Monthly Archives: May 2013

OK. This Makes It Pretty Clear

IF THE REPORT IS ACCURATE, it’s abundantly transparent that the regime’s motive in buying all the ammo they have is to create shortages.

Congress should cut the purse strings. Now. Immediately, if not sooner.

A Story Starter

Sort of like a sourdough starter.

The Cleanup Man

The Cleanup Man is someone in your life who is tasked, should something untoward happen to you — such as death — to go through your effects and remove all evidence of wrongdoing or moral turpitude. Usually, it’s “Log onto my computer and delete my porn stash,” or “Burn my diaries.” But it could also be, “Break Aunt Sophie out of the chimney where I bricked her up and bury her somewhere in a swamp where she’ll never be found.”

Or worse.

It’s customary, when enlisting someone to play the role of cleanup man in your life to, at the very least, give them some advance notice, even if you don’t exactly get their agreement to perform these delicate tasks on your behalf. After all, you’re dead. Why should you care? But it’s not exactly something you spring on a friend. Especially not a friend you would trust to actually carry through with these risky and possibly illegal tasks.

Mitchell Drummond was not at all aware that anyone in his life thought enough of him to nominate him as a cleanup man and yet so little of him as to not give him any warning. Nevertheless, when the manila #11 clasp envelope landed on his desk in the inter-office mail that Tuesday morning, it happened.

Those of you who have pretensions of being writers, let it be a challenge to you. You can’t use my characters or the exact wording above, but otherwise, have at it. The first one to publish wins a No Prize.

The Part I Don’t Like About

THIS NEW CATEGORY regime at Amazon is that you can’t roll your own. And they don’t have a Human Wave category.

Should we start a mail-writing campaign?

When Oh When

WILL SOMEONE HAUL Michael Bloomberg’s ass into court on charges of conspiracy against civil rights?

Wave of the Future

YEARS AGO, WHEN the so-called Affordable Care Act was only a glimmer in Hillary Clinton’s eye, my primary care physician allowed as how, were he to stop taking insurance, he’d be able to eliminate a good 60% of his office staff and be able to charge $40 for an office visit. (At the time, he was charging insurance companies $120. The co-pay with my carrier was $20.)

One year, I ran the numbers. I was spending, or was having spent on my behalf (including “insurance” premiums) a round $12,000. Adding up the actual charges as reported on the insurance paperwork, the cost was under $10,000. The rest was profit and overhead for the unsurance company. Whose rates, BTW, despite an official inflation rate of plus-or-minus zero, never stayed the same year-to-year.

The year before Obamacare went through Congress like shit through a greased goose, I made a deal with my employer. They were going to stop offering health insurance as a bennie, because they couldn’t afford the continual rate increases. So I made this pitch: Pay me what you’re paying the insurance company now and I’ll make my own arrangements. After a bit of dickering which essentially allowed them to cover what they were losing in the way of a tax deduction, we settled.

I’ve been cash-for-services ever since. Despite having a five-figure hospital bill in 2011 and spending right around $900 a month on meds, I’m still coming out ahead on the deal.

Now. Picture all the people who didn’t see this mess coming and didn’t get out from under soon enough. Now, their insurance premiums are skyrocketing, they’re losing their coverage, or they’re losing hours at their jobs, or losing the jobs altogether.

Remember what I say about so-called “unintended consequences”: they don’t exist. All consequences must be taken as intended. Obama and the Democrats in national government MEANT for this to happen.

But people will still want medical care. And there will still be those willing and able to provide medical care services at reasonable market prices. What won’t happen is that people will willingly take on the additional burden of paying the overhead and profit for a “service” company they don’t need. Or… will shortly find they don’t need.

I think you’re going to see a lot more of this.

I also suspect that you’re going to witness a major crash in health insurance companies, PPOs, HMOs, and hospital networks built around aggregating private medical practices. You heard it here first.

Drive an Atheist Crazy

640px-Göbekli_Tepe

TELL HIM THAT religion and not agriculture may have been the impetus for the beginning of civilization. Archaeologists excavating at Göbekli Tepe think that may be the case.

Since I”m writing a series of novels steeped in all the myths of mankind, this is of great interest to me.

I’m also re-reading The Norse Myths (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library), a modern update based at least in part on Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda. The author/translator deprecates a certain medieval translation because its compiler advances the notion that the Norse gods were really men. Since this is quite close to my working hypothesis, I’m telling myself I need to get my hands on that translation.

