The text formatting is kinda wonky, but what the hey.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Details and history at The Briar Files.
P.S. I also got a set of files and a coping saw at Home Depot today. Here's hoping I finally get up the nerve to do something with that ebauchon I've been ignoring for about three years.
Several pictures of Simenon with pipe, although they are not very good quality.
I wish I had a table just to keep my collection so orderly. The article states that he mostly had Dunhills. My favorite picture is this one with Susan Hayward.
Thanks to David Codrea for the email tip.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Federal officials admit they keep detainees in covert prisons around the world, most notably at Guantanamo Bay, where many were held for years before their names were released to the public.via Bill of Rights Defense Committee
But it comes as a surprise to some state officials that federal detainees are also held, secretly, right here in Connecticut.
It’s all part of a contract between state and federal authorities: In exchange for a per-inmate fee, state officials agree to house federal prisoners arrested by homeland security.
Connecticut has had such a contract with the federal government since 1995, but it was only after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that new regulations clamped down on information about those prisoners.
According to legal arguments by state Assistant Attorney General Henri Alexandre, state authorities are prohibited from releasing any information about the federal detainees held behind bars in Connecticut prisons.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
In another box, there was a single .38 Special round. Interesting. No way it could get in there by accident. I wiped it off to make sure my prints weren't on it and left it there. Why yes, of course I picked it up. I had to see what brand it was. Winchester semi-jacketed hollow point, by the way.
Last Friday another meter reader found a big stash of used hypodermic syringes in a meter box.
Fun job, sometimes.
After Virginia closed a loophole that allowed Seung-Hui Cho to purchase his weapons of mass murder, the hope was that more people with mental health problems like Cho's would be barred from buying guns.And then there's a lot of rambling stuff about why this is.
That hasn't happened.
In fact, the number of gun transactions blocked for mental health reasons has decreased slightly since Gov. Tim Kaine signed an executive order requiring all people who receive court-ordered mental health treatment to be included in a database used to screen potential gun buyers.
In the eight months following the May executive order, 79 transactions were denied for mental health reasons.
During the same time period in 2006, 85 potential gun sales were stopped for the same reason, according to figures compiled by the Virginia State Police.
As the General Assembly considers bills that would codify Kaine's executive order, it's unclear why his action, taken just two weeks after Cho killed 32 people and then himself on the Virginia Tech campus, hasn't led to more noticeable results.
So they go to the real expert on such matters: Ladd "the government must have a monopoly on force" Everitt.
Some say it's too early to judge the effectiveness of Kaine's executive order, considering the short time it has been in effect and the fact that gun sale denials for mental health reasons dropped by just six in the last eight months of 2007.
"I wouldn't call that a statistically significant number," said Ladd Everitt, a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
Everitt said the huge amount of publicity surrounding the Tech shootings and Kaine's subsequent executive order might have prompted some people barred from legally possessing a gun to seek other avenues, such as going to an unlicensed seller.
For those determined to skirt the law, Everitt said, all it takes is a visit to an unlicensed dealer at a gun show [why a gun show? why not a back alley or a deserted warehouse? --ed.] or a "straw purchase" in which someone who is allowed to have a gun makes the purchase for someone who is not.
"Given that there are still loopholes, and ones that you could fly a plane through, there are people who will change their strategy to walk through the loopholes that are there," he said.
Those intent on acts of violence will break the law to acquire their tools of aggression. This is the only real loophole, and all the laws you want will never affect it in the least.
Monday, January 28, 2008
In the list of stars vaulted into fame during the seventies, he is an unlikely candidate. His lank black hair, unkempt eyebrows, overgrown mustache and stern dark green eyes hardly fit in with the feathered blonds dominating the silver screen.The article is a good overview of Vlad Tepes, who may or may not have been Bram Stoker's inspiration for Dracula. Recommended reading if you're unfamiliar with Tepes. I do have the book by Florescu and found it very interesting--enough to read at least twice, although it has been many years since the last read.
But along with the bouncy beauty of Farah Fawcet and dreamy teen-idol, David Cassidy, the seventies also propelled a forgotten 15th century Romanian prince into international stardom.
In 1972, Radu Florescu, a Romanian academic and historian, published “In Search of Dracula.” Rather than an exploration into the mythology of vampires, the book focused on the possible link between the real Prince Vlad III and Bram Stoker’s fictional Count Dracula. Thanks to the popularity of the best seller, the historical Romanian Prince Vlad III became a household name. The world now a had real Dracula to contend with.
Curious Expeditions also brings us a little-known legacy of the late Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu with The Bear Butcher.
Nicolae Ceauşescu was the leader of Romania from 1965 until December 1989, when a revolution and coup removed him from power (and life). Though he spent most of his time in power by running his country into the ground, it was a good time for the bears. An obsessive hunter, Ceauşescu quickly depleted the bear population in his personal hunting reserve. He couldn’t kill bears if there were no bears to kill, so he made bear hunting illegal for everyone but himself. Anyone who killed a bear would be fined the equivalent of an average two year’s salary. Ceauşescu, meanwhile, hung hunks of raw meat in the trees of his hunting ground, high enough for only very large bears to reach. For Ceauşescu, the challenge or nobility of the hunt was beside the point, he only wanted the biggest and the best bears skins. If the skins weren’t impressive enough, he would have them stretched to look larger.
The museum is quiet and empty, all dark wood, fur, horn, and tooth. Most of the trophies are not from Ceauşescu’s era, but from the late 19th century-early 20th century. Entire foxes hang upside down by their feet, while mounted vulture heads stare out over rows of chamois horns. The walls of the museum are simply covered with animals. In the second room, a huge bear is mounted, batting at the air with an enormous paw. Just to his left, the mounted head of a hunting hound is snarled with equal fierceness; the dog was killed by the bear, the bear by the dog’s owner. Both were mounted, one as trophy, the other as homage.
It strike me as very strange that hunters in 19-century Romania would want to mount vulture heads as trophies. The article also serves as a reminder of the bizarre depravities that may be indulged in by an absolute ruler.
It's at Power Of Babel.
He just wanted to know where I got it so they could get the rights to use it in their show. So I gave him all the info I have. It's from a book called The Doctor Who File by Peter Haining. I gave him all the fine print about the publisher and distributor, so I hope that helps them out.
Do I get to see my name in the credits? Heh heh.
So What’s Going On With Romneycare ?
