On the subject of secession

In all this recent hullabaloo about the secession petitions going around, one important fact keeps getting overlooked.

An article from WKRC quotes a University of Louisville political science professor who explained that these petitions aren’t uncommon. Similar petitions were filed following the 2004 and 2008 elections.
[Note: The article in the quoted link actually says it was the 2000 and 2008 elections. Neither article actually directly quotes – or even names – the professor they claim to be citing, so take that for what it’s worth.]

So, really, none of this is actually new. It seems to happen pretty much every election cycle. I bet if we looked back at 1996 and before, we’d see the same thing, but the internet has made it both more visible and caused more signatures to be collected.

So, basically, it’s not going to happen. Everyone can take a deep breath and relax now, it’s just the legacy media blowing a non-issue entirely out of proportion, yet again. Probably in an attempt to keep people distracted from the economy now that the elections are over.


[Source: Yahoo! News blog post, retrieved 11/12/12]

That debate thing last night

Yeah, I watched it. I wish I hadn’t. That’s 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back.

Biden came off as a jerk right from the start, with his constant mocking grin and barely restrained laughter during Ryan’s responses, and his almost as constant but more consistent interrupting and forcibly talking over Ryan. He spent a good part of the debate “shouting” down his opponent rather than debating. At least the grins and laughter faded away a bit towards the end.

Ryan came off as calm, prepared, and willing to have a civilized debate on the issues, but this same civilized behaviour allowed Biden to overpower him and appear stronger. He did call out Biden on the near-constant interruptions at one point. He later obviously started to lose his temper over it while they were discussing troop drawdowns in Afghanistan, but recovered pretty quickly. I do get the feeling they were edging towards classified (or at least sensitive) information about troop deployments, and Ryan wanted to say more but was unwilling to cross that line, leaving Biden to claim a rhetorical victory there. Of course, Biden had to interrupt and talk over Ryan to get the last word in in that exchange, but that last word was enough.

Ryan made a tactical blunder early on in bringing up the gentleman who lost his family in a car accident, considering that Biden lost his wife and daughter the same way in 1972. He also didn’t seem to do a good job of articulating why he couldn’t get more specific about his ticket’s economic plan when asked (which I think boiled down to “we have a general framework, but can’t really be specific until we start negotiating it with Congress”), and didn’t do a good job responding to Biden’s question about how they disagreed with the administration’s timeline for troop withdrawals after saying they agree with the administration’s timeline for troop withdrawals (he said it – that the administration shouldn’t be making such a timeline either public or absolute, but that the Romney campaign agreed with the proposed timing – but Biden managed to drown that out so that it probably didn’t register with most viewers).

He also managed to miss a golden opportunity to emphasize a point Romney apparently made during the previous debate about how many small business owners’ incomes are taxed before they pay expenses, so that the theoretical small business owner “making” $250,000 only takes home about $50,000, but gets taxed on – and reported as earning – the full million (someone did a really good post on this after the last debate, and I’d really like to link to it, but I can’t find the darned thing).

The moderator was pretty useless, except when she was debating Ryan directly, which is absolutely inappropriate behaviour for a moderator. A five year old could do better with 5 minutes instruction. Her refusal to rein in Biden’s interruptions, and her direct engagement against Ryan on at least one occasion, are what has earned this post the “Media Bias” tag.

All in all, I’d have been better off spending that two hours playing Star Wars: The Old Republic.


A Friendly Reminder

As more information comes out about the Colorado theater shooter, please keep in mind these two things:

  1. The Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect – The media will freely spout off on subjects they know nothing about, and without doing even basic research. You know this, and you see it anytime you read an article about a subject you have personal knowledge about. Why would you assume they suddenly know what they’re talking about on a subject you don’t have personal knowledge about?
  2. The media lies – Good grief, just look at how they’ve handled the Trayvon Martin shooting, or anything to do with gun control? Whether it’s to further a political agenda, or simply to draw in readers by stirring up controversy, they are perfectly willing to deliberately and blatantly lie. DON’T TRUST THEM.


An April 16 victim’s mother speaks out… in support of guns on campus.

Holly Adams, mother of Leslie Adams, one of the 32 victims of the Virginia Tech massacre, speaks out against the likes of Colin Goddard and other anti-Rights activists. I received this on Monday – the fifth anniversary of the shootings – by email from VCDL, and I will reproduce her entire statement here.

On April 16, 2007, my child, Leslie Sherman, was killed by Seung-Hui Cho during the Virginia Tech massacre.  Today is the fifth anniversary of her death.  Always in my memories, every day I wish that this tragedy was a nightmare and I could wake up to hold my daughter even if it is just one more time.  That opportunity might have been possible if someone been able to defend and protect my daughter in her classroom before Cho took 30 precious lives.

