More Of Those Things

I know that “keyless entry” systems are all the thing with cars these days, but forgive me if I’m just a little skeptical about their security:

Some new cars on the market are vulnerable to keyless thefts, tests have revealed.
Latest security ratings for seven models you can buy in showrooms today have been released by Thatcham Research, an independent automotive research centre.
Of the seven vehicles reviewed, four were found to offer ‘poor’ resistance to relay crimes that have spiraled in the last few years.

Actually, most cars offering this feature are vulnerable to being hacked by relay devices (available on amazon.com, of course).  And if you don’t know how a relay device works, you need to disable your keyless system and go back to using a car key.

I of course have no desire ever to activate  any keyless system when I come to replace the Tiguan, so none of the above will apply to me.  And should my choice of car not have deactivation as an option, that choice will shift to another which does, or doesn’t even have the infernal system in the first place.

I am all for progress, by the way, if it represents actual progress and not just a nod to “convenience” (i.e. laziness).  For example, I have always applauded the shift from front-stuffing muzzle-loaders to the brass cartridge — but should some techo-genius come up with an “electronically-activated triggering mechanism” to replace it, I’ll probably shoot him.

With a bullet launched from a brass cartridge case, most likely one of these:

Tar & Feathers

…which is the treatment that should be applied to this little prick:

So why am I all for chastising the constabulary?  This is why:

Grandmother is handed £150 fine for littering after feeding a piece of her sausage roll to a PIGEON

Go ahead;  read the article and tell me I’m wrong, I dare you.

Out Of The Past 7

Homeschooling

January 6, 2005
10:10 PM CDT

Reader Mike H. sent me this article about homeschooling, and I have to say that it’s remarkably even-handed about the topic, for a newspaper article. (Go ahead and read it first, if you want.)

Let me address a few of its points, one by one. As a general rule, I’m going to say that every single thing we do with our children is done to educate them—and all our differences with what the so-called “educators” say in the article are based on our opposition to what these people and their institutions represent. Here we go.

As the Beacon Journal examined the state of home schooling in America, no issue sparked more debate or stronger emotions than socialization.

A July U.S. Department of Education report on home schoolers found that 31 percent kept their children home out of concern about what children are exposed to in public and private schools.

Another 30 percent said they wanted to control their children’s understanding of religious or
moral ideas.

Only 16 percent named academic instruction as a reason.

The recent study and one in 1999 that had similar findings make it clear that home-schooling parents want to be the primary influence on their children’s moral, ethical and religious views.

They don’t want their children to be socialized by educators or other children in the public- or private-school setting.

Among Christian home schoolers, this idea is often expressed as their “worldview.”

For others, known as unschoolers or inclusives, there is a “me and my children” approach that asserts that no one – or no government – should interfere with their lives. They resent negative outside influences and want to keep their children from being programmed by commercial, materialistic views present in society. They want their children protected from the cliques, bullies and potential violence in schools.

That’s pretty much us, although we would rank “quality of education” much higher on our list of concerns. Now let’s hear from the Educators:

Michael Apple, a University of Wisconsin professor who opposes home schooling, believes most religious families want their children in a protected environment, a phenomenon he calls “cocooning” within their “fortress home.”

Home schools are “the equivalent of gated communities in which their children will not be tempted by sinful ways or ways that go against their religious beliefs,” Apple said.

He said these families have a worldview that they believe represents the truth when it comes to God. They do not recognize, nor do they want their children exposed to, the broader society, where “different truths” may be represented.

“That’s a pretty dangerous position to take, to me. It’s a little disrespectful of large numbers of equally religious people who may believe that God spoke in Islamic terms or spoke to Moses or spoke in multiple Christian voices that are not recognized as being really Christian by many home schoolers,” Apple said. The words “freedom” and “liberty” ring hollow considering the intolerance among home schoolers for other ideas, he said.

“You can’t say at the same time, ‘Let a thousand flowers bloom’ and ‘All voices be heard’ and then say, ‘Yeah, but ours is the only right voice,’ which means that the ultimate goal for my freedom is to deny you the freedom. In a nice way, I will convert you, I will smile and give you the only truth,” Apple said.

It would be difficult for me to compose a piece of satire which would do as well as this professor’s comment.

