Ok, most of us here can agree that gun control is silly — or at least that gun control is actually the ability to hit what one aims at. But I’m listening to the local talk radio station the other day, and this typical liberal nitwit says, and I quote, “I’ve never fired a gun in my life, and if I had three wishes one would be that all guns disappear.”
Let’s say for the sake of argument that we go in for total confiscation tomorrow. And further for the sake of argument this doesn’t set off a civil war. It’s barely in the realm of possibility you could get rid of them all. Guess what you can’t confiscate, Skippy.
The ability and knowledge to make firearms. So let’s just get the idea that guns are ever going away out of our heads shall we?
Besides, you can make an AK 47 out of a shovel.
With the current, and often whacky, push for gun control it’s perhaps worth taking a close look at the the Second (and arguably more important) Amendment.
Many Americans, growing up in liberal families in large cities, like much of the country, haven’t really been exposed to firearms. Guns tend to scare them. Moreover they’ve been taught that the police will protect them — a fallacy, ask any cop if he can protect you. He’ll tell you he mostly can just clean up the blood — but I digress.
Let us begin our little journey into the frightening world of firearms by first dissecting the Second Amendment as there seems to be a great deal of confusion about what it actually says, despite being one sentence long.
The Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”
Now, it’s that second and subordinate clause which really seems to confuse people, because it sets off the first clause, “A well regulated Militia.”
The argument goes that the militia is the National Guard and and Reserves and not the people. The problem is the U.S. Code states specifically that all able-bodied males between 17 and 45 are part of the unorganized militia. So everyone, except women, is a member.
But that argument is known as the Collective Right argument — in short that only as a collective do we have the right to keep and bear arms so it only applies to the military and police.
The counter view, the Individual Right argument, says everyone has a right to keep and bear arms for their own defense, defense of the nation and for recreation — i.e. hunting, sport shooting, etc.
That argument is actually the one backed up by the text of the amendment itself and in two separate decisions by the Supreme Court, Heller and McDonald. I won’t go into those here, because taking those decisions apart, and the implications of them is graduate thesis work, and this is a basic class. Suffice to say the Supreme Court has come down in two separate cases and said that yes, the individual people do have the right to own firearms.
Basically, what the amendment actually says is pretty simple, it’s just couched in 235 year-old English. To paraphrase: “Because a well regulated Militia is necessary for the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
What really scares Statists about armed citizenry is that they might take it into their heads not to do what the State tells them to do — this would be why dictatorial regimes all over the world immediately start confiscating guns upon coming to power. An armed citizenry is a threat to the government, and rightly so.
Even a cursory reading of the writings of the framers would note those brilliant men considered the Second Amendment as a final check on the government which they had just created.
Keep in mind as well that those men had not so many years before led an armed rebellion against what was at the time the most powerful nation on Earth.
No less a luminary than Thomas Jefferson himself understood how important it was for the people to be armed and that armed men are fee men.
Indeed in a letter to William Smith in 1787 ‘ol TJ himself said: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
And he was talking about the recently concluded Whiskey Rebellion.
Another argument for gun control, (which I’ve always considered to be the ability to hit what you aim at, but I again digress), is that guns are dangerous and they don’t save people they only kill them.
Well the utter silliness of this argument ought to be obvious even to a liberal, but it obviously is not since they keep making it.
I personally own several firearms, from my daddy and grand-daddy’s shotguns to a deer rifle I bought myself, I’ve owned and sold many others over the years — I’m a gun-nut and if I weren’t so broke I’d probably spend a lot of money on them.
None of my guns have ever killed anyone. Come to that, they’ve never killed a deer. And of course the reality is, they are incapable of killing anyone — firearms are inanimate objects. I have taken my share of pheasant and dove over the years, but my firearms have not, they are simply the tool I use to bring home some tasty treats.
Guns are not, in and of themselves dangerous. People are dangerous. But a dangerous man remains a dangerous man whether he’s carrying a pistol or a toothpick.
As to whether they save people or not, check out the National Rifle Association’s Web site, they have hundreds of defensive gun uses listed there. Sometimes the criminal is dead, sometimes he’s wounded, and often enough he took to his heels the minute he saw the armed citizen confronting him. John Lott in his blockbuster work “More Guns, Less Crime,” estimates there are over 1 million defensive firearms uses a year in the United States, most of them without a shot ever being fired.
Moreover, states which have enacted “Shall Issue” concealed carry laws have seen a huge drop in violent crime. Exactly the opposite of what gun control nuts like Handgun Control, Inc. said would happen. Why? Well mostly because criminals are basically cowards, they’re not going to try to mug someone who might be armed, and if they don’t know if you’re armed or not, they’re less likely to attack you. They also know that police response times are often a half hour or more in big cities, so if you’re not armed, you’re defenseless.
‘Tis true there are less deadly ways to stop someone, a ball bat comes to mind. Well arguably less deadly, you belt someone in the head or ribs with a baseball bat and you stand a really good chance of killing them just as dead as a bullet. However, you expose yourself to far more risk that way, and there’s a good chance the criminal, who’s probably more acquainted with physical violence than you, will leave you the one dead, not the critter.
A firearm, and the willingness to use it are among the most important tools you have to keep your family safe — especially in our crime-ridden big cities. By-the-by, it’s notable that the cities with the most restrictive gun laws, Washington DC, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, have the highest murder rates. You’re actually safer patrolling in the Sunni Triangle in Iraq than you are walking down the street in those big cities.
