Technical Assistance Needed

I recently took advantage – if that’s the word – of Blogger’s new feature (or bug) of placing archived posts on their own web page. There have been problems in the past of calling up an archived post, and then watching it scroll off the screen as the rest of the page loads.

Great, right? Except the archived post shows up in the middle of the freaking page – which in the case of The Smallest Minority means way down younder somewhere. To the uninitiated, it looks like the text screen is blank. I have this problem, too, when the current seven days worth of posts aren’t enough to fill the available space. The text is middle-justified vertically.

No bueno.

So I sent a tech support request into Blogger, and they tell me they don’t support otherwise simple HTML questions.

So, here’s my question: How do I get my posts to show up at the TOP of the text window, instead of centered?

Just Figured That Out, Did You?

The London Sunday Telegraph is still pushing for legislation to allow homeowners the use of unrestricted force against home invaders, though as I noted last week, the campaign seems to be losing steam. This week’s entry is as follows:

‘The system seems to bend over to help the criminal at the expense of the victim’
By Karyn Miller
(Filed: 28/11/2004)

(And that isn’t a victim of a burglary speaking…it’s one of the former chief constables who are backing the Telegraph’s campaign)

Former chief constables have backed The Telegraph’s campaign to give people more rights to protect their homes and families from violent intruders.

The retired police chiefs, who have more than 200 years of service between them, believe that the balance of the law has swung in favour of burglars at the expense of law-abiding householders.

They pledged support for this newspaper’s call for legislation giving householders the unqualified right to use force – including deadly force if necessary – against burglars, without facing criminal charges from the police or being sued for compensation. Similar legislation introduced in Oklahoma in 1988 – known as the Make My Day Law – has halved burglaries.

Among those former police chiefs expressing support last week was William Wilson, 61, who was chief constable for Central Scotland at the time of the 1996 Dunblane school shootings, which led to a ban on members of the public owning handguns.

And what a world of good that did.

Mr Wilson, who was chief constable between 1990 and 2000, said: “You can list me as a supporter of your campaign. Anything that can reduce housebreaking has got to be backed I can identify a trend for the law being tougher on the householders than it used to be.”

Gee, ya THINK? Yet according to Tim Lambert, it’s only the “gullible gunners” who believe this.

Sir Geoffrey Dear, 66, who was the chief constable of the West Midlands between 1985 and 1990, agreed that the current law, allowing “reasonable force” to be used against intruders, could no longer be relied upon. “The Crown Prosecution Service has to a certain extent, in this last quarter century, been looking at reasonable force in far too narrow a way,” he said. “They haven’t tried to put themselves sensibly and properly into the place of the householder.

“If you chance upon somebody in the dark you have no idea what he has in his hand: nothing, a knife, a screwdriver or even a gun. It all happens in a flash. I don’t think you have time to weigh up what is proportionate and what isn’t. I say that if you hit him and cause him grave damage, then tough. Your campaign has every chance of success.”

Not too familiar with the legislative process, eh? Getting the government to yeild back any of the legitimate use of force will be very difficult.

Peter Joslin, 71, the chief constable for Warwickshire from 1983 until his retirement in 1998, said: “I was regarded as a liberal thinker in my time, but the system seems now to bend over to help the criminal at the expense of the victim. What happens today is frightening. The criminal’s rights should not supersede the rights of the individual to protect their property.

But what you’re saying is, it does. This is that “chilling effect” I finally got Tim to (grudgingly) admit to.

“If there was an intruder in my home I would go to fairly extreme lengths to defend myself, because it is no good waiting for him to strike you first before you defend yourself. The police advice to lock yourself away in a room and dial 999 is all very well, but life’s not like that.”

Another former senior policeman backing the campaign was John Stalker, 65, the deputy chief constable of Greater Manchester between 1984 and 1987.

He said: “I believe that a house is something to be defended at all costs by the people who buy it and live in it, because they are entitled to believe that it is a place of safety, sacrosanct from outsiders.”

Yes, the Englishman’s home was once his castle – but no longer.

