Saturday, January 22, 2005

A problem of perception

Instapundit linked to an article in the LA Weekly by a guy named John Powers. I went over & read it, and was both a little relieved and more than a little worried. He advocates giving up on Bush-hatred, not because he doesn't agree with it but because it's hurting the democrat party chances to get back in power.

One paragraph included: "But if George W. Bush disappeared tomorrow, kidnapped by Alan Colmes in a Che Guevara beret, everything awful about his presidency would still be in place. Oil entrepreneur Dick Cheney would simply change offices (if not roles). Pest-control entrepreneur Tom DeLay would still be infesting the House. Medical entrepreneur Dr. Bill Frist would still be running the Senate like some ghastly HMO asylum in which sensible conservatives like Nebraska’s Chuck Hagel enjoy less favor than loony morality entrepreneur Rick Santorum. And war entrepreneur Rumsfeld would still be fondling his big stick in front of the whole world. True, Alberto "Quaint Electrodes" Gonzales might not be nominated for attorney general, but I doubt Cheney would nominate anyone less scary."

Think about that. Hating Bush is fine, but everyone else in his cabinet is just as bad, if not worse. They're all scary, they all like war, and they're all crooked and 'infesting' the place. Oh, and Bush isn't actually in charge; if he died Cheney would 'change offices (if not roles).

A little further down, "privatizing Social Security to solve an imaginary "crisis," ". I distinctly remember Al Gore and Bubba and Ted Kennedy & Co. all lecturing us about how SS was about to fall apart, but now it's an 'imaginary "crisis" '.

He says that the left needs 'ideas, money and organization', and has a start on the last two thanks to "such marvelous fund-raising engines as MoveOn ".

It's an interesting article, to me not in the way he means it to, and you ought to read it. His summation is that the left needs to reclaim virtue, freedom and pleasure. My question would be, why? 'Reclaiming' indicates that you don't think the other side has any right to something, and that's part of the problem with much of the left. They're at the level of 'if a conservative/Republican type likes something, it must be bad', and that's part of what's crashing their party. I don't think the left needs to 'reclaim' virtue; it does need to stop thinking they have the only vision of it. Conservatives don't like some executive screwing the people who work in a company, or the stockholders, either. Beating them with 'you approve of it!' crap turns people off. And stop hammering people as stupid or backward because they have strong ideas of right and wrong, and want to teach them to their children; not having those values really screws things up, and belittling them makes those people distrust you, and rightly so.

Reclaim freedom? He says "Just as the left lacked a coherent position on what to do with murderous despots such as Milosevic and Saddam - it won’t do to say, "They’re bad, but . . ." The left now needs a position on how best to battle a Muslim ideology that, at bottom, despises all the freedoms we should be defending. ", right after saying "It’s not enough to mock Norman Podhoretz’s insistence that the battle with Islamic terrorism is World War IV. " Hey, guy? If they want to destroy us, we ARE at war; refusing to acknowledge it because it's not Politically Correct doesn't change the matter, it just makes you look like a fool to a lot of people. You can't 'reclaim' freedom, but it would be nice if those of us of conservative bent could feel more like you were on the same side. And I have to tell you, talking about " heroic internationalism, still alive in the anti-globalization movement’s insistence on workers’ rights around the world" doesn't help; 'heroic internationalism' is currently bogged down in some of the worst bribery-kickback scandals, and forced-sex scandals, in history.

Reclaim pleasure? What the HELL does that mean? I'll put it all here:
"For the last 30 years, the right’s been having fun - Lee Atwater playing the blues, Rush Limbaugh giving that strangulated laugh, The Weekly Standard running those mocking covers - while the left has been good for you, like eating a big, dry bowl of muesli. This isn’t simply because leftists can be humorless (a quality shared with righteous evangelicals), but because, over the years, they’ve gone from being associated with free love and rock & roll to seeming like yuppified puritans; hence the Gore-Lieberman ticket talked about censoring video games and brainy leftist Thomas Frank tirelessly debunks the pleasure of those who buy anything Cool or find Madonna meaningful. (Clinton was an exception - he enjoyed a Big Mac and an intern as much as the hero of a beer commercial - and he was the one Democrat in recent years that most average Americans really liked.) While the left is correct in talking about the gas-guzzling horror of SUVs, it’s a losing cause to tell a nation full of proud drivers that they should feel guilty about the car they love. Rather than coming off as anti-consumerist puritans in a consumerist culture, the left should be fighting on the side of freedom and pleasure - for instance, arguing that ordinary people should have more time off from the endless hours of work that increasingly devour our souls. This is the kind of idea we should own - and force the right to argue against."

