Monday, October 31, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lunch and a Book

Today's errands took me to Broadripple and I stopped by Boogie Burger for lunch.

The place is a bit twee (I can only imagine what it was like at it's old location), but the food is quite, quite good. Worth the price (which is quite modest) and the wait (which was short).

Tam is right, the place was full and the burgers are that good.

If you want some burgers, fries, or shakes, that's the place.

While there I read some more of Larry Correia's Hard Magic. I wasn't too keen on Monster Hunter, mostly because I found the characters a bit flat and the villains motivations meh. There was also the tacked on romance that required some headbangingly questionable moves on the part of a woman who just had her soft-of-but-not-yet exboyfriend kidnapped.

However, Hard Magic has deeper characterization overall, and enough gun-porn and historical fanboy squee to make it quite fun to read.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Not Science.

When you have to constantly "recalibrate" your model to get it to predict existing behavior you're not doing science or even understanding the underlying mechanism of the phenomena you're tyring to model. No, you're simply engaging in the type of thinking that if you make the bamboo plane a little bit bigger it'll attract John Frum and his silver eagles.

Poor modeling, it's not just for Global Warming anymore.

The problem, of course, is that while these different versions of the model might all match the historical data, they would in general generate different predictions going forward--and sure enough, his calibrated model produced terrible predictions compared to the "reality" originally generated by the perfect model. Calibration--a standard procedure used by all modelers in all fields, including finance--had rendered a perfect model seriously flawed. Though taken aback, he continued his study, and found that having even tiny flaws in the model or the historical data made the situation far worse. "As far as I can tell, you'd have exactly the same situation with any model that has to be calibrated," says Carter.

That financial models are plagued by calibration problems is no surprise to Wilmott--he notes that it has become routine for modelers in finance to simply keep recalibrating their models over and over again as the models continue to turn out bad predictions. "When you have to keep recalibrating a model, something is wrong with it," he says. "If you had to readjust the constant in Newton's law of gravity every time you got out of bed in the morning in order for it to agree with your scale, it wouldn't be much of a law But in finance they just keep on recalibrating and pretending that the models work."

And why yes, these are the exact same models that the political class uses to justify how they can run all the businesses in a country better than those that actually own and work in said companies.

Well, they use these models when they're not guided by their keen sense of social justice.

Via the Instapundit.

Update: Oh and also from Prof. Reynolds is this little article. For liberals, income inequality is the new global warming.

Well, Science says we have to do what our political masters tell us to.

We're protesting how the wealthy hurt the downtrodden... but first we'll kick these mooching hobos outta the camp.

Via Weer'd, DaddyBear has a great rant on the lack of perspective many have:

My point is that I'm tired of hearing people whine. If I had the power, I'd take each and every one of these class-baiting twits to the real world and let them see what poverty really looks like. I'd show them people who come from huts made out of garbage who are working their tails off to get out of that hut. I'd show them women who have to carry weapons every day, not so they don't have their purse stolen, but so that they're not kidnapped and raped. I'd show them graveyards full of the people who tried to make things better, but were rewarded with a bullet in the head for their trouble.

Then I'd show them the poorest of the poor here in America, a place that gives away free food, shelter, clothing, education, medical help, and just about anything else a person needs in order to not only stay alive, but to thrive and become a producing member of society if they would only care enough to do it.

Then, I would dare them to try to say that even the 'poor' in America aren't doing pretty good. I'd dare them to show me the thousands of children who are dieing of diseases that can be cured with a dollar's worth of medicine. I'd dare them to show me the millions of children who aren't going to school because they have to work as hard as an adult to stay alive. I'd dare them to show me the graves of the people who die from mal-nourishment in America.

Then I'd laugh in their face as they try to come up with examples, because there aren't any. Generations of Americans have bled into our soil so that these problems stayed away, and we continue to do so now.

If we don't wake up, we are going to lose the ethics of hard work, self-reliance, and ingenuity that have been all that has kept us from sliding back into the morasse that our fore-fathers sailed across oceans to get away from. Our ancestors didn't come over in steerage or worse so that their grandchildren could demand that others take care of them, and they would be ashamed if they saw how this movement is acting.

