30 September 2010

see 'em trollin, and hatin...

Guy Cabot
So it turns out that JadeGold is Guy Kevin Cabot age 54 of Fort Washington, Maryland. Married to Janet Cabot.

Has a degree from the Merchant Marine Academy in "Nautical Engineering". As such he should know a thing or two about statistics. It hasn't been so long since I took engineering classes to know that JadeGold is being willfully ignorant about how to apply statistics to real world scenarios.

I also know that engineers don't do a whole lot of large scale population modeling. However, that was one of the things we had to do in both biology and pharmacology. So this arrogant over the hill troll really is a piece of crap.

Wonder if anyone in Maryland has time on their hands to deal with a troll? Makes you wonder, what is the ideal tool to deal with troll?

http://www.facebook.com/?sk=ff#!/guy.cabot?ref=search

29 September 2010

Winter wood

Well, another half cord of firewood has been added to the reserves.

Tomorrow I will split, stack, and cover it for heating the house this winter.

Last year we went through a cord and three quarters, but with the insulation upgrades this year I expect to use about a quarter cord less. But better to have and not need than need and not have...

28 September 2010

Fun with numbers

Illegal Mayors Against Guns has put a "Trace the Guns" report. I downloaded it and am running through the numbers and found some interesting facts...

California has 2187 FFL holders according to FFLgundealer.net, has the highest ranking (70 out of 100 points, the highest grade given) by the Brady Campaign (as of 2008) and still ends up number 9 on the top ten "gun exporting" states with 1772 guns.

Georgia has 1605 FFL holders, scored 8 out of 100 points on the Brady scorecard and came in number 1 as the "export" state with 2781 guns.

So from the BEST according to the Brady campaign and one of the absolute worst according to the Brady campaign, there is barely a 1000 gun difference in "exported crime guns".

Illegal Mayors Against Guns concluded the position that they want, that strict gun laws in some states cause states with lax gun laws to act as suppliers. Unfortunately they don't explain why the hell California showed up in the top ten exporting states. The answer is that their premise is flawed, the "null hypothesis" is that there will not be a statistically significant difference between states with draconian laws and permissive gun laws. Just so you know, Virginia shows up with 17 out of 100 Brady points, is the number 3 "exporter" with 2557 guns, and has 1556 FFL holders.

The numbers don't add up when you start looking at just the laws. When you start looking at geography they start making a lot more sense. Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida are all on the eastern seaboard and have major cities along well traveled routes. California, Texas and Arizona are boarder states and the "numba one source" of the "mexican gun canard" numbers.

Geography has a lot more to play with "export" than laws. Only Indiana and Ohio show up as heartland states, but their proximity to Illinois and specifically Chicago make sense along the Illinois New York corridor.

In fact when you look at it, Indiana touches Ohio which touches Pennsylvania. This forms a chain with Chicago at one end and New York at the other. Virginia borders North Carolina which borders Georgia which borders Florida. Why is it that Seven of our top "exporters" all border each other? California borders Arizona. That's another chain. Only Texas stands out as an island. Except for Texas every other "exporter" state borders another exporter state REGARDLESS of Brady Ranking.

Even more confusing, when you stop reading the .pdf report and go to the "interactive" tracetheguns.org sight and see where the guns are actually going, most "Exporting" states are exporting to OTHER "exporting" states. What the hell? Right?

Georgia exported more "crime guns" to Florida than any other state. While it is true that New York "imports" a lot of crime guns, it is in the realm of a few hundred each from a few "exporter" states. So the hypothesis that guns are statistically more likely to go to areas where they are banned is voided by the numbers that a "crime gun" is just as likely to go to another "exporter" state. Click on Florida and find out that it is a net importer of "crime guns".

Obviously if you are Illegal Mayor Bloomberg, you care about the few hundred guns coming in to New York from nearly EVERY OTHER STATE IN THE UNION, and can't stand that your little fiefdom isn't a secluded island like formerly Great Britain which has seen such a drastic reduction in violence since banning all handguns.....oh wait...

Bottom line is this, the conclusions listed by Illegal Mayors can not be supported by the data. By cherry picking data (limiting information) they build their case for progressively more restrictive gun laws. Unfortunately as the data set is expanded much more plausible explanations for the flow of firearms across state lines becomes apparent.

27 September 2010

Simply Wrong?

So JadeGold told me

AM: I realize you're eager to show off your BA from Evergreen that you don't use--but you're simply wrong.

Evidently it was easier to declare "you're simply wrong" than to actually, you know, show how I was simply wrong... But what do you expect from someone who fails to grasp the application of statistics as a tool and not an authority?

Eh, maybe Stalin did say it best, "One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic."

So I figured, what the heck, maybe I should educate myself as to this world renowned scholar JadeGold. Unfortunately JadeGold's last blog update was in 2003, so I went to the shared blog and found another rabid anti gun sight that lists every anecdotal story of tragedy involving a firearm. After all, Alinsky rules you need to personalize the issue, make the stories a tragedy. Alinskr and Stalin would have been good friends.

So I looked at the "recent visitor" widget for the blog, and this is the readership:

Recent Readers

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2. Washington, DC, US Washington, DC, US
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3. Washington, DC, US Washington, DC, US
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4. Chicago, IL, US Chicago, IL, US
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5. Chicago, IL, US Chicago, IL, US
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6. Lewistown, PA, US Lewistown, PA, US
Search for jason walter priest
7. Chicago, IL, US Chicago, IL, US
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8. Washington, DC, US Washington, DC, US
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9. Chicago, IL, US Chicago, IL, US
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10. Chicago, IL, US Chicago, IL, US
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So why in the world would all those people from DC and Chicago be reading a rabid anti-gun blog? Well, like any good little liberal set they need to constantly surround themselves only with the data that supports their worldview. That way they can tell all of us who use our brains to make sense of the material world that they are "simply wrong".

I guess because my position is based in reality, as opposed to fantasy.

The Article that explains it all....

If you've ever wondered why hippies and liberals (but I repeat myself) protest the dumbest things, go read the whole thing: http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2009/12/06/government-by-wishful-thinking/

Banks "hoarding" gold

http://www.cnbc.com/id/39376353

Remember, actions speak louder than words. When banks are tucking in for a rough patch expect things to get worse.

