Thursday, January 31, 2013

new low?


This may well be the stupidest thing I have ever seen in Christian literature.

Okay, sadly, it probably isnt, but it is stupid enough to seem that way. Fortunately, like the other equally stupid things I've mercifully forgotten, this too will fade.

Perhaps, when someone says something along the line of "so-and-so's forgotten more than you'll ever know", this is really what they're talking about; not so much knowledge that one can afford to forget some, but the ability to forget the stupid stuff and retain the good.

via

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

picture and quote for the day:
a two-fer!


Racists and those folk-ways weirdo kids (who are only passively racist) think the Mjolnir / Hammer of Thor should be revived as a universal symbol of white culture. Now as a white guy, I’m not sure why we really need one, since even the heads of the Chinese Communist party are wearing our stupid suits and ties and pretending it was their idea that their country needed an orchestral national anthem. But fine, whatever, the Jews get the Star and Arabs get the Crescent Moon and Mexicans get the Sombrero, so I guess we should have one too. But not the Hammer of Thor. That’s too old and too specific to one region of Europe. We need something modern, something that encompasses the wide range of perspectives and behaviors that the rest of the world knows as “white.”

I’m thinking a bulldozer. A bloody bulldozer.

Wait, wait. I got it. A bloody bulldozer, driven by a gun.

Okay, that’s good. Now it needs a motto. Something white people say all the time to let the rest of the world know that we’ve arrived and things are about to get awesome. Let’s see…

"Fuck yeah, white people."


The Virgin Prince

Friday, January 25, 2013

correction


Personally, I'd call it "You kids get off my lawn!", but that's probably not terribly funny, is it.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

quote for the day

"Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich."

Sir Peter Ustinov

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

this is for you, Ben


linkage, by way of explanation.

quote for the day

"So many people forget that the first country the Nazis invaded was their own"

from the film Captain America, the First Avenger.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

sunday funny


If only the mother's solution would work with certain members of the American Public.

Or Congress.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

quote for the day

"America truly is the new world. Nowhere else are rich, powerful people allowed to claim they are an oppressed minority because they’re not allowed to do whatever the want.

…Well, maybe in some parts of Africa."


The Virgin Prince

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

quote for the day

"Let’s all laugh because Congress has an 8% approval rating because they can’t get anything done because they won’t compromise and work together.

Know what’s even funnier? When it’s time for the next election and you reelect the same fucking people because they are “firm, uncompromising stalwarts of non-negotiable ideals.”

America, if Congress is a fucking disaster, it’s not funny. It’s a direct reflection of how much you suck at democracy. Stop laughing you morons."
The Virgin Prince

Monday, January 14, 2013

quote for the day

"So for most of human history, it was perfectly socially acceptable for terrified 13 year old girls to be forcibly bred to illiterate brutes who were considered paragons of the species because they killed anything and anyone who scared them.

And we wonder why, in 2012, most of us are vicious and cowardly and stupid.

Oh, and, you know, a lot of the world still does it this way. And probably always will.

Man: the bald murder-ape."


The Virgin Prince

Sunday, January 13, 2013

sunday funny


Sometimes, things seem really cool, until you do them.

Friday, January 11, 2013

quote for the day

"If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads, but what he rereads."

Fran├žois Mauriac

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

haiku quote for the day

Productivity
is fleeting, illusory
in the end we're dust


from Ozy and Millie.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Dave's 2012 booklist


“Printed books will never be the equivalent of handwritten codices, especially since printed books are often deficient in spelling and appearance.”

