Monday, February 28, 2005

Fierce Women

Via Emily of It Comes in Pints? we get this wonderful piece by Katherine Dunn discounting the feminist-as-victim idea of women who are unable or unwilling to look after themselves.

Just as Fierce on one level deals with Dallas Malloy, the woman who sued US Amateur Boxing for gender discrimination and won the right to box in sanctioned matches. On another level it is a tribute to the women in Dunn's family that fiercely protected their children - or in one case the prize turkeys.
But most of us would not be here without a generous sprinkling of physically aggressive women in our bloodlines. Throughout most of human history, long before antibiotics and prepackaged foods, many women had to be strong or they didn't survive. They had to be fierce or their young did not survive. And these gifts have not declined in this upholstered age of air conditioning.
One of Mom's favorite relatives was her Aunt Myrtle, a gentle woman, revered by her farming clan. A classic Myrtle tale describes how she dashed into the subzero cold one winter night, clad only in boots and a nightie, to battle a pack of prairie wolves who were killing her prize turkeys. My mother, a child then, watched amazed from the kitchen window as Myrtle the dainty, the kind, danced with her kindling hatchet flashing into the skulls and spines of fanged and flickering beasts. Blood exploded in black sprays across the snow. "And that Christmas," the story always ends, "she gave us kids wolfskin mittens, with the fur side in, and stitched snowflakes on the cuffs."
During the last few decades, American women have proven their efficacy in every law enforcement agency, earned the trust of those who fight forest fires beside them, and struggled for the right to demonstrate brains, resourcefulness, courage, and strength in a thousand venues from sports to the space shuttle. But the idea that women can't take care of themselves still permeates our culture.
The idea that women are delicate flowers should have gone out with long gloves, but it unfortunately remains.

We also get a few glimpses of a fierce woman in Emily's family, her mother.

Emily's final thought I found completely refreshing:
The pathetically stupid idea that we ultimately have no control over the choices that we make and that we are somehow driven by forces that are beyond our power to counter or resist is probably the worst thing to happen to women since the invention of the corset. And it's twice as damaging.
For several years, one of the passions in my life has been teaching women (and some men) how to defend themselves with firearms. (Or if they can't honestly use a firearm, to get them to think about some other means of defense.) Make a plan and take responsibility for your own safety, your own well being. There are no guarantees in life - your plan may not work. But to fail to plan is to fail to take responsibility for your own safety. Stop waiting for the knight to rescue you; fierce women are responsible adults.

Weasel Watching

As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.

Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

Toronto Police Chief wants program banned - Get 'hate mongering' off air: Fantino

A college radio program Bad Cop, No Donut!, that deals with allegations of abuse by various police forces, has Toronto police Chief Julina Fantino in state. Not that he is worried about abuse. No, he is worried about image.
"I'm disgusted that this kind of hate mongering would be directed at our police officers," Fantino said yesterday.

"The issue here is to have Ryerson [University] do the right thing.

"The right thing would be for them to take action to ensure this type of hate mongering is not perpetuated."
Kristin Schwartz, the news director, defended the show, and its email address,
I think what should really be disturbing to people is not an email address but the real impact on people's lives of police abuse. I think it's important to tell those stories.
Hat Tip Keep and Bear Arms.

Best of Me Symphony #65

The Owner's Manual: Best of Me Symphony #65 has been published over at the Owner's Manual. (With a contribution from yours truly.) Go take a look.

Handguns or Men?

two gunsBitter Bitch of The Bitch Girls, has this interesting take on why Handguns are better than men. I like reason 15, myself, "Handguns aren't intimidated by assertive, intelligent women." [hat tip Ilyka Damen]

Intruders fatally shot in Alabama and New York

And I thought Birmingham and New York City had almost nothing in common.... Of course just to prove how much more civilized they are, the New York police arrested the homeowner in that case.

Intruder fatally shot in Chelsea, Alabama. A homeowner escapes from restraints, retrieves his own gun and shoots a home invader. The accomplice, in a car outside, was arrested by police.
A Shelby County man freed himself after being tied up and then fatally shot an armed, masked intruder inside his Chelsea home during a home invasion early Sunday morning, Shelby County authorities said.
The 2 were apparently invlolved in an earlier home invasion - the weapon the criminal had was stolen earlier in the night. Drugs are suspected.

The accomplice can be charged with murder since she participated in a crime duing which someone was killed. She will likely be charged today. No charges will be brought against the homeowner.

Police: Intruder Shot Dead By Homeowner in New York. A very similar incident.
Police say they were called to the area by 22-year-old Sanjay Broomfield, who said someone had pounded on his door and then come in through the living room window
with a very different outcome for the intended victim. I suppose in New York City, the civilized people feel that Sanjay Broomfield should have let himself be a victim.

UPDATE: Shoe-store clerk kills robber in North Carolina. This Charlotte attempted robbery got a reaction from a bystander, I don't think you would see in NY City.
The robbers started shooting and then the clerk grabbed a gun and fired back, Lopez said.
"The (clerk) did a good job. He saved us," Lopez said. "He saved my kid. He saved our lives."

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Something you don't see everyday - the truth about auto-loaders

KLTV 7 Tyler-Longview-Jacksonville, TX: Gun Expert Clarifies Semi Automatic. A news organization going out of its way to define the reality of a semi-automatic weapon, versus a machine gun.
The common misconception is the "semi-automatic" is equal to some high powered assault weapon, but any number of weapons, small or large caliber , can be semi-automatic.

"When you hear semi-automatic rifle a lot of people assume it's a high powered rifle but that's not always the case" says Longview gun expert Craig Clotz .
Pointing out that even a .22LR can be (and often is) an auto loader is beyond the pale. Of course there is no danger that you will see this story in the Boston Globe, the NY Times or the LA Times. That you see it at all, is a shock to me.

Great photo over at Argghhh!!!

Argghhh! The Home Of Two Of Jonah's Military Guys.. has a photo of "Two RAF Phantoms flying by a Castle in, I assume, Germany." Appears to be Hohenzollern castle in Prusia - now part of Germany. Go take a look.

More on Kevin Drum: Ode to a Dull Drum Beat

Madeleine Begun Kane, Humor Columnist, Notables Weblog , Political Commentary, Humor, Song Parodies, January 1-March 31, 2005 I thought I could leave the whole Drum thing alone, but there is just so much good stuff out there.
Ode To A Dull Drum Beat
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Ev'ry ninety days or so,
A blogger's post appears,
That feigns concern for blogging gals
Who pale beside male peers:

Why don't gals blog politics?
And why are they obscure?
Perhaps it's their passivity.
Their spirits got no roar!
It's great! Go read the rest. [Thanks to Rox Populi]

And for even more, there is Worshiping at the Altar of Mediocrity.

Leftists claiming conservatives are insane, again

individ: Academic Poison: The long history of Marxists calling anti-Leftists mentally ill

Well in the grand tradition of the Soviet Union, Marxist professors want to claim that anyone who disagrees with them, is insane - and no doubt should be sent to a re-education camp.