There is an unfortunate drive for more gun control and the continuation of preventing guns on campus by parents whose children lived or survived during that fatal day.  Several family members of those victims have actively voiced their support for increased gun control measures.  As result, it has been assumed that they speak for all families of the Virginia Tech victims.  I am writing this to make it clear that this is not the case.  They do not represent me and my views.

Speaking for myself, I would give anything if someone on campus; a professor, one of the trained military or guardsman taking classes or another student could have saved my daughter by shooting Cho before he killed our loved ones.  Because professors, staff and students are precluded from protecting themselves on campus, Cho, a student at Virginia Tech himself, was able to simply walk on campus and go on a killing rampage with no worry that anyone would stop him.

I ask a simple question:  Would the other parents of victims be forever thankful if a professor or student was allowed to carry a firearm and could have stopped Seung-Hui Cho before their loved one was injured or killed?  I would be. I also suspect that the tragedy may not have occurred at all if Cho knew that either faculty members or students were permitted to carry their own weapons on campus.  Cho took his own life before campus police were able to reach him and put a stop to his killing spree.

A sad testament to this anniversary date is the number of similar killings in schools and public places that have taken place afterwards as if nothing has changed to help prevent such needless and heartbreaking events.  That is why I fully support the VCDL in their outstanding efforts to help prevent this type of tragedy and loss from occurring in the future.

Holly Adams

Given who is making the statement, and in order to keep it a faithful reproduction, I will make an exception to my normal policy of redacting the killer’s name.

This statement stands on its own. It is, in it’s entirety, today’s quote of the day. I can add nothing, except to note that you won’t see the mainstream media printing this, or even acknowledging its existence.


(h/t to SayUncle and Robb Allen for reminding me about this.

The Media Lies: Part II – The Dowdification of George Zimmerman

Les Jones did a post based on a comment I made at Weer’d’s blog, and I thought I should probably do my own post on it as a follow-up to yesterday’s post. It’s a contemporary and easily verified example of the media lying by misquoting, in what can only be a deliberately misleading and malicious attempt by MSNBC to paint George Zimmerman as an unapologetic and open racist.

“This guy looks like he’s up to no good … he looks black,” Zimmerman told a police dispatcher from his car.

The thing is, that’s not really what he said. If you look at the transcript of the 911 call, or listen to the recording, you can easily see that for yourself. And while the words MSNBC published did come from Zimmerman, you’ll see that an important part of that conversation is missing. A part that makes what he actually said incredibly different.

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

Dispatcher: Okay, is this guy, is he white, black, or hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

That paints an entirely different picture, doesn’t it? One that’s far less damning to Zimmerman in the court of public opinion.

If they’re going to lie that brazenly about something that’s so easily verifiable, what else are they lying about, in this case and in others? I and others pointed out the problem with their quote in comments at their site four days ago, but it has not been changed and no retraction or correction has been published that I am aware of. This means it can only have been deliberate.

Do not trust the news media. Whether it’s to boost their ratings, to advance their political agenda, or simply because they’re too lazy to learn the truth, they cannot be trusted.


[Source: U.S. News on MSNBC.com article, retrieved 3/23/12 (for my comment at Weer’d World) and again on 3/27/12]
[Source: Examiner.com transcription of George Zimmerman’s 911 call, retrieved 3/23/12 (for my comment at Weer’d World) and again on 3/27/12]

(h/t SayUncle)

Remember, the news media lies

… and sometimes we don’t learn about it until 40 years later.

Kitty Genovese was beaten, stabbed, raped, and killed in full view of dozens of New Yorkers on March 13, 1964. It became an infamous case, an example of urban disinterest and apathy. Nobody called the cops. Nobody cared. She was horribly killed in front of people who just didn’t want to get involved.


Or is that really how it really went? Again, not exactly.

Most of the basic elements of the story are accurate. Miss Genovese was stabbed to death while crying “help me!” by apartments containing 38 people. One witness later on admitted that he “didn’t want to get involved.” But here’s the rest of the story.

See, it turns out that the attack happened at 3am, only one person was woken up to witness it, she was only attacked twice, and one of those attacks was in a secluded location where nobody could see it.

Go. Read. Learn.

And remember how the media lies. Remember that story (any story) you saw on a subject you know about, and how they got easily researched information totally wrong? Why do you then trust them to get the details right on the very next story? This is known to many as the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect.

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. 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. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story-and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

Remember all this when you hear all the news media reporting about how the “racist monster” Zimmerman “stalked and chased down” Treyvon Martin and “killed him in cold blood”. When you go and look at the verifiable facts (police reports, 911 tapes, etc.) and compare them to what is being reported by the media, two things become apparent.