AFAIK, it’s in Latin. Shucks.

Say a Prayer for All Those

bugler0509WHO ANSWERED THE CALL only to be betrayed by crapweasels in the government.

A Very Simple Lesson

IN MARKET economics here.

If the state were a rational actor (note the conditional mood), legislators would take note of the observed phenomenon and conclude, “If we wished to end — and win — the war on drugs, perhaps legalization might be the saner option.”

So much of the current problem being dealing with the massive amounts of cash and consequent power the black market generates with no end in sight, you see…

Wait a minute! How do you “win” in that sequence of events.

Oh. You saw how I palmed that card, didn’t you? Yes. I assume that illegal reducing drug usage is indeed a desideratum of the program and conclude that one may accomplish that in a single stroke by eliminating whole classes of drugs which do no more harm than more ordinary substances.

But what about the ones that do?

Thorny problem, innit? The issue is that you have to actually do some work, which most politicians appear unwilling to approach. That is, one would have to parse the various drugs available and separate them on the basis of their toxicity. Doing so without bias appears difficult and is thus avoided. I prefer to bias my actions toward liberty and therefore would prefer to see more-toxic substances more generally available, rather than those less toxic be banned, thus creating all of the pathologies of black markets, which inevitably follow on governments proscribing things.

And I offer as the basis of a thought experiment the notion that the more-general, legal availability of gentler substances, such as marijuana, might tend to exert market forces toward diminishing demand for and consumption of more deadly ones such as crack and meth, while, at the same time, freeing up large portions of the law enforcement industry for policing those more-toxic substances.

Just a notion.

Aunsey De Woo-Woo

VERY FEW PEOPLE WILL get the joke in the headline. Nevertheless, I ain’t ‘splainin’.

THIS, however, makes a lot more sense than ANYthing ANY politicians has said in … ever.

The Stated Reason Alone

ON THE RECENT decision by Stephen King not to release his book Joyland in e-Book format is moronic. The snobbish and retrograde-thinking attitude portrayed misses the mark by a million miles. Colluding to preserve the perqs of outmoded sales practice is about as stupid as you can get.

But he has, here, forgotten the prime directive of business: Markets exist for the benefit of the buyer. Sellers who survive or thrive are those who best serve the needs, wants, desires, and dreams of the buyer. Those who eventually join other failures on Reagan’s Ash Heap are those who seek to bring the dead parrot back to life in order to help out cronies… not so much.

I admire King for his work ethic and his abilities as a storyteller, but I don’t really think he’s all that good a writer. He had his chance with me and I gave that book flying lessons. I’ll probably never give him another chance.

And, knowing he’s a knee-jerk leftist, it doesn’t really surprise me that he would take a decision and offer such a witless excuse for it. I’m sure it will hurt his sales. I’m equally as sure he’ll probably not notice — nor credit the correct reason for the lack.

DaDoll Sez

I CAN TOO see my feet!

perspective

Stole from Roger, the Real King of France.

I’m Inclined to Say, “Aw HELLZ No!”

TO THIS NOTION OF fan-fiction for pay. Do not want. Hot topic of discussion all over the place. But for a different reason than I think most people adduce.

To me, it’s a matter of taking pride in your work.

As Picasso said, all artists borrow. Great artists steal. But there is — or has been — an implied requirement of originality. As Heinlein said, you have to file off the serial numbers. All it really takes is to change the names of the characters. If you don’t have at least that minimum pride in your workmanship, you’re not an artist, you’re a wanker, engaged in derivative masturbation.

Look. Dolly is Xena fan fic. What the bards in the X:WP-verse used to (and may still) call an uber. We transport the characters into a contemporary setting and tell stories about them. If we’re at least a little creative, we give them different names. If we’re even a bit more creative, we give them a different appearance, different quirks and speech patterns, different histories, loves, desires, greeds, and hatreds.

And, at some point in that continuum of change, your work is no longer a derivative tie-in, but becomes something original. Something wholly new. Which is what I am now doing with her stories. The first novel in what will be called the Dolly Apocrypha is based on a novella which bears only a superficial resemblance to what will be the completed book. And about the only element that remains from that original story is that the protagonist is named Gabrielle Dolly.

When I set out to seek professional publication for the Dolly stories, I realized that I would have to remove those elements which were not mine. And there was more than just tributes to the television show Xena: Warrior Princess. There were bits and pieces of other writers’ work that had been incorporated into the stories of the Apocrypha, because they were written in a different milieu for a different purpose.