“Different truths”???? That’s the whole “multi-culti relativism” mindset encapsulated in one single phrase.

Here’s the fact: we discuss all sides about everything. The difference between us and people like Apple is that we’re not shy to call “bullshit” on something like, for example, the stoning of female adulterers, no matter how precious a tenet that may be in another culture.

Let me deal with another of this numbskull’s little canards, that of the “fortress home”.

What nonsense. Humans, as animals, are rightly protective of their young, and guard them carefully. Bears, for example, don’t let their young cubs go near other cubs until they’re ready to go off by themselves, even though most cubs are born at about the same time each year.

Lions don’t behave the same way. Because lion cubs are born at different times of the year (there being no seasonal need to regulate the birth cycle in Africa), you often have the situation where older cubs bully the younger ones—lions, like humans, are predators—and the resultant loss of younger cubs to injury caused by “rough play” is the result.

Well, humans generally don’t have six babies at a time (singles are much more the norm), so we, like bears, are more protective of our young, and what Apple refers to as a “fortress home”, we refer to as the “nest”.

Yes, we hardly ever let our kids out of the nest unsupervised. That’s why they won’t become teenage parents, juvenile delinquents or accident victims. Neither are we interested in “toughening them up” for life, at an age where they don’t yet have the tools to survive the process unharmed.

Basically, whenever I see an educator moaning about how parents keep their children cloistered away from society, the underlying reason for their concern is not that the children are harmed by such activity (homeschooled kids, by and large, are more well-balanced and mature emotionally than the average high school graduate, not to mention better educated).

What the educators are really worried about is the fact that a group of kids is not under their control—and that these kids are showing up their proteges in every field imaginable.

No wonder they’re appalled. The shortcomings of their own system are being rubbed in their noses, constantly. Hence the near-hysteria of the next statement:

A children’s services worker said parents are isolating their children. “I really think it’s emotional abuse when you don’t allow your children to interact with other children, other people,” she said.

Many non-home schoolers share the belief that home-schooled children are too confined to their own worlds and that socialization comes from learning to get along in different settings with people from different backgrounds.

“They don’t want diversity. That is why they home-school,” a focus group member said. “They want (the children) to be with people who have the same value system.”

“Emotional abuse”??? Anyone who has met our kids in person would be rolling on the floor with laughter round about now.

Here’s one of the most basic differences we have with the “socialization set”:

“Lord of the Flies” wasn’t fiction.

Anyone who has ever observed children at unsupervised play (which is pretty much what occurs in the public school system) will see that the so-called socialization is really a brutal yet compulsory interaction: the stronger, more popular and more charismatic kids prey on the weaker ones, usually with the support of acolytes—and without adult support and the proper tools to counter such behavior, school life is utter misery.

Our normal response to the “socialization” statement is: “Yeah, Daughter really misses her public school socialization: the teasing about her weight, her ostracization because she couldn’t do Phys Ed, and her physical abuse at the hands of Megan Kampf. She reallymisses the occasional vomiting at the school bus stop—vomiting caused by fear and the prospect of another day’s loneliness and isolation. And Number 2 Son also misses being called a ‘retard’ by the other boys, and being picked on because he took his time in responding to questions in the classroom.” [#2 Son is mildy autistic, by the way—yeah, he used to ride in the “small bus”.]

Here’s the Big News about how we view the socializing issue:

Kids do better when they learn how to socialize with adults, rather than with other kids.

Son&Heir, who’s a little more of a social butterfly than the other two, is of course active in the Boy Scouts (Eagle next year, we hope)—which is also peer socialization under close adult supervision, lest anyone forget. Daughter (17) will be attending community college this year, taking Japanese and sculpture classes. This in addition to whatever topics she studies at home (cooking, sewing, guitar and, of course, voracious reading of just about everything that’s put in front of her). #2 Son socializes with us, his parents, and with his elder siblings—and if you don’t think sibling interaction can be brutal, you’re an only child.

The difference between family socialization and societal socialization is quite simple. As adults, we have the tools to deal with others: manners, morals and so on (which we teach constantly and remorselessly, by the way) which enable us to interact smoothly with others; and, if all that fails, as adults we can simply distance ourselves physically from unpleasant people: quitting the job, terminating the visit, and so on.

