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  • Archive for April, 2013

    The Way We Do Business Today

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 30th April 2013 (All posts by )

    With the employment prospects being what it is these days, I have read repeatedly in the last couple of years that really enterprising individuals are tempted to turn indy and go free-lance. They look to establish a small enterprise, vending whatever talents and skills they possess as a so-called ‘independent contractor’ to the public at large, and earn a living thereby, rather than scrounge and maneuver and hope for a paying job on the bottom rung of the corporate and/or government establishment. Pardon the sarcasm – it seems that certain large and well-connected established corporations these days are almost indistinguishable from the government, at least to judge from the rapidity which which the well-connected move back and forth.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Announcements, Conservatism, Diversions, Entrepreneurship, Internet, USA | 11 Comments »

    Timeline of British and English Monarchs

    Posted by Jonathan on 30th April 2013 (All posts by )

    This is pretty good.

    (Via Helen.)

    Posted in Anglosphere, Britain, History | 2 Comments »

    Kotkin on Middle-Class Class Politics

    Posted by Jonathan on 29th April 2013 (All posts by )

    Class Warfare for Republicans:

    Who’s angry and ready to raise their raise their pitchforks? Try the self-employed, who are now, according to Gallup, the large constituency most alienated from the present regime. Even the hapless Romney picked up their support against Obama.
     
    The new core constituency of the GOP can best be identified as the enterprise base. They include small property owners, mainly in the suburbs, those who are married or aspiring to be so. They are more suburban than urban, and likely to work for someone else or themselves as opposed to working for the state. Combine the top half of private employees, over 50 million people, add some 10 million self-employed and you get to a serious economic, and political, base.
     
    This group also includes many immigrants, particularly Asians, a constituency that should be tilting GOP but still isn’t. They, too, increasingly live in the suburbs, own homes as well as business. And rarely do they benefit from the prevailing crony capitalism.

    Sarah Palin represented Kotkin’s enterpriser constituency better than any other recent national Republican candidate, and look at what happened to her. Kotkin is right about the political interests of middle class businesspeople. The problem for the middle class is that the Left understands their interests better than they themselves do and goes all-out to fight them.

    (Via Instapundit.)

    Posted in Politics | 7 Comments »

    Wells Street Bridge Replacement in Chicago

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 28th April 2013 (All posts by )

    This weekend the Brown Line of the CTA is shut down as they replace the next section of the Wells Street bridge. It is a big deal when they shut down the Brown Line since thousands of passengers ride that line each workday. This is the second shutdown of the Brown Line as part of this project. Since it was a beautiful Saturday I walked to the construction site to take photos with my Pentax K-01 recommended by Jonathan (who has far better photographic skills).

    This view is looking East – you can see the new section that they will weld onto the bridge on a barge and it has a lighter coloration.

    This view is looking North from the south side of the river. They have the portion of the old bridge that they plan to cut away “on blocks” on a barge.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Chicagoania, Photos | 5 Comments »

    Night Paddling

    Posted by Jonathan on 27th April 2013 (All posts by )

    Last weekend we set out from the marina at a local park, shortly before sunset. The weather was good with a 2/3 moon that provided plenty of light. A breeze kept the bugs down.

    We entered an upscale residential canal and stopped for a bite.
    Canal 1

    [More photos below the break.]

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Diversions, Photos | 7 Comments »

    Full Moon

    Posted by Jonathan on 26th April 2013 (All posts by )

    photo expedition

    Thursday night.

    Posted in Photos | 7 Comments »

    3-D Printing, continued

    Posted by David Foster on 26th April 2013 (All posts by )

    A couple of months ago, I posted some links about 3-D printing, aka Additive Manufacturing.

    Here’s an interesting piece on 3-D printing applications in the jewelry industry.

    As always, nothing in this post should be considered as investment advice.

