Sunday, June 30, 2013


Speak, Memory

I remember in 1965, when I was first visiting the school I would attend through high school, I was sitting in the car and wondered for some reason what the school colors would be. I came up with what I thought were the worst: Green for inexperienced and yellow for cowardice. So that's what they were.

Somehow they don't seem so bad on this woman.



This Actually Makes Sense

On Earth our blue sky turns pink and then red as the Sun sets. So on Mars the pink sky should turn blue. Right?

UPDATE: My boy seems to doubt me. I checked to see if this was false color photography which is too common in astronomy. Nothing indicates it is. Here are some mid-day photos for comparison.

Oxidized iron planet surface--pink sky.



A Farewell to Arms

Magpul Industries Corp., the highly successful gun accessories business centered in Erie, CO, has announced that it will move out of Colorado regardless of the success (or not) of the lawsuit to declare unconstitutional the 15 round magazine limit going into law tomorrow. Yesterday, Magpul gave away standard capacity* magazines, and sold others pretty cheap, at Infinity Park in Glendale, CO (walking distance from my work) at an event that pulled in about 4,000 people (my estimate). Everyone was there for the free/cheap magazines but they had bands and beautiful Dana Loesch gave a stemwinder speech extempore. It was kinda fun but a lot of waiting in the heat (about 88 degrees with clouds).

Here are some pictures of the event.

Here are some lawyer thoughts. It is clear to me that the Heller and McDonald cases make it inescapable that the constitutionality of laws that infringe on our keeping and bearing arms must be decided using strict scrutiny. That is, the state must show a compelling reason for the law, a compelling state interest, and the law must be very narrowly tailored, and there must not be any other less onerous way to effect the compelling state interest.

I can't think of a compelling state interest for limiting gun magazines to 15 rounds. Because that 16th murder victim is especially precious to the state? Really, help me out here. What is the compelling state interest the state attorneys can state to the court with straight faces?

* The first assault rifle, the STG 44, used 30 round detachable box magazines. The AK 47 (of which there may be 100 million in use around the world) uses 30 and 40 round detachable box magazines. Our AR-15 and M-16 started off using 20 rounders (like the BAR and M-14 used) but we soon started using 30 round magazines and that now is the standard sized magazines for those rifles. High capacity detachable magazines use drum technology (like the Thompson and PPSh 41).

Asking why we need those size magazines (as my liberal friend Tony asked recently) is the wrong question. Need is not the measure. Why do you need your phone calls to be private? What are you hiding? The freedom protected by the enumerated right allows us merely to want that capacity magazines and we can have them as a matter of right. Preventing us gun owners from using the size magazine we want infringes on our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The clause about a well organized Militia in the Second Amendment is the subordinate clause which explains one reason why we have that right. The federalist papers, particularly #46, explain that one of the other reasons is for the citizens to be armed sufficiently to overthrow too tyrannical a government. Hunting, target shooting and self defense were not even mentioned as supporting reasons by the drafters of the Constitution and its immediate amendments.


Friday, June 28, 2013


One Has to Work Hard to be this Clueless

I read this morning, with a few giggles, this idiot piece by Bob Cesca regarding Shelby County v Holder, about which Supreme Court case I wrote a few days ago here. Let's get to it.

The title, which I admit Bob might not have written, is telling: Supreme Court Helps the GOP Revive the Era of Jim Crow. Of course, anyone who knows any history of  the past 150 years in America knows that the GOP had nothing whatsoever to do with Jim Crow laws. That was exclusively the creation of racist Democrats, generally in the South. So the writer's pretending (or believing) that the Republicans want to recreate in any way the vile, racist past the Democrats created necessarily causes the reader to believe Mr. Cesca is either lying to us or is a moron. Sadly, the title is the highlight of the piece. He writes:

...the Supreme Court's Shelby County v. Holder ruling...allows Republican-controlled states to deliberately target and disenfranchise Democrats.
What? The case merely declared unconstitutional the "definition" section (4) regarding which states needed to get federal permission (Section 5) to change any voting laws (including redistricting). The ruling did nothing to vitiate the role of the feds in enforcing the voter non-discrimination and anti-disenfranchisement sections of the law. (I always thought the Fifteenth Amendment was sufficient, but what do I know about the law. By the way the 15th Amendment passed in the House solely on Republicans' vote; not a single Democrat voted for it). The southern states which fell under Section 5 got there because of Democrat's disenfranchisement of nearly all black voters through a subset of their evil Jim Crow legislation and the KKK's terrorist enforcement. Is it possible that Mr. Cesca, a graduate of a college I have never heard of, is completely ignorant of history? I have to think that he is. He writes:

Put another way, the Supreme Court just removed a huge barrier between the Republican Party and its continuing strategy for suppressing Democratic voters, thus giving the Republicans an extra advantage on Election Day.

