Sasquan post, obligatory

It’s been an interesting week and a half. School starts this Tuesday, but I didn’t have a job lined up yet as of ten days ago (and the spousal unit was getting worried about that fact). The septic system had a pump die, needing replacement. And Sasquan, the World Science Fiction Convention that was being held in Spokane this year was fast approaching. The latter normally wouldn’t mean much, except that this year I had been nominated for the John W. Campbell award for best new SF writer, and my publisher had encouraged me to go. Continue reading

YA beta-readers needed

I’m looking for a few guys in the 12-18 age range to be beta-readers for my new book. It’s basically done, but I can always use more input. If you are (or know) a YA male who is looking for a story about a young man doing adventurous things without a lot of angsty naval-gazing or silly romance garbage, but with more independent / libertarian themes than most current offerings, head on over to The Stars Came Back for details.

 

Who pays?

Somebody always pays. ALWAYS. Maybe not now, maybe not in obvious ways with a bill in the mail, but there is always a cost when the government does something. Some spending is reasonable, the cost known, understood, and generally agreed to and agreed upon. We can quibble over particular programs or numbers or actions, but nearly all serious people agree that some government spending is a cost we should bear, and paying taxes for it is the way to get it done.

But virtually nobody in politics at the national level is addressing the big-picture elephant in the room. We have a huge official debt (national, state, municipal), staggering future obligations (SS, other retirement plans, etc), and are running an absurdly large annual federal deficit. Simple mathematics says it cannot continue. That which cannot continue, won’t. Continue reading

OK, THAT’S an “arsenal”

Frequently the media throws around words in a hushed tone about the things they are reporting as thought they were impressive. “Arsenal” is one of those words that normally draws an eye-roll from any sort of serious gunny, along with a derisive comment about it being less than they took to the range last week.

In LA police are reporting that a home they investigated after they found the owners decomposing body had 1200 guns and a couple of tons of ammo.

OK, I’ll allow that that’s a modestly impressive collection that could reasonably be called an arsenal.

Some writers can write

Well no duh! I can hear you say. Every different community has its issues, events, and disputes. Being somewhat more than a mere spectator but less than a main combatant is an odd and interesting place to be.

The recent and ongoing kerfuffle in the sci-fi community between the SJW’s and and the Ilk of the Evil Legion of Evil has been educational, and many fascinating words are being spilled. Take, for example, Brad Torgerson, one of the principals in the whole Sad Puppies affair. His recent post titled Flaming rage nozzles of tolerance is great. Kind of long, but he does a good job of breaking down the current “we must blame ourselves for everything” SJW narrative-driven mindset as a modern secular take on Original Sin, and the competing with the free minds of people responsible for their own actions and nothing more. Well worth the read.

Huh…

It looks like I made the final ballot for the Campbell Award for best new sci-fi writer. With only one published book (and one short story, also in the same universe) I figure I’m a long shot, even if I have a re-write, a sequel, a prequel, and a children’s historical book scheduled for this year. In any case, even getting to the final ballot short-list is an honor… Well, interesting, anyway. No clue what the competition is like, but it should be fun to watch unfold. I can almost hear some brains exploding from here.

Also on the list: Wesley Chu*, Jason Cordova, Kary English*, Eric S. Raymond (*Finalists in their 2nd year of eligibility.)

Mixed words on making the short list for the Prometheus. But as I hear the competition is strong this year, so I’m a long-shot there, too. But how many people manage to make both a “best new X” list at the same time they make the list for some other category in the field competing against long-time pros?

Just getting nominated for either award is proof the universe has a twisted sense of humor. If I happen to win, I know that my little corner of the cosmos is a very strange one. Not a bad one, mind you, just more than a little bit odd.

Stolen government money

It seems that someone just embezzled three billion dollars from the US treasury. Well, actually, it was some insurance companies, and the Treasury just cut them checks. And it wasn’t authorized by congress. And the treasury told congress to go piss up a rope when they said “you can’t do that!” That story and other bureaucratic contempt for the law here.

The rule of law is dead, unless some pols and appointees start going to jail, or otherwise paying for their crimes against the people.

Appliances

Guns are, in a manner of speaking, an appliance. They have a function, and they do it well, for a very long time under most usage rates. The technology is pretty straightforward, the cost is competitive, the technology generally improves with time, and they are easy to operate.

Major home appliances? Not so much. Continue reading

Prometheus

Cool. Very cool, and very unexpected.

Just got word from Vox Day that The Stars Came Back has been nominated for a Prometheus Award for this year. It’s the award given by the Libertarian Futurist Society.

Past winners include Sarah Hoyt, Harry Turtledove, L. Neil Smith, Vernor Vinge, Terry Pratchett, Ken MacLeod, Poul Anderson, James P. Hogan, J. Neil Schulman, and many more big names. Even if I come in last place, just being nominated to potentially stand amid such a group of names is quite an honor.

Kafkatrapping

I came across a great new word today at ESR’s blog. “Kafkatrapping

The term Kafkatrapping is based on the story “The Trial” by Kafka. (whole story here)

The definition: a form of argument that, reduced to essence, runs like this: “Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…} confirms that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…}.”

There are several variants of it explicitly discussed and described in the blog post. Well worth reading. We run into it a lot from the left, and among anti-rights activists generally.

Needing clarity

There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth over what to do with the “terrorism done in the name of Islam” problem in the wake of the recent events in France, just as there is after each such event. Many talking heads say many things, but mostly their words shed darkness rather than light. The first step in finding a solution is properly defining the problem. Without clarity, there can be no visibility.

