Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Gingerbread

GC's Gingerbread

2-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp ginger
¾ tsp salt
½ cup soft shortening (lard or butter)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 medium egg, unbeaten
1 cup molasses
1 cup hot water

Start heating your oven to 350F. Grease a 9x9x2 baking pan.

Sift together (or whisk together, in absence of a sifter) flour, soda, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

In large bowl use electric mixer set at medium speed to mix shortening and sugar, and then with egg, until very light and fluffy. Reduce to low speed, and beat in molasses (this reduces inadvertent wall-painting).

At low speed beat in, just until smooth, alternate small portions of flour mixture and hot water – JUST UNTIL SMOOTH. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Test for doneness.

Works well either served hot with whipped cream, or alternatively, with a good chocolate or mocha frosting. Accompany w/ a strong cup of black coffee for best effect.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A rare triumph of common sense...

Read here - the folks in Montana seem to get something right here...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Contempt of Cop - A Chargeable offense?

Joel Rosenberg was arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges by commissioned employees of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Department (Minneapolis, MN - his city of residence) on December 8, 2010.

God punishes Minneapolis for arresting Joel Rosenberg?

Joel Rosenberg is a published author of some note in the science fiction/fantasy community
(Guardians of the Flame: 1. The Sleeping Dragon (1983), 2. The Sword and the Chain (1984), 3. The Silver Crown (1985), 4. The Heir Apparent (1987), 5. The Warrior Lives (1988), 6. The Road to Ehvenor (1991), 7. The Road Home (1995), 8. Not Exactly the Three Musketeers (1999), 9. Not Quite Scaramouche (2000), 10. Not Really the Prisoner of Zenda (2003), The Warriors (omnibus) (1985), The Guardians of the Flame (omnibus) (1987), The Heroes (omnibus) (1987), Legacy (omnibus) (2004), To Home and Ehvenor (omnibus) (2004); Metsada Mercenary Corps: 1. Ties of Blood and Silver (1984), 2. Emile and the Dutchman (1985), 3. Not for Glory (1988), 4. Hero (1990); D'Shai: D'Shai (1991), Hour of the Octopus (1994); Other: Family Matters (Mystery) (2004), Not for Glory (1989), Paladins (2004), Paladins II: Knight Moves (2008?), Home Front (Mystery) (2003?), King & Kin (Theology, Politics) (1986)

Rosenberg is, by many accounts, also a noted civil rights activist in Minnesota, specializing in firearms rights.

Rosenberg also is a firearms instructor and (from what I can learn at this point) the founder of Twin City Carry (offering courses, taught by Joel and others, on the practical and legal issues of carry in Minnesota), and author of "Everything You Need to Know About (Legally) Carrying a Handgun in Minnesota".

In 2009, Rosenberg wrote a scathing analysis of a series of reports on corruption involving a task force gone awry in the Minnesota Law Enforcement community - asking a number of incredibly uncomfortable questions about that community, including publicly wondering to what degree this corruption infested Minnesota law enforcement generally. He then posted this report to one of his websites, http://www.gangstrikefarce.com/, for public viewing.

In 2010, his wife, one Felicia Herman, was arrested for Domestic Violence against their daughter. Charges were later dropped, and then supposedly re-instated subsequent to Joel's arrest. (best accounts seen thus far here and here, in the sixth paragraph - regrettably, the format is non-quotable). Some question has been raised about the validity of these charges.
Get this: the Minneapolis Police Department arrested Joel Rosenberg’s wife, She Who Must Be Obeyed, on bogus charges. Hennepin County prosecutors dropped all charges once SWMBO’s attorney educated them (with difficulty) about the true facts. Where most Americans would lick their wounds, thank their lucky stars, and stop making Trouble at that point, Rosenberg filed a Freedom of Information Act request for records about the case with the Minneapolis Police Department. - Popehat.com

By all accounts thus far, Mr. Rosenbergs encounters with MPD have been less than jolly and fun for him since his 2009 posting. Oddly enough, he now appears to choose to document (where practical and legal) such encounters.

Such as this one, where he went to pick up (having made an appointment, notified and received permission from the Hennepin Co. Sheriff in accordance with MN law, etc) where...well, see for yourself...



Only a month later, after Rosenberg mocked Palmer, was he suddenly arrested and charged. The Sergeant in question is allegedly under investigation of this incident as an assault. (documentation would be appreciated - I have no reason to disbelieve this, merely a lack of documentation). The description of events and legal analysis can be found here, here, here, more colloquially here,

I have met and trust Oleg Volk, and he's come down on Rosenbergs side. That is, barring new data, enough for me.

To me, based on what I'm seeing at this remove thus far, this stinks of retaliation under color of law by a bunch of badge-happy sorts in deep need of retirement. It could be that I hold an unreasonably idealistic view - that those we entrust with some of our greatest responsibilities, enforcing the law...should actually know and obey the law.

Rosenberg (and quite possibly his wife), under this interpretation, is/are being both persecuted and prosecuted by officers of the long troubled Minneapolis Police Department
for "contempt of cop", "asking inconvenient questions", "failure to plead out", and the dreadful "making us look bad".

At this point, Rosenberg is out on bail as a result of a $10,000 loan to cover the tab with a bail bondsman. His CPL is revoked by judicial order, his business as a firearms trainer is significantly impacted by a similar judicial ban, and he has a sudden need of expensive attorneys to assist him in driving home to the City of Minneapolis that civil rights are for everyone, even authors and firearms instructors.

What can you do? Well....

There's now a fund to help out Rosenberg and his wife with their bevy of new and painful expenses. You can contribute to the Joel Rosenberg Benefit Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank. Buy one of his books (see first paragraph), or buy ALL of them. Take his classes. Do your own research (hopefully better than mine, quality counts! And if each blog post gets incrementally better...), and put up a blog post. Post to Social Media of Choice.