See above. The idea that Republicans are dedicated to keeping Democrats from voting is a Big Lie. What we are interested in is: One citizen; one vote. We are for fair elections. Apparently, that's not what the Democrats want. So in a way accusing, without the slightest bit of evidence, the Republicans of wanting political advantage through breaking election laws is essentially projection.

It's difficult to envision a more obvious example of a political party abusing government power as a means of deliberately targeting the opposing political party.

Presenting a well reasoned and successful argument that times have changed is "abusing  government powers?" I fear the cartoons Mr. Cesca creates and directs has given him a child-like view of the world. Presenting a well reasoned and successful argument to the Supreme Court is not abusing government power it is availing one's views to it. Sorry you didn't like the outcome, Bob. Welcome to the party, pal.

Republicans cleverly ginned up a fake voter fraud crisis then prescribed new laws to combat the fake crisis. Every single Republican-controlled state government has passed or is attempting to pass laws that will require a second layer of government approval, the acquisition of a Voter ID, on top of registering to vote. You know, because Republicans hate big government bureaucracy.
There is, alas, nothing fake about voter fraud. It's just very hard to prosecute. It doesn't matter if it happens enough to sway elections or not, any fraud is too much fraud. We Republicans merely want people voting to prove they are who they say they are, just as the banks, airlines (and AG Holder's door guards) require us to prove our identity to cash a check, get on an airplane (or enter the Justice Department HQ). There is no new bureaucracy required, no bigger government. Who doesn't already have a government issued ID? We just don't want bad people lying and cheating in an important political function, voting. Apparently the Democrats want something else, want people to be able to lie and cheat with even greater impunity about voting early and often, as they say in Chicago.

Casting a ballot should be as easy as ordering a hamburger at a drive-thru window, and the steps to get there are no-brainers.

Sorry, Bob, voting is, I think, just a tad more important that fast food. It certainly is as important as cashing a check or getting on an airplane. I do, however, believe your "steps" to easier voting are indeed brainless.

And now the conservative-leaning Supreme Court has allowed these governments, under the preposterous cover of 10th Amendment "states' rights," to pass more of these laws with impunity.

I don't believe Bob knows what the 10th Amendment says. He's probably unaware of the role it played in some of the DOMA cases, which he no doubt celebrates. But back to actual facts. The only thing that changed with Shelby County was the formula for applying the "pre-authorization" section. If any state now passes a law that runs afoul the '65 Voting Rights Act or the 15th Amendment, the feds, under the former, can petition the courts to stop it. That hasn't changed. The law is still the law against disenfranchising laws. And most semi-simpletons know that a law requiring a would-be voter to produce a state-issued, picture ID in order to vote is OK vis a vis both the '65 Voting Rights Act and the 15th Amendment. Bob ought to familiarize himself with Crawford v. Marion County (6-3, Justice Stevens writing the opinion) before he makes a fool of himself ranting about voter ID laws as if they were exactly the same as the infamous poll taxes set up by racist Democrats. He really ought to learn about the Jim Crow period in the South before he even mentions Republicans in the same sentence with Jim Crow.

I know it is another Big Lie to say that the pro-slavery, Jim Crow, KKK, racist, segregationist Democrats all became members of the abolitionist, pro-freedom, pro-equal rights, anti-lynching Grand Old Party of Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King sometime in the 60s or 70s, but the people who can say it with a straight face must necessarily be completely blinded by politics or simply historical imbeciles. I'm tending for the latter with Mr. Cesca.



Palmer Modified Drought Index

Here is a site where the feds show the Palmer Modified Drought Index over the past 13 months. I'm no scientist but doesn't this show the "permanent" mid-western drought is getting better?

Prediction is hard, especially about the future.

Here is the history:

The Drought of 2012-13 is a pimple on the Dust Bowl's butt.

