Thursday, December 13, 2007

They have a word for stuff like this:

Newspaper photo coincidence leads to robbery suspect. (with photos/KTVB/Idaho)

Yep. A coincidence.

A really beautiful coincidence.

It's a wonderful world.

Why All the Fuss?

The Mitchell Report (on steroids in pro baseball).

Wouldn't it just be easier, more honest, and waaaaaaaay more entertaining to run Stock, Fuel and Modified? And "Funny"?

Madness Redux

H/T to Billy Beck who points to an illustration of why the madness I describe below exists...

Anyways, here's the link to a NY Times article that states that tax cuts are crippling the economy.

From the article:
From 2002 to 2011, forgone revenue from the cuts will account for 37 percent of the federal budget’s descent into the red... (emphasis mine)
"Forgone revenue" will do you well to understand and know that the only way such a term makes sense is if you start with the assumption that the State owns all the money in the first place. That makes "foregone revenue" the money the State could have taken (should have taken from the point of view of the editorial) but didn't grab yet.

But there's a big difference between a dollar lost and a dollar not taken. If you have a dollar and the State takes it, you've lost a dollar.

But, if you have a dollar and the State doesn't take it, the State hasn't lost a dollar in any way shape or form--unless (like the twit who wrote that article) they assume the money was *all* theirs in the first place.

The twit who wrote that article might have chosen to be honest enough to simply say that the government didn't steal enough to pay for a 37% shortfall between revenue and spending (in other words: the State spent money they didn't actually have), but that would be saying something that could be interpreted as "the government spent too much"--and no Statist/interventionist is gonna trot that out when it's spending they want or wanted.

Question to supporters of the Meddler State: this kinda math doesn't make sense in your home? What in hell makes you think it works on a bigger scale?

Monday, December 03, 2007


Powerful Bay Area Lawyers Represent Immigrants For Free
the lawyers [will] vigorously defend the constitutional rights of all people, including undocumented immigrants
Actions like this could get me to tell a few less lawyer jokes because these American lawyers are correct in what they are trying to do, which is: ensure that the government recognizes that (from my own blog on Sunday, November 11, 2007):
Rights are not something governments give you. They are things you have because you are human, period. Now, governments can recognize your rights, or try to suppress them, but that is all.
In other words: rights are not the same thing as mere legal permissions. Confusion over (or simple failure to recognize) the distinction causes all sorts of sloppy thinking, and no end of human injustice and tragedy.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Spokane schools skip Christmas...

OK. Not exactly. It's just that the Spokane Public Schools newsletter for December omitted Christmas while Hanukkah, winter break, Human Rights Day, the Islamic holy day Eid al-Adha, the first day of winter and Kwanzaa all made the list.

Well, the folks who put the calendar together might have been inept, thoughtless, or trying to make some sort of point. Which is it?
"It was absolutely an error of omission," district spokeswoman Terren Roloff said. "In our efforts to be inclusive, we missed the obvious."
All three, evidently.

Uh, shouldn't that be spokesperson...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Jeff Beck w/Tal Wilkenfeld...


'Cause We've Ended as Lovers

Big Block

Y' don't see communication like this every day.

The first tune had me in tears. The second had me grinning from ear to ear. It's almost like a chick flick for musicians. Perfect.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Double Standard Deluxe...

Judges decide father has no rights over child, who is now in foster care, because "he was only a one-night stand".

Ah, well...then I'm certain the converse is now true: that "fathers" from one-night stands also now no longer have any responsibility.

Yeah, right.

Immigration laws...

Illegal Immigrant Rescues Boy in Desert

Why would I not want this man as a neighbour?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Yeah, yeah, forgiveness... whatever...

Headline (CP): Top Roman Catholic's appeal for forgiveness dismissed by church critics

Y'know...I could be a lot more forgiving, I suppose, if I thought for one minute that the Church (and not just this one) recognized and understood that the mere existence of the mistakes totally trashes any claim the church has--or ever has had--for obedience.

That's what I want to hear.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Words mean things.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- As Congress debates new rules for government eavesdropping, a top intelligence official says it is time that people in the United States change their definition of privacy. Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information.
Privacy doesn't mean "anonymity", Kerr, you meddling, paternalistic, arrogant fuckwit. It means: "none of your fucking business." I don't want the State to safeguard my private stuff, you dolt. I want the State to leave my private stuff the fuck alone. My private stuff is *mine*.

Is that clear enough?

Yeah, yeah...I'm sure you mean well...uh huh.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Credit where credit is due...

A liberal/leftist comes to his senses regarding gun control (except not that we have a 2nd amendment in Canada; we're not near that brave or that principled).
Considering the Framers and their own traditions of hunting and self-defense, it is clear that they would have viewed such ownership as an individual right — consistent with the plain meaning of the amendment.

None of this is easy for someone raised to believe that the Second Amendment was the dividing line between the enlightenment and the dark ages of American culture. Yet, it is time to honestly reconsider this amendment and admit that ... here's the really hard part ... the NRA may have been right. This does not mean that Charlton Heston is the new Rosa Parks or that no restrictions can be placed on gun ownership. But it does appear that gun ownership was made a protected right by the Framers and, while we might not celebrate it, it is time that we recognize it.
Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY's board of contributors.

My comment for Canadians:

Rights are not something governments give you. They are things you have because you are human, period. Now, governments can recognize your rights, or try to suppress them, but that is all. In other words, you already have the right to individual gun ownership; the fight is just over the legal permission to exercise that right.

Do what's right.

Permission is for children.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Section 899a of...

...H.R. 1955: Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 passed today.

It includes this gem (Section 899a--Part III):
(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives. (emphasis mine)

Does that mean the tax guys and drug police have to stop threatening citizens with jail and such?

One could only hope.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Back in the 1950s, my folks had a 1954 recording of two Jackie Gleason (well, I'd call 'em...) "musical monologues":

What is a Boy
What is a Girl

Both recordings are scrathy as heck...just the way it is, sorry. ;-)

Here's a look at one version's record cover:

There's a lesson in this...

...a few actually.

Boozers Fight Off Armed Gang (The Sun, UK)
Thirty drinkers [at a British pub] waded in after five masked thugs tried to rob them at gunpoint and demanded cash from the tills...."People were picking up ashtrays, pint glasses, chairs and even champagne bottles and just throwing them straight at these idiots."

And they kept up the onslaught until the would-be robbers fled – even though one of them fired a gun...“The gang tried to intimidate us, but the regulars said this was their place and they just weren’t having it."
Wonderful. The universe unfolding exactly as it should.

Side note:
"People were picking up ashtrays..."
Fighting back and smoking? Land of the Free and Home of the Brave!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Can't think of a title...

...but I was wandering the blogosphere when I ran into this at Hornby Island's Word of Mouth blog: as kids are taught to fear men, men are learning to fear children

Go read it.

Anyways, the article there reminded me of growing up in the then tiny scenic village of Comox on Vancouver Island, just down Comox Avenue from what is now Mack Laing Park. If you walk from downtown to the park, our place was just a block or so outta (I laugh calling it this) downtown but before the Filberg place, and then it was a short walk more to Mr. Laing's place. This was back in the mid-50s.

I knew Mack as Mr. Laing, and I got to know him pretty well, as did a bunch of neighbourhood kids. (It's easier...I was maybe six/seven or so at the time, I never called him Mack back then, woulda never thunk of it, but it'll save some typing...) Mack would walk to town, him and his cane and small backpack, to the post office most days and when the weather was nice, he'd collect whichever kids were interested on the walk back to his place. Sometimes one, two and sometimes maybe up to seven or eight kids.