A lot of this is self-explanatory, but the problem is that the attitude is there because that's what they BELIEVE! We should be hectored about SUVs because they're EVIL! We shouldn't own guns because they're EVIL and will MAKE US DO BAD THINGS! You shouldn't say something someone else doesn't approve of because you MIGHT HURT SOMEONE'S FEELINGS! and so on. And by the way, how do you plan to give people more time off from work without doing to the economy what's happened in France & Germany? For that matter, to Sweden? There are problems, but saying the government should be the cure for everything and should allow/give us pleasure is a bad, bad idea.

I gues what really bothers me about this article is the attitude that "it's not good unless it's OUR idea and WE'RE in charge". That attitude is what has caused a number of problems, and it won't improve until that attitude changes.

For what it's worth.

Blogroll, the continuance

Added a couple of people. mASS BACKWARDS, a man in Massachussetts with words to say. Bad temper warning when he speaks of politicians.

Froggy Ruminations, a former special ops guy with lots of interesting observations.

The Diplomad, some guys in the U.S. Foreign Service who have somehow managed to keep their minds, despite the mountains of crap they wade through.

Michelle Malkin, because even when I don't agree with her on something, she's worth reading.

I said once before there's so many good blogs out there, you could have a list many pages long. So I go to any of the above, and jump to other good ones from them.

Cold again

After three pretty nice days, two of which I could ride the bike to work, about 10 this morning another front came in. Wind sweeping down the plain, indeed. Sweeping out the yard, the streets, the parking lots, and you could actually feel the temperature dropping. Yuck.

It's supposed to be mid- or low teens for the lows tonight, then warming back up again over the next couple of days. January in Oklahoma; I've seen it colder than the female pagan's breastworks for weeks on end, and turning warm enough to run around in shorts, then cycle back to cold again. It'll keep up this kind of cycle until about mid-April, though it does vary a bit. O.U. Medieval Fair has always been either the first or second weekend of April, and the weather has included; 80's and windy, cool & cloudy or sunny, rain, cloudy and cold, damn cold and spitting ice, or a combination of the above. The tents provided have walls that can be moved, and in one weekend I've had to change the setup on mine three times in three days, because the wind direction/strength changed so drastically.

Through a link at Acidman, I found Feisty Repartee, written by a lawyer about various things. I am going to try the pepper steak recipe, probably tomorrow.

Steve once noted that speedbikes sound like a chainsaw, whereas his Moto Guzzi 'sounds like two leopards having really great sex in a tile bathroom'. Not having heard that myself I can't comment, but I love the description. Side note: I like a nice, throaty rumble in a bike exhaust, but I flat hate bikes so loud they make your ears hurt from a block away.

Last few days, Kim du Toit and the Diplomad both had further links as to the crap the U.N. and associated fools pull, all the while claiming they're saving people and doing 'really important work'. Screw the bastards. After some of the stuff I've found out over the last few years, next time some of these jerks demand we do something we should take them to one of the places they claim to be caring for, kick them out the door and say "Go to it", and then leave. The bozos might then at least perform the service of becoming compost.

I've been collecting tax stuff. Every time I have to do this, I want someone to do something constructive with the tax code. Like burn it. When the bureaucrats have made a system so big and complex they can't even understand it, it needs to go.

I think my soapbox is wobbling. Where'd I put the glue?...

Friday, January 21, 2005

Where to aim in a fight? And police chief opinions

Geek with a .45 has a nice piece on this, including some very good illustrations. I'd always been told the standard '2 to the body, 1 to the head', with emphasis on the two body shots going to center of mass. I'd wondered about it, especially after reading some accounts of multiple body shots not stopping someone very quickly, but a single shot in the upper body did it. The information Geek provides gives a very good explanation of this.

