I’ve settled on Brad Thomas’s “Admired” with the light white skin as the new theme for this blog. It’s a relatively new theme and is being actively maintained with a support forum. which relieves my main worry about my old Live Steam theme – it’s not going to fall out of sync with the WordPress engine any time soon.
I put a significant amount of effort into finding a theme that could carry forward the clean, minimalist look of Live Steam. It wasn’t easy; most WP theme designers are in love with styles I find fancy, fussy, and overproduced. Even the default skin on this one is a bit too heavy for my taste, but the light white skin and a bit of font tuning has produced a look I find satisfactory.
Not perfect, though. The designer made a common mistake – too much use of px dimensions in the CSS. The result is poor presentation on displays that are either extra large or have a higher than 72dpi pixel density, like my Samsung SyncMaster 1100DF. Also the design is a bit too whitespacey, though not nearly as bad as the WordPress default TwentyEleven theme I had previously been experimenting with.
I’ll be doing some bug-fixing and tuning to fix these problem (and will push the changes upstream to the designer, if he’ll take them). So you may notice the look of the blog shifting and tightening up in subtle ways.
For those of you interested, I’ve put my variant of the theme on gitorious at
If you tried to clone one of my previous theme repos and got a permissions failure, it’s because I slipped up and gave out the form of the repo URL that only a committer can use. The above should work for anyone, not that there are any changes there yet. There will be shortly, I’m going to start on the px dimension cleanup today.
(Yes, I do install new theme versions in my blog’s copy of the theme with git pull. Run remotely via ssh – look, ma, no hands!)
I can understand the frustration with WordPress as a platform. It got too heavy around 2.x or thereabouts and the themes kept getting outdated too quickly with the blog engine itself. Like you I found themeing to be a big issue – especially because the canned themes are not particularly appealing. I switched to b2evolution after that – but only after I wrote my own quick-and-dirty database converter. But even in b2evolution themeing is too PHP heavy. Finally I wrote my own blogging software and find the freedom it offers excellent.
Though I’ve not worked out a separate templating system that keeps PHP away from HTML, still it’s not that bad: all I need to do mostly is to change the CSS around to get different look and feel.
I like this current theme chosen here. It is better than the old one in many ways. As such, it keeps the spirit of simplicity while adding features.
bring back black text, please
As I said in the last blog, I basically like this theme; it is nicely readable.
I have a point and a question. They are totally off-topic. There have been opportunities when I could have raised them, recently, but I wasn’t looking during these times. So…. consider this test data for the new theme.
@esr (or anyone that knows the answer)…
The point is: For a long time, I had accepted the idea that having an armed citizenry was at least some defence against tyranny. Then (a number of years ago, now), I found our about Iraq. Apparently, at least while Saddam was the man, a large majority of adult males in the country owned guns. It didn’t seem to protect them from living under a dictator. I am guessing this is because individuals with guns have the odds against them when dealing with groups of cops/troops and huge numbers of cops/troops that back them up.
The question is: I can understand
but what is the meaning (then and now) of:
>but what is the meaning (then and now) of: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, ”
To understand this. you need to know two things:
First, in the English of 1781, “regulated” did not mean “government-controlled” as it usually does today – the entire mind-set behind the modern usage would have struck the Framers as horrifying and tyrannical. It meant “well-trained”.
Second, the “Militia” referred was not, as many lying anti-gunners would have you believe, the National Guard (which wasn’t even created until the early 20th century). It referred to both “organized” militias, military units raised at state and local level for local defense, and the “unorganized” militia. The “unorganized” militia is, under Federal law, all males capable of bearing arms between the ages of 17 and 45.
As to Iraq, it shows that while civilian arms are necessary for the defence of liberty they are not sufficient. Which is not breaking news.
You may or may not be taking requests about widgets. If so, I’d love to see the recent comments widget in the sidebar. If not, no worries.
Will this theme eventually allow commenteiat to edit out their own mistakes, and continually update their current pravda?
>Will this theme eventually allow commenteiat to edit out their own mistakes, and continually update their current pravda?
