Monday, January 30, 2012

Drone Repression.

If we didn't have enough to worry about, John Robb over at Global Guerrillas has an article on the future of drones as a replacement for "gunboat diplomacy" in international affairs. Additionally, he did not miss the very real possibility that a coercive state will use them to suppress dissent.

All the money is on cyber intel (to generate targets based on "signatures") and drones to kill them. When domestic unrest occurs in the US due to economic decline, these systems will be ready for domestic application.

Oh joy

Oh joy, indeed. All states are coercive

Full article: Drone Diplomacy: Comply or Die

Friday, January 27, 2012

This is Just Plain Weird

Back on July 26, 2010 I posted a short entry about a site called "Instant Hitman". The site is obviously a joke but, yesterday, I saw a search for "instant hitman comments" in my Site Meter statistics. When I checked my comments awaiting moderation, lo and behold, I saw the following:

Would you help me? Jacqueline Marando life is ruin'B/C Walmart Home Office in Benton is messing up w/ Jacqueline's b/c Walmart Home Office in Benton are cold, greedy, &snobby. Would you help me?

Maybe someone is just screwing around or maybe he really is that dumb. In either case, for those who donlt get it Instant Hitman is a JOKE. Got it, dipstick?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rand Paul Detained by TSA

I'm not sure yet exactly why this happened and it might be interesting to see how Blogger Bob and the TSA spin it. Frankly, I suspect it will just be another entry in the Big Book of Stupid Things the TSA got Away With.

Rand Paul Has Been Detained By The TSA At Nashville Airport

H/T to Claire Wolfe

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Laura Decker Completes Her Round-the-World Sailing Trip.

Via Breitbart
Dutch teen Laura Dekker on Saturday became the youngest sailor to complete a solo circumnavigation of the world, a year after going to court for the right to make the attempt.

The 16-year-old completed her solo round-the-world journey when she sailed into harbour on the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten at 3:00 pm (1900 GMT).
Dekker, who left the island nearly a year ago to the day -- January 20, 2011 -- beat the previous record by some eight months.

Read the rest here

It is good to see a youngster tackling challenges like this. It is sad that Western Civilization has eroded so much she had to fight child welfare services in the courts for the "right" to do it.

Good job, young lady

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Anonymous Strikes Back.

Apparently in response to the Feds taking down Megauploads, the groups known as 'anonymous" has struck at the federal government and several commercial sites.

Anonymous has sure been quiet lately, but today's federal bust of Megaupload riled 'em up good: a retaliatory strike against (and plenty of other foes) leaving them completely dead.

Read the rest here

It didn't take any great genius to see this coming. Did the admins of the dot-gov sites being really think there would be no retaliation? Even a minimally competent admin could prepare for this if he knew it might be coming. It is possible the Justice Department didn't just didn't bother to tell the admins to be ready. Maybe the memo got lost along with the tracking data on the Fast and Furious guns.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Watch a Whale -- Go to Jail.

The Economist reports on the case of Nancy Black who is accused of violating the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act. Her crime was video recording a pod of orcas feeding on a grey whale calf they had just killed. Also because she gave the investigators a copy of the commercial video of the event, she is accused of tampering with the evidence.

You can read the artice at Another one in the net.

The saddest part of this and similar escapades is that there is no conspiracy. If there were one, then there would be an articulable evil to be angry at. However, these cases are just the consilience of a poorly written law (passed by lawmakers who probably never bothered to read it) giving broad powers to ambitious bureaucrats anxious to impress their higher ups. Lazy lawmakers and ambitious agents of the state combine to create even more misery than nature intended.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Republican Politics in a Nutshell

Atlantea the Beautiful

Diplomatic Carry

On page nine, Alan Korwin has an unusual take on the right to self defense in the alternate universe inhabited by government officials. He calls it Diplomatic Carry

Officials travel armed. When a contingent of our officials visits any other country, they bring armed personnel in classic right-to-bear-arms manner. Life is dangerous and the ability to protect yourself is a reasonable and prudent thing, a fundamental human right of existence, a moral imperative. So they go armed. It's only rational. Hillary and similar bring along enough firepower that if some of their group go one way while some head off in another, they're both covered.

The same is true in reverse. When an ambassador from Trashcanistan comes to the United States, discreetly armed bodyguards accompany the party at all times, "laws to the contrary notwithstanding." That's lawyer-speak for "their right to carry supersedes any other rules," or in plainer English, "We're above those laws." The ambassador might decide to personally carry too. I'm guessing Hillary does not.

There's this whole "second system" of gun possession and carry here domestically, another layer of rules on top of the common ones you must follow, operating quietly with people in the know cooperating.

Read the rest here.

H/T to The War on Guns.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Photo ID needed to Buy Drano in Illinois.

Just when I think that the politicians have plumbed the depth of their collective stupidity, they bounce back and prove me too optimistic again.

New Law Requires Photo ID To Buy Drain Cleaner

CHICAGO (CBS) – A new state law requires those who buy drain cleaners and other caustic substances to provide photo identification and sign a log.

Read the rest here.

I'll bet the State of Illinois won't require an ID to vote in the next election. If it did, half the voters in Chicago would be disqualified.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Debating a Determinist

Or more accurately, the futility of debating a determinist.

Jerry A. Coyne has an article in USA Today entitled "Why you don't really have free will"

The above article is not an exhaustive defense of hard determinism but it covers some of the high points. In essence, the determinist denies that you can actually make a choice between alternatives. The basic argument usually goes something like this:

  1. For any event there are antecedent causes that ensure the occurrence of the event in accordance with impersonal, mechanical causal laws.
  2. If an event must occur then it is not free.
  3. Therefore, no action is free.

If no action is free then every thought I have and every conclusion I reach was determined when the first hydrogen atom bumped into the second. There is no reasoning required. In fact no reasoning or thought is even involved. It is simply computation. One plus one equals two. Determinism means that the ability to reason is nothing more than an illusion. This leaves me with the curious problem of how to reason with someone who effectively denies the possibility of reason.

Imagine I conduct an experiment demonstrating that determinism is probably false. Because determinism requires that both the determinist and the non-determinist have no choice in what they do, the determinist can simply claim that my evidence is the result of a long chain of causal events and was itself determined. Within the constraints imposed by determinism, no rational argument can be made that determinism is false because reason cannot happen in a determined universe. Only computation is possible. In short, determinism cannot be falsified making it more akin to a religious belief -- or a conspiracy -- than anything else.