Monday, January 31, 2011

Forensic analysis of Intellectual FAIL

I Wand A New Left dissects 12 intellectual traps that the left falls into, that leads them to do the most astonishing things:
Why would leftists have an alliance or be fellow travelers with some of the most reactionary people in the world? It made sense for the left to be either communists or fellow travelers of communism, for communism was generated by the left and was wholly infused with leftist thought. Islam, however, was never part of the left, and the old left which thought of religion as the opiate of the people would no doubt be much surprised to find leftists of today allying themselves so closely with any religion, much less one that seems so reactionary. What, aside from anti-Americanism, do leftists have in common with these people? Nor can anti-Americanism bind them very much since anti-Americanism, after all, isn’t the exclusive preserve of the left. Many people have adopted it, for various reasons.

Moreover, some of these Muslims have come to the West with the idea of imposing their own religious law (shari’a) on us. The obvious leftist response would be to oppose this, instead of which the left seems to be enabling it.
In general, these people are not dumb.  However, they've internalized ways of thinking that make them act dumb.  His is an important post, and you should bookmark it for future reference.

Monday links

Busy, so let me point you towards some stuff that is well worth your time.

Sonic Charmer offers a Grand Unified Theory of Bernie Madoff, Credit Default Swaps, the Housing bubble, and the financial crisis.  It's blindingly simple, pretty depressing, and exposes the utter bankruptcy of both the Coke and Pepsi parties.

Isegoria offers a story of how the Soviet Spetsnaz platoons captured Manchurian airfields from regiments of Japanese troops.  We don't hear much about The USSR's August 1945 offensive (probably because the war was looking pretty over by then, at least in hindsight), but the tactics on display are pretty significant for the Cold War period, if not today.

We see in the press that ZOMG 2010 was the hottest year evah!!!1!! Via Al Fin, we get an accessible nazzo fast moment.  Related: the number of people who think that the planet is not warming has doubled in the last 4 years.  Maybe it's all the Global Warming they've been shoveling off of their driveway?

Jenny offers belated advice to German U-Boat POWs escaping from prison into the Tennessee hill country back during the War.  Whatever you do, absolutely, positively do not act like Yankees.

And To Old To Work, Too Young To Retire brings a musical tribute to the recently departed Charlie Louvin.  God Speed.


Mom and Dad like watching PBS, and one of their favorite shows is Rick Steve's Europe travel show.  It's pretty good, and the Mrs. and I used to watch it (back when we used to watch PBS).

Anyway, we were watching the show on Tuscany, and then it came:

Wild Boar Prosciutto.

The sound that you just heard was my head exploding, as I gazed on the Platonic Ideal of ham.  You can keep that shadow-cast-upon-the-wall ham that you're eating - this is the ham I want.

Want want want.

Seems you can get it here (if you first sell your firstborn to Gypsies), although it's said that the best stuff comes with the hair still on the leg.  And here's a recipe for Wild Boar Prosciutto Salad with Blood Oranges, Parmesan Cheese and Pecans.  Man, oh man.

You're welcome.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

See a shrink, lose your rights?

Sunday morning coffee with the local paper (Albuquerque Journal) brings this unsigned editorial to our attention:
Don't Let Mentally Ill Buy, Lock, and Load

Think that the federal Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act keeps people the legal system has deemed mentally ill from buying a gun?  Not in New Mexico.


The [2007] law update was prompted by the Virginia Tech shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, deemed mentally ill after stalking two female students.  But because Virginia didn't report Cho's mental health history to the Brady background check system, he was able to buy handguns and use them.  To kill 32 people.
There's no question at all that Cho should not have been allowed to buy a gun, because a court found him to be mentally ill:
Seung Hui Cho never received the treatment ordered by a judge who declared him dangerously mentally ill less than two years before his rampage at Virginia Tech, law enforcement officials said, exposing flaws in Virginia's labyrinthine mental health system, including confusion about the law, spotty enforcement and inadequate funding. 
 There was a breakdown in governance, and people died.  But the slippery slope appears in the Albuquerque Journal editorial (note: I'd link it, but they have it behind a pay wall*):
What is clear is that this is not a solution in search of a problem.  UpFront columnist Thom Cole reported New Mexico had almost 1000 involuntary commitments of mentally ill persons last year alone.
The shell covering the pea just moved.  Many (perhaps most) involuntary commitments are not people who have been found to be mentally ill.  For example, if the police respond to a reported suicide attempt, the person is almost certainly going to be transported to a mental hospital for short term observation.  This is clearly the right thing to do, but this decision was made by the responding Law Enforcement officers, not by a Court of law weighing evidence.

Oh, come on Borepatch, I hear you say, this wouldn't be abused.  Oh yeah?  Via Stephany, we find this:

When Lois Kamenitz arrived at Pearson International Airport in November, hoping to board a flight to California, she was stunned to learn that U.S. border officials were barring her entry. The reason: Years ago, she attempted suicide.

The 64 year-old Toronto woman was fingerprinted and photographed. She questioned the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer about how he accessed her medical records. He said he didn’t. Instead, he knew police had attended her Toronto home in 2006 because she had done “violence to self.”


It’s not an isolated incident, says Ryan Fritsch, legal counsel for the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office. He has heard of about eight similar cases in the past year, all involving non-criminal contact between police and people with mental health issues — records of contact that end up at the Department of Homeland Security.

“These kinds of disclosures and the retention of this kind of information has a chilling effect on persons with mental illness,” said Fritsch, who fears people will think twice before calling 911. “A mental crisis should not be a lifelong sentence for stigma and discrimination.”
And so to the Albuquerque Journal editorial.  To fix a failure of governance, they propose a policy where we already see repeated breakdown in governance.

My take is that this won't make a lot of difference in the very ill - their conditions are serious enough that they'll be picked up by the system (as indeed Cho was).  Where it will make a great difference is with the borderline cases - people who suffer from depression, for example.  People will think twice before seeing a doctor for, say, Prozac if they think that they'll end up in some database somewhere, and may lose some of their rights.

It's a terrible policy recommendation, from people who consider themselves well meaning and well informed.  They're certainly not well informed.  Society has made admirable strides in dialing down the stigma of mental illness.  The Albuquerque Journal editors simply don't see that they're proposing to dial it back up, for no benefit.

* Helpful suggestion to the Albuquerque Journal: while it may make sense to put your hard news behind a pay wall, the idea of asking the Internet to pay for your opinion is absurd.  It's not like there isn't plenty of free opinion to be found on the 'Net.

Sunday morning goof

Sometimes you just need to laugh.

Via email from Brigid, who has a post you should read.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bacon Couscous

No pictures, because I didn't think I'd be blogging this.  Those of you who haven't tried couscous have been missing out.

Couscous is the great staple dinner of North Africa.  Couscous itself is basically a specially processed wheat that is used like rice is used in Asian cuisine.  It's the base that you build dinner on.  And the beauty of Couscous is that you can toss all your refrigerator leftovers into the pan and have a super fast, yummy, and low-cal dinner.


