Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cupcakes are a Security Risk!

MSNBC reports

Frightening frosting? TSA confiscates cupcake

PEABODY, Mass. -- An airport security officer confiscated a frosted cupcake amid fears its icing could be a security risk, according to reports.

Rebecca Hains said the Transportation Security Administration agent at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas took her cupcake Wednesday. According to Hains, he told her its frosting was enough like a gel to violate TSA restrictions on allowing liquids and gels onto flights to prevent them from being used as explosives.

"I just thought this was terrible logic," Hains said Friday.

Hains said the agent didn't seem concerned that the red velvet cupcake, which was packaged in an 8-ounce mason jar, could actually be explosive, just that it fit some bureaucratic definition about what was prohibited.

Read the rest here

I admit that I wonder what Blogger Bob or one of his accomplices will have to say about it but for entertainment purposes only. And from a distance. In a regime of security theater managed by delusional fools, the TSA may be piss in the wind but it is toxic piss.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jesus Save Me From Your Followers.

The Mad Orge has a rant about "Super Mormons" making a stink over his wife's producion of the school Christmas play.

In one number, children sang while holding hands. That was offensive. Third grade boys and girls shouldn’t hold hands. They shouldn’t sing “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Clause.” Even though its a family song about Mom and Dad having a tender moment together… But they think its about adultry. How thick do you have to be? And then their was the hanukkah song that was to immoral for their kids. It was nothing in the song, but because it was Jewish. Don’t get me started about everything wrong with that…

From: My Mormonism is better than yours

There are people out there who look for excuses to be offended. It is no suprise to me that a significant number of them latch onto religion as an excuse for their neurotic failings. In truth, most of the few Mormons I've met and whom I knew were Mormons were pretty decent people. However, they may have been good peoel but that does not necessarily make them good Mormons.

So what makes for a good Mormon?

Beats the hell put of me. I can no more answer than I can tell you what makes a good Catholic, Jew or Baptist.

I am fortunate that I was born with a hollow spot where my bump of reverence should be so all the talk of gods, goddesses, god-neuters, demigods, avatars, etc. leaves me yawning. I think I can recognize a good person but a good follower of whatever religion? I suspect it is like recursive, self modifying code. A religion is what its followers make of it so, if they make it into crap, then crap becomes the new salvation.

That might explain why so many of them act like think their shit don't stink.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Public Education and Epic Fail

Jerry Pournelle, writing on the subject of Roman Warm, Dark Age Cool, Viking Warm, and I’m taking the day off has this to say about a "Dark Age" and Public Education:

What is certain is that something horrible happened in 535 which ushered in a long period of cooling, shorter growing seasons, plagues, tribal wanderings, and the real Dark Ages, if you define a Dark Age not as a time when you have forgotten how to do something, but have forgotten that anyone ever was able to do it. As with the US in education, where we have forgotten what we used to accomplish with the public schools, and now strive to achieve goals that would have been considered failure by most teachers over most of the period of the public schools.

When future historians write about the history of the United States, the idea of government controlled, tax supported education will rank among the worst ideas ever.

Assuming the looming Endarkenment leaves mankind a future that can afford historians.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The 1911 and the Glock (Humor)

I don't have a dog in this fight -- I personally don't care much for either the 1911 or the Glock -- but this video really is funny

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Find all Hard Links to a File

While writing a wrapper to submit files for batch processing I found a need to find all the hard links to a file. Like so many things in Linux, the solution turns out to be simple -- once I found it.

Use the find command

$ find <dir to start search in> -xdev -samefile <path to file>

For example, to find all the hard link to the file /home/buser/chosen.one.txt on the home partition, use:

$ find /home -xdev -samefile /home/buser/chosen.one.txt

The switch -xdev means to only search on the original volume. It can be omitted but, because a hard link cannot cross volume boundaries, the switch will save time by not searching where a linked file cannot be anyways.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Water Is Not Wet

At least not in Europe.

According to The Telegraph, water does not prevent dehydration and drink manufacturers cannot legally claim it does.

EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.

Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.

Just when I think that the nanny states have collectively plumbed the depths of human stupidity (or maybe human evil), one will bounce back and astound me once again. Maybe it is time to just toss the whole idea of the state on the dust heap of human history. I can only hope my descendants will look back on this time and see the obsession with the state as protector as just a silly an idea. Like a flat Earth or a geocentric universe.

Oh yeah. Drink Brawndo. Its got electrolytes!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Downed Spitfire's Guns meet an Ignominious End

BBC News Magazine reports on a salvaged Spitfire that crashed into a peat bog in the early years of World War 2. The anaerobic environment left it is a remarkable state of preservation. Amazingly, with some work, six of the plane's guns were in good enough condition that specialists in the Irish Army were able to assemble a working model. In the test, the gun spit a belt of ammunition (the article doesn't specify how many rounds were fired but the Spitfire had 300 rounds per gun) without a hitch.

The WWII guns firing after 70 years buried in peat

The article concludes with this observation:

The machine guns will now be made safe and join the rest of the aircraft on permanent display in Londonderry, where Wolfe was based, a city on the edge of Europe that played a pivotal role in the war.

When I got the to part about rendering the guns "safe" I asked myself, what the hell happened to the English? Seventy years ago brave men and women kicked Nazi butt at the Battle of Britian and turned the tide of WW2 in Europe. Today, their grandchildren live in dread of pointed kitchen knives.

I swear, if the modern British were to locate Arthur's tomb and unearth Excalibur, they would grind the edges flat in name of "safety".

H/T to Grant Cunningham among other.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Alliant's new 300MP powder in a carbine

About four weeks ago one of the local suppliers had some Alliant 300MP powder in stock so I bought a pound to try it out. Alliant lists 18.6 gr as the maximum charge for a 158 gr GDHP which I reduced by 10% to 16.7 gr for a starting load and 17.7 as an intermediate load if the lower load did not indicate any excessive pressure.

I finally got the range on Sunday to test them.

  • Gun = Marlin 1894C 18.5" barrel
  • Bullet = Magtech 158 gr JSP
  • Case = Federal 357 magnum
  • Primer = Winchester Small Pistol
  • Powder = Alliant 300 MP
  • Ambient temperature = 90F (prox)

Results from five measurements (feet/second):

Charge in grains Average Velocity Standard Deviation Maximum Velocity Minumum Velocity
16.7 1675 23 1684 1635
17.7 1765 24 1792 1736

None of the primers or cases showed any more indication of pressure than normal for a 357 magnum. In fact the Amercan Eagle 158 gr JSP (which clocked at almost exactly 1800 fps) had much flatter primers than the 300MP reloads.

All in all I am pretty impressed with the potential of this powder in a carbine.

No accuracy reports yet. About the time I was getting ready to try some guy started banging away with a neutered version of an M1919 and kicked up so much dust I just packed up and went home.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Twenty Five Years Ago

From Billy Beck

On this day, twenty-five years ago, Ronald Reagan signed the Income Tax Reform Act of 1986. Three months later and for the first time ever, my social security number was demanded by a prospective employer.

Do you understand?

For the first time in American history, it was illegal to work for a dollar without accounting for it to the United States Government.

I will never forgive Reagan for this atrocity, and it is why I do not tolerate anyone in my presence lauding his stand for "freedom".

To hell with him.

He also supported and signed the Mulford Act which was the beginning of the assault on the Second Amendment in California. Even if you can forgive his support for that POS (Oh no! Black peeples haz guns!) he supported the Brady Bill and even had the chutzpah to write an editorial for it in The New York Times.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Million Dollar Gun

Not quite a million but getting close.

1836 Colt Revolver Sets World Record Price For A Single Firearm, Bringing $977,500 At Greg Martin Auctions/Heritage Auctions In Dallas
DALLAS, TX – An exceptional, rare and fine ivory-gripped Texas, or Holster Model No. 5, Paterson Revolver from the Al Cali Collection realized $977,500 as part of Greg Martin Auctions/Heritage Auctions Sept. 18 Signature® Arms & Armor Auction in Dallas, setting a world record price realized for a single Firearm sold at auction.

I've never been a collector of much of anything, much less firearms. If I have a gun I don't want to shoot, I'll sell or trade it to someone who does. Nevertheless, looking at this revolver I can understand, even if I don't share, the desire. This gun is really one beautiful piece of workmanship.

I wonder if a first generation Glock 17 will ever sell to a collector for whatever the equivalent of a million bucks will be in 175 years.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Would You Like an Ass-whoopin' with Your Big Mac?

None of the parties in this incident are poster boys and girls for civilized behavior. The women were way out of line and they agressively invaded the employees' space. The male did appear to overreact and continue to use his weapon after the threat was -- maybe -- neutralized. However, even if this was self defense -- and it could be interpreted that way -- this happened in New York City where self defense is defacto outlawed. Add to that the male's felony conviction and I figure the guy is pretty well screwed.

Nevertheless, there is a lesson to take away from this: The animals are out there and they are walking your city streets.