You can express your disappointment (politely) the MPD at:















Minneapolis Police Department
350 South 5th Street, Room 130
Minneapolis, MN 55415-1389
(612) 348-2345
police@ci.minneapolis.mn.us


Mayor R.T. Rybak
City Hall, Room 331
350 South Fifth Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone: (612) 673-2100
Fax: (612) 673-2300

City Council
Kevin Reich
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone
(612) 673-2201
Fax
(612) 673-3940
E-mail
Kevin.Reich@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
Cam Gordon
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone
(612) 673-2202
Cell
(612) 296-0579
Fax
(612) 673-3940
E-mail
Cam.Gordon@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
Diane Hofstede
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone
(612) 673-2203
Fax (612) 673-3940
E-mailDiane.Hofstede@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
Barbara Johnson
Council President
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone
(612) 673-2204
Fax (612) 673-3940
E-mail Contact Form
Don Samuels
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2205
Fax(612) 673-3940
E-mailDon.Samuels@ci.minneapolis.us
Robert Lilligren
Council Vice President
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2206
Fax(612) 673-3940
E-mailRobert.Lilligren@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
Lisa Goodman
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2207
Fax(612) 673-3940
E-mail Lisa Goodman's Email Form
Elizabeth Glidden
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2208
Fax(612) 673-3940
E-mailElizabeth.Glidden@ci.minneapolis.mn.u
Gary Schiff
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2209
Fax(612) 673-3940
E-mailContact Form
Meg Tuthill
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2210
Fax(612) 673-3940
E-mailMeg.Tuthill@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
John Quincy
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2211
Fax(612) 673-3940
E-mail John.Quincy@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
Sandy Colvin Roy
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2212
Fax(612) 673-3940
E-mail: E-Form 
Betsy Hodges
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2213
Fax(612) 673-3940
E-mail Ward 13 Email Form

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Old Recipes...

A family favorite from the Colton, SD Methodist Church UMW Cookbook (church cookbooks for the WIN), from the pen of the late Mildred Loomis. From the courier font typed mimeograph production, I'd guess this book with Mildred's contribution rolled out no later than the late 1960's or early 1970's - and I could easily believe greater age.

I'm a carnivore, not an omnivore, but am assured that for those that *like* fruit....that this is the yum...it's certainly been on our family holiday tables since back then...

Fruit Salad (Mildred Loomis, Colton, SD)

7 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp flour
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
small jar maraschino cherries
No. 2 can chunk pineapple
1 tsp butter
1 tsp prepared mustard
2 banana's
1 doz large marshmallows

Drain the juice from the pineapple, combine with the sugar, flour, eggs, mustard, and butter. Cook until thick; Cool. Add pineapple, cut up marshmallow, sliced banana's, and maraschino cherries.

Serve to omnivores!

More Federal Mission Creep

Two sources, one subject today - seems the TSA isn't the only objectionable body trying to ever broaden its reach and exempt itself from constitutional limitations...Federal Communications Commission, STEP RIGHT ON DOWN...

As brought to us by the fine folks at the Columbia School of Journalism, it seems that FCC Chairman Michael Copps (text of speech) proposes a Public Value Test prior to renewing broadcast media licenses, which, given the petty and punitive nature of this and other administrations seems likely even with the best of intentions by those who would create such an abomination, seems likely to swiftly (at lightspeed, say) to generate into a club for use by the administration du jour to bully media into complying with their publicity whims...and substantially interfere with first amendment rights of the broadcasters.

Copps Public Values Test would include evaluations based on stations contributions to Meaningful Commitments to News and Public Affairs Programming, Enhanced Disclosure, Political Advertising Disclosure, Reflecting Diversity, Community Discovery, Local and Independent Programming, and Public Safety.

Can anyone see any overly broad definitions here that a collection of crack-addled myopic microencephalic couldn't drive a fleet of B-17's through?

To quote Alan, "If he really wants an infrastructure that will serve the people they can turn off all the broadcast stations, auction the spectrum and disband the FCC. The result will be a FAR better infrastructure than the 1920 style socialist system we... have now."

Day By Day really has it right here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Points of View...

Many have vilified Julian Assange, and Wikileaks. Jigsaw presents a series of arguments that both serve a positive social purpose and are distinguished from the NY Times and the Chicago Sun (who have breathlessly reported the Wikileaks material) primarily by the comparative youth of the "publication" and relative anonymity of the so-called publisher.

She draws from "The Australian" and while I'm certain it's not a popular view, I tend to agree with the presented view. To the extent criminality is present, I would suggest that guilt can be distributed between the actual leaker and the criminally negligent incompetents running the various security organizations intended to prevent such events and the even more doltish sorts actually committing many of these comments and events to reproducible media.

Perhaps its my cynicism, but anytime a coordinated smear campaign (surely, one can't consider the sudden emergence of what, by any rational standard, must be considered trumped up sex charges) and simulteanous economic warfare are unleashed upon a rather obvious scapegoat....one must begin to question the justness of those who would resort to such measures.

I'm not prepared to applaud Mr. Assange or Wikileaks - but I'm starting to consider that hurling a few allegorical boulders at their persecutors may not be entirely out of line.

Grrr.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mexico & the Border

Le Sigh.

Enough already. The Kleptocracy to the South and their entertaining collection of thugs and narcotics cartel barbarians have been shipping illicit substances (which I would suggest would be far less trouble if they were simply all legalized), illegal immigrants, and now violence north of the border as their nation melts down into another Somalia-like ungoverned swamp of random violence, tribalism, and criminal syndicates seething on our southern border.

The violence is kind of the kicker that pushes things over the line to where I'm willing to reluctantly consider the "something must be done" meme (a meme which, 95% of the time when uttered, means someone is trying to run a con job). And I dislike addressing a problem without offering a solution.

Not being up for a full-bore war to the south, I'd propose a mile-deep DMZ on US Territory (and yes, condemning that much land isn't going to be cheap) modeled on the Korean DMZ - complete with automated machine guns.

