Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What Else Happened in 2008?

Brent slated for biggest annual drop since 2008.

It sure is nice to buy regular for $1.85, which is a common price at the stations around here this last day of 2014.  Since it's been chilly and I've been busy, I haven't had my bike out, but I would guess I can get ethanol-free premium for under $2.00, too.

If I were making predictions, I would predict a stock market correction early in 2015.  Will the Dow hit 20,000 by the end of this new year?  It might, but reality says the Dow at 10,000 would make a lot more sense.

As Michael Snyder points out, this is eerily similar to what happened going into 2008.

Sadly, what we are experiencing right now is so similar to what we witnessed in 2007 and early 2008.  The stock market had been on a great run, people were flipping houses like crazy and most people were convinced that the party would never end.
On Monday, the price of oil hit a brand new five year low.  As I write this, U.S. oil is sitting at a price of $53.76 a barrel, which is nearly a 50 percent decline from the peak earlier this year.

There is only one other time in history when the price of oil has declined by more than 50 dollars a barrel in such a short time frame.  That was back in the middle of 2008, shortly before the worst stock market crash since the Great Depression.
Somewhere I hear Mary Hopkins singing:

Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way.
La la la la...
Those were the days, oh yes those were the days

I wonder if Janet Yellen knows that song?

Anyway, since I'm not going to be penalized for wrong answers, let's do a few more off-the-wall predictions:

1.  Ebola will become a news item again -- especially if the economy needs to be taken out of the headlines at some point.

2.  There will be a surge (though it probably won't be called that) of U.S. ground troops into Iraq before the end of 2015.

3.  There will be a violent, race-based riot in an American city that will make Ferguson look like summer camp.

4.  There will be, in the U.S., a Muslim terrorist attack in which more than five people will be murdered.  The terrorist(s) will be described by the regime as a "lone wolf" (or lone wolves).

5.  In September, Obama will veto a budget bill and cause a government shutdown.

6.  Chris Christie will lose 150 pounds or more (probably involving surgery) in preparation for a 2016 presidential run.  (Bonus prediction for 2016:  I won't vote for Christie at any weight.)

 7.  Elizabeth Warren becomes the 2016 Democrat front-runner.  Hillary drops out due worsening "health", and secretly checks into the Betty Ford Clinic.

8.  Russia intervenes more directly in Syria and to save Putin's ally, Assad, from Al Qaeda.

9.  In the third quarter, the U.S. economy will be declared to be in recession.

10.   (Wishful thinking) A U.S. version of the UKIP will emerge to challenge the two-party system leading to a win of at least one Senate seat in 2016. 

And very un-ironically, I want to wish you a Happy New Year!

We'll be OK.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ask Them About Gun Control, Too

HappyAcres reports:

I guess they have the casinos.

Police Officers Killed and Statistics

The headline says:  Gun deaths for U.S. officers rose by 56% in 2014.

What gets buried is that the number is up from 2013 -- which, it turns out, was a low point.  Overall deaths from all causes -- not just shootings -- in 2013 (102) were the fewest since 1944 (91).

The 2014 numbers regressed toward the mean.

Any time a police officer, or any citizen, is murdered that is a bad thing.  The problem I have is that the headline feeds the perception that police are operating in a war zone and are being gunned down daily.

Over at American Thinker, Jeff Lipkes lists some of the 47 officers shot to death in 2014, including the particularly unfortunate case of Officer Charles Dinwiddie:

Then there was the case of Officer Charles Dinwiddie, shot by Marvin Louis Guy.  Dinwiddie was a member of a SWAT team that was breaking into Guy’s home at 5:30 a.m. to serve a warrant.  No drugs were found.  Guy, defending his home and family from intruders, he believed, is not the type of African-American male of any interest to the media, though he is now facing the death penalty.  As libertarians have pointed out, SWAT units were not originally established to conduct drug raids, especially ones based on the dubious tip of one informant.   

There are a very large number of sworn and armed law officers in the United States -- somewhere around 850,000 or 900,000.  It suppose it depends on the definition.  That includes federal agents which number about 120,000, I think.  There are over one million people employed by state and local law enforcement agencies, but only around three-quarters of a million are sworn.

Let's just take 800,000 and round 47 to 48, so we are talking about 6 deaths per 100,000.  One per 100,000, one per 1,000,000, is too many.  But these things happen.  There are bad people out there.

Overall, in 2013, the murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate for the United States was 4.5 per 100,000.  A police officer is roughly 30% more likely -- overall -- to be murdered than I am.  The fact is that my county cops and I are all pretty safe, though the state-specific numbers show that Missouri was above the average at 6.1.

Take a look at "FBI -- Table 4" for yourself.

Oddly enough, the "whiter" and more sparsely populated states like Iowa, Idaho, North Dakota, and South Dakota, tend to have lower than average murder rates.  Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield, with significant non-white populations, contribute to the above-average rate in Missouri.  In the rural, white-trash areas of Missouri, we have the scourge of meth manufacture and addiction.  That, too, adds to the number of murders.

There tend to be more police officers in higher-crime, urban, non-white areas; therefore, one might not be entirely surprised to see police subject to a higher rate of homicide. 

Keep in mind, as well, that smaller populations will be more statistically volatile than larger ones.  One example brings tears to my eyes.  There was a huge spike in the number of cops killed in the line of duty in 2001 -- because of  those NYPD officers who ran up the steps of the World Trade Center one fateful day.   

Warp Drive

It doesn't look like David Pares is your run-of-the-mill crackpot (not so sure about the podcast):

David Pares is an adjunct professor at several colleges, including the University of Nebraska where he is the faculty advisor for their Mutual UFO Network student organization. He has degrees in geography and engineering science, and teaches classes in meteorology, physics, astronomy, geography, geology, statistics and physical science. Pares believes he has unlocked the key to warp technology, and that he and his team of engineers and graduate students have constructed a working warp engine that demonstrates this technology.
Some pictures from

Here's the Professor's website.

We've heard about the concept of contracting space ahead of a spacecraft in order to move effectively faster than light.

Details of the patent are here

It's interesting.   

Monday, December 29, 2014

Update on the .25-06

I bought a Nikon Prostaff 3-9x scope.  I assume "Prostaff" means they are made in China since is was only about $170.  I have no complaints.  It's very clear.  I would kind of liked to have had a 4-12x, but I didn't see one I liked.  And, really, given my limited abilities, 9x is going to let me see clearly as far as I can expect to reliably hit anything.    