Stunning Violence Inside Manhattan McDonald’s
(retrieved 10/15/2011 08:20 PT).

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A fight over an order at a Manhattan McDonald’s leads to complete chaos and it was all caught on tape.

The video contains images and audio of a graphic nature.

Sources tell CBS 2’s Chris Wragge the stunning incident featured a cashier with a criminal past violently beating two female customers after they appear to provoke him by slapping him and then hopping the counter.

It was a horrific scene to watch. The cashier disappears into the back of the fast-food restaurant on West Fourth Street in Greenwich Village before returning with a metal rod he then used viciously on the two customers.

The gruesome act of violence early Thursday morning escalated after the customers argued and yelled obscenities at the cashier when he questioned a $50 bill they gave him.

One of the female customers then slapped the cashier. A woman is then seen jumping over the counter, while the other woman goes behind the register. They are then savagely attacked.

Other customers watched in horror as other McDonald’s workers tried unsuccessfully to stop the violence.

One female customer had a fractured skull that required surgery and a broken arm. The other has a deep laceration.

Rayon McIntosh, 31, was arrested and charged with two counts of felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon. McIntosh served more than a decade in prison after shooting and killing a high school classmate in 2000. He was being held on $40,000 bail.

The female customers were reportedly charged with menacing, disorderly conduct and trespassing.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The derringer re-imagined.

Hey, it's black (OK, dark grey), it's light and it is nice and slim so it conceals well. If the manufacturer can get it into a video game every mall ninja in America will want one.

For the time being I think I'll stick with my hokey, archaic 442.

H/T to the Mad Ogre

Monday, October 3, 2011

See? It's not just Hairy Palms.

Porn-Induced Sexual Dysfunction Is a Growing Problem

It used to be that articles on the "dangers" from pornography and the inevitable masturbation were mostly parodies of old wives tales: acne, blindness, infertility, and, of course, hair growing on the palms of the hands. All of those have been tested and found wanting by real science but the never ending quest to control human sexuality marches on. If hairy palms and blindness are not enough then lets scare you all with threats of elevated dopamine levels in the brain.

On the bright side, this offers a solution to the "problem" of Western Civilization being swept away by faster breeding cultures. Give them all free Internet access and lifetime accounts on roughsex.com.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Context and Torture Tests

Something I've noticed lately is a tendency to evaluate firearms based on so-called "torture tests". If a gun can survive an arbitrary test like a fall of a hundred feet it is somehow more "reliable" than a gun that can only fall 20 feet.

But what does it really prove? If, in the middle of a fight, I drop my gun over a 100 foot cliff will my attackers stop while I climb down to retrieve it then wait for me climb back up to resume the fight? Hello! Disarmed guy! Unless those thugs are in a class of stupid beyond all other classes, they will take advantage of my butter fingers to kick my clumsy ass over the cliff after it.

Similarly, a guy who calls himself "ZombieTactics" on Calguns.net linked to a video where some guy reportedly buried his gun for two years, dug it up and then proceeded to fire 500 rounds through it with only a few failures.

OK, admit it: A guy calling himself "Zombie" anything getting excited over stuff that's been buried for two years really is kind of funny.

Nevertheless, what does it prove? If my gun gets buried in a pile of dirt am I going to wait for two years to dig it up? Not likely unless I am dead in which case I won't care. So what is the context of this "test"? Does it prove that, after the Apocalypse, I happen to to find a Glock with 500 rounds of ammunition buried in someones backyard it will mostly work? The possibility exists I suppose but I don't see why I should even care.

Reliability only exists in a context. A gun is one component of a system and the suitability -- of which reliability is a part -- of any particular gun can only be evaluated relative to its function within that system and the environment it is expected to operate in.

One of the important factors that separates engineering and the sciences from wishful thinking and fantasy is a grounding in observable reality. The, often unstated, assumption is that reality exists and it is knowable. Context is not everything but without it, separating any bits of truth from You Tube fantasies becomes an order of magnitude harder.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Is Andrew Cuomo crazy?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls for shutting state prisons, investing in community in light of gun violence

Gov. Cuomo bemoaned the city's recent spate of gun violence Sunday and made a pitch for his plan to shutter state prisons.

"This recent rash of gun violence should concern us all, because it's frightening and it's only getting worse," Cuomo said at a Harlem breakfast to kick off the African-American Day Parade.

Read the rest here

Crazy like a fox.

Government is among the few human institutions that gain more by failure than by success. If crime goes up, then the taxpayers are willing to pay more and surrender more freedom for "protection". Guess which way crime will go if Coumo succeeds in his latest bit of collectivist inspired madness.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Billy Beck talks back to Obama

Mr. Obama

I write to you now in a truly bi-partisan spirit; my greatest hope in being understood as an American, without party interest.

You see, my first political value is freedom. That, sir, is why I am convinced that you and your entire program must fail. More: you must be taken down in history books as, to-date, the president who was most antithetical to the whole aim of America. In its essence, this is a place where human beings build themselves, for themselves, and without the leave of creatures like you, who would have us as massed-cells for a hive.

I am not a cell, and I do not live in your hive. You will never command my allegiance or even obedience. (No president ever has, so you will not be able to take this personally.) I do not exist for your purposes, but for my own, and you have no place in them. Nor do any of your various underlings.

No matter what events come by us in the future until your (doubtless: worse, and a lot by your actions) successor sees you off the field, you may know that there is at least one American who will always see you: you were the first post-American president.

It is a distinctive new theme for writers interested in such matters. It will be available to them for decades, if not centuries.


(submitted here)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Slipstream -- Part II

First thing, the extra drag on the cylinder and crane mentioned earlier disappeared after about 24 hours.  I suspect this is because the oil is more viscous than my usual lubricant and did not migrate as fast.

I finally got to the range Sunday (9/11/2011) and put about 300 or so rounds through the 686.  The ammunition that day was a mixture of commercial 38 +P (158 gr Speer Lawman) and several different .357 handloads.

The handloads were mild for a 357 -- mid-range loads of Power Pistol or Unique. La Esposa came with me Sunday so I didn't bring any of the hot magnums.  I have this recurring nightmare of her inadvertently picking up a full bore load of 2400 powder back of a 158 gr XTP flat point and refusing to ever shoot the gun again.  Hell!  Since my carpal tunnel relief those bastards smack me hard enough to cause some numbness in my fingers after less than 50 rounds.

The gun performed flawlessly -- as usual. After I came home I gave it a thorough inspection, especially looking for the crud that builds up in the nooks and crannies of the S&W lockworks. I can honestly say that the gun did appear cleaner than I expected. This may be because of the powders or ammunition used that day but I am, tentatively, calling it a win for Slipstream. FWIW, I was sufficiently impressed that I stripped, cleaned and lubed my 625 with Slipstream.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What they say versus what they do

Looks like some Conservatives are upset over a court invalidating part of a new Texas Law requiring any woman pursuing an abortion to have an ultrasound exam.  The attending physician will also be required to say certain, as yet undetermined, things about the images.

The Texas law is yet another an example of Big Government Conservatism.  Which, in reality, is what Conservatism has been since at least 1964.  Conservatives may claim to want government out of the doctor-patient relationship. They may claim to oppose bureaucrats making medical decisions and imposing procedures based on an ideological agenda.  That's what they claim.  The reality of the modern Conservatives is they are quite comfortable forcing government into the examination room, empowering bureaucrats to make medical decisions and imposing care instructions based on an ideological agenda.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Why I Still Carry a Snub-Nosed Revolver

Ask on any gun board and you will be told by most participants that the snubnosed revolver is an antique. Not enough firepower. Too slow to reload. The common wisdom seems to be that 17+1 and four spare magazines is the minimum necessary to walk out my front door to check the mail.

Much as I liked Through the Looking Glass as a boy, real life isn't a Lewis Carrol novel and we can't prepare for every eventually like the White Knight. In fact, the White Knight was a caricature of just that kind of thinking. What I plan for first is the most probable encounters and work from there.

  1. Most Defensive Gun Uses (DGU's) are settled with no shots fired.
  2. Of those that do involved shots fired, the average is two to three shots.
Neither of the above means I should carry less instead of more. If I get out of an encounter with no shots fired then it didn't matter whether I had five rounds or fifty rounds. In fact, the Evil Black Pistol may have some extra intimidation factor -- at least all the badasses on TV and in the movies carry black plastic. Similarly, If I only have to shoot two or three times then it still doesn't matter how many rounds I had as long as it was at least two or three.

So why do I still carry that ancient, antique and useless snubnose revolver despite the Internet experts telling me not to? It can be directly traced back to some force-on-force exercises about 15 years or so ago.

In one exercise we practiced grappling with an "attacker". When my turn came, I ended up shoving the blue gun tight against my attacker's body to "shoot". The instructor pointed out that trick would not work with 95% of the autoloaders. He then proceeded to demonstrate how to minimize the chance an autoloader would fail in that situation. After the class, I thought about 7+1 of 45 ACP or 10+1 of 9mm I may be able to use versus five 38 spl for sure and decided I like the odds with the 38 better.

