Sunday, October 31, 2010

A simple, logical, evaluation of Tuesday upcoming...

Courtesy of Larry Correia, please read this....

Travel & Recovery

Still catching my breath, but feeling rather better than I have since returning Wednesday a bit tired and cranky. Was right back at work Thursday/Friday, and came home w/ a weekend project I'll hopefully start later today.

The trip had started out with more than a bit of dread, and wasn't looking to be a fun trip to begin with, what with it being to attend the funeral of a childhood favorite relative that was the 82yo's pseudo-sister (long story, set in the '30's) .

Landing in Denver Friday afternoon, Mom & I grabbed the rental SUV (I'm not especially trustful of late October in the midwest) and headed for our hotel - in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Some hours later, we arrived, checked in, and Mom collapsed...while I went over and joined the kids of the deceased, the only branch of the family that'd be in the same geographic region as my brother and I growing up, and their spouses - and re-connected with family, and their spouses I'd never had the time or luxury of growing acquainted with.

Brunch the next morning, and the subsequent funeral went well aside from a few nervous moments when I thought the attendees might be about to get fricasseed in an electrical fire at the local Catholic parish. Turned out to be incense (and I was deeply grateful that I was able to figure that out BEFORE going further than quietly scoping out the locations of alternative exits), but otherwise was a very moving service with eulogies from the children and grandchildren.

Next morning, we all ate at a local restaurant and headed out - the kids to the second service and interment on the other side of the state, and Mom'n'I, after some chatter, to a small town in SE Colorado with some rather special folks in it. Spent a day or so down there before heading over to Colorado Springs, where I got to see a friend and meet his wife - and check out the largest private gun store in Colorado (and pick up a nice new-model Delica).

From there a straight run w/o stops to the rental car station at Denver International. Proud to say that, aside from rental car, not one thin dime was spent within the confines of the City of Denver.

A word to the wise. Flying into or through DIA isn't all that bad. Flying out is simply dreadful, especially if you are taking guns with.

Frontier Airlines isn't the fault of DIA, I don't think. But a cranky ticket agent over-focused on gouging travelers for every last dollar of baggage fees and harassing gun owners (It's been years since I had to take pistols out and demonstrate empty, clearing for an audience at a ticket counter - and I've NEVER had a ticket agent insist on taking my lawfully-secured ammunition weighing it to see if it violated some arbitary and extra-legal weight limit with an eye towards confiscating any excess). We'd not eaten or had coffee, figuring to accomplish this at DIA post-security...and this did not improve anyones mood.

Now, what I do blame DIA for is their absolute cluster-fuck of a TSA checkpoint. A single half-staffed checkpoint for the entire airport - all gates - at a major hub. Stacked in a line at least 250 deep, all hope of breakfast before flight was quickly dashed. With an hour and forty-five minutes shot on gratuitous sphincteritude and TSA design/staffing incompetence...getting the 82yo to the gate in a timely manner w/o a meltdown was now a challenge.

A not unconquerable challenge (obviously, since I'm back in Seattle and not driving a rental from Denver today), but then spending several hours on a sardine can of a jet with inadequate air conditioning...didn't precisely improve things.

Lessons learned? If I'm going to Colorado, it's going to be either by the Colorado Springs or the Amarillo airport (depending on destination). If I'm including Scottsbluff in the picture, I'm going to hit that fine cities airport.

When considered with the anti-gun stance of the City of Denver (my reason for avoiding any spending within city limits), DIA is on my "avoid if practically possible" list - throw in DIA's baggage debacles, and I'm thinking folks are well-advised to avoid this airport to the extent practical on a number of different grounds.

To finish up, dearth of posting was largely due to "en route/too tired" status and "got home/going to work/way too tired" status. Will try and get nose back to grindstone.

Wee Adventures

Was out at Barnes & Noble last night, one of my favorite hidey-holes when I just want some peace and quiet and to get out of the house. Downside, delightful as B&N tends to be, is that it's hard to escape without a book or five under my arm and a lighter wallet - and without having coffee and a nosh or two that I really ought to resist.

