Where There's A William

there's always aweigh

Archive for the month “August, 2008”

Now, That’s Funny …

…, I don’t care who you are.

Or aren’t.

There’s no way the campaign will even acknowledge this bit of synchronicity, but that doesn’t stop the rest of us from having a good laugh.

And then there’s this. Anything else, maybe, but the left will never forgive her for this:

Rigel Kent Says:

Palin’s smart, tough, capable, gorgeous and a red head?

My God, she’s a Heinlein character come to life.

I think I might just have to vote for McCain now.

August 30th, 2008 at 12:33 am

Bill Ayers may get called out of retirement after a few weeks more of this.

And that’s not funny.

Thanks to Rand Simberg and TamaraK for the much needed good laugh.

Update: I haven’t had to experience it as of yet, but one thing I’m not looking forward to is all the ” …Palin comparison.” smarminess from the punditry class over the next couple months. The novelty will wear off and people will begin to take note of the lady herself as time goes by, but ’till then …

One other observation. Todd Palin must have the iron resolve and self control of an actual saint. Hosting tea party’s and the like is all good for a laugh, but I’d have long since consigned some talking head to a lifetime of dental treatments via a proctologist. ‘Yo, Chris, Keith, I’m just sayin’ is all.

Update Deux (8/31): See what I mean?

Although, I have to say, this isn’t too bad an example of what I’m talking about. At least this blogger stuck to published facts and sources to illustrate his admittedly biased viewpoint. Well, sort of … Nobody looks quite that good with a real case of bed head. Which also ought to be regarded as “Praising with faint damns” ought’nt it?

Update Tres (9/01): See! See!?! See what I’m talkin’ about?

This can’t end soon enough.

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McCain/Palin

Hm.

Well, the guy never carried much of a tan anyway.

I’m certain the Democrats will wear this one out fairly quickly. Watching the rest of the .gov femmes have serial conniptions ought to provide at least several months of entertainment, though. Query: if Nancy Pelosi’s face splitttsss* during a televised speech, would anybody not watching closely actually notice?

All I can say is, Thank Ghu at least somebody running for national office has some actual executive branch-type experience going into the race.

*Sorry, couldn’t resist the now-antiquated Bill Cosby reference (a bit from the performance titled Fatherhood, as I recall).

Why I’m a blogger and not a reporter

I suppose most people are at least generally aware of the recent confrontation instigated by Alex Jones with Hot Air blogger and sometime Fox News reporter/commentator Michele Malkin yesterday in Denver, CO; see here for a written report by Charles Martin of events from one participants perspective and here for a largely unedited video recording of the incident by Stephen Greene (aka VodkaPundit) who happened to be on-scene working as a Pajamas Media reporter as events unfolded.

While I am certain that Alex Jones chose the tactic he did because Michele Malkin is a 5′ nuthin’ Filipina and the living incarnation of the definition “petite”, and that Alex Jones would never, for any reason, even consider attempting something similar involving myself (being that I am the diametric opposite of said definition) as the object of his invective-laden assault, I still feel it incumbent upon me to note that, were he ever to do so here in Texas – the state we both reside in, I absolutely would shoot him DRT.

And, I fully understand that a Lone Star version of Denver’s Smirky Mc DoNut, as described briefly in Mr. Martin’s report, would no doubt be the first to insist I accept his offer of accommodation as a guest of the Governor immediately thereafter.

We who go to all the trouble to obtain a license to carry a concealed firearm do so for nearly as many reasons as there are number of us, but one of the most common is to generally accept a greater share of responsibility for our own security and safety. I submit to all and sundry that the behavior exhibited by Alex Jones in the PJM video is a classic example of “threatened and in fear for my life” as anyone might hope not to ever personally experience.

I believe that about the second time he directed his assaultive behavior in such a close, in-your-face fashion, and had he done so to me in a similarly aroused mob atmosphere, I’d have killed him without a moments hesitation.

