Monday, August 31, 2009

Three Euros

Tonight's French bar video:

Bear attacks man walking dogs

From wild and wooly Alaska:
For Soldotna fishing guide Greg Brush, the rare and precious finally arrived -- a summer day off between king and silver salmon seasons.

It was Aug. 2, a little after 11 a.m., when he headed down Dirks Lake Road, a quarter-mile from his home, taking three dogs for some exercise in preparation for hunting season. Brush talked to his animals as they walked past homes on one- to five-acre lots.

The slightest noise -- a twig snapping -- prompted Brush to glance over his shoulder. Less than 20 yards away, a brown bear was charging, "ears back, head low and motorin' full speed.

"Came with zero warning," Brush said. "No woof, no popping of the teeth, no standing up, nothing like what you think."

Brush said he wears a pistol on his walks because bears have chased his dogs in the past.

He drew a Ruger .454 Casull revolver. There was no time to aim, barely time to squeeze the trigger. He's not sure whether he got off two shots or three, but one proved fatal.

"Total luck shot," he said.

"It doesn't get any closer. He slid by me on his chin when I shot him," Brush said. "I was backpedaling as fast as I could. I wasn't even aiming. I tripped over my own feet as I pulled the trigger."

He estimated that the animal weighed 900-plus pounds, and was 15 to 20 years old. It had grass packed in its molars and little fat on its bones.

"It was starving to death and saw an opportunity," Brush said....

Article here. Note how quickly the attack occurred -- a gun in a backpack likely wouldn't have been accessible quickly enough. And fortunately, Mr. Brush's handgun, a .454 Casull (a powerful round for a handgun), with proper shot placement ("lucky", according to Mr. Brush) was up to the task of stopping the 900 pound bear.

Montana group to challenge feds over gun law

From Big Sky country:
A prominent Missoula-based gun rights group has partnered with a national organization to test federal authority over a new class of firearms: guns manufactured and used solely in the state of Montana.

The Montana Shooting Sports Association, headquartered in Missoula, and the Second Amendment Foundation, of Bellevue, Wash., announced Monday they intend to file suit on Oct. 1 to prevent federal gun control laws from being enforced in Montana for guns made and used within the state's boundaries.

"If a gun is made in Montana and stays in Montana, it isn't engaging in interstate commerce," said Alan Gottlieb, of the Second Amendment Foundation. "The federal government really should bug out."

At issue is the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, which passed the 2009 Legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Brian Schweitzer. That law states that guns, ammunition and certain gun parts manufactured and used in Montana are not subject to federal gun laws.

The law goes into effect Oct. 1. Several other states are considering identical legislation, although so far only Tennessee has passed a similar measure. ...

Article here. Unfortunately, current Supreme Court case law on the scope of the Commerce Clause will likely prove a tough obstacle to overcome. Those precedents actually date back to Depression era cases such as Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942), and helped enable the vast body of overreaching federal laws we have today. I suspect that this issue will end up before the Supreme Court if the plaintiffs prevail in the lower courts, but a win in the lower courts will likely require an appeals court willing to buck Supreme Court precedent.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A dream, a box, and Megan Fox

Tonight's short video story:

Obama's carousel of incompetence

From the American Spectator:
WASHINGTON -- According to the Gallup Poll, the Prophet Obama's job approval is now at its lowest since his coronation. It began at 70%. Now it is at 51%. Equally glum, his disapproval rating has climbed from 11% to 42%. So what about his golf game up there at Martha's Vineyard? From all I have been able to ascertain it is mediocre. In other words, Mr. Obama, you are no Dan Quayle. Vice President Quayle was a really superb golfer. Moreover, he ran a competent staff. Naturally it was smaller than Mr. Obama's, but it was competently run.

My belief, based on reports in the news and from my private network of seasoned agents and provocateurs, is that this White House is a carrousel of incompetence. How else do we explain the ravening push on all fronts, healthcare, the environment, fiscal reform, intelligence reform, and a foreign policy of humility and apology? Unsurprisingly, on every front the President is in trouble. Remember chief of staff Rahm Emanuel's, callous enjoiner, "Never let a serious crisis go to waste"? This White House is a serious crisis.

According to sources with whom I confer, the Obama White House is the most tightly controlled White House in years, with the President, Emanuel, and David Axelrod micromanaging practically everything. They compose what is called "the Politburo," and the news story waiting to be written is that their control is as stultifying as was Jimmy Carter's control of his White House. Stupendous failure is in the cards. ...

Read the rest here.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

See through pool

Table, that is. Tonight's design oddity - a see through pool table, by Nottage Design. From the video's description:
The most advanced pool table in the world, the G-1 features a glass and resin playing structure and striking modern design.

The patented transparent playing surface replaces the traditional felt but allows the balls to roll at the same speed.

Bumpers, pockets and playing area are built to international standards, so you can play your game the same, with more style.

The minimalist modern frame features integrated ball return allowing pocketed balls to be seen through the transparent top.


Cuba: Another stinking problem in the works

Via Dr. Sanity, comes this steaming pile of news:
HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba, in the grip of a serious economic crisis, is running short of toilet paper and may not get sufficient supplies until the end of the year, officials with state-run companies said on Friday.

Officials said they were lowering the prices of 24 basic goods to help Cubans get through the difficulties provoked in part by the global financial crisis and three destructive hurricanes that struck the island last year.

Cuba's financial reserves have been depleted by increased spending for imports and reduced export income, which has forced the communist-led government to take extraordinary measures to keep the economy afloat.

"The corporation has taken all the steps so that at the end of the year there will be an important importation of toilet paper," an official with state conglomerate Cimex said on state-run Radio Rebelde.

The shipment will enable the state-run company "to supply this demand that today is presenting problems," he said. ...

Article here. Communist economics strikes again! You know you're in trouble when your glorious Marxist island paradise runs out of toilet paper.

Unfortunately, with our socialist Boy King and his ghoulish henchmen (or is it henchwomen?) henchpersons doing their best to emulate Castro's Paradise here in the U.S., perhaps prudent personal hygiene planning dictates stocking up (even more) on these household essentials. After all, just because Washington stinks to high heaven, doesn't mean you have to. :)

ObamaCare: One Physician's Perspective

On ObamaCare, by Dr. Zane Pollard, a practicing ophthalmologist, writing in the American Thinker:
I have been sitting quietly on the sidelines watching all of this national debate on healthcare. It is time for me to bring some clarity to the table by explaining many of the problems from the perspective of a doctor.

First off, the government has involved very few of us physicians in the healthcare debate. While the American Medical Association has come out in favor of the plan, it is vital to remember that the AMA only represents 17% of the American physician workforce.

I have taken care of Medicaid patients for 35 years while representing the only pediatric ophthalmology group left in Atlanta, Georgia that accepts Medicaid. For example, in the past 6 months I have cared for three young children on Medicaid who had corneal ulcers. This is a potentially blinding situation because if the cornea perforates from the infection, almost surely blindness will occur. In all three cases the antibiotic needed for the eradication of the infection was not on the approved Medicaid list.

