Conservative Wanderer

“A troubled and afflicted mankind looks to us, pleading for us to keep our rendezvous with destiny; that we will uphold the principles of self-reliance, self-discipline, morality, and, above all, responsible liberty for every individual that we will become that shining city on a hill.” — Ronald Wilson Reagan

Misused Porn Stats In The USA: Conservatives May Not Be Biggest Consumers

Don’t ya love it when someone desperately skews data to try to make those eeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil conservatives look bad?

Right, I don’t either. Yet that’s pretty much what the New Scientist does with their study: Porn In The USA: Conservatives Are Biggest Consumers.

“When it comes to adult entertainment, it seems people are more the same than different,” says Benjamin Edelman at Harvard Business School.

However, there are some trends to be seen in the data. Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, the study finds.

“Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by,” Edelman says.

Excuse me, Mr. Edelman? Did you say “states,” not “people”? Yes, you did. And the author, Ewan Callaway, made the same mistake later in the article:

Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year’s presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama.

I guess to Edelman and Callaway, everyone that lives in, say, Utah must be a real conservative McCainite bumpkin, despite the fact that over 300,000 Utahans (Utahites?) voted for Obama. Similar results can be found in every “red” state, and you can find people in even the bluest of “blue” states that voted for McCain.

Therein lies the fatal flaw… they treat everyone in a given state as though they think, act, and buy porn alike. This is the politics of “groupthink” at its worst and most indefensible.

But why let anything like, say, a valid analysis of the data get in the way of a good conservative-bashing headline?

For a longer dissection, see this article from the folks at GetReligion.

Update: Jim Manzi over at National Review Online’s Corner has caught on to something that I missed:

What was so lame about the analysis (at least upon a first quick read) is that the researchers did analysis at the state level when they had the hard-to-get porn usage data down at Zip Codes. Voting data is easy to get at the county level, as is good broadband penetration data (the FCC provides this data at the Zip Code level, but there has been a long-running debate about accuracy at that level of granularity). You can also get all of the key demographic variables used in the analysis at the county level. There is an argument not to do the analysis by Zip Code because of debatable broadband penetration rates, but why didn’t they at least do this at the county level? It would not have eliminated the “not at the individual level” problem, but would be a lot better than state-level analysis. I did this kind of work just to get a blog post right; I don’t get why they weren’t willing to do a little more work for a published research paper.

That’s a very good question, and a possible answer immediately springs to my cynical mind: when analyzed by Zip Code, the data didn’t point the way they wanted it to. I admit, it’s only a possibility, but it would fit the way they put it together.

Taxing The Rich Won’t Be Enough; Obama Will Have To Tax The Middle Class

We hear it all the time from lefties: “Tax the rich!” Well, it won’t work now any better than it did when Bill Clinton tried it and then discovered that he would also have to raise taxes on the middle class:

President Obama has laid out the most ambitious and expensive domestic agenda since LBJ, and now all he has to do is figure out how to pay for it. On Tuesday, he left the impression that we need merely end “tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of Americans,” and he promised that households earning less than $250,000 won’t see their taxes increased by “one single dime.”

This is going to be some trick. Even the most basic inspection of the IRS income tax statistics shows that raising taxes on the salaries, dividends and capital gains of those making more than $250,000 can’t possibly raise enough revenue to fund Mr. Obama’s new spending ambitions.

Consider the IRS data for 2006, the most recent year that such tax data are available and a good year for the economy and “the wealthiest 2%.” Roughly 3.8 million filers had adjusted gross incomes above $200,000 in 2006. (That’s about 7% of all returns; the data aren’t broken down at the $250,000 point.) These people paid about $522 billion in income taxes, or roughly 62% of all federal individual income receipts. The richest 1% — about 1.65 million filers making above $388,806 — paid some $408 billion, or 39.9% of all income tax revenues, while earning about 22% of all reported U.S. income.