But that’s what creation is all about — originality. Sole ownership on the part of the creator.

I have the same problem with similar tropes in music. When rappers asserted that copyrights limited their creativity, I just about exploded. THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT, NUMBNUTS! Somebody already did that. If you don’t want to be judged as a derivative wannabe or a thief — DO SOMETHING ELSE! Jeeze!

I freely acknowledge my debt to the creators of X:WP — and not just the Powers That Be who created the Canon, but also to myriad assorted fan fic authors who proposed alternative story lines, such as Missy Good, whose alt-fic very nearly overtook the Canon — did, in a lot of minds in Xena fandom. But I have also done my damnedest to make dead certain that there is no cause for anyone to say the whole thing — while owing the original — is anything but original itself.

And that, to my mind, is the way it’s supposed to be.

This Picture Scares

irs_obamacare_your-vote

PEOPLE IN THE RIGHT, as well it should. But those on the Left are more likely to think, “You say that as though it were a bad thing,” when it ought to terrify them just as much. After all, it’s not as though there will always be Democrats in power.

Why not? Aren’t they entrenched in the permanent bureaucracy?

Yeah. Until honest IGs and Republican appointees have them marched out of their offices in chains.

Why should they believe that’s ever going to happen?

I see your point. After all, most leftist brain farts are engaged in wishful thinking. Belief in magic, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Not to mention that, when it actually does happen, they’ll either deny it outright or whinge that it shouldn’t and, therefore, isn’t. The currents flow strong in the River de Nial.

Now, I see at Instapundit that individual IRS agents are being sued by victims of their harassment. One hopes there are civil rights charges in there. Faster,please, of course, but also: more, please.

Minoan Tits

minoan_titsIN RESPONSE TO READER INPUT (Hey! One reader putting in is still reader input!), we want to explore the health benefits of looking at boobs. And, being the kind of site we are, we want there to be a political component.

So, you know those murals that they found in the ruins of the palace at Knossos — the presumed capital of the Minoan civilization, which is believed to have been destroyed by a tsunami generated in the same volcanic eruption which created the caldera harbor at the Greek isle, Santorini? And, if you’re familiar with the murals, you will no doubt remember that a notable feature of the women’s styles back then appears to have been that the women wore dresses that bared their breasts.

Funny how all the women in the murals have nice tits.

Yeah. Funny about that. Makes you wonder just who was painting the murals.

So. Anyway. In honor of the recent announcement made in New York, recently, by the NYPD in New York, we want to propose a new term of art — a descriptive term, describing those tatas that, in locations where they allow women to go topless, you KNOW would be street legal: Minoan Tits.

Woo-hoo! Go Topless Day is EVERY day!

It’s My Blog and I’ll Fart Out If I Want To

SO IT SEEMS AS THOUGH a week without new materials is about the limit before concerned citizens start sending polite queries to the effect, “Are you dead? Fucking mental? Dying of the epizootic? No? Then POST SOMETHING FER CRAPSAKE!”

<alvin>OH! KAY!</alvin>

Got the spigot cleaned and the paddles rinsed down, the machine reassembled. Free ice cream will re-commence in 3… 2…

Need Serious Bitch-Slapping

SMASH-MOUTH, head-to-the curbstone pushback on privacy, now more than ever. As Roger (L) Simon points out

What we have now discovered about Barack Obama and Eric Holder’s America, if we didn’t already know it, is that any belief in a benign and decent government in this country is absolute horseshit. Liberalism has been revealed as a fascist joke.

A sick fascist joke at that.

The regime and everybody in it needs to pay and pay dearly. But it can’t stop there. We the People need to reclaim the country in a serious, substantive way, and do so pointedly. Democrats must be removed from office until they demonstrate they can be trusted near the levers of power. (Yes, I’m being politically ecumenical. My personal belief is that, in a republic, anybody who calls himself a democrat is starting out acting with bad faith intent. This country is explicitly NOT a democracy for some very good reasons, amply demonstrated by the party of the Left for a very, very long time.) And Republicans need to be put on notice. Rubio and Cruz and Paul are right and McCain and Toomey and Collins are wrong, and we need to stop attacking patriots and start defending American liberty or the GOP will join the donks on Reagan’s Ash Heap.

People argue and assert that freedom of speech is the cornerstone of the nation. I submit it is not. It’s only one more brick in the wall, built on a foundation of individual sovereignty, of which privacy is an integral component, right there alongside self-ownership.