See, Mack had been a naturalist and a writer and a curator and so on, and evidently had been a scoutmaster, but he was maybe seventy or so when I knew him and pretty much retired. He was just gentle, beautifully sorta-British-type old-school, well-mannered and proper, easy to be friends with, patient and extremely interesting. He didn't talk down to us, even at 6 or was like he was always just talking straight across, person to person, with the same vocabulary he'd have used with folks three times our age. He treated us like he expected us to understand, so we did. No big words for big-words sake, but big words when they were the right words. And he collected kids and took them back to his place, regularly.

When we were with him, he'd teach us about anything that came up, or anything we asked (and he knew a hell of a lot of neat stuff), and he'd feed us what he called his "health salad", all sorts of raisins and such, lettuce that was more interesting than just iceberg, ...geez, seeds and nuts and things, and homemade salad dressing. He got us kids thinking salad was cool; no small trick. He'd show us his huge collection of taxidermy-birds, explain how and why binoculars worked, train us what "found food" to eat in the woods and what to stay way from. And more and more and more; history, geology, philosophy...we'd spend hours with him at or in his place. You get the picture.

Anyways, one day Mack and me and a few other kids were trotting to his place after his daily post office trek, and he bent down and picked up a dead bird, asking us what type of bird it was and then asking if we could tell how it died. We checked it out until one kid noticed it had a small hole in its side. Mack pulled out his pen-knife and extracted a BB, a small copper pellet.

He showed us the BB, reminded us gently that birds have valuable lives too, and then asked "is this bird male or female?".

We'd been hanging and learning with Mac for a while so we mostly trotted out the "males usually have brighter plumage" thing, and Mack replied that, yes, that's usually true and then he told us "but there's one way to know for sure". He took his pen-knife and made a small incision low in the belly of the tiny bird, opened it up some and pointing with the tip of his blade so we could all see, said "see those two things? Those are ovaries. If it has them, it's female. If it doesn't, it isn't."

There we were, all of us 6 or so years old, getting the straight goods about life with no hassle or embarrassment or hesitation, from a 70 year old man who simply cared enough to just teach.

Now I'm sure Mack never spoke to our parents about permission to teach us, or to have us over at his place, or to have us with him for hours and hours and hours, alone without another parent hovering nearby. I'm sure it never occurred to him to ask for permission any more than it occurred to our parents to stop him--and I'm also sure he never worried that his actions might be misinterpreted [Addendum 03/25/08: I checked with my Mom and Dad....nope, he never asked 'em. They never thought about it.] . And it absolutely never occurred to us that there was anything unusual about all this going on. It was just a normal day in Comox with Mack Laing and his collected kids.

As if such a thing could happen today.

We're so much better off now, all scared, distrustful, careful and litigious.

Mack lived to be 99 and gave his property to the town so it could be a park.

More about Mack Laing here.

More on Mack Laing Nature Park here.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Readin' FARK, sippin' a coffee, and I happened on this in a discussion about a Christian congregation with a beef about Hallowe'en:
FTFA:- There are many message-driven alternatives to offer, other than a bowl full of candy. For instance, there are Gospel tracts designed for trick-or-treaters that can be purchased online or at your Christian bookstore.

jay-vee: You might want to hide your cat, and particularly it's rolled-up-gospel-tract sized rectum if you're going down this route.
Time to clean my keyboard.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wildlife recognition...

The call of the Arrogant Fuckhead:
The people don't want them...
That's Los Angeles Councilwoman/person/nag Jan Perry speaking about her proposed 2-year ban on new fast-food restaurants in Los Angeles.

Here's the short version of her thinking: Although the relatively free market already provides literally thousands of restaurants (Los Angeles County has over 14,000), people are too stupid and/or concerned with convenience when left to their own devices to choose to eat healthily. Consequently, they (read: you) need bureaucrats to make the difficult choices.

One would think if "the people" didn't want fast-food restaurants, the restaurants would go broke.

Monday, September 17, 2007

At least CNN is being honest...

...and calling it compulsory health care or mandatory health care instead of the Orwellian double-speak of "free" health care trotted out by lefties.

Clinton unveils mandatory health care insurance plan (CNN)

Not that double-speak isn't obvious in the plan. Billary Rodham is using the term "individual mandate" in her prattling for support. That's individual as in: everybody must comply.

She's brazen enough to call it the "American Health Choices Plan". You understand: your menu consists of "yes" and "yes." Choose.
"I know my Republican opponents will try to equate this plan with government-run health care. Well don't let them fool you again," Clinton said, explaining that her plan would allow participants to "keep the doctors you know and trust" while it would expand "personal choice" and keep costs down.

Clinton's package would also require insurers to provide coverage for anyone who applies for it and would also bar insurance companies from charging people with greater health care costs more for their premiums. (CNN)
Right, Billary. The government won't be "running things" even as they force insurers to carry clients at rates the government mandates. Bismark anyone?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Words are not a replacement for thought.

They're supposed to be a tool for thought. Over the past bit I've been noting that "evidently lines on a piece of paper substitute for thought with some folks."

Well, here we go again:
Former Jamaica Assistant Principal Guy Venezia sent a memo to school deans on April 12 banning 911 calls "for any reason."
so school officials didn't call 911 even though:
14-year-old Mariya Fatima suffered a [devastating] stroke...
Dumbass zombie-prole "zero tolerance thinking" in spades.

And this happened where government folks teach kiddies how to think, people.

Monday, September 03, 2007

More on the next (as in previous and lower on the page) post...

...or at least a connected idea.

I bump into this at Tech News by way of FARK: Survey: Less Than Half of all Published Scientists Endorse Global Warming Theory
Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers "implicit" endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis. This is no "consensus."

The figures are even more shocking when one remembers the watered-down definition of consensus here. Not only does it not require supporting that man is the "primary" cause of warming, but it doesn't require any belief or support for "catastrophic" global warming.
And here's a kicker...
In fact of all papers published in this period (2004 to February 2007), only a single one makes any reference to climate change leading to catastrophic results.
So I gets to thinking when I run into this quote:
I think it's a slap in the face to the entire scientific community for you to simply pick and choose which empirically observed, peer-reviewed, scientific theories to accept based on whether or not you like their conclusion
I'm fifty-six years old, and I bet I didn't hear the phrase "peer-reviewed scientific theories" more than once a year in my layman's life. Now I run into it maybe three times a week or more, and pretty much only (as in: only still) on this one subject.

I figure the vast majority of the folks sputtering this script have barely skimmed an original, current technical article or three on climate change, and this only after being prompted to do so by a pundit of their usual persuasion, and I further estimate these 95% folks have read none of the peer reviews. It sure wasn't like they were heavy into peer reviews in the past; judging by present behaviour, they woulda told us about it.

Anyways, I was mentioning in the next post about "Evidently lines on a piece of paper substitute for thought with some folks."

Another stellar bureaucratic moment...

Ambulance called for 10 yrd trip
A HOSPITAL refused to help an emergency patient parked TEN yards from its A&E entrance — and told his pal to call 999 for an ambulance
There's a photo and more details, and nothing except a line somewhere on a piece of paper makes this "the thing to do" for anyone. Evidently lines on a piece of paper substitute for thought with some folks.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

All over the net... can find harmonica players (some of who are really very good, and legions who are not) who insist that the only way to get authentic blues harp tone is to 1) tightly cup your hands around 2) a small, old crystal or controlled magnetic mic through 3) (essential again) a classic small tube amp. According to these folks, nothing else will do; it's the only way to do it.

