Friday, May 29, 2009

You and me both, Baxter....

Oh, yeah. One of my secret aspirations is to one day grow me one of those awesome mustaches. It'd prolly look like hell on me, but if Wilford Brimley can pull it off, I don't know why I couldn't too.

H/T Gerard.

Shooting Goals....

In which I totally rip off the idea from ExurbanKevin.

Here are mine....complete with my excuses pre-attached.
  • Get to a match once a month....minimum. I enjoy the Tuesday night Sundowner IDPA match over at Phoenix Rod & Gun Club, but it always seems as though there is something that keeps me from my once-a-month ideal. A year ago it was $4/gallon gasoline. My schedule as an airline pilot generally allows me to select one or two days a month that I am guaranteed to be home for, but by the time you put in birthdays, holidays, and other events, making a "Me" day sometimes seems kinda selfish.
  • Improve my shooting--which would be the result of any or all of these. My motto, if you will, is: "Surround yourself with excellent people, and then hope one day to be average." With that, I don't mind being among the last guys at the IDPA match. I figure most of these guys are shooting at least one match a week, and given that I show up once a month (if that), then I'm doing OK. But I still would like to improve. It sucks to be last. I went to the state IDPA match last year and despite a more rigorous preparation, I still sucked and was disappointed that I did.
  • Related to getting to a match and improving my shooting is that I should get to a IDPA classifier. June would be good, but it will probably have to be later than that. I've got recurrent in June and still need some serious preparation to finish for that, so a June filled with shooting prolly ain't gonna happen.
  • And Kevin is right: Losing weight would help. In my case, I should be 25 pounds lighter than I am. This too requires a dedication to the gym that I have spent the last 52 years avoiding.
  • Dry firing would be good too.
  • Start reloading. Ammo is getting very hard to find. Couple that with part of me that believes we may be headed to very difficult times (Data point #1, data point #2, data point #3. I could go on, but you get the idea.) and I'm left with the dilemma that every round I practice with today might be a round I might need to shoot tomorrow.

    Not long after I got my press, I managed to score some small pistol primers and a small supply of bullets, I just ordered some powder, and of course, I've got tons of brass. But putting it all together and actually doing it is just Another-Thing-To-Do.

    I've had a standing request (along with about every other shooter) for 10k small rifle primers since last December, but I don't really have a hope that they'll be delivered. [And I certainly don't have enough .223 ammo to begin the habit of regularly shooting my AR-15.]

    I really ought to get started with the reloading...the last .40 ammo I bought was outrageously expensive at the time, and lead bullets. I have found that these leave traces of lead in the polygonally rifled barrels of my HK USP (and will probably do the same on my Glock). I've got copper-clad bullets for the reloading, but only a thousand, so keeping a supply of more of these should become a priority.
  • Oh, yeah. I would like to start Three-Gun and get to a formal course too. Not gonna happen anytime soon though.


WifeofAzlib and I are away celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.

We've been in Napa for the last couple of days. While we're neither wine conniseurs nor even much of wine drinkers, we've had a great time. We toured the Castello Di Amorosa, and enjoyed it very much....even bought 6 bottles of their wines. Yesterday we had a fabulous time and a wonderful meal on the Napa Valley Wine Train...highly recommended. We've stayed at the Vino Bello Resort, which appears to be a timeshare, but have had a wonderful room....fireplace, full kitchen, large jacuzzi bath, enormous shower and comfort everywhere. It doesn't look like much from the outside, and the location isn't the best, but we've enjoyed the place thoroughly.

Today, we're headed down to Monterey and Carmel where we will meet with some friends for lunch and are looking forward to our stay at the Intercontinental Clement.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


This Andy McCarthy fella is one smart dude.

Here, he highlights the problems with Zero bringing to America, for any reason, any of the Gitmo terrorists/detainees/choirboys we abducted from the battlefield. I once called Zero "President Strawman", but Andy expands on this and points out the straw men that Zero does not erect because they cannot be knocked down.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Whatever it is Kevin is up to here, I guess I should go along.

So if you view this attempt to drive my meager traffic towards Kevin's much more refined 2A site as my way of working around whatever the unstated rules of his game are, then OK. After all: "If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'!"