Then of course you get the argument, “well if we outlaw guns then criminals can’t get them!”
This is really about the dumbest argument of the bunch. Criminals by definition do not obey the law, or at least, only obey those laws which suit them. Restrictive gun laws really only affect those already predisposed to obey them — the law-abiding. Of course after every school shooting, which are tragedies do not misunderstand, there is this push for more laws.
After Columbine there was the predictable outcry of “we must DO something!” So politicians, to advance their own agenda and in order to be seen to Do Something, tried to pass more laws.
Let’s leave aside for the moment the free-fire zones our schools have become because of “Gun Free School Zones,” or the complete incompetence of the Littleton, Colo., police. No, let us focus on the fact that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris had already broken more than 20 gun laws. So please tell me what one more would have done?
Moreover, at Columbine, at Virginia Tech, at Fort Hood — or at Sandy Hook for that matter — one armed individual could have stopped the rampage before it fairly got started, and saved any number of lives. Indeed, when the police finally arrived at Fort Hood, it was one armed cop who DID stop it before it went further. The problem was the number of unarmed victims Maj. Nidal Hasan had gunned down before he was stopped.
The final argument I wish to address is perhaps the most pernicious of the bunch. It goes something like this: “Only God should have the power to decide who lives and dies, not some person with a gun.”
This is a fine moral statement. Under most circumstances I tend to agree. The power to end a life is an awesome responsibility. One should never pick up a firearm lightly, not even to shoot at cans. One holds destruction in one’s hands and that is a frightening thing.
However, the question is not as simple as that statement sounds.
Is it moral to allow your loved ones to be harmed if you have the power to prevent it? Is it moral to stand by and allow someone else to be harmed? Is it moral to allow yourself to be harmed if you have the power to prevent it?
And how many others would that person harm, because you didn’t stop him when you had the chance? Are you not responsible for those deaths or injuries because of what you were unable or unwilling to do?
Is it not moral cowardice to be unwilling to take a life in order to save others?
In the end, what the left never seems to understand, it that a firearm is a tool. It has no life of its own. It requires a human being to function. It is the use the tool is put to which is good or evil.
And that is up to the person holding it.
Not mine. Mine are not printable.
However Michael Z. Williamson, the redoubtable author of works such as “Better to Beg Forgiveness” did have a couple which are marginally more printable than mine.
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
Meaning “nothing.” This is supposed to already exist. The mass of the bureaucracy makes it awkward, and adding more bureaucracy is not the answer.
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
So, abolish HIPAA? Because that’s exactly what it does in this case.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
Read the rest here, language warning.
Given what I believe is coming in the form of a complete meltdown of the American economy — and with it the nation, and right behind it civilization in general — perhaps it is time to ponder what it really means to be competent.
A few weeks ago I posted Rudyard Kipling’s profound poem “IF” which to me in many ways describes what it means to be a man, today I turn to another sage, Robert A. Heinlein, to explain to us what competence really is.
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
We all know what happened last night, or at least we think we do. The pundits are dissecting the race, and the candidate.
The circular firing squad is preparing for the ritual execution of conservatism and Mitt Romney. The fingers are pointed. Wrong candidate, wrong message, wrong this and wrong that.
Wrong is right.
It’s simple. We moved from basic principles.
We stopped teaching. We stopped educating.
We told the huddled masses that Obamacare was bad. But instead of explaining, calmly, as if to a child, why it would result in less free stuff not more — we screamed. We berated.
Rather than teach basic economics, we belittled.
Rather than instruct the Constitution we condescended.
We acted as if all the truths we were espousing were self-evident. And so they were.
But to the more than half this country who have come to believe that the all-giving teat of government can be milked for all good things forever it was not self-evident.
For 40 years public education has indoctrinated and inculcated the barbarians and the dependent. For 40 years they have been sheltered in the all knowing bosom of government, insulated from the consequences of their actions and knowing that if they won’t be allowed to succeed, at least they won’t be allowed to fail.
Comes the conservative movement, and we talk to them like they are recalcitrant 4th graders. We talk about personal responsibility, about the rights which go with responsibility. These are wonderful things ,we say, without explaining why – or understanding that these things are terrifying to people who, whatever their age, are children who have always been taken care of.
Rather than reassure, we threatened, and they reacted like frightened children and voted for the person who yelled “bangarang!” and promised them that — like Pan — they would never have to grow up.
We must return to first principles. We must educate. We must inform. Liberals can be converted, but it must be done one at a time. Individually. Slowly. Like taming a feral cat, you must move slowly and quietly, freeing their minds and teaching them to think.
It will be a laborious process. But it can be done.
It must be done.
It will be done.
Yesterday, Haaretz, the oldest Israeli daily newspaper, endorsed President Obama. It’s a must-read. Take a look at these excerpts, then forward it to everyone you know:
This from Debbie Wasserman Schultz. This is desperation. I got a campaign email from Romney earlier this evening touting their momentum and how they’re going to win on Tuesday.
Obama? Not so much. No, they’re touting an endorsement by the most liberal paper in Israel. Never mind why voters in America would care what a foreign paper says.
One Obama and the rest of his ilk would do well to remember:
“You (cannot) enslave a free man; the very most you can do is kill him!”
