Don’t Hijack My Mouse

Morons who put up websites that hijack your mouse and turn it into a silly moving flag or jumble of letters or anything else but what you’ve already selected for yourself are on my shitlist today.

Unfortunately, it seems some amateur genealogists have decided this is the way to make their family history pages flashier. What is does is make me automatically distrust everything I find on their site — even if it is well-documented.

I call them amateurs because anyone professional about anything would never dare do such a cutesy, moronic, imbecilic, and annoying thing.

Thank you. I feel better now.

Sphincters Of Steel

Dominic Lawson: Democrat fingerprints are all over the financial crisis

Of all the characteristics of a successful politician, none is more essential than bare-faced cheek. Never has this been more evident than in the past fortnight, as senior Democrat members of the US legislature have sought to lay all the blame for the country’s financial crisis on the executive arm of Government and Wall Street.Neither of these two institutions is blameless – far from it. Yet when I see such senior Democrats as Barney Frank, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Christopher Dodd, Chairman of the Senate’s Banking Committee, play the part of avenging angels – well, I can only stand in silent awe at the sheer tight-bottomed nerve of it. These are men with sphincters of steel.

Once again, have supposed “do-gooders” hurt the ones they profess to love and help?

The saddest outcome of all this within America – apart from the crippling cost to the nation’s taxpayers – is that the very people the Democrats had intended to help will be the biggest victims: for many years to come banks will demand the most stringent terms for mortgages to the least well off.

We can hope that won’t be true, but even if it is — if one cannot afford the mortgage payment, it’s better they be denied.

via Classical Values

SiteMeter – New And Now Useless

I’ve been paying for SiteMeter for this blog for several months, just not displaying it. After finally getting “migrated” to the new service, I’m going to cancel it.

Somehow, the designers of the new service managed to remove all utility, ease of use, 99% of the information and hid the rest.

Good Grief! This has to be the most underhanded McCain campaign trick of all – so flagrantly displaying that Change may bring Horror and Disaster as well hope, light, and goodness.

It’s not just me either. See Althouse,

UPDATE: But wait… can this be true? Talk about a rapid response. Now I wonder which of username/password combos will work, the new or the old?

And Now I Hate Domino’s Pizza

Here’s the relevant part of the email confirmation of the pizza order:

 Order #: 14065
Date: 7/19/2008 6:30PM

Thank you for placing your order at Dominos.com! If you have any questions
about your order, please call the store directly at 318-688-3030.

For security purposes, we call back all new customers to verify your order prior to delivery.
If you do not answer your phone or provide an inaccurate phone number, your pizza will not be delivered.

See that phrase “…call back all new customers…” up there. Believe me, we’re not new customers. Domino’s has delivered pizza to this residence at least four times in the last month.

See that time? 6:30 pm. It’s now 7:44 pm and no pizza here yet, even after two phone calls, the last one with a lying, incompetent, excuse-making, blame the customer manager.

The first call resulted in us being told no order had been placed. The second call got a somewhat better informed person who said the computer showed the order had been completed, and was puzzled by why we hadn’t got it. So she turned the call over to the manager.

He then informed me that both his employees had to be wrong because he was the only person there allowed to pull up orders by order number.  Huh? Why have an order number then? He then told me that driver, following company policy as all his drivers always do, called and no one answered so he brought the pizza back to the store.

Oh, wait… the first time he said the driver knocked on our door and then called, which is not what he said their security policy was – which is to verify all orders by phone.  Well, it’s a nice evening here and my son and husband were both outside and nobody pulled up in our driveway and knocked on our door.

Now, I have one confession to make – the phone number on the account is wrong. It’s been disconnected. That’s how “old” our account is.

He said he’d get the pizza out as soon as a driver returned to the store. I asked him that since the pizza would be cold would he consider knocking down the price. He said he was not allowed to do that. At that point I considered just cancelling the order and letting them try to hawk this pizza off on the next poor dope that ordered one like it. Then he’d have two unhappy customers!

I can’t imagine a manager unable to make price adjustments. I guess he’s too busy pulling up the orders by order number for his staff to do anything else.

But son is hungry and wants pizza.

Yeah! 7:52 pm and pizza is finally here! But I still hate Domino’s.

Underhanded, Dishonest Attempt To Drive Gun Manufacturers Out Of Business, Part 2

Continued from Part 1. (I couldn’t sleep, so why wait for tomorrow?)

Under our plan, Congress might require gun makers in the aggregate to reduce gun homicides from 12,000 to, say, 7,000 in 10 years, with appropriate interim targets along the way. Individual firms would each have their own targets to meet, based on the extent their guns are currently used in homicides. Or Congress might simply leave it to neutral experts to determine just how much of a numerical reduction should be required — and how quickly. Either way, the required decline would be substantial.

