A Technical Question

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails with a request for some geek help:

I know some tech people read this blog.  Anybody have an opinion on the Samsung Chrome Book, $249 at Staples?

On vacation, I use a Toshiba Excite 10” tablet to surf the web and check email and Facebook.  No keyboard = frustrating.  The Chrome Book would solve that without adding a Bluetooth keyboard to lug around.

At home, the grandkids use the tablet to play touch-screen games like Angry Birds but I don’t play them so touch-screen gaming is irrelevant to me.

Any other serious drawbacks I’m missing?

Joe Doakes

Might have to see if AM1280′s assistant ops manager Jon Osburn is tuned in…

Don’t Forget

When making your weekend plans – tomorrow the NARN will be broadcasting live from Bill’s Gun Shop and Range, for the Shooter Show. 

And remember – ahem:

You Get To Test-Fire Your Choice Of Firearms, For Free!

(You buy the ammo…)

The show starts today, and runs through Sunday – but I hope you’ll join me for the broadcast, and a ton of shooting, tomorrow from 1-3PM!

(I’ll be adjourning to “the Lodge”, next door, for a drink or two after the show.  Hope you can join me there!)

Conservatives: Invariably Smarter

New scientific poll proves that conservatives are better readers than liberals – and this translates into higher general intelligence.

This is, of course, as I’ve always suspected; liberals are big on talking about how intelligent they are, what conservatives usually stick to demonstrating it in their jobs, families, and daily lives.

For all of their babbling about snake-handling and “Faux” News and Christine O’Donnell and the like, any actual conservative dealing with liberals on a daily basis knew this to be a fact, in the pit of their gut. 

But that was anecdotal.  This?  This is settled science.

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Publishing Notes

While we wait for further news on Katie Kieffer’s first book – of which more to come soon – I’m happy to notice that XKCD is publishing a book this fall.

Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions will be published September 2nd by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Starting today you can pre-order it from your favorite bookseller (Barnes & NobleAmazonIndie Bound).  There are also foreign editions, including a UK and Commonwealth edition and a German edition

Sounds like my next couple of airplane trips are covered!

I’ve Got A Theory Of My Own

An observation from The Blaze:

In nearly all movies involving “gangsters” with guns, you’re bound to see the firearm cocked sideways. It was even a joke in the movie Date Night where Steve Carell’s character calls this position the “kill shot.”

Methodist gangster illustrating the “John Woo Grip”.

A former U.S. Marine Corps marksmanship instructor thinks there could be some merit to that logic, according to the Daily Mail.

In an effort to save time, make a getaway and maintain some accuracy, Davis said the method being used is called “flash sight picture,” which aims down the side of the gun. It isn’t necessarily the most precise, but it can get the job done.

My theory – which is both utterly free of evidence and, I suspect, absolutely correct – is this:  during the 1980s, as the drug war was ramping up, the CIA infiltrated gangs in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami and along the border, and began teaching gangs the grip.  They also got to famed Hong-Kongese (Hong Kongian?  Hong Konger?) filmmaker John Woo, and got him to glorify the sideways grip in countless film shootouts.

The motivation, of course, was to save police.  It has had the concomitant effect of saving countless gangster targets over the years, while killing or maiming countless innocent bystanders who were sitting in second-floor apartments 45 degrees off the line of fire.  One Minneapolis cop once told me, back in the eighties, that the safest place to be in a gang shootout was the target; actual participants seemed to be very rarely harmed in gang shootouts,then as now.

We can thank the John Woo grip for this.

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Occam’s Autopilot

In 1969, the US submarine Scorpion, homeward bound from the Mediterranean in the South Atlantic, disappeared without a trace. 

The search was finally resolved when a Navy researcher, John Piña Craven, using Bayesian search methods and, in effect, a free market approach to sorting through the various hypotheses, found the wreck.  It took a while – but in the end, the path to the sub’s wreck was perfectly logical.

The media – inflamed by the Malaysian government’s political skeeviness – is spinning conspiracy theories as fast as it can get them on the air these days.

If I had to bet?  I’d say this guy has it right.

Just a hunch – but if I had to bet, I’d go long on the theory.

