Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Good Intentions vs. Good Results

EurekAlert! talks about the severity of forest fires.

Back around 1900, the U.S. Forest Service pushed for total fire suppression.  Consequently, underbrush, pine needles, shrubs and smaller trees filled in under the mature trees.  When a fire does get started in such an area, the fire tends to get in the crowns of the trees, killing them.

If a wooded area burns every five to ten years, the mature trees suffer no significant damage.  I used to see this in the area where I grew up.  The hillbillies would burn wooded areas to clear the undergrowth and "kill ticks".  That took away cover for some game probably, but quail were a lot more numerous and prosperous in those days.  There were plenty of squirrels and rabbits.  There weren't many deer around, but I doubt they would have suffered much. 

People didn't bring in bulldozers to completely clear the ground and disrupt the topsoil.  Controlled burning isn't a bad thing in many ways. 

But it looks bad.  Sometimes animals do suffer and are killed.  Some trees may be killed.  Sometimes there is actual property damage.  There's a trade-off -- as there is with everything. 

This is fairly minor example.  It's the same kind of thing in other areas, whether Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, the EPA, cholesterol, etc. 

People seem to have forgotten a most venerable saying about the pavement on the road to hell.

Good intentions do not equal good consequences.

Monday, June 29, 2015

All the Bad Stuff

So I was out riding my motorcycle most of the last four days.  I got some messages from people.  I haven't watched the news -- probably won't.  I can get the weather forecast off my tablet.  See my post from June 28, 2012.

There is no reason for having one's hopes dashed time after time by Lucy's football.  That is all that politics is.  Government is the problem.  Big government is a big problem.  Small government, relatively speaking, is a smaller problem. 

I did watch The Outlaw Josey Wales.  When Josey goes to confronts the Comanche chief Ten Bears, he says, "Governments don't live together.  People do." I am working on building relationships at church, with my grandchildren, and with their community. 

I'm done.  The government can't do anything to scare me.  But I have an obligation to pass along the traditions of freedom and the love of liberty to another generation.  It's really easier than I expected.  In fact, it's mainly having fun. 

I don't care if it is marijuana laws, gun laws, abortion laws, freedom of religion amendments or whatever, if your state is doing something to thumb its nose at the federal government, support it. 

The central government has separated itself from reality.  Don't let crazy people control your life.

Family.  Church.  Community.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

National Sporting Arms Museum at Bass Pro

If you're ever passing through Springfield, MO, you know you are going to stop at THE Bass Pro off the southwest corner of South Campbell and Sunshine. 

I get over there several times during the year, depending on what I need, but if the grandkids come down, and we go to town to eat or whatever, there's a good chance we'll end up going by there.  That happened this past weekend.  We were going to a Springfield Cardinals game that started at 6:10pm, and we ended up with about an hour and a half to kill before the gates opened. 

We did a little shopping, and my daughter asked if I had ever been through the NRA museum that occupies the floor above the hunting and shooting section of Bass Pro.  I have passed by it a number of times since it has been there, but usually I'm on a mission.  The guys in the group headed up the steps, and it was great.  I wish I had had more time.  I am definitely going back with my camera, so consider this a preliminary review. 

The air rifle that Lewis and Clark carried is in there.  Matchlocks, a Winchester Model 70 Radio Rifle (c. 1955 -- contained a transistor radio in the stock), a .700 Nitro double rifle, Bass Reeves' Peacemaker, all kinds of beautifully engraved firearms, and on and on.  It is basically a visual history of sporting arms. 

This c.1800 engraved and inlaid shotgun was presented byNapoleon Bonaparte to the Marquis Faulte de Vanteaux of Limoges, ageneral in his army.

It is definitely worth the time to tour, and you can't beat the price which is free.   Assuming you manage to get out of THE Bass Pro without buying something. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Thin-Skinned Game

This anecdote illustrates a part of our problem with the political atmosphere in the States these days.

Over the weekend, I had a casual conversation with a professional person of my acquaintance.  He was talking about an interesting client of his.  The client himself remained nameless -- as would be appropriate, but he is in the same line of work as Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill's current husband.  McCaskill's spouse and my friend's client have some sort of business and possibly a personal relationship such that the client recommended my friend to McCaskill.