We get a huge nature preserve out of the deal, and a secure border. Mexico gets to continue its own path, whatever that is, but without the U.S. as a handy relief valve and source of easy criminal profits from the sale of illicit items on a violent black market. Mexico retains its sovereign status - a matter in some doubt if things continue down their present path.

I'd expect an initial body count...dropping off rather fiercely to levels below the current count of bodies in the SW deserts due to hypo and hyperthermia, dehydration, and ill treatment. I anticipate a reduction in violence on both sides of the border as drug mules become impractical to move product across the border. And I predict the launch of an immigrant laborer program not unlike that which existed in past eras - most likely with the opportunity to stay permanently after a period of good conduct.

Mexico is a land filled with wonderful people of much diversity and talent, a rich culture (more or less in spite of the various governing authorities there over the years), in a state of melt-down. I'm not thrilled about the need for some kind of solution, but securing the border forcefully seems the only way to halt the flow of violent insanity now engulfing Mexico from heading north short of staging a full-out invasion.

Grrrr

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Contemplating Justice vs. Law

Fred Phelps and his Westboro cult are a bit special. So special that, in my opinion, that any little misfortune that befalls them is more likely than not to be of net benefit to society.

Should such misfortune be clearly and indisputably an Act of God (well aimed meteorites, spontaneous combustion, lightning bolts, the Earth opening up and swallowing the compound and all of its occupants whole, etc.).

Obviously, I am not encouraging anyone to engage in criminal acts. Rudeness, snubbing, refusing to do business with or speak to, and general hostility, however - are pretty clearly not criminal.

Summarizing, Phelps and his band of bigots hit the national headlines initially back in the 1990's, picketing the funerals of gay men passing from AIDS, loudly proclaiming that the deceased had not only been punished by God's Wrath (AIDS, according to Phelps), but that they would burn in hell forever - and according to Phelps, this was a good thing.

Not surprisingly, many of us in the LGBT community were (and are) just a tad offended by Phelps and his band...but regrettably, nothing truly appropriate has happened to him or his, having carefully selected a community to bully that is over-blessed with pacifists and liberals.

Later, apparently emboldened by the lack of retribution(divine or earthly, darn it), Phelps and his cult of vicious bigots broadened their focus to include picketing the funerals of fallen members of U.S. Armed Forces, claiming that they too would burn in hell - due to the failure of the United States to sufficiently persecute LGBT folks.

Fortunately, the number of pacifists and liberals per capita is a bit lower in middle America...and in the towns where an awful lot of service members come from. Recently Weston, MO successfully prevented the infliction of Phelps and his inherent vileness upon their city.

Similarly, in McAlester, OK the Phelps band van tires were slashed...and oddly enough nobody in town would agree to repair them. Refusing to do business with the Phelps seems like an eminently responsible act.

Now, we have the tale of a double-amputee vet who happened to drive around behind the Phelps while he had lawfully owned guns in his car. I'm not seeing a problem here - he didn't make any threats, he didn't wave any signs, he just followed them. And without injury to the Phelps or threat thereof, finds himself charged with conspiracy to commit felony battery, and sundry trivia.

I have a suggestion for the Kansas Governor - start pardoning. Start pardoning anyone who does anything that the Phelps find offensive or hurtful. No questions asked. If the Phelps are the "victim", instant pardon. But start with Ryan Newell, who never violated any sensible interpretation of the law.

If you agree, the Governor of Kansas can be reached at:

Governor Mark Parkinson
State of Kansas

Capitol, 300 SW 10th Ave., Ste. 241S
Topeka, KS 66612-1590

Voice - 877-KSWORKS (877-579-6757)
Local - 785-296-3232
For the Hearing Impaired - 800-766-3777

Email Governor Mark Parkinson

And Fred? If you or yours are reading this...here's hoping that, untouched by any human agency, that you and yours are point of impact for a largish flaming meteor.

Friday, December 3, 2010

More objectionable TSA follies

Well, in a demonstration of vindictiveness & pettiness, we again have the TSA as the starring villain, selecting out those who would dare to disagree for harassment.



Not surprisingly, all of this TSA fun has begun to inspire local governments, like Colorado Springs, to consider using private security on the theory it can't help but be better.

While I regard reports out of Prisonplanet.com with gentle skepticism, their editorial/report suggesting that CNN reporter Drew Griffin was placed on the terror watch list(s) as a punitive measure after doing a critical piece on the TSA...does have going for it that it's certainly in character for our current TSA.

This isn't a new problem - it was bad two years ago, a year ago, and only recently has it really come to a head as a result of the TSA choosing the wrong victim - one with a voice and attorneys - to harass.

The question becomes "when will we abolish the current TSA madness and bring criminal charges as appropriate?" with the followup, "when will common sense be brought to bear? "

Let's all stay stirred up on this one...

Spokane Sends Message to Seattle!

See HERE (darn them for not just giving us an image...)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The deeper point...

It's been bad for quite awhile, but under the current administration, bureaucratic arrogance and intrusiveness have reached whole new heights - the TSA is merely the glaringly obvious tip of the iceberg.

When we have U.S. Senators cheering for removing media from the public eye, it's just a more subtle form of bad. When a former Presidential chief of staff advocates ignoring the Constitution and the Congress because both are inconvenient, that's a fairly indiscreet version of bad.

Our current administration is acting suspiciously like a petulant child, eager push and push...until they get a response. I suspect they are perilously close.

(Delayed post from 11/17/2010 - still seems timely)

Copyright and Intellectual Property

Copyright (and much later, the notion of Intellectual Property) originated in the notion that an author should have some protection for his works, and a right to profit from them for a reasonable period (originally twenty years). The goal was to keep the author and his family fed, but also (and a forgotten point) keep him producing new work (thus the limit of 20 years, to specifically avoid encouraging one grand tome followed by a life of leisure...).