Read the rest.

This fits with Ace's post talking about how the "99%ers" and "Occupiers" are dealing with the less fortunate right here in America.

Here's the opener:
The Occupy Wall Street volunteer kitchen staff launched a “counter” revolution yesterday -- because they’re angry about working 18-hour days to provide food for “professional homeless” people and ex-cons masquerading as protesters.

Yeah, what right do the homeless and prisoners have to represent themselves as society's downtrodden. Impostors! They're not oppressed like the college graduates with too much debt from pricey private colleges!


Amazing... they don't want to share their own stuff with people they don't have any particular common bonds with. And they're resentful of Other people coming in and acting like they have the right to take their stuff.

Hilariously, they're also getting angry that these "derelicts" are trespassing on their encampments. My, more property rights? Well they've also started setting up their own security and police. It's like a little hothouse primative society. Emphasis on hothouse, because it only exists due to the warm bubble being provided by external forces.

So there you go, they scream and demand that someone else pay for their mistakes and pay to keep them in a lifestyle they think they deserve, but when someone from the "outside" comes to take what they've got?

Such generous and open-minded people. No wonder they feel that charity is only moral if it's forced at gunpoint.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Real Progress (26%)

Twenty years makes a big difference. Record low, just 26% favor a ban of handguns in the US. Overall support for Gun Control is down... everywhere and in every segment of the population.

If you think that’s dramatic, take a look at what happened to the demographics on this question. Guess which demos saw the biggest drop in support for stricter gun-control laws? If you guessed the Midwest, well, score a point for you; support in the heartland dropped 35 points, from 72% in 1991 to 37%. Midwesterners used to be the second-most supportive of gun control by region but now are the most opposed, even beating the South at 40%. Aaaaaaaand if you guessed Republicans, score another point. Two-thirds of Republicans in 1991 wanted more gun control, but it’s down to 31% today. Independents dropped nearly as much, from 65% to 38%.

In fact, only four demographics show a majority still favoring gun control: women (50%, down 26 points), the East (54%, down 23 points), those with no guns in the household (57%, down 21 points), and … Democrats, down just 10 points to 64%. That may not seem like much, but that’s still slightly lower than Republicans in 1991

This dovetails with the increasing number of Shall Issue and Constitutional Carry States.

Plus a bonus video at the end that is equal parts hilarious and cautionary.

The overall trend from 1959 is also very encouraging, but care has to be taken. Nothing is irreversible. Heaven forbid that this is all undone in the next twenty years.

That being said, we are winning, and we are winning by pushing back ignorance and because the truth and natural rights are on our side. More and more people are exposed to handguns to "evil black rifles" to people lawfully carrying sidearms.

And against this the Anti's become more shrill and idiotic and dated.

That's not to say that there haven't been setbacks or there isn't a lot of work to go.

For example, Weer'd talks about a proposed National CCW reciprocity bill and shows just how corrupt and illogical May issue is.

But as a Massachusetts resident I’ve seen what HR 822 will do first hand. First give a quick skim of this list, when I first moved here I lived in Medford Massachusetts where they do not issue carry permits to anybody who isn’t politically connected. Period, full stop. Unless you can hurt the chief of police politically, your rights don’t exist.

Now fast forward to today, I live in one of them “Green” towns where the permits are “Shall Issue” (BTW this is how “May Issue” states work anyway. Its not like my character changed, simply the town will issue you a permit, or it won’t there is no “Discretion” involved), Now I can carry EVERYWHERE in the state. I can, and regularly DO carry in Boston, I carry in Cambridge, I carry in my old neighborhood of Medford. You see while the permits are issued by the town police, the permit is a STATE document. Meaning if its good in my town, its good in every Massachusetts town.

Lovely ain't it?

"Remember when tea party rally were shut down by force because of sanitation issues? Good times, good times."

Ace of Spades looks back.

And remember when the Teabaggers threw paint at the cops at got teargassed and shot with rubber bullets. Those were the days.

And speaking of insane claims... Jay G tears into Elizabeth Warren

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Because policemen are just too damn heavy...

