In a free-speech controversy, you can’t count on WordPress. Act accordingly.

#WORDPRESSFAIL: WordPress Takes Down “Bare Naked Islam” Blog After Threats From CAIR.

CAIR pursues this strategy regularly. Shame on WordPress for giving in. Note to bloggers: In a free-speech controversy, you can’t count on WordPress. Act accordingly. Meanwhile, an item on CAIR’s terrorist ties. More here. And its membership is minuscule. This is who you listened to, WordPress.

via Instapundit » Blog Archive » #WORDPRESSFAIL: WordPress Takes Down “Bare Naked Islam” Blog After Threats From CAIR. CAIR p….

UPDATE (Fri 30 Dec 2011):

After reviewing this case I’ve turned your site back on. Even though this is the third Term of Service issue with your blog, you should have been contacted before your site was suspended by our Terms of Service team.

That said, publishing IP and email addresses of commenters with the invitation to harass them is a violation of our terms of service and your site harbors numerous examples that violate our ToS rule “does not contain threats or incite violence towards individuals or entities.”

Given that this has been an ongoing issue I think you should find alternative hosting. I realize that it is the holidays and happy to give you until Jan 6 to do so. You can use the “offsite redirect” upgrade to ensure all of your links continue to work and your visitors get redirected.

Finally although there was a press release from CAIR claiming to have been behind this I haven’t heard of them until today and as far as we can tell none of the ToS reports that caused the blog to be reviewed were from anyone involved with that organization. WordPress.com does not suspend blogs at the request of individuals or organizations, only for violations of our Terms of Service.

That sounds like the right thing to do. Via Instapundit » Blog Archive » A WORDPRESS / BARENAKED ISLAM UPDATE: The PR folks for WordPress sent me a copy of the email that M….

In Iowa, ‘Unbelievable’ rise in weapons permits

Another civil rights victory:

The number of Iowans seeking permits to carry handguns and other weapons has increased 170 percent during the first 11 months of 2011 — a trend one Iowa sheriff calls “unbelievable.”

During the first year in which a new law gave sheriffs less discretion over which residents can be denied permits, 94,516 Iowans sought and received non-professional weapons permits from January through November, the Iowa Department of Public Safety reports.

via ‘Unbelievable’ rise in weapons permits | The Des Moines Register | DesMoinesRegister.com.

Statism Incomparably Worse Than Free Markets

… [C]apitalism vigorously pursued has never produced the atrocities – starvation, tyranny, and genocide – that are produced by statism vigorously pursued.  Nothing remotely close.

Capitalism vigorously pursued might produce trade cycles and long periods of high unemployment; it might produce anxiety in yesterday’s successful entrepreneurs who now face competition from today’s upstart entrepreneurs; it might cause too many people to become obese; it might kill off animal species in unusually high numbers; it might cause the earth’s climate to change; it might create asset bubbles; it might spark envy and over-work in the Smiths who are trying to keep up with their neighbors, the Joneses.  It might do these things and others that reasonable people might regard as unfortunate in comparison with some imaginable paradise.

But we must never lose sight of this important asymmetry: complete or near-complete state control of the economy has proven to be a sure recipe for deep impoverishment and brutal tyranny, while historical periods that have been close to laissez faire – that is, much closer to laissez faire than is America at the dawn of 2012 – have produced nothing remotely of the sort.  Indeed, whatever problems might be caused by more and more reliance upon laissez faire capitalism are always accompanied by – and are at least partially (and arguably more than completely) off-set by – unambiguous benefits of capitalism such as the elimination of starvation, more abundant supplies of clothing, and better housing.

Any problems promoted by greater and greater reliance upon capitalism, in short, are first-world problems (which isn’t to say that these problems should be tolerated); they are problems incomparably more tolerable than are the horrors promoted by the elimination of capitalism.

via Cafe Hayek — where orders emerge.

The Ron Paul Investment Guide

Yes, about 21% of Rep. Paul’s holdings are in real estate and roughly 14% in cash. But he owns no bonds or bond funds and has only 0.1% in stock funds. Furthermore, the stock funds that Rep. Paul does own are all “short,” or make bets against, U.S. stocks. One is a “double inverse” fund that, on a daily basis, goes up twice as much as its stock benchmark goes down.

The remainder of Rep. Paul’s portfolio – fully 64% of his assets – is entirely in gold and silver mining stocks….