In A Party Mood

I have a shot at throwing a get-together involving…:

  1. Guns, and 
  2. Beer

…in that order, and that order alone.   It’d be on a Saturday afternoon, sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Just thought I’d throw out a trial balloon to see if anyone’s interested?

It’s Donor Season!

Not to joke about the death of young Anand Baskanan, a Long Island transplant who came to Minnesota to work at 3M, and brought his passion for very fast racing motorcyles with him…

…to I394 this past weekend, where he apparently dumped it while racing at 100-120mph one night.  Baskanan died at the scene.  My condolences to his friends and family.

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Falcon: Forty

Outrageous inflation in military spending isn’t a modern phenomenon.  Since the end of the Cold War, though, we don’t hear as much about it.

But in the 1970s, it was getting headlines.  The costs involved in developing weapons were zooming.  And nowhere were these costs more publicized than with aircraft.

In the late ’60s and early ’70s, the development of several key Air Force and Navy aircraft blossomed into inflationary nightmares.  It started with the F-111, whose protracted development time and cost overruns became a national controversy in the ’60s and early ’70s.

An Australian F-111.

The Navy’s F-14 program (that’d be the plane Tom Cruise, Anthony Edwards and Val Kilmer flew in Top Gun) wasn’t as troubled – but each copy of the plane ran to well over $20 million 1972 dollars, which equals $111,000,000 today, giving a generation of American budget-watchers sticker shock.

An F-14 Tomcat. Not “TomKat”. Sheesh.

The Air Force’s F-15 was another expensive one, marginally cheaper than the F-14 for about the same mission.

An F-15 Eagle

The ballooning cost caused some military theorists to speculate we’d be better off buying more, cheaper aircraft; that in a potential Hot War, the huge number of relatively cheaper Soviet airframes would take horrible casualties against the technologically formidable US planes, but that at the end of the battle there’d be so many Soviets that the Americans would end up getting shot down any way.  Better, the theorists said, to buy many, many of the relatively cheap ($3-4 million a pop in the mid-seventies) F-5, which was comparable with a Soviet Mig-21.

A Mig 21 of the Lithuanian Air Force. First fielded in the late 1950s, over 10,000 Mig 21s were built – the most of any jet fighter in history.

With this in mind, General Dynamics set about trying to split the difference; building as smaller, lighter, less-expensive fighter plane.   This became the F-16 – called the “Falcon” by the Air Force, the “Viper” by many of its own pilots (and the “Lawn Dart” by F-15 pilots, after a few unfortunate crashes early in its development).

An F-16

And the first F-16 flew forty years ago this month.

Weights and costs rose, inevitably, as well – but for the price the Air Force got a plane with a number of firsts:  it was the first “relaxed-stability” fighter plane controlled by “fly by wire” technology.  Stable planes – like an airliner – are designed to fly efficiently and comfortably in straight lines.  They’re stable.  Airline passengers like them that way.  But airliners don’t have to pull 6G (six times the force of gravity) turns to evade incoming missiles, either (ideally).  Fighter planes do, on occasion – and while stability makes flying in one direction easier, it makes it harder to crank the plane into a sudden turn.  Unstable planes are, well, unstable; they’re prone to tipping over and rolling about at random, unless the pilot is in complete control – more complete than a human can possibly manage.  The F-16 used a computer to automatically adjust the control surfaces, many times per second, to keep the plane artificially stable in forward flight, but use the plane’s inherent instability to help it maneuver very quickly.  This technology also involved replacing the traditional mechanical control cables and connections with an electronic data bus, delivering electronic signals from the computer and, less frequently, the pilot, to the plane’s control surfaces (which had the added effect of getting rid of parts that, traditionally, are among a combat aircraft’s most vulnerable to damage).  It made the F-16 the most nimble fighter jet of its era, and one of the most maneuverable of our era as well.

The view (backwards, obviously) from the bubble canopy of an F-16. At least one of this blog’s semi-regular commenters has spent a fair chunk of his career with this view from his office. I’m hoping he shows up for this thread…

There were other advances – a frameless bubble canopy giving an unimpeded view of the surroundings, a pilot seat that was reclined 30° to reduce the physical effects of the gravitational forces involved in violent maneuvering on the pilot, “Hands on Throttle and Stick” controls that put most of the plane’s key controls on the two controls that the pilot kept his hands on most of the time, as well as moving the “stick” (which controls roll and pitch) from between the pilot’s knees to the right side of the seat.