  1. The media is lying through it’s teeth, by omission, by malicious misquoting, and by the use of images designed to prompt specific reactions and biases.
  2. What actually happened is not as clear-cut as most people believe.

I think Tam has the best summary of what is known.

An honest assessment would say that this is what we know:

  1. Zimmerman was out doing his neighborhood watch thing and saw Martin.
  2. He called 911 and followed Martin in his vehicle.
  3. When Martin walked someplace that Zimmerman couldn’t follow in his vehicle, he got out of his vehicle and followed on foot.
  4. ???
  5. In the process of getting his ass beaten, Zimmerman busts a cap in Martin.

The entire case turns on what happened in the ???, but don’t tell that to the media, the folks playing poker with a deck full of race cards, the victim disarmament crowd, or apparently the frickin’ President of the United States of America.

Note that the police and prosecutors are saying that they are not releasing all the evidence in order to protect the investigation and prosecution. This is normal procedure in any investigation where there is a possibility of charges being filed. So, how about everybody drink a big glass of calm the frell down and wait until all of the real facts are known before calling for Zimmerman’s public lynching? And while you’re at it try and remember how our legal system is supposed to work, too – they have to be able to prove that Zimmerman did something to nullify his self-defense claims, not just say “no it wasn’t”.


[Source: Word Around the Net blog, retrieved 3/26/12]
[Source: Seeker Blog, retrieved 3/26/12]
[Source: View From The Porch, retrieved 3/26/12]

(h/t Firehand)

Broken thought process

Courtesy of GayCynic, we see an example at the Seattle Times of the broken thought processes of the Anti-Rights crowd.

An 8-year-old Bremerton girl was shot and seriously injured at her elementary school. Separately, an unloaded handgun was found in the backpack of a Seattle middle-school student.

In the Bremerton case, police believe a 9-year-old classmate got the handgun during a visit with his mother, a felon whose right to own a firearm has been revoked. The gun was in his backpack when it accidentally discharged.

Guns are already banned at school. But it is appalling that a third-grader was able to get the gun at his mother’s house. Safe gun storage might have prevented it.

The quoted editorial article is calling for the Washington state legislature to enact a trigger lock law.

Now, ignoring the inherent stupidity of trigger locks for a moment, how on earth do they reconcile “the mother broke the law against felons possessing a firearm” and “the mother would have obeyed a safe storage law”? While they are not really mutually exclusive, they are pretty contradictory. If she’s breaking the law by having the gun in the first place, why would she care about obeying a law regarding how it should be stored? There’s been a significant failure in their critical thinking process.

Criminals who are actively breaking laws tend to not worry about any other laws they might be breaking at the same time. Duh.


[Source: Seattle Times editorial, retrieved 3/9/12]

(h/t – GayCynic at FreeThinker)

The Manipulative “Mainstream” Media

I’d like you to go check out this story, at ABC News (warning: the video at that link starts automatically). You’ll have to scroll to the end of the print story to see the video.

Go ahead, you’ll need to see it to see what I’m talking about here. Done? Good.

The blatantly manipulative focus of this really ticked me off.

First, I’d like to explain three things about how gas stations set prices.*

  1. Stations do not set prices based on what they paid for what is currently in the tanks, but what they expect to pay to replace what is currently in the tanks.
  2. Most convenience stations make little to no profit on gas. The gas is there to draw customers in so they will buy drinks, snacks, and other items, which is their main source of profit. Gas prices are set at a level that will offset their costs, and maybe (hopefully) make a very minimal profit. Service stations use a similar model with their profits coming from repairs, and the gas being used mainly as advertising.
  3. Prices are usually changed when the station’s tanks are filled. It may also be changed when there is a sharp change in the supplier’s price that changes the anticipated cost of replacing what is currently in the tanks. (i.e., “We expected it would cost us $3.45/gal when we refill the tanks next week, and the supplier is already charging $3.50/gal. We need to raise the price to $3.50/gal now or we won’t be able to afford to fill the tanks next week.”)

Those are just some of the factors that go into how gas stations set the price for gas. Of course, chains like Kroger or Sheetz, that have their own corporate distributors, have other factors to take into account. Now, let’s take a look at that video.

First, I want you to notice something right at the beginning. Look at that sign behind the field reporter. See how the numbers are blinking? That means someone inside is putting a new price into the system, right at the start of the report. Yet the news people then act surprised that the price has changed during the report! My guess? They found a station that was receiving a delivery to use as a background for the report, and waited for the sign to start blinking before starting, so that it would change during the report.

