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User Journal

Journal: gun garbage [long] 4

Journal by Bill Dog

Someone kind of set me off at work on Friday. Gotta work on that. She was apparently reading something about an idea to arm teachers. Or more specifically, offer concealed carry licenses for the classroom. And indicated that she was appalled by the idea.

I said one of the beauties of concealed carry is that not everyone even has to have a gun, to still have the effect of discouraging bad people.

1) First it was the old "argument" that let a person have a gun and they'll turn into a dangerous lunatic. Teachers will be letting bullets fly all over the place, endangering the children and everyone around them.

I asked, should the police be allowed to carry guns? She apparently knew where I was going with that, and needed a minute on that one, so came back to what I had offered right before, and said well:
2) How is a teacher going to conceal it, and
3) How are they going to whip it out in time?

To the first, understand that only having it on their person is not essentially required. And in fact would be a bad idea, as it was seen recently in the news an older male teacher being overpowered by a single large student. I would suggest small gun safes, installed in the walls, in every classroom. And then the teachers having the key to it, among their other keys, on their person at all times.

But then a student or students could overpower the teacher and get the keys? Yes, but beyond the factor of not necessarily knowing which key is the one (only the teachers should know this, in addition to never giving out their key ring, even temporarily for something, to a student), this is where the "concealed" part comes in. I've just added a level of indirection to it. Student(s) still don't know if the gun safe in their classroom has a gun in it or not. Heck, put a gun lock on the gun so a bad guy student has to go through the exercise of finding which key works again; this is even more time for other students to exit the classroom during the altercation and seek help from other classrooms.

To the second, they are, and they aren't. If someone bursts into your classroom and starts shooting, they've simply got the element of surprise in their favor and you aren't going to stop them. It's about discouraging it from spilling over into other classrooms. It's not about some vain attempt to ensure that absolutely no one gets killed evar, it's about limiting the damage of these, albeit rare, incidents.

Adjoining classrooms, having heard shots fired somewhere near, would proceed to open their gun safes. Those teachers who've volunteered to have guns in their classroom safes and to respond to emergencies would take them and try to track down which classroom the incident was taking place in and end it. So why then a policy of everyone opening their safe in an emergency? I would have doing so trigger [unintentional pun] a special alarm throughout the school, so that even those who couldn't hear the shots fired would be given notice. Such as to prepare to defend their classrooms or to move their students to an armed classroom (the teachers should know who's part of the program and who's not).

(But then after a school shooting then the students (while they're at the school/in those grades, that is) will know who's armed and who isn't? True, but these are rare occurrences. And slight imperfections in any plan in general doesn't overcome its overall benefit.)

4) Then it was the old suggestion that more times than not the gun will be taken away and the victim will be victimized by their own weapon.

Well that's like the argument that we shouldn't fight back against terrorism, because it only angers the terrorists and causes more people to join them. You have to fight evil; you can't just refrain from trying to curtail violence by bad guys because of all the possible side effects. The alternative is ridiculous.

5) Finally, after having offered up this usual array of Left-wing criticisms, it's claimed that she only meant that her objection was that there was no mention of them getting proper training.

So now we're back to my prior posed line of questioning. I agreed that training should go along with the policy, if it's actually implemented (yeah, right; in today's America?!). But the police for example get training, and they still panic and empty their guns shooting up the wrong vehicle or into other houses. It's just ignoring human nature to expect all or most people to not freak out when they think their very lives are in danger. But that's not a reason to disarm the police, or the populace for that matter.

Which segues into my main point on this. A distinction between (mere) citizens, and "the authorities" (which the Left wants all (white) people to obey without question), is an artificial one when it comes to this. You're not imbued with some kind of magical extra-human powers when you're deputized. You're still just a person, susceptible to all the fears and failings of a human being.

So a recap and a filling out the remaining of what the Left would have us believe about people and guns:

* In general, no one should be allowed to have a gun except members of the government. Because only they can handle it, somehow.

