Wednesday, April 30, 2008

This Is Heartening

My man Fred! is back on the campaign trail for John McCain. At the risk of committing a bit of sacrilegious paraphrasticism, if Fred be for him, who can be against him?

In other news, it took me about 10 tries to spell "sacrilegious" correctly. Also, from now on, I will only pronounce this in the correct manner as "sac-ril-LEE-jus". Maybe, just to be pedantic, I'll even throw in that last "i" as its own syllable and say "sac-ril-LEE-gee-us".

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama and Wright

I haven't said much about the whole Barack Hussein Obama/Rev. Wright thing here; others out there in the blogosphere are doing a vastly more thorough job than I could ever hope to do (just peruse The Corner, The Campaign Spot, Hugh Hewitt, or a whole host of other blogs for a small sampling). But here's the big kicker for me: as previously noted many times over, Obama has had 20 years with this pastor, and plenty of time to reject his radical preaching, and yet he has not. Currently, there are calls for him to publicly "disown" Rev. Wright in what could be the Mother of All Sister Souljah Moments. Some are saying this could be effective in repairing his downward-spiraling campaign.

But I must disagree. One of the things I have mentioned here in passing is that I have, in the past, had slight misgivings about my own pastor, who by all accounts is a fantastic and inspiring preacher (frankly, the most inspiring pastor I've ever had the privilege to listen to -- one day I'll have to post about my esteem for him). Part of this has to do with his occasional citing of questionable theologians and sources; another part is his subject matter, which is more oriented toward societal betterment through acting out Christ's teachings, rather than focusing on sin and its consequences. Now typically, many of these quotes are used not to score some theological point, but merely to illustrate a principle with anecdotal evidence. Likewise, I think it's my own background as a Southern Baptist congregant that has me missing the hellfire and dalmatians to which I was formerly so accustomed.

But my point is this: I am constantly on guard that a) my pastor, and by extension, my church, is teaching orthodox Christianity, and that b) the pastor is not using the pulpit as his own personal soapbox for advancing a political agenda that is contrary to my own views (after making sure that my own views are reconciled to Scriptural authority, of course). I filter everything I hear him say through these lenses. The minute I theoretically find that a line has been crossed, it would be my duty as the spiritual head of my household to move us to more appropriate place. I have a responsibility to ensure that the spiritual nourishment of my own family is not tainted milk, after all (Aside: I don't want to give the impression that I go to some hippie liberal church or anything. To date, my pastor has passed my scrutiny resoundingly).

Mr. Hussein-Obama has just such a responsibility with his own family, and doubly so as an aspiring, wannabe-shrewd politician. And in 20 years, either a) nothing impacted his ears that sounded so bombastic or radical as to require him to disassociate himself with such rhetoric, or b) he lacked the spiritual courage to stand up for his own personal and familial well-being upon hearing such fiery speechifyin'. And either way, that says a terrible lot about him that no "Sister Souljah Moment" can rectify.

Addendum: This is my 200th post! Not bad for 2.5 years of blogging... that's a post every 4.5 days or so, on average, just for you, my dear readers! And that doesn't even factor in my recent productivity elsewhere in the blogosphere...

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Mere Words Are Not Enough

The above I post without comment, just because it's been a while since I've really geeked out over here. It's not an election year in California, is it? Because I'd hate to be accused of giving an in-kind contribution or anything...

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This Isn't The Candidate You're Looking For

...said with all the flourish of a true Jedi master. But I digress. Just this morning on the way to work, I was telling my wife (being a one-car family, we "carpool") that I, and I think many if not most Republicans, would love the opportunity to vote for serious a black candidate -- if only he were, you know, a true conservative, and not crazy. Alan Keyes is not that man. And now it looks like he's not even the man for the (please try not to laugh) "Constitution Party"!


Seriously, Double-Yew-Tee-Eff?

Yesterday I commented on, inter alia, the relatively recent rash of female-teacher-with-student trysts in the media as a possible portent of the Eschaton. Another day, another story. This time, though, I've got a different angle: the woman in this article was arrested a second time!!!, while out on bail, for returning to one of her former precocious lovers, and of course getting the proverbial "it" proverbially "on", as it were. So my angle? If this were a man involved with a younger female (or, even ickier, a younger male?), he would be locked up tight in a jail cell with no possibility of coming within a few parsecs of the preteen paramour. And yet, this woman was free on her own recognizance to not only visit the kid, but had the opportunity (where are this child's parents? Seriously?) to make that visit a bit more than just a chance to "talk about the crime", as the article indicates. Double standard much?


