But not for much longer.

A Useful Legal Analysis of Self-Defense with a Vehicle

Considering the Sage of Knoxville's recent suggestion to keep moving if surrounded in your car, Andrew Branca, a lawyer who specializes in self-defense law in the US, provides a quick analysis of how self-defense laws would be applied in the case of blocked highways and riots.

Here's a taste, but the whole thing is worth reading over at Legal Insurrection:

In short, one would apply the usual five elements of a self-defense justification to evaluate such a use of force against others, just as in any other instance of self-defense. Those elements are, of course:  innocence, imminence, proportionality, avoidance, and reasonableness. 
When all required elements are present, the use of force was legally justified. If any required element is missing, whatever that use of force might have been it was not lawful self-defense. 
One of the challenges to legally justifying the use of force against highway blockades is the element of imminence. Do people who are merely blocking a roadway represent an imminent threat against which some defensive force might be justified?  
A second challenge is the element of proportionality.  That is, if the force contemplated to be used against them is one’s vehicle, this will almost always constitute deadly force–that is, force capable of causing death or grave bodily injury.   Deadly force can be used in self-defense only [when] the force with which you are threatened also constitutes deadly force.

Taking Trump Seriously...

...but not literally. The Atlantic makes a distinction between the press and those who attend Trump's rallies in how they are taking him. The press doesn't take him seriously, only literally. The people at his rallies turn that around.

The Hazards of Incomplete Planning

Planning a home invasion? Let's go through the checklist:

House has enough stuff to make it worth robbing? Check.

Do we outnumber the residents? Check.

Did we bring guns? Check.

Hey, did anybody stop to see what state we're in? Georgia?


Another Ring on the Equinox

I took this yesterday evening ...

According to the All-Knowing Wikipedia:
A great deal of folklore surrounds fairy rings. Their names in European languages often allude to supernatural origins; they are known as ronds de sorciers ("sorcerers' rings") in France, and Hexenringe ("witches' rings") in German. In German tradition, fairy rings were thought to mark the site of witches' dancing on Walpurgis Night, and Dutch superstition claimed that the circles show where the Devil set his milk churn. In Tyrol, folklore attributed fairy rings to the fiery tails of flying dragons; once a dragon had created such a circle, nothing but toadstools could grow there for seven years. European superstitions routinely warned against entering a fairy ring. ... 
Western European, including English, Scandinavian and Celtic, traditions claimed that fairy rings are the result of elves or fairies dancing. Such ideas dated to at least the mediæval period; The Middle English term elferingewort ("elf-ring"), meaning "a ring of daisies caused by elves' dancing" dates to the 12th century. In his History of the Goths (1628), Olaus Magnus makes this connection, saying that fairy rings are burned into the ground by the dancing of elves. British folklorist Thomas Keightley noted that in Scandinavia in the early 20th century, beliefs persisted that fairy rings (elfdans) arose from the dancing of elves. Keightley warned that while entering an elfdans might allow the interloper to see the elves—although this was not guaranteed—it would also put the intruder in thrall to their illusions.
The folklores of the British Isles contain a wealth of fairy lore, including the idea from which fairy rings take their name: the phenomena result from the dancing of fairies. In 19th-century Wales, where the rings are known as cylch y Tylwyth Teg, fairies were almost invariably described as dancing in a group when encountered, and in Scotland and Wales in the late 20th century, stories about fairy rings were still common;some Welsh even claimed to have joined a fairy dance. Victorian folklorists regarded fairies and witches as related, based in part on the idea that both were believed to dance in circles. These revels are particularly associated with moonlit nights, the rings only becoming visible to mortals the following morning. ... 
Many folk beliefs generally paint fairy rings as dangerous places, best avoided.... Superstition calls fairy circles sacred and warns against violating them lest the interloper (such as a farmer with a plough) anger the fairies and be cursed.... Even collecting dew from the grass or flowers of a fairy ring can bring bad luck. Destroying a fairy ring is unlucky and fruitless; superstition says it will just grow back.
A traditional Scottish rhyme sums up the danger of such places: 
He wha tills the fairies' green
Nae luck again shall hae :
And he wha spills the fairies' ring
Betide him want and wae.
For weirdless days and weary nights
Are his till his deein' day.
But he wha gaes by the fairy ring,
Nae dule nor pine shall see,
And he wha cleans the fairy ring
An easy death shall dee.
For better or worse, I saw no faeries.


The end of this summer is more welcome than I can possibly convey.

