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Friday, January 30, 2004
But nonetheless, we've got a privately-launched ship paying the price! Woohoo! Keep it coming, and maybe someday we'll be able to boot NASA right out of the space game.
Posted by Tom, 1/30/2004 2:01:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|Santa Cruz is experiencing a rise in sexual assault. The police offer the usual unhelpful poppycock:|
• Don't walk alone. Walk assertively, with your head up. Be alert.
• Take a self-defense class.
• Trust your gut feeling. Go to a safer place if you are concerned.
• Don't hesitate to call 911.
How about "buy a gun and learn how to use it"? Oh wait, that's right. Only criminals should have guns; you're better off with a cell phone on hold with 911.
Posted by Tom, 1/30/2004 1:09:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|Another site against the Assault Weapons Sham: www.awbansunset.com|
A reader pointed something out to me that I missed about the Glock 18 hoo-ha discussed a couple of blogs ago.
THE first fully automatic handgun to surface in the UK - capable of firing 1,100 rounds a minute - has been seized in a police raid.
SAS officers use the gun in combat with a 19-round magazine.
Hmm... a little disparity of information here? 1100 rounds a minute! Oh My God! It could run out of ammo in just over one second! (Just under 2 seconds if they use the 33-round magazine)
Of course nobody bothers to mention that full-auto fire is pretty much useless after the 3rd round has gone off, and the average user is not going to hit anything even close to his point of aim with more than one or two shots. This actually makes full-auto safer in the hands of a novice criminal, since he won't have the slightest clue how to operate the thing effectively.
And in a final crack against civil rights, a bunch of anti-gun nitwits apparently think that a teacher's hallucination is enough to ruin a kid's life:
"We have not located the alleged gun. We're not certain or sure there is a gun.
The male student was charged with having a gun on school property.
Posted by Tom, 1/30/2004 1:05:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|I love this quote from a recent article about gun-busting:|
"There's no legitimate use for a gun like this," Cline said, brandishing a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun.
I agree whole-heartedly. It should be a .45 ACP instead of something wimpy.
Posted by Tom, 1/30/2004 11:23:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|Barry Simpson discusses the historical reality of private education and the failure of public schools to deliver on any of the promises that were given to get them created.|
The reason behind the successes of private, fee-based systems should be elementary to any student of economics: Private businesses are consumer oriented. The feedback of profit and loss tells an entrepreneur when they satisfy, or fail to satisfy, the needs of consumers. Entrepreneurs who continue to lose eventually cease to be entrepreneurs. Conversely, profit is a reward to entrepreneurs who correctly anticipate consumer wants. A brief look at the private schools of the period attests to these facts. Private schools offered a varied curricula to students. While public schools concerned themselves with the three R's, private schools offered courses in geography, bookkeeping, geometry, trigonometry, surveying, French, German, history, and sometimes dancing.[ix] Specialty and night schools emerged to meet the growing demand of consumers. Many states cut local funding for schools after the American Revolution, but private education thrived.
Most people now realize the failure of public schools, even those who seek only to reorganize a bad system. Parents certainly realize this fact, since private and home schooling is again on the rise. Apparently, many people find that paying twice for education is better than receiving little education at all. Economic theory shows us that private businesses cater to the needs of diverse consumers far better than bureaucracies. History tells us that a private system is feasible, that those at the bottom of the ladder will gain the education they need, and that literacy will not suffer if the mass of the pubic education system disappears—if only we will listen.
I'll be really happy when this disastrous failure of a system is gone.
Posted by Tom, 1/30/2004 9:32:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|Ann Coulter's characteristic wit returns after being on vacation last week. New campaign slogans for the Dem candidates:|
Dennis Kucinich: ".001 Percent of America Can't Be Wrong!"
John Edwards: "Vote for Me or We'll See You in Court."
Joe Lieberman: "Sixth Place Is Not an Option." (Bumper sticker version: "Ask Me About My Delegate.")
Al Sharpton: "Hello? Room Service?"
Wesley Clark: "Leading America's War on Fetuses."
Howard Dean: "I Want to Be Your President ... And So Do I!"
The rest of her article is an interesting look at the gigolo-like career of John Kerry. Sure, she's vicious and hateful, but so is comparing Bush to Hitler. At least Coulter's funny.
