30 December 2005
But, as usual, the liberals got it all wrong. The Leftist hysteria continues unabated in the press and the mainstream media. Why do so many people believe that guns are bad? We'll examine the root causes and show that gun control is not the answer to lowering crime.
I'm no fan of Michael Moore but in "Bowling for Columbine" he made a great point that our culture is full of hysteria. How many times have you heard your 10 O'clock newsanchor say, "Tonight, what you didn't know about your Garlic Press could kill you." It happens over and over again, night after night. After years and years of hearing the unfounded declarations of guns bringing violence to American streets, we begin to believe that guns are bad. The hysterical reaction to guns comes because the media focuses on issues that are :
Gun violence easily fits into those 2 categories. In the book Freakanomics, the authors ask a simple question, "Would you allow your son or daughter to go to a house with a swimming pool, or a loaded handgun?" The overwhelming response was the swimming pool. It may interest you to know that your kid is 100 times more likely to die in a swimming pool related accident than in a handgun accident. Surprised? I was. We're so used to the hearing how horrendously dangerous guns are that anything else seems like a reasonable alternative.
Are tougher laws the answer? No.
A study shows that Washington D.C. enacted a virtual ban on handguns in 1976. Between 1976 and 1991, Washington D.C.'s homicide rate rose 200%, while the U.S. rate rose 12%. If its laws are the toughest, why don't we see a commensurate decline in homicides? Because tougher laws don't work at lowering crime.
What if a state adopts Right to Carry laws? From www.justfacts.com -
In 1996, Dr. John R. Lott of the University of Chicago Law School published the results of a crime study conducted using FBI data for all 3,045 U.S. counties from 1977 to 1992.
* The study sought to answer the question, "What happens to crime when states adopt right-to-carry laws?"
* Between 1977 and 1992, 10 states adopted right-to-carry laws. Dr. Lott's study found that the implementation of these laws created:
-- no change in suicide rates,
-- a .5% rise in accidental firearm deaths,
-- a 5% decline in rapes,
-- a 7% decline in aggravated assaults,
-- and an 8% decline in murder
for the 10 states that adopted these laws between 1977 and 1992.
* Using 1995 numbers, this amounts to:
-- 1 more accidental gun death,
-- 316 less murders,
-- 939 less rapes,
-- and 14,702 less aggravated assaults
in these 10 states annually.
Like any police officer knows, when the criminal thinks he's going to have a hard time with an intended victim, he'll go somewhere else. If you have a community in which anyone could be carrying a weapon, the chances of being victimized goes down. It is common sense.
The numbers support that conclusion.
In Rich Lowry's book Legacy, he talks about how Clinton took credit for the plummeting crime rates in the 90's. The only problem is that Clinton had nothing to do with it.
From the book - page 95:
"Gun control as a crime-fighting strategy suffers from at least two fundamental flaws. First, there is nothing to suggest any connection between the level of gun ownership and violent crime. To cite just one datum: More guns were manufactured in 1997 than 1986, but the homicide rate in 1986 was 25% higher.
Second, with some 240 million guns in circulation, criminals simply won't have a problem getting access to guns unles all guns are banned and confiscated - and may be not even then.
Making a dent in crime with gun control measures, therefore, is extremely unlikely, even if it makes liberals feel like they're "doing something" about crime."
The facts show that tougher prison sentences contribute to lower crime rates, and Clinton had nothing to do with it. Just like he had nothing to do with the cyclical prosperity we enjoyed in the 80's, 90's and right now.
Today's edition of US Today highlights the problem that local and national law enforcement are trying to get their hands around.
Database matches of offenders with those who applied for aid indicate that 30 states may be affected. Sex offenders are the most likely to repeat their crimes.
This site found that over a 25-year period, child molesters had higher rates of reoffense than rapists. Individuals who were rearrested using survival analysis (which takes into account the amount of time each offender has been at risk in the community), show that over longer periods of time, child molesters have a higher failure rate—thus, a higher rate of rearrest—than rapists (52 percent versus 39 percent over 25 years).
Another study shows that child molesters in Canada were reconvicted of sexual or violent crime 42% of the time.
