“If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat”

Truer words… and the title of Hugh Hewitt’s previous book. Carnaby Fudge is asking for just what I described a couple of posts down – some help from the Blogosphere in righting a wrong. The Democrats have done what Hewitt (and others) predicted: recounted until they got the count they wanted then declared victory, but Carnaby lives in Washington, and wants a revote. Stefan Sharkansky’s blog Sound Politics has been covering the election theft electoral process and links to a new site, RevoteWA.com which is pushing a petition to get a revote.

To be honest, I’m ambivalent about it. After all, the Democrats have worked so hard to steal er, win the election. A revote might cause a landslide against them because of the disgust engendered by their blatant theft sticking to principles. Personally, I think the people of Washington should just bend over and spread ’em accept the legitimacy of their new governor. After all, she only wants what’s best for them, and plans to see that they get it – good and hard.

But if you’re a resident of Washington, and you’re just a little PO’d about the election, you might want to drop by Sound Politics and get really PO’d. Then make a visit to RevoteWA.com to sign the petition.

Oh, and go by and read Ravenwood’s The Number of the Counting Shall Be Three. I’d missed the Python reference, but he nailed it.

Now if Only Canada Will Get a Clue

Clayton Cramer links to this report that New Zealand has finally given up (at least for now) on its plan to attempt long-gun registration (again.)

Gun registration off the agenda – Hawkins
24 December 2004

The Government has finally abandoned the idea of registering firearms.

Police Minister George Hawkins confirmed today that registration will not be in a bill he is preparing to tighten border control of illicit arms trading.

Border control?? New Zealand is an island. Doesn’t he therefore mean “gun smuggling?”

The legislation will bring New Zealand into line with international protocols on the control of weapons, parts and ammunition.

“International” = “U.N.”

That doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies.

The registration of all the guns in the country was recommended seven years ago in a government-commissioned review of gun laws carried out by Sir Thomas Thorpe.

Neither the previous nor the present government acted on the recommendation, and Mr Hawkins said today it was off the agenda.

What this peice doesn’t tell you is that New Zealand tried long-gun registration before, and it failed miserably. They’ve had handgun registration since 1921, according to this Guncite page (and used it in 1974 to confiscate revolvers), but when they tried to expand their registration scheme to long guns in the 1980’s they finally gave up in defeat in 1983, settling for registration of the then-new “evil military-looking rifles” only. They stopped trying to register other rifles and shotguns because they recognized that it was expensive, useless, and tied up to much police time and effort.

So of course somebody had to bring it up again.

“Police told the Government it wouldn’t make very much difference, and they recommended that we did not register every firearm,” he said on National Radio.

“Police advice was that most of the times guns are used illegally, they are illegal guns and they don’t know about them anyway.”

Halleluja! A voice of reason!

The chairman of the Council of licensed Firearms Owners, John Howat, agreed with the decision.

“There’s no evidence, anywhere in the world, that registration systems assist police in generally controlling firearms,” he said.

“It is incredibly costly. We don’t want to go down that track, it’s a waste of money.”

As Canada has found to the tune of over a billion dollars – but they won’t admit their mistake.

The Progressive Party’s justice spokesman, Matt Robson, has advocated registration in the past and he did not agree.

He’s a “Progressive” – of course he did not agree. Progressives can’t be bothered with little things like reality.

“Without a firearms registration authority, without the proper registration of every gun in New Zealand, we leave ourselves very vulnerable,” he said.

Vulnerable to what? The inability to disarm the proles before they come to string you up for violating their rights just one time too often?

Mr Hawkins will put his bill into Parliament early next year.

He said it would give increased powers to customs officials to search for and seize illicit weapons and ammunition.

Works really good with drug smuggling too, I bet. What’s the street price for cocaine in Auckand these days?

Supply and demand, Mr. Hawkins. Economics 101.

It would allow New Zealand to sign the United Nations protocol on the control of trans-national organised crime.

Be still, my beating heart.

“Illegal arms getting into the Pacific isn’t something we want to see, and we’re playing our part as a responsible member of the Pacific group of nations,” he said.

“We’re very conscious that we have a lot of ports, a lot of yachts come to them, and we have to be ever vigilant.”

You’ve got a fair amount of just plain coastline, too. Gonna put up a wall?

There are four different classes of firearms licence in New Zealand. The A category entitles holders to own and use rifles and shotguns. Other categories enable people to own and use handguns and military-style semi-automatic firearms under strict conditions.

Just not strict enough, apparently. That’s the thing about gun control laws, they never appear to be good enough. There’s always that “next step.”

But it looks like New Zealand is going to skip back from at least one.

