Correlation? Or...

Just the facts, m'am:


HA!  I think not!

Just more proof that the Mandarin is using my browser history to select victims test subjects for his orbital mind-control experiments.  "Plausible deniability" ain't just a river in Egypt, you know...

The Big Two-Oh

Twenty years ago today, I married a beautiful, amazing, wonderful woman who has only grown more incredible as the years have gone by.  The last two decades have had their ups and downs, but pretty much, it's been a grand adventure.  God willing, we'll have another 20 years to enjoy and experience together... each day grander than the one before.

Happy anniversary, Shari Lynn.  You are my sunshine.

It's All In How You Look At It

I'll be honest, I was a initially disappointed by - and somewhat depressed by - this story, "Russia and Japan aim for the Moon"
It was a rare confluence — the heads of the space agencies for Europe, Canada and Russia, along with senior representatives from the space agencies of India and Japan — all up on the dais together at a hotel in Washington DC, where they were on hand on 22 May to talk about the benefits of international collaboration at the Global Space Exploration Conference.
Wait.  No NASA?  No US involvement?  I know we just retired the shuttles, I know our space program is  in some serious doldrums right now, but... no American involvement at all?

Then I read on:

Interestingly, the leader of the space agency whose headquarters is just a few blocks away was not on the stage. That’s because NASA administrator Charles Bolden was in Florida, watching the attempt by SpaceX to send its Dragon capsule to the International Space Station.
Ah.  That brings it all into perspective.

The international community, as usual, are coming together and talking.

Meanwhile, we poor, nekulturny Americans are busy getting on with doing.

In fact, doing exactly one of those "Big Government" things that the statists insist private enterprise is incapable of accomplishing.

I find that... rather comforting, actually.

Ad astra per asperaSpaceX.  Hang in there and let's show 'em what happens when free men look to the stars and roll up their sleeves.

"... be ye fruitful, and multiply..."

I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome the lovely Mrs. Robb to the list of blog authors here at The Embedded Theologian.  I'm very hopeful that she'll provide some essential balance here at ETheo.  You see, while I'm a Christian, right-wing nut job, she's a gorgeous, Christian, right-wing nut job.

Worlds of difference.

Oh, and she's a better and more eloquent writer than I am. [1]

I expect that she'll pop in occasionally to vent her spleen, though as she's nowhere near as... spleeny... as I am, I expect she'll be a bit shy at first.

Be sure to say hello when she pops her head up, yinz guys!

[1] Though, as I've pointed out before, that's not a particulary high bar to cross...

We're Just Mean

Aaron Ross Powell on Libertarian Caring:
Of course, libertarians might be wrong about what helps and what hurts. Maybe we’re mistaken in our policy prescriptions. But those mistakes, if they exist, aren’t because we “care” less than liberals, just as mistakes by liberals (should their policies in fact not work) aren’t the result of them caring less than libertarians.
Indeed.  WJM is not reality, no matter how much you wish it were so.

Something New Every Day

I learned something new today!  Well, not today, but yesterday.  It turns out there's a pretty simple procedure used to diagnose DeQuervain's tenosynovitis called Finklestein's Test.

If you're like me - that is, a World of Warcraft player - you're probably now thinking of the somewhat deranged, definitely bizarre Forsaken alchemist named Finkelstein that resides in Zul'Drak.

Yeah, this guy here:

Charming, isn't he?

Keep that image in mind.

Finklestein's test is pretty simple.  Take your hand, and hold it perpendicular to the floor, thumb up.  Have someone (like your doctor) grasp your thumb and bend your hand down towards the floor. If you're healthy, then this test - coupled with the standard query, "Tell me if you feel anything" - is likely to elicit the response, "Um.  No.  What are you doing?"

On the other hand, if you've managed to royally muck up the tendons that control your thumb, the query/response protocol is much more likely to be something like:
Doctor: Now, tell me if you feel anyth...
While I only have a sample size of 1, based on my experiences, I'm going to say that the above response is accompanied by a 99.9% chance of spontaneous levitation as the flood of pain signals to the brain cause immediate thoughts along the line of STRAIGHTEN OUT THAT WRIST! NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW! THE PAIN THE PAIN IT BURNS OUCH OUCH OUCH STRAIGHTEN OUT THAT WRIST NOW!