I will note that the Mozambique Drill(2 to body, one to head if he doesn't fall) has been taught by many, if not most, law enforcement organizations in this country. From what this post shows, I think I'm going to start using the upper body as my main aiming point from now on. It makes sense.

He also links to this article from a newspaper on a poll by the National Association of Chiefs of Police. Real big point from the article:
"NACOP asserts that the public perception of how police view certain issues is based on media coverage, which is not necessarily accurate. When police chiefs and sheriffs are allowed to respond to poll questions anonymously, the politics may be removed from their answers."

Ok, and that means what?
"Gun Control: With regard to private citizens owning firearms for sport or self-defense, 93.6 percent of the respondents supported civilian gun-ownership rights. Ninety-six percent of the police chiefs and sheriffs believe criminals obtain firearms from illegal sources and 92.2 percent revealed they hadn't arrested anyone for violation of the so-called "waiting period" laws. When asked if citizens concealed-weapons permits would reduce violent crime, 63.1 percent said yes."

Now, in the past the International Assoc. of Chiefs of Police has been very loud about wanting more and stricter gun control laws. Many chiefs and commissioners are far more politician than cop, I think especially in this organization. In the National Association the situation seems a bit better, although, as the article notes, these poll results came from people who knew they wouldn't have their name and words reported in the local media. I would wish that these people were more willing to have their opinion known without worrying about the local GFW's wailing and whining, but that's probably futile; they may be more cop than politician, but they like being in that office an awful lot, too.

Yeah, I'm cynical about it.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Would you take this?

You find out that when the pharmacist gets a bottle of the stuff to prepare the doses, the bottle has a skull & crossbones and says this:
Toxic by inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed. Target organ(s): Blood Bone Marrow. If you feel unwell, seek medical advice (show the label where possible). Wear suitable protective clothing."

Would you swallow this?

It seems this is the label on AZT.

A few years ago I read an article about various drugs and their side-effects. The author wrote that the number one requested book in the New York City library was the Physicians Desk Reference; the second most requested was the listing of registered physicians for the state. His comment was that after seeing what the drug could do to them, they probably wanted to find out if the idiot who prescribed it actually had a license to practice medicine.

It might make you wonder.

Robert Byrd really sucks rocks

I have not liked this man for a long time. Before I knew of his Klan associations I didn't like him; something about his constantly looting the rest of the country so he can put his name on another bridge or stretch of highway or something. Then I found out about his happy(for him)time in the Klan and association with it since he "officially" left it. Including this from a letter:
"Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."

And now, "Senator Robert Byrd, an outspoken critic of the Iraq war, announced late [Wednesday] that he would not allow the Senate to approve Ms. Rice without a few days of consideration of her lengthy testimony, and at least a token debate on the floor," reports the New York Times.

Trent Lott made a comment at a birthday party for an old man and had his ass handed to him for it. Byrd says and does things that would have had Lott being measured for handcuffs or a noose, and his party defends him, over and over.

Found at Michelle Malkin's place

(No, I'm not defending Lott. I'm bitching about the double standard)

The Health Crisis of the day

The National Cancer Institute announced that eating too much beef puts you at greater risk of colon cancer. Scary news, 'till you find out a bit more.

Found this at Fox News from the report: "They parsed the results as follows, “High intake of red meat reported in 1992/1993 was associated with higher risk of colon cancer after adjusting for age and energy intake but not after further adjustment for body mass index, cigarette smoking and other [risk factors],” ". In other words, you take all factors into account, no increased risk. So the fiddled around with other parts of the study to get the result they apparently wanted to announce.

I'm seeing this more and more like I saw the CDC study some years ago announcing that if you had a gun in the house you were 40-something percent more likely to shoot a family member than an intruder. When challenged on this, the doctor who did the study revised it downward drastically. When challenged again, he revised it again. Then it turned out later that depending on the audience he had, he chose which number to use. My thought was this if CDC had several hundred thousand dollars to fund this crap, they had too much money in their budget and it should be cut.

