Press "Enter" to skip to content

A Friday ramble

First, thanks for all the advice on hosting sites yesterday. I still haven’t decided, but your recommendations have helped (and are helping) me refine wants and needs for the new site. Right now it’s between HostGator and Hawk Host (recommended by Tom Knapp and Brad R, respectively) and HostWinds (not recommended by anybody but coming up to the top on a lot of my criteria).


Attended an event yesterday at which the Republocrats and the Democans had competing back-to-back booths. Nice high wall between them to avoid riots among competing factions of statists, but still amusing placement.

It was obvious that the poor volunteers were being barraged with protests against their presidential candidates. At the first anti-Hillary remark, the chief Dem volunteer launched into an obviously rehearsed spiel about how desperately — desperately! — important the downticket races were: “I understand you not wanting to v*te for Clinton, but look, we have these vital county commissioner races, and boy are they ever tight. You should still v*te, you know. You wouldn’t want the Rs to win, would you?”

The volunteers on the R side of the barrier took a different tack: “Okay,” said the first one, “we don’t like Trump very much, either. But the thing is, with Hillary, you already know what you’re getting. With Trump, at least there’s hope.” She clasped her hands as if in desperate prayer, “And we have to have hope, don’t we?”

“Don’t forget those Supreme Court justices,” a second volunteer reminded.

But the R’s didn’t have any “Hillary for Jail” bumper stickers. Alas. So I walked out into the blazing sunshine and let politics burn off my skin.


Finally, a ray of sanity — and actual thinking — from somewhere in academia. The University of Chicago, in the voice of its dean of students, informs incoming freshmen:

You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort.

Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called “trigger warnings,” we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual “safe spaces” where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.

Glory hallelujah!


The documentary Of Dogs and Men (originally known as Puppycide when it crowdsourced funds a couple of years ago), is available online and will soon be on DVD.

The trailer is intense. Though I donated to the fundraiser, I’m not sure I’ll be able to bear watching the completed film.

I’m glad to know it’s finally made it out, though.


And happy birthday to Linux. Linus Torvalds’ little hobby project turns 25 this year.


Interesting study in perceptions of risk. (H/T TF)

People have become hysterical about protecting children against the nearly non-existent risks of normal, healthy things like walking home from school or playing without eternal supervision. The moral outrage is often absurd to the point of calling the cops over nothing.

So researchers looked at the “moral outrage” aspect, testing subjects’ perception of risk to children based on parents’ alleged motivation for leaving their offspring alone. Unsurprisingly, they found subjects perceived kids to be in greater danger when (for example) a parent left a child alone to visit a lover than when a parent left a child alone to tend to some necessity. But overall, a lot of moral judgment prevailed even when real danger was minimal.

The researchers seem quite sane and sensible and concerned about the criminalization of ordinary activities. Good for them. Interesting read.

OTOH, is there really anything irrational about perceiving that a child is in greater danger in situation X, Y, or Z based solely on a parent’s motivation for leaving the kid alone? A parent who leaves a child alone to visit a lover, buy drugs, or have a drink in a bar does put a child in greater danger. Maybe not in any given moment, but in general. Because they’re probably poor parents.


Finally, here’s a long but fascinating rumination on the terrifying airport shooting … that wasn’t. By someone who was there and who observed the behavior of the dangerously panicked crowd from the inside.


  1. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty August 26, 2016 8:10 am

    I very much suspect that most children ARE at higher risk when left alone, especially in cities and large metro areas. It’s a combination of a great many things, of course, and no one size fits all. But the prevailing lack of personal responsibility, ability to defend oneself and others, and the perverse incentives of government control and “protection” are at the core.

    Children are no longer taught personal responsibility much at all, and the government school works hard to wipe out what parents may attempt to teach. All of the “politically correct” insanity is exhibit A.

    Adults in those places are so often prohibited, restricted, discouraged and shamed… even when not shot, jailed and bankrupted – for any attempt to defend themselves and their families against free lance robbers and murderers, let alone those with a costume and a badge. The very idea of mere children attempting (and, horrors, succeeding) self defense is seen as a problem even among some who accept the idea of adults defending themselves.

    And so, at least in those places, it seems crazy to think that children would be at little risk playing in the streets or anywhere adults accept that the small relative risk actually makes carrying a gun (or the futile idea of having more police coverage) advisable! Some of us think that includes EVERYWHERE, but I suppose we’re just paranoid… And, of course, those of us who go armed do so to help keep the children safe as well as ourselves.

    How can anyone think that a young person below a certain (and variable) age has no need for strategy and tools for self defense? Defenseless children are ideal victims – especially if they have something like an iPhone or whatever that can be stolen – and their age does nothing to protect them.

