Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Framing The Debate

The advent of blogging has given many people the opportunity to debate and discuss just about every issue under the sun. For the most part, this is a positive development. Unfortunately, this blogging has also exposed the ugly underbelly of modern thought.

Critical thinking, logic and reason are in very short supply amongst the unwashed masses. I am no great philosopher and I am not an educated man (in the formal sense) but somewhere in my early twenties I started learning how to actually think through things before sticking my foot in my mouth.

One of the biggest problems I encounter in a debate is the failure of my opponent (for lack of a better word) to have considered the unintended consequences of a proposed action.

I once saw a letter to the editor about seat belts. The man complained that the law said he had to wear a seat belt while driving his car but people riding motorcycles don't. He said it wasn't fair. This man obviously failed to consider what would happen if someone was strapped to a motorcycle when it was in an accident. If your bike goes down you want to get away from it. Being strapped to the wreckage wouldn't be much fun. This person could only see the supposed unfair application of the law rather than the actual purpose of the law.

To counter this problem, it is necessary to stop the debate and explain the consequences of the proposed action. If you have some documentation to back you up, use it. If your opponent is honest, he'll take the information under consideration. If he discounts your documentation, ask him why. You should also ask for documentation that supports his claim. In return, you have to be willing to do the same.

A person unwilling to hear any fact or opinion that contradicts his view will generally either change the subject or launch a personal attack on you. Don't let him them get away with it.

I'm going to reveal a little secret of mine that I hope my opponents never catch on to. (Any of you regular readers who generally disagree with me, stop reading now, you're not allowed to see this.)

Whether I'm responding verbally to someone in a group of people or in a public forum such as a blog, I tailor my response to those unknown people that may not have reached their own conclusion yet. I hardly ever expect to change the opinion of someone I'm debating in public. In fact, it would be useless to debate someone in public except for the fact that I might cause someone to think about something they had not previously considered. I treat every debate as a classroom lecture. This technique has proved to be very effective. Back when I was slaying liberals on, I would get email from people thanking me for putting an issue in to perspective for them that they could never quite articulate. While my opponents were foaming at the mouth, launching personal attacks and trying to change the subject, I was addressing the silent observers who were either undecided or open-minded enough to consider they might be wrong. I have discovered a long term benefit. If you are consistent in your presentation, some of your opponents will start repeating what you say.

Back in my days, one of the things I harped on was that 'government always tends toward tyranny'. There was almost no political discussion where this phrase was not applicable. In a forum full of hard core leftists, I eventually found a few that were repeating that phrase as if it originated in their own mind. I was amazed. After I thought it through, I realized that it makes sense. If your positions are not well thought out to begin with, you will drift toward saying those things which were presented clearly, concisely and repeatedly. When you find your opponents repeating your mantra, don't alert them and put them on their guard. They might repeat your opinion to people you would not otherwise have contact with.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Murder At The Gun Show

Yesterday I went to the gun show at the Costa Mesa Fairgrounds out here in The OC.

There were displays of rifles, shotguns, and hand guns both new and used. There were displays of reloaders, empty shells, huge boxes of ammo, tasers, military surplus gear and, oddly enough, a Mary Kay table.

It seemed that everything was pretty much ok. Then, a shot rang out. Most everyone ducked and of course there was screaming. I heard a scuffle a few rows up and someone was shouting and telling everyone to calm down and to get an ambulance right away. One of the attendees got angry with a man running a display and shot him dead.

The story above is a work of fiction. I did go to the gun show and saw everything described but there was no murder. There were thousands of guns, probably millions of rounds of ammo and absolutely nothing happened. There was no violence, no one fired off a shot and everybody behaved in a civilized manner.

There were no warning signs posted but whenever someone picked up a weapon, they always kept it pointed up, away from the crowd. There were people of all ages and races there and some folks brought their children.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Placing The Blame

Once again, I bring to you a little story of improperly placed blame.

A bit of trampling happened at a Wal-Mart in Michigan on 'Black Friday.' Two people had to be taken to the hospital.

Where to story really take sour turn though is near the end when one of shoppers, Karen Dietstra said to the reporter:

"Wal-Mart did not do enough to protect us."