George Esson, 62, the chief constable for Dumfries and Galloway between 1989 and 1994, said: “I’m not surprised at the level of support for your campaign. If somebody came into my property in the middle of the night, I would feel it was my inalienable right to defend it.” The former officers’ backing came in the same week that the campaign was boosted by an informal poll of listeners to Jeremy Vine’s Radio 2 programme. His show on Wednesday featured a debate about the campaign between Dominic Lawson, the editor of The Telegraph, and Lord Phillips of Sudbury, a solicitor and Liberal Democrat peer who opposes any change in the law.

More than 5,900 listeners voted afterwards, with more than 97 per cent backing a change in the law and less than two per cent opposing it.Readers can listen to a replay of the show by visiting the BBC’s website. It can be accessed at

I’ll have to give that a listen, if I ever get any spare time.

Another Interesting Transcript

Last week, Slate published a column by Emily Yoffe, “The Human Guinea Pig,” entitled “Guinea, Get Your Gun.” I did a piece on it below. It was an excellent column. There was also an associated audio clip that ran on National Public Radio. I just listened to it, figuring it would just be her reading her piece, but no. She was interviewed by an NPR staffer. I though you might be interested in the transcript.


From time to time on this program, we check in with Slate’s Emily Yoffe. She is better known in some circles by her nickname, “The Human Guinea Pig.” For her column in Slate, Emily does interesting or unusual things many of us might have wondered about, but have never tried.

In the past she has worked as a phone psychic, a street musician, she’s taken a vow of silence, and she was actually crowned Mrs. Washington, D.C., only in part because she was, indeed, the only contestant. Well, she’s back, and here’s a little hint of what Emily’s been up to now:

(Sound of a gunshot)

That is the sound of a gunshot, and earlier, Day to Day’s Alex Chadwick investigated Emily’s new talents.


Welcome back to Day to Day, Emily! What’s all this about?


Thank you.


Have you joined the Marines?

Yoffe, with a chuckle:

I’m an insurgent with a Volvo.

Chadwick, (laughing):

“An insurgent with a Volvo.” Oh, good. You’ve actually taken up shooting guns for your latest Human Guinea Pig activity you’ve decided to master shooting, yes?


Well, guns are a big issue right now and I’m… I thought, I’ve gotta understand the rest of the country a little better. And, so I went to see if an absolute gun novice can learn to be a decent shot.


Alright, we sent a producer along with you for one of your lessons. Here’s a clip of tape. I want you to listen to this, and then explain to us what happens at the firing range when you are getting a shooting lesson.

(tape begins)


I’ve got my Smith & Wesson, and this is…

Instructor, scolding:

Ah aah! Point that gun downrange. Keep it pointed downrange at all times. Now you, now you have to maintain control of the grip and keep it pointed down range. Don’t let that muzzle drift at all.




All right.

(end of tape)


Emily, I think what what that instructor’s saying is “don’t point that thing at me.”


This is probably the first Guinea Pig that had fatal implications. I actually, when I was shooting shotguns, I accidentally put my finger on the trigger and the thing went off and smashed me in the shoulder. Fortunately, I did have it aimed down range.


So, how did you take to shooting, and are you any good? Could you hit the target?


I’m darned good. What can I say? Everything has been a disaster in Human Guinea Pig, but I was hitting that thing, at.. My instructor Ricardo Royal put a paper plate out there, and I took his Sig-Sauer P226 9mm with a Crimson Trace laser grip…




…and “Paper plate, make my day” I was hitting it.


You sound like you actually know what that thing was. Is that a handgun or a bazooka?


It’s a semiautomatic pistol.




I have to admit, before I took this up a couple of weeks ago, I thought shotguns shot bullets? They don’t. They shoot shot.


Hmm.. Ok, we have one more clip of tape here Emily, and I must say it suggests to me that maybe your new fondness for shooting sports is uh, “bleeding” – no pun intended – into other parts of your life. Here, listen.

(tape begins)


I was taking a yoga class yesterday and during the breathing, I was imagining the front sight of the pistol, so..




Yes, just relax into it.


See? Already you ask me “how do I relax?”


(tape ends)

Chadwick, (somewhat incredulous)

Emily, you’re saying that shooting and yoga are compatible? That you can sort of visualize shooting while you’re in some transcendental state?


You’ve gotta get your sights lined up, and so during your breathing I had it… Imagine your target. You’re shooting between nine and three o’clock, and it really helped.


