Thursday, July 31, 2014

Everytown Wants You Dead.

A recent video released by Everytown for Gun Safety tries to associate firearms with domestic violence in the viewer's mind. Knowing the everytowners are controlists makes it pretty easy to decipher the message: Guns are bad. However, it is just as legitimate to interpret the video as an argument for a woman threatened by a violent ex-spouse or ex-boyfriend to arm herself. In the video the woman does exactly as the controlists advise -- she got a restraining order and, when the ex shows up, she dials 911.

That didn't work.

As a counterpoint to the everytowners' propaganda. one woman did not buy into the common anti-self-defense rhetoric and she is, quite possibly, alive and healthy today because of that.

Man shot dead by girlfriend in domestic dispute

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN 6) – Sheriff deputies confirm a woman shot and killed her boyfriend late Tuesday night inside a home the couple was renting.

Police said what began as a domestic dispute escalated into a shooting with a hand gun, killing 44-year-old Scott Grossman at roughly 11:00 p.m. in the 200 block of Northwest 94th Street.

The woman, whose name and age are not being released by police, was not criminally charged and she is not expected to appear in court.

The difference in outcomes -- one imaginary and one real -- cannot be stressed too much nor too emphatically. In the imaginary scenario promoted by the everytowners women are helpless victims in waiting. In the real world, as illustrated by the incident in Washington, women can fight back and do so successfully.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

After the KT Event

After the asteroid impact, the lawn flamingo evolved to become the most fearsome predator of the Cretaceous. Here a pack strips the flesh from a Tyrannosaurus so fast she doesn't even have time to collapse.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

It's Nobody's Business but My Own

Boston Police Commissioner Says Nobody In The City Needs a Shotgun or Rifle

Police Commissioner is an appointed office in Boston so, if the appointee want to keep the job, I expect him to say whatever Hizzoner wants him to say. True to that, William Evans, recently appointed Police Commissioner for the City of Boston, is quoted as saying

I don’t agree with that. Having long guns–rifles and shotguns–especially here in the city of Boston. I think we should have, as the local authority, some say in the matter. [And] the federal [government] doesn’t really allow us to have the discretion that we want in these particular cases.

…For the most part, nobody in the city needs a shotgun. Nobody needs a rifle.

A "need" for any kind of gun is not a valid criteria for determining access to a fundamental human right and letting the controlists frame that -- or any other part of the debate -- is a bad idea. Do not let an opponent blather on about "need" until he or she first agrees there is a fundamental right to effective self defense. Emphasize that "effective" in this case means that the victim will have an equal or better chance than the criminal of escaping the encounter unharmed.

Frankly, I don't think the controlists even care about what I "need" because they don't believe any of us has a right to resist criminal attacks. That is why they always argue, "Just give them what they want." The "need" argument is just a rhetorical trick to move the debate to a place where gun owners and their rights can be attacked. Concentrating on the civil rights issue provides more leverage and, believe me, the controlists hate it. They don't want to talk about rights because, deep down inside their scabby little souls, they are driven be a hatred of guns and the culture that guns are a part of. I am convinced they seek the deliberate and systematic destruction of the entire unique non-criminal "gun culture".

There is no reason that, in a sane world, I have to justify my peaceable, non aggressive choices. I don't have to give a reason why I use Linux instead of Windows or a Mac. I don't have to explain why I drink Southern Comfort or Jack Daniels nor explain why I don't drink Rum or Tequila. I don't have to justify the sex or number of people I sleep with. It is equally nobody's business but mine what kinds of guns I own nor how many rounds each will fire before reloading.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kozynski on the Death Penalty

My objection to the death penalty is purely pragmatic: There is no accountability when an agent of the state kills someone in error and that is a recipe for corruption. Power corrupts the men who wield it especially when there is no personal liability for their actions.

That said, if we are going to have executions then just use a firing squad or a guillotine. Automate the process if it makes people feel better but Kozynski is right when he object to using life-saving medication to kill (PDF). That is just damned wrong.