Looking at All the Items Mandated

TO BE COVERED under the so-called “Affordable” (What a larf!) Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), I have to conclude that this bundling scheme was…

Wait! “Bundling?”

Yeah. That’s what the mandated coverage provisions are — bundling. They make single males in their 20s pay for female contraceptives, mammograms, prostate checks, and Parkinson’s coverage (for examples), which he won’t need or even want for some time down the road, if ever at all. In aid of making those goods “affordable” for people who will want or need them at some time in their lives. And they make females in their 20’s pay for low-T treatments and flu shots for middle-aged diabetics, and aging grandparents pay for pre-natal care, and all the other distortions of the market.
Bundling.

But they want cable companies to unbundle their channels!

Dolly, you can’t expect consistency from people who think that there’s a moral dissonance between opposition to abortion and support for the death penalty. You just can’t. They probably can’t do math without taking their shoes off, either. You can’t expect adherence to rules from people who think that people who insist on following the rules (i.e. the Constitution) are extremist nutbars. You just can’t.

But 90% Of It Is…

SPAM. Article Glenn Beck reads on the air Tuesday morning reports that the NSA hoovers up 1.7 BILLION emails every day.

Which means that 1.53 BILLION of those are spam.

You Know What’s Disgusting

ABOUT THE REGIME’S spin on the IRS scandal is that it’s probably true. It probably was some young punks, drunk on power, deciding to strike a blow for the Revolution, who decided it would be appropriate and/or fun to set in motion audits of patriot groups for the sole reason that they were patriot groups. And I can easily imagine that senior figures in the regime would like to strangle the young idiots for the trouble they’ve caused.

That doesn’t change the fact that it’s collectivism on display and we need to take the lesson from it that you can’t trust collectivists on anything and they need to be kept as far away from the levers of power as can be managed. And not just the young punks, but the old silverbacks and gray-muzzled hyenas, too.

The Value of Repetition

IN TEACHING IS THAT you refine the lesson. Until you smooth it all down to a simple parable or fable of tutelary value.

Such as this one.

Every Time I Comment

ABOUT THE WHOLE ITAR and the plastic pistol mess on somebody’s blog, the madder I get.

If I get this right, there’s this government law — constitutional overreach, I think — that says you can’t export certain arms. Nukes. Radar tech. Command and control systems. Which makes sense if stuff is the property of the government or intellectual property of government contractors held as official secrets. And I think that was probably the original intent.

And then we get into the unintended consequences. And you know what I think about those.

This is the danger if you let power just lie around. Sooner or later, somebody’s gonna use it. Abuse it, I mean. As the saying goes, power corrupts and power attracts the corruptible. Put the two together, you’re gonna get corruption. Oppressive behavior. Stuff you don’t want.

So these guys — doesn’t matter who, really, just sumdoods — develop a way to print a plastic pistol using a 3D printer. It’s a really clunky thing. Uglier than even a Glock. And, if I get this right, you can only fire a few rounds before it gets too dangerous to shoot. But, as the saying goes, it’s early days, yet. Given time, the bright boys will knock down the problems, one-by-one.

There is some discussion as to whether the thing even comes in for government scrutiny. After all, the Constitution guarantees both freedom of the press and the right to keep and bear arms. So, if the press manufactures a weapon, WTF business is it of the government? Seems to me that here’s the slam-dunk case for why the BATFE-I-E-I-O shouldn’t even exist. It’s entire raison d’etre is to infringe on the rights of the people and it ought to be abolished and extirpated, root and branch.

What’s that? Alcohol? Ever hear of the Ninth Amendment? The People have and assert a right to own, make, and sell booze without let or tax, and — slam dunk (or it ought to be) — that’s the end of the government’s power to do fuck-all about it. Same for the rest of it. And any proposal to the contrary amounts to war on the Constitution and is thereby treason. At least, it is the way I read the Constitution. But the Left these days is getting adept at telling you the sky is green and the grass is blue.

But, having a little expertise in this 3D thing, I can tell you this: the particular wireframe model is the LEAST important factor. The software to make a new model and the printers are all available worldwide. Which means that, even if there are technology embargos on, say, AutoCAD or 3DS Max, they’ll be obtainable on the black market. I will also bet you whatever cash I have in my pocket that, even though it was Americans who developed this first (or so they think), there are people in Manila or Islamabad, or Bangalore who are assiduously working on their own home-grown versions.