In another exercises I was "surprised" by an attacker who tried to get a chokehold on me from behind. The first time I tried to get the fake gun twisted around so I could get off a shot. I lost that round. On the second run I was still trying to get the gun positioned for a shot when, out of frustration, I just pointed it over my right shoulder upside down and pulled the "trigger". Afterwards, the instructor complimented me on my creativity but pointed out that my shoulder would have blocked the slide and jammed the gun after the first shot. I tried the maneuver with live ammo -- without a partner of course -- next time I was at a private range. As expected, my Glock 17 jammed and bruised my shoulder even through the padding I was wearing. The 442, on the other hand, fired all five times. I eventually sold the Glock for other reasons but I still have and, when I deem it prudent and possible, carry the 442.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Slipstream Lubricant -- First Impression

I have been reading a bit of hype recently about Slipstream lubricant from Crusader Weaponry. There are glowing reviews to be found on the web (eg. here, here and here) with, so far, no distinctly negative ones. Given that is not terribly expensive I decide to try it.

For my first experiment I used it on a S&W 686+. This is not a stock revolver. The return slide and the mating surfaces on the frame have been stoned and polished. The hammer and trigger frame studs are lightly polished. Exclusive of the cylinder, those are the three most significant source of friction in the S&W lockworks. Additionally, the factory mainspring was replaced with a Wolff full-power spring and a 15# Wolff spring was substituted for the factory 18# return slide spring.

Crusader's instructions recommend I completely clean and degrease the gun before applying their lubricant so I cleaned the cylinder and small parts in an ultrasonic cleaner. The frame I cleaned using Tetra's Action Blaster. Everything was rubbed down and dried with Scott disposable shop towels I bought at the local Home Depot. I reassembled the gun using Slipstream in the places I normally applied my usual oil.

First thing I noticed is the cylinder did not spin as freely as before.  Secondly there is a noticeable drag when opening and closing the cylinder. Finally, the ejector seem to have a bit more drag in it. I measured the trigger pull before and after. The average of seven measurements (one for each chamber) was:

Before: 9.42 lbs, StdDev: 0.28 lbs
After:  9.46 lbs, StdDev: 0.25 lbs

The difference in the trigger weight is not significant and the overall subjective feel of the action does not seem to be affected.

So far, the jury is still out on using Slipstream on my revolvers. The additional drag noted above is slight enough I might not have noticed were this not my personal gun which I shoot a lot. Slipstream has not improved the overall action but neither has it diminished it. Being, to all appearances, a "dry" lube it may help reduce the powder residue and other gunk that gathers in the action. That would be an advantage over the other oils I've tried. Hopefully I will get a chance to get to the range this weekend and see how it performs in that regard. Also, since it was probably formulated with autoloaders in mind, I will eventually try the grease and oil on my P95 and Sig 220 to see how it affects them.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Single Action. Double Standard II

Grant Cunningham responded to my question about this in another forum.
First, I would argue that a 1911 is a spectacularly bad platform for a self defense arm (for many reason), and making the comparison isn't terribly useful.

Second, the single action on a typical revolver is significantly shorter and lighter than even a well-tuned 1911. It's not unusual to find revolvers with single actions in the 2lb to 2-1/2lb range, with absolutely zero travel. Even the most rabid 1911 apologist would be uncomfortable with that kind of trigger for self defense use.

The difference between a double action and single action on a revolver is far greater than that of a DA/SA auto: a revolver DA is usually in excess of 10lbs, many times 12 lbs, and single actions are usually under 3lbs with no creep. Compare that to a really good DA/SA auto, where the DA is usually less than 10 lbs and the SA perhaps half of that, with tons of creep.

Out of curiosity I checked the DA and SA triggers on some of my firearms:
  • Ruger P95
  • Sig P220
  • S&W Mod 15
  • S&W 686+

Model P95 P220 Model 15 686+
in pounds
>12 5.3 10.1 5.9 11.7 3.8 8.6 3.6
>12 5.7 10.1 5.4 11.1 3.7 8.6 3.6
>12 6.0 10.1 5.8 11.7 3.6 8.9 3.6
11.7 3.5 8.6 3.9
11.6 3.7 8.8 3.5
11.1 3.6 8.6 3.6
8.8 3.5
Average >12 5.7 10.1 5.7 11.5 3.6 8.7 3.6
My trigger gauge only goes up to 12 pounds which the Ruger exceeded. The 686+ is not stock. It has had action work done on it.

Next I took the autoloaders above to the range along with a Kimber 1911. I paid close attention to the action and Mr. Cunningham is right -- the triggers really are pretty creepy.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Single Action. Double Standard

I was watching the Defensive Revolver Fundamentals video made by Rob Pincus and Grant Cunningham. One thing that bothered me was the admonition to only use a revolver in double action. I get that if I cock a revolver it has a short, light trigger. If I thumb off the safety on a 1911 is also has a short, light trigger. So why is a revolver more likely to have an negligent discharge than a 1911? I understand there are benefits to double action such as shooting faster. With a little practice is it plenty accurate enough to stop a man sized attacker at surprising distances. That still doesn't explain why a single action only pistol like the 1911 is considered safe but a cocked revolver is an accident waiting happen.

One "explanation" I've been offered is that having two different trigger pulls is a bad idea. That, however, brings into question the DA/SA autoloaders. If switching between double action and single action is so perilous on a revolver why is it less so on an autoloader like the Sig P220, Ruger P95 or Beretta 92?

Single action with an autoloader == good.

Double action/single action with an autoloader == good.

Double action/single action with a revolver == Oh my gawd! Are you out of your mind?

Doesn't make a lot of sense.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Home Defense and the Intellectual Desert

Recently I was asked if a Desert Eagle would be a good home defense gun. I had to honestly answer that I didn't know enough about it to offer an informative opinion. I did get the impression the questioner was basing his judgments on what he saw on TV and from playing video games.

OK, if he wants a gun he can show off to his buddies and look kewl while doing it, then a Desert Eagle is definitely on the short list. After all the odds he will ever shoot it outside a range are pretty small. The Glock 22 is probably more practical and, I think, pretty in with the kewl kids too -- Dis be a Glock Fotay! I be the only Lolcat profsnal enuf to uze it!

On the other hand, If he wants a useful gun for home defense and can handle the derision from gamers and gun forum lolcats with vast experience at dispatching electronic zombies, get a S&W 686 or a Ruger GP-100. Heck, with a 6" bbl they even look pretty badazz.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Surviving a Dark Age

If you are one of the few reading this blog you probably already know that Western Civilization in being screwed and the operative question is how badly. I know there still some who believe we can vote our way out of this mess. I used to be one but I'm not so sure any more. Last year Nearly half of US households escaped any federal income tax and, according to the article,
The bottom 40 percent, on average, make a profit from the federal income tax, meaning they get more money in tax credits than they would otherwise owe in taxes. For those people, the government sends them a payment.
I'll wager the ratio is getting even worse. How to you think those who pay no taxes are going to vote?

So it's bad. What are you going to do about it?

Do I know the answer? No. You want answers join a cult. The best I can do today is offer an observation from history.

In the 1,000 year period from about the 5th through the 15th Centuries -- which used to called the Dark Ages but is now known by the more neutral term Middle Ages -- the Christian Monasteries preserved a lot of knowledge by copying Roman and Greek manuscripts.

The monastic life was communal and organized. It spread the necessary labor of feeding the monks and maintaining the monastery over many hands. In the pre-industrial world this was an efficient use of resources and led to a life with sufficient leisure to pray up to eight times a day (Lauds, Prime, Sext, Nones, Terce, Vespers, Compline, and Matins). If the histories are to be believed, the average monk, living as he did without benefit of wine, women or television, had a lot of potential free time. So, idle hands being the Devil's workshop, it was necessary to keep the monks busy when they weren't at prayer or working at tasks necessary for the survival of the monastery. Copying of texts was a good way to accomplish that.

I seriously doubt this was, originally, a deliberate attempt to preserve the knowledge -- it just worked out that way. The lesson is that knowledge stored in a low-tech format like books can be preserved for centuries if need be. There are books out there that are full of the useful information needed to build a civilization. Not having to relearn it all from scratch will give any group with access to such knowledge a huge advantage.

If our species is lucky, the coming endarkenment will not last 1,000 years like the last one did. If we are really lucky, it won't last more than a generation. If some of us can preserve the knowledge in physics, chemistry, engineering, medicine and biology we've learned since Galileo I think the interregnum will be shorter than it will be otherwise.

Some Suggestions:
  • The CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
  • Mechanical Engineers Handbook (AKA Mark's Manual)
  • Grey's Anatomy.
  • Mercks Manual of Differential Diagnosis
  • The Way Things Work.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Even a two-year-old can be a killer

Some of this story sounds a little suspect to me but I'm not an expert. Can a two-year-old really pull the trigger on a Glock?

