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AAR: Ruger PC-9 Carbine (9mm)

via Splendid Isolation by Kim du Toit on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 11:25:56 GMT
Some feedback from this post, wherein Reader Brad_In_IL solved his “What pistol-caliber carbine to buy?” problem: Brad writes:  “Indoor.  Off[...]

The US government canceled 362,000 passports last year. Was yours one of them?

via The Burning Platform by Administrator on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 11:11:59 GMT
Guest Post by Simon Black Starting in 2021, Americans will require permission to visit Europe… technically the 26 borderless countries within Europe’s Schengen area. The process will start out simple enough, taking about ten minutes to complete and costing around $8. The EU estimates it will grant about 95% of the Americans who apply three … Continue reading "The US government canceled 362,000 passports last year. Was yours one of them?"

An Argument that Cybersecurity Is Basically Okay

via Schneier on Security by Bruce Schneier on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 11:03:31 GMT
Andrew Odlyzko's new essay is worth reading -- "Cybersecurity is not very important": Abstract: There is a rising tide of security breaches. There is an even faster rising tide of hysteria over the ostensible reason for these breaches, namely the deficient state of our information infrastructure. Yet the world is doing remarkably well overall, and has not suffered any of...

Gettin Old Here, Boss

via Splendid Isolation by Kim du Toit on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 11:00:28 GMT
You know you’re getting old (or perhaps you just need better focus), when you see this pic: …and all you[...]

New Part Day: Pyboard D is Smaller, Wireless, and Has Expansion Modules

via Hackaday by Roger Cheng on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 11:00:00 GMT

Historically, microcontrollers’ limited computing power and storage space meant software had to be written in low-level languages out of necessity. In recent years small affordable chips grew powerful enough that they could theoretically run higher level languages, sparking numerous efforts to turn that theory into reality. MicroPython delivered on this …read more

A Timeline of MoviePass' Many Ridiculous Business Plans

via Wired by Caitlin Kelly on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 11:00:00 GMT
When it comes to figuring out a membership model, MoviePass is more ‘Groundhog Day’ than ‘Social Network.’

Inside Airbnb's 'Guerrilla War' Against Local Governments

via Wired by Paris Martineau on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 11:00:00 GMT
Airbnb, the nation's second-most-valuable startup, is battling cities from Boston to San Diego over collecting taxes and enforcing zoning rules.

The First Gene-Edited Food Is Now Being Served

via Wired by Megan Molteni on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 11:00:00 GMT
Calyxt is the first with its gene-edited oil, but several other companies also have edited foods in the works.

In Pakistan, People Are Jailed for Blasphemous Facebook Posts

via Wired by Alizeh Kohari on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 11:00:00 GMT
Authorities in Pakistan use stringent laws to prosecute blasphemy—even “crimes” as innocuous as liking a post on Facebook. Vigilantes have been known to murder the accused.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY  LBJ sends federal troops to Alabama to protect a civil rights march  1965

via The Burning Platform by Administrator on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 11:00:21 GMT
Via History.com On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson notifies Alabama’s Governor George Wallace that he will use federal authority to call up the Alabama National Guard in order to supervise a planned civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. Intimidation and discrimination had earlier prevented Selma’s black population–over half the city–from registering … Continue reading "THIS DAY IN HISTORY – LBJ sends federal troops to Alabama to protect a civil rights march – 1965"


via The Burning Platform by Administrator on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 10:57:13 GMT
Via Branco


via The Burning Platform by Administrator on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 10:55:10 GMT
“The more people rationalize cheating, the more it becomes a culture of dishonesty. And that can become a vicious, downward cycle. Because suddenly, if everyone else is cheating, you feel a need to cheat, too.” Stephen Covey “There are six things the Lord hates, no, seven that are detestable to him: proud eyes, a lying … Continue reading "QUOTES OF THE DAY"

Samizdata quote of the day

via Samizdata by Samizdata Illuminatus (Arkham, Massachusetts) on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 10:47:52 GMT

There should be no such thing as a ‘hate crime’… If someone gets assaulted & hit with a brick, their identity group should not make the crime more or less of a crime. And stating an opinion should never be a crime (such as what gender someone else is).

– Perry de Havilland, discussing this amongst other things.