Regrettably, this has been perverted over the years to a system of entitlement for production houses (publishers, recording & movie studio's, etc.) with an additional level of parasitical agents and attorneys practiced in the exotic ins and outs of licensing, profit-skimming, and IP law dwelling in a slime-filled chasm between the creator of the work, the producer, and ultimately the consumer of the work. Often, all of the middlemen between the creator and the consumer result in, IMHO, a fair number of starving creative sorts who - with greater and lesser degrees of culpability - are effectively deprived of any significant compensation for their works.

And then we have the Disney Mouse Protection Act(s) extending the term of copyright to between 70 and 120 years...which tends to promote producing one or two successes and then taking a comfy (or semi-comfy) retirement wallowing in royalties (if one lucked into an honest agent/attorney that knew their stuff well enough to navigate the treacherous waters of copyright and intellectual property law, and garner at least a pittance for the creator of the work in question).

And all of this is protected not by the civil courts, but by the full force of criminal law - complete with not only fines, but seizure of property (always an opportunity for petty power and empire building, not to mention illicit profit). and prison sentences.

Toss in what is effectively a copying machine and distribution service in every house in the land, and we have a new legal industry. Suing folks who may (or may not) have downloaded various works without sprinkling money on all the right heads - for what appears to be as closely as can be calculated, a few hundred dollars less than it would take for them to hire an attorney and mount an effective defense - in effect, judicially endorsed extortion.

This business model stands up pretty well - send out a few thousand summons, and watch the cash roll in - as long as cost-benefit analysis is in favor of capitulation rather than fighting. It tends to fall apart when some uppity lawyer with ethical imperatives publishes a self-help kit to mounting the beginnings of an effective defense at $20 a copy.

Not surprisingly, the US Copyright Group and its' attorneys are unamused at having to actually work for their money rather than simply cashing the checks of their targets. It is likely even more unamusing when the expense model is effectively reversed, however briefly.

They have sued attorney Graham Syfert of Jacksonville, FL for having the temerity to actually provide an affordable ($20) beginnings of a legal defense to the targets of their scheme and costing them money in actually having to argue their cases.

It's this sort of predatory (IMHO) legal behavior that leaves me leaning towards the notion that simply abolishing copyright and IP laws might not be such a disaster after all.

Grr.

The coming EU Crisis

Briefly, from where I sit, the best possible result is the collapse of the European Union as both a political and an economic entity.

The attempt to meld together in a single polity, welded together by bureaucracy and socialism, the nations of what is (for the moment) the European Union was doomed from the start by the and differing conditions/languages/cultures/economic realities of the member nations and the long-established rivalries and hostilities amongst them.

And those nations, each of them, have much worth preserving among them free from the deadening hand of supra-national regulation.

Trying to force something over a double dozen randomly polygonal pegs of varying size simultaneously into a single rather smallish round hole is not a project with good odds of success.

For the stability of Europe, and of the European and word economy in the long term, devolving back to national currencies and national economic planning and regulation offers the benefit of allowing for failure - if one sovereign nation fails (or even several) fiscally, it is unlikely to take others with it. In the current system, it appears that the EU is a mutual economic suicide pact.

As a bonus, national borders and sovereign nations allow individuals - when political or social conditions become to oppressive (or the stupidity level rises beyond tolerance) - some place to go TO.

Again, from where I sit, there will be rough times and a difficult transition back to sanity - but the day the EU falls is a day all of us, world wide, should celebrate.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Modest Proposal for N. Korea

There comes a time when enough is enough, and the posturing of the lunatic regime of N. Korea (complete with kidnappings of foreign nationals on foreign soil, planned starvation of their own nationals, and random acts of military aggression against other nations) has long since crossed that line.

The question shifts to how best to respond to a heavily armed regime led by barbarians and madmen. Diplomacy has obviously failed in the face of repeated duplicity on the part of the N. Korean regime.

Thus, I offer a modest proposal (unlikely as it is to even be heard of, let alone endorsed by our own executive branch gaggle of idiots and miscreants) as a preliminary response to this latest shelling, with "doing it on the cheap" a clear factor in my thinking, both in terms of blood and money.

Send food, information, guns, and money - distributed randomly by unmarked low-cost, low-radar signature, and low-flying unguided or primitively guided drones. Each drone, under this proposal, should cost less than $5,000 fully loaded with 80lbs of rice, 20lbs of dried meat, 10 FP45 Liberator pistol kits (current production), a dozen wire garrotes, a wind-up radio, and 10,000,000 N. Korean won (the NK currency, in this instance printed by vendor of choice). Every Nth such drone, swap out 10lbs of meat for 9lbs of c4, a detonator, and instructions/suggestions for use.

Ideally, these little CARE packages would be sent north from S. Korea numbered in the hundreds...making life more festive for the barbarians and madmen ruling that rogue nation state.

80lbs of rice and 20lbs of dried meat landing in the N. Korean countryside in the depths of winter is not an inconsiderable bounty - one which could tend to lead to questions about just how hostile the provider of such benefits truly be to the recipient. And serve as bait, to those as would otherwise be wary of life's little surprises - after all, that could make the difference for a family in the depths of a N. Korean winter.

Pistols and garrotes (and the occasional c4 fun kit) are a bit less friendly, but certainly likely - in the hands of a hungry/angry populace - to add a bit of festive chaos to a regime for whom order and control hold a near fetish-like devotion. Not to mention it's harder to control a populace that can fight back, all of a sudden. Toss in a guide on body disposal, and stand well back.

The currency? A multi-purpose package - destabilizing a nations currency is never a nice thing to do, and starving peasants almost *never* see it that way. It's time to go buy some food, a shovel, or bribe ones way outta the country!! But there's a second, more subtle, reason - payback is a bitch.

For decades, N. Korea has been busy about counterfeiting U.S. currency with the dual goals of de-stabilizing our economy and funding their weapons development and production programs. We may not be able to fund anything buy dropping millions of fake N. Korean won into the country - but we sure can de-stabilize what is laughingly called their economy. With the eager assistance of their impoverished populace, who are unlikely to see the downside of gifts of large sums of unmarked cash in small bills.