Monday, April 28, 2008

The Restrainer Restraining No More?

My current daily Scriptural readings are from Revelation (those who call it "Revelations", please leave now), so the End of Days are, naturally, on my mind. Now, I'm of two minds when it comes to eschatology. The backwoods fundie in me (which, I confess, is no small part) is just waiting for the first signs of an impending astronomical encounter of meteoric proportions (and for the first crackpot to dub it "Wormwood"), and wouldn't be too terribly surprised to see a new and particularly nasty breed of insect in my lifetime. Meanwhile, my rationalist side keeps insisting in a Dawkins-esque tone that the entire book was simply a coded message relevant primarily to the First Century church about the Roman Empire (note: fortunately, my faith is strong enough that the obvious third way of "ravings of a madman in exile on a penal island" doesn't enter into it). My rationalist side can be a real jerk sometimes.

But this post isn't about Revelation or the prophetic words therein. Rather, it's about a somewhat uncharacteristic passage in an otherwise standard, if short, Epistle from Paul to the church in Thessaloniki. In whole, the passage reads:
1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Now, there's a whole treasure-trove of theological and eschatological gold in there, but what I really want to focus on are the parts I emphasized above. Before the coming of the "man of lawlessness" (generally viewed to be the Antichrist), some entity who restrains this lawlessness must be removed. Generally, I've always understood this to be the Holy Spirit as applied to humanity as a whole (keeping us from engaging our basest instincts on a regular basis) rather than just to believers.

Why does this come to my mind? Well, I frequently read stories in the news like this, in which an Austrian man kept his own daughter secretly imprisoned in his basement for 24 years, repeatedly subjecting her to the worst forms of sick abuse, or this, one of many sad stories of late in which a teacher treats the students under her care as her sexual playthings, and they keep appearing with increasing frequency. And like most sane people, I begin to wonder "why on earth would people do something like that? Why would they think it's okay to do it? Where would they even get that idea?". And then that passage pops into my mind.

What if this cycle of sick perversion is a manifestation of The Restrainer being removed? What if that safeguard instilled by God to keep us from complete moral, cultural, and societal destruction is being "phased out"? It would certainly go a long way in explaining why these genuine atrocities keep cropping up.

On the other hand, perhaps these sorts of things have been happening throughout human history. Perhaps the recent prevalence of them is merely a byproduct of the 24-hour news cycle. Cable News has got to fill every hour, so suddenly what was once relegated to the local police as a domestic situation, and heard about only through the local gossip-mills, now makes national and international headlines in an otherwise slow news day. After all, the last century featured some of the worst and unrestrained degradation ever seen by mankind, and we're still here.

Whatever the answer is, the backwoods fundie in me is keeping his eyes peeled for a man of lawlessness.

This post was cross-posted at Mazurland.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's Come To This

If the hard Left calls conservatives "baby killers" and equates George W. Bush with Adolph Hitler, can't we at least now refer to all lefties as "cripple punchers"?


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This Concerns Me

Rising sea levels? I live inland. Increasing temperatures? I used to live in Texas, and now I live in Pennsylvania. Bring it on! Food scarcity? Not in this country, at least in my lifetime. Chaos in the street? My family has more guns than it could possibly need, and a remote cabin (tree farm/deer camp) with indoor plumbing in SW Arkansas. So Global Warming Alarmism, so far, hasn't scared me, even if the most worrisome jeremiads of The Goracle come true.

But overwhelming infestations of poisonous spiders? Holy freaking crap, now I'm terrified! Head for the hills! Carbon cap-and-trade! Buy a Prius! Eat more tofu! All hail our new supreme overlord Albert Gore!

Lord help me, I HATE spiders.

Update: Whew, I'm safe. New Ice Age instead! Which ought to keep me safe from everthing... except ICE SPIDERS!!!!!


Well, I Dun It

Well, yesterday was the big day in PA, so with somewhat mitigated pride I pulled the now-metaphorical level (actually, pressed the flashing red button on the fancy-shmancy e-leck-tronical DEE-vise). Despite my threats to switch parties for strategic reasons, or write in a certain other someone, I performed my democratic duty with no small portion of party loyalty and solidarity, and pressed the button for Senator John McCain, may God bless him and give him victory.