Little Walter with Hound Dog Taylor:

Evidently there's another way to do it.

I love Rock'nRoll...

...and I've been to Mount Rushmore (Summer 1964). So I'm perusing through the Ebay Mount Rushmore listings, and I stumble on >>this gem<<. Pure genius.

The description:
Very unique little vintage sugar bowl made in Japan. There is Mount Rushmore one one side, but the weird thing is that instead of Abe Lincoln they have the head of Elvis...
It's a truly wonderful world.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Oh. My. Gawd.

Beauty Contest...contestant.

Gotta see it to believe it.

...and people ask me why I'm not a democrat.

H/T Fark.

The Comox Valley and a *great* photographer

Ork de Rooij is an evidently young and very skilled photographer whose photos I bumped into on Flickr. The Comox Valley is still "home" for me, and probably always will be; it's a spectacular place.

Anyways, you can see lots more of Mr Rooij's (mainly Comox Valley) work here. It's *premium* quality eye candy. Yes, the Valley really looks and feels like that and this guy is one of the few who have ever managed to really capture it. Mr Rooij has a remarkable, inventive eye; his photos affect me like music.

Only one example (marked public at Flickr) and I'm only including it as a teaser. It is nowhere near his best shot, but I don't want to spoil your enjoyment by having you see his stuff (and especially his best stuff) any other way than Mr Rooij intended.

Total respect.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Saw it on a T-shirt:

Other People are Not Your Property.

In other words: They are not yours to boss around. Their lives are not yours to micromanage. The fruits of their labour are not yours to dispose of.

It doesn’t matter how wise or marvelous or useful it would be for other people to do whatever it is you’d like them to do. It is none of your business whether they wear their seatbelts, worship the right god, have sex with the wrong people, or engage in market transactions that irritate you. Their choices are not yours to direct. They are human beings like yourself, your equals under Natural Law. You possess no legitimate authority over them. As long as they do not themselves step over the line and start treating other people as their property, you have no moral basis for initiating violence against them – nor for authorising anyone else to do so on your behalf.

The basic principle of civilised social intercourse was stated in 1646 by Richard Overton:
To every individual in nature is given an individual property by nature not to be invaded or usurped by any. For every one, as he is himself, so he has a self-propriety, else could he not be himself; and of this no second may presume to deprive any of without manifest violation and affront to the very principles of nature and of the rules of equity and justice between man and man. .... No man has power over my rights and liberties, and I over no man’s. I may be but an individual, enjoy my self and my self-propriety and may write myself no more than my self, or presume any further; if I do, I am an encroacher and an invader upon another man’s right .... every man by nature being a king, priest and prophet in his own natural circuit and compass, whereof no second may partake but by deputation, commission, and free consent from him whose natural right and freedom it is.
Nor is this requirement lifted merely because you happen to be a police officer, or an elected legislator, or a member of a majority of citizens casting their votes. As Voltairine de Cleyre pointed out in 1890:
[A] body of voters can not give into your charge any rights but their own; by no possible jugglery of logic can they delegate the exercise of any function which they themselves do not control. If any individual on earth has a right to delegate his powers to whomsoever he chooses, then every other individual has an equal right; and if each has an equal right, then none can choose an agent for another, without that other’s consent. Therefore, if the power of government resides in the whole people, and out of that whole all but one elected you as their agent, you would still have no authority whatever to act for the one. The individuals composing the minority who did not appoint you have just the same rights and powers as those composing the majority who did; and if they prefer not to delegate them at all, then neither you, nor any one, has any authority whatever to coerce them into accepting you, or any one, as their agent ....
T-shirt here.

It's a fact: other people are not your property.

More reasons...

...the drug war is stoopid (Washington Post).

H/T to Jay Currie
British Columbia is now home to the greatest number of organized-crime syndicates anywhere in the world (if we accept the U.N. definition of a syndicate as more than two people involved in a planned crime). According to B.C. government statistics, the production, distribution and export of B.C. Bud, highly potent marijuana grown in hothouses along the province's border with the United States, accounts for 6 percent of the region's gross domestic product. It now employs more Canadians than British Columbia's traditional industries of mining and logging combined.

The majority of the province's criminals remain passive hippie types for whom the drug is a lifestyle choice. But...the marijuana trade is threatening to turn nasty as British Columbia's Hells Angels, one of the best-organized criminal syndicates in the world, moves in on the action. (emphasis mine)

Odd that I haven't heard Al Sharpton mention this story...

H/T to Let Freedom Reign

Wikipedia for details (warning: brutal)

I'm sure Al woulda said something if it had been, say, black folks murdered by whites, even if
Police Chief Sterling Owen IV said that there is no indication the crimes were racially motivated, and that the murders and assault "appears to have been a random violent act."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

So I'm reading Crisis Counsel at CNN/Money...

...which is a bunch of major business players talking about the recent credit shenanigans. And I read the following from Steven S. Roach from Morgan Stanley Asia:
The current financial crisis is a wake-up call for modern-day central banking. The world can't afford to lurch from one bubble to another. The cost of neglect is an ever-mounting systemic risk that could pose a grave threat to an increasingly integrated global economy. It could also spur the imprudent intervention of politicians, undermining the all-important political independence of central banks. The art and science of central banking is in desperate need of a major overhaul--before it's too late. (emphasis mine)
Now, there's a wealth of concepts referred to in that one paragraph, but I highlighted something.

You'll notice that nowhere does the guy question the existence of central banks as a good idea. It's just sorta lying there, assumed as he continues with " need of a major overhaul...."

There's an alternative. Get governments out of the money business and just put money and business back into the hands of free people. Overhauling central banks is like fine-tuning the timing on a ticking bomb. I mean, it might improve the bomb itself, but you still go boom.

Otherwise, then and as now, you're plain gonna get: imprudent intervention of politicians. Every time, and all the time.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Dammit, this guy plays a mean, mean guitar...

Christopher Cross in 1998 with Michael McDonald.

Y'gotta hang in till about the last quarter *(3:58) before he burns, but damn.

In something akin to Dennis Miller's classic rant (mediocre audio) regarding retired Admiral James Stockdale, Christopher Cross didn't have "the look" expected of a music icon back in the day (early 80's original video of the tune) and his career suffered for it.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I hope if someone shoots at my place, they use the method these folks were using...

An elderly Iraqi woman shows two bullets which she says hit her house following an early coalition forces raid in the predominantly Shiite Baghdad suburb of Sadr City. (Agence France-Presse)
Here's the photo and caption, captured from the Yahoo News page (in case the link disappears)

File this under "humour in the midst of tragedy". I'm not saying the woman is lying; the bullets could have hit her house. But they weren't fired at her house. They weren't fired at all.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I think this is a mistake:

US to move on Iran's Revolutionary Guard
Adminstration will designate group as global terrorist

Real problem, certainly. Still, bad solution. Cannot come to any good, and I don't mean that just because it'll make Iran angry.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Axl Rose and Haircut 100...and Obama.

H/T to Fark which was how I found this: Axl Rose: The Rolling Stone Interview.

Look, I don't always agree with him, but he's not bullshitting. He's telling you like he sees it. And after reading the interview I actually don't think he's an asshole--and I'm not sure it says anything good about about me that I once did. I had nothing first hand to go on. Anyways, he has reasons for what he thinks.

