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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.)

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July 28, 2005
Holmes, Holmes on the range...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Good eats, Politics

Jake and I are going to have lunch and then go to Wade's firing range and hit some targets. Update later and a Jake's Take if he's willing ...

UPDATE: We had a good feed down at Las Margaritas in downtown Bellevue. Chili Verde and Spinach and Mushroom burritos were the orders of the day.

Went down to Wade's. I should have called this post: Jake the Marksman! Whoa! Talk about something to aspire to!

Here's Jake shooting:


Here's his typical group - this is with his Sig 40 (Yes the 4 0) at 30 feet:


Any questions?

Seriously, this guy can shoot! We're talking about hooking up with some more shooters next time - maybe down SondraK's way ... Jake can conduct shooting instruction for us...

Jake's Sig is a very smooth machine - has less lift in it than my Browning 380 - probably because it has a pretty good weight and has a great soft trigger.

...Continue reading "Holmes, Holmes on the range..."

Pulled by Emcee on July 28, 2005 at 04:26 AM
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July 27, 2005
That J - He's a smokin' cat!
Filed in: Art, ok maybe that's too strong a word, Current Affairs

My latest attempt at 'shop art is of my good bro' JWebb and was inspired by some of his own artwork. This Renaissance man is an accomplished artist and cartoonist and I'm honored to count him as a friend. So I think he'll forgive me for bringing out the Groucho from within...

...Continue reading "That J - He's a smokin' cat!"

Pulled by Emcee on July 27, 2005 at 11:40 AM
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July 25, 2005
Nevada Valley of Fire State Park
Filed in: Current Affairs, Photography

I made it up into the Nevada desert on my road trip this weekend. Photo conditions have been terrible since I got here Saturday afternoon. Overcast, thunderstorms - unusual and not conducive to good pictures.

This afternoon (Sunday) the weather cleared a bit so I thought I would go out to the Valley of Fire state park - about 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas. I've driven past the turnoff countless times on I-15 but have never stopped off to see it.


This photo looks toward the park to the south from near the I-15 exit. There are hints of rock with high iron content near the lower left.


There were still large clouds left from the thunderstorms that passed through the last couple of days.


Just before entering the park I took some shots looking back north into the sun - and yes you can get a sun dog with a digital camera. Now for some colors (you'll have to click below - lots of pictures will load):

...Continue reading "Nevada Valley of Fire State Park"

Pulled by Emcee on July 25, 2005 at 03:31 AM
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July 24, 2005
Congratulations Lance
Filed in: Current Affairs, Sports

Lancewins As you must know, Lance Armstrong won his unprecedented seventh straight Tour de France today.

Earlier today I watched a program on CNN that described Armstrong's incredible genetic characteristics - based on studies that were done prior to him winning a single Tour. I had never heard before that Armstrong's heart can pump nearly twice the blood volume under exertion that the typical bycicling athlete can - or that his heart rate can run at nearly twice the 'normal' rate as well. I had never heard that his muscles produce only a fraction of the pain causing lactic acid that other athletes do.

I suppose that there could be a significant nature versus nurture debate about what Armstrong was born with and what he developed through training.

What impresses me the most is that Lance Armstrong has never rested on his potential - he truly exercised it. Many gifted people do not give an effort that is worthy of their gifts. Armstrong has and then some - and he deserves whatever accolades that anyone can bestow on him.

Pulled by Emcee on July 24, 2005 at 11:57 PM
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July 23, 2005
Judge Me By My Size, You Will?
Filed in: Current Affairs, The Armadillo Conceptual Series

Uh, oh. The little guy has figured out how to travel in cyberspace.

Heretofore, Jeff has just sent him wherever the Protein master's whims have taken him - poof - there he was. Now, for some reason only known to the little guy - some primal urgency, he has learned to navigate - and we mean physically - between sites. Jeff has feared this eventuality.

We were exclusively able to capture the little guy's latest acquired skill in action late Friday evening and the picture has just now come in:


The Force is strong with this one.

