Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Monday, December 30, 2013

Quote of the Day

I'm still playing over at Quora.com.  I've recently had an interesting exchange on the question "What can gun owners learn from non-gun owners?" with REDACTED who advertises himself as a Theoretical Biologist at MIT. I won't reproduce the whole thread, but I will pick out two excerpts from his comments:
(A)s soon as I learn that someone owns a gun, and is pro-gun ownership without heavy regulations, I totally judge them to be uneducated and conservative. Responsible or not, having a gun comes with a mentality of thinking it is ok to buy a killing device. I am happy to do that, because I have yet to meet an intelligent, well educated person who is pro-guns in real life.
But that's not QotD. This is:
I was never against having guns for shooting ranges, I am against them as means of self-defense (or freedom).
So rare to find one willing to state that in public.

UPDATE:  With respect to the comments here, do you see why I like playing over there?  Talk about a target-rich environment! ;D

UPDATE 2:  Now that I've made him aware that I quoted him here, he's apparently deleted the comment that started the thread these were taken from, thus eliminating the entire thread.  Interestingly enough, I can still access them, just not from the post in question.  Reasoned Discourse™ strikes again!  The guy IS the archetype!

For archival purposes, here's the last part of that thread-in-question:
Kevin Baker
With respect to your admitted bias, I received a very interesting email this evening and got permission to pass it on. To wit:
"I work in downtown Boston...right across the river from REDACTED. If you can get him to commit to a definition of intelligent and well-educated that isn't equal to 'agrees with me,' I would be happy to produce myself at a Boston Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts so he can, in real life, see a 'well educated' pro-2A person, who is also not a conservative.

"Although there's a reason I normally stay quiet and listen while people like yourself are talking, I should be able to meet any bar for reasonably intelligent that he's likely to pick. Credentials =/= intelligent or educated, but I wouldn't trust his personal assessment, so credentials as a proxy would seem to be the way to go. In that vein - I have a Ph.D. from Harvard in Genetics, a Mensa membership card, and am a former Goldwater scholar.

"I self-identify as mostly libertarian - while he's likely to see some of my views as conservative, I also have plenty that fit well with the liberal stereotype (e.g. I am an atheist that has no problem with gay marriage and would very much like the government to refrain from any involvement in reproductive health/decisions).

"My gunnie creds are pretty solid. In my own right, I am a NRA instructor, former SAS instructor/coordinator, former Hunter Ed instructor, former Board Member for a state 2A-rights organization, etc.

"I am happy to be Exhibit A in this instance."
So if you'd like to broaden your experience with an educated non-conservative, there's a volunteer willing to meet you right there in Boston! Let me know. I think this get-together would be FASCINATING.

REDACTED
The fact that he brings up mensa, after harvard, is quite puzzling.

The fact that Harvard is a rather conservative school, is well-established to me.

The fact that he contacts you, not me, for this, is also not clear.

The fact that he thinks he is exhibit A, is not too impressive either.

He is a very typical libertarian.

His gun certifications make me doubtful of whether I feel comfortable meeting him in person, I rather stay online, but I am willing to meet him if he promises not to bring any guns.

If we meet and I am proven false, I will happily change my statements and judgement about gun enthusiasts. He may define intelligence and education as he wishes.

Kevin Baker
Full disclosure: I'm a blogger, and I used a couple of excerpts from your comments there in a post this morning:

The Smallest Minority (This post - Ed.)

This respondent is not a member of Quora, has not read the thread(s), and sent me an email rather than leaving a comment on my blog - thus did not see your opinion of Mensa prior. And Harvard is conservative? Compared to UC Berkeley, but ...

I will forward your response and see where it goes from there.

REDACTED
I am not sure if you were allowed to do that.

You put me at considerable safety hazard, by reproducing my full name and location. And by choosing specific parts of my writing you selected out of context, without my consent, in your own personal domain.

Even if this is legal ( not sure) , it is certainly unethical, which just makes me more worried that you own a gun.

You advocate individual rights, while you take the matter of my privacy completely in your own hands.

Kevin Baker
I beg your pardon? You're posting on a public forum. Your information is available with a quick and simple Google search (as is mine). You have a Facebook page! And you're worried about me "outing" you? And GUN OWNERS are paranoid?

If gun owners were 1/10,000th as dangerous as you make us out to be, there WOULDN'T BE ANY ANTI-GUNNERS LEFT.

There's another related question on Quora - "What can non-owners learn from gun-owners" or words to that effect. How about this? That we're normal, everyday people who aren't hair-trigger (pun intended) killers just waiting to snap and blow away everyone in the closest Starbucks?

Good grief man, get ahold of yourself.

Yes, I selected excerpts from your comments. They were the most telling, so that's what got excerpted. Welcome to internet infamy! Perhaps thousands of people will see your words!

Why else did you post them in the first place?

REDACTED
Hmmm, the safety hazard is not your judgement to make. If over then next 20 years half a million people read your blog (gross overestimate), there is a good chance there is more than a crazy person among them.

My uncle ( a successful surgeon) was shot paralyzed for life by a gun owner, a healthy but racist one, who profiled my uncle as an enemy foreigner in D.C. in 1980. Please give me some room to be paranoid.

What about the ethical perspective? do you think I get the right to stand by and discuss what I say when you present them out of context? No, you didn't even inform me. That's very very cowardly. Honestly, I thought you were radical but fair, that's why I took a shot ( pun intended) to have a conversation. now I don't even think that.

Why did I post them? because I was having a conversation with you, under your posting.

Thanks to this, I will never discuss these things with people like you. You get to say your stuff and applaud yourself, read some ethics, with an open mind, works on both fronts.

Also, in Quora's terms of agreement:
(f) contains other people's private or personally identifiable information without their express authorization and permission, and/or

Kevin Baker

We have already determined that what we were doing was NOT "having a conversation," we were staking out our positions in a public forum. My condolences to your uncle, but there are crazies in every nation, and not all of them use guns (yes, I include homicidal bigotry as a form of insanity). And D.C. in 1980? Wasn't that a gun-free zone then?

On the "out of context" argument, please go back and read the entire thread. They ARE the context. I did inform you, admittedly after the fact, but you're more than welcome to respond in the comments. You needn't leave an email address - anonymous comments are accepted.

I'm not radical, I'm fanatical - defined as "won't change my mind, won't change the subject and won't shut up." But I suspect you are the same.

It has been my experience that anti-gun people are of one of two types - those who have suffered direct or indirect loss from violence involving a firearm, or the merely philosophically involved. You are obviously one of the former, and for that reason your position is somewhat more understandable.

My posting of your comments was not unethical. What moral principle did I violate? Certainly not your privacy. I'm sorry you were offended/frightened, but that's your perception, not my fault. Perhaps ten million people may eventually read THIS thread, and they can Google you just as I did.

Welcome to the internet.

My correspondent has replied:

"As I work in Boston and am not a MA resident, I will of necessity be sans firearms when I meet him. He can rest easy on that count."

Contact information: [REDACTED]

Assuming, of course, that you're not too frightened to carry through now.

With respect to subsection f) which you added above, please see the following under "Quora's licenses to you":
"Quora gives you a worldwide, royalty-free, non-assignable and non-exclusive license to re-post any of the Content on Quora anywhere on the rest of the web provided that the Content was added to the Service after April 22, 2010, and provided that the user who created the content has not explicitly marked the content as not for reproduction, and provided that you: (a) do not modify the Content; (b) attribute Quora by name in readable text and with a human and machine-followable link (an HTML anchor tag) linking back to the page displaying the original source of the content on http://quora.com on every page that contains Quora content; (c) upon request, either by Quora or a user, remove the user's name from Content which the user has subsequently made anonymous;"
I'll remove the link and description of you in my blog post, but it seems to me that subsection f) applies to posting HERE at Quora, not elsewhere. Also, it appears that I am remiss in not linking to this page in my blog post, per Quora's terms, so I'll be doing that instead.

