13 Jul 2014

True Love

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13 Jul 2014

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Coyote4

Woman thought she saved a puppy in an alley but it turned out to be a coyote.

Via Ratak Monodosico.

13 Jul 2014

Credulous Atheism

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Nietzsche

Michael Robbins, at Slate, reviews Nick Spencer’s Atheists: The Origin of the Species, which seems to constitute a well-deserved attack on the “New Atheists,” i.e., the smug, self-congratulatory secular materialists of the Richard Dawkins-ilk.

Nietzsche realized that the Enlightenment project to reconstruct morality from rational principles simply retained the character of Christian ethics without providing the foundational authority of the latter. Dispensing with his fantasy of the Übermensch, we are left with his dark diagnosis. To paraphrase the Scottish philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, our moral vocabulary has lost the contexts from which its significance derived, and no amount of Dawkins-style hand-waving about altruistic genes will make the problem go away. (Indeed, the ridiculous belief that our genes determine everything about human behavior and culture is a symptom of this very problem.)

The point is not that a coherent morality requires theism, but that the moral language taken for granted by liberal modernity is a fragmented ruin: It rejects metaphysics but exists only because of prior metaphysical commitments. A coherent atheism would understand this, because it would be aware of its own history. Instead, trendy atheism of the Dawkins variety has learned as little from its forebears as from Thomas Aquinas, preferring to advance a bland version of secular humanism. Spencer quotes John Gray, a not-New atheist: “Humanism is not an alternative to religious belief, but rather a degenerate and unwitting version of it.” How refreshing would be a popular atheism that did not shy from this insight and its consequences.

It is, I suppose, perversely amusing, and confirming of Chesterton’s prediction that, post Religion, people will not believe in nothing, but will believe in anything, that the typical contemporary enlightened elite position involves both the contemptuous rejection of traditional religion and the uncritical acceptance of an even-more-simplistic catechism composed of sentimental humanitarianism constituting a sort of attenuated Christianity, sexually-emancipated but even more enthusiastic about ressentiment.

12 Jul 2014

Stuff YA Readers Say

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Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

12 Jul 2014

Anti-Hunting Hysteria

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kendall-jones
Kendall Jones

A 19-year-old Texas Tech cheerleader became “the most hated woman on the Internet” after she posted photos of herself on Facebook posing with various big game trophies, including lion, leopard, elephant, and cape buffalo.

Her photographs and praise of hunting provoked a tsunami of abuse, and within days Facebook fell into line and deleted the young lady’s photographs.

Facebook deleted a series of photos that showed her posing with a variety of animals, including a leopard and a lion, that she had shot earlier this month on safari in Zimbabwe.

The pictures were said to break a rule about “graphic images shared for sadistic effect or to celebrate or glorify violence,” as outlined in this page on Facebook Community Standards, Mashable reported.

“We remove reported content that promotes poaching of endangered species, the sale of animals for organized fight or content that includes extreme acts of animal abuse,” a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable.

But Juneau Empire reporter Matt Woolbright noticed the stunning contradiction when he tried to report the “Kill Kendall Jones” community page, and Facebook said it didn’t violate their standards.

It took slightly longer for Facebook to decide to delete the newly-created “Kill Kendall Jones” page.

The cheerleader not only received death threats. She was condemned by Hollywood actress Hillary Duff, while Virginia democrat Mike Dickinson (now running for Eric Cantor’s 7th district Congressional seat) offered a $100,000 reward for nude photographs of the cheerleader, stating that “she deserves to be a target.”

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AxelleDespieglaere
Axelle Despiegelaere

Meanwhile, during World Cup coverage, 17-year-old Belgian beauty Axelle Despiegelaere won a modelling contract with L’Oreal after television “honey shot” photos of the young lady in the stands went viral.

But her contract was quickly cancelled when the Internet discovered the above trophy photo of the young lady with an oryx on Facebook.

L’Oreal accompanied her firing with the assurance that the cosmetics company “no longer tests on animals, anywhere in the world, and does not delegate this task to others.”

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SpielbergTriceratops
Stephen Spielberg and deceased Triceratops

Finally, right-wing wag Jay Branscomb, last Sunday, posted an on-set photograph of director Stephen Spielberg posing with a model of a Triceratops. labelled “Disgraceful photo of recreational hunter posing next to Triceratops he just slaughtered. Please share so the world can name and shame this despicable man.”

What has been described as a perfect Facebook trainwreck of sanctimony, hysteria, and clueless stupidity ensued, with more than 6000 comments furiously condemning the heartless director.

11 Jul 2014

More on the US Service Sidearm

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Hollowpoints

Commenter Tim, at Gun Nuts Media, defends the Beretta M9:

The Beretta M9 has actually been a pretty good sidearm.

