Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Concatenation of things I should've written on...

In tax resistance news, we have Arthur Farnsworth, a convicted tax resister, being released on April 15th, purely as an item of interest.

Stolen shamelessly from GunNuts radio, we have "Liberals We Can't stand", a charming little ditty...

And then a well-written and well-timed warning of the hazardous times we are now in, with the rule of the mob and the rabble-rouser replacing the rule of law, from Geek w/ a .45. Yes, Virginia, it CAN happen to you. Strongly recommended reading.

With the rather sensational title, Journolist Revealed! Inside the Secret Liberal Media E-Mail Cabal! , on-line magazine Slate reveals the troubling existence of a three hundred member group of liberal journalists apparently sharing sources, spins, and an apparent desire to present a unified message as "journalism". Again, recommended reading - not only is it good for you, but it will help you maintain a healthy level of skepticism.

In a delightful reference to the masterwork, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by science fiction grand master Robert Heinlien, a new website, I am Simon Jester has popped up in response to the increasingly intrusive nature of our current administration.

On another irreverent note, the Empty Wallet Convoy & Funeral Procession has launched in New Jersey (of all places) , to point out to Dem. NJ Gov. Jon Corzine that "there ain't no more to tax, and ain't no more to spend. Sounds like a good companion activity to the Tea Parties.

The failed "Earth Hour" propaganda event appears to have made no net difference in power consumption in California, and likely not in saner climes either. Perhaps because of Human Achievement Hour?

Also in California - that state of deficits, dementia, and dizziness - we see a stunning new initiative proposed, to bar DARK COLORED CARS to reduce carbon emissions. Not as if folk could make up their own minds or anything.....

As a result of the Obama adminstrations heavy-handed scape-goating of AIG and harassment of Swiss financial firm UBS, an increasing number of Swiss financial firms are barring employee travel (business or personal) to prevent hostile governments (like, say, Obama's) from siezing said persons.

On March 23rd, two gay college-age men were beaten unconscious while on a late night beach stroll in Seaside, Oregon in yet another of an increased number of West Coast bashing incidents. Since education and diversity training aren't working out so well, what say we start encouraging our LGBT friends and family to implement practical and reality-based plans for personal safety - including firearms, for those with sufficient intestinal fortitude. I am mightily tired of hearing of this sort of event - I'd much rather hear of "the late John and Bob, in their attempt to assault two local gay men, suffered a sudden and massive case of lead poisoning."

Chicago residents, in what may be happy early signs of revolt against the House of Daley, have begun a Parking Revolt. Perhaps, from this seed, sanity will grow and return to Illinois (doubt it, though).

More later, in Concatenation, Pt II.

Bitches for the left

In a classic example of how a political organization treats "captive" demographics (those groups believed either so committed or lacking in options that their support can be assumed without more than, at most, lip service to said groups goals) the Obama Administration puts off any substantive action to repeal the wasteful, costly, counterproductive, and bigoted Clinton "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, essentially saying "don't bother us, we're busy" to the LGBT community that frequently offers slobbering support of all but the most absurd Democrat proposals and candidates in the faint hope of being tossed some small and not too badly decayed unwanted scraps from the the table of liberal largess.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) was in 1993 implemented under the administration of President Bill Clinton ( a DEMOCRAT) at the behest of a Senate rebellion led by Sen. Sam Nunn (D). Clinton had promised while campaigning that as one of his first acts in office, he would allow *all* United States citzens, regardless of sexual orientation, to serve openly in the U.S. Military. DADT was a vile compromise forged when Clinton sold out in the face of the internal party rebellion led by Nunn.

Promise, welshed on.

Looms now the Obama, full of hope'n'change (or something really good for fertilizing roses), promising to eliminate DADT...and now his hand-puppet Gates announces there will be no change in the policy in the forseeable future.

Promise, welshed on.

Yep. These are really the people that are the only ones the LGBT community can trust to help us. Riiiiight. Just like Union Auto Workers are getting a great big helping of happy hope'n'change from the flower-farting rainbow-unicorn-riding Dear One.

