Monday, June 30, 2008

Nomination via Sympathetic Magic

I note Ahab is still asking for your vote.
I voted for him and so should you - lots.

See, I was thinking, I was. Met Ahab at the Indy Blogger Bash, and found him to be good-looking, intelligent, and articulate, and with the exception of good-looking, articulate, and intelligent, just like me, but younger and handsomer and more well-spoken and smarter.

And it hit me... President! POTUS, C in C, the big cheese, that's what Ahab should be. Think of it, a president we wouldn't have to watch like a hawk, and who carries - we could retire most of the secret squirrels and congress would darn well better behave or else - well just look at the pins in the above link ifyouknowwhatmeahandIthinkyoudo.

It'll work like this: Ahab has not reached the constitutionally mandated age to assume office, so there is time to get the universe used to the idea, but we the lazy, the unambitious, and slightly drunk must act to make it so.

Vote for Ahab, not just for the Blackwater thing, but for everything - waitress asks what you'll have? Tell her, "I'll have the Ahab." Precinct committee chairman - Ahab. Dogcatcher, congressman, all-star ballot: Ahab, Ahab, AHAB!

Soon the universe will begin to notice, the stars will begin to align, and with any luck, on at the first opportunity after his thirty-fifth birthday, it will be Hail To The Ahab time.

You may call me crazy, but think about this: every gun grabber group in the world relies on magical thinking no different than this, and look how close they came.

We have more people, a better cause, and a better candidate. Thank you for your support.

Lets Discuss This Like Adults

Now we are in the Post-Heller United States (feels kind of nice to say that) the “reasonable gun control folk” are offering compromises. Funny thing is, their compromises now are pretty much the same as their compromises then, and take roughly the form of, “We will graciously allow you red-necked, knuckle dragging, anatomically compensating, hillbillies to keep a single shot bb gun and one round of ammunition in return for turning in all your other guns.”

Now what could be fairer than that?

This article has been making its way around the gunbloggers, and I picked it up at Alphecca. After reading it, I can’t help but envision Charles VI looking up from the mud of Agincourt and saying to Henry, “We’ll call it a draw then?”

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Quick Sunday Fun

I don't know if any of you have explored this site, but it is well worth your time - just some awesome stuff. But be prepared to spend a lot of time there.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Late To The Party

Took a Bore Snake to my little Glenfield Model 60 yesterday, and oh boy did it make clean up a breeze. Why did I wait so ling before trying it? Cussedness most likely. Now, however, I'll never be without one - it's a very handy dingus.

Friday, June 27, 2008

We have a winner!

This, the day after the Heller decision, is a time for somber reflection, and serious consideration of where we go from here. The best of us should be preparing in depth analyses of the new legal landscape. Me, I’m going to find some whiny jerk and snark and jape at him. Everyone say hello to Maurice J. Dufilho who posted what is, in my humble opinion, the dissent to Heller. Not for Mr. Dufilho the vulgar “gun nuts compensating for tiny anatomical parts” argument so beloved of the disarmament lobby, no “wild west, blood in the streets” imagery either. Oh no, our not so humble correspondent brings his razor wit and not inconsiderable vocabulary to bear on the crux of the matter – Justice Scalia's poor Latin. I would normally just excerpt from his comments, but in this case I can’t pick the best parts so, here in all his glory, I present to you Maurice Dufilho:

I intend to finish reading the entire decision. But before I go to bed tonight, I need to point out that the good judge Scalia has stumbled in his initial premise and that this stumble has rendered his now legal decision an elegant, dark and dank pool of contradictions.

I think he is trying to tell us Justice Scalia fell into a swamp while wearing a tuxedo, of issued a decision in a swampy tuxedo or something, but no matter, we have axes to grind and metaphors to mix (shaken, not stirred).

It is noted that the honorable judge states, and I believe rightly that "'[t]he Constitution was written to be understood by voters; its words and phrases were used in their normal and ordinary as distinguished from technical meaning.'"