In any case it is a shitty deal for the kid.

911 Call Reveals How Toddler Reportedly Shot, Killed Mom
A 911 call released by Florida police reveals how a toddler allegedly shot and killed his mother when he picked up a loaded gun, wsvn.com reports.

According to Miramar Police, Troy Bailey Sr. called 911 late Wednesday and said that his 2-year-old son grabbed his gun and shot his mother, 33-year-old Julia Bennett.

"Oh God, I can’t believe this," Bailey is heard saying on the recording. "He shot his mom. God in heaven, help me please."

When the 911 operator asked who shot Bennet, Bailey Sr. said, “I was taking the gun from him. I was trying to take it from him…from my son, from my son. He’s right here.”

Bailey Sr. goes on to say how he tried to take the gun from Troy Bailey Jr. when it went off.
"Jesus Christ, God. Why did you put my son in this spot?" he said over the phone. "Oh, God, no. He's my life. I've never gone through something like this."

Miramar Police investigators say the child’s father told them he left the .9 mm Glock semi-automatic, for which he has a concealed weapons permit, in the reach of the child who some how got a hold of the gun.

A judge has placed Bailey Jr. in the care of one of his maternal aunts and maternal great-grandmother. His father is not allowed contact with Bennet’s family without state permission.

At the custody hearing last week, the child's advocate said the Broward Sheriff's Office was not able to locate the father in order to notify him about the hearing. At the dependency court hearing, Lisa Glick of Children's Legal Services, said, "BSO has been unable to reach the father at this time and does not currently know where he his."

Miramar Police, however, insisted Bailey Sr. was never missing and is cooperating with the investigation, which remains on-going.

Bailey Sr. was initially questioned by police at the scene but has not been charged. At minimum, he could be charged with negligence for leaving the gun in the boy's reach.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Man Shot Dead in Brady Paradise

Hard as it may be to believe, a man who broke up a fight at a MacDonalds in London -- where handguns are very illegal -- was shot to death by one of the would be combatants. No good deed goes unpunished and in a Sarah Brady Paradise where the do-gooder is also a disarmed victim-in-waiting, the penalty can be death.

From the UK Mirror
Dad who split up fight in McDonald's shot dead

A DAD-of-four who split up a fight in a McDonald’s was shot dead moments after being told he wouldn’t see the morning.

Raymond Mitchell, 34, had only popped into the restaurant to buy a hot chocolate.

But he apparently caused offence after splitting up two men fighting in the queue.

One of them, who had several gold teeth, shouted at Raymond: “You are gonna die tonight, you are not gonna see the morning.”

The thug is then said to have phoned an accomplice to fetch a gun, yelling into his mobile: “Bring me that thing.”

Raymond left the 24-hour McDonald’s but was chased into a cul-de-sac. The gun was then delivered and Mr Mitchell was beaten and pistol-whipped before being shot three times in an alley in Brixton, South London, at 6.50am on Sunday. Raymond, nicknamed Brown, was taken to hospital but died hours later.

One neighbour, who saw the shooting but was too terrified to be named, said: “He was begging, literally begging for his life. I didn’t dare look out my window in case they saw me. I heard them laughing and swearing at him, calling him a ‘b***h’. I heard them laughing afterwards as well.”

Raymond’s partner, who asked not to be named, said: “I’m terrified. They’re still out there and they’ve not been caught. I’ve been told how they were laughing, actually laughing after they beat him and shot him. How could anybody do something like that?”

She had been out drinking with Raymond on Saturday night before he went into the West End to meet some friends for drinks.

She said: “Everybody loved him. He was well known around Brixton. Just a friendly guy.”

His family left tributes and flowers at the murder scene. One of his sons, Raquan Mitchell-Perry, 11, described as a “brilliant dad” in a poem. The Met’s Trident unit is investigating the murder.
H/T to SipseyStreetIrregulars

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Memories of Mach

Once upon a time there was a cat named Niccolo Machiavelli.

He was cat in every way and loyal as only a cat can be. He had his share of annoying behaviors such using the cat door to leave but refusing to use it to come back in. He always insisted I open the front door for him.

Like all cats he was a hunter. When some less than cleanly neighbors were evicted all of their roaches spread to the neighboring houses. For several months afterwards I often I came home from work (I worked the night shift then) to hear Mach crunching on cockroaches. I guess it was better than dragging in small birds, mice and lizards and it served to keep my house from becoming infested.

About his only really peculiar behavior was he liked to play in paper bags. I have no idea why. Nevertheless, while he was alive, I brought my groceries home in paper bags whenever possible so he would have a playhouse or whatever is was his feline mind imagined the bags to be.

His end came in the street in front of his home. I don't know how it happened but I found him dead one afternoon. From the available evidence, I am guessing he was hit by a car. I buried him in a paper bag.

I still miss the bastard sometimes.

It was these photos that reminded me of that damned cat.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Testicle Lockbox

This has to be one of the creepiest videos I have seen in a long while. I actually felt a little ill listening to a parade of castrati vomiting embarrassing "apologies" just for being male. I suppose I should spend a page or two (or more!) writing about sexual selection and evolutionary psychology but I have to get back to work so I'll give you the short version.
  1. Without women, men would not be civilized.
  2. Without men, civilization would last only until the oil needs changing.

Now you should get out the Barf Bag and don't say I didn't warn you.

H/T to Amy Alkon

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Clip on a Cartridge of Bullets

The Contra Costa Times published a letter from a reader on Apr 4 advocating an end to open carry.
End open carry

According to the California Penal Code, "Every person who "... carries upon his or her person "... a switchblade knife having a blade two or more inches in length is guilty of a misdemeanor."

Yet there is no section of the California Penal Code that specifically prohibits open carry of an unloaded handgun, and carrying a loaded magazine separate from the handgun, as in a pocket, also is not prohibited under the penal code.

How many people can one crazed lunatic kill with a switch blade in under a minute? Two, three at the most? Yet that same lunatic can clip on a cartridge of bullets and mow down up to a dozen innocents in that same period of time using a gun that is legally worn at the hip.

Maybe our restrictions against lethal guns should be just as strong as they are against lethal knives. Maybe it is time to outlaw open carry.

Beth Jersey

How many can a knife weilding maniac kill in a minute? I don"t know and do not intend to find out. Some recent examples from the news indicate it is not as hard as Beth thinks it is.

In June of 2008 Tomohiro Kato injured 10 and killed seven in Tokyo in under three minutes.

Seven die in Tokyo knife attack rampage

Two weeks ago, Zheng Minsheng killed eight and wounded five in an early morning knife attack directed at elementary school students.

Man kills 8 pupils in China

How many people have UOCer's killed in California?


Maybe it is time to outlaw Open Stupidity.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ammunition to avoid

I've been reading some old Internet debates on what kind of ammunition to use for self defense. In every one I've read someone brings up the argument that certain kinds of ammunition will look bad in court if you are actually required to shoot some thug. From this extensive research on the Internet (where everything is true) I have compiled the following advice.

First, do not use ammunition you loaded yourself.

If you pop a cap into some drooling goblin at 5:30 in the morning you don't want more problems in your life. A .357 Federal Hydrashok is going to splatter the bad guy's lung and heart tissue all over the far wall. It is very possible some snot nose DA or pissant Ninjacop may decide that you went a little too far in ventilating the prick. I mean he's not really responsible for being a dirtbag. Maybe his mommy didn't toilet train him right. Maybe his daddy called him names when he was a boy. You don't want to have to explain to a jury how you sit in your garage and load ammo that will splatter a bad guy's lung and heart tissue all over the far wall.

In the inevitable civil case remember that the dead goblin's mommy will be sobbing in the front row and his daddy -- if he can be found -- will testify as to how Drooler was an unfortunate victim of society and was turning his life around.

Next, avoid any ammunition with one or more of the following features:
  • Hollow point (Dum dums, Cop killers)
  • Soft point (Expanding, Armor Piercing)
  • Wadcutter (Flesh Crushing)
  • Round nose (Bone Breakers)
  • Spitzer tip (Big Game Hunting Ammo)
  • Lead bullets (Kills Condor Chicks)
  • Any metal other than lead (Armor Piercing, Cop Killers)
Finally, avoid any ammunition that has any of the following words in the name or description:
  • Black
  • Dark
  • Bore
  • Talon
  • Claw
  • Buzzsaw
  • Doom
  • Buffalo
  • NyClad
  • Moly-coated
  • Teflon
  • Pre-Fragmented
  • Sintered
  • Winchester
  • Federal
  • RCBD
  • Remington
  • ACP
  • NATO
  • Rimmed
  • Rimless
Now you can keep the lawyers happy for a while.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Right Wing Socialists do Stupid Things Too

In their Novel Hope, Aaron Zelman and L Neil Smith described a scenario for implementing abortion law that some described as too far-fetched to be believeable. I can see how it would upset the anti-abortion folks but when I read it, I interpreted it as a satire on the anti-abortion position. It took the position to a logical extreme and demonstrated absurdity by being absurd. However, it seem that the critics of Mr. Zelman and Mr. Smith underestimated the stupidity of the right wing of the Socialist Party. Mother Jones reports on new effort by the GOP to further restrict use of taxpayer funds for abortion.

