Interesting post

An Interesting Post from Kim du Toit:

On the spirit of the 3rd Amendment. I'd like to ask our lawyers their thinking on his interpretation.

On the one hand, I like where he's going in terms of an appreciation of the Founders' devotion to "negative liberty," the best kind. On the other hand, the Amendment doesn't actually say "no agents of the state may observe you without cause," but rather, "the state shall not quarter soldiers in your house." The state does not do so, making the Third perhaps unique in that it is a point of the Constitution that the government obeys entirely and without exception.

How good is the argument he makes, then, as a point of interpretation? Given that the goal he describes is laudable, is it better to assert that the 3rd covers it -- or to push for a new amendment to cover it? It seems like one area where we could find a fair amount of common cause with our friends on the Left -- at least as long as Bush remains president; I suspect at least some of them who are expressing outrage over FISA etc. would be mollified by having Ms. Clinton in the White House. It's a point I think is important, however, regardless of who is in office. Surely at least some of those on the Left would feel the same way.

I've been thinking a lot about political reconciliation lately. It seems to me that, if we can ask it of the Iraqis, we can ask it of ourselves. Finding points of agreement on basic liberties, and pushing to secure them, seems like it would be doubly useful. It might restrain the government; and it might bring us back together somewhat as Americans.

Heart Bleeds

My Heart Bleeds:

A reader sends this story about ammunition shortages for police:

Troops training for and fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are firing more than 1 billion bullets a year, contributing to ammunition shortages hitting police departments nationwide and preventing some officers from training with the weapons they carry on patrol.
Here's a little concept I've been working on: if police departments armed themselves like cops instead of carrying military-spec weapons, this wouldn't be a problem. I have yet to hear of the ammo shortage on .357 Magnum or .38 Special rounds. That cop busting caps out of his M-4? That's a choice he or his department made. They could have chosen a civilian-style rifle instead, and would find that there was no shortage at all of .30-30 Winchester cartridges.

Of course, they'd have to admit that it's perfectly honest for a cop to carry a revolver, a rifle or a shotgun like any other civilian, instead of being tricked out like a G.I. Joe Commando. The military gets first dibs on military weapons in wartime. That's just the way it has to be.

Here's another concept: maybe this isn't the time to shut down our native ammunition plants with punitive new regulations. Just a thought.

Exercise sucks

Experts: Exercise is Bad for You

That, at least, is the only message I can take from this article:

Deer hunting could be a dangerous endeavor for men with heart disease or risk factors for it, research findings suggest. In a study of 25 middle-aged male deer hunters, researchers found that the activities inherent to hunting -- like walking over rough terrain, shooting an animal and dragging its carcass -- sent the men's heart rates up significantly.
That would usually be described as "aerobic exercise," which is supposed to be the remedy for the health conditions mentioned in the article.
In general, the researchers found, deer hunting put the men's hearts under more strain than the treadmill did.
Headline: Deer Hunting Excellent Exercise! (Sidebar: Eat Lean! Eat Venison!)

No, of course not. That might encourage people to do something un-PC -- play with guns, kill animals, that sort of thing. That musn't happen at any cost.

SWJ Mattis/Kilcullen

Small Wars Journal on Mattis, Kilcullen:

The SWJ Blog has a piece contrasting David Kilcullen's work with that of USMC Lt. General Mattis, the top COIN expert in the Marine Corps. Mattis serves as both Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command and Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force.

The question at issue is how to best attack the al Qaeda narrative, which is indeed the central question in the global counterinsurgency. Give it a read.


With Respects to the Lady:

I trust Ms. Althouse has sufficient reason for her ire toward the blogger at Firedoglake, which site seems to direct itself to providing ire and cause for it. Nevertheless, I must object to this phrase (mentioned by Instapundit):

Oh, the hell! He's in Georgia. He's in Georgia, insulting Wisconsin? Well, now, it's a war between the states!
Readers of this blog know that Georgia is my home, and the center of my patriotism. Without any disrespect towards Wisconsin, which must have some good qualities, I would gently request that the state of Georgia be left out of this quarrel.

