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Month: June 2016

Tuesday links

Well, at least you might have some recourse if Microsoft sneak-upgrades your computer to its Windows 10 malware. This one’s for you who live within the New Madrid fault zone — or anybody who’s a follower of megaquakes and their lore. Britain is a part of Europe and will remain so, says Boris Johnson, former mayor of London, prominent figure of the “Leave” campaign, and possible successor to David Cameron. One of the few relatively dispassionate looks at key issues behind the Brexit. It wasn’t all just “hate!” and “racism!” on one side and “we know what’s good for you”…

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Weekend links

I owe hat tips for several of these items, but I’ve fogotton to whomm I owe them all, so please accept much general hat tipping. Preferring to avoid negative campaigning is one thing. Libertarian candidates sucking up to Hillary on media demand is another. Don’t care about the Brexit that’s consuming the world’s media right now? Well, how ’bout a Texit — a Texas exit? (I’m amused at those “constitutional scholars” who say a U.S. state can’t secede from the union. The constitution neither said nor implied that; only overwhelming military force said that. Doesn’t take any scholar to see…

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SMOD forever + cool binocs

Given the state of U.S. poly-ticks, I urge you not to forget the one truly great candidate. You can get your Sweet Meteor O’ Death bumper stickers here and your SMOD yard signs here. NFI on my part. Carl-Bear made and is selling these. —– Nearer to my heart, but also NFI (except in the sense that it helps The Zelman Partisans grow), are these new binoculars in the TZP store. Compact, slick, and so very useful. Limited number available. Get ’em while you can. BTW, thanks to The Amazing Jo Ann, we’ve now made it easier for people who…

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These are the times that try men’s souls

Thomas Paine wrote those words after the shooting had already begun at Lexington and Concord, after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a fact that always surprises me. We tend to think that by that time, the game was on, lines were irrevocably crossed, and everybody who was going to take a side and get involved was already committed. But not quite so.

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We of course haven’t even had our Lexington moment yet and frankly I pray we never do. Even in the best cases (and the American Revolution was certainly one of those), shooting wars ultimately play into the hands of the most wily statists. Who shoots first, shoots straightest, has the biggest weaponry, or has “God on their side” doesn’t always determine how free people are once the smoke has cleared.

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Midweek links

“Why Linkedin will make you hate Microsoft.” Wait. What? You don’t already hate Microsoft? But seriously, if they really do what this NYT article says they’re planning, we’re talking whole new levels. Wow. Beer can, mama bear, and don’t-forget-the-dog save a woman during a long ordeal. But note what she really wishes she hadn’t left at home. Have you ever sensed that Snopes.com, the great All-Powerful Fact-Checker of the Intertubz, sometimes needs fact-checking itself — particularly on political issues? Turns our you’re quite right. Look who’s providing those political “facts”. Makes me sad. Snopes has been a valuable resource and…

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It actually began with that smartphone

Today’s earlier post actually began with me thinking about my new TracFones. Then it went off in its own direction, as these things tend to do.

I was disgruntled a month or so ago when TracFone cryptically failed-to-announce that my ancient 2G phones (EDC and backup) were about to become obsolete.

But I’m quite happy about it now. For one thing, once I had new phones in hand, the changeover was automated and easy — as few things are with TracFone. But beyond that, the phones are a pretty big leap past the old Motorola flip-phone whose numbers were getting worn into blurs despite my ardent phone-avoidance.

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“If you’re living a normal life, you have nothing to worry about.”

“If you’re living a normal life, you have nothing to worry about.”

That quote, which appears in this Atlantic article, seems on its surface a mere variation on the old untrue truism “If you’ve got nothing to hide you’ve got nothing to fear.”

Bad, but not news.

But as the headline and theme of the linked article clearly show, data gathering and selling is now truly beginning to affect every aspect of our lives. And is doing so in ways that are used to judge us as “fit” or “unfit” to function in society — ways that permit no appeal. Often it’s done in ways that permit no knowledge of what’s being done to us. Increasingly, the definition of “normal life” is being judged by secret data and proprietary algorithms.

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Things Amazonian. And ghostly.

Last month, after Dave quit paying me to blog, you guys rose grandly to the occasion via Amazon. May was the best non-Christmas month ever. Not enough to make up for the lost income, but it definitely went a good ways in that direction. For which, many smooches. This month? Erm … not so much. I believe the word for it is “sucks.” Amazon has its natural ups and downs, so normally I don’t worry. But nothing’s been normal since that email from BHM. So I’m just asking once again. Whether you’re at a level where you’re Cookin’ With Beans…

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Gun-rights restoration when the cops don’t agree and the feds are sloppy record-keepers

I have a friend who’s a big, bad felon. You know, one of those eeeevil villains who’s not fit to own a firearm (Unlike Florida jihadi Omar Mateen, who was vetted multiple times by the FBI, found totally a-okay, and breezed through the NICS background check). My friend’s felony record still stands, but in the state where he now lives (not the one where he committed his savage depredations), he discovered he was eligible to have his rights restored. He went to court and he became a “real” citizen again. He was raised around firearms and always enjoyed them. Being…

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