Whatever the hopes and reasons for the switch to drugs, they proved to be misguided. Subverting medicines meant to heal the human body to the opposite purpose was an enterprise doomed to failure. Today’s case is only the latest in an unending effort to undermine and discredit this method of carrying out lawful executions. Another symptom of the problem is the decade-long inability (or perhaps unwillingness) of California state officials to come up with an execution protocol, effectively putting the state’s death chamber out of commission. See Jones v. Chappell, No. CV09-02158-CJC, slip op. at 5 n.7 (C.D. Cal. July 16, 2014). Old age, not execution, is the most serious risk factor for inmates at the San Quentin death row. Then, again, you get odd cases like that of Russell Bucklew, who obtained a stay of execution on the ground that the drugs that would be used to kill him would cause a lingering, painful death. See Bucklew v. Lombardi, 134 S. Ct. 2333, 2333 (2014).

Whatever happens to Wood, the attacks will not stop and for a simple reason: The enterprise is flawed. Using drugs meant for individuals with medical needs to carry out executions is a misguided effort to mask the brutality of executions by making them look serene and peaceful—like something any one of us might experience in our final moments. See Callins v. Collins, 510 U.S. 1141, 1143 (1994) (Scalia, J., concurring in denial of certiorari) (“How enviable a quiet death by lethal injection . . . .”). But executions are, in fact, nothing like that. They are brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that reality. Nor should it. If we as a society want to carry out executions, we should be willing to face the fact that the state is committing a horrendous brutality on our behalf.

If some states and the federal government wish to continue carrying out the death penalty, they must turn away from this misguided path and return to more primitive -- and foolproof -- methods of execution. The guillotine is probably best but seems inconsistent with our national ethos. And the electric chair, hanging and the gas chamber are each subject to occasional mishaps. The firing squad strikes me as the most promising. Eight or ten large-caliber rifle bullets fired at close range can inflict massive damage, causing instant death every time. There are plenty of people employed by the state who can pull the trigger and have the training to aim true. The weapons and ammunition are bought by the state in massive quantities for law enforcement purposes, so it would be impossible to interdict the supply. And nobody can argue that the weapons are put to a purpose for which they were not intended: firearms have no purpose other than destroying their targets. Sure, firing squads can be messy, but if we are willing to carry out executions, we should not shield ourselves from the reality that we are shedding human blood. If we, as a society, cannot stomach the splatter from an execution carried out by firing squad, then we shouldn’t be carrying out executions at all.

While I believe the state should and will prevail in this case, I don’t understand why the game is worth the candle. A tremendous number of taxpayer dollars have gone into defending a procedure that is inherently flawed and ultimately doomed to failure. If the state wishes to continue carrying out executions, it would be better to own up that using drugs is a mistake and come up with something that will work, instead.

Coincidences in the Dark

While searching for something unrelated I came across a couple of factoids I found interesting.

That two prominent English authors (OK, C. S. Lewis was born in Belfast but you know what I mean) should die on the same day is quite a coincidence in itself but, being an American, I also know that John F. Kennedy died on November 22, 1963. My reason tells me that is an interesting but meaningless correlation, However, there is some ancient, pre-sapient structure in my brain that is saying, "Wow!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Beretta Moves Manufacturing to Tennessee

This does not surprise me. It has been building for a long time and I am glad to see it finally happening though Beretta has no plans to move its headquarters -- yet. Hopefully more gun manufacturers will follow suit and disassociate themselves from anti-gun states.

Beretta USA Announces Decision To Move Its Entire Maryland Manufacturing Capabilities To Tennessee

Beretta U.S.A. Corp., located in Accokeek, Maryland, announced today that it has decided to move its manufacturing capabilities from its existing location to a new production facility that it is building in Gallatin, Tennessee. The Gallatin facility is scheduled to be opened in mid-2015. Beretta U.S.A. had previously planned to use the new Gallatin, Tennessee facility for new machinery and production of new products only.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

ET is Impossible?

