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A simple body count (and in good liberal fashion, I'm going to make you look it up yourself. It's not my job to educate you) shows that Communism is at least five times as bad as its poor cousin, National Socialism.
If we fought a war to utterly exterminate Nazism, and we did, and it was moral and just, we should absolutely be doing the same thing for Communism. We should kill every single one of them for the good of humanity. No one is forced to be a Communist. It's not a race, a gene, an orientation. It is strictly a choice. If you choose to put the body politic so far over the individual that the individual becomes a tool, you deserve to be killed.
I've even had one justify to me that "99% of people won't do the right thing unless they're FORCED to." (Emphasis theirs.)
They were correct, but not the way they meant. Communists won't do the right thing unless you force them, by killing them.
Now, if you just said to yourself, "But Stalin and Mao and Pot and Kim weren't real Communists," and unspoken, you're avoiding mentioning Castro and Chavez, and don't even have a clue who Haitham is, then this is the response:

If your attempts at "real communism" consistently, 100%, decay into "not real Communism" that has killed well over 100 million people in a century, then you need to be killed, too, because you're vector for the virus of Communism. You're either incurably insane or evil, and you need to be dead.
It is the triumph of Western democracy that philosophies are allowed to exist and propagate even if they are ultimate evil. It is the failure of Western democracy that we support this to a fault, of allowing Communists to breathe air needed by human beings.

Then we can get back to killing National Socialists and regular Socialists as well, since their difference is only one of path, not destination.

Yes, this subject brought out all the nuts.

BACKGROUND: Over the years, a number of Viking era graves were found with swords.  The base assumption was that these were all males, and military.  A lot of us always insisted this was a false assumption. Swords were often a mark of rank and wealth (and still are). It meant the interred was of status, not necessarily a warrior. 

Then, some DNA tests showed a lot of them were actually female.

This is where the screeching harpies came in with their popular conspiracy that there were literally thousands of women in this and every generation who were doing the things men did, and then somehow erased from history so no one would ever know, over and over. This is of course, ridiculous on several levels.

Then the small-dicks got into it because obviously, no woman ever measured up, so the females had swords as marks of rank, but the men were still probably warriors.

So here's the problem with that:  If the sword is the mark of a martial person, you don't present it to a non-martial person, except to honor them for something martial. (Much like the US has civilian and military decorations, and civilians can't earn the military ones, except for a rare handful like the Civilian Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, who fought as combatants because there was no choice).

Once again, as a lot of us said, those swords were badges of rank, and may or may not indicate the owner was ever part of the military caste, or ever fought.

The Sagas and other documents record a small number of women fighting as combatants in the Viking Era. Let's go through them one at a time:

When Leif Erikson's pregnant half-sister Freydís Eiríksdóttir was in Vinland, she is reported to have taken up a sword, and, bare-breasted, scared away the attacking Skrælings.[6] The fight is recounted in the Greenland saga.

So, this woman fought in extremis.  NOTE: She had enough familiarity with a sword to reach for it rather than some other weapon, apparently confident she could use it to some effect, and said sword was available where she could readily reach it.  This implies at least some basic familiarization in case of emergency. And that it's documented this way shows no negative or questionable perception around her doing so.

Before that, we find:

Saxo Grammaticus reported that shieldmaidens fought on the side of the Danes at the Battle of Brávellir in the year 750:

Now out of the town of Sle, under the captains Hetha (Heid) and Wisna, with Hakon Cut-cheek came Tummi the Sailmaker. On these captains, who had the bodies of women, nature bestowed the souls of men. Webiorg was also inspired with the same spirit, and was attended by Bo (Bui) Bramason and Brat the Jute, thirsting for war.

These women are presented as unusual. Notice they had "The souls of men." To engage in martial activities, they couldn't be "women" in the context of the culture. That's important, and we'll come back to that.

But in context, they're presented positively. It's not "The Danes were such wimps even their women led them into battle."  It's "Holy crap, the Danes even had two women who were worthy."

The Byzantine historian John Skylitzes records that women fought in battle when Sviatoslav I of Kiev attacked the Byzantines in Bulgaria in 971. When the Varangians (not to be confused with the Byzantine Varangian Guard) had suffered a devastating defeat in the Siege of Dorostolon, the victors were stunned at discovering armed women among the fallen warriors.

This battle was rather one-sided. The Rus (related to the Vikings) got slaughtered. Once again, the women fought because they had to; they were going to die anyway. They armored up as the men, went out, and presumably had at least minimal training to make them more than meat shields. How much more we don't know.

Nor would the Byzantines be inclined to lie and claim they were fighting women if they weren't. It's not manly.

The Rus clearly accepted the idea and did the best with it.

Lagertha's tale is recorded in passages in the ninth book of the Gesta Danorum, a twelfth-century work of Danish history by Saxo Grammaticus. According to the Gesta (¶ 9.4.1–9.4.11), Lagertha's career as a warrior began when Frø, king of Sweden, invaded Norway and killed the Norwegian king Siward. Frø put the women of the dead king's family into a brothel for public humiliation. Hearing of this, Ragnar Lodbrok came with an army to avenge his grandfather Siward. Many of the women Frø had ordered abused dressed themselves in men's clothing and fought on Ragnar's side. Chief among them, and key to Ragnar's victory, was Lagertha. Saxo recounts:

Ladgerda, a skilled Amazon, who, though a maiden, had the courage of a man, and fought in front among the bravest with her hair loose over her shoulders. All-marvelled at her matchless deeds, for her locks flying down her back betrayed that she was a woman.