—Johannes Trithemius, German abbot and scholar, “In Praise of Scribes,” 1492


Adrian, Chris ; The Great Night
Almond, Steve + Julianna Baggott ; Which Brings Me To You
Austin, Jane ; Pride And Prejudice (ebook on iPhone)
Ball, Jesse ; The Way Through Doors
Ballentine, Tony ; Divergence
Blackston, Ray ; Flabbergasted
Bonasia, Lynn Kiele ; Some Assembly Required
Bryson, Bill ; At Home (NF)
Byatt, A. S. ; Ragnarok
Crusie, Jennifer + Bob Mayer ; Agnes And The Hitman
Crusie, Jennifer + Bob Mayer ; Wild Ride
Goldman, David P. ; How Civilizations Die (NF)
Gonzales, Tony ; Eve: Templar One
Green, John ; An Abundance of Katherines
Guttenberg, Steve ; The Guttenberg Bible
Halpern, Julie ; Get Well Soon
Harris, Charlaine ; the first three Sookie Stackhouse books
Harris, Charlaine ; Deadlocked
Healy, Sarah ; Can I Get An Amen?
Hiaasen, Carl ; Star Island
Hodgell, P. C. ; Honor's Paradox
Karon, Jan ; At Home In Mitford
Kinberg, Simon ; Mr. And Mrs. Smith
Kinsella, Sophie ; I've Got Your Number
Kou Yaginuma ; vols 7-12 of Twin Spica
Latner, Alexis Glynn ; Hurricane Moon
Le Guin, Ursula ; Three Hainish Novels
Lester, Toby ; DaVinci's Ghost (NF)
Lutz, Lisa ; Trail Of The Spellmans
McKean, Erin ; The Secret Lives Of Dresses
Nightengale, Benedict ; What's So Flinking Bunny?
Pedersen, Laura ; Last Call
Pettersson, Vicki ; The Taken
Pratchett, Terry ; Equal Rites
Pratchett, Terry ; Feet Of Clay
Pratchett, Terry ; The Fifth Elephant
Pratchett, Terry ; Guards, Guards!
Pratchett, Terry ; Hat Full Of Sky
Pratchett, Terry ; Interesting Times
Pratchett, Terry ; I Shall Wear Midnight
Pratchett, Terry ; Jingo
Pratchett, Terry ; Making Money
Pratchett, Terry ; Maskerade
Pratchett, Terry ; Men At Arms
Pratchett, Terry ; Nightwatch
Pratchett, Terry ; Thief of Time
Pratchett, Terry ; Thud
Pratchett, Terry ; Wee Free Men
Pratchett, Terry ; Wintersmith
Pratchett, Terry + Stephen Baxter ; The Long Earth
Reeve, Philip ; A Web Of Air
Reeve, Philip ; Fever Crumb
Rosen, Lev A. C. ; All Men Of Genius
Russo, Richard ; Empire Falls
Shakar, Alex ; Luminarium
Swift, Earl ; The Big Roads (NF)
Tucker, Michael ; After Annie
Weitz, Rose ; Rapunzel's Daughters (NF)
Wilson, Delores J. ; Big Hair And Flying Cows


Not, admittedly, one of my better years for books. I spent more time reading webcomics this year than reading books, and my usual lunchtime reading has been usurped by a chatty co-worker. So, maybe next year. Also, not included: a skimming of the last four books of George R. R. Martin's Songs Of Fire and Ice series, re-reading only the parts that interested me.

Previous Lists: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004.

