In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment for a Novelist

It has been a few days since I posted about public school teacher and (apparently craptacular) amateur sci-fi author Patrick McLaw getting arrested and disappeared for writing an (apparently craptacular) sci-fi novel. And there doesn’t really seem to be any news since then. And that alone is news. If there was a valid case against this guy, you’d think the local police/prosecutors would be touting their case. Instead… nothing.

 

Fort Hood shooter writes to ISIS leader, asks to become ‘citizen’ of Islamic State

Nidal Hasan, the Jihadi terrorist traitor who went on a shooting spree at Ft. Hood in 2009, deserves to get his wish. And then the Army can, in a joint mission with the USAF, load him into the payload shroud of a Minuteman III missile and send him to his new homeland.

I find it interesting how popular ISIS is becoming with westerners who want to go and joint the jihad. ISIS was booted out by Al Queda because they were excessively extreme and violent even by AQ standards. ISIS revels in creating and distributing videos showing them carrying out horrific acts of pure evil. And this makes them *more* popular with the jihadi-wannabes. This is, I believe, rather telling about the wannabes: there is something about them that makes them want *more* evil and violence.

Refugees protest against ‘monotonous’ Italian food

Several dozen refugees in the Veneto province of Belluno, Italy,  have been protesting the fact that they are being given the food of the land they are currently inhabiting.

Sam, a migrant from Gambia who has been staying at a centre on the outskirts of Rome for almost a year, told The Local that the food, which mainly consists of pasta, “is not good” and that some have started making their own meals.

“We need the diet from our country,” he said.

It seems to me that a solution presents itself. Two solutions, in fact:

1) Go back to “our country.”

2) If you want to stay in Italy, accept that *Italy* is “our country.”

I’d meant to include this “Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal” strip yesterday, but forgot:

 

In summation:

And similar and related:

There is much truth in this. However, the extended truth is that once the engineering conference is over, and the engineers have to go back to their jobs working under the direction of business majors, they see “what could be” turned into “nah, sounds like we’d have to actually spend some of our own money, forget it.”

Prescription painkiller deaths fall in medical marijuana states

It seems overdose deaths from opioid painkillers (morphine, oxycodone and heroin) have dropped up to 33% in the 23 states that have passed medical marijuana laws. The article claims that researchers don’t know why this is, but come on… the answer pretty much presents itself. Pot is supposed to make a pretty good painkiller, with relatively few negative side effects, and overdosing on it is apparently damn near impossible (discounting the highly concentrated forms available via “pot brownies” and the like). Opioids, on the other hand, have all manned of negative side effects including some pretty horrible addiction issues.

 

FYI: just in case anyone cares, I’ve no use for the stuff. Not my schtick. But if Utah passed a legal marijuana law… hell, I have a few extra acres, there seems to be some money in that particular crop…

But somehow I don’t see Utah jumping on the marijuana bandwagon anytime soon. Oh well.

Honestly, the world would be much better off if the lib arts types took a more engineering approach to the world. In engineering, there might not always be a “right” answer, but there are almost always very definitely wrong answers. And sometimes, there *are* stupid questions. Consider:

Should we call ISIS ‘evil’?

Ummm… how is this even a concern?

The author of the piece, one James Dawes, director of the Program in Human Rights at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, seems to be one of those who ulcerates publicly for a living. Consider:

There is only one good reason to denounce a group as evil — because you plan to injure them, and calling them evil makes it psychologically easier to do so.

Errrrmmm… no. The world is *full* of evil people. Check out the nearest supermax or the nightly news. Are we planning on injuring them all? Nope. For example, I have precisely zero interest in injuring Hitler, what with him being dead and all, yet I can recognize that he was evil. Speaking of which…

The Wall Street Journal editorialized that this evil ideology will only be stopped when “enough of its fanatics have been killed.” But if we’ve learned anything as a nation since our “shock and awe” campaign in Iraq, it is this: While invasions and bombing can be effective in the short term, they are not durable solutions to terror-based violence.

You know, how was the Nazi regime ended? By dropping vast numbers of bombs and pissed-off Russians on them, that’s how. And we called the Nazis evil, then and now.

What this professional yammerer seems to not be able to grasp is that recognizing that someone is evil and calling them that does *not* preclude you from attempting to understand their motivations. What calling them evil *does* do is force you to not simply shrug off what they’re doing.

That’s the problem between STEM thinking and lib arts thinking, I think. Engineers and scientists want to find the answer. Here it is, quantified, in black and white with the data to back it up. The lib arts seem to favor a squishy ‘no wrong answer” worldview. That’s what makes STEM harder: there *is* a wrong answer. An infinite number of them, in fact.