I sighted in with Remington factory 100-grain PSP bullets (exposed lead spire points).  My last 3 shots at 100 yards looked like this:

As you can tell, I don't like to spend too much on targets.  That was off an improvised rest, but it was pretty solid. 

I have dies, bullets and powder, but I haven't loaded anything yet since I needed to empty some brass.  I've got 117-grain Hornady bullets to try with Hodgdon's Hybrid100 powder -- never tried it before, but my new edition of Lee's Modern Reloading lists it at the top.  Instead of 87-grain bullets on the light end, I got some 75-grain Sierra hollow-points, which I will load over Hodgdon's good ol' 4895.  My cousin shoots nothing but 100-grain Sierras in his .25-06, and I think he uses H4895, but he's been shooting a .25-06 since Hector was a pup.  He's old and set in his ways, not to mention a dead shot.  I'm sure the Cong were nearly as relieved as he was when he got on the plane for home.

The recoil on these 100-grain factory rounds is negligible.  You get a little bounce.  If the 117-grainers are no worse, that maybe what I go with, depending on accuracy.  The heavier-for-caliber bullets are preferable for extending the range.  But I have to try the lighter bullets because they will be radical on coyotes if the rifle likes them.

Speaking of Lee, the dies I bought are Lee.  I got the neck-sizer die, a seating die and a collet crimp die.  Neck-sizing is really all you need -- in my opinion -- for a bolt-action, so long as you are using them in the same rifle all the time.  I use neck-sizing only for my NEF break-open .223, and I've never had any problems.  Plus, there is no need to lube the cases or worry about a case sticking in the die.  It's simpler, and I'm happier.

If you are reloading for a semi-auto, obviously, full-length sizing would be required.  Also, if I had two or more rifles in the same caliber, I'd probably feel better using a full-length die.    

So that's where we are for now.

War and Propaganda

The Taliban has defeated the United States in much the same way we were defeated by Hanoi Jane and the Viet Cong.

I thought we had learned this lesson forty years ago.  You don't spill the sacred blood of your soldiers unless you mean to thoroughly defeat and destroy the enemy.  We are not imperialists.  We are adventurists.  I think that is actually worse.  At least we might get something out of imperialism.  As it is, the only people who profit from the spilled blood of the hillbillies, rednecks, and street kids who get thrown into the grinder are the fascist ghouls from Goldman-Sachs, the financiers, and the defense contractors.  Those who control the government and the media used the crisis to further destroy our liberty, to bleed the American middle class through government debt and currency debasement.   

After September 11, 2001, militant Islam should have been driven back under its filthy little rock for another thousand years.  That's what I thought we were going to do.  Instead, we created ISIS in Iraq and made Afghanistan safe for the Taliban, did nothing in Iran except allow them to further develop nuclear weapons, and turned Libya into another breeding ground for goat-loving, cousin-marrying fanatics. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Hackers and Insiders

Security expert Marc Rogers suggests that the evidence linking North Korea to the Sony hack is less than overwhelming.  You should read his arguments for yourself.  The FBI links are weak, but it is when Rogers turns to why it might have been done by a disgruntled insider that he is especially convincing.

First of all, there is the fact that the attackers only brought up the anti-North Korean bias of “The Interview” after the media did—the film was never mentioned by the hackers right at the start of their campaign. In fact, it was only after a few people started speculating in the media that this and the communication from North Korea “might be linked” that suddenly it did get linked. My view is that the attackers saw this as an opportunity for “lulz”, and a way to misdirect everyone.  ...

The second reason is one that I have wondered about from the start:

The hackers dumped the data. Would a state with a keen understanding of the power of propaganda be so willing to just throw away such a trove of information? The mass dump suggests that whoever did this, their primary motivation was to embarrass Sony Pictures. They wanted to humiliate the company, pure and simple.

Remember when some "hackers" released all the East Anglia emails about Michael Mann and company "hiding the decline" in global temperatures?  Those kinds of hacks are usually based on inside information.  Somebody knows what's going on, and, for whatever reasons, provides access codes to someone else to get the data dumped.  This looks like the same kind of thing.

Anyway, I've come to the possibly sad point in my life where I would not believe the President of the United States if he said water was wet.  I am skeptical of the FBI, the CIA, the State Department, the BLS, and NOAA.  If someone lies to you not once but multiple times, or, in the case of Obama, every time he opens his mouth, and those lies are exposed only to be defended and justified by other lies, I think it may be time to be skeptical.

I can accept that a trusted friend may tell me something that turns out to be false because he believed it to be true himself.  That's an honest mistake.  There's no intent to deceive.  I also understand that, if I look at a situation with a preconceived idea of what I think I ought to find, I am more likely to find it.

The FBI may be lying to further some agenda of the regime, or the "experts" there may be mistaken, or, having been told that the Norks are behind the hack, they conveniently found confirmation based on their expectation. Or, Pyongyang could really be to blame.  But the initial data dumps had nothing to do with a picture that was probably destined to bomb at at the box office.  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I have some family things going on this week, so I'm not sure that I will be posting at all before Christmas.  If not, I wish you and yours all the blessings, peace and joy of Christmas and all the best in the new year ahead.

Times are still interesting.  Most of the things that made news this year were not things anyone predicted as 2013 ended.  I don't imagine that the news in 2015 will be any more predictable.  Yet we are an adaptable species.  We may not like what happens, but we can handle it.  And we will.

Meanwhile, look for the Star of Bethlehem

Updated with good link.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Bowe Bergdahl Deserted

I don't usually like to link to Newsmax, but it's the easiest in this case.  Here's the link to O'Reilly's report

Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer (Ret.) and Col. David Hunt (Ret.) make it clear that Bergdahl is a deserter.  He voluntarily left his post and joined up with the Taliban.  He was not captured.  He betrayed his fellow soldiers, and good men died trying to get him back. 

Bergdahl should be court-martialed.  He won't be, because the President, i.e., Bergdahl's Commander in Chief, doesn't want him to be.  Obama has sympathy for traitors and tyrants. 

The expectation of Shaffer and Hunt, based on their sources, is that Bergdahl will get a less-than-honorable discharge and will be allowed to keep his $300,000 in back pay.  Bradley Manning, who made classified documents available to Julian Assange in the Wikileaks scandal, sits in Leavenworth.  Edward Snowden, who exposed the NSA, is a hunted man.  I don't think Snowden is the criminal in that case.  Manning is a traitor but not as so directly as Bergdahl, and no one died, as far as I know, as a result of Manning's actions.