Posted by Tom, 1/30/2004 9:21:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
The NRA has started the push to squash the Clinton Gun Ban. It's Bush's big test; will he veto a renewal on the stupid thing, or will he wimp out and lose the election as a result?
Larry Simoneaux has an amusing anecdote about an encounter with an anti-gun zealot. Probably not true (I doubt anyone can think that fast on their feet), but funny nonetheless.
Howard Dean is apparently way more statist than originally thought. Attention, LibertariansForDean: Put down the crack pipe and back away slowly.
And everyone's favorite doomsday fiction writer takes a trip to the Missouri Supreme Court as they hear the challenge against that state's newly minted concealed weapons law. Take a look and see what passes for arguments on the anti-gun side. It's a real head-scratcher.
Posted by Tom, 1/28/2004 4:04:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|OK, maybe not. But apparently some are thinking that way, since piracy is on the rise. Seems like a good time to recognize that international waters have no gun control laws, so if you're headed for the open sea, be sure to lay your hands on a nice pair of Browning M2 .50 caliber machine guns. Security is a belt-fed weapon.|
Posted by Tom, 1/28/2004 2:46:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|Where there is faith|
There is a voice calling, keep walking
You’re not alone in this world
Where there is faith
There is a peace like a child sleeping
Hope everlasting in He who is able to
Bear every burden, to heal every hurt in my heart
It is a wonderful, powerful place
Where there is faith
-- 4 HIM, "Where there is faith"
Posted by Tom, 1/28/2004 1:31:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
This little bit of onomatopoeia from my years as a comic book collector is now being heard all over the United Kingdom. Apparently, the gun bans are working -- good people can't get guns. But as we see in the latest news, not only do the bad people get guns, but since all guns are essentially the same (legally speaking), they just go ahead and get the most powerful guns they can find. After all, if you're going to prison, might as well use the best tool for the job.
Cops blasted by gun nut
Father and son guilty of selling gun kits to criminals
Most terrifying gun in the world seized
This last one is a bit of hyperbole; I'd call the AK-47 far more terrifying than the measly little Glock 18. Sure, the Glock 18 was nice and photogenic in the latest Matrix movies, but come on -- it only shoots 9mm Parabellum, a round which the inimitable Jeff Cooper refers to as "unsatisfactory". The AK-47 on the other hand shoots a rifle cartridge that packs a serious punch. But hey, I'm not in the selling papers business.
Lesson to walk away with: The more you try to destroy something, the worse it will become.
Posted by Tom, 1/27/2004 4:32:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|For those who are tired of the oft-repeated and utterly false assertion about Clinton "paying down the national debt", here is a good article for refutation purposes.|
Apart from very slight declines in 1947-48 and 1956-57 (the last year there was any reduction at all was 1960), the debt began an upward trajectory into the infinite reaches of outer space.
Considering that Clinton wouldn't be elected for another 32 years, I think we can put this one to rest. Another good source: the Bureau of Public Debt's "Public Debt to the Penny" web page, which lists historical values.
Posted by Tom, 1/27/2004 2:01:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
Monday, January 26, 2004
Here's a great article on logic and debate. It or something like it should be required reading before getting into message boards.
Posted by Tom, 1/26/2004 1:56:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|Apparently, the people of the UK want the right to defend themselves now that they've seen the effects of draconian gun control. But surprise! Parliament doesn't want any part of it. |
But after he heard the result, the Labour politician appeared to withdraw his support, arguing: "This bill is unworkable," as it "endorses the slaughter of 16-year-old kids."
Mr. Pound was apoplectic. The bill was "unworkable," he said. "I can't remember who it was who said 'The people have spoken - the bastards,'" he quipped.
Radio 4 later insisted that the remark, a paraphrase of Mark Twain, was tongue-in-cheek, but in the next breath he said his enthusiasm for direct democracy was dampened by the experience.
This is in spite of the fact that crime in the UK is skyrocketing out of control. America's reputation is undeserved -- we're Shangri-La by comparison.
Congratulations, United Kingdom! You've managed to turn your hard-won government rooted in the "rights of Englishmen" back into a rule by the elite. So much for the democratic process. Why not be honest about it, abolish Parliament, and reinstate the monarchy as your government?