Of course, that's why most B&N's have coffee shops - not only is there the direct revenue stream, but the coffee shop increases customer dwell time and thus other purchases. Not a bad scheme, really.

I'd meandered over and got a promising collection of books, coffee, and forbidden yum before curling up in a nice wing chair and reading one or two of the less promising volumes and enjoying the peace and quiet.

The weather being accommodating of somewhat warmer attire, I was carrying the S&W 25-5 tucked discretely away about my person, and my dandy new-model Delica that I'd picked up in Colorado Springs a few days ago.

I'm not especially good, anymore, at diving so deep into a novel that the world just goes entirely away. Movement in my vicinity and any kind of unusual racket tends to ring my bell a bit and I'll glance up and see what's going on, I suspect because I don't want my peace and quiet messed with.

Having sat there for a bit, I found myself glancing this rather rough-cut homeless-looking sort wandered from right to left across my field of vision - a sort not common in this particular environs. Seemed harmless enough, so glanced back down until friendly Mr. SubConscious again tweaked my sensitivies and here the dude was again, wandering back the other way - nothing really unusual, and no reason to take an interest and I began to wonder what was bothering me...

Of course, on this pass, when he went over to the cafe garbage can, opened up the access door and started rummaging for credit card became a little more obvious. Semi-oblivious rent-a-cop was up at the counter, getting his coffee and pseudo-donut before going to stare intently at book buyers.

Responded well to a patented GC whistle, and a swift nod in the direction of the unusual activity, and followed the guy (wandering off w/ receipts in hand) off for a quick chat. And for the next hour or so, B&N became breaktime central for a couple of SPD units - one after another.

Didn't follow up, figuring I'd done my part. But sometimes, "no muss, no fuss" combined with quiet anonymity is plenty to produce that tiny little bit required to make the world a better place.

A cell phone is a pretty cool tool as well. And I happened to have one on me...but a quick whistle can work just fine, under the right circumstances. When possible, letting folks do their jobs dealing with the naughtier kids is a vast improvement over playing superhero (which, in my opinion, requires the recitation of many bad words and thorough expression of deep dismay), and cuts way down on the drama in ones life.

So no. No citizens arrest, no flying drop-kicks, and no public derring-do. Just a law-abiding citizen, reasonably alert and prepared for things to go sideways, discreetly tipping off the semi-pro team regarding naughtiness in progress.

No muss, no fuss - I'm calling it a win. And while it may be petty, it made me giggle and gave me a tiny little warm feeling in side.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And while we're discussing petty tyranny and it's practitioners...

Slashdot, of all places, reports this classic example of an officer suing those who....*criticized* him...

I say, Officer Bubbles, jolly good show there! No need for niceties like a proportionate or considered response...

Papers, Please...

I'm about to travel. To Scotts Bluff, NE for a family funeral. With an 82yo subject to panic attacks and with a talent for seeing disaster around every corner. The opportunities for this to go rodeo abound.

I've been following the tale of the ever-eroding civil rights of travelers in this diminished age of cowardice and petty tyranny. AD relates one such ever more common tale.

I am not looking forward to this.

The 82yo isn't quite bionic, but is giving it the college try with a partial knee replacement and several pins in her back. Screening will be...interesting.

I am not looking forward to this.

I am minded of Breda's exciting experience with the TSA. And that one of the few things that will wind up my temper in a *hurry* is folks giving my family a hard time. This does not bode well.

I am not looking forward to this.

Oh what fun portends.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Whole BUNCH of linky-no-thinky...

Slate, helping us see how liberals think for a bit now, with an analysis of the Roberts Court....

An exciting new avenue to abuse of authority and general repression, courtesy of our friends in Congress and the current administration......

A couple of insightful articles from that crusty scribe, Dave Workman, known in song and legend throughout the NorthWest - with wit so potent that a pistol is mere decoration...Dave inquires "Just what are those cops doing??" in regards to a local police shooting, and further examines both a local home invasion robbery that didn't go quite as planned, and of broader interest, the Obama adminstrations blocking of the re-importation of semi-automatic Garands from Korea. That they make a dandy deer gun is beyond what's the hold-up?