Cockpit of an F-16. I recognize the stick on the right, the ejector seat control in the bottom center, and the throttle on the left. Beyond that, I couldn’t close the canopy much less read anything.

Many of these features have been found on most fighter planes developed since then.  Some – “fly by wire” – have even popped up on commercial passenger aircraft.

The F-16 was adopted by two dozen other countries, and produced in five (US, Belgium, the Netherlands, Turkey and South Korea).  It flew in combat in both Gulf Wars and over Bosnia, and has also flown in combat for the Dutch, Belgian, Danish, Norwegian, Pakistani, Venezuelan and (in limited skirmishes against each other) Greek and Turkish air forces.

Norwegian F-16 dropping a stick of bombs

And above all, Israel has used the F-16, as its principle multi-role fighter plane.  Eight of them (escorted by a flight of F-15s) bombed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear plant in 1981, to stall Hussein’s nuclear program.  The raid highlighted both the flexibility of the F-16 (it was both an excellent fighter and a capable bomber) and the skill of Israel’s pilots (one pilot dropped his bomb through a hole in the reactor containment building that had been drilled by the previous plane’s bomb).

Israeli F-16

The F-16 has traditionally been scheduled to fly until 2025 – but delays in its putative replacement, the F-35, have likely stretched that a few years.

By Government Committee

It made the news  last year – a number of ghastly gang rapes in India that outraged the parts of the nation that were capable of outrage. 

The BBC reports that some Indian women are taking the sensible approach – within the bounds of India’s patriarchical and confusing gun laws, anyway – and arming themselves.

There are really two stories, here:

Parallels:  It’s interesting to see that India – which is behind only the US in numbers of private guns in circulaation, mostly unregistered –  has some of the same battle lines as the US does. 

On the one hand, the hysterical gun-grabbers, with their downright delusional views on what “security” means.  Their anti-gunners are as big a pack of ninnies as ours are (with emphasis added by me):

“I am horrified, shocked and angered,” says Binalakshmi Nepram, founder of the Women Gun Survivors Network in the north-eastern state of Manipur, who says it’s the government’s responsibility to ensure the security of its citizens.

“It’s ridiculous that the state is talking about arming women… The authorities saying, ‘Hey woman, come there’s a new gun for you which will make you safer,’ is an admission of failure on their part.”…Nepram, whose organisation has been studying gun violence in eight Indian states for a number of years, says having a gun doesn’t “make you safer, it actually enhances your risk”.

“Our research shows that a person is 12 times more likely to be shot dead if they are carrying a gun when attacked,” she says.

And on the other, smart people who know what’s really up – like this Indian top cop who echoes the opinion of Detroit’s chief of police:

Ram Krishna Chaturvedi, the chief of police for Kanpur and several nearby districts, thinks it does.

“It is definitely a good idea. If you have a licensed weapon, it increases your self-confidence and creates fear in the minds of criminals,” she says

Now, we live in the US.  As the media reminds us, there are a lot of guns out there – almost all of them in the hands of law-abiding citizens.  And there are private firearms companies that are more than happy to fill the demand, which has been unprecedented for the past five years (even as crime rates plummet). 

Design By Government Committee:  The BBC piece leads with the introduction of a “pistol for women”, by the Indian Ordnance Factory (a state-run gun works in the city of Kanpur).

The “Nirbheek”. 1.1 pounds, .32 caliber.

The plant’s spokesman says:

“It’s small, it’s lightweight, it weighs only 500g [1.1lb], and it can easily fit into a lady’s purse.”

[Plant manager Abdul] Hameed speaks enthusiastically about the .32-calibre revolver, praising the “special titanium alloy body, the pleasing-to-the-eye wooden handle”.

“The six-shot gun is easy to handle and it can hit its target accurately up to 15m [50ft],” he explains, pointing out the word “Nirbheek” engraved on the barrel.

If you’re a gun geek, the profile looks familiar. 

A Webley .455 revolver – a veteran of the Boer War and World War 1, designed in 1887.