Psssst! Hey, Wanna Win One of These?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"...Some of my outstanding Cabinet Members and Advisors..."

Courtesy of Allah, I see this....

As you will note in the upper right, I am an airline pilot. This may not be obvious, but this means that I fly with a number of different First Officers all the time. Occasionally, I will fly with a different F/O on each leg. I cannot tell you how many times I've looked over to my right to a guy who I have been sitting next to for the past two days, and silently asked myself: "What is his name?". With Flight Attendants, it is even worse. I have only a cursory exposure to them...frequently not even meeting some of them at all.

That said, I've always believed it is important for "The Boss" to at least know his subordinate's names. And, since I know this is a weakness of mine, I know I have to work to make sure I do. I don't always succeed (especially with the F/As), but I do try.

And as myrenovations notes, for the President of the United States, in an address on National Security, to mis-identify the Secretary of Defense is "awkward", in the very least. For him to make this mistake in the presence of his famous teleprompters is doubly awkward and unforgivable.

Oh, my.....

Politico: President Obama: U.S. 'went off course' fighting terror

Cheney due up next to smack him down.

This thing is going nuclear.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oh, Snap....

Closing Guantanamo was "a hasty decision".

Just about the dumbest idea I've ever seen....

Slap a couple of tacti-cool rails and lights and sights on what amounts to a stage-coach gun, and call it a New Home Defense Shotgun. Good luck with selling that thing.

Saying it all...

...On a T-Shirt.

h/t The Art of Obama, who I can't really figure out.

A Couple o'²....

Notes that I should note.....
  • Kevin over at The Smallest Minority has wisely called on Bill Whittle of EjectEjectEject to write a new version of Thomas Paine's Common Sense. I read Kevin's stuff fairly regularly, and you should too. I confess to having not been to Bill's site much in the recent past. He's a fine writer, and passionate about the same sorts of things that bring passion to me, and while I used to read him often, I've gotten out of the habit lately. EjectEjectEject is now on my blogroll, and I'll be sure to visit more regularly, both for the topics that Bill writes on and the wonder that someone can write so well.
  • Relating to Bill, I noticed on his webpage, that the picture of him in that small plane doesn't much look like the Bill that I watched here. In doing a google search for a better (more recent?) picture of him, I came upon this quote.....
    "The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."
    -- Thomas Jefferson

    Why is it that I've never seen this before?

Monday, May 18, 2009

John Piper....

I've never heard of John Piper; I'm not Baptist; I'm not even particularly religious. You could fairly count me as one of those squishy "spiritual, but not religious" types.

But the older I get, the more I find that I am against abortion.

I didn't vote for Obama for a number of reasons. His position on abortion is only one of them.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hey. Here's some cheer-y news...

"War is coming to the Caucasus."

Zero is a naive infant regarding the serious problems we have around the world.



  • Obama's Military Tribunals- "Their champion has repudiated them once again"
  • Critics Still Haven't Read the 'Torture' Memos-
    "Congress required, in order for there to be a violation of the law, that an interrogator specifically intend that the detainee suffer prolonged physical or mental suffering as a result of the prohibited conduct. Just knowing a person could be injured from the interrogation method is not a violation under Supreme Court rulings interpreting "specific intent" in other criminal statutes."
    There's that "specific intent" thingi which I noted that Scott at Powerline and Andrew McCarthy made mention of here. That "specific"--as opposed to "general"--intent concept makes a difference.

    And, Oh-By-The-Way, I love the scare quote around "torture" in the title.
  • Panetta's Pelosi Smackdown-"Mrs. Pelosi is now caught in a humiliation of her own design that will only escalate if she insists on an interrogation 'truth commission.'" As I said the other day on That-Forum-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, the typical congresscritter--anc certainly Mrs. Pelosi--wouldn't know the truth if it were a cluebat applied directly to their foreheads.

More on Torture...

One of the concepts that I've had in mind regarding "torture", but which I've been so far unable to fully crystallize and enunciate is the idea of "intent".

Like all Air Force pilots, I am a graduate of their Survival School. I have undergone many of the Enhanced Interrogation Techniques which were exposed here, but not "waterboarded"--which I presume was part of an "advanced" Survival School that I did not go to.

I'll be the first to say that these EITs are unpleasant, and that given the choice, I would avoid them.