2 cups broth (chicken is more traditional; French onion is extra yummy)
1 cup dry couscous
1 1/2 cups diced leftover meat (chicken is traditional, but hamburger, steak, or whatever is in your fridge will work)
2 cups frozen peas (snap peas are even better)
1/2 cup dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, raisins, golden raisins, dates, whatever; Trader Joe's has a good selection at good prices)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans are my favorite)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring the broth to a boil in a saucepan.  Add the couscous, cook for 30 seconds, then cover and remove from the heat.  It will be ready in around 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and dump onto a serving platter.  The "base" for your dinner is now ready.

In a skillet, heat some oil on medium/high heat, and toss on the meat.  This phase is sort of like stir frying.  When warmed, toss on the nuts and dried fruit to warm.  Toss on the cooked peas (3 minutes in the microwave), spices, olive oil, and lemon juice.

Serve over the couscous, covered with the parsley.  Bacon bits are optional, and non-traditional.  The trick to Bacon couscous, of course, is finding halal bacon.

So you have a quick, tasty, healthy, thrifty, and slightly exotic dinner in 20 minutes.

The Gormogons visit a WMD factory

Hilarity ensues.

Part of me expects something like this, but they are far to fiendishly subtle ...

And congratulations to Uncle Jay for getting this whole ball rolling.

Godspeed and Good Luck

Best wishes to Casey, of Carolina Cogitation, who's heading out to Afghanistan today for a year.  While not in the service, he is training the Afghan police.  That's ighting the good fight and making a difference.

Stay safe, Casey.

Alison Kraus and Union Station - When You Say Nothing At All

For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.
- Judy Garland
The greatest love story I've ever seen is my Mom and Dad.  They fell madly in love young - too young - and it didn't work out.  Mom married someone else, who was a first class jerk; it only lasted a few months (she was wife #1 of 4 for him; it doesn't seem he ever grew up, although fame let him get away with it).  Dad fell deathly ill, and almost died.  This was back in the days before antibiotics, and so hospitals were a place you went to die.  He was in a hospital for months.

But Mom's parents heard about this, and wrote to Dad's parents.  It wasn't just that Grandma liked Dad better than The Jerk, although she did.  See, the parents saw what the young folks couldn't, that this was something special.  56 years later, it still is.

I grew up surrounded by an often silent, but always effortlessly sung love song.  There was never any question in our minds about whether their two hearts were joined.  It was, looking back on it, astonishing, and perhaps unique.

It still is.  He's declined  quite a bit in just the last couple of weeks, as the cancer burns away his body.  The hospice nurse told me that people who have had unhappy lives go quickly; it's the ones that have had happy lives that linger.  He lingers, because he hears that unspoken song.  It's quite something to see.

But his mind is still sharp; he's still here in the way that matters.  And she's with him.  There's not a lot said, but if you listen with your heart instead of your ears, you realize that it's said all the time.

Alison Kraus - perhaps the greatest Country/Bluegrass singer of our generation - needs no introduction here; neither does the band Union Station, which without doubt contains some of the greatest Bluegrass musicians of our generation.  This song was the 1995 CMA Single Of The Year.

If you're lucky, you've seen this happen sometime during your life.  If you're very lucky, it's happened to you.  Mom and Dad are very lucky.

When You Say Nothing At All (Songwriters: Paul Overstreet, Don Schlitz)
It's amazing how you can speak right to my heart
Without saying a word you can light up the dark
Try as I may I could never explain
What I hear when you don't say a thing

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There's a truth in your eyes sayin' you'll never leave me
The touch of your hand says you'll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

All day long I can hear people talking out loud
But when you hold me near, you drown out the crowd
Old Mr. Webster could never define
What's being said between your heart and mine

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There's a truth in your eyes sayin' you'll never leave me
The touch of your hand says you'll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There's a truth in your eyes sayin' you'll never leave me
The touch of your hand says you'll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all
Love has no desire but to fulfill itself.  To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.  To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.  
- Kahlil Gibran

(Image source) (Image source)

Friday, January 28, 2011

If you outlaw Lego Crossbow Guns, only outlaws will have Lego Crossbow Guns

One of these things is not like the others

I just ran across Married To The Sea.  Careful, you can lost lots of time there.

Let's be safe out there

JayG got a desperate email from Ambulance Driver, who it appears was in the UK.  All his money had been stolen, see, and he couldn't come back unless he got 1800UKP to settle up his hotel bill.  And pretty please, could you help out?


Of course, you have to get up pretty early to pull the wool over Jay's eyes.  It's a scam.  But what's interesting was that it was a personalized scam.  It didn't come from the son of the Nigerian Prime Minister, it came from one of Jay's friends.

The Bad Guys are spending a lot of time on Social Media sites (especially Facebook).  They can generally get lists of friends (Facebook's privacy is pretty horrible).  It's surprisingly easy to get real email addresses for people, and so you have a bona fide real sender and real recipient, who know each other.

The original email scam is called "phishing" (where the bad guys go trolling for dupes).  This is called "spear phishing" (targeted phishing) and is coming to an inbox near you.

So what do you do?

1. A healthy skepticism is a virtue.  Jay's B.S. detector started ringing, and yours should too.  Read Jay's post, and Ambulance Driver's comment to see why Jay thought this was, err, phishy.

2. If you want to follow up with your friend to make sure they're all right, do not (repeat, do not) reply to the email.  Here is an ordered list of ways to make contact, from most preferable to least preferable:
  • Call them on the phone to ask them if they're in the UK and in trouble.
  • Send them a SMS text message, asking them to call you if they're in trouble.
  • Leave a comment on their blog: "Hey, I need to talk.  Call me at the sooper sekret BatPhone number."
  • Forward the email to their email address - one you know is good.  The Facebook "send a message" feature is a good one here; just cut and paste the email into the Facebook message and ask if they sent this.
You'll notice that you don't really want to rely on (or trust) email.  After all, it's possible that their email account was compromised.  It probably wasn't, but Out Of Band communications is preferred.

It's best to actually talk to the person, because you'll recognize their voice (hey, this is a friend, right?  So why not gab away?).

The Web is getting personal, including the bad stuff.  Let's be careful out there.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Cradle and the Grave of Liberty, part XXI

It seems that the Philosopher Kings running Massachusetts are so smart that they can tell that you're committing a crime, even when you're doing nothing at all:
Drunk guy in his car. He’s not driving, because the car isn’t running. The engine isn’t turning. But he just got convicted for drunk driving. And everyone involved ADMITS he wasn’t driving.
OK, he was doing something.  He was sleeping in a parked car.  That counts as "driving" in Massachusetts.*

I guess that if the Constitution is a "living" document, and doesn't mean what it says but rather what we think it should, then why not the Statutes of the Realm, too?  So the guy is a habitual drunk, with prior convictions.  It shouldn't be too hard to follow him in a cruiser when he goes out on a bender, right?  I mean, this was his fourth conviction - the local Po-Po had heard of him before.

I guess that's too much work.  So let's just say that sleeping it off in your car is driving, and call it a day.  Tune in tomorrow, when they'll explain how it's really "economic activity" when you don't buy something ...