Continuing...I keep a list of quotes on my blog, and one of them is this one, from a sort of "let's get a classic band back together for a one-off" type of TV show I saw a few years back:
"We didn't speak to each other. That's how everything falls apart, isn't it." Nick Heyward, commenting on Haircut 100’s breakup.
But this ain't about Haircut 100, or even Axl except for what I wrote above. That's just context. It's about Reagan and Obama and Ahemedinijad, and Hillary Fucking Clinton if you want it to be:

Obama said in a TV debate that he'd talk to the leaders of the countries the US is arguing with, within the first year were he President. Hillary then made noises about "there's a reason for diplomats..." and "maintaining the prestige of the office", that sort of tripe. The upshot is now a lot of folks are thinking Obama blew it. He may have. And don't get me wrong; this article isn't an endorsement of Obama,; it's an endorsement of a method: fucking talk, man to man, any chance you get, and tell the truth as you see it. There's no insult to anybody in that--and if you think there's a loss of stature in doing that, you're foolish, or a poser (Clinton ain't foolish). The rare exceptions that exist prove the rule.

Ahmadinejad. Twice I've seen him interviewed. Twice he's made some sense. NO, I don't agree with him all over the place, but people are not their caricatures (that's mine, and I think it's original).

Reagan told his aides and diplomats to get out of the way and talked to Gorbachev. And Gorbachev talked back.

Or you and me and they can play it the other way, like always.

And I think Ian over at Ianism has more than a passing acquaintance with A E van Vogt, or Hayakawa or Korzybski; "the word is not the thing" and "people are not their caricatures."

Saturday, August 04, 2007

You may have already seen this...

but if you haven't:

1964. Stairway to Heaven.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Polygamy: Maybe the government oughtta...

...just get out of the marriage business, period.

I mean if people are allowed to be polygamists, the next thing you know men will be allowed to marry men, and women will be allowed to marry women. ;-)

Canadian Press, Vancouver:
A special prosecutor has concluded there's not enough evidence to charge members of a British Columbia polygamist colony with sex offences involving minors, partly because the women involved said they wanted to have sex with the older men.

"The real issue here is that the number of so-called complainants that we have have all told us that they consented to the act that took place," Oppal said Wednesday...[A]authorities tried to pursue charges that the women had been sexually exploited by a person in a position of trust, but that effort was again thwarted. "There's no evidence of exploitation," Oppal said. "In fact, it was surprising to me the number of young women who told police that they were the aggressors, that they wanted to have sex with the older men." (emphasis mine)

BC Special Prosecutor Richard Peck wrote:

"There is a substantial body of scholarship supporting the position that polygamy is socially harmful."

Written by folks who just took an objective look at the situation, no doubt. Me, I looked all over my house and yard and I couldn't find a single difference it made. I've heard tell there used to be a substantial amount of scholarship supporting the positions that blacks and women shouldn't get the vote and that gay folks were mentally ill.

The article says Peck "thinks Canada's anti-polygamy law does not violate the Charter of Rights guarantee of religious freedom."

Wanna bet?

And, of course, there's always that pesky Freedom of Association clause, too. Polygamy might be "associating on steroids", but that's all it is.

Just so you know: I'm not for or against polygamy in the legal or social sense. As long as it's not coercive, I really don't care who is sleeping or living with who, and I really don't see how other folks' love lives is my business. But then it's not the government's business either, any more than it is the next door neighbour's.

Billy Beck on Mugabe's Zimbabwe

HERE at Two-Four. There's a reason I hold Two-Four as essential reading.

Further on Billy's note: The New York Times and others are reporting on Mugabe's plan to:
require virtually all publicly traded companies to cede controlling interests to “indigenous” citizens...who were “disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or her race” before April 1980, when the nation won independence from white rule.
Yeah, that'll work. Like it did on the farms.

Ain't planned economies wunnerful?

More on Mugabe madness.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Life Lesson from the British.

Some months ago I ran across a number of lengthy debates in the Blogosphere about torture of terrorists complete with the usual atom-bomb and lifeboat scenarios...anyways...

Tonight I read this: UK wanted US to rule out Bin Laden torture
MI6 believed it was close to finding the al-Qaida leader in Afghanistan in 1998, and again the next year. The plan was for MI6 to hand the CIA vital information about Bin Laden. Ministers including Robin Cook, the then foreign secretary, gave their approval on condition that the CIA gave assurances he would be treated humanely. (Emphasis mine)
The US never gave that assurance.

Right now, this example of British sensibilities and reverence regarding human dignity is a shining light on the principles that maintain human rights. The British were willing to fail at achieving a desired goal if it meant crossing ethical boundaries, even when it came to Bin Laden.

The shame of it is that United States was once a beacon of similar but superior light shining on Britain.

In many ways both countries have lost much of their legacy when it comes to individual rights and human freedom, making this story a welcome change to the usual run of world news.

We aren't the good guys when we break certain rules. Period.

Total respec'.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Politicians as chickenshit schoolyard bullies...

New Zealand politicians, upset at being seen as lazy and offensive, have banned journalistic satire as well as coverage that ridicules or denigrates them, according to new rules passed on Thursday.

Members of New Zealand's parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of the new rules. Just six members of the 121-seat parliament were opposed. (a grateful H/T to Stageleft for the heads up)
New Zealand is a commonwealth country, just like Canada, and ideas historically often do the rounds among member countries.

Best, then, to make as much fun as we can of our Canadian politicians while we're still allowed.

Then, when it's not allowed:

Do it anyways.

And in case I ever get to New Zealand:

"Hey, you Kiwi politicians....I am a freelance journalist/writer. I am satirizing you, gleefully making abject fun of your pretentious, simpering puniness. I'm saying you're ridiculous and this post covering your actions is absolutely intended to denigrate you."

Maybe Canada has an extradition treaty; have at me.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ain't Planned Economies Wunnerful...

Thousands arrested in Zimbabwe for not cutting prices (CNN).
Nearly 5,000 store owners, managers and business executives have been arrested since the government began its campaign to slash prices last month, state media reported Thursday...

President Robert Mugabe told parliament Tuesday that his government was committed to its program to restore "price stability" and protect ordinary consumers from "inexplicable and astronomical" price increases by profiteers.
The price increases and product shortages are inexplicable and astronomical only to believers in the magical workings of planned economies (read: state socialism). Other folks find these product shortages and price increases easily understandable and absolutely predictable.

Statist Socialists: *heads up* because this is exactly what you're bargaining for--and in exact proportion to the the degree you're consistent with your policies and ideology.

Look for Chavez's Venezuela to follow the same road, but it might take a bit longer to cause Mugabe-level squalor since Venezuela has some expropriated oil money to squander first.

Yo'know, I try to be nice, and I'm sure Mugabe and Chavez mostly love their families and generally treat their pets OK and such, but migawd the two of 'em are arrogant, ignorant fuckheads. No surprise that they like each other.

The Dangers of Pot

Pot may hike risk of psychosis, research finds (MSNBC)

OK. From the article:

“The strongest case is that there are consistencies across all of the studies,” and that the link was seen only with psychoses — not anxiety, depression or other mental health problems, he said.

Note though...

Scientists cannot rule out that pre-existing conditions could have led to both marijuana use and later psychoses, he added.

That's OK. For now, let's assume pot causes *all* the increase...
The scientists found a more disturbing outlook for “heavy users” of pot, those who used it daily or weekly: Their risk for psychosis jumped to a range of 50 percent to 200 percent.
WOW!!!! 200%!!! Still, let's assume pot causes *all* that increase, and it causes the full freakin' 200%.