Probably not. I’m looking into live previewing, though.
Live comment previewing is now enabled.
re: regulated Militia
Thanks. I appreciate your reply.
With live previewing, the preview covers all the text (but not all the buton) on the “Post Comment” button (Fedora 16 XFCE Firefox 8).
Only the font choice appears a little too large by default – I find it looks much better if I Ctrl- several times on my Chrome browser. Otherwise I like the new theme.
Which plugin adds those thumb-up and thumb-down buttons? Are you planning to use it for comment rating or commenter reputation?
>Which plugin adds those thumb-up and thumb-down buttons? Are you planning to use it for comment rating or commenter reputation?
It’s called commentsvote, and it may not be useful at all with nesting turned off. I’ll investigate.
Also, I am seeing the same live preview issue as Brian Marshall on Firefox 10.0 and Chrome 17.0, windows 7.
Ah, good, looks like we’re settling down. I’ve updated my site with a new killfile Chrome extension that works with the new theme.
Anyone who wants it can grab it here: http://www.generalcriticism.com/projects/software/killfile
One comment I have on the new theme is that it does seem to eat quite a bit of memory.
One tab I had open (with the latest smartphone wars page) was taking up more than 70 meg by itself.
Brian, the clause “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, ” in the Second Amendment is a clause which explains the justification for the following main clause. Prof Eugene Volokh did a paper that you can find on his home page linked off of the Volokh Conspiracy blog where he shows contemporary examples such as a similar explanatory clause in Pennsylvania’s constitution in front of a freedom of speech right.
The clause in more modern language says that the purpose of the right of the people to keep and bear arms is because a well trained / well drilled militia is necessary to the security of a free state.
It looks like the blog homepage now has an empty <title> tag.
I really do not understand how being protected by a well organized army called “Militia” is different from being protected by a well organized army called “Armed Forces”?
In my book, an organization with its own military is simply equal to a state.
>I really do not understand how being protected by a well organized army called “Militia” is different from being protected by a well organized army called “Armed Forces”?
maybe you can see it as a fallback for when the army decides it’s going to replace the elected government, as in a military coup, or something similar.
Another small comment about the new theme (to “un-hijack´´ this thread ;-) ) –
The homepage of the blog seems to have lost its attribute (using Firefox 3.6.26 under CentOS 6), and individual pages have their set to the individual thread titles. I do not see “Armed and Dangerous” anywhere except in the actual text of the homepage.
Just my $0.02.
>The homepage of the blog seems to have lost its <TITTLE> attribute
I don’t know how to fix this. Is it a functional problem?
Whoops! Markup error (pebcak) in my previous post. Corrections:
“to have lost its attribute” => “to have lost its <TITLE> attribute”
“have their set to” => “have their <TITLE> set to”
P.S. I don’t see a “preview comments” button or other control.
>P.S. I don’t see a “preview comments” button or other control.
I removed it, because it was stepping on the submit button. I’ll try to find another that plays better with this theme.
>>The homepage of the blog seems to have lost its attribute
>I don’t know how to fix this. Is it a functional problem?
Actually the attribute is there, but its value is the empty string.
Other than potentially hurting your google juice a bit, there is probably no functional implication.
Winter, many of the “Founding Fathers” of the US feared a standing army. They thought that a standing army was a threat to the freedom of the people as the standing army’s officer corps would become a power center itself and threaten the state with coups that overturned the democratic institutions. For this reason, they favored a militia form of military defense that would lack the permanent officer corps that was the threat. Further, the fact that the militia had to be specifically called up in a crisis would further restrict the ability of potential tyrants to employ it.
Somehow, the US later created standing army and inculcated in it a subordination to civilian authority that has survived to this day. You of course can see examples of what the Founding Fathers feared in South America, Portugal, Spain, Greece etc etc.
esr, I’ve always thought comment voting kinda lame.
