Random Fact

I read somewhere recently that about a quarter of the world’s prisoners are incarcerated in America.

Non-Americans are going to draw all sorts of conclusions about this, and most of them will be wrong. Here are the facts.

All the stupid surveys apart, the United States is one of the most free countries in the world — which by the way is why so many inhabitants of shithole countries (to quote some famous guy) want to come and live here.

We take our freedoms seriously, and one of the freedoms we cherish is the freedom to fuck up. Fucking up can be the result of larceny, or failed experimentation, or any such human endeavor which falls outside the usual norms and conventions. This is why we are a leader of innovation in the world — pick an industry, and we’re in there kicking ass — and it’s also why we throw more people in jail: because we are a nation of laws. (Too many laws for my liking, but that’s a rant for another occasion.)

Here’s the best example. Want a gun? Go ahead and get one: there’s a special on S&W revolvers at Academy Surplus. Use it in any way you want: self-defense, plinking at tin cans, target competition, whatever. You’re free to do all that, and except in Euro-style shitholes like New York and California, you don’t have to be licensed or belong to a club or any of that jive. Go ahead and enjoy your gun; it’s your individual right, the second-most important right in our Constitution.

However: use your gun to commit a crime, and it’s to jail you’ll be going. And we Americans don’t issue sentences of just a few years for that kind of crime either (unlike some countries I could name). No, we slam you in a cell for decades or the rest of your life (sometimes we even shorten your life if you shortened somebody else’s).

That’s why we have so many people in jail. They were all free to choose, and they chose poorly. On the whole, it’s a better system than all the others, unless of course you’re a control freak who wants to do what’s best for people because you know what’s good for them, better than they do. (These assholes we call “Democrats”, and this is why they’re trying to turn the U.S. into Europe. But that too is a rant for another time.)


By the way: the reason that China, with its enormous population, doesn’t have as many people in jail as we do is that their people aren’t free. Another reason is that the Chinese summarily execute more people than we do, thus helping their incarceration numbers. Ditto North Korea, a shithole to beat all shitholes.

Sensible Precautions

It’s one of those things that few people think about carrying in their car; but like a gun, you’ll never need it until you do need it, and then you’ll need it really badly.

I speak here of the car fire extinguisher — which admittedly is hardly ever necessary when you’re driving your minivan to the supermarket — but which, if you’re pushing your car a bit, may be essential. Here’s one example, from a recent BBC-TV episode of Top Gear:

The car in question is the newly-relaunched version of Renault’s Alpina A110 which, fiery end apart, is a lovely car. Here it is, next to its predecessor from the late 1960s:

Yes, it’s a little bloated compared to its sleek and sexy ancestor (see here for my opinion on that phenomenon), but it’s svelte enough, Renault have kept several of the design motifs more or less intact, and I love them for that.

Anyway: if you’re going to buy one of these beauties, and if you’re going to enter the Monte Carlo Rally with it, you may just want to add a fire extinguisher to the options you choose in the showroom.

Of course, this piece of advice is aimed at my Brit- and Euro Readers because needless to say, we Murkins will never get a sniff of the pretty A110 Over Here. [1,000-word rant deleted]

Yes, I’m Still Writing Books

It has been an unconscionably long time since I put pen to paper (okay, fingers to keyboard) to produce something that isn’t a blog post. This was because for the past few years I have been otherwise occupied, and the creative impulse went into hibernation. However, when I was staying at Free Market Towers the urge to write started to re-emerge from its long slumber, I took a few tentative steps to dust off the work and get rid of the rust — and now that I am free of Wadworth 6X, watching cricket and attending servant-floggings, it’s time for me to get back to work. Serious writing work.

Alert Readers will notice that I’ve added a “Buy Kim’s Books” section just below the header. There you will find links to all four of my previously-published works, and if you haven’t read any of them… well, this would be the time you apologize for your egregious inattention and get to it. That’s the old stuff.

“But what have you done for us recently, Kim?” 

Glad you asked. By the middle of March I will be publishing a new one, Skeleton Coast, which takes place in German South West Africa (a.k.a. Namibia) in 1908, and contains the usual Kim elements of murder, skullduggery, and sex. My dear friend Sarah Hoyt has offered to prepare it for Kindle formatting as soon as I’m done with some final last-minute editing (I can’t believe how many spelling errors still manage to float to the surface, like a Mafia hitman’s victims).

And the next few novels should be ready for publication by the times noted.

Now follow that link. You know what to do after that. I myself will be doing what I’m supposed to be doing… as Oglaf notes:

 

Proportionality My Ass

Ah yes… so with the Winter Olympics approaching, it’s time once again for some people to indulge in stupid wishful thinking — in this case, setting quotas where none should be set:

The U.S. Olympic Committee says it’s taking its most diverse team ever to a Winter Games, an impressive and deserved boast that requires a caveat of sorts.
Yes, USOC officials are pleased the team includes more African-Americans and Asian-Americans — and even the first two openly gay men — than recent winter squads. But they also realize this year’s U.S. Olympic team, not unlike those of most other nations gathering in PyeongChang this week, is still overwhelmingly white.
“We’re not quite where we want to be,” said Jason Thompson, the USOC’s director of diversity and inclusion. “. . . I think full-on inclusion has always been a priority of Team USA. I think everybody’s always felt it should represent every American.”
Team USA numbers 243 athletes, which is the largest team any nation has ever sent to a Winter Olympics. Of that group, 10 are African-American — 4 percent — and another 10 are Asian-American. The rest, by and large, are white. The Winter Games is typically a much smaller contingent than its summer counterpart, but the demographic differences are striking. The United States took more than 550 athletes to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Of that group, more than 125 were African-American — around 23 percent.

I’ll play along with this little game, as long as we apply it fairly — so come the next Summer Olympics we should make the Team USA Basketball squad of twelve equally representative: it should contain at least six White guys, three Black guys and the other three can be divided among Hispanics and Asians. (If we are going to make this team truly representative of America, one of the Hispanic dudes should be an illegal alien. And if he’s gay, that would be doubleplusgood.) Of course, with this squad we would lose more than win, but who cares about Citius, Altius, Fortius when we’re more about iustitia civitate, right?

Fucking idiots. Twenty years ago there were no Black athletes in Team USA Winter Olympics because Black people didn’t do winter sports. Now the team is one-fifth Black — progress by any other name — except that this isn’t quick enough for the race-conscious quota warriors, oh no: we have to shoehorn in more Black athletes right now, regardless of actual ummm merit because slavery (or some equally-specious bullshit).

And for the few Black athletes who are given a pass onto the team regardless of whether they can compete or not, they’ll be part of Team Loser (just as the White-quota basketball players would be) but that’s okay because the United States wins too many medals anyway and its only “fair” that we redistribute those golds among the lesser teams who deserve it because they work just as hard as we do.

One second thoughts, these tokenist tools aren’t fucking idiots at all. They’re just adhering to Leninist doctrine, the bien-pissants [sic].

And finally: if the USOC has funding for a “director of diversity and inclusion” in their budget then we’re giving them too much damn money.

Every time I think I’m getting a grip on my high blood pressure, some crap like this comes along to push it into the stratosphere.