Combs Spouts Off

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Archive for July, 2012

Happy birthday, Milton Friedman

Posted by Richard on July 31, 2012

Today is the late, great Milton Friedman’s 100th birthday. In honor of that, here’s a 2:24 video clip of Friedman schooling Phil Donahue on the subject of capitalism and greed. Masterful!


[YouTube link]

(HT: Rush Limbaugh)

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The New Yorker and “Postmodernism Lite”

Posted by Richard on July 30, 2012

In The New Yorker, dance critic Joan Acocella wrote an essay, disguised as a review of Henry Hitching’s The Language Wars: A History of Proper English, on the dichotomy between prescriptivist and descriptivist theories of language. At Slate, Steven Pinker, a member of the American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel, dissected and demolished Acocella’s “topsy-turvy understanding of linguistics.”

If you’re interested in language and linguistics, read both. Pinker’s is by far the better, but reading Acocella’s first allows you to appreciate his response all the more, and especially the connection to what he calls “The New Yorker’s attitude toward science, which might be called Postmodernism Lite. “

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Bully, wimp, whatever…

Posted by Richard on July 30, 2012

The narratives of the left:

The strategy of the left: Throw whatever excrement you can come up with against the wall and hope something sticks.

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Jerry Jeff Walker

Posted by Richard on July 28, 2012

That Toby Keith lyric about “singing Jerry Jeff songs” brought back memories and made me want to listen to some Jerry Jeff. And share.

Back in my misspent youth, we sang along to “Jaded Lover” a lot when we were drinking (and whatever).


[YouTube link] 

We sang along to this one a lot, too.


[YouTube link]

Here’s a delightful surprise I stumbled across: Jerry Jeff performing Guy Clark’s “LA Freeway” on the Dinah Shore show in 1978. The video is 1978-quality, but the sound is pretty good and the performance is terrific. Another great sing-along song.


[YouTube link]

Now for a change of pace. “Hank Williams Tonight” is one of the best songs of heartbreak ever.


[YouTube link]

Another change of pace. “Cowboy Boots and Bathing Suits” is about one of Jerry Jeff’s favorite places, Belize.


[YouTube link]

I’ll finish with “Mr. Bojangles,” undoubtedly one of Jerry Jeff’s finest songs and the one that’s been covered by more artists than any other. This is the original recording. If you hit the YouTube link and expand the description, you can read how he came to write it after a brief stint in jail in 1968.


[YouTube link]

 

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“Beers Ago”

Posted by Richard on July 28, 2012

This morning I was reminded that I haven’t posted any country music in a while. (Actually, I haven’t posted any kind of music in a while.) So here’s a real toe-tapper by Toby Keith that I like. It’s your basic reminiscing about your youth song, but with an interesting way of accounting for the time. Enjoy!


[YouTube link]

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Making movie theaters safer for pennies

Posted by Richard on July 27, 2012

Ari Armstrong today proposed a simple and elegant way to increase security in movie theaters (and other public venues):

They could place a large, obvious sign right outside the entrance with the following text:

Armed, off-duty police officers who carry their guns into this theater get unlimited complimentary movie entry and concessions. Please see management for details.

The marginal cost of filling an extra seat in a movie theater is zero. The marginal cost of giving the armed officer free popcorn is what—a quarter?

I think it’s a great idea, but offer one caveat: The average law enforcement officer spends far less time at the range than the average private citizen who carries concealed, and as a consequence is a far poorer shot. A recent report on California police shootings (sorry, I don’t recall where I saw it) found that cops missed their target half the time.

Still, the deterrent effect alone would be significant.

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“Take the heavy boot off the throat of America’s job creators”

Posted by Richard on July 27, 2012

Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA3) delivered such a rousing  five-minute speech on the floor of the House yesterday that he received a standing ovation. Check it out.


[YouTube link]

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Bloomberg backtracks on strike talk

Posted by Richard on July 26, 2012

Within hours of the Aurora, CO, theater shootings, New York’s fascist mayor took time out from his efforts to control what New Yorkers may eat or drink to wave the bloody shirt and call for more gun control laws.

Earlier this week on CNN, he came within a few syllables of calling for a nationwide strike of police officers to promote gun control.