– Robert A. Heinlein
Chris Muir over at Day By Day has a little bed time story for America. The happy ending is Obama and his media buddies … well … I’ll let you look for yourself…
Check out the rest of Chris’s work here.
Once again Chris Muir hits it out of the park and nails the difference between how liberals and intelligent people see the president.
In this day and age, when we seem to have forgotten what it means to be a man. When the very essence of manhood has been forgotten and denigrated, perhaps If, we can remember the next generation of men can be saved:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
So the IG’s report on Fast and Furious is out today. So far former acting ATF Director Ken Melson and Deputy Assistant Attorney for the Criminal Division Jason Weinstein have resigned. Since there are a total of 14 high officials implicated for various and sundry levels of culpability in the idiot operation which cost Border Control Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexican nationals their lives — including Lanny Breuer — I’d expect several more resignations in the next few days. Particularly as they attempt to protect the Bungler General.
You see the IG has found that Attorney General Eric Holder was basically incompetent — I’d say criminally negligent, only because stupid isn’t illegal — because he failed to supervise his employees properly. From the report:
“We concluded that the Attorney General’s Deputy Chief of Staff, the Acting Deputy Attorney General, and the leadership of the Criminal Division failed to alert the Attorney General to significant information about or flaws in those investigations.”
Now, one suspects they were trying to protect their boss from an operation that was all but destined to go sideways on them. And I have a particularly difficult time believing that he didn’t know about this at least unofficially. But if it’s true that three of his top lieutenants were involved in a blatantly illegal and dangerous operation and he didn’t know about it?
Then he should resign or be fired. Because stupid is too mild a word for the man who is currently the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America.
Author Michael Z. Williamson, who has a new book out from Baen, When Diplomacy Fails(excerpt at the link), is an unrepentant gun nut. He’s also pretty much an expert in all things weaponish (to the point he has consulted for studios and been an expert witness in trials) and has a great piece up over at the Baen Blog about how firearms are portrayed in the media. This is particularly important right now because the current administration is going all out to try and justify increased gun control.
Here’s a particularly telling paragraph:
When the anti-gun groups, who know as much about firearms as they do about heart surgery spout off crap about how a .50 BMG rifle can take down an airliner, 60 Minutes, a notable news show dutifully reports this “Fact.” For some reason, they never report my fact that a Mustang GT can reach 900 mph and rip a hole in the ozone layer. So either they know a bit more about cars than they do about guns, or they don’t care and like the “controversy” they generate. I would never accuse them of bias and malfeasance. That would imply they are unprofessional. Also, I might get sued. In the meantime, a bunch of gun-haters would call me a conspiracy nut or a right-winger. The fact is, however, that even a large plane is a very fast moving target, almost impossible to hit with a rifle, and at worst, you’d make a half inch hole in it, which is inconvenient but not disastrous, unless by some even greater miracle you hit an engine, and even then, it would likely still make landing. Nor is there any evidence any terrorist group anywhere to date has attempted this. Bombs are so much more effective, and boxcutters so much easier to acquire and transport.
Read the whole thing, linked above. Mike knows his stuff and there’s several useful arguments in there for the next time you’re confronted with some hoplophobic idiot. Then go pick up When Diplomacy Fails. It’s great fun and well worth your dime.
The events of the last few days have engendered both anger and sadness in me.
The invasions of our embassies are something just four years ago we would not have tolerated — let alone the murder of one of our ambassadors. The State Department has been gutless for decades, but four years ago we had a president who would have dealt with the filth the way they deserved.
I’m 40 years old. I remember when our embassy in Tehran was invaded. I remember when the hostages were taken. I wasn’t old enough to really understand what was going on at the time. But I remember how angry my parents were.
I remember, a generation ago, when an American was still mostly safe overseas. When the whack jobs knew that killing Americans was the surest way to find the Marines knocking on your door and enquiring “would you like to go quietly or should we just shoot you now?”
Now? We insist we’ll work with the government which allowed our ambassador to be murdered to “bring the perpetrators to justice.” And we apologize to the bullies in the street for having offended them. I’m surprised the moral coward in the White House hasn’t started apologizing for getting our blood on their hands.
Arab culture respects strength and considers weakness moral justification for abuse. What have we shown them these last four years?
Have we once stood up to them? Have we once made it clear that Americans are not safe targets?
No, we have again and again bowed down to the terrorists.
Despite expert after expert warning President Empty Chair that the Muslim Brotherhood were Not Our Friend™ we helped them to power in two separate countries and keep calling for them to come to power in Syria.
This only gets worse folks. I’d call for Obama to show strength, but it’s impossible.
The man has all the backbone of an earthworm, and all the courage of his idol Teddy Kennedy at Chappaquiddick.
Hopefully this will wake America up. Obama was right, America has lost it’s place in the world.
And it’s his fault.
I don’t suppose I have anything to add, except you can find it here.
So here’s the 14 minute and change video that the Veterans Administration paid more than $52,000 for.
I dunno who this clown is, but he’s no George C. Scott.
Can I have my money back?
So it turns out the shooter, excuse me, “alleged shooter” at the Family Research Council in Washington DC said “I don’t like your politics,” before opening fire.
