The folks over at Slate have written up a history of holding your gun sideways. As you might have expected, the Angry Men added some interesting commentary.

Angry Military Man
Unprofessional jackasses. This is one cultural trend that seriously pisses me off, I had a devil of a time trying to teach people how to properly hold a fucking pistol. They were always trying to be gangsta.

Angry Overeducated Catholic
But AMM why does this annoy you? I mean, I understand that this idiocy by your students annoyed you, sure. But how is this outcome anything but welcome:

As police chased Raymond “Ready” Martinez through Times Square on Thursday, the street hustler and aspiring rapper fired two shots, holding the gun sideways “like a character out of a rap video.” According to the New York Post, Martinez’s side grip caused the gun to jam, enabling police to shoot and kill the suspect.

By all means, let’s do whatever we can to encourage this sort of poor gun control by our criminal classes. If they’re going to abuse their rights, at least let them abuse them in a way that minimizes their danger to others and maximizes their danger to themselves.

I want a lack of professionalism in my would-be professional criminals!

Angry Immigrant
In that case…

I would like to propose a new gangsta style grip that involves holding the pistol upside down next to the head, barrel pointing forward. This would allow the spent casing to bounce “awesomely” off of the temple of the shooter, signifying toughness and promote true “def” style hearing loss.

Sighting the barrel directly next to the eyes should maximize the shooter’s conception of aiming accuracy, as it brings a point-and-shoot cyborg mentality for the shooter.

This new all-def method makes no claims of actual accuracy improvement. In case of a gun jamming, this may cause grievous explosive injury to the shooter, but that’s the risk of being tru-4-life.

Angry Libertarian
We can do better and have.

A suspect in the rape and armed robbery of several woman in River Forest accidentally shot himself in the head during a police chase Monday night in Oak Park. The suspect died several hours later.

Angry Overeducated Catholic
Well, yes, but of course in this case do we have any certain knowledge that he was in fact holding his gun when he shot himself in the head? There may have been a little officer-assisted suicide going on…this is River Forest we’re talking about.

On the other hand, it’s pretty clear that this guy was one of the dullest knives in the drawer. Of course there’s the inevitable tagline in modern America:

Patillo had convictions for aggravated unlawful use of a fire arm and drugs. He was paroled April 25 from the Sheridan Correctional Center.

Gosh, a parolee is released and within a year escalates to even more dangerous and violent offenses? What a shocker!*

Be interesting to find out whether this guy was off as part of Governor Quinn’s early release programs to save money…apparently they’re quietly releasing increasingly dangerous types because of funding issues.

Yippee!

*Note that this crap also makes the lives of actual reformed ex-cons even harder. Now that everyone knows that parole is a “get out of jail to rape and murder for free” card, there’s even less chance given to actual honest parolees who earned their parole through actual reform. When you make an earned privilege a natural right, you cheapen it 9 times out of 10.

Women pay more for health insurance than men, have more extensive health needs than men, and suffer unique forms of discrimination in their coverage.

Unbelievable. Women have more health needs…. and that drives up their health insurance? Call me crazy, but discrimination might not be the reason.

In a desperate move akin to Britain’s imperial expansion in search of good food, Pope Benedict today opened the door to the wholesale importation of Anglicans to expand the pool of singing Catholics.

While in public Vatican officials still toe the line that they are re-integrating lost members of the flock with Catholic Church and “the time has come to express this implicit unity in the visible form of full communion.” and noting that there “have been groups of Anglicans who have entered while preserving some ‘corporate’ structure”, in private officials were more forthcoming.

In one off the record conversation one Cardinal was quite blunt: “Listen, we’ve been trying to get Catholics in the Latin rite to sing well for almost 50 years. It hasn’t worked. It’s time for some fresh blood. Desperately bad music calls for desperate measures.”

Another official explained that “while we’ve had some success in the past with retail level conversions, moving to the next level requires us to go ‘corporate’. Otherwise we just won’t make any real progress over the next one hundred years.” When pressed on any confusion to the faithful that might result from the wholesale conversion of Anglican parishes the official replied that “we expect any hearing person to be able to tell the difference when the entrance hymn begins, although it might take the tone deaf a little bit longer.”

There was a recent hijacking attempt in New Zealand. The attempt seems to have prompted a reporter to find out just how bad airport security is:

The reporter arrived at the domestic terminal yesterday for the 10.30am Air New Zealand flight to Napier, carrying the kitchen knife, with a 20cm blade and a toy firearm in hand luggage.

He said there were no checks and “I was free to walk on with anything I pleased”.

After checking in and simply presenting my boarding pass at the gate, I stepped on to NZ5751 for the 50-minute journey to Hawke’s Bay.