26 September 2010

Leave....

I took some time off of work because I really needed time off. Normally after a week at home I'm itching to head back to work, but not this time.

My first week was a series days getting worse and worse from a chest cold until my wife finally had me go to the ER to get it checked out. 'Tussin with codeine is very good medicine.

Anyways I put in the 'rain chain' today. Just a ten foot length of utility chain held up with a crossbar, but the afternoon shower we go proved it worked as well as the 120 dollar "designer rain chain" from the Home Despot.

Also reseeded the bare patches on the lawn. Hopefully everything will get sprouted and rooted before any hard frosts.

25 September 2010

Perfection is a disease

http://www.danoah.com/2010/09/disease-called-perfection.html

Go read the whole thing.

I accepted years ago that perfect is the enemy of happy, and I would rather be happy than perfect.

Still I'm on Paxil for depression and anxiety. Sometimes we all need help dealing with the stress of life.

A Brit take on the Constitution

Mid-term Congressional elections in November will show how successful the Republicans' policy of no-holds-barred opposition to Obama and the Democrats has been. But the way Congress works – with almost all major legislation requiring a two-thirds majority in the Senate, and thus vulnerable to filibuster – means that a president in such circumstances is effectively stymied. His administration is severely circumscribed, if not paralysed; the power of the White House is compromised.

It is possible that the stalemate will turn out to be temporary; possible, too, that the Tea Party tendency will turn out to be the last gasp of a dying demographic group and that US politics will slot back to the more productive equilibrium of before. The sharp decline in social conservatism and the greater tolerance charted in surveys of younger voters – attitudes which helped Obama to the presidency – could eventually shift the centre of US politics to a different, more European, place. This, in turn, could bring all sorts of changes of its own.

But that is to jump ahead. In the meantime, the US Constitution and the way US politics functions are looking somewhat frayed around the edges. President Obama's inexperience may have made his first 18 months more difficult than they might have been, but his country's outdated institutions made things much, much worse.

From http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/mary-dejevsky/mary--dejevsky-has-the-us-constitution-had-its-day-2087932.html

Emphasis is mine.

I would like to point out that the above contains no reference at all to "checks and balances". Our system is designed to gridlock when the people are unhappy with the President. Our legislative body has the MOST power among the three branches of government. When the legislature gridlocks it is by design.

Britain may have "up to date and modern" institutions that have unfortunately denied its citizens the right of self defense. But then again, Brits have a long and ancient history of being subjects.

Papers Please

In the Army we refer to people who require you to produce your ID card and meal card at the mess hall "Chow Hall Nazis".

Kinda like the "no soup for you!" Soup Nazi of Seinfeld fame.

Should the police be able to arrest you for not providing identification?

Well, just how many civil rights would that violate? Off the top of my head at least two. Unlawful search and seizure (requiring the production of documents without a warrant) and freedom of assembly (because you are normally somewhere with a group of people when the "Papers Please" check happens).

Obviously the police have a responsibility to investigate a crime, arrest suspected criminals on probably cause, but it is not their job to try to turn citizens into subjects.

24 September 2010

Shelving

I turned some scrap lumber into shelving for my garage. Two shelves, each capable of holding a 200 pound man (me) and stackable. Once I have another two I will stack them and use two 2x4's to screw them all together for safety.

The secret to organizing a house is to organize the garage. Because once a man organizes his garage someone else in the house remembers something they need to store....

Insolvency

http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=167032

It will take the collapse of the US Dollar and the bankruptcy of the FedGov to change our spending priorities.

Because neither the Dems nor Repubs have the moral backbone to do what is necessary.

Stock up on dried foods and get ready for your money to be worthless.

23 September 2010

Gun Control

In Samuel 13 it is recorded that the Philistines denied the Israelites "weapons of war".

After the 1609 invasion of Okinawa by the Satsuma Clan the conquering Japanese passed the ordinance banning weapons and the practice of martial arts.

Let's not forget the Nazis...
"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty. So let's not have any native militia or native police. German troops alone will bear the sole responsibility for the maintenance of law and order throughout the occupied Russian territories, and a system of military strong-points must be evolved to cover the entire occupied country." --Adolf Hitler, dinner talk on April 11, 1942, quoted in Hitler's Table Talk 1941-44: His Private Conversations, Second Edition (1973), Pg. 425-426. Translated by Norman Cameron and R. H. Stevens. Introduced and with a new preface by H. R. Trevor-Roper. The original German papers were known as Bormann-Vermerke.

But enough with tyrants disarming the peasants....

Let's talk about countries that disarm themselves.

The UK. A nice little isolated island... Handgun violence up despite handgun ban

Well, I guess the UK isn't a very good example of successful gun control, how about Australia? Australia is another island, nice and isolated. The immediate impact of the gun buyback and ban was an increase across the board on violent crime. Since 2001 levels have started to fall back to the early 1990's levels. In short, Australia's firearms ban had no appreciable impact on violent crime. Reference the 2008 "Trends in Violent Crime" report authored by Samantha Bricknell.

But hey, let us see what the CDC has to say about gun control laws impact on violence.

During 2000--2002, the Task Force on Community Preventive Services (the Task Force), an independent nonfederal task force, conducted a systematic review of scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of firearms laws in preventing violence, including violent crimes, suicide, and unintentional injury. The following laws were evaluated: bans on specified firearms or ammunition, restrictions on firearm acquisition, waiting periods for firearm acquisition, firearm registration and licensing of firearm owners, "shall issue" concealed weapon carry laws, child access prevention laws, zero tolerance laws for firearms in schools, and combinations of firearms laws. The Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes.

So what is the point then?

Well, there is a place where gun laws have reduced crime. Kennesaw, Georgia. The town's gun control law? Required ownership.

Those who have the guns are in control. Kennesaw is a perfect example.

Willful Ignorance, and disinvited

Joan Peterson's answer to "Just One Question"

Joe-probably all of those domestic homicides, restricting gangs and criminals from guns would save lots of live; I could go on and on. What is your point? So you think that restricting felons, domestic abusers, dangerously mentally ill people, terrorist would not have or won't save lives? That's hard to believe.