See? Understanding of the law is a very important thing. Unless, apparently, you're the President, and can just unilaterally decide what parts of the law you want to enforce or not.
I've edited just a tiny bit for readability, but that's the end of a LONG thread exchange that he apparently doesn't want anyone to read anymore.

I guess I can add another item to my list of things gun owners can learn from non-gun owners. I'll leave it to you to determine what that item is.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Quote of the Day - Victor Davis Hanson Edition

 photo obamacare_pajamas_boy_as_che_12-22-13-3.jpg
The great mystery of America today is how many of us have joined Pajama Boy nation — 20%, 40%, 60%? — and how many want nothing to do with such metrosexual visions of a huge state run by a nerdocracy, incompetently doling out other people’s money. How many were on board for Obamacare, more entitlements, and lectures from the apartheid elite on inequality and fairness, versus how many turn the channel at sound of His voice.

--

Pajama Boy is the bookend to vero possumus, the faux-Greek columns, the Obama rainbow logo, cooling the planet and lowering the seas, hope and change, Forward!, “Yes, we can!”, the Nate Silver infatuation, Barbara Walters’ “messiah,” David Brooks’ crease, Chris Matthews’ tingle, and the army of Silicon techies who can mobilize for Obama but not for Obamacare. These are the elites without identities who feed on the latest fad. They are the upper-crust versions of those who once mobbed stores to buy the last Cabbage Patch Kids doll, or had to have a pet rock on their dresser. Obama, after all, was the lava lamp and Chia Pet of the young urban progressive.

-- Victor Davis Hanson, Works and Days: Pajama Boy Nation

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

PSA - Wal*Mart ReliOn Blood Glucose Tester & Test Strips

On September 1, 2010, my doctor informed me that I was Type II diabetic.  Oh, joy.  I'm able to control it through diet (my last A1c test came back at 5.9), but my body doesn't regulate blood glucose real well.  My doctor gave me a prescription for blood glucose test strips - Freestyle Lite - but even with my prescription coverage, these things work out to about 75¢ per test, and the prescription is for two tests a day.  Basically, insurance partially defrays the cost of one 50-count pack of test strips per month.  Personally, I want to keep a closer eye on things, but not at $1+ per test.

I ran across somebody saying good things about WalMart's ReliOn Prime tester & strips.  These cost only about 22¢ per test, without my medical insurance, so I bought a kit.  I still had some of the Freestyle strips, so I did a side-by-side comparison with my last five Freestyles, and the readings matched  ±3 mg/dl, which is close enough for me.  I've used it for a couple of months now, testing 4-5 times a day to keep a closer eye on my blood sugar, and that, I'm sure, helped with my latest A1c test results.

So if you're diabetic and want to save some money, I can recommend WalMart's ReliOn brand.  The strips are a little bulkier, the test results are a few seconds slower, and it took me a bit to figure out how to get them into the tester properly (it's a tight fit), but at less than a third of the cost per test I'm not complaining.  And they don't require any more blood than the Freestyles do.

What He Said

Ice cream machine is still on the fritz.  Please read what I wish I'd written on the most recent Colorado school shooting.

Rampage shootings end one of two ways - when the shooter decides he's finished, or a good guy with a gun shows up to force that decision.  The Arapahoe shooting lasted 80 seconds, because a good guy with a gun showed up.  The shooter was armed not only with a shotgun, but with molotov cocktails.  You'll never hear it in the media, but more people have died at the hands of arsonists than rampage shooters.  He tossed one firebomb.  He never got to use the others.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Thank You, Peter O'Toole

Well, bummer.  Peter O'Toole has died.  He's best known for Lawrence of Arabia, but the film of his I liked best was My Favorite Year, done some twenty years later.  A close runner-up was The Lion in Winter.

Thank you, Mr. O'Toole.  Safe journey.

Edited to add:

Friday, December 13, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

When There Aren’t Enough Criminals, One Makes Them

That's a line from Rand's Atlas Shrugged.  The whole quote goes:
There is no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is to crack down on criminals. When there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking the law. Create a nation of lawbreakers and then you can cash in on the guilt. Now that's the system!
I'm currently reading Harvey Silverglate's Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent which - about two-thirds of the way through so far - has concentrated on how federal prosecutors have pretty much used their power to convict people for doing things that aren't actually statutorily illegal, or entrapping people into "making false statements" to federal law enforcement officers - while noting that federal law enforcement officers are perfectly free to lie to you without fear of censure, much less prosecution.

My favorite Appellate Court Judge, Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, has written a pretty blistering dissent in the case U.S. v. Olsen (PDF) in which, according to the HuffPo story:
Kenneth Olsen was convicted of "developing a biological agent for use as a weapon." While there was little question Olsen did try to produce ricin, the problem for the government was that there was little specific evidence that Olsen intended to kill someone with it. He attributed his chemistry to morbid curiosity. The strongest evidence from the government was a bottle of allergy pills found in Olsen's lab that, according to forensic specialists, contained traces of ricin. This would seem to indicate that Olsen was preparing to use the ricin to poison people.

But at the time of the trial, one forensic who handled the pills, Arnold Melnikoff, was under investigation for forensic misconduct. His testimony had already led to three wrongful convictions. A broad and damning internal investigation of his work looked at 100 randomly-chosen cases and found improprieties in 14 of them, including contaminants in his tests; "mistakes in case documentation, administrative documentation, evidence analysis, data interpretation, and written reports"; and "a tendency for conclusions to become stronger as the case developed, from notes to written reports to testimony."

AUSA Hicks knew about the investigation of Melnikoff, and its sweeping scope. But not only did he fail to disclose this to Olsen's attorneys, he allowed Melnikoff's attorney to characterize is at as an "administrative" review that was limited to one case from 10 years ago.

While the majority of the 9th Circuit panel found that the investigation was favorable evidence that wasn't turned over to Olsen's attorneys, the court also determined that the evidence wasn't "material" to Olsen's conviction. That is, even if it had been turned over to Olsen's attorneys, Olsen would likely have been convicted anyway.
Olsen was convicted, appealed, lost, and petitioned for an en banc rehearing by the full 9th Circuit.  That petition was denied.  This is much like my previous favorite dissent, also by Kozinski, when the 9th denied an en banc rehearing of the Silveira v. Lockyer case.

Kozinski:
There is an epidemic of Brady violations abroad in the land. Only judges can put a stop to it.
As HuffPo explains:
Brady of course is shorthand for the Supreme Court decision that requires prosecutors to turn over exculpatory evidence to defense attorneys. In Olsen, a decision released this week, the 9th Circuit court found extensive prosecutor misconduct on the part of Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Hicks, who works for the Office of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.
That's just one of the tools in the Prosecutor's toolkit, according to Silverglate.

Kozinski details the facts concerning the forensic scientist who analyzed and prepared for analysis the evidence that was used to convict Olsen. A long trail of procedural error and misconduct in other cases led to the dismissal of this scientist from the Washington State Police lab for incompetence and "gross misconduct," but the details of the investigation and dismissal were withheld from Olsen's defense attorney by the Prosecutor. Kozinski:
The panel's ruling is not just wrong, it is dangerously broad, carrying far-reaching implications for the administration of criminal justice. It effectively announces that the prosecution need not produce exculpatory or impeaching evidence so long as it’s possible the defendant would’ve been convicted anyway. This will send a clear signal to prosecutors that, when a case is close, it’s best to hide evidence helpful to the defense, as there will be a fair chance reviewing courts will look the other way, as happened here.