* Actually, some of the traffic I've seen on Rt-128 makes me think that sleeping while driving is a regular occurrence in the Hub.

Thomas Friedman's Potemkin Economy

The original Potemkin Village is said to have been created by Russian Marshall Potyomkin, to make his victory in the newly conquered Crimea more impressive to Empress Catherine the Great.  See?  Lots of big, thriving villages!  Of course, it was all a fake, created at great expense to fool gullible visitors who didn't know the true situation on the ground.

The New York Times' Thomas Friedman is terribly impressed with China, to the point that he frequently writes about how we should be more "can do" (translation: ruthlessly authoritarian) like they are.  Why, then we could get those stratospheric growth rates.

He's been duped by Potemkin Villages.  Al Fin explains:
China's rapid ascendancy in the global economic and technological hierarchy was achieved via huge outside investment, cheap labour manufacturing and export, an ambitious, highly intelligent and educated workforce, highly talented industrial spies, counterfeiters, etc. Some of those strengths are still operating at high levels. But the core of China's rise -- massive export wealth -- is hampered by a global economic downturn, and a sustained recession led by Luddite and left-reactionary policies implemented by the current US administration.

China is attempting to compensate for the significant decline of its export market by ambitious construction projects inside China. This megacities project is only one of many huge spending and stimulus programs operating -- virtually all of them teeming with corruption, mis-allocation of resources, and shoddiness.
Mega-cities of false facades and empty skyscrapers, all of which get tallied under the "productive infrastructure" column and uncritically swallowed by dim-witted western bien pensants.  When you add in the impending demographic collapse that will be the result of China's totalitarian "One Child" policy, I like India's long term chances a whole lot better.  The messiness in India is there for all to see; China's is carefully hidden from Useful Idiots like Friedman.

This is pretty funny, and pretty creepy

Hipster Hitler, on how the NAZIs really got their start.  #1 Son thought that Hitler's T-Shirt was hilarious.  I didn't get the reference, but #1 Son is hipper than I am.


The TJIC brouhaha got a lot of attention, and my hit counter's done been busted.  I know that I haven't added everyone to the list here, but it's around 140 or so now.  If anyone has posted this and I haven't added you, please send me an email (borepatch at gmail dot com).  I found the people on the list by Sitemeter trackbacks, and there's no way that's 100% accurate.

I also have a bunch more people to blogroll, but same thing again: I found you either through comments you left or via Sitemeter trackbacks.  If you've added me to your blogroll, and you're not on the blogroll here, it means I haven't been able to keep up.  Shoot me an email.

Tranquility Lost is another gun totin', Harley ridin' bald guy with facial hair.  Sort of JayG's twin brother.  He's doing my blogging for me - this post of George Carlin on the Environment has been on my queue to post for a bit.  He got it covered.  Leave some topics for the rest of us, will ya?  ;-)

Rebel Yell hails from Ohio, despite the name.  His son's just back from the 'Stan, which must be equal parts relief and pride.  His take on True Grit was the same as mine, but beat me by three weeks.  Borepatch: recycling posts from Rebel Yell weeks late ...

Mike's Campfire is a fun place.  First, what's not to like about a blog with a Half-Drunk Ramblings category?  Plus, there are stories like this:
Geoff and our mutual friend Joe spent the early part of this morning doing a little “pest control” over at one of the local golf courses…seems they have so many rabbits there that the critters are creating  nuisance.  The solution?  A couple of rednecks with high-powered air rifles and a golf cart.
Of course, he includes the obligatory musical accompaniment.

Ballseye's Boomers offers an eclectic mix of shotguns, cooking, tech, and Zombies (well, The Walking Dead, anyway).  Another guy trapped in Blue State gun Hell, he offered up one of the most thoughtful posts on l'affair TJIC.

B.S. Footprint offers it up, err, shovel ready.  He's sort of a link aggregator, but not only brings the Rousseau, he brings the Junk Science, too.  My kind of guy.

Mayberry blogs at Keep It Simple Survival.  Unlike me (ranting, raving, and generally foaming at the mouth), he also has written some fiction, and has it available on his blog for your reading enjoyment.  Free stuff!

JohnXML freely admits that he rants, but begs the excuse that it's sleep deprivation that keeps him Not Firing On All Cylinders.  I get that from the kids ...

Bus Error is another righteous techie gun nut, and kindly emailed me to say that he'd blogrolled me (yay for email updates!).  He's too polite, though - ASN.1 isn't "insane", it's Satan's spawn.  He keeps up on the Northern Virgina tech community, and posts about upcomming events of interest.  Other NOVA techies might want to follow him.

I think that's it - traffic has been so heavy lately, and there have been so many updates that my Quality Control has gone on the fritz.  Plus, I suspect that there may be other folks out there either linking to the TJIC post, or who have blogrolled me.  If I haven't found you, or if I messed up your link (like I did with Southern Belle), please email me.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This is pretty cool

A map of American and Canadian dialects.

Using this, if you heard me speak, you wouldn't pay attention to the fact that I live in Georgia, and used to live in Massachusetts and Maryland, or grew up in Maine.  You could pinpoint my family as coming from Kansas and Missouri.

Rick's dad could have corrected this map.  The roots of my geeky upbringing run deep.

Catholic Netiquette

The Pope is now offering netiquette guidance to the faithful:
The pope said new technologies were creating unprecedented opportunities for establishing relationships and building fellowship but warned against creating false online profiles out of vanity or diluting the Christian message to achieve popularity.

The 83-year-old pontiff, who has little direct personal experience with the Internet and writes with a pen in spidery longhand, issued his guidelines in a document entitled "Truth, proclamation and authenticity of life in the digital age," published to mark the Vatican's 45th World Day of Social Communications.

All in all, a worthy cause, although I'd like to see The Interdict placed on Trolls and Comment Spammers.

Of course, he just could have phoned up Brad Templeton and licensed Emily Postnews:
Q: I cant spell worth a dam. I hope your going too tell me what to do?
A: Don't worry about how your articles look. Remember it's the message that counts, not the way it's presented. Ignore the fact that sloppy spelling in a purely written forum sends out the same silent messages that soiled clothing would when addressing an audience.

Q: Another poster can't spell worth a damn. What should I post? A: Post a followup pointing out all the original author's spelling and grammar mistakes. You were almost certainly the only one to notice them, genius that you are, so not only will others be intrigued at your spelling flame, but they'll get to read such fine entertainments rather than any actual addressing of the facts or issues in the message.
About right, that.

Good on ya, cobber

Aussie SAS sniper awarded the Victoria Cross:
AN SAS digger has become the most highly decorated member of the Australian Defence Force after being awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous gallantry shown while attacking Taliban machine gun positions in Afghanistan.
At almost 6 foot 8 inches and dishy, he'd be a catch for my lady readers even without all the excessive-heroism-under-fire thing:
As Corporal Roberts-Smith headed toward a small building that provided some cover, he saw an insurgent ready to engage his patrol so instantly shot him dead at point-blank range.

He then showed his own position to the insurgent machine gunners to draw fire away from his patrol, enabling his patrol commander to throw a grenade and silence one of the guns.