Don’t kid yourself. This IS aimed squarely at YOUR 2nd Amendment rights.

I’m also thinking it’s time we stopped enumerating the rights we claim or assert. There were even those among the founders who believed we shouldn’t have a Bill of Rights because they could anticipate idiots and tyrants saying, “It’s not in the list, so it doesn’t exist.”

Like: doesn’t it hit you like fingernails on a blackboard when Rush Limbaugh asserts that, because there’s no specifically-enumerated Right to Privacy in the BoR, that’s why Roe v. Wade is bad law and there’s no right to abortion?

(No, you can’t have a right to kill someone untrammeled, which is why there can’t be a right to abortion, because you’re infringing on somebody else’s right to life. But there IS a right to PRIVACY for grid’s sake!)

ARRRGGGHH!

And, just because there’s no Right to Booze in the BoR, the gummint can’t limit your access or ability to afford it. That’s not how it’s supposed to work. Booze ain’t on the list of things the government is allowed to muck with, so they have to keep their filthy paws OFF.

Same with guns. Same with 3D printers.

And that’s what the Ninth Amendment means. I simplify it thusly: Article 1 specifies the (limited) powers of the government. If it’s in there, it can be considered mandatory. If it’s not, it’s forbidden. Period. Discussion closed. Not up for a vote.

So we should stop talking about First or Second or Fifth Amendment rights like those articles circumscribe our rights and start referring to Ninth Amendment rights, asserting that those are unlimited and un-enumerable.

How you gonna make that stick, smartass?

Well, we start by asserting it as fact. And then we fight, inch-by-inch, until we win. Capeesh?

Dear IRS

APOLOGY INSUFFICIENT

Party in Your Plants

SO APPARENTLY THE reading of atmospheric carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa (note: a volcano) passed 400 parts per million here recently.

This is some kind of a milestone, or so I’m given to understand.

Meanwhile, back at the climate, global temperatures continue to fall unexpectedly. For the twelfth year in a row. Nope. Sorry Fifteenth. (Hard to keep track.)

And, in other places (like — the rest of the world), CO2 concentrations … vary widely. But they only report the one reading that they take … on a volcano.

Here’s a quick one. Do you know where most atmospheric CO2 comes from? That’s right, volcanic action.

Funny how that works.

And they cite that high reading — maybe one of the higher readings on the planet — like it was a bad thing. Forgetting, of course, that the plants on which the entire food chain — including us — depends thrive on the stuff.

And they expect you to panic.

Commonplace of the Day

I’M NEANDERTHAL, YOU’RE Neanderthal, and Og, the Neanderpundit, is doubly blessed.

Why they think so.

So I Am Intrigued

TO READ A NOTE at Kristine M. Smith’s blog that the first four Jani Killian books are out of print and that she will be bringing them out in ebook format soonish. This is welcome news and I hope it implies (as I infer) that she has gotten the rights reverted from Harper Collins. (More the fools they, but then, a publisher that lets a promising midlist career die on the vine for lack of said publisher’s effort is a fool by definition.) I also hope she reaps mondo monetary reward from the effort. These are some of MY favoritest books and I’ve always thought that she was shabbily treated. (Smith. Killian was well-treated, albeit auctorially abused as a matter of fiction.)

As Smith notes in the blog post, the books are available in used book stores. If you’re lucky enough to find them, grab them. Well worth it.

Just a Snatch-and-Grab

FOR THE COMMONPLACE BOOK this page linked from Borepatch (I told you he finds the neatest stuff!), on Ice Age Civilizations. As BP put it, the earliest cities built by humanity are probably under water. And not in the sense of their mortgages being more than the property is worth.

As one of the “races” of my ficton comprises the Gods of Olympus — putatively 10,000-40,000 years old — and the Aegean was considerably smaller than now, one might assume that the earliest settlements of the Doric peoples were in that region, rather than, as I have assumed, in the Peloponnesian highlands.
It’s still fascinating to include the Atreides in the East families lineage, but I’ll have to hint that earlier ancestors came from other locations.

Good News from Marko

BLOGOSPHERE FAVE Marko Kloos announces that he has inked a deal to pub his two MilSF novels with 47 North. Congratulations are due, along with best wishes for every success.