Then we have the state of the law in Wisconsin, with officers rushing up to an armed group peaceably having dinner to demand identification in order to prove they were not felons....and a somewhat misguided editorial from a local newspaper on the matter.

Obama declares Congress going GOP in November would result in "hand to hand combat" on Capitol Hill for the next two years. This would be a bad thing?

On a more cheerful note, libertarian and author L. Neil Smith has an online comic. Somehow, it just doesn't feel *right* though, darn it.

In an interesting tale of several occasions we almost self-nuked in one fashion or another, we discover that yes, even with really big boom-toys, folks are still fallible.

The boys at Mythbusters make a sacrifice - keeping Obama's mouth mostly shut and him from making trouble for several hours as he makes an appearance on the December 8th episode. Is it too much too hope he'll volunteer to stand in front of the Archimedes Death Ray to prove it's harmless?

Making yet another appearance in the Linky Post, the Obama Administration fights to the last breath to keep Don't Ask, Don't Tell alive. A judge issues a worldwide injunction barring enforcement of the policy in a case brought by the Log Cabin Republicans, giving the Obama Justice Department 60 days to appeal. Within two days, the Obamanauts (friends that they are to the LGBT Community) file an appeal to preserve the discriminatory policy. Ain't it great to have such friends?

And yeah, it's a cheap shot...but after Palin's excoriation, I'm not seeing a bunch of reasons not to take it.....for your reading pleasure...

And while we're at it, let us celebrate the famed tolerance of diversity in thought and deed exhibited by those on the left...

Pirates off Somalia are now deploying mothership(s?) which act as fueling and munitions vessels for their smaller and more aggressive brethren. Since world navies don't appear able to do anything about this...obviously it's time to deploy Stingray's Privateers!! We can but hope that Stingray sets sail heavily armed and with the crew singing as below:

Monday, October 11, 2010

On maturity and abuse...

This is a topic I've pondered for some time, and having it recently thrown in my face in another context, I'm going to address it here - safe from strategic deletion. A more formal listing may be found at Turning Point Services.

Spousal/partner abuse seldom ever starts out as a couple of folks beating on each other with 2x4's in the front yard. It's most usually a continuum, starting small and evolving into more and more major events, with (more often than not) tragic results. Once begun, stepping off the spiral downwards is not easy for either the abuser or the abused.

Regrettably, it's a game everyone can play - gay/straight/bi or male/female/trans. But oddly, nobody ever wins this game - instead, if they are lucky, they escape with only minimal damage.

It usually starts with belittling, hectoring, attempts to undermine the targeted partners self-worth and create self-doubt, and attempts to isolate the targeted partner. It seldom stops there. Threats of violence or so-called "light violence"* often kick in during the later stages of this phase or in the next phase.

As things progress, tantrums begin - first over small things, then over essentially random matters. The tantrums are less about any actual grievance than an attempt to control the targeted partner.

Next, objects of emotional significance to or actually owned by the targeted partner start getting destroyed or damaged as "punishment" by the abuser, purposefully and with malice. The target is told if they hadn't "done *x* behavior" the object wouldn't have been damaged/destroyed, and it's all the targets fault...and since it's their fault, any expectation of recompense for damages is offensively unreasonable.

As things proceed, actual violence begins against either the target or a proxy (pets and children are the most vulnerable as proxies, as they are not awfully good at fighting back). Proxies happen either as a precursor to abusing the targeted partner, or when the targeted partner is too intimidating (physically or otherwise) for the abuser to target while conscious. Children and pets are also often held as hostages against the target - threatening to deprive the target of their custody or companionship, or alternatively, threatening to directly harm the aforementioned hostages.

Violence typically then escalates until someone goes to the hospital or the morgue, or until the police or others intervene.

Obviously, it's desirable to intervene well before the end game...if only to keep down the number of tax dollars spent on cops, trials, and jails. Simple decency might, perhaps, be a reason as well.

If you recognize any of these behaviors in yourself, in your partner, or in the relationships of friends - speak out. Get help if it's you or your partner. And if it's a friend, help them find help. To do less is, at the very least morally, to become complicit in the abuse and bear an equal amount of guilt for all of its results.

