In Lieu of Original Content… Thomas Sowell!

Quote of the day:

This election is not just a test of opposing candidates, but of the voting public.

UPDATE: I’ve just had the time to sit and listen to this entire interview for the first time. I’m struck that Dr. Sowell refutes pretty much every Markadelphia talking point in this single interview – Obama, taxation, economics, the federal budget, education, etc.

It’s uncanny!

No Sense of Humor

Ah, those Muslims, no sense of humor!

On the way in to the office this morning, I heard a news report that a French satire magazine, Charlie Hebdo was deliberately publishing offensive cartoons featuring Mohammed. This is not their first rodeo. The last time they did something similar, their offices were firebombed.

This time there’s a cartoon on the cover page of a Jew pushing an (apparent) Muslim in a wheelchair, both saying “You must not mock us!” while, reportedly, there are “more shocking cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad inside the magazine ‘in daring positions’.”

France is preparing for riots by Muslim unemployed, disaffected youths.

Meanwhile, a cartoon was posted to the interwebs a few days ago depicting the Hindu god Ganesha, Buddha, Moses and Jesus “in daring positions” and nobody got firebombed, nobody rioted, and no one died. If you’re interested, that image (very, VERY NSFW) is here.

I’m reminded once again of one of the quotes on the masthead of this blog – the one by MaxedOutMama:

Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It’s worth it. It’s a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else’s rights, because if you don’t there is no one to defend yours.

Which reminds me, I’ve got another essay on Rights I promised some people a couple of weeks ago. I’d better get back to that….

Quote of the Day – Markadelphia’s Back!

From the comment thread to Bitter Clingers, Unix Jedi gets the nod for today’s Quote of the Day:

You’re lecturing, and you’re telling us that 2+2 = yellow.  Further, if you multiply by Pie, you get Jasmine scent.

Let’s break down your broken-down thought.

that there are very wealthy

Wealth does not equal income.

people in the 47 percent who also don’t pay federal income tax

So you admit that the 47 percent figure is only discussing “federal income tax”, so your strawmen of other people’s “confusion” and “incorrectness” are deliberate obfuscations and deceptions.

so the tax cuts argument will most certainly reach them.

Why? If they’re not paying income tax, why would a further reduction matter to them, personally?

Lemme restate what you just said:

People who have a lot of stuff, don’t pay income taxes, but the chance they might pay less would affect them.

Mark, and you’ve got the effrontery to try and “Furthermore”, lecture us?

You can’t even keep your own “facts” coherent for 20 sentences!

You, sir, win one Internet! Where would you like it delivered?

Anything Too Good to be True…

…usually is.

I got a link to this very interesting story, Hardware is Dead, at the site VentureBeat. Excerpt:

In the US, when we talk about tablets we usually mean the iPad and increasingly the Kindle devices, but beyond that there is not much else in the market. I had heard that tablets in China had already reached low price points. You can buy a reasonable Android phone for $100 retail, and I wanted to see if I could find a $150 tablet. This consultant pointed me to a mall filled with hundreds of stalls selling nothing but tablets. I walked into the middle of the scrum to a random stall. I pointed to one of the devices on display and asked, “How much for this one?” 300 kuai. My Mandarin is a bit rusty, so I had to ask again. Slowly, the stall owner repeated renminbi 300 yuan.

If this were a movie, the lights would have dimmed and all the activity in the room frozen. 300 renminbi is US $45. And that was the initial offer price given to a bewildered foreigner in China, no haggling. I felt a literal shock.

I bought the device and did some more research. This was a 7-inch tablet, Wi-Fi only with all the attributes of a good tablet. Capacitive touchscreen. Snappy processor. Front facing camera. 4GB of internal memory and an expandable memory slot.

I later found out that these devices are now all over the supply chain in Shenzhen. At volume, say 20,000 units, you can get them for $35 apiece. My device ran full Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and had access to the full Google API, including Gmail, Maps, YouTube and Google Play (not quite sure how that works either).