We’ve talked a bit about the Beretta 92/M9′s track record as an issued sidearm for the military and law enforcement before, but it’s worth reemphasizing here that the biggest problem the Beretta has had in military service is bad maintenance practices by the military itself. Springs don’t get replaced, parts that aren’t supposed to be reused get reused, and the military went out and bought a bunch of cheap magazines for them that didn’t work well. Remember that this is the same organization which preached minimal or no lube on carbines like Jimmy Swaggart on cocaine and then seemed somewhat stunned by the fact that guns shut down when used in combat. When you talk to people from units who took maintaining their issued M9 sidearms seriously, and who bothered to actually lubricate them properly, you hear that they were pretty darn reliable.

And he doesn’t think getting a sidearm chambered for a round larger and more powerful than the 9mm Parabellum will make that much difference.

40 S&W ball ammo, .45 ACP ball ammo, or .357 sig ball ammo is going to suck about the same as 9mm ball ammo.

One of the stated reasons for pursuing a new handgun is to get one that’s in a chambering with better terminal ballistics. That’s really a non-starter unless the military is willing to start using ammunition with expanding bullets. It’s particularly amusing to see the .357 sig in the list of considerations because the .357 sig is a .40 S&W case necked down to take a 9mm bullet…as if a .355 FMJ from a .357 sig is going to perform better than a .355 FMJ from a 9mm. If the Army wants better terminal ballistics, start issuing Gold Dots. No, dear reader, we’re not prohibited from using JHP ammunition by the Hague convention…and to paraphrase an exceptionally astute comment from a forum discussion on the topic, it’s patently absurd to issue hand grenades and shoulder-launched missiles and then wring our hands and fret over whether hollowpoints for handguns are “humane”. It’s ridiculous that in our society a police officer can shoot another American citizen with JHP ammo without any human rights concerns but somehow there’s a big problem if a Marine shoots some foreign dirtbag with the exact same ammo. You know, shooting him with a handgun rather than calling in an airstrike or blowing the whole structure the dude is hiding in to kingdom come with an Abrams tank.

———————-

Tim may be right that drawing an ethical line at shooting foreign enemies with expanding bullets is silly when our own police get to shoot civilians domestically with hollowpoint bullets, but he’s mistaken about US obligations.

The Hague Convention of 1899 says:

The Contracting Parties agree to abstain from the use of bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core, or is pierced with incisions.

This Declaration was not ratified by the United States, but… “After World War II, the judges of the military tribunal of the Trial of German Major War Criminals at Nuremberg Trials found that by 1939, the rules laid down in the 1907 Hague Convention were recognised by all civilised nations and were regarded as declaratory of the laws and customs of war. Under this post-war decision, a country did not have to have ratified the 1907 Hague Convention in order to be bound by them.”

So, by the ruling of an international war crimes tribunal in which the US participated, everyone, including the US, is considered to recognize that abstention from the use of expanding bullets is one of the laws and customs of war.

11 Jul 2014

Art Deco Cars & Bikes

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1934-BMW-R7

Gear Patrol:

The R7 shows how deep art deco influence ran. A pure prototype, the R7 stands as one of the most stunning bikes ever created. The opulent mudguards, the fluid sculpture of the body and the ornate steel and chrome all lend to an unparalleled design for motorcycles. Its telescopic front forks also happen to be the first ever on a two-wheeler. Every aspect of the bike contributed to its elegant design, including the enclosed gas tank, the smooth rocker covers and the uniquely shaped exhaust. The bike was stored away in the 1940s and brought back to life by BMW Classics in 2005. Thank the motorcycle gods the R7 survived, since nothing else on two wheels looks anything like it, nor ever will.

Via Ratak Monodosico.

10 Jul 2014

Chicago: Strictest Gun Control in the Country

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ChicagoGunControl2

The Onion: Environmental Study Finds Air In Chicago Now 75% Bullets

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Chicago and the Don Zaluchi Policy:

Don Zaluchi runs Chicago, although it’s actually grey-black powder.

If they had any sense or American identity left in them, they’d realize that they are every one his sacrificial pawns. The Don wants this, every child gunned down makes the case for firearms confiscation, and the reversion to slavery complete. But this, in this country, will never happen without risking civil war. And the Don knows, the rest of the country doesn’t care either and believes as he does. Who cares if soulless animals off each other? There’s no downside to letting this continue, or so he and his associates think.

The Don could stop this. But it would mean a severe squeeze on the rackets to make the streets safe. The Capo’s would get themselves a new Don. That the Don only calls ineffectively for firearms confiscation, while doing nothing to actually make the city safe for all People, “evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism”

10 Jul 2014

200th Anniversary of “Waverley”

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waverley

Stuart Kelly, in the Guardian, commemorates the 200th anniversary of the publication of the first of Sir Walter Scott’s historical novels, which were immensely popular for at least a century and a half, and which turned most of the reading public of Europe and America into reactionary romantics.