Never Pick a Fight with a Man Who Buys Ink by the Barrel

Er, has a blog?

And it all apparently started with the “Fisk,” the line-by-line disassembly of some piece of “journalism.” It was generally done by an individual, or at best disassociated random individuals, but now it’s organized, collated and cross-referenced.

Exhibit A: Newsweek’s The Birth of Jesus, an anti-Christian hit piece published in the Dec. 13 issue. In years past this, I’m sure, would have drawn several hundred to several thousand letters of outrage and protest from believers (and remember, I’m not one), and the editorial staff would have sifted through them all to find two or three to publish in the “letters to the editor” section. In a month or two. I’m sure at least one would have been a real doozy, too. Oh, someone might have written something that might have gotten published in some obscure religious magazine, two months hence, but it would have attracted the attention of a very small audience at best.

But not today. As Hugh Hewitt, an evangelical himself, national radio talk-show host and writer, explained in his recent Weekly Standard piece The Year of the Blog, “That was then. The blogosphere is now.” He goes on to explain how two highly credentialed and religious men, Dr. Albert Mohler and Dr. Mark D. Roberts, wrote and published on-line separate detailed critiques of the Newsweek piece. Hewitt then interviewed both men on his radio program, and invited other bloggers to weigh in. The complete list of respondents is available here. Hewitt states:

What the blogosphere allowed to happen is the organization of dissent which is focused, credentialed, complete, and–crucially–publicized. No fair reader of Meacham’s piece and the commentaries on it can conclude that Meacham produced good journalism. It is simply too one-sided, too agenda-driven, and too ignorant of serious scholarship to qualify as anything other than a polemic. The exposure of Meacham’s folly doesn’t guarantee that Newsweek won’t stumble again, but it surely must give others in his position pause. The blogosphere has experts and megaphones. As Joe Carter of Evangelical Outpost concluded “the mainstream media is only able to retain their influence by convincing the populace they possess special skill and knowledge. But as the Internet continues to fill with . . . debunkers, the media continues to lose credibility, influence, and power.”

Exhibit B: The Minneapolis Star Tribune and journalist Nick Coleman’s direct attack on Scott Johnson and John Hinderaker of Power Line in his column Megaphones without oversight: Blog swarms, opinion storms, and brand destruction. The response to this piece was widespread and immediate, and it’s all (or nearly all) collated at the aforementioned Evangelical Outpost. To quote:

The fact that such a large number of blogger wrote about the incident is rather extraordinary. But the true significance lies in the number of people who read about Coleman’s gaffe on these blogs. Together these sites have a daily hit count of over 350,000 while the Star-Tribune itself has a circulation of approximately 380,000. If we assume that ever(y) person who bought the newspaper today read Coleman’s column then we can deduce that for every three people who saw the piece slamming Power Line, two people read a defense of the bloggers. (Blog readership, however, has a great deal of overlap so that has to be factored into any conclusions that might be made about the overall site visits.)

Essentially, what we have are two “brands” going head to head for what Hewitt calls “mindspace” – the attention, respect, and trust of information consumers. At first it might appear that Coleman retains a slight advantage. He not only has more (potential) readers but he has them all in a central geographic location while the PL defenders are spread across the country.

But think about the implications from the perspective of “brand management.” Both Coleman and the PL crew live in the same city and both have their work accessible on the Internet. Yet Power Line was able to have a national effect and get their message across in a way that Coleman could only dream about.

The blogosphere is that megaphone Coleman is apparently afraid of, and he certainly got his blog swarm and opinion storm. What you see is thirty-nine uncut letters-to-the-editor. Each of those may have pertinent links to associated materials – something the dead-tree edition doesn’t offer. Each offers a different bit of perspective. The difference now is that you no longer have to accept just the paper’s opinion – you get, if you wish, multiple views. You get access to source materials when it comes to hard-news reporting, too.

Eric S. Raymond’s post made a point that expands on Hewitt’s above:

(The Mainstream Media is) most terrified of all at discovering how out of touch they are. In the past, your typical MSMer surrounded by other MSMers has believed that he is mildly “progressive”, merely holding the opinions that all reasonable people hold and opposed by at most a tiny and dismissable fringe of kooks and rednecks. MSMers are more undone than anything else by the discovery that the mainstream of the American population is rejecting them in droves for Fox News, talk radio, and the blogs.

And, Eric warns,

It’s a short step from this belief to Coleman’s flavor of quasi-paranoid ranting. Anybody who doesn’t think like the MSM cannot be authentic, but must instead be a paid or suborned tool of evil forces. Watch for this theme to show up more and more frequently in the next year as most of the MSM sinks ever-deeper into denial.

The old saying used to be “Never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel.”