Each time I was told to fax Medicaid for the approval forms, which I did. Within 48 hours the form came back to me which was sent in immediately via fax, and I was told that I would have my answer in 10 days. Of course by then each child would have been blind in the eye.

Each time the request came back denied. All three times I personally provided the antibiotic for each patient which was not on the Medicaid approved list. Get the point -- rationing of care.

Over the past 35 years I have cared for over 1000 children born with congenital cataracts. In older children and in adults the vision is rehabilitated with an intraocular lens. In newborns we use contact lenses which are very expensive. It takes Medicaid over one year to approve a contact lens post cataract surgery. By that time a successful anatomical operation is wasted as the child will be close to blind from a lack of focusing for so long a period of time. ...
...
I spent two year in the US Navy during the Viet Nam war and was well treated by the military. There was tremendous rationing of care and we were told specifically what things the military personnel and their dependents could have and which things they could not have. While I was in Viet Nam, my wife Nancy got sick and got essentially no care at the Naval Hospital in Oakland, California. She went home and went to her family's private internist in Beverly Hills. While it was expensive, she received an immediate work up. Again rationing of care.

For those of you who are over 65, this bill in its present form might be lethal for you. People in Britain face rationing of care in that there is an eight month wait for cataract surgery, 11 for hernia and the same for disc and total hip The government wants to mimic the British plan. For those of you younger, it will still mean restriction of the care that you and your children receive. [emphasis added] ...

Read the whole thing here. We'll see this Fall whether Obama and the Dems try to ram through some version of ObamaCare, or rather, the newly renamed Teddy Kennedy Memorial Healthcare Reform Bill. Maybe those who support this sort of "reform" truly do believe that the sprawling federal government bureaucracy can run one-sixth of our nation's economy more efficiently than private for-profit companies. You know, just like the FedGov runs Medicare and Medicaid, those paragons of fraud-free efficiency. Maybe they are that stupid.

Friday, August 28, 2009

So that's what it looks like upside down

Tonight's deconstruction failure - a building demolition in Turkey doesn't quite go as planned:

Kennedy: The Senator of Sleaze

From the UK Daily Mail, a differing view on the life of Ted Kennedy, offered as a counterpoint to all the fawning remembrances in our own Leftist mainstream media [Hat tip: Dave M. for the link]:
Ted Kennedy: The Senator of Sleaze who was a drunk sexual bully... and left a young woman to die
By Charlie Laurence
Last updated at 3:31 PM on 27th August 2009

Senator Edward 'Ted' Kennedy stood for sleaze. Bloated and drunken, he used his standing in the Kennedy clan to chase vulnerable women - which brought his dream of reaching the White House to a shameful end.

He was the youngest of the four Kennedy brothers, and by far the longest lived.

Incredibly, he was in line to inherit his brother John F. Kennedy's legendary presidency, but his chances were dashed following the drowning of the pretty, young campaign assistant Mary Jo Kopechne.

Forever known as the Chappaquiddick Incident after the Massachusetts island where it took place, the scandal in 1969 broke the Kennedy grip on the White House.

A drunk Ted had been driving back from a party to the family 'compound' on Martha's Vineyard when he veered off a bridge and into a deep tidal dyke.


Drowned: Mary Jo Kopechne was killed after Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge with her inside

Mary Jo was in the back seat and, while he claimed he was just giving her a lift back to her hotel, it was widely thought that he had picked her up for sex. Kennedy swam ashore to save himself, but left Mary Jo to drown - in fact, it was even worse than that.

It was nine hours before he reported the accident. In the meantime, he walked back to his motel, complained to the manager about a noisy party, took a shower, went to sleep, ordered newspapers when he woke up and spoke to a friend and two lawyers before finally calling the police.

Divers later estimated that if he had called them immediately, they would have had time to pull out Mary Jo. She had not drowned, but had survived in an air pocket inside the car - she was asphyxiated only when the oxygen ran out several hours later.


As always, Ted used the family name to save his neck. In any other state but Massachusetts, the Kennedys' home turf, and with any other name, he would have been charged with homicide.

Instead, he escaped with a slap on the wrist: a two-year suspended sentence and the loss of his driving licence for a year. He had been allowed to plead guilty to no more than the charge of leaving the scene of an accident.

Kennedy lawyers arranged for him to pay £55,000 to the Kopechne family from his own pocket with a further £30,000 from his insurance. Mary Jo's mother later said: 'I don't think he ever said he was sorry.' ...

Read the rest here. The man who left Mary Jo Kopechne to die a slow, horrible death in the submerged car he drove off a bridge, has finally gone to meet his Maker.

As the old latin adage goes, de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est (let nothing be said of the dead but what is good). Thus, I will remain silent, as I have nothing kind to say about the man.

Others, however, are not so inhibited. Please see:

The Other McCain: Kopechne Day: A Solemn Tribute, with links to a whole passel of folks with their thoughts on the subject.

And Joe Huffman has a link roundup of gun bloggers on the death of Ted Kennedy here.

Insulter in Chief

From the American Thinker, on the Boy King's propensity to insult well, pretty much everyone:
"He who wishes to exert a useful influence must be careful to insult nothing." If Goethe was right, I guess we can give up on President Obama exerting a useful influence. By now he's insulted just about everything and everyone. I list some of his insults below, in alphabetical order by insultee. Let the healing begin.

Afghanistan/Karzai.
"... senior members of Obama's national security team say Karzai has not done enough to address the grave challenges facing his nation. They deem him to be a mercurial and vacillating chieftain... Obama intends to maintain an arm's-length relationship with Karzai... The administration will also seek to bypass Karzai... The administration rebuffed Karzai's request for a bilateral visit to Washington this spring... Karzai's meeting with Obama today is scheduled for 20 minutes..."

The people of Afghanistan may have just re-elected this "mercurial and vacillating chieftain." ...

Read the rest here (with links to sources).

Ham-handed Brits to give up glass, try plastic

From the formerly Great Britain, comes this story [Hat tip: reader Ken R.]:
Plans to replace the traditional pint glass with one made of shatter-proof plastic will not be accepted by drinkers, the pub industry has warned.

The Home Office has commissioned a new design, in an attempt to stop glasses being used as weapons.

Official figures show 5,500 people are attacked with glasses and bottles every year in England and Wales. ...

Article here. Yeah, that oughta work. Another step on the road to "assault glass" control. No doubt all silica-based beverage ware will soon be verboten in Her Majesty's kingdom. After all, those evil assault glasses are the "favored weapons" of bar criminals, don't ya know?

Consumers, retailers in "death spiral"

So says retail industry analyst Howard Davidowitz. Some quotes from his Yahoo Tech Ticker interview:
On retail:

* "The retail business is terrible... It's almost all negative."
* "We're going to close hundreds of thousands of stores."

On the consumer:

* "They’re still over leveraged, they're losing jobs, their credit has been cut back."

On America:

* "We are in the tank forever. As a country we are out of control, we're in a death spiral."

View his video interview here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Guess the Google

Tonight's interactive game - guess the Google search term that produced the images shown (click on image below to play the game). Hint - don't overthink the answers.




