Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

photo by Nigel Howe found here: http://environmentalgraffiti.com/chemistry/news-explosively-cool-chemistry-behind-fireworks

Even a murderous dictator can be a talented artist

Guess who was the artist who painted all five of these paintings? Adolf Hitler!

Many more of Hitler's paintings can be found here: http://environmentalgraffiti.com/news-hitlers-paintings?image=13

What's good for the goose...

Both David Gregory and President Obama have children attending Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C. There are at least eleven armed security officers at that school. Via the freedom accorded to us by the internet, here is an excerpt from the school directory: https://www.sidwell.edu/directories/index.aspx?FirstName=&LastName=&DepartmentTypeID=78&DivisionID=&sortBy=LastName&LinkID=&DirectoryModuleID=341&pageaction=VPFaculty found here: http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=33439

Safety Tips

found here: http://www.theospark.net/2012/12/gun-safety-tipsfrom-rico.html

"Intercourse marriage"

From Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit, this video shows a Wahhabi cleric in Saudi Arabia, Muhammed al-Arifi, who is very influential in Jihadi circles, recently issued a fatwa (religious edict) that permits all Jihadist militants in Syria to engage in short-lived marriages with Syrian women that each lasts for a few hours in order to satisfy their sexual desires and boost their determination in killing Syrians. He called the marriage as ‘intercourse marriage’. It requires that the Syrian female be at least 14 years old, widowed, or divorced.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Laws are for little people

Mark Steyn examines the David Gregory case, compares it with some other cases in the news, and concludes that "laws are for little people." Read the whole thing here: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/336573/laws-are-little-people-mark-steyn

Obamacare and religious freedom

How could anyone not appreciate this spokesperson for Hobby Lobby?

How will the conflict in Syria affect Iraq?

Henri J. Barkey writes at The American Interest that there is an overlooked aspect to the violence in Syria: what will happen in neighboring Iraq?

The mainstream Western press seems to have forgotten that Syria also shares a border with Iraq. Iraq’s strategic location and its cross-sectarian and cross-ethnic fault lines make its implosion a great threat to the long-term stability and well-being of the region. The shock waves—unbridled sectarian and ethnic violence, possible interstate interventions and warfare, and much higher oil prices—could also jolt the international economy, sparing no one.

Syria pales in comparison to Iraq when it comes to regional political significance. Iraq, a nation of nearly 33 million, is first and foremost a major oil producer. Its relevance as a producer will only grow with time because so many new fields and hydrocarbon sources are in the process of being discovered and brought online. Global oil demand, especially because of the growth in emerging economies such as China, India, Turkey and Brazil, will continue to increase while new oil becomes more expensive and more difficult to find. Iraqi ambitions, even if exaggerated at times, are likely to make that country a pivotal state in the global and regional oil equation. Already Iraqi oil production has overtaken that of neighboring Iran.

Both Syria and Iraq are situated on the Sunni-Shi’a fault line. As contentious the current sectarian-driven conflict may be in Syria, the Shi’a offshoot there, the ruling Alawis, constitute a small minority, maybe 12 percent of the total population. The Alawis owe their privileged position to Hafez al-Assad, who as an Alawi general went about systematically embedding fellow Alawis in senior positions throughout the security bureaucracy. The security agencies also became a source of jobs and upward mobility for poor Alawis, as well as allied minorities like Druze and some Christians. The state assumed a sectarian character. The Syrian uprising, if successful, will result in the Sunnis toppling the Alawi-dominated state.

Today Iraq is held together by a shoestring. Violence is on the upsurge, and Maliki is increasingly demonstrating his authoritarian tendencies as he pushes forward with an agenda that has not won him any friends in the region. The Saudis have not given him much quarter and would like to see him go. He has made an enemy of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as each accuses the other of putting sectarian interests ahead of regional interests and stability. Turks provided refuge to the Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, who escaped following his indictment on charges of helping Sunni death squads to operate in Baghdad. This increasing regional rift may be music to the ears of many Iraqi Sunnis, who have been heard saying, in effect, “the Ottomans are back in Istanbul, the Umayyad are about to re-conquer Damascus, and next Sunni Abbasid power will return to Baghdad.”

Iranian behavior even well short of a military intervention can mightily complicate matters in Baghdad as Maliki tries to navigate treacherous waters: He will not want to appear to be in Tehran’s pocket while trying to extend a branch to Sunnis, something that will be extremely difficult in any case. Iraq will therefore become the new front line in the Sunni-Shi’a war, and one naturally expects the Saudis and other Gulf countries to pour resources into this conflict even beyond those they are already putting forth.

Read much more here: http://www.the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=1365

The college classroom is about to go virtual

Nathan Harden writes at The American Interest that "the college classroom is about to go virtual."

In fifty years, if not much sooner, half of the roughly 4,500 colleges and universities now operating in the United States will have ceased to exist. The technology driving this change is already at work, and nothing can stop it. The future looks like this: Access to college-level education will be free for everyone; the residential college campus will become largely obsolete; tens of thousands of professors will lose their jobs; the bachelor’s degree will become increasingly irrelevant; and ten years from now Harvard will enroll ten million students.

The college classroom is about to go virtual.

The live lecture will be replaced by streaming video. The administration of exams and exchange of coursework over the internet will become the norm. The push and pull of academic exchange will take place mainly in interactive online spaces, occupied by a new generation of tablet-toting, hyper-connected youth who already spend much of their lives online. Universities will extend their reach to students around the world, unbounded by geography or even by time zones. All of this will be on offer, too, at a fraction of the cost of a traditional college education.

The changes ahead will ultimately bring about the most beneficial, most efficient and most equitable access to education that the world has ever seen. There is much to be gained. We may lose the gothic arches, the bespectacled lecturers, dusty books lining the walls of labyrinthine libraries—wonderful images from higher education’s past. But nostalgia won’t stop the unsentimental beast of progress from wreaking havoc on old ways of doing things. If a faster, cheaper way of sharing information emerges, history shows us that it will quickly supplant what came before. People will not continue to pay tens of thousands of dollars for what technology allows them to get for free.

This past spring, Harvard and MIT got the attention of everyone in the higher ed business when they announced a new online education venture called edX. The new venture will make online versions of the universities’ courses available to a virtually unlimited number of enrollees around the world. Think of the ramifications: Now anyone in the world with an internet connection can access the kind of high-level teaching and scholarship previously available only to a select group of the best and most privileged students. It’s all part of a new breed of online courses known as “massive open online courses” (MOOCs), which are poised to forever change the way students learn and universities teach.

Top schools like Yale, MIT and Stanford have been making streaming videos and podcasts of their courses available online for years, but MOOCs go beyond this to offer a full-blown interactive experience. Students can intermingle with faculty and with each other over a kind of higher-ed social network. Streaming lectures may be accompanied by short auto-graded quizzes. Students can post questions about course material to discuss with other students. These discussions unfold across time zones, 24 hours a day. In extremely large courses, students can vote questions up or down, so that the best questions rise to the top. It’s like an educational amalgam of YouTube, Wikipedia and Facebook.

In the future, the primary platform for higher education may be a third-party website, not the university itself. What is emerging is a global marketplace where courses from numerous universities are available on a single website.

MIT is the first elite university to offer a credential for students who complete its free, open-source online courses. (The certificate of completion requires a small fee.) For the first time, students can do more than simply watch free lectures; they can gain a marketable credential—something that could help secure a raise or a better job.

Read much more here: http://the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=1352

Are you a confused intellectual?

Walter Russell Mead writes about the crisis of the American intellectual.
Since the late nineteenth century most intellectuals have identified progress with the advance of the bureaucratic, redistributionist and administrative state. The modern corporation was supposed to evolve in a similar way, with business becoming more stable, more predictable and more bureaucratic. Most intellectuals today still live in a guild economy. The learned professions – lawyers, doctors, university professors, the clergy of most mainline denominations, and (aspirationally anyway) school teachers and journalists – are organized in modern day versions of the medieval guilds. Fortunately for the rest of society if not for the guilds, developments in IT and telecommunications now make it possible to reduce costs dramatically in the learned professions. Increasingly, people will seek and acquire more control over the decisions that shape their lives.
Read more here: http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2010/12/08/the-crisis-of-the-american-intellectual/

What is "fairness?" What is "tolerance?"

Jeff Goldstein writes a riveting essay on the New Left at protein wisdom.