I should disclaim that I wouldn’t enter into such a deal. But that’s easy for me to say, as I don’t have anything on the market now. That may change. But, being following Kris Rusch and Dean Smith, as well as Joe Konrath, Lindsey Buroker, David Gaugran and myriad others, I can’t say right now I would have any reason to sell rights to my work to a publisher. Any rights. I can conceive a time down the road when I might want to HIRE a publisher to distribute my work, but I would not be selling them any exclusive and unlimited licenses to anything. It would be a hire contract of specific scope and limited time, renewable ad libitum. That’s just the way I see things stacking up. The war stories I hear, and the way the stats stack up, I don’t see what a publisher offers that’s worth the incredible hit one takes in the money.

Marko offers the rationale — which I’m not discounting, just questioning its validity for me — that he doesn’t have time or resources to do the finishing work. It takes too much time away from writing. For me, I don’t get that. Especially, as I say, for the hit to the cash. Hiring an editor can be done for a lot less than a trad-pub house wants to charge (in the cases I’ve heard reported, at any rate — your mileage may vary). And, as for covers, judging by the experience friends have had dealing with publishing house art departments, I’m dead certain I can — and will — do better. Nor do I think anyone with an educated eye can do much worse. As much as I rag on Dean Smith for his PowerPoint pose (I notice his covers have improved immensely since he hired a pro), he does have one thing right — the pros have made far more of the mystery of the thing than is really there. One presumes in defense of their rice bowls.

And, since I was already doing that (during the period of highest production on the current WIP, I did a rough equivalent to ten or fifteen book covers at my day job), and managed to turn the main production on The High T Affair in about five weeks, (only two of which could remotely be called “full time” work), I can’t say I follow the math.

But we’ll have to see how events actually shake out, now, won’t we?

I have notes back from my alpha and am working my way through them and am intending to get the reworked MS of The High T Affair to my prospective editor in a week or two. Then the rubber begins to hit the road at a different speed.

Dear Senator Portman

WOW! YOU REALLY know how to give a guy a bad case of buyer’s remorse.

I remember when you were a freshman Congressman and came down to join the first TEA Party by the river, ‘way back in ’93, when we were fighting against the Clinton tax increases. A lot of us believed that you could be a stalwart for liberty. And, whenever you ran for office, we voted for you. And, when you got sucked into the bureaucracy or an administration and we lost our representative, we cheered for you anyway.

Because, you know, we thought we could trust that you knew and believed in the Constitution and your oath of office.

More the fools we.

Internet sales taxes? Really? Did you miss Article I, Section 9? Did you really not understand that, case law notwithstanding, it was intended to obviate the very actions you voted for in the Senate this past week?

I’m sorry, Senator. Over the years, you’ve managed to trim your sails and skirt the edges of unconstitutionality, and you’ve offered rationales that were believable, if still somewhat suspect. But this is the last straw.

The saying goes: “Fool me once, shame on you…” In these days, you don’t get to fool us twice.

I’ll be supporting and voting for your opponent in your next primary battle. And I’ll be urging others to do the same.

This is Too Long and Complex

TO BE A SIMPLE Quote of the Day, but it does deserve that kind of up-pointing. Our Curmudgeon, in full cry…

[…A]sk yourself, “Why does the Left strive to delegitimize those who speak for the Right, if the Left has a set of rational arguments for its positions?”

The immediate conclusion must be that the Left’s strategists consider this tactic practically superior to all others. That conclusion, all by itself, is an important one that deserves independent reflection. But behind it lies another of even greater import, which comes most plainly into view when one realizes that the next electoral battle is still seventeen months away:

The Right is winning all the premier policy arguments of the day on grounds of better logical substance and greater evidentiary support.

An old trial-lawyer’s maxim has much point: “When the law is against you, pound the facts. When the facts are against you, pound the law. When both are against you, pound the table.”

The Left cannot compete with the Right on logical grounds, nor can it muster evidence in support of its theses. Therefore it must “pound the table:” it must deflect the public’s attention from both evidence and logic to make room for whatever other assets it can bring to bear. But to do so without addressing the Right’s arguments and evidence requires that those “pounding the facts and the law” be delegitimized in the eyes of those who might otherwise attend to them.

RTWT.

Chapter II, in which

ERIN DELIVERS yet another righteous ass-kicking. (Her second, according to the tally.) Read. Chuckle. Enjoy. Respond.

A Braw Lassie

My character, Jeep (Gillian Mary Katherine Elizabeth Paul — GP or Jeep), is a lot like in the the projected personality. Sure, Jeep is from Glasgow and Katie here is from Edinburgh (correction: St. Andrews), she’s a musician while Jeep is a limner — a visual artist. But the two are more alike than different, I ween.