In other words, the Indian government has scaled down a 125-year-old design, replacing the docile but effective .455 cartidge with the .32 popgun round – itself barely more powerful than a .22 caliber plinking gun. And it scaled “down” to a little over a pound.

Oh, yeah – and it costs $1,900, brand new. 

In comparison, a typical little .380 caliber pocket pistol weights in around 10 ounces unloaded, and fires a round with almost double the hitting power of the puny .32.

A Kahr .380 pocket pistol; 2/3 the weight of the Indian gun, double the hitting power, and holds an extra round in the bargain.

And you can buy almost five of the Kahrs for the price of one of the Indian pieces.

Just saying – yay, free enterprise.

And I want to set up a SIG sales territory in Mumbai.

File Under “Things Everyone In The Twin Cities IT Community Knew A Year Ago”

MNSure’s development process was, and remains, a shambles:

An Optum report released Wednesday cites major problems with MNsure.

According to the report, “Program management structure and process is nonexistent.” Optum says MNsure’s management decision making was “occurring via crisis mode.”

Thing is, the warning signs were there.  

Why, if only our society had an institution – perhaps one with printing presses and transmitters and a legion of workers who consider themselves an order of aescetic info-monks, dedicated to bringing the truth to the unwashed masses…

…that don’t get financially tied to the institutions they’re supposed to be covering.

Check Out My 1912 Telephone

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails re a birthday that’s coming up tomorrow:

January 23, 1855 was the birthday of John Moses Browning, who single-handedly revolutionized firearms.  Look at the list of cartridges he designed, and weapons he designed them for, many of which are still in use today. 

In an age when some Americans think we’re the Smartest People Ever, it’s worth remembering that clever people did amazing things before we came along.

Joe Doakes

As I noted two years ago - try to imagine a product (a fairly complex product – not a shovel or an ax) designed over 100 years ago that’s still in widespread use today in its original, unimproved form.

 

It’s The 2013 Shootie Awards!

It’s New Years Day, and as such it’s time for a tradition unlike most others – the Seventh Annual Shootie Awards, “honoring” the “best” in Minnesota blogging, talk radio, and social and alt-media in the same way D-Con Mouse Pellets honor the best in rodent culture.

The Nick Coleman/Brian Lambert Memorial Award For Broadcast Excellence: With the virtual demise of the Twin Cities’ liberal “AM950″, you’d think we’d be going begging for a recipient for this traditional honor.

Not so.

This year, the award goes to Minnesota Public Radio’s Keri Miller.

Don’t get us wrong; Miller is not a thud-witted radio pretender like Coleman was, nor a chuckling Uptown caricature like Lambert.  Miller has a multitude of approaches; one minute – say, when interviewing any Republican or conservative – she’s acerbic and aggressive, badgering and hectoring and interrupting to the point it’d be fairer to say she “occasionally allows her conservative guests to interrupt her interruptions” (Mike Wallace’s ghost reportedly wanders the miles of halls at MPR urging Miller to “dial back the cranky, toots”).  The next minute – when a DFL politician, dependent or employee is on the air, usually – she’ll sound as if she may be giving the guest a back massage.  The real show of Miller’s expertise?  As Bill Glahn notes, she’ll even do both during the course of the same interview!

So fear not.  The legacy of Brian Lambert, Nick Coleman and Andrew Colton lives on.  Whoever Andrew Colton was.

The Larry Jacobs “Most Overquoted Person in the Twin Cities Media” Award:  This award – which has also gone to Professor David Schultz of Hamline University, a relentless liberal who seems to be regarded as the only knowledgeable source on Minnesota conservatives – is rarely a huge surprise.

But let’s give a nod to tradition; the award this year goes to none other than Larry Jacobs himself, especially in honor of his NYTimes piece declaring Minnesota the winner over WIsconsin in the blue vs. red economic battle, even though Minnesota’s experiment with spendthrift liberal government hadn’t really taken effect yet.