When Mitt Romney was Governor of Massachusetts, he signed into a law a bill mandating that every resident purchase health insurance or pay a fine to the state to subsidize the cost of state-provided insurance. When the law was passed it was assumed that most people would be covered by employer provided insurance, but according to the Boston Globe, Romneycare is costing the state a lot more than expected:So much for Mitt.Spending on the state’s landmark health insurance initiative would rise by more than $400 million next year, representing one of the largest increases in the $28.2 billion state budget the governor proposed yesterday. The biggest driver of the cost increase is projected growth in the number of people signing up for state-subsidized insurance, which now far exceeds earlier estimates. State and federal taxpayers are expected to bear nearly all of the additional cost.
So much for Rudy.
So much for John.
And what was his name now? Oh yeah, Huckabee.
I can't say "I told you so" because I haven't been blogging that long, but off-line and out in the real world I have said it many times: this constant "voting for the lesser evil" is backing you farther and farther away from where you want to be. And now look where it's gotten you. There is no conservative candidate for you to vote for this time. Not one. Of course, if you simply want to vote Republican (whatever that is, these days), you're covered. If you want to vote conservative, you are S.O.L. You have allowed yourself to be lesser-eviled right into a corner and there's no way out.
Actually there is a way out, but it involves punching a hole through the wall so of course it's far too extreme. Maybe even crazy.
So don't surprised when in four years' time your tiny corner of breathing room has become a suffocating chokehold.
And the worst part is, you've taken the whole country with you.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
It's not often someone is willing to admit to doing dumb things:
Once again, I'm going to place the blame squarely on Traditional Rule #1: "All guns are always loaded", or any variant thereof. He felt free to do something blatantly stupid with his gun, because he was sure that he had unloaded it. Since he was sure that he unloaded it, in his mind the other rules obviously didn't apply.He also suggests a Three Rules set of commandments that should be used instead of the Four Rules. Personally, I have always followed this set of three rules without specifically...er...quantifying them. Even a gun that I have personally unloaded and kept in my hand since that unloading is treated as though it were loaded. So yeah, Cunningham's Three Rules is what I already use. I just never really thought about it that way.
If they did, he wouldn't have pointed it at his leg as he intentionally pulled the trigger! What bothers me most about this fellow's misfortune isn't that he was injured, but that he still doesn't get why it happened in the first place. He is so clueless about this, in fact, that he cites the classic Four Rules of Firearms Safety, starting with the offending Traditional Rule #1 in his article, and explaining to his readers that they should follow them. This is in fact the wrong thing to do, and is what caused his injuries.
The Life Cycle of a Blog Post, From Servers to Spiders to Suits -- to You at wired.com.
There are some who seem to think that guns are icky. They don't like to talk about them. When they do, they gloss over the issue and quickly find something else to focus on. They are more focused on promoting hedonistic behavior than they are on promoting actual liberty. Even the leading LP candidate is one of those "reasonable regulations" people. (Spit!) As far as I can tell, the other ones aren't so hot, either.
And then there are others who don't think guns are icky, like Karen DeCoster, who recently posted a link to the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot.
What's the point? Some of those who allegedly advocate freedom are really only advocating the freedom to be a jackass. And then there are some who advocate real liberty. Make sure you are informed enough that you don't get them confused.
Read this entire ad and see if you don't get sick of the word "scientific." Kirsten is perhaps the king of all gimmick pipes, but I must say they are pretty good pipes. In my humble opinion, of course.
Not every metal-stemmed pipe is a Kirsten. I've seen a few such non-Kirstens that were about as solid as an aluminum soda can. The Kirsten stem is made from machined aircraft aluminum. It is solid and all the parts lock up tight.
The bit has an aluminum rod that sticks into the center space of the stem. The bit is also sealed in with a rubber o-ring. The cap on the opposite end from the bit is also sealed with an o-ring, and is designed so that a slight twist seals the bowl off from the stem so none of the condensed punk can leak back into the bowl before you have a chance to clean it. The bowl has an aluminum fitment on the bottom so that it screws on and off--all Kirsten bowls are interchangeable. You can change bowl size, finish, or even material--since Kirsten also provides meerschaum bowls--in seconds.
The Kirsten is a snap to field clean. Take it all apart and use a piece of tissue paper or a napkin or whatever to wipe off the condenser rod, and run a pipe cleaner through the bit. Then use a piece of tissue to ram through the stem using the rod as your cleaning rod. Wipe out the cap with some tissue and the bowl with a pipe cleaner (or just knock it out, blow it out, and keep going). Then reload and relight. Or you can "rest" your bowl by simply screwing in a different one.
I have one Kirsten, and I like it. It is one of the very few pipes I have that I bought new. I don't smoke it often, but it serves its purpose. Because of all that metal, it doesn't ever get seasoned in the way a briar pipe does, and I use it mostly to try out new tobaccos so I can get an accurate gauge of the flavor.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
This doesn't mean I will completely stop blogging about pipes here. I just thought it would make things more orderly to put some of this stuff on a different blog.
I worked on three pipes today, and I will start by talking about them.
So if you're interested, go visit The Briar Files.
A solid block meerschaum from Tanganyika (now Tanzania). This is the best-looking Tanganyikan pipe I have ever seen. Maybe that's a strange statement to make, but I have actually had several pipes from that country pass through my hands, and they all looked more or less the same: very small, briar bowls jacketed in leather, with meerschaum inserts. I didn't keep any of them; I sold them all. This one is a big honkin' hunk of meer. Nice.
A KBB Yello-Bole. Unsmoked, the yellow "honey-cake" lining still intact. If you check out the other photos at the auction, you can see the original sales sticker still in the bottom of the bowl. KBB was the company that later became Kaywoodie. They created the Yello-Bole line to sell off their "seconds," that is, the pipes that they didn't deem quite good enough to bear the Kaywoodie name. Since this one is a KBB Yello-Bole instead of just a plain old Yello-Bole, that means it must be pretty old, and almost certainly of better quality than the later non-KBB Yello-Boles.
This is something you don't see very often. I briefly possessed an unsmoked Yello-Bole, but it was one of the aluminum-stemmed versions with a threaded-on bowl, so it didn't really appeal to me. It caused a minor flurry of a bidding war on eBay, though.
P.S. This one (if you want to quibble) might not actually be a Rhodesian. Some might call it a bullcap or something like that. I don't really care.
Friday, January 25, 2008
LONDON -- A farmer built an entire mock castle behind a screen of hay bales and lived there concealed for four years to evade planning regulations, officials said on Friday -- but it may be torn down anyway.Nannyism and the total lack of property rights in (formerly) Great Britain.
Robert Fidler hopes to take advantage of a provision of planning law that allows buildings without planning permission to be declared legal if no objections have been made after four years.