I love this performance for its spunk and spirit.

Tyrant Says, “What?”

OBAMA ONCE AGAIN reveals just how out-of-touch with America he is.

It almost really doesn’t matter where he was born, (although there appear to have been British records that indicate he really was (as he claimed in an early bio) born in Kenya), this man is not an American. And leftists try to mock us for our mistrust of him.

The Problem of Earning a Living at Art

IS PRODUCTION. The artist whose work is displayed in what can only be fairly called thumbnail graphics at the link (and whose own blog is here) has such a painstaking and physically demanding process that one of her paintings would have to sell for ten or fifteen thousand dollars in order for her to manage a decent standard of living.

And they might well. They’re certainly good enough, but there’s a certain set of imponderables in the valuation of an artist’s work, not the least of which is the price he himself puts on it. And that has to do with often foggy perceptions of what the traffic will bear. I myself have only ever done one single work which commanded five figures, and that was a commissioned work-for-hire, for which I have never and will never see a dime. (And it will probably never be used for the purpose for which it was
intended.) I have done any number which commanded four figures and quite a few annually of what might be called design sets — not standalone single images, but groups of images on a theme.

It takes a lot of hard work. I could do more, but the demand is limited. I wonder what the market is for Ms Adams’ work. Since I really like it, I hope for her it’s rich and she gets to enjoy the fruits of her labors.

Women of the NRA

I FEAR THE PEOPLE WHO really need to see this will fear to watch it — in case it might change their minds, challenge their prejudices. But I pass it on in hopes that one might.

Back in the Early Days of the Blogosphere

THERE WAS A BLOG WHICH purported to be by and about a poor little rich girl on the run from her rich and powerful — and cruel and overbearing — father. It was a fascinating read. I was never really sure whether it was truth or fiction, and not really certain it matters either way. The headspace the entries put you in was exciting, mysterious, eldritch in a non-fantastic way, and a wonderful (in a sense-of-wonder sense) head twist.

Another story — more palpably fictitious, but no less wonder-ful for all of that — that had a similar effect was that of Methuselah’s Daughter, which is still ongoing, albeit at not quite the same frenetic pace.

And, of similar delight, though I never could get into flash fiction, is the epistolary novella in tweets by Steven Soderberg. Just the idea of offering strobe-lit 140-character glimpses into a world and telling a story through them excites a frisson in the mental pathways.

I wonder what story of Dolly’s I could tell in that fashion.

Dolly

I REALIZED FRIDAY THAT Dolly comes out of a desire to write a character like the girl described in Al Stewart’s “The Year of the Cat”.

NOW you tell me! All I need is that silk dress? Sheesh!

This is Hopeful

BUT I REMAIN SKEPTICAL. It appears that there is a proposal on the table which promises to end the climate-change debate — if the proponents of CAGW are acting in good faith. It is a verifiable and peer-reviewed calculation that “fixing” the problems of climate change will cost fifty times what it would cost to adapt to it.

I don’t doubt it’s being put forth in all sincerity by Lord Monckton and others. All of the data and process is publicly available (unlike the data and models arguing for massive remediation).

But the rub is in the first paragraph above: If the warmistas are acting in good faith. And, of course, they’re not. The whole CAGW dodge has been a bad-faith effort from the start, a stalking horse for international revolutionary Marxist seeking to loot the treasuries of rich, Western countries. That’s why they can’t allow honest reviews of their data and processes, why they can’t engage in an open debate — their motives are about as ulterior as they can get.

But I’d love to be proven wrong.

You Wanna Know Why

AUTONOMOUS CARS WILL NEVER HAPPEN? Look in your email InBox and count the spam messages. The ones that get past your self-training, Bayesian-filtered, white-and-blacklisted spam filter. Those. Total up how many you see in a day. A week. A month. A year.

Imagine they’re highway fatalities.

Tell me that, if they can’t teach an email client to recognize spam, how are they going to teach a car to recognize the threat from a farding, cell-phone-talking, gesticulating, talking-to-her-girlfriend-in-the-back-seat — yes, woman — driver? (And, no, guys, you’re not off the hook. I’ve seen way too many of you cruising down the Interstate, straddling lanes, yakking away on your cell phones, utterly oblivious to what’s going on around you.)