"Seizing the advantage, and demonstrating extreme devotion to duty and the most conspicuous gallantry, Corporal Roberts-Smith, with a total disregard for his own safety, stormed the enemy position, killing the two remaining machine gunners," the citation reads.
At nearly 6 foot 8 inches, he's quite a target, too. As #1 Son likes to say, no re-spawns in real life.  That's quite a man.

Alas for my lady readers, he is a hapily married father of two:

(Image source)

Cpl. "Big" Ben Roberts-Smith with wife Emma and daughters Elizabeth and Eve.

Congratulations, Cpl. Roberts-Smith.  It's men such as you who remind us of the ties between your land and mine.  I'm proud to shake your hand, Digger.

That Sheila can sing, fair dinkum.  Yessir.

Via Theo Spark and Stormbringer.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Atomic Nerds makes a savings throw

Against the 18th level Massachusetts First Amendment Necromancers.

Everybody can stand down from alert.

Look on your Philosopher Kings, and despair!

Rick emails to point out the latest in breaking TSA news:
Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura is suing the TSA and Homeland Security for humiliating and ‘offensive’ pat-down procedures he’s been subjected to during airport security checks that included ‘warrantless, non-suspicion-based offensive touching, gripping and rubbing of the genital and other sensitive areas of his body.’ Ventura, who had a hip replacement procedure in 2008, says he was unduly targeted due to his disability. His lawsuit, filed yesterday in Minnesota, claims the pat-downs violated his privacy, his 4th Amendment right and legally meet ‘the definition for an unlawful sexual assault’.”
IANL, but I'd think that suing under the Americans With Disabilities Act would score extra irony points.  I mean, all Right Thinking People agree with the ADA, right?* And all Right Thinking People support the Progressive Lightbringer's Homeland Security Philosopher Kings, right?

Can we all just agree that this is the definitive disproof to Progressive's charming notion that if we just vote in The Right People, all will be for the best in the best of all possible worlds?  I keep saying that Progressives should be heavily invested in good governance.  Please show us some, folks.  A good start would be for the Left to start screaming for Janet Napolitano's head on a pike (violent metaphor alert! Note to the irony-challenged: metaphorically speaking, of course).

* Actually, they do, or should, at least for most of it.

Burns night

My Stewart ancestors were Scotch-Irish, from Ulster, which made them more Scottish than the Scots.  I have no stories that Burns night was frequently celebrated by them on the American prairie, but it's a dead-on certainty that Burns night will be celebrated all over the world tonight.

Robert Burns is Scotland's voice, her soul.  There, he is known simply as "The Bard".  He is so well known that you can even sing (part of) one of his songs:
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and (days of) ault lang syne?
Note: the "days of" is optional.  He had his nation's practical streak, which appears all over his poetry.  Perhaps most famous is good advice for all of us:
O wad some power the giftie gie us To see oursel's as ithers see us! It wad frae monie a blunder free us. And foolish notion; What airs in dress and gait wad lea'e us, And ev'n devotion!
The menu for Burns night is inflexible - haggis and scotch whiskey are required.  Very formal occasions will have a piper to serenade the haggis as it is brought to table.  I quite like haggis, although it's pretty hard to find.  Strangely, I never developed a taste for scotch.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A public service announcement

Take a pass on "The Fred Movie".  Even if you think it's Mystery Science Theater 3000 quality.  Especially if you think it's Mystery Science Theater 3000 quality.

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

Just how weak was the TSA's case?

In 2009, Phil Mocek didn't like what the TSA was trying to do to him at the Albuquerque airport.  He took out his phone and started video recording the incident.  The police told him to stop, and he refused.  They demanded ID, and he refused.  They arrested him.

The jury just acquitted him on all four counts: concealing his identity, refusing to obey a lawful order, trespassing, and disorderly conduct.  So just how weak was their case?

It wasn't just that the State lost.  And it wasn't that the jury found for the defendant after only an hour of deliberation.

It's that the Defense didn't call any witnesses, or present any evidence:

Mr. Mocek did not testify, and the defense rested on Friday without calling any witnesses or presenting any evidence. the jury found that even without rebuttal, the TSA and Albuquerque police had failed to satisfy their burden of proving any of the four charges: concealing his identity, refusing to obey a lawful order (it was never entirely clear whether this was supposed to have been an order to turn off his camera, an order to leave the airport despite having a valid ticket, or an order to show ID, none of which would have been lawful orders), trespassing, and disorderly conduct.

The best evidence in the case was the video from Mr. Mocek’s digital camera that both the TSA and the police had tried to stop Mr. Mocek from filming, and which ended when they seized his camera out of his hands and shut it off. In her closing argument, defense counsel Molly Schmidt-Nowara argued that the police and TSA witnesses were not credible, that their testimony was contradicted by the video and by common sense, that what they really objected to was having Mr. Mocek legally take pictures, and that any disorderly conduct was on the part of the police and TSA.
The DA who brought the case should be brought up on professional misconduct grounds.  The Police and TSA officials who hassled Mocek should be prosecuted.  If the situation is so blatant that the jury doesn't even have to think about it, even after the Defense doesn't bother to argue the case, then these people are incompetent.

And there's some very interesting information at the link, including this:

Uncontested TSA and police testimony at the trial established, among other things, three important points:
  1. Despite calling themselves “officers”, TSA checkpoint staff are not law enforcement officers and have no police powers — and both TSA and police are fully aware of this. When the TSA calls for the police, they are just like any other civilians who call the police, and the police have no obligation to do what they ask.  Police should not and have no right to act, in such a case, unless the police have a reasonable basis for believing that a crime has actually been committed or is being committed.
  2. You have the right, recognized by the TSA, to fly without showing ID. “It happens all the time. We have a procedure for that,” according to the lead TSA “Travel Document Checker” at the Albuquerque airport. Signs and announcements in airports saying that all passengers must present ID are false.
  3. You have the right, recognized by the TSA, to photograph or film anywhere in publicly accessible areas of airports including TSA checkpoints, as long as you don’t violate any local laws, photograph the images on the screening monitors, interfere with the screening process, or slow down the line. (Whether those limitations to your First Amendment rights claimed by the TSA are legal or Constitutional was not decided in this case, since Mr. Mocek wasn’t filming the images on the screening monitors, interfering with the screening process, or slowing down the line.) Signs or statements that photography is prohibited at Federal checkpoints are, in general, false.
Annoying the TSA is not a crime.

Note: I was a little skeptical about the "flying without ID" part.  It seems that it's true.

UPDATE 25 January 10:42: Welcome everyone here via Facebook.  New, breaking TSA idiocy news here.

UPDATE 25 January 11:59: People who want to contribute to Mr. Mocek's legal defense fund can do so here.

Great overview of climate change drivers

Over at Watts Up With That, there's an excellent basic introduction to some of the processes that drive climate change.  One of the least impressive arguments for Anthropological Global Warming is "it must be CO2, we can't think of anything else".  Well, here's your everything else: Solar cycles, Milankovitch Cycles, Svensmark's Cosmic Ray hypothesis, Multi-Decadal Oceanic Oscillations, clouds, ice albedo, volcanos - this is a very good (very quick) introduction to just how complex the climate system really is.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

In which I am a lazy blogger

#1 Son is back from an extended trip, we went to the brand new range, shot #2 Son's new rifle, and then had the nicest family dinner in ages.

