...well, two Fridays, too! Am going to go see Live Free or Die Hard today, just because I haven't seen anything blow up in awhile. My Sweetie and I did a long bike on Independence Day, up Mt. Evans, which is, I believe, the highest paved road in America. At about 12,000 feet I got minor mountain sick — splitting headache, nausea and the "whirlies." I rode on for another 500 feet of elevation, but finally packed it in when we saw a big thunderstorm swirling aout from behind the summit. That's my story and I'm sticking to it, although, in truth, the mountain sickness was sucking out all my enthusiasm for biking!
I strongly urge you to avoid steep descents on twisting mountain roads with big drops off the side while the world in your head is spinning around...remember, I'm a professional! The weird thing about mountain sickness, of course, is that it goes away as quickly as it comes on...at just below 12,000 feet, I felt great again. It's also a "luck of the draw" sort of thing...I've been at 12,000 feet a bunch in the last couple of years with no ill effects.
Interesting piece in Reason Online on the militarization of the police, based on senior editor Radley Balko's testimony before the House Subcommittee on Crime a couple of weeks ago:
This is troubling because paramilitary police actions are extremely volatile, necessarily violent, overly confrontational, and leave very little margin for error. These are acceptable risks when you’re dealing with an already violent situation featuring a suspect who is an eminent threat to the community.Check out this map on botched police raids put together by the Cato Insititute. The red dots are raids that resulted in the death of an innocent person.
But when you’re dealing with nonviolent drug offenders, paramilitary police actions create violence instead of defusing it. Whether you’re an innocent family startled by a police invasion that inadvertently targeted the wrong home or a drug dealer who mistakes raiding police officers for a rival drug dealer, forced entry into someone’s home creates confrontation. It rouses the basest, most fundamental instincts we have in us – those of self-preservation – to fight when flight isn’t an option.
Quickly switching gears, I just finished reading DEER HUNTING WITH JESUS — Dispatches From America's Class War. It's interesting because the author, redneck Internet columnist Joe Bageant, is also a self-described socialist who moved back to his home town in Virginia, Winchester, and decided to address the issues of class he found there.
I enjoyed the book and found much to agree with...I am, of course, Tennessee born and bred; And, as Conway and Loretta once noted, "we ain't the jet set." Sadly...at least to me...much of Bageant's "solutions" are the same Sad Sack socialist recipes served cold...if the underclass only taxed themselves silly to build mass transit instead of buying trailers! If they only traveled and saw other people with different value systems — only 20% of the people in America even have passports!
Oh gosh, Joe, I have traveled...I'm one of the 20% with a worn passport full of fascinating stamps. I have visited countries where people have other belief systems, and — let me put this in the vernacular of my home or your home — most of them suck dog balls.
We did find some serious common ground...on guns, of course:
So when the left began to demonize gun owners in the 1960s, they not only were arrogant and insulting because they associated all gun owners with criminals but also were politically stupid" [P129; graf 2]And this on Hollywood's love affair with gun control, talking about the infamous Handgun Control Inc. "Open Letter to the NRA" a few years back:
Personally I love 'em all, but Hollywood doesn't seem to have the common sense God gave a soggy animal cracker when it comes to guns. Maybe they signed up to endorse HCI because their agent says they need a cause and there is no more room on the AIDS bandwagon. I don't know. But according to HCI and the well-meaning but clueless stars who endorse it, "Every day we lose 13 children to gun violence in this country...The debate is not about guns. It's about children." Nah, It's about middle-class liberal feel-good masturbation and celebrity-identity franchise building through causes. In reality, 90 percent of the "children" we lose to gun violence are gangbangers between 15 and 19 years of age. Which is not quite the same as your average elementary or middle school kid shooting up the neighborhood or popping little brother with daddy's Magnum pistol. [P136-137; graf 3]Couldn't have said it better myself, Joe! He goes on to discuss gun control's ugly little closet secret, that it was born primarily to deprive black Americans of their right to self-defense. Of course, he can't resist working up a little liberal sweat on those of us with high-tech rifles in the basement:
Yet I shudder to think about what the Glens and the Donnys of the world will do one day if things spiral out of control. What happens when this country finally hits Peak Oil Demand and the electrical grid starts browning down and even little things become desperately difficult or unaffordable? What happens if the wrong kind of president declares the wrong kind of national emergency. What will be the first reflex of those hundreds of thousands of devotees of lethality? [P156; graf 1]Now that's a thorny question, isn't it Joe?
Still, DEER HUNTING WITH JESUS is the perfect gift book to buy for your liberal friends...the first few chapters will get them all heated-up and aroused on the Usual Agenda and frothing about Bush, then the gun chapter falls on 'em like an lard-based atomic weapon! Be fun to watch!