Notice the bit where they say the price “shot up 16 cents in just 3 hours”? Yes, that’s a pretty big change to happen in one day, but it’s not like it went up by 1 cent every 11 minutes – it really went up 16 cents in one jump. That’s how gas prices change, all in one jump. At a guess, I would say that particular station probably didn’t raise prices when they should have, and had to make a bigger increase to offset a loss on the previous load of gas (remember my earlier points).

“Price gouging” at Lake Buena Vista, FL? They conveniently “forgot” to mention that that’s where the Walt Disney World Resort is located. Everything is more expensive around Disney. Plus, due to the large tourism factor, I would expect higher prices there due to higher demand. How much more than the rest of the country do they normally run?

Notice that they’re doing this story from Los Angeles? Even though they do show the average national price, they chose to make the bulk of the story in the part of the country with the very highest prices, without actually mentioning that fact.

Gas theft is nothing new, and while they make a big deal out of it, they don’t make any assertion that it’s actually increasing due to the rising prices.

Then there’s the whole “profit” sequence. Sure, for every $50 spent at the pump, the oil companies might be getting $30.75. But notice what they don’t say? How much of that is profit, and how much is offsetting costs? The $6.00 in taxes they mention? I bet that’s only the taxes assessed at the pump, not what the oil companies and refineries are assessed for taxes before it gets to the pumps. How much of that ~$31 are the oil companies spending on storage and infrastructure? How much on delivery? How much on regulatory compliance and government mandated paperwork? But no, ABC presents that as if it’s all profit.

And then we get to the true setup. “ZOMG, it’s too unbelievable to believe! The price behind me went up ten cents just while we were doing this report!!1!11!!!eleventyone!!!11!!”

Of course it did. YOU SET IT UP THAT WAY! The only part that might have been a surprise was how much, but you knew it was going to change when you started, and “up” was a pretty safe bet.

False outrage and manipulation of the facts by the media, in order to create bias and further an agenda. Quelle surprise!

Look, I’m not arguing that gas prices are getting higher and higher, or even that they’re getting ridiculously high, but this kind of reporting is just plain dishonest. That’s what pisses me off the most.


* I am not directly familiar with this process, having never been personally involved in operating a gas station. I am basing this off what I have been told by friends who either worked at or were involved in the management of gas stations. If I am wrong about something, please feel free to correct me in comments, and I will correct the post as necessary.

[Source: ABC News story, retrieved 2/23/12]

The Magical Thinking of the Anti-Rights Cult

We often talk about how the anti-Rights cultists* – and specifically the ones who oppose the Right to Keep and Bear Arms – continually push the idea that banning firearms in a location (parks, schools, libraries, post offices, banks, etc.) will prevent criminals from shooting people in those places. Those of us with a grasp of logic, human behaviour, and science like to call this viewpoint “magical thinking.” It is the irrational idea that passing a law – in other words, putting words on paper –  will control the behaviour of those who are already willing to violate other laws against murder, rape, assault, or robbery.

We see a particularly egregious** example of this in this article about the recent murder of a National Park Ranger in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington.

The shooting renewed debate about a federal law that made it legal for people to take loaded weapons into Mount Rainier. The 2010 law made possession of firearms in national parks subject to state gun laws.

Bill Wade, the outgoing chair of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, said Congress should be regretting its decision to allow loaded weapons in national parks.

He called Sunday’s fatal shooting a tragedy that could have been prevented. He hopes Congress will reconsider the law that took effect in early 2010, but doubts that will happen in today’s political climate. [emphasis mine – Jake]

He believes (or claims to) that somehow a law against possessing a gun in national parks would have stopped someone on the run from the police after shooting multiple people from bringing his gun into the park, so that it would have been impossible for him to shoot the ranger. And he expects other people to believe this irrational assertion, too.

Shooting people (outside of certain specific circumstances such as self-defense) is illegal. Fleeing from the police is illegal. There is some (currently unconfirmed) speculation that it may have been illegal for him to possess a firearm at all. None of these laws prevented him from doing any of those things, some more than once. How would one more law have stopped him?

Laws prohibiting the possession of guns (or alcohol, or drugs, or anything else) only stop the law abiding. They do nothing to stop those who ignore the law, they only provide a basis for punishment after the fact. A law against carrying guns in national parks would have done nothing to prevent this murder, and anyone who claims otherwise is simply denying reality.


* Yes, it is a cult.

** Made even more egregious by the timing – just one day after her death, which is in itself an example of the common anti-Rights cultists’ practice of “blood-dancing” – and by the AP’s bias-induced failure to provide an opposing viewpoint.

[Source: AP article on FoxNews.com, retrieved 1/3/12]

(h/t Sean Sorrentino)

Ignore Fast & Furious

because Mike Vanderboegh ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, etc.

So says Mother Jones.

Good grief.


(h/t SayUncle)

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