Impressed with her courage, Ragnar courted her from afar. Lagertha feigned interest and Ragnar arrived to seek her hand, bidding his companions wait in the Gaular valley. He was set upon by a bear and a great hound which Lagertha had guarding her home, but killed the bear with his spear and choked the hound to death. Thus he won the hand of Lagertha in marriage. According to Saxo, Ragnar had a son with her, Fridleif, as well as two daughters, whose names are not recorded.

So, once again, she fought because she had to, as did the other women.

Now, this may be partly fictionalized, so we go to context:

The women are held in respect for assisting in their own rescue.

The purposed of enbrotheling them was humiliation, not disgrace--it was to bring them down, not to imply shame to their families (other than by not being able to protect them). Quite a few cultures would shun or even execute those women for having been raped. In this case, despite that, at least one was considered worthy enough to be sought as a wife of status. Nor was it unmanly to marry a woman who fought. It was a positive.

(In Grammaticus's accounts, "dressed in men's clothing" means suitable garb for fighting--pants, tunics, possibly armor.)

So now we come to a recent, fully documented instance:


So, this burial does contain a sword. It also contains an ax, a large langseax that is purely a weapon, not a tool, a two handed axe, a spear, two shields, bodkin tipped arrows, stirrups and two entire horses.

It was first called a male warrior's grave.  Then someone observed the pelvis was probably female. Then it was genetically proven the occupant was female.

Then all of a sudden it wasn't a warrior's grave at all.

Within seconds of me posting this link on my wall, one individual had a complete, screaming, online meltdown. I strongly suspect he actually crapped his pants.

He loudly insisted it couldn't be a warriors grave because no culture ever had female warriors, and posted a link that debunked the feminist claim that half the burials in York were female because they contained swords. This is true. It's also not relevant to this find.

Then he went on to insist that the sagas are just fiction and not relevant, and grave goods don't prove anything and are not relevant, and it was something other than a warrior's grave because it had a female in it and there were no female warriors, and I obviously knew nothing of history.

So, point by point:

"The sagas are fiction and speak of ridiculous fantasies."

True. They also speak to the culture, and we have references above to females fighting in exigent circumstances. They're not foils, comedy relief, or sex objects. They're warriors. That perception is culturally relevant. Also, based on a third hand retelling of Beowulf (not a saga per se), we have found what are probably Heorot and Beowulf's barrow, right where they were described.  We have the same with the Bible, and with Tlingit accounts from the Pacific Northwest of the tsunami that hit about 1700. A saga alone is not evidence, but you can't throw them out entirely. And if you do, you can't also decide to keep them relevant for male history.  This is not only toxic masculinity. This is a dickless little bitch who's terrified of women.

"Grave goods don't prove anything."

Odd. Apparently they did when the grave was "known" to be male. Also, wrong.  If we find valuables in a grave, it's probably not a peasant. If we find a needle case, shears, keys and tweezers, it's probably a female grave. If we find copious weapons, it's probably a warrior's grave. Note "Probably." Not proven, but if you find those female accoutrements, a comb, brooches, etc, you don't assume it's a male ruler. If you find gold, weapons, valuables, you don't assume it's a beggar.

We had this same crap years ago, by the way, when some smal number of the Pharaohs were shown to be women. They were just "Queens buried in Pharaohic context."

"It can't be a warrior's grave because it has a female in it and there were no female warriors."

Circular logic. Once you've defined your circle, nothing can get in or out.

I asked him what type of grave it was if not a warrior's grave. His response: first to claim he didn't need to answer because I'd been rude back to him, therefore "showing my colors." Which of course is an evasion. Then to say it was "some other type of grave of status, but not a warrior's grave" again. He was unable to suggest what type of grave might be full of martial goods but not martial in nature.

I blocked the limp-dicked little shit because he was making rational discussion impossible.

At this point, Dipshit Number Two entered the fray and said, "Even if it was a martial grave, there's no evidence she ever stood in a shield wall, so she's not a warrior."

Wow. Those are some supercharged V8 equipped goalposts there.  No one ever claimed she engaged in any particular act in any particular battle. We don't know. Nor do you, so you can't state a negative either.

My last Army commander was a general who'd never been in combat.  He was still part of the military caste.

Now, we don't have proof the female occupant of this grave ever stuck a spear in someone. This is true. But the grave is a martial grave--multiple weapons, stirrups, which were typically used in martial context. One didn't ride pet or draft horses at speeds that would necessitate them for several reasons. And we have two horses, and a grave the size of a small house, in a military context in a large town. The weapons have not been ritually "killed" to prevent theft. There was no expectation this grave was going to get robbed. This means it was guarded and in an established cemetery.

There are numerous weapons of a working nature. A person of status might wear a sword to court, to council or to diplomatic functions, but if you show up with a skeggox and langseax as well, you aren't there to look pretty. You're there to take someone's head off. These weapons were not tokens.

So in this context, if your culture is so stiff-cocked and manly that women can't ever be warriors (and extant evidence is it was not), you would not EVER put a woman in a grave with martial implements. You'd be disgracing said implements. Would the Arabs do this? Of course not. Just as civilians can't get military medals in our culture. There are civilian medals the President can award them. They don't get ours. Only the military, and only certain segments of the military, can get certain awards and certifications. A civilian might be a complete badass, but he is not a Soldier/Sailor/Marine/Airman. The contextually relevant reference above is the Civilian Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, and a few others, who actually fought with the military in such a fashion and under such circumstances that we said, "You are now of us." They became warriors.