A robust and rigorously enforced Brady rule is imperative because all the incentives prosecutors confront encourage them not to discover or disclose exculpatory evidence. Due to the nature of a Brady violation, it’s highly unlikely wrongdoing will ever come to light in the first place. This creates a serious moral hazard for those prosecutors who are more interested in winning a conviction than serving justice. In the rare event that the suppressed evidence does surface, the consequences usually leave the prosecution no worse than had it complied with Brady from the outset. Professional discipline is rare, and violations seldom give rise to liability for money damages. Criminal liability for causing an innocent man to lose decades of his life behind bars is practically unheard of. If the violation is found to be material (a standard that will almost never be met under the panel's construction), the prosecution gets a do-over, making it no worse off than if it had disclosed the evidence in the first place.

Olsen's prosecution highlights the problem. The prosecutor just did not take his constitutional duty to disclose exculpatory evidence very seriously. This is not the usual case where the prosecutor was unaware of exculpatory evidence being held by the police without his knowledge. The Assistant U.S. Attorney knew Melnikoff was being investigated and promised the district court that he would get more information, but never followed through.

--

But protecting the constitutional rights of the accused was just not very high on this prosecutor’s list of priorities. The fact that a constitutional mandate elicits less diligence from a government lawyer than one’s daily errands signifies a systemic problem: Some prosecutors don’t care about Brady because courts don’t make them care.

I wish I could say that the prosecutor's unprofessionalism here is the exception, that his propensity for shortcuts and indifference to his ethical and legal responsibilities is a rare blemish and source of embarrassment to an otherwise diligent and scrupulous corps of attorneys staffing prosecutors' offices across the country. But it wouldn't be true. Brady violations have reached epidemic proportions in recent years, and the federal and state reporters bear testament to this unsettling trend.
Kozinski then lists off 29 such cases from 1998 to 2012.
When a public official behaves with such casual disregard for his constitutional obligations and the rights of the accused, it erodes the public’s trust in our justice system, and chips away at the foundational premises of the rule of law. When such transgressions are acknowledged yet forgiven by the courts, we endorse and invite their repetition.

Olsen’s case points to another important problem—that of rogue investigators and forensic experts. Melinkoff’s long history of misconduct, resulting in the wrongful conviction of numerous innocent people, is hardly unique. Just last month, Annie Dookhan, a Massachusetts crime-lab technician, was sentenced to 3–5 years imprisonment after spending several years filing positive results for samples she had not properly tested. Her misconduct tainted over 40,000 drug samples, implicating several thousand defendants (hundreds of whom have already been released).
Followed by another long list of cases.
How do rogue forensic scientists and other bad cops thrive in our criminal justice system? The simple answer is that some prosecutors turn a blind eye to such misconduct because they're more interested in gaining a conviction than achieving a just result.

--

We must send prosecutors a clear message: Betray Brady, give short shrift to Giglio, and you will lose your illgotten conviction. Unfortunately, the panel's decision sends the opposite message. The panel shrugs off an egregious Brady violation as immaterial. Had Melnikoff been fully impeached, the only evidence from which the prosecutor could've proven Olsen's intent to use ricin as a weapon would have been a few Google searches and bookstore receipts. This is surely enough to show a reasonable probability of a different result. By raising the materiality bar impossibly high, the panel invites prosecutors to avert their gaze from exculpatory evidence, secure in the belief that, if it turns up after the defendant has been convicted, judges will dismiss the Brady violation as immaterial.
Kozinski from his Silveira dissent:
Judges know very well how to read the Constitution broadly when they are sympathetic to the right being asserted. We have held, without much ado, that "speech, or . . . the press" also means the Internet...and that "persons, houses, papers, and effects" also means public telephone booths.... When a particular right comports especially well with our notions of good social policy, we build magnificent legal edifices on elliptical constitutional phrases - or even the white spaces between lines of constitutional text. But, as the panel amply demonstrates, when we're none too keen on a particular constitutional guarantee, we can be equally ingenious in burying language that is incontrovertibly there.

It is wrong to use some constitutional provisions as springboards for major social change while treating others like senile relatives to be cooped up in a nursing home until they quit annoying us. As guardians of the Constitution, we must be consistent in interpreting its provisions. If we adopt a jurisprudence sympathetic to individual rights, we must give broad compass to all constitutional provisions that protect individuals from tyranny. If we take a more statist approach, we must give all such provisions narrow scope. Expanding some to gargantuan proportions while discarding others like a crumpled gum wrapper is not faithfully applying the Constitution; it's using our power as federal judges to constitutionalize our personal preferences.
It's not just the Constitution, it's court precedent, too.  The Ninth Circus, as it is known, is the most "progressive" of the Appellate courts.  It is also the most overturned, but all that needs to happen to change that is one or two Supreme Court appointments.

Understand the importance of the Senate filibuster rule now?

I would love to see Kozinski elevated to the Supreme Court some day.  Now that the Nuclear Option has been exercised by the Democrats, that's at least remotely possible.  But what will happen to the lower courts over the next three years concerns me greatly.

While You Wait for the Free Ice Cream Machine to Restart

Just a reminder to my Arizona readers that there'll be a shoot in Casa Grande in January.

The date has been set for the (mumble, mumble, mumble...) annual Central Arizona Blogshoot:  Sunday, January 5, 2014, at the Elsy Pearson Public Shooting Range in Casa Grande, beginning at 0700 and running until we get tired and go home. 

Same as last year, the range opens at 7:00AM. There are no rangemasters. There are no chairs - bring something to sit on. The firing line is covered and there are concrete shooting benches, however.



And the city has porta-potties out there on a permanent basis, so we don't have to rent our own (but bring your own TP just in case.)

The rules are pretty simple:


No explosives, no .50BMG rifles, clean up after yourself, don't be a dick.

The rifle range is 300 yards deep with the first berm at 200.  The mountains that form the ultimate backstop are another 300 yards out and farther.  The ground there is reinforced concrete disguised as sun-baked clay. Forget about any target stand that needs to stick into the ground, it ain't happenin' short of bringing a sledghammer. Steel and targets that don't need taping are best. And the benches are funky-shaped. Regular camping chairs are marginal, stools are better. I bring a folding chair, a target stand made of 2" PVC pipe, and my steel swingers. I also have some .22 rimfire rated rolling targets made of steel.

The other other Kevin will be bringing an M1903, at least 2 AR’s, some pistols and a scattergun or two along with a clay flinger and some clays.  I haven't decided exactly what I'll be bringing, but my 1917 Enfield will definitely be coming.  I'd like to try some clays with it again.

I recommend you bring:  water or other non-alcoholic beverages (no alcohol on the range), sunscreen, ear and eye protection.  Ladies, don't wear anything low-cut or open-necked.  Yes, I'm sure it looks lovely, but you don't want to catch hot brass down in there.  OPTIONAL:  Something to shoot with, and something to shoot AT.  If you're a reader or a non-gun blogger interested in coming to a off-the-cuff funshoot, please come on down!  I imagine most of us will be bringing multiple firearms and lots of ammo, but if you don't, well, I'm willing to let people shoot my stuff (with my ammo), and I'm willing to let them shoot at my targets.

If you're coming, please let us know in comments, or on the Facebook Event page.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ice Cream Machine is Broken

Sorry about the recent lack of posting, especially original content.  I'm working on an ├╝berpost on political civility, but it'll be a while before it's done.  The link-hunting is like drinking from a fire hose again, and each click takes me on a wiki-wander into Never-Neverland.

