Monday, April 28, 2008

Here in the good old US of A, things are generally pretty quiet. And the Brits are perplexed.

Despite the fact there are more than 200 million guns in circulation, there is a certain tranquility and civility about American life.
I might have been tempted to use "Because" rather than "Despite," what do I know?
To many foreigners - and to some Americans - the tolerance of guns in everyday American life is simply inexplicable. As a New York Times columnist put it recently: "The nation is saturated with violence. Thousands upon thousands of murders are committed each year. There are more than 200 million guns in circulation."
The problem here is that the premise … that America is saturated with violence … is simply incorrect. What we are saturated with is media reporting the violence that does occur with relentless abandon.
Why is it then that so many Americans - and foreigners who come here - feel that the place is so, well, safe? I have met incredulous British tourists who have been shocked to the core by the peacefulness of the place, the lack of the violent undercurrent so ubiquitous in British cities, even British market towns.
"It seems so nice here," they quaver.
That's because it is so niced here! Incredibly, this reporter has just observed that the notion of a nation awash in violence is incorrect, despite the ubiquity of firearms. Perhaps even more incredibly, he considers this a paradox, not a cause and effect:
Wait till you get to London Texas, or Glasgow Montana, or Oxford Mississippi or Virgin Utah, for that matter, where every household is required by local ordinance to possess a gun.
Folks will have guns in all of these places and if you break into their homes they will probably kill you.
They will occasionally kill each other in anger or by mistake, but you never feel as unsafe as you can feel in south London.
It is a paradox. Along with the guns there is a tranquillity and civility about American life of which most British people can only dream.
This is like saying that despite the low crime rate, there are more people in jail than ever. But the author, for all his observation of more guns and less crime, can only find one overriding reason for the "Peace and serenity" of America. We don't drink like the Brits:
What surprises the British tourists is that, in areas of the US that look and feel like suburban Britain, there is simply less crime and much less violent crime.
Doors are left unlocked, public telephones unbroken.
One reason - perhaps the overriding reason - is that there is no public drunkenness in polite America, simply none.
I have never seen a group of drunk young people in the entire six years I have lived here.
Yeah, that's it. Americans are all armed to the teeth, and the reason we're not shooting it out in the streets is simply because we aren't drunk enough. This is a reasoned report? Finally, the author, having gone to great trouble illustrating how peaceful and safe it is here, goes on to say it's proper to associate the US with great violence:
It is an odd fact that a nation we associate - quite properly - with violence is also so serene, so unscarred by petty crime, so innocent of brawling.
It's an odd fact that a nation so non-violent is properly considered violent? The odd fact is the insertion of the word "properly" into that sentence, after a lengthy piece proving that "erroneously associated with violence" is the correct formulation.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I came across this today, from a leftist group opposed to bottled water. Is there anything a leftist can't find a reason to oppose?
Make a Think Outside the Bottle statement - buy your very own water bottle today.

Our light-weight, 22 ounce bottles are an easy way to spare our landfills and make a statement in so doing. The bottles also come with a carabiner for easy attachment to your bag.

So get this. To these wingnuts, it's wrong for "corporations" to sell 99 cents bottled water to people with good tap water, even if they want to buy it. But it's RIGHT for them to sell $14 empty bottles to people who can get a perfectly serviceable squeeze bottle at Sports Authority for $1.25.

The Danish Perspective

We in Denmark cannot figure out why you are even bothering to hold an election.

On one side, you have a lawyer who is married to a lawyer, and a another lawyer who is also married to a lawyer.

On the other side, you have a true war hero, married to a blonde with a huge chest who owns a beer distributorship.

Is there a contest here?
Hat tip: Boortz

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hillary’s Pennsylvania victory speech

Did I hear this all right? This is what Hillary! promises to accomplish as president:

  • Provide jobs that can’t be shipped overseas
    What jobs can’t be done by foreigners? How does Hillary propose to control who produces what?

  • Provide “clean renewable jobs”
    I suppose this is a nod to the hemp re-usable grocery bag lobby, because I have no idea what else she could be talking about.

  • Solve dependence on foreign oil
    Yay! Oil from ANWAR, oil from the coastal reserves. Sure, we’ll see that in my lifetime.

  • Lower gas prices
    As long as it doesn’t entail increasing supply or lowering taxes, the only real-life ways of lowering prices.

  • Provide health care for all Americans
    Free health care for all! Yippee! Who pays for the doctors and the MRI’s? Who cares, it’s all UNIVERSAL!!

  • Provide college for all Americans
    Free college for all! Yippee! Who pays for the professors and the science labs? Who cares, it’s all UNIVERSAL!!

  • End the “war on science”
    I am guessing this is code for “compell taxpayers to pay for stem cell research.”

