Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More Irony

Take a look at these posts from 2004. I wroite them shortly after somebody took a shot at the West Knoxville Republican Party Campaign headquarters. Mr. R. Neal was highly upset that I had the audacity to claim that emotional and extreme rhetoric such as that featured on his former site, South Knox Bubba, contributed to an atmosphere where drive by shootings were encouraged. As I recall, at one point, he posted that he was considering pursuing legal action against me for these posts.

Of course now, when the target is a progressive church, Mr. Neal is singing a different tune. And judging by the comments at his site, some portion of his members feel that folks on the right are more to blame than the guy who pulled the trigger.

What a warped sense of reality.

Incidentally, my position hasn't changed. When you engage in rhetoric that tends to dehumanize your opponent in any debate, you make it easier for unbalanced persons to take violent action. This in no way reduces the responsibility of the guy with his finger on the trigger, nor does it make the guy with his fingers on the keyboard culpable either legally or morally any more than the manufacturer of a videogame is responsible when a deranged kid hurts himself or somebody else.

The question boils down to this: Do we as free citizens need to stifle our speech in order to avoid triggering a violent act from a disturbed individual, or do we accept the fact that when we voice strongly held convictions some folks will be offended, and some of them will react violently?

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

So Ironic It’s Magnetic!

Read this post at KnoxViews:

We need to address the following: to replace hate-media with more inclusive forums/discussions...

This coming from a website that bans people from posting based solely on their political views, utilizes secret moderators who remove posts and/or comments with no explanation to the author, and where comments on the TVUUC tragedy include these:

  • Submitted by LeftWingCracker on Mon, 2008/07/28 - 10:30am.

    On second thought, I DON'T want this worthless old bastard to die. I want him to spend his remaining years as the 'wife" of a large, preferably Muslim, prisoner who finds him real attractive and shows his affection on a daily basis.

    I'm not taking this very well, obviously...

  • Submitted by rikki on Mon, 2008/07/28 - 11:01am.

    Great, the 18 hours per day of cheap slander against liberals WNOX pipes into East Tennessee homes is finally paying off. RedDog has himself a hero! All the cowardly halfwits who reflexively call anyone to their left 'socialist' can now mouth condolences while they mutter gleefully under their breath about witchcraft and fags. Should some remnant of civility twitch inside their vacant brains, they can just turn on Boortz or Rush or Phil or Hannity or Levin, whatever the hour of the day, and snap safely back into groupthink. Liberals are out to destroy America.

    It has been months, if not years, since Republicans have had the courage to speak honestly about major problems facing our country or about the lawless perverts they put in charge, and now they don't have to!

  • Submitted by R. Neal on Mon, 2008/07/28 - 11:35am.

    "well, when you take such extremist stands on the gay agenda, you might need to worry....."

    That to me sounds like it would be actionable.The quoted statement comes from a hypothetical remark made by another commenter.-Ed Half the crap these morons spew, including the chief moron at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., is actionable. But alas, no action.

  • Submitted by gttim on Mon, 2008/07/28 - 12:32pm.

    Well, he does not have to worry about unemployment, food, gas prices, VA issues or much of anything anymore. Most of this will be taken care of for him. He will have other problems to deal with, however. He does have to worry about hating gay people. That is about to cause him some serious self-hatred issues.

  • Submitted by Factchecker on Mon, 2008/07/28 - 12:50pm.

    I find Rikki's comment to be fairly spot on... You never hear anything remotely similar coming from the left. To the extent you may, it's not more than an occasional misguided extremist, or just a normal person emotionally overreacting, and who has an audience no bigger than the size of this one...
    No doubt this guy is mentally unstable... And who's encouraging the marginally stable to take the final plunge?

  • Submitted by rikki on Tue, 2008/07/29 - 12:39pm.

    ...I'm waiting for some of you conservatives to grow up and take a stand against the vile bastards among your ranks, whether it is war criminals like Donald Rumsfeld or liars like Rush Limbaugh. I'm not sure any of you have the courage, but maybe if you explain what you can do to make sure this sort of thing does not happen again, you can earn a little respect.

  • Submitted by Andy Axel on Mon, 2008/07/28 - 9:49am.

    The sick f***** who perpetrated these crimes probably thought that the non-violent membership of the congregation wouldn't put a hurt on him once he started blasting away.

    Note to Jim Adkission: You got your ass kicked by pacifists.

Other choice comments:
  • And every kid born of
    Submitted by Andy Axel on Thu, 2008/07/24 - 6:09pm.

    And every kid born of "illegal" parents whose ass gets spanked on American soil is also eligible to be President.

    Which makes Michelle Malangalangadingdong Malkin eligible.

  • Yup
    Submitted by gonzone on Fri, 2008/07/25 - 2:34pm.

    Michelle Malangalangadingdong Malkin (you're good Andy!) is yet another anchor baby for some right wing dictator's friend. And a stupid, sick puppy to boot.

What was that you were saying about hate-media?

Posted by Rich
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Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Shooting

I'd write a long meaningful post about the shooting, but what can I say that hasn't already been said? I've just been swimming through the filth that is the KNS comment pool, and believe me, I've come away from it with a whole new view of my fellow Knoxvillians.

It isn't pretty.