But more on "intent"....

If I take my gun out, and align the sights on the heart of a man, pull the trigger and kill him, have I committed murder?

I say: It depends.
  • If I am a madman in a bell tower, then: Yes. This is murder.
  • If I am a political assassin, then: Yes, this too is murder, with a political motivation.
  • If I am a soldier in the field, then: No. This is part of combat that is expected of every soldier.
  • If I am an executioner in a prison, then: No. I am carrying out the sentence of the state (perhaps of my first two examples).
So the reason behind why you are pulling the trigger has everything to do with how we view the act of pulling the trigger. Intent.

So. Regarding "torture", what if we had the following set of questions and answers...
Questioner #1: Are Navy SEALS subjected to waterboarding as part of their training being tortured?

Respondent: No, it's not torture in the legal sense because you're not doing it with the intention of harming these people physically or mentally, all we're trying to do is train them --

Questioner #1: So it's the question of intent?

Respondent: Intent is a huge part.

Questioner #1: So if the intent was to solicit information but not do permanent harm, how is that torture?

Respondent: Well, it... uh... it... one has to look at... ah... it comes out to question of fact as one is determining the intention of the person who is administering the waterboarding. When the Communist Chinese did it, when the Japanese did it, when they did it in the Spanish Inquisition we knew then that was not a training exercise they were engaging in. They were doing it in a way that was violative of all of the statutes recognizing what torture is. What we are doing to our own troops to equip them to deal with any illegal act -- that is not torture.


Questioner #2: Whether waterboarding is torture you say is an issue of intent. If our officers when waterboarding have no intent and in fact knew absolutely they would do no permanent harm to the person being waterboarded, and the only intent was to get information to save people in this country then they would not have tortured under your definition, isn't that correct?

Respondent: No, not at all. Intent is a fact question, it's a fact specific question.

Questioner #2: So what kind of intent were you talking about?

Respondent: Well, what is the intention of the person doing the act? Was it logical that the result of doing the act would have been to physically or mentally harm the person?

Questioner #2: I said that in my question. The intent was not to physically harm them because they knew there would be no permanent harm -- there would be discomfort but there would be no permanent harm -- knew that for sure. So, is the intent, are you saying it's in the mind of the one being water-boarded, whether they felt they had been tortured. Or is the intent in the mind of the actor who knows beyond any question that he is doing no permanent harm, that he is only making them think he's doing harm.

Respondent: The intent is in the person who would be charged with the offense, the actor, as determined by a trier of fact looking at all of the circumstances. That is ultimately how one decides whether or not that person has the requisite intent.

Of course, in this example, Questioner #1 is Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) and Questioner #2 is Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) and the Respondent is Eric Holder in the recent hearings regarding the "torture" question. And equally obvious, I did not come across this by myself, but must credit Scott at Powerline who expands on the point brought out by Andrew McCarthy. They lay out that Holder is aware of the differences between the intent behind waterboarding. They argue that if the intent of the waterboarding is to train, or to gain information, then waterboarding is clearly not torture. If the intent is to cause pain or discomfort, then it is.

Holder is acting politically here, which comes as no surprise.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

And on the topic of....

My infrequent postings here, I confess to being amazed that my (very meager) traffic holds steady. I do notice that I'm getting some referrals from comments I've put up here or there instead of the clicks to the pictures I've used swiped from elsewhere on the intertubes.

Ok. I'm outta here. Saturday chores in preparations to a visit to the NRAAM tomorrow (hopefully!).

It was a light blogging week, but....

I just noticed that it has been a week since I put something up here. Its not that I haven't been active on the intertubes...I have. I'm on vacation now, which means I've been catching up on things around the house (a pool repair project, a new door, fixing the lawnmower [again--groan]), preparing for our 25th Anniversary Vacation (Yeah!), studying for recurrent (Boo!), and spending more time on That-Forum-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named than I should.

All that said, the topic of the week was, still, "torture". It came in many incarnations...from Zero's decision to not release the photos of the "torture", to Nancy Pelosi's continuing down the bizarre path that They-Only-Told-Me-They-Were-Gonna-"Torture"/I-Was-Only-Briefed-That-There-Was-A-Briefing/The-CIA-Lied-"Mislead"-Congress/No-Make-That-"The-Bush-Administration-Lied". Leon Panetta has now found himself involved.