The drones? For nostalgia, one could go lighter than air...but a more likely approach would be to construct the primitive drones using a lawnmower engine or two, wood and fabric construction, and absolutely primitive guidance (perhaps simply aiming it north and varying "range to crash" by modifying fuel load?).

Obviously, the goal is two-fold - low radar/visual signature and minimal expense. To blow something out of the sky, you must first see (acquire) it either visually or using some other means (radar, etc). Acoustic acquisition really isn't all that effective at this point, to the best of my knowledge. Fiberglass, bamboo, wood, and fabric all create a lower radar profile than metallic surfaces - and are typically cheaper to work. A lawnmower engine is cheap, and a light wood or fiberglass prop is similarly fairly low-profile. If one wants to go ground following, toss in passive GPS and minimal controls and guidance designed for low emissions.

Send them north unmarked, or marked as N. Korean Gov't emergency relief craft...and stand well back.

Not the answer, but certainly a way to disorganize the hostiles while we formulate such an answer.

Of course, this would require an administration both opposed to N. Korean aggression and willing to do something about it.

De-valuing words - even pejoratives!

For a pejorative to maintain its sting, it needs both fair definition and a certain rarity.

When we use the word "racist", as an example, to mean "a small-minded and possibly hateful person of any particular color who judges individuals on the basis of their membership in a real or perceived racial grouping, rather than on their individual merits or lack thereof" - we can then look upon such an individual for the fool and asshat that they are, and depending on the circumstances, engage in either ridicule or self-defense activities with proper vigor.

When we change the definition to "a small-minded and possibly hateful white (or blue, black, brown, or polka-dotted) person of any particular color who judges individuals on the basis of their membership in a real or perceived racial grouping, rather than on their individual merits or lack thereof" we diminish the meaning by inserting an obvious logical fallacy - judging folks based on skin hue, rather than on individual character, is equally reprehensible no matter who is busy about the judging. When we claim that it's only bad when a particular hue is doing the judging, we defeat our own argument. We diminish the sting of the phrase, and open the concept to ridicule based on the fallacy we ourselves have introduced.

When we further demean the term by referring to any criticism of a person of color (say, a President or his/her policies) as (for the purposes of this example) racist, we shortly get to the point where the sting is lost nearly entirely, as thinking individuals lose swiftly lose the ability to take such ludicrous accusations seriously - followed shortly by, as a result of our own actions, skepticism even when legitimate claims of racism are raised.

This is not a new concept. One might describe it as the "Boy Who Cried Wolf" error, simply writ in different terms. When folks start, after offering criticism of the current administration and their policies, to *laugh* and call themselves racist, we can be fairly sure that not only the term has lost its' sting, but that through sheer overuse we've diminished the very concept.

Handy example used, and now set aside, we now have the Ladies of the View opining that the founders of "National Opt Out Day" are, by seeking to cause some level of economic pain or inconvenience (oh, perhaps, similar to when a union strikes?) to our Robot Overlords Bureaucratic Nanny-State Masters the current Administration in hope of some relief from PornScansBack-Scatter X-ray devices (operating at unknown radiation levels) and GateRapeEnhanced Patdowns (with minimal concern for or understanding of biological cross-contamination) are somehow terrorists . Le Sigh.




Will those of you with more than two simultaneously firing neurons please raise your hand and draw the analogy alluded to above?

Dipshits.

Anyone who disagrees, peaceably, utilizing established measures to lawfully protest (including, within sharply defined limits, procedurally monkey-wrenching the system) is now a terrorist? By encouraging folks to not fly, to opt out (as is their legal right), and to exercises their constitutional rights is now a bad scary terrorist in the eyes of The View?

Y'all can f* right off.

Ladies. Find an English Teacher, by preference one that uses a clue stick as a training device, and take a remedial course NOW. I'd normally suggest a dictionary, but I'm less than optimistic that it would be sufficient to the task of remedying your misunderstanding.

Clue: If bullets aren't flying and shrapnel isn't in the air, nothing is exploding or falling out of the sky, there aren't dead or bleeding bodies bouncing about, or bio/chem agents aren't in play (and nobody is planning to make any of the above so), you may have a lot of things (including strenous disagreement, perhaps with the use of traditional non-violent protest mechanisms), but you don't have terrorism.

Dorks.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Another borrowed link to must -see video



Courtesty of Snarkybytes and the European Union (a body preparing to crater)....an educational tragicomedy...and some damned fine public speaking...

Transport Canada & the TSA


Some things are just too good not to share....the above is courtesy of RobertaX, and the fine folks at Transport Canada.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Things I'm thankful for...

I'm thankful for my family, and particularly for my nieces - a source of hope and optimism in a worrisome world.

I'm thankful for my friends, both in Seattle and around the world. Bulwarks in time of need, a comfort in times of stress, and a constant source of joy.

I'm thankful that, for the moment, I still live in a nation where we may speak our minds, publish our thoughts, and access the worlds greatest conversation - the internet - without fear of retribution or harassment from our government.

I'm thankful for those court decisions in the last two years that have expanded the Second Amendment rights of private individuals, as I believe it both a bulwark against the depredations of the criminally frisky and a deterrent to overenthusiastic governance.

I'm grateful for my co-workers, and that I am employed in this Great Recession (oh, let's be honest...it's a depression! Don't ya feel better for being up front about it?) . I pray I can say the same in a years time.

I'm grateful that I have a place to live, and opportunities to be of service to those I care about, of my own free will.

I'm grateful to the service men and women past and present around the world who have gone and continue to go in harms way to preserve our liberties, our constitution, and our nation. Similarly, my thanks go to our domestic protectors - honorable fire, police, and emergency services folks going in harms way that we might not, and striving to protect our dignity and rights as they do so under the most trying of circumstances. My prayers, such as they are, are with them all.

