- You recall DiFi’s insane and impossible encryption bill? Well, the second draft is out and it’s gotten even worse. These loons actually believe if you simply order someone to do the impossible, it must be done.
- Being so right and so wrong at the same time. Yes, it’s getting scary out there. Yes, it’s amazing how fast it’s happening. But no, it’s not caused by the mysterious collapse of Francis Fukuyama-style “liberalism” nor is it because the ordinary processes of civilization are too commonplace and boring.
- Legalization is back on the ballot in Maine.
- Two interesting takes on the transgender bathroom wars: why the wars matter by Heather Wilhelm and why maybe not so much by Nicki Kenyon.
- In news of the weird: The CIA’s venture capital outfit is funding a skin-care product. (H/T MJR)
- In news of the perhaps even weirder: Oblivious couple takes condition white to a ridiculous extreme.
- And speaking of ridiculous extremes: Your houseplants can now have tiny treehouses of their very own.
Sorry for missing my usual Friday a.m. post. I’ve been sick all week. Nothing serious, but it has reached the point of brain death.
Temporary brain death, I assure you. I’ll be back sometime over the weekend with (I hope) a renewed brain and a couple posts worth waiting for.
And speaking of the “just say no” crowd, here’s a flash story that would have them climbing the walls. Sent to me by a friend who’d never touch the stuff but defends the right of others to their choices.
One more reason why Nancy Reagan always reminded us “just say no” to drugs. OTOH, stoned sister does have the right idea about zombie-fighting tools, even if her priorities aren’t straight on the family pets. :-)
Watch. And thanks to TSO for the laugh.
David Codrea is posting news on Mike’s condition as he receives it from family members (or from Mike himself, if that proves possible).
Probably best that Mike isn’t bombarded with too many emails or phone calls, even if they’re meant to remind him we care.
UPDATE in comment.
It was a good weekend. Saturday I declared war on the Dreaded Knotweed. I did not obey the Geneva convention.
While berserking and crusading against the Vile Vegetable, I hatched a scheme that might take care of my two problems at once: knotweed and hazardous trash — using the trash as part — only part — of an elaborate barrier against the weed.
- Talk about swords into plowshares! California city government v*tes to turn a former prison into a cannabis oil factory.
- Super high-tech tiny house. Pretty cool. (Helps to be a boatbuilder and cabinetmaker.) But c’mon. How much did it cost? (H/T MJR)
- :-) How not to take a gun selfie.
- And speaking of selfies, I assume this study (which concludes — wow, whodathunkit? — that narcissists are more likely to post and crave feedback on selfies) must have been funded by government. Not ours, fortunately.
- And speaking of governments: who’s named in the Panama Papers? Named so far, we should add. The silence on U.S.-based clients of Mossack Fonseca is like waiting for that second shoe to drop.
- OTOH, the astute Megan McArdle says that what the papers reveal so far is a positive reflection on capitalism.
- Ronald T. Richie. He was the 911 caller who got the perfectly innocent John Crawford SWATted and killed. Maybe he’ll finally pay a price. Maybe.
- Sheesh. This article on why women should v*te for women makes me not ever want to v*te for a woman again. Well, not that I ever gave a crap about the sex of a candidate. And not that I’d ever v*te for a woman if the woman were Hillary. Or Dianne. Or … well, most of them.
- But the good news is that even Salon says Hillary’s world is collapsing around her.
- I really hate questions like this. But with the weekend coming up, here’s some food for thought during your leisure hours: Are we living in a computer simulation?
- Just because we were talking about flame-throwers the other day …
I’ll be doing a little extra blogging this week because I’ve been doing physical labor (drywalling) and need a break from it. Also because … Panama Papers.
I hadn’t heard of the scandal until Monday when jc2k linked to it in comments. By then it was already 24 hours old (ancient in Internet Time) and had been thoroughly clucked over by all the usual suspects.
The collective bottom line seems not only to be, “OMG, gov-o-crats are hiding ill-gotten gains offshore!” (this is a shock to anybody?) but, “Offshore privacy should be done away with!”
Um … yeah. Hasn’t offshore privacy already been curbed a time or three? And don’t gangsters and gov-o-crats and their cronies (but I repeat myself) always find some way to hide ill-gotten gains? And don’t ordinary, innocent people with assets that need to be protected from the above also take advantage of the “loopholes” that are inevitably left for the kleptocrats?
The notion that you can do away with financial hidey-holes — especially financial hidey-holes both controlled and utilized by people who are in charge of the laws and regulations governing said hidey-holes is as tidily moralistic as the notion that you can do away with drugs, guns, liquor, or whatever other bugaboo the moral moment might focus on. And just as untidy in practice.
Most people use offshore corporations for legitimate purposes — like the legitimate need to protect honest gains and assets from thieves in governments.
But that won’t do, will it? So now we’ll see yet another big moral crusade against offshore tax shelters.
Laws, regulations, treaties, and those trendy not-a-treaty-but-just-like-one-only-simpler-to-impose trade agreements will be changed. Everybody will say, “Good job! We’ve foiled the eeeevil plans of kleptocrats and organized crimesters. Decency shall now reign forevermore.” And after a few hiccups, thievery and corruption will go on as usual using some slightly different form of hidey-hole. Preserving wealth will merely become that much harder for those who lack the government connections or the will to break the latest round of laws. (Which reminds me of this study on human sacrifice and social hierarchy that came out this week.)