But Reigate and Banstead Borough Council in Surrey is not impressed.
"It does not count because the property was hidden behind hay bales," said a spokeswoman. "No one knew it was there."
The council wants the building near Redhill some 30 km south of London to be demolished, along with an associated conservatory, marquee structure, wooden bridge, patio, decking and tarmac racecourse.
"It looks like a mock-Tudor house from the front and it's got two turrets at the back," the spokeswoman said. "I understand there is also a cannon."
The couple would have been unlikely to get planning permission as the farm was in "green belt" land where building was restricted, she said. A hearing takes place in February.
Fidler's wife Linda told the Daily Mail newspaper the children grew up looking at straw out of the windows of the house and that they kept their son away from playschool on the day his class were due to do paintings of their houses.
"We couldn't have him drawing a big blue haystack," she said. "People might ask questions."
Planning inspectors had been called to the site by concerned neighbours shortly before Fidler took the hay bales down in summer 2006 but had not seen the house.
"When the inspectors went there, all they saw was hay bales and hay bales on agricultural land are not that unusual," the spokeswoman said.
"I think the neighbours thought there might be something going on but it is difficult to tell, isn't it?"
Posted also because it gives me a chance to make an obscure joke that I'm sure only one person out there is going to get.
I wonder if Mr. Fidler also has a bowling green.
via The Line Is Here
But then there was a sound that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I jumped up to look over the couch so I could see the TV.
Whacka whacka whacka...
Jhewp jhewp jhewp...
Like I told her: That's a sound I haven't heard in a long time.
Some girl was playing an actual, working Pac-Man machine, in mint condition. Sometimes TV actors don't know how lucky they are.
From Nick Redfern:
It was an ingenious operation coordinated by one Major General Edward G. Lansdale. Born in 1908, Lansdale served with the Office of Strategic Services in WW2; in 1945 he was transferred to HQ Air Forces Western Pacific in the Philippines; and, in 1957, he received a posting to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, working as Deputy Assistant to the SoD for “Special Operations.”He was reminded of this tale because an infamous Puerto Rican has allegedly turned up in the Phillippines.
At the specific request of President Elpidio Quirino, Lansdale was assigned to the Joint United States Military Assistance Group to provide assistance and guidance in the field of Intelligence, to the Philippine Army, as the latter sought to squash an uprising by Communist “Huk” rebels.
And it was while lending assistance to President Quirino that Lansdale had the bright idea of exploiting a local legend for psychological warfare purposes - namely that of the deadly Asuang Vampire.
In his own words, Lansdale would later say: “To the superstitious, the Huk battleground was a haunted place filled with ghosts and eerie creatures. A combat psywar squad was brought in. It planted stories among town residents of an Asuang living on the hill where the Huks were based. Two nights later, after giving the stories time to make their way up to the hill camp, the psywar squad set up an ambush along the trail used by the Huks. When a Huk patrol came along the trail, the ambushers silently snatched the last man of the patrol, their move unseen in the dark night. They punctured his neck with two holes, vampire-fashion, held the body up by the heels, drained it of blood, and put the corpse back on the trail. When the Huks returned to look for the missing man and found their bloodless comrade, every member of the patrol believed that the Asuang had got him and that one of them would be next if they remained on that hill. When daylight came, the whole Huk squadron moved out of the vicinity.”
Thursday, January 24, 2008
What Lovecraftian terror are you?
You are Nyarlathotep!The Crawling Chaos, you serve your masters the Outer Gods with an open disdain for their mindless ways. You yourself are smart, twisted, and, unlike most Gods of the Mythos, have a recognizable personality; you are funny, mocking, and thouroughly evil.
Take this quiz!
| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code
I am not familiar with this particular avatar of Nyarlathotep, but it appeals to me for some reason.
There in the light of my truck's headlights, on the roadside I saw the undersides of two bushy white tails pointing straight at the sky.
Not one, but two skunks in full battle mode, and I was right in their kill zone.
I swerved to the far side of the road, but it's very narrow county road and there isn't much room to swerve. I only caught a little collateral damage. It wasn't too bad. Actually I've been through worse, when it comes to skunks.
I don't know what set them off, because they seemed to be going at it before I got there and I just got caught in the crossfire.
But seeing those two tails pointing straight up was...like I said, an interesting sensation. I had never seen a skunk that close up from that end before.
UPDATE: I thought I might add...back in my younger days when I spent winters trapping, I occasionally caught a skunk. So I have been much closer than this to skunks, without the protection of a vehicle, but I always approached them from the "safe" end. Of course I had to dispatch the skunk and remove it from the trap. This always meant the trap had to be retired for the season, of course.
US researchers say they have made the darkest material on Earth, a substance so black it absorbs more than 99.9 per cent of light.
Made from tiny tubes of carbon standing on end, this material is almost 30 times darker than a carbon substance used by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology as the current benchmark of blackness.
And the material is close to the long-sought ideal black, which could absorb all colours of light and reflect none.
"All the light that goes in is basically absorbed," said Pulickel Ajayan, who led the research team at Rice University in Houston.
"It is almost pushing the limit of how much light can be absorbed into one material."
The substance has a total reflective index of 0.045 per cent - which is more than three times darker than the nickel-phosphorous alloy that now holds the record as the world's darkest material.
Basic black paint, by comparison, has a reflective index of 5 per cent to 10 per cent.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The Buckeye Firearms Association points out that a certain Mike DeWine could become U.S. Attorney General. And...
DeWine, an anti-gun candidate sporting a Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly Handgun Control Inc.) endorsement, proved himself out-of-touch with Ohio voters on the Second Amendment, was drummed out of office just over 1 year ago. Comments about his fantasies of a political future in Ohio, and his support for John McCain's presidential candidacy prove he didn't learn a thing from his defeat.As usual, read the whole thing.
In Ohio alone, approximately 1/2 million people have hunting and/ or concealed handgun licenses. And according to the Minneapolis StarTribune's Dennis Anderson, Ohio gun owners made up 27 percent of the total vote in Ohio in the year 2000.
Yet as a member of the House, DeWine supported the Brady Bill, which required a waiting period and criminal background check before a gun could be sold. When he ran for the Senate in 1994, he backed the Clinton Gun Ban. In 2006, Human Events Online named DeWine among the Top 10 anti-gun U.S. Senators. And shortly before his defeat, DeWine took a position in opposition to legislation which barred gun manufacturers, distributors, dealers or importers from frivolous lawsuits designed to put them out of business.
