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Tuesday, May 27, 2003
This is 3709469. She was a research dog, until we adopted her last week.
She is two years old, and now goes by the name Charlotte.
Charlotte was treated humanely while she was doing her bit for science, and I have no problem with using animals this way, just so long as they are treated right. I know the conditions that she was kept in because I visited the facility myself, and I can tell you that I'd would rather my own animals were housed there than in the local SPCA.
Besides, when I take my animals to the vet, I realize that the quality of their care depends upon research like this. Hell, sometimes, the quality of my care depends upon research like this. The researchers are not the bad guys, even if they do have to work on puppies.
Charlotte, of course, has no idea.
Like most beagles, she really has no clue about a lot of things, but even by beagle standards, little Charlotte is a special case. She's been a lab dog since birth, and has spent her whole life apart from the world.
This is the very first time she walked on grass.
Lab puppies from reputable outfits are bred to be well-suited for research. Charlotte responds to handling of any sort of being still, almost as if she is playing possum. Put her down anywhere, and she stays put for about a count of five. Pet her, and she lies motionless. She responds to any sort on uncertainty or stress by simply flopping over on her side, and wagging her tail.
Initially, she responded to everything by simply flopping over on her side, but she's already getting better. It's fun to watch her slowly revert to more normal, dog-like behavior; chewing a piece of furniture, playing with a toy, chasing a bird in the lawn.
She was one of a batch of thirty identical dogs used to better understand the intricacies of canine pregnancy. Two of these dogs developed uterine infections and were taken aside to be spayed. Once recovered, these two dogs, and their twenty-eight companions, were to be euthanized at the end of the study. Typically, their remains would be given to other researchers for use in their own work, so that nothing is wasted, and no other dogs would have to be used instead.
This is the right thing to do, of course. I understand, and I approve, and I wish them the best of luck in their work, I really do.
Charlotte was one of the two that was taken aside to be spayed. Both of these dogs were adopted, with permission of the researchers, by two members of the staff who helped spay them.
Otherwise, she would have been sacrificed so that another researcher could have her heart.
Ironic, isn't it?
New Stuff Is Cool
Friday, May 22, 2003
I finally got my BlogRoll up and running.
So what's a BlogRoll? Basically, it's just a list of links to other sites that you like, but the cool part is that it can be sorted to list the most-recently updated sites first1. The net effect is a tremendous feeling of power... you can sit there, tapping the refresh button as you sip your coffee, master of all you survey as you monitor the entire internet, waiting for something new to crop up. Also, you can search everyone else's BlogRoll to see who else is linking to you, or linking to other sites that you like.
The BlogRoll is cool. Go visit it now, I'll wait.
We also have technorati.com, which provides a second way to find people who are linking to you. The third way, obviously, is a google search like this (link:http://www.fecesflingingmonkey.com) but curiously, I get different results with each of these methods.
The next cool thing on my list is something called BlogMatcher - basically, you type in the name of your blog (or any blog that you like) and it comes up with a list of similar blogs that you'll probably like as well. It does this by matching internal links - if both sites link to the same stuff, presumably they share a common interest. It works pretty good, too.
I love the internet.
1: Any site can be added to a BlogRoll, but it will never be sorted to the top of the list unless the author lets the folks at BlogRoll.com know that the site has been updated. It's easy to do.
One Of Our Own
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
Staff Sgt. Patrick Griffin Jr., 31, was killed May 13 when the 728th Air Control Squadron took fire while about 100 miles southeast of Baghdad.
Sgt. Griffin was a local guy, who lived right in my town. He leaves behind a devoted wife and two small children.
A memorial fund has been established to benefit Griffin's children. Contributions may be made to the Patrick Griffin Children's Education Fund, c/o The First National Bank of Dryden, P.O. Box 25, Dryden NY 13053-0025. I have arraigned an Amazon link to make it convenient to donate on line; please note that if you use the Amazon link, your money will be going to me, personally, and you will be trusting me to deliver it.