    But it goes back to personal responsibility of individuals, the parents for their children. As with anything else, the intrusion of government into controlling individuals, children and their parent’s relationship with them, just makes everything worse. Parents need to assess the risk, make their own decisions about what their children do, and take personal responsibility for the consequences.

    The learning curve would be terrific now, but the result might be a return to relative safety for children to play baseball on a dead end street, climb trees in the park, and swim in the scummy pond at the end of the road. I did all that and more as a child, without anyone calling the cops or CPS, and so did my children. It’s certainly something to think about.

  2. Bill St. Clair
    Bill St. Clair August 26, 2016 9:21 am

    The Vermont governor’s race this time is a rabidly anti-gun democrat and a normal Vermonter republican. I’m actually tempted to register to vote, just so I can vote against the anti-gunner.

    Vermont is communist in many ways. But guns have never been one of them. It was, after all, called “Vermont Carry” before so many other states joined the party and renamed it to “Constitutional Carry”. It would be horrible for VT to join MA, NY, and NJ in gun infringements as well.

  3. LarryA
    LarryA August 26, 2016 10:39 am

    Agreed, ML.

    Back in the day (1980) “Childproof your home” had just become fashionable. A couple we knew had done so. In spades. Attila the Hun couldn’t find a dangerous object in their home.

    Then their kid started kindergarten. He didn’t know how to avoid getting booboos. He didn’t know what to do when he got a booboo. (Cut = bandaid. Splinter = tweezers. Bruise = it’ll go away.) His parents didn’t know what to do when he got a booboo. (Our home is childproof, why do we need first aid skills?) What a disaster.

  4. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty August 26, 2016 11:06 am

    Yes indeed, Larry. My first daughter-in-law was of that mind too, and even worse about keeping her first two children (both girls) from ever encountering a germ… The first child NEVER was allowed to even crawl on the floor. Needless to say, she grew up with constant colds and infections, never having developed a healthy immune system. The second girl was not nearly as much restricted, so fared better.

    I could never convince the mother that she was setting her children up for a lifetime of ill health. Then, when the boy was born, my son put his foot down and the child grew up almost normally… And he’s the healthiest of the lot, of course.

    But helicopter parents (and grandparents) are not really new. My mother-in-law WOULD have called the cops and CPS, if that had been an option when my sons were small. She came to visit one day and found them playing on the gigantic manure pile in the barnyard. Only grandpa – a much more rational person – prevented that situation from coming to blows. For some strange reason, she never visited again. 🙂

    The boys grew up healthy and happy…

  5. cm1
    cm1 August 26, 2016 9:17 pm

    I was a latch key kid in the first grade. I locked up the house, walked to school, came home and set the table for dinner. Everything went fine except for a two week period after my poor teacher said; “If you you can’t come on time you should just stay home.” I had been prying stuck pennies out of parking meters so I could buy a cherry pie for $0.12 on the way home, making me late. I took her at her word for two weeks until the next door neighbor got into a conversation with Clif the Cop at the corner and checked on me LOL She was mortified, so I promised to start out earlier to allow for the extra time. Thanks for the memories.

  6. M Ryan
    M Ryan August 27, 2016 9:42 am

    I do hope that when you art the migration of your site it goes well and thanks for posting the University of Chicago letter to students, that made my morning. Glad to see at least one university isn’t part of the CLAMs.

  7. Claire
    Claire August 27, 2016 10:26 am

    Thanks for the good wishes, M Ryan. Despite the worst efforts of the existing host (which I may blog about later; pretty funny stuff), and with the best efforts of those dear freedomista techies, we’ll get the site migrated and running soon.

    Apparently not everyone is as overjoyed as we are to see sanity from academia:

  8. Claire
    Claire August 27, 2016 10:27 am

    Shel — Ohlord. Spare us.

    Even if the gov-o-crat Perry “means well” … sigh. People will die if the ‘crats succeed. We all know that; why don’t they?

  9. John
    John August 27, 2016 7:25 pm

    Sorta in context of the U of C event I’ve tried without luck to share a “New Atlantis” release. No luck but not wishing to try more, least I flood comments if they are backlogged?

  10. Claire
    Claire August 27, 2016 7:39 pm

    Sorry, John. It wasn’t a matter of comments being backlogged. Your earlier attempts went into the spam filter. I pulled one out and deleted the extra copies. Sometimes that happens to comments with links in them.

  11. John
    John August 27, 2016 7:53 pm

    Sorry for the clutter! Just one little comment intended! I earlier entered “none” in the website window and my name posts in blue and links to “none”. Joy! Next comment I left it blank. Maybe that was why “spam”? Anyway I feel like a klutz, but it will pass (I hope).
    Thanks and,
    Best to you!

Leave a Reply