Let's knock Karen around with the clue bat shall we?
(Karen, I know you're reading this because you've Googled your name since the story came out)

  1. Karen was an active and willing participant in the mob.
  2. Wal-Mart security is not likely trained in riot tactics.
  3. Wal-Mart is a retail store, not police agency.
  4. Karen was an active and willing participant in the mob.
Why does Karen think it was Wal-Mart's job to protect her from the bad behavior of other shoppers? If she was getting roughed up by geriatric greeters, she would have a good point. Karen willingly placed herself in the midst of merchandise mad maniacs in order to run a relay race to buy crap and she wants Wal-Mart to protect her? How? Sure, they could put up velvet ropes and make everyone stand quietly in line but what are they supposed to do when the crowd enters the store? There is nothing they can do.

Unfortunately, it's the mentality of people like Karen and the other mobsters who think it's someone else's responsibility to protect her that keeps people from acting like a mob in the first place. If someone isn't there to stop you, it must be ok. I'm not accusing Karen of actually pushing people down, but she was part of the mob and contributed to the mayhem.

Take some responsibility for yourself Karen. Everyone knew the risks when they show up at the door. You can't expect someone else to protect you from yourself.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I wonder...

...what kind of uniforms are being delivered?

As I was getting off the freeway this afternoon, I saw the truck that delivers uniforms parked outside a strip club. Huh?

I just thought it was too funny so I had to take a picture of it.

Fortunately, Little Dif was too preoccupied by the stretch Hummer (you can see the hood of it at the bottom of the pic) to ask me what a Gentleman's Club was.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Serial Killer

Is this the face of a serial killer? My mother seems to think so.

Just to be funny, I sent the picture on the right to her from my phone after my Friday afternoon haircut. She hadn't seem my hair this short since I got out of boot camp. She responded that I look like a serial killer. Thanks mom!

Arielle recently blogged about a post over at Vox's that turned in to a discussion about shaved heads. I mentioned that I had been receiving more female attention since my hair was this short. Ariel paid me a very nice compliment and then went on to say later that if she ever procures the knowledge and the means to be a stalker I would be among her first victims. Thanks Arielle!

Update: For those who were frightened by the picture above:

Me and Little Dif nearly a year ago.
Who could be afraid of a grown man blowing on a dandelion?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Killer Coke

FoxSnooze report that New York University has banned the sale of Coke products on campus because of allegations of murder and intimidation of union leaders at their facilities in Columbia.

At first this appears to be just another useless liberal protest worthy only of contempt and ridicule. For some reason I kept reading the story and found this:

"We are not being international police, we are being consumers. We consume Coca-Cola's product, it's on our campus and as such we are allowed to say whether or not we are allowed to do business with a company that may or may not be egregiously violating the basic human rights of its workers," said David Hancock of NYU's Campaign to Kick Coke.

The crazy thing is, he's right! I'm not evaluating the merits of their argument against Coke, but they obviously perceive a problem and they are acting on it without calling for government intervention.

Liberals are always crying about the evils of this or that corporation and calling for government intervention. In this case they decided to act as consumers and make some noise about and they should be applauded for their effort. They are showing us what most of us already know; a company depends on its customers to make a profit. If the customers are unwilling to purchase products, the company will either be forced to meet their demands or go out of business.

Before any of you complain that this university is unfairly acting against the wishes of some of its student, note that NYU is a private university. They don't forbid student or staff from having Coke on campus, it just can't be purchased there. This is no different than you employer choosing to sell Pepsi products rather than Coke in the cafeteria at work.

The Simple Things

One of the greatest of the 'simple things' in life is watching your child sleep.

Friday, November 18, 2005

There Is No Safe Place

ZR passed his written test today so now he can drive. I am very afraid.

I told him that if I was watching him drive, the only safe place might be in a helicopter.

Congratulations ZR, don't kill anybody.

Devvy Kidd & The 16th Amendment

I sent the following email to Devvy Kidd who wrote this article for WorldNet Daily detailing the case of Bill Benson and his battle with the Feds over the legitimacy of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution which authorized the income tax:


The article was great and I have no doubt that the 16th Amendment was not properly ratified. Why hasn't Bill Benson distributed an electronic copy of his documents to every Congressman, media outlet and interested party who wants it? I see by his website that he sells some books and DVD's but it doesn't look to me like the entirety of his research. I would think that copies of those pages would be available to everyone. I understand the guy needs to make some money but wouldn't it serve his interest (and probably his income) better if he were to make his work available to all?

My theory is this: Distribute the work freely via download (via the bittorrent system for example) and give the project more visibility to the public. Certain members of the public would continue his research and make a great deal of noise about it. In the mean time, Mr. Benson could charge speaking fees, consulting fees etc. to further explain things. After a while, public outrage would (I hope) grow intense enough to force Congress to act and either prove that the 16th was legal or have it repealed. Everyone wins, our economy is the best in the world again and inflation is no longer stealing our wealth.

