Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Taxes Are Due

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Mickey Rooney (1920 - 2014)

Rest in peace.

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Friday, March 07, 2014

Does Sarah Palin Have An Alibi?

Headline: Moose Die-Off Alarms Scientists.


Monday, March 03, 2014

Blast From The Past

Update: Note that this cartoon dates back to November 2008.

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Case Against Party Planner Refusing To Serve Gun Club Heads To The Supreme Court

(Roiters) Baltimore Gun Club v. Stroud has landed on this year's United States Supreme Court docket.

In June last year, members of the Baltimore Gun Club approached freelance party planner Celine Stroud to organize a party planned in honor of the upcoming fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, the landmark case that struck down several Federal firearms laws and held that the Second Amendment protects the individual's right to possess a firearm. Stroud refused, stating that she could not in good conscience participate in a festivity celebrating an event she rigorously opposed.

The club hired a different party planner, and days after the event filed a discrimination suit against Stroud. The Maryland Commission on Civil Rights ruled that Stroud had violated state anti-discrimination law and ordered Stroud to pay several thousand in attorneys’ fees to the plaintiffs. The Maryland Supreme Court upheld the decision, and Stroud successfully appealed the U. S. Supreme Court, which will hear the case in early May.

Stroud claims that the ruling violates her First Amendment free speech rights. "Party planners aren't like the pizza delivery guy who just drops off food and goes away. We work with the client to put the event together, to create the activities and entertainment and atmosphere the client wants. We - along with cake bakers, entertainers, photographers, and the like - are essentially paid to be part of the celebration. It is unconscionable for the government to determine what its citizens must celebrate."

Her legal team cites Wooley v. Maynard as the key to her defense. The 1977 decision ruled that a state cannot compel motorists against their will to display a state motto (in this case, New Hampshire's "Live Free or Die") on their motor vehicle license plates. An amicus filed regarding a similar case, also also citing Wooley, stating that "speech compulsions are generally as unconstitutional as speech restrictions," and that such a compulsion "invades the sphere of intellect and spirit which it is the purpose of the First Amendment to our Constitution to reserve from all official control...Creating expression...requires sympathy with the intellectual or emotional message that the expression conveys, or at least absence of disagreement with such a message."

Stroud complains about media misreporting of the case. "The talking heads keep saying I'm discriminating against gun rights supporters. I'm not. I've planned parties for some of the club members in the past. I am discriminating against a certain type of event."

Musician Ted Nugent quipped to one reporter that if she loses her case, Piers Morgan should buy out her business. "Second Amendment patriots are boycotting him, so that way she doesn't have to do any more RKBA parties."

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's Good To Be King

NRO has a slideshow of Viktor Yanukovych's mansion.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Harold Ramis (1944-2014)

Yahoo Movies features his 9 Greatest Onscreen Moments.


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Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Lost World

Parts One and Two of Michale J. Totten's articles on Cuba.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Just In Time For Valentine's Day

Cheese slicer that looks like a Polaroid camera.

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Introducing The Wendy Davis Campaign Song

Inspired by the headline Wendy Davis endorsed by ‘sugar daddy’ dating service...

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Winter Wonderland

Dad builds luge in front yard.


Friday, January 24, 2014


Headline: Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Caron Channing, Call Your Office

A Swiss company offers a service to compress cremated human remains into diamonds.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Happy Civil Rights Day!

(An annual blog tradition continues.)

In 2006 I mulled over the idea that instead of having a Martin Luther King Day we should have a Civil Rights Day, so that we can have a single holiday for all civil rights crusaders, and, for symbolic reasons, it shoudl be set on July 5, the day after we celebrate out nation's independence. As stated in that post, I had originally considered that Civil Rights Day replace Labor Day, but I have long since settled on the latter holiday giving way to Commerce Day, a day for celebrating all the contributors to our economy and not just labor.

A July 5 holiday for any reason is even a bigger pipe dream than Commerce Day, and the MLK Day tradition is already firmly entrenched, so from this day forward I will recognize the third Monday of January as Civil Rights Day. Dr. King will always get a little extra notice for being the one to inspire the holiday, but the table of honor will feature all civil rights leaders past and present.

