Monday, November 30, 2009

Social networking, made easy

Tonight's social networking spoof:

Well, that explains a lot

From Nick Schulz, writing in The American, on the level of prior private sector experience of our HopeAndChanger-in-Chief's cabinet appointments [click chart to enlarge]:
A friend sends along the following chart from a J.P. Morgan research report. It examines the prior private sector experience of the cabinet officials since 1900 that one might expect a president to turn to in seeking advice about helping the economy. It includes secretaries of State, Commerce, Treasury, Agriculture, Interior, Labor, Transportation, Energy, and Housing & Urban Development, and excludes Postmaster General, Navy, War, Health, Education & Welfare, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security—432 cabinet members in all.

So over 90% of the president's economic-related cabinet appointments have had no prior private sector experience. Indeed, no president in the last 109 years even comes close to having a cabinet that had so little private sector experience. Doesn't exactly give you a warm-and-fuzzy feeling about their ability to understand the importance of private enterprise to a prosperous America, now does it?

Buying your way into the major's office

From the New York Times:
To eke out an election victory over the city’s low-key comptroller, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg spent $102 million of his own fortune — or about $174 per vote — according to data released Friday, making his bid for a third term the most expensive campaign in the city’s history.

Mr. Bloomberg, the wealthiest man in New York City, shattered his own records: He poured $85 million into his campaign in 2005 (or $112 per vote) and $74 million into his first bid for office in 2001 ($99 per vote).

And the $102 million tab is likely to rise, because the mayor has not yet doled out postelection bonuses to campaign workers, which have routinely exceeded $100,000 a person in years past. That spending will not be reported until after his inauguration in January. [emphasis added]

Mr. Bloomberg has now spent at least $261 million of his own money in the pursuit of public office, more than anyone else in the United States.

Government watchdog groups criticized the nine-digit price tag for his re-election, saying it undermined a widely admired campaign finance system that Mr. Bloomberg helped install in the city. Mr. Bloomberg did not participate in the system, which rewards candidates who raise small donations with large matching money from taxpayers.

The downside for the billionaire mayor: It caps spending at $6 million in the general election. ...

Read the rest here. Well, he can't be that smart of a politician -- doesn't he know he's supposed to use other people's money to get (re)elected? :)

Of course, $100+ million is probably a small price to pay for someone with Bloomberg's wealth, in exchange for the opportunity to wield power over eight million New Yorkers for another four years.

VDH: Riding the back of the tiger

From Victor Davis Hanson comes this analysis of Obama The Weak's foreign policy. An excerpt:
... Ever so insidiously in just a year, with the best intentions, the President, driven by narcissism, fueled by post-Enlightenment ignorance, is undermining old-fashioned deterrence. Chavez may have called Bush a “devil” and he may appreciate his handshakes with Obama, but an “incident” along the Colombian border is now more, not less likely.

Call him pathetic (he is), but Chavez has visions of a unified South America, communist, totalitarian, and with himself as titular head. He need not invade and occupy Colombia, only bully it, shoot a bit, humiliate it, anything to show his neighbors that he is a little crazy, mean, unpredictable, and worth kowtowing to. He thinks either that Obama will do nothing or cannot do anything, or perhaps contextualizes Chavez’s own socialist indigenous grievances against “them.”

Ditto that soon most everywhere. We bow to the Chinese and think, “Wow, our Harvard Law Review, three-pointer outside the key shooter, looks great as he breezily strides through the majestic hallways and handles his Q&A in full campaign mode.”

They in turn review his apology tours, dithering on Afghanistan, his bows, his trashing of Bush, his past demagoguery of the Iraq war and prior anti-terrorism protocols, his efforts to be liked, and always the soaring debt, and think “Wow, it’s soon time to make some regional readjustments and then remind old U.S. friends and allies, that we, unlike America, are terrible people to have as enemies, but rather loyal and devout friends.”

1979 On the Horizon

So I think we are going to see soon some regional flare-ups, minor in themselves, but terribly important as the world pauses to gauge the US reaction. Syria and Iran feel liberated and think they can act with impunity. Turkey is an emerging regional hegemon. I would not want to be a former Soviet republic—at least if I were consensually governed, pro-Western, and democratic.

If I were in Manila, I’d start learning Chinese; if in Tokyo, I’d think about massive rearmament. I would not wish to be in NATO if east of Berlin—“allies” in the West would (cf. 1939) stay theoretic and distant, enemies would be concrete and proximate.

The survival of Israel now depends on its pilots and missiles, not on any guarantees from the US. In today’s currency, what we guarantee is worth about as much as US treasury bills, or promises of missile defense for Eastern Europe. If I were an Israeli, I’d either pray for the skill and audacity of the nation’s Air Force pilots, or begin cultivating India, Russia, and China, or that and more.

The problem with all this pessimistic view of human nature is that our elite and anointed smirk at it. They seem to say, “Tsk, tsk, we are 21st century Ivy-Leaguers in the postmodern age. The world is no longer like it was in 1914. I explained all this in my latest piece in Foreign Affairs. Cell phones and the World Court are the order of the day, not Neanderthal notions of something called “appeasement””. But does anyone think human nature has changed since the Greeks due to improved diet, or that brain chemistry has altered with video games? ...

Read it all here. Anyone think we're safer now that Obama has told the world at every stop on the Hope and Change World Tour just how flawed we Americans are, and apologized and bowed to every king and emperor he's met? When you look weak, you generally get preyed upon by predators. That's how the world works, whether on an individual or national level. Projecting weakness is hardly a recipe for keeping America safe in a dangerous world. We'll likely have to relearn that lesson the hard way in the not too distant future, thanks to our hopelessly naïve and dangerously inept president.

Seattle sued over public building gun ban

From the Evergreen State:
SEATTLE -- A Kent man who chose to "exercise his right to bear arms" by carrying a holstered Glock pistol into a community center earlier this month has taken the mayor to federal court.

Robert C. Warden filed a complaint against the Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and the city itself in U.S. District Court, alleging the city's gun ban defies his constitutional right to bear arms.


Warden's complaint defines the gun ban as a "substantial and comprehensive infringement of Second Amendment rights" -- an opinion the state Attorney General Rob McKenna shares, according to Warden. In a formal written opinion, McKenna said cities in Washington state do not have the power to regulate the possession of firearms on or in city property generally open to the public.

The complaint seeks an order permanently prohibiting the city and Nickels from enforcing any law that "in any way regulates any aspect of firearms unless specifically authorized by Washington Sate statutory law."

Warden, 44, protested the city's new gun ban by walking into the Southwest Community Center in West Seattle while carrying his gun at high noon on a Saturday earlier this month.

He had forewarned parks officials of his intent and, as a result, was asked to leave immediately after entering the center. Warden complied.

Warden, an attorney licensed to practice in Washington, said the incident gives him legal standing to file a lawsuit over the ban, which he believes is illegal. ...

Article here. Hopefully, in addition to a permanent injunction against the city, the city will be forced to pay a hefty settlement or punitive damages for its blatant disregard of state law.

"Not Without a Fight" documentary released

The new documentary from director Max Lemus on the pro-rights movement is now available. From Howard Nemerov:
Perhaps once a year, a movie comes out that keeps me in my seat, waiting to see what happens next.

Sometimes, a great historical drama appears, like HBO’s John Adams miniseries, based upon David McCullough’s excellent biography.

Sometimes, it’s an action film, though this genre is becoming trite with its formulaic use of explosions, flying cars, sex scenes, and special effects.

Rarely, it’s a documentary, like the just-released Not Without a Fight by Max Lemus.

Not Without a Fight is the story of one young man’s journey to understand what the Second Amendment means. By his own admission, he was rather blasé about guns and gun control issues. Immigrating from Honduras appears to have given Max an objectivity and inquisitiveness that led him down the same path that I took nearly 10 years ago: After separating rhetoric from reality, what can a reasoning person conclude? His journey ended up being chronicled in Not Without a Fight, though the focus remains on the subject matter. ...

Read the rest of Howard's review here. The documentary is available for purchase here.