Five Islamic terrorist leaders were released in exchange for a deserter so Obama could get some positive press coverage.  A court martial would be a public relations disaster for Obama.  I do not know when or where people like Obama and Bergdahl will get what's coming to them.  Maybe not in this life.  Still, the record is kept, and whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. (Romans 12:19, ESV)     

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cuba and North Korea

Van rants righteously on Sony's surrender to North Korean threats.

We should keep in mind that we are talking about the actions of a private company interested, we would think, in profits rather than politics.  Sony is a Japanese multinational corporation, of which Sony Pictures Entertainment is a part.  The movie in question, The Interview, is a Hollywood film with American actors.  Van draws the parallel to Rushdie.  That seems appropriate.  Sony likely figured they could expect no help or support from the American government.  I'm sure that's true.

The Founders saw the role of the federal government as limited, with only a few responsibilities.  Perhaps chief among those would be defending its citizens from foreign threats.  That can be a tough job.  It's much easier to protect the EBT cards of the voting class or to protect our children from education by forcing adoption of Common Core or protect the health care monopolies with Obamacare.

Sony can do what they want.  The movie is probably monumentally stupid anyway.  I certainly wasn't going to go see it.  For all I know, they may have made a deal with the Nork regime just to generate some interest.

UPDATE:  You may say I'm a paranoid, but I'm not the only oneOthers find the whole NK threat scenario questionable.

Then there is Cuba.  We who are old enough to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis find normalization of relations with the Castros disconcerting.  It just doesn't seem right.

Cuba was a Soviet satellite country.  There's no longer a USSR -- theoretically.  Given the economic turmoil in Russia, one suspects that the Cubans are not getting much help from Putin right now.  The timing of the Obama regime's embrace of the Castro regime adds to the unease.  Is Obama seeking to bail out fellow socialist despots?

On the other hand, I'm not sure the embargo makes sense anymore.  It probably should have ended after the Soviet Union collapsed.  I don't think it's comparable to the Berlin Wall (from Too Much Bourbon, Donna), but there are reasonable arguments for normalization.  I'm not terribly upset about it, but I find that I cannot ever trust Obama to be working in the interests of my country.  I remain suspicious.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Obamas Mistaken for People Who Work for a Living

And they thought it was racist

The First Wookie made a photo-op trip to Target a couple of years ago.  Because she is tall, some lady asked her to hand her something off a higher shelf.  How racist that the woman didn't recognize The Obama and bow instead.


Sure, the Secret Service guys might have been a tip-off.  I figure the whole thing is bogus.  No way would any little person have gotten close enough to ask Obama for help.

Not to be outdone:

The president told his own experiences. "There's no black male my age, who's a professional, who hasn't come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn't hand them their car keys," Obama told the magazine. 

Regardless of race, any well-dressed man standing outside a high-end restaurant with valet parking might be handed keys by a patron.  It would probably be a good way to steal luxury cars.

Thanks to Obama's economic policies, we can usually park right by the door at Taco Bell.

But, of course, if one is looking for opportunities to be offended, they are not that hard to come by. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Full Krugman Retard

Zero Hedge charts the carnage today.  

Is this the end?  I don't know.  I doubt it.  Ever watch the movie "The Hitcher" with Rutger Hauer?  It's never over.  Until it is.

My title comes from a comment on the linked article from TruthInSunshine:
China + Japan (now both in full blown economic contraction as measured in real terms) are leading the way in what is the next global economic crisis, although they'll be getting a huge assist from the EU (PIIGS+FUK), India, Russia, Brazil, Australia, Canada...and the U.S.
This is what happens when China boils its books, Japan goes Full Krugman Retard, and the U.S., UK and much of the EU block of Member States wipe out the formerly large % of their consuming population that used to comprise their middle class.
Retail massacre (brick & mortar AND e-tailers) happens like never before after this Christmas, then the historic real slam-down in equities, bonds and other credit instruments floated on a sea of CB liquidity follows.
There is so much empty air propping up all "asset" valuations (especially vaporware equity and HY bond asset classes), it's like a house built on a foundation of whipped cream (or cards)...
Worse than 1999, worse than 2007...we now not only have overly-indebted slaves by the record full, and massively over-inflated equity/bond/RE valuations, but the middle class has already been decimated.

I think he sums up my feelings about the situation.  I'm not betting against the big boys, though.  They have options I can't imagine.  War in the Ukraine?  War with Iran?  The Russian Navy blockading the Strait of Hormuz?  

I Only Know What I Read In the Newspapers

Even way back when the Cherokee Cowboy, Will Rogers, said it, it was joke.

The 17-year-old wizard of Wall Street, Mohammed Islam, is a complete hoax.

Almost as soon as the story was out, it was viewed with raised eyebrows.  None of it sounded right.  It turns out that the kid and his friends did some simulated trading and made some brags that got out of hand.  New York Magazine and the NY Post ate it up. 

Hoaxed journalists, and for that matter, journalistic hoaxes, are nothing new.  However, this story coming after the implosion of the Rolling Stone fraternity gang-rape story points to a problem with post-modern journalism.  The desire to create "buzz" and sell papers or advertising it corrosive enough.  Add to that a collectivist mindset and an agenda of destroying traditional values and you have a recipe for journalistic malfeasance across the board.  

I do not expect the press to be objective.  I do not expect them to be completely honest, and I know they lack the capacity to be intelligent.  Nevertheless, they do have an obligation to the public not to, in effect, scream "Fire!" in a crowded theater -- which is, figuratively, what happened in the case of the University of Virginia rape allegations.

Public damage in the teenage trader story is minimal.  No one, except a journalist, would be dumb enough to believe it.  However, it's another torpedo at the water line of public trust in the fifth column Fourth Estate.

PS -- Since I can't get the comment box to work there, I'll say it here:  Brendan does some great analysis of the Sydney attack.  If you haven't read it yet, please do.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Oil I Can Explain

There's not much demand pressure on oil right now, but the main reason it is down is because the Saudis are cutting their margins to discourage new, more expensive wells in places like the Bakken and the Permian Basin. 

Copper, on the other hand, has been below $3.00 for some time now.  That would normally be a sign that we might be in a recession -- except that we never came out of the last one. 

I don't know what this chart will show later, but right now, copper is at $2.89. 

I'll take a wild guess and say that sometime in the next few months, say by June 2015, we get a declaration of recession from Those Who Are Supposed To Know.

Tomorrow or next week, copper may be four bucks, and I'll be wrong again.  Fortunately, I'm not worried about my reputation. 

