Friday, December 27, 2013

Replace Windows, Not Your Computer

Microsoft is going to drop support for Windows XP in April 2014. That's about four months out. An upgrade to Windows 7 will probably cost you at least $120US, and could easily require a hardware upgrade. But there are alternatives to upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7.

I like to recommend that people try a Linux distribution (or distro) before buying a new computer to upgrade from Windows XP. There are a lot of benefits.
  • Better security than WinXP: A lot of popular software won't run in WinXP unless you violate some really basic security principles; few Linux distros encourage that kind of behavior
  • You have more control over your computer: The more modern your version of Windows, the more control is put in the hands of the MPAA, RIAA, and similar groups; Linux is licensed in a way to ensure your computer is under your control alone
  • You help the environment: your computer, which includes a lot of toxic chemicals, can work for you for many more years under Linux than Windows, and so stay out of landfills for many more years
  • You save money: you spend less for hardware and usually nothing for software.
Trying Linux is pretty easy with a live system. This is a version of Linux designed to run from a CD-ROM, DVD, or USB drive without affecting your computer. Because it's on removable media, it's going to load programs much more slowly than it would if you installed it, but once loaded, the programs should run pretty quickly. You can try the programs that are included by default, and you can use the package manager to see what you could download for free if you installed.

By the way, if you don't know which distro to choose, I would suggest Linux Mint 13 if your computer predates 2012, Lubuntu if your computer is really limited (say, 512 MB of RAM or less), or the most current Linux Mint if your computer is less than two years old and version 13 doesn't work with it. They are all pretty easy to install, act lot like Windows on the surface, and have friendly communities and forums where you can get help. Some distros, such as Zorin OS, are designed specifically to make the transition from Windows easier. Other popular desktop distros suitable for beginners include Fedora, Ubuntu, Xubuntu, openSUSE, Kubuntu, NetRunner, PCLinuxOS, Point Linux, Mageia, Pear Linux, KWheezy, Pinguy OS, SolydXK, and Korora.

There are basically three ways to get a live system. You can borrow one, buy one, or download one. Borrowing involves finding a local Linux Users Group (or LUG), which will probably be full of enthusiasts happy to help you get going with their favorite Linux distributions. (They may not share my preference for Linux Mint. Try their suggestions anyway.) There is probably one in your area, and many colleges and universities have them. Search Google for "Linux Users Group" (in quotes) with where you live, and see what comes up. A LUG is especially helpful no matter how good you are with computers. In fact, switching over to Linux is probably easier for somebody who is not very knowedgeable about Windows than it is for a Windows expert.

The best way to buy is from; they sell most of the big desktop, server, and rescue distros on CD or USB key. This may be a better option than downloading, especially if you have limited bandwidth and/or limited faith in your ability to create live media.

Downloading is easy, especially if you have plenty of bandwidth. If you do, and your computer will boot from a USB drive, and you have one that holds 1GB or more, you can go to Pendrive Linux, which has a nifty tool to load any of scores of Linux distros onto a thumb drive. Or, if you can only boot from CDs or DVDs, download burning software like CDBurnerXP, and then download a live ISO (like Lubuntu which fits on a single CD-R), use the burner to put Lubuntu onto a CD, use it to boot your computer, and try that.

Now, there are reasons for not even giving Linux a try. In no particular order:

You already have Windows Vista or Seven

Windows Seven will have mainstream support until January 2015, and extended security support until January 2020. Windows Vista will have extended security support until April 2017. You're not up against the clock, like an XP user is.

You would rather spend the money for the upgrade

You think it will be easiest to buy a new computer to try a very different Windows system (that is, Windows 8 or 8.1) instead of not spending money on a new computer, and trying a Linux system that acts more like XP in the day-to-day, if much less like XP when it comes to adding, removing, and updating software.

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

I've heard people say that if you are going to try Linux, you can expect to have to compile your video drivers from source. I've used several desktop Linux distros for about six years, and I have never compiled anything from source. (Edit: Unless using Slackbuilds counts, which I tend to doubt; they are thoroughly documented scripts that download, configure, and compile the source tarball for you.)