Paul Valone offers his take here.

Update: Here's the trailer for the film:

Texas AG authors pro-rights amicus brief, 37 state AGs sign on

From the Lone Star State:
AUSTIN - From Texas Attorney General's Office - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today (Monday) took legal action to protect Texans’ Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. In a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court and authored by Attorney General Abbott, 38 state attorneys general explain that law-abiding Americans have a fundamental right to bear arms – and that local governments cannot simply disregard that right and impose an outright ban on handgun possession.

“Just last year we successfully fought to have the U.S. Supreme Court confirm that Americans have an individual, constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Now, the City of Chicago claims that the Supreme Court’s year-old decision does not apply to local governments – so cities and towns can simply ignore the Second Amendment and pass laws that disregard city residents’ constitutionally protected rights. In response, we’ve built a coalition of 38 state attorneys general who reject Chicago’s attempt to circumvent the Constitution and who understand that all Americans – whether they live in D.C. or not – have a fundamental right to keep and bear arms.”


Attorney General Abbott’s brief is co-sponsored by Ohio, Arkansas and Georgia. Other states that joined the brief are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Article here. You can read the brief here.

Naturally, the anti-rights jurisdictions, such as New York, New Jersey, Illinois (but not Wisconsin), were some of the twelve that did not join the list of states supporting application of the Second Amendment to the states. If your state's attorney general was one of the twelve that did not sign the brief, perhaps you should inquire as to why.

Stopping active shooters

Via PoliceOne, comes this news story from WCPO in Cincinnati, Ohio. The story seems a little dated, but it's interesting to hear in a mainstream news report the politically incorrect idea that "gun free" zones (i.e., "come kill disarmed victims" zones) are where most mass murders take place, and that mass murderers aren't deterred by "gun free" zone signs. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if the segment's producer was fired for letting these inconvenient realities make it on the air -- after all, we can't have the truth getting in the way of the media's anti-gun narrative, now can we?:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The difference between the brains of men and women

Tonight's humor - Mark Gungor explains the differences between the brains of men and women:

The day the dollar died

Weekend reading: Some "speculative fiction" from John Galt, on one man's take on a possible future:
Mike was less than an hour from home in Minnesota after dropping his load off in Fargo but knew he needed to top his tank off this Sunday evening to insure his rig would make it home. He pulled into the Petro Truck Stop just outside of Fargo and hopped out of the cab into the bitter twenty below temperatures which he could not believe had already hit at ten o’clock at night. He slid his fuel card into the pump waiting for the next prompt when the “SEE ATTENDANT” message flashed in the screen. He blustered, figured it was another card problem and whipped out his Master Card and slid it in after the pump reset and again the “SEE ATTENDANT” message flashed up. “What the hell is going on?” he thought to himself as he wandered into the long line of drivers boisterously yelling at managers and clerks alike.

Tom finished up his shift on the docks at the Nestle warehouse in Hampton, Georgia at exactly 11 o’clock at night and decided that because of the scuttlebutt he had been reading on the message boards, it may not be a bad idea to pick up a few cans of food and some toilet paper at the local WalMart Super center. Even though it was a Sunday night, they were always stocked and it was just five minutes out of the way to his home. As he walked inside the store, his mouth dropped. It looked like the day after Thanksgiving sale with every register open and ten plus people deep at 11:30 p.m. “Oh my God!” he gasped as he walked in grabbing the last shopping cart with the wheel that was half locked up. As he walked as fast as he could to the aisle with the paper goods, he looked at all the shelves then noticed the clerk who looked stunned himself. “How in the SAM HELL does WalMart sell out of Toilet Paper son?” he screamed at the eighteen year old kid. “Sir, I don’t know what is going on. Is the world ending? I’m a little freaked out!” the clerk stammered. Tom realized that he was not to blame and as he calmed down said to the kid “Son, I don’t know what is going on either. It must be an ice storm on the way. Are you folks getting another truck soon?” The clerk said in a very low voice “Sir, I think there are two coming at 2 a.m. I would wait here if I were you.” With that information Tom slinked outside to his car and called his wife at home just before midnight to tell her he would be staying to wait on the WalMart trucks.

1730 ET…February 21, 2010

It was a typical Sunday night in my household, a tremendous dinner, nice weather in Florida and of course a chance to chat with my friends online about the events of the world. The big news was that on Friday, February 19, 2010 the US Dollar Index closed at 69.07 far below any level in history and of course shattering all known technical support. As I grabbed a glass of Port and settled in front of my computer at 5 p.m. Eastern to watch the Asian fireworks and watch Bloomberg and CNBC-Asia on my computer, I noticed the Middle Eastern markets closed in horrid shape. The Israeli market closed three hours after the open and down 22% for the session. The Saudi markets closed after one hour and down 41%. Other regional markets did not open or were shut down due to national emergency declarations. As I tuned in expecting the usual repeat on Bloomberg, it was live with a somewhat excited news babe reading information from a blog reporting “rumors” that the CEO’s of Citigroup and Bank of America were in meetings since 11 a.m. with the New York Fed. At that point, it was time to put the port up and break out the hard stuff.

Gold had closed at a record high again, up some $37 to finish Friday’s session up at $1289 and change so I figured it would be jumping again with all of this worldly instability on display. I searched the boards and feeds like mad, looking for anything on an Iranian attack or outbreak of war elsewhere in the world but nothing was found at all. As 6 p.m. Eastern flipped up on my watch, CNBC interrupted their programming with a live update from New York instead of Australia or Tokyo about the meeting at the NY Fed. Bloomberg also broke from their Asian coverage with a brief story but no details as to why there was a meeting today or who else was there. As the New Zealand markets opened, the prices went nuts but shockingly to the upside. Their markets shot up 11% on the open to break over the 3900 price level but that was not the story. As the futures opened in Chicago for the evening session, no matter where you were in the world that day or night, you printed that screen at 6:04 p.m. Eastern time as the prints were staggering:

Gold UP $212.15 to $1501.15

Silver UP $39.13 to $81.06

US DOLLAR INDEX DOWN 9.5869 or just over 14% to 59.4830




Holy Smokes! This was an absurd way to start the night and my phone started ringing along with text messages and emails out my wazoo. The sense of panic was evident on Bernie Lo’s face as he came on to the air discussing what was happening in the futures market and fortunately he announced that Jim Rogers would be joining him after the next break. As the commercial started at 6:09 p.m. Eastern the scroll at the bottom of the screen was bright red with the headline:


By 6:15 the Euro was trading at $1.92, the Kiwi (New Zealand Dollar) at $1.26, the Aussie Dollar well beyond par at $1.39 and the Canadian Loonie rocketing past par to $1.33. The U.S. Dollar was in a full fledged collapse and the world was putting money anywhere they could to escape the carnage. As the New Zealand equity markets struggled to handle the order flow an announcement emerged at 6:27 p.m. Eastern time that they would no longer accept U.S. dollars within their nation for the next 72 hours until the United States Federal Reserve Bank introduced stability measures. That instantly turned a huge move to the upside to down 17% in less than three minutes and soon thereafter, trading was suspended by 7 p.m. Eastern time. Instead of waiting to see what was next, I left at 6:51 p.m. to run down the street and take $500 from the local grocery store ATM, returning just in time for the top of the hour news.

1900 ET

The Australian markets attempted to open but due to order imbalances they were delayed twenty-seven minutes. It was a buying frenzy in Australia also as the Aussie Dollar was skyrocketing higher and gold continued to gain, now up $273.20 per ounce in less than two hours of trading. The Chicago board was going to make a statement at 8 p.m. ET and the world was holding its collective breath because something bad was happening again in the United States and everyone wanted to buy into foreign markets to escape the American disaster on the horizon. After a brief opening, the Australian government followed suit with the New Zealand announcement and suspended acceptance of the U.S. Dollar for commerce until further notice. The Japanese were very quiet in the mean time as they announced at 7 p.m. they would keep their markets closed but the huge move in the Yen caused massive concerns as noted by the central bank. The yen appreciated from a close of 79.8213 on Friday the 19th to an opening of 48.7326 in less than an hour of trading. Nobody wanted dollars and even fewer people it was discovered wanted the British Pound. The Pound for the first time in its history was worth less than 100 yen and it was well on its way to joining the US Dollar in a death spiral. ...