A Tale of Two Scandals

via bionic mosquito on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 10:15:00 GMT

Volkswagen built cars that people wanted to buy.  They sold these cars by the hundreds of thousands, such was their popularity.  These cars killed no one – at least not in any manner unique to these cars.  For this, people lost their jobs and Volkswagen faces countless law suits and could easily be put into bankruptcy if it is so deemed by the US government.

Boeing builds planes.  It is possible that design and / or other flaws due to Boeing’s actions or inactions contributed to, if not caused, two of these planes to go down in recent months, killing over 300 people.

Assuming the fault is as currently speculated, let’s see how the US government treats Boeing and its executives.

From Merit To Certification

via Liberty's Torch by Francis W. Porretto on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 10:04:00 GMT

     It becomes ever more important – nay, critical — that one who wants to grasp the reasons for the deterioration of American society and the American Republic be aware of history, including the history of major institutions.

     Not many persons are aware of the history of American higher education. (Indeed, not many are aware of the history of education period, but that’s a tirade for another day.) The institution we call a university was a rare item before 1900. They began to multiply with the blossoming of large-scale American commerce, as men who had become successful in monetary terms produced sons and sought distinctions for them other than wealth. Colleges and universities were billed as places for intellectual advancement, but on a deeper and arguably more important level they provided sheltered gathering places for the progeny of the commercial elite. They facilitated the formation of the acquaintances and relationships the sons of wealth would exploit in later life.

     A university such as Harvard or Yale served its patrons in several ways, apart from whatever actual learning it could confer upon them. For two, it provided the aforementioned watering hole for the sons of wealth, and it awarded them the distinction of association with its name (i.e., “He’s a Harvard man”). But these things had a superstitious effect upon subsequent generations. Americans of less wealth came to believe that a college degree could somehow lead them to exceptional success. The universities, while they might not have actively encouraged that notion, certainly didn’t do anything to discourage it. The demand for degrees from degree-granting institutions exploded, as did the number of such institutions.

     The postwar G.I. Bill added a huge amount of impetus to the demand. Never before had so many common citizens, persons who possess neither great wealth nor any other special status, flocked into universities seeking degrees. Because the immediate postwar period was also a time of unprecedented advancement in the sciences, much of which lent itself to commercialization through technology, for a while there appeared to be a positive correlation between material success and degreed-ness. But other things were happening as well.

     The degree came to be regarded as a credential: a ticket for admission to a new kind of elite. Whether the degree holder has anything much between his ears became secondary to the degree itself – and, of course, to the name of the institution that had granted it.

     Hearken to Arthur Herzog on this subject:

     Since a good proportion of those in college are dullards (those who weren’t to start with may have become so through education), courses must be invented that are interesting enough to keep the students awake, “relevant” enough to make them feel “involved,” and easy enough to let them pass so that they stay in school. The trivial and the obvious are elevated to the level of course requirements, and the student is taught that faking it and the real world are interchangeable. A great many fellows in fakery of one sort or another emerge.

     Herzog wrote that in 1973, Gentle Reader. It was painfully true then; it’s both tragic and incontrovertible today.

     Via the indispensable Never Yet Melted comes this Yuval Levin observation:

     For much of American history .. [t]he apex of American political, cultural, and economic power was largely the preserve of a fairly narrow white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant near-aristocracy, centered in the Northeast and exercising power across generations. This was never an absolute barrier to others’ rising, of course, but it was a major obstacle.

     The claim to power of this WASP elite, like that of most modern aristocracies, was a mix of heritage and rearing. They possessed their privileges by virtue of their birth, but they were raised and educated in ways intended to prepare them for responsibility and authority. And they were—at least in principle though in many cases also in practice—expected to subject themselves to a code of behavior, a commitment to public service, a degree of personal reticence, a regard for the rules of fair play, and a sense of responsibility that was rooted in the implicit recognition that their power was an inherited privilege, not an earned achievement.

     This is a reasonably fair and accurate characterization of the elites of the early Twentieth Century. The sons of men who had risen strictly through commerce could elect some form of public service to make their own marks on the nation. Not all of them entered government. Many established themselves as what we would now style “public intellectuals:” persons of repute who declaimed, usually through the pages of a newspaper or other print organ, on the issues of the day. It was the case both here and in England, from which most such persons traced their heritage.

     The multiplication of colleges and universities throughout that century naturally gave rise to a stratification into more and less prestigious levels. The “Ivy League” stood at the pinnacle of the pyramid; the mostly young state universities were at the bottom; many other, mostly private institutions stood between them. The distinction attached to graduates from the upper levels of that pyramid greased their paths into the niches they sought, whether in government, opinion journalism, or at the universities themselves. Persons with degrees from less prestigious universities had to make do with the leavings.