This female is buried in what was always understood to be a martial grave.  End of discussion.

Now, there are varying reasons as to why. She could have been a legit hands-on warrior herself. The evidence is she was in fact a "maiden" as far as marriage went (height, undamaged hips, no partner buried with her, her horses--probably her most trusted and valuable animals--buried with her and not willed to someone). All those make possible that she did in fact kick some Norwegian or Balt ass.

It could be she was the swiftest messenger around, though the fighting axe argues against that.

It could be she was the horse trainer for that element. An important, martial position. But again, the axe isn't quite correct. A spear would be better.

Possibly she was the local countess who donated land and money. This could make her an honorary member of the caste. Though there's no male precedent for this I'm aware of, so it's unlikely.

She might have taken up a male relative's position for vengeance--respected in those cultures and even noted in literature.

She could have been some sort of management or tactical whiz who could outsmart the enemy, though that would still argue for presence on the battlefield, which, even if there's "no evidence she ever stood in a shield wall" (we have no such evidence for anyone that I'm aware of), makes her a warrior.

Without either some attestation, a burial marker, or other evidence, we cannot prove positively which of those she was.  But it is certain that this woman was buried in a martial context by a martial culture, which means they considered her martially relevant enough to dig a hole the size of a small house, put her, her horses, and (adjusted dollars) about $30,000 worth of weapons and accoutrements in with her. And to not put in a single female accoutrement. She was not buried as a woman. She was buried as a warrior.

We have a single confirmed find of a Viking Era woman buried in martial context. This does not mean there were thousands of others. Nor does it mean there were none.

Best. DragonCon. Ever!
Sep 06, 201701:21AM

Category: Writing

As a vendor, sales were amazing. While I do have some competition on cosplay grade swords, I'm the only one with both functional replicas and actual antiques. There are, in fact buyers for such at an event of this magnitude.

As a writer, I saw an upcoming anthology that listed my name right below David Drake's, and I was on a panel about "Real SF for Writers" that involved me, Timothy Zahn, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.  I can only hope that some day all of this will pay off to being a "real" writer who can dare to hope to be invited to literary conventions.

Both girlfriends were with me, and someone not clear on what that meant asked me, "Isn't that dangerous if they meet?" No, not at all, since we were all in the same room. How does that work, you ask?  Wonderfully. Thanks for asking.

There were some amazing cosplays, including Teenage Mutant Stormtrooper Turtles with kilts, a Deadpool/Assassin's Creed/Jedi mashup, and someone doing a great Randy Savage outfit.

I tried some new to me Scotches.

Off site, I got to show off my cape gun and a Lefaucheux 12mm pinfire to several writers who also share an interest in firearms.

There was a mass signing for Black Tide Rising, AND for Forged in Blood. The latter with myself, Larry Correia, Mike Massa, Chris Smith an Kacey Ezell.

I may have a paid interview gig on SF for another outlet.

The drive back wasn't too bad on top of that.

No food poisoning this year.

Already booked for next year.

Someone just proved that yet another "smart" gun is crap:


Look, let's go over this again:

When I need a gun, a half second to unlock it is three seconds too long.

I've watched a clerk take 15 tries to authenticate a fingerprint on a cash register, inside in dry conditions. Emergencies are less forgiving.

For liability reasons, the mfr wants this to fail into "lock" mode. For my safety, I want it to fail into "fire" mode. Because I know when I need a gun, the mfr does not.

If there is a lock on the very simple mechanism, it can be removed mechanically.

And this has zero effect on over a third of a billion weapons currently in existence.

The entire concept is crap, and if believe otherwise, you don't know enough about the subject. Do not argue. You're just wrong.


Here's an example with another piece of equipment: A fire alarm pull box.

You know, the kind where you yank a lever to activate a fire alarm.  This type had a small glass bar with a score mark to hold the lever in place.

At the training base I supported, some recruit managed to "Accidentally" pull the alarm. He was identified by the UV dye from the lever on his fingers.  It was an "accident," he insisted.

The pull station was replaced with another one with a striker you hit to break the glass, then you'd pull the lever.

A few weeks later, another recruit "accidentally" broke the glass. He didn't pull the box, so no one knows who it was.

You see where this is going.

By the time a few months had passed, every pull station in that barracks required you to:

Pull off a plastic cover that sounded an audible alarm at the box.

Open a wire mesh door that sounded a different tone and flashed a light.

Break the glass.

Pull the lever.

To actually send a call to the fire department.

To avoid "accidents."

Training and discipline avoid accidents.  Gadgets do not.

If you can't comprehend this, you have no business expressing an opinion in a technical field you're not trained in.


Meanwhile, let's review what the liberal, ignorant, retard, hypocrite, hoplophobe, statist cocksucker (but I repeat myself) said:

Circuit Judge Karen Henderson dissented, arguing in a footnote that:

Although I assume that the Second Amendment extends to some extent beyond the home, I am certain the core Second Amendment right does not. The application of strict scrutiny—let alone my colleagues’ application of a categorical ban—is, in my view, patently off-base.


Wait, you "Assume"? Based on what evidence or precedent? In other words, you admit you couldn't be fucking bothered to actually familiarize yourself with the subject.