I've heard that you will only be able to use vastly inferior software. If you absolutely cannot stand to be without the very latest and greatest in Outlook, Adobe Photoshop CS, or Microsoft Office, that could very well be true. If you use Firefox or Chrome instead of Internet Explorer, Thunderbird instead of Outlook, VLC instead of Media Player, and LibreOffice instead of Microsoft Office, then you are already using default Linux software for those tasks. But search the Wine HQ Application Database before deciding that Linux will prevent you from using your pet application. If it's running Platinum, chances are that the WINE software will let you can use it without any issue at all.

I've heard that it's impossible to get help. If you're using XP, the sort of support you get for Linux is the sort you're getting for Windows XP: searching the web. There are communities full of elitists who will treat you badly if you don't meet their expectations. But there are also communities full of helpful friendly people who are very happy you're trying Linux and want you to do well with it, and the Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and CrunchBang communities are definitely among them. In any case, reading documentation (which is easily searched if you include the distro name) before starting is always a good idea.

I've heard that you will have to master the command line. This depends a little on which distro. I know that at least Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Mageia, and PCLinuxOS all have a lot of graphical, point-and-click tools for the vast majority of system administration tasks. Barring some bizarre video issue or the like, you probably would never need the command line for any of those distros.

But a lot of help will recommend using command-line tools, because the graphical tools can depend on your desktop environment, while command line tools do not. And they will work even if the entire graphical environment dies. The command line is your emergency fallback toolkit. It is very powerful and can do serious damage if used carelessly. But it can also save your bacon if everything goes wrong. Don't be afraid. It's like driving a Ferrari Testarossa or Lancia Stratos: you can do it if you're careful and don't try to push it to its limits. If you google the entire command in quotes before you use it, that gives you a basic simple sanity check.

Before Starting

If you decide to install Linux and you want to keep Windows XP, there are some things you absolutely should do first, no matter what distro you elect to use.
  1. Defrag your hard disk. Auslogics Disk Defrag Free is an excellent freeware program.
  2. Back up your data. Include any software installation files you have downloaded. There are a lot of ways to do this; find the one that works for you.
  3. Ensure that you can restore from backup. There are many IT professionals who are very sorry they did not do this.
  4. Read documentation. Learn about disk partitioning and partitioning schemes. This can help you prepare for future upgrades.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Robertsons of "Duck Dynasty" UPDATED

The whole world has no doubt heard how the Arts and Entertainment network has fired Phil Robertson, the patriarch of "Duck Dynasty," for saying what every Christian should believe regarding sexual morality in a straightforward manner. He may no longer appear on A&E. I got the story from John C. Wright, who posted the actual commentary that got Phil fired, rather than any of the libelous or slanderous things falsely attributed to him. I can readily believe that Pat Archbold is right about what A&E wanted: a reasonable facsimile of "The Real Beverly Hillbillies," a way to mock country folk and Christian belief. And also about what they got: a loyal audience that absolutely loves the Robertsons for being God-fearing Christian country folk, and that makes A&E a whackload of money for putting the Robertsons on the air. And for what it's worth, the Robertsons appear to be loyal to their patriarch, and have no interest in doing the show without him.

I've never seen "Duck Dynasty." I'd rather have the telly off. My wife, who likes telly, generally prefers crime drama, SyFy originals, urban fantasy, and monster movies (no zombies), with a few specific sitcoms thrown in. But I would like for the Robertsons of Duck Commander to more or less stay on the air. From what little I know of them, they're the sort of people that, even if they were as desperately poor as I am, I'd like to have for neighbors.

So, if I were Phil Robertson, this is what I would do: provided there's no anti-competition clause in the contract with A&E that prevents it, I'd take the show's concept to Country Music Television. It doesn't have to be called "Duck Dynasty" for the fans to find it there. And CMT is run both by and for people who are a lot more like the Robertsons than the Arts and Entertainment network. I suspect they're a little less likely to fold because of the first call from GLAAD or their fellow-travelers.

UPDATE: Audrey Assad is not merely a wonderful musician, songwriter, and performer. She also has steelmanned Phil Robertson's argument against homosexual acts, reaching largely the same conclusion from a much more humane and human place, namely, the Theology of the Body.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Growth continues

Tatsuya Ishida has done it again. In this surprisingly poignant Sunday strip, he has made clear just what the costs of the sexual revolution have been, to both men and women. He may think it only applies in cases of sex trafficking, but it really does apply to all extramarital sex. And I very much doubt he recognizes that it's contraception that supports and supercharges our sex obsessed culture of death.