Under a GOP-backed bill expected to sail through the House of Representatives, the Internal Revenue Service would be forced to police how Americans have paid for their abortions. To ensure that taxpayers complied with the law, IRS agents would have to investigate whether certain terminated pregnancies were the result of rape or incest. And one tax expert says that the measure could even lead to questions on tax forms: Have you had an abortion? Did you keep your receipt?

In testimony to a House taxation subcommittee on Wednesday, Thomas Barthold, the chief of staff of the nonpartisan Joint Tax Committee, confirmed that one consequence of the Republicans' "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" would be to turn IRS agents into abortion cops—that is, during an audit, they'd have to detemine [sic], from evidence provided by the taxpayer, whether any tax benefit had been inappropriately used to pay for an abortion.

I favor eliminating taxpayer funding for abortion. Not because of any opposition to abortion but becasue I favor eliminating taxpayer funding for just about everything. But getting the IRS involved? If the Republicans really wanted to do the country a good turn they would eliminate the damn agency, not give it even more power to rob the citizenry. Next time I ask, "How stupid can a politician get?" I'll remember that this one moved my estimate from pretty damned to almost unbelievably so.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Victim of Communism

I've known for a few years that when the Soviets launched Laika into orbit they had no intention of trying to get her back alive. Now we can see this callus disregard for life extended to human beings as well. In 1967, Vladimer Komarov was launched into orbit on a doomed mission.

From Cosmonaut Crashed Into Earth 'Crying In Rage' at NPR.
The space vehicle is shoddily constructed, running dangerously low on fuel; its parachutes — though no one knows this — won't work and the cosmonaut, Vladimir Komarov, is about to, literally, crash full speed into Earth, his body turning molten on impact. As he heads to his doom, U.S. listening posts in Turkey hear him crying in rage, "cursing the people who had put him inside a botched spaceship."
Space flight is dangerous. Anyone who thinks otherwise should never be given any responsibility more important than the channel buttons for his TV. However, there is a line between bad luck and negligence. The damned Soviets knew the capsule was not safe to fly.
The problem was Gagarin. Already a Soviet hero, the first man ever in space, he and some senior technicians had inspected the Soyuz 1 and had found 203 structural problems — serious problems that would make this machine dangerous to navigate in space. The mission, Gagarin suggested, should be postponed.
So why did he climb into a capsule he knew was defective?
Russayev asked, Why not refuse? According to the authors, Komarov answered: "If I don't make this flight, they'll send the backup pilot instead." That was Yuri Gagarin. Vladimir Komarov couldn't do that to his friend. "That's Yura," the book quotes him saying, "and he'll die instead of me. We've got to take care of him." Komarov then burst into tears.
He got into that capsule because he was a brave man who kept faith with his friends.

I've said this before and I guess I get to say it again. The bastards that ran the Soviet Union did not deserve the quality of men who served them.

H/T to The Unwanted Blog

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Linux Trick

To sort a list of ip address

sort -n -t '.' -k 1,1 -k 2,2 -k 3,3 -k 4,4 <list

To delete duplicates, pipe the outout through uniq

sort -n -t '.' -k 1,1 -k 2,2 -k 3,3 -k 4,4 <list|uniq

Thoughts on Intellectual Property

I am an Engineer by training and temperament. Perhaps this is not such a good thing since I am often baffled by the mental machinations of philosophers. Reading some libertarian essays on the subject of Intellectual Property (Schulman and Smith come to mind) I am reminded of the old warning to be careful what you wish for.

I understand the value that creators add to the pool of human knowledge. Even when someone tries to prevent it, new knowledge still becomes part of the structure (or foundation depending whether you take your analogies straight or with soda) of human progress. Any system that does not encourage and reward those with the intelligence and determination to make new discoveries will fall behind quickly in the Darwinian competition between societies. However, any good idea can be carried too far.

Have you ever wondered why the first American military pilots in WW1 flew French made planes (Spad) with Spanish built engines (Hispano-Suiza)? Probably not but if you ever do, look no further than American patent law. Every time an American like Glenn Curtis (an innovative inventor in his own right) brought a new design to fruition, he was sued by the Wright Brothers for patent violations. Even though the Wrights held patents in Europe the courts there were less appreciative of Intellectual Property so European builders went ahead and just made planes.

Ignoring intellectual property concerns put the Europeans well ahead of the US in aviation by 1917. Perhaps the worst thing about all the litigation was how badly it tarnished the the image of the Wright Brothers as heroic pioneers. The lawsuits finally ended when, with the outbreak of WW1, aircraft builders established the Manufacturers' Aircraft Association to coordinate making of warplanes. To accomplish this they formed a patent pool at the prompting of the U.S. government. Royalties were fixed at one percent and free exchange of inventions and ideas took place among all the participants. After the war the litigation was not renewed because Orville Wright-- now without Wilbur who died of typhoid in 1912 -- sold his interest in the Wright Company and retired from the business. Once freed from the specter of endless litigation, the American aviation industry surged ahead of all the foreign competition.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shout, "gun!" and somone dies.

I was at the Magnum Range in Rancho Cucamonga a couple month back and a couple of lanes were being use by cops practicing. They were in uniform so I figured it was official and I was wearing my Pro Ears that day so I could hear them talking about qualifying. The guy running the session used the word "GUN!" as the command to draw and fire.

At the time I thought that was not a very smart way to train cops in a country where RKBA is explicitly protected by its Constitution. Now it appears that stupidity has cost a cop his life
The friendly-fire shooting that cost a Long Island cop his life was a point-blank blunder that started when a retired cop with no business at the scene yelled, "Gun," an official said yesterday.

Geoffrey Breitkopf, 40, was shot and killed Saturday by an MTA cop responding to a call at a Massapequa Park house where Nassau police had killed a knife-wielding Satan worshipper.

The MTA officers were assisting county cops with mop-up duty when Nassau County Special Ops Officer Breitkopf arrived in a car with his partner, according to Nassau County Police Benevolent Association president James Carver.

As Breitkopf walked toward the house in plain clothes with a rifle slung over his shoulder and his badge around his neck, an unidentified retired NYPD sergeant from the neighborhood -- milling around outside -- cried out, "Gun!" Carver said.

One of the MTA cops tried to wrestle the rifle away, while the other, Glenn Gentile, fired a single shot, hitting Breitkopf in the side, Carver said.

Gentile and his partner were then trying to handcuff the dying officer on the lawn when his hysterical partner ran over and cried, "He's one of us," according to Carver.

"There's a lot of anger with my guys right now about this whole thing," Carver said. "My guy was dead before he hit the ground. He had no chance."
Jeez! Holler gun and all the cops go stupid. I feel safer already.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What Would Jesus Cut?

Jim Wallis asks that question over at HuffPo.

Who cares? Jesus was a socialist with an ethical system that originated with nomadic sheepherders who were barely out of the stone age and knew Jacque Schitt about economics.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Good Self Defense Article

Kelly Muir has a good article on the Personal Defense Network entitled The Need for Integrated Self Defense. She emphasizes that self defense is more than knowing how to use a gun. It also means knowing something about bare hands, teeth, Tasers, pepper spray, knives, sticks, stones and harsh language. It means having at least a minimum level of physical fitness. Most important of all is it requires the proper mindset.

Read it. It is worth your time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On a Clear Day I can See Bulgaria

One of my guilty pleasures is reading the blog Darwinian Conservatism by Larry Arnhart. Recently he put up an interesting post on belief in God entitled Does Believing in God Arise from Our Evolved Theory of Mind?. It's a pretty good summary of the present state of thinking about the evolutionary origins of religious belief. By way of introduction, Arnhart mentions Alvin Platinga's assessment of the various arguments for the existence of God(s).
In God and Other Minds: A Study of the Rational Justification of Belief in God (published in 1967 and 1990), Alvin Plantinga offered assessments of the various arguments for believing in God. He concluded that the best argument was based on the analogy between believing in other human minds and believing in the Divine Mind. Although we have direct access to our own minds through subjective experience, we have no direct evidence for other human minds. But except for the radical solipsist, we regard belief in other human minds as a reasonable inference from our experience with other human beings. Similarly, we might conclude that although we have no direct, observational evidence for God's existence, we can reasonably infer the existence of a Divine Mind as a more perfect version of our human mind. Plantinga concluded: "if my belief in other minds is rational, so is my belief in God. But obviously the former is rational; so, therefore, is the latter."

I've never seen the sense in that argument. The original version I read was presented in a confusing manner that may have sounded profund to the author but, I think, really made it look desperate. A -- ahem -- Hail Mary play.