Which causes me to re-raise a question I briefly skirted about with Kevin Baker some months ago; to what extent does our recreational shooting training influence our behavior in an actual defensive gunfight situation?

Using the PJM video as a reference, at what point in the course of events would you consider the self-defense requirement to have been met (if at all) and thereby feel justified in shooting the attacker? No fair cheating and using Michele Malkin’s unarmed action as a guide; this question is for concealed carry license holders, presumed to be subject to a near-identical assault, in a state that recognises their license and thus can be presumed to be armed at the time.

I bring this topic up because I believe that we all run an under-appreciated risk of unnecessary legal jeopardy by not periodically including some form of specifically “defensive shooting”-oriented training and/or regular practice session as a part of our normal shooting experience. My problem is, I’m not fully confident what such a regimen ought to realistically (as well as legalistically) consist of.

I am certain that reliance upon the tactics and techniques inherent to Steel Challenge, IDPA and the like probably would offer as much opportunity for a potential prosecutor as it would my defender.

Here in Texas (and I’m willing to bet this is common in other states, too) a private citizen is entitled to defend his life and (with certain stipulations) his property from direct attack. But only to the point of safeguarding said life and property, wherein lies the rub.

A defensive shooting training exercise would have to explicitly include a mechanism for breaking direct contact with an attacker (never mind the old “best defense …” chestnut) in order for such a gunfight to be consistent with a defensive action. I submit that the shooting disciplines I previously cited teach the diametric opposite of such a principle. Please understand, there’s nothing wrong with that in it’s own context, until an attorney is using it to demonstrate your willful disregard for the life of the decedent and why the jury should award the plaintiff 110% of everything you will ever earn in perpetuity. In that circumstance, maybe a defense attorney could make a telling counter-argument to a jury out of a training regimen that specifically includes dis-engaging from attack if safely possible for you to attempt. Being able to question witnesses as to your training in and practice of such a defensive discipline might usefully improve your image with a jury as well.

The possibility of being able to actually train not to shoot idiots like Alex Jones as part of an effective “combined arms” philosophy to personal concealed carry seems useful to me also. The superior strategist is one who defeats an enemy’s attack at the least cost to himself.

Any thoughts … ?

Update (9/01): Charles Johnson’s Little Green Footballs site has a post up by “Zombie” regarding yet another recent near-riot in Denver last week. In addition to the apparent propaganda effort made by the Rocky Mountain News to spin this minor side-show to an equally minor arrest, there’s the question of how the police handled the threatening crowd scenario as opposed to what occurred in the separate incident involving Michele Malkin.

For better or worse, I believe that this sort of organised, structured and well-practiced behavior is more than likely going to be the standard of conduct to which all individuals forced into a similar circumstance will be compared. The stunning disparity between a department of trained professionals degree of resources and training to that of virtually any individual not withstanding, I expect the presence of firearms and a state license to carry same will be the over-riding factors in most people’s minds when it comes to assessing the degree of civil guilt and/or responsibility for a given outcome.

We shooters with concealed carry licenses need to better prepare ourselves for the full range of responsibility that accompanies the personal protection we seek to secure for ourselves. Specifically, to include surviving intact the legal fight that will almost inevitably follow any gun fight.

A pyrrhic victory isn’t. Don’t build a strategy around such an obvious point of failure.

Instant Meme

I have often linked to Kevin Baker in the past and expect to do so in future. This time, I quote him in full:

Freudian Slip?
Former Texas Rep. Charlie Wilson — yes, that Charlie Wilson — was speaking at an anti-war rally when he, um, flubbed a line:
“We should be led by Osama bin Laden,” he said, then quickly corrected himself. “I mean Obama and Biden.”
Osama bin Laden, Obama and Biden, hey, it’s a mistake anybody could make.

And will keep making all the way ’till election day.

Obama bin Biden 2008!

I’m suddenly feeling a little less sick to my stomach over this year’s election.