The only actual functional implication would be in using a tabbed browser. I use an extension in Chrome/Chromium that adds the URL of the site to the titlebar to make the browser play nicer with KeePass/KeePassX, so it isn’t a problem for me, but I could see where others would have a problem: without the extension, finding which tab contains the “Armed and Dangerous” homepage would be a bit of an Easter egg hunt, especially since there is no longer a site logo icon.
How does creating a new army protect against another army you created before? That is my main problem with this discussion.
>How does creating a new army protect against another army you created before?
I think the assumption there is that your “new” army, the militia, is more “of the people” than the “the army you created before”, which is possibly a professional army, and/or one where loyalty shift towards the army in itself rather than the people it’s supposed to defend.
I think Switzerland has a similar approach, where every man, after a short training at age 18, is considered to be ‘in the army’ until age 45 while they just go on with their lives. In Belgium, when we still had general conscription, the justification for that too was that it’s good (for a democracy) that an army consists of ‘the people’.
It’s supposed to introduce an extra democratic check, rather than having professional soldiers who’d follow orders , “just doing their job”. I think a militia is supposed to have a similar function.
>How does creating a new army protect against another army you created before?
I believe you are confusing yourself.
The Founding Fathers were very literate men, and determined to avoid as many as possible of what they saw as the mistakes of the past and encourage/emulate as much of what they saw as good in the past. This isn’t a question of “multiple armies”, the question is what is the desired way for a nation to ensure its security, and the liberty of its people.
The FF wanted, desperately, to avoid Praetorians. (See Latin America, Greece, Turkey, Pakistan, etc) Their ideal defense model was the moderately prosperous free citizen, who could and would be able to serve as a soldier at need- the citizen-soldier model. It worked for the Golden Age Greek city-states, it worked for Republican Rome. Remember, the militia is every able-bodied male of military age. “Regular” forces were to be kept as small as absolutely necessary.
Winter writes “How does creating a new army protect against another army you created before? That is my main problem with this discussion.”
I guess I’m not understanding the question. The idea was that there wasn’t any “Army” created before. No standing army. The concept was that in a crisis, the militia would be called up, fight the battles and disperse to retire to civilian life. The militia were never to be full-time soldiers.
There were obviously flaws to this approach that were recognized at the time and became more pronounced in later history when soldiering got more technical and required skills that needed more training.
A few societies adopted variations of the idea – the Swiss to an extent. The Israelis later adopted a very different variation – the Israelis approach to the whole civilian / military dichotomy thing was to make everyone military in outlook.
An interesting add-on to the concept of citizens being called up to fight and then going home again, is that the authority to call up, train and field subsets of the general unorganized militia- that is, to create and field units of “organized militia”- was left in the hands of the states. That is, control over actual military power was to be devolved as much as practically possible to prevent the central government from having a monopoly of force. More balancing of powers.
Actually most browsers (including Chrome) default to the URL of the site if no title is found. So, for the homepage of Armed and Dangerous the tab is labeled ‘esr.ibiblio.org’.
Indeed, I see that. I’d prefer ‘Armed and Dangerous’ in the tab, but I can live with it. The problem is when I’m looking at a specific post, the name of that post appears as the title in the tab (this works on Chrome and Dolphin HD) which is IMO not desirable.
I love how the new theme works better on mobile. Personally I would consider cutting down on some of the margins/padding in the comments section.
>I love how the new theme works better on mobile.
According to the author that was one of his design goals.
>Personally I would consider cutting down on some of the margins/padding in the comments section.
I’d love to, but the way this theme is constructed makes that complicated. I think the CSS is actually generated whenever you tweak theme options, so plain edits to the CSS will get clobbered.
“Somehow, the US later created standing army and inculcated in it a subordination to civilian authority that has survived to this day.”
We call them police departments.
Seriously, the founders would have seen modern police forces as a standing army.