So what are the risks in plain english:

They found that people who used marijuana had roughly a 40 percent higher chance of developing a psychotic disorder later in life. The overall risk remains very low.

For example, Zammit said the risk of developing schizophrenia for most people is less than 1 percent. The prevalence of schizophrenia is believed to be about five in 1,000 people.

Nope. I'm gonna stick with the 200% for the sake of this analysis. 40% or 50% is playing it too safe. "Think of the children ()", after all...

If the normal rate of psychosis is 1% of the population (though 5 of 1000 people is actually 1/2 of 1% or 0.5%), heavy use doubles (as in: increases by 200%) the lifetime risk of developing psychosis to...


...well, actually 2 times (1/2 of 1%) .5% is....


...which means that for 98% (more likely 99%) there's no psychological worries. Period. That's what they said.

And back to the first paragraph quoted: the link was *only* seen with psychoses, and *not* seen with anxiety, depression or other mental health problems (emphasis mine) In other words, that's *all* the damage smokin' dope does (at worst, and only maybe), just the puny noted raise in psychosis...

...which means this article is very much scaremongering ado about not very bloody much.

My thinking is that there is not a single punishment for the use of, or a method of policing to prevent the use of, pot that doesn't cause way more freakin' problems to the user and/or society than even heavy use of the drug itself.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

South Park Ron

By way of Mike, by way of Brad, by way of Presto. And the help of SP Studio.

I present South Park Ron:

Monday, July 23, 2007

Yeah, that'll work...

Toronto Mayor David Miller said the latest rash of gun violence shows why Canada needs to toughen its gun laws, tighten border security and issue a complete ban on handguns...

The 11-year-old's death was one of four apparently unrelated gun killings in Toronto over the weekend...

Toronto Mayor David Miller said the latest rash of gun violence shows why Canada needs to toughen its gun laws, tighten border security and issue a complete ban on handguns. (Emphasis mine)

Right. Canada already has the toughest gun laws on the continent. It's working well so far, ain't it. Why, just out of respect for our unarmed law-abiding citizens, the baddies are obviously not buying any guns of their own.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wonder why there's *always* a shortage of...

...every "socialized" commodity?

HERE, writ large and obvious so even the dullards might finally get it.

Mr Mugabe has accused business interests of fuelling inflation, running at about 20,000%, to bring down his government. A hotline is in place to report "overcharging", and retailers who flinch at slashing prices are being dragged before the courts. Several thousand have been arrested for "profiteering" over the past week, including the chief executives of the biggest retailers in the country, some of them foreign-owned.

Economists say the price cuts will only deepen the national crisis, leaving many shops bare because they will not be able to afford to restock while official retail prices remain lower than the cost of buying wholesale or importing. Mr Mugabe has dismissed such warnings as "bookish economics".

Now, if you want to get somewhat serious about understanding why this is happening:

The Primer: Henry Hazlitt's "Economics in One Lesson"
Some Details: Ludwig von Mises' "Human Action"

A part of the "why":

Ludwig von Mises' "Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth" (pdf) --

or just read this Human Action excerpt for starters:

"The Impossibility of Economic Calculation Under Socialism"


H/T: Billy Beck's Two-Four

Monday, July 16, 2007

Life with Ricky, Bubbles & Julian...

Got myself a 6 year old SRI Ambassador AM-884 is what I did. In a nice trailer park nestled over the mighty Peace River (read: an opulent version of a van down by the river).

I like being different places. Moving is a pain.

Monday, July 02, 2007

A dream line-up...

Elvis Presley

All-star backup: Sugarbabes, Marvin Gaye, Jimmy Page, Noel Gallagher, Keith Moon, Sheryl Crow and Stevie Wonder.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Chalk another one up...

...for the good guys.

Homeowner, 71, shot intruder in NE Portland Oregon home.

A 71-year-old man in the residence, Leroy Hudson, reportedly fired one shot at the suspected intruder. The injured suspect, a 26-year-old male, was transported to a local hospital with injuries described as "life threatening." Police said he was shot in the head.
All's well that ends well.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Comments anyone?

This article on Iraq is worth reading. I'd be interested in comments.

From the Prometheus Institute:

It is the Institute's opinion that although the war was once justified on the presumed existence of dangerous weapons of mass destruction, these noble goals have been abandoned in an improvident current prosecution of "The War on Terror."

In our opinion, the War on Terrorism should not be about rebuilding countries. The inability of America to offensively colonize other countries has always been painfully clear even since our failed invasion(s) of Canada in the Revolutionary War. The leaders of our country have failed to learn from the lessons of the past. As supported by our roles in the Spanish-American War, World Wars I & II and Desert Storm, our rate of success is far better when we are serving a protective role rather than an aggressive one.

Since we already captured Saddam, murdered his sons, and have no hope to find the WMDs, we have ended any possible national threat and thus have no more legitimate governmental interest in Iraq. We must immediately find the quickest way to leave Iraq without precipitating a civil war - not continue to seek an imposition of democracy that is neither desired, efficient, or beneficial for either country.

Nanny State Knows Best...

The details.

...just another Bureaucrat WHorror story. And no, it's not a spelling mistake.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I love shoes...

No, not like that.

Like these, and these, and these, and especially these: drool.

Anyways, so I bump into this story about how Tony Blair has worn the same pair of shoes for 18 years.
The shoes in question, an 18-year-old pair of hand-made leather brogues that have only been re-soled once, were made by Church's in Northampton, central England.

"I know it's ridiculous, but I've worn them for every PMQs (Prime Minister's Questions), I've actually had them for 18 years," Blair told The Times in an interview, adding that "cheap shoes are a false economy."

According to a spokeswoman for Church's, a 134-year-old company, the shoes Blair bought would have cost 150 pounds ($353) when he bought them, and cost about 290 pounds ($682) now.

If y'look enough, you can find some common ground with most folks, and Mr Blair is right that cheap shoes are a false economy. My favorite shoe store in Vancouver, for years, was Sheppard's Shoes, but I gather they've closed their Granville Street location and now deal direct, online. S'okay, the shoes are still killer.

But I remember when most shoes found in shoe stores were well-built and solid leather. Bata Shoes, for example, used to carry very well made classic leather men's shoes at prices ranging from very normal to...okay, well y'could get a pair of very high end water-buffalo brogues with double-welt soles (I did)...but over the years Bata has seemingly devolved to selling moulded sole trendy running shoes; at least that's all there is in my town...

(Disclaimer: I do have a soft spot for Converse Chuck Taylor high-tops.)

These days what y'get is plastic or faux leather (read: ersatz, placebo, spurious, as in: not even genuine Naugahyde) or, if you're lucky, leather and cloth stitched and glued together in a George Jetson/Dennis Rodman mash-up with a sole that's guaranteed to wear out, making your uppers useless, in about two years. Or you can head over to Wal-Mart and pick up some "man-made material" they call 'em dress shoes (as if...) with cleverly molded plastic soles that mimic everything about a real dress shoe except the comfort and quality. Why, they even fake the stitching so you can pretend the shoes ain't crap.

But damn straight, those Church's can last 18 years with a resole or two. Easy if you're even a bit careful.

And y'know something: Canada used to have a good few companies that made premium quality, fine leather shoes, too. I have a pair of John McHale shoes (thick leather soled, burnished medium reddish-brown blucher cap-toes) that equal the best I've seen from today's British shoemaking elite. I cherish them like diamonds, and I treat 'em like gold. I bet they're twenty years old or more. They look pretty much new, and they fit like the day they were made: perfectly. Really though, the rest of my good shoes are British.