What is so frightening — but not terribly unexpected — is the growing confidence the New Left has in the success of its takeover of the country. The “post-partisan,” “post-racial” presidency of Barack Obama has been, predictably, the most partisan presidency of our lifetime, with racial division and class division constantly stoked by the very same people who, long ago, cut their radical teeth on what they’ve now learned to package in the parlance of free-market capitalism and American ideals. Phrases like “economic patriotism” and “fair share” and “tolerance” resonate precisely because they pay superficial homage to longtime American sensibilities, even as they are actively working to deconstruct and re-imagine the traditional referents to which they attach themselves: fairness is redefined not as a stable rule of law and an equality of opportunity guaranteed by natural rights, but rather as stealing the fruits of one individual’s labor to transfer it to another individual who hasn’t put in the labor himself; tolerance is no longer defined by our willingness to accept ideas and opinions we may personally find repulsive, but is rather now a form of speech control, whereby any offense given is deemed “intolerant” and worthy of public shame and silencing.

To aid in bringing the United States in line with past attempts at leftist Utopianism, the New Left is using the Cloward-Piven playbook to try to crash the system, create the global crisis that will remove the US as a hyperpower and allow them to step in and reorganize the society around their notion of “fairness.” Which is precisely this: they know what’s best and they will determine how the rest of us live.

It’s about power. And it’s a story as old as man.

Read much more here: http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=46294

Hezbollah's cocaine Jihad

Eldad Beck writes at YNET Magazine that Los Zetas is the most technologically advanced and most dangerous cartel operating in Mexico. Guess who is working with Los Zetas? Hezbollah! Beck writes,

US intelligence indicates that Mexico is home to some 200,000 Syrian and Lebanese immigrants – most of them illegal – who were able to cross the border via an extensive web of contacts with drug cartels, both in Mexico and in other countries in South America.

These cartel contacts smuggle illegal immigrants – including individuals affiliated with Iran, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist groups – into Mexico, placing them a virtual stone's-throw away from the United States.

Western intelligence agencies have been able to gather ample evidence suggesting that the drug cartels in Mexico – which are the de facto rulers of the northern districts bordering the US – are in cahoots with Islamic terror organizations, which are eager to execute attacks against American, Israeli, Jewish and western targets; but most of all, the Islamic terror groups are eager to make money, so they can fund their nefarious aspirations.

In December 2011, the US authorities released an indictment filed against Lebanese drug lord Ayman Juma, which exposed Hezbollah's involvement with the Los Zetas drug cartel.

Juma was indicted in absentia for smuggling 85 tons of cocaine into the US and for laundering $850 million for Los Zetas. He was also accused of serving as a go-between for the Mexican crime syndicate and the Shiite terror group.

According to US officials, for a modest 8%-14% commission, Juma's money laundering process would take about a week. The operation involved bank accounts in dozens of countries, making it virtually impossible to track the dirty money.

Furthermore, US intelligence concluded that Hezbollah has established sleeper cells, intelligence infrastructure and training bases in Mexico and other South American countries. The Shiite group is also helping the drug lords build smuggling tunnels under the US-Mexico border and satellite images show that they are nearly identical to the maze of tunnels running under the Gaza-Egypt border.

Hezbollah is also training the cartels' operatives in the dubious art of explosives, helping drug lords improve their bomb-making skills.

The committee found evidence that Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard officials pick up fake passports in Venezuela – a close ally of Iran – prior to infiltrating the United States.

The US' concern about the smuggling tunnels increased exponentially in 2009, when a Department of Homeland Security wiretap derived a recording of Professor Abdallah Nafisi, a Kuwaiti clergyman and a known al-Qaeda recruiter, boasting about the ease by which nonconventional warfare and weapons of mass destruction can be smuggled into the US, through the Mexican drug tunnels.

"Ten pounds of anthrax in a medium-size suitcase, carried by a Jihad warrior through the tunnels can kill 300,000 Americans in one hour," he said. "It will make 9/11 look like peanuts. There's no need for plans… Just one courageous man, to spread this confetti on the White House lawn. Then we will really be able to celebrate."

The bottom line may prove to be a bitter pill to swallow for the US: It is very likely that in a few years, the US – much like Israel – will have to deal with its own Hezbollah presence, right across the border.

Read more here: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4325850,00.html

What will Hillary and Barack do?

al Qaeda's Yemen branch is offering a bounty of gold worth $160,000 to anyone who kills this man. His name is Gerald M. Feierstein, the U.S. ambassador to Yemen. al Qaeda is also offering $23,000 to anyone who kills a U.S. soldier. the offer is valid for six months, according to the Associated Press.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/12/30/al-qaida-branch-in-yemen-offers-bounty-for-killing-us-ambassador-troops/?test=latestnews#ixzz2GaJihc6s

On being controlled by our "betters" in government

Maggies Farm's Bird Dog is on a rant about government control:

These failures of a minority of bad apples to get with the program invite the state to step in in an effort to provide controls and supports externally. Thus we all lose a bit of freedom each time some jerk, idiot, sociopath, addict, or lunatic abrogates his American dignity and fails at running his own life in the manner of an honest, free, law-abiding and upstanding citizen. It's a shame - and wrong - that the least moral and worse-behaving of our population should have the power to deprive freedoms from the vast majority of decent citizens who aim to construct honorable, dignified, and independent lives by following their consciences or God's will as best they can.

Go ahead and ask me why I might want a 30-clip magazine, or a Big Gulp Coke. Well, I don't really want those things, but I don't want them forbidden me. I have a handgun carry permit, but I don't walk around armed all the time. Rarely, in fact. I might as well ask why you need a car that goes 110 mph, when car deaths in the US are far higher than gun deaths (32,000, vs 600 deaths by rifle - half of them suicides and others accidents).

(For other stats: Swimming pool drownings in the US: Approx. 3000 per year, mostly young kids. Backyard pools frighten me far more than guns do. I hate pools and I like guns... Also, firearm murders with illegal handguns thus far in the gun-banning village of Chicago, 2012: 470.)

Read more here: http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/21257-Do-American-citizens-require-everything-in-their-lives-to-be-controlled-by-their-betters-in-government.html

Crawling with terrorist groups

Daniel Greenfield writes about recent history in the Middle East:

Back in the bad old Bush days, Iraq became a focal point of activity for terrorist groups and terrorist militias, but that was bush league stuff. With Obama, there is no longer a focal point because the entire Middle East is crawling with terrorist groups and terrorist militias running from one war to another in the endlessly exciting adventure of democracy that is the Arab Spring.

The entire Middle East is a war zone now with terrorists and militias moving back and forth to feast on the instability and carve out their own private Benghazis where a man with a beard and a gun can provide protection in exchange for cash, and then take the weekend off to torch an American embassy or two.

This is Obama's Brave New Middle East, born out of Benghazi, but coming to every town and city. Four Americans dead in a single attack is not the scandal of it, but the symptom of it, those deaths are what happens when you tear down every allied government and replace them with mobs of gunmen whose constitution is the Koran and who despise the United States no matter how many bombs and press releases it drops in their defense.

Read the whole thing here, and weep: http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2012/12/first-plane-out-of-benghazi.html

Morgan and Nugent debate the Second Amendment

Here is a video that will hold your interest: Piers Morgan and Ted Nugent square off on the Second Amendment!

Unprecedented run on guns and ammo

Since Election Day there has been an unprecedented run on ammunition and weapons all across the United states. To read the numbers and percentages, go here: http://networkedblogs.com/Gtqo0

People of great courage

Are there still people of great courage in this world? Trudy Rubin has chosen a few to write about in a year-end column. There is Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting girls’ education.

I name her first because she stands for so many brave girls in Swat and other remote Pakistani and Afghan regions who risk their lives by insisting on their right to study. In case anyone needs reminding of the danger, consider this: According to recent British press reports, Malala called officials in Pakistan to urge them to reverse a decision to rename a college in her honor, in her hometown of Mingora. The reason? The girls at the college feared it would become a target for attack if it bore her name.

Of the many extraordinary Afghan women I’ve met, I’ll cite two, who both live in the city of Herat, near the border with Iran. Suraya Pakzad runs shelters for women abused by family or spouses (the only other alternatives for such women are prison or murder by their relatives), and Maria Bashir is the only provincial chief prosecutor in the country. Both receive frequent death threats, but they refuse to go into hiding. Pakzad was recently in Washington to ask U.S. officials not to trade away women’s rights in any talks with the Taliban. Will we let her down?

Finally, let me pay tribute to Alexei Navalny, a 30ish Russian blogger, anticorruption crusader and leader of Moscow’s middle-class opposition to Vladimir Putin’s autocracy. I met Navalny in Moscow in March, where he described how he trolls through documents leaked by disgruntled bureaucrats to reveal the mafia-like criminal behavior of the regime.