This appeared to be a viable opportunity that would have been beneficial to all the involved parties.  There arose one small hitch.  My friend has a bumper sticker that reads, "Fire Obama".  McCaskill saw this and refused to have any dealings with my friend.  He shrugged, laughed and went on. 

He was not asking to go into business with her.  Without being too specific, his services are roughly the equivalent of hiring someone to clean the carpet, wash the windows or cut the grass.  One wonders if McCaskill insists that her maids and landscapers be registered Democrats and vote the party line. 

Like Obama, McCaskill seems to take disagreement about governance and politics quite personally.  My father detested Jimmy Carter as a president, but he always insisted that Carter, the man, would probably have been a pretty good neighbor. 

I have philosophical and constitutional reasons for opposing much of the agenda supported by Obama and McCaskill.  If they want to limit the discussion to principles then there is no reason we can't get along as Americans.  I don't even mind them saying that I am uninformed or ignorant of the nuances.  That is legitimate grounds for a civil debate.  Inform me, and see if you can defend your view reasonably.

However, McCaskill is not willing to debate the issues.  She demonstrated this in her response to public opposition to Obamacare.  Instead of trying to justify her support of the government take-over of health care, she thought she could silence citizens with her "mom voice".  In other words, citizens, like children, should be quiet and obedient because the "elite", like parents, know what is best.

Hence the labeling of those who oppose Obama as racist, those who oppose McCaskill or Hillary Clinton as sexist.  We are not arguing principles; rather, we are haters and filled with evil intent.  Naturally, such people cannot be allowed to work around there betters. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Miscellaneous Friday

As I said elsewhere, this has been a busy week.  I have a couple of new things to review.  I may get to those next week -- though it will be short week for me.

I suppose I should make some comment about the scum that murdered those innocent folks at the church down in Charleston.  Too bad he didn't try to shoot it out with the cops.  He's as sick and manical as that Norwegian, Breivik, though not as effective or methodical.  I guess Obama doesn't think Norway counts as an "advanced nation" -- or France, either.  The last time we had this kind of mass killing it was done by the police outside a restaurant in Waco.

Great quote from Lileks in today's Bleat:

That's better than the picture of the terrorist with the haircut like an overturned bowl of pudding; they seem to think we should all look at his face periodically throughout the day, instead of the victims. They're always footnotes to the killer's stories. 

The thing to do is ignore the layers of leftist, statist narrative being dumped on this crime.  The families of the victims need and deserve our prayers and any support we can offer them in their time of grief and pain.  If I had any doubt that Obama is a worthless, soul-less piece of garbage, his attempt to politicize this horrific tragedy to push the oligarchy's agenda has resolved them.  When it should have been all about the victims of this senseless, despicable act by a madman, Obama had to make it about himself as he has done every time he has had the opportunity.  I will be glad when this half-Kenyan bastard's time in office is up.  What a pathetic excuse for a man.

The rain should finally be out of the area for a few days after today.  That's good.  Saturday, I am supposed to go along with some family to a minor league baseball game.  The Cardinals Double-A team in Springfield is scheduled to play the Arkansas Naturals, a Royals farm club.  A couple of these guys will probably be in the Bigs in a year or two.  Kolton Wong was with the Springfield Cardinals a couple of years ago before moving up to the parent club.      

I realized the other day that I have a boatload -- like somewhere around 600 -- 55 grain bullets for my .223.  Perhaps I should say, rather,  projectiles, to avoid the bullet-cartridge confusion. I am, though, way short on Hodgdon H4895 powder which is what I usually use and has become somewhat difficult to find.  At some point, however, I had picked up a pound of Hodgdon's BL-C(2).  This is good .223 powder -- about the middle of the pack under lighter bullets but almost identical, velocity-wise, to H4895 behind a 55-grainer.  So I set up my powder measure and scale and loaded 35 empty cases.  It seems to shoot right on, but I haven't had a chance to test them for accuracy.  They are moving along, I think, a little under 3300 fps.  I'll see how they group and go from there.