Gah. 2010. And then, God(dess) willing, 2012.

Accelerating Blood Dance

It's early, I'm more cynical than usual, and I am wondering at the sheer volume of coverage penny-ante shootings (however tragic) are getting in local media.

While some speculate that there seems to be more than the usual amount of jackasses about, that's hard to explain in light of decreasing crime rates. Particularly when local media seem to be reaching, covering what are essentially local shootings (again, tragic, but not relevant to the Seattle audience when the incident is both hundreds of miles away and the perpetrator is either deceased, hospitalized, or incarcerated) with major breathless hype.

Sad, but it's not as if there isn't a plethora of local crap to deal with. Washington is having huge budget cuts (and accompanying controversy) due to a massive state deficit, we have a mayoral race kicking up with an incumbent of legendary unpopularity, and a wide variety of local trauma and tragedy to soak up a news hour.

It seems like there's an unusual uptick in coverage of coverage of shooting events apparently selected to inspire a sense of moral outrage in followers of the main stream media - i.e., these incidents have always occurred at some level, but now seem to almost have a PR agent.

In light of the Journolist controversy, 300+ liberal so-called journalists corresponding on how to spin stories, I am just a wee tad suspicious that this may be an witting or unwitting attempt (it'd certainly be Raum Emmanuels style, for instance) to grease the skids to sleaze in a new "Ugly Gun Ban" or other gun control measures.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Miles Electric Vehicle

We've had the Miles for about a week now, and are starting to explore its' benefits and challenges as it arrives stock from the store. Overall, we like it. As an around-town car, it does what you need it to do....

However, the below lists our challenges thus far.

1) Range - I observe the range is at best 50% (downhill, tailwind) of 40 mi. Example - this morning I arose, discovered a drill was missing, and went journeying to replace it. I visited True Value Hardware over at the Junction, the Black&Decker factory store over at 2100 Airport way, Home Depot on 1st Ave, Sears on 1st Ave, and finally Target over at Westwood Village. I left the house with a 100% charge, and returned home with a 40% charge. I am hard-pressed to believe that I traveled more than 10 miles.

Explanation on Dealer Contact: The 2009 model employs the new DeltaQ charger which has not proven to work out well in conjunction with the current battery set. Miles is developing a new charging algorithm, and requests that affected users log critical information to assist in diagnosis. The charge measurement instrumentation is suspect. Ongoing, but hopeful.

2) I am not observing any benefit, charge-wise, from the regenerative brakes.

Explanation on Dealer Contact: resolving the possible instrumentation issue may resolve this issue. Ongoing, depending on resolution to issue in (1)

3) Intermittent Creep Mode - On ignition, following the "Enter car, place key in ignition, place foot on standard brake, release emergency brake, turn key in ignition" sequence I am observing intermittent "creep" mode where forward and reverse speeds max out at roughly 3mph until I stop the vehicle, express my sincere frustration, turn the key off w/ my foot on the brake, and remove the key, and then turn the key back on. After completing this ritual 1-3 times, all returns to normal.

Explanation on Dealer Contact: "I'll look into that - it sounds like a programming or manufacturing issue."

4) Rust - I am observing initial rust signs around the charge port, under the port door and around the door open detection switch and screws.

Explanation on Dealer Contact: This is a common issue, resolved normally with a bit of Rustoleum. I suggested switching out to brass screws, as well, as they are not noted for rust.

A general design suggestion, I would *gladly* pay to have the proprietary charging socket replaced with a standard male grounded three-prong power jack that I could simply ram the female end of an extension cord onto - it's rather nervous-making to leave an $80.00 charge cord dangling at curbside at night in less than ideal neighborhoods.

Dealer response: They can make this change for $190.00 total, or I can buy the part for $30.00 and do it myself. I anticipate doing it myself.