The CAA’s communications manager Bill Sommer today dismissed the stunt as “irresponsible and illegal”. He said the reporter’s action could have compromised the safety of other passengers and could have led to aircraft delays.

In other words, the Emperor doesn’t have any clothes. Let’s think a bit about Bill Sommer’s claims. The first claim, that it could have compromised the safety of other passengers is simply silly. Toy guns on planes don’t compromise safety. The 20 cm knife might, conceivably, hurt a few people. But reporters generally don’t go on attack sprees, so the only way it would have hurt someone is if a nutcase noticed the reporter had the knife, took it, and then went on the attack. That sounds pretty unlikely to me.

The second claim, that the knife and toy gun could have lead to aircraft delays is more believable. But only because Bill Sommer’s demonstration of the New Zealand’s Civial Air Administrations overall intelligence.

Would it have been too hard to say something rational like the following:

Yesterday a flaw in our airport security was demonstrated. We are embarrassed by the failure and will attempt to fix it.

That’s all the situation requires.

Every year, before Easter, the Catholic Church celebrates Holy Week. Holy Week is good time for the smells and bells Catholics. It’s a different week in the liturgical year — palms, parts of the Gospel read outside of the Church, empty tabernacles. And incense. Lots of incense. All designed to let you know that this week is different.

One of the unofficial rituals is carping over the Holy Thursday’s washing of feet. During the Holy Thursday mass there is an optional ritual — the washing of feet. During this ritual the celebrant imitates Jesus’ washing his disciples feet at the last super. This is supposed to remind the celebrant that he is a servant of the community. On occasion the reminder has lasted until Easter.

Now, in a classical “Blessed are the makers of all dairy products” moment, there is a great deal of argument over what kind of people should have their feet washed, ie, should they be men or women? The instructions from the Vatican are quite clear; they people having their feet washed should be men. The 12 apostles, were, after all, men. Some claim we should follow His example. But, others are clearly upset that women are excluded.

What to do?

I have three proposals for modifying the rite.

Proposal one: Jesus didn’t just wash men’s feet. No, the interpretation is rather more particular about it then that. In my modified rite #1, the twelve foot washees must have names identical to the twelve apostles. Otherwise, confusion among the faithful might result and people might not realize that the people having their feet washed represent the twelve apostles.

Proposal two: Jesus didn’t just wash men’s feet. No, he washed first century Jews feet. I’m willing to give in on the first century part, but for proposal two the twelve people having their feet washed must be Jewish. And have names identical to the twelve apostles.

Proposal three: Holy Thursday is considered to be when the apostles were ordained (note: this means they all bailed on Him after ordination), therefor — all twelve foot washees must be bishops. Converted from Judaism. With names matching the twelve apostles.

The current trend towards touch screen voting, which was touched of by the 2000 presidential election debacle, appears to have peaked, but without anyone actually having learned anything. I figure that by the time the New York times runs an article on why touch screen voting is a bad idea the whole thing has peaked.

Although the article correctly notes that touch screen voting sucks for all of the reasons computers suck — they don’t work — it doesn’t even consider that problem is really with what we want. In other words, like the couple that wants to live near a train station but not near train tracks, what we want is stupid.

Consider this example from “The Limits of Software: People, Projects and Perspectives” by Robert N. Britcher. While designing an air traffic control some ninny thought it would be a good idea to allow controllers to customize their font sizes. Sounds like a good idea at first blush — you want controllers to be comfortable, right? Well, it turns out to be a really bad idea with unintended complications. In air traffic control software it turns out to be really important to know what can be seen by the controller. If you don’t know how large the font is in advance it turns out to be really hard to ensure something can be seen.

What Americans want with their voting system is pretty similar; a nice idea at first blush, but in reality, stupid. We want to know the election results instantly, to make sure that every vote counted matches the intent of the voter, and no fraud. That’s what we want, right?

Well, yes, it is what we want, and it is pretty stupid. For starters, the 2000 election demonstrated that we can do just fine not knowing who the president will be until December. Somehow we survived.

Asking for absolutes in a country with 170+ million registered voters is foolish. Even trying to make sure every votes matches voter intents is stupid — on the order of trying to move a mountain with a teaspoon. It would be better to specify a percentage.Trying to remove all fraud is stupid — we should try to minimize it instead (after all, what would Chicagoans do as a hobby without voter fraud?)

So, what’s the solution? It’s pretty simple.

Simple, arbitrary standards for counting votes. We don’t have to agonize over dimpled or hanging chads, or agonize over how optical ballots are counted.

We don’t agonize over the 18 years who missed voter registration by a day, do we? Or the 17 year olds who would do a better job voting then some 60 year olds. No, we set a simple standard and stick to it.