I think we should get someone to do a study on why those on the left are pathologically incapable of accepting responsibility for their own health and welfare, and insist that the government take care of them from cradle to grave. I would say that this indicates an obsessive unwillingness to grow up, and take the responsibilities of an adult in this society.

They also have an irrational conviction that every action taken by the United States in a foreign policy arena, to be evil.

The list of conditions goes on

(I think this aught to be good for at least 1 PhD thesis.)</sarcasm>

People are entitled to have their own opinions, but as Individ points out, "I do not think someone is mentally ill just because they disagree with me."

Update: Monday, February 28, 2005

Apparently they don't understand sarcasm at The Sidshow (a UK blog - who knew) even when I include an "end sarcasm" html tag in the text.

In response to an article about lefty researchers ACTUALLY claiming anti-leftists are crazy, I - tongue, firmly inserted in cheek - suggest that we get some folk's to study why the left is insane. (I guess the last sentence in the original post doesn't translate into the Queen's English.) And for every person on the right who refers to Moonbats on the left, there is someone on left referring to Right Wing Nut Jobs. (We on the right have for the most part embraced the term wingnut, because name calling doesn't really get anyone anywhere - that and it's funny.)

April 15th is "Buy a Gun Day"

Buy a Gun OK, as tax season is just around the corner, it is once again time for "Buy a Gun Day." (What else where you going to do with that refund anyway?) This is a good way to support the firearms industry, an industry increasingly under attack.

Be sure to pick something that will drive the gun banners crazy. An FN 5.7 perhaps, or something they consider an assault rifle would be a good choice.

Counter Chronicles
is leading the way on publicity. SayUncle, and FreedomSight are also involved. (AmericanDrumslinger is too, but his current post is to much of a "pin up girl" for my taste.)

Remember to obey the ever increasing, and often incomprehensible gun laws when making this purchase.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Shotgun Golf: the rules

Shotgun Golf: the rules :: The London News Review OK, I will say one thing about Hunter S. Thompson; he had a great sense of irony.
Shotgun Golf: the rules
  1. The game consists of one golfer, one shooter and a field judge.
  2. The purpose of the game is to shoot your opponent's high-flying golf ball out of the air with a finely-tuned 12-gauge shotgun, thus preventing him (your opponent) from lofting a 9-iron approach shot onto a distant "green" and making a "hole in one."
  3. Points are scored by blasting your opponent's shiny new Titleist out of the air and causing his shot to fail miserably. That earns you two points.
  4. But if you miss and your enemy holes out, he (or she) wins two points when his ball hits and stays on the green.
  5. And after that, you trade places and equipment, and move on to round 2.
Fear and Loathing at Pebble Beach.

Some Comparisons with other Economies

French Jobless Rate Rises to 10%, Confidence Declines "The French economy created just 39,000 jobs last year, according to Labor Ministry figures, as it expanded by 2.3 percent, the fastest pace in four years."

Berlin warns of further rise in jobless rate "Wolfgang Clement, Germany's economics and labour minister, has warned that unemployment in Europe's largest economy would reach a new record this month after breaching the 5m mark in January. The February figure will be significantly higher"

British average earnings growth picks up "Although Britain's jobless rate rose to 4.7 percent in the fourth quarter from 4.6 percent the previous quarter, the rate still remains one of the lowest in the world. The rate is 12.1 percent in Germany, 10.4 percent in Spain and 9.7 percent in France."

California's Jobless Rate Declines " The U.S. unemployment rate for January was 5.2 percent, down from 5.4 percent the previous month and 5.7 percent in the year ago month."

Bug Me Not - avoid newspaper registration


Tired of having to register to read newspaper articles? Worried about people tracking your surfing? Check out Users of Firefox can have it automatically fill in the first available user ID and password for any site in the database. Happy surfing. (Yes, people have complained that frequent references to the Trib, the San Jose Mercury News, etc. call for registrations. There is more than one way to skin a cat.)

US Economy strong

Chicago Tribune | '04 growth strongest in 5 years; 4th period tops estimate Not much you can say about this, the numbers speak for themselves.
GDP grew 4.4 percent last year, its strongest showing in five years.
Of course the economy grew slower than that in the 4th quarter - that rate is not sustainable. After several years of holding back on purchases, Americans and American companies had some pent-up demand to work through. But the 3.8 percent growth in the 4th quarter is still quite healthy.

Friday, February 25, 2005

More Women Bloggers

Also curtesy of Ilyka Damen, the "women Kevin Drum had so much trouble finding." (some left and some right, since I don't really think either side has a monopoly on good ideas or insanity.)

Not Exactly Rocket Science

Random Gemini Weirdness

Such Small Hands

The Side Show


One Good Thing

Plum Crazy

Rox Polpuli

Trish Wilson's Blog

Watermelon Punch

Common Sense Rules the Day for Marine who shot Terrorist reports: No Charges to Be Brought in Iraq Insurgent Death. Not too often that common sense prevails in this day and age.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Military investigators have decided there is not enough evidence to bring formal charges against a Marine who killed an unarmed Iraqi while his unit searched a Fallujah mosque
It was apparently decided, that based on the circumstances and the incidents of terrorists pretending to be injured before opening fire, it would be impossible to get a conviction. Rightly so.[hat tip to Small Dead Animals]

Gun Control Debate at the University of Chicago.

UChicago SealDemocrats, Republicans debate gun control in Chicago.

Thanks to Jeff at Alphecca for highlighting this story - being as UC is my Alma Mater, this story has a special significance to me. That and the fact that the Dems (and gun control) got whipped in the debate...
The general consensus among the audience in Bartlett Lounge after the debate was that the Republicans had won. “I think the Republicans busted a cap in [the Democrats’] ass,” said Sam Dolgin-Gardener, a first-year in the College and a Democrat. “The Republicans did a great job of framing the debate.” Dolgin-Gardener lauded the Republicans for leading the debate and criticized the Democrats for addressing their opponents’ points rather than bringing up substantial, separate proof of their own case.
When even the Dems admit defeat, it is clear who has the better arguments.

Euripides, Thucydidies' "The Peloponnesian War," x2 y2, H2SO4, ... Go Maroons! (Yes, the Grey City is a strange place)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Slovakian Prime Minister Dzurinda

President and Slovakian Prime Minister Dzurinda Discuss Policy: Odd how countries who have recently become democratic, are more supportive of our policy of spreading democracy.
I told to President Bush that Slovakia supports the policy of the United States based on advancing freedom and democracy, based on preventing nuclear proliferation. This is why Slovakia supports the position of principle of the United States in many areas, regarding Iran, North Korea. This is why we support the effort of the United States to advance peace and stability in the Middle East and the democratization process all over the world.
Maybe Old Europe is too complacent about democracy, or maybe Solvakia isn't scared by a strong America, they are reassured. (Given what just happened in the Ukraine - even though it all came right in the end - shows that freedom does not come easily or free.) [hat tip to Mad Minerva]

Women Bloggers

Several lists of women bloggers are floating around. Here is one I picked up from Ilyka Damen (and eliminated the ones that were dead, or no longer political, or just didn't interest me in any way). I will be adding/republishing as time goes by.

