Please scroll down for posts on main page...
|WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)|
Superman's product of the century (so far):
Jake mentioned that this was happening - I had to see it for myself.
Had occasion to catch a ferry to Vashon Island from West Seattle yesterday. It was all pretty much as I remember it, except for the armed escort:
It was a pristine day on Puget Sound - in the early morning most of the boats were still moored from their stay overnight.
Can we all get on that boat?
But, wait, who's that? And what's that 50 caliber maching gun doing there?...Continue reading "They protect and serve"
I was thinking about subjecting you to a cloud study - but I think just one will do:
Pretty cool when the clouds are several times taller than the Sierra Nevada ......Continue reading "A cloud I liked ..."
We heard earlier in the week that "moderate" Islam was condemnig terrorism - having finally been given enough pressure to take a stand. Why significant pressure was necessary for this 'coming out' is troubling - but an examination of what was actually said demonstrates that "moderate" Islam as defined in the United States tacitly supports the extremists and terrorists.
CNN reported on Monday that Muslim groups target youths in anti-terror campaign - and quoted several spokesmen for leading Islamic groups with remarks like the ambiguous:
Imam Abu Malik-Johari, president of the Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations, condemned any killing motivated by anger or alienation.
What about in the pure zeal of carrying out Allah's will?
"This Justice Department has engaged us from the back door, rather than the front door," said Imam Mahdi Bray of the Muslim American Society.
"Rather than spending all their energies in terms of recruiting spies and snitchers, they need to spend more time and more energy engaging the authentic Muslim leadership" in the United States, Bray said.
When many in the world sought clarification from "moderate" Muslims last week - the request repeatedly contained "without any reservation" as part of the request. This critical statement by Bray basically saying "stop investigating us" certainly does not qualify.
And with Bray's background, his statements are even more ominous. He is aligned with leftist group International ANSWER, claims to be the mentor of convicted terror associate Sami al-Arian, and, among other things, has been arrested outside the White House for protesting against Israel.
On Thursday, CNN reported that American Muslim scholars condemn terrorism. That CAIR would participate in the issuing of this 'fatwa' should be profoundly disturbing. Steve Emerson has done a terrific job of fisking the pale cloth of this 'fatwa'. Please read his post.
What should we conclude from these pathetic attempts to deceive the American public? "Moderate" Islam still remains a myth and this dissembling fundamentally admits complicity with terrorist objectives.
How should we respond? Last week, France woke up a little to overcome its own judicial activism to expel a Muslim cleric. In the face of these insults to our freedom, it is time for us to do the same.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has issued a communique to the US Ambassador to Iraq that the Iraqi draft Constitution fails to protect fundamental rights:
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) wrote to U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad expressing its strong concern over language in Iraq’s draft permanent constitution that is a significant rollback from language in Iraq’s interim constitution, the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), as well as from international human rights law to which Iraq is a party. The new language:
- limits the equality of women and Iraq’s international human rights obligations to only those matters which do not contradict Islam or Islamic law;
- makes no reference to the right of freedom of religion or belief for every Iraqi citizen; and
- provides no guarantee of freedom of thought and conscience.
Their analysis of the new draft also lead them to make these specific assertions about the draft (where the provisions in the draft fail to meet the minimum protection afforded under the international agreements to which Iraq is a party):
- The rights and equality of women are limited in accordance with Islamic law;
- There is no reference to the right to freedom of religion or belief as a right of every Iraqi citizen. Guaranteeing freedom of conscience and religion as an individual right for Muslims as well as for members of religious minorities is essential if debate within Islam and dissent from imposed orthodoxies is to take place, and if the political space necessary for plural and alternative voices within the Islamic tradition is to be created;
- There is no guarantee of the right to freedom of thought and conscience;
- The scope of the freedom of religion or belief, as well as other fundamental rights such as the freedoms of expression, assembly, and association, is limited to that which is “in accordance with law,” a law which is undefined and could violate international human rights standards;
- The scope of Iraq’s international human rights commitments are limited only to such matters that do not “contradict Islam”;
- A system of personal status (i.e. marriage, divorce, inheritance) legislation tied to religion and sect is introduced that jeopardizes the previously existing secular system;
- Omitted from the draft is language found in the TAL that there can be no crime except in accordance with existing law at the time the act was committed, a provision that the 2004 Arab Human Development Report points out is an important check on the ability of judges to convict and punish individuals for crimes based on their discretionary interpretation of Islamic law; and
- Omitted from the draft is a TAL guarantee that no one could be detained “by reason of political or religious beliefs.”
The Commission correctly points out that a vibrant Democracy in Iraq must be characterized by basic human and religious freedoms.
Since we have paid for Iraqi liberty with Amercian blood, it is incumbent on our government to insure that such liberty continues to be made of the substance that is worthy of the price paid.
