Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tragical History Tour

From Cathy Shaidle: Raining on the Nelson Mandela Parade.

Apartheid was tyranny. So was the Mandela-led terrorist organization that "carried out terror attacks at shopping centers, movie theaters and other civilian targets, not just 'establishment' ones like courts and banks."

A reminder that the bad guys' enemies often include other bad guys.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Life Imitates Art

The real-world Detroit resembles Ayn Rand's Starnesville.

Note this: "Of Detroit’s $11 billion debt, $9 billion is accounted for by public sector salaries and pensions."


Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Evidence Supports Zimmerman

Item one: New York Daily News reports, "The medical examiner found two injuries on Martin’s body: the fatal gunshot wound on his chest and broken skin on his knuckles, according to WFTV." If Zimmerman had assaulted Trayvon before Trayvon assaulted Zimmerman, the medical examiner would have found other injuries.

Item two: Zimmernam received multiple images to the head. According to Business Insider: "Forensic pathologist Vincent Di Maio...told jurors Tuesday he saw evidence of at least six impacts on Zimmerman's head. He also said those blows were likely the result of severe force, backing up Zimmerman's claims he killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense. The Blaze has photos of the injuries taken on the night of the shooting.

Item three: Trayvon was on top, according to forensic and eyewitness evidence. CBS reports Dr. DiMaio's testimony: "If you lean over someone, you notice the clothing tends to fall away from the chest..If instead you're lying on your back and someone shoots you, the clothing is going to be against your chest." According to the Las Vegas Sun, witness Jonathan Good testified that the guy in dark clothing (Trayvon) was on top of the guy in the red jacket (Zimmerman).

This combination of evidence is wildly inconsistent with the claim that Zimmerman instigated the attack. He couldn't have dealt first blows unless he pistol-whipped Trayvon's knuckles. He couldn't have had his head pounded into pavement if he'd shot Trayvon first. He wouldn't have given Trayvon the time to pound his head into concrete SIX TIMES (at least) if he'd simply pulled the gun on Trayvon before the scuffle began - and I have a hard time imagining anybody lunging at a guy who's just pulled a gun on him. Zimmerman's claim to self-defense is supported by powerful physical evidence and supported by at least one eyewitness.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Russian Government To Take Cue From Soviet-Era Dissidents

Back in the USSR, the samizdat (dissident press - literally translates as "self-publisher") employed typewriters because that form of press could be concealed from the authorities. Now Russian intelligence is increasing its typewriter usage because printed output can be concealed from electronic snooping by our authorities.

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Monday, July 08, 2013

Klaatu Braada Nikto

Yesterday was the anniversary of the 1947 Roswell crash - today is the anniversary of its first news reports.

Wonder if the alien counterparts to SETI pick up YouTube...

Bet some of y'all didn't know about this Elton John song (from the Caribou album)

Someone should ask these guys about immigration reform.

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Thursday, July 04, 2013

Odes To Liberty

Original posted July 4, 2002. Most years a change is made:

2003 Original image of WTC replaced with mini-collage of WTC, Liberty Bell, and the flag raising on Mount Suribachi.
2004 Image of young girl celebrating the liberation Iraq; LOTR quote.
2005 Iraqi girl image replaced by Iraqi voter; Cathy Seipp quote via Samizdata.
2006 Viktor Frankl quote
2007 Oriana Fallaci quote
2008 William F. Buckley quote
2009 YouTube video, scene from "John Adams" miniseries
2010 Tea Party protest sign
2011 YouTube video essay of the Battle of Yorktown

The scene from "John Adams" shows the meeting of the Second Continental Congress, at which the vote for independence from Great Britain is conducted, and (at 3:07) the public reading of the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration formally proclaimed our independence - the Battle of Yorktown won it.

 photo UnitedWeStand.jpg Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I've watched all your suffering
As the battle raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

Dire Straits, "Brothers in Arms"

"Then I will live in Montana, and I will marry a round American woman and raise rabbits and she will cook them for me. And I will have a pickup truck, or possibly even a recreational vehicle, and drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?"

Vasili Borodin (played by Sam Neill), The Hunt for Red October

"'We hold these truths to be self-evident... That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights... That among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness... That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men ...'. And this paper that from the French Revolution on the whole West has copied, from which each of us has drawn inspiration, still constitutes the backbone of America. Her vital lymph. Know why? Because it transforms the subjects into citizens. Because it turns the plebes into people. Because it invites, no, it orders the plebes turned into citizens to rebel against tyranny and to govern themselves. To express their individualities, to search for their own happiness. (Something that for the poor, for the plebes, means to get rich). The exact contrary, in short, of what the communists used to do with their practice of forbidding people to govern themselves, to express themselves, to get rich. With their practice of installing His Majesty the State on the throne."

Oriana Fallaci, The Rage and the Pride

"With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood."

Martin Luther King
"There is an inverse relationship between reliance on the state and self-reliance."

William F. Buckley
"The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden - that is what the State is there for. And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time."

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

 photo IraqiVoter.jpg"Funny that the same people to whom diversity is a holy word so often bemoan diversity of opinion as divisive. But in a democracy, politics are naturally divisive: you vote for this candidate and someone else votes for that one; you vote yes (or no) on a proposition and other citizens disagree. What's not divisive? Saddam and his 99.96% of the vote. That's how it went during the previous Iraqi election -- an illustration of the Latin roots of the word fascism, which actually means a bunch of sticks all tied together in one big unhappy unified bunch, and not (despite what many assume) any variation from p.c. received-wisdom regarding gay rights, affirmative action, bilingual education, etc. This election was different because it was divisive, which means it was better."

Cathy Seipp (Samizdata quote of the day, February 01, 2005)

"It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened. But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn't. Because they were holding on to something...That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it's worth fighting for."

Sam Gamgee (played by Sean Astin), Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

"[W]e recognize that we are living in the middle of the most overwhelmingly successful experiment in human history. Not perfect. Just the best place in the world to live in, that's all."

Jay Manifold

"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered! My life is my own."

Number Six (played by Patrick McGoohan, "The Prisoner" TV series)

"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country."

Theodore Roosevelt

This Tea Party protest sign illustrates Roosevelt's musings on patriotism - and the powers of the citizen as exercised via the ballot box:

 photo WeCanSeeNovember.jpg

"So this Jefferson dude was like, 'Look, the reason we left this England place is 'cause it was so bogus. So if we don't get some primo rules ourselves - pronto - then we're just gonna be bogus, too."

Jeff Spiccoli (played by Sean Penn), Fast Times at Ridgemont High

"Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."

Alexis deTocqueville, Democracy in America Vol. 2

"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way"

Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning

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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Life Imitates Art

In several venues such as this comments thread I have joked that we need to get space travel going so we can loot blue jungle aliens of their mineral resources to pay off our debts.

Some folks want to loot real-life aliens.

"Eighty million Baby Boomers are going to retire in the next 40 years," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican member of the Gang of Eight. "We are going to need a lot more legal immigration than is in this bill. Who is going to take care of the Baby Boomers when we retire?"

"Our changing demographics have put a strain on our Social Security system," added Democratic Sen. Al Franken. "More young workers paying into the Social Security system will help ease that, and that is precisely what this bill will provide."

"They pay in for ten years, and ... they cannot receive any benefits for ten years," said Republican Sen. Bob Corker. "We have this huge amount of money that's going to be coming into the Social Security program and coming into the Medicare program, which candidly helps people in this nation because it makes those programs more solvent."


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