Mike DeWine consistently cast his votes on the side of the most rabid anti-gun Democrats in the Senate. And now he wants you to cast your vote for Senator John McCain. And we all know the wisdom that one should judge a man by the company he keeps. John McCain likes to claim he is pro-gun. But as Dr. John Lott wrote in an op-ed for National Review Online, "this was true a decade ago, but since then, on issues such as regulating gun shows, banning less expensive guns and so-called assault weapons, and requiring gunlocks, McCain has supported central portions of the gun-control agenda. Indeed, in a couple cases, McCain authored the proposed legislation himself."
Wednesday, January 23, 2008As usual, I don't have much hope of my so-called representative doing anything, because he doesn't actually represent me. But I sent it anyway.
Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) has sent the following letter to the White
House asking them to undo the huge harm they have caused the Second
Amendment with the brief they filed in the DC gun ban case.
January 22, 2008
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington DC 20500
Dear President Bush:
Your Solicitor General has just filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme
Court in the D.C. v. Heller case arguing that categorical gun bans of
virtually all self-defense firearms are constitutional if a court
determines they are "reasonable" -- the lowest standard of
If this view prevails, a national ban on all firearms -- including
hunting rifles -- could be constitutional, even if the court decides
-- on ample historical evidence -- that the Founders intended the
Second Amendment as an individual right.
I would ask that you direct the Justice Department to withdraw this
unfortunate brief and to replace it with an opinion which reflects
the right of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms.
Thank you for your consideration.
Rep. Goode is following up his action by circulating the letter among
his colleagues. He is asking other members of Congress to add their
signatures in anticipation of sending President Bush another copy of
Your help is needed immediately to convince your Representative to
join with Rep. Goode.
Please go to the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at
http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm to send a pre-written message
urging your Rep. to be a part of this important initiative.
Well, even if all these pipes were part of the original set, it wouldn't be worth much because they have been so heavily used. But if you have a sharp eye, you should be able to see carving or rustication on the topmost pipe. There's no way a 7-pipe matched set would have one with a rusticated finish and six with smooth finishes. Also the cutouts in the case don't seem to match up to all the pipes.
On the other hand, this is a fantastic old pipe, and must be running near 80 years old by now. Even more worth mentioning because of the excellent photos showing this clear example of the original KBB-inside-a-cloverleaf logo of the original company that later became Kaywoodie. I'll have to watch this one just to see how much it sells for.
Here's one from the New York Times (of all places):
As mayor, he picked fights with a notable lack of discrimination, challenging the city and state comptrollers, a few corporations and the odd council member. But the mayor’s fist also fell on the less powerful. In mid-May 1994, newspapers revealed that Mr. Giuliani’s youth commissioner, the Rev. John E. Brandon, suffered tax problems; more troubling revelations seemed in the offing.Long article. There's more--much more.
At 7 p.m. on May 17, Mr. Giuliani’s press secretary dialed reporters and served up a hotter story: A former youth commissioner under Mr. Dinkins, Richard L. Murphy, had ladled millions of dollars to supporters of the former mayor. And someone had destroyed Department of Youth Services records and hard drives and stolen computers in an apparent effort to obscure what had happened to that money.
“My immediate goal is to get rid of the stealing, to get rid of the corruption,” Mr. Giuliani told The Daily News.
None of it was true. In 1995, the Department of Investigation found no politically motivated contracts and no theft by senior officials. But Mr. Murphy’s professional life was wrecked.
“I was soiled merchandise — the taint just lingers,” Mr. Murphy said in a recent interview.
There are many kinds of people I simply won't tolerate, but right up there at the top of the list is the bully.
via The Agitator
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Last week Ignatius Piazza submitted pay-per-click ads on Facebook, one of the nation's largest online communities, offering a Front Sight 4 Day Handgun Training course, plus 1 Day 30 State Concealed Weapon Permit Course for pennies-on-the-dollar and capped off the offer with a free Springfield Armory XD Handgun in 9mm, .40SW, or .45 ACP for the first 5,000 who respond -- thus making a commitment of over $3 million dollars in free handguns.I love it when the enemy makes it so clear where they stand.
Piazza was stunned when Facebook rejected his ad stating, it violated Point 6 of Facebook's advertising guidelines which reads, "Provocative images will not be accepted. Ads may not contain, facilitate or promote adult content, including nudity, sexual terms and/or images of people in positions or activities that are excessively suggestive or sexual. Ads may not contain, facilitate or promote offensive, profane, vulgar, obscene, or inappropriate language. Ads may not contain, facilitate or promote defamatory, libelous, slanderous and/or unlawful content."
via Conservative Scalawag
The rovers have provided continuous surprises since the outset. When their missions began, their solar cells were providing 900 watt-hours of electricity per day. Over the months that followed Spirit's output dropped to 400 watt-hours daily, while Opportunity dropped to about 500 watt-hours. A primary reason for the drop was the accumulation of dust on the panels. But then, to the amazement of mission scientists, Opportunity's power began to INCREASE, and kept on increasing until the power peaked at just over 900 watt-hours.A simple, logical, scientific explanation rejected by pre-existing scientific dogma. But wait, there's more:
As reported by Newscientist.com, the Mars rover Opportunity "stumbled into something akin to a carwash," which somehow 'cleaned' its solar panels. Jim Erickson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory admitted that the cause of this surprise 'cleaning' could not be explained. 'These exciting and unexplained cleaning events have kept Opportunity in really great shape,' Erickson said."
The remarkable cleaning occurred in spurts during the Martian night. The team managing the rover reported that on at least four occasions over a six-month period, the rover's power output suddenly increased by up to 5% in a single night. Some suggested that the Martian winds might have swept the dust off the panels. Others wondered if frost could have caused the dust to clump, exposing more of the panels. And some even suggested that the tilting of the rover while climbing hills might have caused a portion of the dust to drop off. Such "explanations" only add to the exasperation of those who understand very well what has occurred. Does dust fall off the top of your car when you drive uphill? Does the speed of your car on the highway clean the dust off? Is your car cleaner after a windy day?
While the rovers' cleanings and endurance is unexplained by NASA, a clue to the puzzle is provided by the agency's own news release dated July 14, 2005: "When humans visit Mars, they'll have to watch out for towering electrified dust devils." With these words, NASA gave official sanction to an idea that had already been percolating from separately funded research projects in recent years. This research has explored the electrical component to dust devils in the Arizona desert -- investigators were surprised to find that these vortices are electrically charged. According to the recent news item "Electric Sand Findings Could Lead to Better Climate Models," one investigator speculates that "electric fields get so large on the Red Planet they produce ground-level sparks."