Atheists, agnostics, fundamentalists, gun nuts, gun control nuts; all of them using this tragedy to claim victory for their side of the argument.

It's sickening, and for the first time, I'm happy that my comments section is mostly vacant. If I stimulated that kind of response, I think I'd have to stop writing.

What's really scary is that some of the comments have been deleted, indicating that there's even worse stuff floating around out there.

Posted by Rich
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Asked and Answered

She Said Yes!

Posted by Rich
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Sunday, July 20, 2008

I’m Not A Racist

So I'll call this guy an idiot lacking the brains to pull down his pants before he takes a crap.

That way he won't be offended.

Posted by Rich
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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Let's talk about smoking for a minute. I don't smoke and never have. Probably never will unless I'm on fire. And there's nothing that can ruin a good dinner faster than somebody lighting up in a booth nearby.


There's some fundamental dishonesty going on in the camp of the anti smokers,and it's resulting in some very bad law.

Let's look at the numbers with a little bit of reality.

According to the CDC, for 2007
  • 458,000 deaths in the US can be attributed to smoking.
  • There are 45,300,000 smokers in the US

So, by these numbers, 1000 smokers per 100,000 will die from it each year, or about 1%.

Hmmm. What about the other 99%?

We'll get back to them in a minute. First, let's see where they get all these scary numbers, like smoking will increase your risk of death by lung cancer up to 10 or 20 times.

The CDC tells us that roughly 36% of deaths due to smoking are cancer related, and of those, 78% are lung cancer deaths.

1000(deaths due to smoking)X 0.36(percentage of smoking related deaths due to cancer)X 0.78(percentage of cancer deaths that are lung cancer)=281 lung cancer deaths due to smoking per 100,000 people.

We need one more piece of information. The average lung cancer rate among the non smoking population is about 16 deaths per 100,000 people. ( average of men 17.1 and women 14.7)

281 (lung cancer deaths in smokers)/16 (lung cancer deaths in non smokers)=18.

This means that smokers are 18 times more likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers.

Ok, so the scary commercials are right. But only partially. The initial risk of lung cancer, 16 per 100,000, is so low that multiplying it by 18 still means that 99,719 smokers will not die from lung cancer.

Hardly compelling is it?

"But Rich, what about all the other smoking related deaths that aren't cancer? Won't that change the numbers?"

Yep. But now we're back to those 99,000 smokers out of 100,000 who aren't dying from it each year. (Incidentally, these numbers include deaths from secondhand as well as primary smoke.)

The truth is that smoking does not result in death for the vast majority of those who smoke, yet you will never hear that during any debate on smoking laws.

In order to fully understand the risks associated with a behavior, you have to know two things. You have to know the increase in the risk, which the anti smokers are really good about, but you also have to know the baseline risk, which the anti smokers are very quiet about.

The problem for the anti-tobacco side is that the baseline risk is so low that if they publicized it, they would lose all traction. Or do you think the anti-smoking bans would have passed if the anti smoking warriors banners said
"90% of smokers will not die from smoking!"

And that is what bothers me. By giving people only half the information they need, they are manipulating them through fear, while pretending to inform them.


Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Popularity Contests

When did politics turn into high school popularity contests? When did a President's effectiveness become solely measured by his polling? For years we've heard nothing except how Bush's approval ratings prove he's a bad president, that his 30% numbers are an historic low, that his administration is an utter failure.

But somehow, Congress's 9% approval rating draws a pass.

And let's take a stroll through history for a moment. Just how popular was Abraham Lincoln during the first 3 years of the Civil War? If I remember my history correctly, his war was considered a failure as well. He was told to end it by the major media of the day. And how many people stood behind the Revolutionary War and the founding fathers? Last time I checked, their support ran around 30%, with an overwhelming majority of Americans either indifferent or actively opposed to the war for independence.

Sometimes, maybe even most times, doing what's right isn't going to make you popular. Remember high school? The cool kids, were they the ones who worked hard, studied hard, got the grades, and did what they were supposed to do? Or were they the ones who did the fun things, the glamorous things, lived on the edge, at least, as edgy as it can get in a suburban school.

Just like high school, politics is based on standards that reward conformity and mediocrity, or do you really believe that the two best people to run America are John McCain or Barack Obama?

It's no longer about doing what is right for America, but doing what's popular.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, July 07, 2008

Pictures from the wedding

The Groom and his Kilt...What's he wearin' underneath it?
Isaac and Stephen in the because they care!
The bridal party and some old guy...
Waiting for the bride...better get used to that!
The bride and the old guy again...
The rings...
The kiss...
The cakes...
The ring bearer...
The flower girls...
The first dance...
The getaway car
Mr. and Mrs. Sasha and Adam Privett!

Posted by Rich
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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Adam is Home!

At midnight EDT on July 4th, he left Kuwait and traveled for nearly thirty hours before arriving home in Kodak for 18 days of leave.

He'll be getting married tomorrow evening by the shores of Douglas Lake, and leaving on a honeymoon Monday with his new bride.

He'll be back home around the 14th, and then headed back to Iraq around the 20th to finish his 15 month tour, at which time my new daughter, Sasha, will be heading to Colorado for college.

Kids grow so fast...

Posted by Rich
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