No bragging, Joe. Gun laws in most other industrialized countries are more strict than ours. Gun deaths per 100,000 in these countries don't even come close to the number in this country. That is proof that some restrictions lead to lower percentages of gun deaths per population.

AM sent comments but said he had to edit them and I should read them on his post. He's got to be kidding. If he thinks I am going to read more of this junk: " Put on your big girl panties and deal with it.", he must think I'm really naive or crazy. This is like Christine O'Donnell telling Senator Mike Castle to put on his man pants. What is this anyway? Who needs it? Mike Castle is one of the few people in Congress brave enough to step forward to put his name on a bill to require background checks on gun sales at gun shows. That, to me, is a brave man. Word to AM- go comment on someone else's blog. You are not welcome on this one.

Wow, if she can't talk to me how the heck is she ever going to talk to a threeper?

TEOTWAWKI?

I found an interesting thread googling M37. http://www.shtfblog.com/shtf-blogs-top-ten-best-guns-for-survival/

Having been on the other side of the world, and done some time in a combat zone, I like to think that I have a somewhat educated opinion of what "anarchy" would look like.

My guess is that "TEOTWAWKI" is going to be more Iraq and less Somalia.

First you will have the event that causes the fall, man made or natural doesn't matter.

Then you will have people who start organizing things. In Iraq it was tribal leaders and clerics, in Somalia it was "warlords".

In Iraq you had an intentional stabilizing force (the Coalition) and intentional destabilizing forces (terrorist factions of at least three major flavors). In the end it was the people themselves who decided whether the nation of Iraq would descend into Somalia or start on the road to joining the civilized world. I figure that we will have the same options.

What Iraq (and the US) have going for it is a very high literacy rate. What the US has going for it more than Iraq is a lack of tribal or religious loyalties amongst the population. Sure here we have the Amish and the Mormons, but all in all neither the Amish nor the Mormons (or Mennonites, Hudderites, Catholics or Baptists) are going to shoot you for not going to church with them. Elsewhere in the world that is not the case.

Americans have this amazing ability to pull together in times of crisis. Our literacy rate means we don't lose laws, they stay on the books and we have our tradition of rule of law (not rule of force). If a nuclear warhead took out Washington DC and eliminated both houses of Congress, Pres, VP, and all members of the Supreme Court, the rest of us would shed a few tears and go about setting up elections to reform our government.

A disaster doesn't destroy the rule of law if the people respect the rule of law. Heck, when the Polish president went down Poland didn't have generals pulling a coup to fill the power vacuum.

It would take something very very serious, like multiple nukes or virulent bioweapon to shake this country.

Open Carry in Wisconsin

In Madison WI, five open carry guys were harassed by police and two who refuse (as is their right) to provide ID to a police officer were arrested and charged with obstruction of justice. Unfortunately the cops realized that they couldn't make that stick, so they charged all five with "disorderly conduct".

I found some comments at a news site to be downright dripping with bigotry;

This is why I'm against open carry. Now men who are overly enamored with wheapons think they need to be armed to go shopping or out to dinner. If they truely wanted to educate the public on responsible gun ownership, then they shouldn't have shown such disrespect to the police. Was it really such a big deal to show your ID, accept a few appologies for the interruption and go back to your meal?

and the ever present "guns as a phallic symbol" argument....

So 5 guys walk into a crowded restaurant displaying guns and hoping to cause a stir. They got what they wanted and now they're crying foul. This is aside from the practical fact that any firing of guns in crowded public spaces is likely to kill people that the gunner isn't actually aiming at, so called "stray" bullets. So it's intentional threatening and intimidating behavior and definitly disorderly. This is not common behavior, bringing weapons into busy public spaces.
I WANT groups of armed men checked out by the police and am thankful that such outrageous behavior is rare.

Aside from the disorderly issue, one has to wonder about these guys confidence in their masculinity. Just like the dolts driving Hummers, there's probably something lacking if you know what I mean. As for judgement, there is a reason some are called "gun nuts".

Bottom line, folks like you didn't like black people eating at their lunch counters, and it's ok to step on other peoples Constitutionally protected rights (both State and Federal) as long as it keeps "those uppity gun niggers" out of sight.

So even though it isn't my fight, if you have a few dollars to spare, consider tossing them to the guys who are taking the fight to the courts. http://www.wisconsincarry.org/default.html#

Norinco M37

I'm a lefty, but right eyed, my wife is normal handed, but left eyed.

So when shopping for a shotgun for home defense, the Ithaca style of bottom feed, bottom eject made a lot of sense.

I was lucky that my brother found a Norinco M37 clone at a gunshow for a good price (only missing the rear ghost ring sight).

I took it out skeet shooting and didn't get through a box before the shotgun FUBARd on me. The pump grip handle came loose of the connecting rods and the top extractor broke. For a shotgun rated to handle 3" shells I was a tad disappointed.

Luckily I was shooting with my senior armorer, and he was able to take the shotgun apart and reconnect all the sliding bits, unfortunately it took an order to Brownells to get the top extractor ordered. While I was at it I ordered a 10 dollar ghost ring rear sight.

Today I put the top extractor in (extraction and ejection is now back to normal) and the ghost ring sight. The Chinese sight base was not a standard width (smaller than standard) so I used a piece of bobby pin to fill the gap and allow the Williams ring to grip the groove.

I'll need to take it to the range and run a box or two of cheap birdshot through it to make sure it doesn't break again.

Brady Dialogue

Joan Peterson asked "20 Questions" and here are my answers. I had to edit my comment on her blog to get below the 4096 character requirement.

1. Do you believe that criminals and domestic abusers should be able to buy guns without background checks?

Criminals and DV abusers already buy firearms on the black market from someone who stole them, or steal firearms themselves.


2. What is your proposal for keeping guns away from criminals, domestic abusers, terrorists and dangerously mentally ill people?


Someone is not a criminal until convicted of a crime. So until someone is convicted of a crime,there is no legal standing to deny rights. DV and terrorists are also criminals. As far as the "dangerously mentally ill" I hope you are referring to the Virginia Tech shooter, who passed his background checks because of failures to enforce the laws already on the books.