Read the rest here.

Part II: American Hangover (The Day the Dollar Died, Part II)

Part III: “I Have Been to the Fields of Gettysburg” (The Day the Dollar Died Part III)

Part IV: Arrogance of the Gods (The Day the Dollar Died Part IV)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Not so La-Z-Boyish

Tonight's automotive curiosity:

The secret life of climate researchers

Today's Global Warming satire, from Iowahawk:

Our very planet depends on them. Yet they remain nature's most elusive scientific species, inhabiting some of the world's most delicate and daunting academic environments. But thanks to new breakthroughs in high speed cameras and email files, metascientists are finally beginning to understand their mysterious behaviors and complex social interactions. Tonight on Iowahawk Geographic: step inside the Secret Life of the Climate Researchers.

French Horn Fanfare Theme
Fast-cut montage of walrus mating with polar bear, astronomer peering through telescope into neighbor's window, cheetahs chasing penguins on the Serengeti, scientists filling out NSF grant proposals

Dah dat dat DAAAH dat, dah daht duh dah dee-dah dee dah-dah!


This is the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, home of one of the largest nesting populations of climate scientists in Europe.
Gentle ant's-eye scene of idyllic campus lawn, strewn about with drunken mating undergraduates

Each year it attracts magnificent migratory flocks of graduate students, adjuncts and visiting faculty from across the northern hemisphere.
Shots of jumbo jets landing at Heathrow; herds of climate researchers busily milling at Duty Free shops, retrieving baggage, phoning for prearranged limo service

Within minutes of arriving on campus, the migratory researchers approach the entrance of the Climate Research Unit and perform the secret credential dance, fiercely displaying their prominent curriculum vitae. This signals to the security drone that they can be trusted with the sacred electronic lanyard badge that will grant them entrance to the hive's inner sanctum.

During the upcoming research season, this hive alone will produce over 6 million metric tons of grant-sustaining climate data guano, but until recently little was known about the elusive genus of homo scientifica living inside. Where do they come from? What strange force draws them here year after year? In order to unravel the mystery, Iowahawk Geographic documentary filmmaker David Burge undertook a painstaking one-week project to finally capture the climate researchers in their native habitat. ...

Read the rest here.

Men's rights

Cathy Young, writing in Reason Magazine, rebuts a recent anti-men's rights article:
Earlier this month DoubleX, Slate's short-lived female-oriented publication (launched six months ago and about to be folded back into the parent site as a women's section), ran an article ringing the alarm about the dire threat posed by the power of the men's rights movement. But the article, written by New York-based freelance writer Kathryn Joyce and titled "Men's Rights' Groups Have Become Frighteningly Effective," says more about the state of feminism—and journalistic bias—than it does about men's groups.

Joyce's indictment is directed at a loose network of activists seeking to raise awareness and change policy on such issues as false accusations of domestic violence, the plight of divorced fathers denied access to children, and domestic abuse of men. In her view, groups such as RADAR (Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting) and individuals like columnist and radio talk show host Glenn Sacks are merely "respectable" and "savvy" faces for what is actually an anti-female backlash from "angry white men."


Sacks himself admits to Joyce that the men's movement has a "not-insubstantial lunatic fringe." Yet in her eyes, even the mainstream men's groups are promoting a dangerous agenda, above all infiltrating mainstream opinion with the view that reports of domestic violence are exaggerated and that a lot of spousal abuse is female-perpetrated. The latter claim, Joyce asserts, comes from "a small group of social scientists" led by "sociologist Murray Straus of the University of New Hampshire, who has written extensively on female violence." (In fact, Straus, founder of the renowned Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, is a pre-eminent scholar on family violence in general and was the first to conduct national surveys on the prevalence of wife-beating.)

Joyce repeats common critiques of Straus' research: For instance, he equates "a woman pushing a man in self-defense to a man pushing a woman down the stairs" or "a single act of female violence with years of male abuse." Yet these charges have been long refuted: Straus' studies measure the frequency of violence and specifically inquire about which partner initiated the physical violence. Furthermore, Joyce fails to mention that virtually all social scientists studying domestic violence, including self-identified feminists such as University of Pittsburgh psychologist Irene Frieze, find high rates of mutual aggression.

Reviews of hundreds of existing studies, such as one conducted by University of Central Lancashire psychologist John Archer in a 2000 article in Psychological Bulletin, have found that at least in Western countries, women are as likely to initiate partner violence as men. While the consequences to women are more severe—they are twice as likely to report injuries and about three times more likely to fear an abusive spouse—these findings also show that men hardly escape unscathed. Joyce claims that "Straus' research is starting to move public opinion," but in fact, some of the strongest recent challenges to the conventional feminist view of domestic violence—as almost invariably involving female victims and male batterers—come from female scholars like New York University psychologist Linda Mills. ...

Read it here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Solving the woman equation

Tonight's math humor (click on image to enlarge):


At home with Obama's Teleprompter

Today's satire, from the Onion:

Heee YAH!

From the Los Angeles Times. Looks like all that bowing our Apologizer-in-Chief did in Asia paid off for him:
... Anyway, there he was in Seoul, the last stop of his journey.

And out of the Seoul sky, President Lee Myung-bak hands over to the American leader a tae kwon do outfit. And then Lee, who practices tae kwon do himself, presents Obama with a coveted black belt. [emphasis added]

After zero long years of study.

What would Chuck Norris do? Probably bow. But never as low as Obama bowed for Japan's emperor last weekend in Tokyo.

Hey, our very own Teenage Middle-aged Mutant Ninja Turtle president. :) Obama doesn't need to study Tae Kwon Do to get a black belt. He's that good. Just ask the Nobel Peace Prize committee.

Next up: walking on water (I would have said "raising the dead", but I think the Democrats already farm that job out to the unions at election time).

SEALs face charges for capturing most-wanted terrorist in Iraq

From FoxNews, comes this report:
Navy SEALs have secretly captured one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq — the alleged mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah in 2004. And three of the SEALs who captured him are now facing criminal charges, sources told

The three, all members of the Navy's elite commando unit, have refused non-judicial punishment — called a captain's mast — and have requested a trial by court-martial.

Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named "Objective Amber," told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it.

Now, instead of being lauded for bringing to justice a high-value target, three of the SEAL commandos, all enlisted, face assault charges and have retained lawyers.

Matthew McCabe, a Special Operations Petty Officer Second Class (SO-2), is facing three charges: dereliction of performance of duty for willfully failing to safeguard a detainee, making a false official statement, and assault.

Petty Officer Jonathan Keefe, SO-2, is facing charges of dereliction of performance of duty and making a false official statement.

Petty Officer Julio Huertas, SO-1, faces those same charges and an additional charge of impediment of an investigation.

Neal Puckett, an attorney representing McCabe, told Fox News the SEALs are being charged for allegedly giving the detainee a “punch in the gut.”

“I don’t know how they’re going to bring this detainee to the United States and give us our constitutional right to confrontation in the courtroom,” Puckett said. “But again, we have terrorists getting their constitutional rights in New York City, but I suspect that they’re going to deny these SEALs their right to confrontation in a military courtroom in Virginia.” [emphasis added]

The three SEALs will be arraigned separately on Dec. 7. Another three SEALs — two officers and an enlisted sailor — have been identified by investigators as witnesses but have not been charged. ...

Read the rest here. An alleged bloody lip gets a court martial? Hardly a morale inspiring idea, now is it? We are our own worst enemy, it seems.

Zero intelligence, California edition

Another "zero tolerance" item, this one from California:
WILLOWS -- The Willows Unified School District board of trustees has expelled a 16-year-old for having unloaded shotguns in his pickup parked just off the Willows High School campus.