The Story So Far
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
We've reached an interesting milestone in the war. There is both good news and bad news to be found here, and if my impressions are correct, this next year will be an eventful one.
First the good news. From a strategic standpoint, we are in one a hell of a better position now then we were on September 12th, 2001. Afghanistan, once a beehive of enemy activity, has been essentially neutralized. No, we have not quite turned it into Vermont yet, and no, we have not eliminated every enemy operative from the Pakistani border, but we have greatly reduced the ability of the enemy to operate in this region for the foreseeable future. Afghanistan, in my estimation, is now one of the least hospitable places for the bad guys in that part of the world, and it is becoming even less hospitable as time goes on. I believe that Afghanistan, once the leadership, training, and political center of the enemy, has been all but abandoned by the people who had so abused it.
This was a remarkable victory, both for the warriors and the peacemakers who followed. I think it's a shame that they have not been given all the credit that they are due.
Secondly, the impact of our victory in Iraq on the larger war cannot be overestimated. We have projected a massive force into the heart of the enemy's homeland, and that force, in one form or another, is going to remain for years. We now have airfields and mechanized infantry on the border of almost every hostile nation in the region. Our ability to influence the governments of these nations - with various degrees of encouragement, covert action, or overt force - has never been stronger. More importantly, our intelligence gathering has taken a quantum leap forward. We are shining a light into the dark, dank corners of the world, and we are right there with a big stick, really to kill whatever disgusting little insects scurry out.
We are turning the tide. The days when the bad guys could cherry-pick their recruits, unmolested by their hosts in dozen hopeless nations are coming to a close.
Imagine that you are a Special Forces commander, tasked with finding and destroying the command structure of the enemy. What does it mean to you to now have an airfield in the middle of the region, access to literally tons of once-secret documents, and the cooperation of hundreds of once-hostile personnel?
Imagine you are a CIA officer charged with aiding and encouraging friendly dissident groups in Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran. What does it mean to you to have a safe haven for your new friends right on the border? How hard is it to convince them now that we are here to stay, and that we are capable of providing the support we promise?
Imagine you are a military planner, asked to plan what was once almost unthinkable - a massive invasion of Syria, a land and sea blockade of Libya, a sustained air campaign over Iran to support a local insurrection. Are such missions even impractical anymore?
Consider this from the other side... you are an advisor to the leadership of Syria, Saudi Arabia, or Iran, and you are trying to decide how bellicose your nation should be to the United States. Or maybe you are a high-level Al-Queda recruiter or financier, laying out your plan for the coming year, or maybe you are a fire-breathing Muslim cleric, the kind of guy who builds his personal power base by smashing television sets and burning Barbie dolls to keep people ignorant of the modern world. What are the realistic threats that you face now, both subtle and overt? Will these threats diminish over time? What are your options if push comes to shove?
How do you like the strategic landscape now?
Me, I like it just fine.
OK, now for the bad news. You're probably not going to like this part very much.
We did hurt the enemy. We caused them to scatter and regroup, killed off much of their leadership and destroyed many of their weapons, facilities, finances, and recruitment. Unfortunately, they have been able to recover, as we expected they would. And now that they have recovered, they will continue to strike back.
These are simple and irrefutable facts. They are still there. They still want, desperately, to do us great harm, and they are still quite capable of killing us by the thousands. Nobody ever said it would be over by now.
The current flurry of attacks this week - Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and (possibly) Turkey - were instructive both for what they were, and what they were not. These were fairly soft targets, geographically close to the cells which attacked them, the sorts of attacks which are suitable for an organization with limited logistical capability. They were not especially innovative attacks, and they did not demonstrate the ability to project power across the world that Al Queda once enjoyed. They were, however, very well coordinated operations and they were executed almost perfectly. Their operational security was good, their discipline and training were good, their communications and leadership were good, and they adapted, quickly, when the Saudi police were hot on their trails. These guys do know their stuff.