The long term follow-up study referred to above included a control group of non-sexual criminals. The highest rate of recidivism (77%) was for those with previous sexual offences, who selected boy victims outside the family and who were never married.
In general, rapists reoffend more often than child molesters.
Among child molesters, those with male victims have been found to have the highest recidivism rates, followed by those with unrelated female victims.
Incest offenders show the lowest recidivism rates of all sexual offenders.
22 December 2005
The airline just sent her this letter as a fond farewell. There was no mention of "best wishes", "thank you for your service", or "you'll be missed."
She was a good employee. Only 2 sick calls during her career, 11 commendations for good service, and she was always on time - even the airline can't say that.
I'm sharing the letter with you as an example of how truly amoral and completely uncaring this corporation is. Its "front line" workforce gets the "you're nobody" treatment from Management. I know, I know - 90% of them are the same. They don't care, employees are just warm bodies put in place to do a job. Corporations are supposed to be uncaring, state created entities with no moral compass. But with Christmas around the corner and Dickens on my mind - I feel that maybe just a little "thanks" from them would have been in order. Is that too much to ask? Apparently so.
NWA has 10,000 flight attendants. These are the people who interact most intimately with its customers. For decades now NWA has been putting the screws to its employees and unions with paycuts, micro-managing, lowering insurance benefits while increasing the premiums, and eliminating amenities for both customers and employees. 10 years ago management got all of the employees to agree to take a 30% paycut. The company promised that within 3 years the salary levels would "snap back" to the previous levels. 1 month after agreeing to cuts, the board of directors voted to give themselves substantial salary increases. 3 months after that, a top level board executive was charged with possession of marijuana. Was he drug tested? No. The "us/them" dichotomy at NWA is palpable. The double standards are appalling.
You'd think that with all the talk about treating your people well so that your customers get treated well (ie the Southwest and Virgin Atlantic Corporate cultures), that NWA would wake up to how powerful and easy it is to be a good employer so that your employees are happier, your stockholders are happier, and finally, your customers are happier. It doesn't take much - people don't expect alot. Just some basic simple courtesies would go along way.
My sister's opinion is that she hopes this airline goes the way of the DoDo. They already have prehistoric creatures running the board and management. It would be one less company in the world who doesn't give a rat's ass about its people, nor its customers.
16 December 2005
The cold wind pricked me through my camouflage jumpsuit. It flowed through the trees and sounded a chilling low howl in the desolate forest. I was just about to reach for my Thermos of chicken soup when a branch cracking caused my head to snap up. I scanned the 5am gloom and saw a dull red light bouncing towards me through the trees. I raised my SKS assault rifle, switched off the safety, and squinted down the sight line.
Venison is served.
15 December 2005
According to the Center for Immigration studies, almost 10 million people in the US are here illegally. During the 1990s, the United States admitted the largest number of immigrants in its history and there are no signs that immigration will decrease on its own.
We now have a resident foreign-born population of almost 29 million, twice the level of 1910. Immigrants are also more concentrated, with the top four immigrant states accounting for a 20 percent larger share of the nation's immigrant population than the top four states just 25 years before.
The immigrant flow is much less varied than before, with more than 50 percent of post-1970 immigrants coming from Spanish-speaking Latin America, a degree of ethnic concentration unprecedented in American history. And finally, ongoing mass immigration is hindering the economic assimilation of immigrants, with immigrant wages falling behind those of natives and immigrant poverty steadily growing. Mexico alone accounted for 43 percent of the growth in the foreign-born population between 1990 and 2000.
Why care? Because as you can see, the flood of illegal immigration is lowering our standards through higher illiteracy rates, raising our costs through higher welfare/entitlement payouts, and continues to reward illegals while penalizing American citizens and those people who apply for citizenship legally.
On a related note, a report today shows that 1 in 31 of US adults are in the prison system. Nearly 50 percent of all probationers at the end of last year were convicted of a felony. Twenty-six percent were on probation for a drug-law violation, and 15 percent for driving while intoxicated, said the annual Justice Department report.
12 December 2005
From the NY Daily news we find this snippet about the actor Jamie Foxx.[hat tip: Michelle Malkin]
Foxx checks his at-the-door bias
|Jamie Foxx is breaking down racial barriers starting at his front door. |
The actor, who has been campaigning tirelessly to get reformed gang leader Stan (Tookie) Williams off Death Row, admits he once refused to let more than one white man into his house.