Ah, but dontcha know: some of the world's best riding, western and police boots (some say the best boots) are still made in Alberta...

(Edit: I found an ad for the exact model McHales that I own...they're from the 1950s...), that's more than 50 years of wear.

Gays, polygamists and kissin' cousins...


As it happens, I support gay marriage, which is to say I think gay folks ought to be able to get married just like straight folks. I've had a few runs around the blogosphere on that issue, like here at LFR with Pete in Midland (who I like even when I disagree with him).

Anyways, the linked article goes to a story about how some folks are realizing that consistent application of the principles supporting the right of gays to marry could well open the door to marriage among polygamists or "closer-than-recommended" relatives, or [fit the kink of your choice]...

From the article:
There are disturbing signs all over the country that conservatives were right to predict that proponents of odd and radical sexual practices would try to slip through the political and legal doors opened by the gay rights movement.
because, for example:
In Lawrence [Texas], the high court ruled in 2003 that state laws banning gay sex in private were unconstitutional, citing "an emerging awareness that liberty gives substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex." Emphasis mine.
Liberty had better bloody well give substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters to pertaining to sex. Otherwise, it ain't's just the usual set of permissions or prohibitions from the busybodies.

Short version: the government has no place in these sorts of choices and ought to plain get out of the marriage/social engineering business.

There is so much about this story...

... that makes me smile.
a federal district court [struck] down a state law that allowed only those public employees who belonged to certain denominations the right to claim a religious objection to paying union dues.
Now, why can't atheists make similar moral/financial decisions with equal effect? Surely religious freedom includes freedom from religion.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

So... thought the meddling fuckheads would stop at cigarettes and maybe a bit of kerfuffle about fast foods, didja?


Friday, June 15, 2007

Hey, theocrats--read this!!

Over at Rational Reasons, Mike has posted a note to those who envision Canada as a Christian theocracy.

He won't be alone.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

So I see this headline...

Polygamy fueling Ariz.’s rate of genetic disorder ...

...and as I read the article, I realized that, really, no such thing is happening at all. It ain't polygamy that's causing the problem; it's just inbreeding.

They aren't the same thing.

But "Inbreeding Fuels [Anywhere's] Rate of Genetic Disorder" wouldn't be a headline anywhere; it'd just be a "yeah...and, your point???"

Much ado about not very much.

I'm only saying this once (here)...

At my job, my secondary function is as a computer repair tech. And it'd be fair to say I've been on a computer every day since 1984, and some before that. I started with an Adam and went to PC Jr...and so on. I'm a rank newbie compared to my brother who runs where I work. OK, that's the preamble.

We have this joke we tell when folks come in with crashed hard drives, asking us if we can save the files on the drive.

We say "oh, relax--it's no problem; just restore the files from your backup".

Then we smile (inwardly), say nothing in the very, very awkward silence that follows, and watch the various emotions (like panic, shock,...) play across the faces of the people across the counter from us.

Factually, sometimes we can rescue the data; and if we can't sometimes very high-tech (read: expensive) labs that specialize in that sort of thing can retrieve the data. But there is no guarantee the data can be retrieved, period, if the drive crashes. Lotsa times, the data is more gone than a dropped diamond in a desert sandstorm.

So, this, only once: if you can't live without it, Back It Up. Twice. With one backup somewhere else than your home. (Think, if you have a backup on CD at your place, and your place burns, your CD backup data is...crispy...and not suitable for consumption). Backup data is two copies.

You'd think folks woulda got that message by now, but every week I am reminded just how many folks haven't absorbed it yet.


My good deed for the day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

For any number of reasons...

...Due South's RCMP constable Benton Fraser is one of my favorite TV characters. I have a favorite Benton Fraser quote:

"I'm not interested in the money, Ray. I'm after the thief."

Straight up.

Cowichan issues...

As a past resident of the Duncan/Cowichan area, I'm always interested in the goings on in that corner of the world.

Meagan Champion is running a very intriguing series of posts over at her blog (Somena Media) regarding Cowichan Band financial activities, and though I'm nowhere near close enough to the action to have any personal knowledge, I do know that Meaghan does her homework...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

FUCK Mugabe...

Here for details...

Africa has Mugabe, and South America has Chavez.

And, of course, there was Che; more here.

Ah, but they all meant well.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

NASA Chief Questions Urgency of Global Warming

I love it when people talk straight.

From the interview:
Interviewer: Do you have any doubt that this is a problem that mankind has to wrestle with?

Michael Griffin: I have no doubt that … a trend of global warming exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with. To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change. First of all, I don't think it's within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown. And second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings — where and when — are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take. (emphasis mine)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

M-M-M-M-My (dad's) Generation

The Zimmers!

Rock on!

Heads Up (I didn't know this...)

Urban Legend Status: True at Snopes.Com

Thanks to my friend, guitarist David Spragge, for the heads up.

Short version: don't use cruise control when the road is wet, icy or slushy.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Among classy musicians...'s not about style or genre--it's about quality and respect.

Linkin Park and Jay-Z. Word up: McCartney.

A really smart musician...

This clip...

illustates McCartney as a master tunesmith. Damn--and the man can whistle!!!

See, y'take a really simple idea...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Big laugh!

Funniest bumper sticker I've seen in a dog's age..and accurate, too.

(image linked to publisher)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Great news story (and today's message...)...

CNN Link here

Philip Workman, 53, was executed Wednesday. He'd killed a policeman while he was coked up and doing a robbery. Anyways, he asked for his last meal to be a veggie pizza given to a homeless person nearby the prison.

The prison said nope, being as they don't "support charities". Fair enough; they seem busy with other things.

But folks in the area still thought that Phil was at least trying to go out on the right note. The long and short of it is that all sorts of homeless shelters in the area got free pizzas today donated by ordinary citizen-type folks.

So...for whatever reason that reminded me of a cartoon I saw in MAD magazine years ago, about two very aged but good friends who nevertheless had competed ruthlessly, brutally, all their lives. The one old guy is on his deathbed, minutes to go, and the other at his bedside and sorta thinkin' to himself: "it's a horrid shame to be losing my friend, but...well, there's really one game it's absolutely best to be winning, and here I'm is, living on while buddy over here croaks..."

His dying friend gasps and whispers "my old dear friend, last words..."

He softly wheezes to his friend who is hunching over him, bending close to hear: "you, my friend and most worthy adversary, we challenged each other at races in grade school, over girlfriends in high school--and don't forget golf, cards, and football. Some victories to you, and some to me. Later, and with the same results,...we...honored each other by competing directly and unsparingly in the business world..." his voice fading...

"My dearest friend...", straining himself to raise, for only a second, to touch his partner's shoulder...dropping stone dead with a gasped:

"last tag".

Now, that's attitude.


...I'm surprised at who I think is putting out good music, but even though it's been almost two years since it's been released, Ashlee Simpson's Autobiography is still one of the few at least somewhat recent albums by any artist that I can listen to straight through.

And I think LaLa is a killer rock tune (link to video). It's irreverent, slutty, swaggering and punchy. In other words, it's straight-up righteous rock'n'roll.

Sharpton, the Rage Surfer.

Details here.

So here's the rub. Sharpton, the reigning World Champion rage-surfer, let his tongue slip. For just a moment, he said exactly what he unguardedly thought, not what he wanted folks to think he meant. Now he's trying to backpedal.