The Sage of Knoxville Suspended from Twitter

I don't use the platform, which strikes me as ridiculous -- 'let's have a conversation in 140 characters or fewer!' -- but InstaPundit is as non-radical as they come. In the very near future of America, though, a law professor with even slightly unacceptable views will be forced out of the public space.

Tossed in the "basket of deplorables," I guess.

UPDATE: Apparently reinstated, provided he deletes what offended them. That was a suggestion that protesters shutting down freeways should be run down. It's a stupid tactic of protests, one that really does get people killed in terms of ambulances not being able to reach hospitals in time. If you are willing to kill people to make your point, you can't complain too much if they're willing to run the risk of killing you right back.

We're rapidly getting close to the point of real conflict.

UPDATE: Apparently his university is now investigating him.

Rolling South

Going to go meet my new niece tomorrow, the one who was born the same day that Dad died. If I hear another man say, "Oh, the circle of life!" I swear I will break his jaw. I won't hit a woman, no matter how many say it, but you men should know they've used up my patience for you. Somehow, "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away" does not provoke the same wrathful reaction from me, but I'm about done with the secular metaphor.

All the same, I'm looking forward to meeting her. I've been saving gasoline for days so I could make the trip, us having the Mad Max thing going on in Atlanta since that pipeline burst in Alabama. As of today, they've got a bypass rigged up, so within a few days we'll have gas available again. Right now, we don't, and the city's pretty dry.

No problem. I've still got five gallons in reserve, over and above a full tank.

UPDATE: I guess we're having riots in Southern cities like Charlotte, too. Maybe Atlanta tomorrow, I guess.

Well, that's a small matter compared to the gasoline. I'll take appropriate precautions.

Another Military Times Poll

Johnson, Trump in statistical tie overall. Clinton leads Trump among officers (but both lose to Johnson). Trump devastates Clinton among enlisted (and barely beats Johnson).

Among the front-line branches, Army prefers Trump to Johnson by 5 points, and Trump to Clinton by 16 points. Marine Corps goes Trump by clean majority, 24 points over Johnson and 40 points over Clinton.

There's Something About Her...

Watch the debate audience burst into laughter and boos when this politician tries to tell them that Hillary Clinton is "honest."

Twenty years ago, when Hillary Clinton was unaccountably put in charge of 'health care reform,' she dispatched agents across the land to hold town hall meetings to explain her arcane plan to ordinary Americans. A much-younger Grim attended one of these meetings in Gainesville, Georgia. The earnest young spokesperson they had sent tried very hard to explain all the graphs and charts about how this plan would make sure we got health care.

It was, in fact, a very complicated approach she had devised, and it was clear the audience was very skeptical that this giant new bureaucracy would work well. Finally, in exasperation, the spokesperson said (I quote from memory):

'Look, the thing you have to understand is that from now on you'll get whatever care you need, and it won't cost you anything!'

The auditorium broke into such peals of riotous laughter as were a joy to hear.


So, years ago now, Cassandra and I had one of our regular disputes over the trailer for a Pixar movie. (T99 wrote about it too.) Neither of us had seen the movie; both of us meant to do; but life is complicated, and I never got around to it. Not until this weekend, that is.

It turns out that we were all right, more or less. Cassandra nailed the basic plot (snot-nosed girl and overly controlling mother learn to respect and forgive each other through conflict). The portrayal of gender stereotypes was just as expected: the men were all oafs, loud and foolish, brash and ineffective. They somehow managed to repel invasions of Romans, English, and Vikings off screen, but it's not clear how since they were undisciplined, enthusiastically violent, but dangerous to nothing except the furniture. The Queen and the (warrior) Princess exercise all of the effective agency in the movie, determining everything that happens. (The only male figures who can accomplish anything turn out to be the triplet baby boys, who are another stereotype: 'boys will be boys' hellions who are constantly in mischief.)

This scene more or less captures the whole of the film:

The movie still manages to be charming in spite of having lived down to all of our expectations. There are some scenes that are downright funny. Too, the bold Highlanders may be oafish fools, but they are beloved by the women, and it is even possible to sense why at points. In an early scene, when the Queen is bossing the very young Princess about, the husband steps in and wins the girl a little space for her un-ladylike impulses. The Queen protests, "She is a lady!", and suddenly jumps and squeaks -- the husband, adults in the audience will realize, has just goosed her behind. The look on the Queen's face shows that she appreciates, to some degree, the reminder that he knows something about ladies.

There is another similar scene between the Queen and her husband later. Still, when she and the Princess get into a gigantic fight, he goes to the Queen and has her talk it through with him, listening to her patiently as she rants about what her daughter won't stop to hear her say.