Arizona's Grand Canyon may dwarf Providence Canyon in pure size, I confess. Perhaps there are some Carribean islands that compare to Cumberland Island, where once I stood off the stallion of a herd of wild horses. The mystery of Fort Mountain, with her 855 foot defensive wall that Cherokee legends attribute to a lost and ancient people, may be equalled elsewhere. I know that North Carolina's Grandfather Mountain is at least the equal of our Brasstown Bald; I have seen him clad in thunderstorms. Cloudland Canyon must have some equal in the Rocky Mountains.

Virginia, which gave us Washington and Jefferson, might claim to be the better of Georgia, though she gave us James Jackson. Perhaps there are Americans who fought more valiantly in our several wars than the men who fought to defend Georgia at Chickamauga. Perhaps some of them were General Oglethorpe and his band of Georgia Mounted Rangers, still in service in today's National Guard, who stood the Spanish off the colonies in 1742. Speaking of Oglethorpe, perhaps there was another man who founded a colony for as good a reason as his: to give the working poor of England a chance to escape the debtor's prison, and start a new life in a new world.

I suppose Harvard and Yale claim some precedence among American educators; well, I've argued about that from time to time. Giving them their due, whatever it is, it was the University of Georgia that was America's first state university. But there are other great colleges elsewhere; fair enough.

If Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi, yet there are states to the West; if Amicalola Falls is the tallest falls on this side of the country, yet there are others as tall or taller. If Doc Holliday was a native of Georgia, Wyatt Earp came from elsewhere; though if there has been a Senator in our lifetimes who spoke his mind more directly than Zell Miller, I have missed it. For that matter, our Dr. King also spoke his mind once in a while; and while cities from Montgomery to Boston burned in the civil rights disputes, Atlanta was "the city too busy to hate."

I have no quarrel with the idea that another place may be the equal or even the better of Georgia, on this or that particular point. Taken all together, though, there surely can be no place on earth, not even Scotland, which has so many fine qualities; nor can there be one that has inspired so fierce a loyalty in her children.

I trust the lady will understand. Whatever quarrel she has with others, with Georgia I hope she will have none.
A Funeral we can all Enjoy:

My friend Bill Roggio tells me that the Moro Media Center has released a celebration of the life of Khaddafy Janjalani, also known as Abu Muktar. He was killed some time ago, and there have been DNA tests to confirm his status (i.e., dead); but the formal recognition of his "matyrdom" by Abu Sayyaf is a pleasure to behold.

Besides, it dovetails so nicely with this month's "Schlock, Mercenary." Let's all take a moment to enjoy a good funeral.

Facial security

Facial Security:

I'm of two minds about this story:

Next time you go to the airport, there may be more eyes on you than you notice. Specially trained security personnel are watching body language and facial cues of passengers for signs of bad intentions.
On the one hand, body language is a very good way to get a read on someone's real intentions. It takes a lot of effort and training to overcome the natural, normal language (although actors can do it; it's not something that requires brain power, just practice).

On the other hand, it seems like the stress of airports could lead to a lot of false positives. Like if you were a father traveling with a four-year-old boy who kept dancing through the lines and pulling at people's luggage. I would expect a whole squad of police to be dispatched if someone got a look at your face while you were eyeing the miscreant.


I Take it Back: I Want a Draft France. If only so there will be a few thousand fewer reporters out there who could let this slip through.

From now on, nobody gets to be a war correspondent unless they've actually fired a gun. Or at least seen one fired in person. I mean, come on.



Mostly it has been too hot to think lately. Not being able to think, however, invites you to enjoy what is for me a rare pleasure: watching television. We don't have cable or other TV here, as I can't see any reason to spend the money on it. The only things I liked to watch were sports and old movies, and for what it costs to get even basic cable, I can buy the movies I want on DVD. So, I almost never see any television.

However, inspired by finding that George and Gracie show a few weeks ago, I looked to see if I could locate other old programs. I have found a source for a truly great one: the Firefly of the '50s, Maverick.

