Sunday, July 31, 2011

Be Prepared.

Even Scott Adams gets it.

Though really a natural disaster is a whole lot more likely than you needing a colander and a ticket to Barter Town.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Money and Mouths.

I was reading Oleg Volk today and came on his Blue Laws post. Driving back from the range, I thought about it, Roberta X's post on Governments and rich people, and a conversation I had with someone at the office yesterday.

Consider this hypothetical:

Mr. A is a firm believer in Blue Laws. Specifically, he thinks it is morally wrong for a business/shop/restaurant to be open on Sunday (or pick Saturday or Friday or any other day). That's his stance and he lobbies representatives and bureaucrats in government to push legislation and enforcement of his belief.

With me so far? Mr. A is using his resources (money, time, voting) to push for a law he wants.

Now here's where they hypothetical gets hairy. Mr. A also owns a restaurant and store. It's not a franchise as he has total control of the hours. However, he keeps it open on Sundays.

Why? How does he explain his petitioning of the state to force him to do something he is not doing voluntarily?

Well, when asked Mr. A gets enraged and sputters about competitive advantage. You see while he is well-to-do he wants to be better off, and if he closes on one day then he looses 14% of his business, perhaps more if that's a busier day.

And Mr A would continue saying that he's just one business owner. That state or nation-wide that would be a bare drop in the bucket. That his individual actions are totally unrelated to his beliefs in State Blue Law Policy.

Many other businesses would still be open on Sunday that his contribution would be meaningless. And besides, why should the moral burden fall unduly onto him? What about all those other shopkeepers why should they be allowed to stay open while he has to close?

In fact, Mr. A would puff up his chest and boast about how when the Blue Law he supports get passed all business will have to comply and in one fell swoop he'll no longer have to worry about a relative disadvantage and made everyone become more moral.

Clearly, this doesn't just apply to Blue Laws. And no my conversant yesterday did not have a last name starting with A.

It's also an explanation as to why wealthy liberals don't pay the tax rate they feel people in their bracket deserve to play (The IRS does accept checks sent their way). And well... "Mr. A" did brag about getting the best accountant he could find to make sure his increase in tax payment stayed as low as possible.

If you're going to convince the State to impose on my life, you better, at the very least, already be adhering to the code you're clamoring to cram down my throat.

It's like someone trying to ban fur but keeping their mink coat until it's been made illegal, because otherwise she'd be colder than everyone else.

Some feel that an action is only moral if it comes at gunpoint. That true fairness comes from having the state force people to do what their proponents would never do on their own.

It's also not that uncommon. There are gun controllers that have guns and others, especially among government, that have armed bodyguards.

The State versus The Rich

Roberta X has an interesting essay.

It also touches on what is considered a "conservative" these days. Strange times.

I'll just say it's funny what having a legal monopoly on force can do for you. For example if a rich person or a company wants your money, he has to convince you to enter into a contract, usually by offering goods or services.

A government? They just demand it at gunpoint.

Yes, a rich person could lobby the government to make his products compulsory, but guess who's still the one doing the leg-work? Roberta says the exact same thing in regards to wars.

This is why I'm much more concerned about governmental action than corporate. Corps and rich people have to be "invited" in to cause mischief, and you can always quit their service. Try doing that with the State.

As for the rich and how much they pay in fed taxes. Well... Look at those numbers and tell me if that's fair. And if you think it's too low for your bracket, well, why aren't you paying more? The IRS does take donations.

Link also via Roberta.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fresh doom from Victor Davis Hanson

VDH talks about the effects of a decreasing Pax Americana brought out by spending crisis, lack of confidence and governing competence. He draws parallels to the Great Game and to 1937. Joy.