People who were heavily invested in commodity futures -- notably oil, are probably taking some hits right now.  I'm not sure it will have the same impact as the collapse of subprime real estate because commodities do have intrinsic value.  There is no replacement for oil or metals.  A single-family tract house is not a means of production.  An investor can afford to hold oil because -- whatever the price -- it's still a barrel of oil.  A house with a mortgage is less liquid. 

Yakkity Yaks

Yak dung is exacerbating climate change.  Really?

Grass and other plants grow, utilizing carbon dioxide and releasing O2 as a by-product, which I greatly appreciate. 

Yaks eat the grass, inhaling the O2 and combining it with some of the carbon compounds from the grass to provide the animals with energy.  The yaks then exhale CO2.  Some of the carbon compounds pass all the way through the yak's system and get pushed out the other end.

A cold Tibetan lights some dried dung -- i.e., combines it with O2 very rapidly, releasing heat, a little more CO2, and some particulate soot that likely winds up on the walls and roof of his hut. 

Grass and other plants grow ...

Second verse, same as the first.

Newtown Victims Sue Bushmaster

This is not unexpected or unprecedented.  Families of those killed by a deranged punk have decided to sue the manufacturer of the rifle the deceased perpetrator carried that day. Because:

The negligence and wrongful death lawsuit, filed in Bridgeport Superior Court, asserts that the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle should not have been made publicly available because it was designed for military use and is unsuited for hunting or home defense.

"The AR-15 was specifically engineered for the United States military to meet the needs of changing warfare," attorney Josh Koskoff said in a release. "In fact, one of the Army's specifications for the AR-15 was that it has the capability to penetrate a steel helmet."

Every deer hunter in North America with a rifle carries rounds that will penetrate a steel helmet.  It's not the rifle that penetrates the helmet, doofus.  I'm pretty sure .44 mag rounds from my innocent-looking single-action revolver will go through the thin steel of a WWII-era helmet. 

The Army does not use AR-15s.  An AR-15 looks like an M16 and fires the same round, but it is not a military weapon. 

This rifle, the Ruger Mini-14, also fires the same round, with the same capacity, but it's not black:

 Credit: Wikipedia
So many ambulance-chasing, blood-dancing lawyers, so few lamp posts.  

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Bad Shepherds

Our favorite Jewish blogger -- actually one of our favorite bloggers period, Daniel Greenfield, posted on Leftist Lynch Mobs

It got me started thinking -- always dangerous since something might overheat.  I commented:

I think the police get away with too much all the time against all races. I think we are living in a police state.

I think the reason the leftists instigate and encourage protests like we are seeing now is not to make the police "more sensitive" but to instill fear into the hearts of the little white suburbanites whose tax dollars go to support the "thin blue line".

There are good cops. There are a lot of cops who are thugs and goons justifying their actions with badges and uniforms. You have to have spectacles like this to explain why a local police department in an American city would need a MRAP vehicle, and why cops have to act as if they are at war with the people they are supposed to serve and protect.

I'm not buying any of it.

Commenter Doug Mayfield, whose response had not passed moderation when I wrote mine, says something similar, in part:

The Left's goal is a socialist police state in America, a la Castro's Cuba or Chavez's Venezuela. To bring that about, the Left must destroy freedom and individual rights and that includes dismantling our legal system and the rule of law, while replacing them with mobs and riots.

As long as the Left is strong in the media and in academia, we will constantly be faced with the 'quest for social justice' and cries of 'racism' or 'homophobia' or 'Islamophobia', or any of the other forms of cheap Left wing blackmail, in response to opposition to the Left's authoritarian, enslaving agenda.

People can think what they want about Pearl Harbor and how much Roosevelt knew, and 9/11 and how much Bush knew.  What we do know is that a board of inquiry never came up with a solid conclusion as to why an American armored cruiser, the USS Maine, exploded and sank in Havana harbor back in 1898.  We also know that the yellow press of the day, headed by Hearst and Pulitzer, fanned the flames of suspicion in an attempt to provoke a war with Spain.

In all likelihood, the sinking of the Maine was the result of either a naval mine or an accidental fire in the ship's coal bunker that spread to the magazine.  There's no need to believe the various false flag conspiracy theories to understand that elements within the federal government and private sector took full advantage of the sinking as a casus belli.  They wanted the war.  This was their excuse.

The Big Government types, regardless of whether they identify as left or right, would like for those of us who work, save, invest, and act responsibly to foot the bill for and demand the forging of our own chains.  They -- both Democrats and Republicans -- will use our fears of what is going on in Ferguson just as they have used the fear of terrorism and an alleged epidemic of drugs and gangs to take away more and more of our freedom and erode our constitutional protections. 

The rule of law is all but dead in this country.  Anyone who thought electing Republicans to control of the Senate would solve our problems may be thinking differently after the craptacular Cromnibus bill got shoved through the House last night.  There's no reason Boehner could not have pushed through a funding bill of shorter duration that would have kept things going until the next Congress was seated. 

Ouuu, government shutdown!  Be afraid!

Idiots.  Our only hope now is that Fauxcahontas manages to kill it in the Senate over Dodd-Frank.  That's pretty bad.  Hey, maybe that's what Boehner wants so he can blame the Democrats.  As I said, Idiots.  It's the 99% of politicians -- Obama, Boehner, Pelosi, Reid, McConnell, Warren, et al -- that give the rest a bad name.  

But the important thing is that we refuse to allow ourselves to be controlled and herded by fear and panic. 

Coffee's Great But Sleep Helps, Too

I know this is true:  Going to bed early may positively impact your thinking.

I can tell when I let myself get sleep-deprived, I am much less mentally resilient.  I make more mistakes.  I have a harder time solving problems.

Most of the time I would get more done in the long run if I went to bed at a reasonable hour and got a good night's sleep.  It's probably my worst habit with regard to my health -- mental and physical. 

This may be the scariest part to me:

What may be the most critical is the fact that scientists have linked sleep to learning and fixation of memories in the brain, among some other nervous functions, underlining its importance further.

Also, we can go in the hole:

One thing you should remember is that sleep is cumulative. What this means is that if you fall behind on sleep during one night because you’re busy with school or work, you will have a sleep “debt” that your body has to cover. Until you do, you might feel tired and unable to concentrate.

My "sleep debt" is about like the national debt.  I probably won't live longer enough to pay it off.  Unless I drink more coffee.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Nobody Is Batman

We all know this one:

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.Heinlein

Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, MacGyver, Bond, Edmond Dantès  -- the list of literary polymaths is very long.  We admire people who can do it all.  I am not one of those, though I have always been something of a generalist.  On a farm, being a jack of all trades and master of none is fairly standard.  I’m not really good at much of anything – in fact, nothing that I can think of offhand, but I can hack and ham-fist my way through about anything. 