I'm just a dumb 'ol Engineer and don't pretend to understand all the subtleties of philosophy. With that in mind I present my argument for the existence of other minds.
  1. I have direct experience of my own mind.
  2. I formulate a theory of how a sapient mind operates.
  3. I have evidence other entities exist.
  4. I observe other entities.
  5. I see they act in a manner consistent with my theory.
  6. From this I can infer that these other entities have sapient minds too.

Obviously, the linear argument above is simplified for illustration Feedback is a part to the scientific method as I currently understand it so one step may trigger a reevaluation of a previous one. For example my observations of other entities may cause me to alter my theory of sapient minds. That's how science works in the real world.

The parallel argument substituting God -- She, He or It -- goes like this.
  1. I have direct experience of my own mind.
  2. I formulate a theory of how a sapient mind operates.
  3. I have evidence She/He/It exists.
  4. I observe She/He/It.
  5. I see She/He/It acts in a manner consistent with my theory.
  6. From this I can infer that She/He/It has a sapient mind too.

Plantinga's problem is he pretends the same process I use to discern the existence of other sapient minds will work with the Divine Mind of She/He/It. Clearly it does not. Then he works backwards from a failed argument to argue that believing that She/He/It exists is rational.

Friday, February 25, 2011

From a Bottle of Pills to God's Ear

Emerging momentarily from a drug induced haze, Living in Babylon poses an interesting question vis-a-vis a common anti-Second Amendment argument. I'm sure you've heard or read at least one variation on the notion that the Second Amendment is obslete because the authors could never have imagined what future developments would bring to firearms technology.

Using a similar argument, LiB asks all you ostensibly liberal First Amendment advocates, do you think the Founders ever envisioned this when they wrote the First Amendment?

Natural Harvest - A Collection of Semen-Based Recipes

Well, did they?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Are We Thwarted?

If you are reading this blog you probably already know that Western Civilization is screwing itself and the operative question is how badly. I know there still some who think/believe we can vote our way out of this mess. I used to be one but I'm not so sure any more. Last year Nearly half of US households escape fed income tax and, according to the article,
The bottom 40 percent, on average, make a profit from the federal income tax, meaning they get more money in tax credits than they would otherwise owe in taxes. For those people, the government sends them a payment.
I'll wager the ratio is even worse now. How to you think those who pay no taxes are going to vote?

So it's bad. What are you going to do about it?

Do I know the answer? No. You want answers join a cult. The best I can so is offer an observation from history.

In the 1,000 year period from about 5th through the 15th Centuries -- which used to called the Dark Ages but is now known by the more neutral term Middle Ages -- the Christian Monasteries preserved a lot of knowledge by copying Roman and Greek manuscripts.

The monastic life was communal and organized. It spread the necessary labor of feeding the monks and maintaining the monastery over many hands. In the pre-industrial world this was an efficient use of resources and led to a life with sufficient leisure to pray up to eight times a day (Lauds, Prime, Sext, Nones, Terce, Vespers, Compline, Matins). If the histories are to be believed. the average monk, living as he did without benefit of wine, women or television, had a lot of potential free time. So, idle hands being the Devil's workshop, it was necessary to keep the monks busy when they weren't at prayer or working at tasks necessary for the survival of the monastery. Copying of texts was a good way to accomplish that.

I seriously doubt this was, originally, a deliberate attempt to preserve the knowledge -- it just worked out that way. However, the lesson is that knowledge stored in a lowtech format like books can be preserved for centuries if need be. There are books out there that are full of the useful information needed to build a civilization. Not having to relearn it all from scratch will give any group with access to such books a huge advantage.

If our species is lucky, the coming endarkenment will not last 1,000 years like the last one did. If we are really lucky, it won't last more than a generation. If some of us can preserve the knowledge in physics, chemistry, engineering, etc we've learned since Galileo I think the interregnum will be shorter than it will be otherwise.

Some Suggestions:

The CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
Mechanical Engineers Handbook (AKA Mark's Manual)
Grey's Anatomy.
Mercks Manual of Differential Diagnosis
The Way Things Work.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Mercenary Prophecy

In an unfortunately timely discussion, American Mercenary offers some thoughts on the morality of warfare and, while left unstated, why "No Fort Sumpters" may be a strategy for defeat. I'm not sure I agree with him but I do think he accurately perceives why insisting the enemy strike first is so seductive to the "freedom movement".
One of the reasons that we don't have a shooting civil war is that those who would fight are not murderers. Not because they fear jail, but because they know that murder is wrong.
Whether for religious or secular reasons, every person I know in the movement has the above integated into their moral foundation. Frankly, I wouldn't want it any other way. Some won't make exceptions for warfare and I'm not convinced any legitimate exception exists there either.

If you are a Christian you might say to me "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). I don't believe in your gods so I will counter with a simple truism that has served me well:

Integrity is most important when it is hard.

H/T to Artic Patriot

Monday, February 21, 2011

Anonymous versus Westboro Baptists

Yesterday there was a minor buzz that a "hacktivist" group calling itself "Anonymous" was threatening to attack the Westboro Baptist Church.
We, the collective super-consciousness known as ANONYMOUS - the Voice of Free Speech & the Advocate of the People - have long heard you issue your venomous statements of hatred, and we have witnessed your flagrant and absurd displays of inimitable bigotry and intolerant fanaticism. We have always regarded you and your ilk as an assembly of graceless sociopaths and maniacal chauvinists & religious zealots, however benign, who act out for the sake of attention & in the name of religion.

Being such aggressive proponents for the Freedom of Speech & Freedom of Information as we are, we have hitherto allowed you to continue preaching your benighted gospel of hatred and your theatrical exhibitions of, not only your fascist views, but your utter lack of Christ-like attributes. You have condemned the men and women who serve, fight, and perish in the armed forces of your nation; you have prayed for and celebrated the deaths of young children, who are without fault; you have stood outside the United States National Holocaust Museum, condemning the men, women, and children who, despite their innocence, were annihilated by a tyrannical embodiment of fascism and unsubstantiated repugnance. Rather than allowing the deceased some degree of peace and respect, you instead choose to torment, harass, and assault those who grieve.

Your demonstrations and your unrelenting cascade of disparaging slurs, unfounded judgments, and prejudicial innuendos, which apparently apply to every individual numbered amongst the race of Man - except for yourselves - has frequently crossed the line which separates Freedom of Speech from deliberately utilizing the same tactics and methods of intimidation and mental & emotional abuse that have been previously exploited and employed by tyrants and dictators, fascists and terrorist organizations throughout history.

ANONYMOUS cannot abide this behavior any longer. The time for us to be idle spectators in your inhumane treatment of fellow Man has reached its apex, and we shall now be moved to action. Thus, we give you a warning: Cease & desist your protest campaign in the year 2011, return to your homes in Kansas, & close your public Web sites. Should you ignore this warning, you will meet with the vicious retaliatory arm of ANONYMOUS: We will target your public Websites, and the propaganda & detestable doctrine that you promote will be eradicated; the damage incurred will be irreversible, and neither your institution nor your congregation will ever be able to fully recover. It is in your best interest to comply now, while the option to do so is still being offered, because we will not relent until you cease the conduction & promotion of all your bigoted operations & doctrines. The warning has been given. What happens from here shall be determined by you.
The alleged challenge did not make too much sense to me. Firstly, announcing an intent to DDOS a website it not too bright. That only gives the government time to set up sniffers and begin tracking down the attackers. Whatever I may think of Anonymous they are not, on the evidence, that stupid.

Secondly, the insults are pedestrian. No belittling of Phelps as a technological ignoramus. No implying he is a closeted homosexual. It was just too pompous to be credible.

Thirdly was the absence of grammatical and spelling irregularities peculiar to hacker culture.

I could go on but you get the idea by now or you don't.

Turns out it was probably a hoax. A press release on AnonNews.org denies the charge and implies that Phelps was behind the whole thing.
Dear Phred Phelps and WBC Phriends,

So we've been hearing a lot about some letter that we supposedly sent you this morning. Problem is, we're a bit groggy and don't remember sending it. Our best guess is that you heard about us on that newfangled TV of yours and thought we might be some good money for your little church.

You thought you could play with Anonymous. You observed our rising notoriety and thought you would exploit our paradigm for your own gain. And then, you thought you could lure some idiots into a honeypot for more IPs to sue.

This is not so foreign to us; as you may have heard, we trade in Lulz. You just do not have enough to offer right now.

While Anonymous thanks you for your interest, and would certainly like to take a break and have some
fun with you guys, we have more pressing matters to deal with at the moment. But, we will keep this application on file, and will certainly contact you if any openings become available in future.

Next time, don't call us. We'll call you.

Additionally, as your "Press Release" failed to understand: When Anonymous says we support free speech, we mean it. We count Beatrice Hall among our Anonymous forebears: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Do some among our number hate you and your cynical exploitation of your human rights for monetary gain? Of course. But the MoralFags are also the first to admit that they are, in fact, your rights to exploit.

In closing, let us assure you: We are not BAWWWING sissies, nor are we afraid of your false god; we're just really busy. Stay tuned, and we'll come back to play another day. We promise.