Title from this list.

So the Vice President goes off on people that don't want to have the Feds bail out the states for a couple years, yet again.

What I find intersting here is not so much that Biden is using the threat of rape and death to justify more education spending (he talks alot about police in a bill that is an 86% teacher's union sop), but that he thinks that if you call the police the goblins and rapists will obliginly wait until the fuzz arrive.

“Well let me tell you, it’s not temporary when that 911 call comes in and a woman’s being raped if a cop shows up in time to prevent the rape,” he continued. “It’s not temporary to that woman.

“It’s not temporary to the guy whose store is being held up and a gun is being pointed to his head,” he continued, “if a cop shows up and he’s not killed, that’s not temporary to that store owner.

That right, there's the only-ones collectivist attitude. The citizen shouldn't defend herself, no she should call the police and quietly wait for them to arrive... provided she's paid enough.

Ahhh, extortion. And like any protection racket, the police are under no obligation to acutally -you know- protect you.

Course the idea that the "Police will always get there in time to save you" is a fallacy so absurd that even university officials are admitting it. Not that that is enough for them to advocate effective self-defense tools.

And here's another example of the "Call the Authorities" crowd. Nicholas Kristof of The NY Times must think he's pretty clever for declaring that without Obama's new education bill there won't be enough police to protect John Bohner from rampaging tigers. Yes, really. Reminds me of the Bear Patrol from that old Simpsons episode.

Oh, and the added bonus of refusing an increase (nearly 9/10 of wich doesn't go to police) being magically transformed into "cutbacks".

Speaking of all that "education" money. What does it do? Well...

Public-school staff hires have significantly outpaced student enrollment in recent decades. Since 1970, public-school staffs have increased by 83 percent. Over the same time period, student enrollment rose just 7 percent.

Meanwhile, the teacher “share” of staff positions has declined dramatically. In 1950, teachers constituted more than 70 percent of school staff. By 2006, that figure had declined to just 51 percent. Fifty years ago, there were 2.36 teachers for every non-teacher on the employment rolls of public school districts; today, the ratio is closer to one-to-one.

Clearly, it's all for the children, and if you don't agree then you're on the side of the convenience-store-robbing, rape-tigers.

Another Kimber review.

Here's a review on a Pro Carry II and the problems it had on the range. At least it was a fairly simple (and also familiar) fix.

Very disappointing, but not surprising. My Pro Carry II did not have that problem but my TLE II did. If you have a 1911 and have failure to extract and stove-piping and the like issues, try a new extractor first.

Once I did that and swapped in some other parts my 1911's have worked great with excellent reliability. However... it took a bit of futzing. But since I got them at a very good price used I feel okay on the financial side.

However, I don't think it's worth buying a Kimber new.

Bill Nye forgets that other people can do science too.

So Bill Nye is on AlGore's special TV channel hawking the latest batch of snake oil. He has a smooth and so very pretty "experiment" that proves C02 gets hotter under sunlight than air.

There's just one problem... the thermometers shown are not actually in the jars and are digitally manipulated from the same source image. Oppsie! What's a little falsified data when there's a message to get out?

But worse, he makes a the mistake of saying this: "You can replicate this effect yourself in a simple lab experiment, here’s how."

Don't say that 'cause someone will take up your challenge.

I think that shows "Climate Change" in a nutshell. Glitzy, fear-mongering media productions masquerading as science that fall apart whenever someone tries to replicate their claims experimentally.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Property is theft man.... Hey put that Ipad down! It's mine!

Ahhh... reality cannot be denied. So a group of wide-eyed, rabble-rousing, anacrho-progressive-statist-whatevers are preaching about the evils of corporations and hoarding wealth.

Naturally, they bring with them lots of fancy electronic gadgets and donated food and money and engage in a bunch of communal sharing and lounging and revolutionary roleplay.

Those of you with an iota of understanding of human nature know what such a group will attract.

Thieves and conmen. It's actually become a major problem as the people who can spend all day protesting wealth inequality have expensive luxury items stolen from them.