Posting tomorrow, but for now I'm just enjoying life.

Things I had never done before

Field strip a Ruger 10/22.  #2 Son got one for Christmas, and it's been so busy that I hadn't taken him shooting.  Since it was a new rifle, I thought that I'd do the prudent thing, stripping it down and cleaning it.

It was surprisingly clean - no metal filings or paint dribbles on the bolt, for example.  This might not be a surprise for most of you, but I did say that I hadn't done this before.

Still on my list of "Things I have never done": reassemble a Ruger 10/22 so that it works smoothly.  I actually have that bit down pretty well, but the dang magazine doesn't seem to want to seat properly.  Ah, well.

Maybe I'll get it done, but #1 Son returns from a trip mid afternoon.  Wish me luck.

UPDATE 23 January 2011 13:31: Victory! It seems that, err, Sumdood had installed the Ejector upside down.  That guy must be some kind of idiot.  All happy happy now.

And I wish I had know about Albert Rasch's excellent 3 part series on disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling the Ruger 10/22 before I started.

Blogroll updates

Holy cow, there are a lot today.  I've been putting this off, and it shows.

Southern Belle emailed two weeks ago that she had me on her blogroll.  Mea culpa.  She's another chick with guns, and (even better) has a drunks with pointy things category.  Hard for me to compete with that.

Al Fin has me on his blogroll, which has me a bit gob smacked.  He's a wicked smaht bahstahd, and you'll gain measurable IQ points by reading him every day.

Ballseye's Boomers looks like the kind of guy who'll put me out of business.  He blogs on guns, Global Warming, cooking, tech, zombies - hey, leave some topics for the rest of us!

Da_truth36 has a partially NSFW blog Sick Of The Status Quo.  Pretty funny stuff, and nothing over the top (think Theo Spark), but you might want to check this one from home.

Blue blogs over at his eponymously named place.   I don't think that progressives will like his writing:
I believe that most Americans today have no idea what it means to be American. We have lost our identity. We have traded our "exceptionalism" for "political correctness".
The Adaptive Curmudgeon describes himself as the "benevolent dictator of his blog", which is so awesome that it's in danger of collapsing into a black hole of awesomeness.  He also offers a short lesson about what this means to grammar:
Mr. Curmudgeon refers to himself in the third person.  Unless I don’t.
Heh.  But in all seriousness, don't miss out on his 10 Things That Men Should Be Able To Do.

MedicMatthew is blogging over at New Life Changes, which probably isn't news for anyone but me.  Mea culpa, again.

Extrano's Alley gets some traffic from some very interesting search strings

So welcome to the blogroll, folks! And to anyone else who may have blogrolled me: if I haven't added you here, please leave a comment or shoot me an email.  I promise I won't wait weeks to do the next update!

What, no Fembots?

I distinctly recall being promised fembots.  With machine gun juggies.

Not bad for The People's Cube, but if you want to make the New York Times, you need to reveal her Fembot Menace.

Now this is more like it.  That's New York Times material!

(via Theo Spark)

Saturday, January 22, 2011


That's cold.  Two months ago, that was home.  Six degrees means that they're just about out of degrees.  Tomorrow night, they'll be deficit spending their degrees ...

It will be just shy of 40 degrees warmer here tomorrow night.  Damn.  Yeah, it'll be hotter here come summer, but not 40 degrees hotter.

I also miss Massachusetts' crummy gun laws. [/snark]

Doug Stone - Jukebox With A Country Song

Some of us have the feeling that this country has changed for the worse in our lifetimes.  That where a man was once able to speak his mind, not busybodies (or worse, the Government) are there to make sure that doesn't happen.  You may not like what a man has to say, or the music he plays, but By God he has a right to say it.

You know, there's a Country Song for that.

Doug Stone was active during the early 1990s transition from Old School Country to the new, rocked up New Country.  His was Old School, and sometimes there's No School Like The Old School. This song in particular strikes a chord.  Well it must've been a big mistake/To try to speak my mind/But as they were askin' me to leave/I cried out one more time...

May it not be true, or God save this Honorable Republic.

A Jukebox With A Country Song (Songwriters: Gene Nelson; Ronnie Samoset)
After three good years together
We had our first big fight
So she went to her mother's
And I went for a drive
Down an old familiar highway
Just a few miles out of town
To that run-down one-room tavern
That used to be my stompin' ground

When I pulled into the driveway
You know it all still looked the same
And I couldn't wait to down a few
And hear that jukebox ring
But when I walked in through the doorway
There stood some kind of Maitre D'
And he looked me up, and he looked me down, and said,
"Can I help you please?"

(And I said)

What'd you do with those swingin' doors?
And where's the sawdust on the floor?
Why's everybody wearin' suits and ties?
From where I stand I can't believe my eyes
And whose idea was it to hang these ferns?
This brand-new bar don't have a single burn
I guess I'm somewhere that I don't belong
I need a juke box with a country song

When I looked into the corner
Where the jukebox once stood proud
Some clown was playin' records...
Too fast, too long, and too loud
Well it must've been a big mistake
To try to speak my mind
So as they were askin' me to leave
I cried out one more time...

What'd you do with those swingin' doors?
And where's the sawdust on the floor?
Why's everybody wearin' suits and ties?
From where I stand I can't believe my eyes
And whose idea was it to hang these ferns?
This brand-new bar don't have a single burn
I guess I'm somewhere that I don't belong
I need a juke box with a country song

I guess I don't belong

Without a jukebox and a country song
(Image source)

Congratulations to Buckethead

On the birth of his daughter.

Internet Hunting is illegal?

Even in Georgia?  Who knew?

Just words

I've been linked by a couple of Leftie sites (including ThinkProgress) about the TJIC situation.  Unsurprisingly, they all support his guns being taken.  The common thread there is that he "threatened to assassinate Congress" or words to that effect.

He didn't, and while IANL, I believe that I can show this pretty clearly.  I'll keep it simple, so I don't lose the Lefties, who need to do some work on their Intellectual abilities.

The "he threatened to shoot Congress" argument

No he didn't.  Here's what he wrote:
1 down and 534 to go
Not "I'll finish what that crazy dude started", not "I'm a better shot than he is an I'll prove it".  He also wrote:
It is absolutely, absolutely unacceptable to shoot “indiscriminately”.

Target only politicians and their staff, and leave regular citizens alone.
For those of you who slept through English class in high school, this is written in the second person imperative - he's not talking about himself, he's telling his readers what to do.  So the Arlington PD should confiscate his readers' guns, not his.

In short, actual analysis of his statement (as any court would do) says that he did not threaten to shoot congress.

Well, he's inciting other people to do it.  You just said this yourself.

