Archive for category: Politics

Diversity Is A Good Thing, As Long As You Know What To Diversify

19 Apr
April 19, 2018

Reason put out this article earlier this week on the dangers of Silicon Valley’s burgeoning ideological conformity. Let’s look at the first couple of paragraphs:

quote When it comes to software, Silicon Valley understands the threat of monocultures. If 100 percent of computers run the same code and malware authors discover an exploit, 100 percent of computers will be vulnerable to the same attack. Fortunately, the way to reduce such risks is straightforward: Increase diversity.

quote Alas, this insight seems limited to software. Technology executives have yet to fully recognize the risks posed by the potent political monocultures forming inside their own companies.

The problem is that so many who push “diversity” fail to understand what they need to diversify. For these tech companies – and other places pushing diversity for diversity (cough, universities, cough, literary circles) – they are mistaking the biological for the mental. In essence, they are saying because they have both golden labradors and chocolate labradors, they are diverse – and they don’t see the problem when large numbers of their dogs die off. For tech companies, the biggest threat from this failure to recognize they are not really diverse is going out of business because they’ve alienated enough customers.

However, the same issue is impacting the RKBA. I keep hearing how we do we get more women, POCs, young people, etc. involved in the gun rights battle. Too many times, I see the RKBA making the same mistake of substituting outward diversity with inward diversity. You can’t invite people with one breath, and with the next demand they immediately conform to every thing you believe outside of RKBA – such as God, abortion, economics, and/or the current issues of the day.

We’re not breeding stronger livestock, so we shouldn’t be looking for biological diversity. We’re trying to breed stronger ideas, so we need ideological diversity.

Rules and Harm

13 Apr
April 13, 2018

The girlfriend and I were out shopping because she needed a new pan. In the parking lot, we came across a truck that had taken up two parking slots. The GF harrumphed and said how she hated people who did that. I saw the same thing, but it didn’t bother me so much. Why? Because the truck wasn’t in a premium area of the lot, and there was plenty of other parking.

My girlfriend was annoyed because the driver was breaking the rules. I wasn’t annoyed because (s)he wasn’t causing harm. I’ve found that such criteria has become much more important as I’ve matured.

Criminal Justice Reform in Philly

28 Mar
March 28, 2018

Philly’s new DA is doing some interesting things. Normally when I hear “progressive civil right attorney,” I cringe a bit. Generally, the “progressive” outweighs the “civil rights”.

So far, he’s fired a bunch of prosecutors and outed a bunch of cops who were deemed “unfit to call before a jury” due to numerous infractions and some for outright lying.

Then comes this memo. Yes, you need to RTWT. The basic crux of the memo is reducing the number of people sent to prison, particularly for non-violent crimes. This is a good way to approach prosecutions, because going to jail is a quick way to destroy a person’s life. Not just for the time (s)he is confined, but for the rest of his/her life.

Prosecutors have immense power at their fingertips to destroy lives, and not much in the way of accountability when they bend or break the rules of their profession – much less actual laws. It’s nice to see someone reigning in one office.

H/t Denada

Another Good Item From This Year’s Legislative Session

14 Mar
March 14, 2018

For the crap of the “School Safety” gun control law, the Florida Legislature did manage to pass some worthwhile bills that the governor signed.

For those of us who support free speech, this is a win.

Florida becomes ninth state to ban restrictive campus free speech zones

Of course, there’s still the problem of the heckler’s veto in the form of aggressive “demonstrations” and high “security” fees for controversial speakers.

One step forward.

Yes, Please Roll Back That Mess

12 Mar
March 12, 2018

From Reason and the Volokh Conspiracy comes word that the Cato Institute is starting a new civil rights and police accountability initiative.

https://reason.com/volokh/2018/03/07/the-cato-institutes-new-civil-rightspoli

Qualified immunity is one of those things that make it hard to reform the criminal justice system. I’m even more incensed since learning that it was more or less invented out of legal whole cloth.

Police and prosecutors are supposed to be just like everyone else under the color of law. It’s why they don’t have special tribunals like the military. Hell, I’d be happier with special tribunals if I thought it would make them be held to a higher standard. With great power…

I’m really liking the idea of cops and prosecutors being required to buy and hold personal indemnification policies, like doctors or other professions. I don’t like the fact that I have to pay to protect bad apples from the consequences of their actions. Insurance companies are really good at quantifying risk. It would be interesting to see what they would do with that pool.

Well, One Good Thing Out of This Session

08 Mar
March 8, 2018

The Sunshine Protection Act is heading off to the governor’s desk.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/fl-reg-florida-daylight-saving-time-20180306-story.html

Essentially, the law would allow for Florida to not “fall back” an hour and stay on DST. Of course, it also requires Congress to act, which will probably be the death knell for it.

Just let us not have to deal with the stupid changing of the clocks. It serves no real purpose other than jet-lagging twenty million people.