These were not strategic attacks; they were recruitment drives and training runs, and as such they were probably quite successful. Al Queda is encouraging recruits, collecting donations and developing a new generation of officers to replace the men that they lost. They are proving to themselves and to their supporters that they can operate in their new environment, that their command and control has adapted to the pressure we've applied.
We will probably see similar incidents in places like Indonesia, the Philippines, Africa, perhaps even Egypt or Northern India. I'd expect a little more tactical sophistication, more technology, more evidence of logistical and intelligence capability, as they stretch these new muscles and gain confidence in their growing capabilities.
And then I expect that they will hit us, and I expect that they will hit us hard.
They cannot afford a minor attack on the United States. They cannot afford to fail when they make their big move, or it would show they world that they are weak and we are strong. They certainly cannot afford to leave us unmolested forever. I am absolutely convinced that their near-term, strategic goal is a massive attack on the United States, and that everything they are doing now is being done in preparation for this attack.
I believe we will see such an attack within the months following the first demonstration of their ability to project power over distance. I believe the attack will be of a type we have not seen before, but will be based upon methods they have used with success in the past - a dirty truck bomb, or a massive ship bomb, are two obvious possibilities. I believe that a coordinated campaign involving smaller devices in populated areas may follow, but will not precede, the main attack, and that New York, Washington, Seattle, and Los Angeles will be the most likely targets. I do not think the timing will be affected by the elections, because I think that they will strike the instant that they are able to do so.
The tactics we saw in the Riyadh attack are instructive for another reason as well - they demonstrate the obsolescence of even well-designed static barriers as a defensive measure against terrorism. The compounds in Riyadh were essentially gated communities, with armed guards out front who stopped every vehicle that approached. The attackers simply ambushed the guards with small arms, then drove their bomb-laden vehicles inside.
Is there a stadium, and airport, or a shopping mall in this country with better security than that?
Of course, it's possible to provide countermeasures for an attack like this; the military does it all the time. First, you replace the rent-a-cops with real soldiers, and you set up multiple layers of security, with multiple physical barriers. You defend the inner barriers with weapons heavy enough to instantly stop even large civilian vehicles, and you command these weapons with men who really will use them on a moment's notice. If this seems to you like an impractical way to defend every apartment building in your neighborhood, you're absolutely right.
We have exactly one way to protect ourselves; we need to find the enemy and crush them before they can act. I have every confidence that we eventually succeed in accomplishing this task, but I doubt very much that we can do it as quickly as we would like. We are going to be punching each other for a while, and when they punch us, Americans, here in America, are going to die.
Make no mistake about it - we really are at war, and we will be at war for a long time to come.
Somebody Needs To Be Slapped
Tuesday, May 13, 2003
Well, the new fruit-flavored twenties are out. Have a look:
I have a couple of questions here...
First of all, who the fuck drew that picture of the President, a goddamn twelve-year-old? Look at his shoulders! Andrew Jackson was a tough, strapping guy who used to beat Indians to death before breakfast, and they make him look like Stephan fucking Hawking. How the hell did he even get his shirt on over that giant head?
Secondly, what's with the goddamn tulips, or butterflies, or whatever the fuck those little yellow things are supposed to be, doing all over the back of my money?
Finally, what's with the little fucking name tag on his lapel? Why doesn't it just say "Hello - My Name Is Andrew"?
Here, have a look at this. Remember these?
Look at Jackson - he looks like he could reach right out of that bill and kill somebody just for insulting his wife, which, y'know, he actually did once. Seriously.
OK, so maybe you have to add color. We did it a hundred years ago and still managed to make it look good:
If you must have a more modern design, even the friggin' Canadians have some taste:
Sure, it looks like monopoly money, but at least it's attractive monopoly money.
Maybe it's all just a conspiracy to move us into a cashless society. Well, it worked. I'm ready right now.
Just Keeping The Facts Straight
Sunday, May 10, 2003
I could write a few thousand words about the upcoming renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban, but I'd like to keep this simple and offer just a single point for your consideration.
