March 16, 2005 - March 9, 2005
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Hunter Thompson Shoots His Head
Gosh, we read all the eulogies and apologias by the aged survivors of
the hippie era. We (that is, I, InstaPunk) read his two books once upon
a time -- Hell's Angels and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I
thought Hell's Angels was
good, because it taught me a lot about the Hell's Angels. Fear and Loathing did not strike me
as good because when I eventually visited Las Vegas it didn't seem
anything like the place Thompson described. Ever since, I have been
wondering whether what I think I know about the Hell's Angels is as
wrong as his description of Las Vegas.
When I heard that Hunter Thompson shot himself I had no reaction. I
keep waiting for a reaction, but it just isn't happening. You know how
you don't really have a reaction when someone tells you that the guy
who reads your meter for the electric company shot himself in the head?
It's the same kind of thing. By inference, I guess my reaction is that
as an author, Hunter Thompson always struck me as the meter reader of
Except that the guy who reads my meter for the electric company isn't a
prematurely senile adolescent who throws tantrums and hotel furniture
all over the place.
I promise I will try to have a more lyrical reaction when Norman Mailer
dies. But I can't promise that it will be more lyrical than the thought
that occurred to me when I heard about Thompson: "...but Keith Richards
isn't dead yet, is he? Cool."
Hugh Hewitt and his Book
It's called Blog.
The Chain Gang sent it to me with a postit note telling
me it was a must-read. They didn't say why, but that's okay because Hugh
Hewitt did -- several times in the preface, several more in the
introduction, and every few pages in the brief text shoehorned in
between the front matter and the appendixes.
It's a great book. Really. Without it, most of us wouldn't ever be able
to understand just how important and revolutionary lawyers blogs are.
Instead, we'd keep on writing our little entries in a kind of
shamefaced silence, convinced that the famous mainstream journalists
are, in fact, better than the right-wing lawyers bloggers who
accidentally defeated John Kerry and Dan Rather last November in their
Thanks to Hugh, we can now all take pride in the fact that the BEST of
the Internet lawyers
bloggers are as smart, well educated, and well dressed as Peter
Jennings (high school dropout), Tom Brokaw (South Dakota State or
something), and Dan Rather (East West Texas State Teachers Agricultural
Seminary). The really really good lawyers bloggers, like
Hugh Hewitt, Scott Johnson, John Hinderaker, Andrew Sullivan, and Glenn
Reynolds all have Ivy League degrees unless they're from England and at
some point became homosexual or liberal or something like that.
Which is why the whole lawyerblogosphere
is like the Reformation, which was the time way back in the middle ages
when the famous lawyer
Gutenberg brought down the Pope by printing the Bible for a lower
retail sticker price than the family car, which made Martin Luther the
most successful heretic
revolutionary in history.
And now we can do the same
thing. All we have to do is go to an Ivy League law school
and start a blog that has plenty of links to Hugh Hewitt.com. And maybe
recommend him to a consulting gig with our favorite Fortune 500
company. (We sent an email to the CEO of this one. We mentioned Hugh
twice and ourself only once. That's what great lawyers bloggers like
ourself call modesty.)
Wow. Wasn't that easy? Now we're a revolutionary too.
Philip Bennett & the Washington
The toe was throbbing, and yet there was still time to read the
between the Washington Post's Philip Bennett and the China
NY-Washington Post-Times or whatver the hell they call that rag.
We're reluctant to quote the actual interview at length because despite
the world-class-ness of world-class publications like the China
Intelligencer and Tribune-Blatt or whatever it was, the translation
really did sound a lot like a laundry ticket delivered by extras in
HBO's Deadwood. For example,
we can't help thinking that the following translation of an exchange
between the Chinese interviewer and the American Harvard graduate
interviewee isn't word-for-word accurate:
Yong Tang: The most glorious
period for The Washington Post was during the Watergate days. When
could the Washington Post regain that glory?
Bennett: We like that
glory. Reporters should try to reach for something important. The
chance to change the history is a huge burden for you if you don't have
the courage to take it. That episode is extremely important for the
Post and even the whole country. Investigative reporting is still a big
part of what this newspaper does.
I think the Watergate is important to us
and it is a present to us. Because that was also a very difficult
period for the newspaper. The newspaper was under great pressure to
conform, to drop the investigations and to give up. The Post showed
that courageous ownership, courageous editors and courageous reporters
could prevail. That is a value hopefully we have not lost.