"When I was 15, I went to play the piano for this white guy's Christmas party" in Texas, Foxx says. But when he and a friend showed up at the client's mansion, the host stopped them, saying, "I can't have two n in my house at one time."
Foxx says he was forced to send his friend home, even though his pal had given him a lift to the party.
The "Ray" star was so rankled by the experience that, once he hit it big in Hollywood, he instituted a similar quota system.
Whenever two white guys came to party at his pad, Foxx tells Oprah Winfrey in December's O, he'd tell them, "You all will have to make a decision between you two."
Foxx adds that his friends "had to counsel me and say, 'Don't fall into that same trap.' "
The Oscar winner later changed his entrance policy though, he points out, he never set a limit on white women.
Glad to see that Jamie Foxx is finally getting around to speaking about the things which really matter to him. Freeing a convicted murderer and keeping Whites out of his house.
10 December 2005
Zombie's photography skills are good. He fearlessly inserts himself into the Moonbat zone to get a look at the true face of our enemy.
I pulled the above photo out and highlighted the "No Chem Trails" section of the Moonbat's poster.
For those of you who don't know, there is an underground conspiracy movement in the US. The group's aim is to educate all of us as to the dangers of a vast governmental cover up. This Black Operation is known as ChemTrails.
ChemTrails are the vapor contrails which are produced by high altitude jet exhaust. While most people understand that these trails are crystalized water vapor, there is a segment of the unhinged Left that believe these trails are not water but dangerous mind-altering chemicals.
|"Several days ago, I was speaking with a customer in my store who happened to mention that he was in the Airforce. Needless to say, that peaked my interest. I asked him what he knew about the current jet aerosol operation. I briefly described what I was referring to and I could sense that he knew exactly what I was talking about. I brought up the possibility of the chemtrails being used as some sort of sunscreen. He replied in a very sincere manner...."well, you know that we are having problems with too much of the sun's radiation entering our atmosphere." At that point another customer joined the conversation, changed the subject and dominated the whole interchange. Soon the gentleman from the Airforce said that he really had to go and I didn't have an opportunity to ask any further questions. It was very interesting to note his reaction when I was showing him some of my chemtrail photos. He never once said oh... those are only normal contrails. In fact he didn't say anything. He wore a look which said to me that he knew exactly what I was talking about and wished he could say more." ~ Moonbat|
Like an episode from the X-files, these people sincerely believe that for 30 years the government has been introducing a cocktail of chemicals in order to reduce our population through simultaneously increasing cancer rates and suppressing birth rates, medicate us into compliance or, simply, to control our minds.
"The evidence is obvious and plentiful that these sprayings have been taking place almost daily since the Fall of '98 and many people have gotten sick and undoubtedly some have died from the effects of these pathogen/toxin sprayings, but the $64 question is WHY ?
.It should be obvious-that in order to REDUCE the world's population from its present size of six billion down to 2 billion (even over a fifty year span) would require that the majority of people now living would have to be exterminated in some way. The amazing thing about the Illuminati is that they place all their ghastly plans right out in the open for everyone to see, if people would only look and read what they are saying."
The 'science' behind this is more feeling than data. A few sites lay down impressive scientific vernacular - invoking overwhelming latin conjugates like "ion", "humidity", "magnetism", and "barium" - there is no basis for their absurd claims of chemical introduction into the environment. Much of the science behind this theory is rumor and speculation. Some sites have graphs showing ion fluctuations but that is most likely a result of solar radiation.
Of course their rantings eventually lead to Bush-bashing. One webpage even claims that an "antennae array" is part of the delivery system. [Time to break out the tinfoil hats!] They claim that the array has "something to do" with putting the chemicals into the ionosphere. They invoke the classics in order to persuade the reader that there is a government conspiracy to poison us. They bring in the big guns : The New World Order, The Bushes, Star Wars, Big Oil, FreeMasonry, the Illuminati and Tunguska. The 1908 Tunguska meteor event was apparently a plot by George Bush's great-great grandfather at world domination.