     As the universities steadily came under the control of successive generations of their own graduates and the trend Arthur Herzog noted toward educational vapidity advanced, the college degree became commodified: a purchasable credential of a significance no greater than its price. The more prestigious ones, of course, commanded the highest prices. The recent purchased-admissions pseudo-scandal involving a couple of minor actresses should be viewed in that light. The universities, of course, would prefer otherwise.

     Today’s “elite” has little in common with the elite of a century past. A good working definition of the new “elite” would be “those who matter to those who think they matter.” In particular, the ethic of genuine public service, understood as a responsibility to provide others with something of real value to them, is largely absent. But they wave their credentials at every opportunity. This is particularly noteworthy in the American political class.

     Consider in this connection the members of “Conservatism, Inc.:” the bastion of “NeverTrump” pseudo-conservatives such as Bill Kristol and Max Boot. To such persons, the all-important priority is to maintain their status in the “elite.” Regardless of the height of their perches or the bluster with which they orate from them, the majority of them have little of value to offer anyone. But they can brandish all the best credentials: all the right associations and associates. “They matter to those who think they matter.”

     Merit is not a term I would associate with such persons. Certified “elitists,” yes; persons with important knowledge and insights they will share with others, no. The time has come for this recognition to emerge from our national subconscious and be made explicit.

Inside Airbnb's 'Guerrilla War' Against Local Governments

via Wired by Paris Martineau on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 10:00:00 GMT
Airbnb, the nation's second-most-valuable startup, is battling cities from Boston to San Diego over collecting taxes and enforcing zoning rules.

Washington State’s Plan to Ban Trump from the 2020 Ballot

via Liberty Nation by Jeff Charles on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 09:51:18 GMT

By Jeff Charles

Well, you’ve got to hand it to them. The progressive left continues to find new and creative ways to ensure that President Donald Trump is not re-elected in 2020. At the state level, Democratic politicians are taking actions, such as passing legislation supporting the National Popular Vote compact, that are designed to prevent Republicans from maintaining control of the White House. The Washington state senate has passed a measure that could keep the president off the ballot if the house also passes the bill. Illinois is also considering similar legislation. But will it succeed? Washington Seeks to Bar Trump From Ballot […]

Independents: 2020 Wild Card or Just the Joker?

via Liberty Nation by Sarah Cowgill on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 09:50:49 GMT

By Sarah Cowgill

In the 1992 presidential primaries, a third-party candidate led Republican incumbent President George H.W. Bush and Democrat contender Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton by a healthy margin. His name was Ross Perot, a somewhat bigger than life Texas billionaire who captured the interest of Americans and upset the two-party establishment norm. Perot was a late entry into the battle, yet with only five months until the election, polls were ticking 39% for the quirky Lone Star maverick versus 31% for Bush and 25% for Clinton. Managing to get his name on the ballot as an Independent, Perot won 19% of the […]

Nurses Performing Abortions Next Up on Progressive Culture of Death Menu

via Liberty Nation by Joe Schaeffer on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 09:50:09 GMT

By Joe Schaeffer

Efforts to promote late-term abortion and euthanasia are on the march in multiple states. The similarities of the legislation and the close timing of the various campaigns leave little doubt that there is a coordinated drive behind this sudden lurch in activity. Now a third spoke on the Culture of Death wheel is gaining ground, and it shows just how meticulously planned the concerted anti-life agenda can be. Maine’s Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has submitted a bill sponsored by the state’s House Speaker Sara Gideon, also a Democrat, that would allow non-physicians to perform abortions. The legislation would make it […]

The Recycling Scam: Is it Really Saving the Planet?

via Liberty Nation by Andrew Moran on Wed, 20 Mar 2019 09:50:00 GMT

By Andrew Moran

It looks like your crazy retired hippie neighbor who rummages through your waste bin every day will soon be out of business. No longer will he be able to sell several bags of Coca-Cola cans for top penny because the aluminum recyclables market is shrinking in size and profitability. Well, at least you won’t have to watch somebody go through your trash anymore as you stand on your front porch drinking coffee. According to The Wall Street Journal, the price of used aluminum has cratered 30% over the last 12 months because the demand has dissipated. Despite social pressures, metal […]

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