Translation: We don’t really know how this would work, but be sure it would be a draconian task for the gun manufacturers.

How would gun companies go about reducing gun deaths? The main thing to emphasize is that this approach relies on the nimbleness, innovation and experimentation that come from private competition — rather than on the heavy-handed power of governmental regulation. Gun makers might decide to add trigger locks to their guns, or to work only with dealers who meet certain standards of responsibility. They might withdraw their semiautomatic weapons from the consumer market, or even work hand in hand with local officials to fight gangs and increase youth employment opportunities. Surely they will think up new strategies once they have a legal obligation and financial incentive to take responsibility for the harm their products cause.

Again, we have no idea how this might work, but surely the gun manufacturers will think of something if they want to stay in business. Of course, if they fail… well, it certainly isn’t “our” fault.

Performance-based regulation leaves it up to them to decide. This is the same outcome-based approach that the No Child Left Behind program takes concerning schools. Through No Child Left Behind, parents and school officials set achievement targets for students, and schools then have to figure out how to meet the targets.

How’s that working out for schools? How’s it working out in terms of good education for our children? I wonder what would happen if mandatory gun safety training were required in schools?

Similarly, performance-based regulation is used in a variety of pollution-control schemes and is becoming the preferred global strategy to combat climate change. For example, under pressure from coalitions of environmentalists, scientists and citizens, regulatory bodies are ordering public utilities to sharply cut their carbon emissions. The companies are responsible for designing solutions to best achieve that goal, which could include switching fuels, changing the way they produce electricity, installing scrubbers on smokestacks and so on.

It’s quite different to encourage technology to come up with a cleaner way of producing something. If gun manufacturers are polluters, then cleaning up their act is taking responsibility for what they do. However, asking them to clean up somebody else’s act is unfair at best.

Sen. Michael D. Enzi (R-Wyo.) has put forward a proposal along the same lines to target tobacco. Typically, anti-smoking organizations lobby Congress to give the Food and Drug Administration regulatory power over cigarette companies, and press locally to increase tobacco taxes, run more government anti-tobacco ads and boost enforcement of bans on sales to minors. Under Enzi’s performance-based regulation plan, however, the tobacco companies would simply be told by Congress that they have to cut their customer base by about 50% in 12 years. It would then be up to the companies to figure out how to curtail smoking rates.

Now we’re getting to the real purpose — cutting the number of customers, thus cutting the number of guns manufactured, thus finally closing the doors of gun manufacturers permanently. Why not just say so? Why all this “performance-based” BS?

Why heck, why don’t we just make it illegal for criminals to own guns. (<sarcasm) Maybe we should have the tobacco companies give them free cigarettes so they will be unhealthy and not live as long too. After all, isn’t smoking going to be illegal someday soon if all the nannies have their way?

So how exactly might this work in the case of gun makers? For more than half of all gun homicides, law enforcement officials are able to identify the precise type of lethal weapon that was used. From that data, reliable statistical projections can be made to determine each company’s approximate share of all homicides. Each company’s quotas would be based on the data, and tied to an ever-decreasing number of deaths.

You could rephrase that as tied to an ever-decreasing number of crimes. How does the country benefit by placing law-enforcement into the hands of gun manufacturers?

Why not look at the data and see if there are other types of precise information that can be culled? Is there data about how many of these murders were related to illegal drug use? Domestic violence? The criminal record of the deceased? Perhaps the gun manufacturers could use that data to lobby for decriminilazation of drugs, thereby ending “drug wars” and monetary sustenance of some gangs?

What if the gun manufacturers lobbied for more and better resources for victims of domestic violence, including men as well as women?

Would these efforts at reducing crime count?

A more fine-tuned strategy would set different gun-death-reduction quotas based on the specific weapon — with larger reductions mandated for guns that are more commonly used in homicides.

See part 1. Fourth paragraph from the bottom.

If gun makers fail to reach the performance targets, they would face substantial financial penalties that would hike the cost of the guns they make and drive home the huge negative social consequences they now cause.

Where’s the evidence that gun manufacturers cause “huge negative social consequences”? Can there be no credit for “positive social consequences” such as crimes deferred and deaths prevented by the presence of guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens?

What about my bonding with my son-in-law at the range? Is that not positive in the long run? What about the rangemasters suggestion that I dump my husband and move to Arizona? You have no idea the positive social effect that had on me!

Performance-based regulation is not about the government denying people access to guns. It’s not an academic theory about the underlying causes of gun deaths, nor is it a restriction on the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms. Instead, it is a practical way to align the gun companies’ interests with the public interest and, ultimately, to save lives.

No, it’s a poorly disguised method to drive gun manufacturers out of business, thus depriving law-abiding citizens the opportunity to buy a legal product.

Jeffrey Fagan is a professor of law and public health at Columbia University. Stephen D. Sugarman is a professor of law at UC Berkeley.