AMA Anti-E15 Petition

I've signed it

The EPA is pushing higher ethanol limits despite its own acknowledgment that the market cannot consume these higher amounts due to “infrastructure and market-related factors.”
That’s when the U.S. Department of Agriculture comes to the rescue. On the same day the EPA announced its proposed rule, the USDA unveiled a $100 million plan to double the number of higher-blend renewable-fuel pumps. Under the blender pump subsidy program, the USDA will administer competitive grants to match funding for state-led efforts to test and evaluate innovative and comprehensive approaches to market higher blends of renewable fuel, such as E15 and E85.
The EPA calls for higher ethanol blended fuels and the USDA spends taxpayer dollars to make it happen, despite knowing that none of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and ATVs in use in the United States is approved to use E15 or higher ethanol blends. Using those fuels in motorcycles and ATVs is illegal and may cause engine and fuel system damage and void the manufacturer's warranty.

Sign up here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Attack of the Killer Cows

Christopher Ingraham writes for the Washington Post about the animals most likely to kill you this summer.

Oddly, he did not include East St. Louis primates in his cool chart, which you can see at the link.  However, Ingraham does say that -- on average over the past decade or so, sharks kill one person per year, as do alligators and bears.  Snakes account for about six humans in a year while spiders take out about seven.  I'm still trying to figure out how "non-venomous arthropods", e.g., ants, kill someone.  I suppose it is some kind of allergic reaction.  Fire ants, I can certainly understand.  Those things are pure evil.  Meanwhile, anaphylactic shock from the stings of bees, wasps and hornets are fatal to an average of 58 people per year.

In the miscellaneous animal category, pigs, horses, deer, and killer rabbits (for those old enough to remember Jimmy Carter) add 52 annual deaths to the total.  Ingraham suggests that many of the deaths in the miscellaneous category are a result of Vehicular encounters with Bambi, Babe, or Thumper are excluded from this count -- thank you, John, for that correction.

The mean annual number of deaths attributed to dogs is 28.  Sadly, I can't help thinking that most of those are probably smaller children.

Cows rack up an average of 20 humans each year.  I'm sure it was higher in the past.  It used to happen almost every week on "Rawhide". 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Prisoners Here Of Our Own Device

John Whitehead writes about "Prisons Without Walls" at the Rutherford Institute.

You should read Whitehead's piece.  Anybody who references John Carpenter's They Live is deserving of your time.

I am aware of and have probably even mentioned here some of the things that Whitehead talks about.  I think the image that brought it home to me most emphatically was that of people being forced out of their homes as lawless, badged ninjas sought the reprehensible Boston Marathon bomber.

Forty years ago, perhaps even twenty years ago, the authorities would have set up roadblocks, they would have patrolled the areas, they would have asked for the cooperation of the citizens, but they would not have forcibly entered private homes in their wannabe-operator gear threatening the innocent with hot weapons.

Recall that Tsarnaev was found hiding in a boat by a homeowner after the "shelter-in-place" curfew was lifted.  The whole operation was a massive travesty of wasted time and taxpayer money for the sake of optics and reinforcement of the police state's authority over a subject people.  The message was that we are no longer citizens but serfs, living for the almighty State at the whims of the almighty State and its authorized, armed agents.  

Time to hand out the sunglasses.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ride and Garden Report

Things are looking better in the garden.  The plants I got at the nursery have little green tomatoes on and are generally looking  healthy.  Something took the top off one of my pepper plants -- I think it is the banana pepper -- the jalapeno and the habanero are fine.  That's good.  The replant of cucumbers was successful.  The pole beans look great, as does the winter squash.  I have watermelon plants up, and my popcorn is growing. 

My daughter gave me some heirlooms tomato plants she had started.  I got them about a month ago.  They are still spindly, but several are going to live.  I had room, since I'm not planting much, to place them well away from the nursery hybrids.  So possibly they will come along and at least provide a few late tomatoes and seed for next year.

As far as my permaculture goes, the blackberries look like they are going to turn out a good crop.  I have lots of apples on most of my trees.  No pears and no plums this year at all.  The weather was wrong, I guess.  I had a few strawberries.  I need to clean up those beds and do a better job feeding them for next year. 

