Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Best Kind of Flash-mob

"Ode to Joy" - the last movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor.

Musical Interlude - In Honor of Lughnasadh

Traditional early-harvest festival Lughnasadh ("luna-sa") - sometimes known as Lammas - we have some modern folk-songs. (Early harvest = your tomatoes should have been ready by now.)

First, "Lughnasadh" from Damh the Bard.

And, "Lughnasadh" by Omnia

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Self-defense Still Legal in Washington State

I never doubted it. One wonders why it took 6 months for the prosecutor to agree...

WA homeowner who killed intruder won't be charged | Local News | The Seattle Times.

Way back in January, an un-named homeowner shot someone breaking into his house with a hammer. He shot the would-be-home-invader multiple times. That fact seems to have bothered some folks, because the prosecutor, Mark Roe, felt it was necessary to make a statement.

Roe says the number of shots fired has no bearing on whether a homicide was justifiable.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Can a Military-Sci-Fi Movie Ever Get the "Military" Right?

Thank the gods you can fast forward through Netflix.

Just watched most (some?) of Starship Troopers. I guess I am going to have to revisit the original Heinlein story. The movie was awful.

The next Military-Sci-Fi flick (that I know of) is Ender's Gamebased on the Orson Scott Card novel of the same name. Given that the original story viewed military action through the lens of a video game - sort of - I don't hold out much hope for the movie. Add to that the fact that it has been through the Hollywood mill for about 4 years, which I'm sure means that the script has been rewritten by the suits at least once. (Think of "Daredevil" when you want to understand what the Hollywood system does to a screenplay, or better, think of "Waterworld" - an interesting premise, destroyed by cliche.)

That said, is it really too much to ask for a little military authenticity in a movie? Even a SciFi Movie? (The last movie I know of that had a hint of authenticity was Shooter. I liked it, but it didn't do too well at the box office.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Previously, She Felt Safe. Doesn't Mean She Was Safe

OK - the Colorado Shooting: I won't say much about the shooting, or the calls for gun control; you can find that other places. I am interested in the response of people... Colorado shooting suspect’s neighbors: one was going to movie but bailed | The Lookout - Yahoo! News
The shock of having narrowly avoided the mass shooting that claimed 12 lives and left 59 people injured was compounded this morning, when [Leilannah] White discovered the suspect lived on her block.

She woke at 6:30 a.m. to find portions of her street--the 1600 and 1700 north blocks of Paris Street--cordoned off by crime scene tape, police cruisers, and fire trucks. Some of her neighbors had been evacuated; so far, her building had not been. White's home is cattycorner to the apartment building where Aurora authorities say the suspect in the shootings, 24-year-old James Holmes, lives.

"I do not feel safe, to be honest," White, whose daughters are 2 years old and 3 months old, said. "That's scary to wake up to something like this." [My emphasis: Z-Deb]
Before all this took place, Ms. White apparently 'felt safe.' She wasn't safe, but she felt safe. And in this modern age, feelings are so much more important than reality.

I'm sure it was a shock. I'm sure it was scary. I am also very sure that she was not safe last week, no matter how she felt. Nor is she safe today, even with this guy behind bars. Because she does not live in a fantasy world, but in the Real World. And the Real World™ is characterized by crime and pain. Also joy, but you can't pretend the bitter doesn't exist along with the sweet. Well, you can pretend, it just doesn't do you any good.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Neighbors Are Shocked Scared

Again with the neighbors... Deputies: Burglary turns bloody when homeowner shoots intruder | New Mexico News - KOAT Home.
Instead of running off, police said Carpenter came back and threatened the homeowner by shoving his gun through the dog door in the back of the house. The homeowner then shot the Carpenter six times, sending him to the intensive care unit of the hospital.

The wrinkle is the guy stole marijuana, for which the homeowner had medical license. He came back from more and got shot.

And the neighbor?
"It's pretty disturbing," neighbor Jaynelle Romero said. "We all know things like this happen. It's just scary to know it's in your neighborhood."

Because things like this aren't supposed to happen in this neighborhood. They only happen in other kinds of neighborhoods. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

Greeks, Once Again, Don't Meet Targets

It was only in March that they made these commitments. Now they are saying the need more time - and money. Greece in hard spot as debt payment looms and European doubts grow - The Washington Post

They are supposed to pay €3.8 billion on various loans in August. They received about €160 billion in March, when they promised all kinds of things.