It saddens me that many of my fellow citizens actually believe this non-sense. It speaks more of lack in their lives than it does in terms of having any validity. There is just no - Zero - evidence that contrails are anything but frozen jet exhaust. But you have to remember who we're dealing with. These are people who, for the most part, are hysterical, easily frightened, and paranoid.
There is no basis in fact for these claims, obviously. Perhaps it all stems from a movie. RAGE came out in 1972 and starred George C. Scott.
And above all, the great thing about being a Conspiracy Theorist is that you don't have to pull up data or facts to support your opinion. For those on the Left, simply applying your 'feelings' to a subject automatically makes it valid. How wonderful it is to be a Liberal ... your emotions are primary, your reason is secondary. How liberating!
How's this for a Bumper Sticker: "Bush Sprayed My House and All I Got Was A Lousy Headache!"
07 December 2005
The Tribune's story, Can you imagine what he would say today?, takes the view that Lennon was an important revolutionary - politically, culturally and musically. I take the view that he was a vapid fool. Besides, we know what he'd say today, he'd be riding the "hate George Bush at any cost" wave. He'd be making appearances on Rosy O'donnell and other talkshows in order to "get the word out" that "Bush lied - People died" and spewing many other bumper sticker slogans. Yes, Lennon could definitely do slogans. That was a fundamental skill to have in the '60s. He probably would have been seen with Cindy Sheehan getting their pre-interview makeup applied down in Texas. Both would be wearing sandals, of course.
With the release of the Lennon interviews from 1970, we see that Lennon's life was not all peaches and cream. He was jealous of McCartney's success and felt that he'd been cheated. There was also animosity towards the people who didn't care for Yoko. At that time he was in a downward spiral of addictions and self-medicating drug use.
While the world endows Lennon with creating the soundtrack for the World Peace movement, reading between the lines shows that this external success was anchored in a deep well of socialist sludge, delusions of grandeur, and marital and paternal intrigues. In a telling interview with Rolling Stone, Lennon revealed that he considered himself a "genius," and admited to taking LSD "thousands of times." He drifted from pills to marijuana - eventually becoming a habitual user of heroin. He says that his bandmates "pushed him into heroin" by their treatment of Yoko.
While this indolent, inebriate, self-indulgent Leftist prick was "Turning on, tuning in, and dropping out," he was meeting with members of the Trotskyist Workers Revolutionary Party. He was alleged to have given donations to them as well as to the IRA. So much for being a peace-nik.
To think that songs such as "imagine" are capable of "changing the world" is utter rubbish. To think so is nothing more than mental masturbation. All he did with his anti-War pablum was to open the gates to the liberal hypocrisy of diversity, political correctness and secularism that we are seeing today.
It is telling that phonetically "Lennon" is indistinguishable from "Lenin." Maybe Karma exists after all and Lennon was the Communist kingpin in a former life. That explains a lot.
Did Lennon make the world a better place? Hardly. He did make himself a better place by writing some snappy jingles and making millions. Yoko is currently making about $22 million a year on John Lennon merchandising. She donates a significant amount of money to Amnesty International. So we see where her priorities are firmly set: in Leftist partisan politics and in maintaining an extravagent lifestyle. Wasn't that what it was all about from the beginning? You betcha.
For people like Lennon, a self-avowed "Working Class Hero," it is easy to slide into a utopian vision of the way the world should be. Marx, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin all tried it but it just does not function in life like it does in theory. But they just don't get it. For all their talk about "workers rights" and the exploitations of the "working class," Lennon and his ilk are the ones who take every dollar offered.
It is a good thing that the BBC released the Lennon tapes. Now the world can see what they only guessed at in the past. A musician who should just have kept his politics to himself and wrote songs.
Take that, hippy!
I came across this article [hat tip: No Pasaran!] which lays out the reasons behind The Left's carefully crafted stances on bigotry, racism, injustice, intolerance - or any "ism" that you care to mention.
They care about these only to the extent to which it gives them leverage in pushing their mentally unbalanced agendas.
"The Left does not care about bigotry except as a carefully nurtured vice used to create artificial schisms between peoples and to leverage Leftism into undeserved power. Grand bigotries fed constantly by the Left are familiar to anyone trapped in the prison of popular culture: men are all rapists; white people are all racists; Christians are all intolerant maniacs."