Note that federal income taxes are already “progressive” with a 35% top marginal rate, and that Mr. Obama is (so far) proposing to raise it only to 39.6%, plus another two percentage points in hidden deduction phase-outs. He’d also raise capital gains and dividend rates, but those both yield far less revenue than the income tax. These combined increases won’t come close to raising the hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue that Mr. Obama is going to need.

But let’s not stop at a 42% top rate; as a thought experiment, let’s go all the way. A tax policy that confiscated 100% of the taxable income of everyone in America earning over $500,000 in 2006 would only have given Congress an extra $1.3 trillion in revenue. That’s less than half the 2006 federal budget of $2.7 trillion and looks tiny compared to the more than $4 trillion Congress will spend in fiscal 2010. Even taking every taxable “dime” of everyone earning more than $75,000 in 2006 would have barely yielded enough to cover that $4 trillion.

Fast forward to this year (and 2010) when the Wall Street meltdown and recession are going to mean far few taxpayers earning more than $500,000. Profits are plunging, businesses are cutting or eliminating dividends, hedge funds are rolling up, and, most of all, capital nationwide is on strike. Raising taxes now will thus yield far less revenue than it would have in 2006.

Is $75,000 a year rich? And is it really “fair” to take every single dime of their taxable income?

Every time a lefty politician says “tax the rich,” middle-class and even lower-income taxpayers had better hang on to their wallets, because there simply isn’t enough money in “the rich” to cover the kind of spending that lefties love.

Gun Bans Coming Back: Yes, He Can!

Once again, Obama shows his lefty roots:

The Obama administration will seek to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 during the Bush administration, Attorney General Eric Holder said today.

“As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons,” Holder told reporters.

So far, increased gun sales are about the only true economic stimulus that Obama can claim credit for, as people try to buy their guns before bans like this go into force.

For your edification

Ok this is something I wrote up a long time ago to try and help some of the people out there that carry for self defense. Though I have added a few things to it over the years.

Before I go any further, I am not a certified civilian instructor (yet), I am just a Marine with a few deployments, and several years of training, and experience in training Marines how to do their job. Nothing you read here will qualify you as an expert, or anything of the like. It is just something to help you train yourself when out on the range, or when carrying on your day to day life.

I honestly believe that proper training would solve a great number of problems, so here we go.

First off let us cover the safety rules when it comes to firearms.

1. Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.
2. Never point your weapon at anything you do not intend to destroy
3. Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to fire
4. Keep your weapon on safe until you intend to fire
5. Know your target, your weapon’s capabilities and what is beyond your target

These five rules are the bedrock for every situation where you may use a firearm. If you follow these rules then you can not go wrong. Ignore them and bad things will happen.

We will skip the weapons conditions because there are so many different variations because of the sheer number of weapons and differences between pistols, rifles revolvers etc. If you have a specific question about a particular weapon, please feel free to ask.

Choosing a firearm.

There are a LOT of opinions out there as to what type and caliber weapon is best. I personally carry .45 and sometimes .357 mag, same goes for my wife. But YOU have to be able to reliably hit the target under harsh conditions. A .22lr to the chest is better than miss with a .50AE. So get the largest caliber that you can reliably hit center mass with. This means, if you can not fire off three rounds from the holster, and have all three rounds impact the target within a soccer ball sized pattern from 15 yards within three seconds, then you need to pick a different weapon.

While (depending on the state) you are required to take a firearms class before you receive your CCW, and while it does teach you proper techniques for handling that weapon, it does not prepare you to use it in defense of yourself.

When training my wife to carry, I took a few of the things I taught in my small arms and BUST courses, and mixed in a few more things.

Start out by simply practicing slow, get rounds on target, once you master getting rounds center mass (from all distances you may encounter during in normal life), then you can start to speed up your shots. At this point, if you are driving nails, then you are firing too slow. There is rarely such a thing as a one shot stop. But we will get into that more later.

Once you get to the point where you can fire three rounds off, starting from the holster, and hitting in a soccer ball sized pattern then you are ready to start stressing your body.