Neither of the above options is available to kids in public schools.

In the first place, manners seem to be nonexistent (and have been replaced with stultifying, unworkable regulations in consequence), and in the second place, kids aren’t allowed to distance themselves from the unpleasant ones—their coexistence is forced, just like it was in “Lord of the Flies”.

One of the things we are always telling the kids is, “You may have the hardware [ie. physical capability], but until you get the software [maturity to handle the responsibility], you’re not going to be allowed to do it.” We apply the concept equally, whether it’s dating, shooting or learning to drive.

The kids appreciate this, by the way—there is no “generation gap” in our house—because we’re completely honest and open about everything. The default answer to most requests, by the way, is “yes”, because that’s the way to create responsibility in a young person. If we say “no”, however, there’s always a reason, and a damn good one.

Let’s go a little further into the thicket:

Rob Reich, a Stanford University professor who maintains that he supports home schooling, believes that many parents wield too much control over their children and don’t want them exposed to contrary ideas.

He contends that children need to learn to participate in a diverse democracy.

“In no other setting are parents as able to direct in all aspects the education of their children, for in home schools they are responsible not only for determining what their children shall learn, but when, how and with whom they shall learn,” Reich said in a published essay, Testing the Boundaries of Parental Authority Over Education: The Case of Homeschooling.

Many home-schooling parents see Reich as an opponent because he wants government to play a larger oversight role.

He said that while home-schooling parents insist they must have the freedom to raise their children, they often are intolerant of anyone with different views.

“Children can grow up to become ethically servile to their parents, which is incompatible with them being free persons,” Reich said.

In his speeches and writings, Reich talks about two concepts of society: one in which citizens vote their own interests and the majority rules; and one in which citizens are involved, talk to each other and exchange ideas in the public forum before taking a majority vote.

He believes that home-schooling parents are preventing their children from being part of the public forum, and that the children are being raised in isolation. If they’re not part of that forum, they may not know that other views on life exist.

“I think that is a potentially disabling aspect of home schooling,” Reich said.

The state cannot mandate that children from diverse backgrounds come together, but Reich said government can and should insist upon curricula that expose children to different religions, cultures and points of view.

“Not all home schoolers are going to like this, but this will be part of the aim of regulation – to ensure that even within a home-school environment, children are introduced to and exposed to the world of diversity in a liberal democracy,” Reich said.

That’s the heart of the matter right there, isn’t it? Those who think that their idea of education is better for the kids than what parents may decide is better for their kids. (In a curious coincidence, it should be noted that “reich” is of course the German word for “state”—so it’s difficult to think of a more appropriate name for the horrible little statist quoted above.)

I have no idea what this foul person means by the term “ethically servile”—as with much of what his type utters, it’s obscure nonsense, not to mention cheap emotional hype.

Our kids are drilled in having good manners, telling right from wrong, the values of obedience to conscience and morality, and all the values inherent in our society, as embodied in our Constitution and Judeo-Christian foundation principles. (Note to Prof. Reich: We’re not a liberal democracy, we’re a representative republic. Look it up.)

That doesn’t mean that youthful dissent is suppressed—anything but—but at the end of the day, we the parents are wiser and more experienced in the ways of the world than they are, and we expect them to heed what we tell them. We make a very clear distinction between choices which have no serious consequences to self or society, and choices which appear to be such, but which aren’t really choices at all (eg. is it so bad to take stuff home from the office, even if it’s only a pencil?—answer: it’s theft, regardless of the item’s value). The first can be debated endlessly; the second isn’t open to debate, ever.

And let me tell, you I am certainly “intolerant of anyone” who preaches political correctness, historical revisionism, socialism and multi-cultural relativism to my kids.

We’ve seen what’s happened to the generation of schoolkids who have been reared according to the principles preached by people such as Reich and Apple, and we don’t want any part of it for our kids, thank you very much.

Here’s the viewpoint of another homeschooler, Jorge Gomez:

He’s troubled by pop culture and what children learn in organized schools.

“We have the freedom to choose. In a school, you don’t know what books they’re being shown. There are more quotes from Marilyn Monroe than from FDR or about World War II. They don’t need pop culture or revisionist history,” Gomez said.

No kidding. Most of our history and cultural reference works were written before 1970, before the multi-culti PC nonsense started.

