Wednesday, 27 May 2009

In Passing

Definition of “built to fail”

Attempting to explain the “shortage” of men on college campuses while throwing around terms like “hegemonic masculinity.”

Via:  IP

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In Passing

“When a crazy man with a gun tells you he’s going to shoot you, the smart move is to act as though he really will do it”

...If we had taken Hitler at his word in the early 1930s, WWII and the Holocaust would never have happened.  But instead of acting as though he really meant what he said, the European Powers claimed that he was really just being belligerent to score political points.

This holds true for North Korea today.  “Oh,” they scoff, “Kim is just trying to score more loot from China and lower sanctions from the U.N.  He’s not really a threat to anyone; half his country is starving. Besides, North Korea makes threats all the time.”

Only, the half of his country that isn’t starving is the military...
 - Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades HQ
There’s a case for taking the threat-makers at their word and acting accordingly, if only pour encourager les autres (Sorry you got flattened; next time, don’t make threats!).

Unfortunately, a political class that routinely accepts and engages in... erm... misrepresentation for political point-scoring and election-winning leaves us particularly handicapped when it comes to judging the veracity of the fulminations of madmen.

So, 1938 redux?

Related (via DP):

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In Passing

Get well, Frank

If things proceeded per schedule, Frank James went in for emergency eye surgery Tuesday night (detached retinas, both eyes). Fifty years ago the condition meant almost certain blindness, but nowadays thanks to lasers it’s usually controllable, if not fixable. Still scary though... go send him your best.

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Saturday, 23 May 2009

In Passing

Graffiti Kitty

(Spotted by Eoin McGrath, who isn’t here anymore.)

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Wednesday, 20 May 2009

In Passing

He’ll keep government “all in the family”

The Register:

A Croatian politician [Independent candidate Josko Kraljevic Risa - o.g.] is close to becoming the mayor of the town Prolozac - despite promising to be corrupt and to treat the town “like our family business.”

Voters have flocked to the campaign, which runs under the slogan “All for me, nothing for you”...

The campaign, which also runs under the alternative slogan “It is definitely going to be better for me, but will be the same for you,” has struck a chord with local voters tired of corrupt politicians. “Whoever is in power, we know that they steal. At least he is honest,” commented Ivan Vjisnic, a Prolozac resident...


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Tuesday, 19 May 2009

In Passing

Warning: Administration to make crime “illegal”

Well, duh!  Dept.

The Washington Post
Amnesty International and immigrant advocates warn that the change could lead to immigration checks in other arenas and the “criminalization” of illegal immigration.
I thought that was why it’s called “illegal”.

Via:  Daily Pundit and The Corner

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Monday, 18 May 2009

In Passing

Den Beste notes the CSM noticing gun bloggers...

... and takes on Brian Anse Patrick:

“Common sense”?  What an arrogant prick. Who says that it’s “common sense” that more gun control is better?

Besides which, he’s being redundant.  His “conventional wisdom” and “elite opinion” are the same thing, because it’s clear he thinks “conventional wisdom” comes from the elite.  It was never “conventional wisdom” among the masses that more gun control was a thing to be desired.
Early on, the RKBA folks were forced to argue uphill, against elite opinion reinforced by media bias and ignorance.  In a classic example of “what does not kill me makes me stronger,” they had to refine their arguments, back them up with facts, and make their case to the uninvolved one-at-a-time, with no help (indeed, with hostility) from the establishment press.  Meanwhile the “established experts” on the gun-control side had their often-erroneous “conventional wisdom” and sloppy arguments accepted without question by a complaisant press and political establishment.

It’s easy– and incomplete– to say the change in the legal climate was “all because of the internet.”  Easy, because the effects of the internet are obvious: A self-organized interest/advocacy community, wide availability of hard data and scholarly opinion, and the ability to “route around” the established gatekeepers and agenda-setters.  Incomplete, because it ignores the fact that the National Rifle Association was already an important political force at the time the internet was just getting started.

Out of necessity, the NRA’s political action was mostly reactive, although vital: By monitoring congressional performance and reporting it to its members, the NRA made it politically dangerous to vote for new gun control measures.  But once the NRA’s clout had been demonstrated, the MSM scrambled to paint it as a bunch of “gun nuts” (meanwhile accepting without question the latest statements from the Brady Campaign).

But then came the internet, and, IMO, its most important consequence, which Den Beste nicely nails in one of the comments:
...the dissolution of anti-gun peer pressure. When you can get online and find hundreds or thousands of other people who, like you, feel guns should not be banned and who, unlike you, are vocal about it and unashamed, it becomes easier to become vocal yourself and to stop being ashamed of what you think.
And that applied to scholars, intellectuals, and law professors, not just ordinary citizens. As the internet overthrew the MSM’s characterizations, RKBA advocates discovered that they weren’t some scattering of wackos, but members of a large body of normal citizens whose thoughts, feelings, and opinions on this issue were largely in agreement. By creating legitimacy, the internet made it easier for RKBA to make the transition from being a defensive, holding movent to being a pro-active one.  And thanks to their prior baptism of fire, its members already had the legal, logical, and political arguments that would defeat the anti-gunners.

Perhaps there’s a lesson for conservatives here.


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Wednesday, 13 May 2009

In Passing

Once you’ve met your backup ammo requirements... may want to start stocking up on light bulbs.

“In the U.S., 78 percent of the public is completely unaware that traditional light bulbs will be phased out in 2012,” said Charles F. Jerabek, president and chief executive of Osram Sylvania, a unit of Siemens.  By law, bulbs must be 30 percent more efficient than current incandescent versions beginning that year. - The New York Times
The targets:  Generally anything 60 watts or greater, including the reflector versions.

And thanks to our Wonderful Government, there are some types which have already disappeared.

Via:  Blair

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Tuesday, 12 May 2009

In Passing

“Slight” change

The Wall Street Journal:

The Obama administration said Monday that it expected even wider deficits this year and next than previously forecast, and Congress could undermine the administration’s push to narrow the gap by slashing the revenue generated by the president’s plan to curb greenhouse gases.

On Monday, White House budget director Peter Orszag revised the fiscal 2009 deficit upward by $89 billion to $1.84 trillion, 12.9% of the economy.  That is a level not seen since 1945.  Next year’s deficit forecast was raised $87 billion, to $1.26 trillion.
Looks like I need to modify that chart a little bit...

Blogger note:  There were two deficit stories on Monday: This one (the White House revision), and the Congressional Budget Office making its March estimate of $1.85 trillion in 2009 and $1.4 trillion in 2010 (charted above) “official.”

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Monday, 11 May 2009

In Passing

Mailing your basic letter now costs 44¢

U.S. postal rates go up today.

Get a PDF (2.06 meg) here.

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