Following is my original argument for the holiday:


For years I'd heard news stories about debates over whether or not to establish an official Martin Luther King holiday, and never did anyone report the arguments against. I always suspected that one was that we had way too many day-off-of-work holidays as it was. Having one three weeks after Christmas does seem a bit superfluous. MLK Day would be only the third national holiday named after a person, the others being Christmas and Columbus Day, commemorating the chief catalyst for Western culture and the chief catalyst for extending Western culture to the Americas. (In the case of the latter, make that Western cultures; English and Iberian influences were vastly different.) Some, I imagine, feel that only those rare individuals who have had such a radical impact should have holidays named for them. Dr. King isn't in that league; the only Americans who are are the Founders; their holiday is July 4.

Here's my argument against making January 15 [Update: MLK Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January, which happens to fall on the 15th in 2003] an official holiday: it's not fair to everyone else involved in the civil rights movement. Independence Day isn't just about one guy. We have a holiday for all those who made the Declaration of Independence happen. We should have a federal holiday called Civil Rights Day. It would be like Memorial Day, honoring leaders of past civil rights struggles instead of soldiers of past wars.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Envelope, Please II

The 2014 Index of Economic Freedom is out, and for the first time the United States falls out of the Top 10 to twelfth place, right behind Estonia, the most economically free of the former Communist nations.


Monday, January 13, 2014

The Envelope, Please

The Education Intelligence Agency releases its 2013 Public Education Quotes of the Year. And the winner is a doozy:

“Since a teacher’s working conditions are a child’s learning conditions, attacking teachers is the same as attacking children.” – Randy Mousley, president of United Teachers of Wichita. (February 9 Wichita Eagle)

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What I'm Saying Elsewhere

I posted this comment at this Facebook post:
Here's the problem re fiscal policy. Fiscal leftists accept the Second Theory of Thermodynamics, that a closed system will eventually achieve entropy. They recognize the relevance to economics, that true growth cannot be achieved without inputs from outside the system. Unfortunately, they believe that the wealth of The Rich™ is external to the economy. And over at Instapundit, which reports that Oklahoma lawmakers are actually going through the effort to propose this law... Under Kern’s bill, students couldn’t be punished for possessing small toy weapons or using writing utensils, fingers or their hands to simulate a weapon. Students also couldn’t be punished for drawing pictures of weapons or wearing clothes that “support or advance Second Amendment rights or organizations.” ...I said this: Has anyone noticed that the state of Oklahoma is shaped like a battleship turret? If the law passes and its constitutionality is successfully challenged, Oklahoma will have to change its map. So will Idaho, BTW.

Update:Instapundit link added.

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Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Dave Barry’s Review of 2013,

The Year of the Zombies, so he says.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Reasons For The Season

(Original posted on December 23, 2002)

While Christmas is officially a celebration of the birth of Jesus, for much of the Western world December 25 has come to be a celebration of family and community. No other time of the year is so thoroughly saturated with images pointing to our highest hopes for such relationships - and no other time of the year so effectively highlights the difference between our ideals and the world as it really is. Jesus came to Earth to bridge not only the chasm between humanity and God, but also that rift that separates people from each other. Christmas reminds us that we live in a broken world, and it seeks to encourage us by showing us through religious and even many secular trappings how that brokenness can be fixed.

Best of holiday wishes to all my readers.

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Elitism = Paternalism

In light of the infantilizing Pajama Boy ad, and in remembrance of the infantilizing Life of Julia campaign (briefly discussed here),  I am reprinting the reprint of my 2006 post.