The board voted 4-0 Thursday to expel junior Gary Tudesko after the weapons were discovered via scent-sniffing dogs on Oct. 26. Board Vice President Alex Parisio abstained from the discussion and vote because he is related to Tudesko's family.

Expulsion hearings are normally held in closed sessions, but affected students and their parents can request a public hearing.

Susan Parisio defended her son during the 105-minute public hearing at Willows Civic Center. She acknowledged that Tudesko was lazy for not storing the shotguns at home after a morning of bird hunting, but she questioned the district's ability to enforce its policies off Willows High School property.

"My son was not even parked on school property," Parisio said. [emphasis added]

Willows High Principal Mort Geivett and other district officials did not appear to dispute that the parking space was off school property, but they cited several justifications. One of them was the legal doctrine of in loco parentis — where school officials may act in place of a parent for school functions.

Geivett said the school was responsible for students traveling to and from school as well as during lunch. He said he believed that students should not possess weapons within 1,000 feet of campus.

Geivett said he believed off-campus parking around the school was under the school's jurisdiction, in part because it is primarily used by students. [emphasis added] ...

Read it here. More zero intelligence, from the state that's the poster child for same.

Privileges or Immunities and the Chicago gun ban case

Some of the law punditry over at Volokh give us their take on McDonald v. Chicago, the Chicago gun ban case. As most readers know, the Supreme Court has accepted the case and will likely hear oral arguments early next year.

Orin Kerr: How Many Votes To Overrule The Slaughterhouse Cases?

David Bernstein: How I’d Approach the Privileges or Immunities Issue in McDonald

Randy Barnett: Predicting McDonald

And from the WSJ's Law Blog: Will Gun-Control Case Prompt a Constitutional Reawakening?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing all my U.S. readers a happy Turkey Day. Today's stop-motion video homage to the pumpkin pie and the bird that Ben Franklin thought should be our national bird:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Triangle

Tonight's juggling act, performed by juggler Michael Moschen:

Florida: More buying guns, getting carry permits

From the Sunshine State:
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Whether it's a fear of increased gun control or a perceived rise in crime, the numbers show more people than ever are buying guns and getting permits to carry them. At least one area sheriff tells Channel 4's Rob Sweeting that is a good thing.
The fear of stricter gun control under a Barack Obama administration is often cited as one reason gun sales have increased, but most people Sweeting asked about their reasons for getting a gun said it has to do with the rise in crime -- or at least the perception of it.

"When I'm alone in a parking lot, coming out of stores, going into stores or have the grandchildren with me, I feel I need it in today's worl, that extra protection," Donna Rodgers said.

Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler doesn't blame her. He said the average wait time for an officer to arrive at a call is eight minutes, and a lot could happen in that time.

"I think the public realizes it's going to take us awhile to get there ... and until we arrive, they're on their own," Beseler said. "So they have taken ownership of their own protection and they are going out and buying guns in great numbers."

More people are not just buying guns, but they are legally carrying them. Nearly 650,000 Floridians now hold concealed weapons permits.
"I don't fear lawfully owned guns in the hands of honest citizens," Beseler said. "In fact, I'm a large proponent of people exercising their second-amendment rights to buy a gun (and) get familiar with a gun for their own protection." ...

Article here, with links to videos. Good to see a sheriff supporting the right to keep and bear arms.

Firearms Freedom Act advances in Utah

From the Beehive State:
The federal government has no right to regulate guns made, sold and used within Utah, state lawmakers at a committee hearing decided Wednesday.

The Legislature's Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Interim Committee advanced a bill that its sponsor, Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, calls the "Firearms Freedom Act." If upheld in federal courts -- a big if, considering past rulings on states' rights -- Utahns purchasing Utah-made guns would not face federal requirements such as background checks.

"I love the idea of the firearms," said Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, "and I love to swipe at the federal government on this one."

The bill taps the flip side of the Constitution's commerce clause, which the federal government used to impose civil-rights legislation, among other rules, on companies doing business across state lines. Modeled after a measure that Montana lawmakers passed this year, it asserts that the federal government lacks enforcement powers when no interstate commerce exists.

The bill would maintain a federal prohibition on machine guns, but otherwise would leave regulation of locally produced guns to the state. Perry Dayton, the senator's son and former intern who helped present the bill Wednesday, said there are a few gun makers in Utah, but "nothing on a real large scale." ...

Article here. We need to get as many states to pass these laws that reassert states' Tenth Amendment rights.

McCarthy, Gillibrand settle differences

From New York:
Fresh off landing an endorsement from an erstwhile liberal holdout and foe, Rep. Jerry Nadler, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is scheduled to appear tomorrow with another former House colleague and onetime political opponent, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy.

Gillibrand is to join the Long Island congresswoman, Mayor Bloomberg, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, the Brady Campaign and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence at John Jay College for a so-called "major announcement" (according to a press release) of a "new federal measure to combat gun violence."

The former upstate congresswoman once had a conservative position on gun control. She rather infamously confessed to keeping two rifles under her bed and enjoyed a 100 percent rating from the NRA when she was in the House, although she has lost the organization's support since she became a senator and started tacking left.

It was Gillibrand's record on this issue that spurred McCarthy, a staunch supporter of gun-control, to threaten a primary challenge in 2010.

Mayor Bloomberg, who has made getting illegal guns off the street a personal crusade, also expressed dismay over Gillibrand's selection last January by Gov. David Paterson to fill Hillary Clinton's US Senate seat.

But Gillibrand has worked assiduously since then to prove she has learned the error of her ways, starting with a visit early in her Senate tenure to a Brooklyn school after a 17-year-old student there was shot and killed by a stray bullet. ...

Article here. Looks like Gillibrand's just another slimy politician, whose only guiding principle is personal power. We desperately need term limits for these clowns, but realistically are highly unlikely to get such a constitutional amendment via the current political process.

Seventh Circuit vacates gun possession conviction for man with misdeameanor DV conviction

From the Wisconsin Law Journal:
The Seventh Circuit last week vacated a man’s conviction for possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

However, the court did not strike the statute down as unconstitutional, but remanded the case to the district court to give the government the opportunity to “establish a reasonable fit” between the “statute’s means and its end.”

Addressing the record made before the district court, Judge Diane S. Sykes wrote for the court, “The government … has premised its argument almost entirely on Heller’s reference to the presumptive validity of felon-dispossession laws and reasoned by analogy that sec. 922(g)(9) therefore passes constitutional muster. That’s not enough.”


Examining the statute, and the individual facts in this case, the court noted that the firearm was a “conventional hunting gun,” and therefore within the scope of the Second Amendment as understood at the time of its adoption.

The court also noted that the ban on firearms possession by domestic-violence misdemeanants (the “Lautenberg Amendment”) is not longstanding, but “quite new” – it was enacted in 1996.

The court thus rejected the district court’s conclusion that the statute fell squarely within the Heller dicta. ...

Article here.

PTSD, without the Traumatic Stress part

From ShrinkWrapped, on the possibility that the Fort Hood shooter might use a PTSD-type defense:
... To diagnose Major Hasan with some variation of PTSD is a travesty. There may well be some Psychiatrist willing to testify in Major Hasan's court martial that there exists some heretofore hidden variant of PTSD that can befall those who merely hear about actual trauma or observe and treat the victims of such trauma, or may someday see trauma close up; there are people willing to lend their credentials to all kinds of nonsense these days. I would like to state quite unequivocally, from the vantage point of a Board Certified Psychiatrist with more than 30 years of experience, and having treated hundreds of people who have been traumatized and have had all sorts of reactions to their trauma ranging from mild psychosomatic symptooms to full blown PTSD to overt psychosis, there is no such thing as PTSD by osmosis or by proxy or via time inversion (where one develops Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder.) The single most salient feature of Major Hasan's case is that he took whatever psychopathology he had (and I believe he had a fair amount, none of it dispositive) and subsumed it into subservience (submission) to Allah whereupon he took it upon himself to perform his religious duty and murder infidels who he believed were part of an army attacking his people. Everything else is BS.