So, you see, I have absolutely no problem imagining that alchemist Finklestein had a hand in the creation of this test.  In fact, once my eyes uncrossed and stopped watering, I even found it mildly amusing.

Oh, one more thing - another term for DeQuervain's tenosynovitis is "gamer's thumb". Which is pretty ironic, since (a) I've had it for a couple of weeks now, during which my gaming time has been limited, and (b) one of the few times during the day that  my thumb doesn't hurt is when I'm playing Diablo III on my laptop.  Probably because I'm actually resting it on the trackpad at that point, instead of waving it around like... like... some digit or something.

Meh.  Time to dig up a spica splint, apparently.

Well, Whaddya Know...

Granted, I won on the random draw.  Fine by me! Besides, after perusing the blog posters who won on merit, I have to say... hmm, yeah, it's probably pretty obvious that I write code for a living.  The top three blog winners are all much more eloquent and skilled writers than me.  I mean, than I.

See what I mean?

Still very happy to win.  I'll take my Schlock goodness any way I can get it!

Nip It in the Bud

I've been starting to see (and hear) the assertion that Medicare and Medicade are the most efficient health care options out there.

Or... maybe not.

That's a link to Health Afairs, by the way - a peer-reviewed journal carried in multiple major medical journal indices.  Wikipedia notes that it was described by The Washington Post as "the bible of health policy".

Just sayin'.

A Surfeit Of Evil

Given how heartlessly Bain Capital kept a unionized steel company afloat for eight years, I thought I'd document some of the other ebil excesses of capitalism.

Like Tom's Shoes.  Providing free shoes and glasses to children in need?  Evil.

Or WorldHaus.  Low-cost, affordable modern housing for the developing world?  Eeeeeevil!

Gah.  Next thing you know, there'll be some evil capitalist company working to provide light and clean water in third-world locations that are off the local power grid!

Naughty, naughty, naughty capitalism!

So Let Me Get This Straight

The opening salvo in the Obama 2012 election campaign is that Romney was the evil, controlling, money-grubbing CEO of Bain Capital.

The proof?  They took a struggling steel company, got it an $86 million cash infusion, and then - get this - they kept it afloat and employing people for almost a decade.  Them were good union jobs, too, y'know - they managed to weather a 10-week strike in 1997.

Bain finally closed the plant in 2001, which was, oddly enough, two years after Romney left Bain. [1]  Apparently his cold, grasping, greedy Republican hands strangled the company from beyond the corporate grave!  Or... something like that.  Of course, Bain left the pension fund underfunded, which, as we all know, is one of those sure indications of incompetence and absolute malice.

Like I said: pure frickin' evil, man.

If I were feeling snarky, I might point out that the by Obama White House Metrics (TM), Romney and Bain could claim somewhere around 6,500 jobs "saved or created" (750 per year over eight years). Of course, it cost the government about $757 billion to "save or create" 650,000 jobs via the stimulus.  That's a mere $1.2 million per job.  Under Romney, Bain managed to do the same at the cost of about $14,333 per job.

Damn capitalists!

Obama 2012 : We're Only Two Orders of Magnitude Worse Than The Competition

[1] I've been doing some digging, but haven't been able to find out who the Bain CEO was in 2001 when the steel plant was shut down.  I'd like to know.  Just a hunch, but I'm betting that s/he wasn't one of those ebil, ebil Republicans.

Romney/??? 2012

Spent some time with my Dad this weekend, and as is usual, politics were part of the discussion.  I asked him who he thought might end up in the VP spot on Romney's ticket, and he had what I thought were a couple of reasonable suggestions.  Then he paused a second and said, "What about Hillary?"

Romney/Clinton 2012!