Navalny is fearless, even accusing Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s FBI-style Investigative Committee and a Putin buddy, of criminal property violations. But the regime has struck back, leveling ludicrous corruption charges against Navalny and his brother, a common tactic to silence dissidents. These kinds of charges can lead to long prison terms, or even murder, yet Navalny refuses to bow.

Read about more courageous people here: http://www.omaha.com/article/20121228/NEWS0802/712289979/1677

Forestalling or repairing damage done by aging

Should we spend most of our research dollars on cures for cancer and heart disease, only to have people die of other age-related diseases? Peter Singer writes at Project Syndicate that Aubrey de Grey believes more money should be spent on aging itself. Singer writes,

In developed countries, aging is the ultimate cause of 90% of all human deaths; thus, treating aging is a form of preventive medicine for all of the diseases of old age. Moreover, even before aging leads to our death, it reduces our capacity to enjoy our own lives and to contribute positively to the lives of others. So, instead of targeting specific diseases that are much more likely to occur when people have reached a certain age, wouldn’t a better strategy be to attempt to forestall or repair the damage done to our bodies by the aging process?

Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-ethics-of-anti-aging-by-peter-singer#y9myjiyG8KUi47at.99

"Pandemoneum" at local gun show

Even though local media reported hourly that the backlog on background checks was up to over ten thousand people, thousands of people crowded the aisles of a local gun show Saturday in Denver to purchase assault rifles and other guns. Ryan Parker wrote the story for the Denver Post, saying that

As of 7 p.m., Saturday, the Colorado Bureau of Investigations listed 12,797 checks in queue with a wait time of seven days. CBI listed 1,643 checks as processed on Saturday. The CBI has asked lawmakers for $500,000 to help handle the backlog.

The show continues today. Do you think a lot of Coloradans are worried about the federal government taking their guns?

Read more: Denver gun show draws huge crowd despite long background-check times - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22280309/denver-gun-show-draws-buyers-protesters#ixzz2GZ1trAuI

How the terrorists respond to our drone attacks

What happens to people who tip off the C.I.A. as to the location of al Qaeda or Taliban terrorists? They get hunted down, tortured, forced to give a videotaped confession, and murdered. Declan Walsh writes in the New York Times,

Al Qaeda and the Taliban have few defenses against the American drones that endlessly prowl the skies over the bustling militant hubs of North and South Waziristan in northwestern Pakistan, along the Afghan border. C.I.A. missiles killed at least 246 people in 2012, most of them Islamist militants, according to watchdog groups that monitor the strikes. The dead included Abu Yahya al-Libi, the Qaeda ideologue and deputy leader.

Despite the technological superiority of their enemy, however, the militants do possess one powerful countermeasure.

For several years now, militant enforcers have scoured the tribal belt in search of informers who help the C.I.A. find and kill the spy agency’s jihadist quarry. The militants’ technique — often more witch hunt than investigation — follows a well-established pattern. Accused tribesmen are abducted from homes and workplaces at gunpoint and tortured. A sham religious court hears their case, usually declaring them guilty. Then they are forced to speak into a video camera.

The taped confessions, which are later distributed on CD, vary in style and content. But their endings are the same: execution by hanging, beheading or firing squad.

Read more of the gory details here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/30/world/asia/drone-war-in-pakistan-spurs-militants-to-deadly-reprisals.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Losing a protector

Yesterday a friend of mine at work was doing a menial chore. I jokingly asked her if this is what she had envisioned for herself when, as a little girl, she dreamed about what she would do when she grew up.

She answered immediately, "I wanted to be a cop!" In fact, she enrolled in criminology classes in college in order to advance toward that goal. In one of those classes, as I understand her explanation, a sort of video game was played. The scene was domestic violence. A man had beaten up his wife, and was holding a gun to his child's head. My friend was the cop called to the scene. She waited for him to be distracted, then "took him out!"

The professor was appalled, and counseled my friend to find another career. He explained that the proper response would have been for her to find a way to negotiate with the man.

Thus, a college professor caused us to lose a protector.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

While you hide your guns, you might also want to consider hiding your kitchen knives

Doctors in Britain are calling for a ban on long, pointed kitchen knives.

From BBC:

They argued many assaults are committed impulsively, prompted by alcohol and drugs, and a kitchen knife often makes an all too available weapon.

The research is published in the British Medical Journal.

The researchers said there was no reason for long pointed knives to be publicly available at all.

They consulted 10 top chefs from around the UK, and found such knives have little practical value in the kitchen.

None of the chefs felt such knives were essential, since the point of a short blade was just as useful when a sharp end was needed.

The researchers said a short pointed knife may cause a substantial superficial wound if used in an assault - but is unlikely to penetrate to inner organs.

Read more here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4581871.stm

Teachers get trained on firearms

In Ohio:
More than 450 teachers and other school employees from across Ohio have applied for 24 spots in a free firearms-training program being offered by the Buckeye Firearms Association. Read more here: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/12/29/scores-of-school-workers-want-gun-training.html

In Utah:

More than 150 Utah teachers and school workers took time off from their winter breaks Thursday to attend a free class on how to carry concealed weapons and respond to mass violence such as the recent shooting in a Connecticut elementary school. Read more here:http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/55534344-78/class-utah-concealed-gun.html.csp

How do we reach younger voters?

Leading conservative and libertarian thinkers I read on the internet are trying to come up with a message to appeal to younger voters in order to get them to vote Republican instead of Democrat. They reason that because Republicans stand for more freedom from big government control, all we have to do is emphasize that message, and young people will join up in droves. Surely, the argument goes, that message of freedom and liberty should have great appeal to younger voters. Not so fast. We also believe in personal responsibility and self control. Do we have to hide those beliefs in order to attract younger voters?

Violence in Iraq

I am not just showing this picture because it shows a car that is in worse shape than mine.

Not only are there huge protests in Iraq, as seen in my last post, but violence there is escalating. 48 people have been killed there in various car bomb attacks this week.

Read the details here: http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/least-25-killed-across-iraq

Another day, another mob in the Middle East

Tens of thousands of people are blocking the main highway from Iraq to Syria and Jordan. They are upset at Prime Minister Maliki, accusing him of being a dictator. A dictator? In Iraq? Imagine that! Maliki is a Shiite, and the protesters are Sunnis.

Read the details here: http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/anti-government-protests-sweep-iraq

Saudis arrest dozens for "plotting to celebrate Christmas!"

Saudi police have detained "dozens" of people for "plotting to celebrate Christmas."

The raid is the latest in a string of religious crackdowns against residents perceived to threaten the country's strict religious code. Saudi religious police are known to detain residents of the kingdom at whim, citing loose interpretations of Sharia and public statements by hardline religious leaders to justify crackdowns.

Read more here, including apostasy charges (death penalty) for people who dare to "go beyond the realm of obedience>" http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/saudi-detains-dozens-plotting-celebrate-christmas

via Dan Friedman at Theo Spark

Yep, the same people

Friday, December 28, 2012

Senator Feinstein's gun grab

Bruce McQuain has a summary of Senator Diane Feinstein's proposals regarding gun registration and gun control. He predicts massive civil disobedience. Of course, the second amendment is about protecting individual citizens from the government, and says nothing about hunting! Read more here: http://www.qando.net/?p=14600

A gesture from Putin

Remember when Obama was caught off-mike reassuring Medvedev that after the election he would be much easier to deal with, and for Medvedev to pass that on to Putin? Well, Putin doesn't seem to be interested. He has signed into law a bill forbidding adoptions of Russian children by Americans. According to the New York Daily News, there are 740,00 Russian children not in the custody of their parents, and only 18,000 Russians who have applied to adopt. Who is going to adopt the rest of those childrenthose children?

Scott Johnson writes about it here: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/12/reset-this.php

Bridgett Johnson also writes about it at PJ Media, but, in an editorial lapse, PJ Media cut off her article in the middle, so I will not link to it.

Which of these does your subconscious mind use?

I liked John Hawkins' article below on evil so much that I read another one by him, this time on defense mechanisms. We all use defense mechanisms, and we get so good at them that some will lead us into trouble.

Take denial, for instance. In the Screwtape Letters, a devil advises his nephew,

You must bring him to a condition in which he can practice self-examination for an hour without discovering any of those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or worked in the same office.

Then there is projection, where we project on to another person qualities that we actually have in ourselves, but that are so much in contradiction to our professed values, that we don't recognize them in ourselves.