Read it here. Something tells me that a Texas jury ain't gonna buy any PTSD (whether it's "pre" or "post") defense.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Tonight's interesting user interface - the 10/GUI:

Team Obama muffs Japan visit, U.S. Leftmedia silent

From Stop The ACLU, on our nation's Apologizer-in-Chief's recent visit to the Land of the Rising Sun:
The Japanese media has reported that Obama’s recent state visit to their island nation was a big failure, but the U.S. media is mum on the mess that Team Obama made in Japan. He made multiple diplomatic gaffs and this is quite aside from the absurdly low bow that the incompetent president perpetrated upon greeting the Japanese Emperor Akihito.

Before we get to his other multiple fluffs and diplomatic errors, let’s explain what Obama was telling the Japanese people with his absurdly low bow. The sort of bow that Obama made is almost that of a “dogeza” bow. This is a sort of bow that is so low as to be considered a prostrated position. It is seen as an apology, a supplication, not a sign of respect. So, as we see, Obama once again showed that he wants to be known as the less-than president, that he is representing a prostrated people, and that he feels that to everyone he meets overseas he must apologize for this horrible U.S.A.

The inappropriate bow, however, wasn’t the only mistake that Obama committed in Japan. According to the mainstream Japanese weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun the visit was termed “miserable,” and “the worst US-Japan summit meeting in history” by Japanese insiders. Worse, the Japanese government was so upset at the visit that it retaliated at various points issuing slights right back to President Obama during his stay on Japanese soil. [emphasis added] ...

Read the rest here. Hey, we can't have the U.S. propaganda units, a/k/a the mainstream media, reporting on screwups by the HopeyChanger-in-Chief, now can we? Even when we end up damaging relationships with important allies and come off looking both insultingly crass and childishly incompetent at basic diplomatic protocols.

On the issue of Obama's ridiculous bow, having spent a bunch of time years ago in Japan on business, I can well appreciate the utterly subservient image presented to the Japanese of an American president doing such a bow to their emperor. Bowing in Japan is an art form, and such formalities are taken very seriously by the Japanese. Heck, there's even a whole ceremony for the proper presentation of business cards.

Sean Linnane (a pseudonym), a retired career Special Forces soldier with a bunch of service time spent in the Orient, concurs:
There is a right way and a wrong way to do it. What Obama did has the Japanese (and the rest of East Asia) rolling in fits of laughter, because it is the bow an employee gives to his boss, or a child gives to parents. He went WAY too low; it is only one step above a kow-tow.

Does the president travel with no one from the State Department's protocol office who can advise him on these matters? Obama made himself (and by extension, the American people) look like a weak, uncouth fool. For a narcissist like him, that can't have been his desired effect. Perhaps Obama is too arrogant -- he is, after all a self-described "citizen of the world" -- to take advice on another country's social customs from some State Department underling. After all, what could such an underling teach His Royal Fabulousness Fatuousness of Marxist Hope and Change?

Update: I think this Michael Ramirez cartoon sums it up nicely:

Denninger: Turkeys all around

Today's state-of-the-markets read, from the straight-talkin' Karl Denninger [emphasis in original]:
Then there's this - apparent FDIC refusal to disclose REO auction results! It seems to me that a well-placed FOIA is in order, but is one really necessary? The fact of the matter is that underlying asset prices are still collapsing in the real economy, as the ability to take on more debt to support the bubblelicious values of yesteryear simply does not exist. The FDIC's refusal to disclose is a raw attempt to prevent the market from realizing the truth - these so-called "assets" are deeply impaired (at best) and there are literally hundreds of banks and other institutions (including most especially The Fed!) that have securities "backed by" these assets that are worth far less than their alleged "face" value.

Recognition of this will set off another leg down in this crisis and the regulators and Washington DC folks know it. They have spent over two years playing "extend and pretend" in the futile belief that valuations would recover by now - but they haven't. It is in fact mathematically impossible for them to do so as the net debt carrying capacity of the private sector has been exceeded.

There are about $10 trillion worth of mortgages outstanding in this country (according to The Fed Z1); of that well over half is linked to Fannie and Freddie. The actual underlying value of the homes linked to that debt was overinflated by roughly half during the years 2001-2007.

Deutche Bank has estimated that more than half of all homes with mortgages will be "underwater" by the end of next year. Hiding the reality of this calamity has become the mantra of the government and its agencies at this point - there is literally more than $1 trillion, and perhaps as much as $2 trillion, in additional residential real estate losses that are being hidden in the system right here and now, and The Government, either directly or via The Fed, is on the hook for the majority of it.

The IMF warned this weekend that a second bailout would "threaten democracy":
Dominique Strauss-Kahn told the CBI annual conference of business leaders that another huge call on public finances by the financial services sector would not be tolerated by the “man in the street” and could even threaten democracy.

"Most advanced economies will not accept any more [bailouts]...The political reaction will be very strong, putting some democracies at risk," he told delegates.

I hope you're prepared for that, because our government has intentionally lied its way through this mess so far. We have refused to force those who are holding paper at well above its actual value to recognize their losses (and indeed have made such a policy via accounting changes!), we have allowed The Fed to monetize $1.5 trillion dollars in bad paper (into which The Treasury immediately issued more debt in order to fund giveaways of various sorts, thereby instantly destroying any beneficial aspect that this program would have otherwise had), and we still have literal hundreds of trillions of "off exchange" derivatives with no accurate accounting of where the net exposure resides or in what amount it exists. ...

Read the whole thing here. He ends on this note:
Whichever the case may be someone is going to be proved critically wrong in the coming days, weeks and months. There are times for tremendous caution, and when asset prices are supported by secrecy and outright fraud the public would be well-advised to stay well away from exposure to those parts of the market that would lead to a 50% or greater loss in a near-straight line.

Unfortunately, at present, this is essentially every asset class - except perhaps copper-coated lead [i.e., bullets].

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Eigenharp

Tonight's musical innovation - the Eigenharp:

French bank warns clients to prepare for potential global collapse

From Ambrose Evans-Pritchard:
Société Générale has advised clients to be ready for a possible "global economic collapse" over the next two years, mapping a strategy of defensive investments to avoid wealth destruction.

In a report entitled "Worst-case debt scenario", the bank's asset team said state rescue packages over the last year have merely transferred private liabilities onto sagging sovereign shoulders, creating a fresh set of problems.

Overall debt is still far too high in almost all rich economies as a share of GDP (350pc in the US), whether public or private. It must be reduced by the hard slog of "deleveraging", for years.

"As yet, nobody can say with any certainty whether we have in fact escaped the prospect of a global economic collapse," said the 68-page report, headed by asset chief Daniel Fermon. It is an exploration of the dangers, not a forecast.

Under the French bank's "Bear Case" scenario (the gloomiest of three possible outcomes), the dollar would slide further and global equities would retest the March lows. Property prices would tumble again. Oil would fall back to $50 in 2010.

Governments have already shot their fiscal bolts. Even without fresh spending, public debt would explode within two years to 105pc of GDP in the UK, 125pc in the US and the eurozone, and 270pc in Japan. Worldwide state debt would reach $45 trillion, up two-and-a-half times in a decade. ...

Read the rest here. So, how are those personal preps going?

Climatologist Dr. Tim Ball on ClimateGate

From Watts Up With That?, comes this interview by the Corbett Report with historical climatologist and AGW skeptic Dr. Tim Ball on the recent release of the ClimateGate emails and data:

Mish Shedlock also links to the above video and has additional commentary and links here: The Global Warming Religion - A Modern Day Crusade: Do You select The Cause or Does the Cause Select You?

Obama's Chinese press conference, SNL edition

Via Karl Denninger, comes Saturday Night Live's take on the Kow-tow-er-in-Chief's press conference with Chinese President Hu Jintao:

Who needs math, anyway?