But since it is verboten within official science to speak of planets as charged bodies, the investigators can only envision the electric fields associated with dust devils as an effect of particles bouncing and rubbing against each other -- ignoring the larger electrical condition required to generate the vortex in the first place. NASA suggests, "Dust devils get their charge from grains of sand and dust rubbing together in the whirlwind. When certain pairs of unlike materials rub together, one material gives up some of its electrons (negative charges) to the other material. Smaller dust particles tend to charge negative, taking away electrons from the larger sand grains." In this view, the rising central column of hot air that powers the dust devil carries the negatively charged dust upward and leaves the heavier positively charged sand swirling near the base. In this way, the charges get separated, creating an electric field.
But regardless of what causes the electric fields associated with Martian "dust devils" and dust storms, NASA still seems unwilling to consider their relevance to the rovers anomalies. From the electrical perspective, the robots' seemingly unfathomable endurance is easily explained as an effect of repeated electrostatic cleanings. On Mars, because of the atmosphere's thinness, dust particles charge more easily and will thus stick more "stubbornly" to a surface. Thus, the notion of repeated cleanings absent the electric force becomes all the more preposterous.
Ironically, a number of researchers have posited that the best cleaning method for removal of dust from power-systems on Mars will involve electrostatic applications. At the 2002 Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, G.A. Landis and P.P Jenkins stated in their paper "Dust mitigation for Mars solar arrays": "The environment of Mars is expected to be an ideal one for use of electrostatic dust-removal techniques."Heh.
Monday, January 21, 2008
via Karen De Coster
An ebauchon is what you call a hunk of briar that's been roughly shaped into the pipe it will eventually become. Mine has also been pre-drilled and bored so all I have to do is decide on it's final shape. I don't have to worry about lining up the bowl cavity and the air passage through the shank. It's for a simple straight pipe, but whether it becomes a billiard, apple, poker or anything else is up to me. I'm thinking about trying something simple for the first pipe, and if I don't destroy it, perhaps create a hexagonal or octagonal sitter (a sitter being a pipe with a flat enough bottom that it can sit all by itself).
Here, in my opinion, is a bad way to run an auction. The seller has taken a single picture of five pipes, but is selling only one of the pipes in the photo. Of course you can't tell this by the auction title, and the only reason I looked at it was because of that big bent billiard on the left. The other thing wrong with this auction is that he has a starting bid of $9.99 for a battered old pipe that doesn't even have a bit anymore. Good luck with that one, dude. Also, the aluminum-stemmed Kaywoodies don't interest me at all. Someone else can collect those.
This afternoon's totally randomized first ten mp3 list:
Boston -- Feelin' Satisfied
Screaming Blue Messiahs -- Watusi Wedding
Todd Rundgren -- Can We Still Be Friends
Euphoria -- Little Gem
Norman Blake -- Man of Constant Sorrow (instrumental)
Warren Zevon -- Mutineer
Kurt Elling -- Say Goodbye
Nena -- Unnerkannt Durch's Marchenland
Enya -- Diereadh an Tuath
Shriekback -- Sticky Jazz
Thought I'd send you some pictures of the pipes that I made over here in Iraq the last 6 months. I'm presently assigned as Medical Officer for the 2-27 Infantry Battalion.Sweet.
If you notice, the brass pieces I used are the butt end of a .50 caliber round. The bone for the one tamper is carved from a lamb bone that I found on a mission. It has the Battalion mascot, a wolfhound carved on it. I've also used part of a wool Army blanket for the pipe and tamper gloves.
Washington - The United States was declared dead today by the Federal Morgue. The cause of death was listed as drowning.But then, when satire is actually true, I guess it's not satire anymore.
The drowning of America took place in the vast and endless Sea of Laws. There are 75,000 pages of laws governing American citizens. There are so many laws that it is impossible to step out of your house without breaking some laws and staying home is just as dangerous.
It has been reported that one reason that there are so many laws is because it is much easier to get a job as a Congressman or Representative at the state and federal level than it is to get a real job flipping hamburgers, mopping floors, or any other form of physically productive employment.
Sadly, for the average member of the public unfortunate enough to get caught up in the jaws of the "justice" system it is not enough to be in mere possession of the truth in order to be found innocent of charges leveled against puny citizens by the omnipotent forces of the government for breaking one of its endless supply of laws. All a prosecutor has to do is to merely prove a theory based on conjecture that a citizen has committed some act against the "people". Through a selective process in the picking of jurors the government can stack the jury against the accused and thus insure that the insatiable appetite of the prison-industrial complex is constantly satisfied.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
After four terms as Senator from Arizona, John McCain has written or co-sponsored enough legislation to give us a good idea of what he believes the proper role of government to be without explicitly asking. Even if we did ask, actions are what matters. Below is an analysis of McCain’s electability based on bills he’s sponsored, most of it in the last 8 years, and various speeches and op-ed pieces. I’ll spare you the suspense, and give you the summary up front; read the rest for supporting details. McCain sees the federal government as the solution to nearly every problem, and advocates creating new bureaucracies and federal databases to track and monitor the "solutions." His bills are laden with the veneer of free market controls, tracking databases, and public-private information exchange and R&D so popular when alleged Republicans expand government; at the end of the day, he is expanding government in nearly every conceivable way. He is a committed Clintonian interventionist, often the lone Republican supporting Bill Clinton’s interventions of choice in Sudan, Somalia, Kosovo, and Bosnia.As usual, read the whole thing. I've only quoted the introduction. The details go far beyond that.
McCain considers himself capable of getting things done in Washington because many of his bills are bipartisan efforts. The results however, leave conservatives shaking their heads: Free Speech Control, Gun Control, Unlimited Immigration, Support for a Greenhouse Gas Tax, and Woodrow Wilson–Style International Gun-Barrel Democracy. McCain was the Democrats’ useful conservative idiot in each of these cases. He was the lead sponsor of multiple bills no Democrat could have pushed through Congress, but given that almost all the co-sponsors of these bills are hard-core leftists we can see by his actions this Senator is a big government Republican on matters domestic, fiscal, and foreign.
I had drafted this post earlier for posting tomorrow, but I'll go ahead and post it now along with some additional comments. Most other bloggers who I read made it clear who they would be voting for. I didn't, because I knew it would be pointless.
The herds who graze the vast American plains will only vote for who they are told to vote for. Thompson never had a chance. He ran for prez not because he had a great ambition, but because a lot of people wanted him to--a lot, but not nearly enough. The media never recognized him as a legitimate candidate and did their best to portray him negatively to make sure the livestock didn't consider him legitimate, either. Thompson was closest to a real conservative of the currently surviving candidates. Paul was closest to a real libertarian (and look how the media treated him). They were the only two I ever considered voting for, and neither of them ever had the slightest chance of getting the media's permission to run.