The "Torturous" video here....

And on That-Forum-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named "torture" was still the topic. I posted the following over there (de-identified, of course) to one of my die-hard "torture-is-immoral" oppponents (is that an oxymoron?).

Posted By [Me] on 13 May 2009 07:38 PM
Posted By [A guy with similar views] on 13 May 2009 10:07 AM
...[My first name], help me here.

Maybe this is what you're looking for....

Regarding "torture", [My opponent] and his fellow travelers will say...
Posted By [My opponent] on 12 May 2009 10:05 PM

No, what we do to them defines us....
As they gaze at their navels in the search for every one of our imperfections, they fail to wonder:
If we are defined by what we do to them, is our enemy similarly defined by what they do to us?
While, just as in every religious sect, in Islam there are different interpretations of the meaning of religious texts, the Sura 9:29 says...
"You shall fight back against those who do not believe in GOD, nor in the Last Day, nor do they prohibit what GOD and His messenger have prohibited, nor do they abide by the religion of truth - among those who received the scripture - until they pay the due tax, willingly or unwillingly."
...and I have seen this alternative translation...
"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the last day, nor acknowledge the religion of truth, even if they are people of the book (i.e. Christians or Jews) until they pay the Jiyza with willing submission and feel themselves subdued."
Also relevant is Sura 9:30...
"They have set up their religious leaders and scholars as lords, instead of GOD. Others deified the Messiah, son of Mary. They were all commanded to worship only one god. There is no god except He. Be He glorified, high above having any partners."
When a Christian or Jew listens to a preacher or a Pope, the Islamists believe that they are blaspheming God/Allah. They call us "polytheists" for employing these intermediaries between ourselves and God. Moreover, whenever we elect people to represent us in a democracy, they believe that we are elevating a man to a place that God ought to occupy.

Christians and Jews share the Old Testament, and therefore the Book of Genesis. In Genesis, we see the story that God created the Heavens and Earth in six days, and on the seventh day He rested. He created a day free of work so that He could stop and appreciate--love--all that He had created. And, of course, one of the things that He created was man. Moreover, man was created in His image. [This idea itself is enough for the Islamists to believe that we are heretics.] But given that we are in His image, one of the things we accept is that we too have a day free of work in which we set aside time to worship Him and appreciate the wider world. But, because God also gave us freedom....we are also free not to worship. That choice may generate some consequences in this life or the next, but the point being that we are free to make that choice in our religious life.

The Islamists don't believe in this freedom, either in the choice of whether to worship or to whom. They believe that Allah determines and controls everything. They believe that the reason that the very molecules in our bodies do not fly apart into a random oblivion is only due to Allah's will. To deny Allah's will, either directly or by maintaining another faith, is blasphemy.

The Islamists also believe that any lands which were ever Islamic are always to be Islamic. The "Israel Problem" is a combination of their quest to reclaim territory and a fight against freedom-loving non-believers.

And speaking of freedom-loving non-believers, the Islamists are almost as unhappy with democratic Muslim states and Muslim states who cooperate with the West as they are with the West itself. They believe that any Muslim who casts a vote is denigrating that which is due to Allah. They were especially incensed at Saudi Arabia for allowing the infidel West to defile their lands in Desert Storm. They remain unhappy that SA does business with the West.

What this all adds up to is that the Islamists believe they have a duty--a religious duty--to fight anyone who denies Allah or Muslims who cooperate with these infidels.

I imagine you're wondering: Why did I take you down this path?

Well, I did this to again make the case that we are in an existential fight against a measurable portion of Islam. Like it or not, we are in the worst sort of war: A religious war. Beyond the lands that the Islamists seek to retake and rule under Sharia, they are also after our religious hearts. They seek to take everything we have: Our lands; our freedoms; and our religions. It is a telling omen that when Steve Centani and Olaf Wiig were kidnapped by the Palistinians in Gaza, one of the conditions of their release was that they were made to convert to Islam at gunpoint. You can pooh-pooh this by reasoning that a forced conversion is not a valid conversion, but how can you be sure? Does not God have the power to recognize conversions? Moreover, this is entirely consistent with how the Islamists view the world. We believe we have the freedom to make our own religious choices; They believe in no such thing. They are completely intolerant.