Maybe the National Cancer Institute should get a budget cut, too.


A while back Acidman had a bit of disagreement with a post at another site bitching about people who drive them. Not all, most of the people who drive them. That wen't back & forth a bit, with nothing settled(as if anything would be).

Here's my take on it. Idiots who drive with a phone stuck on their ear and/or fiddling with their hair/makeup are idiots, period. They don't need a big vehicle to be dangerous. (Aside: we don't need laws banning use of phones in vehicles; just prosecute the dummies on careless/reckless driving charges). And I agree with the guy in that people who spend $25-25 thousand for a Hummer or whatever primarily because it's 'Cool' are idiots; however, it's their money to spend.

My big disagreement comes when someone pops up with the 'what do they need that for?' line. This being the U.S., the only appropriate response to that, whether touching on vehicles, guns, food or computers, is "None of your damned business". As far as actual reasons people choose them?

My parents bought a new one a couple of years ago. After trying out a lot of cars, they tried a Ford Explorer and loved it. Reasons? 1. lots of carrying space for everything from garden and house supplies to grandkids, 2. it's a lot easier getting in and out of it than out of a low-slung car, and 3. Dad spent a long time in the highway patrol, and worked about every kind of accident involving every kind of vehicle you can think of; as a consequence he refuses to buy a vehicle that doesn't have a solid frame and some mass.

There was a report I heard about shortly after they bought it that confirmed the costs in lives of making vehicles lighter to improve mileage. No matter how many crush-zones etc. you put in you're more likely to die or be seriously injured in a lighter vehicle. It pretty much confirmed what Dad had been saying for years, and made me even happier with my pickup.

Where I do get ticked off is when someone starts that "I don't feel safe with those big SUV's on the road!" crap. Everything is a tradeoff; you buy a dinky little car, you will get better mileage but not be as safe in the event of an accident. That's your choice, so don't start telling other people they shouldn't be allowed to own the vehicle they choose.

For what it's worth.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Code of the Retrosexual

This was where I originally found Frizzensparks. And no, I can't remember where it was referenced from. I like it, and I sent the link to my son and daughter.

Go ye, and read.

Follow the trail to find out how to blow up the oven!

Microvave, that is. Aluminum foil. Candlesticks.

This is so cool! Actual experiments that might cause you to suffer bodily harm! Plasma in the oven! Demos! Exploding water!
Please do note the warning at the top of the page.

Found through Frizzensparks, found through IMAO, found through... wherever it was.

How to tell when your country/party has become completely wussy

"A Conservative Parliamentary candidate has been suspended after he was pictured on the internet with a range of guns, rifles and a hunting knife."

Check it out at Free Market Fairy Tales

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The food police speak up again

With new 'dietary guidelines'. And since they are being cheered on by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, you know it's crap.

Just in case there's any doubt, the CSPI is nothing more than a lobbying group with political stands it pushes; and the fact that so many news organizations take their press releases and read them as though they were confirmed fact without any investigation, is another reason I don't trust so much of what we hear in the news.

So far, with some exceptions for people with odd metabolisms, the formula seems to be don't eat too much, and get some exercise. Not 'nine servings of fruit and vegetables' a day and all the other PC crap.

You want to be a vegetarian? Go ahead, just don't bitch at me for eating meat. Oh, and don't forget to take the supplements you'll need to replace the stuff your diet loses by cutting out meat.

Eating healthy doesn't mean you have to turn into a rabbit.

Update: more specifics on these 'guidelines' at Tech Central Station. Key quote: "They're not just advising "eat a healthful variety of foods, enjoy everything in moderation and get some activity each day that you enjoy." It's a DIET -- and an extreme one at that -- masquerading as "healthy eating." "

Ref my comments on vegetarians above, a friend of my daughter's was following a vegan diet for several years. She'd had some health problems that worsened- drastically- the last couple of years. She finally went to a doctor and had a full checkup. Final verdict was basically, "if you don't start eating meat again, you're gonna die". Rather drastic sounding, but he ran through everything as to why he said so. And she started eating meat & milk products again. And her health improved, dramatically. You want to eat vegan and feel morally superior, go ahead. I think I'll broil some chicken for dinner.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Oooh, I've been linked!