Voter turnout was surprisingly sparse at my precinct. Granted, I left work a bit early, and got there right at 5:00, but there was only one person ahead of me in line. And since a friend of mine was working the check-in table, that was pretty swift as well. While Obama signs throughout my town were plentiful, Obama support at the polling places seemed very light -- no sign-holders anywhere to be seen, and in fact local races dominated the signage. There was a crowd of Hillary demonstrators at the entrance to the neighborhood in the morning, and two sad, lonely Obama-supporting college students holding up pathetically small signs near the entrance to the University where I work, but apart from that, the rabble was not particularly roused.

Locally, the only race of any importance was the nomination for the fifth congressional district of PA. I voted for the family-values/pro-life Baptist preacher/former lawyer with 9 kids (7 adopted from troubled/abusive homes). He ended up with about half as many votes as the winner, who based on his scant biographical information smells like a career politician. The weekly email from our pastor indicated that he too voted for my choice, which made me feel a lot better about my pastor (I suppose Baptist preachers gotta stick together). He rarely mentions a pro-life message in his sermons (mostly because he likes to stay apolitical to the extreme), so the fact that he picked the guy who made it his own platform speaks well on that front. AND it indicates that my pastor is a registered Republican, since PA has a closed primary. Which also alleviates some concerns of mine, since he sometimes quotes some shaky theologians (Tony Campolo, Slick Willie's personal, and apparently wholly ineffective "spiritual counselor" while he was President, for example). So, hey, that's good.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Real Laff Riot

That bastion of independent, unbiased journalism, the BBC, has written up a great howler of a "news article" (note I did not say "opinion piece", but, in fact, an objective, ostensibly fact-based news article). The subject matter is the call by a Muslim group for the world to adopt "Mecca Time" as the standard for all timekeeping rather than Greenwich Mean Time. The article itself digs a little deeper and also discusses the phenomenon of Ijaz al-Koran, the attempt to point to the Koran as preceding and confirming modern scientific findings.

Now, this can certainly be a newsworthy piece of factual information, particularly in our information-obsessed age where any tidbit is worthy of a quick and painless post on the Web somewhere. But here's the greatest screamer of all, right at the end:
But the movement is not without its critics, who say that the notion that modern science was revealed in the Koran confuses spiritual truth, which is constant, and empirical truth, which depends on the state of science at any given point in time.
Yes. The only mistake of the "scholars" is that they dare muddle the absolute truths of the Koran with the silly little flights of fancy that science has to offer*. And this was the only criticism the author could find, or even imagine. This, in a news item. Hey BBC? Next time you want an unbiased piece about something like this, hire somebody just a teensy sconch less committed to Islamic Supremacy.

*Far be it from me to pull a Derb here -- I don't think true faith and science are incompatible at all

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Monday, April 21, 2008

I Review "Juno"

Movin' On Up...

Big news for the Redshirt: I've been invited to become a co-blogger/peon over at Mazurland! The Brothers Mazur have decided that, once again, it's time to expand their authorship roster, and have extended the offer to me, since I like to comment there, rather copiously. That, and I work with one of the brothers. And of course, since they have like TENS more readers than I do, I accepted the offer, so as to expand my audience all that much more.

But fear not, loyal Redshirt readers! I don't intend, just yet, to forgo the proprietorship of this fine blog! As readers may recall, one of the founding principles of this blog was that of my love of sci-fi and its ilk, and I certainly intend to keep posting on that here. Similarly, all personal and family-related posts (maybe some day I'll get to do more globe-trotting-Sam-blogging!) will remain here. I'll also probably cross-post a good number of my political and social comments between the two. As for my Christian-themed posts, well, I haven't yet decided which would be the more appropriate venue yet. Mazurland is certainly not afraid of the occasional God-blogging, but as Marty's imprimatur tends to cause the place to veer Roman Catholic (not that there's anything wrong with that, and Sam, if you don't have anything nice to say in the comments, don't say anything), I may leave the more evangelical-centric comments here. Time will tell.

So again, fear not, loyal reader(s?)! This is not a departure, merely a stage of growth.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Birds of a Feather, Doing What They Do

Some fellow (or gal, I can't tell) named "Cuffy" over at a neat little (and by "little" I mean "still bigger and probably more widely read than this blog") blog called Perfunction has posted this interesting compilation of quotes regarding the "pulling of licenses" from various broadcasters for the crime of (politcally) offensive speech, running the gamut from DailyKossacks reacting to last night's sad little cockfight, predictably through latter-day former-Soviet nation states, all the way back to our own dear actually-in-power Democrats. Go give it a read.