The John Najarian Memorial Award for Surgically-Precise Sarcasm:  This award goes to this blog’s good friend John Gilmore at his blog Minnesota Conservatives, who satirized with a brilliantly straightened face the ideal of reading Twin Cities liberal bloggers in a piece which, tart tongue notwithstanding, is an essential read, even down to its ingeniously snarky title “On It:  Reading Minnesota’s Liberal Blogosphere“.  The mark of Gilmore’s pithy genius?  He mixes in some sincere, legitimate, deserved compliments; to the excellent if equally snarky Tony Petrangelo, and the City Pages’ Aaron Rupar (Gilmore says he has “ a large measure of personal style that’s impossible to pick up in any journalism class”, which is true; while Rupar punches his ticket as a DFL water-carrier, we must give credit where due; Rupar isn’t the onanistic panty-sniffer his colleague Kevin Hoffman is) and Sally Jo Sorenson, who can be annoyingly juvenile but is a capable reporter with – improbably – a sense of integrity).

But then comes the payoff – “compliments” that, to those who’ve followed Minnesota’s liberal ‘sphere for any time at all, are just howlers; Eric Austin has “an admixture of deadliness and humor” (only his logic is funny; his “deadliness” is against those who can’t fight back).  And attorney Gilmore must be paying some intra-professional respect to Steve “Spotty” Timmer, calling him an essential read notwithstanding Timmer’s very dubious grasp (or misleading explanation) of the law.

But the true mark of Gilmore’s genius?  In a piece ostensibly urging people to read liberal blogs, he directs people to read Minnesota Progressive Project, which is a little like introducing people to French cuisine with a tastefully-arranged Merde au Vin Flambé   – a cunning double-cross if there ever were one.

Anyway – bravo, John!  Oscar Wilde applauds from the great beyond!

The George Santayana Memorial “He Who’s Forgotten History Is Condemned To Be A Liberal Academic” Award: This year, it goes not to an academic,per se, but to a blogger.

Sally Jo Sorenson – who, I take pains to note, is one of those rare Minnesota liberal bloggers who doesn’t seem to deserve police surveillance – is a perfectly fine writer.  But one might assume that she skipped a few history classes to concentrate on the Poli Sci, if  you catch my drift, not that I have a “drift” or anything.

The “Minnesota Nice” Award:  Minnesotans are an accomodating bunch.  If one of us needs some help, someone will no doubt be there to pitch in (see also:  Rep. Martens, above).

And so last year when Governor Messinger Dayton announced his budget, it was a natural assumption that Carrie Lucking – Executive Directrix of “Alliance for a “Better” Minnesota” – would be there to tweet about the picayune details found deep inside the Governor’s big, thick budget.

Notwithstanding the fact that the details were buried deeeeeeeeep inside a budget that had supposedly been available to the public for precisely 13 minutes when Lucking wrote the tweet.

Some cynical wags said it had to be because Lucking had to have gotten a copy from Bob Hume, a senior staffer for Governor Messinger Dayton and, rumor and innuendo and a rogue Strib article had it, either Lucking’s boyfriend or spouse.

Me?  I think Hume and Dayton got their copies from Lucking, after Messinger dictated it.

Anyway – all that cooperation?  It’s just nice.

The “The Media, The Media, The Media’s On Fire! We Don’t Need No Water, Let That Liberal Institution Burn!” Award: This one goes to the entire mainstream-media “Fact-Checking” racket, which seems to have morphed more into a “Democrat Ministry of Truth” than it even started out.

The Just Remember, Libruls are Teh Smrt Award: I’ve noted it before; the Democrats should have been able to impose some kind of gun control law this past session.  They controlled the legislature, and they have a governor who does whatever his ex-wife tells him to do.  They couldn’t have asked for a more favorable situation – other than the whole “Minnesota is closely divided between the GOP and DFL” bit.

But the DFL House Metrocrat caucus’s gun-grab brain trust – Representatives Paymar and Hausman – not only introduced a raft of draconian assaults on the Bill of Rights (all of them crudely copied-and-pasted from other state’s bills) guaranteed to inflame the peasants.

Alice Hausman, introducing a resolution declaring Steven Colbert funny

Best of all?  When it came time for Hausman (who represents Saint Paul’s House District 66A in the same way Prince Charles of Wales “represents” the Welsh) to introduce one of her gun-grab bills to the House Judiciary Committee, Hausman was nowhere to be found.  So Chairman Paymar, likely in violation of House rules, allowed Martens – a registered lobbyist – to do Representative Hausman’s job, reading the bill into consideration.