Ok, Emily. You know, you gave up being Mrs. D.C., you passed on being a street musician, you’re no longer a phone psychic. Are you actually going to be a shooter? Are you going to get a gun?


Well, I live in Washington, D.C., which kind of precludes this. Un, unless I’m a criminal, of course. But I am thinking of taking my family out and having us all have a great time blasting at targets. I’ve also become… I see movies now in a different way. I look at people shooting in movies and think “There’s no follow-through there, you’re not gonna hit that person. You don’t know what you’re doing!”


Have you noticed anyone packing a Sig-Sauer? Is that, the handgun thing?


I think they’re more into Glocks.

Then they did the polite sign-off thing. That was an enjoyable piece. I think she made Chadwick a bit uncomfortable.

See what a little education can do?

I ran across a great quote tonight by someone who didn’t sign their name to it:

Simply put, gun control cannot survive

without an accompanying sea of disinformation.

Truer words…

It’s Time to Vote Again

Via Knowledge is Power, and I’ll quote SondraK in whole:

You can go here and vote in Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year Award , fan poll. If you let it load…a few pictures will then load in a scroll bar to the left. Second from the bottom is Pat Tillman. I can’t think of a more worthy person. He gave up everything for the home team. Go. He deserves it.

Oh. And pass it on, ok?

Tillman is currently in third place behind Lance Armstrong and Michael Phelps.

So go vote. And pass it on.

Happy Thanksgiving!

And to celebrate, here’s a photo to: a) warm the cockles of the patriotic American’s heart, or b) terrify and offend the GFWs™ out there. A win-win!

BTW, that’s a Stinger surface-to-air missile trainer, just in case you’re curious.

And check out that grin!

Published AGAIN!

Well, only in the local lefty rag, The Tucson Weekly, but that’s five-for-six, so far. The issue that came out immediately after the election was amusing, reading the shell-shocked reactions of the staffers. The editor wrote a subdued-but-hopeful, “we’ll-be-inclusive” piece that prompted me to write a letter in response. They asked if they could publish it, and it appeared in this week’s issue, but they edited it for length (as I expected) and took some of the punch out.

The original editorial was Onward and Upward, and my complete response to it is below. The Weekly‘s version of it is here. I’ve highlighted in blue the parts they edited out.

I noted with skeptical hope your promise: “We’ll make an effort to understand and reach out to people with differing viewpoints.”

Just how differing remains to be seen. I am one of the readers you’d probably consider “Republican and conservative,” though my voter registration says Democrat and I’m more of a libertarian (small “L”.) I consider the choice between the Left/Democrats and the Right/Republicans to be the difference between castration and a wedgie. Guess how I voted.

Yet, I’m college educated. I’m a professional engineer. I’m an atheist. (Agnostic if you want to be precise.) I’m in favor of gay rights – to a point. I’m in favor of abortion rights – to a point. I’m a pretty rabid proponent of the right to arms, though, and other rights of the individual. That’s where I part company with the Left – it seems to be the modern equivalent of the Church. As one writer I read put it, “The thought occurs to me that politically, the Left is the modern Puritans – they want to live life their own way and make sure everyone else does, too.” I agree with that thought.

I read the Weekly on occasion essentially to keep an eye on “the opposition” as it were. I’ve had four of my letters to the Weekly published, and one rejected (for length – I tend to the verbose.) I also read the Weekly because it does criticize government when such criticism is merited – something I see very little of from other media in this town.

I hope you do “fight for truth and justice,” but I don’t see it happening. No one in the print or electronic media seems interested in truth anymore, just in promoting their own agenda. At least the Weekly‘s bias is tattooed on its sleeve. And chest, back, and legs.

You wrote: “(M)any people who support equal rights for all and who dislike divisiveness were crushed by the election results. (This is not to say that all those who voted for Bush dislike equal rights and like divisiveness. A lot of good, intelligent people voted for Bush, as well as Proposition 200. But I don’t understand how or why. Any insights are welcome.)”

Let me see if I can explain it somewhat. I’ve lived in Tucson since 1981. In the last twelve years I’ve seen the political divide get more and more pronounced – and from my side of the aisle, it is the Left that has gotten the most shrill and offensive. It is the Left that has been the most divisive. (Puritans, remember.)

A matter of perspective, perhaps, but the election results should give you pause.