State of My Podcasts

07 Mar
March 7, 2018

I’m going to try and do this on an annual basis. Part of it’s my own curiosity at how my podcast habits change. I’m also curious what others think about the same podcasts and which podcasts come and go.

I’m going to list the podcasts into some broad groups, with any annotations about frequency I listen to them or general impressions.

I listen to my podcasts in Overcast. I use four playlists:

  1. Daily – This is a playlist of what I want to listen to during my commutes, work, and other times. Some of the podcasts are put to the top on certain days. Some are “promotable”, which means they go to the top behind that day’s podcasts. The rest are filler, and I’ll get to them when I can.

  2. Writing – I use this as a warm-up for when I’m going to write as well as general knowledge to improve my writing

  3. Roman History – This one has two finished podcast series I’m listening about the history of Rome from its early beginnings to the fall of the Byzantine Empire

  4. History – Self explanatory

My podcasts as of March 2018:

Liberty

Cato Daily Podcast – A good quick bit in various topics from a libertarian viewpoint. This one I use as filler on my “Daily” playlist.

Cato Events Podcast – Recordings of various panels put on by the Cato Institute. I’ve heard a lot of very interesting discussions and arguments. This one I use as filler on my “Daily” playlist. I will delete if the topic doesn’t interest me, as these can be pretty long.

Clear and Present Danger -A History of Free Speech – This is a Friday morning podcast on my “Daily” playlist. Still a little uncertain about this one.

The Good Fight – Formerly “The Liberty Files”, this one is a promotable on my “Daily” playlist. This is one I like using for hearing the conservative side of civil liberty discussions. A bit heavier on the freedom of religion than I’d like, but understandable from the hosts’ perspective.

Reason Podcast – Reason’s weekly podcast with their editors is promotable on my Daily playlist. The others are filler. Some good content and some that just don’t interest me.

Short Circuit – From the Institute of Justice, this one discusses notable cases that IJ is a part of. This is a promotable on my Daily playlist.

So To Speak – FIRE’s podcast discussing free speech issues. This is a Friday morning podcast on my Daily playlist.

Economics

Econtalk – Economist Russ Roberts does great interviews with a wide variety of guests and topics. I’ve been learning a lot. This is a Tuesday morning podcast on my Daily playlist.

GAO Podcast – GAO discussing some of their reviews. This one I use as filler on my “Daily” playlist

History

Hardcore History – Dan Carlin’s storytelling on various topics is spellbinding. This is promotable on my History playlist on the infrequent occasions new podcasts show up.

Hardcore History: Addendum – New one from Dan Carlin. The first two were interesting. This will be promotable if he continues.

The History of Byzantium – I only listened to a couple of episodes. It’s on my “Roman History” playlist to go after the “History of Rome”

The History of Rome – This one is on my “Roman History” playlist. Good for amateur historians like me. It’s a finished series.

Revolutions – Really good series on various revolutions. Each season goes through one of the more pivotal revolutions in history, starting with the English Revolution. I’ve listened to the first four seasons. This is on my History playlist.

War Stories – Good military history podcast. It’s in my “History” playlist.

Guns

Black Man With A Gun Podcast – Kenn’s podcast was one of the first I started listening to, and then I wrote Zombie Strike for him. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Down Range Radio – Right now, this is my Wednesday morning podcast, but it may get downgraded to promotable. Some of Bane’s nonsense and glad standing is getting on my nervesz On my Daily playlist.

Geeks Gadgets and Guns – A recent addition after they discussed Pathfinder with Erin Pallette. Right now it’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

The Gun Nation – This one is promotable on my Daily playlist on the rare occasions it drops.

Handgun Radio – This one I’ve been enjoying. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Handgun World – This one might go from promotable to fuller on my Daily playlist. Bob has good information, but sometimes his views annoy me, particularly when he goes off on rising evil.

Polite Society Podcast – Good information, but often too long. This one is filler on my Daily playlist

Riding Shotgun With Charley – Interesting so far, but currently filler on my Daily playlist

Safety Solutions Academy – Real good information. Paul is one of those trainers I’d like to learn from if I could scrape together the time and money. This one is promotable on my Daily playlist.

Self-Defense Gun Stories – I like the analysis of what went right and wrong from a variety of professional trainers. This one is a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Politics

The Economist – This is a Friday morning podcast on my Daily playlist. It provides a different perspective and reports on areas that barely hit my normal feeds.

The Fifth Column – This is a really good roundup focusing on the issues of the day and how the media reports them. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen – Charles C. Cooke. That’s why I listen to this podcast. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Neal Boortz Daily Commentaries – I loved listening to Boortz when he was on syndicated radio, and now I get two minutes of him. It’s interesting to see how I’ve diverged from him over the years. It’s only considered promotable on my Daily playlist because I get it daily.