I think the Watergate is important to
us and it is a present to us. All right, call us western-biased.
We're biased to think that a Harvard-educated editor of a major
newspaper knows when to use definite and indefinite articles in oral
On the other hand, maybe it's like the United Nations, where everything
that's true is true is because it's always been true, because the
foreigners always know better, what with having been around for several
thousand years screwing up their people's lives before America was ever
even a gleam in some racist autocrat's eye. It's on this chance that we
present the following "quote" from Bennett's interview:
Yong Tang: Is the circulation
of your newspaper falling down?
Bennett: It is not
falling by big number. But after many many years of growing, it is
going down in a gradual way. It is alarming. We are trying to figure
out ways to keep that from continuing.
It is not falling by big number.
Even InstaPunk with his throbbing toe can recognize that there's
something off about the language of this exchange. Yet it also reminds
InstaPunk of something that some people out there in America may never
have experienced. Because -- and it pains him to admit this in so many
words -- InstaPunk is also a graduate of Harvard College, in which
place he occasionally ran into what what were called Foreign Service
Brats. And he suspects that Mr. Bennett is one of this breed. Why?
Bennett joined The Post in 1997 as a
deputy national editor for coverage of national security, defense and
foreign policy. He came to the paper from the Boston Globe, where he
was a reporter on the metro staff, a foreign correspondent covering
Latin America and later the Globe’s foreign editor. He has written
about Latin America for a variety of magazines. He started in
journalism as a reporter for The Lima Times in Peru.
Oh yeah. Equality. The sexes equal each other. Then they flip. Or
Kinsley was never what we Jersey boys would have called a "guy." He was
always a feminized, self-congratulating wit who had lots of book
education and an all-too-apparent lack of real world experience. Would
you ever ask him to look at your carburetor?
Estrich, on the other hand, was the classic proof of a Freudian theory
that was obviously wrong until you looked at her. You could meet dozens
of women who exhibited no signs of what Freud called penis-envy. Then
you saw Susan Estrich on a talk show. AHA! A chick who's never gotten
over not having a penis and testicles. That's why she's trying to sound
like Wallace Beery.
Another sign of convergence. An Estrich runs headlong into a Kinsley.
Why should she acknowledge any difference but gender? She can't. She
therefore holds him accountable for every sex performance difference --
including the fact that female commentary generally is less original,
less effective, and less insightful than men's.
And what of him? He is similarly handicapped. He is unable to specify
the difference, because he does not think of Thurber's The War Between
the Sexes. He is looking for originality, effectiveness, insight, and
liberal scripture. Convinced that the right scripture should appeal to
both men and women, as it appeals to him, he feels betrayed to be
attacked from the left. When he counterattacks, it is with all the
vitriol and condescension at his disposal.
What would have happened on the right? Women on the right know that if
they are good at thinking, they are in the minority for their sex.
(Sorry. I know the truth may hurt, but it is still the truth.) They
also know that they are tremendously valued for such ability. They are
drawn to the possibility of becoming goddesses, which is what all women
want, including Susan Estrich, who would receive the acclaim she needs
if only she could change her affiliations.
The bottom line. Kinsley is an ass. He wishes he were George Bernard
Shaw, but he's Paul Begala with an education instead. Estrich is an
ass. She wishes she were Ann Coulter. She thinks she could manage it
with a combination of plastic surgery and a lobotomy. All she'd really
need would be the plastic surgery and a quit-smoking regimen. The
lobotomy would turn her into Bella Abzug. Sorry.
The President of Harvard forgot himself for a moment and believed that
he and his university were an academic institution. HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.
James Thurber: The War Between Men
The ability of women. It's the single most lied-about subject in
western civilization. It's not that women don't have ability. They do.
It's that there's never been one female Homer, Socrates, Plato, Christ,
Buddha, Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Newton, Shakespeare,
Jefferson, Napoleon, Edison, Einstein, MacArthur, or Churchill.