Or click here to learn about the game.

Tax penalties and ObamaCare

From attorney James Peasley, writing in the Wall Street Journal, about another dumb idea contained in the ObamaCare bill:
Two tax provisions in the health-care bill voted on by the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this summer have gained significant attention. One would impose a surtax on high-income earners. The other would force individuals (or their employers) who do not have approved health-insurance plans to pay a tax penalty. But there are other "revenue provisions" in the bill that also deserve a close look.

One would change the law to mandate that the Internal Revenue Service slap penalties on honest but errant taxpayers. [emphasis added]

Under current law, taxpayers who lose an argument with the IRS can generally avoid penalties by showing they tried in good faith to comply with the tax law. In a broad range of circumstances, the health-care bill would change the law to impose strict liability penalties for income-tax underpayments, meaning that taxpayers will no longer have the luxury of making an honest mistake. The ability of even the IRS to waive penalties in sympathetic cases would be sharply curtailed.

The proposed changes in penalty rules have largely escaped notice because they are buried in a part of the bill that purports to deal with abusive tax shelters. They are barely mentioned in the Ways and Means Committee summary. Their inclusion in the bill underscores the need to read it closely. If anyone had doubts about the value of loading the text of the bill into a wheelbarrow and bringing it to the beach this August, the proposed changes to tax penalties should dispel them. ...

Read the rest here. To impose strict liability on ordinary taxpayers who make honest mistakes on their returns in a good faith effort to decipher our often impenetrably dense tax code is one more way to screw ordinary Americans. Those without benefit of professional tax preparation and tax advice are the ones most likely to find themselves penalized for honest mistakes.

Given that the current Secretary of the Treasury, Timmy "TurboTax" Geithner, or Charlie Rangel, the chair of the committee that writes the tax code, couldn't get their own taxes right, this hardly seems like a good idea, does it? And if I recall correctly, note that Turbo Timmy didn't pay any penalties for his tax return "mistakes".

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Map of Down Under

Tonight's geography lesson - Australia:




:)


And here's what a map of the world, with Australia as it's center, would look like (click to enlarge):


MSNBC and the Liberal Narrative

Via The Anchoress, comes this exposition by Pajama TV's Bill Whittle on how the Leftist media keeps the liberal narrative alive. [Video, about 13 minutes]

And here's yet another example of media bias from the WSJ's James Taranto, as noted by Howard Portnoy at Hotair.

Get ready for Bernanke, Round 2

The Boy King has nominated Ben ("Helicopter") Bernanke for a second term as Fed Chairman. You know, because of his "stellar" track record:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A tale of two homilies

Tonight's odd pairing:




Hmmm, what exactly is he trying to tell us?

:)

What death by bureaucratic panel might look like

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Andrew Klavan paints us one possible scenario:
It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that's part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance.
—President Barack Obama in a New York Times interview on how costly medical decisions should be made.

The people behind the long table do not know what they've become. The drug of power has been sugared over in their mouths with a flavoring of righteousness. Someone has to make these decisions, they tell their friends at dinner parties. It's all very difficult for us. But you can see it in their eyes: It isn't really difficult at all. It feels good to them to be the ones who decide.

"Well, we have your doctor's recommendation," says the chairwoman in a friendly tone. She peers over the top of her glasses as she pages through your file.

You have to clear your throat before you can answer. "He says the operation is my only chance."

"But not really very much of a chance, is it?" she says sympathetically. Over time, she's become expert at sounding sympathetic.

"Seventy percent!" you object.

"Seventy percent chance of survival for five years—five years at the outside—and even that only amounts to about 18 months in QALYs: quality-adjusted life years."

"But without this procedure, I'll be dead before Christmas."

You try to keep the anger out of your voice. The last thing you want to do is offend them. But the politicians promised you—they promised everyone—there would never be panels like this. They made fun of anyone who said there would. "What do they think we're going to do? Pull the plug on grandma?" they chuckled. The media ran news stories calling all rumors of such things "false" or "misleading." But of course by then the media had become apologists for the state rather than watchdogs for the people. ...

Read the rest here. Frankly, I suspect that those who serve on these "Death Panels" will find their own imperious lifespans cut unexpectedly short by those (or their loved ones) whose lives the state decides aren't "worth the cost". Especially when it comes to light (as it surely will) that there are two de facto sets of rules, one for the masses, and another, more kindly set for the privileged and politically connected. No doubt the rules will be facially the same for everyone, but how they're applied will differ depending on which class of person you are.

The new National Anthem

In this new era of Hope and Chains, seems like we ought to update our old, tired, national anthem, don't you think? I mean, all that "land of the free, home of the brave" stuff hardly reflects the new socialist order being implemented by our elected masters in the White House and Congress, now does it?

Well, I'm pleased to report that the folks over at Glenn Beck's show have updated our national anthem to reflect the new reality (sung to the tune of the Soviet National Anthem, naturally):

If ObamaCare applied to school lunches

Today's cartoon - if ObamaCare applied to school lunches. A snippet (click to see the full cartoon), or click here:


Monday, August 24, 2009

Why moms can't do yoga

Tonight's baby parenting video (probably a nip NSFW):




Hey, when you're hungry, you're hungry. You know, mommy? :)

More town hall anger

From a Washington state town hall last week:




Note the crowd's support for his questions. Politicians are playing with fire.

[Via Denninger's Market Ticker]

Rush is on for Florida CCW permits

From the Sunshine State:
Jennifer Turkali, 37, likes the ease of shooting a 9mm handgun.

"It's not too heavy," said the mother of two and Kennedy Space Center worker.

With her sister and mother, Turkali recently completed a class on concealed weapons at the American Police Hall of Fame and Museum Shooting Range.

"It gives me peace of mind of knowing I could protect my family if I needed to," she said.

Turkali is one of many Florida residents lining up in record numbers to be able to carry a weapon.

While Turkali said she and her female family members wanted to familiarize themselves with the guns their husbands have at home, other people statewide have their own reasons.

It might be a concern over President Barack Obama's record on guns, or a fear that a bad economy will cause crime to rise, or a reaction to last year's guns-at-work law. Or maybe a combination of all three is behind the rapid rise in applications for permits, state officials said.

"We're still sitting on about 50,000 applications," Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson said. "We're getting in about 14,000 or 15,000 a month, and whenever they get a good slug out, they're getting another 15,000 in." [emphasis added]

Bronson asked the Legislature during the spring for the authorization to hire 61 temporary employees, bringing the total to 202. They have helped whittle down a backlog that then stood at 90,000 for all types of concealed-weapons permits. The backlog alone was roughly equal to all the applications received in 2008 -- 90,331 -- and the department received 75,520 applications in the first six months of this year. ...

Article here. All these law-abiding citizens and voters are a good thing for gun rights. These folks aren't getting concealed carry permits to go hunting; they are getting them to carry guns for self-protection. And that moves us closer to the spirit and purpose of the Second Amendment - a heavily armed populace capable of defending itself against thugs, and tyrants.