Germany is finally getting tired of writing blank checks. But the powers that be, don't want to call it quits and exit as gracefully as possible.

Get Out of the State You're In - Earworm of the Day

"Private Idaho" of course....

You can thank Not Clauswitz, who got me started with "Give Me Back My Man," a favorite B-52's number that never seems to get the respect it deserves.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Neighbors are “Shocked”

Not clear if this is self-defense. More to follow, probably.

Man shot dead inside home, homeowner questioned | khou.com Houston.

But what interested me, is the reaction of the neighbor(s).

“I have no idea what might of happened,” said Gilbert Hopkins. “I’m shocked to even hear that something did happen, and I’m just clueless.”
Get clue, Mr. or Ms. Clueless. If you can read this, then you do not live in Pleasantville, You live in the Real World™. And in the real world, crime happens. It may happen where you live, to people you know. Crime isn't something that happens to "other kinds of people" in "other kinds of places." Crime is everywhere. Wake up.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

I have said it before. If you break into enough houses, you will eventually find an armed homeowner. Results will meet expectations.

Topeka homeowner fatally shoots intruder.

A man at the home told police that the suspect had tried to break into his house. The resident wasn't injured.

Witnesses told police they saw other men fleeing from the scene.
Nothing gets a bunch of would-be tough-guys to run-like-rabbits better than a firearm.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Interesting Story in an Unusual Place

A mostly pro-gun article in the mostly left wing Utne Reader. Who'd a thunk it? Target Market: Black Women With Guns - Mind & Body - Utne Reader: For J. Victoria Sanders, joining the ranks of women with guns means earning a concealed handgun license and coming to terms with Black feminism.

It's a fairly long article that covers how those on the left hate the idea of armed self-defense. (That's what police are for, isn't it?) I will just give you the caption to the opening.
Texas Department of Public Safety data show that the fastest-growing group of concealed handgun owners in the state has been, for at least five years, black women.
It is worth clicking through.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Leaving Blogger? Leaving Google?

Every once in a while, pissed off at the incompetence that is Blogger, I start looking for an alternative. (The ice cream may be free, but that doesn't mean I have to put up with it when it is bad.)

But now it isn't just about Blogger. It is about Google. I use Yahoo! for a search engine most of the time. I use Bing News and Yahoo! News as much as Google these days. Google keeps showing me what it THINKS I want to see, instead of the average search results. More than annoying really.

Anthroblogogy has moved to Not Clauswitz. With some valid points.

Their steadfast determination to exclude anything firearm-related from Google Shopping while insanity is perfectly OK. (Warning: if you follow all the links to the end of that chain it is NOT SAFE FOR WORK. And you may never be able to get the images burned in your retinas to fade.) At some point you have to decide who your friends are, and who they are not.

So maybe it is time to dust off the Wordpress version of this blog I have been playing around with for going on 5 years, and move on. Love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Things are bad all over.

Japan Current-Account Surplus Shrinks 63% as Machine Orders Drop - Bloomberg
Machinery orders, an indicator of capital spending, fell 14.8 percent in May from the previous month, the Cabinet Office said, the biggest drop since 2001
Pre-Fukushima, pre-earthquake, pre-financial-crisis badness.

Greek economy heading for 7 percent tumble | Reuters
Greece's crippled economy will fall a steeper-than-expected 6.9 percent this year, a think-tank formerly run by the new finance minister said on Monday, a tumble that will hamper efforts to cut the deficit and bring yet more pain to Greeks.

Such a decline would mean Greece's economy has shrink by a fifth since the end of 2007.
And I don't think they have any plan for growing the economy, aside from government spending. With money they don't have. (As I've said before, more government spending is NOT equal to encouraging economic growth. How about a look at regulations and taxes stopping businesses?)

Spain on the brink as borrowing costs soar to unaffordable levels - International - Scotsman.com
The interest rate, or yield, on the country’s ten-year bonds rose 16 basis points to 7.03 per cent, a level that market-watchers consider is unaffordable for a country to raise money on the bond markets in the long term and the level at which Greece, Ireland and Portugal all sought an international bailout. Stocks on Madrid’s benchmark index fell 1.5 per cent.
7 percent seems to the magic number, once yield hits 7 percent markets decide that the governments can't afford it. (Stupid really, since they can't afford half that much.)