For punch cards the “system” would involve very large posters at polling places that say:

  • Hanging chads count as votes.
  • Dimpled chad’s don’t count as votes.

You could throw some pictures of bad ballots up too. It doesn’t really matter what the rules are, so long as they are clear and formulated before the election.

Yes, this would disenfranchise some people. I don’t care — the rest of us have some right to an orderly election too.

Every now and then I see something in a news report too stupid to believe. Today’s quote comes from the Chicago Tribune. The gang banger and defendant in question is was found guilty of taking some pot shots at some of Chicago’s finest.

“It comes down to who do you believe, honest cops or a gang banger,” said Assistant State’s Atty. Joseph Ruggiero. “What is this guy doing carrying around a loaded weapon in a high-crime gang area?”

Now, granted, the defendant is probably a scum-bag gang banger who was dumb enough to take pot shots at Chicago cops. But, let’s think about what the Assistant State Attorney said for a bit. His logic is a bit weak.If I was to carry around a gun for personal protection, where would I carry it? The nice safe neighborhoods, where I would never need it? Or, maybe, just maybe, the bad neighborhoods.And there isn’t much point to carrying around an unloaded gun. So the fact that the gun was loaded doesn’t mean much either.So it basically comes down to believing the Chicago cops. Which is real easy these days.

In my distant pre-parenthood past I was a casual PC gamer. My gaming was casual to the extent that I’d buy about one game a year from the discount rack at Best Buy (usually after bonus time). As a software developer I’ve been interested in computer graphics and high performance computing since high school, so in addition to playing games I am interested in how they are developed.

I have been reading for quite a while about the decline of PCs as a gaming platform. It never really made sense to me, since PCs are typically much more powerful than consoles and easier to develop on to boot.

The decline didn’t make sense until Angry Overeducated Catholic bought me “Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade” for my birthday.

Let us compare the gaming experience for a casual PC gamer and a casual console player.

The PC Game Experience:

  1. Insert the DVD ROM. Run the autoplay that it starts up, if your PC is foolishly configured to run what ever DVD you insert into it.
  2. Run through the typically crappy win32 installation script.
  3. Type in 20 alphanumberic digits to prove that you are either not a thief, or a thief bright enough to copy a 20 digit number along with a DVD-ROM.
  4. Try starting the game.
  5. Find out that the “spooge could not be found.”
  6. Google for “Spooge could not be found” and discover it means that you don’t have direct X 9.0c installed on your PC.
  7. Install Direct x 9 on your PC. No, wait, unpack the installation files for Direct X 9 and then run an installation program off the directory.
  8. Hope your PC still boots. It does
  9. Start the game.
  10. Discover that the game lets you move the camera in every direction except up.
  11. Search the web for patches. Find several, none of which are hosted by the maker of the defective software.
  12. Fill out two registration forms, including ones that want your birthday, to download patches. Let me get this straight — I’m sold buggy software and now I have to provide my personal information to get the fixes for bugs?
  13. Try to figure out which ones you have to download. Do you have to download each one in order, or are they all inclusive?
  14. Struggle through the download process, which is the typical crapware that wants to install an executable so I can simply download a file. Not like that problem hasn’t been solved on TCP/IP for thirty years.
  15. Discover you’ve downloaded a patch for “Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War”, not “Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade”. Download the correct patches.
  16. Discover that the training module works, but that the game does not.

The console game experience on my brother-in-law’s PS whatever.

  1. Select DVD-ROM.
  2. Insert DVD-ROM.
  3. Start playing game.

You’ll notice that one of them sucks and the other doesn’t, and that the difference has nothing to do with the hardware. It’s the software. And near as I can tell, if the PC gaming market is failing, the market is working just fine. The PC gaming market deserves to fail.

In May of 2005 the Chicago Tribune reported that John Pavlovich illegally used his old boss’s architecture stamp. For those of you unfamiliar with architecture, before starting construction in most municipalities you need to submit a blueprint stamped by an architect. The stamp makes the architect legally responsible for the building.

Of course, not just anyone can get an architecture stamp. That would be bad for the architecture business. In the past you could take a series of grueling tests and get a license. But now an architecture degree from an accredited school is required as well. It’s not quite clear to me why the degree is required—is the test leaving something out that gets covered in school? Oh wait… maybe the profession is just trying to restrict supply. It’s not like some professions are even subtle about it.

The public goal of the architect’s monopoly is to protect the public from unsafe buildings (a laudable goal). But John Pavlovich presented a problem—none of his buildings (admittedly derived from his boss’s designs) fell down. They worked. Everyone was happy except his competitors. If John could design safe buildings without an architecture license, what’s the value of an architecture license? Oh wait, Susan Hofer, spokeswoman for the Department of Professional Regulation says:

“The plans themselves were structurally sound because they had been done by a real architect.”