And here, in a nutshell, is the difference between the way we are raising and educating our kids, and the way the State would like us to raise them, as evidenced by public school curricula.

We believe that kids in the 1920s and 1930s were raised better (in terms of manners, mores and morality) than kids are today. We believe that the same is true of their education.

So our kids will have had to conform with the standards of those days, rather than the modern-day ones.

Unlike the earlier generations, however, while our kids’ behavior is strictly regulated, their thoughts are not only unconstrained, but liberated. Compare that to the public school system, which attempts to regulate both, and turns out ill-educated, maladjusted boors.

We’ll soon see which approach works better.

I wouldn’t bet against our kids, though.

Royal Ascot 2019

It is the Queen’s Race, is Ascot, and as the old girl is getting up there, one feels the need to chronicle the event.  Certainly, HM herself looked as elegant as always:

Of course, rather less can be said of various of her subjects, however (warning:  link contains pics of Piers Morgan):

I know, I know… it’s my fatal weakness, these Train Smash Women.  Every single one of them  is going to wake up in the morning regretting at least three  decisions made the day before.

Some of the ladies were at least more or less presentable:

…and a few were even quite comely (if one ignores the millinery):

And of course, Charlotte Hawkins (cf. yesterday) looked lovely:

And so it goes…

Out Of The Past 6

Kim The Problem

April 6, 2007
8:45 AM CDT

It’s been a while since I did this. A letter from a Reader:

For about a year, I have really enjoyed reading the GGPs and firearm essays that you post on your blog (I have been shooting since I was seven).
However, I believe that many of your political essays are absolute crap. For example, you continuously refer to Bill Clinton as a liar, while you treat GW Bush as a saint. I’m not saying Clinton wasn’t a dirty scumbag, because that would be a lie, but there is no way you can ignore all of the B.S. the Bush administration has fed us over the past few years. He lied about WMDs in Iraq, he lied about Guantanamo Bay, he lied about wiretapping, and he continues to lie about our problems in Iraq without a second thought. If you can’t see this, you’re a complete idiot.

I challenge you to find instances where I have treated GWB as a saint. My greatest quibble with President Spineless / El Presidente Arbusto (to use just two of the pejorative names I’ve coined for him) is that he’s not conservative enough for my tastes. But more to the point, the old “Bush lied about WMDs” canard is so totally wrong, it’s laughable. Everyone—Republicans, Democrats, the United Nations, the European Union, Saddam’s neighbors—believed that Saddam’s Iraq was in possession of WMDs, for the simple reason that he didn’t allow neutral inspection teams into Iraq to verify that he didn’t. And to answer the oft-repeated but still fallacious charge that Bush & Co invented the WMD evidence, it should be noted that the bulk of the evidence came not from the CIA, but from Britain’s MI5 and other European spy outfits. There is also convincing evidence, once again not from the CIA, that Saddam hastily moved the bulk of his WMDs (gas shells and such) over the Syrian border just prior to Operation Kill Iraqi Bastards.

There have been no GWB lies about Guantanamo Bay. The only lies about Gitmo have been issued by the Left: cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners, flushing of Korans down toilets, and so on. The bald fact remains that Gitmo houses some of the most implacable enemies of this nation, captured in combat (and not wearing uniforms), and held there as prisoners of war to await charges brought by military tribunal. Considering how our soldiers are treated when captured by Islamist terrorists and insurgents, we have shown incredible restraint towards these murderous fucks when we incarcerate them at Gitmo.

As for lying about wiretapping: I would ask you to name one person who has been unjustly charged (never mind convicted) as a result of an illegal wiretap. Has the FBI abused their wiretap authority? Undoubtedly, yes. Are they going to have their pee-pees whacked? A lot harder than those people who, under the Clinton Administration, used (illegal) IRS audits to go after their enemies—and lest we forget, the Clinton Administration used the really horrible Carnivore system, which was far worse than the current one. Let’s be perfectly honest, here: compared to the venal and corrupt Clinton Administration, whose leader (as you so graciously conceded) was a convicted perjurer, the Bush Administration is a shining beacon of probity. Incompetent? Occasionally, yes, and I’ve excoriated them often for that very reason (unlike what you seem to think). Evil? No. Stop believing your own propaganda. And speaking of propaganda:

I can’t believe that you think Nelson Mandela is a terrorist. He used peaceful demonstrations to bring down Apartheid, not ruthless attacks on civilians. Things like that did happen all too often, but the perpetrators were radical revolutionaries, not Mandela supporters. Mandela was also a close correspondent with MLK before he was killed, and if you’re trying to tell me that King was a terrorist I will kick your ass. You probably think I have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, but my dad and I have both met Mr. Mandela, and he is no more of a terrorist than you are.

