For easy reference – Terry Pratchett On Kings

It seemed to be a chronic disease. It was as if even the most intelligent person had this little blank spot in their heads where someone had written: “Kings. What a good idea.” Whoever had created humanity had left in a major design flaw. It was its tendency to bend at the knees.

– Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay

Other good quotes from Feet of Clay here:

On Tyrants

Again, I put this up on Facebook, but for convenient linking and reposting I’ll duplicate it here, too.

Regarding the famous quote by C.S. Lewis:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

I would always add:

A greedy tyrant will rest – he’s doing it for his own benefit, after all, and rest is pleasant. He wants to enjoy the spoils of his evil.

A crusading tyrant will never rest – his conscience prevents it, and if he does, his guilt will push him to even greater tyranny to make up for what he sees as his failure.


Rules for Reading the News

I put this up on Facebook, but for convenient linking and reposting I’ll duplicate it here, too.

Jacob’s Rules for Reading the News

Rule 1: The Media Lies.

They will selectively present, selectively edit, misrepresent, misquote, mis-paraphrase, or just flat out make things up to support their preferred narrative or to draw in readers. If there’s absolutely no way for them to do any of that, they will either bury the story in a corner below the fold on the want-ad pages (or the equivalent), or simply not report it at all.

Rule 2: The Media is Lazy.

Even if they’re being honest, as long as they can fill their required word count or time for the story, they don’t care if there are unanswered questions, or unaddressed viewpoints, or witnesses/experts who can flesh out the story to make it complete. They’re done.

Rule 3: The Media Doesn’t Know What It Doesn’t Know.

Whatever they actually teach in journalism school, it’s not physics, biology, medicine, math, statistics, history, etc. Reporters and editors will happily publish a story with claims that violate the laws of physics, contradict known historical/medical/scientific facts, or quote statistics that completely contradict what they claim. Because not only do they not know any better, they don’t even know they don’t know, and they don’t know that there are questions they should be asking to clarify or correct their errors.

Rule 4: Always Remember the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect.

You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. You read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

QOTD 2015-04-13: Gay Marriage Edition

Where the State affirms the contract, e.g., Justice of the Peace or Judge, it should be blind to the terms, where a private party (e.g., clergy) does the affirmation, they should be allowed to follow their conscience or the doctrine of their faith. Where’s the problem here?

From a comment to an article discussing Rand Paul on gay marriage. This statement does a pretty good job of summing up my position on the issue.

Oh, yeah. By the way, I’m not dead yet.


Every paper in the free world

…should do this.


The correct term is “negligently”

As in, “the police officer negligently shot himself in the stomach in an elevator, while endangering his wife by fumbling with a loaded gun while his hands were full.”

Like Tam says, “stop touching it!


Obama’s not even trying to look competent, anymore.

What else can you call it when he appoints a lawyer as the Czar in charge of responding to a possible outbreak of a deadly disease?

Ron Klain, an attorney who worked for Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, is president of Case Holdings, which handles business interests for former AOL CEO Steve Case, and general counsel at Revolution LLC, a tech-focused venture capital firm in Washington, according to the White House.

A lawyer, in charge of a medical crisis. What could possibly go wrong?

What are his qualifications?

Although Mr. Klain does not come from the public health sector, the White House said he possesses “strong management credentials, extensive federal government experience overseeing complex operations and good working relationships with leading members of Congress, as well as senior Obama administration officials, including the president.”

Okay. No medical or public health experience whatsoever. So what are his qualifications?

Well, according to Wikipedia, he “was involved in both of Bill Clinton‘s campaigns, oversaw Clinton’s judicial nominations, and was General Counsel to Al Gore’s recount committee in the 2000 election aftermath.” He has served as Chief of Staff under former Vice President Al Gore and current Vice President Joe Biden. He was “heavily involved behind the scenes in John Kerry‘s campaign”. He “apparently signed off on President Obama’s support of a $535 million loan guarantee for now-defunct solar-panel company Solyndra.”

In other words, he’s been a loyal Party hack supporter and lobbyist for a long time, and this position of status and power is his reward.

Never mind the lives at stake, we have to reward Our Glorious Leader’s supporters! SMH.



[Source: Washington Times article, retrieved 10/16/2014]

[Source: Wikipedia entry for Ron Klain, retrieved 10/16/2014]

Not Forgotten

Not Forgotten

Not Forgotten

That is 2,977 American flags placed on the Virginia Tech drillfield – effectively the center of campus. One flag for each victim of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Never forget.


Never Forget: 11 September 2001

[Image originally found here, but it seems to be gone now.]


If you clicked through the product links in my last post, you may have noticed that they went to something called “AmazonSmile”, instead of just plain Amazon. But what is AmazonSmile? It’s pretty much just Amazon – in fact, it is Amazon – but when you buy through Smile, a portion of the purchase price is donated to the charity of your choice.

When you shop at, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.

You log in to Smile with your same Amazon account, and the first time you log in you are prompted to choose an organization. You can change which organization gets the donation at any time. I have my account set up to donate to my local Rescue Squad (the same one I’m a member of, actually).

I have compared between Smile and regular Amazon, and the prices I’ve checked are the same. They’re donating part of their profits (albeit a small part), not tacking on an extra charge. It seems well worth it, to me!

I encourage everyone who uses Amazon to at least consider AmazonSmile. It looks like a good setup.


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