Mom is beginning to drive the Miles with caution, and I am using it when she's not, in order to avoid burning gas. We like it, the both of us. So far, I'm happy with dealer responses, and proposed resolutions.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Latest Obama Fail

And now, in a startling (well, not really) new development...we have Obama Whitehouse Chief Information officer discovered to be a convicted petty thief...after his office was raided by the FBI and one of his underlings was hauled off.

Yes, another hard-working Democrat!

In other news, early signs are that Treasury Secretary Geitner is about to be hurled beneath the bus...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A response to Delaware Liberal

I jumped in on a discussion over at Delaware Liberal, and given the regrettable tendency of liberal bloggers to delete or ban those as disagree with them, have preserved my comments over here, in hopes that other might find them useful....it also appears comments are moderated there, so, lest it not see the light of day there...

Several points.

The so-called assault weapons ban doesn't address assault weapons - it addresses cosmetic features on a standard type of SEMI-automatic (one pull of the trigger equals one projectile going down range, all other things being equal) for demonization.

Talk of "high rate of fire" is simply silly in that context. Further, the rifles the so-called AWB claims to address are often in sub-optimal or hunting-equivalent calibers. As an example, barring artificial price inflation, SKS and AK series semi-auto rifles fire a 7.62 round similar to that fired by a .30-30 rifle - and barring artificial price inflation, are normally an inexpensive alternative hunting rifle for lower-income or subsistence level hunters.

Similarly, the cop-killer argument is dispelled when the light of honesty is shined on things and we discover that any modern rifle caliber is capable of penetrating soft armor vests without substantial difficulties. Given the reality that most of the rifles proposed for this false-flag AWB are at the distinct low end of the power spectrum...it's a bit ludicrous to refer to them as high-powered. In many states the .223 cartridge is banned as a hunting round as being inadequate for a "clean kill", for instance.

Movie/TV magic to the contrary, guns of black hue or with box magazines are not some sort of magic wand, nor are they typically full-auto (that would make them *machine guns* and covered under the Gun Control Act of 1934). Neither do they grow tiny little legs and try and molest the washing machine.

The Gun Show loophole is a myth, as others have addressed. At a gun show you have two distinct categories - persons in the business of selling guns (who in turn have the same legal requirements, already, when at the show as they do in their home shop) and private individual come to sell one or two (or Grandpa's collection that duplicates much of someones own) firearms, either to a dealer or to another private individual - who they might as well encounter initially online or at walking down a street, and engage in lawful transactions there.

What, at base, the myth of the gunshow loophole was designed to cripple was not gun shows as places where gun transactions take place - but rather, to cripple the socializing and politic'ing that takes place at those events, to the detriment of those you typically find pushing the "Gun Show Myth".

The "traceable ammunition" tech currently out there is one of the better scams I've of which I've heard. As others have pointed out, we have a *single vendor* with an exclusive patent on their "way cool" unproven technology demonstrated only in cherry-picked test, trying to foist their questionable product on the public using a legislative mandate marketing plan. "Buy our product or go out of business or go to jail - never mind if it works or not!"

Serious doubt has been raised about the survivability of any such marking system under the heat and pressure of a normal cartridge firing, and yet more doubt has been raised about whether such a system *can* be implemented at the major manufacture level.

I can't support the legislative imposition of huge expense for the benefit of talented con artists to implement an unproven and likely ineffective scheme resulting in no particular benefit.

Moving right along to trigger locks, depending on the situation most of them are either ineffective (with sufficient manipulation, you can still achieve a firing condition), insecure (you can break them off fairly easily with common tools and motivation), or downright dangerous (i.e., taking critical moments to undo when you find yourself in sudden need).

Given our collective experience with consumer electronics, I have difficulty understanding why anyone would consent to being stuck with a gun that has "smart technology" - a bright shiny new failure point(s). Whether we consider battery life (and honestly, many guns DO sit for years), the effect of age/moisture/recoil on delicate electronics (i.e., none of those are GOOD), or the effects of sweat or injury (if you're in a situation where a gun may be an appropriate solution, it's quite possible your hands will be sweaty/cut up/scraped/not pristine) on recognition tech...