3. Do you believe that a background check infringes on your constitutional right to "keep and bear arms"?


Yes. Why don't you have to fill out a background check every time you vote? Or publish a blog post?

4. Do you believe that I and people with whom I work intend to ban your guns?

Yes.

5. If yes to #4, how do you think that could happen ( I mean the physical action)?


First step is a ban on new weapons.
Second step is a requirement to register weapons in the name of public safety.
Third step is to continually increase the requirements on lawful gun owners to the point that they commit a "regulatory crime" and therefore become criminals.
Fourth step: Once you've turned lawful gun owners into criminals, issue a warrant and send the police to arrest the criminal and confiscate the firearms.
Fifth step; repeat 80 million times.

It happened in Germany, Cuba, Canada (although the Canadians are starting to fight back), and even New Orleans after Katrina.

6. What do you think are the "second amendment remedies" that the tea party GOP candidate for Senate in Nevada( Sharron Angle) has proposed?

The second amendment allows for an armed citizenry to deal with all manners of social problems, from crime to tyranny. It means we have the right of self defense, not only of our lives but also of our freedoms.

7. Do you believe in the notion that if you don't like what someone is doing or saying, second amendment remedies should be applied?

It depends on whether that person is like Charles Manson or Pol Pot, who is only "saying things" to get other people to kill on his behalf. Words have power.

8. Do you believe it is O.K. to call people with whom you disagree liars and demeaning names?


Liar yes, if someone is a liar they are a liar.

However name calling happens on both sides. This is coming from a "bitter clinger" and a "red state neanderthal" and even a "cold blooded baby killer". I've been called a lot of names by your side. Put on your big girl panties and deal with it.

9. If yes to #8, would you do it in a public place to the person's face?


Yes. If someone is a liar I will say it to their face. I don't use demeaning terms like "nazi" or "pinko commie". It isn't productive.

10. Do you believe that any gun law will take away your constitutional rights?


If you live in Chicago, New York, or Washington DC gun laws ALREADY HAVE.

11. Do you believe in current gun laws? Do you think they are being enforced? If not, explain.


No, gun laws have no demonstrable effect on violent crime. I know current gun laws aren't being enforced, see reference to VA Tech shooter.

12. Do you believe that all law-abiding citizens are careful with their guns and would never shoot anybody?

There are around 80 million of us. OF COURSE most of us never shoot anyone. We work VERY HARD to preach the four rules so that WE DON'T shoot people.

However, there are plenty of us who WILL shoot if it comes down to self defense. Having the ability to defend yourself doesn't mean you go looking for opportunities to defend yourself. And 80 million of us just want to be left alone.

13. Do you believe that people who commit suicide with a gun should be included in the gun statistics?

No. Suicide isn't against the law, so no crime has been committed.

14. Do you believe that accidental gun deaths should "count" in the total numbers?


No, if someone dies from a hunting accident it doesn't have any resemblance to a gang fight and is not useful in talking about crime.

15. Do you believe that sometimes guns, in careless use or an accident, can shoot a bullet without the owner or holder of the gun pulling the trigger?


Something has to "pull the trigger". Guns don't load themselves. If a weapons discharges by being dropped that is the same as if the person who dropped the gun pulled the trigger. Firearms always shoot because of a human activity.

16. Do you believe that 30,000 gun deaths a year is too many?

No. Ten out of ten people die. It's just a matter of when. Also you are "lying with statistics". If you said "8,000 murders by guns" that would be a more interesting question. But since murder is a crime that predates firearms it is ultimately a stupid question. Countries with draconian gun laws still have murder.

17. How will you help to prevent more shootings in this country?


By being armed and ready to defend my family and myself from violence. The best way to stop violence is with overwhelming violence. It is why police carry pistols and patrol rifles.

18. Do you believe the articles that I have posted about actual shootings or do you think I am making them up or that human interest stories about events that have happened should not count when I blog about gun injuries and deaths?


This is America, 11 people (on average) die each year from screwdrivers. Joseph Stalin said it this way "One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic". Your use of individual anecdotes is simply your way to turn individual random events into tragedy. The NRA does the same thing with it's "armed citizen" postings of those who defend themselves with firearms.


19. There has been some discussion of the role of the ATF here. Do you believe the ATF wants your guns and wants to harass you personally? If so, provide examples ( some have written a few that need to be further examined).

Do you remember the contract the ATF put out for multi-tools that were etched "Always Think Forfeiture"? Or how about the ATF agent who insisted that "any firearm that discharges more than one bullet with a single pull of the trigger is a machine gun" when asked about a double barreled shotgun? Anecdotes are not facts, but the ATF is no friend of gun owners.

20. Will you continue a reasonable discussion towards an end that might lead somewhere or is this an exercise in futility?


You want to restrict a Constitutionally protected individual right. The only productive outcome would be for you to realize that guns aren't the problem. People are the problem. People make mistakes, people drive drunk or too fast or drowsy. People kill other people every day by little mistakes. Why do you think we have the FDA, OSHA, and the DOT?

A child is more likely to die from a fall down the stairs or drowning in the backyard pool than from a firearm. Because people make mistakes, not because guns are a problem.

So now I will ask you ONE QUESTION:

Can you demonstrate one time or place, throughout all history, where the average person was made safer by restricting access to handheld weapons?

19 September 2010

Alar controversy....

I googled "Alar Controversy" after Tam noted Meryl Streep's attempt at playing a biochemist testifying before congress...

So I do what anyone would do, I went to pubmed and read as much research as I could this evening.

First, multiple studies have been done with multiple results. Bacteria experiments came back negative for "genotoxic" activity. Rat and mice experiments were much more common, and they all followed roughly the same approach, overdose a population of rodents with Alar and then perform autopsies to look for cancer. What was significant was the amount of time involved in the various rodent experiments.

Anything less than a year came back negative for carcinogenic activity. A study lasting two years found an increase in uterian cancer in female rats.

Now what does this mean? It means rats overdosed on Alar throughout the vast majority of their lives had a slight increase in the rates of cancers of the female reproductive system.