Friday, June 28, 2013

the Doom of DOMA

Click for full strip
I could have put this post up at Capes 'n' Babes, but that's not what Chris Flick's website is for, and he'd have every reason and right not to post it. He has the site mainly to sell his artwork, and my countercultural Catholic argumentation could reasonably alienate his customers. I couldn't wish that on him. I'm going to ask my two readers not to go and gunk up his site with a flamewar, either.

But as to why that's not good, I think we could learn from the lesson of Chesterton's Gate -- the idea that, before we go to reform an institution, we ought to understand why it is the way it is. I don't think gay marriage advocates have any understanding of why marriage was the way it was. Nor have they found or built any structures to do what marriage was originally meant to do.

The function of marriage has historically been to protect the children which are its natural result. It provides them with a bond with their father, and a incentives for him to protect them. If your spouse dies, then finding and marrying a replacement can be better for your children than staying a widow/er, which is why it's reasonable to allow people to remarry after the death of a spouse. Even if a woman has aged to menopause, it's easy to see how her entering marriage can be good for any children involved.

The giant blows against marriage were contraception and divorce. Divorce especially does grave harm to children, and remarriage is very hard on them, probably far harder than in cases of widowing. Much worse is when Mom just shacks up after divorcing Dad. Children are at greatest risk of sexual assault from mom's live-in boyfriend.

Homosexual marriage does not naturally result in children. Its advocates, like those for divorce and contraception, seem to either not consider the harm that their pet project does to children (which would include being in denial about it), or may actually hate children. Their arguments against these concerns vary from "What could it hurt?" to "Shut up."

I really don't think the SCOTUS considered these things when they struck down DOMA. I think there's compelling government interest in protecting marriage -- doing so gives children the best chance going forward that they can have. In addition to affirming DOMA, they could consider doing away with contraception (which promotes infidelity, which is ALSO very bad for the children) and divorce (which is the result of contraception, and even worse for children). They are far more important than the easy access to the benefits of marriage for gays (and to which they have alternative means of access).

Friday, June 21, 2013

"Nothing to hide, nothing to fear"

As Moxie Marlinspike points out, the idea that only people who have something to hide have anything to fear from our surveillance state is a load of crap. As he points out, there are far too many laws for any of us to know what they are and not break them.

The common law dictum that "ignorance of the law is no excuse" can only rationally apply to common law. It is impossible to be knowledgeable about all the new federal statute, regulatory, and case law of the last year alone!

There is greater risk: California's state legislature has previously done away with the statute of limitations, and is planning to do so again. There is a WSJ article entitled "Sacramento's Nonprofit Shakedown," but I don't have access to it behind the paywall.

We are not trying to walk through a minefield of legal problems. No, we are law enforcement's targets in a shooting gallery, and either blasted or spared based upon their whims, prejudices, and moods. We live under appointed despots.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Another PRISM post

Mozilla has launched an anti-PRISM campaign at StopWatching.Us. I signed their open letter with my real name. And I know that by admitting that, I'm giving the government a double-check means of determining my real identity. But I've always assumed that anything I say here can be traced back to me, given sufficiemt resources.

Claire Wolfe said at the close of the last century that it was too late to reform the US government, but too early to start shooting the bastards. I wonder if she's changed her mind about that latter part, yet.

I've long been critical of the US government, but I've never been seditious or proposed violence. Long before the government could cross any line past which I could have felt justified at opening fire on any of them, I became Catholic, and learned that martyrdom was the better response, both in its morality and in its effectiveness. If you shoot the bastards, they use that as an excuse for escalating their tyranny. If they martyr you, they cannot -- at least, not to themselves.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


If you haven't heard about the PRISM scandal (where the feds copy and store everything going through numerous web services, including but not limited to google, facebook, yahoo!, and msn), you really have not been paying attention. Even if your stuff's encrypted now, the feds plan to keep it until they can crack it. But there's a bit of help from the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

Friday, May 24, 2013

$8 Billion iPods

Ever get the feeling that when media distributors claim billions of dollars in losses they're just trying to screen their real motives?