And when Khalid Sheikh Mohammed sawed off the head of the Jewish Daniel Pearl, he too was being completely consistent. They believe they have the right, and the duty, to rid the world of those who do not believe as they do.

So after we captured Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, we found him to be resistant to all our efforts at getting what he knew. So then we gnashed our teeth and asked the OLC to give a legal opinion on just how enhanced our Enhanced Interrogation Techniques could be. So after we decided how and whether we could waterboard him, he gave up Abu Zubaydah after the EIT. When we captured Zubaydah and found him also resistant to our questioning, we waterboarded him and then Zubaydah gave up KSM. KSM also resisted until waterboarded, and through all these EITs, we learned information that saved American lives.

[My opponent] says: So what? We could have learned what they knew without resorting to these EITs--this "torture". He can't possibly know this. You can never know the conditions on the path that you chose not to take. Moreover, he cannot know the fourth dimension here--the time required to yield the same results if we chose to take some less "torturous" techniques. This is why Zero retains his Jack Bauer exception to the ticking time-bomb scenario. And this also makes those who decried the previous administration over "torture", yet continue to support Zero, hypocrites on this matter.

Christians are commanded to turn the other cheek. Yet we are also allowed to defend our beliefs.

FWIW, if you've reached this far and are interested in more of I've come across here, this post speaks to the Recent Statements of Islamic Ideology as heard through bin Laden and Zarqawi and this post speaks to Islam vs Free Democracy and Free Enterprise. I read all of the first and can recommend it, and the introduction of the second and can recommend it to that point.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Public sector pensions....

I know I've spoken to a number of folks at work about the coming bubble in public sector pensions. I've probably also mentioned it in a post or two here, but haven't put in a label to help me find them (fixed now).

But anyway, the public sector is in real trouble. They (we?) are being buried by the obligations for the pensions promised to their employees. In fact, these pensions have been over-promised, and with the fall of the market in which these pensions have been invested, under-delivered.

Vallejo, California is in bankruptcy. George Will obliquely notes that when the Navy closed a facility there, the revenues to the city went down, but the pension obligations did not. I read recently that their median firefighter income was nearly three times that of the median income of a Vallejo resident.
"...An independent citizens’ group, citing information obtained from city payroll records, demonstrated that the median income of a uniformed Vallejo Fire Department official in 2006 topped $157,000, while the median income of Vallejo residents sat around $54,000. The top-paid fire department employee’s W-2 form reported a whopping $359,000 in gross income during his last year of employment, a figure that would appear to guarantee a pension wage equal to or greater than the average enjoyed by his still-working former colleagues...."
California, of course, is itself in budget trouble.

And, here, we see that as part of their reactions to this budget trouble, California is going to let go "nearly 2000 firefighters".
"...About $81 million would be slashed from Cal-Fire's budget, eliminating more than 600 full-time and 1,100 seasonal firefighting positions -- no doubt it will slow response time...."
So, to put two and two together, firefighters are being let go, and those that remain are seeing pressure to their (over-promised and under-delivered) retirement plans.

One has to believe that the police and firefighter forces across the country will have similar issues.

So when the economy continues to tank (as I think it will), when you make that call to 911, will anyone be there to answer?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

"This is a time bomb that has been building for years."

[Isn't that a mixed metaphor? I think so, but I've been guilty of these sorts of errors many times in the past, and given that I'm not the best wordsmith, I'm the last one to criticize.]

But, so says an editorial at IBD (seen via Gerard's edge notes).

They are speaking, of course, of the "retirement bubble", or more precisely "the-failure-to-plan-for-your-retirement bubble".

One of my favorite co-posters on That-Forum-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named has had a frequent theme that our retirement plans are in danger. He believes that we may approach a point where enough Americans are panicked enough about their retirement prospects that they may willingly sign over their 401k and other retirement accounts to the .gov.

With the caveat that I have fallen for conspiracy theories before, I think this is plausible. I think the rebound that the market is currently undergoing is a Bear Bounce. As I write this, the Market as a reflection of the health of our retirement plans has already lost 40% [(Dow 14000-Dow 8400)/Dow 14000]. How will the American people react if they lose another 40% from today's number? I think it is very possible that they (we?) will willingly run into the kind embrace of our Cuh-munnity-Organizer-in-Chief who will promise us a Socialist Workers' Paradise.