According to the Bible as interpreted by Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, ET cannot not exist. Ham recently posted one of the brighter gems in the usual grimy dreck of religious silliness. Entitled “We’ll find a new earth within 20 years” it explains why intelligent aliens cannot exist.

Now the Bible doesn’t say whether there is or is not animal or plant life in outer space. I certainly suspect not. The Earth was created for human life. And the sun and moon were created for signs and our seasons—and to declare the glory of God.

And I do believe there can’t be other intelligent beings in outer space because of the meaning of the gospel. You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation. One day, the whole universe will be judged by fire, and there will be a new heavens and earth. God’s Son stepped into history to be Jesus Christ, the “Godman,” to be our relative, and to be the perfect sacrifice for sin—the Savior of mankind.

Jesus did not become the “GodKlingon” or the “GodMartian”! Only descendants of Adam can be saved. God’s Son remains the “Godman” as our Savior. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we see the Father through the Son (and we see the Son through His Word). To suggest that aliens could respond to the gospel is just totally wrong.

An understanding of the gospel makes it clear that salvation through Christ is only for the Adamic race—human beings who are all descendants of Adam.

I sometimes make fun of religion. There is no meanness intended by this -- I just think there is something strange about an adult having an invisible friend. Maybe I just have a hollow spot where my bump of reverence is supposed to be. That doesn't mean I think religious people are necessarily evil or good or indifferent but it is obvious that some are sillier than others.

That said, I agree that Ham's interpretation is correct given the text and context of the Bible. I just don't buy it. I know there are other sects of Christianity that interpret the plain language of Biblical cosmology in a less than literal manner. I don't buy their hand-waving explanations either. It may well be that we humans will never encounter another intelligent species but that is because the Universe is big place and, I think, intelligence is rare.

Especially rare over at Answers in Genesis.

Monday, July 21, 2014

What to do with Israel

Fred Reed has, in his imitable manner, pared a horribly complex issue down to a set of essential parts. I don't agree with his assessment of all the elements but I do think his conclusion sums up the problem:

All in all, it seems to me that Israel has gotten itself into a horrible situation, hated within, hated without, and hanging by a lobby. What can the Israelis do? Emigrate to New York? Undertake an absolutely horrific ethnic cleansing? Exercise the Antarctica Option? Spend all eternity ducking rockets and bombing neighbors? Live as herdsmen of unwanted Moslems that they have to avoid assimilating?

I don’t see a happy ending. Or any ending.

Read the entire thing at: Whither Israel?

I propose the Parabarbarian Final Solution.

Take some of the Federal land that nobody is using for anything useful and mark out an area equal to or larger than the size of Israel. Call it the "New Jewish Homeland" or some such then let any citizen of Israel immigrate and live there. Pretty simple.

Sure, there are a lot of details that would have to be worked out but, historically, every country that has sheltered the Jews has benefited from that practice. The Ashkenazim are, on average, more intelligent than other ethnic groups and they have a culture that values literacy, education and self-reliance. Instead of being a drain on the country they would represent a net benefit

Possible problems include:

  • American Muslims will resist the idea because they hate Jews.
  • A lot of American Christians will resist the idea because it will interfere with their longed for Armageddon.
  • Some (Most?) Jews may not want to Leave Israel.

In reality, the above problems may be insurmountable -- especially taken together -- but I still think it is an idea worth considering. It would probably be a lot better than Antarctica.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

FedEx Charged for not Looking inside Customers' Packages

FedEx charged with trafficking drugs for Web pharmacies

This is another act in the progressive attack on freedom. Recently, credit card companies were pressured to refuse payments for people the government hates. Banks were similarly pressured to refuse or cancel their accounts. Now delivery companies are being pressured to refuse to deliver goods from businesses the state disapproves of.