Since we've had so much rain, it may work out all right, despite my being behind.

Saturday looked like a good day to ride.  I had the grass all cut.  The forecast called for isolated showers.  I figured I'd probably hit some rain if I rode long, and I prepared accordingly.

I took MO Hwy 125 south.  I had ridden part of this on the Victory last year.  It is a twisty two-lane, perfect for the Yamaha -- which I have now dubbed the Gray Ghost.  Last time I turned east on MO 76 when I got to Bradleyville.  This time, I stayed on 125.  Between Bradleyville and a junction noted on some maps as Rueter (that's probably "rooter" -- and there was probably a general store/post office there at one time) the road seems to be one set of 30-mph S-curves after another.  A near-perfect road.  I was easily able to stay above the speed limit (did I say that outloud?  Only slightly, of course) the whole way.  Since it was early, there was very little passing necessary.

Eventually, one comes to the end of the road.  

(It is just a phone picture, but you can still click to see the larger image)

This is the ferry dock on the north side of Lake Bull Shoals.  No charge for the crossing, which we appreciate.  When you get off the ferry, you are on AR 125.  I rode it down to AR Hwy 14 and took that west until it hit US-65 which I rode north back to civilization. Almost.

I got off on 76 in Branson, looking for a BBQ and burger place that has a good reputation.  It's called Danna's, and there are three locations.  I found the one east of Branson on 76 at Kirbyville.  The parking lot was packed.  I was really hunger by then, but the rains were starting.  I decided to skip Danna's, took the road up to Forsyth, looping around back to 65 and north again.

I hit three or four small showers on the way.  I had the rain cover on my tail pack.  I had my wallet and phone encased in highly technical waterproof Ziplock sandwich bags.  My mesh jacket has a rain liner, but I didn't bring it.  It was hot (and humid) enough I wasn't worried about hypothermia from riding wet.

The shakedown was that the Nelson-Rigg tail bag and it's rain cover performed well.  When I pulled off at the town of Ozark to get under some cover and let one more shower pass by, I had hot coffee from my thermos and some trail mix.  All my gear was dry.  I could have switched to dry gloves if I had thought I wouldn't get rained on more before I got home -- which was the case, but I wasn't all that uncomfortable.

My shirt and jacket dried fairly quickly.  My jeans were heavily soaked in some areas -- crotch and lower legs.  The boots I had on are not fully waterproof but they weren't that wet.  They are pull-ons, and water had gotten in from the top so that my socks were wet.  None of it was particularly uncomfortable, but I only wet for an hour or so.  In an all-day rain or a longer trip, I would have been happier with the jacket liner or my other raincoat, my waterproof lace-up boots and at least some chaps to keep my drawers dry.

The bike itself was no problem at all.  I switched the engine mode to 'B', the milder performing rain setting, as there was quite a bit of water on the road in spots.  I think I could have done OK remaining in STD.  It's just a matter of staying off the throttle.  On the other hand, I really appreciate ABS under those conditions.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun, ferry, rain, and all. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

One of the Reasons I Could Never Be a Cop

From Jim Hoft's Gateway

Hyphernkemberly Dorvilier wrapped her baby in towels, sprayed her with WD-40 and torched her baby girl alive.
She told a Simontown Road resident that her dog had pooped in the car and she was burning it. 
But it was her newborn baby girl.

How could anybody do that?

I come down on the militarization of local police forces.  I don't like the police state or their authoritarian stance.  However, it is beyond my comprehension how cops and EMTs have to routinely deal with horrific scenes like these without going to pieces.  You have to admire the resolve, fortitude and self-control in these situations.  If it had been me, I don't know how I could have kept myself from killing the woman.

One of the neighbors confronted the woman thinking she was burning trash in the middle of the street:

“When Joseph went to confront the person, identified as Dorvilier, standing near a fire with can of WD-40 in her hand, he asked the 22-year-old to put the fire out. According to the statement, the 22-year-old apologized to Joseph and extinguished the flames with a water bottle,” one news report indicated. “It was at that point that it was discovered that the fire was not what Dorvilier claimed. Once the fire was out the baby began to cry from below the smoldering towels and paper and Dorvilier tried to run.”

