Looking carefully at that which is unseen.

Monthly Archives: April 2012

Quoted for thought: Tam does it again

“Granted, this will have about as much effect on the process as bailing the Titanic with a teaspoon, but, like the Sudoku puzzle in your in-flight magazine, it’s something to do while you auger in.”

Spit soda all over my monitor, I did.

Read the rest – heck, read ALL her great stuff, here.

Thinking about: Degrees of College

The Debtor Creditor list serve recently had a segment of back-and-forth in regard to discharging student loans in bankruptcy (short answer: no), tuition costs are rising, and students are demonstrating over the cost of school. But let’s think about that for a moment – it’s the cost of “school,” not the cost of “education” that’s the necessarily the problem. And what exactly does school provide that an education doesn’t? A piece of paper – a degree – that says that the bear has met minimum standards of some sort or other.

But why not simply, and more cheaply, establish an independent testing and certification agency? Don’t say “corruption,” because grade inflation at colleges is a form of corruption all in its own right. The testing agency, like any other certification group, would need to establish a reputation for quality work in its process of certifying education, using repeatable testing and certification materials, such that a person could take a far more informative set of paperwork to a prospective employer than merely having a “degree” from a university. Which may, or may not, have any real application in life.

Thinking about: What’s to come

Although I occasionally disagree with his posts, Sultan Knish is usually right on – and sometimes he’s more right on than others. Setting aside the anti-Muslim bias he has (one of the areas I disagree on) and applying this precept to criminal enforcement as a whole:

“Last week I was able to observe some of the top police brass doing what they do and it struck me how similar Community Policing is to Counterinsurgency. Both are methods used to control violence in fragmented multicultural areas by building trust and winning over tribal leaders in the hopes of lowering their group’s participation in crime and terrorism while getting them to cooperate with the local forces and act as informants on the bad guys.”

Read (past the anti-Muslim bits) the rest here and think about a related question: What’s the difference between a secret policeman and an undercover cop?

QFT – A long one, Farenheit 451, mostly

I read Farenheit 451 so long ago – elementary school – that I’ve forgotten most of it, other than the basics. Couldn’t have named the lead character to save my life. But I’ve been reminded by Kelley Vlahos why I need to re-read the darned thing.

See for yourself, here.

That Ray Bradbury – he was one smart cookie….

In the meantime, got popcorn?

Thinking about: The security of sameness

As best I can tell, it is part and parcel of human existence to be insecure. This leads to all sorts of coping mechanisms to deal with that insecurity, along with rationalizations as to why those coping mechanisms are acceptable (frequently some form of “it’s for the other guy’s own good”). Take for instance the otherwise thoughtful Philip Pilkington’s screed that describes utter artistic crap as being some sort of indictment of the free market. As though giving people what they want is somehow immoral or criminal.

Not everybody can be as artistically enlightened as Mr. Pilkington, just like not all of us can be gourmets or oenophiles or literary wonks. In fact, a vast majority just wish to have their bread and circuses and do not care that the starch component has an artful eggwashed artisan crust complete with free range wheat berries and fair trade yeast. But since it bothers Mr. Pilkington that others do not share his joys, he considers it to be some sort of crime.

In reality, people are going to want what they want, and so long as those desires do not initiate force nor injure another, it should be up to the buyer and seller – the market – and not Mr. Pilkington, to determine what products are being bought and sold. The free market is a thing of beauty, not a criminal enterprise, in that it can provide Mr. Pilkington with his eggwashed bread AND the fluffy white substance that almost but not quite resembles bread to the masses.

Now, to the extent that the masses don’t know any better, I’d say that’s more an indictment of the public education system – and THAT is a criminal enterprise, without doubt.

Thinking about: TEOTWAWKI and tribes

Posted up on a different board, figured I’d add this here as well:

The original thread poster, discussing bugging in or bugging out, and acquisition of food thereafter, said, “Better be able to make jerky because your going to want to catch as much as you can as soon as you can and keep it for as long as you can.”

“Keep it” includes, whether he meant it or not, making sure that while you’re skinning it and gutting it and processing it and preserving it, you don’t have it taken away from you by some ne’er-do-well who’s resorted to self-help since his Oregon Trail Card doesn’t seem to have much value any more. Preserving meat by smoking it takes time, and is difficult to do covertly because of the yummy smell. Even if you are hunting with something suppressed or a quieter non-firearm, things getting shot can make noise, which can then attract scavengers or opportunistic predators.

In other words, you face exactly the same problems as your g’g’g x 100 grandfather: You are likely SOL trying to survive on your own, and not just in regard to food acquisition, preparation, and storage. Batman in the Boondocks, however romantic the concept, is more likely just a relatively fast way to die alone. However, your g’g’g’ x 100 grandfather had a simple solution, one that people have been geared to for millions of years.

Got tribe?

This is not a particularly new concept, it’s bounced around on various gun boards and sociology texts, and has done so for years.

“Tribe” isn’t just a bunch of good buddies you go out shooting with once in awhile. It’s not the couple friends who drop over for drinks once in awhile. Tribe goes much deeper than that. It takes more – but it arguably gives more.

Sports teams have a good concept of tribe. Military personnel, particularly combat arms types, have it as well (though the Army’s system of individual replacements is far less conducive to building tribe than the European regimental system). Combat vets have a SERIOUS concept of how tribe works – and doesn’t work. La Raza has a tribe down pretty well, as do most street gangs. And the thing is, your g’g’g’ x 100 grandfather knew perfectly well that his best chance for survival lay with being a member of a tribe.

So as you look around at what you’ve got prepped to survive a SHTF scenario, whether temporary, longish term, or TEOTWAWKI, if you really have any serious interest in surviving, you just have to ask yourself one question.

Got tribe?

Quote of the Day

It’s not tyranny if I agree with it.

John Underhill

Thinking about: Minimum wage

The Real News Network talks about legislating ourselves rich, essentially:


Why stop at 12 dollars an hour for minimum wage, though? Why not $100 an hour? Or a $1,000 per hour?

So I understand this – small businesses are expected to bail out a crap economy based on an increase in the Small Business Employee Tax (a better description of minimum wage). And oh look – no inflation from increased wages!

I notice that the speaker discusses the Thriving Europe when it comes to small businesses with higher minimum wages. Dare I point out that economies also thrive in Asia where wages are LOWER? Would we rather have the GDP growth of China? Or Greece?

Just sayin’.