Waverley is not a precursor to the great Victorian novels (or even the mediocre Victorian novels by the likes of Bulwer-Lytton and Harrison Ainsworth) but a development from the form’s 18th-century radical roots. In the same year as he published Waverley anonymously, as Walter Scott he had produced an edition of the works of Swift. The opening pages of Waverley have a kind of sly self-consciousness that echoes Sterne’s Tristram Shandy more than Trollope’s Orley Farm. The reader doesn’t jump into the story, but jumps into a story about the story as the narrator ponders other titles and subtitles the book could have had. He parodies gothic, sentimental and fashionable tales (though the book will eventually encompass all these genres). Chapter 24 begins with the provocative question “Shall this be a long or a short chapter? This is a question in which you, gentle reader, have no vote, however much you may be interested in the consequences.”

The eponymous Waverley is an English soldier who ends up supporting Charles Edward Stuart’s Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 through a mixture of quixotic romanticism and personal petulance. Scott, anonymously reviewing one of his later books in The Quarterly Review called his protagonist “a very amiable and very insipid sort of young man” – in private he referred to him as a “sneaking piece of imbecility”. But then Scott’s habit of self-deprecation, charming though it can be, can obscure the psychological acuity and emotional realism of his work. Waverley, for example, falls in love when he plays at falling in love.

In his lifetime, Scott was compared to Shakespeare by the critics – not a judgment made too often these days. Nevertheless, it’s an important comparison. German critics (and Scott began his career translating Goethe) had praised Shakespeare for his immense scope, and Scott has something similar: Waverley has space for a royal usurper and the village idiot, the local laird and the middle-class soldier, the fanatic and the pragmatist, the outlaw and the establishment. Virginia Woolf would later claim he was “perhaps the last novelist to practice the great, the Shakespearean art, of making people reveal themselves in speech”.

Jane Austen said that Scott had “no business writing novels – especially good ones”. Francis Jeffrey, the most influential critic of the day, captures both the thrill and the frustration of reading Scott when he reviewed Waverley in The Edinburgh Review:

    “It is wonderful what genius and adherence to nature will do in spite of all disadvantages. Here is a thing obviously very hastily, and, in many places, very unskilfully written — composed, one half of it, in a dialect unintelligible to four-fifths of the reading population of the country – relating to a period too recent to be romantic, and too far gone by to be familiar — and published, moreover, in a quarter of the island where materials and talents for novel-writing have been supposed to be equally wanting; and yet, by the mere force and truth and vivacity of its colouring, already casting the whole tribe of ordinary novels into the shade, and taking its place rather with the most popular of our modern poems, than with the rubbish of provincial romances. The secret of this success, we take it, is merely that the author is a person of genius”.

Read the whole thing.

When I was young, you could find beautifully bound sets of the Waverly novels mouldering away in every used book barn at derisory prices. Today, you can download them in eBook form for free.

10 Jul 2014

Mocking Soccer Dramatics

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Hat tip to Anne Tiffin Taylor.

09 Jul 2014

Firearm Experts Told the Army So

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ColtArmyRevolver
The Colt M1892 Revolver chambered in .38 Long Colt was found inadequate to stop a hopped-up, charging Muslim terrorist during the Phillipine Insurrection.

Russ Chastain observes that we seem to have a US Army that can’t learn from history, and is therefore obliged to repeat it.

Dear U.S. Army: We told you so.

When 38 bullets (actually .357 caliber, which is pretty much 9mm) failed to stop its enemies, the U.S. Army went in search of a bigger, better cartridge. The result was John Browning’s M1911 semi-automatic pistol and the 45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) cartridge for which it was designed.

As you can guess from the M1911 designation, the 45 ACP was adopted into military service 103 years ago.

In 1985, the U.S. Army took a huge step backwards when it summarily dumped the 45 ACP in favor of the underpowered 9mm Luger cartridge (a.k.a. 9mm Parabellum). Irony: The 9mm is not quite as powerful as the cartridge which the 45 ACP replaced about 75 years earlier.

Now, things have apparently come full circle. Citing combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, authorities are once again recognizing the advantage of using a more powerful cartridge.

True to form, the government won’t look back at what once worked well and embrace it. Instead they plan to spend billions of our dollars creating and adopting something they’re calling a Modular Handgun System (MHS). And they’re not just tossing out the 9mm ammo and firearms. They’re ditching whole heaps of gear, holsters included, and starting over.

They haven’t yet settled on a caliber, and are looking just about anything better than a nine. This would include a faster same-caliber round (357 Sig) as well as larger-caliber cartridges like the 40 S&W, 10mm Auto, and 45 ACP.

Devotees of the diminutive 9mm Luger cartridge are going to have a hard time swallowing the fact that their Precious has been found to be a bit, er, weak. …

Anybody think they’ll end up with some jazzed-up version of a 1911? Hmmmm…

Read the whole thing.

1911kit
John Browning’s Model 1911 design, chambered in .45 ACP, was consequently adopted to replace the too anemic .38 revolver.

09 Jul 2014

Honest Mistake

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FamilyPhoto

Michael Haltman passes along story of diversity in today’s America.

It was an honest mistake! …

‘I saw her standing there and I told her she had three beautiful children.

She didn’t have to get all pissed off and threaten me with Islamic Jihad.

It was an honest mistake.

Via Theo.

09 Jul 2014

Empowered Dog

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09 Jul 2014

Dachshund, WWI

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