So how are you "certain" of anything, you festering cunt?

"Although I assume that the First Amendment extends to some extent beyond the home, I am certain the core First Amendment right does not."

"Although I assume that the Fourth Amendment extends to some extent beyond the home, I am certain the core Fourth Amendment right does not. "

"Although I assume that the Fifth Amendment extends to some extent beyond the home, I am certain the core Fifth Amendment right does not. "

Get the fuck off the bench, you are a worthless piece of shit.

I've been digging a bit more into the I-65 Bridge between Jeffersonville, IN and Louisville, KY.


Fourth most expensive public works project in US history. More expensive than Verazzano Narrows, the Golden Gate, or an entire freeway from Evansville to Indianapolis, and it crosses a few hundred yards of muddy Ohio river. There are bridges out there 5 miles, 10 miles, 100 miles long that didn't cost as much.

To be fair, it does include overhaul of some other bridges.

But, they've already admitted the toll system, supposed to be in place until 2051, will have to run to 2069.  Want to bet on the bridge still being around then? And of course, those tolls will go up every year. They started at $2 each way if you have their transponder, or $4 if they have to mail it to you, because it's so hard to actually compare a license plate to a database and automate a bill.

Yes, I support toll roads IN LIEU OF FEDERAL AND STATE TAX MONEY.  This cost both, and a lot of it.

And I really have to question how they're spending that much on so little.

In the meantime, I detour.  There's simply nothing in Lousyville that requires my attention that badly.

A 200 Year Old Cape Gun
Jun 07, 201704:34PM

Category: Guns

A cape gun is a combination gun with one smooth and one rifle barrel side by side.  IIRC, they're named after the Cape of Africa, where they're popular for simplifying carry--one gun, two purposes. They're also found in Europe more than the US.

This example is German, from about 1800.  It was some family's beloved hunting arm for close to a century, judging from the wear.

Probably in the 1970s, some jackass JB Welded a veneer over the cheek rest, but didn't prevent worm infestation.  I removed it.

There are seven repairs to the stock, and it was converted from flintlock to percussion, probably about 1840. Let's look at it and the work I did.



I scaled and rebrowned the barrels. I didn't try to make them look new, only to make the finish functional.  Once browned, I glazed them in linseed oil and baked it.

I replaced a missing piece of wood below, and filled/fixed two cracks on the right side.

Which matches with a much larger repair and repair to the repair previously done on the left side.

I did three minor repairs to the wood underneath. I am unable to dismount the trigger mechanism, and ultimately that will mean a replacement stock.

A bit of cleaning revealed the inlay in the breech.  It should be noted throughout I did minimum cleaning and sanding.  I see guns sanded down untill all wear is gone, by which point they're a quarter inch smaller. Don't do that.  Steam dents, use mineral spirits to clean varnish (who put that on?) and sand as little as necessary.

I dressed and reinstalled the rear sight. The barrels were cleaned and rebrowned, but not "restored." This is maintenance. Notice the previous repair to the rib between barrels.


You can see silver pins where the cheek piece was a later add on, and a repair to the heel of the stock.

I made a complete replacement for the delaminated cheekpiece, and fit it as best I can.

Ultimately, though, that worm damage means this stock will have to be duplicated in new wood.

Still, it's a .61 caliber hunting arm, and I have located powder and balls. It's still sound and shootable and will be back in action shortly.

It is good advice for any writer to look for patterns in reviews.  If a number of readers all complain about the same matter, even if their interpretation is incorrect, it means the writer either did not explain the issue properly, or failed to reach the correct audience.

At the same time, a reader should comprehend the subject or genre enough that axiomatic issues don't need to be explained because they are axiomatic.

To see an example of this, we need look no further than modern "liberal" science fiction readers and Heinlein's novel, "Friday."

I first read this in high school, and understood it on several levels.  But, as of the mid 1990s, I've heard repeated complaints, most of them around the assumption, "No woman falls in love with her rapist."

Well, first of all, women do that all the time, and with non-sexual abusers, too. There are a variety of psychological discussions as to why this is, but they're outside of my field and beyond the scope of this post.

The important point, and Heinlein was not at all subtle about it, is that Friday is not human, she is an alien.

She is an Artificial Person, required in every society in her world to carry ID stating so, and discriminated against in levels from being forbidden to vote or own property, all the way to slavery or sanctioned extermination.  Due to her job as a clandestine agent, she has fake ID that says she's human, and she's well aware of the privilege she holds over others of her kind, and is ashamed and guilty about it.

She is so very aware of her non-human, unperson, unclean status that even the act of being raped and tortured doesn't bother her emotionally.  It's just a thing, like getting wet in the rain or having debris fall on you. Artificial entities that are not people don't feel emotion, or so she's had beaten into her her entire life.

Except of course, at another level, she actually is human, and is grasping at personality and self worth.

It's a constant matter of discussion for the character. "How do you feel about Artificial Persons?" She could as well, within the last century, asked about gays, Jews, blacks, and the question would be as relevant.  She asks this because she looks like a "normal" human being, and is, as are the others, even when a society doesn't recognize that.

Her boss/father figure constantly reassures her she is normal and human.  She's genetically engineered to the point where she is smarter, faster, stronger, fitter and more durable than almost anyone around her, but this vulnerability is the vulnerability of spirit, and no amount of labwork can fix or prevent that.