Rep. (apparently) Heather Martens (DFL 66A) exploiting the victim of an earlier tragedy

Rumor has it the DFL will just let Alida Messinger, Michael Bloomberg and George Soros sit on the house floor and cast their votes for them in 2014.

The Cicero/Demosthenes/Socrates Award For Excellence In The Advancement Of Keen-Eyed Rhetoric:  The gun control movement in Minnesota hired Richard Carlbom, PR-chitect of the Gay Marriage law, to help them try to jam down anti-rights legislation in the next session.

One of the reasons was the comedic ineptitude of the Minnesota gun movement’s current leadership.

And while Representative Heather Martens has earned plenty of brickbats for her tone-deaf, unintentionally comic performances over the past decade or so (and a Shootie award or two, including this year, which see), the breakout performer was Jane Kay of “Moms Want Action”.  It’s a safe bet that a big part of what will no doubt be the gun-grab movement’s push toward calming, “reasonable” talk about “responsible” laws and “sane” approaches is to try to counter the Jane Kay’s legacy as a purple-faced hate-clogged caricature who, notwithstanding a slopped-on coat of feminist sloganeering, managed to simultaneously make her message cheaply sexist (while utterly un-sexy) and self-marginalizing at the same time.

If Richard Carlbom spends his first three months doing damage control, Kay is part of the reason.  And for that, she earns the award, and earns it well!

The Walter Duranty Award:  Among Minnesota’s “Libertarian” “movement” – which coalesced around the Ron Paul campaign in 2012 to seize a disproportionate control of the MNGOP – were quite a few one-time, there-and-gone “activists”, a gratifying number of very sharp people who did a good job in bringing solid, needed libertarian politics to the MNGOP, and – at the very core – a group of smirking, preening, frat-boy-esque self-styled “Anarcho-Libertarians” who really were only there to pee in all the peasants’ Wheaties and then slap themselves on the back and laugh at the complaints.

Now, if the question is “is our government too powerful” and “do we need to limit the power of government over the individual”, I’m with you.  Government is too big.  We need to carve much of it out and toss it away.

But just as the “peace” movement 30 years ago wasn’t about “nuclear weapons” but “US nuclear weapons”, the Liberty Fratboys rose as one to applaud Edward Snowden’s assault on big intrusive government (qualified yay)…

…as Snowden applauded Vladimir Putin’s human rights record.

The “Every Junior High Impressed-With-Himself Chess-Club Prig” Award For Intellectual Rigor:  After a long absence from this award, it almost feels like old home week, as we award this to a man who was once a candidate for a Shootie Lifetime Achievement award.  That’s right – Nick Coleman, gone from the Shooties for years, is back, and he shows that he’s still at the peak of his game, where “his game” means “autoerotic and homoerotic japes delivered with all the grace of a Danish jazz band”, and “peak” means “same crap, different year”.  This piece - which laces Coleman’s usual oeuvre of erection jokes with a long train of outright fabrications – was almost a return to the Nick Coleman of his Strib Columnists’ Row glory days, except including the fact that nobody with an IQ above plant life read it.  And for that, we salute Coleman.  It’s not like we give these things away.

Well, actually, we do.  But what I mean is…

…well, anyway, congrats!

The Nancy Pelosi “You Won’t Know What It Means Til You Do It!” Award For Wishful Planning:  MNSure.  Duh.

The Claudius Caesar Award For Excellence In Praetorian Guardsmanship:  This is always a hotly-contested award – and getting moreso every year, as the “objective” media slides ever-more into the bag for the left.

This year it was a tight, tight race, nearly a coin toss.  Both of the contenders in the final two exemplify the trend of “objective” “mainstream” media allowing (left-leaning and/or pro-big-state, pardon the redundancy) groups to underwrite “journalism” and “news coverage”.