The primary goal of this attack it not to prosecute the party allegedly engaging in the criminal conduct. It is to establish control via more compliant victims. This saves the government from having to pursue the real "criminals" (whether the activities in question should be illegal is a separate question) and lets it establish control using indirect means to strangle any business that displeases the Powers That Be.

FedEx is incorporated in Delaware and its headquarters is in Memphis, TN. The indictment is in the Northern District of California. I think this is significant in that high tech companies -- Telecoms, ISPs and hardware manufacturers -- in Silicon Valley will have to take notice. The warning is subtle but clear: Bend over when the government demands it.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Gun Control Parody Site.

Wonderdonkey is a new site but so far the parody is better-that-average clever and funny. Given that at least two Target stores have been robbed at gun point since announcing their no gun policy, this latest one may be prescient as well.

For local meth-heads, Facebook group “Everytown For Gun Safety” known as “EveryTownperson We Can Rob Safely”

Unofficially changing billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s “grass-roots” organization’s name to, “EveryTownperson We Can Rob Safely”, local meth-heads said they were excited how the Facebook groups’ openly unarmed members would increase robbery safety in their town.

“It’s a list of townspeople that don’t have a gun to defend themselves. And they TELL people about it,” gleefully explained meth-enthusiast Dennis Hutchlee. “They’re the best people to rob safely.”

Town meth-devotee Tyler Aingston expressed how this group will change his life. “Yeah, I used to be so nervous about being shot while robbing people’s homes that I actually got a J-O-B and worked to support my meth habit. Not anymore. Thanks, Michael Bloomberg!”

Another gem is this announcement that Fearless Leader is turning the White House into a Gun Free Zone.

To Avoid Being A Huge-Ass Hypocrite, U.S. President Makes White House “Gun-Free” Zone

“Therefore, all Secret Service, military personnel and those individuals previously entrusted to protect myself and my family with firearms, will now be required to just get rid of them. This will make the White House 100% gun-free and everyone will be safer. And it definitely won’t encourage maniacs who now know we can’t defend ourselves,” said the man who is absolutely “walking his talk” and not lying right to your face while trying to sell you some total bullshit that makes you and your loved ones more vulnerable.

H/T to Grant Cunningham .

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Take Back The Streets

Looks like some of the people in Detroit have figured out that fancy words and empty platitudes are not reducing the crime but armed citizens are. What is unusual about this article is that Detroit Police Chief James Craig is giving some of the credit to armed citizen.

Detroit police chief gives credit to armed citizens for drop in crime

Detroit has experienced 37 percent fewer robberies in 2014 than during the same period last year, 22 percent fewer break-ins of businesses and homes, and 30 percent fewer carjackings. Craig attributed the drop to better police work and criminals being reluctant to prey on citizens who may be carrying guns

Time to give an armed citizenry a chance.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


I used to think Mount Fuji was about the most beautiful volcano on the planet.

Then I saw this picture of Mount Mayon on the isle of Luzon in the Philippines.

Is Everyone Religious?

This essay was sparked by a post on Ex-Army entitled Everybody's Religious. Normally, I would have just posted a short comment but Google's gstatic is screwed up again so I was unable to. That gave me some more time to think about the question.

So, is everybody really religious? More importantly, am I religious? The more I thought about it, the more I realized the answer to that question really depends on how I define "religion". The definition I have used for decades is a positive one:

A thing is a religion if it asserts the existance of at least one of:
  1. the divine or
  2. an afterlife.

That seems pretty simple and straight-forward to me.

  • Christianity is a religion because it asserts there is a god (or gods, depending on how you count them) and it asserts the existence of an afterlife (resurrection).
  • Islam is a religion because asserts the existence of a single god and it asserts the existence of an afterlife (resurrection).
  • Hinduism is a religion because asserts the existence of a pantheon of gods (in some versions this is conceived of as a single god) and it asserts the existence of an afterlife (reincarnation).