Long decrying so-called “hateful rhetoric” from the right, the left has blamed us for everything from the Gabby Giffords shooting to the Aurora massacre. So where is the left now? Where are the liberals saying “hateful rhetoric” from the left caused this “tragedy?”
Where are the lefties decrying the labeling of FRC a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center?
Since the beginning of the Occupy Movement, and all the leashed violence across the nation it generated, I’ve waited and watched, wondering when the real violence would begin. So you tell me, is this the beginning? Will the left, so enamored of an ideology which has killed millions across the world, finally show their true colors?
It is not the right which has labeled their political opponents “hate groups.” It is not the right which has consistently demonized their political opponents as racists, misogynists and homophobes. It is not the right which has consistently painted their political opponents as not just wrong, not just misguided, but as evil.
No, it’s the left which has done this, and the patterns of history are clear where socialism and communism are concerned. It starts with demonization and it ends in death camps, gulags and the killing fields.
And so it begins …
I just got of the phone after a brief conversation with the media contact for the company which markets Buckyballs, the nifty magnetic toy for adults, which the Consumer Products Safety Commission has banned because a small number of children ate the things and had to have surgery. (For the record, Buckyballs are marketed to adults, and eating magnets is contraindicated since it can lead to things like a perforated bowel, constipation and, oh, death.)
I’ll be having a longer conversation with Andrew Frank tomorrow, but he left me with this rather pungent quote: “You can buy 6,000 rounds of ammunition online but pretty soon you won’t be able to buy Buckyballs.”
Now I have no problem with someone buying 100,000 rounds of ammunition if they have the money, but it’s a valid point.
I’ve been wanting a set of Think Geek’s Buckyballs — little round powerful magnets arranged in a cube that you can stick on your desk and play with. Yes they’re useless but they’re neat.
Well, thanks to the Consumer Products Safety Commission I may not be able to get them anymore. Fox News is reporting the CPSC has issued a ban on the importation of them and ordered the company which produces them, Maxfield and Oberton Holdings of New York, to stop sales and pay refunds to anyone who wants them.
The apparent problem with these little things is if kids swallow a couple of them, they can end up with a perforated bowel and need surgery.
What’s great about this story is that CPSC has finally admitted something the rest of us have known all along — those annoying warning labels really don’t do a thing:
“Notwithstanding the labeling, warnings and efforts taken by (Maxfield and Oberton), ingestion incidents continued to rise because warnings are ineffective,” the CPSC said. It said the magnets presented a “substantial product hazard.”
Really? We could have told them that. Warnings generally are ineffective and parents obviously shouldn’t let small children around anything non-food related they can put in their mouths — because they will.
What is also amusing is the company isn’t having any, they’re going straight after the administration:
Maxfield and Oberton founder and Chief Executive Craig Zucker said his company marketed the magnets to adults and teenagers and the CPSC held the “absurd position” that warnings did not work.
“We will vigorously fight this action taken by President Obama’s handpicked agency,” he said in an emailed statement.
He added: “How can this happen in America?”
Look, warning labels don’t work. They’ve never worked. And no product can be completely safe. But telling me I can’t have a set of Buckyballs on my desk at work, because some kid might eat a couple and die is as stupid as putting a label on a hair dryer telling me not to dry my hair in the shower. I have two granddaughters and they’re both toddlers. We keep an eye on them. We make sure attractive dangerous things aren’t at eye level. It’s called common sense.
Stupid is as stupid does and that’s never going to change — no matter how many labels you slap on, idiots.
Update: Buckyballs is fighting back.
I confirmed that the site is still taking orders, by ordering a set of Buckycubes. Stupid federal government can buzz off.
Operation Baen Bulk is underway for the third straight year.
Operation Baen Bulk is a different kind of support for the troops. Instead of focusing on individuals, we support entire UNITS, by finding what they need, or want, and can’t easily or quickly get while deployed. . .and get it to them. In LARGE quantities. Think of it as the Warehouse Club approach to Soldier Support: we use the power of buying and shipping in bulk, to maximize the stuff delivered to our troops, out at the pointy end of the spear, and minimize things like waste, shipping costs, etc. And in the process, generally deliver a lot more to the individual soldier than normal “CARE Packages” do.
Starting in 2009, a bunch of SF fans, all of whom read the military SF that Baen Books published, pooled our money and resources to insure that a training detachment in Afghanistan could have some Christmas Trees and good coffee. Since then, we’ve provided for the oddball requests and creature comfort needs of several deployed units. . . and now, we’re trying a bit of a crowd-sourced model for raising funds, with achievement tiers so as soon as a threshold is reached, items will be ordered and sent off to the Ammo Dogs…
HOW do we do it ??
First, we get in touch with an individual at a given unit. We talk to them, and find out the specific needs and wants of the unit. Then we find the best buys we can find to deliver those wants. We then raise the funds, and when we get enough, we order the stuff, and send it to the troops.
So, you want to help. . .what do YOU do ???
This one’s easy. You go to our campaign at OBB.TeddRoberts.com. You make a donation, using a major credit or debit card, or PayPal. We consider those pledges until we hit our tipover point of $1,000. Once we pass the “tipover” point, we start shipping stuff to the troops. We’ll keep collecting donations until the scheduled end of campaign, or we reach our goal of $2,000. If we exceed our goal by 25%, we’ll close down the donations, because we want to be honest with where the money goes. Don’t worry, if we have that much support, we’ll find another unit to support and do this all over again!