Who’d have thought that a crowd of people demanding the seizure of wealth from banks, corporations, and the wealthy might also have a few thieves? I’m shocked, shocked to find theft occurring in a group that has hijacked private property it refuses to leave. I can’t imagine that a crowd that demands free higher education and the forgiveness of tens of thousands in student debt would also think of someone’s Mac or an iPhone as equally as communal as a college education.

The schadenfreude and irony continues

Morally, to the extent that the occupiers are unified at all they’re advocating what amounts to theft, and the smartest and sneakiest thief is the one in the White House who keeps stealing from future generations of Americans. So it’s hilarious that they’re now plagued with thieves in their own camp now, and they’re crying about it. If they were all true and good communitarians, then that pricey Mac belongs to everyone, no?

It's thieving turtles all the way down.

Or smaller lice on the backs of lice

Monday, October 17, 2011

Glock "Quality"

Oh man... Weer'd found a video of "robot actors" talking about the Glock Gen 4.

There's a lot of inside baseball stuff but if you're familiar with Glocks it's hilarious.

No, we're going to call it a "break in period".
We got the idea from Kimber.

That bit had me rolling.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

AR45 and 1911 quick thoughts

Gone through 250 rounds in my AR45 and have had one weak primer hit and 2 failures to feed that were magazine related (repeatable with those 2 mags not with others). And after every session the bolt rotates freely and the bolt carrier still moves very smoothly.

It looks like, as silly as it sounds, Automatic Transmission Fluid and high-temp bearing grease do work well enough. They last longer in the action without smoking unlike other lubricants.

Tried a flat trigger for my 1911 fullsize. Rather like it. Gives a better engagement and feels like a more even pull. If you have larger fingers you may want to try it.

A word of caution, since the trigger has less "meat" by being flat instead of concave you will want to check your holster to ensure that it covers the new trigger.

Also after a year I can say I really enjoy wood grips over rubber. To me, wood (or really any other stiff material) is nicer because it doesn't give, which means you don't need to use an overly strong grip to -well- grip.

As for checked grip versus smooth grips, I like smooth only if you have fore-grip checkering on the front of the frame. But that's a very personal thing. Just remember that the less checkering the more the weapon can slide.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How deliciousy Lovecraftian.

So a scientist discovers a collection of bones that have been arranged in spiraled loops and whorls.

By examining the age and wear on the bones he concludes that they did not fall at once, but were instead deposited over time.

He hypothesizes that they were deliberately placed, perhaps even a stylized self-portrait.

The kicker? They're the fossilized vertebrae of Triassic ichthyosaura. And the scientist thinks they were placed by a giant prehistoric octopus.

Granted cephalopods are very intelligent and in modern giant squid can take on sperm-whales, but... really?

However, truly ancient old art created by a species giant tentacled beings that ruled the earth long, long before man what's not to like?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

But other than that it's a great investment.

A bit on the higher education racket.

Before you spend tens of thousands of dollars, or get loans to do the same... make sure it's actually worth the time and money.

Via Glenn Reynolds who also notes this:

Just look at all those unemployed and heavily-indebted #Occupy protesters. I didn’t notice any Petroleum Engineering graduates among them.
After decades of selling college as an “investment” — and pricing it accordingly — it’s going to be hard for the higher education establishment to pivot to a college-as-personal-fulfillment argument. If it’s the latter, it’s a consumption good, priced on a par with a Porsche or Ferrari. Those shouldn’t be financed by debt, or bought by 18-year-olds.

But that's what the Occupiers want. Luxury goods paid by someone else. Why? Because they want it.

At least they're peaceful sponges.

Oh wait, no one of their leaders said this in a speech in LA: "Ultimately the Bourgeoisie Will Not Go Without Violence. Long live revolution! Long Live Socialism!"

At least he wasn't a Tea Partier.

Zombie has a transcript and video and notes:

Every single day, more videos emerge from the Occupy movement showing people saying things that, if they had been said by a Tea Partier, would have been front-page news for weeks and discredited the movement forever. But since it’s the Occupy Wall Street movement, darlings of the media and Democratic politicians, they get a pass.

