Friday, January 31, 2014

A Good Day For Compassionate Conservatism

OK, I'm going to try to make up for saying nasty things aboot Mark Steyn yesterday. Today comes news of two conservatives promoting policies that appeal to us progressive moonbats. First up is Bernard Kerik. Yeah, I can't believe that one either. And yet there are people who say rehabilitation doesn't work. We're pretty sure he was actually in prison and not Obama Camp.

According to a report from the Huffington Post, Kerik, while speaking at a service center for former prisoners in Virginia, was blunt and straightforward: “The system doesn’t work.”

Kerik went on to describe the “broken” system in more detail, emphasizing the negative consequences of locking up so many people, often for nonviolent crimes like possessing small amounts of illegal substances.

He also argued against mandatory minimum laws, which deprive judges of the ability to render sentences they believe appropriate, often forcing them to send people into incarceration for longer than they would if given the choice.

Very nice, Bernie. I'm happy to see you have that come to Chuck Colson moment. Second up on my "I can't believe a Conservative is saying this" list for today is Ron Unz. He wants to raise the minimum wage! And he's a billionaire! I take back most of the bad things I've said about rich Conservatives. This does not yet apply to the Koch's.

(T)he case for raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour—the second highest statewide proposal in the country—isn’t even coming from a Democrat. It’s coming from California Republican multi-millionaire businessman Ron Unz, an ex-gubernatorial candidate, former publisher of the American Conservative and the lone sponsor of a 2014 ballot measure for a statewide $12 minimum wage.

And there's a chance he is not going to be tarred and feathered.

Prominent economists of all ideological persuasions long believed that raising the U.S. minimum wage would retard job growth, creating unintended hardship for those at the bottom of the ladder.

Today, that consensus is eroding, and a vigorous debate has developed as some argue that boosting the wage would pull millions out of poverty.

A moderate increase in the minimum wage won't raise unemployment among low-skilled workers, according to recent studies, many economists say. They are joined by some business executives who say they can live with that, especially if it's coupled with tax relief. 

What's good for Walmart is good for the US.

I would actually argue that if you are looking at a company like Walmart that is suffering economically these days, because so many of the Walmart shoppers are getting too poor to shop at Walmart, what you are talking about is shifting up to maybe $150 billion a year from the sort of families that don’t shop at Walmart to the sort of families that do shop at Walmart. Walmart raises their prices by 1 percent, roughly one time, and they get a huge amount of extra business.

I'm hoping that means their employees will be able to afford to shop there as well, even if they can't afford a model T.

Good on you as well, Ron Unz. I'm looking forward to the day when I'll be able to happily "pull the lever" for a pol with an R after his name. You give me hope.

Happy Year of the Horse everyone! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

When Bad Things Happen To Bad People

I don't think it's really going to "kill" National Review. Pretty sure its supporters have deep enough pockets to cover any damages if they are even assessed. But Mark Steyn is probably the most dickish bastard to ever come out of Canada. Oops!

In July, Judge Natalia Combs Greene rejected a motion to dismiss the suit. The defendants appealed, and last week D.C. Superior Court Judge Frederick Weisberg rejected the motion again, opening the door for the discovery phase of the lawsuit to begin. That's not all. On Christmas Eve, Steyn (who regularly guest hosts Rush Limbaugh's radio show) wrote a blog post in which he excoriated Greene, accusing her of incompetence, stupidity, and obtuseness. 

I'm, of course, all for free speech even from cranks. But then, I have to rank good taste higher. And National Review has descended into bad taste and probably doesn't have a lot of redeeming qualities. I won't be contributing to the Mark Steyn Defense Fund anytime soon, if such exists, and I'm sure it does.

 Now, the lawsuit may well be dismissed down the road. But the longer it continues, the more likely it becomes that Mann will eventually prevail, either by forcing an expensive settlement or by prevailing in court and winning a substantial penalty from the defendants.
It's doubtful that National Review could survive either outcome. Small magazines often lose money and only rarely manage to break even. They certainly don't have substantial legal budgets, let alone cash to cover an expensive payout. Indeed, in 2005, Buckley said the magazine had lost $25 million over 50 years.

It lost a half million a year? Do these people even know how capitalism works? I thought they were the business savvy party. Well it can only help The Weekly Standard.

Today the magazine enjoys circulation roughly equivalent to that of The Nation, the American Left's leading journal of opinion, and more than twice that of William Kristol's The Weekly Standard, its primary competition on the Right.

If NR wants some advice, I would suggest they break Steyn's fingers and duct tape his pie hole. Just sayin'.