UPDATE; Here is the updated Palmer Modified Drought Index on July 9, 2013. The permanent drought in the Southwest is getting better.

Here is the projection for rain next week in the lower 48.

Better and better. The most rain is over the worst drought areas.

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Nothing a Few Well Placed .50 BMG Raufoss Mk 211s Couldn't Fix

Here is a very sad story about the death, by blade chopping, of a seldom seen swift bird in Britain recently. Blade chopping? Worthless wind generator blades. It is a story repeated thousands of times every day the wind is blowing. Thousands of chopped birds and mangled bats for not a single erg of energy not already being produced by actual energy producers.

I have a solution.

Use the one on the left.

Here's what's inside that round.

 Happy hunting you Barrett owners.

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Don't Ask; Don't Tell

Today's inconvenient truth comes via Instapundit's better half, Dr. Helen Smith, who points out:

In its latest report on sexual assault, the Pentagon estimated that 26,000 service members experienced unwanted sexual contact in 2012, up from 19,000 in 2010. Of those cases, the Pentagon says, 53 percent involved attacks on men, mostly by other men.

And she says she learned it from the daily read James Taranto.

It's not a surprise if you bother to think about it for a few seconds. As a former prosecutor, I'm not sure I'd call "unwanted sexual contact" an "attack," at least not every time.


Thursday, June 27, 2013


Rice Terraces

Agriculture--compared to it, all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Irony Abounds

The '65 Voting Rights Act was passed, with serious Republican support, to redress the wrong the racist Democrats had done, particularly in the South, to prevent black Americans from registering to vote. In Mississippi, for example, back then, the whites registered about 68% of their population in the state but only about 8% of the black population was registered. The worst offending southern states were required to get pre-authorization from the feds for nearly any change in voting law those states proposed. The other states could be sued by the feds for any discrimination their voting laws created but didn't have to get fed permission to change voting laws. So all states were equal but some states were less equal than others.

But the times have changed. Even though the voting rights act was renewed for 25 years, a few years ago, by nearly unanimous votes in Congress (no one wants to be called a racist for not supporting the voting rights act even if parts of it should no longer be supported), the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the South no longer discriminated any worse than any other state and treating the southern states differently, when the states there were no different, was unconstitutional. The basic law was not touched. The discrimination against the South to prevent discrimination was ended, as was proper (in Mississippi, for example, black Americans are registered at a greater rate than whites). This is actually good news. The South (because it is no longer ruled by racist Democrats) no longer discriminates against blacks vis a vis voter registration. Hooray!

That's not how Democrats are treating the decision. They're pretending the Constitutionalist justices gutted the act (complete falsehood). I personally think it's always good to treat people the same and that goes for groups of people too, like state populations. If no state in the South is now worse than any other state about black voter registration then, in the name of anti-discrimination, let's stop discriminating against the South.



You're Doing it Wrong



Thought of the Day

It has long been my belief that the sight of a good-looking woman lowers a man's IQ by at least 20 points. A man who doesn't happen to have 20 points he can spare can be in big trouble.

Thomas Sowell


Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Looks About Right

I think I would be a Dweeb then, or a less obsessed Dweeby Nerd. At least according to this. Funny how I've always thought of myself as a Geek. I was creating an O'Neill type vital lie about my social ineptitude. I'm not sure I was ever fooling anyone who really knew me.

(h/t Ace of Spades)


Monday, June 17, 2013


The Face of Disappointment

I mean the little boy's face. He thought he was meeting Iron Man and the oldish guy not at all in a metal suit showed up. The little boy is not yet two so he's probably disappointed a lot.

I'm one of the few guys who remembers Robert Downey Sr in movies (the last I can remember is To Live or Die in LA).



Science Fiction Art

Accepting my inner geekness, I have to say I love this sort of stuff. From This Isn't Happiness with the recurrent title, Space is Depressing as Hell.

It seems that life on moons of big planets is currently in fashion. When I was a kid, reading a sci fi novel or two a week, everything took place on planets and the moons in the books were merely the vacuum atmosphere, lifeless orb our single moon is.


Sunday, June 16, 2013


Constitutional Realization

There are plenty of stories and opinion pieces out there (like this one) which bitch and moan that more infringement on keeping and bearing arms hasn't happened in light of the overwhelming emotional well provided by the 20 dead first-graders in Newtown.