Second Amendment mercenaries

From Skip Coryell, who is organizing the Second Amendment March:
I am the Founder of the Second Amendment March, a nonprofit organization dedicated to planning and organizing Second Amendment Marches in every state capitol as well as smaller cities all across the country between now and April 19th, 2010. On that day, Second Amendment supporters from all across the country will meet on the National Mall in Washington DC to celebrate the mainstream freedom we have in the right to keep and bear arms. (Ironically, none of us will be armed.)

Part of my job as Founder is to extend invitations for people to speak at these events. Recently, I invited a famous Second Amendment activist. I asked him to spend five minutes on stage. He said he would be very happy and honored to attend the Second Amendment March ... but only if we paid him $40,000.

Color me stunned. ...

Rest here. So the (unnamed) famous "Second Amendment activist" wants forty grand, first class travel and luxury hotel accommodations to speak for 5 minutes at a gun rights rally? With "friends" like these, gun rights advocates can't afford enemies.

Why default on U.S. Treasuries is likely

Today's economics article, by professor Jeffrey Rogers Hummel writing in the Library of Economics and Liberty:
Almost everyone is aware that federal government spending in the United States is scheduled to skyrocket, primarily because of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Recent "stimulus" packages have accelerated the process. Only the naively optimistic actually believe that politicians will fully resolve this looming fiscal crisis with some judicious combination of tax hikes and program cuts. Many predict that, instead, the government will inflate its way out of this future bind, using Federal Reserve monetary expansion to fill the shortfall between outlays and receipts. But I believe, in contrast, that it is far more likely that the United States will be driven to an outright default on Treasury securities, openly reneging on the interest due on its formal debt and probably repudiating part of the principal. ...

Read the rest here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Don't send a man to the grocery store

Tonight's humor, by Jeanne Robertson:

Obama to finance offshore drilling ... in Brazil

From the Wall Street Journal:
You read that headline correctly. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is financing oil exploration off Brazil.

The U.S. is going to lend billions of dollars to Brazil's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil's Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's planning minister confirmed that White House National Security Adviser James Jones met this month with Brazilian officials to talk about the loan.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank tells us it has issued a "preliminary commitment" letter to Petrobras in the amount of $2 billion and has discussed with Brazil the possibility of increasing that amount. Ex-Im Bank says it has not decided whether the money will come in the form of a direct loan or loan guarantees. Either way, this corporate foreign aid may strike some readers as odd, given that the U.S. Treasury seems desperate for cash and Petrobras is one of the largest corporations in the Americas. ...

Article here. I guess when you're spending trillions of the people's money, a few billion may not seem like much anymore to the Washington elites. We have long since become our own worst enemy, and now the game seems to be to figure out the most imaginative way to simultaneously screw the American taxpayer and screw our domestic energy industry, all while helping our economic competitors boost theirs.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Musical interlude

Tonight's musical interlude - Boston's Foreplay / Long Time, as performed by a single musician (Jon Baglo) playing all the instruments, another (Spencer Needham) doing all the background vocals, and singer David Steele on lead vocal:



Pretty cool.

For those who want the original: Boston


Home defense

Today's weekend reading - Brigid of Home on the Range has a post on Home Security - Something All Families Should Read.

Good stuff to share with those who may not yet have the "seen the light", and are not willfully blind. With the increasing potential for major economic disruption in the coming months and years, time is of the essence for those friends and family who have not yet begun training and preparing to protect themselves and their loved ones.

I think the first and most important step is acquiring the mindset that you will not be a victim. Once you have that, a lot else follows naturally.

Of course, we each train and prepare within the physical, financial and temporal constraints that define our unique lives, and necessarily balance defensive training and preparation with the other important demands for our time, money and family. In the end you can do no more, nor should you do less. And hopefully, what you've done will be enough to prevail when evil comes knocking at your door.

Friday, August 21, 2009

He's not just a lover, he's a fighter (pilot)

Tonight's humor:
One day, Pierre, an Ace French fighter pilot, takes his lovely girlfriend, Marie, out for a pleasant little picnic on the banks of the River Seine. It’s a beautiful day, and love is in the air.

Marie leans over to Pierre and says: “Pierre, mon amour, kiss me!” Our hero grabs a bottle of Merlot and splashes it on Marie’s lips.

“What are you doing, Pierre?”, says the startled Marie.

“I am Pierre, zee fighter pilot! When I 'ave red meat, I like to have red wine!

She smiles, and they start kissing. Things soon heat up, and Marie says, “Pierre, my darling, kiss me lower.”

Pierre tears her blouse open, grabs a bottle of Chardonnay and starts pouring it all over her breasts.

“Pierre! What are you doing?’, asks the bewildered Marie.

“I am Pierre, zee fighter pilot! When I have white meat, I like to have white wine!”

Their passionate interlude resumes and things really steam up. Marie leans close to his ear and whispers breathlessly, “Pierre, kiss me lower!”

So Pierre rips off her lace underwear, grabs a bottle of Cognac and pours it in her lap. He then strikes a match and lights it on fire.

Marie shrieks and dives into the river. Standing waist deep, Marie throws her arms upwards and screams furiously,

“PIERRE, WHAT IN THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?”

“I am Pierre, zee fighter pilot! When I go down, I go down in flames!”


:)

Media bias, exposed

Newsbusters exposes more media bias: Media Barely Noticed Legal Gun-brandishing By Leftist Black Panthers in 2000 Protest

You've heard about the current liberal media frenzy about the peaceable open carriers protesting King Obama's visits to New Hampshire and Arizona? The one with calls from the anti-gun forces and their political allies to ban such carry further violate the civil rights of Americans?

Turns out back in 2000 the hand-wringing media flunkies over at places like MSNBC and shows like Nightline hardly noticed when the Blank Panthers protested then-governor George W. Bush (who was under Secret Service protection at the time, due to his being the presumptive Republican presidential nominee) over his refusal to intervene in the pending execution of a convicted murderer.

So, according to the mainstream media this is ok:


(Protester holding long gun outside Texas Republican Party's state convention, ca. June 2000. Photo via Newsbusters.)

Because, after all, those black men brandishing what are reportedly AK-47s (though the man in the photo looks like he's holding a shotgun) were merely exercising their rights to protest evil conservatives.

But the media says this is not:


(A law abiding citizen exercises his constitutional rights by openly carrying a firearm to speech by President Obama on August 17 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo: Ernest Hancock. Photo via JBS.org)

Because this black man, well dressed and with a slung AR-15 and holstered pistol, is a "disaster waiting to happen", and is a potential threat to the King. Got that?

More news, more media bias.

More women getting concealed carry permits

From the Silver State:
It's a growing trend in Northern Nevada with more and more women arming themselves and getting concealed weapons permits. Kelly Main, a local CCW instructor with Armed and Safe, says her company taught more women than men last year, and the trend is across the country.

Main's classroom echoes the changes the Washoe County Sheriff's Office is seeing as well. The number of CCW permits issued to women more than doubled between 2007 and 2008. ...

Article here.