    Posted in Business, Tech | 11 Comments »

    History Friday – Mickey Free, the Apache Indian Scout

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 26th April 2013 (All posts by )

    His name wasn’t really Mickey Free, and he wasn’t really an Apache Indian. The legendary Al Sieber, chief of Army scouts in the badlands of the Southwest after the Civil War once described him as ‘Half Mexican, half Irish and whole S-O-B.’ Mickey Free was one of Sieber’s scouts, enlisted formally into the US Army in the early 1870s at Fort Verde, Arizona, eventually rising to the rank of sergeant. He was a valuable asset to Sieber and the Army as a scout and interpreter as he was fluent in English, Spanish and the Apache dialects. Most observers assumed that Mickey Free was at least half-Apache: He raised a family, served as a tribal policeman and when he died, was buried at his long-time home on the reservation of the White Mountain Apache. But he was just as Al Sieber had said – Mexican and Irish – and his birth name was Felix Martinez. And what many didn’t know was that Mickey Free was entangled inadvertently in the bitter and ongoing war between the Apaches and the whites long before his enlistment in the Army.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Americas, Diversions, History, Military Affairs, North America | 14 Comments »

    “Pelican” at the Bottom Lounge

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 25th April 2013 (All posts by )

    Recently I saw the art-metal band “Pelican” at the Bottom Lounge on Lake Street in the West Loop. It was a Thursday night and I just took a cab over there by myself. Pelican is one of my favorite bands – they play metal in a major key with no solos or lyrics (OK, they did have one song with lyrics). It sounds boring, but definitely isn’t (to me at least). Recently they had a switch out of some key players but since I hadn’t seen them before I couldn’t tell the difference and they sounded fine. Here is a brief movie of them playing “Lost in the Headlights” which is the first song from them that I heard that I really liked.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Music | 2 Comments »

    Surprise!

    Posted by Jonathan on 25th April 2013 (All posts by )

    Politico:

    Lawmakers, aides may get Obamacare exemption
     
    Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.

    Who could have seen this coming.

    The talks — which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Obama administration and other top lawmakers — are extraordinarily sensitive, with both sides acutely aware of the potential for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides. Discussions have stretched out for months, sources said.

    It’s all “extraordinarily sensitive”. I wonder why.

    A source close to the talks says: “Everyone has to hold hands on this and jump, or nothing is going to get done.”

    Safety in numbers. If this deal goes down it’s a good reason to vote out every member of Congress.

    Read the whole thing if you feel inadequately cynical.

    Posted in Big Government, Health Care, Obama, Politics | 8 Comments »

    Funny Cars

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 24th April 2013 (All posts by )

    This lotus made me laugh with the matching red Angry Bird on the dashboard.

    Also liked the license plate on the BMW M5 calling out the Mercedes AMG competition.

    Cross posted at LITGM

    Posted in Humor | 1 Comment »

    Immigration

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 24th April 2013 (All posts by )

    UPDATE: Mickey Kaus now has a column called Gang of 8 Fraud of the Day. Today’s is “Back Taxes.”

    Negotiators had to choose between a hard-line approach favored by Republicans, like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), that would have required immigrants and employers to painstakingly piece together a tax history so the government could collect what is owed and a less burdensome option of focusing on people who already have a past-due bill with the Internal Revenue Service.

    Yup. No tax audits. Only if they already have an assessment is it pursued.

    Rubio’s published materials now often carefully say to-be-legalized immigrants would have to merely ”pay taxes” as opposed to pay “back taxes.” That hasn’t stopped the bogus “back tax” meme from being propagated during Rubio’s current round the clock Con-the-Cons tour.

    The Senate has served up another in Harry Reid’s menu of “Unanimous Consent” bills with no hearings and no amendments except those he approves. This is not how the Senate is supposed to work and is a large part of the reason that Congress has produced such bad legislation since 2008. Now, we have another massive bill which is being presented with minimal hearings and debate.

    The “Gang of Eight” has written this bill and it is supposed to be fast tracked with no argument. Marco Rubio has been pressing for approval and now Paul Ryan is aboard.