I'm reminded why I don't write these things as often anymore as I used to.

So, for your entertainment, please let me point you to Texts from Superheroes.  One of these made me literally laugh until tears came, and there are PAGES of them!

Sarah Hoyt is as Optimistic as Bill Whittle

Read her post, Cassandra's Fate.

Interesting take.

Pullquote:
Our current clowns didn't take over a country in such dire straights that their fumble-footed rule is an improvement. Yes, they did what they could through the eight years of GW Bush (and well, he didn't help much) to make it seem like we were back in dustbowl years. But again, people know what they lived through and what their neighbors lived through.

These days most of the people on the net going "it was worse under Booosh" are either obviously mentally ill or paid to say so. (And there aren't as many of them as there used to be.)

Worse, while all the initial successful totalitarians of the twentieth century came from what could be termed the "middle class" these precious flowers ain't. In fact, they are so far off the middle class, they think it's a rhetoric flourish "And the middle class."

They are in fact from the uptiest (totally a word) of the upper crust (yes, do tell me about Obama's impoverished ghetto childhood living with a bank manager. Pfui.) and so out of touch with the middle class it might be a foreign land.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Remember When I Posted About Shooting RC Airplanes with Shotguns?

It's the second most popular post on this blog. Good training for this, I think:

I Guess I Missed the Announcement Where He Said "Never Mind" on No. 13

As of August 29 of this year, President Obama's list of "executive actions" on gun control consisted of the following:
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to  make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the  Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent  states from making information available to the background check system.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals  prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not  slipping through the cracks.
5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a  full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers  providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
11. Nominate an ATF director.
12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease  Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability  and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the  private sector to develop innovative technologies.
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no  federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law  enforcement authorities.
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
24. Require officers of NFA Trusts to undergo a background check and get a signoff from a chief law-enforcement officer for any transfer of an NFA registered firearm or device
25. Prohibit the reimportation of "military-grade firearms" for purchase by "private entities."
A 2012 Department of Justice report, Enforcement of the Brady Act, 2010: Federal and State Investigations and Prosecutions of Firearm Applicants Denied by a NICS Check in 2010 (PDF) detailed that, out of the 76,000 firearms purchase denials in 2010 - some 47% of which were for "a record of a felony indictment or conviction" - a grand total of 62 cases were referred for prosecution.

I thought #13 in the list above was supposed to address that.

Guess not:


More than a year after the Sandy Hook school shooting, President Obama’s directive to amp up prosecutions of federal gun laws hasn’t made much difference in how many people are charged with gun crimes.

U.S. attorneys that prosecute such cases charged 11,674 people with breaking federal gun laws in the fiscal year that ended in September, compared to 11,728 people the year before.

--

The Justice Department says it has taken other steps to increase firearms enforcement, including forming a task force that advises federal prosecutors on how to reduce gun violence, and creating a database to allow law enforcement to trace weapons across jurisdictions.

But the figures show how ineffectual the president's executive action was (this is my shocked face - ed.), at least in the short term, in ginning up prosecutions. Without new legislation or increased resources, U.S. attorneys are unlikely to prosecute more gun crimes, experts say.
What the hell do they need "new legislation" for? A signed Form 4473 isn't enough?

A Feature, Not A Bug

When George F. Will delivered the keynote speech at the Cato Institute's 2010 Milton Friedman Prize dinner, (an excellent speech, BTW) among other things he said this:
The Wall Street Journal this morning announced with a sort of breathless surprise that about 80% of the American people disapprove of congress. Raising a fascinating question: who are the 20%?

It is a sign of national health that Americans still think about Washington the way they used to talk about the old Washington Senators baseball team, when the saying was "Washington: first in war, first in peace and last in the American League." Back then they were run, the Senators were, by a man named Clark Griffith who said, "The fans like home runs, and we have assembled a pitching staff to please our fans."

That is why the American people do not mind what they are instructed by their supposed betters to mind, that is the so-called problem of gridlock. Ladies and gentlemen gridlock is not an American problem, it is an American achievement. When James Madison and fifty-four other geniuses went to Philadelphia in the sweltering summer of 1787, they did not go there to design an efficient government, the idea would have horrified them. They wanted a safe government to which end they filled it with blocking mechanisms. Three branches of government. Two branches of the legislative branch. Veto. Veto override. Supermajorities. Judicial review. And yet I can think of nothing the American people have wanted intensely and protractedly that they did not eventually get.

The world understands. A world most of whose people live under governments they wish were capable of gridlock, that we always have more to fear from government speed than government tardiness. We are told that one must not be a party of "NO." To "NO" I say an emphatic "YES!" For two reasons. The reason that almost all "improvements" make matters worse is that most new ideas are false. Second: the most beautiful five words in the English language are the first five words of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law."
On Sunday the Washington Post reported, more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger:
According to congressional records, there have been fewer than 60 public laws enacted in the first 11 months of this year, so below the previous low in legislative output that officials have already declared this first session of the 113th Congress the least productive ever. In 1995, when the newly empowered GOP congressional majority confronted the Clinton administration, 88 laws were enacted, the record low in the post-World War II era.
Mark Twain is quoted as saying: "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." Will Rogers said: "This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer."

Gridlock is a FEATURE, not a BUG.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Quote of the Day - Tam Again Edition

What can I say?  She's the Empress of Snark
I'm not sure whether the Canadian government gave it up for dashingly goateed Uncle Sam like a roofie'd lumberjack in a lonely logging camp or whether the NSA figured out that the master password for the OHIP was still set as "PASSWORD", but there you go.

Whole battalions of radical Islamic terrorists might be coming across the southern border hidden inside the bales of marijuana, but we're stopping that invasion of depressed Canadian paraplegics cold, right in its Little Rascal-ridin' tracks.

Still Playing over at Quora.com

Someone left this question:
What are the pros and cons for a national gun registry in the United States?
I left this answer:
One of my favorite quotes is "In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice.  In practice, there is."

Theoretically, a gun registry makes perfect sense.  In practice, it does not.

There are an estimated 300 million firearms in private hands in the United States.  Very few jurisdictions require firearm or even gun owner registration, so no one except the current owners know where the overwhelming majority of these guns are or who they belong to.  Guns are durable items.  The oldest one I personally own was made in 1918.  It still works fine.  I doubt the record of its manufacture still exists - that is, I don't think anyone knows to even look for it.

So, for one thing, the sheer size of the task is overwhelming.

Canada recently attempted a "long gun registry" - a registry of all rifles and shotguns in the country.  (They already had a handgun registry.)  They estimated that there were about 8 million long guns in private hands.  Legislators were told that the registry would cost something like $119 million to implement, with $117 million of the cost covered by registration fees - so for $2 million, they'd be able to register all 8 million guns, and it would go quickly.

The law passed in 1995, with licensing starting in 1998 and all long guns were to be registered by January 1, 2003.  By 2000, it was obviously not going according to theory.  Registrations were backlogged and riddled with errors, and costs were WAY over estimates.  An audit in December of 2002 showed that costs were going to exceed $1 billion by 2005, with an income from registration fees of only $145 million.

And then there was the lack of compliance.  By January 1, 2003, only about 65% of the estimated 8 million firearms were registered, and there was no reason to believe that the other 35% were going to be.

Finally in 2012 Canada scrapped its long-gun registry, after dumping an estimated $2 billion into it.  It solved no crimes, it apparently prevented no crimes, and it took vast quantities of money and manpower away from law enforcement with its implementation.

This is not an isolated incident.  Something very similar occurred in New Zealand.  They abandoned their long-gun registry in 1983.