Conspiracy theory or not? Plausible or not? I sometimes question the steadfast-ness of Americans to hold on to their freedoms.

The editorial points out that the pension plans at medium and large companies have switched from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans. However the editorial does not address the growing burden that public sector retirement plans--defined benefit plans--are facing. California is a harbinger here. When your local fireman or policeman sees his retirement plan fail--as the private world has foreseen--just how willing will he be to answer your call to 911?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


OK, I'm pretty sure that's not a word. But if it was a word, it would mean "the act of being disingenuous".

One of the things that bugged me during the Clinton years was the Democrat's defense that we should "Move on. This is a private matter." Well--of course a sexual act, in the workplace, with a subordinate is not "just a private matter". That the act involved a subordinate, and took place in the workplace made it very much more than just a private matter.

Moreover, when Clinton lied about this while under oath, these same defenders would say "Everybody lies about sex." Again--No. Everybody does not lie when confronted with their infidelity. And given that these lies took place while under oath, and given that the liar was an attorney (not to mention the Chief Executive), these lies came with a more foul stench.

Those who were offering these defenses were simply being disingenuous. They were intentionally arguing something that was not being argued to avoid having to defend the indefensable.

So, what brought me to this point?

Today, the conservatives are all up in arms about an amendment to a Hate Crimes bill that would include pedophiles as a protected class. Stop the ACLU. Gateway Pundit. Hannity. JD Hayworth was covering the topic ad infinitum today on his radio show.

Hate crimes laws are stupid on their face. They require an underlying crime and then we have to delve into the thoughts of the accused to see if hate was present or not, and if so, that would warrant further punishment. We are punishing people on something as intangible as their thoughts.

Also at issue is the question of pedophiles. I've got no problem with the legal system punishing someone for sexually abusing children. However, once they have served their sentence, we cannot continue to punish them as pedophiles. If we are convinced that a pedophile can never be reformed, then their sentences ought to be life. If we let them out of prison, they become ex-offenders.

We also have to ask why these crimes need to become federal crimes. Why are state laws insufficient to deal with hate crime?

Moreover, these same Hate Crimes laws set up protected classes, which was at issue today. That issue--should pedophiles be protected from hate crimes--should be obvious.

Yes they should. I disagree with hate crimes laws for any protected class, but if we're going to have these laws, we have to fundamentally believe that no one deserves to be attacked for a perceived identity. This is the essence of hate crimes legislation.

Let's say that a pedophile gets out of prison and moves into your neighborhood. If this were my neighborhood, I wouldn't be too happy about this, but the right answer is to be careful with your kids. You simply cannot justify preemptively beating him up because he used to be a pedophile and he now lives in your neighborhood.

And this is what makes this a hate crime.

The Republicans and conservatives are being just as disingenuous about this point as the Democrats were when they defended Clinton's lies.

Put me down as a....

"Me neither".

Gregory Kane, Washington Examiner:
"...I don’t care that al-Qaeda operatives Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah were waterboarded after Sept. 11, 2001...."


"...We were in a war against terrorists. War is called war for a reason. It’s because nasty things get done in a war, lots of them. The Allies killed hundreds of thousands of German and Japanese civilians in bombing raids during World War II. Should we have NOT bombed Germany and Japan because killing civilians violates our principles and destroys our values?
Or does torture violate our principles and destroy our values while wholesale killing of civilians is acceptable?...
....and, finally....
"...If it’s worth fighting for, it’s worth fighting dirty for."
I agree entirely. If we have something worth defending, we have to stop gazing our our navels and be willing to bring to our enemy a horror they cannot imagine.

h/t HotAir headlines.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Home Depot and Lowe's....

So, anyhoo, I had some errands today that took me initially to Home Depot and then to Lowe's because Home Depot didn't have one item that was on my list.

And as I was in the garden section at Home Depot getting a fitting to fix a leaky hose, I spied a guy reaching for something from an upper shelf and in doing so, exposing his concealed weapon in a OWB black leather holster. [Makes me glad that I carry in a IWB holster.]