I can't imagine the circumstances under which such a thing would be possible... though after the 2008 Democratic convention, I can easily imagine Hillary chuckling evilly at the thought of pulling a few million of her supporters out from under BHO's thumb.

Shameless Corporate Shilling

Get your daily dose of Schlock in a concentrated, dead-tree edition! Pre-orders are open for "The Sharp End of the Stick", which encompasses what I happen to think is one of the best story lines from the 12+ year run of Howard Tayler's epical web comic Schlock Mercenary.  I'm writing this post to try and win my own, personal, dead-tree fix of Schlock.  Why, no - I don't have any shame.  Why do you even have to ask?  I mean, it's Schlock Mercenary.

What do you mean, you don't read it?

Wait... you've never even heard of it?!?

Well, then. Let me correct this appalling lack in your life.  Go ahead, start from the beginning.

Yes, the early artwork is... crude. Much in the same way that a tree limb wielded as a club is crude. It gets the job done, though, and the artwork quickly improves, as does the story line. Which, much like the previously mentioned club, is quite capable of scrambling your brain and make you go "Whoa."

Don't believe me? Schlock's been nominated for four Hugo awards. Count 'em, four.

How many have you been nominated for?

Yeah, thought so. Meanwhile, Schlock's hanging out with the likes of "The Forever War", "Gateway", "Ender's Game", "Cryoburn", "American Gods" and "Anathem".

Just saying'.

Over time, the art and story line have improved dramatically. To continue the weapon metaphor, by the time you reach the modern era, both have been through several tech upgrades. Howard quickly moves from that tree-limb club through various mace-like weapons until you reach the point at which Schlock is more of a hyper-velocity KEW than that rude club.

Yes, I am comparing reading Schlock Mercenary to being on the receiving end of a chunk of rock moving at a good percentage of the speed of light.  If you think that's a bit over the top, I'll direct you to Maxim 37
There is no 'overkill.' There is only 'open fire' and 'I need to reload.'
Howard Tayler opened fire June 12th, 2000. For more than a decade, he has repeatedly, consistently, and accurately managed to deliver his payload on-target: a top-notch SF story that rivals some of the best fiction you can get your hot little hands on, and which will make you chuckle, guffaw, laugh out load and often have you sitting on the edge of your seat, reading just one more strip before you... oh, crud, it's 4:30 in the morning? WHERE DID MY TIME GO?!?

Yeah. It's that good.

It Occurs to Me...

You can't spell "liberals" without "lies".

Just saying'.

Of course, you can't spell "conservatives" without "cons"...

Delayed Snark

I meant to comment on this particular bit of idiocy when it occurred:

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - A citizen with a gun stopped a knife wielding man as he began stabbing people Thursday evening at the downtown Salt Lake City Smith's store. 
Police say the suspect purchased a knife inside the store and then turned it into a weapon. Smith's employee Dorothy Espinoza says, "He pulled it out and stood outside the Smiths in the foyer. And just started stabbing people and yelling you killed my people. You killed my people." 
It's not the actual crime that made me wince... it was the reporting.

Police say the suspect purchased a knife inside the store and then turned it into a weapon.
Excuse me?  "Turned it into a weapon"?

A knife is a weapon. [1]

What's the world coming to when a crazed lunatic is capable of understanding that fact, but the police and/or media apparently manage to miss it?

[1] Yes, yes.  I know, it's a tool.  But as Wikipedia points out: "As a weapon, the knife is universally adopted as an essential tool."  It's the Razzles of technological progress.

Sarah on Ball Peen Hammers and Glass Houses

Or something like that.  Sarah's latest post is eminently readable, peppered with amusing terms like "Hopeful Stupidity",  and gets explains how the internet is ripping apart the carefully constructed "consensual reality" that The Right People would so desperately like us to go back to believing.

Of course, as she warns, nothing is easy...
Things are going to get much worse before they get better.  No establishment EVER goes down easy.  But in the end, hammer will always shatter glass.  (And isn’t it ironical that the originators of Hopeful Stupidity thought the hammer was theirs?)  Particularly when it’s a million pen hammers, wielded with gusto. 
Carry on my friends.  Aim for the shiny bits.