* Unless you're a racist cop.

* And unless you're a member of military, really, because people only join the military because they want to kill people (and not at all instead because they want the government benefits).

* If you're a celebrity, then it's also okay if you own a gun.

* Even if you're one who vocally advocates for civilians not being allowed to have a gun.

* In general, "gun owner" = "gun nut".

* If you want a gun (aside from needing it for your job, or needing it because of the possibility of crazed fans or Right-wing detractors), you're a nut.

* Even if you don't start out a nut, having a gun will make you one, somehow.

* Defending yourself (and defenseless associates) against lethal force with lethal force only makes the situation worse. [For who?]

On a personal/full disclosure note, I don't own a gun, never have, maybe never will. I grew up (and probably because I've always lived in California) not knowing anyone personally who has guns, and still don't, except for my sis and her hubby who just got one recently. I shot BB guns *once*, in summer camp, I was never in the military or law enforcement or security, guns aren't in any way a part of my life, I may never own a gun in my life, but I want that right, along with all of the others in the Bill of Rights, in case I do someday wish to have one. (I don't need to wait until I personally want to exercise a right, to care about it.)

User Journal

Journal: Web Dev on the Mac 1

Journal by stoolpigeon

I've been working on a little side project. I would like to have an app where people can read updates that I send out. It seemed like a fun way to learn more about programming mobile apps and it's something I could actually use if I can get it to a decent state.
 
I'm keeping it simple. I decided the app would just be an rss feed reader. And that meant I need a feed. I want it to be very specific to my app so I decided the way to go would be to just create my own back end for creating the feed. I decided to use php and I wrote a simple set up using the codeigniter framework. That gave me a quick way to set up authorization and it was easy to tie in styling from bootstrap so that things can look decent without any effort.
 
I've been doing all the work at my office, on my desktop running Fedora. I have two nice big lcd monitors and developing on Linux is just so easy. I had the environment up and running in no time.
 
Then this week my son got sick. Nothing serious - but enough for him to stay home from school for a few days. I worked from home to keep an eye on him. I've been putting off getting my Macbook set up to do this kind of stuff but now I really needed to tackle it. Ugh - what a pain. The machine itself has grown on me. The hardware is decent and works pretty well. The software isn't horrible. But oh my word - when I want to do anything 'out of the ordinary' and by that I mean any kind of meaningful work with the system, it is pretty bad. I know lots of professional developers use Macs but I'm stunned at what a pain it is to do things that are trivially easy in Linux.
 
Getting Mysql installed and running with Apache was a lot more work. Getting PHP working the way I want took more time than it ever has before. Things are far from ideal even now, but I've got it to a point where it works.
 
And now I have my code in 3 places. So I'll be using github to keep code in sync between them. It's a little more of a challenge because I have the production environment set up a little differently than the dev environment. But not so differently that it is a huge deal. I have ssh access to my hosting environment (Bluehost) so that makes it pretty easy. - Oh and that is the one thing that saves the mac - having bash. If it didn't I'd have given up on it long ago.

User Journal

Journal: fun with CSS 3 I guess 2

Journal by Bill Dog

So go to www.google.com (I just type in the middle part and use the Ctrl-Enter thingie, a lot), presumably in a modern browser, and type in "askew" without hitting Enter.

It probably only works in the mode where upon typing the first character into their home page it automatically jumps to the search box being in the upper left and intermediate results being displayed as you type, so might require JavaScript being enabled.

You can restore things by backspacing all the way and then begin typing say "askance".

Anyone come across any others? I see that "skew" is one of the keywords in the 2D transforms of the CSS 3 spec, but that word doesn't affect Google, as neither do some of the others.

p.s. On a partly unrelated note, what's with Google removing my dang commas. Paste in "275,908.952 watts" and then type " to hor", and it says "Showing results for 275 908.952 watts to horsepower", and only one document in the results listing. Click on the pop-up suggestion of "horsepower" and... you don't get your conversion. Go back and put the damn comma back and you'll get it. (But then notice in the conversion output that it lists the wattage without the comma!)