You want to stress your body because no one, NO ONE can honestly say how they will react when their life is in danger. There will always be that fight or flight reflex, and it is surprising how many do not react the way they thought they would. And typically accuracy can degrade between 50 and 70% when you are in a real life and death situation. So you have to stress your body to better prepare yourself for your moment of truth.

Stressing your body and mind while training will help to prepare you to deal with that stressful and dangerous situation by making timed and accurate decisions.

So go outside, run circles in the parking lot for a while until you are winded, go back in and practice your speed drills. Have someone standing over your shoulder while yelling into your ear. Anything that stresses you out will help prepare yourself to defend yourself.

Once you master this you can move onto failure to stop drills. All this is, is two rounds center mass to the chest, and one round to the dome.

We practice this because there are only two places on the human body that will stop a target cold. The Medulla oblongata (drool spot) and the spine. A hit anywhere else will not guarantee a one shot stop.

Because we can not rely on a center mass hit to hit the spine, you have to train to hit the drool spot. This is a three inch triangle that is centered around the eyes.

You want to be able to place two rounds center mass and one in the dome within four seconds. We practice this because you may run into someone that is hopped up on some drug, and if he is not feeling pain, then he may continue his attack after being drilled in the chest. The reason we say four seconds is because a bad guy in average physical shape, with a knife, can close 15 feet and get two good swipes in under 5 seconds.

Practice this the same way you practiced your three rounds in three seconds from the holster. Draw and fire off as quickly as you can while still getting the rounds on target. Do this until you have it down to an art form. Once you have it down to an art form start stressing your body. If you plan on carrying a spare mag, then you need to practice speed reloads. This is pretty simple. All you do is load one mag with two rounds, and another mag with one round. Draw from the holster fire off your two rounds. When the weapon runs dry reload. The thing I do not like about the Glock is that the slide lock release is small, my big fingers seem to slide right over it. So I taught my wife to simply rack the slide. It is a good technique for automatics because it can be used with any type, and I know a good number of people that carry multiple types of weapons, so there is no muscle memory problem. Do it till it is an art form then start stressing your body again.

Choosing a weapon part two. If you do plan on carrying concealed, you need to pick one that you can carry comfortably. If it is comfortable you are more likely to carry it. Sure you can buy that hause of a gun that weighs more than a shotgun, and it may have very good terminal ballistics, but if you are uncomfortable while carrying it, then it will likely stay in the safe.

Those of us that are not used to carrying or shooting may just want to go with a wheel gun. I have always been a fan of wheel guns, but with them comes more training because they (for most) are more difficult to control, therefor follow on shots and failure to stop drills are more difficult. And, as always, a wheel gun is five or six or seven guaranteed shots (depending on the model type). If you pull the trigger and there is no bang, then all you have to do is pull the trigger again. There is no immediate action that you have to do to get your piece up and running again like there is with an autoloader.

I am a big guy so I can carry a full sized Kimber fairly easily (though I recently went to a Kimber Ultra CDP II). But my wife is smaller, so she needs a smaller weapon. She decided to go with the Glock 36. One thing I really like about the Glocks is the lack of a thumb safety. In a stressful situation it is one less thing to think about when you do have to draw your weapon.

(Remember that whole Jessica Lynch deal? Yeah! Remember how half the weapons laying on the deck were still on safe? That is because when they got stressed out they forgot to take their weapons off safe, then beat feet cause they thought their weapons were broke).

But because it is just a trigger safety, you have to be mindful of handling the weapon. ALSO pay attention when breaking the weapon down, to remove the slide, you have to release the trigger by pulling it. So MAKE SURE you clear the weapon before attempting this. Yes I know that should seem like common sense, but sometimes people forget things.

About a year ago we had a Warrant Officer (yes you heard me right, a WARRANT OFFICER) forget to clear his G21 (his personal firearm) and shot another WO in the leg while breaking it down. Both of these guys have been in the SOF community for many years, and had done many deployments. Complacency breeds idiocy.