Here's an examination of that argument.

Now, I'll be honest; I haven't investigated Rob Reid's information, but it seems largely reasonable. Anyone care to confirm his numbers, or supply better ones?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Blogrollin' #109 (I checked)

I found Charming Disarray's traditionalist post on Papa Francis through Pentimento. The great bit is at the end:
But I will say that if we have a pope who will demonstrate through example that appearance matters less than internal disposition, then it stikes me that that is exactly what our current image-obsessed culture needs. And people think God doesn't know what He's doing.
I'm not a traddie myself. I have sympathy for them, and I think they're doing good things for the Church -- the liturgy IS important. I also think that while the Extraordinary Form probably isn't important to Papa Francis the way it is to Papa Ben, he has no history of hostility towards it, and I don't see any reason why he'd approve of any either. I offer the concerned traditionalists some advice from St. Padre Pio: "Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer." And from myself: be open to how the Spirit will use Papa Francis.

Murder vs. Justifiable Homicide

So libertarian Charles Murray recently said of abortion: "It’s a murder—it’s a homicide—but sometimes homicide is justified." (Salute to Matt Archbold.)

Sometimes homicide IS justified. When the only way to prevent an imminent murder is to slay the imminent perpetrator, that is justifiable homicide. There are other cases. Justifiable homicide is the entire point of Just War Theory -- to delineate the cases where nations may engage in mass, military homicide. But it is ALSO to delineate where such use of force is NOT justified. In fact, it makes the case that it is possible for soldiers fighting a just war to commit murder on the battlefield.

By having sex with a man, a woman voluntarily assumes the risk of pregnancy. The pregnancy is certainly not the fault of the child. Even if she becomes pregnant from rape, bear in mind that the child is neither the perpetrator of the rape, nor his accomplice, nor his co-conspirator. The child is every bit as much a victim of the rapist as the mother; he has denied his child its inherent right to be reared by its own parents in a stable, permanent marriage. I don't see any justification for slaying the child.

Murder is unjustified. The lack of justification is what defines "murder" as a subset of "homicide." Cases of homicide which are murder and cases of homicide which are justifiable have NO overlap. Mr. Murray's statement is profoundly irrational. He needs to either admit that abortion is murder, or make the case that it's justifiable homicide, and not equivocate the two.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Good Times in Linux-Land

I'm going to suggest you start using a Linux-based operating system on your computers, rather than Mac OSX or Windows. One reason for switching is because Microsoft is dropping support for Windows XP next April, and you will only be able to get Windows 8 (and then only after a hardware upgrade). If you don't want to buy a new computer, switching to Linux could easily save you from that.

Many Linux variants (called distros) are easy to install, use, and maintain. They do really well what most people do on their computers: surf the web, email, chat on instant messaging clients, manage photos, and word processing. Few of these things are done exactly how they're done in Windows. But that's a feature, not a bug. In a lot of cases, the ways that Windows does these things are kind of lousy, but you're used to the problems. In the meantime, the new way of doing things will seem unnatural and awkward, but it was every bit as awkward and unnatural when you were first learning how to do it in Windows.

Before you consider installing a Linux distro, I urge you to
  2. Read their documentation
  3. Test that you can restore your data from backup
  4. Read their documentation
  5. Defragment your hard drive
  6. Read their documentation
  7. Proceed with download, testing, and installation of your chosen distro
The easiest way for most people to start with Linux is to use Linux Mint 13 (Maya) KDE Edition. The desktop is pretty, quite a bit like Windows 7, and Linux Mint 13 will be supported util April 2017, which means you won't have to reinstall until then. The next version of Linux Mint to have support past that date will be released no sooner than April 2014. Try the live version before installing.

There are other distros that are well-suited for beginners. These include openSUSE, Ubuntu (which has a novel interface called Unity that should also work for smartphones and tablets -- I recommend the LTS version), Kubuntu (again, I recommend LTS), Mageia, PCLinuxOS, and Lubuntu Extra Life Extention. They vary in how often they release new versions, what sort of desktop environment to provide, how long they support old versions, which software they think it is most important to support and update, and how devoted they are to software freedom.

