May 31, 2012

So long, May

A TMR bonus factoid: When she married Sammy Davis jr. on November 13, 1960, interracial marriage was illegal in 31 states.

How Many Poles Does it Take...

Okay, it was the dumbass move of the month, this "Polish death camp" line our dim president threw out. It wasn't a mere "gaffe." He read it from his teleprompter, meaning it was written by experts in demagoguery, edited by even greater authorities on the art of bullshitting voters, and, finally, approved by the handful of high courtiers allowed to walk into the Obama Oval Office without knocking.

None of them, not even His Ineptness himself, had a neuron jiggled by the inherent dangers of an adjective, in this case "Polish."

Politics being the street brawl that it is, Romneyites are within their rights to kick the Obama campaign wedding tackle. True, the mouthpieces of the left are going blue in the face screaming that the GOP should retire to a neutral corner while the Obama seconds sponge him off and apply styptic powder.  Wouldn't they just.

It will all die down, leaving His Ineptness with fewer Ski votes this fall. And leaving some of us slack-jawed in amazement at the things the American electorate and its  media find crucial.


Here's what happened, Bunkie: About 73 years ago a country called Germany, led by a guy called Hitler, had a friend called Russia. Together, they raped a country called Poland. A domestic dispute occurred and Germany wound up running things in Poland. Among the innovations there were "death camps," conceived and operated of the Germans, by the Germans, and for the Germans. The camps wrecked unbelievable horror on millions of innocents who happened to have the wrong religion or the wrong genes or the wrong profession.

Hence "Polish death camps" -- a central event in the defining years of the 20th Century. It was universally understood that the term referred to German evil which, as a matter of Nazi convenience, was perpetrated across its border with Poland. It was simply more efficient to put ovens and torture chambers close to the target demographic.

By 1944 or '45 German guilt was in all the papers. No one  qualified to appear in public without a minder thought otherwise. Even many dues-paying members of the teachers' unions knew it and taught it.

Times change. History gets muddled, as do educationists, journalists, and grasping parasites of the political class. And so a great international debate flares over what, not much more than generation ago, would have been a phrase objectionable only to the most anal grammarian at Miss Porter's Country Day School.

Meanwhile, Rome-on-Potomac burns because math is a lot harder than squalling about ethnic insensitivity.  (cf: fiat money, debt)

This is not to let His Ineptness off the hook. He has one and only one profession, the politics of power. He and his elite panderers to public opinion of the moment are rewarded beyond Midas dreams to appear Christly at all times to even the looniest understandings held by blocs of the voting public. It's Propaganda 101, Mr. President. You flunked.

Now, as a practical matter, guys nicknamed Ski don't constitute the most important part of your electoral base. But, out of pure human kindness, may I suggest that you don't repeat the error.

For instance, if one of your crack speech writers gives you a draft containing "Negro lynchings," you might want to rephrase.

May 30, 2012

It's the law!

Found in the crawl space under the shop. It's decorated my loo for years, a reminder to myself that I am quite the criminal when I test fire .22s in the gun room.

Until the early 1960s, Camp J was a pasture. Land was cheap. Even so near the nice water, even within the village limits,  it was economical to  reserve grass and burr oaks for the contentment of cows.  I suspect the farmer erected the sign to protect his herd from the autumn invasion of bookkeepers and insurance peddlers who might mistake a Guernsey for a  grouse.

Shots Fired!

I'm in my gun-tinkering room. I've reshaped the lips of the Colt Huntsman magazine. I check my work by unloading five fast ones into a big billet of oak. Three minutes and 55 seconds later I'm cuffed up and a cop is reading me my rights.*

I've been ratted out by a geek in Mountain View.

It's the latest  Telescreen precursor, called "ShotSpotter, an aural triangulation system  made mighty by the magic of communications satellites, the GPS,  and warp-speed computing.  If it isn't universal yet, it 's not for lack of desire by cops, prosecutors, and the company that owns the system,

Trusted members of the Outer Party visit your neighborhood and nail sensors to utility poles, buildings, and so forth. The gizmos hear a shot and instantly inform the watchers who, again with speed-of-light communications, tell the local cops. The company propaganda boasts location accuracy of within a few yards. It's a real crime-stopper.

So was the Tell-All Tube in the shabby room over the antique shop where Winston boffed Julia.


The Times superficially reports the usual privacy vs. security debate, which is revealing in itself because, wonder of wonders, the same system can also record conversations.

Sam Sutter, the district attorney in Bristol County, Mass., called ShotSpotter “an extremely valuable tool” that had helped his office bring charges in four nonfatal shootings.

“In my view legally,” he said, “what is said and picked up by the ShotSpotter recording does not have the expectation of privacy because it’s said out in public, and so I think that will turn out to be admissible evidence.”

The company jumps on that PR problem:

James G. Beldock, a vice president at ShotSpotter, said that the system was not intended to record anything except gunshots and that cases like New Bedford’s were extremely rare. “There are people who perceive that these sensors are triggered by conversations, but that is just patently not true,” he said. “They don’t turn on unless they hear a gunshot.”

Very reassuring, James. We are relieved that your bug is so limited that there is no way on earth to tune it to pick up conversation without an announcing gun shot.  I hope someone alerts me when your technology advances to that point so I can be careful  to say nothing seditious in the public space which I usually refer to as my front yard.