This passage is so full of falsehoods, I hardly know where to begin. Here’s an excerpt from his biography (from the Nobel Organization, hardly a hostile source:

After the banning of the ANC in 1960, Nelson Mandela argued for the setting up of a military wing within the ANC. In June 1961, the ANC executive considered his proposal on the use of violent tactics and agreed that those members who wished to involve themselves in Mandela’s campaign would not be stopped from doing so by the ANC. This led to the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe. Mandela was arrested in 1962 and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment with hard labour. In 1963, when many fellow leaders of the ANC and the Umkhonto we Sizwe were arrested, Mandela was brought to stand trial with them for plotting to overthrow the government by violence.

So much for your peaceful protester. Mandela was head of the military wing of the ANC. In fact, the ANC, using tactics designed by Mandela, embarked on a campaign of sabotage, terrorism and assassination. Railway stations, electrical pylons and post offices were blown up, landmines were sown on rural roads, and “Boer sympathizers” (ie. anyone who didn’t actively support the ANC) were murdered. Umkhonto we Sizwe was also responsible for the construction of terrorist training camps in Zambia, Angola and Kenya. While I have as little time for the apartheid system as anyone, it would also be a complete falsehood to suggest that the ANC was ever a peaceful organization under Mandela. Likewise, there is no credible evidence to suggest that Mandela ever communicated with Martin Luther King—for the simple fact that Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island before King ever rose to prominence. As a political prisoner, Mandela was not allowed to correspond with anyone. If he told you that when you met him, he’s still the same lying Communist bastard as he always was. After his release from prison—note, a voluntary action on the part of the same apartheid government which had imprisoned him—Mandela did indeed do good things, most notably, helping South Africa make the transition from a totalitarian minority government to a full democracy. But that was the older, wiser Mandela. The younger Mandela was a terrorist leader, and no rewriting of history can erase that fact—although you seem to be trying to.

Finally, you have a steadfast belief that all liberals are complete GFWs, but that is not the case at all. I live in Burlington, Vermont, and have a profound love for almost all guns. I currently own a High Power in 9mm, a Mauser 98K, and a brand new Vector Arms UZI Para. Both my parents used to live in San Francisco, but they support gun ownership just as much as I do. Their is not a single conservative in my class either, but almost every boy has shot some kind of gun. Just because someone is liberal, (And we are as liberal as a family can get) it doesn’t mean that they are silly unconstitutional pansies.

I likewise challenge you to find anything I have written which indicates that all liberals are GFWs. What we do know is that whenever gun control is mentioned, proposed or implemented, that action is mentioned, proposed or implemented by liberals. It’s called “profiling”: not all liberals are GFWs, but it certainly seems as though almost all GFWs are liberals. (In the United States—elsewhere, gun-control advocates are not just liberals, but totalitarians too.) The Second Amendment does not say that it’s the right of conservatives to keep and bear arms—it’s the People’s right to do so. That includes liberals, and I have never ever suggested otherwise.

So please, try to alter your biased beliefs as much as you can, because us GFW liberals ARE NOT the real problem with this country, people like you are.

My beliefs, such as they are, are based upon a set of rock-hard principles that have been tested and proven over time: that Big Government is a Bad Thing, whether in health care, welfare systems, business regulation and morality; that high taxes are an economic drag on the individual; that gun-controllers are either ignorant or evil, or both; that socialism and Communism are unworkable social systems; that our military deserves all the support they can get, both moral and financial; that a strong foreign policy (as practiced by, say Ronald Reagan) is more effective for our interests than a weak, accommodationist one (eg. as practiced by Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton), and that conservatives do a better job of running this country than liberals do.

If you expect me to change any of that, I’d advise you not to hold your breath.