Darling of the media? Surely, that's an exaggeration.

Well, no.

Competence is not always a net positive.

One advantage of letting an idea percolate is that someone else might write up a similar post first, and do it more concisely.

Here's Weer'd's views on Mitt Romney. If he gets the nomination the election will be between Obama and a more-competent, more-popular, more-bipartisan enabling Obama-lite (who got his own tax hikes, AWB, and individual mandate). Yay....

Sure, the nation won't be run by a bunch of uncountable bong-soaked grad-students. No, we'd get someone who will be far more competent and perhaps slightly less damaging. Weer'd has more to say, having actually lived under Mitt's governorship.

At least in the national election we'd still have the option of voting Wookie.

Here in Indy the mayoral election doesn't even have that option.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Rubes rarely blame the person that ripped them off.

Ace of Spades looks at the "occupiers" and realizes there's something many have common

One very common thing here: They are all white and mostly college-educated. Some have multiple degrees. However, they mostly chose the degrees you're not supposed to choose unless you are some kind of standout or come from a rich family -- psychology and the other degrees that don't immediately scream out "Job prospects!"

Why did they do that?

Who knows. But they ignored advice to think practically about their future earning power and now find themselves lacking earning power.

So what they want is for the government (that is, you) to step in and make them whole, immunizing them against their own choices, giving them the earning power they believe is due them.

I don't see one goddamned accounting or engineering degree in the tales of woe.

And note that instead of protesting and complaining to the people that sold them this bill of goods, they run off and blame people not willing to buy the lousy product they're selling.

(Here's a hint prospective job seekers, it's not about what you want. And it really is about selling out to the man you have to convince someone else to buy your time and effort. Good luck making that sale. Seriously, good luck. It's hard out there, don't make it harder by being a twit.)

Glenn Reynolds has related thoughts.

And this is mostly an advertisement for the bursting of the higher education bubble. “Did greedy capitalists convince these hapless kids to spend a king’s ransom for a BA in World Politics? Did Exxon Mobil make them sign a contract to borrow $110K in exchange of a Masters in Global Social and Sustainable Enterprises? Did Bank of America trick the kids into borrowing more money than their useless degree is likely to generate in net worth in a lifetime?”

Once again, Republicans should be piling on the higher-ed bubble / student loan issue. Make fun of these people all you want — no, really, make fun of these people all you want — but underlying this are practices that in any other industry would be universally denounced as predatory.

That's also another difference. Exxon Mobil cannot make you buy their product of sign a contract with them. Only the State has that type of compulsory power.

Speaking of the term "occupation"
A quick Tuesday morning thought experiment: Can you imagine the paranoia and faux horror that would ensue were a right-wing protest movement to couch a sit-in in such historically insensitive and martial language as “occupation”?

Yes, the "Imagine if the Right..." card gets a lot of play, but that's because the double standards are so stark, and show how Institutionalized the idea of different rules for different ideologies is.

And, of course, the most galling part is that the people pushing the Left line and these double standards maintain the facade of their own neutrality and impartiality. It's a naked doublethink.

At least I didn't go for the "occupation for those that don't have an occupation" pun.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Remeber when they said the Tea Party were ignorant, violent savages?

So, we have brave and noble protests assaulting guard as they storm the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum.

Why? Well:

Some of the protesters were affiliated with the Occupy DC demonstration that had sprung up at McPherson Square last week as an offshoot of the larger Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City, said Cody Steele, 21, an American University senior who participated in the march to the museum.

Steele said the march was planned, however, by a different but like-minded group of protesters — known as the October 2011 group — who have been camped out in Freedom Plaza since Oct. 6.

“It’s a shifting movement,” said Steele, who has spent time with both protest groups this past week. “They are separate, but it’s a common set of goals.”

The two groups’ grievances span a range of issues, including corporate power, environmental destruction and American militarism. On Saturday, they were demonstrating at the museum against the U.S. military’s use of drones in overseas wars, witnesses said.

An exhibit of military unmanned aerial vehicles is currently on view at the museum.

I hear next week they're going to occupy the Library of Congress because it contains several books lauding and describing military actions.