Idealization occurs when

we put other human beings up on a pedestal where we can imagine that they have the solution to all our problems, but it’s not real.

Compensation is when we have flaws, but instead of doing the work we need to do to change those flaws, we pretend that our other character traits make up for the flaws. Hawkins uses this Porsche image to illustrate.

To illustrate the defense mechanism of displacement, Hawkins uses that familiar cartoon of birds on a telephone pole. The one at the top poops, but has no poop on him. The next layer has more poop on them. The bottom layer has poop all over the birds. Hawkins explains why displacement is so damaging:

We’ve all been there: the boss yells at us and as a result, we get grumpy with the waiter at lunch. Your wife nags you and instead of talking to her about it, you cut someone off in traffic. You get into an argument with your father over the phone and next thing you know, you snap at your son and tell him to stop making so much noise. Unfortunately, this is an extraordinarily unproductive way to deal with the problem. It fails to deal with the issue of how you were treated in the first place, often increases your resentment towards the target that intimidated you into silence, and then, as an extra added bonus, helps screw up your relationship with someone else.

Read more here: http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2012/12/19/5-psychological-defense-mechanisms-you-probably-use-without-realizing-it/?singlepage=true

Five moral mistakes we make

Could a "normal person" like you or me embrace evil? John Hawkins writes at PJ Media that we could. He highlights this quote from Roy Baumeister

To understand evil, we must set aside the comfortable belief that we would never do anything wrong. Instead, we must begin to ask ourselves, what would it take for me to do such things? Assume that it would be possible.

He also quotes C.S. Lewis,

The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

One of the things we do is objectify other people. Do your bosses see you as someone to be manipulated in any way that benefits them? Or do they see you as a fellow human being with feelings?

Another thing to avoid is an end-justifies-the-means morality.

Utopianism and a willingness to use any means to achieve a predetermined “good” end can devastate the lives of other human beings — and even that assumes the “good” outcome is really good.

A third thing to avoid is that feeling of victimization, I have written about quite a bit here. Hawkins notes that

many folks walk around nursing grievances the size of asteroids when their legitimate complaints amount to a pebble.

A fourth thing to avoid is escalation and line crossing. Hawkins writes,

Evil begins with fantasies, poor choices, and small steps and ends in sin, degeneracy and cruelty.

Hawkins' final thing to avoid is refusal to accept moral absolutes. Hawkins:

Without any real moral lines in the sand, where everything floats in a grey area justifiable under the right circumstances, then we can very easily slide into levels of depravity most people haven’t even imagined possible.

Read how Hawkins fills in each of these five points here: http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2012/12/09/5-moral-boundaries-you-do-not-want-to-cross/?singlepage=true

Exempt from scrutiny

Victor Davis Hanson writes that

the university is one of the great foundations of the Left, and so is immune from the sort of criticism that otherwise is daily leveled against other institutions.

Are students taught to think? No,

college is intended as a sort of boot camp for the progressive army, where recruits are trained and do not question their commissars.

So the new curriculum in the social sciences and humanities fills a need of sorts, and the result is that today’s graduating English major probably cannot name six Shakespearean plays; the history major cannot distinguish Verdun from Shiloh; the philosophy major has not read Aristotle’s Poetics or Plato’s Laws; and the political science major knows very little of Machiavelli or Tocqueville — but all of the above do know that the planet is heating up due to capitalist greed, the history of the United States is largely a story of oppression, the UN and the EU offer a superior paradigm to the U.S. Constitution, and there are some scary gun-owning, carbon-fuel burning, heterosexual-marrying nuts outside the campus.

China tightening controls on internet and electronic publishing

Joe Mcdonald reports at Phys.org that China's new Communist government has issued a new law requiring internet users to register their real names.

The latest measure requires users to provide their real names and other identifying information when they register with access providers or post information publicly.

It seems that some people have used the internet to complain about their government!

The measure comes amid reports that Beijing might be disrupting use of software that allows Web surfers to see sites abroad that are blocked by its extensive filters. At the same time, regulators have proposed rules that would bar foreign companies from distributing books, news, music and other material online in China. The government has given no indication how it will deal with the technical challenge of registering the more than 500 million Chinese who use the Internet.

The secretive ruling party is uneasy about the public's eagerness to discuss politics and sensitive issues online despite threats of punishment.

This week, 70 prominent Chinese scholars and lawyers circulated an online petition this week appealing for free speech, independent courts and for the ruling party to encourage private enterprise.

That gave ordinary Chinese a unique opportunity to express themselves to a public audience in a society where newspapers, television and other media all are state-controlled. Some of the most popular microbloggers have millions of readers. It also made the Internet a clearinghouse for accusations of official misconduct.

Next they will try gun control! Oh, wait, no need for that! The Commies want the benefits of technology, but they also want control of freedom of speech. Good luck with that!

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-12-china-tightening-internet_1.html#jCp

Facebook purging pro gun accounts?

Mort Amsel reports at Before It's News that Facebook has been purging the accounts of pro-gun activists. go here to read a list of people whose accounts have been closed: http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2012/12/facebook-purges-pro-gun-accounts-2523624.html

Thursday, December 27, 2012

No action on Kerry nomination until Hillary testifies in an open hearing

Texas teen protects sister, shoots home invaders with dad's AR-15

I found the video here: http://iowntheworld.com/blog/

Why do we have the Second Amendment?

What is the Second Amendment about? You have to watch this video all the way to the end to find out.

I found the video here: http://moonbattery.com/

Are you "alive," or bored?

Do you know people who are "alive?" Do you know people who are boring? What makes them alive, or boring? Dr. Bob Godwin at One Cosmos believes
"If someone has a narrow mind and a small, mean heart, he will find much less value in the world around him than a person who has a great soul, who is vivacious."
He writes that "alive" people are "passionately engaged." May it be true of us. Read more here: http://onecosmos.blogspot.com/

Anecdotes in lieu of solutions

What to do about the fiscal cliff? Victor Davis Hanson writes that

Raising taxes across the board or vastly cutting spending or both would start to solve the problem, and so, as real options, must go unmentioned.

And what does Hanson say about proposed solutions regarding Newtown?

We do not know exactly what causes mentally disturbed suburban youths to shoot and kill innocents in large numbers, but most doubt that simply outlawing semi-automatic assault rifles will stop such evil, at least in and of itself. It is just as likely that post-1960s attitudes about the mentally ill that make it much harder to hospitalize any who display dangerous tendencies, or the recent spate of violent and deviant video games, or the sick culture that Hollywood so often romanticizes contributed equally to the evil of the recluse Adam Lanza. Fixating on assault rifles is an easy thing to do, given the caricatures of camouflaged redneck militiamen blasting away in the Georgia pinewoods, but taking on the mental-health industry, civil libertarians, and the entertainment industry — that would win Obama only abuse from the liberals and from interests far more powerful than the NRA. So we fixate instead on assault rifles.

So, what does Obama propose?

The Obama presidency is one of anecdotes in lieu of solutions. It might be a comforting thought that jailing a reactionary filmmaker, or raising taxes on the suspect few, or providing amnesty to the college undergraduate, or taking away Ted Nugent’s guns will solve our mounting problems, but such anecdotes mean little in the real world of difficult choices that would offend friends as well as opponents.

Read more here: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/336447/anecdotal-presidency-victor-davis-hanson

We know as much about Hillary Clinton's medical condition as we do about Hugo Chavez'

Here is the video of Dr. Charles Krauthammer, a psychiatrist who is willing to give Hillary Clinton a neurologic exam, saying that Clinton is not even meeting minimal obligations regarding Benghazi.

Our love of violent movies and video games

Violent video games and violent movies are extremely popular. Yet, as Robert VerBruggen writes at National Review Online,

violent video games keep violent people occupied — every minute they spend with a controller in their hands is a minute they don’t spend hurting others. Some researchers claim that violent crime falls on days when a lot of people are in theaters watching violent movies; it’s not hard to imagine something similar happening when violence-prone teens stay at home with Saints Row: The Third rather than going out to run amok.

Most reassuring, however, are the long-term statistics. Video-game violence has been pervasive for the last two decades: The 1990s saw the introduction of popular blood-spattering fare such as Mortal Kombat and Doom, and since then game graphics have inched ever closer to photorealism. Total video-game sales have soared, and some of the most popular series (Grand Theft Auto, God of War) are incredibly violent. The people most likely to be violent, young males, are disproportionate consumers of these games. And yet violent-crime rates in this demographic have fallen. If games inspire violence, the effect is overwhelmed by larger trends.

