The Tryanny of the Super-Majority

The Missouri Legislature this afternoon voted to override Governor B. Holden‘s veto of its bill to allow Missourians who aren’t fatcats or their defenders to carry firearms for self-defense. Here’s the St. Louis Post-Dispatch story.

Or, as Carol Daniel of KMOX Radio “informed” us during the “news” at four o’clock, the legislature got the bare minimum of the two thirds majority.

That’s right, citizens, a scant two thirds of your elected officials have voted to recognize your right to bear arms and to bag your daily goblin limit. These few mouthbreathing outcasts have used due process of law to ram their agenda through the legislature.

But never fear, your self-appointed broadcasters are looking out for you. Just remember to call them next time someone busts through your patio door at three on a Thursday morning. Our phone lines are open!

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No Guns, No Consent, Now Just Governed

The British gave up their weapons. Now, they’re going to give up their sovereignty. No vote, just fiat from the prime minister.

The European rulers who ride in their limos, with their entourages, no longer even put on the show of working through the will of their people. Welcome to the 21st century aristocracy, prole, now surrender some of your wages to keep the French elderly cushioned from the horror of their expanding retirement.

(Link seen on Fark. Thanks, Drew, you’ve ruined my day.)

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We Could Be Tycoons, El Guapo!

Check it out: O’Fallon Brewery is doing a stock offering, selling 140,000 shares at $5 each to raise money to expand. You and me, El Guapo, could be like Anheuser and Busch, getting in on this ground floor opportunity. Sorry, bad example. Still, if you want to invest in a small brewery, send them an e-mail for a prospectus and whatnot. You could get the second name that all caballeros have. You will be Don Guapo y Rico!

Or you’ll have a cool, $500 wallhanging for your eventual bar, werd.

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Hijinks Almost A Felony Now

Here in Casinoport, Missouri, one 15 year old said to a bunch of friends, hey, I just cracked myself over the head with a skateboard and it didn’t hurt, I am invincible (or words to that effect). So he asked his friends to help him prove the point, and unfortunately, one of his buddies found an error in the hypothesis by cracking Mr. Invincible’s skull and putting him in the hospital with a severe brain injury.

Authorities, of course, have charged boy #2.

He’s going to reform school for four years, where they’ll eat up a suburban skateboard kid. That’ll fix him. For just being a stupid kid. Crimeney, some of the things my brother, Him Jim, Dim Jim, and I did when we were young would undoubtedly be capital crimes now or threats to Homeland Security, which nowadays includes more than blowing stuff up. I’d discuss some anecdotes, but I am still in my mother’s will. Too much revelation, and the pets’ or vets’ organizations get my cut.

Also, our nation will be safer when being a teenage boy is a felony, so I urge our lawmakers to outlaw it immediately.

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I Needed Help Turning My Computer On

I am an A+ Certified Computer Technician, werd, and when I built my sooper (for the time) PC from a collection of suh-weet parts (dualie, DDR ram, 128 Mb UGP video, the works), I put it all together and flipped the switch on the back, and….

Nothing. Power supply didn’t start up or anything. As you techno-savvy people know, computer cases come with no doc whatsoever unless you buy the latest nuclear-plant models, so I kinda thought you flip that on and off switch in the back, wot? Who wouldn’t think that?

So I ordered another sooper case and waited a couple days for it to come. When it did, I inadvertently turned on the switch and hit the reset button. Oh, wait, you see, it’s got a power toggle switch on the back and a power button on the front! The back is absolute power, like the plug, and the front button turns the thing on when it’s been shut off. Intuitive.

So I take a little umbrage when some TechDirty says:

It appears that plenty of office workers are still quite uncomfortable with their computers. A new study has suggested that one in seven office workers doesn’t even know how to turn their computer on. About 20% needed help in saving or printing a document. Companies are spending quite a bit of money employing extra IT staff just to help with these sorts of basic issues. Of course, I do wonder a little about this study. These are all the sorts of tasks that you really only need to be taught once: “You see that button? Good! Now, press it.” Also, there’s no indication what job functions these people held, so it’s tough to determine if this really is a big deal.

I was talking about this with my beautiful wife just yesterday. Our neighbor, an active but elderly man in his 70s, got a hand-me-up computer from his techno-savvy son just so he, my neighbor, could see what computers and the Internet were all about. His son gave him a three minute overview, but after the son had left, our neighbor had to give him a call to learn how to turn the computer off.