InstaPunk once committed the irretrievable error of writing a book on
this subject. It was turned down by every publisher in existence. Using
humor, he made up a plausible (as any other) social science to explain
the discrepancy. A key finding of his fake science was the discovery of
a difference in performance curves between men and women, one which
purported to explain why the worst of men are dumber, meaner, and
generally less accomplished than women despite the fact that the best
of men are smarter, more spiritually adept, and infinitely more
accomplished in every regard than the best of women. The
activating idea was that men are thrown into a "sink or swim" genius
pool. They prosper and they achieve, or they fail and tumble to the
depths. The point of the exercise was to lampoon politically correct
social science, which has for so long attempted to equate the sexes --
explaining away the superior accomplishments of less than 50 percent of
the population while making up virtues and superiorities in the greater
than 50 percent that nowhere appear in the record. (Women are verbally
superior to men? Shakespeare. Blake. Yeats. Pshaw. Women are better at
securing cooperative effort? Jesus Christ. Ghandi. Eisenhower. Pfui.)
Meanwhile, women excel at the the most important mandate of the culture
as a whole -- raising children until the age organizational systems
begin to exert their amoral or antimoral claims on them. InstaPunk's
notion was that all morality resides in individuals, as raised by their
fathers and mothers, before organizations begin the process of
perverting them for group imperatives. Compassion, consideration,
empathy, sacrifice, and a sense of home and the "now" -- these flow
from women. Justice, objective analysis, self-discipline, fairness,
honor, duty, accomplishment, and "posterity" -- these flow from men.
Organizations reflect none of these virtues, only their rationalized
simulacra -- conformism, obedience, status displays, materialism,
physical comfort and satisfaction, and "fame." Note that the female
contributions represent the most personal core, the male contributions
the necessary bridges between that core and the world at large, while
the organizational contributions are almost invariably negative and
Also note that none of this predicts a role for women in science,
business, law, or other professions extending into the world of
business and competition. Obviously, many women do possess such aptitudes, and even
InstaPunk believes the world is better off for their participation. But
where do we get the idea that the right level of participation is 50
The Democratic Party
Official and unofficial pundits -- read TV journalists and bloggers --
have been using up firkins of ink decrying the sorry state of the
Democratic Party. They've lost the Senate, the House, and the
Presidency, they've got no ideas, their prime spokespeople say nothing
but "No!" to every policy initiative and judicial or executive
candidate, their most vocal leaders and advocates are elitist
millionaires from Hollywood, New York or Boston, their rank and file
are out of touch with the mainstream red states, they court atheists,
they despise Christians and
Jews, they defend the rights of Islamist barbarians who want to destroy
the land of their birth, they celebrate as ecumenical virtue the murder
of unborn children, they continually engage in anti-American,
anti-patriotic, anti-religious demagoguery, and they've nominated as
their newest party leader a man who is both unhinged and impolitic in
his avowed hatred of the Republican opposition.(Not to mention
umpteenth generation Yale.) All true.
Pardon me if I'm not gleeful, triumphalist, or anything but frightened
to death. These idiots got 48+ percent of the national vote in the last
presidential election. If their leadership were anything above the
level of a moron, they would have won. (Oh yes, they would have; that's
why even conservatives should care about 130,000 votes in Ohio.)
Republicans keep conveniently forgetting that the polls show American
people agreeing with the Democrats on "the issues" -- health care (fix
us for free), education (pay the teachers more money and quit talking
about parental responsibility), campaign finance reform (end freedom of
political speech if you have to, but make sure we can get all the tits
and ass and Howard Stern we want), and peace (send anyone but me and my kids into harm's way to save
The only thing keeping Republicans in power is the personal sincerity
and credibility of people like George W. Bush and his wife. Democrats
are the party of the majority viewpoint, as they keep telling us. The
day the Democrats learn how to state their case without making the
fencesitters feel like the corrupt cowards they are, they will regain
all the power and authority they wielded in the period between FDR and
In other words, if the Republicans don't realize that the only thing
protecting them from a new regime of Democratic idiots is the idiots
who run the Democratic Party, then the worst idiots of all are the
The Broken Toe Blues
PENNSYLVANIANS.3.26-31. InstaPunk has been doing
a lot of work around
the house, playing Mr. Fixit and painting every flat surface he can
find, in addition to waiting on the sighthounds and other critters.
These kinds of activities tend to make questions of politics and
cultural affairs seem moot, or at least remote from any need for timely
attention. But fate has a way of taking a hand, even in the most
pastoral of locales. Mr. Fixit was loose in the household with a
cordless drill, prefatory to hanging some etchings, etc, when he
stumbled over a dropcloth some idiot had failed to put away in its
assigned place. His right foot skidded, his left swung deftly to create
a balancing counterweight, and his exrtreme leftmost toe was
interrupted in its arc by a door jamb.