Occupants of two coastal ivory towers think the rubes residing between them cannot figure out that their idea is not in our best interest.

UPDATE: Armed Liberal at Winds of Change has a good idea

Underhanded, Dishonest Attempt To Drive Gun Manufacturers Out Of Business, Part 1

Jeffrey Fagan, Columbia University and Stephen D. Sugarman, UC Berkeley have a plan. A Plan. A PLAN!  They want to “Make firearms manufacturers figure out how to reduce the 12,000 shooting deaths each year.”

This year, about 12,000 Americans will be shot to death. It’s a staggering figure, and even though lawmakers have continued to pass gun-control laws to try to bring the number down, they have not significantly reduced the murder rate. Indeed, for the last decade, guns have steadily remained the cause of about two-thirds of all homicides.

Guns don’t cause homicides. How many times does it have to be stated that guns are tools? Simple machines, really. It’s been said so much to so many people who have their hands over their ears singing “lalalala I can’t hear you” that it’s become trite. That doesn’t make the statement false. I’m as tired of saying it as “gun-controllers” are of not hearing it.

Oh, I wonder why all those gun-control laws “have not significantly reduced the murder rate?” Could it be, as I wrote above, that guns don’t cause homicides?  

Gun manufacturers insist that these deaths are not their fault, preferring to pin the blame on criminals and irresponsible dealers. They have fiercely resisted even minimal restrictions on sales and have simultaneously washed their hands of responsibility for this “collateral damage.”

Unless a gun manufacturer pulled the trigger, then they are not at fault. How unspeakably sad and irresponsible it is that they prefer to blame crime on criminals instead of the tools the criminals use! And aren’t irresponsible dealers criminals by definition? Aren’t they already charged with doing background checks, etc… ie, acting responsibly?

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court made the problem a little more difficult to solve, ruling in District of Columbia vs. Heller that the individual’s right to bear arms is indeed protected by the 2nd Amendment — and making it clear that some laws banning guns would have a difficult time passing constitutional muster in the future.

Actually, the Court’s ruling should make it easier for reasonable legislation to be effective. There will less effort expended on making and trying to enforce unreasonable junk laws designed primarily to make someone feel good.

What is to be done? The conventional regulatory approaches seem to be failing.

No shit Sherlock. Got any more shocking news for me? Regulations imposed on lawful businesses and lawabiding citizens have little effect on criminals and their enterprises.

 A more recent strategy, in which victims or municipalities bring lawsuits against gun manufacturers or retailers, seems legally and politically unpromising since the 2005 passage of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which shields gun manufacturers from civil liability.

“… seems legally and politically unpromising?” Yes, I’m laughing. To be totally fair, I have to consider whether this entire article was written as a parody. Unfortunately, it fails equally whether a parody or presented seriously.

We propose a new way to prod gun makers to reduce gun deaths, one that would be unlikely to put them out of business or to prevent law-abiding citizens from obtaining guns. By using a strategy known as “performance-based regulation,” we would deputize private actors — the gun makers — to deal with the negative effects of their products in ways that promote the public good.

How about we deputize lawmakers to deal with the negative effects of their legislation in such ways? Lemme see, where was it I recently read that the regulations and bans they came up with are not doing the public any good?

Let’s define “public good” while we’re at it. To me, it’s a public good to have individual free choice. Or, for argument’s sake, let’s call it free will. Both the criminal class and the law-abiding class have a choice of tools and actions taken with that tool. Is the public good served by limiting the choices of the good people while having limited (if any) effect on criminals?

Would not the public good be better served if the law-abiding are better armed than the criminals and the criminals knew this? What public good is served by announcing to the criminal that in certain places nobody will be armed to prevent them from doing their crime?

In other words, rather than telling gun makers what to do, performance-based regulation would tell them what outcome they must achieve: Reduce deaths by guns. Companies that achieve the target outcomes might receive large financial bonuses; companies that don’t would face severe financial penalties. Put simply, gun makers — whose products kill even when used as directed — would have to take responsibility for curbing the consequent public health toll.

In the first place, this kind outcome based requirement would result in certain guns presumed to be preferred by criminals or affordable by criminals, being considered bad, morally wrong in some way. Criminals aren’t necessarily stupid, they choose a tool based on the same considerations non-criminals do. Does it perform well? Is upkeep minimal? Can I afford it? Is it too large or too small for my hands? Many other factors come into play also, I’m sure.

And, second, what industry will be next? Automobiles? Liquor manufacturers? Bars? Swimming pool builders? Knifemakers?

I’m tired now. Reading and thinking about this level of insane gobbledygook is tiring. Part 2 tomorrow!

UPDATE: While allowing my self-imposed 10 minute break before proofing my work, I see that Instapundit has linked to Kevin D.’s take (over at Dean Esmay’s place) on the same article.