Cross-pollination is what makes my apple trees bear much fruit.  There’s also cross-pollination in skills and ideas.  The experience of decades of writing code and solving problems on a computer sometimes spills over into figuring out how rebuild a lamp that is shorting out, replace the drive belt on a lawnmower without losing a finger, or how to take apart the chipper I jammed with too much green wood.  The habit of tracing something back to where it starts, of visualizing how something has to work will solve an electrical wiring problem the same way it will fix a core-dumping C program.    

Most prepper-types get this instinctively.  It’s not wise to be too wrapped up in one aspect of being well-prepared.  Similarly, we ought not be overly committed to any one possible future path.  Those, like me, who expected equities to go off a cliff long ago, have lost money.  I could not bring myself to leave all my investments in stocks, but I have been able to sleep at night.  The small percentage that I did leave invested has kept me from feeling too bad about it.  Nevertheless, the last four or five years prove -- if I had any doubt, that, while predicting the future is easy, predicting it correctly is a lot tougher. 

We do not know what tomorrow holds.  Our nation may fracture further.  There may be internal conflict.  There may be some sort of international conflict, large or small, that changes all the current dynamics.  Something may trigger a global economic collapse.  Ebola may roar back or some other plague may become the threat du jour.  In the 1965 movie, The Battle of the Bulge, one of the characters, played by George Montgomery, tells a less experienced soldier, played by James "Dano" MacArthur, to "stay loose".  After Montgornery's character is killed, MacArthur's character repeats the line to those following him.  It's always good advice.  Tunnel vision in any area can be detrimental.   

It is fascinating to watch people who have developed some ability, skill, or talent in the extreme whether they be musicians, chess grandmasters, dancers, gymnasts or other athletes.  While the prima ballerina was working very hard to reach the acme of her profession, there were a lot of things she could not do.  People who have a "knack" or a gift in some area may be able to do well without much effort, leaving them free to pursue growth in other venues, but most people who are really good at something sacrificed in other areas to perfect their art.

I'm not sure it's altogether healthy -- physically, psychologically, or socially, for most of us to over-develop in any area.  If a person has some special gift, that's different.  No one could criticize a person like Bruce Lee for his devotion and sacrifice.  No one would question the sacrifice of an artist like Van Gogh or Michelangelo. 

Being in good physical condition does not mean being able to match the physical prowess of a Navy SEAL or even an NFL running back.  Being a decent shot does not mean being able to make a thousand yard shot with a handgun like Jerry Miculek.  It doesn't mean we shouldn't work out, practice, and study.  We ought to have some fun doing it. 

Don't let the spectacle of someone else's specialization dissuade you from pursuing growth, good health, fitness, education, and the development of skills in a more general way.  Don't allow dark, dire scenarios of the future discourage your more modest efforts at self-reliance or rob you of hope.  

We do not have to be the Batman.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Makes Sense To Me -- Disarm the Police

Gary North is a rather well-known -- in some circles, Christian thinker and author.  He explains why disarming the police and turbo-charging the Second Amendment could make for a more civil society.

Unarmed police, now fully deserving of protection by gun-bearing citizens, would gain immense respect. They would rule by the force of law, meaning respect for the law, meaning widespread voluntary submission by the citizenry. This is properly called self-government under lawful authority. The policeman’s word would be law. He just wouldn’t be armed.
A criminal would not escape from the scene of the crime by shooting the cop on the beat. He would not get 20 yards from the cop’s body.
Citizens would regard a law enforcement officer as they regard their mothers. They would do what they were told with little more than rolling their eyes. If anyone physically challenged a police officer, he would risk facing a dozen Clint Eastwoods who have been waiting for two decades to get an opportunity to make their day.
What North suggests is excessively utopian, and he admits that.  It would be a best-case scenario for a small republic ("no larger than Iowa") with a Christian ethic, mindset, and worldview.  The words, "You may say I'm a dreamer" come to mind:

There are those who will reply that my proposal is utopian, that civilians do not have sufficient courage to come to the aid of an unarmed policeman. Furthermore, they will complain, the common man is not sufficiently self-disciplined to live under the rule of law as I have described it. Both objections have validity. I can only respond by pointing out that a society in which its citizens possess neither courage nor self-discipline is not a free society. I am not here proposing a technical reform that will produce a free society. Rather, I am describing why freedom has departed from this nation ever since, for lack of a better date, 1788.
Read the linked article if you are interested.   At the very least, it offers a interesting fictional world for a libertarian science fiction writer to explore.

Also, Denninger's post from yesterday with comments is applicable.   One standard -- badge or no badge:  Commit murder, go to prison.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Fabulists' Favorite Five Firearms

Some guy at a site called Gun Nuts Media posted his list of "The 5 Most Overrated Firearms of All Time".  It's supposed to be humor, but it is mainly click-bait, which is fine.  Hit it if you like; some of the comments are pretty entertaining, and the whole thing is ridiculous.  Almost as ridiculous as my list.

This is a little different.  It's not that these firearms are overrated where they fit in or for people who are fans.  They are good at what they do.  They seem to me to have a sort of aura around them that it wouldn't hurt to peer through just a little.

5.  Sub-machine guns and machine guns in general.  For those of us not interested in doing the paperwork and paying the fee for Class 3, we're not going to buy these anyway. 

These are tactical arms in the military.  Machine guns offer suppressive fire and allow a very few men to deny access to a much larger group across several hundred yards of ground.  The cost of that is ammunition and barrels.  Subguns, like the classic Thompson, offer suppressive capability as well.  However, there was a reason that "choppers" weren't carried by every American soldier in a WWII squad.  They lack range and accuracy.

Also, unlike the military and the police, I have to buy my own ammunition.  This, and not the stigma of evil, is why I have no use for a select-fire assault rifle like the M-16 or its variants.  I wouldn't waste ammunition on a warning shot, let alone suppressive fire.

In answer to the operators who say that I do not understand small unit tactics or whatever, I agree.  I have never been part of the military and my brief time in law enforcement was long before the police became so militarized.  I'm not going to be "operating".  I will do my best, should it ever come to that -- and I hope sincerely that it never does, to defend myself, my wife and any other innocents from harm.  If I am ever faced with overwhelming odds, I expect I will be dead long before how hot my 870 barrel gets becomes my main problem.  Rambo is fiction.