The baby was transported to a hospital where she died two hours later.

I would rather live among mad dogs than people like this.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Bill in Congress to Cut the Federal Gas Tax and Go Local

Let America Fix the Highways Washington Broke

The link takes you to a Daily Signal commentary by Senator Mike Lee and Congressman Ron DeSantis.  They suggest that states know best how to handle their internal highway maintenance.  What a radical concept.

The Transportation Empowerment Act will update federal transportation policy with the same proven principles—diversity, customization and open-sourcing—that are driving innovation across our economy today.
In recent decades, America’s transportation needs have changed, but—as is too common in Washington today—our transportation policies have not kept pace. The highway program, and those who used it, built highways, via a per-gallon gasoline tax paid at the pump.

Today, drivers still pay the tax, but politicians redirect portions of the highway fund for bike lanes and walking paths and public transit systems in certain cities. Meanwhile, partisan giveaways to special interests and bureaucratic skimming artificially inflate the cost of new infrastructure projects by as much as 20 percent.
 "Bureaucratic skimming" doesn't necessarily mean anything unethically.  It's the layers of government that money has to go through to get where it is needed.  I often think of it in terms of a sponge.  The thicker the sponge, the more water it soaks up.  More government means more government employees to provide with salaries and benefits which in turn leads to further expansion of the bureaucratic fiefdoms.  If an agency spends all of its allocated funds in one fiscal year, it can usually count on getting increased funds in the following fiscal year.  The only thing that is ever "cut" is the percentage of increase.  This is true of Republican administrations as well as Democrat ones.  (/rant). 

Today, our most pressing transportation needs are local, not national. States and local governments are not only up to the job of maintaining existing highways—they’re already responsible for 75 percent of it. They are, in fact, far better positioned to lead in the next phase of infrastructure innovation. That is what our bill will finally allow them to do. 
This would be something I could support.  I'm sure there will be kicking and screaming from both sides of the aisle as pet pork projects go back to state control.  It isn't going to solve all the myriad of problems we have because of government, but it is a step in the right direction.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Police Support the Public Unions in Wisconsin

Wisconsin police raid are part of the government union intimidation tactics against supporters of a measure to reign in public-employee benefits.

This isn't from WND or the Enquirer.  The National Review is conservative but not exactly a bunch of screaming radicals with AR-15s.

Cindy Archer, one of the lead architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10 — also called the “Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill,” it limited public-employee benefits and altered collective-bargaining rules for public-employee unions — was jolted awake by yelling, loud pounding at the door, and her dogs’ frantic barking. The entire house — the windows and walls — was shaking.

She looked outside to see up to a dozen police officers, yelling to open the door. They were carrying a battering ram.

There are several other anecdotes in the report.  None of the people treated this way were criminals.  This was part of the second "John Doe" investigation launched by Milwaukee Democrat District Attorney John Chisholm that targeted conservatives and conservative groups.  Chisholm was given carte blanche by rubber-stamp judge Barbara Kukla to conduct investigations while keeping the target's identity secret. 

Because of Wisconsin's "John Doe" law, the individuals so terrorized by Chisholm and his police state gang were not allowed to speak about their ordeal to anyone, including a lawyer.  Stalin would be proud. 

You need to go to the link and read the whole thing, while you wonder why this hasn't been extensively reported upon in the nightly news (/sarcasm). 

Why did Chisholm go after people for simply exercising their First Amendment rights to advocate for political reform?  Well, in addition to the fact that Chisholm is a lawyer and Democrat:

As a former prosecutor told journalist Stuart Taylor, Chisholm’s wife was a teachers’-union shop steward who was distraught over Act 10’s union reforms. He said Chisholm “felt it was his personal duty” to stop them.
Yep, nothing like using your official position to help further enrich your shop-steward wife.  I would like to know, too, how much these bogus, politically-motivated "investigations" cost Wisconsin tax-payers.  Chisholm should be on the hook for every dime. 

This makes me sick.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Like It's A Bad Thing

The NY Times goes on about Scott Walker having the backing of anti-union conservative groups

I'm not sure how the Slimes is about excerpting so I'll just offer the link.