A $45 tablet computer.

The thrust of the article is that this is a game-changer. That at that price point, everyone will buy a tablet computer. I think the author is probably right about that. But here’s what I found interesting:

My contacts in the supply chain tell me they expect these devices to ship 20 million to 40 million units this year. Most of these designs are powered by a processor from a company that is not known outside China — All Winner. As a result, we have heard the tablets referred to as “A-Pads.”

When I show this tablet to people in the industry, they have universally shared my shock. And then they always ask “Who made it?” My stock answer is “Who cares?” But the truth of it is that I do not know. There was no brand on the box or on the device. I have combed some of the internal documentation and cannot find an answer. This is how far the Shenzhen electronics complex has evolved. The hardware maker literally does not matter. Contract manufacturers can download a reference design from the chip maker and build to suit customer orders.

Now China is the land from which rumors have been spreading about counterfeit microchips with embedded spyware.

If you wanted to do a real cyberjob on the American economy, imagine what a few months of spying on millions of people doing online purchases and online banking with their “A-Pads” would net you. Bank accounts and routing numbers, credit card numbers and security codes, or just introduce a Stuxnet-like virus into our financial system and let it run wild.

After all, nobody knows who’s building these things, right?  Doesn’t matter!

“All Winner.”  Well, the Chinese have a saying:  “Business is war.”

I know I’m paranoid, but sometimes I wonder if I’m paranoid enough.

Oh, sorry forgot to add this before I hit “Publish”:

I thought discovering the A-Pad was pretty exciting. So I was dismayed to find that the week after I got back from China, a device that looks a lot like my A-Pad was on sale at Fry’s Electronics for $79. No brand listed. The process has already begun.

Meanwhile, in Sarah Brady Paradise™

UK expat reader Phil B. (now living in Middle Earth) sends links to the story of Dale Cregan, fine upstanding British subject now suspected in the murders of at least four people, most recently two female constables in an ambush:

For the two unarmed policewomen it was a routine call to a suspected burglary.

But, half an hour later, Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, were gunned down in an act of ‘despicable evil’.

The story of the break-in was apparently a fabrication and lying in wait was a killer.

He cut the constables down in a hail of bullets before tossing a grenade at them.

(My emphasis.)

So, how are those “toughest gun laws in the world” working out for you?

And this isn’t Mr. Cregan’s (alleged) first use of a hand grenade, either:

Police had offered a £50,000 reward for information about the murders of David Short, 46, and his son Mark, 23.

The Short family had been at loggerheads with a rival clan for more than ten years but it spilled into bloodshed – reputedly over drug debts – in May when Mark Short was killed.

A gunman walked into the Cotton Tree pub in Droylsden on May 25 and Mark Short died from a gunshot wound to the neck.

Four men have been charged in connection with his murder and are due to enter pleas at Manchester Crown Court in November.

David Short was killed in a gun and grenade attack at his home in Clayton on August 10 and earlier this month a 33-year-old man appeared at Manchester Crown Court charged with his murder.

That man was Dale Cregan, who had been “released on police bail pending further inquiries”.

Now in that last link there’s a very interesting sidebar. Guess what the “new weapon of choice” is over in “Gun Free Britain”?

Teams of armed officers involved in the manhunt were aware of the increasing involvement of grenades in crime in the North West. (My emphasis.)

They were told the Russian-made military devices each contained 1,000 ball bearings with a ‘kill zone’ of more than 25 yards.

One of the best-known Soviet grenades is the F1, nicknamed the Little Lemon, which has a four-second fuse.

Based on a French design and introduced during World War II, it is now obsolete but can still be found in war zones and is highly prized by gangsters.

This year two Merseyside gangsters were jailed for life after planting a grenade in bushes outside former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish’s home. It was apparently intended for a neighbour.

They were responsible for a merciless campaign of violence including numerous shootings but their weapon of choice was the grenade.