No, Susan, the plans are not sound because they were done by a real architect. A plan is structurally sound if a building built following the plan doesn’t fall down. That’s it. Sound designs are sound designs, no matter what their origins.

And of course, if the real goal was to build buildings that stood up, why halt construction, as Oak Park, IL did in 2004 to John Schiess when he forgot to renew his license. Did Schiess suddenly learn how buildings support themselves when he got his license back? From a public safety point of view, halting and restarting the construction makes no sense because the plans didn’t change.

Thanks to Susan Hofer we all know that an architecture license is needed if you want to build something that lasts.

It’s not as if it was ever done without one.

And sometimes, even when everything is properly licensed, things still fall down and kill people.

[As part of our never ending campaign to bring you more healing anger, we are always eager to add angry voices to our little cabal. This is the first article by the Angry Libertarian, and we’re sure this is only the first of many installments of freedom-loving, regulation-hating anger. —The Angry Staff]

Those of us who voted for George W Bush and Richard Cheney must, by now, have grappled with the truth about George Bush: Molly Ivins was right. George Bush is a shrub. A shrub at a time demanding leadership, brains, and competence. The lack of leadership and competence trickles down throughout the administration, starting with the Vice Incompetent.

Normally paragraphs like the above are followed by ranting about George Bush’s inability to pronounce nuclear, or his “illegal” war. But Angry Libertarians rank belief in “international law” with belief in the tooth fairy. Both are comforting, albeit fanciful, notions discarded as part of a successful childhood. Law without an enforcement agency is a sick joke, “a tale told by an idiot, after all, signifying nothing”. The war was authorized by the US Congress, even if some of our Congress critters have trouble remembering their votes.

But back to the Vice Incompetent. Let’s allow him to speak for himself:

  • “We will defeat that insurgency, and, in fact, it will be an enormous success story.” — Dick Cheney, June 24, 2005
  • “I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.” — Dick Cheney, May 20, 2005
  • “And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.” — Dick Cheney, March 16, 2003
  • “my belief is, we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. ” — Dick Cheney, March 16, 2003
  • ” … there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.” — Dick Cheney, August 2002
  • “I’m the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend.” — Dick Cheney, February 15, 2006

So what do we have, other then a man I wouldn’t go on a hunting trip with? A Vice Incompetent who is consistently wrong, and when asked about the, ah, trend in errors saysWe do the best we can with what we know at the time.” Note the inability to say “I was wrong.” Even “We were wrong” would be an improvement.

Consider for a moment the matter of deciding how many troops to use invading Iraq.

  • “I would say that what’s been mobilized to this point, something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers” — Generic Eric Shinseki, February 25, 2003
  • “The idea that it would take several hundred thousand U.S. forces I think is far off the mark” — Donald Rumsfeld, Febuary 28, 2003
  • “General Shinseki was right that a greater international force contribution, U.S. force contribution, and Iraqi force contribution should have been available immediately after major combat operations.” — General John Abizaid, November 16th, 2006

We had an administration that not only wasn’t able to listen to the appropriate people, it was unable to think things through. What’s the downside to invading Iraq with too many troops? In 2003 their was no downside. The downside of invading Iraq with too few troops is obvious.

At a time when our country could use a competent leader, we have a shrub. Bush has had his strong points — pointing out that some victories would be “secret even in success”, that the struggle would be long early on, and his determination to win in Iraq, but here are a few things a competent leader would have done:

  • Ended “security” features that are merely security theater. For example, requiring valid ID for plane flights is silly. All of the 9/11 terrorists had valid IDs; they’re easy to acquire. Requiring IDs, however, is very effective at stomping out the secondary market for airplane tickets. Admiting to security theater would require admitting some unpleasant truths — for example the reason it is safe to fly is because anyone hijacking a plane after 9/11 will be taken down by passengers acting like a wolf pack.
  • Staffed the TSA with people competent enough to realize that their boarding pass/ID check is pointless, or at least come up with one that couldn’t be hacked by a graduate student.
  • Allowed air marshals to dress casually on 9/12/2001, not September 1st, 2006. It took five years to figure out that the guy in a natty suit who boarded before everyone else was the air marshal?
  • Commanded and staffed an Army smart enough to know it couldn’t get away with lies.

In short, Bush has failed in his obligation to preserve and protect the United States through simple inability. None of these items require great intelligence, or should be the subject of debate. Air marshals say they fit in better wearing shorts? Let ’em. Graduate students hack your boarding systems? Give ’em a job and a grant, don’t send in the FBI. It’s not that I think Bush personally ordered the air marshals to wear three piece suits, or sent in the FBI, but as the man at the top he is the man responsible.