Maverick is mostly known today through the Mel Gibson movie of several years ago, which was pretty good; and through the one DVD available, with three of the series' episodes. Though two of the three episodes on that DVD are quite good, they don't do the whole series justice because they focus on the comedy of the program.

Consider "Day of Reckoning," which has some very serious moral commentary on issues of courage and rhetoric. Contrast the newspaperman, who has the right principles but lacks the courage to back them up, with Maverick, who lacks the right principles but has the necessary courage. The description the newspaperman gives of his failure of courage is one that anyone who has faced serious danger will recognize: for an audience of WWII veterans, it was a portrayal they could respect and understand.

Something similar is at work in "Passage to Fort Doom," where a man wins back the love of his wife. She had taken a lover, and the two plotted to murder her unimaginative, boring husband; but, seeing how he stands against danger and the lover flees, she begins to reevaluate her decision. Her husband receives her renewed love warmly and, not knowing the other man was her lover, tells her not to be too hard on the one who ran -- for he, the husband, 'thought of her watching him,' while the other man 'had no one he had to be brave for.'

The complexity of that moral issue is created by the fact that the woman knows that the other man did need to be brave for her, and ran instead. It underlines something else about the nature of courage: that it is often not about fear, but about duty. The man who stood was scared, but felt his duty to his wife and to the men beside him, and remained at his post. The man who ran either felt no such duty, or was unable to put that duty before his fear.

I think it's fair to say that the folks of the '50s had a more mature and developed sense of relations between men and women than is common today. For that matter, women characters in the series are on a wider range of types than is common now. You get spirited, talented women, and women who can outsmart the men, as is currently the only kind of woman permitted on a television series. But in the 1950s, women characters were allowed to be weak and foolish as well. They are occasionally so foolish, as the wife above, as to make terrible mistakes; and yet, sometimes, to redeem themselves.

Of course, in a series that ran three seasons, some episodes are better than others; I thought "Escape to Tampico" was one of the best until the last few minutes. "Duel at Sundown" is only amusing, but it does feature a very young Clint Eastwood in a highly unusual role -- that of a swaggering coward. If you do happen to pick up the DVD, "Shady Deal at Sunny Acres" is beautiful to behold.

If you find yourself with a few hours to spare while waiting on the heat to break, you might want to give these things a look. If you want to watch it 'on the big screen,' you can download the whole thing before watching it by clicking on the "Download" button. If you don't mind the small window, you can also stream it.

Alaska - Choice of Arms

Choice of Arms -

All right, I have arrived in the Frozen North, and will soon be a householder again. In the coming weeks I mean to look about me for some weapons. I haven't had privately owned weapons in about three years (moreover, the weapons I did own were inheritances or gifts, meaning that I do not have experience in shopping for firearms). I am looking for some advice.

I am not a young person and I am not a hunter. I do like long walks and don't look for trouble. I am over 6' tall but I don't like recoil for the sake of it - recoil that is needed for stopping power, that's a necessary evil. I don't intend to put together a large collection - I simply want a last line of defense against any charging moose, grizzly bears, or "two-legged rats" that I can't avoid or escape.

My prior experience is with various handguns - I especially liked the Ruger SP-101 (pocket-sized .357; I typically fired .38's out of it) - and with military-issue rifles and carbines (M-16, M-4; I liked firing them but do not have direct experience with their stopping power). I very much believe in regular practice, so I want the ammunition to be reasonably priced. I also believe in regular maintenance, and in having time for good books and weblogs and marital bliss and so forth, so something that is easy to take apart and clean in a reasonable time is a definite plus. I had a few bad firing-range experiences with jamming semiautomatics, so that I'm prejudiced in favor of revolvers, but might be talked out of this prejudice.

What I have in mind is one weapon for animal defense, and one for "human defense." Now some say that a large-caliber handgun is good enough for the bears; others that you need something bigger (whatever I have needs to be reasonably transportable - no native bearers here - so that it will actually be on my person in the event of something unpleasant). What do you say? What weapons do you recommend for someone like me? Do you have any tips on shopping? Also - if I need to do some reading and research to make a good choice - where are the best places to go for that?