And finally, as we wake and feast on this Thanksgiving Day, I am grateful that I've had time to get old enough to be somewhat less dim and dizzy than I was in the past. I still make errors, small and large - for such is life - but I'm thankful that they are fewer and smaller than they once might have been, and the number of required apologies is significantly reduced...a trend I hope continues as the years pass.

God (or your very own preferred deity) bless you one and all, and may your feast be satisfying and you be surrounded by those you love - whether of the family you were born to or of the family you chose to gather.

GC

Remembering...

Now and again something pops up that "brings it all back" for good or ill, the seed that sometimes swiftly and sometimes slowly, grew to a life-changing decision(s).

I'm reminded of that this morning, an old memory of old stupid brought back, that led to decisions over a period of years as the lesson was re-applied with vigor to give up some opportunities for happiness in exchange for missing out on the near certainty of self-induced idiocy and drama. Now I'm an interested spectator to some games, a cheerleader on the sidelines, and occasionally am tempted to dabble. But I'm largely resigned from that set of games, for down that path lays (for me) only insanity in my experience.

Still, the wound is sufficiently fresh that a swift prod produces a wince of embarrassment at past foolishness, obliviousness, and jerkhood.

Growing old lets us look back and revel in some memories, and in others, inquire how we could have been so stupid or boorish.

This morning wasn't one of the fun ones. But part of what makes such things bearable is the knowledge that we don't have to "do it again", and in some cases, some forms of dumb are best avoided by simply avoiding the precursor events.

I think I shall go pet the cat.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A chilling effect...

I am frankly nauseated to share this, and sincerely hope that this article is but a bit of mis-reported media mal-practice. But the arrogant tone resembles that of HHS Secretary Napolitano and the current administration far to closely for me to casually dismiss it as such.

If true, the secret memo cited (and leaked) from TSA lays the foundation for a suppression of free speech and expression (and of the press) unlike anything we've seen since the bad old days of Woodrow Wilson - defining "those who are opposed to, or engaged in the disruption of the implementation of the enhanced airport screening procedures as “domestic extremists.”"

Read this article. Think it through. That it is believable is alone enough to merit concern. If it is true, it does not bode well for our nation - as it has never boded well when our government has gone so far as to begin designating law-abiding citizens for watch lists and (usually) special attention.

And it would appear all of us who do not go meekly along with the latest whimsy of our betters, applauding those putting on the airs of power with proper enthusiasm, are upon it.

Making a list and checking it twice, when a government is busy about it, is seldom an indication of the creation of a list of persons to whom maple-filled bon-bon's should be delivered.

It's called creating an "enemies list".

Why am I so twitchy about this? I remember Nixon. And the FBI of Herbert Hoover's day. And Woodrow Wilson. Not every moment in the history of the United States can precisely be described as a hallowed celebration of civil rights and individual liberty, much as we might wish otherwise - and it's been a long and hard battle for the freedom of speech, press, and communication we enjoy, and the freedom to go about our affairs with our persons and belongings inviolate from random inspection, search and seizure by government agents without a lawfully sworn warrant.

Enough blood and misery have been sacrificed to get us as far as we've gotten that I'm not eager to see those gains lost to prop up the whims of petty bureaucrats and elitists out to control us for our own good in thought, action, and deed.

And to those who would say "it can't happen here?" or tell us that once won, freedom cannot be lost? Let them speak to the ghosts of the past. All is temporary - held, won, or lost - by each generation, with some bastions of law and culture weathering the whimsy of current opinions and individual ambition with greater tenacity than others. Are we expanding individual rights today? Or are they contracting? And which ones?

At the same time, just for fun, let us assume for a bright shining moment that this is simply a journalistic mis-step. What does it say that such a mis-step is so believable to so many people? And what does it tell us of the intensity of the division deepening in our land?

If you aren't worried, you aren't paying attention.

Start paying attention.

Tardy but admiring...

Go. Read. Verily, Stingray is the Master of the Punishingly Accurate Rant.

Latest TSA news...

Well, the hits just keep on coming....

From TSA grunts picking women for the Porn Scan based on their breast size, to rumors of strategic shutdowns of the PornScans and suspension of the Gate Rape process in an effort to defeat the National Opt Out Day protest.

The mainstream media is finally noticing the extra-special treatment that the TSA gives to the medically challenged and prosthetic users.

Meanwhile, the ever-regrettable Homeland Security Secretary gleefully announced on Tuesday that we could soon be seeing similarly invasive and unconstitutional measures (swiftly evolving into random fishing expeditions) inflicted on users of U.S. public transportation, trains and boats.

But what can we expect from an agency that recruits it's staff using pizza boxes for advertising?

And a question worth considering? Those gloves the TSA grunts wear for screening? How often do they change those after fondling various folks genitalia and dank private bits where various critters and diseases live?

Yeast infections
? Herpes? Lice? MRSA? HPV? Scabies? Ringworm? Ebola?




All this and more await you if YOUR screener has failed to change gloves with a new set (fresh out of box) between the time s/he last fondled someone and beginning to fondle you. The really disturbing pictures you'll have to google yourselves - but every one of these and more are available with a bunch of glorified rent-a-cops with minimal bio-hazard training.

I've only included the tamer images here - for a really horrifying moment or three, try googling for images of genital warts or Ebola survival rates.

Obviously, some of these options are less probable than others - but are included to illustrate the importance of avoiding cross-contamination when processing large numbers of individuals of highly varied hygiene, infectious state, and immune system vulnerability. TSA grunts need to change their gloves *every time* and if you should be forced to fly, insist that the TSA grunt about to search you don a new set of gloves fresh out of box (not out of pocket).

Think about it, and the TSA - the gift that keeps on giving....

More TSA Follies

In which linky-no thinky does the job...

Travelers are beginning to be *helpful* to the TSA in new and different ways, disrobing or arriving in dishabille.