Posted by Tom, 1/26/2004 1:48:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|Kudos to John Stossel for trying to bring some of the truth about guns to the major media. Unfortunately, his argument is a bit clumsy:|
America is notorious for its culture of gun violence. Guns sometimes do cause terrible harm, and many kids are killed every year in gun accidents. But public service announcements and news stories make it seem as if the accidents kill thousands of kids every year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, fewer than 100 kids 15 and under are killed in gun accidents every year. Of course that's horrible, and I understand why demonstrators say we need more gun control.
But guess what? The Centers for Disease Control recently completed a review of studies of various types of gun control: background checks, waiting periods, bans on certain guns and ammunition. It could not document that these rules have reduced violent crime.
Notice how he starts off talking about accidents, and when the time comes to make his counterpoint, the subject switches to violent crime. Certainly, gun control has done little to mitigate either one, but this is a logical flaw that opens him up to counterattack for being intellectually dishonest. In all likelihood, it's an honest mistake, but if you're going to go public with this sort of thing, you should mind your P's and Q's.
Posted by Tom, 1/26/2004 1:35:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
Friday, January 23, 2004
Dick Cheney is laying it on thick for the WMD searchers ("cover me! I'm going in!"). I'm having flashbacks to OJ's search for the real killer. Come on, guys. Dorothy didn't take this long leaving Oz.
Posted by Tom, 1/23/2004 9:40:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|NASA struggles to keep the Spirit alive. It's not that I want them to fail; Mars has been hanging there for my entire lifetime and we've done precious little about it. It's mocking us! Mocking us, I tell you! |
I just wish they'd figure out how to not be such boobs about this.
Posted by Tom, 1/23/2004 9:31:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|Ann Coulter's column this week is atypically incoherent until about halfway through, when she lets fly with this zinger:|
All the Democrats believe the way to strike fear in the hearts of the terrorists is for the federal government to invest heavily in windmills.
The rest is pretty good, but that line just made me laugh out loud. I guess I'm not the only one getting tired of the diversion tactics of alternative energy.
Posted by Tom, 1/23/2004 9:26:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
Thursday, January 22, 2004
So what else is new? Something of course went wrong with the Mars lander, and now we can't talk to it. But hey, no big deal. It's only taxpayer money.
That wet smacking sound you hear is me whapping my forehead into the wall.
Posted by Tom, 1/22/2004 4:42:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|These people seem pretty even-handed...|
The Blog of the Moderate Left
Posted by Tom, 1/22/2004 10:13:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
The Detroit News article from a few blog entries back has received a full point-for-point rebuttal from Gun Owners of America. Check it out, but pack a lunch. It's a long one.
Posted by Tom, 1/21/2004 11:19:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|If you, like me, are tired of the tin-foil-hat crowd on the Democratic side and their preposterous notions of what the Bush administration is really up to, you should swing by the George W. Bush Conspiracy Generator. It's oodles of fun for the whole family!|
Posted by Tom, 1/21/2004 10:44:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|It's a great subtitle for Ron Bailey's piece on Mars exploration, and the ways it might be accomplished without Uncle Sam's pencil pushers. Because when I think Mars, I think of ways to regulate it. |
Posted by Tom, 1/21/2004 6:51:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|Reason has an analysis of the Gephardt candidacy and a look at the State of the Union address and its effects on the coming election. |
Posted by Tom, 1/21/2004 6:48:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Put them in front of a camera with a microphone. Evan Coyne Maloney, who is an unabashed Bush promoter, lets more Dems show their idiocy in the latest installment of his entertaining "Dem on the street" interviews. Bush/Hitler comparisons abound, as the perennially indignant persist in their inability to distinguish between actual evil and "he doesn't agree with me" evil. The sorry part is that they're not even beating up on Bush for things that are actually worthwhile topics, like the continued assault on civil liberties, the wrongheaded changes in transportation security, and so forth. This is because they like government being intrusive; they just want their guys to be the ones doing the intruding.
Posted by Tom, 1/20/2004 3:07:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|To any readers who care, I've been on semi-hiatus for a while, with the holidays and a trip to Seattle and whatnot. Things are returning to "normal", whatever that means, so I should be delivering more of my typical sardonic commentary in the near future.|
Posted by Tom, 1/20/2004 1:45:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|Dick Gephardt bows out of the Democratic race to be the guy that gets stomped by George Bush. I'm losing track of how many potential losers we have left. Let's see, there's Clark, Dean, Kerry, and the utterly forgettable Edwards (I say this because I can never remember the guy's name or face). Is Sharpton still hanging in there, praying for a miracle?|
It's funny that the Dems seem to be backing Kerry, the only man competing with Al Gore in the "no personality" and "desperate ploy" departments. Apparently Democrats fancy a wooden man, stiffer than starch, who resorts to schticks like riding a motorcycle onto late-night TV, or transparently staging a make-out session with his wife in front of thousands of grossed-out fans.
