2014 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride

I’ll be participating in the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride in Albuquerque on September 28th. The proceeds are going to prostate research. Photo to follow.

If I get up to $250, I’m riding the event in my kilt. That’s right, I’m risking burning my knees on the heads of my Triumph for your entertainment and SCIENCE!

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There will be photographic evidence posted, so pop over to my DGR HOME PAGE or cut and paste this into your googlamatic whatsinator — http://www.gentlemansride.com/rider/BlackCampbell — and give generously. Or stingy-like!

GOP Pushing Two Time Loser for 2016?

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How many times do we have to reject Mitt Romney before the corporate welfare types realize that Americans do not want this guy for president? It’s bad enough ever damned candidate is a mercanitlist prat (Exhibit O: the current moron), but do we really need yet another Big War/Big Bank president?

Take the f#$%ing hint.

What Majors Lead to Unemployment? Hint: The Ones Without Real Utility…

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Payscale.com did a study of 68,000 workers to find out what college majors lead to an EBT card and living in your parent’s spare room. The results are a surprise to no one…

underemploymentSo all you folks studying to be Batman…don’t. Same goes for all those squishy, easy subjects like history, sociology, philosophy, and art history. This only dealt with bachelor’s degrees — which is problematic due to certification inflation. The larger supply of young Americans conned into pursuing degrees regardless of the subject have debased the value of the entry degrees.

One of the reasons that employers can’t fill jobs or keep people are due to a lack of certain skills — like being able to show up on time and actually do your job, or being able to get along with your workmates. Here’s the “soft skills” employers look for:

soft skillsIn other words, employers need folks that aren’t lazy, tardy loners.

Here’s the hard skills most look for:

hard skillsCan you use Office? You’re halfway there.

So do you want a well-paying job? The answer hasn’t changed since WWII. That’s the “hard” majors, boys and girls — engineering, science, and math. You want to skate through college with that PhD in Philosophy? It might be personally fulfilling, but when your “not using your degree” as a $10/hr greeter at Walmart, you can philosophize on how your bad decisions led to feeling under appreciated at the local big box store.

Tales From Your Police State: Apologists For the Police State

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Even since the ham-handed response in Ferguson by the local police department and St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department, there’s been a sudden interest in the militarization of the police throughout the country. The subject had already grabbed the interest of libertarians and some progressives with the response to the Boston Marathon bombing, and conservatives noticed with the Bundy Ranch incident, but the racial aspect of Ferguson got it into the mainstream news.

Almost as quickly there has been a steady pushback by supporters of the law enforcement/military/intelligence-industrial complex. We heard how Michael Brown had robbed store, had injured the police officer — see!?! Obviously a line of riot-geared cops with armored vehicles was the proper response to a protest against police violence! Suddenly the timeline is changed — there weren’t riot cops until the rioting started (wrong.) It was just a response to people breaking the law!

The latest of these screeds comes from Andrew Malcolm in Investors’ Business Daily. His Militarizing the Local Police is a Good Thing is as well considered as the title suggests. The gist of his argument: most of the material is night vision goggles and assault rifles…so what?

 It’s a great idea to have state and local police departments armed way beyond the firepower of any conceivable opponent. Remember the North Hollywood bank hold-up some years back that turned into a 45-minute shootout because both robbers were better armed and protected than cops hiding behind patrol cars?

See? That single incident proves that police need tanks and air strikes! How did that end, by the way? Oh, that’s right — the suspects died.

This argument that having police armed “beyond the ability of any conceivable opponent” includes a very obvious opponent: people being oppressed by a government that is abusing its authority. Like shutting down legitimate businesses by browbeat banks. Or refusing to honor laws that have been passed. Or using the organs of state to spy on its people. Or using unrestrained violence against people on the flimsiest of excuses. (Just google Radley Balko and there should be a nice list of these incidents…)

Statists don’t like it when the people expect the government to follow the same rules as the rest of us, or have the ability to say “no” to whatever scheme the powers-that-be have in the offing, or wish to make a living without being shaken down by the parasites in the regulatory bureaucracy.

Let’s watch Malcolm trot out the same tired reasoning for militarized police:

We’re in a new era now. The first 9/11 when jumbo jets became weapons should have taught us to think outside the box when imagining attacks on the homeland. Dirty bombs, Ebola. Sarin. Breast bombs. Gone is the age of a whistling Officer O’Riley walking his beat, checking that shop doors are locked.

Actually, community policing by police who are on foot, know the people on their beat, and look like the people in the neighborhood is an excellent idea. Violent encounters with the police are much less likely to happen when the cop is a person not some impersonal, armor-clad machine of the state.

As to the terrorism is imminent bullshit the statists have been slinging since 2001. The major terrorist incidents — the Fort Hood shooting, the DC sniper, Botson marathon bombers, the blunderwear bomber, the numerous incidents of Muslim honor killings — have all been caught or killed without the aid of military equipment. How was the Boston bomber caught? — oh, shot by normally armed police officers, not the SWAT team special forces-wannabes. The blunderwear bomber was beaten up by passengers. The Fort Hood shooter was arrested after being shot not by MPs, but by a local police officer armed with a pistol. No assault rifle. No grenade launcher. No MRAPs or APCs. DC Sniper? State troopers. Not SWAT.

Here’s a link to an interactive map showing what the 1033 Program has shoveled into your local area from The New York Times. So what exactly are the alleged benefits of militarized police? What is the application for this equipment? Generally, warrant service and drug raids, where the majority of injuries are not caused by the suspects, but by trigger happy police officers.