"The hypocrisy of this animus is also well known. Leftists defend genuinely and dangerous misogynists like Bill Clinton and Gary Condit, but throw thoughtless condemnations at men who threaten Leftist hegemony, like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Clarence Thomas."
"Blacks who have perfect diction and who write beautiful prose are presumed to be flacks for Republican puppet masters, while blacks who sloppily mumble words from a tiny vocabulary or speak a crude and lame vernacular are championed as leaders of black society."
Go here for this incisive monograph.
06 December 2005
However, many don't know that that was Dickey's only novel. His preeminent talent was in the field of poetry.
He is America's greatest poet.
Here is a snippet from The Performance:
The last time I saw Donald Armstrong
He was staggering oddly off into the sun,
Going down, of the Philipine Islands.
I let my shovel fall, and put that hand
Above my eyes, and moved some way to one side
That his body might pass through the sun,
And I saw how well he was not
Standing there on his hands,
On his spindle-shanked forearms balanced,
Unbalanced, with his big feet looming and waving
In the great, untrustworthy air
He flew in each night, when it darkened.
Dust fanned in scraped puffs from the earth
Between his arms, and blood turned his face inside out,
To demonstrate its suppleness
Of veins, as he perfected his role.
Next day, he toppled his head off
On an island beach to the south.
And the enemy's two-handed sword
Did not fall from anyone's hands
At that miraculous sight,
As the head rolled over upon
Its wide-eyed face, and fell
Into the inadequate grave
He had dug for himself, under pressure.
Yet I put my flat hand to my eyebrows
Months later, to see him again
In the sun, when I learned how he died,
And imagined him, there,
Come, judged, before his small captors
~ from Scanning the Century: 20th Century poetry (penguin)
Dickey's poetry is incisive and thrilling. His use of imagery is unparalled. But what is most striking about his poetry, is not the poems, it is the man.
Dickey was 38 when he published his first book of poetry. "Into the Stone" came out in 1960. Dickey is the Ted Nugent of the poetry-world. He was close friends with William F. Buckley and was poetry consultant to the Library of Congress. He was, also, highly critical of other poets - most notably Robert Frost, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Bly, Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath.
From the Paris Review of Books, 1976 – interviewed by Franklin Ashley:
FA: It seems Allen Ginsberg is the diametrical opposite of you.
JD: I certainly hope so. I think Ginsberg has done more harm to the craft that I honor and live by than anybody else by reducing it to a kind of mean that enables the most dubious practitioners to claim they are poets because they think, If the kind of thing Ginsberg does is poetry, I can do that. They damn themselves to a life of inconsequentiality when they could have been doing something more useful. It is very easy, too easy, to pick up on the latest thing in the newspapers and write a poem. That's all that Ginsberg does. He just doesn't have any talent."
FA: How do you respond to the emergence of Sylvia Plath as a celebrated figure?
JD: She's not very good. She's just someone who killed herself out of literary desperation - out of desperation to be literarily notable. Someone ought to write an article called "The Suicide Certification," which assumes that if you're a poet and you kill yourself, then you have got to be good. No way.
FA: One time you called it "suicide chic."
JD: [Al Alvarez] writes in a recent book on suicide that she [Plath] was just doing it as a gesture and she hoped it wouldn't come off. So she killed herself by mistake. She's the Judy Garland of American poetry. If you want to kill yourself, you don’t make an attempt; you do it. You make sure that the thing comes off. Suicide attempts, and the writing poems about your suicide attempts, is just pure bullshit! Sylvia Plath is of a certain talent, a very modest talent. Anne Sexton is better than she is, and I don’t care much for her either.
FA: Has the poetry of Robert Frost, particularly the country poems, been of interest or impact?
JD: I don’t care for Robert Frost, and have never been able to understand his reputation. He says a good thing now and then, but with a strange way of averting his eyes while saying it which may be profound and may be poppycock. If it were thought that anything I wrote was influenced by Robert Frost, I would take that particular work of mine, shred it, and flush it down the toilet, hoping not to clog the pipes.
FA: Did you know him?