Schools and parents alike should keep an eye out for children who take an abnormal interest in violence, no matter how they experience it.

But blaming violence on video games is unfair — and, worse, unlikely to lead to effective policies.

Read more here: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/336116/folly-blaming-video-games-robert-verbruggen

Translating carnage into public policy victory

Jonah Goldberg writes one of the most sensitive pieces about the Newtown massacre. He concludes,

In the wake of the slaughter, there are arguments I agree with and arguments I find ridiculous. And everything in between. What I dislike is the immediate rush to turn the slaughter into an any argument at all. The problem, alas, is that the moment one “side” tries to translate this carnage into a public-policy victory, arguments are not only inevitable but required. Because in a democracy, the way you make laws is by arguing over them first. I just resent the forced necessity of it all. I wish the parents could just bury their children first.

Read more here: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/336172/rush-impose-reason-horror-jonah-goldberg

A society where sociopaths feel empowered

Christina Hoff Sommers says it is hard to argue with people who want better mental health oversight of unstable persons, but she asks, how workable is that? She points out that "sociopaths are good at beating the system." I would add that some sociopaths even rise to positions of great power in our government and society! I agree with Sommers that there is a need to provide frightened parents with more treatment options and support.

Sommers quotes from a 1999 F.B.I. study entitled "School Shooters:"

At this time, there is no research that has identified traits and characteristics that can reliably distinguish school shooters from other students. Many students appear to have traits and characteristics similar to those observed in students who were involved in school shootings.

Sommers concludes,

It is natural and human to demand solutions in the face of moral catastrophe. Still, we have to be careful that whatever we do, we don’t create a civil-liberties nightmare that ensnares millions of innocent people.

Why killers like the Columbine and Newtown shooters do what they do is as mysterious as the problem of evil in general. There will be no easy solution. But here are the hard questions no one has answered: Why now? Why us? Americans have always had easy access to guns. But, until fairly recently, no one thought to go to a school to slaughter first-graders. There have always been sociopaths among us. But we seem to have created a society where they feel empowered to act.

Read more here: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/336097/our-sociopaths-ourselves-christina-hoff-sommers

Have we forgotten the other children of Christmas?

Mark Steyn remembers another time when innocent children were slaughtered, the other children of Christmas:

the first-born of Bethlehem, slaughtered on Herod’s orders after the Magi brought him the not-so-glad tidings that an infant of that city would grow up to be King of the Jews.

But, Mark, what about out gun culture?

Dimwit hacks bandy terms like “assault weapon,” “assault rifle,” “semiautomatic,” and “automatic weapon” in endlessly interchangeable but ever more terrifying accumulations of high-tech state-of-the-art killing power. As the comedian Andy Borowitz tweeted, “When the 2nd Amendment was written the most lethal gun available was the musket.”

Actually, the semiautomatic is a 19th-century technology, first produced in 1885. That’s just under half a century after the death of Madison, the Second Amendment’s author, and rather nearer to the Founding Fathers’ time than our own. And the Founders were under fewer illusions about the fragility of society than Hollywood funnymen: On July 25, 1764, four Lenape Indians walked into a one-room schoolhouse in colonial Pennsylvania and killed Enoch Brown and ten of his pupils. One child survived, scalped and demented to the end of his days.

But, Mark, surely we need to do something about preemptive mental-health care?

In a politically correct world, vigilance is a fool’s errand. The US Airways cabin crew who got the “flying imams” bounced from a Minneapolis plane for flamboyantly, intimidatingly wacky behavior (praying loudly, fanning out to occupy all the exit rows, asking for seatbelt extenders they didn’t need) wound up in sensitivity-training hell. If a lesbian thinks dragging your wife around in a head-to-toe body bag is kinda weird, she’s being “Islamophobic.” If a Muslim thinks taking breast hormones and amputating your penis is a little off, he’s “transphobic.” These very terms make the point that, in our society, finding somebody else odd is itself a form of mental illness. In an unmoored age, what’s not odd? Once upon a time, TV viewers from distant states descending on a Connecticut town to attend multiple funerals of children they don’t know might have struck some of us as, at best, unseemly and, at worst, deeply creepy — a Feast of the Holy Innocents, so to speak.

Read more here: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/336343/massacre-innocents-mark-steyn

"Rock bottom"

No one tells it like it is better than Andrew McCarthy. He believes Washington has hit "rock bottom."

When you are burning through other people’s money because you’ve already spent your own people’s money for the next few generations, promises to pay are not very reliable.

So dire are our straits that the stated national debt — an obscene $16.4 trillion — does not even begin to reflect the actual national debt, which probably exceeds ten times that amount when unfunded liabilities and bankrupt, bailout-craving states are factored in. The government annually spends over a trillion dollars more than the enormous $2.4 trillion it takes from us in taxes. Structurally, our “mandatory” spending (entitlements plus interest on the accumulated debt) puts us in a perennial deficit hole of $250 billion (and rising fast) before one thin dime is spent on “discretionary” items . . . such as the $700 billion defense budget. You may remember national defense — not wealth-redistribution, health care, or running commercials to recruit new food-stamps recipients — as the reason we actually have a federal government.

But, doesn't Obama's self interest lie in the well-being of the nation?

Last time, Republicans caved on the debt ceiling and joined Democrats in paving a road to hell — the looming explosion of tax hikes and indiscriminate defense cuts — with good intentions: Pushed to this brink, they assumed, the president would have to negotiate reasonably because his self-interest lay in the well-being of the nation. But no, the president’s self-interest is in the transformation of the nation along socialist lines. Diving over the “fiscal cliff” suits him just fine — after all, you can’t have transformation without tumult.

But, what about weapons falling into the wrong hands?

Moreover, the overthrow of Assad would mean his WMDs end up in the hands either of his Hezbollah allies or his al-Qaeda-affiliated enemies. Those outcomes are even worse for us.

In fact, weapons falling into the wrong hands was precisely the outcome of Obama’s Libya catastrophe. There, the president joined with Sunni Islamists to overthrow a regime that, though unsavory, was cooperating with the United States. The result was jihadists raiding Qaddafi’s high-powered arsenal; the installation of a feckless government that cannot control its tribal and Islamist enclaves; the destabilization of North Africa; and the eventual murder of four Americans, including our ambassador, on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.

But, didn't the report last week admit there were security lapses?

With regard to that latter massacre in Benghazi, a State Department report issued this week could not help but condemn the reckless security lapses even as its authors whitewashed the culpability of Secretary Clinton. They also sidestepped the simple, central questions to which Washington, after three months, cannot produce answers: How and when during the seven-hour terrorist siege did President Obama learn about it, and what orders did he give to mobilize available military assets to protect the Americans who were under attack?

Cars of the future?

Remember when the Volkswagon bug took this country by storm in the early 1960s? Well, Volkswagon is at it again! This time they are unveiling their new car in China. The car of the future may look like this "People's Car." Alton Parrish reports at Before It's News that

It is not reality yet. For the “car” to work electromagnetic strips would have to be embedded into the roads below it to allow the hovering effect via electromagnetic suspension.

Meanwhile, in Israel...

Go here to see more ideas: http://beforeitsnews.com/motor-junkies/2012/12/car-of-the-future-floats-above-the-ground-2455352.html

Mark Belling: an excellent guest host for Rush

When Rush Limbaugh takes a vacation, he has excellent guest hosts. Today it was Mark Belling from Milwaukee. Mark made excellent points about how the left, who are urging gun control, is absolutely uncurious when it comes to Fast and Furious. In Fast and Furious, our federal officials allowed thousands of guns to walk across the border into the hands of Mexican drug gangs. Those guns were used to kill hundred of innocent people, including a U.S. Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry.

On the fiscal cliff negotiations, Belling points out the unseriousness of Obama. Belling believes Obama is willing to sacrifice the economy of this country in order to achieve political goals of stomping Republicans and redistributing income.

Our uncurious press

Mona Charen believes the press in America has become "remarkably uncurious."

A blanket of benevolent uncuriousness smothers news about Obama administration wrongdoing.

On Benghazi Charen writes,

The secretary of state, who took “full responsibility” for the Benghazi debacle, has not once been publicly questioned about it. Called to testify before a House committee this week, she pleaded illness — a fall resulting in a concussion. She says she will testify in January. Perhaps members of Congress will ask what the press has not. Who made the decision to deny the requested additional security to our diplomats? Where is a copy of the order President Obama says he issued requiring that “everything possible” be done to save our personnel who were under attack? (Former assistant secretary of defense Bing West notes that such orders are always written down.) Were Navy SEALs stationed in Benghazi told to “stand down” rather than render assistance? Who told Susan Rice to say that the attack grew out of a protest, when there was no protest?