A taste:

Obama has done the almost impossible: he is losing a war to a country on the Mediterranean with less than 7 million people, and an almost perfect topography, weather, and location for NATO air operations. World War II American Liberators and B-17s on bombing runs from Sicily would have been more effective than Anglo-French jets. All that can be said for the mess is that Obama seems to have wanted to embarrass the usually parasitic, ankle-biting Europeans, and at least accomplished that—at the expense of Western military prestige. (The only thing worse than fighting a needless war against a savage weak regime is losing it to a savage weak regime.)

Speaking of WW2. He also said this: "Almost every day, we are borrowing $4 billion, enough to build a new fleet aircraft carrier (and, of course, are not building aircraft carriers with such daily deficits as we did in World War II)."

Yeah we're boned. In ten years the government has doubled in size.

I understand why Obama, like most all who are products of the university and government, believes reason and dialogue should trump deterrence. I wish that he were correct, and the humane rules of the Harvard Law School lounge were those of the international community. It would certainly be cheaper and safer if logos rather than pride, fear, and perceived self-interest adjudicated relationships between powers. Eloquence should outweigh muscularity; and listening at times is as critical as acting. But the problem is that the world beyond our shores is largely non-democratic, poor, tribal, zealous, and angry, and wants the sort of power, affluence, and influence that we long ago took for granted as our birthright—and it looks for ways of fulfilling its agendas, often at the expense of weaker others.

The world by 2016 will be a very dangerous place, as Americans see every dollar “wasted” on national security as a dollar “stolen” from their own god-given federal entitlements.

Oh and in pure coincidence, here's VDH talking about Turkey's top military officers resigning en masse over protest of the increasingly Islamist government going after them.

At some point, an ambitious Turkey, its military and government now in sync as in past Ottoman fashion, will reassert its prior influence in the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean without too much worry over what a NATO rendered impotent in Libya, an imploding European Union, or a nearly insolvent U.S. might say. Greece — without money or many friends these days — should be worried, both over the unresolved tensions in Cyprus and over disputed areas in the Aegean. If Turkey pressed a bit, what would it have to worry about? A Germany angry over treatment shown its friend Greece? An ascendant and powerful NATO as evidenced through its brilliant air campaign against Qaddafi? A strong and assertive U.S. as shown by reset diplomacy over the last three years, and the financial health of America?


Classy. We've got military adventurism and the creation of a toothless lion and weak horse.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

More on Norway.

Roberta X's thoughts:

The world has a remarkably large supply of Christian fundamentalists in the full range of skin tones, most of them not at all racist; I daresay there are more of them than there are guns. All but one of 'em didn't do any mass killing last week -- and I rather doubt most of the people the press has lumped him in with would claim him. Likewise, there are guns in this world; just as long there is metal, charcoal, sulfur and saltpeter, there will be guns and as long as there are criminals and violently-inclined crazies, they will have firearms. Y'know what stops such persons? Honest, law-abiding people with guns of their own.

The Unabomber wasn't any more sane or moral than this miserable jerk, even though he never fired a shot. But there was a better chance of stopping Mr. A.B.B. than Ted Kaczynski -- and an even better chance of limiting the harm he could do had any members of his chosen group of victims been able to shoot back.

Including the bit about impersonating a police officer (don't question the guardian of the state don'cha know), doing a big flashy diversion, and picking a pool of unarmed victims.

Though with no concealed carry and onerous transport laws, that's far easier in Norway, avoid any shooting clubs, hunting areas, and military or police.

Again, the only way people like this are stopped is with force of arms against them.

And a more cynical thought from the Chicago Boyz Lexington Green wonders how long it'll be before Obama uses this slaughter as a talking point, and Green bets it'll be a "major theme for them going forward."

Told you I thought people outside of Norway would try to exploit this.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Which reveals more of my personality

So Norway was hit with a bombing in downtown Oslo and a shooting at a youth camp on Utoya.

The death toll is striking over 80 people.

That's just for the shooting, which given the circumstances is very high. Unlike, for example, Mumbai in Nov'08 it took 10 terrorsists to kill 160 people. Apparently, this time it was one guy working alone efficient bastard.