Via Chicago Boyz, comes this City Journal article on the sad state of math education:
The statistics on U.S. math performance are grim. American eighth-graders ranked 25th out of 30 countries in mathematics achievement on the 2006 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which claims to assess application of the mathematical knowledge and skills needed in adult life through problem-solving test items. We do better on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), whose test items are related to the content of school mathematics curricula. (Differences in participating countries aren’t significant.) But according to Mark Schneider, a former commissioner of education statistics at the Department of Education, the United States lags behind too many countries in “overall mathematics performance and in the performance of our best students.” And achievement gaps between different student groups within the United States, Schneider says, are “about the same size or even bigger than the gap between the United States and the top-performing countries in TIMSS.”

As part of his education-reform plan, President Obama wants to “make math and science education a top priority” and ensure that children have access to strong math and science curricula “at all grade levels.” But the president’s worthy aims won’t be reached so long as assessment experts, technology salesmen, and math educators—the professors, usually with education degrees, who teach prospective teachers of math from K–12—dominate the development of the content of school curricula and determine the pedagogy used, into which they’ve brought theories lacking any evidence of success and that emphasize political and social ends, not mastery of mathematics.


The educational trends that led to the NCTM’s approach to math have a long pedigree. During the 1970s and 1980s, educators in reading, English, and history argued that the traditional curriculum needed to be more “engaging” and “relevant” to an increasingly alienated and unmotivated—or so it was claimed—student body. Some influential educators sought to dismiss the traditional curriculum altogether, viewing it as a white, Christian, heterosexual-male product that unjustly valorized rational, abstract, and categorical thinking over the associative, experience-based, and emotion-laden thinking supposedly more congenial to females and certain minorities.

Those trying to overthrow the traditional curriculum found mathematics a hard nut to crack, however, because of the sequential nature of its content through the grades and its relationship to high school chemistry and physics. Nevertheless, education faculty eventually figured out how to reimagine the mathematics curriculum, too, so that it could march under the banner of social justice. As Alan Schoenfeld, the lead author of the high school standards in the 1989 NCTM report, put it, “the traditional curriculum was a vehicle for . . . the perpetuation of privilege.” The new approach would change all that.

Two theories lie behind the educators’ new approach to math teaching: “cultural-historical activity theory” and “constructivism.” According to cultural-historical activity theory, schooling as it exists today reinforces an illegitimate social order. Typical of this mindset is Brian Greer, a mathematics educator at Portland State University, who argues “against the goal of ‘algebra for all’ on the grounds that . . . most individuals in our society do not need to have studied algebra.” According to Greer, the proper approach to teaching math “now questions whether mathematics as a school subject should continue to be dominated by mathematics as an academic discipline or should reflect more fully the range of mathematical activities in which humans engage.” The primary role of math teachers, constructivists say in turn, shouldn’t be to explain or otherwise try to “transfer” their mathematical knowledge to students; that would be ineffective. Instead, they must help the students construct their own understanding of mathematics and find their own math solutions.

Classroom practices follow logically from these theories. Teacher-directed learning goes out the window, despite its demonstrated benefits for students with learning problems; instead, schools should embrace “student-centered” math classrooms. High-math-achievement countries teach arithmetic in the elementary grades in a coherent curriculum leading, step by step, to formal algebra and geometry in middle school. The progressive educators, by contrast, support “integrated” approaches to teaching math—that is, teaching topics from all areas of mathematics every year, regardless of logical sequence and student mastery of each step—and they downplay basic arithmetic skills and practice, encouraging kids to use calculators from kindergarten on. The educators also neglect the teaching of standard algorithms (mathematical procedures commonly taught everywhere, with only minor variations, because of their general applicability), insisting instead on the value of student-developed algorithms—this despite research by cognitive psychologists strongly supporting a curriculum that simultaneously develops conceptual understanding, computational fluency with standard algorithms, and problem-solving skills as the best way to prepare students for algebra. [emphasis added]...

Read the whole thing here. Yet another reason to homeschool your kids if you can. When high school and college graduates can't do basic algebra, heck, basic arithmetic, you've got a problem:
More city kids are graduating from high school, but that doesn't mean they can do college math.

Basic algebra involving fractions and decimals stumped a group of City University of New York freshmen - suggesting city schools aren't preparing them, a CUNY report shows.

"These results are shocking," said City College Prof. Stanley Ocken, who co-wrote the report on CUNY kids' skills. "They show that a disturbing proportion of New York City high school graduates lack basic skills."

During their first math class at one of CUNY's four-year colleges, 90% of 200 students tested couldn't solve a simple algebra problem, the report by the CUNY Council of Math Chairs found. Only a third could convert a fraction into a decimal. [emphasis added] ...

Horrifying, no? Math is the cornerstone of our technological society. In addition, a good mathematics education develops critical thinking, reasoning and analytical skills essential for, among other things, intelligently exercising your responsibilities as a citizen. Perhaps that's exactly why the Leftist education cabal wishes to water down math education -- to pervert the very critical thinking abilities needed to intelligently question authority and see through their superficially nice-sounding but fundamentally flawed ideology.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The War Between the States

Tonight's historical cartography of the War Between the States, as shown in a map of respective territory held by the North and South as the war progressed:

More on the Global Warming fraudsters

Some more on the hacker release of the CRU data and emails (See my earlier post here for other links):

Finem Respice: Shocked, Shocked to Find That Fraud is Going on in Here:
... The leak appears to show climate scientists shaping results, strategizing on how best to conceal data and analysis from the public, planning public relations to get their message out irrespective of the most recent data setbacks, debating the best way to influence the "man on the street," discussing means to deal with critics via the press and otherwise, and reacting with barely contained glee to the news of an opponent's untimely death. While the general consensus is that the most damaging emails appear to reference the now semi-famous "hockey graph" illustration that has been a favorite of the United Nations (and everyone else pushing radical climate change policy) for a decade, I think something much more insidious (and actually quite ordinary) emerges from between the many subject lines. Rank corruption. ...

Maxed Out Mama: AGW Info Just Wants To Be Free:
... The ah, implicit mind set is that they can do anything with the data they want - there is no respect for whatever the real measurements may be - but the result should be plausible.

In other words, there ain't no science in climate science. The reason for this attitude can be explained by the flood of grant money it produces. It is easy to believe anything when you get millions of dollars for believing it.

This is no surprise to anyone who has been watching the mutatis mutandis of official climate records over the last decade. It's merely very entertaining. ...

Newsbusters: Possible Conspiracy To Falsify Temperature Data Uncovered:
... For its part, NewsBusters has sent e-mail messages requesting comment from all of the scientists mentioned in this article. None have responded yet.

However, maybe more importantly, with cap and trade legislation currently before Congress, and an international climate meeting happening in Copenhagen next month, the question is what will America's leading media outlets do with this news.

Should we expect investigative television programs like "60 Minutes" and "20/20" to be all over this story interrogating the scientists allegedly involved in these e-mail exchanges?

Will America's press be as eager to find out the truth of this matter as they were in fact-checking former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's new book?

Consider that at the time of this article's publishing, only,, and have logged printed stories on this subject from this side of the Atlantic. ...

Mish Shedlock: Beware The Ice Age Cometh: Hackers Prove Global Warming Is A Scam:
It's now official. Much of the hype about global warming is nothing but a complete scam.

Thanks to hackers (or an insider) who broke into The University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and downloaded 156 megaybytes of data including extremely damaging emails, we now know that data supporting the global warming thesis was completely fabricated. ...

Dr. Melissa Clouthier: Global Warming Fraud: An Environmental Disaster Of Epic Proportions–UPDATED:
The implications of manipulated science of this scale are breath taking. The government funds millions in environmental research. Millions of tax-payer dollars also go for medical research, it should be noted. Public policy is made by the outcomes of this research.

Are Americans supposed to trust so-called scientists, who take money from the government and then give the government self-serving recommendations? This is already a question with government guidelines regarding cancer. Environmental policy is equally pervasive in scope. Each American’s life is depending on the reliability of “science”. ...

Each link above with links to many other sources and commentary. Go read, because this likely won't get much airtime (or worse, will get a dismissive spin) in the Leftstream media outlets.

Celente interview

Via Karl Denninger's Market Ticker, an interview with Gerald Celente of Trends Research Institute.