Further, the rapist she eventually falls in love with was himself both an Artificial Person, and a slave, being ordered to perform the task. It's made very clear he isn't happy with it, and would like to treat her decently, but is forbidden the opportunity.  He also is not "human" for purposes of the society.

Nor was Heinlein particularly subtle about it. Every chapter has an interaction with a family, partner, friend, associate on how frustrated she is at not being human, not being accepted, considered a thing, only of worth as a machine to be used and discarded.

The failure of readership is that despite the very obvious presentation of a character as an outsider to the society, not only unsuited to it, but ostracized by it, all those particular readers see is "female body, ergo female human."

Exactly the same issue so many of them claim to care about and rail against in other contexts.

They are literally so privileged they are unable to grasp the point of view of the underclass even exists, much less what it is.

This supports an hypothesis of mine that most such "social justice" types are themselves exceptionally shallow, narrow-minded bigots.  When something even more blatant than "Friday" comes along, and they are forced to be aware of their own human failings, they over-react, as does the reformed alcoholic or druggie who suddenly "Finds God" and obsesses over religion (versus faith or piety) to the point where it's apparent it's merely a substitute addiction.

Once aware of their own failings, their form of denial is to project their shortcomings onto all "normal" people, who obviously feel as they do, about those "non-normal" people they suddenly realize were in fact human beings all along.

If anyone dares to say, "Yes, I knew about this, and your sudden obsession is disturbing," they still struggle with their own internal ignorance, reluctant to accept their error, and can only assume their antagonist must not actually grasp the wrongness.

When I began writing this, my thought was, "These people shouldn't read science fiction. They're obviously incapable of comprehending it."

But I think instead, they should read science fiction, rather than the crap they have replaced it with, where every culture and cast is stratified into the "correct" ratio and recognition.

Because that type of society is exactly the problem, and they still don't get it.



We first became aware of International Student Exchange when the school sent out an email blast that two exchange students had to be moved due to an emergency with the host family, could anyone help? The idea was to keep them in the same district. These were high school students.

We volunteered to take one, and had to submit an application for approval, for background checks, with photos of the house inside and out, bios, the works.

While waiting for this, I found out I had a mutual acquaintance with the host family, who said that the male householder had been accused of a sexual impropriety (he did not specify), but everyone knew the boy "liked to make up stories."

I was immediately concerned because that can be true, and could be a problem again if he moved into our house, but it's also the first accusation an actual pedophile makes about the victim.

We clarified that the student we'd be hosting was the other one, and were introduced. We were approved by local rep Melissa Plunkett, and a move in date was set.

On the move in date, the investigation was concluded, and his move was canceled. He went back to his host family--Melissa Plunkett.

That's right, the spouse of the accused pedophile was kept in the supervisory position that enabled her to choose their substitute family.  Does anyone else see a problem with that? Because I know my training for the Boy Scouts, and the rules for the Salvation Army, and a dozen other groups, most certainly do not allow the accused to have ANY say in contact issues until it's resolved.

Also, this issue was resolved in two weeks. So either no official report was actually filed, which was wrong, or a very, very quick "investigation" was done, which is questionable.

ISE apparently doesn't take complaints of child sexual assault very seriously.

The day that student was supposed to move in, he moved back in with the Plunkett family.

I note that the other young man, who filed the complaint, was not sent back to his home country, so apparently his complaint was not deemed to be maliciously false, just a misunderstanding of some kind.  I'm not sure how one misunderstands something like that, but I'm not up on the details of sexual impropriety with teenage boys.

Our primary local contact then said, since we'd already done the background check, home inspection, etc, were we interested in hosting for the spring semester?

We agreed, were matched with options, and we and a family agreed on a young man to host. He arrived shortly after Christmas, we moved him into his own room with his own bathroom and facilities, and started showing him around, taking him to events, helping him comprehend American schools.  I like to think we're an ideal family for that. I'm an immigrant myself, from the UK and Canada. Jessica was Reservation born, and relocated from Arizona to the Dakotas to Florida to Texas while young. We both travel extensively and are well educated.

Everything seemed optimal for about six weeks, until another rep entirely showed up for a "routine" second home inspection. This exchange then ensued:


Correspondence with the people running that show, regarding our home:


Mike and Jessica,
I was contacted a couple of days ago by Carrie, the woman who does 2nd home visits for ISE. She was very concerned about the disarray of your home. I explained to her that you both are very busy individuals who have a small child in the home (who I'm sure makes messes faster than one can pick up) and that I would feel comfortable living in your home, even if it were a bit untidy (as is everyone's at times). However, she was so concerned that she recommended to the ISE district manager, Pauline Pipkins, that Boris be found a different home. I contacted Boris (I didn't mention what Carrie had said, just checking in with him to see how he was doing) and he said that he really likes you all and enjoys spending time with your family. He also said he was making friends and likes school. I spoke with Pauline and asked her to please give you guys a chance to tidy up a bit before making a final decision of having Boris removed, since he likes you guys and is happy in your home. She informed me that if the home tidiness situation improves, then Boris can continue to live with you all for the duration of his time here. Carrie Roberts will be making another home visit in the near future to see if the situation has improved. I'm sure that she'll call a day or so ahead of time to make sure that you all will be available. Boris seems to be a nice kid and I hope your family is enjoying hosting him. I look forward to seeing him on Sunday for skiing! 