There was an interesting study that showed an increase in rat liver DNA methylation dose dependent with Alar, but I didn't get a good feel for their methodology. Since the other rat studies found no statistically significant increase in liver cancers I question the significance of the correlation.

So, the real question is this, was Alar a threat to children (and supposedly apple eating adults as well)? No, it was not.

How interesting....

Gainseville, Florida, authorities recognize the potential threat from Muslims caused by the koran burning that didn't happen.

"We wanted a lot of high visibility and very preventative patrolling," said Hanna, who was in charge of the operation for Gainesville Police. "You have to weigh it — you don't want to create an atmosphere of hysteria, but we took it real serious."

The sheriff had 242 deputies on duty Sept. 11, 160 of whom were working specifically because of the planned protest, the Sun said.

Total costs for security actually were higher when adding participation by other agencies including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and several sheriff's offices that provided support such as bomb sniffing dogs and detection devices, officials told the Sun.

Blackburn said he isn't sure how realistic it is to expect the church to pay or how much legal authority the city has to compel the church to pay
.

I guess that kinda puts the perspective of Muslim terrorism in perspective doesn't it? If Muslims were peaceful then the city of Gainseville wouldn't have needed more security.

Actions always speak louder than words.

I have a right to Wolfwood's productivity

So over at Joe Huffman's place Lyle made a post about the flat tax idea (an idea that I firmly endorse). Found in the comments...
How is it anyone's business but mine how much money I need?

It can be. If you have a situation where one person feels that he doesn't have enough, that you have more than enough, and that he "deserves" that more than you do (such as by working just as hard, or harder, than you but having started off with more disadvantages) then it's not obvious that you should have more than he does. As much as individualists like talking about the benefits of merit, it's simply the way of the world that there's not a perfect correlation between success and merit, and sometimes that correlation is very week indeed.

I argue that our social contract does allow for certain amounts of asset redistribution. The purpose behind the social contract is to provide a society that is better for its citizens than would be had otherwise. By removing so many of the barriers that would otherwise exist, it allows everyone to be better-off. However, there are costs as well, since TANSTAAFL. We delegate much of our right of defense to the military and the police. We delegate much our right to governance to our local, state, and national governments. One of the things we get in return is a certain degree of protection. Just as the government can seize property through eminent domain (we can argue the limits, but let's say they want to build an ABM site on your land), they can also levy taxes and spend for the general welfare. That general welfare might include life-saving medicines, food stamps, and even make-work jobs. As with eminent domain, the question is what things aren't reasonably within the "general welfare."

Most of us, I suspect, would be willing to either pay whatever rate in taxes is genuinely needed to pay the government enough to fulfill its constitutional duties, or to leave. IIRC, Lincoln fought the Civil War on a 3% income tax for most people. It's just that there's been so much waste that we're unwilling to support anything we don't absolutely need to, even if it's something we might be willing to do were we to be paying a 5% rate and running a budget surplus.

So, as before, it comes down to your business not necessarily being your own in times of crisis. This is a time of economic crisis. It doesn't mean that we need to go all socialist, but it does mean that it behooves us to be able to explain the benefits of capitalism to society and not to simply have our argument be "none of your business."


Wolfwood, let me break this down for you....

17% of 100,000 is 17,000. That's a lot of taxes. 17% of ONE MILLION DOLLARS is 170,000. The great beauty of the flat tax is, and here is the beautiful part, THE MORE YOU MAKE THE MORE YOU PAY!!!

And your argument that someone "needs" to pay less in taxes in order to maintain their standard of living, wasn't it Obama who called for "shared sacrifice"? That means giving up a cell phone, a cable bill, the boat or motorcycle....

I'm just saying.

I herefore declare that I NEED all of Wolfwoods extra money. But it's ok, because he believes that asset redistribution is part of the "social contract". Nothing wrong with because he says it's ok as long as I FEEL that I need it.

Wolfwood, use your damn brain. Americans are the top two percentage points of wealth earners in the world. We are ALL rich. If you don't believe me go travel the world and get back to me in six months.

18 September 2010

Security

One of the tricks for "anonymous web surfing" is to use proxy servers to mask your IP address.

This can work, but it can also raise red flags to network administrators. If you are on a commercial network it doesn't matter so much, but if you are on a .gov network proxy servers are a "no no".

The good news is that you can combine techniques to increase your chances of avoiding monitoring by big brother.

Your laptop came with a built in wireless network adapter right? Disable it and use a USB wireless adapter (or rotate through several). This USB wireless adapter is your "burner", an easily disposed of piece of hardware that you can dump any time. This technique will keep your Media Access Control (MAC) number from tagging you. There are software options to do this as well if you want, however it's easier to unplug a USB adapter and smash it than reconfigure software. Another bonus to using Linux is the ability to randomize your DHCP and MAC address through the command line.

Using "free wifi" sites can be a mixed bag. It doesn't do you any good to go to a place that has security cameras watching you. Remember that being anonymous in cyberspace doesn't do you any good if you aren't also anonymous in meatspace.

You need to know how configure your browser for maximum privacy. Assume that your laptop will in fact fall into Big Brother's hands at some point. http://www.proxyswitcher.com/firefox-privacy-settings.html

Another good way to increase your security is to use a Linux "Live CD" or USB/FLASH memory to do your dirty work, and your installed OS for everything else. Just remember that you need to use the USB device as your HDD instead of your actual disk. Anything written to disk can be read. Much easier to crush a USB drive under your boot heel than a hard drive when you are in a time crunch.

Remember, you don't have to be a 1337 hacker to value your privacy. Remember there are a lot of techniques to keep you out from under the watchful eye of Big Brother, and it isn't illegal to get into the habit of using them.

17 September 2010

How to win

Make the other guy do something stupid.

Whenever there is any sort of ambiguity in the rules of engagement you can exploit that by making the "occupying force" act like idiots.

Carlos Miller has been "banned for life" from the Miami-Dade Metrorail by security guards who have no authority to do so. He exploited their ignorance of law to make his point. He won that engagement.