The next step… is up to you. We’ve been at this for three years. Come join us!
By the by, four authors, including the redoutable Sarah A. Hoyt, Prometheus Award Winning Authoress of Darkship Thieves (You thought I was going to say “of doom” didn’t you) are offering redshirtings as part of this. If you don’t know what a redshirting is you won’t be interested anyway.
But seriously, this is a great little operation, help out!
Anyone who is in the Indy area really should stop by and make a donation or two and get a book signed by Mike. Mad Mike is an Air Force Vet and all around good guy (also a great author.) Besides, it’s for the boys, yeah?
The West Carmel Red Robin (9965 N. Michigan Road, redrobin.com) is hosting its second Indianapolis-area fundraiser for Cooking with the Troops (cwtt.org) on Thursday 28 June. The restaurant is donating ten percent of their proceeds for the day to the charity to help support U.S. and Allied troops, their families, and caregivers.
“It is a pleasure to once again help Cooking with the Troops,” says Shawn Kelly, general manager of the restaurant. ”To help an Indiana-based charity that uses a culinary focus to help troops with everything from jobs to morale is a pleasure.”
The fundraiser will run from 11 am to 10 pm, and the afternoon may see a number of special events. Already confirmed is Baen Books (baen.com) , who has once again donated a limited number of free books including some by bestselling Indianapolis-area author Michael Z. Williamson (michaelzwilliamson.com). Mr Williamson will be on hand to sign his books personally between 2-4 pm. These will be given to those coming in and buying a meal in support of Cooking with the Troops.
“We can’t begin to thank Red Robin enough for this,” states C. Blake Powers, CEO of Cooking with the Troops. “Our growing relationship demonstrates not only their commitment to our troops, but also how Hoosiers can work together to have a positive impact literally around the world. Events like this are crucial to not only raising the funds we need to operate, but in spreading the word to Hoosiers about the good things being done by both organizations.”
Best selling author Michael Z. Williamson is known for his amazing books and rampant libertarianism. He’s also an immigrant who once sat in front of an immigration official waiting to hear if he’d be sent back to England or not — as a teenager who was here legally and had certainly done nothing to deserve deportation.
So when fellow award-winning author John Scalzi went off on how being a white male is the ultimate in privilege, Mad Mike, as he is sometimes known, got a little … cranky.
Absolute statements are usually a bad idea. So when John Scalzi categorically states that “straight white male is the easiest setting in the game of life,” he’s wrong. Repeatedly.
Let’s start with one very obvious example (at least, obvious if you’re part of the culture in question). To graduate USAF Basic Training, a male, regardless of age, must complete 50 pushups. A female must complete 27.
It’s worse in the Army, because they adjust for age, and require 50% of potential max score for your age group. So an older female can graduate with 9. That’s right, 9.
Yes, the male has it much easier.
This continues throughout military service. Males are required to score much higher on pushups and running speed than females, and are held to standard. Ask any vet, and they can tell you of numerous females who pass with the ugliest, squintiest, not-really-pushups-but-she-tried flops.
Then there’s the fact that any male can be called from his official duties to serve as an infantryman. Females are forbidden by law from such duty. Yes, these days the lines are slippery, and some women have served up front and personal (and with honor and professionalism). But officially, by law, it cannot be mandated. Any male can be told to charge a machine gun nest. Such is “male privilege” in the military.
Please note I am not commenting on the logic or morality of said laws, just noting that these laws do exist. Men are combat troops at the general’s whim. Women are not. Men are required to maintain significantly higher standards of physical readiness.
Females can get out of a deployment or cruise in a second by stating, “I think I may be pregnant.” Bang, off the list, like that. Now, most troops are there knowing deployment is part of the mission and agreeable to it. And women do actually get pregnant. But there are some few who play the card, and for various reasons (legal, moral, practical), that reason must remain. But it is an available escape that any female has that no male has. (And note they don’t actually have to be pregnant, just claim they think they might be.)
Read the rest of it at his blog here. I don’t always agree with Mike, but he always provokes thought. And in this case he’s dead on.
President Barack Obama began his commencement speech at Monday’s Joplin, Missouri high school graduation ceremony with a quick joke, followed by praise for the community’s resilience:
The first job of a commencement speaker is to keep it short, but the second job is to inspire. But as I look out at this class, and across this city, what’s clear is that you’re the source of inspiration today. To me. To this state. To this country. And to people all over the world.
He then veered into politics:
I imagine that as you begin the next stage in your journey, you will encounter greed and selfishness; ignorance and cruelty. You will meet people who try to build themselves up by tearing others down; who believe looking after others is only for suckers. But you are from Joplin. So you will remember, you will know, just how many people there are who see life differently; those who are guided by kindness and generosity and quiet service.
He spoke of AmeriCorps volunteers “who have chosen to leave their homes and stay here until Joplin is back on its feet.” The president then used an attack he has previously employed against his political opposition:
You’ll meet people who like to disagree just for the sake of being disagreeable; who prefer to play up their differences and instead of focusing on what they have in common, or where they can cooperate.
At the end of the approximately 30-minute speech, Obama stated several of his campaign themes:
You’re the ones who will help build an economy where every child can count on a good education; where everyone who is willing to put in the effort can find a job that supports a family; where we control our own energy future and we lead the world in science and technology and innovation. America will only succeed if we all pitch in and pull together — and I’m counting on you to be leaders in that effort.