To understand the whole militia thing, you have to know more about early American history. We were originally colonies of people from Europe (yeah, yeah, I know…invaders usurping the Native Peoples….) Anyway, the people of those colonies had to defend themselves (the Native Peoples didn’t like being usurped); there were no soldiers from the ‘mother country’ sent to protect them. From the earliest times, then, the colonies had militias made up of their own people. An important point about the whole thing to keep in mind, is that those militias, even though they were made up of private citizens, were an integral part of the colonial governments. When the colonies got restive, in the 1770s, the British sent their soldiers to put things down. By that time, we Americans had long been used to governing ourselves (all the colonies had their own assemblies), but the British were ignoring this and trying to govern us directly from London. The last straw came in Massachusetts, when British soldiers marched on several towns to confiscate the local militias’ powder and shot. I must emphasize here that what they were doing was not merely disarming the militias; they were further dismantling our government. That was the quarrel. The militiamen in Lexington and Concord goto their ammo first and shot at the troops, forcing them to retreat. That was the start of the American Revolutionary War.
When our present constitution was written, it gave the new Federal Government the exclusive right to raise armies and declare war. This might have been taken to prohibit state militias. The authors of the second amendment recognized that state militias were necessary, and so made an exception for them. (At the time, they were frequently called out to suppress riots (‘peace and security’) and also later used by President Washington to suppress a rebellion in Pennsylvania).
@LS, SPQR, KN
I do get where the militia thing came from (18th century etc.). But 21th century, the USA has the most powerful army in the world. It is able to destroy any country in the world.
I cannot phantom how setting up civilist militia is going to help curb the US army.
If you are worried about the US Armed Forces being a mercenary force, reintroduce conscription. If people are unwilling to man a conscription based army, why do you think they want to man a conscription militia? And if you set up a militia, why do you think those in it will not abuse their armed power?
@Winter: In the US today, the various state militias have been put into our National Guard system. (Not all, but most.) They are part of our military reserves, and are still available for state emergencies like flood relief, prison guard strikes, etc. They are still useful to our society. Quite a number of National Guard units served in Iraq.
As to why they were so important to the founders, there’s the idea that a professional army is totally dependent on whoever pays them, while a militia force is not. (The people there all have regular jobs, and don’t want to serve any longer than necessary.) This makes the militia much less likely to serve a tyrannical government.
The militia also covers neighbors who band together to protect their property in times of civil unrest.
It would have put a damper riots in England last year if rioting and looting had included the risk of getting shot. A number of immigrant communities did band together to protect themselves. They had to improvise their weapons.
You’re begging the question. Assuming that the US has the most powerful standing army in the world, you don’t see how a militia system could help.
The militia system, and the 2nd Amendment, were designed to prevent the need for, or there ever being formed, an enormously powerful standing army.
I do wonder if you’ve actually been reading what people have been writing. Remember, the Constitution wasn’t written in the 21st Century…
Anyway, given that the original intention as prevention has failed- the Civil War and the World Wars saw to that- the militia concept and its legal supports still have some things going for them. They can possibly counter/deter (how effectively is questionable, we talked about Iraq, it’s interesting to think about relationships between the Baath regime and tribal militias) the negative effects of a standing army. The US 2nd Amendment, whatever else you say about it, is also still the bloody LAW OF THE LAND. However much certain types want to ignore it, or change the subject (I think I mentioned the joke about how the ACLU lawyer counts to 10 before).
Winter, conscription does not produce an effective modern army. The technical skills are too great to learn in a year or two of conscripted service. The only effective armies with conscripts today, separate out the conscripts from the professional core.
The purpose today of the Second Amendment is not to guarantee that the standing Army cannot tyrannize the populace. It is to guarantee that overthrowing our democracy via a military coup is quite expensive. The Second Amendment does not work alone, it requires a substantial fraction of the populace willing to use it. Every continent has seen military government in the last century, Winter. but the United States never has.
Another point, when people claim that a militia army can’t stand up against a modern army, I wonder if they really have paid any attention to current events.
Look how close the US got to pulling out of Iraq a few years ago. Look how the Taliban is giving the US military enough trouble that its on the verge of pulling out from Afghanistan. Now neither example is a direct analog but I think the lesson for asymmetrical warfare has been clearly demonstrated even in recent times.