You've certainly been at this a lot longer than I have and your insight would be much appreciated.

I have posted a copy of this email on my blog:



Thursday, November 17, 2005


Happy Birthday To Me - On this day in 1985, in an auditorium in Columbia Heights, MN, I gave my life to my Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I continue to work out my salvation in fear and trembling.

Having given up Mountain Dew about 6 months ago, I started drinking energy drinks instead. I haven't been drinking those as much as I did the Mountain Dew but they're more expensive and probably just as bad for me. Now I'm switching to green tea. I drink more water now too.

For those of you that live somewhere other than Southern California, it is a beautiful day here. It's sunny and about 72 degrees here in San Clemente where I work.

Watching a child develop a love for reading is awesome.

Matildah is still on crack. Her blog template is still messed up if you're viewing it in Inland Empire, oh sorry, Internet Explorer.

If you use more than one IM client, take a look at Trillian. It combines AOL, AIM, ICQ, IRC, and MSN in to one program.

Regular bloviating should return tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

It's Over

First of all, I'd like to thank all of you for your prayers and your encouragement. They have been a huge help to me. Although I didn't get the result I was hoping for your petitions were not in vain.

I spoke to my wife tonight and she stated that there was absolutely no way that she would consider reconciling with me no matter what.

I will continue to pray for her and I will be the best dad I can be to Little Dif. My hope for my marriage is gone though. I've been trying for a year now to reconcile and she's still refusing. All this over money issues and yet she calls herself a Christian.

My conscience is clear. It's in God's hands now.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I'll Betcha...

...that it will be Muslim outcry of infidels invading their homes that will get Great Britain to reverse the policy that will allow inspectors inside people's homes to take pictures for tax valuation purposes.

They have have been the kings of capitualation. Yes, the policy seems to be onerous but it will only be the cries of the Muslims that will get it struck down.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

More Prayer

I want to thank all of you who have been praying for my family. I have an encouraging update for you.

Despite asking her many times to sit down and talk, Mrs. Difster has been unwilling to sit down and talk to me about our marriage and why she is divorcing me. Yesterday afternoon she sent me an email and saying that she's willing to hear me out.

I'll be talking to her later this afternoon so I'm asking for more prayers. So, more prayers!!!

Honestly, I'm not quite sure what her intentions are. Perhaps she's just giving me this opportunity so I'll get it out of my system. Perhaps she's reconsidering this divorce. I honestly don't know. I'm hopeful but I want to be realistic.

Once again, I thank you for your prayers but I need a little more help here.


We didn't get a chance to talk tonight because Little Dif came down with a bit of a fever and it just didn't work out. Hey, that just gives you folks a little more time to pray. I'm going to talk to her on Tuesday.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Splenda Warning

No, this isn't one of those urban legend that I'm passing around in blog form.

My friends have a daughter who developed a rash last night. After going through a list of everything that they gave her, we narrowed it down to giving her some lemonade with Splenda in it.

A quick google search turned up lots of discussion about sucralose allergies. Splenda contains sucralose.

So, if you have an unexplained rash and you use Splenda, stay off of it for a while and see if that treats it. It can be treated with Zyrtec or an antihistamine such as Benadryl gel.

Of course you should consult your doctor or pharmacist before treating the problem.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Out of Prayers

I try not to inject my personal life in to my blog too often but I need your help.

I'm growing increasingly frustrated and angry with my estranged wife. My attitude toward her sucks and I'm have a very hard time praying for her.

So, those of you who call Jesus Christ your savior and worship The Living God I seek your prayers in three ways:
  1. I want my attitude toward her to change. I'm acting on how I feel rather than what's right.
  2. Despite how I feel right now, I still want to reconcile and I want to see Mrs. Difster incline her heart toward God and toward her husband.
  3. Most of all - Little Dif needs to be sheilded from this whole mess.
For those of you that I know have already been praying for us, you have my sincere thanks.

From The Halls Of Montezuma....

Happy Birthday Marines!

The U.S. Marine Corps begins preparations for its "birthday party" every summer. Activities become more feverish as the fall hues arrive. By early November, every Marine is either rehearsing his role in the "party" or pressing, polishing, and spit-shining in order to appear at his or her best for the Birthday Ball. This has not always been the case, however. In fact, Marines have not always celebrated their founding on November the 10th. the rest.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

That Socks!