To the Media: Just because it was posted on AnonNews doesn't mean every single Anon is in agreement, in fact in this case it doesn't even mean a single Anon is in agreement. Next time, if you could give us a few minutes to put all our paperwork in order, we'll be sure to let you know what we're up to. (LOL)

To Anonymous: It's a trap. They've got their ports wide open to harvest IPs to sue. Don't DDoS, and boycott Operation Westboro. If you really want to continue messing with them, just send them a few male prostitutes and faxes of goatse. Nothing more.

(Note: This letter was written by more than 20 Anons, at the same time, and none of them were inbred
family members. Unlike that other, shitty "Press Release".)

We are Anonymous.
We are legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us.
Baptists are not always my favorite people and the Westboro subspecies can be particularly obnoxious, However, I firmly believe the best antidote to bad speech is better speech. Attacking Phelp's website may be an ego boost but he'll just spring back or some other self righteous prick will take his place. Discredit his ideas and he becomes an impotent voice. Phelp's is nothing. Ideas are everything.

If humankind, collectively, cannot appreciate the value of Reason and the Enlightement values then human intelligence will join the Saurians in the trashcan of Evolutionary history. Naturally, I think that would be a great loss and I work to prevent it but, in the final analysis, anyone claiming that the Universe cares is deceiving himself. Homo Sapiens has the tools to acheive immortality and the stars but whether it fails or succeeds, Reality will still be there.

Curiously, the best known Westboro site -- God Hates Fags -- is very slow to load right now. I don't know if this is an attack or just a example of the Slashdot Effect.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Something You Don't See Everyday

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on a Mr. Patrick Rodgers who is forclosing on his mortgage company. Well, not quite but it's still a man bites dog kind of story.

Frustrated by a dispute with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and by his inability to get answers to questions, the West Philadelphia homeowner took the mortgage company to court last fall.

When Wells Fargo still didn't respond, Rodgers got a $1,000 default judgment against it for failing to answer his formal questions, as required by a federal law called the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.
The dispute is not over late payments, a defaulted mortgage or any other of the usual causes.
Rodgers owns a three-story, six-bedroom Tudor on a beautiful street not far from City Avenue. He paid about $180,000 for it in 2002, and for years handled his mortgage without dispute.

But in mid-2009, his insurer delivered troubling news: His homeowners premium would more than double, because Wells Fargo was insisting that he insure the home's full replacement value - about $1 million worth of coverage, the insurer told him.
It get interesting when Wells Fargo doesn't pay the judgment.
And when the mortgage company didn't pay - does something sound familiar? - Rodgers turned to Philadelphia's sheriff.

The result: At least for the moment, the contents of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, 1341 N. Delaware Ave., are scheduled for sheriff's sale on March 4 to satisfy the judgment and pay about $200 for court and sheriff's costs.
Based on the article, I think Wells Fargo is clearly outside the boundaries of their responsibility to the stockholders as well as common decency. As long as Rodgers keeps up his payments, pays his taxes has sufficient insurance to pay off the mortgage should the house burn down or something, Wells Fargo has no business making any demands. The guy make his payments on time which is how a mortgage company stays in business. Doesn't anyone there understand the idea of treating a good customer well?

This will probably end with Wells Fargo paying the $1,000 judgment and associated court fees. Hopefully, they will then answer Mr. Rodgers questions like they should have done in the first place. However I admit that small part of me would like to see Wells Fargo being forced to move out of the building as it is sold from under underneath them.

H/T to Surviving California

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Police get SKS "cannon" off the street.

Believe it or not, that is how the police in San Francisco describe an SKS according to the The sfExaminer.
Cops uncovered a “cannon” of a rifle while making a pot bust in the Bayview district earlier this month, police said.

On Feb. 5 at 2:45 p.m., two officers patrolling the area of 20th and Illinois streets pulled over a car that had run a stop sign. When the driver rolled down his window, a “cloud of marijuana smoke escaped,” police said.

The driver was pulled out of the car. The driver handed the cops a small bag of weed, presumably hoping they wouldn’t search his car, police said.

The cops searched the car and found an SKS carbine rifle, “which is very illegal.” The suspect also had a warrant for his arrest out of Merced County, police said.

He was booked at Bayview Station.

“Gotta believe a life [lives] was saved getting this cannon off the streets,” police said.
Facepalm doesn't even begin to cover this. If I was a cop working for the City of San Francisco I'd be mortified with embarassment.

H/T to The Truth About Guns

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Power of Beer

Go here and wait for the glass to start moving (or give it a tug to start it).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

His Eye is Fixed on Rivendell.

Well, not any more. The evil Sauron abandoned his nefarious plans for Middle Earth after getting his ass kicked by a couple of hobbits, a half-dead wizard, some barely organized horsemen and a girl. After that debacle he couldn't hold his head up in the presence villians like Cruella de Ville or Snidely Whiplash. His humliation was complete when Skeletor and the Joker joined forces and literally laughed him out of his seat at the last Evil Emmy Awards. Bereft of whole universes to pillage, Sauron went into politics to salvage his reputation. However, even in a milleu where no one suspects he even exists he makes the same poor choices in his agents.

A recent case in point are the BATFEces. Intended to be vanguard facilitators of the New and Improved Mordor on the Potomac, they prove so inept they cannot even smuggle a few hundred guns into Mexico without getting caught.

Mike Vanderboegh has more details on the developing scandal over at Sipsey Street Irregulars

More from Kurt Hoffman and David Codrea

Monday, February 7, 2011

Knowing My Limits

Grant Cunningham has [s]ome thoughts regarding 'force on force' training that are worth reading.  He makes some good points but I do not agree that FoF is useful only for first shot accountability.

FoF exercises can also be useful, I think, in teaching limitations. I often carry a snubnose revolver despite the common wisdom that 17+1 and four spare magazines is the minimum necessary to check the mail.  This preference can be directly traced back to a FoF exercise about ten or fifteen years ago.  In one of the exercises I was "surprised" by an attacker who then tried to get a chokehold on me from behind.  In the second run I was trying to get the fake gun twisted around so I could get off a shot when, out of frustration, I just pointed it over my right shoulder upside down and pulled the "trigger". Afterwards, the instructor complimented me on my creativity but pointed out that my shoulder would have blocked the slide and jammed the gun after the first shot.

I tried the same trick with live ammo -- without an partner -- next time I was at a private range. As expected, the Glock 17 jammed and bruised my shoulder even through the padding I was wearing. The 442 fired all five times. I eventually sold the Glock for other reasons but I still have and, when I deem it prudent and possible, carry the 442.


Zicam Scam

Amy Alkon, The Advice Goddess, comments on a video of James Randi criticizing homeopathic medicines. If you are not familiar with James Randi, be warned he has little use for homeopathy. Being a libertarian I am not in favor of government regulating medicine beyond punishing negligent or deliberate actions that cause harm to people. However, I do think it a is a good thing that Randi is trying to publicize the essential daftness of homeopathy in general.

Also, some "homeopathic" remedies are not what they claim to be. For instance, Zicam is not really a homeopathic preparation. It has the usual homeopathic crap listed as "inactive ingredients" which is appropriate for something that has been diluted to one less than one part in 1024. However, it also contains zinc acetate and zinc gluconate in detectable concentrations. Whether the combination really inhibits the binding of the rhinovirus to the ICAM-1 receptor is still unproven. There is some evidence that zinc acetate may have the effect of reducing severity of the common cold but not in homeopathic dilutions.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Selling Indulgences

Mike Vanderboegh has a posting entitled "Courage is fear that has said its prayers". The quote is from Dorothy Bernard (the author not the actress). Normally I wouldn't pay much attention to it since Mike V is a later-in-life convert and has the "zeal of the converted" typical of that breed. However the following anonymous comment grabbed my attention.
Never was big on praying. Every battle I was in I was scared spitless and I am pretty sure everybody else was too. Some guys prayed. Some guys prayed a lot. Maybe it helped them. Me, I used what time I had to keep my equipment in good repair. I'm sure that helped me.

I guess courage to me is my mind telling there is something I have to do that is more important than being scared.
John Wayne is quoted as saying that, "Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." Courage is a choice a man makes to resist his fear and to master it. Some men pray to their imaginary friend(s) as a means of achieving that; others don't. Courage is something a man has not something he is given and how he finds it is less important that the fact he did.

Then another anonymous poster responds
@ Anonymous 8:38

I'm sure those around you that prayed also prayed for you. So don't pat yourself on the back too hard.
What a load of condescending horseshit. Since when are the Christian rituals so vital that it is not possible the original poster found his personal courage without them? Sounds like the second poster is claiming the first would have been paralyzed by fear if others hadn't been praying for him.

OK, Christianity is grounded in the concept of substitutionary atonement. However, I always thought that was because their God was nailed to a dead tree as payment-in-full for all sins, past and future, in a kind of a celestial welfare state. The above sounds closer to the selling of indulgences.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Is Bloomberg Lying Again?