4Sniper rifles.  I'm not Carlos Hathcock or Simo Häyhä, but it has nothing to do with my rifle.  What I lack are the shooting skills, the bushcraft, the stealth and concealment abilities of snipers such as those two notables.  Häyhä used an iron-sighted variant of the Mosin-Nagant for most of his 505 kills.  Hathcock, for most of his 93 confirmed kills, used a standard-issue Winchester Model 70 with an 8-power scope.  Hathcock made his record distance shot by mounting scope on a .50 BMG.  Sniper rifles are special purpose tools for very special individuals.  If a person wants to be a better shooter, that can be accomplished with almost any modern rifle.  I have yet to find one that couldn't outshoot my ability most of the time.

3. Snub-nose revolvers -- Detective Specials, the kind of gun Sam Spade used.  They are very concealable.  Now, I am talking specifically about .38 Specials, even the +P versions.  These things are anemic.  If I am going to have to defend my  life with a snubby, I'd prefer a .44 snubby.  I've had a snub-nose .38 for decades.  It used to be my car and travel weapon because you could drop it in the console or a Dopp kit.  I've even carried it along as a fishing and trail gun.  I'm trying to think if I ever killed anything with it.  I did shoot a large snapping turtle with it once.  About then is when I decided it was weak.  I wouldn't want to be shot with it, but I've been shot with a BB-gun and didn't care much for that either.  They really are belly guns.  They are better than a sharp stick.

I like my .38s to have at least a 4" barrel.  It's a whole 'nother world. 

2.  AR15s and their kin in 5.56mm.  If you didn't see this one coming, you probably haven't read some of my other remarks on firearms.  The .223/5.56mm is a fine little varmint round.  It works well on whitetail deer -- at reasonable distances with the right ammunition.

I personally do not care for the ergonomics of the AR-type weapons.  For a lot of the younger generation, however, their first introduction to a rifle is via the pistol-grip autoloader.  To them, it comes "naturally".  I'm cool with that.  As a platform, it begs to be customized and accessorized.  I'll say this again with regard to my No. 1 pick, it's the perfect gun for the person who would rather fiddle with and work on a firearm than shoot.  Not being an operator, I doubt that I need some of the stuff that can be attached to an AR.

But all that is rather beside the point of what I think about ARs.  You put a 6.8 or .308 upper on an AR lower, and you have a good, long-range defensive weapon.  I know that heavier .223 caliber bullets from the 1-in-7 or 1-in-9 twist barrels will carry and penetrate better than 50-grain bullets from my 1-in-12 barrel.  I know this has been the standard American military round for fifty years.

I also know the military has lots of bullets and lots of other options for killing enemy combatants -- air strikes, for example.  I know the military considers a wounded enemy combatant more of a drain on the opposing force that one that is DRT (Dead Right There).

I can't call in an A-10 to bail me out.  I can only buy and maintain so many bullets.  My concern is not wounding or killing but stopping an attack. 

Part of the problem for civilians comes from the whole "one gun" thing, and "train like you fight".  I'm not interested in having only one gun.  I'm not interested in fighting.  I like shooting. I do a little hunting.  If I am ever attacked, I will do what I can to stop it, but it's not my focus in life, and it's not why I own firearms.

I have a .223 caliber rifle that I enjoy shooting, but it's not the first weapon I would grab if I had to defend the homestead, even if it were in an AR.  I'm not sure I would trust it to stop someone attacking me from beyond, say, 200 yards.  However, even out here in the country, any scenario that involves an attack initiated beyond 50 yards has exactly the same probability as being abducted by aliens.  In the city or the suburbs, it's not going to happen.  No citizen is going to be picking drug cartel snipers off rooftops in downtown Des Moines.  I'd rather have a shotgun or a handgun as my "one" primary defensive firearm.

Again, this is not a knock on the platform or the caliber itself.  If I were more comfortable with the platform and configuration, I would like to have an AR-style .223 set up for calling in coyotes.  It would be great for that. 

1. The 1911 in .45ACP.  This is a classic firearm.  It is the Harley-Davidson of firearms, i.e., old, proven technology with tons of customization potential.  They are good guns.  Forget that you can go plop six or eight hundred bucks down for a Glock or Sig or Springfield that will outshoot a custom 1911, is impervious to rust, and is 100% reliable right off the shelf.  If you want lights and lasers, you can attach those with no problem.

Just forget all that, because you want a gun that you can make your own.  It is the testimony to the undeniable genius of John Moses Browning.  God shoots a .45.  Right?  Two words:  Jeff Cooper.  Now, get out of here with your tupperware .40 Short & Weak and get you a solid steel 1911.  

Yes, they are great guns.  They are effective and fairly concealable.  A well-trained 1911 operator can get that first round off very quickly.

Understand that my favorite handgun is a single-action revolver.  I consider those who like 1911s to be kindred spirits.  Realistically, though, it doesn't make too much sense for a lot of us who didn't "cut our teeth" on a 1911 to choose it as our primary weapon, especially when it involves putting hundreds of dollars into fine-tuning it.  Not that the hobby of shooting has to make sense.  We do this because we enjoy it.  If somebody enjoys building cool, custom 1911s, let's let them enjoy it.  

For the rest of us, there are better choices.  

It's Not Skin Color

Things like this make me sick.

Down in Mississippi, a 19-year-old girl -- same age as my granddaughter, and looks a little like her -- was brutally, viciously, and horrifically murdered by something calling itself a man.

It happens, in this case, the victim was white and the alleged murderer is black.  Apparently they were in a relationship, she wanted to break up, so he poured lighter fluid into her mouth and nose and set her on fire.

I've known a number of interracial couples.  I've never known any of them to set a spouse on fire.  I don't think it's typical.  A lot of white girls are brutalized and even killed by white boyfriends and husbands.  Sometimes black boyfriends and husbands hurt and kill black girls.  Shoot, sometimes wives kill their husbands.

What happened to that little girl in Mississippi wasn't a "hate" crime.  It wasn't the result of blacks and whites living together.  It was a crime against humanity.  It was a crime against decency.

Frankly, if that had been my granddaughter, and I got to the perpetrator first, they wouldn't be able to tell what color he was anyway.

It makes me sick to think of what the girl suffered.  It makes me sick, too, to see how some people are handling it.  Some of these people are complaining about the news media not making a national issue out of it because it doesn't fit the agenda of whites oppressing blacks.  That's silly.  It's not being reported nationally because it is not a national story. Domestic violence is a common, everyday occurrence in every nook and cranny in this country.  Sadly.

Sadly, too, police brutality and misconduct are becoming about as common.  Still, putting the police on notice and changing the attitudes and behaviors of police departments ought to be a national issue and a priority.  Police officers have to be held accountable and held to the same or higher standards as the rest of the citizenry.

