What I’m listening to

September 25, 2011

A few of the most recent records (torrents) I’ve been listening to.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You

This one is probably impossible to miss. In the last ten years or so the Chili Peppers have become a stadium playing megaband, not that they were not a good band but it seems superstar status is given to any big 80’s or 90’s band that managed to not break up. This is their first record since guitarist John Frusciante left the group, and it really show. New axeman Josh Klinghoffer is a bit of a like for like replacement for Frusciante and attempts to imitate the the former guitarists sound without bringing much new to the group.

Music wise Klinghoffer seems to follow the lead of the Chili’s rhythm section almost note for note and it times its hard to even hear the guitar over the bass. That said i’ve listened to the record twice and its sort of grown on me, but it wont be one of their more memorable records. It just didnt have the energy or passion that Blood Sugar Sex Magik had.

Anthrax – Worship Music

I’ve only been listening to Anthrax since watching the “Big Four” concert at the cinema last year and I dont consider myself a huge fan of the band. It’s their first record since their most well known singer Joey Belladonna rejoined the group. This album doesn’t really seem to try and modernise their sound but more emulate their 1980’s heyday, and it pretty much works. This is 80’s style thrash metal and I’ve no problem with that. Highlights include “Fight em Till You cant” the best and perhaps only song about the Zombie Apocalypse and the secret track “New Noise” a cover of the awesome Refused song. So far pretty decent.

Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn of Events

I’d pretty much describe Dream Theater’s sound as Metallica mixed with Pink Floyd. As with most prog you either like it or you dont, I dont think this record will win you over if you never liked them before. Only listened to it once but it seemed good, but I dont think it gets close to matching “Images and Words” or “Systematic Chaos” which I think are their two best albums. But overall good.

Podcasts

The Bugle

Recently started listening to this podcast from John Oliver from The Daily Show and someone else I’d never heard of called Andy Zaltzman. Much like the Daily Show its a humorous take on the news but with a more wacky British sense of humour. Bloody funny stuff, I am a fan.

This American Life

Bout an hour long podcast from Chicago Public Radio that each week tackles a particular subject, like Gossip or Carnivals. More interesting than it sounds, although non-fiction they seem to present their topics in a more narrative structure more similar to fiction that keeps it entertaining. Worth a listen.

21st Century Schizoid Man

September 19, 2011

Last week I joined the smartphone revolution. Previously I was one of those people that loathed mobile phones, using them only out of necessity, but my iPod nano’s battery was dying and it looked like getting a budget android smartphone would be a cheaper option than buying a new iPod so I decided to take the plunge.

Originally I didn’t like phones because until the last few years if a phone had any special features, such as mp3 playback or internet access by and large they just didn’t do these things very well. The nokia phones that played mp3’s didn’t have a standard headphone jack and wanted you to buy something extra, you needed to buy a special branded cord with software to connect your phone to your computer or something and internet surfing of possible tended to be the technological equivalent of cans with a bit of string. You get the idea. Then the iphone launched and it really was the first phone that made web surfing and music playback less frustrating than untying knots in shoelaces. Thankfully this made other phone makers pick up their game. Some of them adopted Google’s Android Operating System, which borrows more than its fair share from iPhone’s ioS but is much more customizable.

After reading a whole bunch of tech forums and blogs I decided on settling for a Huawei Sonic. It runs the latest 2.3 version of android and spec wise it seems to be about on par with iPhone’s 3gs. Its got 256mb or ram and a 600mhz processor. Hardly cutting edge compared to the iPhone 4 or HTC Desire HD but as I remember back when those were good specs for a desktop computer so I’m not complaining, plus it was only 188 bucks outright and not simlocked to any particular carrier.

So I’ve been using it for a few days and here are my thoughts on my first smartphone experience.
What I dig.

Speed

Although speedwise it isn’t up to scratch with the latest superphones I really haven’t had much or a problem with it. More graphically intensive apps like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja seem to run without any problems. It probably wont run the unreal engine like the iPhone can, but I have my PC and xbox for serious gaming anyway. Most bottlenecks I experienced with apps seemed to be more due to the patchy nature of the 3G network in my area rather than any limitations from the phone itself. So for basic smartphone stuff it seems more than capable. I’m sure the techheads will scoff at the extra second or so it takes for an app to load but for normals it seems perfectly fine.