Since either one of the above characteristics is sufficient to to make a religion I can add to the list:

  • Theravada Buddhism is a religion because it asserts the existence of an afterlife (reincarnation) but not the existence of the divine.
  • Sadducee Judiasm is a religion because it asserts the existence of a single god but rejects the existence of an afterlife.

There is a whole lot of human group behavior that does not fit the definition of religion above. For example, line dancing does not assert the existence of the divine nor of an afterlife so it is not a religion. Still, it seems to me that my definition is a pretty generous interpretation of the concept of "religion".

So, am I religious? So far, I find the evidence for the divine and the afterlife is insufficient to non-existent so, according to my definition above, I am not. However, there is a second, even more liberal, definition I infer from some of the half-baked arguments I've read over the years. I call this a negative definition because it does not require any positive assertions:

A thing is a religion of it takes a position on the existence of at least one of:
  1. the divine or
  2. the afterlife.

Using that definition atheism and agnosticism are "religions" (though I think line dancing is still exempt). Both take a position on the existence of the divine: Atheists do not believe it exists. Agnostics say it is impossible to know. A definition of religion that includes atheist and agnostics as "religious" strikes me as woolgathering but it does seem to summarize the arguments from the everybody-is-religious positions I've read.

I am sure there are more combinations of criteria regarding what constitutes a religion. In fact, each of us can define it pretty much anyway we want. So, unless all parties can agree on what a religion is, there is no possibility of rational discourse on the subject.

The pedant and the priest have always been the most expert of logicians -- and the most diligent disseminators of nonsense and worse. The liberation of the human mind has never been furthered by dunderheads; it has been furthered by gay* fellows who heaved dead cats into sanctuaries and then went roistering down the highways of the world, proving to all men that doubt, after all, was safe -- that the god in the sanctuary was finite in his power and hence a fraud. One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms. It is not only more effective; it is also vastly more intelligent.
-- H L Mencken, in The American Mercury, January, 1924

*Though the term "gay" was already being used to describe a homosexual male by the 1930s, I am pretty sure Mencken was using it the sense of " having or showing a merry, lively mood."

More on the Evil Spielberg

Yet another (faked) example of the evil that is Steven Spielberg. This time he killed The Last Unicorn.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The NSA Really is Watching Us.

By now I doubt anyone is really surprised at this.

The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control

H/T to David Codrea.

Spielberg and the Triceratops

When I first saw this on Fakebook I was genuinely puzzled that anyone over the age of seven did not know that the Ceratopsians went extinct about 65 million years ago. Then I remembered that Genesis 1:23-27 claims that man and the "beasts of the earth" were created on the sixth day and there are people who believe that is literally true. It started to make a perverse kind of sense.

Every time I think I finally see the bottom of the pit of human ignorance, someone rises to the occasion and proves that it goes even deeper.

Anti-Hunting Activists Up In Arms Over Photo Of Steven Spielberg Next To ‘Poor Dead Animal’

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Immumeracy in New Jersey

According to a recent "report" broadcast by 101.5 FM to the people of New Jersey using statistics from the Violence Policy Center (VPC), "New Jersey has a gun ownership rate of about 11 percent, and a gun death rate of about 5 1/2 percent, and that is very low,"


According to Census Bureau estimates , the 2013 population of New Jersey is 8,899,339. Using the VPC figures of an 11% gun ownership rate that equates to 978,927 firearms in the state. Using the figure of "5 1/2 percent" for "gun death" rates that comes out to 489,464 deaths or about 5,500 per 100,000 persons! Even Chicago or Washington DC cannot equal that on their most murderous weekends! It may be possible that Ms. Rand quoted the figure in error or maybe she simply lied. However, why didn't at least one person at the radio station pick up a calculator and check that figure?

I cannot give much credence to someone who is that ignorant of simple, grammar school arithmetic.

H/T to David Codrea and JPFO.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Every 823 Years my Ass.

