Blessed Be!

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Sat, 25 Dec 2004 13:00:00 GMT
# - Stepping Up - cartoon commentary on the true nature of the gummint's anti-terrist activities.

# Ben Sargent via The Militant Libertarian - The Rumsfeld Body Armor - cartoon commentary on Rumsfeld's amazing resistance to harm, not matter how stupidly he behaves. Hehe. [militant]

# Claire Wolfe - MERRY CHRISTMAS: From the Desert Hermitage - and a very merry Christmas to you, too, Claire, and to all of you my readers. May blessings abound! [claire]

Being out here in the desert for three months, mostly away from telephones, newspapers, and the Internet, has been hard at times (three catastrophic plumbing failures in the last month alone, not to mention all that damned ditch-digging -- and oh boy, is it scary when you have a medical emergency in the middle of nowhere). But I wish all my freedom-loving friends who endure a daily assault of bad e-news could have an experience like this.

Being focused on real life, real dirt, real emergencies, real survival, and real relationships with flesh-and-blood people puts life in perspective. It's not that you forget that the spycams are being erected in the cities or that the subdermal RFID implants are coming or that Americans are slaughtering and being slaughtered in pointless wars. It's that somehow those horrors seem less central to your own life. Neighbors matter more than George Bush. Friends provide comforts that counterbalance the horrors of distant, encroaching technologies. Even ditch-digging reminds you that what you do with your own two hands can always, in some way, trump everything some government or corporation aims to do to you.

I'll be headed back home in a month or so, glad to return to the comforts of hot water, bathtubs, insulation, and heat that actually ... well, heats. Maybe even a full-time broadband connection again. But I wouldn't have missed this for the world. And I'll be back.

# The power supply for the PS Audio Elite Integrated amplifier that I bought twenty years ago finally gave up the ghost the other day. Can't afford an updated PS Audio Elite Integrated amplifier version. Their amps are expensive, though probably worth every penny. The PS Audio History page, which includes a paragraph about my amp and the picture you see here, starts back in 1974. I sent the following email:

Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2004 11:23:06
From: "Bill St. Clair" <>
Subject: Twenty Year Old Elite Integrated stopped working recently

I bought an Elite Integrated amplifier from Q Audio in Cambridge, MA back in 1984. It's been plugged in, and usually turned on, nearly all the time since then. It was getting a little flaky with one of the channels requiring pushing of buttons and full volume to come on, but it still sounded wonderful once I loved it a little. A couple of days ago, it stopped working completely. Appears that the power supply died.

Thank you for many years of audio joy. Wish I could afford to replace it with a brand new model, but I can't at present.

-Bill St. Clair
Paul McGowan answered asking if I had checked the fuse in the power supply. I hadn't. It was burned out. I haven't gotten a new one yet, but hopefully that will give me a few more years of listening enjoyment. He also recommended spraying the flaky button switches with WD-40.

# Publicola - Chapter One - first of a series, hopefully. A fictional account of a likely near-future in the People's Democratic Republic of California. [publicola]

# Chris Floyd at The Moscow Times - Poison Pen - alleges that Bushnev himself penned a secret executive order approving the use of torture against alleged terrorists.

# Robert J. Avrech at Jewish Press - Jews And Guns - Mr. Avrech does his best to relate the ideas of his late son. And mighty good ideas they are! [scopeny]

Ariel also pointed out that on Purim the Jews were given royal permission to defend their lives. The king`s edict did not order the army to protect the Jews, no; the Jews were allowed to purchase arms in order to defend themselves. Obviously, as a minority in the Persian Empire, Jews were forbidden weapon ownership. This is not unique in Jewish history. During the Roman occupation of Judea, Jews were forbidden to own swords, spears or any implements of war. What better way for a ruling empire to control an unruly and rebellious population? And of course, in Europe, one of the first laws that Hitler imposed was an all-encompassing weapons ban. Imagine how different Jewish history would be if every Jewish family in Europe owned at least one gun that had six bullets in the chamber.

One of the hallmarks of modern liberalism, Ariel suggested, is an astonishing inability to recognize, much less confront, evil. Therefore it becomes psychologically necessary for the liberal to place the blame on an inanimate object -- the gun -- rather than on the person who pulls the trigger. It is easier to fault the gun manufacturer for the horror at Columbine, rather than admit that two 16-year-old boys are capable of such evil.

The Jewish attitude, Ariel maintained, is to place the blame where it squarely belongs: on the two young men; to declare their evil, and never to utter their names. For just as goodness is a reality, so is evil. Try and imagine, said Ariel, if one or two Columbine teachers had guns with them. Imagine if these armed teachers had been able to protect the students who were shot down like defenseless animals.

There was another aspect to these stories that Ariel detected and deeply troubled him. The media always referred to Columbine and even 9-11 as "tragedies." "They`re not tragedies," Ariel held. "They are outrages." A tragedy is when people are killed in a fire or an earthquake. But when people are murdered in cold blood, it is an atrocity. Again, Ariel pointed out, the media, overwhelmingly liberal, is unable to distinguish malevolent acts from natural disasters.

# - Twelve Myths About Direct Action - direct action sometimes works when political means and protest fail. This article busts some myths that are promulgated by those who know how effective it can be, hence want to convince people not to do it. This site appears to be run by socialist anarchists. [villagechoice]

# The Foxfire Book at - Making Gunpowder - some practical information about obtaining, grinding, and mixing 75 parts saltpeter, 15 parts charcoal, and 10 parts sulfur to make black powder. [clairefiles]

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