Customizability

This is where Android has a clear advantage over iOs. I can choose the general layout, the way things load. 3d backgrounds, weather and other assorted widgets and so on, not to mention a whole bunch of other nerdy crap which isn’t limited by google because non google market programs can run on the platform. So no need to “jailbreak” and risk bricking my phone (though there is something amusingly called “rooting” the phone that does something or other similar to jailbreaking, but I have no idea what that is about).

One of the best things about the customization was a typing interface called “Swype”. It uses the standard touchscreen keyboard which as anyone has used usually results in a lot of errors due to small keys and large fingers. With swype instead of tapping each key you swipe your finger across the keyboard for each word and it figures out your intended word based on where your finger changes direction, or something. It sounds weird but after using it for a few minutes I thought it was easily the best way to type on a small touchscreen and there is no way I will go back to the standard touch keyboard. It’s not perfect however, and it relies on having the dictionary to predict what word you are typing, so you have to add more and more slang and other non dictionary words to make the thing more workable, but that’s a small problem.

From what I’ve read swype isn’t available on the iPhone because they need access to some things on Apple’s end for it to function, and Apple being as anal as they are aren’t willing to do that. Sucks for iPhone users, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Tethering

This is a feature in the 2.2 version of the Android OS I believe and it works brilliantly. Tethering for the uninitiated is using the phones net access to connect your computer to the internet through your phone. All it takes is a press of a button in the settings and I can set up internet tethering through USB connection or make my own wifi hotspot. No fiddling or anything difficult and it seems to work brilliantly.

Replaceable batteries and memory cards

One of the most annoying thing about apple’s products is that they don’t let you remove the battery of their iphones or ipods by yourself. They want you to send into official Apple people and pay an exorbitant fee to get your battery changed. It seems like these large fees are designed so that most consumers will choose to by a new product instead of a new battery. That shits me, but thankfully this phone has a replaceable battery that I can take out and purchase replacements for myself without going through the phone manufacturer. Also it has a microsd card slot which I can add more storage space up to 32gb. Not too shabby.
What I didn’t dig

Android Market

The market isn’t bad, and it seems to have most of the things that are available on Apple’s appstore but there are a few things that let it down. For a company that made itself in organising information, the market isn’t set out very well, it has categories but it nowhere near as well set out and arranged like apple’s store. Also as there is no official synching software ala iTunes the downloading must be done through your phone rather than through your PC then synched through your phone. I also had a problem where a 99 cent app I bought didn’t download properly after I downloaded it, so I clicked “install” in the market again and surprise surprise the fuckers charged me twice for the same app. I figured out later there was another way to redownload the program without paying for it a second time, but the market should be set up so you cant buy the same app twice on the same device and account accidentally. It was only 99 cents wasted, but if that was a $5 app that would have really shit me up the wall. I’m sure Apple’s appstore wouldn’t make this amateur error. Google, fix this shit.

Other things

On my phone there is internal memory that is quite small (180megs) and removable memory via the microSD card. For some reason some programs only give the option of installing on the limited internal memory and have restrictions on being moved to the removable memory. This really limits what I can load on my phone because some developers for whatever reason insist on putting programs where I don’t have room for them.

The camera

Not the fault of Android but of the phone manufacturer. 3 megapixels doesn’t seem that bad, but as it has no flash it seems impossible to take any photos that aren’t dark smudges. It doesn’t really bother me but I just downloaded a barcode scanner app and I cant even get that to work because the barcodes are too dark for the camera to read. So I’d avoid the Huawei sonic if you want to take reasonable quality photos.

So yeh, overall my first foray into the smartphone and the Android OS have been quite positive overall. A few problems but on the whole I’ve been quite impressed.

The c-bomb

August 28, 2011

The scariest thing about cancer is just how normal it is. It isn’t a nay freak occurrence but something we all have to deal with many times in our lives, be it getting it ourselves or knowing someone who will get it. The stats I saw on the teev the other day said there is about a ½ chance of getting cancer in your lifetime. So flip a coin and if it comes up heads that’s the same likelihood that you will get cancer. If you are the lucky 50% that doesn’t get it, it’s pretty much a certainty that at least one person you are close to will get it at some point.

