Monday, January 31, 2011

Snowstorm - Big Whoop

Headline (below) linked via Drudge.

Storm could be one for the record books

Disclaimer via Grand Rapids, Michigan’s WOOD TV8 Weather.

Confidence is high with the forecast of this storm but please keep in mind that this storm is still about 30 hours away. These type of storms are notorious for changing and a SMALL shift in the track of the low pressure system could mean a SIGNIFICANT alteration to the forecast. However, as it looks right now, with good model consensus, heavy accumulations do appear likely. (bold by ed.)

UPDATE:  Well, “officially” the weather prognosticators state that my area of Western Michigan received 12.9” of snow, and I shoveled every last tenth of an inch.  Took 3 hours and 53 minutes of shoveling, not including the 30 minutes I just spent moving the snow from the end of my driveway, again, after the plows made a perfunctory pass down my street.  You can see my curbs.  The plows will be back, and I will have at their contribution once again.  I’m a bit tuckered, but I’m enjoying the winter wonderland.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/31 at 08:00 PM
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Now He Wants to Be Friends

I don’t know much about an individual named Chuck Baldwin, but I’ve been receiving unsolicited emails from Baldwin since sometime in mid to late 2010.

What I do know about Baldwin, is that he ran a ministry down in Florida for some time, has run for Congress, and is now residing in Montana and beginning a new ministry in Big Sky Country.

Anyway, the emails I receive from Chuck Baldwin usually are a copy of one of his columns, with a link to the column itself at his website.  I’ve not posted any links or comments on Baldwin’s columns, til now, and I felt compelled to post some commentary after reading Baldwin’s most recent column titled Identifying Our Friends.  Specifically, I wanted to comment on the following from Baldwin’s most recent column.

To a packed out crowd of over 500 Montanans who had assembled in minus zero weather to hear me speak, I made the statement, “Not all Christians are our friends, and not all non-Christians are our enemies.” Indeed, being able to identify our friends is more than half the battle.

When I spoke of identifying friends or enemies, I was talking about one’s overall positive or negative contribution to the principles of liberty. I will say it again, not all Christians are our friends, and not all non-Christians are our enemies. This is difficult for many Christians to wrap their brains around, I know.

Immediately upon reading those words, I thought of something I wrote back on June 9, 2003 under the heading A Short Religious Discourse Regarding Natural Law (this post is at my old Blogspot place, you’ll have to scroll down a bit to read it) wherein I stated the following, which is related to a quote from John Dewy’s book A Common Faith, which in turn was the impetous for the post.

For myself, being well acquainted with organized religion of the Protestant variety, I have found that men who profess no faith in God, yet stand as honest men, adherents of natural law, as described by Spooner, speak with a clarity and honesty that I do not find from men aligned with organized religions. I find that men professing no faith, but who embrace the tenets of natural law, are a more stalwart breed of men than many professed Christians. Why? Because men who accept natural law, or the science of justice or peace, typically have no hidden agenda to wield as a power over me. Whereas men aligned with organized religions typically have an agenda of power they hope to apply to me rather than just dealing with me honestly…

If the men of organized religions, and governments, would honestly review their purpose, and the true meaning of liberty and natural law, they would recognize themselves as the robbers they are. As for me, a believer in God and an adherent to natural law, I’ll take dealing with men, honest men, who accept natural law as the only law, over dealings with the men who comprise governments or organized religions. The natural law men are more religious.

While I’m pleased that Chuck Baldwin spoke the words, quoted within this post regarding “identifying our friends,” I’m curious as to why it took him so long to understand the truth of his words.  I’ve known that not “not all Christians are our friends, and not all non-Christians are our enemies” since I was at least 12 years old, though I was 43 years old by the time I articulated it and put it down in writing.

UPDATE:  Oops, I was 43 in 2003, not 33.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/30 at 01:41 PM
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I Am A Link in the Memorial Chain

Francis W. Porretto posts an email he received which struck him as important enough to share with his readers.  I agree with Francis’ assessment.  The full post is titled An Email Of Some Import, and I re-publish here the article from a Spanish newspaper which was contained in the email Francis refers to.

EUROPEAN LIFE DIED IN AUSCHWITZ

The following is a copy of an article written by Spanish writer Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez and published in a Spanish newspaper on Jan. 15, 2008. It doesn’t take much imagination to extrapolate the message to the rest of Europe - and possibly to the rest of the world.

REMEMBER AS YOU READ - THIS WAS IN A SPANISH NEWSPAPER

Date: Tue. 15 January 2008 14:30

ALL EUROPEAN LIFE DIED IN AUSCHWITZ
By Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez

I walked down the street in Barcelona, and suddenly discovered a terrible truth - Europe died in Auschwitz. We killed six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims. In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, and talent. We destroyed the Chosen People, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world.