Madison cops target open carrier

From the ultra-liberal (in the modern and pejorative sense of that word) city of Madison, Wisconsin, on the harassment of an open-carrier (formatting omitted below):
... The Madison Wisconsin Police Department appears to be one such agency that just doesn’t “get it.” On Saturday, August 8th, Madison police received a call from a “concerned citizen” who reported a “man walking … with a holstered gun on his hip.”

Police responded to find 28 year-old UW-Madison graduate student Travis F. Yates legally and peacefully wearing a properly holstered sidearm. After Yates stated that he was wearing the sidearm as a political statement in support of the open carry and self defense rights recently documented in an advisory opinion by Wisconsin Attorney General Van Hollen, Yates was informed that he was being cited for disorderly conduct because “his actions disturbed other citizens.”

Never mind the fact that this is EXACTLY the type of open carry that Attorney General Van Hollen stated was constitutionally protected and NOT grounds for a disorderly conduct charge.

In his advisory opinion, he stated "The state constitutional right to bear arms extends to openly carrying a handgun for lawful purposes [and t]he Wisconsin Department of Justice believes that the mere open carrying of a firearm by a person, absent additional facts and circumstances, should not result in a disorderly conduct charge from a prosecutor."

Attorney General Van Hollen went on to provide strong guidance to law enforcement as to what additional facts and circumstances would need to be present to justify a disorderly conduct charge against an open carrier. He stated that the totality of the circumstance would need to be such that the actions of the open carrier were "likely to produce a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance, or unrest."

Attorney General Van Hollen has done an excellent job of summarizing just how disruptive a person’s behavior needs to be before the public good outweighs the significant interest of a constitutional right. Applied to this incident, the test shows that the Madison Police Department clearly over-stepped their bounds. In fact, given the recent release and significant media coverage of the Van Hollen opinion, this arrest seems to be a willful act of defiance. I expect that should Mr Yates choose to pursue a federal civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, this will be an argument raised by his counsel. ...

Article and more details here. Given that Wisconsin is one of the only two states that prohibit any form of lawful concealed carry, the man was merely using his only legal option for exercising his right to bear arms in the Badger State. Let's hope a lawsuit, punitive damages and a permanent injunction against the Madison Police Department will alleviate this sort of jackbooted behavior.

Obama wants cookies for all

... who visit federal government websites, that is. The Washington Post reports:
The Obama administration is proposing to scale back a long-standing ban on tracking how people use government Internet sites with "cookies" and other technologies, raising alarms among privacy groups.

A two-week public comment period ended Monday on a proposal by the White House Office of Management and Budget to end a ban on federal Internet sites using such technologies and replace it with other privacy safeguards. The current prohibition, in place since 2000, can be waived if an agency head cites a "compelling need."

Supporters of a change say social networking and similar services, which often take advantage of the tracking technologies, have transformed how people communicate over the Internet, and Obama's aides say those services can make government more transparent and increase public involvement.

Some privacy groups say the proposal amounts to a "massive" and unexplained shift in government policy. In a statement Monday, American Civil Liberties Union spokesman Michael Macleod-Ball said the move could "allow the mass collection of personal information of every user of a federal government website." ...

Article here. While valid reasons for the FedGov using tracking cookies might exist in some instances, given the recent White House position urging people to report those who dissent with ObamaCare to the White House, presumably so that "corrective action" can be taken, I suspect many will be wary at the administration's motives for lifting the ban on internet tracking cookies for those who visit federal government websites.

One month later, still no bloodbaths in Tennessee bars

From the Volunteer State:
It's almost been almost a month since the law allowing gun-carry permit holders to carry in bars and restaurants if they're not drinking, and I haven't heard of even one violent incident. Have you?

I've scoured the Internet, searched television, radio and newspaper Web sites. Nothing. Seems like I remember Nashville restaurateur Randy Rayburn saying just before the law went into effect, "In Tennessee, we apparently are going to have 225,000 vigilantes shooting in bars." Randy's an old friend of mine, and I have the utmost respect for him as a restaurateur, but he was wrong on this one.

As was Adam Dread, another old friend. Dread feared some drunk would take a gun from a carry permit holder. Seeing as how nobody knows the vast majority of permit holders are packing, I don't see how that's even relevant to the argument. Dread also worried about the impact on tourism. There are 37 other states with similar laws on the books, and there's absolutely no indication it's had any effect on tourism. ...

Article here. Yet another hysterical prediction from the anti-gun side fails to materialize. If you're in the Volunteer State, you ought to make sure any restaurant with a "no guns" sign knows exactly why you won't be dining and spending your money at that establishment.

ObamaCare: Young and wealthy to subsidize the rest

Mish does a roundup and commentary here.

Quoting Caroline Baum at Bloomberg:
Obama says his advisers have identified $500 billion to $600 billion of inefficiencies in the system that would pay for reforms. When was the last time the government wrung inefficiencies out of anything? Medicare is plagued with waste and fraud.

Obama says the government needs to offer a public health- care option to encourage competition. This line of thinking leads “to the uncomfortable conclusion that the government must be a player in every industry,” says Cliff Asness, president of AQR Capital, a hedge fund in Greenwich, Connecticut. [emphasis added]

According to ObamaLogic, the government must own the biggest company in every (fill in the blank) industry to offer a "public option" to "encourage competition". Evidently, we've started with General Motors, but ObamaLogic will likely be coming to your industry soon.

Read the rest, including Ms. Baum's Obama goes postal, lands in dead-letter office article. Without his beloved teleprompter, Mr. Obama is like a fish out of water.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Flexible

Tonight's flexible girl video:

Florida court OKs "Stand-Your-Ground" law

From the Sunshine State [Hat tip: Reader Jim P.]:
Florida's "stand-your-ground" law allows the use of deadly force for self-protection even if an attacker or intruder is in retreat, an appellate court said Wednesday.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal issued that explanation for last month releasing Jimmy Hair from jail, where he had spent two years awaiting trial on a first-degree murder charge.

Hair, 28, was charged with fatally shooting Charles Harper, 26. Harper had forced his way into a car in which Hair was a passenger and then tussled with him. The car was parked outside a Tallahassee nightclub where Harper earlier had argued with the driver.

Sandi Copes, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Bill McCollum, said no decision had yet been made on whether to ask for a rehearing or possibly appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. She declined further comment.

A trial judge had refused to grant Hair "stand-your-ground" immunity due to conflicting testimony on whether Harper was being pulled out of the car by a friend when he was shot, but the appellate court said that didn't matter.

"The statute makes no exception from immunity when the victim is in retreat," the panel wrote in an unsigned, unanimous opinion.

The ruling appears to conflict with a 2nd District Court of Appeal decision in 2007 that denied immunity to Valrico resident David Heckman in case that also began with an argument. Heckman had been charged with aggravated battery for allegedly shooting Robert Carroll after Carroll left the garage attached to Heckman's home. ...

Article here. Note that, according to the article, there appears to exist a conflict between appellate districts, so the Florida Supreme Court might decide to weigh in on the issue if the state decides to seek further review.

