Archive | February 2009

Misused Porn Stats In The USA: Conservatives May Not Be Biggest Consumers

Don’t ya love it when someone desperately skews data to try to make those eeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil conservatives look bad?

Right, I don’t either. Yet that’s pretty much what the New Scientist does with their study: Porn In The USA: Conservatives Are Biggest Consumers.

“When it comes to adult entertainment, it seems people are more the same than different,” says Benjamin Edelman at Harvard Business School.

However, there are some trends to be seen in the data. Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, the study finds.

“Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by,” Edelman says.

Excuse me, Mr. Edelman? Did you say “states,” not “people”? Yes, you did. And the author, Ewan Callaway, made the same mistake later in the article:

Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year’s presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama.

I guess to Edelman and Callaway, everyone that lives in, say, Utah must be a real conservative McCainite bumpkin, despite the fact that over 300,000 Utahans (Utahites?) voted for Obama. Similar results can be found in every “red” state, and you can find people in even the bluest of “blue” states that voted for McCain.

Therein lies the fatal flaw… they treat everyone in a given state as though they think, act, and buy porn alike. This is the politics of “groupthink” at its worst and most indefensible.

But why let anything like, say, a valid analysis of the data get in the way of a good conservative-bashing headline?

For a longer dissection, see this article from the folks at GetReligion.

Update: Jim Manzi over at National Review Online’s Corner has caught on to something that I missed:

What was so lame about the analysis (at least upon a first quick read) is that the researchers did analysis at the state level when they had the hard-to-get porn usage data down at Zip Codes. Voting data is easy to get at the county level, as is good broadband penetration data (the FCC provides this data at the Zip Code level, but there has been a long-running debate about accuracy at that level of granularity). You can also get all of the key demographic variables used in the analysis at the county level. There is an argument not to do the analysis by Zip Code because of debatable broadband penetration rates, but why didn’t they at least do this at the county level? It would not have eliminated the “not at the individual level” problem, but would be a lot better than state-level analysis. I did this kind of work just to get a blog post right; I don’t get why they weren’t willing to do a little more work for a published research paper.

That’s a very good question, and a possible answer immediately springs to my cynical mind: when analyzed by Zip Code, the data didn’t point the way they wanted it to. I admit, it’s only a possibility, but it would fit the way they put it together.


Political Sleight Of Hand

Okay. To dispel talk about earmarks being in any “stimu-less” bill of the past, present, and future: There aren’t…technically. Wait, technically? That’s right, technically there aren’t, but technically there are. Huh? Through the magic of political semantics and word smithery, earmarks are and are not in H.R. 1 and H.R. 1105. Now before you start shaking your head, stay with me on this one. An example from H.R. 1:




20 For an additional amount for section 501 of Public

21 Law 110-432 and discretionary grants to States to pay

22 for the cost of projects described in paragraphs (2)(A) and

23 (2)(B) of section 24401 of title 49, United States Code,

24 subsection (b) of section 24105 of such title,

25 $8,000,000,000, to remain available through September Read More…

Taxing The Rich Won’t Be Enough; Obama Will Have To Tax The Middle Class

We hear it all the time from lefties: “Tax the rich!” Well, it won’t work now any better than it did when Bill Clinton tried it and then discovered that he would also have to raise taxes on the middle class:

President Obama has laid out the most ambitious and expensive domestic agenda since LBJ, and now all he has to do is figure out how to pay for it. On Tuesday, he left the impression that we need merely end “tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of Americans,” and he promised that households earning less than $250,000 won’t see their taxes increased by “one single dime.”

This is going to be some trick. Even the most basic inspection of the IRS income tax statistics shows that raising taxes on the salaries, dividends and capital gains of those making more than $250,000 can’t possibly raise enough revenue to fund Mr. Obama’s new spending ambitions.