At our request, William Bernstein, an investment manager at Efficient Portfolio Advisors in Eastford, Conn., reviewed Rep. Paul’s portfolio as set out in the annual disclosure statement. Mr. Bernstein says he has never seen such an extreme bet on economic catastrophe. ”This portfolio is a half-step away from a cellar-full of canned goods and nine-millimeter rounds,” he says.

A lot of people say one thing, but their actions belie their words. Ron Paul, at least, appears to believe what he’s saying. Via Greg Mankiw’s Blog: The Ron Paul Portfolio.

Social Security: Tax-Based Welfare Program, Not Insurance

… turns out [Social Security] really is a tax-based welfare program, not a dedicated, contribution-based retirement program …

Remember that line when you hear someone say “I just want to get from it what I paid into it.” Buddy, you didn’t “pay into it,” you were taxed to pay for someone else. Via Re: The Payroll Tax Mess – By Michael Walsh – The Corner – National Review Online.

Argentina Gov’t To Control Newsprint

That’s right, the government now controls the supply of the very paper on which the news is to be printed. Tyranny on the march.

The paper used to produce newspapers came under government control in Argentina on Thursday, in a long-sought victory for President Cristina Fernandez in her dispute with the country’s opposition media.

Argentina’s senate, which is controlled by Fernandez’s allies, voted 41-26 to control newsprint’s manufacture, sale and distribution to media friends and foes alike.

Newsprint has been a key issue in the never-ending battles between the government and opposition newspapers. Since the early days of the 1976-1983 dictatorship, Argentina’s only newsprint provider is Papel Prensa, a joint venture majority-owned by its dominant newspapers, Clarin and La Nacion. The government has been a minority shareholder.

Via News from The Associated Press.

Some People Still Mourn The Soviet Empire

"No one questions that Havel, who went to prison twice, was a brave man who had the courage to stand up for his views. Yet the question which needs to be asked is whether his political campaigning made his country, and the world, a better place. Havel’s anti-communist critique contained little if any acknowledgement of the positive achievements of the regimes of eastern Europe in the fields of employment, welfare provision, education and women’s rights. Or the fact that communism, for all its faults, was still a system which put the economic needs of the majority first."

Absolutely. Presumably, that explains why there were millions of downtrodden, poor people attempting to enter the Soviet Empire from such hellholes as West Germany. That explains why East Berlin erected the Wall, to contain the flood of people trying to enter it. Yes, that must have been the reason.

Missing the God-damned Communists is as bad as missing the National Socialists. Maybe worse. Cia Remember, some are still mourning the Soviet Empire | Samizdata.net.

The Real Hero of “The Princess Bride” Is Inigo, Not Westley

Almost everyone who knows me has had to suffer through me talking about Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. The short version: all hero stories share common elements, character types, and motifs; these elements are present in mythology, religion, and in movies today.

For example, have you ever noticed in cinematic hero stories that it’s always “two guys and a girl”? Harry, Ron, and Hermione; Luke, Han, and Leia; Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity; hell: Bo, Luke, and Daisy. There’s usually an “old man as mentor”: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Professor Dumbledore, Uncle Ben. There is the death of a father. There is a gift of magical assistance. And so on, and so on.

I’ve been wondering for a long time now how “The Princess Bride” fits into the Campbell analysis. I have recently realized that the real hero of “The Princess Bride” is not Westley; it is, in fact, Inigo Montoya.

To illustrate, let’s compare the characters of “Star Wars” to those of “The Princess Bride”:

Character Type              Star Wars       Princess Bride
--------------------------  --------------  --------------
The Pirate                  Han             Westley
The Swordsman               Luke            Inigo
The Girl                    Leia            Buttercup
The main villain            Darth Vader     Count Rugen
His overseer                The Emperor     Humperdinck
Whose father gets killed?   Luke's          Inigo's
Who does the killing?       Darth Vader     Count Rugen
Who avenges his father?     Luke            Inigo
Who gets the girl?          Han             Westley

The one whose father is killed, learns swordplay, seeks out his father’s murderer, and confronts him as part of a final attack: that is the hero. That means Luke/Inigo are the heroes, and Han/Westley are the pirate characters who get the girl in the end. Westley is central to the plot, and the main story is about Westley and Buttercup, but Westley is not the hero; Inigo is.

Here’s another fun bit: for the final attack, it is the pirate who plans it, but it is the swordsman who must confront the villain.

Plot Element                Star Wars       Princess Bride
--------------------------  --------------  --------------
The target                  Death Star 2    The castle
Attack planned by           Han Solo        Westley
Villain killed by           Luke            Inigo

Once again, the hero appears to be Inigo, not Westley.

I know, it’s heresy. But still.