Monday, January 07, 2013

counter-arguement for the day

Constitutional Amendment no. 2 - Right to Bear Arms

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Okay, so you know how one of the arguments against gun control of any type is the old "shall not be infringed"? For the founding fathers, that meant either bladed or blunt weapons, or firearms, which consisted of some sort of single-shot, breech-loaded device, in sizes ranging from pistols to cannons, that used gunpowder to fire projectiles, either solid or shrapnel-like. (Weapons at that time were personal. I suspect that they might be horrified at the ease with which any one may now wipe out large numbers of people these days while barely looking at them, if it all. Probably moreso at the ease and scale with which governments can the same.)
Now, if the Founders indeed didnt want the possession of arms to be infringed in anyway, then it is, constitutionally, pretty hard to regulate guns in this country without a constitutional amendment for the the constitutional amendment. IF. But what if unlimited possession of arms was not what the Founders had in mind? Here's a possible position against that, supplied by a commenter at this article:
"It's a logical IF -- THEN statement in the Federal Law. IF well-regulated militia, THEN right to keep arms."
Having never studied logic, I'm afraid that I cannot really say whether this commenter's logic is itself sound. It seems okay to me, though, though it seems that under this interpretation, without the Militia, there is no right to bear arms, which seems unlikely.  See, for me the problem is that comma after the word "arms" and before "shall". It's possible that it is a misplaced comma (though that seems unlikely in a carefully vetted, debated and reproduced document).  It's certainly a badly constructed sentence by modern standards, but the way I interpret it (and I was really good a sentence diagramming once upon a time) is that the core of the sentence is "a well regulated Militia shall not be infringed" and that "being necessary to the security of a free State" pretty obviously modifies "Militia". The tricky part is that third phrase, which, because of the comma following it is kind of a fragmentary one. I'm thinking that it is modifier for "being necessary to the security of a free State". A slight rearranging will perhaps make that more clear:
A well regulated Militia, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, being necessary to the security of a free State, shall not be infringed.
Now, at this point, I'm going to head kind of deep into speculative territory, because one of the tricks to diagramming a convoluted sentence is to rearrange elements that have been placed out of an obvious order. In this case, I can eliminate the comma that facilitated that misorder, which means that the sentence could quite logically* read:
A well regulated Militia, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms being necessary to the security of a free State, shall not be infringed.
See how that works? Using my interpretation, the phrase seems pretty clear, where it is the (well-regulated) militia that is not to be infringed rather than the right to bear arms.

But why stop there? How about this: we've got four phrases, right?
a) A well regulated Militia
b) being necessary to the security of a free State
c) the right of the people to keep and bear Arms
d) shall not be infringed
Let's just rearrange them in all the various ways possible to see what makes sense:
  1.  A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed 
  2. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, shall not be infringed, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms
  3. A well regulated Militia, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, being necessary to the security of a free State, shall not be infringed
  4. A well regulated Militia, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed, being necessary to the security of a free State
  5. A well regulated Militia, shall not be infringed, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms
  6. A well regulated Militia, shall not be infringed, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, being necessary to the security of a free State
  7. Being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed, a well regulated Militia
  8. Being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, a well regulated Militia, shall not be infringed
  9. Being necessary to the security of a free State, shall not be infringed, a well regulated Militia, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms 
  10. Being necessary to the security of a free State, shall not be infringed, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, a well regulated Militia 
  11. Being necessary to the security of a free State, a well regulated Militia, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed
  12. Being necessary to the security of a free State, a well regulated Militia, shall not be infringed, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms
  13. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed, a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State
  14. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed, being necessary to the security of a free State, a well regulated Militia
  15. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, shall not be infringed
  16. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, a well regulated Militia, shall not be infringed, being necessary to the security of a free State
  17. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, being necessary to the security of a free State, shall not be infringed, a well regulated Militia
  18. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, being necessary to the security of a free State, a well regulated Militia, shall not be infringed
  19. Shall not be infringed, a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms
  20. Shall not be infringed, a well regulated Militia, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, being necessary to the security of a free State
  21. Shall not be infringed, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, a well regulated Militia
  22. Shall not be infringed, being necessary to the security of a free State, a well regulated Militia, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms
  23. Shall not be infringed, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State
  24. Shall not be infringed, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, being necessary to the security of a free State, a well regulated Militia
So, what have we got here?
1) This is the original amendment as passed.
2) This works if you remove "be" and a comma and the "d" from "infringed", resulting in "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, shall not infringe the right of the people to keep and bear Arms", which gives people the right to guns, but in the context of militias not infringing on the people's rights, which is a bit odd. Plus it's a bit too much manipulation, so perhaps not.
3) As noted above, this works pretty well. The arrangement implies that it is the militias that may not be infringed upon (assuming they are well-regulated, or perhaps other than to regulate them well) rather than the arms.
4) Works if you replace the comma after "militia" with an "and", implying both militia-building and people arming are equally necessary to the security of the free State. Leave the comma in while keeping the "and" and you imply that the armed people are subordinate to the regulation of the militia.
5) This will work if you take out the comma after "militia", and replace the comma after "state" with the word "and", but more as an endorsement of militias.  It also makes the arms possession subordinate to the regulation of the militia.
6) If you remove the commas after "militia" and "arms", this works well to promote the idea that a people's militia is necessary for the security of the free State.
7)  You can take out the comma after "arms", but this leaves "a well regulated Militia" dangling uselessly afterwards.
8) Remove the comma after "arms" and replace it with "and" and you have a statement much like gun nuts now argue. I'm not sure that the original structure really allows that, though.
9 and 10) These dont really make sense as sentences. They're more like lists.
11) Like number 8, if you remove the comma after "militia" and replace it with "and", you have a statement much like gun nuts now argue. And the original structure allows this reading.
12) This just doesnt work in this order.
13) Removing the commas after  "arms" and "militia" creates a readable sentence which makes the lack of infringement in the arming of the people subject to the context of the "well-regulated" militia.
14) Just like number 7, you can take out the comma after "arms", but this leaves "a well regulated Militia" dangling uselessly afterwards.
15) Removing the comma after "militia" results in a coherent sentence which prohibits infringement of arms-bearing, but does so in the context of a militia. I suspect this may mean that anyone wishing unfettered arms access will have to belong to said militia, and so thereby subject to its regulations.
16) Structurally, if this sentence is not a poorly worded two-item list, then it defines "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms" as being a well-regulated militia, which doesnt really work.
17) Just like numbers 7 and 14, you can take out the comma after "arms", but this leaves "a well regulated Militia" dangling uselessly afterwards.
18)  Replacing the comma after "state" with an "and" makes a coherent sentence, making the right to bear arms a necessity. However, I'm not sure that the original structure really allows that, though it may.
19-24) All of these read like poorly worded two-item lists. Grammar this awful does not make it to the final draft. And if you would argue that the grammar used in the actual amendment is bad, I would argue that there is fashion in language as much as anything else, but said fashion has never included balky, truncated sentences, at least not until the age of texting.