It seems that the leftie gun haters are coming to realize the Constitution's power to prevent or at least to curb the legislation they want.

It's a similar realization that Pro-lifers have repeatedly faced after a right to abortion on demand (for the first trimester) was found in the Constitution by the Supreme Court in Roe and Casey.

The only difference is that the Second Amendment is actually real.

Justin Slater who writes at Slate (in the article linked to above) did get one thing right: "Laws passed in haste are often bad ones." No kidding.


Saturday, June 15, 2013


Thought of the Day

Abortion is a violence of the most intimate sort. The more we accept it as a "sacred ground," as Pelosi put it, as some kind of sign of liberation, the more we miss the culture it promotes, where men are disconnected -- with no shame -- from their children, where women submit to being used rather than cherished, and where babies we know to be humans, not mere tissue or cells, are discarded. A culture that helps people rise to challenges and make sacrifices has got to be a better choice. It's about choosing love -- in life and even public policy.

 Kathryn Lopez


Wednesday, June 05, 2013


Summary Execution

Two of the Nazis have their hands up, but one in the middle has his arms crossed and his body language seems to ask, "What are you going to do if I don't raise my hands, shoot me?"

In defense of this indefensible action, this was at Dachau on April 29, 1945 when the infamous concentration camp was liberated by soldiers of the Rainbow Division (42nd Infantry). Lt. William Walsh began shooting prisoners and set up this machine gun firing squad which killed 17 before a clearer thinking, higher officer stopped it. The slight irony is that these Waffen SS troops were not the camp guards (who had fled), but were troops transferred from the eastern front specifically to surrender the camp to the Americans.

Courts martial were instigated but the charges quashed and kept fairly secret until the 1980s. No American was punished for these executions, called the Dachau Massacre.

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Sunday, June 02, 2013


Not a Road to Damascus Revelation but Something

One of the more formidable True Believers in Alarmist Anthropogenic Global Warming, Gavin Schmidt, let slip a doozie of an admission recently. He is a climate modeler for GISS (one of the datasets for world average temperatures) and he complained in a tweet (twit?) that the models did not match real world because of bad assumptions. Another person tried to blame bad math in the computer programs and Schmidt replied: "While errors in maths undoubtedly exist, the failure of models to match real world far more likely due to erroneous assumptions."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

The first step to solving a problem you have is admitting that there is a problem.

Well done, Mr. Schmidt. Welcome to the party, pal.


Saturday, June 01, 2013


Alterman Cleaves to the Alarmist Talking Points

I first realized that über-leftie Eric Alterman could not be trusted to stand strong for the truth during his last segment on talk radio's The Mike Rosen Show about 10 years ago. Mike Rosen was asking him the hard questions Mike is wont to do but he was not being rude to Mr. Alterman or going ad hominem on him when suddenly Alterman got incensed and hung up on Mike saying, "Why did I expect anything different from right wing radio?"

So it is in that light that I read his recent pompous drivel about Alarmist Anthropogenic Global Warming titled, Blame News for Public's Ignorance about Climate. Here are some thoughts on its contents.

Alterman writes about the Cook/Nuccitelli "study" which claimed to find 97% concurrence about Alarmist Anthropogenic Global Warming among climate scientists although only 32.6% of the articles cited actually showed support for it. So that well debunked study is, for Alterman, the truth and everyone who opposes it can be easily ignored as a product of just so much right wing radio propaganda. For a political wing which lauds itself for supposed independent, critical thinking and questioning authority, the left too often relies on argumentum ad verecundiam (argument from authority) as their main support for what they believe. We cave-dwelling rubes on the right actually think differently. Consensus has nothing to do with science; indeed, it is anti-scientific. 97% can say something is true and all be dead wrong. Before Copernicus, for example, the scientific consensus was that the Earth was the center of the Universe and everything else, the stars, sun, moon, and planets revolved around it. Seems a pretty quaint belief now. More recently, we boomers actually observed a now central geological belief go from 97% of scientists believing it was dead wrong to 97% believing it was dead on, in little more than a decade (floating continents). From his broadly falacious start, Alterman descends.