The article also mentions that the shooter claimed that his gun went off accidentally:
Hair, who had a concealed weapons permit, claimed the gun went off accidentally when he tried to hit Harper with it. The appellate court also found the trial judge erred by finding the law didn't apply because the gun had gone off accidentally. [emphasis added]

Note that self-defense is an intentional act. Thus, you generally can't argue that your accidental shooting was self-defense, because self-defense requires you to intentionally use the force you used. I suspect that the shooter spoke to the police and/or prosecutors without benefit of competent counsel, which is yet another reminder that you have the right to remain silent ... use it!

By all means, point out evidence (the location of your attacker's dropped weapon, for example) and/or witnesses that may help exonerate you and support your use of force, and obviously any need for medical attention for yourself and others -- often a good idea even if you don't believe you've been visibly injured, because you may not even realize you've been injured due to the effects of adrenaline, etc., or you may suffer from delayed effects, such as a heart attack. But you should probably avoid making any detailed statements at the scene. And certainly no incriminating statements without prior consultation with your attorney, and with your attorney present during questioning!

The National Debt Road Trip

Today's debt-as-road-trip video:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Having a bad day

Tonight's freeway nightmare:

Scientists: DNA evidence can be fabricated

From the New York Times:
Scientists in Israel have demonstrated that it is possible to fabricate DNA evidence, undermining the credibility of what has been considered the gold standard of proof in criminal cases.

The scientists fabricated blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor of the blood and saliva. They also showed that if they had access to a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of DNA to match that profile without obtaining any tissue from that person.

“You can just engineer a crime scene,” said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper, which has been published online by the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics. “Any biology undergraduate could perform this.”

Dr. Frumkin is a founder of Nucleix, a company based in Tel Aviv that has developed a test to distinguish real DNA samples from fake ones that it hopes to sell to forensics laboratories.

The planting of fabricated DNA evidence at a crime scene is only one implication of the findings. A potential invasion of personal privacy is another.

Using some of the same techniques, it may be possible to scavenge anyone’s DNA from a discarded drinking cup or cigarette butt and turn it into a saliva sample that could be submitted to a genetic testing company that measures ancestry or the risk of getting various diseases. Celebrities might have to fear “genetic paparazzi,” said Gail H. Javitt of the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University.

Tania Simoncelli, science adviser to the American Civil Liberties Union, said the findings were worrisome.

“DNA is a lot easier to plant at a crime scene than fingerprints,” she said. “We’re creating a criminal justice system that is increasingly relying on this technology.” ...

Read the rest here. These techniques (for now) likely remain beyond the ability of the average criminal. But think of the possibilities, e.g., for governments and state-funded entities to fabricate evidence against those whom the state deems "undesirable", and who they wish to frame for a crime. Food for thought.

A chicken in every pot, a gun in every home

From the Sunshine State:
A proposed resolution set to go before the Belleview City Commission urges the head of every household in the city to have a gun in order to protect their families and to keep the peace in an emergency.

On Tuesday, the board will consider the plan, which has been introduced by Belleview resident Donny Barber, to encourage "all law abiding citizens to own a handgun, rifle or shotgun and receive adequate training to become proficient in the use of and safe handling of the weapon so they are prepared to protect themselves and their families."

The resolution also calls on homeowners to "maintain a firearm, together with ammunition" in order "to provide for the emergency management" of the city, as well as "to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare" of Belleview and its residents.

Tuesday's action would be the first of two steps to enact the resolution.

Commissioners would have to vote to direct staff to draft the document in the city's official format.

If they agree to that, the resolution would come back a second time in September for final adoption.

Barber is the executive director of the Sovereignty Action Committee, an Ocala-based group that wants the state to assert its rights against federal encroachment, as outlined in the Constitution's 10th Amendment.

His resolution offers 14 reasons why Belleview residents should arm themselves. ...

Article here. Most gun rights advocates know that Kennesaw, GA, has had since 1982 an ordinance requiring every household (with some exceptions) to own a gun and ammunition for same. After the Kennesaw ordinance passed, crime dropped dramatically compared to surrounding towns, and remains low today.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We'll huff, we'll puff, we'll blow your house down

Tonight's vortex cannon demonstration:

More openly armed protesters at Obama visitation

AP story, via Breitbart, on the presence of openly armed protesters during a visit to Arizona from King Barack:
About a dozen people carrying guns, including one with a military-style rifle, milled among protesters outside the convention center where President Barack Obama was giving a speech Monday—the latest incidents in which protesters have openly displayed firearms near the president.

Gun-rights advocates say they're exercising their constitutional right to bear arms and protest, while those who argue for more gun control say it could be a disaster waiting to happen.

Phoenix police said the gun-toters at Monday's event, including the man carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle slung over his shoulder, didn't need permits. No crimes were committed, and no one was arrested.

The man with the rifle declined to be identified but told The Arizona Republic that he was carrying the assault weapon because he could. "In Arizona, I still have some freedoms," he said. ...

Article here. Kudos to these openly armed protesters. One advantage of these protesters, including the open carrier in New Hampshire last week, peacefully open carrying, is that they help publicize the fact that open carry is legal in these states. Of course, given that this was in Arizona, I'm sure there were lots of discreetly armed protesters there as well.

Acclimating the general public that open carry is something that peaceable free citizens do is an important reason to open carry, and to support same. In addition, as Thomas Jefferson once noted, "... what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." Open carry is a potent form of political expression, and a way to both warn our elected servants and public officials that the "people preserve the spirit of resistance" and that they work for us, not the other way round.

Update 8/19/2009: Here's a photo of the armed man with the rifle, via the Arizona Republic (article here.) From the Arizona Republic article:
"What he is doing is perfectly legal," Det. J. Oliver, of the Phoenix Police Department said. "We are here to keep the peace. If we need to intervene, we will intervene at that time."

Note the spare mag in his left back pocket. Looks like a free citizen, not a subject, doesn't he?


(A man, who decided not to give his name, was walking around the pro-health care reform rally at 3rd and Washington streets, with a pistol on his hip, and an AR-15 (a semi-automatic assault weapon) on a strap over his shoulder. Photo: Scott Wong/The Arizona Republic)

Foreclosure tsunami on the way?

Today's economic reading, on the coming wave of foreclosures.

From Mish: Brace for a Wave of Foreclosures, the Dam is About to Break. Here are some eye-popping stats from his post:
  • California has $2.4 trillion in mortgages debt. 42.0% of the properties have negative equity.
  • Florida has $923 billion in mortgage debt. 49.4% of the properties have negative equity.
  • Illinois has $447 billion in mortgage debt. 29.4% of the properties have negative equity.
  • Arizona has $298 billion in mortgage debt. 51.0% of the properties have negative equity.
  • Nevada has $149 billion in mortgage debt. 65.6% of the properties have negative equity.
  • Nationwide there is $10.1 trillion in mortgage debt. 32.2% of the properties have negative equity. 37.6% of the properties have "near-negative" equity. [emphasis added]

And an analysis by Mark Hanson (whom Mish also cites in his post) - a worthwhile read here, with lots of graphs for the visual learners. :)

If the above stats are correct, we're looking at $3.25 trillion worth of mortgages under water, with another $3.8 trillion (give or take a few tens of billions) at the waterline. None of which have yet been foreclosed upon.