When I was playing OPFOR (opposing force) a few years back I was given the role of "undecided insurgent". My job was to not do any overt hostilities to the BLUFOR (blue force, or the good guys). So I simply started taking pictures of the BLUFOR with my cell phone camera. One guy went apeshit, abandoned his security position, and followed me into a "mosque" to confiscate my camera. I didn't do anything wrong, and he ended up with a valuable lesson in priorities as he forced his PL to backpeddle like mad trying to save face as to why one of his soldiers violated the sanctity of the holy sight.

This ability to make the "good guys" do stupid things is based on some universal human nature. First is arrogance, the belief that because you are armed and charged with doing a job that you have the latitude to as you see fit. The second is the classic "Nuremberg Defense" that "I was just doing my job" is somehow an acceptable and reasonable excuse for your actions.

Fortunately this is not the case, if you can force someone into doing something stupid you can usually exploit that to your advantage. Unfortunately the police in the US have been making themselves look bad all on their own.

15 September 2010

White Papers and Blogging

Since my current job as Rear Detachment Officer In Charge officially ends this week, I've had some time to sit at my desk and read publications from the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) and US Army War College (USAWC).

There are two types of "white papers" published by these institutions, those by facualty and those by students. Most of the papers by facualty are really, really boring, dealing with very subtle distinction of definitions. Classic academia "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" arguments.

The papers by students however, are much more applicable. A Marine Lieutenant Colonel argues that the Army moving to a "smaller, faster, more deployable force" is a mistake since the US Marine Corps is already highly deployable with a built in amphibious capability. However LTC Kostick failed to convince me that keeping the US Army oriented as a heavy mechanized force is a good thing.

Heavy mechanized forces are very good for punching into and holding geography. However, once they've taken ground, they aren't particularly well suited to holding ground. Heavy Mech units are extremely maintenance intensive and all that firepower has a huge cost in logistic support.

One of the largest assets to the medium Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) is that the maintenance is simplified by a common vehicle system. The SBCT is particularly very good at holding terrain, even if it lacks the punch of Heavy Mech in taking terrain.

Unfortunately LTC Kostic fails to recognize that the future of the US Military is going to be more joint than ever before. I expect that in the next thirty years that we will see both modular teams between the forces, and dedicated teams built for specific missions. A few that make sense to me are; an air wing of C-17's with an Airborne Brigade (or Stryker Battalion), a joint Army/Marine Corps Expeditionary Force, and an Air Force/Navy logistic train.

All I need to do now is to pad my sources with copious references and publish in double spaced single page format....

14 September 2010

Medals

Over at Tam's a post about the Medal of Honor led to further comments about medals. I can't speak for the other services, but in the Army there are not awards for "shining your boots every day".

Medals fall into two categories of awards, bravery or service.

If you serve three enlisted years honorably, keep your nose clean, you get a Good Conduct Medal to go with your three year service stripe. The stripe is automatic, the medal is not. If you serve during a declared war, you get the National Defense Service Medal, whether you went anywhere or not.

But all medals, ribbons, badges and tabs do is put some of your history on your uniform.

There have been a number of MOH recipients who I would not want to hang around. But they were admirably valiant at a point in their military career. There are MOH recipients who really are/were God's Gift to the Army, and are were tremendous assets their entire career.

One Lieutenant I know was awarded a Bronze Star with V Device for having to deal with the aftermath of a VBIED roll into his joint patrol. He spent some time at Walther Reed, and the men of his platoon earned their CIB's and CAB's. Would he give the medal back in a heartbeat to bring two dead soldiers back to life? You bet.

Medals for Valor are always hard, it always means someone has bad memories. Awards for service are to honor someone for their sacrifices. Does that make an award for service lesser than an award for valor? Sure, but everybody who serves does not get the same opportunities for valor.

Us grunts need the intel weenies to do their magic hacking into cellphones and stuff, does that make the intel weenie valuable? Hell yeah. Should the intel weenie be decorated for simply doing their job well? Hell yeah.

One of the most decorated men I've ever known was a cook. A cook who served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. He was a brave man, and a good man, and an asset to the Army his entire career. Most of his medals were "I was there" medals, but at the end of the day, if you weren't there, you didn't get that medal.

Stieg Larsson's plot in real life...

Evidently raping little girls isn't worth three years in jail.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/09/14/uk.trafficking.case/index.html?hpt=T2

13 September 2010

The Law of Land Warfare

Having been studying "insurgent warfare" I noticed a "new" concept, that even has a nice new catchphrase "Lawfare".

There are techniques that work, and techniques that temporarily work, and techniques that simply don't work in terms of counterinsurgency (COIN) operations.

Reprisals are illegal under the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC). But reprisals fall into the "temporarily work" type of operations. This is a tool that US commanders are not allowed to use, no matter the circumstances. However, this is a tool that the enemy uses to great effect.

My point is that we have set ourselves up for failure. How much time, money, and effort did we waste with the prisoners at Gitmo? Our laws were turned against our ultimate goal in prosecuting war.

We are going to see the continual sort of problems come up, simply because we have a publicized legal structure that the enemy can exploit. Remember, you don't have to win, you just have to stay in the game long enough to get the other guy to quit.

Who would have thought that the principles of tort reform would have national security implications?

12 September 2010

The best way to communicate with a Liberal...



Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal sure has some good ones. http://www.smbc-comics.com

11 September 2010

9/11

Nine years ago I was eating breakfast in the chow hall when we got word that the first plane had struck the WTC.

I'd been working out that morning with the SF recruiting team on Fort Hood, getting in shape for my October SFAS date.

It has been a long nine years. I didn't earn the Green Beret but I did earn "Airborne Ranger" and one short trip to Iraq. I didn't lose anyone I knew on 9/11, the people I cared about who died later did so from terror attacks in Iraq.

But the truth is, we either fight over there, or they will bring the fight here.

10 September 2010

Bill Clinton's Policy declared "unconstitutional"

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/09/09/dont.ask.dont.tell/?hpt=T2

A Fed court in California declared "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" violated the 1st and 5th Ammendment.

I don't understand the reasoning behind the 5th ammendment violation, the right to not self incriminate is implied in the "don't tell" portion of "don't ask, don't tell". But I do agree with the first ammendment violation.

Remember kids, this will be touted as an Obama victory over "Bush's Policies" by the dingbats.