    In an interview last week with the Catholic television network EWTN, Ryan recalled his history at Kemp’s side and how they worked together to fight Proposition 187, a California ballot initiative that prevented non-citizens from using the state’s social services.

    One reason why immigration worked in this country for 150 years was the fact that immigrants were here to work and support themselves. There was no welfare for them. Prop 187 in California was passed with 60% of the vote and even had majorities in heavily Hispanic districts. It was ruled “unconstitutional” by the California Supreme Court and the decline of the “Golden State” has followed. His reasoning at the time ?

    “I actually campaigned with Jack Kemp against a thing called Prop 187,” Ryan told host Raymond Arroyo. He said they both worried that the proposal would burn Republicans within the immigrant community, and “make it so that Latino voters would not hear the other messages of empowerment.”

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anti-Americanism, Britain, Business, Civil Society, Conservatism, Education, Human Behavior, Islam, Middle East, Politics, Religion, Terrorism | 10 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on 24th April 2013 (All posts by )

    Richard Fernandez:

    The Tsarnaev’s were showered with a huge amount of things. And did they like it? No they hated it. Hated the whole idea of the dirty, degenerate, corrupt West. They hated the idea and took the goodies without a thought. Despite this the mainstream culture is set to respond to their attack with more things. More drones, detectors, armored vehicles, barriers, restrictions, weapons, armor …. more items the list of which goes on and on. But omitted from the catalog of responses will be any campaign to mentally engage radical Islam — to debate against it, denounce it or render it uncool — because that would be bigoted.
     
    It is often forgotten that Freedom of Speech means debate. It means patches on software, not paint on the equipment box. It means fixing the insubstantial. It means mental action. This is important because in the case of radical Islam Freedom of Speech has been redefined as the obligation to remain silent. That obligation has even been given a special term: it is called Tolerance. And no one seems to have noticed that Tolerance is essentially the opposite of Freedom of Speech. It means don’t program. Don’t unhack the hack. Do nothing. Pretend it’s all a joke. Watch the whole system melt down. Tolerance is a rejection of the manifest truth that information matters because it can cure or it can kill.

    George W. Bush’s biggest mistake was to avoid making a serious effort to confront radical Islam intellectually. He had the right general idea, which was that radical Islam is an existential threat that we must defeat, and that defeating it would require many years and the use of force to punish and destroy the Islamist regimes that attack the West through terrorist proxies and eventually WMD. He got about one-half of the use-of-force part right, which isn’t a bad outcome in the scheme of things. However, he failed almost completely in making a public rhetorical and intellectual case against radical Islam and for his geopolitical strategy. As a result of this failure, ten years later most Americans are ignorant about or misunderstand his strategy and have elected feckless leaders who are reversing his gains, while radical Islam is advancing against only weak intellectual opposition in its areas of operation.

    Posted in Islam, Leftism, Political Philosophy, Terrorism | 21 Comments »

    Despicable

    Posted by David Foster on 24th April 2013 (All posts by )

    US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in Istanbul, compared the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing to the nine Turkish activists killed by the IDF as they tried to break Gaza’s naval blockade. Here’s what Kerry said:

    I know it’s an emotional issue with some people. I particularly say to the families of people who were lost in the incident we understand these tragedies completely and we sympathize with them. And nobody – I mean, I have just been through the week of Boston and I have deep feelings for what happens when you have violence and something happens and you lose people that are near and dear to you. It affects a community, it affects a country. We’re very sensitive to that. 

    Kerry is here conflating the legitimate use of force by an allied state, against people who knowingly put themselves in harm’s way by challenging a naval blockade, with a terrorist act against the wholly innocent citizens of Boston. His statement insults the citizens of Boston, it demonstrates hostility toward Israel, and it blurs moral distinctions and projects a sense of weakness which can only encourage more terrorist attacks against the United States in the future.