The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world.

These are the people we burned.

And under the pretense of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism, and lack of tolerance, crime, and poverty, due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.

They have blown up our trains and turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime. Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naive hosts.

And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition.

We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.

What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe.

Now go and read the remainder of Francis’ post.

UPDATE:  Corrected minor spelling error.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/30 at 12:10 PM
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Thoughts on Events in Egypt

I have not written anything on the recent goings on in Egypt or Tunisia, and the reasons for this are expressed rather well by Brian Micklethwait in a post at Samizdata titled A plague on (a minimum of) two of your three houses.

My understanding is that this is not one of those enjoyable melodramas where there are Good Guys and Bad Guys, when we here in the comfortable seats (the ones outside Egypt) can all cheer the Good Guys and jeer the Bad Guys. My understanding is that there are the Bad Guys as in the government, the Good Guys as in the people who would just love to be living in a nice civilised country which respects human rights and where there is dignity and freedom and whatever is the Egyptian for apple pie, with a thriving economy for all etc. (with no Jews or Americans screwing everything up) … and then there are the Other Bad Guys, aka the Muslim Brotherhood, who would like nothing better than to see Egypt reduced to ruins, to take charge of the ruins, and then to ruin the ruins a whole hell of a lot more. The Good Guys are now so angry with the first lot of Bad Guys that they either don’t realise or don’t care that they may be playing right into the hands of the Other Bad Guys.

I would love to be proved wrong. Whether I am proved wrong or not, I would still bet that there are lots of others out here in non-Egypt who now think exactly as I do.

This is not to say there are not ideas, resulting from the goings on in Egypt and Tunisia, which bear consideration.  John Robb of Global Guerrillas documents some of those ideas, pointing here and here, for practical knowledge.

Link to John Robb post, and the ideas worth considering, via The Arctic Patriot.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/30 at 11:20 AM
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Snippet

Scene:  Small gathering of ten friends, animated conversation on various subjects.

Host/Protagonist:  “So John, have you sold that GE stock?”

Guest 1:  “Why would he do that?” (Guest looks directly at John)

Host/Protagonist:  “He thinks that GE is too chummy with the government.”

John:  “Well, they are too chummy with the government!”

Guest 2:  “All companies are chummy with the government today, John.”

John:  “That’s true, Guest 2, but that doesn’t make it right.”  “In fact, everyone who votes is too chummy with the government in this day and age!”

{pin drops - entire gathering stares at John}

John:  “Well, at the root it is true!”

Posted by John Venlet on 01/30 at 10:47 AM
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Magazine Foot-pounds of Potential Energy

Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D - NY) is leading the charge for restricting Americans’ access to high capacity magazines in response to the recent Tucson, AZ shootings.

McCarthy has lined up a cast of vocal supporting characters, while the NRA, at this time, is tongue tied, allegedly silent in respect to the memories of the Tucson shooting victims.

This call for restricting access to high capacity magazines is a shibboleth, empty of any and everything with the exception of the appearance of doing something which looks good in a photograph or a six word headline.

While the current hue and cry for high capacity magazines restrictions appears to be in response to the recent Tucson shootings, history documents for us the more concrete facts of why the U.S. government has long coveted such a restriction, and it has nothing to do with the American publics’ safety.

Under the current scheme of things, increased magazine capacity dramatically enhances any agent’s likelihood of survival. When present, stress precludes users from accurately predicting where on the target their rounds will end up. Just hitting the target someplace becomes the main goal.

For this reason, all experts advise against using traditional .45s that have only eight-round capacities or using any revolvers. Those who might consider duking it out with FBI agents should be forewarned that all agents are cautioned, once they are already in a shooting match, to keep pumping rounds into an attacker even though one or two rounds might initially seem to have done the job. J. Edgar Hoover reportedly demoted or even fired any agent who did not completely empty his service revolver into anyone at whom he started firing.

Consider the following: 9mm handguns carrying 15 rounds in their magazines store about 990 grains of propellant powder, yielding about 5,040 total foot-pounds of potential energy; whereas .45 ACPs, containing only eight rounds, have 42 grains of powder or 2,429 foot-pounds of potential energy. In part, you can see why the FBI pushed so vigorously for the recent high-capacity handgun magazine ban while simultaneously switching over to 15-round custom Les Baer .45 ACPs for some of its officers.”

Benson, Ragnar, Ragnar’s Action Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, Revised Edition, 1997, page 5

Thank you to reader Steve for the quote.

UPDATE: Tam at View From The Porch question and answer on magazine possession.