Smallest Minority did it in a post with LOTS of details on ballistic fingerprinting. He's got lots of links including to the California and Maryland studies/programs. And lots of excerpts from the experts saying "this stuff ain't DNA". Including,
"The AB1717 Evaluation was designed to test the performance of the IBIS™ system for the anticipated large database of new firearms. The experiment used 792 Smith & Wesson model 4006 semi-automatic pistols for this purpose. Each pistol was test fired using at least two cartridges of Federal brand ammunition and other ammunition. One of the test fired Federal cartridge cases for each of the pistols was registered into the database.

The duplicate Federal cartridge cases from fifty of these pistols were selected at random and compared with the database. The system ranks how well each entered mark matches the evidence. The higher the ranking the more similar the stored image is to the evidence’s mark. For the system to be successful, the correct gun should be listed in the top few ranks. The results show that 38 % of the fifty pistols were not listed in the top 15 ranks. The same experiments was repeated with ammunition of a different brands. In this case 62.5 % of the pistols were missed and not listed in the top 15 ranks. These results will be discussed in light of the investment in terms of equipment and personnel needed to set up a ballistic fingerprinting database. In fact, the trends in the obtained results show that the situation worsens as the number of firearms in the database is increased."

Ok, these test guns were fired with the same brand and type of ammo from the same manufacturing lot and they still got such lousy results!

Go over there and read the whole thing, he covers it very well.

General commentary

Wizbang has a link to more information on the NEW! IMPROVED! prediction about global warming. Excuse me for not giving a crap. History lesson: when I was in junior high, I read a lot of stuff on 'global cooling'. Crops that had been bred/engineered for higher yields wouldn't be able to stand the cooler temps, resulting in widespread starvation. Sea levels would drop since the water would be going into the ice caps, and glaciers would be moving down as the new ice age began. Etc., etc. And all this 'scare everybody to death so they do what we want' was coming from the same people who have spent the last few years trying to scare everybody to death about 'global warming'. Never mind the cycles nature goes through, never mind all that stuff, it's ALL OUR FAULT!

Powerline notes a family murdered, quite possibly by some Islamist nutcases. I'm sure CAIR is working hard to make sure nobody looks at the probably suspects because it would be 'racist' or something.

Blackfive has this on the problem with the way a lot of the media only reports on the bad things that happen in Iraq. He's got a lot of other good stuff, too. Including on the way Afghanistan has pretty much dropped off the media screen.

It's still damn cold outside, low this morning about 15, and the high'll be about 30. I really, really dislike it when it gets this cold and stays for a while. Back when my daughter was about six months old, the temp here dropped to zero, and stayed within a degree or so above or below for damn near two weeks. The water line in the street in front of the house cracked and leaked, happily just on the other side of the hillcrest in front of the house. By the time the weather broke and started warming up, the ice at the bottom of the hill was more than a foot thick in places. That sucked.

Handguns are ok to shoot in this weather at the indoor range, although it's hard to shoot well with the draft from the ventilation freezing the back of your neck; rifles are more difficult, at least when trying to do careful offhand shooting with a .22. I'll be very glad when can get back out to an outdoor range without freezing.

For that matter, I'll be glad when I can light the forge and do some hammering. I'd also like to do some guard, pommel and grip work on some blades I have finished, but this needs the vise on the workbench in the garage, and it's hard to do careful work when your fingers are going numb.

My son used to work part-time at a deli, mostly doing deliveries. 'Used to' because of two things. One, tips dropped way off, and with the cost of gas that is a real problem. Second, there was a bunch of people at a hospital that would consistently call in a big order fifteen minutes before cutoff, and they stopped tipping entirely. One of his last deliveries to them he asked why they waited so late, and this jackass answered "Because it pisses you off". So he told the boss he was quitting and what happened at the hospital. I'm hoping those jerks don't get any deliveries again, preferably from anybody; they can bloody starve or eat out of the machines, the arrogant little dipshits.