Rand Simberg links to this Marsblog post, which remarks on American media attitudes toward the general public (emphasis added to this and all following excerpted material):

Bluntly put, there is an elitist expectation [among the media] that the intolerant and easily-led dupes in flyover country might rise up in violence if told the whole truth...that -- like children -- the ignorant public at large must be protected from the unpleasant facts, since they cannot be trusted to integrate such information rationally and formulate a response which these elitists would approve of as sensible and reasonable. The press must therefore act as a gatekeeper, concealing the truth lest the redneck mob draw the "wrong" conclusions and be roused by some jingoistic demagogue to the pogroms and crusades which are its nature.
I was reminded of an incident during the 1992 presidential debate in Richmond, which I quoted in a recent comment thread at Samizdata:

The most notorious example of this [debate] format lending a platform for people who seek to be pampered by the nanny state was that pony-tailed guy from the 1992 presidential debate in Richmond who got up and asked then President George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot: "[H]ow can we, symbolically the children of the future president, expect the two of you – the three of you – to meet our needs."
I also recalled something I once read in a tale told by John Fund, which fortunately I was able to find documented here. He describes an encounter with several teenage girls in a department store during a 1984 trip to East Germany:

"We [Fund and his traveling companion(s), unnamed in the article] showed them our passports; they showed us their identity papers and told us a little about what it was like to live in a small town in East Germany. One of the girls told us, for example, the economy was so run-down that, when she lost an air valve on a bicycle tire, there was no way to replace it. People didn't have much money, but what was worse, there was nothing on which to spend it.

"Our travel visas expired at midnight, so by dusk we were on our way back to the glittering lights of West Berlin. The girls came along to the train station to bid us farewell. They had never seen the Berlin Wall, but they knew it was close. They gradually slowed their pace and stopped on a street corner just before we reached the railyard. One said, "You know, we really shouldn't go any further. We are not Berliners. If we are stopped, the guards will ask us why we are so close to the border zone.

"As we stood in the growing darkness, a feeling of incredible sadness came over me. here I was, in my mid-twenties, free as a bird. I wasn't rich, but I could go anywhere in the world from that street corner. They could not go another one hundred yards. Their world ended at the Wall. They could not go any further.

"... I asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. One said a beautician, one said a nurse, and one said a teacher. But the oldest and wisest, whose name was Monica, looked up at me with the most sorrowful face I have ever seen and said very slowly, 'It doesn't matter what we become when we grow up. They will always treat us like children.'

"... That sentence really defines Soviet communism in its waning years. There were very few knocks in the dead of night; people were rarely taken away to the gulag. There were very few summary executions. Instead, there was an insufferable and widespread paternalism. It was a dark cloud hanging over citizens. It weighed down their spirits and prevented them from maturing. Worse of all, it kept them from becoming that which was best within them.

"We parted almost tearfully. Monica and I exchanged addresses, and every year or so a postcard would come from her, and I would send some little trinket in the mail. She wrote that she had applied to a university, but she was rejected for her unacceptable views. She managed to get a job in a veterinarian's office."

Monica eventually came to the US, and Fund arranged for her to speak to some high schoolers:

"I swallowed my doubts and arranged a talk for Monica. It was a disaster. The students weren't openly disrespectful, but they whispered constantly during her remarks and now and then a spitwad would rocket across the room. Even the quiet students were simply uninterested.

"Finally, Monica opened the session up to questions. A girl asked, 'Why in the world would someone want to build a wall in the middle of a city?' She clearly had no understanding why this had happened or what historical forces were at work, even after Monica had told her story.

"As we walked out of the classroom, I tried to explain to Monica that not all young Americans were like this. She looked at me, and once again I saw that same sad, pensive face I remembered from a street corner in East Berlin. She said, 'John, please don't explain anymore. I've been in America for three weeks now, and I've learned that this is a great and wonderful country. But because you have never lost your freedom, because you have never been conquered, because you have never had all your possessions taken from you, you are now willing to surrender your freedom, independence, and autonomy by inches. You simply don't notice it, but, one inch at a time, it slips away.' She continued, 'Those students in there -- I feel sorry for them. No matter what they do when they grow up, many of them will always be acting like children.'"