User Journal

Journal: Might explain some of the behavior here 23

Journal by smitty_one_each

I have quoted before my old friend Theodore Dalrymple on the purposes of lies in totalitarian societies:

In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.

This has a ring of truth to it with respect to Slashdot. I've been on the receiving end of repeated accusations used like bludgeons to the point there are some people on here to whom I just ain't got jack to say beyond: "Lord bless your heart".
Which is not to whine about it. This is Slashdot; let the incontinent go elsewhere.
Rather, I'm yawning.

User Journal

Journal: And you thought Twitter useless 11

Journal by smitty_one_each
User Journal

Journal: Nebbishes Yearning for Truth (NYT) 26

Journal by smitty_one_each
Pravda on the Hudson decided to un-frack itself with its Gail Collins hit piece.
I don't really care if Slashdot's favorite dirty diaper un-soils himself on the subject as in this JE.
It would be fine if he manned up and repented of being a total crapflooder; I'd enjoy adult conversations with him, as he seems an intelligent person. But then, we're talking about a dedicated bile spewer here. The sort that yields to nothing less than full-on Divine Intervention. So let me pray for that.
User Journal

Journal: just think how some conversations could go 7

Journal by Bill Dog

An errant capitalization in a comment triggered a thought: It will be a confusing day when Dodge announces an electric Charger.

"So, what do you do for a charger?"
<points to car> "That."
"No, I mean how do you charge your electric charger?"
"With an electric charger."
"It charges itself?"
"No, I put it in my garage and charge it there."
"So you've got an electric charger in your garage then."
"I just told you I did."
"So what's the power output of your electric charger?"
"About 275,908.952 watts."

User Journal

Journal: The Climate Change Myth is starting to unravel... 5

Journal by RailGunner
I don't agree with the hyperbole, but it's the biggest Science Scandal of the last 30 years or so.

Someday, my children will mock the Climate Change Chicken Littles much the same way I mock the "Today is just a space between ice ages" Global Cooling morons of the 1970s.

Even then, the arguments were largely the same.

"Even if we're wrong, it's too big to risk. Shouldn't we do SOMETHING? After all, IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN."

... and the "solution" then is the same as it is now -- more State control of individual lives.

No thanks, count me out.
User Journal

Journal: I wish we had coalition governing here in the U.S. 14

Journal by Bill Dog

Barb wrote in smitty's journal:

We have it [political polarization] up here [in Canada] too, but it tends to be more muted when we have minority governments, since then you need at least some votes from one of the opposing parties to pass legislation.

We're exceptionally dysfunctional in the U.S. because we have two major parties. It means each can take turns ignoring the will of people, as when one is booted out of power in one election, they'll just get it back next go-around when we punish the other party for screwing us over. They've got us convinced there's only two choices, and so our voting ends up assuring that.

And so there's no need for compromise, if you'll just be given power again the next cycle. I've long thought, for efficiency, and to do their jobs representing the people, why not take all the stuff that both sides agree on, stuff it in a bill and quickly pass it, and then wrangle over the contentious stuff after that. But I think both sides hold the agreeable stuff hostage to get more disagreeable stuff passed.

Or refuse to do a give-and-take on the disagreeable stuff, like this from 8.5 years ago. To better serve their respective constituencies, both parties could do an even swap and let the other side have 3 things to get 3 things for their voters. But neither party needs to worry about serving us well.

And there's no need for restraint, when you'll just be given power again the next cycle. Political litmus tests for judicial appointees, applying the fillibuster (meant for legislative bills) to judicial appointees, the "nuclear option" ("In 2005, Obama opposed [it, when Republicans had control of the Senate] before supporting it in 2013 [when Democrats had control]."), being against usage of a lot of executive orders when your side is not in power and then flipping when it is, declaring by fiat that Congress is in recess to make recess judicial appointments, refusing to pass a budget for 4 years, not allowing legislation to come to floor to be voted on (when there might be enough dissenters in one's own party to pass it), not allowing amendments from the minority party to legislation that is brought up for a vote, skirting debate by passing things via slipping them into funding bills.