The thought that struck me the most was how, despite being so different in presentation (e.g., the smiley-faced socialism of the US versus the gray bureaucracy of the former USSR, versus the stark militarism of present-day Cuba and North Korea), Leftists always display a remarkable, even admirable consistency in thought, rhetoric, and tactics.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Stunning Realization

After meditating on the meaninglessness of Barack Hussein Obama's rhetoric, and reading more about it from other sources, I was just struck with the sudden realization: somehow, Mr. Hussein Obama planted the seeds for his own fame years ago, as the voice and writer of

Turn your speakers on and listen.

(For the uninitiated, has been around for YEARS. It predates the end of the internet boom, even. It was especially funny back then in the milieu of unrestrained optimism about the potential of the internet. I know a joke is often a lot less funny if it has to be explained, but otherwise the connection would just be too random.).

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Tax Day!

Just some idle musings about taxes on this most obnoxious of days:

I'm not the first to say this, but I really wish national elections were held on April 16. Then again, PA's primaries are a week from today, and it doesn't seem to make a lick of difference about whom the parties select for November, considering our already outrageous tax burden.

When, as a people, did our collective consciousness finally become okay with the concept of a government who takes our money willy-nilly, and keeps claiming the right to more and more of our property? And why aren't we outraged at this?

The above complaint outrages me even more at the state and local level. Local jerks who up and decide that they, too, deserve a slice of our pie just mandate that we have to pay a certain percent in tribute to them. It's aggravating.

I'm also not the first to say this, but I think tax software and automatic tax withholding are bad things, despite the fact that I use both. They make the taxation process practically transparent to all but the most careful of observers, making it less likely that we'll sit down and realize just how big a slice the government is taking from our pie, and how complicated they make the procedure! We should be forced to write a check for our entire tax burden, either monthly or yearly. That way we'd know damn well just how much the government is garnishing our wages for their stupid pet projects. And itemized proportionate list of where our tax money is going, provided by the government as a receipt, would also be handy. And the tax software, God bless it, just enables the IRS to create all-the-more complicated tax rules that only computer software can handle! The more complicated the tax code, the less able we are to complain about specifics...

Despite all my complaints, tax resisters are fools at best and charlatans at worst. Going to jail for a cause can be good, but not when it's based on ridiculously flawed argument.

Also despite all my complaints, I know that I am Biblically required to pay taxes, whether the burden be just or not. So I will do so, without cheating, for the rest of my life. But I see nothing wrong with taking every legal remedy to reducing that burden!

I got a rather large "refund" this year. I did last year too, and could have increased my withholding allowances to "break even", which is supposedly the ideal way to do things. Nevertheless, I did not do so -- I like the psychological effect of receiving a large check of my money from the government. Hooray for a mortgage, a kid, and a tithe!

The logic behind "breaking even" on tax day is that you received all "your" money with each paycheck, thus being able to invest it at the time, rather than after tax day -- gaining potential interest on that income rather than allowing the government to do so. Wouldn't it be more optimal, then, to withhold NO money, and invest all the surplus (that will eventually be "harvested" on tax day) into some sort of safe investment account, only to withdraw the principle and "give it back" to the government on April 15, keeping the interest profit for yourself? Wouldn't that be something akin to a short-term, interest-free loan? Is there a flaw in this logic? Maybe a tax rule that prevents this? Because I'm thinking about it...

I take my tax refund and pay my real-estate taxes with it, which in turn reduces my tax burden for the following year. It's a vicious (and stupid) cycle. Sort of like robbing Peter to pay Paul, down at the microscopic level.

More than that, I will also use my upcoming tax "rebate" (Thanks, Dubya!) to pay down my real-estate tax burden, thus totally and completely defeating the point. Am I screwing the economy? Probably, but oh well.

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Obama's Beautiful Blunder

So by now you've read it, had it parsed, sliced, diced, julienned, and rehashed a hundred times over. But for the sake of discussion, here's his famous quote in all its smug, out-of-touch, elitistsnobbish glory (as quoted by Tim Blair):
"They get bitter," said Obama of the poor people, to an audience of millionaires, "and they cling to guns, or religion, or antipathy toward people who aren't like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
From all that I've read about this infamous quote, nobody has really taken it to task for its utter lack of significance, at least in parts.