I've seen this meme is circulating a lot on the Internet. It's bullshit. The fact is that the first three days of any month with 31 days will repeat five times within the month. That means any 31-day month* that starts on a Friday will have five Fridays, five Saturdays and five Sundays. You don't have to wait 823 years for it to happen again, the next occurrence after August of 2014 will be in May of 2015.

* January, March, May, July, August, October and December

Friday, July 4, 2014

Take a Bite out of Malaria

A synthetic sex ratio distortion system for the control of the human malaria mosquito

Behind that pompous sounding title is a pretty clever idea: Use genetic modification to cause the endonuclease I-PpoI to carve up the X chromsome in the male Anopheles mosquito the female of which is the vector for malaria.

Because just indiscriminatly tearing up the X chromosome would kill the mosquito, the researchers genetically modified the enzyme so it is only expressed during spermatogenesis and has a short half-life. Mow a male with the allele would be otherwise healthy but produce little to no viable X-bearing sperm. The goal is not to kill the mosquito but to cause the males to father fewer female offspring. The implications for the anopheles population are obvious.

A precursor to this is the "sterile insect technique" used since since the sixties to eradicate screwfly populations. Large numbers of male screwflies were artificially sterilized and released. The females they mated with produced sterile eggs. The advantage of genetic modification is that it is self perpetuating. Successive generations would carry the modified allele and some males in every generation would produce (mostly) only male offspring.

It may be true that "nature will find a way" and, if attempted, this GMO approach might fail. That doesn't stop it from being a clever idea.

Happy Independence Day!

I live in a jurisdiction where fireworks of all kinds are banned (except for the usual suspects) so here is a brief video on making fireworks from steel wool and copper wire.

Blogger usually chops off part of a embedded video so: link to original.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

What the Heck is a Parabarbarian Anyway?

I get that question occasionally. I usually just ignore it but I must be in an explaining mood.

Many years ago I read an essay by John W. Campbell who was then the editor of Astounding/Analog magazine. In it he discussed the difference between various perceptions of how human groups are organized and managed or ruled. Basically what Campbell did was to describe human society -- just a bigger group -- in terms of three different but commonly understood ideals.

I found this link which purports to be a faithful copy of the original. I cannot vouch for the accuracy but it does match my memories -- such as they are at my age.

Anyways, here are Campbell's divisions. The explanations are my summaries and any way they may differ from Campbell's original intent is my fault.

  • The Barbarian: Does not respond to social control or law in any manner other than might-makes-right. Allegiance is usually to a strong leader who achieved his position by soundly defeating the competition.
  • The Tribesman: Responds to custom and social pressure. Allegiance is to the tribal group and to its customs. Often this is expressed as allegiance to a tribal or religious leader.
  • The Citizen: Responds to authority and generally does as he is told. Usually because he believe that it is a citizen's duty to obey the law. Allegiance is to the nation and its dominant culture.

Bear in mind that the above are ideals and, as such, are standards of conduct or virtue to which an individual might aspire. The above three are pretty much platonic in that purity and reality is almost always messier. A real world individuals may be a barbarian with regard to X, a tribesman with regard to Y and a citizen with regard to Z. Nevertheless, the categories have proved useful to me in understanding why people do or believe some of the things they do. I am an INTP personality type and I used the categories to help clarify my thinking (or belief if you prefer) on various issues where answers are more than just a result of reducing data. They helped me construct a mental framework that cut through a lot of the bullshit.

Somewhere along the line I decided that I wanted a new category that better described my unique combination of the three facets. Eventually, I borrowed a label -- I have no idea where I first saw it -- filed off the serial numbers and applied it to myself. I give you the final bullet point:

  • The Parabarbarian: Respects the law if and only if he considers that law as valid, productive, efficient and effective. He has no automatic respect for institutions and is suspicious of anything other than results. He has a sense of social responsibility but without the burden of cultural loyalty. He sees culture as a social tool and society as a mutually agreeable but otherwise arbitrary arrangement among individual members of a group.

Now you know.

07/04/2014 -- "Obeys the law..." -> "Respects the law..."