And following distance? How many times will Biff Trustafarian’s Volvo have to slam on the brakes or Siri a warning at him, “You’re following that truck too close! Brake! Brake!” before the following-distance warning gets disconnected by a duke-‘im-a-fifty, not-so-ASE-certified mechanic?

So Don’ Wannabe Teen Moms Can Get

PLAN B WITHOUT A prescription, but I can’t get insulin?

And people wonder why so many of us think government is broken.

We Need A Sort of Inverted Haymarket Riot

FOR PRIVACY. Bruce Schneier lays out some of the points in issue.

There have been a lot of excuses for this sad state of affairs. You asked for it — or, at least, accepted it (the vast impositions against privacy in business, banking and all the rest of our private affairs) in exchange for convenience. It makes modern business operations possible; without it the world wouldn’t go. And the most despicable of all: privacy is dead; get over it.

(Assertion of that last should earn the speaker a righteous bitch-slapping at the very least.)

All of which have the sulfurous reek of totalitarian stalking horses. Just as with the subject of gun control, the issue is not guns but control, so, too, the issue with the exposure of private information isn’t the exposure, but who has the right to expose it.

In a free society, if you own yourself (and how despicable is the opposite situation), then how can you not own the information about you? And, that being the case — that you manifestly do have exclusive ownership rights in the information about you (a truth which is tacitly acknowledged in the waivers and disclaimers they make you sign in order to get access to their goodies) — how can those whom you trust with that information treat it other than as a fiduciary confidence which THEY MUST NOT BREACH?

Well, because they’re despicable trimmers who seek to get away with as much as they can, greedily grasping for any gain — even that not rightly theirs — they can realize. If you own the information ABOUT yourself, then how is the sale of that information not the fencing of stolen goods?

Well, Mr. Smartass, how would you fix the situation? Well, first and foremost, anonymization. In most cases, there is no need to tie your identity to information about you. Schneier himself, in the period immediately after 9/11, outlined a series of protocols by which trust data could be handled anonymously (and, incidentally, probably at significantly lower cost) and actually enhance the reliability of it. In the case of access to the secure areas of airports, there is no need for the state to know WHO you are, merely that it can be reliably demonstrated that you are trustworthy. Which, as I say, does not require proof of identity.

And that would be the initial approach I would recommend. Identify and remove those markers of identity which are not necessary to the trust-verification process at hand. Beyond that, I would recommend a return to the view that the Bill of Rights are sacrosanct, and that they MEAN WHAT THEY SAY. The Fourth Amendment, for example, says nothing about “agents of the state.” It instead absolutely proscribes the violation of a right to privacy without a stringent due process having been hewed to. And that includes the #%$*!&@ IRS.

At least, I don’t see an “except for tax collectors” in the text of the Amendment. And I suspect that James Madison would have bitch slapped you had you proposed that interpretation at the time. I mean, considering that they’d just fought a rebellion against taxes and all.

And… why “inverted”? Well, the original Haymarket Riot, as Wikipedia put it… The Haymarket affair is generally considered significant as the origin of international May Day observances for workers. … and, as such, is a point in favor of totalitarianism. (What? You don’t think Marxist are totalitarian?) (What? You don’t think trade unionists are Marxist?) (Whyever not?) We certainly don’t want that. But we need a similar impetus and rallying point to make of privacy an issue of the scope and urgency perceived by trade unionists back in the late 19th Century.

How we get there, I have no clue.

Quote of the Day: Bad Ideas

You cannot destroy an idea, not even an obviously bad and evil one — witness collectivism in all its forms.

Mike Vanderboegh

Read the linked article. Long, but invaluable.

The Problem I Have

WITH ALL OF THESE SO-CALLED “security” technologies is that, at the end of the day, they all rely on bitmaps.

And I know too much about manipulating bitmaps to ever really trust a security technology based on trusting them.

In the Mail — Behind the Curve Edition

I KNOW ALL THE KEWL KIDZ have already read this, but if you’re a stick-in-the-mud oddball like me and don’t yet have your veriest ownly copy, you might take a gander at it now. I think I see the same bargain price I got in the listing of available bindings at Amazon.

And, by the way, you should be disclaimed that this blog is an Amazon affiliate, though we’re not as aggressive about it as Professor Reynolds. When ever you make a purchase after having clicked through one of our Amazon links, you help defray the costs of operating this here free gelato machine at no additional cost to your charming self. Verb sap, as RAH used to say.