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Month: July 2011

Responsibilities of a resident of the police state, part IV

Part I Part II Part III Changing perceptions at the end of empire Or It steamboats come steamboat time The empire demands obedience. But the more harshly it demands, the more desperate it is. A government that sends thugs to kick down people’s doors at 6:00 a.m. or that shuts protestors within barbed wire enclosures is a government that is frightened. And weak. Not strong. Our particular empire exists in the age of public relations. It realizes that We the Mob can be kept quieter longer via bribes than by oppression. But times change. The bribe money runs out. The…


Responsibilities of a resident of the police state, part III

Moving beyond misconceptions Comment threads on part I and part II were full of interesting insights. Well, comments around here nearly always are. But these were interesting for the mix of wisdom and folly they contained — both held with equal passion. When I challenged people (sarcastically, I admit) to point me toward a single local government that consistently and reliably obeyed the law, respected individuals, and kept within its bounds, people responded with exactly the sort of examples that proved my point. Yes, you can demonstrate that when local governments become sufficiently corrupt and abusive, angry voters will rise…



Crappy day today for reasons that will fade in importance in a few weeks or months. Not so big a deal. But I needed to work on something less brain burning than the third installment of the “Responsibilities in a police state” rant (part 1 and part 2 for those who may have missed them). So here’s Bradford, another late, lamented friend of a friend of mine. Bradford always liked to “help” pack up the plastic poinsettias after Christmas. I thought he looked like a statue, standing among the blossoms and greenery, so that’s how I drew him. Here’s the…


Sometimes things don’t go all that well (Linux Mint 11) (Harry Potter was better)

I installed Linux Mint 11 last night. And this morning. And again this morning. I think I’m done now. I’ve been using Linux Mint for several years and just loving it. It’s the most stable, most newbie-friendly, most media friendly Linux I know. Release 7 was terrific, 8 even better — and there I happily stayed until I began having browser woes. I knew there could be hassles jumping three versions forward, but Mint is so friendly I wasn’t worried. Ha! First time I tried to install, it insisted on a username and password long before any had been set.…


Sometimes there are good-cop stories

A few months back I told you a cute story about a good local cop. Here are a few additional local cop tales. Wish more could be like this: Not long ago one of the nearby town cops took the initiative to close off a two-lane state highway. A mama raccoon was crossing the road with a line of tiny babies. Said cop angled his cruiser across both lanes and kept his lights flashing until the little family made it into the underbrush on the other side. —– Last year, a teenage girl who felt unwanted by both her screwed-up,…


The First Annual Girls-Only Peep Shoot and Melon Exploding Expo

Well, maybe it’s actually the one-and-only Girls-Only Peep Shoot and Melon Exploding Expo. It was kind of an impromptu thing. Yesterday, my friends Gerri and Lorri (not their real names) and I braved rain and ankle-deep mud to spend a couple hours at a local quarry blowing away paper targets, those obnoxious little Easter Peeps, and (finally) rotten cantaloupes. The main purpose of the excursion was to get Lorri shooting again. Between the ages of five and 13 she was quite the marksgirl, taught by a loving father who liked to take her hunting. Then her dad dropped dead. She…


Harry Potter: seven movies in six minutes

Going to see the final Harry Potter movie this weekend? I am. It’s actually playing — wonder of wonders — at the local one-plex. I’ll skip the midnight show, but get there before the weekend’s out. For anybody who might have forgotten parts of the story over the 10 years since the first film (that would include me), here’s a video brush-up: seven Harry Potter movies in six minutes. You wouldn’t think it, but the movie mashup and narration do a great job — and don’t contain any spoilers for movie #8.

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Thursday miscellany

Prosecutorial misconduct brings a mistrial in the Roger Clemens never-talk-to-the-feds case. How come we never see the feds on trial for lying to us? (ADDED: Good commentary.) Gary Marbut — bless his bold and principled heart — does it again. This time, he makes the Wall St. Journal. “The Good Short Life.” Touching. Cops are at it again, too. Portable facial-recognition and iris-scanning devices. Another gift of USACorp’s perpetual war machine. While junque shopping, I really would have bought that set of five poker-playing dog prints (especially “Pinched with Four Aces.”) They were too expensive (and does anybody really need…

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Responsibilities of a resident of the police state, part II

This wasn’t actually intended as part of the “Responsibilities” series. But it’s related and I had to get it off my chest. So consider it a mini rant within the larger rant, an interlude, or whatever you like. —– I have a question for the folks who are always saying we can end tyranny (or corruption or government overspending) by a) keeping an eagle eye on “our” politicians and b) voting the rascals out of office. Ready for the question, you advocates of politician-watching? Here goes: The governments of your city and your county are as uncorrupt and responsible as…


Responsibilities of a resident of the police state, part I

First they came for the … One of the hardest things about living in a police state is watching other people be crushed by state power and feeling unable to do a thing about it. We read Pastor Neimoeller’s famous lines as a warning to ourselves. But really, there’s not much chance of heeding the warning in a way that changes anything — except perhaps for the worse. If the police state is as ruthless (and as popular among the citizens) as Hitler’s, speaking out is only likely to get the speaker rounded up along with all the other “enemies…