Consider the IRS data for 2006, the most recent year that such tax data are available and a good year for the economy and “the wealthiest 2%.” Roughly 3.8 million filers had adjusted gross incomes above $200,000 in 2006. (That’s about 7% of all returns; the data aren’t broken down at the $250,000 point.) These people paid about $522 billion in income taxes, or roughly 62% of all federal individual income receipts. The richest 1% — about 1.65 million filers making above $388,806 — paid some $408 billion, or 39.9% of all income tax revenues, while earning about 22% of all reported U.S. income.

Note that federal income taxes are already “progressive” with a 35% top marginal rate, and that Mr. Obama is (so far) proposing to raise it only to 39.6%, plus another two percentage points in hidden deduction phase-outs. He’d also raise capital gains and dividend rates, but those both yield far less revenue than the income tax. These combined increases won’t come close to raising the hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue that Mr. Obama is going to need.

But let’s not stop at a 42% top rate; as a thought experiment, let’s go all the way. A tax policy that confiscated 100% of the taxable income of everyone in America earning over $500,000 in 2006 would only have given Congress an extra $1.3 trillion in revenue. That’s less than half the 2006 federal budget of $2.7 trillion and looks tiny compared to the more than $4 trillion Congress will spend in fiscal 2010. Even taking every taxable “dime” of everyone earning more than $75,000 in 2006 would have barely yielded enough to cover that $4 trillion.

Fast forward to this year (and 2010) when the Wall Street meltdown and recession are going to mean far few taxpayers earning more than $500,000. Profits are plunging, businesses are cutting or eliminating dividends, hedge funds are rolling up, and, most of all, capital nationwide is on strike. Raising taxes now will thus yield far less revenue than it would have in 2006.

Is $75,000 a year rich? And is it really “fair” to take every single dime of their taxable income?

Every time a lefty politician says “tax the rich,” middle-class and even lower-income taxpayers had better hang on to their wallets, because there simply isn’t enough money in “the rich” to cover the kind of spending that lefties love.

Gun Bans Coming Back: Yes, He Can!

Once again, Obama shows his lefty roots:

The Obama administration will seek to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 during the Bush administration, Attorney General Eric Holder said today.

“As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons,” Holder told reporters.

So far, increased gun sales are about the only true economic stimulus that Obama can claim credit for, as people try to buy their guns before bans like this go into force.

For your edification

Ok this is something I wrote up a long time ago to try and help some of the people out there that carry for self defense. Though I have added a few things to it over the years.

Before I go any further, I am not a certified civilian instructor (yet), I am just a Marine with a few deployments, and several years of training, and experience in training Marines how to do their job. Nothing you read here will qualify you as an expert, or anything of the like. It is just something to help you train yourself when out on the range, or when carrying on your day to day life.

I honestly believe that proper training would solve a great number of problems, so here we go.

First off let us cover the safety rules when it comes to firearms.

1. Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.
2. Never point your weapon at anything you do not intend to destroy
3. Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to fire
4. Keep your weapon on safe until you intend to fire
5. Know your target, your weapon’s capabilities and what is beyond your target

These five rules are the bedrock for every situation where you may use a firearm. If you follow these rules then you can not go wrong. Ignore them and bad things will happen.

We will skip the weapons conditions because there are so many different variations because of the sheer number of weapons and differences between pistols, rifles revolvers etc. If you have a specific question about a particular weapon, please feel free to ask.

Choosing a firearm.

There are a LOT of opinions out there as to what type and caliber weapon is best. I personally carry .45 and sometimes .357 mag, same goes for my wife. But YOU have to be able to reliably hit the target under harsh conditions. A .22lr to the chest is better than miss with a .50AE. So get the largest caliber that you can reliably hit center mass with. This means, if you can not fire off three rounds from the holster, and have all three rounds impact the target within a soccer ball sized pattern from 15 yards within three seconds, then you need to pick a different weapon.

While (depending on the state) you are required to take a firearms class before you receive your CCW, and while it does teach you proper techniques for handling that weapon, it does not prepare you to use it in defense of yourself.