Make fun of Bush's speech impediment all you like. At least it's actually entertaining. We have to wait for Darrell Hammond to make Kerry fun to watch.
Posted by Tom, 1/20/2004 1:37:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
Saturday, January 17, 2004
"I don't try to describe the future. I try to prevent it."
-- Ray Bradbury
My mercy's waiting
To open arms
Theres no shame
In your returning
Though you may have wandered far
-- Tammy Trent, "Welcome Home"
"A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones. "
-- Proverbs 17:22
Posted by Tom, 1/17/2004 11:37:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
Thursday, January 15, 2004
Bush wants to go to the moon. That's good in that I'd really like to see NASA do something useful -- or at least interesting -- with the space program. But I wonder if it might not be a better bet to hold out for the children of the X-Prize to get us to the moon, Mars, and beyond. If we leave it to government, any benefits so gained, such as mineral mining, will be lost to the bureaucracy and the feeding of Leviathan. Private concerns will seek to make a buck, and as they do so, the products and opportunities derived from space exploration will become available to the rest of us.
This isn't to say that NASA shouldn't try. God knows they need to do something to justify their wretched existence. And for a while, they will stay ahead of the private sector simply on the basis of having a head start and more funding. But as the internet has shown us, space travel will be a very different animal once the private sector gets hold of it.
Posted by Tom, 1/15/2004 12:56:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|Joe Potts makes a case for keeping an eye on trade restrictions as precursors to war. Trade ties us to other countries through the free exchange of goods and services, and keeps governments from easily engaging in the sophistry that leads to the demonization and dehumanization of our next enemy. This of course brings us to question the eventual ends that are being inadvertantly advocated by the anti-globalization types. If we accept (and I do) that trade prevents war, then globalization will prevent war, and those who advocate against it are actually advocating war or at least something that leads to it. It's too bad they're too busy screaming at the tops of their lungs to listen to a reasoned argument on the subject.|
Posted by Tom, 1/15/2004 12:45:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
No, this isn't one of those "I hate this politician, therefore I'll compare him to Hitler" posts. This is from Cathy Young, in her eminently reasonable style, as she expresses her exasperation with such practices. It is an exasperation which I share. The "race to Hitler" is becoming far too overused in American political discourse, and increasingly appears to be the rhetoric of choice for those with nothing to say on their own behalf and those who cannot intelligently argue against their opponent's policies. So I join Ms. Young in saying give it a rest. Please.
Posted by Tom, 1/13/2004 7:51:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
Friday, January 9, 2004
Posted by Tom, 1/9/2004 9:13:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
Thursday, January 8, 2004
So the "Mad Cow" scare has created a pretext for more socialistic tyranny. If the government didn't regulate it, who would? The markets, of course. Dr. Christopher Westley discusses the details.
Only in the public sector can such schemes persist. If a private regulatory agency performed as badly as the USDA, it would go broke. Producers or consumers who demand regulation so as to allow the long-term success and safety of the market would insist on changes. Such automatic feedback mechanisms are one of the primary reasons why markets perform so much better than public sector bureaucracies. Suppliers of regulation that did not adjust would then be weeded out of the market.
This process explains the vast majority of the economic development of the United States. To argue otherwise is to ignore the spontaneous evolution of private regulation that enables trades in venues such as eBay or Amazon.com. To argue otherwise is to be blinded by the role played by Underwriters Laboratories in the electronics industry for over 100 years. Indeed, to argue otherwise is to assume that it was purely by chance that the industrial revolution occurred during an era when most of D.C.'s real estate was marshland.
Posted by Tom, 1/8/2004 8:53:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|Armed Females of America has a great comment on a recent Detroit News article. It seems the News would have us believe that the safest firearm in the world is actually the most dangerous. AFA has already made all the rebuttal that needs to be made:|
Unfortunately I have known three people who have shot themselves with Glocks (none fatally) within the past seven years. All of them (including a police officer) received self-inflicted wounds because of omitting one very important firearms safety rule: "Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot."