Making all this more complex are the co-conspirators in abuse - enablers, and to some extent, the target themself. Knowing what we know today, if we recognize these events in ourselves, others, or in our partners - the right and healthy response is to talk *publicly* to friends, to family, and to professionals about the right "next steps" - or simply to confirm whether one is hallucinating or not.

Public, because it establishes an obvious paper trail should anything unfortunate happen. And we all have to sleep sometime, no matter how tough we are.

But that's where the enablers step in, morally every bit as guilty as the abuser him/her themselves - "don't talk about that, it's embarrassing!!", "you'll shame the family!!", or "mature folks keep such things to themselves!!", and a variety of other approaches to perpetuating the abusive situation.

Silence is the abusers friend. They try for it through post-abuse contriteness, threats, and manipulation. Enablers help them in that. It can be from ignorance, youth, or mis-placed loyalty - but regardless of the cause, it's a morally bankrupt behavior. Facilitating abuse is simply wrong.

Speaking honestly and openly deprives them of that silence. Daylight is our best tool, as individuals and society, against abuse. In the light of day, there are some things that most folks simply won't tolerate - with good reason.

False accusations and false denials both wither at about the same rate underneath the light of openness - and the trade-off is fewer battered spouses/partners and children.

So speak out. Seek out help. And if you see the early signs in a relationship? It might just be time to run for the hills.

*"Light Violence". Stuff that doesn't usually result in a hospital trip. Examples would include pushing, restraining, blocking doorways, holding down, shoving, shaking a spouse or partner in a non-consensual fashion.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Corruption & Global Warming

From Smallest Minority, we get a reasoned dissent in the form of a resignation by a prominent physicist from the American Physics Society. One can but hope he, and other intellectually honest physicists, can form a society of honest scientists, since according to the scenario he portrays in his letter of resignation the APS certainly has lost that distinction.

Perhaps the Emperor might like a robe?

Extend foot, open fire...

Now, there's nothing wrong with a good rant. Helps keep the blood pressure at acceptable levels, and may improve the world a bit if it is sufficiently impressive that others point in awe or are reduced to helpless giggling.

But technique counts. For good or ill. If you can command the invective and with of a modern-day Disraeli, then, by all means have at it.

If, on the other hand, you find yourself using phrases that reinforce our opponents stereotypes of us - even if you don't mean them "that way" - you're not really being a huge help to gun-owners, libertarians, freedom-loving folks, or any other cause you happen to be affiliated with.

Open mouth, insert foot in other words...or to be more precise, "extend foot, open fire".

"Vile turd" or "feculent hybrid of a mange-infested wombat and a leprous rattlesnake" are, if not particularly artful, just fine.

In general, however, invoking womens (and often mens) body parts as negative descriptors gets one written off as either sexist or homophobic before the argument even launches - shooting all of ones cleverness and persuasive talents (or even giggle-making rant skills) straight to hell as you've just pissed off a fair chunk of readership while feeding ammunition to the nimrods of the left.

In general, handing ammunition to the hostiles for use when we're trying to win the hearts and minds of the undecided (and there are still great herds of them) is poor form.

And y'all are *smarter* than that. You're not intellectual cripples limited to a narrow band of self-destructive invective...most of you have sufficient wit and command of the language as to dwarf the average vocabulary and verbally skewer the average nimrod with little or no effort.

Think about it...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Speaking of hatred, bigotry, elitism...

Need I *really* say any more?

Bigotry & Elitism...the plumage of the common hoplophobe...

Now and again, I'm asked why I get so twitchy about gun laws and such - after all, Washington isn't nearly as bad as some states. Well, since folks like this [Ed. 10/13/10 - seems the original post, in a display of hoplophobic courage, has been removed. Mirrored here.]
tend to be the ones promulgating them - what can I say?

As a gay man that came to adulthood in the eighties, I've *seen* bigotry. And elitism. And the unreasoning fear and hatred that underlie them.

Whether it comes from the Falwell's and the Craswell's or the Kennedy's and Obama's, it's the same corpse-like rotting stench - "me and mine, and those *just like us* are special...and the rest of you are just not quite human because and as a result need supervision at best, devolving to expendable, and finally worthy of extermination as a public menace."