Guys just don't get it

Ilyka Damen: Estrogen Week: Oh Where, Oh Where Have the Fee-males Gone?.

Kevin Drum asks the question that gets asked evey 3 months, only he's a month early. At least he owned up to the responses.

That question is why aren't women represented more in the top of the Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem? Well, because no matter how much we work at it, how much effort we put into our writing, guys won't link to us. Even when our stuff is good.

Then of course there is the Libertarian Girl episode which brings out the exception to this rule - even a guy can get a lot traffic and posts on a blog if he posts a picture of a "hot babe" and claims that is who he is. So all of you guys who were just "in love" with libertarian girl, tell me again how it is all about the quality of the posting and not about eye candy. I wonder how many guys were just sick when they discovered Libertarian Girl was a guy? (Does anyone remember the end of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective when all the guys were chewing gum and brushing their teeth?)

Ilyka, has a response to the LG thing, the interesting thing about her response is that is was written last year - I guess some things never change.
Here's my radical feminist proposition: How about you just read what folks write and link it based on merit?
In the wake of this a lot people are doing some early spring cleaning on the blogrolls. We'll have to see. I keep mostly people I do read regularly, and I try to get people who link to me as well.

Superhawk's right turn into darkness

LibertyRight Wing Nut House � BUSH TAPES: WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET: Politics served up with a smile... And a stilletto.

I usually like what Superhawk has to say over at Right Wing Nut House, but not this time.

Superhawk would have you believe that gays are not a danger, as long as we keep in our place and don't pursue our civil rights. Then, watch out!
This is something the libnuts will never acknowledge and don’t understand; that homosexuals as an interest group are a threat to values and traditions, not homosexuals as people. While there may not be a “gay agenda” set in stone or written down on paper, there is clearly a move afoot within the more radical elements of the gay community to stifle dissent from the religious right to their lifestyle. Not only that, but to actively promote that lifestyle and try to sell it like soda pop to impressionable, lonely, confused teenagers is outrageous.
So our wanting to be able to have our partners control medical decisions for us is a danger to your values. (Too many courts have overturned medical power of attorney in favor of parents and others - against the express wishes of those involved.) Is our not being fired from our jobs for being who we are a danger to your values? Is our not being thrown out of apartments a danger to your values? Doesn't sound like your values are all that robust.

Jews have been surrounded for millennia by people who don't share their traditions, and they have even been persecuted on regular basis for being different. Yet those traditions are strong enough to endure. In exactly what way are we a danger to your values and traditions? What values are you talking about? (Hate is not a family value.)

While some of the "political correctness police" would certainly like to silence the religious right, there are plenty on the right - it appears that Superhawk is among them - who would like to silence the gay community. Our political action threatens his "values and traditions." I would like to point out that this is very similar - not the same - as the way in which the Civil Rights movement threatened the "values and traditions" of the old south. Some of the speeches of George Wallace come to mind....

Gun owners aren't a threat to the left individually, its only when we band together in the National Rifle Association, or the Second Amendment Foundation, or any one of a dozen other groups and lobby for our rights that we threaten the values and traditions of the gun grabbers. Does that make us bad? Depends on your point of view, I guess.

What happened to the tradition of civility in civil society? What happened to, "Live, and let live?" How about the right to peacefully assemble and the right to voice your opinions and work for political change; does that fall under the heading of a value or a tradition? What happened to the values of "liberty and justice for all?"

This started as a post, morphed into a long comment on Superhawk's site, and then into an email. I don't like to start a long confrontation that is likely to degenerate into name calling - no one wins those arguments, and they do nothing to promote understanding of the issue. But I see no benefit in being quiet so, here we are. This is Superhawk's response to that email (which is basically what you see above)
Thanks for your note. I appreciate your comments but I'd like to point out that your sensitivity has perhaps blinded you to what I was trying to get across...either that or my post was incoherent; something I've been guilty of on more than one occasion.

I do not oppose equality of treatment for gay people. Whether or not that equality is achieved through the law or through changes in tradition and culture is a question I've left open due to some very troubling consequences I envision regarding the extension of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act and the application of the 14th Amendment to include one's sexual orientation.

The fact is, as citizens of the US, you are already covered by those laws. Extending the protections of those laws based on sexual orientation would, I'm convinced, open the floodgates to a host of special pleaders not related to same sex issues but rather other sexual preference groups as well as unrelated issues of preference regarding lifestyle and even physical appearance.

Now, before you get yourself into a snit regarding the term "sexual preference" it's very important, I believe, to recognize that the study of this issue is in its infancy and that it's impossible to say whether one's sexual orientation is a result of genes or choice. If it is a result of genes, one could conclude that sexual orientation as a matter of law may require some changes so that gay people have the same legal rights that straight people do. I don't object to this.

Will this include protections against discrimination? Frankly, I'm at a loss on that issue. While disapproving of discrimination personally, would you be asking me to accept a transgender female for instance with no stipulations? Or a radically effeminate male? Is this a question of ignorance and fear on my part or simply my own preference for the kind of individual I would hire to work in my company?

These aren't throwaway issues to be dismissed as the rantings of some homophobic nincompoop. These are real world consequences of extending discrimination coverage.

Here's where I agree with you:

What happened to the tradition of civility in civil society? What happened to, "Live, and let live?" How about the right to peacefully assemble and the right to voice your opinions and work for political change; does that fall under the heading of a value or a tradition? What happened to the values of "liberty and justice for all?"

I have absolutely no problem with gays banding together to effect political change or your right to assemble or speak in any way, shape, or form. I know that most gay people live up to the values and traditions of American society. Hell! There are two million gays who voted for George Bush! My beef, as I tried to make clear in my post, is with the radicals who seek to stifle opposition to their views and impose on the culture the promotion of the gay lifestyle. The article I linked to in my post describes just such a promotional gimmick where children are invited to a weekend retreat so that they could be immersed in the gay way of life.

Would you sit still and allow your children to be "immersed" at a weekend retreat for hetrosexuality? I would hope not. This is what I object to.

Can we achieve the things you outline in your letter without radically changing the law? I would hope so. And I believe we as a nation are making progress towards that goal.