    As Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks said, “It’s unconscionable to compare the loss of life resulting from an act of self-defense to the results of cold-blooded, premeditated murder by terrorists.”

    In related news, Richard Falk, the Princeton professor emeritus who is a high official of the UN “Human Rights Council,” blamed the Boston terror attacks on US foreign policy and “Tel Aviv.”  More at Breitbart:

    The Obama administration has long championed the UN Human Rights Council, which it decided to join as one of its first foreign policy moves in 2009. Thanks to the Obama administration, U.S. began a second three-year term on the Council this past January. At the opening of the Council’s most recent session in March, Assistant Secretary of State Esther Brimmer traveled to Geneva to address what she called “this esteemed body.” As author Anne Bayefsky says:

    There is nothing about a “human rights” body that countenances the likes of Richard Falk that is “esteemed,” and the United States should resign–effective immediately.

    Posted in Islam, Israel, Middle East, Terrorism, USA, War and Peace | 8 Comments »

    Easy Shot

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 23rd April 2013 (All posts by )

    One of the episodes that I am having a hard time making sense of in the chase for the Boston bombers is the shootout in Watertown. This website, if it is to be believed, seems to have photos of the shootout. I am sure that more photos and video will come out. But we aren’t at the point yet where I can actually put together the events of that shootout and compare them to what I think is an enormous amount of b.s. coming from the Watertown Police Chief.

    The more important question I have for you is this – can you go to jail for shooting known terrorists (or anyone) that are taking shots at the cops? In photo number one, that appears to be an extremely easy shot – I am certain I could have put one through at least one of their heads* at their distance, and since all you really need is a .22 to get it done (low flash/report), I am also fairly certain that the bad guys would have no real idea where the shot came from.

    If I were to take these bad guys out, would I be sitting in a jail cell today? I am guessing yes. Would I beat the rap? Hard to say.

    *with a .22 long gun, that has a decent scope

    Posted in Law Enforcement, Terrorism | 39 Comments »

    Catabolical

    Posted by Jonathan on 22nd April 2013 (All posts by )

    A cat and a plastic water bottle. (© 2012 Jonathan Gewirtz / jonathan@gewirtz.net)

    Posted in Photos | 5 Comments »

    Monday Morning

    Posted by Jonathan on 22nd April 2013 (All posts by )

    -Internet service not working.

    -Call Comcast toll-free number to find out if there’s systemic problem. Press 2 for high-speed Internet. Ignore recorded sales pitch for pay-per-view boxing match. No mention of systemic problems. Ignore recorded suggestion to press 1 to send refresh signal to modem (tried a few days ago, ineffective). Press another button to speak to a human.

    -Complain about no signal.

    -Comcast rep “checks your modem” and says it’s fine (subtext: you idiot).

    -Optional: Point out to Comcast rep that there are many Comcast outages, outages always Comcast’s fault, everyone knows Comcast has lousy service, tired of being lied to by Comcast, etc.

    -Optional: Comcast rep’s vaguely insulting non-apology apology — “I’m sorry you feel that way, sir” etc. (subtext: Comcast’s lousy service isn’t rep’s fault, you idiot).

    -Check computer. Modem works, probably because something is misconfigured in Comcast network and Comcast rep’s action refreshed dropped connection.

    -Repeat every few days until Comcast fixes problem.

    Posted in Customer Service | 15 Comments »

    Rights

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 21st April 2013 (All posts by )

    Just a quick question for those who certainly know more about this subject than me. Are our fourth and fifth amendment rights suspended during a situation like in Boston when they are doing a door to door search? Personally, I would not have let the cops into my house unless they had a warrant. Nor do I answer questions from cops without representation present.

    Posted in Law, Law Enforcement, Terrorism | 21 Comments »

    The “Professionals”

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 21st April 2013 (All posts by )

    Lots will be written about the Boston bombings in the coming months but what I have to say about it will be relatively short and sweet.