Man arrives at TSA Gate in Speedo's

Not surprisingly, travelers are ALSO expressing their dismay with TSA staff using less than generous language - WELL DONE, TRAVELERS!! "Just following orders" isn't a valid shield from intense criticism, ridicule, and downright hostility - unless you honorably resign from your position with the TSA, you have *volunteered* to simply sit there and take it every time you strip-search a child, grope a teen, or go on a fishing expedition for criminal evidence during what's supposed to be a strict security check. Eat it up, or get out of the frying pan, kids.

When grandmothers have to explain to their granddaughters why a strange man is touching their "special girl spots", it's probably a hint that things have gone too far. For some reason, said grandmothers refer to such procedures as molestation. With even ABC producers describing the new TSA Gate Rape patdown as more intrusive than a gynecological exam, perhaps it's time to reign in our wannabe lords and masters a few notches.

Meanwhile, it becomes a reasonable bet (in my opinion, YMMV - draw your own conclusions) that a big reason for this new sort of involuntary radiation therapy bolstered with the threat of Gate Rape is the infusion over millions of dollars of lobbying money by the Porn Scan machine makers. That the CEO of Rapiscan (the largest backscatter x-ray machine maker) (unfortunate name, that) tags along to India with Obama only raises the eyebrow a bit further, given common Chicago political practice.

Just to keep things from getting boring, it's also now coming out that the TSA Gate Rapes & Porn Scans are turning from obnoxious (and possibly unconstitutional) irritants into warrantless fishing expeditions looking for any little irregularities, with seizure of property and persons at whim - a fairly clear violation of Fourth Amendment protections, and equally clearly, unconstitutional.

And...to add icing to the obscenity, we now have a list of Special Ones (pilots, congress critters, federal officials, TSA managers, etc...) *exempt* from the PornScan/GateRape adventure...

I'm not playing nice anymore...

A well-written and defiant declaration over at the blog "Stop Shouting" deserves some recognition. Go. Read. Think.

However, at 3 posts a year, doesn't make the blogroll... :(

National Opt-Out Day

It's early yet, (8 am, PST) but folks that are still flying....aren't Opting Out. If you're flying, remember, unless you want this kind of probulation as a permanent feature, today is a fine day to Opt Out of the Porn Scan and to loudly protest Gate Rape....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quotable Quotes

"I had to fly on something like 8 trips last year. I'm flying at least twice in 2011. (DragonCon Atlanta, StellerCon North Carolina). I kind of have to fly if I want to do the book tours.

I think I'm going to wear a kilt, not wear any underwear, and liberally apply Vasaline to my genitals. (maybe paint a happy face or something, I'll get creative) When we get to the pat down I'm going to act all excited and tell them that this is my favorite part and that I usually have to pay extra for this level of service."

- Larry Correia (Author, Accountant, Firearms Guru, Superhero), We The Armed, 11/16/2010


I'm not seeing this as, umm, an indicator that folks are growing *less* annoyed.

TSA - the gift that keeps on giving...

In what amounts to mostly a linky-no-thinky post, we have the latest crop of assorted TSA jack-assery, assaults, humiliations, and general misbehavior.

The good news is that the "united front" of the Obama Administration re TSA seems to be fracturing a bit with these comments from no less than Hillary Clinton. (Update) It seems that the front line staff at the TSA aren't *enjoying* the reception they are getting...keep it legal, but turn up the volume, folks.

However, with record lines already at O'Hare, even Matt Drudge is raising questions about TSA workers engaging in work slowdowns as petty vengeance against the public. Intrusive patdowns (aka Gate Rape) continue from O'Hare to SeaTac - and 68yo bladder cancer survivors left in tears and covered in their own urine.

And then we have the TSA insisting a passenger put more clothes on so that they can properly search him. And arresting folks for filming the idiocy. Apparently the theme song starts "YOU WILL SUBMIT", and concludes "YOU WILL NOT SHOW US BEING *REALLY, REALLY* STUPID."

Shut down the punitive, petty, farce - implement real security, not theater, and respect folks civil rights specifically, and folks generally barring probable cause of wrongdoing.

Good concepts to wrap your mind around...

Ran across an attempt to discuss this elsewhere, and seems a good thing to address here...

Commonly known as the Felony Murder rule, this legal concept holds that if, whilst committing a felony, ANYONE gets dead (and in some cases any injury or harm occurs to ANY party), as the committing felon(s) it is ALL your fault.

This doctrine long predates the Castle Doctrine, and is the common rule, rather than the exception.

The presumption is that if you'd not been busy about your favorite felonious activity(ies), the death/injury/property damage resulting from your unlawful actions or from others responses to that offensive activity fall solely upon you - as but for your bad acts, the deaths/injuries/property damages would not have occurred.

This is typically a matter of state law, and varies widely from state to state and is inherited from English Common Law which goes back into the depths of history. YMMV.

IANAL. This is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, contact a lawyer.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

TSA & Shovels

The kids over at the TSA seem to think the best strategy, when caught in a hole, is to dig faster. Oddly enough, most sensible folks disagree. And to search 3yo's using enhanced patdowns...



From forcing breast cancer survivors to remove their prosthetics for inspection, to patting down a passenger with such vigor as to lift them off their heels when the groin was hit, to travelers making strong arguments that *enhanced patdown by skin-to-skin genitalia fondling* constitutes sexual assault the TSA seems, in the face of criticism, to hunker down and embrace tone-deafness as a defense - the "if we just ignore them long enough, they'll get used to it and give us what we want" theory.

This problem is far from new - our power-drunk TSA drones have been misbehaving and exercising their "authoriteh" for quite some while, as evidenced by the 2008 experiences of Robert Perry's forced public pantsing, Mandi Hamlin's coerced nipple-ring removal (pliers were required), and the Angone case.