Again, thanks for writing. Didn't mean to upset you but I hope I cleared up any misunderstanding you have about my positions.
OK, let't take a couple of things here to get started. Superhawk maintains that I am covered by the "equal protection under the law" clause of the constitution (and amendments). This is just ignorance (lack of facts is not stupidity) on his part. So here is a fact..
In 35 states, it is legal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation. In 45 states, it is legal to do so based on gender identity. (State courts, commissions or agencies have interpreted the existing state law to include some protection against transgender individuals in Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.)
This doesn't have to be because the person in question is "an effeminate male," as Superhawk states - just that once an employer finds out you are gay, they can ask you to leave, and you have no recourse. That doesn't seem to me as if I have equal protection under the law.

Many forms of discrimination are more subtle. For example, if I even work for a company that will offer domestic partner benefits (i.e. health insurance), I will have to pay taxes on the employer contribution portion of those benefits, while you can insure your wife under your job's health plan tax free. Doesn't sound too equal to me.

Other forms of workplace discrimination fall somewhere between these 2 examples.

The whole question of preference drives me crazy. If it is a simple choice, when did you decide to be heterosexual, and were you influenced by any teachers, coaches, or soda commercials? Superhawk then goes on to claim that we don't enforce non-discrimination against people who hold certain preferences. Really? So it would be OK for me as a small business owner to fire everyone who is a registered Democrat from my company? That is a preference. And while most religious people don't like to think about it, people convert from one faith to another and from one sect to another within a faith every day. That would seem like a preference to me, and yet we maintain that you cannot discriminate based on creed.

If you are going to discriminate based on preference, you better be damn sure that you are never on the downside of that equation. The gun-grabbers in Ohio were successful in their bid to keep the list of people with concealed carry permits public. Now they are lobbying companies to fire people with these permits - it is just a preference after all, not something that is part of non-discrimination. Until the courts say "no discrimination, period," we will need to add groups to non-discrimination laws one group at a time.

My guess is that while he hates one group trying to stifle opposition to their views, the gays, he does not feel the same about the other groups doing likewise on the religious right. Don't think this happens? Then you weren't following the controversy around the Murphy Brown TV show, or the Ellen comedy series. The religious right has a fit whenever someone presents anything that conflicts with their values and traditions, but never thinks twice when they do it themselves. I found the 700 Club to be a hate-filled diatribe masquerading as enlightened Christianity every time I forced myself to watch it, but I never organized boycotts against it, or the stations that carried it.

The meat of Superhawk's rant seems to be based on the characterization of a weekend program - said characterization made by the Eagle Forum, an organization which I consider to be less than objective on just about every topic. But even if the description is true, how is it an attack on your values and traditions? Were your children kidnapped and forced to attend? Or were parents consulted and asked for permission? Or is it that you object to the fact that parents - not you and not the state - get to make decisions about their children. And yes, some parents will make stupid mistakes. Does that mean we should give up that power to the state? Do we want to remove children from evey parent who has a southern flag bumper sticker, because we consider that a sign of hate and an affront to our values and traditions?

As I said before, if your values and traditions can't stand up to a little tension in the way others live their lives, then those values are not held all that firmly.

Superhawk apparently never attended any summer camp. At a typical high school age summer camp, the camp counselors' main job is to ensure that the campers aren't running around having sex with each other. True most camps view the main problem as keeping the boys separated from the girls, but the problem is the same. And most camps have some staff - the director, the cook, the grounds keeper, etc. - that are over the age of 25. Does this mean that we should condemn any parent who sends their child to summer camp? Or just to those summer camps that Superhawk doesn't approve of?

In short I find Superhawk's remarks to be homophobic. And of course, when I disagree with him, it is my "sensitivity" that makes me over-react. It couldn't possibly be that he did write a homophobic piece - and if he did, he didn't mean to. (Sounds like the CNN defense - we didn't intend to break the federal gun laws. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Appears Harvard's Summers got it wrong

Villainous Company: Never Assume... demonstrates what you can do with a little research.

The lack of women in the engineering and the hard sciences couldn't be cultural could it? I mean forget about the fact that I had friends who were regularly insulted by engineering professors for "wasting" a seat in engineer classes - being women, what right did they have to study engineering after all?

Anyway Cassandra has some information on mathematics scores for the 1992 SAT. It appears that Asian-American women outscored white men. Is that possibly because Asian-American women are encouraged to study math and science more than women are generally? More than men are? Is it possible that culture is the determining factor and not gender? Did Summers even consider that? (Go take a look at Cassandra's post for the details.)

And then of course there is the standard joke among graduate students in the hard sciences about women PhD candidates, "Like Insects - once they specialize, they don't breed." Gives you some idea of how welcoming those departments seem to college seniors trying to decide if they want to go into academia.

CNN and the .50 Caliber story

Write your Reps and insist on Justice

CNN Felony Gunswarm!. I have stayed out of this, since I didn't see the video, and since so many have already got it nailed.

But Michael Bane has some comments that have me steamed.
By now, the upper echelons of the ATF have been made aware of the CNN violations. My contacts told me there was very little chance the agency would move against CNN because of "intent" — there was no intent to violate the law.
This is Bovine Scatology. If you or I violated even a tiny part of the increasingly unintelligible gun laws, we wouldn't be let off due to "intent." CNN should not have special privileges because they are a news organization. They broke the law. They should suffer the consequence.

Since the ATF isn't interested in doing anything, I think we need to get some other parts of government involved. This link will allow you to write and/or email your Senators, Representative, as well as the President and Vice President. If we aren't going to enforce the laws, get rid of the laws. (That would be my first choice.) But CNN should not be immune because they are a news organization.

Monday, February 21, 2005

You've gotta love Ted Nugent reports that Uncle Ted (Nugent) is as good for opinions as he is for guitar licks. Anybody who's motto seems to be "You have to kill it, before you can grill it," is OK by me.
"No matter where I go, somebody's got a gun for me to try out, and a new guitar lick to show me, and something freshly killed to barbecue. So it's an 'Uncle Ted-Fest' almost everyplace," Nugent explained.
He says shooting machine guns before a show - which he gets to do in Terre Haute, with a bunch of military and law enforcement folks - pumps him up to give a better performance.

He has recently been on a tour that is mostly country audiences - Big Throwdown Tour with Toby Keith. When asked how he's adapting to life in front of these audiences, his answer goes something like this.
"I've always been militantly pro-law enforcement, pro-law and order, anti-drugs, anti-tobacco and anti-drinking and alcohol and the stupidity of all the trends and fashions," he says. "When you really examine what I stand for, I am what country-and-western purports to be. I mean, this morning I've already run my trapline and killed a couple skunks and 'coons and opossums, trapped some fox and some bobcat. I've already fed wildlife - I mean, I have a couple tons of wildlife feed. I've already cut firewood, split firewood, stacked firewood. I've already cleaned out chimney and the fireplace. I've burned the trash. And I'm taking about four ton of gravel from one spot to the other. I'm an outdoorsman in the real, original, Jeremiah sense of the word.

