one neat package for you.

    And so, gaze upon your State, ye Progressives.  No, these aren't mistakes - or if they were, the "mistake" was that the mask slipped, we got a glimpse at the man behind the curtain.

    But you will obey - the State will decide decide your health care choices, from cradle to grave.  It's all done by such cleverly Smart people, don't you know?  And if the time between cradle and graze collapses to zero, well, just think of all the money that the future Fed.Gov has to distribute to favored political interests!  A single death is a tragedy, but a million deaths help balance the budget!  And nobody would ever take this too far:

    Nazi pro-Eugenics poster via Wikipedia


    Onward to the New Progressive State, Citizen!  And right now, if you know what's good for you.


    Postscript for those who think that I am being too harsh to the Progressives: This isn't a one-off, a "black swan" (from the same Boston Globe article):

    Daniel Pollack, a professor at Yeshiva University who has studied the issue of consent in such cases, said it is not clear how often such orders are issued.

    “My guess is it happens a lot more than we know,’’ he said.
    The Judge who made the original (now overturned) decision is named Christina Harms.  If I still lived in Massachusetts, the following (First Amendment protected) opinion would risk me losing my guns*:  Judge Christina Harms should not be impeached for this grotesque and illegal abuse of her authority.  Rather, Judge Christina Harms should be horsewhipped through the streets of Norfolk, Massachusetts.

    * The Commonwealth of Massachusetts can kill kiss my ass. [Thanks to commenter Rick C for pointing out a rather unfortunate typo.]

    What? The public hates the SOPA/PIPA "shut down the Internet" bill?

    Inconceivable!

    Another reason for Congress, K-Street, and the Media to hate them:

    A new poll taken of the political class elites reveals that the public's approval rating has fallen to a new low with only 3% of the cream of society expressing satisfaction with the public's performance. This is down from 97% in January 2009, when the transformative President Obama took office.
    Everything in the "News" media is "shut up, he suggested."  Whatevs.  I got The People's Cube for all my Party Organ™ opinion.

    Riddle me this, Mr. ABC News "Sanctity of Marriage" Man

    Weer'd brings up a great point about the Mrs. ex-Newt thing:
    First, Newt’s ex is an idiot. He was plugging her while he was married to wife #1, and suddenly she’s surprised when he treats his marriage to her with the same respect and reverence as he did wife #1? This is the same stupidity of Maria Shcriver being “unaware” that Arnie was impregnating the help. The dude was a wild cocksmith when he was courting her, and she thought she could tame that beast?
    And that got me thinking.  Where's a whole school of Country music for "done me wrong" songs.  Case in point:



    The lyrics cut to the heart of the matter:
    If I had your name
    I'd be changin' it right now
    Why is her legal name still "Gingrich"?  If what she says about him is true, she must have been mad as an ol' wet hen at him.  Srlsy.  So why didn't she change her name and be done with him.

    I'm sympathetic to the "wronged woman" idea*, but come on.  This is 15 minutes of fame, nothing more.  Good thing that she isn't the wronged Mrs. ex-Obama, though, because then this would clearly not be newsworthy.

    Prediction: nobody cares.  Just as the public began suffering scandal fatigue during the Clinton years, the last few months of media hyperventilating over the scandal du jour is creating antibodies in the Body Public.  If they really want to get people's attention, they probably should bring a real scandal.

    * I like me some Country Music, if nothing else.

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    CNN just won the South Carolina primary for Newt Gingrich



    Man, like when did those dudes decide to start helping out a conservative?  /mockery

    Smartest kids in their class, right there.  /mockery

    Newt's not running against Romney.  He's not running against Obama.  He's running against the Media.  Look at how many standing ovations he gets.

    CNN - the most trusted name in television.  /mockery

    Bill Millin, rest in peace

    I don't do a good job answering comments, not like I'd like.  Case in point: reader knottedprop left a comment a month ago telling of how Bill Millin had passed on.  Don't give me that "Bill Millin who?" bit - you know about what he did on that Day of Days.



    In one hundred years your children and grandchildren will look back and say "They must have been Giants in those days."

    Sure were.  Rest in peace.

    Thanks to knottedprop for passing along something that I'd missed.

    The three faces of the Republican Party

    The Antiplanner has a very interesting post up, about the fractured coalition that is the GOP:

    The Iowa caucuses highlighted a little-known fact about the Republican Party: it is really a coalition of three different groups. First and best-known are the “conservatives,” represented by Rick Santorum and the 25 percent of Iowa caucuses who voted for him. Conservatives tend to be fiscally conservative, but are more reliably socially conservative, meaning they tend to oppose such things as gay rights, abortion, and recreational drugs.