Bigger questions I haven’t heard anybody asking yet. How to catch and whack the kleptocrats without busting the legitimate privacy of hundreds of thousands of decent human beings (actual, old-fashioned investigation, perhaps — the following of specific suspicions, specific evidence, specific leads)? Why wasn’t Mossack Fonseca, that Panamanian law firm, doing more to protect its clients’ records, since privacy is supposed to be at the core of its business? And how many other ordinary people are at risk of disclosure from similar hacks at similar firms?
Interesting times …
It started raining again Sunday evening. Just a soft, unserious, springlike shower, followed by a few more days of the same. But knowing it was coming, I put in several hours of outdoor work, then prepped for an indoor project.
Since there was not a lot I could do inside until The Wandering Monk arrived to help me drywall a ceiling, I wandered across the little one-lane road and tried to make more progress cleaning the empty lot that will someday, if all my plans and dreams come to fruition, contain a gravel path with steps down to a homemade pergola, a small picnic area, a few fruit trees, a firepit, and maybe some chickens or even a goat or two.
It’s a long way from most of that and I’m beginning to despair.
Sorrys in advance for being unable to remember now where I got some of these links. I’ve been saving them up for a while. So thanks to The Usual Suspects. :-)
- Wanna set up a pot business? Become a nun.
- Chase Bank holds funds and reports customer to the feds for paying his dog walker.
- Joel got to this one first, but it’s too pure-and-simply wonderful not to re-blog: the mystery of the squatter in the woods who came and left with no trace. Ghostery to the max!
- But this … once again takes “small-space living” to crazy extremes. Only in San Francisco. Or New York City. Or London. Or other places that have become hellholes for normal people.
- Kevin Wilmeth comments on my TZP “constitutional carry” piece and gets it exactly right: “The only downside I can see, honestly, is that celebrating a good thing for what it is, isn’t going to help the sort of prag mindset that still can’t distinguish between long-term strategy and true pre-emptive surrender.”
- “Sorry, but the real unemployment rate is 9.8%” Srsly? you think it’s that low?
- Oh brother, someday this crass little millennial will regret his stupid, arrogant words about old people and guns.
- OTOH … ouch. Stupid, angry people and guns are another matter.
- Finally, an accurate scale model of the U.S. government. Only not dangerous enough. Or complicated enough. And more purposeful, even if nobody has any idea what the purpose is.
I’ve had a lot of time to think this week and one question runs through my mind: Why is freedom so closely and (for many) irretrievably associated with fighting?
Sure, we do periodically have to defend freedom against tyrants. And defend it more frequently against incremental encroachments and (if I may coin a term) the political encockroaches who so encroach.
But given that the main thing we do with freedom is enjoy it, given that it is, in most of our lives, as lovely and easy a thing as pure air, why the sticky association with strife, battle, bloodshed, anguish, and all things bad?
That doesn’t make freedom sound like much fun at all. Or like anything most people would want to have. Is it just because we’re hardwired to take freedom for granted when it’s not threatened? Is all this emphasis on fighting just because of the times we live in? What?
Why is freedom so closely and (for many) irretrievably associated with fighting? And for that matter, why are so many who claim to be ardent supporters of freedom the very sort of people you’d prefer not to have for your next-door neighbors in any would-be Libertopia?
Summer’s been with us all week (and that’s no April fooling). Aside from a little fog Monday morning, the weather’s been that ideal sort you don’t even have to think about. No worries about shivering or roasting or (thank the gods of the NorthWET) getting rained on. It’s just … what weather ought to be.
Everything smells good, too. Like spring. Well, some low-lying places in the woods smell like skunk cabbage. And skunk cabbage smells like you-know-what. But even that’s a welcome aroma; it say’s winter’s officially over.
In the warm, I’ve been hammering ceilings, beating rugs (lovely, messy, old-fashioned task), and bringing order to the chaos of the de-construction rubble heaps outside the back door.
While sorting rubble, I found something on the back of a door frame that The Wandering Monk tore out last month. I couldn’t get a decent picture of it, but it was one man’s tiny bit of immortality. In pencil (and in rather nice, flamboyant handwriting), somebody had scrawled “J.J. O’Shaughnessy” and the name of one of the nearby towns.
The signature was against a wall where no one would ever see it until the door was torn out or the house demolished, and possibly not even then unless they were looking carefully. I didn’t spot it until I was hammering apart several defunct door frames yesterday.
Off I went to the lumber yard to ask Rick, whose great-grandfather built the house, if that name meant anything to him. After 15 seconds of painful thought he got it: “J.J. O’Shaugnessy was a friend of my great-grandfather’s. They were both logging truck drivers. I remember he had his own truck with his name and a … what do you call it? … a shamrock on the door. Yeah, he helped build the house.”
I refrained from saying I don’t think I’d have signed my name to that particular work of art and asked if J.J. still has any descendants in the area.
All dead now, Rick thinks. He’s not sure whether the one O’Shaughnessy in town is related or not.
In any case, I’ve pounded all the nails out of the frame piece and I’ll hand it over to Rick as a memento. If he finds a proper O’Shaughnessy to give it to, all the better.
Me, I’m still looking for … oh, a sack of gold coins somebody might have stashed in the walls to save them from Mr. Roosevelt. Even a bit of old newspaper headlining the bombing of Pearl Harbor or the Lindbergh kidnapping would do. But so far, nothing but bugs and rot. And the proud signature of Mr. J.J. O’Shaughnessy, log-truck driver. To which he did not add a shamrock.