Extrapolate that to the U.S, where the overwhelming majority of gun owners believe the Second Amendment's "shall not be infringed" clause actually means something.  Our firearm pool is 37 times larger than Canada's.  Our population is far more likely to disobey such a law, or creatively mess with it.

There's a thing they teach in Officer Candidate School in the military - "Never give an order you know will not be obeyed."  Trying to implement a national registry in the U.S. is a non-starter.  There are no "pros" for this idea.
I love a target-rich environment!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Praising with Apocalyptic Damns

Sorry, had to come out of hiatus for THIS Quote of the Day.  Former Enron Adviser Paul Krugman on Obamacare:
...we’re probably heading for a turning point in the health reform discussion. Conservatives are operating on the assumption that it’s an irredeemable disaster that they can ride all the way to 2016; but the facts on the ground are getting better by the day, and Obamacare will turn into a Benghazi-type affair where Republicans are screaming about a scandal nobody else cares about.
He said it, I didn't.

Remember Benghazi? Of course you don't.  The media has decided it's a non-issue, which is what Krugman is counting on.  But the internet never forgets:










But if that's Krugman's best-case scenario for Obamacare, then it's really, really bad.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Your Thanksgiving Moment of Zen

...from Arizona:


Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I'm taking a few days off.

I hope.

Ammo by the Pound

Here's a sale I can get behind!  (Yes, I'm aware that some people have a problem with Ammoman.com having to do with an SKS rifle that was supposedly a "bring-back" that wasn't.  I don't have first-hand knowledge of this, and my dealings with the site have always been good.)

Ammoman.com is having an "ammo by the pound" sale:
More often than we'd like, we pull ammo off the delivery truck from a manufacturer and we find blemishes or damage to the packaging itself. Often, it's nothing major. Maybe the corner of the box was torn or the logo of the ammunition maker was scraped so it's just not as pretty as what you'd expect.

The rounds are good, the cases are undamaged, and the rounds will function properly but nobody wants to get a banged up box of ammo when they're paying full price. So, we're generally forced to scrap the ammo. Our guys take it out of the box, toss the rounds into a barrel, and pile up in the corner calling it "waste".

We don't have a ton of it, but it's been collecting in our warehouse for years and it could be making somebody's guns really happy. These rounds need a home.

While it would take us years to separate the full metal jacket range rounds from the hollow-point self-defense rounds but we could easily find a way to sort the calibers.

The boys in the warehouse went to work and found a solution.

They bought a few shell sorters and separated out all the calibers and then hand-checked to ensure the sort was done properly. Combined, it's a lot of ammo in a wide range of calibers. We're talking thousands of rounds ranging from 9mm to .22 long rifle, to 5.56x45 NATO.

What that means is we have bins of various known calibers unsorted by grain or bullet type. For example, our 9mm round bins contain rounds ranging from full metal jacket to jacketed hollow point, 115 grain to 147 grain, all mixed together in a bit of a hodge-podge. To sort it would cost thousands of dollars but we'd rather pass the savings on to shooters.

From there, each caliber was bagged and placed inside a 30 Cal Plano or 50 Cal ammo can. Now, we have a limited inventory of these rounds available for a price that's extremely competitive and likely better than what you'll find anywhere else.
Check it out.  The sale goes live at midnight Thursday night/Friday morning.

UPDATE:  12:00AM EST and the Ammoman.com website was obviously made by the same people who did Healthcare.gov!  Somehow I don't think I'm going to get to order any 9mm tonight.

UPDATE: 12:22AM EST Aaaand it's gone!

Quote of the Day - Daniel Hannan Edition

Daniel Hannan is a member of the EU Parliament representing South East England for the Conservative Party.  He's authored a new book, Inventing Freedom:  How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World and has written a short piece for The Telegraph that Billy Beck pointed to on Facebook.

Here's today's QotD from that piece:
We are still experiencing the after-effects of an astonishing event. The inhabitants of a damp island at the western tip of the Eurasian landmass stumbled upon the idea that the government ought to be subject to the law, not the other way around. The rule of law created security of property and contract, which in turn led to industrialisation and modern capitalism. For the first time in the history of the species, a system grew up that, on the whole, rewarded production better than predation.
Savor that last line:  

"For the first time in the history of the species, a system grew up that, on the whole, rewarded production better than predation."

And now, after centuries of this, we're descending back to predation through crony capitalism and "too big to fail" businesses.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Requiescat in Pace

Scott Adams, author of the Dilbert cartoon documentary strip, recently wrote a scathing post on his blog.  Excerpt:
I hope my father dies soon.

And while I'm at it, I might want you to die a painful death too.

I'm entirely serious on both counts.

My father, age 86, is on the final approach to the long dirt nap (to use his own phrase). His mind is 98% gone, and all he has left is hours or possibly months of hideous unpleasantness in a hospital bed. I'll spare you the details, but it's as close to a living Hell as you can get.

If my dad were a cat, we would have put him to sleep long ago. And not once would we have looked back and thought too soon.

Because it's not too soon. It's far too late. His smallish estate pays about $8,000 per month to keep him in this state of perpetual suffering. Rarely has money been so poorly spent.

I'd like to proactively end his suffering and let him go out with some dignity. But my government says I can't make that decision. Neither can his doctors. So, for all practical purposes, the government is torturing my father until he dies.

I'm a patriotic guy by nature. I love my country. But the government? Well, we just broke up.

And let me say this next part as clearly as I can.

If you're a politician who has ever voted against doctor-assisted suicide, or you would vote against it in the future, I hate your fucking guts and I would like you to die a long, horrible death. I would be happy to kill you personally and watch you bleed out. I won't do that, because I fear the consequences. But I'd enjoy it, because you motherfuckers are responsible for torturing my father. Now it's personal.
It goes on that way a bit longer, concluding with a post script announcing that Scott's father had passed a few hours after he wrote the post.

I sincerely hope I never get to the point that Scott's father did - mind "98% gone" and in agony.  I hope to keep my faculties about me as long as I can, so that I get to decide when I check out, government be damned.

The modern version of the Hippocratic Oath goes:
I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.
The part I've emphasized in bold is the one where the .gov should butt the hell out and let doctors and the patient, or in cases like Scott's father, the patient's family, decide when enough is enough and the point of "therapeutic nihilism" has been reached.

I understand the "slippery slope to euthanasia" argument - I'm a gun-control opponent. OF COURSE I understand "slippery slope" arguments, but the fact remains that we treat people at the end of life worse than we treat our pets.

Quote of the Day - "Junk-on-the-Bunk" Edition

Some time back, the Empress of Snark quipped:
It's good to have goals. Mine is that, when they finally come after me for felony jaywalking or confuse my address with the crack house two blocks down, and in the aftermath spread all my stuff on bedsheets in the front yard, I want the kids on the intarw3bz gun boards to look at that junk-on-the-bunk display and say "Wow, that is an arsenal."
But that's not the QotD.

The latest news in the world is that George Zimmerman, the man who actually had to use a firearm in self-defense, and was found not guilty of murder by a jury of his peers after a modern-day media witch-hunt, is now in trouble on a domestic violence charge. The judge in the case demanded that Mr. Zimmerman surrender his firearms during the course of the legal proceedings.

Mediaite reports:
Following George Zimmerman’s recent arrest for alleged domestic abuse against girlfriend Samantha Scheibe, police conducted a search of the house where the couple had been staying that uncovered a large cache of weapons and ammunition.
What constitutes a "large cache" in the eyes of the Mediaite reporter?
Three handguns
One 12-gauge shotgun
One AR-15 rifle
106 rounds of ammunition, including two AR-15 magazines
Now, Mr. Zimmerman is only 30 years old, so he hasn't had a lot of time to acquire much of a junk-on-the-bunk collection, but honestly - that's pretty pathetic. I know there's been a recent drought, but only two AR-15 magazines? Really?