And what about freedom of speech? Is that important to the press?

Speaking of that nonexistent protest, isn’t anyone even a little uncomfortable at the spectacle of the United States government arresting a guy for making a video (however “crude and offensive”)? On orders of this administration, an FBI team descended upon and locked up Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. He may be a petty criminal and an idiot. But that’s not the point. Aren’t members of the press sensitive about infringements on the First Amendment? Besides, what sort of message does it send to extremists around the globe when the U.S. cracks down on expressions of “blasphemy” toward Mohammed? Won’t they congratulate themselves on intimidating us?

On politicization of law enforcement:

Oh, and here’s something else you forgot to be inquisitive about. An unpaid intern working in the office of Democratic New Jersey senator Robert Menendez (who was reelected on November 6), was arrested on December 6. It seems the 18-year-old illegal immigrant from Peru (who helped the senator on immigration issues!) was a registered sex offender. ICE knew about him but was repeatedly told by higher-ups at DHS, according to a government source, to delay the arrest until after the election. If true, that’s a remarkable politicization of law enforcement. So far, one “no comment” from a government official has sufficed to quiet your inquiries.

Charen has a few other examples that she suggests the press might ask about here: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/336430/questions-press-doesn-t-ask-mona-charen

Barack Obama's most powerful critic: Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell doesn't like know-it-alls. Neither do I.

The annual outbursts of intolerance toward any display of traditional Christmas scenes, or even daring to call a Christmas tree by its name, show that today’s liberals are by no means liberal. Behind the mist of their lofty words, the totalitarian mindset shows through.

He also doesn't like politically correct moral exhibitionists. Neither do I.

If you don’t want to have a gun in your home or in your school, that’s your choice. But don’t be such a damn fool as to advertise to the whole world that you are in “a gun-free environment” where you are a helpless target for any homicidal fiend who is armed. Is it worth a human life to be a politically correct moral exhibitionist?

Sowell points out many examples of ironies. Here is one:

Everybody is talking about how we are going to pay for the huge national debt, but nobody seems to be talking about the runaway spending that created that record-breaking debt. In other words, the big spenders get political benefits from handing out goodies, while those who resist giving them more money to spend will be blamed for sending the country off the “fiscal cliff.”

He writes about cruelty:

When Barack Obama refused to agree to a requested meeting with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu — the leader of a country publicly and repeatedly threatened with annihilation by Iran’s leaders, as the Iranians move toward creating nuclear bombs — I thought of a line from the old movie classic Citizen Kane: “Charlie wasn’t cruel. He just did cruel things.”

He writes about men who are glib and warped:

After watching a documentary about the tragic story of Jonestown, I was struck by the utterly unthinking way that so many people put themselves completely at the mercy of a glib and warped man, who led them to degradation and destruction. And I could not help thinking of the parallel with the way we put a glib and warped man in the White House.

Thomas Sowell is Barack Obama's most powerful critic.

If someone wrote a novel about a man who was raised from childhood to resent the successful and despise the basic values of America — and who then went on to become president of the United States — that novel would be considered too unbelievable, even for a work of fiction. Yet that is what has happened in real life.

Read more here: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/336429/christmas-tree-totalitarians-thomas-sowell

Seven suggestions to prevent the next Newtown

Michelle Malkin, never a shy one, urges all of us to speak up, get involved, not look the other way. She provides seven suggestions about what we can do to prevent tragedies like Newtown.

7. Teach our kids about the acts of heroes in times of crisis.

6. Train our kids. When they see something troublesome or wrong, they should say something.

5. Limit our kids’ time online and control their exposure to desensitizing cultural influences.

4. If you see a parent struggling with an out-of-control child, don’t look the other way.

3. There are millions of children, teens, and young adults suffering from very real mental illnesses. Be silent no more about your family’s experiences, your struggles, your pains, and your fears. Speak up.

2. Prepare and protect your community.

1. Teach our kids to value and respect life by valuing and respecting them always. And in loving and valuing life, teach them also not to fear death.

Read how she fills in each of these points here: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/336437/lessons-newtown-michelle-malkin

Analyzing the 2012 election

Without writing even one unnecessary word, Michael Barone writes in National Review a concise analysis of the 2012 election. Turnout was the problem. Turnout is "a measure of organization but also of spontaneous enthusiasm." Obama slipped in this area, but Romney slipped even more, failing to engender a warm, enthusiastic following.
Yet examination of election returns and exit polls indicates that the Obama campaign turned out voters where it really needed them. That enabled him to carry Florida by one point, Ohio by three points, Virginia by four points, and Colorado and Pennsylvania by five points. Without those states, he would have gotten only 243 electoral votes and would now be planning his presidential library.
Still, Barone has a word of caution for Obama and the Democrats:
In reality, Obama’s vote and percentage went down. Considering what happened in Bush’s second term, that suggests a course of caution and wariness for the reelected president and his party.
Go here to read more of Barone's top notch analysis: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/336474/obama-2012-and-bush-2004-michael-barone

Looking back at 2012

Victor Davis Hanson recaps 2012 at The National Review. Here are his comments on subjects that I have featured on this blog. On Benghazi:

What did we learn from the killings of Americans in Benghazi? So far, the fantasy of securing justice by jailing a single Coptic filmmaker for posting an anti-Islamic video has trumped the reality of holding the administration accountable for allowing lax security and offering only feeble responses to a massacre resulting from a pre-planned attack by al Qaeda–affiliated terrorists on a U.S. diplomatic post.

On preventing the next massacre:

Banning the sale of certain types of weapons will probably not stop another Newtown massacre any more than an earlier ban prevented the Columbine shootings — unless the federal government is prepared to enter American homes and confiscate millions of previously purchased weapons. Steps toward a far more realistic solution — jawbone Hollywood to quit romanticizing gratuitous cruelty and violence; censor sick, macabre video games; restrict some freedoms of the mentally ill; and put armed security guards into the schools — are as much an anathema to civil libertarians as the banning of some guns is a panacea to many of them. So we pontificate while waiting for the next massacre.

On the march of murderous Islam:

Given the chaos of Libya and Syria, and the murder of Americans in Benghazi, the cruel winter of 2012 has now ended the dreamy Arab Spring of 2011.

Summing up:

As the year ends, there are ominous signs of impending financial implosion at home. Abroad, we see a soon-to-be nuclear Iran, an even more unhinged nuclear North Korea, a new Islamic coalition against Israel, a bleeding European Union, and a more nationalist Germany and Japan determined to achieve security apart from longstanding but increasingly suspect U.S. guarantees.

The year 2012 should have taught us that dreaming is no answer to reality; 2013 will determine how well we learned that lesson.

Please go here to read more: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/336467/year-dreams-died-victor-davis-hanson

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Mayans were off by a month and a half!

Here is a blogger who suggests the Mayans weren't that good at predicting the end of the world:

Apparently the ancient Mayans weren’t THAT good at predicting the end of the world. They were off by a month and a half. It started on Election Day in November. And It may take a while.

Visit http://mostlycajun.com/wordpress/?p=19793

Fantasy

I found this here, where you can also get some history lessons: http://mostlycajun.com/wordpress/

Totalitarianism

Control Hollywood? Michael Brown already knows how to do that!

Really, Joe? You want the government to step in and control their standards of speech on Hollywood? Guess what? I already choose when to and when not to support Hollywood. It’s called freedom of choice.

Do you really think someone ought to control what you say?

I already exercise control when it comes to you, Joe. I turn you off and ignore you.

Call me crazy, but I truly fear this country is headed down a path that if we don’t take a different path, we’re headed toward less and less freedom and more and more government control.

Totalitarianism.

Michael is referring to comments made by Joe Scarborough. You can read more of Michael and listen to Joe here: http://www.michaelbrowntoday.com/2012/12/first-we-come-for-the-guns-then-we-come-for-your-speech/

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee!

Jeffro at The Poor Farm brought back two fabulous You Tube videos from recent years.

Go here to read more about each: http://crazedpw.blogspot.com/2012/12/if-journey-of-faith-didnt-do-it-for-you.html

Atheist Chaplains?