Interesting juxtaposition of headlines

China Preps for New Moon Mission This Year

Space Shuttle Discovery Leaves Hangar for Final Spaceflight

Joss Whedon had it right, Chinese will be the dominant language in the future space empire of humankind...

09 September 2010

Burn a Koran day?

I have mixed feelings about the media stunt being pulled in Florida.

Burning books has always been a symbol of totalitarian fascism. Hitler, Mao, Lenin, all guilty of intellectual suppression.

On the flip side, Islam is an aggressive religion, and accommodating Islam's requests that "blaspheme against Islam be a crime" is voluntary Dhimmitude. A Dhimmi is a second class citizen in the apartheid that is Sharia law for the uninitiated.

So, I know that the consequences of the media stunt will rock across the Muslim world. This is a culture that had multiple deaths in the rioting over cartoons of Muhammed. BUT, if we do not confront Islam head on, WE WILL LOSE.

Soldiers die. More of us MAY die because of the media stunt, but some of us are going to die no matter what. So I will end with a quote from OBL.

These youths love death as you loves life. They inherit dignity, pride, courage, generosity, truthfulness and sacrifice from father to father. They are most delivering and steadfast at war. They inherit these values from their ancestors (even from the time of the Jaheliyyah, before Islam). These values were approved and completed by the arriving Islam as stated by the messenger of Allah (Allah's Blessings and Salutations may be on him): "I have been send to perfecting the good values". (Saheeh Al-Jame' As-Sagheer).

Our youths believe in paradise after death. They believe that taking part in fighting will not bring their day nearer; and staying behind will not postpone their day either. Exalted be to Allah who said: {And a soul will not die but with the permission of Allah, the term is fixed} (Aal Imraan; 3:145). Our youths believe in the saying of the messenger of Allah (Allah's Blessings and Salutations may be on him): "O boy, I teach a few words; guard (guard the cause of, keep the commandments of) Allah, then He guards you, guard (the cause of ) Allah, then He will be with you; if you ask (for your need) ask Allah, if you seek assistance, seek Allah's; and know definitely that if the Whole World gathered to (bestow) profit on you they will not profit you except with what was determined for you by Allah, and if they gathered to harm you they will not harm you except with what has been determined for you by Allah; Pen lifted, papers dried, it is fixed nothing in these truths can be changed" Saheeh Al-Jame' As-Sagheer. Our youths took note of the meaning of the poetic verse:

"If death is a predetermined must, then it is a shame to die cowardly."
and the other poet saying:
"Who do not die by the sword will die by other reason; many causes are there but one death".

These youths believe in what has been told by Allah and His messenger (Allah's Blessings and Salutations may be on him) about the greatness of the reward for the Mujahideen and Martyrs; Allah, the most exalted said: {and -so far- those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will by no means allow their deeds to perish. He will guide them and improve their condition. and cause them to enter the garden -paradise- which He has made known to them}. (Muhammad; 47:4-6). Allah the Exalted also said: {and do not speak of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead; nay -they are- alive, but you do not perceive} (Bagarah; 2:154). His messenger (Allah's Blessings and Salutations may be on him) said: "for those who strive in His cause Allah prepared hundred degrees (levels) in paradise; in-between two degrees as the in-between heaven and earth". Saheeh Al-Jame' As-Sagheer. He (Allah's Blessings and Salutations may be on him) also said: "the best of the martyrs are those who do NOT turn their faces away from the battle till they are killed. They are in the high level of Jannah (paradise). Their Lord laughs to them ( in pleasure) and when your Lord laughs to a slave of His, He will not hold him to an account". narrated by Ahmad with correct and trustworthy reference. And : "a martyr will not feel the pain of death except like how you feel when you are pinched". Saheeh Al-Jame' As-Sagheer. He also said: "a martyr privileges are guaranteed by Allah; forgiveness with the first gush of his blood, he will be shown his seat in paradise, he will be decorated with the jewels of belief (Imaan), married off to the beautiful ones, protected from the test in the grave, assured security in the day of judgement, crowned with the crown of dignity, a ruby of which is better than this whole world (Duniah) and its' entire content, wedded to seventy two of the pure Houries (beautiful ones of Paradise) and his intercession on the behalf of seventy of his relatives will be accepted". Narrated by Ahmad and At-Tirmithi (with the correct and trustworthy reference).

Those youths know that their rewards in fighting you, the USA, is double than their rewards in fighting some one else not from the people of the book. They have no intention except to enter paradise by killing you. An infidel, and enemy of God like you, cannot be in the same hell with his righteous executioner.


So could I condemn someone for burning Mao's Little Red Book? Could I condemn someone for burning Mein Kampf? Could I condemn someone for burning the Communist Manifesto? No, so I cannot condemn someone in Florida for pulling a media stunt by burning the Koran. If millions of people can die under Communist regimes in the last century, and millions die fighting for freedom from communism, the surely a few of us can fight and possibly die fighting for religious freedom.

07 September 2010

Known Militia Websight...

Today a soldier from the S6 came down to check the computer name of each computer in my detachment.

Said that DOIM (Director of Information Management) instructed them to find the computer that was used to view a "known militia websight".

I thought it was mine, but some of my NCO's thought it might have been them. A couple of my boys were looking for info on the Montana Militia to settle an argument.

Remember kids, just because they don't block it doesn't mean they aren't watching.

06 September 2010

Insulation

Today we finished adding cellulose fiber insulation to the attic crawlspace above the master bedroom. Loads of fun. Hopefully the added insulation shaves more money off the electric bill.

Being "green" isn't about telling other people how to live (that's "red"). Being green is about choosing to live an efficient lifestyle.

It is why I chose LCD instead of Plasma for my home television, why we burn wood for heat in the winter (wood is a totally renewable resource), and why we compost. Recycling is a crock, after all, when it is economically advantages to recycle people do it, and when it is not, they don't.

But some people want to manipulate the market via government intervention to force people to recycle. That sticks in my craw.

Justice and Fairness

Just and Fair are not interchangeable terms. What is just is right by a "universal" standard, and what is "fair" is what is negotiated as equitable between parties.