[OFFICIAL TIMEOUT: InstaPunk is not
notably fond of the profane, which he recently learned causes blog
readers to shy away in embarrassment, but Mr. Fixit is volubly obscene
when the leftwing sort of door jamb attempts to de-toe him at the root.
Therefore, the immediate aftermath of this incident is hereby deleted
from the narrative.]
Thankfully, Mr. Fixit
Instapunk did not die of the pain. To date, he has successfully
negotiated the phase called "denial" and is currently ensconced in the
phase called "anger" or, more precisely, "immobility." After a weekend
of books, TV, the Internet, and two hogsheads of aspirin, he now finds
the temptation to blow off steam well nigh irresistible.
So, to begin at the beginning, the writer's first peek at the Internet
in quite a while turned up the following:
InstaPunk, put down the Bengal cats;
let the Scottish Deerhounds outside; and sit down at your desk and get
your work done. Basically, we're waiting for your take on the state of
the Democratic Party and the odd rumblings between men and women on the
left -- like, Kinsley-Estrich; and President Summers against the
faculty at Harvard University. Also, Hunter Thompson shot himself in
the head. Anything?
Put down the Bengal cats? Put the deerhounds outside? You come here and
try it, Chain Gang. I doubt if you'd sound so tough in the same room
with such beasts.
Put the Bengal down.
Put the deerhound out. You and what
Still, I'm prepared to discuss your questions and a couple of others as
long as I don't have to put in a bunch of superfluous links to other
bloggers. (More about that later.)
Monday, March 14, 2005
The Danger of Guns -- Part II
Our previous comments on Suspected
Terrorists buying guns received a lot of commentary and
discussion. Excellent. However, for those that disagreed with our comments we need to clarify a few things.
Our point seemed, to us, to be a simple one -- The current rules and regulations, which are innumerable,
cannot stop listed terrorist suspects from purchasing guns. These rules and regs. have created an unimaginable
bureacracy and tons (literally, not figuratively) of paper. We're obscure on the particulars, but let's just
say that there are only two copies of BATF
Form 4473 (some of us think it is three -- but that caused a big argument over whether or not the third
copy is sent into BATF, which there was a big stink over many years ago, so we're going with two) AND there
are 192 million firearms in the U.S. -- that makes 2 x 4 x 192,000,000 (not counting unsuccessful purchases, which
require the forms to be filed and retained for five years or forms that were discarded for one reason or
another). Anyway, that is 1.536 Billion, with a 'B,' pages of paper. With 500 sheets
in a ream, that is 3,072,000 reams of paper. And, at five pounds per ream, that is 15.36 million pounds of
paper -- or, 7,680 tons of paper.
This is an unimaginable amount of paper. It is an unimaginable amount of signatures and answers to questions
that are not intimidating, as some suggested in their responses, but patently ridiculous. A point we
attempted to make with our reference to the question regarding whether or not you are mentally impaired. What
lying criminal would answer any of the questions honestly? The only people that would answer the questions
honestly are honest people with nothing to hide, the rest would lie their asses off to get a gun.
We summed up our comments by saying that with such an unimaginable amount of rules and regulations -- going
so far as to point out that there are actually regulation of potato
guns -- that, perhaps it had all been for naught. Although each step in the journey from a robust
frontier to today had been taken with the utmost care and reason, the result is so obsurd that a reasonable
man just might consider doing away with the system in its entirety.
Yet, still we hear things like, "Well, we don't want just anyone to have access to firearms . . . " Or,
"The founders never invisioned modern weaponry . . ." And, things like this. All very reminiscent to us
of "Gun Control" debates we participated in fifth grade in the 1970's. So, as much as we hate to enter into
the fray at this level, we feel compelled to list our responses to the most common arguments for gun control.
If you don't want to read them, we'll understand, but for those who are interested, we make the following
Sunday, March 13, 2005
If Hope for the Future is a Function of Human Civilization Represented as f(x) . . .
Listen to the radio program with Rev.
John Polkinghorne (HERE), -- not that
you'll learn anything, certainly, but you may be gratified that a winner of the Templeton Prize,
even though an Anglican priest, makes so much
Because a Pointed Stick is a Cannon is a Nuclear Warhead . . .
Sorry to interrupt the contemplative mood of a Sunday morning, but I ran across something else that is really
impressive. Much more so than my previous
post. You can see it over at Ace of Spades -- guess
it's a bad day to be a bad guy . . .
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Where Are Those Linking to InstaPunk?