Look, I can get being angry at US military actions, but maybe instead of attacking museums you go and protest, oh-I-don't-know, the Commander in Chief.

Because nothing says I'm a serious, intelligent person with ideas like merit than violently trying to storm a national museum.

Well, almost nothing.

Hey, at least they're not being called Racist by the Mass Media.

Via Hellinahandbasket.

Like a bitter cartoonist reciting faux-edgy talking points.

Scenes from a Multiverse is a webcomic that frames its jokes from a variety of science fiction tropes and locals.

And today they had this little gem.

Pretty funny, it's about the absurdness of self-denial. Though monastic life (Eastern and Western) is built on those very ideas. The bit comes on the mouseover alt-text of the comic.

hruthangians love their hair like tea partiers love their racism

Haha. Odd that Herman Cain has rather short hair, no?

My point's less on the banal attempt to say something offensive (or worse the cartoonist actually believes this pap. Because the Right so loved Clinton and Carter).

But I was reminded of the comic when Glend Reynolds quipped this today:

I’m sure this is because of Racism, Somehow: New Poll Shows Obama Losing to Herman Cain.

And speaking of Tea Party evils. Well, just go here and here and here.

And Richard Fernandez has some thoughts about the homogeneity of crowds and the problems of "useful idiots"

One of the creepiest things about the Occupy Atlanta video is the manner in which the crowd appears to act as a single organism, repeating word for word, like students in an elementary school literacy class, the sentences intoned by men holding the megaphones. The participants appear to think this behavior is not only entirely natural, but laudable. One wonders whether any of them are aware how much this resembles the eerie scream of the Pod People as shown in the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and if they were aware, whether they had any residual consciousness outside the group to worry about it.

He also touches on the idea that there are people who do not want liberty, people who want "security" and the freedom from responsibility and decisions.

Though the problem is not those people per say, but those that want others to fall into the same morass.

But hey, what's wrong with mindlessly repeating the idea that being critical of Dear Leader is racist. Well, maybe these guys won't end up like the Red Guards.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What has JayG got in his pockets?

Why the First and Second Amendments, of course.

Though now I'm struck with Bilbo's "riddle" and Gollum's anger at it.

"Not fair! It isn’t fair, my precious, is it, to ask us what it’s got in its nassty little pocketses?"

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Winning up the Slippery Slope.

I had posted on the percentage of the population that lives in Shall Issue or Constitutional Carry states.

No Lawyers - Only Guns and Money reader Rob Vance did even better.

He's got a graph of it over time from 1985 to the present. The conclusions are great too.

Here's a taste:

1) In the early 1980s 90% of Americans lived in states that actively suppressed self-defense rights by severely limiting concealed carry of firearms by citizens.

2) By 2010, 2/3’s of Americans lived in states where law abiding citizens could conceal carry if they met minimal standards, and in some states (4 by 2011) needed NO state permission at all to concealed carry. A total of 41 states are now shall-issue or have unrestricted concealed carry status.

3) Few states moved from no issue to may issue. Rather when states made policy changes, they made the jump from no-issue to shall-issue all at once (again, with a couple of exceptions).

Friday, October 7, 2011

Ann Althouse's Magical Thinking.

Law Prof (remember that) Ann Althouse frets about guns in the Wisconsin State Capitol. Specifically, the legalization of carry by the common citizen.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is okay with guns in the Capitol and other state buildings.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. How does that square with the image — seared in our brains — of thousands of protesters cramming into the rotunda and winding themselves up into a frenzy of indignation?

My, you could just replace a couple words and you'd have this.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is okay with guns in public streets

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. How does that square with the image — seared in our brains — of thousands of protesters cramming into streets and winding themselves up into a frenzy of indignation?

Hmm, sounds a lot like the concerns the anti's have against CCW. Blood in the Streets! Shootouts over parking spaces! Those evil guns whispering into people's ears.

And, of course, the "magical thinking" that there is something inherently corrupting about a gun that warps's people's minds. We've seen this before.

So why is Althouse only complaining about this location and not that Wisconsinites can legally carry concealed to protests that aren't in governmental buildings?