Think the banks that hold those mortgages on their balance sheets, with book values vastly above their market values, are still solvent? And when the foreclosure dam breaks, and cascading and accelerating bank failures begin, how long before the FedGov declares another "bank holiday"? Hmmm, perhaps that barter economy may not be as far off as we think it is.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Semi-Homemade Cookin'

Tonight's Food Channel compilation - from Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade show:

FDIC now bankrupt?

Apparently so, according to Mish's analysis here.

Karl Denninger also wonders whether the FDIC is still solvent.

Another reminder to not have all your eggs in one basket. Have more than one bank, and spread your cash around. Yeah, the FDIC insures your deposits up to $250K (until the end of this year, unless extended, then the coverage reverts back to $100K), but you've got to trust that the FedGov won't change the rules due to, e.g., an accelerating and cascading wave of bank failures.

For those with safety deposit boxes, another reminder not to keep anything in them that you can't live without. And for those with precious metals, remember that during the last Bank Holiday and Gold Confiscation Extravaganza of 1933, those with gold in safety deposit boxes had their gold involuntarily "exchanged" at government gunpoint ("We're from the government, and we're here to help! Now hand over your money.").

Even in "normal" times, safety deposit boxes aren't all that "safe":

Sunday, August 16, 2009

No treats from Obama

Tonight's discerning canine palate:




[Via GunRights4UsAll]

How people spend their day

Today's chart of daily activities, by the New York Times (click on chart to go to the interactive version):



Interactive version here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Touching the void

Tonight's rock climbing video - a little free solo action:

Patrick Henry, on tyranny

From the Jekyll Island Project, comes this oration of fiery Virginian Patrick Henry's famous 1775 "Liberty or Death" speech:



Text of the speech:
No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope that it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen, if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.

This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty towards the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?

For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth -- to know the worst and to provide for it. I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years, to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House?

Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with these warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation -- the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motives for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies?

No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer on the subject? Nothing.

We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer.

Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament.

Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope.

If we wish to be free -- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending -- if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak -- unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.

The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable -- and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come!

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, "Peace! Peace!" -- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Going to the Mattresses ... sort of

Tonight's too-much-time-on-your-hands video - Mattress Dominoes:

Armed New Hampshire man protests ObamaCare

From King Obama's visit to the Granite State to push his ObamaCare agenda yesterday. An open carrier, standing on private property, protests the King's visit with a little Jeffersonian flair. Predictably, the liberal elites were apoplectic, with lots of frightened hand-wringing. Here are the libs over at MSNBC:




I'm happy to see that the local New Hampshire cops respected both his right to protest and to open carry. Note that he was smart to stand on private property, with prior permission from the property owner (a local church), while protesting.

Of course, given that this was in New Hampshire, I'm sure there were also lots of discreetly armed protesters carrying concealed guns.

[Hat tip: Tom O.]

Porn industry getting banged up by bad economy

From the Los Angeles Times, we learn of the plight of porn:
On a recent Saturday night, Savannah Stern earned $300 to hang out for seven hours at a party in Santa Monica wearing nothing but a feather boa.

The veteran of more than 350 hard-core pornography productions took the job to earn extra cash and to network. But the word at the 35th anniversary party for Hustler magazine was not heartening, especially among the roughly 75 other women working there.

"At least five girls I haven't seen in a while came up to me and said, 'Savannah, are you working?' " said Stern, who started in the industry four years ago and, like most adult performers, uses a stage name. "I had to say, 'No, not really,' and they all said, 'Yeah, I'm not either.' "

The adult entertainment business, centered in the San Fernando Valley, has weathered several recessions since it took off with the advent of home video in the 1980s. But this time the industry is not dealing with just a weakened economy. A growing abundance of free content on the Internet is undercutting consumers' willingness to pay for porn, and with it the ability of many workers to earn a living in the business.

For Stern, 23, the rapid decline of job opportunities in the porn business over the last year has been dramatic. She has gone from working four or five days a week to one and now has employers pressuring her to do male-female sex scenes for $700, a 30% discount from the $1,000 fee that used to be the industry standard.

Less than two years ago, Stern earned close to $150,000 annually, sometimes turned down work and drove a Mercedes-Benz CLK 350. Now she's aggressively reaching out for jobs and making closer to $50,000 a year.

As for that Mercedes? She's replacing it with a used Chevy Trailblazer -- from her parents.

"The opportunities in this industry really are disappearing," Stern said. "It's extremely stressful." ...

Read the rest here. As the article mentions, in addition to the bad economy, the adult film industry is also getting hit hard by the copious amount of free and pirated content available on the web. It's hard to compete with free, and anyone with a web browser and access to a search engine can easily find all the free porn he/she wants.

Hopefully performers like Ms. Stern who were making six-figure incomes a couple of years ago have put aside savings from those high-earning years, which are unlikely to return anytime soon.

[Via Mish, who has lots of other examples of the economic carnage in other industries here.]

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hole in one

Tonight's golf video - Leif Olson scores a hole-in-one on the par 3, 132 yard 15th hole at the 2009 Canadian Open:

Don't believe in Global Warming? You must be crazy!

From ShrinkWrapped, comes news of the latest effort to demonize those who are skeptical of Global Warming junk science:
The Soviet Union perfected the art of pathologizing its dissidents. Since the USSR was a "Worker's Paradise" it was rather obvious that anyone who objected to the arrangement must be psychologically impaired. Dissidents were routinely sent to Psychiatric hospitals and injected with all manner of powerful Psychiatric medications in an effort to correct their Psychiatric disorders. Once the basic premise was accepted, the misuse of Psychiatry was inevitable. It appears that the American Psychological Association is following in the glorious footsteps of Soviet Psychiatry: [HT: Jonah Goldberg]
Psychology and Global Climate Change:

Addressing a Multi-faceted Phenomenon and Set of Challenges

A Report by the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the Interface Between Psychology and Global Climate Change

I hadn't realized that there was an intimate interface between Psychology and Global Climate Change, but once the premise is accepted, the abuses to follow become inevitable. According to the APA report (which relies on the IPCC report that has been debunked as junk science by a fair number of eminent Climate Researchers), the Global Climate is changing and human activity is the primary driver of climate change. [emphasis added] ...
...
Second, it establishes that those of us who do not accept the received wisdom of Anthropogenic Climate Change (and whatever happened to Global Warming?) are exercising a primitive defense mechanism, denial. Brief episodes of denial are not diagnostic, but sustained denial suggests an impairment of reality testing. The APA has now established a baseline assumption that those who are in denial of Anthropogenic Climate Change are suffering from a psychological disorder that is reflected in their use of denial. [emphasis added] ...

Read the rest here. Once Global Warming Denial Syndrome is accepted as a psychiatric disorder, can Thorazine and electro-shock treatment for those "afflicted" be far behind?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

V.I.P.