Thanks for hosting,



Jessica Schlenker said:
Jan 29

As I was obviously not here when this visit occurred or aware that it was scheduled, I am unsure what “disarray” is the cause of the concern.
Clarification as to what caused her concern would be helpful. I have been ill the last few weeks with an on-going migraine, and my routine has been scrambled accordingly. However, I will note that none of Cassandra’s weekly in-home therapists, who are mandatory reporters, have expressed any concerns, quite the opposite.
I believe Mike said this occurred on Wednesday, and no mention was made at the time of any concerns. I do know that I received several boxes that day, household goods (Amazon), which were in the living-room when I got home. Mike believes it was neater than when you were last inside, as well.
And, yes, Cassandra actively takes things off shelves and out of boxes at every opportunity. It’s a full time job to keep her toys in one area only. We endeavor to keep her out of the office (non-living area) of the building. However, thanks to things like having to replace the furnace, we have not yet purchased and installed the planned separating doors between the “house” and “office” area. The office is not, however, “living” space.
We have enjoyed having Boris here, and believe it would be detrimental to him to move him for concerns neither he (nor his family, who have had a couple of video “tours” when Boris has Facetime’d them while walking around) have expressed.
Since this is our first time hosting, and we are still settling into the house from moving in (and combining two households), we would appreciate the guidance and clarification first rather than overreaction. 

Mike Williamson said
Jan 29

In fact, given that statement, I would appreciate if Pauline came and saw for herself.


Jessica Schlenker
Jan 31 

Is there any further information or follow up?
We're all rather fretful, as you might expect.



On Jan 29, 2017 6:57 PM, Janel wrote:
I can understand your frustration. I think you all have a beautiful home and saw no problems while I was there. I would feel very comfortable with my own child living there. I forwarded your email to Pauline and told her the same. I also explained to Carrie when she called me that the office wasn't living space and you all were still getting settled in from the move. I'm fighting for you guys because I believe that you're an awesome host family and that Boris really enjoys being there. I hope that you're feeling better. Moms don't have time to be sick.  
I'll let you know what I find out.


Melissa Plunkett says:
5:31 PM (47 minutes ago)

Hello. Sorry for the delay. I have a day job and was gone for training all weekend plus I've been having conversations with my manager about your particular situation. I am sorry to say that we are going to need to move Boris. Due to the report coming back as it did and your surprise at the report, it seems we may have different standards of a clean and tidy host environment. I had asked janel to speak with you and wanted to set up a second visit but there is concern that you don't see it as a problem and unfortunately Boris does see it as a concern for him as well. He would never say that to you guys, as he does think you are very nice and would not want to hurt your feelings or make you angry with him. He appreciates all that you've done and we do as well, but we do have state standards that we have to meet (different than what the department of state for child welfare ) and our standards are very rigid for exchange students. I am sorry to have to send this to you and please know that we all know that you are good people who really wanted to host a student as we know many others who do and are unable to for many different reasons and situations. I encourage you to consider trying again with a student next year if you are willing/able to tidy and keep tidy your home. I can share our definition of that if you'd like. Again I am sorry and I will keep you advised of a move date but I expect it would be before the end of the week.
Take care.


Jessica says:
Hi, Melissa,
Per Janel's below instructions, I am contacting you. If you have any information regarding when a second visit will happen, that would be appreciated. We have not had any contact regarding it.
We are still pending a response to our original questions regarding clarification as to what caused the "concern" about "disarray," as well as the request for clearer guidelines. I have looked through everything possible on the ISE website and handbooks, and found nothing specific or clear. As noted to Janel previously, we have two mandatory reporters -- my 2 year old's speech and occupational therapists, via the state's First Steps program -- in the house weekly, and they have not voiced concerns. (Three different individuals now, as one of her regular therapists is on maternity leave, and there is a substitute therapist here on a different schedule than before until she's back.)
I am bothered by the vacuum that appears to have happened in regards to information. Mike and I are absolutely willing to follow guidance insofar as possible and reasonable, but that guidance has not been made available.
Feeling it fair to Boris, we apprised him of the information that there was an issue when we were informed (which surprised and flabbergasted him), and he has asked a few times if we have any further information as to what would happen. I would like to be able to reassure him, but so far all I've been able to do is say "I don't know."


From: Janel 
Sorry it took so long getting back to you. I usually try to return emails in a timely manner. I was attempting to get a definite answer from someone about what exactly is going on. Melissa Plunkett, my supervisor, has been speaking to Pauline about when a second visit would happen. It would be best for you to contact Melissa. Her email is [redacted]. I'm sorry that I can't be more help.


Jessica Schlenker says:
5:58 PM (20 minutes ago)

Yes, obviously, which is why I requested standards and information, because I could not find anything when the concern came up. 
It seems that Boris suddenly became okay with moving into a new location after finding out he'd be moving in with a friend. 
When Janel contacted him originally, without any discussion about why she was, he had nothing bad to say. When we told him there was a concern, he was shocked, surprised, and immediately said he has no issues or worries. We *asked*. All that Janel would say is that there would be another inspection. 
I am sorry that my desire to be cooperative and helpful has been found to be offensive. I requested guidance as to how to meet these undocumented standards, so that there wouldn't be a misunderstanding. 
Unfortunately, as these standards are apparently beyond what daily vacuuming, cleaning, and general pickup can accomplish, I believe we will not ever be "fit" for this program. 
My apologies for our efforts.