I told you that so I could tell you this: Today's Quote of the Day - the first comment to Popehat's post on it is:
Jesus! That's enough ammunition for the NYPD to shoot two people! -- Ken White
Where would you like your internets delivered, Mr. White?

(h/t to SayUncle for the Popehat link.)

This Kicked Over My Gigglebox

Monday, November 25, 2013

Central Arizona Blogshoot!

No, we won't be shooting blogs.

Or bloggers.

The date has been set for the (mumble, mumble, mumble...) annual Central Arizona Blogshoot:  Sunday, January 5, 2014, at the Elsy Pearson Public Shooting Range in Casa Grande, beginning at 0700 and running until we get tired and go home. 

Same as last year, the range opens at 7:00AM. There are no rangemasters. There are no chairs - bring something to sit on. The firing line is covered and there are concrete shooting benches, however.



And the city has porta-potties out there on a permanent basis, so we don't have to rent our own (but bring your own TP just in case.)

The rules are pretty simple:


No explosives, no .50BMG rifles, clean up after yourself, don't be a dick.

The rifle range is 300 yards deep with the first berm at 200.  The mountains that form the ultimate backstop are another 300 yards out and farther.  The ground there is reinforced concrete disguised as sun-baked clay. Forget about any target stand that needs to stick into the ground, it ain't happenin' short of bringing a sledghammer. Steel and targets that don't need taping are best. And the benches are funky-shaped. Regular camping chairs are marginal, stools are better. I bring a folding chair, a target stand made of 2" PVC pipe, and my steel swingers. I also have some .22 rimfire rated rolling targets made of steel.

The other other Kevin will be bringing an M1903, at least 2 AR’s, some pistols and a scattergun or two along with a clay flinger and some clays.  I haven't decided exactly what I'll be bringing, but my 1917 Enfield will definitely be coming.  I'd like to try some clays with it again.

I recommend you bring:  water or other non-alcoholic beverages (no alcohol on the range), sunscreen, ear and eye protection.  Ladies, don't wear anything low-cut or open-necked.  Yes, I'm sure it looks lovely, but you don't want to catch hot brass down in there.  OPTIONAL:  Something to shoot with, and something to shoot AT.  If you're a reader or a non-gun blogger interested in coming to a off-the-cuff funshoot, please come on down!  I imagine most of us will be bringing multiple firearms and lots of ammo, but if you don't, well, I'm willing to let people shoot my stuff (with my ammo), and I'm willing to let them shoot at my targets.

If you're coming, please let us know in comments, or on the Facebook Event page.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bleg!!

The Missouri House of Representatives is selecting a "famous Missourian" to induct into their Hall.

Robert Anson Heinlein is currently running in second place.

Please go vote for him:  http://www.house.mo.gov/FamousMissourianVoting.aspx

Thanks!

UPDATE 12/9/12 He made it.  Thanks again!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mr. Virtual President - On Healthcare

So much for the Right not having an alternative to Obamacare™.



So the Democrats Pushed the Button

They detonated the "nuclear option" and, violating the rules of the Senate, violated the rules of the Senate.

Over at Quora.com someone asked the inevitable question:
The U.S. Senate Democrats have enacted the "Nuclear Option" for many judicial and executive branch nominations. What do you think of this?
My answer:
What do I think? 

I think what the Democrats thought in 2005:


They were right then.  Fascinating that they've all changed their minds now.

They're so certain they're right, that Progressivism is the equivalent of salvation and any opposition to it is evil, they practice...
...politics as a theology of salvation, with a heroic transformation of the  human condition (nothing less) promised to those who will agitate for  it. Political activity becomes the highest human vocation. The various  socialisms are only the most prominent manifestation of this delusion,  which our future historian calls "politicism". In all its forms, it  defines human beings as exclusively political animals, based on  characteristics which are largely or entirely beyond human control:  ethnicity, nationality, gender, and social class. It claims universal  relevance, and so divides the entire human race into heroes and enemies.  To be on the correct side of this equation is considered full moral  justification in and of itself, while no courtesy or concession can be  afforded to those on the other. Therefore, politicism has no conscience whatsoever, no charity, and no mercy.

It's taken us two and a quarter centuries to get to this point, but the Republic is finally dead.  We've finally achieved "democracy," which John Adams warned:
...while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy.  Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and  murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.
A Thumbnail History of the Twentieth Century

Welcome to the Twenty-First.  Fasten your seatbelts.  It's going to be a bumpy ride.

Why We're Winning

Seen in traffic tonight (sorry about the image quality - cellphone cam):


AR-Kitty!  And AR-Kitty Jr!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bill Whittle - The Hammer of Reality

So, there's just one question here: are these people really so incredibly dense, out of touch, incompetent and downright delusional to think that all this was going to work, or was it destined to fail from the beginning in order to destroy the private insurance market and leave us nothing but the single payer utopia that gives progressives a thrill up their legs?
Good question.

Thomas Sowell Calls Them "The Anointed"

I ran across an interesting essay today.  Published at Bloomberg.com, it's entitled Blame Rich, Overeducated Elites as Our Society Frays. Excerpt:
Complex human societies, including our own, are fragile. They are held together by an invisible web of mutual trust and social cooperation. This web can fray easily, resulting in a wave of political instability, internal conflict and, sometimes, outright social collapse.
Or, as the GeekWithA.45 put it some time back, "Entire societies can and have gone stark raving batshit fucking insane."
How does growing economic inequality lead to political instability? Partly this correlation reflects a direct, causal connection. High inequality is corrosive of social cooperation and willingness to compromise, and waning cooperation means more discord and political infighting. Perhaps more important, economic inequality is also a symptom of deeper social changes, which have gone largely unnoticed.

Increasing inequality leads not only to the growth of top fortunes; it also results in greater numbers of wealth-holders. The "1 percent" becomes "2 percent." Or even more. There are many more millionaires, multimillionaires and billionaires today compared with 30 years ago, as a proportion of the population.

--

Rich Americans tend to be more politically active than the rest of the population. They support candidates who share their views and values; they sometimes run for office themselves. Yet the supply of political offices has stayed flat (there are still 100 senators and 435 representatives -- the same numbers as in 1970). In technical terms, such a situation is known as "elite overproduction."
Please read the whole essay, it's not long.

The gist of it is what Thomas Sowell observed back when he wrote Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulations as a Basis for Social Policy.  (OK, one more quote from the piece):
A large class of disgruntled elite-wannabes, often well-educated and highly capable, has been denied access to elite positions.
The "elite" and "elite-wannabes" are what Sowell refers to as "the Anointed." They're better than the rest of us because they went to the right schools and know the right people. As that quote from Sultan Knish in the header of this blog says, they 
...see themselves as the individuals who have been 'liberated' to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem.

Eric Hoffer observed about such people, they end up as government bureaucrats, bunny inspectors - overeducated mid-level functionaries angry at their lot in life and willing to take it out on the "great unwashed" public. And "Nowhere at present is there such a measureless loathing of their country by educated people as in America."  Listen to what he told Eric Sevareid:


The author of the piece doesn't forecast systemic social collapse, but he does predict - well, one last excerpt:
We should expect many years of political turmoil, peaking in the 2020s. And because complex societies are much more fragile than we assume, there is a chance of a catastrophic failure of some kind, with a default on U.S. government bonds being among the less frightening possibilities.
Isn't that cheerful news.