The reason we need to make a big deal out of the Michael Brown shooting (possibly justified) or Eric Garner's death (completely unjustified) is that these incidents are markers of the ever-burgeoning police state.  It's not black versus white.  It's freedom versus tyranny.  It's the state versus the individual.  It's the rule of law versus lawlessness.  Get it right.    


Monday, December 8, 2014

There Is A Reason For Everything

I found this video -- obviously by a Canadian, eh? -- from back in 2009.  I ran across it randomly on another blog when it came up in the previews after a different coyote-related video played.  As soon as I saw it, the cause for coyote's behavior seemed apparent.

LANGUAGE WARNING -- and not just for the dialect.  If he didn't sound so Canadian, he'd pass for a Bostonian.

The guy's boots are squeaking on the snow.  The coyote thinks it's mouse -- or some similar small, squeaky creature.  Coyotes aren't terribly picky eaters.  The more the man moves, the more his boots squeak, and the coyote is more certain those boots are made for gnawin'.  Even when we aren't hearing it on the video, it might as well be playing on a Led Zeppelin amp as far as the coyote is concerned. He or she could probably hear what we pick up from half a quarter away. 

Probably, too, from the looks of the site, this coyote is used to humans.  Others may have given it food in the past while not shooting at it, thereby causing it to lose its natural fear of these crazy (two legs bad) bipeds. 

I have to assume our intrepid Canadian videographer is wearing steel-toed boots.  Coyotes can't generate the pressure of a Rottweiler, but their jaws should be respected.  It's possible, though, that letting the coyote get hold of his boot worked out.  It may have convinced this clever canine that no mouse was present.  "I'm getting hints of Goodyear and Gold Bond."    

Sunday, December 7, 2014

I Am Going to Live Forever

And I wouldn't mind so much if I were three or four inches taller.

Oh, yeah, how you can live longer, too:  Drink More Coffee.  I found this via Althouse, bless her little cheese head.

I've had a rough week.  This is like the best news ever.  I live a pretty pathetic life, and the only thing I really get to enjoy most of the time is coffee.

You can read the article, but one of the things I known since I was a kid about coffee is that it is a painkiller.  I was running a fever from the flu a couple of day ago and took the first over-the-counter pain reliever -- an ibuprofen -- I've had in probably two or three years.  If I get a headache or I have muscle soreness, I drink coffee.

Caffeine might also function as a pain reliever. A study from September suggested as much when its authors stumbled across caffeinated coffee as a possible confounding variable in its study of the back, neck, and shoulder pains plaguing office drones: Those who reported drinking coffee before the experiment experienced less intense pain.  
And it helps with existential angst and depression:

The data is even more intriguing -- and more convincing -- for caffeine's effects as a salve against more existential pains. While a small study this month found that concentrated amounts of caffeine can increase positivity in the moment, last September the nurses' cohort demonstrated a neat reduction in depression rates among women that became stronger with increased consumption of caffeinated coffee.

Without coffee, what reason is there to live?  I don't see how non-coffee drinkers do it.  I'm baffled.

Got to go.  I have a pot to polish off!  Woo-hoo!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Defining the Press

EurekAlert has a bit on research by William E. Lee on the cases of the New York Times vs. Sullivan and Abernathy vs. Sullivan, both arising from a 1960 NYT editorial in support of the civil rights movement. 

Lee, who is a professor of journalism at the University of Georgia, helps reinforce the idea that it is dangerous to allow government to define the press.  The ruling the Supreme Court issued recognized that within the First Amendment the freedoms of speech, press, assembly and petitioning the government are interrelated components and fall under a collective term that [Justice Brennan] coined "freedoms of expression." 

Another way to look at it is that First Amendment protections extend to the individual and are not limited to an institution, whether or not that institution is recognized by the State.  Religious freedom does not simply cover churches with 501(c)3 approvals from the IRS.  Individuals are free to believe and worship, or not, as they see fit.

Individuals have the same right to express themselves as a J-School graduate with a press pass.  Of course, false statements about factual matters are libelous, no matter who prints them.

Objective journalism is like the unicorn. It's not even extinct.  It never existed.  When we all got our news from the papers, a particular newspaper's affiliation was often evident on the masthead, from the Unterrified Democrat to the X County Republican.  You knew what you were getting.  With radio and television news, journalists began to create the impression that they were giving "both sides" of the issue with camouflage like the Fairness Doctrine.  It was never true.  Walter Cronkite was a leftist.  He baked the news with his own bias.  I once listened to Judy Woodruff who claimed that journalists were always objective despite admitting that they all wanted to be "activists". 

That's just silly.  The only way to be "objective" is to allow the free market to work, especially in the realm of ideas and information.  

By the way, it makes sense to me that the Second Amendment should be interpreted the same way.  Just because there are police departments and the National Guard doesn't mean that the Second Amendment applies only to those institutions.  All individuals have the right to protect themselves, just as all have the right to express themselves. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sometimes I Get It Wrong

Personally, I feel better when I point it out and admit that I've made a mistake, taken a wrong turn, or conveyed bad information.  I will do it here when it makes sense. 

My position with regard to Michael Brown has evolved with the evidence.  I don't like the militarization of our police departments.  I think police officers are far too quick to shoot.  I don't think gunning down little kids with toy guns who are not a threat can be justified in the name of "officer safety".  That said, it appears that Michael Brown got himself killed. 

I ran across this on Ace of Spades.  It's talking about a somewhat misleading chart of witness testimony used by PBS to create doubts about the grand jury's decision. 

Here is the original.

Here is the JPG of a version that expands on the oversimplified PBS visual.

Both these links are in the Ace post. 

Meanwhile, Denninger, with whom I usually agree, conflates the grand jury process in Ferguson with a Staten Island grand jury which failed to indict an officer in the killing of Eric Garner.  The circumstances surrounding Garner's death from being placed in a chokehold are much clearer and did indeed call for an indictment. 

Grand juries often indict innocent people.  I would not have been upset if an indictment had been returned against Wilson which would have given us an opportunity to hear the evidence under thorough cross examination.  That didn't happen, and I can understand why.

As it stands, the testimony of the various eyewitnesses is not all equal.  Testimony that plainly contradicts or is inconsistent with the significant physical evidence does not bear much weight.  I don't give much credence to what Wilson says, except that it seems to agree with most of the blood and ballistic evidence.