Mike Williamson says:

I just spoke to Boris, politely. He was very embarrassed about all of this. He also seemed very unsure, as if he'd been told it was "for the best," not given a choice, and was trying to convince himself it was of benefit.
It seems he was told he was moving, and in with a friend, and felt that would be more fun. He did express that the 2 year old makes a bit more mess than he is comfortable with. We do clean regularly. We have vacuumed three times this week. Had he ever mentioned this, and I asked frequently, we would have made additional cleanup efforts, though it appears you're not actually aware of what a 2 year old can do in a half hour.
Pauline [actually, Carrie. I have trouble keeping track of all the voices in this, one of whom I met for two minutes, most of whom never even spoke to me directly] deceitfully did not express any concerns at all during her visit. If she had an issue, that would be the time to tell us. She failed to do so.
It's been three weeks since then. Clearly, urgency in this case was lacking.
It's been three weeks. You still have failed to provide guidelines on what is considered acceptable. It seems one person's word with no criteria or photos is enough to cause all this uproar. BTW, yes, the outside of the house was a bit disorganized. It's called a "windstorm" and my industrial stuff from my former office is not yet fully situated in the garage. It in no way affected livability, and again, if that was a concern, it would be both polite and professional to make mention at the time.

Carrie didn't even actually enter any room other than Boris' and the living room. It appears she entered the house, decided she was done, and left in about two minutes.

As mentioned before, our daughter has a speech therapist and a occupational therapist in the house weekly. They have mandatory reporting guidelines to the State of Indiana for any issues they see. When queried, they informed me our house is far above average and they have zero concerns.

I note:

Carrie's complete failure to act in a courteous and professional manner, and her deceitfulness.

The inability of the rest of your organization to provide any sort of examples or guidelines as to what was deemed wrong, suggesting that they are arbitrary and capricious.

Your refusal to follow through with the re-inspection you promised, even without furnishing more criteria.

Your apparent dishonesty in promising the above, then refusing to do so.

Your inability to follow through in a timely manner, regarding this alleged problem.

Your complaint that our inability to understand and comply with mysterious guidelines IN ADDITION to the written guidelines, that you cannot provide in this timeframe.

The stress Boris is undergoing, after settling in, and now being moved, and without any real feedback we are aware of.

It appears your organization does not meet the standards I require, in terms of maintaining standards, communication, and professionalism.

Accordingly, we most certainly will not involve ourselves with you again.

I feel sorry for Boris, the victim in all of this. I wish him well and hope the rest of his stay is positive. It's a shame he won't get to see Chicago, Columbus OH, Nashville and Louisville, as we had planned with my professional appearance schedule. Hopefully his other hosts can offer him some travel opportunities.

Our thanks to Janel for being the only professional voice in this discourse.

By the way, this is how Boris got the money for his New York, DC and skiing trips: https://www.gofundme.com/send-boris-to-new-york-and-dc



UPDATE 13 Feb. 17: Melissa informed Boris via text that he was moving today. He told me, I explained the concerns, he texted her to phone me. She refused. I contacted ISE headquarters at 1620, who said they were unaware of the issue, and are investigating. The rep on the phone agreed the procedure sounds nonstandard, but didn't say more, pending investigation.

At 1815 Melissa showed up with a police officer (for which I'm actually grateful--at least there was some sort of official logging.  She brought no documentation.  I invited her into the house to see it and offer feedback if she had any complaints. She refused.  The officer came in at my request and said he saw nothing out of the ordinary or of concern, and that he would ensure to log the fact that she did not have documentation with her.

In case you were wondering, this is what our house looked like in this timeframe: 

Guest room:



Guest bathroom, utility room (and note, there are two other full bathrooms in the house, available for use):


Family room:




Living Room:







Dining Room:



Legal note:

22 CFR 62.25(d)(10)(k)(1) also reads : (k) Host family orientation. In addition to the orientation requirements set forth in §62.10, sponsors must:

(1) Inform all host families of the philosophy, rules, and regulations governing the sponsor's exchange visitor program, including examples of “best practices” developed by the exchange community;


Which they refused, in writing, to do.


I asked Ms Plunkett to please come into the house, escorted by the officer, to explain what on the premises was deemed so problematic. She shook her head and said, "no." Note that she has never actually been in the house, and was making this decision based on hearsay from "Carrie" whom we had never met before or since. The officer did follow me in, looked around, and admitted he saw no cause for concern from a professional point of view.


So let's recap: the accused pedophile was recused in two weeks. We were considered so unfit due to alleged "disarray" the student had to be moved, but it took three weeks to do so, and it required the presence of a police officer to do so. Neither our state-sponsored care givers nor the police saw any problem.  The problem isn't one they can explain now, but can explain later, but isn't written down, and we should know what it is anyway.

At no point was any kind of paperwork presented to us, and the officer said he had not seen any. Plunkett's word was simply taken as authoritative on the relocation of a foreign national on US soil.

And Melissa Plunkett is a liar, as both Boris and his father insisted they were unaware of this issue until we informed them, and he was only notified by text 24 hours before they removed him.

I think others will concur with me that this couldn't actually have had anything to do with our house.  I'm not sure what was involved, but that doesn't reasonably seem to be it.

Then, ISE's attorney tried to claim to my attorney that posting the correspondence verbatim constituted "defamation." What an interesting legal notion.

As a curious sort, I started investigating.


It's amazing how much information people leave on the internet.