When you are young though you are rarely forced to confront your own mortality. You think of these health problems as something to worry about later in life. When I got skin cancer two years ago it was genuinely the most terrifying time in my life. I was in my twenties, I was (reasonably) healthy. I didn’t drink heavily, I didn’t smoke, I virtually never took drugs. I had made a conscience effort to make the right decisions. I avoided the sun like the plague, yet because of my horrid European skin and my half-wit father who insisted I fry at the beach every weekend as a child my cards were already dealt. Skin cancer would always be a risk even if I decided to live underground from here on in.

Things worked out, I got the bad skin cut out of my back and life carried on much like always. The strangest thing about the whole experience is just how very normal it is. Just speak to anyone over 50 and getting skin cancers cut out of them is practically routine. It’s so normal that it isn’t even worth getting especially worked up about.

Then a few weeks back I had a sudden fear consume me. I just knew I had to get a skin cancer check. And sure enough my instinct was right and there was something dodgy on my right arm. A biopsy was taken and once again I was left in that terrible place where I was waiting for lab results. I was hardly overjoyed with the news that I was in the same situation that I was in two years ago, but neither was I the same insomniac, nervous wreck that I was last time around. I was scared, but I still managed to live a somewhat normal life whilst I was waiting. It was just something I needed to go through.

And sure enough the biopsy came back and I needed a section of skin cut out of my arm and further tests taken. And I was OK with it. The most annoying thing was that I couldn’t exercise for two weeks and showering was difficult when I wasn’t allowed to get my arm wet.

It turned out the dodgy skin was a pre-melanoma (the doctor used a specific medical term that I cant quite recall). It wasn’t cancer, but could have developed into cancer one day, or it could have never turned into anything. But the skin cancer check may have saved my life.
It’s more than likely that with my shitty European skin that I’ll go through this routine again and again throughout my life. It’s just one of those things. And I think I’m fine with that. There is nothing I can do about it but I have the resources to protect myself.

And for all the debate about our health system I’ll say this. I rang up for a skin check in the afternoon, got an appointment for the next morning and had the whole thing sorted out without hassle and bulk billed. You have to be thankful for things like that.

Not Funny

July 25, 2011

Recently on an American talk show the panel discussed a recent case where a husband sadistically mutilated his wife’s genitals after she announced that she was filing for divorce. Then disgustingly the all male panel laughed and cracked jokes at the expense of the disfigured woman. A male audience member even shouted out “that will teach her” to the cheering and laughter of the rest of the predominately male audience. One of the male panelists described the husbands attack as “fabulous” and excitedly described in detail how he imagined the attack to take place. Although another male panelist eventually added that it wasn’t very funny and it was wrong to laugh at, the general consensus in the male audience seemed to be that the woman deserved what she got.

Apart from a few angry blog posts there hasn’t been much of a backlash against the TV show. Advertisers and the network seem perfectly fine with laughing and cheering at the abuse and mutilation of women for entertainment.

All this is true, except I switched one thing.

I’m sure most men and women would find Sharon Osbourne’s violent and hateful misandry disgusting, so I’m not trying to suggest that all or most women share her views. But when I first saw the clip my first thought was that if the clip was reversed with male celebrities hysterically laughing at a women who had her genitals mutilated by her husband that the backlash would have been quite louder. Laughing at torture and mutilation is disgusting and barbaric and it deserves to be condemned regardless of the victims gender.

Related, a good article in the Guardian a few days back about the largely unreported male rape victims in Uganda, its a harrowing read. What it made me think about was that even in the west the attitudes to male victims of rape is probably a few decades behind our attitudes to female victims. Prison rape, which is largely male on male is generally considered funny or in some way deserved and there seems to be little interest in cracking down on it. Two years ago a magistrate even jokingly implied to a 19 year old male that he would probably get raped if he was sentenced to prison.

We still have some changing to do.

Oh and Sharon Osbourne, go fuck yourself you disgusting individual.

Voice of the voiceless

June 28, 2011

My favourite novel of all time is still “Nineteen Eighty Four” by George Orwell. I originally got it out for a book report back in high school and devoured it in a single night. No novel has ever affected me so greatly. The tale of Winston Smith rebelling against the totalitarian government of the Dystopian Airstrip 1 is just as brilliant, accessible and relevant as when it was published. Watching a lateline story last night about North Korea and it immediately reminded me of this novel. 60 after it was published and the world that the novel describes is scarily accurate to modern North Korea with its strong cult of personality and ludicrous state run propaganda that idiolises Kim Jong Ill like Airstrip One did Big Brother.

