I’ve just read the Supreme Court’s opinion in the Heller handgun-ban case, issued this morning. It’s a somewhat better result than I was expecting.
Yes,. there is a good reason that I disappeared for two years. As soon as a certain lawsuit now in court wraps up, I’ll even be able to explain it in detail.
But I’m back to blogging. Starting now.
In Nablus, a young man is kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists — who then set him free on learning he is an American because they don’t want to end up like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi so recently did.
I am irresistibly reminded of a piece of cynical wisdom from the mouth of the mad Roman emperor Caligula, born of experience in dealing with the barbarians of his day: Oderint, dum metuant: “Let them hate, so long as they fear”.
I have extremely strong convictions about free speech and robust debate. Thus, I was rather unhappy the first time that I decided it was necessary to delete a comment on this blog. The rule I published at that time was that comments that were both (a) anonymous, and (b) content-free vitriol, would be subject to deletion.
Unfortunately, as this blog has become more popular, some semi-regular commenters have descended to the level of monkeys throwing feces. Often the feces are flung in my direction, but that bothers me very little. What concerns me more is that an increasing percentage of comments are not about ideas but solely about the personalities and motives of other commenters. That is not a useful direction for the blog, even when the accusations being hurled are justified ones originating from sensible people. The entire tone of the blog is being lowered.
Therefore, with great regret, I must announce that I am considering banning commenters who are persistently and virulently disruptive. This would not be from any particular desire to control the wrongdoers’ behavior, rather it would be to relieve more civilized persons from the temptation to get into slanging matches with the wrongdoers. I hope not to have to actually take this step; I hope this announcement will serve as a warning to those who need it that they must moderate their behavior or begone.
Bannings, if any, will not take place in the dark of night; my notion of honor forbids this. Should I ban anyone, I will do so publicly with an accounting of my reasons in each case, and accept any criticism that ensues.
NEW YORK (Disassociated Press) – In a surprise sequel to the death of top al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi this morning, police have executed raids and searches on dozens of newsrooms and editorial offices belonging to a shadowy and ill-defined network called the “MSM”. The resulting haul of intelligence on terrorist objectives and strategy has been described as “priceless”.
“It’s no secret that these `Main Stream Media’ organizations have been handing the terror network a lot of its talking points,” said one spokesman. “Increasingly, terrorists have been shaping their strategy around media operations, relying on their tacit partnership with the MSM to achieve shared political goals. Cracking the media side of the operation may be the most effective way to cut off the terrorists’ oxygen.”
Representatives of the New York Times, the Reuters news agency, the Guardian, and other apparent targets of the investigation declined to comment, except to blame U.S. President George W. Bush for millions of hitherto-undisclosed Iraqi civilian casualties, higher gas prices, several extragalactic supernovas, and the Hindenburg disaster.
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I’ve put a new page up on my website about the excellent Commands & Colors: Ancients game. It’s just couple of variant rules and some scenario results now, but may grow in the future.
Well, this is novel. I’ve just received a terroristic death threat. From
an idiot who failed to obscure his return path. Here it is, precisely as
I received it mere minutes ago:
From firstname.lastname@example.org Sun May 21 22:44:42 2006 Return-Path:
X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 3.1.1 (2006-03-10) on snark.thyrsus.com X-Spam-Level: X-Spam-Status: No, score=-1.0 required=5.0 tests=BAYES_00,DNS_FROM_RFC_ABUSE, DNS_FROM_RFC_WHOIS,UPPERCASE_25_50 autolearn=no version=3.1.1 Received: from snark.thyrsus.com (localhost [127.0.0.1]) by snark.thyrsus.com (8.13.6/8.13.6) with ESMTP id k4M2igAJ026952 for ; Sun, 21 May 2006 22:44:42 -0400 Received: from grelber.thyrsus.com [192.168.1.31] by snark.thyrsus.com with IMAP (fetchmail-6.3.4) for (single-drop); Sun, 21 May 2006 22:44:42 -0400 (EDT) Received: from web30106.mail.mud.yahoo.com (web30106.mail.mud.yahoo.com [126.96.36.199]) by grelber.thyrsus.com (8.13.4/8.13.4) with SMTP id k4M4Y51D023721 for ; Mon, 22 May 2006 00:34:05 -0400 Received: (qmail 18608 invoked by uid 60001); 22 May 2006 02:43:29 -0000 DomainKey-Signature: a=rsa-sha1; q=dns; c=nofws; s=s1024; d=yahoo.com; h=Message-ID:Received:Date:From:Subject:To:MIME-Version:Content-Type:Content-Transfer-Encoding; b=lFrB0rAPphpP3Q0wd5pQF1rMjBCYJ5O8pKh0risWlb2KbzXBMfqKQpx/SHq/s1DUJvPATn8XDECDCawxtzr1TokVZPGtbEfmV1BFHO3w6sr83VgcpMPrpf0fxSS6G2rCdMcSm2Xe0c45olKryo3zHIKz8Rygdu1xdES2rK/90Bk= ; Message-ID: <email@example.com> Received: from [188.8.131.52] by web30106.mail.mud.yahoo.com via HTTP; Sun, 21 May 2006 19:43:29 PDT Date: Sun, 21 May 2006 19:43:29 -0700 (PDT) From: hhh hyftyf Subject: Islam To: firstname.lastname@example.org MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit X-UID: 24454 X-Keywords: Status: RO Content-Length: 343 Lines: 12 We have your address. YOU WILLBE KILLED YOU WILLBE KILLED YOU WILLBE KILLED YOU WILLBE KILLED YOU WILLBE KILLED __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around http://mail.yahoo.com
I will report this threat to the appropriate authorities. I guess
all my writings about terrorism and Islam struck a nerve somewhere.
Here’s a message to whoever is behind this threat: Maybe you think
you can intimidate me, or that threats like this will stop other
bloggers from speaking the truth about your barbaric mass-murdering
death-cult. Well, screw you and the camel you rode in. I will not
be silenced, and we will not be silenced. All you do
with terroristic threats is to demonstrate your evil nature,
confirm our resolve to resist you, and speed the day when your
diseased ideology will be wiped from the face of the Earth.
Yes, testosterone makes people stupid. No, I’m not talking about the men who secrete and metabolize it, I’m talking about the nervous old women of both sexes who pronounce upon it as though it were some sort of demonic drug.
About a month ago, one of my regular respondents asked me to blog about self-awareness in animals. I’m doing so now because it will be useful for an essay I’m planning to write about ethical and legal definitions of humanity.
I enjoy strategy games. I’ve been playing them since the heyday of the elaborate hundreds-of-tiny-counters hex-map historical-simulation wargames in the 1970s and early 1980s. But those games don’t get played much any more, largely because they took so long to set up and
learn; after 1985 or so younger gamers moved to computer simulations instead, and as the hex-wargame genre stagnated many old-school gamers eventually abandoned it in favor of military-miniatures gaming.
Bwahahaha! My sinister master plan for world domination is
working. Straight from the pages of the highest-quality general-news
magazine in English, check
this out! The money ‘graf is the last one:
Moreover, the ease with which the internet spreads
wrong-headedness–to say nothing of lies and slander–is offset by the
ease with which it spreads insights and ideas. To regret the glorious
fecundity of new media is to choose the hushed reverence of the
cathedral over the din of the bazaar.
There’s an old saw to the effect that there’s no limit to what you
can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit. More precisely,
when your signature memes start showing up as generative metaphors in
elite and popular usage with your name stripped off them, you
know you’re winning.
Winning, that is, at the only game that is really interesting —
changing the world.
(Hat tip to my blogson Walter Hunt over at Stone of Remembrance,
though I’d have seen it anyway in my weekly Economist and
In the beautiful-irony department, I have just learned that my name
and copyright now appears in the EULA (End-User License Agreement) of
a Microsoft product. A vector-graphics editor called “Microsoft
Expressions”, apparently — thanks to Martin Dawson for the
The history behind this is that GIFLIB is open-source software for
hacking GIF images — the direct ancestor of libungif, which is
the name under which the codebase is more widely known these days.
The original software was by Gershon Elber for DOS; around 1987 I
ported it to Unix, cleaned up the architecture, added numerous new
features, and wrote documentation. When Unisys started to jump salty
about the GIF patents in the mid-1990s, I handed the project off to a
maintainer outside U.S. jurisdiction, Toshio Kuratomi.