Hear that? That is a sigh of relief coming from the Supreme Court, “thank god we got that one right.” I bet they didn’t even call Maurice for his opinion and were just winging it. Legal precedence, years of judicial experience, and centuries of western thought…trifles; what really matters is meeting the Dufilho standard.

He continues two paragraphs down:"The Second Amendment is naturally divided into two parts: its prefatory clause and its operative clause. The former does not limit the latter grammatically, but rather announces a purpose. The Amendment could be rephrased, 'Because a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.' Subsequently he assumes that the designated "prefatory clause" is one of purpose, and that "[l}ogic demands that there be a link between the stated purpose and the command."

I actually understood the first part. Oh wait, that’s the bit written by the judge. I’m not an expert like Maurice, but I think having a logical connection between the first and second parts of any sentence is a good thing, or else you get, “Because a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State, …oh look, bunnies!” See how that could be a problem when you’re lining up to fight the redcoats?

Before I go any further in his Honor's dazzling and baffling assemblage of judicial wind, I would to God that someone, perhaps one of his sons who may be better educated in that knowledge of grammar and rhetoric which he seems to flaunt, would explain to him that the Second Amendment is not two clauses connected only by juxtaposition. We remember that the Constitution was written to be understood by voters, however exclusive that term "voters" may have been in the late eighteenth century. Assume that it excluded all illiterates but included all those who a traditional classical education, for example all those who were signatory to it and to earlier such documents. Any and most likely all of these people, (James Madison, for example) would have exclaimed: "Sir! do you not know the difference between an absolute and a clause!"

As to building things from wind, I think Maurice may be engaging in a little breezy construction of his own when he lets us know that the voters who could understand the wording of the constitution all seem to resemble none other than, well...Maurice Dufilho springs to mind. As an aside, I don't recall hearing of Paul Revere's contributions to classical scholarship, and Franklin was self-educated after dropping out of school after two years. On the other hand ,"Give me liberty or give me an absolute and a clause!" is a battle cry for the ages.

I say this, because as every schoolboy knows (see Thomas Babington Macaulay) from their study of Hesiod and Homer and Aeschylus as well as Virgil, Horace, and Cicero, not to mention Julius Caesar's narratives of his wars in Gaul ablative and genitive absolutes were the bane of their existence when they had to confront a schoolmaster with his stiff rod.

This schoolboy must have been out the day we covered Hesiod etal. And really, why stop there, go on after Caesar to Augustine, Aquinas, Larry, Curly, and Stephen King. Oh, and Maurice, stiff-roddded schoolmasters tend to end up in general population where their ablatives get generated good and hard- yeah you bet.

His Honor either is aware of the absolute construction in his native language or not. If not, he stumbled upon a kind of truth: what he calls the "prefatory clause" does not limit grammatically what he calls the "operative clause." But he falls off the wagon when he assumes that it announces a purpose. Again, as every schoolboy knows who has gotten his knuckles rapped forty or fifty times over his pages of Aeschylus or Cicero absolutes are absolute; they do not admit of only one relation with the second half of the statement. In Latin (which was a lingua franca on the other side of the pond pretty much to the middle of the eighteenth century) an ablative absolute governed the meaning of the main clause of the sentence.

Look, I don't think the comments section of a semi-important paper like the Chicago Tribune is the place to be discussing certain unwholesome practices involving schoolboys and any kind of whacking - there's places in some of the more obscure parts of the internet for that.

I pulled my old "Bradley's Arnold Latin Prose Composition" edited and revised by J. F. Mountford, M.A., D.Litt. published October 1938, off the shelf. And in Section 263, on page 151 Mountford refers his student from the later Section 419, on page 230 and states unequivocally: "The Ablative answers the questions whence? by what means? how? from what cause? in what manner? when? and where? And from there he elucidates the meanings of all ablative uses. What can this mean? Obviously it was not limited to purpose but more obviously it governed a statement in whatever possible facet of its meaning.