“I’ve contracted ebola. Should I visit the western doctor, or the acupuncturist, or the chiropractor, or the faith healer, or the shaman?”

“Someone is shooting at me. Should I call the cops, or duck, or run away, or shoot back, or run towards them screaming wildly, or hold up a white flag and try to engage them in philosophical debate, or just stand up and turn the other cheek, or purple monkey dishwasher?”

“We seem to have an energy shortage. Should we build new advanced nuclear powerplants? Or shut down the ones we have? Or encourage conservation while also encouraging mass immigration?”

Some answers *may* be wrong. Some answers *are* wrong.

Fortunately, there may be another possible way to deal with ISIS than by sending in our own troops. It is summed up in this Fark.com headline from today:

Boko Harum declares northern Nigeria as the Islamic Caliphate, just like ISIS has done in Syria and Iraq, and since Caliphates are kinda like Highlanders in that there can be only one, you know what that means: CALIPHATE FIGHT

Interesting article:

Why Britain is poorer than any US state, other than Mississippi

If the author is correct, Brits are, on average, functionally poorer than Americans. So much so that if Britain became the 51st state, they’d only be better off than Mississippi.

 

49 Alabama $36,356

50 UK (Treaury/OECD) $36,202

51 Mississippi $35,157

Success!

Eggs, Milk And Ink: Venezuela Wants All Supermarket Shoppers Fingerprinted

Why do they want shoppers fingerprinted? Well, in Venezuela, food is subsidized by the government. This makes it really, really cheap. Much cheaper than in neighboring Colombia. So Venezuelans are snapping up truckloads of cheap food, taking it to Colombia and selling it for a major profit. See? Socialism spurs entrepreneurialiam and a thriving market based economy.

Oh, sure, one other result is bare shelves and poor Venezuelans *still* not being able to eat because the food is simply *gone,* but hey… the government proves that it *cares.*

A blast from the past:

Hostages? No Problem Soviets Offer ‘How-to’ Lesson In Kidnapping

January 15, 1986

In short: jihadis kidnapped four Soviet embassy workers in Lebanon in late 1985. They shot one  and left his body in the dump. The Soviet response: call the KGB. KGB found a relative of a Hizbollah leader. The KGB castrated him, and sent his severed junk to said Hizbollah guy, then capped their captive. Then informed Mr. Hizbollah that they knew where the rest of his family was. End result: the three remaining Soviet captives were returned.

This tale might be worth remembering. Because the world does not seem to be improving. Consider:

‘Twice as Many’ British Muslims Fighting for ISIS Than in UK Armed Forces

This is an interesting bit of info to keep in mind when you hear the oft-repeated claim that the likes of Al Qaeda or ISIS do not represent their religion, but are in fact the far edge extremists. If that was true, why is that far extremism more popular for, say, British Muslims than joining in the defense of Britain? Where are the massive forces of volunteers of non-extremists who are gathering together to put down ISIS and install a western-style religiously tolerant system that celebrates the Christian, Jewish, Yazidi, Zoroastrian, agnostic, Hindu, Atheist and whatnot minorities there on the ground?

Feh.

When faced with barbarism, such as people who merrily saw innocent peoples heads off, you cannot emerge victorious through negotiation. Negotiating with monsters is like democracy: “two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.” At some point the lamb had better be ready to put a bullet through a wolf or two.

Indiana grandmother suffers violent SWAT raid after a neighbor uses her wireless internet

Yikes.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

In short, internet smack-talking and lame almost-certainly-nonsensical threats can bring down a massive military response. But not on *you,* on the poor schmoes whose unsecured WiFi you’ve used  to post your nonsense.

So, at least two lessons here:

1) Militarized police…. blah, blah, you’ve heard it before.

2) If you have a WiFi connection in your home and you live close enough to other folks that they could use your signal, make damn sure you have it password protected. Not only will other people riding your WiFi slow your connection down, if they are doing something illegal, *you* may well feel the full force of organized government armed troops. Imagine if your neighbor is using your WiFi to download nekkid photos of the underaged. Or ordering drugs. Or buying illegal weapons. Or trash talking the local police.

Hell, one can easily dream up a conspiracy that a sufficiently irritated police force – or a non-police enemy you might have – could use. Let’s say they don’t like you for… whatever reason. But they don’t have adequate cause to raid your home. But then they find that you have an unsecured WiFi. All that’s now needed is a “burner” phone, some smart phone they can use to get online that won’t be traced back to them. Then they simply sit outside your home and post threats, download illegal stuff, whatever. And then let the appropriate prosecutor know just what a horrible person you are and sit back and wait or them to send in the local special forces to break your doors and windows, terrorize your family, stomp your cat, shoot your dog and, while they’re in there, search your home for whatever they might be able to find.

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