Some of these are guesses from context.
If you're not listed and you'd like to be or, your location is just
just let me know at Usher@InstaPunk.com.
Our Friends Have Told Us That You Are Our Friend
The weekend again, and I was called a lot of names when I got in here on Friday night. But, I really
belive the guys, way down deep, like me, I think. Anyway, we compromised, and I am allowed to post a few comments,
as long as they aren't about how much better I am than everybody else -- which I really don't believe I am, it
just sounds that way sometimes, I guess.
Enough about me. What I thought we happy few weekenders could do is take another
look at our friends on the
left panel again and see what they've been up to over the past four weeks. Maybe in a little more detail, this
time . . .
TechTonic spends a great deal of time scouring the web to find pemanent links to InstaPunk.com and then reports
his results under our "Thanks for the Link" section. Actually, I think all he does is enter 'http://www.instapunk.com'
in the Technorati search engine, post the results, and spends
the remainder of his day
tending to his mint plants -- a vital component in the InstaPunk HQ arsenal -- mint
Ace of Spades HQ -- this is our newest addition to the list. And, Ace gets
a lot of traffic -- 5,000+ visitors a day. He listed us under 'Bloggers in Arms' -- a compliment?
American Digest -- this is Gerard Van der Leun's blog and, although
he plays down his traffic, I suspect he gets a bunch since InstaPundit was linking to him quite regularly
over the Ward Churchill stuff and he has been picked up by InstaPundit and others on a number of other
topics as well. I'm happy InstaPunk.com found its way on to his radar.
Applied Indifference -- this group seems to have recognized
the United States' obsession with child safety and is, from time to time annoyed by the United
States' politicians seemingly
unending need to protect the children -- or, at least to appear so. That's enough to count as
a kindred spirit to the gang here at InstaPunk.
chriscam -- ChrisCam's been at the blogging thing forever.
The name of the blog harkens back to the days when people just hung web cams on their computers
and let the world have a look. Take a peek at ChrisCam.
Cocked and Locked
-- a lot of "Don't Tread on Me"
here. I love the title of this blog and the commentary is outstanding.
-- the blog of Michael Gene Hendrix. His 'About' page
is well worth reading. Along with spectacular views of his tatoos, you can save yourself a lot of time
and money by reading his credo. He also put up a supportive
post for the Chain Gang's comments
on guns this past week.
Dimpenumbra -- thoughtful commentary and
a good friend of InstaPunk and friends here.
Funkstille -- Hockey, cats, and other marks
of high culture.
Grey Beard -- a very heart-felt blog that has
involved a number of our readers in the dialog.
I Live in DelCo -- Francis Ward's blog from some of the
Chain Gang's old stomping grounds, Delaware County, PA.
It's All Semantics -- words are important and this
blog keeps everyone up to date with an ever changing language.
Michael Moore Exposed -- Michael Moore fun facts. Take
Mindmatter -- InstaPunk.com came across Mindmatter over
the abortion issue. Yet another pro-life woman. It never ceases to amaze me that the fiercest defenders
of life are women. I suppose it is the education I received which seemed to indicate that
eliminating abortion was simply another attempt by men to dominate women.
Ock's World -- not a prolific poster, but
well worth checking in on from time to time . . .
The Pink Flamingo Bar & Grill -- the blog
of Pierre Legrand. Conservative and caring all at the same time.
Rants -- let it all out . . . that's what's happening
at Rant Fever. Explosive commentary on everything from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Reflections in d minor -- the blog of an
annonymous 40-something female . . . no permanent link here, but a nice mention sometime in 2004
earned her a spot on the 'thanks for the link' list of blogs.
The Resplendent Mango -- Katie from NY, NY blogs
here. The name just sounds fun in a happy-girlie-kinda-way, doesn't it? I'm a regular reader.
The Royal Flush -- here blogs Barry Johnson from
way up north in Rochester, MI. Recently,
he made a shameless
pitch for a $13,000 Zenith 60" Plasma Flat Panel television -- you've got to pay for those server fees somehow. If you've
got an extra $20 grand lying around, stop by and make Barry's day.
Shayneblog -- the blog of Shayne Zucker. "Shayne suffered
a massive heart attack at the tender age of 39. After a heart-bypass surgery, which was
unsuccessful, he lapsed into a coma for 3 weeks, where he also suffered a minor stroke.