No he's not, at least not legally.  Hess v. Indiana tells us what actual incitement to violence is:
The Indiana Supreme Court placed primary reliance on the trial court's finding that Hess' statement "was intended to incite further lawless action on the part of the crowd in the vicinity of appellant and was likely to produce such action." At best, however, the statement could be taken as counsel for present moderation; at worst, it amounted to nothing more than advocacy of illegal action at some indefinite future time. This is not sufficient to permit the State to punish Hess' speech. Under our decisions, "the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action." Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444, 447 (1969). 
The Supreme Court established this as settled law in 1973.  Your opinion, while interesting, seems (legally) irrelevant.

Furthermore, this is in a long line of such statements.  Will Rogers said that there should be one day that was Open Season on Senators.  Others have said something similar, or worse.  Should they have their property seized.  If not, why?

There's a lot more on this from Eugene Volokh, and it's very settled law.  And Aretae, as is his wont, brings the smart about a post TJIC put up explaining his position (before the police stopped by):
Borepatch rounds up the I am TJIC support team. Of course, if anyone were even marginally thoughtful, rather than being powerhungry bastards...their reading TJIC's discussion of why it's not time to start shooting:
So, the proposed question was “answer the damn question, TJIC: do you endorse a revolution right here and now in 2011?”, and my answer is “no, I do not endorse shooting at politicians in 2011″.
Pretty clear position, pretty obvious on the blog. Not dangerous at all. Of course, his blog is down now, so I can't link it.

Well, we have to do something, we can't just let this sort of thing go on after the Tucson murders.

No we don't, and yes we can.  Just because an atrocity was committed doesn't mean that the Constitution is suspended.

I've said before (regarding the "we have to do something" part) that if TJIC is a threat to the members of Congress, he should be in jail.  He's not, so the Arlington Police Department doesn't think that he's a threat to the members of Congress.  Duh.

So what is happening?  Well, JayG has an information-rich post about the situation with firearms licensing in Massachusetts, but this is the relevant part:
I don't know what Mr. Ellis knows of MA gun laws; the "suitability" clause is vague, applied capriciously and arbitrarily, and is absolutely unconstitutional - if you are denied a Class A or B LTC, you cannot own a handgun or a "large capacity" longarm in MA. IOW, you are denied the very tools given to our military, in clear contravention to the 2nd Amendment. There are court cases currently being argued against this policy - Alan Gura and the SAF are spearheading efforts in conjunction with Comm2A, a local advocacy group, because of the inequality in how these are handled as well as the capricious nature. Let's not lose sight of the fact that TJIC was not charged with a crime, something that gets lost in the shuffle. His actions did not warrant criminal charges, yet he faces the prospect of permanent revocation of his Second Amendment rights.

On its face, this action should scare the hell out of any freedom loving American. We have a citizen who has committed no crime, yet is being punished by the government by revoking an enumerated right. That's the core of what's going on here, and it's why I support TJIC.
They're just words.  We think people should be able to speak their minds (even when you disagree with them).  We look at Campus Speech codes (all pushed by the Left) where people get sanctioned by the authorities for saying things that are unpopular or offensive.  We don't get the feeling that the Left stands up for free expression any more - at least free expression by people on the other side.

And now we get to the heart of what I believe the argument is: Large portions of the Left think that all firearms owners are potentially unstable, and will seize on any excuse to take those firearms away.

That's why statements like "Of course we won't take your guns" have no traction with gun owners.  Here we have an example of what the Left advocates (licensing at the discretion of the government), and we see the government take the guns.  No charges filed, just give up your guns.  Over some words.

That's why we stand with TJIC.

Friday, January 21, 2011

So much for "Peak Oil"

The idea of "Peak Oil" - that we've maxed out our petroleum production, and are headed for a ZOMG energy crisis!!1! - is all the rage at The Right Dinner Parties.

PARIS, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Supplies of natural gas could last more than 250 years if Asian and European economies follow the U.S. unconventional reserves, the IEA said.

The abundance of shale gas and other forms of so-called unconventional gas discovered in the United States prompted a global rush to explore for the new resource.

The International Energy Agency said Australia is taking the lead in the push toward unconventional gas, though China, India and Indonesia are close behind. European companies are taking preliminary steps to unlock unconventional gas as are other regions.

"Production of 'unconventional' gas in the U.S. has rocketed in the past few years, going beyond even the most optimistic forecasts," said Anne-Sophie Corbeau, a gas analyst at the IEA.

You've all seen the city buses that have been modified to run on Natural Gas, right?  1950s technology, and all that.

[snark] Weird how the Left sees itself as the Defender Of Science, except when Science gets in the way of their progressive policy preferences. [/snark]

In other breaking news from the Environmentalists, we'll all be dead from famine by 1990, except for those who subsist by eating babies.

Hat Tip: The Global Warming Policy Foundation, via Watts Up With That.

Epic rant

No, not here, over at Sabra's:
Know what else you get?  You get women who abort one twin because having three total children would interrupt your lifestyle too much.  You get couples who abort twin boys because of their penises.

Reasonable people react to those stories with horror.  But here's the thing: if you support abortion, you must support these things.  There is zero moral difference.  Choice is choice, and if you support a woman's choice to kill her unborn child for any reason...Guess what?  That means any reason.  Is it reprehensible to kill half of a pair randomly?  Yes, of course.  Is it reprehensible to kill children because they're the "wrong" sex?  Yes, of course.  But if it's okay to kill any given child, it must be okay to kill any other given child.  Drawing an arbitrary line because one action doesn't sit right with you is completely disingenuous.

Which brings me back around to the beginning.  What pisses me off the most about this story is that it features the mother of all arbitrary lines.  If that doctor had shoved the scissors into the baby's heads seconds earlier, it would have been a fine and dandy thing to do.
Quite frankly, this sort of talk isn't allowed at The Right Dinner Parties, because it makes Right Thinking People uncomfortable.  The only thing I'd add is that the Media - which so loves to pat itself on the back about "comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable" - is nowhere to be seen on this.  And yet this story strikes to the very heart of the matter.

I pointed out a few days ago that an Intellectually Vigorous Left would fight for good governance.  You can't get much more of an example of bad governance than this story, but there are all sorts of favored interest groups discouraging the Media from paying attention.  So let me just spell it out for the Lefties who dare not look too closely into that shadowed part of their reason - this wasn't an outlier, a "Black Swan", something that could not have been foreseen.  This was as inevitable as the sun rising in the east.

And this isn't just dead babies and (literal) infanticide; this is dead mothers, too.  Until the Left opts for good governance - even at the risk of not being invited to The Right Dinner Parties - this will continue happening.

And the fact that this is happening to poor minority women - as opposed to the sort of well-heeled women invited to The Right Dinner Parties - only adds to the irony.  But as I've been saying, it appears that Irony 101 is no longer a required course at Journalism School.

And just to spell it out for people itching to leave comments about abortion, this isn't about abortion.  It's about hypocrisy, and people who are too scared to look into their own psyches.

I think we hit a nerve

This whole "shut up or we'll take your guns" thing seems to have gotten under people's skins - as it should have.  Almost 50 people posting on the situation.  60 comments, just the ones here.

The idea that your rights are actually privileges - something to be granted to or taken from you by some government flunky - that's not a comfortable thought.  It's an infuriating thought.