    The second group is the libertarians, represented by Ron Paul and the 21 percent of the caucuses who voted for him (although Gary Johnson, who was ignored by the media and the party, is closer to being a true libertarian). Perhaps even more than conservatives, the libertarians are hard-core fiscal conservatives. But they are social liberals, favoring gay rights, legalization of recreational drugs, and (for the most part) legalized abortions.

    ...

    Advocates of the latter view call themselves neoconservatives and form the third group that makes up the Republican Party. This is a strange name because historically it was liberals, starting with Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, who advocated U.S. military action that was not strictly for self defense, while it was conservatives such as Henry Cabot Lodge and Robert Taft who opposed such actions.
    His conclusions about the Tea Party, and whether a Romney victory would be a defeat for him are spot on but you'll have to RTWT.  Smart stuff.

    The utter security disaster that was the SOPA DNS restriction

    The most interesting part of the whole SOPA/PIPA debate is the original restrictions that the statutes placed on DNS, the Internet Domain Name System.  The first objections were raised by the White House, and the DNS clause was quickly dropped.  None of the media outlets are looking into this at more than a cursory level.  They should.

    This provision was so bad that the behind the scenes Fed.Gov security establishment (almost certainly the NSA) pushed the President to block the provision [note: this is speculation, but informed speculation].  The reason is that the clause would have good news and bad news.

    The good news: computer viruses would almost cease to exist.  The bad news: they'd cease to exist because they wouldn't be needed by the Bad Guys.

    I'd like to explain why, but you'll want to read an early post of mine, How to hack a classified network.  This post builds on that one.  The gist was that end users want interesting or funny content, and will figure out how to get it even if the network architecture intentionally tries to stop them.

    And so to the DNS block.  DNS is the communication exchange that translates names (google.com) into IP addresses (numeric identifiers that the Internet uses to deliver your messages).  The original bill would allow the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to basically block the DNS entry for infringing sites, making it hard to get to them.  Not impossible, mind, because if you know that Google.com's IP address is 10.1.2.3, you can just type "http://10.1.2.3" into your browser's address bar and you'll get there fine.

    But the reasoning was that it's too hard to keep track of the IP addresses, which is probably right.  And so, more and more sites would begin to disappear from the 'Net, and more and more interesting and funny content with them.

    And so to my old post, and to frustrated users:
    The problem is that what you want (security) and what your users want (information on Al Gore's Intarwebz) inherently is in conflict. You can't win unless they lose, and vice versa.
    And now to the threat scenario that (presumably) brought the NSA calling at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.  Suppose that someone set up an uber DNS server in Moscow, a server that didn't block any addresses at all.  Remember those frustrated Internet users?  All they'd have to do is change their computer's configuration so that their computer used that Moscow DNS server, rather than the one their ISP gave them.  Sure, you'd have to manually configure Windows to do this, but you'd only have to do it once.  Soon, people would be writing scripts that you could click on that would do it for you.

    In a matter of months, a large part of the United States would be relying on the Moscow DNS server.  Presumably, this would include a lot of computers in the US Federal Government itself.

    So what, you say.  Well, remember - DNS tells you the address of where you want to go.  What if it sends you somewhere else?  They'd have to be clever doing this - you'd have to transparently end up at your intended destination, but DNS could cause all your traffic to go through servers in Russia which would silently read everything that you type.



    Security gurus call this a "Man in the Middle" attack, and it's hard to see how the Russians (or Red Chinese, or a whole bunch of other folks) couldn't entirely pwn everyone's traffic.

    The Russians wouldn't need computer viruses to plant on your computer to get your data.  You'd be sending them all your data all by yourself.

    Just how much of this traffic is encrypted strongly enough that it couldn't be read?  Quite frankly, nobody knows.  What everyone does know is that number is way less than 100%.

    Remember that a lot of this traffic would be coming from senate.gov, treasury.gov, state.gov and whitehouse.gov.

    Oh, and for the traffic that does have decent encryption?  Well, roll out the computer viruses.  They know that you're going to your bank (they have the DNS request, duh), and so why not pass down a "Click here to access your bank" fishing link.  You only get that pop-up when you actually go to your bank - probably 95% of everyone will click to install.  Next -> Next -> Next Oh for God's sake just install already!

    Game over, man.  Smart bit of legislation, right there.



    And so the White House made them take it out.  This is all speculation, of course, but I'd bet cash money that this was how it played out.

    The punchline?  SOPA and PIPA probably can't actually work without blocking DNS.  And so they have to rely on overly broad (and likely unconstitutional) measures like if there's a single link, the entire site goes down.  But I'm not a lawyer, and so won't speculate on the intimate constitutionality of this piece of craptacular legislation.

    But this is the part of they story that you hadn't heard.  Some things seem like a good idea, but aren't.



    Looks like the MPAA didn't climb a mountain, they climbed a mountain lion.