After only 6 weeks, he received a new heart and a new chance at life." I think our first exposure to Shayne
was his support of the Chain Gang during the Elizabeth Verdin story --
ComEd. Good stuff.
Simon World -- this blog hails from Hong Kong -- good news for single
men if you work your way into Simon's About Me section . . .
Soulfish Stew-- Wally Bangs' blog, of Insta-Wally
fame . . . see Insta-Wally's review of Les Terribles on March 4th for some vintage
Stand in the Trenches -- Mary Eileen is a
mother, homeschooler, and part-time faculty member at Carroll College. Pro-life and conservative commentary with
a feminie touch. Has been known to be highly complimentary of the work here at InstaPunk.com.
TargetBlank.org -- Slashcode is the site for All Things Slash.
Slash is the source code and database that was originally used to create Slashdot, and has now been
released under the GNU General Public License. It is a bona fide Open Source / Free Software project.
Use this site to get the Slash source, read the latest Slash news, and participate in Slash discussions. This
is just TargetBlank's technical side . . . there really is a lot more content here, but you'll have
to see for yourself.
Alright, here's a bit more: "a blog is like a diary. Except it's public. So, what
you've got here is my take on things. Which wouldn't be the least bit interesting but for the fact that,
as one of my grad school Professors once said , "he's interested in everything" (insinuating that I somehow
lacked focus. Well, harrumph!). So, the choice of topics is chaotic, the frequency of posts intermittent,
and the writing distinctly hit or miss. But other people post here as well. Mercifully, they write better
than I do. You can post here too, if you like. Probably." Get it? Grad school -- smart, although black
letters on a white background have a tradition of readablity . . . historically speaking . . .
Texas Conservative -- it's been a quiet winter for the
Texas Conservative. I hope he gets busy soon . . .
Urthshu -- always something interesting at Urthsu, Mark in Rochester, NY's
blog. Mark loves the surveys and keeps me up to date on whatever is out on the web that will tell me who
I am. I think that is where TechTonic stole the clock graphics a bit further down on the left panel.
What a Planet -- I'm not sure where, exactly, the "little
blue planet dweller" blogs from, but "Bluetown, Blue State, USA" is given as the address, so I threw it
out on the west coast somewhere . . . Oregon, I think. Anyone that lists 'eating' as one of their interests
can't be all bad, afterall, 'drinking' can't be far behind.
Windmills on the Hill -- Life in Canada. Lots of people
seem to want to go to Canada lately, and Windmills on the Hill could be their perfect guide to life in
Canada. Find out about real estate and the arts up north here.
YoungPundit -- a high school kid? That's what Willis says. He's
the guy that supposedly writes this thing. He sure is conservative for a young guy and claims to read InstaPunk.com
every day, as you should . . . On Thursday, March 3rd, Willis tells us what he's
listening to . . . take a look, that way you can, you know, keep up with the young people.
Your Philosophy Sucks -- another white letters
on black background blog . . . it's worth fighting through the format to get to the content. Although the
title may be a bit off-putting, J and T do an excellent job of commenting on the day's events. They haven't
always been complimentary, but
what friends are?
Thanks for all the attention. If you don't appear on my map above it is only because I can't figure out
where you are located. You can send me your information, if you'd like, via email at
Usher@InstaPunk.com. Thanks again for stopping by over the weekend
and getting to know our friends.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Put Off till Tomorrow What You Can Do Today -- a bit of housekeeping . . .
It looks like some furniture got broken here as the Chain Gang in a very rare division of effort
and thought had quite a heated argument over where on God's green earth InstaPunk has gotten to . . .
Threats were exchanged; things were thrown -- thankfully, no weapons were brandished as that usually
marks a point-of-no-return. Anyway, agreement was finally reached and so we are able to actually
post something coherent this morning.
That something is this -- InstaPunk, put down the Bengal cats; let the Scottish Deerhounds outside;
and sit down at your desk and get your work done. Basically, we're waiting for your take on
the state of the Democratic Party and the odd rumblings between men and women on the left --
like, Kinsley-Estrich; and President Summers against the faculty at Harvard University. Also, Hunter Thompson
shot himself in the head. Anything?
Oh, yes, someone said something about an unfinished screenplay for a short. That's it. Write it
down. Send it in. Thanks in advance.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
This Land of Capitalist, Imperialist, Racist Pigs
Seen 24 this season? The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, a nationwide Muslim
civil rights group has, and they are not
Imagine profiteering off of racial stereo-types -- it is an outrage.