I have no idea why the copyright on this EULA is dated 1997, I
think that is a couple of years after I passed the baton to Toshio
Subsequently I did a lot of work on libpng, implementing 6 of the
14 chunk types in the PNG standard and designing a new more
object-oriented interface for that library. So if you use open-source
software that handles either of the two most popular raster-image
formats, it is rather likely that you rely on my code every day. Yes,
that includes all you Firefox and Netscape and Konq and Safari users
And now, my code is in a Microsoft product. This may not be the
first time; in fact, thinking about all the other places it would
have been silly for Microsoft to pass up using libpng and giflib,
it probably isn’t even the dozenth time.
I’m OK with this, actually. I write my code for anyone to use, and
‘anyone’ includes evil megacorporate monopolists pretty much by
definition. I wouldn’t change those terms retroactively if I could,
because I think empowering everyone is a far more powerful
statement than empowering only those I agree with. By doing so, I
express my confidence that my ideas will win even when my opponents
get the benefit of my code.
Besides…now, when Microsoft claims open source is inferior or not
innovative enough or dangerous to incorporate in your products or
whatever the FUD is this week, I get to laugh and point. Hypocrites.
Losers. You have refuted yourselves.
Since I posted Dan Simmons’s
Message From The Future, I’ve had a couple of Muslims show up on this
blog protesting that I’ve got it all wrong, that Islam is a peaceful
and tolerant religion and Islamic terror is an aberration not sanctioned
by the Koran.
Here’s a challenge to all you apologists for Islam: stand up in
your mosque and declaim, loudly, that religious violence is an
abomination against Allah — that those who use terror in a
program to restore the Caliphate, those who would execute ex-Muslims
who convert to any other religion, those who would condone ‘honor
killing’, and those who incite hatred against Jews and other Peoples
of the Book have fallen from the Narrow Way and will burn in hell with
the sons of Iblis.
If you are unwilling to do this for religious reasons, or fear to
do it because of the reaction of your fellow Muslims, then shut the
fuck up about your so-called ‘religion of peace’, because you
are a liar and a hypocrite.
That is all.
I deleted a coment this morning.
This is not something I normally do, except for comments that are both anonymous and content-free — abuse and invective do not count as ‘content’ for this purpose. The comment I deleted this morning was not anonymous, and it could be argued that there was some content in it.
However, the content (if any) was drowned in a sewer-main’s worth of crude insults hurled by one respondent at another. I will not tolerate this, even when the insult-hurler is nominally on ‘my’ side of an issue.
Armed And Dangerous is not a public square and “free speech” standards do not apply here. If you have nothing to contribute to debate over the things I write about, I can and will cut you off at the knees. This applies to those who broadly agree with me as well as those who disagree. (If anything, I give my opponents a little more leeway than my allies.)
In my own small way, I’m trying to defend civilization here. So keep it civil. Or else.
I very seldom post just to forward my readers to someone else’s writing, but SF author Dan Simmons has earned it with this potent warning. Read the whole thing. Because it is indeed our future, unless we wake up.
I’ve been warning since 2002 that the West really is in a war to
defend civilization against Islamic barbarians, and had better face up
to that fact before the consequences of whitewashing Islam as
a “religion of peace” get worse.
Comes now Fjordman, a blogger from Norway who tells us that Moslem
immigrants to Sweden report themselves to be
at war with Swedes. See also his earlier post about how Swedish
society is disintegrating — not despite its commitment to
‘multiculturalism’, ‘tolerance’, and the welfare state, but because
that commitment is being ruthlessly gamed by Islamofascists who see
themselves as the conquering vanguard of the Dar al-Islam.
Sam Harris’s The End of Faith is a well-executed polemic of a kind that, in retrospect, has been curiously absent in the West over the last fifty years. Not since I read Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not A Christian in the early 1970s have I seen an attack on organized religion as clear, uncompromising, and compelling as this one — and Russell’s book was expanded from a lecture he gave in 1927.
Why, in a supposedly secular and modernist society that is heir to the anti-religious Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th century, do we not see more outright attacks on particular religions, or religion as an institution in general? Mr. Harris supplies a surprising answer: he thinks ‘tolerance’ is a problem, that the modern West has agreed to accept almost any form of unsanity or fanaticism as long as it is labeled ‘religion’.
Logicians know that when you deduce a contradiction, your premises are broken. When human beings express a contradiction, it usually means their true beliefs are not their stated or conscious ones; they’re rationalizing a position which they may not be fully aware of.