I now want a t-shirt that says, "Aim for the shiny bits".

Now, That's Leadership!

Earlier today, President Obama said, "I think same sex couples should be able to get married."

He just doesn't care enough about it to, y'know, actually do anything about it.

But he does care just enough to encourage you to give him money.

It's a very refined and - dare I say it - evolved position, don'cha know.

Life Preservers

Overheard something close to the following on talk radio this morning (Quinn & Rose, if you're curious). I'm paraphrasing, because I don't recall the exact words, but it was something like:
Romney's a life boat.  A life boat may not be the boat you want to be in.  But it can keep you afloat and give you the chance to get to the boat you want to be in later.
Ah-yep.  As noted In Jennifer's Head:

Romney is a long way from who I want in office.  But he’s not running for a single term.  He doesn’t want to piss the rest of us off before his re-election. I don’t think he’s stupid either.  He’ll pander, but I think we can be the people he panders to.  And the more crap the left throws at him, the less I dislike him.
Again, ah-yep.

Finally: do you feel as if you have no influence on the direction of the country?  As if your vote doesn't matter, because no matter what you do, the outcome is going to be the same?  That's learned helplessness.

Ask yourself who taught it to you, and who has the most to gain from your feeling that way.

Then, come November, go vote.

Linked List

Glanced at briefly, filed away for future reading, and presented here for your edutainment.

It Only Takes Three

"Alice's Restaurant".  Seems to be becoming something of a theme.

Get out and vote, you slackers.

As I've mentioned previously, I just don't understand the "I'm not going to bother to vote" contingent.  Spent some time venting over this with my wife last night.  Roberta X, being much more eloquent than I am, managed to make the argument much more succinctly:
Fix, no fix-- Doesn't matter. If you were drowning, would you struggle, or would you just close your eyes and sink quietly? You fight, dammit, or you might as well be a rutabaga.
Understand this, folks.  I have three little girls.  Lovely young ladies who are growing up big and strong and with a healthy respect for their God, their country, and the rule of law.  God willing and the creeks don't rise, my wife and I are making our best effort to make sure that when they step out of the house and into the great, big, wide world, they'll have their heads screwed on straight and their hearts in the right place.

If you're one of those people who, in a fit of pique, have decided not to vote, you're essentially telling me that you're cool with the idea that there's a good chance those girls will grow up in a world that bears little or no resemblance to the one you have enjoyed in your lifetime.  Best case, economic unrest and a depression that makes the 1930's look appealing.  Worse case, continued expansion of government power and control until the US of A starts looking more and more like the USS of R.  Personally, neither is appealing.

I have problems with the government spending my family, and my children, into a black hole of swirling, all-consuming debt.  I have issues with those who increasingly whine and yammer for Yet More Free Stuff (TM), because they've given up on managing their own lives.  I have nothing but despite for those who think that stealing from my children's future to fuel their lives today is a reasonable thing to do.

If you aren't even willing to expend the minimal amount of time and energy it takes to examine the major issues, make a decision about what would be the best path for our country, and exert the few calories it takes walk into your local polling place to cast a vote, then what you're telling me is that my children - all of our children - just aren't worth a wet fart in a rainstorm.  From where I'm standing, the difference between you and the "everything should be free!" looters is functionally irrelevant.

So, hey - if you've decided that the way forward in this country is to hang your hat and bow out of the fight... thank you for making your position clear.  You will be treated with all the dignity and respect you deserve.

Quote of the Day

On a comment from Mark D over at Neanderpundit:

As an aside, when people first meet me they think I’m a grouchy, cantankerous, anti-social old bastard. Once they get to know me they realize they’re mistaken.  My parents were married.

Paging Admiral Ackbar

In order to attack him, they have to listen to him...
“Start listening to Rush Limbaugh.” That was the message representatives from Media Matters for America and the National Organization for Women delivered to NOW chapter leaders in a secret, narrowly focused strategy session Wednesday night.


Yeah.  Increasing his market share.

I'm sure that will show him!