Ultimately the militia devolves to units of one. Americans have the right of self defense.
If an American shoots a burglar, in most jurisdictions criticism might be limited to shot grouping. It can be career ending for a prosecutor to file charges unless there is clear evidence that, for instance, the homeowner lured the the intruder in. Having a large LCD screen TV does not count as luring.
As Britain has disarmed its subjects their hot burglary rate has gone up. As I understand it, in many European jurisdictions if the homeowner injures an intruder the police arrest him. Is this true in the Netherlands? If so, why?
“Remember, when seconds count the police are only minutes away.”
> Americans have the right of self defense.
> [ … ]
> As I understand it, in many European jurisdictions if the homeowner injures an intruder the police arrest him. Is this true in the Netherlands? If so, why?
It’s less straightforward than that.
We have a right of self defense, but it’s not an absolute right to kill or even injure anyone who does you even the slightest harm. The legal wording is something about “with equal force”, and there has to be a considerable, immediate threath of death or serieus injury.
Shooting an unarmed thief, or a burgler alreay making his escape with the loot, would (most likely) not count as self defense – although in several cases (in Belgium) where jewelry store owners shot at and injured or killed burglers, they were not convicted (and in some cases also not arrested).
BobW on Monday, February 13 2012 at 12:06 pm said:
> If an American shoots a burglar, in most jurisdictions criticism might be limited to shot
> grouping. It can be career ending for a prosecutor to file charges unless there is clear
> evidence that, for instance, the homeowner lured the the intruder in.
Just to clarify for non-Americans, prosecutors generally bring criminal charges.
Homeowners can face civil charges brought by the intruder, and some “stand your ground” laws also aim to reduce their likelihood.
The American right to self-defense does not confer an “absolute right to kill or even injure anyone who does you even the slightest harm”. It does presume that someone who breaks into your home means no good.
Winter didn’t say that. I did.
I didn’t mean to imply that the US notion of self defense is an “absolute right to kill or even injure anyone who does you even the slightest harm”, merely that the European notion, which you asked about, isn’t, from which it follows that in some cases someone who shoots an intruder could be subject to an arrest, and possibly prosecution, and sometimes conviction. Which is what you were inquiring about, right ?
IANAL, but I ‘d guess that, underlying this notion, the presumption of innocence and the right to due process (for the intruder) are at play – getting shot on sight on the presumption you’re up to no good messes with those rather drastically.
Sorry about getting confused.
If someone breaks into your house they are already breaking the law, along with your door, window or whatnot.
I had a neighbor who would walk in unannounced to pick up his daughter, who often visited our daughter. It gave me the willies. I was taught never to do such a thing.
I never once considered shooting him.
“…the presumption of innocence and the right to due process (for the intruder) are at play…”
Nope. Those are concepts that exist within our judicial system.
“Castle Doctrine” laws effectively codify the presumption of *malice* and *threat* regarding intruders/assailants – thereby justifying the use of deadly force. Some of them also protect the victim from civil liability – a good thing IMNSHO.
The ‘due process’ of a legal system is of little use to the victim 6 feet under.
I consider the mentality that regards people as mere pawns in a grand legal system as rather sociopathic. We are not pawns, serfs or cattle…livestock to be herded in accordance with our overseers’ wisdom…we are sovereign individuals, living in the moment, acting in the moment, and we must deal with hostility with the fullest force and immediacy.
Rather than questioning my motives, why not encourage others to not risk their lives in the pursuit of violent crime?
I see that the buttons on the right for categories (science fiction, games, martial arts, etc) have disappeared with the new theme. Was this a deliberate decision, or a side-effect of the change?
> pawns, serfs or cattle
“…getting shot on sight on the presumption you’re up to no good…”
…will land you in jail for life, even here in the gun-totin’ rootin’ tootin’ US of A. ;)
Here’s a clue – there’s a huge amount of ignorant misinformation out there, regarding the reality of firearm/deadly force law in America. We even had some assholes in Florida passing out flyers to tourists warning them not to ‘look at people funny’ else they might get shot.