Rumors abound - after Scribal Terror, where is he headed? What drives this little spinning genius? Why must we suffer this recursive 'space warp?

No one really knows. His fans all believe that wherever he goes - a dance is possible...

Pulled by Emcee on July 23, 2005 at 11:31 PM
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July 22, 2005
Seattle Dive
Filed in: Current Affairs, Photography

No, this isn't about Jake's favorite hangout.

I went to West Seattle since I got that last set of pictures that turned out pretty well.

Sky conditions weren't so good this last time - but I happened upon a group of divers that were heading out into Puget Sound - in the dark. The fading light and long exposure times made for some fairly surreal images:



There was a large group and they were going in the water mostly by twos.

If you weren't able to see the tanks and the diving truck by the shore, you might think they were indigenous sea mammals. Click just below to see more pictures ... four pictures will load.

...Continue reading "Seattle Dive"

Pulled by Emcee on July 22, 2005 at 12:50 PM
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July 21, 2005
The forest within which extremists are incubated, nurtured, given ideological and material support...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Domestic Terror, Politics, War on Terror

In his on point commentary for the London Free Press yesterday, columnist Salim Mansur explores The myth of the 'moderate' Muslim and opens with:

Since at least Sept. 11, 2001, the non-Muslim world at large has been waiting for that segment of the Muslim population designated as "moderate" to resolutely denounce terrorists who, in defiling its faith-tradition, have subverted Islam into a cult of death.

He then clearly provides a set of what would be working characteristics for "moderate" Muslims:

1. A counter-offensive repudiating war-mongering politics, terrorism, and suicide bombings.

2. That same counter-offensive isolating the extremists politically and socially.

3. Explicit support for the global war on terror.

4. Spontaneous or organized demonstrations in support of the victims of terror.

5. Spontaneous or organized demonstrations in unqualified condemnation of extremists who exploit Islam for criminal purposes.

6. Resolutely taking back their faith-tradition from extremists and murderers.

Any of these things would be publicly evidential and would certainly be caught on CNN's cameras should they occur - but that's not what we see. Mansur says that  what we observe instead is:

1. In the face of mounting atrocities Muslims have remained publicly complacent.

2. Their religious leaders are divided on what a proper Islamic response should be to terrorism and suicide bombings .

3.  They provide endless explanations that jihad, though misguided, is a response to the wrongs inflicted on Muslims by the West.

4. They foster societies where dissent is frowned upon  and opposition might be branded as seditious.

5. They malign and ostracize the singular or small groups of Muslims that unapologetically condemn the culture of violence and extremism among them.

While Mansur rightly lauds the small number of Muslim individuals who work for reform, he concludes that "moderate" Muslims are indeed a myth.

Given this state of affairs, in the light of the recent events in London, could there be no more clear clarion call for our society to break out of its multicultural malaise and alter the grave vulnerabilities we are exposed to?

To loosely quote Mark Steyn from his column this week that I just posted about: The London bombers appeared to be assimilated - but they had no allegiance to the society into which they appeared to be assimilated. This is one of the fundamental lessons of 7/7.

Mansur writes that "Consequently, what might pass for "moderate" Muslims, the large number of Muslims unaccounted for as to what they think, in practical terms constitute a forest within which extremists are incubated, nurtured, given ideological and material support, and to which they return for sanctuary"... and this really demonstrates the clear and present danger that we face in the world's democracies. It is why I have been arguing that we need for the trees in the forest to clearly declare their allegiance - and invite such demonstrations of "moderation" that Mansur prescribes.

If the unaccounted for as to what they think will not do that - and we must find the cultural and political will to do so - we must take up our own "moderate" counter-offensive and isolate them and if necessary deport them - to prevent "a forest within which extremists are incubated, nurtured, given ideological and material support, and to which they return for sanctuary".

The time is up for our own complacency. The mangled bodies and blood in the streets of London say that it is. And today, the attacks there continue.

