Real World Translation

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Posted on : 1/19/2013 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

While this might seem like political "red meat", I do think this is a great summary of Mr. Obama's recent pronouncements on executive orders regarding gun sales.  I could summarize the summary as being multiple instances of:

  • Tell government officials and agencies to do their jobs
  • Waste money doing things that private agencies already do, and do better than government agencies.
  • Spend money, sometimes without an obvious benefit
  • Pretend that the ACA doesn't say what it actually says
The first one on the list is really very frustrating.  We have plenty of gun laws.  But they are not enforced.  We have plenty of policies.  But government agencies elect not to follow them.

Yet when a tragedy occurs, all we hear is a hue and cry for more gun regulations.  Why?

Or better yet, why not try using the current regulations and laws to do what we said needed to be done after the previous incidents?

One of the tools that federal prosecutors have is the ability to get felons convicted of gun crimes sentenced to facilities that are no where near their families.  I read about a prosecutor in either West Virginia or Virginia (I think) that was making full use of that law.  As as result, crimes committed with guns were down in this individual's area.

It seems that while the criminals were willing to commit crimes, they were unwilling to commit crimes that would keep them far from their families for extended periods of time.

Which might also suggest that we inconvenience them in other ways while they are incarcerated, but that is probably a discussion for another day.

So What Happens When...

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Posted on : 1/17/2013 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

...you take your boyfriend home to meet the family.

In Utah.  Where your family are Mormons.  And also Mexicans.

You might lose your cell phone on the way home from the airport with your boyfriend.  After announcing the loss to a couple of family members, you find the phone.

And when a family member calls hoping that someone will have found the phone, you might impetuously thrust your phone into your boyfriend's hands and tell him to pretend that he is a homeless person that has found this phone and that he lives at the end of the alley behind Arby's, behind a dumpster.

You might think that this sort of hijinks would end well.  But no.

Getting to the end is pretty damned funny though.

Head on over to The Moth and hear Elna Baker fill in the details.

Weather Vs. Climate

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Posted on : 1/16/2013 02:47:00 PM | By : Dann | In :

The news has infrequently indicated that our friends in Europe and Asia are having a brisk winter this year.  This is in stark contrast with the constant news reports about 2012 being the warmest year on record for the continental United States.

Since late November the country has shivered at an average of minus 3.8 degrees Celsius, 1.3 degrees colder than the previous average, and the chilliest in 28 years, state news agency Xinhua said on Saturday, citing the China Meteorological Administration.
So what is my point?  Simply that our media tends to focus on weather stories that support their general narrative.  In this case, stories that support the narrative that human activity are the primary force behind increasing global temperatures get pushed to the top of the heap.  These stories are prominently placed regardless of whether or not the weather they report really has anything to do with the larger issues of climate science.

Conversely, those that undermine the narrative are pushed aside.

What does it mean when the U.S. has the warmest year on record, but Asia and Europe go through a colder than normal winter?  Beats me.  We had a warm one.  They are in the midst of a cold one.  You suppose they might cancel one another out on a global basis?  I suppose they might.

But the better conclusion is that it is far more important to get news in a complete context.

You Mean Walter Is A Girl?

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Posted on : 1/15/2013 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

At least in this case:

A Georgia mother hid her two 9-year-old twins and shot an intruder, Paul Ali Slater, several times during a home invasion on Friday, according to multiple media reports.
The deaths of all those kids in Newtown, CT were a stark tragedy.

The deaths of that young woman and her twin children would have been no less of a tragedy.  It was averted by a woman with modest skills needed to defend her family from a committed and experienced criminal.

Fortunately, she also possessed the only tool that would have enabled her to put those skills into action.

It is regrettable that the many lives saved by guns each year are not weight weighed equally in the balance when the folks that want to ban guns get busy waving bloody shirts to justify curtailing our civil rights.

Book Recommendation - In The Name Of Rome

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Posted on : 1/14/2013 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In :

Adrian Goldworthy wrote "In The Name Of Rome" in 2003.  This tome presents the history of Roman military leaders that built and maintained the Roman Empire.

He tells the stories of political intrigue surrounding the selection of consuls that led the Roman army.  He presents the movement, battle skills and maneuvers they developed on their way to victory.

From a military history as well as a general military perspective, the book was a pleasant read.  The details were not so fascinating as to remain glued in my mind, so we are all lucky to be spared a longer recitation of those details.

However, the book did present one overarching narrative that I think is relevant to modern America.

At the beginning of the Roman Empire, serving in the army was considered to be a duty of every Roman citizen.  It was considered to be a near qualifying duty for those that wanted to hold power back in Rome.

This perspective changed over the course of the Empire.  Eventually, the military was formed with significant numbers from the outlying provinces.  Rome's leading citizens were too busy generating and consuming wealth to spend any significant portion of their lives defending the source of their relative liberty.

That sort of thing was farmed out to lesser men and foreigners.

This condition was one of the factors that led to the eventual demise of the Roman Empire.

When a nation can no longer persuade not only her citizens, but specifically her leading citizens to invest of themselves in that nation's defense, then that nation will shortly cease to exist.  Or at least it will cease to have the power and influence that it once enjoyed.

Robert Heinlein has suggested that there is a link between rights and responsibility as well as a link between responsibility and authority.  Each cannot exist unless it is in balance with the other.  Before one assumes political authority over others, one must submit completely to that same authority.  Where else can such complete submission occur but in the military?


In modern America, the trend for service in our military is for people from the central and southern states to serve.  Those from the seats of power....New York, LA, the New England areas...serve at a far lower rate.  Those that seek civilian and corporate leadership rarely send their children to serve as well.  We also routinely recruit from pools of immigrants as well as foreigners that apply to serve at our embassies around the world.

What will our future be if we cannot inspire future generations to see our nation as being worthy of the sacrifice of military service?  History does not suggest a positive outcome.

For those with an appreciation of military history, western civilization, and military tactics, "In The Name Of Rome" is a splendid book.


So What Happens When...

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Posted on : 1/13/2013 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

...your credit card gets stolen.

Well you hope the bank will stop the continuing theft.  Banks are pretty good about that these days.

And you might find some online purchases.  Unusual purchases.  Surprisingly, these unusual purchases had been shipped to someplace reasonably nearby.

Suddenly, it occurs to you that the last transaction where you gave someone your card number (as opposed to swiping it in person) was when you ordered pizza over the phone.  Putting two and two together, you visit the pizzeria with the intent of tracking down the miscreant that had just wrecked your life.

Instead you end up talking to the manager during the middle of the afternoon.  Then the mother of all coincidences occurs; the manager has to answer the phone to take a delivery order.  And the caller is using your credit card number to pay for your pizza.

Head on over to The Moth's website and listen to the rest of the story from Tristan Jimerson.

It just gets better and better.