A safety is a man made, mechanical device subject to failure, and the liberal media would lead you to believe that the warm and fuzzy notion of a mechanical safety will prevent accidents by even the most experienced gun handlers. The only true safety in the handling and operation of any type of equipment (especially firearms) is COMMON SENSE and THE OPERATOR.
What's this? Logic? Reason? Such things have no place in journalism!
Posted by Tom, 1/8/2004 8:38:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
Wednesday, January 7, 2004
You know things are getting bad when other countries are lecturing the USA on civil liberties. Ugh. How depressing.
Posted by Tom, 1/7/2004 4:31:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|Former PA officer admits trying to videotape girl, 11, in shower|
Trust your government. It's here to help.
Posted by Tom, 1/7/2004 10:01:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
Tuesday, January 6, 2004
American consumer debt is out of control. Our country and our economy was not built with debt; it was built with wealth (wealth is that which you own outright). This is a crisis in America, one which cannot be erased by government, and it is a primary reason that I hate government paternalism. When people become dependent on government, they let their personal lives get out of control and figure the government will take care of them when the going gets rough. Truly responsible individuals live as if government doesn't exist and plan for their own emergencies.
"In the long run, it's a ticking time bomb," [Wells Fargo Economist Sung Won] Sohn said. "At some point when you get a sharp setback in the economy or a spike in interest rates, the high debt causes instability."
I am not just pointing fingers here; I'm one of the people whose life has gotten out of hand. But I found Dave Ramsey and I am fixing it. I'm paying off debt, building an emergency fund, and saving for retirement. Being in debt up to your ears is normal in America, and I'm here to say that normal sucks. If you've got debt, get rid of it. Cut up the credit cards. Pay off those auto loans. Knock out that school loan. Do it NOW. If you have consumer debt you are one paycheck away from disaster and it is officially time to panic.
Posted by Tom, 1/6/2004 8:36:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
Monday, January 5, 2004
A principal in South Carolina has resigned as a result of a drug raid that he ordered into the school, which gave rise to allegations of racism and excessive force. This is all well and good, except that had the raid taken place in a predominately white school, nothing would have come of the incident. Y'see, it's OK to enforce draconian drug policy, and it's even OK to use excessive force against "children" while doing so. Never mind that the drug policy is on the wrong side of morality, or that the government's use of excessive force is in direct violation of Constitutional protections. Just make sure the kids aren't members of a protected race.
Posted by Tom, 1/5/2004 8:20:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|A sequel has been made to Pitch Black, that under-appreciated sci-fi movie of a few years ago. The Chronicles of Riddick stars Vin Diesel reprising his role as Riddick, the neato anti-hero from the original. There's a chick who is supposedly the girl who lived in the first movie, but for some reason her name has changed to "Kyra". I hate continuity holes.|
The original movie was standard monster fare, with the following plot elements:
- Remote location
- The need to get to some distant safe haven to be rescued
- Large obstacles to overcome, which will allow aforementioned monsters to pick off members of the group one by one until only the "real heroes" of the movie are left.
It's pretty standard stuff, ripped off from the Alien franchise and a thousand more like it, but it does have one thing that really stood out to me, and that's the character of Riddick. Unlike characters in other movies, he's actually capable of surviving and saving himself, and as introduced he has no moral qualms about doing just that. The other characters actually hamper his survival, and he's further ahead to just leave them. The interesting part is that he doesn't. It makes his character multidimensional, which is a rarity in Hollywood these days, and hints at something in his character that never gets displayed overtly for the audience, but is hinted at through his actions. We never really discover his motivations, and that makes him enigmatic and intriguing.
Whether the character gets done justice in the next movie remains to be seen, though I'm not holding much hope given Diesel's somewhat less interesting characters in fluff like XXX and Fast and the Furious. However, even in those films and Boiler Room he does have a habit of playing the "bad boy" who has a hidden, almost secret moral core that causes him to do the "right thing", so I guess I should give him credit for that. I just hope they don't screw up Riddick in this next movie. He's the most interesting character I've seen in a long while.
Posted by Tom, 1/5/2004 3:40:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...
|Thanks to those who have bumped the page counter in the last 2 weeks, sorry there hasn't been much to read. I'm back now, so I'll be getting back into curmudgeon mode here pretty quickly.|
Posted by Tom, 1/5/2004 3:24:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...