Anyway. On again. I really do not like purse carries. From talking to several of my LEO buddies, I have learned that when confronted most women give up their purse right away. In a stressful situation they may do so without thinking of drawing on the bad guy. That is obviously bad. Also, by not carrying in your purse, you can deescalate the situation by giving your purse over, and backing away. He has what he wants, and you are still armed if he decides he wants more.

The last part is kind of tricky. And please do not think that I am giving out legal advise. But I have been asked this question by a many different people. I talked to a good number of LEOs and they do not all agree, so take what you read here and ask a few LEOs in your home town.

What do you do after you shoot the bad guy?

An LEO buddy in Cali says beat feet to the nearest cop and let him know what happened. He says that you are not required to render aid to the bad guy you just shot. A CDT buddy of mine says render aid and call 911, but be sure that the bad guy is no longer a threat. A NYPD buddy says keep your distance, holster your weapon, stay on scene and call 911. Also, it is always a good idea to have your attorney’s phone number on speed dial.

As you can tell, there does not seem to be a good answer. So ask your local PD when you are getting your CCW. That way your rear is covered if you ever do have to fire.

The other question that comes up a lot is what do I do if cops get there while I am aiming at the bad guy. Yup, you guessed it. There is no good answer.

Once again, the Cali LEO says slowly raise your hands in the air without dropping your piece, and say in a soft even tone, “Dont shoot’. My NYPD buddy says keep your hands down, don’t move, and when they give their order “Police don’t move.” respond with “Police don’t shoot.” He says that even though you are not a cop, the word police makes them think a bit and give you time to communicate that you are not a threat to them, and you were the victum.

One thing all of them agree on is you should not drop your piece. Six years ago in NY city an off duty cop was coming out of a corner store and a mugger tried to mug him. After unsuccessfully attempting to deescalate the situation the cop shot the mugger. Another cop rolled up behind him just after he shot the bad guy and shouted out. Police drop it. The off duty dropped his piece, and it slam fired, the on duty cop shot and killed the off duty.

But once again. I am not giving you legal advise, I am only telling you what I was told and what I have found in MY experiences.

Always trust a cop in your hometown over some crazy guy on the internet.

Sixteen Years Ago Today…

On the morning of February 26, 1993, Islamic militants steered a nondescript Ryder van through the winding darkness of the parking garage under the World Trade Center. They had spent years planning this moment in secret meetings at mosques and jailhouses, in rural outposts that served as paramilitary camps, and in safehouses where explosive compounds were mixed in makeshift labs.

Loaded into the van’s rear compartment was a 1,400-pound chemical bomb.

Sixteen years ago today, radical Islam declared war on us.

The President at the time, a newly elected Democrat, decided it was a matter for law enforcement, not the military.

Now the current President, another newly elected Democrat, seems determined to go down the same path.

Does anyone else think this is a mistake?

Credit Where Credit Is Due – Robert Byrd and Executive Power

I may disagree with Senator Byrd on many issues, including Klan membership, but I gotta admit, he’s consistent and intellectually honest on some matters, including this one:

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the longest-serving Democratic senator, is criticizing President Obama’s appointment of White House “czars” to oversee federal policy, saying these executive positions amount to a power grab by the executive branch.

In a letter to Obama on Wednesday, Byrd complained about Obama’s decision to create White House offices on health reform, urban affairs policy, and energy and climate change. Byrd said such positions “can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances. At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials.”

While it’s rare for Byrd to criticize a president in his own party, Byrd is a stern constitutional scholar who has always stood up for the legislative branch in its role in checking the power of the White House. Byrd no longer holds the powerful Appropriations chairmanship, so his criticism does not carry as much weight these days. Byrd repeatedly clashed with the Bush administration over executive power, and it appears that he’s not limiting his criticism to Republican administrations.