I’ve only been “politically active” since about 1995, but apparently I’m a charter member of Hillary’s Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, a charter member of Al Gore’s Digital Brownshirts, and a charter member of Jonathan Klein’s Pajamahadeen. (Yes, I am a blogger, since May 2003.) The 2000 election was a major motivator for me. And it wasn’t because I thought Bush tried to steal the election.

The most fascinating thing I’ve noted recently is the declining influence of Big Media. Hell, even Small Media. Instead, I’ve been enthralled and engaged by Micro Media, and I think that’s something you’d better pay attention to. That and Fox News. There’s a reason right-wing talk radio and Fox News draw high ratings, and it isn’t because the audience is stupid.

Finally, if you really want some insight as to why your side lost (and lost big) I suggest you read something that was posted to the blogosphere on November 5. (No, it isn’t mine. I disagree with much the young lady wrote, but her piece is highly illuminating.) It’s called How You Could Have Had My Vote. Print it out. Pass it around the office. Perhaps it will generate some useful discussion, instead of the congnitive dissonance that seems to be the general reaction from the shell-shocked Left.

Thank you for your attention.

Not bad. But read this week’s guest editorial to see where their “effort to understand and reach out to people with differing viewpoints” is going.

Same ol’ same ol’.

They’re All Obviously Anti-Gay Bigots

The reviews are in for Oliver Stone’s epic Alexander. A few days ago Ann Althouse described what she called Stone’s “pre-emptive strike” to deflect the blame for the fact that Alexander sucks will do poor box office:

Stone is trying to lay the foundation for blaming moral-values, red-state Americans for his own embarrassing failure.

Steve Sturm notes that Michael Moore’s Farenheit 9/11 did $150 million plus with the inclusive blue-state crowd, so Stone ought to do at least that well with Alexander, or he can’t bitch. (Both links via Instapundit.)

Well, here are some of the, er, more colorful quips from RottenTomatoes:

“Oliver Stone doesn’t just create trainwrecks. He knocks the train off the rails, sets it on fire, then kills every person onboard. (And takes three hours to do it.)”– Eric D. Snider

“Represents everything that’s wrong with the big, bloated Hollywood pseudo-epic: Too much with the lavish and not enough connecting with viewers”


“It is such a majestic disaster, that I have a bizarre sort of affection for it, like for a weirdly deformed child, maybe.”

Eugene Novikov, FILM BLATHER

Alexander has aspirations of greatness, hoping to be christened an intellectual super-spectacle for brainy moviegoers. The sad truth is that it will probably numb more brain cells than it will stimulate.”


“A horrendously bad movie, a genuine 40-car pile-up of literally epic proportions, a three-way head-on collision of bad writing, bad acting, and bad direction.”


Yup. They’re all just bigots.

Go Granny Go!

Damn, this just gives me the warm fuzzies:

Great-Grandmother Being Deployed to Iraq

Associated Press

LAWTON, Okla. – A 72-year-old great-grandmother is preparing for deployment to the war zone in Iraq and will become one of the oldest Department of Defense civilian workers in the war zone.

“I volunteered,” said Lena Haddix of Lawton, who has five children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. “I wanted to do something for the country, because I was always left behind taking care of the children.”

Haddix was a military wife from 1950 until 1979, and has worked at the Fort Sill Post Exchange, or PX, since 1977.

“I’ve been a supervisor of every department out there,” Haddix said. “I guess I’m the flunky.”

The PX is more than just a store for soldiers, she said. It’s also a boost to morale, giving soldiers stationed overseas a link to the United States and Haddix said that’s why she wants to go to Iraq.

“I just see so many of the boys. They’re like little kids. They keep telling me, ‘I’m going over,’ or ‘I’ve just come back,'” she said.

“I would just like to go over and be with them.”

And Haddix said others have tried to talk her out of her decision, to no avail.

“I’d already made up my mind I wanted to go. I just wanted to do something for myself and other people instead of working and coming home.

“I’m sure there’ll be times that I’ll be scared, but I’m not now.”

Haddix is now going through much of the same process soldiers go through before deployment, including shots and a thorough medical checkup to make sure she’s physically able to do a tour of at least six months.

She will be sent to Fort Bliss, Texas, for one week of training, then be sent to Germany where she will receive her orders on where in Iraq she will be stationed.

That’s one tough lady!