However, with celebrities such as former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura declaring they will not fly commercially under such conditions, it seems steam is only gathering behind the TSA abolition/reform movement, with no sign of a slowdown in sight.

It could be the TSA's loudly proclaiming their intention to continue engaging in unlawful detention of those not submitting to their program of using assault and harassment to drive the public through a unreasonably revealing device of uncertain medical and radiological provenance, and impose "unappealable" fines of $10,000 or $11,000 (they don't appear quite sure which) on those who, on discovering this once inside the checkpoint, have temerity to prefer to leave rather than put up with the harassment is only fueling the public outrage.

Or perhaps the outrage is fueled by not merely the sheer insensitivity displayed by the TSA drones, but by the constantly startling level of stupid. Refusing to let a couple of hundred lawfully and fully armed U.S. soldiers pass until a nail file is surrendered, as one commenter puts it, takes a VERY special kind of stupid - particularly when they are on their way home after a tour in Afghanistan.

Or perhaps both the stupidity and the insensitivity of the TSA, long rising to a boil heated by idiocy and incompetence, when combined with the quaint American notion that our government works for us (not the other way around) and that we are innocent until proven guilty (and demand to be treated accordingly), have incited this wholly justified tsunami of ill will against this mis-managed, ill-considered, and overly authoritarian agency composed of glorified rent-a-cops and the rejects of federal and local law enforcement (the only way I can explain their actions without assuming actual treasonous malice...).

If you must fly...

Remember National Opt-Out day...and subsequently, No-Fly Wednesdays.

Be painfully helpful and chatty with every TSA staffer you encounter if you must fly. Be certain to ask for hard copy of every regulation they cite, and decline to go *any place* out of the public view with them. Inquire if you are under arrest if at any point any person tries to detain you - if they continue, loudly ask for probable cause. Wear bulky clothing, even if you normally wouldn't. Consider wearing clothing that, if you follow common TSA directions, will promptly fall to the ground providing a full naked view of your person to all within eyeshot.

Ask questions - lots of questions. Ask follow-up questions. If lawful in your jurisdiction, record all interactions w/ TSA personnel.

If you believe anything untoward has been done to you, or in your presence, call 911 and press charges.

And, with all that, try and keep an upbeat attitude. And now, for a final message from John Pistole of the TSA.

We prepare to greet our petty and punitive overlords...

Seems that techfolk that aren't politically correct are now on the special hasslement list...

Why is this silly/stupid?

Disposable netbooks. With a cheap netbook available for under $300, they become disposable - i.e., if seized or inspected while outside of your direct line of sight, they become garbage as they may be potentially corrupted (sell it on craigslist or some such)...and since you never EVER put anything on the hard drive (booting from a USB stick and accessing your files in a variety of creative ways)...you should be about as safe as it's practical to get. If you really want to be sure, find an appropriate data transmission method, move your data before attempting to re-enter the United States, then sell the netbook before you get on the homeward bound plane.

Nothing says you need to physically carry files these days, and even should you choose to do so, there are a number of ways to do so well outside of a recognizable electronic device.

Now, all that said, I'm not the geekiest kid on the block, nor do I have the kind of super-secret experience that some folks do. But that's just my take on it all...that the linked incident is just yet another sense-free punitive and petty measure enacted by a power-hungry administration out of control.

Courtesy of Oleg Volk

Picture.

Thousand Words. Oleg Volk is a master of his craft. Click on the picture for more.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

TSA - Raising the Ante....

Now the TSA is directing staffers to shove their hands down the pants of potential fliers - is this the beginning of the end of commercial air flight? Or just an attempt to provoke fliers into a violent response to justify yet more heavy handed measures?

Abolish the TSA. Now. Until then....National Opt Out day is coming, along with No-Fly Wednesdays.

Arrogance & Retaliation at the TSA - Follow-up

To unabashedly steal Snarkybytes lead article:

"Queen Napolitano when informed that the peasants were upset about her TSA:

She added that “if people want to travel by some other means,” they have that right."

In other news, the arrogance of the TSA knows no bounds as TSA leaders prepare to engage in a retaliatory investigation against blogger John Tyner who not only had the temerity to decline to play a role in TSA Security Kabuki Theatre, but followed directions when told to leave the airport.

Especially offensive, apparently, was that Tyner recorded the encounter and broadcast it to the web, subjecting the TSA to harsh criticism.

Last I heard, this is still America. If you don't arrest me or get a judge to agree that I'm either crazy or infectious (or crazy AND infectious), you have no right to detain me from going about my lawful affairs.

At most, you can ask me to leave your private facility at whim (public facilities typically have a somewhat higher standard). As long as I leave upon receiving and understanding your lawful request, no harm and no foul.

You don't get to order me to leave and then impose a $10,000 (or $11,000 - seems the TSA kids can't get their unlawful punitive measures straight) when I, in fact, leave. You don't even get to do that if, struck by your utter obnoxiousness, I loudly announce "fuck you and the horse you rode in on, I'd rather *drive* five days than put up with you" and promptly depart mid-patdown.

I am not under arrest. I am not a prisoner. And you don't get to treat me, or anyone else, that way - barring an arrest taking place.

Further, you don't get to respond to my (or others) criticism of you or your agency by engaging in punitive investigations against myself or the aforementioned theoretical others - or by soliciting other agencies to commit retaliatory harassment investigations on your behalf.

Lese Majeste is not a crime in the United States - it is a founding principal and a virtue that has kept our government more reigned in than most. It's not something you arrest folks for, it's something you celebrate and encourage. Ask the hard questions! Be skeptical!

At this point, the new GOP initiative to abolish the TSA and encourage airports to opt out of using TSA for screening immediately (it was only mandatory for two years after its creation) both seem appropriate steps. As do not only National Opt Out Day, but subsequent No Fly Wednesdays until the idiocy ends.

And this morning, The Atlantic comes out in favor of the Kilted Conspiracy. One wonders if they know what happens when you remove the belt on a *proper* kilt.