No, as of this post they have not dropped out of the race, but I still refer to their candidacies in past tense because they are already history.
I knew from the beginning that I would never get a chance to vote for either of them in the general election. If you think that there's any real difference in any of the other Redemopublicrats, you are still fooling yourself. The only difference we should worry about now is which one will be the most competent at screwing us, and prepare for things to get a lot worse.
One last update: my prediction. It's going to be McCain and Clinton. Beyond that, the chicken entrails are murky and I can't say what will happen, except that it's going to be so nasty that it will make 2000 look like an April picnic in the park.
"This killer is one of us," Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood said. "He is our next-door neighbor. He is somebody we go to church with. It is somebody who is a respectable, decent human being on the outside. But on the inside, they are out there preying on women. He is dehumanizing women."Nice guys in Florida are now being cautioned to wear dark sunglasses and leer a lot, just to be safe.
In fact, Chitwood asked women involved with someone with qualities likened to the serial killer to contact the police immediately. He said they may be in danger themselves.
via The Agitator
The briar must be carefully selected for matching grain, color and texture. As always, in the process of carving a pipe, some flaws will be found that necessitates discarding the burl and starting over again with yet another carefully-selected burl that matches all the other burls.
The "seven-day set" concept came from the idea of having a set of matching pipes, with one for each day of the week, so you could smoke one per day and be able to give it an entire week to rest before smoking it again. In reality, seven-day sets are far too rare and valuable to smoke. Unless you really want to completely destroy any collectible value, of course.
This set sold for $100 in 1937. Adjusted for inflation, that's more than $1,400 today. Of course Kaywoodie was not the only one to create seven-day sets. Other pipe makers who are known for more expensive pipes have created sets that sold for much more than that.
Shapes, from top: acorn, Liverpool, Dublin, apple, bulldog (with a saddle bit), another Dublin, and lastly a simple bent billiard. You may dispute me on the names of the top two. The first one looks more acorn-ish than apple-ish to me. Number two looks to me like it has a round shank, which would make it a Liverpool instead of a Canadian.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Today is Confederate Hero's Day.
"I believe that the world never produced a body of men superior in courage, patriotism and endurance to the private soldiers of the Confederate Armies. I have repeatedly seen these soldiers submit with cheerfulness to privations and hardships which would appear to be almost incredible; and the wild cheers of our brave men (which was so different from the studied huzzahs of the Yankees) when their lines sent back opposing hosts of Federal troops, staggering, reeling and flying, have often thrilled every fiber of my heart. I have seen with my own eyes ragged, barefooted and hungry Confederate soldiers perform deed which if performed in days of yore by mailed warriors in glittering armor, would have inspired the harp of the minstrel and the pen of the poet."Read more at Whose Paranoid.--Lt. Gen. Jubal Anderson Early
And I finally had an excuse to use a program that came bundled on this machine: InterVideo WinDVD. It has a very handy screen capture function.
I noticed one serious continuity error. The dog Meathead is obviously a male during all but one scene, in which "he" is obviously a female. I mean, it's like someone made the switch as a joke or something. I know they often use multiple animals that look mostly the same, but this one was so different it was just weird.
Also every time something gets shot, the surface sprays back toward the shooter like a little explosive charge went off where the bullet allegedly hit. And the remark about the "300 grain cartridge" was painfully incorrect. But it's still one of my favorite movies.
A Hamburg newspaper that reported last week on a computer company manager who said he fired three non-smokers because they had threatened disruptions after asking for a smoke-free environment said on Monday the story was a hoax.
Stephanie Lamprecht, a journalist at the Hamburger Morgenpost, said Thomas Joschko first told her he had fired the three from his 10-person staff because they were causing a disruption with their non-smoking but later admitted it was a hoax.
Now it appears to have been fiction. Perhaps an urban legend, or perhaps a deliberate hoax to to create support for a British Lord's agenda. From Cabinet of Wonders:
The Guardian article seems largely based on the digging done by Heresy Corner who have been looking into this and tracking the story. They were initially sceptical, due to the lack complete lack of hard facts and Lord Alton's gullibility. Further monitoring of the story left them even more disillusioned with the story but intrigued by the "mythic quality" of the story (as seen in the story of Siegmund and Sieglinde and if you check the GSA Wikipedia page the bulk of it is examples of this theme in popular culture). They then watched how the various tabloids managed to flesh out the very few facts in the case into a full-fledged story with plenty of believable "details" none of which have any basis in fact (or reality). So, in the end this may be the importance of this story: seeing an urban myth condense out of word-of-mouth and hearsay, bulked up with plausible sounding background until like some abomination stitched together by Doctor Moreau it staggers out blinking into the world where it takes on a life of it's own raising it's ugly head from time-to-time when this issue crops up in idle conversation (as well as appearing in pieces written by idle journos who don't do any digging).
Larry S. Moore says:
Re "Gun control must be packaged well," Jan. 12: The Dayton Daily News played loose and liberal with the selective quotes taken from an article on the Buckeye Firearms Web site by Jeff Riley. In fact, by selecting and editing the right combination of quotes, the DDN was able to take a pro-gun piece and make it appear very anti-gun.From Jeff Riley:
The basic premise in the Jan. 12 editorial "Gun control needs to be packaged well" is wrong. The problem with the anti-gun side isn't packaging; the problem is the product. You can put lipstick and a dress on a pig and, at the end of the day, you still have, well, just a pig.Both Moore and Riley are members of the Buckeye Firearms Association. And if you don't have BFA on your blogroll, add it now. They really stay on top of things when it comes to RKBA.
Gun control is a political loser, and those opposed to individual rights know it is a losing battle if framed that way. Using horrific events like the Virginia Tech massacre to promote that agenda is morally repugnant. It truly is "dancing in the blood of innocents."
via The War On Guns
One of the things I enjoy most about collection these old ads is that I learn things that I never would have thought to ask about. It used to be that if someone said Ithaca, I thought: shotguns. But as this ad shows, they used to make some rifles as well.