And now you understand why gun and ammo sales have been astronomical for the last five years.  "Less frightening," indeed.

THIS is The Other Side™

And why we call them "blood dancers."

Damn, those people are sick.

Well, They Finally Found Rising Gun Violence Statistics SOMEWHERE...

...other than Chicago, that is.

In PG-13 movies.
When the first "Die Hard" and "Terminator" movies landed in theaters in the 1980s, both were rated R. But their sequels arrived with PG-13 marks — even though the level of violence had actually escalated.

Critics have blasted Hollywood's movie ratings for years, claiming that the Motion Picture Assn. of America takes a prudish view of sex and foul language but a very liberal one when it comes to mayhem and bloodshed.

A new report provides strong evidence for that critique, concluding that gunplay has tripled within PG-13 films since 1985, the first full year the rating was used. Last year, PG-13 films were actually more violent than films rated R.

--

Researchers found that 94% of the highest-grossing films since 1985 had one or more sequences containing violence. Of those 396 films, gunplay has tripled within the PG-13 rating, while it remained flat or declined in films rated G, PG and R.
And, of course, this cinematic violence is responsible for school shootings:
In addition to quantifying the accelerating levels of violence in blockbuster movies aimed at children and teens, the report also addressed the effect this kind of cinematic bloodshed can have on young moviegoers, which several other investigations have shown can increase hostile behavior.

"The presence of guns in films also provides youth with scripts on how to use guns," the report said. "In addition, children no longer need to go to movie theaters to see films; films are readily available on the Internet or cable. Thus, children much younger than 13 years can easily view films that contain ample gun violence."
As The Onion put it,
How else are children going to learn to shoot while jumping sideways?

Monday, November 18, 2013

GeekWithA.45 on Health Care "Reform"

He left this as a comment to yesterday's QotD, but it's too important just to leave there:
I've said it before. The pre-Obamacare healthcare market was already distorted by perverse, unnatural market forces, and that this sort of problem whose root cause was complexity was not going to be solved by adding additional complexity to it.

The only thing additional complexity would do would be to shake things up, find a new set of winners and losers, and generally cost everyone.

Coming off my yearly engagement with the think tanks, I've heard, for the first time, a series of data points coming from hospital CEOs that add up to one thing: the admission that exercising a hospital's primary function is no longer a source of value and revenue, it is viewed as entirely cost, risk, and liability. Consequently, they are no longer building any capacity, and are in fact looking for ways to reduce their capacity and eliminate hospital beds.

The aging boomers are gonna love that when it comes home to roost.

Again, I think it bears repeating: the healthcare industry now views exercising its particular expertise and primary function as primarily a source of cost, risk, and liability.

That, as they say, isn't sustainable.

In desperation, they're looking to preventative care across their collective "healthcare community" (defined by what?) to save them, but at the end of the day, preventative medicine comes down to 3 things: "Don't smoke, don't be obese, and get a checkup once a year, do what doc says if they find something". That will get them something, but not a whole lot. Humans being what they are, horsehair shirts never work.

The dark portent dripped across the whole thing is, of course, the premise that any lifestyle choice that potentially affects health becomes a matter of public policy, because it's now a matter of public expense.

Welcome to the endarkenment, a peculiar state of nature.

I'm going to close this post with a quote from the Starship Nostromo's AI "Mother":
"The option to override detonation procedure has now expired."
American healthcare is all over but the screaming.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Quote of the Day - Government Competence Edition

Reader J. in the first comment to yesterday's QotD:
I am 100% convinced at this point, that if you asked the US Federal Government to come into your kitchen and make you a peanut butter sandwich; it would cost $100 Million, they would burn down your house, and you would be handed two roofing shingles with a dog turd in between.
I'm not sure they'd get the "shit-on-a-shingle" part right.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Holy Crap, the Chicago Tribune?!?

Did someone drop acid in my iced tea?  Just let me leave this here:
Stop digging. Start over.

The Americans manhandled by this exercise in government arrogance now find themselves divided into warring tribes: Those with chronic ailments who have found new plans on Obamacare exchanges and are pleased. Those who don't want or can't afford the replacement policies Obamacare offers them. Those whose new policies block them from using the health providers who have treated them for many years. The estimated 23 million to 41 million people whose employer-sponsored plans are the next to be imperiled. And on and on.

Most of these tribespeople only wish their big problem was a slipshod Obamacare website. On Thursday, their plight grew more frightful. With even Democratic members of Congress storming the White House over the cancellations, Obama declared — by what legal authority is unclear — that he would overrule the law he signed in 2010 and allow insurers to extend those canceled policies for a year.

--

We understand why the president and leaders of his party want to rescue whatever they can of Obamacare. On their watch, official Washington has blown the launch of a new entitlement program ... under the schedule they alone set in early 2010.

What we don't understand is their reluctance to give that failure more than lip service. Many of the Americans who heard their president say Thursday that "we fumbled the rollout of this health care law" would have been pleased to hear him add: So we're admitting it. This law is a bust. We're starting over.
(Bold emphasis mine.)  RTWT.

Wow.

Who knew the editors of the Trib were racists?

Quote of the Day - Og the Neanderpundit Edition

From a comment to Tam's post If schadenfreude had calories, I'd weigh 300 pounds:
I would be inclined to believe you are correct, and that this whole debacle is purely incompetence, and had no reason or logic behind it, but that isn't what concerns me. Have you seen what liberals can do with incompetence? Incompetence is their milieu; the left can build shining towers out of incompetence while the sane and competent are barely keeping a roof over their heads. However this breaks, it will break bad for us.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Quote of the Day - Angelo Codevilla Edition

Democracy has no cure for a corrupt demos. Politicians’ misdeeds taint them alone, so long as their supporters do not embrace them. But when substantial constituencies continue to support their leaders despite their having broken faith, they turn democracy’s process of mutual persuasion into partisan war. -- Lies Corrupt Democracy
RTWT - most especially the comments.

And this is a good place to repeat one of the quotes up on the masthead:
The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What About That Quaint Idea of "Separation of Powers"?

So the Democrats ram through - without a single Republican vote - the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," and Obama signs it into law on March 23, 2010.  Before passage, Nancy Pelosi laid this one on us:  "We have to pass it so you can find out what's in it!"


Well, now we know what's in it:


About 11.5 million words of regulations from the 906 (PDF) page law (2700 pages as published for the consumption of Congress) that, again, apparently nobody read prior to voting for. (Thanks, Nancy!)

And, in direct contrast to Obama's promise that the legislative negotiations behind this law would be aired on CSPAN...


...the actual negotiations took place away from cameras, and with major influence from the lobbyists that Obama told us would not stain his presidency.  Even the Daily Kos objected

And then he told us that the "penalty" for non-compliance with the ACA requirements was NOT. A. TAX.

Then it survived a Supreme Court decision which said it was only constitutional if the "penalty" WAS. A. TAX.

And in July of this year when problems with implementation began to become apparent, Obama unilaterally gave businesses a one-year extension on their legal mandate to conform with the law.

Wait a minute. This is a LAW. Part II, Section 1511 specifies what "Employer Responsibilities" are, effective "calendar years beginning after 2013."

Congress has not voted on this change.

And today, after his repeated promise that "If you like you plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" turned out to be as false as his CSPAN transparency promise and his "not a tax" declaration, he's done it again with respect to the individual mandate.

Even Howard Dean wonders where he gets this amazing power:


It's not like this is anything really new, though. The Justice Department certainly isn't going to go prosecuting anyone that Obama doesn't want prosecuted.

But this isn't rule of law. This is Obama granting "special dispensation" - a power not given to the Office of President under the Constitution. The Legislative branch passes the laws, the Executive signs or vetoes them, and the Judicial branch tries and punishes violators of those laws.