APOLOGIES: I should probably apologize to Mr. Steyn first, though I doubt he will read any of this. I don't agree with his politics, nor does he agree with mine. Very likely. Many of my comments in this post are, indeed, dickish. And for that I apologize to him and to Mr. Casper. I did not do my homework on this post and several commenters were good enough to point this out to me. I will try to make any future posts here more upbeat and factual. It would be cowardly for me to take the post down, so the only option I see is to leave this sincere apology as an end-note.   

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Well Done, Pete Seeger

Just wanted to note here the passing of Pete Seeger.

The banjo-picking troubadour who sang for migrant workers, college students and star-struck presidents in a career that introduced generations of Americans to their folk music heritage died Monday at the age of 94. Seeger’s grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson, said his grandfather died peacefully in his sleep around 9:30 p.m. at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he had been for six days. Family members were with him.

“He was chopping wood 10 days ago,” Cahill-Jackson recalled.

That's a small bit of a very nice obituary at Salon. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Guilt-Free Eating (Cross Posted From Hometown USA)

Since I've decided to turn Hometown into a cult of personality blog, it's important that any unsuspecting victims who wander through here are aware of the what and why of my diet. We're all narcissists now anyway, otherwise Twitter and selfies would not exist. Would they?

For the past 3 months, I've been subsisting (well, apparently, since I've lost only 7 pounds) on a, 99% of the time, vegetarian diet. Initially the reason was to lose weight and 7 pounds is better than nothing. But, this is an inactive time of the year and that was mostly during the cookie season. So many cookies between Thanksgiving and New Years! So we'll see how it works out when the freezin' season is over and gardening begins. Aside from wanting to appear buff for the beach this Summer there are health considerations. With that in mind I'll throw in a plug for Forks Over Knives, a DVD full of vegan propaganda, if you'd like some convincing of the health benefits. I love to eat meat. Bill Clinton Loves to eat meat. If Bill and I can do it, anyone can become an herbivore. But don't think just of yourself, or in this case myself, since this is my cult here.

You don't have to have the sensibilities of a PETA devotee to appreciate that animals raised for food in this country don't have the best lives. Bluntly stated, they're tortured from birth to death. Buster's Law does not apply to them. I've known that for a long time, but have happily rejected the cognitive dissonance. Admittedly this was not my overriding reason for the change in diet, though, and I'm not going to try to shame anyone into giving up meat. And besides, those animals are getting their revenge through the saturated fat, hormones and antibiotics you're ingesting. So, rather than harp on how cruel we are to these creatures, I'll get back to why it's important for you, my "follower," to abstain.

I want to live in a country and a world that's not polluted beyond hope of renewal. I've moved beyond the urge to copy and paste large swathes of the internet and basically claim it as terra incognita. So, just go to the link. In short, as your beloved leader, I implore you to make this planet healthier for me and for yourselves as well.

Ignoring the Warnings 

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Painful Truth

I realize I wasn't voting for Noam Chomsky when casting a vote for Barack Obama. I can understand the strikes early in his administration that went wrong and give him a pass on those.

Five years ago, on January 23 2009, a CIA drone flattened a house in Pakistan’s tribal regions. It was the third day of Barack Obama’s presidency, and this was the new commander-in-chief’s first covert drone strike.

Initial reports said up to ten militants were killed, including foreign fighters and possibly a ‘high-value target’ – a successful first hit for the fledgling administration.

But reports of civilian casualties began to emerge. As later reports revealed, the strike was far from a success. At least nine civilians died, most of them from one family. There was one survivor, 14-year-old Fahim Qureshi, but with horrific injuries including shrapnel wounds in his stomach, a fractured skull and a lost eye, he was as much a victim as his dead relatives.

 Later that day, the CIA attacked again – and levelled another house. It proved another mistake, this time one that killed between five and ten people, all civilians.

And since it was three days earlier, he couldn't have foreseen this tragic start to the drone program under his control.

Three days earlier, in his inauguration address, Obama had told the world ‘that America is a friend of each nation, and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity.’

The fact that the number of drone strikes we've conducted since Obama took office has increased is really no surprise. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like al-Qaeda.

Across Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the Obama administration has launched more than 390 drone strikes in the five years since the first attack that injured Qureshi – eight times as many as were launched in the entire Bush presidency. These strikes have killed more than 2,400 people, at least 273 of them reportedly civilians.

And I'm not sure this is as reassuring as it's meant to be.