Q: How many mags should you have?
A: More.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/30 at 10:18 AM
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wah, Wah, Wah, Snow, Wah, Wah, Wah, Snow

The East Coast received a bunch more snow overnight, and many East Coast individuals are pissing and moaning and fretting over what they are going to do if they get more snow, and have to shovel some more.

I like snow, and perversely enough love to shovel snow.

Hey you East Coasters, take the snow in stride, like this yooper is.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/27 at 07:29 PM
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President Tim Turner of the Republic for the United States?  Say What?

A good friend sent me an email, early this afternoon, with a link to a YouTube video and a short note which said,

I have not viewed this yet, but it is getting rave reviews around work.

The note forwarding the video to him stated the following.

Here is a new video I just got last night. Taped about a month ago. Excellent source of information about the situation America is in now, how we got there, and what is being done to undo the damage wrought on the American people over the last 150 years. Please view it and e-mail me back with your thoughts. I sat practically spellbound last night from start to finish. Things in America are about to change,i.e., that is, get back to where they are supposed to be as our founding fathers intended. God bless America!

The video, which runs 1:56:06, is posted under the heading Tim Turner Republic Update, and while I was not “spellbound” by the video, I listened with interest.

I binged up President Tim Turner and discovered a number of links, one from Ron Paul, another here, a link to Turner’s Restore America Plan, and a link to the Republic for the United States of America, amongest others.

This is the first I have heard of this (I spent most of the Summer and Fall in the water and woods), but one of the most positive aspects I came away with after viewing the video, and briefly reading some of the links embedded here, is that Turner and his “Congress,” yes there is allegedly a congress, are opposed to violence in their desire to restore America to its once greatness.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/27 at 05:44 PM
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A Buck Fitfy for a Gallon of Gas?

UK-based Cella Energy has developed a synthetic fuel that could lead to US$1.50 per gallon gasoline. Apart from promising a future transportation fuel with a stable price regardless of oil prices, the fuel is hydrogen based and produces no carbon emissions when burned. The technology is based on complex hydrides, and has been developed over a four year top secret program at the prestigious Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford. Early indications are that the fuel can be used in existing internal combustion engined vehicles without engine modification.

I cannot comment on the research or early indications, but I know my Hemi engine and pocketbook would appreciate an actual synthetic fuel at a buck fifty a gallon.

One question, though, whose been paying for the research?

Breakthrough promises $1.50 per gallon synthetic gasoline with no carbon emissions

Linked via Fred Lapides.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/27 at 01:37 PM
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Unclean, Unclean

Just the other day, I shared an observation on my character wherein I stated the following.

I have been informed that I exhibit excessive common sense, and a fealty to principles which makes me intransigent.  So be it.

Living up to your principles is not an easy task.  It takes dedication, a willingness to bear inconveniences due to your principles, and an ability to carry on in the face of the adversity of the majority.

Joel, at The Ultimate Answer to Kings, comments on living up to your individual principles in a post titled Check out the purity on that one!, after reading a post of Claire Wolfe’s titled More purer than thou.

Both Joel’s post and Claire’s post were written in response to one Kitty Antonik Wakfer essay titled Are Principles Unaffordable?, in which Ms. Wakfer takes to task individuals’ stated principles.  Specifically, Ms. Wakfer takes to task individuals who state they support WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning, yet continue to utilize, support through their use, Amazon and PayPal.

Both Joel and Claire do an admirable job of responding to Ms. Wakfer’s critcism, so I will abstain, with the exception of noting that like the leper in Leviticus 13:45, I will cry out “Unclean, unclean” if I am usherd into Ms. Wakfer’s presence.

UPDATE: Corrected minor grammatical error.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/27 at 10:47 AM
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Viral Ideas Matter

From a post at Samizdata filed under the heading And the good news is….

... that ‘tax pros’ are worried that tax evasion will be greatly increased by new regulations in the USA…

“Tax evasion could go viral”... what a pleasing concept. Well all I can say to these unnamed ‘tax pros’ laboring away tirelessly to make people ‘compliant’ is “from your lips to God’s ear”.

Few things would help the growth of the culture needed for a fight back of liberty to succeed than something that not only induced contempt for the state but actively motivates self-interested resistance to the supra-constitutional tax gathering arm of the US government… and perhaps the single best form of resistance to an over-mighty state is keeping as much money as possible out of its hands.

Encouraging tax evasion: far from being an ‘ugly side effect’ it is the unforeseen silver lining that may tip millions of apolitical business folk into unwitting de facto alliance with liberty’s anti-statist friends.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/27 at 09:27 AM
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Technical Difficulties

I am currently experiencing technical difficulties with commenting.  Investigations are being conducted.