Listen to the interview here (about 38 minutes).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What men are really thinking

Tonight's insight into the male mind:

ClimateGate: Hackers post data, expose global warming fraudsters

Evidently, the UK's University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit has been hacked and the data leaked / posted on the Interwebs.

From Karl Denninger: "Global Warming" SCAM - Hack/Leak FLASH:
Apparently a "Global Climate Center" was hacked and the contents have been posted to the Internet. A ZIP file exceeding 60MB and containing a huge number of emails and other documents has been posted worldwide.

Original speculation as to whether the files posted were legitimate or some sort of spoof appears to now be confirmed as legitimate:
“It was a hacker. We were aware of this about three or four days ago that someone had hacked into our system and taken and copied loads of data files and emails.”

I have not had time to read all of the material yet (there are over a thousand files involved!) but what I have skimmed looks VERY damning. Contained within the documents are what appear to be admissions of intentional tampering with data as well as intentional falsification of results to "show" man-made global warming. [emphasis in original]...

And another link from Watts Up With That?: Breaking News Story: CRU has apparently been hacked – hundreds of files released

The Anchoress: There has always been weather

Hotair's Ed Morrissey: Do hacked e-mails show global-warming fraud?:
Controversy has exploded onto the Internet after a major global-warming advocacy center in the UK had its e-mail system hacked and the data published on line. The director of the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit confirmed that the e-mails are genuine — and Australian publication Investigate and the Australian Herald-Sun report that those e-mails expose a conspiracy to hide detrimental information from the public that argues against global warming [emphasis added] ...

And ShrinkWrapped: AGW [Anthropogenic Global Warming] Fraud?:
It will take time for the "skeptics" (who thankfully were never successfully silenced by the AGWers who likened skeptics to Holocaust deniers and wanted to make AGW denial a crime against humanity) to go through all the files but what has already shown up is damning.

When scientists refuse to release their raw data, they short circuit the workings of the scientific method which looks for independent confirmation of hypotheses in order to avoid unconscious bias and the even more egregious fraud. The AGW academia-governmental complex is an industry that has siphoned off many, many billions of dollars in grants; it has spawned an entire parasitic industry devoted to managing and minimizing our Carbon output; it has threatened to cripple the global economy and return us to pre-industrial subsistence while empowering non-accountable bureaucrats in their attempt to gain never before imagined power over every human on the planet. How fitting that this construct which has been seized upon by the radical environmentalist left may well turn out to have been constructed upon a fraud. ...

What? You didn't hear all about the exposing of the global warming fraud on the nightly news? In the front page of your local Leftstream media fishwrap masquerading as a newspaper? Well, don't hold your breath, because it doesn't fit the Leftist elites' narrative.

The hunting obsession, female edition

From Human Events, on one family's hunting obsession:
A recent phone conversation with my 17 year old daughter proceeded like this:

Me: “You did what?”
Daughter: “I shot a 7x6 bull elk today”
Me: “Are you sure?”

Daughter: “Mom…”
Me: “Did you count right?”
Daughter: “Mom...”

OK, I actually did believe her. But not because I am her mother and am required to believe her. No, I believed her because she has taken to hunting with a zealous obsession that may require therapy at some point in time. As I congratulated her and got off the telephone I began to wonder when this transformation occurred? When did our daughters actually turn into hunting junkies and how did it happen? When, exactly, did the universe tilt?


As our daughters are now teenagers, we have found that their love for hunting only grows with each new experience. 2008 brought a beautiful muley buck for my youngest daughter. 2009 brought an intense mountain goat hunt and a trophy bull elk for my oldest daughter. Our home becomes a jumbled heap of camouflage, optics, ammunition and boots during these weeks. Family meals are replaced with protein bars and Gatorade. Sleep is minimal, homework is often done in the truck and no one could be happier. The girls are disappointed when the seasons close and they look forward to the next year. They take immense pride in outdoing their male counterparts and always have photos of their most recent hunts on hand for anyone who asks. Our mission is complete ... we raised hunting junkies. ...

Read it here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

And that's how he ended up in the wardrobe ...

Tonight's tall tale:

The plight of the gunless

From Hotair:
Some 15,000 Americans died last year because they didn’t have it. As many as five million more experienced a significant reduction in their quality of life, including mental and emotional trauma as well as diminished health, without it. Although large majorities of those Americans fortunate enough to have it are satisfied with what they have, many of the poor who need it most desperately simply cannot afford it. The government already exercises a great deal of control over it. Lives could be saved if we made its purchase mandatory, and subsidized those of limited means, to make ownership universal.

No, not health care. Guns.

Legal gun ownership by law-abiding citizens brings a dramatic reduction in violent crime. The city of Kennesaw, Georgia, took the novel step of passing an ordinance requiring heads of household to keep at least one firearm in their homes, as reported in this article by Chuck Baldwin of Campaign for Liberty. The law went into effect in 1982, and produced 74% and 45% reductions in violent crime over the next two years, respectively. Despite its population roughly tripling over the course of fifteen years, Kennesaw only had three murders during that time, and two of them were committed with knives.

Of course, extrapolating from little Kennesaw to the entire country is impossible, but studies have repeatedly shown that shall-issue and concealed-carry laws bring reductions in violent crime, while draconian gun control laws cause such crimes to skyrocket. For example, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley recently blamed the Fort Hood shootings on “America’s love affair with guns.” As Madison Conservative pointed out in a Twitter exchange, Chicago experienced 32 shootings in a single weekend, back in April, although it has draconian handgun laws. Similar examples are plentiful. Just about every high-crime area has tough gun control laws. ...

Read the rest here.

Ranger Medic Handbook 2007

Today's useful book - the 2007 edition of the Ranger Medic Handbook, available for purchase at North American Rescue Products here. All proceeds from the sale of the handbook go to a Wounded Warrior Foundation.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Musical interlude

Tonight's musical interlude - a lip dub of the Black Eyed Peas' I Gotta Feeling, performed and recorded on 10 September 2009 by 172 communications students at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM):

Maersk Alabama repels 2nd pirate attack ... with guns

A somewhat different result that the first time. Another example from the Guns Save Lives files:
Somali pirates attacked the Maersk Alabama on Wednesday for the second time in seven months and were thwarted by private guards on board the U.S.-flagged ship who fired off guns and a high-decibel noise device.

A U.S. surveillance plane was monitoring the ship as it continued to its destination on the Kenyan coast, while a pirate said that the captain of a ship hijacked Monday with 28 North Korean crew members on board had died of wounds.

Pirates hijacked the Maersk Alabama last April and took ship captain Richard Phillips hostage, holding him at gunpoint in a lifeboat for five days. Navy SEAL sharpshooters freed Phillips while killing three pirates in a daring nighttime attack.

Four suspected pirates in a skiff attacked the ship again on Wednesday around 6:30 a.m. local time, firing on the ship with automatic weapons from about 300 yards (meters) away, a statement from the U.S. Fifth Fleet in Bahrain said.

An on-board security team repelled the attack by using evasive maneuvers, small-arms fire and a Long Range Acoustic Device, which can beam earsplitting alarm tones, the fleet said.

Vice Adm. Bill Gortney of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, said the Maersk Alabama had followed the maritime industry's "best practices" in having a security team on board.

"This is a great example of how merchant mariners can take proactive action to prevent being attacked and why we recommend that ships follow industry best practices if they're in high-risk areas," Gortney said in a statement. ...

Read the rest here. Naturally, some emasculated jackass objects to the Maersk Alabama being able to defend itself from pirates:
However, Roger Middleton, a piracy expert at the London-based think tank Chatham House, said the international maritime community was still "solidly against" armed guards aboard vessels at sea, but that American ships have taken a different line than the rest of the international community.

"Shipping companies are still pretty much overwhelmingly opposed to the idea of armed guards," Middleton said. "Lots of private security companies employee people who don't have maritime experience. Also, there's the idea that it's the responsibility of states and navies to provide security. I would think it's a step backward if we start privatizing security of the shipping trade."

These "piracy experts" are the worst kind of idiot, promoting dependency (on the state), submission (to pirates), and generally empowering the violent criminals. Basically, they pollute the gene pool of humanity and endanger good folks' lives with their cowardly ideas.