Joplin High School was destroyed by the EF-5 tornado — the strongest in 60 years — that devastated Joplin last year. More than 160 people were killed, including two high school students — one who had graduated that night — and a staff member.
The school and the students have recovered admirably from the tragedy. After the school was destroyed on May 22, it appeared there was little hope for them to remain together as a class. Yet Joplin officials insisted school would open on time less than three months later, and it did. Superintendent of Schools CJ Huff told the students they were “nothing short of amazing,” as more students in the Class of 2012 enrolled in honors courses and graduated with honors than at any other time in school history. Nearly $2 million in scholarships have been awarded to them.
Author Michael Z. Williamson, writer of the hugely successful “Freehold” universe and libertarian thinker extraordinaire, has some thoughts on the nature of discrimination and the constant drumbeat of Privileged Racist White Men™ holding back the poor oppressed minorities and po’ folks, ending with this wonderful rule:
WILLIAMSON’S SECOND LAW: Invocations of “White privilege” mean you’ve abandoned any logical argument for your position, concede your inferiority in the moral, intellectual and/or economic spectra, and expect that your superiors will fix your problem for you, while claiming to be equal.
Read the rest of it here.
Tedd Roberts, sometimes known as Speaker to Lab Animals has a lenthgy, but cogent, rebuttal to Dr. Paul Hsieh’s article about research and government funding on his blog Teddy’s Lab Rat today.
In attempting to research actual funding policies and proportions, I started with a Wikipedia article, which appears to indicate that about 30% of US research funding is by the government, and just over 60% by the private sector. When I went to check the references for myself, I found a circular reference which points back to the information in the table, thus indicating that Wiki is referencing itself for its own justification of these numbers. Therefore, I looked at the NIH website where I found that for 2011, the NIH budget was around $30 billion, of which more than $25 billion directly supported biomedical scientific research. From there, the I looked at the second major government source of research funding, the NSF. In 2011, the NSF budget was almost $7 billion, of which $5.5 billion was directly applied to research. The entire DOD medical research budget for 2011 was $1.2 billion, leading to a sum of just under $32 billion for U.S. federal government funding of research. There are, of course, smaller research budgets buried in agency funding, such as crop research by the USDA and toxicology studies by the EPA. However, even discounting those sources, the Wikipedia claim of government only providing around 30% of research funds implies over $70 billion in funding per year by nongovernmental sources!
While I don’t completely agree with Tedd’s position, I don’t 100 percent disagree either. While I would prefer to see the government out of most forms of research and all of it funded by private dollars, from a practical standpoint, if all those federal monies disappeared tomorrow what would replace them? Moreover, private companies have little incentive — indeed a positive disincentive – to fund pure science. So who then would fund the sort of high-risk, high-reward research DARPA undertakes?
These are questions conservatives need to answer prior to simply saying “we must eliminate government-funded research.”
Read the whole thing here.
From the Department of Labor trying to keep kids from working on the farm to unions forcing their members to make political contributions, our essential liberties are bruised and the flame is going out. I’m not sure what we do about it, except to keep fighting and defeat this president in November. Romney was far from my first choice, but I’d vote for a syphilitic camel before I’d vote for the Dog-Eater-In-Chief.
h/t Chris Muir at Day by Day, who is — frankly — a genius. Draws good too.
Over at Fox News today we find out the radical feminist movement is now targeting LEGOs.
Their complaint? LEGO put out a new line of toys aimed specifically at young girls which use traditional feminine colors and pastimes rather than spaceships and robots, and instead of the usual blocky LEGO men we have a girl with a dress and fancy hair and slight curves.
The new “LEGO Friends” rolled out in December featuring LadyFigs, curvier takeoffs on the traditional boxy LEGO men. Construction sets include a hot tub, a splash pool, a beauty parlor, an outdoor bakery and a “cool convertible,” as well as an inventor’s workshop.
But the SPARK Movement objects to the “LadyFigs,” the female version of the little figures who man the spaceships, trucks and forts children create. “Ladyfigs” are somewhat anatomically correct, which hypersexualizes girls, according to the group.
“They have little breasts and they have fancy hair,” the organization’s executive director, Dana Edell, told FoxNews.com. “And it just disturbs us that this is the image that they want girls to see.”
Look, I’ve raised two boys and one girl and I have two little granddaughters. Girls don’t have to be taught to like pretty things, and boys don’t have to be taught to like getting muddy. My eldest granddaughter loves playing with cars, but she likes to do it while wearing the princess outfit her mom can’t get her out of for days at a time.
And hypersexualized? REALLY? Has that idiot really looked at that figure? I really don’t want to know what goes on (or doesn’t) in her bedroom if she thinks that is sexy.
Once again we have the professionally offended finding ways to mind everyone else’s business. Look, if little girls want to play with that sort of thing they will. If they prefer the boys’ LEGOs they’ll likely steal them from their older/younger brothers — or their preference made clear, mom and dad will buy them regular LEGOs.
Just because a girl plays with traditional girl toys doesn’t mean she’s going to grow up to be barefoot and pregnant and at the mercy of some man she needs like a fish needs a bicycle.