One commenter asked JayG and me why people live in Massachusetts.  Jay answered for himself, so I won't speak for him here.  As for me, this was one of the factors in my decision to move back to Georgia.  It was only one of many, but it was Yet Another Push out the door.

But high taxes, idiotic regulations like this, and a much worse climate have got to be killing the Northeast.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Support the Massachusetts economy

Stay with me for a minute, while I explain.

We've all seen what happens when you combine crazy gun laws with possibly politically motivated government.  A bunch of folks took this kind of personally.  People have been asking what they can do.

TJIC himself has been pretty gracious about the whole thing, saying that he's in good shape (so far) and recommending that people toss another sawbuck in the plate on Sunday if they want to help the world out.  Fine advice for all of us.

But +5 Insightful to Top Of The Chain, who brings a wicked smaht idea:
So last night after I buycotted a graphic novel from Heavy Ink, TJIC commented on the previous post with this.

Btw, if comic books aren't your thing, I own and run a second business:

Sign up for Combat Pistol University

... or Gunsmithing University:

...or one of the others:
So instead of entertaining yourself with the latest Spiderman, Batman, etc., you can get yourself some practical knowledge from a variety of subjects.
The idea isn't a boycott, it's a buycott - support business that you like.  I look and see all sorts of shooty goodness there, including this:
oday the M1 is enjoying a resurgence as a long range match rifle through the DCM program and the recent availability of imported surplus rifles. If you own a M1 Garand or it's magazine fed brother the M1A you'll want this course so that you can truly understand how your rifle functions, be able to totally strip it and reassemble it down to the last part and perform basic repairs. You will even understand how that mysterious clip feed system works and how to adjust it. Improving accuracy is also discussed. The differences and similarities internally between the M1 and the M1A are shown in detail.

This video was added to our catalog on January 01, 2000 in Firearms::M-1 / Garand.
As you see, they're helpfully tagged for your browsing convenience.  Other tags include AK-47 and 1911 (by God).  And there's a nifty Amazon-like Wisdom-Of-Crowds thingie, which helpfully points out:

Customers who rented this DVD also rented

So take a moment to browse over to SmartFlix.  There may just be something there for you - if so, order it.  Post it on your site.

And to the point of this post - let's drive so much business his way that Governor Patrick will want to break ground at the new SmartFlix World Headquarters.

Things I did not know

According to USA Today, I am an "affiliate" of TJIC:
In a post titled "1 down, 534 to go," Travis Corcoran of Arlington, Mass., wrote: "It is absolutely, absolutely unacceptable to shoot 'indiscriminately'. Target only politicians and their staff, and leave regular citizens alone." The blog, TJICistan, is no longer accessible, but affiliates have emerged.
It's that last link that made my hit counter spin.  Thanks, guys!

But I have to say that it appears that "Irony 101" is no longer a required course for Journalism majors.  Pity.

Full disclosure: I am entirely unaffiliated with TJIC, except for the monthly meetings where he hands me the bushel backets of cash from Vast Right Wing Conspiracy HQ.

We are TJIC

UPDATE 21 January 2011 16:06: People arriving from USA Today might want to check out this post, which explains what this whole thing is about. /UPDATE

UPDATE: Just updated with people who've commented, emailed, or that I've noticed via trackbacks.  Total is 41 45 46 61 69 78 84 90 98 100 109 116 132 137 141 145 now, plus me.  If I left anyone off, please let me know. /UPDATE

(Note: post written at 23:30 last night)

Thanks to folks for picking up on the whole say something offensive, lose your rights thing.  Here's an army of TJICs:

What's so funny about Peace, Love, and Ammunition?
The Silicon Graybeard
Daddy Bear
Midwest Chick
Mr. B
Only Guns and Money
The Real Gun Guys
TCA, on FaceBook
Random Acts of Patriotism
Atomic Fungus
Eyes Never Closed
Whipped Cream Difficulties
Guns & Coffee
Snugg Harbor brings the smart.  This is a must-read.
From the Barrel of a Gun

Apologies to anyone I've left off, or who put a post up after I wrote this.  Leave a comment and I'll add you to the list.  To other folks who haven't, come on in - the water's fine.

One comment I've seen repeated on this "what can we do to stop this"?  We're doing it - this is what we do: whenever the Statist Asshats pull something like this, we make sure the word gets out.  We make sure that they have to defend their actions.  We do our best to make it news.

They're used to living in the shadows (PR wise).  Shine the bright sunlight of attention on them.  The government is nothing if not risk adverse; make 'em sweat, and we'll see less of this nonsense.

UPDATE 20 January 2011 13:35: The Army of TJICs grows:

Mark Alger (cross posted here)
William the Corroner
Ye Old Furt
The Ultimate Answer to Kings
Enemy Of The State

Coordinated Illumination
My Tumultuous Adventure
Geek Warrior
Arctic Patriot
Jake (formerly ripost3)
Speaker Tweaker
Brown Valley Kingdom

UPDATE 20 January 2011 20:10: A few more:

Top Of The Chain
Timmeehh (on Facebook)

Let me know if you've joined the Army Of TJICs, and I'll add you.

UPDATE 20 January 20:38: Oh, foo. Not half an hour passed before I noticed that Tam had joined in, with a must-read on the First Amendment, and the cradle and grave of liberty.  I was going to blog on precisely that, but she's got it pretty well covered.

UPDATE 21 January 2011 8:22: Still more:

Josh has an interesting take on the situation.
Philip (on Facebook)
Stranded In Iowa
Radio Free Wakefield (another escapee from the People's Republic)
Rev. Paul
Curses! Foiled Again!
A Glimpse Of Sanity (pungent thoughts in his post)
The Supersonic Reflectoscope
American And Proud
Ian Argent, who (unsurprisingly) has something interesting to say
Ed joins up, even thought he doesn't like joining things ...

And Art emails the following:

UPDATE 21 January 2011 10:44: It's getting hard to keep up with everyone:

Smallest Minority
Sharp As A Marble
Claire Wolfe
Roberta X offers an eloquent statement of what's at stake
Life In 3D
Preachers and Horse Thieves

UPDATE 21 January 2011 13:45: Holy cow, there are a lot of you:

Random Nuclear Strikes
A Call To Wings
Weird And Pissed Off
Cranky Chicks With Guns
Your Crazy Uncle
Why I Am Not ... stands with TJIC even though he doesn't like guns.
Tranquility Lost

UPDATE 21 January 2011 17:15: Still more:

Old Glory First
The Quick And The Dead, who reminds us we should be reading the Internet
Improved Clinch (without saying it in so many words)
Elm Tree Forge
Counter Revolutionary Act (in his first ever blog post - well done!)

UPDATE 21 January 2011 21:02: And even more:

Brian J. Noggle
My Weekly Crime
The Brownsack Gazette
B.S. Footprint
Too Old To Work, Too Young To Retire

UPDATE 22 January 2011 11:41: And more:

Western Rifle Shooters Association
A Glimpse of Sanity
Christopher Berg
Minnesota Carry Forum
Mike's Campfire
Southern Belle
South Bend Seven

UPDATE 22 January 2011 12:25: We have 100!