Friday, January 18, 2008
1. Wavestar -- Moonwind
2. Cybertribe -- Mystic Peaks
3. Andreas Vollenweider -- Water Moon
4. Shadowfax -- Shadowdance
5. Eagle Dance Song (Hmmm...this one didn't tag right. I didn't get the artist. But it's "native American" flute music).
6. Prefade Listening -- Jazzy Jim
7. Enigma -- Principles of Lust
8. deep-dive-corp. -- Bassic
9. Janis Mattox -- Song from the Center of the Earth
10. Trio Mediaeval -- Stella Maris
I haven't been able to discover the origin of this, and the dates seem to be somewhat in dispute, but this is either the first or last day of Delurking Week. As far as I can tell, in the past two years this has fallen on the second full week of January, which means it would begin today. Some blogs were celebrating it last week, which was only the first full week.
Anyway, this post is an invitation for all those who read this blog regularly (or semi-regularly) but who never comment to leave a comment. No topic necessary, just a simple how-do-you-do will suffice.
This post will remain sticky all week. Scroll down for new posts.
I suppose you could. It's small, light, thin, and should be very easy to conceal. But it's a .22.
The only reason I would carry a .22 for self defense is if all my other guns were stolen and I was on my way to the gun store to buy a new .357 magnum.
Also, I have a question. Is there a good reason to remove a magazine disconnect? Because I got a search hit for that too, regarding the Ruger SR9. This seems to me to be something that shouldn't be done, but maybe I'm wrong.
First, politicians and bureaucrats both believe you can tell average voters anything you please and they’ll forget it before you come back up for reelection.So says Jim Shepherd, and I agree with him. Read the whole thing today, because the articles aren't archived.
Second, gun owners are not “average voters.” Gun owners have memories like an elephant’s and carry great big chips on their shoulders from the other “fibs” you’ve told them in the past.
Third, and maybe most importantly, you can say you are whatever you want, but what you do will eventually show you for what you really are.
This wasn’t a sellout by the Bush administration.
The Bush administration is already history.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
So I'm not going to stay up reading blogs today, and forget about me trying to post something worth-while. I'm going to bed and read for a while, or possibly watch a movie.
Last night I noticed a book on the shelves that I hadn't read in a long time. It was Raymond Chandler: Four Complete Philip Marlowe Novels. The first time I read this book, I read only the first three novels. I was reluctant to read the last one, because I knew that once I read it, it wouldn't be new to me anymore. After several more months passed, I finally read it. This will now be my third trip through this book.
I'm going to have to hunt down more stuff by Chandler, and probably branch off into some other writers of the "hard-boiled detective fiction" genre like Dashiell Hammett. Oh yeah, this is also why I recently added Hardboiled Cthulhu to my Amazon wish list. I like the wish list idea. It makes it easy for me to remember what I want to buy. I know this collection will not be up to the same quality as Chandler, but it should be fun.
Chandler was a master of the descriptive phrase. Maybe I'll post some Chandlerisms now and then just for fun.
Today brought The Sons of the Pioneers: The Ultimate Collection. I had a cassette called The Best of the Sons of the Pioneers when I was a kid, and kept it for many years until I finally wore it out. Ultimate is a pretty good collection. It has most of my favorites of theirs, but it is not really "ultimate."
There's no "Everlasting Hills of Oklahoma." How it could be "ultimate" and be missing that song?
Essential (in my opinion) songs that it does include are "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," "Cool Water," "Riders in the Sky" and "Chant of the Wanderer." It has twenty-one songs in all.
Oh well. I'll be cranking this one up on the drive home from work tomorrow.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
This just makes my skin crawl:
"[Some of my opponents] do not want to change the Constitution, but I believe it's a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards," Huckabee said, referring to the need for a constitutional human life amendment and an amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.In case anyone was wondering, I am against any amendment that would prohibit gay marriage. I am firmly convinced that the Constitution should never be used to restrict any freedoms, and that's what this amendment would do. I was once asked about this, and my answer was, "I don't see any way that gays getting married would infringe on any of my fundamental rights, so I don't care." Anyone who disagrees, please feel free to convince me that I'm wrong.
Huckabee has fallen into the same trap that many have. It doesn't matter that he calls himself a Christian. It doesn't matter that he's referred to as a "pastor" (he isn't)*. He has fallen into the trap of seeing the government as savior, and it isn't. There's only one Savior, and the government has nothing to do with Him.
As a Christian, it is not my job, nor is it Huckabee's job--even if he were President (God forbid), to brute-force "morality" by the bludgeon of legislation. It is only my job to live by example and to try and "let the glory of Jesus be seen in me." I fail at this, a lot. But then of course I'm not perfect.
I'm sure I've failed to adequately state my position with perfect clarity, so please feel free to misconstrue something I've said. I know someone out there will.
I've said it before: The more I hear about Huckabee, the more I dislike him.
*"Pastor" means "shepherd." The church has only one Shepherd: Jesus Christ. Any human who uses that term to refer to him- or herself is misusing the term.
P.S. Anyone who reads this and uses comments to make bigoted anti-Christian slurs: your comments will be deleted. It's my blog and I'm not in the mood.
What you should be certain of is this: We are now going back, if we ever left it, to the time of Waco Rules. You remember what they are, surely? "We are the avenging angels of the ATF, representing the god-on-earth Imperial Federal Government. If you resist us, we will crush you. If you shoot back at us, we and our big brothers of the FBI will kill you -- we will burn down your house, your church, your family and all you hold dear, AND WE WILL NOT BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE." Those my friends, are Waco Rules. They can do anything you can't stop them from doing.Read about another case of the ATF persecuting an innocent man because his rifle malfunctioned.
I gave it a pure diet of mesquite wood, holding the temperature steady between 230-250 for five hours. It was succulent.
The guy who I whipped up some venison jerky for really liked it, so he gave me a deer ham to make some traditional jerky with. So I sliced it up and I've got it marinating right now. I haven't made "real" jerky like this in a long time, but I think it will be okay. As a result of a stroke, this man has lost most of his sense of taste (so I was told--I didn't know a stroke could affect your taste). So he requested habanero, and "make it as hot as possible." I don't know if I got it "as hot as possible," but it's going to be pretty hot. I was mixing up some new sauce and got a little more "spike" in the sauce that I usually do. I sampled a little straight and it made my scalp sweat, so it's just about right.
As payment, he's going to give me some venison to keep for myself instead of paying me money. That was actually my suggestion.
Since the weather is supposed to turn a little colder and nastier than usual this coming weekend, I plan on Saturday being homemade chili day! I haven't made chili in a while, and I'm really looking forward to it.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
In February of 2006, the Western Standard magazine, of which I was publisher, reprinted the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. We were immediately hit with two "human rights complaints". These are a strange species of lawsuit, inimicable to Western liberal traditions of rule of law and freedom of speech. A real court would have thrown these complaints out as baseless, but Alberta's human rights commission has proceeded. Friday was the day of my interrogation. I videotaped it.I recommend Levant's site. His battle for freedom of expression is an example for us all.