Melissa Plunkett collects "children."  As she's one of the oversight reps, she's not supposed to also host children, but she does.  She seems to host two at a time, but only lists a single one on Facebook, who she identifies as her "child."  These are 17 to 18 year old exchange students, but they're her "children." And in fact, having interacted with them at some of the group events, she even requires them to call her "mother." It was a bit disturbing to see one of these boys, near 18, publicly call a woman he'd lived with for two weeks, "Mother."  She still lists some of these students from the last decade as her "children" on her FB profile.

They also seem to swap kids a lot. The Brazilian boy who "made up the tale" about being sexually imposed on, was replaced with a Chinese boy.

She boasts that they must attend her church specifically, regardless of their own faith. They're her kids and she will see to their moral guidance, or whatever she uses instead.

As I helped take exchange students to sporting events, I drove to her house several times. It's not a bad house, but it's a tiny house.  About 1300 sq feet.  They have four kids of their own, and two unauthorized exchange students at any given time.


(22 CFR 62.25(d)(10)(i) reads: (10) Refrain, without exception, from acting as:

(i) Both a host family and a local coordinator or area supervisor for an exchange student wink


So the kids are stacked like boxes in a warehouse.  I'm pretty sure 6 kids in two bedrooms in that little space is against policy.  It's certainly a good reason for them not to criticize our living arrangements--we gave the student his own bedroom and bathroom separate from the rest of us, in a house well over twice the size.  We have a 16 year old and a 2 year old. Three kids, three bedrooms for kids.  (Note that the rules allow for sharing rooms with a same sex CHILD.  Singular, not plural, and not with adults.  No couchsurfing.)

As to what her place looks like, not terrible, but she's certainly not in a position to criticize my dining table:


She's a part time Montessori teacher, and he's apparently a prison guard for the state.  While those are worthy jobs, neither is a financially lucrative job.  They seem to be earning in the range of about $60K between them, which with four kids probably puts them below the poverty line, and begs the question of how they can still host two more.



They even apparently vacationed in Australia.  That seems to be several months' income. This may explain some of their financial issues.

In fact, in late 2014 their modest house went into foreclosure, all the way to sheriff auction, and was only saved by declaring bankruptcy.



Yet somehow, in the two years after that, they apparently found enough money for more vacation trips to the Czech Republic, and Cozumel, Mexico.  It also appears they may have taken one of the exchange students out of country, which is against company policy and legally questionable in case of trouble.



They own four relatively new vehicles including a Jeep and SUVs, and also a Harley.

That seems to be a heck of a lot of money for a couple in a small house with four kids, modest income, and a recent bankruptcy.  It does cause one to wonder how and where a prison guard might acquire such funds.

After the bankruptcy, and just before the allegations came out, Melissa Plunkett seems to have started a profile on Couchsurfing.com.  It's not completed, but certainly a red flag and unsafe. I wouldn't want random strangers stopping at my house, a prison guard certainly shouldn't, and it's definitely not advisable with exchange students, and begs the question of why you have random strangers stopping by your "fun" family and young foreign guests. Desperate for income for the unsupportable lifestyle?  Some sort of code for some sort of unsavory community? An attempt to get even more young adults into the house?


This seems to be some strange little ladies' club of kid-swapping and kid hoarding. It appears to violate federal law, company policies, ethical and moral guidelines, but is apparently A-OK with International Student Exchange.

Completely apart from that, when I first mentioned this to friends, every single person who had ever dealt with this agency described them as "cash and dash."  All they want is money, and after that, the kids are on their own. They would, in fact, have more legal protection if they were illegal immigrants.

If you do plan to host any students, I'd suggest avoiding this organization entirely.

And by the way, our daughter will not be attending that Montessori, or getting anywhere near this bizarre woman or her dishonest, kid-hoarding, potential pedo friends.

It's For The Birds.
Apr 03, 201703:08AM

Category: General

I've finally come up with a comparison for those people who seem to think that birdshot is a magical home defense round.

The myth goes that because buckshot "overpenetrates," that one should use birdshot, so that if you miss, it won't "overpenetrate" the walls and hurt others. After all, it's just as massive so it's just as good, right?

If that were the case, we wouldn't have "birdshot" and "buckshot," we'd just have "Shot."

Now, there are any number of tests on gelatin and people that prove this is wrong. Why people refuse to believe them, I don't know.

The facts are that any round that will reliably stop a hostile WILL penetrate a wall, the end.  And that in combat or self defense, all those niceties of range safety disappear.  Troops in combat do sweep each other with loaded weapons, do have fingers on triggers, do shoot near or past each other, and do shoot without necessarily knowing what the backstop is. One tries, but one is also trying to, you know, STAY ALIVE.

A shot column acts like a fluid.  The entire mass isn't interacting at once. The leading pellets impact, and shed velocity first, then act as buffers for the following shot (if we're assuming close enough range for it to impact all approximately at once).  At a distance, each pellet alone lacks the power to do much of anything to anything bigger than a bird. It can, in fact, be even LESS effective up close than it otherwise would be, due to the buffering effect.

Let's use this comparison:

If I throw a snowball at you, it breaks up when it hits.  I can hit you harder if I throw it faster, or if I use a bigger snowball. But within the capabilities of human throwing, the snowball is going to be annoying and messy.

If I freeze a ball of solid ice of the same mass and heave it at you, it can smash your face to jelly.

It's the same mass. It's also a single mass.

Birdshot is for birds.