Let's take it in parts, since the "or" implies that each constituent component of this litany of redneck-isms may be treated individually. From the very start: "They get bitter, and they cling to guns... as a way to explain their frustrations." Just what is this supposed to mean? Guns... explain their frustrations? Huh?

Next we have "They get bitter, and they cling to ...religion... as a way to explain their frustrations." I think this is the component that has produced the most furor, so I'll just say what's already been said: maybe some people actually, you know, already have faith and don't need an excuse of joblessness to turn to it. Just maybe (although I think this quote says it all).

Following that, "They get bitter, and they cling to ...antipathy toward people who aren't like them... as a way to explain their frustrations." Ok, this is the least disease-ridden fly on Barack Hussein Obama's massive turd. I'll grant him at least that racism is a bad thing. Do people become racist when they lose their jobs, though? Somehow, I don't think so, unless you couple that with the following "anti-immigration" statement, and then it's only racism directed toward immigrant laborers -- and considering Obama's racial focus as The Black Candidate, I think that's unlikely. Racism is a learned behavior, and then most often learned in childhood, not after a bitter job loss. And if the "people that aren't like them" are, say, Islamic radicals, then maybe, just maybe, it has more to do with the chopping-of-the-heads, and less to do with their current unemployment.

Then we have "They get bitter, and they cling to ...anti-immigrant sentiment... as a way to explain their frustrations." I won't say more than has already been said here except to point out that, by and large, it's the anti-illegal-immigrant sentiment that is really being discussed here. Why is that word always omitted? Can it be that it might somehow diminish their arguments to state them truthfully?

Finally, "They get bitter, and they cling to ...anti-trade sentiment... as a way to explain their frustrations." Wait, what? According to my sources, Barack Hussein Obama is currently *shakes Magic 8-Ball* FOR protectionist measures. Maybe he's cycled back into free trade this week? Has he laid off another advisor to account for this? Seriously, if Mr. Hussein Obama were a principled free-trade advocate, he'd at least have a strong point here. But we know that he's not, so, down to the last point, he's speaking pure gibberish.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

God Bless 'Em

Fox News currently has the following headline running on the front page: "Terrorists Confirm Carter Meeting". Following the link therein, we come to the actual article title, "Hamas Confirms: Carter To Meet Terrorist Leader".

This, folks, is why conservatives, including myself, love Fox News so much: they're willing to call a thug a thug, and a terrorist a terrorist -- oh, and to point out the foibles of America's Worst Ex-President™ while they're at it!

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The More You Know

Despite having a two-year-old well-progressed into the vaccination calendar, I have largely let the recent "antivaccination" "movement" fall under my radar -- that is, until very recently. The general, and completely unsupported, claim is that there is a link between vaccination and autism -- typically explained by the "toxic" ingredients that serve as preservatives, binding agents, antibacterials, etc., in the vaccines. Originally, Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, was blamed as the culprit -- until it was removed in 2001 and autism continued unabated in the population.

Well, recently, it came more to my attention, when I found out that a friend who had recently had a kid was considering not getting all the vaccinations -- at the urging of his wife, who absorbs daytime TV like a sponge, where this movement is unfortunately attracting a considerable audience.

Anywho, I could rant and rant and rant about the mortally dangerous stupidity of this so-called "movement", using terms like "herd immunity" and "diagnostic broadening and substitution", and concepts like "correlation does not equal causation" or "the plural of anecdote is not data" or "the dose makes the poison", and I could even point out that autism incidence only began to rise when it became its own category of diagnosis for federal funding purposes. I could, but I won't, because it'll just make me angry and upset, and I haven't had my coffee yet this morning. So instead, I'll just link to this article here speaking out against the idiocy of antivaccination advocacy at the execrable Huffington Post, and another one, pointing out the sheer stupidity that occurs when one has Jenny "Yeah, I Remember Seeing Naked Pictures Of Her Back When I Was In College" McCarthy as a primary spokes-mom.


Monday, April 07, 2008

A Quick and Superficial Thought on the Second Amendment

A good friend of mine, who is a lawyer, and who is thoroughly familiar with "Con-law", has made it clear to me that the one thing that words in a statute CANNOT mean is "nothing". That is to say, if the words find their way into law, those words must, necessarily, contribute to the meaning and interpretation of that law (said friend illustrates this point with an amusing anecdote about how a trivial, one-word, and almost certainly inadvertent difference in a state law compared to its federal equivalent resulted in all sorts of activist judicial shenanigans -- wish I could remember the full story).