Fedora is quite a bit trickier to make desktop-ready than any of these that I've mentioned. It is heavily supported by Red Hat, which is strongly devoted to free software principles. As a result, Fedora doesn't have a push-button easy way to enable Adobe Flash, many popular (captive) multimedia formats (such as DVDs and MP3s, as well as Adobe Flash), or the nVidia or Radeon proprietary graphics drivers. If installing FlashBlock in your web browser doesn't change anything for you, and you don't play any games with 3-D acceleration, this might not matter. Fedora is also devoted to cutting edge software and rapid release cycles.

Software freedom is one of the major reasons I prefer free software to captive software, like Microsoft Windows and Office, iTunes, Adobe Flash, Kindle, and Nook. They all mean to prevent you from actually controlling copyrighted content, but rather putting control of such content in the hands of others. And if they have to be able to hijack your computer without your say-so to keep that control, then they can. And really, do you deserves that kind of aggravation? Should you have to live with other people controlling your computer, because of so-called "intellectual property rights"? Is it right and just for (say) MGM or Sony Entertainment to delete your legitimate, legal, digital download of a movie or song, because somebody else posted a copy of it on Pirate Bay or MegaUpload or a similar site?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Deo Gratias!

Deo gratias! Habemus Papam Franciscum. Gaude!!

I've looked over Jorge Bergoglio's biography at CNS, and his Wikipedia page, and I have great hope. May God bless him and keep him, and richly bestow upon him the graces of his charism.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Defang the HHS Mandate

Salute to Frank Weathers.

According to the USCCB, Rep. Diane Black (along with 50 cosponsors, has introduced legislation to require the HHS to respect the first amendment civil rights of believers. It's HR 940; you can search the Library of Congress for the bill; you can tell your representatives to cosponsor and support it (if they haven't already).

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Worth a Thousand Words

This picture:

I'm not going to claim that the Stupid Evil party is significantly more moral than the Evil Stupid party, but I will say that they don't get away with the same sort of massive spending increases, and the opposition opposes them a lot harder than vice versa.

I'll also say that every extra dollar spent in the federal budget is prima facie an intrusion by the federal government into private lives.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Random Thoughts on Papa Ben's Resignation

The most interesting take has been from Fr. George David Byers of Holy Souls Hermitage, who suggests that Joseph Ratzinger is taking on ever-more-ferocious spiritual combat and burdens. He discusses the need for greater solidarity with the Holy Father here. He has lots of other good stuff to say, and I recommend reading everything else he has to say about il Papa's resignation. He also has (cryptic) warnings for the next Pope.

I am going to miss Papa Ben. I am going to miss his gentle pastoral care for us, his brilliant scholarship, and his tireless work for Christian unity.

Like St. Pietro da Morrone before him, he pricked the conscience of the College of Cardinals immediately before his election, and like Pope Celestine V, he is resigning because he can tell that the demands of the Petrine Ministry are beyond the graces God now gives him. And I think that like St. Pietro da Morrone, he will be canonized as a saint. I saw the parallel from the very beginning of Papa Ben's papacy. Scott Hahn had more on that; I think Frank Weathers has some really cool expansions on what Hahn had to say. He quotes Hahn's facebook post in its entirety, without getting bogged down in the anti-Catholicism that overwhelmed Hahn's post.

Two bloggers have separately suggested that Papa Ben is motivated to resign in part because he wishes to prevent the Vatican bureaucracy from taking advantage of his infirmity to act against the Spirit as a sort of Papal Regent. I think such speculation smells of detraction, which is why I'm not linking to it. To all who fret, St. Padre Pio's advice to "Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer," is sound.

This election is going to be different. When's the last time that a conclave had warning that it would be convened? The politicking that no doubt has already started is going to be intense.

While I don't expect it, I think it would be totally awesome for either Cdl Dolan or Cdl Burke to get the See of Rome. Regardless of whom the College of Cardinals selects, the Holy Spirit is in charge and so I expect a saintly man. Where evil abounds, grace also, and evil has surely abounded in Christendom for well over a century now. Far too many have been slain for me to ever think otherwise.

addenda: Fr. Z of What Does the Prayer Really Say writes:

Obamacare: Bad law.