Denninger, in an earlier post, attempts to make a case that Brown's facial injuries are not consistent with Wilson's claim that the young man was charging him right up until the final, fatal shot through the top of the head.  Here's the gist of his argument:     

But note the fact that this encounter occurred and Brown went down on pavement.
Wilson said he went down at a full run, face-first, with enough momentum to throw his feet up over his back.
Yet the autopsies do not contain any evidence of 300+ lb Brown's face being turned into hamburger by said full-run impact onto the road -- an impact that Officer Wilson says, both on TV and under oath, occurred...

Actually, the autopsy does contain evidence that Brown went down hard on his face.  It's noted in the JPG linked above which lists "ABRASIONS TO THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE FOREHEAD AND CHEEK".  That's exactly what one would expect if Brown fell on his face running forward after the last shot through the top of the head. 

I, too, have gone down at speed on various surfaces, from concrete to asphalt to gravel.  In addition, I killed a number of animals with headshots.  The body of an deer, for example, killed by a round into the brain typically jerks and thrashes quite a bit, especially if the animal had already gone into flight-or-fight mode with adrenaline being dumped into the system.  It's quite conceivable that Brown's arms might have been thrown convulsively.  In any case, I do not think a person can make a definitive statement about the degree of damage done to a man's face under those circumstances. 

Denninger believes that Brown's face should have been "hamburger".  For guys fifty and sixty years old, you'd get some pretty severe damage.  At eighteen, my skin was thicker and more resilient than it is now. "Hamburger" is what road rash looks like if you get off at 60 mph and land on bare skin.  I know.  "Abrasions" are what you get if you are running 10 mph (i.e., 6-minute-mile speed) and trip.  It will hurt like the dickens and take off some of the epidermis, but it will not be several layers deep.

The hamburger comment is rhetorical and incendiary.  Beware.   

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Scared White Guys

Michael Mark Morford of the San Francisco Chronicle -- the person who came up with the idea that Obama was a "lightbringerworker" (I thought "lightweight") -- suggests that trembling, pasty white boys bought lots of guns to protect themselves from the big, bad negro.
Ferguson? You mean the place where the white cop murdered that unarmed black kid, and wasn’t even indicted for it ...
You do not read complicated books. You do not like new or weird things. You watch lots of TV, mostly Fox News, which rejoices in showing you endless images of angry foreigners and minorities in pain: tear gas explosions, fights in the streets, looting, this time involving sad, small-town black people in Ferguson, all of them protesting the acquittal of that murderous white cop.
Apparently Morford's reading comprehension skills are insufficient to cover a grand jury's report and the prosecutor's transcript.  Maybe it was too complicated for him.

Reading Morford's twisted prose helps me understand why he thinks Obama is an intellectual.  I went to the University of Missouri, which has one of the better J-Schools in the country.  It was easy to spot the journalism majors, especially on sunny days when they would often stand transfixed by shiny objects or their own reflections in the windows.  I imagine most any book is complicated for Morford -- like the instruction manual for putting batteries in his vibrator.

Those of us who read technical books and who write code similar to that which creates the apps on Morford's iPhone that he thinks makes him a techie can probably reason, do math, and apply logic.

As I have said here on several occasions, I found the early reports of the shooting very troubling.  Based on the eyewitness testimony, Wilson's actions were questionable.  However, based on the physical evidence -- the forensic evidence, the indications are that Brown attacked Wilson while the cop was still in his vehicle. The two men struggled for Wilson's weapon.  The scenario of Brown charging Wilson and getting shot in the top of the head makes more sense now that I know Wilson, at 6'4", is near Michael Brown's height.  I still think some of Wilson's testimony sounds coached, but any time any person has to shoot another, the shooter must convey "I was in fear for my life".

Morford and his ilk are the ones who live in fear of what they do not know.  PROJECTION! -- it's not just for movie theaters.  Morford does not understand guns or gunowners.

The gun is uncomplicated, primitive defense against something far more terrifying and murky: everything you do not know. Guns provide an illusion of security, a violent, make-believe defense against a world that’s too complex, with injustices too prodigious, rage too tempting and calm, peaceful acts of love far too difficult to locate. They make you feel, in short, like you might have a chance.

The world is a violent place.  Humans are killers -- we're omnivores at the top of the food chain.  We got here without AR15s.  We have survived and prospered because we are good at killing.  Unfortunately, the sin nature exists, and we sometimes kill one another.  Apart from Jesus Christ, there is no cure for that problem.  Morford doesn't believe in Jesus, nor does he believe in the reality of fallen human nature.    

A gun is a tool designed to solve a specific problem, but sometimes used for sport and pleasure -- like an automobile, a chainsaw, a tractor, an axe, a hoe or a hammer. 

Black kids murdered a young Bosnian refugee, Zemir Begic, in St. Louis.  They did not use guns.  They used hammers.   

I'll bet that chainsaw owners are also overwhelmingly male and white Fox News watchers who live in Podunk and have never been to Spain (but they kind of like the music).  What does that prove, exactly?  That gunowners and chainsaw owners don't live in an insulated little bubble?  That we are actually able to take care of ourselves, protect ourselves and provide for ourselves and our families without any dependency on the government?  Is that what frightens scrawny little white boys like Morford?

Perhaps someone needs to tell Mike Marky the joke about the older lady who was stopped by a police officer for some traffic violation.  In the course of providing her license and registration, as a courtesy, she offered the additional information that she had four firearms in the car.  He asked, "What are you afraid of?"  She replied, "Not a damn thing!"

 (Mark, not Michael -- like I care.  I was probably thinking of Michael Moorcock -- Morford wishes.  And it's lightworker, not lightbringer.  Obama is definitely a light worker.  Again, like I give a flip.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Let's Put the Fun Back in Fundamentalism

So maybe it was just a poor choice of words, but as the Pope was leaving Turkey, he said:
"You just can't say that, just as you can't say that all Christians are fundamentalists. We have our share of them (fundamentalists). All religions have these little groups."

You can read the coverage here in the Jerusalem Post.

The only difference between Muslim fundamentalists and Christian fundamentalists is that, instead of beheading people, Christian lay hands on the sick, speak in tongues, get "slain" in the Spirit, pay their tithe, give to missions, feed the hungry, drill wells in Africa so kids can have clean water.  But other than that, we are exactly like the Muslim fundamentalists. 

We don't have suicide bombers.  We haven't blown up any buildings lately.  We don't commit murder and arson when somebody burns a Bible or makes a cartoon caricature of the Lord Jesus.  We don't rape foreign women or bang goats.  I guess the Pope can easily ignore such minor differences because all these crazy fundamentalists are just his cross to bear.

Remind me:  Did the current pope take his name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi or another Francis.