I’ve written in the past on the myriad components of purposeful climate illiteracy in the media. Many U.S. meteorologists, for instance, who have no particular expertise in climatology, play the role of climate deniers to the general public in part because, according to meteorologist and writer Bob Henson, “There is a little bit of elitist-versus-populist tensions.” He explains, “There are meteorologists who feel, ‘Just because I have a bachelor’s degree doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s going on.’”
Using argumentum ad verecundiam, I would counter that meteorologists probably know more about climatology than Mr. Alterman. To the left, who overwhelmingly have a near religious faith in the truth of Alarmist Anthropogenic Global Warming, only an elite know the truth and everyone who disagrees has a character flaw of one sort of another. (It is a very tedious position, almost as meaningless as the race card has become). But aren't we Republican knuckle-draggers merely using independent, critical thinking and questioning authority? Moving on.

Alas, researchers at George Mason University found that more than a quarter of television weathercasters agree with the statement “Global warming is a scam,” and nearly two-thirds believe that if warming is occurring, it is caused “mostly by natural changes.” But even the American Meteorological Society has stated that warming is occurring, and that human activities are very likely the cause. Unfortunately,according to The New York Times, researchers at Yale and George Mason found that 56 percent of Americans trusted weathercasters to tell them about global warming far more than they trusted other news media.
So the media weathercasters generally disagree with the central authority. They must be wrong. (I did tell you it was tedious to hear the authority fallacy and ad hominem argument again and again).
Even PBS is in the misinformation business and has been criticized by its ombudsman, Michael Getler, who observed that the network “stumbled badly” when it broadcast a segment on “PBS NewsHour” that sought to create “an artificial or false equivalence” between global warming “skeptics” and “believers.”
So the authority figure at PBS has spoken and covering Global Warming Climate Change fairly (that is, presenting both sides) is creating an artificial and false equivalence between supporters of a theory and those who do not believe it. The authority has spoken! The so called consensus is right and everything counter to it is false, unworthy of even a mention. But let's get a little to the merits of the thesis and its antithesis.

One has to go back all the way to 1984—the height of former President Ronald Reagan’s reheated Cold War—to find a debate season where global environmental threats received so little attention. What’s more, this refusal to bring up the man-made climate threat was occurring, as Richardson noted, as millions of Americans found themselves threatened by “rising sea levels and more wildfire outbreaks, starving our agricultural base with increasingly severe droughts, and killing our citizens in an epidemic of extreme heat waves.” When asked about the absence of the topic from the town-hall debate, CNN’s Candy Crowley explained it in this way: “Climate change, I had that question. … All you climate change people. We just, you know, again, we knew that the economy was still the main thing.”

I can't let Alterman's false revisionism stand unchallenged. In 1984 Ronald Reagan and others were entering the endgame of a near 40 year struggle which extirpated the threat of nuclear war (megadeaths and the end of civilization as we knew it) by the destruction of the evil empire of the USSR. Still seems more important to me than any other issue at the time. Back to Global Warming Climate Change. I've often thought that the change in the name of the problem was a sign of victory. The properly skeptical right wing, still clinging to the scientific method, caused the Alarmists to abandon the words that accurately described what they believed (AGW) and to adopt a generic, non-threatening title which hid their continued belief in AGW. The fact which caused the name change was the near two decades of no warming. I also look on the recent change by the True Believers to focus now on "extreme weather" as another win for the good guys. The bland Climate Change is real (but natural and not threatening), so they have to make up lies about an increase in weather extremes which simply does not exist. These lies are easily disproved. Alterman fell right in.

Sea level is nearly always rising during an interglacial and when it reverses and starts to fall consistently, then we have left the naturally occurring interglacial and entered another ice age. In the last 140 years, sea level has risen about 9 inches and there is not even the slightest hint that the 2 to 3mm/yr rate is accelerating. Wildfire and forest fire outbreaks in America and Canada have fallen in the past 40 years. Droughts in America have decreased in severity and length since the dustbowl 80 years ago. Rather than an epidemic of "extreme heat waves" global temperatures have stabilized over the past two decades and have in fact gone down in the past decade (despite the True Believer's "adjustment" to the temperature record).

In sum, it is the wort sort of projection for the left to call "ignorant" the scientifically sound skeptics. I see it as the right merely rejecting the left's newest apocalyptic vision. Alterman knows next to nothing about climate but believes everything the left preaches about Alarmist Anthropogenic Global Warming. Who's ignorant there?


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