Most people don't realise that virtually all of the 'banned' guns have remained legal all this time and have been easily available to the general public. Minor cosmetic changes or parts substitutions are generally all that is required to legally change an 'assault weapon' into an ordinary, legal rifle.
The Assault Weapons Ban did not keep any of these guns the streets. Think I'm kidding? Click any gun and you be taken to website where you can purchase one for yourself.
Remember this when the Democrats start claiming how effective the ban was in stopping crime, and express their worries about the 'flood of military-style weapons' that will hit the streets in the Republicans have their way. These guns are already there. They've been there for the last ten years, and you have not noticed them because they have only been involved in the smallest fraction of crimes.
I realize that many of you have little knowledge of guns, so before you get your panties in a knot, remember - there are not machineguns, they are ordinary rifles that just look like machineguns. Real machineguns were banned long ago (by Bush Sr, actually) and only pre-1986 weapons are available to specially-licensed owners. The AW ban did not ban machineguns - it was only intended to ban ordinary guns that looked like machineguns. This is why these guns have remained legal after only minor cosmetic changes.
You can't buy the guns direct from these websites. You have to have a licensed dealer order them for you, and you have to go through a background check, to prove you are an adult with a clean record, same as with any gun a dealer sells you.
Fun With Signage
Saturday, May 10, 2003
I was surfing through Blogdex the other day when I came across these neat little tools for building industrial safety signs.
They kept me occupied for a few hours.
These images are in the public domain, please feel free to reuse them. Click for full-sized pdfs.
Odds And Ends
Thursday, May 8, 2003
Years ago, I rented a vastly overlarge U-Hall truck to help my buddy move all his stuff home from college. It was a three-hour drive through some of the hilliest roads in the region, followed by another half hour of stop-and-go city driving before we reached our destination. Once we were home, I parked the truck in the driveway and hopped out to say hello to the folks.
A few minutes later we decided to reposition the truck to make unloading a little easier. Oddly, the brake pedal went right down to the floor with no resistance at all.
Imagine my surprise when I lifted the hood to discover that both master cylinders had spontaneously split right down the middle, causing a sudden and total failure of the vehicle's brakes. Right there, just sitting in the driveway. Just a few moments earlier or later and I would have had a genuine adventure on my hands.
Years pass. I spend the morning with my brother, making a couple of dump runs with my trusty 1986 Ford F150 pickup. I drop him off at home and take the highway back, eventually leaving the truck at my mother's place for a couple of days. Last night, I climbed aboard to take it home. It made a funny grinding noise when I drove it, so I stepped out to have a look.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered the truck's newly-filled gas tank resting lightly on the ground. The supports that held it up had finally rusted through and failed, leaving the rear of the tank supported only by the filler tube. The front of the tank, angled just right to take the full force of the truck's weight, would have been crushed into the pavement and torn open in a shower of sparks within seconds.
But it failed harmlessly right there, just sitting in the driveway.
Now, I'm not a religious man, but I do appreciate good fortune when I see it. I may not necessarily deserve it, but I appreciate it nonetheless.
Actual conversation this morning between me and my cat:
Me: You're a little biscuit, aren't you?
Me: Yes you are.
Me: You're a little biscuit.
We've probably had this conversation 300 times, always with the same result. Somehow, it seems to please both of us, and I'm sure we'll be having the same discussion again soon.
Normally, this sort of thing would be evidence of mental illness, but I'm sure other pet owners would understand. What the hell is the point of having a cat if you don't talk to it?
A few years ago I met a really smart guy who was also a passionate libertarian; while he was never able to successfully convert me to his cause, he gave me a much deeper appreciation for the power of uncoerced individual choice as both a moral imperative and as a surprisingly effective tool for social good. As much as I still disagree with libertarian philosophy, I have to admit that it has exerted a strong and generally positive influence on my thought.