Wesley J. Smith writes at The Corner about our oxymoronic world:

An atheist has been hired by a nonprofit to serve as a Stanford “chaplain” to atheist students. From the San Francisco Chronicle story:

The chaplain is an atheist. “People are shocked when I tell them,” Figdor said. “But atheist, agnostic and humanist students suffer the same problems as religious students – deaths or illnesses in the family, questions about the meaning of life, etc. – and would like a sympathetic nontheist to talk to.” Figdor, 28, is one of a growing number of faith-free chaplains at universities, in the military and in the community who believe that nonbelievers can benefit from just about everything religion offers except God.

Read more here: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/336371/stanford-gets-atheist-chaplain-wesley-j-smith#

Christianophobia

Edward Malnick reports in The Telegraph that Christians are now the most persecuted group in the world. They are almost extinct in the Biblical lands of the Middle East. More Christians are imprisoned in China than in any other country of the world. The worst countries for oppressing Christians are Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria, India, Burma and China. Read more here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9762745/Christianity-close-to-extinction-in-Middle-East.html

Muslims throw rotten eggs, bags of urine and dung, at Christians celebrating mass in Indonesia

In Indonesia the Muslims use rotten eggs, and bags of urine and dung to throw at Christians wishing to celebrate Christmas. Read about it here: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2012/12/christmas-in-indonesia-savage-muslim-mob-pelts-christian-worshippers-with-rotten-eggs-bags-of-urine.html

The Jakarta Globe reports the story, and then summarizes at the endo of the story:

Ninety percent of Indonesia's population of 240 million identify themselves as Muslim but the vast majority practice a moderate form of Islam.

Robert Spencer then wonders,

Oh, well, then! Will that Vast Majority rein in those "intolerant people"? And maybe pick up the Christians' dry-cleaning bills? Too much to ask?

Christians murdered for attending Christmas Eve Mass

Muslims killed six Christians who were among a congregation celebrating a Christmas Eve Mass in Nigeria. Read about it here: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2012/12/nigeria-muslims-murder-six-christians-at-christmas-service.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

The poverty rate was falling, until the War on Poverty began!

Found here: https://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/does-the-war-on-poverty-fight-destitution-or-subsidize-it/

Hope for the New Year...because Christmas happened

Ann Voskamp and her husband, "the farmer," raise kids, pigs, corn, and many other crops on their farm in Ontario. Yes, pigs.

I fill the sows’ troughs and this is what they laid him in. Laid God in skin down in a feed trough. These were the first sounds of earth that reverberated in His ear drums? From the lofty, soaring arias of the heavenly host to this? This snorting of beasts, this banging of feed troughs?

Go here to read why Christmas lasts forever: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/12/why-you-can-have-the-most-hope-the-day-after-christmas-2/

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Do you believe people are basically good, or basically rotten?

Daniel Greenfield is writing about whether people are basically good, or basically rotten, and what are the implications.

If people are basically good, then they can also be left to their own devices. They may even be allowed to run their own affairs. If however they are basically rotten, then a system is needed that will force goodness on them. And this system’s own goodness will be protected by strict conformity to an ideology that is also inherently good. Those who run the system can only be chosen from the ranks of the faithful adherents of that ideology.

Arguments for goodness or “badness” are wholly anecdotal. And always has been. A man walks into a school and murders children. A man throws himself under a car to save a woman. Which of them is a definite commentary on the species or the culture? That’s a matter of picking and choosing. Both are arguably exceptions to the rule. But on the whole we have far more people who do not shoot anyone than those who do. Far more who do not steal, than steal. Far more who may not wear a halo, or that we would want to share a long train ride with, but who on the whole could be trusted not to turn on their neighbors if one day every police department within a 100 miles folds up shop.

“How much firepower does a law-abiding gun owner need?” is the leading talking point of the gun controllers. But it could just as well be, “How much cold medicine does a law-abiding sneezer need?” Cold medicine has been regulated to the extent that you need a photo ID if your nose is stuffed up under a bill sponsored by a community organizer from Chicago who stayed briefly in the Senate on his way to bigger and worse things. And people have been arrested for buying too much cold medicine.

If you believe that people are basically good, then they can be trusted with an AR-15. If you believe that people are basically bad, then they can’t even be trusted with cold medicine.

Greenfield shows how the liberal nannies advocate

a national system of one-size-fits-all legislation. Lanza is America. America is Lanza.

If you believe that people are basically bad, then every problem you identify is met with another control measure until you control absolutely everything.

With a big city politician in the White House, for the first time in a long time, the progressive impulse to extend that total net of control over everything and everyone seems to have come together. The old urban muckrakers became sociologists and community activists and then community organizers all over again in the great circle of rich kid busybodying. They are still looking for the worst possible examples of human behavior to justify total crackdowns on everything and everyone.

Laws apply to law abiding people, who are a self-selecting group. They don’t apply to people who shoot up schools, fast food joints or pension funds. The people who are the most controlled are also the people in the least need of being controlled. The people who are least controlled are in the most need of being controlled. This is an old paradox of government that governments never deal with.

The magic bullets are all about bigger scale crackdowns. Bigger laws and bigger prisons. Don’t bust meth dealers, outlaw cold medicines. Don’t bust gangbangers, bust the gun industry. It’s the type of thinking that exemplifies college smarts over real world smarts. Real world smarts says you have to get dirty to fix a problem and then you have to go on fixing it day after day while accepting that it will never really be fixed. College smarts says that a problem that has to be fixed over and over again is bad design and has to be put under a microscope so that it can be fixed once and for all.

Read more here: http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/51965

A Good Samaritan on Christmas

Last night we had about five inches of snow were I live. Traveling on the highways to Denver from my home on the high plains was slow-going, because it was so cold (the high today was 22 degrees) and the roads were snow packed and slushy most of the way.

I pulled over to the side of the road tonight, because I needed to adjust my side view mirror. A man in a pickup pulled over, got out and came back to my car (I had my flashing blinkers on). He said, "It's cold out here tonight; I thought you might need some help." I explained that I had just wanted to adjust my mirror, and thanked him profusely. There was a man who was the living embodiment of the Christmas spirit!

Christmas with loved ones in Colorado

Prior to coming to Colorado for Christmas with me, Colleen, Sara, and Jon sat in the bleachers while Greg played him some viola! Jon also had a concert a few days before Greg's.

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner with step-siblings Thomas, Erik, and Kim, then a great day together at Erik's place in Wheat Ridge, Colorado today.

It breaks my heart every time I have to say goodbye to them, but I am so very thankful for every opportunity to be with them.

Monday, December 24, 2012

We are not alone

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful Christmas. My recommendation for Christmas reading is Ann Voskamp's post entitled The Best Christmas Gift and the Miracle We Need.

I’m thinking of the whole bright sky declaring the glory of God, pouring forth speech: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth, peace among men with whom He is pleased” (Lk. 2:14).

The entire cosmos sings it on Christmas Eve: We are not alone.

We are a pinpoint in the universe that is now nailed to eternity because of the wood of a manger, of a Tree, of a crowning wreath of thorns.

Out of the dark, out of the black and right into the the land of the shadow of death, a great Light has dawned, and God comes and God is with us, Emmanuel… God on the pale blue dot.

We are not alone.

Read more here: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/12/the-best-christmas-gift-the-miracle-we-really-need/

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Islamic violence updates

Robert Spencer's blog Jihad Watch is full today of examples of Islamic violence. There is the story of a Pakistan mob that entered a police station and burned to death a prisoner who had been accused of desecrating a Quran. 55 were injured in fighting in Egypt between Islamists and people who are opposed to the new constitution which would ignore rights of women and non-Islamists. Hundreds of Christians in suburbs outside Jakarta, Indonesia are hoping to be able to celebrate Christmas in their two churches which have been sealed off to prevent worship inside the churches. Gunmen in central Somalia on Saturday (Dec. 8) killed an underground Christian who had been receiving death threats for leaving Islam. In Tunisia Islamists threw television sets all over the beach to protest the "corrupt media."

Three men appeared in court in New York this week on charges they trained to be suicide bombers in Somalia. In Yemen Muslim men entered three houses they suspected of having alcoholic beverages. The house occupants fled, except one woman who stayed in her house and was, therefore, murdered. Two suicide car bombers attacked the offices of two mobile phone operators on Saturday in Nigeria's northern city of Kano, killing themselves but no civilians, police said.

Read much more here: http://www.jihadwatch.org/

An historical perspective on gun control

Credit: Anonymous Commenter on Web

You can’t have a new world order and a totalitarian system when people have guns. In ALL socialistic/communistic/dictatorships, the FIRST thing they did was issue gun control, then a total gun ban.

A LITTLE GUN HISTORY In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. >From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.