Despite being a massive Orwell fan I had never gotten around to reading any other books from him apart from 1984 and Animal Farm. Unfortunately Orwell’s own life was cut short at 46 and he had only written 6 novels at the time of his death. Wanting to be familiar with more of his writings I got “Down and Out in Paris and London” out from the library and was blown away yet again.

To me Orwell’s talent as a political writer was at making what would otherwise seem like academic ideas of politics and class and making them accessible and incredibly interesting in a literary form. A lot has been written about how the leaders of the Russian revolution quickly oppressed the masses it sought to free, but its doubtful any other writings on the subject have had the influence of Animal Farm with its brilliant metaphor of Animals overthrowing the humans and taking over the farm.

To me Down and Out wrote about the poor and downtrodden in our society in an accessible way that I haven’t seen any other writer do. The book is a partial autobiography about the author’s time living in poverty in the late 1920’s. Although Orwell lived a rather sheltered upper class English life to this point (he attended Eton) he threw himself into the life of the strugglers. He clearly described what life was like, being unemployed before the modern welfare state. He describes pawning his remaining clothes for food and sleeping rough and vivid descriptions of his primitive living conditions and backbreaking work he did for minimal pay.

Orwell told the tales of the other people he associated with and how they found themselves as societies outcasts, from a painter who broke his leg at work to a Russian ex-colonel trying to make it as a waiter in Paris despite his war injuries. Even the people out to help the less well off who ran the lodging houses treat the homeless as barely human.

Life may be better for the worse off nowadays, but homelessness is a problem that we still continently ignore more than ever. We use the modern welfare state as an excuse to absolve ourselves of guilt for the estimated over one hundred thousand people who sleep hard each and every night. We still think of them as bums, that it is their own entire fault and that “we” are much better than “them”. A lot has changed since the 20’s, but Down and Out is a good book for making you think about how the less fortunate live. It’s probably lost more of its relevance than his other books, but still an interesting read.

Are you a republican or a republicant?

April 29, 2011

I was too young to vote in the Republican referendum of 1999 but remember it quite well. My mother, a fond monarchist and royal watcher decided to give me her vote, her reasoning being that I was going to be around for longer than her so it would make more sense for it to be my say. It was a thoughtful thing for a mother to do and I told her I wanted an Australian republic.

My mother and I are of course from very different generations. She grew up with God Save the Queen as our national anthem and Australia was part of the British Empire. I grew up with Advance Australia Fair and to me at least the Queen and the Royal family never seemed like anything I had any remote connection to. I always needed to remind myself that she was also the Queen of Australia as well as England. The royal family seemed no more Australian than the President of America or the King of Spain, a curious colonial oversight from days gone by.

1999 referendum was a major loss for Republicans and the movement has been on life support ever since. But still it was hardly a victory for monarchists either. The “no” campaign knew that the majority of Australians no longer thought of the Royal family as ours and they instead criticised the model of the Republic, calling it the “politician’s republic” to play into people’s distrust of politicians and to split the republic vote. They didn’t appeal to fondness for England and the Queen because they knew that was an argument that they couldn’t win. They may have won the battle, but general apathy towards the crown still reigns supreme.

But where has the Republican movement been in the last ten years? We have had two republican prime ministers, one republican opposition leader and still we can’t get a government to have the courage of its convictions to push the issue. The general catch cry from republican politicians is that we will revisit the issue but not until the end of the current Queens reign. It just stinks of laziness that they think that convincing Australia for a republic is too hard but King Charles’s unpopularity will make them win the argument by default. If a republic is going to win just because people don’t like Charles then it really doesn’t deserve to win.

I believe in democracy, and so I see no need for our elected government to serve at the pleasure of someone who receives their role because of hereditary privilege. I despise the class system and believe the Monarchy is not a system that truly represents an egalitarian society. I believe in freedom of religion, and I don’t want my head of state to also be Supreme governor of the Church of England and I also don’t want any 300 year old laws making it illegal for a Catholic to be our head of state. We can not be a true secular society whilst we retain the monarchy. I believe that Australian’s should one day have the opportunity to be the head of state, and I want that to be decided by duty, service and who is most qualified for the job, not by who was the first male to come out of the right vagina.