The misuse of power keeps escalating giving the minority party at the time even less power. But if the minority party in the Senate is 46% of it like it is now, about half the country wants those values put forth, and not 90% or 100% of the values of the 54%. For example, there's absolutely no excuse for something as significant as Obamacare passing, when it got not a single vote by the minority party. Representation of the political diversity of the country is nowhere close to happening, in the U.S.

I wish we had more "sides" than just two. It's really bad for voters who are, for example, fiscally Conservative but socially Liberal. They don't get represented no matter what. We should have at least 4 major parties, one for each side of both axes. And then we should get 2 votes to cast, one for each axis. Then Congress should be made up of the winning proportions of each. Then we'd get things like 35 Senators who ran on socially Liberal positions, 30 who ran on fiscally Conservative positions, 20 who ran on fiscally Liberal positions, and 15 who ran on socially Conservative positions.

Then we might see things like those who think social issues are the most important be willing to compromise on fiscal things to let one side or the other win on fiscal issues, in exchange for compromise on social issues by those who don't consider those to be of upmost importance. Where it's not a simple "us versus them", because it's more complicated than that. Where it's about constantly building temporary coalitions between strange bedfellows, and expecting to give something up to get something. And then if for example the fiscally Liberal party just refused to work with the other three, the voters could punish just that one party and not expect the remainder to go hog wild in abuses, because there'd still be divisions left to keep them somewhat in check.

With only two parties, it's too easy to get people thinking in black-and-white terms about things, as if there are only two sides to every issue, the right one and the wrong one. It dumbs us down. With only two parties, it's too easy to make it not about the issues, but about the parties; people think "I'll never vote for a Republican" instead of "I'll never vote for anyone who differs from me on my top 3 issues of x, y, and z". Maybe I'm for gun rights but some people in both parties uphold that. Maybe I'm for private ownership of certain guns but not others. Only two major parties means we tend to only get to choose from extremes. More major parties would better reflect and remind us that there are nuances, and that there's a lot more to things than to just remember that Republicans are racist and to vote Democrat if you're brown.

User Journal

Journal: You can all blame me 39

Journal by smitty_one_each

I'm really past caring. Somewhere around the thousandth iteration, the trash talk just got tedious. It's my fault. I'll take the hit, like an RPG striking a helicopter carrying Brian Williams. I just can't muster the interest any more.

User Journal

Journal: Catch 22 6

Journal by stoolpigeon

I got a thing from the IRS and they want me to fill out an on-line form.

To successfully complete the form I have to enter my filing address and it has to match my return. The form fields don't allow me to correctly enter the address.

So the address has to match for the form to validate, but the form wont allow me to enter the address correctly. It's beautiful. There's an email address to send information about the process and it says below the address that you can send an email but they wont respond. Super.

So I go to the page with a phone number to call. It says "You can call between 7 am and 7 pm your local time." I'd wager not.

I've never had a problem with the IRS or filing until this year. Something has put me onto some list with them, which they wont tell me about other than in a general way and now everything is exponentially more difficult. Fantastic.

User Journal

Journal: Youtube Video Editor 2

Journal by stoolpigeon

The video editor built into youtube is surprisingly decent. It lets you cut videos up, add transitions, add photos, add text, put in music, all kinds of stuff.
 
With it running on their side I was able to edit up a bunch of separate videos, and then leave them processing while I did other stuff. It made it possible to do a lot of videos in parallel and not have my machine bogged down with it. Not bad.
 
It's not the greatest but for simple stuff that you just want to get up - it is pretty awesome. And it's really easy to get authenticated (or authorized or whatever) to load longer content than the default. I've been putting up stuff that is over an hour long without any problems.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.

Working...