And that's what strikes me. Mass shootings don't normally climb to quite that level, especially with just one man. I doubt the guy was a "one shot one kill" so how many hundreds of rounds did he carry and was freely able to use?

Again that's what gets my attention, the mechanics of how he was able to act so indiscriminately for so long, but again, it takes someone else with a weapon or a charge from a crowd of people to stop an active terrorist.

This is also worrying because I was hypothesizing with a friend that the most "bang for the buck" type of attack would be children in a school. Like Belsan in 2004. A relatively soft and plentiful target with victims that would garner maximum "eyeballs" for a terrorist interested in media reaction.

The circumstances will shed some light onto the mechanics of how such a slaughter could continue. Also a bit unusual was that the suspect apparently got away. Edit He was apparently captured on the island itself.

Normally, such shooters are captured on site or suicide.

If history is any guide this will likely result in a fresh batch of gun control laws in Norway and maybe other places. With the expected sad irony of making more people even more defenseless. Don't think a situation like this won't be exploited? See here.

Until 1996, the Federal Government had little role in firearms law. Following the Port Arthur massacre, the Howard Government (1996–2007), with strong media and public support, introduced uniform gun laws with the cooperation of all the states. The then Prime Minister John Howard frequently referred to the USA to explain his opposition to civilian firearms ownership and use in Australia, stating that he did not want Australia to go "down the American path".[52][53][54] In one interview on Sydney radio station 2GB he said "we will find any means we can to further restrict them because I hate guns... ordinary citizens should not have weapons. We do not want the American disease imported into Australia".... "I did not want Australia to go down the American path. There are some things about America I admire and there are some things I don't. And one of the things I don't admire about America is their... slavish love of guns. They're evil".[56] During the same television interview, Prime Minister Howard also stated that he saw the outpouring of grief in the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre as "an opportunity to grab the moment and think about a fundamental change to gun laws in this country".

Inanimate objects are evil. And a national tragedy is an opportunity to be grabbed. Never let a crisis go to waste. And the next part about Aussie gun control orgs: "Gun control groups in Australia have very few members but a high media profile. The main focus of these groups is on tightening firearm controls on ordinary people, reducing legal gun ownership rather than reducing misuse or illegal guns." Familiar no?

Also anything from the number of perpetrators to the casualty count can change. That was actually my initial suspicion, that the report was wrong and that the larger casualty count was from the bombing and not the shooting. However, if you have the right targets and enough time and supplies, then yeah...

And back to the bombing I was struck by this quote:

"It wasn't any sort of a panic," he said, "It was really just people in disbelief and shock, especially in a such as safe and open country as Norway. You don't even think something like that is possible."

Safety is an illusion. For example, people can still get murdered in prison. Figuring out who did this (with a suspect in hand if he's the actual bomber and gunman) and how and why will be useful, but human nature does not change.

Ultimately, each individual is responsible for his or her own security. And as examples like this show, that is a frightening concept, but it is reality. What's even more scary is for a parent. A child is largely defenseless and must depend on others and a parent cannot be with them 24-7. This is the stuff of nightmares.

And this comment on a someone else explaining the ammunition needed, is telling: "and he never has to use his ammo to defend himself.. to spray an area to keep someone from shooting back, because there's nobody to shoot back" Yes no one to shoot back.

Storage laws, maximum ammunition counts, limits on the number of weapons in a given caliber and total weapons one can own, police inspections, transportation, and no civilian carry and only ownership if you hunt or belong to a sport club. Again, can bet odds on that changing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Useful Idiots and Fellow Travelers

How to build a narrative using said groups.

Glen Reynolds snarks: "Lefties Protest for higher food prices. Help
the working man!"

Though the object of protest are small botique style markets that depend on "Social Justice" and "Green Earth" types for a large portion of their buisness.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rival Power Centers

Glen Reynolds looks at two instances of those in power doing their best to keep it that way.