JD: Yes, I knew him slightly, and spent a couple of afternoons with him when I was teaching at the University of Florida in 1955, and a more sententious, holding-forth old bore who expected every hero-worshipping adenoidal little twerp of a student-poet to hang on his every word I never saw.
The thing you can say about James Dickey is that he lived his life on his own terms. He was compared with Hemingway but he considered himself not at the same intellectual level as Ernest. You can say that the world just wasn't ready for James Dickey - his lifestyle was defined by wildness, his language was rough and his tolerance for liberal sentimentalities was nil. But he didn't care about what others thought, critics or anyone else. As he quotes Stephen Dedalus in A portrait..., I'm ready to make a lifelong mistake." As long as you can live your life from your own center, that is the best we can hope for.
For further reading, go here
05 December 2005
Thanks to all of you who visit regularly and, a special thanks to all who left thoughtful comments.
The fight against liberal socialist hypocrisy continues, one blog at a time.
04 December 2005
It is a fascinating piece on the mechanics that he puts into his work. You are also privvy to the background of many of his most famous novels. You're allowed a backstage pass to see where many of his characters came from.
My first exposure to Stephen King's work was back in 1988. I read "Skeleton Crew" and couldn't put it down. The fastpaced storylines, the intrigue and the plot twists and character depth was a tour-de-force in short story writing. I still remember The Jaunt as a nerve wracking suspenseful story about a little boy who goes "jaunting" - which is traveling through interstellar space. I still get the creeps just thinking about it. With that, I was hooked.
The book's over-arching theme is that to be successful in writing, you can take cues from your own life and turn them into fiction. In Stephen King's world, Life definitely imitates Art. The Shining explores what happens to an alcoholic teacher and aspiring writer while he winters in a desolate hotel with his family. It turns out that Stephen was struggling with his own drug and alcohol demons while he was writing. Carrie is based upon a character who Stephen knew in high school. He visited the girl's house, which was a trailer, and saw a huge, imposing, crucified Jesus hanging in the family room. Stephen relates that it had glowing eyes. The girl's mother was a born-again Christian who dominated the girl's life and made it impossible for her to have any normal relationships in school. To add insult to injury, the girl in Stephen's recollection was continually picked on in school; sometimes brutally. Thus Carrie was born.
Stephen owes his own writing finesse to two things: Reading voraciously and writing in great amounts. The two go hand-in-hand. Referring to Strunk & White's Elements of Style, he says that rule 17 is the most important writing rule - omit needless words. You should delete 10% off your first draft. Stephen carries a particularly vitriol for adverbs. Anything ending in "-ly" is lasered off the page.
The ending chapters deal with the car accident which almost took his life in June of 1999. Everything happens for a reason and usually something good comes of it. The good thing about his near-death experience was On Writing.
You can go here to see how a group of professional writers react to some of Stephen's commentary.
01 December 2005
Three ingredients combined to generate more and stronger hurricanes in 2005, said Bell. Warm ocean water helps fuel storms, and Atlantic water temperatures were 2 to 3 degrees above average this year, he said. There was an absence of winds high in the atmosphere that can tear hurricanes apart. And winds blowing east from Africa steered developing storms toward warmer waters where they incubated into tropical storms and hurricanes.
~ USA Today
Most climatologists agree that we are in a cyclical warming period. The key word is cyclical - it's a normal phase - not due to green house gases.
The earth's atmosphere is 348 miles (560 km) thick. With a surface area of 510,065,284.702 Km3, you can see that the volume of air that encompasses the earth is enormous. Around 1980, James Lovelock wrote a book called "GAIA." In it were all sorts of interesting tidbits about our wonderful earth. The sense I took away from that little tome is that the ability of our earth to maintain its stasis is underestimated. Although environmentalists would have you believe otherwise, I think that we have as much effect on global warming as a butterfly has on a tornado.
Our earth maintains a delicate balance - from the sea shelfs that provide most of our oxygen, to the billions of ants and other insects that contribute to the carbon cycle, our earth will be around and in good shape with or without us. Environmentalists would sooner see all humans wiped from the face of the planet because we are the 'evil' ones and the scourge of existence.
It's no wonder that most of them are Leftists. Hysteria is what they know best.