And in case you aren't paying attention... 'Zombie' US economy scares sharemarket investors | The Australian
"Some are describing the US economy as the zombie economy - not quite dead, but not really alive either," said Cameron Peacock, a market analyst at IG Markets
Gotta love the zombie reference.

Monday, July 09, 2012

How Would You Greet Someone Breaking Into Your Home?

A couple of shots with a 38 Special seem appropriate to me. Woman Shoots At Door Thwarting, Potentially Injuring Burglar - Sarasota, FL Patch
A woman living in the 4600 block of Stone Ridge Trail in Sarasota called 911 just before 6:30 p.m. Saturday to report that a man had attempted to enter her home by breaking a glass door at the rear of the home. The woman said in the call that she fired her .38 caliber gun twice through the door. The suspect screamed, she said, got into his vehicle and fled the scene. It is not known whether the suspect was injured or not. "I'm by myself and I keep a gun just for security reasons, and he was stepping in when I came out," the woman says in the call. ... I was just so frightened by the noise."
He screamed and ran like a rabbit. No one is in custody, but police are still looking. Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

What Happened to Black Programs?

Stealth was developed in complete secrecy. This research is being done in the full light of day. Doesn't anyone care about national security anymore? Extreme hypersonic flight could restore military advantage to U.S. | The Bunsen Burner

This is about developing a plane that can fly at Mach 20 (and if my math hasn't abandoned me, that is roughly 15,300 mile per hour). That causes all kinds of problems with control surfaces.
There are several serious risks to vehicles that achieve extreme hypersonic flight. A vehicle flying at Mach 20 will experience intense heat (more than 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit) and extreme pressure on the aeroshell. According to DARPA, 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit is hotter than a blast furnace that melts steel. The IH program hopes to discover more about what thermal protection materials and hot structures technologies are needed to withstand the intense temperatures created by hypersonic flight.
The goal is to be anywhere in an hour. With the world's circumference being about 22,000 miles (depending on starting point and path followed, 15,000 mph gets you there with time to spare.)

Still the fact that NASA had a decades-long research program into SCRAM jet technology and shelved the project as soon as they were successful was probably a broad hint that this program existed. (NASA only got to about 5 to 7000 mph. And they still had problems.) But it just doesn't seem that a properly paranoid alphabet-soup-agency would let this kind of information be common knowledge. CIA, NSA, DIA, whatever. You would think they would want this kept low-key.

The “other faiths you don’t like might benefit” scenario

Some people are surprised to find that Christianity is NOT equal to religion. That is, there are other faiths practiced in America. ‘Religion’ is not a synonym for ‘Christianity’ It seems a lot of people are confused about this. Not the least of which is Rep. Valarie Hodges, a legislator in the Louisiana state assembly who voted to allow state school vouchers to support "religious" schools. She thought religious schools were ONLY Christian schools.
You see, the “other faiths you don’t like might benefit” scenario presented above is more a gambit than a true threat. In most cases the tyranny of the majority, once unconstrained by the law, proceeds to do its level best to silence all dissenting voices through threats, intimidation, violence, or simply peer pressure (and if you don’t believe that, you don’t remember high school). The real problem is that the coalition of groups working for the long-term shifts in how schools and the public square deal with religion, have to balance that with their fear-mongering that paints groups like Pagans, or more often Muslims, as a serious threat to their conception of a “Christian Nation.” If you delegitimize minority faith communities by saying they aren’t real religions, that the First Amendment doesn’t even apply to them, or that they are sleeper cells for terror, your constituents will be shocked when they learn they have equal access to the law.
If you grant things to "religion" you grant those things to all religions, even the ones you don't like. Can you say, "unintended consequences?"

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Texans Are Still Armed. Intruders Still Getting Shot

How would you deal with someone breaking in who was armed with an AK-47 (type) rifle? (I doubt it was fully automatic.) DeSoto homeowners shoot intruders; one dead | wfaa.com Dallas - Fort Worth
When police arrived, they found one suspect dead inside with the AK-47; another was lying outside, injured.

Two other alleged accomplices were also arrested.
If the guy who got shot survives his surgery, then all 3 will be charged with aggravated burglary.

Good Guys 4, Bad Guys 0