One of the arguments FOR a graduated income tax was that as you earn more money you are really being rewarded by the efforts of others, and therefore paying a portion of the tax they would pay had they kept their money. This seems "fair", that those who have more should put more into the pot. Unfortunately it isn't "just".

For example, two miners have no guarantee of return, one could strike it rich and the other go bust. Their work was rewarded by luck. The same can be said of farmers, some years are better than others regardless of the skill and drive of the farmer.

So the reward for work is influenced a large amount by luck. Is it fair? No, because fate is not an interested party between multiple people, but differing returns for work is just. So why do we try to impose "fairness" on taxes? Because we envy.

Americans are RICH. Everyone in America is rich. Not that everyone in America lives in idleness and luxury, but if you take the over six billion people on this planet and compare standards of living, the 300 million Americans are in the very top two percent of people on the planet. Put it this way, you are reading this post on a computer or mobile device over the internet when HALF of the worlds population has never made a telephone call.

Now government is a way for people to take from some and give to others. When government takes from everyone and gives to itself we call it a tyranny. When government takes from the productive and gives to the unproductive we call it communism or socialism.

But communism and socialism are nothing more than legalized theft. And people don't like being mugged. Whether it is a career criminal in the subway or the jack booted thug sent by a bureaucrat the transfer of wealth and energy is the same.

So are taxes "fair"? If all parties involved agree that they are fair, then yes, taxes can be fair. But right now 47% of American's do not pay income tax, and I as a taxpayer (who works for the government, so all my taxes are just recycled taxes from you) cannot call that "fair".

The huge problem with our current tax system isn't that the rich pay for the "less fortunate" but that the "less fortunate" pay nothing at all. You can't have pride of ownership in something you don't own.

There is rapidly becoming a difference between "Taxpayer" and "Citizen". And that is neither fair nor just.

Now, our legal system is supposedly a "justice" system. But why do cops arrest people for filming them? Is it because the police do not know that photography is not a crime? Or is it because they have the power to arrest someone on charges that are not prosecutable and can do so without fear of reprimand or consequence?

I think that cops need consequences. It is only just. Everyone needs to buy into the system, and everyone needs to be accountable for their actions, especially when they are public servants.

05 September 2010

Movie Review: The Expendables

Good Fun.

Ignore the holes in the plot, the bad combat tactics and enjoy it for what it is; a classic action film. A throwback to the 1980's "Delta Force" and "American Samurai" style action film.

Good guys win, bad guys die, much explosions and carnage. Ignore the fact that they don't have supporting fire, even though there are plenty of men to do that job. Ignore the fact that they don't use the armed aircraft but once, even though it would be a helluva asset during the impromptu climax.

Suspend your disbelief and enjoy. After all, it wasn't meant to be Shakespeare.

04 September 2010

Why I shop at WalMart

Once upon a time I believed that it was morally right and commendable to support local businesses with my hard earned money. The local gun store, farmers market, computer shop, etc.

I still believe that, but with one caveat. The economy is headed for disaster and you need to be as prepared as possible. Local businesses are not the most bang for your buck, and survival isn't about morality or ethics.

So shop at WalMart and get prepared.

Maybe I'll change my mind again and decide that I have the luxury of trying to "buy local" but right now logic compels me to turn money into real resources while I can.

Angels, Demons, Musicians...

Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the devil to get his skill with the guitar. Charlie Daniels had hit songs with "The devil went down to Georgia" and "The devil went back to Georgia". Even Igor Stravinski put a Russian folk tale about a soldier, a fiddle, and the devil to music in "Histoire du Soldat" or "The Soldier's Tale".

Paganini and Tartini were both associated with the devil and violin. Paganini because of his great skill with the instrument, Tartini because his composition "Violin Sonata in G" is also known as "The Devil's Trill" because of the virtuosity required to play it.

Certain instruments have religious associations, such as the Harp (possibly the most angelic instrument by western iconogaphy, and the instrument used by David to calm King Saul) and the Trumpet (the falling of the walls of Jericho, the sounding of the last trumpet in Revelation).

This may be why we don't see virtuoso trumpet players being accused of selling their soul to the devil whether or not they can play the solo from "Carnival of Venice" blindfolded.

So how did the harp become "angelic" while the violin and guitar became "demonic"? I don't know, but it is an interesting topic to research.

03 September 2010

Anonymous Californian...

Anonymous left this little gem of wisdom..
I live in California and I don't think anyone has destroyed the California economy. We've just reached a crossroads and we need to figure out which way to go.

Republican ideas are grand, but if the Republicans were in charge, people would be buying and selling "view lots" in Yosemite. Republicans exploit natural resources, leaving nothing but waste behind. Even the Chinese learn from California.


Ok, Anonymous, don't take this the wrong way, but GET YOUR DAMN HEAD OUT OF THE SAND. WAKE UP.

Companies leaving CAhttp://jan.ocregister.com/2010/02/24/list-names-100-companies-leaving-california/31805/ http://thebusinessrelocationcoach.blogspot.com/2010/05/updated-again-californias-hostile.html

Man made dust bowlhttp://beetlebabee.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/dead-and-dying-californias-central-valley-dust-bowl/ http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/water-shut-off-to-california-farms-because-of-endangered-fish/blog-129611/?page=4

Budget Crisis (possibly caused by a toxic business environment and decreased farm production not being able to support public paychecks and programs?) http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2010/0729/California-budget-emergency-bid-to-recoup-6-billion-in-pensions http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1910985,00.html

And how about those electricity rates? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_electricity_crisis http://solveclimate.com/blog/20100402/eye-popping-electric-bills-spark-smart-meter-investigations-texas-california

And as far as your "Republicans hate the environment" ad hominem attack, FUCK YOU. Teddy Roosevelt and a couple other conservatives like Gifford Pinchot and John Muir started our National Park system. The difference between CONSERVATION and "Non-Use" is that Conservation means "WISE USE" and what you think of as "wilderness preservation" is non-use. Your assertion that "republicans would be selling view lots in Yosemite" is a blatant falsehood and you should be ridiculed for your stupidity, you mouth breathing sub monkey twit.

But hey, if Anonymous is typical of Califonia voters, the state deserves to fail. And as far as China learning from California? You bet, the Chinese know a bad example when they see one.