Not "Bradley's Arnold Latin Prose Composition"! Your latin-fu is strong, and it's a good thing the Brady Folk didn't have a copy lying around when they were preparing their case, or it would have been all over but the conjugating. That dreamy Ruth Ginsberg might have even invited them back to her chambers for, you know, a little weenie, weedy, weekie. As to the second part of this paragraph, it kind of answers itself, "when", "where", "what can this mean", and of course who cares?

Therefore when the honorable judge claims that the Second Amendment is divided into two clauses: the first prefatory and the second operative he has already made his call. And we have another travesty. His mind was made up before he began to spin his web and make it intricate and beautiful and amazingly deceptive.

Uh, Maurice, making calls is kind of what we pay judges to do. And really, if the people who actually wrote the Constitution, albeit without the benefit of your guidance had to get the Latin right instead of getting the country up and running, we'd still be waiting.

If his Honor was aware of the absolute, (in English it is called a nominative absolute, because cases are quickly fading from our language), I would have no alternative but to call him a bloody liar. But that cannot be because he is a good Catholic and has gone to church with Clarence Thomas, Louie Freeh, and Robert Philip Hanson.

All of this so you can call Scalia a liar? Dear god man, here is a suggestion from "Bradley's Arnold Latin Prose Composition Updated" that will save us all a lot of time ... "SCALIA SUX KTHX BAI"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Five To Four

Whew! I can breathe again. Dat Was A Tose One. Excuse me while I go fill in this hole I was digging in the back for no reason... really, I just like to dig. Flowers, yeah, flowers - we were going to plant Azaleas in this cement-lined, climate-controlled, hole in the ground. But now, it doesn't go with the rest of the landscaping plan, so we'll just skip it.

I was hoping for 6 to 3 at least - It is kind of frightening to think that almost half of the highest judges in the land hate our freedom and think enslaving us is just jake, but I'll leave the cloud for later and celebrate the silver lining today.


Please Mr. Supreme Court Justice I can haz gunz now?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The lesser evil

Just trying to look on the bright side.

If Obama loses, it means an America hating, terrorist loving, neo-communist economic retard is kept out of the White House.

If McCain loses, it means a Constitution shredding, politically opportunistic, authoritarian economic retard is kept out of the White House.

Just Sayin.

Loopy Holes

From Xavier comes today's lesson - a little film of our lords and masters pining away for closure of the "gun show loophole".

Now, any gun person can see what they are doing - most folks know nothing about purchasing firearms, thus it is easy to conflate the vast majority of legal, regulated, background checked, show purchases with the tiny minority of private transfers that happen, so non gun people are given the idea gun shows are vast arms bazaars where gangsters congregate to purchase under-the-table machine guns.

And gunnies, figuring the Bloombergs of the world are making an underhanded play to close gun shows, always patiently explain the truth about this particular dodge. We explain it to anyone who asks, we explain it endlessly, we explain it in letters to the editor and website comment sections. It seems we are endlessly explaining to anyone who will listen that every buyer of every gun sold by every dealer at every gun show gets run through the same background check as if the purchase were happening at a brick and mortar store, and the words "non-existent" should always be silently inserted before the words "gun show loophole".

Forgive me if I am pointing out the obvious, but I don't think his dishonor, the Mayor of New York and his ilk, give a rat's patoot about closing gun shows loopholed or otherwise. Don't get me wrong, they'd love to make owning a gun impossible for everyone but their personal security details, but shutting down gun shows isn't going to do that. Making private sales illegal however, would be a good start in that direction.

It goes like this: It is now the law that the purchaser of any firearm sold anywhere by any means must undergo a background check. "To heck with that." I say, "My brother wants to buy my hunting rifle, and I'm going to sell it to him, and no dumb law is going to keep me from doing that."

Later, while my brother is in deer country, the local cops stop him, and noticing the rifle, become suspicious.

