Saturday, April 19, 2008

This. Is. So. Wrong.

(Via Timebomb 2000 and To The Point News)

On. So. Many. Levels.

A Finnish band with the Red Army Choir and they're doing "Sweet Home Alabama"!?!

The bombing starts in 5 minutes.

Happy Patriots' Day

Today is Patriots' Day, in which we celebrate the Battle of Lexington and Concord--"The Shot Heard Round the World". Or at least, we should be. Too many forget how high the cost of winning our freedom was, or how high the cost of maintaining it is.

Messers. Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Henry et al, you have my undying thanks.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A journal of courage

(Via Wired)

If we could all face our end with this much grace....

Self defense with a gun works again

Here's something we rarely see from the media--a positive story about someone successfully defending themselves with a *gasp* gun! I will note that, while it's unlikely the burglars actually saw the gun, the mere fact that this story made into the Charlotte Observer is something of a triumph for our side.

But the sentence "He put in a round of bullets." makes me cringe. Let me extend an invitation to Elizabeth Leland of the Observer: Elizabeth, get in touch with me and I'll treat you to a day at the range, familiarize you with firearms and the correct nomenclature, and let you rack up an ammo bill on me. An email link is on the left.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The most successful business can make stupid decisions

And yesterday's move by Wal-Mart to sign onto His Idioticness Michael Bloomberg's "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" anti-gun agenda is one of those decisions.

Wal-mart has been feeling competitive pressures of late (which I believe are about to be relieved by a down economy) and more importantly has almost completely failed to penetrate the urban market, which is the last big untouched market left to them. So, according to Jim Shepherd, they are going to make whatever business decisions they must in order to get into the urban areas. Those decisions appear to include jettisoning their outdoors product lines. Go read Jim's piece; I'll wait until you get back.

Ah, there you are. Jim believes that the ending of the outdoor product lines is still an "if". I am more pessimistic--it's a "when". Jim gives it to us himself: "No one has ever questioned Wal-Mart’s expertise at general retail." True enough. They are the preeminent general retailer in the US. They have a distribution system that is the envy of all other businesses. It's damn hard to go a week without going to Wal-mart. In an economy where prices are steadily going up, Wal-mart is still able to "Roll Back" prices on many items. Wal-mart very nearly has a "license to mint money".

However, Wal-mart is making three big mistakes, common to little companies that get really, really big. First, they're forgetting one of their core markets--all of us folks who cling to religion and guns (or fishing rods in season). That core market is still a large part of Wal-mart's revenue, and they ignore it at their peril.

Second, they're forgetting the concept of "market segmentation". Most of us out here in the hinterboonies have no problem if a Wal-mart in suburban Dallas, Texas doesn't sell guns, ammo and fishing gear. As long as it's sold in our Wal-mart, we're good to go. However, their quest for efficiency (which is even more insatiable than their quest for growth), is going to lead them to take the outdoor goods out of all stores, not just the suburban ones. If they keep them in some stores and not others, its going to be messy, inventory-wise--and MBAs hate messy. Since Wal-mart is now firmly in the clutches of the MBA crowd, I think this mistake is just too attractive for them not to make it.

Third, they're crawling in bed with a political pressure group. Like all extortionists, the Mayors Against Guns (Let's have some truth in advertising, shall we?) won't stay bought for long. They'll be back, this time demanding that Wal-mart do the "socially responsible thing" and stop selling those evil "long range sniper rifles", which the rest of the world knows as "deer rifles". Then it'll be shotguns, and finally ammo. Think I'm wrong? This has been the anti-freedom forces methodology for decades, and its worked. They won't abandon it now.

Capitalism being what it is, I suspect that Wal-mart is sowing the seeds of their own downfall. Other businesses will expand or be created to serve those product lines Wal-mart is dismissing (at least in the areas where it really does sell). It'll be interesting to see if Wal-mart figures it out in time, or if they just turn into a down-market "Tar-jay" instead. Or maybe a up-market K-mart?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

You of course realize what today is?

Yes, it's April 15--they day that all wage earners in the United States should realize that we live with a gun held to our head. It's done for our own good, don'tcha see, this confiscation of a portion of our wages, most of which be used for the "public good" (*snort*) or redistributed to the poor and starvin' masses (who will still be poor and starvin' after said redistribution).

The tiny fraction that goes to national defense I don't begrudge a bit. Of course, I'd like to see more of it actually used for border security....

If you want to get the full effect of what's done to you on the Federal level alone (don't look at the state or local taxes yet; I don't want you to have a stroke before you finish reading this post), just pick out the line on your Federal tax form (the line number differs depending on which form you file) and subtract any refund you get (or add in any additional tax you owe). Now, reflect for 5 minutes on what you could do with just 50% of that money. Not wishing anyone ill, but I hope at the end of the 5 minutes your well and truly pissed off. Vote accordingly in November.

The next big holiday will be Tax Freedom Day, which occurs on April 23rd this year. The early arrival (normally, it occurs in May) is due to our wonderful "economic stimulus plan" checks. In other words, you get your money back faster. Whoopee!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Your Sunday Firepower Video

This week, we have a suggestion from the Mountain Man. Unfortunately, you can't embed this one, since doesn't support that. So click to see the USS Wisconsin fire it's big guns the last time.

Lord, do I have to launch another recurring post?

If I do, I guess I'll call it the "Conspiracy Theory Flake of the {whatever period} Award". Today's nominee? is Alicia Keys, who has moronically babbled the following:

"'Gangsta rap' was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. 'Gangsta rap' didn't exist."

Keys, 27, said she's read several Black Panther autobiographies and wears a gold AK-47 pendant around her neck "to symbolize strength, power and killing 'em dead," according to an interview in the magazine's May issue, on newsstands Tuesday.

Another of her theories: The bicoastal feud between slain rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. was fueled "by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing."

Uh, right. Alicia dear, if you'll just stand there quietly, the nice men from the hospital will be here to pick you up.

Moderately humorous as this is, it brings up a serious question--where is all this nonsense coming from? It seems that we have had more "woo woo" conspiracy theories in recent years than ever before. (Of course, it could also be that in the Age of the Internet, it's simply easier to find out about them.) Is this a symptom of an increasing lack of education and critical thinking skills? Perhaps we can label these people as the "New Superstitionists"--unable to understand the world around them, they instead attribute all evil to the actions of the ever-nebulous "THEM".

Whatever it is, it's another worrisome item to keep track of.