One of the minor insights I enjoyed was the discovery that the political arena, traditionally defined with by horizontal axis running from Left to Right, could be better understood if a second, vertical axis were added. For example, if that new vertical axis were to run from "Authoritarian" to "Libertarian", we would see that it is possible to be both Left and Libertarian, Left and Authoritarian, Right and Libertarian, or Right and Authoritarian. I was pleased that these new categories mapped so nicely to political reality; after all, there are real differences between the EFF and Al Gore, or between Pete Dupont and Pat Buchanan. Just add a line and you get more detail, more richness, and more insight from your model.
So lately I've been reading Virginia Postrel's The Future And Its Enemies, which describes another axis - Dynamism vrs. Stasism, which can superficially be described as the distinction between those who prefer bottom-up, unplanned social change, and those who prefer that social change be managed and predictable. I'm only about a third of the way through but I'm already hooked, and the reason I'm hooked is that I think I now understand why I find libertarianism so compelling, yet so disagreeable at the same time. Dynamism does a nice job of extracting the part I like from libertarian thought while leaving the cruft behind.
I'm not done with the book and I'm certainly not done thinking about this yet. If any of you have anything interesting you'd like to add about Virginia's ideas please post a comment or send an email. I suspect I'm going to be chewing on this for quite a while.
Yes! Den Beste nails it again. This guy has a genuine talent for getting right to the point.
Welcome To America
Five Cuban immigrants wash ashore on Florida's South Beach:
[...] After arriving on shore late Tuesday, the men walked across the sand and made the packed South Beach bar their first stop in South Florida. "They asked the night manager for asylum," said Ryan Hammons, a supervisor.
It would have been pretty cool to have been there, no?
Quote Of The Day
What a great line:
You Make The Call
Some fuckwad tried to hijack a Qantas airliner with two sharpened sticks this morning. The flight attendants fought him off, and early accounts suggest they performed heroically under pressure.
The description of the attacker is curiously absent from the media accounts. Anybody want to place any bets on ethnicity of this assclown?
Sharpened sticks. Jesus christ.
Did I mention we are not going to win this war playing defense? And did I mention that flight crews ought to have access to firearms?
Update: Looks like it's not terrorisim after all:
I'll take that as good news...
You Won't See This On The Nightly News
This is worth posting (and not just because I predicted this outcome five years ago):
Marking the fifth anniversary of Texas' concealed carry law, a new report from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) shows that Texans with concealed carry permits are far less likely to commit a serious crime than the average citizen.
"Many predicted that minor incidents would escalate into bloody shootouts if Texas passed a concealed-carry law," [...] "That prediction was dead wrong." [...] According to the report, the slightly more than 200,000 Texans who have become licensed to carry a concealed firearm are much more law-abiding than the average person.
[...] Texans who exercise their right to carry firearms are 5.7 times less likely to be arrested for a violent offense. They are 14 times less likely to be arrested for a non-violent offense. They are 1.4 times less likely to be arrested for murder. Moreover, of the six licensees who were arrested and tried for murder or non-negligent manslaughter, four were found not guilty because they had acted in self-defense.
The right to carry may also be affecting Texas' crime rate in a positive way. Texas had a serious crime rate in the early 1990s that was 38 percent higher than the national average. Since then, serious crime in Texas has dropped 50 percent faster than for the nation as a whole. Murder rates have dropped 52 percent, compared to 33 percent nationally. Rapes have fallen by 22 percent compared to 16 percent nationally.
It wasn't a hard prediction. This is what usually happens when sensible carry laws are introduced.
Why? It's easy. You can't get a carry permit if you have a criminal record. Adults without criminal records rarely commit violent crimes later in life, whether they are armed or not.
Time Was, We Used To Fear These Things
Now they are either just targets, or toys.
Of course, I want one.
"We Need So Many Nines..."
It's happened to all of us - your reference kilogram starts mysteriously wasting away after a hundred years and you scramble to find a replacement.