Like a fire extinguisher, one hopes never to need a self-defense firearm for its' intended purpose (and the same is true of hunting gear - you seriously believe hunters don't ding themselves up or get mud on them?), but when you do, it needs to *just work*. The smart tech on the market today has a huge "way cool" factor in the laboratory...but is actively dangerous to implement outside the laboratory.

I don't live with kids. Should that change, I will avail myself of a couple of gun safes (not a trigger lock, thank you) as more effective, safer, solutions.

The three proposals by Xstryker are all well-intended, but their impracticality or mythic basis are in direct proportion to the good intentions - likely because Xstryker (and many others who've been sucked into those approaches) simply haven't had the opportunity or interest to examine the real world consequences of said proposals.



Second Post

Anonone -


Learn how to? There are hundreds of thousands of folks out there already loading their own for improved precision (a projectile/cartridge/powder/primer combination can be tuned much more finely when you’re trying to make it work in “just one unique firearm” than when you’re trying for “must be safe and reasonably accurate in all guns with a given barrel/chamber dimension), economy (once used brass and hand poured bullets are dramatically cheaper, as one example), or innovation (brewing up new wildcat calibers for fun, profit, or simply because they can). It requires some care, but it ain’t rocket science.

As a gay man, I carry for self-defense. Random assaults by bigoted bashers younger/faster/spryer than I just strike me as depressing as all get-out. However, ammunition cost is a significant issue - would you rather have me (or your local LE agency, who ALSO must practice) able to afford range time to maintain proficiency, or should that be limited only to the economic elite?

Finally, the ammo micro-stamping notion remains a sad hoax intended to draw in the concerned using smoke and mirrors, so that a significant profit might be gained. The ability of micro-stamping to survive the heat and pressure of normal firearms discharge is in significant doubt (more simply, “it doesn’t work”), large-scale production utilizing this technology is doubtfully practical (what works as a process making a hundred widgets doesn’t necessarily work when making a hundred thousand widgets), and ammunition already costs $25.00/box (or more) for any non-trivial round (yes, .22 is DANDY for target shooting…but for defense or hunting, it’s rather…questionable).

In conclusion, in the current economic times, we are seeing more and more folks counting on the fall hunting season to supplement meat in the freezer over the winter…it seems unkind, at best, to price them out of that option.


Third post, in response to questions


Xstryker one, to address your question, a box of 50 lasts (excluding the tiresome thumbing of one round at a time into a magazine), I'd estimate about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes on the range.

To stay at the level of proficiency I prefer, I like to send 150 rounds down range or so in a session in order to drive in "muscle memory" and good habits (flinching, for instance, is at best bad form and at worst can get someone hurt).

In short, at todays prices (and by my own standards of proficiency) a good range session costs between $125 and $150 per firearm you want to grow/maintain proficiency with. That's already expensive enough, thank you.

Practice, and you can improve what you can reliably hit whenyou shoot at it. Don't practice, and your skill level falls off - as with any athletic activity. You will retain a core set of skills in most instances, but not "your best".

My own personal view, which I don't think should be forced on anyone else, is that if I am going to take the responsibility of carry...that I should practice as much as is practical in my current life circumstance. Then again, I *enjoy* the eye-hand coordination and the satisfaction of shooting paper bullseyes - not everyone does.

To address your second comment...

As regards the identifiability of handloads, note that not everyone loads for *precision*. That is, in fact, a small sub-set of the hand-loading community. Many hand-load from standard recipes (which and how much powder, bullet weight/design, primer-type, etc) either as a hobby or simply to produce less expensive "practice-grade" ammunition.

However, to follow your argument through...let us say I acquire a badge and stumble into a crime scene with lots of formerly hand-loaded ammunition scattered about - what can I identify/prove?

1) Recovered Projectiles - unless both unusual and hand-poured, nothing especially unique beyond the usual land and groove markings distorted by impact that may or may not be unique either to a firearm (i.e., someone has done something major and unique, yet not entirely destructive to the inner surfaces of the barrel) or class of firearms (i.e., "this projectile came from one of the hundreds of thousands of Taurus 9mm's out there).