When training my wife to carry, I took a few of the things I taught in my small arms and BUST courses, and mixed in a few more things.

Start out by simply practicing slow, get rounds on target, once you master getting rounds center mass (from all distances you may encounter during in normal life), then you can start to speed up your shots. At this point, if you are driving nails, then you are firing too slow. There is rarely such a thing as a one shot stop. But we will get into that more later.

Once you get to the point where you can fire three rounds off, starting from the holster, and hitting in a soccer ball sized pattern then you are ready to start stressing your body.

You want to stress your body because no one, NO ONE can honestly say how they will react when their life is in danger. There will always be that fight or flight reflex, and it is surprising how many do not react the way they thought they would. And typically accuracy can degrade between 50 and 70% when you are in a real life and death situation. So you have to stress your body to better prepare yourself for your moment of truth.

Stressing your body and mind while training will help to prepare you to deal with that stressful and dangerous situation by making timed and accurate decisions.

So go outside, run circles in the parking lot for a while until you are winded, go back in and practice your speed drills. Have someone standing over your shoulder while yelling into your ear. Anything that stresses you out will help prepare yourself to defend yourself.

Once you master this you can move onto failure to stop drills. All this is, is two rounds center mass to the chest, and one round to the dome.

We practice this because there are only two places on the human body that will stop a target cold. The Medulla oblongata (drool spot) and the spine. A hit anywhere else will not guarantee a one shot stop.

Because we can not rely on a center mass hit to hit the spine, you have to train to hit the drool spot. This is a three inch triangle that is centered around the eyes.

You want to be able to place two rounds center mass and one in the dome within four seconds. We practice this because you may run into someone that is hopped up on some drug, and if he is not feeling pain, then he may continue his attack after being drilled in the chest. The reason we say four seconds is because a bad guy in average physical shape, with a knife, can close 15 feet and get two good swipes in under 5 seconds.

Practice this the same way you practiced your three rounds in three seconds from the holster. Draw and fire off as quickly as you can while still getting the rounds on target. Do this until you have it down to an art form. Once you have it down to an art form start stressing your body. If you plan on carrying a spare mag, then you need to practice speed reloads. This is pretty simple. All you do is load one mag with two rounds, and another mag with one round. Draw from the holster fire off your two rounds. When the weapon runs dry reload. The thing I do not like about the Glock is that the slide lock release is small, my big fingers seem to slide right over it. So I taught my wife to simply rack the slide. It is a good technique for automatics because it can be used with any type, and I know a good number of people that carry multiple types of weapons, so there is no muscle memory problem. Do it till it is an art form then start stressing your body again.

Choosing a weapon part two. If you do plan on carrying concealed, you need to pick one that you can carry comfortably. If it is comfortable you are more likely to carry it. Sure you can buy that hause of a gun that weighs more than a shotgun, and it may have very good terminal ballistics, but if you are uncomfortable while carrying it, then it will likely stay in the safe.

Those of us that are not used to carrying or shooting may just want to go with a wheel gun. I have always been a fan of wheel guns, but with them comes more training because they (for most) are more difficult to control, therefor follow on shots and failure to stop drills are more difficult. And, as always, a wheel gun is five or six or seven guaranteed shots (depending on the model type). If you pull the trigger and there is no bang, then all you have to do is pull the trigger again. There is no immediate action that you have to do to get your piece up and running again like there is with an autoloader.

I am a big guy so I can carry a full sized Kimber fairly easily (though I recently went to a Kimber Ultra CDP II). But my wife is smaller, so she needs a smaller weapon. She decided to go with the Glock 36. One thing I really like about the Glocks is the lack of a thumb safety. In a stressful situation it is one less thing to think about when you do have to draw your weapon.

(Remember that whole Jessica Lynch deal? Yeah! Remember how half the weapons laying on the deck were still on safe? That is because when they got stressed out they forgot to take their weapons off safe, then beat feet cause they thought their weapons were broke).