These are beliefs that I am passionate about and they are why I am a republican. I want Australia to be a republic because people believe in these ideals, not because of the unpopularity of the monarch of the time. The argument for a republic is as valid right now as it is ten or twenty years from now and if republican politicians really believe in a republic, and yes that means you Julia and Malcolm they should be pushing for it, advocating for it now. That is if you really believe in it.

Likewise the Monarchists who want to defend their preferred system may need to refine their arguments if last nights Qanda is anything to go by. Between the Monarchist who came to the studio clutching a teddy bear and speaking in a pretend posh accent and Angela Bishop supporting the monarchy because of the cult of celebrity the only monarchist with anything serious to say was Nick Minchin. Minchin didn’t seem to like, dislike or particularly care about the Royal family either way but argued that it’s a system that has provided relative stability to our political system for the last 110 years. It’s a fair point, but I don’t think it is beyond us to create a republican system that provides the stability of our current system but with an Australian head of state. If only we had a few politicians who were actually passionate enough to fight for such a thing.

Julian Assange – Not a terrorist, just a naughty boy

December 8, 2010

The arrest of wikileaks founder Julian Assange is not an attack on democracy, free speech or any other such hyperbole you may want to throw at it, but a curious example of Sweden’s bizarre rape laws which seeks to criminalise consensual sex between two adults. No-one is above the law however, even the really really stupid laws, and the push to make Assange some sort of political prisoner for his sexual misadventures is misguided.

But enough about that, I’m hear to talk about wikileaks and why I disagree with it.

I agree with whistle blowing, openness and accountability, I also agree that governments need to conduct some matters in private. There is not a clear line that can show where a piece of classified information should be kept secret and where exposing it is in the public interest. Assange’s opinion seems to be that exposing truth is justified in all circumstances and any attempt by government to keep certain things classified is akin to corruption. What about when it is government information on private citizens however? I dont think many of the Assange supporters would support a massive leak of documents of the Australian Tax Office, that could be private information about them. Whats that, you dont support a leak of government medical records, that could have information on you. Well what about the private citizens names in the hundreds of thousands of leaked documents in the recent embassy cable and Iraq and Afghanistan leaks? Its nice and easy to be all for openness and accountability when the spotlight isn’t shining on you.

A silly comparison you say? Wikileaks is about shining the light on corrupt governments. But of the quarter of a million cablegate leaks most are fairly mundane diplomatic chatter. Americans think Prince Andrew is rude, Rudd a control freak. Its hardly Watergate, its more Perez Hilton. Sure, there are more important leaks such as confirmation of US nukes in Turkey and the former opposition leader saying he would back the US in a China/Taiwan standoff and I would defend wikileaks goal’s and mission if its leaks were reduced to just things that exposed corruption and governments lying to the people. But that is not what wikileaks is about.

Julian Assange is a former hacker and he carries the hacker mentality into wikileaks. More and more the leaks aren’t about what they reveal but how large the leaks are and how secret. Its about getting what is hardest to get, what is most protected and what will give the biggest reason to boast. Journalists dont publish everything that is confidential, they use their judgement to publish what is in the public interest. There is never a clear line as to where the public interest begins, but Assange’s idea of public interest seems to be any government material that is private.

A few months ago the national broadsheet felt the need to out a small time blogger and tweeter called @grogsgamut as a Canberra public servant and deemed it in the public interest because he had commented on politics and the head of the abc had mentioned him. The Australia deemed this “in the public interest” but most people saw it as a gross invasion of privacy with little justification. By and large the people that opposed Grog’s outing now support wikileaks, curious how opposing values of privacy and openness are so easily interchangeable. I’ll damn you to hell for outing a left-wing public servant but diplomatic cables about Prince Andrews manners are vital for all to know?

There will never be a clear line for where a right to privacy stops and transparency and openness begins, and with the internet lines will get blurred and redefined. Wikileaks seems less and less about fighting corruption than it is about redefining privacy by publishing anything it can get its hands on.

Update: Some other interesting wikileaks related posts.

Malcolm Turnbull is quite measured and sensible on the subject and doesnt seem interested in the current demonising US conservatives are in to.

Mischa76 on wikileaks

A background on the rape charges and a good blog post on those charges

Update 2: More info on the rape charges, doesnt seem as ridiculous as before.