So the stereotypes are just as expected, but it has its moments.

Trump and Aristotle

I'm not really going to talk about Aristotle, of course, or I'd be breaking Grim's rice bowl.  Still, he does come up in this Politico article about Trump, which makes several interesting points, including the following warning about what happens when we assume only the state can solve collective problems and ignore the natural functioning of private institutions and voluntary associations:
To its credit, the Democratic Party has made the convincing case, really since the Progressive Era in the early part of the 20th century, that the strong state is needed to rearrange the economy and society, so that citizens may have justice. Those who vote for the Democratic Party today are not just offered government program assistance, they are offered political protections and encouragements for social arrangements of one sort or another that might not otherwise emerge.
But where does this use of political power to rearrange the economy and society end? Continue using political power in the service of “identity politics” to reshape the economy and society and eventually both of them will become so enfeebled that they no longer work at all. The result will not be greater liberty for the oppressed, it will be the tyranny of the state over all.

11 Times the President Ran Down America

Today, that is. In his final address to the United Nations, at least until he becomes Secretary General.

I'm still pretty excited about seeing the word "final" attached to Obama's appearances as President.

I Think We're All About There

Milo decided on an obscene response to a "triggered" protester.

I was raised to be a gentleman, and for the most part I still am gentle with people. However, the last couple of years have been very draining on my patience for some of this nonsense. It is more of a struggle to be courteous than it once was, though I still try.

What A Moron

We're also very very lucky that the attackers tried to use explosives rather than guns.

— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) September 19, 2016
In the deadliest mass shootings in America in living memory, only one has topped 50 dead -- the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Only five have topped 20 dead. Add up those top five attacks, and you get 152 people killed in the worst mass shootings we've had in our lifetimes here.

In Oklahoma City alone, 169 people were killed by one bomb.

Regularly in Iraq we would see dozens of people killed by truck bombs -- VBIEDs, as we called them. Pull one in a crowded market place, maybe 80 people would be killed in a second. You never saw numbers like that from gun attacks ("SAF," for "Small Arms Fire").

Don't wish for bombs. We're very lucky that most of our crazies here still want to shoot you. Then they have to kill you one at a time.

You even get a chance to fight back.

Smart Power

Ahead of the Jewish new year next month, the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv sent gift baskets to a number of Israeli organizations, as it does every year. Among the recipients was Peace Now, a group opposed to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

There was only one problem - among the gifts in the basket was a bottle of wine made in an Israeli settlement....

An embassy official confirmed the baskets had been sent out, saying they were purchased from a vendor who put together the contents, which were not checked before distribution.

"This should in no way be interpreted as a change of our policy on settlements, which is long-standing and clear," the official said.

Good Guy with a Gun

Score one for the NRA.
USPSA Shooter, 3-Gunner, and NRA-certified firearms instructor Jason Falconer has been identified as the man who shot and killed a 22-year-old Somali immigrant who went on a stabbing rampage inside a St. Cloud, (MN) Mall on Saturday.

The apparent terrorist—who apparently asked victims if they were Muslims before stabbing them—was engaged by Falconer inside the mall.

Falconer is the president and owner of Tactical Advantage LLC, a shooting range and tactical training facility with a strong focus on arming concealed carriers. He’s also a former chief of the Albany (MN) police department, and he remains a part-time officer.

But Falconer has consistently been identified in the mainstream media only as as a “former police chief” and “off-duty police officer.”

Yes, Exactly

Taleb is right, as he often is.

I would resent being told how to live even by people who were perfectly right and competent to do it. No one likes to be mothered past a certain age, not even by your mother. What's really aggravating about the current case is the attempted mothering by the likes of the Obamas, Hillary Clinton, or Ezra Klein:
[T]hese self-described members of the “intelligenzia” can’t find a coconut in Coconut Island, meaning they aren’t intelligent enough to define intelligence hence fall into circularities — but their main skill is capacity to pass exams written by people like them. With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3 of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers (or Montaigne and such filtered classical knowledge) with a better track record than these policymaking goons.
The same is true of the ilk of Lois Lerner. They're willing to be vicious to us to enforce their power to order our lives, but they're completely clueless about how to improve anything they touch.

Problem Solved

DB: "Marine Corps exceeds gender quota by ordering men to identify as female."

The only problem is now they have to give those 'guys' four and a half months off for maternity leave.