Of course, what Walker as governor went after was not the UAW or United Mineworkers or the Teamsters -- private sector unions. 

Let me reveal my bias right up front.  I have no use for unions of any kind.  Maybe I would feel differently if I had ever worked in a coal mine, but my perspective is that unions collectivize productivity.  Instead of each person being recognized and compensated for his or her own work and accomplishments, the union, as a whole, benefits from the efforts of the hardest working, most diligent and productive members.  Slackers are protected, to a degree, from the consequences of laziness and incompetence.

That's one thing in the private sector where it is labor versus management.  Companies that operate for profit seek to maximize the difference between revenue and costs.  Sometimes they do this at the expense of the health and safety of workers.  I am personally acquainted with someone who is currently suffering because of an on-the-job injury.  He is a member of the union, but the union, which happily accepted his dues for twenty years, has done nothing to help support him.  You can make a case for unions in the private sector.  I don't necessarily buy it, but I understand it.

I do not see the case for public employees.  Police, firefighters, and teachers are usually the ones who get discussed.  What about all the lazy, incompetent slackers at the DMV or the gestapo-wannabes at Child Protective Services or the corrupt bozos that administer Medicaid or work at the lottery commission or the Highway Department?  They are the majority of government workers, and they can be unionized. 

These folks are not fighting Ford or GM.  They are not being oppressed by DuPont, U.S. Steel, Exxon, Walmart, or some other big, rich corporation.  To a public sector employee, "the man" is the taxpayer.  Their wages, pensions, and benefits come out of our pockets, and, unlike the case when we buy a new truck, what we usually get for our money is grief, aggravation, and the opportunity to give up more money. 

But the real problem is that public-sector unions can only grow if government grows. 

If you ever wonder why the unions and all the progressives went after Walker with pitchforks and torches, that is your answer.  Walker's approach, which is quite sane and reasonable, is the only way we are ever going to rein in the expansion of government at all levels.  Unions are the head of the snake.  If we could bust public-sector unions, we would have a much better chance of making government smaller and less of a drain on our resources, more streamlined and more effective and efficient.

Scott Walker is not my first choice for president in 2016, but he would not be a bad choice, and he is in my top three right now. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

De-bunking the Hiatus De-bunking

The best thing to do is just read what Motl at The Reference Frame has to say

Skeptics have been beating the alarmists over the head with the fact that there has been no warming on a global scale for almost twenty years.  Alarmist have fought back recently with a single study out from NOAA using a "revised" dataset. 

It can be a little hard to follow, but to summarize at the risk of over-simplification, NOAA research cherry-picked sources that showed higher trends in temperature change.  For example -- no, we're not making this up -- marine engine intakes:

You may talk about many trends – those in the ocean and above the land; and you may measure them in various ways, satellites, weather stations, weather balloons, buoys, or engine intake of marine vessels ;-).
No possibility of that data having any contamination, is there?  I'm surprised the weatherman doesn't report the temperature at his car's engine air intake.  That's the number we need to know for the day.

That might be legitimate if one compared it strictly to historic temperatures obtained from the same sources.  That's not exactly what was done.  Motl explains:

However, the shock is that the warming trend extracted from the marine vessels was copied to the buoys time series. It means that an increasing linear function was simply added to the buoys' time series for the temperature – to make them more "well-behaved". Surprisingly for them ;-), once they added an increasing function to the temperature as a function of time, the slope (warming trend) extracted via the linear regression has increased! This surprising mathematical result must be the holy 884th sign of global warming that everyone was looking for!

You see what's going on. The warming trend indicated by the buoys – a project that was specifically designed by scientists to measure the temperature of the ocean – was completely erased by Karl et al. The time series was detrended and the trend was replaced by another trend extracted from a different source, one that wasn't meant to measure temperatures scientifically. Great.
(Link in original)

TRF includes a link to Climate Etc. that we keep in the sidebar.  You can read Dr. Curry's analysis here

As one of the commenters says, NOAA is hardly an objective source since it is an agency funded by the government which desperately wants global warming to be taking place. 