And as a bonus the Prof finally comes around to the idea of a "living constitution".

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Social Security:

"If it were privatized, your check wouldn’t be at the whim of a President with a politicized agenda."

Glenn Reynolds on how Obama is not only using Social Security as a naked threat to get his way political but has also exposed the lie of Social Security's "guaranteed benefits".

If SS really were "fully funded" then how could not raising the limit of US debt affect it?

We're left with two options
1: SS is not solvent and needs borrowed money to run.
2: The stopping of payment is a purely political move.

But don't worry Obama is handling the though choices and hard negotiations like a champ.

We are sooo boned.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Sure Obama promises "massive job killing tax increases" in 2013 and beyond

“So, when you hear folks saying ‘Well, the president shouldn’t want massive job killing tax increases when the economy is this weak.’ Nobody’s looking to raise taxes right now. We’re talking about potentially 2013 and the out years.” (emphasis added)

But that's not something the voters should worry their pretty little heads about.

On a related note, Obama's response to people being against raising the debt ceiling 69 to 24?
Well, let me distinguish between professional politicians and the public at large. The public is not paying close attention to the ins and outs of how a Treasury option goes. They shouldn’t. They're worrying about their family; they're worrying about their jobs; they're worrying about their neighborhood. They've got a lot of other things on their plate. We're paid to worry about it.

Shut up and pay your massive job killing tax increases serf.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

There is a difference....

Sure the two parties are really bad but...

Uh yeah.

And still this sketch is about right. The party of giant government, and the party of humongous government.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Blame Texas!

So Texas is set to execute a Mexican national who was not informed that he could contact the consulate as per international law.

Nautrally people are screaming bloody murder at the ignorant and savage Texas.

There's just one problem... SCOTUS already ruled that Texas' actions are legal. Congress never ratified the treaty in question, and SCOTUS actually takes the time to point this out, in a fairly sarcastic manner too.

This is because in prior ruling SCOTUS said this:

Though the Senate ratified the Vienna Convention in 1969, its consular notification requirement was often overlooked. Mexico, citing the cases of 51 foreign citizens then on death rows in the United States, complained to the International Court of Justice in 2004. That court found that the United States was bound by the treaty, and Mr. Bush asked the states to apply it.

But the U.S. Supreme Court subsequently ruled that the remedy established by the International Court of Justice, judicial review, would require congressional action.

And Congress did not take action.

But screaming at Congress and SCOTUS doesn't fit the Narrative.

And the narrative is that the President demanded Texas to stop and Texas refused!

Never mind that the President doesn't have that power, but it hasn't stopped him yet.

Ace starts getting sized for his Wookie Suit.

He starts talking about legalizing pot and how NRO and other Republicans are signaling if not agreement with legalization, apathy towards fighting it.

Why should you care what the hell I choose to do in my own home? And why are you so eager to use the coercive force of the state to dictate to me what I do? Including throwing me in jail for doing something that, if not perfectly harmless, is certainly of a lower level of harmfulness than many things?

The liberty argument is a strong one.

The counter-argument, and the one I have previously relied upon/acceded to, was that the state has such a powerful interest in protecting people from harming themselves that our Duty to Protect outweighs the case for liberty.

But I don't believe that any more. For one thing, I am becoming, little by little, and belatedly, very suspicious of any argument that assigns liberty a lower priority than another value. And I'm becoming, again belatedly, very very suspicious of the general claim that we can use the Coercive Power of the State to make people live better lives.

Emphasis in original.

Indeed. The idea that the power of the State should be used to make you "better" is just greasy.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Reasonable Restrictions.

Weer'd Beard looks at the insanity involved in San Francisco's new carry law. I guess since total bans are out they decided to make the process as unpalatable as possible.

Over 2 grand in fees, range qualification, training, psychological testing, a limit on calibers, makes and models, trigger pulls (but only for Glocks), no carry in chamber (but only for single action), retention holsters, mandatory $1 million insurance, testing is limited to a specific weapon, the permit is good for only one year, and they can deny you at any point in the process for any reason.