He’s now backtracked after it was pointed out that a police strike would be illegal in New York (and in most other places).

Such a strike will never happen anyway. Unlike the (politically appointed) police chiefs and union leaders Bloomberg pals around with, most rank-and-file law enforcement officers oppose civilian disarmament because they know that armed law-abiding citizens help their efforts to prevent violent crimes and to apprehend the perpetrators.

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Headline of the day

Posted by Richard on July 26, 2012

The online headline of the day was on a Doug Patton column at the GOPUSA site:

100 Million Gun Owners Didn’t Kill Anyone Last Week

The column begins with this quote:

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.”
- Thomas Jefferson

After reminiscing about how, as a youth, he came to learn about and own guns, Patton says:

None of us has any way of knowing whether James Holmes, the shooter in Aurora, Colorado, is simply an evil genius putting on an act in court or if he is a loon who really believes he is Batman’s nemesis, the Joker. We don’t know if his father ever taught him how to use firearms, or if he got his knowledge from watching TV and movies, and playing violent video games.

What we do know is that a society that once lived in reality has evolved into a culture wallowing in fantasy violence, ruled by people whose goal is to disarm the good guys, leaving us all at the mercy of the bad guys.

We know that, like so many communities today, Aurora, Colorado, did not allow law-abiding gun owners to carry their weapons into the theater that night. Perhaps if they had, someone might have been able to stop Holmes before he killed a dozen innocent people and wounded scores of others.

Note: I believe it was purely the policy of the theater owner, Cinemark, not Aurora law, that forbade weapons in the theater.

Even in states that allow concealed carry of firearms, politically correct business owners can forbid the possession of such weapons in their establishments. A sign on the door of the Von Maur department store in Omaha, Nebraska, announces that guns are not allowed. On December 5, 2007, 19-year-old Robert Hawkins read that sign as follows: “Even our security guards are unarmed! Come on in and shoot us!” So he did, killing eight people and wounding five others.

Read the whole thing.

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“Shall issue” concealed carry coming to Maryland

Posted by Richard on July 25, 2012

In clear violation of the Constitution and fundamental human rights, the state of Maryland requires a “good and substantial reason” for the issuance of a concealed carry permit. In a case challenging the constitutionality of that restriction, U.S District Judge Benson Everett Legg ordered the state to process permit applications without requiring a reason, but originally issued a stay of his ruling. Now, he’s going to lift the stay in two weeks because it’s “not warranted.” The Second Amendment Foundation, which together with a Baltimore resident filed the suit in 2010, is delighted:

“There is no good reason for the state to continue violating the constitutional rights of its citizens just to maintain this burdensome and arbitrary system,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “As Judge Legg originally observed, the Second Amendment’s protections extend beyond the home.”

While it is possible that the state may file a motion with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to impose a stay of Judge Legg’s order, the trial court precedent is an important one. It established that the Second Amendment right to bear arms does not stop at the door of one’s home.

“No citizen should be required to give a ‘good and substantial’ reason in order to exercise a constitutionally-protected civil right,” Gottlieb observed. “In his order today, Judge Legg noted that the state has pointed to ‘little in the way of truly irreparable injury that is likely to result should their request for a stay be denied’.”

The judge also noted, “If a stay is granted, a sizeable number of people will be precluded from exercising, while the case is argued on appeal, what this Court has recognized as a valid aspect of their Second Amendment right. In the First Amendment context, the Supreme Court has stated that ‘loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury’.”

I’m delighted, too.

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I survived another blogger bash

Posted by Richard on July 22, 2012

For the benefit of those who may care, I’ve arrived safely at home after tonight’s Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash, and it’s not even 1 AM. There were about a dozen of us, and a grand time was had by all. AFAIK, no arrests, no illness, and no untoward incidents.

If you’re a blogger in the Rocky Mountain region and didn’t show up, we probably talked about you (we definitely talked about Stephen, Jeff G., Jerrilyn, Nick, and some others I don’t recall in my current inebriated state). You might want to show up next time to defend your honor (such as it is). :-)

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Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash tonight

Posted by Richard on July 21, 2012

Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash sqrt(e) is tonight at 7 PM.