It is obvious that Alberta's "human rights commission" is another of those governmental agencies that makes up the rules as it goes along.
His site is also video-heavy, and since I'm on dial-up I haven't been able to view the videos. But from what I've read, it looks like he is amassing a damning body of evidence about this "commission" whose behavior (it seems to me) is in violation of the Canadian constitution. I'm surprised he's been allowed to videotape the proceedings.
Check it out.
Monday, January 14, 2008
A high moisture content in the subsoil combined with low temperatures and a lack of oxygen are the main culprits. These conditions transform the soft tissue of many bodies not into humus, but rather "a gray-white, paste-like, soft mass," says soil expert Rainer Horn from the Christian Albrecht University in Kiel, Germany.
As time passes, the remains of the departed coagulate to form "a hard, durable substance." When knocked with a spade, the wax-like bodies sound hollow.
This "grave wax" buildup has disturbed the natural cycle of decay -- and created a horror scenario for burial authorities. When bodies don't decompose, their graves can't be reused -- a common practice in Germany. Contrary to many other countries, where final resting places are traditionally maintained in perpetuity, Germany recycles cemetery plots after a period of 15 to 25 years. Experience has shown that the earthly remains of the deceased rot away almost entirely in this amount of time, but only under favorable soil conditions.
Many German cemeteries today have far from ideal conditions. To make matters worse, the problem appears to be a homemade one: "Huge blunders committed over the past few decades" are to blame, says engineer Heinrich Kettler, who specializes in reconditioning soils that have become unsuitable for decomposition.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
During a visit to the mental asylum, a visitor asked the Director how do you determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalized.
"Well," said the Director, "we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub."
"Oh, I understand," said the visitor. "A normal person would use the bucket because it's bigger than the spoon or the teacup."
"No." said the Director, "A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?"
Dr. Ray Cathode, professor of biology and expert on vote-greenhousetheria at USC explains: "When one drives around in an SUV and uses gasoline, they unwittingly ingest an agent we've called 'idiocene', a mix between coal and carbon dioxide that forces one to support fake sentimentality and big government. The effects of which go unnoticed by anyone until primary season."
Precautions have been put in place in Michigan and South Carolina. At each voting station, there will be volunteers stationed to say this statement to each and every voter: "Mike comes from a place called Hope, Arkansas. He hopes that you will give them another chance." If the intending voter laughs, they are immediately escorted to the hospital.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
London - A pair of twins in Britain who were separated at birth and adopted by different families married each other without realizing they were brother and sister and have now had their union annulled by a court, it was revealed Friday. The extraordinary case, brought to public attention by David Alton, a liberal member of Britain's House of Lords, prompted calls Friday for legislation enshrining a child's right to know who her or his biological parents are.
The twins, whose marriage was recently annulled by a High Court judge because "it never validly existed," had felt an "inevitable attraction" to each other, Lord Alton said Friday.
Details of the identities of the twins involved have been kept secret, but Lord Alton said the pair did not realize they were related until after their marriage.
"They were never told that they were twins," Alton told the House of Lords. "They met later in life and felt an inevitable attraction, and the judge had to deal with the consequences of the marriage that they entered into and all the issues of their separation."
According to Alton, the case raises the wider issue of the importance of strengthening the rights of children to know the identities of their biological parents.
"If you start trying to conceal someone's identity, sooner or later the truth will out," he said.
"The right for children to know the identity of their parents is a human right," said Alton.
Pam Hodgkins, of the charity Adults Affected by Adoption, said there had been previous cases of separated siblings being attracted to each other.
"We have a resistance, a very strong incest taboo where we are aware that someone is a biological relative," she said. "But when we are unaware of that relationship, we are naturally drawn to people who are quite similar to ourselves."
At a minimum, it seems these conditions must be in place:The only thing that surprises me about this is that they are so open about it.
• Pitiful as it is to say, horrifically violent events that can be directly attributed to lax gun laws can force change. Those opportunities have to be used — to protect other innocent people.
• Proposed reforms can't be called "gun control" — even though that plainly is what they are. Better to spin them as "law enforcement."
• It helps when pro-gun advocates say dumb things that make even the moderates roll their eyes, such as when geriatric rocker Ted Nugent told CNN: "Spineless gun control advocates are squawking like chickens with their tiny-brained heads chopped off, making political hay over this most recent, devastating Virginia Tech massacre, when, in fact, it is their own forced gun-free zone policy that enabled the unchallenged methodical murder of 32 people."
• Some gun-safety advocates need to oppose the proposed reforms, such as in this case when a few groups said the legislation had been "hijacked" by the gun lobby. In fact, the bill does throw some crumbs to the NRA — such as requiring a process be established that allows convicts and mentally disabled people to at least argue that they should have their gun rights restored.
A member of Buckeye Firearms Association, an Ohio-based gun rights group, has caught on to this strategy. He recently posted on the group's Web site:
What "anti-gun groups, legislators and prosecutors can't accomplish by passing more anti-gun laws (realizing it's virtual political suicide), they are quietly pursuing ... through the back door by increasing the pool of prohibited persons. After all, who could be against keeping guns away from criminals?"
I have never believed that gun-grabbers are simply trying to reduce crime, and are mistaken or misled in their methods. I have always believed it to be about domination and oppression, and nothing else. If you can read this article and still believe that the gun banners are simply good-hearted but mistaken, check with your doctor. Your brain isn't getting enough oxygen.
UPDATE: David Codrea writes an open letter.
UPDATE 2: And gets a typical cover-my-*ss non-answer.
When, as here, a law directly limits the private possession of “Arms” in a way that has no grounding in Framing-era practice, the Second Amendment requires that the law be subject to heightened scrutiny that considers (a) the practical impact of the challenged restrictions on the plaintiff’s ability to possess firearms for lawful purposes (which depends in turn on the nature and functional adequacy of available alternatives), and (b) the strength of the government’s interest in enforcement of the relevant restriction.That's right. The law in question must consider the strength of the government's interest in disarming its citizenry. Since when has an over-reaching government not had an interest in disarming its citizens?
Related: The War On Guns has an alert for Ron Paul supporters. I already sent my email.
Friday, January 11, 2008
2. Champ (the lake monster of New England's Lake Champlain).
4. Migoi (a Yeti-like creature of Bhutan).
5. The Loch Ness Monster.
If you said "they're all creatures for which no evidence exists" you're only half right.
The other half of the answer is: they all get government protection.