A phenomena I have yet to explain to my satisfaction is that in the Libertarian & Conservative communities, tolerance and "so what? how is that relevant to our joint goals" is increasingly the response to gay folk in the mix...and the frenetic hatred and fear-mongering of Fred Phelps and the "Focus on Family" loons is ever more rejected...while at the same time, the obvious bigotry and hatred on the liberal left of all those that don't think precisely like them is clutched ever more closely to their breast - even to the point of advocating violence against law-abiding citizens.

Mr. Baird, if Arizona so frets you - move back to California, or perhaps to Illinois or Massachusetts. Or even the storied lands of Europe. Don't be the Ugly Californian that moves to another land or locale only to insist on it being a clone of what you left behind.

Related Article: View from NW Idaho

Letter's to the Editor - WOOHOO!

Regarding a bar whose license got suspended...

Ad hominem attack, party of one?

Marco -

I'm an NRA member, a life member of the Second Amendment Foundation, and have hung around the gun community for a couple of decades now.

Based on that, I think I can say with some authority that most folks and organizations in that area of interest not only oppose random urban discharges, but specifically warning shots - for a variety of safety and tactical reasons.

The truth of the issue is that neither you nor I know the circumstances of the firearms discharge - which could be anything from the owner of the bar fending off an assailant/rapist as she closed up shop to go involving mad cackling.

Given that calling for aid or calling 911 is counted *against* a bar owner with the liquor board, a positive incentive isn't exactly created by the current system of "doomed if you do, doomed if you don't" - rather, the current system *encourages* trying to sober up a drunk yourself w/o assistance and trying not to get caught. A far more positive and effective approach would be to *reward* bar owners for correctly calling 911 or for medical assistance.

Being put out of business for six months is something that really ought to require a hearing before a judge that's accountable to voters - not an administrative board that is questionably accountable to anyone. It's not quite a death penalty for a business, but it's close - that should mean those pressing for it need to work a little harder than "a bad thing happened near this business".

Finally, yes. If folks want to drink themselves to oblivion (as long as they don't insist on taking others with them) their fate is *not* the business of government.

If you, or I, or anyone else wants to save all the alcoholics or addicts in the world (or go about pursuing a variety of other worthwhile causes) - then let us set up shop as a private charity or foundation and get about the business of fundraising and organizing (you know, that odd practice of folks giving time and cash *voluntarily* to support a cause they believe in, rather than spending coerced tax dollars).

Government, clumsy and lumbering behemoth that it is, is rarely a precise tool to cure social ills - many of which are so embedded in human nature as to be incurable.

Finally, the right is no more monolithic than the left - and arguably is evolving in a more libertarian or classically conservative (ask me again in ten years, it's early days) direction than the theo-conservativism of the religious right.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010


"Americans will be free to keep their existing insurance...."

Not so much, perhaps? See the Wall Street Journal article.

What can you expect from a Chicago Machine Product?

Lies, damned lies, and obfuscation.

Remember to vote.

Whole bunch of linky...

  • For just plain cool stuff, the sole surviving Edison Electric Car was recently brought back to life in a loving restoration in Britain....

  • Finally, an affordable full-speed electric vehicle....

  • COOL. Second Amendment Foundation has yet further reasons to buy a life membership, beyond the awesomeness that is Alan Gura, the legal genius that argued Heller and McDonald.

  • Magic Powder Powers Electric Bike. With that headline, was it any surprise with that headline that "Bolivian Marching Powder" was the first phrase to pop into my head?

  • A friend is bent about this one, given my scathingly contemptuous view of all reality TV and such, I may not be the best judge. Given that I've both met the A-Gay folks (thus can verify they aren't just a fiction) and consider *that* image a better stereotype than a lot of the ones the LGBT community has been stuck with in the past..I'm not terribly offended. Boring regular folks don't really draw in the ratings, after all. You be the judge.

  • Found a cool new gun shop while down near Auburn - AR specialists!!
Ok, that's the lightweight linky...