Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Very Early Science Fiction

This story was written in 1858 or 1859.  I first read in an anthology titled A Century of Science Fiction.   The title is "What Was It?" When you start it seems like Gothic horror or at least supernatural.   By the end, it is clearly early and disturbing science fiction. Well worth reading. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

He Even Looks Like George Soros

 Maybe I will also at that age.  5/3/21 New York Times:

WASHINGTON — He is not as well known as wealthy liberal patrons like George Soros or Tom Steyer. His political activism is channeled through a daisy chain of opaque organizations that mask the ultimate recipients of his money. But the Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss has quietly become one of the most important donors to left-leaning advocacy groups and an increasingly influential force among Democrats.
Newly obtained tax filings show that Mr. Wyss’s foundations donated $208 million from 2016 through early last year to three nonprofit funds that doled out money to a wide array of groups that backed progressive causes and helped Democrats in their efforts to win the White House and control of Congress last year.
Mr. Wyss’s representatives say his foundations’ money is not being spent on political campaigning. But documents and interviews show that his foundations have come to play a prominent role in financing the political infrastructure that supports Democrats and their issues.
While most of his operation’s recent politically oriented giving was channeled through the three nonprofit funds, Mr. Wyss’s foundations also directly donated tens of millions of dollars since 2016 to groups that opposed former President Donald J. Trump and promoted Democrats and their causes.

Monday, May 3, 2021

We Are Making Progress

 4/28/21 Newsweek:

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday from among more than 1,000 U.S. adults found that Americans overall are less supportive of new gun control legislations than they were just three years ago. People between the ages of 18-29 saw the sharpest decline in backing for new weapons laws, with fewer than half now saying new legislation is needed to reduce the risk of future mass shootings or to block "red flag" buyers.

In April 2018, the last time the ABC/Washington Post survey was conducted on this issue, 65 percent of these young Americans said they support gun control laws. That percentage is now 45.

Not to Worry, They Caught These Two Fraudulent Votes Before Counting

 4/30/21 Bucks County Courier Times:

Two Bucks County women face charges of voter fraud after authorities say they filled out mail-in ballot applications for their dead mothers in separate incidents ahead of the November election, the county District Attorney’s Office announced Friday night.

The allegations come after the Bucks County Detectives investigated 22 complaints of voter fraud and other irregularities in the presidential election that saw record voter turnout here.

While the investigation resulted in charges against the women, District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said his office found the incidents were isolated and there was no evidence of “widespread or systematic election fraud here in Bucks County.”...

According to a statement from his office, a handwriting analysis confirmed that Dooner’s mother did not sign either the application or the ballot and those documents were signed by Dooner after her mother had died.

A handwriting analysis also confirmed that Fisher’s mother did not sign and her election documents were signed by Fisher after the woman’s death, according to the DA’s Office.

Your Democrat friends will say that it was only two votes and they were caught.  How many mail-in ballots did they check?  It says they inspected 22 reports of fraud and found two.  So 9.1% of the cases they investigated were fraud.  I am sure this sort of fraud rate could not have affected the election.

Voter ID

4/30/21 CNN poll finds 64% of Americans believe requiring voter ID would make elections more fair. 

Count on the official media to keep pretending this is voter suppression. 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

This Must Drive the Gun Banners Crazy

Go to news.google.com and enter "Gun sales": the number of official news media reporting on this are amazing.  Of course, they are trying to spin this.  4/29/21 NBC News headline:

"Gun sales to Black buyers have surged. Gun store ownership by Black people has not.

"Out of 6,000 gun stores in the U.S., just a handful have Black owners."

The article itself interviews black gun store owners and black gun owners, emphasizing that many blacks feel uncomfortable buying guns in gun stores where no one looks like them.

I do not doubt this.  When I bought my first gun in 1981, a Colt Government Model at Martin B. Rettig in Culver City, California, I was a bit uncomfortable.   But looking around the store I saw a number of black customers.   They were all dressed in their best "go to church" suits.  I suspect that they were concerned that the widespread perception of black people as criminals required their best possible appearance.  (The white customers were dressed casually.)

This is most unfortunate.   Their perception of how whites would see them was even then not an accurate reflection of how whites saw them.  Unfortunately, a few bad people can make those of us who do not burn crosses look like bad people. Obviously, coming in dressed in do-rags would have been a problem, but there were plenty of styles that had I worn them at 23 would have made me stand out as suspect also.

I look forward to the day when black men and women feel comfortable buying guns from white people because they know what most whites believe: the content of your character matters, not the color of your skin.

A friend contributed this:

Terry's Story

Working at the San Francisco Gun Exchange in the mid-1970's, I saw a fair share of the dark side, Black Panther women looking to buy the Valmet M62 ( a super well made variant of the AK-47 in semi-auto ), The Symbionese Liberation Army ( while holding & Stockholm Syndroming Patty Hearst ) likewise sent in a disguised  female sympathizer to buy a crate of ammo, and so forth.  Black folk were treated politely and appropriately but most were fairly well dressed.

One busy day a noticed a shy black fellow standing in the middle of the sales floor amazed by the array of guns surrounding him, and the usual downtown San Francisco lunchtime crowd of Standard Oil execs, Formost McKesson execs, Banking barons, FBI agents and a host of collectors all come to view what new today.  This large fellow was wearing somewhat soiled denim coveralls with a white T-shirt and work boots.  Later I would think of him every time I saw 'The Green Mile'.