You see, you press the button to turn it on, but you select a command from this menu to turn it off. Intuitive.

Makes me want to invite all you computer “designers” (overworked developers and engineers with other priorities in mind, no doubt, when you inflict these iniquities upon the end users) into a conference room with no windows and lock the door behind me so I can counsel you. With a SCSI cable, if necessary.

This, I guess, is what makes me a good tester (I make no assurance of quality except for the testing, thank you). I hate computers. It’s like the Ben Kingsley character says to the little kid in the trailer for Searching for Bobby Fischer: “Do you hate your opponents?…They hate you.”

Of course, when SkyNet becomes self-aware, I will be first on its list. Johnny C can wait. It’s gotta make sure I don’t needle the developers into patching its self-awareness first.

What was my point? Oh, yeah. Computers and their myriad and non-intuitive interfaces sux. Werd.

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Galls Like Church Bells

Jerry Caesar (Dabney Coleman) said to Reverend Jonathan Whirley (Christopher Plummer) in the dubbed-for-television rendition of Dragnet, “You’ve got galls as big as church bells, reverend.” I’d like to amend that to “You’ve got galls as big as church bells, captain,” and say it to Jerry Kittinger of the United States Air Force (undoubtedly retired by now).

In 1960, Captain Kittinger leapt from the Excelsior III, a perfectly good balloon that was 102,800 feet in the air (that’s almost 20 miles, and he free-fell for almost 5 minutes at speeds up to almost Mach 1 (the speed of sound), wearing a pressure suit and a parachute. Maybe two parachutes, but what does it matter when you’re at the edge of space?

Me, I get a little queasy in the glass-walled elevators of the Milwaukee Hyatt when I’m on the ninth floor and I punch the L button and then I look out the walls and watch the scenery start moving up at the same time the floor seems to give way. Watch the Earth growing and broadening as I fell from the darkness into the light? There’s no pressure suit invented that could keep up with what I’d evacuate.

So someone pat down the cashew, because this Kittinger guy is cuffing nuts. And I salute him for it!

Unrelated note: So the government thought it was a good idea 40 years ago to see if someone could bail out of a space capsule and make it safely down, so why doesn’t the space shuttle doesn’t carry pressure suit parachutes? I know all you physics geeks are going to point out the differences between the velocities of an orbiter and a balloon, but where there’s a backup plan, there’re survivors, end of story.

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Misplaced Modifier of the Week

In The Skeptic Volume 10, Number 1, Michael Shermer writes in a review of The Origin of Minds: Evolution, Uniqueness, and the New Science of Self:

Alfred North Whitehead once famously quipped that all Western philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. Although Aristotelians would beg to differ, a similar observation may be made that modern theories of the mind are footnotes to Darwin.

As someone who considers himself vaguely Aristotelian (next person to ask me how I am gets that as a response: “Vaguely Aristotelian. You?”), I have to say I have never considered begging or differing with observations that may be made about Darwin.

Heck, no one’s even asked.

On the other hand, I’ll lick any self-important Idealist who wants to tell me that I should be ruled by a class of my betters or that I, as a better, should rule everyone else. If you call a size eleven cheap sneaker applied judiciously to the glutes and occasionally the tensor fasciae latae a footnote, then I guess I’ll have to agree with the poorly-written statement in the quote.

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My Father Would Have Been Relieved

Hey, Suburban Blight has lead me to another quiz: Flooble Gay Quiz.

My father would have been happy if I could only have shown him the results:

    flooble said that I am
    Not Gay
    (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
    Take the flooble

You see, when I was in college, I was not very good at catching the women I chased. As a result, I experienced a lot of Romantic sonneteer mooning over the various perfect inattainable women, but very few dates. One Sunday, though, I arranged a date with a young lady (less than perfect, but it was a real date). I usually borrowed my father’s car on Sunday nights to go out with some of my buddies, but the Sunday of the date, he found me washing the car, cleaning the windows, and whatnot.

“What, are you going on a date?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said, scrubbing Golden Retriever nose prints from the windshield.

His voice lowered. “With a girl?” he asked.