"So, if ever there was a country guy, that is the ranching-farming lifestyle, I'm sure I've baled more hay than all the country artists combined," Nugent continues, seemingly still without breaking to inhale. "I've probably killed and gutted and butchered more deer than the entire country-and-western industry ever has since the dawn of man."
I just wish Shemane Nugent would run some more of her Queen of the Forest programs. [Via the NRA]

When only the state has guns, the state can do anything. - Togo youths: 'Send us guns' - Feb 16, 2005. The left doesn't like to talk about resistance movements - unless of course they are opposed to US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the sad truth is that in many parts of the world, people would rise up to free themselves, if only they had the means. (Didn't you ever wonder why the United Governments United Nations doesn't like private ownership of guns - the UN represents the dictators of the world more than it represents the democracies.)
LOME, Togo (AP) -- Armed with sticks and stones and hard-bitten desperation, Togo's opposition movement waged a 38-year losing battle against the oppressive military regime of President Gnassingbe Eyadema.
What would they have been able to accomplish in 38 years if they had something better than slingshots at their disposal?

Indiana's "Becoming an Outdoor Woman"

It's like 'Outdoors 101' for women. I first heard about this program a few years back, and I thought it was great then, and like it just as much now.

BOW teaches basic outdoors skills - hunting, fishing, camping - to women who were excluded by their father, brothers, etc.
The average age of BOW participants is 45-50, proving to Krause that it's never too late to learn outdoor skills. That's exactly why women, many of whom have never cast a fly rod, paddled a canoe, fired a gun, cleaned a fish or pitched a tent are attracted to the program.
Women have been excluded from the outdoor sports. Oh some would go with fathers, but mostly hunting and fishing was a chance for the men to not shave, (I'm not sure if they neglected other hygiene tasks), drink beer, swear, scratch, and in general do whatever it is men do when women aren't around.

It isn't only hunting that finds it tough to deal with women, but the shooting sports generally. When I first went to the indoor shooting range in St Petersburg, I was treated like an oddity - a woman not being dragged in by her husband. (Even now, when I walk in, I always get the feeling that the conversation stops, and abruptly changes directions.)

If the shooting sports (and the second amendment) are going to survive the attacks by the left, more people need to feel comfortable around guns, and around ranges. Indiana is doing its part with this program. [h/t Keep And Bear Arms]

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Bloggers' First Amendment Rights

BatesLine: A formal response to the Whirled. An interesting response to threatened legal action against a BLOG for being crtical of a newspaper. If you run a BLOG, it would be good to know about the Media Bloggers Association.

Anyway go take a look at the post and see that you do have the right to link to newspapers and Fisk their stories to your hearts content. [hat tip to Queen of All Evil]

Friday, February 18, 2005

Two homeowners kill intruders in self-defense

Two separate stories illustrate the need for weapons to equalize strength in self-defense.

The first story from Lafayette, LA is: East Feliciana Parish woman kills attacker inside her home. This women awoke to the barking of her dog, to discover an intruder in her home. Even after she shot the intruder in the chest, he beat her severely - until he died.

She would not have been able to fight him off without a firearm, and she could not call for help as he had cut the phone line before entering the house.

The 2nd story, from Mishawaka, IN, is summed up in the headline: 84-year-old kills intruder; charges are not expected. In this case the homeowner awoke to the sound of someone trying to kick in the front door of his house. He retrieved his gun and then told the would-be intruder not to come in. When the door finally gave way, and the intruder had gained entrance the homeowner fired his pistol killing the intruder.

Criminals don't need to have guns to pose a threat. They can merely be younger, larger, have more upper body strength. If someone is old or infirm or just small in stature, they need some way to defend themselves that minimizes or eliminates the difference of strength. Firearms fill this need in a way no other tool can. While it is true that Tasers can be effective - they are limited in the number of assailants that can be dealt with at one time, and their range is limited. You had also better not miss with your first shot - something that an adrenaline pumped victim may have trouble with. [hat tip Keep and Bear Arms]

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Quote of the Day

"The frightening thing is not dying,
The frightening thing is not living."
T-Bone Burnett, Primatives

The world is not a safe place

In a previous post, I mention that the world is not always a safe place. In some places, dangerous predators exist. (Some are 2 footed, some 4) But should I just hide at home, or should I face the world - and life - head on?

Hunter CutterOne of those places where safety is an issue is on the high seas. Most people are unaware that piracy does exist in this day. Some of it is aimed at large commercial vessels. The International Maritime Bureau runs the Piracy Reporting Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. PRC tracks attacks on merchant shipping, which were slightly reduced in 2004 after a surge upward in 2003.

Attacks on private yachts and small boats are not tracked so carefully - not as much money is at stake after all. Still there are some networks and individuals that compile the statistics; Noonsite is one such place.
No other danger has marred the beauty of cruising more than the threat of piracy, whether on the high seas or in coastal waters. Indeed it is a risk that mariners have had to confront for many thousands of years, and the good news is that as far as attacks on pleasure boats are concerned incidents in recent years have been mercifully few in numbers.
Several years ago, before blogging took off, I was discussing this with some folks - mostly lefties - on the Cafe Utne site. I pointed out that there are places in the world where people will attack you and you cannot call on the authorities for help; Either there are no authorities, such as on the high seas, or they may be part of the problem - as was the case a few years ago in Venezuela. Their response was not just that I should avoid the danger zones - a prudent plan, but that I shouldn't go at all. I should stay safe at home in a gated community where nothing will happen, and I will be safe as long as I wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.

While you can avoid the worst regions, these regions are constantly in flux. 10 years ago, Venezuela was a cruising haven; today it is quite dangerous. And no place is free of crime. But staying locked in my home looking for security doesn't strike me much as living life. See the quote of the day.

Another Weekly Check on the Bias

Alphecca: Weekly Check on the Bias. As usual, Alphecca is on top of the bias in this weeks news media. Go take a look.

Sailing in the frozen north - high powered rifle required by law.

The New Zealand Herald. Polar Bears are to be treated with respect - that means a high powered rifle.
In Svalbard, off the coast of which we are sailing, polar bears and how not to get eaten by them is taken seriously. Attacks are infrequent but nearly always fatal and you are required by law to carry a high-powered rifle when venturing outdoors. [Emphasis mine, Z-Deb]
One thing the comfortable lefties forget, while they are drinking tea in their gated communities, is that the whole world is not some peaceful suburban American wonderland. There are places where firearms are needed for defense - some of those places are in America. [hat tip Keep and Bear Arms]

Massad Ayoob: A lethal man

ESR | February 14, 2005 | An interview with a lethal man. Massad Ayoob is one of my favorite Second Amendment authors. He spent many years in law enforcement, and has trained many people in the use of deadly force for self-defense.
Q: In your book, The Truth About Self Protection, you say we have the right to protect ourselves. How do you respond to those who say it only promotes the "cycle of violence"?