There is currently a prosecution in a Canadian jurisdiction of a man who used a firearm, just with warning shots if I recall correctly, to disperse a gang that had actually thrown firebombs at his home.
That’s pretty outrageous conduct by law enforcement from an American point of view.
>That’s pretty outrageous conduct by law enforcement from an American point of view.
Actually, in many states in the US, that would be SOP. Speaking from my knowledge of NC law, the use of a firearm is deadly force period. To the state, if you have time to fire a warning shot, you’re not in immediate fear for your life or safety, and therefore don’t have a right to use deadly force. Obviously it would vary from state to state and situation to situation, but as a general rule in NC, if you’re shooting, you better be shooting at a person with intent to stop imminent death or grave bodily harm.
> Also, kn….
> [ … ]
>Here’s a clue –
Hey, I’m not the one who claimed that ” If an American shoots a burglar, in most jurisdictions criticism might be limited to shot grouping.” and that ‘ It can be career ending for a prosecutor to file charges […]
And “…getting shot on sight on the presumption you’re up to no good…” was a rephrasing of “presume that someone who breaks into your home means no good [and shooting at him will be justified].”
I thought an intelligent reader would gather that the European angle and the US angle on this are not all that different; both are trade-offs, but there are differences in focus and emphasis. Looking at the nature, origins and consequences, …, of those differences might spark intelligent or otherwise entertaining discussion.
In stead, what we get, once again, is one more round of “sociopathic society of pawns, serfs or cattle”, and I suspect the obligatory rant about Communist totalitarian European nanny states is just around the corner.
It’s getting tiresome, and a waste of my time.
Thanks Eric glad your liking the theme so far, it’s a new theme so all your suggestions and bug finding’s are welcome to keep Admired moving in the right direction.
@Phil R – Nice find on the empty title tags on the home page, Already have it fixed, submitted, and approved by WordPress. The update should be in the next day or two.
tmoney, even in NC, arson is a dangerous felony that justifies lethal force to prevent.
I should not have jumped on the derailed thread.
YMMV and I’ve thankfully never had the need to find out, but I imagine that even in a case of arson, if I fire a “warning shot” I’m likely to be charged. If you fire your gun, it should be at a target. Legal wrangling aside, the 4 rules of safety require that of you.
tmoney, while I think that “warning shots” are very very bad ideas – the old maxim is “Confine your prayers to heaven and your gunfire to earth” – I don’t believe I agree with you regarding legal liability for same.
“…I should not have jumped on the derailed thread….”
Derailing is where it’s at, baby! Ride that Crazy Train!
“…tmoney, while I think that “warning shots” are very very bad ideas…”
Yup. I can appreciate their value as a warning, but you are exposing yourself to some frightening consequences – one man’s warning shot is another POS lawyer’s reckless discharge.
That said, out in farm country, if you’re caught breaking into our barns, the .22s will (and have) whiz over your head. Never seen guys run so fast. So I’m told.
“…I thought an intelligent reader would gather…”
Huff puff bluster bluster. Tuck your tail and off home with ya, boy.
Dang, Sir! I remember when you had an old original blogspot blog, with the logo which looked like a Champion spark plug logo, and you didn’t post from month to month, or maybe even from year to year!
Now you are concerned about what yer blog looks like, instead of what you have to say on it? Shame! Shame on you, Sir.
“Here’s a clue – there’s a huge amount of ignorant misinformation out there, regarding the reality of firearm/deadly force law in America. We even had some assholes in Florida passing out flyers to tourists warning them not to ‘look at people funny’ else they might get shot.
Eh, depends on the neighborhood you’re in…
Things to improve:
* main page doesn’t have a title, or has empty title
* IMVHO “Previous” and “Next” links should be instead titles of respective blog posts
>* main page doesn’t have a title, or has empty title
Theme designer has accepted this bug report and will fix it.
>* IMVHO “Previous” and “Next” links should be instead titles of respective blog posts
Don’t know about the status of that one.