UPDATE:  Technical difficulties overcome, well mostly, thanks to a little help from a friend.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/26 at 06:11 PM
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Free Market Environmentalism and Old Paint

I do not have a problem with individuals who desire a higher awareness or concern for the environment, but I do have a problem with individuals who desire a higher awareness or concern for the environment who are in actuality just another breed of commies, or watermelon(s) (# 14).

As a passionate flyfisher, who spends many hours in both popular trout waters, and others not so popular, I am always disgusted by the carelessly and thoughtlessly disposed trash I may come upon, in the streams, along the banks, or on the trails winding through the woods.  I pick this trash up myself, or fish it out of the streams, deposit it into my fishing net, and then properly dispose of it after I’ve communed with a trout or three.

Government imposed laws have never stopped this type of enviromental problem, nor will they.  In fact, government imposed environmental laws only increase the amount of trash Americans must wade through.  It’s more commonly known as bureaucracy.

But on to free market environmentalism and old paint.

I did not know this, but Oregon is the only state in the U.S. which mandates (thankfully), by law, that paint manufacturers must be equipped to recycle old paint.  Naturally, someone has to pay for this, and of course, once again, consumers have been summarily volunteered by the powers that be to pay for these manufacturers to comply with the law via a surchage on new paint, so proponents of said Oregon law are watermelons.

Here in the State of Michigan, the need for recycling of old paint is also coming to the attention of the public.  Surprisingly, via the free market, rather than by law.

Tired of those half-empty cans of old paint cluttering up shelves or stacked in the basement?

West Michigan manufacturer RepcoLite Paints Inc. has a solution to the problem…

RepcoLite President Dan Altena said the company has produced its first 1,600 gallons of the re-coat brand that already are on the shelves of its eight RepcoLite and Port City paint stores in West Michigan and one store near South Bend, Ind.

The stores will give a $1 coupon for each gallon can a customer brings to the store for the purchase of re-coat paint.

“We think it’s time to recycle old paint to improve the environment, help customers solve paint-can clutter and be able to save money on a premium recycled paint,” Altena said…

“We thought we’d take a ‘free market’ approach to taking back old paint and making into a viable new product,” Altena said.

I say good on Repcolite.  Rather than forcing the recycling of paints via the application of, or adherence to, an abitrarily, watermelon promulgated law, at the expense of consumers and taxpayers, Repcolite is in effect paying consumers to recycle their old paint by giving consumers a buck for every gallon of old paint they recycle.  That’s environmentalism I can live with.

Finally, a place to put your old paint

Posted by John Venlet on 01/26 at 02:49 PM
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Move Along, Citizen, Nothing to See Here - For Real

You need to look here.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/26 at 02:47 PM
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Free Speech - Protecting the Political Elite, Not the Proletarians

Carol Rose, the proprietor of a blog titled On Liberty hosted at Boston.com, wherein Ms. Rose informs readers that she “analyzes privacy, freedoms, and the law,” Ms. Rose comes to the defense of former Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner’s free speech rights.

While I am pleased that Ms. Rose comes to the defense of free speech rights, I am disappointed that Ms. Rose is coming to the defense of free speech rights for a disgraced political elite, while ignoring the free speech rights of Travis Corcoran.  Ms. Rose must consider Mr. Corcoran too proletarian.

Ms. Rose’s defense of Turner is titled Turner sentence punishes free speech, and within the post she states and quotes the following.

Equally improper is that prosecutors pressed the judge to pile on jail time to punish Turner for exercising his right to free speech after his conviction.  Here’s a excerpt from the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing memorandum :

“While [Turner’s] public campaign has pandered to a few faithful supporters, he could hardly have done more to promote the public’s cynicism about elected officials and to erode trust in the rule of law. His post-indictment conduct has amplified the crimes for which he was charged. He has sought to undermine the integrity of the judicial process. As a result, Turner is uniquely undeserving of a downward departure or deviation.”

Well, the prosecutors got one thing right: I sure feel cynical about the rule of law after this sentencing decision!

I understand Ms. Rose’s cynicism, but perhaps Ms. Rose should direct her cynicism inward, and apply her alleged analytical skills regarding individuals’ free speech rights to the cause of Mr. Corcoran.  Radley Balko has applied his analytical skills regarding free speech to the case of Travis Corcoran in an article at Hit & Run titled The Travis Corcoran Saga, and Ms. Rose would benefit from reading and understanding Radley’s analysis.

Corcoran was crass, offensive, and tone-deaf. But it shouldn’t be illegal to be any of those things. Unless there’s more to this than just what Corcoran wrote on his blog, law enforcement officials ought to clear his name, return his guns, and reinstate his gun permit.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/26 at 10:58 AM
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