Here’s your Credit Where Credit Is Due, Senator… at least you have the gumption to avoid a double-standard on this issue.

AP Fact-Checks Obama

Looks like some of Obama’s pronouncements last night were so blatantly wrong that even the AP felt it needed to correct them:

OBAMA: “We have launched a housing plan that will help responsible families facing the threat of foreclosure lower their monthly payments and refinance their mortgages. It’s a plan that won’t help speculators or that neighbor down the street who bought a house he could never hope to afford, but it will help millions of Americans who are struggling with declining home values.”

THE FACTS: If the administration has come up with a way to ensure money only goes to those who got in honest trouble, it hasn’t said so.

I’d like to know just how Obama expects to do that, too. A wave of his magic wand, perhaps?

OBAMA: “And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it.”

THE FACTS: Depends what your definition of automobiles, is. According to the Library of Congress, the inventor of the first true automobile was probably Germany’s Karl Benz, who created the first auto powered by an internal combustion gasoline engine, in 1885 or 1886. In the U.S., Charles Duryea tested what library researchers called the first successful gas-powered car in 1893. Nobody disputes that Henry Ford created the first assembly line that made cars affordable.

OBAMA: “We have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new sources of energy. Yet we import more oil today than ever before.”

THE FACTS: Oil imports peaked in 2005 at just over 5 billion barrels, and have been declining slightly since. The figure in 2007 was 4.9 billion barrels, or about 58 percent of total consumption. The nation is on pace this year to import 4.7 billion barrels, and government projections are for imports to hold steady or decrease a bit over the next two decades.

Come on, Barack. I learned to fact-check myself better than this when I was on the debate team in high school!

OBAMA: “Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they couldn’t afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day.”

THE FACTS: This may be so, but it isn’t only Republicans who pushed for deregulation of the financial industries. The Clinton administration championed an easing of banking regulations, including legislation that ended the barrier between regular banks and Wall Street banks. That led to a deregulation that kept regular banks under tight federal regulation but extended lax regulation of Wall Street banks. Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, later an economic adviser to candidate Obama, was in the forefront in pushing for this deregulation.

The AP doesn’t bother to mention, but I will, that it was the GOP that was warning about the problems in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac long before they went belly-up, and the Democrats said everything was just fine.

OBAMA: “Thanks to our recovery plan, we will double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years.”

THE FACTS: While the president’s stimulus package includes billions in aid for renewable energy and conservation, his goal is unlikely to be achieved through the recovery plan alone.

In 2007, the U.S. produced 8.4 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, including hydroelectric dams, solar panels and windmills. Under the status quo, the Energy Department says, it will take more than two decades to boost that figure to 12.5 percent.

Again, someone needs to teach Barack how to perform elementary fact-checking.

Democrat Governor Has Concerns About Stimulus Strings

Hey, all you lefties who were bashing GOP governors like Sanford and Jindal (among others) for expressing concerns about the strings attached to the funds from the “stimulus” bill… are you going to say the same things about this governor?

Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen says he’s still among the top candidates for a post in the Obama cabinet, but that hasn’t discouraged him from possibly rejecting some of the stimulus money that President Barack Obama is sending his way.

Bredesen, who says he is “on a fairly short list” of candidates for health and human services secretary, told a Chattanooga paper that he is considering turning down federal funds for unemployment insurance included in the economic recovery package signed by the president last week.

He would be the first Democrat to refuse part of the stimulus for states, joining Republican governors like South Carolina’s Mark Sanford and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, who is giving the GOP response to Obama’s economic address this evening.

Bredesen is concerned that accepting $141 million for Tennessee’s unemployment insurance would force the state to expand the program and leave state taxpayers with the bill in two years’ time.

“We are evaluating this piece of money, whether it makes sense for us to take it,” he said. “We may well be one of the states that say we can’t take on that portion of it.”

(emphasis in original)

So, lefties, what have you to say about this guy? Can’t call him a radical neocon if Obama is looking at him as HHS Secretary, can ya?

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