Dr. Jill Stein on Clinton, Russia, SCOTUS

Charles Krauthammer and she are apparently alumni of the same school. He has a question for her: won't you feel bad if you get Trump elected?
"I will feel terrible if Donald Trump gets elected and I will feel terrible if Hillary Clinton gets elected," Stein said.

"Equally so?" Krauthammer asked.

"Yes," she said. "Hillary Clinton wants to start an air war over Syria with a nuclear-armed power [Russia] with 2,000 nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert. Given Hillary Clinton's record not only in Iraq, but in Libya, I think this is as dangerous as it gets."

"Donald Trump wants to bar Muslims from entering into this country, but Hillary Clinton has been very busy bombing Muslims in other countries," she said.
The woman loses me when she starts talking about making Medea Benjamin the Secretary of State. Clearly I don't agree with her on a lot of issues. On the other hand, she's an honest woman -- and she's clearly the outlaw candidate, having a warrant out for her arrest even now.

They asked her about that too: "I think we're in a crisis situation, which I do not take lightly.... bulldozed gravesites... loosed attack dogs... putting at risk the water supply, not just for the Standing Rock Sioux but for 17 million people downstream...."

Assuming she believes all that honesty, and she does seem to be an honest woman, spray-painting a bulldozer is if anything a weak response. Thermite would have been better.

Oh, and DNC / Jeh Johnson and pay to play: "Pay to play is the name of the game these days. We can look at the Clinton Foundation. I think the American people are very uncomfortable with the blurring of the lines between p ublic interest and private interest... to exert that interest behind closed doors... big banks, the power of the health insurance companies that have had a hand in creating Obamacare... the American people are really being thrown under the bus by what they see as a rigged economy and a rigged political system...."

She's no Trump fan, as she goes on to paint clearly. No, she's running on her own. She won't win, of course, but there's a chance she's the best candidate left standing.


Is that you?

A photo appropriately taken by a whisky distillery worker on Loch Ness.

Title X

Apparently attempts to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving funding have just been made illegal.


Hillary Clinton is the Queen Birther, the mother hen of the movement. It came out of her campaign's astroturf efforts to smear Barack Obama as un-American, because her campaign manager had decided that was the way to win.

Here's the memo.

The primary astroturf outlet was Hillbuzz, "Founded and edited by Kevin DuJan while working on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008."

You can find tons of astroturf rumors there, not just birther stuff: just search for terms like "Obama gay", or "birth certificate", or other similar things. The stories are still on the internet.

Now, the Hillary campaign (of 2016) would have you believe that they employed this guy, but that he did all this research and writing on his own time, on a website named after her, without their knowledge or support. None of that time-consuming research and writing happened on the clock, no. And it's just his initiative that caused him to build a website designed to imply that there was grassroots support for her, which was a major part of her approach to not conceding the nomination during a long fight. Oh, and this astroturf site's main thrust -- questioning whether Obama was an American -- happened to be literally in line with the core strategy for discrediting Obama that her top campaign officials came up with.

Yet of course, we are going to be told that the only acceptable position is that Hillary Clinton had nothing to do with this. And that she has pneumonia, and nothing else. And that she was cleared by the FBI in its investigation of her.

UPDATE: Further confirmation from McClatchy's former editor. It's as if they think that none of us were there at the time, or won't remember how it happened -- or, in the case of Hillbuzz, can't just go look it up because it's all still there on the internet.

UPDATE: A second confirmation from a journalist that the story was pushed to them by Clinton operative Sid Blumenthal.

Colin Powell's Leaked Emails

I expressed disappointment with Colin Powell in an earlier post for explaining to HRC how to use email to get around records laws, so I thought I would cover his leaked emails where he defended himself, and provided tasty soundbites, as well.

According to an Intercept story on them, Powell's defense is that he viewed email more like a phone call than a cable machine, so the written record was not important. He used an AOL account for non-classified communication and the State Department computers for classified, so he didn't violate security rules. He also claims he discusses the situation in greater detail in a chapter of his book, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership.

In one of his email, he also added, Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris.” And then, “I told you about the gig I lost at a University because she so overcharged them they came under heat and couldn’t any fees for awhile. I should send her a bill.”

Update: Richard Wolff's Guardian article on the topic doesn't add much that's new, but he shows a remarkable self-awareness as he writes:

To be clear: hacking personal emails is reprehensible, and those behind the hack are scumbags who are trying to manipulate American voters.

To be doubly clear: the news media (including this column) have no principles and no shame in exploiting the ill-gotten product of those scumbags. Guilty, as charged.

And yet the Powell emails are so insightful and direct, it seems a shame – even if we have no sense of shame to let them pass by without comment.