And then, as I was driving out of the parking lot a Lowe's, a guy crossed the lane in front of me wearing his sidearm openly.

Maybe not limited to Arizona, but these sights are certainly not seen in many places in America.

Now, if ammo prices would come back to earth, maybe I would get out to shoot more.

Monday, May 04, 2009

A Couple O'.....


  • I asked here if, given the increasing instability in Pakistan, we weren't developing a plan to go in and grab up their nukes. And now the New York Times is questioning the stability of these same Pakistani nukes.
  • And most recently, I noted the "Torture" question circling the lefty drain and the "logic" used by Jon Stewart to, among other things, claim that Harry Truman committed a war crime by dropping the atomic bombs on Japan. You really do owe yourself 17 minutes of your day to watch Bill Whittle take this claim apart piece by piece.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Jon Stewart and Torture....

In preface, I don't like the mixing of politics and comedy. It diminishes the seriousness of the issues in front of us, and many times, in practice, the comedy isn't all that funny.

Further, the prime practicioner of this practice, Jon Stewart, has an irritating "Clown nose on/Clown nose off" approach to his guests. He delivers serious points, but when confronted with serious rebuttal points, he immediately slips into the comedic role. Moreover, Stewart has a very bad habit of filibustering the people who he invites as guests, leaving his viewers with an uneven, if not one-sided debate.

But here is Stewart's Daily Show session with Cliff May, introduced as the head of "The Foundation of the Defence of Democracies".

Part 1
The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Cliff May Unedited Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisFirst 100 Days

Part 2
The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Cliff May Unedited Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisFirst 100 Days

Part 3
The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Cliff May Unedited Interview Pt. 3
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisFirst 100 Days

Stewart at 1:20 of Part 2 brings up the issue of whether dropping the atomic bomb on Japan was tortuous. May gets Stewart to say at 5:55 that he thinks that Truman was a war criminal for dropping the atomic bomb. Wow.

The point that I would have liked to see May use to rebut Stewart regarding the atomic bombs is that when we dropped those atomic bombs, we saw the rate of civilian casualties drop. Our campaign of firebombing cities was causing more casualties than our use of the atomic bombs. How can Stewart claim that we were immoral by dropping the atomic bombs, but avoid the greater casualties we were bringing the Japanese through firebombing?

At 3:00 of Part 2, Stewart asks if it is "OK that we violate every ethical standard that this country has been based on, and even if by doing so, people are still going to die...." and he answers (or more correctly, filibusters) his own question with "I'd rather hold my head up high, and say as a country, 'We lived up to the ideals of our Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and the family of nations [whatever that means], and not gone past the point that would bring most people moral concern...., why can't we do that to every criminal in prison'...."

Here's the problem with that approach....
  • First of all, it is an ethical standard of this country to do what is necessary to protect its citizens. Killing is immoral, but that is not an absolute. We make no apology for killing our enemies.
  • "Moral Concern" is not universal. It is immoral in most Western cultures for a man to have multiple wives. In other cultures, that is not the case.
  • The "why can't we do this to every criminal in prison" point is completely disingenuous or reflective of someone who doesn't understand what is going on here. A Prisoner of War is not necessarily a criminal. We're not holding him because he has violated some law. We are holding him to keep him off the battlefield. [And this bypasses completely the point that May makes that these al Qaeda prisoners do not qualify as POWs. They are "illegal combatants"--a point touched on in this interesting article, which I only skimmed. ] Stewart makes the mistake of substituting law enforcement for war. We are back to 9/10.
At 4:04 of Part 2, May makes a very good point regarding that we do use lines between coercion and torture, where those lines are and where they ought to be.

At 2:42 of Part 3, Stewart suggest an alternative to torture that we need to get better information by learning Arabic, learning more about the culture, and otherwise avoiding the need to resort to "torture". What he is missing is the 4th dimension--time. If we are faced with the Ticking Time Bomb scenario, we don't know if we have the time to get the information we seek by asking nicely. Stewart would sacrifice American lives to give us that time.

Stewart engages in what I have elsewhere labeled as "Navel-Gazing". He believes this is all about us and how we believe others perceive us. It is not about our enemies, or how they are behaving.

h/t Tigerhawk, via Ed Driscoll and Glenn.