A: I refer them to Biology 101. When the predator chases down, destroys, and consumes its prey without intervention, the cycle of its violence continues. When the given predator is taken out of circulation, then by definition, its cycle of violence is ended for the duration. The criminal is the actor, his prey merely the reactor, and the cycle is dependent on the action of the predator.
This is a good interview with someone who has seen the workings and failings of the criminal justice system. [h/t/ KABA]

Monday, February 14, 2005

Ellen MacArthur sets around the world record

B&QEllen MacArthur and B&Q beat the previous record by 1 day 8 hours and 35 minutes. Sailing around the world, non-stop in 71 days, 14 hours 18 minutes and 33 seconds. That's 27,348 miles at an average speed of 15.9 knots.

• 1800+ people have reached the summit of Everest...*

• 450+ people have been in space...**

• 12 astronauts have stepped on the moon...**

• Only 5 solo sailors have attempted to race around the globe non-stop on multihulls (the fastest and most extreme boats on the oceans) in pursuit of a new world record...

• Only [2 sailors] succeeded to go the distance non-stop...

Best of Me Symphony Gonzo Edition

The Best of Me Symphony, #63 is up at Owner's Manual. Go take a look.

Guns not needed for deadly brawl

Chicago Tribune | Kane County brawl leaves 1 man dead. Of course on on the left will want to propose baseball bat or 2-by-4 control.
Nicholas Swanson, 20, was bludgeoned to death during the street fight in the semirural area of north-central Kane County[, Illinois]. More than 50 youths clashed using baseball bats, two-by-fours, crowbars and bottles as weapons, Kane County sheriff's officials said. Several suspects were being interviewed, they said.
While I am not surprised to see this in the Chicago paper, it did happen in Illinois after all, you can bet that this won't show up in the national press the way it would if a gun was involved. If a gun were involved, then no mention would be made of the other weapons, since that would not advance any agenda.

The left keeps trying to attach moral attributes to inanimate objects. "Guns are bad", and so forth, but are guns bad when they stop crimes? When will they start to see that it is the criminal who is responsible for the crime, not the weapon?

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Range Time

I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Well, that's not quite true, but today was the first time in a long time I took my carry gun to the range. Guess I need more practice.....

The UN and Oil for Food

Captain's Quarters Captain Ed turns his eye on the "Oil for Food" free-for-all at the United Nations Useless Nitwits.

From the stonewalling of auditors, the lack of clear checks and balances, the OFF was a cash cow that the bureaucrats (and hangers on like Kojo Annan) milked to their hearts content.

When Kofi Annan failed to exercise control, there was no mechanism inherent in the structure of the UN to ensure control
And since the majority of the General Assembly represents tinpot dictators and kleptocrats who operate on graft and corruption (and depend on it), they resist the idea of kicking out someone who allows them to conduct their business the way they like.

The more that comes out of the Oil-For-Food fiasco, the clearer it demonstrates that the UN has become so dysfunctional that fixing it almost appears impossible. An old saying has it that people get the government they deserve, and the UN's rotten and incompetent management provides an apt example. The UN will never improve until the constituent governments actually represent their populations instead of the ruling crime families in their countries.
The UN is run - for the most part - by countries that care little for human rights, legality, democracy. Their "peacekeepers" have participated in some terrible crimes, without much punishment. Why are we still a member of this criminal organization?

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Billboards thank Hollywood for helping ensure "4 more years"

4 More Years

Billboards from Citizens United are apparently going up around the site of the Acadmeny Awards thanking Hollywood for doing their part to ensure Bush won the election. [hat tip Texican Tattler]

Man attacked with dangerous pork chop

Alphecca: We Need Pork Chop Control!.

Frozen food used as an offensive weapon. (As Alphecca says... Oh, the humanity!)

What's next? Assualt Lamb Shanks? High Capacity hot dog packages? (Does anyone really need a package of more than 10 hot dogs? The buns only come in packages of 8 after all) </sarcasm>

Murder-Suicide not stopped by Court Order

Oklahoma's News Channel 8: Protective Order Filed Just Hours Before Murder-Suicide. The order had not been served to the ex-husband, but would a piece of paper stopped someone?
Police say Baker drove that stolen car to the plant. And, once inside, he walked past the receptionist and into Tudor's office. He forced a co-worker out of the office and seconds later, witnesses say he opened fire.
They do have a companion article on just how ineffective protection orders can be.
"It sometimes has a different effect when the person is served with a protective order," says Court Clerk Sally Howe Smith. "It makes them even angrier. When I worked this division, I always told people this piece of paper does not make you bullet proof."
I suppose the victim, Catherine Tudor, was disarmed by policy at her place of work. [Via KABA]

Friday, February 11, 2005

ABC News will finally give UN sex crimes prime-time coverage

ABC News: U.N. Sex Crimes in Congo: While the fact that UN "peacekeepers" are almost always a plaque on those they are supposed to help is known, it is not widely known among those who rely on the MSM for all their news. That is about to change with tonight's "20/20"
The range of sexual abuse includes reported rapes of young Congolese girls by U.N. troops; an Internet pedophile ring run from Congo by Didier Bourguet, a senior U.N. official from France; a colonel from South Africa accused of molesting his teenage male translators; and estimates of hundreds of underage girls having babies fathered by U.N. soldiers who have been able to simply leave their children and their crimes behind.
It isn't clear if this will be presented as a one-time-problem, or part of pattern of on-going pattern of abuse. It is an on-going problem but will probably not be presented as such.

Once these facts are more widely known, perhaps our involvement with this criminal organization will convince more people that it is time to get out of the UN, and let it move to Europe. [Hat tip to Evil Glenn Instapundo Delenda Est!]

More gun manufacturer lawsuits tossed out of court

AP Wire | 02/10/2005 | Appeals court tosses cities, counties lawsuit againt gun makers If they can't win in California, where the deck (and the courts) are stacked in their favor, they should be just about through.
A state appeals court late Thursday upheld a lower court's decision dismissing a lawsuit brought by several California cities and counties against dozens of gun manufacturers.

San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento, Los Angeles and the counties of San Mateo, Alameda and others alleged the makers marketed, distributed, promoted and designed handguns in a manner "that facilitates the weapon to be used in violent crimes."
Some distributors are still in hot water, but it appears that they may have actually done something wrong. (What a concept - you are only in trouble if you do something wrong.)

Watcher's Council has some great stuff

The Watcher's Council results are in for this week and there a few things worth taking a look at.

Hog on Ice has one of the better send-ups of Ward Churchill and the whole "I want to be an Indian" phenomena in white America.

Cavalier's Guardian Watchblog has a good piece on the "budget hawks" of the left.

Dr. Sanity compares the Democratic party to someone with Hysterical Blindness - unable to see the world around them, they don't understand the nature of today's reality.

Wallo World points out the Democracy does not depend on Christian governments to thrive. Indeed, Democracy predates Christianity by several centuries.

Update: 2/15 As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.

Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

FL Bill to empower citizens has support

The News-Press: Local & State - NRA-backed deadly force bill gets support in Senate If an intruder is in my home, what am I supposed to think but that they intend harm? But the courts have sided with the criminal. This changes things.
The National Rifle Association-backed bill establishes a legal presumption a home intruder is there to do bodily harm. Any use of deadly force by a homeowner is then justified by definition. The same presumption applies to someone who forcibly enters a car.
Don't think I would shoot someone running away, but otherwise I have no trouble with the thought of defending myself. [hat tip: KABA]

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Politicians in the News

individ: Dr. C. Rice Individ has a nice review of Dr. Rice's trip throuhg Europe, and how she is a wonderful representative for our country.

Alphecca: Patrick Kennedy Says We're Mentally Ill Alphecca covers Patrick Kennedy's claim that anyone who disagrees with him is insane.

Human Rights abusers lead UN Human Rights council

New York Post Online Edition: Outrage As Usual. Why am I not surprised?
Recently elected to this year's Human Rights Commission "action panel" were Cuba and Zimbabwe. So the regimes of two of the world's top rights abusers — Robert Mugabe and Fidel Castro — will now help decide which human-rights complaints will get a U.N. hearing. Castro's most recent roundup of political dissidents merely restocked his island's now-famous prisons. Mugabe's abuses are producing a famine in his once-food-exporting nation — and now he's effectively banned foreign human-rights workers from his country, by banning foreign funding of their work.
and this is only 2 of the questionable members.

The whole thing is a farce, and we should not lend credibility to it.
The world's most flagrant rights abusers typically vote as a bloc in favor of letting each other off the hook. In the most recent sessions, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Sudan, China, Egypt and Nigeria joined together reliably to exonerate whichever government was being accused.
Can we get out of the UN now? It does nothing worth while.

Weekly Check on Media Bias

Alphecca: Weekly Check on the Bias Missed this - I am such a creature of habbit that even though he announced moving it to Tuesday.... Oh well, go take a look.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Gun Fearing Wus of a father steals son's gun

Father finds a way to deal with son's gun. As you would guess, this father is lauded by the MSM

In reality he is guilty of stealing a firearm. (A 19 year-old is legally entitled to own a long gun - are they not?) Why is he not prosecuted?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Companies that want to disarm you

two gunsThe War on Guns: Merchants of Death. An article that should have run in Guns and Ammo, but for the spinless lawyers - they were sure you could be sued for telling the truth (and of course, you can be). These companies are of course guilt of selling other products which kill or sicken people. Go take a look.

The message is - how you spend your money counts. Buy from these companies, and you are working against the 2nd Amendment. If you don't like the 2A, that is one thing, but if you do you need to find alternative suppliers. [h/t KABA]

Loveland, Ohio to vote on gun range

Loveland gun range on ballot Tuesday. I have to say something about this because when I lived in Cincinnati, Shooters' Supply was my favorite gun shop.

It is small and crowded and most of their stock is at gunshows Friday thru Sunday, but I did some business with them, and they were always great.

Now they want to convert an empty church (I believe) into an indoor shooting facility. The local police are happy because they will have a place to keep in practice. The local gun-fearing idiots are upset because it is too close to residences. Anyway it went a vote today.

Update: The voters approve the gun range
With 100 percent of precincts reporting from Hamilton, Clermont and Warren counties, the referendum passed by 443 votes, 1,267 to 824.

Monday, February 07, 2005

San Francisco Pink Pistols oppose gun ban

gay flagSAN FRANCISCO / Gay group defends right to arms / Pink Pistols oppose ballot issue backed by supervisors. This article isn't surprizing in itself accept that the San Francisco Chronicle is presenting the pro-gun view. They do of course lay on the anti-gun guano in very thick layers, but it is the San Francisco Chronicle after.

They do cover what both I and others have said about the vaunted 'tolerance' of the gay community.
In fact, around the country -- including in the Bay Area -- the Pink Pistols tend to get a better response from firearms supporters than from homosexuals, Patton said. Thomas said he rarely talks about owning a gun because of the attitudes toward guns here.

"People will freak out on you," he said.
That's not to say that there aren't jerks in the 2A community, just not as many as you might think.

Perhpas the most surprizing thing about this article is that I found it on the NRA website as one of their featured stories.

Second Amendment Sisters get good coverage by the Boston Globe

Sisters in arms: Growing number of women are using guns for self-defense -- and fun A typical Saturday at the local shooting club with a branch of the Second Amendment sisters.

Members are portrayed target shooting with 9mm handguns, trap or skeet shooting (the article isn't clear) or generally enjoying a Saturday with friends.

Some history of the organization is presented, but the article doesn't mention that it was formed in direct opposition to the (so called) Million Mom March. On the whole it is a well rounded article discussing the largely male culture at gun clubs, why women shoot (for self-defense and for fun). The article also gives some background on the various members; the come from all backgrounds. [h/t KABA]

Self-defense shooting ends 2 criminal careers

Armed robbery target kills gunman, cops say Teen dies, brother booked in stickup A death the Brady campaign will count as *a child killed by guns,* results from a clear-cut case of self-defense.
A teenager wielding a handgun was shot and killed late Friday near Tulane University by a man he was trying to rob, New Orleans police said, marking the second time in four days that a would-be criminal was killed in the act.
I wonder if they will ever learn?
Just three days before the Zimpel Street killing, an eastern New Orleans homeowner shot and killed a man who he said was trying to break into his home using part of a car jack.
The police haven't learned - they are still recommending submission. Of course the old white man who recommended that has never been faced by a rapist, or a gay-basher. (I would give up my money too, but that isn't the point!) [h/t KABA]

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Shooting Sports: Women and Girls in Hunting

San Marcos Daily Record Father enjoys assisting daughter's first deer kill. This is actually a pretty heart-warming story of a young girl and her family introducing her to hunting.
It's [a story] about a little 10-year-old girl named Beth and her first deer. Here's how her proud Dad, Mike Thielen, tells the story.
This article covers everything about hunting: Herd management including culling, and limits on the harvest, issues of taking doe with fawn - or not taking a doe that has a fawn or 2. It is interesting to note that field dressing game is used as a chance to teach biology.

[hat tip KABA]

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Social Scientists miss the idea of cause and effect

Los Angeles Times: The Lowdown on High Self-Esteem: Via Villianous Company, we get this. After years of bending over backwards to create high self-esteem, the left may finally be figuring out what anybody with half a brain could see. High self-esteem doesn't cause good grades in the same way that radio static doesn't cause sun spots. But don't tell that to the NEA
college students with mediocre grades who got regular self-esteem strokes from their professors ended up doing worse on final exams than students who were told to suck it up and try harder.
Go figure.

Of course there is more:
  • Individuals who have an unjustifiably high opinion of themselves can, in many cases, pose a far greater threat to those around them than people whose sense of self-worth is unusually low. [Bullies think they have a right...]
  • Young people with very high self-esteem are more likely than others to hold racist attitudes, reject social pressures from adults and peers and engage in physically risky pursuits, such as drink-driving or driving too fast.
Someone who thinks highly of themselves, is usually called ‘boastful’, ‘arrogant’, ‘smug’, ‘self-satisfied’ and ‘conceited.’