"That your rifle?" asks our mythical policeman.

"Sure is." answers my brother.

"How is it I may be certain you underwent a rigorous background check before being allowed to purchase this high powered sniper weapon which fires bullets that can cut clean through a bullet-proof vest?"

"Guess you'll have to take my word for it."

And there it will have to stand. They may make it unlawful to privately sell a gun at a gun show, but there are always parking lots, garages, and my brother's basement, and unless there is some way to permanently record who owns what guns, they will never be able to prove you didn't always own this or that particular gun.

I don't see a calculating little twerp like Bloomberg letting it go at that. After the ban on private sales, the next step is providing the means of verification that the law is being followed. It will have to be registration, and it will be done for the children of course, or to stop gun traffickers, or for any one of a dozen other reasons, but it will be done. They will assure us the lists will be kept private, and no confiscation is intended, and if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about.

Whatever excuses and assurances are given, there will have a list and you will be on it, and when it is time to come get your guns the authorities will know where to go.

You may choose to believe a policy founded on lies and implemented by liars won't be used against you; I'll bet a lot of people in a lot of places believed things like that... right up till the end.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wheel of Fortune

We were coming back from the Indianapolis blogfest and all night car wash, and since driving I-71 north from Columbus is mostly “hit cruise control and settle in behind a truck” driving, I had some time to chew over some of the conversation.

Specifically, I was thinking about some of the things James Rummel was telling me about his experiences helping people who have been brutally victimized by some of society’s worst predators. It’s humbling when you meet someone who does good things and refuses to despair over the wickedness he sees every day. Me, I tend to fall into moping if my shoelace breaks.

But talking to James was enlightening, and it helped me gain a deeper realization of something I knew intellectually, but never seriously internalized – I am incredibly lucky. I exist in the middle of the American middle class – the graviest of the gravy trains in the history of the planet. Hell, if I had a blindfold, a million darts, and a map of the world, nine-hundred-thousand throws would land me in a place worse off than here and now, and a lot of those would be traumatically worse.

Coming out of my reverie, I look up to check the rear view mirror and I can see someone driving shiny new Audi and working up to pass me. Nope, the left hand lane traffic is too fast, they’re going to have to wait, and I can see the black car shudder as the driver’s impatience gets transmitted through the steering wheel. Sorry friend, I’m not going to move up and crowd a tractor trailer just so you can get your autobahn on – you can wait.

The Audi driver found a solution – pass on the right, eighty miles an hour past me and my eighteen-wheeled friend in heavy traffic and the devil take the hindmost.

I glanced over to see the car and driver – blond, young, pretty, Maryland plates (what she’s doing in flyover county, I don’t know), and to top it all off a matched pair of “Obama!” signs in the rear window, all heading to the glitzmall just outside of Columbus.

Which brings me to the title of today’s post, wheel of fortune, not the game show, the original thing.

Our medieval forbears had had no microscopes, telescopes, or scientific apparatus with which to view their world. Their means of putting order to reality consisted of their senses and some well-developed metaphors.

We like to flatter ourselves for our sophistication, and tend to think of the people of previous centuries as dim-witted step children to the greatness which is us. But we came from them, and much of their thought lives on in us unchanged and the wheel of fortune is a powerful representative of that.

What goes up must come down, here today, gone tomorrow, and what goes around comes around. The world works that way, they knew it a thousand years ago, and in our cells we know it today.

So what is going in the mind of my “too cute to care, too blond to die” roadmate, that makes her believe the change part of “Hope and Change” is going to benefit her? What possible adjustment in her cushy upper berth of life is going to make it better? When luck and genes have put you in a place where your biggest worry is missing the exit to the mall, would you roll the dice to see if something better will come along? Does she not know she is at the top of the wheel with nowhere to go but down?

After Mr. Rummel gave just a small glimpse of just how bad some people can be, I shook my head an said, “Sometimes I just don’t understand my species.”

Now more than ever.