From Real Clear Politics via Glenn

This one needs to be spread far and wide.

A couple quick clicks later, I found this at professional writer James Hudnall’s blog:

Quote of the Day
“We should be led by Osama bin Laden,” he said, then quickly corrected himself. “I mean Obama and Biden.”

Charlie Wilson (of that bogus Tom Hanks movie fame)

Gosh, we have a new name for the hope team. Obama bin Biden : Hope and Change for the Republican Party’s fortunes.

Somewhere between the two, I think we’ve found the T-shirt for this years political season:

OBAMA bin BIDEN 2008
Hope and Change
(for the Republican Party)

Kevin? Hud? Who can get a Zazzle deal struck first?

I’m a 2XL BTW.

🙂

Update: So, Hud went with the T-Shirt while Kevin opted for the bumpersticker.

Now, if we can only keep that utter nanger Nancy Pelosi talking for a couple more months there’s a quite reasonable chance for McCain to inherit an evenly divided legislature too.

In the present circumstance, political gridlock is good.

… and speaking of gas,

Brian Wang has an intriguing post on a new bio-diesel process at Next Big Future. The newly formed Ever Cat Fuels company has begun construction on a bio-diesel plant that seems a marked improvement over the established process.

In a comment to Brian’s post I said:

The Ever Cat website specifically states that the process does not “require a large footprint”. I wonder how scalable this is in the other direction – to the 20 to 30 gallon/batch range say? That’s the sort of application that would bring this development into widespread use the quickest, I suspect. Half a dozen neighbors contributing the “components” for a percentage share of the result? I think I’ll contact Mr. Wendorf at Ever Cat and enquire …

I wrote Mr. Dave Wendorf at the Ever Cat-provided e-mail link and will post any response I recieve.

What an opportunity!

I’m half tempted to apply for this, but I suspect a foul temper and gassy ass don’t actually qualify as “powers”.

Pity.

Thanks to James Hudnall for the laugh.

Magnatising News!

An interesting development from Intel is reported at PhysOrg.com, wireless transmission of electrical power with no shocking involved.

Intel chief technology officer Justin Rattner demonstrated a Wireless Energy Resonant Link as he spoke at the California firm’s annual developers forum in San Francisco.

Electricity was sent wirelessly to a lamp on stage, lighting a 60 watt bulb that uses more power than a typical laptop computer.

Most importantly, the electricity was transmitted without zapping anything or anyone that got between the sending and receiving units.

“The trick with wireless power is not can you do it; it’s can you do it safely and efficiently,” Intel researcher Josh Smith said in an online video explaining the breakthrough.

“It turns out the human body is not affected by magnetic fields; it is affected by elective fields. So what we are doing is transmitting energy using the magnetic field not the electric field.”

There has long been speculation that Nikola Tesla‘s numerous wireless power transmission patents involved using the Earth’s magnetic field in some way. Similarly, the debate over the possibility for Zero Point electrical power generation arises from a contrasting approach to the same electro-magnetic principals.

Apparently there is something to all that after all.

The technology could also be built into plugged in computer components, such as monitors, to enable them to broadcast power to devices left on desks or carried into rooms, according to Smith.

“Initially it eliminates chargers and eventually it eliminates batteries all together,” analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group said of Intel’s wireless power system.

“That is potentially a world changing event. This is the closest we’ve had to something being commercially available in this class.”

Previous wireless power systems consisted basically of firing lightning bolts from sending to receiving units.

Now, how soon can I expect to re-charge my (I wish!) Tesla Roadster from the streetlights as I’m driving?

T Boone, Pickens Our Pockets

They seem just a tad suspicious of all this up in Lubbock.

Myriad obstacles remain for billionaire oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens to market Panhandle water to thirsty cities elsewhere in Texas, but one intermediate hurdle appears to be a slam dunk.

Pickens still must lay a pipeline to deliver water to a buyer that’s yet to be secured.