Why it's like she thinks there's something special, something magical about that location?

Well... she does.

These days, there's nothing to stop a person with criminal intent from going in with a gun, so Van Hollen is implying that it's in fact a safeguard for ordinary citizens to have guns too. He doesn't come out and say that though. Having seen the effect of the rotunda on the human mind, I worry about ordinary citizens in the Capitol with guns.

Emphasis added. Got that? Althouse explicitly states that a specific location will have a detrimental "effect" on the mind of the law-abiding ordinary citizen and put them at greater risk of... what going on a shooting spree? Again, her worry is solely on the law-abiding because she admits that "there's nothing to stop a person with criminal intent".

Yes, there were heated protests in the rotunda, but there was also heated protests on the street. What's the difference?

Ah yes, the rotunda's magic. Well then. Remember, she's a law professor, and her argument here is based on " the effect of the rotunda on the human mind".

At least she's not alone about thinking that certain locations just cause bad juju.

Sigivald asks: "Are Capitol security/police immune to the Magical Effect Of The Rotunda?"

I'm sure they have special metal liners for their hats that keep the voices of their guns and the rotunda out of their brains.

And for added deliciousness, the while Capitol environment gets ordinary citizens too hot and bothered to handle their guns, it's just peachy for politicians to legislate inside building.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Extremism but in Moderation.

An old Clip of John Cleese decrying Extremism has been floating around. Basically he talks about how the far right and far left have become more brands for which enemies you want to decry and working against moderation and compromise.

Funny stuff... but a bit of context. Here's the full video, where we find out that it's from 1987 and he's doing a long form advert for the SDP/Liberal Alliance. And right there he's outright and open with how he wants his party (a fusion of Britain's social democrats and social liberals) to be the kingmakers between the other two parties (the Far Left Tories, who are part of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, and Center-Left Conservatives ). They would then later become the Liberal Democrats known as the Green Left.

Anyway, my point is not how crazy British politics are, but instead to look at the notion of extremism being bad. Via Glenn Reynolds we have this bit by A. Batron Hinkle. He talks about how politics is dehumanizing the other and compromise is dead. About how the media is stoking the fires of antagonism, by making it an us versus them binary choice. And then we get to the end...

Many in the media are glad to help them do it, by serving up an endless train of alarmist articles about how one side or the other is chock-full of bug-eyed nut jobs pushing hidden agendas and radical ideas: Christian "dominionism" (Rick Perry), anti-colonialist Alinskyite subversion (Barack Obama), Straussian neoconservatism (George W. Bush).

Of course, it might be true that in some instances, a candidate really is the "most extreme ever" along some axis or another. But does this tell us anything important? Not so much.

Suppose that, in 1955, a Southern political candidate had declared segregation obscene, laws against ethnic intermarriage odious and the notion of racial supremacy grotesque. Suppose he organized bus boycotts and lunch-counter sit-ins and marches for civil rights. Suppose he promised to overturn Jim Crow as soon as he took office. If any candidate had done that, he would have been widely denounced as the "most extreme" you-know-what-lover ever.

He also would have been right.

Huh... recall that John Cleese was talking about the need for compromise and moderation?

Yes on a strategic realpoltic level one can compromise even if you know it's wrong. See 3/5 representation, but that doesn't make it right. Just because there are two opinions does not make the middle the moral one.

Anymore than it makes one of the two extremes wrong.

Let's look at woman's suffrage. That was very extreme. Very radical. In fact in some places it is still an extreme and fringe position.

Durring, Cleese's advert he also makes a joke about homophobia on the part of a political party. Homophobia was mainstream in Britain. Alan Turing was bough up on charges for being homosexual and convinced for indecency.

This goes right to the crux of social, political, economic, hell any kind of reform. It was pretty extreme to advocate for Proportional Representation in Britain at the time, but Cleese did it. Was that bad? Why not?

Well, Cleese makes the case that PR is near universal on Continental (Western) Europe and therefore not extreme. That brings us to the question of how do we define what's an Extreme view? Do we cast the net to our country? Continent? Bigger? Smaller?