Reasonable! Way to make Massachusetts look fairly sane. Well no, Mass is still insane: see Weer'ds Update on that subject.

I kid there are many that would consider this too be far too unrestrictive, but that it'd be a good start.

And the person I cite also tries such winning arguments as this:

GET RID OF THE GUNS NOW, before it’s too late, before they get into your blood and under your skin, before you get addicted to that false sense of safety and security.
All caps in the original.

Talk about "weapon effect" and magical thinking.

And Rebecca's response to the "reasoned" plea. And then from Rebecca's partner. In short: "Molon labe".

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Can't say I find this shocking.

Here's an interesting study that Glen Reynolds found.

From the abstract:

A large survey of U.S. adults (N = 1540) found little support for this account. On the whole, the most scientifically literate and numerate subjects were slightly less likely, not more, to see climate change as a serious threat than the least scientifically literate and numerate ones. More importantly, greater scientific literacy and numeracy were associated with greater cultural polarization: Respondents predisposed by their values to dismiss climate change evidence became more dismissive, and those predisposed by their values to credit such evidence more concerned, as science literacy and numeracy increased.

So not only does more scientific knowledge correlates with being more skeptical of the Global Warming line, but in general more scientific knowledge correlates with increased polarization.

Though skeptics is warranted. Especially with the latest explanation for the lack of warming in the last decade... Chinese coal plants!

That's right, now coal can cool the earth, if it's go enough sulphur. Well, why am I reminded of the same eggheads that vacillated between eggs being good for you and being bad for you.

And it's not like billions and billions were spent and economies were restructured based on something that we don't have a basic understanding of the mechanisms... wait.

All the same global warming remains a threat to mankind. “Long term warming will continue unless emissions are reduced,” said Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring at Britain’s Met Office. Surely not the sulphur emissions. We need more of those. The addition of the sulphur term to the AGW model recalls the problems associated with maintaining a geocentric view of astronomy.


The model worked reasonably well. “In notes bound with his copy of the Alfonsine Tables, Copernicus commented that ‘Mars surpasses the numbers by more than two degrees. Saturn is surpassed by the numbers by one and a half degrees.’ … Copernicus and his contemporaries were therefore using Ptolemy’s methods and finding them trustworthy well over a thousand years after Ptolemy’s original work was published.”

It was not until later that the alternative heliocentric method was shown to produce better results on simpler assumptions than the Ptolemaic that it was replaced. Much of the resistance to changing the Ptolemaic model arose from social, rather than scientific reasons. Institutions were invested in the geocentric model. Schools, governments and the Church hierarchy, not to mentioned venerated authorities such as Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, had all believed the geocentric model to be true. Challenging that view meant the new theory would mean they were wrong; heliocentrism assumed the aspect of rebellion and could not simply be just another astronomical theory.

The huge social investment in AGW by the UN, activists groups and national bureaucrats, not to mention the vast sums of money predicated on “Green Energy” has created a similar effect. To suggest that AGW is in fact false, which would ordinarily be an ordinary part of the scientific method of inquiry, has been transformed into an act of blasphemy. Those who reject AGW are in fact called “climate deniers” whereas re-examining theories is supposed to be the staple of experimental science.  Yet despite its sacred status, AGW has so far proved far less impressive than the Ptolemaic system. If the AGW model could predict temperatures at anywhere near the accuracy of Ptolemy’s methods it would be hailed as scientific bedrock.

But as the NAS study showed, it cannot. It is principally good at getting things dead wrong.  Now the AGW proponents have no alternative but to salvage their system by adding more terms to the model. Not in order to improve its predictions, but to explain why the results were 180 degrees in the opposite direction. Yet the question must be asked: is the premise wrong to start with? Billions of dollars have been invested in the service of a theory which is looking less and less like “established science” and more and more like Wrong Way Corrigan.