Arizona Central reports on the Arizona AG response to the Mayor of NYC soliciting straw purchases of firearms at an Arizona gun show. Of particular interest to me was,
Bloomberg spokesman Jason Post said the sting was carried out by Arizona-based private investigators, not New York City police.

"According to data contained in FBI reports, New York City is the safest big city in the nation, safer than Phoenix," where the per capita rate of major felonies is twice that in New York, Post said.
First, who cares if the straw purchases were made by "Arizona-based" PI's? A straw purchase is a straw purchase.

Second, the artice doesn't describe describe what games Bloomberg or his spokeshole is playing with statistics but, according to the FBI 2009 report on Crime in the United States, Table 6 the City of New York had 46,357 violent crimes and a population of 8,400,907 which equals 552/100K. The City of Phoenix had 8,730 violent crimes in a population of 1,597,397 for a rate or 547/100K. Perhaps in Bloomberg Arithmetic, 547 is twice 552 but even the average public school graduate should be able to see the error. Maybe NYC public school really are that bad -- I wouldn't know and I hope I never have to find out.

OTOH, that kind of figuring could account for the piss-poor financal state of NYC: For every $547 in taxes collected Hizzoner can spend $1,104 and call it even.

OTGH, maybe he is just lying his ass off. Anyone report finding an unattached Mayoral Ass laying arouund?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Can Anything be Salvaged?

Walter E. Williams ask Can Our Nation Be Saved? It's a short read which sums up the central problem of the modern state: You either at the table or you are on the menu.

Billy Beck calls it the Cannibal Pot (See here, too). That's as good name as any and I hope it conjures in your mind a clear image. Western Civilization is hurtling towards a dog-eat-dog reality and voting is not going to get any of us out of it.

The Future ain't What it Used to Be

My comment left at The Adventures of Roberta X to her commentary on Mass Murder Courtesy of the NRA by Frederick Pohl.

With the qualified exception of the HeeChee stories, I never cared much for Frederick Pohl's writing. If Science Fiction is a magic mirror we can look into and see the possiblities of the future, then Frederick Pohl reflected a future where the unique branch of civilization born in America was headed nowhere but an increasingly opressive police state. His apparent vision was of a kinder, gentler fascism than those of the past but it was no less fascist.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Astroturfing in Pink

Rob Reed the Detroit Gun Rights Examiner writes about an NPR (tax supported radio) show where the "high capacity" magazines were debated. As expected the anti-liberty extremists were well represented but even that advantage was not enough for them. The show offered up Tracee Larsen as a “gun rights advocate and logger.” but, as it turns out, she is nothing of the kind.

Her blog, The Well-Heeled Shooter, appears to be only a few days old. She claims it was stared in 2009 but the earliest activity was from Jan 8, 2011. Sebastion over at Snowflakes in Hell used his google-fu to discover that she was on the Advisory Board for the American Hunter and Shooter Association (website is currently offline*) which many gun rights advocates will remember as a false flag operation that promoted "reasonable" regulation of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Near the end of its days, it tried to portray Barack Obama as friendly to gun owners.

I certainly hope the anti-liberty extremists continue to underestimate the intelligence and perseverance of their opponents.

H/T to David Codrea and the The War on Guns

* The Wayback Machine archive of the AHSA website is available here

Gov Bently Apologizes

Fox News report's that Robert Bently, incoming Governor of Alabama, said in a speech on Jan 17 at the Dexter Avenue Memorial Baptist Church that those who "...haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, they are not his brother or his sister.." Two days later, he apologized for that remark.

Embrace your Brothers and Sisters in Christ on Monday; Apologize for it on Wednesday. That sounds like politics as usual

It is only natural for a Christian politician to pander to other Christians.  Ever since Constantine co-opted Christianity to the service of the state, Christianity has been a source of political power.  The influence of any one sect was greatly reduced by the fragmentation of the Reformation but, locally, organized Chrstianity is still a reliable and important source of power. Politics and politicians are all about power so never forget that Bently is a politician. That means if his lips are moving the smart money is betting he is lying.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

California AB962 Declared Unconsitutional

For what it's worth, AB962 -- one piece of California stupidity -- has been struck down as unconstitutionally vague. This is a battle won, but the war goes on. The state may appeal the ruling or the legislature may try to pass a new bill with a better chance to pass constitutional muster. However, to make either work the anti-liberty extremists are going to need advice from someone who actually understands guns.

I'm sure as Sin not going to help them.

In a dramatic ruling giving gun owners a win in an National Rifle Association / California Rifle and Pistol (CRPA) Foundation lawsuit, this morning Fresno Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Hamilton ruled that AB 962, the hotly contested statute that would have banned mail order ammunition sales and required all purchases of so called “handgun ammunition” to be registered, was unconstitutionally vague on its face. The Court enjoined enforcement of the statute, so mail order ammunition sales to California can continue unabated, and ammunition sales need not be registered under the law.

The lawsuit was prompted in part by the many objections and questions raised by confused police, ammunition purchasers, and sellers about what ammunition is covered by the new laws created by AB 962. In a highly unusual move that reflects growing law enforcement opposition to ineffective gun control laws, Tehama County Sheriff Clay Parker is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. Other plaintiffs include the CRPA Foundation, Herb Bauer Sporting Goods, ammunition shipper Able’s Ammo, collectible ammunition shipper RTG Sporting Collectibles, and individual Steven Stonecipher. Mendocino Sheriff Tom Allman also supported the lawsuit.

The ruling comes just days before the portion of the law that bans mail order sales of so called “handgun ammunition” was set to take effect on February 1, 2011. The lawsuit, Parker v. California is funded exclusively by the NRA and the CRPA Foundation. If it had gone into effect, AB 962 would have imposed burdensome and ill conceived restrictions on the sales of ammunition. AB 962 required that “handgun ammunition” be stored out of the reach of customers, that ammunition vendors collect ammunition sales registration information and thumb-prints from purchasers, and conduct transactions face-to-face for all deliveries and transfers of “handgun ammunition.” The lawsuit successfully sought the declaration from the Court that the statute was unconstitutional, and successfully sought the injunctive relief prohibiting law enforcement from enforcing the new laws.

The lawsuit alleged, and the Court agreed, that AB 962 is unconstitutionally vague on its face because it fails to provide sufficient legal notice of what ammunition cartridges are “principally for use in a handgun,” and thus is considered “handgun ammunition” that is regulated under AB 962. It is practically impossible, both for those subject to the law and for those who must enforce it, to determine whether any of the thousands of different types of ammunition cartridges that can be used in handguns are actually “principally for use in” or used more often in, a handgun. The proportional usage of any given cartridge is impossible to determine, and in any event changes with market demands. In fact, the legislature itself is well aware of the vagueness problem with AB 962's definition of "handgun ammunition" and tried to redefine it via AB 2358 in 2010. AB 2358 failed in the face of opposition from the NRA and CRPA based on the proposal’s many other nonsensical infringements on ammunition sales to law abiding citizens.

Constitutional vagueness challenges to state laws are extremely difficult to win, particularly in California firearms litigation so this success is particularly noteworthy. Even so, an appeal by the State is likely, but the Court’s Order enjoining enforcement of the law is effective – February 1, 2011 – immediately regardless.

Despite this win for common sense over ill-conceived and counter productive gun laws, additional legislation on this and related subjects will no doubt be proposed in Sacramento this legislative session. It is absolutely critical that those who believe in the right to keep and bear arms stay informed and make their voices heard in Sacramento. When AB 962 passed there was loud outcry from law abiding gun owners impacted by the new law. Those voices must be heard during the legislative session and before a proposed law passes, not after a law is signed. To help, sign up for legislative alerts at www.nraila.com and www.calnra.com and respond when called upon.

Seventeen years ago the NRA and CRPA joined forces to fight local gun bans being written and pushed in California by the gun ban lobby. Their coordinated efforts became the NRA/CRPA "Local Ordinance Project" (LOP) - a statewide campaign to fight ill conceived local efforts at gun control and educate politicians about available programs that are effective in reducing accidents and violence without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners. The NRA/CRPA LOP has had tremendous success in beating back most of these anti-self-defense proposals.

In addition to fighting local gun bans, for decades the NRA has been litigating dozens of cases in California courts to promote the right to self-defense and the 2nd Amendment. In the post Heller and McDonaldlegal environment, NRA and CRPA Foundation have formed the NRA/CRPA Foundation Legal Action Project (LAP), a joint venture to pro-actively strike down ill-conceived gun control laws and ordinances and advance the rights of firearms owners, specifically in California. Sometimes, success is more likely when LAP's litigation efforts are kept low profile, so the details of every lawsuit are not always released. To see a partial list of the LAP’s recent accomplishments, or to contribute to the NRA or to the NRA / CRPAF LAP and support this and similar Second Amendment cases, visit www.nraila.com and www.crpafoundation.org.
Tracy Rifle and Pistol
2726 Naglee Rd
Tracy Ca 95304
209 833-9100