(The USCIRF is a United States Government entity created by Congress with the "International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to monitor the status of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief abroad, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related international instruments, and to give independent policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and the Congress." The Commission recognizes that countries can be held accountable to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international rights agreements to which they are parties.)
No, this isn't that Friday post that I normally do to blatantly shadow Jeff's little guy. This is about some real, honest to goodness Armadillo research turned in by my intrepid father, who, for some reason, all of his own volition, recently toured the country to come up with some obscure 'Dillo lore.
In the Genesee valley in Western New York, there is a state park bequeathed to New York State by William Pryor Letchworth, a notable businessman and philanthropist who acquired the lands around 'Glen Iris' and preserved them for posterity. It is appropriately named: Letchworth State Park. This remarkable man had the foresight to preserve some of the most beautiful natural wilderness in the country for the enjoyment of future generations.
This is a fascinating place for historical Americana - from early construction and engineering, to natural artifacts, to Native American history - there are enough fascinating stories associated with this park and this region that one could stay very busy for a long time just doing their telling.
One of the most fascinating parts of the park is the museum - the William Pryor Letchworth Museum. Which brings me to the telling of this particular tale. There are a great number of artifacts of all kinds, along with art and other memorabilia in this decades long snapshot of 19th century American history. And just beyond and around the corner from the Pike Mastodon (left) is one of the best preserved examples of early American metallurgy as art. It also just so happens that this particular piece provides in itself a most incredible record of a beloved species from our earliest history...
This sewing basket - that's what the museum calls it - was made sometime in the mid-1800's. It is made from several pieces of worked metal welded together. Metal working tools were used to flawlessly produce a beautiful rendition of the shell, tail, and head. It is clearly a masterpiece. My father asked the curator for a picture - they subsequently photographed this fellow, scanned the photograph and shipped it off to my father, who in turn sent it my way saying "thought you'd be interested."
My friends, I assert to you that everything I have written to this point is the absolute truth (well - except the part about my father traveling around just collecting Armadillo lore - he was in New York on other than exclusively Armadillo business.)
Thing is, Jeff and all the PW folks, like me, will instantly recognize that this is no sewing basket. No, no, this is nothing other than a beloved record of the famous spinning that we've all come to covet every Friday.
I showed the picture to Jeff's little guy - and he wept. (I don't really know if that was because of the picture or the line drive.) He was clearly moved. For all of us, there comes some point of epiphany when we realize that something that we do, some way that we are, is rooted in our very nature - that it is passed like a life torch from those that came before us. That's the way the little guy felt today.
There is a place, in the Genesee Valley in upstate New York, near the Glen Iris Estate, not far from the grave of Mary Jemison (Dehgewanus), and near the beautiful middle falls near Portage where there is an eternal commemoration of the Dance of the Armadillo. Among our forefathers are those that loved the dance so much that they commissioned this work so that - like the museum and the park that surrounds it - everyone would know how treasured these little friends are and that spinning like a dradle is an ancient dance that works its blessings from generation to generation.
Me: Goat! Goat! Goat!
Pete: Well, it's large enough - we could do both.
Me: I do not want any pig smoke on the goat!
Me: Let's just do the pig.
Pete: You sure?
Pete: Really? Because we could...
Me: I hate that goat...
I asked for feedback, JWebb gave it. So what do I do? I give.
WARNING: The following artwork is for JWebb and only for JWebb. If you decide to proceed - I must warn you that you are risking your own sanity. I will not be responsible for anyone's loss of sanity.
I think it is obvious that JWebb and I have already lost ours....Continue reading "When JWebb asks, I give ..."
So, I've been thinking about getting a good plinking gun for the range - a 22 - I probably won't ever do 1,000 rounds at a session like K does, but it's definitely good for the ammo budget.
What'd I get?
The Beretta NEOS U22 LR ...
This is a very interesting pistol - can 'grow' with additional accessories like sights, scopes, grips - and something quite interesting to me - a carbine conversion add-on:
I like the idea of a good target pistol that can convert to a maneuverable carbine in a pinch. Pretty cool.
I go pick this one up on August 8th! We're going to schedule some shooting round about then!
I got the idea for doing a photo-retouching technique after taking those 'sun-lit' pictures in Nevada last weekend. The idea is to intensify the sunlight - create more brilliance, reflection, and warmth and then use masking techniques to 'paint' the result into the picture. So it's like painting more brilliance into those areas of the photo that we might want to enhance - the rest of it stays the same.
Here are a couple of examples......Continue reading "What do you think?"
NEWS FLASH - French Terror Alert RaisedPresident Chirac has officially raised the French terror alert from "Run"
to "Hide". There are only two higher alert levels in France, which are
"Surrender" and "Collaborate".
The rise was precipitated by a recent fire which destroyed France's white
flag factory - effectively crippling their military.