This is not science.  This is propaganda on the order of the old Soviet Union's embrace of LysenkoismOn August 7, 1948, the V.I. Lenin Academy of Agricultural Sciences announced that from that point on Lysenkoism would be taught as "the only correct theory". Soviet scientists were forced to denounce any work that contradicted Lysenko's research.[4] Criticism of Lysenko was denounced as "bourgeois" or "fascist".  

Some people are saying that climate change "deniers" -- such as myself -- should be imprisoned or otherwise punished.  Statists never change, and they never come up with anything new aside from their jargon, slogans, and catchphrases. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Geller Targeted Again

Police have confirmed that Pam Geller was the initial target of a man who attacked Boston police with a knife.

A quote from the link:
Geller — a combative personality known for provoking Muslims by campaigning against a mosque near the World Trade Center site in New York, sponsoring inflammatory advertisements and organizing Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas — wasn't surprised that she may have been a target.

Provoking Muslims -- that's it.  The problem is not homicidal Islamic crazies, it's Geller's instigation and our antiquated free speech rights.  From John Nolte's piece:

Keep in mind that Geller is guilty of nothing more than engaging in the good, old-fashioned art of American satire — something the media does not even consider news when conservatives or Christians are viciously targeted. Geller and her group created political cartoons. That is all they did. They are guilty of nothing more than what we see on the editorial pages of every newspaper in America every day.

Also keep in mind, that Geller’s protests are no different than what Martin Luther King engaged in at Selma. At great risk to themselves, both used intentional provocation to fight for their (and our) God-given rights against savages.

Geller didn’t choose the form of protest against her oppressors any more than King did.

CNN would never ask a rape activist if she is provoking a rape and relishes the idea of being hunted by a rapist.

I'm not so sure about that last sentence.  I can easily imagine CNN doing that to a conservative Christian woman. 

The media has an agenda.  They will out-and-out lie if they think they can get away with it (Dan Rather's fake-but-accurate documents from 2004).  More often they will edit, twist, and distort to create the narrative they are pushing and to discredit and disqualify any critics. 

Free speech is a hill worth dying on.  If we do not start pushing back and asserting our rights to tell the truth, to satire and ridicule when appropriate, we will lose those rights.  I think it takes a lot of courage to do what Geller has done, and I believe it is the right thing to do.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Reality Divide

The most disturbing division in this country is not black and white, blue and red, or even, as I often assert, urban and rural.  It is reality versus unreality.  Reality is not what I think or what I feel.

We all know about Bruce Jenner, the former Olympic Decathlon winner, who is part of a "reality" television show. His most recent picture on the cover of a magazine is both sad and revolting.  I feel sorry for a man whose view of reality has become so skewed and warped.  I am revolted by the demand that I "applaud his courage".  Are we also supposed to applaud the actions of another reality star, Josh Duggar, who molested his younger sisters when he was fourteen?  I'm not hearing many calls for that.  Given that Duggar himself could be considered a child at the time, one would normally not hold him to the same standards as an adult in terms of judgment.  Bruce Jenner is around 66 years old.  I think we have to question both his judgment and his sanity.

Of course, if I had been paying any attention, I would have already questioned his sanity for marrying into the Kardashian family.

Bruce Jenner is not "Caitlyn" -- I don't care that his Wikipedia has been changed.  He is not a woman, and he never will be.  This is what I mean by a reality divide.  Some people seem to think you can change something by calling it something different.  You can call your Rottweiler "Fluffy", but he can't climb trees.

Now we have the Trans-abled, which is to say that there are crazy people who want to mutilate and cripple themselves.  We can call them trans-abled, but crazy works just as well for me.  There is something wrong with people who cut their arms off because they "feel" as though the limb should not be there.  There is something wrong with a man who "feels" like he's a woman, or a woman who "feels" she is a man despite her genetic and physical endowment.

If I say I "feel" like I want to kill myself, most sane people will suggest that I seek counseling and perhaps medication.  People who "feel" depressed are not told that they are heroic.  They are offered help to deal with their problem until they return to a better, more normal state of mind.

I'm not suggesting that we persecute or prosecute people for feeling weird or acting weird so long as they do harm to no one else.  I am suggesting that it might be a good idea to stop lying to them, to tell them the truth, to refuse to agree to their twisted view of reality.