How about a hand-polished ball of silicon? After all,
It's probably the roundest item ever made by hand. "If the earth were this round, Mount Everest would be four meters tall," Dr. Nicolaus said. An intriguing characteristic of this smooth ball is that there is no way to tell whether it is spinning or at rest. Only if a grain of dust lands on the surface is there something for the eye to track.
...and besides, everybody knows that this is way cooler than some lamo electronic scale.
From The Comfort Of Home
Check this out - a 360° panoramic view from the summit of Mount Everest.
Back in my day, you had to work to see stuff like this...
Why I Love The Internet
Yesterday I stumbled upon the story of the Voynich Manuscript, something I'd never even heard of before. I start following the links and quickly find myself deep in a fascinating world that had just lain there, undiscovered by me, for god knows how long...
(Follow the link above, and search for the word "Voynich". It's a blogger-powered site, so the permalinks never work). You can see scans of most of the original pages here, and descriptions of the pages here.
OK, so who am I kidding? The real reason I like the internet is because of sites like this.
Thought For The Day
I thought this was pretty good:
You'll probably be surprised to see who said it, too.
Blast From The Past
You just want to dive into that scene and shout "Nooooooo"!
God Help Us All
Our good friends at the DMV have struck another blow for Homeland Security:
[...] Division of Motor Vehicle officials do not verify who steps in front of their cameras, so there is no way of knowing whether the motorist who requested the duplicate license is the person who had their picture taken.
DMV Director Diane Legreide blames the problem on the agency's antiquated computer systems and said there may not be a quick-fix solution. The report also noted that DMV regulations allow the same person to receive up to eight duplicate licenses per day.
Antiquated computer systems??! What, you need a modern computer before you can ask to see someone's fucking ID?
How about "DMV Director Diane Legreide asked that we not blame her, or her staff, for their incredible incompetence, and that we instead all join together to give her department some more money".
Jesus fucking christ. A driver's license is like a passport - you can use it for almost anything, from opening a bank account to renting a car... and you can just walk in and get one, under anybody's name, and they don't bother to check your ID?
I'm sorry, but even I have a hard time believing this. Somebody tell me it's some sort of horrible misunderstanding? Please?
This Is Kind Of Interesting
Most people know that prostitution is legal in some parts of Nevada. Have you ever wondered what the girls really look like?
The newly-announced plan to disarm Iraqi citizens is a mistake.
This is the sort of thing that may sound good, until you actually get to the point of trying to enforce it. Presumably, we are concerned about roving gangs of criminals - the sort of people that the locals will happily finger for us - yet we clearly lack the ability to find them and arrest them. Not enough cops, or not enough trust, to get the job done. So how in god's name are we supposed to confiscate a million AKs from people who are rightly suspicious of the government and rather sensitive to the possibility that this government may abuse them?
My call? This policy gets quietly 'modified' in a hurry.
Funny How That Keeps Happening
Instapundit gets the goods on the dickheads at CNN. Here's the money quote:
So was CNN incredibly ignorant and gullible here, or was it deliberately passing along anti-gun propaganda that it knew to be false? I'm going with explanation one [...] though it is a bit suspicious that these mistakes tend to wind up supporting gun control every time.
I'm still waiting for the "mistake" that suggests that affirmative action was a failure, or the one that implies that Arafat is nothing more than a terrorist thug. After all, mistakes happen all the time...
Quote Of The Day
The always-interesting Col. Jeff Cooper:
Write Your Representitives
Here's a neat little tool for finding and contacting your federal, state, and local representatives (I've also added this to the archive section at the bottom of this page). Let me know if it works for you...
Here's something to think about:
[Imagine that it is] just 2 months from the presidential election and the democrats pull a Torricelli[...] Whoever the candidate is for the democrats steps down and Hillary takes his place. With only 2 months left to the campaign no one is allowed to run negative (according to McCain Feingold) campaign adds against Hillary.
I don't think there is a chance in hell it's going to happen, of course, but I do think that McCain-Feingold is a fucking disgrace that has no place in a free and democratic society.