But because it is just a trigger safety, you have to be mindful of handling the weapon. ALSO pay attention when breaking the weapon down, to remove the slide, you have to release the trigger by pulling it. So MAKE SURE you clear the weapon before attempting this. Yes I know that should seem like common sense, but sometimes people forget things.

About a year ago we had a Warrant Officer (yes you heard me right, a WARRANT OFFICER) forget to clear his G21 (his personal firearm) and shot another WO in the leg while breaking it down. Both of these guys have been in the SOF community for many years, and had done many deployments. Complacency breeds idiocy.

Anyway. On again. I really do not like purse carries. From talking to several of my LEO buddies, I have learned that when confronted most women give up their purse right away. In a stressful situation they may do so without thinking of drawing on the bad guy. That is obviously bad. Also, by not carrying in your purse, you can deescalate the situation by giving your purse over, and backing away. He has what he wants, and you are still armed if he decides he wants more.

The last part is kind of tricky. And please do not think that I am giving out legal advise. But I have been asked this question by a many different people. I talked to a good number of LEOs and they do not all agree, so take what you read here and ask a few LEOs in your home town.

What do you do after you shoot the bad guy?

An LEO buddy in Cali says beat feet to the nearest cop and let him know what happened. He says that you are not required to render aid to the bad guy you just shot. A CDT buddy of mine says render aid and call 911, but be sure that the bad guy is no longer a threat. A NYPD buddy says keep your distance, holster your weapon, stay on scene and call 911. Also, it is always a good idea to have your attorney’s phone number on speed dial.

As you can tell, there does not seem to be a good answer. So ask your local PD when you are getting your CCW. That way your rear is covered if you ever do have to fire.

The other question that comes up a lot is what do I do if cops get there while I am aiming at the bad guy. Yup, you guessed it. There is no good answer.

Once again, the Cali LEO says slowly raise your hands in the air without dropping your piece, and say in a soft even tone, “Dont shoot’. My NYPD buddy says keep your hands down, don’t move, and when they give their order “Police don’t move.” respond with “Police don’t shoot.” He says that even though you are not a cop, the word police makes them think a bit and give you time to communicate that you are not a threat to them, and you were the victum.

One thing all of them agree on is you should not drop your piece. Six years ago in NY city an off duty cop was coming out of a corner store and a mugger tried to mug him. After unsuccessfully attempting to deescalate the situation the cop shot the mugger. Another cop rolled up behind him just after he shot the bad guy and shouted out. Police drop it. The off duty dropped his piece, and it slam fired, the on duty cop shot and killed the off duty.

But once again. I am not giving you legal advise, I am only telling you what I was told and what I have found in MY experiences.

Always trust a cop in your hometown over some crazy guy on the internet.

The Global War On Terror Continues

A few days ago, Premier Obama approved the deployment of 17,000 troops to Afghanistan [Article – Obama approves deployment of 17,000 more US troops in Afghanistan]. He also approved of predator drones attacking locations in Pakistan [Article – Strikes in Pakistan Underscore Obama’s Options]. This is all part of the continued war on terror, which began with the Bush administration and continues with the Obama administration. The anti-war lunatics are having a field day. I wonder who they voted for?

Sixteen Years Ago Today…

On the morning of February 26, 1993, Islamic militants steered a nondescript Ryder van through the winding darkness of the parking garage under the World Trade Center. They had spent years planning this moment in secret meetings at mosques and jailhouses, in rural outposts that served as paramilitary camps, and in safehouses where explosive compounds were mixed in makeshift labs.

Loaded into the van’s rear compartment was a 1,400-pound chemical bomb.

Sixteen years ago today, radical Islam declared war on us.

The President at the time, a newly elected Democrat, decided it was a matter for law enforcement, not the military.

Now the current President, another newly elected Democrat, seems determined to go down the same path.

Does anyone else think this is a mistake?

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