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Governor Holden Proposes to Eliminate Loopholes For Small-, Medium-Sized Businesses

Missouri Governor B. Holden has called a special session of the legislature to increase state revenue as much as he can without calling for a full statewide vote for approval. By eliminating tax “loopholes,” according to this story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, B. Holden wants to raise state money to spend on The Children.

Governor B. Holden undoubtedly wishes to reassure the really large companies in Missouri, the Fords, the Boeings, and the Anheuser-Busches, as well as the sports teams, that their loopholes won’t be closed. Any time they start scuffing their feet and publicly muse about closing a factory or (heh heh) moving the ball team to East St. Louis, your state government will still be ready to shut off your tax liability entirely, add costly infrastructure to support your plants, or build you a whole freaking stadium.

Just remember not to flaunt it before the rabble populace he continues to flout.

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Protecting the Environment Weekly

Hey, look at that! I found my list of chores from last weekend here on my desk, where it had been previously been buried by junk mail and other effluvia cast off because I didn’t have the time or inclination to deal with them. So as I was “dealing with them,” which means I left them around long enough for the cats to knock over, I rediscovered my list.

And son of a gun, but that’s what I was planning to do this weekend. So I am saving trees by recycling these lists, including tasks, week to week.

See, honey, I am doing it for the environment.

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Someone Shoot Rupert Murdoch in the Leg!

This madness must end! First, they sued Al Franken for using the phrase “Fair and Balanced.” Now Drudge has linked to a story headlined:

Fox attacks girl in her bedroom

Rupert Murdoch must be neutered! Too late? Well, what about hobbled? I read James Fallows’ long, and I thought at the time laughable, clawing at the ankles of an entrepreneur.

It wasn’t until Murdoch’s minions started showing up unnanounced and pulling the pigtails of British schoolgirls that I read the writing on the television!

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Hide The Pointy Things!

According to this story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Department of Homeland Security (DOHS!) wants to remove the diamond-shaped placards that display on the sides of trucks that carry hazardous, corrosive, or flammable chemicals. You’ve seen them. They have the esoteric sub-diamonds with numbers that tell you how bad the contents of the truck are when the semi dumps its load on the interstate because the proud mother of a 2001 Girls 7-9 State Champion soccer player swerved into the opposite lane while arguing with her husband on the cell phone whether little Tyler bends it like Beckam or breaks it like Geremi.

You see, those little diamonds tell emergency responders what thickness of rubber to put between themselves and the various oozes and gases when they try to pull Bud, the truck driver, Melissa, the mother, and little Tyler from the green-flaming wreckage. Without those diamonds, the emergency responders either have to resort to taste tests or they have to suit up like they’re invading an Iraqi Chocolate Milk Factory that’s surrounded by barbed wire. These accidents occur with some frequency, you see, because Melissa never learns to just hang up the phone and drive.

But DOHS! thinks that removing these diamonds is a matter of national security. Because, you see, terrorists could see that information! And they could do things with those trucks!

Because these terrorists are spur-of-the-moment guys who see a truck driving through Nevada and say, hey, let’s spill some chlorine!

Without the little diamonds on the side of the truck, the bad men who have been casing the chemical plant for six freaking months will mistake that the tanker truck coming out of the front gates carries nothing but crisp, refreshing (as Mike Shannon alleges) Bud Light, or that the glimmering behemoth bearing the Shell logo carries milk.

Soon, DOHS! will extend the ban to include removing Mr Yuck! from everything under your sink so the Doctor-of-Chemistry-bearing terrorists won’t figure out that mixing a lot of bleach and a lot of ammonia is bad, and then DOHS! will want to strip warnings from cigarette packs because those warnings indicate that lit tobacco emits a colorless, odorless gas capable of killing people in enclosed spaces.

Hey, I cannot blame DOHS! for their efforts; I mean, much of my job is looking busy too, and not every bureacrat can just make up columns of numbers in a spreadsheet to stare at and say, “Mmm-hmmm,” whenever the boss walks by the cubicle door. So keep up the good work, fellows, and keep hiding the pointy things for national security.

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That’s It. I’m Messing With Them.

I get the pleas for money from the NRA because, well, I am the NRA, and the ACLU because I subscribe to Harper’s (at least, I did until my current subscription runs out).

I got pleas from them both today, and I swear I am going to write out $10 checks to both of them, and then I will put the checks into the wrong envelopes.

Let them figure it out.

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