And I remember that, too, every time I see McCain standing behind a microphone.
We Almost Lost One Of Our Own This Week
James Rummel had a rough day on Sunday. Stop by, and let him know we're glad to have him back.
Link Of The Day
One of the most irritating things I've been hearing from the Clinton apologists lately is how well Clinton's military did in Iraq last month! After all, they claim, Bill Clinton always stood for a strong defense, and Republican claims that he gutted the military are just so much political hogwash.
Well, the good folks at ATP take that argument and shove it right back up Terry McAuliffe's ass where it belongs.
Even if you don't care much for the topic, read the post anyway - it's an outstanding example of how to properly use a blog to nail a good point home. Research, hyperlinks, good data display and open discussion of the facts go a long way towards winnowing the truth from the chaff.
Breaking - Outstanding Good News
MSNBC is reporting that "Dr. Germ" - aka Rihab Taha - is in custody.
This lady is a serious Bad Actor - arguably one of the most dangerous people that the bad guys had on their side. Obviously, her capture represents an intelligence windfall for us, but the important thing is that she is now out of circulation, and out of the business of mass-producing biological weapons for the shitbirds she chose to ally herself with.
Link Of The Day
When I'd heard that George Bush decided to minimise the role of NGOs in rebuilding Iraq, I was delighted.
You Go Girl
Intel Dump has an interesting post about women in the military. While I remain divided on this issue myself, I very much appreciate the President's approach as the correct way to address it.
I especially liked this quote:
MP Sgt. Nicola Hall told a reporter in Afghanistan after the mission. "[The 82nd Airborne soldiers] have been nothing but respectful to us; as long as you walk, carry your own weight and don't whine, you're respected."
In own experience, this applies nicely to the civilian world as well. Maybe it really is that easy.
More Good Blogs
I just discovered Michael Totten's place today. I especially liked this post, which contained the following Important Reminder:
A political theory founded on the natural goodness of humans and the autonomy of the individual and favoring civil and political liberties, government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority.
I have no disagreement - none at all - with that kind of liberalisim. I'd be proud to be called a liberal, if that's what it meant when you said it.
Read the whole post... hell, read the whole site, it's all good.
(Via This post at RLD, which is also pretty good).
How He Did It
I was wondering how, exactly, that guy cut his own arm off the other day. Now I know:
"I was able to first snap the radius and then within another few minutes snap the ulna at the wrist and from there, I had the knife out and applied the tourniquet and went to task. It was a process that took about an hour," he said.
Of course, here's how he really did it:
I know, deep in my heart, that my character is made more of Homer Simpson then of guys like this. That's why guys like this are my heroes.
Quote Of The Day
Justice Alex Kozinski, on the Ninth Circuit's latest decision:
"The sheer ponderousness of the panel's opinion--the mountain of verbiage it must deploy to explain away these fourteen short words of constitutional text--refutes its thesis far more convincingly than anything I might say. The panel's labored effort to smother the Second Amendment by sheer body weight has all the grace of a sumo wrestler trying to kill a rattlesnake by sitting on it--and is just as likely to succeed."
Update: The Angry Clam has more.
Things That Make You Go "Hmmm"
Here's a news headline you don't see every day:
"Questioned", huh? Kinda like, Dude? What's with the head? And the knife?
And where were you going?"
More Fun With Statistics
Now, I know what each of you is thinking - OK, smart guy, so how many white females in their twenties were killed in non-motor-vehicle machinery accidents in the year 2000? Happily, I can now say with some confidence that there were none. Don't you feel better now?
Anyway, about 100,000 people did die accidentally that year. Here's a quick breakdown:
Unintentional Deaths Year 2000, United States All Races, Sexes, Ages Total 97,900 Fall 13,322 Poisoning 12,757 Suffocation 5,648 Pedestrian 4,598 Drowning 3,482 Residential Fire 2,955 Firearm 776
So, I suppose the message is clear - if you are going to keep a gun, do it safely. Always look both ways before carrying it across the street.