Update (2/8/2013): Chris Rock furthers this meme (Coincidentally, link via Rand Simberg):

I am just here to support the President of the United States. President of the United States is our boss, but he is also... you know, the President and the First Lady are kinda like the Mom and the Dad of the country. And when your Dad says something you listen, and when you don't it will usually bite you on the ass later on. So, I’m here to support the President.

Update (12/22/2013): Found a currently working link for the John Fund article. The original WND article is a dead link.

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Global Warming Update

Gateway Pundit headline: FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY… Al Gore Predicted the North Pole Will Be Ice Free in 5 Years.

Freak snowstorm hits Egypt, Israel. The San Diego Union-Tribune has photos from Egypt, including one of the Sphinx.

Climate change segment on CNN: Mark Morano slam-dunks warming alarmist.


Saturday, December 07, 2013

Day Of Infamy, Day Of Hope

I have never been quite satisfied with my original 2002 post.This is my latest revision.


Today is the anniversary of the Japanese strike against Pearl Harbor. After many years, the war still provokes disagreements between and within both countries. Books, notably Robert W. Stinnett's Day of Deceit and John Toland's Infamy: Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath, claim that FDR intentionally provoked Japan into starting a war and that he had advance knowledge of the attack. The Japanese have debated among themselves over the treatment of the war in textbooks and proposals such as the issuance of a formal apology for the war and revision of its postwar constitution. Naturally, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a rich source of debate; surprisingly, the Japanese themselves are divided over the ethics of those attacks.

Factions can disagree over the conduct of a war and still find much common ground over what to do with its aftermath. The US and Japan set in motion policies that would promote an amicable political bond and deep cultural ties between our nations. We don't always achieve both goals with nations with whom we haven't warred.

Everybody knows the day of infamy. The day of hope is every December 7 of Japanese-American alliance and friendship.

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Monday, December 02, 2013

It's That Time Of Year

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Year Of Thanksgiving

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Friday, November 22, 2013

"Damn, It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta"

Randy Barnett's original post.

My contribution.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Just In Time For Christmas - And Ragnarok

Avengers Movie: Thor Mjolnir Limited Edition Replica.

Has Ragnarok set a calendar date?

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Weird Science

Why do women stigmatize the sexually provocative behavior of other women? University of Ottawa psychologist Tracy Vaillancourt has a theory:
"Sex is coveted by men," she said. "Accordingly, women limit access as a way of maintaining advantage in the negotiation of this resource. Women who make sex too readily available compromise the power-holding position of the group, which is why many women are particularly intolerant of women who are, or seem to be, promiscuous."
In other words, Vaillancourt thinks it's mostly about resentment toward the competition over mate selection.

I think there are several factors involved, especially this: women want romance and friendship from their special guy, and friendship with a number of guys, and women fear that excessive sexual aggrandizement will distract guys' attention away from the necessary friendship-building habits and attitudes.

Update: Link to NYT article added.


Monday, November 18, 2013


Barack Obama, enemy of oil and natural gas industry expansion, takes credit for the US oil boom.


Sunday, November 03, 2013

Chart Of The Day

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Saturday, November 02, 2013

The Lives Of Others, Obama Edition

In the wake of the news of NSA surveillance of Angela Merkel, the poster for this film has been begging to be photoshopped:

"The Lives of Others" (German poster) - parody photo ObamaLivesOfOthersSmall.jpg

A larger image of the poster is available here.

The NSA is also alleged to have snooped on the future Pope Francis. The NSA denies the allegations.

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Blogger Costume Party

This year's theme: Clint Eastwood movies.

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Dirty Harry (1971), starring Rand Simberg.

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The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), starring David Burge (Iowahawk) .

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Every Which Way But Loose (1978), starring Robert Stacy McCain.

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Gran Torino (2008), starring Clayton Cramer.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Debt Problem Simply Does Not Faze This Crazy Woman

Headline: Pelosi Wants Obamacare Extended to Include Universal Childcare

Her body language looks awfully familiar...

Baghdad Nancy - small photo BaghdadNancySmall.jpg

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Plight Of The Living Dead

Man can't convince judge that he's alive.


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