Tonight's humor:
One day, the Pope was visiting America and driving around Washington in his limo, when he decides he wants to drive himself.

"Driver, may I drive for a while?" asks the Pope.

"Of course, Your Holiness," says the driver. After all, how can you say no to the Pope? So the Pope gets in the driver's seat, takes the wheel and starts driving like a maniac all around Washington -- dodging in and out of traffic, going ninety miles an hour on city streets, cutting people off.

Not surprisingly, a cop soon pulls him over. But when the Pope rolls down the window, the cop stops dead in his tracks, turns around and goes back to his patrol car.

"What’s he matter?" asks his partner.

"We've got somebody really, really important here," the cop says, worried.

"Who is it? Is it a senator?"

"No. More important."

"An ambassador, then?"

"No. More important."

"A visiting head of state? A King?"

"No. More important."

"The President? Who???"

"I don't know. But the Pope is his driver."


:)

Armed teachers in Texas: One year later

From the Lone Star state:
One year ago, David Thweatt made a decision so controversial and groundbreaking the story about it sped around the world.

The superintendent of the isolated Harrold Independent School District, about 30 miles northwest of here, made history last August when he and his school board decided to allow select teachers and staff members at the 110-student school to carry guns on campus — a first for Texas and the nation.

For Thweatt and his board, the decision was pure mathematics.

The school, which sits in the middle of a prairie, was too far from law enforcement for police to come in time to fend off would-be attackers. The students and staff would be safer if on-site, trained staff members were equipped to handle a crisis at a moment’s notice, they decided.

Thweatt had already installed a $100,000 state-of-the-art security system in the school. Now, arming certain unnamed school staff members by allowing them to strap a firearm under their clothing was the final flourish.

In the year since that historic decision, a gun was never brandished or fired at the school. There were no problems, Thweatt said.

However, one week after school began, police busted a methamphetamine lab set up in an abandoned house that sat 50 feet from the school property.

A deputy had peered inside and “saw something in the walls and windows and called for backup,” Thweatt said. “They made it to the abandoned house in 15 minutes. We had figured it would take 18 to 20 minutes in a typical situation.”

Had that been an armed intruder at his school, response time would have been too slow.

“We’re the first responders. We have to be,” Thweatt said. “We don’t have 5 minutes. We don’t have 10 minutes. We would have had 20 minutes of hell” if attackers had targeted the school. ...

Article here. What, you mean nothing bad happened when the law-abiding adults were legally able to carry a gun in a school? You mean those law-abiding adults didn't go out and commit mass murder? I'm shocked, I tell you. Perhaps someone should tell the Fraidy Bradys. Or the mainstream media.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fast pickup

Tonight's automotive oddity:

New Jersey governor signs gun control law

From the anti-gun hellhole known as New Jersey:
TRENTON - New Jersey will become the fourth state in the nation to limit handgun purchases to one every month. Gov. Corzine signed the controversial measure into law yesterday.

Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer joined Corzine and called on Pennsylvania to become No. 5. The law, which is aimed at slowing gun trafficking, would make life safer in New Jersey and neighboring states by fighting trafficking, he said.

"I just hope Pennsylvanians would make it safer for us by passing this bill," Palmer said at a ceremony outside Trenton City Hall. [emphasis added]...

Article here.

Surge in concealed weapon permits continues

From South Dakota:
More and more people across the country, the state and the county are getting permits to carry handguns.

There were 2,008 conceal and carry permits issued in Minnehaha County in all of 2008. There have already been 1,548 in 2009. The state of South Dakota issued 14,628 permits in 2008, and it's already hit 11,057 in 2009.

The clerk at the Minnehaha County Sheriff's office says she takes between 10 and 50 applications for a conceal and carry permit every day, and she says the number one reason people give is they're afraid their gun rights might be taken away.

"I feel that we need to act now if our rights are going to be protected," said Jordan Olson, who picked up his permit on Wednesday. ...

Article here.

Meanwhile, in Florida:
Florida gun owners are grabbing up concealed-weapon permits at a record pace.

It might be concern for President Barack Obama's record on guns or fear that a bad economy will cause crime to rise, or reaction to last year's guns-at-work law. Or maybe a combination of all three is behind the rapid rise in applications for pistol-toting permits, state officials say.

"We're still sitting on about 50,000 applications," said Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson. "We're getting in about 14,000 or 15,000 a month and whenever they get a good slug out, they're getting another 15,000 in."

Bronson went to the Legislature last spring for authorization to hire 61 temporary employees — bringing the total to 202 — who have helped whittle down a backlog that then stood at 90,000 for all types of concealed-weapon permits. The backlog, alone, was roughly equal to all the applications received in 2008 — 90,331 — and the department received 75,520 applications in the first six months of this year.

That puts the state on pace for nearly 150,000 concealed-weapon permit applications this year. Most applications are approved, department spokesman Terence McElroy said, because the law allows any law-abiding gun owner to get a license. Few crooks are dumb enough to plunk down the $117 application fee if they have a felony record.

There were 607,977 active concealed-weapon permits as of July 31. Active permits jumped more than 16,000 in a single month. ...

Notice the sheer number of Florida permits, over half a million, which may reflect the excellent reciprocity / recognition accorded Florida permits, which are valid in many other states. A similar situation exists with Utah permits.

D.C. residents sue city for right to carry

From the former swamp, now known as our nation's capital:
The man whose Supreme Court challenge secured the right of D.C. residents to keep guns in their homes is back in court, this time filing a lawsuit on behalf of a group seeking the right of registered gun owners to carry their guns in public.

Four individuals and a gun-rights advocacy group joined lawyer Alan Gura on Thursday in filing the lawsuit in U.S. District Court. It was an earlier lawsuit by Mr. Gura that forced the District to end its 30-year-old gun ban, the strictest in the United States.

The lawsuit argues that the District's "laws, customs, practices and policies generally banning the carrying of handguns in public violate the Second Amendment" of the U.S. Constitution. It asks that the District issue licenses to carry guns in public to legal gun owners in the city and to people with valid carry permits from outside the city.

"This lawsuit was inevitable in many ways," Mr. Gura said Thursday, adding that most jurisdictions in the country have carry laws. "This is not the end of all gun control."

Mr. Gura said the lawsuit does not take a position on whether the District should allow legal gun owners to carry weapons openly or in a concealed manner. That issue, he said, should be left to city officials to regulate.

The D.C. residents who brought the case are Tom G. Palmer, George Lyon and Amy McVey. The nonprofit Washington state-based Second Amendment Foundation is also named as a plaintiff.

The three D.C. residents, who are licensed gun owners in the District, had gun-registration applications rejected by the Metropolitan Police Department because they stated their intention was to carry the loaded guns on their person outside their homes.

"My right to self-defense shouldn't stop at my front door," said Mrs. McVey, 46, of Northwest Washington. Mrs. McVey in July became the first person to register a handgun in the District after the ban was lifted. ...

Article here. The Supreme Court resolved the "keep" part of "keep and bear arms" last year; now it's on to "bear".