No longer is that necessarily true, and they’re waking up to that fact. The gatekeepers have discovered that the whole damned wall is down. Of course they’re afraid.

UPDATE 1/4: I found this interesting. Jack Kelly, writing in JWR on the topic of the decline of the news media concludes his piece:

Journalists tend not to like bloggers, because they report on errors we make. Dan Rather and former New York Times editor Howell Raines are unemployed chiefly because of the vigilance and tenacity of bloggers. (We journalists rarely turn the spotlights we use on business leaders and government officials on ourselves.)

People who work at journalism full time ought to be able to do a better job of it than people for whom it is a hobby. But that’s not going to happen as long as we “professional” journalists ignore stories we don’t like and try to hide our mistakes. We think of ourselves as “gatekeepers.” But there is not much future in being a gatekeeper when the walls are down.

Hmm… I wonder if Mr. Kelly reads The Smallest Minority?

Negotiating in Ones Own Mind

Matthew at Triggerfinger.org has an excellent piece up fisking a recent Herald op-ed over the ongoing argument about the changing English law to give homeowners more latitude to use force in defense of themselves and their property. Please read both, but here’s the money quote from Matthew’s piece as a teaser:

This woman is engaging in one of the psychological compensation mechanisms for being in a helpless in a threatening situation: she is negotiating, in her own mind, with the burglars. If she agrees not to defend herself, so the reasoning goes, the burglars will surely agree not to hurt her. Thus, she fools herself into believing that she is safe without actually taking any precautions to increase her safety; taking precautions would require facing up to her fear, and to the fact that her government has forbidden her to own the only effective means of self-defense available to the average person.

It is exactly the same impulse that leads primitive cultures to make deals with invisible spirits or gods: those deals, however imaginary, offer a way to deal with things that are otherwise impossible to placate. It is better to sacrifice an ox to the sun god than to feel helpless waiting for the spring to come once again. And it is better to agree not to resist the burglars than to accept the fact that her government will not allow her to defend herself.

Read the whole thing.

Looks Like Jason has Pulled the Plug

Jason of Fish or Man has a single post up at his site now, a quote from Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, and has even pulled his archives.

Hopefully someone will be able to tell us what the outcome of his arrest was.

Good luck, Jason. I wish you the best.

2004: Year of the (Gun)Blogger

Publicola has a very interesting post up regarding the big story for gun-rights supporters this year, the sunset of the “Assault Weapons Ban,” and the rise of power of us “gunbloggers.” It is his contention (and I fully agree) that the power of the blogosphere has had a significant effect on how pro- and anti-gun legislation is affected in Congress – specifically on how the ability to respond immediately allows us to influence our elected officials, and the NRA.

Somebody sees something on C-SPAN, blogs about it right then, it makes the rounds of the blogs and the message boards, and within twelve hours we’re bombarding our representatives and the NRA switchboard.

And they listen.

Give his piece a read.

Welcome New Readers!

I see I’m receiving another Kimalanche. If this is your first visit, thank you. If you want some flavor of what this site is about, please check out the “Best Posts” over on the left column. If you’re a repeat visitor, welcome back.

I’m flattered by Kim’s link and praise. I really appreciate it when something I’ve slaved over written gets major attention, and (since I don’t do this exclusively for the mental exercise) I appreciate the traffic and any comments readers leave.

As to traffic, I’ve only been doing this for about a year and a half. Five hundred hits a day, more or less, isn’t all that bad for a very specific blog that tends to long, link-filled essays.

So, thank you Kim, and Toren, and SayUncle and everyone else. Expect to be cited when and/or if I ever write a book!


Hey, a new holiday! Like Festivus!

Well, not really. Gary Cruse of The Owners Manual runs a weekly feature called The Best of Me Symphony – a collection of older posts that their authors (or others) think ought to have a second reading. This week’s Symphony is up, and I’ve got an entry from last September, pre-election. If I get a chance, I’ve got a follow-on to it to write, too.

Go give it a look. Gary channels Camille Paglia as guest host this week, the 56th iteration of the Symphony, and there is a wide variety of quite excellent stuff to peruse.

Remember Our Troops

Found this at Rivrdog‘s (I slightly reformatted it):

A Christmas Poem for All Americans

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

“What are you doing?” I asked without fear,
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!”
“Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light,
Then he sighed and he said, “It’s really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.”

“It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam,
And now it’s my turn and so, here I am.
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.”

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white and blue. . . an American flag.
“I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home,
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother
who stand at the front against any and all,
to ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.
So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”

“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son”
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone.
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled
is payment enough, and with that we will trust.
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”

Michael Marks
December 7, 2000

My best wishes to you and yours, from me and mine.