2) Powder. Hardly anyone makes their own (doable, but messy and dangerous, when it's not mind-numbingly boring) but the commercial powders out there are made in vast batches - chemically identical within a particular recipe. ("GREAT! You've established it's a small grain pistol powder from company X! They shipped 30 tons in 1lb tins last year! This helps us how?")

3) Brass. Most re-loaded ammunition uses recycled brass (not only environmentally good, but CHEAP)...with...guess what....markings from previous firings, often through different guns.

4) Primer. If you are *lucky*, you will find unique primer markings - but then again, you'd have just as much chance of finding that on a commercially manufactured round.

The *functional* problem with micro-stamping is that it expects a small delicate impression in metal to survive in a high-temperature environment where pressures range from 30,000 PSI to nearly 70,000 PSI - more than enough for metals to get a bit malleable, and fine engravings to stampings or engravings become distorted beyond legibility or perhaps even existence.

To this, add that beyond the micro-batches produced by the technologies vendor, this is an untested technology - and one that looks to impose huge manufacturing costs (see above) that will, of course, be passed along - meaning that police, military, and private individuals will all be less able to afford range time. I think we can agree, at least, that having cops that can hit the broad side of a barn is a good thing?

Given that we've now looked at "doesn't work", and "hugely expensive" with microstamping, let us proceed to motivation.

I will, for the moment, pretend that elected proponents are motivated by pure thoughts and noble intentions (and not current and/or potential campaign contributions) and have no intention of a back-door ban via economic warfare...and point out that there is but a single company offering this technology, a company that is the prime lobbyist for this technology, that would benefit HUGELY from the co-erced broad adoption of their unique and patented technology (no matter how useless it is, the licensing revenue would be GREAT while it lasted).


Fourth post, a response to questions...


A. Price.

I regret you've been misled by a common fallacy. I lawfully carry to, should my other pre-cautions against gay-bashing and the general run of street crime fail (chief among them "don't be where the bad things happen" - for health reasons, "run away, run away" doesn't work for me..."run, fall over, gasp" is just not helpful.) deal with felonious assaults upon my person or those of other known innocents in my presence.

Under the law in my state (YMMV), that means that once I'm faced with multiple or large attackers, knives, clubs, exotic weapons ("Why yes, that IS an authentic Aztec-era obsidian axe!") I am lawfully able to utilize my sidearm to ensure my continued health and well-being.

Just because you and your three best buddies are, in the course of an attempted gay-bashing, attempting to cave my skull in with a 2x4 doesn't mean I'm limited to hunting up my own 2x4 - once it's established you intend to do me serious harm, I can lawfully trump a 2x4.

Like fire extinguisher, I rather hope never to need to use a pistol to defend myself. However, having a pistol and the accompanying skillset available strikes me as a worthwhile fallback position, and in the mean time, shooting bullseye targets both enhances my skillset and provides a harmless afternoons enjoyment.


Fifth post, responding to A. Prices query..


A. Price, it was an allegorical reference.

However, I've observed hateful folks operating from fear and emotion at both ends of the political spectrum that I would consider deeply unwise to find in a dark alley.

And you fail to consider the effect of "I'm dating your 25yo son" on even the very most liberal (but untested) parent. Those magic coming out moments CAN go completely sideways.

Specifically, some of the responses I've gotten as a gay man who doesn't hew closely to the popular political group-think left me in significant doubt of some individuals on the lefts anger management skills, violent tendencies, and general self-control.

My observation is that regardless of the perpetrator, at the end of the day I will be just as dead or beat up should they go rogue in my direction. I don't care to cooperate in producing that set of situations.

I do have a question for you - in those regions in the United States where the gun control is strictest, the rate of violent crime tends to be highest - even when the areas are demographically similar. Why is extending that situation to less-plagued regions a good thing?

Purely as an aside, my comments are also preserved at http://nwfreethinker.blogspot.com

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hmmm. Comments, Anyone?