Although drone strikes under Obama’s presidency have killed nearly six times as many people as were killed under Bush, the casualty rate – the number of people killed on average in each strike – has dropped from eight to six under Obama. The civilian casualty rate has fallen too. Strikes during the Bush years killed nearly more than three civilians in each strike on average. This has halved under Obama (1.43 civilians per strike on average). In fact reported civilian casualties in Pakistan have fallen sharply since 2010, with no confirmed reports of civilian casualties in 2013.

Among many painful truths is that Noam Chomsky (or his clone) are never going to be elected president of the United States. And of course, McCain or Romney "would have been worse." Still hurts, though.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Wisdom of Walking Away: Avoiding the need for self-defense IS self-defense (Updated 1/17/14 with link to the blog post(s) / comments I couldn't locate at original posting.)

In support of Law of Self Defense – Legally-Sound Self-Defense Strategy Rule #1: KEEP OUT OF TROUBLE IN 1st PLACE

A few excerpts:

To guide the crafting of a legally-sound self-defense strategy, I offer five basic rules:
Keep out of trouble in the first place
Minimize your legal exposure if trouble does start
Foster the confidence to act decisively when necessary
Diminish your perceived legal vulnerability
Facilitate acceptance of events
I know what you’re thinking: what’s with that first rule about “keeping out of trouble in the first place”? I don’t need to be told that, I’m the good guy, I don’t go getting into trouble.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of cases I see where an otherwise law-abiding armed citizen finds himself in legal trouble for having used force against another person, it is precisely because they failed to simply keep out of trouble in the 1st place. In talking with such folks I always ask, “looking back, were there any warning signals early on, that if you’d heeded them might have allowed you avoid the fight entirely?” The almost invariable answer, is “yes.”


As an armed citizen, however, Reeves–and all of us who arm ourselves in public–don’t have the luxury of having “bad days,” nor acting childishly. I never had a proper religious upbringing, but my wife is a good Christian lass, and when through her I cam across this passage from Corinthians I thought it really fit my philosophy of CCW:
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a[n armed] man, I put away childish things.
1 Corinthians 13
To put it another way, too many people when first arming themselves feel as if, “Hey, now that I carry a gun, I don’t have to take BS from anybody.”

The truth could not be more the opposite. For those of us who carry a gun, we have to take BS from everybody. Except the felony aggressor. He we can defend ourselves against. But the merely obnoxious, bullying types that roam this earth–well, my advice is to simply avoid them.
I urge you to read the whole post, which discusses the recent shooting in a FL movie theatre.

The author has it exactly right. There are things worth killing or dying over...but not many, (and certainly not an argument over texting, somebody looking at you the wrong way or insulting your favorite football team or choice of political candidate, a dent in your car bumper, ...) There are lots of times when letting an asshole "win the argument" and walking away is the far smarter course of action, and doing so may even save your life...or his.

I read a great article set of comments at a gun rights blog about a year ago (I think) saying a very similar thing as regards George Zimmerman. Their argument was that, whatever the law decided, Zimmerman foolishly put himself in the position that lead to his firing his gun at Trayvon Martin and was no second amendment or gun rights hero. (Of course I can't locate the article now, but my searching wasn't a total loss (See below)... And if I happen to find it later, I can always add it in. UPDATE: I think it may've been several comments, beginning with this one, at THE ZIMMERMAN VERDICT, PART 1. Yes, I misremembered; The author of the post, Massad Ayoob, disagrees with that assessment. But for a VERY thorough look at the whole Zimmerman case from a gun rights perspective, offered just post verdict, Ayoob's multi-part series cannot be beat, whether you ultimately agree with his take on the specifics or not.) I don't believe the author of the piece above, Andrew Branca, shares that view of Zimmerman either, but that doesn't take away from the wisdom of his current post.
--- searching wasn't a total loss...

While I was looking for the post I described, I rediscovered one of the best arguments I've ever read in favor of gun rights. Since I both found it originally and rediscovered it via Stogie at Saberpoint, I'll give him the h/t: An opinion on gun control | Monster Hunter Nation. It is still possible to argue for gun control laws--I myself still favor thorough, universal background checks, even if that means it takes longer to complete the purchase of a firearm--but Larry Correia doesn't make it easy.

Blowing Off the Dust and Adding A Familiar Name to the Masthead (Familiar to me, anyway... How familiar you get with the guy is between you and him.)

Welcome to Kevin, my long-time no-good nihilist brother-in-arms.

Maybe one of us will actually post something here every now and again... 8>)
Stay tuned to find out.