Well, this point of legal interpretation seems to be very important, considering the potential of the upcoming ruling in the D.C. vs. Heller case. Hinging on the SCOTUS' interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, it is widely thought that this ruling will settle, somewhat finally, whether the 2nd Amendment grants a collective (boo!) or individual (yay!) right to bear arms. One of the points that the arm-chair gun-grabbers (that is to say, the non-professionals) like to think they make is the first few words of the amendment, which reads in whole:
A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.
(yes, I removed the superfluous commas), is that those pesky first few words, since they must mean something, mean that the right to bear arms only applies insofar as it applies to a "well-regulated militia", which is then taken to be the modern-day National Guard. I'm not going to get into a debate about the soundness, or lack thereof, of that argument.

However, since it looks like the SCOTUS might very well come down 5-4 in favor of the individual right, the notion that those words give the amendment its collectivist meaning is blown right out of the water (presumably with a Constitutionally-sanctioned firearm, no less). Based on my premise above, however, those words cannot be meaningless. So what, then, do they mean?

Well, let's (rightly) assume that the 2nd Amendment does indeed confer an individual right to keep and bear arms. The opening nominative absolute clause points out that the reason we have that right is that a well-regulated militia is necessary. And what arms, pray tell, are required such that members of a militia might be considered "well-regulated"? I can't imagine a legion of well-equipped, well-trained, well-regulated militiamen with a bunch of .22 plinkers, short-range handguns, and a variety of mismatched hunting rifles of varying calibers. Far from being well-regulated, that would be a chaotic mess from a logistics and supply point-of-view!

No, you see, if the Second Amendment confers an individual right to keep and bear arms, then the opening clause tells us nothing less than this: we have a Constitutional right to keep and bear nothing less than professional U.S. Military-grade weaponry!

This, of course, dovetails nicely with my own pet theory that if we all owned and were trained to competency on military-grade assault rifles, this country would be a lot safer and crime-free. Now there's an entitlement program I'd vote for!


Fascinating Image

Check this out. I came across it while looking some things up for my last post. It's a "red/blue" county-by-county map of the US over the last 40-ish years. Extremely fascinating to watch the progression of this country from one hue to another, and then try to remember what political event or character influenced the trends in a given year. One twist to this map: rather than a continuum of shades between red and blue with purple in between, there is a triangular palette here, with "green" being a stand-in for "other". Makes it very very clear just how much of a spoiler H. Ross Perot was in 1992 (and how important Bill's Southern charm was), as well as some before-my-time Southern chaos in the 60's. (Wallace, I think? One of you old ex-hippies can fill me in here so I don't have to google it).


My Town Turns Blue

The local fishwrap reports that Centre County, where I live, officially has more registered Democrats than Republicans for the first time in more than 30 years. While this makes me sad, I am hardly ready to pack up and move to redder territory. First of all, I acknowledged the general "blueness" in my inaugural post on this blog, and the title itself pays homage to the principle that I'm surrounded by idiots Democrats at all times anyhow.

But more importantly, I am confident that this surge does not reflect any sort of political paradigm shift among residents of central PA. To its credit, the article I linked, at the very bottom, points toward the trend of formerly registered Republicans switching parties due to Pennsylvania's "closed" primary system, in order to make waves for Democrats come November. Where would anyone get a silly idea like that?

Finally, the state of the primary election has played a big role in this shift too. If the Democrat ticket had been set by now, like the Republican one has, who would be rushing out to register to "have their voices heard"? You can bet that, if the situation were reversed and, say, Mike Huckabee and John McCain were neck-and-neck right now, while Hillary was sitting comfortably at the top of the Dem ticket, Centre County would be solidly red yet again.

I'm not worried about this come election time, though. Once past the primary, central PA will once again become unimportant "flyover country", and all those riled-up college students who turned out for various Clinton or Hussein-Obama rallies in town the last couple weeks will once again become lazy, disaffected, indolent losers like they always were when there wasn't some charismatic speaker to tell them how special they were. Hillary or Obama's suicidal 20% will stay home or switch sides, El Rushbo's Army of Chaos will properly revert and vote McCain, and things will be just peachy. I must say, I'm more enthused about the GOP's presidential prospects in November than I have been in a very long time.