  • Provide renewed commitment to science
    Tackle autism, Altzheimers, cancer, and diabetes.
    I am positive this entails increasing taxes, and it panders to every age demographic imagineable.
  • Saturday, April 19, 2008

    A Wonderful Diversion

    Laurel and I have been pretty whipped the past couple weeks, between packing, moving, unpacking, work, and adjusting to a new existence. Tonight, it was time for some reward for all the hard work, so we went to the 2008 Virginia International Tattoo. Military bands, drill teams, dancers, a 650 performer two hour spectacle. And lots of bagpipes! We absolutely loved it. Here's a clip from the 2006 edition, which gives a good idea what the thing is all about:

    Monday, April 14, 2008

    The Moving Industry Sucks.

    Update: Strike 4: We talked to the driver yesterday afternoon, April 15th. He promised to be here between 0900 and 1000 this morning, so I stayed home from work to help. When he hadn't arrived by 1030, we called him and he claimed to be stuck at a weigh station and was calling Arizona to find out what to do. Of course, it's only 0730 in Arizona, so he probably won't be able to get hold of anybody.

    Original post:

    How much does it suck? Let me count the ways.

    Strike 1: The movers tell Laurel they will pick up her stuff on Monday, March 31st. Laurel's parents in Oklahoma City and I in Norfolk schedule our time to help Laurel pack for their arrival. SURPRISE! They arrive two days early before we can get packed, then have the gall to charge an extra $1200 for packing themselves what we would have packed had they not arrived early.

    Strike 2: The movers run out of room in the truck and simply drive away. It's up to us to find a hitch and trailer to transport what they will not. Thank goodness Laurel has Jeep Grand Cherokee and not a Prius, or we would have been even worse off.

    Strike 3: It is now the evening of April 14th, over two weeks later. The movers have not arrived, nor can they tell us when they might do so. In fact, the even admit they can't get in touch with the driver! In the age of cell phones, GPS, and internet, they can't find their truck or driver, or tell us when they might arrive?

    It is beyond me that anybody, anybody can conduct business in such a manner. And the hell of it is, they have our stuff! What are we going to do, not pay them? What a freaking racket.

    Wednesday, April 09, 2008

    Thomas Sowell

    Some random thoughts from one of my favorite commentators, Thomas Sowell:

  • Senator John McCain could never convince me to vote for him. Only Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama can cause me to vote for McCain.

  • One way to reduce illegal immigration might be to translate some of our far-left publications into Spanish and give everyone in Mexico subscriptions. After they read how terrible this country is, many may want to stay away.

  • Most people on the Right have no problem understanding people on the Left because many, if not most, were on the Left themselves when they were younger. But many, if not most, people on the Left find it inexplicable how any decent and intelligent person could be on the Right.

  • Nothing is more fraudulent than calls for a "dialogue on race." Those who issue such calls are usually quick to cry "racism" at any frank criticism. They are almost invariably seeking a monologue on race, to which others are supposed to listen.

  • The same people who have gone ballistic when some prominent figure is found to belong to some all-male social club are full of excuses for why Barack Obama remained a member of a racist and anti-American church for 20 years.
  • Sunday, April 06, 2008

    Via Powerline comes this precious bit of economic news:
    It's no longer a question of recession or not. Now it's how deep and how long. Workers' pink slips stacked ever higher in March as jittery employers slashed 80,000 jobs, the most in five years, and the national unemployment rate climbed to 5.1 percent.

    The grim picture described by the Labor Department on Friday provided stark evidence of just how much the jobs market has buckled under the weight of the housing, credit and financial crises.
    Hmmm. What was unemployment like in 1996?
    the unemployment rate in November 1996, when Clinton rode a soaring economy to victory, was 5.4%. That's right--three tenths of a percent higher than the "grim picture" of a "pink slip nation" painted by this month's unemployment report.
    No, there's no media bias.

    Thursday, April 03, 2008

    Moving Laurel

    We are in the process of moving Laurel cross country, from New Mexico to Virginia, which is my excuse for the sporadic blogging. On Saturday, I flew to New Mexico to help Laurel and her parents pack before the movers arrived on Monday.

    Or not. The movers decided to arrive 2 days early, on Saturday morning, catching all of us flat footed. So we had to pay the movers to pack all Laurel's stuff, then load the van. By about 9 PM, they were done loading and out of room in the van, so they gave us an invoice and left. With about 15-20 boxes and a desk still at the house. Hol-eee crap. What now?

    We scrambled all day Sunday looking for a U-Haul trailer to tow the rest of the stuff. We managed to obtain and install a tow hitch on Laurel's Jeep, but couldn't come up with a trailer until Monday morning. By the time we got that packed, it was too late to leave, so we waited until Tuesday morning.

    Currently, the nine of us are in the midst of a four day trek cross country: Kurt, Laurel, Laurel's mother and father, four dogs (Molly, Maggie, Isabelle, Violet), and little Alison Elizabeth, traveling in utero.