    From my outpost here in rural Wisconsin, it appears that the people of Boston are a bunch of babies. They follow orders from “professionals” very well though, that I will admit.

    There is zero chance that a “stay in your house” order would be obeyed out here in the sticks – I have talked to many of my farmer neighbors already on the subject. In fact, there is also zero chance that those murderers would survive long out here in the rural areas – they would have gotten shot between the eyes, plain and simple, by any of a number of citizens. On that subject, what is up with the lack of marksmanship with the “professionals”? Hundreds and hundreds of rounds volleyed, and one guy lives to tell the tale? Houses shot full of holes that weren’t even in the line of fire? Really? These guys get paid to do this?

    There were thousands of cops on the scene in Boston, and the surviving jerk still somehow got outside of the cordon. I would think this to be embarrasing to the “professionals”. It was clear, at least from where I was sitting, that the “professionals” didn’t have a great grasp on the situation. I laughed when I saw the state troopers marching in formation or the swat guys parading through the neighborhood riding on the running boards of the Hummer. The show of force does not impress the terrorists, or basically anyone – besides perhaps the cowering citizens of Boston and the associated suburbs.

    Can you imagine how bad this would have been if the bombers were actually smart?

    Sorry to have to take this tack in the wake of these murders, but it really, really looks bad on tv from where I am sitting, at least.

    People of Boston: get some guns, band together, and do something. When we had a horrible blizzard here a few months ago we had lives on the line but we all worked together, checked in on each other and helped where needed. You didn’t hear about it because we took care of it ourselves with no help from anyone including the “professionals”. People and livestock were in serious danger, but we worked hard and made things happen while the “professionals” told us to stay inside.

    The “professionals” obviously didn’t bring their “a game” to this event, nor should be counted on to do so in the future. Always remember: you are the first responder. Take action.

    Posted in Big Government, Current Events, Law Enforcement, Terrorism | 48 Comments »

    SWOT Analysis of Boston Marathon Bombing

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 20th April 2013 (All posts by )

    Negative items (weaknesses and threats) first.

    Overconcentration of political belief systems by geography and especially by vocation, notably in journalism; the corresponding threat is misdiagnosis of motivation and identity of perpetrators.
    This was on full display over the past week, and although the most prominent examples were instances of the amazingly robust narrative about a supposed right-wing fundamentalist Christian underground, the persistence of which reveals a great deal about the mindset of the “liberal” bien-pensant, they’re not the only ones who have this problem. Claiming that people in Boston are cowering under their beds and wishing they had AR-15s, or casually accusing various (and singularly unimpressive) American politicians of being Communists, isn’t much better than fantasizing about entirely nonexistent WASP terrorists. And there has already been at least one wild-goose chase in recent years, the nationwide Federal investigation to find the co-conspirators of Scott Roeder in the assassination of George Tiller. He didn’t have any, and was known very early on to have acted alone. Your tax dollars nonetheless went to work; see also “memetic parasitism,” below.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anti-Americanism, Civil Society, Current Events, Human Behavior, International Affairs, Iran, Israel, Media, Middle East, National Security, Organizational Analysis, Politics, Predictions, Society, Terrorism, Tradeoffs, USA, War and Peace | 11 Comments »

    Lessons from Boston

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 20th April 2013 (All posts by )

    Update #2: I have great deal of respect for Richard Fernandez and his opinions.

    The second part of the response is that an outsourced, privatized jihad will probably be increasingly met by privatized security regime based on reputation. With the government unwilling to profile in a increasingly vulnerable public space some entrepreneurs may create members-only events where attendance is limited to pre-cleared individuals who pay to have themselves vetted.

    I think this has merit.

    UPDATE: There have been three more arrests of young people with heavy Russian accents near U Mass. They had a car, a BMW, with the license plate “terrorista #1. Photos at the link.