Apparently, the Department of Agriculture is practicing safe socks.

I was browsing through the latest entries to the Federal Register (a masochistic thing to do I know) and noticed an isignificant little item that I wanted to bring to your attention.

The United States and China signed an agreement at the behest of the Domestic Manufacturers Committee of The Hosiery Association, the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, the National Council of Textile Organizations, and the National Textile Association to:

...limit imports of socks from China from November 1 through December 31, 2005.

Please tell me that I'm not freaking nuts and that there is some logical, rational reason to limit sock imports from China for two months? I have my suspicion that American textile companies are simply trying to raise their Christmas profits by restricting supplies of socks to retailers to domestic sources only.

I know I ask this question frequently, but I'm going to ask it again and again: Is this a proper function of government? You know my answer.

Government Mentality

In England, a 10 year old boy was blinded in one eye after staring at an eclipse from the playground at school.

The parents are blaming poor playground supervision and the mother has written to Prime Minister Tony Blair requesting a law that schools must be aware of eclipse dates.

Why is it, that whenever a child gets hurt do parents, especially mothers want to get the government involved? Why isn't she requesting a law that all parents be responsible for telling their children when an eclipse is coming and that you're not supposed to look at it? This mentality is just as prevalent in the United States. When ever something bad happens, someone shouts, "There ought to be a law!"

Here is a fundamental question that must be asked. Is it the responsibility of government to protect us from ourselves? Those of you who agree with the war on drugs and seat belt laws must admit that you see that as part of the proper role of government. Hurricane Katrina victims acted against their best interest and stayed in the New Orleans because they EXPECTED the government to rescue them and compensate them for their misery. The sad thing is; they got exactly what they wanted to.

More laws and bigger government are rarely, if ever the solution for any problem we face today. I would like to see a 90% reduction in Federal laws and the programs that those laws support.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Addition To The Family

I added the Life, Liberty, Property community to my blog roll on the right. Please take a little time to go through some of the blogs there.

Thanks Eric for adding me to the list!

Bad Customer Service

I took Little Dif to see Chicken Little this weekend. I decided I would splurge and buy a bucket of pop corn. We found our seats and I told Little Dif to wait for just a minute while I go get popcorn for us. The previews were starting so I knew she would stay occupied.

I saw that the line for the snack bar was long but I figured it would move quickly. I was wrong, dead wrong. I've seen people work faster at the DMV! These kids had no hustle in them whatsoever. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. They had absolutely no concern for the fact that there were at least ten people in each line and that people wanted to get their snacks so that they could get in to their movie.

I waited nearly ten minutes before deciding I'd had enough. Fortunately, Little Dif was excited enough about the movie that she didn't care about the popcorn.

I did go complain to the snack bar manager after the movie was over though. I was polite but I didn't pull any punches. I told him to just spend ten minutes watching how these kids moved and that they needed to be trained better. He apologized but I'm not sure he really cared.

This was a very bad weekend for customer service. I also went to a place called Norm's which is sort of like Denny's but not as nice. They have great food though and I like the place.

It was a nightmare on Friday. They were a little busy but not overwhelmed. I ordered a patty melt and Little Dif wanted pancakes. Forty minutes later we walked out because our food still hadn't arrived. I couldn't believe it.

For the record, I've worked in both fast food and a waiter so I know how these places are supposed to work.

Cool Tool

I don't usually post this sort of thing, but I ran across a software utility the other day called Daemon Tools that I wanted to share with all of you. It's currently in version 3.47 and it looks like 4 will be coming out in less than 2 weeks. It's free.

Read the description, if you have NO IDEA what it's talking about than it's not something that you need or want.

From the introduction page of the help file:

DAEMON Tools is an advanced application for multiprotection emulation. It is further development of Generic Safedisc emulator and incorporates all its features. This program allows running Backup Copies of SafeDisc (C-Dilla), Securom, Laserlock, CDCOPS, StarForce and Protect CD (and many others) protected games. Also included is a Virtual DVDROM drive (Generic DVD-ROM) enabling you to use your CD images as if they were already burned to CD! DAEMON Tools works under Windows9x/ME/NT/2000/XP with all types of CD/DVDROM drives (IDE/SCSI) and supports nearly any CD protection.