SWITZERLAND ISSUES EVERY HOUSEHOLD A GUN! SWITZERLAND’S GOVERNMENT TRAINS EVERY ADULT THEY ISSUE A RIFLE. SWITZERLAND HAS THE LOWEST GUN RELATED CRIME RATE OF ANY CIVILIZED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!!! IT’S A NO BRAINER!

http://beforeitsnews.com/libertarian/2012/12/after-gun-control-a-chilling-historical-perspective-share-2474718.html

Tampering with records

A gentleman named Montgomery Blair Sibley has filed an emergency motion with the same court in Washington D.C. which was presided over by Judge Sirica in 1973, resulting in the resignation of Richard Nixon and criminal convictions of 19 White House officials.

Yesterday, Sibley filed an Emergency Second Motion for Order to Release Privacy Act Protected Records. That motion presented photographic evidence to Judge Bates that someone has tampered with the evidence related to Obama’s putative birth in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. Sibley had subpoena from the National Archives the “Arrival Records” for August 1 through August 10, 1961, of all passengers arriving in Honolulu, Hawaii to see if records existed that Obama and his mother arrived in Hawaii during that time frame. What NARA produced were two microfilm spools of the arrival records for July 28 through August 1, 1961 and August 8 through August 12, 1961. As detailed in the Emergency Motion, the original date on the box of “August 7” has been altered by “white-out” and a new date of “August 1” had been written on the box. Proof of that alteration comes from a photograph of the same box taken nine months earlier which reveals the date was originally “August 7”. Thus, indisputably the box has been tampered with – a criminal offense – to hide the fact that the microfilm for the August 2 through August 7, 1961 arrivals is now missing.

Read more here: http://beforeitsnews.com/obama-birthplace-controversy/2012/12/emergency-motion-filed-national-archives-caught-altering-hawaii-arrival-records-for-1961-2451620.html

Today's the day!

The undefeated Georgetown Eagles, anchored by my unstoppable grandson, defensive tackle Ryan Rickerson, play today for the state championship in Dallas Cowboy Stadium.

Saturday, December 22 Noon 4A Division I: Denton Guyer (13-2) vs. Georgetown (15-0)

Here is a photo of Ryan holding the trophy after the last game.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Guns and gun control

Larry Correia has written a very comprehensive post on guns and gun control. I am only excerpting tiny portions of his post. I urge you to read the whole thing at the link at the bottom of this post.

The single best way to respond to a mass shooter is with an immediate, violent response. The vast majority of the time, as soon as a mass shooter meets serious resistance, it bursts their fantasy world bubble. Then they kill themselves or surrender. This has happened over and over again.

fter Colombine law enforcement changed their methods in dealing with active shooters. It used to be that you took up a perimeter and waited for overwhelming force before going in. Now usually as soon as you have two officers on scene you go in to confront the shooter (often one in rural areas or if help is going to take another minute, because there are a lot of very sound tactical reasons for using two, mostly because your success/survival rates jump dramatically when you put two guys through a door at once. The shooter’s brain takes a moment to decide between targets). The reason they go fast is because they know that every second counts. The longer the shooter has to operate, the more innocents die.

The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by law enforcement: 14. The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by civilians: 2.5. The reason is simple. The armed civilians are there when it started.

Don’t make it mandatory. In my experience, the only people who are worth a darn with a gun are the ones who wish to take responsibility and carry a gun. Make it voluntary. It is rather simple. Just make it so that your state’s concealed weapons laws trump the Federal Gun Free School Zones act. All that means is that teachers who voluntarily decide to get a concealed weapons permit are capable of carrying their guns at work. Easy. Simple. Cheap. Available now.

When I was a CCW instructor, I decided that I wanted more teachers with skin in the game, so I started a program where I would teach anybody who worked at a school for free. No charge. Zip. They still had to pay the state for their background check and fingerprints, but all the instruction was free. I wanted more armed teachers in my state.

I personally taught several hundred teachers. I quickly discovered that pretty much every single school in my state had at least one competent, capable, smart, willing individual. Some schools had more. I had one high school where the principal, three teachers, and a janitor showed up for class. They had just had an event where there had been a threat against the school and their resource officer had turned up AWOL. This had been a wake up call for this principal that they were on their own, and he had taken it upon himself to talk to his teachers to find the willing and capable. Good for them.

After Virginia Tech, I started teaching college students for free as well. They were 21 year old adults who could pass a background check. Why should they have to be defenseless? None of these students ever needed to stop a mass shooting, but I’m happy to say that a couple of rapists and muggers weren’t so lucky, so I consider my time well spent.

Over the course of a couple years I taught well over $20,000 worth of free CCW classes. I met hundreds and hundreds of teachers, students, and staff. All of them were responsible adults who understood that they were stuck in target rich environments filled with defenseless innocents. Whether they liked it or not, they were the first line of defense. It was the least I could do.

Gun Free Zones are hunting preserves for innocent people. Period.

Think about it. You are a violent, homicidal madman, looking to make a statement and hoping to go from disaffected loser to most famous person in the world. The best way to accomplish your goals is to kill a whole bunch of people. So where’s the best place to go shoot all these people? Obviously, it is someplace where nobody can shoot back.

And here is the nail in the coffin for Gun Free Zones. Over the last fifty years, with only one single exception (Gabby Giffords), every single mass shooting event with more than four casualties has taken place in a place where guns were supposedly not allowed.

You don’t need an assault weapon for hunting!

Who said anything about hunting? That whole thing about the 2nd Amendment being for sportsmen is hogwash. The 2nd Amendment is about bearing arms to protect yourself from threats, up to and including a tyrannical government.

http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/an-opinion-on-gun-control/

Rogues gallery of people who are mere heartbeats away from the Oval Office

John Engel has written a piece at Legal Insurrection about the line of succession to the presidency of the United States. On this day of the Mayan Apocalypse, John Kerry has been nominated to be Secretary of State. Here are the others in order of their eligibility:

With the nomination of John Kerry to become secretary of state, our line of succession to the presidency almost makes the North Koreans look good.

Make sure nothing is in your mouth but keep a stiff drink nearby as you behold this rogues gallery of they who are mere heartbeats from the Oval Office (in order):

• Vice President Joe “BFD” Biden

• Speaker John “Boo Hoo” Boehner

• President pro tem of the Senate Pat “Leaky” Leahy

• John “I was for it before I was against it” Kerry

• Treasury Secretary Tim “Turbo Tax” Geithner

• Secretary of Defense Leon “Benghazi?” Panetta

• Attorney General Eric “Fast and Furious” Holder

And on it goes. If it’s true that a nation gets the leaders it deserves, how wretched does that make us?

http://legalinsurrection.com/2012/12/on-the-day-of-the-mayan-apocalypse-john-kerry-now-in-line-of-succession-to-the-presidency/

The President has been given powers to hold American citizens without trial!

Bridget Johnson writes at PJ Tatler that

The amendment from Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) to block the president’s broad power to hold American citizens without trial was stripped from the final defense authorization bill in conference, prompting a “no” vote on the entire bill from Lee and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

“These core American legal privileges prescribed in our Bill of Rights have been observed since our nation’s founding. When I assumed office, I took an oath to protect our Constitution – and in voting against this unconstitutional NDAA, I kept that promise,” Paul said.

“The right to due process, a trial by jury, and protection from indefinite detention should not be shorn from our Bill of Rights or wrested from the hands of Americans. It is a dark day in our history that these rights have been stomped upon and discarded,” he continued.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Paul called the exclusion of the provision “so fundamentally wrong and goes against everything we stand for as a country that it can’t go unnoticed and should be pointed out.”

“Now, some here may not care when they determine that they are going to detain Ahmed or Yusef or Ibrahim, but many innocents are named those names. Many Americans are named Saul or David or Isaac. Is our memory so short that we don’t understand the danger of allowing detention without trial? Is our memory so short that we don’t understand the havoc that bias and bigotry can do when unrestrained by law? Your trial by jury is your last defense against tyranny, your last defense against oppression. We have locked up Arabs, we have locked up Jews, we have locked up the Japanese. Do you not want to retain your right to trial by jury? Do you want to allow the whims of government to come forward and lock up who they please without being tried?” he said.

“Proponents of indefinite detention will argue that we are a good people and that we will never unjustly detain people. I don’t dispute their intentions or impute bad motives to them, but what I will say is remember what Madison said. Madison said that if a government were comprised of angels, we wouldn’t need the chains of the constitution.”

Read more here: http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2012/12/21/travesty-of-justice-limits-on-presidents-detention-powers-stripped-from-final-defense-bill/