The Trooper's Gal

UPDATE 22 January 2011 16:16: Not sure if this will be the last update. Probably not:

Pascal Fervor, who reminds us "don't get cocky".
The Bonnie Blue Blog
Billy Beck

UPDATE 22 January 2011 17:15: Heh:

And Cowboy Blob is in, too.
I am McThag!
The Freeholder
Rocketsong waxes eloquent.

UPDATE 23 January 2011 11:00: I keep wondering when this is going to die down. Not sure that it is, and thank you all:

The Poor Farm
United Conservatives of Virginia
Connecting the Dots
Curtis Lowe
Misanthropic? Me? Inconceivable!
Found: One Troll
The Warrior Class

UPDATE 25 January 2011 11:55: Man, Itake a day off from updating, and there are a lot to add:

Diogenes of the Rifle
Nine Pound Sledgehammer
Lever Action
Atomic Nerds
Negative Railroad
Rebel Yell
The Minuteman
Ambulance Driver
Mycroft Holmes 4
Dispatches from Blogblivion
Kayak2U, who has a very thoughtful post of the subject
BS Footprint
Ballseye's Boomers
Classic Liberal

UPDATE 26 January 2011 17:25: Some folks emailed to let me know that they'd linked. Thanks!  Others I found through incoming referrals.

Chickens and Unschooling
Not Firing On All Cylinders
Rocket Song
Warrior Knitter
The 24th State
9X19 Dan
CT Donath

UPDATE 29 January 2011 12:00: It looks like things are slowing down, so I'm not sure how much longer I'll keep adding to the list. Send me an email if you should be (but aren't) here.

Your Crazy Uncle
The Wisdom Of The Wooly Bear
Orphan Wilde
Nothing About Everything

UPDATE 31 January 2011 15:42: This will be the last update. Thanks to everyone who's picked this up.

Ric's Rulez
My Daily Kona
CB posts on Facebook
Fatale Abstraction

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I've linked several times to posts over at the blog Dispatches from TJICistan.  TJIC is an outspoken (some might say extremely so) advocate of smaller government.  He's also a firearms owner in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.  While he owns guns, it appears that he's no longer allowed to possess any:
ARLINGTON (CBS) – A blog threatening members of Congress in the wake of the Tucson, Arizona shooting has prompted Arlington police to temporarily suspend the firearms license of an Arlington man.
It was the headline “1 down and 534 to go” that caught the attention. “One” refers to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in the rampage, while 534 refers to the other members of the U.S. House and Senate.

Police are investigating the “suitability” of 39-year-old Travis Corcoran to have a firearms license
Let's ignore for the moment how many people were investigated for making similar comments about George W. Bush.  Let's look at the "logic" being exercised by the Arlington Po-Po, shall we?

They claim that Corcoran is so dangerous that, while he has done nothing more than put up a blog post, he must be restrained from possessing firearms.  However, it appears that it's not worth it for the police to follow him, or stake out his place, or arrest him.


Look, guys, if you think that his speech rises to the level of an actual threat of specific harm to specific persons, he should be in jail.  If you're not sure, then do the leg work to establish whether it is or not.

So, what do we know about the Arlington Police Department?  We know that they're lazy - nobody assigned to watch over this "dangerous" suspect.  We know that they're biased - Arlington is a hotbed of George W. Bush hatred, and the last decade would offer a wealth of examples of similar or worse speech, none of which was investigated.

And we know that they're idiots.  It's not like there isn't a ton of case law on how the First Amendment applies to threats of political violence.  Arlington will lose this, if it ever gets to trial.  Post Heller and McDonald, they'll lose even worse.  Idiots.

But this is, as JayG points out, an attack not only on the First Amendment, but on the Second as well.  An attack of this sort - groundless in logic, and arguably mendacious in nature - is an attack on all.  And so I have to stand with TJIC.

I am TJIC.  So are you.  If you blog, you are hereby authorized to use this image (created by your humble host, using The Gimp, not that it took any skill).  Please link back to this post.

It would be one thing if the law were applied equally to all.  It's not, and it will be applied disproportionately to us, because we hold views considered by some in power to be Double Plus Ungood.  Lefties in particular, this is your moment.  You say that you stand for good governance.  Prove it.

It was not a famous Massachusetts citizen who said We must all hang together, or surely we will all hang separately.  Benjamin Franklin was more circumspect than the men from Massachusetts, such as Sam Adams, who said this:
Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say 'what should be the reward of such sacrifices?' Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!
Eliminationist rhetoric right there.  Clearly, the Arlington Police would have seized his firearms.  What a sad, degraded state for a once proud Commonwealth.  It seems that I got out just in the nick of time.

UPDATE 21 January 2011 8:40: Boy, this is getting some attention.

To CNN, I have absolutely no idea what you mean by saying I'm an "affiliate" of TJIC.  Other than a shared love of freedom and dislike of tyranny,  there's no connection.  I guess that Irony 101 is no longer a required course in Journalism School, but thanks for all the traffic!

To everyone who thinks the whole situation stinks, here's something that you can do to help (cut and pasted from my post here for your convenience):

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We've all seen what happens when you combine crazy gun laws with possibly politically motivated government.  A bunch of folks took this kind of personally.  People have been asking what they can do.

TJIC himself has been pretty gracious about the whole thing, saying that he's in good shape (so far) and recommending that people toss another sawbuck in the plate on Sunday if they want to help the world out.  Fine advice for all of us.

But +5 Insightful to Top Of The Chain, who brings a wicked smaht idea:

So last night after I buycotted a graphic novel from Heavy Ink, TJIC commented on the previous post with this.

Btw, if comic books aren't your thing, I own and run a second business:

Sign up for Combat Pistol University

... or Gunsmithing University:

...or one of the others:
So instead of entertaining yourself with the latest Spiderman, Batman, etc., you can get yourself some practical knowledge from a variety of subjects.
The idea isn't a boycott, it's a buycott - support business that you like.  I look and see all sorts of shooty goodness there, including this:
oday the M1 is enjoying a resurgence as a long range match rifle through the DCM program and the recent availability of imported surplus rifles. If you own a M1 Garand or it's magazine fed brother the M1A you'll want this course so that you can truly understand how your rifle functions, be able to totally strip it and reassemble it down to the last part and perform basic repairs. You will even understand how that mysterious clip feed system works and how to adjust it. Improving accuracy is also discussed. The differences and similarities internally between the M1 and the M1A are shown in detail.

This video was added to our catalog on January 01, 2000 in Firearms::M-1 / Garand.
As you see, they're helpfully tagged for your browsing convenience.  Other tags include AK-47 and 1911 (by God).  And there's a nifty Amazon-like Wisdom-Of-Crowds thingie, which helpfully points out:

Customers who rented this DVD also rented

So take a moment to browse over to SmartFlix.  There may just be something there for you - if so, order it.  Post it on your site.

And to the point of this post - let's drive so much business his way that Governor Patrick will want to break ground at the new SmartFlix World Headquarters. --------------- End ----------------