But we've reached a point where the President can just say "never mind," and nobody calls him on it.

What do you call that form of government again?  Because it's certainly not a Constitutional Republic.

Quote of the Day - Joe Biden Edition

From Politico, Biden: Don't let immigration die like gun control:
This kind of reminds me of the gun control kind of fights we had, and gun safety. You know, the people who don't want anything changed to have a more rational position, they're the ones who show up in large numbers.
(My emphasis.)  Thanks for noticing, Joe!  Oh, and we have the "more rational position."  That's why we show up in large numbers.

Monday, November 11, 2013

People Policing the City on Their Own

A few days ago, I blogged about a bystander attempting a citizen's arrest on two armed robbers as they exited the convenience store they'd just stuck up.  The robbers pointed their guns at the citizen, and he killed both of them.

The families of the perpetrators were outraged"So how about if people start policing the city on their own?" one asked.

Well, you could get this:
Small Georgia Town Forms Posse, Corners Armed Robbery Suspect

Criminals take note; You're taking a chance if you try to ply your trade in the Dodge County town of Rhine. Local law enforcement is praising townspeople for some de facto community policing, after tracking down and helping catch an armed robbery suspect.

For 60-year-old Ken Lowery the commotion began around 2:30 Thursday afternoon as he stepped inside Aden's convenience store and encountered the store clerk in distress.

"The lady screamed at me and said 'I've been robbed, he's got a gun, and I gave him all the money,'" Lowery recalled.

Lowery says he saw the suspected gunman, identified as 24-year-old Damien Durham of Wilcox County, walking down the street making a nonchalant getaway. Witnesses say it was a bizarre sight, but what happened next was even more unbelievable.

"People just kept coming around and they were mad, people in Rhine were mad," Lowery said. "Here we had an armed robbery in the middle of the day at Aden's and they wanted to form a posse."

Lowery says more than 20 people, many of them armed, spread out looking for the gunman, in trucks and on foot.

"We didn't have no leader of it all, we just went all our separate ways and the people in Rhine they knew they were going to get that rascal," Lowery said.
And they did. He's in jail.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

"Here Lies Lester Moore...

...four slugs from a .44.  No Les no more."

(From a headstone at Boot Hill in Tombstone AZ.)

Until this time I have resisted purchasing anything chambered in any of the various .44 calibers.  I have .22's, .223's, 6.5mm, 7mm, .30, 8mm, 9mm, .40 and .45, but nothing in .44.

That just changed.  Or, well, it will on 11/22 when I can pick it up.

I dropped by to visit my favorite Merchant O'Death this morning just to see what they had on the shelves (the AR-15 drought is most definitely over, and ammo is beginning to turn up again - even some .22, though it's limited to 100 rounds per customer).  "So, what's on your 'must have' list these days?" he asked.  I responded "Nothing, really.  I've got all the 'must haves' and now I'm down to the 'kinda wants.'"

"So what do you kinda want?"

"Well, I'll eventually get something chambered in .44."

We discussed the various Specials and Magnums (of which he had a pretty good selection of the latter in the case), then he said, "I've got something interesting!" and headed over to the display case where they keep the special stuff.

This is never a good thing to hear when it comes to my wallet.

What did he have?  This:




That's a pre-2000 629-5. According to the Smith & Wesson forum it is:
a Lew Horton Model 629 S&W Hunter Competitor, 200 were made, only 90 in the US.
The cylinder is unfluted with a brushed finish, the frame and 6" Mag-Na-Ported and weighted barrel slab sides are polished, barrel and frame top are bead-blasted, smooth trigger, no lock, floating firing pin. The serial number supports the "200 were made" claim.

 It's freaking beautiful. I almost hurt myself whipping out the plastic. Can't pick it up until the 22nd because it's used and the shop has to hold it while the Tucson Police ensure it's not stolen property.

I think I stole it.

UPDATE:  Smith & Wesson customer service says it shipped to Lew Horton in 2000, but that's all they have on it.

UPDATE II:  Lew Horton says they're sending me a letter about my gun.

Final update:

Lew Horton Distributing got back to me:
Thank you for your interest in Lew Horton Distributing. Your Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 629 (S&W #170049), serial number MHR0XXX, is indeed a Lew Horton Special Edition. This model was unique in the market place at that time. It was fitted with a six inch slab sided barrel that had an integral variable weight system, and featured barrel cut outs. The barrel had an integral Weaver style scope mount, and was Mag-na-Ported. The cylinder was unfluted and the cylinder edges were beveled. It was fitted with the then new style Performance Center thumb latch. The action was hand tuned by the craftsmen in the Performance Center. This gun is one of several different variations of the PC 629 Hunter that we did over the years.

This gun is one of 457 units produced in that configuration. This run Model 629 was manufactured by Smith & Wesson and delivered to Lew Horton Distributing from 1999 to 2001.

This Lew Horton Special Edition is listed in the Bluebook of Gun Values under the "Lew Horton Distributing" section.

Best of luck!
So not one of 200, but one of 457 ain't bad!

Friday, November 08, 2013

Bleg

OK, I want some help here.

Awhile back I linked to a post at Rick's Notes that stated that:
The Brits count and report crimes based on the outcome of the investigation and trial.
  This was based on a post at Extrano's Alley which cited a report from Chief Inspector Colin Greenwood to the House of Commons in 2000. The inspector states:
Homicide statistics too vary widely. In some developing countries, the statistics are known to be far from complete. Figures for crimes labelled as homicide in various countries are simply not comparable. Since 1967, homicide figures for England and Wales have been adjusted to exclude any cases which do not result in conviction, or where the person is not prosecuted on grounds of self defence or otherwise. This reduces the apparent number of homicides by between 13 per cent and 15 per cent. The adjustment is made only in respect of figures shown in one part of the Annual Criminal Statistics. In another part relating to the use of firearms, no adjustment is made. A table of the number of homicides in which firearms were used in England and Wales will therefore differ according to which section of the annual statistics was used as its base. Similarly in statistics relating to the use of firearms, a homicide will be recorded where the firearm was used as a blunt instrument, but in the specific homicide statistics, that case will be shown under "blunt instrument".

Many countries, including the United States, do not adjust their statistics down in that way and their figures include cases of self defence, killings by police and justifiable homicides. In Portugal, cases in which the cause of death is unknown are included in the homicide figures, inflating the apparent homicide rate very considerably.
(My emphasis.)

In 2001, Dave Kopel, Dr. Paul Gallant and Dr. Joanne Eisen wrote a column which included this statement:
More recently, a 2000 report from the Inspectorate of Constabulary charges Britain's 43 police departments with systemic under-classification of crime – for example, by recording burglary as "vandalism." The report lays much of the blame on the police's desire to avoid the extra paperwork associated with more serious crimes.

Britain's justice officials have also kept crime totals down by being careful about what to count.

"American homicide rates are based on initial data, but British homicide rates are based on the final disposition." Suppose that three men kill a woman during an argument outside a bar. They are arrested for murder, but because of problems with identification (the main witness is dead), charges are eventually dropped. In American crime statistics, the event counts as a three-person homicide, but in British statistics it counts as nothing at all. "With such differences in reporting criteria, comparisons of U.S. homicide rates with British homicide rates is a sham," the report concludes.
This backs up what Inspector Greenwood asserts, but I can't find that specific report.

What I have found is an document from the Home Office dated April 2013 on their official "counting rules" (PDF) that does not mention convictions or even prosecution.

That's all.

I'd REALLY like to find something definitive on this question, but I'm coming up blank. Help?