Where: The Old Mill Brewery, 5798 South Rapp Street, Littleton, CO (nice place, good food, good beer, private room, convenient to light rail)

We’ve got the “birthday room.” It’s not too late to RSVP at this Zombyboy post. Or you could just show up. And maybe buy a round of shots?

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Aurora shooting victims were disarmed

Posted by Richard on July 20, 2012

Commenting on the mass murder in Aurora, CO, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert asked, “…  with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying that could’ve stopped this guy more quickly?”

No, there wasn’t. Because the Cinemark Century 16 theater has “no firearms” signs posted, so the honest, decent people who might otherwise be carrying a weapon left theirs at home or in the car. Cinemark reportedly aggressively enforces a “no firearms” policy at all its theaters.

Criminals, terrorists, and madmen of course aren’t deterred by “no firearms” signs. That’s why mass killings almost always take place in “gun-free zones.” Mass murderers may be crazy but they aren’t stupid — they seek out unarmed victims.

In places that are not “gun-free zones,” like the Palms Internet Café in Orlando, FL, would-be robbers or killers risk having their activities interrupted by an armed good guy. WOFL FOX 35 reported (and has the must-see surveillance camera video):

Two men who deputies say tried to rob a Marion County Internet café were both shot by one of the patrons.

It happened just before 10:00 p.m. Friday at the Palms Internet Café located at 8444 SW State Road 200.

When Marion County deputies arrived they found patrons outside the business who told them that two men in masks – one armed with a baseball bat and the other with a handgun – barged into the business. The robbers told the approximately 30 patrons to get on the floor, and they demanded money.

Investigators say Samuel Williams, one of the customers, pulled out his own handgun and shot the robbers. Both robbers began running toward the front door, and the patron fired several more shots as they fled.

Mr. Williams, the hero, is 71.

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Exploiting a tragedy

Posted by Richard on July 20, 2012

It’s hard to say which was more contemptible this morning, before the corpses had even been carried to the morgue: New York Mayor Bloomberg waving the bloody shirt and beating the drum for gun control, or Brian Ross and ABC News scouring Tea Party web pages looking for someone with the same name as the Dark Knight shooter so they could attempt to tie that group to the killings.

I guess I’d give the nod to Ross and ABC’s Good Morning America. Although it was crass and exploitative, Bloomberg was openly advocating for an agenda he’s never made any secret of. Ross and ABC, on the other hand, pretended to be reporting news while actually attempting to harm the Tea Party movement, which they see (rightly) as the enemy of their secret leftist agenda (not that they’ve done a very good job of keeping it secret lately).

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Hepatitis C breakthrough?

Posted by Richard on July 20, 2012

Dexter Johnson, on the IEEE Nanoclast blog, reported a possible breakthrough nanotechnology treatment for the hepatitis C virus:

Researchers at the University of Florida (UF) have developed a nanoparticle that has shown 100 percent effectiveness in eradicating the hepatitis C virus in laboratory testing.

The nanoparticle, dubbed a nanozyme, consists of a backbone made from gold nanoparticles and a surface with two biological components. One biological component is an enzyme that attacks and destroys the mRNA, which provides the recipe for duplicating the protein that causes the disease. The other biological part is the navigator, if you will. It is a DNA oligonucleotide that identifies the disease-related protein and sends the enzyme on course to destroy it.

Y. Charles Cao, a UF associate professor of chemistry, and Dr. Chen Liu, a professor of pathology at the UF College of Medicine published their research online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (“Nanoparticle-based artificial RNA silencing machinery for antiviral therapy“).

The basis of the work is mimicking the biological process of RNA interference, which researchers in the past have used effectively in the laboratory for treating HIV. In the UF research the nanoparticle mimics the function of RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), which mediates the RNA interference process.

Current hepatitis C treatments do attack the replication process of the virus but they are not entirely effective and only help about 50 percent of the patients treated with them. Cao and Liu along with their team wanted to see if they could improve upon that percentage. The researchers claim that their treatment (in cell culture and mice) led to a near 100 percent eradication of the hepatitis C virus without bringing on any side effects caused by the immune system attacking the treatment.

I have a good friend for whom this research could matter — a lot. So in the words of Glenn Reynolds, “Faster, please!”

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