Merits brief, NRA amicus brief filed in Chicago gun ban case

From SCOTUSblog:
With a strong plea to revive the Constitution’s ill-fated Privileges or Immunities Clause, lawyers for four Chicagoans told the Supreme Court on Monday that history shows clearly that the Second Amendment’s protection of personal gun rights applies to state and local laws as fully as to those at the federal level. The brief is dominated by a wide-ranging survey of the meaning and origins of the privileges clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, only seven pages of the 73-page brief are devoted to another provision of that Amendment: the Due Process Clause. (The Court presumably is more familiar with the Due Process Clause, repeatedly litigated for decades even as the Privileges or Immunities Clause has lain largely dormant.)

In a bold thrust, the attorneys for the challengers to Chicago’s strict handgun ban asked the Court to strike down three of its prior rulings: the Slaughterhouse Cases in 1873 — the ruling that made the privileges clause a nullity — and two decisions limiting the Second Amendment to a restriction only on federal laws: U.S. v. Cruikshank in 1876 and Presser v. Illinois in 1886. “Faced with a clear conflict between precedent and the Constitution, this Court should uphold the Constitution,” the brief argued.

The Slaughterhouse precedent, “and its unavoidable progency, Cruikshank and Presser,” the brief said, “established that the States could continue to violate virtually all privileges and immunities of American citizens, including those codified in the Bill of Rights, notwithstanding [the Fourteenth Amendment] Section One’s clear textual command to the contrary.” Those three rulings, it added, “lack legitmacy.” ...

Read it here. The merits brief is available here. The NRA's amicus brief is available here.

I believe Justice Scalia hinted in a footnote in last year's Heller decision that the Court might be amenable to revisiting Slaughterhouse and related precedents. The challengers certainly appear to be focusing more on that argument (Privileges and Immunities) rather than hoping the Court will apply its convoluted Due Process and selective incorporation jurisprudence to resolve the case.

A modest proposal

Some satire on the idea of mandatory insurance, from the Washington Post:
... Surveys indicate that gun ownership is not spread evenly across U.S. households. In fact, chances are that a substantial proportion of U.S. gun owners have more than one weapon, so it's quite possible that fewer than 200 million Americans own those 260 million guns. That means there may be more than 100 million citizens left unprotected against their gun-owning fellow citizens.

Surely everyone can agree that this is an outrage. Moreover, it is an outrage that Congress can easily fix, without months of committee meetings, town halls or tea parties. All that is required is a bipartisan, pro-constitutional bill to extend the Second Amendment's protection of gun ownership to all Americans, whether they like it or not.

Under such legislation -- let's call it the Gun Insurance Act of 2009 -- every American would be required to buy some kind of gun. Those who cannot afford even the simplest weapon -- say, those whose 2009 annual income is less than twice the federal poverty level -- could be issued $500 vouchers that would be valid only at gun shops or gun shows, and would have to be used before the 2010 Census. (Just think: What a stimulus to private enterprise all these gun sales would provide, and how many new gun-selling jobs would be created!)

How would the law be enforced? Census takers could verify that everyone they count has a weapon in working condition, and those census takers who survive could report all non-complying Americans to the FBI so it could notify local police departments, which would issue citations for whatever fines Congress chooses to impose. (Note that this proposed legislation would not require creating any new bureaucracy, public option or death panels.) Of course, illegal immigrants would not receive vouchers, would not be required to buy guns and would not be counted in the Census. ...

Read it here.

NPS gets ready for National Park carry

From Mike Stollenwerk, on the upcoming (Feb. 2010) effective date for lawful carry in National Parks:
Americans will be able to carry loaded guns in National Parks starting on February 22, 2010 thanks to the Coburn Amendment which was attached to the federal Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 and signed by President Obama earlier this year. That Congressional mandate at Section 512 of the Act immunizes Americans from the National Park Service's gun carry ban provided that the gun carry does not violate any other state or federal law.

Most states allow both open and concealed carry of loaded firearms in public places, though typically concealed carry requires a state issued license. Another wrinkle is that some states regulate gun carry inside vehicles more strictly than gun carry on foot, while other states do the reverse.

Several recent news reports note surprise by some observers that the Coburn Amendment permits both concealed and open carry of firearms, including long guns, on National Park property. However the National Park Service seems to be taking things in stride.

According to National Park Spokesperson Phil Selleck, the Park Service is not going to go through any formal rulemaking process for each park. Instead said Selleck, the Service is going to work to "educate the public" and park employees on the gun carry rights in each park. Selleck said that federal law at 18 U.S.C. 930 continues to ban gun carry in "federal facilities," but advised that the Park Service does not consider unattended structures such as "outhouses" to be federal facilities because "employees are not regularly present there to perform official duties." [emphasis added] ...

Read it here. Actually, anyone can physically carry a loaded gun concealed on their person in any National Park today; in a couple of months they will merely be able to do so without legal penalty. This change simply levels the playing field for those Americans who happen to obey the law. Even in outhouses. :)

Marbut: Don't surrender so quickly on Firearms Freedom Act

From Montana Shooting Sports Association's Gary Marbut, via David Codrea:
New Hampshire attorney E.F. Nappen writes that the Firearms Freedom Acts being introduced and enacted in various states are subject to " The Achilles Heels of the Firearms Freedom Act." He argues that the inclusion of NFA (National Firearms Act) items (e.g., suppressors or short-barreled rifles) in the asserted exemption from federal authority will cause the Acts to fail in court because the NFA regulates under federal tax power, not federal commerce clause power.

Of course Nappen is correct to assert that getting the permission of federal judges in approval of the Acts will be a difficult exercise. The federal government (including its judicial branch) doesn't surrender power readily.

As the author of the original Montana Firearms Freedom Act (MFFA) that is being cloned around the Nation, I've long known that litigating the MFFA would be a chancy proposition. But, I believe, there is more to hope for than Nappen credits.

Addressing Nappen's concern about NFA items, it is true that the NFA purports to be founded in the power given to Congress in the Constitution to tax. However, there are two sorts of taxes: 1) Those enacted and implemented primarily to raise revenue, and 2) those enacted and implemented to affect commerce. The federal excise tax on firearms and ammunition is clearly the former sort, since it raises millions of dollars the feds dole out to the states for wildlife management. The various firearms freedoms acts do not challenge or affect this genuine revenue raising. It is expected that if litigation under the MFFA is successful, it will still leave the excise tax on state-made and state-retained firearms and ammunition in place, and makers will likely remain liable for this tax.

The taxes levied under the NFA, however, are of the second sort, intended primarily to affect (restrict) commerce in these items. ...

Read the rest here. The reason the National Firearms Act, passed in 1934, imposed an (exorbitant at the time) tax, rather than a ban, was likely because such a ban would likely not have survived legal challenge. Remember, this was pre-Miller, before the concerted decades long judicial and political attack on gun rights and the Second Amendment. The NFA tax ($200; I don't believe it has changed since 1934) on a single full-auto capable rifle at the time amounted to a sizable chunk of an average person's income (remember, this was during the height of the Depression). Indeed, a $200 tax in 1934 would be the equivalent of over $3,000 today. Thus, the tax accomplished a de facto ban by pricing such guns out of the reach of the average person (naturally, rich criminals were not so encumbered).

Unfortunately, the legal bar will be high for Montana to succeed in upholding its Firearms Freedom Act, and I suspect that the issue will require the Supreme Court to weigh in and overturn (explicitly or implicitly) some of its Depression-era precedents concerning the interstate Commerce Clause.

Frankly, I would not be surprised if Montana loses in the lower federal courts, especially given that the state is part of the left-leaning, San Francisco-based 9th Circuit. But this is a fight that needs fighting if states are to regain their sovereign rights, and the relentless expansion of the federal leviathan's power stopped and curtailed back to its Constitutionally enumerated place. Whether we can achieve that via peaceful means through judicial and/or political action, however, remains to be seen. The history is sadly not promising in this regard.