Quote of the Day

Seen over at Ace of Spades:
When a man wants you in chains, hand and foot, compromise is not agreement to ankle shackles only.

Unleash the Hounds...

... and let the mockery continue.  Via Moe Lane over at Red State:


The BO-2012 campaign [1] comes up with The Life of Julia, which explains just how wonderful the country is when your life is managed and facilitated by government.

Fortunately, David Steinberg notes that:
Right off the bat, “#Julia” trended to the top of Twitter as the second-most popular current hashtag in the United States; to the horror of David Axelrod and the increasingly dated tacticians of the Obama campaign, virtually every mention of #Julia was a conservative mocking the slideshow...
On my count, the last five hashtags introduced by Obama’s campaign have been instant public relations disasters; another smear tactic backfired into the legendary #ObamaEatsDogs. They keep trying, however, and that’s because propaganda, sloganeering, and various issues for rallying the rabble are the only weapon in the progressive toolbag.
What's the definition of insanity, again? It gets worse, though. As one commenter points out
“Julia first appears in Nineteen Eighty-Four at the age of 26, an enthusiastic participant in the ‘Two Minutes of Hate’ directed against Emmanuel Goldstein, a Party co-founder who claims the Revolution was betrayed”
Ok, everyone got that? The leaders of the statist vision of government in this country just tried to drop a bit of political campaign propaganda on us, but used a character out of a book that serves as a direct warning on the nature of overreaching suffocating government to do it.
... which actually takes this from being amusing, to being horrifying; because you realize that while the Obama campaign might not intend to make this sort of connection, they probably missed seeing it because to them, there's nothing wrong with it.

[1] Now that I think about it, "BO-2012" sounds like a disease designation, doesn't it?

On the 2012 Election

“Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win.”
– Robert A. Heinlein
I've come across some citizens online who are frustrated with the choice of major candidates this election cycle.  I've expressed mild disappointment with the slate myself.

Some of those folks are talking about voting for Obama, because if the choice is between destroying the country quickly and destroying the country slowly, they'd rather rip the band-aid off and be done with it.  While I don't agree with this premise at all - it smacks of despair and hubris to me - I can at least understand that point of view.

What gets my goat, though, is the "Well, I don't like Obama, I don't like Romney, so I'm not going to vote for anybody" attitude I've come across.

Seriously?  Folks - if you don't like either of the major candidates, you know, you can still vote.  If you're a hard-core leftist loon who's unhappy with the current administration because they didn't march us immediately into a socialist paradise, hey - go ahead, vote Green Party or Socialist this election.  If you're a small-government, right-wing nut job that can't stomach the thought of Romney because he's Obama Lite (TM), there's the Constitutional or the Libertarian candidate on the ticket as well.

It might not make a difference at all.  As R.A.H. points out, the game is rigged.  If I were you, though, I'd stop and think about just how happy it would make the Ruling Class to know that they finally managed to shut you up.

Gnaw on that thought a bit.  Then - come November - go vote.

Quod mea, ego Custodi

Sarah Hoyt expounds on property ownership, Marxism, morality... and the independent book publishing business.
Any author who isn’t at least experimenting with indie is a born slave...
Why?  Because what is mine, I keep.  My talent, my ability, my work, my CONTROL.  What is mine, I keep.  I can destroy it or increase it.  It’s my right.  I’m a free woman.  I grant no one the right to control me, or keep me, or impair me... 
There is no such thing with fairness.  There’s only this: 
What is mine, I keep.
Seriously - RTWT.  It's a most excellent piece of work.

In Yet Another Unrelated Incident

#OccupyCleveland protesters try to blow up a bridge.

Oh, wait, my mistake... as Jim Treacher notes:
Remember, everybody: Whenever an Occupier commits a crime, he’s not really an Occupier. All Occupier crimes are completely unrelated incidents, because shut up.
Actually, that seems to be a step up from their normal logic, which is generally just "Shut up."

How Do You Know When A Politician Is Lying?

An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.
A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.
He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.
Proverbs 16:27-30