Sometimes young children will don superhero costumes and get the idea that this gives them the power of flight or invincibility.  As adults, we do our best to help them understand the difference between fantasy and reality.  I'm all for encouraging children to exercise their imaginations.  When I was growing up, some of my best friends were imaginary.  However, normal, sane, healthy people learn to distinguish between the imaginary and the real, between our fantasies of how things might be and how things really are, between daydreams and rational, reality-based hopes and plans.

Calling Islam "the religion of peace" does not end the conflict in the Middle East.  Saying that the Islamic State is not Islamic doesn't turn them into Methodists.  The problem is everywhere. 

We can no longer come to an agreement on some of the most obvious and basic issues because those of us on the side of reality are not allowed to state the obvious lest we offend, "trigger", or "micro-aggress" the deluded.

Wealth and prosperity and technology have been allowing a lot of us to get by without facing up to the truth.  Truth will triumph.  Reality will get its due.  Too many of us refuse steadfastly to put aside our lies and delusions; therefore, these illusions will be forcibly stripped away --  perhaps by war, by oppression, by famine, by financial collapse, the collapse of society in general, or something else.  It will happen because that is the nature of reality.   

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

5.11 Rush24 Backpack

I asked for help in choosing a new container for the stuff I have to take with me when I go places.  A backpack made the most sense.  Swissgear makes a nice, unobstrusive backpack about the right size with a dedicated space for a laptop as well as other electronic gear.  There was plenty of room for a few clothes and hygiene essentials.  I don't think it's a bad choice, but the suggestion of something more tactical-looking did appeal to me.

Midway had the 5.11 Rush24 backpack available.  It's has about the same dimensions as the Swissgear pack I had examined at Sam's — roughly 20 inches high, about 14" wide and, depending out how much stuff you have in it, 8" to 10" deep.

In the case of the 5.11 pack, rather than a laptop pocket, there is a pocket designed to hold a hydration pack.  My Dell laptop fits it just fine.  The 5.11 has pockets inside of pockets — a plethora of pouches and zippered subdivisions.  I like this, but loading it is a work in progress.  I'm still moving things, pulling things out and putting things in.  Right now I have it loaded with a couple of changes of underwear and socks, athletic shorts and a t-shirt or two.  I have my regular Dopp kit with deordorant, a small bottle of Irish Spring, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, razor, etc.  I have a charger and cable for my phone/camera/tablet.  In the front section I have pens, pencils, notebooks, thumbdrive, and my work ID badge.  In a zippered section of the main compartment, I have a spare power cord for my laptop and a good old ethernet cable (since that's the only way to connect to the LAN when I'm actually on-site at the office). 

Additionally, I have zipties, glue, tape, a couple of protein bars, an emergency blanket, some first-aid stuff, hand sanitizer, a roll of toilet paper, a few ibuprofen, some B-12 sublingual tablets,  and generic No-Doz.    For tools, I have an off-brand multitool, a spare folding knife, a fixed-blade Glock Field Knife, LED headlamp, a lighter or two, and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting. 

To be ready to pull out, I would slide in my laptop, put a water bottle or my 16-ounce Stanley thermos, or both, in the side pockets, throw a handgun, a Bible and maybe another book or two in the main compartment.  That would get me through a couple of days with no problem.  I still have room for a spare pair of jeans, a couple more shirts, and maybe a pair of running shoes if I wanted to stay somewhere three or four days. 

The bag itself is covered with Molle straps so it would be easy to add on more pouches and equipment. Everything seems solidly attached and neatly sewn.  The backpack straps have releases which are helpful in getting the bag actually on my old, stiff shoulders.  The grip on top is supposed to be good for 2000 pounds, and that's what's I'll grab first 90% of the time.

This goes right in the front seat of the truck or the floorboard -- front or back without any problem.  Being a "water-resistant" backpack, I could wear it when I'm on my bike, or, since it isn't overly large, I think my ROK straps would hold it quite securely on the pillion.

I appreciate the input, and this seems as though it's going to work pretty well.  The features and the size are just about perfect for what I wanted -- about the same room for travel gear as the old duffel bag plus laptop space and protection.