I beckoned him over ahead of the usual customers wanting to yak and asked if I could help him.  He said shyly that he was looking for a gun, I asked rifle or handgun, a handgun it was.  I walked along the handgun display cases ' Colt run $400-ish, Smith & Wessons $300-ish, Rugers $200 ish' and as we arrived at the last case, 'Harrington & Richardsons, around $100'.  "Now let me tell you what I think I am seeing here:  Your hands tell me you are a hard working guy, woodwork, no metal, a machinist maybe, you live in the projects or an old neighborhood in Hunters Point and the good folk in your hood have always counted on you, the big brave guy, to chase the hoodlums away, but they have changed, become meaner and they carry knives and are willing to use them, perhaps even threatened you already, and you realize the cops can't be there when you need them and so you are here, tell me sir, are you a God-fearing man ?"  " Yessir, a Baptist" he replied. "Good, but the guardian Angels might have suggested you get some worldly help, and thats why you are here.  So you are concerned about assailants, not Wharf Rats or Raccoons or vicious dogs right?"  " I am afraid so" he replied.  "OK, and your budget is not enough for these other display cases, am I right?"  "Yessir, what have you under $100 that would work for defense"  " I would recommend a Harrington & Richardson break top in .38 Smith & Wesson caliber, $79, a box of ammo for $10, tax and all out the door just about $100."  "Is it quality? is it Safe? Would you own one?"  " Yes there is nothing wrong with this brand, they have been around for 100 years, they are well-made and suitable for defense, but are not fancy, they are a farmer - type gun, a working guy gun, just keep it clean and oiled and it will serve you well".  I showed him how to operate it, described how to clean it, and even told him that if he must defend himself, to turn his huge torso sideways to reduce target size, aim straight down his arm and squeeze.  We completed the transaction, he waited the 5 days 'waiting period' and having passed the California State Police background check, returned to pick it up.  He was dressed the same way ( he had apparently come a long way on his lunch hour to do this ), he asked a few final questions and as he left I bid him good luck and God Bless, and I noted that he walked out taller, straighter, more confident and smiling and greeting the suits entering the store as they were now equals.

I sometimes wonder what ever happened to him, did he chase off the hoodlums ?  Did they lay an evil trap and finally do him in?  I can only hope that the ruffian cowards he faced saw something they had not before, a determined, armed man standing up to them.

( copyright 2021  excerpt from  'Notes from the South End of Purgatory'  T. Allen Hoover )

permission granted Clayton Cramer to use in blog/firearm education
 

Watching YouTube While Taking a Break From Grading Papers

A collection of Reddit discussions about long-term consequences of killing in self-defense. The expected guilt about taking someone's life, even in legitimate self-defense, seems to not be an issue.  One was a 10 year old boy defending himself from rape by a babysitter with a bat.

Run-On Sentences

 A comment on a student paper that you may find perhaps useful:

If you find yourself naturally pausing, there is likely a comma or semicolon needed.  (Read that last sentence aloud right now; do you hear a pause?)  Could the parts after and before the pause be complete sentences?  If so, it is a compound sentence; put a semicolon at the pause.  If either side of the pause could not be a complete sentence, this is a complex sentence; you need a comma.  If you find that you have multiple pauses, look carefully at how long your sentence is.  You may be trying to put too many ideas in a single sentence.  

Remember Mad Magazine's Stupid Answers to Stupid Questions?

 Christian Post:

When police first questioned 51-year-old Lara Lynn Ford about why she stole nearly $1.4 million from Ed Young’s Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, the congregation’s former business manager’s initial response was “Umm stupid.”

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Experience?

 It sounds like ECT meets Scientology but without the negative effects.  A friend suffers from severe depression and none of the antidepressants are helping her.  Published reviews:

The introduction of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) have rekindled interest in the use of brain stimulation methods for the treatment of psychiatric disorders. TMS enables the clinician to focally stimulate specific areas of the brain noninvasively and painlessly. The efficacy of TMS in the treatment of depression has been extensively studied. TMS has also been shown to have some beneficial effects in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

TMS was introduced in 1985 by Anthony Baker at the University of Sheffield in England. It was designed to be a neurodiagnostic tool used to produce an evoked potential in muscle tissue by activating neurons in the motor cortex. TMS is based on two basic principles in physics: Ampere's law and Faraday's principle of electromagnetic induction....

George, et al., studied the efficacies of rTMS in patients with depression in a double-blind crossover design. Twelve patients were given either active rTMS or sham treatment. The study suggested that daily left prefrontal repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation has antidepressant activity.

Klein, et al., in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study assessed the efficacy of slow repetitive TMS (rTMS) in patients with major depression. Seventy patients with major depression were randomly assigned to receive active rTMS or sham rTMS in a double-blind design. It was shown that patients who received active rTMS had a significantly greater improvement in depression scores compared with those who received sham treatment and provided evidence for the short-term efficacy of slow rTMS in patients with recurrent major depression.

Berman, et al., in a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial, studied the efficacy of rTMS in treatment resistant major depression. Depressed subjects, who had failed to respond to a median of four treatment trials, were assigned in a randomized, double-blind manner to receive either active or sham rTMS. Adjusted mean decreases in HDRS scores were 14.0 (±3.7) and 0.2 (±4.1) points for the active and control groups, respectively (p<0.05). A two-week course of active rTMS resulted in statistically significant but clinically modest reductions of depressive symptoms, as compared to sham rTMS.

Toro, et al., studied the efficacy of rTMS in drug-resistant depression. In this randomized, double-blind study, 40 patients received either active rTMS or sham rTMS to the left prefrontal cortex. The authors of this study concluded that real, but not sham, HF-rTMS was associated with a significant decrease in the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and that left prefrontal high frequency-rTMS was effectively associated with antidepressant treatment. But the size effect was small.

Th cost is pretty high; enough so that because insurance companies now cover it, I suspect that it does not qualify as experimental or quackery.