At the end of the day, we decided to give the runner-up spot to Minnesota Public Radio News – a news organization that has not just any arm of government, but MNSure, perhaps the most controversial executive-branch project in the state this past year, as a sponsor for Keri Miller’s Morning Circuit - an MPR News production.   A casual reader might note that this is a conflict according to the Society of Professional Journalists’ “Code of Ethics” (while the pros know, of course, that the SPJ code is nothing but a framework by which journalists evade all accountability).

The prize, however, goes to the MinnPost, whose coverage of Second Amendment issues this past year, while posited as “journalism”, was delivered with five-figure annual grant from the “Joyce Foundation” – which, the MinnPost never bothered to tell the reader, also sponsors most of America’s major gun-control groups, as well as “Take Action Minnesota”.  So not only was there a never-explicitly-stated imperative for the MinnPost to slant its coverage – but the coverage itself was shoddy and risible, ranging from historically myopic to ludicrously badly-reported to just-plain-false and propagandistic, devolving eventually into an extended rhetorical tongue-bath for Minnesota’s incompetent gun -grab movement.

The capstone of the whole year?  Accompanying one of the MinnPost’s pieces (citing a long-obscure and generally-debunked theory that the Second Amendment was instituted to defend slavery), the site decided to use this as an symbol for Second Amendment support:

Yep. Confederate soldiers. Because that’s what all of you law-abiding gun owners are – to the Joyce-Foundation-supported MinnPost.

In a just world, a news organization with integrity would apologize, not only for the post-hoc slander, but for its misleading, slanted and, frankly, bought-off “journalism”.

The world, of course, is not a just one.  Does the MinnPost have integrity?

Oh, it’s a new year, full of promise, isn’t it?

The Charles Townsend Award – In 1765, British parliamentarian Charles Townsend, in noting the Colonies’ protests against the Stamp Act, said:

“And now will these Americans, Children planted by our Care, nourished up by our Indulgence until they are grown to a Degree of Strength & Opulence, and protected by our Arms, will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from the heavy weight of that burden which we lie under?”

Townsend’s statements sum up the arrogance of the professional bureaucrat, the institutional utopian, the Masters of the Universe who believe they were sent here to keep us peasants from crapping in our beds.

And for the first time in the history of the Shooties, the Townsend award goes not to a stupid statement by a politician, but a photo that gloriously sums up Minnesota under DFL rule in 2013:

Governors Zygi Wilf and Mark Messinger Dayton

Yes, it’s Zygi Wilf in a paroxysm of glee over all those taxpayer dollars he’s going to be marinating his tush in – but it could just as easily be Javi Morillo, or Elliot Seid, or Greta Bergstrom or Carrie Lucking, roiling in glee and amazed that they’ve been able to put one over on the rubes, as our “Governor” wonders what this thing on a long stick is and hopes Alida doesn’t take away his driving privileges.

You have to give them the money to know what the money is!  Or something!

Or we’ll lose the Vikings!

Anyway – as long as there’s a New Years in Minnesota, there’s a Shooties.  See you next year!

(Here are the previous Shootie winners, going back to 2006)

And Now I Feel Old

The co-star of the book Hunt For Red October  - which came out thirty years ago this coming year – was the USS Dallas, a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine.

(Yeah, I know – Ramius was the co-star, Jonesy, Ritter, yadda yadda.  I got that.  But in all of Clancy’s novels, technology was a co-star as well).

And the Dallas is being decommissioned:

Tom Clancy’s Cold War thriller made the Dallas famous, but in Navy circles it is better known for being the first attack submarine to carry a dry-deck shelter, which houses a vehicle for launching and recovering special operations forces.

“Dallas” earlier in her career

“Of all the submarines that would be finishing up their service life, there are a couple out there that people know by name, and Dallas is one of them,” said Capt. David A. Roberts, who commanded Dallas from 2007 to 2009. “It kind of adds to the moment. ‘The Hunt for Red October’ submarine we all know and love from the movies is going to be finishing up its service life soon.”

Via Dave Thul, an Army guy.

It’s Almost A Truism…

…these days, that whenever I wonder “whatever happened to…?” about some person from some scrap of history, the answer will pop up online before too long.

Monday, I wondered – for the first time in decades, probably – “whatever happened to Cecelia Cichan, the four year old girl who was the sole survivor of an airliner that crashed in, I think, Detroit?”

And sure enough, badda bing, there we go.