Here’s a little infographic:

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The militarization of police is demonstrably not to protect us from terrorism, but to protect police officers from the public. What’s wrong with that, you might ask? When the police are trained to think of their service as “war” and the public as “the enemy” it’s very easy to lose sight of the primary mission of protection of the public and their property, and service — instead, the public are something to be feared and hated, and controlled. Here’s the much cited Sunil Dutta — a professor of “homeland security” at Colorado Tech University showing what the attitude of a militarized policeman looks like:

Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?

He has a point: most stops are routine and over quickly. To be fair, most police interact with folks when they are having a pretty bad day (or the stop is causing a bad day…) — reaction to police encounters is sometimes inappropriate to why the person was stopped. But this “How dare you not meekly submit?” attitude is just as inappropriate. Having a monopoly on the legitimacy of force thanks to a badge and a gun does not always make right.

Worse, however, is this…

But if you believe (or know) that the cop stopping you is violating your rights or is acting like a bully, I guarantee that the situation will not become easier if you show your anger and resentment… Save your anger for later, and channel it appropriately. Do what the officer tells you to and it will end safely for both of you. We have a justice system in which you are presumed innocent; if a cop can do his or her job unmolested, that system can run its course. Later, you can ask for a supervisor, lodge a complaint or contact civil rights organizations if you believe your rights were violated. Feel free to sue the police! Just don’t challenge a cop during a stop.

So, suck it up, little people! So what if the police abused you? that supervisor’s going to do what? Oh, that’s right — side with his officer. How about that civilian oversight board? Unlikely you’ll see more than a down twinkle from them. You can sue them, right? Of course, the police have special protections thanks to their union-negotiated contracts that make it damned near impossible to fire a problem police officer. Maybe you get lucky and get a settlement — the officer doesn’t pay; the taxpayers pay.

The officers learn that they are beyond punishment. They feel entitled to abuse their authority. And that can’t go wrong, can it?

 

Boozy Elitists School Us Proles on the Ills of Marijuana

Over at The American Spectator, R Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. takes to the interwebz to lecture us all on the evils of marijuana. The gist of his “argument” is that marijuana is not “civilized” like a good scotch and soda. He then tosses in quotes from former drug czar William Bennett, as if citing a man who has a vested interest in continuing the idiocy of prohibition is “proof.” And in case you weren’t convinced by the Drug Enforcement Acency’s pet researchers find evidence that marijuana is the worst thing since dinosaur-killing asteroid strikes, he tosses in the currently-relevant Ferguson, Missouri swipe: marijuana is dangerous because Michael Brown was most likely, probably, definitely, I think on the Mary Jane.

Tyrrell’s distillery-admiring piece is not about marijuana. It’s about the distain the self-anointed elites have toward the American population in general. This booze-addled prat tells us that people drink scotch (and presumably eat foie gras and caviar) because the appreciate the taste. I like scotch. It takes like gasoline. You can see him picturing his last evening in his smoking jacket by the fire in his billiard hall talking important politics with a collection of self important  jackasses. But marijuana! We are assured that people don’t appreciate the subtleties of the different varieties of cannabis; they just want to get high. It’s like drinking a 32 pack of Icehouse.

He would have been just as home schooling us on why tucking your shirt in is much more civilized than going untucked (without a doubt), or why a Chevy Silverado is passe when you could be driving a Porsche Cayenne, or why scotch is so much better than proletarian beer. Marijuana is popular — and I don’t mean people like it…it’s for the populares. Normal folks. The kind that can’t appreciate the smoky, peaty flavor and aroma of the ocean in a few fingers of Lagavulin. (And it you are drinking a single-malt Islay with soda, Mr. Tyrrell, you are a cretin!)

Is marijuana more dangerous than alcohol? No. Is it stupid to imbibe drugs? Probably. But so is drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, jumping out of an airplane, flying in an airplane, driving a car, riding a motorcycle, shooting guns, throwing knives, seducing an Eastern European female wrestler, rappelling, peeing on a live electrical wire, mixing up a batch of thermite and slagging a dumpster “just to see what’ll happen”, drinking coffee, eating candy, or swimming with sharks…and I’ve done all but two of those. (I don’t like tobacco…)

Life is inherently dangerous, and meddlesome moralists like Tyrrell make it tiresome, as well. And with the collection of fun-killing busybodies loose on the planet, right now, banning soda, salt, guns; throwing people in jail for letting their kids play on the leash (like we did in the supposedly serial killer and child molester-filled 1970s); or mandating gigantic, safety feature filled  cars, warning labels on everything from food, farts, and the sun…no wonder we all want to get high.

White House: No, Really, Obama’s Just Crying on the Inside

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Reacting to the appropriate scalding the semi-retired president is taking for his leaping from a lukewarm addressing of the murder of an American journalist to tee time, the White House aides assure us that Obama’s rush to the links “did not reflect the depth of his grief over Mr. Foley…” Ordinarily, the newsies wouldn’t have castigated the president for this — idiots like Joe Scarborough seem to equate the president’s complete lack of attention to his duties as “tough” — but this is a news person!, one of their own, so…

OUTRAGE!

Jennifer Palmeir, White House communications director: “His concern for the Foleys and Jim was evident to all who saw and heard his statement,” said Jennifer Palmieri, the White House communications director.

President keeping his grief on the down low.

President keeping his grief on the down low.

No one expects the president to weep openly, or start dropping bombs (well, save the national security warfare-welfare statists) — but not hoping straight into his golf cart to get to Marthas Vineyard might not have been in good taste. (Hell, even David Cameron cancelled his vacation.)

Then again, the links wait for no man…

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