The One With Greg Gutfeld – Only listened to a couple of episodes, but it feels similar to Greg’s Redeye days. Currently promotable on my Daily playlist.

Part of the Problem – Rabid anti war libertarian comedian Dave Smith is interesting. He’s certainly challenging some of my ideas. Promotable on my Daily playlist.

War College – This is a Friday morning podcast on my Daily playlist. An interesting look at politics and military issues.

Tech

Clockwise – This is a Friday morning podcast on my Daily playlist. I like the format and it helps keep me up to date on tech issues and trends.

Daily Tech Headlines – Good summary of big tech stories, and the weekend history segments are interesting. It’s considered promotable on my Daily playlist only becuse it comes out every day.

General

Friendly Fire – New one about three guys watching and critiquing war films. It’s a Friday afternoon podcast on my Daily playlist.

The Incomparable Game Show – Often hilarious, sometimes dangerously so when driving. It’s a Friday afternoon podcast on my Daily playlist.

Penn’s Sunday School – Penn prognosticating on the world. It’s a Tuesday and a Thursday morning podcast on my Daily Playlist.

Squirrel Report – It’s not a Friday afternoon drive without this one.

Unjustly Maligned – On hiatus, but I’d recommend going through the back of episodes.

The Way I Heard It With Mike Rowe – After growing up with Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story”, this one is a wonderful substitute. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Science & Skepticism

Skeptics Guide to The Universe – This was my first science podcast and really helped forge my skepticism. It’s a Monday morning podcast on my Daily playlist.

Skeptoid – Another one that helped in developing my skeptical outlook. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Writing

Writing Excuses – If you are a fiction writer, I can’t recommend this one highly enough. It’s currently the only one on my Writing playlist.

New States?

18 Jan
January 18, 2018

This article got me thinking.

Do We Need a Few New United States?

It’s been more than sixty years since the last two states were admitted to the Union. As the political divides sharpen between rural and urban, maybe it is time for those areas to be able to go their own way. If that were to happen, which I highly doubt, something else needs to be examined.

One thing that has bothered me for a while is the shrinking ratio of representatives to populace. Particularly at the federal level. There are states with more senators than representatives. Increasing the number of congresscritters, particularly as new states are admitted, may help dilute an individual rep’s power while also making them more accountable to the voters.

Well, hopefully at least.

Violent Crime Up, But That’s Not A Reason to Panic

26 Sep
September 26, 2017

Reason has an article on the release of the new Uniform Crime Reports from the FBI.

http://reason.com/blog/2017/09/25/violent-crime-rose-again-in-2016-for-sec

My favorites parts from this:

“Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project at the Pew Charitable Trusts, pointed out that only five years since 1971 have had lower violent crime rates than 2016. In 2005 and 2006, the U.S. also experienced a similar two-year rise in violent crime. “There were dire warnings from police, only to have crime then continue to drop,” Gelb said.”

And

“John Pfaff, a professor at Fordham University Law School, cautioned that crime is a complex, geographically concentrated phenomena, and that it can’t simply be attributed to how many people are or aren’t being sent to prison.

He noted that Chicago, which has been experiencing an unprecedented spike in murders over the past several years, was responsible for about 20 percent of the national net increase in homicides. However, half of Chicago’s rise in murders were confined to five neighborhoods with 9 percent of the city’s population. “So in other words,” Pfaff said, “five neighborhoods in Chicago explain 10 percent of the national increase in homicide rates.””

Contrary to world stereotypes, America is still mostly peaceful – even while being having a heavily armed populace. Moreover, almost all of the violence is found in cities, particularly impoverished neighborhoods.

There aren’t any easy answers to helping those neighborhoods. Most likely, the solutions will require a multitude of approaches that will anger both of the major camps.

Felons and Guns

23 Sep
September 23, 2017

Time for another unpopular opinion –

Felons who have done their time should have all their rights restored once they have completed their sentence. This includes Second Amendment rights. There are a few reasons:

  1. In this day and age, about the only people who haven’t committed a felony are infants. Between “tough on crime” initiatives and administrative law, Americans committ at least two or three felonies a day. Why should someone lose their rights because some prosecutor decided to selectively enforce a law against someone?

  2. “But what about violent felons?” A person with a propensity for both violence and crime are dangerous whether or not they have rights restored. This subset of our population would be dangerous even if they only had access to weapons that could be bought from a hardware or general store. Or fabricated from items bought at a store. Or hell, just buying gasoline.

  3. Kinda related to above is the assumption that a violent person with criminal intent would suddenly decide to get his/her weapons through legal means instead of stealing it or buying it off another criminal.

Here’s what it boils down to IMHO. Currently, we are over-criminalized AND that over-criminalization is selectively enforced. Hence, it is very easy for the state to deprive people of their civil rights, but very difficult for a person to get his/her civil rights restored. Furthermore, because the state is inefficient, other people are having their rights delayed because we do not restore people’s rights when their sentence is completed.