I do like the Rules of Life that were creditied to Bill Gates all over the place. Particulary
Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades; they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

We need warriors like Lt. General Mattis

RIGHT WINGNUTHOUSE: THAT'S WHY THEY'RE MARINES. A very apt statement about why we need warriors (whether Army, Marine, Navy, Airforce doesn't matter).
What all this boils down to is something we civilians are very uncomfortable in trying to deal with. And that is, very simply, we need whole bunches of people like General Mattis if we're going to win.
Is anyone surprised that people like their choosen field? Or that a US Marine may not have the political correctness that left would like to see imposed on everyone? He's a Marine, and his job is (at least in part) to kill the enemies of the United States. "You don't win wars by dying for your country; you win wars by making the other poor SOB die for his country."

Friday, February 04, 2005

I am shocked - Shocked! - to discover there is gambling going on here! - Annan 'shocked' by initial oil-for-food report At least Louie, in Casablanca, had the honesty to admit he was only, "a poor corupt official." I expect we will see a bit of stonewalling before the dust settles.

So many people have said so much about oil for food, I am not sure what to add. I do wonder if anything will stick to Kojo Annan - Kofi's son.

Social Security - reform it

The debate rages around whether or not there is a crisis looming - most of the "Not" camp falls into the "it won't happen on my watch," so who cares. For my part, even if there is no crisis coming - and I know that there is - I would still say reform the damn thing.

First off, let's call it what it is: welfare payments to the old. Really the only difference between Social Security and welfare payments is that we pay SS regardless of need, and we tend to pay more to the people who don't need it, and less to the people who do.

It is a socialist program, and whatever it was designed to do, one of its affects is that it hands control of workers and their retirements to the government. The government will decide when you retire, it will collect 15% of your compensation off the top before your employer gives you a penny, but you won't see the benefits of that money.

Of course some will claim that any change to Social Security will result in suffering and chaos. These are no doubt the same people who claimed that ending "welfare as we know it" would cause undo hardship. But you know, dealing with hardship is function of the human condition. The struggle is in part a struggle for greatness, but then the left is uncomfortable with competition, because not everyone can run the race as fast. Not everyone is interested in running the race. And luck does enter in to the equation at some points. (Being in the right place at the right time can help, even if you didn't end up there through planning.)

Since no one is advocating cutting off payments to those already (or about) to receive them, what horrors do they imagine coming from reform? The horror of accepting personal responsibility for yourself, and your decisions? The horror of individual freedom? The horror of private property? I think that some just don't want to relinquish power over the population.

In a recent conversation with a devout leftist, I was told that the average American isn't smart enough to manage their own retirement. Even if this were true - which I categorically deny - so what. You don't have a right to have the government look after you. You don't have a right to force me to give you money - whether through armed robbery or taxation - just because doing so would make your life easier. (The fact that you have the power to do so, doesn't make it right, even when you use the mechanism of law and government.)

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Youth with Down syndrome exploited (killed) by Iraqi insurgents

Down syndrome youth used as suicide bomber - Iraq - When you can't find volunteers, I guess you force a down syndrome youth to be a suicide bomber.
[Amar] had Down syndrome or, as the Iraqis say, he's a mongoli, and when his parents, Ahmed, 42, and Fatima, 40, went to vote with their two daughters Amar was left in the family home.
one of Amar's cousins, a 29-year-old teacher who asked not to be named, retreated to a distracted state in which Iraqis often discuss death to tell their story as best they can. "They must have kidnapped him," he said. "He was like a baby. He had nothing to do with the resistance and there was nothing in the house for him to make a bomb. He was Shiite. Why bomb his own people?"
He was mostly a happy person, playing with neighborhood children, but no more. [h/t Bill Roggio]

And yet Ted Kennedy says that the US and the Insurgents are both fighting for the "hearts and minds" of Iraq and that we are losing. Really?

Guardian headlines falling through a time warp.

al-Qaida Purportedly Calls for Holy War (from Best of the Web)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Zero Tolerance or Zero Sanity - National News. Do you arrest a 6 year old for throwing a tantrum? Do you charge grade school children (9 yrs old) as adults? Do yo have any sanity?

School officials in Florida have lost all sense of proportion, and have gone round the bend
At least three times in recent days, Central Florida schoolchildren were arrested on adult felony charges for misbehaving in school.
Yeah, this makes sense. Treat 6 and 9 year old kids as adults - what is wrong with these people?

UPDATE: for continuing coverage the Zero Tolerance insanity see Zero Intelligence.

Quote of the Day

Liberty"What is the basic, the essential, the crucial principle that differentiates freedom from slavery? It is the principle of voluntary action versus physical coercion or compulsion...The issue is not slavery for a 'good' cause versus slavery for a 'bad' cause; the issue is not dictatorship by a 'good' gang versus dictatorship by a 'bad; gang. The issue is freedom versus dictatorship."

Ayn Rand -- Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal

[Thanks to Individ for reminding me this is Ayn Rand's 100th Birthday. I may reread Atlas Shrugged to commemorate it.]

Fun with Mathematics

psychic software - a fun little foray into the magic of mathematics.

And if you want to know why this works...see Jim Loy's explanation of Casting Out Nines.

Never say never

On Parenting: Gun totin' sons wasn't part of mom's plan Perhaps some people can learn that guns aren't bad (they are inanimate objects - neither good nor bad)

Annette Clifford had sworn her sons would never own a BB gun - or anything similar.
I should have realized from innumerable Scout Jamborees - where the line for the BB gun activity was the longest one and otherwise impatient boys waited hours to blast a metal pellet at a target - that some things would be inevitable in an all-boy house.
She hasn't quite warmed up to them (guns, not the boys) even though she now lives with both paintball and Airsoft guns. And sons who are quick to point out the bias in certain newspaper articles.

Too bad she declined to joing the NRA - their main mission is still training - for both safety and marksmanship.

More legal insanity from Europe

Telegraph | News | Robber's gun a deductible expense. A Dutch court has lost all sense of reality - well they weren't the first.
A bank robber has been allowed to claim the £1,400 cost of the gun he used as a legitimate business expense.
I sure am glad that certain members of our supreme court are looking to Europe before making their decisions </sarcasm>. [h/t NRA-ILA]

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

UK: How to tackle a burglar within the law

Telegraph | News | How to tackle a burglar within the law The British home office issues a leaflet on the law.
Even using a knife or a gun would not lead to a charge as long as the householder's actions were what they "honestly and instinctively" believed was necessary "in the heat of the moment".
Of course the householder is stuck with worrying what might "be regarded as reasonable by a prosecutor." And what might not.

Now they just need to (re)arm the law-abiding citizens to even the odds.