Girls are girls, boys are boys. There are real, fundamental, physical and psychological differences between the sexes and no amount of wishing and hand wringing about toys is going to change that. Nor should we want it to, nitwits like Dana Edell aside.
If you thought the nonsense with the GSA was insane, now we have upper level EPA executives writing haiku.
Over at EPA’s blog, they’re promoting “Six Words for the Planet.”
By Jessica Orquina
Have you heard of six-word essays or flash fiction? It’s a unique genre of writing that focuses on sharing a meaningful story or idea in just six words. The idea of very short stories began before the digital age, but has begun to thrive recently as people share their stories via social networks. Six-word essays recently came to my attention and I thought it would a great way to celebrate the environment.
Today at EPA, we are launching the Six Words for the Planet project in partnership withSMITH Magazine. To start off I wanted to share a few six-word essays written by my coworkers and me here at EPA.
Here are my Six Words for the Planet:
Many nations. One planet. Our home.
Here are six-word essays about the environment written by my fellow EPA employees:
Healthier families, cleaner communities, stronger America.
Lisa P Jackson, EPA Administrator
Breathe; A moment in nature. Breathe!
Our only. Our one. Home planet.
(Yes, yes I know, not really Haiku, but it’s close enough for government work.)
So while the EPA is busily ramming business killing regulation after business killing regulation down our throat the director is spending her time writing poetry.
You know the level of navel gazing here is not only somehow apropos, but probably a better use of their time than doing their jobs.
Oh, my six words:
EPA nitwits, contemplate navel, Rome burns
From my friend Kate, says it sums them up rather nicely:
Screw the USA, I’ve got mine.
I thought I might add a little perspective to the debate about contraception.
Accepting for the sake of argument that Sandra Fluke’s assertion that birth control costs her and her friends $1,000 a year, that’s about $83.33 per month or $2.74 a day — less than the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee, which would seem reasonable to avoid the much higher cost of a pregnancy.
Now, the average family buys about 1,100 gallons of gasoline a year. At $4 per gallon that comes to $4,400 a year, $366.67 a month or $12.05 a day.
Now the median household income in the United States is just over $46,000 a year. So with gas prices at their current level, the average consumer is paying roughly 10 percent of their income every month just to get back and forth to work and run the family errands.
With gas prices expected to hit $5 or even $6 a gallon and a mostly stagnant job market t’would seem there are more important issues for the president to be concerning himself with than the cost of birth control pills.
There has been much discussion of late of the Science Fiction Writer’s of America’s decision to redirect links for some of their authors away from Amazon, after contract negotiations between Independent Publisher’s Group and Amazon broke down.
When those discussions broke down Amazon pulled all the IPG books they had off the site, not so much as a negotiating tactic as has been alleged, or as a method of censorship — which has also been alleged and is patently absurd as Amazon is not a government — but because they no longer had a contractual right to sell them.
Let’s be clear, had Amazon continued to sell those books, they would have been liable for copyright infringement and could have been sued.
I’m not going to get deeply into the rights or wrongs of that here. But over at accordingtohoyt.com the secretary of SFWA Mary Robinette Kowal responded to a post by the blog owner Sarah A. Hoyt, by trying to say that SFWA made the move to protect authors.
Meanwhile, I’ve had several authors tell me they’re being screwed over badly on their royalty statements by their publishers and yet SFWA, which is the closest thing they have to a union (talk about herding cats) has done nothing to help them.
I’ve been trying to investigate this for some time with little success because most of the authors willing to talk to me privately are unwilling to do so on the record for fear of reprisals.
So I issue this challenge to the SFWA forthwith:
Will you help authors to demand audits of their royalty statements and further demand there be no reprisals by the so-called Big Six publishers who are associate members of your association?
Will you assist authors who would be willing to go on the record to contact me and get copies of their royalty statements and bookscan numbers to me?
Will you demand publishers remove ebooks to which they never purchased the rights from distribution channels and demand they pay back royalties?
Will you demand publishers stop using Bookscan numbers, which are a notoriously inaccurate estimate, to pay e-book royalties and instead demand actual sales counts be used, counts which are easy to obtain from any of the major e-book retailer?
Will you demand realistic royalties be paid on e-books, rather than the pittance authors currently receive from the so-called Big Six?
The ball is in your court, SFWA.
The older I get the more I seem to see how military maxims and how to govern intersect.
There’s two in particular which I think are important to look at.
First: “Never give an order you know will not be obeyed.”
There are sound, sound reasons for this. To give an order you know will not be obeyed diminishes your authority.
So too with government. Think about how many laws we all break on a daily basis. From speed limits, to parking regulations to downloading software or music. All these laws they had to know no one would obey, tend to diminish people’s respect for the rule of law. It’s the old “slippery slope” argument, and the left loves to dismiss it as a base canard. The problem is, it’s not. Once you start breaking the law it can, not always but it can, become easier and easier to do.
No one sets out and says “today I’ll embezzle $1 million from my company.” Even Bernie Madoff didn’t start that way.
No, you decide you’ll cut one corner here or there “just this time,” and the next thing you know you’re in prison with some 400 pound guy named “Bubba” explaining to you how you’re going to be his wife — best to not start cutting corners at all.
So too with society. The disrespect for law and responsibility which starts with a plethora of laws no one thinks twice about ignoring leads directly to the Occupy Movement and the lawless camps it spawned. Civilization cannot exist without laws — but they must make sense and be easy to live within.