I’m over there.

October 21, 2010

Hello, I’m also blogging over here so go and comment and stuff, do it NOW!

On Metallica and modern metal.

October 20, 2010

Metal fans although claiming not to be obsessed with image can be just as fickle and shallow as other music genres they deride. A common criticism of Metallica from detractors is of their success and wealth that I find confusing. Many people when deriding Metallica will recall Lars Ulrich’s  taste for collecting art. Apparently metal musicians should live up to a cliché and anything that doesn’t fit in with the macho imagine is ridiculed

This attitude reached the zenith of its ridiculousness during the reviews of Metallica’s most recent album “Death Magnetic”. In their review of the album Pitchfork media thought it relevant to include the shocking fact that two of the members of the band were recently caught shopping for Armani suits. Apparently this is not “metal” and the members should live their lives endlessly as working class, tough clichés or lose respect from the metal community. I dont really get this, Metallica are millionaires, family men and middle-aged and it is naive to think they are betraying their fans by doing something as trivial as shopping for suits. They probably watch old tv shows, go to parent-teacher nights and play trivial pursuit with friends and all other boring, everyday stuff.

Do we really expect Ronny James Dio to fight dragons in his spare time? Do people really think Slayer are axe-murdering Satanists? (the band members are actually Catholic)

Although I love metal music, the vast majority is too image obsessed and as a result most metal bands write similarly gloomy unrelatable lyrics and sing in the same cookie monster death growl that sounds like a 8 year old trying to pretend to be as evil as possible.  They play their instruments as hard and as fast as possible and this usually creates an incomprehensible sludge of noise that is hard to distinguish from  the 100’s of other metal bands who do the exact same thing.

 

 

The difference between Metallica and their support act, modern metal group Lamb of God couldn’t be more noticeable. Lamb of God had a small handful of fans there to see them but most people were anxiously waiting for Metallica. Being unfamiliar with Lamb of Gods for lack of a better term i’ll call “music” I wasnt sure what to expect. What I heard was fast guitars, fast drums and a growling vocalist that had nothing to say that was different from many other metal bands. Apart from the few times the vocalist spoke in between songs I couldnt actually understand any of the lyrics during any of their songs, all I heard was “rowwwwrrrrrrrrrrrr”. Is this really modern metal in 2010?

The audience of Metallica was diverse, there were parents with their young children, teenagers and young adults and people aged 60 and upwards. It was one of the most diverse audiences I had ever seen and when they played you saw just why they are still relevant. It is a shame that part of their lasting popularity is because modern metal has failed to be as progressive and relevant as older bands like Metallica.

Either that or I am just an old fart going on about dinosaur rock bands?

Wankers support wank ban

September 15, 2010

Within conservative circles in America there has been a move towards the irrational far-right ever since the election of Barack Obama. The growing tea party has pressured republicans to move to what they see as a more traditional conservative values.

An interesting tidbit is that the group started as an anti-taxation movement and took the name “tea party” from the famous Boston Tea Party that led to America’s revolutionary war with Britain. The famous slogan being “No taxation without representation” was about anger that Americans were forced to pay taxation to the British but did not have direct representation to the parliament. It was an enfranchisement issue more than a tax issue, yet the group at large has shown that the entire movement is based on an ignorance of basic history by interpreting it as an anti-tax revolution. Who would have thought 4 words would be so hard to understand?

But carrying on, the movement has begun challenging established republicans in primary battles and having some success. Ron Pauls son (who is against….the civil rights act) won a senate primary and now there is excitement that social conservative Christine O’Donnell has won the Delaware senate primary.

Daily Telegraph opinion editor Tim Blair is excited by Christine O’Donnell’s victory, seeing it as renewed “enthusiasm for conservatives running as conservatives:” And seemingly hopes that local Liberals will heed the message and follow in the tea parties footstep.

But just what does Christine O’Donnell stand for? She is an arch social conservative, but what does she stand for?

She is against…… masturbation.

Yep, you thought conservatives that wanted to outlaw sodomy and oral sex were bad enough but she wants to make every 13 year old boy a sex criminal. Watch the video or read this.

Is this really the path Tim Blair and other conservatives think the right should be heading to? Freedom to bare arms is a perfectly sensible civil right, freedom to touch yourself? Thats just TOO FAR.