Here's his quote:
As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways, so don't worry about that; that's a temporary situation
Now, he was debating an atheist at the time, but the "As for the one Mormon running for office" preamble puts paid to Sharpton's post-fumble explanation that
"What I said was that we would defeat him, meaning as a Republican...A Mormon, by definition, believes in God. They don't believe in God the way I do, but by definition, they believe in God."
claiming that (according to the article) "he was contrasting himself with Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author he was debating at the time."

Yeah, right, Al.

Y'got caught.

With everything else Sharpton has never apologized for, I don't see him fessin' up now on this one, so here's my take on the situation:

Sharpton's slip of the tongue is miles short of axe murder, but he's called for what amounts to shunning of folks who have made similar remarks but about black people and selected others; he's wanted folks fired, to lose their jobs, for advertisers and supporters to remove their approval...stuff like that.

Fair's fair, Al.

Right. Like that'll happen. After all, Mitt Romney is a white, Mormon (LDS) Republican.

There'll be barely a ripple. You watch.

By the way, tone of voice tells a lot in situations like this, so here's the audio clip.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Walter Schirra dead at 84

"I left Earth three times. I found no place else to go. Please take care of Spaceship Earth." Walter Schirra

Please don't go get all political and tie this to global warming or another favourite crusade. I mean, it might include that, alright? But really it's mostly like how you leave a campfire, or picking up your cigarette butts (or, better: not dropping them until you have a decent place) or it's like "don't shit where you eat."

Plain enough? The rest just follows.

You know: Good manners. Right and wrong.

Anyways, to'al respect, Mr. Schirra.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

American Idol

Sure I watch the show. I'm up for any opportunity musical folks can get to show their stuff. Somewhat as an aside, that's why, unlike a lot of pro and semi-pro musicians, I strongly support karaoke. Skilled backup is hard to find when you're a singer, and I've seen many people become excellent singers through karaoke--and without it, they'd never have been able to pull it off. American Idol is kinda karaoke on steroids, so fine with me.

Anyways, there are two acts whose tunes you do at your peril. With Elvis or The Beatles, you have only two choices as a performer: you do them as an exactly spot on copy, or you do something remarkable with their tunes that makes (as they say) your own. The first option is difficult; the second is incredibly risky, and middle ground just won't do.

I think Melinda Doolittle is an awesome vocal power, but still, this from Jordin Sparks is an option #2 total victory (I have no idea how long FOX will allow this video to stay's properly their choice--I hope they leave it):

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Nicely put.

The "gun-free zone" fraud isn't just about banning firearms or even a symptom of academia's distaste for an entire sensibility of which the Second Amendment is part and parcel but part of a deeper reluctance of critical segments of our culture to engage with reality.

Mark Steyn.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Right to Cower, Barricade or Run

From a reader's email about the Virginia Tech situation at Michelle Malkin's blog.

We heard pretty much continuous shooting for the next minute or so, and I said, "Shouldn't we barricade the door," because we were sitting ducks with no way out inside that room if he opened the door. A couple more people floated the idea that "We need to barricade the door, NOW." But I was too scared to even move, much less move the teacher's desk.

Finally one of the guys in the front of the classroom was brave enough to get up and move the desk in front of the door to prevent outside entry. About twenty seconds later, the shooter rattled the doorknob trying to get in. When he couldn't get in he fired two shots through the door (single solid piece of wood) and left. We heard him go in to 206 (the room across the hall) and shoot the people in that room. If we hadn't put the barricade up when we did, I and all my classmates would be dead.

(italic emphasis mine)

Not really a funny day, but still...

I read this in the comments section at FARK:

Average murder per 100,000 residents in counties won by Bush: 2.1; average murder per 100,000 residents in counties won by Gore: 13.2.

But I thought I'd check. Here's the skinny..

The county-by-county murder-rate comparison presented in this piece is wrong. The actual overall average rate is 5.5, but the average of 2.1 and 13.2 is 7.65, which is too high.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), in the year 2000 the national murder rate was about 5.5 per 100,000 residents. Homicide data by county for 1999 and 2000 can be downloaded from the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NAJCD), and the counties won by Gore and Bush can be identified using the county-by-county election results made available by CNN. (The NACJD provides not only the number of reported murders for each county, but also the population for each.) The average murder rate in the counties won by Gore vs. the rate in the counties won by Bush can be determined from this data. By calculating the murder rate for each county and then taking the averages, we find a murder rate (defined as number of murders per 100,000 residents) of about 5.2 for the "average" Gore county and 3.3 for the average Bush county. But since people, rather than counties, commit murders, a more appropriate approach is to calculate the total number of murders in the counties won by each candidate and divide that figure by the total number of residents in those counties. This more appropriate method yields the following average murder rates in counties won by each candidate:

Gore: 6.5
Bush: 4.1

There is a distinct difference between these two numbers, but it is nowhere near as large as the quoted...message states (i.e., 13.2 for Gore vs. 2.1 for Bush). Note that the average of these two figures is 5.3, which, as expected, is very close to the reported national murder rate of 5.5.

Draw any conclusions you'd like ;-)

Virginia Tech

My sincere condolences to the families and friends of the dead and injured at Virginia Tech. I wouldn't do this right now, but some yahoos are already trying to use this as an excuse to disarm future victims, so...

I'll put this succinctly. I don't own a gun--never have. I don't want a gun. Right now anyways.

But I damn well think law-abiding citizens have the right to return absolutely overwhelmingly superior firepower when threatened by criminals.

But you're always hearing "but a bad guy did this with a gun". Well, bad guys have always been doing bad things with weapons. Duh.

That's no reason to disarm the law-abiding folks. Actually, it's a reason not to.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I call Bullshit.

Subprime Bailout noises HERE at CNN...

...talking about government assistance to bail out home purchase lenders and borrowers.

Why in HELL should people who made the sometimes difficult but responsible decision not to borrow beyond their means, which in many cases meant continuing to pay rent with no chance of gaining equity, have to bail out folks who made a bad business decision?

Subprime bailout? $120 billion
More than 1 million borrowers may be at risk of defaulting on their mortgages. Assisting them all wouldn't come cheap.

I don't care even if it would be cheap.

Maybe if more than a million people actually had to pay for their bad economic decisions, those folks would make better decisions in the future. But in any case, there is no good reason to saddle innocent people with the cost of repairing this mess. Let the folks who did it clean up after themselves.

As an aside (and it doesn't change the principle of the thing), I don't think many (any) of those folks at risk for default were gonna be wildly sharing the equity and profits they'da made if the market had gone like they'd gambled.

Friday, April 13, 2007

There is something very right and wonderful...

...about Pakistani civilians picking up weapons to protect transsexuals against the Taliban.

Good on ya, citizens of Lakki Marwat and I assure you I am not being the slightest bit sarcastic here. You have every reason to take pride in what you did. Thank you.

From Samizdata: "Cowardice does not make you safe. It makes you a safe target - D.Amon"

Never be a safe target. Bees like flowers, but that's not why people leave them alone.


Imus on satellite. Fast.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Read this.