Which leads us to the second maxim: “Don’t give too many orders, once you’ve given an order on a subject you’ll always have to give orders on that subject.”
Basically, “don’t micromanage.” In the military this means giving broad orders and allowing your subordinates to figure out the best way to implement them — and not giving orders on basic day-to-day things like when to do laundry or telling a senior NCO how best to lay in a machine gun. He knows how to do these things and doesn’t need your help.
Giving too many orders not only destroys your authority, because inevitably you’ve given some that won’t be obeyed, but it also saps the initiative from your subordinates.
So too in the real world. The insane number of laws we all are subject to, and the stifling regulation businesses find themselves having to obey mean that both people and businesses are frightened to make a move for fear of falling foul of the law — with predictable results for job creation.
So what’s the point of all this, then? Well if you want a strong, robust country of free people who can take care of themselves then you have a perfect example of what not to do in this administration.
If, however, like the left, you are looking to create a totalitarian state, filled with cowed and compliant sheeple? Well then, the explosion of laws no one will obey, coupled with a bushel basket full of laws designed to hem us in will create that for you quite well.
The problem for the left, is that it can explode in their faces and create and ungovernable mass of lawless barbarians — and bring down Western Civilization in the process.
Chris Muir over at Day by Day may be the greatest political commentator working in comics today. Certainly he’s my favorite.
So is it truly any surprise to discover he’s dead on when eulogizing the great Andrew Breitbart?
Chris, I bow before your talent:
The story circling the blogosphere this week is that libertarian think tank the Heartland Institute founded and partially funded by our own Koch brothers (they’re from Kansas, and Koch Industries is in Wichita) had revealed they were making stuff up in their fight against the cult of man-caused global warming.
As my friend and colleague Charlie Martin wrote earlier;
“Heartland Institute (insert Phantom of the Opera music, pictures of bats, and a reference to the Koch Brothers) ‘whistleblower’ had revealed ‘Heartland Institute’s budget, fundraising plan, its Climate Strategy for 2012 and sundry other documents (all attached) that prove all of the worst allegations that have been leveled against the organization.’”
There was only one problem — it would appear the one document which showed they were lying has been forged and the rest of the documents were stolen by a Huffington Post writer who is a longtime advocate for global warming.
Peter H. Gleick claims he’d been forwarded the strategy documents by an anonymous source and “in a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name.”
Let’s be clear here. What he did is theft. Hidden camera investigations are always on ethically shaky ground, as journalists are not supposed to represent themselves as anything but who and what we are in order to gather information. Hidden camera investigations are only used when there is no other way to get the story and the story is of enough importance to override the questionable nature of the tactics.
There is no situation in which it is acceptable to commit fraud — and make no mistake, that’s what Gleick did — in order to get a story.
That’s aside from the federal charges and lawsuit sources tell me he’s facing for the forged document as well.
Here’s the thing. Whichever side of the global warming debate you’re on, you deserve to be able to trust the people reporting on it. Actually the biggest asset any journalist has is his credibility. It’s vital that our readers be able to trust us.
What Gleick did is to violate that trust. His credibility is destroyed.
It’s sad, really.
As journalists, we are not well liked or respected generally. As a group we have really done a job on our prestige in this country. No one really believes we can be trusted to tell the truth any more.
For someone who has always regarded this profession as a calling, it’s frustrating.
I was taught that we have an important responsibility — not just to inform the public, but to act as a final check on the government.
So many of my colleagues are acting as the propaganda arm of the current administration and are so often caught plagiarizing, or simply making stories up from whole cloth, it’s killing a profession I’ve long considered a noble way to spend your life.
My colleagues, please, remember your ethics, remember your responsibilities. It’s not too late to restore public trust and confidence in our calling — it will just take time.
The meme is now circling Facebook like Bill Clinton stalking an intern — the Republicans have declared war on women! Conservatives want to steal women’s ladyparts! All because conservatives don’t think the Catholic Church or any other “faith-based” organization should have to provide contraceptives or abortifacient drugs to women free of charge. Well free to them, and free to the liberals. They don’t really seem to comprehend that someone has to pay for it.
Liberals of course never let the truth stand in the way of a good political club, in fact, that the club they’re beating their opponents with is a lie just seems to make them more inclined to use it. Here’s hoping Obama and his mouthpieces actually keep the pressure on on this issue as it’s starting to cost them a lot of support.
We all know Matt Drudge is a genius. There are only two guys operating on his level in the business today, Drudge and our own Blogfather Glenn Reynolds. Case in point:
Not only does he show how bad gas prices are, but once again the first family is on vacation at our expense. Don’t try to tell me they are paying for everything but security out of their own pocket. The president’s salary comes out of your pocket and mine first.
Come November let’s see about giving him a permanent vacation, shall we?
Pearls Before Swine is a wonderfully sarcastic, punny strip. It’s also more than a little hard to nail down. Stephen Pastis occasionally seems to be more than a little conservative, but one never quite knows. Certainly, as below, he loves to skewer stupidity and hypocrisy. As the Occutwits make noise (which is all they’re really good for) at CPAC and other events let us remember that they are railing against capitalism while sucking down double mocha venti hazelnut lattes and tweeting on their iPads.
h/t Seattle Pi