If we go by the whole world: representative government is the extreme position.

And what about time? Hinkle shows how what was once an extreme view in race relations is now the mainstream (and morally right one).

It would seem that those decrying extremism have a distinct geographic and temporal bias.

Sure X may be mainstream over there but they're just stupid foreigners. Or we have to do X it's all the rage in all those exotic foreign countries, we can't be left out.


Yes yes, people would never do X back in the day, but we're so much more enlightened now it would be extreme to not do X... And in the future people will look back on us and think we're monsters for thinking Y is okay.

It's almost Extremist is short hand for "Person with a view I don't like and want to shut up."

That's not to say that an extreme viewpoint means it has to be the right one.
Nor does it mean that a moderate viewpoint is automatically wrong.

Extreme/Moderate, Right/Wrong are orthogonal.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Speaking at the Pleasure of the State.

A bit back Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell had a fun bit of satire: What other Rights Work Like this?

Where he talks about treating the First Amendment as if it were the Second with a few key edits:
Many states already have agreements to recognize newspaper licenses from other jurisdictions. Virginia, for example, honors licenses from 27 other states that have similarly robust standards; Maryland, which strictly regulates what newspapers may be sold, and the District, which essentially prohibits it, do not recognize out-of-state licenses. These are legitimate choices that would be overridden by a federal legislature that too easily bends to the will of the news lobby. Nevada, a strong press-rights state, rescinded its agreement with Utah because Utah does not require training in acceptable viewpoints. Why should Congress to overrule that judgment?

And shortly afterwards (and today) Muggeridge's Law reared it's head proving that reality can always beat satire.

First from England we find that the "UK Labour Party wants journalism licenses, will prohibit “journalism” by people who are “struck off” the register of licensed journalists.

And if that's not enough, today NY State Democratic Senators are dreaming of this:


It's for The Children, don'cha know. Nice to see that the threat of "cyberbullying" is sufficient to eviscerate refine that silly old Freedom of Speech.

What can you expect from places where self defense is outright denied to anyone not wealthy, famous, or government.

And speaking of New York and pushing aside those silly old rights we have Nanny Bloomberg himself.

There are powers only governments can exercise, policies only governments can mandate and enforce and results only governments can achieve. To halt the worldwide epidemic of non-communicable diseases, governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option. That is ultimately government’s highest duty.

Guess what he's talking about. There's some clues.

He's talking about "healthy eating". Yes, personal diet falls under the umbrella of "powers only governments can exercise, policies only governments can mandate and enforce and results only governments can achieve."

There is literally no aspect of a person's life that these slimy meddling bastards would not want to control. There's a reason totalitarianism is called what it is.

For you next assignment muse over the meaning of the phrase "Police State".

And you'll note that these are all lefties. That's mostly due to the media. Both sides have their Totalitarian urges (though it's more explicit on the Left). However, if anyone on the Right said stuff like this (or canceling elections!) the media would pounce on them.

Just take this example Jay G talks about racist associations.

Or this little story about an oddly quiet story that killed infinitly more people than Watergate (numbers are fun!).

And another set of excuses.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Product Review: Surefire Ear Pro

If you need some ear protection I'd recommend against the Sonic Defenders by Surefire Ear Pro. They're plug in the ear ear protection that... well... doesn't stay in the ear.

These little buggers had the standard three ridges that went into the ear canal, but backign them were plastic sections that would sit in the outer ear. But the things could not hold and would work themselves out.

Even when they stayed in, they gave extremely sub-par protection. After less than 5 rounds I had given up on keeping them in. And on the walk back to the bench one fell right out, and I couldn't find it.

So, that's a clear sign right there.

And that's another lesson, always bring spare stuff in your range bag.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Ah, productive day.

Got food. Tested out my various 45's (good news the 1911's and PM45 work just peachy. The AR45 still has a bolt dry out issue after a 100 rounds). Then set the grill and vacuumed.

And then came the nice part of relaxing on a fall evening n the patio while the burgers cook (using my brine trick), out with a good dog and a fine cigar.

It is important to sit back and enjoy things.

And now to see if the burgers are done.