Phil notes in his email:

Of course the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS – which among the cognoscenti stands for “Couldn’t Prosecute Satan”) which couldn’t get its act together and the Courts that refuse to jail offenders are to blame and deserve their share of criticism for not dong their job….

Not Satan, but they’ll prosecute homeowners for defending themselves, as long as there’s not too much negative press first.

He concludes:

But of course years and years of social engineering have taken their toll on the fabric and morals of society – and why not? Who but the law abiding fears the law?

I am SO glad that I am 12,000 miles away from this lot….

I’m glad you escaped too, Phil.

I’m going back to Left4Dead2.

Quote of the Day – We’re Winning Edition

From A Girl and Her Gun:

About an hour later TSM and I are chit chatting with a woman and out of no where she whispers “Are you preppers?” Up until this point I had not mentioned guns, self defense, zombies…nothing. She said just the way I spoke made her wonder. Anyway she and her husband are and she writes for a small prepping blog. I forgot exactly which one or I would link it. During the course of that first conversation about guns, I mentioned working for John and she told me her friend is a firearms instructor and handed me her card. Turns out her friend is one of The Pistol Packing Ladies. The blog came up and she said, Oh, I have read that.

The whole rest of the night was spent discussing guns, fighting, knives, politics and self defense. She is not a women that is going to let anyone mess with her. She shared a couple of very cool stories. Her daughter is being raised to be a strong, confident, young lady, who knows her worth and is hundred percent willing to fight for herself.

Another lady there was a former police officer and she is looking to buy a gun. Lots of fun talk about that. She has actually had a bit of trouble where she lives and with a husband who travels, she is getting more serious about an improved home protection plan.

When we left the host said, well, I have never been to a party where the women spent the entire night talking about knife fighting.

Just a point of clarification – in this case “TSM” is a TLA for “The Sexy Marine” – AGirl’s better half, not “The Smallest Minority.”


Bitter Clingers

Following up on the media’s salivation over Mitt Romney’s “bitter clinger” moment, let’s review the two statements, shall we?

Obama, in a closed-door fundraiser, surrounded by what he believed to be like-minded people said:

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Romney, at a closed-door fundraiser, surrounded by what he believed to be like-minded people said:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.

And I mean the president starts off with 48, 49, 4— he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. So he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich.

I mean, that’s what they sell ever four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is to convince the five to ten percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not.

So in essence the first guy said “There’s this large group of people who don’t trust the government to save them, and instead cling to religion and/or guns,” and the second guy said “There’s this large group of people who are dependent on government, and won’t be weened off of it.”

And you know what? Both of ’em are RIGHT.

The question now is “how many in the middle can be swayed?”

In More “It’s 1938 Again” News…

China and Japan are playing dominance-games:

China and Japan’s worst diplomatic crisis since 2005 is putting at risk a trade relationship that’s tripled in the past decade to more than $340 billion.

Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. halted production at some plants while Panasonic Corp. reported damage to its operations in China as thousands marched in more than a dozen cities on Sept. 16. Shares of automakers fell in Tokyo after protesters called for boycotts of Japanese goods and in some instances smashed store fronts and cars after Japan last week said it will purchase islands claimed by both countries.

Read the whole article. It’s a litany of bad Asian economic news.

And things are not better in EUrope.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has his own “bitter clinger” moment in the press. Unlike last time, however, expect to hear about this every day for the next two months.

And in IslamicRageLand, more Islamic rage!  Expect to hear as little about this as the media can get away with, but they will be forced to cover it.

While I type this, my wife is in the living room watching In the Land of Blood and Honey, a charming little film about the 1990’s war in Bosnia. It begins with a little paragraph of background:

Before the war, the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was part of one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse countries in Europe. Muslims, Serbs and Croats lived together in harmony.

And then they didn’t anymore.

I do not like the parallels I’m seeing.

Fuckit. I’m going to fire up Left4Dead2 and deanimate some zombies.

UPDATE:  Tam says it’s not 1938 again, it’s 1914. My only quibble – this time everybody’s got machine-guns and tanks.