Jason Whitlock: Imus Isn't The Real Bad Guy

From the article:

We know that the gangsta rappers and their followers in the athletic world have far bigger platforms to negatively define us than some old white man with a bad radio show. There’s no money and lots of danger in that battle, so Jesse and Al are going to sit it out.
Earlier (same article) Mr Whitlock noted:

It is us. At this time, we are our own worst enemies. We have allowed our youths to buy into a culture (hip hop) that has been perverted, corrupted and overtaken by prison culture. The music, attitude and behavior expressed in this culture is anti-black, anti-education, demeaning, self-destructive, pro-drug dealing and violent.
I don't think it's exactly that, but he's not barking up the wrong tree. It's not prison culture--it's specifically a criminal/thug/klepto culture that tells people they have a right to the results of accomplishment without any of the integrity and effort that makes those results legitimate or, really, even possible over anything except the very short term. Let's face it, stealing a Rembrandt doesn't make you a collector; it makes you an asshole. Painting one, or gaining one by honest trade or agreement; now, that's an accomplishment.

But don't you go thinking this is just about black culture. It's not, not by a long shot. The problem is everywhere and so it's there too, like it is where you and I live.


Al Roker writes that there is no joy in what has transpired [to Imus]


Yeah it was not the nicest thing I ever heard, but...

There's all sorts of folks "surfin' the outrage" as if this is all worth so much kerfuffle. Fuck that. It's a bunch of hypocritical PC candy-ass grandstanders--and Jackson and especially Sharpton are fucking hypocrites who know that they've said worse and that if punishments were fair, Imus would be out of the woods while they were still buried in 'em.

Sickening opportunistic bandwagon jockeying. Oughtta be an event at the Calgary Stampede: That was 7 rough seconds on Poor Injured Feelings, a nasty mare outta South Central Ottawa, Bobby-Jim...

However, it is so nice to see PC/leftist tolerance and all that hogwash. Let's not get all out-of-sorts about things like seeing folks hit an innocent trucker in the head with FUCKING BRICKS (and people actually justifying it, many of 'em exactly the same kinda PC/leftist-apologist fuckheads now getting so upset with Imus), or what the Duke 3 went through including the commentators who guiltified them in the press before the (I was gonna say trial--but it never even got that far, did it) truth came out, or Sharpton's rage-surfing of that Tawana Brawley story from a few years go. After all: IMUS said a No-No...

Hypocritical opportunist fucking drama-queens at worst. Fucking drama queens at best.

Please visit Billy Beck's Two-Four where he offers much more insight on this (including this gem from Two-Four):

"It has also empowered Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to be the arbiters of political correctness, which I find to be disgusting and I find ironic and hypocritical."
(Niger Innis -- Congress of Racial Equality, [quoted from] MSNBC TV)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What is seen and what is unseen

The brilliance of Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) plays out once again...

First, check this article: The Ethanol Food Crisis by Peter Corcoran/Financial Post.

then, if you wish, this past blog post of mine: here

Now read Bastiat's What is Seen and What is Unseen

More, and more about, Bastiat here.

Apply Bastiat's views classically liberally.

Oshawa looks to Ban Toy Guns


Oshawa is following in the footsteps of Scugog Township, north of the city, which was one of the first Ontario municipalities to institute such a bylaw. Since early last year, those under the age of 18 have been prohibited from possessing a replica firearm while on public property or on private property where the public has general access.

Roy Rogers is rolling around laughing in his grave.

Scary, huh.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Adam Gussow's Keys to the Kingdom...

This is between you and me.

Adam Gussow is a heckuva harp player. Me, I'm OK, too but Adam is one of the special ones.

So here's what the bugger does:

He lays out on YouTube over 40 lessons about how to play blues harp, from very very beginner to certified screamin' funkmonkey, and he does it in a way that pretty much means that if you can see and hear, you'll get it. Probably quickly.


The whole shmoo: tone, technique, equipment, effects and tricks. Whammo. Not all there is but so close to it y'can feel the breeze. Mr. Gussow mentions he thinks a dedicated type could put it all together enough for pro work in about two years. I think he's right.

The lessons are organized, easy to follow and thorough. I've played for maybe 40 years as a pro and semi-pro and I'm quite decent. I learned very useful new-to-me stuff in lesson two.

I'm certainly not going to support competition in my trade by constantly reminding people about Adam's near-total destruction of the market for blues harmonica teachers in the english speaking world. There is no way I will constantly repeat that I've never encountered better lessons, nor will I unfailingly be advising readers that so far in the series a student requires 10-hole diatonic harmonicas in the keys of Bb, C, D and I think F and G. It would be foolish if I repeated further that the Bb will get a person through the first 10-15 lessons or so.

It would only be adding to the damage were I to even occasionally reiterate that it'd be an idea to get a good harp to start, at least the quality of the quite serviceable Suzuki Harpmaster or better. Adam uses Hohner Marine Bands/Model 1896 (not my first choice, but they're good pro level harps).

Bottom line: I teach harmonica and if you want to play well, you don't really need me anymore. I'll be happy to help, but almost everything you'd want to know is in these lessons, and everything you need to know is right out in the open.

There. I've told you.

The blues harp keys to the kingdom are laying out in plain view.

Don't let this news get out.

And don't expect me to remind you.

So ya wander the blogosphere...

and bump into this by way of Tom Scott, commenting at QandO

L’Eggo My Lego in TCS Daily reports on the Lego ban at Hilltop Children’s Center in Seattle: Teachers at the private school wanted children — most from upper-middle-class white families — to learn about “the inequities of private ownership.”
Like I'm surprised.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

This Isn't New But It's Important.

The Postmodernism Generator

capable of this:

*Objectivism in the works of Gaiman*
*Ludwig I. BaileyDepartment of Literature, University of North Carolina*

An excerpt: Thus, Foucault uses the term ‘postmaterialist theory’ to denote not sublimation, as neosemioticist capitalist theory suggests, but neosublimation. The premise of Lacanist obscurity suggests that culture is part of the failure of narrativity.

(paraphrased) Note: "The excerpt you have read is completely meaningless and was randomly generated by the Postmodernism Generator. To generate another essay, follow this link." (paraphrased)

Michelle Malkin by way of FARK

Michelle Malkin by way of FARK

Liberal bloggers discover web misogyny...

Go visit Michelle's site and update yourself on the liberal-left's very selective rage.

Kinda reminds me of all the Democratic feminist Clinton supporters tripping all over their past quotes and back-pedalling like mad when their Alpha-Male in Chief decided to share sexual pleasure with Ms. Lewinsky (otherwise, woulda been "when he grotesquely abused the work-place power relationship to satisfy the most base of his carnal desires" or some such rot--you know the stuff they trotted out when it was a conservative judge they were gunning for).

Actually, I gotta thank Bill Clinton for that--he pretty much did to wacky-left feminists what hip-hop/MTV did to hair bands--and just as quickly.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Chris Sligh... a smart, class act.

I have absolutely never seen a better "loser" on American Idol. And he's a fine, fine singer.

Good work, Chris.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007



Rates go up because "Energy savings programs create revenue shortfall"...

OMFG Wotta laugh....

So lemme see--if I cut back to using next to nothing, I'll be paying stupendously massive amounts for it.


Monday, March 26, 2007

One more thing...

I love headlines like this:

Aspirin may lower death risk in women
Overall odds of dying drop by 25 percent, study finds

No, the overall odds of dying do not drop by 25%.

The death risk remains the same with or without aspirin: a certainty. The death rate will remain at 100% (one per customer) for the foreseeable future.

A quick one...

This story prompts my comment for today...

From the article: "Barred from teaching creationism in U.S. public schools, some conservative Christians now advocate the “intelligent design” argument that some forms of life are too complex to have simply evolved. Scientists call this creationism in disguise.

My comment: "Intelligent design" is creationism in drag, creationism masquerading as its own opposite.

I do not deny god; there is no god to deny.