But this week he secured a November election for a proposed freshwater supply district in Roberts County. Only five people will be eligible to vote, and all either work for him or support him and live within the proposed district’s boundaries.

A bit further down the page there’s also this:

Though Roberts County Judge Vernon H. Cook voted Tuesday to approve a petition for the district and to call for the election to confirm it, he questioned the method.

“I feel like it’s an abuse of the system,” he said of only Pickens’ people casting ballots. “I have all kinds of concerns about the way the legislation is structured, but I don’t think we have a real legal recourse on it.”

I have to be careful not to exceed fair use standards, so only one more quote:

Monty Humble, an attorney working for Pickens, said freshwater supply districts can get low-interest bonds for infrastructure beyond the boundaries of the district if they are revenue bonds.

The district also comes with eminent domain powers that reach beyond its boundaries.

So, T. Boone “gives” property to a few of his employees with the specific understanding that they’ll vote the way he wants them to regarding T. Boone’s private water district.

Sweet.

Presuming all goes as expected (not to say paid for or anything), then next year T. Boone can run a pipeline (or pretty much anything else he chooses) through anyone else’s property without so much as a “By your leave …”. I know how much I trust Mr. Corporate Raider to show restraint and consideration for anyone else’s concerns.

That’s more than just a fresh breeze runnin’ up your kilt, pardner.

Now, this seems like a promising start

That would be this modest result from Texas A&M.

Brian Wang takes a look:

“Our goal with this technology is to achieve as much as a 2 percent contribution to the nation¿s gasoline demand by 2022 through the building of 200 more bio-refineries,” said Benjamin J. Brant, President and Chief Technology Officer of Byogy. “We firmly believe the TEES technology combined with the Byogy team offers this possibility.”

Rand Simberg links to a more fulsome article at PhysOrg.com who notes:

The focus at the initial plant would be on using urban waste, which the plant would grind, sort and then convert into gasoline. The fuel produced by this process could immediately be used as a drop-in substitute to the current petroleum gasoline supplies with a seamless integration into the existing fuel distribution infrastructure. Nothing needs to be changed at retail gas stations, pipelines, regional fuel terminals or in any motor vehicle.

Note that this is not E-85 (or any other percentage) ethanol/gasoline mixture. While that effort also contributes to expanding available fuel supplies, there are unique problems with that particular response that are avoided by this A&M development.

The principles of strategy teach that a multitude of options provide the greatest opportunity for individual advancement over the broadest range of personal circumstance. On the other hand, positional strength is also achieved by eliminating to the greatest extent possible any alternative for a competitor to threaten a position from.

For this reason (among others), positional advancement efforts tend to be cyclic in nature in that they tend to alternate between efforts to consolidate a position (strength through mass) and efforts to diversify positional advancement opportunities (strength through multiple options).

A casual glance at the history of energy and fuel in the US illustrates the broad outlines of this process over the course of the 20th Century. As the current trend towards greater diversity progresses into the 21st Century, we can expect to see further disruption of the societal and economic mechanism’s established to accommodate the earlier trend at consolidation (principally to petroleum and coal). With added opportunity comes greater risk; expect social conservatives to form odd alliances in reaction to this last factor.

As ever, determine your own position and measure the risks of advancing it via the available options as you decide is best. In any case, understand that the process is neither immediate nor the outcome obvious.

What’s for lunch?

Being diabetic, I mostly stick to grilled (baked, actually) skinless chicken in flatbread (I like these best). I spotted something new in the store last week and decided to give them a try.

I have to question the claim that one of these constitutes a meal for two full-size adult people. Still, at a total of 54g Total Carbohydrates per package, these sandwiches offer a suitable alternative to build-your-own for the insulin challenged crowd. I think addition of a mildly spiced condiment provides a desirable enhancement, but the basic taste is quite acceptable straight out of the box (well, microwave).

Added plus, you don’t have to Jerk any Jamaicans. 🙂

Pork chops you say? Ahhh …

A likely story.

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