Ever since I first heard of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I've been saying that it is a very bad law. Everything about it, from its length (over 2000 pages), to the secrecy in which it was passed (nobody had been given time to actually read final version of the bill when it was passed), to the naked vote-buying that went on, to the artificial emergency-crisis atmosphere used to rush it through Congress, to the well-documented (but little-known) nature of the man who demanded it, indicated that it was a very bad law.

Nothing has happened that might suggest I was mistaken.

Indeed, many things great and small strongly suggest that I was right. At the small end is the HHS mandate. I don't mean to diminish its tyranny or its unconstitutionality, but I recognize that it doesn't really involve a whole lot of money or people (yet). On the other, we have the Energy and Commerce Committee's Obamacare Burden Tracker, which tallies up Congressional Budget Office estimates of hours spent on compliance with Obamacare. Their current estimate: 127,602,371 hours. To borrow from them:
What could be done in 127,602,371 hours?
  • Mount Rushmore, which took 14 years to build, could be constructed 1,040 times.
  • Halley’s comet, seen from Earth once every 76 years, could be spotted 191 times.
  • The Empire State building, which took 7 million hours to build, could be constructed 18 times.
Is 100% of the new regulatory burden wasted time? It's doubtful. But it is 100% cost, and I very much doubt it was factored into the original CBO estimate of how much the ACA would cost when it was being debated in Congress.  And 100% of that cost will come out of our pockets.  There is no such thing as a free lunch.

here's somebody who knows this stuff better than I do, taking it to pieces far better than I can. Salute to the Pittsford Perennialist.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

An HHS Mandate Simile

I have stolen this entirely from Frank Weathers of Why I Am Catholic.

As you may (or may not) be aware, proposed rules regarding access to pornographic services have been in the making for some time now. This letter to you is a notice that marks the next step in this process. As some religious organizations, and individual members of said religious institutions, had problems with accepting our prior rules on pornographic services, modifications have been adopted as noted in the following paragraphs.

The proposed rules would make two principal changes to the health services coverage rules to provide all citizens with pornographic services coverage without cost sharing, while taking into account religious objections to said pornographic services to members of eligible organizations, including eligible organizations that are religious institutions of higher education, that establish or maintain or arrange health coverage. First, the proposed rules would amend the criteria for the religious employer exemption to ensure that an otherwise exempt employer plan is not disqualified because the employer’s purposes extend beyond the inculcation of religious values or because the employer serves or hires people of different religious faiths.

Second, the proposed rules would establish accommodations for health services coverage established or maintained by eligible organizations, or arranged by eligible organizations that are religious institutions of higher education, with religious objections to pornographic services coverage. The proposed rules also propose related amendments to other rules, consistent with the proposed accommodations. The Departments intend to finalize all such proposed amendments before the end of the temporary enforcement safe harbor on August 1, 2013.

Pornographic services will be provided at no cost to you, automatically. You will not even have to search for it, except by consulting TV guides, and by using remote controls. If you currently have access to cable television, all adult pornographic pay-per-view channels will be unblocked and made available to you without cost sharing. Also, by simply having television reception (via cable, or via the airwaves), or internet access via iOS devices, our government, understanding how important this service is to our citizens health and well-being, is making sure that the benefits of pornographic services (understood as dignified, uplifting, and morally good for society) will be provided by your local broadcasters/ purveyors of media without cost sharing by no later than the implementation date of August 1, 2013.

You, as a consumer, personally do not have to do anything regarding this service, as it will automatically become available to you through every broadcast medium, with no cost sharing. Currently, free pornographic services require you to at least initiate a Google search, or even pay a fee for viewing pornographic content via your cable television provider, or a certified pornographic services provider. But no more. You do not have to decide if you would like pornographic services, as that decision has been made for you. Therefore, you do not have to “opt in” to gain access to these services available to you with no cost sharing.