I have a simple proposal:

The next time there is such an event in a western nation and we can positively identify and surround the perpetrators before they are dead, we offer them this deal: Drop their guns/bombs and hold up their hands and surrender with the remaining hostages unharmed, and they can be tried in the Sharia court of their choice, with the following caveats: the trial must be started within one year, the verdict delivered within two years, and the court must be formally recognized and approved of by at least two leading national Islamic leaders in the Islamic world (such as the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and the Ayatollah of Iran, or similar) who acknowledge in public, in the nation’s native language, to the people of their respective nations, the court’s legitimacy.

Either they find the perps not guilty and we can have an official Islamic court ruling that Sharia is utterly incompatible with western culture, laws, and values; or they are found guilty and executed, and we have an official Islamic finding that terrorism and murder is forbidden under Islam. If no leading scholars will recognize the court publicly it will be a tacit admission they want it both ways – be legal in Islam, but not have the west see that.

Either way, the clarity such a decision would provide would allow the appropriate battle-lines to  be drawn, so the proper war could commence with sides more clearly delineated.

Tweakage haiku

Lower back spasm
Collapsing in agony
Gravity wins again

Or perhaps a limerick is better:

There once was a spasm near lumbar
That dropped a man down for a tumbler
He whimpered in pain
As he stretched out again
On the floor where he might have to slumber

Yeah, your lower back going out on you with a muscle spasm is really a pain. Basically a day stretched out, where any little twitch or twist might send it back into spasm, while icing it and taking pain killers and an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen. Eventually I was able to get to the PT to get a slightly rotated vertebrae back in place, and the ER for a shot of industrial-strength muscle-relaxer / anti-spasm meds and painkillers. Then a slow recovery; last time it was about a week to get to 75%, then another month or so until I felt pretty much 100%.. I’m up to walking around without a cane, most of the time. The only good part about it was that this time it happened in the house, so I wasn’t stretched out in the neighbor’s driveway starting up at the trees. It must have been accumulated stresses, because all I was doing at the time was picking up a little bit of spilled cereal off the floor.

I guess it is time to start taking the stretching, lower back, and core muscle exercises more seriously, and pay attention to any lower back stiffness and be proactive with the ice and ibuprofen. My dad had some intermittent back problems 30-ish years ago, and my brother a couple years ago, my other brother 4-5 years ago (and they are ~30, two, and four years older than me, respectively).

First 594 casualty

I-594 has claimed its first casualty, even though it doesn’t go into effect until December. A museum in Lynden, WA, is returning some WW II rifles it was loaned, loans which would become problematic once the law is in effect. So, people going to the museum will not be able to see the parts of history they once could. I’m sure you feel much safer now.

The push to marginalize guns and gun owners, to make them seem “other,” different, freakish, and strange continues.

Veterans Day

It’s here again. Thanks, all you servicemen, current and former.

Google at least sort of recognized it this year, though they had to give it their PC twist by having the female in uniform standing out front saluting, even though men make up ~85% of the US military.

My kid’s school is starting a new tradition, the “wall of honor,” giving a small paper “brick” for each relative the student has who has worn the uniform. It was interesting looking them over, and seeing a number of name clusters where it’s obviously a family tradition. It also makes you realize how small a percentage it represents.

Looking at my own history, I served in the Army Reserve.
My dad and his brother both served in the Army (drafted in the 50s).
My brother-in-law and another uncle on my mom’s side were career AF.
My grandfather served in the cavalry in the 30s, and the Coast Guard in WW II.
A great uncle served. Another great (great?) uncle was even in the Spanish-American War. A great aunt was in the WAAC in WW II. Considering how few people I know anything about in my family history, an awful lot of them spent at least one enlistment in uniform. No spectacular war stories, just a lot of “been there, done that, did my part, moved on.”

Again, thanks to all those who have done their part in serving this great nation.

Keep and bear, not use?

Interesting news story yesterday. The Seattle police had sued over the new “use of force” rules, saying in part that it violated their 2nd Amendment rights.

The judge’s decision came down, and she (judge Marsha Pechman) dismissed the suit. According to the KOMO article :
The judge also dismissed the officers’ constitutional arguments, saying that while the Second Amendment ensures the right to keep and bear arms, it doesn’t protect the right to use the weapons.

Ummmm…. Excuse me? That’s like saying you have the right to free speech as long as you don’t say anything.

Random election thought

The Dem election machine has been touting a massive database of voter information, allowing them to micro-target voters.  The early version was used by the Obama-bots in 2008, then a more refined version in 2012. It has incredibly detailed info on each voter.

Google and Facebook are operated by well-known lefties.

Speculation/question: How much of the incredibly huge and detailed amount of data that these two organizations collect on individuals could be / is funneled into a politically-driven marketing database that would help the Dems figure out the exact right email to send to get them to the pols?

Scary thought.

What are the more libertarian / conservative sources for similar purposes?

Just say “no” to liberal-owned data-mining companies.

A bad free speech decision

Another court case over at Volokh. Bible Believers v. Wayne County (6th Cir. Aug. 27, 2014). Some true believer bible thumpers went a-preaching at a huge Michigan Arab festival. They got balls, even if they might be shy a few common sense points.

Any-hoo, they carried their signs, wore their shirts, did their preaching. The Muslims assembled took offense, and a lot of their kids (naturally) started getting actively hostile (always use kids, so if the cops crack heads it makes for good propaganda videos). The cops told the Bible Believers to shut up or leave. The Bible believers said they had first amendment rights. The cops said “leave or we’ll arrest you for disorderly.” The court agreed. Reading the decision excerpts, the court has an argument, but I think the defense / dissent (the Bible Believers) has a much stronger argument.

Be a good case to appeal, especially if they win. If they don’t, then the incentive is for the hostile Muslims to get REALLY hostile to shut down opposition.

Incentives are important.