DAEMON Tools needs a 1:1 Copy to run!!
DAEMON Tools is used to RUN GAMES, NOT TO BURN THEM!!! Means emulation must be active while you want to play a game, not while burning the copy (except for you want to use DAEMON Tools' "fastdump" feature on a safedisc protected CD).
If you want to run a copy protected application from an image mounted to a Generic DVD-ROM enabling the copy protection emulation(s) is NOT necessary!!
Generic DVD-ROM is able to run nearly every protected or unprotected CD image (Safedisc®, Securom®, Laserlock®, Lockblocks® etc.) like it was the original CD! Just do an image file using one of the supported burning programs and mount it with Daemon Manager!
DAEMON Tools supports the following image files:

ccd (CloneCD)
bwt (Blindwrite)
mds (Media Descriptor File)
cdi (Discjuggler)
nrg (Nero)
pdi (Instant CD/DVD)
b5t (BlindWrite 5)

**note to Daemon Tools guys - I copied your help file page without permission, let me know if you want me to remove it.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Jarhead: A Movie Review

I just returned from seeing Jarhead and I must say that it was awesome!

Directed by Sam Mendes, Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx star in this movie about a STA platoon attached to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines (my old unit - Go Fox Company!) during Desert Sheild and Desert Storm.

The movie opens with Gyllenhaal as Private Swofford (Swoff) is going through boot camp. The sequence is short but realistic. I was in boot camp about the same time and you can imagine the memories that came flooding back.

Swoff gets pegged for STA by SSgt. Black (Foxx) and a brief glimpse of Scout Sniper training is given. STA Platoon is watching television as the news that Saddam Hussein has invaded Kuwait.

If you were expecting an action movie, you will be sorely disappointed. This is a drama set on the outskirts and eventually behind the lines of war with Iraq. The movie did an excellent job of communicating the tension of the classic military posture of "hurry up and wait." While they're waiting to get the war started and possibly to die the Marines have to live and train and play in the hot sand. They are stranded half a world away while their babies are born, their girlfriends dump them and in one scene a Marine receives a video from his wife of the movie "Deer Hunter" and moments after the credits roll, it cuts to a porn video. All the guys are cheering as the realization comes over the Marine that it's his wife and his neighbor. It was gut wrenching.

Later, Swoff gets in trouble for dereliction of duty when he assigned his watch to someone else and it resulted in a small disaster. The tension of waiting for war, the isolation from the rest of the world and the memory of his ex-girlfriend linger in his mind and drive him to the edge of sanity.

The tension and drama remain high because they know that conflict is coming. This is a different kind of war movie because it's not really about war, it's about a jarhead and every jarhead is the same.

Go see this movie, especially if you've been in the military. Semper Fi!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I Agree With The 9th Circus

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday against parents who sued their local school district after their elementary-age children were given a sexually charged survey, saying there is "no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children."

These elementary school children were given a survey asking them about the frequency of:

Touching my private parts too much
Thinking about having sex
Thinking about touching other people's private parts
Thinking about sex when I don't want to
Washing myself because I feel dirty on the inside
Not trusting people because they might want sex
Getting scared or upset when I think about sex
Having sex feelings in my body
Can't stop thinking about sex
Getting upset when people talk about sex

Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote the decision for the court. Part of it reads:

We agree [with the previous ruling], and hold that there is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children, either independent of their right to direct the upbringing and education of their children or encompassed by it. We also hold that parents have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed while enrolled as students. Finally, we hold that the defendants' actions were rationally related to a legitimate state purpose. [emphasis Reinhardt's].

Why do I agree with this ruling? Because your kids have no business being in control of the government for most of their waking hours. When you give the state control of your children for most of their waking hours, you shouldn't expect to have much say in what happens. The state does not serve the interests of the children. The state serves the interests of the state. When you make your children captives of the state, they also must serve the interests of the state up to the time that you remove them from state care.

Would you buy a car without a contract? How about a home? Would you conduct a major business transaction without a contract?

Someone please show me the contract you negotiated with your local public school for the education of your children. Oh, you didn't get one? It must have been an oversight. Or did you simply turn your children over to them with the expectation that you would still be in control? Isn't the education of your children a major transaction? Why wouldn't you demand that they be educated on your terms then?

Think about that for a while and get back to me if you still think the public school system is a good idea.

Free To Be...

I'm not really surprised that homosexual activists are hypocrites but this is just too much.

Activists tried to shut down a Focus on the Family conference about recovering from homosexuality.

If a straight person 'comes out of the closet' the homosexuals cheer. If a homosexual says that he is no longer gay, there is something wrong with him. The want to prohibit groups like Focus on the Family from reaching out to people who might want help or even keep ex-gays from seeking help.

Tolerance indeed!