H/T Gail at Scribal Terror for the Mansur piece as well as her thoughts that I value.

Pulled by Emcee on July 21, 2005 at 09:49 AM
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July 20, 2005
Telegraph: Mark Steyn takes on multiculturalism
Filed in: Current Affairs, Domestic Terror, Politics, War on Terror

The Telegraph is the UK's more conservative newspaper.

In a sobering look at the "enemy at the gates" situation that the British find themselves in, Mark Steyn, in his July, 19th column, exposes the cultural vulnerability that lead to the London attacks. He opens with:

It has been sobering this past week watching some of my "woollier" colleagues (in Vicki Woods's self-designation) gradually awake to the realisation that the real suicide bomb is "multiculturalism". Its remorseless tick-tock, suddenly louder than the ethnic drumming at an anti-globalisation demo, drove poor old Boris Johnson into rampaging around this page last Thursday like some demented late-night karaoke one-man Fiddler on the Roof, stamping his feet and bellowing, "Tradition! Tradition!" Boris's plea for more Britishness was heartfelt and valiant, but I'm not sure I'd bet on it. The London bombers were, to the naked eye, assimilated - they ate fish 'n' chips, played cricket, sported appalling leisurewear. They'd adopted so many trees we couldn't see they lacked the big overarching forest - the essence of identity, of allegiance. As I've said before, you can't assimilate with a nullity - which is what multiculturalism is.

Hmmm, Mark Steyn thinks that allegiance is the essential measure. I'm glad to be in such company.

Then there's:

Consider the Bishop of Lichfield, who at Evensong, on the night of the bombings, was at pains to assure his congregants: "Just as the IRA has nothing to do with Christianity, so this kind of terror has nothing to do with any of the world faiths." It's not so much the explicit fatuousness of the assertion so much as the broader message it conveys: we're the defeatist wimps; bomb us and we'll apologise to you. That's why in Britain the Anglican Church is in a death-spiral and Islam is the fastest-growing religion. There's no market for a faith that has no faith in itself. And as the Church goes so goes the state: why introduce identity cards for a nation with no identity?

In a country that has an official state church this can be said. Steyn blames the spiritual bankruptcy of the Anglican church, coupled with its pervasive PC multicultural mentality for part of their woes.

Chillingly, Steyn provides a glimpse into the close connection between friend and foe:

One of the striking features of the post-9/11 world is the minimal degree of separation between the so-called "extremists" and the establishment: Princess Haifa, wife of the Saudi ambassador to Washington, gives $130,000 to accomplices of the 9/11 terrorists; the head of the group that certifies Muslim chaplains for the US military turns out to be a bagman for terrorists; one of the London bombers gets given a tour of the House of Commons by a Labour MP. The Guardian hires as a "trainee journalist" a member of Hizb ut Tahir, "Britain's most radical Islamic group" (as his own newspaper described them) and in his first column post-7/7 he mocks the idea that anyone could be "shocked" at a group of Yorkshiremen blowing up London: "Second- and third-generation Muslims are without the don't-rock-the-boat attitude that restricted our forefathers. We're much sassier with our opinions, not caring if the boat rocks" - or the bus blows, or the Tube vaporises. Fellow Guardian employee David Foulkes, who was killed in the Edgware Road blast, would no doubt be heartened to know he'd died for the cause of Muslim "sassiness".

This one is worth more than the trees it is printed on. Please read it twice.

Pulled by Emcee on July 20, 2005 at 07:00 AM
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More Guardian: The schizoid truth
Filed in: Current Affairs, Domestic Terror, Politics, War on Terror

Remember that the Guardian is the British liberal newspaper.

Columnist Jonathan Freedland invests the first part of his column: It's not only about Iraq, in elaborating on the fiction of the UK's participation in Iraq as the reason d'etre for the London attacks. I'll not waste any more bit space but will decry their inappropriate waste of dead trees on this subject.