Now, for our weekend movie recommendations:
And let us not forget the Irish . . .
. . . or, the English . . .
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
The Danger of Guns
Since only 35% of American households own 192 million firearms (Source),
that means that 65% of American households are only armed with a telephone and 911. What are the rest
of you waiting for?
Is it any wonder that when Americans read an article like the one that recently appeared in The New York
Times entitled, Terror Suspects
Buying Firearms, Report Finds (Source
Archive) they applaud the language of Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey when he calls
for "legislation to address the problem in part by requiring federal officials to keep records of
gun purchases by terror suspects for a minimum of 10 years. Such records must now be destroyed within
24 hours as a result of a change ordered by Congress last year?"
Our reaction is a bit different. All of our households are part of the 35%. We have endured the
bureaucracies enacted by old fossils like Sen. Lautenberg in the acquisition of our guns. Guns which
by the way are in no way related to what your basic 18 year-old walks away with right out of basic training --
and let's not even talk about the armament terrorists seem to show up with from time to time . . .
No, the guns we citizens are permitted to buy are single shot rifles and pistols which until very
recently had a very limited magazine -- i.e., the number of bullets they can fire before reloading is required.
The 18 year-old gets
a fully automatic weapon with a 30-round magazine, hell, he can walk around with a bag of handgrenades which
are not permitted to those he is sent to defend.
Anyway, sad as are armory is, we are required to complete the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobaccco, and Firearms (BATF)
Form 4473 and subjected to an "instant"
background check. Said "instant" check is the gun store clerk calling a central authority where computers
whirl through every known criminal database to see if you are a felon or fugitive from justice. This
usually involves a lot of foot tapping and staring like, "I didn't do anything" -- especially since questions
9b, 9c, and 9d on Form 4473 just asked if I did. Sometimes these calls are made from a speaker phone where
the whole store can hear what is going on -- we suppose the clerk gets tired of holding the phone to
his ear for the entire day, since it is his business to sell guns.
Just pause here a moment to look at BATF Form 4473.
Since 65% of American households are unarmed, it is likely that you have never seen this form. Imagine
your local terrorist filling it out. Pretty intimidating, isn't it? Actually, only if he reads English. Our
research staff could not find any of these forms written in Arabic.
Anyway, you fill out the form, you pass the insta-check, you hand over your money and away you go. You're
all set, right? Not exactly. You can only keep this gun in your house or tote it around under lock and
key to go hunting or to a target range. You still can't carry it in the street where you are likely to
be beaten, stabbed, shot at, and robbed. No, there on the street, you are still an unarmed citizen unless
you want to endure another bureaucracy setup to provide -- the concealed weapon permit.
The concealed weapon permit is issued by the State where you reside. The procedures for getting one are
quite tedious and can involve being finger-printed, taking classes on how not to shoot yourself in the foot,
and, of course, many forms like BATF 4473 -- question: do mentally defective people know that they are
mentally defective (question 9f)?
Should you brave through the paperwork, you will be granted your permit in 90 to 180 to 365 days later or
not at all if you live in New York City. A gun in New York City? Why would you want that?
Looking back on all the forms we've completed over the past twenty years when we read a story like
the one referenced above, we think, "When would the Federal or State governments EVER say that laws enacted
to protect us were complete and total failures?" Total failures and collossal wastes of money, time, and --
in the gun clerk's case -- degradation in quality of life. Gun control activists always tout the fact that
all this rigmarole stopped X-number of felons from buying guns -- but did it? Did the felon attempt to buy
a gun; fail the insta-check; and go home? Or did he leave the store and go buy the gun some place else? Who
This would have to suppose that every crime committed with a gun is the criminal's first since he will
be barred from gun ownership once he is captured and convicted. This doesn't ring true to us. How
We rehearse all this to ask, "Would it be so bad if we just did away with these laws?" Do we really need a
bureaucrat sitting at 650 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. in Room 6450 classifying
guns? Or, legions of BATF personnel presiding over these FAQs?
[Note: None of this is written in Arabic.]
All the while, suspected terrorists are walking into neighborhood gun stores and buying whatever they
want, supposedly, successfully navigating this labyrinth of rules and regulations. Sen. Lautenberg thinks
the net just needs a little tweaking. We would suggest that it is all just a waste of time and money.
UPDATE: Instalanche underway -- thanks Glenn and welcome to InstaPundit visitors -- take a look around.
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