Yeah... AGW can't predict beans, but don't you dare question it, because it's SCIENCE!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sack of Ammo

After Robb Allen linked to this comic.

I went in the archives and found this one.

I do like the visual of the expensive special ammo boxes versus the big old bags. You do find those bags at the gun shows on occasion.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

How... convenient.

Once again trouble aproaches the President and once again it turns out that all the limits on his power and checks and balances were merely ornamental.

Turns out that that debt ceiling is jus a suggestion.

It's nice how things keep breaking his way. Man all those other presidents in the last 50 years that had to have it raised every eight months were suckers.

And yet, if he did pull something like declaring the debt ceiling unconstitutional, he’d be seizing control of the country’s apocalyptic debt problem for the purpose of running up more debt. I doubt it would even accomplish what he wanted it to accomplish: If the goal here is to reassure creditors that the U.S. will never default on its obligations in order to avert a market panic and skyrocketing interest rates, how exactly would a power grab involving an utterly novel constitutional theory achieve that? Does a bitter court battle, with the legality of payments issued on Obama’s unilateral order hanging in the balance, sound like a smart way to put investors at ease?

Not only that but the debt ceiling itself was raised year after year, no matter the parties in Congress or the White House. And now that's too much of a hurdle?

Sure. That's real confidence inspiring.

"Dear creditors, ignore the increasingly questionable means we justify growing our debt. We'll pay it off, for realsies."

Friday, July 1, 2011

Smoked Pork Chops.

Here's a recipe that will make some dandy fully smoked pork chops.

Take a whole pork loin and trim the fast, then cut into thin (1/4 -3/8) butterfly chips.

Now make a brine. It should be 1 cup water to 1.5 tablespoons of salt.

Add cayenne pepper, cumin, fine ground white pepper, and fine ground green pepper to taste. If you want you can mix this up before putting in the brine, but you should definitely check before adding the pork

Then add a couple splashes of Lea and Perrins and about half a shot of Kentucky Bourbon. Mix with a whisk and place the meat in the solution such that it is fully submerged.

Let stand for 24 to 48 hours. Rotating the meat as seen fit. Then pull out of the brine and let drip dry in a colander.

Finally, they're ready to go on the smoker. Keep the applewood, hickory, or maple going in the first couple hours until the surface of the meat starts to "cure". After that you can let it run on less smoke.

Pull when meat is dry and can be pulled apart revealing internal fibers. Eat and enjoy.

Good Advice.

Jay G has some.

Funny, isn't it, that we celebrate our nation's independence with fireworks and such to commemorate the battles that helped gain her independence. Why not celebrate with the tools used to gain - and keep - her free?

Go to the range this Fourth of July and celebrate America's birthday!

I was planning to hit the range this weekend...

And speaking of fireworks, here's more from Jay.

So, why do so many feel emboldened to break the law? Well, for starters, it's just plain bad law. There's about a thousand things more dangerous for sale at any home improvement store; probably hundreds of which are explosive in their own right. Hell, you can go to any gas station, pump a gallon of gas, and grab a lighter for under $5 total - no permit needed, no license, nothing. Banning fireworks out of some inherent need to keep us safe from ourselves is bound to fail from the onset - we're incredibly capable of finding new and unique ways to injure ourselves.

And the local PD know this, and choose to only very selectively enforce the law. This is both good and bad. It shows some common sense, in that the kid who lights off a sparkler on the Fourth of July isn't going to wind up with a felony conviction for possession of illegal explosives. But at the same time, stupid laws that are not enforced should be repealed - the more dumb laws there are on the books that we don't enforce, the more we "need" more laws to save us from ourselves it seems.

Oy. There's also that giving the cops more and more laws that it's okay to "selectively enforce" gives them a lot more power. It turns everything into a "May Issue".

An older post of mine on Mass and banned fireworks.