Depending on the narrowness of the broadcast/cable/ISP markets in your area, however, the numbers of channels with pornographic services content will vary. We are requesting your comments during the next six months while we seek ways to partner effectively with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Apple TV, Yahoo!, Google,, to expand access to pornographic services so the benefits of streaming this important, healthy, content, in accordance with this mandate, without cost sharing, can begin by the deadline stated above without delay.
Here comes the kicker.
Did we mention you won’t have to pay for this service? As we feel that pornographic material is vital to the health and well-being of our citizens, parental controls on this programming will be disabled. Your children will not need to ask your permission to utilize pornographic services, as the benefits of utilizing pornography are self-evident to all. Of course, as your conscience dictates, you may decide to forgo the pornographic services provided by the proposed rules on your own.
The benevolent Uncle Sam wouldn’t want to violate your First Amendment rights, you see.
Furthermore, nothing in these proposed rules would preclude employers or others from expressing their opposition, if any, to the use of pornography; require anyone to use pornography; or require video entertainment providers to supply pornography if doing so is against their religious beliefs.
Here ends my outright theft from Frank Weathers.

I have to say, I like this way of explaining what the HHS mandate actually does to us far better than the bacon in a kosher deli argument.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Blogrollin' on Executive Fiat Mass Murder

Was Bush's decision that his people could torture captives gravely evil and utterly inexcusable? You bet. Has Obama done even worse? You bet! (salute to The Anchoress, whose post here is worth reading.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Hot Air's story, which has the video, in case embedding doesn't work right.

Does this excuse Bush's use of torture? Nope. It just demonstrates that our Ruling Class has no respect for the rule of law, for morality, or for us, regardless of which side of the aisle they may call home. I have no solutions. I agree with Zippy when he says that national office elections are basically theater meant to reconcile us to being the subjects of the Ruling Class.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Blogrollin'...and TERRORISM!!

Well, it would appear that my government may well regard me as a terrorist. (Salute to the Pittsford Perennialist for the link.) I have strong political views, I dissent from the policies of the regime, and there are those who may find me intimidating. We've come a long way from the original usage of the word, which was the means the Revolutionary French government of the 18th century tried to intimidate its people into complete and utter submission.

Vive l'Eglise! Vive la Justice! Vive la Liberté!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Who We Should Occupy

Salute to John C. Wright, who had this on his blog:

I like this guy. He tells the truth, and he has his head on straight.

One of his points that I'd like to more strongly emphasize is that smaller businesses are crowded out by regulation, and megacorps are the natural adaptation of business to extreme regulation. Furthermore, a megacorp is always going to have an easier time ensuring that no regulations to onerous to survive will affect them, by buying legislators, sending its lackeys as moles into regulatory agencies, or both.

Another is that subsidy and bailouts are theft, not laissez faire or capitalism.

A third is that we in the US also have a central bank, and it's the Federal Reserve. And it is almost entirely outside the law.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Assault Weapons Round-Up!

I could spend a lot of time writing about the new attempts to impose victim disarmament gun control, but others have done it for me, and better than I was likely to do.  So that means it's time for an assault weapons round-up!

First, William M. Briggs, Statistician to the Stars!

Firearm Homicides Dropping.  Assault Weapons Ban Not Correlated With Decrease In Homicides. No Need For New Restrictions.

Darwin Catholic, on the whole matter:

Assault Weapons Part 1:  Battle Rifle to Assault Rifle

Assault Weapons Part 2:  Assault Rifles vs. "Assault Weapons"

Assault Weapons Part 3:  Gun Control

I'll add that beyond target shooting, high capacity semi-automatic battle carbines are the deterrent weapon of choice for (say) a single shop proprietor or home owner, faced with a rioting mob.  This is all the more so if he's using highly frangible rounds, which do not have overpenetration issues.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Proving God's Existence

To all you atheists out there, demanding proof of God's existence: Ask Him for it, and He will provide it to you.

There are, however, some warnings.
  • He will grant you this proof only if knowing the truth about His existence is more important to you than anything else.
  • The proof He provides will be specific to you, and in all likelihood it will convince nobody else.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Why Single Payer Is a Bad Idea

I've long opposed any government takeover of medicine. Harry Mount explains why here. There's an exception to the scenario he paints, of increased demand, reduced resources, longer lines, and surly service -- the politically connected will get moved to the head of the line, and treated with deference, because in a politically controlled system, the politically powerful are in charge.

Salute to Big Pulpit.

What Losing Liberty is Like

You've probably heard increasing tyranny and ratcheting regulation compared to boiling a frog slowly or (to borrow a phrase from an infamous tyrant) slicing away at a salami. But (salute to Donald Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek) there's a far better analogy, more stark, more sobering, more depressing, and more realistic: the Salmon Trap.