    One jihadist is dead and the other is in custody. The younger bomber’s wounds have not been described so it is impossible to say if he will survive. The emergency is over and now it is time to think about why this happened. It now appears that both young men were long time residents of this country and, at least the younger was a citizen. Both had registered to vote, according to Nexis. The older brother was married with a child. His wife had converted to Islam and, according to reports yesterday, was wearing a full chador when she was taken from their home protesting about a male FBI agent handling a Muslim woman. She was lucky, as one commenter observed, that she was not strip searched as Chechen women have been prominent in terrorism cases in Russia, sometimes as suicide bombers wearing bomb belts.

    The majority [of suicide bombers] are male, but a huge fraction — over 40 percent — are women. Although foreign suicide attackers are not unheard of in Chechnya, of the 42 for whom we can determine place of birth, 38 were from the Caucasus. Something is driving Chechen suicide bombers, but it is hardly global jihad.

    I doubt the Times’ insistence on the absence of Islamist motives although Chechens have been at war with Russians for centuries. The suicide bomb is a common weapon for jihadists. The Palestinian “Mother of Martyrs” comes to mind.

    Mariam Farhat, who said she wished she had 100 sons to die while attacking Israelis, died in a Gaza city hospital of health complications including lung ailments and kidney failure, health official Ashraf Al-Kidra said. She was 64.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anti-Americanism, Britain, Civil Society, Immigration, Islam, Leftism, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Religion, Russia, Terrorism | 5 Comments »

    Saturday Morning Ibis

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 20th April 2013 (All posts by )


    I am feeding these fine examples of the new Wisconsin Ibis that we have been selectively breeding to handle the frigid northern winters. Our new aviary on the farm is coming along quite nicely.

    Posted in Humor, Photos | 5 Comments »

    History Friday – Plundered

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 19th April 2013 (All posts by )

    A number of summers ago, when I was still stationed in Spain, I packed up my daughter, and a tent and all the necessary gear, and did a long looping camping tour of the southern part of Spain, down through the Extremadura, and to the rock of Gib al Tarik, and a long leisurely drive along the Golden Coast. I had driven from Sevilla, past the sherry-manufacturies around Jerez La Frontera (on a Sunday, so they were closed, although the Harvey’s people should have given me a freebie on general principals, I had sipped enough of their stuff, over the years), made a pit stop at the Rota naval base for laundry and groceries. I had driven into Gibraltar, done a tour of the historic gun galleries, seen the famous Gibraltar apes, and then waited in the long customs line to come back into Spain. We had even stopped at the Most Disgusting Public Loo on the face of the earth, at a gas station outside of San Roque, before following the road signs along the coastal road towards Malaga and Motril, and our turn-off, the road that climbed steadily higher into the mountains, the tall mountains that guarded the fortress city of Granada, and the fragile fairy-tale pavilions of the Alhambra.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Society, Deep Thoughts, Diversions, History, Islam, Personal Narrative, Terrorism | 8 Comments »

    Deconstructing a Nazi Death Sentence

    Posted by David Foster on 18th April 2013 (All posts by )

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Most readers will have at least heard of the anti-Nazi resistance movement known as The White Rose, which was centered around the University of Munich.

    On February 22, 1943, three leading members of the group–Hans Scholl, his sister Sophie Scholl, and their friend Christoph Probst–were tried by a “People’s Court” and sentenced to death. The sentences were carried out that same day.

    The transcript of the People’s Court’s verdict provides useful insight into the totalitarian mind. It can be found here.

    I have some comments on this document, but before posting them I’ll wait to see what others have to say.

    What, if anything, particularly strikes you about the transcript?

    Posted in Civil Liberties, Germany, History, Morality and Philosphy | 27 Comments »

    Moon

    Posted by Jonathan on 18th April 2013 (All posts by )

    The full moon rises over the public fishing pier at Dania Beach, Florida. (© 2012 Jonathan Gewirtz / jonathan@gewirtz.net)

    Posted in Photos | 2 Comments »