It is, however, very significant that the Guardian, by way of Freedland, in a schizoid shift, introduces its base to the Caliphate: is not like Eta or the IRA - organisations with a clear, single goal. It is not simply a troops-out movement, demanding nothing more than a withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq and justice for the Palestinians. It is not the armed wing of the Stop the War Coalition.

Its aims are rather different. Central to its ideology is the reintroduction of the caliphate, an Islamic state governed by sharia law that would stretch across all formerly Muslim lands, taking in Spain, Morocco, north Africa, Albania, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, as well as Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines. Plenty on the left tend to skim over this stuff, dismissing it as weird, obscurantist nonsense - and imagining it as somehow secondary to al-Qaida's anti-imperialist mission.

That's a big mistake. For it is this animating idea which helps to explain al-Qaida actions that otherwise make no sense. Why did the Madrid cell that staged last March's train bombings continue to plan attacks, even after Spain's new government had begun withdrawing from Iraq? Perhaps because al-Qaida wants to recapture at least part of Spain for Islamist rule. Why did it bomb a nightclub in Bali? Partly to attack western tourists, of course. (Taylor says the bombers thought the clubbers would be American, not Australian.) But its chief aim was to destabilise Indonesia, which it wants to place under Islamist rule as part of the yearned-for caliphate.

In other words, al-Qaida has a programme that predates and goes beyond Iraq. It seeks to end all western presence in those lands it deems Islamic. That's why it has, over the years, targeted France and Germany as well as the US and the UK. When Tony Blair asks "What was September 11 the reprisal for?" he should know the answer. It was for eight decades of US-led, western meddling in territory that al-Qaida believes should be Muslims' alone.

This is the ideology that defines al-Qaida and which explains why it was in business from 1993 and not just 2001 and after. Tellingly, those who monitor Islamism in Britain say the big surge in growth of extremist groups came not after 9/11 or Iraq but in the mid-1990s - with Bosnia serving as the recruiting sergeant. In the same period Chechnya, Kosovo and Israel-Palestine all came into play - again predating Iraq.

While he clearly takes a left hook swipe at the US and assumes that islamofascist expansion would actually stop at historically Islamic lands (So would that include Austria then Mr. Freedland?), he clearly lets the cat out of the bag: militant Islam wants to reintroduce the caliphate and institute sharia law.

Who knows, maybe in a few months, as Freedland contemplates this, and the UK collectively takes its lithium he'll declare that the cult of death does indeed have global aims.

Pulled by Emcee on July 20, 2005 at 12:07 AM
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July 19, 2005
Guardian: Special Branch to track Muslims across UK
Filed in: Current Affairs, Domestic Terror, Politics, War on Terror

We are just beginning to see the ramifications of the attack on London.

In the UK, the Guardian newspaper reports (on Wednesday, July 20th) that:

Special intelligence units are being planned across Britain to monitor Muslims so the authorities can collect "community by community" knowledge of where extremism is building up.

The Guardian has learned that the special squads, to be known as Muslim Contact Units and staffed by Special Branch officers, will be established in areas including Yorkshire, north-west England and parts of the Midlands.

After the London bombings police admit their intelligence of what goes on in Muslim communities is "low", and urgently needs to be boosted.

The police and Home Office say that a Muslim Contact Unit operating in London has already helped thwart extremist attempts to recruit young British Muslims to violent jihad, by working with Islamic communities.

Because it's the Guardian, there is an effort in the piece to downplay the significance of what would likely be completely shouted down by the LSM here in the US as "profiling".

What is truly significant is that doing this would have been totally inconceivable just a few weeks ago in the multicultural UK. This is implicit recognition that the cult of death is part of, and is masquerading inside of, the Muslim religion.

How they will develop intelligence on the ground remains to be seen.

We need to take action on this side of the pond as well. We have been mollified for several years by people saying "Well, we haven't been attacked again" as if we have taken the needed and appropriate steps to protect ourselves. The London attacks give lie to that.

Pulled by Emcee on July 19, 2005 at 11:44 PM
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