 Score?

I could get into the issue of just what exactly they mean by militia, but I dont have the energy or the peace and quiet right now. Perhaps later I'll revise this post. Not today. I will just say that we dont see a lot of private armies being formed around here, so I'm guessing that maybe it's been decided that those can be regulated as well.



* My own brand of logic, not the formal academic type. Perhaps "sensibly" would be a better word.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

sunday funny


For me, this pretty much describes the most evident of American Christians. Remember back when Muslims were trying to say that not all believers in Islam were also believers in Jihad, and Christians were all, like, "well, why dont you speak out against it more loudly, then". Pot, meet Kettle. I know a lot of decent Christians, people who are a credit to their faith. Sadly, their quiet voices and works are drowned out by the cacophony of hate-mongers, power-trippers and apocalyptophiles that make up the face of American Religion.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

saturday matinee



Stephen Fry on American vs. British comedy.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

quote for the day

"INCREASING taxes at either the corporate or personal level will do, among other things, one particular thing: IT WILL ENCOURAGE BUSINESS OWNERS TO RE-INVEST IN BUSINESS. To avoid the taxation, you see, you bottom-of-the-class dimwit. If I can currently meet my business needs without hiring, I will improve my efficiency or perhaps branch into new services. If things are going great guns, I will hire more people. If I just roll all my profit into my own personal wealth, I am a moron.

The only people taking money out of the economy are rich assholes, not the government. Taxes don’t magically disappear, they get shoved right the hell back into the economy through purchasing and hiring."
from the blog Empire Of The Senseless

This is what I've always said! Lowering corporate taxes doesnt encourage anything but profit-taking, because taxes come out after expenses, which include wages paid to employees. Lowering taxes does nothing to encourage more hiring.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Years, y'all!

I didnt have a post for today. That's how lousy a blogger I've become (not as if I were a great blogger to begin with). I often think I oughta just give this thing up, let the pre-posted stuff already loaded play out and just drift away. I cant though, not really. I still have to post stuff here. Dont ask me why. Maybe it's because I need a way to shout at the universe.

Anyway, let's hope 2013 is better than 2012. Since there's no election to endure, it has a good shot, maybe.

Cheers!